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Love Thy Neighbour

Chapter Text

 

Beatrice was in the process of finishing her coffee when music began to play loudly from the hallway. 

In the year that she had lived in the building, the last few months had been relative bliss since her last neighbour had moved out. 

Apparently that peace was now over. 

And apparently her new neighbour had a penchant for late nineties early noughties pop. 

It was far too early to be listening to basshunter. 

But it was fine. 

Beatrice had to get to work so her new neighbour could play their music to their hearts content. 

Unless the new neighbour was the type to play music late into the night, then there was going to be a problem. 

But she'd deal with that if and when it happened. 

Beatrice pulled on her jacket and grabbed her keys and sunglasses from the counter and stepped outside to a hallway full of boxes. 

Jesus. 

The door to 1008 was propped open with a box and the music was blaring inside. 

Beatrice stepped around the boxes and made her way towards the elevator. 

The doors opened before Beatrice had reached it, a girl around the same age as her stood inside, box in her arms and what was clearly two iced coffees balanced on top. 

Watching the girl try to drink from one was like an accident waiting to happen. 

She seemed to finally realise that the doors had opened and looked up, gaze meeting Beatrice's directly. 

Oh. 

Is this the new neighbour? 

New neighbour with lovely brown hair, wide bright eyes and an easy smile. 

Wow.

Hot new neighbour. 

"Oh shit, Hi!" 

Hot new neighbour with a nice voice and a hint of an accent? 

"Hi." Beatrice greeted. "Do you need a hand with those?" 

"Nah, I think I can shuffle it the… what, ten feet?" 

Beatrice glanced over her shoulder to the door at the end of the hall. "Twenty." 

The girl hummed thoughtfully and promptly set the box down before picking up the drinks. 

She was wearing a plain white t-shirt and black sweatpants and while the outfit was simple, Beatrice still found her gaze dropping from the girls face to - 

No. 

It was rude to stare at a girls chest, especially when Beatrice didn't even know her name yet. 

"I'm Ava." The girl greeted with a smile. 

Well. 

Ava had a great chest. 

"Beatrice." 

"You live here?" 

"I do. 1003."

She watched Ava tilt her head to the side and after a moment her eyes brightened. "Oh! You're across the hall, we're neighbours!" 

"So it would seem." 

"I swear I'll get all the boxes out of the way as soon as I can and, oh fuck the music, is the music too loud? I'll make sure to turn down the music. You won't hear a peep out of me I swear." 

The girl was full of energy, her words came out rapidly and Beatrice was certain that if she didn't have her hands full, she'd be gesturing wildly. 

"Okay maybe not a peep, I'm clumsy and have a tendency to set off the fire alarm and there may be a house warming party at some point but -" 

"Ava?" Beatrice interrupted gently. 

"Yes. Hi?" 

"It's okay, you can play your music, I'm going to work so it's not a problem." Beatrice said. 

"You sure?" 

"Of course. Welcome to the building." Beatrice stepped around her to walk into the elevator. 

"You too!" Ava replied confidently. 

Beatrice watched as Ava's eyes widened as she registered what she had just said, and as the doors closed, saw Ava tilt her head to the ceiling and close her eyes. 

It was definitely one of the weirdest starts to the morning that Beatrice had experienced for a long time. 

Weird, but not unwelcome. 

 

--

 

Ava was sitting on the floor when she heard footsteps approach her. 

"You look like you're having an existential crisis." Lilith said bluntly. 

Ava stared at the elevator. "Yep."

"Usually you have to think to have one." 

"Fuck you." 

Lilith scoffed and picked up the ice coffee from the ground. "You wish."

"Why are all the boxes out here?" Ava asked. 

"Why are you having a crisis?" 

"My neighbour is super hot and she said welcome to the building and I replied 'you too.'" 

As expected, Lilith snorted. 

Her best friend, everybody. 

"I know it's not exactly hard for your brain to fail, but was she really that hot?" 

The second the elevator doors had opened and Ava had seen Beatrice staring at her, her brain had completely stopped. 

The all black outfit and leather jacket combination really gave the impression of badass and dangerous, but Beatrice's eyes were nothing but kind. 

And when she smiled, that had only been warm. 

And her voice? 

Fucking hell, that voice. 

Delicate but just low enough that Ava could still hear it now. 

"She's British, Lilith." Ava sighed. "She's already hot but… God, Lilith. British accents are so hot did you know?" 

The silence dragged on for long enough that Ava lifted her head to look up at her friend, only to be met with an incredulous glare. 

"Ava, I'm fucking British." 

Oh right. 

"Well yours doesn't count!" 

Lilith made a face and held a hand up in sheer confusion. 

"Honestly Ava I left you alone for five minutes." 

Ava picked up her own coffee and took a long drink from it. "Actually it looks like you just sat in my apartment while I kept bringing up boxes." 

"Speaking of, many more left to bring up?" 

"A few." 

"You better get to work then." 

"But-" 

"I will move these boxes." Lilith nudged one with her foot. "Unpack at least half of this stuff and I'll buy you lunch." 

Ava hopped to her feet. "Seriously? And dessert?" 

Lilith was already walking away. "Yes Ava. You can have dessert." 

"Fuck yes." 

 

--

 

"Mary said to stop avoiding her calls." 

Beatrice didn't look up from her computer. "Mary needs to stop calling me when I'm at work." 

She heard Camila's chair roll closer until she appeared in her peripheral vision. 

"Mary also said that she expected you to say that and that as you're one of the bosses then you can make the time to answer her calls." 

Beatrice lifted her gaze and opened her mouth to speak. "But -" 

"And that if you protested then as the other boss, I could order you to call her back." 

Beatrice closed her mouth. 

She was only delaying the inevitable. 

Camila put her elbow on Beatrice's desk and rested her chin in her hand as she watched Beatrice curiously. 

Beatrice stared back. "What?" 

"Why are you avoiding Mary?" 

Beatrice sighed and sent her email before leaning back in her chair. "Because she wants to set me up on a blind date." 

"...And that's bad because?" 

"She wants to set me up on a blind date." 

Beatrice could see where Mary and Shannon were coming from, she'd known the pair and Camila since college and in all those years they had only seen Beatrice go on a handful of dates.

They definitely hadn't seen her have a long term girlfriend. 

But Beatrice had always said that dating was secondary, her career came first. 

And her career had turned into an idea, the idea had turned into a startup with Camila and now they were finally getting there. 

OCS Industries was up and running and building a very fast reputation of being amongst the best in terms of cyber security. 

Camila had declared that she wanted to build something that not even she could hack into, they were still working on getting to that point, but they were close. 

Being under thirty and a CEO certainly felt like some kind of success. 

And apparently that meant that she no longer had an excuse to put dating on the back burner. 

"Would it really be that bad?" Camila asked. 

It had been a while. 

"It… Wouldn't be the end of the world I suppose." Beatrice admitted. 

Dating in itself isn't the end of the world, but blind dates? Not knowing what she was getting into? 

Not ideal. 

Camila's phone vibrated with another message and Beatrice watched as her eyes skimmed over the screen. 

"Mary said she's on her way." 

Beatrice wasn't one for running away. 

But she also wasn't about to deal with this right now. 

"Are you okay to hold down the fort here?" Beatrice asked. 

"You're going to work from home aren't you?" 

Beatrice was already shutting down her computer and grabbing her keys. "Yes." 

"She knows where you live." 

"But she can't get in, which is an important factor." Beatrice pointed out. "I'll call you when I'm home." 

Camila waved a hand dramatically. "Yeah sure, leave me. It's fine." 

"You're the best, if Mary calls-"

"You had to step out for a meeting, but Bea, I can't keep doing this so just… Consider the date? Free food."

"I always split the bill unless I like them." Beatrice mumbled as she got up from her seat. 

"Of course you do." 

 

--

 

"I feel like I should have made you at least put the bed up before this." Lilith sighed as Ava locked the door behind them. 

"I'll do it when we get back." 

"That's a lie." 

"Not entirely!" Ava replied. "Worst comes to it I'll crash on the sofa." 

Lilith scoffed. "I did not just clear my entire day to help you move in only to have you sleep on the sofa. You didn't even do that when you lived with me. You're not a broke student, stop acting like it." 

"Did you just tell me to grow up?" Ava asked. 

"Yes, essentially." 

 Ava snorted and bumped her shoulder against Lilith's. 

Lilith had been in her life since Ava was a teenager, her dad had been more of a father to Ava than Ava's own ever was. 

Sure he'd… kind of taken her in after her mom died. 

But it was Lilith and her dad who really took care of her. Every business trip their dad's went on, Ava got to go too. 

Long weekends sharing a hotel room and raiding the mini bar and bonding over feeling as though they never had had a place to belong. 

And what started out as a hyper preteen and a moody teenager forced to interact turned into Ava skipping school to go to Lilith's campus and crash in her dorm. 

Or when Ava went to college she spent more time in Lilith's apartment than her own dorm. 

It was only natural that Ava would intern at Lilith's fathers firm and eventually take up the offer of working at a new branch and follow Lilith out to New York. 

She'd lived with Lilith for almost a year before Ava decided it was time she got her own place. 

And even though she kind of hated her dad most of the time, the inheritance she kept as an emergency fund proved to be handy for slapping down a deposit on a shiny new apartment. 

Lilith was her best friend. 

Her sister. 

"I'll let you choose where to eat as long as you don't bring up your hot British neighbour again." 

Oh, how she hated her. 

"I haven't even mentioned her that much!"

"Her eyes were so intense, Lilith." Lilith began in a mocking tone. "The leather jacket she wore was so fitting Lilith. Her neck was so-" 

"Oh my god stop!" Ava slapped the button for the elevator. "I do not sound like that." 

Lilith raised an eyebrow. " That's the part you're choosing to focus on?" 

"I feel like you're just going to quote me some more and if you are you may as well try to get the voice right." 

Lilith scoffed and draped her arm over Ava's shoulders. "Yeah I'll definitely take the criticism on board." 

The elevator finally reached their floor and opened. 

And Ava wasn't sure if it was God's work or the devil's, but as soon as she caught a glimpse of leather Ava's stomach flipped. 

Beatrice. 

And now she was wearing aviators. 

Hot sexy neighbour who wasn't even a snack. 

She was a whole damn meal. 

Beatrice reached up to lift the aviators and smiled. "Oh! Ava." 

"Beatrice, hi." Ava grinned. 

Beatrice stepped forward as Lilith and Ava awkwardly stepped aside so that she could walk out. 

Ava watched her give Lilith a curious once over as she took the glasses off and tucked them into the pocket of her jacket before she turned to face Ava. 

"We're just…" Ava cleared her throat. "Going to grab some lunch." 

Lilith was still staring at the back of Beatrice's head, her gaze dropped down and- was Lilith staring at Beatrice's ass? 

…Was it a good ass? 

"Oh, enjoy. I imagine you're probably hungry after moving all those boxes." 

"Yup! Can't wait to eat out." 

Behind Beatrice, Lilith pinched the bridge of her nose. 

"Go out. For lunch." Ava said. "Okay. Bye" 

Beatrice laughed softly and turned away. "Goodbye, Ava." 

Ava allowed herself three seconds to watch Beatrice walk down the hall and yep, good ass. 

Great ass. 

Truly spectacular-

Beatrice started to turn, most likely towards her door, but there was a part of Ava that was certain Beatrice was about to look back at them. 

She grabbed Lilith's arm and dragged them both into the elevator and pressed the button. 

Ava walked until she faced the far wall and pressed her forehead to the cool metal as she heard the doors slide closed. 

"Oh." Lilith said. 

Ava groaned. 

"Perhaps you had a point." Lilith continued. "I thought this was just an Ava Silva thing but even I have to admit, your neighbour is really hot." 

Ava sighed and let her head thud against the wall before she turned and leaned her back against it. 

"I don't know what that means but… I told you so." Ava groaned again. "Oh my god did I tell her that I couldn't wait to eat out?" 

"Yes. You started to turn red." 

"Fuck. I can't fuck this up, I can't afford to move again." 

"Ava, she is really hot, on a good day you trip over your words, you didn't stand a chance." 

And god, if Lilith finds her that hot and if Beatrice was into women? 

They'd make such a power couple, two super hot British women and oh… 

Ava wouldn't stand a chance if Lilith liked her too. 

"Please don't sleep with her." Ava said suddenly. 

Lilith looked confused. "What?" 

"You're really hot and I can't compete with you."

Lilith folded her arms across her chest and gave Ava a critical look. "Ava. You're attractive. Extremely attractive to the point where it's effortless and sometimes I want to slap you for it." 

"...Thank you?" Ava replied. "But seriously Lil, you and her… please don't sleep with her." 

It felt weirdly petty to be saying that to Lilith, to beg her not to try and pursue anything with this mysterious, beautiful woman. 

But at the same time, she couldn't help herself. 

If there was a chance to be had, then she wanted it. 

Lilith's expression grew serious, even as her voice took on that rare softness only Ava really got to see. "I'd never do that to you." 

"I believe you." 

"You better." Lilith replied. "Now come on, lunch and dessert. Try to limit your gushing about hot neighbour." 

Ava snorted. "Is gushing really the word you want to use?" 

Lilith gave the back of Ava's head a soft slap. "Behave." 

"No? I never have and I don't plan on starting now." 

 

--

 

Beatrice leaned back in her seat and rubbed at her eyes. 

She glanced at the clock in the corner of one of her monitors, it was four in the afternoon. 

She'd been working for four hours solid and as her own music switched tracks, Beatrice heard the faint vocals of the backstreet boys playing in the distance. 

In the time since she had started working, Ava had gone to lunch, come back and presumably continued to unpack. 

Beatrice wondered if Ava's friend was still there too. 

Was she a friend though? 

The woman had been tall, broody with cheekbones that had made Beatrice do a brief double take. 

And with the arm around Ava's shoulders and from the warm and familiar way Ava had been looking at the woman...

Trust Beatrice to get lucky enough to have a new, hot neighbour who caught her interest enough to be on Beatrice's mind throughout the day, only for said neighbour to most likely have a girlfriend who is almost as hot.

She sighed and got up from her desk to head into the kitchen and pour herself a glass of wine. 

Maybe Mary was right. 

Going on one date probably wouldn't kill her. 

 


 

Ava didn't see Beatrice for two days after she moved into her apartment. 

And it hadn't even been for lack of trying.

Every time she'd left to explore the neighbourhood or meet Lilith for dinner and drinks she'd lingered in the hallway wondering where the other woman was. 

Hell, she'd almost knocked on Beatrice's door with a lame excuse of asking to borrow milk or something like that. 

She just really wanted to see her hot neighbour again. 

But the few days off Ava had taken to get moved in were at their end, and now she had a few case files waiting for her on her coffee table. 

And Ava definitely wasn't about to deal with that until she was suitably caffeinated. 

She'd found a nice coffee shop a few streets away that also did a mean cinnamon roll. 

And to make things better, it was a coffee shop that doubled as a record store. 

She didn't own a vinyl player yet, but at least the music was good. 

But Ava was ready to get back to work. 

If she could remember the fucking code to get back into her building. 

After her third try Ava was ready to punch the damn keypad. 

"You son of a bitch." Ava sighed and pressed her forehead to the wall. 

One of the reasons she'd chosen this place was because of the security it had. To even get into the building she had to scan a chip in her key fob and type in the code. 

Which was great, if she hadn't forgotten it. 

She really should have written it down. 

Lilith would know. 

Lilith would have had it written down and saved in her phone. There was a reason Ava had trusted her with her spare set of keys. 

Ava sighed and set her coffee and to-go bag on the ground and pulled out her phone. 

Her thumb was hovering over Lilith's name when she heard jogging footsteps approach. 

"Ava?" 

Oh, she didn't know if there was a God, but if there was, they were throwing her a solid right now. 

Hello sexy British accent. 

Ava turned around to the source of that voice to see Beatrice come to a stop beside her. 

Oh God, Beatrice was in running gear. 

Holy shit her t-shirt was so tight. 

And sweaty. 

Beatrice was all sweaty and sexy and smiling at her. 

And… Ava still hadn't spoken. 

"Beatrice, hi!" Ava greeted. "You… you run?" 

"I do." Beatrice replied softly. "Most mornings, actually." 

Good to know. 

"Cool. Cool, cool, cool. Gotta stay in shape right?" 

Beatrice's head tilted to the side slightly. 

It was so endearing, even if Ava wanted to kick herself. 

Beatrice nodded towards the keypad. "Having trouble?" 

"Turns out I'm not good at remembering four digit codes." Ava sighed. 

"Here." Beatrice laughed and stepped into Ava's space to reach up and scan her key fob and punch the code in. "8433."

"You say that as if I'm really going to remember it." Ava said. 

Honestly, the fact that she can even make a whole sentence while she was staring at Beatrice's arms was a miracle. 

Beatrice smiled again and pushed the door open, leaning against it to keep it open for Ava. 

"Ava?" Beatrice spoke up as Ava bounded past her into the lobby. 

"Yeah?" 

"Your coffee?" 

Which was on the sidewalk. Right. 

Pull your shit together Ava. 

Ava laughed through her pain and ran back outside to grab her neglected coffee and cinnamon roll before following Beatrice back into the building, falling into step beside her as they reached the elevator. 

"Is that from Wavelengths?" Beatrice asked, nodding towards Ava's drink as she pressed the button. 

"Oh, yeah. I found it when I was exploring the neighbourhood, you go there?" 

Beatrice hummed. "I often meet my partner- business partner there when we want a change of pace from our office." 

"Business partner? What do you do?" 

Beatrice shifted her weight and gave a small shrug. "I run a company that specialises in cyber security, although we're looking into getting funding to expand into home security too." 

Okay what the fuck? 

So Beatrice was a genius too? A genius who apparently owned her own company? 

"Holy shit Beatrice." Ava replied despite the eyebrow raise she received. "So you're what, a CEO?" 

"I suppose so, yes. But I still prefer to be as hands on as possible with our projects." 

Ava loved herself a girl who was hands on in any regard. 

"That's really cool, am I leaning into a stereotype if I ask if you ever hacked into anything?" Ava asked. 

Beatrice laughed as the doors opened and the pair stepped inside. 

"That's really more Camila's style." Beatrice replied. "I'm pretty sure she hacked into the police database one time." 

"Holy shit, why?" 

Beatrice made a thoughtful sound. "Either to prove that she could or to get rid of a record, she never elaborated." 

Camila sounded so cool. 

"Should you be telling me this?" 

"Probably not." Beatrice smiled. "Keep it between us?" 

"Deal." 

The elevator rose through the floors slowly and as Ava turned to face the girl once more, she watched as Beatrice reached for the bottom of her shirt and lifted it to wipe at the sweat on her brow. 

Ava's gaze didn't shift. 

Because holy shit, Beatrice had abs. 

Fucking rock solid abs at that. 

The shirt dropped over the glorious sight and Ava wished she had gotten a few more seconds to just commit it to memory. 

"Ava?" 

Ava snapped her head up to meet Beatrice's amused smile. "Yo?" 

"What do you do?" 

"Oh. I'm a paralegal." 

"Really?" 

"Surprised?" Ava smiled. 

It wouldn't be the first time someone had looked at her and scoffed when she told them about her job. 

But Beatrice wasn't scoffing, she wasn't laughing, she was just smiling. 

"Not at all. Do you like it?" 

"It wasn't what I expected to be doing but I kinda fell in love with it, Lilith is the attorney and we're just naturally a great team." 

Beatrice glanced away as they finally reached their floor. "Lilith is the woman you were with the other day?" 

"Yep. Oldest friend, our dad's were friends so we'd end up going on a lot of business trips with them, sharing hotel rooms you know?" 

The doors opened and Beatrice stepped out first. "Sounds like you're very close to her." 

Ava trailed behind as they headed to their apartments. 

She wasn't about to miss out on another chance to check out that ass. 

"Do you have much planned today?" Ava asked. 

Beatrice hovered at her door and leaned against it. "Shower then heading into the office. You?" 

Beatrice was trying to kill her. 

The amount of brain power it was taking to not picture her naked in the shower was a lot. 

"Just reading up on case files, Lilith is in court on Friday so I need to be on my game." 

"I'm sure you'll be fine." Beatrice replied. "Trust in yourself." 

Ava fished her keys out of her pocket. "I'll try."

"You'll let me know how it goes?" Beatrice asked. 

"Yeah, sure." 

"Well…" Beatrice stood up straight. "I should let you get to work, I'll see you around?" 

"Yeah, I hope so." 

As Ava stepped into her apartment and glanced at the files waiting on her coffee table, she took a sip of her coffee.

Right now Beatrice was probably stripping down and getting into the shower. 

…Washing. 

Oh, the abs. 

Ava glanced at her files and prayed for the motivation to push that mental image aside to get some work done. 

 

--

 

"So a little birdy tells me that you agreed to go on a blind date." 

Beatrice was already regretting coming into the office. 

"Let's not dwell on it." Beatrice mumbled. "We have to get this proposal outlined." 

"Yeah of course." Camila smiled.

Camila wheeled herself closer and leaned into Beatrice's space to peak at her screen. 

The silence only lasted for a few moments. 

"Okay but what changed your mind?" Camila asked. 

The possibility of Lilith apparently being more than a friend to Ava for starters. 

Beatrice knew how to flirt. 

She was damn good at it too, and when she had lifted her shirt, Beatrice had been certain that Ava had been checking her out. 

But then Ava had started taking about Lilith and how long they had been friends and how they had shared hotel rooms. 

Beatrice closed her eyes and pushed back every thought of the things Ava would have gotten up to with that woman. 

It might just be the coffee, but Ava struck her as the type who was highly energetic and extremely eager. 

No. 

Stop thinking about it. 

"Because I feel as though it's time to get back into dating." Beatrice said. "A blind date isn't a commitment." 

"Weird point to focus on but okay." 

"You asked." 

She didn't have to look at Camila to know that her friend was frowning at her. 

"What's wrong? Apparent commitment issues aside, which we will be coming back to." 

Beatrice looked up. "Who said I have commitment issues?" 

"Other than you, about forty seconds ago? Bea, you haven't dated for ages." 

"I'm doing the blind date aren't I?" 

"Consider it me easing myself back into the dating game. It's been long enough." Beatrice replied. "And I don't have commitment issues." 

"Whatever you say Bea." Camila replied. "When's your date?" 

"Saturday, no idea where yet, Mary is going to text me the details." 

"Are you excited?" 

Not really. 

She'd much rather spend her Saturday night on the sofa watching netflix than making awkward small talk with a girl. 

"I'll be more excited once we've finished this proposal." 

Camila laughed. "Point taken." 

Ava was going to be pushed to the back of her mind. 

And the blind date. 

She was going to work, and deal with all of that later. 

 


 

Saturday couldn't have come fast enough for Ava. 

Had her and Lilith not been held back at the office for so long the day before, she would have tried to drag her friend out for a few drinks. 

But she'd been so tired that she'd crashed out almost as soon as she hit the sofa. 

Chanel had been texting her pretty relentlessly about throwing a housewarming party, which… tempting. 

But Ava just wanted to spend her day lazing around, maybe unpacking a few more boxes. Maybe order pizza later on and settle down with Netflix. 

God it was going to be such a relaxing day. 

But first, she really needed coffee. 

Ava threw a hoodie on and grabbed her keys and paused by the door as her phone rang. 

"Lilith?" 

"Wow, you're up early." Lilith said. "What's the occasion?" 

She really wanted to point out that Lilith had been the one to call her, but thought better of it. 

Ava left her apartment and headed towards the elevator. "Um… Ava needs coffee?" 

"Of course." 

"Why are you up this early?" Ava asked. 

"I've been to the gym, Ava. I always get up early." 

"Weirdo." Ava scoffed. "You wanna meet me for coffee?" 

"Do I have to?" Lilith asked. 

"No, but you need those files from my place, which I'm guessing is why you called me and there's a cute barista at the coffee shop by me?" 

"Are you trying to set me up?" Lilith asked. "Also how cute?" 

"No and… Cute?" 

Lilith laughed. "Where does she fall compared to your hot neighbour?" 

"Nobody is as hot as Beatrice." Ava replied. "But they also do great cinnamon rolls?" 

"You're heading there now?" Lilith sighed. 

"Yep." 

"Fine, I'll be there in a bit." 

 

--

 

Camila 
Traffic :( I'll be there ASAP. 

Which was fine, Beatrice wasn't in a rush to go anywhere. 

Blind date was one thing, but a shopping date with Camila too? 

She loved her friend dearly but now this? 

Beatrice really wasn't a fan of shopping. 

She typed out a quick response to Camila and leaned back in her seat as she took a sip of her coffee. 

Beatrice kept herself busy for a few minutes as she scrolled through her phone. 

"Can I get a large ice coffee please?" 

And that voice was familiar enough to make Beatrice set her phone aside and looked over to the counter to see Ava, drowning in an oversized hoodie, her hair pulled up into a messy bun. 

She moved down the counter, still talking to the baristas with a bright smile. 

Ava just seemed to radiate positivity, even these baristas seemed happier by having Ava around them. 

The drink was handed to her and Ava turned around, eyes scanning the room for an empty table. 

She wasn't quite fast enough to avert her gaze before Ava's eyes locked with hers. 

Beatrice's embarrassment only lasted for the few seconds until Ava broke out into a huge smile and started to walk over. 

"Beatrice, hey." Ava stopped at her table. "What brings you here?" 

"Other than the good coffee and music?" Beatrice asked. She gestured to the empty seat opposite her. "Please, sit." 

"You sure?" 

"Of course, unless you're waiting on someone?" 

"Only Lilith, but she won't be here for a while." Ava explained as she dropped down into the seat. 

Lilith, of course. 

"She won't mind?" 

Ava looked amused. "Of course not. How about you?" 

"I'm meeting my friend, she's taking me shopping." 

"Oh? Special occasion?" 

Beatrice hesitated and after a moment, shrugged. "Just… A dinner." 

Ava leaned forward to rest her chin in her hand. "You got anything in mind?" 

"Originally I was just going to wear a button down and my leather jacket, Camila said that's a no." 

"Has Camila ever seen you in your leather jacket?" Ava asked seriously. 

The back of her neck felt warm. 

Beatrice laughed. "Yes." 

"And she's still saying no?" Ava raised an eyebrow. "Crime." 

"Camila thinks I should make a good impression." 

"I could keep going on about how that is a crime but I also don't want to stick my foot in my mouth and accidentally insult your friend." Ava looked away as she took a long sip from her drink. "Okay so, dress, no dress?" 

"No dress." 

"Ever?" 

Beatrice smiled. "Not opposed to it, but I have to be in the right mood for it. Also I tend to save it for something special." 

"Hmm… Noted." Ava nodded. "Romper?" 

"Also a possibility." 

Ava grinned. "So you want to make a good impression-" 

"Camila wants me to make a good impression." 

And Mary, and by extension her fiance Shannon. 

"Okay so it's a dinner and your friend wants you to make a good impression, how invested are you in the whole thing?" 

Beatrice brushed her finger along the rim of her mug and sighed. "I'm being polite and honouring an agreement more than anything else."

"Well, no disrespect to your friend, but I say the shirt and leather jacket is a solid option." Ava shrugged. "But treat yourself, get a new shirt, I'm getting the vibe that you're not super invested in this whole dinner so buy a new shirt, wear the leather jacket. Be comfortable and a badass." 

Ava didn't even know why Camila was taking her shopping, but she was giving advice so easily. 

And it was good advice too. 

"What colour?" Beatrice asked softly. 

Ava regarded carefully for a few moments, her eyes were bright as she stared at Beatrice. 

"Blue. No… Navy. Go for something navy." 

"Navy?" 

Ava smiled. "Yeah." 

"Any particular reason?" 

"I just think it'll suit you." Ava replied. 

Beatrice smiled. "I trust you." 

Ava grinned and shuffled happily in her seat. 

Beatrice was happy to let the moment hang as she finished off her coffee. 

"Bea!" 

She loved Camila, so much. 

But that was certainly one way to kill a moment. 

Beatrice turned to look over her shoulder and smiled at her friend as she approached. 

"Cam, hey." 

"I'm so sorry I'm late, traffic was a nightmare and…" She trailed off as she finally noticed Ava. "Oh hi!" 

"Hey!" 

"Camila, this is Ava, my new neighbour. Ava, this is Camila, my business partner and friend." 

Ava held a hand out and Camila took it with an amused smile. 

"Nice to meet you, are you joining us to help Bea pick out an outfit for her date?" 

Oh. 

Beatrice looked over at Ava. 

The smile had faded from her face as she drank from her coffee with a surprisingly unreadable expression. 

"No." Ava laughed as she shook her head and got to her feet. "I've gotta meet my… boss, to give her some files." 

"Isn't Lilith meeting you here?"  Beatrice asked. 

Ava pulled out her phone and shook her head. "I read her text wrong, she's meeting me back at my place. Camila, it was nice to meet you." 

"You too." 

"Beatrice, remember what I said?"

Beatrice nodded. "Navy." 

"Cool. I'll see you around." 

"Ava…" Ava was leaving before Beatrice could finish. "Goodbye." 

Camila slipped into the now vacant seat. "She seems nice." 

"You'd like her." Beatrice replied, turning her attention back to her friend. "She's bright." 

"Like… smart?" 

No. 

Luminous. 

"Bright as in happy." 

"Invite her out for drinks some time, it'll be fun." 

"Maybe I will, do you want to head out or do you want coffee?" 

"I'm good to go now." Camila stood up. "What did Ava mean by navy?" 

"Colour suggestion." Beatrice rose to join her. "For the shirt I'm going to get." 

"Shirt?" Camila pouted. 

"It's my first date in a while, I'm already putting myself out of my comfort zone. I want to feel like myself." 

Camila nodded, understanding as ever. "Okay, whatever you want Bea." 

Beatrice wasn't entirely sure what she wanted now. 

 

--

 

When the knock came at Ava's door, she shoved her spoon into her mouth and shuffled over to pull it open. 

Lilith raised an eyebrow as their eyes met and frowned when she saw the jar of peanut butter tucked under her arm. 

"You look miserable." 

"Beatrice is going on a date tonight." 

Lilith brushed past her and into the apartment. "Your hot neighbour?" 

"Yeah." 

"Yes, well, you've seen her Ava. We both have, it's not surprising that someone has asked her out." 

Ava kicked her door closed and glared at Lilith's back as she dug her spoon into her peanut butter. 

"Rude." 

"It's the truth." Lilith replied. "Is this why you ditched the coffee shop? Because you saw her on a date?" 

Lilith dropped down onto the sofa and threw her feet up onto the coffee table. 

"No, she was waiting for her friend cause they were going shopping to get her an outfit for tonight. It was Beatrice's friend who said that she was going on a date." Ava flopped down beside Lilith. "After I gave her fashion advice."

Lilith reached out to give her knee a half hearted pat. "That's rough buddy." 

"Usually I'd be thrilled that you're quoting avatar at me." Ava shoved the spoon into her mouth. "Today is not one of those days." 

Lilith pulled the spoon from her mouth and waved it in Ava's face. "I'm getting second hand depression just from watching you." 

"That's not a thing!" Ava snatched the spoon back. "And I'm not depressed, I'm just a little bummed out." 

Lilith looked thoughtful as she took her feet off of the table and leaned forward to grab the files on her table. 

"Is it serious?" Lilith asked. "This date?" 

"No idea." Ava sighed. "I left as soon as they mentioned it." 

"Of course you did." Lilith rolled her eyes. 

Ava tried not to feel offence at that little jab. 

So she ran from her problems sometimes, who doesn't? 

"You know, if it isn't anything serious, you could ask her out." 

Ava scoffed. "Yeah, right." 

"What's with the scoff?" 

"Lilith, she's a CEO of her own company, I'm a glorious assistant." 

Lilith stared at her for several moments. 

It was extremely unnerving. 

"I'm going to punch you." Lilith said very seriously. 

"I… Why?" 

"Because you're so much more than that, you're brilliant and- Beatrice is a CEO?" 

Ava shoved more peanut butter in her mouth. "Yes. Good talk by the way." 

"Sorry. How old is she?" 

Ava didn't know, but she wanted to find out. 

"Lilith." 

"Right, yes. This is about you." 

Lilith was typing on her phone. 

"Lilith?" 

"Yes?" 

"You're looking her up on Google, aren't you?" 

Lilith set her phone down on the arm of the sofa. "I was just curious about her net worth." 

"And just for that, no peanut butter for you." Ava curled up on her corner of the sofa. 

"Ava, I mean it, you're brilliant, it doesn't matter if she's a CEO. A paralegal is more than an assistant and you know it. Plus you deserve a hot romantic partner." 

"...Do you want to date me?" 

"No." Lilith grabbed one of the files and threw it at Ava. "Now go over this with me." 

Ava pouted. "But it's Saturday." 

"Do you want me to distract you or not?"

"Fine." Ava sighed. "But only a couple hours." 

Ava set her peanut butter aside and began to flip through the file. 

"She's twenty seven by the way." 

"Huh?" 

"Your hot neighbour, idiot. Beatrice Kline, twenty seven, CEO of OCS Industries." 

"For the record, you're really bad at distracting me." 

But Beatrice was only three years older than her, good to know. 

Hell, Beatrice was younger than Lilith. 

"Sorry. Let's start from the top."

Ava was still pouting into her peanut butter even as Lilith gave her leg a gentle nudge. 

 

--

 

Beatrice stepped out of the elevator, bag in hand as she made her way down the hallway. 

She tried not to pay attention when she saw Lilith step out of Ava's apartment and turn to hug the considerably smaller girl. 

Ava looked so happy, eyes closed as she nuzzled into Lilith's hug. 

"I'll call you tomorrow, try not to eat all of the peanut butter, okay?" 

Ava laughed as she disappeared into the apartment. "I'll try." 

She didn't even notice Beatrice was there. 

Lilith, however, did. 

She glanced at the bag in Beatrice's hand and back up to meet her gaze. 

This woman just radiated intimidating energy. 

No wonder she was an attorney. 

"Beatrice, yes?" Lilith asked. "Ava failed to introduce us the other day." 

Beatrice held a hand out. "I am, and you must be Lilith. Ava speaks fondly of you." 

"She'd better." Lilith said as she shook Beatrice's hand firmly. "Is she causing you any trouble?"

Beatrice laughed. "No, not at all. She's a delight, truly." 

Lilith hummed. "Doesn't sound like my Ava. The Ava I know is a golden retriever on speed." 

My Ava? 

Beatrice sighed under her breath and swapped her bag into her other hand. 

"It sounds as though you two are very close." 

"I'm very protective of her." Lilith replied. 

If she was dating Ava, Beatrice would probably be the same. 

"I wouldn't blame you. It's good that you care so much for her." 

Lilith made a faint humming sound and checked her phone. "I have to admit, I looked you up." 

"Oh… kay?" 

"Ava mentioned you owned your own company, it's impressive what you've managed to achieve in such a short time." 

Beatrice took a small step backwards. 

Why did it feel like Lilith was a step away from running a whole background check on her? 

"Can't say that I've done the same, but Ava did mention that you're an attorney, is it your own firm?" 

"My father owns the company overall, but I run the firm here in New York, these days he mostly oversees everything from London." 

Beatrice came from money, that was hardly a secret in a lot of social circles she'd been a part of, and from the way the other woman carried herself, Beatrice was willing to bet that Lilith had a similar upbringing. 

But unlike her, Lilith seemed to have a decent relationship with her father. 

And from what Ava had already told her, she was pretty close with Lilith's father too. 

Beatrice didn't stand a chance. 

"Impressive." 

"I know." 

"Humble." 

Lilith's smile bordered on dangerous. "There's no room for humble in our lines of work, is there?" 

"I suppose not." Beatrice replied.

"And on that note, I have work to do. It was good to finally meet you." 

"Likewise." 

Beatrice watched Lilith walk down the hallway and rather than wait for the elevator, she turned to push the door open to the stairwell. 

Beatrice lingered in the hallway for a few moments and sighed. 

She didn't get intimidated easily. 

But damn, Lilith got close. 

 

--

 

Ava bounced on her heels as the elevator rose to the tenth floor, the pizza box in her arms was the best thing to happen to her today. 

Until the doors opened and Ava was greeted with the sight of Beatrice. 

A very dressed up Beatrice. 

God was playing a sick and twisted game with her. 

"We have to stop meeting like this." Ava joked. 

Beatrice looked surprised for a moment, taking a brief step back before smiling warmly. 

"Ava, hi." 

She had followed Ava's advice, clearly, if the navy shirt was anything to go by. 

Ava's advice had not included barely buttoning it up so that a hint of lace peaked through, but Ava was not going to complain. 

Maybe be a little bitter at whoever Beatrice was meeting that they got to see this for the next few hours, but Ava wasn't about to voice that. 

"You went with the navy." Ava smiled. 

Beatrice pulled at the sleeve of her jacket, her smile almost turning shy. "Yes, it's not too much?" 

Ava allowed herself to take in Beatrice, the delicate necklace that kept some of the attention on her neck, the smoky eyeshadow and eyeliner, the fact that her hair was down. 

Oh. 

"Your hair is down." 

Beatrice looked amused. "I am known to do that sometimes." 

"You look good." Ava said. "Really good. Your date doesn't stand a chance." 

"I'm not trying to kill her, Ava." Beatrice laughed. 

Ava nearly dropped her pizza. 

Beatrice was into girls, confirmed! 

It would have been a fist pump moment had Beatrice not literally been about to leave for a date. 

"Really? Cause you're gonna knock her dead." 

Beatrice laughed. "Thank you Ava." 

"And hey, if for whatever reason it doesn't go well, my door is open if you need to vent. I'll even save you a couple of slices." 

"That's sweet of you. Thank you." 

Ava forced herself to smile encouragingly and walked around Beatrice. "Break a leg, you'll be fine." 

 

--

 

The date was not going well. 

At first glance, Jocelyn had been nice enough to look at with long blonde hair and intense blue eyes. 

Drinks and food had been ordered, it had looked promising.

Then the conversation started. 

And now Beatrice was locked in the bathroom stall, phone pressed to her ear as she waited for Mary to answer. 

"Beatrice? Shouldn't you be on your -" 

"Date?" Beatrice interrupted. "Yes, I'm here now." 

"And you're calling because…" 

Beatrice tried really hard to keep the annoyance out of her voice. "I thought the idea of a blind date was that both parties went in not knowing who their date was." 

"Ah. About that -" 

"She only said yes because of my name, didn't she?" Beatrice asked. 

"Bea, you're hot shit. The second I drop your name girls are clamouring to get a date." 

Oh, Beatrice had mixed feelings about that. 

"Please don't use my name to… procure dates." Beatrice sighed. "I don't know if they'll only be interested because of my company or my parents." 

"You do know you're hot too, right?" Mary asked. "So which one is Joc-" 

"Very much my parents." Beatrice interrupted. "Congratulations Mary, you managed to find the only Republican lesbian in New York." 

Mary was silent on the phone for a solid fifteen seconds. 

"Fuck." 

"Indeed." Beatrice leaned against the wall of the cubicle. "You know one of the reasons I left London was to get away from all that right?" 

"I'm sorry Bea." 

At least she sounded genuine. 

"The next date will be better and -" 

"Excuse me? Next date?" 

"This is a false starter right? I'm not quitting until I get you laid." 

"...I'm hanging up now." 

"Bea-" 

Beatrice hung up. 

She closed her eyes and let her head thud against the wall. 

Ava's face flashed through her mind. 

God. Why did Mary have to mention sex? 

Though to be fair, the only thing more effective than a long run or a cold shower was finishing dinner with the girl waiting for her. 

Ava's night of pizza and presumably netflix sounded so much more tempting right now. 

 

--

 

Ava was so bored. 

She'd considered calling Lilith, but there was only so much passive aggressive conversation she could take. 

Plus she was pretty sure that Lilith would just sigh and hang up on her. 

This was a pity party for one. 

Ava reached for another slice of pizza as the next episode of Modern Family began to play. 

She wondered how Beatrice's date was going. 

Ava wasn't the kind of person to actively wish bad luck on anyone. 

Beatrice was such a nice woman, she deserved to be happy. 

But a part of Ava was listening for a knock at that door, due Beatrice to take her up on that offer if the date did turn out to be a disaster. 

Ava let out a long sigh. 

"I could just masturbate." Ava said to the empty apartment. 

She considered it for a moment. 

No. 

Pizza, wine and modern family. 

 

--

 

Beatrice stepped out of the elevator, sighing as she checked her messages on her phone. 

She'd gotten a text off of Camila asking how the date had gone and another apology from Mary for setting her up with Jocelyn. 

Beatrice responded to Camila with a thumbs down emoji and left it at that as she walked down the hallway. 

She paused outside her door as she spotted the plate on the mat. 

Two slices of pizza. 

She looked over to Ava's door. 

Ava had said to come over if the date went badly, and nothing really fit the criteria quite like tonight. 

Had she meant it though? 

Beatrice didn't want to overstep if she hadn't, after the night she had had, she didn't want to lose a new friendship too. 

At least Beatrice has gotten away from her date in one piece, and the woman hadn't gotten her number so that was as close to a win as she was going to get. 

Beatrice picked up the plate and smiled at the small gesture from Ava. 

As Beatrice walked into her apartment, she knew she'd have to do something to say thank you.

 

Chapter Text



Beatrice slowed to a jog as she reached the stop light. 

Despite her raised pulse, she still hadn't broken that much of a sweat. 

She wasn't even short of breath. 

At this point, Beatrice mostly used her runs to help clear her head, to tune out the thoughts that clung to her. 

And considering how thoughts of a certain new neighbour had rarely left her, Beatrice knew it wasn't really working. 

She needed to go on longer runs. 

Beatrice sighed as she crossed the street, pausing to look into the coffee shop. 

While her mind was on the topic of Ava… 

She had been wondering what she could do to say thank you for the pizza Ava had left outside of her door the night before. 

It meant Beatrice had to cut her run short, as once she picked up an iced coffee and cinnamon roll to go, she had no choice but to walk the rest of the way back to the apartment. 

As she rode the elevator up to her floor, Beatrice did have the fleeting thought of what she was going to do once she reached Ava's door. 

Did she knock? Would Ava see this as making a move? 

Beatrice didn't particularly want to do anything that would bring about the wrath of Lilith. 

She was one of the few people Beatrice actually found somewhat intimidating. 

Beatrice came to a stop outside Ava's door and hesitated. 

No. 

No knocking. 

It was just a gesture, a thank you. 

Beatrice got down onto her knees and set the coffee and cinnamon roll down in front of Ava's door. 

As soon as she did, Beatrice heard the click of the lock and looked up as the door opened. 

Ava stared down at her with wide, if not slightly confused eyes. 

Oh God. 

She was wearing another tank top. 

"Ava. Hi."

Ava blinked as her gaze dropped for a lingering moment and then even lower as she finally saw her gifts. 

"Hey, what is this?" 

Beatrice picked up the items again and got up her feet to hand them to Ava. "A thank you, for the pizza." 

Ava grinned. "You didn't have to do that." 

"You didn't have to give me pizza." 

"Touché." Ava leaned against the doorframe, her gaze darted rapidly over Beatrice before finally settling on her face again. "How was the date?" 

Beatrice wished she had pockets to shove her hands into, instead, she settled for folding them behind her back. 

"Not well." 

Ava's face fell. "What, why?" 

"She was a Republican." 

Ava snorted, turning her head slightly to try and hide her laugh behind her arm. "Sorry, I shouldn't laugh." 

Beatrice found that she really didn't mind. 

"No, you can laugh, it's fine." 

Ava had a wonderful laugh. 

"So you went out with the only Republican lesbian in New York, huh?" 

"Funnily enough, that's what I said to the friend who set me up." 

Ava's smile was back in full force, even as it looked a little sympathetic. "So it was a bust then?" 

"Yes, if that wasn't already a deal breaker, she… She was a fan of my parents." 

"Your parents?" Ava asked. 

Beatrice tilted her head as she regarded Ava. "Yes, when I met Lilith the other day she said that she had looked me up?" 

Surely Ava had done her digging, it didn't take much research of her family name to find out who they were. 

"Yeah she had." Ava replied. "But all she told me was the name of your company and your age. I didn't ask anything else." 

Oh. 

Beatrice had been curious as to why she had come up in conversation between them both in the first place, even if Lilith struck Beatrice as the type to like to know everything that was going on and to have all of the answers. 

"It's up to you what you tell me." Ava continued with a shrug. "I'm not going to stalk you on the Internet." 

She was so sincere. 

Hot and sincere, what a dangerous combination. 

"You wouldn't find that much about me even if you did, I'm nothing special." Beatrice said. 

"CEO under the age of thirty, so that doesn't track." 

Beatrice ducked her head as she found herself smiling. 

"If it makes you feel better, I have a similar story." Ava said softly. 

Beatrice met Ava's gaze. "Oh?" 

Ava hummed. "I didn't date a Republican, but I did flirt with this one guy in the airport. It was going great until that reveal." 

"That's… Unfortunate." 

Ava sighed heavily and shook her head. "He was in army uniform and it happened in Florida. Lilith said I really should have expected it." 

Beatrice was admittedly confused. How long had Ava and Lilith been dating? When had Ava found the chance to flirt with some random guy?  

Ava shuddered at the memory. "I try not to think about it." 

"Understandable." Beatrice agreed. 

"I'm sorry your date sucked." 

"Thank you. Mary assured me that she wouldn't make that mistake again." 

Ava snorted again. "She's setting you up again?" 

"That was what she said." 

"You don't sound too enthusiastic about that." 

Beatrice hummed and crossed her arms over her chest. "This is unfamiliar territory. It's been a while since I've dated, Ava." 

"And then your first one is with a Republican." 

"Precisely." 

"Don't worry Beatrice." Ava said with a warm smile. "You'll find a nice girl." 

Beatrice was pretty sure she already had. 

"We'll see." 

Ava regarded her for a moment. "I suppose we will." 

They held each other's gaze for a few moments, Beatrice watched as Ava swallowed heavily and broke eye contact. 

"Do you have much planned for this fine Sunday?" Ava asked. 

"Not particularly." Beatrice replied. "I suppose I'll just shower and cook some breakfast. You?" 

"Well I was going to get coffee, so you've saved me a job. Thanks again for that." Ava grinned. "Guess I'll just have to find something to entertain myself." 

Beatrice's thoughts immediately jumped to all of the ways in which Ava could keep herself entertained. 

She pushed the them away the moment she pictured Ava slowly beginning to lift her shirt. 

…Cold shower. 

She needed a cold shower. 

Beatrice cleared her throat and took a step back. "I should go. I'll drop your plate off later if that's okay?" 

"Yeah. Yeah sure thing, if I'm not in or… don't answer for whatever reason just… leave it on the mat?" 

"Of course, I'll see you around, Ava." 

Ava smiled. "You bet." 

 

--

 

Ava was aware that there were probably a dozen things she could do with her day. 

Hell, she still had a bunch of boxes that needed to be unpacked. 

But Ava's brain was scattered at the best of times. 

But even then, now that she had the very clear image of Beatrice on her knees in a tight dark green tank top… There was no chance of Ava getting anything done anytime soon.

It was alarmingly easy to keep that visual of Beatrice on her knees. To imagine Beatrice curling her hands around Ava's thighs and pushing them apart. 

Ava closed her eyes as her thumb clicked her vibrator, cranking it up another level as she drew a deep breath. 

Her legs twitched as she imagined Beatrice's fingers digging into her thighs, holding her steady against the wall. 

Maybe it'd happen against a door, both too impatient to make any further. 

Would Beatrice be soft? Trailing lingering kisses along the inside of her thighs? 

Or would she bite down, all heavy touches, each one made with purpose. 

Ava let out a quiet moan. 

Honestly both were tempting. 

But right now Ava wasn't interested in soft. Right now she wanted Beatrice to move with purpose, to hold her in place and take what she wanted. 

To dig in, to be unrelenting as Ava had no choice but to rut against her mouth, begging for more. 

"Oh… fuck." Ava gasped out, her hips jerked against the vibrator. 

She felt her stomach clench at the thought of Beatrice moaning. 

Her thoughts drifted only briefly to what Beatrice was doing right now, how she was probably still in the shower. Water running down lean muscles. 

It took a considerable effort to pull herself back into the task at hand, at the visuals she imagined of Beatrice fucking her in earnest. 

She could almost hear Beatrice's voice in the back of her mind, encouraging her, telling her what to do. To move faster, to let go. 

Would Beatrice make her beg? 

She imagined Beatrice lifting her gaze, dark eyes meeting her own in a heavy moment of connection. 

Ava's orgasm came out of nowhere as she felt her back arch. 

It hit with enough force that Ava was unable to draw a breath, to form words around her choked whimper. 

She collapsed against the bed with a shaky inhale and swiftly switched off the vibrator before tossing it to the far corner of the bed. 

For a few moments Ava lay there until she felt her heartbeat begin to steady and settle. 

When her fingertips finally began to stop trembling, she reached over for her coffee and took a sip. 

The visual of Beatrice making eye contact with her had to have been what had sent her over the edge. 

Huh. 

That was new. 

In the past her fantasies had never gotten that intense, her imagination never got that creative. Ava was usually just focused on getting to come. 

So yeah. That was definitely new. 

Ava swapped her coffee to her other hand as she reached for her phone, scrolling through until she pulled up Lilith's name and hit dial. 

"Congratulations on being up before noon." Lilith greeted sarcastically. 

"Hey… Lilith?" Ava began. 

"I don't like that tone." Lilith said. "What is it?" 

Ava eyed her vibrator carefully. "Have you ever come from thinking about eye contact?" 

There was a long, drawn out silence from the other line. 

When it stretched on for a few moments too long, Ava cleared her throat awkwardly. 

"Lilith?" Ava waited a few more moments. "You still there?" 

She pulled her phone from her ear and sure enough, the call had been cut. 

Ava frowned and dialled again, rolling her eyes as it rang once and went to voicemail. 

She typed out a quick text and hit send. 

Ava 
Lilith pls 

Lilith
No

Ava
…No you've never come from eye contact or… 

Lilith
No to this entire conversation. Stop thinking about your hot neighbour and unpack your boxes. 

Ava
I just unpacked my box :) 

Lilith
I'm turning my phone off. 

Ava stared down at her phone for a few moments and laughed to herself. 

At least Lilith didn't temporarily block her this time. 

She got up from the bed and stretched as she reached for her sweatpants. 

Lilith did have a point though, there were a lot of boxes to unpack. 

…She should probably clean up a bit first. 

 

--

 

Beatrice was typing away when she saw Camila's name pop up in the corner of her second screen. 

She quickly threw her damp hair into a bun and reached for her headset as she accepted the call. 

"Hey Bea!" Camila's beaming face filled the screen. 

"Hi Camila, what are you doing?"

"Right now? Ruining hackers days by being better than them." Camila replied. "Imagine going to so much effort just to fake being good at fortnite." 

Beatrice laughed under her breath. "Do you even enjoy fortnite?" 

"Nope." 

Beatrice admired Camila's dedication. 

Camila looked at her curiously through the screen. "What are you doing?" 

"I've got code to write." Beatrice replied as she eyed her other screen. 

"It's Sunday." 

"I've got nothing else to do." Beatrice replied. "I'm trying to keep myself distracted." 

Camila raised an eyebrow even if her gaze shifted to her other screen for a few moments. "Because of your date last night? What happened?" 

Beatrice busied herself with typing a few lines of code. "She was a Republican who was a big fan of my parents." 

"Oh yikes." 

Beatrice hummed and rested her chin in the palm of her hand. "Now you see why I had some apprehension." 

"In Mary's defence… What were the odds of that happening?" Camila asked. 

"Slim, granted." Beatrice replied. "But I've asked Mary to please not use my name to procure dates for me." 

Camila moved closer to the screen, intrigued. "You're going on more dates?" 

"Why do you sound so surprised about that?" Beatrice frowned. 

"Because getting you to agree to one date was like pulling teeth?" Camila replied with a raised eyebrow. 

Okay yes, that was fair. 

But now the only driving force Beatrice really had to keep up with these dates was to get thoughts off of the very much taken girl across the hall. 

"I need the distraction." Beatrice said again eventually. 

"And work isn't enough of a distraction?" 

Beatrice looked away and drummed her fingers against her desk. "Not always, no." 

There was a brief pause, and as Beatrice looked back at her monitor she was met with a curious look. 

"What's going on Bea?" Camila asked softly. 

"Nothing. I'm fine." 

Camila didn't look convinced, but one of the things that Beatrice loved about her friend was that Camila knew when to push and when to take a step back and leave Beatrice to her own devices. 

"Will you tell me if things aren't fine?" 

Beatrice smiled. "Of course." 

"Do you want to go over the last few details of our proposal?" 

"No, that can wait until tomorrow, go back to your game." 

"Are you sure?" 

"Yes, I'll be fine." Beatrice replied. "Call me if you need me." 

"Always do." 

When the call ended, Beatrice pulled off her headset and leaned back in her seat. 

She still had so many mixed feelings on this whole situation. 

Beatrice hated not knowing what to do, to not feel in control. 

She sighed and got back to work. 

 


 

"Chanel… I swear I will have a housewarming party." Ava sighed into her phone. 

She leaned back and kicked her feet onto the desk, carefully balancing her phone in the crook of her neck as she shovelled noodles into her mouth. 

"Dear, you said that last week. You only have a small window before it stops being a housewarming party and becomes a regular party." 

"I've been really busy!" Ava protested. "As soon as I've unpacked the rest of my boxes I promise." 

"So this week?" 

"I can't, Lilith is taking me to meet a client on Wednesday so she has me studying for that while I'm working on another case." 

"Is our dear Lilith working you too hard?" Chanel asked. "Do I need to have words?" 

Lilith's ears must have been burning, because she chose that moment to walk into the office. She looked surprised as her gaze met Ava's and tilted her head questioningly. 

Ava grinned. "No, Lilith isn't overworking me. She says hi, by the way." 

Lilith rolled her eyes as Chanel laughed down the phone. 

"I'm sure she does. Call soon, yes?" 

"You betcha." Ava hung up and threw her phone onto her desk. "Hey Lilith." 

"What are you doing in here?" Lilith asked. 

Ava held up her cup of noodles. "Eating lunch?" 

"In my office?" 

"The reception in the breakout room is terrible." 

"How though? I locked it?" 

"As if I didn't make a copy of it weeks ago." Ava scoffed. 

Lilith sighed as she set her own lunch down on the desk. "Can I at least have my seat back?" 

"Oh yeah. Sure." 

Ava got to her feet and walked around the desk to drop in one of the chairs opposite, Lilith took a seat and pulled the lid off of her lunch. 

She would never understand why Lilith would willingly eat a salad as a meal, but she didn't dare mention it at the risk of being subjected to another rant about the health benefits of a balanced diet. 

"You good?" Ava asked. 

"Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that you're branching out and working on cases with other lawyers." 

"Oh, I'm sensing an incoming compliment." 

Lilith glared. "Can I finish?" 

"Right, sorry." Ava nodded as she shoved more noodles into her mouth. "Carry on." 

"I got too used to you being on my cases, Crimson is a nightmare." Lilith stabbed at a tomato and hummed thoughtfully. "I should just fire her." 

Ava wouldn't have any complaints about that, Crimson scared the shit out of her. 

Plus, she was mean. 

"Is this why you have me looking over the Anderson case?" Ava asked. 

"It could be a very big opportunity, I don't trust anybody else on this." Lilith replied. "I want this client." 

"I know, I know. I've got this. I've picked out a cute outfit and everything." 

Lilith rolled her eyes even as she let out a faint laugh. "Of course you have." 

"What are we eating?" 

"Japanese place, I'll come pick you up." 

"Oh fuck yes." Ava grinned. "I'm gonna eat so much sushi." 

"Please try and show some restraint." Lilith sighed. 

"We both know that I can't make that promise." 

"...Yes I'm aware." 

Ava grinned and got back to her feet as she shoved the last few noodles into her mouth. "Don't stress Lilith, it'll be fine." 

"Where are you going?" Lilith asked. 

"Back to work. We're in court tomorrow and if we play our cards right then we're hoping to be out by lunch." Ava explained. "You're good, but there's a reason we call her Mother Superion." 

Lilith rolled her eyes and reached for her phone. "Such a strange nickname." 

"And yet she never seems to mind us calling her that." 

 

--

 

"What do you think?" Camila asked as she pulled off her headset. 

Beatrice did the same as soon as she made sure that the video call had ended before she turned her seat to face Camila. 

"They certainly seem interested, but I do have my reservations." 

Camila nodded. "I do get the impression that it wouldn't be an equal partnership." 

"To accept that would feel like a disservice to both us and everything we've worked to build." Beatrice said. 

"Well…" Camila paused for a moment before she smiled brightly. "We've still got that meeting this afternoon and that dinner with Jillian." 

Jillian Salvius had always been Beatrice's first choice when they had began to discuss options for potential partnerships. 

She'd been following her career since university, so much so that she had written a handful of papers on the woman. 

Jillian was the closest Beatrice had to a role model. 

Beatrice really didn't want to miss out on this opportunity. 

"You're right." Beatrice agreed. "If it comes to it, we'll rethink our plan." 

"That's the Bea I know." Camila beamed. "Wanna go grab some lunch?" 

Beatrice locked her computer. "Definitely." 

 


 

"Why are you being grumpy?" Lilith asked. 

Ava didn't look up from her laptop. "I'm not being grumpy." 

Yes she was. 

It was the whole reason why she had hidden herself away in Lilith's office again. 

She also knew that Lilith was raising an eyebrow at her right now. 

"You called Jason, and I am quoting you directly on this, a 'fucking traitor' for eating the last donut." Lilith said. "You then went on to say that he was everything that is wrong in the world." 

Ava winced and reluctantly met Lilith's watchful gaze. "You heard that?" 

"You're lucky that I'm the only one who did." Lilith pointed out. "What's going on?" 

"You don't want to know." 

"Ava. Tell me." Lilith said softly. 

"You'll regret it." 

The softness was swiftly replaced with frustration. "Tell me." 

Well… She asked for it. 

Ava closed her laptop. "My vibrator broke this morning and I didn't have enough time to use my ha-" 

"Nope!" Lilith held a hand out. "Stop immediately." 

"I told you that you wouldn't want to know." Ava pointed out helpfully. 

"Yes." Lilith sighed. "That was on me." 

Ava sighed too and buried her face into her hands. 

It had been an extremely long day. 

Which was a feat considering it was only eleven. 

"Jesus Christ Ava." Lilith laughed.

She actually laughed. Now that Lilith knew Ava was suffering she was actually enjoying this. 

Ava wanted to slap her beautiful face. 

"Just take the rest of the day, Ava." 

Wait. 

"What?" 

Lilith waved her hand towards the door. "Go home, sort yourself out. I need you to… not be like this at dinner tonight." 

Ava continued to stare as she processed Lilith's words. 

"So let me just get this straight. You're sending me home to… have an orgasm." 

Lilith turned her attention back to her own laptop. "Please don't make me think about this in more detail than needed. I'm already regretting this entire conversation." 

Ava knew not to push any more. Sometimes it was better to just nod and say thank you. 

She got to her feet and grabbed her laptop. "Thank you Lilith. I'll see you tonight." 

"Yes sure, whatever." 

Ava tucked her laptop under her arm and darted out of Lilith's office to grab her stuff from her desk. 

She had one very important stop to make on the way home. 

 

--

 

"You sure you're okay for me to leave?" Beatrice asked. 

Camila snorted as she continued to type. "Yeah Bea, I'm good. As long I can take the morning off tomorrow?" 

It was more than a fair trade. 

"Of course." 

"Then go, I'll be fine and I'll see you tonight." 

Beatrice grabbed her jacket from the back of her chair and pulled it on. "Yes, have you decided what you're wearing yet?" 

"Nope. Expect me to send plenty of pictures. You?" 

"Shirt and pants I guess." Beatrice replied. "Black, if I had to choose right now." 

"I can work with that. I'll send you pictures when I put some options together." 

Beatrice smiled. "I look forward to it. I'll see you tonight." 

"Bye Bea." Camila called after her. 

Beatrice took the stairs down and left the building, she winced up at the sun and pulled out her aviators and put them on. 

Even though there was definitely a slight chill in the air, it was still nice enough that Beatrice quickly decided against getting an uber in favour of walking home. 

It was a good few blocks away, but now that her afternoon was free, Beatrice figured she may as well enjoy the time she had. 

She had made it two blocks before her phone rang again, as Beatrice checked it she half expected to see Camila's name light up her screen and found herself hesitating when it was Mary's name she was greeted with instead. 

With a brief sigh, Beatrice dragged her thumb across the screen and lifted it to her ear. 

"Hello Mary." 

"I genuinely didn't know if you were going to actually answer me." Mary greeted. 

"I did have to think about it." Beatrice replied. 

"Yeah that's fair." Mary laughed. "Look, I fucked up with Jocelyn but I'm gonna make it up to you." 

Beatrice paused for a moment. "How so?" 

"Got you another date, didn't use your name. Her name is Jacqueline." 

Beatrice had wondered how long it would take before Mary found her another date. 

Four days, apparently. 

She still didn't really want to do this but… Beatrice really needed to be distracted. 

"Fine." Beatrice sighed. "Where and when?" 

"Jesus Bea, give me some enthusiasm here will you?" 

Beatrice came to a stop at the crosswalk. "This is genuinely the best I can do." 

Mary was quiet for a few moments before she spoke up again. "Does Saturday work for you?" 

"I suppose." 

"I'll let Jacqueline know and I'll text you a time and place." 

Beatrice really did try to keep the sarcasm out of her voice. "I can hardly wait." 

It wasn't that convincing. 

Mary chose not to comment on it, thankfully. 

"Cool. Catch you later Bea." 

"Goodbye, Mary." 

Beatrice slipped her phone back into her pocket and sighed again. 

She was pretty sure that the idea of having a date shouldn't make her feel so down. 

Yet here she was. 

And even though she was going out to dinner tonight, Beatrice decided she was going to stop off at the coffee shop for lunch. 

 

--

 

Ava walked out of the store feeling better already. 

Now all she had to do was haul ass the two blocks home, plug it in for thirty minutes and she'd be good to go.

Ava was going to get her fucking orgasm and everything was going to be fine. 

She turned to begin the walk home, vaguely discreet black bag in hand… 

…And almost walked directly into Beatrice. 

Beatrice with her leather jacket, black turtleneck and aviator combo. 

Ava wondered if she was being rewarded or tortured. 

Pro? Beatrice looked hot. Even the way she reached up to take her glasses off was hot. 

How was she making that look hot? 

Con? Ava was standing in front of a sex shop that was not entirely subtle in its branding with a bag that bore the stores logo across the centre. 

"Ava." Beatrice's gaze flickered over Ava's body. "Hi, are you working?" 

"Nah, I finished early. You?" 

Beatrice's gaze flickered back up to Ava's face and smiled softly. "Likewise. I only ask because I've never seen you in office wear before." 

Ava glanced down at her outfit. At a push she was dressed more business casual purely because she had been running late and grabbed the first things she could find. 

It was only black skinny jeans and a white button down. She hadn't even had time to grab a jacket, thankfully it hadn't been too cold throughout the day that she had needed it. 

"Ah this is nothing." Ava dismissed. "You should see me when I'm actually in court, I try to rock the power suits." 

"Try?" Beatrice asked, the corners of her lips pulled in amusement. 

"Yeah well." Ava shrugged. "I assist Lilith on most of her cases so I look like boss baby in comparison." 

Beatrice laughed. "I'm sure that's not the case." 

"File a lawsuit, hire Lilith and you'll find out." 

"I feel as though there is probably an easier way to prove your point, even though I'm fairly confident you're wrong in your own assessment." Beatrice said as she drifted closer to Ava. She slipped her hands onto her pockets and smiled down at Ava. "But I will keep you in mind should I ever need a lawyer." 

Oh god there wasn't even much between them in height difference, but as Beatrice got closer into Ava's space, Ava found herself lifting her head to meet Beatrice's gaze. 

"Not me specifically though, right?" Ava asked. "I'm not actually a lawyer. But hey, based on your outfit from when you went out with that Republican you'd pull off a power suit no problem." 

"I am known to wear them from time to time." Beatrice hummed and smiled down at Ava, and before Ava could dwell on that mental image, she watched Beatrice's gaze drop to the bag in her hand. "Shopping?" 

" I… " Ava looked over her shoulder at the store and back at Beatrice as she cleared her throat. "Gotta support local businesses right?" 

Beatrice looked up at the store and a moment of recognition passed over her face. 

Oh no. 

"They have a really good cleaning spray. It's their own brand, it's highly recommended." 

Oh… no.

Beatrice casually dropping sex toy care advice? 

What the fuck. 

Oh God was she a fucking regular? 

Did she have a loyalty card or some shit? 

…What did Beatrice own? 

Holy shit Ava, focus. 

"Y-yeah, um… they uh threw some in with my…" 

Don't say rabbit. 

For the love of god don't say rabbit. 

"Toy." Ava finished.

Were her cheeks burning? They felt like they were burning. 

Were Beatrice's eyes getting darker or was it just the sun disappearing behind the clouds? 

Ava cleared her throat and reached up to rub the back of her neck. "So… what do you have planned?" 

Beatrice was still so close to her, her gaze more intense than Ava had seen it so far. 

"Stopping by wavelengths. If I go home I'll just end up working again." Beatrice replied. "You?" 

Oh… 

Ava really wished she hadn't asked her that. 

"Just um… home." 

She really couldn't think of an answer that wasn't just fully admitting to Beatrice that she was going to be fucking herself enthusiastically. 

Much more enthusiastically, now that Ava had the visual of a dark eyed Beatrice so close that they were almost touching and the added knowledge of Beatrice definitely owning sex toys. 

Beatrice took a deep breath and smiled. "I won't keep you waiting then. Go home, enjoy your evening." 

Holy shit did Ava intend to. 

 

--

 

Beatrice fixed her necklace in place as she glanced down at her phone. 

Her uber was on the way, though judging from the distance they were from her building, they weren't going to be there anytime soon. 

She gave herself a quick once over in the mirror. Beatrice knew that she had told Camila her plan of wearing pants and a shirt, but Ava had inadvertently pushed her to her final addition. 

The blazer brought it all together quite nicely if she were being honest. 

But God, if every interaction with Ava wasn't slowly killing her. 

If she wasn't beautiful enough whenever Beatrice had bumped into her in the hallway or at wavelengths in her sweats, tank tops or oversized hoodies, then seeing Ava in a button down and tight jeans was a whole other experience.

Beatrice was actively having to push aside the thoughts of what was in the bag Ava had held though. 

Regardless of how much Beatrice enjoyed the memory of being so close in Ava's space, watching the girl lift her gaze to stare up at her... 

She'd already taken one cold shower today, and with her meeting with Jillian rapidly approaching, Beatrice really couldn't afford to let herself get sidetracked, no matter how tempting. 

There was no room for that now. 

Beatrice sighed as she checked her phone and made her way to the door, picking up her keys and wallet as she did so. 

She left the apartment and turned to pull the door closed, listening for the lock to click into place. 

Behind her, Beatrice heard the door open and the sound of heels against the floor. 

The soft inhale of breath was barely audible to Beatrice's ears, so much so that she couldn't even be certain that it had happened. 

Beatrice turned slowly and felt her own breath catch in her throat. 

Ava was staring back at her, the door behind her drifted closed. 

She was wearing a dark red dress that went to the floor, a long slit went along Ava's left thigh giving Beatrice the briefest hint of skin. 

Beatrice knew she was staring, couldn't figure out how to speak as she took in the low cut of Ava's dress. 

The matching lipstick, dark eyes only made all the more alluring by the makeup Ava had used. 

The way Ava had pinned her hair up exposing all of that neck. 

Ava was temptation, personified. 

And Beatrice really needed to pull herself together. 

"Holy shit Beatrice." Ava breathed, she gave Beatrice a careful once over. "You look dressed to kill." 

Beatrice's feet were carrying her closer before she could stop herself, only a few steps, but it was enough that it was reminiscent of earlier that afternoon. 

But it felt so much more intense this time, and with the heels, Ava was level with her now. 

"I could say the same to you." Beatrice replied. 

Her fingers twitched as she fought down the impulse to bring it up to Ava's chin. To take the time to really look and admire. 

"Are you going on a date?" Ava asked. 

If she were, she'd cancel it. 

"Nothing of the sort." Beatrice replied quietly. "Me and Camila are meeting a potential business partner. You?" 

Ava smiled and moved closer as she regarded Beatrice.

God. She'd look so good on Beatrice's arm. 

"Meeting a potential client with Lilith." 

Beatrice forced herself not to take a step closer. 

It didn't matter how much she was attracted to Ava, how good they might look together. She wasn't available and Beatrice couldn't let herself forget that. 

No matter how much she wanted for that to not be the case. 

"Always working, aren't we?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava laughed. "I guess. I only come to these things because Lilith says that I'm annoyingly charming so it balances her out well. Apparently she can come across as kind of intimidating."

Beatrice immediately thought of her interrogation with Lilith. 

"You don't say." 

Ava snorted and glanced down at her phone. "Speaking of… I should probably head down. She's waiting." 

Beatrice's own uber would probably be arriving soon too, so she turned to walk with Ava down the hall and pressed the button for the elevator. 

"Are you nervous?" Ava asked. 

"More apprehensive than anything." Beatrice admitted. "Of all of the people to partner with for this project, this is who I want." 

Ava looked intrigued as they stepped into the elevator together. "That big?" 

"More of a… idol, I suppose." Beatrice shrugged. She followed Ava inside and hit the button for the ground floor. "I want this partnership more than I can describe." 

As they descended through the floors, Ava leaned against the wall of the elevator to watch Beatrice. 

"You'll be fine, Beatrice." Ava said softly. "You've got this." 

Her conviction was endearing, and it brought a smile to Beatrice's lips. 

"You can't know that." Beatrice couldn't help but point out. 

"Maybe not." Ava agreed. The doors to the elevator opened and Beatrice stepped out ahead to put some more space between them. "But I believe in you, so I'll cheer you on." 

Beatrice's curiosity threatened to get the best of her, to ask how Ava could have so much faith in her, a relative stranger.

How Beatrice actually felt more settled at Ava's words. 

"Thank you Ava. That means a lot." 

She glanced over and was met with a bright smile. 

Beatrice found herself meeting that smile with equal vigour and pulled the door open, standing aside to hold it open so that Ava could pass through. 

There was a town car waiting on the sidewalk and even though the windows were tinted, Beatrice knew that Lilith was waiting inside. 

Beatrice hadn't bothered to look up Lilith's net worth, but judging from the sleek car, it was safe to assume she had money to spare. 

"Well…" Ava hesitated and turned to face Beatrice. "Looks like my ride is here." 

"It does." Beatrice agreed. 

"I'm not overdressed am I?" Ava asked. 

"Not at all. You look beautiful." 

Ava lit up, and God, the visual of her leaning in to kiss Ava came so effortlessly it made her ache. 

"I know you didn't ask, but you do too." Ava replied. 

She reached up to brush her fingers along the collar of Beatrice's blazer, smoothing it out. 

If her fingertips grazed Beatrice's neck, neither of them drew attention to it. 

Even if Beatrice felt a small shiver run along her spine. 

"Good luck with your dinner, Beatrice. You'll let me know how it goes?" 

"I will." Beatrice replied, her voice had gotten much quieter than she had intended. 

With a parting smile, Ava drew back and walked over to the car, pulling the door open and sliding inside. 

Beatrice stood on the sidewalk as she watched the car pull away and drive away. 

She dropped her head and sighed. 

She was being ridiculous. 

 

--

 

Ava watched as Lilith craned her head to look through the rear window. 

"So what was that?" Lilith asked in a tone that told Ava she had seen everything. 

"That was my unfairly hot neighbour being extra hot and chivalrous in a fucking suit." Ava replied as she busied herself with fastening her seat belt. "She has a business dinner tonight." 

"And the collar thing?" 

"...It was creased." 

It really hadn't been. 

"Whatever you say." Lilith scoffed. "You seem less… fidgety than this morning." 

"Yeah I went shopping on the way home. All sorted." Ava replied. 

Honestly the toy had been the best investment she could have made. 

It made every other one she had ever owned look obsolete in comparison. 

And it definitely had nothing to do with the image of Beatrice holding her down and using various toys on her. 

But fuck, Beatrice in a suit was going to stick with her now. 

"I bumped into Beatrice when I left the store though." 

Lilith raised an eyebrow. "Okay?" 

"She recommended a toy cleaner. Beatrice owns sex toys, Lilith." 

Lilith's confusion turned to an exasperated sigh. "Good for her. Can we focus?" 

"You try focusing when the super hot girl talks to you about sex toy things." 

Lilith groaned. "Get it out of your system now, Ava." 

"She's just so hot and sometimes I feel like she's flirting too but then she'll just… shut down? Or am I being dumb and she's just being nice, why is it so hard to tell if girls are flirting?" 

"If your idea of flirting extends to fixing a not even creased collar then you really need to up your game." Lilith replied. 

"But -" 

"Focus, Ava. I need you focused now." 

Ava snapped her mouth shut and resisted the urge to sigh as she turned to look out of the window. 

Lilith was right, she knew that. But Ava couldn't push those thoughts away. 

Beatrice had called her beautiful. 

Beautiful. 

 

--

 

"Thank you for agreeing to meet here." Jillian greeted warmly as she took her seat across from Beatrice and Camila. 

"Of course." Beatrice replied. "Have you been here before?"

"I haven't. Though I'm thankful for the excuse to get to try it." 

Beatrice was inclined to agree, in the few minutes they had before Jillian arrived she had taken a moment to study the menu. 

It would be difficult to narrow down her options and make a choice. 

"Looks like we're all going to be having a new experience tonight then." Camila beamed. 

Jillian's smile was warm as she waved down a waiter. "Indeed. What do you say we order some drinks and appetisers and you can run through your proposal for me?" 

Beatrice nodded as she took a deep breath. 

They could do this. 

She could do this. 

 

--

 

The food was fucking amazing.

Lilith had given her a warning look when she had rattled off her order but hadn't said anything when the waiter had brought out the trays of sushi. 

If she had been about to tell Ava off for going overboard, it was quickly dampened by their potential clients' obvious amusement. 

As far as cases went, it wasn't exactly thrilling. Wrongful termination only made slightly more interesting by the revelation that the company had stolen his idea and was now claiming it as their own. 

They had the proof that the idea was stolen, so as far as Ava and Lilith were concerned, it was an easy case. 

Ava knew why it was important to Lilith though, if they won, the settlement would allow their client to start his own business. 

And to have him on their books would only bring more good to Lilith's firm. 

So Ava didn't feel too bad about zoning out while Lilith and the guy talked, letting them talk business as she worked her way through the piles of sushi and let her thoughts drift to Beatrice. 

It had felt so comfortable as they had left the building together, the way Beatrice had held the door open for her and stuck close to her until Ava had gotten into the car. 

Even their outfits had been relatively coordinated with the black and red and God, if they were together they would have looked like a power couple. 

Ava just had to figure out if Beatrice was actually into her or not. 

Now that was the real struggle. 

She was in the process of throwing a tuna sashimi into her mouth when she became aware of potential client speaking up. 

"Your rates are considerably higher than other lawyers I've spoken to." He said, pausing to sip on his beer as he regarded Lilith seriously. "What makes you justify that?" 

Ava swallowed the tuna sashimi and spoke up before Lilith had a chance to reply. 

"Well yeah, cause you're getting what you pay for." Ava shrugged. "I've gone through your case with a fine tooth comb and honestly? We're confident that we have a strong case for you." 

She could see Lilith watching her carefully, ready to jump in and interrupt her should she go too far. 

"Our rates are what they are because we're confident in our abilities to get the best possible outcome. Lilith is the best of the best and I'm not just saying that because I work for her. I can say with confidence that if I ever needed a lawyer, I'd want her to represent me."

Ava reached for her sake and took a sip, it was peach flavoured and probably the best sake she had ever tried. 

She couldn't tell if Lilith was impressed with her, or about to stab her for her little speech. 

"As you can see…" Lilith began, turning her attention to the man. "We're extremely passionate about what we do and Ava is right, we want the best possible outcome, and I'd be more than happy to go over my rates with you and explain why they are the way they are." 

And Ava was gone again, money and math? Boring. 

She quietly excused herself to go to the bathroom.  

 

--

 

"As you know, I wouldn't be having this dinner with you both if I weren't interested." 

Beatrice picked at her donburi half heartedly as Jillian spoke, she settled for casting a quick glance at Camila's direction. 

Jillian Salvius was hard to read, she seemed impressed and her words were promising, but Beatrice didn't dare let herself get too optimistic. 

Jillian rested her elbows on the table and folded her hands together so that she could rest her chin on top of them as she looked at each of them carefully. 

"How many other parties are interested?" Jillian asked. 

"A couple." Camila replied. 

"Who are they?" 

"I'm not sure if it's entirely diplomatic to share that information." Beatrice said. 

Jillian smiled. "You're both smart women, and this project is a wonderful opportunity to be part of, may I give you some advice?" 

Beatrice glanced at Camila, and after receiving a small nod, turned back to Jillian. "Of course." 

"Trust no one. In this industry there is no shortage of people who would give you the short hand in a deal. You'd see very little in terms of profit from your own idea if you partnered with somebody like… Say Duretti." 

Beatrice forced herself not to look at Camila and could only hope that he friends poker face was as good as hers. 

There was no way Jillian could have known they'd met with him. 

"We have no intention of settling for less than we know we're worth." Beatrice spoke up eventually. 

"That's what I like to hear." Jillian said. "You two have potential." 

Before Beatrice could jump on that, she watched Jillian's gaze shift over her shoulder and move as though tracking somebodies moments as recognition settled in her eyes.

Jillian lowered her hands and straightened up. "Ava? Ava Silva?" 

Beatrice felt her entire body tense. 

Ava was not exactly a common name, she'd only ever met one in her lifetime. What were the odds that this could be her Ava? 

High, apparently, as Ava walked around to stand at the edge of the table between herself and Jillian, her expression a mixture of joy and confusion as she looked from Jillian to Beatrice and Camila. 

Ava Silva. 

It was the first time Beatrice had heard Ava's last name. 

And just like the rest of the girl, it was beautiful. 

"Jillian! Long time no see" Ava beamed. Her gaze softened as she looked over to Beatrice. "Hey. Fancy seeing you here." 

Despite herself, Beatrice could feel her cheeks heating up as she smiled back. "Hi." 

She could feel Camila's curious gaze on her, but Beatrice was more concerned by the look of intrigue Jillian was flashing at them. 

"You two know each other?" Jillian asked. 

"We're neighbours." Beatrice replied. "How do you two…" 

"Ava's firm represented me on a case a couple of years ago." Jillian explained as she turned her focus back to Ava. "Though you were still in University then. I assume you're still working with Lilith, yes?" 

Ava grinned. "Of course. She runs the firm here in New York now!" 

"As she deserves." 

"How's Michael?" Ava asked. 

Jillian's smile grew fond. "Extremely well. He started high school last fall. Top of the class." 

"I never would have expected less, that kid is going to go places." Ava replied equally as fond. 

Beatrice could only watch on with intrigue, the pair were familiar and comfortable with each other. And the way that Jillian's entire demeanour had changed as soon as Ava had approached them only interested Beatrice more. 

Ava just seemed to have this effect on people. 

It was admirable. 

It was intriguing. 

"What brings you here?" Jillian asked. "Please tell me you have a date." 

Ava's snort was equally graceless and glorious. "Nah, client. I gotta be the good cop to balance Lilith out." 

She looked over to Beatrice and Camila and Beatrice could see the dots connect in Ava's mind. 

"Oh shit, Jillian is your potential partner?" 

Beatrice couldn't help but smile. "Yes Ava." 

Ava's expression grew serious as she turned to Jillian. 

"You better take care of them, Beatrice is good people." She glanced past Beatrice for a moment. "Also Camila. They're both good people." 

Beatrice didn't know what to make of Ava's emphatic declaration. 

It was touching in its own way, and for as much of a serious person Jillian seemed to be, it was surprising to see genuine amusement in her eyes as she laughed. 

"You're adorable." Jillian reached out to pat Ava's arm softly. 

Ava pouted. 

God. She really was adorable. 

Ava looked off into the distance, a brief look of panic flashed over her features. "Oh shit, Lilith is glaring at me. I'd better get back to work." 

"We'll catch up for coffee soon, yes?" Jillian asked. 

"Of course!" Ava smiled. "Beatrice, I'll see you later?" 

Beatrice managed to nod. 

"Bye Camila!" Ava called as she drifted away. 

"Bye Ava." Camila replied, only sounding a little confused by the whole situation. 

Beatrice watched Ava go, followed her across the restaurant to the table tucked away in the corner where Lilith sat in a dark red blouse with a man she assumed was their potential client. 

She couldn't believe that she hadn't noticed Ava had been there the entire time. 

When Beatrice looked back to the woman opposite, she was surprised to see Jillian watching her with interest. 

"Ava was the deciding factor in me agreeing to work with Lilith." Jillian explained as she held Beatrice's gaze carefully. "I've always found her to be a good judge of character." 

Beatrice didn't know what to make of the way she was being looked at as Jillian talked about Ava, there was too much there, it brought up too many questions. 

"Forgive me for asking…" Beatrice began. "But I've followed your career for years, I wasn't even aware of a court case." 

Jillian smiled. "Because they're extremely good at what they do. I'm sure Ava will be happy to tell you if you ask, just tell her you have my blessing." 

It felt significant. It made Beatrice feel hopeful that this was going in her favour. 

Had Ava just helped them get this contract? 

 

--

 

"That went well." Ava said as they stepped into the night, the cool air sent an unwilling shiver down her spine. "That went well, right?" 

Lilith was silent beside her for a few moments as she scrolled through her phone. "I believe so. We'll see what happens in the coming days." 

It wasn't an immediate result, but Ava knew sometimes she had to be patient with these things, no matter how much it annoyed her. 

"You did good." Lilith continued. "Even if you abandoned me to have girl talk with Jillian Salvius." 

"I haven't seen her in over a year, sue me for being nice." 

"Would if I could." Lilith mumbled around a frown. "My driver is caught up in traffic." 

Great. 

Ava hugged her arms to her chest as best she could without jostling the doggy bag in her hand, it didn't take Lilith long to notice.

"Cold?" 

"Yeah." 

"Why didn't you bring a jacket?" 

"Because this dress is too good to hide under a bunch of layers." Ava pouted. 

Lilith rolled her eyes. "You're ridiculous." 

"So you keep telling me." 

Lilith hummed. "Jillian is working with your girlfriend then?" 

"She isn't my -" Ava cut herself off and shook her head. "Not yet, they want to though." 

"That could be very lucrative for their business." 

Well duh? Beatrice and Camila were hardly going to partner with another company if it put them at a disadvantage. 

She felt her muscles tense up as she tried to suppress another shiver. 

Lilith watched her carefully. "You may as well go back inside. He isn't going to be here for a while." 

Call it stubbornness, but Ava had no intention of going back, even if it was just to prove that she could handle the cold. 

…Which okay, was pretty much a textbook example of stubbornness. 

Before she could think of a smart ass response, Ava heard footsteps approach and glanced to her left to see Beatrice come to a stop on the sidewalk beside her, looking down at her own phone before lifting her gaze and smiling softly at Ava. 

"Waiting for your car too?" Beatrice asked. 

"He's stuck in traffic. You?" 

Beatrice held her phone up to Ava, she leaned in closer and watched the little car icon moving across the map. 

"See Lil? You pay all that money for your own driver when an uber can do it better." Ava teased. 

She glanced over her shoulder just to see Lilith's glare. Ava laughed and turned her focus back to Beatrice. 

"Did Jillian say yes?" Ava asked. 

"She'll give us an answer next week." Beatrice replied, and after a moment of consideration added, "I'm… Actually optimistic though." 

Ava grinned. "Good!" 

Beatrice's smile was small. "What about your client?" 

Ava glanced back to Lilith, who slipped her phone into her pocket to join the conversation properly. "Nothing set in stone yet, but I'm expecting him to come crawling back by Friday when he realises nobody will do it better than us." 

"From what I hear, you're extremely good at your job." 

"I'm the best." Lilith corrected. "Trying to partner with Jillian? Are you ready to play with the big girls?" 

Ava looked between the two women, there was a formality and sharpness to each of their tones that she couldn't place. 

It was confusing. 

But oh damn if it wasn't hot too. 

Beatrice tilted her head as she regarded Lilith. "Who says I don't already play with the big girls?" 

Holy shit it was hot. 

Lilith smiled in the way that she always did when she's either met her match or is about to eviscerate someone in court. 

Beatrice's expression was carefully neutral, though her eyes sparkled. 

"You don't really strike me as the type to take what you want." Lilith said. 

Wait. 

What? 

Ava knew her eyes were wide as she whipped her head around to stare at Lilith. 

If Ava didn't know her best friend, she would have thought Lilith was flirting. 

Thank God she wasn't. 

Ava wouldn't survive that. 

But holy fuck what was she doing? 

Whatever Beatrice had been about to say in response died on her lips as Ava shivered again, a fully bodied shiver that she couldn't have suppressed even if she had felt it coming. 

That sparkle in Beatrice's eye was gone in an instant, replaced with concern as she took half a step closer to Ava. 

"Are you okay?" Beatrice asked softly. 

"Yeah, yeah I'm good." 

"She's a dumbass because she didn't bring a jacket." Lilith clarified as she slipped her hands into the pockets of her own jacket. 

Beatrice glanced briefly at Lilith, her lips pursed, before looking back at Ava. 

"Actually, are you going home, Kline?" 

There was a fleeting frown as Lilith referred to Beatrice by her last name, though she nodded all the same. "I am." 

"Will you take her with you?" Lilith asked. "If she gets sick, she'll never let me forget it."  

There was something in Beatrice's eyes that Ava couldn't place, she didn't know the other woman well enough to know all of her moods, all of her reactions. 

But if Ava had to guess? She'd say Beatrice was annoyed. 

"I- Beatrice, you don't have to do that, I'll w-" 

"Of course I'll take her home." Beatrice replied, and as she looked at Ava once more added in a much softer tone, "It's no problem. Honestly." 

"Beatrice…" Ava began. 

"Wonderful." Lilith interrupted, breaking the moment. "Make sure to let me know when you're home. Kline, if your uber murders you both I'll make you suffer for it." 

"Noted." 

"I'm going to wait inside." Lilith declared. "Goodnight." 

"Bye Lil." Ava called after her. 

Beatrice remained silent as she looked down at her phone. 

"He should be here in the next ten minutes." 

"Cool." Ava nodded. "Cool, cool, cool." 

Beatrice watched her for a few moments, the concern still clear in her eyes as she slipped her phone into her pants pocket. 

"I know." Ava dismissed before Beatrice had a chance to speak. "I'm an idiot, I should have worn a jacket." 

"I wasn't going to say that." Beatrice replied. 

"But you were thinking it?" 

"I truly wasn't." 

Ava took a chance, even if it was only small. 

"What are you thinking?" Ava asked. 

Instead of answering right away, Beatrice reached up to the buttons of her blazer and with one hand popped them open. 

Yet another simple gesture made attractive by Beatrice Kline. 

She slid the blazer off and moved closer to Ava's side and in one quick flourish, settled it over Ava's shoulders. 

"I think that you're cold, and that it is easily fixed." Beatrice said softly. 

Ava reached up to brush her fingers across the soft material of Beatrice's jacket. 

"Won't you be cold?" 

"No." Beatrice looked out to the street. "Is… Lilith not the type to give you her jacket?" 

Ava snorted. "Absolutely not. She looks out for me sure, but she's more likely to just call me an idiot and let me suffer."

Beatrice didn't seem to like that answer much. "You're not an idiot." 

"I do have a track record of not dressing for the right weather." Ava said. "God Beatrice, this blazer feels expensive." 

The corners of Beatrice's lips curled up. "It is expensive. Do you feel warmer?" 

She angled her head to look at Ava, and Ava could feel warmth radiate through her chest. 

"Yeah." 

"Good." Beatrice hesitated for a moment. "Dressing for correct weather or not, I stand by my statement from this evening. You look beautiful tonight." 

Ava grinned. "Even if I'm hidden underneath your jacket?" 

"Yes." Beatrice replied without hesitating. 

Oh. 

Oh shit. 

Ava wondered how she looked under Beatrice's jacket, it took a lot of self restraint not to snuggle under it, to not turn her head to press her nose into the material to breathe in Beatrice's scent. 

A silver car pulled up in front of them, and after a quick glance at her phone, Beatrice stepped forward and pulled open the door.

"After you." 

Ava smiled and got into the car, she was just about to slide across the seats when Beatrice closed the door and walked around the back of the car to get in the other side.

Ava set her belongings on her lap and fastened her seat belt as Beatrice settled in place beside her. 

"What is that?" Beatrice asked, gesturing to the doggy bag. 

"Mixed combo." Ava pulled the box out and popped it open. "Want one?" 

She was delighted when Beatrice laughed and actually reached over to pick a piece from the box. 

"Thank you." Beatrice said. "Do you often take food home?" 

"All the time if I can help it." Ava shoved a piece of sushi into her mouth and wrapped the box back up before their uber driver could say anything. "I'm not exactly a good cook and restaurants do it so much better." 

"It was exceptionally good food." Beatrice agreed. "Considering how close to home it is I can't believe I'd never been before." 

"Worth a revisit?" Ava asked. 

"Definitely." 

They settled into a peaceful silence as they were driven back to their building. 

Beatrice was a comforting presence at her side and Ava wondered if it was normal to feel this settled. 

"Ava? Can I ask you something?" 

Ava turned her head to meet Beatrice's gaze. "Of course." 

"Jillian, what happened for her to need a lawyer?" Beatrice asked. "She said to ask you for the story." 

Ah. 

"She had this business partner, Adriel. He fucked her over and tried to scam her out of one of her own ideas." Ava explained.

"She said that you were the deciding factor when making the choice to work with Lilith." 

Was Jillian trying to hype her up to Beatrice? 

"There wasn't any evidence to support her claim." Ava shrugged. "But I believed her, and I told her I'd find something."

"And you did." 

Ava grinned at the memory. "And I did." 

Beatrice looked like she wanted to say more, but apparently decided against it as she held Ava's gaze.

After a moment, Beatrice smiled and turned her head to look back out of the window. 

Ava wanted to know what was going on in that woman's mind, wanted to figure out where those walls were and see if Beatrice would let her past them. 

She settled for watching Beatrice instead, admiring her profile as it was silhouetted by the passing lights outside. 

Ava felt a skip in her heart. 

Beatrice was so beautiful. 

 

--

 

It all fell like second nature when they got back to their building. 

She had tried to get out of the car to help Ava out, but Ava had beaten her to it. 

But Beatrice had still managed to hold the front door open so that Ava could step inside. 

Considering the fact that their height difference wasn't that big, her blazer still seemed to drown Ava. 

It was adorable. 

And attractive. 

There was something about Ava wearing her clothes that made her stomach twist. 

Beatrice wondered if Ava would smell like her now. 

She felt her heartbeat pick up as she followed Ava into the elevator. 

How could Lilith not jump on that opportunity? To make sure Ava was comfortable. 

Beatrice wished she could have put her arm around Ava too when they had been waiting, to give her as much warmth as she could. 

As they rose through the floors, Beatrice chanced a quick look at Ava and the impulse to just… push Ava against the wall, hold her by the lapel and kiss her made itself known. 

Beatrice closed her eyes and pushed it down. 

Lilith may have brushed Ava off tonight, but that didn't mean she could act on her desires freely. 

Beatrice took a deep breath and let it out slowly. 

"You sure I can't convince you to let me split the uber with you?" Ava asked. 

"Not necessary." Beatrice replied. 

"How about a drink?" Ava came to a stop outside their apartments. "I've got a decent malbec that is waiting to be opened." 

It was tempting. 

Everything about Ava was oh so tempting. 

And she wanted to, she wanted to sit with Ava and talk more. To stay close to her. 

Even if she couldn't have Ava, the other woman clearly wanted to be around her in some capacity. 

But she couldn't. Not tonight. There were too many urges, too many wants. 

She couldn't do it. 

Beatrice turned to Ava, and despite the whirlwind of feelings in her chest, her smile was still genuine as she met Ava's own. 

"Another time?" Beatrice asked softly. "Camila has the morning off so I can't afford to be late." 

"That's fair." Ava replied. She held up her box of sushi. "One for the road?" 

"I'm okay, thank you." Beatrice took a step back towards the door. "Goodnight Ava." 

Beatrice was already sliding her key into the lock and letting herself into the apartment as she heard Ava calling goodnight after her. 

As soon as the door was closed, Beatrice leaned her back against the door and let out a long sigh. 

She needed another shower. 

 

--

 

Ava put her sushi in the refrigerator and made her way into her bedroom, throwing her phone onto her pillows as she took a seat on the foot of the bed. 

Beatrice had left in such a hurry, she hadn't even asked for her blazer back. 

Ava reached up to curl her fingers into the soft material and lifted it to her nose and finally breathed in deep. 

She could smell jasmine and orange, a combination Ava hadn't experienced before, but to know it belonged to Beatrice just made a surprising amount of sense. 

Ava let out a long groan as she threw herself onto her back. 

She was fucked. 

Oh she was so fucked.

 

Chapter Text

 

It was a rare occasion where Ava woke up before her alarm. 

She had a solid couple of hours before she had to be at work, in theory she could get away with sleeping for at least another hour. 

But damn, she was thirsty. 

Ava yawned as she got out of bed and made her way out of the bedroom and into the living room. 

The room was noticeably cooler than usual, so much so that Ava considered going back to her room to grab her robe.

She'd left the window open. Of course she had. 

Ava sighed to herself and crossed the room to close it. 

As she made her way to the kitchen, Ava let her thoughts drift to the previous night, at how well the dinner had gone, her unexpected conversation with Jillian.

And naturally, Beatrice. 

Beatrice rocking the power suit. 

And the fact that Beatrice's blazer was currently hanging on the back of her bedroom door. 

Ava pulled the refrigerator open and grabbed the orange juice, opening it and taking a long drink. 

At least it was an excuse to see her again. 

"Oh, thank you for the blazer, Beatrice. It kept me so warm. But I bet I'd be just as warm in your arms." Ava said to herself in a mocking tone before she scoffed. "Jesus. Pull yourself together, Ava." 

She sighed again and took another sip from the carton. 

Ava was pulled from her thoughts by a sudden fluttering sound. 

She froze. 

That sounded a lot like wings. 

As Ava closed the refrigerator door, giving her the full view of her apartment and her gaze zeroed in on the kitchen counter. 

Or, more specifically, the pigeon that was staring back at her. 

She was calm. Everything was fine. 

It was just a pigeon. 

In her apartment. 

…Ava was screaming. 

The carton left her hand. Orange juice splashed across every surface as the pigeon scrambled to avoid the carton. 

Oh God now it's flying. 

There was a terrified pigeon cooing and flying in her apartment. 

Ava was left with one option. 

She screamed. 

And then she ran. 

 

--

 

As Beatrice finished tying her shoelaces she picked up her phone from the coffee table and had one last check through her messages and emails before pulling up her running playlist and fixed it place on her armband. 

She moved over to her desk to pick up her earpods when a distant scream caught her attention. 

It was muffled, yes. But it didn't sound all that far away. 

Beatrice paused and listened. 

A few moments passed before there was another scream, one that became much louder over the sound of a door opening. 

She knew of only one other girl on this floor, only one person that scream could have come from. 

Beatrice's feet were moving before she was consciously aware of it, entire body tensed and ready for the worst case scenario. 

It took only a few seconds for Beatrice to cross the room and throw open her door, only to come to a screeching halt at the sight before her. 

The scream had come from Ava, alright. But nothing could have prepared her for the visual of Ava in her pyjamas. 

Although Beatrice would be the first to admit that to call what she was wearing pyjamas a great understatement. 

Ava was in a nightgown, silk, of all things and oh… No wonder Ava was fond of navy blue. 

And as Beatrice's gaze dropped to take in where the gown ended and leg began, the only word that came to Beatrice's mind was sinful. 

Beatrice had to actively force herself to look at Ava's face, an act that was made all the more difficult by the realisation that while the nightgown was short it had nothing on just how low cut it was. 

Focus, Beatrice. 

Ava was in some type of clear distress. 

Beatrice was an adult. An adult with her own company. She could not be distracted by a pair of perfectly shaped, well rounded, barely hidden by navy blue silk - 

Beatrice cleared her throat. "Are you okay?" 

Ava's hand was still clutching the door, holding it mostly closed as she stared at Beatrice. 

It was a good thing too. Beatrice could say with confidence that there was no way Ava had her keys on her. 

"I-" Ava glanced down at herself and took a deep breath. "So there's a pigeon. In my apartment." 

All of the tension left Beatrice's body. 

Most of it, at least. 

The part of her that had been ready to beat an unknown intruder into oblivion had melted away and all that remained was… 

Well, for lack of a better term. 

She was turned on. 

But despite that, her laugh came out breathless. "A pigeon?" 

Ava's brows drew together as she pouted. "Why are you laughing at me?" 

"Ava…" Beatrice felt herself begin to relax as she smiled at the girl before her. "I thought you were being attacked." 

"I was being attacked!" Ava protested. 

"That wasn't what I meant." 

Ava opened her mouth to protest, only for her eyes to grow wide. "You thought I was being attacked?" 

"Yes." 

Ava's grin was slow to form, but it was so wide and excited that Beatrice smiled back despite her confusion. 

"And you came running to help me." Ava said softly. 

Ah.

"Well -" 

"Like my own personal knight in shining armour." 

Beatrice dropped her gaze to the floor and tried to will the blood to stop rushing to her ears. 

"I - It's nothing. Really."

Ava looked amused as she folded her arms over her chest. "It's not nothing. It's cute." 

This girl was going to be the death of her. 

This girl who called her cute

"It's cute that you're afraid of pigeons." Beatrice replied. 

Ava gasped dramatically. "Low blow, Beatrice." 

"I'm sorry." Beatrice laughed. "Do you want me to take care of it?" 

"...You're not going to kill it are you?" Ava asked. "You're kinda making it sound like you're going to take it to the lake, tell it to think about the rabbits before you put one in the back of its head." 

Beatrice stared at her for a long moment. "Holy shit, Ava." 

"Sorry. Too much?" 

"That was a very specific literary reference." 

"Yeah. Poor Lenny." 

"Poor Carl." Beatrice pointed out. 

"That's true." 

"And no, I'm not going to do… that." Beatrice stepped closer to Ava and gestured to the door. "May I?" 

Ava was quick to move out of the way. "I'm gonna apologise in advance, it's not going to be super tidy and there's still a couple boxes half unpacked." 

"Ava, it's fine, honestly." Beatrice replied. 

She moved closer to the door and pushed it open, Ava was close on her heels as Beatrice walked into the apartment. 

Layout wise, Ava's apartment was practically identical, though she was a bit more sparse on furniture. 

Beatrice wanted to pay more attention to it, to fully take in the room as she searched for its avian invader, but all thoughts stopped when she felt the soft pressure of Ava pressed up against her back, the grip of her hands on Beatrice's shoulders. 

Beatrice forgot how to breathe for a few moments. 

"Ava?" 

"Yeah?" 

"What are you doing?" 

"Using you as a human shield against the pigeon." 

Beatrice did not expect her morning to start this way. 

She certainly wasn't complaining, but knowing how it felt to have Ava's breasts pressed against her back was… A lot. 

In her mind, her running route just got two blocks longer. 

"Well, at least you're honest." Beatrice replied. 

"Sorry." 

She just knew that Ava was smiling right now. 

"You could wait in the hallway if you want." 

"I don't want to risk any of the other people on this floor seeing me like this." 

But letting Beatrice see was fine? 

Was it because they had some kind of friendship building? That she could trust Beatrice to not stare and ogle like a horny teenager? That she knew Beatrice knew Lilith existed and therefore saw no concern there? 

Well… One and a half out of three wasn't bad. 

God, she needed to pull herself together and stop with this. 

"Okay." Beatrice replied. "Just… Can you give me a heads up if you're going to scream please." 

"Yeah I'll be sure to scream your name first." Ava replied dryly.

Beatrice was very thankful that Ava was behind her. 

Now she could feel her cheeks heating up too. 

"That sounded very different in my head." Ava added quietly. 

…How? 

How else could she have intended for it to sound? 

Beatrice couldn't think about it. 

"Just…" Beatrice cleared her throat. "Stay close to me." 

And she definitely shouldn't be encouraging this. 

The grip on her shoulders tightened. 

"Not a problem." 

They both came to a stop partway into the living room as Beatrice listened for any sounds. 

She knew that Ava had spotted the pigeon first as her hands slid down to Beatrice's biceps and tightened her grip so much that it almost bordered painful. 

"Oh my God, Beatrice… There it is." Ava said, her voice grew higher with each word. 

Beatrice looked over and saw the bird in question walking across the back of the sofa. 

"How are you going to get rid of it?" Ava asked as her hands slid down from Beatrice's shoulders to wrap around her biceps, she heard a faint sound from behind her. "Holy shit Bea, I know you run but… do you work out?" 

Lord help her. 

"I… Only a little." Beatrice said, she was aware that her voice had gotten higher. "The gym makes me uncomfortable." 

"Really? You'd have your pick of the girls there." 

Beatrice sighed. "If I want to work out, I don't want to spend the entire time feeling like I'm being watched." 

She felt Ava's grip loosen, but Beatrice was surprised at how relieved she was that Ava didn't let go. 

"I get it." Ava said. "You want to be seen as more than just your body." 

Beatrice turned, both of Ava's hands fell from her arms. 

It was clear that for the moment at least, Ava had forgotten about the entire reason Beatrice was in her apartment. Her gaze was focused on Beatrice, so sincere and soft. 

"Exactly." Beatrice replied quietly. 

Ava looked as though she was about to say more, only for them to be interrupted by the pigeon flying between them. 

The reaction was instant as Ava threw herself back. 

"Oh holy mother of fuck!" 

Beatrice had never seen someone move so fast. 

Right. 

Get rid of the pigeon first. 

Intense silent conversations through eye contact later. 

Beatrice walked over to the window and turned back to the pigeon, now pecking at one of Ava's boxes. 

It looked in her direction and Beatrice pointed out of the window. 

"Out." 

The pigeon stared at her for a long few moments and flew directly at her. 

And straight out of the window. 

Beatrice closed it and looked back over at Ava and smiled at the look of disbelief on her face. 

"What?" Beatrice asked. 

"Are you a bird whisperer?" 

"Truthfully, I wasn't entirely sure that would work." Beatrice replied. 

Ava crossed the room to stand beside her and peered through the window. 

"Well, I'm glad." Ava beamed. "Thank you." 

"Of course."

Ava wrapped her arms around herself. "That'll teach me to leave the window open, it's way too cold in here." 

Despite herself, Beatrice's gaze dropped.

"Yes. I can see that." She cleared her throat and looked back out of the window. "Feel. I can feel that." 

Stupid stunning nightgown. 

But hello Ava's nipples.

Oh, she was a hypocrite. 

If Ava noticed, she didn't mention it. Instead, Ava smiled. 

"Do you want coffee? I was gonna make coffee." 

"That's sweet, but I really need to get my run in. Camila isn't going to be in the office until lunchtime." Beatrice explained. 

Plus, Beatrice figured she needed to run an extra few blocks to clear her head enough to be able to function for the rest of the day. 

Ava nodded slowly. "Before you go though, can you just wait one second?" 

"Sure." 

Ava walked away and disappeared in the direction of the bedroom, returning a few moments later with Beatrice's blazer carefully draped over her arm. 

"Thank you again for letting me borrow it last night." Ava said as she handed it over. 

"It was no problem. It suited you." 

Ava grinned. "Was that a pun?" 

"An unintentional one, it was meant more as an observation." 

"Guess I should look into wearing more suits then." 

Beatrice could barely cope with Ava dressed as she was now. 

She didn't think she'd be able to survive Ava in a suit. 

"I had better go." Beatrice said, stepping around Ava. "I'll see you soon." 

"Bye Beatrice!" Ava called after her. 

As Beatrice stepped back into the hallway and quickly dropped off her blazer in her apartment. She made the conscious decision to forego the elevator in favour of taking the stairs. 

Beatrice hoped that she had enough time to wear herself out with her run before she had to go into the office. 

 

--

 

Lilith was staring at her like she was a crazy person. 

As soon as she had gotten to the building, Ava had headed directly to Lilith's office, where she had just finished telling her the story of her eventful morning. 

"Since when are you afraid of birds?" Lilith asked eventually. 

"Since you made me watch The Birds when I was a kid." Ava replied. "That was traumatising." 

"Baby." 

"Says the girl who's scared of rats." 

"They carry diseases!" Lilith snapped. 

"So do pigeons! They're basically… rats with wings." 

Lilith rolled her eyes and glanced down at her newspaper. "You're ridiculous." 

" You're ridiculous." 

"So you were wearing your fancy nightgown too?" Lilith asked. "Was that intentional or…" 

Ava kicked her feet up onto Lilith's desk. "We'll call it a happy accident." 

A happy accident that Beatrice definitely didn't seem to pay much notice to. 

Did she catch Beatrice cast fleeting glances down at her chest? Sure. 

Did Ava get a promising outcome from it? Nope. 

It wasn't the most encouraging situation. 

"What exactly were you hoping would happen?" Lilith asked. "That she would see you in that nightgown and take you on the sofa right there and then like something off of pornhub?" 

Ava considered that for a moment. 

…And then she considered it for a few more. 

Until Lilith rolled up the newspaper and slapped Ava's leg. 

"Stop thinking about sex in my office you heathen." 

"Says the one who just revealed a lot about their Internet habits. What was the name of the video? Would you recommend it?" 

Lilith's response was to slap her again. 

"Stop it. And get your feet off my desk." 

Ava complied and sighed. "I definitely wasn't expecting anything like that to happen, but I was hoping for… I don't know, a sign that she's into me?" 

"Literally everything that happened between you both last night wasn't enough?" Lilith asked. "You said she gave you her blazer." 

"That was just her being nice." 

Lilith rolled up her newspaper again and got up from her seat. 

"Just a thought, do with this advice as you will." Lilith said. "But have you considered... I don't know… Just asking her out?" 

Ava huffed. "No. Because if I'm wrong then things will get awkward and we already seem to bump into each other more than anyone else. Did you know I haven't met a single other person from my building? Not one. It's like they don't even exist." 

"Ava. You're spiralling." 

"Right. My point is, if I ask her out or tell her I like her then that'll just make things awkward and she's really fun to talk to and she's so smart. Also!" Ava bounced in her seat, fully aware that she was talking increasingly faster. "She made a pun today. A pun, Lilith." 

Lilith looked like she was about to slap her again. Instead, she sighed. 

"Breathe, Ava." 

"I mean I know Beatrice is an adult, a mature adult who probably wouldn't cut off a potential friendship because the other one may or may not be extremely attracted to the other but-" 

"But?" Lilith asked. "Ava you've barely stopped to breathe, how do you have more to talk about here?" 

"Because today she basically said that the reason she doesn't go to the gym is because she doesn't want people to objectify her while she's there and this may come as a surprise to you Lilith, but I'm not exactly known for looking respectfully at hot people."

"Considering you've had some… special alone time while thinking about her, yeah. I figured." 

Ava snorted. "Special alone time? What are you, twelve?" 

"So what is your plan?" Lilith asked, apparently choosing to ignore Ava's comment. "Are you just going to, I don't know, keep up this game in the hopes that she'll objectify you back?" 

Ava considered this for a few moments and nodded. 

"Yeah. Pretty much." 

Lilith was silent as she walked around her desk and came to a stop at Ava's side. 

She really should have expected Lilith to hit her with the newspaper again. 

Repeatedly. 

"You're an idiot." Lilith said. "That's a terrible idea." 

"Do you have a better idea?" Ava asked as brought her hands up to shield her face. 

Lilith stopped abruptly. "Talk to her about your feelings?" 

"Other than that." 

"Then no." Lilith let out a long sigh. "But I may have some ideas for your dumb little idea." 

Ava grinned. " Our dumb idea." 

"I'm getting coffee." Lilith threw the newspaper at her. "Please find some actual work to do." 

Ava sighed and pulled out her own phone. 

She knew that Chanel wasn't going to stop bugging her until she threw a party and Ava definitely didn't want Beatrice to see her apartment in its depressing limbo again. 

It was time for an IKEA shopping trip. 

 

--

 

Work had done very little to distract her all morning. 

She'd ran until her lungs ached, taken a long, cold shower and even walked to the office. 

Beatrice had set herself a to do list to keep her thoughts on work though the day. 

It wasn't even lunch time, and she was down to the final job. 

So it was a good thing that Camila chose to come at that time. 

"Hi Bea!" Camila greeted warmly. "How was your morning?" 

Eventful. 

Beatrice continued to type. "It was fine. How was yours?" 

"I had a very solid lie in, thanks." 

Camila set her stuff down at her desk and leaned over to log into her own computer before she walked back over to lean over the back of Beatrice. 

"Whatcha doing?" 

"I was looking at the time sheets and saw that some of our staff were putting in a lot of overtime, I have no issues with a few hours here and there but it looks as though some people are really pushing their limits." Beatrice explained. "So I'm emailing HR to review the salaries. We need to be paying enough for a comfortable living wage." 

"Sounds fair. Does that mean you'll be cutting down on the overtime?" Camila asked. 

"I don't pay myself for the extra time I put in." Beatrice replied.

"Doesn't make that better." 

Beatrice shrugged. She really didn't have a response for that. 

Her work was everything to her, and at the moment she needed it more than ever to keep her mind occupied. 

"So…" Camila braced her hands on the back of Beatrice's chair. "Last night was good." 

Beatrice resumed typing her email. "Yes, it was very promising." 

"Jillian seemed to like you."

"I think she liked both of us. As I said, it's promising." 

If Jillian agreed to partner, Beatrice hoped that she'd get back to them by next week. She really didn't want to be kept in suspense. 

"She really seemed to like your neighbour." 

Beatrice's fingers fumbled over the keyboard. 

"...Yes, from what I gathered they were rather close." 

Camila hummed and for a couple of minutes, she said nothing. Beatrice's typing was the only sound within the room. 

"Your very cute neighbour."

Oh. 

Oh no. 

"Yes, I suppose cute would be an accurate term." Beatrice said. 

Camila hummed again and Beatrice felt her lean down until Beatrice could sense her right up against her. 

"Just cute? Because based on the cut of that dress she wore last night, cute wouldn't be the term I'd use." 

Beatrice closed her eyes for a moment. 

She really didn't need another reminder of that girl's breasts. 

"You sound interested." Beatrice said. 

"And you sound like you're deflecting." 

Don't think about Ava in that dress. 

Beatrice's brain heard her prayer. 

And responded by giving her the visual of Ava in that damned nightgown. 

Beatrice forced herself to keep typing.

"Bea?" 

"Yes?" 

Camila leaned close enough that Beatrice could see her face in her periphery. 

"You just asked HR to review the breasts of every member of staff within the company. I don't think Pam would appreciate that." 

Oh shit. 

Delete, delete. 

She hit backspace with more force than was admittedly necessary as Camila laughed and drew back, walking over to her desk to grab her chair and wheeled her way back over. 

"So. Your neighbour's breasts." 

"Oh my God." Beatrice looked at her friend. "Camila, please." 

Camila held her hands up. "You're the one who's thinking about them enough to type it into an email." 

She had a point there. 

"Ava, right?" Camila asked. 

"Yes." 

"What's she like?" 

"Like an over eager puppy." Beatrice said, and even she didn't miss the hint of fondness that made its way into her tone. "Maybe a bit disorganised, but she's funny, and kind."

"And not straight and single?" Camila asked. 

Beatrice sighed. "Not straight and taken. I don't know if you saw the woman she was with last night, but that's the girlfriend." 

"The really hot one with the cheekbones?" Camila replied, and at Beatrice's raised eyebrow hastily added. "I may have watched her go back to their table, she's cute and you were all distracted and flustered. Sue me." 

"Cam…" Beatrice sighed. 

"It was a really good dress!" 

"That just sounds like a polite way of saying you were checking her out as she walked away." 

"Like you haven't?" 

Okay. Fair. 

It was a really good ass. 

"So what are you going to do?" Camila asked. 

Beatrice sighed again and rested her forehead against the palm of her hand as she regarded her friend. 

Camila's gaze softened and Beatrice had to wonder how sad and pathetic she must look right now. 

"I'm going to keep going on these blind dates that Mary is setting up in the hopes that I'll meet a girl who will interest me enough to keep me distracted." 

"Why bother with the dates?" Camila asked. "Just go on tinder, hook up with someone." 

"No, I'm not going to do that." Beatrice replied. 

"Why? You strike me as the type who would be really good at -" 

Beatrice held a hand up. "And you're not going to finish that sentence, I'm begging you. I'm going to get coffee, do you want anything?" 

"My usual please and thank you." Camila smiled. 

Beatrice got up from her seat and locked her computer. "Okay. I'll be back in a bit." 

 

--

 

"I hate you for this." Lilith complained from behind her. 

"No you don't, you love me." Ava shot back as the elevator doors opened and she stepped inside, dragging her boxes inside. 

Lilith followed her in and set the box down herself and let out a long sigh. 

"You're making me lug shit from IKEA around after work. You're definitely pushing my capacity for love here." 

"At least I did click and collect." Ava pointed out. "It's not like I dragged you through there." 

"True." Lilith agreed. "But you're also making me assemble furniture. Do you even have tools for this?" 

"I might have a screwdriver somewhere."

Lilith sighed again. "For fucks sake, Ava." 

"Don't they give you tools with it?" Ava asked. 

The doors opened and Ava braced herself to lift her box to haul it down to her apartment. 

"Not a fucking hammer, Ava. A mini wrench thing, at best." 

"Mini wrench thing? Is that the official term?" 

"I will leave you and all of this furniture right here." 

"Okay, okay. I'm sorry, Jesus." 

"Don't apologise to him." 

Ava snorted and unlocked her door. "Good one."

Lilith hummed as they both abandoned their respective boxes in the middle of the room. 

"Okay." Ava clapped her hands together. "You ready to get the rest?" 

"No. What exactly is your plan if you can't find your lone screwdriver?" 

"...Wing it?" 

"No." 

"Then I got nothing." 

Ava could hear Lilith muttering under her breath but moved to follow her out of the apartment all the same. 

"For the love of… Let's just get everything up and worry about that later, okay?" 

Ava grinned. "Sure thing." 

It took another twenty minutes to get everything up into the apartment, all the while Lilith seemed insistent on complaining. 

Ava found herself to be in quite bright spirits despite herself. 

Sure, she wasn't all that strong so it made carrying the bookcases up border on painful and yeah okay, Lilith had made a good point in regards to just how they were going to put all of this together. 

But she was an adult. An adult with bookcases. 

This was a big deal. 

But now she was also tired and a little bit sweaty, so In all honesty it wouldn't be the end of the world if they couldn't put any of it together this evening. 

She'd be more than happy to just get Lilith to bring her tools to work tomorrow and bribe her with paying for dinner to get her help again. 

They set the final box down in the living room and Ava promptly used it to lean against to catch her breath. 

"Are you dying?" Lilith asked. "You look like you're dying?" 

"My arms feel like noodles." 

Lilith came up beside her and prodded at her arm. "This is why you should work out with me." 

Or just not do heavy lifting in office wear. 

Ava lifted her head to glare at Lilith. "Yeah but you're like… inhuman levels of strong, you demon." 

"It's called fitness, Ava." Lilith narrowed her eyes. "You want to stop this here and leave all of the actual assembly until tomorrow, don't you?" 

Oh shit. 

"Well-" 

"No chance." Lilith cut her off. "I am not spending my Friday night putting together a bookcase." 

"But… What if we need more than a screwdriver?" 

Ava saw the thought form in Lilith's head and her heart was quick to respond by picking up a few paces. 

"How about you head across the hall and see if your lady friend has some tools we can borrow?" 

Judging by the way Lilith was already tearing open the bookcase, Ava figured it was safe to assume she was committed to getting this done one way or another. 

But also… 

"Lady friend?" 

"Shut up. Go ask to borrow her tools." 

"If she's in, plus isn't it a bit of a stereotype to assume Beatrice has tools?" 

"I bet there's one tool you wish Beatrice had for you." 

Ava snorted and stretched her arms behind her back. "I see what you were trying to do there and I am proud of you." 

"Yeah, yeah." Lilith waved her off. "Go get changed into something that'll show your tits off and go ask her, if she's in." 

"Show off my… Okay, whatever you say." 

Show off the girls, Ava could do that. 

She started to make her way towards the bedroom and paused, turning back to Lilith. 

"Just to be clear, that was a strap on joke, right?" 

Lilith sighed heavily. "Yes Ava, now go, please? I'd like to get this done this year preferably." 

Right. Yes. 

Ava hurried to her bedroom. 

 

--

 

Beatrice was reading on her kindle when she heard the knock at her door. 

The potential candidates were extremely slim, and by slim, Beatrice actually knew that to mean there was only one person it could be. 

Camila, Mary and Shannon would all call ahead and would have needed to buzz for access, and Beatrice had no interactions with any of her other neighbours. 

Which meant it could only be one person. 

And that fact was enough to have Beatrice quickly setting her kindle aside and heading over to the door to pull it open. 

"Hi Ava." Beatrice greeted. 

Ava grinned. "You don't seem surprised to see me." 

Beatrice allowed herself a brief glance, a couple of seconds to look at the low-cut tank top and how much it… elevated certain characteristics. 

She was quick to meet Ava's gaze again. 

Torture. Genuine torture. 

Beatrice leaned against the doorframe and smiled. "It isn't as though I talk to anybody else in this building."

"Told you that you'd be sick of me." 

"Not at all." Beatrice replied. "It's a relief. Unless you have another pigeon in your apartment, that is." 

Ava laughed. "Nah, nothing that extreme. I do have a favour to ask though?" 

"Oh?" 

Beatrice was quick to shut down all of the thoughts that came to mind. 

"I have the parts but not the tools or skills to use them." 

Beatrice was utterly confused. 

Even more so when Ava inexplicably turned red. 

"Okay I fucked up there." Ava said. "What I meant to say was, hi. I've got a bunch of IKEA stuff that needs assembling and I don't have any tools." 

Oh. 

Thank God. 

"You need to borrow tools?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava's puppy dog eyes were something to behold as she nodded. 

"Yes please, if you have them." 

"Oh, I have plenty of tools." 

Oddly, Ava's cheeks grew redder. 

"Do you know how to use them?" Beatrice asked. 

"...No." Ava replied, her voice seemed to crack very slightly. 

"Is Lilith with you?" Beatrice asked. Ava nodded again. "Does she know how to use them?" 

"Not to do an adequate or thorough job, not that I'd want her to." 

Now Beatrice was confused again.

"What are you trying to build?" Beatrice asked. 

"A bookcase and shelves." 

Lilith was there, surely between them they could manage it? 

Beatrice should leave them to it, she should stay away. 

But… 

Spending time with them both might help her brain understand that Ava was very much off limits. 

Besides, whether it was intentional or not, Ava was still doing the puppy dog eyes. 

She hadn't even asked and yet Beatrice still couldn't say no. 

"Do you want a hand?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava looked genuinely surprised. "I don't want to interrupt your evening." 

"My evening amounted to reading and cooking dinner. Believe me, you're not interrupting." 

"I mean… I won't say no to your company. Plus we'll probably order food so I'll definitely buy you something as a thank you." 

Beatrice smiled. "Not necessary, I'm sure that between the three of us we'll be able to get this done in a couple of hours." 

"I admire your faith." Ava laughed. "But I am absolutely a liability who will hold you back. I'm good at following orders though." 

Beatrice could have done without that bit of information. 

"Yes, well… I'm sure it'll be fine. Let me grab my tools and I'll meet you over there?" 

"You are the best person." Ava said. "I'll leave the door open, okay?". 

"Of course." 

Ava turned and darted back into her apartment, leaving the door wide open. 

Beatrice moved to grab her tool kit from the under the sink and a few moments later heard music from Ava's apartment. 

By the time Beatrice stepped inside, it was to the sight of the floor covered in parts, bags of screws scattered around. 

Ava and Lilith were stood in the centre of the room, bickering if their expressions were anything to go by. 

"I am not going to listen to your ridiculous Vengaboys inspired playlist." 

"There's only like, three Vengaboys songs on there!" 

"Yes, and then it's a combination of Pitbull, Abba, Toto and Cobra Starship." 

Ava gasped. "And they are all icons of their times!" 

"No, Ava."

Ava pouted. "And I guess that you would rather listen to your metal shit." 

"It isn't -" Lilith cut herself off to glance in Beatrice's direction. "Ah, thank God. Ava, your knight in shining armour is here to save your ass again." 

Beatrice felt her ears begin to heat up as Ava grinned at her. 

"Beatrice! Quick, name a band or artist." 

Her mind was blank. 

Not a single name came to mind. 

Embarrassing. It was embarrassing. 

"Taylor Swift."

Beatrice barely stopped herself from frowning. 

It wasn't that she wasn't a fan, but it wasn't as though Taylor would be her first choice. 

Ava laughed happily. "Good choice. Sorry Lilith, I'll queue up some stuff for you but it's Swiftie hour now." 

"Fine." Lilith rolled her eyes and made her way over to Beatrice. "Thank you for coming over. You know how to use those tools right?" 

"I'm far from a pro, but I know what I'm doing." 

"Yes, I'm sure you're very good with your hands." 

Beatrice cleared her throat. "So, where do you want me?" 

Lilith looked at the parts on the ground. "With me. Ava, you… Count the screws." 

"Seriously?" 

"Yes." 

Ava sighed and took a seat on the floor and tapped away on her phone until Taylor Swift began to play through her Alexa. 

This was going to be interesting. 

 

--

 

Ava knew that she had been regulated to a backbench role, that once Beatrice had read through the instructions and arranged things into a specific order, all Ava had to do was sit back and hand over the screws that were needed. 

It meant that she got to spend a lot of time watching Beatrice and Lilith as they worked. 

Something Ava was more than okay with. 

Because okay, they'd grown up together, Lilith had and continued to look out for her to this very day. 

In a lot of ways, she was essentially like a sister to Ava. 

But at the same time… Lilith will also always be the girl responsible for Ava's bi awakening. 

It was complicated. 

So now, as Ava watched Beatrice and Lilith effortlessly working together in silence as they built her bookcase, arms flexing under the weight of the shelves, Ava had to ask herself one thing. 

Was she getting slightly turned on by this whole situation? 

And as Beatrice gave a quiet command to Lilith to move so that she could screw in a part, Ava nodded to herself. 

Yes. Yes she was. 

She'd kept busy as much as she could while they did all of the heavy lifting, going through her boxes and slowly filling up the shelves they'd put up around the living room with her belongings in between bringing them the parts they needed. 

It was surprisingly easy how well they all worked together. 

Ava reached into her box and felt her fingers brush against a wooden frame and laughed when she pulled it out. 

She had wondered when she'd find it. 

Her graduation photo. 

Cap crooked, beaming smile as she clutched her diploma in her hand as Lilith stood beside her, arm draped over Ava's shoulder as her smile almost matched Ava's own. 

What a day that had been. 

"You look so happy." 

Ava looked up to see Beatrice stood close to her shoulder and when she looked beyond her found Lilith in her kitchen, pouring herself a drink. 

"Not that you don't ever look happy." Beatrice added. "But this is… Luminous." 

Luminous. 

Ava liked that word. 

"Yeah." Ava brushed her thumb over the glass to wipe away some dust. "I worked so hard, I couldn't believe I got the grades that I did. That I even graduated." 

"I can believe it." Beatrice said. "Lilith looks happy too." 

"Yeah, you'd be forgiven for not believing her capable of smiling so much." Ava laughed. 

Lilith scowled at her from the kitchen but went back to checking her phone. 

"My dad didn't show up, that… Wasn't really a surprise, but it didn't even matter. I had Lilith there, my other friends showed up too. It was perfect. I didn't need him when I had my chosen family with me." 

When she looked back at Beatrice, she noticed that her gaze was still firmly on the picture even as her gaze seemed a bit distant. 

"The family that we choose is important." Beatrice said softly. "They love you for the person that you are, not for the person they wished you would be." 

Beatrice was still looking at the picture, no doubt entirely aware that Ava was watching her. 

There was so much weight behind those words. So much understanding. 

"You too, huh?" 

"Yes." 

Ava remembered the morning after Beatrice's blind date. The Republican. 

Beatrice had said that she had been a fan of her parents. 

"Different political views?" 

Beatrice's smile was sad as she sighed, her own hand reached up to trace the frame, her fingers dangerously close to brushing against Ava's. 

"They're politicians. Back in England." 

"Conservative?" 

Beatrice nodded. "I didn't… Don't, I don't fit in with what they envisioned of me." 

She was being vague, not that Ava could blame her. They didn't know each other that well and she was getting the distinct impression that this was a particularly heavy subject for Beatrice. 

"There's more to it than you're saying." 

Beatrice finally met her gaze, expression soft, her voice even more so. "There's always more, Ava." 

This was trust. Fragile and new, but it was there all the same. 

"There is." Ava agreed. She didn't stop herself from giving Beatrice's shoulder a gentle bump with her own. "And we have better people around us now." 

"We do." 

Does she dare to take another step? To push that little bit further and see where she falls? 

It was a bit of a risk. 

But Ava felt emboldened. 

"You know…" She began. "I'm really glad that I met you." 

She watched Beatrice's fingers still on the frame, just as their fingers brushed. 

Such a small point of contact, but it was enough to have Ava holding her breath. 

"Yes." Beatrice whispered. "I feel the same." 

Ava's heart was racing. 

Did she? 

Should Ava clarify what she meant? That from that first meeting Beatrice has never been far from her thoughts? 

She opened her mouth. 

"Am I the only one who's actually trying to get work done today?" Lilith called over to them loudly. 

Beatrice ripped her hand away quickly. 

…Ava was going to kill Lilith. 

"Apologies." Beatrice said, stepping away from Ava. "Back to it then?" 

Lilith raised an eyebrow, clearly amused and turned away. 

Beatrice stared at Lilith's back for a moment and glanced at Ava before nodding to the picture in her hands. 

"You should hang it up, it'd look good on your wall. You both look happy." 

Ava nodded. "I will." 

She set it down on the coffee table and followed Beatrice back towards the bookcase. 

 

--

 

Beatrice had to finish this. 

She could feel Ava's eyes on her back, she could see Lilith casting sideways glances at her. 

Her fingertips still burned from the close contact. Her heart raced from the whispered words they'd shared. 

Ava had told her she was glad that she'd met her. 

Beatrice had said the same, and she had been unable to keep the weight out of her own words. 

God, and with Lilith in the same room. 

While Ava held a picture of herself and Lilith at her graduation, arms around the other. 

There was something about Ava that made all rational thought and control slip. 

Beatrice was in a free fall and she didn't know how to stop it. 

She felt Lilith's gaze on her again as Beatrice heard her phone chime in her pocket. 

Beatrice focused on tightening a screw. 

"Are you not going to get that?" Lilith asked. 

"It can wait." Beatrice replied. "We're nearly finished." 

Lilith hummed. "Your help is appreciated. And as funny as it was to hear, thank you for helping Ava this morning." 

Ava groaned. "Can we not bring that up again?" 

"How you fled your apartment in your pyjamas because of a pigeon? Ava, how long have you known me. I'm never going to let you forget it." 

The last thing Beatrice needed right now was to be reminded of that nightgown.

There was a soft thud and Beatrice looked over her shoulder to see Ava lying flat on her back. 

"It was no problem." Beatrice said. "I was happy to be there for her." 

"I bet." Lilith said quietly. "You like to help, don't you?" 

Why did everything that came out of Lilith's mouth sound intimidating?

Was she doing that on purpose or was that just her voice? 

Beatrice was leaning more towards the former. 

"Was it as funny as I imagine?" 

A little. 

"When I heard Ava scream I thought she was in trouble." 

"Excuse me, I was in trouble?" Ava called. 

Beatrice lined up another screw and continued to work. "I came running." 

"As I said earlier, knight in shining armour." 

"It was just the right thing to do." Beatrice replied. 

Just a few more screws, then they could fix the bookcase to the wall and Beatrice could leave. 

"Well, I'm glad that Ava has such a good neighbour." 

Neighbours. That's all they were. 

Even if it was becoming more apparent with each interaction that they shared that there was a lot in common between them, that Ava had an uncanny ability to read beyond the words that Beatrice said. 

It was thrilling. 

It was terrifying. 

Beatrice fastened the final screw in place. 

"I'm done." She said, taking a step back. "We just need to get it in position and secure it to the wall, Ava, do you have the brackets?" 

Ava bounced over to them, their shoulders bumped again as she came to a stop beside Beatrice and held them out. 

"Can you help Lilith hold it in place and I'll screw them in?" 

"Sure thing."

It took all of Beatrice's focus to not look at Ava as she worked, to keep her attention on the task at hand until Beatrice was certain everything was in place. 

Once they were done, all three of them took a step back, standing side by side as they admired their work.

"You two are the best." Ava said from her spot in the middle. "Seriously, I owe you both for this." 

Beatrice looked to the side to see Ava's grin and felt herself smile back. 

She had used luminous to describe her earlier. 

What an apt choice it had been. 

"You can thank me by buying me dinner." Lilith grumbled. 

"Now that, I can do." Ava replied. "Beatrice? You in?" 

She wanted to. 

She couldn't. 

"No, thank you." Beatrice said. "I've intruded enough." 

Ava tilted her head to the side as she regarded her and as she spoke, her voice was soft enough to make Beatrice's chest ache. "It's not intruding at all." 

"Still. Another time perhaps?" 

Ava still looked surprisingly disappointed, but she accepted Beatrice's words with a nod. 

"Another time." 

She helped Beatrice pack up her tools while Lilith scrolled through on her phone, no doubt looking at menus for whatever it was they were going to order for dinner. 

When Beatrice finally clicked her kit closed, she straightened up and cast a final look at the bookcase she had helped them to build. 

She pulled her phone from her pocket to check the time and saw the text notification from Mary waiting for her.

Mary
Time for your date has changed. Friday, 7pm. Interlude. Let me know if you can't make it.

Beatrice frowned. 

Interlude? Why was that name familiar? 

"You okay?" Ava asked. 

"Yes." Beatrice tucked her phone away. Lilith looked up at them with mild interest. 

Beatrice was conflicted as to whether she should say anything. 

But… At least if she did, then that would at least make it easier to put some more distance between her and Ava, to reassure Lilith that she wasn't going to do anything. 

"That was my friend… She's arranged another date for me tomorrow." Beatrice said. 

Ava looked confused, her shoulders dropped. "And you're frowning, why?" 

"It's at a place called Interlude." 

Lilith looked up at that. "Interlude? Seriously?" 

"You know it?" 

"It's high end. Not chef's table level, but you'll easily spend a couple hundred dollars if you're not careful with what you order." 

Ava's eyebrows shot up. "Holy shit Beatrice, are you going out with a millionaire?" 

"I… Have no idea." Beatrice admitted. "It's a blind date." 

"Is it good there?" Ava asked Lilith. 

Lilith shrugged. "Dessert menu is weak and definitely not worth the prices. I've never had a more disappointing tiramisu." 

"Oh, I was going to ask if we could go one day but… Never mind." 

Neither of them were really filling Beatrice with much optimism. 

"Is there a dress code?" Beatrice asked. 

"Just the standard fancy stuff. No trainers, you won't get kicked out for wearing jeans but you will be silently judged by everybody." 

Beatrice sighed. "Wonderful." 

"Hey, you'll be fine." Ava said. 

No, she wouldn't. 

Beatrice's heart truly wasn't in this. 

"I suppose I should go..." Beatrice said. "Look over my outfit options." 

"I'll walk you out." Ava replied, already moving to follow her. 

"You do that." Lilith rolled her eyes. "I'll start getting the order together." 

Ava followed Beatrice out of the apartment and pulled the door partway closed as they stood together in the hallway. 

"Thank you for helping." Ava said. "You really didn't have to, but I'm really glad that you did." 

"It was no problem. I… I had fun." 

"You sure you don't want to stay for dinner? I want to say thank you somehow." 

"It's fine, honestly." 

"Do you do hugs?" Ava asked. "I kinda want to hug you." 

Oh. 

She shouldn't. 

She knew that she really shouldn't. 

But Beatrice found herself nodding. "I do." 

Ava took a slow step forward, lifting her head at the last moment to maintain eye contact before she raised both arms to wrap them around Beatrice's shoulders. 

The space ceased to exist between them as Ava rested her chin on her shoulder. 

Ava smelled like lilacs. 

With the toolkit in her left hand, all Beatrice could do was lift her right arm to hug Ava back, conscious to match the amount of pressure she applied. 

She could feel her heartbeat through her shirt. 

Beatrice was well and truly fucked. 

The hug lingered for several moments before Ava finally drew back. 

"Thank you, Beatrice. "If you ever need anything, please ask?" 

"I will." 

Ava took a couple of steps back, hand on her front door. "I'll see you around?" 

"I don't doubt it for a moment." 

"Goodnight, Beatrice." 

"Goodnight Ava." 

Ava smiled at her and stepped back into her apartment, the door clicked softly behind her. 

Beatrice sighed and pressed her forehead to her own door as she reached into her pocket for her keys. 

What was she going to do? 

 

--

 

Ava lifted her head from the kitchen counter as she heard Lilith set a glass down in front of her. 

"Whiskey? Seriously?" 

"You're moping." Lilith shrugged, taking a sip from her own glass. 

"Is that why you've helped yourself?" 

"I helped build your bookcase. I've earned this." Lilith leaned against the counter and frowned at her. 

"I brought you dinner!" 

"And it was very nice. But I stand by my previous statement. Why are you moping? That went well." 

"She's going on another date, Lilith. It can't have gone that well." 

And to think Ava had thought things were going so well. 

Ava sighed. "My heart is sad but my brain is horny." 

"Pretty sure it wouldn't just be your brain." Lilith said. "But… Do I even dare ask what you mean?" 

"I have a new fantasy threesome." 

Ava reached for her glass and watched Lilith scowl at her. 

"What?" 

"Don't worry about it." Ava said as she took a sip. 

"No, no. I feel like I should. Explain, please." 

Ava hesitated for a moment and scratched the back of her neck. "Okay listen, you're both really hot. She's British -" 

"We both are." Lilith interrupted. 

"Right. Point is, you're both hot. I have thoughts." 

Lilith downed the contents of her drink and set the glass aside. Her gaze was serious as she reached over to place her hand on Ava's shoulder. 

"Ava. Do you remember when we kissed when you first started uni?" 

Ava nodded, it wasn't exactly something that she thought about nowadays, but it definitely existed somewhere in the back of her mind. 

"Yeah, and you told me to get it out of my system?" Ava frowned. "And now I'm just remembering that I asked you to never mention it again." 

"Which I never did because you had a whole crisis about it for hours. Chanel was on the verge of killing me despite it being you who initiated it." 

God bless Chanel. 

"It was the worst kiss I'd ever had." Ava mumbled, following Lilith's example and throwing back the rest of her drink. At least she could blame most of her grimace on the burn in her throat. "Not even in terms of technique, it was just… Awful." 

That's what she got for kissing her best friend. 

No wonder it was locked away in the vaults of her mind. 

Lilith gave her shoulder a pat and drew her hand back. "I should be offended, but this was why I had to remind you." 

"I'd probably cry in this hypothetical fantasy threesome, huh?" 

"I would not put it past you." 

Ava pouted. "Well there goes that fantasy." 

"It's for the best. Trust me." Lilith said. "The last thing either of us need is for you to call me in the middle of the night having a meltdown because you tried to visualise it." 

Ava let her head fall back to the counter, even as she heard Lilith pour her another drink. 

"This is awful. I got to hug her and still, everything is awful." 

Lilith opted to pat her head. "Just… Go back to picturing eye contact or whatever it is that's doing it for you right now." 

Consider it done. 

"You're handling this very well." Ava grumbled. 

"I know. Thank the whiskey. But I am at my limit so… I'm going to go. You do… you." 

Ava snorted. "Literally." 

Lilith flicked her head. "Behave. I'm going. Don't lose hope, A blind date isn't the end of the world, we'll figure it out." 

Ava lifted her head to look at Lilith. "I love you." 

"I know." Lilith said fondly and gave her head another soft pat. "I have to go. Call me for any none fantasy related crises." 

"I will." 

She watched Lilith gather up her belongings and slip out the apartment quietly. 

Alone, Ava was left with a choice. 

Distract herself by filling her new bookcase. 

Or distract herself with an orgasm… 

Or two. 

Yeah. 

Ava knew which option she was choosing.

 

Chapter Text

 

"You know you can leave early to get ready for your date if you'd like." 

Beatrice's laugh faded the moment she glanced over at Camila and saw the expression on her face. 

"Oh. You're serious." Beatrice turned back to her computer. "No, thank you." 

"Seriously?" 

"The date is at seven." Beatrice's eyes scanned through lines of code as she spoke. "I finish at four, home before five, twenty minutes to get changed and then uber to the restaurant. Traffic depending I should arrive with fifteen minutes to spare." 

Camila laughed. "For someone who really doesn't seem into doing this, you're still making sure to remain punctual." 

"Well yes, I'm not a monster." 

"What are you gonna wear?" Camila asked. 

"White shirt, black pants." Beatrice replied. "Gold accessories, I think." 

"Open shirt?" 

"Yes." 

"Ooh, gold chains then?" 

"That was the plan." 

Just because she wasn't invested in impressing this woman, it didn't mean that Beatrice wasn't going to make sure she looked good. 

"Nice, send me a picture?" 

"Of course." 

"Do you wanna meet for coffee tomorrow so you can inevitably bitch about everything that was wrong with the date?" Camila asked. 

Beatrice looked up from her screen and frowned at Camila. "Is my pessimism about dating ruining your sunny disposition?" 

"Little bit." Camila smiled. She walked over to pat Beatrice on the head. "But I still believe in love." 

"I believe in love." Beatrice protested weakly. "It just turns out I just have very little faith in the actual process of dating." 

"I mean…" Camila raised an eyebrow. "Because that doesn't complicate things at all." 

Beatrice sighed. "I know." 

"Aw buddy." Camila patted her head again. "We'll get you laid." 

The fact that Ava was the only face that flashed through her mind did not help matters at all. 

Beatrice locked her screen and pushed her seat back. "And on that note, I'm going to get coffee." 

 

--

 

"Well, I see that you're being actively hostile this morning." Lilith greeted. 

Ava stapled some paperwork together and shoved it aside. "I don't know what you're talking about." 

Was she in a bit of a bad mood? Yeah sure, but actively hostile? No way. 

"Then why did I see Jason crying in the break out room?" 

"Beats me, I don't know his life story." 

She could feel Lilith's unimpressed stare burning into her. "Ava." 

"Literally the only thing I've said to him today was that he was a lowkey asshole for spilling milk and not cleaning it up." Ava said. 

"How do you know it was him?" Lilith asked. 

"Because it was that weird goats milk that literally only he drinks and -" Ava gasped. "Oh my god was Jason crying over spilled milk?" 

Lilith slapped the back of Ava's head gently. "Focus. So you didn't make him cry?" 

"No? Have you tried asking Crimson or Superion? They're much more likely to have made someone cry." 

"True. I'll speak to him when he's done." Lilith leaned against Ava's desk and narrowed her eyes. "You are giving off a hostile energy though, are you okay?" 

"I didn't sleep that much." Ava replied. She leaned back in her seat and stretched her arms over her head. "So now it feels like my brain is going at light speed but my body is just trying to drag itself through the day." 

Lilith hummed thoughtfully. "And I'm guessing that it's entirely to do with a certain girl going on a date tonight?" 

Ava really didn't want to think about it. 

"Do you want to come over and get drunk tonight?" Ava asked instead. 

"Absolutely not. But I will take you out for a run tomorrow to take your mind off of things." 

Ava scowled. "Those two things could not be further from being on the same level. How is a run going to help?" 

"I'm going to tire out that brain and body of yours." Lilith shrugged. 

"Then why not do it now?" Ava asked. "Rather than drag out my suffering." 

Lilith leaned in to flick Ava's forehead. "Because we're at work and I need your brain today, check your emails. I need your eyes on a case." 

Ava sighed, but sat up reluctantly to click through her emails. 

"Fine, but I'm getting drunk tonight so I'll be too hungover to run with you." 

If Lilith heard her, then she certainly didn't comment on it. 

Ava was going to order Chinese food and drink wine. 

There was going to be very little thinking of a specific hot girl who shall not be named. 

…Ava knew that was a lie. 

Said hot girl would not get out of her head. 

 

--

 

Beatrice's uber was booked and on its way, she'd made good time on getting ready and she was the first to admit that she had made a good decision with the white shirt, gold accessory combination. 

She fastened the final chain in place before she took a selfie to send to Camila and grabbed her keys from the counter. 

After a moment of consideration, Beatrice picked up her leather jacket too, though she chose to drape it over her arm instead of wearing it. 

The second Beatrice opened her door, she heard Ava's voice down the hallway. 

There truly was no escaping that beautiful face. 

"Don't be a dick, Lilith." Ava laughed. "I can totally look after plants." 

Beatrice locked her door and glanced over at the approaching girl. 

She looked so casual with light blue jeans and a white t-shirt. The oversized green varsity jacket looked so soft that Beatrice felt her fingers twitch with the urge to touch.

Ava had clearly come home from work at some point, gotten changed and gone out again, if the bag full of plants weren't enough to go by. 

Wait. 

Beatrice did a double take. 

Bag of plants? 

Ava very much had a bag overflowing with plants, along with a second that seemed to be full of wine and snacks as Ava carefully balanced her phone in her hand. 

"You can barely look after yourself, Ava." Lilith's voice came through the speaker. "And now you're going to be a plant murderer." 

Ava glared at the phone. "Plant murderer seems a bit harsh, don't you think?" 

"What have you eaten today. List it out for me." 

"Um.. Iced coffee, half of your panini-" 

"I fucking knew that was you." 

"Yeah, my bad. And then I ate-" Ava glanced up, eyes widening as she saw Beatrice stood a few feet ahead of her. "Beatrice! Hey."

Ava's entire tone softened when she said her name, and Beatrice felt her own body relax as she smiled back. 

"Hi Ava." Beatrice greeted. 

"Beatrice? You ate-" 

Whatever Lilith had been about to say was lost in a sea of noise as Ava scrambled to hang up the phone and throw it into the bottom of her bag. 

Ava cleared her throat. "Ignore her. She's… having a day." 

Beatrice nodded slowly, thankful that her hair was hiding her burning ears. 

Because there was no scenario in which imagining Ava eating her out was at all appropriate. 

Ava's eyes were slow as she took in Beatrice's outfit. 

"Holy shit, Beatrice. I'm loving this vibe." 

Beatrice adjusted the collar of her shirt and smiled. "Is it okay?" 

"You look great." Ava said sincerely. "You're giving off rich CEO energy." 

Beatrice laughed. "I'm certainly one of those things." 

She lived comfortably enough, and Beatrice made sure to put money into her savings, just in case. 

Beatrice never wanted to have to turn to her parents for help. To use her trust fund. 

She'd make sure that never happened. 

"Well, you're going to blow your date away, regardless." Ava said simply. 

As Beatrice hummed, she didn't miss the slight concerned frown on Ava's face. 

"You… Don't seem super thrilled to be doing this." Ava said. "Are you nervous?" 

"No, not at all. I don't… Tend to get nervous around most girls anymore." 

With one exception, it would seem. 

Ava didn't miss that comment either. "Most girls?" 

"Some are special." 

Oh, this was going in a rapidly dangerous direction. 

"Well…" Ava glanced down at her feet. "Maybe this one will be special." 

Beatrice highly doubted that. 

"We'll see, I suppose." Beatrice replied. "Anyway, enough about me. What about you? Do you have plans tonight?" 

Ava snorted and looked up to meet Beatrice's eyes. "A whole night of drinking wine alone, finding places for my plants, ordering Chinese food and watching a movie." 

"Is Lilith not joining you?" 

"Nah, she needs a break from me from time to time. I should probably call her back in a bit though, but Friday nights are reserved for Lilith only time with a few exceptions." 

"How could she ever need a break from you?" Beatrice asked. 

Beatrice looked away quickly and felt the blush rising up the back of her neck. 

She hadn't meant to say that out loud. 

Oh God. 

And now Ava was walking closer, stopping a few inches away. 

She was laughing, but Beatrice didn't dare to look. She busied herself with swapping her jacket to her other arm. 

"You haven't spent nearly enough time with me. Trust me, Lilith loves me and I'm too much for her." 

Beatrice pursed her lips as she looked at the other girl. 

Ava was laughing, but her words were so serious. 

She truly believed that. 

Beatrice really didn't understand their relationship. 

And God, she wanted to ask more than ever. 

She wanted to cancel her date just to talk to this girl more. 

Beatrice could never see herself being annoyed by Ava's presence. 

But it also wasn't her place to pass judgement on Ava and Lilith, regardless of her own feelings on the matter. 

"Her loss." Beatrice replied quietly. "Your evening sounds ideal." 

Ava smiled. "Well, if your evening is a bust, you know where to find me. I have plenty of wine." 

She'd made a similar offer the last time, one Beatrice hadn't taken up. 

Beatrice actually kind of wanted to say yes this time. 

She wanted to know why Ava thought anyone could get sick of her. 

Beatrice took a small step around Ava. "Well, we'll see what happens, I guess." 

"We will." Ava replied. "Good luck, Beatrice." 

Beatrice wondered if she'd need it. 

 

--

 

"She said that?" Lilith asked. 

Ava pulled a glass from the cabinet and set it down in front of her phone, nodding as she moved over to the drawer to find the corkscrew. 

"She doesn't get nervous around most girls, but some are special." Ava repeated. "Some girls make her nervous, Lilith." 

"I'm guessing that means girls she really likes." Lilith said. 

Ava ignored the way Lilith raised an eyebrow as she watched Ava attempt to uncork her wine. 

Why didn't she buy screw caps? She was too flustered to deal with this shit right now. 

"She doesn't get nervous around me, Lilith. Hell, she seems more nervous around you.

The cork popped free and bounced off of the refrigerator, Ava yelped as she leapt out of the way of it bouncing back at her and turned to scowl back at her phone as Lilith laughed at her. 

"You're an idiot." Lilith said. 

"Because of the wine?" 

"That too. But I'm not a good example. Most people get nervous around me." 

"You are really intimidating." Ava agreed as she poured her wine. "But you're also crazy hot." 

"Oh my God, Beatrice isn't attracted to me." Lilith groaned. "And that is far too much wine." 

Ava stopped pouring short of the top of the glass. "I'm sad and it's Friday." 

Lilith sighed. "Listen, I have things to do so I'm going to make this fast. Your neighbour may not be a bumbling blushy mess when she talks to you, but from my interactions with her versus what I've seen from the way you two interact? There's something there." 

"You think so?" Ava asked. 

"Yes. Now chill out, order your food and don't get too drunk because I am not answering your drunk phone calls and we are going for a run tomorrow." 

"Boo." Ava groaned. 

"Yes, yes. Go and distract yourself. I'll see you tomorrow." 

Ava's thumb hovered over the bottom of her phone. "Yeah, goodnight Lil." 

She loved Lilith. 

But Ava had two whole bottles of wine to work through.

She just needed to order food and figure out what movie she was going to watch. 

And she definitely wasn't going to spend the next few hours thinking about how Beatrice's date was going. 

 

--

 

Beatrice may not be a professional when it came to the dating scene, but she knew enough to know red flags when she saw them. 

And not red flags in the 'republican lesbian' sense. 

Because to be honest, that had been pure alarm bells and neon flashing signs telling her to run. 

No, these red flags were something else entirely. 

So much so that Beatrice wasn't sure if it was her being picky, or a genuine cause for concern. 

Jacqueline had shown up ten minutes after the arranged time, New York traffic, she'd dismissed with a wave of her hand as she handed her coat off to the waiter taken her seat. 

The look from the waiter had felt more like a warning to run than anything else.

Jacqueline was quick to order the (very overpriced) champagne and within the first five minutes, Beatrice had learned more than she felt she needed. 

She knew Mary from the gym, the two were actually around the same age, it turned out. 

Jacqueline was born and raised in New York and worked for a fashion magazine, although she had been working on launching her own fashion line since she finally had unrestricted access to her trust fund. 

Beatrice knew it was rude of her, but she couldn't help but start to tune out the moment Jacqueline started talking (bragging, more accurately) about how much money she had, how she only worked at the magazine to have more contacts for when she 'did her own thing.' 

They hadn't even received the menus and Beatrice was already exhausted. 

"Mary tells me that you're some kind of CEO." Jacqueline said. 

"Oh, yes I -" 

"How much do you make annually?" 

Beatrice wasn't quite fast enough to disguise her frown. "I… don't see how that is entirely relevant." 

Whatever Jacqueline had been about to say was cut off by their waiter approaching them and setting down their menus. 

Beatrice was going to tip him so well, she knew that much. 

She found a brief peace as he began to explain the specials and patiently answered Jacqueline's many and thorough questions about the food while Beatrice glanced through the menu. 

Lilith hadn't been kidding with her description of this restaurant, each dish varied from moderately priced to flat out outrageous. 

Beatrice had eaten in some fancy places before, but their reputation has justified the prices. 

She wasn't too sure about this place. Or anything about this night, for that matter. 

As Jacqueline rattled off her order, Beatrice thought back to Ava, and how she was probably eating take out right now. 

And Beatrice wished more than anything that she was there too. 

As the waiter took their orders, Beatrice noticed that her date seemed to prefer everything on the more expensive side which was… fine. 

Honestly, Beatrice hated it but she was really trying to not be actively judgmental. 

Which proved to be a difficult endeavour as the night went on. 

Jacqueline liked to talk, but she only seemed interested in talking about her business and money. She talked in depth about how much she was currently earning, and how much she planned on selling her own pieces for when she finally made them. 

Beatrice didn't even care that she rarely got to talk, it became very clear very quickly that they had both had different ways of living. 

Jacqueline only wanted the elite, she had no interest in anybody else. 

Beatrice couldn't agree with that. 

When their meals were over and the waiter came by to ask for the dessert menu, Beatrice politely declined and asked for the cheque. 

The final nail in the coffin came when the cheque in question was set down between them. 

There was a stretch of silence, the longest Beatrice had experienced since her date had sat down. 

Beatrice was confused up until she saw the look of expectation on Jacqueline's face. 

Oh. 

She expected Beatrice to pay. 

Beatrice almost preferred the date with the republican. 

And that thought was… depressing. 

Beatrice glanced at the the total cost as she reached for her water and did some quick maths in her head. 

She glanced over to the table next to them and watched the couple occupying it each digging into a slice of strawberry cheesecake. 

Lilith had said the tiramisu was disappointing, but the cheesecake looked passable at least. 

She was still thinking when Jacqueline spoke up again. 

"I'm just going to use the bathroom." 

Beatrice nodded and set her glass down. "Of course." 

As soon as she was out of sight, Beatrice waved their waiter down. 

"Is everything okay?" He asked. 

"We're going to be splitting the cheque, although I believe there may be some resistance to that." Beatrice pulled her card out and set it on the table.

The waiter's expression grew almost amused, if not slightly conspiratory as he leaned closer to pick the cheque up. 

"Between us?" He said quietly. "She's something of a regular here." 

Beatrice almost laughed. 

Of course she was. 

"Let me guess, she's never paid her share of the bill?" Beatrice asked. 

"You're the first who has noticed and asked for a split cheque." 

"Hooray for me." Beatrice replied dryly. She sighed after a moment. "Listen, I don't want to make things complicated for you, but could I ask that you split them evenly but add two slices of the strawberry cheesecake to mine? I strongly doubt she'll tip you but I'll compensate for that with forty percent of the total bill."

"Not a problem." He grinned as he glanced over the cheque. "You know, if you wanted to be petty, I could split it so that you only pay for what you actually ordered." 

Beatrice got the distinct impression that she was somehow making this man's night, be it from the promise of a sizeable tip or for putting a temporary stop to what was a nuisance of a woman, Beatrice didn't know. 

It was most likely a combination of the two. 

"No, an even split will be fine, thank you." 

"Right away. I'll have your deserts waiting at the front for when you're finished." 

"Thank you." 

As he walked away, Beatrice pulled out her phone and typed out a quick text to Camila. 

Beatrice
I have a lot to tell you tomorrow. 

She thought about texting Mary too, but decided against it for now. It could wait until she was in the uber home, at the very least. 

Beatrice wished she had Ava's number, no doubt she would have some interesting input on the night Beatrice was having. 

Before she could entertain that thought any longer, Jacqueline returned, sliding back into her seat with a smile. 

"Do you want to get out of here?" She asked. 

"No." Beatrice replied. "There was an issue with our bill." 

Jacqueline frowned. "How come?" 

Beatrice wondered if it was merely a matter of good timing or if their waiter had a flair for the dramatic, because it was that moment he chose to return with two separate cheques and set them down in front of them. 

Although Beatrice had to admit there was something mildly entertaining about the way Jacqueline's gaze dropped to the cheque and the subsequent realisation that dawned on her face. 

"Excuse me?" Jacqueline frowned. "What is this?" 

"Our bill. Evenly split." Beatrice replied simply. She dropped her card onto her own and handed it back to the waiter. 

"I thought you were a CEO?" 

"I am, although I don't see how that is relevant." 

Jacqueline looked annoyed, and increasingly so at that. "I thought you had money, what kind of a date is this?" 

Okay, now Beatrice was getting annoyed. 

She looked up at the waiter. "I was going to say to change it to forty five percent, but if my maths is correct that'll put it short of eighty eight dollars so just round it up to ninety." 

"…Are you sure?"

"I am. Your service and patience has been exceptional tonight." 

"That is… Thank you." 

"Oh so you'll throw money at a bottom of the barrel waiter but you won't pay the same amount for your date?" 

Beatrice shared another look with the waiter in question and hoped that the expression on her face was enough to silently ask him to give them a moment. 

He understood immediately and turned away with her card in hand. 

"I'm going to be candid for a moment." Beatrice said. "Yes, I have money, but I don't appreciate being used because of that. A date isn't an excuse to get a free meal, no matter the cost. I wouldn't have paid your bill had it been twenty dollars, let alone eighty. As for my tip? He has more than earned it." 

"You're unbelievable." 

The waiter returned with her card and Beatrice promptly slipped it into her pocket and rose to her feet. 

"I have standards. And morals. Morals that I will not change for the sake of appeasing you." Beatrice said firmly. "I'll leave you to the rest of your night." 

Before Jacqueline could say anything else, Beatrice made her exit, stopping to retrieve her jacket and her waiting cheesecake slices before exciting the restaurant and pulling out her phone to book an uber. 

 

--

 

Ava scrolled through her phone aimlessly as Netflix played in the background. 

She'd ran out of things to do. Her plants had found their new homes around the apartment and she'd even found the time to unpack another box before her takeout had arrived. 

Now she was bored as she clicked through her friends' Instagram stories. 

Chanel was out on the town, living her best life as usual, and even though she had invited Ava out, she had no interest in actually joining her. 

God, Ava felt old. 

Or like Lilith. Both were valid. 

But when her front door knocked, Ava felt her heart skip a beat. 

There was very little dignity in the way she scrambled off of the sofa. 

And if she took a moment to smooth out her t-shirt and give it a quick once over for any signs of stains, then that was between Ava and any potential ghosts that lived in her apartment. 

Ava opened the door, unsurprised to see Beatrice standing before her. 

But the lines of tension in Beatrice's body? The slight frown on her lips and the dark eyes? Those were surprising. 

And… frustratingly attractive. 

Beatrice was pissed

And it had no right being as hot as it was. 

Ava cleared her throat weakly. "...It didn't go well, did it?" 

As Beatrice glanced away, Ava watched her jaw tense, the muscles in her throat twitched as she swallowed.

Yep. The date definitely didn't go well. 

And she knew it was inappropriate, that Beatrice was angry and definitely in need of her support right now. 

But oh God it was a conscious effort not to picture an angry Beatrice having her way with Ava. 

Nope. Not now. 

Maybe later. 

…Definitely later. 

"The Republican had better manners." Beatrice eventually said. 

"Well… shit." Ava replied. She gestured behind her with her thumb. "Do you want wine? I have wine and like… two egg rolls that definitely have your name on them." 

Beatrice dropped her gaze to the floor as she laughed. When she lifted her head to look at Ava, her eyes were lighter, her body language much more relaxed. 

"I'd like that." Beatrice lifted her hand, showing Ava a small plastic bag. "Although I think cheesecake might be more suitable for this." 

Ava stepped aside so Beatrice could enter and laughed. 

"And just for that you literally have free access to my apartment." 

Beatrice laughed too as she walked inside, turning to face Ava as she closed the door. 

"A word of warning, I'm not sure how it is, I know Lilith warned me about the tiramisu but -" 

"Hey, you gotta be a really shit chef to fuck up a cheesecake. A kid could make it." 

Beatrice laughed again and she followed Ava towards the kitchen. 

"Can you make it?" She asked. 

"I… cannot. My skill with food starts and ends with my capacity to eat. I'm really good at eating. Especially eating out." Ava frowned as her words caught up with her. "Takeout. I… I'm good at eating takeout."

There was a long pause as Beatrice focused on setting the bag on the counter, she didn't meet Ava's gaze as she pulled out two small boxes. 

Ava was extremely thankful for that. 

"In my defence, I've drank a decent amount of wine and that sounded very differently in my head." 

Thankfully, Beatrice's voice sounded more amused if anything as Ava busied herself with grabbing two forks and another wine glass. 

"Don't worry about it, Ava." 

Ava was more worried about accidentally propositioning her neighbour after what was clearly a shitty date than anything else. 

Together they made their way over to the sofa, Beatrice set down their cheesecakes though she remained standing as she fidgeted with the sleeves of her jacket. 

"You can take it off if you like." Ava offered. "Just throw it over the back of the chair." 

She made a mental note to add a coat rack to her list of items for the apartment. 

As Beatrice did so, Ava reached over to grab the remote to pause her movie. 

Beatrice sat down on the other end of the sofa and looked over at the TV. 

"Oh, lost boys?" 

"Easily one of the best vampire movies." Ava shrugged. 

Beatrice smiled. "You like vampires?" 

"Vampires are hot." Ava shrugged. 

"I'm more partial to werewolves myself." 

"I can respect that." Ava laughed. She reached over to pick up the bottle of wine and filled Beatrice's glass before topping up her own. "So… Do you want to talk about it?" 

Beatrice sighed as Ava handed her the glass and took a long sip. 

"It was just… Calling it a nightmare feels like I'm being dramatic but it's also the only word that feels fitting." 

"That bad?" 

Beatrice stared ahead as she hummed. Ava pulled her feet up and folded them under herself as she twisted to face Beatrice fully. 

"We had very different morals. She was just… A lot." 

"Not to sound like I'm prying, but how so?" Ava asked. 

Beatrice frowned. "She only seemed to care about money and status. The only time she asked me questions was to try and find out how much money I made." 

"How is that at all relevant?" Ava frowned.

"Your guess is as good as mine, she talked a lot about how was starting her own fashion line but was very specific about how she only wanted certain people to wear them." 

Ava reached for her slice of cheesecake and gestured at Beatrice with her fork. 

"By certain people I'm going to take a stab in the dark and assume she meant rich people?" 

"Yes." 

"That's dumb. Imagine only being interested in somebody based on how much money they earn." 

"Or inherit." Beatrice murmured. She glanced over at Ava. "She was also very big on talking about her extensive trust fund." 

Ava turned her attention to her cheesecake and broke a piece off. 

There was a reason why Ava didn't like being public about her own trust fund, why she didn't like using it unless it was necessary. 

A lot of it was because she didn't want to rely on her fathers vague gesture of parenting. 

"I have nothing against people having a trust fund." Beatrice continued softly. "I have one myself and I'll never judge someone for how they choose to use it. But… in the context of the whole night it just became so clear that money was truly all she cared about and I just… didn't like that at all." 

"Yeah, I get that." Ava said. "I have one too, but I can't imagine ever caring more about that shit over the person in front of you." 

Literally the person in front of her. 

How could this woman have cared more about money than Beatrice?

Beatrice met Ava's gaze and smiled softly. "Exactly." 

Ava distracted herself by shoving cheesecake in her mouth and hummed thoughtfully. 

"Good?" Beatrice asked. 

"Passable." 

Beatrice laughed and reached for her own slice. "That's reassuring." 

"Were you using me as a taste tester?" Ava laughed. 

"I trust your judgment." Beatrice shrugged. 

"I'm honoured." 

Beatrice took a moment to eat a few bites, looking extremely thoughtful for somebody eating cheesecake. 

"Can I ask your opinion on something?" Beatrice asked. "I did something back at the restaurant and I'm wondering if I did the right thing." 

"Yeah, shoot." 

Beatrice swapped her cheesecake for the wine and took a long sip. 

"She ordered the most expensive… well, everything. And when the cheque came she expected me to pay the whole bill." 

"Oh fuck that." Ava interrupted. "Please tell me you didn't." 

Beatrice shook her head as the corners of her lips quirked into a small smile. "I asked the waiter to split the bill. Although once you add together my share and the amount I tipped, I ended up paying the same amount anyway. But I only did that because I knew that she would not have tipped him and truthfully, she was extremely rude."

"I'm guessing she was pissed?" Ava asked. 

"She said I was unbelievable." 

Ava scoffed. "In the nicest way, she can go fuck herself. I would have asked the waiter to split the cheque based on who ordered what so she paid for her own expensive shit." 

Beatrice's smile grew as she turned to look at Ava. "Funnily enough that was what the waiter suggested too." 

"Oh I would have been good friends with him." Ava said. "It's good that you tipped him though. Like you said, it sounded like she wouldn't have bothered." 

Beatrice brushed her fingers along the rim of the glass, a move that Ava watched intently. 

They were very nice fingers. 

"So I wasn't wrong in my actions?" Beatrice asked quietly. 

"Fuck no." Ava replied without hesitation. "Who goes into a first date expecting the other party to pay? I wouldn't do that if I were going on a date with someone I know, let alone a blind date. The only exception would be with the promise of a second date, you know the whole 'you can get the next one' type deal?"

Beatrice nodded slowly. "Yes, I do. Not that I tend to make it to a second date to be able to use that method. That's why I stand by splitting it." 

"That's fair though. And honestly it sounds like you really dodged a bullet with her." 

Beatrice laughed softly and took another sip of her wine, setting the empty glass down. 

"So… First a Republican and now a lowkey scammer." Ava filled their glasses again, watching the final drops land in Beatrice's. "What's next? An internationally renowned hacker?" 

Beatrice laughed. "I doubt it. I already have Camila in my life, I don't think there's enough room for another hacker. Certainly not one that lives up to her talents." 

Ava set the empty bottle aside. "I think we're going to need another bottle." 

 

--

 

It was just… so easy to talk to Ava. 

And as they worked their way through the second bottle of wine, it only got easier. 

And that was somewhat terrifying. 

"If she had really wanted to, she could have just Googled me." Beatrice sighed. "There was an article last year that published the amount myself and Camila made, even if it isn't accurate anymore." 

Ava had slumped back against the arm of the sofa, the wine had brought a light flush to her cheeks that Beatrice struggled to not let her gaze linger on. 

Ava, who had admitted to the fact that Lilith had googled her, had admitted that she didn't ask for details or look for herself. 

She had been open about how she believed it should be Beatrice's choice to share that information with Ava. 

So Beatrice shared. 

"Me and Camila have taken pay cuts. Mostly to ensure the staff who work with us are being paid enough, but also in part to help fund the development of our company. We've always wanted to make sure that anything we produce is accessible to everyone. Even more so when we finally get to release our home security systems."

Ava stretched out one of her legs and nudged Beatrice's thigh with the heel of her foot. 

"And that's what sets you apart from Jackie-O. It means fuck all that she's chosen fashion, it's the elitest mindset that only the rich are good enough for her product. It's like the iPhone versus Android debate. How both of them decided to remove the headphone jack and incorporated it into the charging port and how technology now relies on constant upgrades to newer, less reliable models because everything is designed to become obsolete within a few years. And don't even get me started on that tesla asshole."

Apparently a moderately drunk Ava became kind of anti capitalism. 

Beatrice had never been more endeared. 

"Tesla asshole?" Beatrice laughed. 

Though as she glanced over at Ava, her laughter quickly faded. 

Ava was almost lying on her back now, her shirt had ridden up slightly just past her stomach and the flush on her cheeks had spread down her neck. 

Beatrice wondered how far down that flush went. 

And God, she looked good on her back. 

Beatrice looked away. 

They'd drank too much wine. 

"You know what I meant." Ava pointed out. "That's what matters. Besides, I stand by it. I made the mistake of buying a Macbook back in Uni and I'll never do that again, it was so frustrating. I had to buy an adapter just to be able to use a fucking USB drive." 

Ava drew her leg back and sat up, bracing her arm against the back of the sofa. 

"You have a lot of feelings about this." Beatrice said. 

Ava leaned forward, almost tipping over in the process, only catching herself at the last moment by placing her hands on Beatrice's thigh. 

Beatrice held her breath. 

Her touch was so warm. 

Ava was so close. 

It would be so easy for her to just lean forward herself. To close those last few inches. 

"I have a lot of feelings about everything." Ava said seriously. Her eyes searching Beatrice's. "It's a whole thing. Lilith said I was giving off an actively hostile vibe this morning and that was just me minding my own business." 

And there was the problem. 

It always came back to Lilith. 

Part of her wished that Ava would move her hands, if not to just ease the temptation that was burning through Beatrice's chest. 

The rest of her knew it was pointless. She now knew how it felt to have Ava's hands on her, that to remove those hands would do nothing to remove the imprint they'd leave behind. 

She wanted to know what it was about Lilith that drew Ava to her so much. 

Beatrice opted for a question that had the potential for a slightly less painful outcome, instead. 

"Why isn't Lilith with you tonight?" Beatrice asked hesitantly. 

Ava snorted. "You asked me that before you went on your date." 

Had she? 

Beatrice thought back and closed her eyes for a moment. 

She had. 

God, she'd drank too much. 

"Lilith needs a break from me." 

"...I'll never understand how anybody could need a break from you." Beatrice said. 

Ava smiled. "You said that before too." 

"Then you know I meant it." 

Ava was staring again. Beatrice watched her draw a deep breath, the silence stretched on until she finally released it. 

"I'm glad that I met you, Beatrice." 

And as tortuous it was, it was glorious too. 

She had never met anyone like Ava before in her life. 

"The feeling is mutual, Ava." 

They stared at each other for several moments. 

Beatrice wanted to kiss her. 

She blamed it on the wine. It was the wine that was bringing these urges to the surface. 

Beatrice wanted. 

But she couldn't have. 

Her phone rang. 

Beatrice had never been more equal parts relieved and disappointed in her entire life. 

Ava's hands slipped from Beatrice's thigh, suitably startled by the sudden sound as she fell back against the arm of the sofa. 

Beatrice didn't dare look at her as she pulled the phone from her pocket. 

It was Mary. 

Of course it was. 

Beatrice wondered if Jacqueline had spoken to her. 

"You can answer it if you want." Ava said, sitting up and shuffling back to her end of the sofa. 

Beatrice let the phone ring out until it disconnected. 

God, it was almost midnight. 

She'd been with Ava for almost four hours. 

"I'll call her back." Beatrice replied, and with a hint of reluctance in her tone added; "It's late, I should probably go. I've taken up enough of your evening." 

"You're always welcome, Beatrice. Honestly, I had a lot of fun. I'd choose this over a vampire movie anytime." 

Beatrice stood and stretched. "I feel special." 

"You should." Ava got to her feet too. "You are special." 

Beatrice's chest was warm. 

That definitely wasn't because of the wine. 

Beatrice picked up her jacket and draped it over her arm. "Thank you, Ava." 

Ava followed her to the door and stepped past to open it for Beatrice. 

"I mean it Beatrice. I like hanging out with you." 

"We can hang out again, if you'd like." Beatrice said. "Maybe with less wine, though." 

Ava laughed and leaned heavily against the door. "Yeah I'm gonna be hanging tomorrow." 

"Make sure to drink water before you go to bed, okay?" 

"I will. You too." 

"Goodnight, Ava." 

"Night Beatrice." 

Beatrice crossed the hall to her own apartment and unlocked the door. 

She stepped inside as she heard Ava close her own. 

Beatrice turned to press her forehead to the cool wood and let out a long sigh. 

She had to call Mary back. 

She needed a cold shower. 

Beatrice could still feel Ava's touch against her thigh. 

Mary could wait ten more minutes.

She needed that shower first. 

 


 

When Ava's phone rang, she barely resisted the urge to throw it against the wall. 

She fought against those instincts though, and rolled onto her back as she answered it. 

"Hello?" 

"Why do you sound like you're dying?" Lilith asked. 

Ava groaned. "I drank a lot of wine." 

With Beatrice. 

Oh God. 

Ava sat up and instantly regretted the decision as her head pounded in protest. 

"...Why?" 

Ava couldn't even talk about it. 

"Long story." Ava mumbled, letting herself fall back against the pillows. "I'll tell you in five to seven working days." 

Because Ava very much needed to process whatever the fuck had happened last night before she could even begin to explain it to Lilith. 

Last night had been so much, she'd gotten to see a part of Beatrice that Ava was pretty sure not many got to see. 

And as much as Ava wanted her, it was amazing to just get to talk to her. To see how that mind worked. 

What a brilliant mind it was. 

The fact that she had gotten her hands on Beatrice's thigh? That they had been so close that if one of them had moved even the slightest bit closer she would have been able to taste the wine on Beatrice's lips? 

Yeah, that was too much. 

She tried not to be too disheartened that nothing had happened between them. 

Beatrice had just had a really shit date, Ava would have felt like an asshole if she had actively made a move on her. 

"Why are you calling so early anyway?" Ava asked. 

"...You're kidding me, right?" 

Ava pulled a pillow over her face and closed her eyes. "Okay so your tone makes me want to say yes, but that'd be a lie." 

"We're going for a run, remember?" Lilith said. 

"Dear God. No." Ava whined. 

"We had a deal, Ava. And you're hungover, it'll be good for you." 

Lilith may not be able to see her pout, but Ava knew that Lilith knew her well enough to be able to pick up on it by Ava's tone alone when she spoke. 

"But I'm suffering." 

"Ava, I say this with all the love that I am capable of. But If you're not outside in the next ten minutes then I'm coming up there and dragging you out of bed myself." 

"...I'm willing to take that chance." 

"Ava-" 

Ava hung up and rolled onto her stomach. 

Oh, what a mistake she had made. 

She assumed it was precisely ten minutes later when her bedroom door slammed open, before Lilith could reach her bed, Ava rolled over and sat up, careful to hold the blanket to her chest as to not accidentally flash Lilith. 

"Okay…" Ava rubbed at her eyes. "I didn't think you'd actually do that." 

"Honestly that's on you." 

Ava snorted and lay back down. "True. That's very much on me." 

Lilith walked over to stand at her bedside and stared begrudgingly down at her. 

"Ava?" 

"Yeah?" 

"Why is your vibrator tucked under your blanket like a robotic lover?" 

Ava rolled her head to the side to see the object in question resting on the pillow beside her. 

"Oh hey buddy." Ava greeted before she turned back to Lilith. "Long story?" 

Lilith rolled her eyes. "I get that you're sad and horny but isn't the spooning of your sex toy a little bit excessive?" 

"You know the old saying, keep your friends close and your vibrators closer." Ava replied, she made a vague gesture with her hand and let it fall back to the pillow beside her. 

She didn't expect for the slight movement to turn it on, but apparently this was just her life now. 

Lilith raised an eyebrow. "Is that on full power?" 

"Yes." Ava sighed over the sound of borderline aggressive vibrating. "Yes it is." 

"Jesus, you are horny." 

Ava draped an arm over her eyes and nodded. 

"Come on." Lilith kicked the bed. "Clean your toy, get dressed and meet me in the living room." 

"Yup. Got it." 

She listened to Lilith's footsteps slowly retreat from the room. 

And as quiet as Lilith's words were, she also didn't miss them. 

"Never thought I'd have to tell who is essentially my sister to clean her vibrator, but sure. This is fine." 

Ava snorted to herself. 

At least they could bond over the sheer fucking weirdness that were their lives. 

With another groan, Ava threw back the covers. 

 

--

 

When Beatrice had met Camila that morning, the first thing Camila had asked was if she was hungover. 

And while Beatrice did have the slightest ache in the base of the skull, she had dismissed the question quickly. 

Camila didn't really believe her, especially not when Beatrice had asked the barista for an extra shot in her coffee. 

In hindsight, the aviators probably didn't help her case much either. 

But Camila had been quickly distracted once they had found their seats and Beatrice had began to tell her the details of her date. 

"Holy shit." Camila said when Beatrice had finished. "Have you spoken to Mary?" 

Beatrice nodded. "I… missed her original call, but I called her back to explain my side of the story." 

"Your side?" 

Beatrice sipped at her coffee and nodded. "Apparently Jacqueline told her that I was a terrible person because I only paid my half and left her hanging and alone. Which was… Mostly true." 

"But she believed you right?" 

"Oh instantly." Beatrice nodded. "Honestly Mary didn't buy Jacqueline's story before she spoke to me." 

"That's a relief at least." Camila laughed. "Mary isn't really giving you much faith in these women, is she?" 

"Not really, no." 

"We should get Shannon to have a word with her, or better yet, ask Shannon to find you a date. I don't know where Mary is finding these women for you." 

"I think they all go to the same gym." Beatrice replied. 

"Mary needs to find a new gym then." 

Beatrice laughed. "At the rate I'm burning bridges on her behalf, you may have a point." 

"Don't worry Bea," Camila reached over and gave her hand a gentle pat. "We'll find you someone." 

Would it make any difference, Beatrice had to wonder. 

It wouldn't be who she wanted. 

"So what did you do when you left?" Camila asked. 

Well, Camila was bound to ask eventually. 

Beatrice hesitated for a moment before she answered. "I went around Ava's. We drank wine while I vented." 

"Oh?" Camila raised an eyebrow. 

"Nothing happened." 

"Even though you wanted something to?" 

"It isn't about what I want. She's taken, end of story." Beatrice looked down at her cup and sighed. "It's just… I really enjoy talking to her, Camila. I need to get over this because there's potential for a really great friendship." 

Ava seemed to understand her on a level that nobody else had, and in such a short period. 

Beatrice knew a connection like that was hard to come by. 

Camila's gaze was sympathetic as she squeezed Beatrice's hand. 

"Hey, it'll all be okay in the end." 

"I hope so." 

God, she really did hope so. 

"Do you want to do something to take your mind off of things?" Camila asked. "I know it's a little early but we could go catch a movie?" 

Beatrice smiled. "I'd like that." 

Camila grabbed her phone and keys from the table. "Come on, I'll drive." 

Beatrice got to her feet and moved to follow Camila to the exit. 

As they stepped out into the cool morning air, Beatrice reached into her jacket pocket for her aviators. 

It was by pure chance that she glanced to her right. 

She saw Ava, leaning heavily against the wall of Wavelengths dressed in a tank top and running shorts, and even with the distance between them Beatrice could see the sweat clinging to her skin. 

But she also saw Lilith, looming over Ava, one hand pressed to the wall above Ava's head as she smirked down at Ava. 

Ava's hands were twisted in Lilith's shirt as her lips moved, the words inaudible to Beatrice's ears. 

To know they were together was one thing. 

But to see them? 

Oh. It was like a knife straight through the chest. 

Beatrice took a deep breath and slipped her aviators on before she turned to follow Camila down the street. 

 

--

 

Ava shook Lilith with what little strength she had left in her body. 

"I. Hate. You." She gasped out. "This is torture. Torture!" 

Lilith's smirk twisted into a full blown grin as she laughed. "You're being dramatic." 

"Nobody should sweat this much!" Ava protested. And after a moments thought added, "Except during fun sexy times, but that is the only exception!" 

Lilith straightened up and flicked Ava's hands from her shirt. "You're sweating the alcohol from your system. You'll thank me later." 

"Nope." Ava groaned. "Torture and death. This is it. You do this shit for fun?" 

Lilith hadn't even broken a sweat, the traitor. 

"Don't you want a nice toned stomach to show off to Beatrice?" 

Ava groaned louder. "I hate you. And I have a great body, thank you." 

"Yes, you do. But I maintain that this is good for you." 

"Lilith…" Ava whined. "My body is crying." 

"It's called sweat, Ava." 

" Crying. "

Lilith laughed again. "Look. If I buy you coffee and a cinnamon roll, will you run again with me next Saturday?" 

Ava narrowed her eyes at Lilith. "Three cinnamon rolls." 

"Two." 

"Deal." Ava pushed off of the wall, her mood immediately brighter. "Pleasure doing business with you." 

Lilith rolled her eyes and gave Ava's back a firm pat. "I'm just glad that you're so easily appeased by the promise of baked goods." 

"I know, I'm predictable, but you love me for it." 

"Don't get too big headed." Lilith replied. "But yes, I do." 

Ava grinned as they began to walk towards the entrance to the cafe, though her steps faltered as she saw two figures walking several feet ahead of her. 

She recognised that leather jacket, Ava was sure of it. 

The bell overhead chimed as Lilith pushed the door open and walked inside, leaving Ava to stare ahead and wonder.

Was that Beatrice? 

 

Chapter Text

 

It didn't matter how close Ava was with Lilith, that they were essentially family who would die for each other at a moment's notice. Because whenever Lilith called Ava into her office using that tone, all Ava could think about was getting called into the headmistresses office. 

You can take the girl out of Catholic school, but you can't take the Catholic school out of the girl. 

Ava had barely even entered the room before she began talking. 

"Okay so I know the glitter bomb was a bit out there but I already spoke to the cleaners and promised that I'd clean it up and -" 

"What the fuck are you talking about?" Lilith interrupted, looking up from her laptop and frowning. "Glitter bomb? Who have you glitter bombed?" 

Oh fuck. 

Ava closed the door slowly and moved further into the room, smiling sheepishly at Lilith. 

"Okay so I kinda thought I was in trouble which honestly would have been surprising because I haven't seen any glitter yet so there was no way anyone could have known about it unless Jason snitched-" 

"Why is Jason involved?" Lilith asked. 

"Team bonding?" Ava replied. "Or revenge for making him cry. Take your pick." 

Lilith sighed. "Ava… Who have you glitter bombed?" 

"Well…" 

"Ava." 

"Crimson." 

"I…" Lilith closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. "I'm going to pretend that I didn't hear any of that." 

"That's probably for the best." Ava agreed. She dropped down into the seat and grinned. "So, what's up?" 

"I just had a very interesting phone call." 

"Oh, let me guess!" Ava leaned forward to rest her elbows on Lilith's desk. "Your dad? No. My dad? Ew I hope not. Oh I got it! You have been contacted about your car's extended warranty?" 

The silence stretched on as Lilith's expression grew more irritated. 

"Are you done?" 

"...Yes." 

"It was Jillian Salvius." 

Oh shit. 

"Really? Why?" Ava asked. 

Lilith leaned back in her seat. "She wants our firm, you and I specifically, to represent her and draw up the contract for a certain… business deal she's accepting." 

Ava perked up. 

Wait. 

"You mean…" 

"ArqTech is going to partner with OCS industries, yes." Lilith nodded. 

Ava grinned. 

God, Beatrice was going to be so happy. This meant so much to her. 

It had only been a day since she had last (maybe) seen Beatrice outside of Wavelengths, but now she couldn't wait to see the other woman just to see the joy in her eyes. 

"That's awesome news!" Ava replied. 

"Serious talk Ava, Jillian is going to speak to them this morning to accept the offer but you're not allowed to talk to Beatrice about anything to do with the details of the contract." 

"I know." Ava nodded. "Don't worry about that, that'd jeopardise things for all of us and I'm not about to do that. I'm a paralegal first and a horny mess second." 

"How mature of you." 

"I know you're using a sarcastic tone, but thank you." 

"Provided they still want to partner with Jillian, she'll be contacting me about setting up a meeting so that we can start drawing up a list of conditions she wants. You'll be coming too."

"Are we talking board room meeting or lunch date meeting?" 

Lilith sighed. "I'm sure she would be fine with a lunch date meeting." 

"Awesome." 

Even with the door closed, they both startled when they heard an extremely loud pop followed by a lot of angry cursing. 

Hesitantly, Ava met Lilith's gaze. 

"Was that the glitter bomb?" 

"Yep." 

"Do you want to make yourself scarce and run some errands for me?" 

"Also yes." 

Lilith rolled her eyes. "Okay, come on. It'll probably keep you out of the building until she goes to court." 

God, Ava loved this woman. 

 

--

 

When her phone rang beside her, Beatrice initially intended to ignore it. 

She suspected it was Mary, and God forbid it be Mary telling her that she had found another date for Beatrice. 

It wasn't even lunchtime yet. 

Beatrice wasn't really in the mood to deal with that just yet. 

To deal with much, to be honest. 

Admittedly, her mood had been low since the sight of Ava and Lilith on Saturday morning. 

It was ridiculous. It shouldn't be affecting her nearly as much as it was. 

It wasn't as though it was new information to her. 

But God, whenever she thought about it her chest ached. 

But as much as it did hurt, Beatrice knew that she wouldn't be able to bring herself to distance herself from Ava entirely. 

The sooner she accepted that they could only ever be friends, the better. 

So for now, Beatrice let her phone ring. 

Until Camila appeared at her shoulder. 

"Um… Bea, Jillian Salvius is calling you." 

Oh fuck, never mind. 

Beatrice almost knocked her mouse off of her desk in her haste to grab the phone before it disconnected and pressed it to her ear. 

"Hello?" 

"Good morning, Ms Kline. It's Jillian." 

"Good morning. How are you?" Beatrice asked politely. 

Camila moved to grab her chair and wheeled it over so that she could drop down beside her. 

"Very well thanks, and you?" 

"Likewise." Beatrice replied. "I have Camila here with me, am I okay to put you on speaker?" 

"By all means." 

Beatrice was thankful that she was able to keep her breathing steady. 

This was it, wasn't it? 

They were going to get their answer. 

"Good morning, Jillian." Camila greeted warmly when Beatrice set the phone down on the desk. 

"Hello Camila, I'm glad to be able to catch you both." 

"How can we help you?" Beatrice asked. 

"I'll cut to the chase, I loved your proposal and everything about your company. So yes, ArqTech will partner with you." 

Camila's grin was bright enough for the both of them. It was a good thing too, Beatrice was too stunned to react. 

Or to speak. 

"Oh wow, Jillian. Thank you so much." Camila replied. 

Thank God for Camila. 

"I have no words." Beatrice admitted. "This means so much." 

"You shouldn't sound so surprised, I was sold on your initial proposal before we met officially. Meeting you both and seeing your work ethic firsthand only solidified my decision." 

Beatrice's mind was spinning. 

This opened up so many doors for them. There was so much potential. 

"Now, this will take some time. We will need to meet to come to an official agreement." Jillian said. "I trust that you have a lawyer?" 

"We do."Beatrice replied. 

"I'll be meeting with mine in the next few days to put together some points I would like to address so I suggest you both do the same. Though I believe it will be a painless endeavour, considering everything." 

Beatrice couldn't believe this was really happening. 

"Yes, that won't be a problem." Beatrice said. "We'll contact him right away." 

"Wonderful. I look forward to seeing you both again soon." 

"Likewise."

"Goodbye, girls." 

Camila was still grinning. "Bye Jillian!" 

The moment the call disconnected, Camila was out of her seat and tackling Beatrice into a hug, her laughter was bright in Beatrice's ear. 

"Holy shit, Bea!" 

Beatrice laughed. "This is really happening?" 

"It's really happening." 

God. 

Beatrice's was in the clouds. 

Her phone started to ring again. 

It was Mary's name that lit up the screen. 

She knew instantly why. 

Beatrice stared at it and felt Camila lift her head and turn it to look too. 

"Um… Bea?" 

"Let me enjoy this moment first."

Her phone stopped ringing and for almost a whole minute, Beatrice got to enjoy silence. 

And then Camila's phone began to ring. 

So much for that. 

"Sorry Bea." Camila said, straightening up and patting her shoulder as she pulled out her phone. 

Well… She had tried. 

"Hey Mary, what's up?" Camila greeted warmly. She's moved to lean against Beatrice's desk. "Oh Bea? Yeah she's like… elbow deep in, no.. Not that. She's been hard at work." 

Beatrice raised an eyebrow as Camila hummed and nodded periodically. 

"Sure I can put you on speaker." Camila said. 

She pulled the phone from her ear and tapped her thumb against the screen before she set it down on the desk. 

"Beatrice? You there?" Mary asked. 

"Yes, hi Mary." 

"Okay so Jocelyn and Jacqueline were both disasters. My bad." 

Camila snorted. "Understatement." 

"So I'm going to make it up to you with -" 

"Another date, I assume?" Beatrice asked. 

Mary was silent for a few moments. "...Okay listen -" 

"Mary…" Beatrice sighed. 

"She's definitely not a republican or obsessed with money." 

"Is she actually a decent human?" Camila asked. "Has Shannon vetted her?" 

"No but Shannon has made a bet with me that she can find Beatrice a date that she will like so I'm really putting my money on this girl." 

Beatrice raised an eyebrow. "So you're making bets based entirely on my happiness?" 

"...Sort of, yes." 

"Mary -" 

"Just… Give her a chance? She's super hot." 

Yes, because that was the be all end all. 

Beatrice met Camila's gaze, silent in her plea for a suggestion. 

"Third time the charm?" Camila said with a shrug. 

Ava and Lilith in front of Wavelengths flashed through her mind. 

God. 

She had to get over it. 

"Fine." Beatrice sighed. 

"Sweet." 

"Also if this girl is terrible then Shannon gets to find you a date to prove how good she is." Camila pointed out. "So you might actually stand a chance." 

"Yeah… wait, what?" Mary asked. 

Beatrice nodded. "Yes, what? Are we saying that we want to put me through another bad date with the hopes that Shannon will be a better judge of character than Mary and set me up with someone good?" 

"I'm still here, you know." Mary said dryly. 

"I'm just making sure that we're all on the same page." Beatrice replied. 

"Yup. Always looking on the bright side." Camila added. 

Mary sighed. "Yeah that's fair. Beatrice, do you want to choose the place or leave it up to Serena?" 

Serena? 

Nice name, if nothing else. 

"Let her decide. Just text me the details." 

"Will do. Catch you guys later." 

"Bye Mary." Camila said before hanging up. She immediately looked to Beatrice. "You're going to lowkey judge this girl based solely on where she wants to go, aren't you?" 

"Kind of. Yes." 

If Beatrice ended up in another expensive restaurant she would be running for the hills. 

"Where would you want to go on a date?" Camila asked. “What are you looking for?”

That had Beatrice falling silent. 

Because honestly? She didn't even know what it was she was looking for. 

"I'm… Looking for a feeling. I suppose." Beatrice said eventually. "I'll know it when I experience it." 

She pushed down any thoughts about… her that tried to make their way to the surface. 

Camila must have known where her thoughts were drifting from the look on her face. 

"Hey, it'll be okay." She said. "Do you wanna talk about it or get back to work?" 

"Back to work, definitely." 

"Do you want to call our lawyer?" 

"Yes. Absolutely." 

Bless Camila for knowing just what to say and do. 

 

--

 

On God. 

Ava had fucked up. 

She'd fucked up so bad. 

It was only supposed to be a grilled cheese. 

This was why Ava didn't cook. 

At least she'd put the fire out. 

But now she had the new problem of trying to shut the damn fire alarm off. 

"Stop yelling!" Ava yelled up at the device. "I can hear you! The fire is gone!" 

Just to spite her, the alarm continued to bleep at her. 

"This is why I need Lilith." Ava said to herself as she made her way to throw the windows of the living room open. "That fucking tree of a woman could just reach up and turn that shit off but no… She has to be married to her work." 

Ava turned and stared back up at the alarm. 

Stupid, beautiful high ceilings. 

She made her way back over towards the kitchen counter to grab one of the stools so that she could drag it beneath the fire alarm and gave it an experimental nudge. 

Oh that wasn't sturdy at all. 

This was about to be her final destination moment. 

There was a frantic knock at her door and Ava immediately felt a pang of dread in her chest. 

Obviously it was Beatrice, it could only be Beatrice. 

But Jesus fucking Christ could this get more embarrassing? 

Beatrice was going to think she was so incapable of being an adult. 

Which okay, little bit accurate. 

But she was trying dammit.

"Ava?" Beatrice called through the door. "Are you okay?" 

Ava hurried to the door and pulled it open, waving a hand to try and clear some of the smoke as she came face to face with an extremely concerned looking Beatrice holding a bag of groceries. 

An extremely concerned Beatrice in a black turtleneck and the ever present leather jacket. 

"Hey… Beatrice." Ava greeted as casually as she could. "How's it going?" 

Beatrice blinked at her. 

…It was possible that her tone did very little to ease the tension with the alarm going off behind her and the sheer amount of smoke. 

"Are you okay?" Beatrice asked. 

"I really wasn't kidding when I said I have no skills with cooking." Ava replied. "Is the alarm really that loud?" 

Beatrice noticeably relaxed, even going so far as to let out a breathless laugh. 

"Yes, as soon as I stepped out of the elevator. What happened?" 

"Grilled cheese gone wrong." Ava sighed. "It's all good though. I was just about to try and turn the alarm off." 

Beatrice looked past Ava's shoulder, and judging by the slight raise of her eyebrows, had noticed the stool in the middle of the room. 

"That… Doesn't look safe. Do you want a hand?" 

Ava would very much like Beatrice's hand. 

But now was not the time for that. 

"Yeah, please. I was fully having visions of falling off of that stool and breaking my neck. That would be so embarrassing." 

Beatrice smiled. "We certainly can't have that, can we?" 

Ava gestured for Beatrice to follow her inside, Beatrice closed the door behind her. 

The last thing they needed to do was to set off the alarms in the whole building too. 

"It's probably better if I go on the stool." Beatrice said. 

"Because you have a much better sense of balance?" Ava asked. 

Beatrice shot an amused look in her direction as she set her bag down on the sofa. 

"Because I'm taller, Ava." 

Right. 

That too. 

Ava laughed. "Okay." 

"Will you hold the stool steady for me?" 

"Yep. Yep, I can totally do that." Ava nodded. 

She made her way over to the stool and gripped onto the edges of it as she waited for Beatrice to join her.

"I'm going to need to put my hands on your shoulders, is that okay?" 

Holy shit yes. 

Ava nodded again. "Yup." 

It was clearly too much to ask for one normal day, but if this was the payoff then Ava was hardly going to complain. 

Because now Beatrice was bracing her hands on Ava's shoulders and effortlessly hoisting herself up onto the stool. 

"So…" Ava cleared her throat. "How was your day?" 

Beatrice laughed as she straightened up and stretched her arms above get head to reach for the fire alarm. 

"You want to make small talk right now?" 

"May as well." 

Beatrice hummed and switched the alarm off before climbing back down, once again using Ava's shoulders to steady herself. 

"Somewhat eventful, yourself?" Beatrice glanced over towards the kitchen. "Not including this, obviously." 

"Same. I mean, someone at work kind of wants to kill me because I glitter bombed her. But it was totally worth it." 

Oh shit. 

Ava groaned. "...And I'm just now remembering that I was totally supposed to clean that all up. So I guess I'm going into the office early tomorrow."

She was going to need so much coffee. 

"Why did you glitter bomb her?" Beatrice asked. 

"Because she is the worst and she made Jason cry, and okay Jason is annoying as hell but Crimson is just cruel and she needs to not do that." 

"So, glitter?" 

Ava nodded. "An exceptional amount of glitter." 

Beatrice smiled. 

God, Ava wanted to kiss that face. 

"At least the smoke is clearing quickly." Beatrice noted as she glanced around the room. 

"Teaches me to cook. If you can call grilled cheese, cooking." Ava shrugged. "Take out it is." 

As Beatrice looked back at Ava, her expression was thoughtful. 

"Do you want to come over for dinner?" She asked. 

"Oh shit, Beatrice, I wasn't like, trying to hint or-" 

"I know." Beatrice interrupted softly. "But I'm still offering. I'm getting the distinct impression that you eat very little in the way of real food and that is somewhat alarming." 

Well… she certainly wasn't wrong. 

Also spending more time with Beatrice? 

Ava could hardly find a reason to say no. 

"Okay." Ava nodded. "I'd love to." 

Beatrice nodded too, though it seemed to be more to herself than anything. 

"Okay. Good. Good, I'll… need to get changed first but you're welcome to come over now?" 

Ava was fairly sure she would not survive being in Beatrice's apartment with the knowledge of her being some degree of naked in the next room. 

She could barely cope with the knowledge that Beatrice would be naked when a hallway separated them. 

"Um…" Ava scratched the back of her neck. "I should probably wait for the smoke to clear and close the windows? I don't think we need a repeat of the pigeon incident." 

Beatrice laughed. "Good point. Do you want to come over in say… ten minutes?" 

"Ten minutes sounds good." 

Beatrice moved to pick up her groceries. "Okay, come over when you're ready." 

"Yep. Will do. I will absolutely come. Over. Come over." 

Sometimes Ava wished she knew how to hold her tongue. 

 

--

 

Was this a bad idea? 

Yes. Most likely. 

Could Beatrice have stopped herself from asking Ava to join her? 

No. Not in a million years. 

And now Beatrice was left standing in her bedroom, trying desperately to figure out what she was going to wear. 

To be honest, Ava was in a hoodie and sweatpants so… There wasn't really much harm in following her lead. 

Beatrice dug out black sweats and a black t-shirt and changed quickly before she made her way out of the bedroom towards the kitchen. 

She began to get to work, putting some music on while she prepped their meal. 

Beatrice let herself fall back into muscle memory as she listened out for Ava's knock. 

She had just placed the burgers under the grill when the knock came. 

Beatrice crossed the room quickly and opened the door. "Come in." 

Ava grinned as she followed Beatrice into the apartment, though the footsteps quickly stopped. 

Beatrice glanced over her shoulder to see Ava looking around the room with interest. 

The layouts of their respective apartments were practically identical, though Ava was quickly drawn in by Beatrice's computer. 

"Holy shit, this looks… intense." 

Beatrice laughed. "It's custom built. For lack of a better term, it's my baby." 

"I guess with your work you need it." Ava said. 

"Yes. I have to get back to the kitchen, but explore at your leisure." 

To her surprise, rather than look around, Ava opted to follow her and hopped onto one of the stools and rested both elbows on the counter. 

"Thanks for having me." Ava said. 

Oh, Beatrice wished that she could. 

Beatrice turned away to check on the grill. 

"I hope you don't mind turkey burgers?" 

"Can't say I've ever tried them or that they were even a thing, but I'm willing to try anything once." 

Anything? 

Beatrice really needed to stop. 

"Hopefully you'll enjoy it. I have a bottle of pinot noir if you'd like a glass?" 

"Only if you'll have one too." Ava said. 

"I don't see the harm." Beatrice moved to the cabinets to grab two glasses. 

Beatrice told herself that she'd allow herself two glasses maximum though. 

She couldn't allow a repeat of the slip like she had felt on Saturday. 

But as Beatrice poured each of them a glass, she thought to the events of her day. 

She thought about her news of Jillian and was surprised at the amount of longing in her chest that she felt at just how much she wanted to tell Ava of her news. 

There was still a chance for the whole deal to fall through, that was the whole reason why she had agreed with Camila to not discuss it until it was official. 

But she wanted to tell Ava so much. 

She wanted to tell Ava about that so much more than her next blind date. 

Beatrice set a glass down in front of Ava and took a sip of her own. "I do actually have some news." 

"Oh?" Ava smiled. She raised her own glass to her lips. "Oh shit, this is some good wine." 

"Thank you, and yes. Do you remember how I was trying to secure a partnership with Jillian Salvius?" 

Ava's smile grew. "I do." 

"She called us this morning, and accepted." 

Ava grinned. 

She looked so proud and happy, but not at all surprised. 

It was likely that it was because Ava had had such unwavering faith in her, but there was something more to it than that. 

Realisation struck her. 

Jillian had already been in touch with a lawyer. 

Beatrice smiled too. "You already know, don't you?" 

Ava wiggled excitedly in her seat, just straight up wiggled. 

She was such a puppy. 

"Jillian called Lilith this morning to ask us to draw up the contract. I'm sorry I didn't say anything but I didn't want to risk it in case she hadn't spoken to you yet." Ava explained. "Also because I obviously can't actually talk about it in detail because -" 

"Possible conflicts of interest." Beatrice finished. "I understand, and thank you." 

Ava shrugged. "I know how important this is for you, the last thing I want to do is jeopardise it in any way." 

For as soft as her voice was, Ava's tone was nothing but serious. 

"Not just that, but Jillian is such a big name for your firm to have." Beatrice said. 

"Not as important. I love Jillian, but there's other clients out there. Lilith would probably kill me but the firm would survive it." 

Beatrice doubted she meant that, she knew the girl well enough to know that Ava wouldn't actively destroy her firms reputation. 

But the fact that she was so dead set on making sure Beatrice knew that Ava was aware of how important this all was to her only made her chest ache. 

This girl… 

God, she was so kind. 

She cared so much. 

And it wasn't as though Mary, Shannon and Camila weren't caring. They were the family that she had chosen for herself and they cared for Beatrice so deeply. 

But even the relationship Beatrice had built with each of them had taken time for her to feel comfortable enough to be able to show them her full self. 

And yet here Ava was, who seemed to just understand her and care for her as though it was pure instinct. 

Ava confuses her. 

Ava intrigues her. 

Beatrice knows that she has never met anyone like Ava before in her life and she just… doesn't know what to do with that knowledge. 

"Why aren't you celebrating though?" Ava asked. 

"It… It wouldn't feel right. Not until it was official." Beatrice replied. 

She turned back to their food. 

Ava was silent for a few minutes as Beatrice assembled and plated up their burgers. 

It didn't look like much, as she inspected the plates and as Beatrice finally turned back to Ava to set a plate down before her, she could only hope it was enough and that she hadn't wasted the girls time. 

"Well… when it is official -" 

"If." Beatrice corrected. 

"Nah." Ava shook her head. "When. Have faith Beatrice, this is going to happen. So when it does, you do need to celebrate." 

She had so much faith. 

Beatrice couldn't bring herself to deny Ava. 

"I will." 

"Promise?" 

"I promise." Beatrice pointed at Ava's burger. "Now eat." 

She set her own plate down in front of the stool beside Ava and watched as the girl grinned and picked up the burger, leaning close to take a huge bite. 

The moan that came from Ava's mouth? 

Jesus Christ, it did things to Beatrice. 

"Oh my God." Ava closed her eyes and tilted her head back, looking nothing short of blissful. "This is the best thing that I've ever eaten." 

Beatrice was thankful that Ava was so distracted as to not notice how red her ears must be turning. 

She should really take her hair down. 

"And yeah when I say that I'm including everything. " Ava continued. 

Sorry Lilith. 

Beatrice pulled the hair tie from her hair as she walked around to take her seat beside Ava

"I… I'm glad you're enjoying it." Beatrice said. 

She reached up to pull her hair free of the tie and shook it out. 

Ava turned her head and grinned. "No seriously, what's in this and… You took your hair down?" 

"I… prefer to keep it out of the way when I'm cooking." Beatrice dismissed quickly. "As for the burgers, there's jalapeño and cheddar in them." 

"God. I'd say give me the recipe but I'd only butcher them." 

Beatrice reached for her wine. "I'm sure you can learn, you can do anything, Ava." 

"Cooking is not one of those things." Ava snorted. "Besides, there's better things to talk about beyond my lack of a career as a chef." 

Beatrice smiled. "Okay, so beyond the glitter bomb and your fire, how was your day?" 

Ava jumped into telling Beatrice about her day and while Beatrice found herself hanging onto her every word, she couldn't help but be taken aback by just how relaxed and domestic this whole thing was.

It was nice. 

Beatrice held back a sigh. 

It was really nice. 

"What about you? Awesome news aside?" 

The words were coming out of Beatrice's mouth before she could stop them. 

"My friend is setting me up on another date." 

Ava paused with the burger an inch from her mouth. "Oh shit, same friend?" 

"Yes." 

"Is she setting you up with someone better than the last two?" 

"...I hope so." 

Not even to date, necessarily. 

But Beatrice wasn't sure she could handle another terrible night, even if Ava had made the last one considerably better. 

"I hope so too." Ava said sincerely. "You deserve a nice girl." 

Beatrice wasn't sure about that, either. 

Ava's eyes were so warm, there was so much conviction in her voice. 

Beatrice looked away. 

"Thank you, Ava. You're a good friend." 

The words hurt to say. 

But the sooner she got over this crush, the better. 

 


 

Ava was vaguely aware of the door to Lilith's office opening, but she made no attempt to lift her head off of the desk. 

Which in hindsight, was probably not the smartest move, if the way Lilith gave a small yelp of surprise upon switching on the lights was anything to go by. 

"Ava? What the fuck?" 

"Hi Lilith." Ava greeted, her voice muffled by the desk. 

She heard the dull sound of Lilith setting her bag down and could practically feel her eyes burning into Ava's skull. 

"Why are you sitting in the dark? And why are you here so early?" 

"I had to clean up the glitter from yesterday. So I'm sorry in advance because I'm kinda covered in it so you will be finding traces of it in here for the next year." 

"Wonderful. And the reason for your my chemical romance energy?" 

Ava snorted despite herself. "So I lowkey set the kitchen on fire last night." 

"Of course you did." 

"And the fire alarm went off just in time for Beatrice to come home and long story short, she invited me over for dinner." 

"Nice, but why-" 

"She called me her friend." 

"Oh. Fuck." 

"There was very little in the way of fucking." 

Lilith sighed. "Ava." 

"Let me use humour to cope with my pain." Ava lifted her head and frowned at Lilith's scowl. "Oh shit, what's up with you?" 

Lilith's scowl deepened. "It's nothing." 

Ava sat up and studied Lilith. 

She knew Lilith as well as she knew herself. 

And it was clear that she was in a bad mood. 

Which was definitely surprising for first thing in the morning. 

"Lilith?" 

"I'm fine, Ava. I just had a bad morning at the gym." 

"Bad how?" 

"Ava. I don't want to talk about it." 

And okay, sometimes it was hard to get Lilith to open up, but from history Ava knew that if she was closing up like this then it had to be because of a girl. 

She had said there were a lot of hot girls at the gym. 

But Ava knew that if Lilith wanted to, when she was ready, she'd talk to Ava about it. 

At the very least, there was a strange sense of comfort that came from the whole situation. 

Beatrice's disasters from her blind dates, the fact that she clearly had no interest in Ava and now Lilith having some unspoken girl trouble. 

They were all fucked. 

But at least they were all fucked together. 

"I can't believe I'm about to say this." Lilith began with another sigh. "But we've got time before everyone else starts to get here. Do you want to get mcdonald's?" 

"Damn. You know I'll never say no to hash browns." Ava replied. 

"Come on, I'll buy you breakfast if you buy the coffee on the way back." 

"I fucking love you." 

They both smiled.

"I know." Lilith replied. "Grab your jacket, it's cold out there today." 

 

--

 

"You're moping." 

Beatrice turned to look at Camila's face on her monitor. "I'm not moping." 

"You chose to work at home today and you've got frowny lines. You're moping." 

Beatrice sighed. 

How was Camila so perceptive even over zoom? 

"What's up? Is it because of your date tomorrow?" 

It definitely didn't help. 

"While I'm not particularly fond of going out for drinks in the middle of the week, no." 

Mary had called her first thing this morning to confirm the details. 

"Then what is it?" Camila asked, expression full of concern. "Do you want me to come over? I can bring my laptop." 

"No, it's fine Camila." Beatrice replied. "I'll be okay. I just want to keep my head down and work today." 

"I'm going to door dash you some food, don't even think about arguing." 

Beatrice laughed. "Thank you, Camila." 

"I love you Bea." 

"I love you too."

"Call me if you need me?" 

"I will." 

As they disconnected the call, Beatrice removed her headset and set it aside. 

She probably should have gone into the office today, if for no other reason than to distract herself from her own thoughts. 

But as she had gotten up this morning with so much on her mind that even her run had done little to settle her. 

Beatrice couldn't have dealt with Camila's watchful gaze, regardless of how much she loved her. 

She didn't know what she was supposed to do. 

Ava was so much, and Beatrice was becoming increasingly consumed by her. 

They were friends. 

They could only be friends. 

Beatrice just had to figure out how to get her heart to get on board with that idea too. 

It had been such a long time since she had developed any sort of feelings for someone. 

And Beatrice had never felt more lost. 

 

--

 

Ava was thankful to have Lilith as a boss. 

It had been a silent offer to allow Ava to work in Lilith's office with her today, but it had been one that Ava had accepted without hesitation. 

There wasn't much need to talk, they both had work to do and neither of them were particularly in the mood to hold conversations that weren't work related or to ask the other if they wanted more coffee.

But Ava was thankful nonetheless. 

It was a rare time where Ava was content to just coexist as they each listened to music through their earphones. 

Confused and disheartened were the words that came to mind. 

When it came to Beatrice, everything became confusing. 

Ava didn't think that the energy she felt between them was one sided, in fact she thought there had been a healthy flirtation building between them. 

There were moments where Ava had seen a shift in Beatrice's expression during their interactions and she had interpreted that as interest. 

Apparently not. 

Friends then. 

She could live with that. 

She had to. 

Ava pulled out one of her earphones as her phone began to ring and saw Lilith glance over at her. 

She checked the screen. 

Chanel. 

Ava answered it and pressed the phone to her ear. 

"Hey Chanel."

"Hello darling. Who hurt you?" 

"I… Excuse me?" 

"I follow you on Spotify, Ava. I can see what you've been listening to for the last hour. The Taylor Swift was to be expected but you had me concerned when I saw Rascal Flatts and Coldplay." Chanel explained. "And don't even get me started on what Lilith is listening to." 

Ava glanced at her friend from the corner of her eye. "Why? What is she listening to?" 

"A lot of Paramore and My Chemical Romance." 

"I mean that's just standard." 

"And Lewis Capaldi." 

Ah. Never mind then. 

"Chanel said we need to stop listening to depressing songs." Ava said. 

Lilith lifted her head again and scowled. "No." 

Chanel sighed. "Put me on speaker, would you?" 

Ava held the phone out as she hit speaker. 

"Okay, say hi to Chanel, Lilith." 

Lilith rolled her eyes. "Hi Chanel." 

"So you're both at work having a pity party?" 

"Not how I would put it…" Ava replied. 

"And we are working." Lilith pointed out. "So if you can make this quick that would be great." 

"Cheerful as always, I see." 

"It's been a… rough couple of days." Ava said. 

"What's wrong?" 

"It's a long story." 

"Not to sound like a broken record, but when exactly do you plan on hosting a house warming party? We're overdue for a catchup." 

Lilith shook her head and turned her attention back to her laptop, though she made no attempt to hide her amused smirk. 

"Soon, I promise." 

Chanel hummed, though Ava knew her promise did very little to pacify her. 

"What are you doing tomorrow?" Chanel asked. "Both of you." 

"Um… Other than working? I'm free." 

"Come out with me. We'll have a few drinks and you can tell me everything." 

And okay, that was actually pretty tempting. 

"Count me out." Lilith said bluntly. 

"I'm in." Ava replied before Chanel could say anything. "Only a couple though." 

"Wonderful. I know a place that does excellent martinis." 

"I… don't really drink martinis but -" 

"They also play eighties music." 

Yep. That sold it. 

"Ignore me, I'm there." 

"Beautiful. Love to you both. Lilith, give the emo music a break, please?" 

"No. Goodbye Chanel." 

Ava laughed. "See you tomorrow." 

Once she set her phone aside, Ava was still smiling to herself as she pulled up Spotify and switched her playlist to something slightly more upbeat. 

It didn't fix anything, but she definitely felt a little brighter with the promise of getting to spend some time with one of her closest friends. 

And Chanel rarely came alone, which meant she'd probably get to see J.C. too. 

"You know you're going to end up planning this party right?" Lilith asked. 

"Yep. But I think it's definitely something we both need, don't you?" 

"I won't lie, I actually agree with you." Lilith said. "Just… make sure to plan it for a Friday or Saturday okay? I can't handle midweek drinking." 

Ava snorted. "Lightweight." 

"Hey!" 

Ava laughed as she went back to work. 

 


 

Beatrice stared thoughtfully at the weather report on her phone. 

It had been surprisingly cold when she had gone for her run this morning, so much so that Beatrice had to layer up with a hoodie. 

And if her phone was anything to believe then there was also a pretty decent chance it was going to rain in the next few hours. 

But she also didn't want to ruin her hair with one of her hooded jackets so… her faithful leather it was. 

After getting an emoji filled text of approval from Camila after sending her pre date selfie, Beatrice slipped her jacket on and grabbed her keys on the way out of the apartment.

She paused outside her door long enough to cast a long look at Ava's door. 

Beatrice hadn't seen her since their dinner on Monday night. 

It was odd, to be in this hallway and not encounter her. 

Maybe it was a blessing in disguise. 

But it didn't stop Beatrice from thinking about her until the uber arrived and she was on her way to meet her date. 

 

--

 

"Damn Ava." J.C. laughed. "How hot is this girl?" 

Ava groaned. "So hot. But there's so much more than that. She's smart and kind and it's just so easy to talk to her. There's just something about her…" 

She trailed off to finish the rest of her drink. 

It had definitely been a good idea to come out tonight. 

The bar had such a good atmosphere and even though it would have been great to have Lilith there too, it was nice to have Chanel and J.C. to talk to. 

Even if it meant catching them both up on everything that had been going on since moving into her apartment. 

So… that part hadn't been super fun.

"And now it's starting to sound like you're in love." J.C. said. 

"Definitely lovesick." Chanel agreed. 

"Okay enough of that." Ava laughed. "I thought the whole point of me coming out tonight was to feel better." 

Chanel smiled and reached out to rub her arm consolingly. "Sorry darling. But J.C. has a point. You haven't talked about someone like this since… well since you dated him."

Well… That was a comparison Ava hadn't expected to hear tonight. 

And it definitely did even less to make her feel better.

"I'd really prefer it if we actually started talking about the house warming party please." Ava said. She pushed her empty glass towards J.C. "After we order another round?" 

J.C. rolled his eyes fondly. "Fine. Same again?" 

"Yes please." Ava smiled sweetly. 

She was glad that they'd managed to stay as close as they were even after splitting up. 

He was such a good guy, and Ava would always have love for him in her heart. 

Ava always said he would be a great wingman, not that they had really gotten a chance to try that out. 

"Chanel? Another for you?" He asked. 

"If you'd be so kind." 

J.C. grinned. "Of course. No party talk until I get back though, okay?" 

"Deal."

 

--

 

The bar was nice nice enough that Beatrice didn't feel lost the moment she stepped inside. 

But even the great atmosphere and surprisingly amazing drinks couldn't save Beatrice. 

She really shouldn't have been surprised. 

Honestly at this point, she thought it was a miracle that Mary had ended up with Shannon if this was what her idea of finding dates was like. 

Because yes, Mary had been right that Serena was extremely attractive, with legs so long they put Lilith to shame, long blonde hair and an intense gaze. 

But God, she was rude. 

They'd barely ordered their drinks before she had tried to get Beatrice to pose for a selfie with her, something that made Beatrice extremely uncomfortable and while she had acquiesced as she set her phone down, Beatrice didn't miss the edge in her voice as she had spoken. 

"You're more attractive than your photo led me to believe, but you really need to work on angles and lighting." 

…And patronising. 

"A photo isn't the be all end all." Beatrice replied. 

Which was definitely not something she should have said to Serena, as it turned out she was a self proclaimed social media influencer. 

Not that Beatrice could find it in herself to care in the slightest. 

And she found herself caring even less when Serena chose to start pointing out and insulting anybody who walked in their general vicinity. 

Serena managed to find fault with everyone, be it with their outfits, makeup, hair or even on one occasion the way someone walked past them. 

This was about to be the shortest date in history. 

Her uber probably hadn't even left the block yet. 

But Beatrice had already brought her second drink after hastily downing the first so she was at least going to finish it before she walked out. 

"And look at her." Serena scoffed, her tone didn't lack mild disdain as her eyes tracked someone behind Beatrice. "Nice tits, but clearly doesn't look like someone who could hold a conversation or do much else for you." 

Beatrice was aware of someone coming to a sudden stop beside her and she didn't have to even look at the way Serena's gaze stayed focused to know that this person was the subject of her attack. 

"Thank you! I'm quite fond of them myself." 

Beatrice's gaze whipped to the side. 

Ava. 

She was too stunned to speak. 

No. 

Angry. Definitely angry. 

If Beatrice hadn't already been ready to leave, she was certainly on the verge of abandoning her drink in favour of throwing it in Serena's face for even thinking that about Ava, let alone daring to say it out loud. 

Ava, who looked somewhat concerned as she met Beatrice's gaze, but despite the dimmed lighting of the bar, stood out amongst everyone else. 

Beatrice was still staring even at Ava looked back to Serena. 

Because good God, Serena had been somewhat right about one thing all night. 

Ava's breasts looked amazing in the low-cut red dress she had opted to wear and Beatrice only felt a little bit guilty for acknowledging that. 

Because mostly, she still felt angry. 

"How much did they cost you?" Serena asked apparently even more annoyed that Ava hadn't responded with offence. 

Beatrice turned back to her, openly glaring. 

"Oh, they were on offer." Ava said brightly, going so far as to reach up to cup them. "I got them free with this thing called puberty. Where did you get your attitude from? Reddit?" 

Beatrice snorted, which only served to earn her a scowl from Serena as she looked between them. 

"Excuse me?" Serena asked. "You can't talk to me like that, do you know who I am?" 

Ava dropped her hands and tilted her head thoughtfully as she took a moment to study Serena. 

"Nope. But judging from the apparent lack of personality, I'd hazard a guess that you're an influencer on YouTube." 

"Instagram, actually." Beatrice corrected as she reached for her drink. 

"I don't know if that's worse or not." Ava replied. She smiled at Beatrice. "Bea, you good?" 

Beatrice finished her drink and stood up. "Yes. I'm done here." 

"What?" Serena asked. "What do you mean, done?" 

"I mean, you're quite possibly one of the rudest people I've had the displeasure of meeting, and considering some of the people I've met recently, take my word when I say that is quite a big deal." 

"No seriously, she isn't wrong." Ava nodded seriously. 

"You don't get to sit there and insult people and you certainly don't get to insult her." Beatrice continued as she pulled on her jacket. "So yes. I'm leaving." 

Beatrice wasn't thinking. She just knew that as she took hold of Ava's arm and gently pulled her away with her, her only intention was to get Ava away from this woman. 

"Hashtag burn." Ava called behind her. 

They didn't stop until they were on the pavement, other bar patrons lingered nearby smoking and talking but Beatrice ignored them all as she turned to the girl beside her. 

She was still holding tightly onto Ava's arm. 

"Beatrice?" Ava's spoke gently. "Are you okay?" 

Beatrice let go of Ava's arm and stepped back. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have brought you out here you… You were probably here with Lilith or-" 

"Beatrice." Ava took a step forward. "Hey, it's okay. Seriously, are you okay?" 

"I'm okay." Beatrice sighed. She turned her gaze up to the sky and let herself focus for a moment on the cool breeze against her face. "I'm really not cut out for dating." 

"Actually…" Ava drifted closer. "I think your friend isn't cut out for arranging blind dates." 

Beatrice laughed, despite herself. 

"Do you wanna get out of here?" Ava asked. "I'm pretty sure I saw a diner on the way here declaring that they had the best burgers and milkshakes in the city." 

Beatrice let her gaze fall to Ava.

She never stopped caring, she never stopped thinking about others. 

"What about Lilith?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava snorted and pulled her phone from the pocket of her dress. "Lilith isn't here. I'm here with some friends from school." 

She typed out a quick text and a few moments later, the phone chimed in her hand. 

"And now they know I'm leaving and that I'm not alone." Ava smiled. "No pressure, hell, if you want to be alone I'll just book you an uber and-" 

"Burgers sound good." Beatrice interrupted. 

Ava beamed. "Yeah?" 

"Yes. Is it walking distance?" 

"A couple of blocks." Ava replied as she shoved her hands into her pockets and Beatrice watched her body tense before she gave a small shiver. "But I've only had a couple of drinks so I am gonna need to start walking." 

Ava really did have a habit of not dressing appropriately for the weather. 

Beatrice didn't think twice about pulling her jacket off and holding it out. 

"Beatrice -" 

"Take it, Ava. Please." 

And if Beatrice had thought Ava had looked good wearing her blazer, she had been completely unprepared to see Ava in her leather jacket. 

Fuck. 

Beatrice looked ahead as they began to walk, focused entirely on the girl beside her over everything else. 

"Was she worse than the other two?" Ava asked. 

"Yes." 

And if she had earned that spot simply for daring to insult Ava, then Beatrice didn't offer up that information. 

"I'm sorry." Ava said. 

"It's fine, Ava." Beatrice replied. "These things happen." 

It just turned out that it happened to Beatrice. 

Three times in a row.

"You should fire your friend from arranging you dates." 

"Don't worry. Her wife is intervening." 

 "This is going to sound rude, but considering the women she's picked out for you it's kinda surprising she's married." 

Beatrice laughed. "I had a similar thought myself, actually." 

She could see Ava's grin from the corner of her eye. "Are you going to call her?" 

"I'd rather not." Beatrice said. "That can wait until tomorrow." 

"You sure?" 

"Yes, I'm with you. The rest can wait." 

It was going to hurt like hell later, but right now? 

Right now it was just her and Ava. 

 

--

 

Ava knew she was practically bouncing on her feet with excitement. 

She knew it, Beatrice knew it, the bored looking cashier knew it. 

But holy shit there were so many milkshake options. 

Ava could definitely see Beatrice watching her, amused, from the corner of her eye. 

"I'm so conflicted." Ava groaned. 

"Take your time." Beatrice said. "We won't order until you're ready." 

It took Ava another minute to make her choice. 

"I think I'm just going to get the oreo one you know." 

"Are you sure?" 

Ava nodded. "Final answer." 

Beatrice stepped forward and placed their orders, when it came to pay, she produced her card. 

"Wait," Ava joined Beatrice at her side. "let me." 

"No it's my treat." Beatrice said. "You left your friends for me." 

"And you cooked me dinner the other night." Ava pointed out. "You can get the next one." 

For whatever reason, Beatrice seemed distracted enough by that, that she didn't protest as Ava pulled out her phone and tapped it against the card machine. 

As they'd ordered their burgers to go, as soon as their milkshakes were ready they drifted over to an empty booth to wait to be called. 

Beatrice was silent until Ava took her first sip of milkshake and groaned happily. 

Yeah, oreo had been a good choice. 

"Good?" Beatrice laughed. 

Ava nodded. "They were definitely right to say they have the best milkshakes. But best burgers? A bold claim." 

"Is that so?" 

"Yep. For starters, I've had your burgers. You've ruined me for life with those, by the way." 

Beatrice smiled as she turned to glance out of the window, but didn't offer anything else to say. 

Ava understood, though. 

She couldn't really begin to imagine what must be going through Beatrice's head right now. 

But her reaction from the last date to this one was so different. 

Yeah, that ridiculously attractive tension in her jaw was still there. But they're was something deeply thoughtful in her eyes that had Ava wanting to ask so many questions. 

But instinct told her not to push right now, to just talk about anything else. 

If Beatrice wanted to talk, then she would. 

"That was a good bar though, right?" Ava asked. "Decently priced drinks, good vibes, could have benefited from a dance floor but two out of three isn't bad." 

"Do you like to dance?" Beatrice asked, her gaze still focused on the window. 

"It's like, half the fun of going on a night out." Ava replied. "I'm not saying I'm good at it, but it's fun." 

"It doesn't matter whether you're good at it." Beatrice finally looked over and met Ava's gaze. "All that matters is if it makes you happy." 

"Exactly." Ava grinned. "Do you dance? When you go out?" 

"No, but I also don't go out like that very often." Beatrice took a sip of her own milkshake, her own features brightened. 

"Good right?" Ava grinned. 

"Very." Beatrice agreed, even as the thoughtful look took over once more. "What's it like?" 

"To dance?" 

"Yes." 

"Freeing, I guess." Ava said. She thought back to previous nights out and searched for the right word to explain it. "And okay, the alcohol might help, but for that brief time it's like… Nothing else matters. You're completely separated from all of the shit going on in the rest of your life. I don't know what other words to use." 

"Unburdened." Beatrice supplied. "Unbound." 

Oh. 

Yeah, that was it. 

"Exactly." Ava said. 

For a moment, Beatrice looked as though she wanted to say more. But whatever words had been waiting never made it out as Beatrice instead chose to continue drinking her milkshake. 

Somewhere outside, Ava heard people talking loudly and glanced through the window to see a group of friends pass. 

She watched them until they disappeared into the night and as they did, Beatrice spoke up again. 

"Ava -" 

Beatrice was interrupted by their order being called, and Ava didn't miss the annoyed furrow of her brow. 

With some reluctance, Beatrice got to her feet and tossed the remains of her milkshake into the trash. 

Ava finished hers and did the same as she watched Beatrice accept the bag containing her food walked back over to join her. 

"Are you ready?" Beatrice asked. 

She didn't protest when Ava took the bag from her. 

"Now I am." 

Beatrice held the door open for her and the pair stepped back into the night. 

They made it a whole block before the heavens opened. 

And holy shit, did they open. 

Her Alexa had warned her it might rain, that was a fucking understatement. 

Ava had barely managed to let out a curse before Beatrice was grabbing her arm and pulling once more, this time they moved forward quickly as Beatrice guided them out of the downpour and under a canopy to take shelter. 

"Holy shit." Ava said. "What the fuck."

"My thoughts exactly." Beatrice agreed, gaze shifting from the rain back to Ava. 

They were only out there for a few moments and they were already wet. 

And not even in the fun way. 

And considering Beatrice no longer has a jacket she had definitely taken the brunt of it. 

The fact that she was wearing a white shirt too… 

Ava wished she could say she was looking respectfully. 

At most she could say she was really fucking trying. 

But Beatrice was so close to her, raindrops clung to her eyelashes, the water left trails across her cheeks that Ava's fingers itched to trace for herself. 

She was smiling. 

Bright. 

"Beatrice?" 

"Yes?" 

She was so close, Ava could almost feel her breath against her cheeks. 

"What were you going to say? Back at the diner?" 

Beatrice's smile grew softer. "You called me Bea. Back at the bar." 

Oh shit, she had. 

"I'm sorry, I didn't realise. I should have checked first -" 

"Ava, it's okay." Beatrice said. "You can call me that."

"Yeah?" 

"Yes." 

And Ava had no idea what was going on with the energy between. In general but tonight specifically. 

But Ava did know that she wanted to kiss her. 

And she didn't know whether or not to ask if she could. 

The downside of such a heavy and rapid downpour? 

Puddles formed quickly. 

So with everything that had been going on in her life recently, when a car came speeding past and sent a huge puddle of water their way, it felt like the universe was truly saying fuck you. 

Ava wasn't about to call it bad luck or divine intervention. 

But she really was being tested. 

And as far as she was concerned, it was extremely likely that she now looked like a drowned rat. 

Yet there Beatrice was standing before her looking like fucking Mr Darcy walking out of the god damn lake. 

Wonderful.

They both stood staring at each other in stunned silence. 

A silence that Ava knew only one way to break. 

"Well. That's certainly one way to get me wet." 

The silence only lasted for another few seconds before Beatrice burst into laughter. 

Ava laughed too, though both of them stopped when Beatrice reached up to push Ava's hair from her face. 

Her fingers lingered against Ava's cheek as something shifted in her expression. 

Beatrice's eyes grew darker, heavier as they stared at each other. 

"Look at you." Beatrice said softly. "You're soaked." 

And good God, those words combined with the way that Beatrice was looking at her? 

Ava wished nothing more than to hear those words in a very different context. 

The shiver that took over her body was involuntary and had absolutely nothing to do with the cold. 

"We need to get out of these clothes." 

"Um…" Ava glanced around them. "We might get arrested for public indecency." 

Beatrice laughed softly and drew her hand away from Ava's cheek, though she reached down to take zip the jacket up for Ava, drawing it up to her chest. 

"I meant when we got back to the apartment." 

"Right." Ava nodded. "We should go then." 

Beatrice took a couple of steps away. "It's still raining. Shall I call us an uber?" 

"For the sake of a couple blocks, I think we should risk it." Ava said. "Do you think the burgers will survive?" 

Beatrice looked thoughtfully at the rain around them. "They're packaged well." 

Ava chose to be daring as she took hold of Beatrice's hand. 

"Lets go then." 

She may be clumsy, and she may be wearing heels, but Ava had drank three martinis and she had been in enough situations in the past that made her surprisingly adapt at running in this exact scenario. 

The fact that Beatrice was willingly running beside her? Hand clutching her own? 

Forget dancing. 

This was what it felt to be unbound. 

The feeling lasted for the entire journey home. 

Even as they stepped into the elevator and Beatrice hit the button for their floor, the feeling clung to Ava. It wrapped around like a halo of light. 

Beatrice was still holding her hand tightly. 

Ava didn't dare let her fingers so much as twitch. 

When the doors opened and they stepped out together. They moved slowly towards their apartments, coming to an eventual stop outside. 

"My place?" Ava asked. 

Beatrice dropped Ava's hand quickly and took a step back towards her own door. 

And just like that, Ava felt the moment pass. 

"Yes." Beatrice replied, not entirely meeting Ava's gaze. "You go ahead. I just… I'll get changed." 

Ava smiled. "Okay, wine? What pairs well with cheeseburgers?" 

"I don't know, but I'll bring the rest of the pinot noir?" Beatrice suggested. 

"Deal." 

As they both parted ways, if only for a few minutes, Ava found herself wondering more than ever what was going through Beatrice's head. 

And while there was a tiny part of her that was frightened at the possibility of what if Beatrice didn't come over, Ava was quick to push it aside. 

She didn't know what it was. 

If Beatrice only saw it as friendship, then Ava was going to respect it, regardless of how much she wanted to act on her own feelings. 

If Beatrice wanted more, then even better. 

But Ava was going to leave the ball in Beatrice's court. 

It was a complicated and confusing mess of feelings, and yeah, sometimes it hurt. 

But Ava wouldn't deny herself experiencing any of them. 

 

--

 

Beatrice really wished she had done her laundry. 

Her options for comfortable clothes was now considerably shorter. 

Which was just an added problem to her list. 

For crying out loud what had she been thinking? 

The moment she had laid her hand on Ava's cheek it felt like something had snapped within her. 

She had already been so close to Ava, and then she had almost closed that last bit of distance. 

What would she had done if she had kissed her? 

Beatrice had to be more careful. 

And then the hand holding. 

Fuck. The hand holding. 

She should stay away. 

Beatrice knew that, even as she got changed into of all things, her superman pyjama pants and a loose grey sweater. 

This was a bad idea. 

But Beatrice grabbed her bottle of wine and left the apartment. 

She was knocking on Ava's door before she could second guess herself again. 

Ava had already gotten changed by the time she opened the door, towel draped over her shoulders. 

"Burgers are already on the coffee table, choose whatever you want on netflix and I'll go pour the wine?" 

Beatrice handed over the bottle. "Sounds like a plan." 

Ava had chosen a sweater, much like herself. 

Beatrice chose to focus on that, rather than the shorts that Ava was wearing. 

Yes. This was a bad idea. 

She didn't watch Ava walk away, instead she closed the door behind her and made her way hastily towards the sofa. 

Beatrice didn't know what to do with Ava's netflix, and by the time Ava sat down beside her, Beatrice had settled on continuing Ava's watch of Schitts Creek. 

"Good choice." Ava said. 

Beatrice eyed the burgers. "They look okay." 

"To be honest, I'd eat them no matter how wet they were." 

Beatrice had to close her eyes for a few moments. 

God. This girl. 

She watched Ava take the first bite and waited with a surprising amount of anticipation for her thoughts. 

Ava didn't miss the action and grinned. 

"Are you waiting for my opinion?" 

Beatrice smiled back. "Yes." 

"Yours is better." 

Beatrice didn't deny herself the flash of pride she felt. 

"They're lukewarm though, I'd dig in if I were you." 

Beatrice didn't need to be told twice. 

The silence between them was peaceful as they ate, it gave Beatrice the chance to try and organise her thoughts as they finished off their burgers. 

She didn't get very far. 

" I know it doesn't make up for it…" Ava began as she set her plate aside and made herself more comfortable against the sofa. "But I hope this made your night a bit better."

And there was that sincerity again. 

Beatrice felt a pang of guilt. 

"You did." Beatrice replied quietly. 

Ava stretched out and smiled. "Good." 

Any time she got to spend with Ava was so much better than any of her dates. 

And that wasn't just because her dates had been terrible people. 

It was because Ava was…. Well, Ava. 

"I'm sorry if I haven't been as talkative as usual." Beatrice said. 

"Hey don't worry about it. I get it. You know if you want to talk about it…" 

"I know." Beatrice replied quietly. "Thank you." 

"Until then though, we can just sit here, drink wine and do fuck all." 

And that was precisely what they did. 

For the next hour they watched netflix together, Beatrice felt a weight lifted off of her shoulders now that she knew there was no pressure to talk. That Ava was content to just lie back and exist.

She hadn't mentioned Lilith, she hadn't mentioned anything. 

And as enough time passed between them and the silence had rested comfortably around them, Beatrice found herself wanting to ask the one question that had been burning in her mind almost since the moment she had met this brilliant, beautiful girl beside her. 

"Ava? Can I ask you something?" 

She didn't dare look at her. 

Ava hummed. 

Beatrice took another minute to make sure she wanted to take this chance. 

To ask this question. 

Because maybe, if she knew the answer, then Beatrice could put all of her feelings aside and just move on. 

"What is it about Lilith?" Beatrice asked, careful to keep her voice steady. "Why are you with her?" 

And as the seconds turned into minutes and Ava still hadn't answered, Beatrice felt dread rise in her chest. 

"You don't have to answer." Beatrice said. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked." 

When Ava still didn't answer, Beatrice finally worked up the courage to turn her head to the side, only to let out a sigh at the sight. 

Ava was curled up on her side, fast asleep. 

There was a part of Beatrice that almost wanted to cry. 

She couldn't. 

She wouldn't. 

As carefully and quietly as she could, Beatrice turned off the TV and got to her feet, grabbing the blanket from the back of the sofa and draping it over Ava's sleeping form. 

"I don't know what to do, now that you're in my life, Ava." Beatrice sighed. "I just… I don't know." 

Beatrice made her way to the door and flicked the lights off before she left, closing Ava's door securely behind her before making her way into her apartment. 

She pressed her back against the door and let herself slide down to the ground and leaned her head forward to press her forehead against her knees. 

What she had said to Ava's sleeping form hadn't been the total truth. 

She knew what she had to do. 

Because when Camila had asked her what she was looking for, Beatrice had told her that she was looking for a feeling. 

That she would know it when she experienced it. 

And she had found it. 

She had found it with Ava. 

Beatrice closed her eyes. 

She had to stay away from Ava.

 

Chapter Text

 

Ava lingered outside of Lilith's office, holding a coffee in each hand as she tried extremely hard not to look like a lost puppy. 

Judging by the looks that were being shot in her direction by the others in the office, she wasn't doing a good job. 

She was late. 

Holy shit she was so late. 

When Ava had woken up on her sofa, blanket wrapped around her, it had already been around the time she usually walked into the office. 

To say it had been a blind panic to get ready and haul herself to work was an understatement. 

What made it worse was that every time she tried to call Lilith, it went straight to voicemail which meant that she was most likely already on the phone. 

So maybe lost puppy wasn't the accurate term. 

Imminently scolded puppy, then. 

Hopefully the coffee will help. 

It took another few minutes for Lilith to eventually call her in. 

"Hey…" Ava smiled. "Brought you coffee." 

Lilith looked up from her laptop and raised an eyebrow. "You look guilty. Why do you look guilty?" 

"Seriously?" Ava asked as she handed Lilith her coffee. 

"I've been on the phone non-stop since I got here, Ava. So I'm a bit behind on whatever shenanigans you've been up to today." 

Ava snorted. "Shenanigans. Good word." 

"Ava." 

"Right, Lilith I'm like… Over an hour late." 

"Oh." Lilith hummed thoughtfully as she sipped her coffee. "I did wonder why I didn't see you, I just thought you were getting coffee." 

"Well you were kind of right?" 

Lilith rolled her eyes. "Why were you so late? You're one of the most disorganised people I've ever met and even then you're still mostly punctual. Did you get too drunk with Chanel?"

Ava rubbed at the back of her neck and shook her head. 

"I… Left after a few drinks." 

With Beatrice. 

Who came back to her apartment. 

And if the leather jacket in her living room was anything to go by, Beatrice had left in a bit of a hurry after she had fallen asleep. 

Why the fuck had she fallen asleep? 

If Ava hadn't been in such a rush she'd have found the time to kick herself. 

"...And?" Lilith prompted. 

And… How did Ava begin to explain the vibe of last night? 

"Don't worry about it." Ava waved a hand. "So what's up with you? Why the super long phone call?" 

It was definitely the right question to ask, if the way Lilith's expression brightened up considerably. 

"Do you remember the client we met with a while back?" Lilith asked. 

"From the sushi night?" Ava asked, as soon as Lilith scowled, she laughed. "I'm kidding. Alton Perry, stolen product and wrongful termination, was hesitant about hiring us because he's cheap." 

Lilith raised an eyebrow. "I wouldn't say he was cheap." 

Ava was pretty sure she remembered him asking them how they justified the rates they charged. 

Mostly because Ava also remembered him saying that as she ate tuna sashimi. 

God, that place had really good sushi. 

"Anyway," Lilith continued. "He called me first, he wants to hire us." 

"Oh nice!" 

"Only problem is the hearing is next week, so I'm going to need you to help me make sure everything is ready to go ahead with the plan we proposed." 

Ava grinned. "Good thing I didn't throw out the file, isn't it?" 

It probably meant some longer hours to make sure they were prepared, but that meant there was more chance for Lilith to order takeout for them. 

So… Win win. 

"Okay, easily done." Ava nodded. "...You said the first call?" 

"The second was from Jillian, she wants to meet us tomorrow to go over the contract and yes, before you ask we are going for lunch." 

God she loved Jillian. 

"Even better." Ava replied. "And as per Chanel's… Gentle insistence, I'm throwing the housewarming party on Saturday." 

Lilith groaned. "Do I have to go?" 

"This is a rare occasion where I must insist." Ava smiled. 

"Fine! Fine. But you better buy -" 

"Belvedere. I know, and I will. Do you think I should invite anyone from here?" 

"Please don't, I am their boss." 

"And you don't want them to see you be a sloppy drunk?" Ava asked. 

Lilith's scowl was spectacular. 

"One time, Ava." 

That wasn't how Ava remembered it, but she was willing to let it slide. 

"Okay. So I'm gonna go get to work." 

"You do that." Lilith replied, turning her attention back to her own laptop. "But come in later if you want and we'll go over the Perry case." 

Ava was never going to say no to getting a chance to hide out in Lilith's office. 

The day may have started out a bit rocky, but it certainly seemed to be shaping up. 

 

--

 

"So we're agreeing that Mary is banned from arranging dates for you?" Camila asked meekly. 

That was one way to put it. 

"Barring an exceptional reason, yes." Beatrice replied. 

"And the fact that Ava was in the same place at the same time?" 

Beatrice tried not to frown at her computer as she avoided Camila's gaze. 

Call it God or the universe, whatever it was, was quite frankly fucking with her. 

But it had been amazing. 

To spend so much time with Ava? To feel so connected to someone? Beatrice couldn't put it into words. 

The fact that it had been so amazing was the entire problem. 

Part of Beatrice wished that she could have kept Ava's appearance to herself, but so much of her chest was aching that as soon as Camila had asked, Beatrice had told her everything. 

Well, almost everything. 

Beatrice couldn't bring herself to tell Camila about the moment in the rain, the level of that connection and just how much it shook Beatrice to her core. 

She didn't think that she had to say anything to Camila. Her friend was far too intuitive for her own good. 

Camila knew, even if Beatrice couldn't say. 

"It was certainly a coincidence." Beatrice agreed. 

"What are you going to do?" Camila asked. 

About Ava? Beatrice had no idea. 

"Like we said, no more dates from Mary." Beatrice replied. 

She glanced over as Camila hummed thoughtfully and reached for her red bull. 

"Didn't Mary say that if this date was bad then Shannon was intervening to give you a good date?" 

Right. 

"...She did." 

"Well if she does, just look at all those awful dates as practice for this one." 

Practice. 

Okay, she could do that. 

Beatrice was fairly sure that she was actually really good at flirting, the only problem was finding someone who interested her enough to want to flirt with them. 

Or, with her current scenario, someone who was available to intentionally flirt with. 

"I'd rather not think about it right now." Beatrice replied. "At least not until after lunch." 

Admittedly, her phone was already on do not disturb for that entire reason. 

"So if Mary or Shannon call before then…?" 

"I'm in a meeting, please." 

Camila laughed softly. "Okay. Speaking of meetings, you're jumping into the zoom call about this contract later right?" 

"Yes. I'm actually wearing a nice shirt under my hoodie, I promise." 

She'd considered knocking on Ava's door this morning to get her jacket back. 

Beatrice would have to bite the bullet eventually. 

She tucked her chin against her chest and nuzzled down into her hoodie. 

Beatrice also felt naked without her leather jacket. 

It… Wasn't a good day. 

 

--

 

Planning a party was hard. 

Ava was planning on keeping it small, her friendship circle wasn't exactly large as it was, and with the short notice Ava expected for only half a dozen of them to be able to make it.

That definitely made it easier. Ava just needed to get a chance to go to the store to buy snacks and alcohol. 

Oh and mixers, Ava couldn't forget the mixers. That would be a nightmare. 

She was in the middle of making a list of ideal snacks when her phone began to ring. 

Ava didn't bother checking the caller ID before she answered. 

"Yo." 

"Yo?" Lilith repeated. "Actually, never mind. Look, I've picked up the food, I'll be there in ten."  

Fuck yeah, Chinese food. 

"Cool, cool, cool." Ava replied. She threw her notepad onto the coffee table and kicked her legs up onto the sofa. As soon as she did, her gaze fell onto a certain jacket hanging over the back of her chair. "Oh shit." 

Lilith would never let her live this down. 

Lilith would also have so many questions that Ava wouldn't even know how to answer. 

Plus, Lilith was only coming over because they needed to work, she wasn't about to derail it to talk about her relationship (or lack thereof) drama. 

And on top of that, Ava was still pretty sure that Lilith was going through some kind of shit herself. 

So yeah, focused on work. 

"What? What oh shit?" Lilith asked. 

Ava had to move the jacket. 

"Um, cramp? I have cramp. I'm gonna walk around the apartment, did you bring your key or will I need to buzz you in?" 

"I've got the key, I'll be there in a few."

"See you in a bit, Lilith." Ava said. 

Before Lilith could say goodbye, Ava hung up and tossed her phone onto the sofa as she got to her feet, grabbing Beatrice's jacket as she crossed the room. 

Rather than grab her keys, Ava propped the door open as she stepped into the hallway and moved to knock on Beatrice's door. 

She waited for a couple of minutes, uncertain if the other girl was actually home. 

Ava was about to give up and go back when she finally heard movement and the door opened. 

By this point, Ava had seen Beatrice in a variation of outfits. Her business wear, running gear, casual street wear and get date night outfits. 

But there was something extra endearing about seeing Beatrice in leggings and an oversized Oxford hoodie. 

It would be snug, but Ava was pretty sure there was enough room in that hoodie for both of them to fit. 

And glasses. 

Holy fuck, Beatrice wore glasses. 

What the actual fucking fuck. 

Beatrice looked so fucking cute, Ava wanted to punch herself in the face. 

But even though her expression softened somewhat when their eyes met, there was still something in Beatrice's eyes that told Ava she wasn't exactly in the best of moods. 

"Ava, hi." 

"Hey Bea." Ava greeted. Her own smile grew when Beatrice offered her a small one at the use of the nickname. "I… uh, you left this at mine last night." 

Beatrice's gaze dropped to the jacket in Ava's hand. 

The way in which Beatrice's expression changed again, for the briefest second caught Ava off guard. 

Wanting. 

Pain. 

They were gone so fast that Ava couldn't even be certain she had seen them. 

But Ava definitely saw the expressions shift and fade. The walls that threw themselves up so suddenly. 

Had Ava done something wrong? 

"Thank you." Beatrice said softly. She reached out and took the jacket from Ava. "I'm… Sorry, that I left the way that I did. You fell asleep and I… I didn't want to wake you." 

Ava shrugged. "It's no big deal. I had a great time." 

"...As did I." Beatrice replied. She folded the jacket over her arm and lifted her head to meet Ava's gaze again as she sighed. "I'm sorry Ava, I'm on a call with Camila. I can't stay." 

Yep. She definitely did something wrong. 

Beatrice had never been like this around her before. Her voice had never been so to the point, so… hollow. 

Ava tried not to let her worries show on her face as she nodded. "Cool. Cool, no problem. You do you, right?" 

Beatrice held the jacket tighter to her chest. "I'm sorry." 

If Ava didn't ask, it would eat at her for days. 

"I'm sorry." Ava replied. 

Confusion flickered over Beatrice's face. "Ava?" 

"If I said or did anything last night that upset you. I'm sorry." 

This time Ava saw guilt, only briefly. 

Ava always thought she was good at reading people. It was what made her such a good asset to Lilith. 

She felt that it was only because of that skill that she was even able to see through the cracks. 

Ava could see, but she didn't understand. 

"It's not you, Ava." Beatrice said sincerely. 

Oh God, was this a 'it's not you, it's me' moment? 

Because Ava couldn't accept that.

Beatrice was exceptional. 

"It was everyone but you." 

And… Now Ava was confused. 

"You didn't do anything wrong." Beatrice continued. "I meant it when I said I had a good time. So please, don't think that anything is your fault because that truly isn't the case." 

Ava still had so many questions. Who had made Beatrice feel so down? 

But Beatrice had to get back to her friend, so Ava knew that for now, this would have to be enough. 

"Okay." Ava nodded. "I won't keep you any longer, but you know that if you ever need to talk…"

"I know where to find you." Beatrice smiled. Soft, but so genuine it made Ava ache. 

It was enough. 

"Goodnight, Bea." 

"Goodnight, Ava." 

As Ava turned back to her apartment, she once again felt like a lost little puppy. 

 

--

 

Beatrice threw her jacket onto the sofa as she made her way back to her desk. 

Guilt clawed its way through her chest as she sat back down and put her head set back on. 

"Bea? Are you okay?" Camila asked. 

"I'm fine." 

"Beatrice."

Camila rarely called her that these days. It was generally only used under exceptional circumstances. 

In this case, it was Camila very politely telling Beatrice to cut the shit and stop deflecting. 

"That was Ava. She… I left my jacket there last night. She just brought it back." Beatrice explained. 

"And you look extremely upset about that because?"

Because she had tried so hard to keep an emotional distance, only for Ava to see through it immediately. 

Because Ava had blamed herself. 

Ava was good at reading people, but God, she was bad at hiding her own feelings. 

Beatrice had seen the shift when Ava had begun to blame herself. 

And all Beatrice had wanted to do was take Ava's face in her hand and reassure her. 

"Because I hurt her." Beatrice said. "I didn't mean to, and I did what I could to reassure her but…" 

She'd meant what she said. 

It hadn't been Ava, it truly was everybody but Ava. 

Herself included. 

So many bad dates, women who bored her, annoyed her, women Beatrice wouldn't have even considered dating had she not known Ava. 

Her friends, who were trying so hard to help her and love her and even now Beatrice still felt herself holding parts of herself back. 

Lilith, and the jealousy that Beatrice couldn't help but feel towards her purely for knowing and loving Ava before Beatrice was lucky enough to cross paths with her. 

Loving Ava. 

Now that was a thought. 

Beatrice herself, and the fact that she had found herself caught up in someone who she couldn't. 

Someone who (Beatrice certainly hoped) didn't want her back. 

"You can go and talk to her, if you want." Camila offered. 

"No." 

Because if there was some way that Ava did feel even the slightest bit the way that Beatrice did, that made the whole situation worse. 

She couldn't be the person who got in the middle of a relationship. She just couldn't. 

Camila looked sad that she couldn't offer more support. "Do you want to talk about it? Or do you want to play Fortnite?"

"I'm not particularly good at Fortnite, but I'll take that option please." 

"Come on then. Let's kill some scrubs."

 

--

 

"Do you want to go running tomorrow?" Ava asked. 

Lilith stopped typing and looked over at Ava from where she was perched in the armchair. 

"You want to go running?" Lilith asked. "In the morning. On a work day." 

Ava smiled. "Yes please. Unless you were going to the gym." 

"No, I had no plans on going." 

Oh, one day Ava was going to find out what was happening there. 

"Awesome. So running, yeah?" Ava asked. 

"If you'd like." Lilith hummed. "Though we'd need to go early and I will need to shower and change here so we aren't late." 

Part of Ava was already beginning to regret the idea, but she had to burn off some energy somehow and Ava really wasn't in the mood to use her usual method. 

"That's fine. It'll work up a good appetite for when we meet Jillian." 

Ava really was excited for that lunch. 

Lilith raised an eyebrow. "What's going on with you?" 

Yeah… No. That wasn't going to happen. 

"What's going on with you ?" Ava shot back. 

"...Point taken." Lilith replied. "Never mind." 

Ava reckoned she could only pull that card one more time before Lilith forced her to talk. 

So Ava was going to make the most of the time she had before that moment. 

 


 

"Come on Ava, just a couple more blocks." Lilith called. 

Ava stayed still, doubled over as she tried to catch her breath, though she managed to raise a finger in a silent plea for a break. 

She should have just masturbated. 

Would it have made her sad when her thoughts inevitably strayed to Beatrice? Yes. 

But it would have been less painful. 

The only thing that made it less of a nightmare was knowing that it was making Lilith happy. 

But still. Pain. 

Crying body. 

Everything hurt. 

Lilith jogged back over and reached out to pat Ava's head. 

She was breathing quickly, but there was only the faintest sheen of sweat on her brow. 

Stupid beautiful human. 

"You can do it Ava. Come on." 

Ava straightened up and groaned. "This was a mistake." 

Her phone began to ring, causing both her and Lilith to stare at the pocket of her hoodie as she pulled it out of her pocket. 

Ava's face dropped when she saw the name on the screen. 

Dador de esperma

Lilith took a step closer and peered over to look at the phone. 

"Oh. Shit." 

Ava declined the call and shoved the phone back into her pocket. "Let's go." 

"...Ava." 

"You said two more blocks right?" Ava asked. "Then let's go." 

She started to run before Lilith could try to stop her. 

He rarely called, and when he did, Ava knew he wasn't going to stop until Ava finally answered. 

Ava didn't know what he wanted, honestly she didn't care. 

Knowing him, it was most likely another attempt to get her to leave Lilith's firm to join his back in London. 

Which… Absolutely not. 

Even from an objectively professional standpoint, that was a terrible idea. 

Lilith's father had a firm in London too, he had always been the better lawyer, the better man, the better dad. 

Ava's own dad has let greed get in the way. 

And considering his lack of interest in her… well, entire life, Ava knew he wouldn't really hesitate to throw her aside like he had Lilith's dad. 

Which was the worst mistake he ever made. 

Ava had zero interest in leaving the life she had built. Leaving Lilith, Chanel, New York… 

Even Beatrice. 

Ava could hear the phone ringing again as Lilith caught up to her. 

They kept running. 

"Ava-" 

They weren't far from her apartment. 

"We're nearly there." Ava said. 

Lilith didn't speak again until they reached her apartment, until they were inside and on their way up in the elevator. 

Ava pulled her phone out of her pocket and pushed it into Lilith's hand so that she could pull her hoodie off. 

The phone began to ring again. 

"Ava." Lilith sighed. "He isn't going to stop." 

Ava groaned and held her hand out. "Let's get this over with." 

 

--

 

Beatrice fixed her phone into her armband and picked up her earpods. 

She put them in and left the apartment. 

Beatrice hadn't even closed her door when she heard the elevator open. 

She glanced over at the sound of a raised voice. 

And an angry one at that. 

So it was more than a surprise when Ava stepped out, Lilith following close behind while Ava talked on the phone. 

In Portuguese. 

Ava was in a tank top, sweaty and having an argument with somebody in Portuguese. 

God was punishing Beatrice, obviously. 

This is what what she gets for being the lesbian daughter of strict Catholic parents. 

Because what a sight it was. 

Beatrice lingered by her door and watched as Ava came to a stop, her face full of anger as she listened to whoever was on the other end of the line talk. 

Lilith held her hand out and made a gesture which prompted Ava to pull her keys out of her pocket and shove them into her waiting hand. 

She left Ava where she was standing and took the final few steps towards Ava's front door. 

"Beatrice." Lilith greeted. 

Beatrice nodded. "Lilith." 

She glanced back at Ava, a movement that didn't go unnoticed by Lilith. 

"It's her father." Lilith explained as she unlocked the door. "I… Wouldn't worry." 

Her tone did little to settle Beatrice. 

Beatrice watched Lilith disappear into Ava's apartment, leaving the two alone. 

She wanted to stay, to be there to support Ava. Beatrice was no stranger to terrible parents, after all. 

But if Lilith was giving Ava the privacy, then the least Beatrice could do was offer the same courtesy. 

With great reluctance, Beatrice began to walk towards the elevator. As she got closer, Ava finally acknowledged her. 

She lifted a hand to cover the microphone, expression softening as she smiled at Beatrice. 

"Bea… Hi." 

Beatrice didn't know what to say. She should probably just smile and leave. 

She couldn't do that. 

"Are you okay?" Beatrice asked quietly. 

Ava looked frustrated, but her smile was warm at Beatrice's question. 

She uncovered the microphone and reached out and gave Beatrice's bicep a gentle squeeze.

"It's fine Bea, go." 

She didn't want to. But Beatrice knew she had to. 

"Not you, obviously." Ava snapped into the phone. 

She slipped into Portuguese again as her hand dropped from Beatrice's arm. 

Beatrice's arm burned from the echo of Ava's touch. 

She continued into the elevator and pressed the button for the ground floor. 

Beatrice turned as the doors began to close and looked up, only to find that Ava was looking back at her. 

The anger had left her face, replaced momentarily with something soft. 

Something yearning. 

Beatrice's heart caught in her throat. 

At the last moment before those doors closed, Beatrice watched the shift happen again. 

The anger returned as Ava yelled into the phone once more. 

The doors closed, and Beatrice felt the elevator begin to move. 

Her heart dropped as quickly as it had risen. 

Ava had turned back. 

She had watched Beatrice until the doors blocked her view. 

…Just friends don't look at each other like that. 

Guilt consumed her. 

Was the fear that she had entertained the night before true? 

Ava… She couldn't. 

No. 

Beatrice reached up and tapped her phone so that music filled her ears. 

She was going to run, and she was going to ignore this pain for as long as she could. 

 

--

 

"Do you want to talk about it?" Lilith asked. 

Lilith had at least waited until they had coffee and were in the office before she had asked. 

"Nope." Ava replied. 

"At all?" 

"Same old shit. Wants me to leave you and work for his failure of a company." Ava said. "Threatened to take away the trust fund if I said no, I told him to go ahead." 

It happened every few months, so at least Ava would have peace for a while. 

He made that threat every time and never delivered on it. 

It would be so much easier if he just took it. 

Lilith was still watching Ava carefully. 

She hadn't even told Ava off for having her feet on Lilith's desk. 

"Lilith…" 

"Yes?" 

"You know I'll never leave you, right?" Ava asked. "His firm or any others. It doesn't matter. It's always going to be us." 

Lilith put her own legs up on the table and nudged Ava's foot with her own. 

"I know." Lilith replied. "I love you, kiddo." 

Ava snorted. "Kiddo?" 

"Yes, I heard it too." Lilith scowled. "Never again." 

"How many years has it been? And you still haven't found a nickname." 

"I have a few choice names in mind now." Lilith said, glaring at Ava. "Honestly, I was trying to comfort you." 

"I know." Ava laughed. "And I love you for it." 

Lilith rolled her eyes. "Are you okay to come to meet Jillian?" 

"Obviously. Free food." 

Lilith nudged her foot harder until Ava's legs slipped off of the desk before removing her own. 

"Did Beatrice say anything?" Lilith asked. 

"She asked if I was okay." Ava shrugged. 

And then there had been some eye contact that had been on a next level of intensity. 

Beatrice had caught her looking back. 

There were so many feelings. 

"Anyway," Ava shook her head. "What is for lunch?" 

 

--

 

Camila startled when Beatrice slammed down a can of red bull beside her, spinning in her seat to stare up at Beatrice, confused. 

"Bea? What's wrong?" 

"Ava speaks Portuguese." 

Camila frowned. "...Okay?" 

Beatrice had so much that she could have vented to Camila about. Her increasingly complicated feelings for the girl, her own burning guilt at even having those feelings but no. 

This had been the only thing Beatrice had been able to think about since the moment she had started running. 

"I don't know what to do with this information and it's a great inconvenience that I can still hear her voice." 

Camila cracked open the can and took a long sip. "Why are you surprised by this? Her last name is Silva." 

Beatrice was fairly certain she had never divulged that information. 

"How did you-" 

"Jillian said her name. The real question is how you didn't know? Silva is literally a Portuguese name and she has an accent." 

Beatrice remained silent. 

"Oh my God." Camila snorted. "Bea." 

Beatrice turned so that she could lean against Camila's desk. "I… The accent was probably the fourth thing I noticed about her when we met." 

Camila raised an eyebrow. "So why didn't you click sooner?" 

Beatrice still had no words. 

Because she knew exactly what had happened to pull her focus. 

"What was it Bea?" 

Beatrice felt her ears heat up. She knew Camila had noticed. 

"...Bea?"

"Look-" 

"It was her breasts, wasn't it?" 

There it was. 

"They were the fifth thing, yes." 

They truly were spectacular. 

"Also why is it hot that she speaks another language?" 

"It…" 

"I speak Spanish. Mary speaks Spanish. Shannon speaks French." Camila pointed a finger at Beatrice as her voice grew louder. "You! You speak like three languages and you can read Latin." 

Beatrice could feel the blush spread down her neck. 

"You're a disaster." Camila concluded. 

"The fact that I can't get her out of my head despite everything more than confirms that." Beatrice mumbled. 

"Aw, Bea. It'll be okay." 

Beatrice pushed off of Camila's desk to make her way towards her own. "I need to get over her, Camila." 

Ava had looked back at her. 

Beatrice couldn't let that go either, but all it did was make it all the more important for Beatrice to keep her distance. 

"Well…" Camila began, slightly hesitantly. 

Oh no. 

"Well? What well?" Beatrice asked. 

Camila smiled sheepishly. "So I'm guessing you haven't checked your messages yet?" 

She hadn't. 

Beatrice had gotten home from her run, taken an extremely long, cold shower and then came straight to work. 

Her phone was still on do not disturb. 

"No… Why?" 

"So, Shannon called." Camila began. "She said she'd tried you but it went straight to voicemail, so she asked me to ask you to call her when she's on lunch at twelve." 

Oh. 

"She wants to set me up on a date, doesn't she?" Beatrice asked. 

"That was my take away, yes." 

Beatrice sighed. 

At least there was a vague hope that whoever Shannon had in mind was likely to be better than all of the dates Mary had arranged combined. 

But… Whoever she was still wouldn't be Ava. 

"I'll call her." Beatrice said softly. 

At least she had a few hours to prepare herself for it. 

 

--

 

"Okay…" Ava looked up from her notes. "Did I get everything?" 

Jillian smiled. "I think that just about covers it, yes." 

"Awesome." Ava said as she dropped her pen onto the table and reached for her soda. 

She'd made sure to inhale her food before they had really gotten down to business just to ensure that her focus would remain on the task at hand. 

Jillian didn't have many requests, those that she did weren't of any detriment to Beatrice's company. 

It was a relief. Jillian genuinely wanted this to be an equal partnership and was putting it into writing the steps she was asking to allow them to grow. 

Ava was happy that she was giving Beatrice and Camila a chance, that she wanted to set a short contract of a couple of years so that they had the option of stepping away should they want to.

It was the ideal situation, in all honesty. 

"Excellent." Lilith reached for her napkin and wiped delicately at the corners of her lips. "In that case, me and Ava will draft up something more official and lacking in… doodles." 

Ava smiled. "It's only a smiley face. I'm really happy to be here." 

"Well I'm happy to hear that, Ava." Jillian replied. "Lilith, shall we compare calendars and choose some days to offer the girls?" 

Lilith was already pulling out her phone. 

Ava took a few moments to sneak a peek at the dessert menu as she continued to sip at her soda. 

The brownie and ice cream seemed tempting. 

Oh… But red velvet cake. 

Would Lilith let her order both? 

They were all good and Ava had to admit that she had completely tuned out the conversation around her. 

"Okay." Lilith said. "Do you have the number for them and I'll call to arrange a date and time." 

"Oh I'm sure Ava has Ms Kline's number." 

They were all lucky that Ava only choked on her drink rather than spray it over Jillian. 

"Jesus Ava. Control yourself." Lilith scolded, reaching over to slap Ava's back. 

"Sorry." Ava gasped out between coughs. "I… I don't have Beatrice's number." 

"Really?" Jillian raised an eyebrow, clearly amused. "Well, what's been stopping you?" 

Ava felt her cheeks burning. 

"It's… Complicated." 

"How so?" Jillian asked. 

"And that is a conversation better had over drinks." Ava replied. "Many… many drinks." 

Jillian shook her head. "What am I going to do with you?" 

Ava couldn't believe this was a conversation that was actually happening to her. 

"Put me out of my suffering?" Ava asked. 

"You should invite her to your party tomorrow." Lilith said. 

"Party? You're throwing a party?" 

Ava nodded. "Little housewarming thing." 

Jillian hummed. "You should take Lilith's advice, Ava. I'm sure Beatrice would be very receptive to the idea." 

Jillian Salvius, a woman who had featured in Forbes magazine twice was currently trying to wingman her. 

What the actual fuck was her life. 

"But until then, Lilith, I'll give you the number. We'll let Ava earn those digits herself."

Yep.

What the fuck. 

Fuck it, Ava was ordering the brownie and the red velvet. 

 

--

 

Beatrice turned her phone over in her hand a few times as she stared at the clock in the corner of her computer. 

The sooner she made the call the better. 

Just… Get it over with. 

Camila was out buying them lunch and coffee. It was the best time for it. 

Beatrice sighed as she hit dial and pressed the phone to her ear. 

"Hey Beatrice." Shannon greeted. "How are you doing?"

"Hey Shannon, I'm good thank you, yourself?" 

"Fine thanks."

"How's work?" Beatrice asked. 

"It's good. The kids are great." Shannon replied. "Look, I won't take up too much of your time and I have to be on recess duty in like… fifteen minutes, but I wanted to say sorry about all of the dates Mary set up for you. I really should have looked into them first."

Beatrice couldn't help but laugh. "It's fine Shannon, honestly." 

"It isn't, and I'd understand if you were more than a little apprehensive about going on another blind date but… Would you be open to one more?"

Beatrice could say no. Shannon wouldn't blame her and she could be free of this whole thing. 

But if she did this, this could really be her chance to try and move on from Ava. 

"This is someone that you've chosen, right?" Beatrice asked. 

Shannon laughed. "Yes. Her name is Melanie, she teaches the third grade here. She also does extra curricular French because well… she's French."

The career alone was already a much more promising sign. 

"And she's a somewhat decent person?" 

"Even better, she's rather charming."

Beatrice nodded to herself. "Okay, yes. I'll do it." 

"Hooray! Now Melanie is happy for you to arrange a place but she has said that if you agreed she did have somewhere in mind."

"No, that's fine, whatever she wants to do." 

"Even better, does tomorrow work for you?"

"Yes." 

"In that case, I'll talk to her and text you the time and place when I finish work?"

Beatrice leaned back in her seat and raised a hand in greeting as Camila walked into the room. "That sounds perfect, thank you Shannon." 

"Anytime. Look after yourself, Beatrice."

"You too."

Beatrice hung up and set the phone down on the desk. 

"Do you have a date?" Camila asked. 

"I do. French elementary school teacher." 

Camila grinned. "You gonna draw her like one of your French girls?" 

"Stop." 

"I couldn't help myself." Camila laughed. 

She set the bag of food and the tray of coffees down on Beatrice's desk and walked over to grab her chair. 

Camila was in the process of wheeling herself back over when Beatrice's phone began to ring. 

She frowned at the number that flashed onto her screen. 

Beatrice didn't know this number. 

She picked the phone up and answered it apprehensively.

"Hello?" 

"Is that Beatrice?"

And Beatrice definitely recognised that voice. 

"...Speaking." 

"It's Lilith."

Beatrice damn near dropped her phone. 

How did Lilith get her number and why was she calling Beatrice? 

…Did she know? 

"Hi… Lilith." 

"I'm calling on behalf of Jillian Salvius."

Oh shit. Right. 

Lawyer. 

Jillian's lawyer. 

"Oh, of course. Can I put you on speaker?" 

"By all means."

Beatrice pulled the phone from her ear and turned to face Camila. 

"Jillian's lawyer." She explained as she placed the phone on the desk and hit speaker. 

"Oh, hi!" Camila greeted. "I'm Camila." 

"Pleasure." Lilith replied. "I'm just calling in regards to setting a date and time to review and sign the contract."

Camila and Beatrice shared a long look. 

"We're free all week, but our lawyer goes on vacation on Wednesday so Monday and Tuesday would be best." Beatrice explained. 

"I'm in court on Monday. So Tuesday?"

Camila nodded at Beatrice. 

"Tuesday will be fine." 

"Does eleven work for you both?"

"Yep." Camila replied. 

"Excellent." Lilith hummed. "Beatrice, I'll have Ava give you the address for our office. I'm sure she'll be thrilled to know you'll be paying us a visit."

Beatrice sucked in a sharp breath as Camila's gaze snapped to her. 

Ava was going to be there too? 

Ava and Lilith. 

Together. 

Beatrice was going to have to sit in a boardroom with them both. 

…Great. 

"I look forward to it." Beatrice said. 

"Oh I'm sure you do."

Beatrice's ears were burning up again. 

"I'll tell Ava that you'll be waiting eagerly."

Lilith knew something. 

She was warning Beatrice. 

"Yes well, we'll see you on Tuesday." 

Lilith hummed. "We'll see about that."

Even through the phone she was fucking terrifying. 

Beatrice hung up before Camila could say goodbye, leaving her friend to look between the phone and Beatrice. 

"...What just happened?" 

"Let's not." Beatrice replied. "So, lunch?" 

She could tell that Camila desperately wanted to press for more, but thankfully, she left it alone and reached for the bag of food. 

 

--

 

Even though Chanel, J.C. and even Lilith had agreed to all chip in and bring snacks and alcohol tomorrow, Ava had still made the choice to pick up the majority of what was needed. 

Ava was pretty sure she was carrying her own body weight in bottles right now. 

It may have only been a block, but holy shit, Ava should have gotten an uber. 

And now Lilith had set things up so that Ava had to actively approach Beatrice. 

She had to give her Lilith's card so that Beatrice knew where she had to go on Tuesday. 

Which meant Ava had no excuse not to invite her to the party. 

It was fine. Ava had some time to kill before she was likely to bump into Beatrice. 

She'd get everything put away in the apartment, she'd get changed and then take a chance and knock on Beatrice's door. 

Solid plan. 

Ava felt proud of herself as she approached her building. 

Only to stop when she saw Beatrice stepping out of an uber. 

Well… That plan fell apart faster than the quality of the majority of CW's shows. 

Beatrice spotted her almost immediately. 

Ava really couldn't afford to drop the bags she was carrying. 

…Quite literally. 

"Ava?" Beatrice took a few steps closer. "Do you need a hand?" 

"I… I got this." 

Beatrice didn't look convinced. "Can I at least get the door for you?" 

Okay, Ava didn't actually have any hands free. 

She didn't think this whole thing through. 

"That would actually be great, thank you." 

Beatrice nodded and stepped up to the doors, pulling one open and stepping aside so that Ava could make her way inside. 

She moved past Ava towards the elevator and pushed the button. 

"Big plans?" Beatrice asked, glancing at the bags as they walked inside. 

"Last minute housewarming party." Ava replied. "My friend has been hounding me about it for a while." 

Beatrice turned her attention to the doors. "Sounds like fun." 

Lilith would actually kill her if Ava didn't ask. 

And honestly, Ava really wanted Beatrice there. 

She took a deep breath and tried to keep the hopeful town out of her voice. "You can come, if you like? It's tomorrow night, starting at seven. I think you'd get on really well with everyone."

Beatrice was silent for a few moments, her gaze dropped to the ground. 

"I can't, I'm sorry." Beatrice replied quietly. "I… Have a date." 

Ava had never been so glad that Beatrice wasn't looking at her. 

She knew that her face would have shown the disappointment too clearly. 

The doors opened and Beatrice stepped out first, though she waited for Ava to join her. 

It gave Ava enough time to school her expression into (mostly) fake amusement. 

"Oh really? Please tell me it wasn't arranged by the same person who's done the others." 

Beatrice finally looked at her and shook her head. "No, her wife. She's assured me that she'll be a decent woman. Well, her actual words were charming. So we'll see." 

Charming. 

Beatrice was going on a date with a charming woman. 

God. 

"Well… Hopefully it goes well for you." Ava said. 

And she did mean it, she wanted Beatrice to be happy, even though it meant that Beatrice had taken the ball she had left in her court and presumably thrown it out of the window. 

So that was a great feeling. 

Totally great. 

Ava walked past Beatrice towards her apartment and saw the other girl follow from the corner of her eye. 

"But on the off chance it does go bad, definitely stop by. I brought the good vodka." 

"Yes… Maybe." 

It even felt like Beatrice had more faith in this date going well than all of the others. 

Ava came to a stop outside her door and groaned under her breath when she realised that she couldn't reach her keys. 

"Do you need a hand?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava turned slightly towards her. "Yeah please." 

"Where are your keys?" Beatrice asked. 

"Left jacket pocket." Ava replied. "Um, Lilith's business card is in there too." 

Beatrice approached her slowly, stepping into Ava's space and reaching carefully into Ava's pocket. 

The close contact was killing Ava. 

Beatrice made eye contact as she pulled the keys and card from her pocket. 

"I didn't get a chance to ask," Beatrice began softly. "Are you okay after that call today?" 

"Fine. It was just my dad, a waste of time." Ava dismissed. 

She really didn't want to talk about him.

Beatrice seemed to pick up on as much as she unlocked Ava's door without another word. 

She held it open so that Ava could step inside and reached over to slip the keys into one of the bags. 

"I hope you enjoy your party, Ava." Beatrice said. 

"And I hope your date goes well." 

Beatrice's smile was small. "Thank you." 

Ava waited for Beatrice to turn away and head towards her own apartment before she nudged her door closed. 

Just before it did close though, Ava saw Beatrice glance back in her direction. 

Ava sighed and dropped her head against the door. 

Everything was so confusing. 

 


 

Beatrice hadn't seen Ava since yesterday afternoon. 

Yet she still felt guilty about declining Ava's offer. 

Beatrice hadn't even been able to look at her as she had turned Ava down. 

She really didn't think she could have coped with seeing any trace of disappointment on Ava's face. 

Beatrice had spent all day actively trying to keep the girl from her thoughts. 

She hadn't been all that successful. 

But now Beatrice couldn't let herself be distracted. 

She had to meet Melanie at six, so she had to leave in the next fifteen minutes. 

At least it meant she had a good chance of avoiding bumping into Ava or any of her friends. 

Beatrice sighed to herself and slipped on her jacket. 

She tried not to think too much into the fact that she had chosen the navy shirt that Ava had suggested to her. 

It would be fine. 

The pain would pass soon. 

 

--

 

"You know it's generally in bad taste for the host to be drunk before the guests actually arrive, right?" Lilith asked. 

Ava set the shot glass down and glanced over to Lilith. "I've only had two." 

Lilith raised an eyebrow. 

"Okay. Four. But I'm fine." 

"Still… Perhaps you should slow down." 

"Or… And hear me out here," Ava reached for a second shot glass and filled them both. "You get on my level." 

"If I do, will you tell me why you're throwing back the shots like there's no tomorrow?" 

"Deal." 

Lilith raised her glass and waited for Ava to do the same, they clinked them together and took the shot at the same time. 

"Nope." Lilith made a face. "Not making a habit of that. Now spill." 

Ava groaned and dropped her forehead to the counter. 

"Why do I always end up around rich, hot British girls?" Ava asked. 

"...Why are you complaining?"

"Because one is so hot it feels like I'm in a modern retelling of a Jane Austin novel where all the girls are on the verge of actively fighting for her hand due to the sheer number of dates she gets." Ava sighed. "And the other is you." 

"Rude but okay." Lilith replied. "So you're sad that Beatrice is going on a date instead of being here tonight?" 

"It's more than that." Ava sighed. "But I'm not drunk enough to have that talk yet." 

"That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen." 

"What about you? Are we finally going to have a talk about your shit?" 

"I'm going to go ahead and use your excuse and say I am not drunk enough for this conversation." 

Ava lifted her head and nodded. "Cool, cool, cool. So we'll revisit this in two to three hours?" 

"Sounds like a plan." Lilith said as the intercom buzzed. "And that will no doubt be Chanel." 

Ava nodded and pushed herself up from her seat. "In the wise words of Pink, let's get this party started." 

 

--

 

Shannon had been right. 

Melanie was charming. 

From the moment they had both been seated the conversation had flowed relatively easily. 

Melanie asked Beatrice about her work and showed some genuine interest. 

She talked fondly about her job at the school and how she hadn't seen herself settling down in New York, but was growing fonder of it the longer she spent there. 

They even had a lot of the same interests. 

The restaurant was peaceful and equally charming in its own right. 

It was the most ideal first date Beatrice could have asked for. 

And yet… She couldn't ignore the boredom she still felt. 

On paper, it was the perfect scenario. 

She should be enjoying herself. 

But Beatrice felt no sparks. 

What was wrong with her? 

Melanie reached for the bottle of wine. "Do you want another glass?" 

"Yes, please." 

The night was still early. Beatrice just had to see it through. 

Maybe she'd feel something by then. 

 

--

 

Ava draped herself over the back of the armchair to rest her head on top of Lilith's. 

"So. I know we agreed two to three hours, but I just lost another game of Rocket League so J.C. had me do more shots so I'm really hoping you'll tell me your drama now." 

Lilith reached up to push her head off of her. "If I do, will you leave me alone?" 

"At the best I can promise to try." 

"...Close enough." 

Nice. 

Ava moved to sit on the arm of the chair, holding onto Lilith's shoulder so that she didn't fall. 

"There was a girl at the gym." 

If Ava hadn't been so certain that she'd fall over, she'd have fist pumped the air. 

She'd totally called it. 

"And?" 

"And I misread the signals. End of story." 

Wait. 

"Is that all I'm getting?" 

"Yep. Deal with it." 

Ava groaned. "Lilith!" 

"Your turn." 

Ava could play that game. "I'm really into Bea-" 

"Water is wet." 

"As am I when it comes to her." 

"I will push you off of this chair." 

Ava grinned and moved her arm around Lilith's shoulder. "If I go I'm taking you with me." 

"Continue." Lilith rolled her eyes. 

"I was so sure that there was something going on between us, there's always this tension but whenever we'd take a step forward to… something, she'd pull back and I'm just left feeling like a fucking idiot." 

"Wait…" Lilith frowned. "What's been happening?" 

"So many things." Ava sighed. 

"I know she's coming into the office for this contract signing next week, but say the word and I will destroy her if she's stringing you along." 

"Who are we destroying?" Chanel asked, effortlessly sitting on the other arm and draping her arm over the back of the chair. 

"The hot neighbour." Lilith said. "She's stringing Ava along." 

Ava wouldn't call it that. 

And forget Lilith, Ava didn't want to set Chanel on anyone, least of all Beatrice. 

Chanel raised an eyebrow. "Is that so?" 

"Please no destroying." Ava said. 

J.C. draped himself over the back of the chair. "Who are we destroying?" 

"There will be no destroying please!" Ava yelled. 

"Okay," Chanel got up and held out a hand towards Ava. "You need another drink." 

"Now that's an idea I can get behind." 

"And you can tell me all about whatever has been happening." 

That idea, slightly less so. 

 

--

 

Beatrice stepped out into the night with Melanie at her side. 

Both of their ubers were on the way, and as Beatrice looked up from her phone, she found Melanie looking at her thoughtfully. 

"I had a good time tonight." She said. 

"Yes, me too." 

It had been pleasant. More than. 

There had been no red flags, Melanie had been wonderful. 

It felt like she had spent time with a reflection of herself. 

But now she was looking at her like she was trying to figure Beatrice out. Like she was trying to gauge something. 

Beatrice slipped her hands into her pockets and waited. 

She figured out what Melanie had been thinking about the moment she took two steps closer. 

When Melanie leaned in to kiss her, Beatrice closed her eyes. 

It was over almost as quickly as it began, and when Melanie drew back, there was understanding in her eyes. 

Beatrice had felt nothing. 

"Your heart really isn't in this, is it?" Melanie asked. 

Beatrice couldn't help but laugh. "Is it that obvious?" 

"It is." Melanie smiled. "That just confirmed it for me." 

"Me too." 

"Is it me?" 

Beatrice sighed. "I think it's both of us. We have a lot in common, and I think we'd make good friends but…" 

"That's it?" 

"Yes. I think we might be too similar." 

"I understand." Melanie laughed. "But… Is there something else? You're hard to read but even I can tell that you've been somewhat distracted." 

Ava could read her easily. 

"I… Have feelings for another girl. One that I can't be with." Beatrice admitted. "The only reason I've been agreeing to go on these dates is to try and get over her." 

Melanie slipped her own hands into the pockets of her coat. "And it isn't working?" 

"Not in the slightest. I may actually be really falling for her. It's actually a massive inconvenience." 

"Feelings always are, Beatrice." Melanie said. "Give it time. It'll get easier." 

Beatrice wanted to believe that. 

Melanie's uber pulled up in front of them, and Melanie stepped close once more. 

"Well, if you do ever get over her and you want to try this again, or even if you want to catch up for coffee and vent. Call me." 

Melanie leaned in to kiss Beatrice softly on the cheek before she made her way to the car and climbed inside. 

Beatrice watched the car drive away and sighed. 

At least Beatrice could say that she'd made a new friend. 

 

--

 

Ava was pretty sure she had crossed the line of drunk some time ago. 

J.C. definitely wasn't helping. Lilith had to stop them from playing Rocket League out of a genuine concern that Ava was going to end up blacking out. 

It didn't stop either of them from continuing to drink though. 

"I need to see this hot neighbour." J.C. said, slumping down against the sofa. "I need to know you're in good hands." 

"There's nothing happening between me and Bea." Ava pointed out. 

"Good potential hands then." 

Close enough. 

"Can we not talk about her anymore?" Ava asked. "And should we order more pizza?" 

J.C. nodded enthusiastically. "We should definitely order more pizza. Pizza fixes everything." 

Ava glanced at the time and found herself wondering how Beatrice's date was actually going. 

J.C. looked down at his empty glass. "Order pizza and then another round?" 

"Fuck yeah another round." Ava nodded. 

 

--

 

Beatrice hesitated as she stepped out of the elevator and saw a couple of unfamiliar figures standing by Ava's front door. 

Right, the party. 

She should have suspected that it'd still be happening. 

As Beatrice got closer, one of the people stepped back into Ava's apartment, she finally got a closer look at the one that remained. 

And holy shit, was she a model? 

She turned before Beatrice could avert her gaze, head tilting curiously as she regarded Beatrice. 

"Hi there." 

Beatrice smiled. "Hi." 

"You must be the neighbour." 

…What. 

"That would be me." Beatrice held out her hand. "Beatrice." 

She took Beatrice's hand and gave it a gentle shake. "Chanel." 

"Good party?" Beatrice asked. 

"It is." Chanel replied. She moved to lean against the doorframe. "You should go and say hi." 

Beatrice glanced through the door, there were a few people standing around talking, but Beatrice skipped over all of those the pair standing in front of the sofa. 

Ava and an extremely handsome man, both shotgunning a beer while another man egged them on. 

Beatrice smiled. 

That was definitely on brand for Ava. 

Her gaze shifted to where Lilith was sitting on the sofa, watching the pair carefully. 

Her smile fell. "I shouldn't." 

Beatrice looked back over at Chanel in time to see the raised eyebrow. 

…And Beatrice thought that Lilith was intimidating. 

"I'm sure that Ava would like to see you. She mentioned you had a date tonight, you could tell how it went." 

"She looks like she's having fun, I wouldn't want to interrupt." Beatrice took a slight step back and shook her head. 

Chanel inspected her nails and made a thoughtful sound. "Shame. I was hoping you'd give her dating advice." 

Beatrice frowned and glanced back into the apartment as Ava and the man grabbed another can each. 

Lilith rolled her eyes and Beatrice saw her lips move, but stood no chance of hearing what it was that she had said. 

Why would Ava…

"Poor thing, such a pretty face yet she hasn't dated since university." 

Beatrice's brain stopped. 

Chanel's words felt like static in her ears. 

Beatrice cleared her throat and looked to the woman beside her. "I'm sorry, what?" 

Chanel hummed. "I know, a travesty if you ask me. That's actually her ex, J.C.. The one who she's playing that ridiculous drinking game with." 

Beatrice needed to sit down. 

She watched as J.C. stumbled, almost spraying beer everywhere and the way Lilith almost immediately snapped at him. 

"Honestly," Chanel laughed. "It's a good thing Ava managed to convince big sister Lilith to make an appearance, I imagine this place would be in a much messier state otherwise." 

Beatrice was trying so hard not to show the mild panic she could feel. 

"I…" Beatrice cleared her throat again. "Big sister?" 

"Yes?" Chanel raised an eyebrow. "I'm sorry, I was under the impression that you two had met." 

"We… We have." 

"Well then, you probably know that Ava and Lilith grew up together. They're practically sisters, they refer to each other as such quite regularly." Chanel explained casually. 

As if her words weren't actively throwing everything Beatrice had come to know over the last few weeks into oblivion. 

Oh God. 

They saw themselves as sisters. 

Beatrice was dumb. 

Oh she was so dumb. 

Camila was going to kill her. 

…Ava is single? 

Beatrice found herself clearing her throat once more as she stared at Ava and shook her head. "I… didn't know they called themselves sisters." 

"My dear, you're clearing your throat a lot. Are you thirsty?" 

Beatrice kept her gaze focused on Ava as she walked away from J.C., towards the people on the other side of the apartment. 

Yes. Yes she was. 

"Holy shit!" J.C. called as he stumbled through the room to stand in the doorway, staring at Beatrice intensely. "You're the neighbour?" 

Did everybody know about her? 

"Hi. Yes, I am." 

J.C. continued to stare at her, his gaze was considerably unfocused. 

"This totally isn't a come on and I mean what I'm about to say in like, the most respectful way, but holy shit you're hot." 

"Oh… Thank you. You too?" 

J.C. turned to look over his shoulder. "Ava? Ava!" 

"Yeah?" Ava yelled back, her voice barely carried over the music. 

"Your neighbour is really hot!" 

"My… Oh shit ." 

The speed in which Ava crossed the room truly was impressive, and before Beatrice had a chance to prepare herself, Ava had her hand on J.C.'s face and shoved him aside.

"Ignore him!" Ava said, eyes wide as she met Beatrice's gaze. "He's just my stupid ex. Hey Bea." 

Ava was single. 

Single.

"Oh it's fine." Beatrice smiled. "I appreciate the compliment, and considering he used to date you, he's clearly a reliable source." 

Ava blinked rapidly and grinned as her cheeks turned pink. 

"It's good to see you Bea." Ava said. 

"You too." Beatrice replied softly. "It looks like you're having a good time." 

Ava nodded and gestured behind her. "Do you want to come in for a drink?" 

Beatrice glanced at Chanel and was surprised to see an almost expectant look on her face. 

It felt like Chanel was silently saying "What are you waiting for?"

"Okay." Beatrice nodded and stepped closer to Ava. "One drink." 

Ava held out a hand, one that Beatrice accepted and allowed herself to be led into the apartment. 

Because what was she waiting for? 

Absolutely nothing.

 

Chapter Text

 

Beatrice didn't miss Lilith's watchful gaze as Ava led her directly towards the kitchen. 

She was as intimidating as ever, but it was Ava's insistent tugging at her hand that held the majority of Beatrice's focus. 

It was still going to take some getting used to though, knowing that Lilith was looking out for Ava not as a girlfriend, but as a protective older sibling. 

Yes, there was definitely going to be a period of adjustment. 

Ava dropped Beatrice's hand and took the extra few steps towards the counter, turning to lean her back against it. 

Beatrice's thoughts had finally stopped spiralling enough for her to be able to take in (and truly appreciate) Ava in black skinny jeans and a matching black crop top. 

Dear God, a crop top. 

It was hard not to stare. 

"We've got… pretty much a little of everything." Ava said, gesturing to the bottles beside her. Ava's eyes widened. "Oh! Your date. You had a date." 

Beatrice offered a small smile and nodded. "I did."

"How did it go?" Ava asked. 

"It went…" Beatrice hesitated for a moment and slipped her hands into her jacket pockets and took a small step closer. "Truthfully? It went well. Really well. She was lovely." 

Ava's gaze dropped to the ground, only for a moment as she kicked at the floor. She lifted her head again after a few more seconds passed, still smiling. 

It didn't feel as bright as her usual smiles. 

"Had to get lucky eventually, right?" Ava laughed. "After the last few? You really deserve to meet someone -" 

"I'm not seeing her again." Beatrice interrupted. 

Ava's mouth snapped shut as she stared at Beatrice, looking  genuinely surprised if not a little confused. 

"But… You said..." 

"I know." Beatrice replied softly. 

Ava still looked confused, even though she grinned all the same. "I'm lost." 

Beatrice could tell. 

And it would be easy to make her feelings known, to tell Ava now how she felt and that she was fairly certain that Ava felt the same way. 

But would that be too sudden? To make a move now, not only so soon after her own date, but in such a public view of Ava's friends? 

Besides, the longer Beatrice watched Ava, the more certain she became that Ava was well beyond the point of being drunk. 

Beatrice nodded her head towards the collection of bottles. "I'll actually have a whiskey, if that's okay." 

"I…" Ava nodded slowly. "Yep. Yeah totally, I mean I only have Jack Daniels because Lilith was more interested in good vodka and everybody else brought -" 

"Ava," Beatrice cut her off gently. "That's fine." 

The rambling was as endearing as ever. 

"Coke?" 

"No, straight." 

Ava stared at Beatrice for a few moments. "Holy shit. Also, can't relate." 

Beatrice laughed. "You couldn't resist, could you?" 

"Nope." Ava grinned. "We're out of ice, J.C. was going to get more…" 

Beatrice glanced over to where he was currently shotgunning another beer. 

"It'll be fine as is." 

"You still haven't explained why you aren't going to see the lovely girl again." Ava pointed out. 

Beatrice took her hands out of her pockets and shrugged. "She was kind and we had a lot in common. Too much in common, we'd work better as friends." 

Ava's stare grew curious, head tilting slightly in the way it always did when Ava was trying to see more. 

"There's more to it than you're saying." Ava pointed out. 

She turned her back to Beatrice, reaching up to open the cabinet. 

Beatrice could see the tumbler that Ava was reaching for and the way her fingers gripped it unsteadily. 

She could also see an accident waiting to happen. 

Beatrice took two steps forward, into Ava's space and reached up to grab the glass before it could slip from Ava's fingers. 

They both went very still. 

Their bodies weren't touching, not quite. But it was enough that Beatrice could still feel the heat from Ava's body. 

Beatrice glanced down at the back of Ava's neck as she exhaled, watching as Ava shifted the smallest amount as her breath hit Ava's skin. 

She slowly guided the glass in their hands down until they could set it down on the counter.

Their hands stayed barely touching as Beatrice inhaled slowly. Ava still hadn't moved, hadn't spoken, Beatrice wasn't even sure she had breathed. 

Beatrice did see Ava's fingers tighten around the glass. 

If she dropped her head a little bit, she'd be able to kiss that neck. 

Always a temptation, Ava Silva. 

Beatrice lifted her other hand to rest on the counter on Ava's other side. 

She kept her gaze focused on that exposed skin. 

On how Ava was everything that all of the other girls, Melanie included, was not. 

"There's always more, Ava." Beatrice whispered. 

She heard Ava take a deep breath and watched as her fingers drifted from the glass. 

Ava turned slowly, back to the counter as she looked up at Beatrice with heavy, glassy eyes.

Oh. 

Beatrice reached up gently, it felt like a daring action in itself as her fingers skimmed Ava's chin before she held it. 

"Ava, how drunk are you?" Beatrice asked quietly. 

"...Very." 

"Oh Ava." 

"I can't tell you if you're disappointed in me or if that's just your accent." Ava replied. 

Beatrice laughed as she dared to take only a small step, to move her thumb to brush against Ava's chin. 

"Believe me, I'm not disappointed, I just…" 

Beatrice trailed off, what could she say? 

Ava was drunk, very drunk. It wasn't right to do this with her in this condition. 

Tomorrow.

She could talk to Ava tomorrow.

Beatrice smiled. "Just… let me fix that drink, okay?" 

Ava seemed thrown by everything, but she nodded all the same. Beatrice lowered her hand after a moment and when she did, Ava stepped to the side, although she stayed close to Beatrice's side. 

"You think my accent makes me sound disappointed?" Beatrice asked teasingly as she reached for the bottle and unscrewed the cap. 

Ava snorted and nudged her shoulder against Beatrice's. "Either that or amused." 

"That's because you amuse me, Ava." Beatrice replied. She poured her drink and set the bottle aside, taking the glass in her hand as she turned to rest her hip against the counter. "It's one of the many things I like about you." 

Ava laughed. "I live to entertain. What else do you like about me?" 

Oh drunk Ava was kind of flirty. 

Dangerous. 

"Well, I like your accent too, for starters." 

It was hard not to smile when Ava lit up at her words, but Beatrice did a pretty good job at hiding it behind her glass as she took a sip. 

"What else do you like about me?" 

Definitely getting too dangerous. 

"Many things." 

"Like?" 

It… Was probably time for Beatrice to switch tactics. 

"Ava, with how drunk you are, how likely are you to blackout tonight?" 

Ava thought about this seriously for a few moments before finally, she nodded to herself. 

"If I drink anymore then it's very likely." 

Beatrice took another sip of her whiskey and let her free hand reach out and fleetingly brushed her fingers against the inside of Ava's wrist. 

"I'll be more than happy to tell you what I like about you on another day, Ava. If only so you wouldn't forget because you deserve to know and remember all of the things that make you special." 

It was the most forward Beatrice knew she could be, she just had to hope that it was enough for Ava. 

Ava looked down at where Beatrice's fingers were drawing back from her wrist and moved her hand to curl her fingers around Beatrice's. 

She looked up at Beatrice questionably. 

"You promise?" Ava asked. 

"Yes Ava, I promise." 

Beatrice watched Ava's gaze drift back down to their hands, she seemed taken aback by the whole situation, by the contact they were sharing so effortlessly. 

"I should probably go soon." Beatrice said. 

Ava's shoulders dropped as she pouted at Beatrice. "Do you have to?" 

She didn't, but it was definitely the right thing to do. 

"I have to get up early." Beatrice replied, finishing her drink and setting the glass aside. "But thank you for inviting me in." 

"Thank you for coming." 

Ava still hadn't made any attempt at moving her hand, but in all honesty, Beatrice couldn't bring herself to break the contact herself. 

She was likely going to have a hangover from hell tomorrow, Beatrice was already planning on surprising her with coffee. 

 

--

 

Ava knew she was drunk. 

But she also knew that Beatrice was here, in her apartment, looking at her with such intensity that it made her feel like she was floating. 

…The floating may be because of the alcohol. 

Both. Always safe to assume both. 

But Beatrice was going to leave and that still made her sad. 

She couldn't make Beatrice stay, it had been a fucking surprise (and a pleasant one at that) to even have her here. 

Ava still wanted to know the details of the date, to know why Beatrice had no interest in the girl she had seen if she had been so lovely. 

But more than that, she wanted to know what Beatrice liked about her. 

Because Beatrice liked her accent? Duly noted. 

"Before you go…" Ava began, giving Beatrice's fingers a gentle squeeze. "You should come say hey to Lilith." 

It was weird how Beatrice looked uncertain at that. 

"Oh, I'm not sure-" 

"Come on." Ava insisted. "You've already met the others, you should say hey." 

Beatrice glanced out at the rest of the apartment and raised an eyebrow. "Ava, there's a lot of people here and I've only met Chanel and J.C.?"

"Yeah but they're the only ones that matter." Ava replied, as she tugged on Beatrice's hand. 

"Um, excuse me?" Zori frowned at them both. 

Ava waved her free hand dismissively. "That's Zori. Come on." 

Beatrice laughed under breath, but allowed Ava to pull her along. 

Lilith seemed to have gotten J.C. under control, as he was back on the xbox, flicking through the few games Ava had downloaded. 

She looked up when they reached her, glancing at their linked hands and back up, focusing on Beatrice. 

"Beatrice." 

"...Lilith." 

"Didn't think you'd make it tonight. Weren't you on a date?" 

"I was, but now I'm here." 

Lilith raised an eyebrow. "Busy girl, I hope you're not stringing anyone along." 

Ava frowned as she looked between Lilith and Beatrice. 

Why did all of their conversations feel so cryptic? Ava knew that wasn't just because she was drunk. 

But Ava definitely saw the way Beatrice straightened slightly, her chin lifted and her fingers flexed around Ava's hand. 

Oh God she was holding Ava's hand tighter. 

"I would never do that. Things have just been… Complicated." Beatrice replied firmly. 

"Is that so?" Lilith asked. 

"Yes." 

"Sounds like you don't know what you want." 

Right. 

Lilith had wanted to fight Beatrice at the start of the night. 

Oh, Jesus. 

Beatrice smiled, it was a smile that Ava hadn't seen before, but the look in her eyes was strangely familiar. 

Lowkey dangerous.

"I have no issues with going after what I want, Lilith." 

But oh boy if Lilith wasn't getting Beatrice to react in a certain type of way. 

This was the Beatrice that Ava wanted to throw her up against a wall. 

…She needed people to start going home. 

Lilith hummed. "I'll believe that when I see it."

"Have no doubt, Lilith, if I want something and I'm able to, I will take it." 

Holy shit. 

"Take me." Ava whispered. 

Both Beatrice and Lilith's heads snapped towards her questionably. 

"Did you say something?" Beatrice asked, her voice grew softer immediately. 

Oh fuck. 

Oh shit oh fuck oh shit. 

God? 

It's Ava calling. 

End it please. 

"Oh, I uh, I said cake me? J.C! Cake me!" 

J.C. looked over, even more confused than Beatrice and Lilith were. 

"What? Okay?" He shrugged, getting up to drift over towards the kitchen. 

Did they even have cake? Who knows. 

Besides, more important matters at hand. 

Ava pointed at Lilith. "Be nice!"

"This is me being nice." Lilith replied. 

Ava pulled on Beatrice, hugging her arm to her chest, not missing the way Beatrice looked amused at her or the way that Lilith rolled her eyes. 

"Well be nicer, Bea is only here to say hi before she goes." Ava said.

Was she pouting? It felt like she was pouting. 

"It's okay Ava." Beatrice replied, her voice was still firm but still carried that softness out always seemed to when she addressed Ava. "This is how me and Lilith talk, isn't that right?" 

Lilith hummed. "Oh, indeed." 

"See?" Beatrice smiled, reaching up to skim her fingers along Ava's wrist. 

Ava didn't fully buy it, but Beatrice was so certain, there was so much confidence. 

Beatrice had certainly never come across as shy, but even in her current state Ava was pretty sure something had shifted in the girl. 

There was confidence and then there was confidence.

Ava wanted Beatrice so much. 

Being so drunk was starting to feel like a mistake. 

"Fine." Ava nodded and pointed back at Lilith. "You're sleeping on the sofa." 

"Like hell I am." Lilith replied. 

Beatrice drew a circle against the inside of Ava's wrist and okay, it was killing her. 

Why had nobody touched the inside of her wrist before? It felt amazing. 

"You have to go, don't you?" Ava asked. 

"I really should." Beatrice replied. 

Ava didn't want her to leave and it felt like Beatrice wasn't in a rush to, but all the same they both glanced towards the door. 

"A pleasure as always, Lilith." Beatrice said. 

Lilith rolled her eyes. "Goodnight, Kline." 

They passed Chanel on the way to the door, and just as Ava was about to open it, J.C. came bounding over. 

"Ava, cake." He shoved a cupcake into Ava's hand and then turned to Beatrice. "And you, you look like you work out. If you ever want to lift together, let me know." 

He shoved a napkin into Beatrice's hand and made a swift exit, leaving Beatrice to stare down at the hastily scribbled writing. 

Ava quietly set the cupcake down on the bookshelf as she leaned over to read the note above his number. 

I promise I'm not asking you out, I just want a workout buddy.

Ava snorted. 

"Your friends are… something." Beatrice said, slipping the note into her pocket. 

They stepped into the hallway and as they reached Beatrice's door, Ava felt Beatrice's hand loosen around hers. 

Ava let go reluctantly and let her hand fall to her side. "I'm really glad that you came by. Next time will you stay longer?" 

"I will, of course." 

Beatrice's eyes flickered over Ava's face, just like she had that night in the rain. 

Ava had wanted to kiss her then. 

She wanted to kiss her now. 

"Will I see you tomorrow?" Ava asked. 

Beatrice smiled. "Do you want to see me?" 

"Yeah." 

"Then yes, I just sincerely hope you don't forget." 

Ava took a step closer to Beatrice, lifting her head to hold Beatrice's gaze. 

"Even if I were to forget this conversation, that doesn't mean that I don't want to see you tomorrow." 

Beatrice inhaled sharply, but nodded. 

Ava didn't think, she just took that final step closer and leaned in, closing her eyes as she pressed her lips to Beatrice's cheek. 

She lingered only for a moment, but it was enough time for Beatrice's hand to find Ava's shoulder. Not to push her away, but to curl her fingers into Ava's shirt. 

Ava drew back slowly as she tried to will her heart to stop pounding so aggressively in her ears. Beatrice blinked at her slowly and exhaled. 

"Until tomorrow, minha querida." Ava said. 

She felt Beatrice's fingers twitch against her shoulder, but ultimately watched as she pulled her hand back to reach into her pocket to get her keys. 

"Tomorrow." Beatrice promised. 

Ava watched as Beatrice turned her back to unlock her door and pushed it open, turning to give Ava one last look before she moved to close it. 

"Goodnight, Ava." 

"Night Bea." 

Beatrice closed the door and it wasn't until the lock had clicked into place that Ava let out a long breath. 

When Ava turned around, she froze when she saw Chanel and J.C. stood watching her. 

At least Lilith was in the apartment pretending to be listening to Zori. 

"Ava's gonna have a hot British girlfriend!" J.C. said excitedly. "Do you think she'll be my gym buddy?" 

Chanel rolled her eyes at him, amused. "At least give Ava a chance to start something with her first, maybe?" 

"Nothing has happened yet." Ava pointed out. 

"Darling I see that look in your eye, I can make a good guess as to the things you want that girl to do to you." 

Ava felt her face burning. 

"Bottom." J.C. snorted. 

"So are you? The fuck." Ava replied. 

Honestly. The audacity. 

He wasn't wrong but still. 

Chanel shook her head at both of them and held out her hand for Ava. "Come on dear, let's start wrapping up this party." 

 

--

 

Beatrice
Are you up?

Beatrice dropped her phone down on the bed and rolled over onto her back. 

The goosebumps on her skin still hadn't settled. 

Cold showers really weren't making much difference now. 

Ava had kissed her on the cheek. 

She had called her something in Portuguese, it had sounded fond but Beatrice was still kicking herself that she had been too thrown by the kiss on her cheek. 

Her fingers found the spot Ava's lips had been and brushed the skin gently. 

God. 

Her skin was still burning. 

She brought her hand down her tank top and dipped her fingers underneath to brush against her stomach. 

For a fleeting moment, Beatrice let her fingers dip under the waistband of her shorts before she caught herself. 

Could she? 

Thinking about Ava? 

Beatrice drew her hand back and clenched her hand at her side. 

She closed her eyes and let out a slow breath. 

Beatrice had never been so thankful for her phone to ring. 

"Hey Cam." 

"You know, I'm kind of insulted that you would think I wouldn't be awake." Camila replied. "What's up? How was the date?"

Beatrice sighed. "Okay, I'm going to explain the date part really quickly because it's important but not as important as what I actually need to tell you." 

"Oh shit okay? Go for it."

So Beatrice told Camila all about the date with Melanie, everything they talked about to the kiss they had shared outside of the restaurant. 

She made sure that Camila knew they weren't going to be going on a second date. 

"You told her that you have feelings for Ava?" Camila asked. 

"She could tell my heart wasn't in it, there was no point in lying." Beatrice said. 

She stared up at the ceiling and ran her fingers through her hair. 

"So that's the date covered, what's the important thing that you needed to get to?" 

Right. 

Time to bite the bullet. 

Camila was going to think she's an idiot. 

But… 

If she didn't talk about it to somebody, Beatrice was going to go crazy. 

"So when I got back, the party that Ava threw was still happening. One of her friends was hanging out by the front door. She introduced herself and we got to talking."

"Okay? And then what-"

"Ava isn't dating Lilith. Ava isn't dating anyone. She's been single since university, Camila. They're best friends, sisters even."

It felt weird to say it out loud. 

Camila snorted through the phone. "Are you serious?"

"...Yes." 

"You've been pining over this girl for the last few weeks because you thought she was dating someone and you basically got her sister confused with being her girlfriend?"

Beatrice sighed. "Yes, essentially." 

Camila laughed, a lot. 

She was just glad that they hadn't told Mary and Shannon about Ava. 

It was going to be inevitable that they found out eventually, and when they did, Mary was going to have a field day. 

"Your neighbour is single! That's good news, but I'm going to go ahead and guess that you talking to me now means that you haven't actually told her how you feel?"

"Ava is really drunk." Beatrice replied. "It wouldn't be right to make a move but… Ava kissed me on the cheek. She also called me something in Portuguese." 

"Ooh, what did she say?"

"I don't know Camila, I don't speak Portuguese. At all." 

"You just get turned on when you hear Ava speak it."

"...Moving on." Beatrice cleared her throat. "She's single, Cam, and I'm fairly confident she's interested in me." 

"Then you should ask her out!" Camila said. "Oh… Except…"

Oh, that didn't sound like a good tone. 

"What about the contract signing?" Camila asked. 

"...What?"

"I mean Ava is going to be there representing Jillian, isn't she? Would it look like… A bit of a conflict of interest if something were to happen between you and Ava before the contract was official?"

Oh. 

For fucks sake. 

"...Bea?"

Just one break, that was all she asked. 

"Did I just destroy your soul a little bit?" Camila asked. 

Beatrice sighed. "Yes." 

"Aw Bea, it'll be okay. Just gotta hold out till Tuesday."

"I -" 

"Then you can take her to bed and do whatever you want."

"I'm hanging up. Goodnight Camila." 

Camila laughed. "Goodnight Bea, have some good dreams."

Beatrice hung up and dropped her phone down beside her and let out a groan. 

She was definitely going to be having dreams of some type. 

Camila was right though, she needed to be responsible until the meeting with Jillian. 

Even if Ava was willing, they both had an obligation to their work. 

It didn't mean that Beatrice wasn't going to take a step back. Not now. 

No, she could flirt freely and without guilt.

And Beatrice had every intention of following through on that. 

 


 

Ava was dying. 

It was like someone was scooping out her brain like it was a watermelon. 

She groaned and buried her head further under her pillow. 

"Don't say that I didn't warn you." Lilith said. 

Ava reached out blindly to swat at wherever Lilith was. "Shut up."

She may have gone overboard.

Ava remembered being sad about Beatrice going on her date, she remembered losing to J.C. at rocket league a lot. 

She remembered Beatrice being so close into her space that Ava could barely breathe. 

And the way Beatrice's fingers drew soft patterns on the inside of her wrist.

Beatrice. 

Beatrice had been there. 

Ava shot upright, startling Lilith. 

"Ava, what the -" 

"Beatrice was here last night?" 

Lilith stared incredulously at Ava for several moments. "Yes? You dragged her into the kitchen to make her a drink and you both stayed in there for a while." 

"Then I brought her over to you to say hi." Ava continued, nodding. "Right before I walked her back to her apartment and -" 

Ava cut herself off as images of those last few moments flashed through her mind. 

Lilith raised an eyebrow as she grabbed her jacket from the back of Ava's bedroom door. 

"Ava?" 

Ava buried her face in her hands. "Oh my god, I kissed her on the cheek and uh… I remember Beatrice telling me she liked my accent so… when she left I may have called her something." 

"What did you say?" 

"...Minha querida." 

Lilith frowned thoughtfully and Ava saw the exact moment where she recalled the translation. 

"My dear?" 

Ava nodded. 

Lilith slapped the back of Ava's head. "Idiot. Be more thirsty. I dare you." 

"I know." Ava groaned. "What are the odds she knows what it means?" 

"Google exists, Ava." Lilith said as she pulled her jacket on. "So yeah, fifty fifty chance if you ask me." 

Ava groaned again. "Fuck my life." 

"Pretty sure you want Beatrice to do that." 

Ava launched her pillow at Lilith, unsurprised when she missed horribly. 

"Take your aspirin, Ava. I'm going to get us some breakfast. Then I will happily sit here and go through your little romance drama." 

"How thoughtful of you." Ava grumbled, falling back against the bed. "What's there to go through?" 

"Namely the fact that you want to fuck a CEO -" 

"Hardly news." 

"The CEO who is going to be coming to our office on Tuesday to sign a contract that we have drawn up on behalf of our client." 

Oh. 

"...Right." 

"Which means what, Ava?" 

"I can't fuck her until after Tuesday?" 

"That's right." 

"How about general romancing or flirting?" 

Lilith rolled her eyes and pulled the door open, stepping into the hallway. "We will talk about this later, Ava." 

Ava hummed. "Whatever you say." 

She heard Lilith walk through the apartment and listened as she opened the door to leave. 

"Oh. Hello Kline, didn't expect to see you this morning." 

Ava shot upright. 

Kline? 

Beatrice?

She was out of bed before her brain could process it. 

Lilith was still standing in the doorway, smirking but Ava didn't pay much attention to that. She was too busy rushing towards her. 

Ava slammed into Lilith's side, sending her stumbling a few feet away. 

"Oh, Jesus!" Lilith yelped. 

Beatrice stood in front of her, wide eyed, dressed in her running gear and holding a tray holding two coffees and a small takeout bag. 

Ava braced her hand on the doorframe and did her best to look relaxed. 

"Hey Bea." 

"Oh…" Beatrice glanced down and rapidly snapped her attention back to Ava's face. "Hi." 

Ava glanced down at herself. 

Right. 

"I'm not wearing pants." 

"No. You're not." 

"Sorry?" 

"No, no." Beatrice cleared her throat and kept her gaze focused over Ava's shoulder. "It's fine, honestly." 

It'd be better if she could get Beatrice to look at her legs but hey, Ava wasn't about to complain. 

Beatrice was all hot and sweaty. 

It was glorious. 

"I uh… Brought you both coffee." Beatrice held up the tray. "I didn't know what you drank Lilith so I just got you black." 

Lilith shoved Ava aside to reach for the coffee. "Appreciated. And Ava, if you make a joke about my soul I will drop you and it will be embarrassing." 

"That's fair." 

As she reached to take the iced coffee from Beatrice, Lilith slapped her hand away. 

"Hey!" 

"Go put pants on, Ava. You're making Beatrice uncomfortable." 

Beatrice looked between them both. "Um…" 

"Go, Ava." 

Ava nodded. "Right. I'll be back in two minutes." 

She tried to give Lilith a warning glare before she did, but Lilith paid no attention to her. 

Ava darted back into her room, pulled on the first pair of sweatpants she could find and ran back. 

Beatrice was still waiting in the hallway, tapping her fingers against the tray. 

"Um… Where did Lilith go?" Ava asked. 

Beatrice looked up and smiled. "Oh, she said she was going to get breakfast and would be back in a bit." 

"And she left you out here?" 

"No, Lilith invited me in to wait. But it's your apartment, I was going to wait for you." 

Ava smiled and gestured for Beatrice to come inside. 

It was the first time she had clearly looked at the apartment since she had woken up, it was surprising that it seemed to be in mostly one piece. 

There was still some tidying to do though, clearly. 

"I'd say sorry for the mess, but you were here last night so you definitely knew what to expect." 

Beatrice laughed as she followed Ava towards the sofa. "I am impressed that your friends are so behaved." 

Ava flung herself down on the sofa and watched as Beatrice took a seat beside her and handed Ava her coffee. 

"Thank you." Ava said softly. "You didn't have to do this, you know." 

"I know." Beatrice nodded, smiling as her fingers twitched around the small takeout bag. "But I wanted to. I figured you could use the kick." 

Ava nudged Beatrice's leg with her own. "Well it's appreciated, and I'm sure Lilith is thankful too, and you definitely didn't need to buy Lilith coffee." 

"You mentioned her sleeping on the sofa last night, I thought it would be rude to bring you coffee and not her." Beatrice laughed. "But I… I am glad she's gone now." 

Ava tilted her head to look thoughtfully at Beatrice. "And why is that?" 

"Because I only brought one of these." She said, reaching over to set the takeout bag down on Ava's lap. 

Ava already knew what it was, even before she reached inside and unwrapped the cinnamon roll. 

"Holy shit, yes!" Ava lifted her head to grin at Beatrice. "Thank you." 

"You're welcome." 

"Do you want to split it?" Ava asked. 

"No, thank you." 

"You sure?" 

Beatrice laughed. "Yes Ava, please, it's for you." 

Ava set the cinnamon roll down on the coffee table and turned to face Beatrice fully. 

Lilith was right that she should probably wait until after the contract was signed to make a move. 

But there was always room for some light flirting. 

"You always seem to be here when I need you." Ava said softly. "It's impressive." 

Beatrice blinked slowly at her, the corners of her lips quirked into a small smile. "Is that just because I brought you coffee?" 

"No." Ava replied immediately. "It's all you." 

Beatrice inhaled as her smile faded, eyes growing serious. 

"A lot has changed since I met you, and in such a short time… It fascinates me. You fascinate me." 

"Me?" Ava asked. "But I'm nothing special." 

"I disagree, Ava. So much has changed." 

"And on Tuesday, you sign a contract to partner with your hero." 

Beatrice's gaze hadn't lost any of that intensity, nor did she look away from Ava. 

"And after that, everything can change again." Beatrice said. "In so many ways." 

Oh holy shit. 

Were they on the same page? 

It felt like they were on the same page. 

Ava smiled. "I can't wait." 

"Neither can I." 

Should Ava reach out to touch? 

God she wanted to. 

Ava also wanted to say fuck all senses of professionalism and ask Beatrice to fuck her right here on the sofa. 

Providing Beatrice was willing, of course. 

But no. She had to keep it in her pants. 

She was still going to go for the touch though. 

Ava lifted the straw to her lips, shuffling across the sofa slightly until their sides were pressed together. 

Beatrice didn't move, though her gaze dropped to where their bodies were touching. 

"Do you want to stay for breakfast?" Ava asked. "I can call Lilith and get you something picked up too." 

Beatrice smiled. "No, I appreciate the offer but truthfully? I'm expecting my friends to drag me out so I can explain myself for ending the date the way I did." 

Right.

The date. 

"What are you going to tell them?" Ava asked. 

"The truth." Beatrice replied. "Exactly what I told the date." 

"Do I get to know why?" 

"Yes." Beatrice nodded. She shifted her hand until the back of her palm was pressed against Ava's. "I promise. I just… Ask for a few days." 

"Whatever you need Bea." Ava whispered. "It's yours." 

She watched Beatrice's fingers twitch. 

"I should go." Beatrice said. 

"Okay." 

Beatrice made no attempt to move, after a moment Ava decided to be a bit more daring. 

She moved her hand, letting it settle on top of Beatrice's thigh. 

(Holy shit thigh muscle.) 

Ava let her fingers press against the inside of Beatrice's wrist, moving them slowly to stroke across soft skin. 

She could hear Beatrice's breathing get heavier. Only slightly, but it was enough to have Ava's body light up in response. 

"...Ava."

There was only the slightest hint of pleading to her voice. 

But the tone of her voice was more than enough to have Ava bringing her thumb into play too. 

"I know." Ava replied quietly. 

"I really should go." 

Ava stilled her movements and turned her head slightly, just enough to look at Beatrice. 

Beatrice who was staring directly at her. 

"Do you want to go?" Ava asked. 

"No." Beatrice pulled her hand away, though she smiled as she stood up. "But we'll see each other again." 

Ava got up too, setting her coffee down on the table before following Beatrice back towards the door. 

"Sooner rather than later, right?" Ava asked. 

"If that's what you want." 

"It is." 

Beatrice nodded. "Then I'll make sure of it, okay?" 

"Definitely." 

Ava watched Beatrice walk towards her apartment, Ava turned to go back when she felt a hand close around her wrist. 

"Ava?" 

Ava turned around, face to face with Beatrice. "...Yeah?"

Beatrice leaned in, turning her head at the last moment to press her lips to Ava's cheek. 

Was she dead? 

Ava was pretty sure she was dead. 

Beatrice lingered for a few moments before drawing back. 

"I'll see you tomorrow, Ava. Enjoy the rest of your day." 

"You too." 

Beatrice released Ava's hand and walked back to her door, unlocking it and stepping inside. 

Their eyes met once more before the doors closed. 

Tuesday truly couldn't come fast enough. 

 

--

 

"Do you think it's wise to not tell them about Ava?" Camila asked. 

"Probably not." Beatrice said, shoving her hands into her jacket pockets as she followed Camila to the restaurant. "But I'd still prefer to keep Ava out of this for now." 

She had very little doubt that her and Ava weren't on the same page. 

Everything that happened this morning was proof enough of that. 

The inside of her wrist still tingled where Ava had been touching her. 

She made a note to definitely fill Camila in on those events later.

"So am I just here for moral support?" Camila asked. 

"I also thought you would appreciate mimosas." Beatrice said. 

Camila laughed and held the door open for Beatrice. "You're not wrong there." 

Shannon and Mary were easy to find, sitting at a far table beside the window talking quietly. 

Mary noticed them first and quickly waved them over whilst also flagging down the waiter to order them their drinks. 

"Hey you two." Shannon greeted. "How are you both?" 

"We're good." Camila replied, taking a seat opposite Shannon. 

"Yes, work is going well." Beatrice said, shrugging off her jacket to drape it over the chair before taking her own seat. 

"Any news on a partnership?" Shannon asked. 

Camila looked at Beatrice and the pair shared a nod. 

"We're actually in talks with someone now, if all goes well we'll be signing a contract on Tuesday." Camila explained. 

"Oh, congratulations!" Shannon smiled. 

The waiter brought their drinks along with menus for them all. 

Mary and Shannon shared a brief look before they both focused their attention on Beatrice. 

Beatrice found herself straightening up in her seat under both of their gazes. 

"So…" Mary grinned as she reached for her drink. "Do you want us to question you now or shall we wait until we've gotten food?" 

At least they were giving her the choice. 

"At the very least I'd like to look over the menu first." Beatrice replied. 

"That's fair." 

 

--

 

"Ava, focus." 

A cushion bounced off of her head. 

"I'm totally focused." 

Namely on the thought of Beatrice pinning her to the sofa and having her way with Ava. 

"On the case, Ava." 

Right. 

"Yep. Focused on the case. Everything is fine." 

"Because I really need you to be focused on this tomorrow." 

Ava smiled encouragingly at Lilith. "I've never let you down before, have I?" 

"You have not." 

Ava threw the cushion back at Lilith. "Then don't doubt me now, I'm distracted right now but I'll walk into court tomorrow ready to help you win that case." 

Lilith rolled her eyes at Ava's apparent enthusiasm and closed Ava's laptop. 

"You're right. We're as ready for this as we're going to get." 

"Exactly!" Ava grinned. "And then we have the meeting with Jillian, Bea and Camila on Tuesday and then all will be good with the world." 

And then maybe fun sexy times can happen. 

Oh, fun sexy time potential. 

"Yep, you're still super distracted." Lilith got to her feet. "Take care of that, I'll see you tomorrow." 

"...When you say take care of that?" 

"I'm not elaborating, you have a brain, you can draw your own conclusions." 

Vibrator time it is then. 

"You wanna go for a run tomorrow?" Ava asked. 

"Nah, you'll be too exhausted. I need an energetic Ava." 

Ava laughed. "That's fine by me." 

"See you tomorrow Ava, get some rest. I'll pick you up in the morning." 

Ava made finger guns at Lilith's retreating figure. "Later gator." 

She just knew that Lilith was rolling her eyes at her. 

Ava watched as the door closed and nodded to herself. 

Time to masturbate. 

 

--

 

"There's no point in arguing, Mary. Beatrice actually liked my date." Shannon said. 

"Not enough to want to go out with her again though." Mary countered. 

Beatrice and Camila shared a long look. 

This had been going on since Beatrice had finished them about the date. 

"All of your dates were like human representations of the circles of hell, Mary." 

"I hate to take sides…" Beatrice spoke up. "But Shannon is right. Melanie was wonderful, and it wasn't her fault that it didn't work out." 

Mary groaned. "So we're back at square one." 

"Not necessarily." Beatrice replied. "I've learned a lot about myself from these dates. I know what I want now." 

Shannon looked the most interested by that. "Oh? What's that?" 

Ava. To put it simply. 

"Excitement, someone who is unpredictable but can make something like getting burgers and walking in the rain… Thrilling." 

She knew Camila was smiling at her, that Camila knew she was directly describing Ava, but it didn't matter. 

Shannon's smile was almost knowing. "Sounds like you've already got this figured out." 

"I'm getting there." Beatrice replied. 

"You know you still have to go on dates to find someone like that?" Mary asked. 

No, she didn't. 

Because she had gotten lucky enough to have that someone walk into her life and move in across the hall from her. 

They hadn't been looking for each other, but they had found each other all the same. 

And as soon as that contract was signed, there was nothing stopping them. 

Beatrice smiled. 

"Do we want to order another round of drinks?" She asked instead. 

Two more days. 

Please? 

She just had to wait two more days.

 

Chapter Text

 

"Are you ready for this?" Lilith asked, her gaze fixed firmly ahead as they made their way up the courtroom steps. 

"Yeah of course." Ava replied. She cast a fleeting glance down at herself. "It's just…" 

Lilith stopped them both as they reached the top of the stairs, hand curled around Ava's arms as she turned them so that they were face to face. 

"What?" Lilith asked. "It's just what?"

Ava smiled sheepishly. "Is my outfit hot enough?" 

Lilith's face dropped into a heavy scowl and for a moment, her fingers dug into Ava's arm. 

Ava had picked out her outfit the night before and had tried not to over think it too much. 

Black pencil skirt and a white button up blouse. 

Simple and to the point. 

Ava knew she should have probably brought a blazer, it was getting far too cold to keep going out without one. 

She'd learn, one day. 

"I should push you down these stairs." Lilith all but growled. 

"That'd be a sizeable insurance claim." Ava teased. "But seriously, do I look good?" 

Lilith groaned and dropped Ava's arm in favour of taking a few steps forward. "For fucks… Ava, this isn't a fucking episode of Ally McBeal." 

"Hey!" Ava protested, moving to fall into step with Lilith. "I will not accept any Ally Mcbeal slander, Calista Flockhart is a gift." 

"Ava, you were a toddler when that show aired." 

"I went through a solid Calista phase." Ava shrugged. "Plus, when I was doing my A levels I basically binged every law show." 

Lilith pinched the bridge of her nose. "Beatrice isn't even going to be here, why do you need to look hot?" 

Oops. 

Callout. 

"I mean, first of all, I want to look hot for me. Secondly, let's not kid ourselves here, I'll probably see her today. I maintain the fact that I still haven't met another person in my building and we just have a habit of bumping into each other." 

Lilith laughed as they reached the entrance, somebody held the door open for them to pass through. 

"Even the universe is telling you both to just fuck already." 

"Well the universe needs to be patient." Ava replied. "Besides, we've come to this mutual agreement of waiting until after the contract has been signed." 

Lilith reached to unfasten the buttons on her blazer as they turned to head towards their courtroom. "You've both said that?"

"Not exactly. But it was just… In the air." 

"You make no sense to me." Lilith deadpanned. "But come on, horny hat off, business hat on. We can get back to this after we win." 

Boss bitch Lilith activated. 

Awesome. 

"And Ava?" 

"Yeah?" 

Lilith smirked. "You do look hot." 

"Thank you." Ava grinned. "You do too." 

"I know." 

Ava snorted. "Never change, Lilith. Never change." 

 

--

 

Beatrice drummed her fingers absentmindedly against the desk as she stared at her screen. 

"Bea, I can practically hear you counting down the time." Camila laughed. 

How was it only eleven in the morning? 

This time tomorrow though, they'd be sitting down to sign the contract. 

"Tomorrow truly can not come fast enough." 

"Just tomorrow?" Camila asked. "Because it sounds like you're going to be com-" 

"Stop." Beatrice interrupted. "Also, wrong." 

Camila rolled her chair over to Beatrice, eyes full of interest. 

"You won't come fast?" 

Beatrice pressed her foot to Camila's chair and pushed her away. "It's too early to talk about my sexual habits." 

"But I'm bored." Camila whined, spinning in her chair. "And at the moment I live vicariously through you and your little romance, give me something to work with here." 

Beatrice folded her arms across her chest and raised an eyebrow at Camila. "What I'm hearing right now is that you want to know what I'm like in bed." 

Camila snorted, covering her mouth with her hand. 

"And if I didn't know you better, I'd take that as you hitting on me." Camila replied. 

"If I was hitting on you, Camila. Believe me, you'd know." 

Camila grinned. "Look at you all confident again, I like it. Is this the energy you're giving Ava?" 

"Not entirely. But it will be." 

As soon as that contract was signed there would be no reason to hold herself back. 

And Beatrice was going to make sure she was clear with just how much she wanted Ava. 

"Good girl." Camila laughed. 

Beatrice reached for her coffee and took a sip. "That's my line." 

Camila seemed to be enjoying this shift in conversation far too much, her eyes were bright as she rolled back over to Beatrice. 

"That poor girl isn't going to know what hit her." 

"I'm fairly sure Ava knows exactly what is coming, I've seen the way she behaves and I have a very good inclination as to her… Tastes." 

It was more of a vibe than anything, but Beatrice had picked up on certain energies even when she had been so certain that Ava had been dating Lilith. 

Beatrice had been wrong about that part. But when it came to Ava's interests? 

No, Beatrice was certain about what Ava wanted. 

Camila shook her head, amused. "You're making me want to go and find someone now." 

"What's stopping you?" Beatrice asked. 

"Much like you, the lack of a hot girl to hold my interest." 

"Am I not hot enough for you?" Beatrice asked. 

Camila threw her head back to laugh loudly. "Oh Bea. Yes, you're hot and having confident Bea back is definitely making you hotter." 

"I hear an impending but?" 

" But for as nice as you are to look at, one, you're my best friend. Two, you're my business partner so that would just be a bad idea." Camila held up fingers as she listed things off. "Three… Bea, I have to say, it's really cute that you think you could handle me." 

They were just teasing. Beatrice knew that. 

But there was still a part of her that felt the need to rise up to the challenge. 

"Is that so?" 

She could see the same challenging look in Camila's eyes. 

"Absolutely." Camila replied. "You think I'd let you have all of the control?" 

Beatrice laughed. "And I suppose that is why we will always make better business partners than romantic ones, no?" 

"If I had a drink, I'd cheers to that." 

"We will have plenty more cause for celebration if all goes well with the contract tomorrow." Beatrice pointed out. 

"Will we be celebrating the contract or you getting laid?" 

Beatrice rolled her eyes and turned back to her desk, determined to at least attempt to get some work done today. 

She was hardly going to sign the dotted line and immediately take Ava on the boardroom table. 

…Although. 

Good thought, one she'd possibly allow herself to entertain later. 

"The contract, Cam." 

"That's fair." 

Camila rolled back over to her own desk and typed in a few commands. 

"Hey Bea?" 

"Yes?" 

"I'm still going to check you out even after you've slept with her, just so you know." 

Beatrice laughed softly and began to work. 

 

--

 

Ava felt elated as they climbed into the back of Lilith's car. 

She hadn't doubted their abilities for a moment, but it still wasn't going to stop Ava from being thrilled in the slightest. 

It had taken two hours for Lilith to present her case and emerge successfully. 

One more happy client. 

One who was now climbing into his own car ahead of them, Lilith's driver had already been given the directions to the restaurant their client now insisted on buying them lunch. 

Ava looked over at Lilith and smiled at the look on her face. 

Lilith was so happy. 

"I believe we may be about to secure another long term client." Lilith said, pulling out her phone to look through her emails. 

"And that's why you're letting him treat us to lunch." Ava said. 

"I would much rather head back to the office so that we can ensure everything is prepared for tomorrow." Lilith replied. "But there's no harm in seeing what we can get from this. Besides, I imagine you're hungry." 

Ava chuckled and reached up to undo the top button of her blouse. "I'm pretty much always hungry." 

"Lunch and one drink, then we go back and start getting everything ready." 

Ava felt a little hum of excitement begin to build in her chest. 

They were getting so close. 

 

--

 

Beatrice had forgotten to buy groceries. 

She was usually so much more organised than this. 

And yes, she supposed there was nothing to stop her from just ordering in tonight. 

But Beatrice was out of wine. 

Which even just when thinking about herself, that was unacceptable. 

Factor in Ava and the steady increase of visits between them? 

A crime. 

Wine was essential. 

Beatrice walked out of her apartment and closed the door behind her. 

She didn't need to look up to know that Ava was in the hallway too. 

But when she did, oh what a sight it was. 

Ava was already looking back and smiling, her steps slowing as she reached her door. 

Beatrice had seen Ava in business casual attire plenty of times by now, but this? Oh this was full business wear. 

And this had to be a courtroom outfit. 

White short sleeved blouse buttoned almost all the way to the top, black pencil skirt, cut just below the knee with matching black heels. 

It was so professional, so modest that it probably shouldn't leave Beatrice's mouth dry. 

But oh, it did. 

"Hey Bea." Ava greeted. 

"Ava." Beatrice replied. "We must stop meeting like this." 

Ava grinned as she turned her back to her door. Her purse hung limply from her shoulder. 

"Must we?" Ava asked, her grin grew cheeky as she cocked her head to the side. "I'm rather fond of our hallway rendezvous." 

"Is that so?" Beatrice replied, smiling back as she took the few short steps closer into Ava's space. 

"Definitely." 

It was electric, an anticipation hung heavily in the air between them. 

"In that case, I would hate to deny you such a pleasure." Beatrice replied. 

"I don't know…" Ava said thoughtfully. "Sometimes denying it just makes it all the more enticing." 

There was no doubt that they were flirting, there was no dancing around each other, all that remained was the implications of what they both wanted. 

Beatrice could feel it between them, she could see it in Ava's eyes. 

It made her blood rush. 

"Oh, I'm aware." Beatrice replied softly. She allowed her hand to reach out to skim her fingers along Ava's blouse, ending the contact at her shoulder but lifting her hand higher until she could press it against the doorframe above Ava's head. "You look lovely, by the way. Not that you don't always, but today…" 

She took another tiny step forward until there was barely any space left between them. 

Ava straightened up, her back pressed flat against the door. 

She didn't object to Beatrice bracketing her in the way that she had. 

"Remember that client me and Lilith met a little while ago? It was his court date today." 

"All went well, I assume?" 

Ava grinned. "Crushed it." 

"I expected nothing less." 

"So I had to dress appropriately." Ava shrugged. "This is one of my go to court outfits." 

Beatrice hummed. "Is that right?" 

Ava nodded, tilting her head back against the door, all but baring her neck to Beatrice. 

Beatrice wondered how pretty it would look all marked up by her. 

"Sometimes, after we've won a case, we'll go out for a drink to celebrate." Ava explained. "It's a very versatile outfit, you see." 

As Ava spoke, she reached up to the top buttons of her shirt and began to pop each one open, maintaining Beatrice's gaze the entire time. 

Beatrice broke eye contact to track the movements, watching as each open button revealed more and more skin. 

And a generous amount of cleavage. 

Beatrice made no attempt to hide the fact that she was openly staring. 

"I see." 

"I wouldn't want to look like a nun in a bar, would I?" 

"I imagine there's nothing nun like about you, Ava." 

"I don't know, I'm pretty sure I look good on my knees." 

Beatrice's stomach clenched, a spark shot through her entire body. 

She lifted her gaze to meet Ava's eyes, not missing the mischievous glint in Ava's eyes as reached up with her free hand to press her thumb to Ava's chin. 

"I have no reason to doubt that." 

Beatrice watched as Ava's lips parted and heard the sharp inhale of breath. 

She kept her thumb against Ava's chin, though she brought her fingers under Ava's jaw, easily finding her pulse point. 

It thundered beneath her touch. 

All hints of mischief had faded from Ava's eyes until all that was left behind was a needy desperation. 

Beatrice had been right. 

"Ava, my dear…" Beatrice began, making sure that she kept that eye contact strong. "Your heart is beating rather fast, are you alright?"

It only seemed to get faster. 

Ava seemed to be sufficiently speechless, there was a slight shift as she seemed to slide down the door an inch. 

Beatrice was fairly confident that Ava's knees had just given out. 

There were so many possibilities. It would be so easy to bring a hand down and push that skirt up, to slip her hand beneath it and watch every shift in Ava's face. 

Or maybe she could turn Ava around and whisper filthy things into her ear as she did whatever she wanted. 

One day. 

They just had to wait one more day. 

Until then though, Beatrice may as well ensure Ava wasn't going to forget her just yet. 

Beatrice leaned in closer until her lips barely grazed Ava's ear and dropped her voice to a whisper. 

"You should learn to control that." 

Which was a rather bold statement of Beatrice to say considering she was one twitch of her fingers away from acting on both of their desires. 

The sound that came from Ava's lips sounded suspiciously like a quiet whimper. 

"Oh… Meu Deus." 

Ava's words went right through her. Beatrice may not know the language, but she didn't need to to know what Ava had said. 

It left her own heart racing. 

To be so forward and be met with such an enthusiastic response. 

Having such an effect that she could reduce Ava to this? 

Everything about Ava excited Beatrice, but this? 

This was bringing out a part of Beatrice that she hadn't felt for a while. 

She drew back and saw the desperate look in Ava's eyes. 

"I have to go." Beatrice said. 

Ava pouted. "Bea…" 

"Ssh…" Beatrice brushed her thumb along Ava's bottom lip. "Tomorrow Ava, I will see you tomorrow." 

She drew back before Ava could say or move, casting one last look over her body. 

"Enjoy the rest of your night, Ava. I hope you have pleasant dreams." 

It didn't bother her that Ava couldn't manage more than an abrupt nod. 

When Beatrice stepped into the elevator and turned around, she found that Ava hadn't moved. 

And she certainly didn't hide the fact that she hadn't taken her eyes off of Beatrice. 

Beatrice smirked as the doors closed. 

 

--

 

Holy shit. 

Holy fucking shit. 

Ava's legs were shaking as she pulled her phone from her purse and tossed it onto the sofa. 

Beatrice fucking Kline. 

That girl was going to kill her. 

Her thoughts were spiralling. 

Her entire body was wound up so tight that all she wanted to do was head into her room and take care of herself until she physically couldn't come anymore. 

The tiny rational part of her brain was the one who led her to tap Lilith's name and press her phone to her ear. 

"Ava." Lilith greeted. 

"Meu Deus, Lilith. Ajuda." 

"...What?"

"Beatrice. Ela é tão gostosa, vou morrer."

"Ava, I love you but I'm going to need you to either slow down so I can try to understand you or switch to English."

Ava snorted. "Basic." 

"...I'm going to hang up."

"No, don't! I'm sorry." Ava took a deep breath and leaned against the wall, exhaling slowly. "I'm good." 

"Okay, good. What happened?"

Ava closed her eyes. "Okay so Beatrice was coming out of the apartment as I was walking up and we started talking but it was all heavy flirting vibes and she basically got me pinned up against the wall and-" 

The line went dead. 

Ava frowned down at the phone and hit redial. 

Lilith answered on the first ring. 

"No." Lilith said. 

"Two minutes, please. I'm begging you." Ava pleaded. "I need to vent." 

Lilith sighed heavily. "Fine. Two minutes, I'm watching the clock." 

Okay. Shit. 

"I tried to be all smooth and teasing by undoing the top few buttons of my shirt to let the girls out but it backfired horribly and Bea did that thing where she was all up against me with her arm over my head and was looking at me with these intense dark eyes." Ava paused to take a deep breath. "And I kinda suggested I'd look good on my knees-" 

"Ugh."

"Shut up, also, she held my chin and felt my pulse and whispered in my ear and basically, I'm super turned on and I'm not going to survive this but now I also really need to figure out how to try and one up her and do to her what she's done to me." 

Ava let out a breath, finally finished as Lilith remained silent on the end of the line. 

She had to double check to make sure Lilith hadn't hung up on her again. 

"Are you done?"

"Yeah pretty much." Ava replied. 

"Under two minutes as well, good job."

"Thank you." Ava said. "What do I do?" 

"Well, I have a pretty solid idea about what you're going to do when this call ends so we're just going to skim over that so you can spare me the mental image."

That was fair.

And Lilith was totally right. 

Ava pushed off of the wall and began to walk towards the bedroom, undoing the rest of the buttons on her blouse as she went. 

"And considering tomorrow is a big deal… So as your boss I feel like I have to remind you that you have to be some degree of professional." 

"But as my big sister and best friend?" 

Lilith sighed heavily. "I would say that it sounds like Beatrice is rather receptive to you in business attire. Lean into that."

Sexy lawyer. 

Oh, Ava could do that. 

It really was time to channel Ally Mcbeal. 

"Thank you Lilith." 

"Can I go now?"

Ava laughed. "Yeah, go for it." 

"Good. I'll see you in the morning." 

Ava shrugged out of her blouse and let it hit the ground. 

"Catch you later Lilith." 

Lilith hung up and Ava promptly cast her phone aside. 

A plan was forming in her mind. 

But first? She had a date with a certain vibrating buddy of hers. 

 


 

Beatrice had barely walked into the office before Camila walked up to her, eyes fixed firmly on her phone. 

"Morning Bea, Gabe said that he'll meet us at the office and -" Camila lifted her head, eyes widening. "Holy shit, you look hot."

"Good morning, and thank you." 

Even by her standards, Beatrice had woken up exceptionally early today. 

And considering that it had taken a long time for her brain to stop coming up with scenarios long enough for her to fall asleep, it hadn't been ideal. 

But it had allowed Beatrice extra time to choose the right outfit. 

It hadn't been that hard though. 

Beatrice knew that Ava loved navy, so it just made sense to choose that shirt, black pants and her matching blazer. 

She hadn't left the buttons as open as she would when going on a date, but Beatrice had ensured that she left it open enough that her collar bones were exposed. 

"Oh you've got a very specific look in your eye." Camila said. 

"Do I?" 

"You're a woman on a mission and it really shows." 

Beatrice slipped her hands into her blazer pockets and smiled. "Good." 

Camila grinned. "You wanna head out? We're early but we can stop for coffee on the way. I'll drive." 

"Okay, I'm ready when you are then." 

She couldn't wait to see the look on Ava's face. 

 

--

 

Ava found Lilith in the boardroom, her movements not quite frantic in her but with enough nervous energy that Ava should probably think twice about bothering her with trivial matters. 

But who had time for thinking twice? 

Definitely not Ava. 

In for a penny, in for a pound. 

"Lilith, I'm stressed." 

Lilith didn't look up as she arranged the empty glasses on the table they had used to put on a little spread of snacks and drinks. 

"Join the fucking club. What's wrong." 

Ava gestured at herself. "This is stressful. I may have made a mistake." 

Lilith glanced at her, raising an eyebrow as she gave Ava's outfit a once over. 

"Why? Because you, Ava Silva, the clumsiest girl I have ever known, has opted to wear white of all things?" 

Ava glanced down at her suit and back up to Lilith and nodded. "Yeah, pretty much." 

"Just… For the love of God, please avoid the coffee and chocolates. Or anything moderately capable of spilling."

Yeah, that was fair. 

"You know Jillian isn't going to care about this little buffet, right?" Ava asked. 

"I care." 

"Is there anything I can do to help?" 

"Go downstairs and wait for Jillian, your girlfriend and Co can find their own way up here but I'd rather you keep Jillian away from the masses." 

Ava grinned. "You mean Crimson?" 

"I've already sent her on errands. I meant Jason." 

Fucking Jason. 

Ava gave a lazy salute. "You got it boss." 

Ava turned to leave, brushing her hand over her blazer once more to smooth out what she knew were nonexistent creases. 

"And Ava?" Lilith called after her. 

"Yo." 

"You look hot." 

Ava grinned. "Thank you." 

"Maybe put your hair up. You have a good neck, show it off."

Great. 

Now she had to try and find a hair tie. 

She asked everyone she passed on the way downstairs to no avail, eventually resorting to stealing a pen from the receptionist and using that to put her hair up into a messy bun just in time to see a car pull up outside. 

Ava watched the driver get out and walk around to open the door. 

Jillian stepped out, also dressed in an all white pant suit. 

At least Ava had gone for a red shirt and heels for a bolder pop of colour. 

Because Jillian should really trademark the all white look. 

Ava hurried to the door to open it as Jillian reached her. 

"Well, one of us is going to have to change." Ava said. 

Jillian laughed as she walked into the building, Ava let the door drift closed and turned to face her. 

"Ava, darling, let me look at you." She set her hands on Ava's shoulders and gave her a long once over. 

Ava turned when Jillian prompted her to and smiled sheepishly at her when they were face to face once more. 

"Oh, if only I were ten years younger."Jillian sighed, reaching up to give Ava's chin a brief touch. 

She certainly wasn't Beatrice, but the words and touch still made Ava's stomach give a little flutter all the same. 

"Why ten years younger?" Ava asked. "You're hot shit." 

Jillian laughed again. "Never change, Ava." 

Ava was so glad she didn't have to be overly formal in Jillian's company. Jillian didn't care what Ava said, it was entirely Lilith making sure that they kept a professional image. 

Even Jillian was slightly more serious in Lilith's company, and she wouldn't even get told off for it. 

"So is it safe to assume that you're wearing this to impress a certain British CEO?" Jillian asked. 

Ava hit the button for the elevator and they both stepped inside. 

Should she have made Jillian sign in? Probably. 

It was fine, she was a client. 

"That obvious?" Ava asked. 

"There's nothing wrong with obvious, Ava." Jillian replied. "It shows your intentions. And considering how long it's been since you first met Ms. Kline, I think we can agree that you can afford to be obvious." 

Ava frowned and glanced at the woman beside her. "It feels like you just insulted me somehow." 

"Not at all, I'm just wondering how it's possible for you to still be dancing around each other." 

The doors opened and the pair stepped out together. Ava directed them towards the boardroom as they began to walk. 

"Believe me, I'm still confused about it. It started off with mixed but intense signals from Beatrice, especially because she was going on all these blind dates her friend was setting up for her, but then a few days ago it just changed." Ava explained. "Now we're on the same page but that page is both of us trying to be professional until this contract is signed." 

She saw Jillian smirk from the corner of her eye. "How mature of you both. So this contract is essentially the only thing holding you back now." 

"Pretty much." 

"And that is why the professional yet sexy outfit." 

"Kinda." Ava replied, laughing when Jillian flashed her a curious look. "Nothing has happened between us, but things have gotten… Intense. I tried to get a reaction out of Bea yesterday and it backfired horribly." 

"Ah… I see. She worked you up and this is you trying to get her back." 

Oh shit. 

It was alarming just how fast Jillian had seen it. 

"You're good at this." Ava said. 

"I know." Jillian replied. "And the outfit is perfect Ava, but come on darling, you can do better than that." 

Ava stopped when they reached the boardroom, watching Jillian curiously. 

What? 

As she opened her mouth to ask, Lilith opened the door, greeting Jillian and ushering them both inside. 

She was silent long enough for Lilith and Jillian to exchange pleasantries and for Lilith to turn to the table to offer Jillian a drink before Ava found her voice once more. 

"What do you mean I can do better?" Ava asked. 

Lilith frowned at her while Jillian walked over to the boardroom table to lean against it. 

Her eyes moved thoughtfully over Ava's body, during which time Lilith had moved to stand beside Jillian, passing her a drink. 

"You want to get a reaction, yes?" Jillian asked. 

"Yeah." 

"You'll certainly get one as you are, but why not go bigger?" 

"I'm listening." 

Lilith frowned. "Ava, seriously?" 

Ava held up both of her hands in surrender. "In my defence, Jillian started this." 

"I did." Jillian agreed. "I'm rather invested in this… Shall we say game?" 

Ava had never seen Lilith look so exasperated at both of them. 

"I truly don't know who is the bigger bad influence here." Lilith sighed. 

Jillian merely smiled. "Take off the blazer, Ava." 

"This is totally because we dressed the same Isn't It?" Ava muttered as she complied, reaching up to unfasten the two buttons so that she could slip the blazer off. 

"Oh no, I just want to see what we're working with." 

Holy shit. 

Even Lilith looked surprised. 

"You really are heavily invested in this." Lilith said. "Are you not worried about this distracting from the actual work we're here to do?" 

"Good lord no." Jillian replied immediately. "The contract will happen, this is just a formality. A formality which is generally a rather boring one. We may as well ensure something good comes out of it." 

"Don't make a joke." Lilith didn't bother to look at Ava as she held up a finger and kept her focus on Jillian. "I'm pretty sure you could argue that partnering with one of the most promising up and coming tech companies constitutes as something good." 

Jillian rolled her eyes fondly. "Must you read into everything so much Lilith? Let me enjoy this game of matchmaking." 

"Fine." Lilith relented. 

"Wonderful." Jillian gestured towards Ava. "Suggestions?" 

It was an odd feeling to have both Lilith and Jillian looking at her so intently. Ava had to consciously focus on standing still. 

"I stand by keeping your hair up." Lilith said. 

"Indeed." Jillian agreed. "I think you could stand to lose some of the buttons." 

"We're trying to stay professional, Jillian." Lilith pointed out. 

"Why? You're not in court." 

Lilith looked as though she was going to protest before sighing again. "Sure. Whatever, so long as Ava is comfortable." 

"Of course." Jillian nodded. "Make sure to tell us if this is making you uncomfortable." 

"It's really sweet of you both to ask, but honestly? Loving this." Ava replied as she popped open a few buttons of her blouse. 

"Of course you do." Lilith replied as though she wouldn't be feeling the exact same way if their positions were reversed. 

"Is that silk?" Jillian asked. 

Ava skimmed her hands over her blouse and grinned. "It is." 

"Wonderful. And I know exactly what is missing from this." Jillian said. 

She pushed off of the table and approached Ava as she rummaged through her purse, eventually producing a sealed lipstick. 

Ava took it and pulled the cap off, unsurprised that it was the exact same shade of red as her shirt and heels. 

"It won't be too much?" Ava asked. 

"I think it will be just enough to tie this all together." 

Ava wasn't going to argue with that. 

"Don't get me wrong, I'm loving the help and everything, but it is kinda surreal that you're so insistent on getting me laid." 

"Ava!" 

"Consider it your bonus." Jillian dismissed. She turned back to Lilith. "I presume that the others are on their way?" 

"I certainly hope so. I imagine they're the punctual sort." 

"In that case, let's talk strategy and then if you would be so kind as to allow me to use your office for a few minutes to make a phone call?" Jillian asked. 

Ava had the distinct impression that she wasn't referring to a business strategy. 

Weird was just the standard now, no use in fighting it. 

 

--

 

"Do you think we're too early?" Camila asked. 

Beatrice scanned the other cars in the lot. "Possibly, Gabriel isn't here yet, though there's nothing wrong with being punctual." 

"Awesome, let me just fix my hair and we can head up." Camila said. 

Beatrice nodded and unclipped her seat belt before pulling out her phone to check for any new messages. 

She was just about to set it to silent when it began to ring, Mary's name lit up the screen. 

Only a few days ago, to see her name would instil a feeling of dread in Beatrice's chest. 

Now, there was no hesitation as she answered the call. 

"Hi Mary." Beatrice greeted. "This isn't the best time, we're just about to meet for the contract signing." 

"Oh shit, is that today?" Mary asked. "Don't worry I'll keep it fast."

"What is it?" 

"Do you remember when you moved into your apartment and I helped you carry all of the furniture up ten flights of stairs because the elevator was out?"

"Vividly." 

It had almost killed them both. 

"And how you said that you owed me a favour should I ever need it and that you would never say no or ask questions so long as it didn't involve hiding a body?" 

Hello dread, it's good to see you again. Make yourself comfortable. 

"...Yes?" Beatrice replied. 

"Well, I need to cash in on that favour."

"Please tell me you don't need me to hide a body." 

Mary laughed. "No, but I do need you to go on one more date for me."

Oh. 

Beatrice would have preferred the body. 

"I… Mary, I don't know, I really shouldn't." Beatrice sighed. 

Camila had stopped fixing her hair and was now watching Beatrice with interest. 

"I know you said you were done with it, but this girl is really down on her luck and she's lovely. I think she just needs a confidence boost."

Beatrice pushed a hand through her hair as she sighed. "And you think… Forgive me for saying this, a pity date, will help?" 

She saw Camila's eyes widen at the mention of a date. 

"Bea, no!" Camila whispered. 

"In a way, yeah." Mary replied. "And before you ask, Shannon knows and thinks it's a good idea too and will back me up when I say that I'm not setting you up with another Serena."

God… Damn it Shannon. 

"So what exactly am I supposed to do here?" Beatrice asked. 

She already knew that she was going to agree. Mary had done so much for her over the years, she'd helped Beatrice in so many ways and never asked for anything in return.

It wasn't ideal though. 

Beatrice looked over at the building they were due to enter. 

How would she explain this to Ava? 

Would Ava feel as though Beatrice was stringing her along? 

She pushed the thoughts aside. 

Ava wasn't like that. Ava would understand. 

The worst thing Beatrice could do was not be honest with her. 

"Just go for a few drinks, show her that a date isn't all that scary. Help her find her feet with all that romance shit."

"Mary, I love you. And it's because I love you that I'm going to say yes. But one date, that's it. A few drinks and then I'm going home. No more setting me up." 

"Deal."

"Okay, we've got to go." 

"Yeah, of course. Good luck, tell Cam good luck from me too."

"I will. I'll talk to you later Mary." 

"Bye Bea."

Beatrice hung up and dropped the phone into her lap and promptly let her head fall forward until it hit the dashboard with a gentle thud. 

"Son of a bitch." 

"Bea, what the fuck?" Camila asked. "Did you just agree to another blind date?" 

"Yes." Beatrice replied glumly. "Mary called in a favour." 

Camila groaned. "Damn you and your moral code." 

"I know." 

"Knight in shining armour, noble hearted, Mr Darcy ass-" 

"Okay," Beatrice lifted her head. "You're starting to go into weird territory now." 

Camila smiled sheepishly. "Sorry. What about Ava?" 

Beatrice switched her phone to silent and turned it over in her hands a few times. "I'll have to be honest with her and pray she understands." 

"At this point you're just cockblocking yourself, you know that right?" 

"I am painfully aware of that. Yes." 

"You'd better hope she's dressed like a fucking nun up there." 

"And we both know that with how the universe has been treating me over the last few weeks that I will not be so lucky." 

Camila snorted and reached for the car door. "That's true." 

They both got out of the car and made their way into the building. 

By the time they signed in, Gabriel arrived as another man exited the elevator who greeted them and led them into the elevator to take them to the boardroom. 

Beatrice was too distracted to really take in the firm beyond noting that it had clearly been designed by Lilith if the high end furnishings were anything to go by. 

"Are you ready for this?" Camila asked as they reached the boardroom. 

"Yes, are you?" 

Camila grinned. "Duh. I wasn't talking about the contract, Bea." 

"I know." 

As they all stepped inside, Beatrice took in the huge table that filled up the majority of the room, the fine art that hung from the walls and giant windows that showed off the view of the city. 

She noticed Lilith first as the woman approached them, greeting Gabriel with a firm handshake and a sense of familiarity before she turned to Beatrice and Camila. 

Lilith was owning the all black suit, hair slicked back and looking nothing short of the boss that everybody knew her to be. 

"Beatrice." Lilith greeted offering her hand. "Good to see you." 

"Likewise." Beatrice replied. "You haven't met my partner yet, have you?" 

Lilith looked to Camila, her gaze lingered for several moments before she offered her hand to Camila. 

"No, I've not had the pleasure. Lilith." 

"Camila." Camila replied. "I love your building."

"Thank you. I trust you got here okay?" 

Beatrice could feel eyes on her, and when she glanced to her side, Beatrice found her eyes meeting Ava's. 

Her eyes didn't stay still for long. 

It was impossible when Ava was wearing a white suit, finely tailored as the pants clung to her legs, cut off just above the ankle to show off dark red heels. 

There was a hint of a matching red shirt peeking out from beneath the white blazer. 

Ava smiled, lips painted a dark red, loose strands from her bun framed her face beautifully. 

Oh. 

Good God. 

Camila's hand landed on her back, her head came close to Beatrice's ear. 

"Oh yeah, you're fucked." Camila whispered. 

Yes. 

She was. 

That hand patted firmly against her. "Good luck buddy."

"Jillian is just making a phone call." Lilith said as she passed them with Gabriel. "Help yourself to food and drink." 

"Help yourself to Ava." Camila added. 

Okay. She was enjoying this whole scenario too much now. 

Camila moved away before Beatrice could respond, walking towards the table where Lilith and Gabriel were talking. 

Beatrice took her time walking over to where Ava stood, unable to stop her own smile as Ava grinned at her. 

"Ava." 

"Beatrice." 

Beatrice reached out to touch the sleeve of Ava's blazer. "Did you and Lilith plan on coordinating or was this just pure luck?" 

"Absolutely no planning involved." Ava laughed. "Believe me, you'll see what I mean when you see-" 

"Ah, Ms. Kline!" Jillian greeted. 

Beatrice looked over, taking in the similar white suit she was wearing before looking back at the amused smile on Ava's lips. 

She had to wonder how good that lipstick would look if it got smudged across Ava's lips. 

Oh, the things Beatrice could do to achieve that look. 

"Jillian." Beatrice greeted. "How are you?" 

"Wonderful, yourself?" 

"Likewise." 

"Good, good." Jillian stopped when she reached them. "Look Beatrice, Ava had provided a lovely spread for us." 

Don't think about Ava spreading anything.

Ava raised an eyebrow and reached for her glass of water and took a sip. 

"I do hope you like finger food." Jillian said. 

Ava choked on her water as Beatrice felt her ears heat up. 

Definitely don't think about fingers or eating. 

Beatrice… wasn't doing a good job at any of those things. 

"I'll leave you two to… Get acquainted." Jillian said as she helped herself to a coffee and drifted away, leaving them alone. 

"See?" Ava laughed. "Totally stole my outfit." 

Beatrice hummed and let herself take a step closer. "It suits you." 

"Look at you though." Ava said appreciatively. "Is that navy I see?" 

"It is." Beatrice replied. "I know you're fond of the colour." 

There was no need for Ava to reach out and adjust her collar, and there was definitely no need for her fingers to trace along Beatrice's collarbone. 

"I think I'm more fond of you in that colour." Ava said. 

"Now… As for this red blouse I'm seeing…" Beatrice murmured. 

"You want to see?" Ava asked. 

"Yes." 

There was the flicker of a challenge in Ava's eyes. 

"Go on then." 

Definitely a challenge. 

Beatrice reached down to close her fingers around the top button of Ava's blazer and popped it open. 

Ava merely continued to smile as Beatrice moved her hand down to undo the second button. 

Oh. 

Ava had already unbuttoned the blouse to a point that bordered on positively sinful. 

Was that a hint of red lace she was seeing peeking out too? 

Beatrice pushed the blazer open and took a moment to admire. 

"Is that silk?" Beatrice asked. 

"It is." 

"You have to be delicate with silk, you know that, don't you Ava?" 

Ava hummed. "It's a good thing I'm not made of silk then, isn't it?" 

Beatrice was ready to lift Ava onto that boardroom table and say fuck it to everything else. 

"Lucky me." Beatrice replied. 

She really needed to pull herself together. 

"Ladies?" Jillian called. "We'll be starting soon." 

Beatrice looked over her shoulder, thankful that Gabriel had his back to them from his seat. 

Lilith seemed to be actively trying to ignore them as she passed out paperwork.

Camila and Jillian? Both openly grinning at them. 

Did Jillian know what was going on? 

No. 

No way. 

Although… Stranger things have happened. 

"Coming!" Ava called. She straightened up and reached out to pat Beatrice's cheek. "Come on bela. Time to get to work."

Bela? 

God. This really was going to kill her. 

 

--

 

Ava really had no reason to be here. 

Everything was in order, Lilith was in the process of reading through the contract while Beatrice and Camila's lawyer took notes. 

Camila was watching Lilith as she read. 

Which, oh? 

Maybe it was nothing but… 

Camila was hot. 

Lilith was hot. 

They could be hot together. 

Ava filed that away for later as her gaze shifted to Beatrice, conveniently seated directly across from her. 

(Thanks Jillian.)

Beatrice's eyes rarely left hers, only breaking away long enough to glance at Lilith or at the notes her lawyer was wilting. 

There seemed to be so much hunger in her eyes that Ava was certain that it felt like Beatrice was on the verge of tearing her clothes off. 

Ava would have no objections to that, regardless of the cost of her blouse. 

But there was also something else there, something heavy that Ava couldn't place. 

Interesting. 

Beside her, Jillian cleared her throat and when Ava glanced sideways to meet her gaze, Jillian dropped her own to Ava's blazer. 

Right. 

Teasing. 

Ava shrugged off the blazer and draped it over the back of her chair before leaning forward and folding her arms under her chest. 

Come on cleavage, time to play. 

She smiled when Beatrice's gaze dropped. 

"Any questions so far?" Lilith asked. 

"Nope." Camila replied. 

"Nothing from me." Jillian added. 

Ava was aware of everyone's eyes shifting to Beatrice. 

A solid few seconds passed before Beatrice became aware of it, her ears turned a delightful shade of red as she looked around at them. 

"No." Beatrice cleared her throat. "No, I'm fine." 

Her eyes found Ava's again as Lilith resumed her reading. 

Ava smirked. 

 

--

 

Ava was teasing her. 

And she was doing a damn good job of it. 

Beatrice should be paying attention, and she was. 

Mostly. 

The words were registering but all she could bring herself to look at was the girl in front of her. 

Ava was beautiful, which was already distracting enough. 

But now that she had taken off the blazer and leaned forward, almost ensuring that Beatrice got a front row seat to quite a view. 

Beatrice had thought it before and she would continue to think it, but Ava had fucking amazing breasts. 

And now Ava was taunting her with them. 

Jesus. 

"Now, you all have copies of the contract to read over." Lilith said. "Jillian, Ava and I will give you some time to discuss. Will fifteen minutes be enough?" 

"Yeah, that'll be fine." Camila replied. 

Lilith, Ava and Jillian each rose to their feet. Ava made sure to wink as she got up. 

Beatrice had no objections to the conditions of the contract. 

But she'd be damned if she didn't need these fifteen minutes to get herself under control. 

She watched the three of them exit the room and let out a long breath. 

If Gabriel wasn't there, she'd let her head hit the table. 

"Ms. Kline, are you okay?" He asked. 

"Perfectly fine." Beatrice replied, getting to her own feet. "Water anyone?" 

"No, thank you." Camila said. 

Gabriel shook his head. "I'm fine. Do either of you have any questions or objections to the terms?" 

"It all seems fair." Beatrice replied as she poured herself a glass of water. "More than, in fact. Camila?" 

"I agree." 

"Okay, good." Gabriel nodded to himself. 

"What about you?" Camila asked. "You were making notes the entire time." 

Beatrice laughed under her breath and made her way to the table. "Yes Gabriel, tell Camila about your notes." 

"Ah, yes. It's my grocery list." 

Camila snorted. "What?" 

"Always look like you're making notes." Gabriel shrugged. "Makes them sweat a little." 

"The only one here who's sweating is Bea." Camila laughed. 

"Oh. Hot assistant?" Gabriel asked. 

"Paralegal." Beatrice corrected. 

"She's trying to fuck with you, you know." He said. 

God, even their lawyer was in on it now. 

"Yes Gabriel. I'm aware, thank you." 

 

--

 

"Why give them fifteen minutes?" Ava asked. "It didn't seem as though they were unhappy with the contract or anything." 

They'd gathered in Lilith's office, Jillian seemed to be making herself comfortable in Lilith's chair while Lilith typed on her phone. 

"Honestly?" Lilith asked. "I think you were about to give Beatrice a heart attack." 

Ava nodded slowly. "Okay, so all of this is just… me and Bea now?" 

"Regretfully, yes." Lilith replied. "You and Jillian are right. The contract is solid, they'll have no complaints and even I'm getting a sense of satisfaction from watching Beatrice suffer."

"Sadist." 

"Coming from you, little miss choke me." 

"Hey!" Ava felt her cheeks turn red and pointed to Jillian. "Company!" 

"Honestly, that doesn't surprise me." Jillian shrugged as she inspected her nails. 

"Wow. Okay." 

"You have a certain energy about you." 

What, like some kind of bottom aura? 

"Both of you." 

Ava snorted, despite Lilith's glare. 

"I'm going to the bathroom." Lilith announced, walking out of the room. 

Ava could only stare at Jillian, impressed. 

"Teach me your ways." Ava whispered. 

Jillian smiled. "Ava, darling, I'm going to be perfectly honest with you right now. The only people in this building who would benefit from the lessons I could offer would be the two women in your boardroom." 

Oh shit. 

"Camila too?" 

"Especially Camila." 

Excellent. 

"Is Lilith single, by chance?" 

There was still the whole deal of the mystery gym girl, but Lilith hadn't divulged anything else so… 

"She is." 

Jillian hummed thoughtfully. 

Sorry Lilith. 

You're about to get wingmanned. 

"Do you have plans for once the contract is signed?" Jillian asked. 

"I mean… I have to file all the paperwork and stuff and I guess we have the rest of the workday to finish -" 

"I meant with Beatrice." 

"Oh, then no." 

They hadn't actually talked about it. 

Honestly Ava just kind of expected that once they both got home this evening one of them would knock on the other's door and go from there. 

Clothing optional but not encouraged. 

"Hm. Interesting." 

"Is it?" 

"To me it is." 

"Should I be concerned?" Ava asked. 

"Not at all." 

Yeah… She was still gonna be a little concerned. 

Lilith poked her head through the door, looking at each of them expectantly. 

"Are we ready?" 

"Yes, let's go." Jillian replied. 

 

--

 

It all ran relatively smoothly when Ava and the others returned. 

With no objections, all that was left were the formalities. 

A signature here, initial there, and before Beatrice knew it, they were done. 

Ava grinned the entire time. 

"Beatrice, Camila." Jillian spoke fondly, shaking each of their hands. "It's going to be a pleasure doing business with you." 

The only one who seemed to be in a rush to leave was Gabriel, who left shortly after saying his goodbyes and shaking everyone's hands, leaving with a promise of catching up for drinks with them after his vacation. 

Jillian slipped out at some point to take a phone call, leaving Lilith and Camila talking over coffee at the table spread and Ava alone, seated on the boardroom table. 

Beatrice walked over to her, trying to keep a semblance of a respectful distance when all she could imagine was pushing Ava's legs apart and stepping into the space they would create. 

And there was that hint of red lace peeking out from her blouse. 

Beatrice was willing to bet that it would leave very little to her imagination. 

"That went well." Ava said. 

"It did." 

"You gonna celebrate?" 

"Camila will no doubt want to. Yourself?" 

"I'll never say no to celebratory drinks." Ava replied with a grin. "But I can think of a few other ways to celebrate." 

God, so could Beatrice. 

She had to tell Ava about the date. 

"Ava… I -"  

"Ladies." Jillian breezed into the room. "How do all of your evenings look?" 

Son of a bitch. 

"Why do you ask?" Ava replied. 

Jillian slipped her phone into her pocket and smiled at each of them. "What if I told you all I got you on the list at Lux tonight?" 

"That's a club, yes?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava grinned. "Yeah, a fucking good one too." 

"Have you ever been?" 

"Nah, Chanel only ever managed to get in once and I was in London at the time." 

There was a glint in Ava's eyes, Beatrice could see the racing thoughts. 

Oh, to guess what she could be thinking about. 

For her own sanity, it was probably best not to. 

"Anyway…" Lilith interrupted. "Jillian, why?" 

"My gift to each of you." Jillian shrugged.

Ava looked hopefully at Beatrice. "It could be fun." 

"I don't… tend to go out, remember?" 

The puppy dog eyes were in full force as Ava lifted her leg to brush her heel along Beatrice's calf. 

"Don't you want to know what it's like to dance?" 

Beatrice swallowed heavily. 

"Yes." 

Ava beamed. "Lilith, Camila?" 

"Definitely." Camila said. 

Lilith sighed. "I suppose there's no harm in going for a few drinks." 

"Excellent. I'll make sure that you're all well looked after." 

"You won't be joining us?" Camila asked. 

Jillian laughed. "My dear, it's the middle of the week, I'm not as young as I used to be." 

"We'll catch up for drinks soon though, right?" Ava asked. 

"Of course." Jillian replied. "Have fun ladies. Beatrice, Camila. I'll set up a meeting with you in the next few days. I'll see myself out." 

"Bea, we should probably head out too." Camila said softly. 

Even with the promise of tonight, Beatrice didn't want to leave. 

Not yet. 

Camila seemed to recognise as much too. 

"Uh… Hey Lilith? What does a girl have to do to get a tour of this building." 

"Oh… Yeah of course, follow me." Lilith replied, already moving towards the door. "Let me show you our state of the art security system first. We have cameras in key places like the boardroom. "

Beatrice waited until they had left the room and turned back to face Ava, who was trying not to laugh. 

Ava parted her legs invitingly. 

"Ava…" Beatrice sighed. 

Ava's expression grew curious as her head tilted to the side. 

"What's wrong?" 

"You remember my friend, Mary?" 

"Bad at organising dates? Sure." 

Beatrice sighed, her expression must have turned apologetic as she saw realisation dawn on Ava's face. 

"Oh." Ava dropped her gaze for a few moments. "I… I thought you were done with that." 

"I am." Beatrice replied. 

When Ava looked back up, her eyes carried a faint sadness to them. "Then why?" 

Beatrice needed that look to be gone immediately. 

"Because I owed Mary a favour, one that she chose to cash in on this condition. To go on one date with a girl that is down on her luck to help show her dating isn't scary. There's nothing more to it than that." 

"Really?" Ava asked. 

"Ava." Beatrice said firmly. "I'm going to tell you two things about me right now. One, I don't lie." 

She stepped into the space Ava had created for her and reached up to hold her chin, making sure that they held each other's gaze. 

"And two? When I want someone. I only want them." 

Ava let out a slow breath. "Holy shit. Okay." 

"I'm going to go on this date because I have an obligation to one of my oldest friends, but that is all it is. Repaying a debt." 

"That is… Frustratingly noble of you." 

"So I've been told." 

Ava's hands closed around Beatrice's blazer and pulled her closer, looking up at her with dark eyes. 

"Are you mad?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava snorted. "Do I look mad?" 

"No." Beatrice reached up to brush a loose curl of hair from Ava's face. "But I also wouldn't blame you if you were, or if you felt disappointed by me." 

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little disappointed." Ava replied, she turned her head slightly so Beatrice's fingers brushed her cheek. "But, I like that you were honest. And I really like that you have a whole moral complex and are super loyal to your friends." 

Beatrice smiled. "You're sure?" 

"Yeah, will you still come out tonight?" Ava asked. She lifted her legs again to brush them against Beatrice's calves. 

Beatrice managed to hold back a shiver. 

"I wouldn't miss it for the world." Beatrice replied. "I just… You should know that when it comes to having what I want, I like to ensure that it is known that any and all of my focus is on that want." 

Regardless of how much she wanted Ava, Beatrice wanted Ava to be her only focus. 

No distractions. No random blind dates. 

Just her and Ava. 

"Why is that?" Ava asked. 

Beatrice trailed her hand down to fleetingly skim across Ava's throat, briefly feeling the hammering pulse and Ava swallow heavily. 

She let her hands drop to the table beside Ava's thighs. 

"Because I want my focus to be singular. And because I want to be respectful. I'm not a player, Ava." She leaned in closer, letting her nose barely brush Ava's. "And because I do my best work when I'm focused." 

"For the record…" Ava said quietly, breath heavy against Beatrice's lips. "I don't care about respectful." 

Beatrice smiled. "Just because I'm respectful to women doesn't mean I'll be respectful in other ways, especially if that is what they want." 

"I'll make sure to keep that in mind." Ava said. 

"Please do." Beatrice replied. "I just ask for those few days." 

"I told you before Bea, whatever you need, it's yours." 

"What about what I want?" 

Ava laughed and pressed her hand to Beatrice's chest and pushed her back, Beatrice missed the closeness immediately. 

"That'll be yours too, when you've taken care of your 'debt'. Until then well…" Ava dropped her voice. "Apenas espere, minha querida." 

Beatrice closed her eyes for a few moments. 

There was no way that Ava hadn't figured out by now that hearing her speak Portuguese affected her so much. 

"You know I don't speak Portuguese, Ava." 

She heard Ava slip off of the table and felt her body against Beatrice's as she moved around her, pressing up close against her back. 

"It means… Just wait, my dear." Ava whispered. "I didn't forget what you did to me yesterday and just when I thought I was going to get what I want, you changed the game." 

Beatrice smirked to herself. "Ah, so you intend to try and punish me?" 

"Pretty sure punishing is more your realm of expertise." Ava replied. "No, you want? You could have had, tonight too. I'm just going to make sure you don't forget that." 

"That sounds a lot like punishment, Ava." 

Ava hummed. "So it does." 

"I'll get you back for it." 

Ava laughed happily in her ear. "I can't wait." 

She felt Ava nip at her ear, the jolt of it shot straight down Beatrice's spine. 

"Until tomorrow, Bea." 

Ava drew back as Beatrice turned and watched as she made her way towards the door. 

Beatrice's blood was burning. 

"Ava?" Beatrice called. 

Ava turned back to her, still grinning. "Yeah?"

"Game on." 

Ava grinned and left the boardroom. 

Camila was standing just outside, still talking with Lilith, she caught Beatrice's gaze and raised an eyebrow. 

Beatrice had some work to do. 

 

--

 

"Don't suppose I can leave early today, can I?" Ava asked. 

Lilith looked up from where she was scanning in their contract. "If it's to masturbate, then no." 

"I really don't know what to make of that being your first thought." 

"Me either." Lilith let out a resigned sigh. 

"But no, I'm firmly on the thought process of saving that until tonight." 

"I would have thought Beatrice would be taking care of that for you." 

"We're… Holding out on that for a few more days." Ava replied. 

"Why? You're both ready to jump each other." Lilith frowned. "What's going on?" 

Ava had really appreciated Beatrice being forthright with her, and if anything it only made Ava more intrigued and fall a little harder. 

They wanted to fuck, and certainly in Ava's case, that had been a fact from the very beginning. 

But Ava definitely didn't want it to just be that. 

She wanted to show Beatrice what a good date looked like. 

…Maybe after the fucking. 

Because good God, sex first please and thank you. 

Ava wasn't even mad or disheartened by the knowledge of another date. 

In a messed up kind of way, it just made this more fun. 

Because now she got an opportunity to tease the shit out of Beatrice tonight. 

"She just has some things to sort out first." Ava replied. 

"I swear to God Ava, if she's stringing you along-" 

"You'll make sure her body is never found, I got it." Ava interrupted with a wave of her hand. "Don't worry, she's not. Bea has made her intentions very clear." 

"Good." Lilith nodded seriously. "Now, why do you want to leave early?" 

"So I can buy a super hot dress for tonight and make sure that I can frustrate her." 

Lilith seemed to consider this for a few moments before nodding again. "I approve of this. Let's get the paperwork processed and we'll go." 

"We?" 

"You're going to need backup to find the right dress, aren't you?" 

Ava tapped her finger against her chin. "This is true." 

"Call Chanel, see if she's available. We'll both get new outfits, you can get ready at my place so there's no chance of her bumping into you in the hallway." 

Ava grinned. "I love it when you get in on my shenanigans." 

"I know you do." 

"So, you want to dress to impress?" 

"Ava." 

"Did a certain other CEO catch your eye?" 

"Yeah, keep talking Ava. That's definitely a smart thing to do right now." 

Ava laughed and moved closer to hug Lilith. "Sorry. Shutting up. I love you." 

"Whatever." 

 

--

 

"So you told Ava?" 

"I did." 

Camila stopped at a red light and glanced over. "How did she take it?" 

"Extremely well." Beatrice replied. "In fact, she's now using it against me." 

"...How?"

"Well, my current working theory is that Ava is going to wear something extremely enticing and tease me relentlessly all night." 

Beatrice could cope with that. 

Maybe. 

(probably not) 

But if Ava broke out the Portuguese as well? She wouldn't stand a chance. 

It was certainly going to be an interesting night. 

"Yeah, you're fucked. If she could get the reaction I saw today with a full suit, what are you going to do when you see her in what I'm going to go ahead and guess is going to be some kind of sinfully cut dress?" 

"Die, I guess." 

"You seem oddly resigned to this." 

Beatrice smiled. "It only makes us want each other more, Cam." 

"You know you can just sleep with her if you want to, right? You're not actually dating anyone and Mary hasn't even arranged this date yet." 

"I don't want my focus to be split. Ava deserves to have someone who is only paying attention to her." 

"Which you're doing." Camila pointed out. "Your focus was only on her when you were actively going on dates with other women, you know, when you thought she was dating her sister." 

"You're never going to let me forget that, are you?" 

"Nope. Don't blame you though, Lilith? Holy shit."

Beatrice laughed. "I knew you liked her. How was the tour?" 

"It was nice. It was also cute that Lilith thinks that her security is state of the art." 

"Not everybody hacked into the NYPD database when they were eleven using their Nintendo DS, Camila." 

"Also true." Camila agreed. The lights turned green and she began to drive once more. "So what are you going to do?" 

"About what?" 

"Ava's plan to tease you." 

"Oh. I hadn't decided yet." Beatrice replied. "I suppose just see what happens. It's somewhat endearing."

"So you're just going to take it lying down?" 

"There's very little that I would take lying down." 

Camila snorted. "I love horny Bea." 

She took a right, which caused Beatrice to frown. 

"...Cam? You took the wrong exit." 

"We're going shopping." 

"We are?" 

"I know you Bea, if Ava is going to tease you then you're going to match that energy, hell, you'd double down on it." 

"Am I?" 

"Am I wrong?"

Beatrice laughed. "No, you're not. Okay. Shopping." 

"Fuck yeah! You're going to drive that girl crazy." 

 

--

 

"I don't know what is going on to inspire this…" Chanel said as she took a step back to look at Ava. "But this is my finest work." 

"...Excuse me?" Lilith asked, gesturing to herself. 

"I was referring to you both equally." Chanel replied. 

"Nice save." Ava laughed. She turned to look at herself in the mirror. "But damn, I look hot." 

Chanel walked up behind her and rested her hands on Ava's shoulder, smiling at her reflection. 

"You do. You made a good choice with the colour." 

It had been a toss up between red, black and purple. But considering she had already played the red card at work and considering Lilith had (unsurprisingly) opted for black, that had only left Ava with one option.

So, purple it was. 

"You're going to be cold." Lilith said. 

"So are you." Ava pointed out. "Also, totally worth it." 

Chanel reached for Ava's hand and hummed thoughtfully before she looked over at Lilith. 

"Do I have time to do her nails?" 

"Sure."

"My nails physically can't get any shorter." Ava protested. "I've been ready for any possibilities." 

"...I meant painting them, Ava." 

Oh. Right. 

"Cool. What colour?" 

Chanel was quick to walk her over to consider their options. 

 

--

 

Jillian hadn't been playing around when she said they were on the list. 

She had neglected to mention that it included a private booth away from the dance floor and exceptional table service. 

This was the kind of lifestyle that Beatrice could have indulged in should she have remained in London with her parents' money. 

"I like this place." Camila said, leaning closer to make sure her voice didn't get lost over the pulsing music. Fingers curled loosely around a glass of champagne. 

"You probably wouldn't think that if Jillian hadn't opened a tab for us all." 

Camila stood out amongst everybody else with her blood red jumpsuit and matching lipstick. 

She'd certainly taken a page out of Ava's book. 

Speaking of… 

Beatrice glanced over her shoulder, trying to see the door over the sea of dancing figures. 

"You're nervous." Camila said. "They'll be here, don't worry." 

"I'm not worried about that." Beatrice replied, glancing down at herself. 

"Definitely don't worry about that either." Camila laughed. "Ava is going to lose her mind." 

"You think so?" 

Camila looked past her and grinned, nodding her head in gesture. "Why don't you find out." 

Beatrice looked over her shoulder again. 

Ava and Lilith stepped through the crowd. 

As far as Beatrice was concerned, the music could have stopped and Beatrice wouldn't have noticed. 

She climbed out of the booth as Lilith walked past her with a brief nod of acknowledgement. 

To be honest, Lilith could have flipped her the bird and she wouldn't have paid any attention. 

Not when Ava was standing there under the neon lights, dressed in a dark purple dress that cut off mid thigh. 

Low cut. 

Thin straps. 

Fuck. 

Ava was staring too. 

Beatrice had chosen a dress for this very reason. 

She knew that under this light it looked black, Beatrice hadn't planned for neon lighting. 

It was supposed to be navy. 

Judging from the look on Ava's face, she really didn't seem to care about the colour. 

Of all things, most of Ava's attention seemed to be on her legs. 

Beatrice saw Ava's lips move, though the words were lost over the music. 

When Ava looked up, Beatrice pointed to her ear to make it clear she hadn't heard. 

Ava wasted no time in hurrying forward after that. 

She also didn't hesitate to wrap one arm around Beatrice's neck to steady herself so that she could press her lips against Beatrice's ear. 

"I said, holy shit, Bea." Ava said. 

"You look gorgeous." Beatrice replied. 

Ava laughed beautifully in her ear. "Thank you." 

"I'd offer to buy you a drink, but Jillian seems to have taken care of that, so… Champagne?" 

"Definitely." 

Ava allowed Beatrice to curl her fingers around her arm and guide her to their booth. Lilith had already made herself comfortable beside Camila and was currently leaning close to her as they spoke. 

It was reassuring to see them getting along. 

"Hey Ava!" Camila greeted. 

"Camila, you look hot." 

Camila laughed. "You too. How about Bea though?" 

Beatrice raised an eyebrow at her as she busied herself with pouring Ava a drink. 

"Fucking beautiful." 

"Right? You know it's a special occasion when she wears a dress." 

"Oh, I'm aware." Ava replied. 

"Anyway." Beatrice interrupted. "Lilith, it's good to see you." 

"Likewise." 

Ava shifted closer in her seat, just enough that their shoulders were touching. 

"So what, do people come over when we want to order or…" Ava looked around. 

"Jillian has set up a tab, we can just go to the bar whenever." Camila explained. 

"I'd rather not go overboard." Lilith said. "Jillian's tab in moderation, yes? Let's not take advantage." 

They all murmured in agreement. 

Beatrice had to smile. 

The result of trust fund kids who had no intention of using said trust funds. 

Ava leaned forward, grinning as she caught Lilith's eye. 

Beatrice's gaze dropped to that cleavage for a moment longer than she would deem appropriate. 

"So what I'm hearing here is shots?" Ava asked. She looked at Beatrice and grinned when she realised where Beatrice was looking. "Shots?" 

Beatrice couldn't say no. 

"Shots." 

She had no way of preparing herself for whatever the night held. 

That was one of the things that drew her to Ava so much. 

The promise of unpredictability. 

It thrilled her. 

 

--

 

Beatrice was having trouble keeping her eyes on Ava's face. 

Everytime Ava caught her eyes wandering, she grinned. 

It had been going on for over an hour.

Beatrice was much better at keeping her hands to herself though, much to Ava's disappointment. 

She'd just have to try harder. 

And Ava knew just what to do. 

Lilith and Camila had disappeared up to the bar, when Ava looked over she could see them talking as they waited for the bartender to serve them. 

Time to play.

Ava leaned in close to Beatrice's ear, making sure that her lips brushed against it. 

"Do you want to dance?" Ava asked. 

"I… I don't know." 

Ava moved her hand to Beatrice's knee. 

Holy shit, bare knee.

She felt the slightest tremble from Beatrice. 

Ava smiled, making sure Beatrice could feel it against her ear. 

"Do you remember our talk in the diner?" Ava asked. "When I told you how it feels. Don't you want to feel that too? To feel free, to know how it feels to be pressed against me as we move together? The bass of the music in our chests. Sharing the same space, sharing air…" 

She let her hand drift higher, fingers pushing the fabric of the dress up along with it. 

Daring. 

Always daring. 

"Dancing is pretty intimate, wouldn't you agree?" Ava asked. "Minha querida?" 

Beatrice turned her head, their noses brushed together. 

It was Ava who found herself holding her breath. 

"You're trying to tease me." Beatrice said, eyes dropping to Ava's lips. 

"Oh, I'm just getting started." Ava replied. 

"Is that so?" Beatrice asked, an unmistakable hint of challenge in her tone. 

"Yeah." Ava let her own gaze drop to Beatrice's lips. "What do you say Bea? Do you want to feel unburdened with me?" 

Beatrice's hand landed on top of her own, stopping it in its tracks. 

"Yes." 

Her gaze was as intense as ever. 

Her voice carried no hesitation. 

Ava threaded their fingers together and smiled. "Let's go then." 

Ava backed out of the booth, pulling Beatrice along with her. 

Once they were both standing, Ava allowed herself a moment to admire the sight of Beatrice in a dress once more. 

It was a considerably longer cut than Ava's own, but with a tantalising slit along one side, now gifting Ava with a brief glimpse of thigh. 

Forget the bass, it was Ava's heart pounding in her chest. 

It was low-cut enough for the barest hint of cleavage and with Beatrice's hair pinned up, it was exposed neck for days. 

To say Ava was already turned on was a massive understatement. 

Ava turned, grip tightening on Beatrice's hand as she led her into the crowd, moving far enough that she knew they wouldn't be visible from the booth or bar. 

Traumatising Lilith with whatever was going to happen tonight was relatively low on her to-do list. 

As Ava turned around to face Beatrice, she guided Beatrice's hand to the small of her back. 

Beatrice wasted no time pulling Ava flush against her. The other hand came to rest on her waist. 

Still too respectful. 

Ava really had to fix that. 

Jennifer Grey, give her strength. 

Ava settled her hands on Beatrice's hips, pressing her fingers in and pulled her closer, fully aware of Beatrice's gaze heavy on her. 

Ava had thought that wearing heels would have balanced out their height difference but no, Beatrice had to wear heels too. 

Stupid sexy tree. 

If they moved just a couple of inches closer, Beatrice's lips would be pressed to her forehead. 

Too soft. Too tender. 

But as much as Ava would love to know what that kind of affection felt like from Beatrice, it wasn't where her head was tonight. 

Tonight wasn't about soft or romance. 

As Ava's hands moved to the curve of Beatrice's ass, Beatrice moved her head to brush their cheeks together. Her grip tightened on Ava's waist. 

"Are you wearing underwear?" Ava asked. 

Beatrice hummed. "Wouldn't you like to know?" 

"I would." Ava replied. "I'll tell you a secret, I'm not." 

She felt Beatrice exhale against her ear as she rolled her hips experimentally against Ava. 

And oh shit. 

Oh shit Ava may have made a mistake here. 

"Is that so?" Beatrice asked, the hand against her back drifted a little bit lower. 

Ava hummed, giving Beatrice's ass a quick squeeze before sliding her hands up and wrapping her arms around Beatrice's neck. 

"Just move your hips to the rhythm, Bea." 

Beatrice drew her head back as she laughed. "Ava, sweetheart, I may not know how to dance, but you say that as if I've never moved my hips in a… particular rhythm before." 

Well. 

That's a visual. 

Fuck. 

Ava was going to lose control of this situation if she didn't hold it together. 

She lightly scraped her nails along the back of Beatrice's neck, satisfied with the light shudder it produced and smiled up at Beatrice. 

"Is that a little hint as to the kind of toys you own?" 

It may have been her idea to bring Beatrice onto this dance floor, but it was Beatrice who was leading the way. 

It was far too easy to follow the pace she set, to roll her hips into Beatrice's. 

Beatrice's gaze didn't falter from hers. "If you'd come home with me, you'd find out." 

There was so much temptation to just use the hand on Beatrice's neck to bring their lips together and just… Taste. 

Ava was not used to exercising this much restraint. 

Especially not when what she wanted was quite literally in her grasp. 

It was torturous. 

But oh… Wouldn't the payoff be wonderful? 

"You set the rules of this, Bea." Ava replied. 

"I'm aware."

"You want to be all chivalrous and wait until after your date? Then you're just going to have to wait." 

"You're really insistent on trying to rile me up, aren't you?" Beatrice asked. 

"Is it working?" 

"Yes." 

"Good, because I'm not done with you yet." 

It was worth it to see the challenging look in Beatrice's eyes. 

"Everything you say, everything you do, I'm going to make sure I remember it." Beatrice said, grinding her hips into Ava again which, hello. 

Ava felt it in her core. 

Beatrice leaned back in, close to Ava's ear. 

"And I'll be sure to pay you back in kind." 

Ava didn't try to hold back a moan, she wanted to make sure Beatrice heard her. 

And if the fingers digging into her hips were anything to go by, she had more than succeeded in that. 

"Is that a promise?" Ava asked. 

"You know it is." 

Beatrice still seemed so in control. The only things that betrayed her was the look in her eyes, the way her fingers would twitch or press down against her hips. 

Ava wanted to see if she could break that control. 

 

--

 

If Ava felt this good against her while they were fully clothed, rolling their hips into each other to the beat of the music, then Beatrice could imagine how everything else would feel. 

It was getting harder not to imagine Ava naked beneath her, moving her hips much like she was now. 

In Beatrice's imagination, there was no music to distract them. 

The rhythm was set by her. 

And Ava would meet each thrust eagerly. 

She wished there were less people around them for no other reason than to be able to let her hands drift lower to the hem of that dress, to bunch it up just enough to slip her thigh between Ava's. 

With each flirty smile or fluttering of Ava's lashes, Beatrice felt her heart beat faster. 

If her hands strayed from Ava's hips, she'd be met with nails scraping against her neck until she moved them back. 

Ava was trying to get a visceral reaction from her, Beatrice knew that. 

It was endearing. 

And hot. 

But it was also working. 

Beatrice would indulge Ava's game, with pleasure. 

(quite literally) 

But she wasn't going to let Ava walk out of this club without her being just as keyed up as she was. 

Beatrice leaned down, Ava tilted her head as if she were expecting Beatrice to whisper into her ear but Beatrice dipped her head a little lower, brushing her nose just beneath her ear. 

The nails pressed into Beatrice's neck. 

Beatrice smiled. 

She held onto Ava, keeping her steady so that Beatrice could grind their hips together. 

The whimper from Ava's lips was delicious. 

Beatrice brushed her nose down the side of Ava's throat, Ava's hand slipped up a little to tug gently at the stray wisps of hair. 

"Fuck, Bea." 

"Is everything okay?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava hummed, there was a light rumble from her throat as she shifted her attention to the front of Ava's neck. 

She could let her teeth graze the skin, she could kiss and bite and leave a trail of marks in their wake. 

Too much. 

Beatrice wanted to kiss. 

But right now, she wanted to tease so much more. 

Just a taste. 

The tip of her tongue brushed against the base of Ava's throat, drawing out another whimper from her. 

Ava's hand moved further up, pressing up against the back of Beatrice's head and holding her in place. 

Beatrice smiled against Ava's throat. 

She moved upwards, making sure to keep her tongue pressed against Ava's skin, the faint taste of sweat lingered. 

The bitter taste of Ava's perfume threatened to derail Beatrice's attempt at being sexy, but she managed to control herself as she moved higher. 

Beatrice drew back, straightening up to see the results of her work. 

Ava's eyes were closed. Pink glossy lips parted. 

Beautiful. 

One of Ava's hands left the back of Beatrice's neck and moved around to her chest, fingers curling around the strap of her dress as she leaned in. 

Ava stopped when their lips were so close to each other that Beatrice could smell cherries. 

Of course Ava would use cherry flavoured lip gloss. 

Beatrice watched Ava lick her lips as she opened her eyes, peering up at Beatrice under long dark lashes. 

"Eu quero que você me diga todas as coisas que você quer fazer comigo." 

Beatrice inhaled sharply. Her fingers twitched against Ava's hips. 

"...What?" 

Ava's smile was slow as it stretched across her lips. 

The hand on the back of her neck was almost affectionate as it stroked across the skin as Ava leaned in closer, lips skimmed across Beatrice's cheek until they reached her ear. 

"Eu sei o quanto você quer me ver de joelhos." Ava whispered, she shifted just enough to take Beatrice's ear between her teeth, biting down just enough to be on the best side of painful. 

This girl, fuck. 

"You know I don't know what you're saying to me, Ava." Beatrice replied. 

"And doesn't that just drive you crazy?

Crazy, turned on, whatever worked best in all honesty. 

"You're certainly trying hard to drive me crazy." Beatrice said. "What would you do if I returned the favour?" 

Ava drew back quickly, the barest glimpse of uncertainty flickered through her eyes. 

"Do you want to find out?" Ava asked. 

Oh Ava. 

She really didn't know who she was playing with. 

Cautiousness and uncertainty was long gone. 

Beatrice moved them, twirling Ava as she took a few steps back. 

It wasn't quite dancing, it was barely on beat but Ava followed all the same. 

"That depends, Ava." Beatrice began. "Would fleeting touches get to you? Only letting my fingers drift towards places you want me to touch but never quite getting close enough?"

Ava either didn't notice or care that Beatrice had led them to the edge of the dance floor. 

That bravado was fading quickly from Ava's eyes, curiosity taking over. Her hand moved to press to the back of her shoulder. 

Beatrice smiled. "Or would you prefer it if I told you all the things that I want to do to you? What I would do if I could take you home with me right now?" 

Ava tilted her chin up, almost defiantly. "Who says you'd have to take me home? I'm not above bathrooms." 

Beatrice moved one hand to touch her fingers to Ava's chin, keeping it in place. 

"But we could be so much more versatile in an apartment. So many surfaces. So many possibilities." 

Beatrice brushed Ava's bottom lip with a single finger, the barest amount of gloss clung to her skin. 

"So you would rather I take a page out of your book and tell you what I would do to you?" Beatrice asked. She pulled them a few more steps backwards until they were just off of the dance floor, amongst the people drinking and talking. 

Ava's chest rose as she drew in a deep breath and nodded. 

Beatrice's entire body was coiled so tight, every nerve was burning and calling out for Ava. 

She could cancel the date, there was no obligation to whoever this girl was, it was only her own integrity that kept Beatrice from doing that. 

Beatrice had made a promise to Mary. 

And she maintained that Ava deserved all of her attention. 

Based on what Beatrice had experienced recently, she had to keep her focus on the girl. 

Such a brat. 

Beatrice loved it. 

"I could tell you what I think it'd be like with my fingers touching you, how they'd feel inside you. How I think you'd look on my lap or… I don't know, how I think you'd taste." 

Beatrice lifted her finger to her lips and licked off the lip gloss. 

Ava's eyes followed every moment, her nails pressed into Beatrice's skin again. 

"What do you think, Ava?" 

Ava's eyes were still on her lips. "Eu estaria tão molhada e pronta pra você."

Much like everything else, Beatrice had very little understanding as to what Ava was saying. 

But the raspy tone of her voice? The heavy look in her eyes? 

It said enough. 

"Ava -" 

"Oh, don't worry. I'll give you that one for free." Ava's gaze shifted from Beatrice's lips to meet Beatrice's. "I would be so wet and ready for you." 

Something in Beatrice's chest snapped. 

Beatrice turned them, Ava's hands gripped tightly at her arms as Beatrice made sure to keep her steady, one hand on Ava's waist to guide her where she wanted as she brought her other up to cradle the back of Ava's head. 

She moved Ava, walking her backwards until Ava's back hit the wall, not hard, but with enough force that Beatrice felt the brief jolt as her knuckles connected with the surface. 

Beatrice didn't hear the sound that came from Ava's mouth, but she could take a pretty good guess as to what it was. 

Ava's chest was moving rapidly with each breath, fingers trembling against Beatrice's arms. Her eyes flickered across Beatrice's face, waiting. 

Beatrice slowly drew her hand from behind Ava's head, stepping closer until she was pressed flush against her. 

She rubbed circles with her thumb against Ava's waist. 

Reassuring, gentle. 

Soft. 

Ava's hands moved to Beatrice's own hips, gaze focused on where her hands were for several moments before finally meeting Beatrice's stare. 

Beatrice knew they were having fun with this, all of the teasing and the sudden (but certainly not unwelcome) flirting was incredible. 

But this was still the beautiful girl who lives across the hall. 

The girl who understands her so easily that Beatrice could forgive herself for forgetting that they've only known each other for such a short amount of time. 

Ava was something else entirely. Something special. 

"When this happens," Beatrice began, leaning in close enough that Ava could feel the barest movement against her lips. "Should you still want this, of course. I will give you anything and everything you want. I'll make sure that it's a night you'll never forget." 

"Bea -" 

For a moment it seemed as though Ava was going to lean forward, but seemed to think better of it at the last moment.

Beatrice smiled. "Good girl." 

It wasn't a surprise that Ava moaned at that, the slight keening whimper? Also expected. 

Beatrice drew back, her hand left the wall to cup Ava's cheek, careful to keep her touch gentle. 

"This is the thing, Ava. You can tease me and try to work me up as much as you'd like and it's working, don't doubt that. But I'll stand by this, not just to prove that I'm able to, or because I think that you're more desperate for this than I am." Beatrice leaned in to brush her lips across Ava's cheek until she reached her ear. "And because I'm pretty confident that you're thinking of me just as much, if not more." 

She cradled Ava's face in her hand as she continued to leave fleeting kisses across Ava's skin. 

"I've been thinking about you since the first time I saw you." Ava admitted. 

For as much as what Beatrice could only assume was Ava dirty talking in Portuguese, along with all of the touching and hungry looks, it was that admission that really made it fact. 

That Ava had wanted her from the very beginning, Beatrice had just been too oblivious to see. 

Ava dating Lilith. What a fool she was. 

God, she'd have to tell Ava soon about that. 

But knowing what she did about Ava, Beatrice was certain that Ava would just laugh when she did find out. 

Another matter to deal with when they're both sober. 

Beatrice's first order of business tomorrow was going to be talking to Mary. 

She may have a firm moral code on doing this favour, but there was nothing to say that she couldn't get the date scheduled for as soon as possible. 

Maybe she could get a lunch date. That'd be ideal. 

Beatrice settled on continuing to nose at Ava's cheek, dropping the occasional kiss in between. 

"And I don't know what changed for you, but I'm glad that you see me now." Ava continued. 

Beatrice drew back to look at Ava clearly. 

The hunger was gone, the bratty confidence and challenging glint had faded too. 

All Beatrice could see was longing. 

Beatrice brushed her thumb along Ava's cheek. 

"I've always seen you, Ava." Beatrice replied. "I… I just…" 

Ava pushed gently on Beatrice until she stepped back, keeping one hand pressed on Beatrice's chest as she moved forward to kiss her neck. 

"You don't have to talk about it right now Bea, I know there's more to it and you can tell me when you're ready." Ava said. "I just wanted to make sure you know that I'm happy with where we are right now." 

Beatrice would do everything to make Ava happy if Ava would allow her to. 

Ava only seemed to nuzzle into her neck as Beatrice wrapped one arm around Ava's shoulders and held her steady. 

She didn't see the man bump into the back of Ava, but Beatrice definitely felt stray drops of alcohol hit her skin. 

Ava got the brunt of it though, as whatever it was that had been spilt had poured directly over her shoulder and down her chest, the sound that came out of Ava's mouth was a yelp of pure surprise as she pulled back from Beatrice, eyes wide as she looked down st herself and then over her shoulder for the perpetrator. 

Beatrice had already clocked him trying to disappear into the crowd and all it took was a quick glance at Ava's surprised expression and the sheer amount of blue alcohol that stained Ava's skin for Beatrice to start taking steps to follow him. 

Her movements stopped the moment she felt fingers curl around her wrist and heard laughter right behind her. 

"Leave it Bea, don't worry, it's fine." Ava said, tugging on Beatrice's wrist. 

Beatrice relented and turned back to Ava. 

She was grinning. 

"But…" 

"These things happen Bea, seriously, it's fine." 

Beatrice reached up to wipe her thumb against Ava's shoulder, it didn't do much more than just smear it into Ava's skin. 

"Oh Ava, look at you." 

"I know, I'm all sticky and not even in a fun way." Ava snorted and brushed her fingers through her hair. "Entirely, anyway." 

So Ava really just makes those jokes regardless of the situation, good to know. 

Also… Entirely sticky? 

"We'll come back to that part later." Beatrice said. "We should get you cleaned up." 

Ava just looked amused as Beatrice moved her hand to the small of Ava's back and guided her back towards their booth. 

"What were you going to do Bea? Kick his ass?" 

…She wasn't above it. 

Beatrice just felt bad, she really didn't think that this was the kind of situation that could be fixed by napkins from the bar. 

"If it came to that then yes." Beatrice said. "You're taking this really well." 

"Things like this happen in clubs, it isn't going to change anything." Ava shrugged. "I am kinda… disheartened sounds too dramatic. Gutted?" 

"Because that's not a visceral word choice." 

Ava grinned. "Should I add a British accent?" 

"I think I'd like to see that, why do you feel like that though?" 

They could see Lilith and Camila now, back at their booth and talking, though Camila glimpsed over in their direction and flashed a questioning look at them. 

Ava slowed to a stop and leaned her none soaked shoulder into Beatrice's side. "Because we both know this means I need to leave." 

Beatrice sighed. "...I know" 

"Jesus Ava, what the fuck happened to you?" 

Lilith had climbed out of the booth and was now standing in front of them, the look she flashed at Beatrice was almost accusatory, as if Beatrice had thrown a drink over Ava.

Beatrice held up both of her hands and took a small step away from Ava. 

"Idiot spilled his drink." Ava shrugged. 

"And you didn't stop him?" Lilith asked, directing her attention back to Beatrice. 

"Do you think I possess powers to predict the future?" Beatrice asked. 

"I stopped her from going after him." Ava interrupted. "Even though I'm sure it'd be hot as hell." 

Beatrice laughed, but she reached back out to touch Ava's shoulder. "Do you want me to call an uber and take you home?" 

"Nah." Ava shook her head. "Stay, celebrate. Have a drink on me. There's a joke to be made there." 

"Ava…"

"Bea, I loved hanging out with you, but not just because of… Well, everything, but because it's you I got to be around." Ava smiled. "But it's also yours and Camila's celebration. I've kept you from her all night." 

Beatrice was one hundred percent certain that Camila was actively rooting for this. 

And judging from the grin on her face as she left the booth to join them, Camila was probably glad to get some one on one time with Lilith. 

"I'll take her home." Lilith said. 

"I'm standing right here, I can take myself home." 

Lilith's glare was something to behold. "Don't argue." 

Ava merely rolled her eyes and turned back to Beatrice.

"Big Sis' orders." Ava said. "Will you let me know that you got home safe when you come back?" 

"Of course." 

Lilith returned to their booth to get hers and Ava's purses and drifted back over to them and turned to say her own goodbyes to Camila. 

"I really did have fun, Bea. I especially liked you trying to figure out my Português." 

"Promise you'll tell me what you said one day?" 

"Of course, minha querida." 

Beatrice laughed. "Ava…" 

Ava reached out to give Beatrice's hand a soft squeeze. "My dear, Beatrice. That's what it means, remember?" 

Oh. 

"I like it… Sweetheart." 

Ava was all smiles even as Lilith got a hand on her shoulder to guide her out of the club. 

"Good to see you Kline, albeit briefly." 

Still vaguely hostile, that'd probably never change. 

"Goodnight, Lilith." 

"Bye Cam." Ava waved. 

"Bye Ava!" 

Ava looked back at Beatrice and smiled again. 

As she watched them leave, Camila came to stand at her shoulder. 

"I'm impressed, Bea. You stuck to your stupid noble guns and kept it in your pants." 

"I… Thank you?" 

"Though from what I saw, you're still gonna sleep with her right?" 

"At quite literally the earliest possible opportunity, yes." Beatrice nodded. 

"That's my girl." Camila laughed. "Lean into the horny." 

Beatrice rolled her eyes. "Come on, one more drink." 

She wondered if she would be able to keep Ava from her thoughts for long enough to finish a drink. 

 

--

 

Lilith had been surprisingly chilled out during the ride home. 

She had only prodded a little, gently asking just how much had happened between her and Beatrice before nodding when Ava had replied. 

Ava left out the details of what she had said to Beatrice and why she had thrown Ava up against the wall. 

A memory that Ava was currently replaying over and over again in her mind. 

The sparkle in Beatrice's eyes, the raw strength. 

The sheer control in her voice as she spoke, each word stoking the fire in Ava's chest. 

But then there was the softness too. The way that Beatrice used her hand to protect Ava's head from the wall, every affectionate touch against her cheek and the lingering kisses beside her ear that Ava was sure were intended to drive her crazy but instead only caused her to melt. 

Beatrice could put so much power behind her words, she carried so much strength on her body. 

And yet, when it came to Ava, she only ever seemed to touch her carefully and with affection. 

Tonight fingers would twitch or press down against her waist but would never hurt. 

The way that they would dance across her cheeks with something akin to wonder. 

Ava was surprised at how unsurprising it was that the soft, gentle moments turned her on just as much as everything else did. 

She had come from thinking of eye contact with Beatrice before, after all. 

It must have been abundantly clear to Lilith that Ava's thoughts were elsewhere because the rest of the drive was silent beyond Lilith's final comment of making sure they talk properly tomorrow and for Ava to try and get some rest. 

It was hard to tell what exactly was going on in Lilith's head, but Ava knew that she wasn't sad or angry or anything along those lines. 

This was just her big sister looking out for her, and as Lilith leaned over to give Ava a fleeting kiss to her temple, a rare display of affection for either of them, Ava could only smile back. 

"Don't say anything." Lilith said before Ava could open her mouth. "This is a nice moment and I don't need you to ruin it by reminding me about where your thoughts currently are." 

"Right now I'm thinking about how I love you." Ava said. 

"And railing Beatrice?" 

"Well, getting railed by Beatrice, let's not kid ourselves. But it was mostly how I love you." Ava replied. "And you brought railing into the conversation so you can't get mad!" 

"Okay," Lilith leaned over Ava to open the car door. "Go get that blue shit off of you and deal with yourself. I'll call you in the morning to see if you need a ride." 

Ava opened her mouth, only to have Lilith stop her by placing her whole hand over her lips. 

"And please, please don't make a joke about riding someone or something else, I don't need the visuals right now." 

Ava smiled sheepishly. "So I'll see you tomorrow?" 

"Yes." 

"Text me when you get home?" 

"I will."

Ava grinned at Lilith one more time before climbing out of the car, fishing out her keys making her way inside. 

The second Ava had stepped into the apartment, her heels were kicked across the room, purse thrown onto the sofa. 

Her dress landed somewhere near the bathroom door as she made her way inside to turn on the shower. 

She knew deep down that the matching lingerie she had opted for tonight wouldn't get to see the light of day, but still… 

Ava looked at herself in the mirror before she shrugged and reached behind to unclasp her bra. 

Beatrice should get to see this lingerie one day. 

Or one of the other sets from her little collection. 

A little sexy lingerie, as a treat. 

Ava finished stripping off and stepped into the shower. 

Speaking of treats… 

As soon as Ava was done washing the alcohol stains from her skin and hair, she should treat herself a little. 

Or a lot. 

 

--

 

"You're sure you don't want me to send you the money for the uber?" Beatrice asked. 

Camila dismissed the notion with a wave of her hand. "Nah, you can just buy me lunch tomorrow." 

"What's the catch?" 

"That you give me full details on what happened tonight." Camila replied. 

She should have known. 

It had been far too suspicious of Camila to have not asked any questions during their last drink. 

"That's fair, I suppose. I'd apologise for leaving you alone with Lilith all night but I guess it's safe to assume you enjoyed yourself?" 

"You assumed correctly." Camila grinned. "It's a bit hard to get started but once you get her talking about her interests she doesn't stop." 

Beatrice would be lying if she said her own interests weren't piqued at that. 

As far as Beatrice was concerned, Lilith's interests consisted of Ava and trying to intimidate Beatrice with her glares. 

"And what are Lilith's interests?" 

"She's big on her work, likes going to the gym, and she's surprisingly big into music. Did you know she's like… Super into rock and metal?" 

"Vaguely." Beatrice replied. "When I helped them put up furniture in Ava's place, Ava was insistent that we not listen to her, and I quote 'metal shit'." 

"I like the metal shit" 

"Maybe you can go moshing together." 

Camila snorted. "We'll see." 

Beatrice could see Camila looking quite at home leading a wall of death. 

The car pulled up outside Beatrice's building and Beatrice quickly unclipped her seat belt and turned back to Camila. 

"I'll see you tomorrow then." 

"Yup, don't forget to text Ava to let her know you're home." 

Beatrice's fingers faltered on the door handle. 

"Oh…" 

Camila didn't need Beatrice to finish. "You don't have her number, do you?" 

"I do not." 

"Jesus Bea." Camila laughed. "You're a mess." 

Beatrice sighed. "So you've said." 

"Well it's only like… An hour since they left, maybe she's still up. Just go and knock on her door." 

There was nothing stopping her really, was there? 

"I guess." 

"Just don't get tempted and sleep with her." 

"I won't." 

"I'm fully going to call you in ten minutes to make sure you aren't like, ravaging her in the hallway." 

Well, that was certainly a visual. 

"I appreciate the concern." Beatrice said dryly. 

Camila grinned. "Just looking out for you Mr Darcy." 

"When do you plan to stop calling me that?" Beatrice asked. 

"At least until after you've gotten down and dirty with Ava." 

"...Duly noted." Beatrice replied. "Goodnight Cam." 

"Night Bea." 

Beatrice pushed open the car door and stepped out. 

Her feet ached more than she had expected them to as she left herself into the building and made her way towards the elevator. 

As she rose up through the floors, Beatrice briefly entertained the idea of taking them off, but a quick glance at the floor made her dismiss that thought just as quickly as it came. 

A quick drop by Ava's to keep up her promise, probably some last minute good night flirting and the heels could come off. 

That sounded like a plan. 

Beatrice stepped out of the elevator, swapping her purse to her other hand as she made her way down the hall. 

She came to a stop outside of Ava's door and gave it a firm knock. 

A minute passed, and then two without answer. 

There was always the chance that Ava was asleep. 

After the third minute, Beatrice was ready to call it quits and turn to her own apartment when she heard hurried footsteps on the other side of the door. 

Beatrice was prepared for a lot of things when the door opened, but it certainly wasn't the sight of Ava, wet hair slicked back dressed in a black slip. 

A black slip with rose lace detailing along the sides and across the chest. 

Good God, right across the chest. 

It was only by the grace of God and a well placed rose that stopped Beatrice from seeing more. 

Not that she needed to, there was very little left to the imagination. 

Thank you God. 

You sick, twisted bastard. 

If that wasn't already enough, as Beatrice finally managed to tear her attention from pretty black lace roses, Beatrice noticed a couple of other things. 

The blown out pupils. Heavy yet rapid breathing. Flushed cheeks and chest. 

"Hey Bea." Ava greeted. 

Her voice was breathless. 

Had she been… 

No. 

Surely not. 

But all the signs were there. 

"Hi, you asked me to tell you when I was home but I realised I didn't have a way to do that beyond well, doing this." Beatrice said. 

Ava grinned and reached up to brace her hand against the doorframe. 

Her fingers were trembling. 

"And you're not the type to break a promise, are you?" 

"Never." Beatrice replied. "You know, anybody else would think that you planned this just to see me again." 

Ava hummed. "You'd think so but no, oversight on my part. We don't have each other's numbers do we?" 

"We do not." 

"We should fix that, if you'd like. Mine is in my bedroom but…" 

Beatrice was already fishing hers out of her purse to hand over her phone. 

Ava's fingers were still trembling as she accepted it and typed her number in before she handed it back. 

She'd put the kissy face emoji next to her name, Beatrice already knew she wouldn't be changing it anytime soon. 

Beatrice smiled down at her phone and sent a smiley face to Ava, she faintly heard the chime from within the apartment. 

"There, you have mine too now." Beatrice said, she looked up from her phone, eyes falling on Ava's bare legs. 

Bare thighs. 

There was an unmistakable glistening wetness on the inside of them. 

Wet thighs. 

Beatrice almost dropped her phone. 

She was right. 

Ava had been masturbating. 

"Beatrice," Ava's voice was light, almost a sing-song. "You're staring." 

She was. 

And Beatrice couldn't stop. 

"I… Yes, I am." 

"Do you like what you see?" 

Beatrice nodded. 

"Use your words, Bea." 

Beatrice snapped her head up to meet Ava's gaze. 

She had no words. 

Dammit Ava. 

"You…" She took a deep breath to try and steady herself. "I interrupted." 

"Oh, I don't mind, Bea." Ava replied softly. "It's you I was thinking about anyway." 

Beatrice couldn't move. 

She didn't trust herself to not move forward and grab the girl standing before her. 

Was she shaking? Beatrice felt like she was shaking. 

"I think about you a lot, Beatrice." Ava continued. 

Their little game had come to an end. Ava had won. 

Beatrice was shaken to her core. 

Ava comes thinking about her? 

"You're beautiful." Beatrice said. 

It hadn't been what she had expected to say, and it came out so much fonder than Beatrice had intended. 

But oh, if it wasn't worth it to see the brief flash of surprise on Ava's face followed by a blinding smile. 

"Do you want to come inside?" Ava asked. 

She shouldn't. 

She really shouldn't. 

Beatrice had made a promise. 

"You don't have to touch." Ava continued. 

But she wanted to, more than anything. 

Beatrice's phone began to ring. 

She already knew who it was, and she wasn't willing to break eye contact with Ava, so Beatrice didn't bother to check before answering. 

"Hi Cam." 

"Hey Bea." Camila greeted. "This is just our scheduled call so I can make sure you aren't fucking your hot neighbour because you're horny and a little drunk and I know you'd be mad at yourself if you did because of promises or your integrity or whatever if you did." 

It was for the best, and honestly kudos to Camila for calling this. 

But still. 

"I hate you right now." 

"That's your vagina talking."

"Yes well… She hates you too." 

Ava raised an eyebrow and pointed at herself. 

"No, not you." 

Camila laughed. "Oh my God, Ava is right there isn't she?"

"I'm hanging up now. Goodnight Camila." 

Beatrice dropped her gaze as she ended the call and laughed under her breath as she shook her head. 

When she looked back up, Ava was smiling too. She wasn't mad or disappointed. 

If anything, she just seemed amused. 

"Time to say goodnight?" 

"Regrettably." 

"Shame." 

"...You have no idea." 

Ava hummed. "I can imagine. Try not to think about me too much." 

They held each other's gaze for a few more moments before Beatrice found the words to speak again. 

"I can make no such promise." 

Ava grinned. "Good, me neither." 

She needed to leave. 

"Goodnight, Ava." 

She was thankful that Ava understood that. 

"Night Bea." 

Beatrice waited for Ava to close the door before she tipped her head forward to let it press against Ava's door. 

Fuck. 

Black slip. 

Flushed skin. 

Wet thighs. 

Ava thought about her.

Beatrice needed to shower. 

It took a few more moments for her to find the will to move her feet, to turn towards her own apartment and fish her keys out of her purse to let herself in. 

Beatrice tried to stay focused, giving herself little tasks to try and keep her mind away from where it desperately wanted to go. 

Go to the kitchen and drink a glass of water. 

Take the phone to the bedroom to put it on charge. 

Don't think about wet thighs. 

Beatrice definitely didn't think about how wet she was from the whole situation, despite her attempts to distract herself. 

She just had to keep giving herself things to do, the desire would fade. 

Once the heels were off and put away, Beatrice allowed herself a moment to sit on the edge of the bed so that she could massage some of the aches in her feet away. 

Had Ava been wearing the slip the whole time? Or had she put that on when she had heard Beatrice knock? 

Ava had been fucking herself thinking about Beatrice. 

Beatrice closed her eyes as the thought made her entire body throb. 

Shower. 

Definitely a cold shower. 

Beatrice got back up and grabbed her shorts and tank top from the pillows before she made her way towards the bathroom. 

How had Ava been fucking herself? 

Had she used her hands? No, there were no traces of herself on her fingers. 

Toy then. 

The toy she had bought in the early days of them meeting? 

Beatrice tried to busy herself with removing the pins that held her hair back as she tried (and failed) to push such thoughts away. 

Because it was all too easy to consider the possibilities. 

Ava on her back, rocking her hips in time with her own thrusts. 

Or maybe, on her knees. 

In Ava's fantasies, what was Beatrice doing to her? 

That was the question she had been trying to deny herself answers to. 

Hair finally down and the worst of the tangles freed, Beatrice turned towards the shower and reached for the zipper at the side of her dress. 

The bra and underwear soon joined the dress on the floor as Beatrice walked over to turn the shower on. 

Her fingers hesitated over the temperature setting. 

They were still trembling. 

It had worked so many times before. 

Cold showers and running to break free of her own desires, to deny herself of such a pleasure. 

But that had been before. 

Things are so different now. 

Now Beatrice knew how Ava felt grinding against her, how she sounded when she whispered filth (Beatrice could only assume) in her ear. 

She knew how Ava looked mid fuck, with her blown out pupils, flushed skin and wet thighs. 

Ava had been right, in a way. 

She had been wet and ready for Beatrice. 

There was no need to deny herself this anymore, Ava wanted her. 

She wanted Ava. 

Ava had been thinking of Beatrice since the very beginning. 

Beatrice turned the water temperature up and waited for steam to begin to fill the room before she stepped under the warm spray. 

What did Ava imagine Beatrice doing to her? 

Did she see Beatrice on top of her? Watching for every change in her reaction as Beatrice teased and touched. 

Writhing beneath her, clutching the sheets. 

Clutching Beatrice. 

Nails scratching down her back. 

She could practically hear Ava begging for more. 

Would she slip into Portuguese? 

Beatrice tipped her head up to feel the water against her face and closed her eyes. 

She trailed her hand down her body, hesitating on her stomach for a few moments before moving further. 

Beatrice avoided her clit entirely at first in favour of brushing two fingers through her folds, unsurprised when they came away slick. 

All of her thoughts circled around Ava, and what she thought Ava would want her to do. 

It would be a relatively safe bet to assume that their wants were aligned, but it still led her to a very specific question, one that Beatrice had only allowed herself the most fleeting moments to entertain.

What did Beatrice want? 

She was allowed to want, she was allowed to touch. 

And Beatrice was allowed to do this. 

No more denying herself. 

She could be selfish in her fantasies. 

Beatrice let her thoughts materialise as she pictured Ava in the shower with her, against her, chest to chest. 

She brought her fingers up and stroked a slow circle around her clit, her hips rocked into her hand immediately. 

Oh no. 

This wasn't going to last long. 

She should have known this would be the case. To have denied herself this for so long has only left her more desperate than before. 

Another quick pass over her clit had Beatrice choking back a gasp. 

Beatrice had intended on drawing this out as long as she could, to take the time to imagine every shift on Ava's face, the way the water would cascade down her body. 

Honestly, Beatrice had been hoping to dedicate a solid few minutes solely to what she would like to do with Ava's breasts. 

Apparently her body had other plans. 

Two fingers slipped inside with ease, the shiver that reverberated down her spine had Beatrice bracing her other hand against the tiled wall. 

Fuck. 

No fantasy foreplay. 

Just the image of Ava looking at her with those big brown eyes before Beatrice would inevitably turn her around and press her up against the wall. 

Beatrice curled her fingers and pressed the heel of her palm against herself, just to give herself something to grind against. 

All of her usual finesse was gone, in place were jerky thrusts of her hand as she sped her thoughts along. 

Trailing kisses along Ava's neck and shoulders, biting down just to feel Ava squirm against her. 

Beatrice knew what Ava sounded like when she moaned, but the idea of drawing those sounds out with each slow thrust of her hand had Beatrice moving her own faster against herself. 

Maybe she'd drag her tongue along the side of Ava's neck, chasing the trails of water against her skin. 

Beatrice could picture Ava throwing her head back against her shoulder, bracing one hand against the wall. 

Maybe she'd reach up to tangle her hand on Beatrice's hair to keep her against her neck. 

Beatrice would make sure to mark her neck up. 

She'd place her hand over Ava's and thread their fingers together, every point of them connected. 

Beatrice curled her fingers again and felt her entire body clench and shudder. 

The moan she let out was so much louder than she had ever heard herself. 

It would have caught Beatrice off guard had every part of her focus not already been elsewhere. 

Ava whimpering and gasping against her. 

She would cry out her name as Beatrice brought her over, trembling and relying on being in Beatrice's arms to keep her steady. 

Beatrice's legs almost gave out as her orgasm hit her, fingers stilling as her hips rocked helplessly into her hand. 

"Fuck," Beatrice gasped. "Ava…" 

The visual faded with slow open mouthed kisses along Ava's shoulder and with its end, Beatrice tipped her head forward until it touched the wall. 

It took a solid minute or two for Beatrice to get her breathing under control. 

Beatrice opened her eyes slowly and focused on the water swirling around the drain. 

That was over… Really fast. 

Embarrassingly fast. 

God. 

Beatrice drew her fingers from herself and turned to press her back against the wall holding her hand under the water until her fingers were clean again. 

Ava would probably have a field day if she found out this had happened. 

…When she found out. 

Beatrice had never lost control like this before, ever. 

If this was what Ava could do to her in her thoughts with very little frame of reference, she could only dare to imagine what it would be like when this finally happened in reality. 

Fuck. 

Beatrice pushed her hair back and sighed. 

She should really actually shower. She needed to get into bed and try to figure out what the fuck had just come over her. 

Ava would have a pun for that. 

Definitely something to do with coming. 

If Beatrice could organise her thoughts to think of anything other than Ava and orgasms, she'd probably think of something too. 

She shook her head and reached for the shower gel.  

It took longer to shower than it had for Beatrice to come. 

There was still a faint knot of guilt hidden beneath the rapidly fading aftershocks and lingering embarrassment. 

It was ridiculous, Beatrice knew as much. There was nothing to feel guilty about, Ava had literally been in the middle of fucking herself to the thought of Beatrice when she had knocked. 

Beatrice had to ask herself one thing though. 

If her own thoughts could do that to her, how much more intense could it get when she got to experience the real thing with Ava? 

Beatrice hesitated as she moved to step out of the shower. 

…That was too much to think about. 

She'd already spent far too much time tonight imagining the ways in which she could fuck Ava. 

Beatrice genuinely wasn't sure if her body could take it. 

She reached for the towel, and before long, Beatrice was back in her bedroom setting down a glass of water on the nightstand before allowing herself to fall face first into the pillows. 

Beatrice let out a heavy sigh and closed her eyes, doing all that she could to keep her mind blank. 

She saw Ava in her dreams. 




Chapter Text

 

Unlike Beatrice, sleep didn't come as easily as she had. 

(yes, she was still mad about that) 

When she had finally fallen asleep, Beatrice had been welcomed with some very vivid dreams. 

It had been a lot. 

She had needed to shower again before even thinking about going about her usual morning routine. 

Her run was spent replaying those dreams over, despite her best attempts to stay focused. 

It was too early to still be feeling this needy, to be letting her thoughts get this far away from her. 

Beatrice still hadn't quite managed to push past the guilt she felt about using her fantasies about Ava to come. 

It was a lot. 

She used the rest of her run and the subsequent shower once she got home to force her thoughts elsewhere. 

Namely on her other plans. 

Mary will probably call her by lunchtime to find out her availability, so Beatrice fully intended on beating her to the punch. 

She was no doubt in the gym right now. 

Beatrice made a note to call her as soon as she was settled at work. 

As she sat at the counter eating her breakfast, Beatrice heard music begin to play through the door. 

Was that… Cascada? 

A few more moments of careful listening before Beatrice laughed under her breath and went back to her breakfast. 

Yes, Cascada. Everytime we touch. 

Ava was awake and apparently in a good mood. 

The music was still playing, as upbeat as ever, by the time Beatrice emerged from her bedroom, dressed and ready to go. 

It was impossible to ignore the way that her chest got warm at the thought of Ava being in such a good mood this morning because of her. 

She was still smiling to herself as she walked out into the hallway. 

For once, it wasn't Ava occupying the hallway with her. 

No, that would be too kind. 

This time, it was Lilith who stood in front of her. 

They were almost matching with their black jeans and leather jackets. The only difference came with Lilith wearing a black button up underneath while Beatrice had opted for white. 

Lilith's amused expression faded as she looked from Ava's door to Beatrice. 

"Kline." 

"Lilith." 

"You're up early." 

"So are you?" Beatrice replied. "I had my usual morning run to do." 

"Just a run?" Lilith raised an eyebrow. "I did my whole cardio routine at the gym." 

It was hard not to assume that Lilith simply didn't like her. At first Beatrice had just thought Lilith's behaviour towards her was her thinking that Beatrice was trying to make a move on her girlfriend. 

And when that whole mess had finally been cleared up, Beatrice had figured it was just Lilith's personality. 

But now that she had seen Lilith interact with Camila, it became clear that Lilith was just hostile towards her. 

Beatrice wondered if Lilith didn't trust her to treat Ava well. 

Which… If Lilith knows about Beatrice's upcoming date, then Beatrice couldn't blame her. 

Because a part of Beatrice still couldn't believe that Ava had been so patient and understanding about it. 

Ava had every reason to tell her where to stick it, to assume that Beatrice was simply stringing her along and that she'd never be Beatrice's priority. 

But Ava trusted Beatrice, and that meant so much to her. 

"Good for you." Beatrice replied. "I assume you're here to take Ava to work?" 

"I am. I assume you want to see her before you leave?" 

"So long as you have no objections to such." 

Lilith pulled some keys from her pocket and turned away from her. "I'm hardly going to stop you." 

Beatrice could add talking to Ava about Lilith's feelings to the list. 

 

--

 

God, what a morning. 

Ava had woken up with her muscles aching slightly, but in the best possible way. Her memories of the night were still fresh in her mind. 

It had all been real. 

So it was all too easy to have Alexa play some feel good music as Ava went about her morning. 

When Pocketful of Sunshine began to play as Ava finished off her second poptart, it had been impossible to not fully get into the mood. 

Ava was doing her best impression of Tom Cruise in Risky Business, sliding across the living room floor in her socks as she belted out the chorus before she realised that the front door was open.

Lilith and Beatrice were standing in the doorway. 

Oh god. 

Beatrice? 

Lilith was grinning, phone pointed directly at her. Beatrice, to her credit, just looked incredibly endeared as she smiled at Ava. 

It was a miracle that Ava didn't lose balance mid slide. 

"Oh shit." Ava cleared her throat. "Hey guys." 

Lilith lowered her phone. "Hey there Emma Stone, don't stop on our account." 

"Alexa, stop." Ava waited for the music to end before scowling at Lilith. "Knock much?" 

Lilith refused to look guilty, Beatrice though, glanced away. 

They could almost be twins with their almost matching outfits. 

"Hey Bea." Ava greeted softly. She waited until Beatrice looked back at her. "Didn't think I'd get to see you so early." 

There seemed to be some uncertainty coming from Beatrice. Ava doubted it was from anything that had happened between them, so it was either Lilith's presence or something else entirely. 

It wouldn't be surprising if it was because of Lilith. 

Beatrice smiled. "Likewise." 

"Lucky me." 

Beatrice's smile grew, even as Lilith rolled her eyes. 

"I'll be in the car. Ava, you have ten minutes." Lilith said, she turned to leave. "Kline." 

Beatrice nodded in acknowledgment but let her focus remain on Ava as she folded her arms across her chest and leaned her side against the doorframe. 

"You okay?" Ava asked. 

She turned away to grab her shoes off of the floor and perched on the arm of the sofa to slip them on. 

No court today, so Ava had opted for pure business casual. Blue jeans, oversized green sweater and white converse. 

…Maybe business casual was a bit of an overstatement, but Lilith would have told her if it wasn't appropriate. 

"I'm wonderful." Beatrice replied. "I… I really enjoyed myself last night." 

There was some apprehension there though. 

"I'm sensing a but?" Ava replied. She finished lacing up her shoes and got back to her feet, grabbing her laptop bag from her armchair and her phone and keys from the coffee table. 

"I don't want to concern you with it, but… I don't think Lilith likes me." Beatrice said. 

Ah. 

"She hasn't outwardly said that she doesn't like you." Ava replied. She walked over to Beatrice. "If that were the case she wouldn't hide it. Honestly it can take her some time to warm up to people, plus she's probably just really leaning into the big sister duty of looking out for me. You'll probably have a shovel talk coming your way at some point." 

Beatrice didn't look super convinced as she chewed thoughtfully on her bottom lip. 

Which, okay. Cute. 

This side of Beatrice was so far from the girl she had been with last night, and Ava found herself just as drawn to her. 

"Hey," Ava reached up to rest her hand on Beatrice's shoulder. "Is it just Lilith on your mind?" 

Beatrice's laugh was more of a quick exhale as she lifted her head from the doorframe to look at Ava properly. 

"No." Beatrice admitted. 

Up close, there was a hint of tiredness that clung to Beatrice's eyes. They weren't as bright as usual. 

"Didn't sleep well?" Ava asked. 

"It… Took longer than I expected." Beatrice regarded her sincerely. "I kept thinking about you, and when I did sleep, I dreamt of you." 

Ava hadn't expected Beatrice to be quite so upfront with that. 

She couldn't help but grin. 

"You dreamt about me?" 

"I did." 

"...And that's making you look down and kinda grumpy?" 

Beatrice blinked rapidly, entire body straightening up as she looked at Ava. 

The shift was almost instant. 

"No." Beatrice replied. "Not because of you Ava. I've never had someone occupy my thoughts like you have." 

She reached up to brush her fingers across Ava's cheekbone before cupping her face.

"Everything I said yesterday is still true, I want you to be my only focus." Beatrice continued. "I don't want you to feel like I'm stringing you along." 

Ava wasn't sure what had inspired this conversion, but she desperately wanted to reassure Beatrice at the same time. 

"I know." Ava replied easily. "I trust you." 

It was the easiest way to approach it. 

There was a certain weight behind Beatrice, things that Ava had gotten glimpses of but had yet to learn. 

If Beatrice needed time then Ava would give it to her, Beatrice would explain everything when she was ready. 

"You do?" Beatrice asked. 

"You know I do." Ava smiled. "Well, if you didn't, you do now." 

"That simple?" 

"Yeah. I mean, it's a weird situation but yeah, I trust you. I know when someone is lying to me Bea, it's kind of my whole thing. You haven't told me everything, but I know you will. You're no liar and I see you." 

Beatrice ducked her head for a moment to laugh. "I… Thank you, Ava. Can I walk you outside?" 

"I'd like that." 

She took a chance and held her hand out, grinning as Beatrice took it and threaded their fingers together. 

Ava closed the door behind her and fell into step beside Beatrice as they made their way towards the elevator. 

She didn't miss the way that Beatrice would sneak glances at their hands as they waited together. 

It couldn't be more different from their interactions over the last couple of days, and while Beatrice seemed to carry an overwhelming amount of confidence when it came to their more heated moments it was these softer, more casual gestures that seem to throw Beatrice off guard. 

Ava gave Beatrice's hand a gentle squeeze. "Bea?" 

"Beyond Camila's occasional gesture, I think you're the first girl I've held hands with for a… Longer than I can actually remember." 

"We've held hands before, Bea." Ava pointed out. 

"It's different now." Beatrice replied quietly. 

"Good different?"

Beatrice nodded, looking from their hands to Ava. "Good different." 

The doors opened and Ava took the first steps inside, turning to pull Beatrice inside as she rested her back against the wall. 

"I don't bite, you know." Ava said. "Actually, scratch that, I totally do, but not in this scenario." 

Beatrice laughed again as she hit the button for the ground floor. "I'll keep that in mind, but please don't put those thoughts in my head, I'm really trying to behave right now." 

"That's fine, I will try to refrain from the innuendo for the duration of the ride." 

"Your ability to find innuendo in everything, intentional or not, is just one of the many things I like about you, Ava." 

"And we'll definitely revisit all of the things you like about me at a later date." 

Beatrice continued to look amused as she regarded Ava. "Deal." 

There was no need for them to spend the rest of the elevator ride facing each other, but neither of them could look away. Neither feeling the urge to fill the silence or to pretend to check their phones. 

They were content to simply look and admire. 

"What time do you finish work?" Ava asked. 

The doors opened and Beatrice looked over her shoulder for a moment before she turned around, waiting for Ava to move before she began to walk. 

"Four, usually. I don't think we have much on the cards today work wise." Beatrice replied. "Though I know Camila intends on having me buy her lunch so she can question me on last night. Yourself?" 

"Same, hopefully. And ditto on the questioning." Ava laughed. 

Beatrice opened the door and held it open for Ava to step through first. 

Lilith's car was still waiting for her, the windows were tinted and rolled up so she couldn't see inside, but Ava just knew that she was no doubt fucking around on her phone. 

"How do you feel about memes?" Ava asked. 

Beatrice tipped her head back slightly as she laughed. "I can't say that I have any strong opinions on them, why?" 

"Would you be opposed if I sent you some?" 

"No, please do." 

"How about the occasional selfie? I'll keep it all safe for work and there's zero expectation to send one back." 

"I'd like that." 

Ava grinned. "Yeah?" 

"Yes." 

They reached Lilith's car and turned to face each once more. 

"It was good to see you this morning, Ava." 

"You too." 

"I'll… See you later maybe?" Beatrice asked. 

"You know where to find me." 

Beatrice smiled again, glancing back at their hands before taking a slow step back. After a moment she turned to walk away, though she made no attempt to let go of Ava's hand. 

Ava didn't let go either, not until the space between them grew too far and it was only their fingers that were still touching. 

Beatrice looked back at Ava from over her shoulder, still smiling as their fingers finally parted. 

"Enjoy your day, Ava." 

"You too Bea." 

Ava could practically hear the roll of Lilith's eyes. 

She watched Beatrice walk away for a few moments before reaching for the car door and climbed inside. 

Ava had been right to guess that Lilith had been on her phone, and if the slight raise of her eyebrow was anything to go by, Ava could also guess that she'd been right in the eye rolling too. 

"Enjoy yourself?" Lilith asked. "You're blushing."

Was she? 

Ava pressed her hands to her cheeks, laughing at the heat that she felt from them. 

"We only held hands." 

"God, you're smitten." 

Yeah, she was. 

"Lilith -" 

"I'm going to need coffee before we even consider having this talk." Lilith interrupted. 

Well, okay then. 

Ava pulled her phone out and began to search through her saved pictures to find some solid meme content to send to Beatrice throughout the day. 

 

--

 

"Bea?" 

Beatrice glanced up from her phone to where Camila was sitting. "Yes?" 

"Do you remember how I said I love horny Bea?" 

"Vividly. Why?" 

Camila glanced at the phone in Beatrice's hand and smiled. "I stand by that but you're also looking at your phone like a lovesick teenager and honestly it's so cute it makes me want to squish your cheeks." 

"I… Please don't squish my cheeks." 

"But you look so cute and happy!" Camila whined. "Is that Ava?" 

"Yes. She's been periodically sending me memes since we left for work this morning." 

Beatrice didn't understand all of them, and it was mostly through her friendship with Camila that she knew as many as she did. 

It was also thanks to Camila that Beatrice had memes of her own to send back. 

"Considering everything from last night, it's a good job you finally got her number." 

"It is." 

"Is it time for lunch yet?" Camila asked. "I want all the details." 

Beatrice reached for her phone again. "Not quite. I don't really know how much you're going to enjoy it." 

Was Beatrice only saying that because she knew it was inevitable that Camila would end up figuring out she masturbated? Yes, absolutely. 

Camila had a sixth sense for that kind of thing and it was only the distraction of Ava holding her hand and texting her that kept Beatrice from thinking about it more. 

"I'll be the judge of that." Camila said. 

"You do that." Beatrice replied. She pulled up Mary's details and hit dial, raising the phone to her ear. 

"Who are you calling?" Camila asked. 

"Mary." 

"Morning Bea."

"Hi Mary." 

"To what do I owe the pleasure?"

Straight to the point, though Beatrice supposed that Mary knew her well enough to know that Beatrice wouldn't approach a conversation any other way. 

"This date. Has a time and place been arranged yet?" 

"...No. She needs to check her calendar, I was going to call her later to find out her availability, why?"

Beatrice leaned back in her seat. "Ask if she can do drinks tonight or lunch tomorrow. I don't care where, but those are my preferred times." 

Camila offered her a half enthusiastic thumbs up. 

"This is suspiciously enthusiastic for you. Or is this just your way of getting it over with sooner?" 

"Definitely the second one." 

Mary sighed. "Yeah okay, that's fair. I'll text her and find out okay?"

"Thank you Mary." 

"Catch you later Beatrice."

"Smart, Bea." Camila nodded seriously once Beatrice had set the phone back down. "Totally a smarter choice than just asking to cancel the date because you've already met someone that makes your heart fuzzy and your pus-" 

"I don't even want to know how you're planning on ending that sentence." Beatrice interrupted. 

Camila pouted. "...Wet."

Okay yes, Beatrice probably could have figured that out. 

"Keep that up and I won't buy you lunch." Beatrice replied. 

Camila snorted. "Don't get all authoritative on me, I'm not your bratty girlfriend." 

"She's not my…" Beatrice trailed off. "She's not my girlfriend." 

"But she is a brat." 

…Yes. 

Camila certainly backed her into that one. 

Beatrice's phone vibrated with another text and Beatrice welcomed the distraction gladly. 

 

--

 

Ava kicked her feet up onto Lilith's desk and switched her camera to face her. 

She took a few quick selfies, alternating her smiles and even throwing up a peace sign. 

Lilith walked into the office, Starbucks bag in one hand and phone in the other. Her attention was fixed solely on the screen as she closed the door behind her. 

She looked up, startling as she saw Ava sat at her desk. 

"How?" Lilith asked. "Seriously, how? I took your key." 

"I phased through the door using my super secret magical powers." Ava deadpanned. 

Lilith glared at her. 

"I stuck three of your business cards together and tried to unlock the door using the credit card trick from movies and shit." 

"I…" Lilith sighed. "Okay, that's actually somewhat impressive." 

Ava grinned. "Thank you." 

"So why exactly did you choose to break into my office this time?" Lilith asked. 

"Good lighting and privacy for selfies." 

"Of course. I'm just oddly proud that you're fully clothed." 

Ava slouched further into Lilith's chair and began to scroll through her pictures. 

"Keeping it safe for work." Ava replied. 

Lilith hummed as she pulled out the contents of the Starbucks bag for them both, an iced coffee and a chicken and bacon panini for Ava, and Lilith's usual extra shot filled mess of a coffee and-

"The fuck is that?" Ava asked as she eyed Lilith's lunch suspiciously. 

"Chicken and quinoa protein bowl." 

"...But...Why?"

"Because it's healthy, Ava." 

Ava frowned. 

Lilith gestured to Ava. "Up. You can stay but I'm having my chair back." 

Fair trade. 

Ava pulled her legs off of the desk and got to her feet, scurrying around to drop down into one of the other seats. 

"Is this the part where you start to question me about Beatrice?" Ava asked. "Cause I really don't want to have the whole conversation about how she isn't stringing me along." 

"And you're sure of that?" Lilith replied. "Because yes, last night you were all over each other and today you were both like lovesick puppies holding hands in the street, but you have to see why I'm having some reservations, Ava." 

Ava focused on unwrapping her panini as she thought about what to say. 

"I get it." Ava replied. "I mean I have questions too, maybe Bea was just working out her own feelings whilst going on those dates, she's entitled to that. But I know that whatever it was, Beatrice will tell me when she's ready." 

"And what if she isn't?" Lilith asked. 

Ava shrugged. "She will be. You just gotta give her the space to feel safe and comfortable enough to talk about her feelings. I… I feel like Bea didn't really get the chance to be as open with her feelings growing up." 

Lilith took a sip of her coffee as she watched Ava thoughtfully for a few moments. 

There was a specific look in her eyes, a very specific curiosity with a hint of pride. 

"You barely know her, Ava. How can you know that?" 

"I just do." Ava replied simply. "I'm still learning her, and Beatrice has walls, but she's let me in and I think that might have freaked her out a little bit too?" 

Ava took a huge bite of her panini and grinned at Lilith before she opened her mouth to speak again. 

Lilith pointed at her. "No. Mouth closed. Chew. Swallow. Then talk." 

Ava rolled her eyes and complied, washing it down with a long sip from her own coffee. 

"Bea is kinda like you, in that regard." 

Lilith scowled. "What?" 

"You have walls Lilith, I mean we all do. But I know when to leave you to it because I know that when you're dealing with something you'll talk to me about it when you're ready. I think Bea is similar." Ava explained. 

"I don't know how to feel about you comparing me to your soon to be fuck buddy slash girlfriend." 

"I mean you're both British, you're both really hot, you both have walls and dress pretty much exclusively in dark colours -" 

"Okay I get it." Lilith rolled her eyes. "You know if she does hurt you I will punch her." 

"Please don't, she's a sexy tree to me but next to you she's like… A shrub." 

Then again, Beatrice was kind of ripped too. She could probably hold herself in a fight with Lilith. 

"That's because you're tiny, Ava." 

Ava opted to let that one slide. 

"Will you try to be nicer to Bea?" Ava asked. "I do really think you'd get along, and you said she was really hot when you first saw her!" 

"Yes I have very clear memories of you begging me not to sleep with her." Lilith said. 

"A request that I still stand by." Ava replied. "But come on Lil, this isn't gonna be me doing the whole asking for approval thing and I know that you're trying to look out for me, but you know I'm a good judge of character." 

"It's why from a purely professional point of view you're my most valuable asset." 

"And from a loving family point of view?" 

"You're a good person, Ava." Lilith said. "And you have a big heart, I just want you to be loved fiercely." 

Well shit. 

Ava couldn't cry into her panini. Lilith wouldn't know how to cope with her if she was crying. 

"Same to you, Lilith." 

Lilith looked at her affectionately. "Eat your lunch, nerd. Don't forget to send Beatrice one of your selfies." 

Ava made a note to tackle Lilith into a hug when she got an opportunity. 

 

--

 

"Really?" Camila leaned forward in her seat, lunch and milkshake forgotten as she stared at Beatrice. "Sexy slip? How sexy?" 

"Unbearably so." Beatrice replied. "I'm also fairly sure she put it on because she knew it was me at the door." 

Beatrice had given Camila the rundown of the night, the touches shared, the burning gazes and the briefest summary of what had been said between them. 

She didn't want to give too much away. 

Though judging by the way Camila's eyes widened at her words, Beatrice belatedly realised that she may have already screwed that plan up. 

"And it took what, a couple minutes for her to answer? Bea, she was totally naked." 

Yes, she'd given up too much information. 

Beatrice distracted herself by tearing pieces from her napkin and said nothing. 

"What happened then?" 

Wet thighs. 

"We talked for a few minutes, exchanged numbers and then I went inside. I… I showered and went to bed." 

She glanced up for a moment and watched Camila raise an eyebrow. 

"You're leaving things out. What happened?" 

"Nothing happened between me and Ava." Beatrice replied, a little too quickly for her own liking. 

Camila clung to that. "But something happened. Something happened with you." 

No. 

Camila no. 

The gasp of realisation said everything. 

"Bea, what did you do in the shower?" 

Beatrice continued to stare at her lunch as she balled up the napkin and tossed it onto the table. 

She could feel her ears burning up. 

"You had sexy alone time in the shower!" Camila sounded thrilled. "Thinking about Ava?" 

Beatrice scowled at her plate. 

"And now you look grumpy, why are you grumpy about that? Orgasms are great." 

They really are. 

"It didn't feel right." Beatrice replied with a sigh. 

"What do you mean? Did you use the shower head or something?" 

Beatrice snapped her head up to frown at Camila. "What? No. I mean the act of… thinking about her." 

It was only fleeting, but Beatrice still couldn't quite shake it. 

"For someone who was dirty dancing it up on the dance floor last night, you still have a very specific moral code." Camila replied, fondly but not without a hint of teasing. "There's nothing wrong with fantasising about other people, besides, how do you know she doesn't think about you when she does it?" 

Beatrice already knew that she did, and it definitely helped. 

It mostly made Beatrice wonder about what Ava thought about. 

Apparently, Camila was also entertaining that line of thought. 

"Thinking about you with all your muscles, intense gaze as you give her the str-" 

"I am begging you not to finish that sentence." Beatrice interrupted. 

"I'm pretty sure you want Ava to be begging you, Bea." Camila grinned. 

…Not wrong. 

Beatrice frowned. "...To… To not finish her sentence or…" 

"In general." Camila shrugged as she reached for her milkshake and took a long sip. "But I can get specific if you want?"

"Camila, it's barely noon. We're in a diner." Beatrice said, gesturing to the other people around them. 

Camila laughed brightly as she grabbed a french fry from her plate and threw it into her mouth. 

"Fine. But Bea, in all seriousness, cancel your date, fuck her brains out." 

Apparently Camila had also chosen to be extremely direct today. 

Beatrice heard a disgusted tut from beside them and glanced over as a woman walked past, glaring daggers at them as she pushed a stroller with another child walking at her side. 

She tried her best to offer an apologetic smile. 

"Cam…" 

"What? You want her, go have her." 

Beatrice sighed. Camila truly was intent on being the little devil on her shoulder. 

Or angel. 

Both? 

"I can't, I made a promise to Mary." 

"You and your stupid loyalty." Camila groaned. "Blow off the date, blow Ava." 

"I… That doesn't even…" Beatrice shook her head. "I have no words." 

"Just go fucking nuts. Go rail her." 

Beatrice could definitely feel her cheeks burning. 

At this rate they were going to get kicked out of the diner. 

"Seriously, next time she knocks on your door just like, answer wearing a strap or something." Camila continued. 

"Camila -" 

"I assume you own one, do you own one?" 

"Of course I own one." Beatrice replied quickly. She knew that Camila probably expected her to be scandalised but even to her own ears it was hard not to miss the slight offence. 

Camila grinned. "Let me guess, pink?" 

"...One of them." 

"Beatrice Kline." Camila nodded, clearly impressed before raising her hand for a high five. 

Beatrice reluctantly raised her own hand. 

"Different sizes right?" 

"Can we move on?" Beatrice asked. 

"Humour me for like, two more minutes." 

"Fine. They don't exactly get any use but I like to have options." Beatrice replied quietly. 

"We talking like… Subway footlong or-" 

Beatrice laughed, hiding her face behind one hand To try and keep it muddled. "Jesus Cam." 

"Oh thank God." Camila replied softly. "You were being far too mopey there. But no, seriously Bea, go on this date or not but please, make your move on Ava, you two are clearly great together." 

Beatrice's phone chimed in her pocket, and it took a moment of consideration for her to reach inside for it. 

She couldn't stop her smile when it was Ava's name on the screen, and when Beatrice opened the message she could only laugh at the picture Ava had sent. 

It was a selfie from inside a nice looking office, presumably Lilith's, grinning at the camera and making a peace sign. 

"See?" Camila said. "It's like she knows you needed that too." 

Ava did have a remarkable ability to do that. 

"Is it a selfie?" 

"Yes." 

"You should send -" Camila cut herself off as Beatrice's phone began to ring. "That's Mary, isn't it?" 

Beatrice swiped her thumb across the screen and pressed it to her ear. "Hi Mary." 

"Hey Beatrice." Mary greeted. 

Camila shook her head as she reached for her milkshake. "The universe really likes to fuck with you, doesn't it?" 

That's what Beatrice has been saying for days. 

Beatrice nodded at Camila before she turned her attention to her phone call. 

"I'm guessing you spoke to her?" Beatrice asked. 

"Yeah, she can't do tonight or lunch tomorrow but she's good for drinks at say, six tomorrow night?" 

It was better than waiting until Friday or the weekend. 

Drinks at six, home by eight at the latest. 

"I'm fine with that." Beatrice replied. 

"Nice, I'll let her know and text you the rest of the details."

"Thank you Mary." Beatrice hummed thoughtfully. "By the way, what's her name? You never said." 

"Lily."

"...Lily?" 

Lily, Serena, Jacqueline and Jocelyn. 

Why did all of those names feel like they were connected?

When Beatrice realised, she let out a heavy sigh. 

"Mary? I don't suppose you noticed that every girl that you've set me up with is also a character in The Devil Wears Prada, did you?" 

Camila's expression grew confused as she stared at Beatrice. 

A moment passed before Mary snorted. 

"Seriously?"

"Yes. Lily was Anne Hathaway's character's best friend, Jacqueline was the French one that almost took Miranda's job. Jocelyn was one of the minions that gave Anne Hathaway the eye when she laughed at the blue belt." 

"I'm alarmed at how well you know this movie, who was Serena?"

"The tall hot blonde that was clearly fucking Emily Blunt's character." 

Camila nodded in solidarity. 

Mary laughed again. "Wild. And purely coincidental."

"I almost wish it wasn't, it would explain the Republican." 

"Hilarious. And once again, my bad on that." Mary replied. "And before you ask, no, I haven't told her your life story. She knows your name is Beatrice, you work in tech shit and you're British." 

Tech shit. 

Mary wasn't… Entirely wrong? 

"What does she do?" 

"She's a lawyer." 

A bit on the nose. 

What were the odds of Ava or Lilith knowing her? 

Would it be weird to ask Ava? 

Yes, definitely. 

And pretty pointless, without a last name. 

That was a bridge to cross when she got there. 

"Thank you Mary." 

"I'm gonna go meet Shannon for lunch, I'll text you in a bit."

"Speak to you soon." 

Beatrice dropped her phone onto the table and met Camila's gaze. 

"So this is happening?" Camila asked. 

"Yes." 

"Mr Darcy ass fool." 

Beatrice rolled her eyes as she laughed. "Really?" 

"Sorry." 

"What were you going to say before Mary called?" Beatrice asked. 

Camila grinned. "Oh, I was just going to say you should send Ava a selfie if you felt comfortable to. I'll even pose with you if it helps?" 

Beatrice had to smile back. 

She was lucky to have Camila in her life. 

"Just… one maybe? Just to try it. It doesn't mean I'll send it." 

"That's fine too Bea, don't worry." 

 

--

 

Lilith had kicked Ava out of her office not long after they had eaten lunch. 

Ava had work to do, some research to do for some other cases on behalf of Lilith and some of the other lawyers. 

Not to mention her second job of fixing all of Jason's mistakes. 

Honestly, Ava should get a raise just for babysitting him. 

Or… her own office. 

God her own office would have so much potential. 

It was to be expected that her thoughts would put Beatrice in this hypothetical office with her. 

Ava pushed those thoughts away before they could fully form, this was a safe for work day and Ava knew that if she tried to shift the energy back to what they experienced last night it would all derail. 

A good kind of derailment, but still. 

Ava was really enjoying this softer side, the easy back and forth of their texts. 

There had been a noticeable pause since Ava had sent the selfie, but she didn't let it get to her. Beatrice was a busy person after all. 

Ava continued to work, bobbing her head to the music as she did so. 

After about ten minutes, her phone vibrated three times in quick succession. 

Curious, Ava reached for her phone and found herself grinning when it was Beatrice's name that lit up the screen. 

Bea
You're adorable.

Bea
❤️

The third was a selfie, in what looked like a diner. Beatrice and Camila were sat side by side. 

Camila was beaming at the camera, arm around Beatrice's shoulders. Beatrice's smile was much more subdued but God, she looked so soft. 

Ava wanted to save the picture. Could she save it? 

No harm in asking. 

Ava slumped back in her seat and began to type. 

Ava
You guys look amazing. Is this your lunch time interrogation?

Beatrice replied immediately. 

Bea
Yes, I didn't give that much information though, despite Camila's best efforts.

Ava
Why not?

Bea
Because selfishly, I like the idea that some of the things that happened between us should stay just like that. Between us.

Ava held her breath and smiled to herself as she replied. 

Ava
Like our own little bubble? 

Bea
Yes. 

Ava
I like the idea of having you all to myself.

Bea
After tomorrow night, I'm all yours.

Oh. 

Shit. 

Beatrice must have gotten the date arranged. 

Ava
Really?

Bea
Yes. I'll explain more tonight.

Ava
Deal. I'll provide the wine.

And after a moment's consideration, sent a follow-up. 

Ava
Can I save that picture?

Bea
Of course. Can I do the same with yours?

Ava
Definitely.

A minute or two passed before Beatrice replied. 

Bea
How is your day going?

Amazingly. And even better now that she could text Beatrice whenever. 

Work temporarily forgotten, Ava smiled and began to type once more. 

 

--

 

Beatrice had opted to walk home, despite the looming threat of rain. 

She was in a great mood, everything felt brighter. 

Happier. 

Beatrice couldn't stop smiling. 

She felt her phone vibrate and pulled it out. 

Ava
I hate the bus. I should have just walked.

Beatrice
It's probably for the best, it's going to rain.

Ava
Yeah, I really need to start wearing a jacket. Are you on your way home?

Beatrice
Yes, I'm walking back now. I imagine you'll beat me there.

Ava
Lol. I'll see you soon Bea. 

The first drop of rainfall hit the screen, but not even that would stop the smile on Beatrice's face as she slipped her phone back into her pocket. 

She zipped up her jacket and continued on her way. 

Beatrice found herself slowing as she passed a flower shop, finding a brief shelter under its canopy as she took in the array of bright flowers. 

Was it too soon for flowers? 

Would Ava even like flowers? 

But Beatrice wanted to do something nice, she wanted to give Ava something beautiful. 

Throwing caution to the wind, Ava would hopefully appreciate it. 

Beatrice stepped inside, taking her time to look around at the various bouquets. 

She skipped over the roses, they felt too obvious, though Beatrice lingered by the lilies, a distant recollection of one of the movies that she clung to so desperately growing up. 

There were so many options, though Beatrice found her attention shift to the orchids, and while there were so many colours to choose from, Beatrice focused on the collection of blue ones. 

She couldn't explain why, but they just… they felt like Ava. 

"Can I help you?" The florist asked, stepping out of the back room. 

Beatrice turned her back to the flowers to approach the counter.

"I'm looking for a bouquet for a girl." Beatrice said.

The florist nodded. "Romantic?" 

"Yes." 

"Already dating or -" 

"No, not yet." Beatrice hesitated. "Things are still… new." 

It felt like there was so much to talk about between them. 

"And I suppose that if you're asking for advice then you don't want to go the traditional route of roses?" The florist asked. 

"They're beautiful, and I mean no disrespect but I don't think they're right for her." Beatrice smiled as she thought about Ava. "There's… Nothing traditional about her." 

The florist hummed thoughtfully. "Tell me about her. What's she like?" 

Beatrice felt her smile grow. "She's… She caught my attention from the moment I met her. It was so easy to talk to her and there were some… There was a massive miscommunication on my part and Ava? Ava doesn't push. She's so patient and understanding. It felt like she understood me immediately, she's so intuitive and everything feels new and incredible with her. "

Beatrice was rambling and she knew it. But she couldn't stop herself. 

All she could see was Ava's bright smile. 

"She's like the sunlight breaking through a storm, where it feels like you're seeing things clearly for the first time. Ava is one of a kind, it sounds so cliché but I've never met anybody like her before." 

The florist grinned. "First of all, if you haven't said that to her already, then you definitely should." 

"Oh. Noted."

"Secondly…" The florist stepped around the counter, and without hesitation, walked straight over to the blue orchids. "These are definitely what you want." 

Beatrice felt pride blooming in her chest. 

Her instinct had been right. 

"Really?" Beatrice asked, even as she reached into her pocket to pull out her card. 

"Definitely. Do you want to know what they mean?" 

"Yes, please." 

God, she hoped Ava liked them as much as Beatrice did. 

 

--

 

The door knocked while Ava was finishing getting changed. 

Pulling the sleeves of her hoodie over her hands, Ava hurried to the door, allowing herself to slide the last few inches. 

Fuzzy socks. The greatest invention ever made. 

Ava pulled the door open and grinned as she came face to face with Beatrice. 

Her hair was only a little wet, raindrops still lingered on the sleeves of her jacket, hands behind her back as she smiled at Ava. 

"You look… Cosy." Beatrice said, giving Ava a quick once over. 

"I didn't expect it to be so cold today." Ava pouted. "But yes, very cosy thank you." 

Beatrice smiled again, though her gaze dropped to her feet for a few moments as she seemed to suddenly grow nervous. 

"I…" Beatrice lifted her head again. "I brought you these." 

She produced a bouquet from behind her back, orchids in the most electric shade of blue Ava had ever seen. 

Holy shit? 

"Holy shit." Ava reached out to tentatively brush her fingers against one of the petals, still damp from the rain. "Bea, you didn't have to." 

Nobody had ever brought her flowers before. 

"I know, but I wanted to." 

Ava accepted the bouquet, gaze shifting from the flowers to the nervous look on Beatrice's face as Ava brought them up to her face to smell them. 

"They're beautiful, Bea. Thank you." Ava said softly. "What's the occasion?" 

Ava began to trace the petals again, gently brushing away stray drops of rain from them. 

Beatrice stepped forward, her own fingers reaching out to touch the flowers, though they quickly found Ava's hand instead. 

"No occasion. I just wanted to do something for you. I wanted to give you something beautiful." 

Ava's heart warmed. 

The gesture held more beauty than the flowers themselves. 

"Do you want to come in?" Ava asked. "...And also do you know how to put these in a vase?" 

Beatrice dropped her head to laugh. "Yes, please. And I do, actually, the florist gave me some advice." 

She followed Ava inside and closed the door. Beatrice lingered by the door to take off her jacket and hang it up before following Ava into the kitchen. 

"Do you have a vase?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava hummed thoughtfully and gestured towards the cabinets with one hand as she set the flowers down on the counter. "I think in there? Do you want a drink? Tea, coffee, wine? Something stronger?"

"I'll have whatever you're having." Beatrice replied. She reached up to open the cabinet and surely enough after a few moments of digging managed to produce a vase. 

Ava was pretty sure she had stolen that from Lilith. 

Oh well. 

"Tea it is then? Don't worry I own a kettle and everything." 

She looked over and saw Beatrice's amused smile as she went about unwrapping the flowers. 

"You enjoy leaning into the fact that I'm British. Why do I get the impression that you tried to make tea in the microwave once and Lilith destroyed you for it?" 

Ava laughed. "Because you're intuitive. And totally right, by the way. She was so mad about it. She kept saying that she thought she'd raised me better and threatened to send me back to London, empty threats of course." 

"Of course." 

They fell into a brief silence as they each worked, Beatrice broke the silence first to ask for scissors and Ava followed to ask how Beatrice liked her tea. 

When Ava finally turned around, mugs in hand, Beatrice had finished her work and was currently staring at the flowers. Her fingers still lingered in the petals. 

Ava said nothing, for a moment as she watched. 

Beatrice looked so happy. So proud of herself. 

God, it had no right being as cute as it was. 

"It looks beautiful." Ava said. "How do I take care of them?" 

"I have the instructions on my phone." Beatrice replied softly, gaze still lingering on the flowers for a few moments. "I'll text them over to you." 

Ava walked around the counter to set Beatrice's mug down in front of her and let their shoulders bump together. 

"Thank you." 

"Do you really like them?" Beatrice asked. 

"I do." Ava replied. "What made you choose these ones though?" 

Something in Beatrice got brighter, her eyes lit up as she turned to face Ava. 

"They reminded me of you." Beatrice said. "Bright and bold, unlike anything I've ever seen before. Beautiful and stands out amongst all others." 

Holy shit. 

Beatrice was a romantic. 

Was swooning a real thing? Hand on forehead, unable to remain standing because she's in the vicinity of Mr Darcy. 

Because Ava kind of felt like she was going to swoon. 

"I saw the roses and the lilies and all of the others but those were what caught my eye… As you had." Beatrice continued gently. "Do you know what blue orchids mean?" 

"Nope. Literally only know the lily." 

Beatrice laughed. "Likewise." 

Ava set her own mug down and Beatrice reached out to brush her fingers against the back of Ava's hand, both of their gazes shifted to follow the touch. 

"Blue orchids represent rarity, uniqueness and beauty. Everything that you are Ava." Beatrice said. "I've never bought flowers before, so I was glad that my instincts drew me to the floral representation of you." 

Say one more romantic thing, Beatrice. 

Ava was practically daring her. 

"The same way in which I found myself so effortlessly drawn to you." 

Both of their eyes met in the same moment. 

Yep. Swooning. 

Ava drew her hand from beneath Beatrice's and reached up to cup Beatrice's cheek. 

Beatrice didn't move, per say, though she did straighten up a little as Ava moved in closer. 

It would be so easy to just go for it, but at the last moment, Ava shifted and pressed her lips to the corner of Beatrice's mouth. 

A small step forward. 

Ava lingered for a few moments as she felt Beatrice curl an arm around Ava's shoulders, as she listened to the quiet exhale and felt it against her cheek. 

When Ava did pull back, Beatrice's gaze didn't falter. Her arm didn't move from Ava. 

Fuck it. Ava wasn't ready to end the contact either. 

She wrapped her own arms around Beatrice and moved back in, resting her cheek against Beatrice's shoulder and closed her eyes. 

"Thank you Bea." Ava whispered. "I've never had anybody buy me flowers before. I'm glad that you were the first." 

She let herself relax against Beatrice as she felt lips against her temple. 

"I'm just happy." Beatrice replied. "In general and because you like the flowers." 

"I love the flowers, Bea." 

"Good. I'm glad." 

She'd thought about it a lot over the course of the day, but for as intense and burning hot their interactions had been yesterday, it was this soft and fucking romantic Beatrice that was shaking Ava to her core. 

"Please tell me your mystery date is soon?" Ava asked. 

She heard Beatrice sigh, her hand rubbed a few circles into Ava's back before it fell away entirely. Ava pulled back to look at Beatrice clearly again. 

Beatrice's gaze was serious again, though there was still so much warmth and fondness in her eyes. 

"Tomorrow." Beatrice replied. "I called Mary earlier and asked her to try and arrange the earliest time possible."

Tomorrow. 

Tomorrow was good. Tomorrow was perfect. 

It was Beatrice's turn to bring her hand up to Ava's face, although the touch was much more fleeting. 

"Say the word Ava, and I'll cancel it." 

And she would, Ava knew that. 

But Ava also knew that Beatrice was doing this for her friend, it was an act of loyalty and it was that act that endeared Ava to her more. 

"No, don't." Ava replied. "If you're going to cancel, do it for you. You already know that I have no issues with it." 

"You're certain?"

"Yeah, of course. You made a promise to your friend, see it through." 

Beatrice looked more at ease at that as she nodded. "Okay." 

"Okay." Ava smiled. "Do you want to go sit down before our tea gets cold?" 

"Yes, please." 

They parted, somewhat reluctantly, each reaching for their mugs while Ava carefully gathered the vase too so that she could place it on the coffee table, front and centre. 

Ava didn't hesitate to lift her legs up onto the sofa, crossing them as she sat with her back to the arm so that she could face Beatrice. 

Beatrice sat down and smiled down into her tea. 

"So, who's your date?" 

"All I know is that her name is Lily and that she's a lawyer." 

"Lily the lawyer?" Ava asked. "Nice. Was the name what inspired the flowers?" 

Beatrice lifted her head to look at Ava and frowned, though it looked like she was trying to hide a smile. 

"Oh, bad joke." Ava laughed. She reached over to rest her hand on Beatrice's knee. "I'm sorry." 

Beatrice smiled reassuringly and stroked her thumb against Ava's hand. "It was funny, but no, definitely no association there." 

"Lily the lawyer then, no last name?" 

"Mary is still following the rules I set during the other dates. Minimum details and such, she only disclosed my first name and that I work in tech." 

Ava hummed thoughtfully. "The only Lily I know of that is a lawyer is very much the… I don't know the nice way to put it." 

"Oh no, what is it?" Beatrice asked. 

"The waspy Republican sort, would absolutely support corrupt business men and openly pro life." 

Beatrice looked physically pained by Ava's response. 

"But you said Shannon knew too, right? I think it's safe to say that they would have already done the Republican check." 

"I certainly hope so." Beatrice laughed. "I don't think I could handle another encounter like that." 

Ava couldn't blame her either. 

"What's the plan then?" Ava asked as she took a long drink from her mug. "

Beatrice did the same. "Drinks at six, all going well I'll be back by eight." 

"You have this all worked out, huh?" Ava asked. 

"I do." Beatrice nodded. "I just need Mary to tell me where it is and choose my outfit." 

"Floral shirt." Ava said. 

Beatrice laughed. "As in an Hawaiian shirt?" 

"I think you'd look hot in one." Ava shrugged. 

"Then perhaps it's best I save that for another time then, isn't it?" Beatrice replied. 

"So just the standard shirt and jeans?" 

"Most likely." 

"Awesome, so let's talk colours." 

 

--

 

Beatrice set her mug down onto the coffee table, it had been their third one and neither were entirely willing to let the evening end. 

Ava had long since draped her legs across Beatrice's lap, shoulder wedged firmly into the back of the sofa as they continued to talk. 

They'd settled on what outfit she was going to wear a long time ago and had since moved onto other subjects. 

Small talk never felt small when it came to Ava, each topic opened up an endless avenue of potential. 

There was nothing small about Ava. 

Her personality, her limitless patience and capacity for love and kindness were truly endless. 

So no, nothing small about Ava. 

…Except maybe Ava herself. 

"What are you thinking about?" Ava asked. 

"You're short and adorable." 

Ava blinked in surprise. "I'm sorry, what?" 

To be honest, Beatrice probably should have explained that a little better. 

Beatrice laughed. "I was thinking about how big your heart is, and it led to me realising that it was amusing because of your height." 

"You're not exactly Lilith's level of height, you know." Ava pouted. 

Oh to kiss that pout from her lips. 

"I'm teasing, Ava." Beatrice replied. 

"I know. It's annoyingly cute." 

Beatrice laughed again. "Sorry. What were you thinking about?" 

"Well now I'm thinking about how short I apparently am, but mostly about your date." Ava shook her head thoughtfully. "Well, all of your dates since we met." 

"What about them?" Beatrice asked. 

"You've only been for dinners and drinks." Ava said. "And well… as far as a first date goes, I just think they're…" 

"Boring?" Beatrice guessed. 

"Your words, not mine." Ava replied. 

"It felt like an apt description." Beatrice said. "What about them?" 

Ava shrugged. "I just… No disrespect to them, I'm sure they work for so many people but I don't know, for a first date, especially when you don't know the other person, they just feel too… formal?" 

Beatrice nodded and waited for Ava to continue. 

"Like, how much can you learn about someone in a couple of hours when you're sat opposite each other? How do you get past the feeling of it being like a job interview when you're just trying to sell the best side of yourself and remain authentic through the whole thing?"

Beatrice was intrigued, her hand remained on Ava's calf. "It's hard."

"It just wouldn't work for me." Ava said. 

That wouldn't surprise Beatrice at all, she already knew that Ava was anything but traditional or ordinary. 

"What would work for you?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava lifted her head slightly. "What do you mean?" 

"Your ideal first date, what would you do?" 

Ava sat up suddenly, eyes lighting up as she grabbed onto Beatrice's arm to hold herself up. 

"Bowling." Ava said without a trace of hesitation. 

Beatrice laughed. "Bowling?" 

Ava nodded seriously. "It's fun, it can be lighthearted or competitive and nothing gives you a more truthful impression of the person you're with than how they react to winning or losing." 

She really was something else. 

"Bowling is the window into the soul." Ava shrugged. 

Beatrice laughed. "So you'd just go bowling?" 

"Nah, you gotta have more." 

"Always more?" 

"Always." Ava nodded. "Fuck sitting down for a fancy meal. Go bowling, drink their beer, maybe have nachos. Get hot dogs from a food truck and find somewhere to eat them and talk about how shit the traffic is here. Find a dive bar with a jukebox and shoot pool, hell, go for ice cream. Find out what their favourite flavour is and why. Discover the memories attached to them."

She spoke with so much certainty, so much passion that even if Beatrice hadn't already known her interest in Ava then this would be the moment that changed it all. 

Because in a way, it still had. 

Because what Ava was describing sounded so perfect, so ideal and just… so fun, that Beatrice couldn't help but silently berate herself for not knowing Ava was available sooner. 

"You can sit down and talk about yourself all day, but nothing speaks louder than actions. You learn so much more about a person from actually doing things." 

Beatrice could only look on fondly. "That… That sounds perfect." 

"Yeah?" Ava asked quietly. 

"Yes." 

"We could go on Saturday, if you like? Make a day of it?" 

Ava was asking her out. 

She was really doing it, this was happening. 

Beatrice was nodding, as her answer tumbled so effortlessly from her lips. "Yes."

"I'm gonna kick your ass, Bea." 

Beatrice laughed and moved her hand from Ava's leg to cup her cheek. "It's cute that you'd think that. I'm going to destroy you." 

"Oh, I hope so." Ava replied as she smirked. "You have permission to destroy me however you'd like." 

Well. 

It was inevitable that this would take a turn. 

Okay then. 

Beatrice held steadily onto Ava's face. "Be careful what you wish for, sweetheart." 

"Oh… Fuck." Ava whispered. 

Beatrice smiled. "On that note, it's probably time I left." 

"As much as I hate to agree, yeah. For both our sakes." Ava nodded. 

She swung her legs off of Beatrice's lap and got to her feet, Beatrice followed her up and together they made their way towards the front door, pausing only so that Beatrice could retrieve her jacket. 

"Will you be home around the same time tomorrow?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava opened the door for her. "I'll make sure of it." 

"Would you be opposed to me stopping by before I leave for the date?" 

"I would practically insist." Ava replied. 

Beatrice stepped into the hallway and turned back to face Ava, leaning in to kiss her gently on the cheek. 

"Then I'll see you tomorrow." Beatrice said. "Don't forget to eat." 

"You too. Sleep well." 

Ava's grin was contagious. 

"Goodnight Ava." 

"Night, Bea." 

The door closed and Beatrice took a moment to let out a quiet laugh before she moved to let herself into her own apartment. 

She was going to go out with Ava on Saturday. 

Holy shit. 

 


 

Ava strolled into Lilith's office, grinning despite the raised eyebrow Lilith shot in her direction. 

"Why are you so chipper?" Lilith asked. 

"Life is good Lilith." Ava dropped down into the empty seat. "Life is good." 

"Oh god. You're in lovesick puppy mode, aren't you?" Lilith groaned. 

"Yup." 

"Why?" 

"Bea brought me flowers yesterday." 

Lilith tried to hide her smile but failed spectacularly. "Oh. Good. Did you fuck her yet?" 

"Nope." 

"Jesus. Did you take a vow of celibacy while my back was turned or something?" Lilith asked. 

Ava snorted. "Not in this life or the next." 

"So still holding out until Bea gets her shit together?" 

Well, not quite. 

Ava got the distinct impression that if she mentioned that Beatrice was going on another date, Beatrice wouldn't survive it. 

Even if Ava explained the situation, Lilith would absolutely still be out for blood, probably. 

"We're waiting till Saturday, day off and everything." Ava replied. 

It was true, after all. 

Lilith wrote something down on her notepad. "I'll make sure not to disturb you then." 

Ava was going to make sure Beatrice had the best time. 

She'd spent some time during dinner last night looking at bars on Google. 

It was going to be amazing. 

"I need to ask a favour of you." Lilith said. 

"Shoot." 

"I have to leave early today, there's some business I have to attend to so I need to redirect any calls to you." 

"Can I stay in your office?" 

Lilith sighed. "I suppose so." 

"Then yeah, I got you covered." 

"Good." 

Ava leaned forward to rest her elbows against the desk. "What kind of business?" 

Lilith lifted her gaze enough to shoot Ava a warning glare. "Nothing important. Just a meeting." 

"Sexy meeting?" 

"Ava." 

"Okay okay." Ava held her hands up. "Sorry I asked." 

Must be an important meeting if she can't give Ava any details yet. 

"If you're leaving early does that mean I'm in charge?" Ava asked. 

"Technically. And before you ask, no you can't fire Jason or Crimson." Lilith said. 

"But -" 

"If they're getting fired I'm going to be the one who has the pleasure." 

"...Yeah that's fair." 

Lilith gestured for Ava to come over. "I need to run through things with you before I go." 

"Can I do a coffee run first?" 

"For God's… Yes, if you must." 

"Do you want anything?" 

"Of course. The usual, please." 

Ava hopped to her feet and clapped her hands together. "Cool. I'll be back in a bit then." 

She darted out of Lilith's office before Lilith could say anything else. "

Ava was definitely going to bombard Beatrice with texts the entire time. 

 

--

 

Beatrice grinned at Ava's most recent selfie. 

It was taken outside Starbucks, dressed in an oversized denim jacket as she held up a tray containing two coffees. 

She was so beautiful. 

Beatrice's response back to Ava said as much. 

"Ava?" Camila asked. 

"Who else?" 

Camila laughed. "Good point. You better smile like that when I text you." 

"Never going to happen. Sorry." Beatrice replied, setting her phone down so that she could turn her attention back to her computer. 

"Damn." Camila faux sighed. "Oh well. What's the plan for tonight?" 

"Go for drinks, politely leave after a few drinks and go back home." 

"And see Ava?" 

Beatrice glanced over at Camila and nodded. "I'm going to see her before I leave, but yes, I am going to ask if I can come back afterwards." 

She could follow their vague tradition of unwinding afterwards and bring takeout. 

"I'm sure Ava would be very open to that." Camila laughed. "You can both -" 

"If you're going to make an eating out joke I'd advise you to refrain." Beatrice interrupted. 

Camila laughed again. "Okay." 

"Though we do have tentative plans to go out on Saturday." Beatrice said. 

"Oh!" Camila gasped. "What are you going to do?" 

"We're going bowling." 

Camila looked overjoyed. "Seriously? Bowling is amazing. Can I date Ava instead?" 

"Absolutely not." 

"Fine, but I do insist on being her friend." 

Camila and Ava would be amazing friends. 

Oh, the chaos those two could cause. 

"I wouldn't have it any other way." 

 

--

 

The day had passed in a relatively peaceful blur. 

Even when Lilith had left, nothing much had happened. No phone calls came, and only a few emails had pinged into her inbox. 

And Ava had gotten to enjoy her afternoon from the comfort of Lilith's office. 

Now Ava was home, dressed in her go to hoodie and sweatpants as she covered her coffee table in snacks. 

With no Lilith to pester and no work to bring home, Ava had settled on playing video games for a few hours while Beatrice was on her date. 

Maybe she'd call J.C. and see if he wanted to jump on too. 

She hadn't had a chance to catch up with him since the party, no doubt he'd love to hear the new details. 

Inevitably, the knock at her door came and Ava practically skipped over to pull the door open. 

Beatrice stood before her, dressed in her expected black jeans, turtleneck and leather jacket. 

"Holy shit, Bea." 

Beatrice smiled. "What?" 

"You look so hot." 

Beatrice glanced down at herself and then back at Ava. "It's just a turtleneck." 

"And you wear it fucking well." Ava replied. "Seriously, I have half a mind to just drag you inside now." 

Beatrice's gaze grew heavy in an instant. "I wouldn't stop you." 

God it was so tempting. 

"You'll be late." Ava said softly. 

Beatrice sighed. "I know." 

"Are you nervous?" 

"No. Not at all." Beatrice replied. "I was wondering though…" 

"Yeah?" 

"Do you want me to bring food later?" 

Ava had assumed they would hang out later, but to hear confirmation of such had her smiling all the same. 

"Oh definitely." 

Beatrice smiled back. "What do you feel like?" 

"Chinese?" 

"Done. Will you text me what you'd like?" 

Ava nodded. "Yeah." 

She reached for Beatrice's hand and squeezed it gently. "If you need to bail early, text me SOS." 

"I will." Beatrice replied. She pulled gently on Ava's hand and turned to press her lips to Ava's temple. "I'll be back in a couple of hours." 

"I expect full details when you're back." 

Beatrice shifted and leaned down to press their foreheads together. 

"I'll give you anything and everything you want." 

Well that list of possibilities was endless. 

Hold it together, Ava. 

Those lips were so tempting though. 

"Go on Bea, go have some decent cocktails and hopefully some not so terrible conversation." 

Beatrice laughed and drew back. "What are you going to do?" 

"I'm going to see if J.C. wants to play Xbox with me." 

"Sounds like fun." 

"I could think of things to do that are much more fun, but it'll do for now." Ava winked. 

Beatrice responded with a fond roll of her eyes. "I don't doubt that." 

Ava wiggled on the spot as Beatrice took a step back, allowing herself the chance to take in her outfit once more. 

"Nice." Ava said appreciatively. 

Beatrice laughed. "I'll see you soon, Ava." 

"You too Bea, have a good date." 

"I'll try, I suppose." Beatrice replied. "Don't forget to text me your order." 

"I won't." 

Beatrice's gaze lingered for a few more seconds before she turned to walk towards the elevator. 

Ava stayed in the hallway and watched, waiting for the doors to open for Beatrice to step inside. 

She saw Beatrice smile when she realised Ava was still watching her. 

The doors closed, though the memory of Beatrice's bright smile remained strong. 

Worth it. 

 

--

 

Beatrice lingered outside the bar for a few moments after her uber pulled away so that she could check her phone. 

She had five messages waiting for her, so Beatrice read each of them in turn. 

Camila
Don't stress too much about tonight! Just focus on what comes next. (Ava. Literally, hopefully.)

Mary
Lily will be at the bar next to the beer taps. Black shirt, leather jacket. Thanks again, Beatrice.

Ava
Szechuan chilli chicken please. Also spring rolls and sesame prawn toast. Oh, and fortune cookies if they have any. Pretty please and thank you.

Ava
Shit I also want shrimp fried rice, is that too much? It feels like too much. You better tell me how much this comes to so I can pay my share.

Ava
Also good luck with the date, can't wait to see you again.

Beatrice replied to Ava's text with a heart, if for no other reason than to show that she had acknowledged it. 

Ava sent one back a few seconds later. 

Heart full, Beatrice slipped her phone back into her pocket and walked into the bar. 

It wasn't overly busy, as Beatrice glanced around she noticed a few empty tables. It seemed to be mostly men in suits unwinding after a long day at work. The music that filled the room was more ambient than anything else, low enough that it wasn't overbearing in the slightest. 

Beatrice turned her attention to the bar. At one end a group of men were gathered as they all toasted their drinks, all happy and celebratory. 

At the other, sat her date, by the beer taps just as Mary had said she would be. Her back was to Beatrice as she watched the woman lift her drink to her lips and set it back down. 

Dark hair hung freely down her back, donned in a tight leather jacket. 

So this was Lily. 

Beatrice made her way over to the bar, stopping at the empty seat beside her date. 

"Lily, yes?" Beatrice asked. 

The woman seemed to freeze, her movements slow as she turned to face Beatrice. 

White streak standing out amongst dark hair. 

Cheekbones so sharp they could probably be classed as a weapon. 

Borderline murderous look in her eyes. 

Oh no. 

Oh fuck no. 

The universe really didn't like her. 

Beatrice was in so much trouble. 

"Lilith?" 

 

Chapter Text

 

There are one hundred and eighty thousand registered lawyers in New York. 

And she ends up on a date with Lilith. 

Jesus fucking Christ. 

"Kline?" Lilith was rising to her feet before Beatrice could blink. "What the fuck are you doing here?" 

The music stopped. 

And Beatrice was pretty sure her life was about to as well. 

Lilith towered above her. 

Beatrice had never been blind to her height, but now it truly did make her all the more intimidating. 

Intimidating shifted into flat out fear when Lilith grabbed the collar or her jacket and dragged her closer. 

Yes. 

Danger. 

Beatrice grabbed Lilith's wrist with one hand and pressed the other to Lilith's shoulder, fingers curling into her jacket to try and keep some distance between them. 

"You're seriously still going on dates? How the fuck could you do this to Ava?" Lilith demanded. 

Was Lilith the type to punch somebody in somewhere as public as a bar? 

If she thought that person had hurt Ava? Then yes. 

Because Lilith looked like she was about ten seconds from kicking Beatrice's ass. 

Considering Lilith didn't know what was going on, then yes, that was fair.

Oh God, they couldn't end up in jail. 

"Ava knows!" Beatrice said quickly. "I swear, Ava knows I'm here!" 

The men behind her had all stopped talking, even the bartender had stopped in his movements, now watching them carefully for signs of trouble. 

Lilith scoffed. "Don't play that card with me." 

"You can check my phone, I wouldn't lie. I especially wouldn't lie to Ava." Beatrice replied seriously. 

Lilith's grip only eased slightly. "Prove it." 

Beatrice dropped her hand from Lilith's shoulder and reached into her pocket to pull out her phone, only glancing away from Lilith for a moment so that she could unlock the device and pull up her texts. 

She shoved her phone into Lilith's chest. 

Lilith took it from her and glared at Beatrice again before looking down at the screen. 

Lilith frowned as her eyes moved across the screen and looked back at Beatrice. 

"This is an order for Chinese takeout." 

Beatrice sighed. "After that." 

Lilith looked down again and Beatrice watched as her brow furrowed. 

She let go of Beatrice's jacket and met her gaze once more, her expression more that of confusion and frustration than anything as she shoved Beatrice away from her. 

Well… It was better than anger, at least. 

"Okay, what the fuck?" Lilith asked. 

The two stared at each other for several moments before eventually, Beatrice found the courage to turn to the bartender who was still lingering nearby. 

"Can we get a round of whatever she's drinking, please?" 

He nodded quickly. "Coming right up." 

Beatrice allowed herself a moment to take a deep, steadying breath. 

Lilith had been ready to kill her. 

She probably still was, the night was still young. 

But she couldn't help but share in some of the confusion that Lilith was feeling. 

Beatrice turned back to Lilith. "I… I have a lot of questions." 

"Yeah. You and me both." Lilith replied, sliding Beatrice's phone back into her across the bar. "Ava seriously knows you're here?" 

"She helped me pick out my outfit yesterday." Beatrice said. "Ava has known about it since the day I agreed to this. I told her in the boardroom after the contract signing." 

Lilith sighed heavily, tilting her head back to look at the ceiling as she reached up to pinch the bridge of her nose. 

"Okay." Lilith let out a long breath. "Sit down." 

Beatrice raised an eyebrow as Lilith took her seat, finishing off her drink as the bartender set down two more. 

Lilith reached for the fresh drink and glared at Beatrice again. 

"Sit." 

"For the record, I'm sitting because I choose too." 

Lilith may be on the verge of knocking her out at any given moment, but Beatrice wasn't about to start taking orders. 

Beatrice didn't miss the way Lilith rolled her eyes as she took a seat on the stool beside her. 

"How do you know Mary?" Beatrice asked. "Actually, no. Lily? I definitely want to start with the Lily thing." 

Lilith pointed at her. "No. No, no. You're on thin fucking ice, I'm asking the questions." 

Okay yes, that was fair. 

"Fine." Beatrice replied, reaching for her glass and taking a sip. "Go ahead." 

She tried not to grimace. 

That was just neat vodka. 

Jesus Christ Lilith. 

"Let's start with, you're supposed to be into Ava, why the fuck did you say yes to a blind date if you are?" 

Beatrice turned her head to look at Lilith. "Me and Mary have been friends for a long time, she called in a favour that I owed and I felt obligated to honour that. I couldn't turn her down." 

"When did she ask you?" 

"Right before me and Camila walked into your building." Beatrice replied. "I made it clear that I had no interest in anything romantic developing from this. As soon as I had a moment alone with Ava I told her the situation." 

"How did Ava take it?" Lilith asked. 

"Justifiably disappointed at first… But I explained everything to her, that it was nothing more than me repaying a favour. That I was done with this whole dating mess. That when I want someone I only want them, Ava understood entirely." Beatrice watched the condensation forming around her glass and smiled to herself. "Ava is an incredible person, she has been so patient with me when she had every right to turn me down." 

Lilith took a sip of her own drink. "I'm not going to disagree with that." 

Ava had said there was probably going to be a shovel talk coming. 

Beatrice definitely didn't expect it to happen like this. 

"At the very least this explains why you haven't slept together yet." Lilith said after a few moments. 

"I wanted to wait until this date was over before anything happened between us, I didn't want this to be a distraction." Beatrice admitted, she felt her voice grow softer. "Ava deserves so much." 

Lilith swirled her glass, gaze focused on the liquid inside. "And you want to give that to her?" 

"If she'll allow it, yes." Beatrice replied quietly. 

Lilith groaned. "Oh God, you're a romantic. And a fucking respectful one at that." 

"I try to be." Beatrice said. "Respectful, that is. I'm not sure about the romantic part." 

"Considering I saw the way you and Ava were all over each other on the dance floor at the club, I wouldn't have guessed you were romantic either." Lilith said. "But… I saw how protective you were after she had the drink spilled over her. I also saw the hand holding this morning, and Ava certainly seems to think so after your little flower gesture."

Lilith's voice had gotten slightly softer, but Beatrice didn't dare to look at her for risk of pissing her off again. 

"I wanted to do something nice for her." Beatrice said. "I always want to do nice things for her."

Lilith downed her drink. "If you're going to keep talking like a lovesick fool then you're going to have to buy me another drink." 

"I'm only being honest." Beatrice replied, she held a hand up to wave down the bartender. "Can I ask you a question now?" 

The bartender approached them and Beatrice ordered another vodka for Lilith and a whiskey on the rocks for herself. 

"No." 

"But-" 

"Listen, you're not a fuckboy, good to know. Ava knows that you're here which… Weird, but reassuring." Lilith glanced at her from the corner of her eye. "I'm not letting you get off that easily though." 

Beatrice sighed, but offered the bartender a thankful smile as he set their drinks down. 

Her tab was going to be big tonight. 

"Fine." Beatrice pushed her vodka aside. "But I told Ava I'd aim to be back by eight, so please, get to it." 

Lilith sighed. "Of course you did." 

 

--

 

"Mother fucker." Ava groaned, throwing her head back against the sofa. "I hate this game." 

"Yeah, you're really not good at it." J.C. replied. "Another round?"

"...Yeah." 

"Nice. So things sound like they're progressing well with hot neighbour."

Ava reached for her soda as they waited for the game to reload, smiling to herself at the mere mention of Beatrice. 

"Yeah, she's got this date thing tonight but we have plans to go out on Saturday." 

"Sucks that her friend dropped this random date on her though. You guys could be hooking up by now."

Ava laughed loudly. 

She was glad that J.C. had been so understanding about the whole scenario, if not a little confused by it. 

"It'll be worth it." Ava said, shrugging even though she knew he couldn't see her. 

"Does Lilith know she's out on this date?" J.C. asked. 

The game began and Ava quickly made her character sprint off to try and find some weapons. 

"Nope. Didn't know how to tell her, she'd probably try to kill Bea." 

"Yeah, that tracks."

"I'll tell her though, probably tomorrow." 

"As long as you do. She's gonna kill you if you don't do it soon and I haven't got a decent suit for your funeral so you're not allowed to die now."

Ava laughed again. 

"Hey, do you know if Beatrice is into dungeons and dragons? Chanel has been talking about doing another campaign soon. We could do with the extra numbers."

"Oh I'll definitely ask her." Ava replied. "Fantasy role play flirting? Yes please." 

"Also please, I want to lift with her. We'd be such good gym buddies."

"Yeah, I'm still mad you got Bea's number before me." 

"Gotta make your move Ava." J.C. replied. "Speaking of."

Ava could only watch as her character was gunned down. 

"Desgraçado!" 

J.C. laughed in her ear. 

Oh, she was going to get him for that. 

 

--

 

"How long have you liked Ava?" 

Beatrice stared at the bottles that lined the wall ahead of her. 

Lilith's line of questioning could only lead to one point. 

…Here goes nothing. 

"She caught my attention from the moment she stepped out of that elevator." Beatrice replied. She reached up to trace her finger along the rim of her glass. "It didn't happen all at once, I can't pinpoint a singular moment because it has built with each interaction. Every look and touch, every conversation, I just… Felt myself becoming more and more drawn to her until it became almost painful." 

She glanced towards Lilith and met her curious gaze. 

"You know what I'm going to ask now, right? If you felt like that so early." 

Beatrice nodded. "Why I didn't do anything sooner?" 

"And why you went on all of those other blind dates." Lilith added. "I reluctantly have to believe you with this current situation, but what's the excuse for all of the others?" 

There it was. 

Beatrice sighed. "You're going to laugh at me." 

"Better than me punching you." 

That was true. 

Beatrice took a deep breath and averted her gaze. 

"I thought you and Ava were in a relationship." 

There was a painfully long pause. 

And then, Lilith snorted. 

The snort turned into full on laughter, to the point where Beatrice didn't know whether to glare or hide her face in her hands. 

"You're joking." 

Beatrice opted for glaring. 

"Oh my God you're not joking." Lilith said as she continued to laugh. "How? How could you think that me and Ava were dating?" 

Beatrice knew she had no right to, but she felt her defenses kick in all the same. 

"How do you find out that your date is going to be with a British lesbian called Beatrice who works in tech and not think to yourself, oh, that might be Beatrice Kline?" Beatrice asked sarcastically. 

Lilith genuinely had tears in her eyes, even as she stopped laughing and scowled at Beatrice. 

"One, this isn't about me. And two, Mary only said tech shit. You're a CEO." 

"Even so! How common is the name Beatrice? How many British lesbians called Beatrice are there in New York?" 

Lilith pointed at her accusingly. "What about you? Lilith. Lawyer. Did that not cause some dots to connect?" 

"She said your name was Lily. Lily!" Beatrice felt the need to stress that. "I've never heard Ava call you Lily. Lily is a soft name." 

"And I'm not soft?" 

"You almost got me in a choke hold when I walked in here." Beatrice pointed out. "Which again, don't blame you for. But I'm just saying." 

"Keep talking like that and I'll make good on that threat." 

"Do I get to ask why Mary calls you Lily then?" 

Lilith wiped away her tears and reached for her drink. "Not until you clear up just how exactly you thought me and Ava were dating, weirdo." 

Beatrice frowned at being called a weirdo, but relented after she let out a heavy sigh. 

"Ava is beautiful, you're… Attractive, I suppose. Not my type but I can't deny the appeal." 

"Well, fuck you very much." 

"You two look ideal together, you complimented each other well. The first time I saw you both you were so casually affectionate -" 

"Because we grew up together! We're sisters." 

"I know that now." Beatrice said. "But at the time I only saw two attractive people being extremely familiar together." 

"Again, sisters." 

"Again, didn't know." Beatrice shot back. 

"Surely Ava mentioned it." 

Beatrice shook her head. "Not once. She told me about how you'd known each other for years, how close you were. The business trips your fathers took and all the times spent alone in hotel rooms. Never once was the word sister used." 

Lilith sighed quietly. "For fucks sake, Ava." 

"Oh, Ava isn't the only guilty party here." Beatrice said. "You didn't help matters at all." 

For the briefest moment, Lilith looked like she was going to punch Beatrice again. 

"The fuck did I do?" Lilith asked, voice growing low and dangerous.

"You literally called her 'my Ava' the day we first spoke and said that you were protective of her." Beatrice replied. "The entire time outside of the Japanese restaurant? Every conversation with you was intimidating and I thought it was because you knew I was attracted to Ava and were… I don't know, staking your claim." 

"Oh my God." Lilith laughed. "I knew she liked you from day one, I was trying to be protective because -" 

"She's your sister." Beatrice interrupted. "Seriously, nobody says it for weeks, now nobody will bloody stop. Are you trying to get your money's worth or something?" 

"Did you not think to ask Ava about it?" 

"I tried to, once. It was after one of my dates. She was there with J.C. and Chanel, but when I looked over she had fallen asleep." Beatrice sighed. "It took so long to even do that, and I didn't have the confidence to try again. It started to hurt a lot, Lilith. To think about you two together." 

Lilith gasped suddenly. "Wait, fuck. Did you only agree to go on those blind dates because of this whole idea of me and Ava dating?" 

"...Yes."

"Oh my God you're an idiot." 

"I'm well aware." 

"Are you though?" 

Beatrice didn't even have it in her to glare back in response. 

"So that explains why you were hot and cold. You were drawn to her but what, felt guilty you were moving in on someone who you thought was taken?" 

Beatrice took a sip of her whiskey. "Yes."

"And then everything changed at the party. What happened to make the penny drop?" 

"Chanel." 

"Ah. Of course." Lilith nodded slowly. "She's good at spotting idiots." 

"Is that how you became her friend?" 

"Watch it." Lilith said, though there wasn't any real heat behind her tone. 

That was progress at least

"But yes, Chanel told me that you were sisters, and that Ava was single."

Lilith shook her head. "Jesus Christ, Beatrice." 

"I know." 

"And then the contract delayed things." 

"And then this date." Beatrice finished. "I think that just about brings us up to speed, yes?" 

"Hm. I suppose it does." Lilith agreed. She snorted again. "Idiot." 

"Okay -" 

"Noble and respectful, but still an idiot." 

"Are you done?" 

Lilith hummed thoughtfully. "For now." 

She finished her drink and beckoned the bartender over again. 

"Good, because now I have questions." 

"No, you don't." 

"Oh, I definitely do. I answered all of your questions, so I'm going to ask mine." Beatrice said firmly. 

She watched Lilith's jaw tense, and could see the protest building behind her eyes before Lilith finally sighed. 

"Fine." 

 

--

 

"Serious question, after you hook up with Beatrice, would it be weird if I asked you how I compared?" J.C. asked. 

"Maybe." Ava replied. "But when has weird ever stopped us?" 

"Good point."

They'd had their game paused for nearly half an hour, more focused on their conversation than actually playing. 

She checked the time on her phone, it was after seven. 

If Beatrice's night was going to plan, then she should be getting ready to leave in the next hour. 

It was hard for Ava to keep still. 

"If she's better than me, do you think she'd give me tips?"

"Oh my god, J.C. please. I haven't even slept with her yet and I know she'll be better" Ava laughed. "But maybe she'll give you tips? I mean, you were… fine, but -"

"Fine?" J.C. repeated. "You hesitated. Why did you hesitate?"

Oh. 

Oops. 

"Do you really want me to go there?" 

"Yes!"

"Remember that you are my friend and that I love you, but… I did fake it a few times." Ava admitted. "A lot of times… Okay, every time except one and honestly that was me doing all the work." 

J.C. was quiet for a few moments. 

"Aw shit. I'm sorry Ava."

"Hey, don't worry about it."

It was solid practice for her at least. 

"But this is all the more reason I need tips! I want to be better. My future partners deserve genuine and mind blowing orgasms."

That they did. 

"I'm sure we can put together a workshop or something." Ava replied. 

"Nice."

"But can we stop talking about Bea and sex? I'm already dying from waiting this long." 

J.C. laughed. "Wanna talk about what kind of character you want to play in the next campaign?"

"Oh shit, definitely. You totally robbed me of the chance to play as a rogue last time. I call dibs on that." 

"That's fine, I'm kinda feeling a druid this time around." 

"Dude, at a certain point druids are so broken." 

"Listen, I want to have animal friends and turn into a bear, sue me."

Yeah, there was no way that they were going to get back into the game now. 

 

--

 

"One, how do you know Mary? Two, explain the Lily thing." 

Lilith sighed dramatically. 

But this was good, this was progress. 

She was no longer looking at Beatrice like she was a moment away from throwing a drink in her face. 

"I started at Mary's gym a few months ago, I'd noticed her around but one day she offered to spot me when I decided to try lifting. We got to talking and well…"

Lilith trailed off, scowling at the bar. 

Mary had said she was down on her luck. 

That she was lovely. 

Beatrice had her light bulb moment. 

"You had a crush on Mary." Beatrice said softly, careful to keep any judgment from her tone. 

Lilith nodded slowly. "It turns out that she doesn't wear her wedding ring when she lifts. We only really talked about the gym, routines and work so Shannon didn't come up in conversation until just before Ava's party."

And Lilith was giving her a hard time for her own misunderstanding. 

Though in comparison, Lilith's probably was much smaller. 

"It was dumb. I should have known." Lilith sighed.

"How could you have known?" Beatrice asked. 

Lilith made a face. She definitely didn't seem to be the type to want sympathy. 

"Well, I definitely wouldn't ask you for advice. Especially in identifying potential romantic partners." 

Beatrice laughed and shook her head. "So, what about Lily?" 

"When I meet women sometimes, I tend to…" Lilith pinched the bridge of her nose. "I panic, okay? I introduce myself as Lily and I turn into a mess." 

What? 

"That's surprising. You seem so… Intimidating." 

"When it comes to work, I have to be. And the same applies to looking out for Ava." 

Beatrice was intrigued. She rested her chin on the palm of her hand. "And not when it comes to talking to people you find attractive." 

Did that mean she didn't have any interest in Camila? 

"I never know what to say, I freeze up and that can look like I'm just glaring." 

Fuck it. She may as well ask. 

"You seemed to get on well enough with Camila." Beatrice pointed out. 

"...Because she led the conversation, she had so much energy." 

Yes. 

Top energy. 

Oh. Oh shit. 

Was Lilith… 

"Do you like girls telling you what to do?" 

Lilith's gaze turned murderous in an instant. 

"I can break your nose in one punch." 

Beatrice held up both of her hands. "You'd get arrested." 

"I'm an extremely good lawyer." 

"Pretty sure you can't defend yourself in court." Beatrice pointed out. "...I am also going to take that as a yes, please remember that Camila is my best friend. I know her personality." 

Lilith narrowed her eyes and looked away. 

"Ava would be sad if I messed your face up. It's an annoyingly nice face." 

"Just to clarify though, Camila, yes? No?" 

"...She's very beautiful." 

That was a start. 

"Good to know." 

Camila and Lilith, there was definitely potential there. 

But Jesus, as enlightening as this conversation was, it just made Beatrice feel even stupider for thinking Ava and Lilith could have ever been together. 

As best friends and family? Perfect dynamics. 

But a relationship? God they'd be useless. 

Beatrice glanced at the clock behind the bar. 

Half past seven. 

Lilith must have caught her looking. 

"Beatrice." 

Beatrice turned to face her, watching as Lilith's expression grew serious again. 

Oh, big sister energy was back. 

"Are you serious about Ava?" 

Beatrice replied as soon as the words had left Lilith's mouth. "Yes." 

"Because if you hurt her, I will have to destroy your life and your career." 

"And I'm sure you'd do an excellent job at it." Beatrice replied. "And if such a thing were to happen, I wouldn't try to stop you." 

Lilith rolled her eyes. "Okay, reel it in Zuko. Honour is important to you, I get it."

...At least it was a change from being called Mr Darcy. 

"I have to ask…" Beatrice began hesitantly. "Your dislike of me, does that come solely from the fact that you thought I was mistreating Ava?" 

"Pretty much." Lilith replied. "I'm not saying that we're suddenly going to be best friends or even that I trust you yet but… This is a start." 

A small weight lifted from Beatrice's chest. 

She nodded and exhaled slowly. 

"Okay. Okay, that's good. Thank you." 

"We're definitely not done here, you know." 

"I know." Beatrice replied. 

"But I'm also conscious of the fact that if I drink any more I will end up with a hangover tomorrow and you have somewhere else to be." 

Ava. 

She had to be with Ava. 

Speaking of… 

"Lilith, you know I'm going to have to tell her all of this." Beatrice said. 

"I'd fucking hope so." 

"So I'm guessing she knows you're out on a date?" 

Lilith stared past Beatrice, eyes going wide for a moment. "Oh, shit." 

Oh shit? 

"She doesn't." Lilith continued. "I told her it was a meeting, I didn't want to get her hopes up when I knew this was a pity date Mary had arranged." 

"If you knew it was a pity date, why did you say yes?" Beatrice asked. 

"Because I thought it would be good practice for talking to Camila." 

"Oh. Fair." 

Lilith pinched the bridge of her nose and closed her eyes as Beatrice called the bartender over so that she could ask for the tab. 

They were both silent for long enough that when they did speak, they did so in almost perfect sync. 

"I can explain everything -

"I need to call her -" 

They both stopped to look at each other. 

"Sorry." Beatrice said. "What were you going to say?" 

"I need to call her." Lilith replied. "Before you get there. The day we met you she begged me not to sleep with you, this might cut too close to the nerve." 

Beatrice nodded in understanding. "I wouldn't take that from you. But I need to take ownership for all of the miscommunication." 

"Obviously." Lilith rolled her eyes. 

Beatrice paid for their tab, tip included and rose to stand. 

"In a way, I'm actually rather glad you ended up being my blind date. We really needed to have this talk." 

"We did." Lilith agreed. 

"And I'm very glad that you didn't break my nose or choke me out." 

Lilith snorted. "You're welcome." 

"But if we can agree on anything, can it be that Ava deserves to be happy?" 

Lilith's expression softened ever so slightly. "We can." 

"That, and the fact that Mary should never set anybody else up on a date for the rest of her life." 

"Definitely." Lilith laughed. She waved a hand dismissively. "Go, Kline. You have a lot of explaining to do." 

Beatrice took a moment to look at the girl sitting before her. 

It was hard to believe that a couple of hours ago, she had been ready to kill Beatrice. 

She was an amazing sister. 

"I'm picking up takeout on the way home. You have about forty five minutes to call her." 

"Go." Lilith urged. "Before I change my mind." 

Beatrice didn't need to be told again. 

 

--

 

As it got closer to eight, Ava (not so) reluctantly said goodnight to J.C. with the promise of keeping him posted with any developments with Beatrice. 

When her phone rang as Ava was getting a glass of water, she reached for it excitedly, entirely expecting to see Beatrice's name on her screen. 

So when she saw Lilith's name, Ava couldn't help but frown. 

Unexpected, but okay. 

"Hey Lilith." Ava greeted. "How was the meeting?" 

Lilith sighed. "It wasn't a meeting."

"I knew it!" Ava gasped. "Sexy meeting!" 

"Ava."

There was something in her tone that made Ava come to a stop as she made her way back towards her sofa. 

"Lilith…" Ava began apprehensively. "What is it?" 

"It was a date." Lilith said. "It was a blind date."

Ava laughed quietly. "Blind dates are terrible. Bea can tell you all about that. Who set you up on that?" 

There was a brief pause, but it went on long enough to edge on the side of unsettling. 

"A woman I go to the gym with. Mary. She set it up." 

Mary. 

Lily the lawyer. 

Oh no…  

Ava perched on the arm of the sofa. "Lilith…" 

"The date was with Beatrice."

Fuck.

Oh fuck. 

"Lilith, I can explain. Please tell me you didn't kick her ass or anything." 

"Relax, Ava. She's in one piece. I didn't hurt her." 

Small victory then. 

"I'm sensing a but." 

"Don't get me wrong, I nearly punched her when I saw her, but she told me you knew she was there, she showed me your texts."

"Good thing I texted her then." Ava said. 

"Her face no doubt thanks you." Lilith agreed. 

At least Ava could take comfort in knowing she didn't have to go and bail Lilith out of jail. 

Beatrice was already worried that Lilith didn't like her, Ava could only imagine what kind of fear she must have felt when she came face to face with Lilith. 

Poor Beatrice. 

"Is she okay?" Ava asked. 

"She's fine, Ava. We talked." Lilith replied. "We're not friends so don't get too excited, but we talked Ava. We just talked. You can breathe." 

Right. Breathing. 

Ava took a deep breath. "Okay." 

"I learned some things too."

"I… Are you allowed to tell me?" 

"Yes. The reason Beatrice didn't make a move on you sooner is because she thought we were dating."

"...We? As in… You and me?" 

"Yes."

Ava laughed. She laughed loudly. 

Oh, Beatrice. 

That beautiful fool. 

"Yeah, she explained it but I still don't get it either." Lilith sighed. 

Ava was definitely confused about how Beatrice could have thought that, and she had every intention of asking Beatrice about it as soon as she got here. 

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you she had the date." Ava said softly. "I didn't know how to explain it without you hating her more." 

Lilith sighed. "I don't hate her, Ava. I'm still on the fence, but it's definitely not hate."

Ava kicked her feet gently, letting them bump against the sofa as she processed this new information. 

"But if I've learned anything from tonight, it's that she's genuine. Beatrice isn't what I thought she was, she's respectful of you and loves her friends dearly. I saw the way she talked about you tonight."

"Is this the moment where you give me your blessing?" Ava asked. 

Lilith scoffed. "This isn't a Jane Austin novel, Ava."

She clearly hadn't seen Beatrice in full Mr Darcy mode then. 

"How did you not know it was Beatrice until you saw her?" Ava asked. "And why were you going on a blind date in the first place?" 

"Mary only told me that her name was Beatrice, that she was British and she worked in tech."

"...And that wasn't enough, how, exactly?" 

"Because I only know her as a CEO!" Lilith protested. "I didn't expect that someone would downplay their role."

Ava smiled to herself. "One of her blind dates only cared about the fact that she ran a company because it meant she had money. She didn't want someone to only be interested in her for that."

"There's that noble shit again."

"Yeah." Ava replied fondly. "But wait… Beatrice isn't exactly a common name. How many British lesbians called Beatrice do you think there are?" 

"Shut up."

Ava laughed. "At least Bea could justify not knowing it was you. Lily? Seriously?" 

"I'm going to hang up."

"Lilith, I'm fucking with you." Ava laughed. "But okay, you dodged my date question, answers please?" 

Ava didn't mention the fact that she knew the whole idea was essentially a pity date. 

"It's a long story, Ava. I'll give you the full details tomorrow but to give you the short of it? Mary was the girl at the gym I told you about. The one that I liked. Turns out that she's married." 

"Ah, so you had a little miscommunication of your own then?" 

"...Yes."

"You know that if you had told me about this date I would have pointed out the whole Beatrice thing?" 

"And if you had told me about Beatrice's date, I would have connected the dots too."

Ava stretched her legs out and got back to her feet. "Ah, touché." 

"You owe me coffee for the next month for this, you know?"

"Yeah… That's fair." 

The door knocked. 

Ava turned to look at it. 

"Lilith…" 

"I guess that's my time to say goodnight." Lilith said. "We'll catch up properly tomorrow, okay?"

Ava began to walk towards the door. "Oh, I don't doubt that. And Lilith?" 

"Yes?"

"Eu amo você." 

"Eu também te amo, Ava. Boa noite"

Ava's hand lingered on the door handle as she laughed. "Your accent is terrible. You sound like Google translate." 

"I'm hanging up."

"Bye Lilith." 

The line went dead and Ava spared herself a moment to smile at the screen before she shoved it into her hoodie and pulled the door open. 

Beatrice lifted her head the moment it opened, her posture was straight despite how much nervousness Ava could see in her eyes. 

The poor girl was clutching the bag of takeout like her life depended on it. 

"Hey. " Ava said softly. 

"Hi." Beatrice greeted. "Did Lilith call you?"

"She did. She told me." 

Beatrice let out a quiet sigh, some of the tension left her body. 

"Oh Bea…" Ava laughed quietly. 

She stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Beatrice's shoulders and pulled her closer. Beatrice melted into it, her head fit perfectly into the crook of Ava's neck as her free hand came up to clutch at Ava's back. 

They stayed like that for a few moments, just taking in each other's presence. 

The date being over meant so much, but at the same time it meant that there was a lot more left to talk about first. 

Beatrice thought Ava had been dating Lilith. 

Ava snorted. 

"So, on a scale of one to ten, how unprepared were you for that plot twist?" 

Beatrice drew back and sighed. "You'd be surprised at how many plot twists have been happening in my life lately." 

That felt like a massive understatement. 

"Come on." Ava encouraged gently. "Do you want a drink? Wine?" 

"I've… Drank a lot of whiskey tonight, I should probably give the wine a miss." 

"Glass of water and a whiskey for you then." Ava said. 

"Ava, I'm so sorry." Beatrice said, following Ava into the apartment. 

"What for?" Ava asked. 

"I had no idea it was going to be Lilith. I wouldn't have gone had I known -" 

"I know." Ava replied. "Lilith wouldn't have either." 

Beatrice set the bag down on the counter and frowned. 

Ava grabbed the glasses from the cabinet and set them down, pausing to focus on Beatrice for a moment. 

"Bea, I'm not mad." Ava said. "Little confused, yeah, but mad? No." 

"Really?" Beatrice asked. 

"Bea, this is literally the biggest miscommunication possible. You didn't know it was going to be Lilith, Lilith didn't know it was you." Ava said, she shrugged. "...Even though I maintain the fact that the odds of there being multiple British lesbians called Beatrice living in New York are super slim. "

The corner of Beatrice's mouth quirked up into the smallest smile. 

Ava grinned. "Now, the whole you thinking me and Lilith were dating? That's a whole subject I definitely want to get into." 

Sometimes, Ava had noticed that the tips of Beatrice's ears turn red. It was the cutest trait. 

But this time, her entire cheeks flushed. 

Ava wanted to hug her again. 

"...That really is a… A whole thing. "

Ava smiled reassuringly. "Then we should probably get comfortable, are you up for talking about it? Are you sober enough?" 

Beatrice's entire posture shifted as the tension left her completely, her eyes grew soft as she looked at Ava. 

"I am." 

"Are you sure?" Ava asked. "I don't want you to feel pressured into anything, I totally get it. Tonight was probably a lot."

"It was." Beatrice agreed. "But that doesn't mean that I'm not going to stop now. I knew I needed to tell you about my… My misunderstanding, and I knew that I was going to do that after this date, everything that happened tonight just kind of brought it forward to now." 

Ava smiled. "Okay then. Well, we're gonna need to eat too. I say fuck the plates let's just eat out of the containers. You wanna take them to the sofa and I'll bring the drinks over?"

Beatrice nodded, though instead of picking up the bag, she walked around the counter to stand at Ava's side. 

She leaned in to kiss Ava's temple, only fleeting but it didn't lack in emotion. 

Ava could feel the fondness, the silent thank you beneath it all. 

Beatrice didn't need to say it, but she did all the same. 

"Thank you, Ava." 

Ava smiled back. "Go, get comfortable." 

 

--

 

Ava was sweating. 

"Holy shit." She whispered. "This is so much hotter than I thought it was going to be." 

Beatrice couldn't help but laugh. "Spicy was quite literally in the name." 

"I like spicy. Trust me, spicy is good." Ava said, somehow still finding the strength to wink suggestively at her. "But this is painful." 

She set her box of chicken aside and reached for her shrimp fried rice instead, humming happily as she took a bite of it. 

"Better?" Beatrice asked. 

"Much. Is yours good?" 

"Yes, thank you." 

Ava smiled at her and resumed eating. 

They'd fallen into a bit of a lull since sitting down, though Beatrice knew Ava was doing it to give Beatrice the time she needed to organise her thoughts better. 

She should have known Ava wouldn't be mad at the whole scenario, but it was still somewhat surprising all the same. 

Ava truly was something else. 

Beatrice reached for her glass of water and took a sip from it, finally ready to broach the subject. 

"I didn't know the nature of your relationship with Lilith until your party." Beatrice said. "It was Chanel who told me you were sisters." 

Ava chewed thoughtfully as she lowered the box of rice into her lap. 

"There were moments, the way you two interacted with each other, the way you talked about each other and how Lilith interacted with me. Lots of little things that to me, I interpreted as a romantic relationship."

Ava's eyes were understanding, if not a little confused.

"Why didn't you ask?" 

Her voice was so soft. 

Beatrice looked down at her hands. 

"I tried to, once. Right here, after the diner. I asked you what it was about her, why you were with her." Beatrice said, her voice painfully quiet. "When I looked over, you had fallen asleep. It had taken me so long to work up the courage to ask that I didn't dare to ask again." 

"Oh." Ava replied, there was a small quirk to her lips though. "Sorry. Lots of alcohol that night." 

"It's okay, Ava." 

"Is that why you were giving off mixed signals?" Ava asked. "Why there were moments moments where it felt like something was about to happen and then like there was a whole bridge between us?" 

"I wanted you, and at the time I thought I couldn't, and it was killing me." 

"And all of the blind dates…" 

"A distraction, from you." 

Ava set her food down onto the coffee table and shifted across the sofa until her knees were pressed into Beatrice's thigh. 

"But… Melanie? You ended that date before you knew. You liked that date." 

"I did." Beatrice replied. "She kissed me that night." 

Ava didn't look surprised, or even disappointed. She just nodded and took another bite of her fried rice as she waited for Beatrice to continue. 

Beatrice signed. "But she wasn't you, Ava. And that was all I could think about. I knew that I couldn't keep going on those dates when none of them interested me the way you do."

It was only a few days ago, Beatrice knew that. But with the way that things just continued to happen, it felt like a short eternity. 

"I was prepared to close myself off, to take the time to move on from how I felt because I wanted to still be your friend in some capacity. I needed to move on so that I could be a better person to you."

"And then the party." Ava said. 

"And Chanel cleared everything up. She told me you and Lilith were sisters. That you hadn't dated since J.C. and in a moment, everything changed." 

Ava smiled. "That explains so much." 

"I should have told you sooner. But… Honestly? It was so embarrassing." 

"I get that." Ava nodded. "Don't be embarrassed though Bea." 

"Lilith laughed a lot when I told her." 

"Yeah, full disclosure, I really want to laugh too. It's a full comedy of errors situation." 

"I don't blame you." Beatrice replied. "I'll probably laugh too, once I move past being utterly mortified." 

Ava leaned forward, wrapping one arm around Beatrice's neck to hug her into her chest, resting her chin on top of Beatrice's head. 

Beatrice reached up to hold onto Ava's arm and closed her eyes. 

"I understand, I understand why you feel like that and I know it'll take some time to move past it, but it's okay, Bea." 

Beatrice stroked her hand along Ava's arm and sighed. "You're wonderful." 

"And you're incredible." Ava replied. "Even if you grabbed a very weird end of the wrong stick." 

Beatrice couldn't help but laugh, holding onto Ava's arm tighter. "You're not going to let me forget about this are you?" 

"I do fully intend on teasing you about it for as long as we know each other." Ava agreed. 

For as long as they knew each other. 

Those were some big words. 

Beatrice smiled. "I wouldn't have it any other way." 

"Good." Ava dropped a kiss on the top of Beatrice's head and drew back, flopping dramatically back onto her side of the sofa. "Now, let's hear all of the chaos of this date with Lilith." 

Beatrice could only laugh more. 

She had never felt lighter. 

 

--

 

Nothing happened. 

Well, not nothing. 

There was some very sweet hand holding. 

But the night mostly became about talking. 

It became about giving them both the time to process the chaos that had been their lives over the last few weeks, the unmistakable humour that came from such a simple misunderstanding. 

Beatrice's date with Lilith was the cherry on top. 

And as Beatrice explained the last few hours, it was reassuring to hear the relief in Beatrice's voice. To know that her and Lilith had cleared the air, the slate almost wiped clean.

Tonight marked a new beginning for them.

No. 

Not new.

New implied leaving the past behind. 

Ava smiled at Beatrice, the gesture didn't go unnoticed by the girl opposite her. 

"What?" Beatrice asked, smiling back. 

"Do you know what happens when one chapter ends?" Ava asked. 

Beatrice's brow furrowed, a tiny flicker of worry sparked in her eyes. 

Ava reached for her hand again, threading their fingers together. 

"The next one starts, Bea." Ava said softly. "You don't forget what came before and you keep reading on." 

The worry was gone immediately, relief taking its place. 

"Tomorrow is a new chapter, if you want it to be." 

Beatrice nodded, slowly at first but then faster as a sound of genuine happiness spilled from her lips. 

"Yes. Yes, definitely." 

Ava pulled on Beatrice's hand until she got the hint and lifted her other arm so that Beatrice could fall into her. 

Beatrice hugged her back, arm curling around her neck as she sighed against her. 

Cuddling on the sofa, a step above emotional hand holding. 

But oh, what a feeling it was. 

"I could throw in a line about the sun bringing about a new day, but I think we've reached our capacity for inspiring one liners." Ava said. 

Beatrice pulled back and laughed, reaching up to brush her fingers across Ava's cheek. 

"Perhaps. But I think you were right about tonight." 

"Yeah?" 

"Yes. Which means, regretfully, I should go." 

Oh. 

"But -" 

Beatrice's palm flattened against Ava's cheek. "Because that means tomorrow will come." 

Ava exhaled and smiled. 

Beatrice definitely had a point. 

Sleeping meant tomorrow would happen. 

Tomorrow meant they were closer to Saturday. 

Saturday meant… 

"I can't wait to kick your ass at bowling." Ava said. 

Beatrice smirked. "In your dreams, Ava Silva." 

"Oh no. My dreams are best spent enjoying other activities." 

"Is that so?" Beatrice asked. "You'll have to tell me about these dreams one day." 

"I'd much rather just show you." Ava replied. 

Beatrice dropped her head to laugh. "All in good time." 

She drew back and climbed off of the sofa, though she didn't let go of Ava's hand. 

Beatrice knew that Ava was going to follow her up regardless. 

They walked hand in hand towards the door, Ava opened it while Beatrice pulled her jacket from the hook. 

"You good though Bea?" Ava asked. "Before we say goodnight? I need to know that you're okay." 

Beatrice smiled. "I'm okay. Thank you, for tonight, for understanding… For everything." 

"Anytime, Bea." 

Beatrice stepped into the hallway, lifting Ava's hand up to her lips to kiss the back of it softly. 

"I'll see you tomorrow?" Beatrice asked. 

"Absolutely." 

Their eyes met and Ava felt the heat begin to build in her chest again. 

It was the feeling of possibilities. 

"Goodnight, Ava." 

"Boa noite, minha querida." 

And there were the pink ears again. 

Ava grinned as Beatrice released her hand so that she could take a few steps back until she reached her door. 

She closed the door, letting the lock click into place. 

Ava turned to press her back to the door and laughed, wiggling excitedly. 

She wasn't sure how she was going to sleep tonight. 

 


 

It felt like Camila had been laughing for almost ten minutes. 

Which, considering that Camila already knew about the sibling debacle, that truly was saying something. 

…They'd only been at work for fifteen minutes. 

"Oh my god." Camila gasped, clutching her side. "This might actually be what kills me." 

"Good." Beatrice pouted. 

It only made Camila laugh harder. 

"What are the odds?" 

"Slim, but clearly not impossible." Beatrice replied. 

She clicked aimlessly through her emails, marking the ones that would need her attention today as she did so. 

"Did you fear for your life?" 

"Yes. She almost had me in a choke hold, Cam." 

Camila snorted again. "At least everything is out in the open though." 

"That's true." Beatrice agreed. "Ava was, as usual, extremely understanding." 

"So your bowling date is still on?" 

"Yes." 

"Good." 

Beatrice contemplated what Lilith had told her about Camila, and Camila's initial reaction to learning it had been Lilith she had met with. 

She hadn't seemed too put off by it all, but Beatrice still felt the need to give her an encouraging nudge in the right direction all the same. 

"Lilith agreed to go on the date as practice, you know." Beatrice said. "Take that as you will." 

Camila grinned. "Oh don't worry about me Bea, I'm not going to dance around like you have." 

Oh god. 

Going in for the kill then. 

"Duly noted." 

Beatrice had been waiting for her phone to ring, but even for Mary, it was surprisingly early. 

So Beatrice was caught a little off guard by her phone vibrating against her desk. 

Camila's laughter stopped as her gaze landed on the phone. 

"No time like the present I suppose." Beatrice said, reaching for the phone and lifting it to her ear. "Good morning." 

"You've got some explaining to do." Mary said dryly. 

"I'm not entirely sure our phone batteries would survive the endeavor." 

"Don't be a smart ass."

"I'm guessing you've already spoken to Lilith then?" 

"Yep. Jesus Beatrice, why didn't you tell me there was another girl?"

Beatrice sighed. "Because I didn't know that I could have been with her." 

"Yeah yeah, I get that for all the other ones, I mean the date with Lily."

"It's really confusing for me to hear you call her that, you know." 

"Well that's how I feel hearing you call her Lilith, I've only ever known her as Lily."

Beatrice reached for her coffee and took a sip. "As I said, this was going to be a long story." 

"Why did you say yes to this date if you were going to make a move on another girl?"

"...Because you called in a favour, I owed you a debt." 

"And a Lannister always pays their debt."

Beatrice scowled. "Of all of the pop culture references you know, that's one of them? I'm disappointed, Mary." 

"Shut up." Mary laughed. "Seriously, you should have said. If not for your own sake then for the fact I'd still have a favour to cash in."

"Well, now we're even and everything is okay." Beatrice replied. 

"I mean, I still have a shit load of questions. Namely about this mystery girl, Ava."

"And I'll tell you." Beatrice promised. "But that is definitely a talk better saved for in person." 

"I'm going to hold you to that Beatrice."

"I'm a woman of my word."

"Good. I'll see you later then."

Beatrice sat up suddenly. "Wait, what?" 

The line went dead. 

"...Well shit." 

Camila groaned. "Please don't tell me there's another obstacle stopping you from railing Ava. I honestly don't think I can handle any more of this." 

Beatrice looked from her phone to Camila. 

"You don't think you can handle it?" Beatrice asked. "Camila, Ava described my life over the last few weeks as a comedy of errors. I feel like I've been trapped in a nineties romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant." 

"You'd make an excellent nineties Hugh Grant." Camila said seriously. 

"Oh please, Ava is the puppy eyed clumsy one. I'd be much more suited as Andie MacDowell or Julia Roberts."

Camila eyed her for several moments before relenting with a nod. "Okay, sure. Do I get to be Emma Chambers in this scenario?" 

"...And we're getting off track. My point is, however much this has been torment for you, imagine how it feels for me." 

"Yeah, I'm starting to think that if Ava held your hand in a specific way, it'd make you come." 

Beatrice stared down at her desk, completely thrown by Camila's statement. 

"Okay. I'm going to get coffee." 

"You… You already have coffee." 

"And I'm going to need so much more." 

Camila laughed again, the sound followed Beatrice out of the office. 

 

--

 

Ava set the coffee down beside Lilith. 

"One down, twenty nine to go." Ava announced. 

Lilith eyed it for a moment before picking it up. "It's a start. Sit down." 

"Well now you sound like my high school head mistress." Ava replied. "You're just missing the habit." 

"You don't seem down in the dumps, so it's safe to assume that things didn't end disastrously with Beatrice." Lilith said. "But you're also not walking around like you're in a musical so it's also safe to assume you didn't sleep with her." 

"Putting that law degree to good use there Lilith." Ava replied, she placed a hand over her heart. "I swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth." 

Lilith sighed. "You know… No, never mind. I'm not even going to entertain that." 

"Probably for the best." 

"But things are okay?" Lilith asked. 

Ava sat down and promptly kicked her feet up onto Lilith's desk. "Yeah, solid. We talked it out, Bea told me the whole thing. Everything is good. Probably could have done without you grappling her though." 

"You're both lucky that was all I did." Lilith reminded her. "I was ready to punch her out." 

Even knowing that Beatrice was more than capable of defending herself, Ava could assume that had Lilith punched her, Beatrice wouldn't have stopped her or fought back. 

"Well I'm glad you didn't. That would be a hell of a way to end up in jail and you know, risk your reputation." 

Lilith's gaze was serious as she stared at Ava. "You'll always be more important to me than my reputation. You come first, Ava." 

Heartwarming and caring Lilith. 

Rare, but always a pleasure to see. 

Ava smiled. 

Time to ruin it. 

"Speaking of me coming first -" 

"Don't." 

"How does it feel to know that you were the physical representation of a cockblock in my life?" Ava asked. 

Lilith scowled. "You just couldn't resist, could you?" 

"It would have caused me great emotional turmoil had I not said it, yes." Ava nodded. 

Lilith sipped at her coffee. "Cockblock really isn't a good term."

"As in…  The term itself or you don't think that was what had inadvertently been happening?" 

"Oh no, I take full ownership for my part in this whole fiasco. I meant the term." 

"Brainstorm time. Clitblock?" Ava grinned. 

Lilith sighed heavily, but after a few moments, smirked back. "Twat swat." 

"Ew." 

"...Yes that didn't feel good to say." 

"Clitoference?" Ava suggested. 

Lilith pointed at her. "Better. Scissorception?" 

"Makes me think of the scissor sisters. Vajected?" 

Lilith nodded seriously. "Vajected. That's the one." 

Ava grinned and held her hand up, after a moment of hesitation, Lilith raised her own hand to meet the high five. 

"I'm so glad we get paid to do shit like this." 

"America's tax dollars hard at work." Lilith replied. "Now that we've gotten that part out of the way, can we try to stay on track?" 

"You didn't answer my question." Ava pointed out. 

Lilith sighed. "I can see how Beatrice could interpret my behaviour incorrectly." 

"Close enough." 

"You should really buy Channel a gift. Without her, God knows where you'd both be." Lilith said. 

Ava laughed. "Oh I know. That girl is going to get so many things." 

"Have you spoken to Beatrice this morning?" Lilith asked. 

"Nah. I'll definitely see her after work though." Ava replied. She let her expression grow softer as she looked at Lilith. "Why didn't you tell me you were going on a date?" 

Lilith pretended to look at something on her laptop and sighed. "Because it was embarrassing." 

"Going on a blind date is embarrassing?" 

"...Not just that." Lilith said. "Do you know why Mary set me up?" 

Ava remained silent. 

"Because she felt sorry for me, Ava. She was the one I talked about, from the gym. I liked her and she's married." Lilith sighed. "She wanted to help get me back out there with this whole date." 

"Well, are you over her at least?" 

"Getting there." Lilith replied. 

"Good. Does that mean you're going to go out with Camila?" 

Lilith raised an eyebrow. "Rushing things a bit, aren't you?" 

"You're both hot, definitely into each other and have zero things holding you back." Ava shrugged. "Why waste time?" 

"...There may be merit in that." Lilith said. "I'll consider it." 

"Oh, double dates?" 

Lilith scowled. "Slow down, road runner." 

"Bit of a niche reference, but I'll allow it." 

"Lucky me." 

Lilith must have reached her capacity for talking about her own feelings, because she typed a few things into her laptop. 

"How would you like to run an errand for me?" Lilith asked. 

"Is this you deflecting your feelings now?" 

"Yes. But I promise it'll be worth your while." 

Ava got to her feet. "I'm down." 

"Good." 

Ava walked around to stand beside Lilith's seat. "You're okay though?" 

"Yes Ava. I promise." Lilith sighed. "And for what it's worth, you and Beatrice? Perfect for each other." 

"Um -" 

"She's dumb. Just like you." Lilith said, her voice light and teasing. 

There was the Lilith that she loved so dearly. 

"Hey! Don't call her dumb, miss I went on a date with a British lesbian called Beatrice and didn't realise it was my best friend's neighbour." 

"That would be a terrible name. It'd never fit on my driver's licence." 

Ava barrelled on regardless of Lilith's words. "The neighbour you know your best friend is falling in love with!" 

Ava froze. 

Oh. 

Oh fuck. 

Did she really just say that? 

Lilith stared at her for a moment before looking down at her laptop. 

The silence stretched on as she turned her focus ahead and reached for her coffee, the only sound was of her taking a long, drawn out sip. 

She set the coffee down and cleared her throat before she turned her attention back to Ava. 

The whole thing only took a few seconds, but to Ava, it felt like a short eternity. 

"I'm sorry, what was that?" Lilith asked. 

Ava looked down, focusing on the tiny speck of dirt that stained her shoes. 

"Nothing." 

Holy shit. 

Oh fucking holy mother of God almighty. 

Ground, swallow her whole. 

"Ava." Lilith said softly, pushing her seat out so that she could stand up. "You're an idiot. These last few weeks have been amongst the most ridiculous things I have ever experienced." 

She pulled Ava into a hug, head resting firmly on top of Ava's head. 

"But I love you, and all I want is for you to be happy. She makes you happy and now that I've had the time to talk to her properly? To see the way she looks when she talks about you? That's enough for me." 

Ava closed her eyes and pressed her forehead to Lilith's shoulder. 

"So. Go and do my errand."

Ava pulled her head back. "Wait what?" 

Lilith reached up to flick Ava's forehead. "Trust me nerd." 

Ava was definitely going to go and have a happy cry as soon as she was outside this building. 

And she was definitely going to have to process that little revelation at some point too. 

It wasn't as scary as she had thought it would be. 

Being in love with Beatrice?

What a chapter that would be. 

 

--

 

Beatrice took her time walking up the stairs back up to their office, the tray containing hers and Camila's coffees balanced in her right hand. 

"Hi Bea!" Camila called the moment Beatrice set one foot into the office. 

Her smile was huge, eyes bright. 

Suspicious. 

"...Camila." Beatrice greeted apprehensively. 

"We have a visitor." Camila said. 

Oh fuck. Mary? 

Beatrice saw movement from the corner of her and looked over to her desk as her chair turned slowly. 

It was Ava, sitting there as though she owned the place, grinning as her eyes met Beatrice's. 

So much better. 

"Hi! I'm the visitor." Ava beamed. 

Her voice was so light it felt like a melody and despite her confusion at why exactly Ava was here, Beatrice felt herself smiling back. 

"Ava. Hello." Beatrice glanced down at the coffees in her hand and back up to Ava. "You should have said you were coming, I would have gotten you a coffee." 

Ava tilted her head to the side, obviously amused. "Well then it wouldn't have been a surprise, would it?" 

Camila rested her chin in the palm of her hand and watched on silently. 

Beatrice walked towards Ava, aware enough of her movements to set Camila's coffee down in front of her before she reached Ava. 

Ava craned her neck to maintain eye contact. 

Beatrice set her coffee down and leaned her hip against the desk. 

"To what do I owe this genuine pleasure?" Beatrice asked softly. 

Ava smirked and swivelled from side to side in Beatrice's chair.

"Lilith sent me to drop off that." She's pointed at a single large envelope on the edge of Camila's desk. "Just some paperwork." 

Beatrice couldn't think of what kind of paperwork it could be. Everything had already been dealt with and if there had been any issues, Lilith would have contacted Beatrice directly.

She was hardly going to complain though, not when it brought Ava directly to her like this. 

Beatrice hummed. "Lucky me." 

"Yeah, you are." Ava grinned up at her. 

God, she looked so happy to be there with Beatrice. 

And she had zero reservations about making herself at home at Beatrice's desk. 

Beatrice could only smile back fondly. 

"So this is where the magic happens?" Ava asked, she did a full spin in Beatrice's seat as an excuse to look around the office. "I like it." 

"I wouldn't say magic." Beatrice laughed. "But yes." 

"What would you describe as magic then?" 

Beatrice brought her hand down to curl around the back of her seat, stopping Ava in her movements. 

Ava jerked slightly as she came to a sudden stop, still grinning as she met Beatrice's gaze. 

This girl… There was just something about her that made it so easy for Beatrice to talk to her, to just be herself. 

An openly flirty version of herself, but that was just the Ava effect apparently. 

"Why describe it?" Beatrice wondered. She braced her other hand against her desk and leaned down into Ava's space until their faces were level. Ava's grin only widened. "When I could show you what true magic feels like?" 

Ava tilted her head slightly, gaze flickering between her eyes and lips. 

"Is that right?" Ava asked. 

Beatrice smiled. "Have I ever given you reason to doubt?" 

Ava made a point of looking thoughtful and tapping a finger against her lips, Beatrice didn't hide that she was watching each moment with interest. 

"I don't know…" Ava hummed. "No, but you haven't really given me a reason to assume you can show me magic, have you?" 

Her gaze was playful, clearly trying to get a rise out of Beatrice. 

It was working. 

"We should fix that. Shouldn't we?" Beatrice asked softly. 

The gasp that followed came from neither of them. 

Beatrice and Ava were in perfect synchronisation as they both looked to the side, gazes falling on Camila. 

Camila, who was watching them with her chin resting against both palms. 

She didn't even look embarrassed at getting caught watching them. Typical Camila. 

Even now, Camila held Beatrice's eyes as her grin grew. 

Even as Beatrice continued to stare, hoping her friend would understand everything that Beatrice was trying to say, she heard Ava laugh quietly beside her. 

Another moment passed and Beatrice felt Ava's hand rest against the inside of her wrist. 

It took all of her self control not to close her eyes and melt into it. 

Camila grabbed her coffee and got to her feet. "I'm gonna go. I don't have an excuse as to where but… Yeah, going." 

They watched Camila make her way towards the door and as she pulled it open, turned back to them. 

"Bye Ava!" Camila sing songed. "Bea, try not to break your desk. It was expensive." 

Beatrice felt Ava's head tip forward to press against Beatrice's arm as she laughed, but Beatrice was more focused on glaring at Camila. 

She definitely wasn't going to let herself think about Ava sitting on her desk, or how she'd fit between her legs. 

Oh God, or maybe Ava in her lap as Beatrice sat in the chair. 

…Dammit Camila. 

Beatrice didn't turn her focus back to Ava until the door had closed, bringing a tentative hand up to rest against Ava's back. 

"She's great." Ava said, drawing back after a few moments. 

"I think you two would have a lot in common, though I know Camila prefers to play video games on her PC." 

Ava's eyes lit up at that. "Definitely coming back to that later." 

"But?" Beatrice prompted gently. 

"I wouldn't say no." Ava said, she turned her head to eye Beatrice's desk. "Expensive usually means sturdy right?" 

Her tone was light enough for Beatrice to know that Ava was joking. 

For the most part anyway. 

"Usually." Beatrice agreed, waiting until Ava looked back towards her, a small smirk pulling at the corner of her lips. "But I think that in our situation, it wouldn't suit our needs." 

Ava pouted, leaning back in the seat once more as her fingers continued to press into the inside of Beatrice's wrist. 

"Why not?" 

Beatrice smiled. "Because, while it would be intense and passionate, it would also feel rushed and that… that simply wouldn't do." 

Ava didn't reply, though Beatrice felt the fingers against her wrist drift downwards to brush along the back of her hand. 

There was something about this type of touch that never failed to catch Beatrice off guard with its gentle intimacy. 

Before Ava, she never would have considered the amount of feelings that could be drawn from touching the inside of one's wrist or the back of a hand. 

Always learning. 

Even now, Beatrice found it difficult to keep her focus on her train of thought. 

"The walls are thin here, Ava. And while I am sure it'd be a delight to see you trying to be quiet…" Beatrice leaned down until her forehead almost pressed against Ava's. "I would much rather hear all of the pretty sounds you can make." 

"Oh. Oh shit." Ava whispered, drawing in a sharp breath as she stared at Beatrice. "That… That's valid." 

Beatrice smiled. "Are things okay with Lilith?" 

"Oh, talk about a one eighty." Ava said with a pout. 

"Sorry, I had to ask." 

And get things relatively back on track. 

"Things are fine." Ava replied. "She did have the gall to say you were dumb but I pointed out her whole mistake of fully going into that date knowing you were called Beatrice and not connecting the dots." 

Beatrice drew back and turned to lean against her desk. "She's not wrong in her assessment of me." 

"You're not dumb, Bea." Ava said softly. 

"It's comforting of you to say that." Beatrice replied. "But even now, I look back on those moments and wonder how I could have made such a mistake." 

"I'm sure it happens to people all the time, Bea." Ava said reassuringly, though even as she said the words, the smile was hard to miss. 

"Really?" Beatrice asked. 

"No." Ava laughed. "This has never happened to anyone else ever." 

Beatrice rolled her eyes at Ava's clear amusement. 

"It's reassuring you can still find the humour in this." 

"It's what I do best." Ava shrugged. "Do you want your seat back?" 

"Not at all." Beatrice replied. "Hold on." 

She made her way over to Camila's desk and grabbed her chair, dragging it back over to Ava before sitting down in front of her. 

Ava grinned at her before glancing around the office once more. 

"This is a cool place." Ava said. She rolled closer until she could lift her legs onto Beatrice's lap. 

Ava really seemed to enjoy having some form of contact. 

Beatrice was surprised at how much she enjoyed it too. 

"Do you want a tour?" Beatrice asked. "Though I should warn you there isn't much to see." 

It certainly wasn't as flashy as Lilith's building, that was for sure. 

One day, maybe. 

"I'd love a tour." Ava replied. "And seeing what you actually do." 

"Really?" 

Beatrice couldn't remember the last time someone was genuinely interested in seeing her work. 

"Well yeah, why wouldn't I?" 

"I just… I didn't think you'd find it interesting." Beatrice said. 

"Your work is a part of you, and I find you interesting so…" Ava shrugged as if it was the easiest conclusion. "Yeah. I wanna see what you do." 

It was such a simple thing to say, but it meant the world to Beatrice. 

She didn't even look away from Ava when she heard her phone begin to vibrate against her desk. 

Ava didn't look away either. 

"Do you need to get that?" Ava asked. 

"They can wait." Beatrice replied. 

If it was important, they'd leave a message or call Camila. 

Ava smiled, almost apologetically. "I will have to take a raincheck on the tour though, Fridays are generally a busy one. It's a miracle that Lilith let me leave for this long." 

Beatrice knew that she was right, but it was still hard to hide her disappointment. 

"I have to say, it was unexpected, but you have made my day by coming by." Beatrice said. "Thank you, Ava." 

"The feeling is mutual." Ava replied. She pulled her legs from Beatrice's lap and got to her feet. "I just wish it could have been longer." 

Beatrice got up too. "Next time? You're always welcome." 

"I'm going to hold you to that." Ava smiled. She took a step closer to press her lips to Beatrice's cheek. 

Beatrice closed her eyes for a few moments and felt herself smile too. 

"You wanna come by tonight?" Ava asked when she pulled back. 

Beatrice didn't even care what Ava was offering. Any reason to be around her was more than enough. 

"Yes, definitely." Beatrice said. "Do you want me to call you when I'm on my way home or just turn up?" 

"Just turn up, I'll be there." 

Beatrice nodded. "I will." 

"Awesome. I'll see you later then." 

Ava walked around Beatrice towards the door. 

"Do you want me to walk you down?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava lingered by the door for a moment and laughed, dropping her head to look at the floor for a few moments before she finally met Beatrice's gaze again. 

"Honestly? If you did that, it'd make leaving much harder." 

God, Ava was so much. 

"If we're being honest, I don't want you to leave either." Beatrice admitted. "Even though I know that if either of us are to stand a chance of getting any work done for the rest of the day then you need to." 

Ava's gaze was soft as she opened the door. "I know. I'll see you tonight?" 

"Yes. Goodbye, Ava."

"Bye Bea." Ava stepped out of the room and laughed at something just outside of Beatrice's line of vision. "See ya Cam." 

"Bye Ava!" Camila called, waiting until Ava had taken a few steps away before slipping back into the room. 

"Were you just… out there the whole time?" Beatrice asked. 

Camila nodded, not bothering to look up from her phone as she typed away. "I didn't know how long you'd be, I went to the bathroom and everything but then Mary called."

Ah. 

"Is it safe for me to assume that Mary tried to call me first?" 

"Yep." Camila laughed. She walked further into the room until she could drop back into her seat. "She's coming over once she's picked Shannon up from work." 

"...When I said it was a talk better suited for in person, I didn't mean today." Beatrice sighed. 

She turned to lean against her desk, folding her arms across her chest. 

It was fine though, so long as they didn't stick around for too long. 

"Did Mary say whether she had any plans in mind?" Beatrice asked. "Only I've told Ava I'll see her tonight and I would like to avoid keeping her waiting." 

"She didn't say anything." Camila shrugged. "Don't worry Bea, we won't keep you from your girl." 

"You said that with an awful lot of conviction." 

"Yeah well, I'm directly intervening with the universe now." Camila declared. "No longer will your cock be blocked." 

Beatrice frowned. "You're blocking the block?" 

"May as well call me a wall." Camila shrugged. 

It was very on brand for Camila, but it was still touching all the same. 

"So, what's in the envelope?" Camila asked. 

"Good question." Beatrice replied. 

She picked it up from her desk and opened it, pulling out the single sheet of paper within as Camila got up to join Beatrice at her side. 

As they both read it, Camila threw her head back as she laughed. 

Three words, written in a neat script that could only belong to Lilith. 

Kline. You're welcome.

"Wow." Camila laughed. "So she really sent Ava all this way just so you could see her for a bit?" 

Beatrice stared at the paper for a few more moments before she set it aside. 

"It would appear so." 

It was a nice, if not peculiar gesture. 

"Camila." 

"Yeah?" 

"You like Lilith right?" 

"I mean, duh." 

"How do you feel about me giving Lilith your number?" 

Camila raised an eyebrow as she glanced at Beatrice. "...Is this you doing a nice thing for me or you trying to one up Lilith?" 

"Let's call it a combination of the two." Beatrice replied honestly. "Although I suppose it could also be seen as an olive branch." 

"That's cute and I love it. Do it." 

Beatrice laughed and grabbed her phone from her desk, pulling up Lilith's details to type out a message. 

Beatrice
(646)-426-8267 - You know who it belongs to. Your move.

She shouldn't have been surprised at how fast the response came. 

Lilith
Bold of you to try and wingman, considering your history. I certainly hope you got consent to do that.

"You know, if it were a true olive branch you'd have asked Lilith if you could give me her number." Camila pointed out. "Now she's got to make the first move." 

"Exactly." Beatrice replied as she typed another reply. "I still need to level the playing field more." 

Beatrice
Of course. I presume you know how to start a conversation?

Lilith
Hilarious. I certainly hope all that cardio you've been doing pays off.

Camila hummed as she glanced at the message. 

"She's either telling you to run for your life or that when you have sex with Ava she's going to push you to your limit." 

Beatrice
Camila will be waiting eagerly for your message.

"I am prepared for both." Beatrice said. 

Though she certainly hoped it was for the latter. 

 

--

 

"Lilith?" Ava poked her head around the door. "Am I okay to go?" 

It had been a genuine effort to focus on work since she had gotten back from Beatrice's office. 

Ava had fully spent the last hour watching the clock move, sure, she was asking to go fifteen minutes early but still. 

Lilith looked up from her phone to Ava and then to her laptop to no doubt check the time. 

"Oh. I didn't realise that was the time." Lilith said. "Yes, go." 

"...Are you not going home?" Ava asked. 

"I just have a couple things to finish up here." Lilith said. "Did you enjoy your errand?" 

Ava grinned. "Yeah, what did I even take over there?" 

"Don't worry about it." 

"You know, when you say that, it definitely makes me think I should worry." 

"It's fine, Ava. I promise." 

Ava leaned against the doorframe and nodded. "Fine. You sure you don't need help with anything before I go?" 

Lilith looked conflicted for a few moments before she let out a quiet sigh. 

"How would you initiate a conversation with a girl that you like?" Lilith asked. 

"I find that 'hi' is generally a good start." Ava replied. 

Lilith glared at her. "Funny." 

"I… Was being serious?" Ava frowned. "Wait, is this for Camila?" 

"It is." 

"You have her number?" 

"Yes." 

"Exciting!" Ava clapped her hands together. "Okay, okay. Just be like, 'Hey Cam, it's Lilith, I really enjoyed getting to know you one on one at Lux, maybe we should do it again sometime?'" 

"You want me to send that to her?" Lilith asked. 

"Well, yeah?" 

Lilith ran a hand through her hair. "Jesus." 

Wow. 

They really were all disasters. 

"Put it this way Lilith, if you send that then Camila will no doubt take control and whisk you away on a date." Ava replied. 

Lilith seemed to strongly consider that. 

"Keep me posted." Ava grinned. "Don't you dare get laid before me." 

Lilith groaned. "Go home, Ava." 

"Way ahead of you." Ava laughed. She threw a lazy salute in Lilith's direction as she turned to leave. "God speed." 

Ava still had to get everything planned out for her and Beatrice tomorrow. 

Ideally before Beatrice got back. 

Ava smiled to herself. 

She was going to go out with Beatrice tomorrow.  

 

--

 

Beatrice heard Shannon and Mary long before they walked into the office. 

The laughter faded by the time the door opened and they stepped inside, Beatrice quickly finished off her email and hit send, already knowing that she wouldn't be getting anything else done now that they had arrived. 

"Hey guys." Shannon greeted warmly. 

"Hi!" Camila replied cheerfully. 

"So come on," Mary said, jumping straight to the point. "time to spill the beans." 

"Could you not wait until we've at least sat down first?" Shannon asked with a slight shake of her head. 

"I'm impatient." Mary shrugged. 

She didn't bother pulling up an empty seat like Shannon had, and instead made herself at home on Beatrice's desk. 

"Isn't that a fact." Beatrice replied quietly. 

Mary nudged Beatrice's seat with her foot. "Hush you. You've been actively withholding details on your love life. Not cool." 

"In my defence, I didn't know there was a love life to have." Beatrice said. 

She heard the familiar chime of Camila's phone and glanced over, watching as Camila picked it up. 

The raise of her eyebrows and subsequent small smile would have been easy to miss had Beatrice not known exactly what had caused it. 

Beatrice had all the confirmation she needed when Camila met her gaze and quickly averted it to look back at her phone. 

She had to give credit to Lilith. 

Beatrice hadn't thought she'd act so fast. 

Mary opened her mouth, but it was Shannon who spoke first. 

"So this Ava. Tell us about her?" She asked softly. 

"Yeah Beatrice." Mary grinned. "Tell us all about this girl." 

Beatrice glanced at the clock in the corner of the screen. It was getting close to when Ava was due to finish work. 

As soon as Beatrice was done here, she was getting an uber home. 

"Ava…" Beatrice smiled. "I don't even know where to begin." 

"How about with what she looks like?" Mary asked. 

"Why?" Shannon frowned. "You've already stalked her on Instagram." 

Mary glared at her wife. "Because I want to hear Beatrice talk about her, let me have this, Shannon."

Shannon glanced at Beatrice and rolled her eyes fondly. 

"I haven't even looked at her Instagram…" Beatrice said. 

"You should. It's great." Mary grinned. "Now come on, spill." 

Beatrice sighed, but couldn't help but smile. 

It was hard not to smile when she thought about Ava. 

"We met the day she moved in across the hall…" 

 

--

 

As soon as Ava had gotten home and changed into a shirt and sweatpants, her order of business was to order a pizza before she settled onto her sofa with her laptop. 

When she checked her phone, Ava had found a message from Beatrice waiting for her. 

Bea
Mary and her wife have turned up, I may be a little later getting back.

Ava laughed and typed out her response. 

Ava
Lol I love it, don't worry though, take your time. I've ordered pizza. I'll save you a few slices. ❤️

Bea
❤️

Ava hugged her phone to her chest for a moment before she dropped it onto the coffee table. 

Once that was done, Ava moved onto reserving a bowling lane for her and Beatrice. Three rounds felt like enough for them to have a friendly competition with. 

Ava briefly entertained the idea of bowling with Beatrice, Camila and Lilith, although she quickly pushed it aside. 

They may have cleared the air, but Ava wouldn't put it past Lilith to just drop a bowling ball on Beatrice's foot. 

Also she should probably wait and see how tomorrow goes before Ava tries to plan future days out with Beatrice. 

Not that Ava really had any reason to doubt, her and Beatrice had a connection. 

But still… 

…Maybe best not to get ahead of herself. 

It was better to focus on making sure tomorrow was the best day (date?) Beatrice had ever seen. 

Ava had also found a promising bar not too far from the bowling alley, she just had to hope they could make the afternoon last long enough to get there when it opened. 

It was going to be fine. 

Her phone vibrated, a message from the delivery guy saying he was outside. 

Ava scrambled up from the sofa and grabbed her money off of the counter as she hurriedly texted out a reply to let him know she was on her way down. 

She met him outside and grabbed her pizza and soda, parting ways after handing him the money. 

As she rode the elevator back up, the only thing that stopped Ava from trying to sneak a cheeky bite of a slice was the knowledge that she was more likely to just drop the entire fucking thing. 

Ava jumped out of the elevator the moment the doors had opened wide enough and made her way down the hallway to her apartment. 

She balanced her soda on top of her pizza box as she reached into the pocket of her sweatpants to pull out her keys. 

Ava froze. 

Her pocket was empty. 

"Oh no." 

Ava swapped her pizza to her other hand to try her other pocket, cursing when she only felt her phone. 

Oh… No. 

Even though she knew it was in vain, Ava still tried the door. 

Yep. Definitely locked. 

"...Fuck." Ava sighed, closing her eyes and letting her head tip forward to hit the door with a soft thud. 

Ava allowed herself a few moments to bask in her idiocy before she turned to press her back to the door so that she could slide down to the floor. 

She set her pizza and soda down, cracking the can open with one hand as she grabbed a slice with the other. 

Calling Lilith could wait a few minutes. Fresh pizza first, please and thank you. 

 

--

 

"I have to admit, this explains why your date with Melanie didn't lead to something more." Shannon said softly. 

"Melanie was very understanding." Beatrice replied. 

It hadn't taken as long Beatrice had thought, especially because she had made a point of giving Mary and Shannon a summary of events. 

Enough to satisfy their curiosity, at the very least. 

Camila hadn't spoken up much, only to offer the occasional anecdote about the events of the last few weeks. 

Not that Beatrice could blame her, she had watched Camila not so subtly texting on her phone the entire time. 

That was certainly promising for her and Lilith at least. 

"Damn Beatrice, you've had a whole roller-coaster of a time." Mary said. 

"Understatement." Beatrice replied. "But things are certainly better right now." 

Mostly. 

Beatrice glanced at the clock and held back a sigh. 

Everybody had left for the day, leaving just the four of them in hers and Camila's office. 

At this rate, it was going to be almost dark by the time Beatrice got home. 

What was Ava doing right now? 

Beatrice loved her friends dearly, but had they not turned up, she would have been home by now. 

Mary glanced out of the window and hummed. "Oh shit, it's getting late." 

Beatrice almost sighed with relief. 

"Should we go get food?" Mary asked. 

…For fucks sake. 

Camila locked eyes with Beatrice, her expression was sympathetic as she noticed Beatrice's apparent suffering. 

Beatrice watched as Camila set her phone down on the desk and got to her feet. 

Oh no. 

"Bea is gonna have to take a raincheck on that." Camila said. "I mean, I can't go either, but this is mostly me saying no more universe. We are giving Bea a win!" 

Mary and Shannon each raised an eyebrow and shared a look before looking at Beatrice. 

"Is she good?" Mary asked. 

"Yes." Beatrice replied. "It's just -" 

"The universe has gotten in the way of Bea so much already. It is Friday, her hot neighbour is in her apartment across the hall from Bea's." Camila explained with an alarming amount of force. "The longer we keep her in this office, the more of a disservice we are doing to our dear, horny friend." 

"Did… Did you have to specify the horny part?" Beatrice asked quietly. 

"Sorry." Camila replied, making sure to smile reassuringly at Beatrice before turning her focus back to their friends. "But no more! Bea is going to go and spend time with her hot neighbour and maybe but hopefully get laid." 

She was really passionate about this whole thing. 

"So that's a no on dinner because Beatrice is going to try and fuck the hot girl?" Mary asked. 

"I'm not going to try and fuck her." Beatrice sighed. "I mean… if it happens then yes please, but I just want to be there because I love being with her." 

"Love?" Shannon repeated. "Is this a potential for love?" 

Beatrice didn't really know the answer to that, but she couldn't deny the way it made her heart skip a beat at the thought. 

She just wanted to be around Ava. 

(Although the sex would be very much appreciated, thank you.) 

"I don't know." Beatrice replied honestly. "Maybe."

"Well she's not going to find out if she wastes any more time here." Camila said. She focused her gaze on Beatrice. "Dude, seriously? Get your stuff." 

Right, okay. 

"Okay… So rain check for Beatrice." Mary said as she watched Beatrice shut down her computer and grab her phone. "Wait, did you say no too, Camila?" 

Camila nodded, glancing back down at her phone. "Turns out I have somewhat of a date now." 

"Excuse me?" Beatrice asked as she paused in the middle of zipping up her jacket. "That was fast." 

"God works fast but I work faster. It's just a catch up over drinks." Camila grinned. "Ten dollars says that she spends most of it complaining about you and Ava." 

Beatrice couldn't help but laugh. "Okay yes, I'm in." 

Mary and Shannon looked at each of them with confusion. 

"...Who is she talking about?" Shannon asked. 

"Lilith." Beatrice replied. 

Shannon's brow furrowed and pointed at Mary. "As in…" 

Beatrice nodded. 

"Huh. Okay." 

Mary pinched the bridge of her nose. "You're both a nightmare. You're lucky I love you." 

"We know." Camila laughed. She looked at Beatrice and gestured towards the door. "Go on Bea, I'll make sure everything is closed up here." 

"Thank you." 

Beatrice definitely owed Camila a favour for this. 

"Have fun!"

"Mary, Shannon, I'll call you." Beatrice said as she reached the door. 

She didn't bother to wait for their responses before leaving the office, unlocking her phone to book an uber as she made her way to the stairs. 

 

--

 

Ava held her phone to her ear as she listened to it ring out. 

This was beginning to become a problem. 

When Lilith finally answered, Ava sighed in relief. 

"Ava?" 

"Lilith, I fucked up. I need help." 

"What happened? What did -" 

"Before you finish that sentence, Beatrice hasn't done anything. She hasn't even gotten home yet." Ava interrupted. "I locked myself out." 

Lilith laughed. "Idiot." 

"I know." Ava sighed. "Can you bring the spare?" 

There was a brief pause from Lilith. 

"I can, but… It might take a while." Lilith replied. "I'm on my way to a bar." 

Ava straightened up. "Oh? Did you take my advice?" 

"I did. I'm meeting Camila." 

"Oh! Good job!" Ava laughed. 

"I don't want to stand her up, but I'm sure that when she gets there and I explain everything we can detour back to you?" 

The elevator doors opened as Ava opened her mouth to reply, she didn't need to look to know exactly who had just stepped out but turned around all the same to see Beatrice walking towards her, brow furrowed in confusion. 

"Ava?" Beatrice called. "What are you doing?" 

"Is that Beatrice?" Lilith asked. 

"Yeah." Ava replied. She smiled at Beatrice. "So I kinda locked myself out?" 

She heard Lilith hum thoughtfully through the phone as Beatrice stopped in front of her. 

Beatrice smiled softly as she eyed the pizza box. "You left your keys in the apartment in the rush to get your food?" 

"Pretty much." 

"So. I have an idea." Lilith spoke up. 

"Is that Lilith?" Beatrice asked, nodding towards the phone. 

"Yeah, she has my spare but…" 

"She's meeting Camila." Beatrice finished. 

"How does she know that?" 

"Probably because they're best friends who work together?" Ava suggested. 

"And because they were texting while me and Camila were in the office." Beatrice supplied. 

"Ah. Okay." Lilith said. "So, my idea -" 

"Do you want to come inside?" Beatrice asked, gesturing to her own apartment. "That way you're not sitting alone on the floor and Lilith doesn't feel pressured to interrupt her plans because she knows you're safe." 

"Well, that was going to be my suggestion." Lilith said before adding in a teasing tone; "Safe is an interesting word choice though." 

Ava wasn't even going to dignify that with a response. 

"I bet you wish you'd come running with me more. Build up that stamina." 

"That sounds good." Ava replied. "I saved you some pizza. Hope you like pepperoni." 

"Are you just ignoring me now?" Lilith asked. 

She absolutely was. 

Beatrice laughed. "Yes, I do." 

"So I'll just drop the key off later?" Lilith asked. 

Ava's attention was fixed on Beatrice above her, even as she nodded. "Yeah, that'd be great Lilith. Take your time, enjoy your night." 

Lilith snorted. "You too. I'll text you when I'm there." 

Ava smiled at Beatrice. "Catch you later Lilith." 

"Don't do anything I wouldn't do." 

Ava really didn't know what to say to that. 

It was easier just to hang up. 

Beatrice was still smiling down at her, amused. 

"Only you could lock yourself out like this." She said softly. 

"I know." Ava sighed, shoving her phone into her pocket. "I'm a dumbass." 

"No you aren't." Beatrice replied. "You're an excitable puppy who occasionally has bad luck. It happens."

She extended a hand out to Ava. 

"Now shall we get inside? It's not exactly warm out here." She continued. 

Ava used her teeth to hold onto the empty can of soda and picked up her pizza box as she took Beatrice's hand, allowing herself to be pulled to her feet. 

Rather than let go of Ava's hand, Beatrice laughed quietly and reached up to take the can from Ava. 

"Hi." Ava said. 

"Hi." Beatrice replied. "I'm sorry I'm late."

"Don't be, I said to just come by when you wanted. No time pressure. Everything okay?" 

Beatrice hummed and turned to her apartment, gently tugging Ava along with her as she pulled her keys from her pocket. 

"Mary and Shannon showed up, they wanted the full story of the last few weeks." 

Ava grinned. "Sounds fun." 

"How did Chanel and J.C. react to all of this?" Beatrice asked. 

She opened the door and led Ava inside, finally releasing her hand to close it behind them. 

Ava smiled sheepishly as she met Beatrice's gaze. "I haven't… Actually told them about your whole misunderstanding yet. The last time I spoke to J.C. was while you were on your date with Lilith." 

Beatrice set the empty soda can down so that she could unzip her jacket and take it off. 

"Based on my talk with Lilith, it wouldn't be surprising if Chanel knew everything except for the…" Beatrice trailed off with a sigh. 

Ava grinned. "The date?" 

"Yes." Beatrice replied, smiling at Ava's amusement. She glanced down at herself. "Are you okay if I change my shirt?" 

Just take the shirt off, Beatrice. 

"Yeah go for it." 

Beatrice gestured to the sofa. "Please, make yourself comfortable. Put the TV on if you like." 

Ava nodded and took a few steps towards the sofa, pausing to watch Beatrice retreat to her bedroom. 

Was she staring at Beatrice's ass the entire time? Yes absolutely. 

She was only human after all. 

Ava set the pizza down on the coffee table and drifted over to the corner of the room where Beatrice's computer sat. 

It looked like a complicated set up, the tower alone was bigger than anything she had seen in person. 

Was this a gaming PC? 

Considering the girls career, it wasn't a massive leap to call Beatrice a bit of a nerd. 

But… Vídeo game nerd? 

Yeah, Beatrice was the full package. 

"Camila's is better." Beatrice called. 

Ava didn't hide the way that she jumped at her voice and spun around to face Beatrice. 

Even across the room, Ava could practically see the sparkle in her eyes as she leaned against the kitchen counter. 

Beatrice hadn't changed much beyond swapping out her shirt for a plain black t-shirt and removing her shoes. 

She'd left her hair up in its bun. 

Ava wondered if she could get her to take her hair down tonight. 

"How so?" Ava asked.

"Clear casing. Neon lights, keyboard and mouse included." 

"....Okay yeah say no more." 

Beatrice laughed. "I'll get her to send me pictures of it for you." 

"Oh, yeah please." 

Ava made a note to ask about the technical details of getting one of her own. 

That, and the likelihood of making sure she could have a specific lighting pattern.

Because bisexual lighting? Yes please.

"Do you want wine?" Beatrice asked. 

"I always want wine." Ava replied honestly. 

Beatrice laughed and turned to open the cupboard. "You said it was pepperoni, yes?" 

"Yeah?" 

"Sangiovese then." Beatrice pulled a bottle out and set it down on the counter. "...For fear of sounding like a snob, I don't know how I feel about wines that have a screw cap." 

She punctuated her words by unscrewing the wine and setting the cap on the counter. 

"Less effort though." Ava pointed out, walking into the kitchen to join her. "Easy access?" 

Beatrice laughed. "I suppose you're right." 

She moved to get two glasses and poured a respectable amount into each glass. 

Beatrice picked them both up and turned to Ava, smiling as she pressed one of the glasses into Ava's hand. 

Their fingers remained touching, and neither of them were in a rush to break it. 

"I feel like we need to cheers to something." Ava said. 

Beatrice slowly drew back, letting one of her fingers trail across the back of Ava's finger before the contact broke entirely. 

"What do you suggest?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava shrugged. "All I can think about now is the convenience wine with screw tops. Do you have anything… You know, good?" 

Beatrice glanced down into her glass and gave it a gentle swirl. When she met Ava's gaze again, there was that tiny hint of apprehension in her eyes. 

"How about…" Beatrice paused to take a deep breath. "To a new chapter?" 

God. 

Ava could kiss her right now. 

She lifted her glass. "To a new chapter." 

The apprehension was gone in an instant, replaced by a bright smile as Beatrice lifted her glass to clink it against Ava's. 

The eye contact didn't break even as they each took a sip from their glasses. 

Ava was by no means good at identifying the finer flavour profile of wines, she knew a decent wine when she tasted it and could generally accurately guess the type, but… That was about it. 

But she could definitely taste cherry. That was something. 

She was willing to bet that she'd be much better at identifying the tastes that Beatrice offered. 

"Do you want to sit down?" Beatrice asked. 

"Definitely." 

Beatrice brought the bottle with them as they both made their way over to the sofa. 

"How was work?" Ava asked. 

"It was good, though I can't say I managed to get all that much done." Beatrice replied, she cast a fleeting glance at the space between them. "Yourself?" 

Ava grinned. "Oh yeah, I did the absolute bare minimum today." 

"Distracted?" 

"You could say that." Ava replied lightheartedly. "It was strange, I ran an errand for Lilith and then all I could think about for the rest of the day was this really incredible girl I got to spend time with." 

To her delight, the tips of Beatrice's ears turned pink. 

"I have some experience in that regard." Beatrice admitted quietly. 

Ava hummed. "What a strange coincidence." 

"Indeed." 

When their eyes met, there was an unmistakable heat that passed between them. 

It made the base of Ava's neck tingle. 

All Ava could do was send a silent prayer and hope to God that Lilith had the sense not to come knocking any time soon. 

Ava would have to kill her. 

Beatrice averted her gaze after a few more moments and cleared her throat. "Do you.. Do you want the TV on? Music?" 

"I'm easy. I'd much rather just talk to you though." Ava replied and gestured to the pizza. "You should probably eat though." 

Beatrice laughed. "Okay Ava." 

 

--

 

Two slices of pizza lay forgotten in their box, the bottle of wine half empty. 

(half full?) 

They hadn't gotten around to putting the TV on, it hadn't been necessary as the stretches of silence had been few and far between. When they had occurred, they had felt peaceful, not overbearing. 

There was no silence at the moment though, not while they were both laughing so hard that there were tears in Beatrice's eyes. 

"It's not even that funny!" Ava protested.

Beatrice wiped away the tear from the corner of her eye. "I'm sorry, you're right. But when I asked you what inspired you to follow this career, I expected yours and Lilith's father, though I certainly didn't expect Ally McBeal and Legally Blonde." 

Ava chuckled. "More Lilith's father than my own. But come on, what was your inspiration?" 

"Mine?" Beatrice asked. 

"Yeah. Did you see a movie with like, super cool tech shit and think that was what you wanted to do?" 

Beatrice thought for several moments as she tried to think of a moment where she had been inspired. 

When the answer came, Beatrice laughed to herself. 

"You're going to think it's extremely stupid." 

Ava's expression grew equal parts soft and serious at once. "Try me." 

"Jurassic Park." 

Ava tilted her head to the side as she smiled at Beatrice. "Because of the security system and the hacker kid?" 

"Yes." 

"Why would I find that stupid?" Ava asked. "It's cute. You're cute." 

Beatrice hid her smile behind her wine. The space between them had gotten smaller, still not touching but so close it wouldn't take much from Beatrice to reach out to her. 

What was more impressive was the fact that Ava's feet were still firmly on the ground. 

Beatrice had never seen Ava sit on a sofa for so long without folding them underneath herself or draping them across Beatrice's lap. 

Ava had slipped her shoes off at some point between the second or third glass of wine though, and there was a definite flush spreading across her chest. 

Beatrice's fingers twitched against the glass. 

She really wanted to see how far that flush went. 

"You think I'm cute?" Beatrice asked. 

"Among many other things." Ava replied. 

There was an energy between them that was hard to put a specific word to. 

It had been steady in the way that it had been building over the last hour or so. The touches had been fleeting, though each left a burning imprint in its wake. The touches were long and unwavering. 

Beatrice felt like her body was slowly being pulled taut. 

They could both feel it in the air. 

And Beatrice was going to snap if it continued on much longer. 

There was no reason not to. 

"And I think it's really cute that you watched a kick ass movie about dinosaurs and sexy Jeff Goldblum and decided to learn about building security systems." Ava said. 

Her tone was only vaguely teasing. 

"Can we go back to the part where you called me cute?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava smirked. "With pleasure, but I'm pretty sure there was a deal involving you telling me about the many things you like about me." Ava pointed out. 

Oh. 

So she had, yesterday morning. 

"What would you like to know?" Beatrice asked. 

She watched Ava take a deep breath and exhale slowly as she looked away, gaze thoughtful. 

"Anything." Ava replied. 

"The first day we met, one of the first things I noticed was your smile." Beatrice said softly. "I was so intrigued by you." 

Ava grinned. "I sat on the floor having a crisis over you because you said welcome to the building and I replied with 'you too'. Lilith laughed at me." 

Beatrice eyed the remaining slices of pizza. "After that first date, when I came home and found that you'd left me two slices at my door, I was so touched by the gesture that I didn't know what to do. We barely knew each other but you were so caring right from the start." 

Beatrice still couldn't believe that Ava existed. That someone with so much life, so much energy and kindness could even be interested in her. 

Ava had so much to offer, Beatrice just wasn't sure what she had to give back. 

She felt Ava's leg shift to bump against hers for a moment. 

"Where did you just go? I'm getting impending frowny face vibes." 

"Frowny face vibes?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava nodded. "I saw your eyes change, like you just thought of something that bothered you." 

Nothing got past Ava, that much was for certain. 

"I just…" Beatrice sighed and took a sip of her wine. "I'm wondering to myself what it is I can offer, compared to you I feel I must be quite… Boring." 

Ava frowned at that. "Has anybody actually told you that you're boring, or is that just your own assessment of yourself?" 

"The second one." 

"We're always a little harsher in the way we perceive ourselves." Ava said softly, looking down at the contents of her glass. "So I get it. But for what it's worth, Bea, you're so far from boring." 

Ava's voice carried so much understanding, it made Beatrice curious. 

"You sound like you have experience with that." 

"Yeah." Ava smiled. "Screw up, unfocused, that I will never amount to anything… The list could go on. Though I should say that I have actually been called those things before." 

Beatrice wanted to know who said those things to Ava. 

She just wanted to have words, that was all. 

"My point is though Bea, you're not boring or any of the other negative things going through your head." Ava continued. "It takes time to move past them and see your own self worth. To see yourself how others see you." 

Her hand reached out to squeeze Beatrice's thigh, the touch was only fleeting, but her body screamed out for more. 

Slow down. 

Breathe. 

A new chapter. 

"I just think you're spectacular." Beatrice said softly. "You've changed my life so much, and that's just from having the pleasure of knowing you." 

She watched Ava shimmy a little in that way she always seemed to do when she was happy. Ava lifted her head and smiled so warmly it made Beatrice's heart beat faster.

Beatrice couldn't stop glancing at her lips. 

She let her free hand reach out to cup Ava's cheek, only for a moment before she moved her hand to the back of Ava's neck. 

Ava went very, very still, eyes closing for a few seconds as Beatrice stroked the soft skin there. 

"You Ava, are the most exceptional plot twist. I can't believe that I've been lucky enough to meet you, I just don't know what it is you or anybody else sees in me." 

Their bodies were turning, each were slow in their movements, curling towards each other until they were face to face. 

Ava's eyes were flickering across Beatrice's face, focusing on maintaining eye contact but occasionally dropping downwards to Beatrice's lips. 

Oh. 

It was getting harder to breathe. 

"How can anybody look at you and not see what you are?" Ava asked, voice light and full of wonder. 

Beatrice's fingers stilled on the back of Ava's neck. "And what am I?" 

"What you are is beautiful."

Ava's gaze was the most intense, the most sincere that Beatrice had ever seen. 

The air between them was electric. 

There was nothing to hold either of them back anymore. 

They wanted each other. There was nothing to stop them now. 

She gently pressed her fingers into Ava's neck and leaned in, Beatrice let her gaze drop to Ava's lips and back up to her eyes before she closed the last bit of distance between them. 

Ava's eyes closed the moment Beatrice kissed her. 

She didn't risk deepening it, Beatrice just kissed her softly as she brushed her thumb against the back of Ava's neck. 

The room was silent, but all Beatrice could hear was her pulse in her ears. She could taste the wine on Ava's lips. 

Beatrice felt everything. 

It felt so natural. 

Beatrice pulled away, and after a moment, drew her hand back too and waited. 

She watched as Ava's eyes opened slowly, the breath she let out was even slower. 

Their eyes met. 

"Oh." 

Beatrice's thoughts exactly. 

"Okay?" Beatrice asked. 

"That kiss…" Ava's tone was heavy, although there was a sparkle in her eyes that stopped Beatrice from panicking that she had just fucked all of this up.  

"Was it bad?" Beatrice asked. 

God forbid if Ava thought she was a bad kisser. 

Beatrice didn't think she could handle that kind of criticism. 

Ava's smile grew. "Oh no, not by any means. It was great but…" 

"But?" Beatrice raised an eyebrow. 

Ava shuffled closer and took the glass from Beatrice's hand and turned to set both of them down on the coffee table. 

She turned back to face Beatrice and lifted her legs onto the sofa, tipping her weight forward and curling her fingers into Beatrice's shirt. 

"Too short." Ava said. "You definitely didn't give me a chance to showcase any of my own skills." 

This was happening. 

It was really happening. 

Beatrice laughed. "Is that so?" 

Ava wiggled her eyebrows. "Oh yeah." 

"Okay Ava. Show me these skills." 

Ava leaned forward until their noses brushed together, Beatrice barely managed to hold herself back from pitching herself forward. 

"You don't need to tell me twice." Ava whispered. 

Beatrice let Ava pull on her shirt until their lips met again and even as she kept the kiss slow, Ava was quick to open her mouth and slide her tongue against Beatrice's. 

Oh. 

Fuck. 

She felt one of Ava's hands reach up to curl around the back of her neck as Ava shuffled back across the sofa until her back hit the arm of the sofa. 

Beatrice was all too eager to follow, lifting her legs onto the sofa and moving onto her knees, bracing one hand against the back of the sofa as she moved closer.

She curled a hand around Ava's cheek and took Ava's bottom lip between her teeth, just for a moment, just to see how Ava would react. 

The way that Ava moaned into Beatrice's mouth sent a jolt down her spine. 

Fuck. 

She had to hear that sound again. 

Ava moved again, lying back against the sofa and pulling Beatrice down with her, stretching her legs out on either side of Beatrice. 

It was all too easy to lie down and press herself against Ava, to use the hand on her cheek to keep Ava steady as she tried to seek more. 

Ava whimpered again. "Fuck. Bea." 

Beatrice broke the kiss for a brief moment, just to draw back to see the lust in Ava's eyes. 

Jesus. 

Lust. 

She stroked her thumb across Ava's cheek, bringing her other hand down from the sofa to skim down her side until it reached Ava's thigh. 

"Tell me what you need, Ava." 

"You." Ava whispered, already pulling Beatrice down for another kiss. "I need you." 

The slow pace of their other kisses gave way to something much more desperate, much more intense as Beatrice allowed herself to get lost in it. 

Beatrice craved more. 

She moaned into Ava's mouth. 

She craved so much more. 

If Ava wanted her, then Beatrice was going to give herself freely and entirely. 

 

Chapter Text

 

Beatrice wasn't sure how long had passed as they continued to makeout. 

All she could focus on was Ava's tongue sliding against her own, the quiet whimpers from the back of her throat, and the way Ava's hands were pressing into Beatrice's shoulder blades, keeping Beatrice against her. 

When Ava brought her knees up to bracket Beatrice's waist and squeezed them as she moaned again, Beatrice felt a shiver run down her spine. 

Even more so when she felt Ava shifting underneath her. 

Beatrice moved her hands from Ava's thighs to her hips, careful not to let her fingers slip under Ava's shirt. 

Not yet. 

One of Ava's hands moved up to the back of Beatrice's head as she flicked her tongue against Beatrice's bottom lip. 

Shit, Ava was good with her tongue. 

"Fuck, Bea. Please -" Ava gasped, arching up into Beatrice. 

Oh. 

Oh wait. 

Beatrice broke the kiss suddenly, despite Ava's whine of protest and sat up, kneeling between Ava's thighs and watching as Ava's arms fell limply at her sides. 

Ava's chest was heaving, her eyes heavy as she opened them to stare up at Beatrice. 

"Beatrice?" Her voice was barely a whisper. 

God, Ava looked so good under her. 

Beatrice moved her hands up to brush the hair from Ava's face. 

"Ava, how far do you want this to go?" Beatrice asked seriously. "We've both had a few glasses of wine." 

Ava smiled and bumped her knees against Beatrice's sides. Beatrice rested her hands on top of them as she waited for Ava to speak up. 

"As far as you want. No pressure. We can stop here or… " Ava shifted underneath her weight. "You can take my shirt off?" 

Beatrice swallowed as she felt heart skip a beat. 

She reached down to skim one of her hands down Ava's throat, brushing over her breasts before letting her palm settle on Ava's stomach. 

She'd had dreamt of this moment, but Beatrice had to be certain. 

"Are you sure?" 

Ava nodded. "Yeah Bea, I'm sure." 

She wanted Beatrice to take her shirt off. 

This was happening. 

Beatrice smiled and pressed her hand down when Ava tried to sit up, keeping her in place. 

Ava pouted as Beatrice lifted her hand from Ava's stomach. 

Instead of going for Ava's shirt, Beatrice took hold of the bottom of her own, making sure to keep eye contact with Ava before she pulled it over her head and threw it aside.

It was worth it to see the way Ava's jaw dropped as her gaze hovered briefly at Beatrice's bra before inevitably dropping down to her stomach. 

"Oh my god." Ava whispered. 

Beatrice hummed and reached behind her to unclasp her bra and smiled down at Ava as she shrugged out of it, letting it join her shirt. 

Ava continued to lie there, stunned. 

"Better?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava was already in the process of sitting up, eyes fixed firmly on Beatrice's chest as she curled her hand around Beatrice's bicep to support herself. 

They held each other's gazes for a few moments, Beatrice didn't dare move in light of Ava's heavy stare. 

With one last fleeting look into Beatrice's eyes, Ava ducked her head and wrapped her lips around a nipple. 

"Oh!" Beatrice gasped as her hand came up to the back of Ava's head to hold her in place. "Ava..." 

It was a miracle that she even managed to speak. Ava was wasting no time in letting her tongue circle her nipple or grazing her teeth across sensitive skin. 

Ava moaned against her chest as she moved her attention to the other side, Beatrice closed her eyes and focused on the sensations even when she felt Ava's hands move and fingers press firmly against her stomach. 

"Oh my God." Ava groaned. She moved to press kisses across Beatrice's chest. "Your abs." 

Beatrice let out a breathy laugh. "What about them?" 

"They feel so good." Ava flicked her tongue over her nipple once more. "I want my mouth on them." 

Beatrice gave a gentle tug on Ava's hair, not missing the quiet whimper that left Ava's lips as she pulled back. 

Her lips were parted, breathing heavily as she tried to hold Beatrice's gaze. 

Beatrice let her own eyes drop to the expanse of Ava's throat, bared so beautifully for her. 

God.

"Now, now. There will be plenty of time for that." Beatrice replied. 

She brought her hand around to gently take Ava's chin between her fingers and angled her head so that they were level once more. 

"But right now, I would like to get you out of this shirt." 

Ava's fingers pressed harder against her stomach, nails scraping across Beatrice's skin. 

Beatrice couldn't help but twitch against her. 

"But -"

"Darling," Beatrice watched Ava freeze at the pet name, eyes widening as whatever protest she had died on her lips. "We have all night." 

"Oh. Holy shit." Ava whispered as Beatrice leaned in for another kiss. 

Beatrice hummed. "Lift up your arms." 

It was a miracle that Ava didn't accidentally punch Beatrice in the face in her eagerness to get her arms above her head. 

She took her time pulling the shirt up and over Ava's head, leaning back ever so slightly as Ava shook her hair away from her face. 

Beatrice would openly admit that she had no idea as to what expression was on Ava's face, because the moment that shirt had come off, Beatrice's attention had quickly shifted.

Ava hadn't worn a bra. 

Her breasts were even better than Beatrice could have imagined. 

She saw Ava shiver and forced her gaze up to meet Ava's, surprised to be met with wide eyes. 

"Are you okay?" Beatrice asked carefully. 

Ava swallowed and nodded slowly. "You're looking at me like you did at the club except… So much more intense." 

Beatrice would be lying if she wasn't curious about whatever look she had on her own face, but if she had to take a guess? 

Hunger. 

"Because I wanted you that night. I've wanted you for so long and now you're here." Beatrice replied. "And I want you more than ever." 

Ava's smile was blinding as that challenging glint appeared in her eyes. 

"I'm yours for the taking." She replied. 

Beatrice smiled back. 

She had to wonder how much of a brat Ava was going to be for her tonight. 

"Oh Ava…" Beatrice said softly as she dropped Ava's shirt to the floor. She reached out to cup Ava's chin and leaned in. "I'd say hearing you say that it's music to my ears, but I can think of sounds I'd much rather hear from that pretty mouth of yours." 

Beatrice kissed Ava before she had a chance to respond. 

She felt Ava press forward, hand coming up to rest against the base of Beatrice's neck. 

Ava wasted no time in licking her way into Beatrice's mouth, and she didn't resist when Beatrice pushed back, holding Ava steady as she guided her back down against the sofa. 

It was an entirely different thrill to be pressed chest to chest like this, to have so much skin touching. 

It still wasn't enough. 

"Touch me." Ava whispered. 

Beatrice brushed her thumb across Ava's cheekbone and shifted to trail fleeting kisses along her jawline until she finally reached Ava's ear. 

"What was that?" Beatrice asked. 

"I said -" Ava broke off into a whimper as Beatrice bit down on her earlobe. "I said touch me." 

Beatrice hummed, smiling even more as Ava squirmed underneath her. 

Starting off strong, Ava. 

"You said?" 

Ava was quick to still against her, even as Beatrice moved her kisses lower. 

Across her jawline, beneath her jaw. 

The pulse point of her neck. 

"...Bea." 

"You can have anything you want Ava." Beatrice murmured against Ava's neck. She allowed her teeth to graze against the skin before she lifted herself up, hovering over Ava. "But you have to ask for it. Nicely." 

The pleading look in Ava's eyes alone was almost enough to have Beatrice giving in. 

"You want me to beg?" Ava asked. 

God. Yes. 

But they were only just getting started. 

"All in good time, Ava." Beatrice replied. "For now, I just want you to ask nicely." 

They had barely done anything and yet Beatrice felt already felt like she was balancing on a knife's edge. 

Both of Ava's hands curled loosely around Beatrice's wrists, thumbs stroking against the skin as she blinked up at Beatrice. 

"Please, Beatrice…" Ava said slowly. "Please touch me." 

Better. 

Beatrice settled her hands on Ava's hips, stroking her thumbs in slow circles and smiling as she felt the muscles twitch in her stomach. 

"Oh, sensitive spot?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava closed her eyes and exhaled slowly. 

Curious, Beatrice trailed two fingers along the waistband of Ava's sweatpants to below her stomach. 

Seeing the muscles twitch was a sight to see. The quiet gasp was something else entirely. 

"Yeah." Ava admitted. 

Noted. 

Beatrice moved her hands back to Ava's sides and skimmed them up Ava's ribcage. "Open your eyes, Ava." 

Ava complied, gaze steady as she dug her fingers into the sofa. 

Was it too soon to use good girl? 

Beatrice wanted to wait until Ava was at her most strung out before she used it. 

Instead, she settled on smiling down at Ava. 

"There you are." Beatrice said softly. "Will you keep your eyes open for me? Your eyes say so much." 

Ava smiled back and gave a quick nod. "I'll try." 

"That's all I ask." 

Beatrice moved her hands up to cup Ava's breasts, letting out a breath of her own as she finally got to feel them for herself. 

Shit. 

Oh, they were perfect. 

Should she tell Ava they were perfect? 

Was it too vulgar to call them tits? Too restrained to call them breasts? 

Beatrice stroked her thumbs across already hard nipples, glancing up to watch Ava's eyes flutter shut for a few seconds as she let out a little rumble from the back of her throat.

"Magnificent…" Beatrice murmured. 

Ava laughed breathlessly. "Me or my tits?" 

Oh, okay then. 

"Both." 

Ava grinned. "Both tits?" 

"Yes." Beatrice pinched a nipple and grinned back when Ava's hips arched up into her. "And you." 

Beatrice ducked back in to press kisses to the side of Ava's neck, latching onto her pulse point while continuing to tease and play with Ava's nipples. 

"Are you a boob girl, Bea?" Ava asked breathlessly. 

"Apparently." Beatrice agreed, moving to lavish kisses along Ava's chest. She lifted her head enough to make fleeting eye contact. "Though there are other assets of yours I'd like to spend time on."

Ava grinned. "Do I put the ass in assets?" 

She knew that Ava couldn't see, but Beatrice still rolled her eyes all the same. 

What she did do though, was shift back up to Ava's neck and bite down. 

Ava's entire body arched up into Beatrice as she gasped, the sound quickly broke off into a moan. 

"Fuck Bea, ow…" Ava groaned. 

Beatrice lifted herself up to look at Ava, searching for any signs of pain. Her eyes were closed and Beatrice couldn't see any clear indicators. 

"Ava, I'm sorry. Was that too hard?" Beatrice asked, the apologetic tone heavy in her voice. 

Ava opened her eyes and laughed, wriggling underneath Beatrice. 

"Bea, I'm not made of silk, you don't have to be delicate with me." Ava replied. She brought her knees back up to squeeze Beatrice's waist. "Feel free to be rough." 

In that case, Ava was going to leave her apartment so marked up. 

"Duly noted." Beatrice said. 

"Seriously though," Ava continued. "If you're a vampire or something, now would be a good time to tell me. No judgment or anything, I just wanna know what I'm getting myself into." 

Beatrice laughed. "You've seen me outside during the day on multiple occasions." 

"You could be one of the sparkly ones." 

"Have you ever seen me sparkle?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava gave a lazy shrug. "You sparkle to me." 

Half naked, yet endearing as ever. 

"You're cute." Beatrice said, leaning back down to kiss her softly. "I'm not going to be too rough with you tonight, Ava." 

"But a little rough, right?" 

Well, if that was what Ava wanted, then Beatrice was certainly going to oblige. 

Beatrice laughed as she brought her fingers up to brush against Ava's bottom lip. "How about this, you tell me if you want me to be rougher and I'll give you that."

"Now that sounds like a fair deal." Ava grinned. 

"Good." Beatrice whispered. 

Ava wiggled again, this time more impatiently as she got her hands on Beatrice's hips. 

"Any rules for me?" Ava asked. "This goes both ways, you know." 

"I know, and no, no rules. Let's just agree to keep the dialogue open, okay?" Beatrice replied. "I'll tell you what I want, and you do the same. I want to make sure this is as fun for us both as possible." 

Beatrice was fully prepared for Ava to tease her again, to make a joke about the miscommunication they've experienced thus far. So it was certainly a surprise when Ava's gaze softened instead. 

Even more so when Ava's hand reached up to cradle Beatrice's face in both hands. 

"Mr Darcy, as charming and thoughtful as ever." Ava said softly. 

Beatrice reached between them to stroke her fingers along Ava's stomach up to the curve of her breasts. 

"I don't think you'll be able to call me that by the end of the night." Beatrice said.

Ava grinned. "You going to make a mess of me, Bea?" 

"That's the plan." Beatrice whispered before leaning back in to kiss her. 

If Ava's legs weren't shaking by the end of this, then she hadn't done enough. 

Whether this was going to be a one night thing or not, Beatrice was going to make sure it was going to be one they would both remember. 

"You should probably get to it then." Ava murmured against her lips. 

"Should I?" Beatrice asked. "Getting impatient, Ava? Is that why you're writhing so much under me?" 

She'd be lying if she weren't feeling the same. And now that they had established a lot of very clear and enthusiastic consent, then it truly was time to get things started. 

Ava's answer came in the form of puppy dog eyes and another gentle squeeze of her knees. 

"Words, Ava." Beatrice said. She brushed her lips against Ava's. "Are you wet?" 

Ava moaned. "You have no idea. Remember what I told you at Lux?" 

She did, very clearly. 

"That you would be wet and ready for me." Beatrice answered before she ducked back down to nip at Ava's neck. "And as unbelievably attractive as it is to hear you say that, it had a much different effect when you said it then." 

Ava chuckled and angled her head to give Beatrice more access. 

"Eu estaria tão molhada e pronta pra você." Ava said. "Is that what you wanted to hear?" 

Beatrice moaned into Ava's neck, one hand moved to the waistband of her sweatpants. 

She purposely dragged her thumb along the edge, listening to Ava draw a sharp breath. 

"Touch me Beatrice." Ava said. "Please." 

She didn't need to be asked again. 

Beatrice slipped her hand underneath, fingers brushing over curls. She hesitated for only a few seconds, just enough for Beatrice to lift her head, briefly admiring the mark already forming on Ava's neck before she focused on Ava's face. 

She wanted to see the look on Ava's face. 

Beatrice slipped her fingers further down, not even bothering to hold back her own moan when they brushed through wetness. 

Holy shit. 

"Oh my God, Ava." 

"Bea…" Ava lifted her hips, trying to seek more pressure, only to whine when Beatrice drew her hand back and pulled it from her sweats. "Why -" 

"Just another minute, sweetheart." Beatrice reassured her, leaning back in to flick her tongue against Ava's bottom lip. "I'm going to take these off first, okay?" 

Ava groaned in frustration. "You're killing me." 

Beatrice sat up, smiling down at Ava before briefly glancing down at her fingers. 

"I can't very well fuck you half dressed, can I?" Beatrice asked. 

"Well, you could." Ava pointed out. "You were definitely very close to doing that." 

Ava looked to be on the verge of pouting. 

Beatrice smiled and brought her still wet fingers up to her lips, Ava watched intently as she sucked a finger into her mouth. 

It wasn't much, but it was enough for Beatrice to want more. 

They really had to stop talking so much. 

But first… 

"You taste good." Beatrice said appreciatively. "Have you ever tasted yourself, Ava?" 

Ava looked stunned as she stared at Beatrice. She shook her head.

"Do you want to?" 

Ava nodded. 

Beatrice brought her fingers back down to Ava's lips, watching as she slipped them both into her waiting mouth. 

Ava wasted no time, now moaning around her fingers, alternating between sucking and pressing her tongue against Beatrice's fingertips. 

Ava never broke eye contact. 

Beatrice's stomach was flipping, every synapse firing. 

She couldn't even put this feeling down to it being the first time in… A while. 

No, this was entirely down to Ava, and the effect that she had on Beatrice. 

It was a lot to think about. 

And Beatrice needed to get those sweatpants off immediately. 

Ava seemed to think so too, if the way she bit down on her fingers was anything to go by. 

"Do you want me to fuck you now, Ava?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava released her fingers and licked her lips, nodding enthusiastically. 

"God, yes please." 

Beatrice laughed and took hold of the waistband of Ava's sweatpants and shimmied down to the end of the sofa. Ava helpfully lifted her hips to try and make it easier. 

Ava let out a frustrated sound as Beatrice freed one of her legs. 

"Sweatpants are the unsexiest thing ever. I swear. How are you not laughing right now?" 

"Ava, you could wear a trashbag and I'd still find you sexy." Beatrice replied, unable to stop herself from laughing at Ava's pout. 

She freed Ava's other leg and the sweatpants quickly joined the pile that was quickly building up around them. 

As Beatrice knelt there, she made the executive decision that her own jeans could wait. 

Ava was finally naked and ready for her. 

It was enough to leave her speechless. 

"You know I wore lingerie basically every night except for tonight, right?" Ava said. "Sexy lingerie, Beatrice. I was so ready but no, this happens on the night I'm wearing no bra and sweats."

Beatrice laughed again and reached down to stroke her hands along the inside of Ava's calves. 

"Do you think that I'm bothered by whether you're wearing lingerie or not Ava?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava hesitated for a few moments. "I mean… I have some really good lingerie." 

Beatrice took her time moving closer, hands moving slowly up the inside of Ava's legs until she could lean down to kiss her again. 

"I don't doubt that, Ava." Beatrice said softly. "But think of it this way, sweatpants and no underwear means much easier access." 

Ava laughed. "Damn, a girl makes one comment about the merits of screw tops on wine…" 

"It seemed like a fitting comparison." Beatrice shrugged. 

Ava hummed. "Now, speaking of screwing and tops." 

"That was terrible." Beatrice shook her head. "Great segue, but terrible joke."

"...Bea, if it makes you fuck me right now I won't make another joke for the rest of the night." Ava said seriously. 

"Oh, I wouldn't want that, Ava." Beatrice said sincerely. "Your jokes are one of the things I love about you." 

She froze as the words left her mouth. 

Love? 

Christ, exposing herself by putting her heart on her sleeve. 

But love? 

Not as terrifying of a thought as she thought it would be. 

Loving Ava, that'd be an adventure. 

If Ava noticed the slip, she didn't call Beatrice out on it. 

Ava hummed thoughtfully. "Might still try to hold it back, nothing says mood kill like me asking if you're playing peek a boo with your fingers." 

Beatrice snorted. "As long as you don't actively say peek a boo, I think you'll be okay." 

"I think it'd be funnier with a strap on though." Ava said. 

Was that a hint of hopefulness in her tone? 

Beatrice would be lying if it wasn't on the very short list that she had. 

She moved her hands to curl around Ava's waist. 

"No spoilers, Ava. We have all night."

"Isn't that a spoiler in itself?" Ava grinned. 

Good point. 

…They were really bad at not talking. 

"Tell me Ava, what do you want first? My fingers or my mouth?" 

"Oh fuck. Choices." Ava replied. "Fingers please." 

Beatrice leaned over her, bracing one hand against the arm of the sofa beside Ava's head as she settled her above her. 

She reached between once more, sliding her palm down Ava's stomach. 

For the first time, they both fell silent. 

Beatrice kept her gaze focused on Ava, the deep, pleading want in her eyes. 

This was it. 

Two fingers pressed in with ease, and Beatrice could only watch as Ava's eyes fluttered shut, inhaling sharply. 

"Are you ready?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava nodded, opening her eyes slowly. "Please Bea. Please." 

Beatrice brushed her lips across Ava's and drew her fingers back, not quite pulling out before giving a tentative thrust. 

Ava moaned. "Oh fuck." 

"Okay?" Beatrice whispered, kissing Ava again as she began to set a steady pace. "Faster?" 

Ava's hands came up to rest against her shoulder blades and surprisingly, Beatrice heard Ava moan again. 

"Ava?" 

"I can…" She cut herself off to moan again, fingers pressing down into Beatrice's back. "Muscle. Hot." 

Beatrice chuckled and dropped another kiss to Ava's lips before she moved down, refocusing her attention on Ava's neck as she continued to thrust. 

The moment Beatrice brushed her thumb against Ava's clit, she bit down again. 

Beatrice didn't know what she loved more, the way Ava cried out or the way her hips bucked up into her hand. 

If in doubt, always choose both. 

Ava was glorious. 

She continued her movements, nosing along Ava's collarbones and down Ava's chest. 

It was probably a little dramatic, but Beatrice was sure that she would combust if she didn't get her mouth on those breasts immediately. 

She began to alternate her steady thrusts with the occasional curl of her fingers, moaning against Ava's chest when she felt nails dig into her skin. 

To finally get her lips around a taut nipple was worth the wait. Hearing Ava whimper when Beatrice carefully took it between her teeth and gently pulled? 

A spiritual experience. 

She felt Ava begin to rock her hips to meet her thrusts and Beatrice released Ava's nipple in favour of sucking a hickey into soft flesh. 

"Oh my God." Ava whimpered, voice getting higher with each gasping breath. "Bea, more. Please."

Beatrice brought her other hand down to Ava's breasts, alternating between kneading and stroking her nipple with her thumb. 

"Faster?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava moaned, nails scraping down Beatrice's back. 

"Please." 

Beatrice drew back up level with Ava as she picked up speed, curling her fingers each time her palm pressed against Ava's clit. 

Every time, Ava responded by grinding against her. 

Beatrice could feel Ava tightening around her fingers. 

She was going to get to watch Ava come. 

Ava was going to come on her fingers. 

That knowledge alone was enough to have Beatrice moan, silencing herself by kissing Ava. 

Ava licked her way into Beatrice's mouth, hand clutching at the back of Beatrice's head to keep her in place, rutting desperately into Beatrice's hand. 

Beatrice managed to break the kiss despite Ava's moan of protest. 

Ava's eyes were closed, lips parted as sounds of pleasure spilled out. 

"Sweetheart…" Beatrice began softly. "Open your eyes." 

It took a moment for Ava to comply, her pupils were blown as she met Beatrice's gaze, teeth biting down on her bottom lip. 

"Are you going to come Ava?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava nodded. 

"I can feel you. You're soaked." 

Ava tried to hold back her moan as she struggled to keep her eyes focused on Beatrice. 

Beatrice gave her nipple another quick pinch, smiling when Ava's mouth dropped open to moan. 

Ava, speechless. 

She never thought she'd see the day. 

The dirty talk was getting easier. 

"Don't hold back Ava." Beatrice kissed her again. "I want to hear you. I want to know that you're dripping because of me." 

"Fuck." Ava gasped, arching up into her again. "Don't stop." 

"I wouldn't dream of it." Beatrice whispered. 

Beatrice felt Ava's entire body begin to tremble against her, the movements of her hips stuttered and faltered. 

One more thrust. Another curl of her fingers as she pressed her palm against Ava's clit and she was gone. 

"Oh fuck. Beatrice…" 

It all happened at once. 

Ava's back arched into her, throwing her head back when she cried out. 

The nails scraped down Beatrice's neck and back. 

She could still feel Ava pulsing around her fingers, even as she collapsed against the sofa, arms falling to her sides, chest heaving. 

Beatrice was at a loss for words. 

It was the most glorious sight she had gotten to be witness to. 

The birth of a supernova could not compare. 

Beatrice began to slow her thrusts until she came to a stop, Ava whimpered as she sat up and pulled out, fingers soaked from her efforts. 

"Oh my God." Ava said eventually. "That was… Oh my God?" 

Ava propped herself up on her elbows and lifted her head to look at Beatrice. 

Beatrice committed the look of bliss on Ava's face to memory. 

"You've ruined me. This is it." Ava said seriously. "Life over." 

Beatrice laughed. "It was one orgasm, Ava." 

"And you're underselling yourself." Ava replied. "Full honesty? First orgasm someone has given me since…" 

"J.C.?"

Ava glanced away and let out a brief laugh. "Before him. I loved the guy, but he was not good at sex, bless him." 

"Well, that is a crime." Beatrice said. 

"Seriously Bea, holy shit. All of the awards to you." 

Beatrice regarded Ava carefully for a few moments before she reached forward and gently took hold of Ava's chin. 

"You say that as if that was it." Beatrice said softly. "I'm not done with you yet, sweetheart." 

Ava beamed. "Really?" 

"I can't let this end after only one time, Ava. So long as that is what you want." 

Ava drew in a deep breath. "Oh fuck." 

"Fuck indeed." Beatrice replied. 

She sat back and slipped her fingers into her mouth to suck them clean as Ava watched intently. 

When she pulled them out, she leaned back in to kiss Ava, who moaned at the taste of herself on Beatrice's lips. 

"Do you want to move this to the bedroom?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava kissed her again, harder before pulling back, eyes alight. 

"Not yet." 

"Oh?" Beatrice tilted her head to the side. "What do you want to do?" 

Ava grinned. "You. Preferably." 

Beatrice would be more than content to just see how many orgasms she could draw from Ava until this inevitably ended. 

But if Ava was offering? 

Oh, she wasn't going to miss that opportunity. 

"Anything you want, Ava." 

Ava sat up, hands resting on Beatrice's shoulders and pushing gently. 

"Sit back, minha querida." 

And there was the Portuguese. 

Ava knew exactly what she was doing. 

Beatrice allowed herself to be moved, turning to sit back against the sofa, legs sliding until her feet touched the floor. 

Ava didn't hesitate to climb into Beatrice's lap, weight settling onto her thighs as she slung her arms around Beatrice's neck. 

Oh.  

Beatrice rested her hands against Ava's lower back, stroking her thumbs against her skin. 

Ava smiled and brushed their noses together before she kissed Beatrice softly. 

It didn't stay soft for long. 

Ava kissed the same way Beatrice expected her to. Full of energy, attentive and exploratory. 

She knew when to press deeper, to listen to Beatrice's reactions and anticipate her needs. 

Ava understood Beatrice on an instinctive level, it only made sense that it would translate into the way that she kissed. 

It drove Beatrice crazy. 

When Ava took her bottom lip between her teeth, Beatrice was ready to melt through the sofa. 

As Beatrice moaned, she felt Ava smile and gave a gentle tug on Beatrice's lip. 

Ava released her and leaned back, still smiling. 

"I think it's time to take those jeans off, don't you?" Ava asked. 

"Definitely." 

"Skinny jeans too, you're lucky you're hot Bea, because this isn't gonna be seductive." 

Beatrice laughed. "I'm sure we'll survive." 

"I want to go down on you." Ava said. "Can I?" 

"Yes." 

There was zero hesitation. 

"That was fast." Ava grinned. 

"I want to see just how good you are with that mouth." Beatrice replied. She reached up to cup Ava's cheek. "And if the way you kiss is anything to go by, I have every faith in you." 

Ava glanced down, suddenly apprehensive. Her fingers brushed against the back of Beatrice's neck. 

"What if I told you I hadn't done that since my first year of uni?" 

Beatrice used the hand on her cheek to lift Ava's head, her tone serious as she spoke. 

"I would say that I don't care about that, Ava. I only care about you and us enjoying ourselves, okay?" 

Ava nodded. 

"Okay?" Beatrice repeated. 

"Okay." Ava smiled. 

Beatrice still felt the need to reassure Ava, to get that fire back in her eyes. 

"You're the first person I've had sex with for a while, Ava." Beatrice said softly. "And I can't say that I've had all that many partners." 

"Really?" 

Beatrice laughed. "Yes Ava, really." 

Ava had a look on her face that Beatrice took as it being a topic that she wanted to come back to at some point. But instead of pressing further, Ava leaned back in for another kiss. 

"I just want to make sure you enjoy yourself, Bea." 

"You definitely have no reason to worry." Beatrice replied. "Mutual attraction, enthusiasm and the willingness to listen to your partners body make up for so much of an encounter."

Ava dipped forward, and for a moment, Beatrice thought that she was going to kiss her again. 

Instead, Ava's forehead pressed against her own with a gentle bump. 

"I can say with confidence that I have all of those in spades, so don't doubt that." 

"Why would I doubt?" Beatrice smiled. She brought her hand up to between Ava's shoulder blades and rubbed a circle against the skin. 

Ava kissed her again and pulled back again, beaming. 

"Did I kill the mood?" Ava asked. 

"Not at all." Beatrice replied. "I like talking to you Ava, and it's important to communicate right now." 

"I really want to make a joke about communication and our history." Ava said. 

"And that doesn't surprise me at all." 

"But instead of that…" Ava began, reaching between them to get her hands on the button of Beatrice's jeans. "I think I'd rather talk about how hot you are." 

Beatrice smiled. "Is that so?" 

"Yep." Ava nodded seriously. "Would you rather me talk about how cute I think your freckles are? How I could happily just sit here and look at your eyes? Or do you want me to be so much more superficial and tell you about how much I think about these muscles of yours?" 

Ava's question was punctuated by the sound of the zipper being pulled down, though neither of their gazes faltered from each other. 

And as much as Beatrice wanted to latch onto the softer details Ava had picked up, she'd be a fool if she didn't admit that she wanted to get a glimpse into whatever fantasies lay in Ava's mind.

"I'd like to hear both, eventually." Beatrice replied. "But right now? I'll take option two." 

"Good choice." Ava said appreciatively. 

Jeans temporarily forgotten, Ava moved her hands to rest on Beatrice's biceps, her gaze shifted to track the movements of her own hands. 

"I wonder how strong you actually are. If you can lift me up onto a counter or better yet, hold me up against the wall." Ava hummed thoughtfully. "In this scenario you definitely have a strap on, my legs wrapped around you…"

Beatrice could picture it vividly, even more so as she closed her eyes and allowed herself to only focus on the way Ava felt in her lap and the words as she spoke them. 

She didn't stop herself from leaning in to kiss Ava's neck, to settle there and lavish it with attention as Ava continued to share her thoughts. 

"I'd hold you like this," Ava continued breathlessly, moving one hand to clutch at Beatrice's shoulder and sliding the other into her hair. "If you're marking me up, then I'd want to keep you there. But it'd all get too much for me. You know every spot that'll get a reaction out of me -" 

Beatrice sank her teeth into the skin above Ava's pulse. Ava stopped talking immediately in favour of moaning.

Her nails dragged down Beatrice's spine in response. 

"You'd… You'd keep fucking me. I'd beg…" 

Beatrice could see it. She could see Ava, sweating and whimpering, covered in hickeys. Clinging to Beatrice like her life depended on it. 

Could she hold Ava up against a wall? Most likely. 

It wouldn't be impossible. 

"Is that what you want? Do you want me to fuck you like that tonight?" Beatrice asked, lips brushing Ava's neck with each word. 

She stroked one hand along Ava's thigh. 

"Maybe." Ava whispered. "What do you want, Bea?" 

To press her fingers into Ava right now, to watch her roll her hips and ride Beatrice until she came undone. 

That was one thing she wanted. 

Beatrice pulled back to meet Ava's gaze. 

"Besides you?" 

Ava smiled. "Yeah." 

"For you to ride me. To be as you are now, naked and wet for me in my lap." 

"Wet wouldn't even begin to describe it, Bea." Ava mumbled. 

Beatrice moved her hand just enough for her thumb to brush the inside of Ava's thigh. 

Soaked. 

"Dripping." Beatrice said. 

Ava leaned in to kiss her. "Apenas para você, Beatrice." 

"Just for you?" Beatrice guessed. 

She felt Ava grin. "You're learning." 

"I don't want to bore you with my deductions that led me to that conclusion." 

Ava shifted to kiss Beatrice's cheek. "That wouldn't bore me at all."

"I'll rephrase it then." Beatrice said. "It'll be better suited for when we're not… Preoccupied." 

"Picking apart the similarities between certain languages and using context clues doesn't get you hot Bea?" Ava asked teasingly. "How many languages do you speak?" 

"Three fluently, but I'm… passable at Spanish and I read Latin." Beatrice answered. "And while it is a discussion I would deeply enjoy, I'd much rather go back to how you're dripping for me." 

Ava laughed again, wriggling happily in Beatrice's lap. "Getting a little impatient there Bea." 

Oh God. 

She was. 

Ava had been teasing her the entire time, whether Ava knew it or not. 

"Ava Silva," Beatrice began, her voice instinctively dropping an octave. "You've been teasing me." 

It was the smallest shift in posture, but Beatrice didn't miss how Ava's entire body seemed to straighten, be it at the use of her full name or the tone, Beatrice couldn't be certain.

"In my defence, it wasn't intentional. For as much as I really want more sex to be happening, I'm also enjoying learning more about you." Ava hurried to explain. She cupped Beatrice's face in her hands and leaned in closer. "Do you want me to make it up to you?" 

She brushed their noses together softly. 

Okay, they were getting back on track now. 

Beatrice made a point of humming thoughtfully. "What do you plan on doing?" 

Ava brushed their lips together and lingered there so that when she spoke, Beatrice felt every movement of her lips. 

"Vou comer você até você chorar meu nome." 

Beatrice was fairly confident that she got the general gist of what Ava had said to her. 

Not that she would admit it, if her brain hadn't ceased to function each time Ava had spoken to her in Portuguese until now, Beatrice would have probably been able to pick apart and understand a lot of what she had said to her before. 

She felt Ava grin. "Have you worked it out yet?" 

"I'm fairly sure that what you have in mind, you can't achieve from your current position." Beatrice replied. 

"I guess you're finally going to get me on my knees." Ava said. 

And Beatrice could hardly wait a moment longer. 

"You should probably get to it then." Beatrice said softly. 

Ava shuddered. "Oh yeah, more of that tone please." 

Not a problem. 

Beatrice placed her hand against Ava's chest, pausing for a moment to feel her heart hammering against Beatrice's palm. 

"On your knees." 

Ava grinned, ducking her head to get her lips around one of Beatrice's nipples, happy to spend a few moments there before she shifted off of Beatrice's lap to kneel between her legs. 

She dived back in, lips and hands finding Beatrice's stomach. Ava's hands didn't stay still, fingertips pressing into muscle, each touch drawing a rumble from Ava's lips. 

This girl really was obsessed with her abs. 

Beatrice was all too happy to let Ava indulge, letting out pleased sighs of her own with each graze of Ava's teeth. 

It wouldn't surprise her if she woke up tomorrow to find a constellation of hickeys across her body. 

She knew Ava was ready when Beatrice felt her thumbs hook under her jeans. Ava left a final, gentle kiss just above Beatrice's belly button before she drew back, looking up at Beatrice with bright eyes. 

"This is the entirely unsexy part Bea." Ava warned. 

Beatrice laughed and lifted her hips, Ava joined in too and didn't stop until they had both managed to peel the jeans from her body. 

It was incredible just how much fun Beatrice was having. 

Each moment held so many layers. The intensity behind each heavy look, the mutual attraction and pleasure they wanted to give to each other. The amount of comfort they felt that allowed them to pause, to talk and enjoy each other's company. 

The occasional awkward fumbling.  

This was what it was about. What it should always be about. 

It was real, it was beautiful. 

Their laughter faded when Ava set the jeans aside and lifted her head to meet Beatrice's gaze. 

Ava's expression shifted immediately. 

Beatrice waited. 

Ava settled back on her heels, eyes moving over Beatrice's body, taking in every inch of her. 

"Meu Deus…" Ava whispered. 

"Ava?" 

"Você é linda." Ava cleared her throat. "You're beautiful, Beatrice." 

Beatrice felt her ears burning. 

"I mean, I've said before how hot I think you are and all of the other compliments but… Yeah. Beautiful." Ava said. "I needed to make sure that you knew that." 

There was so much conviction in Ava's voice that there was no room for Beatrice to doubt that meant it with all that she had. 

"And if my words aren't enough…" Ava continued as her hands slid up Beatrice's legs, curling around her calves and giving a gentle tug. "Then let me show you. Can I show you?" 

Beatrice was already nodding. "Yes." 

Ava rose up on her knees, still tugging on Beatrice until she shifted closer to the edge of the sofa. 

She could see Ava's breathing get heavier, and could almost feel Ava's own anticipation as she shuffled the last few inches closer. 

Her hands moved up to Beatrice's knees, fitting so perfectly between her legs. 

Ava leaned down to kiss Beatrice's knee before turning her head to kiss the other. 

Beatrice didn't stop herself from reaching out to stroke her hand through Ava's hair. 

"Ava?" 

Ava lifted her gaze to meet Beatrice's. 

"The words are enough." Beatrice said. "The words are more than enough." 

She needed Ava to know that too. 

She watched Ava smile and then move again, lips brushing the inside of her thigh. 

"You'll tell me if there's anything you want me to do?" Ava asked in between pressing slow lingering kisses against each thigh, tongue darting out to drag across skin. "I - Fuck, I can taste you already. You're so wet." 

"You sound surprised." Beatrice replied. She flattened her palm against Ava's head. "That everything I've already seen tonight wouldn't drive me crazy, that hearing your cries, tasting and feeling you, being inside you… That having you on your knees for me as you are right now so ready and willing wouldn't turn me on as much as it is." 

Ava's teeth sank into the muscle of her thigh, earning a quiet groan from Beatrice. 

"Keep going. I want to hear." 

"The biting helps." 

Ava dragged her nails down the outside of Beatrice's thighs hard enough for Beatrice to give a little twitch. 

"You like the pain?" 

"As much as you do." Beatrice pointed out. 

Ava laughed. "Definitely a big fan of some good old fashioned rough housing." 

Beatrice definitely wanted to hear more about that .

"How rough?" 

Ava's laugh grew louder, pausing in her movements to press her forehead to Beatrice's thigh before she shifted enough to make eye contact. 

"This is about you, Bea." 

"I assure you Ava, hearing what arouses you plays a big part in my own." 

"Because you're such a giver." Ava said lightly. "And that's fine, but like I said, this part is about you." 

Ava took a moment to bite her again even as Beatrice felt her grin. 

"Besides…" Ava continued. "My mouth is about to be super occupied so I'm not gonna be bringing much to the table in terms of a balanced conversation." 

And as usual, Ava was right. 

It was also a lot to take in. 

To say that she had never met somebody like Ava was a fact in so many ways. 

"You're the first person to ask to do this." Beatrice said softly. "There have been others in my past who have done it but… Never at their own request." 

Ava looked almost saddened by Beatrice's admission. 

"Their loss." Ava leaned down to press a gentle kiss against her. "Because honestly? You have a killer vagina. Seriously, frame it and put it in a gallery." 

"Ava…" Beatrice laughed. 

"What? I'm serious." Ava grinned. "Also, vagina? Pussy? You got a preference?" 

A very simple question, but one that touched her all the same. 

"Either is fine." 

"Cool. Cool, cool. Well I stand by what I said. Good job here, well done." Ava said, giving Beatrice's vagina an affectionate pat. 

Which… 

Wait. 

Beatrice raised an eyebrow. "Did you just -" 

"Yep." Ava nodded, cheeks turning pink. "That was a thing that I just did. In front of you. To you." 

"You're adorable." 

Ava cleared her throat. "So, I'd like to move on from this little moment." 

"What do you propose?" Beatrice asked with a smile. 

Ava hummed thoughtfully. "That you go back to telling me what turns you on while I try to make you cry my name by doing this…" 

Her grip tightened on Beatrice's thighs and dove in, tongue pressing against her. 

Oh shit. 

Ava moaned against her as Beatrice's grip tightened in Ava's hair. 

It wouldn't be a huge leap to assume that Ava would be the type to appreciate some good old fashioned hair pulling, especially based on their moment earlier. 

To call Ava enthusiastic suddenly became a massive understatement. 

She moved with purpose, tongue sliding slowly through her folds, fingers digging in harder against her thighs. 

Beatrice shifted against her and moaned. 

Ava wanted her to talk, and Beatrice really wasn't sure if she was going to be able to manage that. 

Now that would be another first. 

"Fuck, you taste so good." Ava mumbled. "But you're being too quiet." 

No harm in giving Ava something to work towards. 

Beatrice dropped her voice a little lower. "You're going to have earn that, sweetheart." 

Ava moaned again, pressing her tongue firmer against her. 

Her tongue flicked against Beatrice's clit. 

"Oh." Beatrice gasped. "Fuck." 

Was Ava smiling? She was pretty sure she could feel Ava smiling. 

It was hard to tell when everything zeroed in on the way that Ava began to pick up the pace, mouth moving against her enthusiastically. 

"It… It turns me on that you're eager." Beatrice managed to say. "That you want to give this to me." 

Ava moaned louder. 

"It also turns me on that you're enjoying this too. That you want to do this, and not because you feel obligated." Beatrice continued through another gasp. "Seeing you on your knees. It's glorious." 

One of Ava's hands reached up to curl around Beatrice's wrist and squeezed. 

Beatrice understood immediately, steadying her hold on Ava's hair and pulled. 

Ava's moan was nothing but filth. 

It almost became too much when she felt Ava's lips close around her clit and suck. 

Beatrice could only be thankful that she didn't arch off of the sofa entirely or, god forbid, bump into Ava and send her flying. 

Even though she knew that should that have happened, Ava would have merely found it amusing. 

That, and the way Ava would get all delightfully smug. 

"Fuck. Ava…" 

Ava really had no need to be worried about her own abilities. 

There was no need for Beatrice to tell her where she needed Ava to focus her attention or how much pressure to use. 

She reacted instinctively, responding to the cues that Beatrice's body provided, the sounds that she made. 

It was a balancing act of teasing and indulgence, of knowing when to ease up as to not let Beatrice come too quickly. 

Beatrice was ready to concede there and then that Ava was much better at this than she was. 

Because good God, this girl was good with her mouth. 

Beatrice didn't even realise she was rutting against Ava's mouth until she felt Ava's hands on her hips. 

Not to stop her movements, but to pull her closer, to encourage Beatrice to grind against her. 

"Fuck." Beatrice moaned. " Fuck.

She really didn't have any other words. 

Beatrice couldn't make any other words. 

Reduced to a moaning mess during sex. There truly was a first time for everything. 

She had to close her eyes when she felt Ava's tongue begin to press inside. 

Beatrice wasn't sure which of them moaned louder, but it was enough to make Beatrice rest her other hand on Ava's head, fingers threading through Ava's hair. 

She was going to lose control. 

Unburdened. 

Beatrice forced her eyes open, looking down at Ava. 

She took in the messy tangle of hair, Ava's bare back and the light sheen of sweat that glistened against her skin. 

So beautiful. 

Ava interrupted her thoughts by pressing her tongue deeper, one hand leaving Beatrice's waist to blindly reach up to cup her breast, thumb brushing over her nipple as she fucked Beatrice with her tongue. 

Jesus Christ. 

Ava was fucking her with her tongue. 

Beatrice knew that she couldn't hold on much longer. 

"Ava…" Beatrice moaned. "Ava?" 

For the first time since this had started, Ava's gaze lifted. 

The eye contact alone almost sent her over. 

She wanted to praise Ava, to tell her what an amazing job she was doing. How incredible she was. 

Instead, only two words managed to come out. 

"Good girl." 

She could see the shiver that consumed Ava's entire body, the moan that seemed to echo through the entire room. 

Ava withdrew her tongue, although Beatrice didn't have a chance to miss the sensation before Ava focused her attention on Beatrice's clit again. 

She didn't break eye contact with Beatrice. 

Beatrice's legs were trembling, the tension in them building to the point where she could feel the beginnings of a cramp forming. 

Ava's hand left her waist and eased one of Beatrice's hands from her head, threading their fingers together and bringing them down to rest against Beatrice's thigh. 

Beatrice glanced at them for a moment before looking back at Ava's eyes. 

She came so hard Beatrice was fairly certain she blacked out for a few moments, only faintly aware of Ava's name falling from her lips in a desperate cry. 

Even as she came back to herself, Ava didn't let up, drawing it out for as long as possible until Beatrice whined. 

(When was the last time she had heard herself make such a sound?) 

It wasn't until her grip on Ava's hand tightened as Beatrice felt her back hit the sofa that Ava finally slowed down and with a few more gentle licks, came to a stop. 

Beatrice could only stare at the ceiling and try to remember how to breathe. 

She slowly drew her hand from Ava's hair as she felt Ava's hand leave her breast. 

Beatrice wondered if Ava had felt just how hard her heart was beating. 

There was a gentle squeeze of her hand. 

"Bea?" 

Ava's voice was just as, if not more gentle. 

Beatrice looked down, eyes meeting Ava's. 

The sight she was met was almost enough to make her come again. 

Ava was staring at her with those wide puppy dog eyes, shoulders moving with each deep breath that she took. 

Her cheeks were flushed. 

Her lips and chin were soaked. 

Ava's tongue darted out to lick at her bottom lip and Beatrice felt herself clench again, the subsequent moan slipped out before she could stop herself. 

Words. 

Words would be very useful right now. 

Until Beatrice could actually get her brain function up and running again, she settled for extending her free hand to Ava and giving a soft tug with the hand already holding Ava's. 

Ava took it without hesitation and rose up to her feet, the unsteadiness of her own legs was not lost on Beatrice as she swiftly settled back down onto Beatrice's lap. 

She eased her hands from Beatrice's to rest them on the back of the sofa, eyes still watching Beatrice carefully as she looked down at Beatrice. 

Beatrice let out a slow breath and reached up to cup Ava's cheek. 

"Beautiful." 

She kept them both steady long enough to watch the hopeful smile bloom on Ava's face before Beatrice drew her in for a kiss. 

When all words failed, Beatrice could only hope her actions filled the silence. 

All she could taste was herself on Ava's lips, and the moment Beatrice pressed deeper she found the same on Ava's tongue. 

Ava drew back and licked her lips again. 

"Was that okay?" 

Beatrice wrapped her arms around Ava's lower back and pulled her flush against her body, tipping her head forward to rest her forehead against Ava's chest. 

Ava's heart was racing. 

"My words… Fail me." Beatrice replied softly, closing her eyes to lose herself in the rhythm for a few moments. "Take that as a very good sign." 

She felt Ava's chin rest on the top of her head as she laughed. 

Her arms closed around Beatrice's shoulders and held her tightly. 

"All that running my mouth has paid off then." Ava said. "Good to know." 

Beatrice smiled and kissed Ava's chest. "You really had no need to worry, Ava. I'm still waiting for full feeling to return to my legs." 

"Not gonna lie, knees aching. Entirely worth it though." Ava said. "Getting to see you come like that and knowing that I did that to you…" 

"It feels good, doesn't it?" Beatrice asked. 

They both drew back and watched as Ava grinned. 

"Incredible." Ava replied. 

They were content to admire each other for a few minutes. 

Beatrice was torn between kissing her again and just watching her. 

She didn't know how she was going to be able to keep her hands off of Ava now that she knew how it felt. 

Beatrice reached up to take hold of Ava's chin, using her thumb to wipe some of the traces of herself from Ava. 

"You called me a good girl." Ava said. 

"And I meant it." Beatrice replied. "You were incredible, sweetheart. You are a good girl." 

Ava shivered again, eyes falling shut for a few seconds. 

She wasn't ready to let this end yet. 

Not when there was so much more they could do. 

"And do you know what good girls get, Ava?" Beatrice asked softly. 

Ava opened her eyes and looked at Beatrice imploringly. 

"Rewards?" 

"Whatever they want." 

Ava whimpered, a sound that Beatrice quickly interrupted as she leaned in for another kiss. 

Ava kissed back passionately, desperately and it wasn't long until her hips were rolling, grinding down against her. 

It was Ava who broke the kiss first, nose skimming Beatrice's cheek until her lips found the shell of her ear. 

"Take me to bed?" She asked quietly. 

She pulled back and Beatrice nodded, releasing her hold on Ava so that she could get to her feet, Beatrice followed her up. 

Beatrice took hold of Ava's hand again and began to lead her down the hallway towards the bedroom, thankful to have her to focus on instead of the lingering tremors in her legs. 

"I know you told me of your fantasy -" 

"One of them." Ava interrupted. 

Oh to know what other thoughts Ava was holding back. 

Beatrice laughed and came to a stop. "Yes." 

She turned to face Ava and pressed her up against the wall, earning a grin in return. 

"Bambi legs?" Ava guessed. 

Beatrice frowned. "Bambi legs?" 

"Yeah, you know, Bambi on ice? Flailing and sliding all over the place?" Ava explained. "Cause right now it's kind of a miracle I haven't ended up flat on my face. Gonna take a stab in the dark that you're in a similar boat." 

Beatrice kissed her. "You assume correctly. And if I were to drop you I'd never forgive myself." 

"Your Mr Darcy is showing again." Ava teased. 

Beatrice dipped her head to kiss Ava's neck. "Only if that makes you my Elizabeth." 

She was glad that Ava couldn't see her face right now. 

Comparing them both to one of the most iconic romantic pairings in literary history. 

…Definitely not laced with a deeper meaning at all. 

Even if Beatrice meant it with her whole heart. 

She really had to stop slipping like this. 

Ava laughed. "I'm more than okay with that." 

And just like that, Beatrice's anxieties were eased. 

"Besides…" Ava continued. "There's plenty of things we can do that don't involve walls. I'm pretty sure you mentioned something about riding?" 

Oh she had. 

She really had. 

Beatrice pressed their foreheads together, watching as Ava smiled. 

"Let's get you to bed first, and then we can figure out our next step." 

 

--

 

Sinking onto Beatrice's bed felt like she was falling onto a cloud. 

It was pretty apt considering that Ava felt as though she was on cloud nine. 

She was also pretty certain that her heart was now incapable of slowing down. 

Each beat was a call to Beatrice. 

Beatrice, Beatrice, Beatrice. 

The girl in question was moving around the room, drawing the curtains shut and moving to turn on the lamp by the bed, casting the room in a sudden bright light. 

"Sorry." Beatrice murmured, fiddling with the lamp again to turn the brightness down. 

Now that was some mood lighting. 

"You have a sexy mode on that thing?" Ava asked, rolling onto her side and propping her head up on the palm of her hand. 

"A worthy investment, it would seem." Beatrice replied. 

She turned to kneel at the side of the bed, leaning over to kiss Ava. 

How could kisses be so tender but have so much passion? 

She really was falling hard and fast. 

Ava would willingly be the Elizabeth to Beatrice's Mr Darcy. 

She never wanted to forget how Beatrice tasted. 

Beatrice broke the kiss and smiled. "Now… As I said, you can have anything that you want." 

"Anything?" 

"Anything." Beatrice reached up to brush Ava's hair behind her ear. "Hands, mouth…" 

Her gaze shifted towards her closet, only fleetingly. 

"Or something else?" Ava finished. 

Beatrice nodded. 

How would Beatrice react if Ava said she wanted everything that Beatrice could had to offer. 

What if she wanted Beatrice's heart? 

(And oh, she did.) 

"Tell me what you want, Ava." 

Ava leaned in, hoping that Beatrice could see the want in her eyes. 

Judging by the intensity she was met with, Ava knew that she had succeeded. 

"I want you to put it on." Ava said. "And I want you to fuck me until every sound, every touch bleeds into just you and I." 

Beatrice took a deep breath and for a moment, said nothing. 

"For you?" Beatrice whispered. "Anything." 

She leaned in for a brief kiss and got back to her feet. 

Ava sat up and watched as Beatrice made her way to the closet, opening the door and bending over to rummage inside. 

Oh. 

Hello Beatrice's ass. 

Nice to meet you at last. 

"God. I love your ass." Ava said appreciatively. 

Beatrice laughed. "Thank you." 

"Seriously Bea, leak the workout routine." 

Beatrice turned around, harness in one hand and in the other… 

Holy shit, three dildos? 

Three?

"I think I'm about to give you a workout to remember, Ava."

Ava threw her head back and laughed. "That was good." 

"You must be influencing me."

"I like the sound of being an influence to you." Ava replied. She gestured to the toys in Beatrice's hand. "So um.. Three?" 

She wasn't opposed to trying new things, but like… break her in gently. 

Beatrice seemed to pick up on Ava's line of thought as she laughed again. 

"Little extreme for a first time, Ava." Beatrice said, the amusement as present as ever. She approached the foot of the bed and set each one down. "Options, Ava. Take your pick."

"Well don't I feel like a kid in a candy store." Ava said, casting a fleeting glance over each one. 

She didn't need to look to know that Beatrice was looking at her fondly. 

"You take a moment to decide while I put this on." Beatrice said. 

Ava looked up and grinned. "Is this your way of distracting me so you don't have to worry about me watching you put it on?" 

Beatrice actually looked sheepish as she smiled back. "That obvious?" 

"Little bit." 

"It's been an extremely long time since I've had the need to wear this Ava, if I didn't believe in proper maintenance it would have cobwebs." 

Ava snorted. "No judgement Bea. Take your time, I won't look until you're all… Strapped in." 

"I'll make it worth your while." 

"That I don't doubt." Ava replied. She dropped her gaze back to the dildos. One red, one blue and one green. "So again, I get options, but three?" 

She could hear Beatrice moving just out of her line of sight, the sound of leather sliding against skin. 

"Look closer Ava. I'm not just presenting you with different colours." Beatrice said. 

Upon a closer inspection, Ava found that they all differed slightly in size. 

Oh shit. 

Beatrice really meant options. 

The green one was the smallest of the three, the red being the largest. 

Which… Good to know. 

But for now, the middle of the road option felt like a solid choice. 

Seeing all three laid out the way they were and the colours of each one that reminded Ava of something. 

She just… Couldn't remember. 

"I have a pink one too. It vibrates, if that's what you want." Beatrice offered.

Oh. 

Well shit. 

Ava traced her fingers along the length of the blue dildo. "Good to know but… nah, no vibrating tonight." 

She just wanted it to be Beatrice. 

"That's fine. I'm finished by the way." 

Ava looked up and smiled at the way Beatrice stood in front of her, one hand toying with one of the straps. 

God, she wasn't going to survive this. 

"You look good. It suits you." Ava said. 

Beatrice smiled. "Cute, but these never look good, Ava." 

"Not true. I like what I'm seeing." 

"Have you chosen?" Beatrice asked. 

Oh! 

Dots connected suddenly. 

Ava laughed and looked down at the toys. "Oh my God." 

"...Ava?"

"Pokemon colours!" 

"What?" 

Beatrice looked completely confused. 

"You got Bulbasaur, Squirtle and Charmander." Ava pointed to each toy in turn. "The original starter Pokemon." 

Some kind of recognition passed over Beatrice's face. "Ah…" 

Ava laughed. "And I can tell by the look on your face that you didn't do that on purpose." 

"Not at all." 

"Well this is the one for me." Ava picked up the blue one and held it out for Beatrice. "Squirtle, I choose you." 

Beatrice watched her expectantly for a moment, not reacting when Ava snorted and doubled over. 

"Squirtle." Ava laughed. "Because squirt -" 

Beatrice had already closed the distance, ducking her head to kiss Ava before she could finish her joke. 

Ava definitely didn't miss being interrupted this way. 

"You're adorable." Beatrice said as she drew back. She took the toy from Ava's hand. 

She attached it to the harness with surprising ease, focusing for a few moments to make sure it was secure. 

"Now…" Beatrice lifted her head and focused her attention on Ava. "Protection. Do you want me to use a condom?" 

Ava couldn't help but smile. 

But she couldn't help but think back to one of their first conversations, that day when they bumped into each other outside of the sex shop. 

Even without the knowledge that neither of them had had a sexual partner recently, she knew Beatrice took care of her toys. 

Hell, she had recommended the store's cleaning spray that day. 

"I'm good if you are." Ava replied. 

Beatrice nodded. "I am." 

They fell into a brief lull of silence. 

This was about to happen. 

So much had already happened, but this was just… A whole other level. 

"Where do you want me?" Ava asked. 

"For now just… Make yourself comfortable." Beatrice replied, picking up the other toys and setting them down on the floor. 

Ava settled for shuffling back across the bed, closer to the headboard. 

Beatrice climbed onto the bed after her, crawling across the covers until she was hovering above Ava. 

She leaned down to brush their lips together, easing Ava back until she lay down before she leaned to the side to open the draw of the bedside table. 

Ava glanced over to see Beatrice pull out a bottle of lube. 

"Always prepared." Ava said fondly. 

"Comfort is key, Ava." Beatrice replied, sitting back on her heels and popping the cap open. 

An idea struck her. 

Ava sat up quickly, Beatrice blinked in surprise and reached out to steady her. 

"Ava?" 

Ava stilled Beatrice's hand with her own, gently prying her fingers open to take the lube from her. 

"Let me." Ava whispered. 

She watched Beatrice swallow. "You… You don't have to." 

"I want to." 

Beatrice relented and let her arms fall to her sides. 

Ava smiled and squirted some into the palm of her hand, setting the bottle aside and bracing her other hand against Beatrice's thigh. 

She met Beatrice's gaze, shivering at the hunger that she could see in her eyes and wrapped her hand around the base of the toy.

They both seemed to hold their breath. 

Ava watched Beatrice's face for any reaction as she began to move her hands, sliding up to the tip and back down again. 

Beatrice seemed to be watching her for the same reason. 

It truly felt like they were equally lost in one another. 

Ava repeated the same motion a few more times before she steadied her grip and pressed the base against Beatrice. 

The sound that came from Beatrice's lips was to die for, the way that she closed her eyes and gave the slightest jerk of her hips? Even more so. 

Ava grinned and did it again. 

Beatrice was always such a measure of control, so cool and suave. 

Ava had gotten to see the smaller cracks during the time they had gotten to know each other. 

It was a testament to just how much trust they felt with each other already that led Ava to be witness to Beatrice now. 

She was seeing that control slip now as Beatrice gave jerky thrusts of her hips into Ava's hand. 

And it was overwhelming that Beatrice trusted her this much to let Ava see. 

It was glorious. 

Beatrice was glorious. 

Ava leaned in until their noses were barely touching. 

"Open your eyes, Bea." 

Beatrice did so immediately and smiled. 

"That's my line." 

Ava grinned. "I know." 

Beatrice's gaze dropped, watching Ava's hand move steadily and let out a slow breath. 

"You're driving me crazy." 

"Believe me, the feeling is mutual." Ava replied. 

Beatrice reached between them to still Ava's hand. "How do you want to do this?" 

Any and every way. 

"Dealers choice Bea." Ava said. "You let me go down on you, you should get to choose first position." 

Beatrice chuckled, low in the back of her throat. 

(Beatrice with the sexy low laugh, top five in attractive sounds that's for sure.) 

"It's supposed to be your choice, whatever you want, remember?" 

"I know." Ava brushed their lips together. "And what I want is for you to do what you want." 

Beatrice laughed and reached up to press her hand against Ava's chest. 

"Lie down, Ava." 

Fuck yes. 

Ava lay back, head hitting the pillow. Beatrice didn't follow her down, instead, she took a few moments to look down at Ava. 

Her hands moved over Ava's hips, taking in every inch of her. 

"Stunning." 

Ava could only smile back. 

When Beatrice did finally lean down, her lips replaced her hands, leaving a trail of passion in her wake. 

Ava closed her eyes and let herself focus on the sensations, each brush of Beatrice's lips, the touch of her tongue and graze of her teeth. 

She was going to be finding traces of Beatrice on her for days.

The first kiss that Beatrice dropped to her lips was soft and sweet. 

The second was considerably less so. 

It was all tongue, teeth closing down on her bottom lip with enough force to have Ava moaning and arching up into Beatrice. 

Beatrice pulled away and smiled down at Ava, brushing her fingers against Ava's lips. 

"Can I turn you over?" 

Oh fuck. 

Oh shit okay. 

"Flip me like a pancake, Bea." 

Beatrice blinked at her for a few seconds. "Um -" 

"More of a waffle girl?" Ava asked. 

"If I were to choose between the two, pancakes. But right now, you're my only priority." 

Ava beamed. "Sit up for a sec, I'm gonna flip." 

Beatrice complied and as soon as she was out of reach, Ava rolled onto her stomach, folding her arms under her head against the pillows. 

Ava felt Beatrice's fingers press against the base of her neck and trailed down her spine, coming to a stop at her lower back. 

The touch didn't falter, it only grew softer. 

Ah. 

They had faded so much over the years. 

But Beatrice had seen. 

"Car crash when I was a kid." Ava supplied.

"I see." 

Ava hummed into the pillow. "I'll tell you more about it tomorrow. It's definitely a mood killer." 

"You don't have to, Ava." Beatrice replied softly. 

"I want to." 

As much as she was used to talking about it now, the topic of her dead mom was definitely not pillow talk conversation.

She felt Beatrice move and soon felt Beatrice's lips touch the scars. 

Her weight settled on Ava's thighs as she kissed her way back up Ava's spine. 

Beatrice kissed behind Ava's ear. 

"Do you still want to do this?" Beatrice asked. 

Always checking in. 

Ava laughed. "Bea, I appreciate your concern but I would very much like for you to be inside me." 

She felt Beatrice smile. 

"Not a problem." 

Beatrice sat up and shifted her weight again causing Ava to almost moan again as she felt the pressure of the toy rest against her ass. 

Which okay, holy shit. 

Holy shit. 

Beatrice's hands moved over the curve of her ass as she let out an appreciative sound. 

"You really don't need for me to give you workout tips Ava. Every part of you is perfect. Enticing." 

Her words carried so much emotion, so much affection, so much want. 

And Ava was going to give. 

"Bea." Ava lifted her hips slightly to press into Beatrice's touch. "Take me. Faço mim implorar. Make me beg, I want you to fuck me until I beg." 

She heard the sharp intake of breath. 

One of Beatrice's hands pressed down, holding her steady against the bed, the other leaving her body. 

Oh shit. 

She had the clear image of Beatrice wrapping her hand around the base of the toy as she guided it into Ava. 

Beatrice did so slowly, sliding in until she was buried inside. 

Ava was pretty sure she saw God.

Beatrice's palms came to rest on Ava's lower back. 

"Okay?" Beatrice asked. 

"Oh my God. Yep." Ava nodded into the pillow. "Good and peachy." 

…Peachy? 

Beatrice laughed quietly. "I'm going to start slowly, okay? For both our sakes." 

Ava smiled. "Need to get a feel for things?" 

"I do." 

"Then feel me up, Bea." 

Just as Beatrice said she would, she started slow, pulling back out part way and sliding back in with slow rocks of her hips. 

"Okay so far?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava only moaned in response. 

Beatrice faltered for a moment. "Is that a yes?" 

"God, yes." Ava replied. "Don't stop." 

"The same, or faster?" 

"Faster." 

Beatrice moved her hands to hold Ava's waist, fingers pressing in as she picked up the pace slightly, grinding against Ava with each thrust. 

Ava felt every movement. 

Jesus Christ. 

Talk about sensory overload. 

But Ava wanted more. She needed more. 

Ava curled her fingers into the sheets and moaned. 

"Keep making those sounds, love." Beatrice said. 

Love. 

British term of endearment or not, Ava moaned louder. 

She tried to lift her hips again, to press back to meet Beatrice's movements. 

There was something so unbearably hot in the way that Beatrice pushed her down again. 

It wasn't a case of Beatrice taking her own pleasure from this, not when so much of her focus was on giving everything to Ava. 

But the illusion of Beatrice taking her in that way. 

Jesus fucking Christ. 

Beatrice grinded against her for a moment before she leaned forward, the sudden shift causing the dildo to press against a very specific spot. 

Ava couldn't even stop herself from bucking up into Beatrice as her weight rested against her back. 

The pillow did very little to muffle her moan. 

Beatrice's arms slid underneath her to wrap around Ava's chest, her chin coming to hook over her shoulder. 

She rolled her hips again, pressing against that spot with ease. 

Ava closed her eyes and moaned again. 

"Is this better?" Beatrice whispered into her ear. 

Beatrice knew exactly what she was doing. 

Ava nodded. 

"I want to hear you, Ava." Beatrice said, licking at the shell of her ear. 

Yep. Definitely knew what she was doing. 

Not that Ava had any reason to doubt. 

"Fuck." Ava gasped. "Yeah." 

One of Beatrice's hands slid down to pinch Ava's nipple as she moved to nuzzle her cheek against Ava's. 

"Good. Do you want me to touch you? Or can you come from this?" 

Considering that each time Beatrice thrusted into her was enough to have Ava seeing stars, it was a pretty safe bet to say that she could. 

"Oh this is definitely enough." Ava mumbled. "I might actually combust if you go anywhere near my clit right now." 

"Noted." Beatrice laughed. "Are you going to beg for me yet?" 

Now that was a loaded question. 

One that had plenty of options for fun times to ensue. 

Time to do what she did best. 

"That depends." Ava whispered. "Do you want to try and make me come just from fucking me like this? Or do you want to tease it out and make me wait, never knowing if you have the skills to actually do it?" 

Beatrice's teeth found her earlobe. 

"Brat." 

Ava waited until Beatrice was about to snap her hips again before lifting her hips to meet her thrust. 

Beatrice moaned with her. 

"And don't you forget it." 

Beatrice moved her attention to Ava's neck, grazing her teeth against her pulse and begging to roll her hips with a renewed effort. 

"Oh I won't." Beatrice replied. "You want me to make you beg? I'll make sure to deliver. The night is still young." 

Oh God. 

What a time. 

Beatrice rolled her hips again and Ava pressed her face into the pillow to muffle herself. 

"Now, now. I want to hear you, remember?" Beatrice teased, punctuating her statement with another roll of her hips. "No pillow biting, sweetheart." 

All Beatrice's were hot. 

Top Beatrice taking charge? 

It was a good thing that Ava was lying down, her legs were very much at risk of giving out. 

Beatrice moved her attention, brushing her nose along the back of her neck. 

Ava melted. 

She could be so soft. 

And then Beatrice changed the pace entirely, sucking a hickey into her skin with enough force that Ava felt the pleasure spread down her spine. 

She moved her hips in quick, shallow thrusts, each one earning a cry for Beatrice's efforts. 

It was a good thing that it seemed that Beatrice had opted for the first option and that she wasn't trying to tell Ava when to come. 

(which, wow okay, file that thought away for later.) 

Because when it happened, there was truly no stopping it. 

Her entire body tensed, arching up off of the bed, pressing her ass against Beatrice as she snapped. 

Beatrice held her steady, forehead pressed against the back of her neck as she continued to thrust whispering words of encouragement as Ava moaned her way through her second orgasm.

She didn't stop even as the aftershocks began. 

"Oh fuck." Ava moaned, the force of her grip on the sheets tightening to the point where her fingers ached. "Oh fuck, Bea -" 

She didn't even have the chance to finish her sentence before Beatrice fucked her straight into a third orgasm. 

Was it possible to die from multiple orgasms? 

"That's it sweetheart."Beatrice encouraged. "Good girl." 

Ava was sure she was going to find out. 

Be still her fragile, frantically beating heart. 

One of Beatrice's hands moved to rest against Ava's throat as she moved back to whisper in her ear. 

"Do you want to try for a third?" 

Ava whimpered. "I think you're going to kill me." 

Beatrice clicked her tongue. "Giving up so soon? Where has all that bravado gone?" 

Oh. 

Sexy taunting Beatrice. 

Sexy taunting and challenging Beatrice. 

Ava had no problems matching that energy. 

"Oh not at all Bea." Ava replied, drawing a gasping breath. "I'm just thinking you let me up so I can contribute a little more." 

Ava turned her head to the side, resting her cheek against the pillow as she felt Beatrice move to try and see her as clearly as possible. 

"What did you have in mind?" 

Ava grinned. "Doggy? You can really cut loose, show me what you've got." 

"Show you what I've got?" 

"Yeah, you know, get a little rough. Do it like they do on the discovery channel?" 

She could sense Beatrice's confusion. 

"Seriously? Bad Touch? Bloodhound Gang?" 

Only more confused silence. 

Ava opted for singing. "You and me baby ain't nothin but mammals." 

"Oh." Beatrice replied. "Oh!" 

"There it is." Ava laughed. 

Beatrice leaned around to kiss her softly. "How rough do you want?" 

For all of their teasing and playful back and forth during the fucking, it felt just as good that Beatrice would drop the entire act to make sure they were on the same page.

"Well you still have to get me to beg, so I'll let you make that judgement call." Ava replied. 

"I appreciate the trust." Beatrice said. "But I do want to make sure I'm not crossing any lines." 

Ava smiled. "I get it. How about tonight we just keep it standard fucking with some good old fashioned dirty talk? Save the kinky shit for another time." 

It was a little awkward to see clearly, but Ava didn't miss the slight raise in Beatrice's eyebrows or the way her entire expression seemed to soften at the mention of another time.

The implication of possible spanking and such being a romantic declaration. 

Who'd have thought. 

"Okay." Beatrice kissed her again. "Only a little rough then." 

"Sounds like a plan." 

Beatrice hummed and sat up, hands curling around Ava's waist, lifting her hips up to ensure the toy didn't slip out as she moved. 

"On your knees then, love." 

And what a plan it was. 

Ava rose up onto her knees to meet her, bracing her hands against the bed. 

Oh boy, did her muscles all ache in protest at that. 

She was really going to be feeling this for days. 

Beatrice rubbed one hand across Ava's lower back for a few moments and slid it up to Ava's neck, gathering her hair in one hand to brush it over one shoulder. 

"You know, my hair is good for pulling." Ava suggested. 

Beatrice hummed. "I know. We'll see, sweetheart." 

God, Ava really liked it when Beatrice called her that.  

"Do you need more lubricant?" Beatrice asked. 

"Bea, if you use any more you're gonna be dealing with a slip 'n slide down there." 

Beatrice laughed. "I know. You're dripping all over the sheets." 

"Send me the dry cleaning bill." Ava replied. 

Moment of silence for Beatrice's sofa. 

"Oh don't worry about that." Beatrice said, giving a quick snap of her hips. 

Ava accepted the fact that she was going to have to hold onto the sheets once more. 

"Shit, Bea." 

Beatrice took hold of Ava's waist and pulled out until just the tip remained. 

"Are you sure you want it rougher?" 

Yep, definitely time to hold the sheets. 

Ava curled her fingers into the material, felt the anticipation in her chest immediately spike to an unbearable level. 

"Y-Yeah." 

"Faster?" 

"Yes." 

Beatrice's voice grew surprisingly soft. "Deeper?" 

Ava nodded. "Fuck. Yes." 

Here lies Ava. 

Who got fucked to death by the hottest human she ever met. 

She came, she saw, she definitely didn't conquer. 

(Emphasis on the coming) 

With a firm thrust, Beatrice bottomed out inside of Ava. 

There was no time to react beyond letting out a cry, the jolt of pleasure that shot through Ava was almost enough to have her arms give out. 

Beatrice had chosen her pace and she was going to stick to it, rolling her hips with each deep thrust. 

Ava had said that she wanted to contribute more, it was why she had suggested this position in the first place. 

Her thoughts drifted back to Beatrice's reaction when she had been lubing up the dildo, the way that Beatrice had slipped for just a moment and thrusted into her hand. 

That slight pressure was enough to get a response from her. 

Would she be able to get Beatrice to come from fucking her? 

Ava was certainly going to try. 

If she could figure out the rhythm Beatrice was setting, that was. 

It was a good thing Beatrice liked to hear her moan so much, because Ava was getting very accustomed to hearing herself moan with every other breath.

"I thought you wanted to contribute, Ava." Beatrice said, gasping herself. 

Hello sexy taunting Beatrice, good to see you again. 

Let's go. 

Ava pressed back as Beatrice thrust forward, earning a quiet but noticeable gasp from the girl behind her. 

"What was that, Bea?" Ava asked. 

Beatrice tightened her grip on Ava's waist. "You're going to have to do better than that." 

A side of light goading with their dirty talk? 

Nice. 

"Funny. I was going to say the same thing to you." 

It did the trick though, as Beatrice tightened her grip and rocked into her more intently, one of Ava's arms gave out, just for a moment. 

Beatrice laughed and was quick to lean over her and wrap one arm around Ava's chest to stop her from falling. 

"You were saying?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava steadied herself again, though Beatrice didn't let go. Instead she slid her arm down to wrap around Ava's stomach. 

The fingers of her other hand dug into Ava's waist. 

"That you're really good at fucking?" Ava suggested. 

"That's what I thought." Beatrice replied. Her voice softened again as she paused, just for a moment. "Are you okay?" 

"I'm good. I'm steady." Ava said. 

"You sure?" 

Ava pressed back into her, wishing she could see the look on Beatrice's face as she moaned again. 

She was going to make sure they both came from this, that was for damn sure. 

"Does that answer your question?" Ava asked. 

"I suppose it does." 

Beatrice began to thrust again and it began to get increasingly hard for Ava to focus on anything beyond the way she moved against her, the toy inside her or the sounds they each made. 

Each gasping breath. 

The sound of their bodies connecting with each thrust. 

Their moans in perfect harmony. 

Complete overload. 

It didn't take long for Beatrice's hand to leave her stomach and move back up to her shoulder. 

Ava knew what she was going to do even before Beatrice took hold of her hair. 

She didn't pull sharply, but enough to have Ava craning her head, to arch her back. 

"Tell me Ava…" Beatrice began, pausing to moan. "God, you arch so beautifully. Tell me, what would you do if I told you that you couldn't come until I said so?" 

Ava whined. "I'd beg you to let me. But… But I'm not there yet. So you're not gonna get that." 

She interrupted Beatrice's thoughtful hum by pressing back into her again. 

Beatrice's thrusts stuttered. 

Her hand moved around to Ava's stomach, lingering for a moment before she slipped it lower. 

The moment Beatrice touched her clit, it was almost game over. 

Ava sent a silent thanks to whatever higher force that her legs didn't give out. 

"Are you sure about that?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava moaned. 

Beatrice moved her fingers in a steady rhythm, neither of them were oblivious to the fact that their thrusts were stuttering. 

Ava wasn't going to last much longer, not now that Beatrice was touching her too. 

"Shit, Bea -" 

"How about now, Ava?" Beatrice asked. "I can feel you trembling. How much longer will you last?" 

Not much. 

She was on the edge. 

Beatrice's fingers moved away from her clit, drawing a frustrated whine from Ava. 

"I'm sure that if I change my angle just a bit, I'll press right against that spot again." Beatrice continued. "Imagine how amazing it would feel if I did that and touched your clit at the same time." 

Oh shit. 

Oh fuck. 

Now she had to know how that felt. 

"Please." Ava gasped. "Beatrice, please." 

"Oh, you can do better than that, Ava." Beatrice tutted. 

Ava closed her eyes and kept up with Beatrice's moment as she pressed back to meet each thrust. 

Beatrice's grip went slack on Ava's hair and clutched at her shoulder instead. 

"Fuck." Beatrice gasped. 

She had to be close too, they were both so keyed up even before they'd switched to this position. 

Ava had to give Beatrice this. 

"When you let me come, I'm going to cry your name. My arms and legs are going to give out because I'm already struggling with how much of a wreck you've made of me…" Ava paused to take some deep breaths, focusing on the moans Beatrice was making. "All I'm going to think about is you, and all I'm going to want to do is ask you to fuck me again." 

"A-again?" 

"I want to see your face." Ava whispered. "I want you to see how much of a mess you've made of me." 

"Fuck, Ava -" 

Beatrice's movements stuttered again, thrusting into her and staying still for a few moments before she shifted into short but frantic movements. 

Her arm draped around Ava's chest as she doubled over, pressing against her back. 

Beatrice's moans were so loud in her ear, her heartbeat thundered against Ava's back as she came undone. 

Ava wanted to reach up to hold her hand, but considering she was kind of keeping them both upright at the moment, it was just too risky. 

"Ava…" Beatrice gasped. 

"Can I come Bea?" Ava asked. "Please, I want to come for you." 

"Yes…" Beatrice's forehead pressed to her shoulder, her fingers brushed against her clit. "Come for me, Ava." 

Beatrice thrusted again, and just as she had predicted, the slight shift in angle combined with a couple quick circles of Ava's clit was enough to tip her over. 

And just as Ava had said, her knees and arms gave out, Beatrice's name tore itself from her throat. 

Beatrice had enough sense of self to catch herself before she fell on top of Ava, the dildo slipping free. 

Buried into the pillows, breathing was a bit more of an effort, but Ava's brain and limbs weren't communicating right now so she was resigned to spending the next few moments in darkness, listening to Beatrice's breathing above her. 

Eventually, she became aware of Beatrice kissing her. Slow, gentle presses across the expanse of her back, each one lingering a little bit longer until Beatrice came to a stop with her lips pressed to the base of Ava's neck. 

Beatrice stayed like that for a few moments before Ava felt her hands on her sides, and then she was being moved, gently rolled onto her back until Ava was face to face with Beatrice.

Some of Beatrice's hair had come loose from its neat bun, the stray hairs clung to Beatrice's. 

God, they were both sweating. 

She could see how Beatrice's chest was moving with the effort of each breath. 

Ava craved to be in her arms. 

 

--

 

Ava was the most beautiful soul that Beatrice had ever met.

That had been a fact that Beatrice had known for a while. 

But she was still trying to wrap her head around the sight before her. 

Ava looked wrecked, there was no other word to describe it.

Sweaty, gasping for breath and loose limbed. Eyelids heavy but gaze intense as she stared up at Beatrice. 

She was glowing. 

Beatrice felt like she was glowing too. 

Ava offered a crooked smile. "Hi." 

"Hi. 

All they could do was smile at each other. 

"Hi." Ava said again. 

Beatrice laughed. "Are you okay?" 

"Eu vi as estrelas, minha querida." 

When she didn't offer a translation, Beatrice committed the sentence to memory. 

There was a weight behind her words that Beatrice craved to feel. 

Beatrice stroked her hand along Ava's ribcage. "Did you mean it? About what you wanted to do next?" 

She hadn't been oblivious to what Ava had been doing, how each time Ava pressed back into her had sent a jolt of pleasure through her. 

But it had been Ava's words that had broken her. 

The fact that Ava wanted to see her face so much, that she wanted Beatrice so much. 

Beatrice stretched out on top of Ava, arms sliding up her body and under her back, Ava grinned and wrapped her own around Beatrice's neck. 

The dildo pressed against Ava's stomach, resting somewhat uncomfortably between them, though neither of them could find it in themselves to care. 

It was hard to care when Ava was pulling her down into a kiss, lips moving tenderly against her own. 

She could feel Ava's smile and the way that her legs shifted, knees coming up to bracket her body. 

Their tongues slid against each other, each of them trembled in the other's arms. 

God, Beatrice was trembling. 

Every sensation, every emotion felt like they were dialed up to the point of being too much. 

It was all because of Ava. 

"Okay?" Beatrice asked. 

"More than." Ava replied. "You?" 

"Yes." 

A thousand times yes. 

"Is it weird to compliment one on their fucking technique?" Ava asked. "I mean either way, you're really fucking good." 

Beatrice laughed. 

She laughed so much when she was with Ava. 

"Not weird." Beatrice replied. "And for what it's worth, you are too." 

Ava grinned. "Yeah?" 

"Considering you just made me come without actually touching me Ava, I wouldn't look so surprised if I were you." Beatrice said softly. 

Ava laughed and stroked at the back of Beatrice's neck. "Was it good?" 

"Wonderful." Beatrice replied, leaning down to kiss her. "You're wonderful." 

Ava stopped her from pulling back by kissing her again, keeping her grip steady on Beatrice to keep them close. 

They traded a few more lazy kisses before Ava shifted, leaving a fleeting kiss to the corner of Beatrice's mouth before moving along her cheek. 

Beatrice closed her eyes and smiled. "What do you want to do now?" 

"Do you have it in you to go again?" Ava asked. 

Beatrice was definitely getting close to her limit. Her muscles were beginning to ache, it was impossible to focus on her heart long enough to try and regulate its rhythm. 

The endorphins had well and truly flooded her system. 

"I do. And this isn't me trying to get a rise from you, but are you sure you can handle more?" 

Ava laughed into her. "Yeah Bea, I can handle more." 

"Okay. This position?" 

Ava's answer was to drop one hand from Beatrice's neck and slide it between them, moving down to curl her fingers around the dildo, giving it a gentle pull. 

"You might need to lift up for a sec." Ava said. 

Beatrice complied, lifting up her hips. 

Ava smiled, using her hold to guide Beatrice. 

As much as Beatrice wanted to watch Ava's face, there was an insistent tug in the back of her head that made Beatrice want to look down. 

Ava seemed to understand. 

(She always understands) 

"I'm not going anywhere Bea." She said softly. "Look." 

She looked down and watched Ava's hand slide lower, wrapping around the base as she guided it in slowly. 

Beatrice held her breath and moved her hips. 

Ava moved her hand out of the way just as Beatrice pressed all the way inside. 

Beatrice lifted her gaze, for as much as she was completely enamoured by Ava's entire body, it was always going to be her face that Beatrice found herself drawn back to. 

Those eyes, that smile. 

Beatrice leaned down to kiss that smile. 

She lowered her arms so that their bodies were pressed together once more. 

"Okay?" 

Ava kissed her again. "Okay." 

Beatrice rolled her hips slowly, drawing out every thrust as Ava slid her fingers into Beatrice's hair. 

At this point, Beatrice was surprised that her bun had held out for as long as it had, both from the efforts of the last few hours and Ava's apparent fixation on her hair. 

The nails of Ava's other hand pressed into her shoulder. 

"What do you need Ava? Faster? Harder?" 

Ava pulled her closer until their foreheads pressed together. "I don't need anything more. Just this." 

She shifted her legs to bracket Beatrice's waist again and squeezed gently. 

"This is perfect, Bea." 

They didn't need to talk anymore, not when every inch of them were touching like this. 

Beatrice could feel every beat of Ava's heart against her chest, every gasp of Ava's breath against her lips when she rolled her hips. 

Each whimper when Beatrice paused to grind against her, sounds that Beatrice was quick to swallow with a soft kiss of her own. 

In the moments where Beatrice lifted her head enough to see Ava's face clearly, she was met with nothing but calm. 

Serenity. 

Peace. 

Beatrice had never thought to describe sex as peaceful. 

It felt dangerously close to lovemaking. 

No. 

That wasn't the right word. 

There was nothing dangerous about this. 

Ava stared up at her. 

God, those eyes. 

Endless. 

She grinded against Ava for a few moments drawing more whimpers from her, Ava craned her head up, a silent plea for another kiss. 

Beatrice was all too happy to oblige. 

"Bea?" Ava gasped. 

Beatrice brushed Ava's nose with her own and pressed their foreheads together. "Yes?" 

"Do you… Do you still want me to -" Ava moaned. "Fuck, do you still want me to ride you?" 

Oh God. 

Beatrice kissed her again, sliding her arms under Ava. 

She leaned back, making sure not to let the toy slip out as she pulled Ava up with her. 

Ava moved eagerly, wrapping her arms around Beatrice's shoulders to keep herself steady. 

In any other situation, Beatrice could see herself holding onto the headboard, bracing herself so that she could fuck up into Ava. 

How could she bring herself to take her hands off of this girl? 

She couldn't, to put it simply. 

Instead, Beatrice slid her hands down to Ava's waist. 

"Okay?" Ava asked. 

"Yes." Beatrice kissed her chest, feeling her pulse against her lips. "You?" 

Ava cradled Beatrice's face in her hands. "Oh yeah." 

Beatrice could see a question behind those eyes. 

"What is it?" Beatrice asked. 

"Can I… Can I take your hair down?" 

Beatrice smiled and nodded. "Of course you can." 

Ava moved one hand from Beatrice's face up to the back of her head and gently pulled the hair tie from her hair. Beatrice felt her hair fall across her shoulders and back. 

Her other hand left Beatrice's face, fingers combed through her hair softly, nails scraped across her scalp. 

It felt so good that Beatrice wanted nothing more than to melt against the girl in her arms. 

"Thank you." Ava whispered, leaning in to kiss Beatrice's forehead and then down to her lips. 

She rolled her hips into Beatrice, sighing quietly, hand cupping Beatrice's face as she shifted to press their cheeks together. 

Ava moved slowly, lifting herself up in one breath and rolling her hips as she let herself sink back down with each breathy exhale against Beatrice's ear. 

Out of everything else they had done tonight, this was it for Beatrice. 

This would be the point of reference for her thoughts and dreams. 

The quiet sincerity of each movement Ava made, the gentle touch of her fingers against Beatrice's skin, still surprisingly gentle even as her nails pressed into Beatrice's back. 

Ava moved her head to rest it against Beatrice's shoulder, her movements didn't falter. 

"Do you want me to touch you?" Beatrice asked softly. 

She felt Ava shake her head. 

"If you do, I'll come." 

"Isn't that the goal?" 

Ava laughed and kissed her shoulder. "Yeah, but not yet. I don't want this to end yet." 

Beatrice understood entirely. 

They both knew that this was going to be the last time for them. It wasn't even just because they both lacked the stamina to do this again. 

How could they top this moment? 

It was the perfect conclusion. 

Or, if Ava were pointing this out, she'd most likely make it into a clever pun. 

(perfect climax?) 

Beatrice smiled at the thought and turned to press her lips to Ava's temple. 

She guided Ava's movements, thumbs rubbing against her hip bones. 

"This can last as long as you want it too." Beatrice replied. 

"What if I don't want it to end?" Ava asked. 

"It doesn't have to." 

Beatrice hoped that Ava knew she meant that outside of this moment. 

They haven't talked about it yet, and Beatrice knew that it wasn't a conversation to have tonight, it was one best saved for tomorrow. 

But this couldn't be a one night stand, Beatrice could feel that fact in her chest. 

She could sense it in every touch Ava gave her too. 

Beatrice needed to see her face again. 

"Ava?" Beatrice began gently. "Can you look at me?" 

Ava lifted her head from Beatrice's shoulder and met her gaze. 

Her eyes were shining. 

There was so much emotion. 

Ava's movements slowed to a stop. 

Beautiful girl. 

How Beatrice wished to call Ava hers. 

"Do you mean that?" Ava asked. 

Beatrice reached up to cup Ava's cheek and stroked her thumb at the corner of her eye. 

"You know I do." Beatrice replied. 

Ava turned her head to kiss the palm of Beatrice's hand before she leaned in, taking Beatrice's face in her hands once more to kiss her deeply. 

She began to move again, riding Beatrice at a steady pace, refusing to break the kiss they were sharing. 

Even as they continued to kiss, Ava moved her arms to wrap around Beatrice's neck. 

"Make me come, Beatrice." Ava whispered. 

Beatrice moaned and slid her hand down, brushing her fingers against Ava's clit.

Ava jerked against her, moaning into Beatrice's mouth. 

"Beatrice -" 

"It's okay Ava, come for me." 

It only took Beatrice's words and one more brush against Ava to have her coming in Beatrice's arms. 

Ava cried out, nails dragging sharply down Beatrice's back. 

"God, Bea." 

It was the loudest, the most desperate that Beatrice had heard her. 

Ava's hips moved a few more times, the most frantic she had been since they had changed positions. 

Her head dropped back to Beatrice's shoulder, burying herself into the crook of her neck. 

Beatrice pressed her hand to the back of Ava's neck as her body jerked with aftershocks against Beatrice's. 

She rubbed the back of Ava's neck. "I've got you, Ava." 

Even as the aftershocks faded and Ava finally stilled, Beatrice could still feel every inch of Ava trembling against her. 

Ava held onto her tighter and nuzzled closer. 

Oh. 

Nuzzling. 

Beatrice stroked the back of her neck. 

"God Bea." Ava mumbled. "Holy shit." 

Beatrice wrapped her other arm around Ava's lower back. 

She felt Ava go limp against her. 

Ava must be exhausted. 

"Sleep?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava was still locked out, after all. She couldn't cast her out into the hallway. 

Not that she wanted to. 

God, the idea of being apart from Ava right now was a thought that Beatrice didn't want to entertain. 

Ava nodded. 

Beatrice held Ava steady as she leaned forward, gently pushing Ava back down against the pillows and pulling out. 

Ava shivered as she did so and collapsed against the bed. 

There was a moment where Ava closed her eyes, her lips stretched into a grin. 

She laughed, quietly, but full of joy. 

Beatrice knelt in place and watched fondly, hands going to the harness to begin unfastening it. 

"God, Bea, that was…" Ava opened her eyes. "Incredible doesn't even begin to describe it." 

There was a considerable lack of grace as Beatrice freed herself from the harness, turning as she let herself drop down beside Ava and using her foot to kick the strap off of the bed.

She turned her head to the side to look at Ava. 

"You were incredible, Ava." 

"You did all the heavy lifting." Ava replied, turning her head and smiling softly. "I just kinda took it like a champ." 

Beatrice reached up to brush her fingers against Ava's cheek. "You really aren't giving yourself enough credit, sweetheart." 

Ava's smile only grew fonder, but Beatrice wasn't done yet. 

"It was incredible because it was you." Beatrice continued. "Because it was both of us." 

Beatrice had never experienced what she had tonight with anybody else. 

Ava smiled and closed her eyes, leaning forward to press their foreheads together. 

"You can't sleep yet Ava." Beatrice said softly, laughing when she saw Ava pout. 

"Why?" 

"Bathroom first, Ava. Then you can sleep, promise." 

Ava rolled onto her back and made a sound of protest, one that had Beatrice laughing and leaning over to kiss her. 

"This has been a wonderful night, Ava." Beatrice said, cradling her cheek in her hand. "A UTI would truly ruin it, yes?" 

Ava snorted. "I know, you're right."

She sat up with a faint groan, and Beatrice followed her up, climbing off of the bed first and doing the best to ignore the small aches in her body. 

"There's a spare toothbrush under the sink, still in the packet." Beatrice said as she moved to pick the harness up off of the floor. "Help yourself to anything you want or need."

"Thank you, Bea." Ava replied. 

Beatrice offered her a smile before she ducked her head to detach the dildo. 

She heard sheets rustle as Ava slid across the bed. 

The next thing she heard was a small yelp from Ava followed by a subsequent thud. 

When she looked up, Ava was nowhere to be seen. 

"Ava?" 

"Ow." 

Beatrice abandoned her task in favour of hurrying around the bed in time to see Ava roll onto her back, laughing breathlessly as stared up at Beatrice. 

"You broke me." 

She knelt down at Ava's side. "Are you okay?" 

"My legs are literally shaking. You've fucked me to death, Bea." 

Beatrice laughed as she helped Ava back to her feet, Ava was still laughing as she pressed her head into Beatrice's shoulder. 

"Can you walk?" 

"Yup." Ava nodded. "Just give me a sec to get my balance." 

"Are you sure?" 

Ava pulled back and moved up onto her tiptoes to give Beatrice a quick kiss on her nose. 

"I'm good. I'll be back in a couple minutes." 

Ava stepped away and slowly turned away, disappearing towards the bathroom. 

Beatrice waited for the door to close before she turned back to the bed, she moved the dildo and harness to the dresser, making a note to deal with cleaning them tomorrow and picked up the others to put them back in the closet. 

While she was in there, Beatrice pulled out an old, oversized t-shirt. 

She wasn't sure if Ava would want something to sleep in, but Beatrice wanted to make sure to at least offer. 

This was the part that Beatrice wasn't certain how to navigate, so much had changed between them now. 

What were Ava's levels of comfort here? 

…What were hers? 

All Beatrice wanted was to be close to Ava and be with her. 

Beatrice was still thinking about it when Ava emerged from the bathroom and walked back into the bedroom. 

Ava looked questioningly at the shirt and back up to Beatrice. 

"Oh, I… I wasn't sure if you wanted anything to sleep in." Beatrice explained, walking up to her to press the shirt into Ava's hands. "So you can borrow this if you'd like. I'm… I'm going to get ready for bed so yes, if you need it then use it… I'll be back." 

When had she gotten so nervous? 

Stuttering was not something Beatrice was accustomed to, especially not after having just fucked someone through five orgasms. 

Ava's expression was a mix of amusement and mild confusion as Beatrice stepped around her to head towards the bathroom. 

 

--

 

Ava stood in the middle of Beatrice's bedroom, holding the shirt in her hands. 

Beatrice had shifted from actual sex god to an adorable stuttering mess. 

She loved it. 

Ava lifted the shirt to study the graphic on the front, only to burst out laughing. 

The centre of the shirt contained a bowl of ramen, the text on the shirt read 'Send Noodz'. 

Judging by how faded the graphic was, Beatrice had gotten some wear out of it. 

Ava couldn't stop smiling. 

She lifted the shirt to her face and inhaled deeply. It smelled like Beatrice. 

Ava hugged the shirt to her chest.

Did Beatrice give Ava the shirt so that she could sleep on the sofa? 

Even with everything they had done, Ava didn't want to assume that she was welcomed in her bed. 

Safer to assume the sofa. 

At what point should Ava ask Beatrice if she wanted to date her? 

Probably… After they've been on an actual date. 

Okay yeah. Date and then asking to go steady. 

Go steady? What was she, a teen in the fifties?

Either way, Beatrice as a girlfriend, a solid yes please on that. 

Beatrice walked back into the room, pushing a hand through her hair and freezing in her tracks as she found Ava exactly where she left her. 

Ava clutched the shirt to her chest and met Beatrice's confused gaze. 

"Ava?" Beatrice took a couple of steps forward. "What is it?" 

"I…" Ava glanced towards the door back towards the living room. 

Beatrice seemed to understand exactly what Ava had been about to say, shoulders relaxing as she smiled. 

She walked closer, still smiling as she reached up to rest her hand on top of Ava's and leaned in to kiss her cheek. 

"You're adorable. You're sleeping in my bed, Ava." 

"Oh." Ava replied, grinning. "Nice." 

"If you want to, obviously." 

"I do. Very much." 

"Good." 

"Love the shirt by the way. Stellar pun." 

Even in the muted light, she could see Beatrice's ears turn a shade darker. 

"Cam gave it to me." Beatrice replied. 

"And clearly you loved it." 

"I think we both know I can appreciate a well timed pun." Beatrice pointed out. 

Ava hummed. "That's true. If it's all the same with you though, I'll give clothes a pass?" 

"That's fine by me, sweetheart." Beatrice said. "Saves me finding clothes for myself too." 

Sharing a bed. 

Naked bed sharing. 

There was very little that could make this night better. 

"Do you have a preference for which side you want?" Beatrice asked. 

"Nah, you?" 

"No." Beatrice gently took the shirt from Ava's hands and set it aside. "Go ahead." 

Ava headed towards the bed, pulling back the covers and sliding underneath, the sheets were so soft and cool to the touch, Ava didn't bother to resist the urge to wriggle against them as she made herself comfortable. 

She heard Beatrice laugh as she climbed in beside Ava, leaning over to turn off the lamp before she settled down and drew the covers back up over them. 

"So I know I've already said this…" Ava began. "But I think it warrants a second mention so I can admire just how good you are at sex." 

Beatrice laughed. Considering how she had fucked Ava to the point where her legs couldn't even function, there was a distinct lack of smugness. 

She just seemed… Happy. 

Content. 

Not that Ava could blame her. Ava felt it too. 

Was there a cloud ten? Ava was on that now. 

"I'm glad I could give you that." Beatrice replied quietly. 

She rolled onto her side, propping herself up on one elbow to look down at Ava. Her other hand came to rest on Ava's cheek. 

Even in the dark, Ava could see Beatrice clearly. She could see the pure light in those eyes. 

"I am too." Ava said, just as softly, reaching up to cover Beatrice's hand with her own. "I've wanted this for a long time, Beatrice." 

Beatrice stroked her cheek and leaned down to kiss Ava's forehead. 

"Close your eyes." 

Ava did, and a few moments later felt the feather light touch of lips brush against her left eyelid, and then, the same on her right. 

It was so soft, so tender that Ava could have cried. 

Beatrice said so much with that gesture. 

And Ava felt nothing but affection. 

Beatrice brushed their noses and then their lips together. 

As Beatrice drew back, Ava opened her eyes and saw the same feelings in her heart reflected back in Beatrice's eyes. 

"Thank you." 

Ava didn't know why she said it, just that it felt right. 

It felt like Beatrice had given her so much more than just a memorable night together. 

Beatrice smiled and stroked her thumb affectionately across her cheek once more. 

"Go to sleep, Ava." Beatrice whispered. 

"Just a heads up… I tend to cuddle when I sleep." Ava said. 

Beatrice laughed and lay back down beside her, draping an arm around Ava and sliding closer. 

She pressed her lips to Ava's shoulder. 

"That's fine, Ava." 

Ava's hand covered Beatrice's arm, her fingers seeking out the inside of her wrist and stroked her fingers against the skin before she turned her head to the side. 

She pressed herself as close to Beatrice as she could. 

"Goodnight, Beatrice." 

Beatrice kissed her shoulder again. 

"Goodnight Ava." 

 Ava smiled and closed her eyes, taking comfort in Beatrice's arm wrapped around her. 

It was because of Beatrice that sleep claimed her so easily. 

She drifted off smiling.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

When Beatrice woke, the sun was still in the early stages of its ascent, bathing the room in a soft pink glow. 

If Beatrice were to hazard a guess, she'd say that it was around the time her alarm would usually go off, her body more than accustomed to its usual routine. 

There would be no running today, not that Beatrice could find it in herself to care in the slightest. 

Not when she had the steady weight of Ava at her side, arms around Beatrice to keep her close. 

Ava's face was buried into her neck, lips pressed to her skin as she drew each quiet breath. 

One of Beatrice's own arms was wrapped around Ava, keeping her against her. 

Ava was so still, so calm. 

If not for the physical proof of Ava sleeping in her arms, or the fact that Beatrice could feel the lingering aches in her muscles, she wouldn't have believed that last night had actually happened. 

God. 

Last night had happened. 

And the catalyst for it all happening had been because Ava had locked herself out. 

It had been a small miracle that Lilith hadn't turned up knocking at her door, key in hand and interrupting them. 

Which begged the question, where was Lilith? 

She must have had a good night with Camila. 

Oh, Camila. 

She was going to have a field day when she found out. 

Those were things to think about later though. 

For now, Beatrice closed her eyes and relaxed into Ava. 

She'd get up soon enough, but Beatrice wanted to enjoy this peace for just a little longer. 

 

--

 

Ava came to with her face buried in the pillow, arms splayed across the expanse of the bed. 

Ava stretched out, feeling her muscles pull and letting out a pleased groan into the pillow. 

She let herself relax, smiling to herself as she felt the sun on her back. 

Ava blamed her half asleep brain for taking until now to realise that she was the only person in the bed. 

Beatrice? 

Ava lifted her head, eyes immediately finding the empty space beside her. 

There was a note waiting for her on the pillow Beatrice had once occupied. 

Ava sat up as she picked the note up and unfolded it. 

I didn't want to disturb you, sweetheart. Come and have breakfast when you're up. 

Ava smiled, holding the note close to her chest before letting herself fall back against the bed. 

Beatrice probably didn't even mean for the note to come across as a romantic gesture, as small as it was. But that was what made it all the more touching. 

Ava forced herself to leave the warmth of Beatrice's bed, stretching again once she was standing. 

It was surprisingly cool in Beatrice's apartment, more noticeable now that there was no rush of chemicals going through her body or the sensation of Beatrice's body against her own.

She grabbed the t-shirt that Beatrice had set aside for her and pulled it on before she wandered out of the bedroom. 

When Ava reached the kitchen, she was greeted with one hell of a spread. 

As soon as she saw the plates of food and registered the smell of bacon, Ava's stomach rumbled. 

She was always down to eat, so it definitely wasn't a surprise to know that last night's activities had left her starving. 

Ava made a note to herself that if she got to have sex with Beatrice again, to definitely pack up on the calories beforehand. 

She hopped up onto the stool and immediately reached for a slice of bacon, it was perfectly crisp and the moment Ava bit into it, she let out a groan. 

God, she already knew Beatrice was a solid cook but this was next level. 

At this point the only thing Ava knew that Beatrice was bad at was interpreting signals and thinking people were dating. 

She didn't register Beatrice approaching until her arms circled Ava's waist. 

"Good morning." Beatrice greeted softly, lips brushing against Ava's neck. 

Oh. 

Ava could get used to this. 

She groaned around the mouthful of bacon. "Morning." 

"Is it the bacon or me making you sound like that?" Beatrice asked. 

"Both. But it's definitely more in your favour." 

Beatrice laughed and drew back so that Ava could turn to face her properly. 

She was dressed in shorts and a tank top, hair still loose down her shoulders. 

"I was going to ask how you slept." Beatrice said, sliding into the seat beside her. 

"But you figured it was kinda pointless because I was comatose when you woke up?" Ava guessed. 

"Essentially, yes." Beatrice set an empty plate down in front of Ava, a glass and cutlery followed next. "Do you want coffee? I know you preferred iced but I didn't have enough time for that." 

"I'll take a coffee." Ava laughed, her eyes skimmed over the spread of food once more and she gasped. "Oh my god, pancakes?" 

Beatrice reached for the pot and poured them each a cup. "It's the strangest thing, I woke up with a sudden craving for them." 

She moved the milk and sugar closer to Ava so that she could help herself. 

Ava grinned. "That is strange." 

Beatrice was still smiling as the two of them began to load their plates with food, Ava noticed how Beatrice seemed to lean more towards filling her plate with fruit to go alongside her pancakes, quietly pushing the syrup closer to Ava as Ava leaned more in favour of bacon and eggs. 

It wasn't that Ava had expected it to be awkward between them after last night, but it was a relief all the same that the comforting energy that Ava felt when she was beside Beatrice had carried over to now. 

And maybe she should wait until after they've eaten to start the conversation, until they've had the chance to wake up properly. 

But Ava had gotten a taste of what they could be together. 

Quite literally. 

And Ava wanted to know if it was something that they could have. 

She made her decision as she took another slice of bacon and took a bite. 

"I know it was implied when I asked you the other day about the whole bowling thing…" Ava began swallowing her mouthful of food. "But do you wanna go on a date with me? Emphasis on the date part, if you still want to go, that is." 

To say Beatrice choked on her coffee was a bit of an overstatement, but she certainly did have to stop herself mid sip, eyes serious yet hopeful as she turned to face Ava. 

"Really?" Beatrice asked. "Are you sure?" 

Ava smiled. "Why wouldn't I be? Beatrice, I asked you to go out with me a couple days ago, all last night did was make me even more certain that I want to go." 

Beatrice glanced down at her coffee and set it down as Ava continued to speak. 

"There's no pressure and if you don't want this to be a thing I can respect that, same goes for if you just want this to be a casual friends with benefits thing. Or just friends. But I'd still really like it if we could go out and just… Have fun and -" 

Beatrice leaned over to kiss her, gently interrupting Ava's ramblings. 

"I would love to go on a date with you Ava." Beatrice replied. "Emphasis on the date part." 

Ava grinned. "Yeah?" 

"Yes." Beatrice drew back, eyes still serious even though she was smiling. "But I have to admit, it does make me nervous." 

"About going out with me?" Ava asked. 

"A little. Yes." 

Ava didn't mean to laugh, but she did so with a lot of affection. 

"Bea, you spent a majority of last night inside of me. I think we're past the point of nervousness." 

It wasn't just Beatrice's ears that turned red, it spread to her cheeks too. 

"It's different." Beatrice said softly. "I think we've established that I'm not good at dating." 

Ava nudged Beatrice's calf gently with her foot. 

Beatrice Kline, giver of multiple orgasms, now nervous at the thought of an official date with Ava. 

It was touching in its own way, it was a different type of nervous energy than what Ava had picked up on during the blind dates. 

Though to be fair, after the first date, Beatrice only really seemed to make her nervous was how worse each date could be in comparison. 

This was Beatrice being nervous about not being a good date for Ava. 

Ava was going to put those nerves at rest. 

Food forgotten, Ava leaned forward, hand moving to rest against Beatrice's bare thigh. 

"Think of it this way, Bea. Every night you came to my apartment after your dates, the night I had dinner here. Hell, even the time at the diner or the night at Lux, an argument could be made that those were all miniature dates." 

Beatrice gave a soft laugh. "And last night?"

"A date too." Ava leaned forward and brushed her nose against Beatrice's. "Or the culmination of weeks of sexual tension. Whichever you'd prefer." 

Beatrice's hand came up to cup her cheek. "Both, but may I present a third option?" 

"Of course." 

"A night that I will hold dear forever."

Ava grinned and leaned into the touch. "Your Mr Darcy is showing again." 

"I'm okay with that." 

"My point is though Bea, with all of the time we've spent around each other, with everything that we did together last night, you have nothing to be nervous about." 

Ava leaned in to kiss her, careful to keep it chaste. 

It was Beatrice who pressed deeper. 

"I just…" Beatrice mumbled in between each kiss. "I don't want you to be disappointed." 

"Not possible. I'm not sure if you've noticed Bea, but I kind of love being around you." 

Beatrice smiled into their next kiss. 

"Besides…" Ava grinned. "If you're scared I'll beat you at bowling, you can just say so. I won't judge you." 

Beatrice drew back, raising an eyebrow as she smirked. "I'm going to destroy you." 

"You already did that last night." Ava pointed out. "This time you get to put your fingers in different holes."

Beatrice snorted. "I'll never understand how you think of those jokes so fast." 

"Oh, I took a course in punning." Ava replied. "Did I not mention that?" 

"You didn't. But I look forward to hearing all about your education. On our date." 

"Our date where I crush you at bowling." Ava said. 

She had no doubts that Beatrice would wipe the floor with her. Ava wasn't even good at bowling, but it wasn't about being good, she just wanted to have fun. 

"Keep talking like that, Ava." Beatrice said, leaning in for another kiss. "See how well it goes." 

"That's what I'm hoping for." Ava grinned. She held up the slice of bacon. "Want a bite?" 

Beatrice leaned forward and took a bite, leaning back as she chewed. 

"You should eat before it gets cold." Beatrice said. 

Ava reached for her coffee and took a sip, each of them turned back to face their breakfasts, though Beatrice shifted her leg to press her knee against Ava's. 

"What were you doing before I came in? I didn't see you when I sat down." 

Beatrice paused as she stabbed at a strawberry with her fork. She smiled. 

"I was checking my emails. I also had to put my phone on charge." 

Oh. 

"Oh shit, my phone. I should probably check that at some point." Ava said. 

She'd say that Lilith would probably think she was dead or something for not checking in, but Lilith knew that Beatrice had invited her in and if she were worried about Ava's safety she would have just kicked down Beatrice's door.

In a way, Lilith had played a decent part in last night's events. 

That was kind of hilarious, big sister helped get Ava laid. 

"Go check your messages, Ava." 

"But… Breakfast." 

Beatrice lifted the fork to Ava's lips and smiled. "Get your phone." 

Ava laughed, leaning forward to take the strawberry into her mouth before she slid from the stool to dart over towards the sofa. 

Beatrice had picked up their clothes from last night and had set them on the coffee table. 

Ava fished her phone out of her sweatpants, unlocking it as she dropped the sweats back onto the table. 

Damn, twenty percent left on her battery. Her phone had held on like a trooper. 

She had a bunch of emails to sift through, it was safe to say most of them would be work related and therefore, Monday Ava's problem. 

The six texts she had were all from Lilith, each one had about ten minutes between each one, save for the final text, sent about an hour after the last.

Lilith 
Having fun?

Lilith
I'm taking the silence as a yes. 

Lilith 
…Definitely a yes. 

Lilith 
Oh you're 100% having sex. I'm not even going to bother calling. 

Lilith
Still? Jesus Ava. I'm on my way over. 

Lilith 
I'm leaving the key under the mat. Call me tomorrow. Have fun. 

"Everything okay?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava hummed as she moved back to sit back on the stool. "Lilith dropped the key off last night. She totally knows we slept together." 

"Did… Did she hear us?" 

Ava laughed. "If she did, she didn't say. She worked it out based on the radio silence." 

"Ah." 

Ava dropped her phone onto the counter and rested her cheek in the palm of her hand to grin at Beatrice. 

"Though if she did, it definitely would have been you she heard." 

Beatrice raised an eyebrow. "Bold statement for someone who begged on multiple occasions." 

"Don't act like you didn't love it." 

They stared each other down for a few moments, Beatrice doing a slightly better job at holding back her smile than Ava was doing. 

Ava cracked and laughed, Beatrice followed soon after, leaning forward to rest her hand against Ava's neck. 

Her gaze dropped to her neck, thumb brushing softly over the skin. 

"I did." Beatrice replied sincerely. "Do you need to call Lilith?" 

"Not right now." Ava said. "But I'll text her now, just to let her know I'm okay." 

"Good." 

Beatrice's gaze stayed on Ava's neck, her thumb continued to graze her skin. 

"I'm guessing you haven't gone into the bathroom yet?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava hummed, tilting her head slightly. "No, why?" 

"You mark easy." 

Ah. Hickeys. 

So that was what had gotten Beatrice's attention. 

"I bet I'm covered in them." Ava murmured. "Are you?" 

Beatrice inhaled slowly and drew her thumb away before leaning in to kiss her neck. 

"Yes. My thighs, hips… Stomach." 

"Abs?" 

Beatrice laughed into her neck. "Yes." 

"I'd ask to see, but I don't know what I'd do to you if I did." 

Well, she knew what she'd like to do. 

It just involved a lot of touching and mouth on skin. 

Ava definitely wasn't opposed to the idea, but maybe they should try to refrain from that for a little while. 

At least until after tonight. 

Beatrice pressed another kiss to Ava's neck and drew back, smiling the entire time. 

"I wouldn't be opposed to the idea, but I do understand. Hands to ourselves then?"

Ava reached over to take hold of Beatrice's hand and threaded their fingers together. 

"Maybe not entirely to ourselves." Ava said. "Just… No naked times?" 

Beatrice laughed softly and lifted their hands to press her lips to the back of Ava's. "Okay." 

She rested their hands on top of Ava's thigh. 

God, she was so pretty in the morning. 

"Although… Wanna make out?" Ava asked. 

Beatrice laughed. "Breakfast first, Ava. Then… I'm sure we can figure something out." 

Ava grinned. "Querida, you have yourself a deal." 

 

--

 

An official date with Ava. 

There was no room for doubt, Ava had made it clear. 

Ava had also made it vaguely clear that as much as she wanted to, they probably should refrain from doing anything… More. 

Well, sex. 

It made sense, they had already done things somewhat backwards by sleeping together first, not that either of them were complaining in the slightest. 

But today was about a real first date. 

Ideally one that involved more hand holding and this easy back and forth banter between them. 

And if she could have more of Ava pushed up against a hard surface while they made out as they were now, even better. 

Because having Ava up against the kitchen counter as they traded slow, deep kisses? Incredible. 

Beatrice was careful not to let her hands go to where her shirt cut off part way down Ava's thighs, instead opting to keep them firmly on the counter either side of Ava. 

Ava's arms were around her neck, body arching into her own, grinning against Beatrice's mouth in between presses of her tongue. 

"What time should I be ready for?" Beatrice asked, pausing for a moment to breathe. 

"Lane is booked for three, we should probably leave just after two." 

"Walking distance?" 

"Yeah, it's up to you if you want to get an uber." Ava murmured. "But I have a whole night vaguely planned." 

Beatrice kissed her again and pulled back slightly. "Is there a specific dress code I should adhere to?" 

"Comfortable? Don't need to be fancy or anything, jeans and a t-shirt is fine." 

"Noted." 

"I should probably go in a minute." Ava said. 

"Probably." 

She had said that ten minutes ago. 

Ava grinned and leaned in for another kiss, one that Beatrice was all too happy to return. 

There may not be a name for what they were right now, but as long as they got to keep doing this, Beatrice wasn't going to let herself worry about that part just yet. 

Ava groaned and broke the kiss reluctantly. "I really should go." 

"I know." 

Ava only groaned louder and buried her face in Beatrice's neck. 

"Sadly, I need to shower the smell of sex off of me." 

Beatrice laughed and reached around to rub at Ava's back, turning her head to press her nose into Ava's hair. 

"It'll be a change for me to not feel the need for a cold shower." Beatrice said. 

Ava snorted. "Had a lot of those recently?" 

"Pretty much every day I saw you up until the night at Lux." 

"What changed that night?" Ava asked. 

Considering they were trying to keep their hands to themselves, it probably wasn't a good idea to tell Ava what she had done. 

But at the same time… Screw it. 

"I saw you in that slip." Beatrice replied. "I got into the shower and I made myself come thinking about what it would be like to fuck you in the shower." 

For a moment, Ava's entire expression shifted and Beatrice was certain that Ava was going to launch herself at Beatrice. 

Instead though, Ava groaned, her head falling back to Beatrice's chest. 

"Evil." She said. "I have to leave and that's the visual you're going to leave me with." 

Beatrice hummed. "I'd say sorry, but I think we both know what caused that reaction from me." 

"Ah…" Ava chuckled. "So you realised what I had been doing then?" 

"Wet thighs were a big giveaway. You won our little game that night." 

Ava pulled back and laughed again. "Well, I know what I'm going to be thinking about when I get into the shower." 

That line of thinking certainly went both ways. 

Beatrice reluctantly took a step back, moving an arm so Ava could move away. 

"Don't worry, I'm going to struggle to think about anything other than you." Beatrice said. 

Ava grinned as she made her way over to the coffee table and picked up her clothes, Beatrice could see the thoughtful expression as it formed. 

"You can keep the shirt, Ava." Beatrice said. 

"Mind reader." Ava snorted. "That saves the awkward silence of me shimmying my sweats back on." 

Beatrice laughed, hand instinctively coming to rest on Ava's back as they walked towards the door. 

Before Ava said goodbye, she darted across the hall to flip the mat back, picking up the small key from underneath it. 

"Not that I doubted, but I needed to make sure first." Ava laughed, turning to drift back over to Beatrice, clothes and phone bundled in one arm. 

"I'm sure we would have survived had Lilith not come through for you." 

"I don't know…" Ava began, grinning again. "Us, alone in a room together?" 

She was absolutely right. 

"Whatever would we do?" Beatrice asked. 

"What wouldn't we do?" 

Beatrice laughed and leaned forward for another gentle brush of her lips, Ava rose up to meet her, bouncing happily on the balls of her feet as they each drew back. 

"I'll see you in a few hours?" Beatrice asked. 

"Absolutely." 

Beatrice didn't move until Ava had unlocked the door, offering Beatrice one more smile before she closed the door behind her. 

She waited a few more moments before she closed her own door and turned to rest her back against it. 

Beatrice laughed, heart fuller than ever. 

Now, Beatrice had to figure out what to wear. 

…She needed Camila's help. 

Beatrice walked over to her desk and picked up her phone. 

Beatrice 
I need your help choosing an outfit for this afternoon. Can you come over? 

Camila texted back so fast, Beatrice would have assumed that she had been waiting for her to get in contact. 

Camila 
??? Ava date? What happened last night? 

Beatrice 
I'll fill you in when you get here. 

Camila 
Did you fuck her? 

Beatrice rolled her eyes, some things were never going to change. 

Beatrice 
Yes. 

Camila 
Oh my God. I'll be there in half an hour. 

Beatrice 
I'm going to shower, call me when you're outside. 

 

--

 

"Oh good, you're awake. Another hour and I was about to arrange a search party to find you in the depths of Beatrice's vagina." Lilith greeted the moment she answered the phone. 

Ava flopped back against the sofa and laughed. "That's a very specific statement. Please tell me why my brain immediately jumped to The Descent?" 

Horrifying movie. Never again. 

"Because you have a very strange brain." Lilith replied. "Is it safe to say that you had fun? And please, spare the details. I haven't had my coffee yet."

"Yeah." Ava laughed. "It was… God, it was incredible. She's incredible." 

"Good to know that her capacity to ravage my sister makes up for her lack of perception skills." 

Ava reached up to brush her fingers against one of the hickeys on her neck. "Ravage is an understatement. How was your night with Camila? Do we get to be fuck buddies?" 

Lilith was silent on the other end of the phone, Ava grew silent too as she realised what she had said. 

"Did you want to rephrase that?" 

"Yes please and thank you." Ava replied. "Do we get to be buddies who each got fucked by our respective hot CEO's?" 

"Thank you. And no, we didn't. She was charming." 

"Charming?" Ava grinned. 

Lilith sighed. "Yes Ava, Camila is charming. We talked, we drank and got something to eat. She brought me to your building so we could leave your key. And then when she dropped me off at my building, she kissed me goodnight." 

"Aw, little Casanova Camila, I love it." Ava laughed. "I want full details." 

"Is this your way of angling for me to come over?" 

"Little bit, yeah." Ava said. "I'm going on a date with Bea later, wanna bring your sharp yet constructive criticism and help me choose an outfit?" 

"...I'll bring the coffee. I'll be an hour, tops." 

Ava grinned. There was no question that Lilith would have come even without that offer, but Ava always knew that it was the easiest way to seal the deal. 

"Nice one. I'm going to charge my phone and go shower." 

"I'll see you shortly then." 

Ava dropped the phone on her chest when the call ended and closed her eyes. 

She was going to go on a date with Beatrice. 

Ava laughed. 

 

--

 

"Tell. Me. Everything." Camila said, punctuating each word as she cupped Beatrice's cheeks. 

Beatrice batted her hands away and took a couple of steps back. 

"I'm not going to kiss and tell." 

"But you can fuck and share?" Camila pouted. 

"How was your night with Lilith?" Beatrice asked. 

Camila shrugged off her jacket and moved further into the room, throwing it onto the coffee table. 

"I took her out for drinks, we talked a lot. She's a sexy sweetheart." 

"Never thought I'd hear those two words to simultaneously describe Lilith." Beatrice replied. 

"Oh the boss bitch in charge thing is just an act. She blushes, Bea. Blushes." Camila grinned. "She also giggles." 

Beatrice raised an eyebrow. "Are we talking about the same Lilith?" 

"Oh yeah." Camila nodded. "And in the spirit of friends who share. We ordered food, came here to drop the key off and agreed to go on another date. Then we kissed outside her building."

"Impressive." Beatrice said. "Good job." 

"Yeah it's amazing what you can do if you communicate your intentions clearly from the very beginning." 

"Okay!" Beatrice clapped her hands together and turned around. "I'm going to put the kettle on." 

Camila laughed, moving over to the sofa. 

"I wouldn't sit there." Beatrice warned. 

Camila paused mid descent onto the seat, smoothly aborting the movement and turning around to walk towards the kitchen. 

"The post shower look is starting to make a lot more sense." Camila said, raising an eyebrow at the leftover food on the counter. "...As does the breakfast buffet." 

"I wanted to do something nice." Beatrice shrugged. 

"And not at all because you burned so many calories last night?" 

Both. 

"Did you want tea? Or coffee?"

"Hit me up with that earl grey, earl gay." 

Beatrice's eyebrow may as well take up permanent residence in its current position. 

Camila picked up a long since cold slice of bacon and pointed it at Beatrice. 

"That was funny and you know it."

Beatrice sighed. "Yes, it was." 

She filled up the kettle and clicked the switch on. 

"So… Sofa." 

"Yes." 

"How many times?" 

"Twice." 

Camila snorted. "Is that it?" 

Beatrice busied herself with grabbing two mugs and setting them down. 

"We moved it to the bedroom after that." 

"Soft and romantic or are we talking pound town?" 

"Never say pound town again." 

"Even if it's an apt description?" 

Beatrice turned to scowl at her. 

Camila laughed and Beatrice silently reached into a cupboard for another plate and grabbed a knife and fork from the draw, and handed them over to Camila. 

"It'll go to waste otherwise." Beatrice said. 

"So come on Bea, some details please? Was it soft and romantic?" 

"No. Not… Not at first." 

"Railing?" 

Camila really wasn't going to let this go. 

Beatrice sighed. "Can I at least make tea before you grill me on this?" 

"Fine!" Camila got up from her seat. "I'm gonna use the bathroom first." 

"Go ahead." 

Camila drifted towards the bathroom, the door clicked closed behind her. 

Beatrice was given a whole fifteen seconds of silence. 

"Um… Bea?" Camila called. 

Beatrice looked up from their mugs. "Yes?" 

"Wanna tell me why there's a bright blue dildo in your sink?" 

Oh. 

Right. 

"Because I was going to clean - you know what, do you really need the details?" She called back. 

She heard Camila laugh loudly. "You dog!" 

Camila was still laughing when she emerged a few minutes later. 

"I'm sorry." Beatrice said, turning to set Camila's mug down in front of her "I planned on cleaning that before you got here." 

"It's fine. So a definite yes on the railing?" 

Beatrice leaned back against the counter. "Yes." 

"Doggy?" 

"At one point." 

Camila lifted her hand for a high five. "Nice." 

"Thank you." Beatrice said as she reluctantly high fived her. 

"Rating out of ten?" 

"A ten really wouldn't be high enough." Beatrice replied. "It… Ava is incredible, and towards the end it got… Intense." 

"Intense how?" 

Beatrice struggled to find the words to describe it accurately. 

"It turned slow, the eye contact was…" Beatrice trailed off and tried not to let herself get pulled back into the memories. "Overwhelming. It felt like I was consumed by her." 

Camila beamed. "Sounds like lovemaking." 

"It was." Beatrice nodded. "I think." 

Camila laughed. "Bea's got it bad." 

"I do."

There really wasn't any point in denying it. 

"But seriously, Ava, skills?" 

"Several." Beatrice said. "Is it too much information if I say she's definitely better at eating out than I am?" 

Camila raised both eyebrows. "Not too much information and duly noted. But hey, look at you getting your share of orgasms. Good for you." 

"Anyway…" Beatrice interrupted. "I need help getting ready for our date later, that's why I asked you to come." 

"And I'm here to help." Camila replied seriously as she began to fill her plate. "But I am still going to be asking you for all of the spicy details, the sooner you make peace with that, the better." 

Beatrice should have known that she wasn't going to distract her so easily. 

"...Fine." 

 

--

 

"Shortest walk of shame ever, huh?" Lilith greeted as Ava opened the door. 

Ava grinned. "Oh there's nothing shameful about what I did last night." 

Lilith rolled her eyes and pushed a coffee into Ava's hand. "Good for you." 

"How about you?" Ava asked. "I wanna know how you were wined and dined." 

"Camila likes those really big cocktails with all of the fruit and everything." Lilith said. "It's… Painfully cute." 

"What, with the little umbrellas?" 

"Exactly." 

"Woman after my own heart." Ava replied. 

Lilith gave Ava a long once over, growing increasingly amused as the seconds stretched on. 

"Wow, she really had her way with you, didn't she? Look at those hickeys." 

Ava laughed and walked back over to the sofa. "She did, it was great. Should I hide them for our date?" 

"That depends, do you want to wear a turtleneck to bowling?" 

"Definitely not." 

"Then either break out the concealer or own it." Lilith replied. "And I swear, if you try to go into details about anything I am leaving." 

Ava pouted. "You're no fun." 

"Excuse me for not wanting to know the specifics on how my little sister was fucked over the course of a whole night." 

Ava groaned. "I have feelings that I need to talk about though." 

"Then talk about your feelings, but if they get horny then I'm slapping you." 

"…I should have asked J.C. or Chanel." 

"Probably." Lilith replied as she gave Ava's head an affectionate pat. "I am happy for you though. Honestly." 

It was a start, Ava was going to break Lilith down and tell her everything by the time they planned out an outfit. 

"Thank you Lilith. And just think of it like this, I got laid because of you." 

"I'm aware, thanks for the reminder." Lilith scowled. "Now come on, you're going bowling right?" 

"Yeah." 

"So nothing fancy, cute and casual." Lilith nodded to herself, gesturing for Ava to get up and follow her to the bedroom. "Are you just going bowling?" 

Ava got up and trailed behind her, sipping at her coffee as she did. "I'm hoping to go to a bar afterwards, maybe get something to eat from a food truck on the way…" 

"Okay." Lilith tapped her chin thoughtfully. "I have thoughts, let's go." 

Let's fucking go. 

 

--

 

"You really didn't need my help choosing this outfit Bea." Camila said. "It's a bowling date, it's literally the easiest thing to dress for." 

Considering they'd settled for black jeans and a white t-shirt, that was certainly an understatement. 

Ava had said to dress comfortably too. 

"I knew I'd over think things if I was left to pick it out on my own…" Beatrice replied. "I just want this to go well." 

Camila giggled. "You're so nervous, it's adorable. You're gonna be fine Bea, you'll look hot in this. The boots will give you a little extra height outside of the bowling but the heel isn't enough to hurt if you end up walking around." 

"And the leather?" 

"Ties the outfit together, plus, it's your staple. It'd be more of a crime if you didn't wear it." 

Okay. 

This was fine. 

Beatrice nodded. "Okay. And Ava likes my hair down so that settles that." 

"You really are nervous!" Camila laughed. "Why? You were literally inside of her last night. Multiple times too, from what you've told me." 

The fact that Ava and Camila had both said the same thing was kind of hilarious. 

Beatrice flushed. "I just… Really want this to go well." 

"You have no reason to think it wouldn't." Camila replied. "Ava clearly likes you, and that's without coming back to your little sexcapades last night. You just have to be yourself, do what you've been doing the whole time." 

Beatrice smiled, thankful as ever to have Camila for a best friend. 

"And then you can take her back to bed and fuck her again." 

Her extremely horny best friend. 

"You really need to sleep with Lilith." Beatrice said. 

"She is fully number one on my to-do list for the weekend." 

"Right. Of course. Not sure what I expected, really." 

Camila grinned. "Okay, now you've got some time to kill before your date, what are you going to do?" 

"...I was going to do a few crash courses in Portuguese." 

"Honestly Bea, should I just go over there and welcome her into our circle right now?" Camila asked. 

She even took a few steps closer to the door. 

"Camila -" 

"Because honestly, the heart eyes are so strong with you right now and you want to impress her with her own language? Just marry her." 

Beatrice really couldn't let those thoughts occupy her mind. That was definitely far too soon to entertain. 

"For now I'd settle for just knowing if she wants to be my girlfriend or not." Beatrice admitted. 

"You're adorable. I wonder what Ava is going to wear tonight." 

Something cute, no doubt. 

"Whatever she chooses, she'll look wonderful I'm sure." Beatrice replied. 

Camila's grin only grew. 

She took two more steps closer to the front door. 

Beatrice took one step. "What are you doing?" 

"I just want to say hi." Camila said. 

"Cam…" 

"Just a quick hello. Maybe a sneak peak at her outfit for tonight. Officially welcome her to the group… That kinda thing." 

Oh God. 

Please. 

"Camila." Beatrice took another step as Camila turned towards the door. "Camila, no!" 

 

--

 

"Are you sure about the jacket?" Ava asked as she followed Lilith to the front door. 

"I know you have a… thing about seasons changing and that you can ignore it happening for so long, but you are small and weak and it's getting cold." Lilith replied. "And I know Beatrice is the chivalrous type to give you her jacket if you so much as shiver but the last thing you want is for her to get sick taking care of you." 

Ava snorted. "You care about Beatrice's wellbeing." 

"I will burn your apartment down." Lilith scowled. 

"You care about her." 

Lilith pulled the door open. "Stop it." 

"She's going to be your best friend." 

Lilith turned enough so that they were face to face, a very clear threat in her eyes. 

Whatever she had been about to say though, was interrupted by a high pitched yelp and a dull thud hitting the other side of Beatrice's door. 

Ava and Lilith shared a look before simultaneously turning to the source of the sound. 

There was a muffled giggle, one that Ava didn't recognise but seemed to set Lilith at ease. 

Camila then. 

Ava stepped around Lilith so that she could reach Beatrice's door and gave it a light knock. 

"Um, Bea? You good?" Ava called. 

There were a few moments of silence before the door was pulled open, Beatrice's cheeks were already red as she made eye contact with Ava, but it seemed to spread across her entire face when she became aware of Lilith behind Ava. 

Camila stood beside Beatrice, rubbing at her elbow as she grinned, looking at each of them in turn. 

Oh she knows. 

Not really surprising for a whole bunch of reasons. 

But the most obvious one is the fact that Camila is essentially to Beatrice what Lilith is to Ava. 

And Ava was also willing to bet that Camila was also here for the exact same reason as Lilith. 

Beatrice had wanted advice for their date. 

Fucking adorable. 

"Hi, we're fine." Beatrice said, gaze shifting from Ava to Camila. "We just -" 

"Beatrice tackled me when I suggested coming over to ask Ava if I could see her outfit for their date." Camila explained without hesitation, either oblivious or simply not paying attention to Beatrice's mildly horrified stare as she grinned at Lilith. "Hey Lil." 

"Hi Camila." Lilith greeted softly, her expression grew slightly more serious as she looked at Beatrice. "Kline." 

"Lilith." 

"Should I be concerned that you're pinning a girl who isn't Ava to a wall?" Lilith asked. 

There was enough teasing in her tone for Ava to know Lilith was just trying to get a rise out of Beatrice. 

It was a bonus that Beatrice seemed to rise to the challenge, posture straightening slightly and smirking despite the blush still present on her cheeks. 

"Not at all, but look at my dear friend." Beatrice replied, she gestured to Camila. "Somebody clearly has to take care of her needs." 

Ava snorted as Camila looked at each of them, raising an eyebrow. 

"Excuse me?" Camila asked. "Why am I the one being pushed against a wall in this scenario?" 

This was like a fucking fever dream, how did this keep happening. 

"You…You wished you could handle this." Camila pointed at Beatrice. She turned to smile at Lilith, all bright and holy shit, surprisingly flirty. "And you. Well, if you ask nicely I might allow it."

Oh shit. 

"Holy shit." Ava mumbled. 

The flush creeping up the back of Lilith's neck spoke volumes. 

Beatrice met her gaze, apparently equally thrown off by the situation. 

It didn't stop her from offering Ava a soft smile though. 

"What are you doing right now?" Lilith asked. 

Ava opened her mouth, only to have Lilith immediately reach out to cover it with her hand, silencing her. 

"Nothing." Camila replied. "What did you have in mind?" 

Ava licked Lilith's hand until she pulled it away, scowling and wiping it on Ava's shoulder. 

"Do you want to go get lunch? Get out of the black hole of horniness that is this hallway." 

"We're literally standing right here." Ava protested. 

"Yes, and a pilot could use the hickey on your neck as a landing strip." Lilith replied casually. 

Camila snorted. "You should see Bea's back. If she puts her hair up it looks like she went ten rounds with Wolverine." 

Oh. 

Fuck. 

Ava focused on Beatrice, an apology already forming on her tongue. 

"Her back?" Lilith turned to Ava. "The fuck did you do to her back? I thought you cut your nails." 

"I did." Ava replied. "Cannot stress enough just how little nail I have, also rich coming from you miss daggers for hands." 

"I like acrylics!" 

"Bottom." 

"Pillow princess." 

Ava gasped. "Vindo de você?" 

"Eu disse o que disse." 

"I'm not…" Ava turned and pouted at Beatrice. "I'm not a pillow princess am I?" 

Beatrice glanced uncertainly at Lilith. 

Ava saw the exact moment that expression shifted, it was clear in her eyes, her smile the slight way in which she lifted her chin. 

"I wouldn't say that, Ava. You were very receptive and you certainly took charge when you were in my lap and you rod-" 

"Nope." Lilith cut her off. "No. I'm tapping out. I don't need that visual." 

Camila looked like a kid on Christmas. 

"I've never been happier." She said. 

"Why can't you be that enthusiastic about my sex life?" Ava asked Lilith. 

"Camila hasn't known Beatrice since she was eight and slept with a toy cat called Mr Cuddlesworth." 

Oh, that was a low blow. 

Beatrice muffled a laugh behind her hand. 

"Asshole!" Ava hissed. 

Glitter bombs. 

Glitter bombs everywhere. 

Judgement would be sought. 

Camila took it upon herself to deal with the situation before physical violence took place. 

"So, lunch?" She asked. 

Lilith smiled. "Yes, my treat?" 

Camila stepped away from Beatrice and looped their arms together. 

"Sounds like a plan." Camila replied. She looked back to Beatrice and Ava. "Have fun tonight, don't do anything I wouldn't." 

Beatrice snorted. 

"You, wear a jacket. It's going to get cold tonight." Lilith said as she pointed at Ava, she shifted her attention to Beatrice. "And you, have fun, look after her. Don't make me kill you."

"...I will." Beatrice replied. 

They watched Camila and Lilith head towards the elevator, listening to their whispered conversation as the doors opened and they stepped inside. 

Beatrice turned her attention to Ava as they finally closed. 

"So, Mr Cuddlesworth?"

Ava groaned. "Don't." 

"You're adorable." 

"Did I really claw up your back?" Ava asked. 

Beatrice shrugged, gaze dropping to the floor for a few seconds. "Yes, it's not as bad as Camila's description would suggest though. She only saw the top of my shoulders." 

"Sorry." 

"Don't be." Beatrice met her gaze again. "I like it." 

"The pain of it or -" 

"Both." Beatrice propped her door open to step into the hallway properly. "They're a reminder of how I made you feel." 

Ava grinned. "I feel the same about the hickeys." 

"Good." 

"Did you ask Camila to come over to pick an outfit?" 

"Yes, Lilith?" 

"Outfit and to give her the spare key back." Ava replied. "Are you still nervous?" 

"A little." Beatrice admitted. 

"You know…" Ava smiled. "I might have something that'll ease your nerves." 

"Is that so?" 

Ava hummed and rocked forward on her heels. 

"What did you have in mind?" Beatrice asked. 

"Well…" Ava reached forward and took both of Beatrice's hands in her own and slowly pulled her closer. "Do you remember when you got me up against this wall and teased me a few days ago?" 

Beatrice's thumbs brushed against her own. "I do." 

"Now, I'm not saying you should totally pin me up against the wall right now… But I'm not not saying you shouldn't." 

Beatrice laughed and walked closer, easing Ava up against the wall instead of shoving her as Ava had initially expected. 

"I'm not going to risk giving you a concussion for the sake of a kiss." Beatrice explained softly, lifting their hands to hold them against the wall above Ava's head. 

"How hard were you going to shove me?" Ava asked. 

"Never in a way to hurt you, but if I can't support your head with my hand then I'd rather play it safe." Beatrice explained, flexing her fingers around Ava's hands. 

Ava grinned. "That's cute." 

"Is it?" 

"I think so." 

"Oh." Beatrice leaned in and brushed their noses together. "Good." 

When Beatrice kissed her, she did so softly, the polar opposite to how Ava had expected this to go, not that she found herself minding in the slightest. 

It still left Ava's toes curling. 

She felt Beatrice smile. "Better?" 

"Oh, much. Still nervous?" 

"Less than I was a moment ago." Beatrice replied. 

Ava grinned and stole another quick kiss. "Wonderful." 

"But I would suggest that if you want to go on this date of yours, that we stop it here." Beatrice said, her voice dropped much lower. 

"Oh? Why is that?" Ava asked, wiggling her eyebrows. 

"Because part of me wants to do nothing more than drag you back into that apartment, and I'm trying really hard not to come across as someone who only thinks about sex." 

Ava laughed. "Mr Darcy but make it horny, I love it." 

"You know, I never asked. When you say Mr Darcy, who are you picturing for reference?" 

"Colin Firth, obviously." Ava replied. "Except, as much as I love him, I'd say you're much hotter." 

Beatrice lowered their arms, although she didn't release Ava's hands. "Now that is a sizable compliment." 

"One that I stand by." 

Beatrice glanced down at their hands, turning them over and brushing her thumbs across the palms of Ava's hands. 

She smiled to herself, a small, secret smile that left Ava's heart fluttering. 

Fucking adorable. 

"I should go get ready." Beatrice asked quietly. 

Ava squeezed Beatrice's hands. "Me too." 

"I'll see you in a little bit?" 

Ava leaned in to kiss the corner of Beatrice's mouth. "Definitely. If you're ready before me, just knock." 

"Likewise." 

 

--

 

Beatrice rolled the sleeves of her t-shirt up and studied herself in the mirror. 

She felt so underdressed. 

And Beatrice knew that was the point, casual dress and all, but she still felt as though there should be… More. 

She was clearly overthinking things now. 

Beatrice pushed her thoughts aside and turned away from the mirror, fastening her watch in place as she made her way out into the living room. 

She pulled on her jacket, taking a moment to make sure that she had everything that she needed. 

Okay. 

Deep breath. 

It was going to be fine. 

There was definitely very little need to be worried. 

Oh but she was. 

Beatrice desperately wanted this to go well. 

It would. 

She knew it would. 

This was Ava after all. 

And regardless of Beatrice's own fears about somehow screwing this up, it was clear that Ava did not have the same reservations. 

Beatrice lingered by the front door and focused on that. 

Even thinking about Ava made her relax. 

Okay. She could do this. 

Beatrice stepped out of her apartment and closed the door behind her, taking the few steps across the hall and knocking on Ava's door before her brain had time to catch up. 

Only a few seconds passed before the door opened and Ava stood before her, that bright, easy smile firmly in place. 

Beatrice liked the way that it grew brighter in her presence. 

"Hey Bea!" She greeted, flipping her hair over one shoulder as she fixed an earring in place. "I'll be with you in a minute." 

Beatrice's gaze flickered over Ava's neck, a lot of the hickeys were still visible, but Ava had clearly taken the time to cover up the biggest marks. 

She felt a jolt through her body at the knowledge of Ava keeping so many of them on show. 

"Hi, of course. Take your time." 

Ava grinned and took a step back, not even attempting to hide the way that her gaze trailed over Beatrice's body. 

"What?" 

"I'm just admiring you." 

Beatrice laughed and allowed herself the chance to take in Ava's outfit. 

High waisted black skinny jeans and a matching black sweater. 

Oh God. 

It was a cropped sweater. 

Beatrice was aware that she was staring at Ava's stomach. 

And she was definitely aware that Ava was watching her. 

"What?" Ava asked, a clear hint of teasing in her voice. 

"Just admiring." Beatrice replied. 

They both looked up and met each other's gaze. 

The grin on Ava's face faltered only slightly as she bit her bottom lip. 

"If you keep looking at me like that, we won't make it out of the building." 

"Sorry." 

"Don't be. It's hot." 

Beatrice laughed. "I'm glad you approve, otherwise I would be concerned that I'm objectifying you in any way." 

Ava laughed too as she reached up to give Beatrice's cheek a gentle tap. "Not gonna lie Bea, I actively encourage you to check me out so don't worry." 

Oh. 

"Good to know." 

If last night had been a lot, then Beatrice wasn't entirely sure how she was going to survive this. 

Ava gave her cheek another tap. "Just wait here a sec." 

"Of course." 

Ava darted back into the apartment, returning a minute later as she pulled an oversized denim jacket on, phone and keys in hand. 

"You ready to go?" Ava asked. 

"Yes, do you have everything?" 

"Yup." Ava stepped out into the hallway and pulled her door closed behind her. 

For a moment the two of them just stared, Ava's grin grew once more. 

She nodded her head towards the door. 

"Let's go, Bea." 

Beatrice smiled back and turned to the elevator at the same moment as Ava did. 

They walked side by side, the back of Ava's hand brushed against her own. 

Should she hold Ava's hand? 

What was the etiquette for this? 

They'd kissed. A lot. 

They'd had sex. Also a lot. 

And Beatrice could even count multiple occasions in which they had held hands previously. 

But were the rules different in the context of a date? 

Was Ava even wondering the same? 

The girl in question hit the button for the elevator, quite content to rock back and forth on her heels as they waited for the doors to open. 

"You're thinking loudly." Ava said softly. 

Nothing ever gets past that girl. 

The doors opened as Beatrice dropped her head to let out a quiet, self deprecating laugh. 

"You'll laugh." 

"Try me."

Ava stepped inside, turning on her heel to press her back against the wall, regarding Beatrice with a curious yet soft smile. 

Beatrice followed her inside and pressed the button, listening to the doors slide close behind her. 

"I want to hold your hand." Beatrice said. 

"And… Oh. I get it." 

"You do?" 

"Even though we've known each other for a bit, and we've had what could be described as mini dates, technically this is our first official one. Now, with first dates there's a kind of a… Expectation?" Ava paused thoughtfully and shrugged. "Yeah, for lack of better word, there's a kind of expectation on what one should and shouldn't do on a first date. Plus we had a lot of really great sex last night which blurs the lines a little bit too. So… if I were to take a guess, you're wondering if holding my hand would be acceptable with these random rules about what people should do on a first date, is that about right?"

Ava would never fail to surprise her with just how well and how quickly she could pick up on these things. 

Beatrice could only nod. "That… That about sums it up, yes." 

Ava smiled. "Do you know what I say about that?" 

"What?" 

"Fuck the rules." Ava said. She held out her hand in invitation. "This is our date, if you want to hold hands, then we'll hold hands." 

As Beatrice dropped her gaze to Ava's hand, she found herself letting out a slow breath as she lifted her own to thread her fingers through Ava's. 

Ava squeezed back reassuringly. 

"Don't think of this within the context of it being a first date, Bea. Don't think about rules and expectations or any of that. Just think about you, about me, about us." Ava took a step forward into Beatrice's space as the doors opened. "Just us." 

Beatrice nodded. "Just us." 

All of her worries faded, just like that. 

"And if there's anything that you want, just say." Ava said softly.

"And if I wanted to kiss you right now?" Beatrice asked. 

"I'd say, please. Please do." 

Beatrice brought her free hand up to hold Ava's cheek as leaned in to kiss her gently. 

"Thank you." Beatrice said when she drew back. 

"For the kiss?" Ava asked. 

"For everything." 

Ava smiled. "Do you want to walk to the bowling alley? It's not too far and honestly… I just want an excuse to talk to you more." 

"I think I'd like that very much." 

 

--

 

Ava was shameless in the way in which she watched Beatrice as she laced up her bowling shoes. 

The music was pounding, frequently punctuated by pins clattering, cheers of various volumes or excited laughter and an array of sounds coming from the arcade. 

It was so chaotic. Sensory overload in the best possible ways. 

Ava loved it. 

Beatrice glanced up, catching Ava in the act. 

"You know, it's really unfair that you're the only person who manages to make bowling shoes hot." Ava said before Beatrice could ask. 

Beatrice laughed as she rose to her feet and shrugged off her jacket. "I don't know, they suit you well." 

Ava didn't really have a response to that, and it was entirely because of Beatrice's arms. 

Hi biceps, good to see you again. 

Instead, Ava got up too and drifted closer, allowing herself to brush her hand against Beatrice's arm. 

"Ready to get this show on the road, babe?" 

Beatrice flushed slightly, and after a moment of hesitation, her arm came to wrap around Ava's waist. 

Oh. 

Now this is a good feeling. 

"Yes. Do you want the barriers up or not?" 

They made their way over to their assigned lane, Beatrice's hand dropped from Ava's waist as she walked over to inspect the control panel. 

"Leave them down." Ava said, walking over to the rack of bowling balls and brushing her hand over them. Ha, "I like big balls and I cannot lie." 

Beatrice looked over, gaze serious. "...Those other brothers can't deny?" 

Ava snorted, a moment later Beatrice cracked, laughing too. 

"I'm so proud right now." Ava said. 

"I'm glad my brief childhood obsession with Cameron Diaz paid off." 

"Charlie's Angels?" 

"Yes. Very unfair to have her, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore in one movie."

Ava laughed. "Don't even get me started, Lilith sold me on Scream when we were kids because it had Drew in." 

"...Ah."

"Yep."

"Neve Campbell though?" 

"Definitely made up for it." 

Beatrice smiled and gestured back to the panel. "Do you want to go first?" 

"I don't mind." 

Beatrice typed in Ava's name and then her own before standing and walking over to join Ava. 

"There you go. Show me how it's done, Ava." 

"You see Bea…" Ava began, testing the weight of a few balls before selecting one and walking over to the line. "I'm not actually good at bowling." 

She punctuated her statement by throwing the ball. 

It made it halfway down the lane before rolling sadly into the gutter. 

Ava turned around and grinned at Beatrice, who actually looked surprised. 

She walked back over to collect her ball, reaching up to give Beatrice's cheek a gentle pat. 

"Don't worry Bea, I'm still gonna make you work for it. Just… Not very hard." 

As she picked her ball up and walked back over, Beatrice followed, remaining silent as Ava took her second turn. 

They both watched it roll, making contact with the pins but only taking out three. 

By Ava's standards, that was pretty fucking good. 

"If you're no good at it, why choose bowling?" Beatrice asked. 

As the pins were reset, Ava slipped her hands into her jacket pockets and turned to face Beatrice. 

Ava knew that she could remember their conversation from the night Beatrice asked her about an ideal first date. 

How it can give an honest reflection of the person that you're with, handy, if you don't really know the person you're up against. 

But Ava knew Beatrice at this point. She knew her personality. 

Ava could see Beatrice clearly, and it felt as though Beatrice could see her too. 

But Ava always had one more reason why she liked to do this. 

"Because it's fun. And going out with people you care about should be fun." 

Beatrice blinked a few times before she ducked her head to laugh under her breath. 

"You really are something else, Ava." Beatrice said fondly, lifting her gaze to meet Ava's own. 

Ava shrugged. "Just a girl who really fucking likes bowling." 

"You're so much more than that." Beatrice replied. 

Ava laughed. "It's your turn." 

"Do you have fond memories of bowling?" Beatrice asked, turning away to choose a ball of her own. 

Ava considered her answer for a few moments, taking the time to take her own jacket off and walk back over to the seats to set it down. 

By the time she rejoined Beatrice, a thought had occurred to her. 

"Before I tell you, do you want to play a game?" 

Beatrice looked down at the bowling ball in her hands. "We're… Already playing a game?" 

"I know." Ava grinned. "But consider this a game within a game." 

"What do you have in mind?" Beatrice asked. 

"Twenty questions, essentially. I know we already know a bit about each other but you know, for the sake of getting to know each other better." Ava frowned. "Wow, I said 'know' way too many times then." 

Beatrice thought for a few moments, turning to take her shot. 

It was probably the cleanest strike Ava had ever seen. 

"Okay." Beatrice nodded. "Rules?" 

"Don't ask anything that you're not prepared to answer yourself?" 

Beatrice smiled. "Fair. And if one of us isn't comfortable answering? Three vetoes each?" 

"Nah, fuck that." Ava shook her head. "No limit on the vetoes, no pressure." 

"So just to clarify, I ask you a question and you answer, then I give an answer that's also relevant to my initial question?" 

"Pretty much." 

"A soft interrogation, then?" Beatrice teased. 

Ava shrugged to herself and stepped forward, wrapping her arms carefully around Beatrice to hug her. 

"Definitely not an interrogation." Ava replied. "I know the kind of things you got asked on your other dates, but I don't care about any of that stuff. I just want to know you better." 

"I know, I was just joking Ava. That's my first question, though. Do you have fond memories of bowling?" 

Ava gave Beatrice another soft squeeze before releasing her and took a step back. 

"Yeah, Lilith's dad would take us when we were younger if he was free. When we were older, Lilith would take me on my birthday. We still go now, Chanel and J.C. always come too." Ava explained. "Though bowling is usually just a small part of the night." 

"Sounds like fun." Beatrice said. 

Ava grinned. "Yeah. What about you? Fond sport and or activity themed memories?" 

"I used to take part in a lot of sports, some were school requirements, some were… Encouraged by my parents." Beatrice began, walking around Ava to lean up against the side of the control panel. "But there was a summer camp that I went to when I was ten -" 

"Ah, the Primary school rite of passage, PGL?" 

Beatrice laughed. "Yes." 

"Parents get lost." 

Ava could remember going herself after they had done their SAT's, it had been the first time she had been without her father, Lilith or Lilith's father since her mother had died.

The first couple of days had been rough, but Ava had eventually settled in. 

It hadn't been the greatest time of her life, but it had still been a lot of fun. 

"You know it doesn't actually stand for that right?" Beatrice asked. 

"I know, but it's more fun." Ava shrugged. "You were saying?" 

"It felt so freeing to be there. Every activity was great, but I'll never forget the feeling of being the only one in my class to make it to the very top of the rock climbing wall." Beatrice said. 

"Even at ten years old, you were a total badass." Ava grinned. 

Beatrice laughed. "Your turn, but do you want a drink first?" 

"I would kill a man for a raspberry slush puppy." Ava said seriously. 

"Thankfully you don't have to." Beatrice replied, leaning in to kiss Ava's cheek. "I'll be right back." 

 

--

 

Ava was… Bad at bowling. 

Not that either of them cared, Ava was clearly having a great time, laughing and moving around Beatrice with ease. 

Neither of them bothered to leave the other’s side, opting to stand and talk as they took their turns. 

Ava's suggestion of playing twenty questions had certainly added an extra layer to the whole thing too. 

Her last question to Beatrice had been a simple enough one, what was her favourite season? 

Beatrice had said fall. Ava, Summer. 

(Ava didn't seem to be a massive fan of being cold and having to wear so many layers.) 

The fact that Ava wasn't all that fond of colder seasons was made slightly more ironic by the fact that it turned out her birthday was November 23rd.

"What's your favourite book?" Ava asked, wincing as her ball took out a single pin as it dropped into the gutter. 

Oh. 

Tough question. 

So many came to mind, each for their own reasons. 

Did she choose one from her childhood? Or one from her teenage years. 

One very specific memory came to mind, one of Beatrice, only a child but huddled underneath the blankets of her bedroom, reading well past bedtime. 

"Matilda." Beatrice said. 

Ava smiled. "Good choice. I still watch the movie regularly." 

"I felt like I could relate to her a lot." Beatrice replied, the words came to mind effortlessly. "These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone."

Ava looked at her softly, game forgotten for a few moments. "Beautiful." 

Beatrice wasn't sure if it was the quote, or Beatrice that Ava was referring to. 

She didn't really mind either way. 

"What's yours?" Beatrice asked. 

"1984." Ava replied without missing a beat. "Of Mice and Men is a close second but nah, 1984." 

"That's an interesting choice." 

"It was one of the only books at the home with all of the pages. I ended up reading it until the spine fell apart." Ava shrugged. "I loved it that much." 

The home? 

Ava picked up her bowling ball and as soon as she threw it, stretched her arms up to rest her hands against the back of her head. 

It lifted her sweater up enough that Beatrice was left looking at bare skin as opposed to the path the ball took. 

Right. Scars. 

Could she ask? 

Ava laughed loudly as she took out almost all of the pins, clapping her hands together in excitement as she turned around to face Beatrice. 

"Good job!" Beatrice said sincerely. "But we need to get you a strike before we leave." 

"Now that'll be the day." Ava replied. "Unless you feel like giving me a little hands-on training?" 

That sounded like a wonderful idea. 

"Purely for the sake of improving your form." Beatrice said. 

"And not at all because you want to touch me?" 

"An added bonus, if anything." Beatrice replied. 

Ava laughed and bumped her hip against Beatrice's. "Come on Casanova, take your shot." 

"Are you still talking about bowling?" 

"Wouldn't you like to know?" Ava whispered, leaning in close and pulling back before Beatrice could react. 

Beatrice could only shake her head and smile. 

She earned herself another strike, and when Beatrice turned around, she found herself met with Ava smirking. 

"What?" 

"If your goal is to get me to make a strike, then mine is going to be to get you to throw a gutter ball." 

Oh. Dangerous game, Ava. 

"Is that so?" Beatrice asked. 

"Yup." Ava grinned. 

"You're going to have to try hard." 

Ava stretched again, this time giving Beatrice a decent view of her stomach. 

"I can be very distracting." 

Beatrice already knew that to be very true. 

"Come on." Beatrice gestured to the balls. "Let's work on getting you your strike." 

Ava practically skipped over to choose her ball and walked over to the line. 

Beatrice followed closely, fitting herself up against Ava's back. 

"Now… Don't drop the ball, Ava. Those shoes won't protect your toes." 

Ava chuckled quietly. "Don't worry, I won't." 

"Good." 

Beatrice settled one hand on Ava's hip and the other on her lower back, her skin was warm to the touch. 

"Straighten your posture." Beatrice said softly. "Take a moment to look before you start your wind up. You don't throw straight, they always lean to the right so compensate by aiming more to your left." 

"You know that I'm taking this relatively seriously because I didn't interrupt you with a joke." Ava laughed. 

"I know." Beatrice said. "I'm proud of you." 

Beatrice felt the smallest shiver from Ava, one that she was certain she wouldn't have felt had her hand not been on Ava's back. 

Now she really wanted Ava to get a strike tonight. 

Beatrice took a step back and let Ava take her shot. 

It was a solid throw, managing to stay in the centre of the lane the whole time, hitting the pins. 

For a moment, it looked promising. 

Until they both realised two pins remained.

"Well, shit." Ava laughed. 

Beatrice moved to stand beside her, hand finding the small of Ava's back once more. 

"That was really good though, Ava." Beatrice said. "You'll get there." 

"I certainly hope I'm going to get some kind of reward if I make a strike." 

"I'm sure I can think of something that will appeal to you." 

They still had another round to play, after all. 

 

--

 

It was a surprise to absolutely nobody that Beatrice won the first round. 

Their game of questions had been temporarily abandoned in favour of their mutual goals. 

Beatrice was very determined to make sure Ava got that strike. 

If it meant that Ava got to have Beatrice's hands on her, then Ava was all too willing to try. 

But she absolutely hadn't forgotten her own goal of distracting Beatrice enough to make her throw a gutter ball. 

…Speaking of. 

Beatrice had taken her position, ball in hand. 

Time to be a nuisance. 

It was just a question of what kind of nuisance to be. 

Ava skipped over, draping both arms over Beatrice's shoulders, pressing up against her back so that Ava could let her lips brush Beatrice's ear. 

"You know, I heard that picturing people naked is supposed to help you focus." Ava whispered. "Would that work for you? Or would that be distracting." 

Beatrice laughed. "Picturing you naked is always going to be distracting, Ava. I've come to terms with that." 

"Do you think about me naked often?" 

"More so now that I've actually seen you naked." Beatrice said. 

Maybe this wasn't going to work as well as Ava had hoped. 

Still, in for a penny. 

"How would you be picturing me naked in this scenario?" Ava asked. "Cause if I had to choose, I'd say that I'd be in your bed, tangled in your sheets. Maybe I'm a little sweaty, who knows." 

She heard Beatrice inhale. "Ava…" 

"Anything could have happened to lead up to that moment. Anything could be about to happen." 

Beatrice took another deep breath, but said nothing. 

Ava kissed her ear. "Just keep that in mind." 

She drew back so that Beatrice could take her shot. 

Beatrice didn't hit a strike, but she did manage to take down half of the pins. 

Okay. 

A little successful at least. 

Beatrice smirked at Ava as she picked up her ball. 

Okay. Trying to make Beatrice picture her naked didn't work. 

Talking Portuguese always got a reaction from Beatrice, but now it was a case of thinking of something to say. 

Beatrice was moving, arm drawing back.

It didn't even need to be something dirty. 

"O gato bebe seu leite!" 

The ball fell from Beatrice's hand, rolling into the gutter and to the end, pins untouched. 

Beatrice turned slowly, expression one of utter confusion, even as her eyes were full of amusement. 

Ava grinned. 

"Did you… The cat drinks… milk?" Beatrice frowned. 

"Its milk." Ava clarified. "But seu can also be used to say yours." 

Beatrice nodded thoughtfully. "Okay. Noted." 

"But wait, you understood that?" 

"It sounded similar to the Spanish translation." Beatrice shrugged. "I guessed." 

"Should I be offended that you were more distracted by that than by picturing me naked?" Ava asked. 

"Absolutely not." Beatrice replied quickly, moving into Ava's space and reaching up to brush her hair behind her ear, allowing her fingertips to brush Ava's cheek. "As I said, I've thought about you naked a lot. You will never not be distracting to me. Apologies if that makes me sound like I have a one track mind." 

"Don't worry, you're good." Ava smiled. "I can't say I'm not guilty of doing the exact same thing." 

"I'd like to hear more about that, later." Beatrice said. 

"You've got plenty of questions left." Ava pointed out. 

"That's true." 

"But until then…" Ava glanced over to the lane as the pins were reset. "I've still got to get my strike." 

Beatrice hummed thoughtfully. "Do you need something to motivate you?" 

"What did you have in mind?" 

Beatrice smiled and leaned in, giving Ava the briefest of kisses. 

"Does that work for you?" 

"Yup." Ava nodded. "Very much." 

"Good." Beatrice took a step back. "You can do this, sweetheart." 

Ava stepped around Beatrice to select her ball and walked to the line. Beatrice followed her and for a moment, let her fingers brush against Ava's lower back before she pulled away. 

Okay. 

She could do this. 

Ava wanted to get her kisses. 

She steadied herself, choosing a point of focus to aim for before she began to move. 

She released the ball and watched it roll, for once, holding her breath as it barrelled down the lane. 

She struck true, a cascade of pins crashing down. 

A strike. 

An actual strike. 

She'd made a strike. 

"Holy shit." 

Ava turned around to an already grinning Beatrice and grinned back. 

Beatrice opened her arms wide and Ava found herself moving forward, Beatrice laughed as she wrapped her arms around Ava's waist. 

She lifted Ava up effortlessly and spun them in a circle, Ava found that all of the sounds around them faded in the face of their laughter. 

Ava didn't even realise that Beatrice had set her down until she felt Beatrice's hand on her cheek, eyes bright and full of pride. 

All because of a strike. 

Beatrice was genuinely so proud of her. 

Her thumb brushed along Ava's cheekbone. 

"You made it!" Beatrice laughed breathlessly. 

Ava laughed too, her response came out equally as breathless but not at all lacking in its sincerity. 

"Only thanks to you." 

Beatrice's fingers shifted against her cheek as Ava watched her pupils change. 

She knew Beatrice was about to kiss her the moment before she leaned in. 

It was by no means a brief kiss. 

Their lips moved steadily against each other, Beatrice's tongue only flicking briefly against Ava's bottom lip, still somewhat conscious of their very public setting. 

"Holy shit." Ava murmured when they each drew back. "I know it's literally impossible for me to win, but I gotta say Bea, I feel like a winner right now." 

"The feeling is mutual." Beatrice replied. "I'm generally quite a competitive person, Ava. Yet you've managed to make me not care about winning or losing." 

"You're having fun?" Ava asked. 

"More than I can put into words." 

"Good. Because I've so much more planned." 

"Oh?" 

Ava hummed and stole another quick kiss. "Come on winner, let's finish the game." 

 

--

 

They walked down the street together, hand in hand. 

Ava had a penchant for swinging their hands quite broadly. 

Beatrice could only smile and hold onto Ava's hand tightly. 

"Do I get to know where we're going yet?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava looked up at a passing sign and hummed thoughtfully. "Sure. There's a great little spot that has a few food trucks. All are highly rated on Instagram." 

It wasn't until had mentioned food did Beatrice realise just how hungry she was. 

The sun was setting rapidly, a noticeable chill in the air that had Ava try to suppress a shiver beside her. 

As much as Beatrice was enjoying the dramatic hand holding, a cold Ava was not a happy Ava. 

She stilled her hand, and before Ava could flash her a confused look, Beatrice released Ava's hand in favour of grabbing her arm so that she could pull her flush against her side. 

Beatrice wrapped her arm around Ava's waist. Ava seemed to catch on quickly enough and threaded her arm through Beatrice's. 

"Better?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava dropped her head to rest on Beatrice's shoulder. "Your Mr Darcy is showing again." 

"I should hope so."

They walked in a peaceful silence until they finally reached the spot Ava had found, four trucks were parked in the spaces provided. 

The majority of the seating that had been set up in the square was already occupied, with a handful of people sitting on walls nearby, talking and eating. 

It felt like Ava had a habit of finding spots like this, places that Beatrice would never have found on her own, each carrying a very specific vibe that seemed to match Ava's personality perfectly. 

It didn't take long for them to settle on a choice, both opting for a Korean barbecue, Mexican hybrid truck. 

When they both ordered, Ava refused Beatrice's attempts to pay, swiftly handing over the cash before Beatrice could object. 

Food in hand, they found an empty wall and settled on it together, each sat cross legged and facing each other. 

"If you could only have one meal ever again, what would you have?" Ava asked in between a mouthful of a short rib taco. "Like… death row final meal kind of vibe." 

Beatrice barely resisted moaning around the spicy pork taco she had ordered. "Part of me wants to say this. But honestly it would have to be mac and cheese." 

"Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food." Ava agreed. She reached for her coke and took a long drink from the can. "But holy shit this food is good." 

"What about you?" Beatrice asked, reaching for her water. "What would you eat?"

Ava grinned. "Well -" 

"Food, Ava." 

Ava snorted. "I love that you knew exactly what I was about to say. But yeah, okay… Pizza. Nothing too fancy, just like, dominos." 

"Any specific toppings?" 

"Pepperoni, maybe go the little bit extra and have the mozzarella stuffed crust." 

Beatrice laughed. "That sounds good." 

"God, I could eat like, ten more of these." Ava said. 

"Do you want more?" Beatrice asked. 

"Nah, two will do me. Any more and you'll need to carry me home." 

Beatrice took a sip of her water, looking up to watch the last few rays of sun reflecting off of the surrounding skyscrapers. 

"I wouldn't mind, if you wanted me to." Beatrice said softly. 

"I know you wouldn't." 

Beatrice set her water down. "What's one thing that you love about New York, and one thing that you hate?" 

She saw Ava follow her gaze from the corner of her eye. 

"I love the chaos of it all. There's never a dull moment, there's always something to see, something new to experience." Ava said. "You?" 

"The freedom. To be able to get lost, to do what I want. To learn the history of this city." Beatrice replied. "What about hate?" 

Ava was still staring at the skyscrapers, though her gaze lifted higher to the sky, her gaze grew almost longing. 

"I miss the stars." She said softly. "I used to see them so much growing up, less when I ended up moving to London but still more often than I do here." 

Beatrice hummed in agreement. 

She'd lived here for a few years now, and yet Beatrice had rarely set foot out of New York. 

"There are some amazing places to see the stars in America, Ava." 

"I know, it's just finding time to go, and… Having somebody to go with." 

Ava dropped her gaze and smiled at Beatrice as she reached for her taco once more. 

"Yes, I understand." 

"What about you?" 

"The same, for the most part. I also miss the weather?" 

"English rain?" 

"Exactly. Even the gross slow rain that you can barely feel but still manages to totally soak your clothes through in minutes." 

"I remember." Ava laughed, pointing at herself. "I've never had a track record for wearing weather appropriate clothes." 

"Hate may not have been the right choice of word for my question." Beatrice said. 

"Probably not, but I understood what you meant." Ava replied as she began to tear through her second taco. "Wait, how many questions are we each at now? I didn't think ahead enough that we'd keep count."

"I have thirteen, you have fourteen." 

Ava looked impressed. "Well hello there Miss photographic memory." 

"You did ask." Beatrice pointed out. 

"I know." Ava grinned. "Would you go back to London?" 

Beatrice didn't have to think about her answer for long. "Only for the right reasons. I would probably never live there again, but if I were to visit it wouldn't be for family affairs or anything like that. I'd go just because it is a beautiful city." 

"It is." 

"You?" 

"Only really to see Lilith's dad. We try to go back to visit over New Year and his birthday if we can." 

Beatrice thought back to that day in the hallway, when Ava had been talking to her own father and the frustration that had been so clear in her eyes. 

She was glad that Ava at least had Lilith and her father. 

Ava finished off her second taco before Beatrice had started her second, stretching her arms above her head and letting out a content groan. 

"That was great." Ava said. "Definitely going to be tracking those guys down whenever I can." 

Beatrice smiled. "I'm glad." 

Ava looked thoughtfully at Beatrice for a few moments as she wiped her face with a napkin. 

She balled it up and dropped it into her empty container. 

"Ask me about the scars." Ava said softly. 

Beatrice stared back at her. "Ava…" 

"I told you last night that I'd tell you, I know it's probably crossed your mind once or twice to ask, and that you're probably wondering if you should ask. So this is me telling you that it's okay Beatrice. You can ask me. I want to tell you." 

Beatrice set her leftovers aside, as soon as she had, Ava offered Beatrice her hand, which she accepted gladly. 

"Will you tell me about the scars?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava smiled and squeezed Beatrice's hand. "My parents split up right after I was born, my dad was just starting to work his way up the ladder. He didn't want to be tied down to a girlfriend and a baby, so I never really knew him. He'd send money and stuff and I'd even see him a couple times a year, but it was always just me and my mom."

She turned Beatrice's hand over and began to draw patterns across her palm. 

"Just before my seventh birthday, we were in Spain on vacation. Me and my mom. We got into an accident, a drunk driver hit us." Ava sighed. "I… Don't remember much from there, just that my mom was killed pretty much on impact. The car was so badly damaged I had to be cut from it. I woke up in a hospital, hurt pretty badly but from what I know now, the shrapnel that went into my back was less than an inch away from leaving me quadriplegic." 

Ava's hand stilled in its patterns before she moved, holding onto Beatrice's hand with both of her own. 

"Once I was out of the woods, they sent me to an orphanage. It was run by nuns and that… That's a whole other story." Ava laughed weakly. "But it was there I found that copy of 1984, one of the nuns said I'd never leave but there was one who believed me when I'd tell them I had a father. She tracked him down and he took me in. I can't really say that he raised me, Lilith's father did so much of that. Hell, Lilith too."

"Ava… I'm so sorry." 

Ava not liking colder seasons suddenly made much more sense. 

"Don't be." Ava replied. "Anyone can have a kid, Bea. But not everyone can be a parent." 

Beatrice could relate to that sentiment strongly. 

But she didn't know what to say, this didn't feel like a moment where Beatrice could share her own experience with her parents. 

This was a moment that belonged entirely to Ava, this was about her right now. 

"Ava? Can you stand up?" 

Ava raised an eyebrow, but let go of Beatrice's hand to get to her feet. Beatrice did the same and immediately pulled Ava in for a hug. 

She held onto Ava tightly, feeling the way that Ava's hands clutched at her back and how her face nuzzled into Beatrice's neck. 

"I'm sorry about your mom, and what happened to you, but I'm beyond glad that you had Lilith and her father. And I'm glad that you have J.C. and Chanel too." Beatrice said. 

There was a very specific ache in her heart at the desire to add her own name to that list. To put herself amongst those most important in Ava's life. 

Perhaps one day, if Ava would allow it. 

"Did this kill the mood?" Ava asked. 

"Not at all." Beatrice replied. She turned her head to kiss Ava's temple. "Thank you, for telling me." 

"I still have one more place for us to go." Ava mumbled. 

"Do we have to be there by a certain time?" 

She felt Ava shake her head. 

"Is it okay if we stay like this for a little bit?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava nodded. 

Beatrice stroked a hand through Ava's hair. "Okay. We'll go when you're ready." 

"Can I change the subject from my dead mom by asking another question?" Ava asked. 

"Of course." 

"If you had to team up with any of the Scooby Gang, who would it be?" 

Beatrice laughed. "Velma. You?" 

"Shaggy." 

"Really?" 

"Yup." 

 

--

 

Talking about her mom hadn't affected Ava as much as she thought it would, Beatrice had reacted to it well and while the hug hadn't been necessary, the gesture had warmed Ava's heart so much that she could have cried. 

In all honesty, Beatrice reacted stronger to Ava's admission that she'd rather team up with Shaggy over the rest of the Scooby Gang. 

(Apparently him knowing how to cook wasn't a sufficient enough reason in the context of solving crimes.) 

As they made their way to the bar Ava had planned for their final stop, they traded a few more light-hearted questions. 

"Xena or X-files?" 

"X-files all the way." 

"Good. I have them all on DVD." 

"What's your chicken soup movie?" 

"Chicken soup movie?" 

"Yeah, the movie you watch when you're not feeling great." 

"Oh. Notting Hill. You?" 

"School of Rock." 

Ava didn't know if Beatrice was still keeping track of how many they had asked, she could only assume that she was, not that it really mattered at this point. 

All she could think about was how great this day had been, and how much she wanted to make it last. 

Beatrice's hand was a steady weight in her own, her grip warm and steady as they made their way through the streets. 

There had been a question on Ava's mind for a while now though, and now felt like the best time to ask. 

At least while they had the relative peace of walking down the street. 

And definitely before they brought alcohol into the equation. 

"Bea?" 

"Yes?" 

"What is one thing that you've always wanted?" 

Beatrice's footsteps faltered, only for a moment, but the slight shift in pace was enough for Ava to notice. 

Her gaze dropped to her feet for a few moments, silent in her thoughts. 

The silence carried on for so long that for the first time since their date began, Ava actually felt herself begin to get nervous. 

So far neither of them had asked a question that the other had vetoed. 

Ava was beginning to think that this was going to be that time. 

Beatrice took a deep breath and let out a quiet sigh as she lifted her head to look ahead. 

"A family." 

It hadn't been what Ava had been expecting at all, but she responded with a soft squeeze of Beatrice's hand, a silent request to continue if she wanted. 

"It's too much to really go into right now." Beatrice continued quietly. "But what you said earlier, about not everybody being a parent, I understand that." 

"You too, huh?" 

Beatrice hummed. "Conservative parents, always pushing for a specific image. A specific reputation to uphold. They didn't want a gay daughter, they never really accepted it. I tried to fit in…" 

She shook her head as her voice faltered and cracked. 

"Bea…" 

"It's fine." Beatrice cleared her throat, glancing at Ava and offering her a small smile. 

The streetlights overhead reflected the tears in her eyes, betraying Beatrice's statement. 

Ava hugged Beatrice's arm tight and pressed into her side as they continued to walk. 

"I moved away as soon as I could, to live the life that I wanted. The life that I deserved." 

Ava was pretty resigned to the idea that if somehow, somewhere, she ever got to cross paths with Beatrice's parents, firm words would be had.

"You were born into a family that doesn't always appreciate you but one day, things are going to be very different." Ava said softly. 

Beatrice smiled, meeting her gaze once more. "Matilda." 

"I get why the book is so important to you now." 

"Yes." 

"So, a family." Ava said. "Kids?" 

"One day, ideally." Beatrice replied. "Pets and all of those little things."

Ava couldn't help but picture Beatrice as a mother, giving piggybacks and cuddles to a baby. 

Oh God. 

Cute. 

"Full disclosure…" Ava said apprehensively. "That definitely wasn't what I expected you to say." 

There was a briefest flash of worry in Beatrice's eyes. "Oh?" 

Ava nodded seriously. "It makes my answer sound really dumb." 

"...What was your answer?" 

"A cat." 

The worry seemed to fade slightly, the corners of her lips quirked into another tiny smile. "A cat?" 

"Yeah, I've wanted one since I was a kid but we were all over the place because of business trips, then there was school and University and moving here so it just… Hasn't happened yet." 

"What kind of cat?" Beatrice asked softly. 

"I'm torn, part of me says a black cat, the other part says tabby." Ava replied. "So… Probably both." 

If in doubt. Both. 

Beatrice nodded thoughtfully and looked ahead once more. "And… Children. Would you ever want them?" 

"Yeah." Ava replied immediately. "I mean, not right now, I'd probably want to ride out my twenties first and maybe not live in an apartment by then but yeah. I'm all for kids." 

The last traces of worry faded from Beatrice's eyes and Ava was met with a sudden clarity. 

The topic of children was probably something that was usually saved for a little bit later on in the dating game. 

But considering how much they were already caught up in each other, it must feel like such a relief for Beatrice to know that they were on the same page in that regard. 

God, Ava knew it was so early for them both. They weren't even something yet. 

But kids? With Beatrice? 

A really fucking appealing thought. 

"I agree." Beatrice said. "Your twenties should be something for yourself. To become the person you want to become." 

"Yeah." 

Beatrice smiled again, her head held a little higher. 

"But also, not really a fan of actually giving birth." Ava continued. "I'd much prefer for my vagina to have a strict one way policy, you know? Things can go in, but things can't come out." 

Beatrice frowned. "Wouldn't that mean that anything that goes in must always stay inside?" 

"Schrodinger's vibrator?" 

"I… I see the point that you're making but I'm not entirely sure that metaphor is accurate." Beatrice laughed. 

"As long as you see the point, that's all I care about." Ava said. 

Beatrice grinned. "A cat then? Is that why you had Mr Cuddlesworth?" 

"I'm going to kill Lilith for telling you about that." 

 

--

 

The bar wasn't as busy as Beatrice expected it to be. 

There were a few occupied tables and a few men playing darts in the far corner, but they could move around with ease, and as they approached the bar, they were served immediately.

Beatrice felt they had both reached a silent agreement not to go for anything too strong as they both ordered beers. 

She couldn't speak for Ava, but Beatrice didn't want any part of this night to be dulled. 

Ava's attention has shifted to the unoccupied pool table at one end of the room as their bottles were set down in front of them. 

"Do you want to play?" Beatrice asked. 

"Yeah, but I think my body might regret it. I already feel more aches coming just from bowling." Ava said. She frowned suddenly. "Oh God. Am I out of shape? Should I start working out?" 

"You don't need to work out unless you want to, Ava." Beatrice said sincerely. "As for pool, I'm sure one game won't hurt you, if you want to play." 

Ava grinned and took a sip of her beer. "Spoiler alert, Bea. I'm actually great at pool." 

"Well, come on then." Beatrice said, offering a hand to Ava. 

Ava took it, and allowed Beatrice to lead her across to the table. 

Beatrice took her time setting everything up while Ava lingered nearby, leaning her weight against a pool cue. 

When she turned around, Ava was already in her space, setting her cue down on the table. 

Beatrice could see an idea forming in those eyes. 

"What is it?" Beatrice asked. 

"Wait here." 

Beatrice leaned against the table and watched Ava dart back towards the bar, directly to the jukebox beside it. 

She watched as Ava inserted some money and began to flick through the discs. 

Even from the distance between them, Beatrice could clearly see the overjoyed grin on Ava's face as she found something that caught her eye. 

She watched Ava press a button and step back. 

An extremely familiar riff began to play, a gentle drumbeat in the background. 

Beatrice recognised Stevie Nicks' vocals immediately. 

It was Edge of Seventeen. 

Ava turned to face her, lips already moving in time to the lyrics as she slowly made her way back to Beatrice. 

She was having her Jack Black moment, with full dance moves and everything, earning the attention of a few of the other patrons. 

Beatrice dropped her head to laugh, only briefly before she focused back on Ava. 

This wonderful, bright girl. 

Any concept of a first date was ruined for Beatrice now. 

Nothing could ever live up to this. 

Ava didn't care in the slightest that people were watching her with extremely confused looks, her attention was entirely focused on Beatrice, her grin wide enough that it must hurt. 

With each of Stevie's "Oohs." Ava made sure to clutch her heart and mimic it perfectly. 

It was only when she got closer to Beatrice did she realise that Ava wasn't actually mouthing along, but rather singing. 

"From the moment... That I first laid…" Ava sang, reaching up to point at her own eyes and then pointed at Beatrice. "Eyes. On. You." 

She dissolved into laughter as she began to close the final few steps, Steve's voice continued to fill the room as she began to bridge into the chorus. 

Ava's hand was still outstretched towards Beatrice, and Beatrice didn't hesitate to grab it as soon as Ava was close enough. 

She needed to kiss the extraordinary girl. 

As the drums began to kick in, Beatrice pulled Ava towards her, Ava's other arm immediately found its way around her neck as Beatrice stepped forward and held onto Ava's waist, half spinning them as she closed the distance to kiss that grin. 

Ava was still giggling into the kiss until the moment Beatrice deepened it, not caring about any of the people in the room who may still be watching them. 

She wanted them to see. 

She wanted them all to know how lucky she was to exist in this moment at the same time as Ava. 

When they broke away, Ava was breathless. 

"What was that for?" She asked. 

"You're incredible. I couldn't help myself." 

Ava's smile softened, the kiss that followed was even softer. 

"As long as you're having a good time." Ava whispered. 

"I can't think of a time where I've had this much fun." Beatrice admitted. 

And that… wasn't strictly true. 

She just couldn't think of any times in recent memory that didn't directly involve Ava. 

"You won't be this eager to kiss me when I kick your ass at pool." Ava laughed. 

"Oh I highly doubt that." Beatrice replied. "I know you said you're good at it but… I should probably make sure your form is good." 

"Oh absolutely." Ava agreed. "You have full permission to touch and adjust my position as you see fit." 

Beatrice grinned and kissed her again. "You can break then." 

If there was a chance to get her hands on Ava, then she was going to take it. 

Beatrice knew that their night was going to end eventually, but she wasn't ready to face that yet. 

She wanted to live in this moment forever, pressed up close to Ava as she lined up her shot. 

But there was one question that was still prominent in the back of her mind. 

When could she ask Ava to be hers? 

 

--

 

Ava's feet ached .

They'd been out for hours, the majority of which they had been on their feet, only finally coming to a stop and sitting down after their third game of pool. 

(Beatrice had conceded after the third game that Ava was in fact, better at pool than her.) 

When they had finally left the bar, the question hung in the air as to whether they should get an uber or not. 

Neither of them had wanted to. 

They weren't in a rush to get home. 

So they walked together in a peaceful silence, Beatrice's arm tight around her shoulders, keeping Ava close. 

Ava could tell that Beatrice's silence came from a place of thoughtfulness, regardless of the tiredness that clung to her. 

They were content. 

It was clear from the energy that Ava could feel, the buzz of endorphins that ran through her body. 

Everything felt light, colours seemed brighter, sounds were sharper. 

Everything was heightened. 

Ava dropped her head onto Beatrice's shoulder and felt Beatrice turn her own head slightly to regard her. 

"Are you sure you don't want a piggyback?" Beatrice asked. 

"Nah." Ava's arm slipped around Beatrice's waist. "I like this." 

Her lips brushed against Ava's head. "Me too." 

They didn't want this night to end. 

Or rather, they didn't want this to end. 

Ava was confident that this would not be the last time they were together like this. It couldn't be. 

They were just… So good together. 

They worked. They worked so well. 

She was connected to Beatrice, Beatrice was connected to her. 

They had fun. God, they had so much fun. 

It was so easy to be with Beatrice. 

Ava turned her head to nuzzle into Beatrice's neck, relying on the other girl to keep them out of the way of any oncoming pedestrians. 

Beatrice simply pulled her closer, thumb stroking Ava's shoulder through her jacket. 

She wondered what they'd do when they reached their hallway. 

As much as Ava craved to drag Beatrice into her apartment, she also figured that it might be better not to. To give them both time to process and decide what it is that they want. 

"How did you get to be so good at pool?" Beatrice asked quietly. 

Ava smiled. "Lilith. There was a table in her house when we were kids, she taught me everything." 

They began to move through familiar streets, their building becoming visible in the distance. 

"Why can I picture you both hustling poor, dumb boys?" Beatrice asked. 

Ava could almost hear her smile. 

"Because clearly, you know us both too well." Ava said. "Lilith liked the ego boost, I liked the extra cash. Win win." 

Beatrice laughed and held her tighter. 

They each seemed to slow down a bit more as they approached their building. 

When the inevitable finally happened, and they reached the front doors, Beatrice punched in the access code and held the door open for Ava to step inside. 

The elevator was already waiting for them when Ava pushed the button, each of them stepping inside as the silence grew slightly heavier. 

Beatrice stared at the top of the doors, watching the numbers increase as they moved up the floors. 

"This has been the best date I've ever been on." Beatrice said. 

"I'm glad." 

Beatrice turned to her, eyes serious but smile soft as she regarded Ava. 

The tips of her ears were bright red. 

"I mean it Ava." Beatrice said. "Thank you, I couldn't have asked for a better experience." 

"I told you, bowling is peak." 

Beatrice's hand found its way to Ava's cheek. "The bowling was only a small part of what made this wonderful." 

Ava pressed into Beatrice's touch and smiled. "As long as you had fun." 

"I had that and so much more." 

The doors opened, and reluctantly, Beatrice took a step back, reaching for Ava's hand as they walked out together. 

They came to a stop outside their doors. 

"Well, this is me." Ava said lightly. 

"Yes." Beatrice glanced at Ava's door and back at Ava. "Thank you again, for tonight." 

Ava leaned up to kiss her softly. "Thank you for going out with me." 

"Can I see you tomorrow?" Beatrice asked. "I'll buy you coffee."

The "And we can talk about us." remained unspoken.

Ava laughed and nodded. "Yes, please." 

Beatrice looked at her thoughtfully for a few moments, Ava could see the whirlwind of thoughts behind those eyes. 

She leaned in and kissed Ava again. 

This felt like one of those big moments. 

A time where you're left feeling like you're balancing on the edge of a cliff, wondering whether you should dive or not. 

Beatrice drew back, reaching up to brush Ava's hair behind her ear, fingers lingering for a few moments. 

She let out a slow breath. "Goodnight, Ava." 

"Night, Bea." 

The reluctance was evident as they each drew back, allowing themselves a moment to observe the other before they turned away. 

She could hear the jingle of their keys as they each pulled them from the pockets, the click of their locks and the faintest creak of each of their doors as they each stepped inside their respective apartments. 

Ava heard Beatrice's door close a moment after her own. She rested her back against the door and closed her eyes. 

Holy shit. 

What a night. 

She really hadn't wanted to say goodnight, even with the knowledge that she would see Beatrice again and the unspoken knowledge between them that something more can happen between them. 

It all felt like everything had wrapped up to a natural conclusion, the end of a chapter. 

But it was just like what Ava had said to Beatrice a few days ago. 

Chapters had to end so that the next could begin. 

But why? 

Why do they have to say goodnight? 

Why wait until tomorrow to start their next chapter? 

What was there left to think about? 

Ava knew.

Beatrice knew. 

Ava was turning and pulling her door open before she had even had a chance to finish her train of thought, surprised to see Beatrice all but stumble through her own, her door closing behind her. 

Beatrice froze in place, eyes wide as she saw Ava standing in front of her. 

She opened her mouth to speak, but it was Ava who spoke up first. 

"So, here's the thing…" Ava began. 

Beatrice closed her mouth and straightened her posture, waiting for Ava to continue. 

"I don't want tonight to end." Ava continued. "I'm not ready for it to, to be apart from you. I want to learn everything about you. I could listen to you talk all night… hell, you don't even need to talk, I just want to be around you." 

Beatrice had taken a few steps closer, gaze hopeful. 

"Of all of the apartments in New York, you moved into this one. You came out of nowhere and my life hasn't been the same ever since, you're the most incredible woman I've ever met. You have the capacity to make everything beautiful, you make everything better." Beatrice said, her voice steady despite the nervousness she now carried in her eyes. 

"I don't want to go to bed alone tonight." 

"You don't have to." 

"Also you fully gave me the best sex I've ever had, not that it's relevant right now, but I just thought you should know."

Beatrice laughed and took another step closer, although she said nothing. Ava rushed to fill the silence.

"Not that I'm saying that we need to have sex again right now, I mean I wouldn't say no, but my bad if I -" 

Beatrice gently interrupted Ava's ramblings by closing the distance and placing a single finger over her lips. 

"Ava," Beatrice said softly. "I still have one question left." 

"...You do?" Ava asked, only slightly muffled by Beatrice's finger being in the way. 

"Yes. We both do." 

Ava's heart was racing. She smiled, as did Beatrice. 

It was fitting that this moment should happen here, in the place where they first met.

It was time to dive. 

"Do you have a question in mind?" 

"I do." Beatrice nodded. "You?" 

Ava nodded too. 

Beatrice removed her finger and moved her hand to cup Ava's cheek. "Do you want to go first?" 

"It's all you, Bea." 

Beatrice's thumb brushed over Ava's cheekbone, Ava watched as she swallowed. 

"Ava, would you like to be my girlfriend?" 

Sorry Mr Darcy. Beatrice Kline just had so much more to offer. 

"Absolutely." 

Beatrice had to have known that Ava would give that answer, but it still didn't stop her from letting out an exhale of relief. Her smile blossomed into something wider. 

She leaned in, clearly about to kiss her, but Ava stopped her with a gentle hand on her chest. 

"I still have my last question." Ava pointed out. 

Beatrice laughed. "Of course." 

"Will you stay?" Ava asked. 

Beatrice's other hand came up to cradle Ava's face. "I don't think I'll ever be able to leave." 

"Then don't." Ava said firmly. "Don't leave. Stay." 

This time, when Beatrice leaned in to kiss her, Ava didn't stop her. 

"I will." Beatrice whispered in between kisses. "I'll stay." 

Ava laughed, joy flooded her whole body as she wrapped her arms around Beatrice's neck,