“You love me?”
“Of course I love you.”
”I love you too.”
Casey replays the conversation in her head as she lies with Izzie on the couch, a cheesy netflix movie playing in the background.
“I love you,” Casey reminds her girlfriend, who’s head is resting on her chest with an arm wrapped around her stomach. Izzie smiles against her and traces shapes on her chest with her fingers.
“I love you more.”
Izzie’s voice is soft and vulnerable, and Casey hums and looks down at her with squinted eyes. “Doubt it. I love you most.”
Izzie rolls her eyes, sensing the challenge. She smirks nonetheless. “Wanna bet?”
Casey bites her lip and uses the arm wrapped around the smaller girl to dig into her sides and tickle her, causing Izzie to burst out into giggles.
”Casey!” she laughs and squirms, “Stop!”
Casey stops briefly. “Not until you admit I love you more.”
Izzie doesn’t answer, only squints her eyes and glares back at her.
As Casey gets ready to start up again, Izzie jolts back and holds her girlfriend’s arms, breathlessly admitting, “fine, you win.”
The taller girl puffs her chest triumphantly before Izzie reaches for her neck to tickle her back in revenge.
She stops abruptly and reaches forward to grab the back of Casey’s neck to pull her in for a kiss. “I still love you more,” Izzie whispers when they pull apart.
Caseys huffs and rolls her eyes lightheartedly, crossing her arms. She feels her girlfriend shift a bit and Izzie grabs her arm in the process, running her fingers over the fresh tattoo. “I never asked if it hurts.”
“At first it did, but i’m fine now,” Casey responds with a soft smile. “No need to worry.”
Izzie giggles and reaches up to cup her face with one hand, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek. “I’m always gonna worry about you.”
Casey yawns and sits up a bit. “You hungry?”
“No, but i’m parched, can you get me a water?”
”Of course, your heighness,” Casey responds as she gets up and heads towards the kitchen. She fills up a glass and smiles to herself, thinking about the girl that’s currently on her living room couch.
Despite Casey now being back at Newton, things were still going smoothly between them. Her anxiety had decreased dramatically, and her and Izzie have never been in a better place.
She turns around to bring the water back to her girlfriend, only to walk into the living room and find her curled up into a ball, dead asleep.
Casey sighs to herself and takes a sip of water before setting it down. She gently lays back down and resumes her previous position of lying on her back with Izzie curled up into her side.
“I love you,” she whispers.
Casey knows that Izzie isn’t listening, but she says it anyways, because it’s true, it’s honest, it’s raw, and Casey thinks that this might just be the happiest she’s ever been.
“So, what are you two lazy butts talking about?”
Elsa and Izzie give each other a mischievous smile. ”Gosh, what were we two lazy butts talking about?”
Although she would never admit it, Casey secretly loved the bond her mother had with Izzie.
The smell of freshly baked pie wafts through her nose as she struts through the house one evening after track practice. It had been quiet lately with Doug and Sam being in Antarctica.
“Hey! How was practice?” Izzie asks her with a soft smile when she appears in the kitchen.
Casey’s face lights up at the sight of her girlfriend standing behind the counter. She hadn’t expected her to be coming over tonight, but was delighted at the surprise visit nonetheless.
”Hey you,” she begins, walking over to slide an arm around Izzie’s waist and leaning in to kiss her, “I didn’t know you were coming over tonight.”
Izzie runs her thumb along her cheek and responds, “my grandma insisted on taking the kids tonight. Said I’ve done more than enough for the week and deserve a break.”
Casey’s eyebrows lift and she snorts. “You think?”
Izzie bites her lip in an attempt to not giggle at the taller girl’s quip, so she slaps her arm lightly and narrows her eyes.
As Casey begins to lean in for another quick kiss, she hears a throat clearing and looks over to find Elsa standing with hands on her hips.
She rolls her eyes. “Hello mother.”
”Hello daughter,” Elsa says as she walks over to the oven and grabs a mitt to take out the pie. “Izzie is a doll, she’s been helping me make these for hours.”
Casey snorts and gives Izzie a look. “If I had a dollar for every time this woman made pie,” she gestures to Elsa, “I would be richer than Clayton Prep itself.”
”Well I for one like it when your mom bakes pie. I think it’s sweet,” Izzie tells her simply.
Elsa smiles and puffs her chest a bit. ”Thank you Izzie, honey. At least one person in this house appreciates me and my cooking.”
Casey looks at the pie and swipes her finger quickly over the whipped cream on the top for a quick taste.
Casey hums and squints her eyes like she’s thinking. “fine, I’ll admit it does look good,” she finally decides.
Elsa and Izzie beam at each other and give high fives, like they’ve just won a competition.
”I’m going upstairs to change, so don’t eat any without me,” Casey tells them as she walks towards the stairs.
She hears a few quiet giggles and turns around as she gets on the second step, only to see them both trying to cut themselves a piece.
Her girlfriend takes a bite and Elsa looks over at her and laughs. She had gotten whipped cream spread on her nose and upper lip. They laugh together and Elsa gives Izzie a napkin to wipe it off.
Casey smiles softly to herself as she shakes her head and turns around to go get changed.
“If either of us gets in, that person has to go, whether or not the other one does.”
Casey giggles and confirms, “Forehead promise.”
The acceptance letters come a few months later.
Casey calls Izzie immediately when she opens the mailbox and takes out a large envelope with the bold letters UCLA written on the front.
”Iz, go get the mail, like, right now.”
”Casey? What’s going on?”
Less than an hour later her and Izzie are sat facing each other on Casey’s bed, letters clutched in hands.
”Ready?” Casey asks.
Izzie nods and breathes out heavily. “Remember our promise?”
Casey nods back.
After another pause, letters get ripped open and then both girls are slowly looking up at each other. ”I got in,” they say in unison, smiles spreading on their faces once realization hits.
“Case, we did it,“ Izzie breathes out.
“We did it,” Casey repeats in awe. “Come here.” She pulls Izzie in for a hard kiss and the smaller girl immediately cups her face to reciprocate, both of them giggling into it.
When they part, Casey puts her hands to her mouth and squeals like a kid, repeating, “we did it.”
Izzie laughs and grabs her girlfriends hand. “I’m so proud of you. Now c’mon, lets go tell your mom.”
They stumble off the bed and nearly trip over each other as they begin the journey downstairs.
Casey jumps and hugs Izzie from behind as they go, attempting to restrain her and lean over her shoulder to leave pecks of kisses on her cheek. “We did it, we did it, we did it,” she repeats over the sound of Izzie’s giggles.
The only thing Casey thinks of as she runs to her mother with the envelope in hand is that track no longer felt like a chore, UCLA no longer felt like a pit in her stomach, and that her and Izzie would be just fine.
“My mom isn’t here. Do you wanna…stay?”
”Yeah,” Casey replies breathlessly.
Izzie beams. “Okay.”
Izzie lets out a content sigh as she shifts and cuddles up into Casey’s side, naked and warm.
“You know,” Izzie starts, “It’s a miracle we haven’t been walked in on yet.”
“Don’t jinx it please,” Casey stresses, shivering at the thought of Elsa, or even worse—her dad—walking in on them in the middle of a heated moment.
Izzie giggles and bites her lip, leaning up to give Casey a kiss on the cheek. “Sorry.”
”You’re lucky my parents are out of town for the night,” Casey teases.
Izzie agrees and smiles softly against her shoulder. She uses the arm crossed over Casey’s chest to run her hand up and down her girlfriend’s arm, lost in train of thought.
Casey squeezes her shoulder. “What are you thinkin’ about?”
”I think that’s the most cliché thing you’ve ever said.”
“I mean at UCLA,” she clarifies. “I still can’t believe we both got in.”
”I know,” Casey murmurs. “And hey,” she continues, “maybe it’s good that I went back to Newton after all. It gave us a better chance at both of us getting accepted.”
”Maybe. I’m kind of glad you’re back at Newton anyways, ‘cause now I’m the fastest one on the team again,” Izzie teases while shifting to lie on her side, an elbow propping her up.
”Get on some clothes and I’ll race you down the street right now…Actually, how about with no clothes at all,” Casey half-jokes with raised eyebrows.
Izzie hums. “You’d like that wouldn’t you?”
”Very much so, actually.”
Izzie chuckles lightly, leaning down to give Casey a quick kiss before sitting up and grabbing one of the taller girl’s pajama shirts out of the drawer. “I’m gonna take a quick shower.”
”Without me?” Casey sits up and pouts.
Izzie walks over and leans across the bed to kiss her once more. “I’ll be right back.”
As she turns around to make her way to the bathroom, Casey slaps her ass and bites her lip to contain the laugh that threatens to leave her mouth.
”Casey!” Izzie laughs and points at her accusingly, “you are terrible,” she says as she walks to the bathroom door.
”You like it!” Casey calls as it shuts.
”I think we need to break up.”
”I’m not good for you.”
“I still cant believe you think that root beer is the best slurpee flavor,” Izzie complains.
“Okay hey, it’s not that bad,” Casey responds, and Izzie laughs.
Casey pauses and takes another sip before using the straw to swirl the drink around. She gets lost in thought.
“I keep thinking about the last time we were here.”
She hears Izzie let out a sigh next to her. The shorter girl grabs her hand from across the center console and rubs her thumb along her knuckles. “I really am sorry about that. It was fucked up to do, especially at a time when you were so vulnerable.”
They sit there for a minute, silent as mice, and Izzie keeps her grip on Casey’s hand firm.
”It just made sense at the time, I guess.”
Casey looks over at her and gives her an understanding side smile. “I get it. After all that fucked up stuff my dad said to you…I’m just glad he apologized.”
Izzie nods, remembering the night clearly. It was right before he left for Antarctica, and she could almost still feel the awkwardness.
”Are you sure about this?” Izzie asks worriedly.
Casey senses the other girl’s anxiety and reassures her, “Yes, one hundred percent. He wants to apologize, and you know my dad, he never apologizes.”
The both of them walk into the kitchen and find Doug sitting at the table, in the same spot he was when Izzie came down to express her worries about Casey.
”Izzie,” he says, gesturing to the chair across from him. “Take a seat.”
Izzie sits reluctantly and glances up at Casey, who gives her a reassuring smile and squeezes her shoulder.
Doug gives Casey a look that says “give us some time alone.”
She looks a down at her girlfriend one more time and then walks out of the room, leaving them to talk.
”God,” Izzie breathes out, “it was so awkward, but it felt good.”
”Don’t worry, after you left that night I wouldn’t leave him alone until he told me exactly what he said to you,” Casey tells her.
“I wouldn’t put it past you,” Izzie chuckles.
Casey brings their interlocked hands up to her mouth and leaves a soft kiss upon Izzie’s knuckles. “I love you, you know.”
”I do know. And I love you back.”
“I know i’m not easy.”
”I’m not looking for easy.”
“Izzie?!” Casey yells as she repeatedly knocks on the door of the Taylor house. A text from her girlfriend sent her bolting out the front door of her house, telling Elsa that she’d be back later.
After a minute more of knocking, the door finally opens and she’s met face to face with Izzie’s mother, who had obviously been drinking.
”Ohhh Casey! What a lovely surpri-“
”I’m looking for Izzie,” Casey cuts her off because well, she’s in a rush and not in the mood.
Sasha gives her a look and says, “she’s not here. Ran out a little while ago.”
Casey looks behind her into the house and sees a man, around mid-thirties, standing with a bud light in hand. The boyfriend, she thinks. He must’ve came back.
Sasha starts to say something but Casey turns around and begins to jog back to the car. She pulls her phone out and calls Izzie.
She picks up. “Casey-“
”Where are you?”
Izzie hears the urgency in her girlfriend’s voice over the phone. “At the Clayton track,” she manages to sniffle out as tears pour.
Ten minutes later she’s pulling into the parking lot and hopping out of the car, not bothering to turn it off.
She looks around wildly for the shorter girl and her eyes finally land on her sitting on the bleachers.
”Izzie?” she calls.
Izzie turns her head and stands up, running to Casey like her life depends on it.
They end up in the middle of the track and Casey hugs her tightly as Izzie buries her head in the taller girl’s shoulder while she sobs lightly.
“Are you alright?” Casey asks once they pull apart. She cups Izzie’s face and attempts to wipe the tears from her burning red cheeks and puffy eyes.
Izzie shakes her head. “I’m sorry. I know it’s late—“
”It’s okay, It’s a Saturday,” Casey explains. “Tell me what happened. I got your text and came right over.”
Izzie looks at her with tired eyes.
And you know what’s new? You. All your drama.
She examines Casey’s worried expression then shuts her eyes and takes a deep breath.
I’ll be your support system. I’ll do whatever you need.
“My mom, her boyfriend…he came back. My grandma had to pick up the kids,” Izzie tells her, trying to make it sound as clear as possible over the crying.
It’s all Casey needs to hear, so she grabs the back of Izzie’s head and pulls her in to give her a kiss—or a few—on her forehead.
“I’m sorry, Iz.”
Izzie looks back up at her between tears and takes Casey’s hand to hold to her chest. “This is humiliating,” she tries to laugh it off as she wipes her own tears with her free hand.
”No, hey look at me,” Casey tells her firmly, wiping the strands of stray hair sticking to her face out of the way. “I’m here, you can stay with me for the night. I’m not letting you go back there.”
Izzie nods and sniffles. The tears come less frequently now, and she feels her face begin to dry up finally.
She looks up at Casey and gives her a worn smile, shaking her head. “I told you I wasn’t easy.”
”Loving you is the easiest thing I’ve ever done.”
“Casey, we could go together, the two of us, to California!”
The night before their flight to California is nothing less than exciting (and emotional). Izzie is invited to the Gardner household for one last family dinner with everybody, including Paige and Zahid.
”And remember,” Elsa tells Casey, “Sam and your father and I will be driving down in a month to visit you two and bring the rest of your things.”
Casey’s strains her head all the way back against the chair and groans, “we know mom, you’ve said that at least ten times tonight.”
Izzie slaps her arm lightly and stares at her. “Be nice.”
Casey rolls her eyes. “Okay but seriously, it’s not an exaggeration, its had to have been at least ten,” she stresses with an amused smile.
the rest of the night goes smoothly, and then the two of them are left alone in Casey’s room.
”Okay, so remember, tomorrow morning we’ll come pick you up to go to the airport,” Casey says.
Izzie nods and Casey continues. “You have your boarding pass printed out?”
”Your bags are packed?”
”You’ll remember your—“
”Casey,” Izzie cuts her off with a giggle. “I’m good. We’re fine.”
Casey stares at her and snaps out of it, shaking her head. “Yeah, yeah of course. I just want everything to be perfect, y’know?”
Izzie smiles, “and it will be, I promise.” She gives Casey a kiss to ease her nerves.
“You’re amazing, you know that?” Casey tells her.
Her head is cocked sideways with a goofy grin spread along her face, and Izzie thinks that she’s never loved this girl more. “Stop it,” she blushes.
A comfortable silence washes over them as they sit shoulder to shoulder, and for a moment, they’re the only two people in the world. Casey and Izzie.
Look, new kid from Newton.
And the team captain Izzie, hates me for some reason
You know, you are not what I expected
You’re my new favorite person too
Sometimes a thing feels like, so right
Yeah, screw boys
You know why
It is becoming incredibly clear that you don’t feel the same way
I’m not looking for easy
That’s my girl
I’ll be your support system
You love me?
Now all I wanna do is kiss you
Casey walks Izzie out the front door onto the porch when it’s time for her to go home.
Izzie turns around before she steps off. “I’ll text you when I wake up in the morning.”
Izzie grabs the back of Casey’s neck and brings her in for a long kiss. Casey wraps her arms around the smaller girl’s waist and leans into it, gripping Izzie like it’s the last time she’ll get to kiss her.
”I love you,” Izzie states as they part, and she begins to step off the porch and walk down the driveway.
“I still love you more!”
Izzie turns around to flip her off affectionately, “don’t get me started again Casey Gardner.”
Casey laughs to herself as she watches her girlfriend get in the car and drive off.
I’m holding it hostage until you tell me I’m your one and only.
You’re my one and only.