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been talkin' 'bout the way things change

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Blair knows that Sterling and April both have, like, super high IQs and read old books for fun and shit, but they are also both just gigantic dumbasses. 

Because it has been literal years at this point since they first acknowledged that they’re into each other (Blair has her suspicions that something existed there between them a lot earlier than junior year; after the initial shock of learning that Sterling was hooking up with her sworn enemy wore off, a few pieces started to click into place), and they’re both single, home for the summer, and are actually friends again. Like real, spending-nearly-every-day-together friends.

And they still aren’t banging.

“How was your date?” Blair asks from the couch when Sterling returns home from yet another afternoon at April’s.

“Not a date,” Sterling quickly replies as she flops down next to Blair. “We were doing our book club thing.”

Blair groans. “You two have that huge house all to yourselves, and you’re using it to read books together. That is actually offensive to me, you know that? All the times I’ve had to hook up in some sketchy-ass parking lot, and you’re just throwing this opportunity away. It’s shameful, Sterl.”

“That might be the first time not having gay sex has been referred to as shameful.”

“Don’t deflect.” Blair pokes her in the ribs. “Seriously, is this really all you want with her?”

Sterling makes that face that looks like she’s rolling a marble around her mouth. “No,” she eventually admits. “Of course not. But I can’t—I rushed things before, and we’re finally back in a good place, which I honestly thought might never happen. I think I need to let her come to me this time.”

“What, like she’s some kind of feral animal?”

“Well, kinda, but definitely don’t let her hear you call her that.”

Blair sighs. She’d probably be more up for this fight if that skip hadn’t made her chase him up five flights of stairs earlier today. 

“We’ll talk about this more later,” she decides. “Sex Education?”

“Yes, please.”

Blair is certain that Lorna’s wedding will be the thing that finally makes Sterling and April get over themselves and under each other, because it’s a goddamn wedding and Sterling is, well, Sterling, but somehow that doesn’t do the trick, not even when Blair keeps giving them opportunities to be alone together by graciously flirting with the DJ.

(And okay, said DJ is, like, ridiculously hot, so it’s not exactly a hardship, but still.)

Blair and April end up in the bathroom at the same time late into the evening, after April has literally slow-danced with Sterl in front of at least a third of their former peers, and once they’ve washed their hands Blair props her hip on the counter, fixing April with the look she usually saves for skips.

“What, exactly, are you waiting for?”

April blinks at her. She was in the process of reapplying her lipstick but lowers her hand at Blair’s remark, leaving her lower lip pursed and pale.

“You’re going to have to be more specific.”

Blair flaps her arms, the experience of partaking in the loosely-managed open bar while witnessing the two of them float around each other all night making her even more impatient than usual. 

“My sister is out there giving you freaking heart eyes, and you’ve spent the entire summer going on these not-date dates, and you don’t seem to have a problem with dancing with her in public. So what’s the holdup? Because if you’re just stringing her along because you still haven’t forgiven her for the shit with your dad, you’re even more of an evil bitch than I thought.”

April’s half un-lipsticked mouth draws into a tight line. “I’m aware that your relationship with Sterling is essentially devoid of boundaries, but I fail to see how this is any of your business.”

And that attitude might get Sterling to back down from a fight, because she’s so sweet and also such a simp for this girl, but Blair presses on, voice low as she says, “She told you about our family stuff. Do you know what a big deal that is?”

Of course April knows. It was only a couple of weeks ago that Sterling came home a little scattered and tearful, dragging Blair up to her room to announce that she’d blurted the whole Dana story out to April. Sterling had apologized, saying that maybe she should have asked Blair for permission first, and it had taken every ounce of hard-earned self-reflection for Blair to reply that it was okay, that it was Sterling’s secret to share.

“You trust her, right?” she’d asked Sterl, and when Sterling had nodded immediately Blair told her that that was all that mattered.

Sterling had hugged her, and thanked her, and then they’d snuggled until dinnertime.

(In case anyone is wondering, Blair is totally crushing therapy.)

Now, the expression in April’s eyes softens almost imperceptibly. “Yes. It’s not—I don’t take it lightly, the fact that she chose to share that with me.” April looks down at her hands, then back up at Blair. “And not that you require this from me, but that information certainly doesn’t change the way I view the two of you.”

“Well, good. It shouldn’t,” Blair replies quickly, though she has to admit that it feels sort of good to hear April say it. Not because it’s April—Blair really doesn’t give a shit what this girl thinks of her—but because so few people who aren’t directly involved are actually aware of the truth, so Blair hasn’t gotten many opportunities to be assured of that fact by someone who’s known them since the Before Time.

“But it means something, is what I’m trying to say,” Blair continues before she can get too off track and emotional. “It makes about as much sense to me as Statistics, but for some reason you’re the person she…”

“What?”

April is leaning forward now, her curiosity so palpable that Blair can practically smell it.

Christ. It’s almost pathetic.

“That's not for me to say, exactly,” Blair says. She’s, like, 99% sure that Sterling is completely in love with April, but Sterl hasn’t said those words yet, not even to Blair. And even if she had, Blair gets that Sterling needs to tell April on her own time.

Growth is a fucking bitch.

“Just don’t make her wait forever, and don’t screw it up,” Blair settles on.

April seems to consider that, before offering Blair a small nod. “I don’t plan to.”

“Good.”

“Statistics really aren’t that hard, you know.”

Blair throws her head back with a laugh. “That’s what Sterling keeps telling me.”

--

Blair loves Sterling more than life itself, but Sterl is truly such a goddamn drag on the family hunting trip a couple of weeks later. 

Usually Sterling is one of if not the only highlights of hunting (or “hunting”—they bring guns and march around the woods in camo, but Blair’s gotten pretty skilled at thwarting any actual killing of defenseless animals), but this time Sterling just will not shut the fuck up about April, and Blair might be losing her mind.

So when they get home and three days later Sterling sends a text announcing that she’ll be spending the night at April’s, Blair full-on cheers.

“What’s up, honey?” Debbie asks with mild concern.

Blair actually kind of wants to tell her mom, but Sterling just came out to them and they’re still being a little weird about it, so she just replies that something she’s been waiting for is finally happening.

The next morning Sterling calls her, voice rough in an unmistakable I-spent-all-last-night-getting-fucked way.

“Tell me everything!” Blair says with glee, flopping onto her stomach. “Is Stevens’ tongue good for more than just talking?”

“Oh my god, don’t talk about her tongue!” Sterling whisper-yells. “But yes. It’s, like—remember when that new bakery opened near church and everyone was going crazy over their chocolate croissants and they were sold out for, like, weeks and we were all, ‘it’s just a croissant, it can’t possibly be as good as everyone says—’”

“Sterl, if you ruin croissants for me by saying that that’s what Stevens’ vag tastes like, I swear to God I’m never speaking to you a—”

“Blair! Let me finish.”

“I think you’ve finished plenty,” Blair mutters.

“What I’m saying is—then we tried the croissants and somehow they were so much better than we imagined, even though we didn’t think that was possible, right?”

Blair nods in recognition. “You’re saying that sex with April is somehow even better than you thought it would be.”

“Yeah,” Sterling replies, voice soft with wonder. “My expectations were probably, like, unreasonably high—”

“Oh, they were definitely unreasonably high.”

“But she somehow exceeded them.”

“Overachiever.”

“You have no idea.” Sterling lets out a shy little laugh, and Blair can’t help but smile to herself. “I honestly didn’t know my body could do some of the stuff that she made it do.”

“Did you squirt?”

“I am not answering that!”

“That’s not a no,” Blair chuckles smugly, knowing for certain that Sterling’s face is guava pink.

“Anyway,” Sterling quickly redirects, “I might need you to bring me some overnight stuff.”

“U-hauling already! Or finally, I guess.”

“We only have a week before school starts,” Sterling points out. “We’ve gotta make the most of it.”

“Hey, no arguments here. I fully support you spending the next seven days getting your brains fucked out. Just make sure to hydrate.”

Sterling giggles. “I can’t believe that you’re actively encouraging me to have sex with April Stevens.

“You and me both, sweet sister o’ mine.” 

But then Blair considers the way that Sterling buzzes with excitement whenever she leaves to visit April, the fact that she’s seen Sterling smile more this summer than she has in several years, how the two of them just looked right dancing together at Lorna’s wedding.

“But, y’know, she makes you happy,” Blair adds. “And you’ve gotta know by now that that’s the only thing that matters to me.”

April answers the door when Blair comes by with Sterling’s bag. April’s wearing clothes, but she clearly just threw them on, and her hair is a mess. 

Seeing a disheveled April Stevens is kind of satisfying, until Blair remembers that the reason she looks this way is almost certainly because she was getting railed by Blair’s sister, like, five minutes ago. 

“Congrats on the sex, Stevens,” Blair greets. “Word on the street is, you’re a real champ.” She can’t resist leaning forward to ruffle April’s hair. “’Atta girl.”

April jerks her head out from under Blair’s hand and reaches for Sterling’s bag. “Thanks for dropping by, Blair. I’d send Sterling out to see you but she’s rather…indisposed.” April smirks at that, and Blair needs no further invitation to leave.

“Understood, ya dirty dog.”

“Never call me that again.”

"Have fun!”

“Oh, we certainly will.”

Blair retreats back to the Volt with a peculiar mixture of disgust and fondness.

She has a feeling that she’s going to get very accustomed to that specific combination of emotions.

--

Something shifts after Sterling and April’s first Christmas as a couple. Blair definitely wouldn’t go so far as to call April a close friend, because gross, but suddenly April doesn’t just seem like Sterling’s annoying girlfriend. Loathe as Blair is to admit it, April’s kind of cool, in a deeply uncool way, and also, well. She’s been through some shit. Which Blair knew intellectually, but seeing April’s mom in the Wesley home, all stiff posture and harsh judgment, really put a few things into perspective.

Namely, that despite the many fucked up secrets that her parents have kept from her, Blair sort of lucked out in the parent department.

Also, April might be uptight and stuck-up, but she’s also surprisingly funny. She and Blair start texting off and on after Christmas, and April’s keen observations actually make Blair snort-laugh sometimes. Who knew?

The thing is, college is hard. Blair got into Boston U on an athletics scholarship, but she’s attempting to study business and it’s just—it’s really fucking difficult. She got her bounty hunting license at eighteen, and there are for sure things she loves about that work, plus she’s good at it, better than she is at most things.

But she’s also been learning a lot more about the justice system, about the ways in which it’s rigged against certain communities, the ways in which her privilege has insulated her. And having a role in getting more people put into prisons just starts to feel weird after a while.

“Do you ever wonder if we’re doing the right thing?” she asks Bowser when she’s home for the summer after sophomore year.

“I think right is a relative term,” Bowser replies. “Now stop getting existential on me and go clean the fudge pump.”

By the end of the summer Blair is in over her head. She’s dreading going back to school, where it feels like she’s always struggling to stay afloat. But she can’t very well justify staying in Atlanta if she’s not going to bounty hunt.

A couple of weeks into the fall term Blair can feel herself approaching major burnout. She’s barely sleeping, but all she really wants to do is stay in bed, away from her professors and her snotty classmates and the never-ending assignments that threaten to consume her.

“Sweetheart, breathe,” her mom says when Blair calls in tears. “You’ve been taking your meds, right?”

“Yeah,” Blair confirms soggily. One pro of the whole Sterl-getting-kidnapped thing? Hours of family therapy, in which Blair got a shiny new depression-slash-anxiety diagnosis and a prescription for Lexapro.

And the meds and continued therapy do help, but she knows that that’s not all she needs.

“Why don’t you take a break?” Debbie suggests, not bothering to mention that Blair is just coming off of a summer away from school.

So Blair takes her advice, packing up the Volt and driving aimlessly down the coast. Or, well, she thinks it’s aimless, but then she decides to head for Princeton.

April is already outside her apartment when Blair pulls up, only sort of driving over the curb as she parks.

“How can you still be such a bad driver after all this time?” April asks by way of greeting, though she’s leaning in for a hug.

“One person’s bad is another person’s unique.”

“Oh yeah, try that line out on the next cop who pulls you over.”

“Fuck the cops.”

April grins. “On that we can agree. Good to see you, Blair.”

April takes Blair to her favorite lunch spot, where the waitstaff clearly know her, bringing April a cup of herbal tea before she has the chance to order it.

Blair lifts an eyebrow. “Herbal? Really?”

April nods. “I don’t drink caffeine in the afternoon.”

“Have you also taken up yoga?”

Blair means it as a joke, but then April is saying, “As a matter of fact, I have.”

You? April Stevens? The most un-zen person I’ve ever met?”

“It’s called evolving, Blair.”

And Blair knows April well enough to hear that she’s joking, too, but something about the comment cuts deep.

“I’m struggling,” she hears herself admitting. “I feel like I shouldn’t be, because Sterl is, like, thriving at school, and so are you, clearly—“

“Well, yeah, Sterling and I have always excelled at school. That shouldn’t be a surprise.”

Blair fidgets with her paper napkin, unable to meet April’s eyes as she asks, “Do you think I’m not cut out for it?”

April lets out a noise of surprise. “Do you care what I think?”

Shit, Blair realizes. She does.

“Shouldn’t you know better than to answer a question with a question?” Blair deflects.

April is silent for a moment, just sipping her serene little cup of herbal tea.

“Why aren’t you talking to Sterl about this?” she asks eventually.

“She’s on the other side of the country.” 

Even to Blair it sounds like a weak-ass excuse, and April clearly thinks the same, only dignifying the response with an arch of her eyebrow.

“She’ll just be so supportive,” Blair murmurs. “Or she’ll want to fix it. And I really just—I need someone to be real with me, here.”

“I don’t know, Sterling is pretty good at being real. But since you’ve come to me, here’s what I'll say.” 

April sets her palms on the table, like she’s gearing up for an opening argument in Forensics. God, Blair used to find that intense sneer of hers infuriatingly smug, but now she’s actually sort of nervous for what April’s going to tell her.

“You are Blair goddamn Wesley,” April says firmly. “For better or for worse, you’ve always prided yourself on being fiercely your own person, no matter what anyone else tries to say about it. So why would you assume that you have to follow someone else’s script for how to live your life?”

Blair blames lack of sleep for the way her eyes fill with tears. “Really?”

“Absolutely. College isn’t for everyone, you know. What brings you joy these days?”

Blair snorts. “Joy? Who are you and what have you done with April Stevens?”

April shrugs. “What can I say, your sister’s rubbed off on me.” She quickly holds up a finger. “Don’t you dare ruin this moment by making some lewd joke.”

So Blair bites her tongue and instead focuses on April’s question. She thinks about how her few moments of calm since moving to Boston have been centered around the ceramics studio where she’s taken a couple of classes.

When she says this aloud, she half-expects some diatribe about how a career in the arts offers zero chance of a reliable income. Instead, April nods sharply and asks, “Does the studio have any openings?”

April lets Blair spend the night, then walks her to her car in the morning. “Talk to Sterling,” April advises. “You know she loves you no matter what.”

“I know.”

“And Blair?” April nudges her side. “I do too, okay?”

“Come again?”

April rolls her eyes. “I love you, you complete asshat.”

Blair grins, chest warm and delighted. “I love you too, you incorrigible snob.”

Blair feels better than she has in weeks by the time she drives back to Boston. It’s not like she needed April Stevens of all people to give her permission on how to live her life, but she can’t deny that it feels good to be so solidly affirmed by someone who’s smart and strong, someone who Blair’s grown to genuinely respect.

When she gets home she calls Sterling right away. She hasn’t exactly been avoiding her sister, but Sterling is doing so well, and sometimes it’s hard to be happy for her.

Now, though, Blair’s voice is clear as she says, “I’m thinking about dropping out of school.”

“Okay,” Sterling says gently. “Whatever you need, I’m here.”

--

Blair never really expected to end up back in Atlanta, but after a couple of years of living in various spots around the country—Kauai, Albuquerque, Sioux Falls, a particularly strange two months as a tour guide in Alaska—she finds that Atlanta is the place that feels the most like home.

Turns out, she likes spending time with her mom and dad, who have somehow evolved into two of the most accepting people she knows.

Blair hasn't seen Bowser in a long time, though they’ve kept in touch. A week after returning home she heads to Yogurtopia, grinning at the sight of him in his little visor through the window. 

“Welcome home, kiddo,” he says gruffly, pulling her into a hug. “The prodigal daughter returns, huh?”

“We have so much to catch up on.”

She munches on Sour Patch Kids in his back office while he catches her up on the gossip she’s missed—mostly news about various skips, and the latest updates on married life with Yolanda.

“We’ll still be in each other’s lives, even without bounty hunting, right?” Blair asks at one point.

“Of course,” Bowser replies immediately.

“You’re not…” She swallows and wipes her eyes, suddenly quite emotional. “You’re not disappointed in me, are you?”

“For following what feels good to you? For trying to be a better person? Never.”

“Aw, Bowsie, you’re such a softie.”

“Watch it, or I’ll revoke my offer of free yogurt for life.”

Blair’s kept up with her ceramics, finding an apartment near a studio and filling it with homemade mugs and art from her various travels. She starts teaching self-defense classes at a woman-owned gym and finds that she loves it; that and shifts at the studio keep her relatively comfortable.

Blair’s learned a lot about herself, like the fact that she’s pretty good at landing on her feet, that she thinks better when she can do something with her hands, that she doesn’t need a lot of stuff to be happy. She buys a mutt who she loves more than life itself and finds a therapist who gets her more than anyone else has, committing to working on the balance between developing boundaries and letting people in, which is fucking hard but also important.

(Growth continues to be a bitch.)

Sterling graduates college and moves to Cambridge with April, and when Blair goes to visit she sees more clearly than ever before that they’re building a life together. Sterling takes her out for coffee before Blair’s flight home, her face so bright as she rambles about her various plans for the apartment, and at one point Blair just has to stop her and say, “When are you gonna ask her to marry you?”

And they’ve talked about this in the abstract before, but never so directly. Which is kind of funny, Blair thinks now, considering how direct they both can be.

Now, Sterling’s face gets even brighter, if that was possible, as she says, “I don’t want to distract her. But yeah, we’ll definitely get married someday. And adopt some kids.”

“How can you be so sure?”

Blair’s not asking about April; she’s asking about herself. She’s dated various people throughout the years, but never anyone who she can imagine settling down with. And she knows that they’re very young, but Sterling’s been this certain about April for ages, and Blair can’t really imagine feeling that way about anyone.

Sterling takes her hand, surely getting what Blair is asking. “I just do. I’m sorry, that’s not really helpful, but it’s the truth. She’s my person.”

“Your non-me person,” Blair has to clarify.

“That goes without saying.”

Several months later the gym is looking to hire a new teacher for kids’ classes, and that’s when Blair meets Noah. He’s great with the kids; kind and a little nerdy, shy until Blair starts talking to him. They nearly shut down the gym one night discussing David Bowie, and Blair is thinking about leaning in to kiss him when they say goodnight until she remembers that they work together, and it’s probably a bad idea.

“Look at you, being all thoughtful about who you kiss,” Sterling praises over the phone. “I’m so proud of you.”

“Yeah, some of us have never had to develop that skill,” Blair grumbles, her bitterness mostly pretend.

“Hey, I showed self-restraint with April!”

“Sterl, you impulse-kissed her when we were sixteen and now y’all are practically married.”

“It was a long road!”

“I’m just saying, you’re lucky.”

“Yeah,” Sterling sighs, voice dreamy in that way that means she’s either thinking about April being sweet or thinking about some sex thing they did recently. “Yeah, I really am.”

“Gross.”

So Blair commits to being Noah’s friend. She asks him to join her at the dog park. She takes him to the studio and shows him how to throw, in a moment that verges on Ghost territory until Blair manages to get ahold of herself.

He's new to Atlanta, having grown up on the East Coast, so she shows him her favorite spots around town, and then he invites her come to the inclusive Temple he’s joined.

“You should invite your friend over,” Debbie remarks one evening when Blair is talking about her first experience at the synagogue. 

When she extends the invitation, he asks, “Would they be more upset to learn that I’m trans or that I’m Jewish?”

Blair laughs. “Neither. Sterl kind of paved the way on all that, but they’ve come a long way. They both volunteer for PFLAG now. And hey, Jesus was a Jew, right?”

Debbie and Anderson both love Noah, which isn’t a surprise; he’s the type of person who’s good with parents in a way that Blair has never mastered. Debbie keeps shooting Blair these knowing looks, ones that Blair remembers throwing around herself in the days when she was waiting for April and Sterling to get their shit together, but has never been on the receiving end of herself.

Noah is very open, and it’s refreshing, hearing him share how music and his faith helped him through the death of his grandmother, how he wanted to get into self-defense training after a friend was assaulted in college, how his family has adjusted to his transition. He asks questions of the Wesleys, even lets Anderson show him around his studio, and he helps Debbie wash every dish.

“How’d I do?” Noah asks quietly in the foyer as Blair leads him out.

“You represented the trans and Jewish communities very well,” Blair teases.

“Phew. Now they won’t revoke my memberships.”

“Seriously, though, they loved you. Thank you for…” Blair trails off, filled with the intense urge to kiss him, to tell him how wonderful he is. She settles for patting his shoulder, and he flashes her a grin that makes her weak in the knees.

“That boy likes you,” Debbie announces as soon as Noah is out the door.

Mom!

“You’re mother’s not wrong,” Anderson pipes up.

Dad!

“Or maybe he’s actually that curious about my woodworking.”

“Oh honey,” Debbie says with fond exasperation, “I say this with all the love in my heart, but no one is that curious about your woodworking.” She turns back to Blair. “Sweetheart, you know that no matter what, we just want you to be happy, right?”

Blair nods, because after many years of therapy and hard conversations and tears, she finally does know that.

Sterling and April come home for a visit in the spring, and they somehow seem more in love than ever. Which is good, Blair supposes, but also completely disgusting. 

The three of them go out to a bar one night, and some poor, unsuspecting dude makes the mistake of trying to mansplain a stupid Star Wars thing to April.

“Well, actually…” April begins with unrestrained glee, eyes wolfish as she prepares to take him down. Sterling’s eyes are equally wolfish as she prepares to watch, and Blair knocks back another shot, having a pretty good idea of how this night will end.

(She’s right, of course: ten minutes later Sterling is nudging April toward the bathroom with both hands on her ass, and Blair takes pity on the stunned Star Wars fan and buys him a drink, making smalltalk until Sterling and April finally return from the bathroom with red faces and messy hair.

Apparently, Sterling has not learned the art of subtly in her years away from home.)

They all go to church for Easter service, but it’s also Passover, and Noah asks Blair if she’d like to invite the rest of the Wesleys plus April to his place for a Seder. Everyone is in, of course, very sweetly asking Blair what they should bring.

Noah says that he has it covered, though of course April insists on bringing an orange, pulling it out of her purse with gusto and announcing that while the orange is often included on the Seder tray for feminist reasons, its origin is actually about showing solidarity with Jewish lesbians.

“It’s like the Bechdel Test,” Noah says solemnly. “Straight feminism co-opting queer women’s culture.”

April’s eyes go wide, and she mouths, Marry that boy to Blair.

“To the Jewish lesbians!” Sterling declares, lifting her third cup of wine.

“To the Jewish lesbians!” everyone else echoes, and Blair just has to shake her head, because a decade ago she never could have predicted that the Wesley family would be sitting around a table with April Stevens, celebrating Passover and toasting Jewish lesbians.

Sterling and April corner Blair in the kitchen before dessert, the red wine having both stained their lips and lowered their inhibitions.

“He’s so cool!” Sterling whisper-yells. “And he clearly likes you!”

“Absolutely,” April confirms. “The eye-fucking was unmistakable.”

“We’re friends. And we work together,” Blair weakly argues.

“Do not pull the we’re friends excuse with us, Blair Wesley,” April says sternly. 

“I mean, duh,” Sterling adds, eloquent as ever, slinging an arm around April’s midsection for emphasis.

Noah starts dating someone a few weeks later, and Blair tries not to pout about it, because she has no claim to him.

“Everyone in your life seems to think you two should be together, Blair,” her therapist points out, “but do you feel that way?”

“I really like him,” Blair admits. “But I just really don’t want to screw it up.”

“Did Sterling and April getting together screw their relationship up?” Marcia counters.

“You're playing dirty.”

Several months later April calls Blair, announcing that she has something important to discuss. 

“This isn’t me asking for permission, because Sterling is an adult woman who can make her own choices. But she also values your opinion more than just about anyone’s, so I want to make sure that you’re on board with me asking her to marry me.”

“Shit, Stevens, of course,” Blair replies, not adding that she knows Sterling is already planning a proposal of her own. “You’re family, okay?”

She can hear April holding back tears as she murmurs, “Okay. Thank you, Blair.”

Blair spends the next few weeks playing both sides of the proposal game, not letting either future bride in on what their respective partner is planning, and it is goddamn exhausting.

Also maybe a little bit unnerving, because all this talk of weddings and commitment has her thinking about Noah, but that’s definitely beside the point.

Both proposals go off more or less without a hitch, and Blair is so happy for April and Sterling while also being so unbelievably grateful to be done keeping secrets (she’s still not a fan).

But then, of course, comes wedding planning. Sterl and April wait until after they’ve officially moved to Austin and decide to get married there, which, if you ask Blair, is a lame place for a destination wedding, though Sterling reminds her that it’s only a destination for the Atlanta crowd.

“Yeah, which is, like, everyone who matters,” Blair points out.

“We want to christen our new home with a wedding!”

“Something tells me you’ve been christening it in all sorts of ways.”

Sterling ignores that, instead saying, “Hey, you should bring Noah.”

“Yeah, that’s a big nope,” Blair huffs out. “He's dating someone.”

“Because you haven’t told him how you feel. To quote my illustrious sister, is a friendship with him really all you want?”

“Oh, go have sex with your fiancée.”

“Blair, she’s my fiancée!” Sterling echoes giddily, and it’s hard to stay mad at that.

A couple of days before Blair flies out to Austin, the owners of the gym ask to speak with her.

“I’m not getting fired, am I?” Blair asks nervously.

“Quite the opposite!” Cammie, one of the owners, replies. “We’re retiring. And we wonder if you’d like to take things over around here.”

“Seriously?” Blair hears herself gasp.

“Seriously. You’re wonderful at this, Blair. We think you could continue doing some good work here.”

When Blair shares the news with Noah, he picks her up and twirls her around until she’s laughing. “Dude, that's so fucking sick! You’re gonna be amazing!”

“This means I’ll be your boss,” she realizes. “Though I’d love if you were my number two.”

“I would be honored.”

It feels like this is a moment, a rush of energy between them, but she needs to pack for Austin and she’s going to be his boss and he has a girlfriend, so she swallows and pushes it away and heads home.

The wedding is a whirlwind of emotion, beautiful and personal and so earnest that Blair would probably want to puke if she wasn’t so happy for her sister.

And for April, who’s kind of her sister now too, she supposes.

“Good work, Stevens,” Blair says during the reception, pulling April against her.

“Not Stevens anymore,” April reminds her with sparkling eyes. 

“Shit,” Blair realizes, “right. Good work, Wesley. I love you.”

“Love you too,” April replies easily, and then Sterling is joining them, and they’re all crying again, and Blair isn’t sure if she’s ever been so full of joy.

That is, until she returns home several days later to find flowers at her doorstep and a note from Noah that says, Congratulations, Boss Lady. Hope the wedding was wonderful. <3

And maybe it’s the wedding weekend that’s getting to her; maybe hearing people declare their love for one another over and over again is contagious, but she finds herself calling him, asking if they can meet at their favorite coffee place.

He asks to see pictures, so she shows him, and when he remarks that it must have been amazing to see Sterling so happy, Blair blurts out, “I’m in love with you.”

Noah blinks up at her. “What?”

“I’m in love with you,” Blair repeats. “And I’m sorry because I know you, like, have a girlfriend and we’re friends and co-workers and whatever, but I’m, like, legit in love with you. You’re the coolest, most interesting person I know, and I’d really like to be with you.” She frowns. “And I’m now regretting the choice to include the word legit in my love confession, but this is the universe I find myself in.”

Noah’s eyes are so soft as he says, “Blair, I don’t have a girlfriend.”

“What?”

“I broke up with her a couple of weeks ago. I just wasn’t sure how to tell you because, well…” He rubs his hand over the back of his head. “I’m in love with you, too.”

Blair thinks her heart could fly out of her chest. “What?” she repeats.

He nods. “True story. You're so passionate, and you love people with your whole heart, and you’re proudly who you are but you also work every day to be the best version of yourself. How could I not be in love with you?”

She cracks a small smile. “Yeah, how could you not?”

Then they’re kissing across the table, knocking the sugar right over, but later Noah will joke that it just made the moment sweeter.

“I told you so,” April says when Blair ecstatically calls her and Sterling over FaceTime that evening.

Sterling shoves April’s shoulder. “What April means to say is, we’re very, very happy for you. And we love you.”

“Yes, we love you,” April parrots with a grin.

“I think this is the real deal,” Blair murmurs, still buzzing from how right it had felt to kiss Noah after all this time. He has to volunteer at Temple tonight but is coming by after, and somehow she already misses him.

“See, didn’t I say you’d know it when you had it?” Sterling says.

“Yes, you did,” Blair admits.

“Also known as: I told you so,” April quips.

“Y’all are ridiculous.”

“Well, now you get to be ridiculous, too!” Sterling chirps.

“Yeah, I guess I do.”

Sterling kisses her wife’s hand, and Blair can’t help but wonder if she’ll experience that kind of easy intimacy with Noah someday; can’t help but believe somewhere in the depths of her soul that she will.

Whereas in the past witnessing the two of them together has made her feel a twinge of longing, now it fills her with hope. Now she doesn’t see what she’s lacking, but rather what her future might hold.

“Would you look at that,” April says with a wide smile. “The Wesley girls, all getting our happily ever after.”