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My Catalyst.

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“Again? Seriously?” Charlie’s annoyed voice greeted a very hurried Sara, echoing through her apartment.

“Oh, hey, Charlie. Good morning to you, too! I didn’t even see you there in all your annoyed glory”, she said sarcastically as she walked around the house, looking for her shoes.

“It’s already past noon, so it’s not ‘good morning’ anymore. And no good afternoon for you. You told me you’d be already dressed by now!” She said, gesticulating angrily.

“Well I don’t think I look very naked”, she replied, smiling cynically and bending down to look under the couch. “A-ha! There you are”, she said, triumphant, as she grabbed her black converses and sat on the couch to put them on. “Look, it's not even that late–”

“Sara, did you have breakfast?”

Sara just blinked, surprised by the sudden question. “What?”, she asked, hoping it wouldn’t show how unprepared she was. He interrupted my monologue. I practised it in front of the mirror. There wasn’t a question like this one on my mental script, she thought.

Sara was a terrible liar. She had a lot of tells: the awkward smile, the slurring of words, her body language, her voice tone. She always needed to practise her lies before putting them in practice.

Charlie, though, just huffed incredulously, having known Sara for too long to not realise what was going on. “You didn’t. My fucking God. You weren’t even bloody awake, were you? You went back to sleep after I called you.” He was met with silence. “I can’t believe this, you did go back to sleep. Sara, are you serious?”

Sara searched her face for an indication of what would be an acceptable answer. “Uh… no?” Charlie glared at her. “Yes?” Another incredulous huff. “Look, I fell asleep again, okay? I’m sorry.”

Her friend inhaled deeply, trying to calm herself down. “Okay. Fine. It’s fine. I just don’t want you to miss my first decent concert, that’s all. Just, please try to be fast”, she said before disappearing into the kitchen.

“I am!”, Sara screamed, tying her shoelaces.

She kept fixing herself up, putting on some light make-up, deciding whether or not to bring a purse or backpack (“Backpack’s better”, she concluded. “It’s a concert.”)

Minutes later she saw Charlie come back from the kitchen with a cup of coffee and some food. “Eat, you lazy jerk. I’m still mad at you, but I can’t have my best friend fainting because she didn’t eat.”

“Aww, I always knew you loved me”, Sara said, beaming happily and taking the food, touching Charlie’s hands accidentally. “Thanks, Loom Breaker. And careful with the shoelace.”

“Wha-” Before she could finish the word, she was already tripping on her feet and falling unceremoniously on the floor. “Oh.”

“Yeah”, Sara replied with her mouth full of bacon.

She has been able to do that ever since she can remember: see the future. Kinda. Sometimes it happened, sometimes it didn’t. The future can always change, especially when she sees too far into the future.

It almost never happened, but once in a while she’d have visions of things that would only happen months, years later. Those were the hardest visions to have; they were always big, significant moments in her life. The uncertainty would sometimes leave her anxious.

“Anyway, listen”, Charlie said, getting back up again. “I’m leaving, I need to be there for the soundcheck.” He turned away and started walking, then stopped on his tracks and turned back at Sara. “Don’t. Be. Late.”

“I won’t, I promise.” She smiled. “Good luck!”, she wished, finishing her breakfast as Charlie left the apartment.




“WHERE ARE YOU?”, Charlie’s exasperated whisper-yell greeted her through her phone’s speakers.

“Almost there!”, Sara said, walking — almost running, actually — as fast as she could without it being socially unacceptable.

“You’re the worst bloody liar in the entire world.”

Sara scrunched up her face in defeat. Fuck. “Okay, maybe I’m not that close.”

She heard a sigh on the other end of the line. “I thought you were almost ready to go when I left.”

“And I was! But I couldn’t find my phone, so I had to search around the entire house!”, she replied, taking one of the straps of her backpack off of her left shoulder while holding her phone between her ear and her right shoulder, freeing her hands so that she could somewhat comfortably open the zipper and look for her airpods. “And that took me a good fifteen minutes.”

“Fifteen minutes?” Sara hummed in affirmation. “And where was it?”

She grabbed an empty bottle of water that had been sitting in there for probably two months — if not more — and finally threw it in the trash, going back to her task of finding her airpods. “Promise you won’t be mad at me?”

“I already am.”

“It was already inside my backpack.”

Silence. “Are you fucking kidding me? Please tell me you are.”

“I forgot! And I felt really dumb for forgetting, by the way.”

“Poor you”, Charlie replied, sarcastically.

“Right? I think this is like, a core memory. My core emotions are probably freaking out right now”, she said, playfully.

“You think that having forgotten you had already put your cellphone in your backpack is a core memory.”

“See, you get me! It was very traumatic and–” Sara’s overly dramatic dialogue was interrupted by her bumping into someone, too distracted looking for her airpods and talking to her friend to realise that someone just as oblivious to the people around them was walking just as fast in the opposite direction.

She held her phone before it fell, but almost everything that was in her backpack fell. Truly, choosing to pick her phone was a curse.

Sara bent down and quickly recollected her belongings as apologies fell off of her mouth before she even processed the situation.

“Oh my God, I’m so, so, so sorry, I was distracted and didn’t notice you”, she said, also picking up a book — The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy, she noticed — and a pair of earbuds.

“No, no, it’s okay, really”, the woman said, handing Sara her airpods’ case — “FINALLY, there it is!”, she thought — and looking at her own phone’s screen, afraid it had broken, and sighed in relief when she saw it was intact. They both stood up again. “I was really distracted too. It’s my fault. I’m sorry.”

The woman offered her a smile and Sara forgot how to breathe. She was undeniably one of the most beautiful people Sara had ever seen. And her outfit and make-up made the greyish-blue of her eyes stand out. “Wow”, she thought. She would most certainly have flirted if she wasn’t so thrown off by the woman’s beauty. Come on, Sara Lance. Act like a decent human being, say something.

“Uh… It’s beautif- OKAY. It’s okay.” She was quick to correct herself, and if the woman noticed her faux pas, she didn’t say anything. Sara concluded the best thing to do was to end the interaction as soon as possible so she couldn’t almost embarrass herself like that again. “Here’s your book and your earbuds”, she said quickly, smiling, and offered the woman her things back.

“Oh, thank you”, she said, smiling again and getting her book back.

When she went for her earbuds, her hand accidentally touched Sara’s, and Sara felt the familiar chill down her spine.

A vision.

She blinked, and suddenly she wasn’t in the streets anymore. She was watching herself arrange some food on a tray. She didn’t recognise the place. It was clearly a house, but not hers. She looked around and saw a professional microphone next to a headset and a laptop on a table. A recording set. Maybe this is Charlie’s house in the future?, she thought, but almost instantly went against her own train of thought. No. I don’t see instruments anywhere. Maybe it’s from someone who works in the radio. Or who has a podcast. Besides, this vision is about this woman. Why would Charlie have to do with her?

She saw future-her finish her work on the tray and walk towards another room and followed her quickly, walking past herself and entering the room — bedroom, actually — first.

The walls were all white and there was one single wide glass window above the bed that sat in the middle of the room. She could see buildings outside of the room.

The sunlight passed through the glass and delicately illuminated a naked body laid face down under the white sheets. A blonde woman.

Oh. Oh no.

Sara gulped. No fucking way.

She saw herself lean against the doorframe, smiling adoringly at the person that slept peacefully. There was so much utter love displayed in her gaze that it became physically uncomfortable for her to watch, so she decided to turn away and watch the city outside the window instead, trying to process what the fuck was going on.

Not even ten seconds later, she heard sleepy unintelligible sounds. She looked at the bed and saw movement under the sheets. The woman stretched herself, yawned and turned to future-Sara’s direction, still sleepy.

Sara’s smile grew a little bigger. “Hey, you.”

“Hi”, the woman answered with a dopey smile, her voice raspy and slurred with sleep. “What‘re you doing up this early? Come back”, she said, tapping weakly on the pillow beside her.

Sara walked towards the bed and left the tray on the nightstand before sitting next to her. “It’s really not that early anymore. You’re the one that slept too much, sleepyhead”, she said, stroking the woman’s hair, who closed her eyes, enjoying Sara’s presence and the state where you’re not asleep but not quite awake either. “You look adorable when you’re sleeping.”

“Y’were watching me? Mmh. Stalker”, she answered, then looped her arms around Sara’s waist and pulled her close, making the smaller blonde almost fall on top of her.

Sara giggled. “What are you trying to do?”

“Forcing you to stay here with me.”

She saw future-her’s smile return to her face at the woman’s words. “I’m not going anywhere”, she said.

“Good. ‘Coz I’m not letting you go anywhere near that door.”

Sara hummed. “What about near that nightstand? Because I cooked you something…”

The woman finally opened her eyes properly. “Huh?”

Sara got the tray and layed it between her and her… girlfriend? Present-Sara didn’t know. “I made you breakfast!”, she said, clearly proud of herself, waiting for the woman’s reaction.

She smiled dumbly and sat up. “You did not!”, she said, unbelieving. “Honey, you didn’t need to…”, she continued, unable to stop smiling.

“I know I didn’t, but I wanted to. You deserve it. The last few days have been a little rough for you, so I thought I’d do somethi–”

The woman grabbed Sara’s shirt and pressed a soft kiss to her lips. “You’re too good for me”, she said, shoving a grape in her mouth.

Sara smiled. “Anything for the love of my life.”

They stared at each other lovingly. “I love you, miss Peter Pan”, the woman said.

Sara rolled her eyes, grabbing a pillow and weakly hitting her. “You’re sleeping on the couch today, Wendy.”

“No, I’m not”, she said, convinced.

“No, you’re not”, she repeated, leaning in to kiss her again as the woman giggled.

They broke away from the kiss and the woman put another grape in her mouth.

“I cooked you stuff and you’re gonna eat just the grapes? That’s very rude of you, Miss Sharpe”, Sara said, playfully.

She laughed and looked flirtatiously at Sara. “It’s just… the breakfast looks great, don’t get me wrong…”

“Mmh. Why do I sense a but?”

“But…”, she continued. “I was really craving something else, if you know what I mean”, she completed, holding Sara by her hips, pulling Sara closer and kissing her neck.

Sara grinned, letting her drag her until she was straddling her. “I thought I was the smooth one in this relationship.”

The woman smirked, stealing a quick kiss. “I can be smooth if I want to.”

Sara gasped. “Ava Sharpe, you are a bad influence.”

Ava Sharpe, Present-Sara thought.

Ava giggled and looked in Sara’s eyes, putting a strand of hair behind her ear. “Really? Am I?”, she asked, sneaking a hand on the nape of Sara’s neck and kissing her again. It was almost as if they couldn’t have enough of each other.

“Oh, yes, you are”, she answered, briefly breaking away from the kiss. “A very beautiful, hot bad influence, if you will.”

They giggled again and then it was over. Just as suddenly as it began.

Sara blinked, now seeing the woman — no, seeing Ava, present Ava again.

She has no idea as for how long she stared, but she knows she stared for a while. She only seemed to snap out of it as Ava cleared her throat.

Sara blinked again, looking at her outstretched hand and seeing that Ava’s earbuds were still trapped inside her closed palm.

“Oh. Oh, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry”, she said quickly, finally handing a slightly scared Ava her earbuds. “I don’t know what got into me. Erm…”

“It's okay”, Ava answered, clearly just wanting to go on with her life. “Really. Um… Thanks for helping me get my stuff.”

“That was nothing”, she tried to display a friendly smile, but she’s pretty sure she looks like a maniac.

“Uh… Bye”, Ava said, already turning and walking away.

Sara found herself standing dumbfounded in the middle of the sidewalk for ten more seconds, until she heard a low buzzing that she swore sounded like Charlie.

“SARA LANCE.”

She looked at her phone screen, startled. Charlie’s contact name shone brightly. “Hi. Sorry, I forgot we were talking.”

“No fucking shit”, she said, her accent getting stronger as she grew angrier. She kept talking, but, for Sara, it was really just background noise. She couldn’t pay attention for the life of her. “Snap out of it! You’re late! You-”

“You have no idea what just happened”, she said, suddenly, looking behind her and seeing Ava walk away.

Charlie audibly sighed. “Yes, I do. You had a vision, I don’t wanna know. HURRY. YOU. ARE. LATE.”

She hung up before Sara could say anything.




“And she just stared at you?”, Zari asked. “Sorry, Aves, but that sounds just a little… unbelievable.”

“I swear to God, Z!”, Ava answered, pacing around. “I thought she was gonna jump on me. She was so damn weird.”

“How heartthrob of you, sis”, Nate said. “She fell in love.”

“Stop, okay? That ‘love at first sight’ stuff is bullshit. You know I don’t believe that. She was really pretty, though”, she confessed.

Her brother gasped. “And you fell for her too! This keeps getting more and more interesting.”

Ava huffed playfully and ignored his remark. “Anyway, the fact is: it was very weird and I’m still kinda scared, to be honest.”

“Maybe she was a time traveller”, Behrad said, conspiratorially. “Maybe she’s here to, like, wipe you off of existence! She wants you out of the timeline!”

Silence. “What?”, Ava asked.

“Sorry, that was funnier in my head”, he said as Nate patted on his back, comforting him (‘It was funny, B, don’t worry’, he said.)

“Anyway”, Zari said. “I think you’re reading too much into this. Maybe she just got distracted with something? Or maybe she got lost in your beautiful eyes and gorgeous jawline”, she continued, partially joking.

Ava halfheartedly rolled her eyes. “Sure.”

“Hey, everyone!”, Nora said, entering the room, smiling brightly

“Nora! Hi!” Ava said, happy to see her friend and hugging her. “I missed you.”

“Me too! It’s been busy”, she replied, breaking away from the hug and briefly greeting each of her friends.

“Okay so, now that Nora’s here, let’s please just get going, we’re late”, Ava said, already moving to grab her stuff.

Behrad looked at his watch. “We’re actually pretty early, is your watch broken?”

“She likes being early. Just go with it”, Nate whispered.

“First, let’s take a pic! For my Instagram feed”, Zari said, pulling out her phone and opening the camera app.

“You're addicted”, Behrad teased.

“Maybe. Come here, Aves, Nora”, she said, gesturing for them to come closer as her brother and friend made funny poses. “Everybody say murder.”

“Muder!”, they all said in unison.

Click.




The concert barely ended and Sara was already on the backstage, waiting for Charlie.

“AH!”, he exclaimed, scared by a small person that paced in the darkness of the empty dressing room. He turned on the lights and quickly realised who it was. “What the fuck are you doing here? You scared me!”

“Sorry”, she answered, still pacing around. “I just- I’m anxious. I can’t stop thinking about it no matter what I do? Whenever I close my eyes all I see is her-”

“Wait, wait, wait”, Charlie interrupted. “Firstly: stop pacing around, it’s making me dizzy.” (‘Sorry’, Sara said as she stopped pacing.) “Secondly: is this about that vision you had? Come on you can’t possibly be serious. A vision about a stranger got you this anxious?”

“She was naked!”, she blurted out.

Charlie smirked and winked. “Sara Lance… visiting a nude beach, were you? How outrageous…”

“IN THE VISION! SHE WAS NAKED IN THE VISION!”

Charlie burst into laughter. “Weirdly that makes it a little less worse. Why the hell was she bloody naked?”

“I think she’s the love of my life”, Sara said, looking like she had just seen a ghost.

“You saw her one time, you useless bisexual. Was she pretty, though?”

“I don’t mean I’m in love with her, asshole! I mean the vision I saw was of her and me acting like a fucking married couple! I made her breakfast and literally called her the love of my life. And she was naked! And apparently had me for breakfast instead”, she answered. “And yes, she was pretty, actually.”

“Getting laid in your visions, eh? Doesn’t sound nearly as bad as you make it sound. I might as well just pray to have your powers, then.”

Before Sara could answer, people entered the room.

“Hey!”, Ray said enthusiastically. “Uh… what’s going on? I thought this was a happy moment but this looks like a funeral.”

“Sara bumped into a woman while coming here and the first vision she had was of her and said stranger lying in bed. They were dating. And they banged!”, Charlie answered before Sara could speak anything, saying the last sentence as if it was the most exciting thing in the entire world.

“Huh, that is… something.”

“She was reading a book about Ted Bundy. She was reading a book about a serial killer and I stared at her like a weirdo!” Sara said, low-key panicking.

Charlie looked at Ray, searching for answers, but he shrugged, just as confused. “I don’t think we're following.”

“She likes real crime! She knows how to get rid of a body! What if she decides to kill me because I bothered her? She certainly knows how to!”

“A serial killer?” Charlie groaned. “Your future girlfriend looks so hot in my brain. I love women who might just kill me.”

“Sara, aren’t you caring a little too much about this?”, Ray said, chuckling. “Are you forgetting that you’re a black belt?”

“Welcome to my cul de sac, friend!”, Nate sinsonged, entering the room suddenly with a bright smile. “Best song ever, I’m so addicted and YOU–” he pointed at Charlie “–killed it!”

Charlie smiled as they high-fived. “Thanks mate!”

“I’m sorry I couldn't be here for the concert, I went to see the new Scream movie with my sister and some friends.”

“Nah, that’s alright! I’m happy you came here anyway, even if you're a little late.”

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world! I successfully escaped the movies and was able to make it here to see the best concert ever.”

Charlie chuckled. “And while we’re on the late topic: Ray, where’s Nora?”

“She’s friends with Nate’s sister! She’s with them, they had already planned this months prior and it’s been a while since they all hung out together”, he answered.

“She and my sister won’t stand 5 feet apart from each other”, he joked, looking around and finding Sara with her now default “what the hell” look. He looked at Ray. “Vision?” Ray just nodded. “Huh.”

“She’s a little traumatised”, Charlie said.

“Noted. Anyway, I’m already going, or else someone will be calling me really angrily”, he half joked, already walking away. “And I won’t lose your next concert, I promise!”

“See ya!” Charlie screamed, smiling.

“I need a drink”, Sara said, more to herself than to the people around her, and grabbed her backpack, walking outside without waiting for her friends.

Ray sighed. “Being friends with a clairvoyant is really tiring, sometimes.”

“It really is”, she answered, following Sara. “At least we’ll have some free alcohol now”, she joked.

They both chuckled.




It had been two weeks since the… incident.

And still, Sara couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Everytime she closed her eyes, she saw her. She was even having dreams of blonde hair and grey-ish sapphire eyes, the woman of her vision invading her brain without permission.

Maybe that’s why when it happened again she thought it was a dream.

When she realised it had actually happened, she rushed to Charlie’s house, banging furiously at the door despite it being two AM.

After several minutes, Charlie finally opened the door, showing up in a set of guitar pyjamas and a satin bonnet. “What. Is. Your. PROBLEM?”

“I told her I loved her”

Charlie sighed, tired and impatient. “What are you talking about, Sara?”

“I saw her. I saw her again. The woman.”

“Okay, it’s two in the morning and I am too sleepy for this”, she said, grabbing Sara by her clothes and dragging her inside. She closed the door and walked to the kitchen to make herself some coffee, expecting Sara to be following her. “Now talk. In a way that my tired brain can understand.”

“I wasn’t feeling like sleeping so I started watching some horror movies. Hours passed and I got a little hungry but I got no food at home, as always, so I went out to get some popcorn at the 24h market and guess who was there? That same woman I bumped into some days ago!”

“That’s one hell of a coincidence.”

“Right? And we accidentally touched each other again and…” She suddenly went quiet.

Charlie just waited, a little more patient and understanding now that she was pouring herself some coffee. She sipped her cup and offered Sara one. “Want some?”

“I… yeah, please.”

After they both had a cup, they naturally migrated to the living room, sitting on the couch in silence as they appreciated their coffee. After years of friendship, Charlie learned that sometimes Sara just needed some time before talking, so she waited.

“We were at the beach, walking on the shore”, Sara began, quietly, after some minutes. “Watching the sunset and, for the first time, I was watching things first person.”

“What do you mean?” Charlie asked, sipping her drink.

“I always see things happen from the outside. I can always see myself in my visions. This time… I was me. I was in my body, and I… felt stuff. For her. Almost as if I was actually living that.”

“And by stuff you mean…?”

Sara went quiet. “She’s so damn beautiful, Charlie. God, she’s gorgeous. And I can’t believe I don’t know her. I can’t believe I’m feeling those feelings for someone I don’t know yet. And I may not even know her like, ever! Because the future is susceptible to change.”

It was clear that she was on the verge of collapsing. Charlie watched, having no idea as to what to do, as her friend breathed deeply, trying not to cry.

“The sun was setting, it reflected on her face… And made her ten times more beautiful. And… I felt so much love, Charlie. I did something really stupid, just to try and make her laugh”, she remembered.

(Ava stared at the sand as the waves washed their feet.

On other visions, Sara never knew when the vision happened. It was impossible, since there wasn’t anything to give her a hint. But this time she knew. She knew they had known each other for a while. Because this time she was in her body and she actually felt the things future-her was feeling, and thought the things future-her was thinking.

So at the moment she looked at Ava, she knew something was wrong, she knew she was sad. And at the moment she realised that, she made it her single handedly life goal to make Ava laugh.

“Oh no”, she said.

“What?”, Ava asked, already worried.

“Oh my god, look! Look Ava!”, she replied, fake terrified.

“I- What?” She looked at the water, looking for something, anything.

Sara smiled and kicked the water, splashing it all over Ava.

She hissed as the cold water hit her body and chuckled, unbelieving, as Sara slowly walked backwards, getting some distance but still watching Ava’s reaction. Ava looked at her, smiling. “You’re insufferable.”

“And you love it!”, she replied, smiling back.

“I don’t know who told you that, but they were lying”, she said, pointing the last word by kicking the water in Sara’s direction.

Sara gasped, putting her arms in front of her face. “You’ve just started… a war!”, she said, bending down to throw water on Ava and running away right after.

Ava ran after her as they laughed, feeling the wind on her face and quickly reaching Sara and grabbing her, which resulted in them tripping on their own feet and falling one on top of each other.

Ava kept laughing uncontrollably on top of Sara.

Sara just smiled, feeling that familiar warmness spreading all over her body, feeling happiness in its purest form.

She fisted the air. “I have completed my goal”, she said, comically, and then just kept smiling dumbly, looking at her lover’s face. “This is how I want you to be every single day. My life mission is to make you happy. I’ve only been put in this world to make you smile”, she said, holding Ava’s chin and kissing her, stroking her cheek with her thumb.

Ava beamed, displaying a smile that was reserved only for Sara.

It was so intimate. The beach was nearly empty, the sky was becoming more navy blue and less orange. It all made it feel like Ava and her were the only two people alive. And Ava looked so beautiful. Sara felt like she was gonna explode because of all the love she was feeling.

She loves Ava Sharpe with all her heart.)

“I’ve never felt like that in my entire life. And I said it. I told her I loved her.”

She held her breath. “And?”

Sara smiled. “And she said it back.”

Charlie exhaled. “Wow.”

“Yeah.”

They went silent. Charlie didn’t know exactly what to say. At the moment Sara started talking, she thought of telling her to relax, because those things might not even happen, but seeing the state of her friend, she knew that was the worse possible idea. She opted for the good old hug. She put her mug on the coffee table and held Sara.

In her friend’s embrace, she immediately collapsed. “I feel ridiculous for being like this, for feeling like this.” She sighed. “Why is this happening to me, Charlie? Why do I have these stupid powers? Why couldn’t I just have met her randomly like a normal person, without knowing what was next or what future awaited? Why do I have to see the future and risk not having that? Why?”

Charlie had to fight the urge to cry. “I don’t know. I’m sorry, I don’t know.”

So Sara cried, and cried, and cried. After thirty minutes or so, she fell into a peaceful sleep, and Charlie didn’t have the heart to wake her up. She made herself more comfortable and slept like that, hugging one of her favourite people, not caring about how much her back was gonna hurt in the morning.




Months went by. Sara never saw the woman again.

At the beginning it was hard. After the beach vision, where she felt the way she would feel in the future, the feelings for the blonde lingered. The human brain is incapable of differentiating between reality and fiction, so Sara had to actually get over it. As if she was actually in a relationship with the woman who never even said her name to her.

As time passed, the feelings became more and more meaningless to Sara, to the point where it was almost like she never actually felt them, but rather dreamt about them. It all just felt like a dream, the kind where you really remember everything when you wake up, but you keep forgetting more and more as the day goes by.

It wasn’t exactly a pleasant way for the feelings to go away, since she now always felt like she was forgetting something, but it was nice to not suffer from a heartbreak that technically never happened.

“Sara! We’re late!”, Charlie screamed, banging on the bathroom door. “We need to be there to help Nate set the stuff up.”

“Coming!”, Sara screamed back.

It was 20:40h. The party started at 21h and they agreed to meet half an hour earlier because they promised to help Nate set everything up and save money instead of hiring someone to arrange the stuff.

Sara left the bathroom. “I’m ready. Do you have Nate’s birthday present?”

“Yup! Let’s go?”

Sara finally looked at Charlie and smirked. She wore a leather jacket over a white plain t-shirt and black jeans. Her box braids were up in a bun. “Damn, you look good.”

Charlie smiled back and checked Sara out. She wore a black tank top, black pants and her Doc Martens boots. “You look pretty with your hair wavy like that.”

“Thanks”, she answered before getting her purse and walking towards the door, followed by Charlie.




“Hi! You’re here!”, Nate greeted them, wearing a big smile.

“Nate!”, Sara yelled, already going for a hug. “Happy birthday!” She felt a goosebump and froze for a millisecond. Vision. “Someone called Zari will be late. Just saw it.”

They separated from the hug. “Zari? Why is she late?”

“She ran out of concealer. She’s gonna go buy it and do her make up before coming.”

“Here’s a little something”, Charlie said, offering him his gift. “It’s from both of us.”

“Guys, I told y’all you didn’t need to get me anything.”

“We know, but we wanted to.” Sara smiled. “We hope you like it.”

Nate smiled a little bigger. “Thank you”, he said, putting the nicely sealed box on the table Ray was sitting on. “Okay, so, since you two took a while, Ray, Nora and I already arranged the tables and stuff. And since it's a game centre there’s not much else to do. Except for the improvised bar, there’s barely anything there, but Ava and her friends will bring the good stuff.”

Sara froze and her smile faded. “Who?”

She tried to calm herself down. There are lots of Ava’s in the world, right? I mean, it’s almost impossible that his Ava is the Ava I’m thinking about.

Nate found the sudden shift strange, but didn’t say anything. “My sister, Ava. I really thought I had already introduced you all.”

“Maybe you have. What does she look like?”, Ray asked, oblivious to Sara’s internal panic.

“Umm… Blonde impeccable hair — it’s on the genes —, pretty smile, blue, kinda grey-ish eyes, likes wearing turtlenecks.”

If there was any doubt, it had just been crushed.

“Sara?”, Charlie asked, a little worried.

“Nate”, Sara said, suddenly.

“Yeah?”, he answered, a little freaked out.

“Do you have another surname?”

Nate looked at her with a blank expression. “Huh?”

“Your name is Nate Heywood. Do you have another surname?”

“I… Yeah. Sharpe. It’s Nate Heywood Sharpe.”

Sara gaped. “No way. No fucking way”, she said, already pacing around.

All of her friends looked at each other. “Uh… Sara? Could you please enlighten us on what’s going on?”, Charlie asked, unbearably confused. “Cause we’re clueless here.”

“Ava Sharpe. That’s the woman. The woman. The person I told y’all at the end of Charlie’s concert that I had bumped into and saw us… together.”

Now Charlie was just as perplexed. “Are you sure that was her name? Aren’t you mixing people up? I mean, it’s really unlikely that you’re both talking about the same person.”

Nate was clearly having an epiphany. “Actually…”, he started. “Before I went to see you all, Ava did tell me that a weirdo stared at her on the way to my house.”

“I did what?”, Ava said, walking through the door followed by Behrad.

Sara wished she would just disappear.

“Happy birthday, bro!” Behrad said, doing their secret handshake and smiling. “Z’s late. Make-up problems.”

Nate glanced at Sara. “Yeah, I figured.”

“Well, happy birthday again”, Ava wished, smiling. “Here’s a little something.” She gave him a small box.

He smiled. “Thanks, sis. Where are all the drinks?”

“Oh, on my car’s trunk. Can you please come help me bring it?”

Nate shook his head. “I need to configure some of the machines, I was waiting for Behrad so he could help me.” He looked at Sara with a wicked grin, and she prayed he wouldn’t do what she thought he would. “Sara! Please go help her?”

She glared at him, suddenly feeling like punching something. “Sure.”

“Ava, this is my friend, Sara Lance.”

Ava finally looked at her. “Oh. you.”

Sara didn’t know if she was just surprised or immensely disappointed. “Yeah…”

An unbearable awkwardness filled the room, making Sara switch her weight from foot to foot uncomfortably.

“Look, guys”, Charlie said, desperately wanting to not be there to see the next disaster. “Looks like Ray needs some help cleaning some things. Let’s go!”

Sara watched as everyone quickly moved. “Traitor”, she whispered when Charlie walked past her.

Her friend mouthed good luck! as she walked away, giving her a thumbs up.

Sara shook her head, incredulous.

Ava shot her a small friendly smile. “Let’s go?”

Sara smiled through the internal crisis. “Yeah.”

They walked outside in an abnormally awkward silence.

It was Ava who chose to talk. “I’m starting to think you’re following me”, she said, jokingly, trying to ease up the mood.

Sara thanked her efforts. “I’m actually a spy working for the CIA.”

Ava smiled. “You certainly have the aesthetics of one”, she said, and used her compliment as an excuse to check Sara out.

“Do I? Can you see me like a ninja or something?” She mimicked ninja moves.

Ava giggled. “Yeah, actually, I can.”

Silence.

“I’m sorry for staring so much that time we bumped into each other. I probably freaked you out.”

“I’m not gonna lie, you really did. It was very Joe Goldberg of you, stalker.”

Sara laughed with the You reference. “I wasn’t stalking you! And, if it helps, you really scared me too.”

She widened her eyes, surprised. “Me?”, she said, opening her car’s trunk. “Why?”

“Why?” Ava carefully took the bags out of the trunk and splitted them between her and Sara, closing the trunk and starting to walk towards the game centre again. “You were reading Ted Bundy and I had just stared at you like a fucking weirdo! How am I supposed to not fear for my life?”

Ava burst in laughter and Sara couldn’t help but smile. She subconsciously made it her life mission to keep this woman laughing.

“I’m serious! You read serial killer stuff for fun! That’s scary.”

“Well, in my defence, I’m not exactly reading it for fun.” Ava still wore a big smile as she answered. “It’s my job, I have a podcast about true crime. Though I did start it because I really liked true crime so…”

“Oh, no…

“Maybe I will murder you, who knows?”, she said, elbowing the doorknob to open it.

“I’m eager to know your methods”, Sara said, flirty. “But, seriously, I’m sorry. I was…” She thought for some seconds. Having visions of me and you together. Because saying that is a good idea, Sara Lance. “Going through something.”

Ava smiled. “That’s okay. Really.”

Sara smiled back, putting the bags on the countertop. “Want some help?”

Ava winced. “Uh, not really. I’m kind of a control freak. Don’t want that to be your first idea of me.”

Sara almost laughed at the comicality of it. First idea. “Okay, if you need help just let me know”, she said, smiling

Ava grinned. “Okay.”




Hours went by, they didn’t talk again. Eventually, they just grouped with their friends and, naturally, didn’t even see each other. At least not really often, but every time Sara saw Ava she couldn’t help but glance.

At the beginning of the night it was a really subtle, quick look, but now, hours later, with everyone dispersed and after a few drinks, Sara got a little bolder.

She straight up stared at Ava from the table she was sitting on with Charlie and Ray.

“My fucking god, please stop eye-fucking Nate’s sister”, Charlie said, exasperated.

Sara looked at her and blinked. “What?”

“I’m trying to ignore it but it’s really hard. Please just go talk to her.”

“I’m not–”

“Sure.”

Sara rolled her eyes in exasperation. “Just look!”, she said, indiscreetly pointing to Ava.

Charlie quickly shoved her arm down. “Are you bloody insane? Don’t point at her like that! She’s gonna see it!”

“Look!”, she insisted, already impatient.

“Fine!”, he said, already turning.

Ava was sitting on a bar stool with a drink in front of her. On her left there was a woman talking to her, clearly trying to flirt.

Charlie turned back to her, smirking. “Oh, you’re jealous.”

“What?” Sara scoffed. “No, I’m not.” “Yes, you are.” “I’m not! She just– she looks uncomfortable. And that girl is so… unnecessary. Look at her! She keeps… Leaning in and touching and she laughs so loudly. It’s annoying me.” She said, still watching the girl, and if stares could kill, that girl would be already a corpse in decomposition. “Look at that! How can you do that in public? Not everyone wants to see that”, she said, briefly looking away from them, not wanting to keep watching that girl throwing herself at Ava like that.

Charlie glanced at Ava, who chuckled at something the other person had said, and Sara felt her skin burn. Truthfully, the sight of Ava laughing at something someone else said corroded her insides. She shoved the thoughts of “I wish that was me” to the back of her brain, deciding to promptly ignore them.

“About the uncomfortable part: nah, I don’t think so.” Charlie looked at her again, swearing she could see smoke coming out of Sara’s ears, just like cartoon characters when they get mad. She chugged her drink and stood up. “Well, I’m sorry but I’m gonna dance now, ‘cause there’s this gorgeous girl glancing at me and I’d much rather go see what’s up than stay here and watch you combust in jealousy.” She winked at someone in the crowd, probably the girl she was talking about. “Bye!”, she said, already walking away.

Sara huffed, watching the girl casually touch Ava’s arm.

Ray looked at her. “You know…” Sara glared at him. “... Nevermind. Not important. I’m gonna look for Nora.” He stood up and walked — ran — away.

Alone, she drank her Manhattan and looked again in Ava’s direction.

And Ava was looking back at her.

She choked, putting her drink down and looking away like a deer caught in the headlights, thinking that that was just her mind playing tricks on her. When she looked again, Ava was talking to the woman next to her.

Sara sighed.

“Staring won’t make her talk to you, you know?” Nate’s voice startled her. He sat right beside her.

“Nate. Hi. Yeah… Yes, I know that.”

“So go talk to her. It’s physically painful to see you here sitting down all night staring at someone you’re clearly interested in. I know you have this fear of making mistakes and changing the future, but that change isn't always bad, Sara. If you want something to happen, you need to try. Also, stop staring at the girl. You’re boring holes into her.”

“I- what?” Sara laughed exaggeratedly. “I’m not interested and I’m not staring, what are you talking about?”

“Mmhmm, you’re a terrible liar, did you know that?” He deadpanned. Sara just stared at him, not being able to think of anything to say. “I’m gonna go, you do you, but you’re advised. If you won’t talk to her, please at least enjoy tonight. I’ve never seen Sara Lance being so dead at a party. Go get the girl, captain.” He joked, winking.

He walked away and Sara stared at her cup. When she looked at Ava, she was looking at her again, but this time she held her gaze. She chugged the remains of her drink, stood up and walked towards the bar, sitting right next to Ava.

She called the bartender. “One Martini, please. Extra dirty, stirred.”

As she waited for her drink, she thought about how to get rid of the girl. She looked at her, finally seeing her annoying, adorable face. She was pretty, it was undeniable, and that just made Sara all the more angry.

She looked away as she heard Ava laugh and balled her fists, growing more and more annoyed. Annoyed that Ava was laughing at what she said. Annoyed that she knew that could be her, if only she had made a move earlier.

A sudden ringtone interrupted her thoughts. She looked at the girl beside Ava, who picked up her phone and looked apologetically at Ava. “Sorry, I really need to take this.”

Ava smiled. “It’s okay.”

The woman smiled back and walked towards the door, going outside.

Sara smiled in victory as the bartender handed her her drink. She smiled at him. “Thanks–” She looked at his nametag.”–Darryl.”

He smiled charismatically. “Anytime!”

Okay, this is my chance, she thought.

“Finally, you came here.” Sara freezed at Ava’s voice. She stared as the woman turned to her. “I thought you were just gonna stare all night,” she said, cocking her head to the side and smiling. “Jealous of someone you talked to twice? That’s very possessive of you, Sara Lance.”

Sara gaped speechlessly, wishing she could think of a witty comeback, wishing her brain hadn’t turned into mush the moment Ava smiled at her, wishing Ava didn’t affect her that much. “I wasn’t staring,” she finally said, trying and recomposing herself. “And I wasn’t jealous.”

Ava scoffed. “You know, you’re not as subtle as you think you are. Your eyes would be shooting laser beams if this was a TV show.”

“I am subtle!” She said, feigning offence exaggeratedly and purposefully ignoring the second bit of what she said.

Ava laughed, and Sara couldn’t help but smile, too. She now understood perfectly why vision-her wanted to make her laugh.

“Okay, I was staring, so what?”, She finally said. “You’re a very beautiful woman.”

Ava smiled and looked away, slightly flustered. “You’re not so bad yourself. Though it was hard to acknowledge it after all the stalker stuff. It really did scare me a little.”

Sara sighed theatrically. “I already told you I wasn’t stalking you! And who can assure me that you weren’t stalking me?”

Ava thought for some seconds. “Touché. But you’re the one who acted weird.”

Sara groaned and put her hand on her forehead. “Can we please just pretend that never happened?”

Ava chuckled. “Only if you let me buy you a drink.”

She smiled. “My cup’s full. Wouldn’t it be more suitable for me to pay you one?” She didn’t give Ava time to answer, already calling for Darryl, The Bartender.

He didn’t come. “See, it’s the universe telling you that I’m the one supposed to buy you drinks”, Ava said.

Sara rolled her eyes. “Nope. Darryl?”, she called again.

A guy came out of the back door wearing a uniform. “Darryl’s not here at the moment, am I enough?”, he said, jokingly.

Sara’s eyes brightened up. “Diggle! Oh my god, how are you? What are you doing here?”, she said, hugging him clumsily across the countertop.

He smiled, leaning back from the hug. “I’m good, how are you? Thought you had abandoned me”, he said, playfully.

“Never! And I’m great, even better now.” She subconsciously played with her glass.

“Sara Lance. You really are at all parties, aren’t you?”

She smiled. “What can I say, I’m omnipresent.”

He chuckled. “I’m starting to believe that.”

Sara looked at Ava, who just sat there, smiling at the interaction. “Oh, I’m sorry– Diggle, this is Ava”, she said, pointing to Ava. “Ava, this is John Diggle, an old friend.”

“Hey, nice to meet you”, he said, shaking her hand.

She smiled politely, taking his hand. “It’s nice to meet you too.”

“So”, he said, looking from Ava to Sara. “I see your cup’s full. What can I get your girlfriend?”

They both stiffened, and Sara wished she had drank less. With the alcohol on her body, she wasn’t able to fight against the blush that was now displayed on her cheeks. She felt blood rushing to her ears. “She’s not-”

“I’m not-”

They stopped together, chuckling awkwardly. “She’s not my girlfriend.”

Diggle wiggled an eyebrow and smiled knowingly. “I see”, he said, not sounding convinced at all. “What can I get the friend–”, he continued, putting emphasis on friend. “–then?”

“I’ll just have whatever she’s having.”

“Vodka Martini, extra dirty, stirred.”

“On it”, Diggle said before walking away to make her drink.

Ava looked at her, a little surprised. “Stirred, not shaken.”

Sara smiled cheekily. “Shaken is for lightweights who like their booze watered down.”

“And James Bond.”

“James Bond is a fictional character. And probably a lightweight.”

Ava giggled. “True”, she answered, as Diggle slid her drink across the countertop. “Thank you.”

“No problem, if you two need something else, just call”, he said, smiling, and turned to Sara, now whispering. “That includes a room.”

Sara punched his arm and he laughed, walking away. “I’m sorry about him, that probably made you uncomfortable.”

“It’s okay, really! It was a little… awkward, yes, but it’s okay.”

Sara sighed in relief. “Thank god, thought you would’ve runned right outta here after one more embarrassing situation.”

Ava giggled. “I can handle it. Besides, being called your girlfriend isn’t that bad”, she said, flirtatiously.

She smiled, successfully masking the gay panic she was having. “Ava Sharpe, are you flirting with me?”

“I don’t know. Do you want me to flirt with you, Sara Lance?”

Sara smiled. “Answering a question with another question, I see. My answer won’t come out that easily, though”, she said, taking a sip of her Martini.

Ava smirked. “Even better. I like making pretty women beg.”

Sara choked on her drink — again — at the obvious innuendo on her tone. Ava smiled wickedly. “Jesus Christ, Ava”, Sara started. “Let a girl know before you start saying stuff like that.”

She broke my brain, Sara thought.

Ava cocked her head. “You know, after the stuff Nate said about you, I thought you’d be a little less… flustered”, she said. Sara thought she was judging her, but when she looked at Ava there was just amusement and concern in her eyes. “Am I making you uncomfortable?”

Sara smiled at the question. “No, of course not! I’m just… a little out of practice, I guess. Also, it’s not every day that a gorgeous woman casually tells me she likes to make people beg. A begging kink? Really? Who would’ve known.”

The compliment didn’t go unnoticed. Ava tried to hide a smile. “You’re the one who’s saying that. But if you wanna figure it out…”, she said, suggestively.

Sara smirked, feeling like her regular self. “I wouldn’t be opposed to that. Though I usually like to be the one in control”, she said, placing her right hand on Ava’s thigh.

Ava felt her skin burning where Sara touched her. Her gaze involuntarily dropped to Sara’s lips.

Sara grinned wickedly, slowly leaning in. Ava followed her motion, truly hypnotised by the woman in front of her, but Sara avoided her mouth, talking sweetly in her ear instead, and leaving a dumbfounded Ava with her eyes closed. “Where’s your witty comeback now, Sharpe?”, she said.

Ava shivered as she felt Sara’s hot breath against her neck, hissing as Sara nibbled her ear, feeling heat coil low in her belly. Her hand kept creeping up in a glacial pace and it was driving her crazy. Sara was driving her crazy. She couldn’t think a coherent thought if her life depended on it. Her mind rushed with thoughts and feelings and an insistent chanting of “kiss her, kiss her, kiss her!”

Sara started leaning back and, before Ava even knew it, she was chasing Sara’s mouth, finally discovering what her lips felt like.

It wasn’t just Sara that kept thinking about Ava after they met.

It wasn’t weird, there weren’t any awkward angles. Their mouths just fit perfectly and they were completely in tune with each other. It was outworldly.

The kiss wasn’t shy, or calm, or loving. It was pure, desperate, raw desire. They ached for contact, for each other.

Ava put her hand on Sara’s neck, deepening the kiss, and heard a moan. She couldn’t figure if it was hers or Sara’s. Eventually, they separated in favour of breathing.

They looked at each other, dazed, and suddenly felt very aware of how many people there were there. “D’you wanna get out of here?”

“Thought you’d never ask”, Ava answered, and Sara took her hand, leading her somewhere else. She briefly debated asking Diggle for that room, but decided it was better to just go to a more private place.

Ava noticed how their hands fit perfectly together, her hand a little too cold with Sara’s a little too warm.

Just fit. They Just fit.

Ava had a feeling that that was gonna happen very frequently, and she revelled in the thought that she could see this woman more times.

This charming, beautiful, funny, aggravatingly hot woman who she was very much into.

It felt like a catalyst, a turning point in her life. Sara Lance was her catalyst, and Ava knew she was about to turn her life upside down ever since the moment she saw her in that party, but she didn’t care.

Before she realised, Sara was opening a door and pulling her inside with her.

As soon as they got inside, Sara was pushing her against the nearest wall and kissing her ferociously in a mess of moans, and sighs, and groans. It was sloppy, and needy, and messy and she couldn’t get enough of it. Sara put her hands around Ava’s neck as Ava settled hers on her hips.

Sara brought her hand to the nape of her neck, scratching and pulling her hair lightly, leaving open mouthed kisses on her jawline and slowly descending to suck marks on her neck, and Ava fucking moaned. Since the moment Sara first heard it, she became instantly addicted to the sound. She felt a wave of pride at the knowledge that she had just made Ava Sharpe moan, the thought only adding to the uncomfortable feeling between her legs. Sara was gone.

Ava chuckled. “You’re getting a little too comfortable”, she muttered under her breath against Sara’s mouth, quickly switching positions and trapping Sara between her and the wall. Sara whined in frustration when she broke the kiss and felt a thrill run down her spine as she held Ava’s gaze, her pupils blown wide. “I thought I had already told you I enjoy making pretty women beg”, she said, her voice raspy and suggestive.

‘This woman is gonna be the death of me’, Sara thought.