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friends don't yearn like we do.

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Nancy tells Steve she’s more than half in love with his best friend on a dreary, Wednesday afternoon. 

“Holy fuck, what?" says Steve. Then he backpedals dramatically, lunging to clutch Nancy’s hands before she can pull away. “Wait, Nancy, sorry. I mean, this is the best news I’ve ever heard in my life,” he says, eyes wide. Bless him, because he sounds like he really means it. “Genuinely.” 

Nancy pulls a hand away to tuck her hair behind her ear, unwilling to admit just how nervous she’d been to confess. Steve, ever perceptive in situations where he really shouldn’t be, softens his smile. He tugs her closer on the couch, their knees bumping together. His palms are cool against her sweaty ones. 

“Nance,” he says, squeezing her hands. “This is good. This is a good thing.” 

Nancy smiles, somewhat unsure. “Okay,” she says. “You’re very supportive.” Her smile is a giddy little thing. “I thought you’d be upset.” 

Steve reels. “I’m not a homophobe,” he stresses, hurt. His eyes dim. 

“No!” It’s Nancy’s turn to squeeze his hands. She tugs at him until they’re curled into each other, an echo of their past relationship. “I didn’t mean it that way. I know you’re not homophobic. I know you know about Robin liking girls, and that you knew all along.” 

Steve’s shoulders lower. His lips twitch. “Oh yeah,” he agrees, nodding, “I definitely clocked it way early. She didn’t even have to tell me like, on the floor of a bathroom somewhere, drugged up to her eyeballs. I have a great gaydar.”

Nancy stares at him, flatly. 

“That was a joke,” Steve explains.

Nancy ducks her head to hide her laugh. “Okay,” she says, resting her head on his shoulder. “Do you ... wanna tell me why this is a good thing?”

“Wanna tell me why you thought I’d be pissed?”

“I didn’t say pissed, I said upset.” Nancy fiddles with Steve’s bracelet, a silly red-blue-grey — which had at one point been white — amalgamation. A mass of woven string with two little R and S beads right in the centre. Robin wears hers on her ankle. “Robin’s your best friend. I’m your ex. I didn’t want … I just, I suppose I was just worried.” 

Steve tilts Nancy’s head up to meet her gaze. His eyes are warm and carry no judgement. Steve’s always been kinder than he’s given himself credit for, more compassionate. So much of that love bleeds through now. 

“Nancy,” he says, “that’s exactly why this is a good thing. You’re more than my ex, by the way. You’re both important to me. Why wouldn’t I want you guys to be happy?” 

Nancy has to hide her face then, because Steve’s words threaten to punch a sob from deep in her chest. She swallows past the lump in her throat, eyes burning, and tries to appear unaffected. Steve Harrington, she thinks, heart swelling. What a guy. 

“Aw, Nance. C’mere.” Steve drags her into a tight hug. He presses a firm kiss to her temple, rubbing up and down her arms. “I’m rooting for you, seriously. You gonna confess to her, d’ya think?” 

“Just because she’s also into women doesn’t mean she’d automatically be into me.” Nancy bites at her thumbnail, which isn’t typically a nervous habit of hers, but nothing about this situation is very typical. “I think I’d want to scope out her feelings, first. See if I have a chance.” 

Steve pats Nancy’s lower back. “I have an idea,” he says, full of puppy-like energy. His excitement is infectious. “You give her a call, say you came over to hang with me for the evening, but things changed. Say uh, say Eddie or Dustin wanted a hand with something, so I had to ditch. Then ask her if she’s free to spend the night with you.”

“Like a sleepover?”

“She’ll have to say yes, ‘cause Keith and Marlene are on the close tonight, and all her other friends are tiny, so they’ll be in bed within a few hours.” Steve purses his lips, gaze narrowing. “Course, you could also just ask her on a date.” He wiggles his brows up and down. It's awful. 

Nancy thinks about Robin, sleep-rumpled and warm, wearing one of Nancy’s shirts again. Does she wear socks to bed and tiny shorts, or a nightgown that rides up her thigh? Face flushing, Nancy presses her wrist against her mouth, hiding her smile. 

“Hey, I don’t know where your mind’s gone, Wheeler, but keep it in your pants.” 

Nancy swats him which sets him off into raucous laughter. Watching Steve, how happy and relaxed he is, is heartening. Nancy’s so, so lucky to have him, she thinks. This caring, wonderful resurrection of Steve that had been buried in a grave of ego and loneliness. 

“Shut up,” she sighs. “I was just thinking about how I’m going to ask.” 

“I already gave you the script.” Steve tosses his arms up, almost dislodging Nancy. “C’mon, I swear I won’t even listen in on another line.”

“Liar,” says Nancy. 

In the kitchen, Nancy makes the call. Steve doesn’t pretend not to listen in on another line — he stands in the kitchen beside her, ear crammed as close as he can manage, avoiding her pointy elbows and attempts to strangle him with the cord.

Steve,” Nancy hisses, trying to two-step out of his hold. “A little privacy please?”

“Hello?” 

Steve freezes. Nancy freezes. Robin, confused, does not. 

“Hello?” she asks again. 

“Robin, hi!” Nancy’s voice comes out a little too pitchy. She swallows, smoothing down her skirt. “So listen, I’m over at Steve’s, and we were supposed to be watching …”

The Thing!” Steve mouths, flapping his hands about ludicrously. 

“The Thing,” Nancy continues. “But then we got a call from Eddie, and turns out he was missing Steve—”

Steve makes a weird, choked noise, face pink and eyes wide. Nancy grins. Payback, she mouths. 

“Aw,” Robin coos. “Gross. So you got ditched? Classic.”

“Yeah.” Nancy curls the line around her finger, mouth a wobbly line as she tries to bite down on her smile. “I got ditched. I was wondering if you wanted to come over to mine tonight. You know, if you were free? We could have a sleepover. I haven’t had a non-emergency one in a while.” 

Steve shoots her a thumbs up. She flicks her hand at him to shoo him away and mercifully, he listens. 

“Okay,” Robin says. Her voice is a little muffled down the line. “I haven’t had a sleepover with a girl since I was like, twelve. Do I need to bring nail polish or magazines?” 

“Bring whatever you want, but you have full access to anything in my room.”

Robin sounds like she’s smiling when she says, “Anything, huh? Okay, Wheeler, you have a deal. I’ll come over in an hour or two. I can even pinch some Babycham, if you want.” 

Getting tipsy with Robin sounds like a risk, but it also sounds fun, and regardless of how the night goes, that’s all Nancy wants. 

“Okay,” she murmurs, already picturing painting little imperfect lines across Robin’s nails. “I’ll see you around six, then.”

She leaves Steve’s with pep in her step, made bold by the way he’d swung her around the kitchen in excitement. 

“Don’t do anything I wouldn't do!” he hollers down the driveway, smile almost manic. “And you have to tell me everything!” 

“Go suck face with Eddie,” she shouts back, revelling in how he ducks behind the door as his face turns lobster-red. 




Robin comes over early. She smiles politely at Nancy’s mum, offers her dad the shaka, and slips up the stairs before Nancy even has so much as a second to blink. Nancy trails after her, taking in the little blue backpack over her shoulder, and the tacky green-red sweatpants she wears. 

“Did I miss the memo? Christmas in July?” 

Robin flops onto Nancy’s bed. It’s not very graceful. Nancy wants to flop down right beside her and roll over until they’re pressed together from ankle to shoulder. She sits at the foot of the bed, instead. 

“It’s called ‘I haven’t done my laundry in two weeks’ and I think it’s probably gonna catch on, y’know, with us poor folks.” Robin wiggles her sock-clad feet in the air. The socks are way too big — probably Steve’s. 

Nancy looks down at her own feet, toes painted purple. “You can borrow some of my clothes,” she says, feeling brave. “I have some shirts from middle school that still fit. They’re worn in, so they’re real comfortable.” She drags her gaze over Robin, top to bottom, appraising. “You’re tall, but I think they’ll fit.” 

Robin’s eyes are wide. Her smile is a wobbly, unsure thing. “Last time I wore your clothes …” They both wince. Robin twists her flannel as she considers. “Well, I mean, full disclosure, my backpack is full of underwear and a blanket and Babycham, ‘cause I wanted to hide the sound of the bottles clinking. So, I didn’t really bring anything else to wear.”

That settles it then. Nancy heads for her cupboard. She catches sight of herself in the mirror and schools her giddy expression. What can she get Robin in, feasibly? Not a nightgown and besides, she likes Robin but she’s not … she’s not a creep. Some long pants and a tank might be most comfortable? 

“It’s not fashion week.” Robin leans over her shoulder, peering into the wardrobe. She’s very close — so close that Nancy can smell her strawberry shampoo and the coconut sunscreen she slathers on nonstop. “Hey, lemme see that. Not all maths puns are bad, just sum. Nancy.

“Middle school,” is all Nancy says.  

“What I want to know is why this is hot pink. Where did you get this?” 

“I went to a summer camp a few years back. It was uh, it was a little less arts and crafts and a lot more physics and chemistry.” 

Robin laughs. “This is perfect. It’s so ugly. Holy fuck, I need to have it on me right now.” 

Nancy shows her to the bathroom with a pair of mid-thigh red shorts and changes into her own pyjamas while she waits. It’s a short striped two-piece that Robin is absolutely going to heckle, but wearing one of her usual nightgowns feels a little too promiscuous. She doesn’t want Robin to feel uncomfortable. 

Sure enough, Robin’s laughter is the first sign of her return. 

“Christ. Nerdy shirts, frilly pink underwear, and now a coordinating pyjama set? Your cupboard is a nightmare, Wheeler.” 

There’s nothing about Robin’s outfit that’s sexy. Except Robin’s knees are out, and they’re knobbly and scar-ridden and covered in freckles. Her legs are long, slim, and covered in thin, blonde hairs. The tank sits on her well and her arms are just as lanky and lean. Just as covered in freckles. She looks like one of the girls her dad always used to make comments about — too boyish for their own good, in his mind. Robin’s not boyish, Nancy thinks, (not that it would matter). She’s just rambunctious. Carefree. 

“Hot pink isn’t really your style,” Nancy settles on saying. It’s a step up from drooling. “You can keep the clothes, if you want.” The little red shorts suit her, even if they do emphasise her pale, tan-free thighs. “C’mon, I picked out some polish. Let me do your nails and we can gossip. Or something.” 

Robin tilts her head. “Sure, Nance. Whatever you wanna do.” She flops down on the bed, pulling her socks off. “Start with my toes though. Give ‘em a real pedicure. Only, don’t look at them, ‘cause feet are kinda gross.” 

Nancy catches her foot in her hand, laughing. She presses her thumb to Robin’s ankle just below the friendship bracelet and rolls her eyes. “I can’t paint them blind, Robin. You’ll have to suck it up.” 

Robin goes pink, averting her gaze. “Thought you could do anything,” she says, not unkindly. She points at the blue. “That one, alternating with pink and green. I want a circus in my socks.” 

Nancy, heart nestled in her throat, does just that. Robin’s ticklish, especially in the arch of her foot, and it makes for a lot of smudging and giggling and abashed grins. Nancy lingers over the second coat, revelling in the way Robin watches her work. Being studied so intently should make her nervous, but it doesn’t when it’s Robin. It just unfurls butterflies in her stomach, a real hurricane of happiness.

Eventually, Nancy runs out of excuses to linger. “Don’t fold your legs for a bit,” she says. “No criss-cross applesauce for you.” 

Robin laughs, tucking her hair behind her ears. “Can’t ruin these pristine bedsheets or your meticulous work.” She wiggles her toes. “Nice job, Wheeler. Ever thought about going to beauty school?” She nibbles at her pinky nail and hums an off-tune little melody. “Baby get moving…” 

“You do realise that Teen Angel was telling Frenchy she needed to drop out of beauty school?” 

“Journalism school drop out, go back to … uh, college,” Robin hums, consideringly. “Yeah, it doesn’t really have the same ring.”

Nancy rolls her eyes. “C’mon, Sandy, come paint my fingers.” 

“We have to wait for my toes to dry — don’t look at them!” 

Nancy’s moving before she knows it. Her hands cup the side of Robin’s thighs, fingers pressed into freckles. She tugs Robin forward with a firm grip and shuffles until Robin’s legs are sprawled either side of her. Robin’s knees sit beneath Nancy’s arms, pressed warm against Nancy’s side. She’s half in Nancy’s lap and her eyes are blown wide, startled, and her hair swings from behind her ears to partially obscure her face. Nancy brushes it back, unthinkingly.

“Um,” squeaks Robin, voice cracking. “Um.” Her laugh is a nervous, strangled thing. Nancy’s skin crawls. The butterflies plummet in her chest, panic like a pesticide in her gut. 

“I am so sorry,” Nancy tries to say. 

Robin cuts her off. “Sorry,” she says, “I just wasn’t expecting the Gun Show to rock up.” It’s absurd. Nancy has no idea what she’s talking about. Robin’s head hangs as she makes herself busy with a bottle. “Um, what colour do you want?” She's clearly desperate to push past the suddenly tense atmosphere.

On the drive from Steve’s, Nancy had started to plan. She would flirt here and there, sew the seeds of interest, and see if she could reap any reaction. She’d wanted to ease in, match their nail polish with a shy little giggle. Get Robin in her clothes. She had not considered the possibility of manhandling. It feels too much to ask to match, now. 

“Whatever you want,” she says instead, quietly. Her own eyes are averted, embarrassed, but she steels herself. It’s fine. It’s only weird if she makes it weird, and Robin — much like her namesake — is a flighty little thing. Any sign of Nancy's panic and it's over. “Maybe green?” 

Robin’s not very good at painting nails. Her hands are naturally unsteady so her coordination is a little off. They’re a lot shakier tonight. Robin seems frustrated with herself, tongue poking out from between her lips, and an enormous scowl darkening her face.

“Hey.” Nancy flips her hand over, catching Robin’s. They’re so close together. She could press her thumb to Robin’s bottom lip so easily. She doesn’t.

“The polish!” Robin startles, glancing up. Her eyes are big and blue-grey like morning fog. 

“Sorry,” Nancy murmurs. She drops her gaze to Robin’s hand. “Your hands were just shaking a little more than usual. I just wanted you to know it doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s okay to get it on my cuticles.”

Robin’s head hangs a little. “I know,” she says, “but at this rate you’ll have it all across your hands. Sorry.” 

Nancy brushes her thumb over Robin’s pulsepoint. She squeezes Robin’s hand, smiling a little when Robin automatically squeezes back. 

“Who cares? Maybe it’ll look really cool. C’mon, sorry I interrupted you. Finish me — it, finish it off?” Her face burns red, mortified at her own Freudian slip. 

Robin studies Nancy’s face for a long time. She searches for something in Nancy’s eyes, and whether or not she finds it, she eventually nods. “Okay,” she murmurs, turning her attention back to Nancy’s nails. When she finishes the final coat she takes Nancy’s hands. Gently she blows air back and forth across the polish. 

Nancy takes the opportunity to properly stare. Robin’s nose is pointed; her lips naturally part a little, leaving her front two teeth half-visible; her eyelashes are like spider legs, splayed top and bottom, painted a deep black. She’s got the kind of face you remember for the rest of your life. Nancy’s gaze catches on the wide gap between Robin’s brows. My lips would fit there perfectly, she thinks. 

“I think we’re done,” Robin eventually mumbles. At some stage she’d caught Nancy’s gaze. She blinks, sucking on her bottom lip, clearly unsure. 

“You blinked,” Nancy murmurs. She presses her index finger to Robin’s cheek, just below her eye. “I win.” 

Robin makes a frustrated sound, neck flushing, shoulders slumping. She rolls off the bed and clambers toward her bag. “How about the Babycham?” She offers, voice all breathy and pitchy and cracking in the most ridiculous of places. “I think we should crack it open.” 

Nancy bites down her smile. She mightn’t know if Robin has a crush on her, but she is receptive to Nancy’s attempts at flirting, and that’s good enough for now. “Sure, Rob.” Nancy plops onto the floor to wait. 

Robin rummages around in her backpack. She pulls out half a blanket and then four bottles of Babycham. “Oops,” she mutters, grimacing. “I forgot these weren’t that cold in the first place. Feel like an almost room-temp beverage, Ms Wheeler?” 

Nancy can’t think of anything worse but if she says yes, she can brush her fingers against Robin’s to see her blush again. She can also wet her mouth, which has been dry since before Robin half ended in her lap. 

“Yes please. There’s a bottle opener in my top drawer.” 

Robin laughs. She unzips the front of her backpack and pulls out a knife. “Ever seen someone Sabrage?” she asks. “Not that I’m about to, given I don’t really have a pirate sword lying about, but I’ve got this butter knife, and,” she taps twice at the neck, twice at the base, and with a flick of her wrist, pops the lid right off. “Tadaaaa!” 

Nancy catches Robin’s proud grin. “Amazing,” she says, crawling the short distance between them. “Open mine like that too?” 

Robin’s cheeks go pink. “It’s not that impressive,” she laughs, “and really, just about anyone could do it. Steve and I spent hours practising when, um, that’s probably a boring story, actually.” She presses the champagne into Nancy’s hand. “Maybe lean back, on the off chance I miss?” Robin repeats her trick. The lid comes off on the second flick with a little pop. “I’ll show you sometime, if you want.” 

Nancy smiles. She presses her lips to the Babycham and takes a slow, steady sip. Her eyes lid a little as she glances through her lashes at Robin. “That would be nice,” she murmurs, sucking some of the spillage off her thumb. 

Delightfully, Robin’s breath visibly catches. Her throat bobs. Nancy wants to do a lap of the room and call Steve to shout down the line, “you were right!” but she holds herself back, choosing to shuffle a little closer. 

Robin doesn’t move. “Right, yeah. Um, we can do party trick lessons. Maybe you can teach me to shoot a gun or some shit. You know, ‘cause at this point we’re probably a breath away from being recruited into the Special Services, or whatever.” 

“Secret Service.” Nancy takes another sip. “I think I’ve had enough excitement for the next six lifetimes. If I ever see another Demogorgon I think I’ll just let them have me.” 

Robin snorts. “You know, despite the Freddy Krueger shtick, I think the Mind Flayer was aeons spookier than fucking Vecna. Like, a giant goop monster versus a mummified meat sack.” 

“Would have been nice to have them fight each other instead of a bunch of kids.” 

“A bunch of kids who thoroughly kicked both their asses.” Robin takes a healthy swig of her Babycham. “Fuck those guys. Hey, toast with me?” 

Nancy giggles, which is mortifying, and bumps her bottle against Robin’s. “Fuck them,” she says, delicately. 

Robin grins. “Cheers,” she says, and they both take a few gulps. 

Robin’s long limbs go lax the more she drinks. She tugs two more bottles from the bag and then shoves her backpack beside Nancy’s bed. With the new patch of room, she sprawls out a little. Her legs go on and on forever. Nancy wants to measure their length in kisses. (She has no idea how she convinced herself she wasn’t into women.)

“Hey, we should play Truth or Dare.” 

Nancy drums her fingers on her knees and wonders what Robin would do if she suggested Spin the Bottle instead. “Okay,” she says. “We’ll start with you. Truth or dare?”

Robin smiles. “Dare,” she says. Her eyes narrow. “I’m no chicken,” she promises, finishing off her first drink. “Gimme something good, Wheeler.” She pops the lid off the second bottle, and it’s just as hot as it had been the first two times.

With some difficulty, Nancy drags herself back on track. She purses her lips. “This one’s a bit of a long con, but I dare you to call Eddie your best friend in front of Steve.” 

Robin’s grin is a slow-building, devious thing. She leans in a little. “You’re evil. I like that.” She fiddles with her friendship bracelet. “Consider it done. Eddie’s hosting that thing next Wednesday anyway, so it’s the perfect time. Oh, maybe I can even ask if he’d like a friendship bracelet. That’ll really set Steve off.” 

Nancy laughs. How bizarre it is, she thinks, that Steve’s now the kind of guy to get worked up over Robin declaring someone else her best friend. Granted, he’d always called his previous friendships ‘complicated’, so maybe this is what a Steve who is loved looks like. He and Robin are good for each other. “He’ll probably cry,” she says. “Well, not cry, but he’ll do that sulky little pout where he swears everything’s fine and he’s not bothered—”

“But his eyes go all glossy and dim?” Robin shakes her head, fond. “I love him, but he wears his heart on his sleeve. It’s embarrassing. Makes me wanna wrap him up in like ten blankets.” 

Nancy giggles. “Okay, okay. Your turn.”

“Truth or dare?”

“Truth,” Nancy says after some deliberation.

“Worst kiss you ever received?” 

Nancy presses her face into her hands. Muffled, she says, “Steve. We were both drunk and he fell off the bed trying to give me, in his words, ‘some tongue.’” 

Robin chokes on her laughter and nearly upends Nancy’s drink. “Fuck,” she says, fumbling to stabilise it. “Thanks for the fodder. Can’t wait to add this to the ‘You Suck’ column.” 

Nancy, who has no idea what Robin is on about, simply smiles. There’s a certain kind of pleasure to making Robin laugh, especially considering they hadn’t held each other in very high regard a few months ago. Things change. Nancy’s grateful about that.

“What about you?” 

Robin shakes her head. “Uh, uh! I’m choosing dare again.” 

Nancy settles her chin on her knees, which she draws to her chest, and sighs. “Fine, dare. I dare you to tell me your worst kiss.”

“You are messing with the sanctity of Truth or Dare … but I’ll allow it. Only cause—” Robin’s words catch in her throat. She fumbles for the Babycham and takes a sip. “Only ‘cause I like you,” she says, eventually, and Nancy’s sure it’s meant to be teasing, but it comes out too honest. Her tummy fizzes pleasantly. 

“Worst kiss,” Nancy prompts, not allowing Robin to second-guess her words.

“I was eleven and the neighbour threw a tantrum when he fell off his bike and I said I’d kiss him if he shut up.” 

“That doesn’t sound too bad,” Nancy considers. “Sort of sweet.” 

Robin’s gaze is intense. Her eyes search for something in Nancy’s face, maybe probing for something teasing. Whatever she finds must leave her with more questions than answers, because after a long moment, she says, “Nancy, you do remember that I — that I’m not, I’m … boys are not exactly on my … agenda. You remember, right?” 

Nancy blinks. “Oh,” she says. “I thought you liked both.” Feeling like an idiot, she sinks into her shoulders a bit, eyes darting to the floor. She smiles thinly, a little awkward. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.” 

“Steve and I really are just platonic,” Robin rushes to assure. She seems a little desperate, voice reedy and eyes beseeching. Her hands hover in the space between them, eventually settling to pat Nancy’s hand, just once. “If you want him, well, I can’t say he’s yours, but uh, well, you know … I get it. Objectively.” Her smile is weak. 

“We are capital P platonic,” Nancy says, echoing the Robin of months past. “Besides, I think we both know there’s somebody else he’s far more interested in.” 

Robin’s eyes blow wide. “I’m not going crazy then?” she whispers, swaying into Nancy’s personal space. She doesn’t seem to realise how close she is. Nancy almost goes cross-eyed trying to keep her in focus, hands resting on Robin’s shoulders. She wants Robin’s legs around her waist again, now that she knows what it’s like.

“No,” Nancy says, “you aren’t. Hey, it’s my turn. I’m gonna say … truth.” 

Robin’s eyes are trained on Nancy’s hands, a particular expression creeping across her face. After a beat, she says, “Favourite kid outside of Mike?” 

“Max.” 

Robin grins. “Yeah, can’t say I disagree. Erica’s pretty rad, too.” She rocks back on her heels and offers Nancy her discarded Babycham. Their fingers graze when Nancy accepts it, and she has to pretend like she doesn’t want to hurl the drink somewhere behind them and lunge for something far more refreshing, like Robin’s mouth. 

“Truth or dare?” 

Robin finishes her second Babycham and fumbles for the final bottle. She’s ridiculously lightweight, Nancy’s starting to realise. She drinks the champagne like it’s water. She’s nervous.  

“Dare you to give me a back massage,” Robin whispers, clearly pleased with herself. It's not her turn, but Nancy doesn't mind. Robin takes another long drag of Babycham, smearing her wrist across her mouth. Nancy would cut her off, except watching the way her throat works as she swallows is hypnotic. 

Nancy rolls her eyes — mostly at herself — and slips behind Robin easily. “Scooch forward,” she chastises, pressing her fingers against Robin’s lower back.

Robin grins, wiggling across the carpet so that Nancy can fit between the couch and her. She’s unreasonably smug for what isn’t even a clever dare. Still, Nancy’s not about to complain; the sooner she gets her hands on Robin the better, even if it is under the guise of being forced. 

“Well?” Robin raises her brows, impatient. “C’mon, Wheeler. Any longer and fungus will start growing on me.”

“You’re worse than Eddie,” Nancy sighs. “I swear I overheard him and Steve talking about how long they’d gone without showering the other day.” 

“Well? How long?” She sounds genuinely interested.

Nancy swats Robin’s back, heart tripping over itself at Robin’s resulting giggle. She flexes her hands, presses them firmly against Robin’s borrowed shirt, and slowly starts to rub up and down. 

“Don’t be gross,” she chastises. “I’ll never talk to you again if I find out you don’t shower regularly.” 

“Every night. Pinky promise. Swear on my life.” Robin raises a hand, spilling Babycham on her fingers. It trickles down to her wrist in a slow glide. 

Before Nancy can suck in a breath, Robin’s tongue darts out to catch the drops. Pink, so pink, and sinful where it drags against her creamy skin. Nancy wants to smack her head into the bedside table, feeling hormonal and squirmy and embarrassed. 

“Okay,” she says, slightly strangled and very breathy. She clears her throat and continues making firm, even motions over Robin’s back. She can’t say she’s given many massages before, but Robin seems to enjoy it. At any rate, she doesn’t complain. 

“Can you get my shoulderblades? Swear, Family Video is gonna have me hunchbacked before I’m thirty.” 

“If you’re still at Family Video when you’re thirty I think you’ll have worse problems than a crook back.” 

Robin laughs like a wheeze — breathy, short, and punched from the deep confines of her chest. Nancy’s more than a little in love. 

“Fuck off,” Robin grins. “You’re such a priss. There’s nothing wrong with working at a subpar movie joint. Especially during the prime of your life.” 

“Am I speaking to Steve or Robin?” 

This sets Robin off again. She finishes the Babycham bottle amidst her hushed laughter. “He’s not that bad,” she defends, instinctively. 

“I know, I know. He’s the love of your life.” Nancy rolls her eyes, fond. 

“I’m a lesbian, Nancy,” Robin says, half-tilted towards her. “No man is the love of my life. Though, I guess he’s really the only guy I’d want as a beard.”

Nancy tries to picture Steve and Robin dating. It’s funnier than it should be, largely because she’s seen the way Steve can’t get his eyes off Eddie, and thinks about how he and Robin are lucky to have each other. At one point, she’d been jealous, unable to comprehend how some irrelevant coworker had become closer to Steve than her, but she gets it now. She gets Robin. 

“You’re too good for him,” she murmurs, hands sliding up to Robin’s neck. She starts rubbing little circles at the base of Robin’s skull, nimble fingers pressing into the tension points. 

“Uh huh,” Robin says, out of it. Her head drops forward, hair sliding off her nape to curtain around her face. “Sure, Nance. Agree with anything you say, just don’t stop.”

Robin looks vulnerable with her neck craned and her hair over her shoulder. The fabric of Nancy's tank top leaves a lot of Robin's skin bare, especially her shoulders and upper back. The curve of skin where Robin’s shoulder meets her neck is soaked in freckles. Nancy’s next inhale is deep, grounding. Her fingers brush back the lingering flyaway strands of Robin’s hair.

“Head massage too?” Robin hums, pleased. 

Nancy doesn’t answer. She’s too busy sliding her fingers down to the delicate skin of Robin’s neck. She catches the way Robin’s throat bobs, and the sudden tight line of her shoulders. She thinks about how right it had felt to have Robin in her lap, about the gentle curve of her ankles, about her grey-blue eyes and peach-pink tongue and breathy giggles. 

Nancy leans in. She can’t stop. She doesn’t want to stop. She brushes her lips against the freckles. 

Nance.” Robin’s fingers clutch for hers desperately, leaving her shoulders hiked at uneven angles. “What are you doing?” 

“Kissing you,” Nancy says, plain as day, because she’s never run from what she’s wanted, and she’s not about to start now. “Is that okay?” Let it be okay, Nancy begs. Let it be so very, very ok. 

“Sure,” says Robin, strangled. Her voice is pitchy, eyes sliding shut. Nancy watches as her ears burn red. “Just a casual moment between two gal pals. Two girls who are friends. Just, you know, just something I do with all my ladies.” 

Nancy drags her tongue over the patch of skin and revels in the way Robin trembles. “I hope not,” she murmurs, tugging lightly at Robin’s hair. “I only want you to do this with me.” She swallows past her jealousy and tries to clear her head before the fog becomes too much. She feels drunk herself; she's only had a few gulps. 

“Nancy.” 

“Robin.” Nancy slips an arm around her waist. Robin’s soft, warm, and she still smells like coconut — Nancy can’t get enough. “Tell me if you don’t want this and I’ll stop. I won’t push.” Please tell me you want this, she thinks. Please tell me I haven’t been reading the situation wrong. "Please, Robin."

Robin leans into Nancy’s touch, cautious, eyes still squeezed shut. She presses her fingers to her mouth like she’s choking back words, and taps her feet against the carpet to dispel her energy. 

Finally, she speaks. “We should keep playing.” Her voice trembles but her eyes are determined when they meet Nancy’s. She's twisted up in Nancy's arms, and it can't be comfortable, but she doesn't move. She’s beautiful, all steeled resolve and flushed. “Truth or dare, Nance,” Robin murmurs. 

Nancy swallows. Sweat beads against her lower back and against her nape. Her heart galivants around her chest, threatening to spear through her ribcage and fall out into the miniscule space between them. 

“Nancy?”

“Dare. I choose dare.” 

Robin catches Nancy’s hand again, places it on her knee. “Dare you to kiss me,” she says, so quietly that Nancy almost believes she’s imagined it. “Right on the mouth. A full pash, with tongue, even,” and now she’s really rambling, nerves taking a hold, and it shouldn’t be as endearing as it is, but there are plenty of things about Robin that make Nancy’s heart soar, so why shouldn’t this, too?

“Rob,” Nancy murmurs. Her thumb finally makes itself at home against Robin’s bottom lip, pressing in so firmly the skin blooms white. Her fingers curl beneath Robin’s chin. “You gonna let me kiss you or are you gonna talk me to death?” 

Robin’s eyes are already blown wide. The way the shadows lie across her face makes them seem fathomless. She sways forward, tongue darting to wet Nancy’s skin, and then Nancy can’t take it any longer. 

“Nance,” Robin honest to God whimpers.

Nancy leans in, presses her hand firmly to Robin’s neck, and kisses her. It’s chaste, way too friendly, so Nancy draws back just enough to wet her lips before she swoops in again and takes, takes, takes. Robin moans and gasps and sighs, body melting into Nancy’s touch, and parts her mouth sweetly when Nancy’s tongue prods at her lips. She scrambles, dislodging Nancy's lips as she tries to make herself comfortable. Her legs fall either side of Nancy's waist as they kiss. 

“Beautiful,” Nancy gasps into the spaces between them. Her hands slide through Robin’s hair, tugging, more than a little desperate.

“Wanted to kiss you for so long, Nance,” Robin admits, eyes lidded. “Like, stupid long. Steve’s got a tallied list for every time I act pathetic over you.” Her hands are restless against Nancy's hair, face, and neck.

“Let’s not talk about Steve while I’m kissing you.” 

Robin shudders when Nancy slides a hand down Robin's chest, settling over her breast. “Sure,” she says, tossing her head back. “Whatever you want, Nancy.” 

Nancy drags her lips over that perfect column of skin and wonders whether Robin would look best with a hickey there, or maybe one below her breast, or maybe even one lower still, and smiles. 

Whatever she wants, after all.