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i'm scared of the weather ('cause i see you when it rains)

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Juliette’s first mistake was going out to get coffee.

Of course, she didn’t know it was a mistake when she left the house. From her point of view, she was just going about her typical morning routine: wake up, shower, get dressed, answer a few pressing emails, then take her daily walk into downtown Savannah for a coffee and a pastry before returning home to actually get started on work. Normal, right? While human food isn’t typically something she indulges in for pleasure, the routine of it has been helping her organize her life for almost two years at this point, and it’s never been anything less than perfectly average.

Until today.

Today, Juliette strolls into her typical coffee shop and is immediately struck by the steady thrum of a heartbeat that she would know anywhere. She knows it because she’s spent the last ten years trying to forget it. Obviously, her success was minimal.

It’s thanks to her heightened senses that she even picks up on the sound, which means that, luckily, Juliette is able to spot Calliope before Calliope spots her. The next dilemma is what to do. Easily, she could just turn around and leave, let how she’s grown mask any glimpse that slips past the crowd, and let Cal think that it was just a figment of her own imagination. After all, Juliette sees her in the silhouettes of other women all the time. Two steps backwards, and she could just… pretend it didn’t happen, ccould hide out in her apartment for the next week while she tries to recon with Elinor and figure out why the fuck the Burns are back in town.

That’s what any sane person in her situation would do. Come to think of it, that’s what anyone with any regard for their mental health or emotional well-being would do. So, of course, Juliette doesn’t.

That’s mistake number two.

Instead, she approaches the table, suddenly sixteen again and bumping into the girl she’s been admiring from afar for weeks. “Hi.” Not her best opener, but it gets the message across.

To her credit, Cal masks her surprises incredibly well. She just stares. “Hi.”

And then, “Hi,” from the other person at the table.

Juliette can’t really tell if Apollo being here too is a blessing or a curse, but considering he looks twice as happy to see her than Cal does—technically speaking, two times zero is still zero, but whatever—Juliette decides it’s a good thing.

“Hey, Apollo,” she says, tucking her hands into her back pockets. “Um, how have you been?”

“You know how it is,” he says, which Juliette definitely does not.

“Right, yeah,” she says. She wonders if it would be rude to ask why they’re here, and decides that it is, but also decides that she doesn’t really care. Besides, Cal is still just staring at her, and Juliette figures that if she’s being visually interrogated she might as well return the favor. “So, what brings you guys back to Savannah?”

“Theo,” Cal says, voice low and even. “He still lives here.”

Juliette’s breath catches. Right. Fuck. How did she forget about that? Not about him, but just… everything that would come of it. She nods. “Uh-huh.” And like, diving back into her no-filter honesty —“I’ve wanted to do that for a while now”—is embarrassing to consider, but Cal already hates her, she’s pretty sure, so there’s really not much she can lose by telling the truth. She just swallows, thickly, and then says, “It’s good to see you.”

“Is it?” Cal says.

Juliette furrows her eyebrows. “Of course.”

“I guess that surprises me,” Cal says, shrugging. She looks down at her coffee like it might give her answers. “After everything I said. That night. It was, um…” she pauses. Then, “Rough.”

Which seems like an understatement, but Juliette isn’t about to tell Cal that she deserves to be mean to her if she wasn’t already planning on it. That night. It hurts, a little, to know that they had so many nights together, and yet when Cal says ‘that night,’ Juliette immediately is aware of which one she’s talking about. And it wasn’t one of the happier ones. That night started with a tragedy and ended with an even bigger one, and honestly, to this day, Juliette isn’t sure if the bigger tragedy was what happened between her and Calliope or what happened with Theo.

But, all in all, it was the first major fight after getting together, and also the last time they ever spoke. Until now, that is.

Shaking her head, and smiling a little, Juliette just says, “We both said and did things that hurt the other. And, honestly, I think we both know that it was mostly my fault.”

“You didn’t mean to,” Cal says quietly.

Juliette shrugs. “That doesn’t mean I can’t be blamed.”

It’s like coming up for air even though she didn’t even know she was drowning when Cal smiles, a real smile, and fuck if it isn’t good to see her like this again. Happy, that is. Selfishly, Juliette also allows herself to bask in the fact that Cal is smiling at her.

“You’ve changed since we last saw each other,” Cal says, almost quizzically. Then, “I have too, I guess. We’ve grown up.”

Quirking her lips into a sloppy smile, Juliette resists the urge to say, Well, it’s been ten years, so I sure hope so, and just says, “Yeah, we have.” And then, because apparently seeing Cal has slingshotted Juliette back into the version of herself that never quite said the right thing, she adds, “I’d love to show you just how much.”

Immediately, Cal’s jaw drops. She shuts it quickly, but Juliette’s eyes catch the movement. Cal just blinks. “Um.”

Then Juliette sees the flush rising up Ca’s neck, and with a fuck, Juliette can feel her own cheeks pinking. “Oh, my God. I didn’t mean it like that. I just meant, like, we could get dinner or something.” Awkwardly, she unnecessarily addresses the elephant in the room. “I can eat food, you know.”

“Dinner,” Cal repeats.

Juliette nods furiously, all too aware of the fact that Cal’s older brother, who is a trained monster hunter and who also has mixed and mostly unknown feelings about her, is sitting right there. “Yeah. Dinner. To… talk?”

“Talk.”

Juliette nods, slower this time. “Yeah.”

“Alright,” Apollo says, breaking up the conversation. Juliette doesn’t know whether to thank him. “Juliette, you want to have dinner with Cal?” Cautiously, Juliette nods for a third time. “Cal, do you want to have dinner with Juliette?” Hesitantly, Cal nods too. “Great. You’ll have dinner. Tonight? Pick a place.”

“Tonight works for me,” Juliette says. Shit. Is that too eager? She backtracks. “Actually, let me check my calendar.” She makes a show of pulling out her phone, but right after she’s finished typing in her password she realizes how fucking stupid it is, so she just shakes her head, blushing even more, and says, “Sorry, I don’t know why I did that. I’m available tonight. I don’t really… do much.”

Would it be dramatic to rip a chair leg off of the stool behind her and stake herself? It would probably hurt less than this second-hand embarrassment. Juliette didn’t even know you could feel second-hand embarrassment at your own self. Maybe this is the first time it’s ever happened.

But Cal just smiles. “Sure. Tonight.”

“You could come to mine,” Juliette offers. “I, uh, I have an apartment on the outskirts of Savannah.”

Cal nods. “Sounds good.”

That’s her third mistake.

Somewhere, in the book of rules about how to reconcile with your ex-girlfriend-who-said-she-would-dedicate-her-life-to-trying-to-find-a-way-to-kill-you-and-she-hasn’t-done-it-yet-but-you-also-don’t-think-she-was-kidding, there’s something about how you should probably avoid inviting them over to where you live, and pick somewhere neutral and normal like a restaurant or a bar. Well, probably. It probably says that. Juliette wouldn’t know, because obviously she’s never read that book of rules. And even if she had, she probably wouldn't listen.

She gets home in record time—adrenaline and anxiety does crazy things to a person’s walking speed—and just stands in her entryway staring at her apartment.

It’s a studio. And it’s cute. Modest. Compared to the old money, Georgian estate she grew up on, at least. It’s definitely on the high-end side, but she thinks she decorated it nicely, none of that boring, white and gray minimalist shit. In the corner, her bedroom area, separated with a bookshelf that sort of blocks it off of the rest of the studio. In the opposite corner, the kitchen area, and in the corner she’s not standing in, the living room. Couch, coffee table TV.

And tonight, Cal will be here.

Shit.

Tonight comes miraculously quickly, something that is both welcome and horrifying at the same time.

Juliette sort of wants to just get it over with, but she also wants to try and put it off as long as possible. It’s odd that both of those things are possible at the same time. Even though the thought of it is scaring the shit out of her, it’s also sort of the only thing she’s looked forward to in a long time, which she’s fully aware is super depressing, but she’s also long since accepted that being self-aware doesn’t mean that what she’s self-aware about stops happening. So be it.

She thought about calling Ben earlier, but didn’t. He would either tell her it was a very bad idea, make her talk through it until she got so emotional that she’d be in no position to see Cal anymore, or come up with every good and bad possible outcome for the night. Or all three. None of them would be particularly helpful, so Juliette holds off.

The logic goes like this: first, she figures if it ends up being ridiculously embarrassing, she can just not ever mention it and he’ll be none the wiser. If it’s tragically horrible, she’ll at least be able to start the phone call off crying so that he’s in a sympathetic mood before she admits that it was her own doing. And if it goes well, then she can gloss over the fact that it was probably a terrible idea in the first place and focus on the fact that it miraculously ended up working out in her favor.

Either way, Juliette decides that she needs to know how it ends up before Ben finds out.

Cal arrives at seven on the dot, which is actually decently late, but because it’s July the sun has barely begun to set. At least it bathes the apartment in a nice glow. That was one of the things that attracted Juliette to the apartment in the first place; the window size and placement means she gets to wake up and go to sleep with the best natural light.

The doorbell rings. Juliette takes a deep breath.

Okay, Juliette, she pep talks herself. Go get ‘em. But not, like get ‘em. Just get ‘em. A normal amount of getting.

Walk to the door. Hand on the door handle. Pull it open. Her body moves on autopilot, and she lets it take over, eyes tracking the slowly widening crack of the door as Cal emerges on the other side.

Fuck. She looks good. She looked good earlier, obviously, but Juliette was sort of distracted by a lot of other things, and also didn’t feel like blatantly checking her out with Apollo sitting right next to them.

Now, though, even if she wanted to, she wouldn’t be able to hold back. Her eyes roam up and down, from the thick Docs on Cal’s feet all the way to the top of her hair, which now is styled in braids. It reminds her of the way Cal’s mom wore her hair back when Juliette knew her. Granted, her association with Cal’s mom isn’t exactly the most heartwarming of emotions, but in the times when Juliette wasn’t fearing for her life around Talia, she did notice that she looked damn good.

Stop it, she swears at herself. Mentally, she flicks at her own temple. Focus

But focus on what? Cal seems to be taking the time to look at her too, so Juliette returns to her own staring. The style of clothing she’s dressed in is so reminiscent of the Cal she knew in high school, but matured, in a way. Tight, black tank top, but more feminine and less athletic than she might have worn, tucked into black slacks instead of the black joggers or cargo-pants that sixteen-year-old Cal would have chosen. Around her waist is a thick, black leather belt with matte black metal hardware. The only color on her whole outfit comes in the form of gold eyeliner.

Oh, God. Juliette is not going to survive the night. Even if Cal isn’t here to pretend to make nice just so she has the opportunity to stake her, she still might manage to kill her just by looking like that.

“You cut your hair,” Cal says.

Subconsciously, Juliette raises a hand to run through the top of her head. “Um, yeah. It was getting warm. With the humidity, you know?” Alongside keeping her hair at a more manageable, slightly-below shoulder length length, she’s also ditched the side part because why didn’t anyone tell her that went out of style back in 2014? “Um, I like your outfit.”

God, I’m so embarrassing, she thinks.

“Thanks,” Cal says, smiling a little. “I’ll tell my stylist.” Silence. “That was a joke.”

“Right,” Juliette says, forcing a chuckle. “It was funny.” She flushes. “Sorry. I don’t know why this is so awkward. I mean, we’re better than some weird small talk reunion, right?”

“We’ve been through enough shit I think we can skip talking about the weather,” Cal agrees. This time, her smile is looser than it’s been all day, and almost back to how it used to be. “You look good, by the way. Less country-club.”

“Yeah,” Juliette laughs, stepping aside so Cal can come in. She swiftly glances at herself in the mirror as she turns to close the door. Simple navy long-sleeve shirt, black high-waisted shorts. It’s reminiscent of what her high school self probably thought she looked like. “That’s what happens when your mom stops shopping for you.”

“Well, it worked for me back then,” Cal says, casually. She drops her purse on the island, and looks around, not even bothering to hide it. “Cute place.”

“Thanks.” Juliette isn’t sure what to say. Like, yeah, I picked it out myself. Obviously. “It’s been home for a couple years now.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah, I, uh, well I finished high school, and then I went to Georgia Tech for undergrad, moved to New York City to live with Ben for a couple years, hated it, then I moved into this place, and… well, here we are,” she finishes. 

“You hated New York City?” Cal asks, turning to face her.

“Does that surprise you?”

“Kind of saw you as a city girl,” Cal says, shrugging.

“Nope,” Juliette says, popping the ‘p.’ “Too busy.” She crosses over to the couch, patting it, and then scooting over to the other side. Far over. “What about you?”

“Well, we left Savannah, got a new placement from the Guild in Connecticut,” Cal says, mirroring Juliette’s sitting position. She tilts her head to one side. “Can you believe there’s actually a ton of monsters in Greenwich?”

Juliette thinks on it. Greenwich, as far as she knows, is full of rich WASP-y people. “Yes.”

“Stayed there for a few months, but we sort of… left the Guild?” Cal says, like she’s not sure.

“You can do that?” Juliette asks.

“I guess,” Cal says. She shrugs. “I don’t really know the details, honestly. We just didn’t get another placement. Returned all Guild-issues weapons. Moved to Upstate New York and just stayed there.”

“Oh.” Juliette hates to ruin the mood so quickly, but says, “Because of Theo?”

Cal’s easy-going facade falters. “Yeah, sort of. Other stuff too though.” She presses on, and Juliette tries not to feel like she wants to ask more about it. “Anyway, I graduated high school there, and after that I went through the Guild’s training program.”

Frowning, Juliette says, “I thought you left.”

“Well, we did,” Cal says. “Then I went back.”

“So do you work for them now?” Juliette asks. Cal nods. And for the first time, Juliette starts to feel like maybe it was a teeny tiny mistake letting Cal in. “Um, so, no offense, but are you here to kill me?”

Cal looks completely taken aback. “What?”

“Are you here to—”

“No, I heard you,” she interrupts. Juliette can hear her heartbeat accelerating. Shit. “I guess I was just surprised to hear you imply that you were worried I was going to kill you.”

“Okay, sorry,” Juliette says, holding her hands up. “I just…”

“You just what?” Cal says, arching an eyebrow. And shit. She’s mad mad. Not just, like, mad-but-will-get-over-it-if-Juliette-can-say-the-right-thing mad. “Gotta say, Jules, I thought you knew me better than that.”

“I only know what you tell me,” Juliette says, swallowing down her frustration, even though it just bubbles up again with her next words, “which is that you were going to devote your life to trying to kill every Legacy there is.” She pauses with mock confusion, and then adds, “Oh, wait, you also specified me.”

And then Cal stands, shaking her head, hands coming to settle on her hips. “I don’t even know what to say.” She frowns. “If you think that of me, still, even after ten years in which I’ve completely left you alone even after I figured it out, why did you invite me here?”

“Wait,” Juliette says, frustration subsiding just a little to make room for confusion. “You figured it out?” She hesitates. “Killing Legacies, I mean?”

Cal pauses. “Um, yeah.”

“And so why hasn’t the Guild come after me?” Juliette says.

Cal gapes at her. “I’m sorry, do you want me to tell them?”

“Well, no—”

“I figured it out when I was still mad at you, Jules,” Cal says, and the way she still uses her nickname is irritating as much as it is heart-wrenching. It’s like Juliette can’t stop greedily drinking in the sound of it, but then hates Cal for saying it. “Then I got over it. And, if we’re being honest here, I realized I could never tell them or they would be able to kill Theo too.”

Juliette nods. “Right.”

“So, why am I here?” Cal asks, arching an eyebrow.

“I wanted to see you,” Juliette says honestly. Cal just scoffs. “What?”

“That’s it?” she says, disbelief apparent.

“Yeah?” Juliette stands too, stepping forward. “Is it weird to want to see my ex after ten years of not even knowing if she was alive?”

“You didn’t…” Cal trails off, hands falling to her sides. She looks hurt, scared, and so confused. Juliette would know because Cal looked exactly like this in the last memory she has of her.

And then Juliette figures out why. The fucking bite bond they have, or whatever it’s called. The strength of it diminished, Juliette figured because of the distance and presumed unreciprocated feelings, but it was there. If Cal had died, Juliette would have known. Hell, if she ever got seriously injured, Juliette would have known.

“It was, uh, a figure of speech, I guess.” Softly, she takes a step forward. “I still have the bond.”

Cal just stares at her. “So you felt me? All these years?” Juliette nods. “And you felt that I was okay?” Juliette nods again. Cal glares at her. “Then your stupid vamp-bite is broken.”

“What?”

“I’m not ‘okay,’ Juliette,” Cal says, turning around, hands still on her hips. Juliette watches as she takes a deep breath, shoulders rising and falling, head held low. “How could I be, with you in my fucking head all the time?”

“Cal, I—”

“It’s been ten years,” Cal says, sounding exasperated as much as she does angry. “And we were only together for a little while. But I still feel for you the way I did when I was sixteen.”

“Me too,” Juliette says, quietly. There’s a lump in her throat that won’t go down, but all the things she knows about bite bonds come rushing back to her, and since she can’t sort through any of the facts enough to say anything useful about them, she figures she might as well at least be honest about her feelings. “I feel that way too.”

“Then you’re as fucked up as I am.”

“You don’t mean that,” Juliette says, feet stepping back subconsciously.

Cal whips around, jaw clenched, gaze piercing. “Oh, I do. I mean, c’mon, Jules. You think this is normal? I had a whole severing thing done on me, and it didn’t work.”

“Yeah, because severings have to be consented to,” Juliette says, like it’s obvious. Which, to her it always has been, but Cal just looks confused. Sighing, Juliette crosses her arms, trying to comfort herself. “Look, when a Legacy bites someone, it creates the bond, right? But severings don’t work if the two subjects willingly fall in love.”

“Willingly,” Cal repeats, voice impassive.

“Yeah.” Juliette frowns. “I mean, you know that the bite bond creates a sort of… attraction. But if the two subjects fall in love organically, the bond is stronger.”

“How do you know all that?” Cal says.

“Because it’s what my parents had to deal with,” Juliette says, shrugging. And the little fact that she’s been relentlessly researching bite bonds for the last ten years, but Cal doesn’t need to know that.

“Then how do we get rid of it?” Cal asks, jaw still clenched, but shoulders relaxing.

“You could have at any time,” Juliette says. And she’s not sure what she’s feeling, but she smiles anyway, a sad sort of frown that can’t stop itself from twisting up into a half-hearted bit of happiness. Apparently her heart has caught up to what all of this means faster than her head has. “As soon as you fall out of love, the bond breaks. It doesn’t have to be two-ways, either. That’s why there are people that are bonded to vampires and vampires that are bonded to people, but not the other way around.”

Cal just stares at her, eyes wide. “What?”

“All this time, I kind of assumed that I was the only one holding on,” Juliette says softly, retracing her initial step forward. “But you… you too.”

“Does that surprise you?” Cal says. It doesn’t sound hostile, though.

“I hurt you,” Juliette says, swallowing, though it does nothing to soothe the ache in her throat that she knows is full of unshed tears. “I know that, okay? I hurt you, and I betrayed your trust, and I—God, Cal, sometimes it feels like I ruined your life.”

“You did,” Cal says, face stoic except for the quiver of her lower lip. “I guess I cared about you so much that it didn’t make a difference.”

For the first time all night, Juliette is truly speechless. She opens her mouth, searching for a reply, but when it doesn’t come she closes her lips again. “Cared?” It’s a very distinct past tense.

“These feelings I have for you,” Cal whispers, eyes darting around Juliette’s face like they don’t know where to look. Like a caged animal desperate for freedom, but also desperate to be saved. “I don’t know what to do with them.”

“But they’re there,” Juliette says.

“But I don’t want them,” Cal throws back. “Don’t you get that? I don’t want to feel this way for you.”

Juliette throws her hands up, planting them on her hips. “Then why are you here?”

“Why did you invite me?”

“Why did you come?”

And then Cal kisses her.

It’s abrupt and messy, a clash of their heads more than anything, but rather than jumping away like Juliette thought she might, Cal’s hands just rise to cling firmly around Juliette’s face. It catches her off-guard, that’s for sure, but she’s too busy losing herself in the feeling of the kiss to care that much, and her own hands crawl up to float hesitantly up and down Cal’s sides. Eventually, they settle, with one coming to rest on her hip, and the other starting to slide dangerously high.

Cal kisses with the same fire as it feels to argue with her. Intoxicating, frustrating, and God, so fucking satisfying. It sends Juliette’s brain spinning off into sixteen different directions, and when Cal’s teeth scrape at her lower lip, all of a sudden it’s like they’re still fighting. Only this time, Cal’s mouth is tangling her up and taunting her, not her words.

They’re still going at it, back and forth, neither willing to concede first, and Cal keeps trying to lead in a way that can only be described as endearingly annoying, so eventually Juliette just backs her up against the wall, slides her left hand down to Cal’s hip, and pins her there. She was always better at that anyway, and nothing says nostalgia more than revisiting old dynamics, right?

It feels like hours that they’ve been kissing. But maybe it’s been minutes, maybe only seconds. For all Juliette knows, a part of her is always going to be kissing Cal. For all Juliette knows, a part of her always has been.

But as selfish as Juliette feels, as selfish as she wants to let herself feel, she knows that she could never forgive herself if she let things go without talking about it more. And, also selfishly, she doesn’t think she could survive the morning after if Cal looked at her with any ounce of regret. So she chooses to end it first, calming the flames she’s spent the last several minutes stoking, soothing the glowing embers with her mouth before breaking them apart.

Juliette pulls away, panting a little, and they just stand there for a few seconds. Her thumb rubs absentmindedly along Cal’s ribcage, and even with their foreheads pressed together, she can see the way Cal wets her lips again.

Eventually, Juliette breaks the silence. “I…”

But Cal seems to know what she needs. “Do you want to stop?”

White hot shame flickers into her chest, but she shakes her head, whispering, “No.”

“Do you want to kiss me?” she asks. Juliette nods. Slowly, too slowly, Cal brings her head in, the hand on Juliette’s jaw keeping her rooted firmly in place. There’s no leaning forward to meet her; this is entirely at Cal’s pace. The air, warmed from Cal’s breath, is electric and daunting, and Juliette can feel the ghost of how Cal’s lips used to kiss her. With all the emotions of the night, the impatience and longing and something that can only be described as wantonness, catching up to her, Juliette leans forward to crush their lips together, but the firm grip around her jaw tightens, stopping her, and oh. The movement, and the abrupt way she feels Cal’s forearm flex against her attempts, goes straight between her thighs. “Then I need you to say it. Here. Now. Not just in my mind.”

“I want to kiss you,” Juliette whispers, eyelids fluttering shut. “I want…” She swallows. “I want whatever you’ll give me.”

And then, finally, their lips are together again. Cal’s mouth is warm on hers, bruising and sloppy, and then soothing just after. The way her teeth scrape at Juliette’s lips sends a shiver up her spine and a jolt between her legs, but then right as she’s adjusted, Cal switches back to a softer movement, kissing at Juliette’s mouth like she’s worshiping it.

In a way, Juliette is sort of surprised that their first kiss in so long hasn’t shocked the life out of her, but if she's being honest, it’s probably because she’s been reliving their kisses all these years anyway. There’s no dizziness or fireworks rocking her off her feet, and none of those teenage emotions that made everything so much more heightened than it had to be. Instead, it just feels safe.

And the way she tastes. Fear, uncertainty, and a kind of innocence that Cal left in Savannah ten years ago. It all drips from her mouth now, tangy and sweet and reminiscent of a version of Juliette she never thought she would be again. Never thought she’d want to be again. This version of herself belongs to Cal, whether she knows it or not. Whether she wants it or not. And, in a way, it's just so backwards; that bite—and any Legacy bite, for that matter—is intended to bond the human with the vampire, but Juliette always felt it was the other way around, even from the beginning. So Juliette kisses her back, wide and open, trying to say with her mouth what her words aren’t ready to confess yet.

Vaguely, Juliette can feel them moving. Her feet propel herself backwards as Cal’s hand drifts down to her throat and pushes them towards the couch. Without breaking apart, Juliette flips them around again so that Cal is the one that’ll hit the couch cushions first, and she does, sinking down onto them without any resistance. Juliette follows suit, knees settling on either side of Cal’s waist, and maybe it was on purpose, maybe it was on accident, or maybe it was a bit of both, her subconscious helping her out, but the way she’s sitting means that Cal’s belt buckle is driving itself against her with every absentminded roll of her hips.

A whine finds its way out of her throat, which she tries to quiet into a kiss, but Cal seems to have other intentions and breaks their lips apart, moving her mouth down her jaw and onto her neck. Even if Juliette wasn’t able to hear it, she can feel the way Cal’s breathing has deepened, and then realizes that she’s saying something.

“Need to get you out of my head,” Cal murmurs into her neck.

“And this is how you plan on doing that?” Juliette says breathlessly.

Juliette,” Cal growls, hips jerking upwards. Poorly timed—or perfectly timed, depending on how it’s looked at—the thrust upward is at the exact moment as Juliette grinds down again, and the meeting of both of their hips flush against each other curls around her in a surge of arousal that is embarrassingly good, considering how little is happening.

“Fuck,” she breathes, letting her head roll back.

Juliette knows she must be making all sorts of little noises, she’s always been like that, but the only thing she can think about is the way her body needs Cal’s. If she were a more emotionally evolved person, she might think about the way the rest of her needs Cal too, but right now, through her one-track mind and the haze of remembering everything that used to be theirs, she can’t bring herself to consider what that means.

Even with all the bite and wit waiting on Cal’s tongue, Juliette has to concede that she always knows when to soften. Lips and tongue trailing up towards her pulse point, she hears Cal’s whisper, “You sound so good,” into her ear.

And like, so cliche, right? Big bad vampire likes being told she’s good? But even as her brain rolls her eyes at herself, her body responds without hesitation, hips jerking forward. As Cal’s hands drop, the loss around her neck and face are felt immediately, but her intentions become clear soon enough. Juliette might be the one with super strength, and yet Cal seems to have no problem rising off the couch with Juliette still wrapped around her waist.

If Juliette were capable of speaking, she’d probably say something like, Oh, wow, which would be way too embarrassing, and she’s suddenly glad that she’s been rendered speechless.

They make it to the bed, Cal setting her down gently. Juliette crawls backwards, tugging Cal with her by the nape of her neck, but Cal seems to have a plan in mind, and suddenly Juliette finds herself pinned down at the hip with one of Cal’s hands, the other working with Cal’s teeth to strip her of her clothing. It should be sensual, but the way it’s happening and the way Cal is looking at her actually just makes it tender, reverent even, and Juliette can feel tears prick to the corner of her eyes.

God, what the fuck is wrong with her?

She hurries to change the pace, and Cal allows it, both of them ripping at their own shirts and struggling out of their pants. And this time, when they fall onto the bed together again, there’s no more fight.

Things move quickly after that, the trail they’ve blazed together ten years ago easy to find again. Everything is a lot more complicated now, but at the same time, sort of easier and clearer too. That might be the one thing that’s on their side right now; the clarity that time has given them. Because all of a sudden, though Juliette knows she’s been feeling this way for a long time, forever maybe, she realizes that this is what she wants. This is who she wants.

How it would even work, she’s not sure. If it would even work, she’s also not sure. Maturity has at least shown her that just because she wants something, that doesn’t mean that it’s good for her, or even that it’s meant to be. But what’s that saying? If you love something, let it go, and see if it comes back? Well, Juliette didn’t exactly let it go, but she did lose it, and here Cal is again, the same, but so different.

And then Cal’s fingers trail their way down her now naked body, the skin in her wake tingling like the burn of a stake, and Juliette loses herself in the moment again. It doesn’t matter. The rest of it doesn’t matter.

What does matter is the way Cal kisses her, softly, slowly, hand cupping her jaw like she’s holding her for the first time. What matters is the gentle caress of Cal’s fingertips that isn't unlike what Juliette has dreamed over the years, but differ now in the fact that it's really happening. What matters is the way it feels like fate—or perhaps something more romantic, like choice—when they finally touch each other, together. No more back and forth, no more push and pull.

After, Cal sits up to go, but Juliette murmurs, “Stay,” softly and unmistakably. So Cal does, throwing on the t-shirt Juliette passes to her, and pulling the covers over both of them.

They drift off to sleep like that. It’s so familiar. The feeling of it haunts and comforts her at the same time, like the fact that everything about the way they fit together is so easy and so natural means that it’ll hurt twice as much if it gets ripped away from her tomorrow. But Juliette just shakes the feeling away, tucking herself under Cal’s chin. That’s tomorrow. She can’t escape the passage of time, and she knows that.

But for now? Her body relaxes into arms that haven’t held her outside of her dreams in ten years, and for better or worse, she lets herself have tonight.