Thursday 1st January 2015
She wasn’t sure where she heard it, probably from her brother. But as far as old wives’ tales go, New Years’ ones are pretty well recognised by everyone. But if what you do on New Years’ is what you do all year after that, then Marceline was probably not in a good place.
Sitting up late to listen to the fireworks in Blackwater echo crackly through the television downstairs was one thing. But realising as her clock ticked over and struck midnight that she’d just been lying in bed thinking probably wasn’t such a grand plan. Especially not when all the thoughts had to do with Bonnibel.
Then again, there are worse things to keep her up at night. There are much more terrible things she could be contemplating than her tutor and how much her heart hurt. She could be thinking about her dad, or Ash, or the fact that these thoughts had pretty severe implications. No, in the long run, that was fairly harmless.
Still, she hadn’t slept well. Not with her head so busy doing God only knows what. So waking up at quarter to eleven with grainy eyes and a massive headache was definitely not much of a shock. Considering how unbelievably hot it was in a house without air conditioning, it only made sense that sleep was tough. She felt as though her shirt had melted into her back.
“You look like a zombie,” her father commented as she all but fell down the stairs.
“Thanks dad,” she grumbled.
“Did you sleep well?”
“Not at all.”
Hansen eyed her for a moment as if contemplating asking her why. But as she shuffled around the kitchen trying to decide whether eating breakfast was even worth the effort, he simply shrugged and went back to whatever he was reading. Sighing, Marceline rubbed her good hand across her face and through her hair.
“Do you have any plans with Keila for today?” Hansen asked abruptly.
“No,” Marceline exhaled. “She sent me a message yesterday saying she was staying in Blackwater overnight with Gary.”
One dark eyebrow arched higher; the only outward sign that Hansen found that interesting. “I take it you don’t like him,” he guessed.
“I haven’t liked him all year,” she pointed out irritably. “Why would I start now?”
“So you don’t have anything on today?” he pressed ignoring that question.
“I’m probably going to bum around like I always do, dad,” she breathed. “Why?”
Finally he folded his book closed and looked up at her. “I’m going into Blackwater today to see Mortimer. I was hoping you’d come with.”
Suspicion lanced through her, fear latching onto her windpipe, feet itching to run away. “Why?” she asked again.
Hansen hunched one shoulder in a half-hearted shrug. “He mentioned that he was worried about you when he was here the other day. He wanted you to go to this meeting at his church.”
“No, dad, I’m not going with you.”
Hansen just blinked. “It might help with your attitude problem and your disregard for your future.”
Marceline slammed her good hand down on the bench top. “I’m not going with you. I don’t need another religious lecture. If that’s what I needed, surely living with you for sixteen years would’ve fixed me. It didn’t, so lay off.”
She began to storm from the kitchen but he stood, blocking her path. “I will not let my daughter become a delinquent,” he said softly. Obviously he hoped it sounded reassuring, but all it did was reinforce his disdain.
“Then broaden your mind for me,” she ground out.
Bristling, she brushed past him and hurried upstairs, the door to her room banging shut an awful lot louder than was strictly necessary. For a few minutes, furious pacing was the only non-destructive method she could think of to work out her frustration with her father. However, once all her restless, angry energy had seeped out her feet, she just felt drained. Slumping down onto the edge of her bed, shoulders sagging, she wondered why she even fought it sometimes. Maybe she would go with her dad.
Nope. Marceline shook that stupid thought free and struggled out of her pyjamas and into something suitably casual to while away the day in. Of course, the next question pertained to what exactly she planned on doing.
And as always when stumped for ideas (and Keila is doing her new ‘not around’ routine), Marceline stumped back downstairs and out the door, heading for Bonnie’s place. Summer in full swing outside made her instantly regret not dropping a hat on her head. Grumbling about that (and swearing she could feel her skin sizzle) she trudged the two blocks to Bonnie’s and prayed to God that she was home. It’d suck to have to walk back through that sunlight.
The door to Bonnie’s little flat was unlocked and ajar, which was at least a little bit unusual. Normally the door stayed closed. Carefully, Marceline swung the door inwards and stepped inside. It was instant relief from the sweltering heat. Since the air conditioner was pumping the place with lower (less volcanic) temperatures, Marceline clicked the door closed behind her before going looking for Bonnibel.
Although that wasn’t much of a challenge, really, given that there are three places she’s likely to be. The first was the living room, so once that was crossed off she headed down the hall. Her study door was open at the end of the hall, so Marceline could tell she wasn’t in there, which just left her bedroom. Marceline stuck her head around the doorframe warily.
Bonnie was lying on the floor, head on a pillow, feet propped up on her bed with her ankles crossed. Naturally she was reading a book, earphones in. Consequently Marceline was honestly so very glad that Bonnibel was preoccupied because otherwise the red creeping up her neck would be embarrassing. That said, it wasn’t exactly uncalled for, given that Bonnie was wearing shorter shorts than Marceline even knew she owned and they made it effortlessly clear how disastrously perfect her legs were. It just wasn’t conducive to clear thought.
She leaned against the doorframe, closing her eyes with the belief that it might help as she sucked in a few long, slow breaths. It didn’t really. Not at all. But it was good enough for her to calm herself somewhat.
“So put another dime in the jukebox, baby. I love rock and roll. So come and take your time and dance with me.”
Marceline’s eyes snapped open, fixing on Bonnie, her face still mostly hidden behind the book she was so engrossed in. But the lyrics she was singing quietly were not hindered at all by this fact. Some parts, she only hummed along with, but Marceline knew what the song was.
“Take your time and dance with me.”
Bonnie fell quiet for a minute and it was then that Marceline realised she’d just been standing there staring. When she began the next song though, singing along in little more than a murmur, that’s when Marceline knew what she was listening to.
“I know, I know, I know, I know, what you’d say. I know, I know, I know, I know, all the games you play,” she muttered. And Marceline must have moved then, or made some sort of sound, because Bonnie’s eyes flicked up and landed on her face. Then she smiled. “Letting yourself in now, I see,” she chuckled.
“Um… The door was open,” Marceline mumbled hoarsely, hooking a thumb behind her. “Figured it was an invitation.”
Bonnibel laughed, pulling the earphones out and sitting up. The movement didn’t help the warm oozing back into Marceline’s cheeks. All it did was remind her of exactly how much leg she could see. “Only for you,” her friend was saying. “So what’s up?”
Marceline shrugged away from the door, stepping into the bedroom cautiously. “Just thought I’d come around and hang out. Wondered if maybe you’d want to entertain me.”
“Sure. I was just going to power through this book today anyway,” she admitted. “The disc you gave me,” Bonnie went on slowly. “You sang all those songs, didn’t you?”
“I might’ve,” she grumbled, hunching her shoulders as she sank onto the edge of Bonnie’s bed. “I did the instruments too. You have no idea how hard it was to organise the backing track without the use of drums.”
Bonnie’s eyes went wide and she jammed one of the buds back in her ear. “There’re no drums in any of these?” she asked, stunned.
“I didn’t even notice that. I do appreciate the mix though. I can kind of see you as a young Joan Jett.”
Marceline rolled her eyes. “She’s pretty cool.”
“Would not have pegged you as an ABBA fan though,” Bonnie giggled. “I’m nothing special,” she sang, rising up onto her knees. “In fact, I’m a bit of a bore. If I tell a joke, you’ve probably heard it before.”
“Don’t mock me, Banner. That’s a good song,” she grouched back.
“Oh, I’m not going to argue with you. It’s fitting. Since you’re basically this tiny little person made up entirely of limitless amounts of music. You’re… a pocket Mozart,” Bonnie informed her with a perfectly straight face.
“Do not insult my height, thank you.” Marceline tried to glare at her, but Bonnie only smiled. Folding her arms, elbows on Marceline’s knees, she just smiled. “Pocket Mozart, huh?” she asked in a strangled voice, trying not to notice too acutely the contact between them.
“Absolutely. Are you going to send any of these songs to Driscoll with your application?”
“I thought I might…” she said uncertainly. “The Joan Jett one definitely. I’m pretty happy with how it came out.”
“They’re all awesome.”
Bonnie scoffed. “Even if I wasn’t, I’d have to be deaf not to know how good they are.” She collapsed backwards onto the floor again, legs crossed, and Marceline couldn’t help the little pang in her chest as she instantly missed the proximity. “So what did you want to do today?”
“Anything is good,” Marceline replied with a shrug.
“You know,” Bonnie began as she uncurled and stood. “They say that whoever you spend New Years’ with is who you’re with for the rest of the year. Are you sure you want to hang out with me today and risk being inflicted with another three hundred and sixty-four days of my company?”
“I’ll be fine, thanks,” she grumbled. “You’re not so bad. I’ll survive.”
Bonnibel beamed at her. “Awesome.” She snatched her book off the floor and skipped into the living room. “You can put a movie on if you want. I’ll keep you company, but I do want to finish this book before Pippa decides to stop by and drag me somewhere.”
“That’s fine. Maybe I’ll borrow a book too,” she mused, running her eyes along the spines on Bonnie’s bookshelf. “Is this one any good?” she asked, pulling a tome half-way from its home.
“Oh yes, that one’s excellent. Plus it’s a stand alone,” Bonnie told her enthusiastically. “So there’s no pressure to read a sequel.”
“What’s it about?” Marceline wondered as she read the blurb.
“That’d spoil the surprise.”
Of course it would, she thought wryly. But she looked over at Bonnie on the couch with her knees up under her chin. With one hand she had her page marked in the book and with the other she was channel surfing. Marceline (her own novel in hand) sank onto the sofa beside her and was immensely surprised when Bonnibel unfolded her legs and rested them across her lap. She blinked, but couldn’t bring herself to complain. Why would she?
“Leave the television off,” Marceline muttered. “Just plug that thing in and we’ll be set.” She pointed to Bonnie’s earphones, but the implication was that she wanted the music.
Still smiling in that delightful way she has, Bonnibel twisted at the waist to grab the dock off the table and plug her music into it. She kept the volume down to a murmur, but that was fine, preferable even.
The book proved to be immediately interesting, so the fact that she didn’t even notice herself idly drawing patterns on Bonnie’s leg with her right hand (since it wasn’t much use in reading, being broken and all – good thing she’s left handed) could be put down to that. To that alone and nothing else. Nope. There wasn’t a single other contributing factor.
Nor was there any particular reason for her falling asleep on Bonnie’s couch at three-thirty in the afternoon, head on her friend’s shoulder. This was the best way to spend her summer afternoons. She’d remember that and make sure to do it more frequently.
And Marceline didn’t even care how deep she was. Or that pressing a kiss to Bonnie’s cheek (or her lips, or her jawline, or… she cut that tangent off quick smart) crossed her mind more than once. She didn’t care, because it felt so easy, so comfortable.
Bonnie’s hands threading through her hair was nice too.
Much too nice, in fact.
Marceline just sighed and tucked her face into Bonnie’s shoulder, one arm around her waist. She decided it was best not to think about it and just enjoy whatever this was. So she slept. And she smiled.