Monday 2nd February 2015
“You know… I gave it leeway last week,” Pippa mumbled during their history lesson first thing in the morning. “Because I figured you’re really strange, to the point where maybe you were just happy to be back at school. But that was last week. You haven’t stopped smiling at all yet today. What’s wrong with you?”
Oh. Shit, Bonnie thought sourly. Apparently, pretending she wasn’t in a really good mood was a lot harder than she’d thought it’d be. Actually, not blurting everything to Pippa was a lot harder than she’d expected too. Weird.
She shrugged. “I’m not sure,” she lied. “It is nice to have work to do again though.”
Pippa snorted but didn’t say any more on the subject. Good thing too because lying to her was not something Bonnie wanted to make a habit of. Hayden, sitting on Penelope’s other side, rolled her eyes. Apparently a year in Reich was really all it took before they were pretty much used to her strange love of education. Cool.
“Sure nothing good happened last week?” the other red head mused. Her tone was almost teasing. “Some hot chick ask you out or something?”
Bonnibel felt her face go red so she fixed her attention back on her work and grumbled, “Or something.” She huffed.
“Hey, are you tutoring Marceline again this year?” Pippa asked with what Bonnie knew – she knew – was carefully calculated nonchalance.
She narrowed her eyes at her friend. “Yes. Petrikov asked me last week if I’d continue. Why?”
Penelope shrugged. “Just wondering, since… you know, we didn’t put her on our list for study groups.”
Bonnie sighed. “I’m sure given the situation that he’ll let her join us,” she noted. “Since apparently I did too good a job last year to replace with someone else.”
“That would be because you’re a magical freak and Marceline actually listens to you,” Pippa breathed as loudly and as incredulously as she could without drawing the teacher’s attention. “No other tutor in the entire world could get Marceline to focus.”
“Maybe no other tutor in the world tried hard enough,” Bonnibel retorted.
“Whatever.” Pippa returned her attention to the board and the lecture on Zoroastrianism that was going on up there, but her pen flashed between her fingers in that way she had when there was more to be said. Of course, Penelope was just stubborn enough not to speak unless asked. And Bonnie was just masochistic enough to do that.
“Spit it out,” she exhaled. “What are you not saying?”
Pippa glanced at her but remained facing the board. “It’s nothing.”
Almost Bonnibel was tempted to press her for more. She decided against it though. More than likely it would have something to do with her ‘girl crush’ on Marceline. She should never have told Pippa she thought Marceline was attractive. Bad decision.
It was good then that Hayden made an awkward comment strange enough to change the topic accidentally. “Speaking of asking people out,” she murmured. “What do you reckon the chances are that we’ll get an end of year dance type deal?”
Bonnie blinked. Because – and really – those two things only went together obliquely. The sort of obliquely that would require Hayden to want someone to ask her to a ‘dance type deal’.
Pippa giggled. “Got your eye on someone?” she sang.
In the space of a millisecond, Hayden’s whole face turned a colour to match her hair. “No,” she grumbled. “Why would you think that?”
“Because it sounded like you wanted a dance so that someone could ask you to go with them,” Bonnibel explained. It was just logic, truly.
“No.” Hayden shook her head, focusing unusually hard on her work. “Not even.”
Pippa and Bonnie exchanged a look and somehow the past twelve months were magically enough to translate it into some form of actual communication. They swivelled in unison to stare at the other girl who remained stoically oblivious to their scrutiny.
“Halte won’t let us have school functions like that,” Pippa began carefully. “So… no dance. I guess Finn will have to ask you out without that excuse.”
It was a stab in the dark, Bonnie supposed. But given the way Hayden’s already crimson face darkened considerably in colour, she guessed they might’ve hit close to the mark. Bonnie smiled.
“W… What?” Hayden spluttered. “Why would I…? Why would you think…? Shut up.”
Bonnie and Pippa had to laugh then; the look on Hayden’s face demanded it. “It’s okay, Hayden,” Bonnibel told her around the fading giggles. “Finn’s a nice guy.”
Some of the red ebbed from her face. “Yeah, he is. But I don’t…”
“Relax,” Pippa reassured her around her lingering chortles. “We won’t tell. Will we, Bonnibel?”
“I won’t,” she agreed. “Nope.”
“What we should do,” Penelope gasped, twisting to look at Bonnie. “Is recruit Ellen and Melissa to petition the school for a senior formal. Wouldn’t that be awesome?”
Bonnie lifted one eyebrow, smiling wryly. “You’re on your own with that one. I’m out.”
“Aw, Bonnie,” she whined. “You’re such a fun sponge.”
She just kept shaking her head. “Nope. After the fiasco that was Ellen’s birthday party, I’m staying as far from this kind of thing as I can get.”
“Smart move,” Hayden mumbled.
Before Pippa could argue the point more the bell rang. The teacher hollered homework after them but he was mostly ignored. Honestly, Bonnie had never been happier to head to maths.
Only… Marceline wasn’t in attendance.
She frowned. When Finn beamed at her and waved her over she sank into her usual spot trying so very hard to dispel the strange sense of worry washing over her.
“Morning, Bonnie,” he all but cried, bouncing in his seat. Which – for Finn – was far too much energy for a maths class. “Good weekend?”
She shrugged. “About the same as usual.” Honestly, she tried so hard to hold it in. But… it fell out all the same. “Have you seen Marceline this morning?”
His brow furrowed. “Um… no? Her car’s outside though. Why…?” Her reason for asking must have dawned on him then because his eyes widened. “She’s not here.”
Bonnibel bobbed her head. “I’m sure it’s nothing.” She hoped it was. Fixating all her attention on her work was the only thing that got her through the lesson.
Bonnie whipped her gaze around as Marceline sank to the grass beside her wearing a sheepish smile. “Hey yourself,” she replied happily.
“Sorry I wasn’t in maths,” Marceline grumbled. “Petrikov called me in to see him and it took forever. He just rambled and rambled.”
“What did he want?”
When Marceline began fidgeting with the leather band around her wrist Bonnie might’ve started worrying just a little bit. “Well… see… I wasn’t put into a group at the end of last year for study sessions. Keila was absorbed by some other kids but I figured I could keep working with you so I didn’t bother. But apparently that’s not good enough so I asked if I could join you guys and Petrikov said I’d have to ask and–”
Bonnibel laid a hand on Marceline’s knee. “You can be in our group. That’s fine.”
“Really?” Marceline honestly looked doubtful. “Cause I don’t want to be an incon–”
“It’s fine, Marceline,” Bonnie chuckled. “Promise.” She leaned in to press a kiss to the corner of Marceline’s mouth. Partly, her subconscious told her it was to prove her point. The rest of her knew it was just because she wanted to.
She felt Marceline go rigid, eyes snapping wide. “Um…”
“Hey,” Bonnie murmured. “You okay? You look worried.”
Marceline coughed shortly, averting her gaze. “Yeah, totally fine.”
She narrowed her eyes. “Try telling the truth for me.”
“I just…” she hunched her shoulders. “It’s stupid.”
“If it’s got you all weird like this, then it’s not nothing. And it’s not stupid.” She wound their fingers together. “You can tell me dumb things, you know. I won’t like you any less.”
She shrugged half-heartedly. “Pretty sure it’s a fifth or… fiftieth date kind of confession.”
For a moment Bonnie wasn’t sure how to tactfully reply to that. Might as well go with the direct route. “If… this is something that might stop us from ever making it to that date, I’d like to know at least some of it… I know I promised I wouldn’t ask you anything if you didn’t want to answer, and that stands now. But… if you don’t want me…” Quick put something on the end of that! “If you don’t want me to kiss you, maybe tell me?”
Marceline’s head snapped round to fix her with a confused expression. “God no. Why wouldn’t I want you to kiss me? I like…” Her sentence disappeared into her face tinting pink and a strangled sound in her throat.
Bonnie smiled, squeezing her hand. “You like what, huh?”
She mumbled something but obviously knew Bonnibel wouldn’t have heard it. So she sucked in a deep breath and exhaled, “I like kissing you.”
“Good. I quite enjoy it too,” she laughed. “So what’s up?”
The hand trapped between Bonnie’s fingers twitched. “I just…” Marceline sighed. “Okay, so I don’t want to… push things here. Ash was a smooth, charming guy, but still a douche, right? And he’s literally all I have to go on when it comes to… dating. I know I didn’t like some of the… liberties he took, the way he never asked me my opinion for anything.” She shrugged one shoulder. “I never liked how he’d do things unannounced. I guess I’ve got a… reflex to be wary of that now. But I do like you. And I want to date you. More than I ever wanted to be with him. And I just… I don’t want to make any assumptions…” She looked up at Bonnie carefully. “Does that make sense?”
She smiled – a little sadly, but hopeful too – holding more tightly to Marceline’s hand. “Yes. It does. Treat others as you wish to be treated?”
A breathy laugh eddied between Marceline’s teeth. “Yeah, exactly.” She inhaled dramatically. “That… I’m sorry to just lay that out there, Bon.”
“No,” she cut Marceline off before she could go on. “That’s good. Communication is good. I needed to know that. Slow then?”
Marceline smiled at her, soft and wan, but genuine. “Okay.” She nodded.
“Am I allowed to kiss you?”
“Whenever you like,” she chuckled.
Bonnie bumped their shoulders together. “Good to know. Same goes for you.”
She lifted their hands. “Are you going to make a habit of this?”
“More than likely,” Bonnie teased. “Why?”
“Just want to make sure.”
“Also, the next time we have a movie night,” she said, grinning. “Cuddling will most definitely be mandatory.”
“I can be alright with that,” Marceline decided after a moment of thought. Her eyes darted away briefly before settling on Bonnie’s face again. “I’m sorry,” she muttered. “For making this… weird.”
“It’s really alright,” Bonnibel reassured her. “Promise.”
The anxiety in her smile faded, leaving nothing but relief behind. “Cool. Um… Do you want me to bring those movies around next weekend?”
“Not this weekend?”
She shook her head. “Can’t, I’m working all this weekend. And Ivy offered to let me play on Saturday night and… I mean I could say no–”
“No, you can’t,” Bonnie told her firmly. “You have to play whenever you can. I won’t ask anything else from you. Next weekend is perfect.”
Marceline’s smile widened. “Sure? I can cancel?”
“No. Don’t you dare.”
“I’ll try and come out to watch, but it’s highly likely I’ll end up hanging out with Pippa,” she lamented. “But I’ll do my best.”
“It’s fine if you don’t,” Marceline muttered.
“It’s really not,” Bonnie gasped. “I am a supportive girlfriend and I’ll be there when you play if I can manage it. There is no excuse. Honestly.”
Marceline hummed. “Girlfriend…” she mumbled, smiling gently. “So you’re not going to ditch me because I’m insecure and crazy?”
Bonnie snorted. “No. I’m not heartless. Plus I knew you were insecure and crazy when I agreed to go out with you.” She returned Marceline’s smile. “I knew what I was getting into. I’m good with it.”
“Whew. Because frankly, I’m surprised you’ve stuck with me for a week,” she admitted.
“Really?” Bonnie asked her flatly.
“Yeah. Because you’re amazing and I’m… pretty lame.”
Bonnibel laughed. “Pretty, yes. Lame, no. I happen to think you’re awesome. Besides, you promised me a minimum of three dates.”
“You’re literally the only person who thinks I’m awesome,” Marceline grumbled. “And if you’re only going to go on three dates with me then we’ll never have a third one.”
“I said ‘minimum’. Today you mentioned a fiftieth date,” she mused. “I can get behind that.”
That – finally – got a laugh out of Marceline. “Alright. I get it, I’m stuck with you.”
“For the foreseeable future at any rate,” Bonnibel agreed, beaming. “Is that a problem?”
“Good.” Once again, she leaned in to kiss Marceline; on her cheek this time.
And this time, Marceline didn’t look surprised or anxious. Just tilted her head so it landed on her lips instead. And she smiled.