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Pray for the Preacher's Daughter

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Sunday 7th June 2015

“Why is water blue?”

Jake tapped his pen against the edge of the table and glanced over at Finn’s book. Nothing enlightening was written there because Finn had been drawing dolphins in the textbook’s little ocean diagram for the last half hour. He sighed. Marceline could only smile at him.

“You don’t do geo do you, Marceline?” he asked plaintively.

“Nope. Sorry, Jake.”

“Do you know the answer?” he enquired anyway.

“I’m going to say…” she drawled, swirling another note onto her music composition piece. “Science.”

He huffed. “You’re useless.”

Marceline smirked and rocked back on her chair to peek over the top of the lounge chair where Bonnie, Hayden and Pippa were sprawled out working on their history presentation. “Hey, Bon. Is water blue because of science?”

The redhead blinked at her. “Yes, of course. Why?”

“Jake didn’t believe me.”

“It’s the reflection of particles from the upper atmosphere,” she went on. “The water doesn’t absorb those wavelengths so it mirrors the sky’s blueness. That’s why when there’s no sky because of trees or rock formations, the water shows as a different colour. Do I need to come up there and help him with that?”

“You might.”

“Give me one minute.”

Marceline allowed her chair to tip forwards again, clicking the other two feet to the floorboards. “Hear that? Bonnie is going to help you solve all your problems.”

Jake sighed again. “If only she could solve all my problems.”

The words on the tip of her tongue were inappropriate so Marceline swallowed them and smiled instead. “Since she’s a genius,” she said rather than the other thing. “It’s quite possible she can solve most of your schooling troubles.”

“She can’t make it easier for me to understand maths,” Finn pointed out, tapping his pen against his book (his geology book, but whatever). “It still makes zero sense to me.”

“And I still won’t really understand why water is blue,” Jake added. “Just that it is.”

Fingers running lightly across her shoulders were all the warning Marceline had before Bonnie was plopping into the chair beside her, one foot folded beneath her. “You can lead a horse to water,” she muttered, beaming at Marceline.

“But you can’t make it smart?” she guessed, dryly. It earned her a slap on the arm, but Bonnie shuffled closer so she could peer past Marceline’s workbook at Jake’s supposedly uncooperative diagram.

She extended a finger to a little box out in Jake’s book. “Read this.” His eyes snapped to it, scanning the words. “That should give you a basic understanding of it. Really it’s just refraction and colour theory.”

“I’m not an art student,” Jake grumbled. “Nor am I particularly good at physics.”

“So just memorise it,” she suggested. “There will be a practice exam before-hand. Or at the very least a revision sheet that should give you some idea of what you’ll need to concentrate on.” Bonnie’s hand slipped under the table, bracing her weight against Marceline’s thigh as she leaned further across the table.

Despite the red Marceline knew was rising in her face and the way her heart wobbled, she managed to get out in a relatively normal tone, “You could just swap seats with me. Rather than getting all in the way of my assignment.”

“You don’t mind,” Bonnie murmured. Her eyes never left Jake’s text book, reading through the information upside down. Honestly, the girl never ceased to amaze. Her finger jabbed the page again. “Here. This part.”

Jake followed and read the paragraph carefully, brows drawing together the longer he focused. “How did I not see this here before?” he grouched. He clicked his pen violently to take down abbreviated (and more coherent) notes. “Thanks, Bonnie.”

She flashed a smile. “No worries.” Then her hand squeezed Marceline’s knee as she stood, already heading back to her history thing. “Just holler.”

Finn ducked his head a little closer to Jake, stage whispering (so Marceline could hear, how nice), “I think Ellen might be right.” His eyes remained fixed on Bonnibel as she sank to the floor, correcting Pippa’s grammar politely. Marceline might’ve been staring at her too, but for a different reason. Obviously.

“How do you mean?” Jake wondered, still annotating his geology.

“We should get Bonnie a girlfriend.”

At that, Marceline’s eyes whipped around to them, going really wide. “Excuse me?” she blurted. They looked up at her, baffled – clearly – by her outburst. Which… yeah okay, fair enough. She was a little incensed, but that was only because they were talking about her girlfriend here.

Finn just shrugged. “She is really awesome. Someone should get to appreciate that.”

“I think what you people need to stop doing is meddling in other folks’ love lives,” Marceline grouched, glaring at her notepad. “It’s not very nice.”

Jake sucked in a deep breath. “It doesn’t happen often,” he exhaled. “But I agree with Marceline.”

“Really?” she and Finn both questioned incredulously.

He bobbed his head. “Yeah. We don’t know what she likes, don’t know any other girls who play for her team, don’t know anything. I say just let it be.” He shrugged. “One day she’ll meet someone. I’m not going to try and force her into a relationship. That’s not what friends do.”

Marceline levelled her pen in Jake’s direction. “Yes, I agree. One hundred percent. Leave her alone.”

Finn arched a shoulder. “Just a thought. But alright.” For a minute he actually did some work, and then it ended. “Did you hear about David, though?”

“What did he do?” Marceline asked obligingly.

“He stole his dad’s car and crashed it.”

“Oh god, really?” Jake breathed, giving his cousin all of his attention.

Finn nodded seriously. “Yeah, apparently he and Mark were arguing about something over at the bridge. Mark got out, said he’d walk home, that if Dave didn’t have his dad’s permission then he wasn’t going to get involved. Dave went after him and forgot to put the handbrake on so the car rolled right off the highway and into the river.” Finn’s hand mimed the car tipping off the edge and came accompanied with a rough explosion sound for when it hit the creek bed.

“Nasty,” Marceline muttered, shaking her head. “Serves him right, though.”

“I reckon. If I was his dad I’d be so pissed,” Jake agreed. “That car is so nice.”

“Was,” Finn corrected.

“And now it’s cactus. What a waste.”

Finn shook his head. “Some people don’t deserve such nice machinery if they can’t appreciate it.” He clucked his tongue and everything. Marceline just about exploded with laughter.

“You’d know all about that, huh, Finn,” she managed to get out around her grin.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” he almost snapped, looking a little wounded.

She hunched one shoulder. “You’ve had that little blue car for how long and it’s already dinged up all over the front bumper and there’s probably something wrong with the fan belt from the sound it makes. Maybe treat your own machinery a little better, yeah?”

At that, Jake burst out cackling. “Oh she got you, bro.” And it came complete with a whip crack sound effect and gesture. Excellent.

She rolled her eyes as they set about bickering with one another over whether or not Finn’s car even counts when the word ‘nice’ is used. Apparently this is why Finn doesn’t have ‘nice’ things to begin with. Marceline found the whole thing amusing but returned her focus to her composition.

For the next hour she somehow managed to keep Finn and Jake tuned out as she powered through her assignment. Hopefully she might even have it finished by the end of the week. That’d give her plenty of time to revise before handing it in. Stupid assignment.

It wasn’t until soft hands grasped her shoulders that she even realised someone had been talking to her. Nearly jumping out of her skin, she glanced around to find Bonnie (of course, who else) standing beside her. At that point the few extra beats per minute her heart was labouring through were for another reason than mere startlement.

“We’re breaking for lunch,” her girlfriend explained. “You coming?”

She blinked. “Where to?”

Bonnie hooked a thumb in a general ‘outside’ direction. “Pippa’s mum made food for us. We’re eating on the deck. Come on.”

Being tugged to her feet and having Bonnie direct her to the patio by virtue of their suddenly linked arms involved a lot less complaining than it might once have done. Weird. Or not so weird given her undying need to be as close to Bonnibel as she could get. Actually, that was kind of embarrassing and awkward and she hoped to God (something she didn’t do often) that Bonnie never found out.

Today, the ping pong table didn’t fill the majority of the space. It had been folded up and shoved against the side of the house. Instead, what dominated the area was a large wooden table and Marceline couldn’t even begin to guess how it had ended up there. Eyeing the exit off the deck to the back yard she figured it must have been out there somewhere the last time she’d visited. On the polished surface of this table was lunch.

As they stepped onto the tiles, Bonnie let her go, circling around to grab glasses off the table and fill them with whatever was in that green pitcher. Marceline’s attention was drawn away from staring (probably a little weirdly) at Bonnibel, when Penelope pushed a blue plate into her hands. She glanced at the plate briefly – long enough to register a bread roll sitting on it, probably filled with stuff – and then looked back up at Pippa, kind of confused.

“What…?”

Penelope just smiled. “You seemed kind of lost. So I made you a sandwich.”

She pointed at the table. “Just trying to work out where that came from. I’m fine.”

“Yeah, okay.” Pippa laughed lightly, collapsing into the seat beside Jake, as usual.

That’s about when Bonnie found her again, beaming and offering Marceline one of the glasses. “Come on, Marceline,” she muttered. “Relax.”

She blinked. “I’m relaxed.” To prove it, she sank into a chair across from Finn. “Totally fine.” Marceline picked up her roll, figuring that’s a great way to stop feeling… out of place. Before she got it even half way to her mouth, Bonnie was grabbing her wrist, eyes doing something panicked.

“Do not eat that,” she huffed. Slowly, Marceline lowered the roll to her plate.

“Um… why?”

Only the question answered itself when Bonnie lifted the top off the sandwich. Oh… Tomatoes. Fair enough.

“Ah,” she sighed, pushing the plate away from her. “Thanks.”

“Any time,” Bonnie sang, grinning. And magically, she had a replacement ready. “Without death food.”

There was an itch between her shoulder blades telling her to double check. But she didn’t, just took a bite. Marceline had enough faith that Bonnibel wouldn’t try to kill her. No need to be paranoid. Her throat didn’t close over either, so that was a good sign.

“My sandwich not good enough for you?” Pippa called from further down the table.

Marceline made a point of swallowing before answering. “Nah, not really.”

Penelope blinked, mouth quirking in something that might’ve been amusement and might’ve been irritation. “Sorry my sandwiches don’t meet your exacting standards, Abadeer,” she teased, rolling her eyes.

She shrugged. “You just don’t know my system.” To punctuate this, she took another bite, grinning around the mouthful.

“I’m sorry,” Pippa deadpanned. “We don’t let pets sit at the table.”

Finn howled with laughter at that so Marceline spun the plate with the death-sandwich on it at him. It whirled across the table and nearly ended up in his lap. Then he ate it. Boys.

“There’s nothing wrong with this,” he decided once it was mostly consumed. “Perfectly lovely.”

“Sure,” she snorted. “Except for the part where it kills me.” The last bit was much softer than the first, but obviously Hayden heard it.

“Kill you?” she asked, disbelieving; eyebrows arched in that dubious way she had. “It’s a sandwich.”

“Sandwiches can be deadly,” she dismissed. But they were all looking at her now; waiting for further explanation. She sighed. “I’m allergic to tomatoes.”

“Deathly allergic?” Penelope’s voice wobbled, her face draining of colour.

Marceline hunched her shoulder. “Yeah, kinda.”

She hadn’t thought it possible, but Pippa’s face went even whiter. She looked like a ghost. “I could’ve killed you!” she just about screeched. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t realise there would be tomatoes involved, Pip,” she explained. “Just relax. I’m fine. Bonnie caught it.”

“That’s beside the point.” Yeah, okay. Now Pippa was just wailing. She fell back against her chair. “This is awful. You could’ve died because I didn’t know that. Oh my god. Are you okay?”

“Jesus, Pip, just chill,” she laughed. “I’m fine. No harm done.”

“Christ.” Then her face flashed from ‘I just had a minor heart attack’ to ‘wait, what did she say’ in such a small period of time it was almost comical. “Bonnie caught it?” Her eyes flicked across to look at the redhead in question. “You knew?”

“Duh,” Bonnibel laughed. “She’s eaten at my place enough times.”

Something suspicious lingered around the corners of Penelope’s eyes for a moment, but the logic was inescapable. “Fair enough,” she huffed. “Would’ve been nice if you’d told me, though.”

Bonnie held her hands up. “I didn’t know you were giving her a sandwich.”

“Next time I’ll just get my own,” Marceline mumbled. At least that seemed to end the conversation. Admittedly, the fact that Pippa had been so scared was sort of nice. She cared enough to have panicked. A smile wavered across her lips at the thought.

When Pippa’s attention had returned to Jake, Bonnie shifted beside her. Their thighs were suddenly pressed together and Marceline had to put an awful lot of effort into keeping the red from her face. So busy trying not to think about how close they were, Marceline nearly jumped when Bonnie’s hand landed on her arm.

“You sure you’re alright?” she whispered.

The breath left her lungs in a big whoosh. “Yep. I’m good.”

Bonnibel continued to eye her for a moment. Then she nodded and went back to her lunch.

 


 

“Marceline, any chance I can get your help with the composition of this?”

Marceline looked up – away from their chemistry – and blinked at Pippa. “Composition?”

“Yeah, for our final piece. I can’t decide if I like this layout.”

“She means in art, Marceline,” Hayden added, her pen swirling in her sketch book.

“Oh right.” She glanced back at Bonnie who just smiled. “Mind if I come back to this?”

As always, her smile expanded when she caught Marceline’s gaze. “Go for it. We can do this later.”

Flashing her a quick grin, Marceline bounced over to Pippa, already muttering something about the sketched draft of her artwork. Figuring she might as well stop with her chemistry for now (she’d finish it when Marceline was done), Bonnie folded her book up and heaved herself off the couch. Finn and Jake were both hunched over the dining table again, not working on their geography this time, though. She tilted her head to get a better look as she sank down beside Jake. Looked like… physics.

“Oh, good,” Finn sighed, slumping across the table. “Help us, Bonnibel Kenobi. You’re our only hope.”

“What are you revising?”

“Acceleration or force or momentum or something,” Finn moaned. “I don’t even know. I’m just hungry.”

Bonnie rolled her eyes. “We only ate lunch an hour ago.”

“A long hour ago,” he lamented. “Physics makes me hungry.”

Jake hummed. “I might go pilfer some biscuits from Pippa’s cupboard.”

“Drink,” Finn added as Jake rose from his chair. “Get drinks too.”

“Since you asked so nicely.”

When Jake had disappeared, Finn’s gaze snapped to Bonnibel. “I need help,” he said seriously.

“With physics?” she enquired, not a little confused by his expression.

“No. I was kind of hoping Lemonbreath would turn down the petition for the senior formal, but he didn’t and… and… and asking girls out is scary.” He huffed, chin hitting his book. “Every time I open my mouth to ask, I freeze.”

Realisation dawned. “Hayden?” She couldn’t fight the smile.

“Yeah…” His sigh was somewhat wistful as his eyes drifted over to watch her on the floor, still doodling in her sketchbook. “I mean… I want to ask her to go with me. But my mouth won’t say the words. It sucks.” He closed his eyes.

“How am I supposed to help with that?”

One eye opened half-way to regard her as though the answer was actually really obvious and she’s just dense. “Well… you’re gay. How would you ask a girl out?”

Her laugh was breathier than she’d like. The whole hypothetical was just ridiculous. “You ask. Hey, do you wanna go to the senior formal with me? Easy.”

Someone scoffed beside her and she looked around – startled – to find Marceline digging through her pencil case. “Just need your protractor,” she explained.

“For art?”

She shrugged. “Pippa’s work is really geometrical. Hey, Finn. Just ask her.”

His eyes narrowed at Marceline. “It’s not… I can’t… It’s harder than that.”

“No it’s not,” she sniffed. To prove her point she turned to Bonnie (whose heart began pounding uncomfortably in her ears). “Hey, Bon. Do you wanna go to the formal with me?”

Holy shit, she actually asked. Oh my god. Bonnie’s throat went dry.

“Uh… yeah, okay…?”

Marceline grinned at her. “You actually sound more uncertain about it than I did, weirdo. Just as friends, yeah? We’re the only two singles in the room. Gotta stick together.” She finished with a wink before flouncing off with her pilfered protractor.

“Was that strange?” Finn asked softly.

“A little,” Bonnie agreed. Thankfully, her ability to speak seemed to have returned. “But she does have a point. It is exactly that easy.”

Finn’s jaw squared as he watched Hayden helping Pippa with the protractor. “Yeah,” he breathed. “Easy.”

“Do you have any classes with just her?”

“HPE.”

“So ask her out. Don’t think about it, just do it.”

“Your advice is surprisingly unhelpful,” he told her drolly. “But sure.”

“Just give it your best shot, Finn. That’s all you can do.”

“Yeah…”

 

-*…*…*-

 

She lifted an eyebrow. “Seriously?”

Marceline beamed at her, but confusion shimmered around the edges. “What?” At least she sounded happy as they wandered down the street back towards Bonnie’s place. The sun was too warm on their backs, nice in the growing cool of the day, but that didn’t mean Bonnie wanted to linger in it.

“I didn’t even think you wanted to go to the senior formal.”

Understanding hit her in the middle of her forehead. “Oh,” Marceline whispered. “Right. Well…”

Bonnibel half turned so she could fix Marceline with a proper look. “You don’t have to go.”

“Are you going?”

“Yes. I will be.”

Determination flashed in Marceline’s blue eyes. “Then I want to be there, too.” She paused for a moment; both her words and her feet stilling. “Um… Bon? Do you maybe want… to go with me?”

Her mouth twisted into a teasing smile without any permission at all. “As your friend, right?”

Marceline’s eyes rolled reflexively. She probably would’ve stuck her hands in her pockets too if they hadn’t been holding her books. “No, nerd. Do you want to go with me as my girlfriend?”

“Oh yes, absolutely.” This time, Bonnie winked before bouncing off down the footpath. “Although your solidarity thing was very convincing.”

“I hate you,” Marceline called, following.

“No you don’t.” And there was not a trace of doubt in her words.

She could practically feel Marceline’s next eye roll.