Laura woke up to a loud banging on the door of their apartment.
“Carm…” She grumbled, burrowing her face further into Carmilla’s neck and trying to ignore the loud noise. “Make it stopppp.”
“You’re the one who said it would be a great idea to live next to all your friends.” Carmilla rasped grumpily into Laura’s hair.
“Karnstein!!! Stop having sex with Hollis for 3 seconds and come help me!” Danny’s voice came from outside the door.
Laura grinned in triumph, pushing herself up on her elbows, hovering above her girlfriend. Carmilla opened one eye sleepily.
“She's asking for you, Carmmmmm”
Carmilla wrestled one hand out from under the covers, bringing it up to tuck Laura’s hair back. “I've got better things to do..” She mumbled as she tangled her hand into Laura’s hair and brought her down to meet her own lips.
She kissed her slowly, languidly, until more pounding on the door interrupted them and Laura giggled while Carmilla pulled back, her eyes still closed but her brow furrowed in irritation.
“What,” she huffed as she threw the covers back and stumbled towards the door, “could possibly be so important that you need to disturb me,” Carmilla reached the door of their apartment and threw it open, “at this hour?!”
Danny stood on the other side, her fist raised to knock on the door again. She cowered slightly at Carmilla’s tone.
“Um.. Kirsch really, really needs some help downstairs?”
Carmilla narrowed her eyes at her. She glanced back over her shoulder, then stepped into the hallway with Danny and closed the door.
“Is this another convoluted plan to get me out of the apartment so you can figure out what I’m planning tonight?” Carmilla hissed at an extremely suspicious looking Danny.
“What? Absolutely not!”
Carmilla narrowed her eyes even more.
“So if I open this supply closet, your husband and the rest of the dimwits won't fall out?”
Danny coughed nervously.
“You know, on second thought, I'm just gonna go…” Danny said as she began to edge towards the door.
Carmilla stalked past Danny, to the supply closet in the middle of the hallway. When she pulled it open, Kirsch and LaFontaine came tumbling out.
Betty stepped out from behind them, climbing over the two fallen figures.
“Oh, hey, Carmilla! So funny running into you here..” LaFontaine attempted to mumble from the floor.
“You idiots!” Carmilla growled. “You can't be here!! This is why I didn't include you all in the-”
The apartment door opened again as Laura stepped halfway into the hallway. She smiled widely at the sight of her friends. “What're you guys doing here?”
Carmilla had softened visibly at Laura’s appearance but now turned her glare towards Danny.
“Yes, someone explain what you’re doing here!”
Danny looked at Kirsch, who looked at LaFontaine, who looked at Betty, who rolled her eyes and sighed.
“We came to see what you guys are doing tonight!” she finally said, just a touch too cheerfully.
“Nothing?” Danny added quickly, before Laura or Carmilla could respond to Betty, “great! Dinner at our apartment? At 7?? Great!! See you later!!” and Danny pulled Kirsch up from the floor and hurried the rest of them into the elevator.
Laura gave Carmilla a bemused look. “What was that all about? Don’t we always have dinner together on Saturday nights?”
Carmilla shrugged helplessly. “No idea. They’re your friends, you know they’ve never made any sense to me.” She swung her arm around Laura’s shoulders as they walked back into their apartment.
“It’s been four years, can’t you admit that they are your friends too?”
“Absolutely not! Just because I like you doesn’t mean I have to like them.”
“Oh, so you like me, huh?”
“I mean.. I suppose.. Maybe a little...” Carmilla sighed as she mumbled, “You’d think after four years I’d be able to stop blushing when you look at me like that.”
Laura grinned and pulled her closer for a kiss, but Laura’s phone started ringing just as someone started knocking on their door again.
Laura pulled back from Carmilla with a sigh as Carmilla threw up her hands in defeat.
It had been a longggg week. All week, Carmilla had been trying to get Laura alone, and all week, something had interferred. She was waiting for the perfect moment, and it just wasn’t happening. Laura had definitely noticed her nervousness and odd behavior, but hadn’t commented on it yet.
Now they were at dinner with all their friends. Carmilla gazed at Laura, smiling softly as she watched Laura play a game with LaFontaine and Perry’s daughter.
“You know something, Kitty?” Will asked as he plunked himself down in the seat next to her, handing her a glass of wine.
“I have a feeling you’re going to tell me either way.”
“I’ve never seen you as happy as you are with her.”
Carmilla eyed him curiously. “They told you what I’ve been planning, huh?”
Will laughed. “Actually, I’m surprised it took you this long.”
Carmilla gave him a light shove. “You’re all the worst.”
Will continued talking, but Carmilla was no longer listening. Laura had looked up from the kid and was smiling at her with the smile that made Carmilla melt.
“Fuck it.” She muttered under her breath. She pushed back from the dining table and walked over to her girlfriend. Carmilla offered her hand and Laura took it, intertwining their hands as they stood. Carmilla led her through the room, weaving through their friends who kept trying to distract them, but Carmilla was determined.
Once out in the hall, Carmilla shut the door, muting the music and noise of conversation.
“Are you going to tell me what’s been bothering you all week?” Laura whispered into Carmilla’s ear. Carmilla wiped her free hand on her pants nervously and looked down at their feet.
“I just… I think you deserve the best, you know? You deserve the world. And I want to give that to you, but it’s just been... very difficult this week...”
Laura frowned. “Carm, you are the best. You’re all I need. Everything else, we’ll figure it out together.”
Carmilla let out a little sigh of relief at her comforting words.
“You’re right, you’re always right.” She reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out an old paperback.
“What..? This is one of our books from college..” Laura said, confused, as she gently took the book from Carmilla’s hands.
“Actually, it’s the book we were discussing in class when we first talked to each other.” Carmilla took her hand off the paperback and swallowed hard. “I kept it because.. I think, even then, I knew I’d need it again.”
Laura looked up from examining the cover. “For what?”
Laura opened it. After the first few pages, she found the center of the novel cut out, making a small box within the worn pages. Sitting in the center of the book was a ring.
Laura gasped and looked up just as Carmilla dropped to one knee.
“Laura… I lived most of my life thinking there was nothing good in this world. And then you came along and changed everything. You saved me. I could live for 300 years and still not have enough time to show you how much I love you. I love your passion and your stubbornness and your selflessness…” Carmilla paused, running a hand through her hair and chuckling softly at her own words, “and, to be honest, I wrote a very long speech about all the reasons I love you, but I’m thinking I’ll save those to use as my vows at our wedding… if you’ll marry me?”
“Yes!!! Oh, god, yes, Carm, of course!” Laura tackled Carmilla to the ground as she kissed her. “Yes, yes, yes, yes.” Laura whispered between kisses.
After a minute, Carmilla reluctantly reached out and knocked on the wall they were lying next to.
LaFontaine, Kirsch, Danny, Perry, Betty, and Will burst out of the apartment.
“Did she say yes?” “Of course she said yes, they’ve already been living like a married couple for years..” “CONGRATULATIONS!!” “Can I see the ring?!?” “You know, if Carmilla had let me, I could’ve had some amazing fireworks to commemorate this moment!” “Finally! Took you long enough, Karnstein.”
Carmilla smiled as all their friends congratulated the couple, everyone hugging and laughing.
Then Laura took her hand again. “We’re just going to run upstairs and get the champagne!” She declared and pulled her fiance down the hallway.
The rest of the group looked at each other. “They’re not coming back down tonight, are they?”
Still giggling, Laura kissed Carmilla deeply as they entered the apartment. “I love you so much, Carmilla. The ring is perfect. Your proposal was perfect. You’re perfect.”
Carmilla smiled against Laura’s lips. “We’re not really getting the champagne, are we?”
“No, I think I want you all to myself tonight.” Laura whispered as she grabbed Carmilla by her belt loops and kissed her again. Carmilla started walking them back to the bedroom without breaking the kiss. Finally, she paused to pick Laura up bridal-style, carrying her laughing fiance into their room, kicking the door shut behind them.
As Carmilla crawled up the bed, she paused as Laura looked at her with so much love she felt like her heart may explode.
“I love you so much, Carm.”
"I love you too, Laura," Carmilla whispered, and then she leaned down to kiss the woman she would be with for the rest of her life.