"I'm convinced I'm just that bad at kissing" Elodie declares as she flops down on Tabitha's enormous bed. "First that friend of Moe's who I tried to shake hands with, then Moe herself." She shakes her head.
Tabitha sits down next to her, laying a hand on her shoulder. "I'm sure that's not it," she reassures her.
"It's official, I have the worst gaydar on the planet."
Tabitha bites her lips, glancing aside before hesitantly saying "Elodie...I dont think she knew."
"Oh. Shit. That would make sense, with some of the things she said."
"I just wish she would answer our texts. Do you think...should we go over to her house?"
"No, I think we should give her some space. When we were kids she would always lash out if you didn't."
There wasn't much Elodie could say against that, they had known each other longer, even if they were estranged for just as long. "In that case I need a distraction." She gets up off the bed, starts perusing Tabitha's things. Everything going on with Moe has her itching to pocket something, but. This is Tabitha, not some store. So she stuffs her hands in her pockets, sticks strictly to looking.
That's when she spots it in the corner. It looks as immaculate as everything else, but not well used like she thought it should. "Do you play?" she asks Tabitha as she picks up the guitar.
the other girl grimaces. "No. My mom thought it would be great for insta, but it's not really my thing.
Elodie brings it over to the bed, sits with it propped in her lap. She tries playing a chord, but it's out of tune from sitting unused for so long, so she starts working on that instead.
That gets Tabitha's attention, and she starts watching the other girl in earnest. "woah, are you doing that by ear?" she asks, but Elodie only hums in reply.
She's not sure how long she's been watching her, but eventually a small smile blooms on Elodie's face. She makes one last adjustment, and then strums a chord. After noodling around a bit, she started playing in earnest; Tabitha is instantly captivated.
"I'm trying to learn
the difference between love and codependence
and why it makes my insides ache
and I can't tell if you're something I need or the
feeling I should shake
I need to start being honest with myself
and how I feel"
Elodie trails off after that before slowly coming to a stop. "Sorry," she says, feeling embarrassed, "it's all I remember. I was learning to play it before I left, felt it was relevant to Zoey, y'know? And then my guitar got lost in the move, so..."
Elodie was rambling at this point, but Tabitha was just staring at her with this weird look on her face. She was about to say something else when Tabitha reached out and took the guitar out of her hands. She set it off to the side and shifts closer to Elodie on the bed.
"To be clear: you do have the worst gaydar in the world."
"You cant just sing for a girl like that and expect nothing to come of it." Tabitha's eyes flick to Elodie's lips and then back up. "I'm going to kiss you now, okay?" All Elodie can do is nod dumbly.
Tabitha's hand reaches up, fingers tangling in Elodie's hair as she draws her head in. When their lips meet it's with that same blooming heat as before. Her kiss with Moe had been rushed, desperate even. This however was languorous, they took time to explore everything. Elodie doesn't even realise when it happens, but soon enough she's on her back with Tabitha on top of her. When she pulls away to look down on Elodie with half lidded eyes, Elodie can still taste her lip gloss.
"It wasn't because of your kissing," Tabitha tells her with a smirk. It takes a moment for the meaning to process before Elodie burst out laughing.
"How much of that was just so you could use that line?"
"Part of it was that, part of it was being jealous that Moe got to, but honestly most of it was just me realising I really wanted to." With that Tabitha leans back down to capture her lips again.
They spend a good twenty minutes doing that before Elodie let's out a sigh. "We really need to find Moe."
"Maybe, but if she doesnt want to be found we're not going to have much luck."
"...I think I might know where she is. Do you have a bike?"
Moe sits in the sand, staring out across the Columbia as the sun slowly sets. The hidden beach at Kelly Point Park is one of her favourite places to get away to, and it's generally empty enough this time of year to avoid being disturbed. Which is why she's surprised when two voices float through the air towards her.
The voices bicker as they bike closer, but Moe doesn't really have the wherewithal to care or eavesdrop. They must stop when she comes into view, because she soon loses track of them while she's distracted by her own thought. When two bodies drop onto the sand on either side of her she jolts.
"Please don't run," Elodie says quietly as the two girls who had her so deep in thought wrap their arms around her, sandwiching Moe inbetween them. Moe sighs heavily, but bit by bit forces her body to relax again. They all just sit there for a moment watching the sky change colour.
It's obvious Elodie and Tabitha are waiting for her to speak first, so she takes a deep breath and tries to sort some of these jumbled thoughts into words. She laughs bitterly before saying "It's stupid how once you realise, you can look back at your life and all these little things click into place."
"It's not stupid," Elodie responds. "You have so many things in life telling you how things should be, how you should feel. It's no wonder none of us come out of this at least a little messed up."
"I thought I loved him. Did you know that? I spent an entire summer with him because being with him felt marginally okay, and I thought 'oh this just must be what love feels like, I'm just not made for fireworks' y'know?"
Tears start to pour down Moe's face. Her girls hold her tighter and Tabitha murmurs out "Oh baby," in a soft voice before guiding Moe's head away from it's view of the horizon and into the crook of her neck. It makes their positioning a little awkward, but it also makes her feel safe enough for a sob to escape.
Moe tries to say something, but it's too muffled for the girls to make out, and her crying pick up again after she says it, so Elodie contents herself to running her hand up and down Moe's back as she murmurs sweet nothings in her ear. It takes several minutes of this, but eventually sobs turn to hiccups, turn to sniffles. Moe unwraps from Tabitha's side, enough to sit up and take a few unsteady breaths.
"I said 'it was nothing compared to what I feel for you two'," They can feel Moe go rigid as steel when she says that, tensing like she's expecting some horrible backlash for admitting her feelings.
"Moe, look at me," Elodie says in a soft but firm voice. When the girl finally works up the courage to turn her head, Elodie leans forward and ghosts a sweet kiss across her lips, and then two more on her tear tracked cheeks, and a final firmer one on her lips again.
Moe opens her eyes in confusion when gentle fingers on her chin guide her head around to face the opposite direction. Her breath catches in her throat when she's met with Tabitha's eyes filled with something she can't quite name (is still scared to even think about). And then Tabitha too is leaning forward, perfectly soft lips meeting Moe's windchapped ones. It feels exactly like kissing Elodie, except completely different. Somewhere in the back of her mind something tells her that doesn't make any sense, but logic has no place in this moment.
They pull apart as the last of the light leaves the air, but the radiant glow of the three of them together is more than enough to brighten their world. Tabitha pulls them both close and says "let's go home."
Making their way back through the park isn't much fun, but they more than make up for it with shy glances and cautious touches. Someone is always brushing up against someone else, or laying their hand on a hip, or leaning in for a nervous peck. The dark makes them feel safe, like nobody could intrude on them. When they reach the brightly lit streets the touches stop, but not one of them can resist gravitating towards the others.
"Home" as it turns out is Moe's place. Moe tells them about what happened after they left that night as the three of them make their way there. Tabitha is a little indignant, and Elodie is a little understanding, but they all agree it's probably their best bet when compared to Tabitha's overly sterile home or Elodie's cramped one.
When they come in giggling and pressed together, it takes Moe's mom three seconds of staring before she breaks into a huge grin and envelopes them all in a hug. She tells Moe she loves her and Moe blushes embarrassedly, whining out "Mamaaa please!"
She also makes sure to hug the other two individually and tell them she's proud of them, which ends up with Elodie almost breaking down into tears. When everything finally calms down a bit, Ms. Truax conscripts them to help with the dinner prep they had interrupted. It's a bit crowded with four of them in the kitchen, but they make it work and it gives the girls an excuse to brush up against each other again. When Ms. Truax amusedly calls them out on it, they all break out blushing and cant meet her eyes for the next five minutes.
Dinner is wonderful, Elodie and Tabitha both make sure to compliment the cooking and thank Moe's mom for having them over. Once they've both okay'd it with their parents, Tabitha and Elodie steal some of Moe's sleep clothes and crawl into bed with her. The three of them whisper the night away, talking about everything and nothing, until finally they drift off to sleep all piled together as close as they can get.