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Invisible (In Plain Sight)

Chapter Text

It happens when they come out of the bedroom where the three of them had been waiting for the molly to kick in. Elodie spots her across the room chatting up some girl with a mohawk.

"guy, guys!" she whisper-yells, nudging Moe. A giggle bubbles up unbidden, and Elodie is powerless to stop it. It's just crazy, seeing her again here of all places. She huddles up with Moe and Tabitha against the wall, pressing in closer than she meant to, unable to pull away from the girls' orbits now that she's there.

Her eyes catch on Tabitha's lips, fascinated by their shape and the shade of her lipstick. She tries to remind herself that this is her friend, her very straight friend, but the thought floats away. Elodie shakes herself out of it, realises those lips are forming words that are being directed at her.

"-at is it Elodie?" Tabitha is asking her, while Moe's hand fiddles and tugs at her collar.

"It's her! Fucking Gwen is here!" Elodie says with a laugh. "She's wearing my jacket."

Moe's head snaps to the side, scanning the room for the girl. "Like right behind me, on the other side of the room," Elodie tells her.

She leans forward against the other girl's side, peering over her shoulder, and let's out a "No fucking way!" It kind of overloads Elodie's brain, that much physical contact. All she can do is let out a low hum in reply. Moe pulls back (Elodie tries not to act disappointed) and looks between the two other girls. "Dude we have to get that back for you."

Elodie shakes her head. "What am I supposed to do, ask nicely? She'll bolt as soon as she sees me."

Maybe if she sees you," Tabitha says slowly, "but she has no clue who me and Moe are." The other girls can see a sparkle in Tabitha's eyes now, the small smirk playing at the corner of her lips.

She pulls the other two infinitely closer, and Elodie has to suppress a shiver as she whispers plans in their ears. Eventually the three of them split, and the game is on.

Moe circles around, makes sure to grab a mixed drink before heading for where Gwen was. It takes some finesse (something Moe does not have a lot of at the moment), but she manages to time it so that she steps forward just as Gwen steps away from the girl she was talking to. The results are predictable.

"shit! I am so sorry! Here come with me, I know where the bathroom is." Moe grabs her hand and gently pulls her through the crowd, leads her through the hall and up the stairs. "Seriously dude my bad, I'm so fucking high right now."

"It's cool, happens sometimes at these things." She squeezes Moe's hand and flashes her a smile before blatantly checking her out. It kinda makes Moe feel bad that she's being so chill about it.

Thankfully the bathroom is empty when they reach it. Moe pulls Gwen in and the door shut behind them. She tugs at the sleeve of the jacket, Elodie's jacket, and says "C'mon, let's get this off; looks expensive."

Gwen shrugs it off, handing it over with a "Yeah, thanks. It was a gift actually."

Moe quirks an eyebrow, doing her utmost to keep the scorn out of her voice when she replies "Oh yeah?" before hanging it on the back of the door. She turns back and digs around in the cabinets, luckily coming up with a washcloth.

"Hop up," Moe says, and pats the counter. When Gwen is situated she steps forward, starts dabbing at the mess she had caused. She's just about to say something to fill the silence when Gwen tilts Moe's head up to look at her, her other hand stilling Moe's against her stomach.

"Y'know I'm kind of glad you spilled your drink on me," she says, lips parted and eyes gleaming.

Moe's brain won't stop screaming "What the fuck!" but her body can't do anything but stand there transfixed. The spell is broken when Gwen starts leaning forward, and Moe takes a jerky step backwards.

She stutters a bit before eventually getting out "I- um, I should see if Sabine has something you can borrow. I'll be right back." Moe backs out of the room hastily, leaving the door wide open it's bumping the wall.

She goes until she's on the front porch, where they had planned to meet. Moe leans up against the wall, taking a deep breath of the fresh air and trying to shake her nerves. So much had just happened, and her body was radiating heat against the cool breeze.

It was only when Elodie touched her elbow and asked her if she was okay that Moe even realised she was still clutching the washcloth. Not wanting to just drop it she hastily shoved it in her pocket before clearing her throat and nodding.

Elodie only had time to give Moe a curious stare before Tabitha popped up beside them, holding out the jacket with a smirk and a "Ta-da! Even easier the second time, there weren't even any cameras."

Elodie gave her the biggest goofiest grin, grabbing the reclaimed and hugging it to her chest. "This is the best night ever you guys," she said while slipping it on, "I just wanna etch it in my brain forever."

And not for the first or last time that night Tabitha's eyes lit up with a sparkle. "Oh my god you just gave me the best idea."

The girls had grabbed a bunch of stuff and made their way onto the roof, deciding it was a good idea to lay low until Gwen had stopped looking for Moe and the jacket. But not before they had all picked up a little memento.

"A triangle, for the three of us," Tabitha declares as they all admire their stick n pokes. They lie there talking about shitty parents and declaring their love for each other.

Moe rounds it off by filling her lungs and shouting out "I LOVE YOU!" as loud as she can, the partygoers below cheering in response. The three of them burst out in laughter, huddling closer to bask in warmth and friendship.

When they eventually quiet down, Moe's face turns serious. She grabs Elodie and Tabitha's hands and says, "I feel like I'm peeking, and there's something I have to tell you guys before this warm fuzzy feeling ends."

She links hands with the both of them before taking a deep breath. "I've had my walls up for so long, I'm used to lying to everybody about who I am."

"But I love you guys and I don't want to do that with you. For the longest time I didn't know why I was going to those meetings, and know I know it was for you guys. It was so this could happen."

Moe bit her lip and squeezed her eyes shut. "The truth is, the only times I've ever stolen anything is with you guys. The spanx. The car. The jacket. God it feels good to tell the truth" she let's out with a breathy laugh

Moe opens her eyes when she feels Elodie pull her hand away, but she's met with an entirely unreadable expression.

"So what, you were just sitting in on those meetings silently judging us?" she asks, voice stony.

"No! No. I dunno! I told you I don't know why I was going to those meetings. At first it was 'cause I took the fall for one of my brother's friends. I was a minor and he wasn't, they would have nailed him! I was... I don't know, drawn to them for some reason. And once I had been I just...kept going."

Tabitha finally starts reacting, pulling her hand away too. "What the fuck Moe. So what we were some sort of weird entertainment to you?"

"Shit, no. I didn't mean for it to sound like that at all. I just felt like I could relate. Like we're all fucked up you know?" Moe couldn't take the looks they were giving her, so she wrapped her arms around herself and stared up at the night sky. Now that they were all sitting apart the cold and emotional fluctuations were quickly sobering her up.

"This is fucked Moe," Tabitha said quietly.

"Yeah I think I need some time to...process," Elodie said, looking away from the girl she had come to trust so much.

Moe let out a final tear-strangled "I'm sorry," as her girls let her alone on the roof.

Chapter Text

For the rest of the weekend Elodie keeps her phone off. She was serious about needing to process. Moe had broken her trust and that had really hurt, but she had also come clean and laid herself bare. So Elodie spends the weekend keeping busy and mulling everything over. She even does the unthinkable and goes biking with her dad (it's horrible and all it does is remind her of Moe).

With Monday comes PSATs and a half day; normally that would be prime time for the girls, but with things up in the air like this Elodie has no idea what to expect. When she sees Tabitha signing in she approaches her as smoothly as she can, brushing up against her arm accidentally-on-purpose. Tabitha reaches up and gives her arm a gentle squeeze, and they spend a few minutes making small talk before Moe walks into the room.

"have you talked to her?" Elodie asks.

"No. You?"

"No, but...I think we need to. Meet after the test?" but before Tabitha could answer the proctor shouts that the test will be beginning soon, and they have to find their seats.

Unsurprisingly Moe is the first to finish. Elodie and Tabitha take a bit longer, but they somehow manage to finish at nearly the same time. As they head out the double doors the girls find Moe waiting there for them. She bits her lip nervously, eyes flicking between the two of them as they come to a stop in front of her.

"Hey," she says softly, "Can we, um, talk?"

The other two exchange looks, and Elodie takes a deep breath before saying "Yeah, I think we should."

Tabitha takes the lead, and gestures for them to follow her towards the front exit. They all stay quiet, walking in nervous silence.

They're almost out of the building when a voice calls out for Moe. Mr. Dunford walks up with a stack of papers and the biggest smile.

"Moe, I have great news!"

"What, you're finally gonna retire that sweater vest?" she jokes.

"Better: Someone's going to Korea. You got into the STEM program!"

Moe was in complete shock as he hands her the stack of papers. "I-I got in?"

"I knew you would. I am so proud of you...I expected a little more excitement." Mr. Dunford tells her, looking a little puzzled at her nonreaction.

"No I...I am, I was just in the middle of something, you caught me by surprise."

Mr. Dunford glanced at the two other girls before smiling at Moe once more and saying "Of course. Go celebrate! have fun, but not too much fun."

Moe nods and thanks him, before continuing out the double doors on autopilot. As soon as they're outside Moe is caught offguard at two bodies being thrown and wrapped around her. She isnt sure what happening as they make excited noises and hug her tight until Tabitha pulls back with a grin on her face and playfully slaps her arm.

"Moe! What! Korea?" she says incredulously.

"Why didn't you tell us?" Elodie asks. It's mostly playful, but Moe can hear the thread of caution in her tone.

"Honestly, I didn't think it would happen. I haven't even told my mom yet," She admitted to her girls.

"What! Girl you've had the highest GPA in our entire class since sixth grade, no matter how much you try to hide it," Tabitha says with disbelief.

Moe just kind of shrugs at that, looking away from the both of them. "I don't know; Ever since my dad went to jail people have always expected the worst of me. I guess you just start to internalize that after a while."

Gentle fingers cupped Moe's cheek, turning her head make towards them. When she finally let herself look back at the two, she was met with the softest expressions she had ever seen. Elodie and Tabitha wrap themselves around Moe again, and she let's herself relax into their embrace.

"Does this mean I'm forgiven?" she murmurs softly.

"I still want to talk about it at some point, but yeah I think it does," Elodie replies before letting out a low hum.

When they pull back the three just take a moment to stand there smiling at each other, but eventually Tabitha clears her throat and declares "Mr. Dunford is right: this is cause for celebration! Let's go out somewhere, the three of us."

At this Elodie's expression turns sour. "Ugh I can't, I have to do this deposition thing for my mom's case today."

Tabitha and Moe exchange a concerned look. Moe reaches out to put her hand on Elodie's shoulder. "Do you want us to be there for you?"

Elodie rests her hand on top of Moe's, shoots her a grateful look. "I don't know, my dad will be there..."

Tabitha chimes in: "More support is never a bad thing. We can be there for you, and then maybe we can go out after. Besides..." at this she looks a little unsure, "We're in this together, the three of us."

Elodie takes a deep breath, meeting the eyes of one and then the other. How had they come so far so fast? She feels like she's known these girls for years, like she shares some deep lifelong connection to them. Elodie pushes the feelings that brings forth back down; now is definitely not the time for that.

She releases the breath, giving them the tiniest nod. "Yeah. Yeah we are."

It's terrible. Having Moe and Tabitha there make it a little less so, but Elodie thinks it was always going to be terrible no matter what. They see how much it hurts her, reliving the experience, and by the end of it they both have tears in their eyes.

Afterwards Tabitha suggests going to Paula's (she hasn't been since her and Moe stopped being friends in middle school), but Moe mutters something about not wanting to run into Noah after exploding at him, and Elodie looks dead on her feet.

Elodie doesn't want to be alone though, so they all pile into the back of her dad's SUV. Doug for his part takes it all in stride. She knows she's going to have to explain to him who exactly Tabitha and Moe are eventually, but for now she ignores the curious looks he gives her.

Jenna tries to catch Elodie's attention when they get home, but the girl barrels past her and up the stairs. All Tabitha can do is give the woman an awkward smile as she trails behind Moe. When she walks in Elodie is just standing there awkwardly and Moe is already plopping down on the bed. It's...very obvious Elodie's room used to be the spare one. Even so she's already started putting some personal touches on it.

One in particular catches her eye. Tabitha maneuvers around Elodie to get a better look at the portrait, hand reaching out but not quite touching it. "It's beautiful," she murmurs, "Looks just like her picture."

"Thanks. She got it done at a county fair, just a few weeks before..." Elodie trails off. When Tabitha looks back, she has her arms wrapped around herself and she's staring off into the distance blankly. "Y'know every morning I wake up, and for a split second...I forget."

Her eyes are shimmering with tears now, and it makes Tabitha ache to see it. Desperately, deeply, she wishes she could take this pain away. Lift this burden and allow Elodie to be the cheerful weirdo she is. But she can't, so instead she moves close and wraps her arms around the girl. She hears more than sees Moe jump up from the bed, and soon Elodie is encased in two pairs of arms.

They've been doing this a lot today, it occurs to Tabitha. But she dismisses the thought; It's been an emotional day, and they've all needed the support. After a few minutes Elodie takes a shuddering breath and manages to calm the tears.

"I know it's small, but do you think we could, um..." she trails off again, gesturing towards the bed. Moe catches on, and gently pulls Elodie over to it. The three of them shed jackets and shoes before trying to settle. It's crowded. Very crowded. But after a few misplaced elbows and one very near incident where moe almost went over the edge, the three manage to arrange themselves properly.

They're pretty much spooning and it's making Tabitha blush for some reason, as Elodie pushes back a little closer to her. She ignores that though, and the three of them fall into comfortable silence, happy just to be there with each other.

Chapter Text

It happens again the next morning, just like always. For a split second Elodie forgets about everything that happened, where she is and what brought her here. It all comes crashing back a moment later though. Her mom. The accident. Portland.

Just like always, her breath catches in her chest as the grief pours into her. This time though, something is different. This time she's surrounded by warmth. Comforted by the bodies on either side of her.

Honestly she's surprised they managed to fall asleep at all, let alone without anybody getting shoved off the bed in the middle of the night. Of course, no sooner had she thought that than Moe starts to shift in front of her. Even Elodie's sleep addled brain can see what's about to happen, and she tries to get an arm around Moe, she really does.

Moe hits the floor with a startled yelp and then a groan, while behind her Tabitha presses closer against Elodie's back and lets out a sleep laden laugh. "It isn't funny," Moe whines, but it just makes the other two laugh all the harder.

Suddenly the door is being open and Doug sticks his head through. "Hey what's all the commotion abou-" he cuts off, widened eyes flicking between where Moe is pouting on the floor to Tabitha's arm snaked around Elodies's waist. "Oh! Uh, I'll just leave you girls to it. breakfast will be ready in a bit." He hastily pulls away, shutting the door behind him.

The whole thing just makes Tabitha laugh that much harder, but Elodie stiffens and let's out a groan. "Who even knows what he thought we were up to. He's already asked if Moe's my girlfriend once already," she says as she covers her eyes.

Moe's moved to perch on the edge of the bed now, not quite trusting it enough to lay back down. She shrugs at Elodie, before realizing she cant see her. "Let him think what he wants, Doug isn't so bad."

"I like him, he seems...heartfelt. Earnest," Tabitha says, "That's definitely not something I have enough from the adults in my life." She sits up, stretching out her muscles. She's not used to such a small bed, even before being split between three people, but it was worth it to spend the night with her girls.

Moe catches herself staring at the barest sliver of skin exposed at Tabitha's midriff, and she feels her face heating up. Out of nowhere she's thinking about how it felt to stand between Gwen's legs in that bathroom, and she's feeling all sorts of confused, and when she finally tears her eyes off Tabitha Elodie is giving her the strangest look. So she jumps up off the bed and exclaims, "C'mon, I'm hungry!" leaving the other two girls to scramble to follow her.

Breakfast was awkward to say the least. Elodie was still settling into her place with her step family, but they hadn't quite found their footing around each other yet. Moe tried to be her regular goofy self, but something was obviously preoccupying her. Tabitha instinctually leaned back into her manners, being as passively polite as she could. The girls finished up as quick as they could, Elodie disappearing for a quick shower at some point, Jenna shouting a "Stay safe!" after them as they went out the door.

It was going to make them miss first period, but they decided to stop at first Tabitha's house (since it was farthest away from the school) and then Moe's, so they could actually get ready too. It was just a quick in and out for the most part, Tabitha going for a more lowkey/low effort look than normal and Moe just throwing something together, but it was the first time Elodie had been in either of their houses before.

Tabitha's was ostentatious, felt more like the persona she put on at school than the girl Elodie had come to know. Moe had a sour look on her face the entire time they were there. Moe's in contrast was...warm. Well lived in, and well loved. You could see her influence in everything. Tabitha had a small smile on her face while she pointed out all the various little things that had and hadnt changed since she was last there to Elodie.

School was actually where they saw each other the least. They didnt really share any courses, and Tabitha was always being swarmed by people who thought just being near her would make them popular. Not that they actually cared about her. Lately though they had all started ditching lunch to hang out without the ever watchful eyes of the student body. Today, a rare sunny day, found them in a secluded corner of the courtyard.

"Ugh, I am so not looking forward to spending next period with Noah as my lab partner," Moe laments to her girls, head sitting in Tabitha's lap.

When Elodie speaks up from Tabitha's other side, Moe tilts her head slightly so she can see her face (albeit upside down). "Yeah what's up with that? You've mentioned a couple times that something happened. I thought you two were...together?" she says tentatively.

It takes Moe a little bit to answer, staring off into the sky and trying to order her feelings about it all. "I guess we were, but...if I'm being honest I'm over the whole thing. Plus I kinda yelled at him the last time we spoke, soooooo."

"What'd he do?" Tabitha asks with down turned lips.

"Oh. My uh. My dad called and I couldn't get ahold of him. It was dumb."

"Holy shit, your dad? what did he want?"

"He's out. He wants to talk."

"That's crazy. I barely remember him."

Moe stiffened at that, responding with a very flat "Yeah," and sitting up off of Tabitha's lap. Before anything more could be said the bell was ringing. "I guess I might as well get this over with," Moe says with a sigh.

Noah is already there when she walks in. Moe tries her best to just pretend he doesnt exist as she takes her seat and pulls out her books. It lasts for all of five minutes before she sees him glance at her and nod his head a couple times from the corner of her eye.

"So are we just going to what, pretend we dont know each other now?" he asks.

"Listen Noah can we please just...can we not?"

"So that's it?" and when he gets no reply he says in a soft voice "You can't keep pushing everybody away." It's the last thing not related to the work they say to each other for the whole period. For some unfathomable reason, all Moe can think of are Tabitha's abs and Elodie's lips. Falling asleep in a too small bed. Her finger gently runs across her wrist on the spot she knows her tattoo sits.

Chapter Text

It's later in the week and they're just coming out of a meeting when Moe invites them over for a movie night. Normally it's mom/daughter movie night, but her mom had picked up a shift again. And it's not like Moe blames her or anything, she understands, but she always gets lonely when it happens.

So: impromptu movie night with her girls. Elodie doesn't take any convincing, apparently her stepbrother was being more annoying than usual today. Tabitha seems a bit more nervous, but agrees in the end. It makes sense, Moe thinks. It is awfully reminiscent of back when they were first friends.

When they arrive Tabitha is filled with a mix of joy and aching, just like she was when they stopped by before. In so many ways, it's the same exact house. But in so many more, it's not. For one thing every trace of Moe's dad has been scrubbed away. Moe's touch is still everywhere, but it's changed alongside Moe herself.

Elodie, for her part, picks up on the tension. Tries to defuse it a little by suggesting the stupidest, artsiest film she can think of. Moe's eyes light up and she says "That sounds terrible. I love it."

That's how the three of them end up cuddled on the couch under a single blanket, two of them trying to hold in their giggles while Tabitha goes on a rant about the lighting and composition of the film. They can't hold it in anymore when Tabitha notices what's happening and tosses a handful of popcorn at them, the two girls clutching their side and knocking heads as they laugh uproariously.

"What, you know it's true! the director should be drawn and quartered for this crime of a movie," Tabitha say with a huff, failing to hide the smile spreading across her face as she watches Elodie and Moe.

When they all finally calm down Elodie reaches across Moe to grab Tabitha's hand. "No, no I love it. actually reminds me of my mom. She used to do the same thing," she says with a watery smile.

"Oh honey," Tabitha murmurs. She weaves their fingers together where their hands rest in Moe's lap, who looks back and forth between them with soft eyes.

the quiet moment is broken when they hear the front door open and a voice call out, "Moe? My shift ended early." The girls are still pressed close together when she appears in the door way. "I didn't realise you had...guests," she says while eyeing Tabitha.

With that the moment is definitely over, and the girls pull apart. A faint tension still exists between them, and cheeks burn pink across all their faces. Tabitha clears her throat awkwardly, checking her phone. "It's getting late, I should head home. Want a ride Elodie?" The other girl nods, and the three of them say their goodbyes as Moe's mom goes to change out of her work clothes.

Moe is cleaning up stray popcorn when she comes back out. She stands there and simply says "Tabitha Foster?" with a raised eyebrow.

Moe flops onto the couch with a sigh. "I know, but...she's changed." When her mom walks over she lifts her head to let her sit, setting it back down in her lap. Moe feels her body relax as her mom starts stroking her hair, and everything starts spilling out.

"We reconnected when we met Elodie, and it's been really great. The more we hung out, the more she opened up. It was like back when we were kids again, but better. Almost like she's been repressing who she actually is this whole time, putting on a front for everybody.

"And Elodie herself is just...amazing. She's been through a lot, but she hasnt let her trauma stop her from being who she wants to be. We've all had some really great times together."

"It sounds like you've all gotten really close lately."

"We have. We uh, we even got matching tattoos. Please dont be mad, it's tiny," she says, turning her wrist so her mother could see.

"So," her mom says slowly, as if she's picking her words very carefully here, "what exactly are these girls to you?"

Moe sits up, giving her mom a confused look. "What do you mean?"

"You know I support who you are wholeheartedly Moe." She brushes some of her daughters hair out of her face. "You can tell me whenever you're ready."

At this Moe jumps up off the couch and starts pacing, arms wrapped protectively over her abdomen. "Ready to tell you what mom, what are you talking about."

Now her mom is looking unsure. "Well it's just when I walked in the three of you looked like you were having a very...intimate moment."

Colour flooded Moe's cheeks "wha- no. I- I spent the summer with Noah!"

The sympathy on her mom's face just made her panic even more. "Moe we both know that doesn't necessarily mean anything."

It was too much. Moe bolted for her room, slamming and locking the door behind her. She buries herself under her covers, tries with all her willpower not to think about it. It's useless. Memories keep flitting through her mind unbidden. How it felt to sit on that couch basking in the affection of her girls. Her reaction to ending things with Noah. All the little looks and touches with Elodie and Tabitha. Standing inbetween Gwen's legs as she leaned forward to kiss her. Fuck! Did the other two know? Why hadnt they said anything? fuckfuckfuckfuck.

The next day when they get together after the meeting Elodie can immediately tell that something is up. Moe is acting stonier than usual, but her eyes keep on flitting all over the place like they're too nervous to stay in one place for long. But this isnt exactly the spot to get into a conversation about it, and they had already planned on going to the Paper Tiger.

Even if things had fizzled with Sabine Elodie loves the Paper Tiger, and the band on tonight is one Elodie is super excited to see live. She pulls her jacket tight around her as they walk in. Even though Elodie's been wearing it everywhere, it feels like there's some special symbolism wearing it back to the place where she originally lost it.

Elodie bumps Moe's shoulder to get her attention, asks "How did the rest of the night with your mom go?"

When Moe eventually replies it's without looking at her once. "Just went to bed, really," she says with a shrug. It just makes Elodie more worried. Moe's done nothing but sing praise for her mom, but if they got into a fight it can't have been good. She resolves to drag her off at some point and get some real answers.

For now though, Elodie leaves the other two behind and pushes into the crowd. The song currently playing isnt even base heavy, but she can still feel it resonating in her chest. It's like nothing else she's ever experienced, the music washing over her. She has no clue how long she's been basking when a body presses up against her back, a voice whispers in her ear.

"Are they as good as me?" she asks, tone the slightest bit smug just like always. Elodie turns to face Sabine, just as beautiful as she always is. She tries to shout a 'hey' at her, but Sabine just shakes her head and taps her ear. Elodie grabs her wrist and they push through the crowd until they're in a secluded little nook near the bathrooms.

"I missed you after you disappeared from the party," Sabine teases.

"Yeah sorry, we just needed some air and just ended up never coming back inside."

"Oh, we?" Sabine cocks her head.

"Yeah my friends that I came with, Moe and Tabitha."

"Elodie baby," Sabine laughs, "I think you need to reexamine what those girls mean to you. Because friends? Don't look at you like that." When Elodie looks where she's indicating her eyes immediately lock on Moe. Her friend looks part angry, part scared, and a whole lot of confused. When she sees the girls have noticed her watching, she bolts through the crowd towards the doors. Sabine whispers a final "good luck," sounding highly amused, before Elodie takes off after her.

She catches Moe outside, right at the edge of the building. "Moe! Hey, wait!" She grabs her arm and Moe twirls around to face her.

"What?" she asks harshly, but she still won't look at Elodie. Elodie starts to reply, but then looks around at the active nightlife, decides to pull her into the mouth of the alley first.

"What's going on with you? You've been off all day. Did you get into a fight with your mom?"

Moe lets out a harsh, almost bitter laugh. "No, not exactly." All at once her body slumps, like she's given up on holding herself together, and presses the heel of her hands to her eyes.

"This is all so confusing Elodie. And out of nowhere!" she says, frustration bleeding through into her voice.

Elodie reaches up and gently pries Moe's hands away from her face. "Talk to me Moe. You know we're here for you," She places her hand on Moe's cheeks, wipes a tear away "but you have to tell us how to help."

Now that her eyes are uncovered Elodies realises that she still isnt looking her in the eye, but she IS staring at her. At her...lips? That can't be right, Elodie thinks, Moe is strai-

Before the thought can even process, Moe is rushing forward and suddenly her lips are on her and OH. Elodie isn't even thinking about it when she presses her body against the other girl's, or when she opens her mouth to swipe at Moe's lips with her tongue. Elodie's hand moves from her cheek to the back of her neck, and heat is blooming in her chest. Before this moment she didn't realise just how much she wanted this.

But just as quickly as it started it stops. Moe rushes out of the alley, out of sight, and Elodie is too shocked to do anything but touch her kiss bruised lips in wonder.

When she wanders back inside to find Tabitha she must be pretty out of it, because she asks her what's wrong. All she can say is "Moe just kissed me and then ran away."

Chapter Text

"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."

What. "What?"

"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.