Anna walked dejectedly through the park, the pitter-patter of rain and hard thwump of her sneakers against wet concrete her only real company. No human presence, no birds chirping, not even the sound of car engines roaring down the asphalt somewhere out of reach. Just the solace of the storm and her own wandering thoughts. It wasn't at all how she remembered it but she preferred it that way. She hated how she remembered it.
Anna cursed as she became very much aware of just how uncomfortably soaked her clothes had become. Maybe she should've brought her umbrella. She hadn't really given it much thought. It was a last-minute decision: bolting out the door, barely remembering to take her keys with her, not even bothering to take her phone. She expected to come home to several dozen missed calls and text messages somewhere in the hundreds. Anna could only imagine the wrath everyone would unleash on her when she finally bothered to come home and let them know she was alright, relatively speaking.
For some reason, Anna found she didn't much care. She needed this. This was the first time she had done anything outside her apartment since it happened. She had slept the days away since, tightly wrapped in a safe haven of blankets in place of arms and legs, nobody to rest against. She hardly ate; she didn't want to move from her spot on the couch. There was no TV or Netflix or gaming or piano-playing or any sounds other than her own. She hardly used her phone, only bothering to turn it on at night to briefly interact with the outside world in as few syllables as possible. Something, however, managed to snap her out of her hibernation that night and she decided a walk would get her head back on straight. Raining or not, she needed it, and so here she found herself, having let her feet lead her to her destination, whatever that may be.
The rain would calm down soon enough.
In any case, it felt better this way. Anna had never much liked walking in the rain before but it felt different this time. Alone, without a hand to hold. It calmed her, soothed her in a way words could never. She sighed, stopped, and raised her head briefly to catch the feeling of water falling on her face. Washing away her memories, memories that should have made her smile but now only hurt when she lingered on them. Yes, it was much better this way.
It had only been three days, but time seemed to have slipped away from her. She had allowed it to. It hurt too much to keep track.
Anna sighed; it trembled, shook, threatened to become something more. She lowered her head and wiped at her face with a wet sleeve but it only served to make things worse. She stole a glance at her watch. 11:30 pm.
Maybe I should head back home.
The thought of returning to her empty apartment brought her heart to a rapid drumming in her chest. Knots twisted painfully. She fought back the trembling that threatened to take over; a whimper caught in her throat. Biting her lip, Anna forced her legs to move again, mechanically, inching forward as best as she possibly could.
Away from home.
She couldn't go back.
Only three days.
Anna had rewound time in her head so often it was actually beginning to feel like she had gone back in time. Back to that morning, when everything was okay. That morning, before all hell broke loose. That morning, when it still just another morning.
Before it became the thing that haunted her dreams.
The world came into focus, the last images of her already-forgotten dream vanishing as bright blue eyes came into view. Blue eyes, blonde hair, lightly-freckled cheeks, and the most beautiful smile she could ever hope to wake up to.
"Morning." Anna attempted to say, but it came out more like, "Mrrrng." Elsa's melodic laughter filled her ears. She closed her eyes, pulling the covers over her head. "Time?"
"Time to wake up. It's almost noon and you have class today."
Anna groaned and tried to roll away from Elsa, but her girlfriend was already pulling the covers off of her. "No. No class today."
"Anna, it's your only class and you only have to go once a week."
Anna groaned and buried her face further into her pillow. She tried to drag the blankets back over her head but Elsa's grip was too strong. She kicked and swatted, but Elsa was painfully out of reach. Hissing, Anna gave up, sitting to stare the blonde in the eyes and fixing her with a scowl. Elsa only laughed.
"You're gonna be late for class."
Anna scoffed. "Okay, Mom." Elsa laughed again and Anna threw her pillow at her face.
"Hey, that's not nice! I'm only trying to help. You've missed class how many times now?"
"And you're allowed how many absences?"
"Exactly. Save that absence for when you really need it. Like when I'm lonely and off work and need to spend some time with you." Elsa leaned over and kissed her gently on the cheek, then pulled back and winked. Anna felt her face grow hot. She rolled her eyes to try to detract from the effect but Elsa noticed. She laughed and leaned over to kiss her on the lips this time.
Anna was fully awake now. She wrapped her arms around Elsa's neck to bring her closer, feeling her girlfriend wrapping her own arms around her waist. Gentle at first, the kiss quickly grew heated with a swipe of tongue and parted lips. Anna deepened it and Elsa moaned. A shiver ran up her spine. Anna really didn't wanna go to class now.
She broke off to kiss the side of Elsa's mouth, her cheek, her neck. Elsa hummed, massaging Anna's back with light scratches, but it wasn't long before she said, "Later, okay?"
Anna growled, continuing to pepper her with kisses. "Let's just stay home today."
Elsa laughed. "Anna, you have class and I have work. In, like, twenty minutes. I can't call in last minute."
"Sure you can." Anna went back to kiss Elsa on the lips. "We can just—" kiss "—order pizza and—" kiss "—watch TV instead." kiss "Or just lie in bed all day and have some fun." Anna smirked against Elsa's lips.
"No, Anna, as tempting as that sounds." Anna groaned and slumped against Elsa's shoulder. Her body shook with the gentle contact of Elsa's giggle.
"I get off at 6 today. I'll get us a pizza on the way home and we can watch whatever you're in the mood for." She gently caressed Anna's cheek with the back of her hand. "Does that sound good?"
Anna leaned back and gave Elsa the biggest puppy dog eyes she could manage. Elsa sighed, but she only grinned, a grin that clearly said 'that isn't gonna work, Anna.' Anna sighed back, rolling her eyes and holding her hands up in defeat. "Alright, good enough."
Elsa smiled brightly and kissed her. "I'll text you when I get off work." She leaned back and rolled off the bed, standing up and walking away. "Now get ready."
"Geez, somebody's bossy-pants today." Elsa laughed and gave her another wink as she left the room.
Anna sighed, stretched one last time, and then quickly jumped out of bed. Class only took up two hours of her time, but it was gonna be a long wait until 6 pm rolled around. The thought almost made her run up to Elsa and beg one last time for the two of them stay home, but she knew it wasn't going to work. And she really couldn't afford to miss class again.
I hate Mondays. Anna thought sourly as she turned the shower on.
Anna sped through her morning routine, moping that she didn't get to spend her shower with Elsa. It definitely would have only distracted her and made the two of them even later than they were going to be, but she was looking at a day full of distraction anyways. Grumbling, she freshened up as quickly as possible, haphazardly throwing her clothes on, throwing her books into her bag. She decided to skip breakfast which, of course, Elsa was not happy to see.
"Anna, at least eat something."
"If you don't wanna be later for work than you are, then we gotta leave now. I'll get something at school." She held out her pinky. "Promise."
Elsa eyed her skeptically, but she followed through and entwined her own pinky with Anna's. "Fine, but it better be actual food, not just a Snickers you got out of a vending machine."
Anna smirked. She knows me too well.
"Then let's go."
They raced their way to Elsa's car, giggling like mad. Anna jumped the final steps and grabbed onto the door handle, whooping in joy and triumph. Elsa could only roll her eyes.
"You're such a child."
"Hey, you raced me here, too. Don't act all high and mighty just because you lost."
Elsa unlocked the car. "Just get in."
Anna scrambled into the passenger seat, swinging her bag into the space before her where she rested her feet. She put on her seat-belt as Elsa climbed into the driver's seat, then sighed.
"I can't wait to get my car back."
"What, are you that sick of me?"
"I can only get so much of you, my love."
"And only a minute ago, you were trying to bribe me to stay home."
Anna huffed and looked out the window, watching the world blur as they passed it. "I just miss driving."
Elsa took her hand. "Oaken said it should be ready by the end of the week. It's only been a few days."
"I know, I know." Anna felt Elsa rub the back of her hand with her thumb, and she smiled. "Maybe, in a month, after I'm finished with finals and everything, you can take a week off and we can take my car for a roadtrip?"
"Your car, what's wrong with mine?"
"Elsa, your car is tiny."
"Olaf is perfectly capable."
It was Elsa's turn to huff and look out the window, arms crossed while she waited for the light to turn green. "Fine, we'll take your car. And I'll request a week off."
Anna squealed in her chair, leaning over to plant a kiss on her girlfriend's cheek. "Have I ever told you how much I love you?"
Elsa smirked, turning her attention back on the road. "You could stand to mention it more." She took Anna's hand back in hers.
It was a five minute drive to the college, which meant Elsa was definitely going to be late for work. But still she got out to walk Anna to class. Anna tried to protest, but Elsa heard none of it, only taking Anna's hand into her own with a wry smile and walking by her side. Anna had lost track of how many times she rolled her eyes that morning.
"I swear, you're impossible."
"Only with you." Elsa kissed the back of Anna's hand. "And that's only because I love you." Anna couldn't fight back the smile.
By the time they got to Anna's classroom, another minute had passed. Anna turned to Elsa, arms outstretched.
The two embraced, held tightly against each other, then Elsa leaned back and kissed Anna's forehead. Anna arched her head back to kiss Elsa, wishing she had the time to let it linger. "Now run like the wind and hope they don't fire you."
"They're not gonna fire me, Anna, this is literally the only time I've ever been late." Elsa ruffled Anna's hair. "I'll see you tonight, love." She turned, calling over her shoulder, "And don't fall asleep in class."
Anna sputtered with outrage. "I don't fall asleep in class! What gave you the idea that I did?!"
"If you can manage to fall asleep during the Avengers," Elsa turned and backed up against the door's handle, "you can and will and do fall asleep in class."
"That was only because your drunk ass decided to watch it at 2 in the godforsaken morning!"
Elsa giggled and ran off, the tip of her blonde braid disappearing behind the closing door. Anna smiled to herself, turned, and entered her classroom.
I didn't even tell her anything meaningful.
She felt her heart hammer it's way into her throat. She tried to swallow it back down but this time, it was just too much. Her body trembled and she had no will to fight it.
Anna almost wondered if her feet and mind were working some sort of conspiracy against her. Face these memories, they were telling her, they're all you have left. Anna put her hand against the door.
Her eyes met the sign. CLOSED. It wouldn't be open when it was almost midnight, but Anna didn't expect it to be and—quite frankly—she preferred it that way. She didn't want to see the table, their table, she didn't want to see the counter and the people's smiling faces as they handed them their drinks. The drinks she had etched into her memory and was now painfully trying to extract, obliterate. Destroy it. Get rid of it. She didn't need it anymore. She didn't want it anymore.
But it stayed there. It mocked her. It laughed at her.
And it broke her.
It was the simplest of things and it sent her world reeling.
I want her back.
Anna rested her head on the door and trembled.
Why can't I have her back?
She lost. Falling to her knees, curling up on the wet cement, she let herself lose this battle she was never meant to win in the first place. She didn't care about the raindrops that pelted her, of the late hour, of the fact that anyone could come by and see her. Trembling, knees to her chest, pulling at the hood of her jacket as she fought back the angry sobs. She didn't care.
She had stopped caring three days ago.
Please come back.
Anna couldn't fight it anymore. The sobs weren't loud, weren't even that ugly, but the tears came uncontrolled. She felt as if she were suffocating, with something heavy pressed against her chest. Gripping her insides, pulling slowly and painfully. Her body shook limply, sorely. Her throat burned and her eyes ached. One, long, pitiful moan escaped her and was quickly swallowed by the torrent.
And all around her, the sky fell.
"Hey, Anna, caffe mocha?"
Anna had barely stepped through the doors when the familiar boom of Kristoff's voice sounded across the shop. She looked up at the counter and saw him smiling. She smiled back and gave him a small salute.
"Am I that predictable?"
"Well, it's the only thing you ever order here."
"Because everything else sucks."
"You wound me." Kristoff placed a hand above his chest dramatically, mock hurt masking his face.
Anna scoffed, "My apologies." but she failed to suppress a giggle. Kristoff smirked before heading off to prepare her drink.
But when Anna reached over to pay him, his smirk grew and he simply shook his head. "It's already been paid for."
Anna stared. "Wait, what?"
Kristoff's smirk turned into a wide smile full of child-like glee. Like Christmas had come early. "It's already been paid for."
Anna opened her mouth, closed it, opened it again, but it took a while for coherent words to form. "By who? Kristoff, you aren't giving me another free drink, are you?"
"Oh, no no no...I'm not the one who paid for it." His eyes flickered over to the back of the shop. Anna followed and she fought back the gasp while her heart was sent into a frenzy. Her mind became a whirlwind of words.
She was sitting there, at the same table she sat at every day. Pouring over books, beautiful blonde hair wrapped up in a thick, perfect braid. Not a strand of hair out of place. Glasses perched elegantly on the bridge of her nose. Perfect blue eyes gazing behind the lenses. These eyes were watching Anna right now, until blue met with teal, and her cheeks blushed brightly before she quickly looked back down at her book, glasses almost falling off in her haste.
And how many times did I worry about making the first move?
"So...are you gonna talk to her or do I have to drag you over there?"
Anna scoffed. "Thanks for the offer, but I don't need you to embarrass me."
"No, I reckon you can handle that on your own."
Anna narrowed her eyes in a dangerous glare. "Don't you have work to do?"
Kristoff smirked and handed over her drink. "Aye-aye Captain," he said with a salute before turning to prepare the next customer's order. Anna already felt his eyes on her as she turned away.
Alright, Anna, you're ready for this. You were born ready!
Anna held in her breath and swiftly marched herself over to the table. She watched the blonde push her face further into the book, saw her hands tremble as she tried to hold the book in position. Anna smiled to herself.
Good to know I'm not the only one nervous about this.
The girl almost fell out of her chair. Her book fell and she scrambled to pick it back up before facing Anna, face red, glasses askew. Anna giggled.
"Do you, uh...make a habit of buying people's drinks for them?" She gestured to her cup.
The girl swallowed and offered a shy smile, biting her lip as her eyes wandered to the book in her hands. She mumbled something that Anna couldn't make out. She took a step forward.
The girl shrank back.
"I said...only you."
Now it was Anna's turn to swallow her embarrassment down, biting her lip and brushing a strand of hair behind her ear. She cleared her throat, rubbing the back of her neck. "O-oh, well...th-thanks. B-but you didn't have to do that."
The girl seemed to shrink farther into herself. "I wanted to."
Anna didn't think her smile could get any bigger, but it could, and it did. Anna seated herself at the table across from the blonde, watching her fix her glasses while still avoiding looking at Anna as best as she could.
"Well, this is a problem, then."
The girl's head snapped up, confusion furrowing her brow. "Excuse me?"
"You paying for my drink. Means we're uneven."
"Mhm." Anna took a sip, watching the girl try to work together what Anna was saying. "And there's only one way to make us even again."
The girl shook her head. "I'm sorry, I'm confused."
Anna laughed. "You paid for my drink, so now I have to pay for something of yours." Anna shrugged, tucking the already-tucked strand of hair behind her ear again. "I was thinking lunch."
The girl blinked. "Oh." And then her face went red. "Oh!" She started playing with her hands. "I-I-I mean, if you want to, you don't have to..."
"Nope, I have to." Anna giggled at the girl's flustered expression, feeling her own face flush red. "And I-I-I'd really like to. I mean, if it's cool with you. I know this place just across from the college, I don't know if you know where that is—well, if you live here, you probably know where that is—but seriously, they have the best sandwiches in town, and I do mean the best, and it's a cool little place. There's also a candy shop near there and an arcade store and I mean we can literally go crazy, I mean, if you like crazy, I don't know if you like crazy, but I'm pretty crazy, you can just ask Kristoff over there, and I just realized I'm rambling. Sorry, I ramble a lot. It's kind of awkward. Not that you're awkward, I'm awkward, you're gorgeous." Anna stopped. "Wait, what?"
The girl laughed, covering her mouth with one hand. Anna felt her stomach do a flip. It was the most beautiful sound she had ever heard. She could listen to this girl laugh all day and she suddenly felt the need to make her laugh every day.
Take a couple dozen steps back, Anna, you've just met this girl. You're already enough of a total creep, don't make it any worse.
"Like I said..." Anna shrugged. "I'm pretty crazy."
"It's okay." The girl graced her with a soft, gentle smile. "I love crazy."
Anna felt her confidence return with that statement. Taking the girl's napkin, she fished out a pen from her own bag. "Here's my number. We'll meet at the college—er, that is, Arendelle University. Sorry, I assume everyone knows what I'm talking about, I mean, just because I go there, doesn't mean everyone does, I just started there, actually, almost went to Weselton, but you know—"
"What days do you go there?"
"Um...Tuesdays and Thursdays."
"Uh...I have one class from 10 until 12, and then another class from 6 until 8. Both days."
The girl smiled. "I have a morning class, too, both days. So, maybe this Tuesday, we can meet up after class?"
Anna almost bounced off her seat. "Yeah! That's great! And then we can just head over for lunch!"
The girl giggled at Anna's enthusiasm. "Sounds like a plan. I'll see you Tuesday, then."
"Great! Yeah! It's a date! I mean, it can be if you want. Or it can just be, you know, us hanging out. But either way, see you Tuesday! Um, we'll meet by the, um...the library. Or you can text me, or whatever. Yeah, see you Tuesday!" Anna swept up her drink and almost skipped out the door. She did her best to ignore Kristoff, who was currently staring at her with the biggest shit-eating grin she had ever seen.
Anna opened the doors, stepped out onto the sidewalk, and let out a breath she didn't even know she was holding. She took in another, enjoying the fresh scent of summer turning into autumn. A big dopey smile stretched across her face as she walked over to her bike.
Her phone buzzed. Anna nearly jumped out of her skin. She paused, then quickly dug into her bag and took hold of the phone with a trembling hand. She checked the screen and felt her heart scream at the unfamiliar number. It had to be her. Unable to contain her excitement, she entered in her passcode, opened the text, and read:
You never told me your name. :P
Anna almost dropped her phone in horror. She groaned and brought the back of her hand against her forehead in shame. All that talking, babbling, trying to win the girl over, and she didn't even tell her who she was. She was surprised she even remembered to give the girl her number at all.
It's Anna. I swear I have manners.
Anna sighed, shaking her head at herself as she began to unchain her bike. As soon as she was finished, her phone buzzed again. She fished it out again, read the text, and immediately smiled.
Haha, it's okay. My name's Elsa. I can't wait for our date. :)
Everything still smelled of her. Anna stood in the doorway, soaking wet, her eyes studying their apartment. Her apartment. It was no longer theirs, but nothing had changed. It looked the same as that morning.
She closed the door behind her, but other than that, she didn't move.
It had been three days since she had last left the apartment. With her. Together. And she had re-entered it that night, alone. Without her. And now here she was again. Still alone. She would always be alone.
Three years of her beautiful blue eyes. Three years of her gorgeous blonde hair, styled perfectly into a single braid. Three years of hearing her voice, her lovely voice, of making her laugh that wondrous laugh. She wanted to spend the rest of her years listening to that laugh. She instead got three.
It just wasn't enough.
It could never be enough.
Anna felt like a stranger, now that she was observing her apartment with alert and clear eyes. Nothing had changed but everything had changed. She could feel her in the walls, in the furniture, but there was nothing. She could hear in the other room, singing to herself, her voice carrying through the air, but there was only silence. She could see her, her arms wrapping around her, welcoming her home from her walk. But when Anna opened her eyes, there was—
Her phone was still on the table, blankets and pillow left forgotten on the couch. They were alien to her. She paid them no mind. Even as her phone started to ring, Kristoff's name and number screaming at her from where it lied, revealing numerous signs of other attempted calls and texts, confirming her fears—Anna ignored it. She felt numb. She had cried herself hoarse and empty, and now she was tired.
The bedroom was untouched. The blankets remained lying where they had been discarded, after they were pulled off her body in an attempt to wake her up. The bathroom door left slightly ajar in her haste. Everything still in its place. She had not entered this room since she left that morning. She had not been in that bed since she had last touched her skin.
She touched the fabric. The smell was back. She could sense her, as if she still lay there, reading a book, glasses perched on the bridge of her nose, idly playing with the tip of her braid. Waiting to be joined in bed.
Anna mechanically began to take off her jacket. Then her shirt. Her shoes. Her jeans. Her socks. Her bra. Her underwear. She stood there, staring down at where she imagined she still lay. She could see her smile. She could see her put the book away, take her glasses off and place them on the bedside table. Extend her arms.
Anna lowered herself onto the bed. It felt empty, cold, but she could still smell her in the pillow where her head once lay. She imagined her warmth, and buried herself further into it. Blankets wrapped around her, enveloping Anna in her presence. She thought back to their last night together. Arms wrapped around her, her face in her hair, a smile. She had whispered her good night, but Anna fell asleep before she could respond in kind.
She felt her now, arms enveloping her in a final embrace, a kiss on the back of her neck. She could feel her smile, her warmth, the tickle of her breath as she whispered in her ear.
Good night, Anna.
"Good night, Elsa."