*I've been wanting to write one like this for a while*
So, things are normal I guess. There haven't been any huge events or any heartbreaking disruptions. Karma has been focused on her music and understanding herself. And Amy? Well… Amy's been… Happy.
"Still can't get it?"
"I know, it's impossible," Karma mumbled. She plucked a few notes on her guitar again and they sounded just like before. She was trying to create the perfect transition but somehow it always fell flat.
"Break?" Amy asked sweetly, extending her hand. She had been watching her friend from her spot on the grass and wishing for things to be right with them. There hadn't been much drama but Amy knew she had pushed Karma away for most of the year without so much as an explanation.
The biggest problems they had were those first few months when Amy was full-on courting Reagan, before that relationship was solidified things were very rocky between Karma and Amy. Karma still wanted to be in Amy's life but Amy couldn't have her then. She had to push her away.
Once Karma realized what was happening and why, she felt a responsibility to step back and stay away. It's easy to say, she embraced that responsibility and found that it gave her purpose and mended a few tears in the fabric of her existence, tears left by the fight that was now considered by her to be the year of clueless Karma.
So, for now, Karma just stood by loyally, despite how sad she was without Amy in her life and how much she missed her. If Amy had time for her it was great. If she didn't have time? Karma crawled into herself and tried to keep it all inside. She had become good at that. Too good.
"Everything okay?" Amy asked. They'd had months of this dance. Every now and again Amy would actually let herself get real and see her and talk to her and ask her how things were. And every time Karma would say:
"Yeah… I think so," in that sweet optimistic way of hers. It had gotten to the point where Karma had been lying about things for so long she didn't even know now how to tell Amy the truth.
She had some new friends but she distanced herself because of the previous year. Plus there was no one Karma really pined for but Amy. And nothing she really wanted to do that didn't involve being with Amy and just Amy.
Truth was, that pining was really starting to get intense. It was taking on a whole new life and heading into a direction that Karma never could've anticipated or even imagined before this year.
When Amy was by her side she could hide it away and be strong for her but every time Amy left her alone again it was like this whole dream world opened up in Karma and she found herself thinking of Amy almost constantly though she tried to ward it off with busy work and new pet projects. On the plus side that meant she was actually super productive with her music and her studies. On the down side it meant she was thinking about Amy waaaaaaaaaaaay too much and all in secret. No one really knew but her.
It wasn't right and she knew it but what was seemed healthy for her and what seemed good to do for the sake of those around her sometimes flowed in two separate streams so she was constantly trying to concoct the perfect balance. In the end she was giving in and trying to have the best of both worlds. Which was unhealthy and she knew it was.
"Hey, come on, it's me," Amy said, holding onto her hand and loving her, missing her.
"I'm good, really," Karma lied.
What mattered now was that Amy was good. Karma would sacrifice anything for Amy to be happy and she knew that now because the true price of it all had been to let herself be lost.
"Well… I know you, so I know you're lying… And I wish you'd talk to me," Amy smirked, drinking in the sight of her.
"It's not something you can fix anyway," Karma smiled back, adoring Amy with her eyes and wishing this moment could just last and last and last.
But Amy's phone buzzed and without thinking she pulled her hand away from Karma's.
"Oh, sorry. It's Reagan, we've got a thing tonight."
"What kind of thing?" Karma sighed. So much of her time with Amy was filled with supportiveness and patience, pretending to not be sad, pretending to not be jealous, pretending to not find everything besides Amy completely pointless and dull.
"She's gonna do photography at this wedding and I told her I'd be her assistant."
"That's really cute," Karma laughed. Reagan seemed to be good at everything. It was good but a lot to try and measure up to. Not that anyone was doing that but still, Karma couldn't help sometimes but try and compare herself and end up feeling inferior.
"What about you? What are you up to tonight?"
"You know, same stuff… I wanna finish that song and try and work on the album. I'm still trying to-"
Amy's phone began to ring and Karma watched her smile appear and her blush and her pure expression of joy. She stopped talking without meaning to and smiled back in full because when Amy smiled it was like the world was noticing her.
She sat back and watched as Amy talked and flirted. Amy did this thing where she glanced at her while saying certain flirtatious things to Reagan on the phone. If Amy only knew what Karma was thinking she'd stop that, Karma was sure. But Amy could never know because there would never be a right time to be right in saying: Hey Amy, I think I'm in love with you now. Her chance had come and gone and she'd missed it. Maybe one day if Amy was ever alone again or unhappy again.. If the stars lined up just right. But Karma stopped herself from wishing that because for that to happen Amy would have to be let down by someone, crushed completely. And Karma could never really wish for that. She just couldn't. So she silently dreamed in their time together about how it could be if everything was different. She didn't wish for it but she did dream it. Harmless dreams that made her smile. Dreams that Amy couldn't know about, and couldn't guess.
"Uh-huh, right. I'm sure you do," Amy said, staring over at Karma with that blush in her cheek and that smile on her face.
Karma tried not to feel that heavy happiness she felt whenever Amy did this thing. Amy was oblivious of it but she did it so much. Most of their time together now was Karma watching Amy on the phone with Reagan. Karma smiling at Amy while Amy was smiling at Karma.
It was weird but true and it was nothing that Karma could voice without scrutiny or strangeness coming after it as a result.
"What do you mean?! You know I clean-up nice," Amy laughed. They had met at a mansion and Amy had looked like some stunning heiress. Karma knew all about that now and wished she had been there. Amy always looked great in dresses. Okay, Amy always looked great.
"Whatever, I'll ask Karma," Amy said, rolling her eyes.
"Ask me what?" Karma interjected.
"She wants to know if we can do something with my hair." Amy hated dealing with her hair. She always had Karma or Lauren expend all the effort, and she always whined during the whole process, and she always felt good about it all once she saw herself in the mirror at the very end of said previously-unimportant task.
"Of course we can," Karma said. Another hour with Amy, at the minimum. Amy had long hair and Karma could drag it out. If this was the only way she could see her, she was going to drag it out, take forever, pretend it isn't right yet, just to stare at her for a little while more and feel her breathe the same air and live in the same space.
"Stop!" Amy said, almost shocked. She was responding to something Reagan had said, something Karma couldn't hear. Her smile was off the charts and it held both excitement embarrassment and undeniable fondness as she looked to Karma.
Karma laid back down on the grass and closed her eyes. She exhaled to try and relax and calm her own excitement that was obviously unwarranted and strange. It was a thing that should not be there, but it was.
While Amy laughed and flirted with Reagan on the line, Karma imagined the faces Amy was making, how happy she was, what exactly she was feeling. It was easier than actually seeing Amy sometimes because her memory was a safer place and in her memory it could be just them two, and it was softer there, less real. But, again, she knew this wasn't healthy, but it was helping her to keep sane.
The sound of Amy's laugh comforted Karma. She felt at once sleepy and safe. She didn't want to move or leave or change.
"Karma?" Amy had hung up the phone a while ago. She'd been silent a moment and just staring at her friend.
When Karma hadn't noticed, Amy rolled over to face her and lay on her side like Karma was doing, her head on her hands and her knees tucked up too. From space they probably looked the a heart or two sleeping lovers who couldn't even fall asleep turned away.
"Hmm?" Karma opened her eyes, a dreamy smile on her face.
"Hey you, whatcha doin?" Amy asked sweetly, inhaling in that sharp way she did when she was close to her friend. She brushed Karma's hair out of her face and marveled at her up close.
"Just dreaming…" Karma sighed with a smile. She couldn't help but stare at Amy's lips and wonder. Did I ever even taste them before? She thought. And God she wanted to now. Just a taste.
Without thinking she reached her hand up to Amy's lips and traced them with her finger. Amy smiled and tucked her bottom lip in her mouth, breathing shaky with that touch.
"Dreaming, huh…" Amy smiled, pulling her hand up to Karma's wrist and pulling it down to rest on the grass in her grasp. Amy loved to touch her and be touched by her but sometimes it was just too much.
"Yup…" Karma sighed.
"You're pretty," Amy sighed back.
"Yup. That's me," Karma said, pulling her hand away from her and pushing herself to sit up. Too close for comfort. Too real to be.
"So, hair? Please?" Amy was sure it was just her but just then she felt something really magnetic between them. Karma was always doing things like that without realizing how it made Amy feel. Just her eyes on her and the way she spoke, the way she stared, everything Karma did just seemed like a sign to Amy. But long ago Amy had told herself that signs and words were different. Karma had said no. So, Karma had meant no.
Things like this? These things were the reason Amy was trying to distance herself from Karma as much as she could. She didn't want to make things weird.
But things already were weird. And Karma liked the direction they had been going before Amy started to pull away.
"You got it," Karma said, feeling weak as she made to stand. Breathing around her was sometimes hard. Especially when they had moments like that, fleeting moments with adoring stares and tender touches and secret thoughts that neither of them spoke. She stood and brushed her dress down and hoped she could be the person Amy needed her to be.
They had a date for after school and it would all be just fine.
The date went as planned. Karma went over to Amy's and spent a good hour and a half playing with her hair in that slow way she had intended all along. Amy kept asking her why it was taking so long and Karma kept telling her that her hair was difficult today and not to blame her.
But she really was to blame. She wanted to keep her. All that time of staring back at her through the mirror? Constantly touching her hair and her skin?
Amy wore a tank-top that left her shoulders and neck bare and Karma couldn't help but touch her every now and again. She'd pull Amy's hair back behind her shoulders and stare at Amy lovingly, pretending it was all for the tender science of beautifying her hair.
It wasn't for science and it wasn't for perfection. Amy was perfection to her and she had been that before she sat down in the chair.
At night, while Amy was away, Karma waited at home and thought about the wedding event. It would be fun to see Amy all dolled-up and holding reflection-guards and flashes. Reagan would use her like a tool and they'd both enjoy the whole thing.
At around 9:32 Karma got a call.
"Hey, you still up?"
"Yup," Karma said. It was embarrassing that even Amy knew she had been falling asleep early most of her nights now that she had nothing to look forward to and nothing to plan.
"Can I come over?"
"Sure," Karma breathed.
When would this pressure on her chest cease to be? Every time she thought of Amy it hurt. And when she talked to her or was with her or touched her it was all even worse. She felt like she was ill or something but it was just a tightness that wouldn't go away.
Karma changed into her cuter sweats. She had been wearing the hand-me-downs she stole from Zen's room when she was mad at him. But she wanted to be cute for Amy. It didn't matter to her that Amy always said she couldn't not be cute if she tried.
When Amy finally came she sat down on Karma's bed and pulled Karma down to sit with her. They laid back and stared at the ceiling. Karma had no idea what it was all about.
"Do you ever get jealous?" Amy asked.
A stinging pain shot through Karma's heart and then vanished.
"Of course," Karma said. All she could think about was how jealous she had been all night. But she tried not to be. She was insanely jealous of Reagan for getting Amy. It didn't matter that Karma had kept Amy hers for years upon years, a few months without her and the jealousy felt insane.
"I think… I think I was an idiot tonight," Amy said, rolling over onto her side and waiting for Karma to do the same. Karma shut her eyes slow before obliging. She opened them again once she had turned to face her.
"What'd you do?"
"I guess the wedding was for a high school friend of hers. I didn't know but… That girl was there."
"What girl?" Karma asked curiously, pushing Amy's hair back and touching her face in a normal affectionate way. It was obvious that Amy felt messed up about something.
"The one who hurt her. The one she was in love with," Amy sighed. She rolled back onto her back and seemed stressed. Karma scooted up to her still on her side and hugged herself to her.
"What was it like?" Karma asked, remembering that flare in Reagan's eyes when Lauren said that thing about her and Amy being a couple at the dinner. Amy must've been livid before now. Jealousy was scary sometimes. It was just one of those things you couldn't control until you knew it was happening. Amy was probably side-swiped.
"I didn't know until after. I saw them laughing and they danced."
"What?" Karma was almost pissed for her.
"Yeah, I know… But… I can't be mad," Amy said. "Look at us."
Karma stiffened a little. They were lying on a bed together, holding one another and talking like close lovers do.
"What right have I to be mad when I'm with you almost every day?"
"I dunno," Kama said, pulling her arm down to Amy's neck and scooting her face a little closer so that she could talk lighter and think less. "It's different though, isn't it?" Karma asked, knowing that for now, she may be the only one who knew it wasn't different.
"Maybe," Amy squirmed uncomfortably. She liked that Karma was all over her but she hated to think that she'd been hurting Reagan all along without meaning to.
"I don't think Reagan's as threatened by me as you think," Karma said. "Plus," she had to do it. "It's not like we were actually dating," she said. A lump in her throat. Actually dating would mean mutual touching, mutual wanting, nervousness that didn't have to be hidden, and holding hands knowing that it wasn't for someone else but for you and her and just you two.
If she was brave enough to let herself be selfish she could tell Amy right now, how she wished that they had tried at least. But she swallowed it down. It was her own fault, after all, that they never got to really try.
"I know," Amy said lightly, her voice rising a bit in agreement and frustration.
"I mean, her and this girl. She was in love with her."
"Yeah, like I love you," Amy said, boiling it all down.
"Yeah," Karma said, scooting closer to her still and resting her head against her cheek in a bit of a hug.
"But they kissed," Karma said almost sadly. God, she wanted to kiss her now. It was becoming the only thing she could think about nowadays.
"We kissed," Amy smiled, holding onto the arm of Karma's that was around her neck and holding her tight.
"But, it wasn't real," Karma said, seeing her close again, those eyes and those lips.
"It happened," Amy said, thinking at once that for her it really really was real. It was sad that Karma usually felt like they were faking when so much of it was real for Amy.
"I mean, it would be different if we kissed now," Karma said. That would be cheating. There were rules. They'd be breaking one now if they kissed.
"What do you mean?" Amy asked, surveying her seriously.
"If we kissed now it'd be cheating," Karma said strongly, sure of her words.
"Yeah, but we wouldn't," Amy smiled and blushed.
"Mmmhmmm," Karma agreed nervously, taking those lips in with her eyes and wishing that they could cheat.
"Are you okay?" Amy asked queerly. "You're being weird."
"Yeah…" Karma sighed. "I think so."
"You always say that," Amy said sort of annoyed with her and sitting up to hug her knees and look down at her friend. "Why are you lying to me?" Amy asked, suddenly sure that she needed to know what Karma was thinking.
"Reagan slept with her Amy, it's different." Karma was smart when she spoke. She knew that if she changed the subject back she could distract Amy and get her to forget.
"After she told me…" Amy held at her wrist and clenched her jaw a little before looking at Karma again. "I freaked out."
"And that's fine," Karma said, placing a hand onto Amy's to calm her.
"I know," Amy said, moving her hand up into her hair and holding at her head in distress. "It's just…"
"Complicated," Karma said. They said that word too much nowadays.
"Yeah," Amy sighed, looking down at her and forgetting like Karma had wanted.
After that they watched a movie, ate some popcorn. Karma played part of her song for Amy. And then they slept together in the same bed.
It was the best night Karma could ask for and Amy loved it too though she was stressed and unable to keep her mind off of how ridiculous she had acted.
"What if she cheats on me?" Amy asked.
"She won't," Karma was sure. No one could cheat on Amy, that would just be uncalled for and strange.
"But what if she does?"
"You can't think like that, sweetie," Karma said, facing her and touching her waist beneath her shirt without meaning to. She pulled her hand away right after and played with a string on her bedspread, pretending to not be weirded out by herself. "Reagan loves you, you know that," Karma said.
"Yeah but she loves her… I mean.. What if things were different with us? What if you loved me back?"
What if…. Karma thought. Nervously she took a shaky breath and tried to keep calm. There wasn't a right way to proceed with this conversation.
"Hmm?" Karma just made a little noise to urge Amy on. She couldn't tell Amy she didn't love her and she couldn't just say What if? That would imply that she still didn't feel a damn thing. And she felt a thing. She felt too much.
"I'd probably cheat on her," Amy said.
"What?" Karma wasn't expecting that.
"I-I-I mean, it's a stupid thing to think about and it doesn't make me feel anything other than angry with myself but I probably would."
"Amy…" Fuck. Karma couldn't stop the wheels in her head. Amy just confessed that she would leave Reagan for her and that was a problem because Karma wanted her to. It was wrong all wrong but Karma wanted it more than ever.
She took a deep breath in and grounded her friend. "You've gotta stop thinking like this, it doesn't help anything." Karma rest a hand on Amy's arm and made sure to speak right too her now and be strong.
"I just… I can't even expect her not to cheat," Amy said. It would be a double-standard.
"I can't see anyone cheating on you, Amy," Karma said with an assurity. She'd keep it in. She'd pretend she didn't love her. Reagan would make her happy. Reagan would be good to her.
"Why can't you just love me back?" Amy joked, pushing Karma on the arm.
"It's probably not such a good idea anyway," Karma smiled painfully.
"You're stupid," Amy smiled.
"You're stupid," Karma said, pushing her back.
When Amy pushed her again, Karma tickled her friend on her side beneath her shirt and watched as she squirmed and wiggled and tried to escape it without breathing.
Eventually Amy whimpered out the word: "DON'T!" And Karma gave in.
They laid in the dark soon after and Amy fell right to sleep.
Karma stayed awake, watching her.
She only wondered when the lying could stop.