Lightning had never been so excited as on Wednesday morning. Usually in a foul mood until she would drink her coffee, she woke up whistling and grinning, nearly dancing in the kitchen as she poured herself her coffee, Jessica still asleep in her bedroom on the other side of the apartment.
Sauntering out of the kitchen, she picked up her iPad and unlocked the device with the simple sliding of her finger against the screen, pressing on her Kindle Application with haste. Too excited and feeling like a child, she needed to cool down before Jessica would bolt out of the room. She hadn't quite appreciated her knowing smile during the entire previous day and had refused to give her another reason to give her the same playful look.
Pressing her lips together, she clicked on her on-going book and lost herself in the pages…but barely. No matter how hard she tried to picture the characters or the scenes, the same thing always popped back inside her mind, doubling her smile in size every single time. She sighed and swallowed the warm coffee, surprised to find her hand slightly shaking. You need to calm the hell down, she reprimanded herself with a frown, you're going to look like a perfect idiot if you're acting like this later.
She sighed to herself and tossed the iPad further away on the couch. There was no need to try and pretend to read anymore. Glancing at the clock, she watched as the hand hour slowly approached the seventh hour of the day, the sound of a door clicking open bringing her attention towards the hallway.
Emerging, Jessica loudly yawned and rubbed her eyes, waving in her direction as she silently and sluggishly made her direction towards the kitchen. Studying her for a bit, Lightning was surprised as her iPad loudly chimed. Had she forgotten to take her number off…She arched her brows at the sight of the notification. Snatching it back, she unlocked her iPad and held a breath. She clicked on the app, waited for it to load and grinned as the title of the folder appeared in a flash. One – Part 2 & 3. Automatically, Lightning began to read.
Oblivious of her presence, Jessica gazed at her best-friend sitting crossed-legs on the couch. The moment she had heard the chime, she had known what it could only be about. And when Lightning had jumped on the device, there hadn't been a single doubt on her mind anymore. That woman had managed to draw everything that had occurred in the last days and was probably still awake after pulling not only one, but two all-nighters. Observing, Jessica smiled when Lightning chuckled, shaking her head ever so slightly and looking at the nape of her friend's neck.
In seven years, Jessica had seen every facet of Lightning. She had seen the angry, the sad, the happy, the jealous, the anxious…But never had she seen her so beloved in someone she did not know. She had been wary at first, fearing that the artist Lightning had suddenly fallen for only tried to manipulate her but when she had seen the look on her face as the Uber had left, all she had seen was disappointment and a grand amount of pain. Perhaps had it been why she had given her the address of the coffee-place, or maybe was it because she had been sick and tired of listening to Lightning claim faith would bring them together. And the look in the artist's eyes when she had given it to her had been enough to make her entire evening.
The following day, Jessica had done her possible to avoid Lightning as much as possible, afraid the look in her eye would betray the encounter she had with her fan. Therefore, she had only smiled and winked, but had not uttered a word about anything related to art and had managed after a long and tiring day to keep everything strictly private.
"Is this a joke?"
Her head jerked up from staring at the ground. Flinching, Jessica's lips parted just a tad. "What," she asked as innocently as possible.
"You saw her! You saw her, and you didn't tell me you jerk!" Bouncing to her feet with the iPad in hand, Lightning shoved it before her eyes. "That is you!"
"Yeah. I did. She was at the bar."
"No shit Sherlock," Lightning muttered under her breath. A smile shadowed Jessica's lips. "Not fair."
"You left too early. Faith got in the way."
"Shut up," Lightning said, her blue eyes darkening with anger.
"You'll see her today, don't worry you nerd."
Jessica smiled as Lightning's features relaxed, the shimmer in her eyes intensively coming back to life. Shortly after, a look of terror spread across her face.
"What if I act like an idiot?"
"You need to chill. You won't act like an idiot, Light."
"What if I do? What if she thinks I'm stupid or…" Her eyes widened. "Oh no." She placed her hand on her heart. Why had she thought about this just now, two hours before going to the coffee? "I can't go. I have to cancel."
"Cancel? Lightning sit down." Pointing at a chair, Jessica waited for her to take a seat. Rounding the island, she picked up the coffee that had finished running down and sat down on the opposite stool, her stare harder than steel. "You are most not certainly canceling today because, believe it or not, you've been driving me crazy! You like this girl, she likes you back. Sure, you don't know one another but who cares," Jessica asked with an impetuous tone, "this is your chance to actually do that! I thought you were all about taking risks now? Where did that mood go?"
"Zip it, I'm not done," Jessica dryly interjected. "What you're going to do now is to go take a shower, pamper yourself but don't overdo it and then we'll go get that goddamn coffee so you can finally meet that woman!" Slamming both her fists on the island, Jessica watched with a deadly stare as Lightning sauntered out of the room, a grin immediately replacing her fake-anger Lightning had swallowed like a pill.
Running a hand through her hair, Jessica snatched the iPad Lightning had left on the island and sauntered towards the living-room, the sound of the shower indicating her that her annoyingly anxious friend had taken her advice into account. Sitting down, she pressed her mug to her lips and unlocked the device with her free hand, immediately landing on the drawing Lightning had shown her. She swiped back to the very first one and was stunned by how thoroughly the artist had managed to capture Lightning's look in the coffee-shop. It almost felt like she was looking at her from the screen, piercing blue eyes shining and lips curling upwards. Perfect. She continued to swipe, more astonished every time she looked at a new drawing.
Merely fifteen minutes later, Lightning was out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her hair, holding the wetness of her hair. Staring at her wardrobe, she picked out a casual black-colored t-shirt with a white skull painted on it and a pair of deep-blue colored jean she knew would go nicely with her pair of pink sneakers. Don't overdo it. She nodded to herself and went back inside the bathroom. Dropping the first towel around her body to the ground, she immediately put on her dark matching underwear and covered up her body with the outfit of the day, turning around to gaze at her butt to make sure her jeans wouldn't show her panties. Nodding with satisfaction, she picked up the hair-dryer and started her usual brushing.
Slowly, every strand of her hair was straightened to perfection, the scent of vanilla and coconut filling up the air of the bathroom. Looking at her own reflection, her cheeks blushed from both the heat and the anticipation. Why did it feel like she was going on a date? Is it? Is it a date? Her eyes widened, and she stared right back at them her hands stopping-mid brushing. Oh god, oh god. She stopped the hair-dryer and took in two slow breaths through her mouth, blowing them out her nose. Everything is fine. She resumed her brushing with a hint of fear sparkling from her eyes. But quickly, a state of confidence overtook her. This was do or die, and Lightning was more than willing to do.
Shortly after, at precisely eight thirty in the morning, both Jessica and Lightning were ready. Pulling on a blazer-vest, Lightning snatched her iPad from the sofa, her phone from the table and her wallet from the floor and dumped them all inside her black-bag hanging at her elbow. She gazed up and met Jessica's gaze already waiting by the door, her smile widely spreading.
"Let's go woman, we still have to be at work at ten in case you forgot."
Work. Indeed, she had completely forgotten about her carrier. Sighing, she picked up her cigarettes from the island of the kitchen and sauntered down the stairs with a thumping heart.
"My car or yours," Jessica asked as she opened up the front door.
"Yours, I'm in no state to drive," Lightning said as she brought her two shaking hands higher. "I might cause us to crash."
"Not today darling. Come on, let's hit it."
Lightning nodded and followed Jessica to the red BMW. Grabbing the handle of the passenger door, she pulled it open and sluggishly sat down on the leather seat, her fingers already fumbling with the radio. She needed to relax…and what better way was there than to listen to Ariana Grande?
Fang's foot had been tapping against the ground even since she had taken a seat at the coffee shop. Relieved as she had spotted the same waitress, she had immediately ordered her black coffee and had, with trembling hands, brought it to the table she had been sitting at exactly a week ago, laptop and graphics table in front of her and her stylus in her hand. But no matter how hard she had tried to draw; the shakiness of her hand had made the task impossible.
Thinking her state of exhaustion would've lowered her anxiety, Fang could not have been more wrong. If anything, she was so pumped she felt like taking on the world this very second, even though she had only slept four hours in the last thirty. She had needed to download her new material after all, and having told Pinkie's friend she would, nothing in the world would've stopped her.
She glanced at the clock on the laptop. 8:56. She breathed in and brought her coffee to her lips, trying to fight its shakiness again. The door opened, and she gazed up, disappointed as a couple entered hand in hand. I hope this wasn't all but a joke to her. She frowned to her own thoughts and shook her head. She had already spent the last two hours thinking of the possibility of a catfish. This wasn't the time to freak out over nothing. The door opened up again, and it took Fang every ounce of strength to look up.
A shiver ran down her spine as disappointment washed over her once more. Had she been wrong all along?
"Traffic is insane today," Jessica pointed out.
"Thank you, I hadn't noticed," Lightning dryly retorted, her fists clenching as the clock reached nine in the morning. "Fucking shit."
"We're there in two minutes Light, breathe. I'll drop you off in front of it even."
"Yeah. Somehow, I don't think my presence will be needed." They glanced at one another for a short second. "Will it?"
"I…suppose not." She breathed in, already spotting the coffee place a little further down the road and looked at the side-view mirror. Should she…?
"Go you fool," Jessica said. "I can see you're stressed. So, go. You'll pay me a drink one of these days."
Lightning jumped from her seat after unbuckling her belt. "Thank you, Jess. I love you!"
"Me too! Have fun."
Jessica winked, and Lightning shut the door, already rushing in direction of the pavement. With her fists clenching and un-clenching, a million of thoughts rushed through her mind. What if she wasn't there? What if she had waited too long, and left? What if she had never been interested? What if she had met someone else, and had decided to pick this person? Pick this person for what? She growled to herself, walking faster and faster in Starbucks's direction.
Her palms became sweaty as she stood only a few feet away from the establishment, watching as a few people strode out of it. She frowned, making sure no dark-haired woman had also escaped the place and rushed towards the door with a new-found confidence. She opened the left one so hard it crashed up against the outside wall, her cheeks burning as she awkwardly smiled in one of the waitresses' direction.
But as soon as her gaze swept the room, Lightning forgot about the door she had probably just broken. All she saw was her, sitting at the same place she had been the previous week, her laptop still placed before her eyes. They gazed at each other, and for a moment, time stood still. Were they suddenly the only ones here? Swallowing hard, Lightning took a step forward, and then another, her heart throbbing so fast she wondered how the furniture of the tables had not yet fallen down.
"Miss? What can I get you?"
She glanced to her right and softly smiled. "Give me a minute."
She continued walking. Her body wanted to run away, but she forced herself step after step, looking back inside her green eyes. The same color. Magical. She gawked for a second and intensively blushed. What was she supposed to do now? Say hi? Say nothing? Should she turn around and order her beverage?
One word. It was all it took for Lightning's heart to thud even harder as it sank between her lungs. She parted her lips to reply but could not utter a word. Never has she been so mesmerized by someone before. "I…" she cleared her throat, hating the sound of her trembling voice. "Hi."
The woman smiled and Lightning held out her breath. Fighting to stay up, she slowly pulled the opposite chair and sat down before her knees could cave in, feeling like her bones had all turned to jelly.
"Traffic was insane," Lightning said. Why are you talking about this? This isn't interesting in the least, get a goddamn grip! She sighed at her own idiocy but couldn't help but notice the smile painted on the artist's lips. How beautiful she was. Surreal.
"I heard the bankers saying that they were on strike," she said pointing a finger a three man, "I'm not surprised they're taken over the city."
Surprise washed over her. She hadn't expected the smooth, enticing accent escaping her lips. Well, she did not know what to expect when it came to her. Lightning smiled as she brushed her palm against her jean. "I'm Lightning by the way," she said handing out her dried hand.
A smile drew itself in her eyes. "I'm Fang." Their hands met. Goosebumps ran up and down Lightning's arms thankfully covered by her jacket, but the heat spreading across her heart and face was too much to handle. She smiled at Fang again and saw the same look in her eyes than in her drawing. Finally, their fingers stopped touching and Lightning placed her palms on the table. "Do you uh…want something to drink?"
"Oh, right," Lightning said bouncing off the chair. "I'll be right back." She peeked over to glance at her mug. "Do you want another?"
"No, but thanks." Lightning smiled, nodded and sauntered away.
Finally breathing out the air she had kept in her lungs ever since Pinkie or Lightning has it seemed, had crashed-opened the door, Fang felt her body slowly relax but still, the excitement rushing through her veins was so powerful she wondered if sleeping would ever be an option.
Such relief she had felt when she had appeared. Of course, she had also been extremely startled not expecting someone to yank the door so brutally, but when her gaze had settled on her, Fang had been unable to hide her smile. It had felt like a surreal moment or something that is only meant to happen in the movies, and not to her. But it had happened.
Still looking at her, Fang focused her attention on her laptop, saved her file and closed it back, watching as Lightning sauntered back her way with her coffee in a cup to-go in her hands. She arched a brow and gave her a slightly questioning look.
"I always ask for to-go cups," she said as she sat down, "they taste better."
"Yes. Well, it's…it's what I think." Fang forced herself not to beam as Lightning's cheek turned pink, her muttering seemingly annoying her own-self. Fang on the other hand, found it adorable. "You're an amazing artist." Smiling, she brought her cup to her lips and swallowed a mouthful of Caffe Latte.
It was her time to blush. "Thank you. It means a lot, really." She twiddled her knee with her fingers. "You're a…Hm." She paused and shook her head. "You're pleasant to draw."
"Oh." Now used to the feeling of her cheeks burning, the blush that crept up her neck was so strong she wondered if her complexion would ever go back to its usual white. She darted at her cup for an instant, the smile on her lips spreading second after second. Is this a dream? "You're the one with the touch, though. I haven't done anything."
"You smiled." Oh, fork. Sucking in the air, Lightning glanced up from her cup and bore her eyes into Fang's. Unblinking, she stared at her eyes. She had always loved jewelry, and the rings on her fingers or the bracelets on her wrist were indication enough, but this color was one she had never seen before. She wanted to capture it and turn into a diamond.
Fang had never been the shy type of girl. But she had also never found herself in front of someone like Lightning and was afraid to sound like an idiot during the first time they spoke. With luck, she would have a lot of time to show her how stupid she sometimes could be. Don't get ahead of yourself. She might not care about you after all.
"So, you came in here by mistake?"
The question surprised her for an instant. Remembering the publication of the new slides during the morning, Fang felt both relieved and excited to know Lightning had still been reading the comic. "Yes, I did. I wanted to go towards Oakwood, but I took the wrong turn. I'm blaming my music for this." Lightning chuckled, and Fang's cheeks warmed. "But um, yes. But a mistake I'm glad I made."
"I'm glad to." The sincere tone in her voice made any doubts from Fang's shoulders vanish. "Jessica didn't tell me you were at the bar that little minx," she continued with half-of-a-smile, "she kept your secret."
"I never doubted she wouldn't," Fang said with a toothy grin.
"Are you going to continue the comic?"
Her brow quirked up a bit. "Yes. Unless it's making you uncomfortable or…"
"Oh, no, no" Lightning said with a violent shake of the head, "It's not what I meant." Breathing in, Lightning calmed the beatings of her heart, her hands gripping at her cup once more. "I'm glad if you pursue it. I like it a lot. And the drawings are… Impeccable." She glanced up and smiled.
"It'll give us a reason to see each other again as well," Fang said. Noticing the shadow of pain lurking behind Lightning's blue-colored eyes, Fang fought the urge to kick herself in the shin. "I mean that… What I meant was that…Oh gosh." Running a hand through her hair, Fang slowly breathed out. "Of course, I hope I'll see you again. After this. Like a—a date."
For the past seven days, Lightning had thought about seeing her again. She had played every possible scenario in her mind. Some had quickly ended, others had been painful. But to hear the words coming from her mouth, her accent brushing her ears and the shy look on Fang's face had not been something she had imagined. She hadn't even imagined the woman to mumble and trip over her own words. The smile it brought to her lips was blinding.
"I'd love to." Lightning glanced at her watch. Was it nine forty already? "Damn it."
"I have to get going soon. If I'm late my boss won't be happy." She bowed her head and shook it ever so slightly. "So, I'll see you again?"
"Yes. Do you want my number or…?"
"How about," Lightning said standing up from her seat, mug back in her hand, "you draw it?" Confusion crossed Fang's features and Lightning chuckled. "Give me clues in a next drawing," Lightning said again, her cheeks hurting once more.
"Deal," Fang said, amused and pleased by the idea.
Lightning gazed at Fang and took a slight step back as she stood up from her seat. Only now did she notice her height, and her long legs. She looked at them for a second and glanced back up to settle her gaze in her eyes. She took a step forward and gently placed a kiss on Fang's cheek before turning around on her heels with a smile she knew would last for a long time. She glanced over her shoulder one last time, smiled and waved, and marched out of the establishment with a new-found happiness. Even though happiness was barely a fraction of how she truly felt. Because as she walked down the street, Lightning felt alive. And God, how good it felt.
Still standing in the middle of the coffee-place, Fang's smile had not once disappeared. She glanced at the few customers looking at her with arched brows for some and smiles for others, quickly sitting back down on her seat. Opening up her laptop, she thought about Lightning's amusing idea. Draw it. Give me clues in a drawing. Grabbing her stylus, Fang gazed at her screen with undivided attention. This was way harder than she would've believed. What did the perky, pink-headed woman like? Should she lay on the romantic or refrain herself? This already started like a romantic-comedy, Fang thought to herself. Running a hand through her hair, she glanced up in direction of the door, a smile crossing her lips at the sight of a rather large dent in the glass. Well.
Nibbling on her lower lip, an idea immediately crossed her mind. It was something she had always wanted to do, and she did not care about the cheesiness of it. The only problem she would encounter was to give Lightning the necessary amount of information, so she would come to that place, and not another. Like a light being turned on, Fang's eyebrows snapped up her forehead. Yes. That's it. With a smile and a mouthful of coffee, Fang started to draw. And never had she been so thrilled to create.
She hadn't stopped smiling. Even when her boss had angrily referred to her because of her lateness, Lightning had not given a care in the world and would have done it all over again if because if the reason why she had been late. From morning to afternoon, she had smiled, joked with her co-workers, worked more than she had in the past weeks and had, during a needed lunch-break, related every single detail with Jessica who had in return, stared at her both dumbfounded and insanely happy.
Having explained her idea of clues, Lightning had hopped Fang would not kill herself at task only because of a silly idea that had crossed her mind. She was working enough, and hard worked enough in the past week. But the idea had, at first, seemed enticing. But now, sitting on her sofa with a glass of wine in her hand, Lightning doubted of the intelligence of her proposal.
She ran a hand in her hair and placed her fingers against her lips. The sensation she had felt after placing a soft kiss on her cheek had been overwhelming as well as overpowering. She had hesitated but had decided to mark her decision as one she did not regret in the least. And based on Fang's both pleased and stunned expression, she had known that she too, had found it most pleasant.
"Hey there Romeo," Jessica called out as she stepped inside the living-room, "how's your lover-bird?"
"Shush," Lightning said. Throwing a pillow in her direction, Jessica elegantly avoided it. "And I don't know, I told you I don't have any means to contact her. I just have to wait."
"And everyone knows you're so patient."
Frowning, Lightning flipped her middle-finger in her direction. "I can be. When there's something at stake."
"Like a date with a beautiful woman who swooped you off your feet?"
"Precisely." She grinned and leaned towards the table. Grabbing the bottle of wine, she poured the second drink she had brought along with her, knowing Jessica would not turn down the possibility to drink. "Here."
"Ugh, thanks. I'm exhausted." Nodding, Lightning leaned back against the couch. "Not everyone had the beginning of a love story today."
Lightning waved her hand in the air. "Will you stop?"
"Why? It's the truth, my dear Light." Jessica paused to take a sip. "The way she looked when you left the bar. She seemed truly sad." Lightning arched her brow, fighting hard not to smile. "Oh, come on, don't give me that look."
The sip of wine she swallowed was enough to hide her blush, but Jessica saw right through her eyes. Smiling, she pressed her own glass against her lips and slowly swallowed the cold white wine.
"How did you say goodbye, by the way?"
"I kissed her—."
"You kissed her," Jessica shouted with utter surprise. She elbowed on her knees, wanting to hear more about the interesting tale.
"On the cheek, moron."
"Lame." Lightning arched her brow.
"I never would've kissed her, it's way too soon."
The chime of both of their iPads echoed from the bedroom. Sharply gazing at one another, Lightning and Jessica both bounced out of their seats and rushed towards Lightning's bedroom. Snatching the device, it was long until both of them crashed against the mattress, Jessica having charged in from behind to get a glance at the picture before Lightning could.
"Fuck off it's my date," Lightning said, the device still tightly clutched in her hand.
"Don't care, I want to see," Jessica quipped back, struggling to reach for the iPad. Frowning, she jumped from the bed and snatched Lightning by the foot, pulling her towards the ground.
"Jess! Don't you—." The fall wasn't high but the moment her buttocks touched the ground, a small shriek escaped Lightning's lips. "You—." Gawking as the iPad was snatched from her hand, Lightning immediately pushed herself from the ground and bolted out of the room, Jessica already unlocking the device with a proud grin. "You suck."
"Aw, don't look so sad." Lightning shrugged and threw herself on the sofa arms crossed. "Ugh fine! Here. See where your date is going to happen."
Outstretching her fingers, she immediately brought the device before her face and pressed on RagnarokYun's new creation. Waiting for it to lard, she drummed her fingernails against the leather couch, staring right back at the screen. Come on, come on! She glanced at Jessica, ignored her sneer and stared back at the iPad. The picture loaded, and Lightning held her breath.
Frowning, she zoomed in on a picture that curiously seemed like the beach, the blue night-sky covered with shining dots she knew could only represent the stars. On the bottom of the page was written It was Saturday at eight in the night. She met me where the Ocean Front Walk meets with Perry's Caffe. I was nervous, but I knew that the moment she'd appear, all my worries would fade away. Lightning smiled and screenshotted the only clue Fang had given. Now, it was time to find the correct place and get ready for her first date ever with the woman who, only a week before had been nothing but a stranger.