For: Zoids Fanatic and Cyberchao X

Prompt: Shirley/Lucchini

There is absolutely no denying that the most convenient place for a car to break down is in front of a mechanic. There is also absolutely no denying that it is also one of the most embarrassing.

"That's a lot of smoke." The voice is female, almost sultry, with a hint of laughter.

Lucchini is about to retort, angrily, but when she turns to the speaker, her voice catches in her throat.

"I can take a look if you'd like," the woman says. She has an amused smile on her lips, and it makes her look absolutely stunning.

"Uh, sure," Lucchini chokes out, instantly hating how much like a teenage boy she is sounds.

If the other woman notices, though, she gives no indication. Rather she waves the smoke from her face and rubs the grease from her hands on her pant legs. Lucchini can't help but notice how her overall top is wrapped around her hips to stave off the heat, and she flushes a little at the size of the woman's chest in her cutoff tank top.

The woman pops the hood, causing the smoke to flow out at an even faster rate. Through the mess, she seems to be able to diagnose the problem, and before long she's talking. Lucchini, however, is too busy simply watching her mouth move, utterly star struck, to hear her words, and all she can manage is a fumbling, "Excuse me?" before she realizes this is the third time she's embarrassed herself in the past ten minutes.

The mechanic chuckles under her breath and asks "Were you going anywhere important? I'm not sure what you could have done to your engine, but this is going to take a while to fix."

Lucchini shakes her head, not trusting herself to speak anymore.

"Then you can use the phone inside to call a friend. And while you're at it, you can write your number down on any scrap paper you see in there."

"M-m-my number?" Lucchini stutters, shock, confusion, and hope all mixing together in the strangest mix of emotions she's sure she's ever felt.

The woman's smile doesn't waver, although her eyes seem to flicker in a knowing manner. "Yeah, so I can tell you when you can pick up your car."

"Right," Lucchini agrees, deciding to go make that call before she makes an even bigger fool out of herself.

Lucchini's halfway through recounting her experience earlier that day when her friends burst into laughter. By the end, Eila's holding her stomach and holding onto Erica for support.

"She must have had an amazing rack to leave you speechless," Eila says, breathless from laughing. Erica's too busy covering her face with the table to comment, and Marseille is too busy choking on her beer.

"You should've seen her!" Lucchini protests. "Even Perrine would've stuttered!"

Eila shakes her head, unconvinced. "What happened to the hyper, friendly Lucchini? The one who charmed Romanga's very own duchess with her outgoing personality?" At this point, Erica's shoulders start shaking with renewed vigor, and Marseille forsakes another chance at her drink to laugh again.

"You should have seen her!" Lucchini reiterates, frustrated.

"Why don't you ask her out then?" Eila asks smugly.

"Why don't you ask out your Orussian girl?" Lucchini shoots back.

Flushing and left floundering, Eila splutters for a response and ultimately decides to glare at her darkly instead of responding. This only causes Erica to break into another peal of laughter and Marseille, who had just raised her bottle to her mouth, to choke on her beer again.

Lucchini spends the rest of the night playing with the condensation on her glass and half-heartedly listening to the conversation, imagining what it would be like to actually talk to that pretty mechanic.

It's at the end of her shift the next day that Lucchini struggles with cursing God or thanking him.

The bell above the door rings while she's behind the counter while she's going over notes from class, and when her head jerks up in reaction, she sees orange and blue.

"Well look who it is!" the woman says immediately, smiling that same, stunning, easy smile.

Lucchini feels a response stick itself firmly in her throat, and she fears that she'll squeak upon opening her mouth.

"I'm sorry to say your car won't be ready for another day. Turns out all you had a faulty spark plug, but I didn't have the right kind on hand. I had to order one, and it's set to get to the shop tomorrow," the woman continues, seemingly oblivious to the fact that Lucchini is struggling to look natural. "I'll still call when it's done so you know when to come in, though."

Lucchini nods, before coughing in hopes that it might clear the tight feeling in her throat. "I'm sure you didn't come in to ask me about my car," she starts hesitantly, "so do you need help looking for something?"

The woman's face slips from easy-going friendliness to sudden realization. "Oh yeah! Is Federica around? She told me to drop by today. I probably should have come sooner, though."

"She's in the back," Lucchini says, praising how calm and collected she seems. "I can go get her if you want."

"Would you? That'd be great!" The woman's smile is absolutely stunning, and Lucchini's heart stops in her chest.

By the time she gets to Federica in the back office, she's a stuttering, lovestruck mess, desperately trying to articulate that there's a pretty redhead waiting up front. She even slips back into her native Romagnan before Federica finally manages to understand her.

Lucchini's told that she can leave early, that Federica will close up, and that she doesn't have to worry about her pay being hurt for it. She nods and thanks her boss, unsure whether it's a good thing that she won't have to worry about looking dumb in front of that beautiful woman or a bad thing that she won't get a chance to spend time with her.

When she walks back to the counter to pick up her notes and sees that woman smile brightly again, she agrees that it's probably better to cut her losses and leave before she forgets how to speak in Britannian again.

Lucchini's only vaguely aware that she's been acting strangely. Her lunch break is mostly typical; Erica and Marseille have spent most of it arguing whether Leibnizian or Newtonian Calculus is preferred, and Eila has alternated between texting the Orussian girl from her Literature class and winking at the girls giggling in the corner of the dining hall. She can only comprehend snippets of Erica and Marseille's conversation, and it isn't until she's forcibly dragged into that she fully realizes how out of it she is.

"How can you say Newtonian calculus is better when dx doesn't even really exist? At least y' actually achieves something! Lucchini, please tell Marseille that she's absolutely crazy?"

"Huh? Oh yeah, right. I mean, dx is really only good for related rates," Lucchini responds, heading shooting up from the notebook she was doodling in. Her answer doesn't seem to appease either of them, though, and soon enough they're back at it.

Lucchini glances down at her notebook and grimaces when she sees terribly drawn doodles instead homework.

It's only then that Eila gives her a worried look over the top of her coffee cup. Lucchini deflects it with a bright smile and spends the rest of her lunch ignoring the conversation and the fact that her drawing are looking suspiciously like a certain woman.

She ends up making Eila drive her to the mechanic later that day, just to prove a point. There's something immensely enjoyable in the way Eila's draw nearly drops at the sight of the buxom mechanic, and when Eila turns to her, eyes wide, Lucchini feels extremely victorious.

That feeling doesn't stop her from blushing bright red when Eila leans over and whispers that she had "better tap that, or I'll hit you for your stupidity."

The trip is quick enough; she's given a breakdown of exactly what happened to her car, how much it's going to cost, and how she can avoid it happening in the future. Lucchini listens attentively, nodding in all the right places and trying to ignore annoying way Eila is smirking.

When it's all said and done, she's handed her keys and a business card ("In case you have any more problems," the woman says, winking), and she's about climb into her car for the first time in a few days when Eila has to open her big mouth.

"Why don't we all get a drink? After you've closed up, of course."

Lucchini wants to wipe the confident grin off Eila's face when the woman responds positively, but as Eila slaps her on the back and takes the opportunity to tell her not to screw up her chance tonight, she comes to the conclusion that befriending the second biggest flirt on campus wasn't such a bad idea after all.

The bar's filled with all its usual patrons, and a quick scan shows her same group of friends sitting at their same booth in the corner. Lucchini's on her way over when she notices an unfamiliar head of red hair, and she has to stop herself from turning around and walking out.

She wasn't nervous before she saw the woman ("Charlotte," she had to keep reminding herself. "You know her name now."), but the sight of even the back of her head was enough to send Lucchini's heart straight to her throat.

Their collective laughter is so loud that Lucchini can hear long before she gets to the table, and for a short second, she's terrified their telling embarrassing stories about her. When she gets close enough to the group to announce her presence, though, none of them look guilty or knowing, and she takes that as a good sign.

She does notice the thumbs up Erica shoots her while everyone's turned in her direction, however, and the look of encouragement she gets from Marseille, which is something she never expected to get from the abrasive Karlslander.

Eila scoots over to allow her and waves the bartender over to get another glass and a new pitcher of beer. "You're late," she deadpans, but she claps Lucchini on the shoulder all the same.

"Some of us actually have homework," Lucchini replies without missing a beat, though in the back of her mind she's desperately reminding herself to stay calm.

Despite her best efforts, her heartbeat still picks up when she hears Charlotte talk.

"So you're all international students?" she asks, completely jovial, and Lucchini curses the fact that her attraction to the woman makes it so hard to be equally as friendly.

"Yup," Erica answers, and Lucchini can't help but notice that they would make great friends. "Marseille and I are from Karlsland, Eila's from Suomus, and Lucchini the latecomer's from Romagna."

Charlotte turns to Lucchini and smiles. "That explains why you work in Federica's store. She has a habit of picking up the local Romagnans."

Lucchini's left speechless as she racks her brain for a reply that sounds more intelligent than "You're pretty," when Eila cuts in and saves her.

"You know Federica? Don't tell me it's because of the calendar."

"You heard about that?" Charlotte asks with a look on her face that can only be apologetic, but responsive laughter causes her to smile with everyone else. "We actually met when we were in college. We were both engineering majors."

The table erupted in chatter at that bit of information, and it's only Eila's incredulous "And now she owns a boutique?" that gets through.

"Life's funny that way," Charlotte explains, chuckling under her breath. "One day you're 22 and looking for internships at big companies, the next you're 27 and happier with a job that doesn't require an expensive bachelor's degree."

Everyone's giving her looks of wonder, almost like they just realized she's not their age, and she has to laugh again.

"It's not something you learn until you experience it yourself, but sometimes what's best for you isn't in your plans."

It doesn't take long for the table to take advantage of that opening to question her more about her personal life, and by the end of the night, Lucchini feels just comfortable to ask her to join them again sometime. Her heart soars in a way previously thought unimaginable when Charlotte agrees.

"What's with you and your older women?" Eila asks one day on their way back to the dorm. It's been nearly two weeks since Lucchini's car broke down. Charlotte, or, rather, Shirley as she prefers to be called, has met up with them for drinks three more times since that first night.

"My older women? I have a type now?"

Eila waves her evasion off both physically with her hand and verbally with a "You've always had a type, and that's big knockers. We're not friends for nothing." They share a grin at that, but it's not long before Eila is serious again. "After Maria, though, I'm beginning to think you've also got a thing for older ladies."

Lucchini looks at her like with an expression that clearly shows her disbelief, and Eila puts her hands up in defense.

"I think it's because you're some kind of super genius when it comes to school, so you've only ever been around older people. I also think that that's why you're so terrible when it comes to flirting."

"First of all," Lucchini starts, "I'm not a super genius; I skipped a grade because the material in primary school was too easy." Eila rolls her eyes at that and looks like she wants to interject, but Lucchini continues on. "Secondly, I'm not terrible at flirting. I did date royalty, after all."

Eila doesn't seem fazed. "You didn't even realize she had a crush on you until she said it, and then you got shy. I recall you calling me nervously before your first date and ranting at me in Romagnan until I told you to calm down."

She gets a glare for her memory, and she sticks her tongue out to put the cherry on top of their mature conversation.

They walk in silence for a few moments, before Lucchini turns to her and earnestly asks "Have I really always been this bad?"

"Only when you know you like someone," Eila tells her, shrugging a little. "It's good to recognize these things so you can stop it from happening."

Lucchini nods, and that ends their chatter until they get to their dorm. Right before Eila get off the elevator, Lucchini leaves her with one last snide comment.

"The only reason you can tell I'm bad at flirting with people I like is because you're the exact same with your Orussian girl, isn't it?"

The elevator doors close before Eila has a chance to respond.

After the fifth time Shirley joins her and her friends at the bar, Lucchini decides she's extremely tired with the way her heartbeat picks up. They've known each other for about three weeks, Lucchini tells herself; she should not be acting like lovestruck teenager after all this time.

Perhaps it's because she's frustrated, or perhaps it's because she thinks she needs the liquid courage to get over her inability to talk like normal around Shirley, but by the time the night's over, she ends up completely and utterly hammered.

Erica instantly blames it on the stress of finals and goes on to reminisce about the first year she legally had alcohol to comfort her through test season. Marseille takes the chance to complain about Liberion drinking laws and reflect on how much she missed Karlsland's lighter regulations, despite being legal in both countries. Eila's looking far too amused by the whole situation, and Lucchini is vaguely aware through her beer-induced grogginess that she'll probably never live this down.

Shirley alone looks concerned. She leans in, the worry on her face plain as day. Her hand is reaching for Lucchini's flushed face, and Lucchini is having the hardest time deciding if this is the best decision of her life or the worst.

"Let me take you home," Shirley mutters, grabbing an arm and dragging Lucchini to her feet.

She says her goodbyes to the rest of the group, and then they're off, Shirley driving her motorcycle with so much ease that Lucchini doesn't feel carsick, even from her place in the sidecar. They get into the dorm with Lucchini's student I.D., and Shirley supports her all the way into her dorm room, where she's lightly laid down on her bed.

Shirley presses a soft, motherly kiss to her forehead and tells her to take care of herself, and as she lies there in the dark, it hits her that she's probably in love.

Lucchini arrives at the mechanic's the next day with a red carnation she picked up at the florist across from campus and a small chocolate bar she bought from work on a whim last week. She tells herself that this is just to say thanks, and by some miraculous act of God, she isn't nervous at all.

The sign above the garage door reads "Glamorous Shirley", and Lucchini resists the urge to plant her palm on her forehead for not noticing that before. She keeps walking though, and before long, she's through the garage and standing in front of an old Liberion muscle car whose brand she doesn't recognize.

Shirley's got her head under the hood, and she makes a dismissive gesture before saying "I'll be with you in a minute."

Lucchini waits patiently until Shirley looks up; she planned it all out before she left her dorm, and she conveniently waited until there was only half an hour left before her shift to leave. Something about knowing that she has the perfect excuse to cut out if the conversation goes sour makes her confidence increase twofold.

Her heart still beats a little faster when Shirley finally looks at her and breaks into her typical, beaming smile.

"What're you doing here?" she asks at first, looking absolutely overjoyed, though she quickly follows up with "How do you feel?"

Lucchini feels herself smile back, like Shirley's mood is infectious, and when she thinks about it, she understands that it certainly is. "Just here to say thanks," she explains as she thrusts the flower and chocolate out in front of her.

Shirley's smile seems to get bigger as she takes the offered gifts. "You really didn't have to."

"I wanted to."

The answer satisfies her, and before Lucchini has a chance to notice it, they're talking normally about anything and everything. The moment is shattered as Lucchini's phone goes off, though, and she's abruptly reminded that she has work.

She quickly excuses herself and apologizes profusely for having to leave, and she's already spun around to run back to her car when Shirley says, "We should hang out sometime, just the two of us."

She shouts her agreement over her shoulder and drives off before Shirley can tell how red her face is.

Her phone goes off during her lunch break, the number unfamiliar. When she answers to hear Shirley's bright voice in her ear, she feels her throat clench up.

"I hope you don't mind me using the number you gave me a few weeks ago," the voice on the other line says. It's cheerful, and even through the phone, the sound of it makes Lucchini melt.

"It's not a problem," Lucchini responds, hoping that it doesn't sound as forced and anxious as she swears it feels.

The voice laughs, and Lucchini feels a smile creep onto her lips as well. "A customer gave me a couple of tickets to that exhibition match that's happening tomorrow night. Roma versus Liverpool. Wanna go?"

Lucchini has to remind herself that she's not in a place to shout, but she can't keep the excitement from her voice. "Of course I want to go!" she exclaims. "I'd never pass up a chance to see my hometown team in action."

"Great," the voice replies, sounding pleased. "Game starts at six, so I'll pick you up at five and we'll see about parking. Sound good?"

Lucchini wants to hug her, but settles for a verbal response. "Sounds awesome."

After she hangs up, she's met with three sets of curious eyes. Eila speaks first, as always, but Erica and Marseille aren't far behind.

"Someone's got a date."

"That was Shirley wasn't it?"

"It only figures that after all this time, she ends up being the one to ask you out first."

Lucchini's too elated to deal with any of their questions, but she gives them a short "Yes, that was Shirley," before she gets up and leaves.

There are rumors for the next week that she won the lottery after she left the dining hall screaming and hugging anyone she could get her hands on.

Shirley's supposed to pick her up in an hour, but Lucchini's already pacing her dorm room with the Roma jersey she bought while she still lived in Romagna on. Eila's sitting on her bed, reading a magazine and occasionally telling her to "Calm down, it'll be fine."

Lucchini wants to snap and blame her for the anxiousness, but she knows it won't get her anywhere, and it sure as hell won't make her feel any less like she wants to throw up.

"Listen," Eila says suddenly, setting the magazine down and forcing Lucchini to pay attention. "She invited you to spend some one-on-one time together, she took you home when you got too drunk to function, she's put up with almost a month's worth of you acting like a teenage boy. She obviously likes you back."

Lucchini wants to believe her, she really does, but there's still doubt tugging at the back of her mind. "She's six years older, already has a degree, and I'm sure is more experienced than me. I'm sure she could find someone a lot more fitting."

"She found you, and I'm pretty sure she thinks you're fitting enough," Eila sighs. "Aren't you supposed to be more overconfident and annoying than this?"

"Except when I'm around someone I like, right?" Lucchini echoes, smiling wryly.

Eila mirrors her smile and throws the magazine at her. "Now you're learning.'

Parking isn't as bad as either of them expect, which is probably thanks to Shirley's preferred method of transportation. Their seats are also better than what either of them thought they would get, especially in a Liberion football stadium converted to fit a soccer match.

"You're going to have to explain everything that happens," Shirley jokes after they get settled into their seats. "I know next to nothing about soccer."

Lucchini looks at her in surprise. "Really? Why would you take the tickets if you don't know anything about the game?"

She shrugs, but there's something in her eyes that makes Lucchini's whole body tingle in anticipation. "You mentioned that the thing you missed most about Romagna was soccer, so when they were offered, I took them. One of the teams being from Rome was an added bonus."

"I'm surprised you remembered that," Lucchini mutters, suddenly very self-conscious. Shirley just gives her another look, somehow both serious and playful, and Lucchini has to resist the shivers she feels run through her body.

The next thing either of them know, the crowd around them is cheering and both of them tear away from the other's gaze to stare at the field. Someone just scored, and by the large amount of maroon jerseys piled on each other, they can only assume that it was Roma.

They spend the rest of the game cheering on their team as Lucchini explains every foul, card, and amazing play. Every now and then, though, their eyes meet, and Lucchini swears she feels the action around stop each time it happens.

She gets back to her dorm at ten that night, and she isn't at all shocked to see Eila lying on her bed, looking expectant. She glares at her roommate, who would appear far more contrite if she didn't also look anxious to hear the news.

Lucchini doesn't hear from Shirley for the next few days, which she doesn't read too much into since she had a paper due immediately after the weekend, and she spent most of her time working on it.

It's unexpected, then, when she spots a familiar motorcycle parked in front of the coffee shop across from the campus gates.

She makes a beeline for it right away; she's already done with all her classes and she doesn't have a shift today, so she doesn't have a reason to not go over.

Her hand is halfway to the handle when she spots red hair in the window, and she leans to get a better look. Shirley's sitting at a table for two, and another cursory lean shows an all too familiar face.

Federica is sitting too close to Shirley for Lucchini's comfort. Each and every laugh, subtle touch, and lean drives a knife from Lucchini's chest, and it's not long before she's hanging onto the coffee shop window ledge of dear life, her legs suddenly weak.

She doesn't know what to think. She notes that her vision is blurry, but she's so concentrated on the pain in her chest to realize that it's probably because of the tears. She stumbles back from the ledge, before quickly turning to run.

In the midst of her escape, she can't help but wonder if this was how Maria felt when she had to leave.

The next night at the bar, Lucchini can tell that she's being a killjoy.

Everyone's there, as usual; Erica's been telling Shirley some great story about when she stole her friend's pants last year and caused the biggest fiasco in college dorm history, while Shirley's been trying not to spit her beer out. Eila's adding her own commentary, and Marseille's arguing that both of them have it all wrong.

Lucchini watches the action as though she were sitting at another table.

She notices the worried looks from all her friends, but it's Shirley's that really gets to her, and before she's really sure what she's doing, she's excusing herself and pushing through the thin crowd to the exit.

She ends up spending the rest of the night in her dorm room, praying that her roommate doesn't pop in and ask her why she in bed so early.

Work is as mindless as ever. Lucchini's long since been able to handle customers without thinking about it, so she doesn't register just who the patron is until she's already asked "May I help you?"

It isn't until she hears "I heard about what happened from Eila," that her head snaps up from where she's doing classwork on the front counter.

"You heard?" Lucchini responds, trying her best to keep the fear out of her voice. Eila was exactly the kind of person who would tell a crush about the crush.

Shirley leans on the counter and gives her a sympathetic look, and that alone makes Lucchini's chest ache. "Yeah. Let me tell you in advance, heartbreak is something that never gets easier."

"That's… uplifting," Lucchini says hesitantly. All that's left is rejection, and she's waiting for it, head down to hide the cringe she's sure she has on her face.

The next thing she hears, though, is Shirley's laughter. "It's a warning; it's not supposed to be uplifting."

Lucchini's lifts her head at that, though she's certain that she still looks like her heart is breaking.

Shirley looks a little heartbroken too.

Lucchini's not entirely sure how she got suckered into going to Federica's party. All she really knows is that she's in a room filled with strangers and that it's way too early for her to be as drunk as she is.

She only spoke to Federica long enough to make her presence known, before making her acquaintance with the drink table and avoiding Shirley like the plague.

In the midst of her drunken stupor, she's aware that Federica and Shirley are standing on opposite side of the room, not even acting like the couple she's sure they are.

About halfway through the night, she realizes that she should really probably stop drinking, but after three shots and six-pack of beer, she's having too much fun. Soon enough, she's the center of a large group, joking and laughing and having a good time.

She's halfway through a story when she feels someone pull her out of the circle, and if only to prove how much she's had to drink, she stumbles into the person holding on her arm.

Shirley's got both arms lightly wrapped around her, and she has this worried look on her face that sends butterflies to Lucchini's stomach.

The next thing she knows, Lucchini's using Shirley's shoulders to boost herself up and plant a sloppy, drunken kiss of Shirley's lips.

The next morning, Lucchini wakes up on an unfamiliar couch in a semi-familiar apartment. The a soft voice drifting from a different room, in a language the Lucchini knows isn't Britannian but feels like she should recognize.

Her head hurts like she was hit by a car, and her mouth tastes dirty dishwater. The sun is too bright and the silence too loud.

"You were quite the life of the party." Federica places a glass of water and a couple of painkillers on the coffee table Lucchini didn't even notice before. "You should have seen Shirley's face. It went as red as her hair."

Lucchini's headache triples at the memory, and her hand finds her face immediately.

"I always thought you'd be smoother about confessing than that… not that she really minded, but to each their own."

"You're getting a kick out of this, aren't you?" Lucchini chokes out through her dry throat. She tries to glare, but she's certain it just looks like she's squinting because of the light.

Federica smirks at her. "Most fun I've had all month. If you hadn't passed out afterward, you would've heard everyone cheer. You can thank Shirley for putting you on the couch with a blanket."

Looking down, Lucchini confirms that there is, in fact, a blanket wrapped around her hips. "What happened after I fell asleep?"

"Shirley put you on the couch and spent the rest of the night answering questions. After your little show, people wanted to know why she was avoiding her cute, spunky girlfriend all night."

Lucchini's confused, but it's not sure if it's because of the hangover. "Girlfriend? But I thought…" she trails off, the realization of her mistake hitting her hard.


Shaking her head, Lucchini pushes herself off the couch and uneasily stands up. "Do you have Shirley's address?"

She's already standing outside of Shirley's apartment door by the time she thinks that going there immediately was a bad idea.

It's a boring door in a nondescript hallway in one of the most ambiguous-looking buildings, but knowledge that Shirley is somewhere behind it is enough to send her heart into a tizzy.

Lifting her hand to finally knock on the door, Lucchini finds it extremely difficult to finish the movement and stands in utter nervousness, willing her knees to stop shaking. She's inhales to calm herself, and right as she moves her fist, the door opens.

"Lucchini! What brings you over here?" Shirley doesn't sound like last night happened, and for a split second, Lucchini doubts being there.

"I'm here to apologize," she starts, carefully watching Shirley's expression, "and to say thank you. That's the third time you've helped me after I embarrassed myself completely."

Shirley laughs brightly and waves her hand dismissively. "It's fine, really! I mean, I couldn't just leave you like that, any of those times."

There's something about the way she's acting. It's subtle, so Lucchini mentally praises herself for her ability to notice the extra force behind her laughter and the small stutter in her hand motion.

"I'm also here to come clean," Lucchini continues. "I could've sworn that you'd be able to tell with how obvious I was with it, but I kind of like you. A lot."

When Shirley laughs this time, it's more natural and shakier. "I thought I read the signs right, but then Eila told me that your crush fell through, so I was certain it couldn't be me. Seems pretty silly now."

Lucchini feels hopeful again, and she's instantly reminded of the night of the soccer match. "So you didn't mind the kiss?"

"Well, it would have been better if it didn't taste like four different kinds of alcohol," Shirley says jokingly. "But I'm happy it happened anyway."

"Good," Lucchini finishes. "So I guess you wouldn't mind if I did it again?"

Shirley doesn't bother to respond before she pulls Lucchini into the apartment and shows her just how little she minds.

Their first official date as a couple isn't nearly as romantic as Lucchini envisioned it would be, but something about that is utterly perfect.

They spend the whole dinner talking about college and schoolwork, and they walk to Shirley's apartment holding hands and poking fun at the other couples they pass on their way.

Lucchini isn't sure what to expect when they finally arrive, so she tells herself not to get her hopes up, even though her stomach's been tying itself in a knot the whole walk back.

She ends up on Shirley's couch, their lips locked together with an unwatched movie playing in the background. There's no chance to wonder if they're moving too fast, because as far as she knows, both of them have been waiting for this since they met.

It doesn't help that her mind shuts down the second Shirley takes off her shirt.

Being with Shirley is comfortable. So comfortable, in fact, that Lucchini forgets to tell her friends about them, and the next time they all go out for drinks, she's given a mixture of shocked and confused faces when Shirley greets her with a peck on the lips.

They recount the story over a pitcher of beer, each of her friends listening intently. After they're done, Erica slaps Shirley on the back so hard and unexpectedly she chokes on her drink. In true form, Marseille complains about how long it took, and Eila wraps an arm around Lucchini's shoulders.

The group gets up to leave after a few rounds, saying their goodbyes at the door. Eila, Erica, and Marseille head in the direction of the dorms, bickering the whole way out of sight. Lucchini still catches the wink Eila throws to her over her shoulder.

It takes a short moment for her to notice that she and Shirley are alone, but, unlike the weeks prior, she isn't a bit nervous. She's… comfortable, and that's the only real way of describing the feeling.

There's love, there's attraction, but on top of it all, there's a comfort Lucchini can't fully put a finger on. It excites her, but not in any way she's used to.

"I guess that means they're expecting us to go back to my place, huh?" Shirley asks, her fingers wrapping themselves around Lucchini's. "College kids move so fast nowadays."

Lucchini stands in silence, simply enjoying the way Shirley's hand feels in hers, before tugging Shirley in the opposite direction. "We didn't tell them about us sleeping together, so they probably think they're helping me get lucky tonight."

"Do you think you're getting lucky tonight?" Shirley laughs. She squeezes her hand a little, and the action sends small flutters through Shirley's heart.

There's a pause, partially because Lucchini can and partially because she is just feels nice to walk down a street with Shirley next to her.

"I think I'm already lucky."

A/N: Has it really been six months since I updated? Haha, sorry guys.

Since two people requested Shirley/Lucchini, I decided that I'd write two fics, one in-universe and one AU. I find AUs a lot easier to write, so that's what you get first. The other one should (hopefully) be happening soon.

In other news, this is officially the longest thing I've ever written. I think 6000 words (exactly!) makes up for my absence, right?

If you see typos, please point them out so I can fix them, and if you want to make a request, feel free. Just be warned that I've gotten pretty slow.

Historic References:

- Both Issac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz are credited with creating calculus. However, there has been a great deal of debate over who created it first, and who had the better methods. Most mathematicians have their preferences over which kind they prefer, although both are really just different ways of achieving the same solutions.