"Oh my God." You exhale, flipping a crinkled page and tucking your fingertips against the corner to keep it down as your eyes continue to devour the handwritten words scribbled neatly on the sheet. "Oh my God!"
"Myka," HG sighs loudly and you ignore the mix of amusement and exasperation in her voice, choosing instead to turn another page and become even more ensnarled in her beautifully crafted words. She's warm against your side on the park bench, breathing against your neck in way you don't think she intends to be distracting as she reads over your shoulder. "You're just being ridiculous now. Sweet but ridiculous."
HG takes a swipe for the journal, her journal, in your hand but you jerk it away before she can make contact and stand up from the bench. HG had been that insolently arrogant when you begged to read some of her writing, deeming it far too brilliant for you to understand much to your amusement but she'd been sheepish when she'd untucked it from her bag today and handed it to you while the sun beamed down on you. You'd expected her writing to be nothing less than good because HG's mind is a glorious thing but this…this is something else entirely. She is something else entirely.
"Oh my God." You exhale, turning your shoulder and dodging her grabby hands when she rises from the bench to lunge at you. "I cant believe you wrote this!"
"Oh, please. Don't sound so shocked." HG Scoffs at you and you look up from her words to grin at her. She charges at you again and you side step her, swinging the journal up over your head. "You're being extremely childish right now."
"You are." You challenge with a laugh as HG grabs you by the front of your shirt, bold as anything and all sorts of pretty with the sun shining in her hair and light glittering in her eyes.
"Myka Bering, you are so incredibly annoying." She huffs but her face looks as though she wouldn't mind if you kissed her right now, in the middle of the park and under the afternoon sun.
"And you, Helena G. Wells, are supremely talented." You declare before ducking away from her and her sneaky, reach-y hands. You turn to hop up on the bench so you're towering above her and she has to tip her head back to watch you. "When you publish your novel, the one sure to win multiple awards, I want the first copy. Signed personally and everything so I can tell anyone who'll listen that I always, always, always knew you were special!"
Your voice is loud in the open air and it gets swept up in the gentle wind and spread across the park. Melting and blending with children's shrieking laughter and the cheerful barks of dogs while HG gazes up at you.
"Myka." Helena laughs, cheeks coloring as you peer at her and the flush in her face makes you crouch until your eye to eye, so you can get a better look at her face.
"You're blushing." You observe, tucking the journal against your chest with one hand while you run the knuckles of the other hand against her jaw. "Look at you."
"You're making me feel…strange." She whispers, reaching up to press her fingertips to the inside of your wrist.
"Strange?" You wonder and she shakes her head a little like she's embarrassed. "HG, c'mon."
"It is one thing to believe in myself and know that I am strong enough to reach my goals." She starts softly, peering at you sincerely. "It is something else entirely to have someone you adore, believe in you so implicitly."
Her words give you these amazing butterflies and she tips her head into your palm when your fingers drift through her hair. You think its sad that HG always seems surprised by the things you see in her, even more surprised by the fact that you like what you see. "I do believe in you. I believe in you a lot more than I've believed in anything else."
"Can you come down from there? Please?" She whispers stepping backwards and tugging on your wrist but you straighten and pull too.
"Nope. You come up here, with me." She laughs, sweet and quiet, as you haul her up on the bench with you so you're both standing on top of the world. "Please."
"You're belligerent this afternoon." She sighs, tugging her journal from your fingers while you focus on the freckles dusted over her cheekbones.
"I'm happy." You shrug, taking her hand tightly in yours. "I'm really happy you're here. I'm really happy you found me. I'm really happy you like me."
"Oh Myka. I more than like you. Can't you tell?" HG breathes and your heart thumps happy and bright inside your ribcage.
"I had my suspicions." You exhale, turning to sit atop the back of the bench and HG sits too. Her hand grips the wood right beside yours and you grin when her pinky rubs over yours.
"So I have a request but I want you to know in advanced you do not have to say yes." Helena says and you smile at her and hook your pinky around hers.
"My aunt and uncle have become curious as to who I'm spending all of my time with lately and they'd like you to come to dinner tomorrow night." HG states plainly and you feel your eyes get huge.
"Wow, I uh-" You sputter dumbly and HG laughs before twisting her hand to cover yours.
"You don't have to accept the offer." She murmurs, squeezing your hand under hers but you know that she wouldn't be asking unless she did want you to do this.
"Should I wear a dress or-or…Do they know that I'm your…"
"As far as they're concerned we are very close friends." HG interrupts gently. "And you're no obligated to wear any sort of dress if you were to attend."
"HG, do you want me to go? Because if you do then I will." You say and you watch in fascination as a blush floods her cheek. "You do, don't you?"
"I may want to show my aunt and uncle that I've spending time with a wonderful person." She shrugs and you smile even though there's the distinct weight of nervousness in your belly.
"Okay." You say anxiously, nodding a little. "Okay, then I'll do it."
"Myka, darling, you don't have to."
"But I am so…I'm going to meet your family." You say more resolutely, reaching up with your free hand to swipe your hair out of your face and when you glance at HG she's looking at you warmly. "HG, stop it! It's not that big of a deal. I mean, I've met the parents of the person I was dating before."
"Ah, yes. Sam." HG sighs with obvious disdain and you laugh, slipping your hand from hers and hoping down and off the bench.
"Don't do that." You smile up at her, touching your fingertips to the denim stretched across her knees.
"You've never talked about Sam. I only know of his existence. Nothing more." HG says and you shrug thoughtfully, scratching at her jeans absently while she watches you.
"Sam was my only serious boyfriend. He was smart and handsome and my first…almost everything. He taught me how to ice skate." You say openly. "He was a really great guy and his parents were amazing. But his dad got a job halfway around the world… so he had to leave."
"You two didn't try to make it work long distance?" She asks imploringly and you shake your head.
"It wouldn't have worked. I mean, long distance rarely does." You sigh. "And I didn't want to watch us drift away from one another until one of us did something stupid or-or got up the nerve to break up with the other."
"Did you love him?" HG asks curiously and you shrug again, dragging your nails up her legs to the outside of her thighs.
"Maybe." You finally sigh. "Probably."
"Do you miss him?" HG asks carefully and you bite your lip and look at her face, brow furrowed in sympathy and protectiveness.
"I used too a lot." You admit. "But not anymore."
HG just watches you as you grab for her wrists and lets you pull her down from the bench until she's standing in front of you, looking up into your eyes. You tug her with you across the grass and she follows you through the trees to a far more secluded corner of the park, hidden behind the wide trunk of a tree.
"Myka, what I feel for you extends far beyond likine." she says softly with dark eyes earnest and honest when you come to a stop underneath the branches. You want to kiss her and with a quick glance over your shoulder, you take the risk and press your lips to hers.
Pete finds you in the ice cream shop, working your way through a sundae with nuts and you give him a helpless look as he approaches you cautiously.
"You're eating sugar." He points out the obvious and you nod, shoveling another spoonful of ice cream and banana into your mouth.
"Stress." Is all you mumble, licking your spoon as Pete sits down across from you. "Lots and lots of stress."
"What in the world has you so stressed? Did you use loose one of your math match thingies?" He wonders, leaning forward in an attempt to stick his finger in your ice cream but you bat his hand away with your spoon and he jerks back with a whimper. "Ow."
"I have to tell you something." You mumble, exhale hard. "Something big…huge."
"Oh, snap, what is it?" Pete hisses, a grin splitting his face as he rocks forward in his chair. "Did you hook up with someone? It wasn't Joey because he said you wouldn't give him the time of day at my party. Did you-did you…wait, you're not preggo or something are you? Because I'm not ready to be an uncle!…"
"Pete. Shut up for a second, will ya?" You exhale tightly, glancing around the ice cream parlor but its mostly empty because eating ice cream in cool weather isn't a normal thing. "Because I can't…I can barely do this and I won't be able to do this at all if you don't stop talking."
"Will you just tell me if it's a guy? Is it the guy in biology with the wooden teeth?" Pete wonders, licking at his ice cream splattered knuckles. " 'Cause, I see the way he looks at you when you wear your mathlete sweatshirt."
"What?! No! I am not dating the guy with the wooden teeth!" You frown, spooning more ice cream into your mouth. "Am I so-so atrocious that the only person you think would be interested in me is a guy who brushes his teeth with Pledge?"
"Right now? Kinda." Pete winces as you swallow another mouthful of chocolate and you roll your eyes. "But usually there are lots of perfectly nice dudes with, ya know, real teeth that would be more than happy to, excuse my French, tap that."
"Thank you." You sigh, cracking your spoon against Pete's knuckles again when he makes another attempt to prod your ice cream.
"Ouch! Would you stop doing that?" He yelps, pressing the back of his hand to his mouth again.
"Keep your filthy hands away from my stress ice cream." You mutter around your spoon and Pete glares at you.
"Alright, so tell me what's up? Is this the same thing you were going to tell me the other day?" He exhales slumping into his chair and staring at your ice cream forlornly and God, you hate that look so you take one last spoonful before dropping the spoon in the container and shoving it across the table. Pete perks up like a kid on Christmas.
You watch him stuff a spoonful in his mouth then wince from brain freeze, gathering your courage and pluck and whatever else you can find while reminding yourself that this is just Pete.
"Pete?" You exhale nervously after a moment and he glances up at you, smile fading at the look on your face and you rub a hand over your brow hard.
"Mykes, c'mon. Talk to me." He says quietly, ignoring the ice cream for a moment and you swallow tightly, feel tears pricking hotly at your eyes and you roll your eyes towards the ceiling. "I may not be the most observant guy in the planet but you've been giving off some seriously weird vibes and I know something's up. Just talk to me."
"Promise you won't be mad at me?" You whisper thickly, looking at him again and he nods instantly, holding out his fist towards you with his pinky extended.
"Pinky promise." He offers solemnly and suddenly you have no idea why you ever thought you could keep this from Pete. He's your best friend, more often than not your only friend and the most loyal person you've ever met. You love him and he loves you and you just don't want that to change.
You hook your pinky finger around his tightly for a moment before pulling back and tucking your hands between your knees nervously.
"You know after the cops broke up the party…Me and HG went back to her house and-and I…I mean, we…something happened."
"Something?" Pete prods gently and you nod.
"She-she kissed me and we slept together." You force past the tightness in your throat, staring down at your lap which means you aren't even expecting the spray of ice cream that flies across the table courtesy of Pete's mouth.
"Oh my god!" Pete cries, wiping his mouth and you stare at him in horror, wiping his milky spittle off of your cheek.
"Pete! What the hell?!" You squawk, wiping at your face again and Pete just stares at you like his eyeballs are two sizes too big for his sockets.
"Helena?" Pete asks complete and utter disbelief coloring his words. " You and HG?"
" There's more." You mumble, blushing furiously and Pete blinks at you, jaw practically on the table. "It's not- she's the person I've been spending so much time with because she and I are, kind of dating…each other."
Pete's face gets all twisted up and you have to look away from him, fisting your hands against your knees. "Oh."
"I know. I know its-its…" You start and this whole situation is so many things that you don't even know how to finish that sentence and when you glance up at Pete he's staring hard at the table. "I'm sorry."
"Mykes," he bites out and suddenly a breathless sob rattles up from your chest . His eyes dart up to look at you. "Why didn't you say something or-or tell me?"
"I don't know. I-I was scared. I am scared." You choke out and Pete just blinks at you. "You're my best friend, ya know, and I know you had a thing for HG and-and I didn't want to loose you."
"Myka." Pete interrupts sharply and you swallow hard, meeting his gaze. "You could never loose me, okay? Never ever. You and me are together until the end of time."
The sound that escapes you is a half laughter and half sob and you nod your head even as hot tears spill from your eyes. "Okay."
Then he's shoving up out of his chair and moving around the table to drag you up into a hug that you sink into. You're crying suddenly, hard and jagged against his shoulder because you've been holding this in for so long and the only way it can escape is like this, cruel and broken while Pete's hands keep you grounded. You hold onto him until the tears give way to something lighter and relieved before stepping out of his arms.
"Better?" He asks softly and you nod, wiping at your eyes and trying to hide your embarrassment at loosing it in an ice cream parlor. "I'm not gonna lie, this whole thing is a lot to take in."
"I know. I'm sorry." You croak before clearing your throat and Pete laughs a little.
"And I need you to stop apologizing to me, okay? You didn't do anything wrong." He smiles widely. "It's not your fault a beautiful British babe found you irresistible."
"I guess not." You agree and Pete nods. "But I'm still sorry for not trusting you or our friendship enough to tell you."
"Yeah, well, now you know not to ever underestimate the power of Pyka."
:Pyka?" You ask, "Is that what you call us?"
"What else am I supposed to call us?" Pete states like its obvious and you snicker a little before turning to drop into your seat and Pete does the same. "So, you and HG…together."
"Yep." You whisper, clearing your throat while a strange, brand new kind of pride swells up inside of you. "Me and HG. She's just so…"
"Man, I knew she wasn't crashing our tutor sessions because she couldn't figure out what 2+2 equaled! I mean, admittedly I thought she was trying to get into my pants but she was trying to get a piece of Myka all along." Pete laughs, dragging his hand over his face in disbelief as he shifts forward towards you again, ignoring the melting ice cream sitting in front of him.
"Pete." You bite out as you flush but its less mortification at Pete's too big mouth and more the butterflies flapping around in your stomach that is making you turn red.
"Now, don't get me wrong because you and HG, well that is so hot…and awesome." Pete finally sighs, resting his elbow on the table and his chin in his palm while he stares at you like he's never seen you before. "That is awesomely hot."
"You're being super pervy right now." You grunt, reaching over to drag your ice cream back to yourself, shoveling a spoonful of melted chocolate into your mouth. "Just so you know."
"Does anyone else know about you guys?" Pete asks. "Your parents or Trace?"
"No, you're the only one." You say, wincing slightly. "Could you imagine if my dad found out? 'Cause I can't."
"Then he won't find out. Though I doubt him finding out you are dating a great, intelligent girl wouldn't be as awful as that time I told him we were dating." Pete offers.
"He tried to hit you with his car." You sigh and Pete nods.
"That he did."
You laugh a little as relief loosens the tension in your spine, in your shoulders and when you think about how much ice cream you just consumed, you're suddenly nauseous.
"So how're you feeling right now?"
"Relieved…so relieved and overwhelmed by how much I love you right now." You shrug and Pete nods sympathetically, grinning a little. "And sick. I feel sick."
"Well, you just ate an unholy amount of dairy." He sighs, standing and moving around the table to grab your hands and tug you to your feet. "So lets get you home and onto a treadmill."
"Can I puke on the way?" You ask and Pete nods, pressing a kiss to the crown of your head.
"Sure you can. We'll get you a bucket or something." Pete murmurs, hugging you to his side. "Ah, girls with accents, no one can resist them."
You buy a dress.
You actually buy two dresses after insisting Tracy come to the mall with you and help you pick something out. She watches you suspiciously the entire time but you ignore her and flit nervously from one rack to another until you find something you like and that Tracy approves of.
"Is it a date?" Tracy asks curiously, leaning into your bathroom while you tug your brush through your hair. "Is that why you're getting all dressed up?"
You blink at her in the mirror before setting down your brush and frowning down at the multiple tubes of lipstick on the countertop nervously. "Sorta."
"Sorta?" Tracy giggles, stepping into the bathroom fully and you shrug as she comes to stand beside you, easily picking up a tube of lipstick and taking off the top. "Here."
You turn so she can apply your lipstick for you, which she does with an ease that you're kind of envious of. "Do I know this person you're sorta going out with?"
"Yeah. You do." You say honestly, nerves pushing up from your belly when Tracy's eyes dart to meet yours. She doesn't say anything though, just finishes applying your lipstick before stepping back.
"It's not Pete, is it?" She finally wonders and you gape at her.
"God, no." You huff and Tracy smiles a bit. "It is most definitely not Pete."
"Well, whoever it is…you must like them a lot." Tracy points out, reaching out to fuss with your curls. "You've been acting so funny lately…Dad thinks you're on drugs."
"What?! Why? Why would he think that?!" You sputter weakly and Tracy laughs.
"Because he's dad and you're you." She points out and when she says it like that, its hard to know what she means.
"Will you tell me? Ya know, who your mystery date is?" She asks and you meet her gaze evenly. You never thought that you and Tracy had that sorta relationship. Everything has always been competition and pride and praise but maybe you're wrong. Maybe you guys have the capacity to be more than a struggle for your fathers affections. "Not like, right now, because I see you've got a whole secret relationship thing going on but …eventually?"
"Yeah…Eventually." You say honest and Tracy smiles widely and looks just like your mother. "So, how do I look?"
You smooth your hands down the front of your dress and Tracy nods, flicking her fingers through your hair one last time. "You look beautiful."
"Thanks Trace." You sigh, giving her a lingering hug before darting out of the bathroom.
"I'm nervous." You hiss as soon as the front door opens and HG is looking at you in what you hope is awe while you shift from foot to foot anxiously. "My-my hands are sweating so much!"
"You look stunning." She says loudly and you glance down at yourself, blushing dumbly and lifting your shoulder in a shrug. "You wore a dress."
"I mean, it's a special occasion and I wanted to look nice so…" You blurt, touching your hair anxiously. "It-its not too much is it? Tracy helped me pick it out."
"Darling, you look stunning." She says again, stepping out onto the porch with you. "And there's no need to be nervous. We're simply having dinner."
"With your family." You finish for her when it sounds like she wont do it. "I'm meeting your family and I want them to like me."
"Myka, they will absolutely adore you." She says firmly. "And even if, for some reason they do not, it won't matter in the least because I adore you."
Her words soothe some of the nerves in your belly and you nod, smiling at her. "Look at you, all soft and mushy."
HG rolls her eyes at you before stepping close and kissing you firmly on the lips. "Now, come along. Lets get this over with."
"I told Pete." You blurt suddenly and HG pauses, eyes searching your face in surprise. "I told Pete about me and you and he took it surprisingly well."
"And he's okay?" She asks tentatively and you nod.
"A little confused but fine."
You're grinning like an idiot under the porch light and HG smiles slowly. "And you're okay?"
"I'm great. Everyone's okay. The world didn't fall apart." You say honestly, then HG is kissing you again with her front door open and far less chaste than the last time.
"I want to discuss this further." HG murmurs, pulling back with your lipstick on her mouth and your hands grasping at her hips. "later."
"Okay." You swallow blearily, licking your lips as HG steps away. "But dinner first?"
"Right." HG nods, taking your hand and tugging you over the threshold.