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I and Love and You

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i. 

They are going to be late, so late, Karma doesn’t know what time it is because she didn’t have a watch to match this outfit, but she's 110% for certain sure that it’s past curfew. Well, Amy’s curfew. Karma doesn’t have a curfew so much as the gentle but pointed suggestion that she be home before midnight or one o’clock, honey, if you’re having a lot of fun, but call me and be safe, make good choices! Karma’s mom’s voice sounds too high and supportive even inside her own head. Karma’s so drunk. She had no idea she was such a lightweight. And they’re going to be late. She tells Amy.

“I know, Karma.”

“We’re gonna be late.”

“I know, Karma.” Amy runs a hand through her hair to push it out of her face before putting it back on the steering wheel in the two o’clock position and maintaining cruising speed at exactly the residential speed limit. Amy got an A in Driver’s Ed. Karma remembers because she copied Amy’s notes after class more often than not because the teacher was really hot and really British and Karma had found it exotic and distracting. Amy is such a good driver, Karma thinks, as Amy guides the sedan smoothly into Karma’s driveway. The best.

“Home again, home again, jiggety-jig,” Amy mumbles when they stop, because she’s weird. She’s so weird, Karma loves her so much. “Need help inside?”

“Nah, I got it,” Karma promises. She took her shoes off when they got in the car, so she’s confident she can walk steadily enough to get in and up to her room. Karma makes to hug Amy goodnight, but she’s still got her seatbelt on and nearly chokes herself out on the chest strap. “Ow.”

“Loser,” Amy says softly. She says it in this quiet, affectionate way that makes Karma feel warm inside. Then Amy reaches over to undo Karma’s buckle herself. It gives easily under her fingers. “Get out of my car, Ashcroft.”

Karma gets out. She makes a deliberate effort to close the door firmly without slamming it and starts her trek to the front door. When she gets there, it takes a few tries, but she gets the lock open, and she looks back to where Amy still has the car idling, watching to make sure Karma is in the house before she leaves. Amy waves and then puts the car in reverse, and Karma watches her go until the car disappears around the corner.

It takes longer than usual for Karma to undress and wash her face and get in bed because she’s still feeling a little buzzed and she’s all loose-limbed. She doesn’t have a whole lot of experience with alcohol, but she thinks it’s not something she’d like, partake in on a regular basis. She knows kids (in the sense that she was in close proximity and has overheard their conversations) who party almost every weekend and drink until they pass out. Karma’s not really down for that, but she could be into occasionally getting her buzz on. Especially when Amy volunteers for DD because then Karma doesn’t have to worry about them both being too drunk to drive and having to call her mom who would totally pick them up and not even yell at them, just probably shake her head fondly in that grossly indulgent oh, you crazy kids sort of way she has. Karma’s glad she has Amy so she doesn’t have to deal with that. She’s glad she has Amy.

She wants to tell Amy that, but Amy didn’t sleep over because they have Church in the morning, so Karma grabs her phone. Karma doubts her manual dexterity right now, so she doesn’t even try to text Amy, just stabs at the screen with one finger until she gets Amy’s name and picture and hits call.

It goes straight to voicemail and Karma has a hazy recollection of Amy’s phone dying at the party because she never charges it. Karma didn’t want to leave a message; she hates the way she sounds in recordings. Also, she can’t tell if she’s still slurring or not, can you tell if you’re slurring or will your drunk voice sound the same because you’re too drunk to tell the difference? Whatever, Karma doesn’t know. Amy’s voicemail greeting is very Amy: Yoooo, beep coming. Leave it.

“I gave you a car charger, I dunno why you don’t use it, but it’s fine. Uh, I just wanted to say thanks for coming tonight because I know you hate parties because you’re allergic to peanuts and the high school experience, so thanks for going with me anyway, and for driving. I don’t remember if I thanked you for Driver's Ed or not, so if I didn’t, sorry, and thank you. You know how I feel about accents. You’re the best, and not just at driving; in general. The best and I just love you so much, you know? Duh. You know. Okay, I love you, bye. Oh, and it’s Karma. Bye.”

Karma hangs up and feels a little winded because that all came out in one breath. She wonders if she’s going to throw up. She passes out before she decides.

 

 ii.

Amy’s hair is super soft when Karma slips her fingers into it. She’d known, of course, she touches Amy’s hair all the time, but it's different now than when Amy’s standing next to her in the bathroom mirror. It almost feels backwards when Karma is reaching from the front, past Amy’s jaw and just over her ear.

Karma’s only thinking about Amy’s hair until she’s thinking about Amy’s mouth. Amy had been smiling just before Karma had kissed her. She was smiling and blushing a little because some kids a few feet away had caught sight of them having lunch in the quad and started chanting kiss kiss kiss and Amy had laughed a little and rolled her eyes. She’d been about to flip the kids off, but Karma had caught her hand and laced their fingers before she could. Karma is not an attention whore, she doesn’t think, but she doesn’t hate attention either, so she gives the people what they want.

Karma presses her lips against Amy’s smile and feels it shift under her mouth as Amy starts kissing back. Amy is a great kisser, if Karma’s being honest. She’s confident without being aggressive about it, like some people Karma knows, but she’s not pointing any fingers. Karma knows this could be a lot worse because she’s had a lot worse, and Amy is right up at the top of the not-worse. Amy kisses her softly, but surely, like there’s no one watching and hooting at them (there is and they are). Amy kisses Karma like she means it, which Karma is certain will be what sells this whole thing.

Karma’s so grateful then that she has the kind of best friend who would totally take one for the team and be lesbians with her. Karma tightens her fingers, the ones still wrapped around Amy’s hand, in a gentle squeeze that she hopes accurately conveys her message of thank you thank you thank you, and kisses along Amy’s jaw.

“I love you,” Karma breathes out against Amy’s cheek before pulling away and sitting back. She hangs on to Amy’s hand even though it’s a bit clammy. Those same kids holler for an encore, but Karma just gives them the finger herself because Amy doesn’t look up to it.

 

 iii.

“Did you make reservations?” Karma doesn’t mean to sound so incredulous about it, especially when Amy suddenly looks embarrassed, but she’s kind of seriously taken aback. This place is super fancy.

Karma had suggested they go on a “date” for practice, to practice couple-ing in a way that would be more romantic and less PDA between Chem and English, but she’d meant more like TGI Friday’s or something. Some place that was a little classier than McDonalds, but might still give them free dessert if Karma lied and said it was her birthday. She was not expecting linen napkins and tablecloths and ambient lighting. Karma feels underdressed. She’s wearing flats.

“You said to, and I quote, woo you, so…” Amy makes a sweeping gesture indicating the whole room as the hostess leads them to their table. Their table with candles. “Woo I shall.”

Amy pulls Karma’s chair out for her to sit and Karma giggles a little maniacally at Amy’s chivalry. “Okay. Consider me wooed.”

“Rightfully so, this place is choice. They have like, live string music, but that’s only Saturdays, so you’ll have to take my word for it; supposed to be great. And you haven’t even seen the menu, their chef is famous or something. They have a grilled cheese that costs a hundred bucks.” Amy’s eyes snap up mid-babble and meet Karma’s. “Don’t order it, though, I’m not made of money. You can have whatever you want as long as it's under thirty dollars.”

“Pulling out all the stops, I see,” Karma’s face hurts a little from how hard she’s smiling. Amy’s fidgeting in her fancy high-backed chair and she keeps tugging on the hem of her dress like it’s suddenly going to grow three inches and actually reach her knees. It’s precious.

“You know it,” Amy’s smirking at her from under overly mascara-ed eyelashes. “Don’t act like you’re not impressed.”

“I’ll be impressed when you know which kind of fork to use for which course.”

Amy glances down at her silverware, absolutely panic-stricken, “Forks have kinds?”

Karma laughs, but gently because they’re seated next to an older couple that doesn’t look like they’d take too kindly to sudden, loud noises. “Just start from the outside in. I’m sure your mom will be thrilled to know those etiquette lessons were money well-spent.”

“Hey, I told her I didn’t want to do it. You know I hate the whole debutante thing.”

“Plus, you couldn’t make it through a conversation about cotillions without laughing any time someone said ‘balls’.”

“Plus that,” Amy agrees.

They’re still grinning at each other when their server comes by. Amy spends about ten minutes making him explain how each of the specials are prepared so there’s no risk of allergen contamination, but also because she doesn’t respect people who don’t take their jobs seriously and she likes to keep people on their toes. Karma is shaking her head a bit when the waiter leaves with only their drink order because Amy “needs more time.”

“You look like your mom right now,” Amy says, which, rude, but Karma lets it slide.

“You so did not have to do all this, you realize that.”

Amy shrugs and develops a sudden and acute interest in her soupspoon. Karma watches her make faces at it, twisting her head this way and that at her warped reflection. Amy puts her spoon down and meets Karma’s eye before looking away again. “I wanted to.”

Karma feels a wave of affection for her weird, thoughtful, adorable best friend and wants to hug her really bad. But the table’s too wide for it and getting up and walking around feels like too much effort, also Amy gets randomly self-conscious sometimes when she does nice things for people, like their gratitude embarrasses her. So, Karma settles for nudging Amy’s shin with her toe and smiling even though Karma wants to tell Amy how much she loves her because it’s a whole lot.

When they fill up on free bread and don’t order anything else because nothing is under thirty dollars, the maître d’ politely, but firmly, asks them to leave. Karma takes Amy to McDonalds.

 

 iv.

Karma doesn’t want to say that she hates Amy’s family, but she kind of hates Amy’s family. Hate may be too strong a word. Actively dislikes. Karma actively dislikes Amy’s family a majority of the time. And sometimes she hates them. Not all the time. Usually, Amy’s mom is really nice, but it's also in that sort of syrupy condescending way where it sounds like she’s being polite, but really she’s talking down to you? It’s in where she pauses when she speaks, Karma thinks. Like when she opens the door and Karma’s there, the-former-Mrs. Raudenfeld will give her a super fake smile and say something like, “Oh. Karma. How nice to see you. Again.” As if it’s such a trial to host Karma’s company so often.

She’s worse with Amy. Like when she had something to say about Amy’s new boyfriend-jeans (which, excuse her, are totally on trend right now) and looked Amy up and down and was like “That’s an interesting choice in pants, sweetie. You don’t usually see a fit like that. On ladies.” And Lauren had snickered and her father had said nothing, just kept looking at his phone. Karma had hated all of them right then; Amy’s mom for implying – whatever she was implying, Lauren for being a bitch and laughing like it was a joke, and Lauren’s dad for doing nothing. Karma had watched as Amy’s jaw worked in that way that meant she was trying not to yell or trying not to cry and then Amy had spun on her heel and hauled ass out of the room. Karma had hated them for it, for upsetting Amy so much, and she feels confident in her choice of words in that instance because she’d hated them like nothing else.

Karma didn’t make Amy talk about it, because they’ve talked about it before and it always ends with Amy raging about her broken home and pretending she isn’t crying when she is in fact crying grossly into Karma’s neck. It’s not a good time for either of them, so instead Karma gives Amy control of the Netflix queue and doesn’t even complain when she has to sit through four episodes of Mythbusters.

Amy falls asleep next to Karma on the couch somewhere around episode five and Karma tries to dislodge the remote from Amy’s fingers as surreptitiously as she can. Amy’s head kind of lolls over onto Karma’s shoulder, but Karma manages to put on Say Yes to the Dress and doesn’t push Amy’s head away, just moves an arm around Amy's back so it doesn't fall asleep like last time. Amy snores a little, Karma notices, and she has this knee-jerk reaction to tease Amy about it and even turns her head to look at her when Karma realizes, duh, Amy’s asleep. That’s why she’s snoring.

Karma’s seen this episode a million times anyway; the dress the girl picks is ugly and her fiancé is ugly, so Karma lets her eyes fall shut and rests her cheek against the crown of Amy’s head. Karma can smell Amy’s shampoo and finds that very soothing. She remembers picking it out with Amy, remembers standing in the shampoo aisle at Target and opening bottle after bottle and sniffing them because they were bored and it was something to do. That’s the kind of person Amy is; someone who will go on random trips to Target to smell all the different Herbal Essences with you just because you ask. She’s the kind of person that will ride over on her bicycle at 4am and stay up telling you corny jokes when your Gam Gam dies. She’s a great person, who gives a fuck about her pants. How does her family not get that? Karma cannot fathom how anyone could know Amy and not absolutely love her, and Karma can fathom just about anything.

I love you,” she insists into Amy’s hair. Amy shifts a little underneath her, but Karma holds on.

 

 v.

Karma presses the A button on her wii-mote to start the next song and shakes out her arms a little to loosen herself up. Beside her, Amy is flushed and annoyed, but waiting for Gloria Gaynor to load.

“ ‘Let’s do it on Hard,’ she said. ‘We’ve seen the video a million times,’ she said. ‘It won’t be that bad,’ she said,” Amy is whining in a really high voice and Karma doesn’t appreciate it. She doesn't even sound like that. “You’re officially banned from song selection from this day forward.”

“You can’t—”

“Nuh-uh, silence!” Amy throws a hand out to shush Karma and nearly whacks her in the face. “It’s official!”

“Look, I’m sorry that you couldn’t keep up with Nicki Minaj, but you’re the one who regularly and unironically refers to Starships as her ‘jam’,” Karma finger-quotes.

“That does not mean I’m fit to step into her dancing shoes.”

“Clearly, but how does that mean I have to suffer through I Will Survive?”

“Hey, this is a disco classic. Say otherwise and I will physically fight you on it,” Amy solemnly promises. She doesn’t take her eyes of the TV screen as she carefully picks her way through the choreography and sings and so you’re back/from outer space to herself to keep the rhythm.

“I love you.” And Amy looks over so quickly mid-booty shake that she pauses with one hip cocked and a hand in her hair. She looks hilarious, even if the serious look on her face is at odds with the rest of her, and Karma adds, “When you dance like that.

Amy keeps looking at Karma and finally pulls herself into a standing position befitting normal people and not disco divas, but she tosses her wii-mote on to the couch even though her song isn’t over.

“All danced out?” Karma asks. She feels like missed something because Amy never quits anything and she kicks ass at this song. She just looks all depressed now and it makes Karma feel weird. Uncomfortable? She feels uncomfortable.

“Yeah,” Amy answers. “I’m conserving my kinetic energy for Homecoming, let’s just do something that doesn’t involve moving. Or talking.”

They eat an entire box of Cheez-Its and watch Mean Girls even though it’s on ABC Family and “edited for content.”

 

vi. 

Karma wasn’t snooping, honestly she wasn’t. She was just in Amy’s bathroom, you know, using the bathroom and one thing lead to another. She’d checked her reflection after washing her hands and her eyeliner was kind of uneven so she was looking for a pencil sharpener since her eye pencil needed a finer point. Because Amy is Amy, and she doesn’t keep a separate sharpener in the bathroom with her makeup like the rest of the civilized world, Karma had to hunt through Amy’s desk for the one Amy uses for homework. She’s rifling through a drawer when she sees the note.

It’s not in the drawer, it’s not hidden away, it’s lying in the wastebasket. It has Karma’s name on it. Karma reaches for it on instinct and pulls back almost immediately. Yeah, Karma’s name’s on it, but Amy threw it in the trash. The thought is enough to give her pause, even though her fingers are practically itching to read it. If Amy had wanted Karma to read the note she wouldn’t have thrown it away. Unless she didn’t. Karma scoops it out under the pretense that it could’ve fallen in accidently. Maybe it was on Amy’s desk and it slipped, it could have totally slipped.

Karma spares a quick glance for the door and opens the note. She still feels a little guilty but just tries to breathe through it, like Lamaze.

 

Karma,

I’ve been thinking about these last several weeks and everything that’s happened. I know how happy you are about all of it and I am so happy you’re happy. You’re my best friend; all I want is for you to be happy.

Thing is, as much as people seem to like us now, I’m not sure I like us anymore. I thought it wouldn’t be that big a deal because we already hang out all the time and we’re super close anyway, I thought I could handle just hugging you more and kissing sometimes, but it’s not what I expected at all. I feel like we’re putting on a show all the time and it’s uncomfortable and exhausting. I don’t want to do that with you. I don’t want us to be fake at all, but especially not so some jerks will think we’re cool. Do you understand that? I hope you do. I hope you don’t hate me for it.

I know I agreed to it, but we both know I’m easily persuaded when it comes to you. I didn’t know I would feel like this or I wouldn’t have said yes in the first place. I don’t want to disappoint you, but I don’t want to lie to you either. I’m sorry.

I love you.

Amy

Karma bites her lip and puts the note back in the trash. She has no idea how long it sat there, she doesn’t know how often Amy empties her wastebasket. What if it hadn’t fallen in? What if it had been there for days? Karma had kissed Amy goodbye after lunch at school yesterday, right on the mouth, and she was fine! If she didn’t want to fake it anymore, why didn’t she just give Karma the note? Why did she even have to write Karma a note in the first place? They weren’t in 6th grade. Amy could’ve just said Dude, being lesbians blows, let’s see other people and Karma would’ve been all over staging an elaborate and theatrical fake-break up. It would’ve been fine. If Amy was so unhappy being Karma’s fake-girlfriend, Karma wasn’t going to put a gun to her head. She didn’t want to force Amy to keep it up if she was so deeply uncomfortable, Karma wasn’t that selfish.

How could Amy think Karma would hate her for being honest?

She wishes she’d never seen the note. Karma feels like a giant bitch. Amy should know that she can tell Karma anything, Karma thought Amy did know she could tell Karma anything. If Amy thought she couldn’t tell Karma how she felt, if she thought she’d needed to hide behind a letter to tell Karma the truth, Karma was not doing her job right. Only she has no idea how she’s supposed to bring it up without telling Amy she read something she obviously was not supposed to see.

Karma doesn’t know what she’ll do if Amy doesn’t say something first.

 

vii.

Amy’s palms are sweaty, but Karma doesn’t comment on it. It’d be rude to insult her Queen, she figures. BECAUSE THEY’RE FUCKING HOMECOMING QUEENS!!! Karma shouts it, all caps and three exclamation points, inside her head and a makes an excited screeching noise out loud that Amy overreacts to by scrunching her face up and covering one ear with the hand she isn’t using to hold Karma’s. Amy’s such a drama queen. She’s a drama Homecoming queen! Karma screeches again and pulls Amy in for another hug.

“You’re crushing me,” Amy groans. “Again.”

“I’m not even sorry!” Karma yells. She’s having trouble controlling the volume of her voice, she’s so excited. Amy leans away from her exaggeratedly like she, too, recognizes Karma’s having trouble controlling the volume of her voice. Karma just yells at Amy’s far away face, “We’re Homecoming Queens!”

“Oh my god, I know, stop yelling!” Amy yells back. She looks so happy, though. Her dress is amazing, her makeup is still flawless (even though Karma’s pretty sure she’s sweated most of her own off, that’s what she gets for actually dancing at her Homecoming Dance), and she looks really good in her crown. Karma, of course, took the tiara.

Karma makes Amy dance with her twice more before she’ll consider leaving and they trade off who gets to lead. It’s perfect. Amy swears she hates organized school functions, but she is a big fat liar because Karma knows for a fact that Amy had a great time. How could she not? They’re homecoming Queens, and that will never stop being awesome!

It’s cool for October when they get outside and Karma shivers a little under her flimsy wrap. She is regretting not taking Amy’s advice on bringing a jacket and Amy is looking at her like she sees Karma regretting it. Karma’s dress is incredible, though, she wasn’t about to cover it up and they were mostly inside anyway, so it hadn’t been a problem before now. Amy throws an arm around Karma’s shoulders and pulls Karma in close to her side. Karma wraps both arms around Amy’s waist and nearly knocks Amy off balance when she does. Amy is like a space heater under her jacket and Karma holds on tight until Amy stops next to a beat-up Toyota. Karma doesn’t let go or even look up, she just keeps shivering against Amy and waits for her to remember where they parked.

“I think we’re over there,” Amy finally ventures. She does not sound at all confident in this prediction and Karma calls her out. “There are two of us, you know, you could try and remember where we park once in a while.”

“That’s your job, mine is just to stand here and look pretty,” Karma says, but she disengages from her death grip on Amy’s super warm torso and looks around for the car. She spots it, three rows over and one back, and points triumphantly. She doesn’t see the taillights on the car in front of her when she starts walking, but she hears the tires squeal when the driver slams his brakes, his bumper half a foot from Karma’s side. Karma is not proud of the embarrassingly shrill way she screams in shock.

Immediately, Amy is back at her side and she slams both fists down on the guy’s trunk so hard Karma actually thinks she dented it. She screams “Watch where you’re fucking going, asshole!” so fiercely that Karma flinches a little when Amy turns to her; she’s never seen Amy so angry before. They’re both shaking when they start back towards their car again.

“What is wrong with you?!” Amy bites out behind her. Karma feels Amy grip her by the elbow before Amy forcibly spins her around. Karma opens her mouth to tell Amy not to manhandle her like that, that she’s sorry and she messed up but she doesn’t need a lecture, but the look on Amy’s face pulls her up short; it knocks the wind right out of her. Amy takes Karma’s face in both hands, “You didn’t even look. He could’ve run you over and you could’ve died, Karma, or been paralyzed, and I love you and—” Amy blinks and pulls her hands away from Karma’s face and takes a deliberate step back.

“I know, okay, but I’m fine. I’m sorry,” Karma says. She still feels off-kilter; her adrenaline’s still rushing and she’s cold again and Amy looks like she might cry or else yell at Karma some more, Karma can't tell. Karma hopes she doesn't do either, she just wants to get in the car and crank the heater up. “You wanna unlock the car?”

Amy blinks again then shakes her head as if to clear it. She starts tearing into her purse for the keys. Karma’s pretty sure she’s crying, but it's dark out and this parking lot is grievously lacking in overhead lighting. Amy sniffs and wipes at her nose with the back of one hand.

“Hey,” Karma calls softly. Amy looks up at her from across the hood of her mom’s car. She’s definitely crying and probably looking at Karma with more gravity than this moment deserves, but Karma speaks sincerely. “I’m sorry I scared you.”

Amy takes a shaky breath and rolls her eyes and gives Karma a watery smile, “You better be; that heart attack just took ten years off my life.”

They get in the car and Karma reaches across the center console to squeeze Amy’s hand. She vows to make it up to her Queen with tacos if Amy would be so kind as to escort her through the drive-thru.

 

 

viii. 

They don’t exactly stop being lesbians after Homecoming. They could’ve, Karma guesses, but it kind of seems unnecessary. They could’ve done the whole public break up scene thing, Karma even said she’d totally let Amy call her a bitch and even slap her if she didn’t do it too hard, you know, so it would look passionate, but Amy still said no. Amy basically had a prime opportunity to hit Karma in the face with zero retribution and she was squandering it, Karma told her, and wouldn’t Amy be regretful when she never got the chance again? Amy had promptly flicked Karma on the forehead just to prove that she could do what she pleased and Karma smacked her with a throw pillow to prove that she was serious about retribution.

 

To be honest, not much actually changed. After Homecoming, when there was nowhere for Shane to parade them around, and watching them kiss was old hat, no one seemed to care one way or another about whether or not they held hands in the hallway. So, they still did sometimes, because it was easier for Karma to keep them from being separated in a crowd and because Karma liked to squeeze Amy’s hand for emphasis when she was making a point and because Karma just liked holding Amy’s hand. It was like a reassurance that Amy was right there next to her. Karma just doesn’t make Amy kiss her all the time even if Karma still hugs her a lot.

 

Karma surprises herself, though, when she’s chatting with Liam after school one day and he asks how her girlfriend is. Karma stammers and says that they’re kind of not doing that anymore (because they kind of aren’t) and then Liam asks if she wants to go out that weekend since she’s a “free agent” now. Karma says that that hadn’t stopped Liam before and it’s a surprise to both of them. Karma had thought she’d say yes, she was prepared to say yes, but she opens her mouth and what comes out is: no, thank you.

 

Liam asked her out and she said no and the first thing she thinks is that she has to tell Amy. This is Breaking News and she wants to tell Amy. She doesn’t want to be standing here with Liam and his kicked-puppy face just waiting for things to get even more awkward. She wants to find Amy and tell her that she doesn’t want to go out with Liam.

 

Amy’s waiting out front for Karma like she always does and Karma is elated at the sight of her, of even just the back of her head. Karma knows the back of Amy’s head anywhere because she knows Amy and Karma is an idiot for not realizing it sooner. She wants to apologize for it and maybe beg Amy to forgive her. She’ll get down on her knees if she has to, just not in these leggings because they’re new.

 

“Amy!” Karma kind of yells when she reaches her, “I’m an idiot!”

 

Amy lifts both her eyebrows and Karma isn’t sure if it’s a bemused or amused expression she’s making, “Why do you sound so happy about that?”

 

“Because!” Karma forces herself to take a deep breath and use her inside voice. Even though they’re outside. “Liam asked me out! Like, out out, not clandestine meeting under the refreshments table out.”

 

“…oh.”

 

“I said no!” Karma might still be yelling.

 

“Oh?”

 

“Stop saying oh!” Karma is very disappointed that Amy is not appreciating the significance of this moment.

 

“Well, what do you want me to say?” Amy looks confused and a little exasperated so Karma takes her by both shoulders and adopts as serious an expression she can manage.

 

“Say ‘Karma, you’re an idiot’.”

 

“Karma, you’re an idiot,” Amy dutifully parrots back. She pushes Karma’s hands off her shoulders and looks at her feet. “Why are you an idiot? Because Liam finally asked you out and you didn’t say yes?”

 

Karma steps forward close enough that her feet bump Amy’s and she waits until Amy looks up again. “I’m an idiot because Liam asked me out and I didn’t say yes and I didn’t even realize I didn’t want to say yes until I didn’t.”

 

Amy blinks at her. “What?”

 

“I don’t want to date Liam.”

 

“Right…”

 

“Because we’re dating.”

 

“Riiiight…”

 

“Amy, we’re dating,” seriously, Amy is not picking up what Karma is putting down.

 

“You can change your inflection all you want, but I still don’t understand what you’re getting at,” Amy leans her weight back against the wall behind her and crosses her arms in what Karma recognizes as a defensive pose. “I thought you wanted to go out with Liam? I thought this whole dating thing was so you could be popular and go out with Liam?”

 

“So did I, but it’s not.”

 

“I give up then. What’s it about?”

 

“I love you,” Karma says. She says it like duh. Duh, she loves Amy. Amy is her best friend, partner in crime, number one, ride or die bitch, and Karma should probably not phrase it like that, she probably shouldn’t call Amy her bitch, but the point remains the same. She loves Amy and she’s an idiot because she’d had no idea. “I love you, and not in the 'friends'  way; in the biblical-sense. I’m in love with you.”

 

Amy is quiet for a long moment then she squints and side-eyes Karma a little bit. “The biblical sense?”

 

“It’s a turn of phrase, I’ve heard people turn that phrase before,” Karma defends. Amy steps away from the wall and drops her arms.

 

“You have not.” Karma puts her hands on Amy’s waist.

 

“You don’t know what I’ve heard, you don’t know my life.” Amy cups Karma’s face with both hands.

 

“I love you, too, by the way. Bee-tee-dubs,” Amy says. Her voice has gone soft and any trace of humor is gone from her eyes.

 

“Duh,” Karma says back. And she knows it. She knows it because of Homecoming. She knows it because of that letter. She knows it because of everything Amy does for her, no matter how crazy, just to see Karma happy. Up to and including being fake lesbians. Amy is insane and amazing and perfect and in love with her.  “Shut up and kiss me already.”

 

“What’s the magic word?” Amy teases even as she leans in.

 

Now,” Karma says against her mouth.