Aradia lives off-campus with a group of people she knew from sixth form, and her kitchen is wonderfully cosy. There's a great, oaken table in the centre of the room, standing sturdy on a neatly tiled floor, and chocolate-brown beams run across the ceiling. The oven works away in the corner to keep you warm as the wooden shutters keep out the dark of the night, and there are even bunches of garlic hanging from cupboard doors.
It'd be like a callback to the past, if the two of you weren't sat opposite one another, laptops placed back-to-back on the tabletop. Aradia's got a cup of hot chocolate sat next to her mouse pad, and every time she finds herself thirsty, she reaches out for it without looking, only locating it when her fingers bump against the side. She's so focused on what's going on inside of her screen that she's almost knocked it off the table twice, and no matter how many times you warn her that she's likely to end up short-circuiting her laptop by way of boiling water, she just tells you that it's fine, no reason to worry! You're starting to think that Vriska might be onto something with her constant accusations of meddling. Perhaps you are a tad too fussy for you own good, at times.
That said, you've been answering to the name of Fussyface for too long to not have already been aware of that on some level.
Putting Aradia's hot beverage mishandling out of your mind, you narrow your gaze, and stare intently at your own screen. Aradia's there too, albeit in a slightly more blocky form, equipped with a diamond pickaxe. Which, as far as you're concerned, is nothing short of a waste of resources at this stage in your game, but Aradia's just so eager to tunnel through cave systems that she becomes unwilling to listen to reason. Still, grievances with Aradia's frivolous crafting habits aside, the private server you're currently playing on was definitely worth the money. The two of you make a near-perfect Minecraft team: Aradia digs and digs, collects all of the raw materials, and you create. Right now, you're working on a wizard's tower. You've sheared an absurd number of sheep and dyed an absurd amount of wool, and each floor is going to have a different colour scheme.
You're going to need at least two treasuries. Oh, and somewhere to store your ever-growing charcoal collection as well.
“You're distracted,” Aradia states, slurping her hot chocolate loudly.
Your eyes immediately dart up to meet hers, but she's still staring at her screen, trying to suppress a smirk. You could tell her that you're fine, that you're simply focused on making certain that you've smelted down enough stone to make the smooth tower walls, but she knows she's right. To an extent, you have to agree with her. Your mind is all over the shop this evening, shoulders unnecessarily tense, and you haven't rambled on about the interior of your topmost floor in a good fifteen minutes.
Luckily, Aradia knows you well enough to realise that you're not being intentionally rude. If anything, she looks a little curious, and you want to tell her what's on your mind, just because you know that she'd never pry. There's something about her that's naturally warm, something that let you know that your secrets would be safe with her from the very day you met her. In a lot of regards, she's a very straightforward person. You know a few people who could stand to take a leaf out of her book.
“Perhaps,” you say, trying to sound calm and collected, but right click one too many times, and accidentally place two blocks. With a sigh, you switch over to your pickaxe (iron, not diamond), and get rid of it. That's another piece of cobblestone that's going to need smelting.
Aradia smiles, briefly, glancing at you over the tops of your laptop screens.
“What happend?” she asks, and then brightens. “It was something good, wasn't it?”
You frown. Or at least you intend to frown, but your mouth has different ideas. It makes some sort of bizarre, elasticated motion, and you're smiling, scowling, and chewing on your lower lip all at once, having managed to reach the pinnacle of bemusement. Aradia laughs, almost spraying hot chocolate all over her keyboard, and you cringe, not believing how patient that woman can be. All you want is for her to fire question upon question at you, to interrogate you, because everything is such a muddle in your mind that you know of no way to express yourself that doesn't involve the words being forced out of you.
There is no easy way to say “I spent last night with two girls, at the same time.” There's also no way to explain that it was perfectly innocent, so far as innocence and limb-tangles on the sofa can go hand in hand, without getting your tongue in a twist. No clothing was removed. You could preface the explanation with that statement, but then you'd have to tact on that there wasn't really much of anything, actually, no wandering hands, and certainly no kissing. It's beginning to seem as if the reason it isn't easy to say is because there isn't anything to say.
Aradia would likely be entirely underwhelmed if you told her that you'd lost your double-cuddle virginity, watched a pleasant film, and then departed from two girls on very civilised, chaste terms. Not that you didn't try to make more of it; vocally, that was. When the film drew to a close, and you were at a stage in your life whereby you couldn't imagine ever letting go of either Vriska or Rose, because everything had finally settled down and it was all so comfortable, Rose, apparently, failed to share in this sentiment. She got to her feet, stretched out her arms, and thanked you for a lovely evening, really, as she knelt down to pick up her crumpled, still damp coat.
You asked her if she wanted a lift home, and she told you it was fine. You asked her if she'd perhaps like to discuss the implications of what just happened, and she said that yes, of course she did, but it was rather late in the night, wasn't it? And with Rose gone, Vriska hadn't been willing to say much of anything, and had quickly absconded to her room, leaving you convinced that you had imagined everything that happened since arriving home.
“Is it something romantic?”
Oh, thank god. Aradia's mercy is a blessing. You nod, and you nod enthusiastically, as if to say to her yes, please continue questioning me, you may have the answers that I don't.
“Ooh!” Aradia releases her mouse, and entwines her fingers together, so that she can prop her chin atop them. “Are you seeing somebody, Kanaya? That's great!”
You like the way she's not only assumed that she's correct, but that it's great as well. It's not that you're seeing somebody, per se, so much as you are somebodies. Plural. You think. Actually, scratch that. You have absolutely no idea of what's going on in your life; you don't know if last night was a fluke, a one-off, whether you've got the wrong end of the stick; you don't know where the hell Rose and Vriska's scheming is leading.
“Well,” you say slowly, feigned attention finally leaving Minecraft altogether. “It's— complicated.”
Understatement of the year. Aradia makes no effort to seem anything but delighted by this revelation, the potential fork in the road, and nods eagerly for you to continue.
“And when I say complicated, what I actually mean is that I have no idea whether or not this is an actual scenario with any sort of longevity, or whether it is, as we have said, a romantic one in any nature. I have been left in the dark. I have—” Pausing, you scrunch up your face. It's now or never. No need to keep beating around the bush, because it's only going to get endlessly more difficult with every word that escapes your lips and assaults your reputation. “There are three of us involved.”
Aradia's eyes widen, and then she's grinning, just like the time she discovered the vein of diamond used in her entirely unnecessary pickaxe. She closes her laptop, and you know this has to be as serious as you've imagined it to. Unfortunately, but also unsurprisingly, you haven't explained yourself particularly well. Aradia asks if that means you've got two potential suitors to choose between, and your teeth chatter with the elongated errrrr that reverberates inside your throat.
“Actually,” you begin. Actually isn't the right word. There's no guarantee that you're on the right tracks here, and you should've said something like perhaps or maybe or I am beginning to believe that the impression I'm under could potentially be the right one, but I do not wish to commit to anything and thus risk humiliating myself in the future. But now you've said actually, and you have to stick with it. You have to go into this, guns blazing, not about to be messed around by anyone. “I believe it's more of a case of there being three of us, and no choice to be made.”
The kitchen is, all of a sudden, ridiculously quiet. The only thing you hear is the roar of the gas fire inside of the oven, and the sound of flames being shot upwards only brings the chill of the room to your attention. Aradia's grin fades, and she looks as if her thoughts are currently located a million miles away. She licks at her lower lip as if she's just realised that there's hot chocolate left over there, and you wonder if she'd notice if you just slumped so far in your seat that you slid under the table and promptly disappeared into a black hole.
It's the sort of thing that should have been kept to yourself, and you can't stand the thought of people intruding on your personal life merely to judge you. Aradia's lips part, and you brace yourself for a lecture that amounts to her just not understanding it. Not that you can blame her. You still don't understand it yourself.
“Rose and Vriska?” she asks, and then stifles a laugh. “Kanaya, I never imagined you could be so devious!”
She says it all with good humour, and for a moment, you can't remember how to make your mouth work, can't do that newfangled thing where it somehow manges to form coherent words. Are you really that transparent? Or is Aradia just psychic? Worst still, there's always the very simple explanation that she's stalking you.
“How did you know?” you ask, voice squeaking.
Aradia waves her hand, as if dismissing you. “You're always talking about the two of them, and they're both very pretty girls,” she says, and then pauses, face scrunched up. “Well, Rose is a very pretty girl, and Vriska tries to make people forget that she could be, too.”
You try to come up with a reply, but all you can think to do is demand to know why she's so okay with this. You're almost disappointed by the way this hasn't dissolved into a screaming match, except for the part where Aradia is a very dear friend who you don't want to lose. When you finally gather your scattered thoughts and move to question her, she just opens her laptop back up with an Oh!, and starts saying that she had just stumbled across a few blocks of gold, and didn't you need that to decorate the outside of the wizard tower's front door?
Well. That's one conversation successfully closed. You've come to no conclusions whatsoever, but you feel better for having spoken about it even a little.
Rose kisses you in the library on Wednesday afternoon.
Vriska kisses you in the kitchen on Wednesday morning.
You're up bright and early for your morning lecture, and Vriska's in the kitchen. Not making you breakfast, as you might delude yourself into thinking, and not making herself breakfast, as you might well expect. She's just sort of sitting on the worktop, swinging her feet, as if lugging herself over to the sofa is far too much effort. As you go to put your breakfast together, you actively try not to look at her, which only makes it all the more difficult not to do that very thing. Your eyes betray you, and your gaze keeps wandering, because Vriska's sat right next to your bowl, wearing nothing more than a pair of Spider-Man boxers designed for twelve year-old boys and a faded blue tank top.
You consider the fact that she's purposely doing this to confuse you all the more. Your evening spent with Aradia did nothing to clear things up, and Rose and Vriska have been oddly absent ever since the film night. Vriska spent much of yesterday doing important things in her room, and not once did you see either of them on Pesterchum. It's clear what's happening here: Vriska and Rose have teamed up purely to torture you.
Your conclusion becomes all the more concrete when Vriska places one of her hands against your shoulder and chuckles under her breath, only growing ever amused when you don't look up at her.
“Oh man, Kanaya,” she drawls, knowing exactly what she's doing, “When did you become so shy?”
Protesting against any accusations of shyness is entirely useless unless there's eye contact involved. That's your first mistake. You look up at Vriska, about to tell her how unfair this whole thing is on you, because neither her nor Rose will give you a straightforward explanation as to what's actually going on between the three of you, and then fail miserably when she smiles at you. She smiles at you and you decide it's in your best interest to suddenly become very, very quiet, and don't even flinch when a hand presses to your cheek.
Vriska's looking at you like she has all the time in the world to decide what to do with you, and your only thought at that exact time shouldn't revolve solely around arriving promptly at your impending lecture. Until Vriska leans in closer, that is, and then the only thing on you mind is how you're not prepared for this, how you have absolutely no idea what to do, and that it's going to be horrible and humiliating for the both of you. It takes Vriska a lifetime to press your lips together, but when she does, everything melts around you. The knots in your stomach loosen, you breathe in deeply through your nose and feel warmth flood your chest, and you have absolutely no idea how you and Vriska haven't had your mouths together a thousand times before, because this just works.
You're on your tiptoes as she kisses you, humming softly, and you can barely believe that it's happening at all. Not in part because Vriska's capable of being so gentle. You dread her breaking off the kiss, because you know that you're going to be overwhelmed by the urge to lean back in and kiss her again, and for a few, wonderful moments, there is absolutely no confusion in your life. There is just you and this usually endlessly frustrating girl, kissing in your kitchen, and everything makes the exact right amount of sense.
When Vriska's lips leave yours, she doesn't go far. She keeps your foreheads pressed together, and even with your vision blurred by the closeness of the contact, you can still make out a flush across her face. You don't even want to know what you look like right now. You feel fantastic, light on your feet, and that's enough for you.
“Heh,” Vriska says, and then takes a moment to add on something more. “Lalonde wanted to waaaaaaaait, but I said it would look like we were purposely ignoring you or something!”
You smile, wordless, for once, and think that Vriska definitely had the right idea in this situation.
“Anyway!” she continues, leaning back, ruffling her own hair with one hand. “You should get to class. I don't want to make you late!”
Before you can object and say that it doesn't matter whether you're there exactly on time or not, because you don't really recall where you go to university or why with any particular clarity at this exact moment, Vriska's hopped off the counter, and is making a break for her bedroom. Not before leaning forward and clumsily kissing the corner of your mouth, though.
You're beaming and you shouldn't be, because clearly Rose wanted to wait for a reason, but you can't bring yourself to stop. All day you're humming under your breath, bringing your fingers to you lips when you think nobody is looking, and even when Rose runs into you, you can't bring yourself to feel guilty. And why should you? Kissing Vriska is just another thing you have in common with her.
She asks if you'd like you accompany her to the library and offers you out her arm. You take it, well aware that she doesn't really want to sit and read, but spend a good long while keeping up the pretence nonetheless. You sit with Rose in a quiet corner, and her hand slowly drifts towards yours, when she isn't busy turning pages. Out of the corner of your eye, you watch as she reads the last paragraph on one page over and over again, so as to avoid having to let go of you too quickly.
You bite on the inside of your mouth, doing all that you can not to smile. Rose would be embarrassed if she knew you were even guessing at what she's up to, and so you keep it to yourself, not wanting her to break away. After exactly thirty minutes, during which you have absorbed approximately nothing from your own text of choice, Rose neatly closes her book and moves onto her feet.
You look up at her, disappointed, already missing the feel of her hand against yours.
“Apologies,” Rose says, pulling her jacket on. “I've a lecture to attend and a comment on my last essay to refute.”
You feel sincerely sorry for anyone who has to argue any point on a piece of writing with Rose, and get the impression that Rose will feel duly vindicated in a few short hours. With Rose, there's no telling whether that comment had to do with the subject matter itself or her unique choice of vocabulary and the syntax employed to arrange it, but you've no doubt that she triple-checked her essay a dozen times before submitting it, and so can't consider herself to be even slightly at fault. She's grinning, and you expect the lecturer's blood to run cold at the sight of her.
With Rose leaving, that gives you time to actually dig into your book. You say your goodbyes, both very much aware that there's more that could be said, and Rose makes it three steps before suddenly hesitating. She glances over her shoulder at you, and you'd miss the slight nod she gives herself if you weren't looking at her quite as intently as you are.
She rushes back over to you, and leans down as if to give you a quick, casual kiss on the lips. As soon as contact's made, rather than sending sparks flying, an icy sort of thaw covers your lips, binding them together for what, in that moment, feels like it may be forever. If you weren't so focused on the fact that Rose is kissing you, actually kissing you, then you'd relish in how gratifying it is to realise that some things take even her by surprise; that she's found herself caught in a kiss, hand moving to your shoulder for support and you place a hand against her cheek.
Her mouth feels very different to Vriska's. Not better, not worse; just different, because they're Rose and Vriska, worlds apart, and you can't believe that you've kissed two uniquely wonderful women in one day.
Rose stands back up straight, and purses her lips together, neatly dabbing around them to ensure that too much lipstick hasn't been smeared. You don't have the heart to tell her that much of the black's been worn away altogether, and make a mental note to check your own lips in your mirror before leaving the library.
You and Rose says goodbye to one another for the second time, and she takes a few steps backwards, trying not to smile in any manner vaguely suggesting that she's flustered, before finally reminding herself to turn back around.
And that neatly sums up your day. Some other stuff may well have happened, but as far as you've been informed, none of it revolved around kissing.
tentacleTherapist [TT] began pestering garmentAmeliorator [GA]
TT: Good news.
GA: I Dont Get Apprehensive When You Start Conversations Off Like That At All
TT: I know.
TT: It's why I do it.
GA: How Endlessly Gracious Of You
GA: Are You Going To Impart This Good News Then
TT: I've been nominated by the Lalonde-Serket Committee (hereafter referred to purely as the "Lalonde Committee" for reasons that will become increasingly clear to you once you finish this sentence) to be the sole person responsible for getting you up to speed on the situation at hand.
GA: Oh Wonderful
GA: So Finally Somebody Is Going To Tell Me What The Hell Is Actually Going On
GA: Thats Too Bad I Was Getting Used To Living My Life In A Constant State Of Uncertainty and Confusion
GA: As Well As The Vaguely Giddy Guilt That Comes With Kissing One Of You Behind The Others Back
GA: Oh I Kissed Vriska For The Record
GA: In Case You Didnt Know Which I Find Highly Unlikely Considering How Much She Thrives On Bragging
TT: Yes, yes. You've kissed Vriska, I've kissed Vriska, and we have both kissed one another. An absurd amount of kissing, true, but at least the initial hand has been dealt.
GA: Urrgh Are We Getting Into Mixed Metaphors Now
TT: Absolutely not. The Lalonde Committee gives its commitment to the cause with the utmost dedication.
GA: You Know
GA: Ive Still Yet To Ascertain The Actual Purpose Of This Committee
GA: I Am Under The Impression That You Cannot Form A Committee All By Yourself No Matter How Dedicated You Truly Are
GA: Okay Fine Ill Be Quiet Before Vriska Rushes In And Blurts Out Whats Really Happening
GA: Proving Once And For All That Committees Are Well And Truly Unnecessary
TT: Perish the thought.
TT: I've only just finished crafting the membership badges.
GA: Just In Time To Continue Avoiding The Subject It Seems
TT: Shut up for a moment and let me get this over and done with.
GA: Consider Me Silenced Until Such A Time That You Believe It Crucial For Me To Flex My Conversation Muscles
TT: No matter how Serket might make things out to be, she and I aren't in competition with one another. It might do something to dampen your ego, but we aren't fighting over you.
TT: It's like you said before: you wouldn't know how to choose between the two of us, were such a choice ever presented to you. By the way, I don't have any doubt that you're cringing at my near-verbatim decision to quote you on that, but some things need to be out in the open.
TT: And it works for both myself and Vriska. It works out for everyone involved, if you think about it.
TT: I can't deny liking you, and you clearly like me.
TT: In the same way, you and Vriska hold affections for one another. It's sweet, really.
TT: As for Vriska and myself...
TT: You know.
TT: So that's where we stand. We aren't in competition, you aren't going to be tormented by the weight of the decision you're going to inevitably have to make, because we are a (for lack of a better word) a couple.
GA: A Couple
GA: All Three Of Us Are A Couple
TT: Didn't you just agree to not speak until I gave you the all clear? I already said it was for lack of a better word. Don't pretend that it doesn't get the point across painfully well.
TT: Right, I'll assume the sudden peace mean that you're taking your vow of silence more seriously this time.
TT: To paraphrase what Vriska herself told me, if it helps make things easier around your flat, the two of you can continue to be as you were, for the time being. Just so you don't feel compelled to enter in on anything with unnatural haste.
TT: There. That just about sums it up.
TT: Go ahead. Get on with whatever it is you're no doubt dying to say.
GA: Let me get this straight.
GA: Im Your Girlfriend
GA: Im Also Vriskas Girlfriend
GA: Vriska Is Also Your Girlfriend
GA: Youre Also Vriskas Girlfriend
GA: As Well As My Girlfriend
GA: And Its Fine That Vriska Is My Girlfriend Too
TT: Oh? Oddly foreboding.
TT: How does that work for you?
GA: Id Say
GA: Very Well Indeed
GA: Its Hard To Convey How Much Im Smiling Right Now In Words
TT: You could try using an emoticon.
GA: Wouldnt That Be Weird Though
TT: You're right. It would. I wouldn't want your apparent exhilaration to transform you into another person altogether.
TT: I'll just have to take your word for it.
Your first official date comes in the form of another film night. You spend no fewer than ninety minutes getting ready once you've got the showering part of the process over and done with, and when you make the trip from your bedroom to your living area, find that Vriska's at least made the effort to pull on a pair of jeans and what could well be a clean t-shirt. Rose arrives so precisely on time that you can only conclude she turned up early and waited in the corridor until it was eight-thirty exactly, and looks so wonderful that you momentarily forget that there's no longer a reason to be jealous of Vriska.
The date goes amazingly well, for certain values of amazing. The film itself goes entirely to waste, demoted to background noise as it is, but other than that, you can't find a single thing to complain about. Sat on the sofa, you make yourself comfortable against Rose, which only inspires Vriska to sprawl out over your lap. You've barely hit the play button when Rose begins to lazily kiss you, not even trying to act as if she's remotely interested in the film, and with something like a snarl, Vriska decides that she's missing out. Before you know it, they're both trying to kiss you at once, and it's dizzying and honestly a little frightening, and you don't want to blink, lest you wake up.
And then, when you get to your feet to microwave another bag of popcorn, you return to find Rose and Vriska kissing. Vriska doesn't seem to be taking half as much care as she did with you, and Rose seems to only respond grudgingly, in spite of the way she grips at one of Vriska's shoulders, and you almost drop the popcorn as you come to a sudden halt. It's like you've intruded on something you shouldn't have, and it takes a few seconds for you to realise that, oh, this is alright, Rose and Vriska aren't going to look up at you and demand to know what you're doing, hovering over them like that. In fact, Rose and Vriska don't pay you much heed at all. Feeling oddly clumsy stood there on your feet, you carefully place the popcorn down on the coffee table, and take a seat on the very edge of the sofa.
That's what it takes for you to realise that you aren't always going to be in the middle of things. That Vriska and Rose don't revolve entirely around you, strictly speaking. In a situation like this, you're never going to get anywhere if you expect to be the centre of attention all the time, and don't accept that things are going to have to switch around, every now and again. It almost serves as the first bump in the road, until it suddenly occurs to you that you don't have to avert your eyes; that it really is okay for you to watch as Rose and Vriska kiss like that. Because they're your girlfriends, and you have every right to worry your teeth against your lower lip as Vriska catches Rose's between her teeth.
The film finishes, Vriska spends the entirety of the credits with her mouth plastered against the side of your throat, and Rose tells you, in great detail, all about her latest assignment. You think it had something to do with psychology, but the resounding thought in your mind at that time is that you're going to need to accessorise by way of a scarf tomorrow. There's an air of heavy expectation when the DVD comes to the end of its lifespan, but Rose dispels that by stretching her hands above her head to go along with an exaggerated yawn, and points out how late it's become.
You and Vriska see her to the front door. Once again, she turns down the offer of a lift. You wrap your arms around her, kiss her lips, and thank her for a wonderful evening. Vriska smacks her behind with a loud, satisfying slap as she leaves, momentarily sending her onto tiptoes. With Rose gone, Vriska's claiming all of your attention for her own, tugging you towards the sofa, leaving you with no option but to gracefully stumble onto it as she propels herself onto you.
She's a very handsy creature, but probably doesn't even realise as much. She's got her fingers at the hem of the shirt you ironed with painstaking care not three hours ago, and can't decide whether she wants to kiss your lips, your neck, the line of your jaw. You oblige her for a few minutes, but once you reach the point whereby you slowly begin to believe that you'll never be able to pull yourself from the sofa's cushiony embrace, you sit up as best you can, and say, “Didn't Rose say that you'd suggested we act wholly — platonic, while alone in the flat?”
Vriska leans back, tries blowing her hair out of her eyes, and then has to take a hand away from your side to brush it back.
“Oh— yeah. Guess I did,” she grumbles, not looking sure of why she'd ever suggest a thing like that. With legs that have no intention of serving her as well they could, Vriska gets to her feet, turns in a full circle, and then reaches out to you. She helps tug you up, and once your fingers are entwined, you lead her over to her bedroom door, and say goodnight to her in the same way that you did Rose.
She grins, tells you that she'll be up in time for breakfast tomorrow morning, if you happen to be around and making some for yourself, hint hint, and then looks far too proud of herself when she doesn't pull you into her bedroom with her.
From your limited experience with relationships (by which you mean your endlessly helpful, entirely necessary, meddling in the affairs of your friends), you know that they aren't easy. Two people being together leads to one possible combination of participants together at any one time, whereas three people trying to embark on a relationship leads to four potential groups. And by that logic, it seems that it should be four times as difficult as what's considered to be a regular relationship.
And yet for a few weeks, things go amazingly smoothly. Vriska and Rose bicker and argue as often as they're together, but they tend to do so with their arms wrapped around each other and smiles on their faces, which does a lot to lessen the effect. You spend your time with Rose in quiet little coffee shops and second-hand book stores, when you aren't down at the stables with Maplehoof or over at Rose's flat, listening to her play her violin; and when you're with Vriska, you're out doing what she defines as awesome things. Whether that involves traipsing around local arcades, hanging out at the ice rink, or losing at video games in your apartment.
You participate in a healthy balance of the above when you're with the both of them, which your timetables permit a handful of times a week. Sometimes you even go out to restaurants. You feel a little bad that Rose always insists on paying, but she says that watching the waiter's appalled expressions as Vriska digs into her meal with the incorrect cutlery and not an ounce of etiquette pays for itself.
What you don't have to wonder about is what Rose and Vriska do when they're alone together. In actuality, you find that you put it out of your mind so very much, repress all knowledge so firmly, that you begin to forget that they ever had something before you became tangled up in it all.
A rude reminder comes on a Sunday morning, when you rise and shine at the respectful hour of nine AM, and come across Rose and Vriska in the kitchen. Vriska in her silly superhero boxers and a vest (dressing like this around the flat hasn't become a thing she'd stopped, in spite of you assuming that it might now be considered awkward), and Rose in Vriska's Kesha t-shirt which, supposedly, she only bought for a joke. You look at Rose and Vriska, they stare back at you, before sharing a look of Oh, shit with one another.
There's no way for you to not know what they were doing, and there's no way that they'll ever be able to convince you that it isn't what it looks like. All of a sudden, you're torn between feeling like you're about to burst into hot, uncontrollable tears, and being wholly, ashamedly turned on. Very quietly, you cross the room, and take a seat on the sofa. You tell yourself that you're being ridiculous. Rose and Vriska have slept with each other dozens of times before, so you don't see why it happening now should do anything to upset you this much. They're not purposely excluding you in not waiting. If anything, it's your own fault for not quite having the nerve to broach the matter, just yet. It isn't that you aren't ready; the right time just hasn't presented itself yet, and Rose and Vriska shouldn't have to suffer because of that.
Thinking it through logically does absolutely nothing to make any of it any better. Your vision is tunnelling, your mind feels too narrow for you to continue with the pattern of thought, and maybe someone's shoved cotton wool into your ears, because you see Rose's lips moving before you hear what it is she says.
She's sat down opposite you, perched on the edge of the coffee table, while Vriska stands a way off, arms folded across her chest. Rose reaches out, hand pressing to the side of your neck, fingertips brushing against your short hair. Head tilted to the side, she gives a little smile, and then continues speaking. You make sure to tune in, this time.
“I'm sorry, Kanaya. Vriska challenged me to a drinking contest, and one thing led to another.” This isn't Rose trying to excuse herself. She's just talking around the subject, like there's anything that needs to be explained. “It wasn't—”
Rose pauses, shoulders rising as she tries to find the right words. She's never had much luck when it comes to admitting her own faults.
“Feel free to jump in at any time, Vriska,” Rose says, sighing.
“Fussyface, we are soooooooo sorry!” Vriska says quickly, and you're surprised that she hasn't just shot Rose a nasty look and shrugged her off. “Next time, we'll go to Lalonde's.”
“Vriska,” Rose hisses at her, as if she can draw the words out of the air before you take in the meaning of them.
You lift a hand, silencing them both. If nothing else, the urge to cry has left you. You just feel the slightest bit shaken, like you're only just now realising you woke up with a hangover. They don't need to explain themselves, and they don't need to hide away when they want to be together. Just the idea of them being so secretive about it makes you a little uncomfortable, and you let out a dry, humourless laugh. You never would've thought you'd be faced with the problem of your two girlfriends having sex without you, while you sleep a room away.
They're absolutely within their rights to do this. They've never done anything to pressure you into anything at all, Vriska's insistence on you drinking beer that costs less than a pound a can notwithstanding, and if anything, you're getting in the way here. It's difficult to realise that you don't really have anyone to talk about this with. If you had a problem in any other aspect of your life, you'd go to either Rose or Vriska, but it's difficult to talk to them about anything when it involves the two of them. Oh, it's certainly the right thing to do, likely to resolve things quickly and neatly, but it's also the hard thing to do. There's Aradia, but she's given you space as well as understanding when it comes to this matter, and you almost don't want her to know how caught up in it you already are.
“I...” you begin, not looking at either of them. “I am not certain why I'm even upset.”
“It's perfectly reasonable You feel excluded on a very understandable level, because while you're at one physical plateau in our relationship, Vriska and I are at another. While we all do things in pairs, it wasn't particularly decent of us to go ahead and leave you out of this—aspect of things,” Rose begins to explain, as matter-of-factly as ever, “But keep in mind, that Vriska and I were already here before this. We aren't moving on with regards to... intimacy. We have other things to work on, that you and I already have. Like mutual respect.”
“Yeah!” Vriska chimes in helpfully, bringing a hand down against your shoulder. “And forget what I said before. I can definitely go without doing it with Lalonde until you're ready to join in.”
“Your way with words is unparalleled, Serket.”
They both look at you, expecting you to say something more, but your mind is elsewhere. You wonder what your mother would say if she knew about the mess you'd got yourself in. Never mind wondering about what she'd say if she knew all about the trouble your two girlfriends bring with them; you want to know what she's say if she knew you had one girlfriend. She's always been an open-minded woman, and you're ninety-nine percent certain that she'd be accepting. Which still leaves that nagging corner of your mind that reminds you over and over again of how badly it could go. It's always different when it's your own child.
No need to make this harder on yourself than the rest of the world would.
You get to your feet so abruptly that Rose holds her hands out, like she needs to steady you. Scratching the back of your head, you look over to the kitchen, frowning.
“And what, exactly, were the two of you doing in there?”
“Making breakfast?” Vriska asks uncertainly, like she doesn't understand your question.
“Oh, that seems like a successful venture,” you say with a sigh, and hurry to make your way over there. All that they've managed between themselves thus far is to drop half a block of butter into a pan. Picking it up, you tip the butter back into the still open tub, and use the cooking spray on the pan. “Vriska, the last thing you successfully cooked was a crumpled beer can over a lighter. Rose, your idea of a meal consists of a black coffee and half a pastry. Please, both of you, sit down before you move me to tears, and allow me to put something that's actually edible together.”
Irritating girls that they are, they don't listen to you when it comes to sitting down. As you cook, Rose leans herself against your back, chin rested on your shoulder, and says that perhaps you should give cooking classes, some time. When you tell her that you're there to feed the hungry masses that flock to your flat, not teach, she supposes that she'll just have to drape her arms around your waist. Vriska pours all three of you out glasses of orange, and happily informs you that you've got more than Rose does.
What started terribly turns out to be an absolutely lovely day, all in all. They're both very sorry, and though they don't directly apologise again, it's clear enough that they're doing all they can to make it up to you. Best to forgive and forget you decide, and take advantage of their willingness to let you dress them up and take measurements for upcoming designs while it lasts.
Aradia shrieks as she tumbles into the lava, smashes at half a dozen keys, and then covers her face with both hands when she realises how futile it is.
This is the third time it's happened in the last two hours. You don't even glance up from your screen.
“If you ceased crafting diamond pickaxes, and instead utilised the absurdly large stack of iron you yourself complied, there would be no reason for you to be moved to the brink of tears with each successive death.”
Dropping her head into her arms in lieu of respawning, Aradia grumbles something under her breath that you don't quite catch, but assume it has something to do with her not wanting to play again. Ever. She didn't want to play again last time, either, but then promptly recalled a vein of gold she'd yet to mine out, and entered back into your shared world with some level of reluctance. With a sigh when Aradia refuses to move, you leave the seventeenth floor of your wizard's tower, adequately equip yourself, and head down to the cave system she was excavating.
“There,” you say, lava successfully covered with cobblestone. “This particular pool of lava no longer poses a threat to you, so please return to your much appreciated efforts of breaking down the land into manageable and usable pieces.”
Aradia pulls her head from the cradle of her arms like it's six in the morning and her alarm's just sounded, and by the time you've furnished off two more floors of your tower, she's acting as if the lava-diamond incident never happened. It's as if gold makes a decent enough substitute, but just as her interest in the game is piqued again, you find your attention wandering. You're double-placing blocks in mid-air like nobody's business, occasionally glancing around Aradia's kitchen, like you're going to find something that will let you casually drift into what you're aching to discuss.
“What is it?” Aradia immediately asks, not even needing to look up at you. You must be radiating waves of awkwardness, and they're no doubt messing up her concentration.
You shake your head as if to say Nothing, nothing, and she raises an eyebrow, dragging all the vowels out in your name as if she's Vriska Serket.
“Fine. Perhaps it is something, after all,” you say, deciding to try honesty, this time. There's little point in pretending that you don't want to talk about this, anyway. “Things are going well. I've no doubt you know what things I am referring to, so I will refrain from making any more vague allusions to what they might be. It is simply that I feel the need to voice how well things are going in order to believe that it's all real. Or something along those lines. I'm being ridiculous, aren't I?”
“You aren't being ridiculous!” Aradia says quickly. Too quickly. The corners of her mouth twitch into a pre-emptively embarrassed smile, and she ducks her head, like she needs to be closer to the screen. “... I'm just saying, I know what you mean.”
Game long forgotten and your own potential issues at the very back of you mind, you lean forward, grinning. Aradia's cheeks flush ever so slightly, and you'd almost feel guilty, if getting this information out of her wasn't your god-given right as her friend.
“Did you finally go out with Sollux?” you ask, and it's Aradia's turn to be flustered.
She gives a little nod, and it's difficult to remember any of the apprehensions you were previously subjecting yourself to when there's a chance of getting Aradia to spill the beans. It's like you said: things are going well, and you're willing to keep working hard on your relationship, to ensure that it's the best it can possibly be for all parties involved.
For now, there are more important matters to attend to. Namely, you're about to fuss so hard that Vriska's bound to get irritated a handful of miles away and not know why.