Svetlana and Florence have been seeing each other for a few months, and everything is almost perfect. Although they can't be outright affectionate in public, the passing glances and small touches are enough to tide them over until they're alone. Their friends know - especially Freddie and Anatoly, but they don't talk about it, knowing that it's best to stay secret.
It's good enough for them, and is near perfect, if it wasn't for Florence's parents.
When the two of them are finally able to have alone time for more than fifteen minutes, they're laying in bed together, Florence's arm around Svetlana, when her phone rings. Florence sighs and gets out of bed, running a hand through her hair as she walks to the phone on her dresser, picking it up. "Hello?"
Svetlana shifts in bed, sitting up and listening intently. "Uh huh." A pause. "No, I didn't know." Florence stands with a hand on her hip, waiting for a place to speak. "I'm not seeing anyone. I'm far too busy to - uh huh." More silence, waiting to interject. Finally she sighs and says, "Look, I need to go. Bye. Love you too."
Florence hangs up, placing the phone back on the receiver a little more roughly than needed. "What is it?" Svetlana asks, as Florence rubs her eyes.
"My cousin is getting married, and my mother wants to know when I am," she tells her, and drops her hand to the side. "And I can't tell her...you know."
"Oh." Florence comes back to the bed, sitting on the side, and Svetlana sits up, looking at her from behind. Then, she says, delicately, "What if your parents find out?"
"Sveta," she sighs, covering her face. Svetlana knows that's her answer - anything else would be too dismal. So she moves and wraps her arms around Florence, sitting in the silence with her.
"We'll elope," Florence says suddenly, and before Svetlana can question her, she continues. "If they can't accept it, we'll just elope."
The two of them grow silent again, and Svetlana whispers for Florence to lie back down, which she does, and she falls asleep in just a few minutes. While looking down at her sleeping, Svetlana turns the idea over in her head, and finds that she wouldn't mind it.
Florence is studying for her senior midterms, and like all the years before when she studied, she thinks she's going to go crazy.
She has her chemistry, history and math textbooks all out around her, and her business one is open as she studies the words over and over again. The amount of coffee mugs grow next to her, and when Svetlana brings her a fourth mug, she leans over and kisses her temple. "Don't you think you should take a break?"
Florence shakes her head, but her hand covers her face as she sighs, frustrated. "If I take a break, I'll probably fall asleep." When Svetlana sits beside her and rubs her back, she leans back and looks up at the ceiling. "What am I even gonna do with a business degree? Have I wasted four years of my life?"
"Don't talk like that, Florence," she says, and glances at the books. Svetlana isn't going to college herself but can't imagine how Florence has done it, judging from the late nights she stayed up cramming for tests, passing out between classes on their couch. Florence fumbles with her arm and takes the scrunchie off her wrist to put her hair up in a ponytail. She looks so pretty with her hair up, Svetlana thinks, and when Florence leans back over her books, her hand stops on her back and rests there.
"It'll be better," Svetlana reassures her, her fingers tapping on her back. "When we're married and live in the suburbs with our kids."
At this, Florence looks at the wall in front of her, then laughs, probably from exhaustion, harder than usual. She looks at Svetlana, who's blushing, and Florence's face softens, a smile still on her lips. "Sorry, I...do you want to get married?"
"Yes," she answers, and then adds, "Only if you do. And it wouldn't be legal..."
"I do. Although, I'm not sure about the kids..." Svetlana smiles at this, and Florence kisses her when she does. "But first, let's worry about my studies. Because if I can't get a job with my degree, then I can't give you your dream wedding."
Florence kisses her nose for good measure and turns back to the book in front of her. When Svetlana leaves her to study, she comes back in the room later in the night and finds Florence asleep on her book, and Svetlana thinks she could marry her right then and there.
After getting a job at a hotel, something she never thought she would do, after two years of being unable to find a job outside of waiting tables, Freddie insists that Florence and Svetlana come over to his and Anatoly's apartment to celebrate.
It isn't a party as much as it is the four of them gathering and drinking and laughing, and Svetlana at some point falls into Florence's lap, and she wraps an arm around Svetlana's waist. When she sinks closer, and rests her head on her chest, Freddie asks "So, when's the wedding?"
Florence sees Anatoly shoot him a look from the kitchen, to which Freddie shrugs. "What do you mean?"
"When are you finally gonna pop the question?" Freddie takes another swig of his drink, and when he stands to refill his cup, Anatoly snatches the cup. "What the hell, babe?"
"Too many drinks," he answers, holding the cup above his head so Freddie can't reach it. Finally, Freddie sighs, giving in.
"At least you aren't gonna marry a complete jerk, like I will," he says, and Florence doesn't have to look over to see that the two of them are smiling at each other.
She decides to answer the question, feeling a smile on her lips. "I don't know when we're gonna get married. I don't even know if she wants to."
Svetlana shifts, looking up at her. "You know I would!" When Florence grins, her tone dips to sincerity. "All you have to do is ask."
"Is it that easy?" Florence asks. Freddie is coming back in the room and Anatoly follows, sitting back down on the couch. Svetlana nods at her, and she smiles. "Well. Will you marry me?"
"Yes," she says, and nuzzles into her neck, blushing. Florence feels her eyelashes against her skin and gets goosebumps, but looks at Freddie, who just grins.
"Don't forget to invite us to the wedding. And hey, could you get me and Tolya free hotel rooms?"
Svetlana has never liked being sick, but if it means Florence waiting on her hand and foot, it may be worth it.
"There's the remote, and I'm making you soup right now," Florence says, and places a quilt over her. She sits next to her on the couch, and Svetlana shifts and groans.
"I'll get you sick," she moans, reaching out a hand to nudge her away. Florence laughs, leaning to kiss her, only to have Svetlana push her face away, gently but playfully.
"I'd rather not go to work, so I wouldn't mind it," Florence tells her, standing up and checking her makeup once more in her compact. "Do I look okay?"
Svetlana watches, and her arm hangs off of the couch as she says, "Florence, you look perfect, like always."
"Alright." She snaps the compact close, and looks back at her. "Need anything else? There's tea in the cupboard and plenty of soup, and I've already taken care of the chores."
"Please marry me."
Florence rolls her eyes. "Not while you're sick," she tells her. She comes over again and sneaks a kiss in, and Svetlana covers her face.
"You're gonna be late."
"Are you sure you're fine?"
Florence sighs and grabs her purse, and Svetlana lets her kiss her forehead. "Feel better."
Florence getting a job as an assistant to a wedding planner has her thinking about marriage. A lot. Between that and the fact Freddie, of all people, her best friend, is engaged, she feels as if she's behind.
She's thirty and sees plenty of women every day, in their twenties, bright-eyed or emotional or mad or all three, getting married to their Prince Charming. She smiles with them and talks them out of nervous breakdowns, but when she has nothing to do at work, she starts to wonder why she hasn't done it yet.
Her and Svetlana have been together for years, and at this point Florence can't be bothered to worry if her parents will care or not, as they hardly contact her. So what's stopping her? When she decides that nothing is, she starts to plan elaborate proposals in her head. Of course, Svetlana is a reserved person, and wouldn't want anything too showy, but it doesn't stop Florence from fantasizing.
She buys a ring while walking home from work and stores it in her coat pocket, then promptly forgets about it. And one night, while Svetlana tries to will her into bed, an idea pops into Florence's head.
"Aren't you ready yet?" she asks, already in bed and ready to sleep, but is kept up by the light from the bathroom.
"Not yet," Florence responds, and goes through her routine; brushing her teeth and then washing her face, pulling her hair up in a bun. When she turns the light off and emerges from the bathroom, she holds up a finger to Svetlana. "Hold on."
"What?" she groans, but Florence is already looking in their closet for her coat, digging in the pockets for the small box. "Florence, I'm sleepy."
Florence sits back on the bed in front of her, cross-legged, and all these months, years even, boil down to this moment. She tries to think of the perfect thing to say, but instead blurts the first thought in her mind. "Let's get married."
"Right now?" Svetlana asks, sleepy-eyed.
Florence almost laughs. "Of course not. But...would you do me the honor?"
"You don't even have to ask." When Florence gives her a look, Svetlana clarifies. "Yes! I will." She leans in to kiss her, then yawns. "Now, can we go to sleep?"
Florence nods, and climbs into bed while Svetlana attaches herself to her like always, Florence's arm around her waist. "I love you," Florence says to the ceiling. Svetlana murmurs it back, dozing off.
And just like everything with the two of them, it's just that easy.