Oh God. Harley opened her eyes and decided that the only thing she liked more than waking up next to Ivy in the morning was waking up alone to the smell of Ivy making waffles in the kitchen. Well, maybe that wasn’t true. She did really love starting the day out with a couple org-
“Well, good morning, Sleepyhead.” Ivy stood in the doorway, arms crossed lazily across her chest.
“ I was starting to think you’d never get up.” Tiny smile tucked in the corners of her mouth, almost hidden, not quite.
“Haha,” Harley said, grabbing her phone off of the bedside table to check her notifications. 9:42am? “Red, it’s not even ten o’clock yet. Wait, did you already shower? What part a’ ‘Saturday’ don’t ya’ understand?”
“I figured we could do something today,” Ivy said. “ If you get your ass out of bed and grab some breakfast, I’ll tell you what I have in mind.”
“What’s the occasion?”
Ivy said nothing, just turned around and walked back to the kitchen.
Nope, Harley decided after taking a bite. Waffles over sex any day.
“Red, these are so good! What the fuck.”
“I’m surprised you can still taste them through all of that syrup,” Ivy said, trying for amused but falling a little flat. She hadn’t touched her own waffle.
“So…what are we gonna do today?” Harley knew better than to talk through a full mouth, but the suspense was killing her. Luckily for her, Ivy seemed to take little notice of the little piece of waffle that had flown out of her mouth.
“Well… I packed some cucumber sandwiches and a bottle of champagne. If you’re up for it, I thought maybe we could rent a canoe and ride out to Bird Island.”
“Oh, Red!” Harley loved the lake. And cucumber sandwiches. And champagne. And Ivy. “That sounds amazing. Sometimes, I don’t know what I did so right to deserve you.”
Ivy tore off a piece of her waffle and held it between her fingers for a moment before putting it into her mouth. She said nothing.
“Can we go swimming, too? Oh, can we please, Red? Please?” Harley didn’t want to push her luck, but she had to ask.
“We can do anything you want,” said Ivy. Her waffle now lay in little pieces scattered around her plate. She seemed to have forgotten all about breakfast, her focus now on picking off the polish from her nails. She looked up. “Today is about you, Harl.”
Harley walked a few paces behind Ivy, feeling self conscious in her pink bikini top and jean shorts. Her stomach was toned and her legs were thin, but her breasts were… smaller than she would have liked. You could do with some implants, Joker had suggested one night after turning down her offer for sex, and maybe a nose job.
Ivy, in her long green swimsuit cover-up and sunhat, had her beat by a long shot. Even with the neon backpack slung over her shoulder, she was stunning; but…something was off. Usually, Ivy walked like the world was her catwalk, one long leg in front of the other, hips swaying, head up, so perfectly that it looked rehearsed. But today, she looked more unsure of herself, walking like her shoes were a little too big and she was worried other people would notice.
Harley quickened her pace until she caught up. She grabbed Ivy’s hand and was confused when she didn’t immediately relax her fingers. Okay, this was weird. Ivy could be a little distant at times, but she knew as well as Harley did that their hands just…well, they just went together, like peanut butter and jelly, socks and shoes, the moon and stars. Ivy always held her hand. Well, except when she was…
“Red, are you mad?”
Ivy frowned down at her. “No, I’m not. Why? Do I seem mad?”
“Well, I mean, you’re not holdin’ my hand back, and I kinda don’t know why.”
“Oh!” Ivy said, giving Harley’s hand a squeeze. One corner of her mouth twisted sweetly. “I’m sorry, Daffodil. I’m a little lost in my own thoughts right now.”
“Lemme help you find your way back.” Harley let go of her hand and linked their arms, pressing her cheek into Ivy’s shoulder. For a moment, Ivy’s shoulders went up at the contact, but she brought them down again and pressed her lips to Harley’s hair line. She didn’t move for a few seconds, not even her lips; she just kept them there and stayed as she was.
Harley closed her eyes and tried for still: she worried that if she moved even the slightest bit, Ivy would keep walking.
She did keep walking eventually, taking her lips back, but she left Harley’s arm undisturbed.
With her arm wrapped around Ivy’s, Harley allowed herself to relax and just be. She loved just being, letting go of the future and the past and the parts of the present she didn’t like. There was nothing in this world besides herself and Ivy and the sun. For the little time it lasted, it was heaven.
Then a fourth object entered her world: the lake. She turned giddy then, bouncing on the balls of her feet and pulling on Ivy’s arm. She loved the lake.
“Race ya’!” And then she was running, the speed of it pulling her hair straight back and rippling it like a flag. She felt weightless. The grass was pushing up to meet the bottoms of her shoes and lifting her up, nature’s springboard. The air felt like water as it flew against her skin. The sky was making the leaves around her glimmer like fairy dust. The sunlight smelled like fresh dirt falling through her fingers. The birds were chattering amongst themselves in a language Harley only understood as song. She loved this day, loved it so much she could just cry.
Harley turned her head back to see Ivy awkwardly jogging after her, her hands lifting her cover-up above her knees.
“Eat your heart out, fucker! You’ll never catch me!” she called back breathlessly as she continued to fly down the lawn towards the lake.
“Dream on, you miserable bitch!” Ivy sped ahead of her with her sandals in one hand and her cover-up in the other. Mud splattered up from the grass onto her bare legs, leaving them polka-dotted. She was smiling.
“I ain’t dreamin’, Poison Oaky! Prepare to eat dust!”
“Not in this lifetime, ass licker!” Ivy’s hair was now just a burst of red, completely in motion. Man… she was fast. And her butt looked amazing.
“Oh, you’re going down, tree hugger! If it’s the last thing I do, I’ll whoop-”
Harley gasped as her right foot slid out from under her. Her left leg raced to the side in an attempt to break her fall but ended up gliding across the muddy grass as effortlessly as her right foot had. Her back skidded helplessly against the ground as her legs were pulled into an almost split, like an unpracticed breakdancer.
“Fuck!” She groaned and felt something rip.
Ivy had reprogrammed her route and was running towards her now. “Shit. Harley, are you okay?” When she was close enough, Harley saw that she was laughing with what little breath she had left.
“Yeah, yeah. So I’m not poised like you.” This sent Ivy over the edge, doubling over with her hand pressed to her stomach like she was worried laughing like this would make a tear.
“No, Harl, it’s-” She exploded again.
Harley hadn’t made any move to get up yet. She was worried it would hurt. “What?”
“Your tits!” Ivy managed with a hand over her mouth. “And your pants!”
Huh? Harley looked down at her chest and realized her top had been completely pulled off during her fall, leaving her boobs exposed to the elements. She found that her pants were in even worse shape. The seam had torn all the way up her crotch. Suddenly she’s laughing, too.
“You look like a murdered hooker,” Ivy said, which made them both worse.
“Or Selina after a night of faking it with Batsy!”
“You’re missing the pile of vomit.”
“And the ball gag!”
“That nasty Bat would, too.”
“Our very own Virgin Mary.” They were hit by another gust of laughter. The giggles had a hold of them both, the helpless kind that made your stomach sore and didn’t stop when your breath ran out. Harley couldn’t even cover her chest.
Ivy was the only person Harley ever laughed like this around. She laughed at her Puddin’s jokes more because she loved him than for any other reason. It wasn’t like that with Ivy; she never had to pretend when she was around her. Sadness was just as welcome as joy, a gift Harley could never find words good enough to thank her for. God knows she loved Joker with something wild, but Ivy… Ivy was her best friend, and she couldn’t think of a single person she’d ever loved more in her life.
Tears were streaking down Ivy’s cheeks, and her face was a brighter red than her hair. “Oh my God! I’m peeing! I’m peeing! Shit! I’m actually peeing!”
Harley watched Ivy struggle as she bolted for the lake, shrieking with laughter and leaving a trail of urine behind her. It made her feel special to see Ivy like this, in her most human moments. She doubted anyone else ever got to see Ivy’s goofy side, or any of her other genuine sides. Harley was the only one she let in.
When she returned, she was more solemn but still grinning. “Tell no one.” And they both started laughing all over again.
“I didn’t have friends growing up,” Ivy said, pressing a chunk of bread from her sandwich into a cube between her fingers.
Ivy had given Harley her cover-up to wear so that she “didn’t get arrested for public exposure,” and they’d decided to have lunch on the lawn: they were both too tired to travel any further. Harley was listening to Ivy intently with one leg straight out, the other hugged to her chest.
“No one would ever sit with me at lunch, and I always ended up going to the library for recess. No one wanted me on their team in gym class, either. I was always the one who had to make a group of three for class projects when everyone else had already found a partner. I was really lonely back then. It was miserable.” She squashed the cube and tossed it to the ground.
“I was, uh, cleaning out the attic the other day when I found these.” Ivy reached into the front pocket of her backpack and pulled out a small black box. She swallowed, lifting the top off. “My grandma gave them to me for Christmas one year back when I was in elementary school. It was a super nice gift. Real gold and everything, but, like I said, I didn’t really have friends back then.”
Harley couldn’t look straight at the necklace Ivy was lifting out of the box: the sun had taken a hold of it now, sending flickers of light out in every direction. An emerald encrusted maple-or maybe oak- leaf rocked gently back and forth on the chain.
“This…is so lame, but, um, I can finally give this to someone, and, well, I want to…give this to someone.” Harley had never seen her so bashful. It was an entirely new side of her. Her vulnerable side.
“Don’t laugh,” Ivy said as she glanced down at the necklace in her hands. She bit down on her lip. Her sandwich lay next to her, uneaten and forgotten. “It’s…a friendship necklace, so I have one, too. I-I want you to have it because you’re the best friend I’ve ever had. Really, truly. The best memories I have are of the moments I spent with you.”
Ivy was staring at her now, her eyes watery in a way that looked almost poetic, like morning dew backed in a pretty sunrise. She patted the grass in front of her, and Harley crawled over and sat on her knees. Ivy carefully ran her fingers through Harley’s hair like it was delicate thread before brushing it to the side. Harley shuddered, goosebumps tickling up and down the surface of her back as the chain touched her skin. Looking down at the pendant, she saw the word Best engraved on a little white-gold plate shaped like a daffodil hanging from the main ring. She couldn’t help but notice how right it felt around her neck.
“I’m really glad that I met you, Harley,” Ivy said, the words clinging to the air around them for a moment before disappearing into the sunlight. Something in Ivy’s eyes seemed to be pulling Harley closer, trying to absorb her, take her in for all that she was. Harley could smell the emotion off of Ivy like sweat, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on what that emotion actually was. It was almost…nostalgic. Or was it tender? Maybe even sorrowful. Nervous? Grateful? Wistful? …Sorry?
Loss, Harley realized later. Way before then, she should have spotted it. What she had felt in Ivy that day under the guise of a sweet sun and thoughts of forever was loss, ugly and with a bite sharper than the jagged edges of a broken heart.
The air between the two of them had become more somber since they’d left the grass behind. Each inhale left Harley’s mouth tasting metallic, sour. Whatever Ivy was feeling was beginning to rub off on her, too. She wondered if you could catch an emotion like the common cold, whether she should start washing her hands more often just in case.
Ivy had the radio turned to the Classic Hip Hop station, for whatever that was worth. When Harley had started sing-screaming along, Ivy had quietly joined in but eventually let her voice taper off into silence. Harley followed shortly after, giving into the quiet like a trance. She stared out the window and watched the world on fast forward.
She didn’t know exactly how much time went by after that, but eventually it came to an end, and thank God it did. She had never been so relieved to see a house in her whole damn life.
Harley jumped out of the car the moment it stopped and felt instantly lighter.
She watched Ivy absently check the car to make sure she had everything. Her eyes, usually bright enough to leave you seeing things after you looked away, were now cloudy with a chance of rain; but when she realized she was being watched, she flashed a smile that, as far as Harley was concerned, brought the sun back out.
“Race ya’ to the shower!”
Ivy looked down at her phone and bounced the tip of her pointer finger on her lips.
“I already showered today.” The clouds were back, but only for a moment. “But before you hop in, do you think you could do my hair?”
Harley smiled: Ivy loved having her hair done.
“Change into something comfortable and meet me in the bedroom.” While there was nothing on the surface to suggest Ivy meant that she wanted to have sex, Harley got the feeling that that was exactly what she’d meant. Call it intuition: she’d change into something comfortable, alright.
“Got it, Red!” She ran inside, feeling that familiar eagerness towards life fill up her chest again. She shot up the stairs, past the bed, and straight to the closet, throwing the door open forcefully, so that it slammed into the wall.
No. No. Maybe? Nah. No. No. Oh, God, never. No. No. Harley rummaged through her underwear drawer, trying to find the royal blue pair with the black lace. Though Ivy had never explicitly said so, Harley knew that they were her favorite. Joker liked -gag- her red pair better, but Harley hated the way they looked on her. They made her butt look chunky and squeezed her inner-thighs so tightly that they left a mark long after she’d taken them off. Ivy had the better taste: the blue ones were a million times better than the red ones.
Harley grabbed the matching bra and an oversized flannel. She was about to make her way to the bathroom when she heard Ivy’s footsteps behind her. Quickly, she wrapped the lingerie in the flannel and held the bundle under her arm.
Ivy smiled at her and stole a glance at the alarm clock. “Are you going to be ready soon?”
“Yeah, sure thing. I just…gotta go to the bathroom quick, but I’ll be out in a jiff’!” She walked out of the closet and towards the bathroom.
Would wearing the friendship necklace be romantic or tacky? Romantic. She dragged her hand along the wall and absent-mindedly swung her head back and forth like a bobblehead as she walked.
Harley set her clothes down on the bathroom counter and stripped. Should she be bold and make it obvious that she put on makeup? Or should she keep it natural-looking? Natural-looking. She slipped the underwear and bra on and inspected herself in the mirror. Her fall from earlier had left a scrape on her lower back that looked more like a red inkblot than a wound, but other than that, she looked fine.
She opened her make-up drawer and dug out a peachy lip gloss. Hair up or hair down? Hair down. The gloss felt cold in a way that made her lips tingle after she put it on. She rubbed her lips together and again looked in the mirror. Most of her make-up was still intact from earlier today; all it needed was a little TLC.
When she was satisfied with how she looked, Harley slid the flannel around her shoulders and cocked her hip for the mirror. All the way buttoned up, or only up to the top two buttons? Top two.
“Perfect.” She winked at her reflection one more time for good luck and made her way down to the bedroom.
Harley found her sitting cross-legged on the bed in her favorite pair of black jeans and a faded green t-shirt with “Tree Hugging Dirt Worshipper” printed across the front in blocky brown letters: she was wearing her comfort clothes.
Ivy gave her a tight and short-lived grin that Harley supposed was meant to be inviting. Playin’ hard to get, huh?
“Hey.” Ivy dragged her palms down her thighs and lifted her shoulders up to her neck.
“Hey,” said Harley, trying hard for sexy as she sat herself down on the bed. She crawled behind Ivy and carefully took her hair out of the bun it had been fighting against; hair spilt gloriously down her back so that it almost touched the duvet, a hundred kinds of copper-red, almost shimmering. Harley bounced it on her flat palms like she would shake out her delicates before setting them to dry. Then she started running her fingers through it in a gentle, steady rhythm. Ivy leaned her head back into the motion, getting so close that Harley could smell the lilies from her organic body wash.
“I love you so much, Harl,” Ivy whispered, her breath tender and gentle.
Harley began to separate strands of hair between her fingers to prepare for a braid. “I love you, too, Red.”
“Do you ever think you’ll leave him?” Ivy didn’t have to say his name: they both knew who she meant.
“I don’t know,” said Harley. She started to match the strands together, weaving them together into the beginnings of a pretty tapestry.
Ivy nodded, carefully so her hair didn’t tug. “I think one day you will. I really do. You deserve so much better, Daffodil. You don’t need him. You don’t need anyone. You’re capable. I know you are.”
Harley wrapped the hair tie around the tail of the finished braid and moved so that she was in front of Ivy.
Seeing the sweet, sad smile on Ivy’s lips almost tugged her heart straight through her chest.
Harley touched Ivy’s cheeks with the tips of her fingers. Ivy’s breath was quick and shallow against the skin of her wrist.
“You’re so beautiful,” she said softly, so close to Ivy’s mouth.
Harley grasped at her like a lost child, desperately and blindly. She wanted to kiss her hard enough to taste blood, but Ivy kept it soft and chaste, innocent, loving beyond belief. She could feel Ivy’s lips trembling against her own, so that for a moment she thought she was crying.
Ivy was the one who broke away. She was scarlet-cheeked and shaky.
Harley’s eyebrows, fine as brushstrokes, were pulled together slightly as she tried to make sense of everything. “That… wasn’t the kiss I was expecting.”
“Harley, I’m leaving,” Ivy blurted out, too-loud and too-fast.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“What do you mean?” Harley’s voice wavered, just a touch.
“I love you so much, Harley, but being with you… it’s killing me.” In that light, Ivy looked like Pam, like a sepia, breathtaking Pam escaped from a flickering old film or a photograph. She was clutching her elbows tightly like letting go would mean falling apart, piece by piece. Harley couldn’t remember the last time she saw Ivy like this, without the lens of Poison Ivy or Dr. Pamela Isley, her hero or her protector, her friend with benefits or her partner in crime. Now, she was just Pam, human and hurting.
Harley said nothing, just stared.
“I can’t do it anymore. I can’t keep watching you go back to him. It’s eating me up inside.” Her eyes were so tired and so sad, defeated. “Knowing that the only person I love will never be with me the way I-the way I need: it’s getting to me. I don’t feel like myself anymore. I’m not the person that I used to be.”
“When are you coming back?” said Harley. It didn’t feel like her voice. This didn’t feel like her body. She felt like she was rooms away, listening in on someone else’s conversation, eavesdropping on someone else’s life.
“Believe me, Harley, if this weren’t absolutely necessary, I wouldn’t be-”
Harley cut her off. “When are you coming back?”
Ivy’s face closed over. “I don’t know.”
“You’re not coming back, are you?” That wobble in her voice was getting wilder.
“You’ll be okay. I know you will be,” Ivy said. Her watery eyes had turned to tears. “I’ll try to write.”
“You can’t. Y-you can’t do this to me. You…” Her throat closed. No no no no no no no no no no.
“No. No. I can change. I can be anything you want, Red. Anything. Really, I can be. Sex? Is that it? Do you want sex?” Harley threw her shirt off and let it fall to the floor, standing and facing Ivy. The air felt like ice, painfully sticking to her skin. “I can give you that. I can give you as much as you want, whenever you want, however you want. Just stay with me.” She slid her thumb under her bar strap and slipped it off of her shoulder.
Ivy stood up and moved it right back up. The look she gave her wasn’t mad, wasn’t scared, just sad. The sorrow in her eyes was raw and strong, served on the rocks. She said, “Harley, I don’t want sex from you.”
“Then what is it? What do you want? What’s wrong with me? Please tell me. If you tell me, I can fix it. Red, please. I can fix it. I can be better.” Harley felt something break, deep down under her ribs. Please please please please please please please please.
“Harley, listen to me. There is nothing wrong with you. I’m not doing this because of you. I’m doing this because of me. I’ve been putting my own needs aside for such a long time. It’s catching up to me. It’s been for a while now. If I ever want to be happy, I have to start taking care of myself again, and this is the first step. I have to find myself again. One day, you’ll find yourself, too, Daffodil. I know you will.”
“I thought you said you’d write.”
“I said I’d try.” Ivy smiled weakly, like Harley was a child instead of her equal.
“But… where will I go?”
“You can stay here as long as you need. There’s food in the fridge and money in the safe.” Ivy reached under the bed and pulled out a red suitcase.
There had been a monster under the bed for God knows how long, and she hadn’t even noticed.
“How long have you known you were leaving?”
“I’m sorry, Harley. You have no idea how sorry I am. I never wanted to hurt you,” Ivy said. She wiped the tears from her cheeks. “I have to go now, or I’ll miss my train.”
Harley tried to say something, but instead she took a sharp breath in and started to cry.
Ivy didn’t look back once, but Pam did. Pam looked back and sniffled when she turned away.
Ivy was gone. The thought made the room spin, made the walls start skidding and jumping out at her like she was dropping acid. The air felt thick and too still, hard to breathe. The house that had once been her only sanctuary now reeked of confusion and grief.
The loneliness bit cold at Harley’s heart, and the unwavering silence made her ears hurt. Her teeth were chattering so hard she was sure they’d break, but she didn’t care: she wanted that snap. She needed it.
Somewhere in the back of her mind, Harley had believed Ivy would always be there. The thought gave her the strength to take Joker’s anger, the hope to keep herself going in the aftermath. She’d never thought, not even for a second, that Ivy would leave her. Harley believed Ivy would stay through their final kiss, believed it when she revealed the suitcase, believed it even as she told her she was leaving. Harley had believed Ivy would be there, forever, up until she watched her walk through that door.
She started to cry even harder than before, in horrible, choking sobs that felt like her heart was about to come up her throat. She couldn’t stand, couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe. Everything was wrong, and there was nothing she could do about it.
“You’re capable. I know you are.” Harley heard Ivy’s voice, clear and so real, as if she were still right beside her. She smiled a little, realizing she was thinking. And breathing. And then, what do you know, she was standing.
She walked towards the living room. The hall still smelled like Ivy, that feminine swirl of rosemary, lily, and skin. Joker always smelled like cigarettes and Whiskey, and as much as she loved him, she never really did love that smell. Ivy’s scent always felt light and kind on Harley’s nostrils. It was one of the many things she looked forward to after a fight with Joker.
Harley passed the kitchen counter, which was usually clear of any and all items (Ivy said that a clean kitchen was a happy kitchen) and saw a sheet of notebook paper with a blue sticky note stuck to it. She reached for the sticky note first.
Because I know they’re your favorite.
She went for the sheet next and felt a new wave of pain take hold of her. It was the waffle recipe. Had she ever told Ivy that these were her favorite? Or had she just… noticed? Harley swallowed, letting the rush of warmth that hit her hollow her inside-out.
What now? Was she going back to Joker? Her heart seized just thinking about it, more anxiously than affectionately. Harley never got to be happy when she was with her Puddin’. She loved him even more than Mary loved Joseph, that was for sure, but she never felt secure with him. She never felt safe. She never felt loved. She was constantly walking on top of a minefield she didn’t have the blueprint to: she never knew when she would take a wrong step and set something off. Every time she came to Ivy, no matter how bruised or battered, she was received with love so strong it did things to the air. Ivy wasn’t always nice, but she was always good to her. Even when Harley didn’t return the favor, Ivy was good to her. There wasn’t a doubt in her mind that Ivy loved her; nor was there a doubt in her mind that she loved Ivy. When they were together, they were beautiful. She felt safe with Ivy. She felt secure with Ivy. She felt loved with Ivy. She felt…she felt happy with Ivy.
Harley had stopped crying, but her breath was coming faster; and her heart was about to beat out of her chest. She knew what she had to do.
“One day, you’ll find yourself, too, Daffodil. I know you will.” Ivy’s voice again, ethereal and airy this time, heavenly.
“Yeah, I will,” Harley said back to the voice. She didn’t care how crazy she sounded, because in that moment, she knew that she would find herself. It would be scary and it would be risky, but she would. No matter what, she would. She would.
Harley weaved through the crowd with three Target bags in her hands. She’d been running from terminal to terminal at the train station for the past ten minutes, getting more than a handful of “looks” from people who couldn’t mind their own damn business. Yeah, she looked like a lunatic, and, yeah, she was wearing a flannel that was obviously too big with jeans that were just as obviously too small; but so fucking what? She had been in a hurry- a huge hurry.
Back at Ivy’s, she hadn’t had enough time to find a proper suitcase, so she’d just grabbed some plastic bags from under the sink to dump her shit into. She’d thrown her clothes and a picture of her Puddin’ (though she took the picture out a few seconds later) into two bags and emptied the safe into another before throwing on the first pair of pants she saw.
She ran through Terminal 10, but found nothing besides a few gawkers who probably thought she was homeless. She flipped the bird to a few, others just a glare. It probably wasn’t the best idea, but her judgment was a little impaired at that moment. She decided to make a mad dash to Terminal 11 before she punched anyone.
She was there, at Terminal 11. Harley could tell it was her from across the terminal even though she couldn’t see her face. Her red hair looked like it was about to set the air on fire and turn the whole station to ash.
It hit Harley then, so hard that at first she thought she was actually sick. She felt it still her blood and fill her belly with something metallic and heavy. She knew the feeling well. It was the same feeling she got when she repelled down a building, when she thought she’d go flying straight off the edge of it, straight off the edge of the world. This was fear. Harley was afraid. For a second, she thought she was frozen, but then she was moving again.
Ivy got closer with each step she took. Her heart punching her throat made her want to throw up. This was crazy.
“Harley?” Ivy’s voice filled her chest, made her feel like she was breathing air of a different kind. “What are you doing here?”
Harley was shaking all over. “I love you.”
“I’m here ‘cause I love you, Red. You n’ me, we’re perfect for each other.” She felt like she was standing on the roof of a skyscraper, looking down at the world and hoping to God she didn’t fall. “I wanna be with you. Just with you, Red. No one else.”
“No, no. Just listen for a second. Please. We can go anywhere you want, though I’d really like to go to Cabo sometime.” Harley was talking fast: she wanted to get everything out in the open before she lost her nerve. “Paris, too. I’ve always wanted to see Paris. And London. And Rome. And the Galápagos. And just… I guess what I’m tryin’ to say is…Ivy-” No, that wasn’t right. “-Pam, Pammy, Pamela Isley, will you run away with me?”
“Harley.” Harley knew then that she would do it again, do it a million times over, just to see the amazed little curve of Ivy’s lips as she said her name.
Ivy slid her hands up Harley’s arms and cupped her cheeks. Harley tipped her forehead against Ivy’s so that the rest of the world disappeared behind their breath. It was like time was opening up to them, allowing them to have this moment, this beautiful moment, all to themselves.
Ivy kissed her properly then, sending her reeling into a mess of Pop-Rocks and light. It felt like there had never been anywhere but here, that there would never be anywhere but here; and they were both okay with that.
They stood there, amazed by each other, while the train came and went.
“I’m really glad I came,” said Harely. The speed of her heart was making her gutsy.
“I’m really glad you came, too.” Ivy’s eyes were huge, just a rim of green around black. “I like your outfit, by the way. It kind of reminds of my dealer from high school. The Target bags are a really nice touch.”
Harley laughed. “And here I was thinkin’ you were gonna tell me I looked pretty.”
“Well, that too, obviously,” Ivy said with a grin that flashed her teeth.
And then they walked off together, hand and hand, towards the ticket office, unsure of where exactly they were going but sure that wherever it was, they’d be going there together.