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sweet nothings

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"Let me take you out." Allison swings her legs so that her bare feet slide against the floor. She slept in this morning—it's spring break, nowhere to go, nothing to do but avoid working on her thesis—so she's still in her pajamas, halted on the edge of the bed with her phone pressed to her ear. "This is an occasion, right?"

"I expect to be wined and dined," Lydia says. "Pick me up at 7."

Accepted Berkeley was the text that woke Allison this morning. She tabs over to her messages to look at it again before she shimmies out of bed.

Lydia's going to Berkeley, fully funded and given a teaching fellowship for their doctoral program in Applied Mathematics. For the first time in almost four years, she and Allison will be within driving distance instead of having an entire continent between them. There have been reprieves, of course—Lydia's visits home, the long, sweltering summer Allison spent with her in Cambridge—but they haven't lived this close together since high school. They got together in the spring of senior year and they've teetered along since then with the help of Skype and semi-regular visits. Sometimes their relationship has felt more like mutual determination than mutual passion, but reading those two words, Allison felt that fire burning freshly under her skin.

Allison dresses simply, a comfortable dress in cotton jersey, layered jewelry, leather jacket, chunky boots with a low heel; she's prepared for action. Lydia, of course, is straight out of a Vogue spread in a flirty skirt and a sheer silk blouse with a darker bra beneath, framed by a dark headband and kitten heels. "Really?" she says, climbing into the passenger seat of Allison's car. "I thought we were going to dinner, not the mall."

"Trust me," Allison says. "I'm going to blow your mind."

She takes them on a winding route out of Lydia's subdivision, a few miles down the old county road instead of one exit on the highway. Laura's Donuts is right off that exit; it used to be an abandoned gas station, much like Laura used to be dead. She restored it herself and got a big, glowing neon sign for the top, LAURA'S DONUTS over a flashing arrow, and it's on for the 16 hours every day that Laura's Donuts is open, 8AM to midnight. The place is always packed with UC Beacon Hills students at night, cramming for exams on black coffee and maple bacon donuts that run $3.50 apiece.

"This is seriously where you're bringing me?" Lydia eyes the iron tables scattered over the flagstone patio that Cora put in last year. "It's—"

"You haven't tried the donuts yet," Allison says.

Allison has tried the donuts, all of them; she's always getting dragged over here by Regina or LaVonne or Stiles. When Laura opened up during their senior year of high school, it seemed kind of weird to go here, given Allison's not inconsiderable role in her accidental, nonconsensual resurrection. It's been four years, though, and a lot has changed.

Some things, though—Allison glances over at Lydia, who's fluffing her hair over her shoulders—not so much.

"It's like she wants people to Instagram this," Lydia says, gesturing at either the cherry hibiscus donuts or the paisley paper liner of the display case.

Erica leans over the counter, a scarlet grin on her face. "Yeah, we have an account. @laurasdonuts, that's where it's at."

Allison leans against Lydia's shoulder and reaches for her hand, tangles their fingers together. "Those ones are pretty good. I like the chocolate glazed with blood-orange custard filling, too."

"Let's get one of each," Lydia says. "And two wet cappuccinos, please."

"Oh, that's how we make them all," Erica says with a wink. "House style."

Laura's been hovering in the back, but now she makes her way to the counter, elbowing Erica out of the way to get to the cash register. "Enough, get on bar." She's here late—Derek's usually the one who takes the evening baking shift, not that Allison is here often enough to know that or anything—and her dark apron is smudged with flour and what looks like cherry icing. "That'll be $14.10, ladies."

"Long time no see," Lydia says as Allison dredges her bag for her wallet. "Looks like you're doing well for yourself."

"I could say the same for you," Laura says.

Improbably, Lydia blushes.

"So." Allison pauses while Lydia leans across the table to wipe custard off Allison's upper lip. "California. Berkeley."

They've taken one of the tables outside, where it's less crowded and multiple sets of werewolf ears can't follow them as easily. The Hale pack has even worse gossips than the McCall one. Lydia says, "Isn't that what we're here to celebrate?"

"I thought you were still thinking about Caltech," Allison says.

Lydia takes a dainty sip of her cappuccino. "Berkeley offered me better funding. And it's closer."

"Oh," Allison says.

"You could commute," Lydia says lightly. She still says the most important stuff casually, like it doesn't matter, as if she needs some exit strategy to dismiss each crack in her perfect facade. Allison's followed Lydia into unspeakable darkness; of course she'll follow her to Berkeley.

Allison clears her throat. "Stiles says there are a lot of reasonable apartments close to campus, and houses, too, if you go a little farther out. Places with decent parking."

Lydia raises an eyebrow.

"I may have looked at Craigslist this afternoon," Allison allows. "Just a little."

"Please," Lydia says, "We're going through a realtor."

By the time they finish their donuts and cappuccinos, Allison is starting to get twitchy with all that sugar and caffeine on an empty stomach. The rest of her plan for the night seems a little ambitious. "I was thinking we could go to the dinner theater place and catch a movie," she says, picking up their plates and napkins while Lydia stacks their cups. "But I'm feeling kind of—"

"We could just go home," Lydia says. "Your place or mine?"

Allison's cheeks warm, thinking about how soon that's not even going to be a question. "Dad's out of town, so we might as well take advantage of the TV."

Lydia smiles at her. "Oh, the TV. Right."

They get halfway through an episode of Skins before Allison nudges down the volume and moves from Lydia's side to straddle her lap. Lydia's the one who likes to be in control in the rest of their life, but in bed, she's more than happy to let Allison take the lead. "Finally," she groans, sliding her hands beneath Allison's shirt. "I thought you were never going to make a move. I'm not becoming some kind of lesbian bed death statistic—"

Allison ducks her head to press a kiss beneath Lydia's ear. "I wanted to romance you a little. Is that so bad?"

"With donuts?" Lydia says, and turns her head, brushes her mouth against Allison's. She tastes sweet, like cherry and cream, and she arches beneath Allison when Allison cups her breasts. She has to untuck Lydia's shirt to get her hands on skin. It didn't take much time to figure out how much Lydia loves clothes, and not just putting an outfit together. Lydia can't get enough of Allison teasing her nipples through the lace of her bra, scooting down to suckle them through the slick, soft fabric of her shirt. She moans when Allison slides lower, pushing up the hem of her skirt.

Lydia likes clothes; Allison likes getting her off, and she's cultivated the art over the years. When she's got the time, she likes to do Lydia slow and right. Start her off, like this, gasping and touching her own nipples while Allison tugs her hips forward and brings her to the edge of the couch, so Allison can press her face against Lydia's sheer panties—god, she's been wearing these all night beneath her short skirt—and feel the wetness there already. She licks a stripe straight up the middle and Lydia just gets wetter. "It worked, didn't it?" she says, glancing up at Lydia's flushed cheeks, her delicately parted lips.

Allison makes Lydia come the first time just like that, slipping her fingers beneath the fabric to rub her clit until Lydia trembles. She eats her out after that, slow and deliberate, until Lydia pushes her off to return the favor.

The sun's been up for a while by the time Allison stirs to find Lydia reading on her phone, shoulders bare above the covers. "Good morning, sleepyhead," she says.

Allison is not a morning person. She rolls onto her side, tucking her head against Lydia's waist, and mumbles, "Hi."

Lydia reaches down to tousle Allison's hair. "I don't know about you, but I could get used to this."

Allison yawns. "Sleeping in?"

"Waking up together," Lydia says.