A gentle finger on her cheek rouses Bernie from sleep. She reaches out a hand to find the soft dip of a waist, a smile seeping onto her face.
“Hello, darling,” Serena murmurs.
Bernie squints her eyes open and hums contentedly at the vision before her - the remnants of dark red lipstick are smudged all around Serena’s mouth and, although it looks like she’s run a hand through it, her hair is still all over the place. Frankly, it’s adorable, and Bernie can’t help but pull her in for a tender kiss.
Their lips part with sighs and smiles and they stay close on Bernie’s pillow, their noses touching.
“You know…” Serena starts quietly, her words brushing against Bernie’s lips.
“What?” Bernie moves forward an inch to press another soft kiss to Serena’s mouth.
“It’s been a whole year since you first did that.”
Bernie pulls back with a small frown and forces her eyes to focus properly. Serena has an uncertain smile on her face as she reaches to lace their fingers together.
“Since we…?” Bernie trails off. She clears her throat and tries again. “In theatre?”
“H-how? How?” Bernie stammers, amazed that Serena remembers the exact date.
“It’s not every day you realise you’re not, in fact, a heterosexual and you are, in fact, possibly head over heels in love with your best friend.” Serena grins, but there’s still a wariness in her eyes.
“I…” Bernie’s smile grows. The use of ‘the L word’ has been far more common, at least from Serena, since Bernie came to stay, but after months of distance - both emotional and physical - it still takes Bernie by surprise to hear it.
“Sorry to get soppy on you so early in the morning,” Serena says, face open and hopeful. “I know you need at least three gallons of coffee and five tonnes of breakfast in you before you can process anything.” She huffs a laugh, earning her a mock-annoyed look and a prod in the ribs.
“Or an adrenaline rush,” Bernie adds, eyes narrow as she pushes army flashbacks out of her head.
“Oh! So I should’ve punched you awake then?” Serena smirks. “Noted for the next time I want to remind you of an anniversary when you wake up!”
Bernie harrumphs at that and buries her face in her pillow, a rosy cheek just begging to be kissed. So Serena does, and follows it up with kisses pressed to Bernie’s temple and hair. Bernie re-emerges and looks at Serena, squeezes her fingers just a little bit tighter where they’re still interlaced somewhere under the covers.
“One year, eh?” she asks, a twinkle in her eye. “Would've thought you’d be better at kissing by now.” She keeps her face straight for as long as she can before Serena’s indignant shock gives her the giggles.
“OH, you devil!” Serena gasps, rolling away from Bernie and unconvincingly batting her away when she follows and climbs on top of Serena in an attempt to kiss her. Serena turns her face at the last second and Bernie’s lips land on her cheek.
At Bernie’s noise of protest, Serena quirks a hip and flips them over, finding Bernie’s hands and holding them against the pillows as she leans down to whisper in Bernie’s ear.
“You bet I’ve got better at kissing, Bernie Wolfe.”
After Serena’s proven this and she’s pulled up far enough to let them breathe heavily, Bernie marvels at how thoroughly kissed she looks. She remembers the same image from after that kiss a whole year ago, still remembers how wild Serena’s eyes had been, how pink her lips were.
It’s different, though. Then, Bernie couldn’t have been less sure about what would happen to them. Now, she knows with absolute certainty that they are going to work at this for the rest of their lives.
She manoeuvres Serena down beside her and reaches up a hand to cup her cheek.
“I love you.”
Serena’s smile is oceans wide.