“Yo, Marcy! I made grilled cheese!”
“Hell yeah.” Marceline grinned and floated into the worn-out house. She was met with the smell of gooey, slightly burnt cheese. Of course it was only the perfect amount of burnt –Everything was perfect when it came to Bonnie, Marceline smiled to herself.
“Did I ever tell you you’re the best roommate? Even though we’re living in this dump hole.”
“Hey! My Uncle Gumbald built this cabin with his bare han-“
“Yeah, yeah, I know.” Marceline swooped past Bonnibel (ignoring her exasperated sigh) and grabbed three sandwiches from the plate by the skillet. Marceline did a lot of swooping. Does she have to float everywhere?
“You got ketchup?” Marceline was back in the living room.
“Already on the table.”
Despite her annoyance at her roommate’s floating habit (Honestly! Does she have to float the three feet to the kitchen?) Bonnibel allowed herself a small smile as she watched Marceline’s long black locks flutter behind her and settle in a kind of sigh as Marceline lay on the couch, sucking the red from the ketchup bottle’s tomato sticker (Mmm, cherry.) and flipping through the TV Bonnie had built during a 3-am fridge raid. “Nice! Mr. Cupcake’s!” (The TV was set to the security footage from the Candy Kingdom. Neither of them had seen an actual TV channel for ages.)
“I wouldn’t watch that if I were you,” Bonnibel warned as she sunk into the couch, trying to ignore how close she was to the vampire’s outstretched legs. “He gets up to some crazy stuff when he thinks no one’s watching him.”
Marceline characteristically raised an eyebrow. “You know that just makes me want to watch this more, right?”
Bonnibel laughed. “Quiet, you.”
But all they could make out now on the static-filled black-and white screen was the slight rise and fall of Mr. Cupcake’s breaths.
“Why’d you keep this TV around if you’re not in charge of the Candy Kingdom anymore?”
Bonnibel pulled at a stray thread in the worn couch. “They’re still my people. I was worried.”
“Yeah. You’re like that”
“But I don’t use it anymore.”
Marceline looked up, surprised. “Why not?”
“I found something to distract me…I guess.”
Marceline watched Bubblegum’s face as she tugged at another thread. Perhaps it was the firelight, but it seemed a little pinker than usual. She didn’t say any more.
They both feasted on grilled cheese (and ketchup) until there was none left, then Marceline took up her bass, hovering over its usual spot in the corner, and began to play.
“Run away, with me
To a cavern shaped like home
Where we'll build our own forever
And never dance alone…”
Bonnibel looked up from her notebook (She’d been recording the frequency at which sparks rose within one inch of the fireplace grate). “That’s nice. What’s it about?”
Marceline clapped her hand over the strings, surprised at Bonnibel’s voice. “Oh, um. It’s like, about when I, uh, went to the Ghost Amphitheater, and…” Her face flushed in the moonlight.
“L-Look, never mind. It’s dumb.”
“No, I like it. I just wanted to know what it was about.”
“I said never mind!” Bonnibel couldn’t tell if the red on her face was from embarrassment or anger.
“Okay, okay, jeez…”
Marceline lay her bass against the wall and sped to the door. “I’m going moon watching.”
“What? …O-Okay...” She was gone.
Bonnibel sighed and sunk back into the red cushions. Being with Marceline was always fun, but sometimes she got…weird. She’d freeze and turn red before fleeing to the nearest exit before Bonnibel could finish her sentence, and Bonnibel could not place her finger on why. Bonnibel didn’t like not knowing why. She didn’t like not knowing.
She tried to return to counting sparks, but images of Marceline kept floating up instead. Late-night Squeez-E-Mart runs on Marceline’s back. The balloon of elation that would fill up inside of her when Marceline took her hand and pulled her from the palace window as she watched the Candy Kingdom fall away below her. Laughing together in exhausted delirium on her bedroom floor until she had collapsed into Marceline’s side, asleep at last. The way she could pull Bonnibel away from any task, away from the Kingdom and the Candy people, to run away with her on another wild adventure…Bonnibel shook her head, hard. That girl was a distraction, that she knew for certain. She may not be in charge of the Candy Kingdom anymore, but she still had responsibilities, and she knew if she ignored them, it would end in some kind of disaster. There was always something.
Two point seven…three point six-seven…
A draft whispered in through the cracked-open window, rustling the flames and distracting Bonnibel long enough for her to see Marceline on the porch, her upturned face turned silver by the moon.
Three point six-seven…
Bonnibel remembered the first time they had sat on that porch together. It must have been nearly three in the morning, sitting in comfortable silence, just close enough to touch…
Three point six seven…
Bonnibel pushed herself up and picked up the half-eaten bag of cherry gummies from the mantel. There was a photo of Marceline there. Bonnibel had taken it after they’d gotten Hambo back. Marceline had been so happy at the return of her stuffed toy that she insisted on parading him all around Ooo, taking him to all their favorite hang-out spots: the drive-in theater, Squeez-E-Mart, the mine-cart rails…
Presently Marceline was still on the porch. Bonnibel could see the night breeze making her bangs flutter, ever so slightly.
Marceline looked up. There was Bonnie, brandishing the cherry gummies at her. She took one, then looked away. “Thanks.” She felt Bonnie sit beside her.
“How’s the moon tonight?”
“She’s alright,” Marceline said, still unable to make herself look at Bonnie. For some reason. “Hey..” She trailed off as she felt Bonnie’s shoulder press into her own.
“Hey.” She felt Bonnie’s voice right next to her ear. Marceline’s whole right side felt warm. She felt her neck tingle with Bonnie’s exhale. She wished it wouldn’t, to no avail.
“Hey, Bonnie…I…” Marceline finally turned to face Bubblegum.
“Marcy, it’s okay.” Bonnibel felt her stomach flutter slightly as Marceline’s hand found her shoulder. Now that they were this close, she could see every aspect of Marceline’s face. Her dark, deep eyes, which now reflected Bonnibel’s face. The slight shadows beneath them. Her soft, barely parted lips.
Marceline lessened the space between them, brushing her forehead against Bonnibel’s, reveling in her warmth. Their mouths met. Mm. Cherry. Then…I’ve missed this.
“Bonnie, that song… it wasn’t about the Ghost Amphitheater..”
Bonnie’s eyes were bright and playful. “I know,” she smirked.
Marceline blushed. “Shut up…”