“Do you think she is seeing someone?”
Dani Moonstar glanced at the Russian girl sitting on the bench next to her. Illyana blew a bubble, but her focus was on the brunette sitting beneath a tree. Kitty was idly doodling in a notebook, and when she noticed them watching her, she waved. Dani and Illyana were among the three people she’d managed to befriend until recently. Once she’d gotten some confidence, she’d started talking to more people, but she wasn’t close to anyone else.
At least that’s what Dani thought. She ran a hand over her braid and toyed with the feather she kept at the end. “I don’t know. She’s distracted, but that doesn’t mean anything.”
“She has been spending a lot of time off-campus. Her grades are suffering. She is seeing someone.” If Illyana had a tail, it would be lashing in irritation right now. Sometimes, she actually had a demonic tail, but that was a long complicated story that Dani didn’t want to think about. She still had the scars.
“So what if she is? It’s about time she saw what everyone keeps telling her.”
The blonde blew another bubble . “No. We need to find out who, and put the fear of god into him.”
The thought made Dani laugh. Illyana had a piece of the devil in her, or something a lot like it. She wore her long hair hair straight, with bangs, and her style tended to be rebellious. A lot of black, and as much skin as the dress code let her get away with. It drove her brother nuts, but it never bothered Dani. Dani always wore vests without shirt underneath and her jeans were practically painted on. She carried a pullover shirt in her backpack for when the teachers objected. “Okay, and then what? Try to hook her up with Peter again?”
Illyana wrinkled her nose. “No. That was a disaster.”
“How do we know she’s dating. Maybe she’s been tasked with stuff.”
“Without us? No. I am positive she is seeing someone. Watch her doodle. She is probably making hearts.”
“You say that like you sound offended at the very idea.” The Cheyenne reached over and nudged Illyana in the ribs. “You’re jealous.”
“Of course I am jealous! She is our Katya. We need you to do that tracking thing you people do, when you are trying to hunt.”
Dani leveled a stare at her friend. “Yes, and while I do that, you can play with your nesting dolls while posing for a mail-order bride catalog.”
“Uhm. Sorry.” Illyana managed to look sheepish, but Dani’s point had been made. There was an awkward silence, while they watched Kitty doodle. The blonde finally put her hand on Dani’s shoulder. “I didn’t mean anything by it.”
“Most people don’t.” Dani’s tone was short, because that was the problem. Below them, Kitty was getting up. Dani got up as well. “Come on. You really want to see what she’s been up to off-campus?”
“Yes. And then we hurt him.”
Oblivious to her friends’ concerns, Kitty made her way to the road. There was the sound of backfiring, and then a beat up blue pick-up came rumbling down the road. She started to bounce on her heels as it got closer. It felt like her day wasn’t complete if she didn’t get to see Rachel. The door opened and she climbed in. “Thanks for the heads up, I got distracted.”
“You’re welcome.” She leaned into the hug that Kitty gave her, before she put the truck back into gear and started off down the road.
“I’ve been meaning to ask,” Kitty said, buckling up and reaching into her backpack to pull out some pockey. She offered one to Rachel. “It’s not like your parents couldn’t afford you a better car. So why the clunker?”
“They lacked faith in my ability to learn to drive,” Rachel explained, sticking the chocolatey goodness into her mouth.
“Well you do drive worse than Commander Shepard on amphetamines,” the brunette pointed out.
Just for that, Rachel gunned it, and Kitty nearly lost her pocky. She laughed at her friend, taking the first corner too swervy and causing Kitty to knock into her. “You were saying?”
“You’re only proving my point!” She punched Rachel in the shoulder as she got herself situated again. She wanted to be closer but there was no way to do that without unbuckling. She’d kept a carefully calculated physical distance between them ever since the headmistress had caught them. Or more accurately after the third degree.
Rachel caught a bit of that in Kitty’s surface thoughts. “... How did it go with my mom?”
“Well I got in trouble for improper use of school facilities,” Kitty admitted. “And then she spent twenty minutes lecturing me on the dangers of dating a Summers. Did you know that your entire family line is cursed to live in interesting times?”
“She didn’t really say that, did she?” Rachel glanced at Kitty in surprise.
“No, but she laughed when I did!”
“Oh my god. Wait. Wait she thinks we’re dating?” Rachel had to resist the urge to pull over. They were just friends who were inexplicably attracted to one another, that didn’t mean they were dating.
The brunette bit her lip, and then put her hand on Rachel’s leg. “I tried to clarify it. Because I don’t actually know what we are, besides friends, and I don’t want to assume something if we’re not ready for it.”
Rachel felt herself start to burn up at the touch, but she didn’t move Kitty’s hand away. “Hold up. We’re not having this conversation while I’m driving.”
“We could go to the park and get some hot dogs,” Kitty suggested. “Then we could find a bench and talk.”
“Hot dogs? Is that allowed?” Rachel glanced at Kitty, her eyes falling to the Star of David around her friend’s neck.
She shrugged her shoulders. “I’m not the most strict adherent. I’ll go kosher when I can but my dad was always more liberal than my mom and I picked up a lot of his habits. It was more a sanitation thing back then anyway.”
The redhead nodded, returning her eyes to the road and taking a turn off that would get them to the park. She’d been wondering about that since they’d met but it had seemed kind of weird to just ask about it.
If you ever want to know something, just ask, okay?
Kitty’s mental text message startled her. Is that just religious stuff or is that anything in general?
Anything in general. Kitty smiled at her, and unbuckled when Rachel parked.
“In that case,” Rachel said aloud. “If you ever need anything, or even just want to talk…” She tapped her forehead. “I’ll leave a door open just for you.”
The offer made it feel like Kitty’s insides were twisting up in knots. It was a big deal, and she knew it was. Without really thinking about it she took Rachel’s hand for the walk to the hot dog stand, unable to even glance at the redhead without feeling like she was going to explode.
Rachel just handed her her hot dog and raised an eyebrow. Kitty shrugged and took a bite, then gestured with the food towards the lake. Rachel took the hint and fell into step besides her. She was dying to know what the brunette was thinking but she couldn’t pry. Even Kitty’s surface thoughts were more boring than usual.
They sat in front of the lake and Kitty’s hand slid through the grass until her fingers laced through Rachel’s. She liked this. Just them and the world. No studies, no classes, none of the dangers the staff hid from most of the students. Rachel finished her hotdog and the girls washed the food down with bottled water.
Kitty scooted closer, until she was right up against Rachel’s hips. The redhead became suddenly much more aware of the heat of Kitty’s body. Kitty had taken the initiative last time, and Rachel realized that Kitty was waiting for her. It made sense. Her mom had grilled her.
She tightened her fingers in Kitty’s, then leaned in to kiss her.
Dani stepped out of Illyana’s portal, checking around to make sure that no one had actually noticed them. She didn’t want to get in trouble for using powers off of school grounds, even if it was for a good cause. She peeked around a corner in time to see Kitty and a redheaded girl at a hotdog stand.
“She looks familiar. I think she graduated last year.” She looked at her blonde friend, then had to grab the back of her shirt before Illyana marched her way over to Kitty. “Hey! What do you think you’re doing?”
“Finding out what is going on. Why is she not telling us about this girl?” Illyana’s eyes were blazing and Dani was more confident that the blonde was jealous.
Dani chose her words carefully. “I thought you weren’t interested in Kitty that way.”
“You know damn well who I am interested in.” Illyana’s tone was deadly, and she dared the other girl to say something more. “You are the jealous one.”
Dani just held up a hand. “I like Kitty, I don’t like her that way. Aren’t we here just to make sure that Red isn’t some kind of serial killer?”
“Yes. Come.” This time Dani couldn’t hold the Russian girl back, and let herself be dragged along behind her.
They snuck behind some trees to get a better look at what Kitty was doing.
“They’re just sitting there,” Illyana complained. She scowled, and tried to lean in to get a better look.
“What did you expect?” It looked like they were holding hands. Which was setting off bells in her head. “Oh… Oh crap. They’re gonna-”
Illyana charged out of the trees, bearing down on Kitty and Rachel. Her eyes were blazing yellow again and her tail lashed behind her. “Hands off my friend!”