The lights are low, the music barely a hum because it's late and they don't want to annoy the neighbours, the small party they prepared for after their concert in Allie and Tasha's apartment is dying down.
In their armchair, Jane is straddling Allie while they passionately kiss completely ignoring the fact that all their friends are in the room.
On the floor, by the center table, Rich looks bored as he tries to get Boston's attention while his boyfriend is drawing because "inspiration comes when it comes".
At the other side of the room, Blake is sitting at one of their high stools with Roman's arms around her as they watch Kurt and Reade's game of darts - turned into flirting.
And on their sofa, Patterson is sleepily lying on her side with her head over Tasha's lap, while the brunette absent-mindedly plays with her hair.
Tasha looks around at their friends, their coupled up friends, and huffs. "Gosh... We're surrounded by couples..."
Turning around on her back, Patterson chuckles. "We might as well get together..." she says, intently looking at the end of the sofa.
Tasha's gaze falls on her and her hand on Patterson's hair comes to a halt as she ponders how serious Patterson is being. It's clearly a joke but, damn, does she wish she was being serious... But she's pretty sure Patterson is straight and her friend, and she doesn't want to ruin that. And even if she likes girls, that doesn't mean she likes her. She doesn't. Tasha can't let herself fall in love with someone that won't love her back. Although, it might be a little late for that.
Patterson's eyes find hers and Tasha forgets how to breathe. She can't break the eye contact, can't move. She's frozen, lost in those blue eyes and in the curiousity she sees in them.
"We should play a game," Rich says, taking Tasha back to reality.
"What game?" Reade asks as he picks up the darts.
Rich hums. "I don't know... Oh! What about... Two truths and a lie?" he says, excitedly. "And only someone that doesn't know has to try to guess what is the lie."
It takes a little bit but eventually everyone is convinced to play. They form a circle around the center table.
"We should make pairs for guessing. I wanna do miss Grumpy," he says, receiving a glare and an eye roll from Tasha. "Patterson should go with... Reade. Jane and Weller. Blake and... Allie?"
"I actually know her from before I met you, guys."
"We... have an old friend in common..." Blake intervenes, blushing slightly as Roman looks at her curiously and Tasha tries not to smirk.
"Okay... Blake and Boston and Allie and Roman, then. Who wants to start?"
"I'll start," Kurt says. "I have a 3 years younger sister. I have never dated a girl. I can play the violin."
Jane thinks about it for a bit before guessing. "I'd say the girlfriend one is the lie."
"You're right. I dated this girl called Taylor in highschool."
"It's Reade's turn. Patterson, you're guessing."
"I think the scar one is the lie," Allie says after considering Roman's three sentences.
"No. That's true. The lie is the age at which I started working at the bar. It was 14, not 15."
"Wow. Okay... And I was supposed to guess that?"
Roman's lips turn up into a smirk.
"Okay, okay, stop bickering. It's my turn to guess," Rich interrupts, leaning towards the center of the table to look at Tasha intensely.
"Uh... Okay. I... took my first guitar class when I was 6. I have dated someone in this room... And my first girlfriend died in a car accident." Tasha feels Patterson's gaze turn to her. She knows Patterson knows the first one is the lie. They've talked about it. So she avoids looking at her.
"Ohhh... Tragic backstory, I like that..." He looks around at the people in the circle. "Okay, I'd say that you haven't dated anyone in here," he says, letting a smile into his mouth before adding a "yet", and eying Patterson.
"And you'd be wrong," Tasha smirks. "I have dated someone that's here. The lie is--"
"Wait, wait. Don't tell me. I wanna guess. But whom did you date?!" he asks, looking at the rest of them again.
"It's not my place to tell you that," she deflects, trying not to look at anyone but Rich. And specially not at Blake, who she guesses probably wants to kill her right now.
"Oh come on! We're all friends, right?"
"I'm not gonna tell you, Rich... Besides, maybe you're better not knowing. Maybe it's your boyfriend."
His head snaps towards Boston, who looks up from his drawing confused. He shakes his head, deciding Tasha is just messing with him. Both Boston and Tasha are gay, anyway.
"Okay... If it's not that... I really like the tragic backstory..."
"So, I guess the guitar classes one is the lie."
"Correct. I didn't get any class."
Tasha turns her head towards Patterson, since it's her turn, and finds her looking at her like she wants to say something, but soon, Patterson shakes her head and gets back to the game.
"Uh... I have only dated musicians. I have two engineering degrees. And I had a surgery after I broke my leg playing baseball in school."
"I think you don't have the degrees."
"I do, actually..."
"How old are you?" Allie asks, a bit shocked.
"22. I just learn fast."
"Then what is the lie?"
"The surgery. I broke my leg, but I didn't need a surgery."
Tasha goes outside, to their balcony, when the game is over. She needs to be alone, to breathe, for a little bit before she can go back inside.
She's not gonna cry. She doesn't want to. She shouldn't have mentioned Michaela. She always gets like this when she mentions her. Even after 5 years.
She feels a tear run down her cheek and wipes it off as soon as it reaches her chin. No crying. She's cried enough.
"Hey," Patterson says softly from behind her.
Tasha closes her eyes and takes a breath before turning around to face her. "Hey." Her voice sounds a little rough but she smiles a little.
"Allie told me I'd find you here... Are you okay?" Patterson frowns, biting her lip as she asks the question.
"Yeah," Tasha swallows, shaking her head and shrugging. "Just admiring the city night, you know?" She adds before looking at the city again.
"Ah... Can I join you?"
"Of course," Tasha answers, feeling a genuine smile in her lips. "So, uh... You only date musicians?" she asks, with a tone of amusement in her voice.
Patterson lets out a breathy laugh. "I guess... Yeah, I tend to fall in love with singers..." Tasha hums, unable to shake the thought that she is a singer. But that doesn't mean she'd fall for her. She wouldn't. "Maybe it comes with the job... You know about Borden, and there was David first and then Dina. Both before him. And... Well," she talks off, cutting whatever she was gonna say off, but Tasha doesn't notice.
Well, she guesses she's not straight, then.
Fuck... She's screwed. Alright, she already was screwed, but now she can't deny it.
"Tasha," Patterson gets her attention back. "I wanted to tell you that I'm sorry..." Tasha looks at her, clueless. "About... Your truths, in the game."
"Oh." She looks down, feeling a lump form in her throat. "It's..." She shrugs with one shoulder as she shakes her head. "It was a long time ago." She knows her voice is rough again, but she chooses to pretend it's not.
"That... doesn't always necessarily mean it hurts any less..." Patterson says in a small voice.
"Yeah..." Tasha whispers.
They spend a few minutes in silence, looking at the streets below them, before Tasha speaks again.
"Her name was Michaela." Her voice is barely a whisper, but Patterson hears her anyway.
"You don't have to tell me," Patterson tells her immediately. Tasha ignores her.
"She was my best friend. The only person that was always there apart from Allie," she explains, pointing to the inside. "We dated for 3 years. Until--" Her voice breaks and she clears her throat. "5 years ago, when she was coming back from college, she..." A tear escapes Tasha's eyes. She takes deep shaky breath and lets it out as more tears escape her and she wipes them away.
Patterson puts a hand on her shoulder and slowly turns her around until they are facing each other. And then Tasha wraps her arms around Patterson's waist and buries her face in Patterson's neck as she can't control her own sobs.
Patterson holds her and waits patiently, moving her hands up and down Tasha's back but not saying anything until the crying subsides.
"Fuck... I'm sorry, I--"
"Shh. It's alright," she says into her ear, not letting Tasha go. "I have one more question..." She adds after a beat, leaning back a little to look at Tasha. "Who in there did you date?"
Tasha lets out a wet laugh, not expecting that question. "Okay, I'll tell you if you promise not to tell anyone. Specially Rich."
"Oh, I would never. I just wanna brag about knowing."
Tasha feels her lips turn up into an uncontrollable grin.
She's screwed but she doesn't mind.