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How Could I Forget?

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“Gnight cuz..” Marie mumbled as she shuffled down the hallway in her slippers. “Hey I gotta get up early for a recording so you’re on your own for breakfast. I’m not getting up a second earlier than I have to...” She yawned as she leaned against her doorframe. “Haha, I get it. Sweet dreams Marie” Callie replied as she walked down the stairs to her own room. After crossing a few hallways, she opened her door and stepped into the space. She trod carefully, reaching out in front of her for the star shaped lamp Gramps had gotten her last Squidmas. She had nearly reached the dresser it rested on when she noticed a purple flicker in her mirror. “What the..” She quickly fumbled for the lamp and switched it on. Whipping her head, she scanned the room for the source of the phenomenon. The silence rung out as she surveyed the empty area. Her room was rather large, with several floor to wall windows. It was probably just something outside… she thought. It was such a quiet night though. She quickly tugged on her night shirt and tied her hair into a comfy knot. She was nervous being alone, so Marie probably wouldn’t mind sharing a bed for a night! She left her room and tiptoed down the hall. She rushed up the stairs, anxious from the creaking of each step. She was reaching out for the knob of Marie’s door when she hesitated. She couldn’t help thinking of how she had already caused so much trouble… With everything that happened… She would be fine on her own. So she took a few careful steps back, and retreated to her room.

So. Painfully. Quiet. And dark. She left the light off and opted for the minimal light through the windows instead. There was barely a sliver of a moon out, and the trees surrounding the estate locked out most of the sky. She was perched on the windowsill, thinking about how things used to be. Marie used to love stargazing… She wished things hadn’t gotten so messed up between them. She couldn't remember anything that happened during her time with the octarians, but she and Marie had been growing apart long before that. Things were awful while they were apart. But now they were living under the same roof and things were still… awful. Marie was happy to have her back of course. After all, she was the one who sent agent 4 after her, but things just weren’t the same. Callie could feel the hole left in her chest. Something just felt off. A part of her was missing. She pushed against the windowsill until the double shutters opened. The night air was warm and still. A small flower box balcony let the smell of earth into the room, and she took a deep breath. Despite herself, she started to cry. “What is wrong with me?”
…” Callie ?”  She jumped but didn’t turn to face her cousin. “I need a minute Marie… Please.. Just go..”  There was no response. She felt a wave of shame wash over her as her face turned red.
“Are you just going to stand there??” She pushed her hands into her hair and looked over her shoulder. “You don’t have to make me feel better so just LEA-” Callie froze. Whoever was standing in the darkness of her doorway.. Was not Marie. They were much, much taller. They wore dark and tightly fitting clothes… And their ink was of equal value… The purple glow. Of course. A masked Octarian girl stepped into the room. Her hair was shorter than the traditional cut. She looked like some kind of mercenary, but she carried no weapon...
Callie held very still. The girl looked at her, expression unreadable under the shiny silver goggles and black scarf she wore.  She spoke again.
“Callie? That is you?”
Her accent was thick. The inflection from her native tongue made her inkish words sound wobbly and a bit slurred. The sound of her voice resonated and shook Callie to the very core. Without even thinking, Callie responded
Who are you?”
The words shocked her and she pressed her fingers to her lips. What language was that!?
To add even more to her confusion, the girl laughed.
“Always with the jokes! But I’m glad we can talk like this, despite your lessons I’ve never been good with squid-speak!”
The girl strode towards Callie through the room, her strange shoes made no sound against the floor. She chuckled and stretched out her arms in greeting.
“I!!! Wait!! What’s going on??” She jumped up and backed away from the approaching octoling.
“Do I know you?? H-How did you get in here?”
The girl faltered. She stopped a few feet away and pulled the goggles up and off of her face. Her eyes were dark and glittery in the low moonlight. Then she pulled off the black cloth from the bottom of her face, it revealed a dark jagged scar that ran across the bridge of her nose.
Darling… Why do you look at me like you’re seeing a ghost? What’s wrong? ”
The girl held the mask to her chest and took a few careful steps forward.
“STOP!!” Callie backed into the corner, her hands were shaking. Everything about this girl felt familiar, yet she had no idea who she was. “What’s happening to me?!” A sudden sharp pain stung behind her eyes. She covered them and dropped to the floor with a yelp. The stabbing sensation spread through her head and she gasped as the world tipped on its side.

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Callie woke up to the sound of someone sitting on the edge of her bed. She shot up only to be greeted by a massive throbbing in her head… and Marie...? “This is unusual for you!” She said with a laugh. “It’s nearly 2… Did you have a late night?” She held out a cup of coffee and smiled. Callie groaned. “2?”  Why did she feel so groggy? She squinted at the windows. It was raining, maybe the lack of sun kept her sleeping for so long. She took a slow sip of the coffee… And it came flooding back. She choked suddenly and Marie laughed. “First time drinking? You okay?” “Marie someone was--” She stopped. Marie looked at her with a smug sideways smile. Always so sarcastic…
“I uh.. I had a really crazy dream I guess..” She finished. She wasn’t entirely sure that what happened last night was real, but she didn’t think it was a dream. Either way she wasn’t going to cause concern.
“Oh no, was it the one about driving the giant car again??” Marie gave her a worried look. Callie chuckled.  
“Yeah but this time you accidentally hit me off the road ya jerk! Her cousin raised an eyebrow and her grin spread.
“Don’t worry, if I were going to run you off the road it wouldn’t be on accident.” She punched Callie’s arm playfully then stood up. “I’m only here for a minute, while we’re on break. I gotta head out again. You going to be alright? Do you want me to stay?”
Callie pushed off her blanket and swung her legs over the side of the bed.
“No, no I’m okay! I don’t want to keep you from important things!” She stood up and stretched, placing her hands on her hips to give an air of confidence.
“Besides, if you don’t go soon you’ll have to make me breakfast.”
Marie gave her a smile, but Callie could feel the concern coming off her cousin in waves. Thankfully she didn’t press, and they exchanged a bit more banter as Marie left the room.
As soon as she was gone, Callie walked to her mirror and considered her reflection. Her eyes seemed to have a permanent dark ring under them these days. She chuckled. They had a dark ring over them too. She smiled but the joke could only make her feel so much better. She honestly did look a bit ghastly. She stood still for a moment more. Then, very carefully, she lifted her shirt to see if the tattoo she never wanted had magically disappeared yet. She shoved her shirt back down as soon as she saw it. It made her sick to her stomach, and a lightheaded feeling washed over her.

I need to eat something…


In the kitchen, Callie rummaged through their cupboards looking for her favorite cereal. She was about to give up when she noticed a note on the counter, it read:


She crumpled the note and threw it at the wall. It lazily bounced off and onto the floor. Marie was right. She had lost a lot of weight while she was gone. But she was still pissed that her Frosted Sugar Bombs were gone. Looks like she was gonna have to make something. She crossed the kitchen and hit the play button on Marie’s CD player. Then stifled a laugh. Off The Hook. Marie swore up and down that she couldn’t stand them, but the proof was in the pudding! She went about making bacon and eggs while stepping to the beat of a particularly catchy song. She was pretty sure it was called “Muck Battle” or something.. She turned it up and hopped around the kitchen, letting the tune improve her mood. While she was flipping the bacon, the music suddenly started skipping and cut out. She pulled the pan off the heat and rounded the counter to go fix the cd. The fork dropped from her hand and clattered on the tile.
I prefer your singing. These two are nothing compared to you.” The octoling girl set the extracted CD on the counter and looked pointedly at Callie. She had one hand on the counter and the other rested on her goggles that were clipped to a shiny belt around her hips.
I’m glad to see you feeling better! You gave me a scare last night...” She paused, waiting for Callie to say something. She shifted awkwardly when there was no response.
Uh... I’m sorry about leaving you there last night, you were acting very strange so I thought it best to let you sleep a while.”
It was real?! No way!! Callie backed up against the silverware drawer and rummaged for something to defend herself with. She whipped out what she thought was a knife and brandished it at the stranger. Callie locked eyes with her. The girl chuckled darkly. She bent her head down and looked at Callie with a smirk. Offering me something to eat?” Callie went scarlet and looked down at the spoon in her shaking hands.
“W-who are you? Please, you’re scaring me… “ Her eyes began to well up with tears. The Octarian girl’s smug look melted away. It was replaced with a small frown.
Hey this joke isn’t funny anymore. I don’t want you to cry…” She reached out tenderly for Callie, who shrieked and backed into the stove.
The girl moved in an instant and grabbed her roughly by the front of her night shirt. The searing heat of the pan sitting there narrowly missed her as she was jerked forward and away from it. Her hands, still clutching the spoon for dear life, were now resting against the girl’s armor plated chest.
B-Be careful!! You‘ll hurt yourself!” Something about the way the girl held her felt so painfully familiar. She looked up into her eyes and a name surfaced out of the darkness of her memory...
Callie pushed as hard as she could against her captor and bolted for the back door.

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Callie shoved the door open and went sprawling out onto the sopping lawn. She could hear the girl calling after her but she didn’t stop there. She tripped through the garden and ran for the dense forest that surrounded the property. The sound of the rain diminished as she ran deeper and deeper into the depths of the trees. Her own mind was fighting her. The pain behind her eyes started up again and she stumbled in the brush. Wrestling through the dense foliage before stopping to hide behind a wide tree trunk.  Visions of octolings flashed in her mind. She saw Agent 4. How she had attacked him. She saw Octavio. The sparkling shades he presented her. She bit back against the painful memories as best she could but she just couldn’t stop them. Things came and went as she writhed in the dirt. The more the saw, the more unbearable the pain became. She screamed for help…                        

“Callie!?” “Is that you?!”

Everything faded to grey.



Oh god what happened to you? Please wake up!!”
Valka held the tiny limp form of Callie in her arms as she carried her back to the house. When she had first found this place, the massive yard and forest had impressed her. But having to trudge through the woods while carrying a girl in her arms made the excess of space feel a bit unnecessary. It’s not that it was hard to lift her, she just didn’t want to accidentally slip and drop her. Damn this rain! Oh Callie… She still wasn’t responding and her brow was drenched with sweat and rain. She could feel the heat of fever radiating from Callie even though her suit. What the hell is going on? Why is she acting this way? ... Maybe she’s ill… Valka reached the lawn and increased her pace to a run. She rushed them both through the open back door as quickly as possible. Thunder rumbled through the house as she scrambled for a place to put Callie. After setting her down on a sofa, she went to the kitchen for a wet rag. She needed to get this fever down before they got in the car. The ride out of inkopolis was always hectic. Vehicles were not spared by the society's obsession with branding and fashion, and inklings were always on the lookout for a new trend. It could go two ways: 1. Drivers would be infatuated with her car and plaster it all over every media site on the web or 2. They would call the local authorities because an unmarked octarian vehicle is going 20 over on a major highway. Valka set the rag carefully on Callie’s head. She was looking worse by the second. Valka proceeded to tear the kitchen apart. She doubted they had adequate medicine, since inkling tech was so behind, but it couldn’t hurt to check for a fever reducer. She cursed in octarian. Nothing. She pulled out a small radio from her pocket and pressed a code into it. It was a signal to her rookie partner to pull the car up to the estate. They needed to get out of here now.


Callie swung in and out of consciousness. She felt someone carrying her... Then she heard the engine of a car…. And now, something was humming. She struggled to convince her eyelids to move. Everything was so comfortable, why would she need to get up?
Hey… Are you waking up?” Callie didn’t want to wake up. Things were so crazy in her waking life. Despite her attempts to resist, her eyes slowly crept open. Instead of her bedroom though, she opened her eyes to find a hospital room. “Where am I?” She mumbled. She felt a hand press to her forehead and she jumped. Turning her head, she found herself face to face with… “Valka?”
You- Your fever is gone. How are you feeling?” The octoling looked at her with surprise and concern. “I’m okay… um…” She didn’t know what to say. Her memory was back! At least, some of it was. While she was asleep, she had started to remember things from her past. Valka’s name had come to her, and she didn’t feel scared anymore, but she couldn’t remember any more than that. “Listen um.. I think you know me? But I don’t really-” Valka stopped her.
“I understand.” She wouldn’t look Callie in the eye.
“I spoke with our department physician… She told me you might have some memory loss.” Callie swallowed.
“Yeah… After Marie knocked some sense into me and I got back home, I couldn’t remember anything that happened.” Valka put her head in her hands.
You must have been so terrified when I showed up...” She made a noise of frustration as she stood up. She crossed the room and stared out the window into the hallway.
“They told me that you were under Octavio’s control the whole time.” Callie said nothing. She was ashamed of how easily she had been tricked and manipulated. Her life was a wreck and she could barely even remember why. Tears pricked the corners of her eyes. “I never meant for this to happen…” Valka whipped around. Her own cheeks were wet.
Oh Callie…” She hurried back to her side and sat. “None of this is your fault. I’m just upset because of what happened to you.” Callie sniffed and turned away from her.
“All of this is my fault. Everyone is in so much pain because of what I did.” Valka said nothing. “I can’t remember you! Doesn’t that hurt?!”
Valka swallowed. “It... is a little hard to stomach. I mean, you don’t even know who I am... Even though...” The octoling looked away and fiddled with the pearly earring hanging from her ear. Callie instinctively reached up to feel the empty place on her own ear. “Did I give that to you?” Valka looked at her, and her expression became stony. A beat of silence rung between them.
You really don’t remember anything that happened between us?”
“I know you were important to me… But the details are hazy.” Callie reached out and set her hand on Valka’s arm gently. “I’m so sorry I made you go through all this trouble..”
To this, she smiled. “You were always trouble, you know. There’s no need to apologize.” She rested her hand over the top of Callie’s, and Callie felt heat creep into her cheeks.
“If I didn’t know better, I’d think your fever was coming back.” Callie pulled her hand away and crossed her arms. “I’m tired of your “knowing better”!” Valka chuckled and backed away in defeat. “I’m sorry! I keep forgetting that you don’t know me like I know you…
Callie sat up and leaned over the edge of the bed to face her. “Let me get to know you then! Tell me what happened between us!” She said fiercely. Valka blanched.
I don’t know if that is a good idea…
“Why do you say that?! Don’t you want me to know?!” Valka pinched the bridge of her nose, right were her scar was. She seemed to mull it over for a second, and then she sighed.
There are just so many things to tell you... What if I don’t tell them right? What if I forget something? A grave seriousness crept into her voice. What if... you are upset with what you learn? She hadn’t thought about that. With everything that was going on at the time, she doubted everything in their past was perfect.
“I have an idea..” Callie said quietly. “Walk me through everything that happened. We can go to all the places we’ve been to see if I can remember anything. And if I don’t, then I get to experience everything again for the first time.”Valka cocked her head to the side.
Wait. You talk so fast… You want to go on a walk??” Callie laughed.
“Umm… We go down memory path? Did I say that right?”
Easier to hear than to speak, so you say…” She winked and Callie smiled. “I understand your plan. But are you sure this is what you want? There are some things I don’t think you will like remembering.”
Callie stood her ground. “I want to know.”
Valka nodded. “I can show you around our old haunts as soon as you’re feeling better. But it might take a while to get through it all…” Callie grinned.
“I have nothing better to do. But I should probably tell Marie what we’re doing first…”

Chapter Text

Callie awoke the next morning feeling better than she had in a long time. Whatever these octo-Doc’s had given her had done wonders. Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door. Valka eased the door open and flicked the light on. “Good morning sleepy-head.” She smiled at Callie. Callie smiled back. “Hey.” Valka was looking much better. She had probably slept for the first time in days. She had also changed clothes and was now carrying a dark backpack. She slung it off her shoulder and set it on the bed at Callie’s feet. She pulled out a set of clothes and tossed them to Callie. “We need to get going asap. Traffic gets rough at a certain point in the morning, and I would prefer that we avoided it.” Callie scooped up the pile and headed to the bathroom. “I hope they fit alright.” She remarked as Callie shut the door behind her.
The pants fit fine, but Callie was practically drowning in Valka’s jacket. She laughed at her baggy reflection and rolled up the sleeves a few times. She stopped, pulling the fabric to her nose. Wow this thing smells nice… “Cal?” She jumped and quickly opened the bathroom door to find her octoling companion tapping her foot impatiently. “Okay I think we have everything we...” Valka’s eyes went wide. Callie raised her arms and spun in a circle.
“It’s kinda big…” Callie remarked. Valka took a few steps closer to her and put a hand to her cheek pensively. Callie held her breath. Something about the way she stood there made Callie’s ink race. Valka reached out and awkwardly adjusted the collar of the jacket. “It uh… it was crooked.” Valka turned away and Callie let out a sigh. Before she could say anything, a short seahorse woman burst into the room. “Vaaalkaaa! Darling, you look sooo much better! Who knew you cleaned up so nice?” She swept through the space and patted Valka affectionately on the arm. Callie wasn’t entirely sure why, but the action made her stomach sour. She guessed this woman was some kind of doctor based on the white lab coat she wore. The woman whipped around and opened her arms. “Caaaallie!!” She rushed over to her and pulled her into a hug. “Oh I’m so glad to see you up and about!!” The woman giggled, a bubbly and infectious sound. Callie loosened up and gave her a shy smile. “Um. I’m really sorry but I’m not sure who you… um… are.” The woman gave her a brilliant smile. Her eyes were massive under her glasses as she stared at Callie. “Yes I know! But it is nice to see you regardless~” Her voice was singsong, and she danced in a circle around Callie, inspecting her. Callie laughed nervously. “Luta please stop scaring her.” Valka snagged the the arm of the twirling doctor and pulled her to a stop. “Sorry sweetheart~” She crooned. “I can’t help myself!” Valka looked quite exasperated from the sweetness dripping off Luta’s words. “Why are you here anyways? I thought Callie was clear to go.” Luta pushed her glasses up and pouted.
“Yessss she is… But I wanted to tell her something first.” Valka didn’t look convinced. “Make it quick.”
Luta spun around and placed her hands on Callie’s shoulders. “Listen up! I have some important things to tell you.” Callie watched her entire demeanor shift in an instant. Her smile melted off her face and she spoke very seriously.
“I believe those shades affected more than your memory. In a way, they rewired your brain. Your body is at war with itself because it doesn’t know what to trust anymore. Are your memories real? Or are they all the result of manipulation and mind control? In any case, you should be careful about trying to pry into the things your brain has locked up. It could result in another meltdown.” And just like that, she snapped back to her silly attitude. She smiled and hugged Callie tightly. Then she turned over her shoulder and gave Valka an overly pointed look. She pushed her spectacles up her nose again and said slyly. “I trust you won’t have trouble keeping an eye on her?” Valka shot her a glare but her face was flushed.
“What does that mean…?” Callie looked between them in confusion.
“Don’t worry hon, you’re in very capable hands!”
“OKAY thanks doc I can take it from here!” Valka shoved the girl out of the room as she giggled maniacally.


Valka lead Callie through the station while dozens of octolings and various other denizens looked at them. They all wore the same sort of outfit that Valka had been wearing on the night they “met.” Dark skin tight suits with a few shiny armor plates. They looked curiously at the two. Callie tugged nervously on the oversized jacket. She glanced at Valka, who had on a more casual outfit now. She was still wearing her weird silent shoes, but the rest of her gear was pretty normal. A tight fitting stretchy jacket and scarf with some slightly baggy cargo pants. All in black, Callie noted. They reached the exit doors and Callie ogled a massive sign with shiny octarian text plastered onto it. “O...P…. D?” She sounded out. “... VALKA ARE YOU A COP?” Her voice rang through the department lobby before Valka rushed them both out the door.
Callie was stunned. “This whole place is a police department!! That’s why you all dress so weird!!” Valka pinched the bridge nose and sighed.
We need to discuss how much you remember about me.” Valka ushered Callie through the parking lot and opened the door to a shiny black car. “Why didn’t you tell me you were a cop?” Callie asked as she hopped into the passenger side. Valka looked uncomfortable. “ Lets talk on the drive.” She closed the door.


Are you feeling okay? I know you don’t like car rides…” Valka looked sideways at Callie as they sped along the underground highway. “No I’m okay as long as I look out the window!” Callie smiled at her. Oh that smile. She always winked when she did it. Valka looked down at Callie’s hands folded in her lap, and thought about how easy it would be to reach out and hold them. She shook herself, embarrassed at the very thought.
Ahem. So I was thinking you should tell me about what you can remember. I want to gauge how much I need to tell you before we go on our little adventure.” Callie made a thoughtful sound. “I remember a lot about Octavio and the other octolings. I remember decorating and training with them… Um… I remember attacking Agent 4 too.”  She wrung her hands. “I think I maybe remember something about… Dealing with cops.” Valka blew out a breath. “ But you don’t remember me?” Callie shook her head. “ That makes sense. You didn’t know I was a cop back then.”

“I didn’t?” Valka laughed. “ No uh- That’s a bit of a long story actually. I think I’ll save it for our tour.”


The two made it through the city with little trouble. The traffic had been very light and Valka kept Callie distracted enough to dissuade her nausea from the ride. At one point she had even resorted to singing a very offkey rendition of an Off the Hook song to please her.
They arrived at the Squid Sisters estate just as the sun was rising.
The two were walking up the steps to the house when Callie stopped.
“Valka?” She looked up at Callie with a concerned look.
Callie stared at the massive front door. “Is this a bad idea?”
“Do you feel like it is?”
“No… I… I’m not sure. I think Marie will be furious, and I think there might be a reason my brain doesn’t want me to remember some stuff.” She felt so anxious. “I just don’t know what’s waiting for me out there! So many things could go wrong! The doctor warned us and heaven knows I can’t handle another break down. It’s… It’s like you said, what if I’m not happy with what I learn?”
Valka darted up the stairs and stopped on the step below Callie. Valka pulled on her sleeve to turn her around.
Callie, listen. When I said that, it was because I was afraid. There are things that will be very hard to tell you. But the truth is, I want you to know. I miss you so much and I can’t stop thinking about what it will be like when you remember me again… It’s selfish I know, but I promise I will take care of you while we go through this together.”
Callie was in awe. She gave Valka a shy smile and nodded to indicate she was okay. Valka returned the gesture and they climbed the steps together.


Valka had never met Marie before, but she was much… Angrier than how Callie used to describe her. She was fierce in the “I’m not going to yell but I think you know how much I want to kill you” sorta way. Valka thought it best to let Callie deal with her, she would only step in if she was asked to. Marie glared at her as Callie jabbered away trying to convince her. “You’re one of Octavio’s goons aren’t you?” She seethed.
“Um. No Ma'am I’m an officer of the law.” Marie’s expression didn’t change but her eyebrow raised. “Is. That. So?” Valka swallowed. “Yes. My fellow deputies work tirelessly to put a stop to people like him.” Callie looked back at her in confusion and mouthed “ what???” Marie gave her a terrifying smile. “Well clearly you’re not that good at your job! Since I was the one responsible for STOPPING him.”
“That’s ENOUGH!” Callie shouted. She grabbed Marie roughly and pulled her into a nearby room. Valka flinched as the door slammed.


“I don’t know, Marie! There’s something about her!”
Marie crossed her arms and glowered at her. “She really cares about me and I want to know what happened between us!”
“This is INSANE! You don’t even know her!! How can you trust her just like that?!” Callie thought about she felt when Valka was near her. There was a pulling in her chest whenever Valka looked at her. She couldn’t put off the feeling anymore. “I feel safe with her.” She whispered. Marie looked shocked. “I know it doesn’t make sense, but I think she’s really special.” A moment passed between them. Marie slowly uncrossed her arms, then wrapped them around Callie. “If that’s how you feel, then I trust you.” The expression on her face was pained though. Callie could imagine how hard this must have been for her after everything that had happened before. “You won’t lose me again, I promise.” She held Marie tightly.


Are you sure your cousin going to be okay with this?” Valka glanced at the door over her shoulder, as if any second Marie would burst in brandishing her charger. Callie had been packing a bag for the trip while Valka nervously paced the room. She rummaged through her drawers searching for… Aha! I don’t want to get on her bad side, Cal…” Callie turned to Valka and grabbed hold of her hand. She looked up into her stunned face and smiled. “Marie is fine with it. Everything is going to be okay.” Valka’s eyes went wide. She carefully brushed the side of Callie’s face and touched the matching bit of jewelry hanging there. “ Callie…” Callie reached up and held Valka’s hand to the side of her face. The octoling’s complexion went completely red. “I want to know our story, Valka...” Callie took a nervous step closer, till there was barely a space between them. “I’m ready to find out why I love you.”

Valka slipped her hand behind Callie’s neck and pulled her into a rushed kiss. It was... Absolutely exhilarating. Familiar and yet completely new at the same time. Callie felt herself melting under the touch of Valka’s mouth pressed to hers. She was so soft and warm… She could drown in this feeling forever. But, just as soon as it had happened, it was over. Valka yanked herself away and turned an even deeper shade of crimson. Callie’s head spun.  “ Oh cod… I’m so sorry, Cal I-” Callie was too happy to speak, so she flung her arms around Valka’s neck and buried her face into her shoulder. Here we go…