It’s not the fact that Gorgug is kind of famous that bothers her, she thinks it’s cool that her boyfriend is basically a rockstar. And it isn’t that other people started realizing that Gorgug was hot, it was bound to happen anyway, Zelda wasn’t the only one with eyes after all. It was just…
“What you don’t think you’re good enough to be dating him?”
“Sam! Oh my gosh!” Penny throws some popcorn at Sam, scandalized, “That’s so mean!” Sam shrugs as she mage hands the popcorn away before it hits her.
“What? We’ve been beating around the bush the whole night, it’s not his fame, it’s not his fans wanting a piece of him, it’s not that he’s spending so much time on a tiny tour bus with, known flirt, Figueroth Faeth-”
“They’re like basically siblings that’d be gross, for both of them” Penny interjects smiling reassuringly at Zelda, Sam just shrugs again before continuing on matter of factly.
“If it’s nothing to do with him or others the only thing left is insecurity.” Zelda shrinks into herself fidgeting with the hem of her sweater. Penny puts a comforting hand on her shoulder but before she can say anything Sam continues in the same bored tone as before, “Which makes no sense ‘cus let’s be real you’re way too good for him anyway.” Zelda looks up to see Sam still boredly watching the flatscreen crystal playing some random romcom they chose for their study sesh turned movie night. Zelda doesn’t try to catch her eye as she responds.
“I uh, thanks, I guess… But like, uh, hahah, that’s not-”
“It’s totally true.” Sam interrupts her without looking away from the movie. Zelda looks over at Penny for help but she just shrugs.
“I mean it’s pretty true.” Penny offers.
“It’s really not.” Zelda looks down again, this time reaching into her pocket to tug on the tangled earphone wires she stuffed in there when she got to Penny’s house. It was silent for a while leaving Zelda to stew in her insecurities. If it was so obvious to Sam it must be obvious to Gorgug and if it was obvious to Gorgug then wow she probably looked pathetic during moving day, on top of eating part of the pizza box oh my gods she’s such a freak.
“You need to stop thinking things like that about yourself!” Sam’s exclamation brings Zelda out of her spiral. She faces Sam’s stern look with a surprised one of her own.
“What? Uh, sorry?” And then she realizes, she definitely wasn’t saying any of that out loud. “Uh, wait, hold on, Sam? Did you detect thoughts me?” Zelda can see Penny place her face in her hands groaning.
“You were obviously spiraling.”
“You were! For stupid reasons! You’re not a freak, and if Gorgug thinks you’re a freak-”
“Which I’m sure he doesn’t!” Penny interjects, lifting her head up and glaring at Sam.
“You should just break up with him!” Sam finishes, Zelda’s vision starts to turn red. She tries to remember the breathing exercises Jawbone had taught her during one of her visits to his office, in for 4, hold for 7, out for 8. It was a little difficult to concentrate when Sam kept pushing, “And you’re not Pathetic. Plus in case you haven’t noticed you boyfriend isn’t the most observant he probably isn’t even worried about how you’re feeling-”
“Sam! Stop.” Penny stands in between the other two. Zelda doesn’t remember standing up but here she was squaring up against Sam who doesn’t even look bothered with her arms crossed and expression neutral.
“What? You know I’m right.” Sam glances at Penny, who’s back is to Zelda. Zelda who’s trying to keep it together, she’s trying to keep her breathing normal, trying not to freak out. So what if Gorgug wasn’t the most observant. It’s not like there’s much to be observed with her, compared to Gorgug she’s not really anything special.
“Are you being serious right now? Nothing Special? Seriously?”
“Get out of my head!” there go the breathing exercises out the window.
“Why? So you can talk yourself into thinking you’re nothing, when you’re actually way cooler than Mr. Rockstar could ever hope to be?”
“Sam…” Penny warns carefully.
“Seriously Penny? You know I’m right, Gorgug may be a ‘rockstar’ now but he’s still a total loser” and there’s the final straw. Zelda lunges forward, not even noticing Penny jumping out of the way, she just heads straight for Sam, even without her daggers she can still do a good amount of damage. Sam moves to dodge but fails her dex saving throw and Zelda tackles her to the ground pulling her fist back ready to throw a punch. Out of nowhere Penny jumps onto Zelda’s back managing to throw her off her balance, giving Sam a chance to escape. Once Sam’s back on her feet Zelda stands easily, Penny still clinging to her shoulders tries to grapple Zelda back down. Zelda flails awkwardly trying to get Penny off her back, after a few attempts Penny jumps off on her own managing to land behind the couch, and just as soon as Zelda’s able to put her focus back on Sam she’s hit with what she recognizes to be Hold Person. Failing her wisdom save Zelda is rendered completely still. Then it’s silent besides the sound of heavy breathing, out of the corner of her eye Zelda sees Penny cautiously pop her head out from behind the couch, but Zelda’s focus is on Sam. Her arms are still outstretched from casting Hold Person and her hair is a mess, Zelda feels a small twinge of satisfaction at that. There’s a scoff from Sam who finally lets her arms down from the casting position.
“Smug about messing up my hair? Really Zelds?” Sam smooths her hair down and rolls her eyes. Zelda struggles against the spell keeping her paralyzed, fueled by her anger at realizing Detect Thoughts was still active. Another Wisdom save, another fail.
“Really Sam c’mon just drop it…” Penny walks over to Sam keeping one eye on Zelda. “I thought we agreed? No detecting thoughts on the party. Not cool” Sam huffs and rolls her eyes.
“It’s not my fault she spirals if you don’t stop her.” Sam’s eyes flicker between Zelda and Sam, a little panicked.
“Still, it’s not ok to invade her privacy like that.” Penny puts her hands on her hips with a stern disapproving look that Zelda usually recognizes as her “Riz Gukgak i swear to any deity listening you better stop what you’re doing right now” look. When Sam opens her mouth to respond Zelda speaks up.
“Stop talking about me like I’m not right here.” She may still be paralyzed, another failed save wow she’s been rolling terribly today, but she could still talk. Both Sam and Penny startle and mumble apologies, something that helps her to start coming down from her freak out, “Can you let me go now?” Penny and Sam share a look.
“Let’s just wait it out a little ok hon?” Penny smiles at Zelda who frowns back.
“I won’t attack anyone ok? I’m not gonna freak out again,” she’s about 85% sure that’s true, “It’s… This was stupid ok, just let me go so I can go home.” Zelda feels the embarrassment of losing her cool start to creep up, making her cheeks feel warm.
“No! God, this wasn’t stupid!” Sam throws her hands up startling both Penny and Zelda. “Your feelings aren’t stupid! Getting angry over me insulting your boyfriend isn’t stupid! Feeling insecure isn’t stupid! Well it is stupid, but not the way you mean! This is stupid, you thinking everything you do is stupid, is stupid! But not like… Oh my goddddd I just, I don’t know how to do this right, ugh…” she drops her arms to her side as she walks back over to the couch and flops down with her face in her hands. Zelda feels the concentration on the spell break and she stumbles forward a bit. This time it’s Zelda and Penny that share a look, but still it’s Penny who takes action and walks over to sit by Sam and place a comforting hand around her.
“I’m… Uh… I’m sorry...” Zelda takes a hesitant step towards Sam, completely over her freak out. Sam shakes her head.
“There’s nothing for you to apologize about it’s just… Ugh,” there’s a sniffle and Sam sits up, shrugging off Penny’s arm, she sits completely straight and takes a deep breath. “I’m not used to this, ok.” Zelda looks over at Penny who seems just as confused as her.
“Not used to what?” Penny asks gently. Sam tucks her hair behind her ear fin and takes another deep breath before responding.
“Ok, so like you two know I used to hang out with Penelope right?” Zelda and Penny nod, “She like, it’s just, she used to say bad stuff about herself too but like, it’s not like she meant any of it y’know? She just kind of expected me or Dayne to tell her she was wrong and then compliment her and honestly I kind of thought that’s what you were doing at first.” Sam glances up at Zelda, “Bet then I realized you actually meant it? Like you really think all that about yourself and it just…” she huffs, “It just really pissed me off I guess? You’re not stupid, you’re not a freak, you’re incredible? You’re an incredible member of our party, and an incredible friend. Zelda, You’re literally such an amazing fighter you’re not even allowed at the normal barbarian classes. You’re so great at all of that, but you don’t see it? And like nothing we say gets it through to you and it’s like, what the fuck Zelda? You’re literally like so cool? And Gorgug?” Zelda tenses and Sam lifts her hands up in surrender, “Gorgug would have to be be a literal fucking idiot not to see that. But you don’t see it and none of us know how to get it through to you ok? So… So I’m sorry, or whatever, for using Detect Thoughts on you…” When Sam finishes her mini rant Zelda’s left speechless. Penny opens her mouth to say something but closes it again also seemingly at a loss for words. Zelda looks down not sure what the right response to something like that is. At least she knows that denying all the compliments like she wants to is definitely the wrong answer. She’s never really thought about how all her self deprecation could sound like fishing for compliments, that was honestly the last thing she wanted. To be fishing for compliments she didn’t deserve, so fishing for any compliments, was unthinkable. Sam huffs a dry laugh and leans back into the couch.
“You’re missing the point again.” Sam crosses her arms earning her a frown from Zelda and a groan from Penny. She shrugs with a sigh, “Sorry. I’ll drop the spell.” Zelda takes a few deep breaths before stepping towards Sam tentatively.
“Um… Uh it’s… I’m- I know you said I didn’t have to say sorry but um… I- I am. Sorry.” Sam just shrugs in response, “I didn’t… I mean I don’t like- I don’t really think of myself as any of the things you said, but uh- well… If they’re true it is stupid to be insecure.” Zelda chuckles trying to lighten the mood, she gets a blank stare from Sam in return. “And um, yeah… I am uh, I am insecure, I guess. S-sorry for beating around the bush all night it was stu- uh… I mean I guess I should’ve just told you guys…” Silence from Sam, an encouraging nod from Penny, “It’s just like I mean, I know Gorgug just… He meets so many cool and interesting people on uh, on tour and adventuring, and like… I’m…” She hesitates, not sure what to say to avoid starting the whole self deprecation debate again. “I’m just… well… Y’know… I’m just me.” She ends with a shrug looking down at her hands fidgeting with the hem of her hoodie again.
“And what’s wrong with that?” Sam says sounding almost offended. Zelda looks up at her a little panicked, definitely not sure how to respond to that without going around in circles, but before Zelda can ever start to respond Sam continues, “Like, ok maybe I lied a little bit, Gorgug isn’t a loser, he’s like a super hot drummer for the coolest band in Elm Valley.” Zelda tenses, Penny elbows Sam in the side, and Sam waves them both off, “And this super hot drummer likes you. He’s liked you since freshman year. He came to your Rager and fought against the Party Fouls for you. Like in case you haven’t noticed Zelda,” She leans forward and whispers dramatically as if she’s sharing the biggest secret she knows, “Gorgug is kind of into you.” Penny snorts unexpectedly.
“That’s an understatement.” Zelda looks between the two of them sure she’s blushing hard enough that her whole face is probably red.
“You guys…” Zelda moves so her hair falls in her eyes and she can avoid looking at them.
“Oh my god I know. He’s like head over heels for her.” Sam turns to address Penny.
“I swear I saw hearts in his eyes during the Rager.” Penny leans into Sam giggling.
“Oh I wish you could have seen how hard he was pining after her during freshman year omg”
“Stopppp…” Zelda groans covering her face with her hands trying to make herself invisible. There’s a moment where the other two girls just giggle before Sam speaks up again,
“My point is Zelds,” she says pointedly, “I get that you don’t see how great you are, yet we’re gonna work on that, but Gorgug obviously does. Right?”
“Yeah… I guess.” Zelda responds still hiding her face, she feels a comforting hand on her back and she peeks out to see Penny smiling kindly at her.
“But you also know you shouldn’t base your self worth on whether or not Gorgug likes you.” When Zelda hesitates Penny nudges her, “Right?”
“Yeah… I know it’s just… I mean… It’s um… It’s dumb,” Sam clears her throat loudly, “It’s not- It’s not dumb but it makes me feel dumb…” Zelda sighs, wrapping her arms around herself but still hiding her face behind her hair, “I just, it’s- I mean... I really like him. A lot…” She chuckles sadly at herself, “And for some reason he likes me too… And uh- I just don’t want- I don’t want him to uh, stop liking me? It’s st- It’s… It makes me feel… Bad or whatever?” this time it’s Sam who sighs, she stands up and walks over to the other side of Zelda.
“Has Gorgug ever given you a reason to think he likes you any less than he did before he started going on tour with Fig and Stuff?” Zelda thinks about it for a moment, there were moments she thought he had but when she thinks about them more carefully she’s pretty sure it was just anxiety. So she shakes her head.
“No, I guess not.” Zelda looks tentatively up at Sam who nods once.
“Then there’s no reason to worry.” Sam shrugs, “And if he ever did, don’t worry it’s not like Aguefort cares if we kill him and I’m pretty sure Danielle can figure out how to hide the body.” Zelda looks back up shocked ready to protest before being cut off by Penny’s loud laugh.
“Yeah and I bet I can get Sklonda to look the other way, she definitely owes me for some ‘keeping Riz out of trouble’ overtime.”
“You guys, really?!?!” Penny laughs harder and Sam just shrugs again.
“Yeah we can get Dionysus in on it to I bet He’d be down.” Zelda laughs despite herself, when she really thinks about it going into a divine rage over a boyfriend problem would probably be justified in His eyes. Penny pulls Zelda and Sam into a tight hug as they all laugh together, well Sam rolls her eyes but Zelda’s pretty sure she saw her smile out of the corner of her eye. When the laughter dies down and the girls start to pull away Zelda holds on a little longer.
“I’m not… good at um, talking about this stuff, or whatever. But uh- th- I guess thanks. Sam I’m… I’m sorry I tackled you.” There’s silence for a moment before Sam hugs them just a little tighter.
“I guess I’m sorry for casting Detect Thoughts on you without your permission.” Zelda hugs back.
“I- I do… I mean you were right that I kind of, uh, I- I spiral some times.” Sam hums in acknowledgment and when they seperate Penny’s giving Sam A Look that makes her sigh.
“I shouldn’t have insulted your boyfriend or whatever just to try to get you to talk.” Zelda nods at Sam a gives her a little smile, “Great! So can we finish watching the movie now? We have to start it over, I’m pretty sure I missed most of the plot by now.” Sam turns away quickly and dramatically, gesturing to the Crystal TV still playing whatever shitty romcom they chose earlier in the evening. Zelda and Penny share a smile before joining Sam on the couch to continue their study sesh turned movie night. As Zelda curls up on the couch she feels her crystal vibrate in her pocket. There’s a text from Gorgug and while normally she’d jump and respond right away… Zelda looks over at Sam and Penny where they’re squabbling over the popcorn bowl while Penny tries to start the movie over and she smiles to herself. She locks her Crystal and puts it back in her pocket before grabbing the popcorn bowl out of Penny’s hands and laughing as both her friends climb over each other to try and get it back.