Adora would rather pull her own hair out than party plan with Bow and Glimmer. She would actually rather do absolutely anything else than sit in a room with Glimmer at all.
Glimmer was trying to act like everything was fine, she’d greet Adora when she came into the room or try to bring her food as if everything she had done no longer mattered.
Adora could deal with it as long as she did her best to be petty and do nothing to help party-wise and throw in every sarcastic remark that popped into her head.
“Why are we not just doing a small friend thing?” Adora groaned, she was laying on her stomach on the couch while Bow and Glimmer were spread out on the floor. Glimmer purposefully a couple feet farther away.
“With summer classes ending and fall semester starting in, what? Maybe three weeks?” Glimmer checked the date on her phone then let out a heavy sigh. “Some of us haven’t gotten time away from school in, like, eons.”
“Wow, how terrible.” Adora laughed cynically and placed a throw pillow over her head. “You know that this isn’t fair, right? I’m being forced to go to this simply by existing.”
Bow was nervously tapping his pencil up against his notepad. “Well,” He started hesitantly, “Maybe it will be good for you to… To see people you love… Platonically.”
“Can you please stop that?” Adora mumbled.
Every time Bow used the word ‘love’ he now ended it with the word ‘platonically’ followed by an apologetic shrug and grimace. She would be furious if it wasn’t so endearing.
“It’ll be fun-”
Adora locked eyes with Glimmer who immediately clamped her mouth shut.
Glimmer still hadn’t found even an inch of humbleness or remorse in her heart, and until then, Adora was okay with not speaking.
Barely three days had passed since Adora last saw Catra, and every time she breathed it became more unbearable. She wanted to reach out, but whenever she checked her phone and saw that Catra also hadn’t reached out, it hurt too bad to form any words.
Glimmer looked between Bow and Adora with her arms crossed before standing up with a huff and storming out of the room. Adora didn’t bother to watch her walk away.
“Okay, I hate this.” Bow sighed and moved Adora’s legs so he could sit on the couch next to her. “How are you feeling?” He rubbed her back and Adora flinched a bit at the contact.
“Terrible,” She said before sitting up and placing her face in her hands. “Everything is so out of my control right now.”
“I’ve been… Trying to talk to her. She’s still a little stuck, I think she’s… Hurt by what you did. And it’s making her think she’s in the right.”
Adora scooted away from the closeness and narrowed her eyes at him. “Do you think she is?”
Bow’s mouth dropped open and he shook his head, “Of course not,” His eyes quickly filled to the brim with an apologetic look. “I love her, and I love you. I don’t want to pick sides… But if I did,” He nudged Adora’s shoulder with his own. “I’d be on yours. The house just feels like a warzone.”
“Well,” Adora scoffed but leaned her head on his shoulder anyway. “I love you… Platonically.” She laughed a bit at the last part causing Bow to do the same and wrap her in a hug.
“I think things will work out,” He said, a bit too confidently.
Adora shifted uncomfortably before standing up and stretching, “Maybe I’ll go on a run.”
“It’s that bad, huh?” Bow shook his head.
“You only go on a run when you’re upset about something otherwise you punch things.”
“I’ll do both.” Adora shrugged and sprinted away before Bow could do anything else to make her talk about how she was feeling.
Adora cringed when she looked at her reflection in the mirror, she looked beyond exhausted. She squeezed her eyes shut to stop the tears from forming in her eyes before changing into more athletic clothing. There was something about seeing herself look so broken that made it hurt more.
Bow was right, she didn’t go on runs that often.
That last time she went on a run… Was to see Catra at work.
The thought traveled to her heart and she kept herself upright by gripping onto the bathroom sink.
“I am going to be okay,” She whispered to herself, using all of her inner strength not to throw Catra’s clothes back on and continue her Glee rewatch.
She opened the bathroom door so quickly it almost hit Glimmer’s face.
“Sorry,” Glimmer said hurriedly and moved her eyes to the floor. “Just, uh-”
Adora pushed past her without a word, there was maybe a hypothetical future where they could be friends again, but tonight was not the night.
She needed to be in control of something even if it was just the amount of miles she was going to choose to run. She just needed something, just for her mind to be on anything else that wasn’t Catra.
Even when she wanted to focus on being mad at Glimmer or making breakfast, it was always Catra. It was truly a miserable thought that Adora would let everything go if she just got one more chance to hug her.
So, she decided to run. So she could feel in control of just one thing.
Adora was halfway home when her watch alerted her she had a text. She wiped the sweat off of her forehead with the bottom of her shirt and collapsed into the grass. In actuality, she hadn’t run more than two miles, but she still felt like she was one moment away from dying. Cardio clearly was not a good friend to her.
She momentarily thanked her past self for deciding to go on a run so she had enough built-up anxiety dissolved that she didn’t panic on the ground in the middle of the trail.
A bitter laugh rose in her throat, the pace quickened until she was in a full-blown laughing fit, tears streaming down her face, rocking back and forth on the grass with her arms wrapped around her knees. All she wanted was contact from her, anything, but of course, through everything, the first thing Catra had to say was, “Hey.”
She wiped away the tears from the corner of her eyes to open the message just to stare at it.
Bile rose in her throat when she saw the bubbles appear on the bottom of the screen indicating that Catra was typing. She could have at least called. Even though Adora wasn’t sure she would have answered.
She didn’t know how to explain it, the conflicting feelings of wanting but not feeling like anything was good enough at the same time. The anger inside of her had been eating away at every ounce of rational thinking recently. She didn’t want to be mad, she wanted to want to fix it. But that’s all she had done, try to fix it, try to figure it out, and she told Catra to come to her. Even if it was killing her. Even if she would walk through fire to be able to go home to her.
Adora thought Catra would wake up the next morning and regret everything from their fight, she thought it every night when she went to bed, tomorrow, tomorrow she’ll figure it out. But by the looks of things, that hadn’t happened yet.
Catra: can we talk?
Adora let out another laugh. The words everyone wants to hear, “Can we talk?”
She stared at her phone screen until the world around her became blurry. If she could, she’d avoid the conversation with Catra long enough so in small moments of ignorance she could pretend she was still hers.
Adora: About what
Catra: uhhh i guess about everything
Adora stood up and shoved her phone back into her pocket before starting to run again, she couldn’t ignore it forever, but she could for about another hour. And she’d just pretend that the hour was long enough to make it okay.
Catra had been pacing around her living room for almost an hour, biting at the edges of her thumb and staring at her phone screen until the light hurt her eyes.
“Can you guys like, not cuddle right now? I’m having a moment.” Catra growled at Scorpia and Perfuma who were seated on the couch.
“Well,” Perfuma sat up a bit, “I feel like… Maybe I shouldn’t intervene. Adora’s-”
“I know,” Catra put a hand up to stop her from speaking, “She’s your friend first.”
“You asked her to talk, that’s probably all you can do right now. We can’t make her respond faster or do anything that she isn’t willing to.”
Catra gave Scorpia a look that in her own way meant, Why is the girl you have a thing with trying to be my therapist?
Scorpia shrugged, a blush spread over her face which she quickly hid by ducking her face in the crook of Perfuma’s neck.
“Should I call her?”
“No,” Perfuma and Scorpia said at the same time. Catra almost gagged when they giggled and high-fived for saying something simultaneously.
“Are me and Adora this gross and annoying?”
“Yes,” They said together again.
Catra shuffled around so she was standing in front of them, not daring to look anywhere besides the wall behind the couch. She didn’t have the energy to be overwhelmed by their couple-like nature.
She usually wouldn’t be bothered, she liked to see Scorpia happy, but the time for that was really not now.
“And… You guys are just going to go to the party tomorrow without me?”
“Catra,” Scorpia said gently, “I mean… You weren’t invited.”
Catra scoffed and sat down on the floor, “Scorpia you’re my friend first.” She said, mocking Perfuma’s tone from earlier.
“Would you really even want to go? Glimmer will be there… It’s not just an Adora thing.” Scorpia stood up to sit by Catra on the floor and placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder.
“I don’t want-”
“I know,” Scorpia whispered, “Don’t want to talk about Glimmer. But let’s try to get you distracted at least so you can maybe get some rest. You got this, Wildcat. She’ll talk to you.”
Catra groaned, Adora talking to her wasn’t the thing she was most worried about. She knew that she’d probably speak to her, even if the words weren’t nice they’d still talk.
Even if they were fighting at least she could hear her voice again.
More prominently, she was worried that Adora would laugh in her face, or declare that it would be the last time they would ever talk.
Scorpia wrapped her in a hug, and Catra let it happen, she’d been trying to accept more acts of affection in the last 48 hours, to see if that made any difference in her perception of things.
“If she doesn’t, we will take it from there.” Scorpia squeezed her, “Did you write down what you were going to say when you see her?”
Catra opened her notes app and handed her phone to Scorpia who made a squeaking noise, “This is really long-”
“Shut up,” Catra grabbed her phone back and started reading through what she had written down for the millionth time.
Perfuma had given her the idea of writing down what she wanted to say to Adora beforehand so she could keep everything on track and get everything out. Somehow it had turned into a small novel sitting in her notes app that she hadn’t stopped mulling over.
It felt like a very Adora Thing™ for her to do.
Through many awkward talks with Scorpia and Perfuma, Catra had been able to put more words to what she was feeling, instead of just angry bursts of emotion clawing to get out of her throat.
She realized a bit of an aching thought that she couldn’t quite grapple with. She realized she’d been open and vulnerable, showing Adora she loved her to the best of her ability without being able to say it.
But when she was able to put words to the feeling that she didn’t feel like she could be loved back, when she realized she wasn’t letting herself be loved, that had sent her spiraling, it was quite a messy thought.
Perfuma had tried to ask Catra where she thought that came from and Catra had to storm out of the room.
All she could do was sit there with it, the fact that she should open her heart to love, or whatever Perfuma had said.
Truthfully, it didn’t feel all the way there, it didn’t feel like she could fully believe that those words were true. Two thoughts coexisted where she thought she wouldn’t deserve that type of love from Adora but also knew she would be the only person Catra would want to love her that way.
But it also made her angry, angry that she had dug herself down so deep that everyone else had forced themselves to climb out.
Her perception of everything hadn’t done a complete flip the moment Adora had walked out of her apartment, but she had never felt the way she did when she saw she wasn’t there anymore.
Catra was going to make up for it, the best that she could. She was going to decide, even if it didn’t make sense, that maybe she also deserved to be loved.
She looked at her phone again, still no response. She double-checked Scorpia and Perfuma were caught up in conversation before she made a bold move, double texting.
Three seconds after she sent it the text bubbles popped back up indicating Adora was typing again, Catra gripped her phone with so much force she was convinced she could break it.
But the screen went blank again, and Catra’s stomach was back in knots.
Adora had put on the original outfit she had gotten at the mall with Bow, but after three seconds of being around people, she put Catra’s sweatshirt back on and sat far away from any other person in the room.
There was one person she was dreading seeing, Scorpia.
She knew they would make eye contact and Adora would be able to just know whatever Catra was feeling through the simple gesture. There would be a look of pity, or anger, or anything in between. She wanted to glue her eyes shut, but Bow was going to make them play charades and she wasn’t going to lose.
Adora snapped her head up, her expression immediately darkened as she stared up at Glimmer.
“Hello,” Adora deadpanned back to her as she crossed her arms. “Why aren’t you entertaining your guests.”
“Oh, shut up,” Glimmer snorted and shoved Adora slightly so she could sit next to her. “Look-”
“Please don’t do this, Glim.” Adora cut her off. “There’s not one thing you could do right now to make up for what you did.”
Glimmer, surprisingly, went quiet. Adora could see out of the corner of her eye that she had glued her eyes up to the ceiling. She took a deep breath and turned to Adora with an almost desperate look on her face. “I don’t like when we fight.”
“I don’t either,” Adora admitted and wrung her hands together, “But I’m angry.”
“Okay,” Glimmer said, sighing heavily. “That’s okay.”
Adora almost whipped her head around in shock but kept her composure, “Whatever.” She huffed, standing up to go find Bow.
“Adora?” Glimmer called out, “I’m going to go to the store… To get ice.”
“Ice?” Adora furrowed her brows but Glimmer was gone before she could question her any further. Their refrigerator literally had an ice machine, but Adora assumed it was just an excuse to walk away.
Adora heard Scorpia’s voice right as she entered the room, her stomach twisted up inside of her and she kept her eyes plastered on the ground beneath her and gripped onto Bow’s hand. She counted to ten, just in case someone was with her who wasn’t Perfuma.
She didn’t want to look up, so she could pretend Catra came there anyway to surprise her.
Before she could even blink, Perfuma was wrapping her in a hug. “Adora,” She smiled gently and squeezed her again. “How are you doing?”
Fantasy over, Catra wasn’t there.
Adora clenched her hands into a fist to prevent any tears from rising, “I’m great.” She smiled, and Bow let out a soft grunt of pain when she tightened her grip on him to keep herself standing. “Let’s play a game or something.” She steered her eyes away from Scorpia, ignoring the fact she could feel her eyes burning on her.
“Fuck,” Adora whispered under her breath and looked down at her clothes. You’d think after making the mistake of wearing one ex’s sweatshirt to a party you would refrain from doing it again when her roommate showed up.
She kept referring to Catra as her ex in her head, or soon to be ex, even if it wasn’t true. Pretending she had her fully was better than coming to the realization that apparently she never really did.
“Um,” She finally flashed her eyes to Scorpia, “I’m going to go change.” Adora was turning on her heels and walking to grab new clothes before she even finished her sentence. She wanted to keep it on, but her skin was starting to ache every time she pictured Catra in it, handing it to her, sleeping in it, and Adora stealing it.
Catra startled when there was a knock on the door, Scorpia had left maybe an hour ago and Catra had made her double-check she had her keys before she left. She took a moment to gently let her hopeful self down for thinking it was Adora before she opened the door.
Catra stumbled a bit, holding herself up with the door frame. “Glimmer-”
“No,” Glimmer held a hand up and walked inside without invitation.
“You really should start asking people if you can enter their homes.”
“Get dressed,” Glimmer grabbed Catra’s hand and locked eyes with her. “Right now, get dressed.”
“Excuse me?” Catra pulled her hand away as if she had just touched a hot iron, “Why?”
“Look,” Glimmer took a deep breath but kept her eyes on Catra. “I said some things I regret, okay?”
Catra bit the inside of her cheek, trying to keep herself neutral. “Wow, self-awareness. Is that a new one?”
“I’m sorry, okay?”
“Adora is a wreck, and it’s my fault. I’m trying to make up for it, so if you could get dressed, I would appreciate it.”
“Adora...” Catra stared down at the floor, “She isn’t really talking to me. She’s avoiding my texts-”
“Yes,” Glimmer rolled her eyes and took a step closer to Catra. “She thinks you’re breaking up with her.”
“Yeah,” Glimmer took another step closer, “I don’t think I trust you, fully.”
“Stop, cutting me off.” Catra hissed. “You are literally the last person I want to talk to right now.”
“Well, glad we are on the same page.” Glimmer huffed but grabbed Catra’s hand again.
“Why the sudden change of heart?” Catra looked down at their hands then back up at her.
“To be honest,” Glimmer laughed bitterly, “The only reason I’m here, is because I love Adora. This isn’t for you. She’s miserable, and I may have reacted irrationally. You both hurt my feelings.”
“So your solution was-”
“The one thing I can do to make up for it is to get your ass to our house.”
“What happened to, me being a distraction, Adora being miserable with me-”
“It’s your chance to prove me wrong.” Glimmer lowered her voice, “And… I’m sorry. I… Okay, I was wrong, because.... she’s more miserable without you.”
Catra looked deep into her eyes to check for any glimpse of if she was lying or not. “I don’t want this to benefit you.” She shrugged.
“It’s benefiting both of us,” Glimmer shrugged back, “But it’s not for me. It’s for Adora.”
Catra didn’t know why, but she decided to give in.
It was for Adora.
And she was taking a lot of risks recently.
“I don’t know,” Catra ran a hand through her hair and motioned for Glimmer to follow her into her bedroom. “I kind of have this…” She coughed into her hand to hide her embarrassment, “I have this like, speech, prepared?” Her voice cracked on the last word.
“Still say it,” Glimmer said like it was the most obvious thing in the world. “I think all you have to do is show up and say… Wait, you… You do love her right?”
“Seriously?” Catra cracked her knuckles, “Why is everyone so concerned with that? Is that the only thing that matters?”
Glimmer narrowed her eyes and Catra sighed dramatically on principle, “Yes, Glimmer. I love her.”
“Then,” Glimmer walked to Catra’s closet and started throwing clothes onto the bed for her to wear, “Get dressed."
Glimmer was a terrible driver, and Catra was one moment away from throwing up out the window. For more reasons than one.
Catra’s original plan was to wait for Adora to finally answer, to buy her food, take her on a picnic, try to do something cute, something original. She didn’t have the energy or time to discern if this was better or worse.
It was more action-based, which Adora would appreciate more. She was more of an 'acts of service; person than a 'words of affirmation' person, that much was clear.
(Perfuma had made her take the love language quiz)
She had wanted to do it her way, in her own style, but she knew the tiny part of her brain that was able to communicate with her at that moment was telling her there was a reason she was okay with this.
Because it was better than what she had planned, and it was also something she would have totally done on her own if she thought of it.
Glimmer and Catra were more similar than either of them would ever admit, but it also felt like a silent understanding. Which Catra wanted to shred up with her nails and dispose of it somewhere she’d never look again, but it was still there.
With Catra’s version of what she wanted to do, she would have at least been a little more prepared to be shot down. She hadn’t woken up that morning planning on getting her heartbroken, she was going to put it off, you know, at least one more day.
“Okay,” Glimmer parked the car in the driveway and clapped her hands together. “Want me to go get her?”
“Can you like,” Catra placed a hand on the back of her neck. “Give me a second? I’m… Worried about not having a solid plan.” She tried to make herself sound not as small as she felt.
“We do have a plan?” Glimmer shook her head, “I’ll go get her, and then you two can talk.”
“I don’t know,” Catra wrung her hands together and stared out the front window, she could see faint shadows of everyone inside.
“Even if she rejects you, don’t you want her to at least know?”
Catra took a deep breath, but nodded, “Yeah, I do.” She took a moment, “I don’t know why I’m telling you literally any of this.”
“You secretly love me.”
“Not even close.”
“I can live with that.” Glimmer cracked a smile, Catra just shook her head.
They sat in silence for a moment, Catra felt like she had finally caught her breath that had disappeared the moment Adora left. She was inside, she was going to see her, she was going to tell her.
It was literally a big romantic gesture.
One that she was okay with, one that was more her style, no surprise flash mob, or a bouquet of roses. Just showing up for her, like she always should have done, to tell her in her own words.
Everyone had been acting like Catra admitting her true feelings was as easy as saying “Hi,” to your best friend. They thought it was like riding a bike when in reality it was like stepping on nails. No one knew how hard it was for her.
Except for one person.
And, thank gods, that’s who she was telling her feelings to in the first place.
She just needed more time to-
“Glimmer? What are you-”
Catra jumped at the sound of Adora’s voice and hit her head on the roof of the car. Adora was standing in front of the driver's side door looking at the two of them. Her face went completely pale the moment they made eye contact.
“Adora… Hey,” Glimmer laughed awkwardly looking in between the two of them. “Why are you out here?”
“Glimmer, you went for... ice? And took my car, I came to see if you needed help. But, um...” Adora’s eyes didn’t leave Catra the whole time she was talking.
“Well, shoot.” Glimmer snapped her fingers and shook her head. “I forgot to get ice, maybe Catra can get out and I can go back to the store.”
“Glimmer,” Adora pinched the bridge of her nose, “Just go inside.”
Glimmer almost fell out of the car as she stumbled out, looking back to give Catra a thumbs up.
Catra could feel Adora’s stare on her, she took a deep breath before she was able to look back up at her.
“You’re in my car,” Adora said pointedly, her gaze falling to the seat behind Catra.
“I… Am,” Catra responded, she took another breath and cracked her knuckles before she opened the car door and got out. She reached to get her phone off the seat and unlocked it to find the notes app, she was so on edge that she could barely make out the words.
“Hey,” Catra said, Adora’s expression stayed cold. “Can we sit, maybe?” Catra tugged on the collar of her shirt and rocked back and forth on her feet.
“If Glimmer brought you over here to break up with me, that is really low for the both of you.”
Catra cackled, then threw her hand over her mouth. “Fuck, I didn’t mean to laugh.”
Adora crossed her arms and narrowed her gaze. “You can just-”
“That really is the complete opposite of what’s happening. Can we sit?”
Adora’s confrontational expression dropped and her mouth fell open, eyes wide, “What do you mean?”
Catra leaned up against the driver side door awkwardly, trying, and failing, to look at least a little cool and collected. “Okay, I kind of have a thing written to read.”
“Okay…” Adora said hesitantly, still looking like a deer caught in the headlights.
The nausea was back, Catra wrapped an arm around her stomach and took a couple of deep breaths as she squeezed her eyes shut. “This is hard for me to do,” She admitted, opening her eyes to look at Adora.
Adora’s whole demeanor seemed to soften, “I know.” She whispered.
Catra cleared her throat, “But, uh, also it’s not. It’s not hard, necessarily.” She glanced down at her notes app to try to keep herself on track, she wanted to make sure she said everything. In the hypothetical situation they never spoke again, she wanted nothing to be left unsaid.
“Okay, I’m sorry, first of all. You… You were right, I was being defensive. And, honestly, what I said to you was probably one of the worst things I’ve ever said. If you never forgive me for that, or if you hate me for that, I would understand.”
Adora started to reach out but stopped herself, her expression flickered to a bit of sadness. “I could never hate you.”
“Well, you have every right to. You didn’t deserve that.”
Catra’s whole body hurt when Adora didn’t try to reach out to touch her again, and she couldn’t bring herself to do it either without throwing up. “I’m sorry that I doubted your love for me after you showed it to me a million times.”
Adora’s expression changed again, she looked like she was preparing for the worst while simultaneously looking for any sign of hope. “Are you, um, just here to apologize?”
Catra knew what she was really asking, she chewed on the bottom of her lip so hard she could almost taste blood.
“Do you, um, remember how you told me you loved me?”
Adora nodded slowly, she took a short step forward and fully reached out to grab Catra’s hand. “Of course I do.”
Catra almost cried at the contact, she was always so gentle. “Well, maybe a month ago I did an internet deep dive on how to better care for your partner who has anxiety. I can barely fall asleep if you aren’t in my bed, I know how you’re feeling just by your breathing and the look in your eyes, too. The happiness I feel when you smile is unmatched, you are the best person that I know. I don’t care about what Lonnie said or what Glimmer said. I only care about making you happy and being with you.” It all came out in one breath, completely rambled to the point where Catra had to exhale and take a moment. The grip Adora had on her hand tightened.
“I love you, so much.”
Adora took another step closer and placed a hand on Catra’s face. This time tears did form in Catra’s eyes when more of the familiarity and warmth took hold of her skin.
“And you never have to forgive me for what I said, you can leave, or find someone else. I would understand because I really hurt you, and I would do anything to make it up to you. I’m not just saying this to get you back, I’m saying it because I am an actual idiot for never telling you when I’ve felt it this whole fucking time.”
“You love me?” Adora whispered, glossing over everything else, her endearing gaze not fading even for a moment.
“Yes, idiot. I really do.”
“One hundred percent?”
“One hundred and ten percent.”
Catra had imagined saying the words for so long now, three words eight letters that she could never put a name to. She never imagined it would feel as good as it did, to say them, and have Adora’s big dumb blue eyes tell her the same thing back.
Before she could breathe again Adora pulled her in by the hips to kiss her, Catra moved her hands to her face, not fighting the smile that spread across her lips as it happened.
A kiss that made everything feel okay again.
Catra wrapped her arms around Adora’s neck and Adora promptly hoisted Catra up by the underside of her thighs. They both giggled against each other's lips, Catra only breaking apart to whisper, “I love you,” One more time.
“I love you, too.” Adora giggled again before setting Catra down. “Uh, there’s kind of a ‘getting over Catra' party happening in there, we don’t have to go back in. But I’ll be there, and Scorpia’s inside, too.”
“As long as you’re there, I’m good,” Catra smiled. “And I think Glimmer is probably prepping them with the news anyway,” Catra chuckled and ran a hand through her hair.
“What?” Adora tilted her head to the side while running a thumb over Catra’s lips.
“She, um, came to get me. Clearly, as I was in your car.”
“Oh,” Adora furrowed her brows but smiled, “I’m not going to say that’s nice of her, but I’ll keep it in the back of my mind.”
Catra grabbed Adora’s hand and squeezed it gently, “I missed you.”
“Wow, gay, it’s barely been a week.” Adora shoved her playfully and stuck her tongue out. “Wait,” She stopped in her tracks and turned around right in front of the door.
“Are you my not fake girlfriend now?”
“Wow, are you asking me out?” Catra put a hand to her chest dramatically, “I didn’t know you were a lesbian.”
“Oh, very funny.” Adora rolled her eyes and squeezed Catra’s hand, the absolute look of love brushing over her face made Catra instantly drop the act.
“Yes, you’re my not fake girlfriend, if you want to be.”
Adora kissed Catra on the tip of her nose. “Of course I do.”
ONE YEAR LATER
Adora sneezed from the dust forming in the air as she grabbed a box of her clothes out of the storage unit. She had left so many things in it after she had moved out of Lonnie’s house that hadn’t been touched in over a year.
“Babe, do you need help carrying those?”
“Excuse me,” Adora turned around to face Catra and blew a piece of hair out of her face. “I’m the one with the more prominent arm muscles and you’re the one with the muscular hot thighs.”
“Fuck you,” Catra cackled and threw a rolled-up piece of paper at the back of her head. “Hurry up, it’s hot outside.”
Adora carried the rest of the boxes and put them on the dolly that was holding the rest of her stuff and a few heavier furniture items. Catra did end up taking some of the boxes in her own arms, though Adora did protest.
“You didn’t lose the key?” Catra narrowed her eyes at Adora when they finally packed things into the trunk and got into the car.
“No… Wait,” Adora hurriedly looked through her backpack and held it up with a wide grin. “Duh, of course, I didn’t lose it.”
“Uh-huh, sure, just had a brief moment of panic when you didn’t remember where it was.”
Adora smiled and turned the keys to start the car, “Are you nervous?” She said as she leaned over to kiss Catra on the forehead.
“You basically live with me anyway.” Catra teased, rolling her eyes. “I’m nervous you’ll burn the apartment down with your attempt at cooking, but, otherwise, no. Just happy.”
Their new apartment was strategically located only three miles away from Bow and Glimmer’s house. Adora wanted to be close to them, but would also rather pass away than ever sleep on their couch again.
It took a long time for Adora to forgive Glimmer, but even a longer time for Catra. Glimmer had made them probably seventy-five baked goods, apologized profusely, even apologized to Lonnie, and had found Catra and Adora an apartment. After that, Catra and Glimmer got drunk together for the first official time, and everything fell a little bit back to normalcy.
“Are you nervous?” Catra asked as they carried more things into their new place. Bow and Glimmer had also helped to come to move them in. Adora just had so much stuff. It was surprising for someone who rotated between wearing the same four things.
“You mean because my track record of moving in with people has ended badly?” Adora grinned as they set down the chair they were carrying in.
“No,” Catra cackled, “I didn’t even think about that.”
“Well,” Adora moved a piece of hair away from Catra’s face, she had been letting it grow out long enough to put it up into a poor attempt at a ponytail. “This is different.”
“You’re gay,” Catra elbowed her with a smile, “Are you in love with me or something?”
“Or something,” Adora rolled her eyes and kissed Catra’s nose. “Glimmer will kill us if we stop helping them carry things in.”
Catra wrapped her arms around Adora’s neck, “I say, we take the risk. I got you… Something.”
Adora’s eyes widened, “I got you something.”
“Okay, dork, I’m going to go first.” Catra grabbed Adora’s hands and pulled her into their bedroom and sat down on the bed. “Close your eyes.”
Adora followed the instructions and squeezed them shut and held her hands out. She gripped what felt like a picture frame and tried to feel the edges of it to mentally guess what it was before opening her eyes.
“Don’t laugh,” Catra said, and Adora could just picture the look on her face. Nose scrunched up, slightly embarrassed about how cheesy and romantic whatever she had done was. She loved it.
“I won’t laugh.”
“You say that and then you always-”
“I promise!” Adora giggled, throwing a hand over her mouth to stop any more from escaping.
“Okay, whatever, open it.”
“Catra, what, this is literally so cute.” Adora gasped when she finally opened her eyes, she would have cried if she wasn’t terribly dehydrated from the heat outside.
It was a picture frame with the list of rules they had made the second night they had ever hung out together. “Catra and Adora’s official ‘fake’ relationship rules.” At the top.
“Shut up,” Catra crossed her arms, “It’s cheesy.”
“You kept this?”
“Yes,” Catra groaned, “It’s dumb.”
Adora stood up and placed her hands on either side of Catra’s face. “You shut up,” She teased. “I love it.”
Things weren’t perfect, Adora still felt the familiar worry bubble up in her chest about being too much or whatever else her mind had concocted up. But it felt better, she felt safer, more at home with every new day. As long as they were working on it together, they were okay.
Catra switched positions with Adora so she was sitting on the end of the bed, every time she tried to peek Adora would hide the box behind her back with a pout. Catra kept doing it just to make her laugh over and over again.
“Okay, loser,” Catra stuck her tongue out, “Just give it to me.”
Adora sighed dramatically and put a box in her hands, “I have to do a bit of explaining for it.”
“Of course you do,” Catra chuckled, “Can I open my eyes?”
Adora kissed her eyelids before responding, “Yes.”
Catra looked down at the box and then back up at Adora, “What?”
“I’m not proposing,” Adora said hurriedly, grabbing Catra’s hand. “Oh, god.” She laughed, “I should have started with that.”
“Okay,” Catra breathed, “I mean…”
“You mean, what?” Adora smiled, big and dorky, “Are you in love with me? Do you want to marry me? Hold my hand until my last breath?”
“Fuck off,” Catra rolled her eyes and pulled Adora in by her waist. “All of the above.”
“So, once upon a time, I said I would make you a ring out of paper… Or twigs from the forest.”
Adora’s eyes seemed to light up at that, “Well, I tried that. And it was really hard, I don’t think I am that crafty of a person if we’re being honest.”
“I’m shocked, she can’t cook, she can’t craft, what else can’t she do?”
“Well, I can go to the store and get you a real promise ring, not made out of twigs or paper. Hopefully, you can actually wear this one and not have it break within seconds of using it.”
“Wait,” Catra looked down at the box again before slowly opening it, “For real?”
“Yes,” Adora kissed her quickly on the lips before kneeling in front of her. “For real.”
“Adora…” Catra’s voice trailed off as she looked at the ring in the box. Through a lot of tough nights, Catra learned that letting yourself be loved wasn’t a one-time choice you had to make, some days you had to remind yourself more consistently than others. But when she was met with patience and understanding, and all of the love she gave being reciprocated back to her, falling in the first place, even if she stumbled in, was worth all of it.
Even if Adora were to stop loving her randomly in the middle of the night, she knew she’d be content with the fact that she was able to be loved by her and vice versa. That was something that she had never had before.
It had only been a year, but they had multiple years in the future to continue to figure things out, together. It wasn’t perfect, but it was them. Working through every part that felt too hot to touch before.
Adora grabbed the ring out of Catra’s hands and slid it on her finger slowly. “Yes,” She cheered, “I had to guess your ring size. It seems like it fits.” She scrambled up quickly and grabbed a box with her own ring in it and put it on herself. “See,” She wiggled her hand, “Now you are promised to me.”
“Weird wording,” Catra laughed, “But I agree.”
“So,” Adora shuffled forward again and placed her hands on Catra’s face. “You know I want to be with you forever, too, right?”
Catra took a deep breath, she studied Adora’s face, fell apart in her eyes, kissed her on the side of her nose, “Yeah, I know.”
“You promise?” Adora asked, and Catra wasn’t sure what part she was referring to. Maybe all of it at all at once, wanting to be with Adora and only her, loving every part about her, appreciating every breath she took because she was just so lost in the fact that she was lucky enough to be loved by her. Believing that Adora felt the same way back.
“I,” Adora held up her pinky and wrapped it around Catra’s, “Pinky promise.”
And Catra knew she meant it.
“Are you going to post a picture of the ring as your weekly instagram post?” Adora teased and shoved her playfully.
“Shut up,” Catra snorted before wrapping her in her arms to kiss her.