As soon as Catra was free from the sound equipment and done saying her thank yous to the crew, Adora swooped in to grab her. "Hey, boss, I need your help with something."
The way Catra grinned at the request gave her an idea that her girlfriend knew where this was going. "Lead the way," she said simply.
After guiding the two of them through the people still floating around the penthouse, Adora brought them to the empty study and immediately set the secret door to close again. "That was perfect... and really hot."
"Thanks," Catra looked like she was going to say more, but she wasn't dragged back here to talk.
Adora backed Catra against the wall, towering over her with the heels wardrobe selected for her. She crashed their lips together with such ferocity that she didn't realize her mistake until they parted to breathe.
"Fuck," Adora said with a giggle. "I..uh… may have forgotten I'm wearing lipstick." Said bright red lipstick was now smeared on Catra's own lips and chin.
"Seriously," Catra said, more amused than worried.
Adora grabbed the pocket square out of her suit jacket and tried to clean her back up again. Only… it wasn't quite working, and she smudged it from kissed on to clownlike. Adora was about to spit on the cloth when the door to the study started to slide open.
"Why am I surprised," DT chuckled as they stepped in and set the door to close behind them. Without saying another word, they dug into their bag and handed over a make-up wipe.
"How did you even get in here," Catra asked as she worked on cleaning off her face. "No one saw me open it."
"It's a dungeons and dragons room, kitten. Mara the Dragon Tamer is about as subtle as an actual dragon." DT rolled their eyes before smiling, "Moving on, I wanted to tell you that was one of the best interviews of your career. Very impressive. I was moved, and I already knew all of that."
"It felt amazing," Catra said, grinning ear to ear in pride. "Hopefully, this will end all the speculation bullshit. Everything's out in the open."
"Mmhm, exactly. And, of course, per our agreement, they are publishing this tomorrow at eleven am sharp."
"An hour after Valerie's talk," Adora said with a devious smirk. "It'll bury whatever silly thing she has to say."
"That was all DT. I can only strive to their level of pettiness," Catra laughed.
"Her off-brand-me will never see it coming. Bless an NDA." DT's eyes went wide, and they whispered, "Speaking of secrets, what is a sex safe? Normally I wouldn't pry into my CEO's personal life, but you are on vacation, so as a curious friend, I think I'm allowed to ask. Is it human-sized? Do you lock each other up when you've been naughty?"
"You're ridiculous, you know that?" Catra crossed her arms and shook her head. "It's a good thing you're also brilliant at your job."
DT batted their eyelashes and appeared touched by the compliment. Then, disappointment set in, "I could've been looking for the sex safe this whole time you were in here making out like teenagers. What a missed opportunity!"
"That's it, you're disinvited to the party Friday," Catra pressed the button to open the door back up.
"Aww, good thing I know you don't mean that," DT started to reach over and pat her on the shoulder but could tell she was absolutely not having it. Instead, they used the hand to lead a twirl from the room as they said, "It would be a travesty if the world missed out on the look I've prepared. I'm reviving the evening glove, and fashion will never be the same."
"Can't wait," Adora said, then peered out of the room, "Can you get all of these people to leave our house now?"
"Our?" DT stopped in their tracks, "Precious, simply precious. Yes, darling, I'll kick them out in the most professional of fashions. You two keep hiding and get back to... well, whatever it is I interrupted."
Although her attendance at the presentation wasn't required, it was incentivized with extra credit in one of Adora's classes. Not that she needed it. She was carrying a high A either way but damned if she wasn't driven to do her very best... even if it meant sitting through an arch enemy's boisterous talk about her stupid company. Although Glimmer wasn't available, Bow had come along as one of his classes offered a similar deal. They sat together in the back, hoping to go unseen by Valerie or the press that was there. The duo leaned in for a selfie that they sent to Catra to update her on their feelings.
"I can't wait for this to be over," Adora groaned. "This is supposed to be my break to hit the gym or take a nap in the library."
"Hey, it might be worth our time," Bow said, his assertation weakening as Adora narrowed her eyes at him, "I mean, yeah, she's a jerk, and her app is super snobby, but the promo for this sounded interesting."
"Bleh," Adora stuck her tongue out at him and crossed her arms. Then, somewhere in the back of her head, she could hear DT scolding her. What if someone took a picture of her with a dirty look during Valerie's speech? "You know what, you're right," she leaned down and grabbed a notebook from her backpack before sitting up straight, eyes forward, neutral smile.
Finally, the lights dimmed, and triumphant music bleared out over the speakers. Valerie danced out onto the stage, taking in the claps and cheers from the crowd. Once everything was quiet again, she started, "Thank you for being with us today as Refined Taste embarks on an exciting new journey." Thus began her introduction to how her company would be launching a new service that linked the scientifically proven *perfect* music for a given physical activity.
As she watched the other woman on stage, Adora found herself softening to her despite what she thought was utter hatred. Valerie was... charismatic, charming, even. She commanded the room in a way that reminded her of Catra's keynote she watched (even if she wasn't nearly as good). On top of that, she looked gorgeous in the patterned suit she was wearing, her red hair all perfect, skin glowing. She could see how Catra had become interested in her in the first place. Is this the kind of person she really deserves? She found her self-conscious mind thinking. Not Valerie per se... but another giant, someone with big ideas and making a name for herself. Not some broke undergrad slinging coffee...
When the speech was over and the new product, Refined Health, was officially launched, Adora and Bow snuck out while the applause was still happening. They must have had disadvantage on their stealth check because before they left the atrium of the auditorium, someone called out, "Adora?"
Deciding that running away was an unwise PR move, Adora turned around and gave as genuine a smile as possible. Looking back at her was that scrawny reporter from the Times again. "Hi, Kyle."
"Nice to see you again," he said, "I was wondering if you might have a comment on Ms. Harper's release today."
Adora had a lot of comments about Valerie swirling in her head. When Bow put his hand on her shoulder comfortingly, she felt herself relax and landed on the right one, "I attended today because I'm in the physical therapy program here at Brightmoon. Anything that can help my future patients on their path to healing is a good thing. I'm excited to see how it works."
"And that's all we've got to say about that," Bow said as he reached out a hand, "Bow, nice to meet you. Adora and I have to get to class."
"Of course. Thanks! See you Friday," he sounded nervous with that last comment, Adora noted.
-Forced Vacation Day 8 of 19-
It was a perfect afternoon for Catra to be relaxing on her rooftop oasis. A light breeze, the right amount of sunshine, and nothing on her mind to worry about. Well, mostly nothing.
The release of the photoshoot and accompanying article had gone off without a hitch that morning. Adora had made her promise to limit herself to thirty minutes of reading reactions to it and swore she'd let her know if something else came up. Thankfully, it was generally very positive.
Thus, she could indulge in an afternoon glass of chilled white wine while reading an admittedly trashy but endearing romance novel. It was from a basket of "relaxation materials" from Adora. Her mental cursing of these two idiots for not figuring it out already was interrupted by her phone ringing. She grabbed it from the side table, and her bliss was immediately replaced with panic.
"Is everything okay?" Catra asked as she answered, forgoing a customary greeting. "I've got to call a car if you need me."
"Wow," Lonnie answered with a laugh, "What happened to trusting your incredibly skilled team? Fake news strikes again."
Catra let out the breath she'd been holding and forced herself to loosen up again, "You haven't contacted me in a week, and I'm supposed to think you calling me today of all days isn't about a problem?"
"Maybe I miss you," they both laughed at that. "I'm calling about Friday and this fucking hysterical document you've had legal make for Kyle."
"Listen, he's a member of the press. You're lucky I like you and Rogelio enough to invite him," Catra said and took another sip of wine, "Plus, I'm pretty sure he's scared of me."
"Oh, he definitely is. He's prepared to be strip-searched at this point. Reason I'm calling is I didn't know if you needed it notarized, and I am not going down there and asking Mermista. It's weird enough you asked her to do it."
"I can't help it if my personal lawyer is also on our team," Catra chuckled. "And, yes, I definitely need that shit notarized. I don't care how harmless he is. What if the paper puts pressure on him to do a write-up?"
"Eh, I doubt he'd cave. I'm pretty sure he knows a couple of good things when he sees them; that's all I'm saying," Lonnie countered smugly. "I'll get him to come in later and have DT take care of it. Anyway, I hope you're actually taking a break so you can come back soon. As much as I appreciate the resume builder, I like my job better than yours."
"I turned off my google alert for Darla," Catra said as evidence of her relaxation, "And I haven't checked stocks this week."
"Good for you, boss."
"I told you that you have to stop calling me that," Catra said, her cheeks getting red even though no one was there to see them.
"Uh-huh, and why after all these years, I wonder," Lonnie sounded accusatory. "I'll let you get back to whatever you're up to. Rest assured, the place isn't burning down without you."
"Yeah, of course, we let that guy go." Catra shook her head at the memory. She dropped into her more serious tone, "Thanks, though. I meant it when I said I trust you to take care of things."
"I know, b-- Catra."
-Forced Vacation Day 9 of 19-
Catra was cooking dinner while Adora sat at the kitchen island, keeping her company and panicking over the impending party. She had all her plans scrawled out on a portable whiteboard she had rolled all the way from the office.
"I'm pretty sure you've thought of everything," Catra assured her as she glanced back, "It's twenty or so of our friends and their partners, not some epic fundraising gala. Calm down, dummy."
"I know, but I want our first event together to be perfect," Adora said sincerely. "Wait! Should we have party favors?! I didn't get anything for that... Oh god. What if everyone's mad?"
"Party favors are for children's birthdays and weddings," Catra reminded her. "Unless you're planning a surprise wedding for us, I think we're okay."
Adora smiled to herself before she popped up to stroll over to her girlfriend. She wrapped her arms around her from behind while she peered over her shoulder, "Who says I'm not?"
"But Helen's not coming," Catra countered before turning her head to kiss her on the cheek.
"We'll have to get married again next week and tell her it's for the first time, obviously."
"Starting out with lies? Tsk, tsk," Catra laughed. "If I wanted that kind of marriage, I'd call up a certain redheaded asshole."
Adora gasped. "Don't even joke about that," she said with a growl in her voice as she wrapped Catra up tighter.
Catra calmly laid down the spoon she was using and leaned back into her embrace, "But what if I like it when you're jealous."
Adora slipped a hand up Catra's shirt to delicately ghost over her stomach before replying, "If I knew that, I would've invited her when she was on campus yesterday, boss."
-Forced Vacation Day 10 of 19-
"Why am I so nervous," Adora whined before she reached out to grab Catra's hand.
"Because you're a goof with a huge heart," Catra teased her. "This is more than perfect, Adora. I can't believe you pulled this off so fast with school, work, and everything."
They were standing in the bedroom, looking out at the rooftop patio that had been transformed. Micah's employees were busy arranging the "rainbow" food that Adora had planned with him. It was a mixture of naturally bright fruits and vegetables with experimental small plates with no less color.
The bar featured a mixologist Adora had collaborated with to craft cocktails and mocktails for the night. Her favorite? The Adorably Teal --- a fruity, blue beverage designed to match her suit. Catra's The Boss, a maroon-colored drink featuring a mixture of darker liquors and a bit of Chambord for the color, was a close second.
Already setting the mood was a live jazz band that specialized in more 'modern' music covers. They were all dressed in greyscale. The lead singer deviated only for a rich red on her lips. Even from inside the bedroom, they could hear a fantastic rendition of Salt-n-Pepa's Shoop as their warm-up.
"Honest to god," Catra laughed to herself, staring at Adora as she listened to the music, "If all I got tonight was seeing you look like this while we listened to the band, it would be enough."
Adora was all red, set off by the teal of her suit and accessories. Unlike the custom outfit that Netossa had made for Catra, this was off the rack and then altered to fit her perfectly. "Thank you," Adora said, tearing up, "I really wanted it to be good enough."
Catra smiled as she rolled her eyes a bit, "Dummy, everything you do is always going to be good enough."
"Aww, more wedding b-roll!" Glimmer declared as she stopped her phone's camera, and they became suddenly aware of her presence at the top of the stairs.
"Sparkles," Catra sighed heavily. Maybe she wasn't... She dropped her annoyed tone, "Looking good."
"Thank you," she said as she twirled. The outfit she landed on was a sparkling pink jumpsuit with matching heels and accessories. "You two look sickeningly hot as always." She looked back behind her with a big grin, "And so does someone else."
Bow emerged from the stairs in his candy apple red suit, crop top undershirt, sneakers, gems in his ears, and a fedora. "I feel ridiculous," he said as he tipped the fedora. "Glim wouldn't let me not get the hat."
"It's all BEAUTIFUL," Adora gushed. "I'm jealous. I should've gotten a hat."
"Pfft, and miss out on this hairstyle?" Catra said as she stared lovingly at her. She hired a professional stylist who helped the two get ready an hour or so prior. One less thing for Adora to panic about, she figured. After seeing the suit she'd be wearing, the stylist decided on a curly hairstyle that worked the length of Adora's hair up into a mohawk-type style.
"We're all too hot, it's true," Glimmer confirmed.
After visiting with the squad and enjoying some time for the four of them to sample food, it was time for the actual party to begin. Adora and Catra were stationed downstairs to greet guests as security cleared them for entry. Bow lingered in the bedroom to make sure that folks went directly to the roof rather than snoop around (ahem-- DT).
Arriving first was the "trio," as Catra had taken to calling them. Lonnie, Rogelio, and Kyle were all dressed in the same color of dark purple. Rogelio offered up a bottle of wine while Kyle held out his notarized letter.
Adora accepted the wine, "You must be Rogelio? I hear you're a great DM! Nice to meet you," she offered him a handshake that turned in a polite hug, "We'll have to play sometime. Catra's still teaching me."
"Mmhm," Catra confirmed as she was inspecting Kyle's signature. She folded it up and put it in an inner suit jacket pocket. "Just remember, kid. I'll take your grandmother's cat. That's how deep I'll go if you fuck this up."
"My grandmother actual---," Kyle started to say then was elbowed by Lonnie. He cleared his throat and nervously straightened his purple skirt, "Yes, mam. Thank you for inviting me!"
"Good boy," Lonnie teased. "I confiscated his phone," she whispered to Catra before they strolled on by to join the party proper.
Not too far behind them was another ding from the elevator. This time it was carrying the "parent squad," as Adora had called them. Angella, Micah, George, and Lance stepped into the penthouse with wonder on their faces. Catra felt her anxiety peak as she considered how this was basically a trial run at meeting Adora's mom. She straightened up a bit and took a calming breath.
"You made it," Adora squealed. "Catra, these are Bow's dads, George and Lance," she gestured as the two men in matching gold waved, "And Angella and Micah, Glimmer's parents." They had coordinated in dreamy, lavender outfits.
"Thank you for coming," Catra said as she stepped forward to meet them. "It means a lot to both of us."
"Thank you for having us," Lance said cheerily as he reached out and embraced both Adora and Catra at the same time. "We were so thrilled when we got our invitation! We couldn't believe it. Our Bow friends with the Catra? Not to mention that you're dating our Adora?!"
George pulled back Lance a bit, "It's a pleasure to meet you. We've been following your career quite closely these last few years. As a couple of history buffs, meeting someone who's making history is a unique honor."
"The honor is mine," Catra said smoothly as she and George shook hands, "You've raised one of the best people I've ever met."
Lance couldn't help but go for another hug, "He really is wonderful, isn't he," he said weepily.
With that, George collected his husband once more and followed Adora's directions to find their son and join the festivities.
"I don't know if we can top that," Micah said jovially. "But Angie and I are happy to be here! How's the rainbow spread? As good as it looks?"
"Are you kidding?! It's perfect," Adora said. "We may have already sampled everything ."
"Honestly, I'm tempted to hire you as my full-time chef," Catra laughed. "And, for the record, Glimmer's pretty great too. I'm excited about her joining us at Darla."
"Don't you mean, Sparkles?" Angella noted coyly with a smirk. Seeing Catra tense a little, she reached out a hand, "Lovely to meet you, Catra."
"Same," Catra shook her hand, wondering what Glimmer had told her.
The rest of the introductions that night were all for Adora. Generally speaking, it was people from work that she hadn't gotten to officially meet yet- Mermista from legal, their head of security Juliet, Perfuma from HR, Catra's personal assistant Scorpia, and even more she couldn't keep track of. She shook hands, accepted various gifts of wine and flowers, and complimented everyone.
The only Darla outsiders invited by Catra were the women behind her impeccable fashion. Netossa and Spinerella looked red carpet ready in stunning icy blue and fuchsia dresses of their own design.
"Turn around for me," Netossa said after their initial greetings as she crossed her arms.
"I promise I haven't fucked anything up," Catra laughed but still followed her tailor's orders.
"And, darling, you know you've already checked everything more than enough times," her wife reminded her.
"You're right, I am good," Netossa winked, then turned her attention to Adora. "You've got your own file now, by the way. You let your girlfriend know when you need your first Netossa original."
Her eyes went big, and she nodded enthusiastically, "Thank you, I would love that. Your designs are marvelous."
Soon the duo was on their way upstairs after each giving Catra a silent "we approve" look. After waiting for a while without anyone new arriving, Adora pulled out her phone to check the list of attendees. Everyone that had RSVPed yes was there except one person. One theatrical person.
"Maybe they thought you really disinvited them," Adora said nervously. "Should I call or text?"
"No, they know precisely what they're doing," Catra sipped the drink that had been delivered to her while they were waiting. "Fashionably late nonsense. They've got one more minute, and then ---"
Ever directed by their own innate theatre cue, the elevator dinged, and there was DT, a sight to be seen. "Wow," Adora said dumbly.
As promised, DT was most certainly reviving the evening glove with long, lime green gloves that covered up to their elbows. Their outfit was a matching, sparkingly sequined backless jumpsuit with a plunging neckline. High upon their waist was a detachable, poofy, glamorous train. Their blonde hair was pulled into an understated, simple bun to help draw the eyes to their dramatic make-up.
"My domestic lovebirds," DT said as they clacked towards them in their impossible heels, "What gracious hosts, waiting for little old me."
Catra's eyes went wide as she took it all in, "This is really something, DT. Even for you."
"What, this old thing? Why, I only wear when I don't care how I look," DT winked before strutting away, train swishing behind them as they headed to the stairs. "Time to unveil some art, darlings. Oh... and I suppose then we'll show off whatever you've got on those canvases."
"Yep, definitely going to need that extra building for their ego," Catra said with a sigh before looking to Adora. "Alright. Ready to really get this thing started?"
"Yes, I am one hundred percent prepared," she said confidently and reached into her jacket, pulling out some index cards.
"Wait, you wrote a speech?" Catra tried to steal the cards, but Adora yanked them out of reach.
"It's my hostess speech," she declared very proudly. "I take all my duties seriously."
"Damn, now I feel bad. I didn't prepare anything for the art," Catra chuckled.
"Pfft, I do not believe that at all," Adora looked at her suspiciously before tapping her forehead with an index card, "You might not have it written down, but I know you. You've been rehearsing something in your head since you ordered these."
Catra scrunched up her face, "I'm that easy to read, huh?"
Adora leaned into her ear to whisper in a honeyed voice, "Mmhm, you're like a picture book for me."
Catra started laughing and grabbed her hand to lead her upstairs. "That's it. That's the dumbest thing you've tried to make sexy."
"Then why did your pupils dilate, huh," Adora teased.
"I am not turned on right now," Catra declared defiantly as they rounded the top of the spiral staircase.
"That's, uh, good to know," Bow answered a bit awkwardly when he met them at the top. "I wanted to check--"
Catra covered her face briefly as she cringed,"God, please, forget you heard that."
"Should I also forget," Entrapta asked from her spot where she was lounging on Catra's bed.
Bow pointed, "About that."
"This is fine," Adora said calmly. "We're all going to move on from that joke and go to the roof where we're all supposed to be."
"Right," Entrapta nodded and sat down Catra's laptop she'd been fiddling with. "This does seem like a violation of privacy."
"I'm begging you not to tweet this," Catra whispered once Entrapta was near her.
"Of course not!" Entrapta reassured her. "DT banned me from tweeting about you after the hot or not poll."
Bow and Adora exchanged a bewildered look. "Hot or not poll," Adora asked with a giggle after Bow and Entrapta went to mingle in the crowd.
Catra, looking for a distraction, found one in cueing the band to pause. "What do you know? It's time for your speech," she whispered to Adora as people's attention was diverted their way.
Adora felt like a deer in headlights for a moment, but her gaze found some friendly faces to focus on. "Welcome, and thank you all for joining us tonight. For those of you who don't know me, I'm Adora... or blondie." That earned her some laughs, which helped her loosen up more. "When I first joked with Catra about having an art unveiling party, I didn't think it would become a reality. But... what I've learned is that Catra makes things happen. Whether it's for her employees, friends, or me... her motto is," she paused for a minute to read over her card, "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam. I will either find a way or make one. Right?" She looked to Catra, who nodded at her.
"She's my part-time Latin tutor. It's very Roman...tic." She had put in her note cards to pause for the laughs, which were less abundant than she'd hoped. Catra, at least, was cracking up beside her. She went on to thank Micah, all of the people who helped, and the guests for putting together show-stopping monochrome fashion.
Finally, she was coming to her big finish. "Later tonight, we are going to be unveiling whatever it is she has hidden on those canvases. But until then, let's celebrate the beauty and color we all bring into each other's lives. And..." She stepped over to Catra, who had dipped away for a moment, to grab a couple of items.
"Please don't hurt yourself, dummy," Catra pleaded as she handed over a saber sword and a bottle of cold champagne.
Adora winked at her in reassurance. They may have already run through a few bottles practicing this week. "Let's say thanks to Catra for laughing at my dumb ideas and saying yes anyway," she declared as she drew the saber along the seam of the tilted bottle and struck the top causing the cork to fly away. With that, everyone cheered and clapped for the real party to begin.
While the band was taking a break, Adora had arranged for a playlist of the songs she thought were significant to their relationship to be playing. To start, of course, were a few of the club songs she could remember from their first night out dancing.
Catra almost spat her drink out when the first profanity-laden song began playing. Of course, she was in the middle of a conversation with Angella and Juliet, already feeling like a kid at the adults' table.
"I remember this one!" Angella said with a laugh. "Glimmer was in a dance team for a while in high school. This was a popular selection. Of course, I do believe it was the censored version."
"CATRA," Adora yelled from the 'dance floor,' "Get over here."
"Sorry, I'm being summoned," Catra said with an awkward laugh. At least she had an excuse to getaway. "Good luck with this blind date you're trying to set up."
While Catra was on her way to Adora, the other woman held up a hand and made her stop. Then, Adora dramatically swung her hands back over one shoulder and pretended to cast a fishing line out to Catra, who stood there mouthing, "Absolutely not." Adora pouted dramatically and then "cast" her line again.
I'm such an idiot for this girl, Catra thought to herself. She hooked a finger in her mouth and used her other hand to mime swimming towards her as Adora reeled her in. Once they got together, Adora held her hand over Catra's head like displaying a prize catch while Bow snapped a photo.
"When you said you've been practicing dancing, I didn't expect the fish move," Catra teased.
"I've learned more! That's only my favorite one. This is my second favorite," she turned on her heel, and Catra's hands happily fell to her hips. Though still not having perfected her technique, she was able to drop low and rise back up reasonably smoothly, "Now... you just stay there and look handsome. I'll do the rest," she said coyly with a wink.
"Outdone by my own line," Catra laughed.
"Get it, Adora!!" Glimmer cheered at the spectacle as she led Bow and their new acquaintances, Mermista and Sea Hawk, to join the dance party.
"Truly, that was some of the finest fish choreography I've seen performed on the dance floor," Sea Hawk said sincerely.
"Don't get any ideas," Mermista said as she put her hand on her hip.
"Of course, I wouldn't want to upstage our gracious hosts," Sea Hawk bowed slightly, "I want to personally thank you, Catra, for allowing me to come tonight. I know after that unforeseeable incident in---"
"Less talking, more dancing," Mermista commanded and grabbed his hand. Then they were off in a swirling hurricane of ocean blues.
"Do people seem like they're having fun," Adora asked casually while still finding her rhythm and trying her new dancing techniques.
"Definitely," Bow confirmed. "All the Darla people want you to plan their holiday parties. Apparently, they're kind of boring normally." Catra shot Bow a look that told him she likely is in charge of planning those.
"If you can't hire Adora, maybe you can add that to my role," Glimmer said as she twirled Bow around, "Communications and head Party Planner."
"I'll make a note," Catra said quickly, unfocused. Her throat suddenly felt parched as her partner spun around and led them into a body roll. Adora really had improved her dance routine.
Mercifully, after a few more songs, the playlist moved from the club mix to, of course, "Don't go Breaking my Heart." The party joined them in belting out the lyrics, DT most of all. As always in their life, a spotlight had found them as they deftly swapped between Elton and Kiki's parts. The sequins on their jumpsuit made them shine like a lime disco ball. When the song finished, everyone clapped.
"I think two extra buildings," Adora noted to Catra while they joined the applause.
By the time the band was back on, the two needed a break of their own. They made their way over to a table away from the action and sat down to enjoy some water. After a few minutes of catching their breath, Catra asked with a smirk, "So, professional party planner, huh? Are you tempted?"
"No way," Adora shook her head adamantly. "I don't think I could have the energy to pull this off again for a few months."
"Ah, well, good thing my birthday is in October. Plenty of time to recharge," Catra teased.
"Costume party!" Adora squealed.
"I'll agree to this only if I get to pick your costume," Catra bit her lip as she considered the possibilities.
"Oh, of course, bo--" Adora leaned in to kiss her and jumped back suddenly as someone else was in their space.
"Hey there, Ms. Catra! Wanted to see if there's anything you need from me," Scorpia, Catra's overly enthusiastic assistant, asked. "What a party, Adora. Best I've ever been to!"
Catra bit back her frustration and smiled, "Yes, it is a party. You're off duty. Have fun."
"Sure, but it's so gosh-darn nice to see you is all," Scorpia patted her back too hard. "If you ever need anything, even while you're on vacation, I'll be there in a jiffy! It's a real honor to work for you, mam. Anywho, I'm going to get out of your perfectly styled hair, Madame CEO and Adora. Thank you again for inviting me." With that, she was on her way back out to find her date.
"I need a title. What about CEO's Consort?" Adora joked, then leaned in to get that kiss she'd been robbed of. "I guess just Adora is better than Barista Adora like some magazines call me."
Catra ran a finger around the rim of her glass, "I know I've said it before, but... you know you can quit, right? I don't know if you're worried about what would happen if..."
"Ssh," Adora reached over and put her fingers over Catra's mouth, "I'm not worried about anything with you. We can talk about this later, okay? We've got a party to get back to," she checked her watch, "Ooh! And it's almost art time."
"We better go then. I need a chance to get you back for that performance," Catra winked as she stood up and held out a hand to Adora, "Care for a slow dance, princess?"
The evening was drawing towards the last hour of the event as the mood turned relaxed and content. After an announcement was made, the crowd moved to a seating area set up around the two covered canvases. Every table was set with sparkling juice and champagne.
Catra stepped up in front of everyone and cleared her throat before she began. She was suddenly very grateful that she had cut herself off from drinking already. "As Adora said earlier, thank you all for coming tonight. I also want to say a big thank you to her for having amazing 'dumb ideas' and being the best partner I could ever dream of," She led a clap for Adora that caused the blonde to blush as she took it in. "The whole reason we're here tonight, other than to celebrate me relaxing and being social, is to appreciate art. As you all entered, you may have noticed the unique works I've purchased over the years. The two new pieces we will be adding are simply photos that I've had touched up, enlarged, and printed. And while they're different in a lot of ways, they share a theme."
While she talked, she strolled over to the large easels that were holding up the canvases. She gently maneuvered the black cloth covering the first. She stepped away to let the crowd look at it as aw's and laughter filled the air. "This photo is called I'm Brewing For You, and it was captured by Adora with a shaky hand on a very out-of-date cellphone." Catra had wanted to print something newer, but... even if the photos from her new phone were better quality, nothing could beat its charm.
She took a deep breath as she moved to the other canvas and prepared to lift off the cloth. She willed her hands to stop shaking as she finally pulled it and stepped to the side. Instead of focusing on the crowd, she let her eyes drift over to Adora, who put her hand over her mouth. The photo wasn't another captured pun or even one of the many beautiful, professional photos the two had taken. It was one of those cheesy family portraits that used to be popular to get at a department store. A woman and a man sitting with a laughing little girl in their laps.
"This was taken by some college-aged photographer who I'm sure wasn't paid enough," Catra joked, trying to hide her emotions, "I'm still working on a good title. Maybe Adora can help me with a pun. But... that's my mom, Elena, and my dad, Anthony. And in the middle, there, with all the hair, is me. I've been so cagey with my family history that some of you probably think I'm an alien who got abandoned here."
In the front row, she heard Entrapta mutter to Scorpia, "I did consider this possibility."
Catra couldn't help but laugh a little. "I'm sorry to say, it's much less exciting than that. They passed away when I was younger, and for me, it felt easier to keep that inside. Lately, though, I've started to realize how wrong that was. I wouldn't be here in more ways than one without them. And, whatever legacy I will leave behind is theirs too." She had more she wanted to say, but her thoughts felt jumbled. Grief is tricky like that. It doesn't really care how prepared you think you are.
But then there was Adora, coming up beside her to take her hand. With her free hand, she held up her champagne flute, "To Elena and Anthony."
-Forced Vacation Day 11 of 19-
Bow: Everything's almost back to normal here! Are you sure you don't want me to watch Melog for you? We're best buds now.
Catra: Do you know how to do CPR on a cat?
Catra: Thanks, but Derek, his professional pet sitter, does. Can't be too careful.
Bow: Ouch. Fair point.
Catra: Plus, I've already given you a mission.
Bow: That's right! Operation transmutation is a go starting tomorrow! Glim and I have it handled. *wink emoji*
Catra: Thanks for everything. I left an envelope on my desk for you two. I'll let you know when we land.
Adora had been transfixed staring out the window beside her, but the volley of texts caught her attention. "Everything okay?"
"Yeah, it's Bow. He's been updating me on the clean-up," Catra explained and turned her phone off. "How are you feeling?"
"Like I wish I listened to you when you said we probably shouldn't book a flight the day after the party," Adora said with a yawn as she snuggled down to lay her head in her lap.
"Mmhm," Catra kissed the top of her head, "It's hard to be right all the time."
"Hey, I was right about how attractive you'd look in a denim button-up shirt," Adora swooned as she ran her fingers along the fabric.
"What if I told you I'm wearing a dumb horse shirt under it," Catra whispered.
"Then I'm ready for the mile-high club," Adora said with a devious grin. "If no one else is in first class, can we just do it right here?"
"Um, excuse me," a flight attendant cleared his throat above them, and Adora sat up with a beet-red face. "We will be departing shortly. Please make sure to fasten your seatbelts and.. to.. be in your own seat, please. Thank you."