Feelings on their own can be confusing. Knowing how you feel about someone...that is even harder. And Hope Mikaelson is becoming too familiar with this. It started about a week ago, when the school talent show happened and people were infected with the slugs that lowered inhibitions. When Josie got up on that stage, Hope's heart beat a little faster. Her lungs were begging for air and her mind was asking all sorts of questions. The most obvious one being; Am I in love with Josie? Immediately, she had tried brushing it off, noting it down as being proud of her friend.
Fast forward seven days, and that question is all she can think about. It is on a loop, over and over 24/7. She can't escape it, no matter how hard she tries. So she does the next best thing, she avoids Josie, hoping that this will solve whatever is happening in her head. Perhaps she is overthinking it and she's stressing herself for no reason. Or perhaps, she's been deep in these feelings for a while and only recently have they slipped past the surface.
No, Hope is not in love with Josie.
Hope can't be in love with Josie.
But what if I am?
The thought has been keeping her up in the nights, much more than she would like to admit. And to make matters worse, when she manages to drift off into her dreams, they are consumed with brown eyes and a perfect smile. Or they are filled with images of Josie's perfect lips pressed against her own, or them holding hands in the school corridors, or them whispering loving words into each other's ears.
Hope realized within this miserable week of avoiding Josie, that sitting around on her own doing absolutely nothing isn't much help either, because one thing leads to another and she is suddenly thinking of the siphoner once again. It takes the simplest of things for Hope to fall back into this pattern: a yellow mug, running past one of Josie's favorite flowers in her wolf form, or even just the word 'incendia' (that Josie has said plenty of times in her life).
Josie Saltzman is everywhere.
Hope eats her breakfast in her room. She'd grabbed a tray of various items from the canteen and ran straight back out. She might've bumped into a few people on the way up, but that is their own fault really. They shouldn't have been in her way. A Hope Mikaelson on a mission is one you don't want to mess with.
Crumbs from her toast fall on her bed, but she's too tired to care. She bites into the golden-colored bread, enjoying the buttery taste before it makes her remember a late night spent in the kitchen drinking tea and eating toast. And the night had been spent with none other than Josie Saltzman.
It had been the day that they defeated the weird spider, Hope had been thirsty after a run and decided to walk to the kitchen. It was late, curfew long gone, so she'd assumed nobody would be up. Apparently she'd wrongfully assumed, and this was obvious the moment she walked in. Her eyes connected with Josie. Suddenly, Hope was feeling rather embarrassed of her post-run appearance. The messy hair was not an attractive look, although thankfully, Josie didn't seem to care.
Hope distinctly remembers watching Josie spread Nutella on her slice of toast, the look of concentration as her tongue would run over lips, wetting them slightly. Hope can remember thinking how adorable Josie looked in her unicorn pajamas and her fluffy pink slippers.
She wonders now how it hadn't clicked sooner.
She finishes her food just before the bell for her first class and makes her way over. Classes have been enough of a distraction the past week. Listening to her teachers talk whilst she makes notes has given her something else to think about. And she enjoys the subjects too, even if she already knows a lot of the stuff they teach her in some of them, such as Origin of Species (when they learned of how vampires came to be).
The class goes by smoothly, as the girl that she is avoiding in every way possible, is not there. Hope makes plenty of notes and even answers a few questions, which is very rare for her.
Her break is spent in a dark corner of the library, reading a random book. It has no relevance to her classes, no relevance to all of the Malivore stuff going on, absolutely no connection to current events in her life - it is merely a distraction from her constant thoughts.
She sighs when the bell goes, closing the book and spelling it to go back to the shelf it came from. The strap of her bag slings over her shoulder and she wonders what she'll be learning about in spell class today. Spell class...
Spell class...which Josie is also in.
Blue eyes widen, and Hope thinks that skipping the lesson sounds perfect right about now. Then, she remembers that they have a huge exam coming up, so probably not the best idea.
It's fine. She can get through one hour of spell class. Sure, Josie sits on the desk to her left, but so what? It's not like they'll need to talk or anything. Hope can just do what she's been doing all week - keeping her head down and avoiding all eye contact. Can't be too hard. All it requires is not giving in to the temptation of looking at Josie - not even once. She can do that.
Hope can totally not look at Josie for the whole class.
Of course, Josie just so happens to be walking into the room at the same time as her. Of course, she holds the door open for Hope. And of course, she looks right at the tribrid, with that pretty smile that haunts Hope whenever she closes her eyes.
"Thanks." Hope mumbles, her voice a higher pitch than normal. She sprints to her desk, quickly setting her book and pencil case down. She opens it up to the next blank page and doodles in the margin whilst the teacher starts the lesson. Some lines here, some shading there and she ends up drawing a rose. She can't stop herself from imagining giving a bunch of them to Josie, making the girl feel special because that is what she deserves. Now, Hope is all too aware of Josie's presence next to her.
Her heart is begging for a quick look. Just a short glance. Her brain, on the other hand, is screaming at her to keep her eyes glued to the page.
Don't look, don't look, don't look.
Josie is focused on the board, copying down the incantation and Hope is blatantly staring at her. She gets a good glance at Josie's hair, which is wavier than normal, but still jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Hope's eyes drift over to the board - realizing there is much more than just the incantation and she hasn't written any of it. This day is starting to feel like it isn't going her way.
Hope is copying it all down when she feels a tap on her arm. As she looks up, she sees that Josie is the one who touched her. Everyone else is watching her too, as if waiting for something.
"Is it okay if I siphon from you?" She asks, with no hostility in her voice. Maybe Hope had been expecting her to snap or something, considering she's pretty much run the other way any time she sees her. Maybe if this had been happening elsewhere it would be different. Despite not knowing why Josie is asking, Hope nods, not trusting herself to speak.
There is no situation in which Hope could ever say no to Josie.
Josie puts out her hand as their teacher goes on to explain the demonstration the two girls will be doing. Hope is cautious when putting her hand in Josie's, her heart fluttering already before their palms even meet (Hope thanks every god that she knows of for there being no vampires or werewolves in her class other than herself). Skin meets skin, and Josie's fingers lock around Hope's hand, as she closes her eyes to focus. If Hope loves the way that their hands fall into place, like two pieces of a puzzle, she ignores it. If Hope relishes in how familiar it feels, she ignores it.
What she cannot ignore is the euphoric feeling as magic is flowing from her, to Josie. It should hurt, it should burn her skin like wolfsbane does, but it doesn't. Instead, it feels like volts of electricity are coursing through her muscles, her bones, her heart. Every nerve in her body is bouncing with energy, and she doesn't think she's ever felt more alive. She watches the orange glow and does her best not to let it show how much this is affecting her.
It ends seconds later, and Hope already misses the warmth that Josie gives. Nevertheless, she watches as Josie says the incantation, but she doesn't notice what the spell actually does because she's too damn focused on plump lips. She's too focused on the way that they curl as she says the words, or how her eyes sparkle with excitement, as they do whenever she performs magic.
Hope needs another distraction, so she picks up her pencil and scribbles all sorts of things in the margin once more. She feels it working, lines meeting lines until it makes particular shapes. Hope is letting her hand do the work and it's going well. She's not thinking about it too much, simply going with the flow. She isn't bothered about working out what exactly she is drawing, only glad that it is proving to be the distraction she needs. When she's done, she pulls her head back to get a proper idea of what she's drawn. Getting the full picture feels worse somehow, a deep red blush coating her cheeks as she gawks at it.
It's Josie. Her eyes, her nose, her lips, all drawn perfectly from memory, without even thinking. It's as if Hope has a picture of Josie saved in her mind, and she's able to zoom in on every little detail.
Not wanting to look at it another second, Hope flips the page and sighs heavily. If she wants to convince herself she's not in love with Josie, she's going to need to do a better job than this.
And she has an idea now. Probably kind of stupid, as it could go one of two ways, but whatever happens it will hopefully give her some peace of mind.
By the end of her final class, Hope is rushing off to enact her plan. It involves going to Alaric's office first. She slows down her pace, feeling like running through the corridors might seem weird or suspicious. She knocks on the door, and when there is no response, no heartbeats, she goes in. The girl spins around slowly, trying to recall where the headmaster keeps the object that she wants. She checks the shelves, and when it's not there she checks the desk drawers. There, in the top right drawer, the orb sits on a pile of random papers. She picks it up and chucks it in her bag, then calmly walks back out.
Hope goes to her spot, somewhere quiet where nobody else hangs around. She sits on the floor, her back leaning against the wall, and grabs the orb. The more she looks at it, the more she feels like an idiot.
"My name is Hope Andrea Mikaelson." Hope says, just to make sure the thing still works. It turns blue, and Hope chooses what to say next.
"I'm not in love with Josie." Bright red. The brightest of reds. Hope huffs - it is wrong, it has to be wrong. Hope can't be in love with Josie. She can't be in love with her because Josie is her friend. She can't be because if she allowed herself to feel that way, then it would put a target on the girl's back. Anyone who wants to hurt the Mikaelson's could go after her. And Hope can't be in love with her because Josie is this bright and beautiful light and Hope is nothing but darkness - a monster. She doesn't want to poison Josie with her wickedness. She doesn't want to be the reason that Josie's smile fades one day.
The tribrid takes a deep breath. In...and out. She tries again. "I'm not in love with Josie Saltzman."
It turns red, the most red that it could possibly be.
"I'm not in love with Josie." Her voice raises in volume, but the response remains the same - red.
There is no more denying it. She can no longer run from her feelings when they are clearly not going anywhere. They've been here the whole time, buried behind her walls that have slowly started to slip.
Hope is in love with Josie.
That fact terrifies her. It frustrates her beyond belief, that just this once, the universe couldn't be kind to her by turning the ball blue.
"I'm in love with Josie." She admits it out loud for the very first time. The ball goes blue, and in a fit of frustration, she throws the ball forward. It rolls and rolls until it doesn't roll anymore. Hope looks up to see what stopped it, and notices it stuck under someone's shoe. Her skin heats up when their eyes meet, and she wishes that she could jump into Malivore to avoid talking.