Deena was quick to sling her bag over one shoulder and grab the car keys, having not been so prepared to have to leave so quickly for the date she had promised her love months ago. Her shift at work had run a little longer than expected and she wasn’t able to grab a shower like she had been hoping. However, she was missing one crucial item.
“Josh,” she called out. “Where’s my wallet?!”
“I don’t know,” he responded from the couch, tilting his head back a bit to look at her. “Did you check the table?”
She hadn’t but the moment she looked, there it was. She let out a small sigh and stuffed it into the front pocket of her bag before tugging on the hem of her flannel to ensure it looked alright. It was a simple shirt and her nerves seemed a little more than necessary.
“How do I look?”
“Fine,” Josh replied, raising an eyebrow. “Why are you so worried? It’s not like you haven’t gone on a date with her before.”
“I’m not nervous,” Deena lied, rolling her eyes. “I’ve just been promising her this since we were in that grocery store.”
“It’s such an easy date though.”
“Yeah? And how’s it going with your girlfriend?”
Josh immediately shooed her away and she grinned with a sense of victory. She turned again and grabbed an extra hoodie just in case.
“When do you think you’ll be back?”
“Well,” Deena said with a little smirk. “With a little luck, not until tomorrow morning.”
“Ew! Get out of here!”
She laughed at his disgust and rolled her eyes once more.
“I’ll be back in a few hours. Relax.”
Josh held the expression on his face as they exchanged their goodbyes. Deena made sure that the door was locked behind her as she left, even doing a double take, a habit she would never lose after everything she had been through with her friends.
Two quick taps of the horn was all Sam needed to be notified of her girlfriend’s arrival. Her mother was put under the impression it was just a friend, though she was well aware after seeing her daughter’s excitement.
“Alright,” Sam said, shooting a quick glance to her mother. “I’m going.”
“I know you’re going out with Deena,” she then spoke up from the couch. “Please. Stay.”
Her attempts at swaying Sam away from her attraction had slowly changed from something more hostile and aggressive to something more like pleading. She was using her last resort and she knew it was doing nothing. Sam had made her choice.
“Deena and I have been looking forward to this for a while, Mom,” Sam spoke softly. She was still working on choking down any guilt she had towards her mother. “I’ll be back in a few hours, I promise.”
“I just wish you would…” She trailed off a bit, biting her lip. Sam waited patiently for her to say something, anything, but nothing came out by the eighth second. Deena tapped on the horn one last time. She then sighed and shook her head. “Nevermind. Go on.”
Sam considered saying something more before her departure but ultimately decided against it as she grabbed her jacket and left, also locking the door behind her. Deena had parked on the other side of the street and she made her way across, getting in the passenger’s seat.
“Sorry,” Deena then said. “I would’ve come up to the door if your mom liked me enough. I didn’t know if that would make things worse or not.”
“No, it’s okay. She probably prefers it this way,” Sam assured, smiling a little towards her. “Good to see you again.”
“I just saw you yesterday, but yeah. It’s definitely good to see you again, too.”
Sam immediately took her hand that was on the shift and Deena smiled more, chest fluttering with glee.
“I’ve got some CDs in the glove box if you want to pick one. I assume you’re cool with our regular burgers?”
“Absolutely,” Sam agreed, squeezing her hand before taking it away to rummage through the CD case. Deena took off, paying no mind to Sam’s mother watching through the living room window.
“Okay, okay, that’s fair,” Deena managed through little laughs. “But what about walking through your kitchen? Everything would come flying at you and you wouldn’t be able to stop it. At least if you had grass for hair, you could do a different style every day.”
“Yeah, but it would be so itchy!” Sam giggled, too. “I could deal with having a magnetic head, I think. I could probably find a hat or something to block it, right?”
“Good luck with that. You’d need a football helmet every day.”
They both chuckled to themselves before taking a break to finish their burgers, the Pixies playing quietly through the car’s speakers. Deena had parked just outside of town, away from everyone but close enough to see a car drive by every so often. Deena shared her onion rings and Sam shared her fries and both shared the occasional kiss.
To others, the affection could be described as too much. However, they couldn’t get enough and it became hard to blame them. They almost didn’t save each other several times. They knew what life was without the other. This was a dream come true for them and they weren’t ready to let go of the beginning stages of their relationship just yet. They didn’t feel safe enough to fully settle down and relax but they felt safe enough with each other.
After finishing her burger, Deena reached into the back seat and under a blanket where she kept her Polaroid camera hidden from thieves. She made Sam get closer to her for a shot where she tried to hide her face, laughing after the flash went off.
“You couldn’t have waited until I finished my bite?”
“No,” Deena confirmed, smiling and fanning the photo in her hand. “It’s more authentic this way.”
“Oh yeah, authenticity,” Sam rolled her eyes and giggled, finishing whatever was in her mouth. “Because that’s something that’s a pattern in our lives. Authenticity.”
“We’re not known for being very authentic, huh?”
Sam pulled her in for a quick kiss, smiling against Deena’s lips. After pulling away, she could taste the salt from the fries on her lips but she still tasted like her , the woman she fell in love with all over again. She couldn’t stop a smile from spreading across her cheeks as well.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Deena knew that this girl would be the end of her and this time, she was happy to be able to say that in a less murderous way. Now she could say it when she received a kiss or when she could pull her close, hold her, admire marks left along her collarbone days after, and more that she felt couldn’t be dwelled upon too much without certain consequences.
“Hey,” she spoke up after a brief pause of silence for Sam to finish her burger. “I have a potentially weird question.”
“Go ahead then,” Sam mumbled as she wiped her lips with a napkin.
“Do you remember being possessed?” The question definitely caught Sam off guard but Deena kept going. “Sorry, I know it’s a bit much. You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to, so-”
“No, Deena,” Sam giggled and brought her hand to rest atop hers. “It’s alright. Really, it is. I can’t exactly blame you for being curious.”
“Do you remember anything?”
“Yeah, actually,” Sam nodded. “I do.”
Deena reached up to turn off the music fully and give Sam her full, undivided attention. She appreciated the gesture more than she’d admit to out loud. Silence filled the car.
“When I was possessed, I could hear the voice of whatever demon it was,” she began. “Telling me what it was doing, speaking in tongues, everything you’d expect. What I wasn’t really ready for was being able to see everything that was happening.”
“Wait, you could see it all?” Deena’s eyes widened and Sam nodded in response.
“Yeah, I saw everything. I couldn’t hear it, though.” Sam then frowned and looked down to her lap. “I couldn’t do anything except watch when I tried to kill people. When I tried to kill you.”
“And I could only read your lips when you were begging for me to stop. And when I stabbed you-”
“But it wasn’t you,” Deena stopped her. “It was that damn demon. It wasn’t you.”
“It was me. It was my body. I could’ve fought back but I-”
“It. Was. Not. You. Sam, please.” She reached out then and took both of her hands. “It wasn’t your fault, baby. None of us knew what to do and you know that there was nothing that could be done until we could figure out how to stop it, and we did . So stop blaming yourself. You had no control.”
“But I hurt you…”
“That demon hurt me. Not you. You should know that. The demon hurt you, too.”
Sam fell silent for a moment to breathe in Deena’s words of reassurance. Deep down, she couldn’t quite understand how Deena could still look at her. Her body, her face, it stabbed her, choked her out, attempted to kill her multiple times and her friends. However, here she was, spitting out sentences that reminded her that she had no control and that despite it being her body, it was never within her reach. It was never actually her. Sam had never been more in love.
With her hands still in Deena’s, she grabbed them gently and pulled her in, connecting their lips. Deena’s heart fluttered like it always did whenever she was near and in the moment, she knew the night was coming to an end. She didn’t want it to.
“I love you,” Sam whispered against her lips. “I always have.”
“I love you, too. I’m glad you’re back.”
One kiss turned into two, two to four, four to eight, and they lost track. Instead of focusing on the date coming to an end and the thoughts of returning home, they got into the back seat to lengthen the night.
“I thought you just said a few hours! It’s been four!”
“Josh, it was maybe an hour longer than expected. Why are you so wound up about it?”
She was laughing despite the little argument. Josh sounded a little too parental for her not to chuckle, especially because it was clear he was accusing her of doing lewd things that she most certainly did do. He didn’t need to know about that, though.
“I was waiting for you. You know, to make sure you would get home safely.”
“Well, I’m home now, so you can go to bed without worry. I’m going to get in the shower first.”
“Oh yeah? Because you got too caught up with your lady?”
Deena tapped the tip of her nose twice and Josh let out a groan of disgust before forcing himself off the couch to make his way downstairs. She laughed a little.
“Goodnight,” she called out, only receiving another groan in response. She made her way to the kitchen to lock up for the night.
Right as she turned from the back door, she heard her phone upstairs ringing. Very few people had her number so she knew it was either important or someone she would genuinely like to speak to. She ran upstairs, skipping every other step, and made it just in time.
“Hello?” She sat on the edge of her bed.
“Sam? What’s up?”
“Nothing, really. I promise, everything’s good.” Sam could sense the slight concern in her tone and quickly put that to rest. “I just wanted to talk to you one more time before the night is over.”
“How’d your mom react when you came home?”
“She didn’t really react at all which is a pretty good sign that she isn’t happy with me,” Sam chuckled. “The second I said your name she got up and went to bed. I think she was waiting for me to get home.”
“Yeah, Josh was waiting for me, too. God, I’m sorry. I wish your mom liked me.”
“No, don’t be sorry. She would like you plenty if we weren’t dating. She just doesn’t agree with our relationship.”
Deena sighed softly and Sam took her soft, gentle tone again.
“It’s really okay. I’d rather have you than have her approval.”
“If you say so…”
“Hey, how would you feel about moving out?”
There was silence on the other end for a moment and briefly, Deena worried that she had said the wrong thing. Maybe they weren’t quite in the stage where that question could be brought up. What she couldn’t see was Sam’s bright smile and her hand on her cheek with surprise.
“Yeah? Where to?”
“I don’t know, Shadyside? I mean, we spent so much time trying to save the damn place, but I could also use a change of scenery. I just thought maybe it would be a good out with your mother-”
“And a good in with you.”
It was Deena’s turn to go quiet but Sam didn’t give her much time to make a response.
“I would love to move out with you, Deena.”
“Yes! Of course!” She giggled and even though the sound quality was garbage, it still filled Deena’s chest with warmth. “There’s so much to consider but yes, I’d love to move out with you. More than anything.”
“I’ll get planning then.”
“You’re my favorite person, Deena.”
“And you’re mine.”
They both let out a soft, happy sigh before Deena stood up from her bed. Sam could hear the slight shuffle and knew that the phone call was coming to an end. She was alright with that, though. She was tired.
“I need to take a quick shower but then I’m going to go to bed,” Deena explained. “You should get some sleep, too.”
“I plan to,” Sam agreed, followed closely by a yawn. “You tuckered me out.”
“I love you so much.” Deena blushed deeply, scribbling down a note on a scratch piece of paper by her bed. She then tucked it under the corner of a book so it wouldn’t fly away anywhere.
“I love you, too.”
The placed the phone down before taking one last look at the note, smiling warmly, then took off to grab her towel and get in the shower before Josh could decide to take one of his record-breaking baths.
Begin your life with Sam <3