Work Header

Searching for Something That Makes Hearts Move

Work Text:


She's adjusting the strap of her backback, double-checking the rainbow button on the front, waiting for Bliss to show up already to spring her from this hellhole. The battery on her cell phone is dead. Her nails are getting a little too long, and the blood red nail polish she put on last weekend is mostly chipped off.

Pash needs to pee. She really doesn't want to use the airport bathroom.

A businessman barks into his Blackberry as he passes by, something about profit margins or possibly a secretary named Margery. A little girl swings between her parents. An old woman is holding a sign that says "Welcome Home, Mike!" on it.

Her backpack keeps digging into her shoulders. She scratches the back of her neck. Turns around, trying to spot Bliss somewhere in the crowd. When she finally spots her behind a fat old man near the baggage carousel surrounded by rich old bitches, Pash almost cries.

"Hey, Bliss," she yells. She jumps up. Waves her arms. Her backpack thumps against her back. "Over here!"

Bliss sprints over, hurdling over a duffle bag and dodging small children. They hug, and Bliss pulls at the pink stripe in Pash's hair. "This is new," she says.

"Yeah, there was a bet," Pash says. She lost; she shouldn't have doubted her ability to ace that Poli Sci paper. "God, I've missed you."

"Ditto," Bliss says. "Welcome home, you big dyke."

"Hey," Pash says, "As a member of the majority group of oppressors, you don't get to use that term. And I still like dick. Just, you know--"

A guy in a trying too hard pinstripe suit mows into her suitcase, knocking it against her leg. She stumbles, leans a little harder than she meant to onto Bliss. "Hey," Bliss says, "Not in front of Father McBigot over there."

There's a priest standing a few feet away, totally watching them with a holier than thou look on his face. Like he ate something sour. Or is trying to decide whether praying for their eternal souls is worth the trouble. Bliss leans over, licks Pash's cheek. When she pulls pack, she slaps Pash's ass. The priest looks away.

They both crack up. Bliss grabs the handle of Pash's suitcase and wheels it behind her as they weave their way through the crowd. Pash can't believe she's back. Back in Texas, back with Bliss; she reaches her hand behind her and tangles her fingers with Bliss's.

"So," she says, "How's Brooke? Shania win any more pageants since we talked?"

The Hurl Scouts lose in a heartbreaker—Pash almost has a heart attack when Bliss goes sprawling to the ground, even if she does get up and finish the match—but Pash figures that's Derby for you. One minutes Bliss is flying across the track, the fastest thing on two skates, the next she's flying through the air.

She screams for Bliss and almost loses her voice yelling at the referees.

She follows the crowd out, hangs out by the merch table to wait for the team. Smashley's the first one out, still fuming about being benched for fighting. Pash hates to admit it, but Smashley kind of freaks her out sometimes. She's just so intense. So insane.

"Hey," she says. "That sucked."

Smashley seems to take that as an invitation to rant. "Fucking asshole has it in for me. I mean, what kind of crazy person sense does it make for them to eject me but let that bitch stay in after that sucker punch. Shit, thank god Babe's tough, even if she does look like a Barbie doll."

Pash just nods. Makes random grunts of agreement every so often and keeps her eyes open for Bliss. Or Razor. Or anyone. Ever. At all. She'd even deal with that bitch from the Holy Rollers right about now. At least she doesn't feel any weird need to be nice to her.

She picks up a flyer. Tries to look like she's taking Smashley seriously. She's totally not expecting it when someone comes up from behind her and wraps an arm around her neck. She's about to go into the personal boundaries speech when she realizes it's Bliss. "Don't do that," she says, wrapping his arm around Bliss and hugging her back. "You freaked me out there."

"Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition?" Bliss says.

Smashley's selling a t-shirt to a little girl in a Dora hat. Pash really hopes she's not cursing.

"Don't worry," one of the other Hurl Scouts says. She's older than Bliss, not like that's rare around here what with the whole lying about her age for a year thing. Long hair, nice smile. "You wouldn't think it, but Smashley's really good with kids."

"Probably because she still is one," Pash says. She doesn't know Smashley all that well, mostly from Bliss's descriptions, but she's pretty sure that's not crossing a line. She hopes not, anyway. Smashley could kick her ass blindfolded and with both hands tied behind her back.

The woman just laughs. Says, "True enough."

"Oh," Bliss says, "Have you guys? Pash, this is Maggie Mayhem. Maggie, Pash."

"Hey," Pash says. Maggie's pulling her hair back from her face and looking directly at Pash. Pash blushes. It's hot in here, and Bliss is still attached to her side like a giant smelly heating pad.

Bliss kisses Pash on the cheek. "You two keep each other company," she says. She's sweaty and gross, and she smells like gym class and blood. Pash tries to push her away, but she just clings even tighter with the hand that isn't holding an old washcloth against her nose. "I gotta go clean up."

"No problem," Maggie says.

Bliss mock salutes, does a fancy turn thing and skates away.

"So," Pash says, "Not to be all weird or anything, but thanks. You know, for not letting Bliss sleep on the streets last year or anything."

"It's what I'd want someone to do for my kid," Maggie says.

"Still." Pash hates being at a loss for words. She shifts from one foot to the other. Adjusts the strap on her bra.

"Sometimes teenagers do stupid things," Maggie says. "God knows I did."

Pash really wants to ask what dumb things, exactly, Maggie did. "Yeah, once," she says, "I covered for my best friend at work when she decided to take off to make out with this guy in a band. And another time, I didn't study for a test."

"Show off," Maggie says. "I dropped out of high school. Okay, fine, it lasted a whole week before my English teacher noticed and dragged my ass back, but I did it."

"I got arrested?" Pash says. Maggie looks at her like she isn't sure whether or not to laugh. Pash keeps a straight face as long as she can; she doesn't quite make it a whole minute before snickering.

"—seriously," Bliss is saying, "I can't believe her dad's just paying for her room to stay empty all freaking summer."

Pash flips a pancake, splattering batter across the pan. The bottom is charred black. "Ugh," she says. "Well, your shitty roommate's privilege is working to my advantage right now, so I'll forgive her for being a spoiled brat just this once."

"Oh, totally," Bliss says. She's stalking the coffee pot, mug in hand. "I was seriously stressing about how I was going to, like, sell my body on the streets or get a subletter or something just to keep this place when she said she was going home for the summer."

The coffee pot beeps. She transfers the pancakes from the pan onto a plate and grabs a mug from the cabinet. It's an old Oink Joint mug, complete with that stupid pig and obligatory chip on the handle, and Pash is pretty sure Bliss snuck it out back when Pash was still in that unfortunate Birdman kissing phase. Bliss finally finishes pouring her coffee, and Pash practically shoves her out of the way to get to the pot to pour herself a delicious mug of caffeine. "Sugar?" she asks.

"Cabinet over the sink," Bliss says.

All she has is brown—"I thought you worked at a food store," Pash says, "Shouldn't you at least have normal everyday necessities?"—but Pash scoops a few spoonfuls into her coffee anyway. She takes a sip. It's surprisingly good. They split the pancakes between them, each taking a couple of burnt ones and a couple of pancakes that look suspiciously wet in the middle.

The stand in front of the kitchen counter to eat. Bliss keeps scraping her fork against her plate, and it sounds like nails on a chalkboard. Pash focuses on pouring enough syrup to disguise the fact that this breakfast is absolutely revolting. Thank god for meal plans; if she had to cook for herself, she'd probably starve to death. Or develop a scary addiction to McDonald's. It's hard to say which fate would be worse.

"So," Bliss says, "Smashley thinks she can get you a job at Whole Foods, if you want. I mean, you didn't say, but you were bitching all year about New York prices. And, well, this way you won't have to worry about looking."

Pash isn't sure she wants to work as a cashier for a bunch of hipsters or wanna-be hippies or whoever it is that actually shops at Whole Foods, but it is a job. "Sure," she says, "I guess if you could get me an application, that'd be cool."

"Cool," Bliss says. She's licking syrup off her finger, but she hasn't touched her pancakes. Pash doesn't blame her.

"Cool," Pash says. She cuts into one of her pancakes with a fork, and batter oozes out. "Ugh," she says, "This is gross." She dumps the rest of her food into the trash and starts to rinse the plate in the sink. The water's slow to warm, but it least it runs clear. Bliss is almost out of dish soap, and Pash makes a mental note to offer to help out with expenses once she's started asking people if they want paper or plastic.

Bliss drops her plate into the sink, and Pash starts to wash it too. "Leftover pizza?" Bliss asks.

"And you let me ruin perfectly good pancake-in-a-bottle why?"

Bliss laughs. "C'mon," she says, "How was I supposed to know that anyone could fuck up pancakes that bad?" Pash pushes her, and Bliss just laughs harder.

"Bitch," Pash says. "Pass me that pizza."

They bring the entire box into the living room, sit on the floor in front of the beat-up orange coffee table. There's a Fairly OddParentsmarathon on TV. The pizza is extra greasy, cheese mostly congealed and pepperoni about to go bad. A trailer for the latest Twilight movie comes on, and Bliss sits straight up.

"We are so seeing that," she says.

"But he has the skin of a killer," Pash says, "That might be too scary, even for us."

"We're going," Bliss says. She flicks her finger against Pash's forehead. "We'll just make sure we get nice and toasted before he leave. You know, to keep us safe from glitter."

Pash laughs. "Well, as long as we're taking proper precautions," she says.

Pash grabs her iPod and copy of World War Z; she'd left her Columbia sweatshirt on the backseat the other night, and she grabs that too. The car door opens easily, and she almost falls face first onto the pavement. She was expecting more of a fight. A women pushing a shopping cart piled by with groceries gives her a funny look when she curses under her breath.

It's sunny out, but not as hot as she'd been expecting, and she spreads her sweatshirt out on the hood of the car. Sits down on it cross-legged and starts scrolling through her music. She's halfway through the Cs—how the fuck did Coldplay get on there? She's going to kill Bliss—when another car pulls up in the lot.

Pash doesn't look up. She's trying to figure out how to get The Scientist off her iPod. She's contemplating pranks, payback, epic amounts of revenge. "No, you don't.," a voice says. "Look, we had a. No. Fuck. No you listen. We had a deal. Are you dying? Bleeding? Because if you're not, I can take care of that for you."

Pash puts the iPod down on top of her book, and looks over.

Maggie's still yelling at whoever she's on the phone with, something about deals and fired and swine flu. Pash knows she shouldn't, totally knows better than to but into someone else's problems, but she hops off the car.

"Hey," she says.

Maggie looks up. "Hi," she says. She snaps her phone closed. Puts it in her bag. "Sorry about the—you know, the whole," and she lowers her voice into a stage whisper, "threatening my babysitter's life right in front of you thing."

"It happens," Pash says. "I have a face that makes people want to trust me with their secret criminal undertakings. It's equally a blessing and a curse."

Maggie looks Pash over, head to foot and back again. "I can see that," she says. "You've got that young face, great rack thing going for you." Pash looks down. Her tank top isn't that low cut.

"One day I'm going to retire on my blackmail earnings," Pash says.

Maggie laughs. "An admirable goal."

"And," Pash says, "If that doesn't work out, there's always stripping. Girl's gotta earn a living."

"And hooking just isn't safe these days," Maggie says.

"So here's the thing," Pash says, "I just happen to have mad babysitting credentials. You let me watch your kid--for a decent hourly wage, of course--and I forget all about the death threats I totally didn't overhear just now."

"I don't know," Maggie says. "I try to keep derby and real life separate."

Pash runs her hand through her hair. There's a cloud up and to the left of Maggie's shoulder that she really hopes isn't a sign it's going to rain. "Look, I kind of need some extra cash, okay? You'd be doing me a favor. And you can fire me when you find someone permanent to take over the gig. "

"Well." Maggie shrugs. "Why not?"

Pash hugs her. Maggie looks a little surprised, and she stands completely still for a second. She slaps Pash's shoulder, very straight dude at a party, before hugging her back.

She is drunk. So very drunk. She's not completely sure what she's saying, but she's pretty sure it's either the most profound thing she's ever said or the most stupid. A little of one, some of both, and she rests her head against the wall. Smashley is beating up her husband across the room. Eva's probably holding court in the hot tub.

It's hot. She wonders if anyone would notice if she took off all her clothes.

"Probably," Maggie says.


"Your clothes," Maggie says, "We're a pretty free-natured bunch, but I think someone'd notice if you stripped down."

Pash shrugs. "I guess," she says. She still hates wearing a shirt when she's hot; it's something she's kind of famous for. Hell, it's how she landed her first college girlfriend (Bliss still hasn't forgiven her for having her first "no, not bicurious, actually bi, Bliss" experience 1,800 miles away; Pash is pretty sure Bliss thinks they should've made out during a sleepover or something if Pash was going to be such a stereotype; Pash is actually completely sure of that because that's what Bliss said when Pash called, still half-drunk, creeping out of Nina's dorm room before the sun came up).

Maggie's laughing. She has a weird laugh, sharp, and she's hugging her stomach like she might be sick at any second.

"Hey," Pash says, "Don't throw up on me."

Maggie just laughs even harder. "So you're," she says, trying to catch her breath, "Sorry. I just thought. Look, not to go into overprotective lecture mode, but to go into overprotective lecture mode let me just say that if Bliss isn't queer, she doesn't get to hold a grudge if you don't have safe little Lifetime fake lesbian moments with her."

Somewhere between the hysteria and the pep talk, Maggie'd moved her hand to Pash's shoulder. She's rubbing her thumb back and forth against the bare skin of Pash's neck. "Yeah," Pash says,
"I figured that—I said that out—oh, fuck."

She leans up a little and kisses Maggie, fast enough to laugh it off if she needs to. Maggie just stands there. Completely still except for her thumb against Pash's neck, air gently exhaling against Pash's lips.

Pash is about to pull back, ha ha, sorry I've been doing Jell-o shots, when Maggie opens her mouth and kisses Pash back. They've both been drinking, so it's a little clumsy. Pash stumbles, almost trips over Maggie's feet, but Maggie steadies them. Presses Pash against the wall.

Pash spreads her legs a little in an attempt for better balance, but it mostly only succeeds in letting Maggie press even closer against her. Pash moves a hand into Maggie's hair. Twists her fingers until they tangle, pulling just a little bit too hard. Maggie pulls her head back. Her cheeks are flushed, and her breath's uneven.

Pash's face feels hot.

They stare at each other for a few seconds. Pash blinks, and they're kissing again. Sharp, this time, teeth and tongues and Pash's leg lifting to wrap around one of Maggie's. A band starts to play, some girl wailing about love to the sound of jangling guitars.

Bliss pulls up to the warehouse. The breaks squeak--her car's a giant gas-guzzling clunker, but Pash will totally admit that the pink interior's got style--and the engine shakes. At least the radio seems to work.

"I can't skip practice today. I wish I--"

"You are such a fucking liar," Pash says. She sticks out her tongue; she always seems to devolve to junior high when she's with Bliss.

"--could be moral support girl and go to practice? Like, if I was a clone or something," Bliss says. She shrugs. Turns the keys in the ignition and pulls them out. She fiddles with the keychain. Her nails are a particularly obnoxious shade of neon green.

Bliss is tossing her keys from hand to hand. Pash reaches out, grabs them mid left-to-right. "Go," she says, "I can deal. I'll go to Bodeen, get the parental visit out of the way, and I'll be back before you guys are done with your pizza."

Bliss climbs over the middle console, searching on the floor of the back seat for something. Her skates, maybe, or her pads. Pash's hair is sticking to the back of her neck. She slides over to the drivers seat, adjusts the mirrors and sun visor.

The seat's too far up, and she reaches down to find the button to push it back. She pulls it up, and the seat lurches forward. She presses her leg against the floor and tries to shove it back, but it just jerks a few times.

"I give," she says. "How do I--"

"Oh," Bliss says, "It's kind of, you have to. Okay, you put your foot against the dash, and I'll pull from back here." She wraps her arms around the back of the seat. Pash lifts her leg, careful not to smash the radio, and pushes. The seat creaks and crashes back.

"Fuck," Bliss says.

"You okay?"

Bliss looks up. Laughs. "I landed on my missing pad," she says, which is probably not as funny as Pash thinks it is. That doesn't stop her from breaking out into laughter right along with Bliss.

Pash looks up just in time to see Razor walking up to the car. Bliss doesn't, though, so she jumps when he bangs on the window and yells at her to get her ass inside. Pash snorts--she can't hold it in, and starts laughing even harder.

When Bliss is about halfway between the car and the warehouse, Pash rolls down the window and sticks her head out. "Hey, baby," she yells, "You forgot the lunch I made you!" She waves the My Little Pony lunchbox they'd scored at a thrift store earlier in the day. Bliss lifts her arm behind her, led by her middle finger.

She's washing dishes, brownie mix and silly putty in her hair. Riley's finally asleep. Or at least he's pretending to be asleep, which is just as good in Pash's book. Maggie's lipstick's worn off, and she's carrying her shoes in her right hand.

"Good date?" Pash asks.

Maggie smiles. She looks dangerous. "Good enough," she says, and she sits at the kitchen table.

"Sorry about the mess." Pash wanted to get everything cleaned up before Maggie got home, but Riley had different plans. So there are burnt and freakishly lumpy brownies on the table, Legos on the floor, dirty dishes in the sink. Pash wipes off a spoon. Drops it on the towel she spread out on the counter next to the sink.

Maggie picks up a brownie and takes a bite before Pash can warn her off. She spits it out into a napkin. "Riley helped make these, huh?"

"I think there might be Play-Doh in there," Pash says. "I looked away for a second."

"A fatal mistake," Maggie says. She stands up, stretches. Her shirt's slightly too short, and Pash looks away. Concentrates on getting all the batter out of the mixer. Maggie sneaks up on her and grabs it. "You wash," she says, "And I'll dry."

They finish the dishes in record time, dump the brownies in the trash, and move onto the Legos.

"He was actually kind of an ass," Maggie says. She's leaning over, grabbing action figures from the Lego Fortress of Solitude, and Pash is totally not watching her. Because that would be weird. And wrong. And straight out of that Mrs. Robinson movie or something.

"Oh," Pash says, "I'm sorry?" She realizes after she's said it that it came out like a question.

Maggie waves a hand full of superheroes. She has a ziplock baggie in her other hand, and she starts dumping them inside. "It was kind of a blind date thing," she says, "Set up by a coworker. I wasn't expecting--"

"Still," Pash says.

"Sounds like you guys had more fun here."

Pash sits down on the floor next to Maggie. They start separating all the Legos, putting them in a giant tupperware container. "Well," she says, "Superman did rescue GI Joe by teaming up with--why does Riley have a David Bowie action figure?"

"Technically it's Jareth," Maggie says.

"No, Riley was pretty clear that it's Bowie." Pash tries to keep a straight face. She concentrates on a little Lego wizard. "He and Superman had to perform Under Pressure to save GI Joe from Evil Batman. There was choreography."

"So my kid knows real music instead of Kidz Bop or Miley Cyrus," Maggie says, "So sue me."

Pash opens the front door to the apartment as silently as she can, and she's even more careful closing it behind her.

"She has STDs you know," Bliss says. "She told me, you know, back when I was seventeen she told me that she slept around and had STDs and told me to—"

Pash throws her keys. They crash against the fridge, knocking the Drafthouse magnet down with them. "First of all, it was crabs, and it was a while ago, and she told me," she says, "Just like I told her about my history. Because we're grown ups. And B, fuck you, I can't believe you think I'd jump into bed with someone and not use anything."

"If the shoe fits," Bliss says. Her arms are crossed across her chest.

Pash wants to strangle her. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"Oh, Bliss," Bliss says, voice pitched high, "I'm calling you because I'm doing the walk of shame and I slept with a girl I just met and I don't know her name but that's okay because it was amazing!"

"Because that's so much worse than ditching your best friend so you can go fuck your loser boyfriend in a pool," Pash says.

"That's not the point," Bliss says. "The point is—"

"You don't get to be mad at me for getting my own life," Pash says. "You don't—"

"I just don't think she's right for you, okay? I mean, Pash, she has a kid."

"Wow, really?" Pash says. "Next you'll be telling me that she's older, or that I'm going to have to go back to school soon. Or, I don't know, that she's the wrong astrological sign. Thanks for clearing all of that up for me; I don't know what I'd do without you."

Bliss is white-knuckled, clinging to the edge of the sink. "I," she says. They stand there, standing off across the kitchen like they're in a bad Western. Pash watches the microwave clock. Counts down until the number changes over, a few moving red lines, and walks over to the fridge to pick up her keys.

"I'm going to take a shower," she says.

Bliss doesn't move. "I have work," she says, "So I'll probably be gone by the time you, you know."

"Yeah," Pash says. She can't quite decide whether this is harder than it should be or easier. She's halfway through the living room, her escape almost complete, but she turns back around. "I'm going out tonight, so if I'm not here when you get back. It's not, I'm not. I should be back before you go to bed or anything."

"Got it," Bliss says. She waves.

Pash echoes her. Heads toward the bathroom. She really hopes there's hot water.

They're sitting in Maggie's car, parked down the street from Bliss's apartment, lazily making out. It's uncomfortable, the seats don't bend the right way and they're not about to risk crawling into the back seat. Not here, on a decently lit street in Austin. Maybe on a backroad somewhere, dust kicking up and a tree for cover, but not here.

Pash wishes she had a place of her own. Or that offering to go to a motel wasn't quite so . Or actually skeezy.

"So," Maggie says. "Spill."

Pash is distracted, mouth on Maggie's neck and Maggie's hand on her breast. "Um," she says.
Maggie tries to pull away. A gentle kiss, and Pash pulls her her back across the middle console to deepen it. They keep kissing for a while, hands firmly above the waist. Maggie finally pulls back, a little out of breath and flushed. Pash wants to climb across the car and straddle her. She counts to ten, though, plays with her hair.

"You've been out of it all night," Maggie says, "And while I know this hot bod of mine's a huge distraction, I don't think that's it."

"Maybe it is," she says, "Maybe I was just sitting there, eating my burger, and all I could think about was getting you alone for a little while."

Maggie looks like she's trying to decide whether to accept that, or press, and Pash wishes she didn't already know that Maggie's always going to press. She might as well rip off the Band-Aid now. "Bliss and I just had a fight," she says. "It happens. We'll get over it."

"You sure?" Maggie asks. Pash nods. "Okay, then," Maggie says.

"I'm going back to sch- New York next week," Pash says. She doesn't mean to just blurt it out like that; she's been pretending time isn't passing, that she'll be melting under the Austin August sun forever.

Maggie smiles. The skin at the corners of her eyes crinkles. "Yep," she says.

Pash reaches across the car; her hands move of their own accord to the sides of Maggie's head, thumbs smoothing those lines. She leans over and kisses Maggie, skipping straight from slow and lazy to slightly desparate.

Maggie pulls back for a second. "Hey," she says, "No need to rush."

Pash shakes her head. Gives in, climbing over the console and straddling Maggie in the driver's seat. The steering wheel jabs into her back, and she leans down to press the lever to push the seat back. Maggie grunts as she drops back, and Pash follows her.

They kiss some more. Pash's lips feel chapped, but she doesn't want to stop. She can't decide what to do with her hands; she dips her fingers under the hem of Maggie's shirt, just tracing along the top edge of her jeans. Maggie keeps one hand in Pash's hair, the other pressed against her lower back.

A car speeds by. They pull apart, suddenly, both a little short of breath. Maggie kisses Pash's forehead, pulls her down so her head's resting on Maggie's shoulder. She scratches her fingers against Pash's scalp.

Pash isn't sure what to say, what to do next. It's about fve hundred degrees in the car, and Pash is leaving town in less than a week. This feels almost like an ending.

She's bored enough that she actually starts paying attention to the baseball game on TV. Not enough to care about it, but she does know that the pitcher's in a first-and-third, no out, jam. The announcers are talking about going to the bullpen, something about the starter getting tired and some relief pitcher who hasn't pitched in a couple of days.

The game goes to commercial—no, she's not interested in Bud Lite, thanks—and Pash starts to flip channels. The door opens, slams shut. Bliss stomps across the apartment, dropping her bag and keys and Pash doesn't know what else very loudly on the floor.

Pash is leaving tomorrow: a quick two-day stopover with her parents, and then back to New York. She takes a deep breath. Says, "Bodeen still standing or did you take the whole town out?"

"Brooke says hi," Bliss says. She sits down on the opposite end of the couch, hugging her legs to her chest. She rests her had on her knees. Her hair has a streak of green in it that wasn't there yesterday. "She wants you to stop by when you're there."

"Sure," Pash says. The game comes back on, and the new pitcher gives up a three-run homer on his very fist pitch. Pash turns the TV off. Turns to face Bliss. "So," she says.

"I was an asshole," Bliss says.

"Yeah," Pash says.

"A stupid, jealous, asshole," Bliss says. She turns and looks Pash almost in the eye. "I just. You came here to hang out with me, and it's stupid, it's not like I haven't had Derby stuff and work or anything, but I just wanted my Pash time, you know?"

"And you thought calling me a whore was the best way to—"

"I didn't mean it like that," Bliss says. "You're my best friend and I just didn't want you to get hurt or anything. So I'm sorry. Forgive me, oh great and powerful one?"

"I don't know," Pash says, and Bliss looks down at her hands. She picks a fleck of nail polish off her thumb. "I guess I have put a lot of time and effort into you. It'd probably be too much work to replace you. You're forgiven." Pash waves her hand like a fairytale queen. Bliss crosses the couch in record time and flings herself at Pash. She wraps herself around Pash in a slightly painful hug.

Pash hugs back. "Okay, choking," she says, "Can't. Breathe. Dying. Of."

Bliss lets go and lies down, head in Pash's lap. Pash runs her fingers through Bliss's hair. She uses her nails, like her mother used to do for her when she was little. Bliss just snuggles in even closer and sighs. "Do you really have to go back?" she asks. "You should transfer here. Be a Longhorn."

"I actually like Columbia," Pash says. "I like living in New York.

"You hate the winter," Bliss says.

"I like scarves," Pash says, "And I've got this awesome hat with panda ears on it."

Bliss holds up her hand, ring and index fingers up. "Hook 'em?" she says.

"Hook 'em," Pash says.