It wasn’t until she said it out loud that she realised that it was something she wanted. Poured it out to her fucking boss of all people, even if they had been to hell and back.
The clock was slowly ticking towards ten, and Bradley couldn’t help but think about those nights in Vegas, when they were almost suspended in time. Well, obviously they weren’t careful enough about it.
She looked down at her phone.
Laura was probably already asleep. There was most definitely paparazzi outside her house. And she said they’d see each other in the morning.
Bradley glanced over to the bathtub, bathed in the city lights. She could hear Hal snoring in the living room.
She grabbed her coat, keys, and headed out, not caring if Hal could hear her, what he thought about her potentially sneaking out to see her girlfriend, if he was going to tell their mother.
Rushing to the back entrance of the hotel, she fumbled around in her pocket for the MetroCard she’d bought when she first got here and wanted to do some revisiting of New York without the network’s car and chauffeur.
The cold night air was sharp against her skin and she was able to see small puffs of her breath, even at the end of February. Scanning around for the nearest subway entrance, she scampered down without much thought, heading to the closest map and scanning for Laura’s neighbourhood.
Thank God it was only one line change.
The loud noise of the subway was oddly calming, and she wasn’t sure what she was doing, at nearly eleven at night sneaking out to her—what was Laura, anyways?—Laura’s house, without calling or texting or even asking if she was fucking awake of all things.
After all, they did need to be up at three fucking AM.
The train was relatively empty for New York, and Bradley stepped out to the hot air of the subway cars running back and forth. Her hand fiddled with the MetroCard as she waited for the next one to come by.
Her other hand gripped her phone. She wondered if Mom had called yet. (Probably not.)
When the next subway train came, it was somewhat full. She got some looks, of which she was too tired to decipher. She should’ve went to Laura’s earlier when she had asked, when she was still wallowing in her pity because now she wasn’t sure if Laura was even awake and the last thing they needed was an article about how she was sneaking on the subway to Laura’s house and she thought, just maybe, she would combust if she had to wait until morning to talk to Laura, when they were waiting to go to air, when this was what had started it all.
She should’ve worn a warmer coat she mindlessly thought, as the cold nipped at her cheeks. Perhaps even a hat. Actually a hat would’ve been great, because as she approached Laura’s street, she could spot the cluster of cars that came with paparazzi and she snuck around the back, wondering if she needed to hop the fence.
Bradley tugged at the gate. Well. She’d done it plenty in university, hadn’t she? She had also been heavily inebriated at the same time, but it was the same process, wasn’t it?
She hiked the heel of her boot into the ledge and quickly yanked herself up, nearly throwing herself over with a grunt.
Just as she was halfway over the gate, leaning over with her legs in the air, Laura stepped out onto the terrance, dressed in a yellow robe and arms crossed over her chest.
“Hi?” Bradley said awkwardly, hefting herself over and landing with a thud. Yeah, she really shouldn’t have worn heeled boots.
“W-why are you scaling the fence?”
“Um, I don’t have a key?”
Laura’s face softened for a second. Bradley thought she looked like she was going to laugh. The snow was slowly starting to fall around them.
“Men climb mountains for their woman; I climb gates,” Bradley said with a grin, walking closer. Laura’s lip twitched.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, calm.
Bradley looked at her, nervously biting her lip.
“I needed to talk to you,” she said honestly. Laura sighed.
“Then we might as well do it inside where we aren’t freezing our asses off,” she said, turning around and opening the door. Bradley rubbed her hands together, staving off the cold.
Laura’s home was warm, like it always was, with the fire blazing in the hearth.
Laura sat down on the couch, looking at Bradley expectantly.
“I’m not sure where exactly to start this,” Bradley said, standing in the middle of Laura’s living room where she had spent so many days before, in the home of the woman she loved, yes, that word was right, laying everything on the table because someone had decided to do it for her.
“Today was so hard,” Bradley began. Her eyes were hot. For the second time that night, Laura’s expression softened. “Today was so hard and all I could think about was the possibility of, of losing you.”
Laura just stared at her.
“And I realised that I hate that idea,” she continued. “I know that this is something that is—relatively new to me, and I’m a private person, but Laura, the worst part about today was the realisation that I could’ve fucked this up.”
“And I really don’t want to fuck this up.”
Bradley paused, looking at Laura carefully.
“And I’m sorry for waking you, but I couldn’t wait until tomorrow to tell you this.”
Laura just stood up, leaned down, and kissed Bradley gently.
“You didn’t fuck up,” she whispered, pulling back. Bradley sniffed a little.
“Just a little,” Laura teased. “But no, you didn’t fuck up.”
“I—I want to give this a chance,” Bradley said, leaning into Laura’s embrace. “I want this to work.”
“Then we’ll make it work,” Laura replied, and when Bradley looked up at her, as they were standing in Laura’s living room with the glow of the lamps encasing them, all she thought about was how lucky she was, to have this woman, to be with this woman, and how lovely Laura looked in that robe.
“Why, thank you,” Laura said with a grin and Bradley hadn’t realised she’d said the last bit out loud.
“Can I stay over tonight?”
“You took the subway, didn’t you?” Laura teased, narrowing her eyes. Bradley shrugged.
“Yes, and I would appreciate it if my girlfriend didn’t make me haul my ass all the way back to my hotel,” Bradley joked, standing up on her toes to kiss Laura again.
“Alright, if you insist,” Laura replied, taking Bradley’s coat and throwing it onto the couch. “You won’t be needing that.”
Bradley followed as Laura led her up the stairs, hand in hand.
They had to be up in three and a half-ish hours, but all Bradley could think about was how warm Laura was, how beautiful she looked in the glow of the lights, and the long, long journey ahead of them.
But it was alright because she was doing this for Laura, for them, for this future together that she knew she wanted.
Because as Laura gently kissed her neck, Bradley knew she wasn’t giving this up for the world.
“To go to bed and wake up again day after day beside a woman, to lie in bed with our arms around each other and drift in and out of sleep, to be with each other—not as a quick stolen pleasure, nor as a wild treat—but like sunlight, day after day in the regular course of our lives. I was discovering all the ways that love creeps into life when two selves exist closely, when two women meet.” —Audra Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name