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I hate this party but you're pretty cool

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Heather is hating this party.

It might have something to do with the fact that she didn’t want to go but Mac and Duke were all ‘you haven’t been out since you and Karen broke up’ and she really didn’t know how to argue against that, especially since they broke up two months ago and Heather’s barely been out since.

But she also knows it’s because the music is shit, guys keep on hitting on her, the people to space ratio is way off and Mac and Duke went to ‘fix their make-up’ half an hour ago.

God, why does she even come to these things?

Because your friends are persuasive and you kinda live to complain, a part of her head answers, and she admits that she does make a good point.

She looks around the party, it’s in someone’s student house that will be completely obliterated by the morning, with those purple LED lights around the edge of the room. People are dancing really badly and there’s enough kissing visible that Heather is tempted to say that there is practically soft porn going on. Karen would have liked it, they would be dancing and laughing then they’d sneak away to someone’s bedroom and-

She takes another drink and winces slightly, god Mac knows how to make a drink have some kick.

Another frat boy bumbles up to her; a crooked smile on his face and some sweat across his forehead. She closes her eyes and counts to ten before looking at him and giving him the best death glare she’s got.

“What, no smile for me baby?”

Okay, maybe she’s out of practice with the whole ‘death glare’ thing. Someone should have told her that attempting to become a better person means that it saps all of the power you had over assholes. Or maybe she’s just not as scary when slightly tipsy and in bad lighting. Or this sorry excuse for a human being is just plain stupid.

“No.”

“Not giving me anything else?”

“No.”

“Come on sweetheart, I’m nice once you get to know me.” He leans in slightly further and she pushes him slightly.

“Fine, bitch.” He says then struts off to another woman in the kitchen. She rolls her eyes.

She needs a break from this, she downs the rest of the drink, which is a choice with a capital C by the way, it burns her throat and her face scrunches in a way that is far too unattractive. She walks off down the hall, hoping to find a bathroom where she can look through her phone or splash some water on her face or something. There are only four rooms down the corridor, most of them being occupied bedrooms that Heather really could’ve done without hearing. Finally, she opens a door to a bathroom and sees a woman sitting in the bath, eating fish crackers and smoking a joint.

The woman jolts at the noise of the door being opened and, oh no, oh no¸ she’s hot. Heather only came to this stupid party to placate Mac and Duke and now her stomach is bottoming out at a woman wearing fishnets and black lipstick and a joint is held between her lips and smoke is swirling around the bathroom and she doesn’t quite know what to do.

“Evening.” The woman says, blowing out some smoke then eating a cracker. “Want one?”

“I just came here to get away from the party.”

“Oh no, this isn’t an extension of that.” She says that with the same tone of voice that Heather was thinking in a few minutes ago. That is, it’s sarcastic and slightly condescending. Heather is liking this girl more by the minute. “No, this is the Veronica Sawyer experience of parties. Where your roommates throw a party but it’s a shitty one but you can’t be assed to leave so you just smoke in the bathroom.”

“Instead of your bedroom?”

“My parents are coming in a few days and my mother has the nose of a bloodhound, it is not worth the risk.” Her voice is deep, and her tone feels like there’s an inside joke being told between the two of them. Heather wants to hear more of it.

“Fair.”

They go back to silence, Heather leaning on the door, watching Veronica take more drags of the joint.

“Seriously though, do you want some of these because I’ll eat them all otherwise.” She weighs up her options, stay and hang out with a really hot, nice girl who is offering her crackers or go back to a party when she has to watch people make-out and dance with no rhythm. It’s not like she’ll lose anything by hanging out with this girl and eating snacks so Heather shrugs and takes a handful of fish before sitting on the toilet opposite Veronica. “Would you like a drag?”

Heather thinks through the pros and cons to this – of which there are a lot more pros to cons and takes the neatly rolled joint out of Veronica’s hands. She feels a spark when their hands touch and she’s never felt more like a teen movie protagonist more in that moment. The smoke drifts easily down her throat, she always appreciates a good joint with no tobacco, that shit hurts. Veronica stares at her for a moment before eating some more crackers, she takes two more puffs;  understanding the etiquette of three before handing it back over.

Damn, it’s good shit.

She feels slightly lighter, and hungrier, and eats some of the remaining crackers from her hand. She takes a second to look around the bathroom. It’s surprisingly clean for a college bathroom, but definitely far from what is properly hygienic and, is that a Jeff Goldblum shower curtain?

God she’s a lightweight when it comes to smoking.

“What’s your name? What’s your major? What’s your favourite colour?”

“What is this twenty questions?”

“I like to know who I’m smoking with? Also I’m nosey.” She says it matter-of-factly, a crooked smile on her face.

“Heather, Pre-law, red.”

She looks at Heather’s outfit, nodding her head.

“That makes sense.”

“What does that mean?”

“You’re wearing a shirt to a party, even if it is a relaxed one, your posture is like someone stapled a piece of wood to your back and it’s all red.” She makes a gesture with her hand toward Heather’s body, where the red shirt lies.

“Okay nosey, same questions but back at you.” Even though she already knows the girls name, she doesn’t quite know what else to say, which is rare. She’s Heather Chandler, she’s mean and can make people cry with two or three words, she always knows what to do, what to say, but she’s stuck.

Maybe it’s the weed.

“Veronica, investigative journalism, blue.” Her smile when she says her second answer makes Heather’s stomach warm slightly, it’s slightly smug but nice at the same time and ugh, why did she have to run into a fun and kind of flirtatious girl at this party. She could’ve gone home.

But then you wouldn’t be having at much fun. The voice in the back of her head says, and she kind of hates how right that voice is being tonight. She is having fun with this little back and forth with this hot girl who thinks she’s cool because she can tell a lot about Heather with a look.

“Also favourite colour? This isn’t third grade.” She motions for Veronica to pass the joint and she does so wordlessly, as if they’d been friends for years.

“I’m asking the important questions. Why did we ever stop asking people that?”

“Because it’s a dumb question.” She replies, exhaling smoke. It’s not the best comeback but Veronica’s smile grows wider before talking melodramatically.

“I detest that, it is vital information to know about friends.”

“And we’re friends now?”

“I don’t share my weed with just anyone Heather.”

Heather rolls her eyes at that, giving the joint back to Veronica. It is, unfortunately, near it’s end, as are the crackers, as Veronica finds out when her hand reaches the bottom of the packet and she pouts in a way that is just too adorable – especially in the way that it is the complete opposite of the way she’s dressed.

“So,” Veronica stubs the joint out on the wall and Heather silently mourns it’s loss. “wanna get out of here?”

“You know what that implies right?”

She’s finally getting her footing with the conversation. Veronica smiles, at Heather’s words, this girl is insane. She’s not only ridiculously hot, with legs that go on for about forever, but she’s also cute and clearly very clever with the way she’s able keep Heather guessing.

She’s honestly surprised that she’s not in love with her yet.

Don’t sell yourself short Heather, there is a definite more that just looks attraction there, her head decided to pop up with and Heather decides to ignore it. She only just got out of a relationship, for goodness sake. The excuse feels weak in her mind but there really isn’t another one she can come up with right now.

“I meant, we’re out of snacks, I have ten dollars. Wanna go to 7/11?”

Heather has to admit that that does sound fun, plus she’s picked up a real craving for corn-nuts and she knows that 7/11 has them. She sends off a text to Mac about leaving but will be back soon.

“Well, lead the way Veronica.”

She expects the other woman to go out the door, but instead she opens the shitty window and jumps, letting out a small yelp as she touches the ground.

“I’m fine! It’s just dark and I forgot where the ground was.”

Heather looks out the window to see her standing on the ground, almost face height with the window.

“You know you own a front door right?”

“And risk getting accosted by the people in there? Nope.” She pops the p in the word and Heather finds herself smiling, she climbs out the window and lands easily. Happy to admit that it was a lot more graceful than Veronica’s decent. But not happy to admit that the girl is a solid two or three inches taller than her.

“Follow me m’lady.” Veronica offers her arm like a man in an old-timey movie. Heather crosses hers and raises an eyebrow.

“You’re so high.”

“So are you.” She says cheekily, retracting her arm and starts walking a bit before noticing that Heather hasn’t followed her.

“Maybe.” Heather admits and Veronica’s smile grows as Heather walks up to her.

The walk to 7/11 is short but sweet, Veronica insists on walking along the curb the entire time, almost falling at least twice. Heather rolls her eyes each time but finds it endearing the way that she keeps attempting it. The music quickly fades out as they walk further and further from the house. It’s hot for an evening in May and Veronica takes off her flannel to reveal a black tank-top and muscles that gleam a bit under the light of the lampposts. It’s kinda ridiculous how much Heather is pretending not to check her out. It’s a nice evening though, it’s that point in the night where cars stop for around two hours and there’s a stillness in the air that makes Heather think and reminisce too hard.

Heather’s cheek start to hurt from how she can’t stop smiling. Any thoughts of Karen leave her mind. God, she hasn’t been high in months, it’s just what she needs, she ends up getting angry or starts crying when she’s drunk; sometimes both at the same time. It’s nice to not get like that, plus Veronica is a welcome change from her circle of three friends. Although it get’s her so ungodly hungry, she would eat half of the 7/11.

“Don’t be suspicious, don’t be suspicious.” Veronica starts singing as they near the 7/11, her head bopping and her body doing, she guesses, a dance similar to walk like an Egyptian. It’s so cute that Heather can’t help but smile.

The doors open and it’s like paradise at 1am.

“Heya JD.”

“Greetings Veronica and Co.” the man behind the counter says back, he’s tall and in a black trench coat. Jesus, he must be sweating his ass off. And he’s reading a book that looks like it’s in French so Heather doesn’t even try to read the title. She sees the holy grail, that is, BQ corn-nuts and gasps, yes, perfect, her evening is complete now. She turns around to see Veronica trying on sunglasses and posing in the shitty mirror by the stand, she catches Heather’s eyes in the mirror an turns around immediately.

“Chose a pair, I’m paying.”

“It’s the middle of the night.”

“Exactly.”

 “You’re so high.”

“You’re clutching that bag of nuts like it’s about to marry you.” She points out, having pulled her sunglasses down her nose and stares at Heather over the brims.

“Maybe I’m just hungry.”

“Yeah, that comes from being high.”

“Asshole.”

“You love it.” She scrunches her nose as she says it and Heather’s heart does something that she’s pretty sure comes close to a heart murmur. She, like the adult she is, decides to ignore it and watches as JD bags up the various snacks that Veronica bought with her $10.

“I’ve known you for around an hour.”

“And you’re here with me in a 7/11, buying sunglasses at 1am.”

She hates that she  makes a good point. She glares at Veronica as she plucks the snack from her hands and hands them to JD.

“Plus, isn’t this what you’re meant to do in college?”

“Stupid shit?”

“I take great offence to that, I’ll have you know. Thanks JD.”

“No problem, just be on time to Jefferson’s 9am.”

“I can’t guarantee anything.”

Heather hears JD sigh as they leave, Veronica puts on her Men in Black style sunglasses while handing her a pair of circular red ones, the kind that Taylor Swift would have worn a few years back. She puts them on, making Veronica ‘woohoo’ into the night and her chuckle. Veronica tosses the Con-nuts at her and she immediately opens them.

“Where to next? We could go back?” She finds herself asking.

“Oh hell no, besides I don’t know if I have the upper body strength to climb back through the window.”

“You’re unbelievable.”

“Yeah, unbelievably stupid.”

Heather rolls her eyes as they start walking in a different direction to the house.

“Where are we going now?”

“You’ll see.”

--

“Sorry Heather but Corn-nuts are awful, they’re atrocious, abhorrent, awful.”

Does she only know words beginning with ‘A’?

“You’re wrong.”

“What a compelling argument, I can’t wait for you to be a lawyer.”

“You’re not worth my lawyer argument.”

“I am wounded Heather.”

Veronica took her to a park. They’re on the swings, still wearing ridiculous sunglasses and making their way through everything Veronica brought. She finds out more about Veronica, and tell her some stuff about herself. Not too much, but enough to  make Veronica laugh or nod awkwardly when they got slightly deep on the matter of parents. Veronica tells her a lot about herself, mostly random things, but what Heather likes is the things that she can tell just by watching her.

Like how she’s really impatient when it comes to drinking her Slurpee, the amount of times she was halfway through a sentence when her face would scrunch and she would stutter out ‘brain freeze’ and Heather would laugh at her and she would pout in a way that is way too adorable.

And how she unconsciously swings when she’s talking and stops to listen to Heather. How she smiles and how somehow her lipstick has been able to stay on the entire time. And how she’s is a massive nerd, don’t let the lipstick and fishnets and flannel fool you, she’s a dork. She quoted Star Wars at least twice and mentioned her obsession of Greek Mythology as a child.

And how her opinions on snacks are wrong.

“I’m just saying.” Veronica shrugs, biting her straw through a smile.

“And I’m just saying you’re wrong.”

“Okay, what about Three Musketeers?”

“Oh, underrated. Butterfingers?”

“Mediocre.”

“Wrong again, you’re losing friend points.”

“Friend points?” Veronica exclaims, her voice on the verge on incredulity.

Heather takes off her sunglasses and folds them into her pocket not really caring if they scratch against anything.

“Shut up. Favourite Starbursts?”

“Red, purple pink. None of the citrus ones really.”

“Finally something we agree on.”

“Mac adores the yellow and green ones.”

“Disown her as a friend.”

“She’s put up with me since middle school.”

“And? Dump her.” Veronica says as she rests her sunglasses on the top of her head.

Heather rolls her eyes as Veronica laughs next to her. They lapse into silence, it’s not the first time they had done that this evening. It’s never awkward. Heather chalks it up to Veronica’s ability to somehow be ridiculously awkward and comforting at the same time. Their conversations move between being banter to insightful looks into each other.

Heather never talked like this with Karen.

And she was Heather’s longest relationship of seven months.

“Can I ask you something?” She asks.

“Shoot.”

“How does it feel to be wrong about almost all snack foods?” Veronica shakes her head, laughing lightly before looking Heather right in the eyes. Has she mentioned Veronicas eyes yet? Because holy shit. She’s not the type to wax poetry about how eyes are the windows to the soul or some shit, but her eyes are dark and mischievous and Heather could look at them for hours.

She knows because she already has.

Their high faded about an hour ago and the whole situation suddenly feels very real but Heather finds she doesn’t really mind. Veronica saved her from a very boring night.

“Can I ask you something?”

“You just did.”

Veronica choses to ignore her comment with a small quirk of her lips and asks anyway.

“Do you wanna go out, on a date, at some point?”

She breaks eye contact with Heather and stares ahead, at a merry-go-round and flickering lamppost across the way.

“Isn’t this already one?” She answers, facing Veronica again.

She gapes for a second before schooling her expression and biting her lip in a bashful way that sets Heather’s heart on fire.

“You know, you’re not wrong.” She says like it’s a secret. Heather’s about to respond in the same kind of way before her phone blasts out her obnoxious ring tone. She answers to Mac almost shouting down the line to her, the music from the party assaulting her ears through her shitty phone speakers.

“Heather! Where are you, we’re so worried!”

“She’s fine Mac, stop badgering her.”

They both sound like disgruntled parents.

Oh how the mighty Heather Chandler has fallen since High School.

“Calm down Mac, I’m at the park on-“

“Fremont and third,” Veronica helpfully supplies, before taking another gulp of Slurpee and clutching her head. That is at least the ninth time in two hours, she really never learns.

“That’s so far away, we’re coming to you-“

“Mac, I’ll just walk back, I will be there in less than half an hour.”

Mac makes a disapproving noise before Duke says some kind of goodbye to her and hangs up the phone.

“Looks like we’re going back to the party.”

She offers her arm, like she did when they first climbed out of the bathroom window, this time Heather excepts and revels in the way that Veronica’s skin feels against hers because of course Veronica is a human space-heater against Heather’s naturally cold skin and they walk back leisurely, past the 7/11 and back down the street toward the house. Veronica doesn’t try to walk the entire way on the curb but does try to convince Heather to dance a little in the middle when they’re halfway there and Heather rolls her eyes but moves the arms slightly while Veronica grins until they give up and end up walking side to side, now and again brushing against each other.

“You never did answer my question.”

“About a date?”

She nods and they come to a still directly under a lamppost.

“I would very much like to go on a date with you Veronica.”

Veronica smiles, fully fledged and does a small little jig while Heather watches, bemused.

“Well it’s not every day that a beautiful woman says yes to going on a date with this disaster bisexual.”

“You’re cute.” Veronica’s hand finds hers and she ends being very, very close to the other woman. She smells like weed and some kind of vanilla perfume and Heather is slightly upset that she didn’t pick up on the smell earlier.

“I don’t dress like” She gestures to herself in a cute was “this to be cute.”

“And yet?”

“Meanie.” She pouts and tugs Heather closer to her, until their faces are almost touching.

“If it helps my first thought when I saw you was ‘oh no she’s hot’.”

“That does help thank you.”

“Can I kiss you?”

“Do you need to ask?”

“Always.”

So Veronica kisses her.

The voice in the back of her head is somehow screaming but also lost for words.

Her lipstick is waxy and her hands are warm against the nape of Heather’s neck and their lips move across each other’s and it’s wonderful.

She never thought that at the end of tonight she would have a date, and be kissing a beautiful girl, she thought she would go home, slightly drunk and sleep without a trace of a smile on her face.

She feels Veronica smile against her and she pulls away.

“As much as I would love to carry on kissing you, my friends are probably on the verge of a manhunt to find me.”

“Sad, but understandable.”

Veronica gives her one last peck before they carry on walking. Heather hates to admit that it made her giggle. They, unfortunately, get back to the house quicker that anticipated. The smile hasn’t left Heather’s face as they meander toward the house.

“Gimme your phone.”

“So demanding.”

Heather rolls her eyes as she takes Veronica’s phone, it’s a shitty Samsung with a very cracked screen that makes perfect sense for her. The puts her number in and hands it back to her.

“Call me.”

“Oh, I will.”

Heather looks toward the house to see Mac and Duke, staring at her, Duke with a raised eyebrow going ‘really?’ and Mac just looks relieved that she hadn’t died. Veronica gives her a kiss on the cheek before waving at the others and giving Heather a salute before she climbs back into the bathroom.

“Who was that?”

“And is that black lipstick all over your mouth?”

"This is what happens when you guys disappear."

"We weren't gone for that  long."

"You really were."

Heather gets into Duke's jeep with a smile in her face, absentmindedly touching her lips.

Veronica got the first date.

She'll make sure that their second is just as good.