“I am so gay,” is Lou’s only thought when Debbie’s perfume envelopes her in the car.
“Deborah fucking Ocean,” is what comes out of her mouth. “I thought you changed your number.”
Debbie does nothing more than roll her eyes. “Drive the car, Miller.”
She turns back to the road. “With pleasure.”
They sit in silence for a while, the silent swish swish of the windscreen wiper and the droplets of the rain the only sound breaking the quiet. Lou is basking in it, aware through her peripheral vision that Debbie is studying her.
A calloused hand touches the hand not steering lightly. “What happened?”
“Hm?” Lou doesn’t glance away from the road.
“What happened to your hand?”
She glances down quickly, and spots the injury Debbie is referring to. “Oh. Nothing worth noting.”
Debbie says nothing for a moment, her hand lighting tracing around the torn skin on Lou’s right hand.
Lou’s eyes continue to track her movements, but she doesn’t draw away.
“It’s a good thing you’re left handed, then.”
“I have a highly developed right hemisphere.”
Debbie chuckles lightly. “I suppose you do.” Then, more lightly, “Sap.”
Lou turns for long enough to glare at her. “Right-handers.”
“I hate you.”
“And yet you came to pick me up.”
Lou falters for a moment, and when she speaks, her voice is softer than before. “And yet I did.” Debbie’s hand on hers suddenly feels too hot.
“So, where are we going now?” Debbie withdraws her hand and turns towards the front of the car. “You’re not homeless anymore, are you?”
“Says the ex-convict.” Debbie punches her. “Hey, be nice to the driver. Do you think I would let an Ocean live on the streets? You’d get beat up by all the other homeless people before the day is out.”
“And here I thought you were going to be actually nice to me.”
“Oh baby, you know me better than that.”
“Here I’d have thought the slammer would have taught you some manners.”
Debbie chuckles something breathless, “Five years don’t change that much, Miller.”
Lou’s eyes find Debbie’s in the rearview mirror. “No, I guess you’re right.”
The rest of the car ride passes in relative silence, but when they pull up at the loft that Lou moved in five years and eight months ago, she can tell she made a good choice. “You look like a Venus flytrap.”
Debbie shuts her mouth, but lifts her eyebrows.
Lou sights. “Go ahead, say it.”
“A loft, Miller?”
“You love it, don’t bother pretending.”
Debbie looks around again, and her eyes soften almost imperceptibly, “You’re right for maybe the first time ever.”
Lou flips her the bird, and Debbie laughs. “Well, welcome me into the Miller residence.”
Lou steps forward, and with a sweep of her arms, unlocks the doors to the loft. “Welcome,” she says with a flourish of her arms, “To your new home for the foreseeable future.” She turns and winks at the brunette. “I would carry you over the threshold bride-style, but I think you would gut me, and I would like to live to see those big Liz Taylor jewels outside of their vaults.”
Debbie smirks. “You know me too well, babe.” Her eyes brighten as she steps into the loft, and Lou wants to cry because she could have taken an apartment in Manhattan after Debbie left her for Claude, but something made her continue the purchase of a home she knew Debbie would love. “Nice place.” Maybe she really is a sap.
That thought is annoying enough to snap her out of whatever she was doing, “Try heating it. Your room’s on the left.”
“All my stuff, too?”
“Most of it. I borrowed some stuff. Figured you weren’t using it anyway.” She turns for long enough to give Debbie a shit-eating grin and disappears into the kitchen. “Did you already have lunch in the slammer or do you want Mexican?”
Debbie rubs her arm as she slowly turns around in the home that is so big, so large for one person, and doesn’t find it surprising that if anyone else lived here it would seem lonely, but for Lou, it is almost just right. “Is that your bike in the living room, Miller?”
“Living my best life, I know.”
“I can’t believe you actually made good on your promise and dragged that thing inside.”
“Hey,” Lou’s head pops back out from the kitchen, “show some respect. That right there is my baby.”
Debbie’s voice is sweet enough to be dripping with honey. “Aw, I thought I was your baby.”
Lou rolls her eyes. “In your dreams, Ocean.”
“Love you too. And I want Chinese.”
“So you still don’t know how to cook? And here I thought you were doing something productive while I was gone.”
“It’s been five years, Ocean. Not the lifetime it would take for me to ever learn how to not fry myself when cooking vegetables.”
“You eat vegetables?”
A hand pops out from behind the kitchen door, and Debbie laughs as Lou flips her the finger again. “Mexican it is, then. But I have to do something after that, so could you hurry up?”
Lou comes out holding two cups of hot chocolate. “Already on its way.”
“That was fast,” Debbie gratefully accepts the steaming cup of chocolate, “I would’ve thought it would take more time.”
“Please, Ocean, give me some credit. Anyone with half a brain would know the food in the slammer is probably second only to my cooking,” Debbie shudders at the thought of black mushes of things Lou called edible, “and you eat enough to feed a small family.”
Debbie raises an eyebrow, “Are you complaining, Miller?”
Lou chuckles something incredibly fond and places a kiss on Debbie’s head, knowing how it always irked Debbie how she was shorter than Lou. “Never.”
Debbie shrugs away from her and takes another sip from her mug, “I’m going to go look through my stuff, and for your sake I pray that you didn’t take anything I like too much.”
Lou walks over to the sofa and picks up the book she was reading. “Go ahead, Ocean.”