Carmilla reached across the little diner table that sat between herself and Laura and linked her index finger with Laura's, trying to gently draw her attention.
Laura had been unusually quiet all night.
She'd picked Laura up at her house, the two of them tired and starving after a long day, and decided to hit the diner before heading back to Carmilla's apartment. It was raining, that thick, cloying, distinctly spring-like wet scent filling the air. There was still snow on the ground, but it was gray, slushy, and had a nasty habit of finding its way into your boots and soaking your socks.
They sat in the corner booth toward the back of the diner, the one Carmilla had been sitting in since her college days, the hanging lamp overhead bathing the two of them in warm light. The diner had a rustic feel to it much like the rest of town, having once been the old general store that had, over the years, slowly become a diner when serving coffee evolved into serving breakfast evolved into a proper, albeit small, menu. Their French Dip was to die for, and had kept Carmilla company many a night before an exam.
The booth was situated beside a window, the rain outside pelting the antique glass, and Laura drew in a breath, turning to look back at Carmilla when Carmilla touched her hand.
"Hey," Carmilla said softly, her brow creasing at the heavy look in Laura's eyes.
"Hey," Laura said, giving Carmilla a small smile as she laced her fingers with Carmilla's, her thumb absently brushing back and forth against Carmilla's knuckles. Both of them were a little damp still from the rain, and Carmilla could see tiny droplets of water still caught in Laura's eyelashes, the dark spots on the shoulders of her sweatshirt.
"Are you alright?" Carmilla asked, squeezing Laura's hand lightly. The look in Laura's eyes, the way she held her body didn't look quite like she had when she'd swerved the car back in February, she didn't look...devastated. But there was some heaviness hanging onto her, and Carmilla found herself worried. Not scared worried, not nervous, but this was...new, and Carmilla wanted to understand.
Laura looked at their joined hands for a long moment before finally nodding, the corner of her mouth quirking up. "Yeah, yeah, I'm okay," Laura said, and Carmilla believed her. "I'm just kinda sad that the snow is melting is all," she said with a little shrug. Her other hand fiddled with her beanie on the table, her thumb flicking the pom-pom back and forth.
"Okay," Carmilla nodded, watching her girlfriend with soft eyes. She looked up as she heard footsteps approach, and she sat back, letting go of Laura's hand momentarily as the waitress set down two mugs, sliding a heavy mug of cocoa in front of Laura, and a cup of black coffee in front of Carmilla.
"Usual, Karnstein?" the waitress asked in her gravelly tone, pulling out her notepad. She was an older woman, on the shorter side with a kind face and bright eyes. Her skin was dark, warm, and her hair was close-cropped and curly, grey peppered into black.
Carmilla hummed with a nod, reaching for the sugar packets.
"When you gonna try something else, hm?" the waitress asked, raising an eyebrow at Carmilla.
Carmilla shrugged. "I'm a creature of habit René, you know this," she said with an amused smirk.
René shook her head. "Mhmm," she sighed with a roll of her eyes, though it was good-natured. She turned to Laura. "What can I get you, honey?"
Laura's eyes snapped up to René, her gaze having wandered to the window again. "Oh, uh, I think I'll do the same, actually," she said, closing her menu.
"Two French Dips, then," René said, tucking her pad back into her pocket. "I'll be back in a few," she added, and headed off toward the little kitchen in back.
The two of them lapsed into silence, Laura's eyes drawn back to the window again. Carmilla found Laura's hand again, and this time she laced her fingers with Laura's and brought her hand up to kiss Laura's knuckles.
Laura looked back to Carmilla, blushing slightly. "I'm sorry I'm not much company tonight," she said, shoulders sagging a little.
Carmilla shook her head, her brow creased. "I will admit, I'm usually the broody one," she said, thumbing Laura's ring. Her matching ring sat snugly on her own ring finger. She smirked a little as she caught Laura's eye, and she felt a soft bloom in her chest when Laura gave her a small smile back. "Don't be sorry," she added quietly.
Carmilla grasped Laura's hand as they strode toward the door, a paper bag held in her other hand, the leftovers neither of them had been able to finish.
The rain had slowed down to a drizzle, so they didn't have to rush to the car like they'd rushed inside. Carmilla kissed Laura's head as they parted, and she walked around the front of her car and climbed into the driver's seat.
"Thanks," Laura said softly as Carmilla started the car, and Carmilla paused as Laura laid her hand on her thigh.
"Of course," Carmilla murmured with a small smile. She tucked a strand of hair behind Laura's ear, brushing her knuckles along Laura's cheek. She leaned forward and kissed her softly, and when they broke apart, Laura bumped her forehead against Carmilla's.
The ride to Carmilla's apartment was quiet. Out of the corner of her eye, Carmilla watched as Laura gazed out the window, her fingers still playing with the pom-pom on her beanie, her other hand tapping out a slow rhythm on Carmilla's thigh.
Laura found Carmilla's hand again as they made their way up to Carmilla's apartment, and yawned as they strode through the door, a soft click behind them as it closed.
The two of them moved about the apartment in a comfortable, practiced way, Carmilla putting some food out for Bagheera as Laura toed her boots off, hung her jacket up by the door.
“Tea?” Carmilla asked, but Laura shook her head, her eyes still a bit distracted, eyelids drooping.
“If you want it though, make some,” Laura said, coming up behind Carmilla and leaning her cheek against Carmilla’s shoulder, hands working to unbuckle Carmilla’s belt. “I’m gonna go get changed,” she murmured, and pressed a kiss to Carmilla’s neck before drifting off towards Carmilla’s bedroom.
Carmilla watched her go, studying her for a moment before she turned back to the kettle in her hand and put it on the burner, the quiet snap of the igniter echoing in her small kitchen.
Carmilla shuffled into her room a little while later, tea mug in hand to find Laura already changed into her sleep shirt and sprawled out on top of the covers. She smiled a little, setting her tea down on her nightstand before heading to her closet, shucking the clothes from her body along the way.
Her shirt and jeans landed with a soft thud on the floor, and she stifled a yawn as she yanked a shirt on after unclasping her bra.
“Do you want to watch a movie?” Carmilla asked quietly as she climbed into bed beside Laura.
Laura hummed, shuffling under the covers as well, and she slung her arm over Carmilla’s waist once she’d settled in bed. “You can put one on,” she mumbled, her thumb brushing back and forth along Carmilla’s waist as she tucked her face against Carmilla’s hip, her hair splayed over her pillow. “I might fall asleep though.”
Carmilla cracked a little smile, brushing Laura’s hair away from her eyes. She rested her hand on Laura’s shoulder as she reached for the remote, and flicked the tv on, scrolling through her DVR.
Laura would talk when she was ready. She always did. Carmilla never liked when people prodded her when she didn’t feel like talking, and she’d had her fair share of people who had tried. She wouldn’t subject Laura to that.
She listened as Laura’s breathing slowly evened out, and she watched as Bagheera hopped up next to them, curling up against the small of Laura’s back.
For now, Carmilla was content to let Laura sleep, tucked safely into her side as the rain pattered at the windows.