In theory, social media should be the easiest part of being famous. Robin's barely allowed to touch her official stuff, save for the few times she logs on and says something witty or replies to some fans, mostly because Eddie definitely thinks she's incapable of it. He's not wrong, exactly, so she tends to leave it all alone, scrolling aimlessly through apps with no real intent behind them. She is allowed to follow basically whoever she wants, though-- maybe because it's charming and cute when a famous musician follows you on Twitter, and if she follows, say, Kristen Stewart or some other homosexual celebrity, the general public's response is basically awww, she's just like me. Of course, it should be unsurprising that Robin still manages to fuck it up.
It's ten AM on a Thursday morning, Eddie sitting across from her at the kitchen table, when Eddie looks up from his phone with narrowed eyes.
"Do you thrive on making my life harder, Rob?" He asks, and Robin doesn't immediately know what he means.
"Usually, yeah," she replies anyway, grinning broadly at Eddie when he rolls his eyes. "But what prompted this?"
"You can't just be out here following blue checks if you don't want the entire internet to know you have a massive lesbian crush on them," Eddie tells her, and Robin racks her brain for any clue as to who she's thirst-followed recently. She comes up empty-- she did just follow most of the League of Their Own reboot cast, but none of them would earn her this level of finger-wagging. She looks up at Eddie, lost. "The fucking-- the goddamn journalist, dude," he clarifies, and Robin quirks an eyebrow.
"Is it a crime to want to read the news, Edward?" She asks. Robin's tied between wanting to count how many times Eddie can roll his eyes until he reaches across the table and takes her cereal in protest and actually, genuinely having no fucking clue who he's talking about. Journalist? Robin isn't out here getting her news from Twitter of all places. The last time she even opened a journalist's profile would've been-- oh, fuck. Oh, shit.
Eddie must see the realization dawn, because he immediately smirks across the table at her.
"I followed her?" Robin asks, hearing her voice break like a twelve-year-old boy.
Eddie nods. "Oh, you poor lesbian," he says, not sounding all that sorry, "you were trying to lurk on this nice lady's Twitter, weren't you?"
"It's not like that!" Robin yells, immediate. "She's-- Steve knows her. She's Steve's friend."
"So are approximately a half dozen high schoolers," Eddie replies, and Robin drops her head into her hands.
"He sent me an article of hers he thought I'd find interesting," Robin begins to explain, dropping her spoon to wave her hands around wildly, "and it was really good, okay? Like, incredible writing, really poignant, and I just thought Christ, she's fucking smart, and I started scrolling through her Twitter-- she doesn't have her face in her profile pic, so it was completely innocent, okay!-- and then I kept scrolling, and I maybe saw a photo and thought wow, okay, and then maybe I kept scrolling for a while and it was questionably late at night and maybe I accidentally hit follow?" Robin finishes, finally looking up to gauge Eddie's expression. He looks like he's trying really hard not to laugh at her, nodding mock seriously.
"And at any point in your creeper stalking," he asks, paying no heed to Robin's loud groan in response, "did you remember that you're a chart-topping musician and that if you wanted Steve's friend's number, you could've just texted him like a normal person?"
Robin shakes her head, adamant. "Absolutely not, dude. Did you see her? Or read any of her stuff? I absolutely cannot just hit her up like some fuckboy. You want me to make Steve pass me her number so I can text her, like, hey, you up?" Robin asks, rolling her eyes when Eddie immediately bursts out laughing.
"I didn't say text her hey, you up," he says between spurts of laughter, "I said text her like an actual human being. Just be like I'm hot and gay and famous or however you get the gals."
"Eddie," Robin replies, leveling him with an unimpressed look, "what about me has ever suggested to you that I get the gals?"
"Touché," Eddie says, leaning back in her kitchen chair. Robin wads up a napkin and throws it at him.
The first thing that tips Nancy off that something huge has happened is her sudden influx of Twitter mentions. She doesn't have notifications on for the app, because she's a full-grown adult who can check her social media whenever she wants, thank you very much, but when she opens it on Thursday afternoon, there are hundreds of tagged tweets and replies, along with a not insignificant number of new follows. Nancy doesn't exactly consider herself unknown (she has that blue checkmark for a reason, after all), but there aren't usually people banging down her metaphorical internet door.
She immediately is anxiety-ridden. There are exactly two ways journalists get flooded like this: excellent writing being passed around (see: good) and mobs of bigots threatening to doxx them (see: horrific). Mostly, Nancy has kept to the sidelines, managing to never have the incels who hate-read her stuff cross over to finding her on any other social media and somehow never having a piece go viral. It maybe helps that the people who follow her are almost exclusively coworkers and other journalists networking-- Nancy has never been especially good at that cool Twitter personality thing that seems to come naturally to some journalists. Either way, it makes her wary of tapping on the swarm of notifications that greet her when she opens the app.
Nancy isn't sure what she expected, but it certainly isn't a series of relatively harmless, some even bordering on nice tweets from what seem like a parade of queer women and teenagers. It's unclear at first where they came from-- there's some rhyme to the usernames and profile pictures, a bunch of them relating to Robin Buckley (a cascade of profile pics of her on stage, one that looks to have been saved from her Instagram, a handful of her latest album-related names), but Nancy still can't put her finger on exactly what is happening. She scrolls further, faster, determined to find the beginning of this strange occurrence, and then, comes to an abrupt stop at a follow notification.
@robinbuckley has followed you!
Nancy thinks she stops breathing for a second. Surely this is a mistake. Famous lesbian heartthrobs do not simply appear on your virtual doorstep without warning. Maybe if she'd interviewed her or met her at a party or something, but Nancy doesn't do media coverage-- there's no way she even brushed shoulders with Robin Buckley without realizing it. Still, the evidence is overwhelming. Robin's got that celebrity social media energy, her profile picture the cover of her upcoming album, her full name (spelled correctly) in her username, that stupid blue checkmark that Nancy has on her own profile. If it was a scam or some random Buckley fan, Nancy certainly wouldn't have this barrage of mentions going on-- which are still, by the way, flooding in.
Look, Nancy's got eyes-- she certainly has a thing for Robin Buckley, in the way that you might have a thing for, say, Clea Duvall or Aubrey Plaza-- but she never in a million years would've thought this long about it. Who the fuck follows some journalist out of nowhere? Who does she think she is? Irrationally, Nancy begins to get angry, a cousin of the flustered warmth in her chest upon reading the notification. God, if this is some stupid prank or some misguided attempt at flirting-- the idea stops Nancy in her tracks. No, nope. No way is this famous musician flirting with her by following her on Twitter. What kind of awkward move is that? She's sure it's just a mistake, really. Robin might've seen her latest article on the capitol workers' unionization efforts, but even that seems like a stretch. Why would she ever care about that? Nancy's of the mind that even moderately famous people have no interest in running their own social media feeds, anyway. She certainly wouldn't if she didn't have to. Nancy resolves to ignore it as best she can, liking some of the sweet tweets Robin's fans have left her and giving her the polite grace of a follow back.
It's why, a few hours later, Nancy isn't even thinking about Robin Buckley (partial lie) when Steve texts her.
Steve Harrington: Hey Nance, you busy?
She casts a glance around her living room, where she's set up shop for the day. Her word documents are embarrassingly bare and she's gone through three cups of coffee, the mugs for which now sit scattered around her. Considering that she's definitely not getting much done at the moment, Nancy doesn't see the harm in indulging Steve for a few hours. Besides, sometimes it's good to get the wheels turning by seeing her friends.
Nancy Wheeler: I could make time. What's up?
Steve Harrington: Nothing bad, promise.
Steve Harrington: I have a friend who read your piece on the union stuff. Would you maybe be up for talking to her a little?
It's not like she has anything better to do. Besides, Nancy thinks, pleased at the interest, it's always nice to be appreciated for her work. Sure, she texts Steve, you can send her my number. Plus, Nancy knows Steve's type when it comes to friends-- it used to be criminal, really (she shudders to remember Tommy and Carol), but now it's far better and anyone he vouches for, she can at least give an hour of her time.
Robin is fucking vibrating on her couch. Eddie laughed at her when she started whining to him and proceeded to text Steve to tell him what she's done now, which only reminded Robin how annoyed she was that she ever introduced them to one another. Ganging up on her like this? Unfair.
She has no idea what they're planning, really, not even while Eddie smirks unnervingly at his phone, but Steve texts her good luck dumbass and when she starts begging Eddie for an explanation, he makes a big show of shrugging and slipping out of the apartment. She's texting Steve aggressive question marks when it comes through: Steve's shared a contact, named Nancy Wheeler. The contact photo is stupidly adorable, Nancy grinning at the camera in front of some random street, like whoever took it was so overcome by her face that they just had to photograph her on a walk, no warning. Robin drops her phone.
No fucking way. No fucking way did Eddie and Steve just evil scheme with one another to send her her Twitter crush's contact information. A small part of Robin is terrified about what the boys may or may not have said-- to one another, obviously, but more pressingly, to Nancy, because Steve might be an idiot sometimes, but he's way smarter than sending a woman's contact information around without warning her. Robin can feel herself blushing. She knows she's bright red. God, how embarrassing would it be if Steve texted this poor woman something stupid like my friend thinks you're unnaturally hot and unfairly smart and can she talk to you, by the way she's a huge lesbian? Robin's brain is going a mile a minute. She leaves her phone where it's sitting on the cushion until it finally chimes again, and for some weird reason, Robin is half-convinced it's Nancy, texting her, even though she still hasn't even saved the fucking contact. When Robin flips it over, though, it's Steve again.
Steve Harrington: you got this. promise.
Robin Buckley: do not fuck me on this, harrington.
Steve Harrington: Robin. you literally have thousands of fans. you're a lesbian celebrity, hotshot. I am not lying even a little bit when I say you should shoot your shot here.
And, well, she trusts Steve Harrington. Sue her.
Robin saves the contact, grinning a little as Nancy's face peeks up at her again from her screen, and then (unable to stomach just hitting call), she texts impossibly perfect Nancy Wheeler.
Unknown: Um, hey! Don't know what Steve told you about me, but I read your piece on the unionization efforts at the capitol and it was super awesome. I totally don't mean to be creepy at all, but I'd love to hear more about what you learned.
Nancy feels herself smile, a little bit, when she reads the message. It's clearly stilted and awkward, Steve's friend strangely nervous, and Nancy wonders what this girl knows about her.
Nancy Wheeler: Hey! Not much, if I'm honest. Steve said he had this friend who read my latest article and could she chat with me a little bit. Don't worry, he didn't have time to say anything too embarrassing in a single text message.
There's a beat where Nancy watches the ellipses appear, disappear, appear, disappear, on and on and on. Steve's friend seems uncertain about how to respond. Nancy wonders if this girl is one of Steve's many adopted children. No way to know, she guesses. Finally, a response appears.
Unknown: I wouldn't discount Steve's ability to embarrass me in a single text.
Unknown: But I guess that's about the shape of it, yeah. I was a union steward back when I used to work at an ice cream chain with Steve, so the subject is near and dear to my heart. Plus, and I hope this isn't too forward, you write absolutely beautifully.
So not a high schooler, Nancy assumes. There's something warm that settles at the base of her spine at the compliment, even from some unknown friend of Steve's. She's had to work hard for her place among fellow staff writers, so it's always nice to hear people say she's earned it.
Nancy Wheeler: Not forward at all. I mean, I know you're Steve's friend who worked at an ice cream shop and who loves unions. We're practically best friends already.
This time, the reply is immediate.
Unknown: Are you being sarcastic, Nancy Wheeler?
Nancy smirks at her phone, pleased no one is in her apartment to see her staring at it like an idiot.
Nancy Wheeler: Me? Never.
Nancy Wheeler: Maybe a little bit.
Unknown: I see how it is.
Unknown: You're lucky you're cute.
Nancy flushes. Are they flirting? Can you flirt with someone you know nothing about? She does seem sweet, awkward and unfairly charming for a few minutes of text conversation, and Nancy knows Steve likes her. No, Nancy reassures herself, she doesn't even know what this girl looks like. Hang on, she doesn't even know her name.
Nancy Wheeler: You seem to have me at an unfair advantage.
Nancy Wheeler: What's your name, Steve's Friend?
The ellipses appear again. Nancy didn't exactly think that was a hard question, but Steve's friend seems to be struggling with it.
Unknown: Is it super serial killer-y if I say you can call me R?
Nancy Wheeler: Absolutely.
Nancy Wheeler: But I'll figure you out, Steve's Friend. You can be R for now, but don't underestimate my detective abilities.
There's another pause, but the ellipses are quickly replaced with a reply.
Unknown: That's what I'm afraid of, Wheeler.
If Robin expected anything out of texting Nancy Wheeler, it wasn't that it was going to be so goddamn easy. She still hasn't worked up the courage to tell the other woman who she is, but Robin has told her more about herself than anyone's heard in a long time. They swapped coming out stories, talked about union organizing, chatted about being nerds in high school-- she knows Nancy was kidding when she said they'd become best friends after a single text, but Robin feels surprisingly close to this woman who doesn't even know her name. It's been a little over a week now and Robin has steadfastly avoided Twitter since her first faux-pas, a little terrified she'll do something stupid like liking all of Nancy's tweets with abandon or somehow accidentally DMing her something instead of texting it.
Coincidentally, Robin is also becoming increasingly more ashamed of her inability to come clean with Nancy. The more they text, the more she feels like an absolute asshole for not just coming out and stopping the lie that she's just some unassuming random friend of Steve's. She is, of course, some unassuming friend of Steve's, but Robin is also self-aware enough to know that she's not just that. She's starting to worry she's taking advantage of Nancy by not revealing her identity, but there's something so nice about someone just talking to her for her, not because they know she's Robin Buckley (trademark), but because she's a likable individual. There's something to unpack in therapy.
It's when Nancy texts her over the weekend, while Robin is lounging on her bed, scrolling through old songs to try and figure out which ones she wants to reshape for her new album, that Robin finally snaps.
Nancy Wheeler: What're you up to?
Robin Buckley: not much tbh
Robin Buckley: just some boring work, but I'd rather put it off. why? got something to distract me?
Nancy Wheeler: Just my thrilling company.
Robin knows Nancy is teasing her, but Christ, she really does already feel lighter just texting her.
Robin Buckley: no just about it, wheeler. that's top-notch.
Robin drops her phone immediately after sending the text, hiding her face in her pillow. It feels a little too soul-baring, a little too obvious. Her phone pings twice before she dares to pick it up again.
Nancy Wheeler: Flatterer.
Nancy Wheeler: Hey, would you maybe want to chat on a call? I'm trying to be productive and wash dishes but I do want to talk to you.
Immediately, Robin's instinct is to say no. She's nervous. Nancy terrifies her. But something about today-- maybe it's how long they've been texting, maybe it's knowing that Steve told her she should try, maybe it's reading all her old love songs and getting sappy-- makes her want to take the risk.
Robin Buckley: yeah, sure. call me when you dry your hands, I guess? lmao
It feels far too casual for how Robin's heart is beating out of her chest, but she forces herself to take deep breaths, all her muscles tense as she stares at the screen and waits.
Nancy doesn't make her wait long. The phone rings not even a minute later, and Robin carefully hits accept, pressing the phone to her ear.
Nancy's first thought is that R sounds unfairly hot. It's frankly impolite for this woman to be so adorable and charming over text, to ask Nancy all the right questions about her work, to share stupid stories about Steve and her other friends, and then to sound like that.
"Hi," Nancy replies, unable to help herself from smiling. She hopes she doesn't sound too eager.
"So," R says, and she sounds stupidly nervous over the line, "dishes, huh?"
Nancy shrugs and grabs her sponge again, scrubbing at a particularly stubborn plate. She's put Steve's friend (her friend, her mind fills in) on speaker, and R's voice fills Nancy's tiny kitchen, pleasantly raspy.
"The thrilling life of an investigative journalist," Nancy replies, feeling her stupid bashful smile when R's laugh rings out in response.
"Who do you work for, silverware?" R intones in some stupid Russian accent, and Nancy rolls her eyes.
"I'm not waterboarding my dishes," she says, and R clicks her tongue disbelievingly.
"What else would you call holding them under your faucet until they submit?" R asks, and Nancy chuckles.
"I'd call it the third item on my to-do list," Nancy replies, and R laughs again. It's low, scratchy, and Nancy can't shake that her voice is strangely familiar. Maybe she's met R at a party or something? It seems unlikely that she could have even brushed shoulders with this woman without it changing her life. Maybe she's just got one of those voices. But even that seems wrong-- R has the kind of pleasant voice that stirs something low in Nancy's stomach, the kind of tone that's almost naturally musical. Fleetingly, she wonders if the other woman sings.
Nancy's pulled out of her musings by R, speaking up again, her voice now more nervous than simply awkward.
Christ, Nancy thinks, that's not fair at all. But aloud, she says, "yeah?" as casually as possible.
"Can I tell you something?" R asks, and Nancy stops scrubbing for a moment.
"Yeah, anything," she replies, meaning it.
"I-- I feel really bad about not telling you my name," R begins, and Nancy is relieved to hear that's the case. It's been itching under her skin, this need to know more about R-- not in terms of her life, Nancy feels like she already knows more about R than she knew about her last two exes, but she still can't picture her, can't put a name to her thoughts. She didn't even know what she sounded like until today. Nancy feels strangely pleased all it seemed to take to find out was to simply ask.
"Does that mean you're finally going to tell me?" Nancy asks, unable to keep the curiosity from her voice. R laughs nervously in response.
"Um, do you-- would you be able to video call real quick?" R asks in response, and now Nancy's dishes are completely abandoned. A voice, a name, and a face all in one day? How is she supposed to turn that down?
"Yeah! Yeah, for sure," Nancy replies almost immediately, hearing the excitement in her words.
There's a long pause, and then Nancy's phone is informing her that she has an incoming video call. She stands the phone on top of her coffee maker, balanced precariously against her cabinet, and peers at the dark of her screen for a moment, trying to make sure she's clear and visible. Then, taking a breath, she hits accept.
Robin realizes a moment too late that she's still sitting on her bed, holding her phone up awkwardly like she's going to take a selfie. Despite everything, she still feels her hands get sweaty as Nancy accepts the call, feels like her hair is all over the place, and hates that she's wearing an old sweatshirt that definitely used to belong to one of her friends (Eddie, maybe? Vickie? She's not sure). Nancy is standing in what Robin can only assume is her kitchen, wearing an Emerson College t-shirt that's tied at her midriff, tilting her head curiously at the phone. It's unfairly cute. Robin thinks she maybe loses her breath for a second, corny as that sounds.
And then, it hits.
"Holy shit," Nancy murmurs, her hand flying to her mouth. "No, absolutely no way."
"Surprise?" Robin replies, tugging her bottom lip between her teeth.
"This is not happening," Nancy says, and then she starts pacing, which honestly makes Robin melt a little more. "This is not-- you're joking."
"Nance," Robin says, staring meaningfully into her phone camera, "I promise. Steve's friend, okay? Steve's friend Robin. That's all."
Nancy seems to be having an internal crisis. "You're telling me Robin Buckley knows Steve?"
"We worked at Scoops together, remember?" Robin reminds her, and Nancy almost glares at her. It's kind of terrifying. It should not be hot. (It is.)
"Yes, Robin," Nancy replies, putting meaningful emphasis on her name, "I very much remember learning that about Steve's friend. Forgive me if it's not immediately easy for me to connect that to you and your face."
"My face? What about my face?" Robin pouts. She doesn't mean it to sound as flirty as it does, given that Nancy is quite clearly cross with her at this revelation.
It flusters Nancy, though. She rolls her eyes, but Robin can see the color peeking up her neck, across her cheekbones. Robin finds her face splitting into a grin, her free hand springing to the back of her neck and scrubbing across it as she tries not to let her emotions read this clearly on her face.
When she lifts her eyes back to Nancy, the other woman is smiling too, seemingly unable to suppress it.
"Wait," Nancy says, realization setting in, "you followed me on Twitter."
Robin immediately drops her gaze again, bashful. She can feel herself blushing, no turning back now.
"Um, I-- so Steve-- okay, so you know that piece you wrote on unionization?" Robin begins, awkward. Nancy nods. "It really was lovely? I know I keep saying that, but it's true. And now, having spoken to you about it, I maybe like it even more? I don't know." She feels silly, like if they were in person she would be kicking invisible dust on the ground, but as it is, Robin has to hold Nancy up on her screen, by extension staring at her more than is perhaps necessary. "And so after I read it-- Steve sent me the link from your Twitter-- I, um... I clicked through. To see what else you'd written. And your profile picture isn't your face, so it wasn't motivated by..." Robin trails off and blushes harder when she sees Nancy's smirk.
"Motivated by what, Buckley?" She asks, and Robin wills herself to not trip over her words.
"It wasn't like I was just stalking you like some creeper because you were pretty, okay!" She replies, forcing the sentence out.
"You think I'm pretty?" Nancy asks, and Robin makes a noise like a wounded cat.
"Do not try me with that bullshit, Nancy Wheeler. Like you don't know that you're gorgeous and perfect and unfairly smart and funny and--" When she looks up from her ramble, Robin comes to an abrupt stop. Nancy is smiling at her, soft and sweet.
"I'm still not sure why you followed me," Nancy says, but her smile is still present. "You're certainly not losing points on flattery, though."
Robin groans. "This is gonna sound so stupid."
"I can't wait," Nancy replies, and Robin runs her hand through her hair to distract herself from Nancy's little smirk again.
"Um-- I maybe did it by accident? Like, and I know this is going to sound like I'm so useless at Twitter, but I was just scrolling through-- and I had your page open for a few days, like I didn't close the app so I could go back and see what else you had to say? Oh, Christ. That makes me sound like such a weirdo. Um, and then I must've been sleep deprived and hit follow? And I swear I didn't think it through! I didn't mean to, like, overwhelm you with people who make it their life's goal to watch my following count on Twitter."
She's nervous, terrified, frankly, but Nancy laughs in response, a little twinkling sound that Robin feels in her gut.
"Robin," Nancy says, and god, Robin is so fucking glad she can hear Nancy say her name now, "most of your fans are pretty normal, all things being equal. A lot of people checked out my work as a result of you following me. Don't get me wrong, it absolutely threw me for a loop, but it was... nice. Plus," she adds, and Robin can't drag her eyes away from the way Nancy's eyebrow quirks, "I got you out of the deal."
Robin drops her head back against her headboard, groaning. "Christ, Wheeler. You cannot say shit like that."
When she looks back at the phone, Nancy is unabashedly staring at what Robin can only assume was the column of her neck. She preens a little at the realization.
"Shit like what?" Nancy asks, sly, and Robin tugs her bottom lip back between her teeth to ground herself.
"Like-- like that!" Robin replies, hearing her voice go hoarse. "Like... please don't get my hopes up, okay? If this-- just please don't get my hopes up."
Nancy's eyes go soft at that.
"Rob," she murmurs, and Robin melts, "I'm not just getting your hopes up. This isn't where I thought my Saturday was going to go when I texted you this morning, but believe me, I'm... not complaining. You're kind of insanely hot and adorable and also I just spent like a week finding out that you're also awkward and funny and charming and goofy and this is kind of the best possible outcome."
"This," Robin says, carefully watching Nancy for her reaction, "is where I'd really like to kiss you." Nancy's breath visibly hitches.
"Well," Nancy replies, "this is where you could, if you were here."
"Good to know," Robin says softly, unable to help her wide smile, "very good to know."