Asami: I have to swing by work and check in with the lab about the fabrication. Might be late.
Opal: You said that last time, and didn’t show up. It’s drinks on a Friday night. Nothing wild.
Asami: It’s also midterms and I have papers to grade.
Asami pushed open the door of the building as she put her phone in her jacket pocket and attempted to stuff a stack of papers in her purse. She didn’t make it ten steps before a body slammed into her that sent her to the ground. Instead of landing on the concrete, she found herself half on whoever this jogger was. A few escaped papers fluttered around them as a large white fluffball came over and sniffed at them before licking the owner’s face.
“I’m so sorry! I wasn’t watching where I was…” the voice trailed and Asami looked up. She saw eyes so blue she thought of the crystal clear waters surrounding Ember Island.
“Are you okay? You’re the one that broke my fall.” Asami took in the girl’s appearance, noting the Republic City University tee and joggers.
They started to get up, the white dog looking up at them as it took a seat.
“I’ve had worse.” The other woman smiled, her lips a crooked line so that it wouldn’t pull at a large scar on her right cheek. “I should’ve been paying attention. Sorry about that.”
She waved off the apology. Asami’s focus remained on the woman’s eyes, transfixed by them and also trying to figure out where that color fell on the light spectrum. “Do you often run without looking?” The woman laughed and Asami thought her heart stopped for a moment.
“I was going to race Naga through the rest of campus before taking her back home.” She knelt down and picked up the stray papers and held them out to Asami. Her eyes must have caught the different names across the pages because a look of panic crossed her face. “Spirits, you’re a professor. I’m so sorry. Shit. If I’m ever your student, I wouldn’t blame you for flunking me.”
Asami chuckled as she accepted the papers. “Not a professor, but thank you.” She slid them into her bag. “I’m a Ph.D. candidate, and I get to teach a few entry classes a semester.” Her eyes found this strange girl
“How do your students concentrate with how beautiful you look?” The woman blinked at the words that came out of her mouth. “I-I mean. Man, I’m really messing this up.” She ran a hand through her short brown hair, her eyes focused on the ground. “I’m just gonna run away now.”
“I think you need to get cleaned up before you get back to it.” Asami pointed at the woman’s raised left arm where blood slipped down her dark skin from a large scrape. She made a mental note to return to the compliment later.
“Well, look at that.” She checked both arms to find a matching gash on her right.
“My apartment isn’t too far away if you can walk a few blocks.” Asami nodded in the direction of her place.
The woman glanced down at her dog before she looked back up. Her bright blues met Asami’s greens. “I don’t usually go home with strangers on the first meeting without at least dinner.” She stuck out her hand as Asami sputtered for a beat and her cheeks colored. “I’m Korra.”
Asami shook her hand, her cheeks a faint pink. “Asami. And you said your friend here is Naga?” She reached over and pat the dog, who seemed to brighten at the sudden attention. Asami turned to lead the way, Korra and Naga falling into step with her.
“Yup!” Korra ruffled the dog’s head. She took the bottom of her shirt to wipe at some of the blood and hissed at the sting.
Glancing over, Asami took in Korra’s toned arms and what she assumed were abs based on the slight amount of skin she saw when Korra raised her shirt. Heat rose to her cheeks. They walked in silence for half a block before Asami cleared her throat.
“What’s your major?” Asami glanced at Korra. It wasn’t the most riveting topic, but she needed to start somewhere. “You know, so I can flunk you if you’ll ever be one of my students.”
Korra let out a nervous laugh. “Marine Biology with minors in sustainability, environmental policy, and social media.”
“Interesting combo.” Asami mused as she started to cross the street.
“I’ve got a thing for the ocean, and I want to promote it as much as I can. We’re not gonna have penguins or polar bears around forever at this rate.” Korra seemed determined if Asami was reading her right.
“Is it polar bears you like, or penguins? And is that why your dog is white?” Asami pat Naga on the head, feeling the dog’s cold nose against her palm after a moment.
“Penguins. And Naga reminds me of polar bears, and that I want to save them for the future.” Korra turned to Asami.
Their eyes met, and Asami stared at the blue pools. Her mind went into overdrive, coming up with the first thing about that color she could think of. Blue fireworks are created by copper chloride. She turned her gaze away, embarrassed at holding it for so long that she stepped into the street. A firm hand pulled her back by her arm as a car whizzed through the turn. Asami stumbled backward into Korra’s body, aware of their proximity. She looked at the dark-skinned woman.
“You sure you didn’t get hurt when I hit you?” Korra held Asami for a moment before helping her stand up straight.
Asami blinked and let out a light laugh. “Yeah. I’m sure.” She noticed they still stood in close proximity and stepped back, her cheeks reddening. “It’s this way.”
They crossed the street and went another half a block before Asami led Korra to a building with a doorman.
“Afternoon, ma’am.” The man opened the door for her and the two walked in with Naga in tow.
Korra whistled a low, long tone. “I don’t think I’ve ever been in a place where someone opens the door for you. Are you sure Naga can be here?”
Asami walked backward to the elevator, looking between Korra and the dog. “I wouldn’t have invited you up if I didn’t want you two here.” She backed into the elevator doors as she realized how forward that came out. Her hand found the button and the doors dinged open the instant she pushed it. “Shall we?”
Korra and Naga followed her in and they headed up to one of the high floors with only the chipper elevator music filling the silence.
They made it to Asami’s apartment, a space covered in takeout containers, dirty dishes, and coffee mugs strewn between the schematics and textbooks.
“Sorry about the mess, I don’t have people here too often.” Asami dropped her bag on a short table by the door. “Take a seat at the counter I’ll get the first aid kit.” She rushed through her apartment and found the large white metal box in her bathroom that she hauled with ease to where Korra sat on a stool with Naga at her feet.
Korra held up her left arm first, Asami cleaning it with a damp paper towel. She did the same to the right arm, taking in the large straight incision scar across the top of Korra’s forearm. Asami’s gaze flicked up to take in the damaged skin that created that crooked grin. Her mind mulled over all the causes, wondering what could have done that woman before her. She wanted to ask but bit back the question seeing as Korra was still a stranger to her.
“You like cars.” Korra’s voice startled Asami from her thoughts and she jumped back to putting antiseptic on the wounds before applying some large bandaids.
“They’re my passion.” Asami sat back and looked around at the collection of car models and designs, along with the other schematics. “And also the family business.” Out of the corner of her eye, Asami saw Korra nodded and her right index finger started to scratch at the side of her thumb.
“Thank you for this. You really didn’t have to.” Korra started to get up and Naga followed suit.
“Want me to drive you home? Or back to campus?” Asami closed up the first aid kit and looked to Korra.
“No, that’s okay. I don’t mind the run.” Korra held up her hands.
Asami raised her eyebrows at how fast that answer came out. “Alright, well, if you’re sure.”
“Yeah, Naga could use the exercise anyway. Can’t have her getting spoiled.” Korra turned her attention to the dog who yawned at her owner.
Asami’s phone vibrated in her pocket, signaling a text message. She checked it, seeing the text from Opal asking if she was coming.
“I should let you go, I’ve taken up a lot of your afternoon.” Korra started for the door.
“My friends and I are going out tonight if you’re interested in joining.” Asami took a few steps in Korra’s direction.
“I can’t. I have a lot of homework, plus I’m in season, so I can’t drink anyway.” Korra shrugged. “I’m not exactly the life of the party.”
Asami nodded, noticing that Korra was picking at the side of her thumb again.
“Maybe I’ll see you around campus?” Korra stopped at the door, her left hand on the knob.
“I’m sure we’ll run into each other again.” Asami smirked.
Korra chuckled. “Hopefully, but without the body contact.” Korra’s eyes widened. “Not that there’s anything wrong with your body. It’s great. I just mean me ending up under you, and bleeding elbows.”
Asami watched as Korra closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She smiled at the girl, seeing how flustered she was.
Korra opened her eyes, her blues with a look of determination behind them. “Thank you for cleaning me up, and being so kind. I’m sorry again for knocking you over. Have a good rest of your night.”
“Have a good night, Korra. See you on campus.” Asami watched Korra leave her apartment, Naga in tow. She walked out on her balcony, seeing Korra and Naga jog down the street toward campus. Her phone buzzed again, at which point Asami tapped out a response to Opal’s sixth text asking where she was.
Asami: Be there in twenty.Strange afternoon.