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all the things she said

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"Hey Katya," Trixie Mattel said, joining her at one of the circular tables in the break room.
Katya looked up. Trixie had said her name specifically, and Katya knew she had just been sitting alone, but she still checked to see if there was anyone else Trixie could have been talking to.

When there wasn't, she cleared her throat and said, "Hi."

It wasn't like Trixie had never talked to Katya. They first met when Trixie had started at Everything.com about a year ago. Trixie was outgoing, cute, and wrote for the music section of the digital news site. They had just never had lunch together before.

"How's it going?" Trixie asked, flipping a blonde curl over her shoulder as she opened up a container of salad.

Katya nodded. "Good." She tried to sit up a little straighter while she pushed her soup around. Okay, maybe she had sort of been almost crying a little bit just then, but now she felt fine. Really.

Trixie had chosen the chair closest to Katya, not across from her, and now she scooted even closer and leaned an elbow on the table. "I'm a good listener."

"You write for music, not the relationship column," Katya countered, hearing the remnants of her Russian accent coming through in the vowels.

But Trixie just waved a manicured hand around in the air and leaned back a bit. The pink polish matched the bright paisley blouse she had paired with beige chinos. "There's so much relationship wisdom in music."

Katya looked away, looked at nothing. She was 35. She was an adult. She didn't gossip about her relationships anymore, she discussed her life with her parents...in Russian, over the phone, while the person was in the room. She was sure Trixie would leave it if she wanted her to, but...What could go wrong? "It's my boyfriend, Mark," Katya explained. Mark was a sports writer, like her, and they had started dating when Mark had also worked for Everything.com, but he had sinced moved to a more football-friendly publication. "He keeps getting upset that I won't watch NFL games with him."

As she spoke, Trixie's face briefly flashed with distress, but then she just nodded down at her hands once before looking back to Katya.

Katya went on, not sure how else to react. "I've tried, but, I don't care about football. I just don't."

Trixie nodded for a second before shrugging. "I think with these things, if you really love the person and you really try, you can at least," She paused to draw vague circles in the air, and then, "Sit through it. For them."

Katya blinked. "So you're saying I don't love him."

"Maybe it's just not meant to be. Or, you're not trying," Trixie tried, forking a cucumber into her mouth.

Katya took her time ingesting a spoonful of soup. Then, "I've tried."

Trixie was staring determinedly into her salad, and Katya thought she might want to say something else, but she didn't look up. Trixie actually seemed pretty smart about this, so Katya went on.

"Okay then," She said, and Trixie looked at her. "Why do I think I still love him if I don't?" Katya, of course, loved her boyfriend of 3 years, but she wanted to know what Trixie would say.

Trixie smiled. "The brain is a muscle, and it has muscle memory. So, a lot of our lives is, just, habit."

Katya's spoon was still in her bowl. "Dolly Parton told you that?"

Trixie laughed, loud and high. Katya smiled to herself. It passively occurred to her that she was pretty sure Trixie was a lesbian, though she couldn't tell you how she knew that. Eventually, Trixie looked a bit bewilderedly at Katya and said, "Oh my god, you're funny."

Katya just shook her head and pulled her purse into her lap. She was feeling very over the soup. "I'm going for a smoke. Would you care to join me?" She asked, muscle memory after years of smoking.

Trixie shook her head with a hand up. "No, thank you."

Katya just nodded as she replaced the lid on her lunch and got up. "Thanks, Trixie."

"No problem, honey," She returned. "I'll see you around."

 

That afternoon, Katya smoked and thought about Trixie's words.

 

That night, there was a Chargers game, so Katya looked at but didn't read a book on French film in the 80s while sitting next to Mark on the couch. She looked at letters with accents on them and thought about Trixie's words.

 

The next week, Katya found herself staring at an article she was writing while curled up in bed. It was called "How to Love Football". She had started writing it 18 months ago, and she had only written two sentences.

Giving up for the gazillionth time, Katya instead entertained the random urge to google "is dolly parton gay".

The first link had "Lesbian Rumours" in the title, and when she clicked on it, it explained that the country singer had said outright that she wasn't gay.

Feeling some strange disappointment, she shut her laptop. The sound of Mark doing dishes drifted into the bedroom where she was "working".

Katya got up, collected the cups on her nightstand, and brought them out into the kitchen. "Hey sweetie," She said, as she set the cups next to the sink and pressed a kiss to Mark's cheek. "Thanks for doing the dishes."

Once Katya had hopped up on a stool at the breakfast bar, Mark let out a big sigh. It filled the air with the echo of running water.

Katya couldn't ignore it like she could ignore the confused glances he shot her when she couldn’t focus on a football game. This was audible, and close, and obviously demanding a response. "What's wrong?" She asked. They had already talked a bunch that evening, so she knew it couldn't be anything with work.

"Nothing,” Mark said, sounding like it was not nothing. “I'm great. Just, standing here, doing our dishes, by myself."

An ugly feeling of dread punched Katya in the stomach, but when she spoke she spoke with indignation. "You don't have to do the dishes," She said, even though their chore agreement had her doing all the bathroom keep-up while he did all the dishes.

Mark dropped the plate into the soapy water and turned around. "You aren't even trying. To do the dishes."

This was usually around when Katya would give up, recoil, and apologize. But she didn't feel sorry. Mark's words only made her feel more and more righteously angry. She heard herself scoff. "Believe me, I've tried. But every time I do, I dry them wrong, or I use the wrong soap—"

"So it's my fault you don't do dishes?"

YES! Katya wanted to scream, but the word was stuck in her throat. It was trying to claw its way out but refused to make itself heard. It hurt to breathe, so she spat, "What else am I supposed to do?"

Mark huffed. As his body relaxed before her, Katya felt her anger soften but not disappear. She felt worry. She was worried. In a calmer voice, Mark said, "I don't know, Katya."

Katya was really, really worried. Suddenly, and about so many things. She had to think to take a breath, and when she did she felt tears in her chest. "Do you really think I'm not trying?" She was sitting in the kitchen, their kitchen. She was living the life they had built for three years, in a home they had had for two. How could she not have been trying to make it work?

"Do you really think I'm rejecting you?" Mark countered.

That was when Katya's tears burst forth, because that was exactly what she thought. Hot and fast, she clutched at her stomach and squeezed her face up. She wished everything would stop; she wanted everything to be quiet. Mark ripped off the rubber gloves and went to her. She let him hug her. She cried into his chest, whimpering, "When did things get so fucked up?"

He didn't answer, just shushed her and petted her hair.

"I think—"

" Katya ," He whispered, squeezing her closer.

"I think I should go for a drive," She said.

And Katya really planned to go for a drive. She ignored Mark trying to cry in the kitchen while she grabbed her wallet and her keys and nothing else. The LA suburbs turned to skyscrapers and she passed by work. Katya thought about things that weren't meant to be. The skyscrapers turned to bright lights. Katya thought about not trying hard enough. The bright lights turned to dingy motels. Katya thought about muscle memory.

She pulled into the next driveway and rented a room. She texted Mark, Don't wait up.

Katya spent the next 24 hours convincing herself of varying things. Conflicting things. She called in sick to work, walked around the city, and went to a slam poetry open mic that she only listened to. Before the evening was through, Katya believed many varying, conflicting things, so she got back in her car and went home.


The next morning, having showered in her own shower and gotten decent quality head from Mark, Trixie greeted her in the break room with a warm, "Welcome back. Feeling better?"

"Oh, so much better," Katya assured.

 

Katya was so much better.

She apartment-hunted during work hours, and made mental notes of everything she owned while watching Mark watch football. She let some time pass but not too much. She let herself cry sometimes but not too often. This had been months coming; the time was now.

 

One day, Katya had her Russian pop on shuffle in her shitty earbuds while she made coffee in the break room. She jumped when someone touched her shoulder, but smiled when she saw it was Trixie. She pulled the earbuds out.

" All the Things She Said !" Trixie announced the song Katya was listening to excitedly, shaking her shoulder a little.

Katya was genuinely shocked. "You know Russian pop music?" She asked, thinking that was a little far-fetched, even for a music writer, especially for one who focused so much on country music like Trixie.

"Oh!" Trixie exclaimed, drawing a perfect 'o' with her neon pink lips. "No. I just know t.A.T.u.," She said, pronouncing the name of the Russian band all wrong, "Because everyone thought they were lesbians."

Katya's face split open with a smile, unable to bring herself to be annoyed with Trixie's mispronunciation. "Is suspected lesbians your thing? Dolly Parton and now Тату ?" She asked, pronouncing the name properly in Russian so it sounded like 'tattoo', but with a shorter 'eh' sound on the first syllable.

Trixie laughed, throwing her head back and digging her nails into Katya's shoulder. Katya listened and poured the pot of coffee she had been preparing before being interrupted into a mug. Then, "Dolly never made a music video making out with Judy Ogle."

"No, that only happened in your dreams."

Trixie laughed again, bigger, louder, and Katya felt herself giggle along. Trixie looked at her, eyes bright, smile full, as she shook out the last laughs. "So, how do you pronounce it?"

Katya was surprised again. She didn't think Trixie would care. Maybe she didn't. "Oh. Тату ."
"Tay-too," Trixie tried.
Katya made a joking 'eihn' noise to let Trixie know she was close, close enough. Trixie laughed a little, and just kept looking at Katya, waiting for her to say something else. What else was Katya supposed to say? She thought the conversation was over. What is going on? "They split up," Katya said, offering some random information.

Trixie nodded. She quickly pressed some buttons on the coffee maker, and looked right back to Katya, wanting more.

Katya had more. When it came to her culture, Katya always had more, though she rarely got to share it. (Though it was mostly her own fault, and she knew that.) "They reunited at the 2014 Olympics."

"Oh! In Sochi!" Trixie exclaimed, excited to connect two very close dots. "That's so cool."

"Yes," Katya confirmed, turning somewhat solemn, "The doping wasn't the only controversial topic of those games. Though two straight women kissing to sell music was talked about a lot less than gold medals."

Trixie was still looking at her like she was the most interesting person in the world.

"Well," Katya said, picking up her coffee, "I could talk about Russian culture all day, but I have a deadline." She excused herself. As she left the break room, Trixie spoke again.

"Let me know," She said, so Katya looked back. "If you hear about any more Russian lesbians."
Trixie winked at Katya.

Katya just laughed and ducked out.

 

On a Friday when there was no football games that night, Katya left work early. She packed her things in her car. She poured two glasses of wine and waited for Mark to get home.

Katya didn't entertain his pleas. She explained their relationship had been great, formative, and loveless. She hoped they could exchange writing tips again one day.

Mark said what the fuck you can't do this. That's so fucked up Katya that's how we met. We fell in love writing together. Katya please.

Mark cried. Katya didn't.

She kissed his cheek slowly and left. With her hand still on the doorknob outside, she paused, and convinced herself again of everything varying and conflicting she had decided a couple weeks prior in a motel room on the other side of town. Katya let go of the doorknob.

Chapter Text

Katya was amazing.

Her new apartment was beautiful, her articles were doing better and better everyday, and she was enjoying all the perks of living alone she had forgotten. She now lived in the heart of downtown and walked everywhere. She started doing yoga again. The sports editor, Nate, took opportunity after opportunity to tell her she was doing well. Her colleagues in sports were a different story, and had started looking at her with either pity or anger, but she didn't care. The most senior writer among their group, Ross, got stuck on a piece about rookie hockey players last minute and Katya saved his ass. Everyone started treating her normally again.

She talked to Trixie, sometimes. Katya started talking to lots of people more, suddenly with much more energy to put up with bullshit from people who weren't Mark. She liked getting to know her fellow sports writers. Alyssa was thinking of opening her own dance studio, which Katya spent the better part of an hour encouraging. Brianna was the newest of their group and talked about food a disproportionate amount for a supposed sports fan. She had watched a documentary about Russian athletes, and Katya actually didn’t mind listening to her summary and review, subconsciously trying to remember who in the office had “strongly recommended” Brianna for the job.

Katya was even willing to write about football, if it meant she could also cover the Gymnastics World Cup, which was normally “too niche”. Katya promised the sports editor two regular season game recaps and something about the Superbowl. She considered praying that t.A.T.u. would reunite and continue the tradition of controversial halftime performers.

Katya was very excited about the World Cup.

With the time difference, she would start her coverage at 6am, but showed up at 5:30 just for fun. She prepared her desk and then prepared her desk again. She wandered around in her sock feet and stretched her splits in the aisles between the vacant music writers' desks.

At quarter to, Katya used the bathroom, and when she came out, she heard quiet string music coming from the break room. She associated people with late and checked her watch as fast as physically possible, but sure enough she still had more than ten minutes to spare. Katya's fear subsided to confusion. She stomped towards the break room.

Of course , she thought, as soon as she reached the doorway and looked inside

Trixie Mattel was sitting at a table facing away from the door, turned just enough so Katya could see her hugging some sort of square, laptop-sized instrument to her chest that she was strumming with painted cotton-candy nails. She was wearing a long-sleeved jumpsuit in a purple 70s print, with a matching strip of fabric circling her head and holding her blonde waves out of her face.

She was singing, as she played. It was beautiful.

" Living's supposed to kill you, but it shouldn't feel like dying ," She sang, fingers deftly stroking over the strings and pressing on wooden bars. " Loving's supposed to fill you, but it spills you like your wine .”

Katya didn't even realize it, but she was frozen, as the music seemed to reach right into her chest and hold her by her heart.

" Pick up all the pieces and go back to the start. Never losing, only using all your moving parts. All your moving parts ."

Her voice went quiet as her hands picked up, playing the outro. She combined bars and strings to make a sweet, light melody. The song ended with a long stroke of a major chord that made the instrument sound halfway between a harp and a guitar. The notes soaked into Katya’s skin, seemingly abolishing her anxieties, one by one.

Then all of a sudden, Trixie was standing up and turning towards the door. Katya realized all at one that she had been eavesdropping and panicked, but didn't make it anywhere before Trixie's lined eyes and mouth opened wide and her body jumped.

"Sorry!" Katya managed, as Trixie clutched the instrument over her chest and exhaled loudly.

"Holy shit," Trixie managed through deep breaths, laughing a little but leaning on the chair she'd just stood up out of. "You scared me!"

" You scared me !" Katya retorted, which only made Trixie laugh harder, and lean over farther.

She was trying to talk but could only mumble or laugh, so Katya took the few cautious steps towards her to squeeze one of Trixie's hands in both her own and offered to make some coffee.

 

With eight minutes to go, they were settled at a table in the break room with two steaming cups of dark roast and a strange, angular instrument between them. "It's called an autoharp," Trixie explained. "This is really weird to say, but, I guess I'm a professional autoharp player now. It's sort of like a guitar, obviously," She said, dragging the nails of one hand over the strings to make a soft off-key cacophony, and sipping her coffee with her other hand.

Katya just smiled and nodded, having felt warm and content all over since she'd first found Trixie playing.

"I wrote an article about its popular use because I'm obsessed with it. Someone read it and contacted me because they wanted to hire an autoharp player for a demo, so I told them, 'Look no further!'" Trixie finished with a flourish, shrugging and hugging her coffee close.

"You're a professional musician," Katya stated, which earned a grin from Trixie. "That's amazing!"

"Yeah, well, we're recording the demo later today. I couldn't sleep and my roommates hate it when I practice in the middle of the night, so the office it was."

Katya made a 'hmm' in her throat as she swallowed a gulp of coffee. "Was that the song for the demo that you were playing? It was..." Katya actually had to pause to get the word out: "Beautiful."

Trixie blushed, looking away. "No, I wrote that."

Katya choked on air. "You wrote that?" She exclaimed with a smile, feeling inexplicably proud. "I don't know a lot about American music, but I think you could have a solo career."

Trixie was completely serious when she said, "It's too late for me."

Something in Katya's chest sagged. "No it's not," Katya said simply.

But Trixie shook her head. "I wasted too much time in beauty school," She claimed, gesturing to her perfectly contoured face and eyelashes extensions with five shiny fingernails. "I took this job so I could meet music producers and become a songwriter, which hasn't really worked out. But it's okay, I like writing for Everything."

"You're a professional autoharp player," Katya reminded her.

Trixie considered the statement that she had just made herself. Then, "No. No, this is a fluke."

Katya rolled her 'r' when she retorted, " Rrr ussians do not believe in 'fluke'."

Trixie's eyes narrowed slightly, and Katya watched a ghost of a smile grace her lips. "Did you just make that up?"

"Absolutely not. I swear on Alla Pugacheva's future grave."

Suddenly, Trixie sat up straight, wearing an expectant look, and Katya wished though doubted it was related to Alla Pugacheva. “Wait,” Trixie said, “Why the hell are you here at 5am?”

Oh. Yeah . Katya checked her watch quickly—five minutes to go—before explaining: “Since we’re sharing, I took this job so I could get paid to write about Russian gymnasts. I usually have to settle for Russian hockey players, but today,” She paused, to breathe, “Today is the Gymnastics World Cup.”

Trixie’s eyebrows were in her headband. “Wow.”

“It’s amazing. It starts in 5 minutes. I have 5 minutes left as a functioning human being,” Katya announced, as all the excitement over Trixie passed and the excitement for the World Cup set back in.

“That’s so fun!” Trixie said, with a light smile. Katya didn’t think she really understood the gravitas of the situation, but she was trying. “I’m so glad to hear you’re writing about what you love.”

That genuine sentiment touched Katya again. She had never had anyone talk to her like Trixie did.

“Well, before I lose you to gymnastics forever, how’s it going? How’s your life?” Trixie asked.

Katya was definitely not used to answering questions like this. “Um. You know, good.”

“How’s Mark?” Trixie asked pointedly, sipping her coffee.

“Oh!” Katya reacted pleasantly, smiling as she said, “I left him. He was crying, alone on the floor, a couple weeks ago. My new place is great.”

Trixie nodded a couple times, processing, before saying, “Good for you, girl. You’re feeling good about it?”

Katya could honestly say, and knew Trixie would believe her, when she said, “Yes. I am."

Chapter Text

Trixie and Katya started to have lunch together all the time. Katya would sneak past Bob the music column editor to poke Trixie until she stood up, or Trixie would lure Katya away from her desk by teasing matcha lattes and music by unproblematic lesbians from behind the glass that separated the B.O.-soaked den of sports writers from the rest of Everything. They would talk about music and Russia and L.A. and dumb ideas for quizzes. They would laugh hysterically at each other and ignore it when people stared at them. Katya would ask about the autoharp and the guitar and Trixie's songs but Trixie would just shy away—the one thing she wasn't outgoing about.

They would take the elevator all 16 floors down to the ground. Katya would smoke, and Trixie would stand next to her so they could share one pair of earbuds and listen to everything from Chely Wright to St. Vincent together.

They were busy people, so some days Trixie would be off stalking a celebrity during lunch, or Katya would cover an afternoon game, and Katya would think just idly about how she missed Trixie screaming at her for an hour.

Katya felt like she had switched out Mark and that dingy, dark apartment for a new life, filled with lots of happy people and lots of good things. Remembering how to be single was the most satisfied she had felt in a long time. She probably could have started to think about that one conversation with Trixie like it played some part in waking Katya the fuck up, but she didn’t. As she smoked on the steps of the skyscraper she worked in, with Trixie hanging onto her arm and sharing an earphone with her, Katya felt thankful for every conversation with Trixie she’d had, as all of them had been a part of building the life she was enjoying then.

 

The email came in right as Katya got home one evening on a Friday. She read it on her phone as she unpacked some groceries onto the counter.

 

Katya,

Great work lately. Heard you like Russian shit & I want to murder all my culture writers rn. Do Wende Museum tomorrow “Socialist Flower Power: Soviet Hippie Culture”. Expense the ticket. EOD Sunday to Michelle.

Thx Ru

---

RuPaul Andre Charles, PhD

Editor-in-Chief, Everything.com

 

At first, Katya was confused. She had only met the editor-in-chief of Everything.com a handful of times, and she had never emailed with her, let alone got a personal request for an article that she would very much love to write.

Then, Katya let herself feel excited. She danced around the kitchen for a little. She made dinner, eating on the couch while reading up on the exhibit. She considered texting Trixie—whose number she now had—to tell her that she'd gotten a personal email from RuPaul, but they usually only texted about lunch plans and things they didn't want other people in the room to hear. So Katya left it. She enjoyed her evening alone, like she always did.

 

The next morning, Katya woke easily. She fretted over finding an outfit that was Russian and fancy—but not too Russian, and not too fancy. She settled for her favourite red dress, a knee-length corduroy thing with long sleeves. Throwing on black jellies and red lipstick, she was ready to go.

 

Katya had never been to the Wende Museum before, so it was exciting to walk up to the long, low building with her press badge and camera. She much preferred writing, but journalism was moving more and more to video, so she had explored it some in college. Since Everything.com had only ever tried and failed to produce video content, Katya's camera exclusively and rarely shot photos. Today, she just wanted a couple pictures of the more palatable side of Soviet hippies, and wanted to enjoy learning about the country she had left as a child.

She did. She had a great time. The museum was small, but well done, and she enjoyed browsing the frames and artefacts, natural and artificial light streaming over everything. There was photos on shiny paper and shoddily-sewn clothes on stiff mannequins. Homemade flags reading ‘LOVE’ and ‘PEACE’ and ‘ОткройТе Ваши Уши’ (Open your ears!) hung from high above. Katya stood below them in the warmth of the late April morning, and thought about love and peace and revolution.

Until five manicured nails landed on her shoulder.

Katya jumped, but the surprise that arose in her was accompanied equally by delight. When she turned to look at Trixie, she was smiling.

“Oh my god, hi!” Trixie greeted, wrapping a quick hug around Katya.

“Hey?” She said, unable to keep the confusion out of her voice.

When Trixie let go, Katya saw two other girls standing awkwardly behind her, but Trixie paid them no mind for the moment. “This is ridiculous, I can’t believe you’re here!”

Katya lifted her camera, the surreal feeling of everything about this situation refusing to subside. “Wow. Uhm, RuPaul asked me to cover the exhibit.”

Trixie gaped. “No way!”

“I know, right? Wait—why are you here?” Katya asked, unable to not look at the bored-looking duo.

“Girl, I love anything and everything hippie,” She reminded, and Katya realized she was wearing a short, yellow and pink paisley print dress with poofy sleeves that gathered in elastics at her wrists. Her hair was curled up tighter than normal, and four large pink flowers crowned her brow. “Plus I've been so obsessed with Russia lately. No idea why,” She teased, pulling Katya's bleached hair forwards and running her fingers through it.

Katya couldn't keep the smile off her face. “I am inspiring, I know.”

“This was just a perfect way to get the kids out of the house,” Trixie gushed, finally acknowledging the other girls when she shot them a winning smile.

They did not look impressed.

“This is Violet,” Trixie said, motioning to the girl with black hair and lavender skinny jeans. “And this is Pearl.” Pearl was wearing a black tracksuit and Katya could see the weed socks poking out of her sneakers. She wasn't bothering to brush her rich blonde hair out of her face. “My roommates,” Trixie clarified.

Katya had heard a handful of stories about the yet unnamed roommates, and smiled at them. “Katya,” She introduced. “Your mom is cool.”

Pearl rolled her eyes and Violet just stifled a chuckle, looking at the ground.

Trixie motioned in the direction Katya had been heading and asked, “Have you been this way?”

“No, let's go,” Katya encouraged. She and Trixie fell into step as they headed for the next group of frames, hearing the begrudging roommates following slowly behind.

They began traversing the rest of the museum slowly. In a matter of minutes Pearl announced—speaking entirely in vocal fry—that she was going outside to smoke. Katya could have joined, but she didn't. Trixie and Katya let Pearl and Violet go and continued browsing, arm in arm. After half an hour, Katya announced she thought they weren't coming back and offered Trixie a ride home when the time came.

Katya would read the Russian words for Trixie, explaining the meaning as best she could. Trixie would mention the parallels to and differences from American flower power culture. Katya loved hearing it, loved hearing the interest and intellect in Trixie's voice. When something mentioned a musician Katya knew, she would tell Trixie their name, offer solemnly that no, they did not play the autoharp, and hum their songs as they sauntered.

When they were sure they had seen every wall in the exhibit, Trixie and Katya huddled together over Katya's camera, flipping through the pictures and pointing out their favourites. Katya could hear Trixie’s heart beating, see her billowing sleeves crowd the space between them, and feel her huge curls falling over Katya's shoulder. They left once Katya knew which pictures she was going to feature in the article.

Trixie asked the artist of every Russian pop song that played on Katya’s Spotify while they drove to Trixie’s apartment. Katya graciously educated her, feeling only silly and happy at her requests, even though she doubted Trixie would remember anything. They let the wind rush in the open windows and felt the sun, still high in the sky, heat the world around them. Katya was starving, having spent much longer at the museum than she had planned, but she couldn’t bring herself to focus on what was in her fridge over who was in her car at the moment. She felt so content, and happy, to be able to spend time with a friend as great as Trixie.

Eventually, the thick L.A. traffic coaxed Katya’s car into the driveway of Trixie’s apartment building. “Thank you so much for the ride,” Trixie said, unclicking her seatbelt but not moving to leave. She looked at Katya.

“Yeah, no problem,” Katya returned. The motor was still running. She stared at Trixie.

“I had a lot of fun today.”

“Me too. It should make a good article.”

Trixie nodded. “Are you in on Monday?”

“No. I’ll see you Wednesday,” Katya promised, since she would be working all weekend on this extra credit.

“Okay,” Trixie said simply. She stared at Katya for a few more seconds, wearing that sweet, small smile. Then she got out of the car. “Bye!” She called and waved from outside.

Katya managed a wave as she drove off.

It wasn’t far to Katya’s place, but the song ended and a new one began as she drove. The familiar quick electronic notes put Katya at ease. The drums kicked in and then the words to All the Things She Said were playing in her car speakers.

All the things she said, all the things she said
Runnin' through my head, runnin' through my head
Runnin' through my head

Katya only half-listened. She was already planning the article about the Wende in her mind, trying to keep track of a list of references she would have to cite in order to properly explain the Russian cultural elements.

Being with you has opened my eyes
Could I ever believe such a perfect surprise?
I keep asking myself, wondering how
I keep closing my eyes, but I can't block you out

The museum had been Cold War focused, and their other exhibit had been about Hungary, but Katya would have to keep an eye on that place for more stuff like that. Her parents had lived through that time. This was their life. This was her life.

But I want her so much

It was nice that she shared that with Trixie. She'd encouraged Katya to talk, explain, and express.

'Cause I'm feeling for her what she's feeling for me
I can try to pretend, I can try to forget
But it's driving me mad, going out of my head

Katya was less than a minute away from home when months of nagging feelings and soft confusion crashed over her all at once.

I'm falling in love with Trixie , Her brain said.

Every muscle in her body seized and panic washed through her. She couldn't see, couldn't hear. Katya was suddenly at the mercy of her anxiety.

Then, there was a loud honk. Katya realized she was drifting into the other lane, so she yanked the steering wheel and stomped on the brake, turning tightly into the driveway of her apartment building’s parking garage. She stopped the car halfway down the ramp.

Pressing her head back into the headrest, Katya tried to take deep breaths, but they shook and shook, catching in her throat. Tears leaked out the corners of where her eyelids pressed together. Slowly, ever so slowly, the panic began to subside.

Katya remembered the past three months. Trixie smiling, Katya smiling at Trixie. Touching. Laughing. Trixie saying, “I had a lot of fun today .”

Katya let out a groan for no one but herself, and let her head fall forward. It hit the steering wheel and the horn honked.

After making herself jump and almost letting the brake pedal go, Katya decided she would ignore the rest of her nerves and move expediently towards her bed.

Chapter Text

THREE MONTHS EARLIER

 

Trixie was absolutely infatuated with Katya.

They weren't friends, were barely coworkers, but Trixie simply thought she was the sexiest woman on the planet.

In person, she was focused and energetic, and on paper, she was smart beyond education. Trixie had never cared about sports before she'd started reading Katya's articles, but now she could not only read 1000 words about why Kovalev was overrated, she felt almost curious about it. Trixie drank up everything of Katya’s she could get. It wasn't a lot, but while Katya noticing her made Trixie want her, Katya pretending not to notice her made Trixie want her even more. Trixie was in a vicious cycle of ignoring and feeding her crush.

The best part was, Katya was definitely gay. Trixie was sure. She wore her nearly-white-blonde hair consistently brushing against her shoulders, bangs always in line. Her wardrobe included a range of boxy dresses and patterned button-downs. Her voice was deep, laugh loud and breathy, always ringed by red lipstick that Trixie just constantly wanted to kiss away. She was a sports writer. She stared at girls in leotards all day.

Then one day, she found the perfect opportunity to to have a conversation with Katya. A real conversation—as real as Katya could handle.

Katya was in the break room when Trixie went to make a coffee. Normally, Katya chatted with one or two other sports writers, but today she was huddled in the corner alone. Her soup was sitting untouched. Her white shirt was wrinkled underneath the sleek black dress she’d hung over it. She let her hair hang over her face as she inhaled, shaky, like she was crying.

Trixie stood, hands on the coffee maker, not moving. She breathed. Be cool .

She picked up her lunch, walked over and sat in the chair next to her. “Hey Katya,” Trixie greeted, as brightly as she could. She noticed the heel of one of Katya's thick-soled combat boots was tapping rapidly on the carpet.

Katya's head shot up. Her foot froze. Her eyes were a little red, she could see, but Trixie tried to seem chill. Katya looked around quickly, and then replied, “Hi.”

Fuck . Hearing Katya's voice, knowing it was talking to her, when their faces were so close—it went right to Trixie’s crotch. Her throat was thick when she breathed. Trixie let her eyelashes bat together and she slowly flipped her hair. “How's it going?” She asked, fiddling with the container of salad.

“Good,” Katya said. She was visibly responding to Trixie’s flirting—nodding and stretching towards her—but still looked a little upset.

Trixie didn't know what had been bothering her, but she was confident it could be helped by good company, if the company was her. She physically moved her chair closer to Katya. Trixie leaned on the table so her face would be the only thing Katya could see. “I'm a good listener,” She pitched.

Then, Katya put on a small smile and teased, “You write for music, not the relationship column.”

It was everything. The accent, the smirk, the fact that she knew Trixie wrote in music, the fact that she had spoken a full sentence to Trixie at all. It all made Trixie’s stomach warm, and distracted her enough from the fact that Katya was talking about relationships, presumably with someone other than Katya. But she couldn't get ahead of herself. She had to answer Katya's read, so Trixie feigned disdain and said, “There's so much relationship wisdom in music.”

Katya considered for moment, eyes roaming over where Trixie's inch-long nails had landed one two three four five on the table. Trixie idly wondered if Katya was a bottom. Then Katya said, “It’s my boyfriend, Mark.”

Well, fuck my life.

Trixie's chest suddenly ached with heartbreak. Despair flooded her brain, her muscles, her heart. This could not be happening. Trixie was overcome with a need to eat ice cream and vomit at the same time.

But her brain didn't even have time to start mourning the relationship Trixie had fabricated before she realized she had a choice: bail in the face of heterosexuality, or stick to her guns.

“He keeps getting upset that I won't watch NFL games with him,” Katya explained.

It occurred to Trixie that maybe Katya wasn't that stunning. She was pretty, and had perfect teeth, and was dating some jock named Mark. She was normal and boring.

Trixie was starting to panic. She looked down at her hands, before panicking over how that would come across and forcing herself to face Katya.

“I've tried, but, I don't care about football. I just don't.”

Oh, I know this one! Trixie thought, a sudden and small burst of confidence patching a tiny hole in the gaping cavern of her heart. Trixie was a professional niche obsessive, and had had about an even split of girlfriends who could sit through two minutes about Avril Lavigne’s acoustic guitar-driven pop music, and girlfriends who couldn't.

So Trixie explained. She sympathized. She let Katya go on when she wanted and stop when she got quiet. When Katya made a joke about Dolly Parton, Trixie let herself laugh and then realize she’d been surprised by her. She let Katya go smoke, and wished she could see inside her brain as she left.

 

Glad to know these two are still pretending they aren't fucking , Trixie thought to herself and she entered her apartment that evening, finding Pearl and Violet on the couch, “watching TV”. The TV was on and showing a home reno show they both hated. They were a foot apart, and the top 3 buttons of Violet's shirt were undone.

“Hey,” Trixie greeted, depositing her things on the table by the door and beelining for the sliver of space between them.

“Hi.”

“Hey.”

They wasted no time sliding to make room for her. Trixie didn't mind the show that was on, so she just stretched her legs and leaned back to enjoy the show.

Neither of her roommates were saying uncle. They weren't saying anything. Eventually, Trixie muted the TV on a commercial break and announced, “I talked to Katya today.”

They shifted to look at her. Pearl let a finger fall to point to Trixie and said, “Is that, the—”

“Shut up, obviously,” Violet interrupted, reaching over to smack Pearl's hand. “How did it go?”

Trixie sighed, looking down at her feet, finally free from the tiny pumps she insisted on wearing to work. “She has a boyfriend.”

“Ohhh,” Violet sounded.

Pearl said, “Shit,” and drew a finger down through one of Trixie’s curls.

“I convinced her to break up with him,” Trixie went on, and before either of her roommates could protest, “Well, she basically asked me if she should break up with him. And the answer is always —”

“Yes.”

“Obviously,” Violet echoed.

“It's whatever. She’s cool. I'll just be friendly and see what happens,” Trixie said.

But being friendly was what had gotten her into this mess in the first place.

 

Katya only smiled and greeted Trixie more and more, and it pulled Trixie closer and closer. She knew she couldn't have Katya. It wasn't going to happen. But she couldn't control herself.

One day, Katya missed work, and Trixie's mind kept going back to where she could be. She couldn’t ask. She checked the accident reports for the whole city, praying to June Carter Cash that she was okay.

When Katya came back the next day, Trixie tried to be cool, but couldn't resist greeting her bright and early that morning.

 

They bonded over the musical stylings of Russian faux-lesbians. Katya mentioned Dolly Parton being suspected as gay, and Trixie was, again, completely surprised by Katya. How did she know that? Why? Trixie might never know, and it drove her wild. Katya spoke Russian. The second Katya started talking about something she liked, Trixie couldn't help it, she latched on and tried to encourage her to talk, explain, express. Katya did, and Trixie loved it.

 

Things started going good for Trixie. She was getting into the swing of things, both with work and with this whole Katya thing. She had more time to write songs and got herself a gig playing the autoharp. She could talk to Katya without feeling like her heart was a chalkboard and Katya's words were nails scraping down it. They were becoming friends, really, Trixie thought, and the truth was she just really enjoyed spending time with Katya. And if sometimes she cried at night and had to put herself to sleep by masturbating to pictures of Margot Robbie, that was Trixie's business only.

 

And then Katya told her she had broken up with Mark. And that she felt fine. Katya had ended a 3 year relationship (the length of which had been revealed to Trixie during their friendship) and said she was feeling good about it.

What else could Trixie do, but believe her?

 

Trixie was falling hard. And fast. Very much like the sex Pearl and Violet were having when they thought Trixie couldn't hear, but very unlike it in the sense that Trixie's was all thoughts and wishes at this point.

But she liked Katya. She really liked Katya.

Trixie hung on her every word. She googled every proper noun Katya mentioned. Each day, Trixie tried to make Katya feel wanted, important, and special, even if she couldn't do it in every way she could think of. She was biding her time, waiting for nothing, when a bolt from the blue struck Trixie.

The blue was Facebook. The bolt was an ad.

She had been recommended events in LA about the 70s or flower power before, but Trixie couldn't help but silently validate the ad-targeting as she read the title of the event: “Socialist Flower Power: Soviet Hippie Culture”. She had been googling a lot of random Russian culture lately.

The ad turned into a very simple plan: get Katya to go on a date with her, without having to ask her out.

It took a lot of favours and a few IOUs, but eventually Trixie got a personal meeting with Doctor RuPaul Andre Charles to make her case. She managed to convince the editor that this exhibit absolutely had to be covered. It was independent. Revolutionary. New. Exactly Everything.com. Trixie got her interested, but Ru was confused why this wasn't happening during a regularly scheduled pitch meeting.

Trixie explained she wasn't a culture writer. But someone had to do this. RuPaul said she couldn't deal with the culture writers at the moment; it had to be someone else.

Trixie had the perfect woman for the job.

Such a simple plan. And the first part had worked! Next, she had to blackmail her roommates into making their meeting seem organic. Finally, she would use every move she had on Katya.

The last part was important. She had to move on Katya without using any pick-up lines. If Katya was actually into women like Trixie was (i.e. very much), she would respond and react positively to Trixie's advances. But if she was straight, she would interpret the affection as platonic and they could both move on with their lives as Trixie's pussy dried up forever and she died alone. Pick-up lines were just too obvious.

 

The rest of the plan went swimmingly. The date was amazing, even if Katya didn't know it. Trixie felt absolutely content and relaxed, letting Katya's thick, corduroy-clad arms pull her from scene to scene. Pearl and Violet disappeared exactly as Trixie had asked them to. Trixie and Katya laughed and learned and enjoyed.

By the end of the afternoon, Trixie wondered if Katya had figured it out. She dropped a single, subtle, first-date kind of line: “I had a lot fun today.” She sat in Katya's car, staring at her, ever so slowly leaning forwards.

Katya had not realized.

 

So, Trixie gave up.

Chapter Text

Katya was in bed.

To be clear, Katya was still in bed, a day and a half after realizing she was probably some brand of gay and almost crashing her car. She remembered days like this, in college and between writing gigs, when she couldn't bring herself to face the world beyond her duvet. The exhaustion of worrying about everything all the time would put her out of commission for 24 hours, and the next day, she would be fine. She was fine.

Maybe Katya wasn't fine. Maybe she never had been.

Saturday night and Sunday, she had written the article. She’d had to. Katya wrote and wrote until wanting to cry turned into crying and she had to look away from the screen. It was not good, but it was finished, and it was on time.  Michelle, the editor, replied to her email at 5:23pm Sunday evening with a thumbs up emoji. Katya put her laptop on the floor and fell asleep. She would wake, roll around, and fall asleep again.

Eventually, Monday's harsh midday sun refused to let Katya slip back into unconsciousness. She laid on her back, closing and opening her eyes, unable to turn her brain off.

Katya liked Trixie. She thought Trixie was smart, kind, and funny. She thought she was beautiful, and objectively, sexy. She saw her every day. She missed her when she was gone. She got excited over things Trixie liked, and felt honored that Trixie got excited over things Katya liked. They could talk, laugh, or listen quietly for hours. Katya really liked Trixie.

Katya knew…God, what did Katya know? That it was okay to be gay? That women had loved and built lives with other women for as long as people had been on earth? That people like Rachel Maddow and Florence Nightingale and Janelle Monae existed? She knew all that; why did she feel so scared? Why did her body seem to know that Trixie and Katya’s relationship was now over forever? Why couldn't she get out of her goddamned bed?

Katya had all the facts lined up in a row in front of her. She added one more to the end: she could get out of bed. She didn't want to; her emotions were raging all around the neat arrays of information, and the fear of daylight and people was quite powerful, but she knew she could get out of bed.

Katya looked at the clock. It read 12:32pm. She groaned loudly for only her bedroom, before pushing herself into a sitting position.

 

Forty-one minutes later, Katya was passing the door to the sports writers, ignoring Alyssa's greetings. She'd left the house in jeans and a flannel, phone and wallet shoved in her pocket, no makeup on her face. She’d had to just go. Just do it. Now, Katya weaved through desks of relationship columnists until she came up behind Trixie.

“Trixie?” Katya said.

When Trixie spun her chair around, she looked confused. Not surprised, not happy. Completely, stone-cold confused. There was a beat of silence for Katya to worry about that and everything else before Trixie said, “Katya, why…”

Trixie couldn’t seem to finish. People were staring. Bob the music column editor looked angry, but didn’t intervene. Katya breathed. She knew she looked like shit, and people were going to remember this forever, but she had to do it. “I have to say, I'm sorry,” Katya said.

Trixie looked more solemn that Katya had ever seen her. She spoke like it hurt, saying, “I don't understand.”

“I didn't either,” Katya promised, fighting every urge she had to rush forwards and hug the breath out of Trixie. Her hands balled into fists. Trixie looked down when Katya said, “I didn't understand myself for 35 years. Trixie, you have changed everything.”

Trixie met her eyes again. Her brow was knit, tight and worried. “What are you saying?”

“I'm saying,” Katya said, all at once realizing what she really needed to say, “I couldn't do this by myself. Other people, the rest of the world…It had to be you. I had to do this for me and you.”

Trixie just moved to hide her face in her hands.

But Katya stopped her, stepping forwards and taking Trixie's hands in her own. Trixie looked up at her through thick, fake eyelashes. “I want to be with you,” Katya said.

Trixie had fear in her eyes. “No…” Katya was starting to panic as Trixie's voice disappeared and there was only heavy air between them. What had she expected? Had Katya thought she would just pick Trixie up and walk off into the sunset, happily ever after?

Katya ignored the deep thumping of her heart. She had to do this, for herself and Trixie. “Yes. I do,” Katya said. Here she was, she had finally done it, and she needed Trixie to accept her. She was squeezing, holding onto Trixie’s hands for dear life. It occurred to Katya that she might not be breathing, but she didn't bother to check. She was pleading. Praying.

Then, all at once, Trixie let joy into her eyes. She smiled as she breathed out, “Katya.”

“Trixie,” Katya answered, and pulled her up into a hug. She held fast, and Trixie held her back, their bodies closer than they had ever been before. Katya was instantly overwhelmed with the feeling of really touching Trixie.

People started clapping. Katya couldn’t see Trixie trying not to cry, touching the corners of her eyes, and laughing a little. Katya was ignoring everything, just breathing and feeling.

But only for a moment. Trixie managed to get just far enough away from Katya to ask, “Can we take a walk?”

Katya looked vaguely around and said, “Oh, please.”

They held hands and nodded to everyone as they left, hearing the clapping die down. Bob stuck her tongue out at Trixie as they passed. They sped for the elevator.

 

They were finally alone once they reached the green space across from their office building, where they strolled lazily along the paths, arm in arm. “Are you okay?” Trixie asked.

Katya laughed once. “No. Yes. I will be,” She said. Katya had realized how strange it must have seemed, her showing up like that. “I'm sorry.”

“No, don't be sorry. The heart wants what the heart wants,” Trixie said, smiling radiantly in the afternoon sun.

“My anxiety just had a field day when I realized I liked you. I had to pull myself out of it,” Katya explained.

Trixie nodded, attentive and serious for the moment. “Are you feeling better?”

Katya breathed. “I feel terrified,” She said, and Trixie squeezed her a little closer as they walked, “But I'm also very, very happy…There's just so much in my head right now.”

“Like what?” Trixie asked, slowing to a spot beneath a tree. They couldn't see anyone else on the greenery-lined paths.

Katya looked up at Trixie. She listed her anxiety's hot topics, labouring between each as she struggled to put everything into words: “You know…being gay…you…me…past, things.”

Trixie nodded again, and then brought the arm that wasn't hooked around Katya's up so she could draw three shiny nails down the side of Katya's face. They paused at her jaw, and then fell away. It was a simple, short gesture, and Katya had been watching Trixie's nails fly and work for months, but now, it was the most intimate, sexy thing Katya could imagine. Trixie spoke with the same animated tone as always but so, so quietly when she said, “Can I kiss you?”

Forty-eight hours after realizing she was falling in love with a woman, Katya was sure. She said, “Oh. Yes.”

Trixie’s mouth smiled slightly as she closed her eyes and slowly, so slowly, pressed their lips together. Heat rushed through Katya's body. She stood, lips pursed against Trixie’s—and it was so simple but it felt so right.

Trixie leaned back. She reached to squeezed Katya's free arm, and smiled as she asked, “Was that okay?”

“Yeah. Yes,” Katya said, nodding a little, head reeling just a bit.

Trixie stepped back and they started walking again, only holding each other closer and closer. The sun was out. The city was alive. “I think you're going to be okay,” Trixie said.

Katya thought so too.

Chapter Text

Katya went home. She forced herself to clean her apartment. It was hard, and not well done, and she slumped down against the wall beating back feelings of vague dread more than once, but it looked better than before.

Trixie texted her around 6.

Trixie : Hey honey

Katya : Hi )))

Trixie : How's it going?

Katya : Okay

Trixie : Have you eaten?

Shit . Katya had not eaten anything substantial since Saturday morning. She wanted to check her cupboards, but she was in the middle of disinfecting her shower. Her brain was suddenly conflicted, knowing she should eat and wanting to be able to tell Trixie she had, but also needing to finish scrubbing the soap scum. She sat, crouched over the tub, paralyzed by the feeling of dirty hands. Her back was screaming and her brain was reeling.

Okay, relax , Katya was able to think. She reminded herself that it wasn't a big deal. She wouldn't starve if she finished the shower, and she wouldn't slip and die if she ate right then. Looking back at Trixie's text, Katya realized she had been cleaning for a long time, and she could use a break to clear her head.

Once she was pushing canned soup around a pot on the stove, Katya replied.

Katya : Eating right now

Trixie : Good :)

Katya : How was work?

Trixie : Bob said no to Kacey Musgraves tickets :(

Katya pouted at her phone as she sat down to eat.

Katya : Poor baby (((

Trixie : I read your article about the museum

Katya hadn't heard anything about that juvenile, unprofessional mess since Michelle had sent her a thumbs up, but she supposed it had been published online for everyone to see. She beat back the ugly feelings in her stomach, reminding herself that there was nothing she could do now.

Katya : It is shit, I know

Trixie : I like the way your brain works <3 But it could have used another look

Katya : I'm over it

They texted, idly about everything and nothing, as Katya found something wrong with every inch of her apartment. At one point she had to sit down in her living room, press the heels of her hands into her eyes and just breathe. After a minute, she got up and made a list for tomorrow.

 

Tomorrow was the same.

She thought about Trixie as she busied around her apartment, a lot, but she knew that they were adults and they had to take this slow. So she read texts about how Trixie both loved and couldn't stand the new music writer Blair, scrubbed her apartment and scrubbed it again, forced some food into her not-hungry stomach, and willed her body not to collapse in on itself.

 

Wednesday, Katya arrived at the office to find Trixie in her desk, holding two matcha lattes. “Um. Hi?”

“Hey!” Trixie said, setting the drinks down. She stood up, pulling one of Katya's lapels softly as she pressed a kiss to her cheek. There was no one else there, so Katya didn't mind it. “Lunch today? My treat?” Trixie asked.

It had been Trixie’s treat in the past, and it started to strike Katya just how much Trixie had been flirting with her over the the past three months. She began, and over the next few weeks would continue, to discover that their relationship wouldn't change very much moving from friendship to romance. Trixie was a very romantic friend, and a very friendly lover. “Sure, thanks,” Katya said, settling into her chair as Trixie perched on the edge of her desk.

“So what are you up to today?”

They shared, voices sweet and soft, for just a minute until Alyssa strode into the office. Trixie told Katya she would see her around, squeezed her hand, and swished away.

Alyssa gave Katya a look, but Katya just got to work.

 

At lunch, Trixie led them to a healthy restaurant that specialized in putting as many vegetables in containers as possible. Katya quickly asked if they could get it to go, and Trixie agreed. They ended up eating in Katya's car, parked, looking over the valley.

“I have a lot of issues with anxiety,” Katya explained, wanting Trixie to have a better picture of what was going on.

Trixie was eager to see it, nodding attentively.

“I think for a long time I've been able to ignore it, and put it off. I always thought I would deal with it one day. I guess, that's today,” Katya supposed, shaking her head a little as she pushed food around in the cardboard bowl. “But I’m pretty sure this is a good sign. Like I'm finally listening to myself, really.”

When Katya gave Trixie an unsure look, Trixie was quick to validate her. “Totally. I believe…we always have good and bad in our lives. You can't lose any parts, they just move around sometimes.”

Suddenly, Katya had to look down, breathe through the panic. Her stomach turned very not-hungry.

But Trixie put a hand on her shoulder. “Hey,” She said, forcing Katya to raise her reddening eyes up to her. “I believe that you are strong, and capable and brave, and everything you need to be to live a long, amazing life. And if you don't believe that for yourself, you have me.”

Katya's heart skipped a beat in a bad way. She didn't like that; she didn't like the sound of that. “This is different—”

“No. Dating, friends, enemies, I am here to support you.” Trixie looked out the dashboard and set her salad on her lap. “I have my own shit too. But I…really really like you, Katya,” She said, looking at Katya with genuine concern and honesty. “Right now, I want to be with you. All of you.”

Katya couldn't help it. Her breaths turned to laughs as she looked away and poked at her food. “You're ridiculous, Trixie Mattel.”

Trixie let herself smile. “You had kiss me to figure that out?”

Katya kept it under control for the rest of their lunch. They established some ground rules for PDA. Trixie asked Katya a bunch of questions, and it was a lot, but really it felt like waves and waves of caring and support washing over her. Honestly, it was a breeze compared to the territorial bullshit Mark had tried to pull when Katya had first gotten with him.

Trixie squeezed Katya's hand before they got in the elevator, and that was lunch.

 

Thursday, they had lunch again. They stayed in the break room. They barely touched, but it was comfortable. They laughed less, but smiled more, having something else that was better now, something that other people couldn't hear.

 

Friday, Katya told Trixie to have lunch with Bob and Blair. She sat with Alyssa and Brianna and let herself bond and be bonded with. The Worlds cheerleading competition had been fraught with scandal this year, so Alyssa asked if Katya was interested in doing a piece on it together, which Katya allowed. When they asked, she confirmed there was something happening with her and Trixie.

That evening, Katya picked Trixie up at 8. Katya wore a shirt and tie, all black and white. Trixie wore pink—obviously—a short, silk dress with long sleeves and peplums in a soft blush. Trixie picked a steakhouse that also had good veggie options, and they spent the night flirting and fawning over each other. Katya was surprised by how easy it was with Trixie.

It was over far too quickly, and then Katya was leaving the car running while she walked Trixie up to the front door of her apartment building. Katya stopped outside the door, and took Trixie’s hands.

“I had a lot of fun tonight,” Trixie promised, absolutely beaming.

Katya made a judgement call and joked, “Is this my do-over?”

“Only if you get it right,” Trixie said.

Katya wasted no time threading her fingers into Trixie's curls and pulling her close so she could press their lips together. Under the black of the sky and the light of the street, their mouths moved softly against each other. Trixie pulled on Katya's hips and Katya darted her tongue quickly over Trixie’s lips. It was their second kiss. It was perfect.

They both pulled back then, breathing and still holding each other close. Katya smiled into Trixie’s shoulder, as Trixie softly petted her hair and asked, “Was that okay?”

“So, so okay,” She whispered. Then, louder, “Did I get it right?”

“Perfect,” Trixie promised.

 

They dated like that for a while, sometimes texting and occasionally sneaking kisses. Being friends. Katya had forced herself into yoga once again, which helped to clear her mind. Her anxiety wouldn't leave her, not totally, but it was manageable, and Katya was managing it. Trixie made her talk about seeing people and medication, but Katya was sure she didn't need that. Trixie started playing Glukoza, a Russian singer’s music one night while they were cooking side-by-side and it occurred to Katya that Trixie had actually been paying attention to all the shit she had been saying. Katya told Trixie she thought she was bisexual, and she would change her mind a lot in the next few years, but she would always go back to it, once for good.

 

Some nights they would laze around each other's apartments, writing next to each other or watching Queer Eye. Conditional on roommates, they started kissing more and more. Trixie started touching Katya more and more. And Katya started to like it, a lot. They would make out, hands halfway up each others shirts and skirts, for minutes on end before their internal timers went off and one of them eventually pulled away. Trixie would lay her head in Katya's lap or snuggle under her arm, and they would breathe and feel lucky for what they had and say good night an hour later. They were taking it slow. Slow for young people, slow for adults…just, slow.

Katya's anxiety wasn't helping. If she wasn't lying awake at night worrying about RuPaul discovering she was a terrible writer and a fraud, she was imagining all the ways she was going to ruin her relationship with Trixie, and most of them involved ugly, unsatisfying sex. In the moment, Trixie leaning into her touch, Katya would panic.

Eventually, she got fed up with herself. She might have just been a little more horny than she was scared one night.

They were at Katya's, ignoring a comedy special. Trixie was half on top of Katya as they made out, deep and slow. Katya's hand was on Trixie’s hip, where her fingertips brushed the skin exposed between her flowy blouse and pencil skirt.

All of a sudden, Katya pushed herself up and over until she was straddling Trixie. Her hand slipped up her shirt as she kissed her to grab her breast, hard, and then rub up and down. Katya had never done anything like this before, but it felt good to do it to Trixie.

And Trixie seemed to like it, as she whimpered softly in her throat and clutched at Katya's sweater vaguely.

Yes, Katya liked this. Her pussy did, at least.

She broke their kiss quickly. When their eyes met, Katya said, “I want to finger you.”

Trixie let a little surprise register on her face. Her hands flattened on Katya's back, sliding down an inch. “Are you sure?”

Katya nodded. “I'm ready.”

Chapter Text

Katya nodded. “I'm ready,” She said, as her fingers bent around Trixie’s bra to run over the soft skin inside, and her hard nipple.

Trixie breathed a smile and then exhaled it away. “Okay.”

Katya kissed her, tongue slipping swiftly inside to play with Trixie's. Her one hand stayed in Trixie's bra, while her around wrapped around her shoulder to hold their bodies close. Trixie's hands ran around Katya's back and smoothly over her ass. Their bodies had never been closer. They were warm, and together, and both starting to get wet.

Trixie instantly missed Katya when she retracted her limbs and stood up, and she stumbled to follow Katya as she pulled Trixie to the bedroom. Katya caught Trixie's hands but her momentum pushed Katya backwards until she was sitting on the bed. Katya looked up at Trixie, hair backlit by the yellow hallway light and face illuminated in the moon’s glow, her heart thudded with anticipation and fondness.

Katya’s breath caught when Trixie leaned in close to her face. But Trixie just laid the flat of her hand on Katya’s cheek and whispered, “I’ve waited so long to do this.” Katya knew she was blushing then, having learned to laugh at her obliviousness but still feeling silly.

Trixie was taking off her skirt. Katya wasn't looking at her face anymore, wasn’t thinking about her secretly wanting what was about to happen, but watched the pink fabric buckle and slip down to reveal Trixie's black silk panties. Trixie stepped out of it daintily, and it took Katya a second to process what she was seeing. Then, she helped Trixie push off her blouse.

Trixie leaned down to makeout with Katya's neck as she ran her hands up and down the thighs of Katya's pants. Her lips moved up and mumbled, “Can I take these off?”

Katya groaned, “Yes.” She felt more turned-on than she'd ever been in her life. She watched Trixie’s boobs jiggle in her black translucent bra as she worked the clasp of Katya's pants open. Once Katya had kicked them off, Trixie slipped her sweater off too, and then they climbed onto the bed.

Lying next to each other, Katya pulled Trixie close by her ass, their bodies pressing flush together. It felt amazing, and her brain just knew that this was right, and good. They kissed hungrily, legs and tongues pushing against each other. Everything—the slide of silk or hair on Katya's skin, feeling Trixie's body heat emanating, the little sounds coming Trixie made—it was all so much, so good for Katya. It was easy for Katya to push Trixie onto her back and work her panties off. Trixie just smiled into their kiss and lifted her hips accordingly. She slid her fingers into Katya's hair, making shivers run down her spine.

Katya paused with her hand curved over Trixie's thigh. As Trixie looked up at her, Katya sat back onto her heels, looking at the spot between where Trixie's legs had opened instinctively, slowly sliding her hand over her leg.

Trixie didn't tease her. She just watched Katya look at her as she slid her thumb up the crease of sensitive skin at the end of Trixie's leg. Trixie reacted, leg jerking up a little, and Katya smiled at Trixie.

“Okay,” Katya said, climbing back up towards her.

“Okay?” Trixie checked anyways, meeting Katya's chest with her hands, primarily to hold her at bay for a moment.

“Yes, fuck,” Katya muttered, sliding her fingers around the outside of Trixie's vulva. Trixie moved her hands to pull Katya down towards her and they kissed eagerly.

They kissed, and when Trixie's nails started to scrape Katya's scalp, Katya ventured one finger over Trixie's mound and onto her clitoris. She pressed, and moved it slowly.

Trixie whined. Heat building in Katya's stomach, she kept her finger going at a solid pace with a steady rhythm.

Trixie broke their kiss to wrap her arms fully around Katya's neck, pressing her lips to the soft skin under her jaw. As Katya pressed on her clit, Trixie smeared pink lipstick all over her neck, occasionally having to pause as pleasure overcame her to breathe hot air and whimper in place.

Katya muttered, “Touch yourself,” as she took her finger away. Trixie quickly wove her arm down to circle to fingertips on her own clitoris, moaning softly into Katya's skin.

Katya didn't waste time now. Her middle finger prodded slowly at the wetness around her opening, and then she was sliding it inside Trixie.

Hunhhhh . Katya.”

Katya’s brain was nowhere, hazy pleasure rippling through her as she tried to process being inside Trixie, Trixie making these sounds. She pressed in and out gently. She felt out her vagina, even rhythm of Trixie’s fingers on her own clit squishing skin around, as Trixie squirmed beneath her. Katya found a spot that she pushed against a few times before adding a second finger.

Trixie's free hand unwrapped to fist in Katya's blanket as Katya maneuvered to kiss her. She pressed her fingers into Trixie, over and over, slickness going all over her hand. Trixie’s hips were twitching. Katya ignored the wet from between her own legs that was soaking through her underwear now. She just let her tongue drag lazily over Trixie's teeth and lips, slowly thrusting her fingers into her. Katya reveled in the heat, in the perfect synchronization of their bodies, in the way Trixie was responding to everything Katya did.

Then, Trixie's hips pushed down into the bed. Her legs slid around. Her mouth went still and silent. Heat washed over Katya again as she felt Trixie orgasming beneath her. Her fingers didn't stop but pushed her through, until Trixie was rolling over, pressing her legs together, and breathing deep.

Katya couldn't help but smile. She worked her hand free, wiping it quickly on the bed, and then wrapped Trixie up in her arms. Their hair was everywhere. Their legs tangled in a slick mess. Trixie’s breath was still heaving, breathing onto Katya's collarbone. Katya felt absolutely over the moon. There had been no blood, no broken bones, and Trixie had seemed to actually enjoy it, so Katya felt like her job had been done.

Trixie was not finished with her.

She let a few moments pass for the hormones to ebb and flow, but then Trixie was wiggling out of Katya's embrace. Trixie straddled her, pushing her onto her back so her white-blonde hair fanned out on the pillow behind her, surrounding her surprised face. Trixie leaned down to kiss her, long, and sweet. Against Katya's lips she whispered, “I want to eat you out.”

Katya didn't entertain anxious thoughts for a second. “Oh, please,” She mumbled.

Trixie pressed another quick kiss to Katya's mouth before moving down the bed. She slid Katya's panties off easily. Katya stared at the ceiling, breathing, hands poised to grasp at the blanket when the urge so befell her. It didn't take long, as Trixie pushed Katya's knees open and instantly started to lick away all the wetness that gathered between the lips. Katya’s body seized, fingers digging into the bed, eyes sliding closed as she struggled to breathe.

Trixie lifted her head and said, voice low, “Say my name.” Then Trixie’s tongue was on her clit. Pushing circles around the sensitive skin, it was seconds before pleasure started to spread through Katya's body.

Katya moaned, “ Trixie .” Everything was Trixie Trixie Trixie. Her curls were falling on Katya’s legs, her hands straining against Katya’s muscles. She was on her and everywhere and everything.

Trixie's tongue worked, broad and strong. Her pattern was reaching every nerve between Katya’s legs, and Katya strained against her. Trixie moved to lick up her labia, take a second to swallow, and then return to stimulating her clit.

“Trixie, yes,” Katya said again, and Trixie hummed between her legs as she pressed her face closer to Katya's crotch. She swirled and pressed against Katya's clit.

Katya was resisting every urge to throw her body wildly around the room. Trixie’s nails dug deeper into Katya’s legs as she squirmed. Hot sweat and pleasure was surrounding her. Katya’s subconscious couldn’t believe this was happening, until it shut up in the onslaught of tingles running up her body. She was close.

Katya heard herself breathe and then say “Trixie,” one more time. She felt Trixie’s mouth on her pussy. And then finally, finally , pure and intense pleasure started to flood her nerves. Katya's back arched and her eyes squeezed, already shut. “Tr-Trixie,” She managed, as Trixie's tongue slowed and fell away.

Katya was still reeling, grasping and writhing around, as Trixie crawled up and into her arms. Katya clung to her. She breathed Trixie's shampoo and pressed her throbbing pussy into Trixie's leg. She couldn't see, but felt Trixie kiss her shoulder softly. Katya let her body just melt. Nothing else mattered. There was nothing and nobody beyond this bed and this girl. Katya had never felt so clear-headed.

This lasted a little longer than the first post-orgasm hug if the night, but not by much. Far far far too soon for Katya's liking, Trixie removed herself and slipped into the bathroom with her underwear and clothes. Katya groaned as she went, but Trixie didn't listen.

Her body knew what her brain was too tired to think, things about work and appearances and roommates, so Katya rolled off the bed too after a minute. She put on fresh panties and wrapped a white silk robe around herself. Katya went out to the living room and packed Trixie's things into her giant purse. She set everything by the front door and waited on the couch.

Katya was flipping through sports channels when Trixie came out, pencil skirt hugging her waist once again. Her hair looked perfect, somehow. Katya moved to get up, but Trixie waved her back and collapsed onto the couch next to her. “Hey honey,” She said, hand firmly wrapping around Katya's.

Katya gave her a small smile and let her head loll against the back of the couch. She was comfortable and tired and happy. “Hi.”

“Did you enjoy yourself?” Trixie asked, ever the diplomat.

Katya's eyes shut for a second in embarrassment, but then it passed. “I did,” She answered emphatically. “Did, did you?”

“I did,” Trixie confirmed, and Katya’s heart slowly lowered back out of her throat. Trixie didn't say anything else, and they looked at each other for a moment, hands locked tightly. Katya was confused, and she let it show on her face as she racked her brain for what Trixie was expecting her to say.

Trixie took pity on her. “I'm giving you the opportunity to talk about it, if you want,” She explained.

“I don't want to talk about it,” Katya said, then hastily revised, “I don't need to, I mean…There are no words. It was great.”

Trixie smiled. “Okay.”

“It was really good,” Katya repeated.

Now Trixie laughed a little. “Okay!”

“Your ego doesn't need any more inflating,” Katya claimed, sitting up and casting Trixie's hand away. “Shoo.”

“Are you shooing me?” Trixie exclaimed, in fake exasperation.

“I don't want to see you until you're going to fuck me again,” Katya said, and when Trixie feigned hurt, “Just kidding. I'll see you at work tomorrow.”

Trixie groaned and leaned her head on Katya's shoulder. “I've created a monster.”

Katya considered that. “Your average, run-of-the-mill, Russian bisexual sex-crazed monster.”

Trixie sat up and exploded in peals of laughter. Katya was content to let herself smile, and watch as this woman she really really liked and had just had sex with laughed at her joke, the sound filling her apartment. Her heart was singing.

They parted with a long, drawn-out kiss, and it was hard but Katya saw her out, standing in the doorway in her robe, waving her off for far too long.

Chapter Text

“When did you know you liked me?” Katya asked one evening while Trixie was wrapped up naked in her arms, the fifth or sixth night they had found themselves in that position.

Trixie instantly giggled at the question. “Oh honey, you wanna hear the whole story?”

Katya confirmed, “I absolutely do.”

Trixie shifted and rolled until she was facing Katya. She scratched her nails through Katya’s hair as she talked. “I thought you were fucking sexy as fuck for so long,” Trixie admitted, “And for the record, I ended up loving our friendship and I would have been fine being friends forever…but I really only talked to you that first time because I thought you were gay.”

Katya chuckled, shaking both their bodies. “You were right.”

“I was right,” Trixie noted taking a second to gather her thoughts. “I thought you were gay. Turned out you had a boyfriend. Thought you were normal and boring. Then you were really funny?” She asked, as if Katya would have an explanation for this turn of events. Katya did not. “We were really good friends, really good at being friends. And then…you broke up with Mark,” Trixie narrated, indicating this was maybe more important to her than she had previously let on.

Katya wore a small smile, like she knew what was coming, even though she didn't.

Trixie just looked at Katya, nervous, for a moment, before shaking herself out of it. “I'm just going to be honest,” She said, “I told RuPaul about the museum, and that you should write an article about it, so I didn't have to ask you out in person.”

Woah…what? Katya tried to rationalize that. Trixie, and RuPaul, and the museum. It didn’t take long to realize…it made sense. She shut her eyes for a second so she could feel and banish the embarrassment of peeling back yet another layer of obliviousness, and then burst into intense, physical laughter. “Of course,” She managed, voice shaking as she laughed. Trixie’s body relaxed before her and she chuckled along.

“Sorry,” Trixie said anyways.

“It's okay,” Katya managed, burying her smile into the pillow.

Trixie’s face turned solemn then, and she pointed her eyes away. “After the museum, I kind of gave up. I felt…hurt, which makes no sense anyways.”

Katya felt her heart grow heavy. “It makes perfect sense. It does,” She said, but Trixie shook her head. “Well, we’re together now. Better than ever.”

That got at least a small smile from Trixie.

“I will also be honest,” Katya said, “After our first real conversation…I googled ‘is Dolly Parton gay’.”

Trixie’s face skewed as she processed that, and Katya guessed she was remembering that they hadn't talked about Dolly Parton or anyone being gay. “But…” And then she was laughing, rolling away and screaming into the dark of her own bedroom.

When she thought she would actually hear her, Katya added, “The power of Trixie Mattel.”

Which only made Trixie laugh harder. She clutched Katya’s arm and let her blonde curls flail around the blanket. Katya just let her, watched her, and let the sight feed her soul, beat back the ugly worries that plagued her.

Eventually, Trixie quieted down. She was laying on her side, looking at Katya, from halfway across the bed. Katya’s face was still showing her enjoyment. Trixie reached out one hand, and Katya threaded their fingers together. They laid like that for a moment. Their heartbeats were in sync as their eyes raked over each other. It was partially anxiety, but mostly reasonable logic that ultimately made Katya groan and roll off the bed. “Okay, I’m going.”

“I’m sorry,” Trixie called as Katya rifled through piles of clothes and starting pulling on her underwear. “Early meeting tomorrow. Another producer wants an autoharp demo. This one might actually get produced,” She mused.

Of all the times they had spent evenings together, there had always been one reason or another why they couldn’t sleep over at the other’s apartment—midnight deadlines Katya had yet to meet, or roommate emergencies that Trixie had to rush home too. Katya thought this excuse was pretty valid. “Trixie,” Katya said earnestly, looking over as she buttoned up her shirt, “That’s amazing.”

Trixie shrugged as she got up. She dressed as well, or at least covered herself enough for her roommates, and showed Katya out. Pearl was smoking on the balcony off the kitchen, so she gave Katya a lazy wave as they went. At the door, Trixie pressed quick, sweet kisses to Katya's face, before letting their hands break apart and pouting as Katya started down the stairs.

 

The next week, Katya brought it up at lunch in the break room. “Are you still writing songs?” She asked, separating cabbage rolls with her fork.

Trixie closed off just a little bit, the way she always did when she talked about her own music. She sat up straighter and her smile was slightly manufactured as she answered, “Yeah, of course.”

Katya just stared her down. “Would you ever, I don't know, record them?”

Trixie immediately shook her head as she swallowed the forkful of salad. “No, I write music for my own human fulfillment,” Trixie explained, voice low while she yelled over so many walls she had put up.

“You want to write songs? Show people you can write songs,” Katya said, trying to keep her tone light without sounding condescending. Trixie looked like she was actually starting to get annoyed, but Katya wasn't backing down. She had been waiting to die on this hill. She breathed, and put her hand gently over Trixie's arm. Quieter and more serious she asked, “Come over Friday night. I'll do all the work. We can order Chinese food, and you can stay over.”

Trixie's hands were curled into each other, frozen still on the table. She looked away as she said, “That sounds fun, except for the part where I have to sing for a camera.”

“Hey,” Katya said, and moved her head around until Trixie's big, sad eyes met hers. “Don't sing for the camera. Sing for me.”

 

Thursday, Katya was a bit of a mess.

After staying way too long at work to hand in a piece on the World Cup being held in Russia, she ran home, forgot to eat, and started cleaning. It wasn't that messy, but her brain just knew she had clean everything, and she was too tired to dispute it. At quarter after 8, Katya realized she had missed a FaceTime date with her parents, and spent 20 minutes trying to get that to work before falling onto the couch crying. She saw the floor was dirty, and started sweeping and sobbing at the same time. Katya had to put on music, the TV, and meditate all at once to get the tears to stop coming. She hadn't even looked at the bathroom yet.

Katya was almost done the bathroom when Trixie texted her a question and she had to spend 5 minutes thinking about the answer.

Trixie : What should I wear tomorrow?

Katya : Anything you feel sexy in

Yes, that took Katya 5 minutes. She thought a lot about adjectives in English.

Trixie : This video can’t be about me. It has to be about the song

Katya : I don’t know what kind of clothes say ‘competent country music songwriter’

Trixie : My songs are more folk-country-americana

Trixie : But I am not defined by genres

Katya : You already picked out your outfit, didn’t you?

Trixie : Your original advice was lovely :)

It was 10:30 before Katya even let herself think about getting the equipment ready for the next day, and when she did, the daunting task made her breaths come quickly and made her press her hands into her eyes. Katya sucked it up. She set everything up. Halfway through, she panicked about not eating, and downed half a bag of chips while she unpacked the mic.

Katya was in bed before 1 but laid awake until 3, thinking and hoping and regretting and lamenting the fact that she was up thinking and hoping and regretting. Finally, eventually, she stopped thinking about falling asleep long enough for it to actually happen.

 

Friday night, Trixie showed up—reluctantly—at Katya's apartment. Her makeup had been done—reluctantly—and she was wearing a short dress in a busy red flower print. Her long fake nails had been replaced by string-friendly pink polish. Her autoharp was hanging over her shoulder.

“Hi,” Katya greeted, pressing an invisible kiss to Trixie’s cheek as she stepped inside. Katya looked good today, in her black and white printed dress with tight fishnets, and her apartment did too.

As Trixie stepped into the living room to actually see everything Katya had set up, her face fell into concern. “Woah. Katya,” She said, turning back around to face her.

“What? Am I missing something?” Katya asked, walking up next to her and trying to ignore the dread boring into her stomach.

“No, honey, this is way too much,” Trixie pleaded.

Katya breathed. She had gotten used to video sets, so to her, it seemed so basic. The white backdrop was held up by a simple metal frame, and it also covered the floor, tacked down by duct tape. There was a stool in the center, and a mic in a boom mic stand, but she had an upright mic stand also handy just in case. Katya's camera was trained on it all, sitting in a tripod she’d had lying around.

Katya took a moment to remember the tiny digital camera she had filmed stuff on in freshman year, and the way people still thought their phones were good enough to record audio tracks. Okay, maybe this could seem like a little much.

She stepped in front of Trixie and took both of her hands. It was still breaking Katya's heart a little to see Trixie so distressed, but she forced herself to look at her. “It's not too much. Because you're an amazing musician, and I love you, and I think your music is worth sharing, and I could never do too much. If I lived forever, I still wouldn't be able to do all the things I wish I could for you, Trixie.” Katya left no time for Trixie to say or not-say anything. She looked away and grabbed for the autoharp case, but Trixie jerked the bag away and lifted Katya’s face up.

Trixie looked happy. She said, “I love you too.”

Katya instantly blushed, but let Trixie press a chaste kiss to her lips.

“Let's do this,” Trixie said, taking the case off her shoulder.

“Okay,” Katya said, brain finally slipping all the way into production mode. “Please tell me this thing has a ¼ inch jack.”

Chapter Text

Two hours later, they had 2 audio takes, 3 video takes, and a selection of tasteful to trashy photos of the star herself. They were both super hungry so Katya ordered Chinese as promised. The tiny table in the kitchen Katya usually ate at was still covered with equipment and cords, so they had dinner in Katya's bed with House Hunters playing on her laptop. Trixie insisted on helping clean up. Katya let her do some things, but most of it stayed up. Then they retreated back to bed, where they cuddled and talked about their projects for the coming week.

They watched more House Hunters until they weren't watching House Hunters anymore. They were kissing and touching and pulling and sliding. They were shutting the laptop and setting it a safe distance from the bed. They were making out until Katya's hand found the soft lace of Trixie's panties, and Trixie was scurrying off the bed with fire in her eyes.

Katya sat up slightly and watched in awe as Trixie pulled off her dress. Underneath, she was wearing a red lacy bra and matching panties that perfectly surrounded her curves.

“Fuck, Trixie,” Katya said, fisting one hand in her own hair as she watched.

Trixie ran her hands up her own body, sliding them up into her hair and shaking out her curls. She climbed slowly back onto the bed. Katya was having some trouble breathing. Her brain had short-circuited from how sexy Trixie looked, and she could only sit and stare as Trixie climbed over her and up to her face.

Katya let herself be kissed, Trixie's bubblegum pink lips capturing hers gently. Trixie took one of Katya's hand and started to guide it to her ass, but Katya stopped it halfway. “Trixie?” She said against her lips.

“Hm?” Trixie replied, not moving, hand suspended between them.

“I'm not gonna be able to talk if I touch you,” Katya admitted, “So before I do that, I love you and you look amazing.”

Trixie just giggled and Katya could feel her smile. “I love you too. And I know,” She said, and when she moved Katya's hand to her ass, Katya grabbed it. Trixie hissed, pushing forwards to kiss Katya hard, and moving her hand to poke her fingers into Katya's fishnets. Katya moved her hands over lace and silky hair as they kissed, hot and fast.

Trixie reached higher on Katya's legs and Katya helped her work the tights off, and then her dress, and then her underwear, and then her bra. Trixie nosed around Katya's breasts as she teased her fingers along the inside of her legs. Katya shivered when the lace of Trixie’s bra rubbed against her bare stomach.

As Trixie slipped a single finger over Katya’s clit, she took one of Katya’s nipples into her mouth. Katya pushed her chest upwards and her hips into the bed, not getting very far anywhere, as the sensations started to grow and spread. Trixie massaged her with fingers and tongue. Katya held onto Trixie, in some semblance of control. It was true Katya couldn’t say anything. Her mouth hung open and when Trixie licked long strokes her over areola, involuntary sounds leaked out of Katya’s throat.

When Katya’s hips started to buck upwards, Trixie slid her hand down. Katya’s legs were already spread pretty far apart, but she strained to spread them even further as Trixie curved a finger into her.

Oohhh ,” was the sound Katya’s body made, head lolling to one side.

Trixie fucked her quickly, sucking lightly on her tit. The pleasure began to build instantly inside Katya. She was prone, vulnerable, naked, and she was living for everything Trixie was doing to her while she was like this. Katya couldn’t do anything but lie back and enjoy it.

Suddenly, Trixie’s mouth disappeared. The shock of cool air on the wet skin didn’t pass before Katya felt her tongue dive onto her clitoris. Trixie licked as far down as she could with her finger in the way, still pushing into Katya. Her clit was already sore but the pressure from Trixie’s tongue and finger was hot and stimulating. Katya moaned, hips pushing up against Trixie’s face. She was close, she could see it coming, and she had to let it come, as Trixie moved her head so Katya could thrust heavy against her fingers.

Silver needles pricked Katya’s body all over as her orgasm swept through her body. One hand ran over her own chest, desperate for more more more stimulation. She couldn’t breathe, couldn’t see. Katya was in a vacuum of Trixie-induced nirvana.

And then she was coming down. Her aching thigh muscles relaxed as she curved herself around the happy Trixie that was coming to cuddle with her. Katya mumbled, “Fuck,” as she laid herself lazily on top of Trixie, breathing deeply and letting her pussy leak everywhere.

“I should wear red more often,” Trixie mused. Katya could only chuckle twice into her shoulder and squeeze her hand where they had threaded them together.

But it only took a moment for the haze to pass. Katya’s whole body was telling her to stay put and ride the oxytocin home, but her heart had other plans.

Katya pushed herself off Trixie and said, “Get up.” Trixie seemed confused, but she followed Katya off the end of the bed. Katya took her hands and walked her towards the wall, only to gently push her against it. She held her there by her shoulders and looked at her body.

Trixie was beautiful, plain and simple. From her arms to her tummy to her full thighs, Katya loved everything she could find on Trixie. With the lingerie, now shifted and wet in some places, she was a dream. Katya’s dream. And she was real.

It was hard to tell in the dark bedroom, but Katya thought Trixie might be blushing. “You’re so fucking hot,” Katya encouraged, and Trixie just closed her teeth around her bottom lip. Katya’s head shook as she leaned in to kiss her.

And she kissed her. Hot and deep, Katya let her body press up against Trixie’s as their tongues slid against each other. Trixie’s hands slid over Katya’s bare sides, and Katya’s short nails scraped at the skin of Trixie’s shoulders. Katya moved her lips hard against Trixie. She relished the scrape of her skin over the lace that bound Trixie, feeling her solid nipples pushing against the threads.

Finally, Katya had worked up the courage to see her plan through. She slipped her hands down to Trixie’s waist, working her fingers under the lace of her panties. Then, Katya started to bend down.

Trixie’s hands fell away in surprise as Katya pulled down Trixie’s underwear and got onto her knees. “Katya,” Trixie said, voice still even.

Katya looked up, not used to boobs blocking 50% of her vision, but actively knowing she was going to enjoy getting used to it. She closed her eyes. “Shhh,” She said, guiding one of Trixie’s hands into her hair. Katya turned her face, still blowing cool air between her teeth, to the bottom of Trixie’s stomach. Trixie twitched, and Katya pushed at her knees so she would spread her legs. Trixie did. Katya got situated between them. She let herself feel nervous but didn’t delay long before pressing her lips flat against Trixie’s pussy.

Katya kissed the smooth skin once, twice. She teased her lips up Trixie’s thighs, up into the creases, ghosting over shadows and pressing wet kisses where no one else would find them. When she felt Trixie flex her hand against Katya’s head, Katya breathed and moved her mouth back over her pussy. She stuck her tongue out and dragged it up Trixie’s clit. Katya breathed and did it again, pressing longer and slower.

Fuck it , she thought, and licked deep into the folds of pink skin. Katya sucked on her labia and tasted all of Trixie’s juice. She let her tongue explore the dips and crevices, wanting Trixie to know that she was here, she was doing this, she was all in.

Katya brought her tongue back up to Trixie’s clitoris. She started to stimulate it for real now, drawing diagonal lines and swirling it quickly. Katya had to work, had to keep at it for a minute, but she got Trixie breathing funny and pushing vaguely on Katya’s head. Katya hummed, adjusting to suck on the edge of Trixie’s pussy, swipe her tongue along the spot and lick her clit again. She brought one finger experimentally up to her opening. Katya made sure her rhythm was set and pushed it inside.

Trixie was grabbing her then, as Katya’s mouth moved swiftly against her clit, and her finger pressed up gently. “Yes, Katya,” She said, the words barely making it to Katya’s ears. Katya sat up, pushing her face into Trixie’s crotch. Gravity smushed everything together as Katya managed to slide her tongue back and forth. Trixie twitched her hips, sliding them along the wall.

Katya just breathed through her nose and kept her tongue moving. She angled her finger as far forwards as she could and thrusted, pushing in and in.

Then, Trixie was whining. She dragged her claws up Katya’s scalp and pressed her ass into the wall as she came. Katya smiled, resting her tongue and kissing her skin instead, but keeping her finger making long strokes into Trixie, carrying her through. Trixie breathed, “Oh ,” as she fell out of it. Katya slipped out and it was difficult, but she made it back onto her feet. Trixie was slumped against the wall. She was licking her lips and blinking lazily as Katya pulled her up to standing. It was a joint effort of leaning and almost-falling, but they managed to get Trixie’s bra off and get under the blankets of Katya’s bed before falling asleep in each other’s arms.

 

Katya woke up first. She looked at Trixie, mostly out of her arms now, and couldn't help but feel so happy and so scared at the same time. And she knew it was anxiety. Katya knew it was unfounded, unreasonable bullshit that made her think about lies and cheats and secrets. And she was trying not to entertain it, she really was. But it was annoying and hard and exhausting to ignore it all the time.

Katya looked at Trixie and wanted to see her there every morning. It was just obvious to her. There was no doubt in Katya's mind that this woman was amazing, beautiful, and perfect for Katya. She was just so scared at the thought of it happening. And also it not happening. And also something else she hadn't thought of happening.

Sick of being in her own head, Katya kicked off the covers and got out of bed. She went straight to the bathroom to clean up. Fine to not shower, it being a Saturday, Katya pulled a robe around herself and set to work on breakfast.

Katya threw the windows open to let the June air in. She made batter for blinis—Russian pancakes—and whisked some eggs. She retrieved the French press that she saved for weekends and started the kettle. Katya got everything going at once and went to wake up Trixie.

She woke up easily but not fully, groaning and pushing back at Katya's prods. Trixie seemed to acknowledge that food was imminent so Katya left her to save the browning pancakes.

Katya cleared the table and then filled it again, this time with breakfast. She put out honey and jam for Trixie and sour cream for herself. As Katya was pressing the top of the coffee maker, Trixie wandered into the kitchen wearing pyjamas Katya had never seen before. “Good morning,” Katya greeted brightly.

Trixie smiled blearily, body only starting to wake up when Katya placed a mug of coffee in front of her.

They talked, sweet and meaningless, as Trixie plowed easily through breakfast. They laughed and leaned over the table and felt the warm breeze through the window. Trixie teased Katya about last night and Katya “teased” Trixie about how her YouTube channel was going to blow up when Katya was done with it.

Katya was in half-disbelief the whole time. She was continuously struck by how domestic it all was, and how easy and natural that domesticity came. Katya and Trixie finished their coffee streaming breakfast television on Katya's laptop while they sat on the floor of her bedroom. Trixie ended up leaning on Katya, blonde curls tickling Katya's chin, Katya's hand running smoothly up and down Trixie’s arm.

Trixie's phone started to beep around 10, so she forced herself dressed and then helped Katya clean the kitchen. When Katya finally shut the front door behind her, 10 kisses, 2 'I love you’s, and 1 long hug later, she checked her phone. The slew of emails was interrupted by 4 missed calls.

Panic set into Katya. She couldn't move fast enough setting up her computer in the kitchen. Within half an hour, she had 15 tabs open and her mind was running in circles; she wasn't actually getting anything done.

Katya groaned at her screen. She closed the kitchen windows and tried to focus on working, only to push them back open again later. She ran around her living room for fifteen minutes trying to find a magazine she'd once owned before bodily collapsing on the white sheet, sobbing into her hands.

Katya tried to remember the calm of the morning. She realized having that didn't matter if she felt like this the other half of the time.

She scared herself out of crying and got back to work.

Chapter Text

Trixie didn’t recognize her own YouTube channel when she opened. She had left it logged in on Katya's laptop and three days later, Trixie Mattel looked like a professional musician. Like, a real one.

Before, Trixie's account had been used exclusively for commenting nice things on her college friend Kim's beauty vlogs—Kim, of course, had immediately made an Everything.com account when Trixie got the job to do the same. When Trixie used to write more quizzes, as lots of writers started out doing, Kim would do them over and over, spamming her Facebook timeline with the results.

Now, from the icon Katya had shot to the header she had edited to the single video post, the channel made Trixie look like she had teams of people behind her. Trixie's eyes scanned over where Katya had linked her profile on Everything.com as she clicked 'Moving Parts - Trixie Mattel’.

Trixie watched herself laugh at the camera and her name flash across the screen. Video Trixie struck a silly pose—that she had struck for Katya —and 'Moving Parts’ displayed quickly. Her name, her song, they were real and on the internet for everyone to see.

Are we live? ” Katya asked from the other side of the phone.

“I've got it. It's up,” Trixie said, mesmerized by hearing and seeing herself recorded in such high quality.

Do you—

“Shh,” Trixie said without realizing, wanting to watch the video. Her brain knew she wasn't looking at herself; she was looking at how Katya saw her.

When you're ticking like a timepiece on which you can rely, wonder why you wind it when you're running out of time.

Trixie was just standing at the mic stand, singing with her lips against the mic and strumming her autoharp methodically.

Sometimes there's a danger of choking on the parts. No one gave a warning to the breaking of your heart. Pick up all the pieces and go back to the start, never losing, only using all your moving parts. All your moving parts.

Trixie?

Trixie grabbed her phone, smashing the speaker button and putting it up to her ear. “Yes, hey honey. I love it.”

It's okay ?” Katya asked, as if she didn't know.

“It's perfect. Thank you so much,” Trixie gushed, still watching the video play. “I love you.”

I love you too .”

Trixie suddenly looked at the corner of her screen, seeing the time. “Hey, don't you have a deadline?” She asked. Trixie had finished her article earlier that day, sending it off to Bob while still at the office, but she knew Katya had mentioned needing to finish a piece by midnight tonight. Now, she only had a couple hours, but Katya had called Trixie instead to tell her the channel was ready.

“...Yeah ,” Katya said, after what sounded to Trixie like an empty pause, and rapid clicking noises made it through the phone. “I'm working on it right now.

“Okay. Don't stay up too late. I'll see you tomorrow,” Trixie said, hoping that reassured Katya.

I won't. See you. Bye .”

“Bye.”

As Trixie hung up and the video ended, a sense of uncertainty settled over her. She knew Katya struggled with stress or anxiety or something, but she didn't like to talk about it, not really. Plus, Katya was an adult. She was 35. Day-to-day, not much different than Trixie's 27, but Katya had years at Everything compared to Trixie's months. She should be able to meet deadlines and process her emotions and confide in people.

So why was Trixie worrying about her ability to do just that?

Trixie's phone buzzed and she unlocked it.

Kim: ??????? utube????????

Coherent as ever, Kim was always a welcome notification, and Trixie smiled as she answered it.

Trixie: Katya talked me into it

Kim: katya sounds like something else

Trixie thought that might be exactly what Katya was.

 

“How's your girl doing?” Bob asked a couple days later, while she, Blair, and Trixie were having lunch together. Trixie had been planning on connecting with Katya, but it seemed like Trixie had been running around all day, never stopping at her desk for too long.

“Katya?” Trixie confirmed, “Yeah, she's good.”

Blair was looking between them, fervently, silvery hair flicking over one shoulder and then the other. Bob was looking very closely at Trixie. She said, “Brianna was saying she seemed kind of out of it.” Trixie and Blair shared a quick look at the mention of the new sports writer. It was basically an open secret that Bob had gotten Brianna the job, and now it looked like she had been keeping tabs for Bob as well.

But Trixie wasn't worrying about that. “Katya works really hard,” Trixie explained, knowing it was true.

Bob and Blair left it, and for a few moments they all ate in silence. People filtered in and out of the break room, laughing and talking around them. Trixie was usually among them.

“Do you think I should ask her about it?” Trixie asked suddenly. “I mean, we've talked about it before.”

They gave her sympathetic looks. Bob said, “If you're asking, you usually should.”

Trixie decided to think about it—which she ended up doing, a lot, but for the moment, she turned her attention to Blair. “How's your friend Vixen?”

 

When Trixie couldn't connect with Katya at work that day or the next, she texted her after work.

Trixie: Hey

Katya replied an hour later.

Katya: Hi!!!! ))))

Trixie: How are you?

Katya: Good you wanna come over?

Trixie: I thought you had that translation project

Katya: Yeah I'm working on it

Trixie: Can we talk sometime soon?

Katya: Of course

 

They settled on meeting for Sunday brunch. Even though Trixie wasn't totally convinced Katya didn't have other work to tackle, on Sunday morning Katya was waiting patiently with a half-finished coffee when Trixie arrived 15 minutes early. Katya stood and greeted her with a kiss on the cheek, and Trixie savoured the moment to pretend like she knew everything would be okay. They made small talk and ordered a few things to share.

When the server disappeared, Trixie took Katya's hand and tried not to look as worried as she felt. Katya could tell anyways, and avoided Trixie's eyes. “How are you?” Trixie asked, genuine.

Katya looked at her and then at their hands, leaning back from the table. She rubbed her thumb over Trixie's knuckles a few times before meeting her eyes and asking, “What do you mean?”

Trixie hated this. She didn't like this at all, but she managed to put something into words. “When you said you were finally listening to yourself,” She said, referencing one of the first conversations they’d had as a couple, “I thought that meant…”

“What?” Katya asked, guarded look turning hurt. “That I would change?”

“That you wouldn't be getting worse,” Trixie tried.

Katya deflated a little at that, like she knew Trixie was right. But she said, “Maybe this is, just, who I am.”

That hurt Trixie. It hurt her that Katya could even entertain the thought, and that Katya thought Trixie would ever believe that this nervous, changeable person was who Katya really was. “I don't believe that. And I told you that a long time ago.”

They stared each other down for a moment, before Katya broke their grip on each other to wipe away the tear that had formed in her eye.

“Please,” Trixie said quietly, “Talk to me. Give me something to do.”

Katya shifted in her seat. She said, “No, you're right. You're right.” She took a deep breath, examining her coffee, before taking Trixie's lonely hand again and asking, “Let me go have a cigarette? I'll be back in no time.”

Trixie gave her a small smile and nodded. She trusted her. This was what Katya needed, and Trixie could wait hours for that.

Katya came back from her smoke acting much more chipper, and they had a nice brunch. They talked about work. Katya didn't seem to have that much on her plate, but when Trixie tried to get her to plan a schedule, nothing was sticking in Katya's mind. Trixie gave up. They talked about the decent number of views the “Moving Parts” video then had, and mused aimlessly about recording another song. Trixie let Katya tell her about all the weird animals she'd seen on the walk to the restaurant, letting herself laugh and think that everything was going to be okay.

 

“How 9/11 ruined country music?” Trixie proposed as an article topic later that week, and the attendants of the pitch meeting gave her a spectrum of reactions from impressed to confused.

But there was only one that mattered. Bob's eyebrows shot up and she pointed her pen at Trixie saying, “I like it.”

But before Trixie could make a note to start researching the new piece, the door to the meeting room pushed open suddenly. When Trixie looked, Alyssa was in the doorway giving her a panicked look. “It's Katya,” Alyssa said solemnly.

Trixie’s heart swooped. She only had to connect eyes with Bob for half a second before she stood up and walked away. Trixie vaguely heard Bob say, “Don't worry about it,” to the rest of the meeting as she left, but she was focusing on getting out of the room and following Alyssa.

They walked quickly to the sports section, where Trixie could see through the glass people standing around one spot looking down. Trixie rounded the corner.

Her breath caught in her throat. She stopped in her tracks. Trixie knew instantly that Katya was in pain, and it took everything out of her to see her crouched on the ground, pressing her hands into her eyes. Alyssa was giving Trixie a nervous look, but Trixie just took a second to breathe again. “Can you get everyone out of here? Quietly?” She asked Alyssa.

As Alyssa started silently shaming people out of staring, Trixie moved to a few feet away from Katya and sat down on her knees so she was mostly looking at Katya's side. Katya was shaking, and Trixie was too, trying to keep herself from crying. “Katya?” Trixie said in the softest voice she had.

Katya just turned her face towards the wall she was slumped against.

Trixie wanted to touch her but knew she shouldn't. “Do you want me to call someone?” She offered.

One of Katya's hands reached out to point a thumb down. Trixie could see one eye pressed fiercely shut, black makeup smudged even more than usual. Katya’s hand returned to to rub her eye and stay there.

Trixie slowly realized Katya couldn't talk, or didn't feel safe enough to. Trixie forced herself to convert all the panic rising in her own system to brain power. “Katya, it’s me, Trixie. I'm going to stay with you until you feel better.”

Katya didn't respond. Trixie didn't expect her to. Everyone else had left the room.

“You need to breathe, honey. Can you lie down on your side?”

Katya listened, taking her hands away from her face to readjust until her back and feet were flat against the wall, knees bent. Trixie could see her eyes flickering around beneath closed eyelids.

“Breathe in,” Trixie asked and demonstrated. Katya copied and they exhaled together. Trixie looked at her, at how her hands had fisted in her dress, at the fear in her face, and just for a second Trixie wanted—needed to fix everything for her. “Do you want to talk about what you're feeling?”

Katya’s body curled in a little and her hands slipped back up to press over her eyes.

No, then . Trixie took a breath. She looked at Katya, and Katya laid there, and Trixie’s brain was trying and trying to run amok. Trixie started counting backwards from twenty inside her head. Twenty, nineteen, eighteen, seventeen… She tried not to listen to any sounds coming through the open doorway. She reached zero.

Twenty, nineteen, eighteen, seventeen, sixteen, fifteen…

Trixie reached zero again, restarted, and reached it again. She breathed and counted and reached zero a couple more times before she had to ask, “Can I touch you?” Her voice came out tiny.

Katya didn't move.

Trixie wasn't surprised. She shifted to sit on the ground and started counting again.

Twenty, nineteen, eighteen, seventeen, sixteen, fifteen, fourteen, thirteen…

A few rounds later, one of Katya's hands fell away from her face onto the ground. She felt around a bit, and Trixie put her hand down so Katya could find it. She did. Their hands wrapped around each other fast and tight, knuckles turning red and white as they gripped and regripped.

Trixie sighed a little, breathing and feeling way too thankful to have Katya's skin touch hers. There was a few moments of empty excitement, and then, twenty, nineteen, eighteen, seventeen…

She sung the “Moving Parts” melody in her head and counted down from 20. She counted again, and again. Dozens of times, dozens of choruses, Trixie kept her mind moving while she waited.

She couldn't believe how okay she was with waiting.

Trixie was an impatient person. She had almost finished music school only to almost finish beauty school only to write for her college newspaper until she could take the first job offer she got. She had dozens more unfinished songs than finished songs. She chewed Jolly Ranchers, for Christ’s sake.

But Trixie was okay. Because she knew she couldn’t force her way in, but she could be there when Katya pulled through. Sitting, watching, waiting; this was the only way to help Katya be okay, and there was nothing else in the world Trixie wanted in that moment.

Trixie counted and squeezed and looked at Katya's face. She counted and counted and counted. And even though she wasn't thinking about it, her emotions were running wild. Trixie couldn't remember if her period was about to start or had just finished, but she felt emotional . She felt everything and most of all—

“I love you so much,” She muttered. Trixie wasn't sure if it was the right thing to say, but it was true. She didn't need anything in that moment beyond that statement to hang in the air of the sports section.

But Katya’s other hand dropped to the ground. She laid there, eyes shut, breathing evenly. Trixie counted backwards from 20.

All of a sudden, Trixie watched her face pinch and Katya was sitting up, pushing up and moving towards Trixie and throwing herself onto her. Katya was hugging Trixie. She was heaving breaths over her shoulder and Trixie was surprised and frozen, at first. But then Trixie wrapped her arms lightly around Katya, let hope into her heart, and only felt thankful and warm.

Chapter Text

Katya felt Trixie’s hand on her back as they left the office. Katya could breathe, sort of. She leaned against Trixie in the elevator and just inhaled, exhaled as they rode it down. She didn't think about anything that had just happened. Katya was thinking about one thing: sleep. So when the Uber dropped them off at Katya's apartment, she slept.

 

She woke a few hours later. She stumbled out to the living room and when Trixie moved to stand she said, “No, it's okay.”

Trixie looked surprised as Katya lowered onto the couch and snuggled up next to her. “Hey,” Trixie said softly, petting Katya's hair instantly. “There’s dinner in the kitchen.”

Katya could only register vague confusion at the thought of Trixie cooking in her kitchen, which instantly manifested in a dry laugh.

Trixie just smiled down at her, then clarified, “I microwaved some soup I found in the fridge.”

“Borscht, sweetie, borscht,” Katya coached.

Trixie would have had to force the pronunciation, but she didn't have to force Katya to eat, which Trixie seemed to appreciate. Katya listened to Trixie talk as she spooned through the bowl. Trixie suggested they go for a walk when she was done, and Katya started to wonder just how far Trixie was going to take this whole taking-care-of-her thing, but agreed.

They strolled down their favourite tree-lined street, arm in arm. The evening was setting in so the air was warm and smelled like nature. With Trixie hanging onto her, Katya felt so safe.

They were quiet for some of it, before Trixie asked in a quiet voice, as if it would wake up less bad memories, “Do you want to talk about what happened?”

No . “Panic attacks,” Katya said anyways, “Not much to talk about.”

Trixie didn’t say anything, and when Katya looked she was staring into the street.

Shit . “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that.” Katya wasn’t letting herself worry about anything but putting one foot in front of the other, one word out of her lips at a time. “I think that…”

Katya felt Trixie look at her. Katya was stuck, but she didn’t have to figure everything out. Just the next word.

“I need you…to tell me what happens next,” Katya said, meeting Trixie’s gaze. Their steps had slowed to lazy, loping strides. As they walked, Katya tried to say without speaking that she knew , that she had the whole list of everything she regretted. But she wanted Trixie to tell her what to do.

Why? Katya didn’t know. Maybe she felt more in love with Trixie after months than she had after years in her other relationships. Maybe Trixie was more real, more beautiful, more right than anyone else. Maybe Katya just liked the way her lipstick looked when she talked.

But when Trixie said, “You see a psychiatrist,” Katya believed it. For the first time in her life, she could believe and see and want the ways to get better. “You ask about medication. You sleep on a regular schedule. You eat a healthy diet. And you should probably smoke less,” Trixie said, adding what Katya considered to be her two cents at the end.

Katya shook her head, smiling as they both looked back to the road ahead. Katya pointed across Trixie and said, “Really? I was going to ask if we could stop right here.”

 

Katya made Trixie go home, but before she left Trixie had to make sure Katya was on the right track this time. She asked, “How are you feeling?”

“Terrified,” was all Katya could say, “But I know now, I have to get better.”

 

The next day, Katya stayed home. Trixie texted her early, and Katya assured her she was awake and planning on being productive. Katya emailed her boss Nate apologizing for leaving early yesterday. She explained she was going through some personal struggles and after a few days off, would like to return to the office with a reduced workload. Nate was very gracious and supportive, promising she could expense any travel costs and would not lose her full-time salary or benefits, which he gently suggested she review.

Katya called half a dozen of the closest psychiatrists and set up a couple intake appointments for the next week. She ate every vegetable in her fridge and did an hour of yoga before calling her mom.

The days she took off from work were hard, but Katya did her best to enjoy resting. She kept her body moving but didn't overexert herself; she wrote down everything she was thinking but didn't stress about the articles she wasn't turning in. She smoked less. Trixie came over a couple of times just for an hour or two so they could talk and make each other laugh. When Katya would say she was feeling better and better, Trixie would remind her over and over that she could tell her if something was wrong, Trixie wanted to listen. Katya promised she would try to be as honest as possible with Trixie going forward. She also tried to explain how she hadn’t been purposefully lying to Trixie before; her anxiety affected her perception of situations. Katya thought Trixie had tried to understand, and that was all she could ask for. Katya saw doctors, read them what she had written, and talked about crying and worrying and thinking.

 

“So I told Blair,” Trixie said a couple nights before Katya was going back to work, while they were out on the balcony off Trixie's apartment, enjoying a roommate-free evening. “Songwriting is not about catchphrases. Catchphrases are for superheroes.”

“Well, and clowns,” Katya added, blowing smoke away from Trixie.

Trixie looked over at her, confused. “What?”

“Krusty the Clown,” Katya said, “Donald Trump.”

Trixie laughed. Katya smiled into the night, the hot darkness surrounding them and filling the space between them. And it wasn’t just physical space, there was emotional space there too. Katya felt thankful that they were both mature enough to realize and practice that Katya needed to emotionally focus on herself for a bit; she wasn’t in any shape to be having sex or making grand gestures.

So they talked for a bit longer before Trixie saw Katya out, pressing a sweet kiss to her cheek.   

 

“Hey girl!” Alyssa greeted when Katya walked into the office. She hugged her, promising, “We missed you!”

Brianna and everyone else gave her encouraging nods and ‘Welcome Back’s.

Trixie : How’s it going? Are you okay?

Katya : I’m fine. Everything is going great.

Trixie : Your meds aren’t messing you up? If you feel sick or tired just tell me

Katya : They aren’t. I will. [heart emoji]

In person, Trixie was trying to seem chill about everything, but Katya saw her walk past the sports section half a dozen times before lunch. Katya just worked, went to meetings, checked in with Nate, and everything felt so normal and good.

She ate with Alyssa and Brianna, who were eager to hear her thoughts on all the Brooklyn Nine-Nine she had watched on her days off. With the VMAs right around the corner, photoshoots and interviews had the entire music department—including Trixie—running around like chickens with their heads cut off, but Trixie managed to swing by the break room.

“Hi!” She said, sliding into the empty seat next to Katya and squeezing her arm.

“Hey, how’s it going?” Katya asked, sitting up a little straighter. Alyssa and Brianna were wearing secret smiles.

“Good! Great,” Trixie said, sipping her iced coffee before turning her attention to Alyssa. “Hey, I loved your piece on contemporary Native American dance.”

Alyssa’s head tilted at the recognition. “Thank you! Yeah, Brianna helped me research that one,” She said, and everyone looked at Brianna, who looked happy for the attention but a little uncomfortable. “She still has to publish something on her own, though.”

“I write quizzes all the time,” Brianna tried, but all three of her coworkers just shook their heads. Doesn’t count.

Katya asked, “Don’t you want to cover baseball games?”

Alyssa raised a finger. “Isn’t there one this week?”

“It’s supposed to rain this week,” Brianna informed, giving them a disappointed look.

But Trixie said, “You gotta put up with the rain if you want the rainbow,” which got a small laugh from Katya and Alyssa. As Brianna pretended to consider it, Trixie elaborated, “Dolly Parton said that.”

They were all giggling as someone called Trixie’s name.

“Back to work,” Trixie announced, picking Katya’s hand up off the table so she could squeeze it later. “Text me,” She wished as she swished away.

Katya watch her go. She liked looking at Trixie. Katya hoped Trixie wasn’t working too hard, and then remembered she was supposed to be focusing on not working too hard herself. When she looked back to Alyssa and Brianna, they both wore huge grins and didn’t bother looking away. “What?” Katya asked.

Brianna’s head shook and turned down to her lunch, but Alyssa didn’t waver, saying, “You’re a cute couple.”

Katya breathed. “I know.” When no one said anything else over the sound of their forks and spoons scraping, she said, “So the Russian gymnastics Nationals are coming up, and they’re going to be ridiculous.”

Chapter Text

Trixie : I have a surprise for you! Can I bring my guitar over tonight?

Trixie texted the question a few weeks later. Katya's body had started to get used to the meds, and her regular yoga schedule and reduced cigarette habit already had her breathing easier. Her regular psychiatrist was chill but firm. Katya could see a long road ahead for her brain, but that meant she was finding where it started.

Katya had been thinking a certain way about the invitation she had extended to Trixie, and it had to do with feeling a certain way in a certain part of her body. Now, she wasn't sure how a guitar fit into the picture.

But Katya trusted Trixie and if Trixie wanted to practice chord fingerings instead of getting fingered, Katya was fine with that.

Katya : Sure! I am ready to be surprised.

 

Trixie showed up ready to surprise, greeting Katya with a bright, “Hi!” The strap of her guitar case cut into the shoulder of her short-sleeved white cotton “dress”. It looked like it was really just a nightgown, and it made Katya feel better about answering the door in yoga pants. The curls Trixie had burned into her hair that morning were now pulled up into a ponytail, a few strands framing her exhausted eye makeup, and she had wiped her lipstick off entirely since blowing a kiss to Katya as she’d left the office earlier that day.

“Hi,” Katya returned as Trixie stepped inside and pressed a kiss to her cheek.

Trixie put her guitar on the floor in the living room and they ate dinner on the couch. Trixie sat sideways, legs across Katya so she was practically in her lap as she held the plate of pasta close to her face and watched Game of Thrones . Katya also ate and also watched, but less of the show and more of Trixie’s face reacting, curls bobbing.

Once their plates were forgotten on the coffee table, Trixie let the episode finish before grabbing the remote to turn the TV off. She looped her arms loose around Katya's neck and asked, “How are you? How's your life?”

Katya felt herself blush a little at how close their faces, their bodies were. “Um, good! You know, one day at a time. And today was really good.”

Trixie smiled, hummed, and accepted it, leaning her head into Katya's shoulder. Katya savoured the warmth and softness that Trixie was surrounding her with. She breathed in the scent of Trixie’s shampoo, and leaned her head against her arm. Katya sat quietly and pretended she wasn’t thinking about the surprise.

“Oh!” Trixie said all of a sudden, sitting up. “I totally forgot about your surprise.”

“Oh yeah,” Katya reacted softly, as Trixie shuffled off the couch to retrieve her guitar. Katya sat forwards, literally to the edge of her seat. Trixie laboured in carefully working the leather strap over her head. She pushed the armchair closer to the couch and settled into it. Trixie propped the guitar up with her crossed legs, wrapping her arms around it so it squished against her chest.

“Okay so,” Trixie started, as she plucked the strings and watched her fingers fiddle with the knobs at the end of the neck. “I wrote this song and…”

Katya felt warm when Trixie met her eyes. A nervous, sexually frustrated warm. She shifted in her seat.

Trixie’s face softened into something genuine and confident. “I don't need anyone else to hear it. I wrote it about you…” Trixie shook herself a little and looked down. “I'm just going to play it.”

Katya wished she could hug her, touch her so innocently, but Trixie was looking intently at where she placed her fingers on the strings and Katya didn't think it would be good to interrupt her.

Trixie looked to the far end of the couch as she dragged her pick over the strings twice, letting sweet chords play out into Katya's living room. She took a breath. Then, her body was playing the guitar, hand strumming up and down in a quick rhythm.

Katya loved listening to Trixie make music, whether she was trying something new on her autoharp, singing lyrics Katya didn't know while she cooked, or plucking aimlessly at her guitar as they lounged in bed. Every time Katya heard it, she felt the same sweet bliss soak into her skin, hold her by her heart. This time, the music was no different. The guitar and Trixie’s voice were beautiful.

But the words.

This time, the words were different; they were so much more than they had ever been. They were about Katya.

Weirdness follows me wherever I go. Weirdness seems to know me even better than I seem to know myself. I'm someone else ,” Trixie sang, eyes only flicking over to Katya momentarily as her body moved and made the music. “ Looking to the clock beside my bed. Am I really keeping time or is it only keeping me instead? Go back to bed .”

Pride, love, and tears swelled up in Katya's chest. She was overwhelmed with the idea that she was being given a tremendous gift. She stared at Trixie, not thinking anything about what her body was doing, while knowing her mouth was hung slightly agape and her fingertips were pressing into her legs. “ Wo-o-o-oah woah woah woah, you've got time to grow ,” Trixie sang, and it was everything Katya had ever needed to hear. It was every moment Trixie had fussed over her, encouraged her, loved her. “ Oh soldier, take your time .” Suddenly, Trixie's bright eyes were trained right at Katya, burning and shining. “ No one said the words all have to rhyme, and if they do it's fine. And even if they don't, no one needs to know. Woah woah soldier, you gotta let things go .”

Katya slowly fell out of the emotions that had seized her chest as Trixie's guitar and voice faded away. Her mouth was dry and her eyes were not and Trixie was smiling at her.

“That's as far as I got,” She said, standing up. Katya wanted to rush forward as she breathed through twisted lungs. “I have to—”

“Thank you,” Katya choked out, voice quiet, and Trixie stopped talking. She was putting her guitar away and Katya was pushing her body to standing. When Trixie turned around, Katya walked over and threw herself onto her, muttering into her shoulder again, “Thank you.” Trixie's arms just closed around Katya, holding her close. Finally, with Trixie pressing in on her from all sides, Katya could finally breathe, finally cry. She reveled in the softness of her touch and reeled at the idea that she had a girlfriend, whom she loved, who wrote songs about her.

“Katya?” Trixie asked, voice small. When Katya looked up, Trixie gave her a nervous smile. “Was it okay?”

Katya let all the longing and joy and love bubble up and pour out of her as she said, “I can’t believe…You’re amazing. Thank you.”

Trixie let her head fall for a second, and when their eyes met again Trixie's were refracted through fat tears. The tears welled and spilled over. All of Katya's emotions dug even deeper into her. Her heart ached just a little more than it had before. It was striking, seeing Trixie crying for the first time. With the song and everything, Katya could feel herself falling in love all over again, and then some. Trixie said, “I couldn't stop thinking about you. I was trying to tell you with words that it was okay to take a break, take your time. I just…” Trixie's eyes slid shut as more tears pooled and fell.  

“I know. You told me, I heard you,” Katya promised, “I heard you.”

 

22 minutes later, they were curled around each other on the couch, watching the colourful credits of the The Good Place pilot play. Their eyes were dry, and laughter ringing out had cleared the solemn air. Katya clicked off the TV and shifted to the side a little so she and Trixie could look at each other. Trixie looked happy. Katya felt warm. A happy, and yes still sexually frustrated warm.

Katya leaned forwards and kissed Trixie. When their lips met, there was a moment when they were frozen against each other, chaste, like most of their kisses had been recently. Katya was unsure if they were going to go any further.

But then Katya tilted her head a little and pressed her lips into Trixie, and that was all Trixie needed. She slid her hands up into Katya’s hair and pulled her closer, smushing their mouths together. Trixie’s tongue dipped over her lips and teeth to lick in the slippery wet skin in her mouth. Katya sighed through her nose and pulled greedily at Trixie’s thin slip. Trixie whined in her throat, making Katya’s stomach ache, her legs twitch. Their mouths pushed and caressed each other.

Trixie was hanging on by Katya’s hair, kissing her hard and trying to press her body closer to Katya. The angle was weird, so Katya untucked her legs and shimmied underneath Trixie’s body, shoulders still propped up against the arm of the couch. Fingers dug harder into hair and clothes. Trixie got one knee between Katya’s legs, matching the slow rhythm of her lips with her crotch rubbing down onto Katya. Warm pleasure was pouring over Katya’s body.

Katya lifted her hands and maneuvered her face free. She asked, “Bedroom?”

But Trixie hiked her dress up with one hand and mumbled, “Just fuck me,” as she crawled higher over Katya and started licking at her neck.

Katya’s pussy was twitching at the thought. She looked down as she moved her hand to Trixie’s hip, poked her fingers under the waistband of her underwear. She left them there for a second. Katya teased her soft fingertips in circles, up and down, partially forgetting what she was doing with the hot, wet sensations on her jaw. Trixie’s feet were pressing into Katya’s legs as she lifted her hips. Katya slid her hand over Trixie’s ass as she tugged her underwear down. It didn't go very far with how wide Trixie was spreading her thighs, but it was enough for Katya to get her hand between their bodies and onto Trixie’s pussy.

Katya let her eyes slide shut as she traced two fingers between Trixie’s lips. She drew wetness around the folds and up to her clit. Trixie’s breaths came loud and she moved her hands to Katya’s shoulders, pressing her face into her collarbone. Katya was starting to sweat with Trixie’s warm, heavy breasts lying on her. Trixie scraped her toenails on Katya’s legs as her feet flexed.

Katya pressed her thumb to Trixie’s clitoris. It was warm and swollen, and she pushed it in soft circles. Trixie leaned forwards and moaned, “ Oh .” Katya’s free hand slid over soft cotton. She was stewing in want, in heat, in sweat prickling beneath her clothes as she swirled Trixie’s clit around.

Trixie whined again and nipped her teeth at Katya’s neck, so Katya raised her hand and guided Trixie to kiss her. When Katya felt Trixie relax above her, she slipped her tongue in her mouth and a finger in her pussy.

Trixie flinched forwards for a fraction of a second before pushing her hips backwards. She sucked on Katya’s tongue and surrounded her finger with warm wet skin as far down as she could. Katya was squirming herself as she worked her finger and thumb at a steady pace. Everything was slippery and hot and heavy. Trixie was holding her, leaning on her, kissing her. Katya’s brain was so hazy with pleasure, all she could do was feel good and fuck Trixie right. Her hand was moving almost frictionless over the skin.

Trixie’s mouth stilled against Katya’s as another strangled sound made it out of her throat. Katya nuzzled her nose over Trixie’s cheek, and kept pressing her finger into her, her thumb over the sensitive spot.

“Katya, yes,” Trixie breathed into her skin. Katya worked her hand, fueled by Trixie’s reactions. Her hips were pushing slightly back onto Katya as she fucked her. Katya moved her free hand to grab at Trixie’s ass. She could feel Trixie leaking all over, so Katya just pressed harder, swirled faster.

And then Trixie was pressing her forehead into Katya’s collarbone. Katya felt muscles contracting around her finger, and nails dig into her shoulder. Katya was doused in pleasure as Trixie orgasmed above her, hips twitching, ass in the air.

Hot breath was released onto Katya’s skin, and the half of Trixie’s body that hadn't been leaning on her collapsed down. Katya moved to stroke Trixie’s hair and slipped her hand out from between her legs. “Fuck,” Trixie whispered, lungs heaving as she stretched her legs along the couch.

Katya breathed, feeling only warm and content. “I’ve waited so long to do that,” She teased, and Trixie chuckled softly in her arms.

Chapter Text

SIX MONTHS LATER

 

Katya's hand twitched against the fabric of her suit. She watched it in the mirror of their office building elevator, how her finger tapped against one of the black buttons. Consisting of an open jacket and high waisted pants, the suit was made of dark teal fabric with dimensional red flowers and green leaves. The coarse texture rubbed on her wrists and ankles, the silk lapels slid buttery over her chest, and it all made Katya feel expensive. She drew her fingertip over the line of her black t-shirt sticking out over the waistband. She had let Trixie paint her red lipstick on, evenly overlining them a little to echo the rings of black Katya had drawn around her eyes.

Trixie moved in the corner of Katya’s vision, and when she looked, she had turned around was extending her arm for Katya to take.

Katya turned and hooked her own around it, looking over Trixie's giant curls and glittery eyes. Her teal sequin dress barely covered her ass, reached ¾ of the way down her arms, and had big square shoulder pads, which she was rocking. She looked perfect. Katya looked at their colorful silhouettes in the brushed metal of the elevator door. They both looked good, and they looked good together.

“It's been a good year,” Katya remarked.

When Katya checked, Trixie looked pleasantly surprised. “You think so?”

Katya nodded.

Trixie held her tighter. “I think so too.”

The elevator opened, and they strode out arm in arm, through the office until they reached the main room that had been cleared for the New Year’s Eve party. The bright black night shone through 2 walls of windows, interrupted by TVs and portable bars and tables of food. And people. So many people, dancing and talking and mingling.

Namely, Alyssa Edwards, wearing a sparkly little black dress with fringe flying all around and carrying a tall glass full of pink alcohol. “Damn, girl!” She exclaimed, stumbling gracefully into Katya's personal space. “Trixie cleaned you up good!”

Trixie shook her head. “This was all Katya.”

“Except these,” Katya admitted, turning her face to Trixie and pursing her lips.

Trixie happily met them in a chaste kiss.

Alyssa wore a wonky smile, which Katya had come to understand meant that she was feeling feelings. “That's too sweet. You kids are gonna rot my teeth.”

“You look amazing,” Katya complimented.

Alyssa started in place. “Thank you—Trixie Mattel, gorgeous as always—Let’s get Brianna in this conversation.” She waved her hands around to signal she was going to try and retrieve their coworker, but quickly forgot her mission when someone pulled her aside.

Katya didn't fret. The night was young, and Alyssa was only more energetic than usual. Katya and Trixie headed for the bar. They waded between similarly beautiful people, under soft neon lights. They got drinks. They danced. They made small talk and met their coworkers’ significant others, and then made jokes about them behind their back. They laughed and enjoyed the party.

Brianna found Trixie and Katya eventually on her own, and was wearing a structured silver sweetheart dress. She seemed to enjoy interrogating Trixie and Katya about work and their New Years’ resolutions for at least a little while before ditching to dance with Blair and Vixen.

After connecting with Blair later on, the only other person they really wanted to talk to was Bob, but she eluded their attention for most of the night. They were teasing Ross about his suit when the music cut out and their beloved editor-in-chief was climbing onto the DJ’s tiny stage. It wasn't a surprise; Katya was used to RuPaul’s New Year's Eve shenanigans after many years enduring them, and Trixie had experienced the magic 12 months prior. The image was still striking, however, as their giant boss rose above the crowd, golden hair circling her face, silver goddess gown flowing to the floor.

RuPaul managed to find the mic and moved to speak, but the crowd was already cheering and shouting. She paused, smiling, until her employees were quiet. “Thank you, thank you. Happy New Year’s Eve!”

The crowd cheered.

“We have so much to celebrate this year at Everything.com. Breaking all-time readership records.”

Whoops all around.

“Breaking all-time community contribution records.”

More uproar.

“And I am so excited to finally launch our brand-new video division, directed by our very own—hold on, Katya, can you come up here please and tell us your full name?”

Katya’s heart skipped at hearing her name come out of RuPaul's mouth, still not used to being in the editor-in-chief's inner circle, even after all the meetings they’d had about the video project. But Trixie was pushing her towards RuPaul and maybe screaming so Katya walked, nodded at people who were cheering for her and eventually found herself at her editor's side, taking the microphone. “Uhm. My name is Экатерина Петровна Замолодчикова,” She managed, and some people yelled in support. “But on my first day as a sports writer here, RuPaul asked me to build my perfect ice cream sundae and then told me my new name was Katya!”

Everyone laughed, and Katya could hear Trixie’s scream among it. Katya moved to hand the mic back, but RuPaul motioned for her to go on.

She definitely hadn't prepared anything, but it wasn't too hard to figure it out while the laughter quieted down. “Thank you to RuPaul, obviously, for giving me this opportunity and pushing me to be the best journalist I can be. Thanks to everyone for supporting me this year.” Her eyes found Trixie’s. She looked amazing. She hoped Trixie knew that she was the first person she was thanking with that acknowledgement. Katya breathed, and threw out a crowd-pleaser: “I don't know about you folks but I'm ready for 2018 at Everything.com.”

Everyone cheered at that, and RuPaul laughed, but was quick to hop back on the mic. Katya bowed as she relinquished it and enjoyed the rest of RuPaul’s emotional speech with Trixie hugging her from behind.

 

They finally got to talk to Bob about an hour later. “Trixie Mattel!” She called, even though they had migrated to one foot apart from each other. A silver band held her afro back from her face, and she was owning her sparkly burgundy cocktail dress.

“Hey!” Trixie returned at an appropriate volume, pulling Katya closer as Bob leaned in.

“Oh my god,” Bob said, hands finding their shoulders so they formed a glittery circle in the middle of the crowd. She spoke excited and reverent: “You guys look so fucking good. You’re the hottest couple here.”

“Thank you!” Katya received.

“Aww,” Trixie said, “Your dress is amazing!”

“You like it?” Bob asked, letting go to model it briefly for them, before looking at her empty hands and huffing. “I have a clutch too, but Brianna ran off with it. Anyways! Trixie!”

“Yes!” Trixie said to match Bob’s energy, but Katya could see Trixie didn’t know what could be so urgent that Bob had to tell her in the middle of the dance floor on New Year’s Eve.

Bob leaned back in, secret smile playing on her face. “I met a music producer yesterday who’s looking for new songwriters. Do you have a bandcamp or something I can send him?”

Trixie’s mouth instantly fell open, and stayed there.

“Yes,” Katya provided.

“Yes!” Trixie remembered. “My YouTube channel. There’s, what, five or six songs on there now?”

“Six,” Katya confirmed.

Bob was nodding. “Send me that. Sit by the phone. Don’t fuck it up.”

“I won’t, oh my god,” Trixie promised, as Bob slipped into the crowd.

Trixie and Katya turned into each other, crowding closer and closer. Trixie's hands were pulling on Katya's jacket while her expression turned incredulous, nervous. Katya lifted her hands to hold Trixie's face. This was Trixie’s dream, her goal, and it was being realized right now.

“I shouldn't get too excited, should I?” Trixie asked, voice pained. Katya could see her brain kicking into overdrive. She had worked for it. She deserved it. Now it was right in front of her.

Katya had to breathe slowly to keep her own heart from running wild. “Whatever happens,” She said, staring up at Trixie, “You're an amazing musician and a beautiful, wonderful person.”

Ten! Nine! Eight! Seven!

Katya didn't dare move. There was nothing and no one else she wanted to be looking at, speaking to in that moment. “This year is going to be great.”

Six! Five! Four!

“I love you so much.”

Three! Two! One!

Katya's eyes slid shut as she and Trixie pushed into each other, connecting their lips in a passionate kiss. Katya let herself get lost in it. Lights flashed. People were screaming. All Katya knew was Trixie’s arms were holding her tight, her tongue was sliding filthy over Katya’s, and there was definitely going to be red on Trixie’s lips if they ever came up for air.

In the middle of the dance floor on New Year’s Eve, making out with her girlfriend, Katya was happy. She was loved. She was going to be okay.