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the universe is calling (she says she loves you)

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It has been three hours since Yasmin Khan said goodbye to her parents. She spent the first hour trying to figure out how to connect her phone and laptop to the internet, the second hour dressing up her room and making it feel like home. Pictures of her friends and some from her travels from her gap year littered the pinboard above her bed alongside the free student union poster she was given by a rep. In this, the third hour, Yasmin Khan was strolling a little bit aimlessly around campus.

It was a nice, sunny day to be out and about. Lots of trees and grass were on all sides of the paths and buildings along with colourful flower beds and benches. Yaz had chosen a university slap bang in the countryside but only a ten minute train journey from the nearest city. That way it felt like home, despite being on the other side of the country, far away from everyone and everything she considered standard. Everyone seemed to be out today. Staff, students, new move ins, Residential Advisors, student ambassadors, they were all here. But, still, Yaz couldn’t help but feel alone in the crowd.

She found herself standing in the middle of library square, not knowing where to go next. There was a tent, a massive event tent sitting on the patch of grass in front of a building Yaz hadn’t explored yet. She looks at the boards at either sides of the entrances where there were posters advertising all sorts of different events run by either societies or local clubs. None looked completely appealing to Yaz. They looked boozy, very boozy. Yaz liked a drink but she knew her limits and liked to stick to them, for the sake of both her body and her mind. The list next to it had non alcoholic events for the underage students but they looked just as unappealing. They were two ends of the extreme.

Yaz decides none of them were worth her time and moves on. The next task on her agenda to keep her busy was finding all of her lecture halls and seminar rooms. If she found them now, she wouldn’t get lost and be late in a weeks time when freshers was over, and Yaz hated being late. Her mum brought her up to find it rude and disorganized and Yaz found pride in being neither of those. One of her buildings was up the biggest hill Yaz had ever had to walk up in her life but it was worth finding for the view once she was there. She was higher than all the other buildings and trees and could see everything in the distance until they simply became specs of colours and shapes.

She walks back to her room, picking up a flyers about student discount bus passes and how to register with the GP on the way. She changed her mind on the way back past the event tent when she heard the two boys in front of her talking about how legendary a certain club was for their student introductory night in a few days time. Her dads voice was also echoing around her skull telling her to get stuck in and try everything out and she’ll regret it if she hides away in her room. But today was only day one and Yaz wanted to lay down and let all of her emotions calm down with her.

As she approached the front door of her building she realised how strange it was. This building was going to become her home, her life, her place to retreat but right now it was still foreign to her. Everything was foreign and nothing was home. Yaz fondled with her keys and wasn’t looking where she was going when she bumped into him and he drops a load of cable ties.

“Shit! I’m so sorry I wasn’t-”

“Yasmin?” The man says. Yaz looks up from collecting what she had caused him to drop and recognises the face but can’t find a name. He wore a navy blue polo t-shirt and trousers and somehow Yaz felt safe around him. “Yasmin Khan?”

“Yeah that’s me.”

“It’s Ryan. Ryan Sinclair from primary school.”

“Oh my God!” Yaz beams at finally finding a familiar face. “How are you? What are you doing here? How’s your gran? What’s been going on?”

“Are you busy?” Ryan asks.

“No, not really.”

“Come and have a drink with me in the cafe, we can catch up.”

Yaz hesitates. She really wanted a nap but having an ally or even a friend nearby could come in handy in the future. She agrees and follows him to the closest student cafe, making polite conversation as they walk so that there isn’t any form of awkward silence. They get their teas and Ryan offers to pay for the both of them. Yaz protests but Ryan insists that she needs to save her money since she’s a student now.

“If I’m a student then what are you?” Yaz asks as the two of them take their places at a communal table.

“I’m the handyman for your building.”

“Ah, the good old maintenance guy.”

“Yeah don’t take the piss, I like doing it.” Ryan giggles, bringing his cup to his lips.

“But why here? Why so far away from home?”

“I could ask you the same.”

“So you came for a change of scenery too?”

“Pretty much. Gran’s here too, still working for the NHS though. Her new fella is down here too. He drives the number 25 from campus into town.”

Yaz pauses and takes a drink to give her a chance to organise her thoughts. If she had left to work it would be completely different. Her family wouldn’t move down here and she wouldn’t be able to go without her mum or her dad or her sister with no guaranteed time off to go and visit them.

“What’s your subject? Do you have to take a foundation year because you took a year out?” Ryan asks.

“Unfortunately, yeah.”

“Ooof." Ryan winces. "Which one?”

“Social sciences. I want to do law.”

“Well, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Ryan squints.

“What, what is it?” Yaz says, knowing that her old friend had an opinion about her choice.

“Most law students find it way harder than they think and want to not do it by the end of first year. About thirty percent either switch or drop out.” He explains.

“I’ll keep my options open then. Besides, I could always just join the police.”

“Could do.” Ryan sips his tea again. He was never fond of the police but Yaz believes she could truly make a change if she joined. At least with how she enforced the law. “Are you going to the welcome party tonight?”

“The what now?”

“Down at the student union bar. It’s a good way to make friends.”

“How do you know so much about this place.”

“Maintenance overhear everything mate.” He grins cheekily. He still has the same bright teethed grin. “Starts at nine tonight but no one turns up until at least half past, please say you’ll come.”

“I don’t know…”

“Come on, it’ll be good fun and if not they serve chips until, like, eleven and they’re really fucking good.”

 

Yaz hated that she’d agreed to it. She had forgotten that Ryan had always had a way with charm that got you into all sorts of trouble. After her quick catch up with him, Yaz spent the rest of the afternoon mingling with her flatmates and trying to ignore that the more they talked the more she realised she didn’t really like them. Even so, she would be turning up at the union bar with them tonight so that she didn’t look like a complete loner. There were five of them there in total with three more supposedly arriving tomorrow. Yaz forgets their names after five minutes of not being around them.

She was staring at herself in the mirror attached to the inside of her wardrobe. Yaz didn’t like skirts or dresses and only wore them when she either really had to or was around someone she trusted enough. Tonight she wore her go to look. Simple black jeans, plain button up shirt and a jacket with boots. She didn’t like putting a massive effort into looking good when she knew she was going to be meeting someone for the first time, because that just set unnecessary standards for future interactions. Yaz would meet everyone in her pyjamas if she could.

“Yaz, are you ready?” One of the girls shouts. She had told them to call her Yaz not Yasmin, just as she had with Ryan despite Ryan being an actual friend. Only friends could call her Yaz.

“Coming.” She calls back, fitting in one last glance at herself to make sure there weren’t any labels sticking out.

The problem with the number five is that it means two pairs can be made but one will always be left behind. Yaz had to walk behind two pairs of girls that barely new each other but were busy cozying up. There was something very fake about it, Yaz thought. This whole week would be full of people desperate to cling on to whoever they could so that they weren’t left alone in their classes despite not having anything in common. Yaz was trying to avoid that as much as possible, so she stayed quiet for the entire walk down to the student union building as a way of protecting herself.

This building had a very different feel to the others that Yaz visited today. Each small room they passed through felt like a mishmash of common rooms very much designed by students. There wasn’t any security at the door of the room that the music was thumping out of but a rather large queue was forming around the bar as everyone without fail was being asked for ID.

It was horribly lit and smelt. That’s all Yaz could think when she was finally free from the gaggle of her flatmates. She had turned up at ten, later than the start time like Ryan had suggested, but Yaz figures that that just meant that everyone else had their beer goggles on while she was stone cold sober. She was probably meant to go to pre-drinks or something, but if her flat had had them she wasn’t invited. If she was intoxicated too, it might have actually looked alright, but the music was decent and people were drinking and dancing and Yaz supposes that this is what it was meant to be like. That’s when she realises she’s just standing there.

A drink. If she went and got a drink she might fit in more.

Yaz joins the queue at the bar, still hoping that she was undetectable from any unwanted gazes. She’s convinced she is, until a hand lands on her shoulder.

“Hey Yaz, you came!” It was Ryan. An evidently much drunker Ryan than earlier in the day but still Ryan.

“Maintenance guys get invited to student parties too, huh?” Yaz jokes.

“Very funny. You might find there are some professors here too.”

“Really?”

“God yeah. Even the professors need to get their freak on.”

Ryan bends his knees and does a strange shimmy twist thing which was meant to be a dance move. The indescribable nature of his movements made Yaz laugh anyway, but the fact that he was accidentally pushing up against someone trying not to get their drinks spilt made it funnier. Just from that moment Yaz started to feel more relaxed again.

Yaz had a couple of drinks and was able to maintain her open minded mood for about two and a half hours. She wasn’t completely pissed, but she was drunk. The second her mood changed was when a boy that reeked of body odor tried to start dancing up against her. Yaz wasn’t about that. Not at all. So, she moved away to lean against the a wall on other side of the room. Observing the room like that made her realise where she was and what she was doing. All of these people seemed so unphased by the fact that they had moved out of the homes they grew up in and would be living somewhere new and embarking on something that would shape their careers and subsequently their lives. Did Yaz really want that? Did she want her nights out to be like this all the time instead of a nice quiet night in with her mum, not matter how much she wound her up? Her mum.

“I want my mum.” Yaz says out loud. She quickly checks her surroundings to make sure that no one heard, as if they could over the music. No one was paying her any special attention so she recons she got away with the slip of the tongue. 

Yaz could feel her heat start to quicken with every second that passed and her breathing became ragged. She tried to look for people she knew. Ryan, someone from her flat, anyone. Nothing. Maybe if you actually moved  the voice inside her head started shouting at her.

Out.

She needed to get out. Before the room started to collapse in on her. 

With each step she took the more her emotions started to rise to the surface. Adrenaline, excitement, fear, dread, doubt, regret, hate, all mixed together to make her feel one thing. Panic.

The mix was clawing at her throat, strangling her, making it hard to breathe. Get out her brain was screaming at her now. Screaming orders for her body to obey. She reached outside and the cold air hit her like a pin hitting a balloon. Was it really this cold or was she just boiling? She didn’t know but her palms were sweating. Yaz receives the order to keep moving when she goes to lean against the cold brick wall. She doesn’t allow herself to. She had to get back to her room but where was her room? Her brain was going into overload and she couldn’t picture her building so she just kept walking- stumbling- in the direction she came from.

“Are you alright?” A new voice brings her senses back to reality, purely because it sounded like someone from home. From Sheffield.

Yaz looks behind her to see who it belonged to. Her vision was blurred, not because of the alcohol, but she could see that whoever had called after her was skinny with short blonde hair.

“I’m fine.” Yaz says, trying to put up a fake smile. It wasn’t very convincing, even to her.

“Are you sure?” The woman’s hand touches her shoulder and out of instinct Yaz bats it away with quite a bit of force. “Alright, I was only looking out for you.”

Yaz had to lean against a nearby tree to steady herself. The grip around her throat had been weakened, letting whatever remnants were in her stomach be pushed up and out of her mouth by what Yaz could only guess was adrenaline. She felt vile.

“Just another first year unable to handle their drink. Should’ve known.” The blonde mutters.

“Fuck off.” Yaz shouts, suddenly very defensive of her vulnerable state. She knew what throwing up due to alcohol was like and this wasn’t it, this was something else. Yaz had had panic attacks before, but none this bad since she left sixth form college and she had never thrown up because of it before.

Yaz, who now felt like she was witnessing herself from outside her own body, wipes her lips clean on her jacket sleeve and forces herself onwards. It helped when she focused on something in the distance to ground herself. Once she got to that landmark she picked out a new one and did that until she recognised where she was. Yaz was convinced she was being followed but she blamed it on paranoia.

The frustration of not being able to fit her key into its hole brought tears to her eyes that she was only able to hold back for so long. Today had been emotional and Yaz was an emotional person anyway. Going out, even if it was only to the union bar, was a bad idea on the first night. Yaz knows she should have stayed in when she was staring at herself in that mirror and she knows she should have ignored Ryan. There is a whole week put aside for socialising, why didn’t she just wait?

The key finally fits and the door opens, as well as the floodgates for her tears. Yaz drags her shaking body the few steps in before letting herself fall and curl up on the mattress, pulling the covers around her until she feels warm again. She realises how rude she must have been to that girl who asked if she was okay. She was looking out for her and all Yaz did was throw away her help that she sure could do with right now.

Millions of thoughts run through her head as she lays there. The rest of the day had been fine really, only daunting, and tonight was only an overload of the senses. Or at least that was what Yaz was telling herself while she thought of her parents, the campus, Ryan, her flatmates, that girl, how she should have got the chips Ryan suggested, and that girl again right up until she fell asleep.

Chapter Text

Yaz had forgotten to close her curtains when she came in last night. By the time the sun had risen she was already awake and she couldn’t get herself to fall asleep again. She wasn’t hungover, thank god, but she still felt off. It takes her a moment to figure out where the hell she was before she remembers that she’s waking up in a new place than she did yesterday morning. It was a strange sensation. Everything about her room said ‘I am your home. This is your stuff. You are meant to be here.’ but it didn’t feel like it yet. She lays in her bed, thinking about the day that preceded this one about to commence, until she starts to feel sweaty under the covers and goes for a shower.

Her sleep had been broken at about three in the morning with her flatmates coming back and crashing around. Now that Yaz was up and standing in the doorway of the kitchen, she sees that this was the room that caught most of the damage. A quarter of a packet of crisps was spilled all over the floor with another quarter going stale stale in the packet. A couple of half full cups of who knows what were scattered on the table alongside an empty bottle of vodka. They must have really gone hard, Yaz thought, for it to end up like this. Unless she simply hasn’t been exposed to this kind of partying before. She steps forward into something sticky and is very relieved that she was warned about wearing slippers around communal areas.

For breakfast, Yaz had treated herself to chocolate shreddies and some toast. Chocolate in cereal was a rare treat in the Khan household, purely because when they were younger, if Sonya had some before school the delayed sugar rush would hit right as class would start and it would guarantee a phone call home. But now that Yaz had complete control over what she bought for herself to eat, her favourite cereal was the first thing she got. She ate with no sign of of her flatmates appearing anytime soon. It was eerily quiet but in some ways Yaz liked it. It was so different to living at home and she could see herself getting accustomed to it in the future.

However, when she left the kitchen, she wasn’t alone anymore. Ryan was standing in the hall with his head pressed against the section of the wall next to the room across from her. He looked like he was sweating and was out of breath from walking up the stairs but Yaz quickly identifies it as him trying not to be sick. She waits for the moment to pass.

“Morning!” Yaz says fairly loud and sharp just to play with him. Ryan jumps and presses his palm against his forehead.

“Don’t do that!” He hisses back at her, his voice croaky.

“Last night hit you hard?” Yaz asks, already knowing the answer.

“No shit. How about you, are you hanging?”

“No.”

“Are you sure?” Ryan frowns. “You sound a bit-”

“I feel a bit off.”

“So you are hanging.”

“I’m not. I just feel a bit bunged up.” Yaz insists.

Something clicks in Ryan’s head. “You’ve got freshers flu.”

“I can’t have freshers flu, I haven’t snogged anyone.” Yaz says defiantly.

“You don’t just get it from sticking your tongue down someone's throat, it’s from being around new people and touching doors and stuff.” Ryan explains. “It’s still sharing bacteria.”

Oh great.

“Get down to the shop and buy lemsip and paracetamol, you’re going to need it.”

Ryan uses his master key to enter the empty room to do his work before Yaz could speak into existence that she was not ill. She knew that freshers flu was a thing and most say it’s unavoidable but still, she thought she wouldn’t get it. She certainly thought she wouldn’t get it this soon. Perhaps all the crying last night brought it on, she doesn’t know, but it could explain why her nose was so stuffy. Therefore, Yaz decides to wait it out; see if it gets any worse or fades away.

Yaz decided on scrolling through her social media accounts to waste time until some events started up on campus. A notification flashes up at the top of her screen. A text from her mum.

“Hi sweetheart. Thought of you lots last night and hope you’re settling in well. Remember- it’s normal to be nervous! Love you!”

Yaz smiles to herself and suppresses the urge to tell her mum how terrible the first night went. She didn’t want her to start worrying like she always did about her children. All she does is send a heart emoji back, unable to construct a sentence that conveyed all of the emotions she was feeling. She’ll tell her about Ryan working here some other time, otherwise Yaz knows she would just get a warning text back telling her not to cling on to the one person she already knows. Or even worse, a text back telling her to date him.

The longer she lays there the stuffier her nose gets. Yaz ignores it again and continues to ignore it until she coughs and she throws her head even further back into her pillow. She was getting sick, there was no doubt about it. The mini supermarket on campus was only a five minute walk away from her accommodation. Which was lucky, really, because she would have been extra pissed off if she had to walk a full half hour like the people living at the very top of campus. Yaz get dressed but only into clothes that were slightly above the standard of acceptable to be seen outside the house in and leaves.

It was another beautiful day. The sun beat down on her like it was recharging her cells every step of the way down to the shop. It was only about half ten in the morning but campus was already busy with parents dropping off their children. As Yaz walks past she catches glimpses of their conversations and wonders where they’ve come from and what they’ll be doing here. The people she found most intriguing were those arriving in taxis alone with only two or three suitcases to their names. International students. If Yaz thought that Sheffield felt like a world away she admired how brave these people were, because some literally were a world away from home.

Not for the first time in her life Yaz found herself wanting to be invisible and blend into the background. She didn’t want to touch anything to spread any of her germs and she certainly didn’t want to brush past anyone and inherit more. She also wanted to avoid forced social interaction as much as possible. Accepting that she was sick was one thing but having to suck up to people and pretend to be their friend was draining to even think about. Yaz locates the isle with all the medicines and other healthcare items and is suddenly overwhelmed by choice. Paracetamol, ibuprofen, cough syrup, cough sweets, hydration pills, and it makes Yaz wonder how bad a little bit of freshers flu can get. She picks probably a few too many products than she needs, joins the queue and waits to be called forward.

“Hangover or freshers flu?” The checkout girl asks her.

Yaz looks up. The woman was smiling gently at her, waiting for Yaz to respond to her playful comment, but Yaz was trying to figure out where she had heard that voice before. The blonde was also looking at her with a shine behind her hazel-greenish eyes that expected Yaz to remember her but nothing was coming to Yaz and the longer she stared the more the smile faded from the woman behind the counter.

“Flu.” Yaz says, sniffing to make a point.

“You caught that quick.” The woman starts to scan Yaz’s items.

“Hm.” Yaz confirms. She scanned her uniform for a name tag but she wasn’t wearing one.

“Do you have a students union card?”

“Not yet no.” Yaz answers. She should really check her mailbox when she gets back to see if it’s arrived.

“When you do it's worth bringing it, you get some money off. That’s £10.99 altogether, would you like a bag?”

“I’m good thanks.” Yaz pays and scoops up her items into her arms. However, the cashier was still staring at her. “I’m sorry, do I know you?”

The cashier is caught off guard and shakes her head, avoiding eye contact. “No, I just-”

“Hey, there’s a line here.” A disgruntled customer mutters a bit too loudly and gets heard. Yaz realises that there’s only her server and one other on the till and leaves to prevent any more of a hold up.

There was something about the shape of her face that bugged Yaz. She’d seen someone like that before but who? Where? She can’t figure it out. After the entirety of the walk back thinking about it and her brain giving her no answers, she leaves it. There was no point overthinking it.

“Fucking hell!” Yaz exclaims as she enters her room and sees Ryan chilling out in her desk chair. “What are you-”

“I’m sorry please let me hide in your room so I don’t have to do work.” He begs.

“Ryan, I know we went to school together but you can’t just come in whenever you want.” Yaz says, chucking her newly acquired supplies on her bed before chucking herself on there too.

“Sorry.” Ryan apologises. “You’re pretty much the only person I know here.” He was bigging up the puppy dog eyes now. Yaz rolls her own eyes.

“Fine. You can stay.”

“Thank you! Can I have some of that paracetamol?”

“Alright don’t push it.” Yaz says throwing the packet at him. “How much did you have to drink last night?”

Ryan whistles. “I cannot for the life of me remember. Where’d you go though, I saw you practically running out?”

“Oh, I just needed to-”

Yaz feels like she’s watching the scene play out again in front of her eyes. The cold hitting her skin, having to focus on a solid object to get anywhere, throwing up, and that woman. That same blonde woman who served her just now. That’s where she recognised her face shape and voice from. She was the one who was kind to her and Yaz pushed it back in her face and didn’t even remember her when she clearly remembered seeing Yaz. And she had just been rude to her. Again.

“Yaz?” Ryan snaps her back into her room.

“I had to get some air and then decided it wasn’t worth going back.” She lies. “Ryan do you know who the people are that work there?” Yaz changes the subject so that he couldn’t press for a more convincing answer.

“Shifts change and people turnover all the time but I reckon I could put a face to a name but I probably won’t.” He shrugs.

“What’s the name of the blonde girl from Sheffield?” Yaz persists anyway.

“I’m gonna need more than that.”

Yaz stops in her tracks. She didn’t have anything else to describe her with.

“She was around the student union bar last night.” Yaz says as a last ditch effort.

“Aw, you think I remember anything from last night? That’s cute.”

“You remembered me running out.”

“Because it was near the end of the night. Why do you need to know who she is anyway?”

“No reason.” Yaz says, but as she hears the words defensively fall out of her mouth she hears how unconvincing they were. “She served me just now and she was acting really friendly. I thought we might have gone to school with her too or something.”

“All the people who work behind student union buildings have to have been at the uni for at least a year. If she did go to school with us she wouldn’t have been in our year or a couple above.”

His clarification was meant to allow Yaz to push the striking woman out of her head, but she was creating a habit of not leaving. Was Yaz’s subconscious so desperate to cling onto whoever showed her the slightest bit of kindness? Was she really so scared of spending anymore time by herself she was looking for a friend in anyone who smiled at her? Was she being too sensitive about being rude and wanting to make amends with a stranger? She wished she could ask someone straight up, but even just asking Ryan would mean she would have to explain her panic attack, and she didn’t want to relive that again. Not today.

Ryan left after half an hour of hanging around and waiting for the paracetamol to kick in. It was nice catching up with him again but Yaz, always being a stickler for the rules, couldn’t help but feel she was harboring a fugitive of some sorts.

No longer having any interruptions or distractions, Yaz doses up on cold medicine and head out onto campus again. There were posters that she had noticed yesterday advertising a houseplant sale and Yaz thought it would be a good idea to brighten up the place a little. Walking down to the student union square right at the bottom of campus, Yaz runs into some sort of performance piece by the drama society and a crowd was forming.

She doesn’t know how the piece started but it was good. Funny, even. There were only five people acting in it but it was a performance worthy of the stage. Yaz secretly wanted them to suddenly burst into a musical number but it wasn’t that kind of performance in the end. She joined the crowd in its applause with a smile on her face but as the crowd started to disperse after the cast bowed, Yaz felt the compulsion to look up and slightly to her left.

There she was. Again. The nameless figure, just standing there, still in her uniform, clapping but giving most of her attention to Yaz. She began to feel very self conscious until the woman's attention was diverted by a shorter woman with brown hair, brown eyes, smooth skin and a button nose whispering something in her ear. The still nameless blonde nods. The brunette starts to walk away and the blonde starts to follow. However, she doesn’t leave without throwing a polite smile in Yaz’s direction and a lift of the hand as a form of a wave.

Yaz throws one back. She thinks about it for the rest of the day.

Chapter Text

It was ridiculous how many times in the last twenty-four hours they almost ran into each other. They crossed paths on a stairwell, they were on opposite sides of the food market, Yaz was next in the queue at the shop when her stalker got taken off shift. Or was she the stalker? Is it stalking if it was purely coincidence? The pair of them kept crossing like ships in the night and Yaz has to wonder if the nameless blonde was noticing it too. Yaz didn’t want to approach her herself; that would mean that it was bugging her and she would have to admit it. She told Ryan about how she kept running into the mysterious woman but he didn’t see it as anything out of the ordinary. ‘Campus is small, you're bound to see the same faces again and again!’ he would insist but Yaz would insist back that he didn’t understand.

The day had finally come for the student night at the self proclaimed ‘best club in town’. Yaz decides to make an actual effort in her appearance this time and forces herself to make her attitude more positive. Ignoring the dull ache in the back of her throat, she checks the directions to the club. There were two options to get there; train journey and a ten minute walk or a bus journey with a five minute walk but down backstreets. Yaz knows how to defend herself (her dad made her go on a course before she went travelling) but backstreets weren’t ideal, especially as she doesn’t know the area at all yet.

The train station itself was right at the end of campus and through an underpass that seemed to last forever. The train itself was easy to catch with them being regular every fifteen minutes and it was like the entire occupants of every building were there heading to the same place. Some were already completely pissed and wouldn’t be let in at all and Yaz could tell that just from the way they were swaying in their seats and giggling with each other. With the amount of people on the train, Yaz is surprised to spot that she was the only one travelling alone. She thought there would at least be one other but Yaz can’t spot them.

After stepping over a very conspicuous looking puddle of liquid on the station platform, Yaz follows the crowd as a form of direction, checking her phone every few moments to make sure they were all going to the same place. A guy tried to chat her up when the pavement got too narrow for him to stay with his group of friends. Blunt answers and the mention of a few female led TV shows managed to shut him up. It made Yaz glad that Ryan wasn’t like that and they knew where they stood with each other. Always have, always will.

Queuing wasn’t exactly what Yaz’s outfit had bargained for and she started to get cold very quickly. She hugged her arms close to her chest and stuck her hands under her armpits; a trick she learnt from PE lessons in the dead of winter when everyone else was complaining. Fortunately, this queue was fast moving thanks to the venue knowing it’s influence and that it would be at capacity tonight. The feel of stupidity slowly crept up her spine the more she realised she really was the only person here by herself. Yaz had always had the confidence to go and do things by herself, but sometimes situations like this one play out better in groups or at least a pair. If her drink was spiked or if she suddenly found she had no way home she would have to sort it out herself with no backup.

The bouncer checks her ID and lets her in. The thing she notices straight away is how much bigger and cleaner this club is compared to the student union bar on the first night. There were more lights, a bigger bar, a livelier atmosphere of people having fun rather than people just wanting to get trashed.

Yaz goes up to the bar and ends up chatting with one of the bar staff, who was ignoring all of her other potential customers and giving her full attention to Yaz. She was cute and Yaz liked the way she was looking at her when she took a sip of her drink. The barmaid had brown eyes even darker than Yaz’s own and a tattoo that she could see finished on her collarbone but Yaz was intrigued to know where it started. Yaz was overall having a good time, until the boy who tried to chat her up on the walk down from the train station appeared next to her.

“What’s a pretty girl like you doing all alone at this bar?” He asks. The barmaid had backed off from leaning on the bar but was still playing close attention to what was going on.

“Ordering a drink.” Yaz says, hoping that the barmaid would play along. She does.

“Fancy a screaming orgasm?” Yaz looks at him unimpressed and slightly disgusted at how forward he was being. “It’s a cocktai-”

“I know what a screaming orgasm is.”

“Oh I bet you do.”

Yaz felt like she had walked right into that one. She could also feel the guys fingers hooking around her belt buckle which was a big no for her. Any other night she would have shouted bloody murder and given him a good slap, but tonight she was hit with a spark of creativity and confidence. She lets her face soften, her pupils go wide and she bites her lip, curling her tongue up to the roof of her mouth.

“I could make you scream.” Yaz says, letting her hand fall on top of his. A slimy grin gets plastered on his face.

“Now we’re tal- Jesus fucking Christ!”

In one swift movement Yaz had ripped his hand away from her waistline and bent his finger back until she knew if she put on any more pressure the bone would snap. She was very much aware that the man's exclamation of pain meant that she now had a few spectators.

“Never approach women like that again if you want to keep your fingers attached to your hand.” Yaz hisses through gritted teeth and throws his hand down with force.

“You’re insane!” He shouts at her before scanning the audience and turning his attention to the barmaid. “Aren’t you going to kick her out or something? She just attacked me!”

The barmaid shrugs. “I ain’t mad about it.” She says. She gives a signal to one of the bouncers to take him away and then winks at Yaz while a nearby group of girls starts cheering and whooping for her.

But Yaz didn’t want that kind of attention, so she makes a b-line for the small outside area where people went to smoke. She perches herself up against a low wall and hides her face in her hands to make herself disappear. Despite not being able to see, Yaz could feel someone sit next to her.

“Have you ever considered that going out just might not be for you?”

Yaz doesn’t need to uncover her face to know who it was but she does it anyway and she was proven right. The blonde was sitting next to her and had initiated conversation with a glass of wine in her hand.

“It’s men that aren’t for me.” Yaz says, jumping straight into conversation.

“I’ll drink to that.” Yaz clocks the cigarette, limp between her fingers. “Want a drag?”

“No thanks.”

“Neither do I. Social smoking, terrible habit. All her fault.” The bottle blonde, now that Yaz can see her properly close up, threw away what was left and nods her head at the same brunette that was standing next to her a couple of days ago.

“What’s her name?” Yaz asks.

“You’re asking my friends name before you ask mine?” She smiles at Yaz again like she did over the counter in the shop but Yaz didn’t look back as baffled this time. “It’s Clara.”

“Your name or her’s?”

“Her’s.” She holds out her hand and improves her posture. “I’m Jenny.”

“Yasmin. Yaz to my mates.” Yaz says, mimicking the mock-business-like energy Jenny was letting off and shakes her hand.

“Nice to finally meet you properly Yasmin.”

“And you.” Yaz smiles and lets go of Jenny’s hand. “I’m sorry I was rude that night I was just-”

“Busy having a panic attack.”

Yaz scans Jenny’s face suspiciously. Her words not were not matching up with what she had said that night.

“You said I was a first year who couldn’t handle her drink.”

“Drunk people sway and stumble like they’re dancing a terrible waltz when they walk home, they don’t shake and cry.”

Yaz thinks back to that night and the consistent sense that she was being followed but blamed it on paranoia.

“You followed me?” Yaz asks for clarification.

“I didn’t want you to collapse and end up getting picked up by security.”

“Thank you.” Yaz says, quite taken aback that a stranger would look out for her like that.

“It’s alright.” Jenny shrugs and stakes a swig of her drink. “What are you reading?”

“Social science foundation year to go on to do law.”

Jenny whistles. “Heavy stuff.”

“You?” Yaz throws the question back at her.

“Science.”

Yaz frowns. “Which one?”

“All of them. Finished biology last year, starting physics this year and I’ll do chemistry after that. Or maybe maths, I haven’t decided.”

“You’re not bragging about your multitude of pompous degree options again are you?” The brunette now identified as Clara walks the short distance over to them both.

“This is Clara. She’s an english student if you couldn’t guess by her use of big words.” Jenny introduces her friend again.

“I’m not a ‘student’ anymore Jen, I have my degree.” She turns to look at Yaz directly. “I’m training to be an english teacher.”

“You’re stuck living with me for another year.” Jenny grins at her friend cheekily.

“Oh the joys.” Clara banters back.

Just as Yaz feels like she’s the intruder, Jenny turns her full attention back to Yaz and asks her a question. “Are your flatmates okay? They didn’t exactly look after you the first night, I’m assuming you went with them like most people do on their first night.”

Yaz sighs and thinks out loud. “They’ve kinda formed a clique already but there’s still a few more people to move in.”

“Your good friends come from your course anyway. Flatmates you just have to put up with.” Jenny says.

“Except if they start smoking in the kitchen, get them to stop that shit immediately.”

“Especially if its weed.”

“And don’t buy any drugs from around here, there are bad batches all the time.” Clara drops the stub of her cigarette and steps on it. “I’m getting another drink. Jen?”

“No thanks.”

“Want anything, uuuh...”

“Yasmin.” Yaz introduces herself properly. “But no I’m good thanks.”

Jenny, watching her friend walk away, leans to her side to whisper in Yaz’s ear. “If you feel like you’ve just been lectured by your parents, that never really goes away around her.”

Yaz catches Jenny smiling and she lets out a quick laugh. The woman sitting next to her looked pleased that she had managed to get that kind of reaction from Yaz from such a simple comment.

“I guess that’s what’s going to make her a good teacher.” Yaz suggests, not really knowing anything about Clara as a person.

“Kids are gonna call her ‘mum’ on accident so many times.”

Yaz laughs again and then smiles shyly but widely at Jenny. She was naturally funny and Yaz admired that. She was kind of like how her sister saw herself, but actually funny and not just rude and annoying. They both heard footsteps coming towards them and looked up, expecting to see Clara but the barmaid was coming towards them with a drink in her hand.

“Well done. For how you dealt with that guy back there.” She says, handing the drink to Yaz.

“What is this?” Yaz asks, accepting the drink.

The barmaid smiles looking at the ground and shakes her head. “A screaming orgasm. My shift ends in five but,” She looks back up to meet Yaz’s gaze. “if you wanted another one after that…”

The barmaid backs away biting her lip and Yaz stares at her until she’s gone.

“Dude.” Jenny smirks at her.

“What?”

“That’s the smoothest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Yaz hesitates. “I don’t really do…”

“Yasmin, go and have some fun, even if you don’t go all the way.” Jenny sees the doubt in her face and changes her tact. “Pass me your phone. Unlocked.”

Yaz doesn’t know why she obliges. She doesn’t even trust her sister to be in the same room as her phone when it’s locked and here she was, passing it over to essentially a stranger. Jenny types something, taps the screen a few times and hands Yaz her phone back.

“Incase you want to chat with someone who’s not going to try to get you into bed after.”

Yaz looks down at her phone screen, displaying a social media profile. Jenny’s profile, of which Jenny had just sent herself a friend request. She thinks about what she’s going to do for a moment more before downing the cocktail in one, a bad idea really but it was one way of getting rid of it and Yaz considered it liquid courage, and stands up, shoving her phone into her back pocket.

“I’m… gonna…I'm gonna go and-”

“Go, Yasmin.” Jenny repeats. “I don’t doubt that I’ll see you around.”

Yaz takes a few steps backwards, still looking at the woman she now knows is called Jenny. She was going to say something else to round off their interaction but can only give a small wave when Clara reappears having ignored Jenny’s request and bought her another drink anyway. The barmaid, who Yaz should really ask her name soon, was waiting at the end of the bar for her. Yaz feels the back of her neck start to burn with a feeling she can’t quite decode yet. Lust? Arousal? Nerves? Warnings? She doesn't know, but the sight of the woman standing there, waiting for her, makes Yaz not care what it is.

“Where to?”

Chapter Text

Just as Yaz was getting used to waking up in her new room, she was waking up somewhere that certainly wasn’t her’s. The owner of said room slept next to her, still asleep, and Yaz can’t remember her name. She can't remember much at all from last night; only that being with a local barmaid meant drinks came quick and free. Dangerously quick and free. Yaz was enjoying herself so much that she didn’t realise how much she was drinking but now with her mouth feeling fuzzy and her head pounding she had a pretty good idea of how much she had had. Although, the pulse at the back of her head could be down to being pushed back against a wall that coincided with some coat hooks.

The sex was alright, there was no doubt about it. They both knew what they had come for and they got it. Several times in the other woman’s case which Yaz took as an ego boost for herself, however to Yaz it still felt like there was something missing for her. She had never been in a proper relationship; only a couple of quick flings every now and then because that was all she could get, and every now and then was not very often at all. The act felt a bit empty and pointless after the initial rush was over.

Yaz could see sunlight creeping around the edge of the blackout curtains and knows it’s time to go. She quietly and swiftly gathers all her clothes and puts them on, ensuring that her phone and bank card were still in the back pocket of her jeans. She usually left way earlier than this and she was silently hoping she wasn’t far from the station or a bus stop. Right before she gets to the door, she looks back and feels bad. The barmaid liked Yaz, that was obvious, but Yaz didn’t like her as much. She thinks about leaving her number written down somewhere, decides against it, then realise she would feel like a terrible person if she didn’t so finds a piece of paper and a pen.

Her phone, that luckily still had a couple of percent left on the battery, told her it was almost 8am. It also told her through a reflection that she looked like shit but Yaz couldn’t do anything about that right now except catch the next train onto campus. She held her head up but tried not to draw too much attention to herself. Anyone who stared at her, she stared back, holding her own. Yaz wasn’t in the mood to deal with anyone thinking she was doing the walk of shame. Why did it have to be shame? She got drunk and had sex last night, so what? Probably more than they were getting.

When Yaz finds a seat at the end of the train carriage she finally has the time to stop and think. About wondering what the tattoo on the barmaid’s collar bone was. That slimeball of a man. Meeting Jenny and her friend Clara. Getting drunk. Finding out what the tattoo was. The parts that Yaz had gotten a glimpse of at the club were the tips of branches of a tree that wrapped around the side of her body with the roots of the tree stopping just under her hip. Obviously, Yaz didn’t have much time to appreciate all the fine lines in detail. She was busy being touched and touching in places she knew would cause a reaction that was satisfying to both her and the woman underneath her.

So lost in replaying and trying to remember everything, she almost misses her stop. Jumping off the train and through the barriers it seemed like campus today was half as populated at it was the last few days. Surely not everyone is either still out or too hungover to get out of bed, Yaz thought, but still she barely passes twenty people on her way back to her accommodation. She drags her feet up the stairs and just before she reaches her flat Yaz shoves her hand into her back pocket for her keys.

Yaz couldn’t feel her keys. Panicked, Yaz check all the other pockets on her body.

Still no keys.

Yaz holds her head in her hands. “Oh, for fuc-”

“Looking for these?”

Standing a little to the side of the flat door stood Jenny, dressed in her black work uniform with her arms crossed and a set of keys hanging from her little finger.

“How did you..?”

“They fell out your pocket when you either took out or put back your phone last night. Room and flat numbers are engraved on the keys.”

Yaz takes the dangling keys. “Why didn’t you give them back to me when I was talking to you?” She opens the door and Jenny follows her in without invitation.

“I saw them on the floor after. And even if it had been sooner I didn’t want to” Jenny’s eyes flick down to Yaz’s neck and bounce back up again within a single second. “Interrupt.”

“Thank you.” Yaz says, ignoring that she was blushing a little.

“How was the rest of your evening?” Jenny asks, not letting the door close behind her. Yaz could tell just from the tone of her voice that she was trying to suppress a grin.

“Has anyone ever told you that you’re quite forward?” Yaz squints at her.

“Literally all the time, why?” Jenny's eyes were wide and questioning as if she didn't know that this conversation was strange.

“Because I’ve known you for less than a day and you’re asking me how my night in another woman’s bed was.”

“So you did have sex!”

“Sssh!” Yaz raises her hand out of instinct. “The walls are paper thin.”

“And you’re hanging with a headache.”

“Alright yes but I-” Yaz stops in her tracks, her jacket halfway down her shoulders. “Why are you even still here?”

“Alright, only being friendly.” Jenny backs off but points at the student calendar pinned up on the wall. “I wouldn’t be too quick to take your jacket off by the way, you have an introductory meeting with your academic advisor in ten minutes.”

Right as the door closes, Yaz double checks where Jenny pointed. She had written it in on the second day when she had been given her welcome pack from the head of the course but had forgotten about it since. Half of her brain was telling her to forget it and email saying she couldn’t make it but the other half telling her to buck up her ideas and go was more overpowering. Reluctantly, Yaz pushes her jacket back up over her shoulders and quickly brushes her teeth, goes to the toilet, downs a pint of water and covers herself in body spray to try and hide the smell of alcohol and sweat. She could have changed her clothes too, but that would mean she ran the risk of being completely late and luckily her hair was still relatively contained in her plaits. Her last check of her appearance in the mirror exposed the dark mouth shaped mark on her neck that had caught Jenny’s attention just now. There was nothing Yaz could do about it now, so she leaves it and hopes that her advisor doesn’t decide to make a comment.

The room was up the hill and Yaz couldn’t tell if the gradient was actually that steep or if she was still a little bit drunk. Thankfully, her advisor's room was on the ground floor. Yaz had about thirty seconds to catch her breath and knock before she was really late.

“Come in.” A female voice calls.

Yaz enters and sees a woman sitting at her desk in about her mid-fourties with wild hair and a very good fashion sense.

“Do sit.” She smiles warmly. Yaz does as she’s told, suddenly sinking into a form of submission in front of an authority figure. “Yasmin, I’m Doctor Song but you can call me River.”

“Hi.” Yaz shakes her hand over the table and she is instantly grateful that her own personal hygiene standards meant she’d washed that hand since last night.

“Long night?” River asks, scanning her face.

“I’ve been awake for an hour and a half and you’re the second person to ask me that.” Yaz sighs. They both chuckle to lighten the mood in the very academic looking office.

“I’m sorry it’s early, that’s just the luck of the draw I’m afraid. Now,” Yaz watches her push the mane of hair out of her face and pull a stack of papers in between them both. “I’m a Doctor of Archaeology which has absolutely nothing to do with social sciences but I did help form the foundation years so I’m not completely in the dark about what goes on.”

“Okay.” Yaz says to fill the pause.

“You’re full of potential you are, Yasmin Khan. I’ve read your references and seen your grades and they’re outstanding.”

“Thank you.”

“But that doesn’t mean you’ll keep up with the pace of university so don’t get ahead of yourself.”

“I wasn’t going to. I know it’s going to be different.”

“Just from looking at you I trust you.”

“Maybe not the most in this state.” Yaz laughs nervously. She said she hoped her advisor wouldn’t draw attention to her appearance and here she was doing the job herself.

“We’ve all been there sweetie, don’t worry about it. In fact I’ve seen way worse.”

“Really?” Yaz asks, thinking that anything can’t be worse than this.

“Yes, I had a lad, still drunk, throw up in my waste paper basket a few years ago. Unfortunately it was wicker and I’ve had a metal one ever since.”

Yaz sat through the rest of the meeting smiling and nodding after she realised she was actually quite hungry now, and all she could focus on was some bean on toast and maybe a coffee. She left feeling quite fond of her new advisor and knew she would be comfortable seeking her out if she needed help through the next year. But now, she was seeking food.

Yaz had bread and coffee, but the one thing she didn’t think to bring with her was beans, which meant going to the mini supermarket on campus. Which made her think about how rude she was to Jenny earlier and she can’t tell if she wants to end up at her till or not. In the end, Yaz ended up being served by the person right next to Jenny, and she realised she was hoping to be served by her. Yaz glanced over whenever she could, hoping that they’d catch eyes and Jenny would smile and Yaz would know she didn’t take offence to her rudeness.

It didn’t happen.

She went straight to the kitchen to make food because she knew if she went to her room and showered she’d end up sitting on her bed in a towel and scrolling through her phone until she fell asleep, which would be sooner rather than later. In the kitchen there was someone new. Or at least someone Yaz didn’t recognise or remember.

“Hey.” She says, making her whereabouts known so she doesn’t creep up on the new person.

“Hey.” The girl turns around. The first think Yaz notices is that her hair is just as bouncy as Doctor River Song’s but darker. “I’m Bill.” She introduces herself.

“Yaz.”

“You look like you had a good time last night.” Bill chuckles and Yaz throws her head back, groans, but then turns it into a laugh.

“Yup.” Yaz says retrieving her saucepan and swinging her body around to face the newcomer. “This morning? Not so much.”

“Love that.”

“Is that a London accent?” Yaz asks as soon as she picks it up.

“Yeah.” Bill smiles. “You’re Northern.”

“Sheffield.” Yaz specifies.

“Thought so.”

Yaz puts her bread in the toaster and opens her can of beans, which flicks sauce up her neck and onto her chin.

“Here.” Bill offers her drying cloth before Yaz can complain about her day was going and it was only 9:40 am. “Oh wow. Really had fun, huh.”

Yaz realises where exactly on her neck she had just wiped clean and smirks to herself. “I think she had more fun than I did.”

Noticing the use of pronouns both Bill and Yaz froze. Yaz had just outed herself in front of someone she had met literally minutes ago and she hadn’t been able to suss out whether it was safe or not yet. Her heart was pounding while she waited for Bill to say something.

“Lesbian?” Bill asks.

“Yeah.”

“Oh thank God, me too.” Bill grins and exhales as if she had been holding her breath for a while now. “Sorry, that sounded weird, it’s just the people in this flat are a bit-”

“Straight and white?” Yaz finishes. She thought the exact same thing when she met their flatmates for the first time.

Bill snorts. “Yeah pretty much.”

“We’ll have to stick together next time they come knocking for a night out.”

“Actually, I heard them talking about getting pizza in tonight.”

Yaz thinks. Pizza sounded good. Pizza with a group of people she barely knew sounded not so good. However, she knew that come dinner time she wouldn’t want to make any food anyway so she might as well.

“Fine.” Yaz says. “But I’m wearing a scarf.”

 

Yaz napped for the majority of the day after showering and it made her feel better but groggy at the same time. She had told Bill to order whatever pizza if she was still sleeping by the time the flat ordered, so long as it didn’t have meat, but Yaz had woken up way before then. She still had a headache, so laid alone in her room scrolling through her phone to entertain herself. There was nothing out of the ordinary popping up. There were posts that made Yaz chuckle, some made Yaz full out laugh and others made her roll her eyes. There were quite a few pictures of old school friends out at freshers events but one club picture in particular caught her eye.

Jenny Smith was tagged in a photo by Clara Oswald. Yaz had forgotten that they now had connections on social media with each other and she mindlessly enters Jenny's profile and starts scrolling through. Jenny herself didn’t really post much. She shared a lot of scientific journals and articles about human rights and they were scattered between tagged pictures of herself with friends and pictures of cats and dogs she saw in the street and decided they were worthy enough to post online. There were two things Yaz noticed the most about Jenny’s appearance: First, Jenny’s colourful wardrobe choices. In every picture she was wearing a white undershirt and over that she wore bright coloured t-shirts with graphics on, mostly depicting space and aliens. Along with that Jenny wore, in every single picture, trouser braces that went perfectly with her outfit. Secondly, her demeanor and how she held herself showed no sign of caring about what anyone else thinks about her, which was a contrast to how she was behaving this morning when Yaz booted her out of her room.

Yaz’s thumb hovered over the ‘message’ button while she thinks about what she could say to make herself not look like a douchebag. She could keep it short and just say she was sorry for being rude. She could explain herself but that could be seen as her trying too hard. Usually, talking online was easier for Yaz than talking face to face but with Jenny it felt wrong to not be looking at her face while talking to her. Yaz’s thumb presses the message icon and starts to type when another notification pops up, catching her eye. She switches to the text.

“Nice work Yaz.” The text read with a winking emoji at the end. Two seconds later an image comes through of the senders torso, her tattoo as prominent as ever, with dark purple patches trailing down from just under her bra to where the picture cut off. Yaz didn’t remember doing it. They banter around for a few more minutes over text and Yaz decides that the both of them weren’t going to be anything more than casual. She was nice but Yaz knows she wouldn’t be able to keep up with her. And she was getting tired of having to be on top.

Someone knocks at her door so she gets up to open it, forgetting that she needed to message Jenny completely. .

“Pizza’s here.” Bill says, and Yaz joins her in walking the short distance down the corridor to the kitchen.

“Yaz!” One of the other girls cheers as she sees her walk into the room and Yaz instantly feels bad for not remembering her name.

She takes a seat next to Bill and grabs a slice, Bill taking the adjacent one.

“How’s everyone settling in?” A girl with jet black hair asks.

A mixture of “alright” and “not too bad” comments come from mouths half full with food.

“Sorry if I was a bit loud last night.” A bottle blonde says. Jenny’s hair was dyed better than hers.

“You got it good girl.” A brown haired girl smirks.

“Forewarning it won’t be the last time.” The blonde adds and everyone laughs. Bill and Yaz share a look.

It was going to be a long evening.

Chapter Text

Student society and local business stands covered almost every inch of the sports complex during the freshers fair. Yaz had wandered down with her new friend Bill about fifteen minutes ago and they had barely made a dent in the amount of stalls they wanted to go to. They had picked up vouchers for piercings, takeaways, discount taxi services, local restaurants and collected flyers for some societies they probably wouldn’t look at again but they were giving out free pens. There were so many and the room was so loud Yaz can only brush over the societies or she’ll get a headache from having to concentrate.

“Hey, look over there.” Bill draws her attention to a group of drag queens huddled around a table. Yaz was about to say something back when she gets run into and pushed forward.

“Watch it!” Yaz raises her voice. The amount of people brushing past her had already put a strain on how much more her senses could take.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t- oh, hi.” Jenny physically relaxes when she realises she's only ran into Yaz.  

“Hey.” Yaz smiles back.

“I told you we’d run into each other again.” Jenny shrugs awkwardly.

“Literally.” Yaz wags her finger back and forth between them referencing how Jenny had actually run into her. They both start to giggle as if this was a years long running joke between them.

“Hi! I’m Bill.” Bill says, snatching back both Yaz and Jenny’s attention. “I’m here too.”

Jenny acknowledge Bill but swiftly switches her attention back to Yaz. “Yasmin I’m sorry if I stepped over the line yesterday morning.”

“It’s alright. I was...you know.”

“And my social cues aren’t exactly…” Jenny waves her hands frantically and messily each side of her face. “all there. Sometimes I just blurt things out.”

“That’s okay. Not your fault if that’s just how you are.”

“It’s really interesting actually, there’s this part of the brain where if-” Jenny stops and the excitement behind her eyes fades a little “you won’t be interested in that, what am I talking about.” She laughs nervously and Yaz notices her pulling on the cuffs on her white undershirt and scratches them into her palm.

“No, tell me.” Yaz encourages her. “I like learning new things.”

“I’ll catch up with you later.” Bill says, lightly pressing her hand against Yaz’s back as she walks away, not letting Yaz say anything else. Both Jenny and Yaz watch Bill walk until she was out of earshot and one of them decide they really should say something for this to not get weird.

“So there’s this chemical, right, and…”

Yaz listens to Jenny talk despite still not knowing what all the words meant and walks right by her side through and out of the sports complex. Yaz knew nothing about science and the biology of the brain but if it stopped this young aspiring scientist from hiding away and not thinking she was stupid for getting passionate about it, Yaz would keep listening for as long as Jenny wanted to talk. Even though she didn’t really know what she was going on about, it was still interesting.

“And that’s why sometimes I, and other people of course, miss that empathy is meant to go here, I have to stop talking there and start listening here, excetera excetera.”

“You learn stuff like this on your course all the time?” Yaz asks, curious as to what section of ‘biology’ this university specialises on.

“No, I looked that up myself. I like being able to understand what’s going on with myself.” Jenny stops walking and lifts her hand like a master of ceremonies at the university cafeteria door which they have found themselves in front of. “Hot beverage?”

The both of them get a cup of tea each and grab a table. The canteen was loud but not as loud as the sports complex hosting the freshers fair and Yaz was thankful for that and she guesses Jenny is too. They who reason they even left the sports complex was because Jenny explained she didn’t mix well with loud noises.

“How’s your first week been?” Jenny asks.

“It’s been okay.” Yas nods as if to convince herself what she was saying was the truth. “I’ve noticed I’ve not really been eating properly.”

It was true. Compared to living at home where there was a whole system of what was being cooked for dinner and who was cooking it, Yaz wasn’t really paying attention to meal times and whether her body was asking for food or not. Lunch had been practically non existent for the past few days and dinner was becoming a repeat of breakfast.

“Everyone’s diets go a bit funny, it’ll get better when you get into a routine with your classes and stuff.”

“How long did it take you?” Yaz asks.

“I lived off fish fingers, chicken nuggets, and custard creams for the first two weeks.”

Yaz crinkles her eyebrows, concerned that there didn’t seem to be a second part to that sentence. “And after the first two weeks?”

“Oh, I was fine after that.” Jenny even waves her hand to show how insignificant those two weeks of her life were.

“Why didn’t you change uni’s for your second degree?”

“It was just easier. I knew the buildings, the professors, and I didn’t want to apply as a ‘mature’ student.”

“Wait, how old are you?”

“Just turned twenty-two. Mature students are anyone over twenty one. But, like, have you met twenty one year olds?”

Yaz chokes on her tea. “Wouldn’t exactly call them mature.”

“How old are you?” Jenny asks.

“Ninteen, almost twenty.”

“You’re a baby!” Jenny laughs, eyes wide and mouth agape.

“Shut up, no I’m not!” Yaz says lightly. “Sometimes I still feel like a fifteen year old.” She admits. Especially now that she’s moved away from her home and her parents.

“Me too. I mean look at me,” Jenny points at her chest. “I wear tops with science graphics on everyday.”

“I like that you’re confident to wear stuff like that.” Yaz compliments her.

“I’m not confident I just don’t care about what other people think.” Jenny shrugs and sips her tea. “Who did your AA turn out to be?”

“Doctor Song.”

Jenny leans forward. “Big hair? Archaeology department? Speaks a bit posh and says ‘sweetie’ a lot?”

“Yeah, know her?” Yaz asks, confused at the accuracy of Jenny’s description.

Jenny readjusts herself in her seat. “I’ve seen her around.”

“Why did you say it like that? Should I be worried?”

“Nah, Doctor Song is lovely as an advisor I’ve just had friends that have had her as a tutor and they say she’s more concerned about her own projects.”

“Good job I’m not doing archaeology then.” Yaz says, turning away to cough when her sentence has finished.

“Still got freshers flu?” Jenny asks.

“Little bit.” She sniffs unknowingly. “It’s manageable.”

“Think I’m getting it to be honest.”

“Better not touch you then.”

“You’ve already caught it. I could kiss you and it wouldn’t do anything.” Jenny looks up having realised the hypothetical situation she just presented. “I mean- not that I was planning to- I didn’t- I wasn’t-” Jenny chokes on her own words and laughs nervously. “I’ve offended you, this is why I can’t make new friends.” She hides her head in her hands.

“No, it’s okay,” Yaz smiles sweetly and reaches over the table to pull her arms back down until Jenny looks her in the eye again. “You haven’t offended me.”

“I’ve been told I come on too strong sometimes.” Jenny says. Yaz notices her doing the plucking action with her undershirt again and assumes it’s some kind of nervous tick. “You’re a really kind person, Yasmin.”

“You can call me Yaz.” Yaz insists. The use of her full name was starting to grate on her nerves, even though her use of it was kind of sweet.

“You said only your mates call you ‘Yaz’.” Jenny recalls and it makes Yaz wonder how many of her words Jenny has stored away in her memory bank.

“The fact you remembered I said that means you’re practically my mate already.”

“Cool.” Jenny relaxes back into her seat. “Yaz. Yeah, I like saying that.”

“Really only my sister calls me Yasmin. Or my mum if I’ve really pissed her off.”

“What are their names?” Jenny asks, taking an evident interest in Yaz’s family life.

“Sonya’s my sister, Najia’s my mum and Hakim is my dad.” Yaz lists them off. “And my nana, she says I’m her favourite so she’s worth the shoutout, she’s called Umbreen.”

“Love that.”

“What about your family?”

There was a pause. A brief pause, but still a pause worthy enough for Yaz to quickly fall into worry that she had hit a nerve or a sore spot.

“Don’t really have family. Only friends.”

“Sometimes friends make a better family than blood does.”

Jenny and Yaz end up smiling warmly at each other across the table and are only interrupted by a tray of food clattering down in the space next to Jenny, making her jump. Sitting down in the seat next to Jenny was Clara, or at least Yaz assumed it was the woman she met outside the club that night because she had a pair of dark sunglasses covering her eyes.

“You look-” Jenny starts but Clara lifts her finger up and presses it against Jenny’s lips without even looking.

“Don’t.” Clara whispers.

“Remember Yaz?” Jenny asks and Clara looks up from her plate of food. She lifts her glasses away from her eyes and squints at her.

“Oh yeah. The girl that scurried off with the hot barmaid.” Clara grins and covers her eyes again. “Jen give you back your keys?”

Yaz reaches into her jacket pocket and pulls out her keys making them jiggle.

“Pissed her off in the process too.” Jenny says.

“You didn’t piss me off, I was just hungover.” Yaz quickly jumps in.

“And I didn’t pick up on it.”

“That’s not your fault, that’s just you.” Clara says as if she had said the same thing many times before and shoves a pile of mashed potato in her mouth.

“I did tell her that.” Yaz says.

Even through the glasses Yaz could tell that Clara was giving Jenny a disapproving look. It was funny watching them interact. The pair of them interacted like they were on the same level in every sense of the term but they had only known each other for three years. But, Yaz understands how easy it can be to like Jenny as a person and want to keep her as a friend. Compared to her flatmates, excluding Bill, Jenny was a breeze to talk to and get along with and Yaz could tell that just from the almost hour they’ve spent together chatting.

“It’s because you’re pretty, she doesn’t believe people that are pretty.” Clara explains.

“Oi!”

“Please!” Clara raises her hand to hush Jenny’s protest. “Some of us just woke up.”

“It’s two in the afternoon.”

“Time is an illusion, Jen, you’re doing a physics degree you should know- wait did you just say 2PM?”

Both Jenny and Yaz nod.

“Fuck my academic advisor meet-” Clara gets up out of her seat too fast and has to steady herself. “No, I will throw up, I’m skipping that.” She sits back down in her seat.

“You’re a mess.” Jenny says before turning to Yaz and mouthing the word ‘sorry’.

But Yaz doesn’t mind. She didn’t get to be part of interactions like this in her flat and she never had them like this back home in Sheffield. Knowing she wasn’t going to be shunted away by either of them like she had been so much during secondary school and college, was like a root grounding her to the Earth in a place that was still new and unfamiliar. She felt the same with Ryan, as he was a literal link with her past, but he felt old and familiar. These two women bickering in front of her felt new and familiar; a mix she could happily get on board with.

 

Yaz sat with Clara and Jenny for however long it took Clara to finish her plate of food before she overdid herself and fell into the hot sweats section of being hungover. Yaz felt a sense of normality afterwards, like she had just been out with friends for lunch when actually they were only properly just meeting. When Jenny got up to get a refill, Clara hinted that Jenny would become easier to handle the more she got to know her and she made it clear that by ‘handle’ she didn’t mean suppress or control, she meant encourage. At least that’s how it came across to Yaz.

Unlocking the door to her room once more (Yaz was getting used to how she had to lift the handle up while she turned the key otherwise it wouldn’t open.) She gets stopped in her tracks when Bill asks her a question while hovering in her own doorway.

“Who was the blonde?”

And Yaz answers confidently:

"A friend."

Chapter Text

Classes came around sooner than Yaz had anticipated. ‘Social sciences’ was split into three subsections so that they would be prepared for whatever pathway they wanted to go onto after the foundation year: Psychology, Law and Politics, and Academic Development. She had to choose an elective module in addition to that and went with History, purely because she felt it important to know what had happened in the past. Especially with her nana telling her every time she sees her that she was the first woman to be married in Pakistan. Yaz felt a bit cheated that her first lecture was from the course conveyor outlining how things were going to work and she hadn’t been taught anything yet. She was paying money for this and had taken out a loan. It makes her wonder how people like Jenny, ‘professional students’, can afford to keep getting degree after degree after degree.

It was a beautiful day again, but as September drove on the sun brought a kind of cold heat with it that required at least a jacket. Still, after her introductory lecture Yaz found a bench in a quiet spot to watch the world go by. If she went straight back to her room she’d feel a bit too confined. The sun never directly hit her window which meant it was always a little bit colder than the other rooms in the flat. That’s why going out and sitting directly in the sunlight was a habit Yaz had fallen into over the past few days with nothing else to do.

She flips her phone over and over again in her hand subconsciously, the screen slapping her palm every other turn. Yaz had told herself to wait at least a week before calling home and she had done so but, on one hand she didn’t think she was ready. The whole point of the one week rule she had set herself was to make sure she had settled but Yaz didn’t know if she was completely settled yet. If she called up now and realised she actually was still homesick it could undo everything she’s done to stay strong. She knew her mum wanted her to call sooner than a week and she was not-so-secretly annoyed about that. Although Yaz had her doubts about how she would react, she felt she owed it to her mother to let her know she was still alive and it wasn’t an impostor texting her.

Yaz flips her phone again until the screen was facing her. She unlocks it, brings up her contacts and silently asks herself if she was sure about this. She presses ‘call’ before she’s decided and it only rings for a couple of seconds before her mum picks up.

“Yaz?”

The sound of her voice was enough to force a lump up into her throat.

“Hi mum.” Yaz says, trying not to let the lump crack.

“Is everything alright sweetheart?”

Yaz swallows. It makes the lump in her throat larger.

“I miss you.” The lump rises even further up and is expelled as silent tears through her eyes. Using her spare hand Yaz hides her face from the people passing by because she really didn’t want some busybody coming up to get involved so they could make themselves feel better about themselves by helping an upset first year. “I didn’t think I was going to cry but I am.”

“Have you cried before now?” Najia asks.

“On- only once.” Yaz sniffs.

“Then let it out sweetheart, it’s alright.”

Yaz hunches over, resting her elbows on her thighs and lets herself sob for a bit. Najia waits patiently on the other end of the line for her daughter to gather some control over her emotions, scattering a few ‘it’s okay’s’ into the mix to let Yaz know she was still there.

“Tell me about home.” Yaz requests when she gets her breathing pattern back to normal.

“Everything’s the same but we can tell you’re not here. Dad’s still cooking, one day he might even get better.”

Yaz chuckles, remembering how bad her dad’s pakodi is. “What about Sonya?”

“She’s got a boyfriend.”

“Blimey.”

“Don’t think it will last long, she’s the complete opposite of him.”

“They say opposites attract.”

“Have you met anyone?”

Yaz gets a flashback to the barmaids fingers clawing at her back as she came (for the second time) and can’t think of anything to cover up the fact she had left her mum with a silence.

“Not romantically, just in general.” Najia specifies.

“I’ve made a friend in my flat. Bill.”

“Is he nice?”

“She is, yeah. She’s a bit like me. She’s doing Journalism.”

“Oh interesting!”

“And I went to primary school with the maintenance man in my building. Do you remember Ryan Sinclair?”

“Yeah. Sweet boy, his mum died of a heart attack and he was the one who found her body.”

“Fucki-”

“Language.”

“Friking hell, I don’t remember that.”

“We- all the parents I mean- we kept it from you all so you wouldn’t treat him differently. You were what? Thirteen? Evil age, we didn’t know what certain people would say to him.”

Yaz takes a moment to think. It was fair enough that the parents of their classmates didn’t want them to get involved since they were all so young still but she finds it a little unfair that they couldn’t help understand him. To offer some kind of comfort at least.

“Met anyone else?” Najia probes.

Yaz knows that her mum is trying to dig for gossip and is trying to see if Yaz has met a nice girl she might eventually settle down with, despite still being a teenager. But Yaz hadn’t met anyone else except Clara and Jenny and for some strange reason she didn’t want to tell her mum about Jenny. Jenny was her secret escape from the uncertainty of university life and if she suddenly disappeared her mum would start to say bad things about her. Yaz wouldn’t have anyone say bad things about her.

“A guy came onto me in a club and I almost broke his finger.”

Najia laughs and Yaz contemplates telling her everything else. About the panic attack, about getting ill, how she hated how men looked at her when she walked back from the barmaids apartment, how she feels like each day is four days long right now. But, that would open a whole other can of worms and make her mum worry more than she already was. She leaves it and makes her mum tell stories from the past week just so she could hear her voice.

The phone call was over sooner than Yaz wanted it to be. Sonya had come home and was refusing to wash some dishes and Najia had to hurry off to probably start scolding her for not ‘respecting this house and everyone in it’. Somehow, the rushed sign off made Yaz feel an even stronger link with home because it felt like she was sitting in her room hearing the almost argument in the flesh. Yaz goes back to staring aimlessly in front of her. She completely retreats into her own mind until a voice that was becoming more and more familiar to her pulled her out again.

“Hey Yaz.” Jenny in full university branded running clothes with her hair tied up starts jogging on the spot in front of her. “Everything okay?”

“I just spoke to my mum.” Yaz says, giving a very unconvincing smile.

Noticing the tiredness in her voice from crying and the strained smile, Jenny stops jogging and sits down on the bench next to her, still breathing a little heavily from her run.

“Is everything okay with her?” Jenny asks, concerned that yaz had received some bad news.

“Yeah she’s fine I just…” Yaz starts to drift off into thinking again.

“Feels like it’s miles away, right?” Jenny says, not letting the conversation go dry.

“What does?”

“Home. Family.”

Yaz can feel herself welling up again and brings her hand to her eyes to wipe away anything before it falls.

“Oh, God, I’ve said the wrong thing again haven’t I?” Jenny says.

“No, you said a nice thing.” Yaz says with quite an uncontrollably high pitch to her voice.

Jenny’s hand gently pats Yaz’s shoulder blade as an awkward form of comfort but what Yaz really wanted was a hug, and not knowing Jenny would be okay with it or not, Yaz shifts the direction of her body and wraps her arms around the blonde, imagining she was her mum, or her sister, or her dad, or anyone from home. Jenny stiffens and Yaz thinks she’s walked over a line and that she really should have asked to touch her first but before she could pull back, Jenny’s long arms keep her connected. Jenny herself smelt slightly sweaty, reminding Yaz that she had interrupted her run.

“I’m sorry. You were busy exercising.” Yaz apologises, despite Jenny deciding to stop and talk by her own will.

“I run almost everyday, it’s fine.” Jenny says. “It gets better, Yaz. By the end of the year you’re going to miss living independently and you’ll still love your family but they’ll get right on your nerves throughout the summer.”

Yaz laughs for a couple of seconds while she stares at a leaf falling from one of the trees in the distance. When the leaf touches the ground she releases Jenny from her grip.

“Sorry.” Yaz apologises for the ambush.

“Stop apologising, I don’t mind.” Jenny smiles kindly and waves away the apology as if she was trying to stop the soundwaves hitting her eardrums. “Other than missing your mum how’ve you been?” She asks.

“I’ve been okay. Had my first lecture just now.” Yaz answers.

“Usual introductory bullshit?”

“Yup.”

“Hate it when they do that.” Jenny shakes her head. “I have mine tomorrow, I’m dreading it.”

“I thought of all people you’d be the one excited to get going.”

“I was before I had hindsight on how many ‘get to know me’ games they play.”

“Is it really that bad?”

“Literally gonna happen in all your classes.” Jenny smiles at her as if she felt sorry for Yaz for having to go through it, even though she will be doing the same thing. “Hope you’ve got enough two truths and a lie options ready.”

Yaz throws her head back. “Oh God I hate that one.”

“For the whole week, it makes me want to pluck out my own eyes with a smashed martini glass, just” Jenny makes a slurping sound and mimes scooping out her eyeball. “Right out!”

It makes Yaz laugh. Properly laugh, not polite laugh.

“I prefer seeing you laugh than seeing you cry.” Jenny says, smiling.

“I prefer laughing to crying.” Yaz says back, smiling as well but properly smiling this time to match her proper laugh.

“Don’t we al- aw bloody hell.” Jenny’s eye gets caught by her friend and flatmate, who was also in running gear, walking with a cup and small brown bag in one hand and her phone in the other. “Did you seriously get coffee and a pastry?” She asks Clara when she looks up from her phone.

“If you’re going to run ahead and leave me to my own devices, little miss gifted and talented sport, I’m going to do what I like- Hi Yaz- and it’s a muffin not a pastry.”  

“Hi.”

“What’s the point in running if you’re going to eat a muffin?” Jenny asks, scrunching her face up.

Clara cocks her head. “It’s a blueberry muffin. Are we going home or what?”

“I’m talking to Yaz.” Jenny says without hesitation.

“It’s okay, you go with her.” Yaz insists.

“Are you sure?” Jenny checks, her eyes darting over every inch of the surface of Yaz’s face, analysing her.

“I’m fine.” Yaz smiles to reiterate her point.

“Message me if it gets too much again.” Jenny says, standing up but still not letting her eyes leave Yaz. She was giving her her full attention which Yaz thought to be a bit unnecessary but it was still a kind gesture.

“I will.” Yaz says to assure her.

Jenny pouts and gives Yaz a thumbs up. Yaz watches her walk up to Clara and swiftly snatches the paper bag out of her hand.

“First one home wins the muffin!” Yaz hears Jenny shout as she sprints off towards the direction of the train station.

Clara throws her head back and groans. “I’m going to throttle her one day.”

“You’ll have to catch her first.” Yaz responds even though the words weren’t exactly directed at anyone in particular.

“I can see why she likes you.” Clara smirks before waving goodbye and walking off.

Yaz spends another half hour sitting on that bench watching people pass by. She likes to create stories in her head about where those people are going and what their day had been like; what subjects they took and what kind of life they had before coming here. If a group of people passed close enough to her she would catch glimpses of their conversations. Some made her laugh, so made her worry for their health and some made her want to follow and find out how the story ended. Of course she didn’t, she just sat and watched and repeated the words Jenny had told her about how it gets better.

When the wind started to pick up and the tips of her fingers started to tingle from the cold it brought with it, Yaz decides to leave. It was a late lecture anyway- three until four in the afternoon-  and with the time Yaz had spent alone by the time she got back, her whole flat were back too. Yaz didn’t feel like talking, she had had enough of that today, so she quickly hides herself in her room and gets on with some last minute reading she forgot she had to do for her seminars.

At about half seven, right when Yaz starts to get hungry, there was a knock at her door. She gets out of her desk chair for the first time in hours and feels the blood rushing back to her feet as she walked to unlock the door. Standing there, still in his work clothes, was Ryan.

“Hey.” Yaz greets him.

“I’m here to tell you your ovens are broken.” He says bluntly.

“What? Both of them?” Yaz sighs.

“It’s bad. We’re calling in a specialist but he won’t be here until tomorrow morning.” As if on cue while Ryan was explaining, Yaz’s stomach makes a grumble of protest. “But since you’re my mate, I wanted to invite you to dinner at mine? With my nan and her husband?”

“I can’t have anything that isn’t halal.” Yaz says, seriously considering his offer.

“That’s fine.” Ryan shrugs his broad shoulders. “It’s veggie night tonight anyway.”

“Thanks dude.” Yaz smiles.

“So that’s a yes?”

“Yeah, hang on let me get my phone and stuff.”

Yaz throws on her jacket and puts her keys in her pocket. She picks up her phone, that had been face down on her desk so she wouldn’t get distracted. Because of that, Yaz had missed a message from Jenny from a few hours ago. Ignoring that Ryan was waiting, she opens it. It was a very blurry photo of Jenny just about to shove a muffin in her mouth with Clara in the background, looking like she was lunging for Jenny’s arm. The message under it only said two words- ‘I won’.

“Are you coming or are you just gonna stand smiling at your phone all night?” Ryan asks.

Yaz, still smiling but now attempting to hide it from Ryan so she wouldn’t have to explain it to him, shoves her phone in her pocket alongside her keys.

“Comin’.” She says. "Hey, does your nan have any muffins in by chance?"

"Maybe. Dunno." Ryan frowns realising the absurdity of the question. "Why?"

Yaz shrugs and shakes her head. "No reason."

Chapter Text

Yaz felt like a fool when she didn’t realise that she had got on the number 25 bus with Ryan and didn’t remember that he had said Graham drives it. It was embarrassing asking Ryan what stop they were getting off at and the driver replying but throughout the rest of the journey the two men made an effort to make Yaz think nothing of it. Grace, Ryan’s nan, welcomed Yaz into their home with open arms, even stopping food preparation to give her a bear hug. She was still in her nursing uniform and quickly explained that she had literally just got in from work herself. Yaz offers to help her cook, since she was a guest in her home, but Grace insisted that Graham and Ryan did it.

So, while Grace went and got changed, Yaz chilled out in the kitchen watching Graham and Ryan peel vegetables. Graham initiated some small talk about what subject Yaz was doing at the uni, how Graham had lived all over the country and the story of how he met Grace. It was quite heartwarming how they had met, but to have met your future wife while being treated for cancer must of been one hell of a mix of emotions.

“Anyway, enough about me, met anyone at uni other than him?” Graham asks.

“Got a friend in my flat, Bill.”

“Oh, she’s cute.” Ryan jumps in.

“She’s gay.” Yaz says and watches the hope drain out of Ryan’s eyes. “Sorry mate.”

Ryan shrugs. “Saves me time.”

“Who else?” Graham asks, drawing the conversation back to the original topic.

“No one else from my flat really.”

“What about that blonde one that works in the shop?” Ryan reminds her.

“Oh, yeah Jenny-”

“Not Jenny Smith?” Graham interrupts and drops his peeler on the counter. “Skinny science nerd? Rarely seen without that short brunette with the pointy nose?”

“You didn’t tell me it was her .” Ryan says, his peeling hand also frozen in time.

“What? What’s wrong with that?” Yaz says, eyes wide and now terrified that she was in danger. Ryan and Graham share a look and Graham steps up to explain.

“She’s a little...eccentric.” He says.

“And?” Yaz folds her arms across her chest.

“You know, us bus drivers that go onto campus, we overhear all sorts of malarkey when the students are a bit drunk but there’s only so many times you can hear the same thing from both staff and students before you start to believe it.”

“What is it?” Yaz asks, intrigued.

“There’s a rumour she’s shaggin’ one of the archeology professors.” Ryan takes over.

Graham flinches at how Ryan describes it. “Well, they usually say ‘affair’ but-”

“Apparently a cleaner walked in on them in her office proper going at it.”

“I don’t get why there’s so much talk around this?” Yaz says.

“The professor's, like, in her mid fourties, double Jenny’s age ‘nd that and everyone knows she doesn’t have parents or a mother figure so-”

“Are you two speculating about that poor girl again?” Grace says appearing without any other sound.

“Yaz is friends with her.” Graham says.

“Don’t listen to them love, none of it’s true.”

“You don’t know that for certain.” Ryan says, tapping his temple with his forefinger.

“And you don’t know it is true for certain so speculation does nothing but put people against a smart young woman, so shut it and keep peeling.”

As if they were two puppies that had just been told off for going to the toilet on the carpet, Graham and Ryan hang their heads low with their tails between their legs and peel a little bit faster than before. Grace also leans on the fridge next to Yaz.

“I’m sure she’s a really good person if you consider her a friend. Don’t listen to anything they say.” Grace says quietly, only loud enough for Yaz to hear.

They watch the boys basically cook the entire meal- veggie chicken stir fry- not Yaz’s favourite but a home cooked meal was better than a packet of crisps like she had had yesterday. Watching them complete the task together was truly an experience. It was evident that Graham and Ryan didn’t have the type of relationship Grace wanted them to have but they were slowly getting there. Grace explained that Ryan wouldn’t call Graham ‘Granddad.’ yet and it almost caused him to storm off in a heat but Grace had a way of easily diffusing the situation. Yaz guesses that’s what happens when you end up raising your son’s son through his teenage years.

Her evening with Ryan, Graham, and Grace pulled at her heartstrings the entire time she was under their roof. It was nice. Obviously she enjoyed herself but every time a joke was cracked or a an embarrassing moment from Ryan’s childhood cropped up, it reminded her of home, and Yaz was getting a little bit sick of being reminded of home like this. She was getting fed up of herself thinking like that and having constant reminders. Why couldn’t she start living her life properly? Yes, she loved her family, but they drive her mad when she’s in the same room as them for more than an hour and even that was severely reduced to half an hour when she came back from travelling. Missing the idea of them was tiring her out.

After helping Grace wash and dry up, just like she would with her own mum at home, Yaz was determined to get back to campus and not outstay her welcome. She thanked them for having her and asked what the best way back to campus was from here. Graham said that the stop they got off at should have a bus coming by in about ten minutes.

But Graham was wrong: the next bus was in 45 minutes not ten. The train station was pretty much a half hour walk in itself and it was starting to rain so all Yaz could do was sit in the bus shelter and wait. She had been waiting for a couple of minutes when an old battered car pulled up alongside the bus shelter. The window nearest to her rolls down, exposing who the driver was.

“Need a lift?” Jenny asks.

Yaz smiles in disbelief. “How do you always turn up when I need help?”

Jenny laughs and shrugs. “I like helping people. You just end up needing a lot of it.”

Yaz gets up from the bus shelter bench and gets into Jenny’s car without any doubts of her safety. She didn’t know anything much about cars at all but she knew it was small, a manual, dark blue, and surprisingly clean for a student as it’s owner. Yaz catches a glimpse at the time on the dashboard and realises how late it is. 10PM.

“What are you doing out anyway?” Yaz asks.

“I’m a student doing her second degree with bills to pay and no family to get loans from, you think I only have one job? That’s cute.”

“Alright, fair point. Where d’you work?”

“I tutor kids at the local secondary school.”

“What do you teach?”

“Everything. I’m really smart.” Jenny rejoins the road. “Campus?”

The journey was short but the pair of them managed to fit in what felt like an hours worth of conversation. Yaz explained why she had been out, Jenny talked about how literally every appliance in the kitchens of on campus accommodation will break at some point and Yaz was lucky to have the ovens go now rather than later. Jenny asked if Yaz was feeling any better and Yaz partially lied so that she wouldn’t have to go into it. Jenny admitted that she didn’t actually manage to eat any of that blueberry muffin before Clara had got her on the ground in a choke hold. ‘I might be fast but she’s stronger’ is how Jenny put it. She was getting Yaz to talk so much that Yaz didn’t realise that they had pulled up in front of her building. The only indication that she was back ‘home’ was the artificial light glowing from the computer suite attached to the building shining through.

“Can I ask you something?” Yaz asks, still riding the wave of tranquility from a fun conversation.

“Sure.”

“I’ve been told some stuff about you.” Yaz says.

Her face drops at the same time as she sees Jenny’s do the same. It was obvious she had said the wrong thing. The woman next to her sucks her bottom lip and looks forward, shaking her head, exhaling strongly through her nose.

“I know what people say about me, Yaz.” Jenny turns her head back but doesn’t hold her gaze for long. “I’m ‘weird’, I don’t have any friends, I’m incapable of love because I don’t have parents, that- that I must have something wrong with my brain because I’m so smart and I know things and I think things most other people don’t think about and they think I become some kind of monster when I get angry. It’s not true.” She looks at Yaz, who had been watching her movements intently. “I’m just me.”

“I know.” Yaz says, barely a whisper.

“Don’t lie and say you didn’t believe them.” Jenny says, almost as a warning.

“I believe you.”

It was the first time they had had a moment like this without Clara clattering into the moment, and it meant that all of Yaz’s emotions are being given the time to settle in the pit of her stomach. She felt so sad for Jenny to the point where she almost pitied her. Yaz knew what it was like, to have an entire school talking about you behind your back. It’s not good and does all sorts to your mental health. However, Yaz can’t help but notice that Jenny didn’t address the rumors about her and the archaeology professor. She battles with the idea of being straightforward with her and telling her everything that had been said but that could push Jenny away from confiding in her in the future.

“Thank you.” Jenny says with all sincerity, picking at her sleeves in her palm again.

“Why do you do that?” Yaz asks.

“Do what?”

“That,” Yaz points. “with the cuff of your sleeve.”

Jenny smiles nervously. “It’s just something I do. Don’t worry about it.”

“I make you nervous.” Yaz says.

“No.”

“I do, don’t I.”

“Maybe a little bit.” Jenny gulps. “I’ve never been so attracted to someone like this and -no wait, not attracted I didn’t mean I’m attracted to you like that, what’s the word?”

“Drawn to.”

Jenny pauses. Even in the almost complete darkness Yaz could feel her staring at her.

“Yeah. Exactly. Is that too blunt to say?”

“I don’t think so.” Yaz shakes her head.

A silence falls between them, neither of them knowing what else to say next.

“Thanks for the lift back.” Yaz says, reverting to being polite to get out of a situation.

“Anytime.” Jenny puts on a smile.

Yaz opens the car door, but can’t let herself leave without saying one more thing.

“The people who say those things about you, they’re low lifes, you know that?” Yaz says with a small pinch of guilt that it included two of the people that fed her tonight.

“I know.” Jenny nods, a legitimate smile curling at the corner of her mouth.

“Drive home safe.”

“I will.”

Yaz gets out and walks into her building resisting the urge to turn around. She does it successfully and creeps into her flat not wanting any more social interaction for today. She showers, scrolls through her phone for a little while and goes to sleep.

But she doesn’t get to sleep for long. After about an hour and a half of rest her body is dragged out of sleep by a high pitched beeping. The shock of it made her body shake and she waited a couple of seconds to see if this was a malfunction of the alarm system but it didn’t stop. Reluctantly, Yaz drags herself out of bed, puts on her coat and slippers and exits the building, not forgetting to take her keys to get back in. Once she got outside, she could finally get a grip on how many people were actually living in this building.

“Where the hell were you tonight?” Bill asks, coming to stand by her side as they waited for campus security to turn off the alarm and give the all clear.

“Went to a friends’ for dinner.” Yaz says.

“For someone that keeps to herself you don’t half have lots of friends already. Classes haven’t even started yet.”

“Jealous my attention isn’t going fully to you.” Yaz jokes.

“Nah. I’m fine hanging out with party girls one through three and miss ‘I have lots of sex and like to let everyone know about it’.”

Yaz looks at where Bill looking and sure enough sees the girl from her flat intertwined with a boy that must be no shorter than six foot two inches. Yaz wondered how people had the kind of confidence to act like that in front of such a large group of people and she could never imagine how someone could want that much attention. She was grateful that she didn’t bring the barmaid back here that night for this very reason. If she ever got caught out like this Yaz would be so embarrassed and would want to hide away in her room until people forgot what her face looked like. She guesses it was how her parents had brought her up that made her think this way.

“Ten quid says she publicly asks one of us to take her to a sexual health clinic for the attention within three weeks.” Yaz places her bet.

“Done.”

Chapter Text

“Mornin’”

“Morning.” Yaz response to Ryan, who was over watching the oven man doing what he needed to do to make sure the flat could eat properly.

“Get back okay last night?” He asks, probably on behalf of Grace.

“Your grandda-”

“Graham.” Ryan corrects her.

“Sorry. Graham was well off with the timing but luckily Jenny was driving back from her other job and she dropped me back.”

“What’s her other job?”

“Tutoring GCSE kids or something.” Yaz opens her designated cupboard, sees she has no bread to make toast and settles for cereal instead.

“Didn’t that seem a bit fishy to you?”

“Huh?”

“It was, what, ten ish when you left. Since when do teenagers need tutoring at night in the middle of September when school has only just started?” Ryan pouts.

“What are you trying to say?” Yaz asks even though she already knows what he’s going to say.

“She was with the archaeology professor.”

“Drop it Ryan.” Yaz rolls her head back as she retrieves her milk. She swears that there was less there than she had left yesterday.

“Nope.”

“It’s none of anyone’s business.”

“I’ll drop it if you get definitive proof that it’s a lie.”

“Why can’t you just believe her?”

“Why do you believe her so much?” Ryan says, lowering his voice so the conversation couldn’t be overheard. “I’m not trying to start an argument, I’m just saying you’ve only known her for a week mate, and you’re defending her left right and center. ”

“I can do what I want.” Yaz tries to say the words confidently but she wasn’t entirely convinced herself.

“Just be careful Yaz, I heard she can get violent when she’s angry. Or drunk.”

 

Yaz didn’t need to be careful, because there was no one to be careful around. She didn’t come across Jenny for the next two and a half weeks; no messages, no crossing of paths, nothing. The first couple of days she half expected to run into her like she always ended up doing but that didn’t happen either. It was like Jenny had disappeared off the face of the Earth, leaving no trace that she ever existed. Yaz managed to convince herself that it was her fault for mentioning that she had heard some rumours about her and was too forward, however after confiding her fears in Bill, Yaz chilled out for the first time since she had moved in. She relaxed and focused on her first weeks of classes and building her friendships with Ryan and Bill.

The first few seminars were painfully quiet and sure enough injected with get to know me games as predicted. Yaz gave up some information about herself but kept it specific so that anyone who attempted to make friends with her would be the kind of people she wanted to have contact with, however, she was still strategic in who she made friends with, knowing that group presentations were very much a thing that was going to happen. Yaz knew that the amount of reading content would take a while to get used to, especially since being out of education for a while, but it was proving a struggle to get it all done before the seminars. But, with very little distractions, she could feel herself slowly falling into routine.

Walking back from her Thursday 9am, having sat through two hours worth of running through the basics of human psychology, she sees her again, leaning nonchalantly against a low brick wall staring at her phone. Yaz approaches, dismissing any thoughts that Jenny has purposefully been avoiding her. She manages to lean against the same wall and still not get noticed.

“Hi.” Yaz says, almost as if she was forcing herself into Jenny’s world. Realising she wasn’t alone anymore, Jenny almost jumped out of her skin and fumbles with her phone trying not to drop it. Yaz was the one who prevented it hitting the ground. “Where did you go?” She asks, handing the phone back.

“What do you mean?” Jenny asks, her face visibly confused.

Yaz notices Jenny is wearing a tshirt that has periodic table elements on it that spell out ‘genius.’

“I haven’t seen you around in almost three weeks. Given track record it was a bit weird.”

“Oh, I kind of hide away the first few weeks to get into the routine, sorry. If I don’t get going and set up structure now I’ll easily get distracted by something. Someone.” Jenny explains.

Yaz couldn’t comprehend why, but the way Jenny was looking at her as she said ‘someone’ made heat rise to her cheeks. She ignores it.

“That’s a good plan.” Is all she can manage to say in response. There’s an extended moment of silence with both of the women, each scanning over one another in desperate attempts to analyse body language to get the right thing to say next.

“Listen,” Jenny says slowly. “this might be a bit weird but Clara’s bailed out on going to a science social with me tonight. Would you come with me? You don’t have to dress up or anything, it’s just nice when there’s someone I know.”

“I...uh…” Yaz hesitates at the offer.

“There’s free food.”

“Then yes.”

 

Jenny meets Yaz outside her building at 7pm. Luckily, no one else in her flat was paying much attention to her, even Bill who had a friend from her Journalism class around. She wouldn’t have cared if they knew, but Yaz likes Jenny and doesn’t want people giving her funny looks for spending time with her. Seeing her again put her in a good mood and nothing was going to destroy it.

“Do you really not know anyone else there?” Yaz asks as they walk down the paths lit by both streetlamps and the setting sun.

“I know the staff not so much the students but that’s the whole point of the night. You’ll know one, Doctor Song is coming.”

At the mention of the name Yaz goes quiet, not wanting to say something that overstepped the line. She thought she was discreet with the action, but of course, she gets noticed, and Jenny sighs.

“Ask me. I know you want to. Get it out the way.” She says and happily waits for Yaz to say the words.

“How do you know her?” Yaz asks.

“She knew my parents from before I was born. It’s not an ‘I need a mother’ thing, she’s only a link to them but we both know that’s not really the question.”

“Okay.” Yaz stops walking so that she can look at Jenny directly. “Do you have sex with her?”

Yaz holds her breath. Jenny’s problem with being so facially expressive means Yaz can tell she’s weighing up whether to lie or tell the truth.

“Yes.” Jenny says. She had chosen the truth. “Sometimes, but only when it’s needed and I don’t go near her when I’m interested in someone else.”

“Fair enough.” Yaz says, resuming their walking pace.

“You don’t seem that bothered.”

“Why should I?” Yaz shrugs. “You can do what you want, you know, it’s just an act.”

“You don’t think it could mean more with the right person?”

“I wouldn’t know.”

“You’re telling me you’ve never had a girlfriend?” Yaz nods. “No!” Jenny hits her arm. “You’re lying.”

“I’m serious!” Yaz chuckles. “And don’t ask why not because I don’t know.”

“You’ll find someone. I’ll make sure you find someone, so help me universe.”

“Promise?” Yaz asks. Jenny pouts proudly and holds out her little finger. Yaz wraps her little finger around Jenny’s and the blonde shakes their fingers up and down vigorously.

“Promise. How’d you feel about Clara?”

“No.”

“Okay, this is going to be harder than I thought.”

There wasn’t much of a walk left to the building the social was being held at. Yaz wasn’t sure what a subject social held in a large seminar room would be or look like or if many people would actually turn up but it seemed that the promise of free food three weeks into teaching could lure a decent amount of students out of their flats. Some you could tell were tutors but others Yaz had no clue. Obviously there were the classic science nerds with baby faces you had to listen to correct the teacher and sat at the front of the class almost every lesson. Then there were the people that looked like Jenny with necks that hunched over slightly due to the amount of work they obviously do. And after that there were the people that looked like science was on their parents side when they decided to have a baby and if university didn’t work out for them they could easily become some sort of model.

“Ah Jenny!” An older looking professor calls her over and Yaz tries to hang back but Jenny hurries her along with her. “Gentlemen this is Jenny Smith one of our brightest and boldest scientists in the making.”

“Well…” Jenny smirked, not denying the compliment. Yaz could feel the men’s eyes all collectively land on her. “Sorry, this is Yaz, Clara couldn’t make it tonight so she said she’d come with me.”

As Jenny introduced her and what subject she was going and planning on taking next year, Yaz shakes some hands that belonged to people with smiling and friendly faces. But in the mix of men a new face appeared. Well, not entirely new. Jenny introduces her anyway.

“Yaz this is Doctor River Song, River this is Yaz.”

“Yaz! How have your first few weeks been?” River asks politely and seemingly genuinely intrigued.

“Good, thanks. I think.” Yaz laughs nervously. Ever since both River and Jenny joined the mix the men that had initially formed the little circle had seemed to disperse. “Jen did you want a drink?”

Yaz didn’t know what spirit had possessed her to suddenly call Jenny ‘Jen’ but Jenny didn’t look offended or confused at all. In fact she looked a little bit pleased. She agrees to the drink and starts to move with Yaz but Yaz hears River hold her back, posing that she wanted to ask her something about her dissertation last year. Yaz lets them get on with whatever they might actually be talking about but when she was at the drinks table, she realised she didn’t actually know what Jenny wanted. She quickly spins round to shout back over the not-very-loud-but-still-present music to ask, but the sight stopped her.

She had only just caught a glimpse of it, but River had definitely tried to kiss Jenny somewhere in the vicinity of her face and Jenny hand pulled back, gave a sweeping look around the room to see if anyone had seen, then shook her head. Her next course of action was to swipe River’s hand off of her upper arm. Yaz wasn’t sure if they were usually this hostile with each other in public, since everyone reportedly had their suspicions, so she kept watching. Jenny wasn’t positioned well enough for Yaz to see her lips moving but they were definitely in a hushed and very short conversation, because River soon lightly brushes her hand against Jenny’s shoulder and walks away in the opposite direction. Yaz swiftly waves Jenny over as soon as she has the chance to catch her eye.

“That looked fun.” Yaz says when she feels Jenny turn up next to her.

“I had to tell her to leave me alone.” Jenny says, taking a hip flask out of her trouser waistline.

“Whoa, okay.”

“I don’t want her anywhere near me.” Jenny says, pouring some of the flasks contents into a cup. This is when it clicks in Yaz’s head:

I don’t go near her when I’m interested in someone else. I don’t want her anywhere near me.

“You’ve got a crush.” Yaz grins, proud that she’s worked it out. Jenny laughs, but it was more of an erratic exhale. “Who is it? Is she here? Am I here to be your wing-man? One of your new classmates? Oh God please let it be one of the nerdy ones, I’d love to watch that interaction.”

“She’s not a classmate.” Jenny says, drinking out of the cup that only had the contents of the hip flask in it, having not had anything added to it. “I want pizza. Come on, that’s the whole reason we’re here.”

“And for you to tell your mistress to back off.”

“Oh hi Clara I thought you couldn’t make it tonight.” Jenny says, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

“Alright I’ll stop.” Yaz says softly.

The next hour or so consisted of people making polite conversation with Jenny, whether it be staff or student. The staff talked to Jenny like she was their friend, which proved to Yaz that Jenny spent a hell of a lot of time in the lab and with her tutors. ‘It’s because a few of them think like me’ is how Jenny put it. Yaz wondered what her official mental diagnostic was, but since Jenny explained herself in the car that evening as ‘just me’ Yaz thought it would be rude or insensitive to ask her. When it was time to go, Jenny said goodbye to those she had spent the most time with (excluding Yaz) but only sent a wave over to River.

“That went well.” Jenny says as the cold October night air filled their lungs. “Thank you for coming with me.”

“S’alright.” Yaz shrugs as if it was nothing. “Why couldn’t Clara come again?”

“I lied, I asked you because I wanted to make it up to you for not letting you know I was still alive for two weeks.” Jenny says, her voice crisp and clear with no hesitation.

“So you did this all to spend time with me?” Yaz asks, confused.

“If you like.”

“What if I hadn’t spotted you this morning?”

“Who do you think I was messaging?”

Yaz shakes her head in disbelief. “You really are shit at doing things the normal way.”

“Normality is boring, everyone subscribes to the first logical theory people can come up with and there are so many missed opportunities on how to live life.”

Yaz smiles as Ryan is disproved once again. Jenny wasn’t an angry or violent drunk; she was a philosophical nerd.

“Are you going to get home alright?”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine.” Jenny says as they reach a crossroads: one went in the direction of the train station and main campus car park, the other to the accommodations. “Yaz, don’t let me disappear again.”

If the light was better, Yaz would be able to see that Jenny was in fact pleading with her longingly to spend more time with her. To check up on her and message first because Jenny really liked Yaz and she didn’t know how to say it properly. Her pupils were heavily dilated as she attempted the stare the words into Yaz’s sole at the same time she spoke them. Of course, Jenny didn’t fully accept that she was doing this consciously, which is probably why, even in the almost darkness, it didn’t work.  

“Okay.” Yaz says.

They part ways for the night, Yaz not thinking anything more of Jenny’s request.

Chapter Text

Weekends bored Yaz. With no classes she was paying to go to and no need to go into town she was pretty much alone with herself. However, after living independently for a month or so now, she had fallen into the practice of doing her readings for the next week in the day and doing laundry on a Saturday evening. Everyone else slept in late which meant it was quiet enough for Yaz to concentrate properly. This particular Saturday, she knew the clique in her flat had gone out the night before and come back very early in the morning, so they wouldn’t stir until about one in the afternoon.

The weather had turned for good this morning, with the sky becoming permanently grey and the trees shedding themselves bare ready for winter to come. Yaz usually likes October. The colours that came with it, the excuse to wear oversized jumpers, and the crisp chill in the air that made everything feel fresh. The only thing she didn’t like about it now was the five minute walk to the launderette. Fine in warm weather; but in the wind and rain and lugging an ikea bag of dirty clothes at eleven at night not so much. Yaz found that this time was when it was the most quiet and she didn’t have to wait for a machine to be free. However, the bad weather today must have put some people off because apart from one other person Yaz was the only one there.

Just after Yaz settles down to wait after paying the extortionate amount to have clean clothes, Jenny comes in with a bag of clothes over her shoulder and sunglasses over her eyes.

“I thought you lived off campus?” Yaz asks one of her many questions about this entire situation unveiling in front of her.

“Our machine broke and almost flooded the kitchen.” Jenny explains. Her shirt this evening had the NASA logo plastered on the front.

“Nasty.”

“Tell me about it. Clara’s coming in a minute, half of this is her shite.”

Yaz giggles in acknowledgement and waits for Jenny to inevitably sit down next to her. The glasses are still on, sitting comfortably on the bridge of her nose.

“What’s up with the glasses?” Yaz asks point blank. She expects her to answer with ‘the lights here give me a headache’ or ‘Laundry detergent makes my eyes water’ or 'I've been reading off a screen a lot today' but Jenny takes them off with no hesitation and looks right at Yaz.

Without the glasses it looked like Jenny had purple war paint splattered over her eyes but from a second glance it wasn’t paint at all. Yaz gasped at the sight of her friend's eyes. The left was darker than the right and the right was a little bit puffy. She was bruised. Badly.

“It doesn’t hurt that bad.” Jenny says before Yaz could transfer the expression on her face into words.

“What happened?”

Jenny shuffles and taps her feet on the floor a little. “Walking home on Friday, after the social, a group of blokes started talking to me and…” Jenny shrugs with her arms outstretched. “I didn’t get that they were making jokes which then just gave them more fuel and I got frustrated and…”

“You fought them.”

“No." Jenny looked a little offended that Yaz would suggest she would physically hurt someone. "I essentially called them twats for making fun of me and they hit me. Luckily only my face but-”

Only your face? They shouldn’t have touched you at all.”

“I know, but.” Jenny smiles sadly as if it was something she couldn’t help happening.

“You talk about this like it’s happened before.”

“I mean, not physically like this before but yeah. You know how people perceive me.”

As Jenny explains, Yaz reaches her hand up and gently pushes her face from side to side so that she could get a proper look at the damage. Her thumb brushes up to just under the eye socket and Jenny winces but makes no sound. Her wincing made Yaz pull back and only very slightly brush against the mixes of purples, browns, yellows and blues.

"Thanks for your help Jen." Clara says sarcastically, stumbling into the artificially lit room.

“Have you seen this?” Yaz asks.

“I know. What kind of idiot walks into an open cupboard and then does it again two minutes later?” Clara says, cracking on with her washing with her back to them.

Yaz frowns at Jenny and the beaten woman silently mouths ‘don’t tell her’. The deep purple mask brought out the green in her eyes as well as the trust Jenny was putting in her. Jenny was also tugging at her sleeve again, so ferociously that Yaz thinks the fabric might start disappearing into her palm. ‘I won’t’ Yaz mouths back. Clara explains that while she was here on campus she was going to go to the library and scurries off for the remainder of the time she had.

Yaz looks at Jenny, who had retreated to looking at the wet clothes spin around and around instead of facing Yaz.

“Why don’t you want her to know?” Yaz asks.

“Because she’ll blow her top completely. She’ll get angry and try and track the guys down.”

“I’m angry!” Yaz says, her voice steady but the emotion still present. “You don’t deserve this and I don’t get how you’re okay with people doing this to you.”

“I am upset I just…” Jenny starts picking her sleeve against her palm again. “You won’t understand, it’s how I am.”

Yaz takes Jenny’s hand in her own to stop the plucking motion. She knows Jenny can't help doing the tick but it gets irritating when Yaz is trying to be serious. The action cracked Jenny’s stare and her head snapped back around to look at Yaz directly, exposing once again the terrible state of her face.

“Help me understand how you are.” Yaz insists.

“I don’t know how.” Jenny frees her hand so that she can use them to express herself as she talks. “I told you the science side of it but with emotions it’s harder to explain. I don’t really want to talk about it right now.”

“Let me see it again.” Yaz says, accepting she might not get an answer here and now.

Yaz can only imagine how hard Jenny had been hit. She’s surprised that parts of her skull weren’t utterly shattered considering how puffy her right cheek was. The men must’ve been drunk, it’s the only way Jenny wasn’t hurt more. If it was a proper attack with a real motivation behind it Jenny might not even be sitting here with her and could be in hospital instead.

“I swear, if I find out who did this to you I’ll slap them into next year.” Yaz declares.

“Don’t. Getting hit in the face really hurts.” Jenny says. She laughs lightly but came across more as sad to Yaz.

She wanted to do something to make Jenny genuinely not care about what happened, not just pretend to be aloof about it like she was doing now. Yaz recons that because it only happened a couple of days ago it hasn’t really hit her yet, pun not intended. Right as Yaz was coming up with something to say, another person enters the launderette.

“Alright Yaz?” It was Ryan. “And Je- oh shit!” He steps closer. “What happened to your face.”

Jenny shoots a look at Yaz that sort of asked ‘can I trust him?’. In all honesty, with what Yaz had heard him say in the past, she didn’t know.

“I got beat up. It’s fine.”

“It’s not fine.” Yaz says.

“It’s really not.” Ryan backs her up. “How? I mean, who? Why?”

“It was some group of idiots. The kind that think I’m some sort of freak.” Jenny says, her posture slumping slightly.

Yaz doesn’t take her eyes off of Ryan, knowing he is one of the people who speculate and spread rumors. Rumors that weren’t exactly terrible but were consistent and obviously had an impact; the proof was sitting right next to her.

“I’m sorry they did that to you.” Ryan says, sitting on the other side of Jenny. “Did it happen on campus?”

“Near the train station, yeah, but I don’t want to report it.” Jenny waves her hand as if to brush the option away.

“No, I mean, I’m maintenance. I could get the CCTV up if you wanted.” Ryan offers.

“Why are you still here anyway, you’re not working are you?”

“No, I said I’d cover one of my coworkers who does 5-11 at night.” Ryan answer’s Yaz’s question. “Did you want to see it?” He asks Jenny directly.

“I don’t think I do.” Jenny turns to Yaz. “And don’t ask to see it when I’m not here.”

“I won’t.” Yaz promises. “I won’t look at anything you don’t want me to look at.”

“Thank you.”

“For fucks sake are you two going to get together at some point or not?” Clara asks, striding back into the launderette. “I’m getting bored.”

“What?”

“I told you, I don’t like her like that.” Jenny says over Yaz’s question.

“Sure. I’m Clara.” She introduces herself to Ryan and they promptly start chatting.

“What does she mean?” Yaz asks, ignoring the other conversation going on in front of them.

“It’s nothing. She thinks we’re both totally and utterly in love with each other.” Jenny says.

“That’s so stupid.” Yaz was smiling but her brow was furrowed.

“Try telling her that, she won’t stop saying it every time I see you.” Jenny chuckles. “I don’t need to tell you it’s not true, right?”

“I know.” Yaz smiles.

Jenny goes back to paying attention to Clara and Ryan, who look to be getting on like a house on fire. Yaz’s attention goes back to them too, but after a couple of seconds, she finds herself glancing at Jenny’s side profile. Jenny was sweet and kind and funny and easy to get along with and attractive in a weird nerd kind of way, but Yaz really couldn’t picture herself dating her. She shakes her head to herself and turns her attention back to the conversation. However, again, two seconds later she looks at Jenny through the corner of her eye.

Could she?

“Do you have reading week, week after next?” Jenny leans in to speak into her ear as Ryan and Clara got louder and louder as they got to know each other.

“No.” Yaz says. It was only the humanities that got reading week, which was annoying, since her elective module was history, so all those classes were cancelled but she still has to go to everything else.

“Would you mind if I came and studied with you? Having reading week over Halloween means lots of parties in student houses and it’s impossible to read anything.” Jenny asks.

Yaz shrugs. “Don’t see why not.”

Jenny smiles honestly and thanks her. Yaz was glad she could help her out.

“You WHAT?”

Yaz and Jenny had been so preoccupied with their own conversation they weren’t keeping tabs on what Clara was being told, and Ryan had just let slip that Jenny hadn’t got a bruised face by walking into an open cupboard door.

“Uh oh.”



“I’m sorry.” Ryan says as Yaz and him watch Jenny and Clara bicker across the room

“Huh?”

“I’m sorry for everything I said about her. It was too easy to go along with what the crowd said and now I’ve met her...”

“She’s nothing like it.” Yaz stares at him.

“I feel like a right idiot.” Ryan says under the pressure of the stare.

“She’ll never know you said any of it, it's fine.”

But that wasn’t the point. They both knew that wasn’t the point. Whatever Ryan had said to whoever or thought whatever the damage was done and a few more people had. All he could do now is try to dispel anything about Jenny that gets thrown his way from now on.

“Looks like she’s got a good friend in you though.” Ryan says after another minute of watching Jenny get lectured.

“She does. I’m a great mate to have.” Yaz smirks.

“Don’t I know it.” Ryan smiles and nudges Yaz with his elbow, making her smile too. “That Clara’s quite hot when she’s angry you know.”

Yaz doesn’t say anything, only rolls her eyes and tries to listen into Jenny and Clara’s conversations. Like Yaz, Clara had threatened to kill whoever did this damage to her and insisted  that she takes Jenny to hospital right this moment. Of course as a biologist that’s used to her own body and flailing limbs, Jenny assured her that she didn’t have concussion and she was alright to simply keep going. It was revealed that Jenny had skipped class on Friday for now obvious reasons and it was clear that that never ever happens, but Yaz would have guessed that just from Jenny’s temperament.

Her washing finished, she took it home while Clara and Jenny were still arguing, hangs it up to dry and goes to bed. Yaz can’t hide from her dreams, and she dreamed of watching people beat Jenny until she couldn’t stand and it exposed how much she really cared about the strange scientist.

But it was only a dream. She would ignore it in the morning.

Everything was over dramatized in a dream.

Wasn't it?

Chapter Text

In the week before reading week Yaz found herself visiting the on campus shop everyday as a way of checking up on how Jenny’s face was healing. The first couple of days infuriated her as the atmosphere felt like everyone buying things were praying they weren’t sent to Jenny’s till. Later on in the week she found out that Jenny had asked to stock shelves instead so she wouldn’t be gawped at. The bruising had really knocked her confidence. She wasn’t even wearing fun shirts when she wasn’t at work.

“I look disgusting.” Jenny said to her one day in the crisp isle.

“No you look like you’ve been attacked and if anything that should make them sympathetic.” Yaz would say to her. She wanted to tell Jenny she was beautiful inside and out but she knows that when self confidence is low, nothing gets through unless it’s from the right person.

Yaz suggested to her that she goes to see River. Just because she didn’t want to see her like that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t be able to help her or give her some advice. Aside from Clara, River is the only other person that truly knows Jenny. Yaz was getting there but she wasn’t there yet. By Saturday the bruises had gone through their stages of colouring and were starting to fade and her mood had started to improve. Yaz needed to go into town that day and invited Jenny to go with her and they had some lunch together which is when she noticed the change.

The whole time they were out together everything else was forgotten. It didn’t matter that Jenny’s face was bruised and people were looking because Yaz made her laugh. It didn’t matter that Jenny tripped over her own feet at least three times because she was relaxed with Yaz. Concerns about work, readings, lectures and seminars all went out the window when they were together and not once did Jenny’s fingers go to pluck at the cuff of her sleeve. Not even when they got spooked by a poor customer service employee dressed as a clown for the up and coming holiday. Even the weather was on their side that Saturday.

But now it was Monday. Yaz sat at her desk with her laptop and Jenny is spread out on the floor with her laptop, textbooks and notes littering the place. The rain was heavy and sounded like rocks smashing against the window but it somehow made it cozy with the addition of the radiator making the room warm. The whole building was much quieter and peaceful with many people going home for the week. However, Yaz was tense with stress. She just did not understand what this reading was trying to teach her and none of the words were sticking in her mind. She slumps her head in her hands and rubs her eyes.

“Jen, can you help me with this? I don’t get it.” Yaz asks as a last attempt before giving up.

“I don’t know anything about law.” Jenny says, not looking up from her own work.

“It’s not law it’s for psychology.” Yaz says, almost hitting her laptop screen.

Jenny gets up from lying on her stomach onto her knees and shuffles over. “Don’t like this module then?”

“Not as bad as sitting in a three hour seminar and being taught the difference between a semicolon and a comma.”

“Hm.” Jenny pulls up a stool. “Which part am I looking at?”

“That.” Yaz points at the last chunk of paragraph on the page. “And that.” She adds flicking to the next page.

“Alright let me read it.”

Jenny places her arm over Yaz’s shoulders to get her body that few more inches center to the screen. The added weight grounded Yaz and reminded her that her life wasn’t only academia, research and essays. Jenny’s lips move as she reads in her head and easily absorbs the information. Yaz was jealous that she was able to do that.

“So, okay, this is actually quite interesting. Where it says…” Jenny does a good job of explaining, but it still doesn’t get Yaz to understand properly. She groans and throws her head back when Jenny finishes talking. She spots a bulge in her ceiling and makes a mental note to tell Ryan about it while she was there. “You still don’t get it?”

“Nope.” Yaz says, sitting up properly again otherwise she would’ve cut off the blood supply to Jenny’s arm. 

“Take a break and come back to it. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t get it first time.” Jenny assures her.

“Feels like it.” Yaz mutters.  

“Bad tutor?” Jenny asks, the tone of her voice giving away that she was smiling.

Yaz turns her head to look at her, both of them pulling back slightly so that their noses wouldn’t hit. Yaz usually liked keeping her personal space to herself but she didn’t mind Jenny entering it. She posed no threat.

“He’s so annoying and you ask him to explain something again and he just repeats what he says. Also he takes so long to explain things, by the time he’s done there’s no time to ask anyway!” It feels like Jenny was removing her arm and Yaz was about to tell her to leave it where it was but her forearm crosses her shoulder and Jenny rested her chin on it. “He makes me feel so dumb.” Yaz says, a little more defeated.

“You’re not dumb.”

“But he makes me feel it.”

A few moments of comfortable silence pass with Yaz feeling Jenny’s calm breathing onto her shoulder as they both think about what they could do.

“Have you thought about telling River?” Jenny asks. “She could do something about it if your classmates have been feeling the same?”

“Have you gone and seen her? About what happened?” Yaz asks instead of answering.

Jenny blinks rapidly. “You’re deflecting.”

“I’m just making sure you’re okay.”

“Yaz, go and see River. She’s your academic advisor and she can make it easier for you.”

Yaz shimmies Jenny off of her shoulder and turns her whole body in her desk chair. The stool meant that Jenny was slightly lower down and Yaz had to tilt her head to meet her eye. Her gut told her not to do it but there was a nagging voice in her head, do it do it do it, so Yaz reached out her left hand and cupped Jenny’s cheek. Jenny didn’t move, if anything she seemed to freeze. Despite this Yaz’s thumb wanders over the slowly fading bruise, her palm consequently brushing over her lips at moments. The only sounds were the rain and Yaz’s heart thumping in her ears. She puts it down to anger.

“I still don’t get why.” Yaz says softly. Jenny says nothing back, her eyes only followed Yaz’s fingers and flickered up to her eyes now and then. “Does it still hurt?”

“Only the bridge of my nose now. Sometimes it hurts if I sleep on one side but not really.”

Yaz’s hand falls away. “How’s that crush of yours, what does she think of this?” She asks without thinking.

“I think she’s good. She’s actually really pissed off about what happened.” Jenny says, taking herself back down to the floor to continue studying. 

“Tell me about her.” Yaz requests so that she wouldn't have to go back to hopelessly reading pages and pages of letters stringed together.

“Well…” Jenny laughs nervously. “I uh… she’s indescribable.”

“Is that code for you don’t want to talk about it?”

“Yes please.” Jenny says, her cheeks turning a little red.

“It’s cute seeing you all flustered.” Yaz laughs. Jenny goes even more red.

“Yeah? You should’ve seen yourself when you got angry about the incident.” Jenny retorts.

“Are you saying I’m cute when I’m angry?” Yaz grins.

“If you like.” Jenny shrugs, makes a note, then looks over her shoulder, hiding a smile.

 

Tuesday was pretty much the same as Monday. After Yaz had had her lectures and Jenny had had hers, they met on the bench outside Yaz’s building and decided where they wanted to study. Because they were both feeling lazy and it was raining again, they just went inside. They were quickly falling into a productive pattern, with Jenny taking all the floor space and Yaz taking the space on the desk and bed. Even though Jenny had a tonne of work to do and Yaz couldn’t help her with it, she always helped Yaz when she asked for something to be clarified or a word to be defined. She was like a walking talking dictionary. Jenny bought a massive pack of custard creams to keep them from leaving for food every five minutes too.

Wednesday Yaz received a text telling her to meet Jenny in one of the labs. Everyday she was getting more and more familiar with where each building on campus was and the labs weren’t hard to find. She didn’t know if she was allowed in so she peered through the door window to see if there was anyone else with her. There wasn’t.

“You can come in.” Jenny shouts with her voice muffled through the door.

“How did you know I was there?” Yaz asks, walking over to her station .

“I could feel you staring at me. Put these on just in case I do something wrong and blow us both up.” Jenny almost shoves a pair of safety glasses into Yaz’s chest.

“Do I need a lab coat too?” Yaz asks.

No.”

“You’re wearing one.”

“Because it makes me look cool.” Jenny smiles and looks up from her project for the first time since Yaz came in. “I’ll be done in a bit, I just need to get this over with.”

Yaz sits on the stool one place away from the contraption to give Jenny space to work. “What is it?” She asks out of curiosity.

“You wouldn’t understand.”

“I know you like explaining things.” Yaz tries to coax her into it.

“You won’t understand because I don’t even understand what I’m doing.” Jenny chuckles frustratedly . “I’m just following a diagram so I can make notes. All the actual cool physics stuff happens in lectures.”

Yaz sits quietly and lets Jenny do what she needs to do. Some students would use the time to catch up on readings or write up notes but Yaz got distracted staring at Jenny’s hands. It was the way they were both firm and delicate adding small pieces to finish off the tiny machine and then how she wrote with her pen. She imagined how the people Jenny took as lovers might think when they saw those hands; what they could do and where they would go and how they would feel-

“Yaz!”

“What!” Yaz almost jumps out of her seat being pulled out of her daydream so harshly.

Jenny tries very little to suppress her grin. “The drinking water comes from that tap there if you’re really that thirsty.”

“Jen!” Yaz slaps her friend’s arm.

“I can see it all over your face.” Jenny says smugly. “I’ll take it as a compliment.”

“Shut up.” Yaz says, her cheeks on fire. She leaves another mental reminder to see if the barmaid, who's name was still lost, was free that night. (She wasn't).

 

Thursday morning Yaz stormed off out of her psychology seminar. An irrational behaviour for her, but she’d had enough of not being understood and was sure there would be repercussions but how bad could it be? She’s not going on to do psychology it was just a formality needed for a stupid foundation year. Pissed off and pumped up with adrenaline from disobeying rules, Yaz calls her mum.

Yaz !” Najia answers excitedly.

“Mum, I can’t do it anymore.” Yaz says decisively.

“Do what sweetheart?”

“This! Do all these stupid fucking extra modules that I don’t want to do, it’s pointless!”

“It’s not pointless if it’s going to get you to where you want to be. What happened?”

Yaz is allowed to rant all about her lousy professor and how frustrated she gets with him without interruption just as she was when she called severely homesick.

“He’ll die soon anyway.” Najia says when Yaz is done.

“That’s really morbid mum.”

“He’s upset you, I can say what I like about him.”   Yaz could almost hear her mum’s eyes rolling from all the way in Sheffield.

“I’m so stressed out mum. It’s reading week and sciences don’t get it, so I’ve been working with Jenny all week and-”

“Who’s Jenny?”

“Just a friend.”

“I wouldn’t say ‘just’ if you’ve been with her all week, love.”

“Alright, whatever but-”

“Is she a classmate?”

“No, she’s older, but mum-”

“How much older?”

“Not very.”

“How much older is ‘not very’?”

“Mum would you listen to me!” Yaz snaps. She takes some deep breaths to calm down before speaking again. “Sorry.” She apologises.

“It’s alright Yaz. Neither me or your dad went to university so we wouldn’t know what you’re going through.”

“It’s not that bad it’s literally just this one tutor. Sometimes I want to smash his head in.”

“No offence taken.” Jenny says, appearing suddenly at her side and taking Yaz by utter surprise.

“Jen, I didn’t mean-”

“Who’s Jen? Is that the-”

“Who are you talking to?”

“My mum.”

“I am your mum but who’s she?”

“She’s a friend.”

“I thought you said it was your mum.”

Yaz throws her head back and groans. Oh my God I’m gonna have a breakdown in a minute.”

Jenny takes Yaz’s phone out of her hand and holds it to her own ear.

“Hi Yaz’s mum, she’s fine shes with me, I’ll get her to call you back.” She says and hangs up abruptly, Najia still chatting on the other end.

Yaz looks at Jenny’s calm and collected face with wide eyes. “Did you just cut her off while she was still talking?”

“Maybe.” Jenny hands the phone back.

“You’ll need all the God’s to help you if you ever end up meeting her.”

Jenny shrugs. “Don’t believe in any God. Come here.”

Jenny opens herself up with open arms and despite still fuming from frustration Yaz accepts the hug. The contact of Jenny’s body holding her tight was like a spy being hoisted down into an important building to cut a wire and diffuse the bomb. Yaz immediately felt more relaxed and all stress evaporated away. It often does when Jenny is around.

“Come on. I want some breakfast.” Jenny tries to urge Yaz to let go and get going with the rest of the day to put the nasty business behind her.

"You're not going to try and get me to go back?" Yaz asks, thinking pro-education Jenny would want her to try harder. 

"Nah I looked up who was teaching you and everyone knows how much of a prick he is, now let's go I'm really hungry."

“A few more seconds?” Yaz can’t resist asking as if she was going to allow her friend to let go. If anything all she wanted was to steal all of Jenny’s body heat for herself.

“Fine. But if I starve to death it’s your fault.”

Chapter Text

The last day of reading week fell on Halloween. At home, Yaz’s role on Halloween is to answer the door to children trick or treating and hand out sweets. She knows she’ll miss doing it this year, but Yaz was always open to new traditions. For example her and Jenny spent the afternoon yesterday carving pumpkins and throwing the pulp at each other by the end of the activity, all for the sake of sticking an LED candle in it. Since it was a Friday, some people came back home early to go out with friends and take advantage of the student discounts in town. Luckily for the majority of the morning Jenny and Yaz managed to get ahead on their readings and science reports for next week before most people got up.

“Hey Yaz, I’m going to make some lunch, want some?” Bill asks standing in the doorway.

Realising the time Jenny shoots up from the floor. “I need to get to work.” She looks awkwardly at all her papers scattered around the room. “What should I…?”

“Leave them and go or you’ll be late.” Yaz smiles.

“Are you sure?” Jenny double checks.

“You’re coming back tonight anyway, remember? We were going to watch a scary film?”

“Ooo scary film, can I come?” Bill asks.

“Sure. Ryan and Clara are coming too.”

“Who the hell are Ryan and Clara?”

“Our maintenance guy and her friend.” Yaz explains. She sees the blonde hanging around listening to the conversation. “Go Jenny!”

“Alright, I’m going, I’m going! See you later.” She throws Yaz a smile before sliding past Bill, still waiting in the doorway.

“Was she the girl with the bruised face a couple of weeks ago?” Bill asks when she’s sure Jenny had left the flat entirely.

“Jenny.” Yaz attaches a name to the face to humanise her. “She’s my friend, we’ve been studying together all week.”

“All week?” Bill was clearly shocked. “Haven’t you got bored of each other yet?”

Yaz thinks. She hadn’t got sick or bored of Jenny at all and they had genuinely spent the full days together. Nothing about her annoyed her and they had only had bickering matches and not any kind of fully fledged argument.

“No. I really like her around.” Yaz says. Bill folds her arms and smirks at Yaz. “What?”

“Nothing. Lunch?”

 

Yaz leans over her desk trying to figure out how to get the sound to play out of the small speakers Clara and Jenny had brought over. There was a dull humming of bass coming from a flat higher up in the building that made it furthermore confusing as to if they were working or not and none of the connections fit with her laptop. Yaz felt incredibly lucky that Jenny, Clara, Ryan and Bill were all getting along with each other. Who knows what might have happened if they didn’t take to each other that easily.

“C’mon mate I’m getting bored of watching your backside.” Ryan complains.

“Someone isn’t.” Clara jabs.

“Oi, no I’m not!” Jenny says, her voice a little panicked.

“So you admit you’re not getting bored of-”

“Clara!” Jenny whines. Yaz can feel a smile creeping at the corner of her mouth.

“Jen make yourself useful and come help me.” Yaz calls her over.

Jenny appears at her side almost instantly leaving Bill to hand out snacks to everyone else packed into Yaz’s room. She silently starts fiddling with the wires and intrusive thoughts about her hands enter Yaz’s mind once again and she forces herself to kick them out. Shortly there was a high pitched noise and Clara, Bill and Ryan cheered. Yaz hits play and squishes back onto her bed with the rest of her friends. Due to the lack of room Jenny puts her arm behind Yaz’s back. Yaz didn’t think anything of it, but the glance she caught Ryan and Clara sharing made her think she should.

Yaz doesn’t actually know what film Ryan has chosen for them to watch. He insisted it was an amazing film and they should stick with it because it gets ‘really really good’. Scary films never affected Yaz. She knew when all the jump scares were going to come and half the plot twists were always predictable, however, the woman next to her was incredibly skittish. With the first major scare Jenny jumped about an inch in the air and her hand grabbed onto Yaz’s waist. No one else but Clara noticed.

A little while after was the next time anyone reacted to anything properly. Watching this movie had turned into taking the piss out of this movie to make it enjoyable but when the paranormal force started making one of the main characters beat up their friend with added sound effects, everyone started to flinch, but no one as much as Jenny. Yaz felt her hand getting reached for and as soon as she took it Jenny’s head turned away from the screen and hid itself in Yaz’s hair with her eyes screwed shut and a clenched jaw.

“It’s okay. It’s not you, you’re safe.” Yaz whispers to her, so quiet so no one else could hear. Every time the character took a hit the grip on her hand got tighter and Yaz silently curses Ryan for not thinking this might happen and can’t wait until she can taken Jenny to the side and properly make sure she’s okay. She felt like it was her responsibility.

The mood changed back to laughter when a very non-convincing sex scene came on, that was still trying to be passed as serious despite the terrible acting.

“Is this why you like this film so much Ryan?” Bill teases.

“She’s faking that for sure.” Clara laughs.

“Of course she is, she’s acting.” Ryan says as a last ditch effort to get everyone else to take the film a little bit more seriously.

“No I meant the character.” Clara clarifies.

“Yeah, no woman ever sounds like that, Ryan. That’s a performance piece.” Yaz smiles.

“Every girl I’ve been with has.”

“Dude, I think you’ve gotta go make some phone calls because that isn’t it.” Jenny giggles.

“Surely not all of them?” Ryan asks, frantically looking at all of them. Bill throws her arm around his shoulder.

“Nah I’m sure at least one of them-” Bill’s own snort of laughter stops her completing her sentence.

“Oh thanks guys, really supportive.” Ryan huffs and sucked his teeth.

“I’ll show you some tips Ryan.” Clara offers. This time it was Yaz and Jenny’s turn to raise eyebrows at each other. Clara should’ve said ‘I’ll give you some tips’ not ‘show’ and both of them had picked up on the chemistry between them in the launderette.  

“Wait, rewind, we’ve missed her throat getting slit.” Bill says, drawing everyone’s attention back to the film they were meant to be watching.

No one really paid full attention to the rest of the film. They were all too busy getting along, making jokes and throwing snacks at each other. Working for the student union shop meant Jenny had access to excess Halloween sweets and she managed to swipe a few for free. A few girls from the flat knock round to make sure Yaz and Bill didn’t want to go out with them but seeing all five of them crammed into the room smiling and laughing pretty much answered their question straight away. Bill, Ryan, and Clara had started drinking alcohol about half way through the film to make it more bearable to watch and around about now they were starting to get a bit rowdy. Jenny left Yaz’s side to even out the ratio of drunk to sober people around the circle that had naturally formed. Every time Jenny and Yaz caught eyes they would smile at each other, a little bit like a promise that once the other three were gone they could talk properly again just like they had done the entire week.

“Hey, we wanna go catch the last bit of the drag show that’s on tonight.” Clara says as both her and Ryan stand up. “Thanks for having us Yaz. Jen don’t wait up.”

“Alright. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” Jenny says in acknowledgement and all three of the friends left watch them walk out, arms wrapped around each other. It clicks in Yaz’s head what they were really going off to do.

“They’re gonna-”

“Yup. Don’t say it out loud, no one wants that image.” Jenny stops Yaz. They giggle.

“When was the first time you two did it anyway?” Bill asks.

“Did what?” Yaz asks.

“You know, when you first got together? I’m assuming it was last week, Clara said you’ve been round here everyday.”

Yaz and Jenny look at each other confused. Did Bill really get the impression that they were dating? How? Yaz knew they didn’t have any sense of personal space together but surely that can’t have been the only reason why.

“We aren’t…” Jenny laughs nervously. “We aren’t together.”

Bill smiles, confused that what she asked might be wrong. “You aren’t.”

“No.” Jenny and Yaz say at the same time. The synchronization of their responses, tone of voice and all, shocked them both. Yaz and Jenny looked at each other as if to say ‘did we really just do that?’.

“Okay.” Bill raises her eyebrows and brings her drink to her lips.

“Wait.” Yaz says, coming to a realisation. “You’ve been talking to drunk Clara. Jen, you said yourself she thinks we’ve got a thing going.”

“Oh! Right, yeah.” Jenny says.

For the first time the silence between them felt a little awkward. Yaz puts it down to having another person in the mix. They would be fine if they were on their own.

“So, I’m doing an internship with the student union newspaper and I need two people to interview before the winter break. Would you two do it for me.”

“Sure.” Yaz says straight away.

“Don’t see why not.” Jenny gives her answer.

“Cool. Thanks guys.” Bill says with gratitude. 

More silence. Bill gets up, sensing the shift in atmosphere.

“I’m going to bed.” She announces.

“Don’t let the paranormal ghosts drag you in your sleep.” Yaz calls after her jokingly. When the door closes, Yaz turns to Jenny. “Are you going to go too?”

“What, to listen to Clara and Ryan get it on in the next room? I’ll stay a bit longer thanks.” Jenny says. “I mean if I’m allowed, I don’t want to assume-I mean it's your room and-"

“You can always stay.” Yaz interrupts. Jenny exhales and smiles. “You could stay the night if you really wanted.”

Jenny’s smile fades and she starts fiddling with her toes through her socks. “Wouldn’t that just give Bill and Clara something more to joke about?”

“Let them joke.” Yaz says. Jenny flings her head back and takes a deep breath while staring at the ceiling. Yaz gets a sinking feeling in her stomach that that was the wrong thing to say.

“I already get joked about enough, I don’t need it from my friends too.” Jenny mumbles.

The hurt behind Jenny’s eyes jumped forward when she said it. It upset Yaz almost as much as feeling Jenny’s body react to hearing someone get beat up. It was like her hands were being grabbed and squeezed by a look alone.

“How much does it actually bother you?” Yaz asks, making her voice as soft and trustworthy as possible.

“So much. All the time. Just knowing that people think all that stuff without knowing me, it…” A tear comes from nowhere and rolls down her cheek. Yaz pulls Jenny in to rest her head on her shoulder and puts her arms around her body where comfortable. Jenny wraps her arms  around Yaz’s stomach. “God, I hate crying.”

“Thought you didn’t believe in God.” Yaz says in an attempt to lift her spirits.

“You know what I mean.” Jenny mumbles into her skin and the hairs on the back of Yaz’s neck stand up.

Yaz needed to start listening to her body and what it was telling her. The more she reacted like this to Jenny the more it was becoming a concern of hers. She had never been like this with friends before. Never thought about their hands, never got mistaken as a couple, never reacted to breath on skin. Not like this. And it was becoming stronger and stronger by the day.

“I don’t think it’s as many people as you think you know.” Yaz says.

“One person is too many.”

“I’m one person and I think you’re brilliant. Is that too many people to think about that?"

Jenny pulls her head up but doesn’t remove her arms. “You’re too smart.” She says.

“Not as smart as you.”

“I am pretty smart aren’t I.” Jenny grins smugly.

“Do you want to go out? See some spooky shit?” Yaz wiggles her shoulders and it makes Jenny sigh and chuckle.

“Nah, I don’t really like Halloween.” Jenny says as if there was no way to change her mind. “Except the apple bobbing. I always love the apple bobbing.”

“Why don’t you like it?”

Jenny shrugs and thinks for a moment, subconsciously pouting her lips like a puppy.

“It means the colder months are coming and the first round of assessments are due and everything gets a bit more serious. There isn’t anything to look forward too for the whole of November. Except Clara’s birthday but-”

“My birthday’s in November.” Yaz jumps in.

“What day?”

“Thirtieth.” Yaz says. She can see Jenny making a firm note of it in her brain bank. “Don’t.”

“Don’t what?” Jenny asks innocently.

“Don’t secretly plan something for my birthday, I can see you thinking about it.”

“I would never! Just out of curiosity do you prefer fruit or chocolate cakes?”

“Jen!” Yaz lightly taps her friends arm. “I’m serious, don’t get me anything.”

“You’ve got to have at least one thing.” Jenny insists. “I’ll find something and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

They watched a better movie together with less jumpscares and more proper laughs. Hocus Pocus never lets Yaz down. Jenny even knew all the words to the musical number which made Yaz laugh and it took her by surprise at the same time. They talked while they watched the film, slowly falling back into the comfortable relationship they had before other people’s comments came into play; falling back into their own world. Knowing that Jenny was feeling a bit down about the connotations attached to her name, Yaz always kept some kind of physical contact with Jenny the whole of the rest of the time she was there. Right up until Jenny was standing in the doorframe saying goodnight with her papers from this morning tucked messily under her arm.

“Can I ask you something?” Yaz asks. The question she was hoping to go on and ask had been bugging her since Bill’s assumption.

“Always.” Jenny says.

“What’s her name?” Yaz asks.

Jenny goes scarily still. It was the first moment she had seen where Yaz realised Jenny is on the move all the time. “Who?” Jenny asks.

“Your crush. What’s her name?”

Jenny gulps and her bottom lip opens and closes a couple of times. Yaz thought they might be in a place to disclose this kind of information but the physical and verbal hesitation put Yaz on edge. She had this thought, no, fear. A fear that the name she was going to say was going to be her own and it would screw up the great friendship they have built because she'd have to say no and Jenny might not want to see her again and Ryan and Bill were nice and kind but they weren't Jenny and oh my God Yaz was panicking. Why was she panicking about a name?

“I…” For a split second Yaz thinks she’s going to say it. “I have to go.”

And with those words, Jenny practically runs away and leaves Yaz with two words repeating in her head.

It’s me.

Chapter Text

Yaz didn’t see Jenny on the first of November. Neither the second or the third. She had disappeared again but this time Yaz knows in her gut she was avoiding her. The only people Yaz had had proper contact with over those few days was Ryan and even he couldn’t stick around for long. Yaz asked him about what happened after him and Clara left together on Halloween night and he admitted they were both a tad bit too drunk to do anything successfully, but Clara had invited him back later in the week under the guise of needing something fixed. Not very subtle but Yaz doesn’t get the impression that either of them really care about the subtlety or secrecy of their actions together.

On the fourth Yaz got an email calling her up for a meeting with her academic advisor. A ‘halfway in’ thing everyone had the opportunity of going to. Yaz had a lot to bring up and had meant to go for a while now. Since Jenny said she should, but she hadn’t found the time.

Yaz makes the journey up to the top of the hill to River Song’s office. She was a couple of minutes early, so Yaz stayed waiting in the corridor so not to invade on someone else's time. For as far as her eye could see, there were people scattered all along the corridor, waiting for their turn. Some looked nervous but others looked like they had done this a million times before, holding print outs of essays and photocopies of book sections that they needed clarification from.

The blue door with River’s name plaque on it swings open unexpectedly but even more unexpected was Jenny walking out of it. She was unaware that Yaz was waiting there and almost walks into her. She would have, if Yaz hadn’t reached out her arms to gently push her back.

“Jesus Yaz!” Jenny jumps at the touch and accidentally slams the door behind her. The noise grabs the attention of everyone else in the corridor and when they see who’s door they were standing in front of, glances were exchanged and variations of ‘thought so’ was whispered between strangers who had never spoken before. “What are you doing here?”

“Going to my meeting, what are you doing here?” Yaz says, kinking an eyebrow and lightly biting her bottom lip. Jenny gulps and her pupils enlarge so much Yaz could see them from a mile off.

“Please don’t look at me like that.” Jenny requests, her face unmoving and her eyes being the only thing giving her away.

“Alright, sorry.” Yaz says, upset at herself for making Jenny upset. Or at least it looked like she was upset because her friend was trying very hard right now to hide whatever it was she was feeling. Jenny starts to walk away but Yaz grabs her hand, pulling her back and spinning her around. She wasn’t used to Jenny being so cold with her. “Where’ve you been these few days?”

“Just around.” Jenny shrugs.

Yaz prepares for her to start rambling but it doesn’t come. It was strange. Jenny always had something to say; a funny quip or a scientific fact or something that comes out as a backhanded compliment. She was just staring at her. Waiting for Yaz to keep talking to show she cared enough.

“I've missed you.” Yaz admits. Spending a week, day in day out, with Jenny and then being alone in the quiet confides of her room without her presence was more than a noticeable difference. It was genuinely like something was missing. “I don’t like it when you’re quiet.”

The hard front Jenny had up brakes down from Yaz’s solemn words. “Sorry I just, we were just talking and,” She shrugs again. “Yeah.”

In that moment, and for the first time in a while, Yaz can identify a definite emotion inside herself. She was jealous. Jealous that River was closer to Jenny than she was, jealous that Jenny wasn’t telling her anything, jealous that in the past few days the professor had seen more of her than Yaz had. They had spent a week together, a whole week, and Yaz had taken that time for granted. She wanted that. She wanted that time. It made her want to be spiteful and snappy that wasn’t like her at all. It scared her how strongly she felt it to the point where Yaz was now the one not saying anything.

“Look, I’m going for a run later tonight. I’ll plan it so I end up at yours, yeah? We can talk?”

“About what?” Yaz asks. She was scared about what ‘talk’ entailed.

Jenny pulls the cuff of her sleeve into her palm and Yaz understands. She was scared too.

“Yaz?” She hears River call her name and has to leave her friend.

The professor was in a particularly good mood today and happily invited Yaz to sit in the chair across her desk. Yaz was trying to decide whether there were any suggestions of being flustered or having to reprogramme to now be professional but there was nothing there.

“Is Jenny alright?” Yaz can’t help but ask.

“I can’t disclose information about other students.” River smiles kindly.

“But you weren’t talking to her as a teacher you were talking to her as a friend.” Yaz says, almost pushing her luck and demanding a proper answer.

River starts to stare her down. “How much has she told you?”

“Enough.” Yaz says. “I know you care about her.”

“But do you know how much she cares about you?” River responds without even having to think. The quick thinking, so similar to Jenny’s quick wit when she was in a good mood, silenced Yaz and gave her a lot to think about. Things she would shove onto the ever growing pile of Jenny.

“So how have your first few weeks gone? Everything okay?” River asks, ignoring the shift in the energy of the room.

Yaz explains how frustrated she had been getting with her psychology professor. How she felt belittled and essentially just hated him. River said that the professor in question was known for being intolerable and asked how she had been coping so far with him.

“Jenny.” Was what Yaz boiled it all down to.



Yaz does everything she can to not overthink what Jenny might want to talk about when she appears. She reads and writes up notes and occupies herself doing whatever activity she can to hide that fact that what’s coming is likely to be very awkward. Jenny could ask her to leave her alone, she could ask her to forget everything, she could have a complete change in behaviour towards her and Yaz could either choose to accept it or put her case against it. All these options seem negative but the way Jenny interacted with her right after seeing River had planted the seed in her head. Why had she been like that? Why so cold? So distant? Yaz can only wait to find out.

Jenny had left it quite late and arrived at Yaz’s door, having been let into the flat by Bill, at ten o’clock at night. When Yaz opened the door to her room, she couldn’t help but stare at what was standing in front of her. Jenny hadn’t be joking when she said she’d come after her run. She stood there, one arm leaning against the doorframe breathing heavily. Her it was either sweat or the quick shower of rain that had made her running top cling to her skin but it exposed everything. The light toning of her stomach, how deeply she was breathing to catch her breath, her chest with new… features that Yaz had never noticed before under her geeky graphic t-shirts. Where the hell had they been hiding all this time? And her hips. Yaz had half the mind to find an excuse to make her turn around just to see if she could have a look at what Jenny looked like from behind. 

“Please,” Jenny begs, moving her arm onto Yaz’s shoulder and shakes her a little bit. “for the love of your sanity, please just masturbate or something.” Jenny says when she gathers enough breath to speak. She smiles wide and cheekily when Yaz knows her body is reacting to the embarrassment of openly checking her out. “Can I come in?” Jenny laughs softly. Yaz moves aside and lets her in.

The way Jenny was holding herself, it was like she was a different person to who Yaz had seen this morning. She was confident in herself, snarky even. However there was almost an invisible wall of protection around her. Like she had created this facade and planned for whatever Yaz might ask her.

“So.” Yaz says, plonking herself down onto her squeaky bed.

“So,” Jenny sits on the desk chair. “Her name’s Elizabeth.”

Yaz has to stop herself from looking as confused as she felt. She genuinely thought it was her and Jenny had said her name so confidently that it came off as wrong to hear it come out of her mouth.

“Oh.” Yaz says.

“She’s really beautiful. These big brown eyes, I like looking at them all the time, it’s really distracting. And this really cute dimple when she smiles it…” Jenny was too busy smiling herself to finish her description. “I didn’t want to talk about her before because I didn’t feel able to accept that I really do like her. It’s always been a thing of mine, I can never accept the vulnerability.”

“Does she like you too?” Yaz asks, intrigued. From the quick description or her Yaz’s didn’t like the sound of this ‘Elizabeth’ character. She sounded too pretty for her own right and if she didn’t like Jenny then she wasn’t worthy of Jenny spending her time on her.

“I’m not sure. Sometimes I think she’s really into me, touching me and stuff, then other times she tells me how much of a good friend I am.”

“So you’ve been friend zoned?” Yaz says. She was surprised as how hopeful she was that that was the case.

“I don’t think so. At least not yet. River told me to let her make her own mind up and that calmed me down about it all. I got into my own head.”

“Do you think she’ll realise?”

“Hopefully.” Jenny shrugs. Despite how much she’s trying to show how she’s craving this girl’s romantic attention she doesn’t look that bothered by the prospect of her not making a move. If she was really that invested she would be pulling at her sleeve again, nervous at the prospect .“Are you coming to ours on the 23rd? Clara’s birthday, I’ll pick you up from the station.”

“Does she want me there?” Yaz asks. She didn’t want to intrude.

“She wants you there to keep me company.”

“Why not Elizabeth?” Yaz asks. Jenny straightens her posture. “Surely she wants to be your wing woman and help you out?”

“She’s busy being her own wing woman.” Jenny smirks.

“Ryan?”

“Yeah.” She nods.

“Think it might get serious?”

“Perhaps.” Jenny tilts her head. “I’ve never really had a relationship, I don’t know how it happens.”

“Me neither.”

They smile at each other but can only hold eye contact for more than a couple of seconds at a time.

“I need to get back actually so-”

“Wait.” Yaz stops her and gets up. “You left your mug in here the other day, let me get it.”

Yaz quickly jumps into her en suite and grabs the mug from the sink. The writing on it, ‘screw lab safety I want superpowers’, never failed to make Yaz smile. She caught a glimpse of herself smiling in the mirror and notices how her brown eyes twinkled under the light and discovers that she has a dimple that appears when she smiles. Exactly as just described. Strange, she thought, and then it clicks. ‘Elizabeth’ was the lie Jenny had surrounded herself with for protection from rejection. They were slowly getting closer and closer to being on the same page. Yaz was a little bit smug that she had caught out her lie. 

She hands Jenny back her mug and quickly hugs her before she jogs off again.

Yaz went straight to bed afterwards. She was tired and stressed and jealous and in an odd mood. She was almost certain that Elizabeth wasn’t real and just a ruse but Yaz convinced herself not to say anything. Jenny didn’t need someone calling her a liar. Despite being tired, Yaz lay awake thinking. She couldn't not think. About Jenny specifically. Tonight she had seen her in a different light. Yaz didn’t want Jenny to like anyone else. She didn’t want Jenny spending less time with her, she wanted her around. All the time. Jenny was amazing inside and out and she cared about Yaz and yeah, Yaz was attracted to her, she wasn’t going to lie about that anymore, especially not after how she saw her today. Hot, breathless, sweating, stomach, smiling, her hands, ‘please just masturbate’ , what Yaz would make her do with those hands. Had Jenny thought about Yaz touching herself for the suggestion to be on her mind?

Her own hand slides under the waistband of her pyjama pants.

Hot, breathless, sweating, stomach, smiling, hands, ‘let her make her own mind up’ .

Yaz closes her eyes and imagines what it would be like as she stretches out her fingers. She imagines not just sleeping with the older woman, but being loved by her; holding her hand, doing nice things for her to make her smile, waking up next to her, leaving light kisses all over her stupid crinkled up face. It was like all these thoughts had been pushed to the surface by jealousy. She wanted Jenny to be hers. Hers alone. It was a revelation that struck fear into her and she would have to deal with that at some point. Not now.

She starts moving her fingers and applying pressure where she knows she can make herself feel good. Jenny wanted to let ‘Elizabeth’ make her own mind up?

Game on.

Chapter Text

It was hard for Yaz to look Jenny in the eye the next day. Or the next. Thinking about her while getting herself off wasn’t her finest hour, nor the best way to acknowledge some newly revealed feelings but it was how it had happened and there was no going back now. Jenny has a crush on her and Yaz knows there’s something there in her too but she doesn’t know how strong it is yet. Or if they wouldn’t pass. Yaz doubts that Jenny hadn’t picked up on it and instead was ignoring the strange behaviour on purpose to avoid a hard to deal with conversation. 

After she had got over the initial awkwardness Yaz felt about what she had done, the level of comfort they had with each other came back. A hand on her back or resting her arm on her shoulders and the pair of them found time to be around each other. Whether it was Yaz sitting in the lab while Jenny worked, Jenny coming over for dinner after a full day of work and lessons, or both of them sitting in the campus launderette watching documentaries while they waited. One night when they were there Jenny ended up falling asleep on Yaz’s shoulder and Yaz let her for the entire time they were there. The level of vulnerability and trust that came with falling asleep on your friend in a public place was so high that when Yaz realised what was happening, she felt her heart skip a beat and she couldn’t help a small smile forming on her lips. In the past, Yaz wouldn’t have thought much more of it, but now the moment was another catalyst for her mind to start reevaluating what these emotions running through her actually are.

They spent almost all of November together, and by the 23rd of the month Yaz knew for sure. Her body gave it away in the end, breaking out in goosebumps every time Jenny touched her skin and how she couldn’t stop smiling when Jenny sent her complimentary messages. But, a crush is never definite nor solid and Yaz knows these feelings could disappear if ever someone new caught her eye. Therefore, Yaz didn’t mention this new revelation to anyone. Well, almost no one. 

“Alright kid?” Graham says, munching on an apple and leaning against his bus as Yaz walking past. 

“Hi Graham.” Yaz pauses her walk back home to get ready for Clara’s party to talk to him. “I’m fine, why’d you ask?”

“You look like you’ve got something on your mind, that’s all.” Graham shrugs nonchalantly. 

Yaz shrugs too but then engages her brain for a second. The wise words of an older man that wasn’t attached to her family to gossip to could help her set her mind straight.

“How did you know?” Yaz asks. Graham stares at her blankly. “That you liked Grace, I mean.” Yaz shuffles a little on her feet, mustering the courage to push the last word out of her mouth. “Romantically.”

“Been bitten by the love bug ‘ey Yaz?” Graham smirks. 

“Whoa, I didn’t say anything about-” 

“I know, I know.” Graham changes his smile to a kind and understanding one. “It was her nature. My Grace, there’s a reason she’s a nurse. She sees the best in everyone and I lov- really liked that about her.”

“But what was it inside you that made you realise? That’s what I mean, like, how did you know you liked her more than just a friend.”

“It was an internal struggle, I’ll tell you that. Probably for different reasons to you.” He sighs. Yaz knows it’s because he had his dead first wife in the back of his mind. “But, I just knew I couldn’t go a day without her.”

Yaz automatically thinks about how her and Jenny can’t go a day without each other recently.

“Who is it, Yaz?” Graham asks softly. 

Yaz raises an eyebrow at him. “If I tell you, you won’t like it.” 

“Jenny Smith.” He says, eyes wide. “You can’t help who you fall in love with, kid.”

“Not love.”

“Sorry, not love.”  Graham holds his hands out in surrender. “I take it you’ll be going to their house party tonight then.” 

“I will be.”

“Can you do me a favour?”

“Depends what it is.”

“Looking out for Ryan. He’s been hanging around with that Clara a lot since Halloween and not telling Grace he’s there. We’re worried he’s getting involved with drugs.” 

“It wouldn’t be drugs.” Yaz shakes her head. Jenny said once that she was totally against drugs and would never let it happen in her house. Besides, Yaz has a pretty clear idea as to what they were doing together that Ryan didn’t want his guardians to know about. “But I’ll keep an eye out.”

“Thank you.” Graham chucks his apple core into a nearby bush. “Compost innit. See you later.” 

Yaz thinks about her interaction with Graham for the rest of the afternoon. The nights were now really getting cold and dark but the thought of going and spending the best part of the night with Jenny made her feel warm. Jenny had agreed to pick Yaz up from the train station at about eight but Yaz feared that she would be later with the amount of time she was stressing over her outfit. She knew that it was because she wanted to force Jenny into admitting attraction, but Yaz didn’t let herself be consciously aware of it. For all she let herself know she was just having a bad time choosing outfits. She gets the train she planned to get with no problem and finds Jenny easily. 

“I don’t know how I’ll get back tonight.” Yaz says. It’s a Friday so it doesn’t matter if she gets a bit drunk. 

“I’ll drive you back. Buses get nasty and trains stop at midnight.” Jenny offers. 

Yaz had never been in a student house before but she knows that Jenny and Clara had two other housemates; Amy and her boyfriend Rory, but Jenny explained they wouldn’t be around tonight because they were going to their hometown for the weekend. There were three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen attached to a living space. Quite large compared to some of the other properties people get stuck with. The music was quiet but Jenny said that soon it would get louder once everyone had arrived. Yaz wishes an already little bit tipsy Clara a happy birthday before she quickly returns back to Jenny’s side. 

“You know you’re going to have to mingle at some point.” Jenny remarks, handing Yaz some kind of drink. 

I don’t want to mingle, I want to be with you. 

“I’ll try.” 

At 9pm the music got about ten times louder and heavier which changed the energy in the house completely. People with half empty drinks rushed to make them full again with whatever form of alcohol they could find. Yaz hung around the kitchen and made light conversation with the constant stream of people coming in and out. A lot of it was just the same drunk gay guy telling her she was beautiful and then other people asking her how she knew Clara since she was evidently a bit younger than the rest of them, and that was what got a tiring and repetitive. She moved over to one of the sofas and sat down, just to ground herself back into the surroundings. Her head spins a little when she sits down, and she promises herself to not drink anymore of Clara’s concoctions for a while. 

Right as she thinks about her, Clara and Ryan sit down in the remaining spaces. 

“Yaz!” Ryan cheers. 

“Where’s Jen, we thought she’d be with you?” Clara asks. 

“She’s over there.” Yaz says, pointing in the direction of a very confused brunette girl being given a lecture on what seemed to be space and the planetary systems. Knowing that Jenny must be comfortable brought a smile to Yaz’s face.

“You know Ryan, I think she’s finally realised.” Clara grins.

“Huh?” Yaz says with the sneaking suspicion that the ‘she’ in that sentence was referring to her.

“You like a bit of the mad scientist.” Ryan wiggles his eyebrows. Yaz says nothing back, only blushes and brings her drink to her mouth. “Ooo she totally does!”

“Shut up.” Yaz says, embarrassed that the emotions she was taking her time to figure out were all being displayed in front of her on a platter.

“It’s not like it’s unrequited, Yaz.” Clara says, leaning over Ryan. “If you tried it on with her tonight I can guarantee she wouldn’t tell you to stop.”

“I- I wouldn’t want to rush anything.” Yaz laughs nervously. If they were falling for each other they would do it properly. 

“That’s cute.” Clara scrunches her face up, a little bit like Jenny does. “Go and save Lucy from Jenny chatting shit. She’s an English graduate, science words mean nothing to us.” 

Clara gets up and Ryan follows her like a dog on a lead. Seeing the same drunk complementary guy spot her Yaz gets up too otherwise she would never be able to escape to Jenny. To grab her attention, Yaz slides her hand over Jenny’s shoulder. She instantly gets her full attention allowing the other girl to escape. 

“Hey.” Jenny smiles sweetly. She leans in to speak directly in Yaz’s ear so she didn’t have to shout, Yaz being very alert to how close her lips were to touching her skin. “That was Elizabeth.” 

Yaz squints and turns her head so that she was the one positioned to talk. “That’s Lucy.” Jenny pulls back at it. She looked terrified that she had been caught in a lie, but Yaz uses her hand already placed on her shoulder to pull her back in. “I know Elizabeth isn’t real so there’s no point pretending.”

“Jen.” Clara hands Jenny a glass of the flavoured water she had been drinking all night and Jenny practically downs all of it in one go. “Oh- wait no, Jen don’t... well.” 

“Sorry, I was talking a lot. Thirsty. Have I ever told you about the configuration of Jupiter Yaz, it's really- whoa.” Jenny grabs onto the belt hook at the back of Yaz’s jeans to steady herself and whatever self righteousness she felt about catching out the lie disappeared into concern as her arms automatically go to support her. “What was in that?” She directly asks Clara. 

“I may or may not have put a teeny tiny-”

“Spit it out.” Jenny says. Yaz had never heard her voice sound like that before. She was angry. Yaz wouldn’t be surprised if she started shaking with anger as more got revealed. 

“I put some alcohol in your drink.” Clara winces as she says it.

“You what?!” Ryan says shocked. 

“That’s illegal.” Yaz says, not only angry herself but livid on behalf of Jenny. 

“I’m sorry! It’s just we usually do that at some point when we’re out and you hadn’t touched anything yet tonight and I didn’t think you would drink it all in one go!”

“I wasn’t drinking because I was going to drive Yaz home!” Jenny says furiously.

“Jen it’s okay.” Yaz tries to calm her down but none of her efforts work. 

“She can get the bus. Or the train or a taxi.” Clara offers up options.

“I didn’t bring any money with me.”

“We can pay.” Clara suggests.

“We’re students, Clara, you think we have enough money for a taxi at peak time on a Friday?”

“Then she’ll have to sleep with you.”

“Excuse me?” Yaz says, eyes wide and brow furrowed. 

“In her room, not her bed, don’t go into a gay meltdown.” Clara rolls her eyes and Yaz finds herself letting out the breath she didn’t know she was holding in; a habit she was developing the more she considered how she saw Jenny.  

“Or Amy’s roo- fucking hell Clara, how much was in there, I can’t see straight.”

Jenny leans further into Yaz as the spiked drink get more of a hold on her.

“You need to lie down.” Yaz speaks against her skin.

"I know." 

“Upstairs, second on the right.” Clara says. Yaz guesses they were directions to Jenny’s room.

Jenny could walk to the bottom of the stairs with pretty much no assistance but getting up them caused a problem. Yaz doesn’t know if this is usually how quick alcohol can affect a body but she knew Jenny hadn’t eaten anything all night and whatever Clara had put in that drink was strong. Everyone reacts to alcohol differently. 

“Wait, I think I’m going to be sick.” Jenny says once all the stairs have been dealt with. 

“I’ll make you some toast, yeah?”

“I’ll kill her tomorrow. I hate being drunk, I do stupid things.” She starts manically giggling. “Oh! Stage two.”

“Giggling is stage two?”

“Yup.” She giggles. 

“How many stages are there?” 

“Four.”

“What are they?”

“You’ll see.” 

Yaz manages to get Jenny into her room and to sit on her bed without tripping over the stacks of books and papers on the floor. She knew Jenny could be disorganized but actually this looked more like an organised mess. She had a great big whiteboard stuck to one wall with different calculations and a to do list written on it and lots of pictures of her and her friends pinned on the opposite wall. There were lots of another blonde girl attached to Jenny’s hip but at some point she gets replaced a ginger girl with long legs and a man with a big nose. 

“That’s Amy.” Jenny picks up on Yaz looks at the photos. “And her boyfriend. He’s been in love with her ever since they were kids.” 

“He’s a lucky guy.”

“She’s hot, right?”

“You could say that.” Yaz smirks.

“Stay with me for a bit.” Jenny takes Yaz’s hand and sits her down next to her on the bed. They both pull their feet up and cross their legs, facing each other. Yaz needed a break from downstairs anyway. Socializing can get tiring.

“Are you alright?” Yaz asks again. 

“I’ll be fine. It’s just because I had it all in one go, I’ll be sick in a bit.”

“Do you want a bucket?” 

“Nah, I’ll be able to make it.”

“Is that what stage three is?” Throwing up?”

“No.” Jenny’s face changes but Yaz can’t figure out how. “This is.”

Yaz can feel fingers running along the collar of her shirt, pulling at her. Still being a bit drunk herself, Yaz doesn’t register what’s happening until her nose is touching Jenny’s. One hand stayed on her collar but another started wandering behind her neck as time froze. Yaz places her own hand on top of the one gripping onto her collar and weighs up the options here. If they’re going the way she thinks they’re going, it would cut out a lot of time and a lot of pain trying to guess how each other are feeling. However they were both drunk and Jenny had said that this was one of the stages so this wouldn’t mean anything when they both become sober. Clara’s words from earlier echoed in her mind. ‘If you tried it on with her tonight I can guarantee she wouldn’t tell you to stop.’. ‘Guarantee’ was the word that stuck. Perhaps this, getting Jenny drunk and knowing she went through stages, was her whole plan all along. Yaz could consent to it, let it happen and hope that it wasn’t just Jenny needing some frustration release. She knew Jenny wouldn’t leave her with nothing either. She could see it in her eyes; the loneliness and horniness mixed together to show how she wanted to touch as well as be touched. 

Jenny pushes her head forward and Yaz’s other hand automatically goes to push on her chest to stop their lips from meeting. Her body was telling her no. She swears she hears Jenny sigh secretly to herself, forgetting that Yaz was mere centimeters from her mouth.

“Maybe when we know what we’re doing.” Yaz whispers. The only sound she needed to be louder than was the thumping of the party downstairs. 

She lets both her hands fall away and gets off the bed, only taking her eyes off of Jenny when she has to turn the handle to leave the room. Once she was on the other side of the door and it was closed, Yaz leaned against it and had to take a deep breath, runs her hands across her face to pull at her skin and make her feel. Her head was spinning and she knows it’s a mix of the drink and the whole situation that just happened. If she was sober, would she have let it happen? She imagined Jenny doing much more intimate things with her less than a few weeks ago but physically being in that kind of situation made it real, brought in emotions and that was frightening.  She was adamant she would still make Jenny toast, to make sure she would be okay, but she would get Ryan or someone else to deliver it. If she went and saw Jenny again with a couple more drinks down her, something might happen.

Yaz rejoins the party as if nothing had happened. If anything her anger and Clara spiking Jenny’s drink was the prevailing emotion that controlled her for the rest of the night but it was her birthday and this house was also the shelter Yaz had for the night so she didn’t want to cause a scene. She mingles and talks to people she never would have if she hadn’t come tonight. At one point Clara comes up to her, begging her to let Jenny know how sorry she was and she didn’t mean for it to go that far and she knew that alcohol didn’t really agree with her. Yaz said she would but she doesn’t know when they’ll be able to talk next or if Clara will see her first. 

When the party dies down at about two in the morning, Clara shows Yaz to the third bedroom that belonged to Amy and Rory. ‘Help yourself to clothes’ Clara says but Yaz felt bad rummaging through someone’s clothes, so instead she takes off her jeans and her bra but keeps everything else on. She lays down and closes her eyes, but as soon as she does she feels the ghost of how close Jenny was to her lips and it keeps her from sleeping. At least an hour must have passed before someone came in.

“Yaz? Are you still awake?” Jenny asks.

“Maybe.” Yaz opens one eye and sees Jenny standing over her. “Are you okay now?” 

“Yeah. I made myself throw up.” Jenny kept her gaze low and not on target with Yaz’s eyes as if she was ashamed.

“Can I help you?” Yaz asks, still wondering why Jenny was here, standing over her while she slept like some creepy vampire. 

“Listen I’m not being funny but my room is right next to Clara’s and I think Ryan finally learnt-”

“Don’t say it.” Yaz stops her. She already knows what she’s going to say.

“They’re really loud.”

Yaz flings back the covers, allowing in some cold air but knowing it will be replaced by a warm body, and shuffles so the sides of the bed are clear. 

“In.” She instructs Jenny.

“I was going to sleep on top of the covers.” Jenny says, hesitating to get in with her.

“It’s too cold for that, Jen, it’s the middle of November. I don’t mind.”

“We could go tops and tails.”

“Jen.”

“But-”

“Jenny.” Yaz says, making it clear with her tone of voice that it was too late at night to play around with sleeping arrangements. Jenny gets in and lays next to Yaz and Yaz wonders if this was a secret plan of Clara’s all along. She goes to pull the covers back over them both and notices something strange. “You sleep with socks on?”

“You don’t?” Jenny asks, as if what she does is the most common thing for the population to do.

“How can you do that?” Yaz smiles in disbelief at her.

“It feels nice.” 

“You monster!”

“There’s nothing wrong with it!”

“Don’t your feet get all sticky and sweaty?”

“Sometimes-”

“Gross!”

 “-but then you just kick them off.” 

They laugh and giggle together at the stupidity of the topic of conversation, however the intensity of the passion Jenny was speaking with hits Yaz like a tonne of bricks. Not because they were actually talking about anything serious but the fact that it was making Yaz realise how attached she had become to this woman. She felt like crying at the thought of never seeing her again.

“I’m sorry I tried to kiss you.” Jenny says quietly and shamefully.

Yaz gulps. She didn’t want to muddle Jenny’s feelings more than they were already. “It’s okay.”

“I don’t want it to change how you think about me. I’m not predatory or-”

“I know.”

“What did you mean by ‘maybe when we know what we’re doing’?” Jenny barely whispers. The lack of hesitation before she asked it made Yaz think that she had been thinking about it a lot and she wonders if Jenny had actually slept at all yet.

“I-”

Both of their ears prick up when Yaz’s voice is drowned out by their friends in the room across the hall reaching the end of their activity together.

“Fucks sake.” Jenny mutters as she covers her ears by wrapping her arms around her head. 

“Shall I go applaud them for a laugh?” Yaz suggests. Jenny grins but don't egg her on to do it. Nor does she bring up the question. Instead, they both fall asleep side by side. 

 

Yaz had forgotten to close the blinds last night. It wasn’t a bad thing. It meant that the winter sun kissed the skin of Jenny’s stomach, which was exposed since Jenny moved so much in her sleep. Yaz just guessed she was taking off her socks without the assistance of her hands. Despite her top having ridden up her body, Yaz can still see the graphic on it and rates it as the best one yet. She wanted to pull it down again to see it fully but she didn’t want to risk waking Jenny up. She looked too sweet laying there like that. So much so that Yaz can only lie there, staring at her until she stirred. 

“Hello.” Jenny’s voice breaks as she rubs her eyes. 

“Hi.” Yaz greets her back. 

“Is Clara up yet? I’ve got some words I want to say.” Jenny sits up and hugs her knees. One sock was half still on her foot while the other had disappeared under the covers.

“Don’t think so.” Yaz gets the urge to pull her own knees up and sit up next to Jenny and she does. “Do you want me to back you up?” 

“Nah, I’ll be fine.” She yawns. “You go home.”

“Are you sure?” Yaz checks. She still had strong feelings about what Clara did.

“I’m sure.” 

Yaz goes to move and fetch her clothes but it suddenly very conscious that she only had underwear on her bottom half. 

“Promise you won’t look?” Yaz asks.

“At what?” Jenny asks with honest confusion. Yaz gestures at her naked legs. “Oh! Right, yeah, of course I won’t.” Jenny looks around sporadically. “Where am I meant to look?”

Yaz smiles and rolls her eyes lightly. “Just don’t stare.”

She gets up and puts on her jeans. Yaz pauses when it comes to what she should do regarding her bra. She could leave without it or put it on in the bathroom. But, forgetting any recent developments, it was only Jenny. Yaz looks over her shoulder to see if Jenny was looking at all but she was fiddling with her fingers in her lap. She takes off her shirt and suddenly feels her back burning, so she glances over her shoulder again. Jenny was still playing with her hands but now her cheeks had flushed red. It makes Yaz hurry up to get everything back on to cover her body. 

“Do you want me to drive you back?” Jenny asks while Yaz turns back around. 

“If that’s alright, yeah. I really should’ve brought some money.”

“It’s okay, I was going to do it anyway.” Jenny shrugs and smiles politely. 

Silence falls and Yaz finds herself thinking of excuses to get out of the room before an awkward question crops up. 

“I’m going to use the bathroom.”

“Cool. I mean, okay. It’s a normal thing, not cool. Not...out..of the ordinary.” Jenny tails off. 

“Why are you nervous?” Yaz asks, smiling.

“Do I really need to answer that?” 

This time it was Yaz’s turn to blush and her smile fades slightly, but this time she was able to make a quick get away. She shuts the door behind her and once again exhales. She was so busy composing herself and internally asking ‘what’s wrong with me?’ over and over again, she didn’t see Ryan leaving the room opposite. They lock eyes and Yaz believes for a second that her brain had added a sound effect until she realises it’s just the door behind her opening again. Jenny moves past her by placing her hand on Yaz’s back ever so gently.

“I’ll be in my room.” She says as she walks past. 

Ryan and Yaz stand silently until Jenny disappears. Yaz knows what it looks like. They both appear from the same room having just shared a bed and it wasn’t even the bed belonging to the one who lives here. Ryan’s face easily falls into his classic cheeky grin.

“Did you-”

“She couldn’t sleep because you two were so loud.” Yaz cuts him off. “Nice job by the way, we could hear from in there.” Yaz smirks and Ryan fulfills the duty of being the next person to et flushed. Knowing there was nothing that could top her comment, Yaz walks away knowing that she had won. She wasn’t going to let him think that.

Not even if there was a split second where it might have happened. Almost happened.

Chapter Text

Yaz wasn’t expecting anyone to knock at this time of night. It was probably Bill or one of her flatmates’ many night time visitors getting the wrong door again. She opens her door to find Jenny standing on the other side, just having come back from her run. She doesn’t say anything, she simply stands there, waiting. Staring. Yaz was surprised to see her but takes in the view. She’ll never get over how good she looks in that outfit. Jenny stares back, desperation flooding out of her eyes and when that desperation overpowers her, Yaz finds herself getting pushed back into her room until she hits a wall.

“Jen, what-”

“Do you want me?” Jenny asks, voice low and husky and mere millimeters away from her lips. When Yaz was too speechless to reply, Jenny pushes her hips back against the wall and repeats the question. “Do you want me?”

Yaz can’t speak. The determination Jenny was showing was something she had never seen before. The nerve it takes to show up at someone’s door, force your way inside and demand an answer to a question set Yaz’s entire body on fire. Her inability to speak isn’t helped by Jenny’s hand forcing her chin up, making Yaz look her in the eye but her eyes kept flicking up and down from her lips. Yaz nods in answer of Jenny’s question.

But she wakes up before their lips meet. 

 

Yaz groans and closes her eyes again, bringing a hand to cover her face. This was becoming a problem. Dreams like this had kept cropping up since the events of Clara’s party and they were getting stronger and stronger each time. She only ever said those four words in the dreams: Do you want me? Do you want me? Do you want me? Do you want me? Do you want me? Do you want me? It was like her conscience was trying to force her to make a decision, to take action. She lies there like that for twenty minutes until her alarm goes off for her nine am, and then she really has to get up. 

She drags herself out of her warm bed to get dressed and make her way to the kitchen. When the residential advisor said everyone gets sick and tired of their flatmates by November Yaz thought he was lying, however, looking at the state of this kitchen, she understood. Yaz had gotten sick of being the only one taking the bin out so now full bin bags were just piling up in the corner. Stacks of dirty plates had been left on the side to start gathering mold and open packets of foods were becoming a breeding ground for flies. Yaz was just glad that the cleaners were scheduled to come soon, even if they were going to get a fine for the mess.

“Morning.” Bill greets her, walking into the kitchen and ignoring the multitude of mess. 

“Hey.” Yaz grumbles.

“Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.”

“I keep having strange dreams.” Yaz says. Bill looks at her expecting her to start describing what happens in those dreams. “And I can’t talk to the only person I want to talk about it with because she’s in them.”

“Every time?” Bill asks, switching on the kettle.

“Every time.” Yaz nods.

“And the nature of these dreams?” Bill puts on her journalism voice.

“They vary.” Yaz shrugs, going to make some toast. 

“From?” Bill persists.

“Sometimes we’re just sitting together talking and other times…” Yaz pauses uncomfortably and decides to brush over it. “you know.”

“You wake up with your hand wet between your legs and you need a cold shower.”

Yaz feels herself cringe at the description. “Alright, okay, it didn’t need to be said.”

“It’s not like I said it in front of Jenny.”

Yaz’s head whips around. “I never said it was Jenny.”

“C’mon Yaz, let’s not lie anymore. I’m not blind and you’re not dumb.” Bill says. It sounded like she’s been keeping those words in the vault until now.

“But I am freaking out a little bit.”

“Why? If you’ve got feelings for her just tell her. You know she’s gay or at least into women so what could go wrong?”

“Just because she’s gay doesn’t mean she’ll settle for the first single lesbian she sees.”

“I know that, otherwise I’d have her.”

“Please don’t.” Yaz’s dread speaks for her and Bill'a eyes grow wide and her jaw drops a little.

“Oh my God you’re really in love with her.”

“I’m not in love with Jenny! It’s just a silly crush, I’ll be over it soon! She doesn’t even mean anything to me!”

“Hi.”

Yaz’s heart drops to her stomach when she hears her voice. Please let her not have heard what she has just said. Please say that voice wasn't really Jenny. 

“Hi Jenny.” Bill greets her.

Shit.

“Hey.” Yaz says when Jenny walks further into the kitchen. She looked irked. “What are you doing here?”

“That interview for Bill. I said I’d come before my shift this morning.” Jenny explains.

“Why else would I be up so early.” Bill says as if it was obvious.

“Where do you want me?” Jenny asks Bill. Almost as if she was ignoring Yaz on purpose. 

Do you want me. Yaz feels her spine tingle at the words being spoken in this reality. 

“Depends. Yaz did you want to do it now too or separately later? You said you’d do it.”

Yaz thinks. She has a seminar she needs to go to in about half an hour, but her tutor is still being a dick and she really couldn’t be bothered with dealing with him this morning. Skipping one class wouldn’t hurt, and she had to catch up on some other readings anyway. 

“I’ll stay.” Yaz decides.

“You have a seminar.” Jenny says.

“How do you know my timetable?” Yaz asks. 

“How could I not? We’ve spent so much time together.” Jenny shrugs as if it was nothing. “I know you don’t know mine.” 

“That’s not-”

“Okay so Jenny I’ll start with you, come with me.” Bill splits them up before the bickering match begins. However this match didn’t feel like it would be the friendly kind they usually had. 

Yaz knows she’s hurt Jenny’s feelings. The speed at which she made her presence known after Yaz practically shouted that she doesn’t love her meant there was no doubt that she had heard it. Yaz wanted to kick herself for it. Just because she didn’t love her right now doesn't mean there’s never a chance it could happen. Today had got off to a bad and emotionally confusing start which had filled her with energy without the need for food. Jenny had kind of put her in fight or flight mode and her body was telling her to run. Run. Run. Run. Run away.

She had let her fitness levels slack when she first moved into uni and never picked it up again. Yaz liked to keep fit in case her plans for higher education fell through and she went straight into applying for the force so she would pass the physical test. Now that she was accepted here and her diet started to go funny as well, she didn’t get the urge to work out. Until now. Yaz digs out her running gear and set off as soon as possible, not wanting to bump into Jenny leaving Bill’s room at the same time and still needing an excuse to skip her seminar. Her body still knew what to do and hadn’t lost the memory of how to use her muscles and her feet start to pound the pavement and roads. 

It soon became obvious to Yaz that her mind would’ve been much clearer earlier on if she had kept up the hobby. Far less breakdowns, far less homesickness and, the revelation that would’ve saved so much time, she would’ve known she fancied Jenny big time. Yaz ran and ran and ran for as far as her legs would take her. Up the hill, down the hill, around the outskirts of campus, back up the hill, back down the hill, running through the crowds of people leaving for the first class of the day and hoping that no one was keeping track of where she was. Running for an hour and a half non stop didn’t leave her as fatigued as she thought. So, as Yaz reaches about fifty meters away from her front door, she goes for another lap. She was thinking so much as she ran she didn’t see the crack in the pavement and tripped over, falling to the floor. Nothing but her self esteem was hurt.

“I didn’t know you ran.” Jenny says. Yaz looks up from the floor and sees her holding out a hand. Yaz takes it, but only for the strength she needed to get up.

“I used to. Thought I’d get back into it.” Yaz says, still trying to steady her breathing.  “Jen, about what I said-”

“Actually Yaz, I’m on my way to see River, so…”

“Oh. Okay.” Yaz says. Hiding her emotions weren’t exactly on top of her list of priorities right now. “What about-”

“I’ve given up trying.” Jenny says, defeat dripping off the words. “Why keep pining after someone who just makes me upset when there’s a woman who gets me and would never say no to me.”

“Jenny that’s unfair.” 

“To who, Yasmin?” Jenny snaps. The use of her full name made a lump form in Yaz’s throat. That was unfair; using her name to make a point like that. “Because we both know this is about us, we’re talking about us .” Jenny steps forward and Yaz can feel the air become harder to inhale, thick with some kind of tension. “Are you jealous?”

Yaz softly shakes her head. “No.”

“Are you sure?” Jenny takes another step closer.

“Jen-”

“Because once I get in there-”

“Jenny you’re scaring me.” Yaz finds the courage to say.

At the words Yaz can see a flicker of regret come through in Jenny’s eyes just before the blonde steps back and keeps walking away. The intensity of the situation meant that Yaz found herself clutching her chest trying to both stop her hand shaking and start breathing again. Her mind goes back to when Ryan and Graham said she was nasty when she was angry and now she can believe it. 

 

“Where’d you go this morning?” Bill asks when Yaz finally returns to her flat kitchen for some water. Yaz had found a secluded bench to sit and think and cry a little bit at the mess that had unfolded. “Your toast popped about seven hundred hours ago.” 

“How was Jenny?” Yaz asks. Her question was meant to sound more like she was interested in the interview but of course, following the pattern of the day, it doesn’t come out like that at all.

“Upset. I don’t think I need to explain why.” 

“No, you don’t.” Yaz says venomously. A little bit of her blamed all her friends for teasing her about her feelings because in her mind that’s what made her practically shout that she didn’t like Jenny at all. “Sorry.” She apologises so she doesn’t lose another friend today.

“I have enough people for my column now, you don’t have to do it.” 

“Okay.” Yaz says, still a bit too coldly for her own liking. She grabs some food from her shelf in the fridge and disappears before anything else can be said.

 

Her dream about Jenny that night was way worse than the rest. Yaz was trapped in her room  and watching Jenny walk further and further away and she was shouting after her but she couldn’t hear. Then she managed to jump out of the window but she had to chase Jenny all around campus, still not hearing her cry out that she did actually like her. She thought she’d caught her at one point, but the door to River Song’s office wouldn’t open no matter how hard she pushed it to get inside and Yaz woke up sweating. 

‘It’s my birthday’ was the thing Yaz immediately thought about once she woke up.

Yaz was welcomed to her twenties with a painfully long law seminar that outlined the upcoming assessments due in January. Throughout primary school and secondary school everyone seemed to know when it was your birthday but at university it was completely different for Yaz. No one knew her well enough and it was just another day for them. In fact, her day felt incredibly lonely up until she opened the post box. There was a slip listing a couple of packages she had to pick up from her accommodations reception and several envelopes with handwriting she recognised on them. She went and collected the two packages and her mood lightened as she opened the first card on her way back to her room. 

“Dearest Yasmin, my favourite granddaughter,

Happy birthday! Don’t party too hard. Can’t wait to see you over the winter break.

Lots of love and affection,

Nan.”

Yaz makes a note to make sure her sister reads this one when she gets home just to rub salt into the feud. Speaking of, Sonya’s card was next.

“Hey sis,

Happy birthday. I don’t know why they’re making me send a separate card.

Sonya.”

Cheerful as always. Yaz pauses what she was doing so that she could unlock her door and flopped herself down on her bed. The only other cards were from her mum and dad; her mum reiterating how proud she is of her and what a wonderful young woman’ she’s become but her dad had written an entire essay about how he might not say it out loud a lot but he loves her so much and she was his favourite ‘(don’t tell Sonya.)’. Yaz read through what he had written a few times to make sure she picked up everything and ended up hugging the piece of paper. She would give a lot right now to hug her family. 

The rest of the day Yaz made no fuss. She finished off some readings and wrote up some notes but the whole time there were reminders of her dreams every time she looked out of her window. And at the wall Jenny had pushed her up against the night before. And the messy bed sheets she and Jenny slept in together. Bill found her staring out of her window when she came in at about five in the afternoon. 

“Is it your birthday?” She asks when Yaz snaps out of it.

“Yeah.”

“Why didn't you say anything?” Bill asks, frustrated. 

“I didn’t really want the attention.” 

“Hm.” Bill smirks as she slowly walks away. “You’ve got two unopened packages on your bed by the way.” 

As if her mind had blocked them out completely, Yaz suddenly remembers she has them to open. She whips out her pair of scissors and scores across the tape holding together the first package. It was from her best friend that she traveled with last year. Yaz had been so busy with her new friends she had terribly forgotten about her old ones. In it was a photo cube with a montage of pictures of them together all around the world. It reminded Yaz of how carefree she was that year and it made her wish she had less to think about now.  

The second package was much flatter and more of a rectangle shape to the other one and it had no postage stamp which made Yaz curious. She cuts it open and two pieces of paper fall out and a couple of cake candles. One bit of paper had a picture of a lemon drizzle cake on it; the other a picture of a chocolate cake. On the back of the latter there was a handwritten message. 

“You never specified which one you preferred and I can’t afford to buy both. Happy birthday Yaz! Thanks for being so amazing! See you tonight! -Jen :) x.”

Yaz almost immediately starts crying. Jenny had obviously dropped it off before she came up to see Bill yesterday, it would explain the no stamp. As for the comment about seeing her tonight, Yaz doesn’t remember planning anything with her. So, other than taking a phone call from her mum, Yaz spends the next two hours hoping that Jenny would turn up and all would be forgiven. 

At seven there was a knock at her door and for a moment Yaz was frozen in time. It was Jenny. It had to be. She wanted it to be. She forces herself to answer it and prepares herself for what might happen.

“Surprise!”

“Happy birthday!”

“Don’t comment on the LED candle, I didn’t want to set the fire alarms off!”

Clara, Ryan and Bill all shout at the same time, Bill’s comment overrunning slightly but Clara and Ryan still holding their smiles with Ryan holding a small cupcake. 

“Guys, what!” Yaz can’t help but grin. They weren't who she was expecting but they were the people she felt she needed. 

“We weren’t going to let you spend your birthday all alone.” Bill says. “We wanted to do something for you.”

“Ryan even googled to see if this cake is halal.” Clara adds. It makes Yaz involuntarily snort. 

“Oi, I might not be a uni student but I’m still learning things!” 

“It’s very considerate of you Ryan, thank you.” Yaz hugs him as a token of her appreciation. 

As she hugs him, Clara and Bill make their way into Yaz’s room and settle in for the evening. When Yaz lets Ryan go to join the two others, she spots Clara clocking the two pictures she had left on her bed. Yaz didn’t mean to snatch them away so possessively but she felt like no one else was allowed to read the inside joke. That was between them and only them.

“Ryan can you help Bill set up the film?” Clara asks. 

“Yes boss.” Ryan obliges and leaves her and Clara alone for a moment. 

“What happened?” Clara whispers, her big brown eyes soft and trustworthy.

“She heard me say some things I didn’t mean.” Yaz says. Saying it out loud to someone felt good. “I think I really upset her.”

“She’s sulked all of yesterday and most of today.” Clara says. It makes Yaz feel bad and responsible even though the mini confrontation was mainly Jenny’s own doing. “Don’t worry. Just give her some time and space to sort her head out.” 

“Has she forgiven you? For last week?” Yaz asks. 

“Not really. She's not the best to live with right now thanks to the both of us.” Clara laughs lightly and with good intention.

“I thought she wouldn’t be as broody after seeing River.” Yaz says, keeping her voice low so that neither Bill or Ryan hear the truth about the rumor. 

“What do you mean?” Clara asks with genuine confusion. 

“She said she was on her way to see River yesterday. I assumed they were going to-”

“She never went to River, she came straight back home to tutor some kids for their mocks.” Clara says, now with shock at the idea as well as confusion. “Yaz... she’s mad about you. She wouldn’t do that. Not when she still thinks there’s a chance.”

The honesty in her voice gave Yaz hope that Jenny wasn’t quite finished with her yet and this was just a blip. 

“Thank you for telling me.” Yaz gulps. 

Ryan and Bill interrupt their conversation by announcing that the feel good film there were going to watch was ‘Mamma Mia’ and it was ready to go.

“Please don’t sing Ryan.” Bill requests as they sit down; Bill to the side of Yaz and Ryan to the side of Clara. It was just like Halloween, except someone was missing. 

“I will never not sing to this! You are asking for the impossible.” Ryan protests.

“You sing if you want.” Yaz smiles. “My birthday, what I say goes.”

“Now that the spirit!” Bill says happily. And she was right. Yaz tries to ignore everything else that had happened recently and enjoy her time with her friends, even if in the back of her mind she wonders what adventure her brain would take her and Jenny on tonight once her friends left her alone again. 

Chapter Text

Yaz takes Clara’s advice and gives Jenny all the time she needs even though it pains her to do it. It makes her realises how lonely university life can actually be when you’re not surrounded by the people you want to be around. Everyone was busy cracking on with their classes and lectures and are planning what their assessments are going to be on and even though the library was full, no one was sitting in groups or whispering to each other. Giving Jenny space meant that a bubble formed around her, too, and sometimes that meant she was left alone with her thoughts. 

December went the same way as November did in that Yaz didn’t see Jenny for the majority of it. She kept up her running and added a work out she could do at home if she didn’t want to go out. What made it worse was that this time Jenny didn’t disappear or become invisible; if anything she kept appearing everywhere. She almost got served by her at the start of the month and from then on Yaz over-ordered on her food shop to make sure she didn’t have to go to the campus shop. Yaz only left the flat when she needed to. Not because it was cold, dark and wet most of the time now but because every time Yaz saw someone with short blonde hair she sharply inhaled and straight away turns to walk in another direction. The idea of having to talk to her if Jenny wasn’t ready to talk yet made her fearful of what might happen. Both of them could end up exploding. So, not going out meant no chance of a run in. 

On the 15th Bill’s article came out and Yaz hesitates to read it. The whole thing was out the LGBT community within the university and Jenny, being in her second degree here, talked to Bill about the progress she’s seen compared to the people who were just starting out. She had a lot of interesting things to say and didn’t speak like she was preoccupied with someone else’s words. Yaz’s words. However, there was one thing that took Yaz by surprise. About a question regarding support from staff, Jenny mentioned River by name in her answer. To anyone that didn’t know Jenny it would mean nothing, but if they had heard of Jenny it could cause more hell for her and that worried Yaz greatly. 

Bill didn’t like that Yaz wasn’t going out and tried to get her to come to some events around campus and snakes her out to Ryan who then subsequently ratted her out to Clara who didn’t take long to realise why. Clara even called her up when the other night when she heard, just to reassure her that Jenny was slowly getting better. Too slow for Yaz, though. Before she knew it she was saying goodbye to classmates, wishing them a good break and going back to pack a suitcase of things to take home with her. Yaz had lessons right up until the very end on December 21st, to be picked up by her dad on the 22nd, and during that last week she silently started praying that she did run into Jenny because it would be three weeks until they were even living in the same place together. 

“Hey.” Bill shows up in Yaz’s open door towing a suitcase behind her. 

“Hey. You going now?” Yaz asks. She didn't really fancy being in a flat alone.

“Nah I was just getting it out to pack. I go tomorrow morning.”

“Me too.” Yaz says.

“You don’t sound so happy about that.” Bill tilts her head. “Still no sign?”

“No.” Yaz sighs.

Bill steps inside and joins Yaz in sitting on the floor in front of her own partially packed suitcase.

“You still have her number and stuff. It’s not like you can’t just message her.”

“I don’t want to message her, I want to see her in front of me.”

“Well then. You’ll just have to wait that little bit longer.” Bill says. She was very good at tough love, Bill was.

Bill helps Yaz pack her bag with the essentials and Yaz returns the favour. It was late anyway by the time she had got into bed but Yaz couldn’t get to sleep. Despite everything that was going on, she was excited to go home and see her family again. Her mum, her dad, her sister, all of them. She had longed a lot of times to just go home, sleep in her own bed again and eat some home cooked food, even if it’s a dish her dad is bad at. She just needed that little bit of normality. Yaz looked forward to it so much she ended up scrolling through pictures of family events on her phone trying to force herself to get to sleep when a text from the most unexpected person comes up.

“Can you let me in?”   It read. Yaz gets up and hopes that the person who sent it was really the one outside.

Yaz opened the front door to the flat and Jenny stood there. She was really right there, Yaz's eyes weren't deceiving her, but the joy of seeing her was short lived. She was absolutely drenched with rainwater. Her face. Oh my God her face. Half of one side was grazed from the cheekbone up to just above the eyebrow and the opposite looked like it had been hit and her bottom lip was bleeding and oh shit, was she crying? The more Yaz stared the more Jenny’s lips trembled and her eyes screamed ‘help me’ until she collapsed in her arms.

“Hey. Hey, what’s happened?” Yaz asks and holds her tight, almost as terrified as Jenny,  gently brushing wet hair that wasn’t her own away from her face. Jenny just cries harder into her shoulder. “What’s happened?” Yaz’s voice cracks and she has to stop the saltwater from falling from her eyes. 

The noise draws attention and Bill emerges from her room, still half asleep. Her face looked just as horrified as Yaz’s but Yaz raises her hand to tell her to stay where she was. Jenny had come for Yaz, not her. 

“Come on.” Yaz pushes Jenny upright. “Come on, let’s go.” She basically carries Jenny into her room and sits her down on the closed toilet seat. 

Under this lighting Yaz could see it all properly. Bits of gravel stuck in the graze cuts, the bruise forming around her eye, and the pretty severe split in her lip. It hurt Yaz to see but it meant she could form an idea of what had happened without having to pry an answer out of Jenny who hadn’t said a word yet. She’d been punched so hard that she fell and scraped her head across the ground. Jenny leans over to put her face in the sink and spits out a mixture of saliva and blood. Yaz’s hand automatically goes onto Jenny’s back assuming she was being sick and realises that Jenny’s clothes were soaked through, and she had passed some of it onto Yaz’s own clothes during the hug. 

“Jen you’re soaking.” Yaz says. Jenny says nothing and just stares right through Yaz, leaving Yaz not knowing what to do next. “Can I?” Yaz gestures to her two tops and trouser braces.

Jenny nods so lightly if Yaz had blinked she would have missed it. She peels off Jenny’s clothes silently, trying not to touch her skin in case that overstepped a boundary, and leaves them in a pile on the floor; Jenny left shivering cold in her underwear. Yaz quickly fetches a blanket at the foot of her bed and wraps it around Jenny’s shoulders and makes a note to put Jenny’s clothes over the radiator in a bit. Knowing that she had some ice in the fridge, Yaz swiftly runs to the kitchen with a tea towel and creates a makeshift ice pack to place on Jenny’s eye. When she returned, the shaking had subsided but the cold stare still had a prominent presence. She then grabs her mini first aid kit and some tweezers. Jenny was still sitting still and silently but Yaz can tell she was reliving something in her mind, over and over and far away. Yaz picks out all of the dirt and grit she could see in her cheek and hopes that’s enough to stop it from getting infected for now.

“Do you want a shower?” Yaz asks gently. Jenny shakes her head. “Are you sure?” Yaz asks, trying to get some sort of verbal answer out of her. Jenny says nothing. 

Yaz wets some tissue and cleans up the blood around Jenny’s lip, trying not to touch her actual lip because it looked really bad and she suspects it's in desperate need for stitches. Next in the clean up process Yaz gets out an antiseptic wipe and adjusts the positioning of Jenny’s head so she can see the graze fully. 

“Hold still.” Yaz whispers. 

“Ah!” Jenny cries the second the wipe touches her skin. Her hand grabs onto Yaz’s outstretched forearm, trying to push her away.

“I’m sorry.” Yaz says. “I have to do it otherwise you’ll get infected.”

Jenny looks Yaz in the eye and Yaz’s breath gets caught in her throat. Jenny was finally present in the room and it made Yaz so sad. So many unsaid words made the air between their faces almost seem to vibrate with tension. They were two ends of a fraying rope about to snap. Any moment now. 

Still restricted by Jenny’s hand on her forearm, Yaz continues to clean the wound with as little pressure as possible, only receiving a few silent winces every now and then. Yaz gets some spare clothes to put on Jenny so she wouldn’t be so exposed and Jenny accepts them with very little protest. It was time to leave the bathroom and Jenny was able to walk by Yaz’s side without any support, but they soon came to a stop, stumped by a problem. 

Yaz’s bed was half the size of Amy and Rory’s. It wouldn’t fit two unless they were touching. 

“I’ll take the floor.” Jenny says. 

“You don’t have-”

“I’m going on the floor.” Jenny says defiantly. Yaz lets her think she is in control since she’d already been belittled tonight and gives her another blanket and a pillow. 

Jenny lays on her side, facing away from Yaz in her bed, who was watching Jenny to see if she would fall asleep. Half an hour passes and Yaz sees no signs of sleep and Jenny starts to lightly shake. Yaz gets out of bed and carries her duvet over to Jenny and lies on the floor with her, forcing Jenny to turn around and pay attention to her. Before Jenny could say anything, as if she would say anything given her track record of silence tonight, Yaz strokes Jenny’s hair behind her ear and that instantly silences her. When there was nothing left to push back, Yaz’s thumb traces her bottom lip. 

“You need stitches.” Yaz says softly. 

“No.” Jenny retreats back. 

“Jenny please.” Yaz begs, following her with her body. 

“No hospitals.” Jenny insists, but doesn’t shuffle away any further. If anything she moved that little bit closer.

“I didn’t mean any of it.” Yaz says without a prompt. They needed to talk about what she had said and now was a better time than any. “I only said it because I was fed up of Bill- and Clara and Ryan- I got fed up of  them all telling me what I felt. I thought it would make them stop but then you heard. I’m sorry if I hurt you.”

Jenny’s hand stops possessively gripping the covers to her body to keep warm and her warm touch lands on Yaz’s cheek. If this was what Jenny felt when Yaz touched her then holy shit her self restraint was strong. Yaz thinks this might just be her way of communicating without speaking but she can’t guess what she was trying to say. Jenny had this sort of lost look in her eyes that made her unreadable.

“Am I a bad person?” Jenny asks quietly, tucking her hand back into her body. 

Yaz slowly shakes her head. “No.” Her own hand rests on Jennys cheek; her thumb starting to wander around the newly forming bruise. “You’re amazing and resilient and fantastic and full of pride. You’re you and loads of people can’t say that about themselves.”

“How did you know?” Jenny asks. 

“Know what?” Yaz asks, trying to keep Jenny talking as much as possible. 

“How to sort out my face.”

“My mum used to do it.” Yaz smiles at the memory. 

“Tell me?” Jenny requests and then averts any and all eye contact. “I’ve missed your voice.”

Yaz’s heart skips a beat and she has to swallow a gasp but she tells the story anyway. “I fell over a lot as a kid. Scraped knees and elbows and stubbed toes and bent back fingers and I ran home every time. Even if she was at work I would just go back and wait for her. Mum would never panic at what I looked like she would just calmly say ‘come on sweetheart, let’s sort you out’. If a wet bit of tissue wasn’t enough then came the stuff that stings like hell but after there was the cream that smells really good. Germolene I think it was. But then if we didn’t have any of that she just…”

Yaz stops. Not because she had forgotten what her mum did, she remembered that clearly, but if she said what she did do, that could make it awkward. No, not awkward, it would just put her in a position. It wasn’t even a bad position, it just scared Yaz because it felt right.

“What did she do?” Jenny mumbles. Her split lip was weeping from where she was moving it to speak. 

She kissed it better.

Yaz looks at Jenny, who was still waiting for an answer. She could kiss her forehead. Just to see where the boundaries were. That wouldn’t do any harm, right? Yaz lifts her body up, places her lips against the top of the grazed skin and holds them there for a moment before letting her body fall back on its side. Yaz’s eyes don’t move away from Jenny’s lips. She can’t take her eyes away at all, not even to see how Jenny was reacting. One side of her bottom lip was so trashed and she really, really should be sent to hospital, but the other side and her top lip were fine. More than fine. 

Fuck the charade, Yaz wanted to kiss her.

The tension on the fraying rope snaps and Yaz nudges her face forward and takes Jenny’s top lip between her own. Jenny’s bottom lip moves up and locks them in together, stopping Yaz from melting completely. Tiny movements felt like huge ones to Yaz. Every nerve in her body was on high alert and she could tell just by the air from Jenny’s nose tickling her skin setting her entire body on fire. They were so in sync with each other that any second thoughts at her rash decision fled from Yaz's body. It felt right, even if they were being mindful of an injury. When they both came to a natural end together, their faces barely moved away. Yaz doesn’t look up, just in case Jenny would tell her not to do something like that again once their eyes meet. Instead she quickly focuses her lips to center on the cut and lightly places them against it. Then, and only then, she lets her eyes rise up.   

It was late at night and it was dark but the twinkle in Jenny’s eyes was enough to see. Jenny’s hand brushes up and down from the top of Yaz’s shoulder to her elbow and Yaz drapes her arm over Jenny’s stomach, her fingers lightly drawing patterns against her back. They lie together like that, in comfortable silence, for what felt like quite a while. 

“I really like your mum.” Jenny whispers. It makes Yaz smile stupidly which makes Jenny smile for the first time that night. “Fuck.” Jenny gasps and her face goes paper white. Her smile had stretched out the split in her lip.

“Please, please go to hospital.” Yaz begins to beg.

“I will in the morning.”

“Now!” 

“No! I don’t like hospitals, they freak me out. And the local one here doesn’t even have a shop, what kind of shit hospital doesn’t have a little shop?”

“Jenny, please.” 

“Would you come with me?” Jenny asks. 

“I’m going home tomorrow.” Yaz explains why she can’t.

“For how long?”

“I’ll be back after new years.”

“Three and a bit weeks!” Jenny says, exasperated. Yaz understands why. They were going to have to spend another three weeks apart. “Come back before new years.”

“Why?”

“So I have another excuse to kiss you.”

Yaz felt like doing it again there to prove she could kiss her whenever she wanted but Yaz found a better way to say it.

“If you go and get this sorted, you can kiss me whenever you want. Properly.” Yaz says. It might have been a bit too much and in any other circumstance might have crossed a line but it doesn't bother either of the two young women.

Jenny rests her head in Yaz’s chest. “In the morning. I promise.” She says. The selfish part of Yaz accepted that she wasn’t going to convince her to go tonight and let's both of them stay holding each other. 

Yaz lifts her head a little and softly kisses the bruising eyelid like she had been doing it forever before resting her chin on top of Jenny’s head, running her fingers through Jenny’s hair until she falls asleep. Hearing and feeling Jenny fall asleep curled up in her chest and become so vulnerable just after an attack made all of Yaz’s feelings boil back down to anger. She doesn’t doubt that it was the same disgusting people as before and that Bill’s article had something to do with it but she doesn’t even think about telling Bill that. How was she to know? Maybe that’s why Jenny didn’t go to hospital. It would be obvious that this wasn’t an accident and someone had done it to her and perhaps they were going to suggest the police got involved. Especially if it had happened on campus and there was CCTV evidence.

Yaz still couldn’t get to sleep. All she did was watch Jenny sleep but about an hour into it- at about four in the morning- Jenny started to shake and she woke up complaining of a headache. It wasn’t a fit and she wasn’t collapsing but it was enough for Yaz to reach for her phone. 

“No ambulance, call Clara.” Jenny pleads. Yaz does as she asks and they wait together for Clara to text and say she was waiting outside. 

Yaz gathers up Jenny’s still slightly damp clothes and walks out behind her to make sure she can spot if she was going to go down or not. Clara practically ran out of the little mini when she saw the state of her friend and luckily it wasn’t raining anymore. The driver got out too, a lanky looking man with but Yaz recognised him from the photos in Jenny’s room.

“What the fuck has happened?” Clara almost screams.

“Please don’t.” Jenny says as Clara starts to examine the damage. 

“Hello. I’m Rory.” He waves awkwardly.

“Yaz.” Yaz introduces herself while trying to keep up with what Clara was saying. “Why are you here?”

“Oh, I’m- I’m a training nurse so when Clara got your phone call she dragged me out of bed.” Rory explains. He talked with his hands a lot too like Jenny did. “Can I see, Jen?” He asks.

Yaz stands to the side and lets Jenny’s friends fuss over her.

“Jenny you need this cleaned up with antiseptics and-”

“I’ve already done that.” Yaz interrupts. 

“What?” Rory asks. 

“I already cleaned it all when she got here but I couldn't do it to a hospital standard.” Yaz explains. 

“How long has she been here?” Clara asks. 

“About three hours.” Jenny answers to remind them that she wasn’t a mysterious ‘she’, she was standing right in front of them as they talked about her. 

"What have you done for three hours instead of going to hospital?" Rory asks.

“Sleeping.” Yaz says.

“Talking.” Jenny says at the same time as Yaz. They share a look.

“Sleeping and talking.” Yaz clarifies. It wasn’t a lie. It was just neither of them were ready to let others into their secret yet. Peer pressure had already cost them enough problems and wasted too much time. 

“Jenny come on, you need stitches.” Rory says.

“Wait, can I say bye to Yaz?” She asks. Yaz was suddenly very aware of the amount of eyes on her.

Jenny stands in front of her and Yaz knew she was trying to conjure up the right words to say but being the scientist that she is, the words weren't coming to her.

“I know.” Yaz helps her out. She didn’t actually know at all. Jenny leans forward and plants a kiss on Yaz’s forehead. Yaz has to force herself not to smile as much as she wanted to. 

“Thank you.” Jenny mutters against her skin and takes a couple of steps back. “Promise you’ll call.”

“I swear.” Yaz says with no hesitation whatsoever. She’s wanted to do it for literally months she just couldn’t get the courage.

Yaz watches Jenny get escorted to the car by Rory and only when she can’t see her anymore she sees Clara staring at her. 

“What?” Yaz asks. 

Clara smiles sadly. “You’ve got some blood on your forehead.” Yaz touches the patch of her forehead where Jenny’s lips had just been and looks down at her fingers horrified. “Don’t worry about her, she’ll be fine. You did well enough to get her to agree to go to the hospital altogether.” Clara touches her arm. “Get some sleep Yaz.” 

And Yaz did get some sleep in the end. But it wasn’t until she was sitting in her dad’s car, being driven home and away from the woman that wouldn’t get out of her head.

Chapter Text

“Wake up kiddo, we’re home.” Her dads voice takes Yaz away from her broken dreams. It wasn’t a bad dream. It was just one of those where it had enough realism in it to make you question if you really were dreaming but at the same time everything was off. Right before she was woken up, Yaz was laying in a sunny field with Jenny lying next to her, cloud spotting. Opening her eyes and seeing that she was in a grey underground car park with artificial lighting was a stark contrast to where her brain had just taken her. 

“What time is it?” Yaz asks, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes to make herself wake up.

“About half two in the afternoon.” Hakim smiles. Yaz quickly checks her phone that had fallen into the footwell. No notifications from Jenny. “Expecting to hear from someone?” Her dad catches on.

Yaz puts up a front without giving herself a choice. “No, not really.” She smiles. 

Still tired, Yaz gets out of the car and stretches her limbs. Five hours in a car with minimal stops took its toll on Yaz’s body since she had been active everyday before now, even if it was only climbing up the big hill to get to class. She doesn’t really talk to her dad in the lift up to the floor the family flat was on. Yaz appreciated that about her dad; if they were alone together they didn’t feel the need to talk and she particularly appreciated it now when she knew that whatever she would tell him would have to be repeated to her mum in a matter of seconds. 

As her dad twists the key in the lock and pushes the door open, Yaz prepares herself for what was going to come. Najia tries to play it cool and waits for Yaz to take three steps into the flat before trapping her daughter in a tight hug. That’s when Yaz remembers how much she’s wanted this and she smiles. 

“My baby’s home!” Najia says, pulling herself back to look at Yaz. “Look at you! I haven’t seen you since you were a teenager.”

“Ha! Very funny.” 

“Did you eat lunch or not? I made extra food in case you hadn’t.” 

“Thanks mum.” Yaz grins. “I’ll just put this away first.” She says, referencing her suitcase. Yaz wasn’t going to completely unpack, she just needed an excuse to be by herself for a bit.

Her room was still as she left it three months ago. It was kind of eerie knowing that nothing had been moved and there had been no life withing these four walls for such a long time. Yaz lies down on her bed and every muscle in her back unravels. She had gotten used to the state of the mattress in her accommodation that even her body forgot how nice her own bed was. She felt like she could fall asleep again right here, right now but Yaz knows that she owes her mum a good chat. She checks her phone and still with no notifications, Yaz decides to call Jenny’s number. The phones rings. Rings and rings and rings until it goes to voicemail. Yaz sighs and puts her phone back in her pocket. 

Reemerging from her room, Yaz finds her mum waiting for her on the sofa with a plate of sandwiches for her. Yaz sits next to her but puts her phone face up in the space between them. 

“So how’s it all been?” Najia asks the inevitable.

“Alright, I guess.”

 Tell me the juicy stuff.”

“There is no juicy stuff.” Yaz says, accepting a mug of warm tea. "Only mundane stories."

“What? No partying, no fights with flatmates, no nothing?” 

“Nothing.” Yaz says.

“Not even a bit of…” Najia makes a crude gesture with her hands that makes Yaz blush. 

“Mum! You’re trying so hard to be cool right now, stop.” Yaz taps her mother's hands away from each other. 

“I’m just living my teenage years through you.” Najia jokes. Her mum’s jokes always make her feel more relaxed. “You don’t have to tell me anything you don’t want to.”

“And I won’t.” Yaz says. 

“Can I ask you one thing though?”

“Whatever my answer is you’ll do it anyway.” Yaz says. Her mum stares at her and if Yaz looked closely she could see a tiny smirk forming. “What?”

“Did you go to bed at all last night? You look like shit.”

“I’m not hungover.”

“Then what are you?” Najia asks. “Don’t lie to me, I can see something’s happened.” Her voice takes a lower, more concerned tone.

Yaz takes a moment to think but the moment was too long to make any lie she could come up with passable. 

“I’m worried.” She offers as an answer. Her mum patiently waits for her to explain further. “I didn’t sleep last night because my friend got beaten up and I had to help her.”

“Help her how?” 

“I cleaned everything up and we talked and we” Kissed. “decided she needed to go to the hospital.”

“It was really that bad?” Najia curls up as if it was her who had been hit.

“Her lip was split and everything. That’s why I’m worried about her and I can’t really think about anything else.” 

Yaz didn’t mean for the second half of that sentence to spill out and she can tell it was being interpreted in a different way to how she had said it.

“Are you two seeing each other?” Najia asks, picking up on Yaz’s regret for her words.

“Mum, not now.” Yaz moans. Najia keeps looking at her, unfazed, and it makes Yaz think. What were they?

“I’ll leave you to figure that out but you know that if you want to talk abou-”

“I know, mum.” Yaz snaps. She didn’t want to get emotional or talk about Jenny anymore because Yaz knows she will probably cry about it. 

“Listen,”

“Mum, I just said I don’t want to talk about it.”

“I wasn’t going to say that, calm it. I know you’ve only just come back but I’ve got a Christmas work party tonight with your dad. We won’t go if you want us to stay in with you. Maybe watch some telly?”

“You go mum. Carry on as normal.” Yaz insists.

“If Sonya’s boyfriend shows up while we’re out, boot him out of here for me.”

“Why? I thought you said he was the complete opposite of her, that should be no danger at all.” 

“They’ll end up having sex.”

“She is of age, mum.” Yaz rolls her eyes. 

“Don’t want it happening under my roof. And I don’t want to think about it, she’s my daughter.”

Yaz sits up, bemused. “You literally just asked if I’ve had any sex since I’ve been away by using scissoring actions with your fingers.” 

“You’re different.” Najia says. “You’re not exactly going to get pregnant are you?”

“Touche.” 

“And you’ve never bought any of your lovers back here.”

Yaz’s head whips around, almost spilling her tea out of her mug. She thought she had never let onto her parents about her shared nighttime activities. “How do you know about them?”

Najia almost laughs on the spot. “I’m your mother and up until three months ago I’ve lived with you every day. You think I didn’t notice you creeping back in the morning physically glowing like someone gave you a good one?” 

Yaz groans and sinks in her seat, her hand covering her face. “Don’t say that.” 

“I have to add, I was really impressed at how you kept it secret.” Najia laughs.

“Mum please stop talking now.” Yaz groans again, defeated. A perfect ‘welcome home’.

 

Yaz finds herself getting bored that afternoon and decides to run to her local gym to see if her membership could be reclaimed. Turns out it could and she wastes time there for as long as possible so that she wouldn’t be home when Sonya comes back. Perhaps she wasted a little too much time because when she got back it was dark and she was locked out and her parents were gone. She knocks on the door and waits for Sonya to answer. 

“Did you run all the way back from university?” Sonya says as a way of saying hi, looking her up and down as she speaks. 

“Yeah.” Yaz says sarcastically, pushing her way indoors. 

Her mum had left ingredients and a recipe out for both of them but in true fashion of being back home, Yaz does all the hard work and Sonya only appears when it’s ready to eat. Yaz had gotten used to eating alone most days, so she didn’t mind sitting alone at the table with only the company of her phone, which still had no contact from Jenny. After Yaz had washed up everything and kept the kitchen neat like she had found it she decides to watch the news. Since being at uni with no TV it was easy to disappear from the world of politics and disasters and now watching it all roll out on screen it felt surreal. Depressing, even. Maybe that’s why she took to laying on the sofa scrolling through her phone. 

She was glad she chose that route of evening activity in the end when she saw Clara had posted a picture of a beaten Jenny asleep in a hospital bed. The image hurt Yaz to look at, especially since at first it looked like Jen was unconscious, but she knew it hurt Jenny more to actually have those injuries. Scanning through the text above the photo Yaz can easily pick up on Clara’s anger no matter how well formed her wording was. She essentially was saying that this was the second time something like this had happened to Jenny during this term alone, the police have been contacted and urge anyone who knows anything to come forward and call the non emergency number and give the case reference number that was also attached to the end of the paragraph. Yaz wonders if she should testify to how distraught Jenny was when she turned up at her door only last night, and then that makes her wonder if she’ll become a suspect if she doesn’t say anything since she was the one Jenny ran to. All concerns disappear though as Yaz keeps analysing the image. Since she’s been kept in hospital that explains why she hasn’t heard from her today. Jenny’s lip had been stitched and cleaned up to a highly professional standard and her eye was all purple again. The graze on her head had been left to air out and heal itself without any medical treatment. Yaz wonders if she should instead call Clara if she knew everything the Doctor’s had said but it was getting late and everyone involved last night is running on fumes anyway. Instead, Yaz saves the picture both onto her phone and in her mind and holds it close both physically and mentally as if she was hugging Jenny and giving her all the comfort she needed like she was there in person now. 

Yaz falls asleep like that and is woken up about half an hour later by the sound of the front door opening and closing. Yaz gets up expecting it to be her parents but sure enough it was her sister sneaking in a very stick-like looking boy who basically tries to hide behind Sonya when he sees Yaz looking at them. 

“Yaz.” Sonya says. “I thought you were already in bed.”

“Nope.” Yaz rolls off of the sofa and folds her arms. An action she knew would give off a hostile energy.

“Please don’t snitch to mum, we aren’t-”

“You can do what you want, Just- what’s your name?”

“Harry.” The deer caught in the headlights replies. 

“Harry, just don’t get her pregnant, I’m too young to be the cool gay aunt.” 

“Wow. Uni changed you.” Sonya says in bewilderment as Yaz walks away to the confinement of her own room. You don’t even know the half of it, Yaz thinks to herself.

You would think that after the long night the night before and broken patches of sleep throughout today Yaz would be desperate to sleep properly by now. She isn’t. She lies there staring at the ceiling, wishing for her eyes to suddenly get really heavy and close themselves down for business. Yaz’s wishes don’t usually come true so she didn’t know why she was so annoyed when it didn’t happen. A little bit past eleven the rhythmic creaking of the bed next door starts up and Yaz regrets telling them she didn’t care what they did. She rolls over onto her side and sees Jenny laying next to her, smiling with her arms wrapped around her head, just like the night of Clara’s party almost exactly a month ago. Her hand reaches out but falls through Jenny to hit her mattress. She blinks, and the image of Jenny disappears completely.

Yaz longed for Jenny to be with her now and make silly jokes together. So much so that Yaz forces her eyes to shut to envision her smell, her voice, her touch, her everything to help her get to sleep.

 

The next morning Yaz had already prepared her lie to keep her sister out of shit with their parents but from one look of her mother's face she knew she was the one in some kind of trouble.

“Morning.” Yaz carries on normally as if she was unfazed but in reality she’s shitting it.

“Tell me Yaz, we aren’t mad at you,” Tell that to your face, Yaz doesn’t dare to say out loud. “But have you prayed at all since being at university?” Her mum asks.

Oh, right. Along with the reminder that she is in fact a Muslim, Yaz is hit with a wave of guilt. She hadn’t prayed or even sought out where the local mosque was. Not once. 

“We don’t mind. You’re an adult and you can practice whatever you want, we were just shocked when Sonya turned up this morning and you didn’t.” Najia tries to make her feel better. 

“Oi!” Sonya says, annoyed. 

“I’m sorry.” Yaz feels the need to apologise. 

“It’s alright. Just, maybe once a day, yeah? While you’re living here?” Najia asks. Yaz can’t say no to her mum. 

“Promise.” Yaz nods. It’s the least she can do to respect her parents. 

After breakfast, Yaz doesn’t know what to do with her day. She went to the gym, again, but she wouldn’t be able to stay there all day despite how rewarding seeing her body get back into shape was. She went into town and got herself a hot chocolate while she watches lots of dads do some panic buying for Christmas. The Khan’s never did celebrate Christmas but the family always converges on their flat for new years and buying each other a little gift as a token of appreciation for each other was always nice and Yaz liked the lights and tiny decorations to look at, especially in the darker evenings. Yaz still had three weeks until her next install of student loan entered her bank account so she had to be clever with what she bought. She thinks about whether Jenny has anyone to buy thoughtful gifts for her. Yaz knows Clara would, but was that enough? Yaz checks her phone and tries to call Jenny again. Still no answer, and this time Yaz decides to leave a message. 

“Hey, um, it’s me. I just… I wanted to see if you were okay. I saw what Clara put up and… just call me when you’re out of hospital.”

Yaz hangs up, shocked at how unhinged she was knowing that Jenny was going to hear her words. She probably should’ve planned out what she was going to say better. Feeling awkward in the middle of town center, Yaz makes her way home. 

She chills out with her mum for the rest of the afternoon. Kind of like a lost duckling. Najia lets her but Yaz knows if she did this every day her mum wasn’t at work she would become really irritating not just for her mum but for her as well. 

“Are you sure you’re not seeing someone?” Najia asks out of the blue while they wash up the dinner stuff.

“What? No.” 

“So you’re not sure that you’re not seeing someone.”

“No- mum- why are you asking me that?” Yaz asks, her annoyance levels rising by the second. They’d already talked about this.

“I’ve never known you to check your phone so many times in a day, sweetheart.”

Yaz picks up her phone that was face up on the counter so she could see it at all times and gets up the picture of Jenny lying in hospital to show her mum. She watches Najia’s face go through about four stages of shock before reaching sympathy. 

“I’m waiting for an update.” Yaz says, putting her phone in her pocket. “Sorry if that’s illegal.” 

Yaz holds her breath expecting her mum to scold her and tell her to lay off the cheek in her tone but nothing comes. Instead Yaz receives a light pat on the shoulder and a comfortable silence.

Putting her phone in her back pocket was a mistake. By the time she remembered it was there, she was getting undressed for bed. Yaz expected a screen with notifications she didn’t really care about but ‘Missed call from: Jenny Smith’ made her heart sink. Her fingers fumble to press call back and she paces her room while the phone rings. 

“It’s Clara.” The voice on the other end of the phone says. 

“Oh.” Yaz says, not trying to hide her disappointment at all. “Where- where’s Jenny?”

“She went to bed a little while ago. I could say it’s because she’s tired but in reality she’s just fucking miserable.” 

“Is there anything she needs or something that could be given to her?” Yaz asks. There’s a long pause at the other end of the line until Clara sighs.

“Yaz, all she wants is you. You were the first thing she asked about after she’d woken up with her stitches.”

“What did she say?”

“I can’t really remember, she sort of just mumbled your name a lot.” 

Yaz bites her lip thinking over ways she could get back to her sooner. “I can’t leave my fam-”

“I know, I know, don’t worry. I think she knows that too.”

“Can you tell her I’ll call her tomorrow?” Yaz asks. 

“Do you have a specific time?” 

“Like, I don’t know, maybe four in the afternoon.” Yaz suggests. She doesn’t even know if it will be possible to wait that long but she wanted to make sure Jenny had enough time to catch up on sleep. 

“I’ll tell her.”

“Thank you.” Yaz says. “Have you found anything else out about what happened?” 

“Not yet. Jen told us where it happened and we’re waiting on the CCTV to be checked but because of the holiday we can’t get to it yet.”

“What about Ryan?”

“Now that police are involved he doesn’t have high enough clearance to view it. He said he would try but I don’t want him to lose his job.”

“Neither would Jenny.”

“Exactly.”

“There was also something else Jenny said.” Clara yawns, reminding Yaz that the night was not getting any younger. 

“Oh, really?”

“Yeah, when she asked how long her stitches would take to dissolve she said ‘I need to know so I can kiss Yaz again.’ but we’re guessing that’s the painkillers talking.”

Yaz smirks at how their recent behaviour has fooled their friends. “Must be the painkillers.” 

“We all know you two are too dumb to act on anything.” Clara jokes.

Yaz tries to best to hide her smile from being detected in her voice. “Aren’t we just.” 

 

That night Yaz dreams more vividly than ever of having a passionate night alone with Jenny. So much so that when she woke up, she could almost feel the imprint of Jenny’s body on her own. That only made her yearn for her even more. Yaz laid there for at least half an hour, dead still apart from her finger lightly running across her lip, so that she could remember every second of the dream later on at intervals throughout the day. What words were exchanged and the shared actions that followed. Yaz wishes that one day it might not just be an echo of a product of her mind. 

December 24th. Christmas Eve. For some it meant a day of travelling to meet up with family and others it was already the start of celebrations. To Yaz it meant she only had exactly eight hours to get through before she called Jenny. In some ways it felt wrong for her to be so obsessed with the thought of speaking to her again since she was still trying to get a handle on her emotions. Did she really like Jenny that much? Had she just become attached to the first person who was kind to her? Or was she really starting to feel things she wasn’t ready to accept she was feeling. Yaz didn’t know. All she knew was that she really found it hard to pass the time. 

Four in the afternoon came around painfully slow but at about ten minutes to, Yaz found an excuse to hide away in her room. Would it seem too eager to call a few minutes early? Would it be worse to call dead on four o’clock? At one point Yaz’s thumb even hovered over the video call button. Seeing her face as well as hearing her voice; now that would make it extra hard to not be honest with her. But then again what’s the point in lying. They’d already kissed. That had to mean at least something was there between them, right?

Yaz hits video call at 3:57pm. The phone only has to ring twice before it’s picked up.

Even though her face was patched up, Jenny still looked like shit. Tired, hurt and still getting over the emotional beating as well. But, at the same time, there was the familiar twinkle in her eyes that suggested she was on the mend.

“Why are you looking at me like that?”  Jenny asks. 

“Because I’m tired of people doing this to you.” Yaz answers. 

“Me too.” Jenny nods and the silence between them starts to get heavy.

“Is it inappropriate to say I miss you?” Yaz says, unable to hold herself back.

“No, because I miss you too.” Jenny removes her eye contact from the screen, unable to cope with however Yaz might respond to her quick response.

A couple of moments pass with neither of them having anything to say. Well, perhaps not not having anything to say but instead having too much to say and not having the right words on hand for it. 

“Have you started any of your assessments?” Jenny asks, changing the subject. 

“I’ve not done anything to them since about a week ago.”

“Yaz!” Jenny both sounds and looks distraught. 

“I’ve still got time, don’t worry. It’s only annotated bibliographies.”

“Seriously, that’s what they all say. How many texts do you need.”

“Altogether? About twenty.”

“Fuck me Yaz, please don’t leave it to the last minute.”

“I won’t. You sound like my mum.”

“Yeah because I’ve already gone through first year and I know how crap it can be if you don’t just crack on.” Jenny sighs. It does the trick and makes Yaz feel guilty for delaying her studies. “Please do it for me.”

“I’d do a lot of things to you.” Yaz says absentmindedly. 

“Uh. Yaz-” 

“For you! I mean- I said for you- I’d do a lot of things for you!” Yaz hopes the blood rushing to her cheeks isn’t visible through the camera lens. God, video call was a mistake. “I’ll take my assessments seriously for you.” 

“Wait, shit, don’t make me laugh.” 

“I wasn’t joking about anything.”

“I know but you’re making me smile.”

“Why’s that so bad?” Yaz grins at watching Jenny try harder than ever to not let her face move. 

“Stop!”

“I’m not doing anything!” Yaz giggles. Jenny has to resort to pinching her cheeks to make her bottom lip stop stretching. “You look like a pufferfish.” 

“Your fault.” Jenny says. Yaz loses it upon seeing the blonde's lips move in such a way and can’t get herself to stop laughing. 

The call lasts another three hours before Yaz is called to dinner with her family and Jenny is dragged away by Clara to help start preparing their budget Christmas dinner for tomorrow. Both of them had left in better spirits than before and later on in the evening Yaz received a text from Clara. It read: I don’t know what you did but thank you.

Yaz had what could be classed as a great dream that night. Again, Jenny’s presence was heavy thanks to their chat in the day. They were alone, in a strange little flat in Paris eating pastries on Christmas morning. Jenny was trying to make the tip of her elf hat she was wearing stick up and Yaz was sitting in her lap trying to help as best she could, but really it was an elaborate excuse to sit in Jenny’s lap and make her laugh. 

Unfortunately, Yaz was startled awake at about half five in the morning by the excited young family in the flat next to them. To be fair to them though, the parents were consistent is telling their kids to keep their voices down for as long as possible and Yaz understands how Christmas can seem like the most wondrous thing in the world for kids. She laid in bed for as long as possible until dawn hit and she joined her mum and sister in prayer. 

Her family exchanged their tokens of appreciation for each other throughout the day and even though they weren’t celebrating it, Hakim used the day to show off his culinary skills and made way too much food for just the four of them to eat. A day off work was a day off work; it doesn’t matter what religion, or lack thereof, you were. For example: Jenny had made it very clear in the time she’s know Yaz that she doesn’t believe in any kind of God but rather science and the universe and yet through the day many photos of Jenny, Ryan, Clara, Amy and Rory wearing hats from crackers and tacky jumpers littered social media. Yaz was surprised that Ryan wasn’t spending the day with Grace and Graham, since Grace’s food was never something to be turned away, but it became clear to Yaz that she obviously wasn’t aware of their plans for the entire day. Seeing them all there together made Yaz a little bit envious and she wishes, only a little bit, that she was there having fun with them. There’ll be other times to hang out, Yaz tells herself.

 

December 26th Yaz decides to start writing down all the dreams she has had over the past few months to see if there were any patterns cropping up. She wouldn’t admit it to herself but it was also a way of procrastinating her assessments. But is it really procrastination if it only takes an hour? Considering it got Yaz into her creative flow, she thinks not, and gets on with what needs to get done.

Anyone who has ever experienced a creative flow will tell you that any and all academic work soon drains every ounce of creativity out of your body. The way these texts were written made Yaz’s eyes dry with boredom. Pages were being read over multiple times and still nothing was going in. She liked learning new things; she did not like having to find sources for the things she was being taught and regurgitate it onto a word document. Yaz even takes a break to go for a run in an attempt to try and get some blood and oxygen back in her to make her brain work properly and she thinks it works until she’s sitting back at her desk chair again staring at the screen like the words were laughing at her. 

Right as Yaz was on the verge of praying for an academic miracle, her phone rings and gives her a social escape. Jenny wanted to video call.

“Hey.” Jenny’s audio comes through before the picture of her face does. 

“Hey.” Yaz mumbles. Her cheek was stretched from where she was resting her hand on her face. 

“No need to ask you if you’ve started your work then.” Jenny picks up on Yaz’s deflated energy. “Don’t try and do it all in one go. Give it a break for today.”

“I have a thing about starting things and then not finishing them.”

“But you are going to finish, just not today.”

“Tell my brain that.” 

“I’ll have to find a way to distract you.”

“Like what?” 

Jenny makes a noise that resembles the vocal chord progression of ‘I don’t know’ and shrugs. “I’m good at talking.”

“Please, go ahead.” Yaz smiles.

“What do you want me to talk about?”

“Dreams.” Yaz suggests.

“Dreams?”

“Dreams. Be as sciencey as you like or not at all just tell me your thoughts on them.”

“Did you ever watch Cinderella as a kid?”  Jenny asks.

“I think so, when I was young. Why?”

“Because ‘a dream is a w ish your heart makes’.”  She quotes.

“You really believe that?” Yaz tries not to laugh. 

“Yeah. I mean why not, it’s a nice way to basically say the science side of it. Basically your brain, yeah it takes everything you’ve thought and seen throughout the day, even if it’s just a split second and…” Yaz lets Jenny ramble about the science of the brain and dreams for as long as possible. Several detours off topic and a few explained words later, Jenny asks something Yaz was not prepared to answer. “Have you been having strange dreams then?”

“Wouldn’t call them strange.” Was all Yaz could say. 

“Wanna tell me about them? I could help-”

“I can’t tell you.” Yaz shakes her head. 

“Why not.”

“Just can’t.” Yaz bites her lip unknowingly and looks down.

“It’s because I’m in them, isn’t it.”

Yaz’s head and attention fly up again. “How did you know?”

“‘Cause you’re in mine.” Jenny shrugs.

“So what does that mean?”

“It means we think about each other a lot.” 

“You’re hurt, I’m obviously going to think about you.” Yaz says, still in the robotic formula of hiding her true feelings. Knowing it was a little bit of a lie, she fiddles with her fingers in her lap, waiting for a response.

“Yaz.”

“Yeah?”

“When are we going to talk about it?” Jenny asks.

“About what?” Yaz says, even though she knows exactly what ‘it’ is.

“You know what.”

“Just say it Jenny.” Yaz says more firmly.

“Tell me why you kissed me.”

Yaz pauses and decides to be honest. “I wanted to.”

“But why did you want to?”

“Jen-”

“Because I know why I kissed you back.” 

“Jen, I don’t want to do this right now.”

“So when will we?” 

“I don’t know!” Yaz shouts from the building stress. The shock and upset on Jenny’s face makes Yaz instantly regret it. “I don’t know.” She tries to say more calmly.

“I have to go.”  Jenny mumbles.

“Wait-”

“I’ll call later.”

“No, wait Jenny I-” The phone screen goes back to her lock screen and Yaz gently hits it against her head several times.  “I think I love you.” She mumbles so that the words aren’t properly formed, and therefore not properly said out loud.

 

Jenny’s idea of ‘later’ was December 30th. Four whole days for Yaz to try not to over think it and hope she hadn’t screwed up anything they had. In the end it wasn’t even a call, it was just a text asking for her address so she could send Yaz’s clothes back to her. Yaz willingly gave it to her, along with a small message telling her how she was sorry and wishes she was able to communicate with her better. Hoping not to miss a text back, Yaz is determined to stay on her phone as long as possible. She hadn’t planned on going through every photo of Jenny that existed on social media but that was where she ended up. Yaz likes the ones where Jenny’s smile was the brightest and it was reflected in her eyes, too. Her childlike innocence came through in almost every single one and Yaz missed being around her more than ever right now.

“Yaz.” Her mum knocks on her door. “We leave for dinner in five, are you ready?” 

“Yeah.” Yaz calls back. She isn’t ready but how long does it take to change from sweats to jeans and a top?

The Khan family arrive at their favourite Italian in Sheffield. It’s a tradition for the four of them to all go out and eat together the day before new years eve where their flat gets swamped with extended family. Cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, family friends, they will all be there. Sitting down at the table Yaz notes how busy the place is while she places her phone face up in front of her.

“No phones.” Hakim says.

“But dad-”

“Yaz, we never have phones at the dinner table, you know that. Put it away.”

“But-” Yaz’s second protest is interrupted by Najia reaching over the table to grab the phone. “Don’t!” Yaz slams her hand down on top of her mothers. The cutlery shakes and a few heads turn their way. 

“Oh boy, here we go.” Sonya sighs. 

“Yasmin!” Najia says in shock, continuing to take away the device.

“Mum, please, no!” Yaz grabs her phone back again. It was only now Yaz noticed the lump in her throat. “It’s the only link I have to her.” Her voice cracks.

Yaz watches her mum and dad exchange a look of deep concern. At the same time, Yaz was pushing back her urge to cry. She was so close to having to openly say to someone that wasn’t herself that Jenny meant a hell of a lot more to her than she was willing to admit. 

“Link to who, sweetheart?” Najia asks. 

Yaz swallows so she’s able to speak. “No one.”

“It’s that girl that got beat up.” Sonya says. “I hear them talking through the wall, it’s really fucking gross.”

“Sonya, if your sister’s dating a nice-”

“We aren’t dating.” Yaz corrects her dad but he keeps talking.

“-girl she’s met at uni and they’re having to go long-distance over the holiday-”

“We aren’t dating.”

“- then we should-”

“You’re not listening to me.”

“-respect-”

Yaz gets up and takes herself away to the quiet of the restaurant toilets. She was so annoyed at herself for getting so wound up about not having her phone by her side for an hour or so; it was not like her at all. When she traveled she could go entire days without even reaching for her phone. If her emotions were a glass of water sitting outside in the rain, she was about two raindrops away from overflowing. How can one person have such an impact on her when they hadn’t even properly seen each other for months? Everything kept drawing them back together again and again and it was driving Yaz mad. She can understand why Jenny was starting to demand answers as to where they stood. Yaz wanted them too.

Yaz had expected to be left to cool off and then return with no more words being spoken about the topic beforehand, but after only a few precious moments alone, she is joined by her mother. 

“Don’t say ‘I knew it’ because everyone seems to have known before me.” Yaz gets her words in first with a little anger running through her veins. The signs were there from the start. Ryan, Bill, Clara, her mum, literally everyone had commented on how close her and Jenny were and she didn’t listen. She was blind to it, until now. She was anything but in control.

“I wasn’t going to say that.” Najia uses her mum voice and steps forward, breaking Yaz down even further. “I was going to say that if this girl is making you feel like you can’t go anywhere without your phone, she’s either manipulating you-”

“She’s not.” Yaz jumps to Jenny’s defense without thinking. 

“- or you’re really falling for her.” Najia finishes, ignoring that her daughter had talked over her. Yaz feels herself start to shake with emotion but can’t tell if she physically is. “It’s scary.” She says, her voice surprisingly calm.

“I know.” Najia says, pulling her into a hug that Yaz lets herself melt into it just so she could hide her face. “You know... this is the first time you’ve shown genuine interest in someone. Only took you twenty years.” 

Yaz laughs and rolls her eyes.  “I thought you only kept track of Sonya.” 

“Please, I lost track when she reached fourteen.” Najia scoffs and it makes Yaz laugh heartily. “What’s her name?”

“Ah,” Yaz pulls away from the loving warmth of her mum. “I’m not telling you that.” 

“You always liked your privacy.” Najia smirks.

“Still do.” Yaz reminds her, standing by her decision to still keep Jenny her secret.

“Maybe I’ll meet her one day.”

Yaz shakes her head. “Alright, let’s not-” 

“Need a loan to buy your first home together?”

“We are nowhere near there yet.”

“Spring or autumn wedding?”

“Mum, I know what you’re doing.” Yaz giggles and lightly hits her mum’s arm. If Najia asks enough big questions her logic is that Yaz will cave and give her a small detail, which is what she was aiming for in the first place. Ask for double what you want and the compromise of half will actually be payment in full.

“Which one of you will give me a grandchild?”

“You’re not getting grandchildren.” Yaz sighs, still smiling as she starts to leave to rejoin her dad and sister at the dinner table. Najia stays quiet, but only for a maximum of six seconds.

“Grand-dogs?”

“Don’t push it.”



Family started to arrive at about mid morning on new years eve. Early, considering that they will have to be in each other's company for a whole day and a bit depending on what time they left tomorrow, but it meant that her dad’s brother could help him in the kitchen, her mum’s siblings could have a break from looking after their kids, Umbreen could get the place on the sofa she wanted and probably stay there for the rest of the day, and all the over-excitement could be released through a prolonged pressure valve. All together including family friends, the Khan’s little flat was holding eighteen guests; twenty two people including the permanent occupants. Every year Yaz wonders how on earth there aren’t any fights or disagreements since everyone was in such close proximity but the day was a well oiled machine by now. As Yaz looked around the room she couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was missing. Someone else was meant to be here, with her. Her subconscious started to whisper her name and her hand reaches for her link to her in her back pocket. But Yaz represses it. Tonight was for family. No phones.

The difference Yaz noted about today was the amount of attention being paid to her specifically. She wasn’t used to it. So many questions were being thrown at her about uni; what it was like living there, what classes were like, who she was living with, what were her professors like? Does it affect mental health as badly as the reports say? So many questions, Yaz’s head starts spinning and by early afternoon she has to sit down next to Umbreen, since going to her room would just mean being dragged back out again for more pointless conversation.

After about a minute of sitting there Yaz noticed the pair of old eyes staring through her and she turned her head to meet them.

“What’s up Nani?” Yaz asks. 

“I think the question is more ‘what’s up’ with you.” Umbreen smiles kindly in the way the skin on her face was so familiar to expressing. “So?”

“There are too many people asking me things.” Yaz complains, hunching forward, running her fingers through her hair, avoiding the space buns on top of her head the best she could. “Too many people.”

Umbreen quickly sweeps her eyes around the room. “I don’t think there’s too many people.”

“You don’t?” Yaz sits back up again, bringing her knees up onto the sofa.

“Well, I think there are too many people that, to you, aren’t the one person you want to see.”

Yaz and Umbreen enter an unspoken staring match that almost unhinges Yaz entirely. Her mum was strong but her gran was way stronger regarding willpower and Yaz knows she’ll get what she wants in the end. She decides it’s time to share.

“Her name’s Jenny.” Yaz tells her. At the same time, she accidentally comes out, and holds her breath waiting for Umbreen’s reaction. Please don’t hate me please don’t hate me please don’t hate me please don’t hate me.

“That’s a pretty name.” Umbreen says and Yaz can relax again.

“She is pretty.” Yaz curls up against her nani, placing her head on her shoulder. “I have all these feelings about her and I don’t know what to do with them.”

“Oh that’s easy.” Umbreen says, powering her voice up with all her old age wisdom. “You need to go up to her and say it to her face. The sooner the better because life is too short to simply mess around.”

Yaz contemplates her words while forming a loose fist, running her knuckles against her lips. Her brain pushes forward a hypothetical image of someone's fist hitting Jenny’s perfect skin and she flinches, tightening her fist. She glances at Umbreen and she hadn’t seemed to have noticed, so Yaz doesn’t say anything about the flash thought.

“What if she doesn’t feel the same way about me?” Yaz airs her worries.

“Then you find out and go your separate ways. It’s better than always thinking about the ‘what if’s and driving yourself mad.” 

Yaz knows she’s right. Not talking to Jenny properly about it has left her driving herself mad and living out the best and worst possible fantasies inside her head. She wraps her arms around her nan and hugs her.

“I love you Nani.” Yaz says to voice her appreciation.

“I love you too Yasmin.” Umbreen affectionately pats Yaz’s head. There’s an outburst of laughter from the kitchen where her parents were occupied chatting to Sonya’s boyfriend.  “Tell me more about her. I’m bored of hearing about the skinny quiet one.”

“I uh…” Yaz lifts her head and glances at her mother halfway across the room.

“Oh don’t worry. This stays between you and me, she’s always stuck her nose into places she shouldn’t.” Umbreen reassures her and makes Yaz giggle. “What is she studying?”

“She’s a scientist.” Yaz says, too lazy to explain that Jenny was on her second degree.

“Ah.” Umbreen raises her eyebrows. “She looks good in a lab coat, yes?”

Yaz snorts. Even though she wouldn’t say it to her face, Umbreen was so, so right. 

“You sound like mum.” Yaz says instead.

“Your mother is my blood. Almost everyone in this room is.” Umbreen gestures widely. 

“Sounds terrifying.”

“Hm. That includes you.” Umbreen uses the back of her hand to stroke Yaz’s cheek. It reminds Yaz of when she was little and Umbreen would greet her as she picked her up from school if her parents were working. “That’s how I can see it in your face.”

Yaz feels a gentle smile pull at her lips and she rests her head on Umbreen’s shoulder again with a new sense of clarity. She needs to stick to being herself, but at the same time there’s a niggling thought at the back of her mind making her consider whether the person she is now would even exist if Jenny had never come into her life. 

Afternoon slowly turned into evening and Hakim finally laid out all the food he had been slaving over for hours in order to feed the great mass of people. Only then did Yaz leave the side of Umbreen, who had been having stimulating conversation with her about anything but school and for the first time in weeks made her forget about Jenny. She mingled with her cousins; some much younger, some a little bit older and she talked to her mum’s friends who were less invested in her education and therefore less likely to ask. It was refreshing for her to hear as well as have to answer. 

Now that she was enjoying herself much more, the time was flying. Drinking alcohol is practically forbidden in this household (at least while other people are over) but fun was still to be had with a selection of board games and an almost familial break up over what the rules of uno are. Both Najia and Yaz were pretty sure that Harry and Sonya were drinking out of hip flasks when they thought no one was looking but they let it slide, considering it was Sonya’s turn to have some family members sleeping on the floor of her room instead of Yaz’s this year. By eleven everything became more scheduled. Channel five was put on in the background for an hour showing a top 100 list of moments that happened in the year and everyone gathered around to input their comments or where they were when it happened. Then at ten to twelve it was switched to BBC One and by the time the countdown was starting Yaz felt at peace with everything. She was going to focus on her studies as soon as she got back and put her social life second to focus on herself. 

Three! 

Two!

One!

Happy New Year!

The screen shows Big Ben striking midnight and fireworks breaking out over the London skyline. In Sheffield, Yaz finds herself being hugged from all directions by everyone, even her sister, and she can’t help but smile. Even if they inevitably go back to their awkward family dynamic in a couple of days, Yaz was enjoying being at home now, surrounded by people who loved her. 

“I’m so proud of you sweetheart.” Najia speaks into Yaz’s ear as she hugs her. “For everything you’ve done the past year.”

“Thanks, mum.” 

Despite the sound of nearby fireworks, Yaz swears she hears a knock at the door. She grabs her mum by the sleeve.

“Did you hear that?” She asks over the noise her family, now crossing arms and singing Auld Langs Syne.

“Hear what?”

“I thought I heard someone knock on the door.” Yaz hears the noise again. “There!”

“It’s probably fireworks.” 

“No but-”

“Go and check Yaz, it’s not going to hurt.” Najia says, moving on to hug her own mother.

Yaz shimmies out of the crowded living area and through the hallway. The peephole had been cracked at some point since she had been away, so there was no way to see who it was, if there was anyone, without opening the door completely. Not thinking much about it, Yaz opens the door to a blonde figure looking out over the balcony, who soon turns around to show a battered but healing face. She was wearing blue trousers, a blue top with a rainbow stripe across the chest, yellow trouser braces and a grey coat with blue lining on the inside.

“Have I missed it?” Jenny says panicked. “I’ve missed it haven’t I. God! I’m so bad with timings, I’m never on time, I was going to do this whole big romantic thing with revolving around the countdown and I was going to get flowers and then turn up at midnight so I could, you know, because my lip is a bit better, and I know we haven’t properly spoken for a few days but there was something in my gut and anyway I spent so long trying to decide which flowers because I don’t know what you prefer or if you’re allergic or if you have pets here and it meant that I was late to-”

Yaz pulls Jenny into the flat while she’s rambling, closes the door, and hugs her so tight she can barely feel herself breathing nor hear the commotion going on in the flat behind her. Jenny’s arms find their way to be just as tight around Yaz’s shoulder and lower back, locking them in where they stood. She had come for her. Driven the minimum of four hours to come and see her for whatever reason but she was here, holding her. Everything Yaz had decided about putting other things first flew out the window as their heartbeats merged into one chest and she hides her face in the crook of Jenny’s neck.

Sufficiently suffocated enough by each other, Yaz moves her face to rest her forehead against Jenny’s.

“Hello.” Yaz whispers, breaking out into a wide smile. 

“Hello.” Jenny copies. To Yaz, Jenny’s smile was wider.

Jenny’s eyes stared back at her with such intensity, such acknowledgement of being here in the moment with her, Yaz didn’t know what to do. Stopping herself from rambling so many unsaid things, Yaz moves her head further away to focus on how well the graze and bruises were healing. Jenny chases her out of fear that she was pulling back completely but the simple action of placing her hand on the blonde’s cheek had her frozen again. Yaz turns the head in her hands with great care. The bruise was still there if she looked closely, but then that might only be because of the poor lighting in the hallway. When her attention turned to the graze, which was now only a couple of scabs, Jenny goes to put her hand on top of Yaz’s but holds back. The only injury left for Yaz to look at was her lip. However, Yaz found it hard to look down for more than a second at a time without turning her attention to not how they look, but instead how she knew they felt. As if she was reading her mind, Jenny leaned in and Yaz (disconcertingly) prepared to give herself up with no hesitation.

“Hello.” Najia interrupts.

Chapter Text

“I don’t think your mum likes me.” Jenny whispers half onto the pillow case and half directly to Yaz. 

After a stiff introduction to the rest of Yaz’s family and a fake explanation as to why Jenny was there (which both Najia and Umbreen saw straight through), Yaz excused herself and Jenny so that they could get some sleep. Now, squished up lying in bed together, Jenny in her white under shirt and pants (and socks) and Yaz in her PJs, they weren’t sleeping at all but instead talking into the early hours of the morning. Family friends left for their own homes about an hour ago and family have settled down for the night wherever they could in the flat. Yaz was thankful for it being Sonya’s turn to host some guests in her room at the start of the day but now that Jenny’s here, she’s thanking all sorts of God’s that she had her room to herself. 

“Maybe it’s because you turned up to our home unannounced, almost kissed me in front of her, lied to my entire families faces and the only other time she’d interacted with you, you hung the phone up on her.” Yaz says. 

Jenny scrunches up her face, which was looking extra doughy tonight thanks to the bedside lamp shining on them. 

“Oh, yeah.” She says, the worry spilling through.

“You’ll win her over.” Yaz reminds her for the second time tonight. “Trust me on that one.” 

“What about your dad?”

“He doesn’t take offence as much as mum does. Just doesn’t say anything if his food tastes bad.”

“And your sister?”

“That’s a hopeless cause, you’ll never win her over.”

“What about your gran?” Jenny asks.

“I’m pretty sure she’s already in love with you herself.” Yaz smiles.

“But I’ve only said, like, two things to her.” Jenny’s forehead crinkles with confusion.

Yaz’s smile turns shy. “I might have told her some things about you.” 

“Yeah?” Jenny beams, knowing that Yaz would never talk badly about her. “What did you say about me?”

“Just that you’re a scientist.” Yaz tries swallow her smile. It doesn’t work and just makes Jenny more curious.

“And…?” 

“She said you probably look good in a lab coat.” Yaz blushes slightly.

“And do I?” Jenny lightly bites her lip and quirks an eyebrow. 

“Maybe.”

“Maybe?”

“Might have to have another look to be sure.” Yaz straight out flirts with intent for the first time. She catches a glimpse of Jenny panicking over the fact Yaz was acting differently but it soon fades. 

“I can sort that out.” Jenny says. There’s a slight pause where Yaz feels an opportunity rise to kiss her properly for the first time. She moves to do it, but Jenny asks another question. “But seriously, will they like me eventually?”

“Why do you care so much?” Yaz strokes Jenny’s hair behind her ear. “You’re usually someone who comes across like it doesn’t matter what other people think.”

“Because I don’t want them thinking of you badly.”

“Why would they? You’re not me.”

“Dunno. I’ve been told I’m strange a few times. Especially with the way I dress and talk and stuff.” 

Yaz lightly runs her fingers over the collar of Jenny’s white shirt, brushing against her chest a couple of times leaving goosebumps in her path. It makes her wonder if she shouldn’t touch Jenny as often as she used to usually do, now that they were both sure something was there. It might complicate or rush things.

“I like the way you dress. What they think shouldn’t matter-”

“It matters to me. A lot. I don’t mind people who only see me a few times and make their mind up because I’ll probably never see them again, it’s a big universe, but you and your family…I just don’t want to leave a bad impression, that’s all.”

“You’re talking very long term.” Yaz says, her smile disappearing for the first time in a while.

“Ah shit.” Jenny sighs and rolls onto her back to stare at the ceiling. “I’ve made you uncomfortable. Forget I said anything. Stupid fucking-”

Jenny smacks herself in the forehead with the palm of her hand. Yaz was taken by surprise so much that she waits until Jenny's hand rests on her tummy to grab it and hold it. 

"Jen, please don't do that." Yaz whispers into her ear. She spots the fingers on her free hand start pluck her sleeve into her palm. "I’m still making you nervous." 

"Little bit.” Jenny mumbles, looking down at her hand being held like she was dreaming.

“How do I stop doing it?” Yaz asks. If she was causing Jenny to hit herself in the head at the idea of simply making her uncomfortable then she feels like she needs to do something to help.

“Tell me where we stand.” Jenny says. Yaz absentmindedly brushes her thumb against Jenny’s. When she realises what she’s doing, she considers letting go of her hand, but never does. “You don’t have to do it now, I don’t mind when but I think I’ll only calm down when I’m around you when I know what you’re thinking and feeling, especially regarding me. I don’t want to, like, invade your mind or anything and I don’t want to make it seem like it’s your problem because it’s not, I just want to know what I can and can’t do with you.”

“What do you want to do with me?” Yaz asks. Once it was too late and the words had left her mouth, she realises the connotations of that question.

Jenny stops staring up at the ceiling and turns her head to look Yaz in the eye. The small amount of air between them started to vibrate again with an indescribable tension. Yaz’s heart picks up speed when Jenny grazes her teeth along her bottom lip, proving her stitches were doing their job, with a sultry look that makes Yaz’s toes curl under the sheets. Having a fairly clear idea of what was coming next, Yaz’s tongue decides to make a small appearance, wetting her lips and giving Jenny the green light, which she acts upon straight away.

For the four seconds Jenny’s lips touched hers, Yaz was elated. All the butterflies in the world entered her chest and fluttered so hard she felt she might take off into the Earth's atmosphere. The fact that she got pulled away from so soon confused her. Opening her eyes again, Yaz sees Jenny hovering an inch or so away from her face, not looking up at her but also not looking away. Just stuck there.

“Why’d you sto-”

A hand curls into Yaz’s hair and pulls her back towards her with much more force behind Jenny’s lips this time, disabling Yaz from thinking at all. All her concentration was forced to go into reciprocating movements and reminding herself to breathe. There’s a tug on her leg lifting her over to essentially straddle Jenny without letting their lips drift apart. Yaz was losing her mind. Her eyes were closed to emphasize the touch but Yaz could feel Jenny’s hand shake a little as it hovered beside her waist, not knowing whether she was allowed to put it there or not. Yaz reaches, misses her hand a couple of times by still not wanting to open her eyes and the kiss to end but when she gets it she guides it to make contact with her side, the patch of skin under her shirt burning from the warmth of her touch.

She wishes they could stay like this and forget everything else. Small movements and silent affirmations that she should keep going the way she was made Yaz feel so good and wanted. Jenny was obviously still a mass of nerves about making moves on Yaz but Yaz knew she wanted more, she could just tell. She slightly pushes the tip of her tongue against Jenny’s lip and consequently extracts a moan from the back of her throat, sending a shot of electricity down Yaz’s entire body and jump starting her own hands to start exploring. It was the next logical step. From then on, everything became a bit more heated. The hand that wasn’t propping Yaz up found itself on Jenny’s chest, Jenny’s left hand slowly ran up and down Yaz’s side, taking her top with it, while the other crept up the back of Yaz’s thigh and into her shorts. Yaz didn’t even notice; she was still dedicated to trying to get Jenny to make that noise again by using only her mouth. In some ways, Yaz didn’t want to do anymore than just kiss. She had dreamt and imagined it so much that she was fearful she would be too overwhelmed to actually know what to do. What did she like? What didn’t she like? Where was she most sensitive? Yaz didn’t know, which meant she wasn’t in control and that scared her. Jenny’s hand circles around to the front of Yaz’s thigh, reaching higher and higher. 

“Jen.” Yaz breaks away and removes Jenny’s arm. Just from looking at the lust flooding over the hazel-green eyes Yaz could see the effects of her work. “Almost my entire family are in the surrounding rooms.”

“I can be quiet.” Jenny raises her body up to lustfully chase Yaz’s lips.

“Something tells me that’s not true.” Yaz uses the hand already on her chest to push Jenny back down.

Jenny laughs and sighs at the same time; embarrassed but not having anywhere to hide it was the only thing she could do. This was the happiest Yaz had seen her since they met and it warmed her heart to know it was all her doing. And Yaz felt the same. She couldn’t stop smiling at the thought of how Jenny’s lips felt so soft (even if the remaining stitches scratched a little) but every emotion behind her movements was a solid as a rock. She wanted to experience it again. Quite badly, actually. Yaz brushes her nose against Jenny’s as a way of asking permission and it’s granted without hesitation. It was just a quick kiss, but it was enough. 

Yaz lays her whole body weight on top of Jenny and tucks her head on her shoulder. All of her dreams felt empty when she woke up and half the time Jenny could never be touched. Now, in real life, Yaz couldn’t help but indulge herself in getting as much contact as she could. She feared that Jenny might not be able to handle her weight since she always looked skinny and fragile but the arm snaking around her back, locking her in, proved Jenny wasn’t going to complain and get her to move any time soon.

“I want to do more than just that with you you know.” Jenny whispers

Yaz frowns. She had already said no to it tonight. “When we’re alone.” 

“No I-” Jenny frowns. “get your head out of the gutter.”

Yaz lifts her chin and raises her eyebrows, silently calling Jenny a hypocrite. “I’ll get my head out the gutter when you take your hand off my butt.”

“Sorry.” Jenny mumbles as her hand travels up Yaz’s spine to a more suitable resting place. “S’nice butt though.”

“Thank you.”

They both smile at each other with complete honesty.

“Anyway, I don’t only want to do that with you. I want to- can I say this or…” Jenny checks.

“I want you to tell me everything.” Yaz whispers against Jenny’s neck. Again, where her breath tickled her skin Jenny broke out in intense goosebumps. Did this happen every time she touched her before and Yaz hadn’t noticed? She wouldn’t doubt it.

Jenny sighs a little like a horse, making her lips vibrate. “That’s a long list.”

“Or we could just do it.” Yaz says.

“But you said you won’t because your family-” Jenny’s confusion dissolves into her cringing at herself for getting yet another interpretation wrong. “Oh you meant the other things, right.”

Yaz can’t help but lightly stroke under Jenny’s chin. “Are you really that wound up?” She asks.

“Yes.” 

“You’ll have to sort yourself out later.” Yaz says, nestling her face into Jenny’s neck again.

“I haven’t touched River since the day I met you.”

“No, I meant-” What Jenny meant registered in Yaz’s head. She pushes herself up like she was doing a press up to hover over Jenny. She was blushing at misunderstanding what Yaz was talking about and exposing herself like that but that wasn’t going to guilt Yaz into avoiding the subject. “Wait you- you haven’t had… not even by yourself?” Jenny shakes her head. “Since the day we met?!”

“I guess so, yeah.” Jenny shrugs.

“You’ve been interested in me since the day we met and you didn’t say anything?” 

“Had to wait for the right time. Even then it wasn’t properly the right moment but...”

“But the day we properly met you encouraged me to go have a one night stand with…” Yaz tries her hardest to recall the barmaids name. 

“Natalie.” Jenny helps her.

“Yeah, her.” 

“I was so jealous that night.” Jenny’s hand weaves itself into Yaz’s hair as she speaks. “Not that she got to... you know, but the fact that I knew she would get the chance to get to know you sooner than I would. In some ways I encouraged you to go so that I had an excuse to talk to you again; a mutual subject topic. Even if it was about you banging someone else but even then you didn’t actually want to talk to me about it.”

“Did you steal my keys that night so you could turn up at my flat?” Yaz asks, her suspicion growing.

“No, those genuinely fell out your pocket, you need to find a safer place to keep those.”

Yaz giggles at how seriously concerned Jenny was at the safe keeping of her keys. She was sensible like that and then other times she would do something so silly like seeing how many custard creams she could fit in her mouth at once. 

“Don’t laugh at me.” Jenny grins. Her voice was serious but her face was telling a different story. 

“I’m not laughing at you. I just think it’s cute that you care.”

Without warning, the door to her room flies open and Yaz, with just as much force, jumps away from being on top of Jenny and pulls the duvet so it covered both of them up to their chins.

“Can you two either shag or shut up?” Sonya says from the doorway, incredibly irritated and not in the mood for discussion. She points at Jenny. “She talks too much.”

Her sisters rudeness rubs Yaz completely the wrong way and makes her furious. She remembers how when they were first getting to know each other Jenny would cut herself off when she thought she was talking too much and the more comfortable they became with each other the longer she would talk for. Yaz takes a pillow and throws it at her sister’s back making her leave that little bit faster. She gets out of the warm bed to close the door again and tries not to make it obvious that she was rushing to get back in. Jenny shuffles further to the side so that Yaz had more room to herself but it didn’t really make a difference.

“Don’t listen to her.” 

“I do talk too much.”

“No you fucking don’t she’s just a bitch.” Yaz shuts her down with the voice she used to use in cadets after school as a kid. It was immediately evident that her tone of voice had caused a reaction with Jenny’s hand gaining the confidence to reach under Yaz’s shirt and rest on the small of her back.

“Do you remember what I said about how you get really cute when you’re angry?” Jenny asks.

Yaz feels the sudden pulse in her chest replicated in her crotch. Fuck it. Fuck her family, fuck her sister, her crush is in her bed paying her compliments and admitting to liking her since the day they met, in her underwear and she’s doing nothing about it. She rolls back on top of Jenny, who was rightly taken by surprise, and puts her hand under her shirt to feel skin.

“Yaz you said-”

“I know what I said.” Yaz says, using the same tone of voice, making Jenny swallow all the other words of the unfinished sentence.

Yaz, with her heart racing faster than it ever had before, runs her fingers under Jenny’s breasts, catching the woman under her off guard and allowing Yaz to kiss her with an open mouth. Jenny goes along with it, returning her hands to where she liked them, one around the back of Yaz’s neck and the other sliding into Yaz’s shorts from the waistband this time, and making small sighing noises every time Yaz sped up or flicked her tongue a certain way. When Yaz went to lift Jenny’s shirt over her head, Jenny moves quickly to keep it down.

“No.”

“Alright then.” Yaz changes her focus and goes for the lining of her pants.

“No I mean we aren’t doing this now.” Jenny grabs her hand again and Yaz is ashamed that she didn't stop at the first ‘no’ straight away. What's happening to me, she asks herself. “I know you’re angry at her but your sister shouldn’t be the reason you realise you want to have sex with me.”

Yaz notices how forward she had been and regrets it. It was more than just her feelings that she had to take into account for now. 

“I’m sorry.” She whispers.

“Don’t be.” Jenny smiles shyly and cups Yaz’s cheek. “I liked the rest of it.” 

“Me too.” 

They laugh in disbelief of the entire series of events that have happened tonight. They’ve gone from no contact at all to everything at once.

“We should probably go to sleep soon.” Jenny yawns.

“Am I boring you?” Yaz teases.

“No it’s just,” Jenny avoids eye contact for the second part of her sentence. “would- would you mind taking your hand off my boob please?”

Yaz looks down at her hand and remembers where she left it. Registering that, actually, this could be quite uncomfortable now that both of them have switched out of that mode, Yaz remove it as quickly as possible. 

“Oh, right, yeah sure.”  

 

Yaz sleeps really well that night and wakes up with her face hidden in Jenny’s shoulder blades and her arms wrapped tightly around her stomach. It was still surreal to her that Jenny was here, in her bed, in her family home and not by accident or coincidence. She came here for her . Yaz felt bad about what she tried to do right before they fell asleep. She was treating her like one of her one night stands and Jenny wasn’t one of them at all. She reckons she acted like that because there were so many surreal emotions flying around in her body so thought it better to pretend she didn’t have any at all.

Jenny stirs awake and Yaz loosens her grip to let her turn to face her. No words were exchanged; only looks with each other lost in their own memories of what has happened between them and what has been said.

“Come back with me.” Jenny breaks the silence. 

“Huh?”

“Come back to uni with me.” Jenny grabs Yaz’s closest hand and nervously presses her lips to the back of it. “Please, I don’t want to go back with you not there.” 

“Why don’t you stay here?” Yaz offers as a compromise. She had settled for three weeks living at home and a quick change now wouldn’t give her enough time to consider what she was missing out on.

“What, with your mum who looks at me like I’m going to corrupt you and your sister who thinks I talk too much?” Jenny says bluntly.

“Okay maybe not then.” Yaz acknowledges what a poor decision it would be on Jenny’s part.

“I could help you more with your assessments if you came back.” 

“They’re almost finished anyway.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, I told you I get something done once my mind’s set on it.” 

Yaz was telling a little bit of a lie. Two out of three assessments were done and submitted but the last module, the dreaded psychology, was never going to get done. Yaz had given up on the subject the second she saw the assessment brief and decided she could afford to skip this one out. Some days the choice slowly ate away at her conscience, since going against superiors was never something she usually did, but then she remembers she’s the one paying to be there so she can choose the way her education goes and not doing assessments was included in that. 

“Wish I could do that.” Jenny says.

“I thought you could? You’re really smart.” Yaz sits up to stop her leg going dead and Jenny copies her. Jenny copied her a lot, Yaz noticed, ever since she was in an environment she didn't know how to deal with.

“I am. But most of the smart things I say have absolutely nothing to do with my course and sometimes I find it really hard to actually do what I’m meant to do.”

“Have you ever been tested? Like, for the autistic spectrum or something?” 

“No. Most people think that’s just how I am.”

“I like how you are.” Yaz mutters the admittance quietly, still scared of bringing forward any of her strong feelings to the table. 

“Oh, you’ve made that very clear.” Jenny almost laughs.

“Don’t make fun of me or I won’t do it again anytime soon.”

“I can wait, I’ve already proved that.”

“Maybe a bit too long.”  

Yaz feels an invisible force pushing her towards Jenny. She hasn’t decided if she’s going to kiss her yet; she didn’t want to come across as too full on but the way Jenny’s eyes were locked onto Yaz’s lips makes her believe that she wouldn’t be denied if she tried it. With much less intense emotions driving her forward there was more space for doubt to slow her down, giving her dad enough time to see them. 

“Yaz I’ve made breakfast are you- okay forgot someone else was here.” Hakim shuffles awkwardly, not wanting to look his daughter or her companion in the eye. “I- it’s out there if you want it.” 

He leaves and shuts the door behind him. 

“Do you think he’s realised?” Jenny asks, turning back to look at Yaz. 

“That you didn’t sleep on the floor like you said you were going to or that we’re a little more than just-” Yaz stops herself. Too far, she tells herself, too much.

“Say it.” Jenny pleads through a whisper. 

“We’re a little more than just friends.” Yaz swallows her pride and says it. It lifted a weight off her shoulders but the weight still rested in the air a few meters over her until Jenny reacted. She starts to glow with what Yaz can only assume is joy as her hand reaches for the back of Yaz’s neck to pull her in.

“No. No fooling around.” Yaz stops her. “We’ve already found out that door has no lock.” 

“Alright, fair.” Jenny, surprisingly, gives up on her efforts with ease and rolls out of bed reaching for her clothes. 

Yaz does the same, both of them unashamedly sneaking looks at each other and not hiding their attractions. Jenny struggled to see where her trouser brace had twisted on her shoulder so Yaz helps out by flattening it, letting her hand rest on her collarbone for a second after the job was done. 

“What’s the likelihood of me leaving without saying hi to your mum.” 

“Mate, you’re a dead woman if you do.” Yaz laughs. Especially since her dad had now caught on and him and her mum talk about everything and anything, there was no chance Jenny could sneak out. Realising she might have made Jenny nervous by telling her that, Yaz tries to rectify the situation. “You could try though.” 

“Are you sure you don’t want to come back with me?” Jenny checks. Yaz chews her lip trying to decide. 

“I never said I didn’t want to it’s just… I haven’t really seen them. Not properly.” 

“I understand.” Jenny nods but her disappointment can’t be ignored. Yaz goes to let their lips touch. 

“Morning.” Najia sips her tea from the door that had been opened silently. Jenny notably huffs and Yaz brushes a finger behind her ear as a way of telling her not to be mad. “Joining us for some breakfast, Jenny?” 

“No, I-” Jenny steps away from Yaz and the space between them feels massive. “I’ve got to get back to my flatmates. I didn’t actually tell them I was coming here.”

“You what!” Yaz almost shouts, making Jenny jump a little and her mum almost spill her tea. “Jen after everything that's happened with…” Yaz sees her mum out of the corner of her eye and decides not to lay into Jenny right at this moment. 

“I’ll be back before they realise I’m gone.” Jenny tells her. Yaz somehow can tell it’s a lie.

“Well, it was nice meeting you anyway.” Najia’s smile was off to Yaz but Jenny goes to shake Najia’s hand which turned out to be a big mistake. Once she was there, Najia put her hand across the door-frame and whether it was on purpose or not, it meant Jenny couldn’t come back in to say goodbye. 

“I’ll show you out.” Najia offers. 

Jenny looks back like a startled cat at Yaz.

She couldn’t even hug her.

 

A bit moody from not having a proper opportunity to say goodbye, Yaz drags her feet into the kitchen where her whole family already was. It was a lot of eyes landing on her as she made her quiet entrance. Her sister had the most burning stare; her words from last night still irritating Yaz to her core. 

“Come on.” Najia guides Yaz to the one empty space around their makeshift table. “You can speak to her later.”

“Why did you do that?” Yaz asks, sitting next to her mum and nani. 

“Not now Yasmin.” Najia says, making it clear that she was going to make every effort to ignore her while the rest of the family were here.

Hakmin places a plate of food in front of his daughter but she wasn’t hungry. Well, she was, just not for her dad’s cooking. Yaz slumps in her seat and feels a comforting hand on her shoulder. She turns to look at Umbreen, who had a pleasant smile on her face. 

“Don’t worry. She’s just over protective.” Umbreen whispers. “She seems a very lovely girl.” 

Yaz, suddenly with much higher spirits, leans over and kisses her nani on the cheek. If anyone was going to receive her affection today it might as well be her.

Chapter Text

All family were gone by midday. Jesus it was painful. Najia carried on as if Jenny had never been there which actually that made it really clear that she was irked by something. Her dad couldn’t look her in the eye, which made Yaz eternally grateful that her and Jenny weren’t really doing anything at all when he walked in. If he had walked in some hours earlier Yaz recons they wouldn’t ever exchange words again out of fear of being awkward. Her cousins hadn’t picked up on anything, her sister was clearly planning and holding back jabs and comebacks for later, Yaz could just tell, and Umbreen had promised to have strong words in the car drive back to her daughter. Yaz tried to convince her not too as it would just cause more trouble but the way Najia came back into the flat suggested Umbreen hadn’t held back. Her mother’s posture was crumpled compared to usual and she looked like she had been showered in shame. Sonya and Hakim make themselves scarce as the standoff between mother and daughter begins. 

“I didn’t mean to hurry her out the door.” Najia gives in and starts.

“It’s not just that.” Yaz folds her arms to reflect the hostility she was feeling. “She’s convinced you hate her. I had to spend half the night telling her you’d come around and then the next time she sees you, you practically kick her out. Why do that?” 

“I didn’t mean-”

“You meant something.” Yaz cuts out the bullshit. “You know I like her. You know she likes me. You know I don’t have any idea about what I’m doing with her but still you’re hostile about her being in the house with me.”

“I thought I was doing what’s best for you.” 

“You don’t know her enough to make that decision. She isn't a threat.”

“And that’s my fault that I don't know her as well as you want me to? Yaz, every time I asked about her you gave up nothing, not even her name and the only image you showed me of her was her in a hospital bed. A hospital bed, Yaz, after being beaten up. Doesn’t exactly sound good, does it?” Najia steps closer, hinting to Yaz that her defenses have come down at some point during her speech. “Let me in, Yaz. Just because you’ve moved away doesn’t mean you have to disappear.” 

“If it doesn’t work out, it will mean I told you everything for nothing.” Yaz defends herself.

“You’re scared of being vulnerable.” Najia states.

“Not with her.” Yaz shakes her head.  Talking about Jenny to other people, yeah maybe she doesn’t want to be seen as vulnerable but when she’s with her, vulnerability doesn’t cause a problem because underlying everything, she simply feels safe.  

“I think you are, especially with her.” Najia continues to pester. 

“I’m not scared of her. I’m really not.” Yaz insists. She kept her voice calm, cool and collected which flicks a switch in Najia. From the second she had said it, Najia looked at her daughter in a different light; much more respect and honor for Yaz’s own decisions.  

“Sometimes I forget you’re an adult.” Najia speaks softly. “If you’d have let me know she was coming I-”

“I didn’t know she was coming.” Yaz says.

“How did she get our address then?”

Yaz shrugs. “She asked for it under the guise of returning my clothes- don’t.” Yaz catches her mum before she can ask why Jenny was in possession of her clothes. “She said she was going to do this whole thing but her timing was off and missed her chance.”

“To do what?” Najia asks. 

“What do you think, you interrupted it.” Yaz airs her grievance. 

“Ah.” Najia recalls. “Now I see why you’re so mad.” 

Not being able to resist one last dig, she takes her glass of water and pauses at her mum’s side. “She made up for it.” Yaz whispers before walking away with more speed than before, scared her arse was about to get a whooping. 

In the security of her room, Yaz takes the time to catch up on the sleep she missed out on last night. Not that she was annoyed at having to share a bed, oh no that wasn’t a problem, because it was Jenny, it was more that she was too overwhelmed to sleep and spent at least an hour watching Jenny’s chest rise up and down peacefully. Yaz fell asleep with Jenny on her mind, wondering if she managed to drive back safely since they were up so late, and she woke up again at 3pm needing a shower. A cold shower to be precise without details. She manages to go and have one without running into her parents or her sister there or back, or Sonya’s boyfriend who was still hanging around. It irritated Yaz that Harry could stay but Jenny got shuffled out almost the moment she got up, but the two missed calls on her phone when she got back to her room made her forget. Once again, the phone only rang a couple of times before Jenny answered her call back. 

“Hey.” Jenny says. Yaz can hear the smile on her lips without seeing her. 

“Hey, did you get back okay?” Yaz asks. 

“Yeah. Got back fine but Clara’s pissed at me for leaving without saying anything.” 

“I’m on her side.”

“Thought you would be.” Jenny says with no surprise at all . “Thing is though, I didn’t actually tell them I came to see you.” 

“Why not?” Yaz asks, confused at why she would lie. 

“Because it means when you get back they’ll be none the wiser about what happened and we can go under their radars.”

“I guess that makes sense.” Yaz says, not really getting why Jenny wouldn’t want to admit something has genuinely happened between them.

“And it’ll be really funny seeing how much we can get away with right in front of them.” Jenny says, so excited she might as well be jumping up and down.

“Like what?” Yaz bites her lips. She can think of a lot of opportunities to do a lot of things.

“Hold your hand. Maybe kiss your cheek every now and then and see how long it takes for them to notice.” The innocence that came with Jenny’s excitement and thinking only of those things made Yaz’s heart swell. So much so she couldn’t think of something to reply with. “Yaz? Was that inappropriate to say?”

“I really like you.” Yaz pushes the words through her throat and out of her mouth. Her heart, already probably the size of a watermelon, thundered against her ribcage as she tried to make her breathing sound normal.

“Is...is there a second... part... to that?”

“No, I just- I needed to say it.” Yaz takes a deep breath. “I really really like you, if- if you get what I’m saying.” 

“I get you. And I’m mad I’m not there with you right now.”

“Me too.” Yaz sighs. “Only a week and a bit to go.” 

Jenny audibly lets out a groan of frustration on the other end of the line followed by silence.

“What are you thinking?” Yaz asks.

I’m thinking I don’t want to pressure you but at the same time I want you to come back so badly.”

“What about this,” Yaz comes up with the idea and speaks it out loud on the spot. “If my family pisses me off five times in a day, would you meet me at the station and drive me back to my halls?”

“In a heartbeat.” Jenny says. “I’d drive up to come and get you.” 

“Petrol costs too much to do that.” Yaz tries to discourage the idea.

"Cheaper than a last minute train ticket.”

“We’ll see what happens.” Yaz says, rounding off the conversation to move to a different subject. “What are you doing tomorrow?”

“Gonna try and get a doctor’s appointment.”

“Oh, are you feeling okay?” Yaz asks. If Jenny’s ill there’s a high possibility Yaz might catch it considering the contact they’ve had.

“No, I was thinking about what you said, about getting tested for the spectrum.Think it might be a good idea.” Jenny explains. Her initiative made Yaz glad.

“Speaking of tests.” Yaz starts hesitantly. “Do you think we both should, you know, get general sexual health tests.” 

Jenny pauses and Yaz can almost hear her breath hitch in her throat if she listened closely.

“Uh… yeah, I guess so. If- if you’re wanting to ha-have- if you’re planning on- if you want to- with-with me- or any-anyone else- but mostly with m- me then-”

“Jen.”

“Yes?” Jenny stops stumbling over words immediately. 

“Don’t overthink it.” Yaz says calmly. She can almost hear the gulp Jenny takes before she speaks again. 

“We should get them.” 

“Well,” Yaz smiles to herself. “That’s that sorted then.”

“Just out of curiosity when were you planning-”

“No planning.” Yaz interrupts. “If it happens between us, it happens.”  

“I was actually going to ask when you’re planning to start the whole ‘five strikes and you’re out’ thing with your family but that’s good to know too.” 

“Oh. Right.” Yaz says. Now she knows how Jenny felt last night with their flurry of miscommunications, and it felt a bit shit.

“Yaz.”

“Yeah?”

“Don’t overthink it.”

Yaz is overcome with some kind of flattery and has to sit down on the edge of her bed to control her smile. “Did you just turn my own words back on me?” She asks.

“Maybe.” Jenny starts to chew on something that sounded like an apple. “Sometimes people don’t realise the advice they’re giving is the advice they need to follow.”

Sensing something in her voice, something wrong, Yaz rushes through every piece of advice Jenny had given her in case there was a hidden plea for help and can only land on one thing. 

“Jen, have you started your assessments?” 

“Sort of.” Jenny says after a pause.

“Sort of how?”

“I mean to be fair I have been having a bit of shitty time and I’m applying for exceptional circumstances.”

“What's that?” 

“It’s basically something saying if my grades come out bad I have a valid reason for it.”

“Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.”

“I am trying. It’s just that my best efforts only get me to my desk chair and nothing more.” 

“Let me help you.” Yaz almost begs. She didn’t want Jenny throwing her education away because of some idiot with a heavy fist. 

“How?”

Yaz sighs, ready to give herself up. “Look, I still have one module left to do. We can video call or whatever just to make sure we’re both doing it.”

There’s a pause on the other end.  “I thought you said-”

“I lied.” Yaz says and waits for Jenny’s response. 

“Okay.” Jenny says calmly. Yaz guesses she must’ve accepted it and decided not to make a fuss.

“But I’ll do it now. If it helps you.” 

“Maybe not right now.” 

“Obvs.”

“Can we talk about something else?” Jenny asks. “Anything.”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know.” Jenny sighs. “Tell me what you did after I went.” 

Yaz shrugs even though she knows Jenny can't see her. “Had breakfast. Waited around until my family left, talked to mum about what she did.”

“Ooof.” 

“It wasn’t too bad. Then I napped, woke up, had a shower, and now I’m sitting on my bed in a towel talking to you.” 

“Steady on.”

“Shut up.” Yaz grins at the sheer cheek of the implication.

“I’m only joking.” 

“Hm.” Yaz mumbles and lets the moment pass.

“I don’t know what to say next.”

“Neither.”

“Do you think…” Jenny stops briefly. “We could just stay on the line like this? So it’s kinda like we’re in the same room together.” 

“We can do that.” Yaz says, coming over all giddy again but not too giddy to forget that her phone contract has unlimited calls. Keeping the line open would cost nothing but mean everything.

And so they do. Yaz keeps her phone on speaker on her desk and speaks her mind out loud to prove she’s still there and Jenny does the same for the entirety of the afternoon. Jenny talked a lot to herself, Yaz found out. At least when she started rambling to Yaz her sentences partially made sense but when she was alone it sounds like a lot of distracted mumblings and unfinished sentences. Sometimes Yaz asked what she was going on about but Jenny told her not to worry or that she wouldn’t understand. Yaz cracked on and reluctantly planned what she was going to do tomorrow regarding her assessment she had now been roped into doing. Some parts of her believed Jenny was doing some sort of reverse psychology or double bluff on her and was lying about not doing any of her work yet, but to deny that Jen might be having problems after everything she’s been through, it would be a low blow to question it.

Yaz got called for dinner at about half seven, not taking her phone with her but forgetting to hang it up. Oh well, Jenny would probably be able to guess where she’s disappeared to. She sat awkwardly around the table, eating her food and keeping her head down while the rest of her family made light conversation about something she didn’t care about. Yaz stuck to what was going on through her own head; mainly Jenny, obviously, but also what’s going to happen when she gets back. Another term of basic lectures and overwhelming amounts of reading where the only highlight is Jenny leaning over her shoulder to help and breathing on her cheek. She can almost smell her now, sweet and flowery usually but some days after being in the lab she smelled of antiseptic, sweat and an arrangement of chemicals. Yaz didn’t have a preference; she liked how she smelt either way. She doesn’t know why. Perhaps it depended on her mood; whether she wanted to be soft or dangerous with her or-

“You okay Yaz?” Najia disrupts her train of thought and Yaz snaps out of it.

“Yeah. Why?” 

“You’ve been holding that forkful of pasta by your mouth and staring into space for two minutes.” Hakim says, lifting his phone to show a timer, still running.

“Yeah, you look a bit like a twat.” Sonya scoffs.

Yaz glares at her, wishing to spit venom into her sister’s eyes. Strike one. 

“Sonya don’t talk to her like that when there’s clearly something on her mind.” Najia warns her youngest child. 

“So what? It’s only going to be that girl.” Sonya rolls her eyes and keeps eating her dinner. 

“Her name’s Jenny.” Yaz says, aggressively shoving her pasta into her mouth.

“I know. Since you were moaning it so much last night.”

“Was not.” Yaz slams her fork onto the table. Strike two. At this rate Jenny will be coming to pick her up in a matter of hours let alone days. 

“Yaz.” Najia tries to keep her from losing her cool but Yaz was too far gone. 

"Was too." Sonya retorts like they were six years old.

“We stopped ourselves last night to be respectful to everyone else in this flat, unlike you and Harry the night I came back.” 

“Oh, thanks a lot Yasmin.” 

“Sonya is that true?” Hakim asks with a firm voice. 

“I told you, I told you not to sneak him in while we were out and now you’ve outright disrespected…”

Yaz picks up her plate and takes it to her room to eat comfortably alone while her parents start to both shout at her. It wasn’t silent and the shouting match could be heard in the distance but it was better than being in the heart of it. Sonya deserves it anyway, she gets away with far too much and far too often. 

“That sounds like fun.”

“Shit!” Yaz jumps with surprises and almost chokes. Once she was sure the food had gone down the correct hole she speaks again. “God, Jen, I forgot you were still there.”

“Me again.” Yaz can hear Jenny smiling. “What’s happening?”

“Nothing. I just got my sister into trouble.” Yaz keeps eating as if she hadn’t fired the first missile across enemy lines in world war three.

“For a valid reason or just for fun?”

“Both.” 

“Fair enough.” Jenny laughs. “Wanna talk about it or just keep listening to your parents laying into her?”

“The night I came back,” Yaz swallows her mouthful to explain. “She banged her boyfriend really loudly and I heard everything but didn’t tell mum or dad. Just now she tried to imply that we did the same last night but we didn’t so I dropped her in it.” 

“Nice one.”

“Thank you.”

Without so much as a knock Najia walks in, not giving Yaz time to reach over and hang up the call. All Yaz can do is hope Jenny realises and hangs up.

“You should have said something sooner.” Najia says, her tone softer than Yaz had expected. “I wouldn’t have let him come last night if I had known.”

“I thought not mentioning it would make her like me but…” Yaz shrugs. 

“I know.” Najia point to the spot next to her on the bed. “Can I sit there or should I wait for you to wash your sheets first?”

“They’re clean.” Yaz says. “Sonya was only trying to provoke me.”

“I know you’re telling the truth.” Najia sits down and places her arm around Yaz’s shoulders. “I think for the peace, you either need to avoid her or just bite your tongue.”

“This week and a bit is going to be so long.” Yaz sighs. 

“Did you want to go back early?” Najia asks. “Run back to her and spend some time with her before school starts again?”

Yaz, being very conscious that her answer might be heard by two people not one, takes a moment to compose her words. They had to be right. They had to be.

“I’ve barely spent any time with you though.” She says.

“I don’t mind sweetheart, you need to do what you feel is right to do.” Najia encourages her.

“But I don’t know what I’m doing.” 

“I said to do what feels right, not what you know is right.” Najia smiles warmly. “She feels right to you, doesn’t she.” 

She tries to sneak a glance at her phone without drawing any attention to the action but it was impossible to see if the call was still active or not. 

“Yes.” Yaz admits anyway. “She asked me to go back with her but I said I wanted to spend more time at home.”

“Tell you what.” Najia tries to pull Yaz further into her side and Yaz lets her do it. “Give it two more days here and if you really want to go back, your dad will take you.”

“Jenny said she’d come and get me if I changed my mind.” Yaz tells her. Najia pulls back a bit and raises her eyebrows. “Don’t be mad at her.” Yaz adds. 

“I’m not mad at her, I’m impressed at her dedication.” Najia says as if she can’t believe it.  “She’s really serious about you, isn’t she?”

Yaz turns her head to her bedside table and projects her voice as much as she could. “Are you, Jen?” 

“I am.” Jenny answers, her voice static through the phone speaker so she was there, but something was still missing.

Najia looks back and forth between her daughter and the phone. “Has she been there the whole time?” She asks and Yaz nods. 

“Yeah, I have.” Jenny adds. 

“Huh.” Najia nods her head and runs over the situation internally. All Yaz can do is watch. “Serves me right for not announcing myself I guess.” 

“Can I get a lock on my door?” Yaz asks, spotting the opportunity.

“No.” Najia says not having to think about it. “But I will start knocking.”

“Deal.” Yaz says. “Thanks mum.” 

“And Jenny-” Najia starts and Yaz feels her eyes grow wide with apprehension. “You’ll look after her, won’t you?”

“She’s not my paren-”

“You won’t ever hurt her?” Najia continues, exposing her mothering need to know. 

“I wouldn’t dream of it.” 

“But is that a no?” Najia demands a more straightforward answer. 

“No. I will never purposefully or consciously hurt her.”

“Unless she asks?” Najia smirks and Yaz knows that she is back to normal.

“Oh for fucks sake mum.” Yaz complains, escaping her grip.

“What does that mean?”

“Nothing, Jen.”

“It means-”

“Mum! Leave!” 

Yaz pushes Najia up and away, laughing at her own joke, before she could say anything else. Yaz sits not saying anything until she’s sure her mum has walked away completely.

“I know exactly what she meant.” Jenny says.

“And we will never mention it again.”

“For a woman who doesn’t like her kids having sex in her house she talks about it a lot.”

“True. Nice observation.” Yaz says. “You heard what she said about waiting two days, yeah?”

“I did.” 

“Do you agree with it?” Yaz asks for her opinion.

“It’s up to you. I mean, how many times have they annoyed you during that five minutes you were with them.”

“Almost three.” Yaz says. She couldn’t quite count what her mum said just now since she felt Najia was only trying to let Jenny know she was okay with her. 

“Two days might be a more sensible choice.”

“So I'll see you then?” Yaz asks hopefully. 

“I’ll be there.”

Chapter Text

The second day of the year went quickly with the pair of them silently working together on their own tasks. Jenny found out about how to get appointments to get tested for the autistic spectrum but it only referred to kids, as it mainly gets diagnosed when people are children but Jenny got overlooked by whoever was raising her. It discouraged her slightly, but Yaz made it clear she would support her and help as much as she could. Yaz also quietly ordered an STI test kit to be delivered to her uni room- knowing what her mum would say if it turned up at the house and she found it. Najia had actually been normal today to say the least; offering food and trying to take Yaz’s side over her sister’s (who was now officially grounded for a week) whenever she could. Yaz suspects it's because she knows she’ll choose to go back to Jenny at the end of the two days after her encouragement. Especially since Sonya was now stuck in the flat during her free time and Yaz had nothing better to do than stay in, they were getting on each others nerves more than ever. 

January's weather was in full force to replicate Yaz’s mood. Heavy rain almost drowned out the sound of icy winds dancing around the tower block and side stepping into every small crack forcing everyone’s heating bills to go up. The wind and rain was forecast to get even worse by the fourth- the day Jenny would come and pick her up in the morning- so the two of them prepared to sneak Yaz away tomorrow instead of waiting for yet another day to pass. Yaz still had the internal conflict that she was acting too fast with Jenny. Something in her gut told her to go slower, slower, slower and making out with her was an action that should have been held off for at least a few more weeks but now that it’s happened Yaz doesn’t know if she’ll be able to contain herself. 

“Jen.” Yaz says to grab her attention. 

“Yup?” 

“How’s it going?” She checks in like she has been every half an hour.

“Terribly.” Jenny says. “I keep getting distracted.”

“Jenny this is due in a week.”

“I know that.” Jenny rolls her eyes. “That’s why I’m panicking a bit.”

“You’ll be fine. I’ll help when I’m there.”

“You don’t know anything about physics.” 

“But I reckon I can keep you focused somehow.”

“How?” An intrigued Jenny asks. 

“You’ll see.” Yaz gives as an answer because quite frankly she doesn’t know, she was just trying to get Jenny to keep the faith in her own intelligence

“For tomorrow -”

“Assessment, Jen.” 

“No let me say it now or I’ll forget.” Jenny says. Yaz looks away from her laptop screen and turns her attention to Jenny on her phone screen. “For tomorrow I was thinking I could come up in the evening and then we go back in the morning.”

“Are you sure you’re okay driving under those conditions?” Yaz asks. “The whole point of coming tomorrow was that you’d avoid it.” 

“I think it will be easier. This way I can have a proper rest from driving.” 

“You just don’t want to be stuck with my mum.” Yaz says. She would be suspicious if she didn’t know what she was saying was true.

“I mean… yeah, yes I’m still quite scared of her.” 

“You don’t have to be.”

“I know. But I am.” 

“Good job she’s covering the night managers shift tomorrow, ey.” Yaz announces, smug and proud about it. It grabs Jenny by the shoulders with a shake and gives Yaz the reaction she wanted. 

“So I can come tomorrow night a pretend I turned up in the morning?”

“Well, no because of dad.” Yaz hates to burst her bubble. 

“Ah.” 

“But he might be too busy preparing for work the next day to even notice.”

“Oh, that didn’t put me off. I’m still coming. If you still want to come back, I mean, it’s still totally your choice.”

“I do.” Yaz smiles to reassure her. “I miss Bill and Ryan too, I want to see them.” 

“Who’s the other person?” Jenny asks.

“Huh?” Yaz frowns. 

“You said you missed them ‘too’ so who’s the other person? Or people, it might be more than one.”

Yaz blinks rapidly with confusion. Was Jenny seriously asking who else she missed right now? The pure honesty of her concern and intrigue suggested she wasn’t joking at all and genuinely wanted a name.  

“You, you idiot.” Yaz kind of laughs. She wasn’t intending to make fun of Jenny, not at all, the way it came out was purely because she didn’t know how to handle it. “Who else did you think it could be?”

“I dunno.” Jenny shrugs. “Clara maybe.”

“No, wha- why?”

“You’ve talked to her a lot recently.”

“Yeah, about you.” Yaz says softly. “I didn’t even ask her about Ryan or your two other flatmates, only you.”

“Really?”

“Yes.” Yaz says and watches Jenny start to blush. “Now come on, or we’ll never get this shit done.”

 

Yaz went to bed late that night, proud of herself for finishing her final assessment. She didn’t tell Jenny she had finished otherwise that might’ve been a blow to her confidence which had slowly built up throughout the time they were working together. Her mind went wild with her dreams that night. Yaz dreamt that the car Jenny was coming to pick her up in was the delorean from Back to the Future and they traveled back in time together to manipulate situations so that their relationship, whatever it may be defined as right now, would happen sooner. It was wishful thinking but that was the beauty of dreams. Impossible situations that could never happen were allowed to play out and Yaz was given permission by her heart to indulge in them for however long they lasted for. Her sister was in it too; she was the antagonist trying to keep their timeline the way it was but Umbreen appeared out of nowhere with Najia and took her down while Hakim stood by watching, frozen in time smiling with his thumbs up in approval. By the time Yaz woke up and checked her phone for the time, her parents were already at work (except Najia who was out doing some grocery shopping and would go to work later on in the afternoon) and her sister was at her apprenticeship. Yaz makes a mental note to ask at some point what she was actually doing since she hadn’t paid attention to when her mum told her.

Walking through the flat alone in search of some breakfast reminded Yaz what she’d be leaving behind again for another term. She wasn’t sad about it. She liked her independence and wasn’t attached to these four walls as proven by her year of work and travelling but every time she gets this same feeling in the pit of her stomach that life will be different or changed (for better or worse) the next time she comes back to stay for an extended period of time. Her family will be older, the paint on the walls will be slightly more dirtied and life will have continued without her just as her personal life will have continued, too. 

Anyway, the flat was quiet and Yaz relished in it for as long as possible until she had to help her mum pack away and store the food she had bought. They worked together like a well oiled machine with Yaz only having to ask where one item went since Hakim had changed where it was stored since she’s been gone. 

“So,” Najia speaks up when they were almost done. “Are you still going today or not?”

“Jenny’s coming later today and then staying the night to take me back in the morning. That way she gets a good rest instead of spending the whole day in a car.” Yaz explains their plan.

“And I take it she won’t be sleeping on the floor?” Najia asks, taking the last item out of Yaz’s hands and putting it in the fridge. 

“I suppose not, no.” Yaz says. 

“How can I be sure there won’t be any funny business?” Najia asks and Yaz resists the urge to let her eyes roll into the back of her head. 

“We’re literally just going to sleep, mum. Nothing more.”

“Hm.” 

“I don’t get how you’re so against the idea of believing me.” Yaz huffs.

“She seems too smooth. She’s like one of those people who come across like they’ve had no romantic experience but could sweep you off your feet in an instant.”

“Jenny? Smooth?” Yaz snorts. “I don’t think so.” 

“I’m telling you now, I think that girl might surprise you.” Najia insists with a smirk plastered on her face.

“Whatever you say mum.” Yaz says, smiling and shaking her head. Jenny not stumbling over words around her didn’t seem to be a version of her coming any time soon. 

“Will I see her before I go to work?”. 

“Don’t think so.” 

“What about before you leave?” Najia asks. Yaz looks at her with uncertainty. “Surely I’m going to see you before you go back, Yaz?”

“What time do you finish?” Yaz asks.

“I’m working eight pm to six am, fourty minutes to get there and back.” Najia says.

“We won’t be leaving as early as that.” Yaz says for definite.”You’ll be home by the time we go.”

“You’ll have to wake me up if I’ve gone to sleep.”

“I will.” Yaz drapes her arm over her mum’s shoulder. “I still love and miss you mum.” 

“I miss you too, Yaz.” Najia kisses her cheek. “You need to pick up your phone and text more.” 

“I know I should.” Yaz admits. She ended up messaging Jenny more than she did her own family. 

“I guess you got distracted by someone else.” 

Najia looks at Yaz with such knowledge about her daughter without her having to say anything significant that it forces Yaz to smile like a child and not bother fighting back the heat rising in her cheeks. 

For the remainder of the morning and early afternoon Yaz trusted that Jenny was getting on with her assessment in the time she had before she had to set off and wasted time chilling out with her mum and wasting time watching daytime TV. The longer time went on the more tetchy Yaz got about waiting. She was so excited to see Jenny again but frustrated that she felt she had to hide it at the same time. Right now Jenny was still just a friend- well, an almost friend... thing... person- and she was only picking her up to drive her back to her own halls- even though the whole point she was going back early was to be closer to Jenny- and it wasn’t like they were going to be living together- although one of them will probably end up at the others house for the majority of the time anyway. Yaz kept going around in circles which wasn’t a help at all to her temperament. All Yaz could do was wait. 

When she got a text at about 7:45pm from Jenny asking if she had to pay for parking or if she had a spare permit, Yaz almost jumped out of her seat to run to the door, not registering in her brain that Jenny would still be multiple floors down in the underground carpark. She tells her to park in the vacant space for flat 34 since her mum was out and they never actually check unless there’s a complaint filed and waits for her to come up through the worsening weather. 

Knowing she was a matter of a couple of minutes away turned Yaz’s excitement into undeniable nervousness. What if Jenny had changed her mind on the way here? What if she wasn’t sure about her anymore? What if Yaz herself wasn’t going to be sure once she sees her? Or scarier, what if her heart gets set in motion the second she opens the door and she doesn’t know how to react. Calm it Yaz, she tells herself, it’s only her. It’s only her.

Four consecutive knocks at the door. 

It’s her.

Yaz regains her composure the best she can and opens the door. 

“Hey, sorry, what’s your wifi?” Jenny hurries past Yaz and straight to where she knows Yaz’s bedroom is, all the while pulling her laptop out of her backpack. 

“Jen?” Yaz asks as she follows. 

“What’s up with her?” Sonya emerges from her room to ask about the clattering. 

“I don’t know.” Yaz shuts the door on her. 

“Yaz, the password please.”

“Jenny why are you so-”

“My assessment.” Jenny chucks her laptop onto Yaz’s bed as it starts itself up and puts her hands on both Yaz’s shoulders. Yaz had never seen her eyes filled with so much excitement. “I know how to do it! something just clicked on the drive up I don’t know why or how but my brain always does this on most written assessments and I know I can finish it and send it for grading tonight.”

“Right, okay.” Yaz says. “Can you let go of my shoulders so I can get the wifi password?” 

“Oh yeah sure.” Jenny lets go of her and sits cross legged on the bed, starting to type away furiously.

Yaz, still not having caught up her mind to the physical timeline gets the password from the living room while she processes everything Jenny had told her. She had figured out how to do her assessment, that was the main thing. And it will be ready to turn in tonight- also a good thing. The oncoming storm brewing outside was nothing compared to the chaotic hurricane Jenny surfed into the flat on. Kind of like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz but with a laptop instead of a house. 

Yaz holds onto the little piece of plastic from the back of the wifi router as she sits down slightly behind Jenny and keeps it close to her until Jenny was ready to submit it. She had specifically requested that Yaz kept hold of it for now otherwise she would get distracted with googling a definition of something and then go down a deep dark rabbit hole of procrastination. Yaz had never seen anyone’s fingers move so fast on a keyboard but yet with such precision; Jenny knew which letters to put down and in what order to make them make sense as words and sentences and Yaz found the art sort of beautiful. Jenny’s concentration levels were through the roof and Yaz had never seen that from her before. Well, perhaps a little bit but not as intense as this. Her tongue even poked out of the corner of her mouth a few times when she had a brainwave and Yaz found it really cute how she was finding pride in herself as she went along. In total, it took Jenny half an hour to write a thousand words to add to her existing one thousand that took her an entire day to write. 

“Done.” Jenny announces finally. “Can I have the thingy?” 

“Are you sure you don’t want to proofread it?” Yaz asks, handing over the piece of plastic anyway.

“Nah, should be fine.” Jenny dismisses all concern and sets herself up to submit, quickly scanning through the essay before hitting ‘submit assessment’. “Thank fuck for that.” She says when it’s all over. 

“Well done Jen.” Yaz congratulates her as Jenny spins herself around so that Yaz wasn’t talking to her back.

“Anyway, hi.” Jenny greets her properly, smiling. Her hands had come to rest over her crossed legs, just like Yaz’s had, and their knuckles gently brushed against each other with every small movement.

“Hey.” Yaz replies. Her middle finger was unconsciously stroking against Jenny’s, trying to find its way to hook itself around with a grip. Yaz only really notices she was doing it when it finally hooks on and Jenny’s grip tightens a little. 

“Sorry I rushed in like that, I can see how it was rude.” Jenny apologises.

“It’s okay, I understand.” Yaz says. “I think.”

“You think?”Jenny smiles with wide, happy eyes.

“I think.” Yaz repeats.

“What are you thinking now?” Jenny asks.

Yaz holds Jenny’s hand properly. “I’m hungry.”

“I could make you something.” Jenny offers.

Yaz inhales strongly and pouts. “Why can I imagine you burning down my kitchen?”

“Yasmin Khan you have so little faith in me.” Jenny gets up and takes Yaz with her, their hands still interlocked. 

“No, really Jen what are you going to do?” Yaz asked as she’s dragged to the kitchen.

“Make you some food.” Jenny lets go of her hand as soon as she spots the fridge in the corner and opens it. “Ooo full fridge! Nice, haven’t seen one of them in a while.” 

“You know if you start cooking, Sonya’s going to want you to make something for her too.” Yaz says. 

“I can do that.” Jenny spins around with a strange assortment of ingredients in her arms. “I’ll just make hers with extra garlic so she can’t stand the smell of her own breath for a week.”  

“I love-” Yaz stops herself dead in her tracks and feels the smile disappeared from her face along with the heartbeat in her chest. Jenny freezes too and almost looks as pasty as the night she got beaten up. “I love that idea.” She recovers.

“Me too.” Jenny gulps and continues on like they were.

Yaz holds back and watches Jenny prepare the food including chopping vegetables with a high concentration level so that her fingers don’t end up in the mix. She’s not entirely sure what the end product is going to be but she doesn’t bother to question it, she’s just letting Jenny do this for her because she wanted to and there seemed to be nothing that can stop her. Like she had predicted, Sonya rocks up the minute she can smell the vegetables starting to grill and insists on adding some spice to the garlic sauce currently cooking in the pan. Hakim arrives back from work, super late like he always does after the winter break, right when Jenny serves up a plate.

“Hi gang.” Hakim says.

“Dad I’ve told you to stop talking us ‘gang’.” Sonya complains and Hakim ignores it. 

“Hello again...uh…”

“Jenny.” She reminds him and holds out her hand to shake his. “Good to see you again.” 

“Mmm smells good. Got some for me?” Hakim gets distracted by the smell. 

Jenny looks at the the three plates that have been dished up and then back at the room with four people in it. 

“Sure. We can share, can’t we Jen.” Yaz says to stop Jenny getting confused over how she could re-plate everything. 

“Yeah, that’s fine.” Jenny hands out the plates as if it was her own house she was hosting. “Grilled veg with garlic and lemon sauce. Enjoy ladies men and non binary friends!” Jenny says proudly.

“What’s a non binary?” Hakim asks. 

“Never mind.” Jenny waves her hand to brush away the words. “Just a joke. Bit of a joker, me.” 

“Okay.” Hakim says, still confused. “Not to be rude girls but I’m knackered and I’m going to eat this in bed.”

“Mum says we aren’t allowed to eat in bed.” Sonya says.

“Alright snitch, mum isn’t here.” Hakim pulls a face and walks away with only a little wave as a way of saying goodnight.

“I’ll go before you start shoving your tongues down each other’s throats.” Sonya mumbles between filling her face with food. 

“You’re quite rude, you know that?” Jenny says out of the blue. Yaz is shocked by Jenny’s blatant nasty attitude towards her sister. If she was honest, it was a little bit of a turn on to see Jenny stand up for her like that. 

“Excuse me?” Sonya spits.

“I’m just saying the way you talk to your sister, especially when it involves me, is really rude and I think you should rethink your attitude towards her.”

Sonya squints her eyes until they’re merely slits and Yaz finds herself holding her breath, waiting for the explosion. “Whatever.” She says and saunters off with the food Jenny had made with not so much as a thank you.

“Jen.” Yaz says when her sister was out of earshot. “Thank you.”

“S’alright. She shouldn’t talk to you like that.”

“You didn’t actually put loads and loads of garlic in this, did you?” Yaz asks. 

“No, she came in too soon. Why?”

“No reason.” Yaz shrugs it off.

“Do you not like garlic?”

“I do, I just…” Yaz tries to figure out how to tell Jenny she doesn’t want her mouth stinking of garlic since she’s intending to kiss her at least once tonight. “Can that be heated up later?”

“Um, yeah but I thought you said you were hungry?” Jenny says. Her face was becoming increasingly crinkled as the woman who she cooked for showed increasing disinterest in what she had made. 

“Different kind of…uuuuh...different-dif...” 

Yaz tries to keep speaking over the beating of her heart drowning out the sound of her own voice. Doing and saying this kind of stuff to Jenny made her more nervous than moving away from home to a brand new place with brand new people. She still knew practically nothing about her past and all she does know about Jenny now she’s figured out herself and at the same time she trusts her completely. Yaz also doesn’t know how to develop a relationship either, making it so much more difficult to say ‘hey, wanna make out but like, with feeling?’ without sounding like that’s all she’s there for. 

Wrapped up in her own inner dilemma of how to act, Yaz doesn’t notice Jenny taking the plate of food out of her hands and putting her hand in its place, leading her back to her room quietly with no other spoken words. When the door clicks behind her, Yaz snaps out of it and realises the situation she’s in. There was an inch gap between her back and the door as Jenny reads her mind and brings her face closer to hers. Right before their lips meet, Jenny hovers. Yaz remembers her doing this the two other times and guesses that it’s not only because she’s about to start sweating with nerves too but because she wanted to give Yaz the chance to pull on her panic cord and parachute out of there.

But Yaz didn't feel like pulling the chord, not yet. Instead she pulled on Jenny’s braces (blue paisley today) closing the gap between back and wall as well as skin and skin. Her knees instantly become weak and threaten to give way underneath her; the threat being shut down by Jenny’s hand sliding in to cup her cheek. It must’ve lasted only five seconds, seven including the time it took Yaz to open her eyes again, but Jenny treated her with so well she wished it was longer.

“You’re right, that would’ve been shit with garlic breath.” Jenny says.

Yaz smiles and blows out through her nose, reaching up her arms to hang them over Jenny’s shoulders and cross them behind her back. 

“Are you picking your sleeve right now?” Yaz asks without moving her eyes away from staring at Jenny’s perfectly pink lips.

“If you’re asking if I’m nervous, yes I am but I’m not doing the sleeve thing.”

“Why not?” Yaz lifts her eyes to meet the hazel-green ones staring right back at her. Yaz had never really noticed the flakes of colour scattered in her irises before and sadly she only noticed now thanks to the faint colours of the aging bruise around her eye. 

“Because for once it’s a good kind of nervous.” Jenny’s smile widens to show perfectly straight teeth. Yaz wonders if there are any pictures of her with train track braces when she was younger. “I didn’t say it back on the phone before but I really like you too.”

“I figured.” Yaz presses her forehead against Jenny’s; a habit she kept falling into.

“How come?” Jenny asks.

“C’mon Jen, I’m not spelling it out to you.” Yaz tries to put a playful end to the guessing games. Jenny scrunches up her nose.

“I tried to make it easy for you to figure out.” 

“Oh really?”

“Yeah.”

“Hm.” 

Yaz tilts her head to the side to catch Jenny’s lips again. There was still one stitch left hanging on in there and Yaz worries it might dissolve in her mouth or make her choke or something if she wasn’t careful, however Jenny wasn’t having the same worries. Jenny knew what she wanted to do with Yaz and she was doing it with no fear; teasing her mouth open at unhurriedly with her tongue. Yaz can’t help but think back to what her mum said about Jenny being ‘too smooth’ and her natural instinct is to prove her wrong. Not that she was doing this to prove Najia wrong, she did genuinely want it on her own accord, but it was motivation to not just stand there and submit. Taking an unexpected step forwards was all it took to break Jenny back down to a submissive mess. Another step almost made her fall backwards and a third sat her down on the bed, breaking their lips away. Jenny looked up at Yaz with such adoration Yaz was convinced she should get to high ground because the floor is lava and she’s about to melt into it. 

“You’re so amazing.” Jenny mutters, her eyes frantically darting over every skin cell of her face. Yaz was pretty sure Jenny didn’t realise she could hear her compliment. 

Yaz doesn’t say anything back, only lightly pushes Jenny further down until she has to shuffle sideways to fit her full body on the mattress. The whole time Jenny moved, Yaz’s body was no more than thirty centimeters away from hers. She wanted to see her, all of her with no filter, no clothes, no nothing but she knew better than to think that was going to happen tonight. Instead she untucks Jenny’s shirts and lifted her own so that when Yaz lowered herself down there was at least some skin to skin contact to scratch an itch and suppress an urge. 

Everything went at a leisurely pace while the two of them were still figuring out each other’s sweet spots and other mundane things like how long they can go before needing to breathe. Yaz found out Jenny liked it when she grazed her teeth lightly against her bottom lip and Yaz had the self realisation that she had never been this calm and slow with someone before. They never stopped to caress her cheek, never smiled when their noses nudged each other as they switched sides and they never had the ability to make Yaz feel too many emotions to name. Overall she simply felt special. There was no way of keeping track of time when they were behaving like this but Yaz knows they had been interlocked for a while when Jenny moved to kiss Yaz’s neck for the first time. Before her lips could get there Yaz switches her position so that her leg rested between Jenny’s legs, and to beat her at her own game, applied some pressure against her crotch drawing out a gasp.

“D-don’t put your leg there.”

“Why not?” Yaz smiles against Jenny’s lips. Her breathing was shaky just from that one touch and Yaz could tell by how it was landing on her skin.

“Because if you press any harder I really won’t be able to hold back and I know how that’s something that can’t happen under this roof so we have to stop to respect that. Plus neither of us have done our tests yet.” Jenny’s eyes did more explaining than her mouth; it was clear to Yaz that the blonde had over thought some of this and was scared. Yaz had an idea of how to get around all of that. An impossible, perhaps slightly inappropriate, idea but she recons if she turned on the charm Jenny might just agree. 

“What if I want to watch you?” Yaz lifts her body up and away from Jenny’s to enable herself to place her hand on top of Jenny’s right hand. Slowly, giving Jenny the option to stop her at any moment, Yaz drags Jenny’s hand down and across her own stomach until it inched into her trousers.

“Are you seriously suggesting what I think you’re suggesting?” Jenny smiles in disbelief and runs her tongue across the front of her teeth, pretending to be chill. “I’d rather you did it.”

“Show me how you like it first.” Yaz takes away her hand, passing over control. Wherever they went next it was all Jenny’s decision.

Yaz half expected her to pull her hand away and say no but to her surprise Jenny’s hand disappeared completely while the other undid her trouser button for more room to move. Jenny didn’t break eye contact when she did it and Yaz could feel herself losing her mind. Was she dreaming again? The first significant movement on Jenny’s part meant the exposed part of her arm rubbed against Yaz’s inner thigh and it proved to Yaz that she was really doing it. Bloody hell she was really letting Yaz watch her masturbate. 

“You have to do it too.” Jenny sighs, looking up at Yaz through heavy eyelids. “Please Yaz, give me something.” 

“This is insane.” Yaz says as she hurriedly unbuttons her jeans with one hand. She doesn’t know why she’s trying to make it come across like this wasn’t her idea or what she wanted when her body was giving her away so easily. 

“But we’re doing it.” Jenny grins. “Closest we’re gonna get under the circumstances.”

“Shut up.” 

Yaz kisses Jenny with perhaps a bit too much encouragement to get her to focus on the task at hand. She was shocked when she reached her core at how ready Jenny had made her but she wasn’t going to let her know that; she could find out for herself some other day. Yaz lowers her forearm so that she could still rest on it but be physically closer to the woman a few steps ahead in building up speed. A sharp intake of breath from Jenny draws Yaz’s eyes down to what she was doing with her hand. Seeing a movement but not what it was stimulating might have been hotter than actually being between her legs despite how much she wanted it. Yaz leaves a flutter of light kisses down the side of her neck starting from the joint of her jaw, her lips shaking from entering uncharted territory.

“Uhn-”

“Ssssh.” Yaz whispers in Jenny’s ear to keep her from giving them away. If she made that sound again Yaz was pretty sure she wouldn’t be able to stop herself let alone control the both of them. It hasn’t been long at all since this whole thing started but she was pleading with herself to at least last until Jenny finishes. God, please, let me last

Yaz finds her chin getting lifted and turned so that Jenny could look her in the eye while she represses every sound she couldn’t release to the bottom of her throat. Yeah, I’m not gonna last, Yaz admits to herself as the pressure between her legs becomes unbearable, her heart races in her jeans and the knot in her lower abdomen starts to unwind.

“Jesus.” Yaz hears Jenny utter under her breath right as her eyes close up to emphasize every sensation. 

Yaz felt a bit awkward about the whole situation now that she was done. Not even awkward just embarrassed but the arm making a heavy weight across the back of her shoulders forced her back into the present. Jenny’s hips bucked against her leg and, if it was even possible, Yaz got pulled in even tighter, meaning that when Jenny finally removed her hand from where Yaz had guided it, Yaz could feel how wet her fingers were against her skin. She decides to tenderly kiss Jenny’s jaw while she went through the motions until her breathing pattern evened out and she gently kissed her lips. 

“Yaz how the hell do you come up with this stuff?” Jenny asks with a hint of amusement.

“I uh...” Yaz shakes her head but can’t stop the cheeky smile pulling at her lips. “Might have thought about what you’re like touching yourself a couple of times in the past.” Yaz tells her. The way Jenny’s eyes grow wide and her arched eyebrows rise into even higher arches suggests she might have made a mistake in revealing that. “Too much?”

“Yasmin, think about what we just did, yeah, and then ask me again if you think I considered that ‘too much’.” Jenny’s hand reaches up Yaz’s neck and delicately pushes her head down so she can kiss her forehead. “We basically have no boundaries now.”

“I haven’t seen you naked.” Yaz says as a factual point and not a suggestive temptation.

“Maybe leave that for another day.” Jenny says, deciding Yaz’s comment was the latter. “Also, you have.”

“That doesn’t count.” Yaz argues, recalling the night she had to strip Jenny of her soaked through clothes. 

“Uh! There it is again!” Jenny grins.

“What?” 

“Cute when you’re angry.” Jenny wiggles her eyebrows. 

“Do you purposefully do that to wind me up?” Yaz smirks. 

“Maybe a little bit.” 

Their lips almost meet once again when a rumble of thunder louder and deeper than Yaz had ever heard in her life engulfs the tower block. Along with the rumble Yaz gets pushed in the stomach to the point where she’s almost winded and lands on her side, luckily still on the confinements of her bed. 

“Jenny, what the-”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry I thought it was your sister again!”

“I know she’s constantly in a bad mood but it’s not like in cartoons where a dark cloud hangs over her head all the time.” Yaz says when she manages to catch her breath.

“I’m really sorry.” Jenny apologises again.

There’s another grumble from the sky above and Jenny instantly reaches for Yaz’s hand with panicked eyes.

“Jen, are you scared of thunderstorms?” Yaz asks. 

“No.”

“Tell that to your grip.”

Jenny looks down at her hand restricting the blood flow to Yaz’s fingers. “Okay, fine, they freak me out.”

“Do you have any anti-anxiety suff or-” Yaz stops talking when Jenny looks at her like she was speaking gibberish. 

“I’m not a dog.” Jenny says, obviously having taken Yaz’s question with some offence. 

“I know.” Yaz runs her hands through Jenny’s hair. “Wanna go reheat that food?”

“Okay.” Jenny nods.

Another roll of thunder and the room goes black. The power was out, no doubt about it. 

“Alright so we’re not going to be able to do that.” Yaz says, knowing that the electric hob in the kitchen isn’t suddenly going to become gas by the flick of a switch. 

“I wonder whatever could we do to pass the time alone in the dark?” Jenny says, biting her lip and looking up and down, back and forth from Yaz’s lips to her eyes.

In that moment Yaz decides that Jenny is anything but smooth or a womanizer like people have implied. To an outsider like her mum, maybe, but to her she was just Jenny being Jenny. She was out of her depth trying to flirt like that and the sentence just came across as silly but that was the key; the charm offensive that’s been managing to win Yaz over again and again. She lets Jenny kiss her and touch her and fall on top of her through the storm until they fall asleep, unashamedly squished up in each others arms, living in the now instead of caring about what the storm will bring to them tomorrow.

Chapter Text

If Yaz thought waking up next to Jenny with winter sunlight landing on her skin was the best way to wake up, she clearly hadn’t considered how she would look snuggled up in a bunch of extra blankets. They kept stealing the duvet off of each other in the night so Yaz snuck into the basket at the end of her parents' room that held extra bed sheets and had to resist swaddling Jenny like a baby. Right now, laying there on her side facing Yaz with barely an inch between them, wrapped up in a tangle of different coloured blankets, accompanied by calming the sound of rain, Jenny looked like she belonged in a photo frame. The power was still out and there was no lighting to help her skin glow but it was sort of like there were wisps of golden light circling every exposed part of her body all the time she slept. There’s a faint movement in Jenny’s curled up hand and a change in how she’s breathing. 

“Jen, I know you’re awake.” Yaz says after spotting the differences. 

“No I’m not.” Jenny mumbles, her voice groggy. Yaz tilts her head forwards and leaves a peck on Jenny’s lips. When she pulls back Jenny’s eyes are wide open. “Alright, now I’m awake.” 

“I thought you were good at being up early in the morning with your job and everything?” Yaz thinks out loud. 

“It’s harder in the winter when it’s dark and cold.” Jenny awkwardly throws her arm around Yaz’s midriff. “And you’re really warm.” 

“You too.” Yaz smiles contently.

“When do you want to leave?” Jenny asks, rubbing her eyes.

“Don’t talk about leaving just yet.” Yaz grumbles. “I wanna lie here for as long as possible.”

“Oh. Okay, I’ll go and-”

“With you, dumbo.” Yaz stops Jenny from removing herself from the bed. Seeing the confusion in Jenny’s face was adorable but it also concerned Yaz that she wasn’t getting it. “I want to stay in bed with you.” 

“Really?”

“Jen, I… I don’t get how… I don’t see why you…” Yaz tails off not knowing how to put her words lightly. Why does Jenny still not understand that Yaz really wants her. Surely it’s impossible to miss.

“What?” 

“Never mind.” 

“No, what is it?” 

Yaz stares at her, her eyes darting from left to right not knowing which eye to focus on since if she looked at the bridge of her nose she would go cross eyed since they were so close and Yaz didn’t want her gaze to drop to her lips. But ‘didn’t want’ is no competitor to desire. Is this what it’s like to take drugs? To become completely and utterly addicted to something after only having it a handful of times, is that how it works? Is this how it’s going to feel from now on until Jenny doesn’t want her anymore?

“Yaz?” Jenny says softly. “Are you feeling okay?”

“Yeah just…can you kiss me for a bit?”

“Huh?” Jenny’s face crinkles up.

“Please, I’ll explain later.” 

Jenny shuffles and positions herself on top of Yaz and Yaz, knowing she’s going to get what she wants, bunches up some of Jenny’s t-shirt in her hand and tugs.

“Promise?” Jenny asks before her body is close enough to touch Yaz’s. “You will tell me?”

Yaz nods, not letting her eyes drop away from Jenny’s staring right back at her. She could tell Jenny was concerned at the mystery of the unsaid words which clearly involved her, but at the promise of an explanation she became more settled and comfortably started to kiss Yaz without pausing to ask for permission first. Yaz liked it this way where she didn’t have to talk or consider any other emotions than what she plainly and simply felt there and then. Right now she felt safe under Jenny’s touch like everything was going to be alright. It wasn’t just Jenny’s touch from her lips that sent Yaz’s heart racing with emotion, oh no, it was the light tracing of her fingertips across her jaw, the way her hands brushed against her skin down the side of her torso gradually lifting her shirt up, not suggestively but just for that touch more intimacy. Of course Yaz didn’t just lay there and take it. She wrapped her arms around Jenny’s waist (not too low) and gave her a break from playing the leader every now and then. Whatever it took to stay like this, Yaz was willing to do it. 

“Yasmin do you know who the fuck has parked in our- oh.” Najia bursts in. Yaz knew Jenny was upset the moment had been ruined because all she did was rest her head against Yaz’s forehead, close her eyes and quietly sigh. “Huh. Never had her down as the top.” 

“Mum, do you mind.” Yaz quickly snaps back. 

“Sorry.” Najia backs up with her head bowed low pretending she hadn’t seen anything.

“Does she always have to interrupt like that?” Jenny asks a few seconds after she knows the door is shut for good.

“I don’t think she meant to that time.” Yaz curls a lock of Jenny’s hair around her finger as she talks. “At least you know she’s here now.” She tries to joke. It doesn’t work, so Yaz gives Jenny one last, small kiss before suggesting they get ready to go.

It didn’t take Yaz long to gather the last minute bits and clothes into her suitcase. It wasn’t like if she left anything important behind it couldn’t be posted back to her; she knows her dad would do it without question. 

“Ready?” Jenny asks her when she zips up the case. 

“Think so. Also we can’t use the lift in weather like this in case it breaks down.” Yaz says. 

“That’s fine, I’m quite fit.”

“Oh, I know.” The words slip out of Yaz’s mouth. She realises what she said and ends up side eyeing the woman next to her due to being too embarrassed to look at her directly. Luckily the small chuckle she hears moves them both away from the conversation and into the hallway. 

“Let me say bye.” Yaz says. 

“Would it be rude if I didn’t?” Jenny asks. “Should probably at least stand in the doorway or something, right?” 

“You do what you want to do. I don’t mind.”

“But will they mind? You know I’m not good with gauging this kind of stuff.”

“I think you might be a little bit too nervous to try and speak to my parents right now.” Yaz says, making Jenny frown. “You go and get the car ready, it’ll be fine.”

“Sure?”

“I’m sure.” 

Jenny smiles sweetly and sees herself out of the flat while Yaz goes to find both her parents in the kitchen, both blissfully eating their breakfast/dinner. 

“I’m off now.” She announces. Najia drops her spoon into her cereal bowl and jumps up to engulf Yaz in a hug. 

“When will you next come back?” Najia asks. 

“Dunno. Probably April time.” Yaz guesses when they next scheduled holiday is. 

“That seems so long.” 

“Not that long mum, I’ll be back before you know it.” Yaz reassures her. 

“Where’s Jenny?” Her mum asks as she sets Yaz free to breathe again.

“She’s putting my stuff in her car.” Yaz explains. 

“Oh cool, I’ll come down and move the car back.”

“Mum, actually-”

“She won’t be able to get out if I don’t.”

Yaz squints her eyes with suspicion. “You’ve done that on purpose.”

“Absolutely.” Najia hits her shoulder with some force. “Come on.”

“Hang on a minute, let me say goodbye.” Hakim interjects. He walks around the table to hug his daughter. “See you soon, kid.” 

“See you dad.” 

“Tell Jenny I wish her a safe drive.” Hakim says as he steps back.

“I will.” Yaz shouts back to him before closing the flat door behind her yet another time. 

 

“Yaz I think your mum has a thing about me-”

“Jen.” Yaz says. Her voice echoed around the car park making her feel like she was living in a horror movie.

“What?” Jenny’s focus was solely on her until Yaz tilts her head slightly to the side to make her look that way. “Oh, hi Yaz’s mum.”

“Najia.”

“Right, sorry, Najia. I was just putting Yaz’s fingers in my-”

“Oh, God.” Yaz mutters, placing her hand over her face to watch Jenny try to recover through the gaps.

“Things! Yaz’s things in my car, not-not fingers, I haven’t done anything with your daughters fingers- or my fingers- well maybe except hold her h-hand because her fingers are attached to her hand but her fingers have not been-”

“Jen stop saying fingers.” 

“Yup, okay.” Jenny hunches over to stares fixated at the floor, shoving her hands in her pockets trying to become as still as possible to disappear into the background. Yaz turns to her mother who had silently been watching from the sidelines. 

“She’s a bit tense.” Najia whispers.

“Yeah. Wonder why!” Yaz whispers back with full sarcasm. 

Najia kisses Yaz’s forehead. “See you later sweetheart.” 

“I’ll text when I get back.” Yaz says, watching her mum get into the old family car to move it. She then rejoins Jenny in her little blue car and sits quietly while Jenny does her maneuver and waves goodbye to her mum as they drive off. Once they were on the road, Yaz decides to say something.

“Fingers? Seriously, fingers?” 

Jenny looks at Yaz and then back at the road a couple of times. “Shut up.” 

“It was quite funny.” Yaz tries to hold back her giggles. 

“Maybe for you!” Jenny’s high pitched shout shocks Yaz into silence for a few seconds before they both end up bursting out in laughter. It was the worst thing Jenny could have said- the worst - so much so that all you really can do is laugh about it. Yaz doesn’t bear to think about why her fingers were on Jenny’s mind and naively decides to say Jenny’s mind wasn’t fully engaged yet today and it was just a slip of the tongue. 

Seven hours on the road, two breaks, thirteen conversation topics, five comfortable silences, and four diversions because of fallen trees later, Yaz and Jenny park up in front of Yaz’s halls. Jenny, like the gentleman she is, helps Yaz carry her bags up the stairwell and into her flat. Putting her key into the lock and twisting it open gives Yaz a strange feeling. Here she was again, back earlier than expected and being dropped off by someone she didn’t know at all the first time around, in a flat with people she still doesn’t really know (excluding Bill) all for the sake of going to classes she wasn’t really that interested in.

“You okay?” Jenny asks as Yaz continues to stare into her room. 

“I think so.” 

“You think so?” 

“Am I doing the right thing Jen?” Yaz sits herself down on her bed resting her elbows on her knees and then her head in her hands. Jenny abandons the suitcase she helped bring up and kneels on the floor in front of her. 

“What do you mean by that?” Jenny takes Yaz’s hands away from her face and holds them in her lap. 

“All this. University and stuff, like… maybe I should’ve just gone into the force.”

“What’s making you think this?” 

“I dunno.” Yaz shrugs. “Just coming back I think.”

“Everyone gets a bit homesick after going home for a holiday, it doesn’t matter which one. Maybe it’s my fault for encouraging you to come back early-”

“It’s not, I would’ve had to have come back at some point.” 

“Even so, we all get it and it sucks. You know, we’re all still tired and we've just come out of assessment time and the weather is a bit shit and half of us are still trying to get by until our loans come through but in a few weeks when you’ll be back in the swing of it and everything starts to feel normal again. Please don’t cry.”

“I’m not crying.” Yaz says, ignoring the hot tear rolling down her cheek.

“Sure.” Jenny wipes it away with her thumb. “Come home with me tonight. I don’t want you here on your own.” 

“I think Bill might be-”

“Yaz please.” Jenny doesn’t let Yaz come up with an excuse. “Let me look after you.”

“Are you sure?” Yaz asks.

“Of course. It’s been a long day for us and they’ll be making dinner about now and Clara’s been stress baking souffles all week so there’s sure to be enough food.” Jenny chuckles at the second part of her sentence and hearing her laugh sends a shot of serotonin through Yaz’s body, forcing her lips into a smile. “I like that smile.” 

“You’re terrible at flirting.”

“That’s not flirting that’s just a compliment.” Jenny stands up and holds out her hand to help Yaz lift herself up. Yaz takes it and ends up getting pulled into a hug and doesn’t resist it. She can’t resist. Won’t resist.

“About what I was going to say this morning…” Yaz starts.

“I’m listening.”

Yaz pauses to reconsider. She still didn’t have the right words to explain it. “Never mind.”

Jenny’s arms tighten around her body as a response. If Yaz could see her face she might have figured out that she was disappointed that she didn’t get an answer but she didn’t; Yaz instead coaxes Jenny into leaving for her home. They were both hesitant to leave because both of them knew that once they stepped over the threshold of Jenny’s student house, they would no longer be doing anything alone and everything will become scarily real. Even though they were going to attempt to hide it in front of them, their relationship- whatever that may be- will be known and witnessed soon. They can’t hide in their own bubble together forever. 

“Oh, by the way, you know on Clara’s birthday Rory and Amy weren’t there?” Jenny says as she pulls the keys out of her pocket. Yaz could see everyone scurrying about in the kitchen through the window and it looked super inviting compared to the strong damp winds they were standing under the threat of. 

“Yeah, you said they went back to their hometown. Why?” 

“Rory proposed so they’re engaged now. Just thought you need to know.” 

“I haven’t even met Amy yet.”

“Very Scottish.” 

Before Yaz can ask what that means, Jenny opens the door and leads her inside. The house was exactly like she remembered it but with far less people it looked much bigger and quite frankly smelled better. No shouting, no loud music, just three friends cooking dinner together  with the TV on in the background.

“Hey guys.” Jenny says to get her flatmate’s attention. 

“Jenny they’ve put too much basil in the mac and cheese again- oh, hello.” A very tall, very ginger woman clocks Yaz standing at Jenny’s side. Yaz recognizes her from the pictures on Jenny’s wall in her room as well as all the social media posts they shared together and the accent gave her away as Amy. 

“Basil’s fine in it.” Jenny says anyway, without introducing Yaz. 

“No, we agreed that you cook it without and whoever wants it can put it on afterwards.”

“Amy you can just pick it out.” Rory tries to reason with her. “Also that’s Yaz.” 

“Hi.” Yaz vocally brings her presence into the room. Her voice was like an atomic explosion distancing Jenny from herself. “I’m Jenny’s friend.” 

“Didn’t expect you to be here Yaz.” Clara smiles at her.

“I had a change of plans.” Yaz shrugs, not willing to give away more than that. Through her peripheral vision Yaz sees Jenny try to secretly bite her lip to stop herself smiling. 

“Food.” Rory says. Yaz quickly realises that it was a call to arms when Clara starts to pour glasses of water, Jenny goes to grab plates and Amy sets out cutlery. The table sat only four so the latter looks around confused to what to do until Jenny catches her eye.

“I’ll get my desk chair.” Jenny offers. 

“Fuck that, I’ll get my beanbag.” Clara butts in a runs up the stairs to fetch it, arriving back no slower than she left. Yaz sits next to Jenny and across from Amy and Rory with Clara poking in at the end. Clara was short anyway but her sitting at a lower level made her even smaller and made it easy for Jenny to take the piss. 

“Hey, when it rains, will I know before you?”

“No I think you’d feel it at the same time, like if I threw this pasta at you right now-”

“Okay, I get it, please don’t.” Jenny holds her hand out as a forced reflex.

“Leave her alone, Jen.” Yaz tries to involve herself. 

“Jen? Wow, she really must like you to let you call her that.” Amy notes. Yaz feels Jenny’s knee brush against her own under the table and Clara’s glare on the two of them intensifies, forcing Yaz to keep her eyes forward. “Took me two months to get past ‘Jennifer’.”

“Jennifer?” Yaz grins and whips her head around to the blushing blonde. “Your full name is Jennifer!” 

“Thank you, Amelia.” Jenny sighs and continues eating her dinner. 

“Hey,” Yaz leans into Jenny’s side to nudge her. “I like it.” 

Jenny smiles like a polite cat and no one around the table acknowledges the comment about her first name anymore. 

“Hopefully if you’re close enough to her to call her Jen you might be able to help her find a date to our wedding.” Amy steers the conversation in a different direction. 

“You don’t need a date to go to a wedding.” Jenny says.

“It would be nice to see you find someone Jen.” Rory chimes in. “I know you don’t mind doing things on your own but-”

“What if I have found someone?” Jenny says. A couple of forks fall on plates and Amy almost chokes. 

“Seriously?” Amy asks once she’s sure the food has gone down the correct hole.

“We... I haven’t asked her yet but-”

“Have you had sex with her?” Rory asks.

“No but-”

“Does she like you too or is it all in your head?” Amy asks.

“She said she do- what does that mean? All in my head?”

“Jen.” Sensing the change of tone in her voice Yaz steps in and gently places her hand on Jenny’s shoulder and the contact draws out all the frustration in a second. 

“You got a letter in the post today. Looks like it might be from the police station.” Clara sensibly changes the subject. 

“I’ll read it tomorrow.” 

“It looked pretty impor-”

“I will read it tomorrow.” Jenny repeats and throws down her cutlery. “I’m too tired right now.” 

“Jen I think you should have a shower.” Yaz intervenes again. “Then bed.” She suggests.

Jenny considers it and Yaz turns on her puppy eyes that always used to get her what she wanted when she was a kid to convince her leaving the room was the best thing to do. She stares at her, not caring if anyone else pick up on the hold she has over Jenny, until the woman in question takes her leave.

“How do you know how to handle her so well? This isn’t the first time that’s happened.” Rory observes, referring back to how she managed to get Jenny to agree to go to hospital.

“Probably because I don’t treat her like a dog that needs to be ‘handled’.” Yaz says simply. Every one of Jenny’s friends sitting around the table sit up with shock at how Yaz was talking to them. “Don’t look so surprised, you all know you do it to her.” 

“She’s right.” Clara sighs. “We walk over her all the time. So much so she ran away over new year and we still don’t even know where she went.”

“Me.” Yaz says.

“What about you?” Amy asks. Yaz looks at them all individually, wondering whether the reveal might make them rethink their attitudes towards her. She stands up, literally giving herself the higher ground. 

“It was me. She came to see me.” Yaz reveals.

Silence covers the room like a blanket, almost suffocating them all. Yaz uses it as a cue to take her leave and turns her back on the table, knowing that they can’t kick her out of their house without Jenny kicking up a fuss. At the top of the stairs, she could hear the shower still running so decides to wait in Jenny’s room for her to reappear. 

Sitting on Jenny’s bed, Yaz takes the chance to look around properly. It seemed like Jenny had cleaned up some of the mess on the floor, perhaps in anticipation of Yaz being here or a new year's resolution, but there were still a few pieces of paper sticking out from neatly piled books and biscuit crumbs almost everywhere. A new addition to her desk was a plastic box filled with medical supplies presumably given to her by the hospital to make sure everything stays clean. When Yaz looked up, the ceiling had glow in the dark stars stuck on with blue tac outlining constellations. She found it sweet that Jenny did that and embraced being a great big nerd. As if thinking of her summoned her, Jenny shuffles in wrapped up in her towel and her own inner monologue as she mumbles to herself. Yaz watches her hand go to untuck the towel around her body.

“I’d check to see if you were alone before you let that drop.” Yaz jumps in before she sees things she isn’t meant to.

“I thought you were still downstairs.” Jenny grips the towel closer to her body.

“I was until I think I slightly pissed off your friends.” 

“What did you do?” Jenny sits down next to her and reaches under her neatly made bed to fetch her bed clothes. 

“Nothing. It was more what I said.” 

“Should I be worried?” Jenny tugs her top over her head and her shorts up her legs before pulling the damp towel from under her clothes. A neat trick, Yaz thinks.

“Not really. Wasn’t that bad.” Yaz says. Jenny takes a brush to her hair and doesn’t ask anything more about it. It seemed like she wasn’t going to say anything else at all. “Why don’t you like being called Jennifer?” Yaz asks.

“Why don’t you like being called Yasmin?” Is all Jenny comes back with.

“I don’t mind being called Yasmin.”

“Well I do mind being called Jennifer.” Jenny turns her head and looks at Yaz as if to say ‘please stop asking’ but Yaz felt it was important to tackle this now and not later when they relationship could be more...well… serious.

“That just makes me circle back around to ‘why?’.”

Jenny pokes her tongue out of the corner of her mouth while she takes a second to think about opening up. “Wait here for a second.” She says.

Jenny swivels around to lay on her front and drags herself so that her torso hung over the side of the bed and her hands could rummage underneath. Yaz uses all of her willpower not to stare at her backside sticking up at the corner of the ninety degree angle Jenny’s body was at but... damn. Jenny pushes herself back up and Yaz almost gives herself whiplash to make it look like she wasn’t guilty at taking a peek. She sits with her back up against the wall and Yaz shimmies back to meet her. Jenny hands her a stuffed brown envelope.

“That’s Jennifer.” She says. “She’s me but she isn’t me.”

Yaz takes the wodge of paper out of the envelope and realises they’re a load of photos. Photos of Jenny but like she said it was her but it wasn’t. As Yaz flicked through the images she got a grip on what ‘Jennifer’ was like. She had long brown hair, wore lots of dresses and skirts and was much much younger. The girl in the photos had Jenny’s essence but something was missing from her. 

“You look hot with brown hair.” Yaz says when she realises she’s been quiet for too long.

“I know. I’d bang me.” Jenny tries to joke but it only makes Yaz think about last night. She turns her head, kinks an eyebrow, lets her eyes run up and down Jenny’s body before looking her in the eyes. 

“I know you would.”

Jenny instantly starts to blush. “Anyway.” She tries to move on. “I don’t like being called my full name because that isn’t me anymore. Now I’m more comfortable and not just because I have different hair and don’t wear dresses anymore.” 

The next picture Yaz turns over shows Jenny uncomfortably sitting in the lap of a man. No, too young to be a man, a boy. An intense pang of jealousy shoots through her body, rising up from her stomach to light a fire behind her eyes when she sees his arm tightly gripped around her waist and his lips attached to her neck. 

“Did he-”

“He didn’t do anything to me. I didn’t let him, I just came up with excuses and he never forced it. I recon he was probably gay too. He was a nice person and completely mad about me but the whole time I knew it was wrong but then I interpreted that as if there was something wrong with me.”

“I get it.” Yaz acknowledges her story. Coming out to yourself can be just as hard as coming out to other people.

“I grew up and now I’m me.” Jenny taps her chest a few times. “Properly me.”

“Is he the one who keeps beating you up?” Yaz can’t help but ask. 

“What, him? Nah I haven’t seen him in years. Or her.” Jenny points at herself in the picture. 

Yaz leaves a lingering kiss on Jenny’s cheekbone. She hadn’t planned it; it just felt like the right thing to do in the moment. “I like you whatever name you go by.” 

“What if I changed it to Najia.” Jenny suggests.

“I would dump you and never look back.” Yaz answers with zero hesitation.

“How could you dump me if you’re not my girlfriend?”

Her words hit Yaz in the chest; the air from her lungs forgetting how to flow in and out. She likes kissing Jenny, she likes watching Jenny make herself orgasm, she likes spending time with Jenny but the more she finds out about her the more baggage Yaz discovers she comes with. She tucks some loose strands of hair behind her ear, a nervous tick of her own that’s recently resurfaced.

“Maybe take me out on a date first before we start considering that word.” Yaz requests. 

“Okay. What about tomorrow?”

“Uh, sure.” Yaz starts to smile. “What do you want to do?”

“Go to the police station so I can attend a line up and identify my attacker.” Jenny says, pulling out a letter with a fancy official looking crest in the top left corner.

“Really? You want to do that as a date?” 

“Alright maybe not as a date but please Yaz.” Jenny slides her fingers through Yaz’s, intertwining them together. “Come with me for support? I’ll take you out to dinner afterwards.”

“You don’t have to take me to dinner after going through that.”

“I want to.” Jenny’s eyes lock onto Yaz’s neck like a vampire in need of a feed. “It’ll stop me thinking about eating something else.”

“Your changes in mood are unbelievable.” Yaz laughs, shaking her head, not knowing how else to react.  

“Do you want me to kiss you or not?” Jenny barely audibly mutters. 

Yaz uses her hand that’s not clinging onto Jenny’s to cup her face and bring it up enough so that the locked on gaze was at her eyes not her neck. She was intending to tell her ‘no’. Tell her they’d done quite a bit of that; more than they probably should have considering their undetermined status. But there was that feeling again, that addiction, that need- God she needed, wanted her. Reading her like a book once again (which she was getting scarily good at), Jenny leans in.

“Jen, I left that letter on your-” Clara barges in and then freezes when she sees the scene in front of her. Jenny’s head falls to rest on Yaz’s shoulder, totally and utterly defeated. “Please tell me I didn’t just prevent your first kiss.” Clara begs. “I will literally kick myself in the fanny if I have.”

“It wasn’t our first kiss.” Jenny says lifting up her head.  

“Phew, okay good I thought I really ruined the- wait.” The penny drops. “ Not your first kiss? Does that mean you’ve-”

“Clara.” Yaz says, stopping her from talking. “Kind of in the middle of something here.”

“Oh right yeah sure let me just… can I tell Ryan?”

“No!” Both Yaz and Jenny shout. 

“Alright! Keep your horny wigs on, Jesus bloody…” Clara exists talking to herself and dragging the door behind her closed. 

“Why do people keep doing that to us today?” Jenny asks. 

“Dunno. Might be the universe telling us something.” 

“Like what?” Jenny starts to leave kisses along her shoulder, applying more pressure at the base of her neck and resetting Yaz’s brain to basic functions. Why did it have to be now that she realises how much she likes her neck being kissed? “Yaz?” Jenny mumbles against her pulse point. 

“Like we’re going too fast.” Yaz finally answers. The moment she says it Jenny stops and pulls her face as far away from her skin as deemed respectable. 

“I’m sorry. You should’ve said earlier, I wouldn’t have-.” 

“I know but,” Yaz shrugs and starts fiddling with her fingernails. “Just because it feels like it to me doesn't mean I don’t like where we’re going.”

“Did- did you want me to take you back to your halls tonight?”

“No.” Yaz says for definite. “Besides, I have a strong feeling that it's really you who doesn’t want to be alone tonight.”

“You would be correct.” Jenny lets a split second smile escape onto her face. “Only because this police shite is doing my head in right now.” 

“You know how you keep saying I’m cute when I get angry?” Yaz grins.

“Yeah.”

“Your accent gets stronger the more frustrated you are.” 

“No it doesn’t!” Jenny says with the thickest Yorkshire twang to her voice yet. 

“You’re doing it now!” Yaz mimics her. “Hand over those photos, I want to see if Jennifer took any nudes.”

Jenny snatches the packet and holds it high up and behind her head, leaning her body back for that extra bit of distance but Yaz matched it, leaning over her. “You think I would go through all the effort of using a digital camera to take photos of my naked self and then go and pay to get them printed only to then give them to a boy I didn’t really like? No way, Jose.” 

“Fair point well made. Maybe you could make some for me?” Yaz says. Jenny raises her eyebrows, not really knowing how to respond. “Wh-when- you know when we’ve got it all- when I feel-”

Jenny chucks away the photos so that they land on her desk and uses her hand to hold the back of Yaz’s head. “Whenever you want, I’ll do it. Just say the words.” She sleepily kisses Yaz’s temple.The day had made her tired and her moods unpredictable. 

 “Go to sleep Jen.” 

“Will you be joining me?” Jenny tries not to yawn.

“In a bit.” Yaz says. “I have to sort something out.”

“You’re not secretly leaving are you?”

“Don’t be stupid.” Yaz says. She reaches the door but then pausing, realising what she’s said and remembering how Jenny reacted the last time she called herself ‘stupid’. “Sorry I didn’t mean to call you stupid.”

“It’s only when they say it.” Jenny shrugs. “Go and do what you need to do.” 

Yaz makes her way downstairs searching for Amy to explain why she needed to say what she said at the dinner table. It was playing on her conscience already and it was just going to eat away at her if she doesn’t say it now. Rory and Amy were washing up and drying together at the sink as if they were already married when suddenly Yaz’s stealth approach is ambushed by Clara putting her arm around her shoulders.

“We need a chat. Amy, you too, Rory, piss off.”

“What? What’s going on?” Rory asks. 

“Girl talk. Skedaddle.”

“What does that even mean?” Rory throws his washing up gloves into the sink and stomping upstairs. Clara pulls herself up to sit on the counter to try and match Amy and Yaz’s height.

“When did this happen?” Clara asks.

“Sorry, why has this meeting be called?” Amy asks.

“I was gonna apologise for earlier but-”

“Yaz is dating Jenny.” Clara cuts her off. 

“Hold on we-”

“Oh my God, no way!” Amy cheers.

“No, wait-” Yaz can feel herself losing control of the situation.

“I repeat the opening question; when did this happen?” Clara insists on an answer.

“You know when Jen was coming out of anesthetic and said she wanted to kiss me again? That night.”

“So she wasn’t chatting shite?”

“No I…” Yaz gets overwhelmed by the intensity of the pressure she was under to share everything. “I kissed her and then the only way I could get her to go to hospital was tell her she could kiss me again properly once she got it sorted.”

“Shit that’s so smooth.” Amy comments. 

“And then at new years she turned up at my flat at midnight and made out for almost the entire night and then again last night.”

“Yeah, she can be a bit full on like that.” Amy says.

“Every time she finds something she likes she gets fixated on it and does it until she finds something different to shift the fixation onto.” Clara explains. “Not that she’ll get bored of you, I’m not saying that.” 

“But I’m a bit… I don’t…” Yaz shuffles from foot to foot. “Everything’s really intense.”

“You’re worried it’s going too fast?” Amy asks.

“Yeah.”

“That happened with me and Rory. He’s loved me all of his life so when I finally gave him a chance he wanted to do everything at once.”

“And it’s because she doesn’t know how to do it. Start a relationship, I mean.” Clara adds. 

“Neither do I.”

“Well then you’re both going to have to figure it out at the same time, it’s the only way.”  Amy says. 

“You’re a bit blunt.” Yaz says folding her arms.

“Scottish.” Clara and Amy say at the same time. Yaz recalls what Jenny said about Amy being ‘very Scottish’, finally understanding what it means. 

“Really though Yaz, just relax. You can’t do anything wrong in her eyes.”  

“That makes it scarier.” Yaz sighs and leans back against the counter between her two new relationship counselors. Clara even pats her head. 

“Oh, to be young and in love.” Clara says with a wispy voice. 

“Please don’t use that word, we haven’t even been on a date yet.” 

“Oh my God, don’t ever let her choose the date, she’ll have you doing all sorts of shit.” Amy warns her. 

“Like going to a police line up to identify her attacker?”

“Jesus, did she really suggest that?” Clara gasps and holds her cheeks in her hands. “I can’t believe- well, actually I can.” 

“She’s going to take me out to dinner afterwards.” Yaz tries to redeem the woman upstairs. 

“Classic move.” Amy winks. 

“I’m sure she’ll take you somewhere nice.” Clara says. “Cheap but nice.”

“I don’t care where she takes me so long as she’s there with me.” 

Amy pretends to retch and Clara swoons at her statement; two very different things to find a mutual reaction to. Yaz stood there like a fish out of water, unable to come up with something as good as the banter between the ginger and the brunette. Yaz wonders how long they’ve been friends; whether Jenny was the link between them or they knew each other before because it was impossible to tell. From what she’d seen it looked like most of the time this house ran like clockwork with all of them living in it.

“I swear we aren’t making fun of you, Yaz.” Clara assures her. “We’re just not used to hearing about Jen being a creature of romance.” 

“Yeah, she's always so quiet when we ask her about it.” Amy says.

“I think she wants to keep me a secret.” Yaz airs her suspicions.

“I literally walked straight in on you two.” Clara says.

“In her room.” Yaz raises her eyebrows. “Her private room.” 

“So maybe you have a point. Have you thought about joining the debate society?”

Yaz snorts. “Nah. I basically become illiterate when I get passionate about something.” 

“That’s not true.” Jenny appears out of nowhere. “I’ve only seen you get flustered, like, three times.” 

“Because of you.” Yaz corrects her and tells the whole story. 

“No, it…” A switch that is visible to everyone is flicked on in Jenny’s head. “Huh.” She realises.

“I thought you were asleep.” Yaz changes subject. 

“I was. I got thirsty.” 

“Oh, I could make such a good joke right now.” Yaz hears Clara mutter under her breath. If Yaz knew her better she would probably elbow her in the ribs but she doesn’t, so she simply stands there trying not to look as embarrassed as she feels. 

“What are you talking about?” Jenny asks. 

“Sex.”

“Drugs.”

“Christmas.” 

Clara, Yaz and Amy consecutively lie in that order. 

“You’re talking about me, aren’t you.” Jenny assumes correctly and fills her water bottle with chilled fridge water. 

“Nothing bad.” Yaz says. 

“Maybe you could tell me about it.” Jenny navigates her way around obstacles in the kitchen without turning her head away from Yaz. “Upstairs.” She adds and waits for Yaz to join her side, ignoring the looks Amy and Clara were exchanging. Once upstairs again, Jenny hands Yaz her pyjamas from out of her overnight bag and stares at her. 

“You didn’t need any water did you?” Yaz asks. 

“Nope. And I don’t want to know what you were saying about me either.”

“So what do you want?” Yaz asks, taking her clothes out of Jenny’s hands. 

Jenny smiles at her shyly. A sweet, unsure kind of smile that knocked all confidence out of both of them; their ages exposed by the twinkle in their eyes. Two women, barely out of their teenage years, slowly unveiling their vulnerability with every day they spend together. It would go unsaid but right now both of them carried an underlying feeling of loneliness that they didn’t realise was there until the attention they gave each other filled part of a hole. 

“I want to cuddle.” 

Chapter Text

Jenny’s leg had been bouncing up and down continually for the past five minutes. She has also started biting her fingernails while she waites in the old police building. Yaz understands why she’s acting like this. The reception had low ceiling, artificial lighting, chairs that reminded Yaz of being in primary school and a carpeted floor that has seen better days. Jenny was also dreadfully quiet which rang alarm bells for Yaz. She would prefer it if she was rambling so she knew what was going through her mind. 

“Jen.” Yaz takes Jenny’s hand away from her mouth when she runs out of nail to bite and holds it instead. Jenny’s palms were sweaty but if it helped, Yaz didn’t care. The leg bouncing slows down but doesn’t stop completely. “It’ll be okay.”

“This place freaks me out.” Jenny says, her eyes sweeping around the place frantically, looking for the closest possible escape route.

“Hey.” Yaz squeezes her hand. “We’ll be out of here soon. Focus on that.”

“Will they make me talk about it? I don’t want to talk about it.”

“I don’t know.” Yaz answers honestly. “If they’ve already taken your statement it’s probably unlikely they’ll ask you again.”

“Jennifer Smith?” A uniformed officer looking every official with a clipboard appears in front of them out of nowhere. 

“Jenny. That’s me.” Jenny stands to shake his hand. 

“Nice to meet you Jenny. If you’d like to follow me, we’ve got a few things to sign and I’ll explain what’s going to happen after once we’ve got that out of the way.”

“Are you alright going on your own?” Yaz asks. 

“I-”

“I’m afraid no one else can come into the line up. Just in case you’re holding Jennifer-”

“Jenny.”

“-against her will or manipulating her. You’re probably not but, procedures, you know.”

Yaz can only watch as Jenny’s led further away from her into the building. She should have guessed it wasn’t going to be possible for her to go in too but at least she’s still going to be here when she comes out. To occupy herself Yaz reads all of the posters until she knows them off by heart. Her concentration did not go unnoticed and she spotted the woman sealed in a glass box at her desk looking over at her, but she averted her gaze whenever Yaz looked up. Apart from one time when Yaz caught her just at the right time.

“What happened to your friend?” The older, scary looking, now revealed to be Scottish lady asks from behind the glass at reception.

“Sorry, are you talking to me?” Yaz asks to make sure it’s her she’s talking too.

“Yes you, your friend with the annoyingly bouncy leg.” 

“She was nervous, she couldn’t help it. She got punched up. Twice.”

The lady behind the desk whistles while she shuffles through her paperwork. “Must’ve been pretty bad if she’s having to come here.”

“It was.” Yaz confirms. 

“Were you there?” The officer asks.

“No. She was alone on campus then came to me.”

“Aaah. University students. What’re you studying?”

“Law.” Yaz gives the simple answer. 

“Ever thought about joining the force instead?”

Yaz sits up properly, her interest officially in this strangers grasp. “Yeah, actually. I have.” 

“Well, if that university bollocks doesn’t work out…” The officer waves Yaz over to the glass box and holds up an application form. “We’re recruiting. I reckon you’d make a decent officer and God knows we bloody need some. What’s your name?”

“Yasmin Khan.”

“PC Khan sounds awfully tempting doesn’t it.” The officer pushes the folded piece of paper through the hole at the bottom of the glass screen. Yaz takes it and hides it in her jacket pocket.

“What should I call you?” Yaz asks. 

“Depends who you are. Colleagues call me Sergeant, the criminals call me ‘bitch’ and my friends call me ‘Mistress of the Cells’, Missy for short, you choose which one you want to use. Do you want to be my friend my enemy or one of my officers?” 

“I…” Yaz can’t bring herself to make a snap decision.

“Think about it.” Missy instructs her. “Your bezzie mate just came out of the viewing room, I’d sit back down if you don’t want to tell her about this conversation.”

“How do you know I don’t want her to know?”

Missy rolls her eyes and leans back in her chair. “Listen sweetheart, if you’re close enough to bring her to a police station you’re close enough to not have to hide a job opportunity in your breast pocket.”

A speechless Yaz walks backwards until the back of her legs hit a chair. No sooner had Yaz sat in it Jenny comes back through the door she left in and she springs to her feet again. Jenny’s face said it all; she was analysing every single second that went on behind those walls and undoubtedly was debating whether she said or did the right thing. 

“Hey, how did it go? Was he there? Have they got him?” Yaz batters her with questions. 

“They have him.” Jenny says, using Yaz’s body to stop herself continuing to walk and hugging her, hiding her face in her neck. “He’s in there.” Yaz notices Jenny shaking a little bit. 

“Exactly. He’s in there and not out here. Nowhere near you.” Yaz kisses her hair. “It’s okay.”

“Can we get out of here?” Jenny pulls back, her wrists not staying still for a single moment. “I feel a bit… funny.” 

“Please refrain from puking, I really don’t want to have to deal with that this afternoon.” Missy calls from her glass box. 

“Alright, calm down.” Jenny says. Missy sits up in her seat, showing off her uniform and reminding the two of them where they are. 

“Come on Jen.” Yaz drags her out before she gets herself arrested for assaulting an officer. They walk, Jenny a couple of paces ahead, until Jenny sits down on a bus shelter bench. Yaz stands in front of her, giving her the moment she needs to calm herself down. When her hands move from her face to her lap Yaz deems it safe sit down and slides up next to her. 

“I haven’t known you long but I know this has fucked you up.” Yaz says.

“How?”

“It’s kind of like you’ve lost some of your hope in humanity. You’ve got all serious about life all of a sudden.” 

“Maybe I have." Jenny rests her chin in her hands. "I don’t know what’s going on with me. There are so many new emotions rattling around up there that there’s no room for me to think about everything at once.” Jenny taps her forehead. 

“Is it me?” Yaz asks. 

“No.” Jenny looks at her and her decision changes right away. “Maybe. Yes. A little bit. You make me feel…” She takes a deep breath and lifts her chin up with no other support. “You make me feel.”

“Feel what?” Yaz asks. 

Jenny shrugs and pouts. “Lots of things. Fear but also fearlessness. Excitement, comfort, safety, lust, friendship, nervousness, lust-”

“You said lust twice.”

“I know.” Jenny smiles cheekily. “You already know that anyway.” Her comment catches Yaz's interest. 

“Out of interest, on a scale of one to ten, one being ‘don’t care’ and ten being jump my bones, how close are you to absolutely losing your shit and not being able to hold back?” Yaz asks.

“What’s the scenario?” Jenny asks.

“I’m on top with only my underwear-”

“Ten.”

Yaz does a double take. She never thought she could have this much of an effect on someone. “Seriously? That close?”

“That close. Don’t even let me think about it. If I were a bloke: constant semi at least.” Jenny says. Yaz can’t help but laugh nervously, not knowing if she’s flattered or embarrassed. “Not to tell you how to dress but you should probably start dressing like a nun.” Jenny goes quiet while she thinks about it. “Actually don’t do that, that has the potential to awaken something.” 

“Jen!” Yaz's laugh gets rejuvenated. “How come sometimes you’re like this and then others you can’t even say the word sex?”

“Because this is all hypothetical. If you actually stripped off in front of me I’d be too overwhelmed to know how to react. I’d probably end up crying or something.”

Yaz leans and rests her head on Jenny’s shoulder. 

“How do I make you feel?” Jenny asks. 

“Dunno.” Yaz shrugs. “Nice.”

“Just ‘nice’?”

“No.” Yaz says. She’s glad she put her head on Jenny’s shoulder so she didn’t have to look her in the eye and become unhinged. Instead she just stares at the rundown building across the road. “You make me feel a lot of things I can't describe or explain. Then that just makes me…”

“Scared?” Jenny asks. Yaz lifts her head to nod but unknowingly was signing up to watch Jenny’s face fall. “Scared of me like everyone who talks about me?”

“No. Never. Never, Jen, it’s a different kind of scared- a good kind of scared.” Yaz says. She hadn’t noticed her hand moving to brush her fingers along the sort strands of hair at the back of Jenny’s neck. “I’m not scared of you, I’m scared of the feeling.” 

Jenny nods slowly. “Okay.” 

“Oi oi! Give us a show ladies!” A car full of lads honk the horn and shout at them. That’s when Yaz noticed where her hand was because she almost slaps Jenny in the back of her head as she jumps up.

“Fuck off you attention seeking small dicked twat!” Yaz shouts back at them as the car continues to speed away. They probably didn’t even hear her but saying it made her feel better. Unfortunately, running forward out of the bus shelter meant the bus behind the thought she was requesting them to stop. The doors open and she has to explain.

“Sorry I wasn’t- oh hi Graham.” Yaz loses her train of thought when she sees the familiar face sitting in the drivers cabin.

“Hiya Yaz. Love to stop and chat but a schedule is a schedule. Need lift or...”

“No, sorry, we’re um... we’re-” Yaz stumbles over an explanation.

“Technically on a date.” Jenny stands beside her and reaches to hold Yaz’s hand. She lets her.

“Ah. I see.” Graham nods then goes still. “In front of a police station?”

“It’s a long story.” 

“Well if you ever want to explain it over a home cooked meal, Grace and I would be happy to have you again.” 

“I’ll let you know.” Yaz nods and smiles politely at the offer. 

“Cool beans.” Graham says and closes the bus doors before anyone can say anything else. 

“Who was he?” Jenny asks as the red bus pulls away. 

“Graham O'Brien. Ryan’s step-granddad.” Yaz explains.

“Ooooh! Always nice to put a face to the name.” Jenny swings their hands back and forth in the space between them. 

“Are you purposefully trying to be you again to make me happy?” Yaz asks. 

“No.” Jenny shakes her head. “I’m just making an effort so we can have a good time.”

“What exactly are we going to do?” Yaz asks. “It’s only half four.”

“You’ll see.” Jenny starts to lead Yaz off in a direction she didn’t recognise. 

“Jen-”

“You’ll see!” Jenny repeats in a higher pitch. “Trust me.”

 

“Well, that was fun.” Jenny says as she strides out of the local museum. 

“Jenny we got kicked out because you edited all of the information plaques.”

“And?”

“Information plaques in the exhibition made by the local primary school children.”

“They have to learn at some point.” Jenny says matter of factly. “Where do you want to eat? Bearing in mind my loan hasn’t come through yet.”

“Neither has mine.” 

They stop strolling and share a look. The look that every group of broke students share at some point in their friendship. An inevitable, unavoidable look that everyone knows the answer to.

“Nandos?”

“Nandos.” 

 

The nearest local branch was only down the road, right next to the much cheaper, non-chain brand that Yaz suggested they go to instead to skimp on money. ‘No. We’re being fancy tonight.’ is what Jenny came back with when they entered the establishment and got seated at a table hidden away in the corner. Yaz appreciated the privacy because it meant Jenny was more comfortable to feel free to talk and be normal about it; to not feel like she was being overheard and judged. It also meant they could brush knees and feet under the table with a high unlikelihood that anyone would see. 

“What did you get?” Jenny asks as Yaz sits back down after ordering.

“You’ll have to wait and see.” 

“Hm. A lady of mystery.” Jenny does a terrible 1920’s murder mystery detective impression, twiddling an imaginary moustache between her fingertips.

“What do you want to know about me?” Yaz asks.

“Huh?” Jenny looked confused. 

“It’s what people usually do on first dates.” Yaz feels herself getting shy.  

“Oh, right, well then.” Jenny wracks her brain for a question she doesn’t already know the answer to. “What if we do this question answer thing?”

“How does that work?”

“So, you ask a question, I answer it and then I ask you a question.”

“Alright.” Yaz says, grasping the concept. “You start.”

“What’s your favourite food?”

“Chilli burrito. What’s your favourite animal?”

“Opossum. What was your favourite TV show when you were growing up?”

“M.I High on CBBC. Have you taken your sexual health test yet?”

“Yes. Why do you ask?” 

“Because I wanted to know. How did you get it done so fast?”

“Went to the walk in center, it’s quicker than the do it yourself kits. Where’s your favourite holiday destination?”

“Cardiff. Family could never afford to go abroad. Who were you raised by?”

“Foster parents. I don’t like talking about it. Who was your childhood best friend?”

“Didn’t have one. Do you only want to ask questions about my childhood?”

“No. How many people have you slept with?”

“Six. Same question back at you.”

“Two. Have you fallen in love with any of them?”

“No. Why do you want to ask that?”

“Curiosity. How do you know you didn’t love them?”

“Because I didn’t feel the same way with them as I do when I’m with-” Realising she’s being caught in a well laid trap, Yaz stops herself from saying it. I didn’t feel the same way with them as I do when I’m with you. Jenny smiles smugly. Yaz hadn’t finished her sentence but it was obvious where it was going. She felt like she should crawl under the table and hide from her own embarrassment. 

“Uh. Butterfly burger?” A waiter stands over them, thankfully breaking the silence that was starting to turn awkward. 

“Me, thank you.” Jenny smiles. Through the process of elimination the second plate gets put in front of Yaz

“Thanks.” Yaz says. “Jenny please tell me you got a sauce on that.” Yaz adds when she spots the little flag saying ‘plain’ sticking out of the bun.

“What?” Jenny shrugs. “I can’t handle spice.”

Spotting an opportunity to reclaim control over how Jenny perceived her and potentially make her forget the almost admission, Yaz chops a bit of her food off, stabs it with a fork and holds it across the table to hover in front of Jenny’s lips. The woman across from her looks at the fork and then looks back at Yaz, giving her a facial expression that says ‘ what am I meant to do with that? ’. 

“Try it.” Yaz insits. She accompanies her words with a quirk of an eyebrow and a sparkle in her eye that says ‘ I dare you. ’. 

Jenny pushes the meat to the tip of the fork with the sheer muscle of her tongue alone before taking it with her teeth. Yaz didn’t know if that was some kind of flirting of whether she genuinely ate like that but yeah, she wasn’t ashamed to admit it turned her on a bit. Not enough to distract her from watching her face go from trying not to show any emotion, to a little bit of panic, to a performance of trying not to let her eyes water, to full on going red in the cheeks and sweating. 

“You weren’t kidding.” Yaz giggles. 

“What is that?” Jenny asks.

“Only medium.” 

“Only!?” Jenny says, fanning her open mouth with her hand as if it was going to help. 

Watching her send Yaz’s body and mind into fight or flight mode. Fight and agree with her gut that she was falling for this impossible woman or fly away out of her life and deny she ever felt anything to protect herself. But, she had to ask herself, what does she need protecting from. The only way Jenny could possibly break her heart was if she accidentally tripped over it while bringing her own affections to her on a silver platter. But that’s another scary part! Jenny has proven over the last week or so that she would do anything for her and that amount willingness has to be accompanied by some equally strong emotions. 

“You good Yaz?” A fully recovered Jenny asks. Blimey how long had she been debating herself in her head for?

Fight or flight Yasmin. Choose. 

“I um…” Yaz stalls for time. The more she stalls the more visibly concerned Jenny becomes. “Can I stay at yours again tonight?” 

“You can stay as long as you want.” Jenny says, not entirely convinced that that was what Yaz was initially intending to ask. “Or at least until the others start suggesting you pay rent because then that might make us both fall out of favour with them.”

“‘Course.” 

Yaz smiles and continues on with the date as if she hadn’t just fallen deeper into a black hole of feelings. It was obvious Jenny knew she had something on her mind but they were both ignoring it for the sake of having a good time. Everything felt a little off- a little fake, at least to Yaz. The pair of them weren’t used to spending time together like this and not just ‘being’ together. Her mind starts rolling around in the thought that maybe they would be the kind of couple that doesn’t do ‘dates’ and instead spend as much time with each other as possible. Then she remembers she’s barely even holding hands with Jenny as the walk down the street and it will one hundred percent have to be Yaz to suggest anything. It was her fault for setting it up like that and she knew it. She was also thinking about the slip of paper sitting in her pocket. Logically, she should tell Jenny about it, but the offer might amount to nothing. She might not even get in and Jenny would’ve got excited for nothing. Yaz might get excited about it for nothing. She still doesn’t really know why she’s considering it. 

“You’re being quiet.” Jenny says just before they turn onto her street. 

“I’m thinking.” Yaz says. 

“‘Bout what?” Jenny asks. 

“Stuff.”

“Good or bad?” Jenny gets her keys out of her pocket, ready for the approaching door. 

“Potential for both.” Yaz swerves around a real answer. 

“Depending on…?” Jenny asks, trying to understand. But Yaz didn’t feel the need to explain, so she just takes Jenny’s hand in her own and no more questions follow. 

The evening was cold and as they walked the final few meters down the street Yaz leaned into Jenny’s side. Jenny wasn’t easy to read half the time. Yaz wonders what she might be thinking when she does stuff like this. There were endless possibilities that Yaz could guess; she was either entirely comfortable which is how anyone watching from the outside would see them, panicking on the inside and not letting Yaz know it, or she was once again lost in her own world inside her head exploring galaxies no one else knew about but Jenny saw a picture of it once and found it so beautiful that it never left her mind. Turning into the path that took them straight to the front door of the student house, Yaz got butterflies in her stomach at the thought of being interrogated by Amy and Clara about what happened today. Right before Jenny puts her key in the lock, Yaz gently bats her arm away. Jenny looks at Yaz, then her hand with her keys in, then looks back at Yaz, confusion plastered on her face. 

“What was that for?” Jenny asks quietly. 

Yaz leans forward on the balls of her feet to reach up and kiss Jenny’s lips. There wasn’t much of a height distance between them but when Jenny wore her boots and Yaz had her flat trainers on it was enough to leave her needing to make more of an effort. When their lips met, Yaz could tell Jenny was surprised she chose to do that because she only catches the corner of her lips as Jenny turns her head to check they couldn’t be seen through the window. 

“Jen.” Yaz frowns and complains, running her fingers along the hems of Jenny’s special grey coat. 

“Right, sorry.”

Jenny pays full attention to Yaz’s second attempt. It was only a small kiss. A little show of affection intended to communicate to Jenny how much her trust and time today meant to her. But it still makes her knees go wobbly. Jenny nuzzles Yaz’s nose after pulling away- another new thing Yaz could see herself getting used to. 

“Want a hot chocolate?” Jenny asks, taking Yaz’s hand in her own again. “Nice night for it.” 

 “Go on then.” Yaz smiles encouragingly. “I’ll meet you upstairs.” 

Jenny smiles too and unlocks the door. Yaz thought she might be able to sneak in and make it to Jenny’s room under the radar of all the other occupants but she was quickly coming to realises that Clara had superhuman hearing and eyes in the back of her head. She hadn’t even been in Jenny’s room for thirty seconds before she appeared at the doorway. 

“Oh, Yaz. Sorry thought you were Jen.” Clara says as she walks in. To sort of assert her presence, Yaz takes off her jacket. Her way of saying she’s here to stay another night. “How was she today? At the station?”

“Nervous but she go through it.” Yaz says. 

“Just that?” 

“I think if you want to know more, it would be better if you asked her yourself.” Yaz says. It wasn’t fair on Jenny to talk about what she went through. 

“Fair enough.” Clara nods. “What’s that?” She points at Yaz’s jacket. The piece of paper Missy gave her was poking out of her pocket. 

“It’s nothing.” Yaz tucks it back in. “Just a leaflet I picked up.” Yaz shifts uncomfortably. It wasn’t her best lie and it showed all over her face, she just knew it. Clara stared back at her like she was somehow sorry for Yaz. 

“Hot drinks coming through.” Jenny appears with two mugs of instant hot chocolate in her hands. When she reads the room and notices the energy between Yaz and Clara she pauses and chooses to address Yaz about it. “Everything okay?” 

“Yeah. Clara wanted to speak to you about today.” Yaz answers. 

“It can wait, don’t worry about it now Jen.” Clara brushes it off, subsequently saving Yaz’s ass from  having to explain anything about the application form she doesn’t even know if she’s going to fill in yet. “I’ll leave you two to it.”  She says as she leaves and shuts the door behind her. 

“What was all that about?” Jenny puts one mug down on her desk. 

“Nothing. I wanted to let you tell her.”

“Thank you.” Jenny says. As she does she hands over the mug of hot liquid a little too quick and with a little too much force, spilling it all over Yaz. Yaz flinches, taking a moment to register what had happened. “Shit, Yaz I’m so sorry.” Jenny bends down to pick up the fallen mug. 

“It’s fine, It’s my fault.” Yaz says. The burning liquid was seeping through her top to her skin and all she could do was take off her top and use it to wipe whatever was left off her stomach. She’d already showered today; probably should have another one but Yaz was feeling lazy and there’s nothing a baby wipe can’t wash. Besides, her top was soaking most of it up anyway.

“What are you on about this was all me. I didn’t mean to- oh, stars, okay.” Jenny takes a step back and stares at the floor.

“What?” Yaz asks confused. 

“You’re- it’s just that I hadn’t felt them when- I mean hadn’t guessed that- and I didn’t even know that a body could-” Jenny fidgets and talks with her hands so much Yaz has to interrupt.

“Jen?”

“You’re fucking ripped.” Jenny manages to form a sentence that makes sense. 

Except it didn’t make sense. Yaz looks down at her stomach and yup, there was still only a faint outline of abs not a fully blown six pack poking through her skin.

“I’m really not that ripped.” Yaz rationalizes. 

“I know but…” Jenny glances up for a second then gulps and averts her eyes again. “I can’t look at you right at this moment.” 

“Why not?” Yaz takes a step closer, making Jenny flinch. “Jenny why not?” Yaz asks more directly, her concern about how Jenny was reacting to her rising. 

Yaz reaches out to touch Jenny’s shoulder and several things happen at once. Yaz’s back is slammed against the nearest wall with her wrists pinned by her sides with Jenny’s surprise burst of force disarming her from doing anything but glare back at her. She noticed the almost territorial change in Jenny’s breathing and Yaz remembers Jenny marked herself as ready to jump her bones if she so much as saw Yaz in her underwear. The look Yaz saw in her eyes suddenly made sense and she realises how much self restraint Jenny was having to use simply to not kiss her which she easily could have got away with. For the split second this was all happening in, Yaz thought she was really going to get laid here and now. The closeness of their bodies, Jenny’s unwavering stare, the sheer amount of tension bouncing between the two of them; it was a complete change in the direction this evening was taking. And Yaz was kind of into it. 

“S-sorry.” The grip on her wrists loosen a little. “Sorry.” Jenny says again and her hands move away from her wrists completely and the lust behind her eyes simmers down. Her eyes move down and away all together, actually. 

“You’re allowed to look at me.” Yaz says and tries to tilt Jenny’s head back up to look at her but she wouldn’t move. “What if I want you to look at me?”

“Don’t.” Jenny’s eyes fly back up in an almost threatening way but Yaz could tell it was a defense mechanism. 

“Can you at least pass me my clean top?” Yaz asks. Jenny was lightning fast to get the top from on top of the bed where they left their clothes this morning in an untidy pile. Yaz thanks her when she hands over the shirt but doesn’t put it on straight away. Instead she tosses it between her hands and contemplates a question she’s been mulling over since they left the police station. When she decides to ask it, she puts Jenny out of her misery and puts her shirt on. 

“Jenny.” Yaz says, taking her hand as well as a seat on the floor. She couldn’t be bothered to go and sit on the side of the bed. Besides, her legs still felt funny from Jenny taking control. 

“Yeah.” Jenny says to show she’s listening and sits down across from her. 

“Beeeee... uhh…”  Yaz tails off into a nervous sigh, spiking Jenny’s interest and making her completely forget about what’s just happened. And Jenny waits. Waits for Yaz to ready on her terms and doesn’t jump to any kind of conclusion as to what she might say. “Be my girlfriend?” 

Yaz watches Jenny’s face become overwhelmed with joy and then fade into disbelief. 

“Will you be mine?” Jenny asks. 

“That’s… that’s kind of how it works Jen.” Yaz tries not to laugh at the confusion in fear of discouraging her.

“Oh yeah. Then yes.” Jenny grins. “An easy yes.”  

Jenny and Yaz both stare at each other. Both elated, both smiling and both not knowing what to do next. Yaz knows neither of them have been in a relationship before which by the time you're both in your twenties makes it harder to submit yourself to embarrassment and mistakes. 

“Are we meant to do something now?” Jenny asks. 

“Dunno.” Yaz shrugs. “I sort of just want to go to bed.”

“We can do whatever you want tonight.” Jenny crawls on her hands and knees so she could get right up in Yaz’s face. “Girlfriend.”

“You’re going to say girlfriend after every sentence from now on, aren't you?” Yaz asks, comfortably wrapping her arms around Jenny’s shoulders, feeling content. 

“Absolutely. My girlfriend.” 

“How long have you waited to say that?” Yaz asks out of curiosity. Jenny’s fun facade fades and hints of seriousness seep through her skin.

“Doesn’t matter.” 

Yaz gets kissed before she can say anything serious in reply. She also gets kissed after they change clothes to get into bed. And after the pair of them brushed their teeth. And when they finally got snuggled up into bed. Jenny fell asleep first, reluctantly, not wanting Yaz to be alone for one moment. But being the only one awake gave Yaz time to think. She watched Jenny’s chest softly rise up and down bringing her part of the bedsheets with her. When she fell asleep her hand was still on Yaz’s waist and the light contact still burnt into skin with passion. Some hair falls into Jenny’s face and tickles her nose to the point where the hand resting under her head lazily smears itself over the surface area. It reminded Yaz of how cats clean their faces with their paws.

“My girlfriend.” Yaz whispers to herself in disbelief. She tucks the strands of soft blonde hair behind Jenny’s ear, claiming ownership. “Mine.”

Chapter Text

Yaz doesn’t wake naturally. It was the empty space next to her that signaled to her body that something, someone, was missing. Then came the shuffling at the other side of the room near the wardrobe which forced her eyes open. The room was still dark and she could only see the outline of what was undeniably Jenny’s body putting on some final items of clothing, as if she was getting ready to go out. Yaz watches her tuck in her two shirts and clip on her trouser braces so naturally like she had been doing it all her life.

“What are you doing?” Yaz grumbles.

“Hey.” Jenny sits down on the side of her bed to put her boots on. “I have to go to work. Year eleven get their mock results back today so I said I’d come in.” 

“And that’s going to make them go to the university shop?” Yaz asks confused. “You gonna sell underage kids cigarettes so they can stress smoke?”

Jenny smiles smugly, tying her shoelaces on one foot. “You’ve forgotten.” She throws a lanyard into Yaz’s chest for her to look at.

“Miss J Smith. Teaching assistant.” Yaz reads out loud.

“I tutor at the school for a bit of extra money, remember.” Jenny pulls her final boot on then leans back across Yaz’s body. “I let the kids I like call me Jenny so then I’m considered cool.” 

“You are cool.” Yaz says, gently running her hand up and down Jenny’s forearm. Jenny snorts knowing it’s an exaggeration of the truth. “In your own way.”

“Sure. What are you going to do today?” Jenny moves to a different subject.

“I was going to go back to my halls. Unpack my stuff, you know.”

“Will you come back for tonight?” Jenny asks.

“What’s happening tonight?” Yaz runs her fingers through Jenny’s freshly brushed and straightened hair.

Stop putting your hands on her.

“Another student night at the bigger club. They only do like, one student night a year and Clara’s making me go.”

“So you’re making me come too.” 

“Exactly.”  Yaz could feel Jenny’s face getting closer. “Please come with me Yaz, it’ll be so frustrating without you.” 

Yaz rolls her eyes but her decision was already made from the word go. “Fine, I'll-mph”

Yaz gets cut off by Jenny’s lips securing themselves comfortably against her own. She has a split second of panic, wondering if she has disgusting morning breath, but the way Jenny kept pushing her body closer suggested the blonde didn’t notice or care. Yaz liked how constantly soft Jenny is when she kisses her, but sometimes she wishes she would let go. To Yaz it almost came across like Jenny didn’t feel like she had permission to be a little bit rougher with her. Right as Yaz decides to try and communicate to Jenny that that was what she wanted, Jenny backs away. 

“I have to go.” 

“No.” Yaz whines and pulls her back in; Jenny not even attempting to make an effort to resist but only allowing to be kissed for a matter of seconds. 

“Yaz I’ll see you later.” Jenny insists as she moves away again. Yaz chases her, not willing to give up teasing her just yet, until she’s kneeling on the bed to match Jenny’s standing height. “What are you doing?”

“Reminding you.” Yaz wraps her arms around Jenny’s neck and takes great pleasure in watching Jenny trying to wrack her brain to figure out if there was something important about today she’s forgotten. “I’m your girlfriend.”

“You’re my girlfriend.” Jenny’s face lights up like a child as she repeats the fact to herself.

“Yup.” Yaz pops the ‘p’. “Think that means I’m entitled so some of your time, don’t you think?”

She tilts her head and scrapes her bottom lip with her teeth. The actions together flick a switch in Jenny’s mind, changing her idea of how this morning was going to work out. Yaz knows that she was coming across as flirtatious but the fact that it worked so easily changed the prevailing emotion running through her veins. It was the indescribable one again. The one that made her feel like she was falling in a dream but she wasn’t waking up because she was already awake. 

“Three minutes.” Jenny says seriously. Yaz takes note of the time limit and lays Jenny down while she’s still talking. “Seriously, Yaz, three minutes. I can’t afford to lose this second job.” 

“Then stop wasting time.” 

Yaz freezes inches away from Jenny’s lips. What was wrong with her? She didn’t know. All she knew was that she cared for this woman more than words can say and more than she could communicate with her body. She was usually an expert at that; using her body as everything from a defense mechanism to a way of showing affection but somehow, somewhere in her brain something was stopping her from being how she usually is when Jenny comes into the picture. She unhinged her. Undoubtedly.

But of course with poor lighting and an illusion of purely lust between them Jenny didn’t pick up on Yaz’s hesitation and closes the gap. Yaz kept it light, knowing that Jenny’s self control would soon vacate the premises and she would never end up getting to work today if she went anywhere further down than her neck. Jenny’s neck. An area of skin yet to be explored like so much of her body Yaz desperately wanted access to and soon. Jenny was lightly scraping her fingers over the outlines of her abs so why couldn’t Yaz push the boundaries a bit further? Making a split decision, Yaz moves her attention to Jenny’s neck.

“Yaz.”

“Hm?” Yaz says without removing her touch, sending vibrations through Jenny’s throat. 

“The kids.” Jenny sighs. Yaz applies more pressure to the same spot she had chosen. “I can’t go into a school with any marks on my neck.” 

“Is that your way of telling me not to do it?” Yaz pauses to brush her fingers against the patch of increasingly tender skin. 

“No.” Jenny says after a moment of silent consideration. “Keep going, we still have, like, a minute and a half.” 

Yaz presses a smile against her dedicated patch to give herself time to recompose herself after Jenny’s methodical reasoning to carry on. She didn’t mean to laugh but Jenny doesn’t half come out with strange things. It must be the scientist in her, her academic side. Maybe that's why she lo… no. Yaz distracts herself from her thoughts by kissing deeper, harder, scraping her teeth and almost biting at times. Jenny wriggled when Yaz was getting a bit too possessive so she used that as a cue to calm down. But there was so much to do in such a small handful of seconds gifted to her.

“Yaz I really, really need to get going.” Jenny tries to sit up. Yaz doesn’t let her; not without leaving a soft peck on the nicely formed dark patch, even visible in the almost pitch black of the room.

“How are you going to hide that?” Yaz asks as Jenny stands and straightens her clothes and hair out. 

“I’m pretty sure I have something here.” Jenny walks over to and opens her wardrobe, chucking out clothes that don’t match the description of what she’s searching for. “This! No, actually not that, this!”

Jenny smiles and drapes a baby blue scarf with rainbow stripes in it over her shoulders. 

“Guess we’re lucky it’s winter.” Yaz sits up and reaches out to swing one half of the scarf over Jenny’s shoulder to cover up her work. “All sorted.” 

“You know this is only for work right?” Jenny asks. “I’m showing it off as soon as I get out of there.” 

“Seriously?” Yaz asks. 

“Yeah. Because then I can say my girlfriend gave it to me.” 

Yaz grins at the use of her new title and gives Jenny one final kiss. “Go. I’ll see you tonight.” 

She watches Jenny reach the door and wave goodbye. When she goes, Yaz straight away jumps out of bed, makes it neat to please Jenny when she comes home, then gets dressed in whatever clothes didn’t have hot chocolate stains all over them. Not really caring if she’s left anything behind since she’s going to be back here tonight, Yaz puts on her backpack and exits the room.

“Is there a reason she’s leaving five minutes later than usual?” Clara asks, leaning on her bedroom door frame, looking particularly smug this morning. 

“You already know the answer to that.” Yaz says. 

“Care to elaborate?”

“You’ll see.” Yaz winks and legs it downstairs.

“What does that even mean?” Clara shouts after her, but the door shuts behind her and she doesn’t have a key to re-open it. 

 

The trip back to campus was easy. A quick walk to the station and then an even quicker train journey was easy. Walking through campus sat strangely in Yaz’s mind. All the trees that were full and lush when she first came were now bare and still shedding, the frost in the air gripped her jaw as she walked and the winter sun rose slowly into the sky. The place she had made home was forever changing and it made it hard to find fixed points. But buildings always stay the same and coming back to her halls was a fixed point. Same amount of stairs, same amount of doors to unlock and the same people waiting up for her.

“Walk of shame?” Bill makes Yaz jump as she walks into the flats kitchen. 

“Hello to you too.” Yaz says, going to make herself some toast with the bread Jenny kindly bought for her the day they drove back.

"I'm just kidding." Bill smiles, however seeing the glow around Yaz made her change back to focus on her original assumption. "Unless..."

“Don’t think it counts as a walk of shame if we didn’t have sex and I only spent the night with my girlfriend.”

“Nah, probably n- what!” Bill almost spits out her tea. “Your what now?” 

“My girlfriend.” Yaz pushes the bread down into the toaster and turns around to lean against the counter and wait for the inevitable bombardment of questions.

“What- who? When?” 

“Last night. Me and Jenny.” Yaz can’t help but break out into a massive smile, making even her dimple ache.

“Oh thank fuck for that, I wondered how much longer you were going to go on in denial.” Bill laughs with relief.

“I wasn’t in denial.” Yaz admits. She butters her toast and puts it on a plate. “I’m just a master at repressing my feelings.” 

“But you’re not repressing them now?” Bill checks. 

“There’s a couple of things…” Yaz sits down at the communal table. 

“Yaz.” Bill says, her eyes not leaving her now good friend even though Yaz was more interested in her toast than talking about Jenny. 

“It’s fine, I can deal with it.” Yaz brushes it off. 

“Can you though?” Bill asks. Yaz pretends she didn't hear her the question. Instead of repeating it, Bill goes for another approach, proving her journalism course is doing her good. “How is she anyway?” 

“Better. I’ve got a strong feeling because of me.” 

“Are you sure you two haven’t…” Bill asks with a highly suspicious tone.

“No. I mean…” Yaz taps her foot on the sticky kitchen floor. She can trust Bill, right? And she's got to tell someone at some point otherwise she might just explode. “Might’ve masturbated together but-”

“There is no but to that, there is nothing else you could possibly add onto that sentence.” Bill interrupts with the stunned grin plastered on her face. 

“Don’t let her know I told you that.” Yaz adds. 

“I won’t. I bet she’s one of those people that come across as awkward in everyday life but the second she’s in bed she has a freakish level of confidence. Bet she has all kinds of fetishes.” Bill visibly starts thinking. “Hm, yeah, one hundred percent has a praise kink-” 

“Mate, do you mind not imagining what my girlfriends like in bed when I haven’t even had the chance to find out myself.”

“Oooo getting a bit possessive are we?” Bill mocks. “You know I wouldn’t have to imagine what would happen if you just told me. Why haven’t you done the devils dirty deed with her yet anyway?”

“About that.” Yaz says as she comes up with an idea. 

“What?” Bill looks terrified. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Come to the walk in sexual health clinic with me today?” 

“Girl, what, no!”

“Please.” Yaz begs.

“No, Yasmin. I’m not doing it.” Bill instists firmly. “No.” 

 

“I can’t believe you roped me into this.” Bill mutters as they sit in the clinic waiting room. “You literally ordered a home test kit.”

“That’s going to take too long to get the results back to me, this is faster.”

Bill audibly groans and rolls her eyes so far back into her head they almost disappear. “Not being funny but why don’t you just shag her?” 

“I don’t want to give her anything!” Yaz says a little too loudly, catching the attention of the chatting receptionists. “Besides,” Yaz continues with a more hushed tone to her voice. “I always get tested in between partners. It’s what you’re supposed to do.” 

“God, you’re a stickler for the rules.” Bill slouches in her seat. “Bet you’re no fun at parties.”

“I like sitting in the corner and talking to the dog.” Yaz smiles. 

“Hm. Exactly.” 

“Are you going to that club tonight?” Yaz asks.

“Oh, the big one that only does one big one for students a year?”

“Yeah, that.”

“Then no.” Bill says, taking Yaz by surprise. “No one from my course is back yet and I can’t really be bothered. Shame really, I have a pretty good top for it.” 

“Do you think I could borrow it?” Yaz asks, suddenly realising she basically doesn’t have any decent clothes to wear on a night out. 

“I mean if you want to, yeah. Don’t see why not.” 

 

Turns out that the top Bill was letting Yaz borrow went well with a leather jacket and jeans. At first, Yaz thought she might not even be able to fit into the piece of fabric, but Bill assured her that clubs get sweltering hot, even in the middle of winter, so you don’t technically have to wear much at all. Yaz only accepted the outfit because she knew for a fact that it might send Jenny into an insane asylum with the lower part of her stomach on show and the lace pattern practically outlining her boobs. She wasn’t wearing it for Jenny per se, but she was only wearing it because she knew Jenny would make her feel comfortable about wearing it.

“Yaz, hey, Jenny said you were coming.” Clara pulls Yaz into a bit of a tipsy hug only roughly three seconds after she knocks on the door. It makes her wonder how much Jenny has had to drink if any at all. “She told me by the way! Congrats.”

“On which part?” Yaz asks walking in. 

“Finally plucking up the courage to ask her to be your girlfriend.”

“Speaking of, where is she?” Yaz asks.

“I’m here.” Jenny appears out of nowhere and kisses Yaz on the cheek as a greeting. “Wow. You look…” Jenny finishes her sentence with a low whistle.

“Jesus. You’re girlfriends and yet still you’re both too nervous to compliment each other.” Clara moans, and then walks away shaking her head. Yaz turns her attention back to Jenny who was now point blank staring at her chest.

“Eyes front.” Yaz smiles to herself and tips Jenny’s chin up. 

“Sorry.” Jenny apologies, snapping out of her trance almost shamefully. “You look really good.” 

“Not too bad yourself.” Yaz runs her thumb down Jenny’s trouser braces. Green paisley this time for that pop of colour against everything else that was a darker version of a colour. Which was odd; seeing Jenny in dark colours rather than bright, if not somewhat questionable ones. “Do you remember what I said last night?” 

“I’m allowed to look at you.” Jenny repeats. Yaz smiles wide and nods. To give herself credit, sometimes she can be so smooth.

“Yeah. Just maybe don’t stare like your eyes are going to pop out of their sockets.” Yaz says which makes Jenny laugh nervously. The sound of her laugh sets Yaz at ease, making her want to stay in this warm house rather than go out to a humid, sticky club. “Do we really have to go tonight? Can’t we just stay in and watch a film?” She asks. 

“We can sneak out early but she paid for tickets. It would be rude not to.”

“Are you two going to be this miserable all night?” Clara comes back with two pens and two cans of cheap non branded beer. “Yaz, take this, you’ve got some catching up to do.” 

“I uh…” Yaz starts but Bill’s words from earlier today rattle around in her head. Bet you’re no fun at parties. “Fuck it. Go on then.”

“Wahey, now we’re feeling it! I’ll race you.” Clara cheers.

“Okay, on three. One, two-”

Yaz pierces the bottom of the can with the pen and flicks open the tab at the top all while simultaneously bringing it to her lips. Shotgunning beer was horrible; only a way to get drunk and fast but hopefully this was the only time she would have to do it. It wouldn’t even be too bad if it wasn’t fizzy but that’s the whole point. The liquid dribbles out of her mouth slightly, making her gulp it down faster until she’s crushing the can in her hand. She looks over to Clara and sees she’s beaten her to finish first. 

“Holy shit, how did you do that?” Clara exclaims when she’s done.

Before the leftover drops of beverage trickle down her chin and neck Yaz uses her fingers to wipe the corners of her mouth. While she did it she could feel the burning effect of Jenny’s stare. 

“What?” Yaz asks. 

“Nothing.” Jenny gulps and averts her eyes.

“Oh my- don’t say it Oswald, don’t say it.” Clara sighs to herself. “Right, come on, let’s go or we’ll never get there.” 

“Just us three?” Yaz asks as Jenny takes the lead in walking out the door.

“No. Rory and Amy are already there queuing. I even messaged your mate Bill, but she said she’s busy.”

“She’s not, she just didn’t want to come.” Yaz says, stepping outside into the cold air.

“Thought so.”

“What about Ryan?” Yaz asks out of curiosity. It will be good to see her friend again soon. 

“He’s coming later.”

Clara takes the lead when and Yaz can feel Jenny’s hand slide into her own as they follow. She throws Jenny a warm smile which is similarly replicated and makes their light handhold turn into a tighter grip, grounding themselves, each other being another's anchor for the entire walk and bus ride there. When they reached the albeit massive looking building with a slow moving queue around the perimeter, Clara received a text from Amy telling them they’ll have to join the back of the line since anyone joining people already there are getting kicked to the back anyway. 

“This is so annoying.” Clara says, clutching her arms to her chest. 

“It’s not that bad.” Yaz says.

“Well obviously not for you, you’re literally using Jen as a blanket.”

It was true. Jenny was standing behind her with her arms wrapped around her front and her body pressed into her back as a protective forcefield from the cold. The set up also made it easier for Yaz to keep things from becoming awkward because she knew if she looked Jenny dead in the eyes too many times she’d end up saying words she wasn’t ready to bring into the world yet. 

“We are slowly moving.” Jenny justifies it. 

“Everyone has their ID on them, yeah?” Clara double checks. 

“Yes, Clara.” Jenny sighs. It was the third time she had asked in the fifteen minutes they’d been standing there.

“We need to choose a place to meet if we get split up.” Clara says matter of factly.

“What do we usually do? Right hand corner of the bar?” Jenny asks.

“Yeah

“Wait isn’t it left hand?” Jenny takes back her first assumption.

“Stage left but regular right.”

“Oh.”

“In English?” Yaz asks.

“Doesn’t matter, I’m not leaving your side.” Jenny says and this time it’s Clara’s turn to pretend to retch, attracting a few looks from the people surrounding them thinking she was genuinely peaking too early and throwing up.

“Jen that doesn’t mean we won’t get split up, this place is huge.”

“Right hand side of the bar as you look at it then.” Jenny clarifies. 

It didn’t take long at all for them to get inside the building. It was nothing like Yaz had ever seen before. Still dark and sweaty and full of strange bodies that would no doubt be involuntarily pushed up against her at some point tonight but there were people as far as the eye could see. Probably the entirety of the university student body. The main density of people were huddled at the bar which is where Clara made a b-line to, offering to buy drinks for everyone like she so often did on a night out. Lights flashed and changed colour every time the music changed and Jenny seemed very enthralled by it all, stimulating her senses. 

“Yaz I need to tell you something before the DJ kicks in.” Jenny says, a hint of worry sneaking through into her voice. 

“What is it?” Yaz turns to face her. 

“I can’t dance.” Jenny says. 

“Jen, we aren’t exactly going to do the viennese waltz.” Yaz smiles calmly to dispel Jenny’s worry.

“Seriously, Yaz, I look like a giraffe trying to walk for the first time. Have you ever seen videos of that? Sure it's cute but that giraffes first moments in life have already gone viral without its consent.”

“Look," Yaz chuckles. "we can stay around the sides, it’s fine.” Yaz slides her arms around Jenny’s waist. “You said we could sneak out early remember? Just have a few drinks to please your friend and we can go.” 

“Did somebody say drinks?” 

Amy and Rory turn up with Clara, carrying way too many drinks each. Yaz is surprised that the bar staff would sell so many drinks to so few people at one time, but she supposes money is money and the more intoxicated people are the more likely they are to leave a good review. Yaz gets handed some kind of fruity mix and Jenny the same. 

“It’s not spiked this time I promise.” Clara winks but her message was serious.  

 

Half an hour in the DJ starts and the two girlfriends are left by their friends and are standing against a wall. Well, Jenny was standing against the wall but Yaz was leaning against her, resting her head on her shoulder. Sometimes watching other people have fun is rewarding in itself. She was so distracted by watching Clara, Amy and Rory dance embarrassingly that it wasn’t until Jenny’s hand was dancing lower and lower down the exposed part of her stomach Yaz paid attention to how she was behaving. 

“Jenny.” Yaz says as she pulls her hand further up. But the music was loud and pumping and made it hard to hear so the hand slowly crawled back down with the new addition of light kisses being left along Yaz’s jawline. “Jenny, why are you-”

When she looks at Jenny’s face she’s compelled to follow her line of sight. About three meters away from them, almost hidden in the crowd, was a woman with a tattoo creeping out from the top of her shirt who looked very familiar to Yaz. When the stranger saw Yaz paying attention, she swiftly looked away, triggering memories of her in Yaz’s mind and for once she remembered her name without prompt. Natalie. The woman she had a one night stand with and never text back. It suddenly clicks as for why Jenny was being so hands on. Yaz turns her body so that should could talk straight into Jenny’s ear. 

“Are you jealous?” Yaz smirks, making sure her lips could be felt against Jenny’s earlobe.

“You know I am.” One of Jenny’s hands ends up in Yaz’s back pocket. Yaz has to remind herself to stay calm otherwise she’ll no longer be the one in control of this situation. And she needed this control.

“Why?” Yaz tries to coax an answer out of the blonde. She brushes her fingers against the dark purple mark on her neck she created this morning. “You already know you have me.”

“Is she still watching?” Jenny asks. Yaz shoots a glance. 

“Yes.” 

“Good.”

Yaz is as good as swept off her feet, having to cling onto Jenny’s shoulders with the force of her kiss. No hesitation from Jenny’s tongue forcing its way into Yaz’s mouth making Yaz concerned that she might just collapse on the spot if it wasn’t for a surprisingly strong pair of arms holding her up. She hadn't bargained for this tonight but holy crap, whatever this was she needed it. The faster Jenny worked the harder it became for Yaz to breathe as well as keep up. Jenny was being relentless in her movements to make a point. To make a show, even, which didn’t sit completely right with Yaz. In a public place like this they were even more subject to abuse or comments they didn’t need to hear.

“We’re leaving.” Yaz tells Jenny when she gets the split second chance to come up for air. 

Jenny complies, obviously, not even turning back to let her friends know she’s going. Yaz drags her past the toilet queues, out of the door and past the bouncers into a dodgy looking alleyway. The older one of them who was now reduced to the behaviour of a young teenager takes it as a cue to pick up where she left off but Yaz had something to say. 

“Are you going to be able to stop?” Yaz asks. 

“What do you mean?”

“We can’t have sex yet.”

“I know.” Jenny nods sensibly, desperately inching forward. “But I’m willing to risk it.” 

“Jenny I’m not okay with that.” Yaz says when she realises what Jenny’s insinuating. 

“I understand.” Jenny says. “Maybe I should just go home. Night Yaz.”

“I didn’t say that.” Yaz reaches out and grabs her hand to stop her walking away any further.  

They share a look. A look of trust and at the same time doubt and restraint. Claiming Yaz like that in front of Natalie and so many others rang alarm bells in her head. There was still a side of Jenny that she’s only caught glimpses of so far but Jenny the majority of the time was worth the short bursts of questionable morals. 

The next time they look at each other properly is when they fall into the flat, locked together in all senses of the phrase. Both of them were both too intoxicated with alcohol and each other to care about the noise they were making. Almost parallel to how Bill appeared the night Jenny turned up bleeding, she opens her door to witness the commotion. Yaz is the only one of the pair to notice but doesn’t say anything or get Jenny to stop. From the small preview of Bill’s expression Yaz could tell she was both impressed and confused at how they were behaving. Yasmin Khan who kept to herself most of the time and Jenny Smith who usually looked like she was going to die of embarrassment at any second both shamelessly trying to wind each other up until they were in their danger zones was something Bill never thought she would witness. Jenny thought she would never experience it. And Yaz thought about how even the smallest drop of alcohol can change the whole dynamic of their relationship. The mandatory fire door slams shut behind them and they’re surrounded by the most quiet they’ve even been tonight. 

“Yaz.” Jenny huffs. 

“Yeah?” Yaz barely breathes against the skin of Jenny’s lips. 

“Is this ruining it?” Jenny asks. 

“Is what ruining what?” Yaz asks, not being able to put her finger on what could cause something to be ruined. Jenny looked like she had forgotten for a moment. 

“Never min- actually no, this. Is us doing- doing this going to make it different in the future.”

“We’ve done this kind of stuff before.”

“Not like this.” Jenny pushes Yaz’s chest away, making Yaz’s heart skip a beat and not in the good way. “You know something is different too, I can feel it.”

I love you , Yaz’s entire body but her vocal chords and lips scream. I just don’t know how to say it.

“I think, maybe, I should go home and speak to you tomorrow.” Jenny suggests. 

Yaz, not knowing what to say and too choked up by her conscience, lets Jenny walk away from her. Her body only allows her to follow when it’s too late and she’s already halfway to the main door of the flat. Tell her, go on tell her, she begs herself. Maybe the little yet overpowering voice was being replicated in Jenny’s head because Yaz watched her freeze reaching out for the door handle, only for a second, before she blinked a couple of times and pulled her white undershirt into her palm at the same time as opening the door and stepping out. Unable to look back at the young woman she needed to start opening up to properly. 

“That was quick.” Bill remarks. Yaz can’t bring herself to say something. Not even a ‘how did you get there?’. She only shakes her head in response and pushes out one word as she lets her door close on its own.

“Don’t.” Yaz says. The hurt slipping through the cracks Jenny left each time they got close to admitting proper feelings.

Chapter Text

Jenny didn’t call in the morning. By the time it had reached 10am Yaz couldn’t just sit around staring at her phone anymore so she went for a run, thinking it would clear her head. It didn’t. She only found herself running past the union shop, hoping to catch a glimpse of bottle blonde hair; took herself past all the spots she knew Jenny liked to run herself but because campus is still bare of all human life for a few more days Yaz can’t even trick herself into thinking that she missed her in the crowds. She started to turn on herself; wondering if there was something she said or did last night, or even something that Jenny said that could have acted like a warning sign. 

Back at her halls, Yaz stands over her phone that she had left on her desk, willing a notification to come through. A bead of sweat drops onto the screen, illuminating it, and giving herself a spark of hope before she realised it was her doing. 

Shower, Yaz tells herself. Shower and she might call.

But of course she didn’t. Jenny had said she would be the one to make contact but she has a habit of disappearing when she doesn’t want to be found. The only thing Yaz could think of doing was ask someone else that knew Jenny inside out where she might be, and that person is Clara. But she doesn’t have Clara’s phone number and after last night she recons there’s no way she’ll be up until mid afternoon. Yaz knows where she lives. Where all of them live. Would it be too much to go over there to see? Probably. 

Yaz finds herself reaching for her jacket and keys. 

Afterall, Jenny is her girlfriend.

She ends up walking towards her door. 

It wouldn’t be too out of the blue for her to come looking. 

 

The next thing Yaz knew she was standing on the doorstep of a rundown student house waiting for her knocks to be answered. Hopefully by her girlfriend. Second best would be Clara. Or Ryan. They had only been apart without a promise of seeing each other for a night and morning and yet Yaz was starting to ache for her. The dull want rang through her bones and she almost thought of it as a warning. How could she miss her so much? How could she be so entwined with her life, her well being, that it was driving her to insanity? The more Yaz knew about Jenny the more she became harder to read but that just encouraged Yaz to keep breaking down her walls until she-

“Yaz! How are you my sweet summer child?” Amy answers the door, dragging Yaz into the present. 

“I was born in November.” Yaz says. 

“Then, how are you my sweet Scorpio child?”

“November 30th.” Yaz smirks. 

“Jesus, there’s no winning- my sweet Sagittarius child then. Are we going to stand in the doorway for the whole day and freeze our tits off or did you want something?” Amy asks, irritation rising in her voice. Yaz twirls her fingers around each other.

“Jenny.” She says. She sounded more worried than she thought she felt.

“Ah.”

 

“She went out for a run first thing and haven’t heard from her since.” Amy sits at the table with Yaz and two hot drinks she’d made. Yaz was hoping to talk with someone she was more familiar with but the bright redhead sitting across from her gave off something warm. Trusting. She’d only met her twice and yet somehow the hard exterior was easy to see through if you’re wearing the right glasses. “She might be messing about in the science labs though, she does that from time to time. Are you worried?”

“Something…” Yaz starts but she can’t come up with a way of saying what they were doing with still being reserved. It was their moment- Jenny and Yaz- and she was getting tired of inviting everyone else into it. “...happened last night.”

“I’ll need more than that to help you.” Amy says. 

“Things got heavy.” Yaz sighs. 

“Sex wise?” Amy raises her eyebrows as she takes a sip of her coffee. Yaz nods.

“I thought it was fine and if anything she started it. We got back to mine and then, she just, I don’t know.” Yaz shrugs her shoulders high and pulls a face of confusion. “She stopped and said something was different and left.” 

Yaz turns the cup of tea in her hands, glaring at the liquid inside unable to look Amy in the eye. Yaz couldn’t help but feel it was her fault like she was the reason Jenny ran off. Plus, she pulled her shirt sleeve into her palm again. That, Yaz knew, was definitely her doing. She just didn’t know how she managed to do it.

“I know what's wrong.” Amy says with certainty, which finally pulls Yaz’s eyes up. “She’s feeling.”

You make me feel, Yaz recalls Jenny saying after they had left the police station.

“She told me something like that but I can’t figure out what she means.” Yaz says. “I don’t know her well enough at all.”

“Okay, let me theorize here.” Amy sits up straight to clear her throat. “Your relationship so far has just been you two fooling around because feeling each other physically is easier than figuring out how you feel emotionally together. You know, light bum grab here, cheeky finger there.” Yaz wanted to interrupt at this point but Amy wasn’t lying, she was just hitting her with hard facts. “So last night I’m assuming this was the first time you got that ‘heavy’ since becoming official, congrats by the way.”

“Thanks.” 

“She got scared.”

“But why?” Yaz asks, still not understanding.

“Jenny doesn’t like to give people closest to her access to her when she’s feeling vulnerable. If you haven’t made it clear how you feel about her yet she’s probably tried to figure it out herself and got it wrong.”

A shuffling noise emerges from behind Yaz catching both her and Amy’s attention. Swinging her body around to look, Yaz sees a very hungover Clara barely lifting her feet off the ground with a blanket thrown over her shoulders like a cape and dark sunglasses on, making her way over to the kettle in the corner. Picking up on the lack of voices, Clara turns her head and throws up a peace sign as a greeting.

“Back from doing naughty things down dingy alleyways?” Clara’s dry throat croaks. The woman should really be going for water rather than coffee but who was Yaz to tell her what to do?

“How do you know we went down an alleyway?” Yaz asks suspiciously. 

“Hold on, down a what?” Amy asks, but both Yaz and Clara ignore her.

“Ryan. He was queuing to get in when you left and saw.” She flicks the kettle on, not bothering to check if there was any water in it. “I didn’t say anything. Thought I’d let you explain what’s going on.” 

“Thanks? I think.”

“Anyway,” Amy continues. “When you speak to her, don’t touch her.” 

“Why not?” Yaz asks, thinking the suggestion utterly absurd. 

“Because if you make her vulnerable it’s more likely that she’ll listen if she’s only concentrating on your voice.”

“Is your degree in psychology?” Yaz asks.

“Nope. Creative writing.” Amy takes another sip.

“Thinks she’s gonna be an author.” Clara says, stirring her black coffee. When the spoon hits the side of the mug she pauses as if the sound burst her eardrums. 

“What time did you lot get back last night?” Yaz asks out of interest, trying not to laugh at the state of the soon to be teacher. 

“Think you mean this morning.” Amy says.

“2am is still night time.” Clara insists, slowly sitting down with them. “What are we talking about?”

“Jen’s incapability to process emotion.” Amy says. 

“Ah, that old chestnut.” 

“It’s not funny.” Yaz puts an abrupt stop to the banter. “How am I supposed to know what she needs from me if she can’t tell me?”

“Maybe…” Amy looks like she’s come up with an idea but leaves it hanging in the air as if it was an easy guess.

“What?”

“Ask Doctor Song?” She suggests.

“No. I can’t do that, that’s way out of line.” Yaz point blank refuses the idea.

“Why not?”

“She’s a professor! I’m- we’re not even supposed to know they had a thing.” Yaz says.

“Yeah, but surely Jenny would’ve let her know she’s seeing someone else.” Clara tries to reason with Yaz’s argument.

“She’s not just a member of staff either, she’s my advisor.” Yaz beats down the idea again.

“Exactly! She can advise you on Jen.” Clara cheers.

“Uh-”

“And it wouldn’t be suspicious going to see her as soon as term starts, lots of people do it.” Amy says. 

“I’m not doing it.” Yaz insists. “I can figure it out on my own.”

“Then why are you sitting at this table?” Amy asks. 

“I-” Yaz retreats from her defensive stance. Why is she here? She wanted to find out why Jenny hadn’t made contact with her today and here she was, sitting with a cup of tea talking about how she was having communication issues with her new girlfriend. “I want to know where she is.”

“Down the labs probably.” Clara says, taking her time to stand up. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go and vomit up the McNuggets I had a few hours ago.”

“Told you they were a mistake.” Amy calls after her. 

“I regret nothing.” Clara throws up another peace sign as she left to throw up something else.

Once Clara is out of view, something in the energy between the two women left shifts. The smile from Amy’s face is gone and Yaz can feel her breath stuck in her throat, waiting for whatever’s going to be said next.

“Be gentle with her. She’s not as tough as she likes to think she is when it comes to love.” Amy says softly.

This time Yaz doesn't jump to stop the L word falling out of Amy’s mouth. She’s said it to herself a couple of times now internally, there was no point lying anymore if it’s obvious to others. Yaz gives Amy a long look that says ‘I will’; a silent promise that her friend won’t be put through any unnecessary hurt or emotional turmoil and then came the trusting silence. She’s convinced her.

“Hey hey!” A heavy pair of hands accompanied by Ryan’s voice land on her shoulders. 

“Don’t do that!” Yaz warns him as the jolt of shock wears off. Somehow within the five seconds, Amy had made herself scarce. 

“Good night?” Ryan asks wiggling his eyebrows, taking Amy’s seat. 

“Ryan, she’s not just a fling. Or a crush anymore.” Yaz says, not replicating her friends cheeky tone.

“Really? What is she then?” He asks, confused and unable to put two and two together.

“My girlfriend.” 

“Oh.” Ryan says, almost leaning back in his seat from surprise. “Was not expecting that.”

Yaz can’t help but smile. “Neither did I, really.”

“Naaw you’ve gone all flustered.” Ryan teases.

“Shut up.” Yaz says, still smiling. 

“Nan wants you to come over for dinner again. She sees you runnin’ sometimes and thinks you’re getting too skinny.” 

“Not skinny, just fit.” Yaz chuckles. “Tell her I’ll come anytime.”

“What about tonight?”

“Tonight?” Yaz repeats. She was hoping that she might be available for Jenny’s undivided attention if she wanted to spend the evening with her. But then again, space might help their situation. “I can do that.” Yaz agrees to going

“Sweet.” Ryan grins. “Seven alright?”

“Sure.” Yaz agrees. The longer she looks at Ryan the more aware she is of something different. Something strange. “What’s the deal with her?” Yaz nudges her head to the direction of the stairs to imply she’s talking about Clara. 

“It’s just sex.” Ryan shrugs. 

“To you or to her?” Yaz asks. It looked like she had touched a nerve.

“Don’t start getting clever now.” Ryan says.

“I won’t say anything more.” Yaz stands.

“Where are you going?” Ryan asks. 

“Science labs.” Yaz says as she walks out. 

 

It takes Yaz half an hour to get back to campus and find the right lab. Through the window she can see Jenny standing there in her lab coat with rolled up sleeves and her braces hanging at her thighs and her hair tied back as far as she could get it. Nerves overcome Yaz for a moment, stopping her from going in. What was she going to tell her? Say to her. The other 40 percent of her pushes through the barriers of questions she was building up from watching the blonde scientist through the window and jumps in at the deep end. 

“Hey.” Yaz announces her presence when the heavy fire door doesn’t.

“Don’t come any closer!” Jenny spins around, fear in her eyes triggering fear to rise in Yaz. “Put on a lab coat, I don’t want to ruin any of your clothes. Or skin.”

“Oh.” Yaz says, realising Jenny was just being overdramatic over her safety. It was kind of sweet. “What are you doing in here anyway?”

“Playing.” Jenny says, turning back to her work station that consisted of a Bunsen burner and pallets of dusty powder. 

“This... doesn’t look like physics.” Yaz observes as she stands by Jenny’s side with her new seconds hand coat on loan. 

“That’s because this is chemistry.” Jenny says, continuing with her mini experiments, changing the colour of the flame with each new chemical she threw into it.

“Wait, I thought your other degree is biology?” Yaz asks. 

“It is. I’ve made friends with basically the entire sciences teaching faculty so I can pretty much do whatever I want. Even have clearance into the building twenty-four seven.” Jenny brags with pride. Yaz was starting to notice that Jenny was avoiding looking at her directly. 

“Jen, you never called this morning.” Yaz says a little more seriously.

“I didn’t.” Jenny says calmly. Yaz wanted to convince herself that Jenny was posing it as a question but that would be a push too far. Jenny was certain in her response and Yaz was beginning to gauge how difficult this conversation has the potential to become. 

“I don’t mind if you need your own space but I just need you to let me know you’re okay.” Yaz says.

“What if I’m not okay?” Jenny asks, continuing on like what she’s said isn’t worth paying attention to. Yaz yearned to rest her hand on Jenny’s shoulder or back as a form of comfort but Amy’s warning not to touch was ringing through her head. 

“I’d still want you to tell me.” Yaz says. “To trust me with what you’re thinking.” 

“Would you tell me what you’re thinking?” Jenny asks.

Yaz could feel those hazel green eyes burning through her skin into her soul so rationally, she hides from it by staring into wavering flame on the table. The bugs in her stomach were crawling around more than the flame was moving so in fact the fire was a force for Yaz to steady herself against. She wanted to say ‘yeah Jen I’ll tell you everything’ but she was starting to consider that Jenny might not be the only one who had problems with accepting vulnerability. 

“Yaz… right before our food arrived you said ‘they didn’t feel the same as’ then stopped.” Yaz crumbles under Jenny’s stare and forces herself to look her in the eye. Whatever she asks next Yaz knows she won’t be able to lie or twist the truth to make it sound less intense. “As what?”

“As how I feel with you.” Yaz says, her voice low but her words nowhere near a mumble. 

“But how do you feel with me?” Jenny asks. 

If she hadn't talked to Amy earlier, Yaz would have answered with a kiss. Cheek, lips, either one. The look on Jenny’s face indicated she was expecting it too, which upset Yaz a little. She didn’t like that that was how easy to read she has become. Talking wasn’t working. Words weren’t helping. Perhaps speaking Jenny’s language would. Yaz shifts her attention to the pallets of chemicals laid out on the table and a pile of wooden sticks she had seen Jenny using. She had been paying attention to which ones make the biggest reactions when thrown into the flame of the Bunsen burner and scoops up a pile of it on one of the sticks. Placing it in the hottest part of the flame, the chemical burns just as brightly and intense as Yaz’s heart beats when Jenny compliments her, touches her, acknowledges her, helps her, anything. The flame burns bright green with silver specs that popped and crackled for as long as there was powder left.

 Yaz wasn’t looking at Jenny while she did it. She only hoped that the message was getting across the best it could. Their hands that hung by their sides brushed knuckles as the powder started to burn out, shooting goosebumps up Yaz’s arm. Slowly, one by one, Jenny’s fingers lightly hook themselves around Yaz’s until they’re hanging together intertwined. 

Chapter Text

“Are you alright kiddo? You’re very quiet.” Grace says. She’s driving Yaz back to the train station so that she can get back to campus before the last one leaves the station. It had been a lovely evening together with her mates family and having someone else cook your food was a bonus. Ryan didn’t say anything about Jenny. In fact her steered away from the topic all together since he probably noticed that Yaz was away with her in her head half the time. It’s also probably the reason Grace is asking now.

“I’m okay. Just term starting up again you know.” Yaz shrugs it off.

“That’s still two days away, love.” Grace calls her out. There was no hiding from old eyes. 

“I’m trying to figure out how to make uni work with a girlfriend.” Yaz admits. It’s an issue that’s been on her mind. “I’m used to spending most of my time with her and now studying is going to take all my time.” 

“How did you make it work before?” Grace asks. 

“We weren’t together before.” Yaz shakes her head. She finds herself getting increasingly agitated with having to talk about her private situation. It’s the vulnerability thing again.  

“Ryan told me you were glued to what’s her name… Jenny! Yes, that’s it. He said you’re always with her.”

“How do you know it’s her?” 

“Graham. He’s a right gossip so when he saw you two at the bus stop-”

“You put two and two together.” Yaz finishes Grace’s sentence in all it’s predictability. 

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to assume.” 

“It’s fine, I get it.” Yaz says. 

“Look,” Grace starts in that tone all adults use when for once they’re not going to bullshit you. “You’re both in your twenties, you’re both pretty much used to university life now, you’re bound to figure it out between yourselves. The most important thing to remember is not to expect everything to go right first time.” 

“I don’t think anything’s gone right first time.” Yaz mutters. It was a bit of an overstatement but Yaz was getting tired and getting tired meant unreasonably blowing things into something negative. She needed to go to bed but first that meant getting through this car journey without being rude. 

“I wish Ryan would find a nice girl. I want to see him happy.”

Does a fling count, Yaz wants to ask but keeps her mouth tightly shut. Whatever was going on between him and Clara was Ryan’s business not hers. 

“He’s a sweet guy. If he tried, I don’t think he’d find it hard.”  

“I know he tries, Yaz.” Grace says, not fooled at all by Yaz’s implication that Ryan doesn’t try to pull every time he goes out. 

“Jenny’s friend.” Yaz says when she spots the lights of the train station come into view.

“Pardon?” 

“Just…” Yaz smiles. “Ask him about Jenny’s friend.” 

“Okay…” Graces says, her voice tense with suspicion as she pulls up into the drop off bay. “Take care, love.” 

“Will do. Thanks for dinner and everything.”

“Oh, anytime.” Grace says, leaving Yaz with a warm smile to carry her home. 

The day had been an emotional whirlwind of uncertainty, the unknown, complications, and then understanding, delight and joy; all leaving Yaz to feel weary. She doesn’t bother showering again today, she can do it tomorrow morning. Not like she’s going to see anyone else tonight. 

She dreams about Jenny silently running through the adventures beside her, hand in hand. Jenny didn’t say anything nor did she let her hand go throughout the whole thing; even when River turned up in lingerie at one point. That was an image Yaz chose not to remember since she would probably bump into her around campus at some point in the next few weeks and not be able to look her in the eye. The rest she made an effort to remember. 

So much so it took Yaz the entirety of the next day to complete her readings for the upcoming weeks. She picks up her phone every five minutes hoping Jenny was forming a text from the store room at work but she knew deep down Jenny was way more sensible than to bunk off at work. During her ‘break within a break’ Yaz drafted a text asking for Jenny to come over tonight in the hope she’ll sit and talk complete rubbish with her but never pressed send. She wasn’t sure why she didn’t. There was no fear, no uncomfortable feelings running through her blood. She was merely just not up for having company. 

Except her silence drew Jenny’s attention and therefore a call late at night, admittedly waking Yaz up. She stares at the phone, wondering if answering will be worth it. Then she remembers it’s Jenny and she’s always worth it. 

“Hey.” Yaz answers, still half asleep.

“Did I wake you up?”

“Just about.” She rubs her eyes. 

“Sorry.”  There’s a moment where Jenny pauses. “What did you get up to today?”

Yaz checks the time. It was a quarter to midnight. “You want to ask me now?”

“Yes because soon today’s going to be tomorrow and it’ll be a different question.”

“What’s that question then?”

“‘What did you do yesterday?’” 

Yaz has to stop every other function in her body to figure out what that means.

“That’s the same question just rephrased.” Yaz scrunches her face into a pile of wrinkles. 

“It’s a different question.”

“It’s not.” Yaz finds herself smiling. 

“I swear it is.” Jenny says with so much confidence that Yaz feels her cheeks and the back of her neck start to burn red with adoration. 

Because she knows she can’t resist Jenny, Yaz answers her question and throws it back at her, starting a conversation that will continue into the early hours of the morning. 

 

During their conversation last night Jenny let slip that she would be working the early shift, so naturally Yaz made her way down there mid shift to visit. She hoped she might be stocking shelves or mopping up some spilt liquid so it would be easier to talk to her but since the place was rammed with students returning for the start of a new term, Jenny was no way going to be allowed away from the tills. Shame, Yaz thought. But that wasn’t going to stop her causing mischief. She positions herself in the biscuit aisle directly in Jenny’s eyeline. It was only while Jenny was serving the third customer that she caught the gaze of Yaz leaning against a shelf. 

Yaz gives her a little wave which Jenny gives back when the customer she’s serving looks for their misplaced NUS card. Yaz could smile easily, make any face or gesture she wanted but Jenny had to suppress her excitement while in the public eye. She likes watching her work. Jenny had a friendly aura that made everybody trust her. Always smiling, always wishing everyone a good day. When one of the staff who was restocking shelves started to hang around her Yaz pics up some cookies and then some fruit from a different aisle to not look suspicious.

In the queue, behind a guy who really should be buying some deodorant, Yaz gets a text. When she sees that the contact number automatically comes up as ‘NHS’, her blood ran cold. Something nibbles at her sides tells her she’s got something. Maybe something more than a course of antibiotics can fix. 

“Excuse me.” The woman behind her taps on her shoulder, reminding Yaz that even if there is a queue, it still moves from time to time. 

“Sorry.” Yaz apologises. 

She unlocks her phone, holding it close to her body so no one else can read it. The text listed her name, the diseases and infections tested for and then a sentence Yaz was so glad to absorb. 

“Results show that Yasmin Khan has tested NEGATIVE for all of the above listed.”

Letting out a sigh of relief. Whenever the results came through Yaz always felt  like her turn of Russian roulette had passed, saving her a hole in her head. 

“Next please.” A very notice northern accent calls her forward. 

“Hello.” Yaz greets Jenny as she steps forward and unload her basket of a mish mash of things. 

“So. The biscuit aisle.” Jenny smirks, scanning the first item. 

“The biscuit aisle.” Yaz repeats with a proper smile. 

“You’re unbelievable.”

 “Well, thought I’d treat you.”

“These for me?” Jenny asks, picking up the custard creams.

“Yeah, if you like.” 

Another checkout girl walks behind Jenny and the pair continue to smile but stop talking. It gives Yaz the chance to watch her girlfriend be natural, doing everyday tasks. 

“Your hair’s longer.” Yaz observes. 

“Haven’t cut it for months.” Jenny shrugs her shoulders. “Is that everything?” Jenny asks, letting Yaz’s plan to entertain herself and Jenny.

“No, do you sell dental dams?” Yaz asks casually, but still only loud enough to catch Jenny’s attention.

Jenny’s eyes grow wide as she’s caught off guard. The exact reaction Yaz wanted. 

“I- I mean I don’t think we- I don’t really use them so I don’t- I mean what- why would you need them?” Jenny stumbles her way through her muddle of sentences. Yaz simply pulls out her phone and shows Jenny the text from the clinic. “Ah.” Jenny pulls her own phone out of her back pocket. “Snap.”

Jenny had received the same text but Yaz was more focused on how red Jenny’s face was.

“It was a joke. I didn’t mean to embarrass you babe.” 

Babe? Why did she call her babe? It rolled off the tongue so easily but to Yaz that felt like she was one of the passengers on the Titanic commenting on how calm the water was that night like it wasn’t going to a factor causing a massive disaster. Jenny was blushing even harder now and was starting to look like the tomatoes the person next to them was buying. 

“Shall- Shall I come to yours tonight?” Jenny asks as Yaz pays.

Yaz nods, still embarrassed by herself and unable to make eye contact. “I’ll see you later.”

 

Later was 9pm. Yaz answered the door to a Jenny looking like a polite cat holding a pair of scissors and a hairbrush. The looks says it all and Yaz happily takes up the role of hairdresser for the evening. Jenny had a class first thing the next morning so she didn’t stay the night, to Yaz’s disappointment. She didn’t necessarily want to do anything, but since that night at the club Jenny was refrained from touching or kissing her as much as possible. Yaz had to respect that boundary.

 

First day back was tough for Yaz. One hour Law lecture then a two hour Law seminar afterwards all starting at three in the afternoon. Not as bad as a 9am but it meant Yaz didn’t get home until six, which is usually when her flatmates ram the kitchen all at once. Everyone else in her class said the same and some of them admit to getting a takeaway together afterwards which hurt Yaz a bit. She might not consider them friends still but they weren’t strangers. 

Halfway through the walk back through campus her phone rings. Jenny.

“Is your seminar over?” The voice on the other end of the phone asks without so much as a hello.

“Yeah. Why?”

“Come over. The door’s unlocked.”

And then she hung up. Knowing she had enough change in her purse to catch the train she turns around. It was a much better option than a stuffy kitchen with three different meals cooking already. 

Yaz was careful with how she walked since it was still dark around this time and the walk to the station isn’t that well lit until you get to the main buildings. Her mother had warned her about rape culture on university campuses and she knows she’s probably fit enough to fight someone off but it didn’t stop her from having some speed in her step. It helped fight off the bitter cold anyway. Especially after the train journey on the walk down to Jenny’s. Yaz couldn’t wait to get into the slightly warmer house with an even warmer body; the house being colder because heating means energy and energy means energy bills and bills means money the group of them didn’t have. Yaz wishes they were all rich but they were evidently rich enough with friendship. 

Yaz lets herself in, strangely not running into anyone. Once upstairs, she hears music coming from Amy and Rory’s room along with multiple voices and takes that as a cue to go in. 

“Here she is!” A slightly-already-drunk Amy shouts, wrapping her arm over Yaz’s shoulders. “The woman keeping Jennifer in tonight instead of coming out with us.” 

Yaz’s eyes pick Jenny out over everyone and see her flinch at Amy using her full name. “Think it might be better if we don’t refer to her as that.” Yaz suggests gently, peeling away Amy’s arm and returning her to her boyfriend leaving a space for Jenny. 

“Hey.” Jenny smiles but Yaz can see she’s still annoyed. 

“Wanna go anywhere else in this house?” Yaz asks. Jenny does that polite smile again and nods, almost smiling with relief too. Once they were out on the tiny landing, Yaz realises why Jenny’s call was so quick. “I’m here because you wanted to get out of going out, aren’t I?”

“Hmmm, I also just wanted to spend time with you.” Jenny says, pushing her door open and turning on the light. “I’m not using you.”

“I know.” Yaz assures her.

“Film?” Jenny picks up a DVD case from the shelves above her desk.

“Is this a date?” Yaz folds her arms and asks suspiciously. 

“If you’re alright counting it as a very shitty one then yeah.” She grins.

Half an hour later they’re both snuggled up under a blanket with Jenny’s laptop on their legs. Yaz isn’t really paying attention again and the laptop is really just another source of heat. She’s bad like that with films, but certainly now when she’s pressed up into Jenny’s side with one of Jenny’s arms around her back and her head resting on her shoulder. It was blissful, even with the music blaring from across the way, which then soon stopped. 

“And three...two…” Jenny mumbles. Yaz didn’t know what she was counting down to but on the count of one Clara pokes her head through the door and Yaz understands. 

“Jen, we’re going now. Are you sure you don’t want to come?” Clara asks. “You can bring Yaz.”

Yaz frowns. Surely the sight of the two of them leaning into one under a blanket with a film playing on Jenny’s laptop was enough to suggest that neither of them were going anyway right now. 

“Very sure.” Jenny says. 

“I’m good thanks.” Yaz closes the offer open to her. 

Clara gives them both a look that says ‘suit yourselves’ before closing the door behind her, leaving them both to get back to the film. Except they had stopped paying attention and a sex scene was in the middle of playing out. A really terrible scene just as horrifying as the one that popped up on Halloween.

“Whoa- okay that’s…” Jenny looks at Yaz with wide eyes like she did in the student shop yesterday but this time with more fear. “Was that playing when Clara came in?” She points at the screen.

“Maybe.” Yaz considers. It was certainly a possibility.

“Oh, shit. She totally thinks we were watching porn together.” Jenny frets.

“Don’t think she does.” Yaz tries to save Jenny some embarrassment. It was nothing that couldn’t be explained.

“Uh, have you met that woman? She’s willing to entertain so many ideas about me I sometimes wonder if she actually has any brain juice for anything else.” 

“Your accents coming out again.” Yaz giggles as she teases. Mainly at the use of the phrase ‘brain juice’ from such an intelligent person but also because of the accent.

“You asshole.” Jenny joins Yaz in giggling. 

Yaz’s childish giggling gets cut off by an unexpected kiss. Unexpected but soft and just what she needed. Jenny hasn’t kissed her since the night at the club and Yaz has convinced herself she’s fine with the step back in physical contact but now she had retraced her steps back she realised she wasn’t. They break apart naturally shortly after a mere couple of seconds, but barely. The air between them instantly became harder to breathe into their lungs, especially for Yaz which is something she’s never experienced before. Why was it only coming out now? Jenny has a look in her eyes that screams ‘you decide what happens next’ along with ‘I trust you’ and it helped Yaz decide in an instant.

She leans the short distance back in.

This is happening.

Their lips touch again and time slows down, making a second feel like a lifetime, then speeds up again. Jenny’s hands find their way under Yaz’s shirt and pulls it up over her head in almost a split second. Yaz hated that even for the sake of a higher level of intimacy she had to let go of Jenny’s lips. She chased her- needing her touch again- but she couldn’t reach her. Raising her eyes Yaz realises why Jen wasn’t hurrying to resume like she was. Her eyes were glued to Yaz’s chest as if she’s memorizing every cell like she’s never going to see it again so Yaz lets her, giving herself the time to equalize the playing field and tease both of Jenny’s shirts off until they were over the head of blonde hair and scrunched up on the floor alongside Yaz’s. Only then did Jenny let her kiss her again. 

The deeper the kisses become, the more control Yaz loses. She lays Jenny down, being mindful of the laptop still playing the film and shutting the lid closed before removing it to the floor. Straddling one of Jenny’s thighs, she has to take a moment to compose herself a little. This is happening.

Yaz’s shoulders are silently pulled further down so that her body is close enough for Jenny to indulge herself on her neck. 

This is happening, this is happening. This is happening it’s happening now this is happening. I’ve waited so long.

Yaz notices Jenny slowing to an almost stop when she isn’t responding to how she’s touching her and essentially grinds into Jenny’s body until she reaches her mouth. As they continue taking everything at an easy pace, their synchronization comes to a brief pause when Jenny is smiling too much to do anything else with her lips. 

“Why are you smiling?” Yaz asks, hypocritically smiling herself. 

“Dunno.” Jenny says, holding Yaz’s head in her hands. “Just happy.”

“Good.” 

Yaz nuzzles Jenny’s nose and decides to take Jenny’s bottom lip between her teeth and pull lightly. The decision came with a reward; drawing out a gasp from the very bottom of Jenny’s throat and punching Jenny right between her legs.

“Put some music on or something.” Jenny begs.

“Why?” 

“I don’t want to hear myself.” 

“But I want to hear you.” Yaz said with a purposeful rasp in her voice. She figured the more she could wind Jenny up now, the less pressure she’ll be putting herself under later. She leaves a trail of kisses down Jenny’s neck at a painfully slow pace until she reaches her collarbone. “Every single sound.”

“You’re killing me.” Jenny sighs. .

Also good, Yaz thinks to herself. If Jenny says something else after that, Yaz doesn’t hear. She was too busy wondering why she hasn’t appreciated the small things about Jenny’s body until now. Collarbones, moles, freckles, blemishes, scars, they all went unnoticed until now and it’s cruelly unfair that they’ve been hidden away like that. But when Jenny’s hands go to unclip her bra something goes wrong. Everything clams up with nerves which has never ever happened before. Not with anyone. Her hand goes straight to Jenny’s, reflexively moving it away.  

“Hey.” Jenny holds Yaz’s hand so it wasn’t so much of a one sided death grip. “What is it?” 

“I…”

“Stage fright?” Jenny guesses. 

“Kind of.” Yaz winces at the idea of what they were doing being a performance piece. 

“Is it me?” Jenny shimmies herself up onto her elbows. 

“No, I just… you’re different than the others.” Yaz says, curling her fingers into Jenny’s hair. “You mean something.” 

“How many times have you topped?” Jenny asks out of nowhere.

“Wha-”

“Out of the six people you’ve slept with, how many times, Yaz?”

“All of them.” Yaz answers, chewing her lip. She has a feeling that it's not the answer Jenny was hoping to hear.

“All of-” Jenny does a double take in the middle of her sentence and sits up properly, tightly wrapping her arms around Yaz’s waist. “All of them? All six?”

“Yeah.” Yaz says, not seeing any issue with it. 

“That’s it then.” Jenny announces defiantly. Yaz doesn’t understand what she’s being so sure about until she finds herself getting toppled over so that she is now the one with the mattress to her back. 

“Jen-” She starts to protest.

“Let me. You can do whatever you want after, just…let me.” Jenny pleads with every ounce of her being. 

It only then occurred to Yaz how desperately they both wanted each other physically. They’ve waited too long and now neither of them know what to do with each other or at least Yaz has frozen up. Somewhere within the five second pause Yaz must’ve nodded because her bra disappeared and Jenny was suddenly in the right position to nudge Yaz’s legs open with her knees, which she did. Her control starts to slip away at the same time Jenny’s bra strap slides down her arms and they end up breast to breast. Yaz thinks it might be impossible to get anymore turned on but as Jenny unbuttoned her jeans while she kisses her, she brushes her hand across the gap between her legs. Yaz represses the resulting gasp and channels the energy into screwing up her face.

“Let go.” Jenny whispers into her ear, clearly noticing what Yaz is preventing herself from doing. Jenny does the same thing again but this time it wasn’t skin on fabric. It was skin on skin and it released a sound Yaz didn’t recognise as her own at all. She feels Jenny sigh a smile onto her earlobe. 

Things from there went south. ‘Things’ being Jenny’s head while her fingers stayed in her heat. Yaz’s skin burnt like wildfire every time Jenny’s breath, lips, teeth, nose, eyelashes, brushed against the center of her torso. She clings onto Jenny’s hair until she’s too low to reach and then ends up letting them flail not knowing where to put them. As Jenny removed all contact to tug away the clothes left on Yaz, Yaz had half the mind to tell her to get up and lock the door before she remembered they’re alone. Everyone who lives in this house are out and Jenny was willingly-literally begging- to take care of her; a nice change for Yaz in general for once. 

Jenny wasn’t messing around and Yaz’s breathing shudders when she feel Jenny’s tongue flick against her clit and one of her fingers moves inside her. More, Yaz begs inside her head, except Jenny did give her more right after she thinks it and she has a split second of wondering if she’s said it out loud. Jenny was good- way too good for Yaz to believe. Two people, she’d said, she’s only slept with two people. But then again they only discussed the amount of people not how many times they’d had sex with those people. Without warning and with no build up Jenny adds another finger to the mix. 

“Holy shi-Jesus Jen.” Yaz stage whispers, unable to use her voice properly.

“Thought you’re meant to be a Musl-” 

Yaz doesn’t have the emotional capacity to put up with Jenny making sarcastic comments when she wanted her back between her legs, so she lifts up her hips, forcing Jenny to keep going. Her message was received loud and clear and the knot in her stomach gets pulled tighter and tighter and tighter and tighter and tighter and tighter and-

Release.

Not silently. Almost feral. Probably too soon. Certainly violently. Somehow the best she’s had in her life which definitely has something to do with the woman giving it to her. Yaz doesn’t even notice she’s white knuckling the sheets until Jenny’s lips are back caressing her neck, guiding her through, and every sense becomes grounded again. I love you, Yaz wants to say. The words were on the tip of her tongue but she felt that saying them now might give off the wrong impression. Jenny could end up interpreting it as ‘thanks for the orgasm’ rather than what it actually means. It can wait.

Other things couldn’t wait. Yaz could feel against her legs that Jenny still has her trousers on and in Yaz’s mind she considers it a crime. As the blonde kisses her and she tastes herself on her lips, Yaz flips her over. Not that she wants to get it over with, she didn’t want that at all, but what she did want was to give back. She’d been taken care of but Jeeny, who was always at least one step ahead, was left high and dry and quite obviously gagging for it. When Yaz hurriedly gets rid of the trousers she finds that Jenny might be high but she definitely was not dry.

“Don’t look so surprised.” Jenny mutters through a smile and a kinked eyebrow. 

She was being smug again and Yaz wasn’t fond of her when she did that, so with no mercy at all Yaz blindly runs a finger through wet folds by feel alone. A groan escapes from both of them and Jenny had learnt her lesson, only speaking again to tell Yaz the spot she wanted was a ‘bit higher’. After that, with Yaz dancing her fingers in circles Jenny didn’t have the strength to override the noises as well as scratching Yaz’s back to death so Yaz relished the sounds rather than nails piercing her skin. She wanted to go down on her, taste her, drink her in, smell her, lightly kiss every inch from her ankles to her thighs to tease her to the edge but her fingers had got her there in the blink of an eye and she was so taken by the sight of her Yaz couldn’t move. Jenny’s thighs clamp around her wrist and her forehead smashes against Yaz’s. Yaz tries to remove her hand but it gets put back in its place with a firm grip. All she could do was watch, locked on, and wait for the shockwaves to die down.

Then suddenly, laughter. They weren’t making fun of each other and it wasn’t just something to fill the quiet. It was relief; a sense of finally being completely unraveled together, knowing that Yaz wasn’t going to need to leave in the middle of the night and that she won’t wake up to an empty space beside her. Yaz rests her nose against Jenny’s, sufficiently squishing them together as their breathing evens out together. 

 

“I don’t think I took my time.” Jenny says softly, running her fingers through Yaz’s hair. They’d both showered, separately, and Yaz had stolen a pair of Jenny’s pajamas. Now they’re in bed together, still the only occupants of the house and pretending they didn’t have responsibilities tomorrow. 

“What do you mean?” Yaz asks, just as softly and fiddling with Jenny’s fingers. 

Jenny gives her a cheeky smile accompanied by a flickering glance down. “I didn’t give myself enough time to play with your tits.”

“Jen!” 

“I didn’t appreciate you like I should have.” Jenny rephrases, changing her smile from cheeky to caring. “I wanted to do more.”

“We have lots of time to do more.” Yaz gently insists. 

“Is that a promise?” Jenny asks. 

Yaz, who was still delicately analysing and playing with Jenny’s fingers, makes their little fingers curl together locking them in a promise. She was starting to notice that about Jenny; that she acts as if time will run away from her and everyone she’s fond of will leave. Yaz isn’t going to leave, she’s sure of it. At least not now. So, she seals her promise by kissing Jenny’s knuckle before they resume lying there silently staring at each other.

Yaz ends up falling asleep first because Jenny kept drawing patterns on her skin. Jenny’s fingertips barely brush against her skin and despite the action tickling at first it soon becomes a sweet lullaby and sends her off in Jenny’s arms. Right before she loses consciousness Yaz gets an undeniable feeling of not familiarity, but the ability to let it develop into a thing she wants every night. Unfortunately, because Yaz falls asleep first as the little spoon, she misses a key detail. It wasn’t just patterns Jenny was drawing, there were words in the mix too. On the bare patch of skin on the small of her back, Jenny spells out a word down her spine, all while fearing that any second Yaz might wake up and figure it out.

L

O

V

E

Chapter Text

For once, Yaz didn’t wake up first. Instead of her waking to see a peacefully sleeping Jenny she wakes to see Jenny already staring her in the eyes, obviously having been waiting for them to open. It was kind of creepy at first, then Yaz remembers that she’s done this a few times before and Jenny seemed to be comfortable with it each time. So, Yaz relaxes into it, and after a while she quite likes the intensity. Jenny’s fingers appear from under the shared covers to gently brush against Yaz’s lips, waking up every nerve in Yaz's body at the same time. It was a sweet gesture that then traveled up to outline her cheekbones. Yaz drags her hand out from the warmth of the covers and makes it her own task to trace every line on Jenny’s face. Smile lines, laugh lines, frown lines, lines from age, on the bridge of her nose, her lips, her chin, every single feature on her face.

“This is going to give us both really bad skin.” Yaz breaks their shared utopia.

“Oi, I’m trying to be soft here.” Jenny says, her voice still sleepy which makes Yaz’s heart erupt into flutters. 

“You’re always soft.” Yaz smiles sweetly, unable to hold back how affected by this woman she is. 

“What, just because I don’t have rock hard abs like you.” Jenny says, almost as if Yaz’s physique was superior to hers which strikes a negative chord with Yaz. She returns her hand under the covers but also moves it under Jenny’s shirt to rub against her stomach. She liked how Jenny kept herself in shape but it wasn’t a fake shape, it was just how she naturally was. Soft skin covering curves and squishy bits in all sorts of places- all the right places.

“I like your tummy how it is.” 

“Oh yeah?” Jenny raises both eyebrows, her face lighting up. 

“Hmmm very much so.” Yaz tries to say it flirtatiously but they both end up laughing half way through. “I like everything about you, how it is and nothing more. I like how your nose scrunches up when you think, your shoulders, your hair, the softness of your skin, how the same skin gets so white and pasty in the winter.”

“Okay, I get it.” Jenny rolls her eyes, flopping onto her back. Yaz chases her with her body to continue with the torment. 

“How you look and the sounds you make when you cu-”

“Okay!” Jenny starts blushing just from the implication. “I understand. You like me.” 

No, I love you. 

Instead of saying it, Yaz decides to kiss her. She does remember Amy’s warning, not to touch Jenny when she’s vulnerable, but old habits die hard and it’s the easy thing to do. It’s also what she wanted to do. The topic of Jenny’s stomach made her think about it and how she hadn’t got to bring her mouth any lower than the base of her neck last night. If she could, she’d leave it purple all over. And then she remembered she could. 

Yaz lifts Jenny’s shirt until it’s bunched up in a line at her shoulders. 

“Yaz, they came back early hours.” Jenny says with a warning tone to her voice.

“And?” Yaz moves herself to straddle Jenny loosely, leaving enough room for Jenny to escape if she wanted to even though her arms venturing around Yaz’s back and under her shirt suggested otherwise. It took Yaz all her strength not to let her gaze slip down to the bare chest under her. 

“They’ll all hear.” Jenny insists without really knowing how her friends will react or if they’ll hear at all. 

“I don’t care, let them.” Yaz says. When Jenny doesn’t say anything back, only stares, Yaz changes tactics. She, admittedly unfairly, runs her fingers back and forth just under the waistband of Jenny’s shorts as she speaks. “I won’t mind if you really don’t want to. Last night was enough.” 

Yaz watches Jenny go through the stages of considering it, silently hoping that she’ll say yes, even maybe say ‘please’. The more she thinks about it the more she ends up turning herself on and her need for Jenny to agree increases until she’s stuck in a vicious circle. So much so she almost misses Jenny trying to push her body down.

“Are you sure?” Yaz checks she isn’t stepping over any lines. 

“Hot girl offers to go down on me first thing in the morning? I’d be mad to turn that down.” Jenny grins wide while Yaz blushes at the compliment. “The others are probably all blacked out anyway.”

“Jenny you don’t have to make excuses if you don’t want to.” Yaz double, triple checks. The last thing she wanted to do was put Jenny under pressure to say yes. 

“You're the one who sounds like they’re making excuses. Are you going to fuck me or what?”

“Jen!” Yaz laughs at her brazenness. “I’m gonna go painfully slowly now.”

“You wouldn’t.” Jenny realises what she’s got herself into.

“Watch me.” Yaz smirks.

She starts the pleasurable task of winding Jenny up like a cuckoo clock by lazily kissing across her collarbones, dragging the tip of her tongue across skin until it breaks out into goosebumps. She goes back and forth and back and forth down Jenny’s chest until she reaches the valley between her breasts and goes straight down. But of course, she has to keep her promise of going slow, utterly, crusically slow so that Jenny will end up begging for her, so Yaz indulges herself in paying special attention to each breast; one with her hand and one with her mouth. Every pinch, scrape of teeth, and flick let out a squeak or a gasp and the longer Yaz did it the more danger she was putting herself in. She could feel her own heat rising through her bones, the source being between her legs, however she refuses to deal with it. She can sort herself out later.

Yaz knows she’s done paying attention to that part of Jenny when any switch up in movement causes the woman under her to bring up her knees or arch up her back. It was time to move again. Down, across, down, across, down, across her stomach with her mouth until she reaches the waistband of Jenny’s sleeping shorts. She runs her fingers along and under the band purposefully trying to hit bare skin. Yaz shimmies herself down along with the fabric, positioning herself perfectly to start leaving kisses up the insides of her thighs. 

When she reaches Jenny’s core she lets her head hover a small distance away so she can admire. She breathes through her mouth on purpose, letting the small breeze disturb otherwise untouched flesh and pubic hair. Jenny bucks her hips trying to steal some contact but Yaz is faster, moving away her head so she misses. Gently, without breaking her stare, Yaz slides her arms under Jenny’s thighs to hold down her hip with her hands so she would stay put. Yaz wishes she could see her face right now. She reckons she’s desperate. She can see she’s desperate. 

Yaz rolls her tongue over Jenny’s folds before bringing it through them; tasting her just as much as evoking a quiver but it still wasn’t the reaction Yaz wanted. She moves her body up once more, her shoulders spreading Jenny’s legs further apart to make room and lightly kisses the swollen nub put in front of her. That pulls out a whimper and she barely even touched her which reminds Yaz that this is still new. They still don’t fully know what each other like and react to the best way. Starting to work her tongue forces out everything Yaz wanted to hear. If she can’t see her she’s damn well going to make sure she can hear her. Just because Yaz is doing what she’s dreamt about a few times before, it doesn’t mean she’s going to let up on taking it slow. She laps Jenny up delicately, using completely different tactics to every other woman she’s been with where the initiative was 'get on then get out'. She’s a little unsure of what to do, rather than going full pelt off the bat, but the sounds and jolts tell her she’s doing something right. Guttural moans separated by sharp intakes of breath are like music to Yaz's ears. 

“Faster.” Jenny says, but Yaz wasn’t in the mood for taking instruction. “Yaz faster.” Jenny demands. Instead Yaz slows down to an almost stop. “Pl-please, Yaz.” She pretty much cries.

Better, Yaz thinks to herself and picks up the pace until she can’t move the muscle in her mouth any faster. She keeps moving, extending a hand up to try and play with a nipple which was only just in reach. She was running out of air in her lungs but she could suffocate right here right now and not care. The hand she’s left up Jenny’s body gets taken away from her skin and intertwined with Jenny’s own fingers with a fierce grip. Her way of saying she was getting close. Soon after, lack of oxygen makes Yaz groan to breathe, sending a shock of vibrations directly onto her clit and making Jenny tremble. A stroke later and Yaz finds herself getting the blood in her hand restricted to barely anything and her mouth unable to break away with Jenny making sounds that might be considered otherworldly. Yaz doesn’t even realise how hard it is to breathe until Jenny’s grip on her slacks and she can pull away. Resting her head just above Jenny’s pubic bone, Yaz smiles, exhausted, as the two of them regain control of their breathing together. 

 

Yaz didn’t necessarily need to sneak out. It isn’t out of place for her to be there, especially when Jenny’s walking her out, but hushed giggling in an attempt to not wake any sleeping occupants of the house made it feel like an adventure. Like their relationship was a secret just between the both of them again.

“And you’re sure you’re alright,” Jenny corners Yaz just before she reaches the door, forcing her back into the wall and pressing her body up against Yaz. Yaz lets her think she’s in control doing this, as if she doesn’t know how to take down a man blocking her escape, and smiles smugly. She knows that even with the hand lightly running over the inside of her thigh as she stood there, there was no way she wouldn’t be able to get Jenny under her thumb with just a change of tone to her voice. “Leaving without getting anything in return?”

“I’ll be fine.” Yaz insists. “It was about you.” 

“If it’s about me, why won’t you let me? That’s what I want to-” 

“I can sort myself out. Just for this one time, you can do whatever you want the next.” Yaz doesn’t give Jenny’s argument the time of day. 

“Don’t tease me.” Jenny groans, pressing her forehead against Yaz’s.

“Are you going to think about me?” Yaz asks, looking up at the worn out blonde through her eyelashes. Jenny gulps and nods so lightly that if her head wasn’t resting against Yaz’s she wouldn’t have picked up on it. “Are you going to let your imagination run wild?”

“I said don’t tease.” Jenny says in more of a growl than a groan this time. 

“I’m not teasing I’m asking.” Yaz whispers, pushing against Jenny’s forehead to test her resistance to her lips. She was good, and the only sign of her breaking was a small lick of her own lips. 

“Then yes.” Jenny says, raising her eyes to give a challenging stare. 

Yaz instantly decides she’s made a mistake. She should’ve let Jenny ravage her like she wanted to and not insist on getting up and leaving because now she needed her again, sooner than she expected she would. She never understood the term ‘at it like rabbits’ before but now, after just one night, Yaz can see how people can fall into it. After all, they were both still relatively new playgrounds for each other to play with and explore. 

“M-maybe…” Yaz stutters, suddenly unable to think. Perhaps she didn’t have as much control over this as she thought. 

“Huh?” Jenny picks up on the small utterance and Yaz starts to lose her grip.

“Maybe just another ten-”

Yaz’s head gets thrown back into the wall she’s leaning against to the point where she almost believes she’s punched a hole in it. After she realises she hasn’t, she relaxes every muscle, finally accepting Jenny’s lips. Even just the sounds they created together from that made it harder and harder for Yaz to keep her cool. Her shirt gets tugged on only giving her a second to bring her feet forward. Before she knows it Yaz is being dragged by Jenny through the hallway and towards the stairs. She trips, landing on her back and hitting the middle of her spine right on the tip of a step. 

“Ow!” Yaz gasps.

“Sorry! Sorry, are you okay?” Jenny checks, moving her hand round to touch the part of Yaz’s back that was hit. 

“I’m fine.” Yaz giggles. 

“Are you sure?” Jenny asks, not seeing the funny side of it.

“Yes, now come on before everyone wakes up.”

“They’re already awake.”  

Jenny freezes an inch away from Yaz’s face at the sound of the voice. Yaz feels her pupils shrink to a pinpoint, all the lust running through her veins being replaced by ice cold blood. Her hands were stuck on Jenny’s waist and her legs were wide open with Jenny fitting perfectly between them. That happens a lot- them fitting together. They hadn't had one bad kiss yet and considering how many times they've done it, the lack of complaints should be a cause for celebration. Yaz tilts her head up to see the unimpressed intruder first, with Jenny tilting her head up slightly second.

“Really? The stairs? I mean seriously, come on guys.” Clara scowls at them from two steps away. “Coffee anyone?” She slides past them.

“Actually, Yaz was just about to le-”

“Don’t be silly Jen, everyone needs a nice breakfast.” Clara brushes off Yaz’s one excuse to leave.

“Coffee isn’t breakfast.” Yaz says.

“Yeah, well you've already eaten this morning so…” Clara disappears into the kitchen leaving Jenny with blushing red cheeks and Yaz with the inability to look anyone in the eye. However, that didn’t stop her from being proud of her work.

“What do we do?” Yaz whispers. They were both still stuck in the same position on the stairs, too panicked by the turn of events to move. 

“What makes you think I know?” Jenny hisses even lower.

“She’s your friend.” Yaz pokes Jenny in the chest. 

“She’s also a mystery half the time, I don't know if she’s being serious or not.”

“Do you have milk, Yaz?” Clara asks from the kitchen with the kettle already starting to boil. She was being serious. Jenny lifts herself up and holds out her hand. Yaz takes it, using it to pull herself up and straighten out her clothes. 

“It won’t take long.” Jenny says, already defeated. 

“Jen-”

“Please. Just let her do her thing. Gets it out of the way for later.” Jenny gives Yaz’s hand a squeeze, batting her eyelids. Yaz doesn’t know if Jenny knows she’s doing it but she looks like a kid plucking up the courage to ask her parents to give her money for some sweets. “For me?”

Yaz sighs and tilts her head back and slightly to the side. “I’m not happy about this.”

“I know.” Jenny nods, hazel-green eyes giving off a flicker of amusement. Unaware of her facial expressions, Yaz must be following Jenny’s eyes while she tries to decipher the source of amusement because she starts grinning. “You sound like your mother.” Jenny explains.

“Don’t ever say that again.” Yaz warns her but she was smiling at the same time, sending off mixed messages. “I’m serious, Jenny, never say I’m like my mother.” She laughs.

“You’re beautiful when you laugh like that.” Jenny compliments her.

Yaz gets taken by surprise at how tender and open Jenny is becoming with how she feels towards her. It was refreshing, having less and less mystery surrounding where they stand. She kisses Jenny on her cheek; rejuvenating her blushing and making her go all shy. 

I love you. The thought was getting closer and closer to shouting and way more frequently. 

“Come on.” Jenny heaves Yaz along with her. “Let’s get this over with.” 

Waiting in the kitchen was Clara, slightly less hungover than Yaz thought she might be. She must have a class in a few hours. Clara gestures at the two chairs at her side and Jenny leads Yaz, who for some reason her nerves were growing by the second, to sit down. If Clara really was going to become a teacher she sure had the aura for it.

“I’m not going to ask you about the sex.” Clara says.

“Thank God.” Yaz mutters under her breath. Jenny hears and leaves her hand on Yaz’s knee like a comforter blanket. 

“I want to ask if either of you know why Ryan’s stopped talking to me.” Clara shuffles in her seat. 

Yaz, knowing what she said to Grace, instantly feels like she’s guilty. She’s caused this. She even teased Ryan about it the other day, too. But then again it might be nothing to do with her. Term’s just started again, students moving back in in their masses and he’s a maintenance employee. He’s probably just busy. 

“I thought you were just shaggin’ him?” Jenny asks. 

“I did too but the last thing he said to me was weird.”

“Why are you asking us?” Yaz asks. 

“Because you two seem pretty solid.” Clara shrugs. Yaz just ends up more confused. “Like you know what you’re doing.”

“We really don’t.” Jenny chuckles nervously. 

“You’re talking like you were dating him.” Yaz suggests. 

“We weren’t. But he was becoming a really good mate.” Clara sips her coffee. 

“I’m your mate.” Jenny says, a hint of offence to her voice. “Why didn’t you talk to me sooner?”

“Because you were too busy pining over her and getting beaten up!”

Clara waves her arm in the general vicinity of the both of them and then the air becomes static. There was a noticeable electrical current avoiding Yaz but creating a vacuum between Clara and Jenny and Yaz was awkwardly stuck in the middle. She could tell there were words going unsaid because of her so she slides her hand across Jenny’s, which is still on Yaz’s knee, and moves it over to her own lap.

“I think this might be something you two need to talk about by yourselves.” Yaz breaks the silence and stands up, ready to take her leave.

“Okay.” Jenny says, her eyes glued on her friend.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, yeah?” Yaz tries to steal the smallest bit of Jenny’s attention by tipping her chin up. It works but her neck was stiff to move. 

Yaz was intending to quickly kiss her girlfriend on the lips before she left, however with an extra pair of eyes watching it was too much, too intimate. Clara’s already heard them getting busy today so she’s already had too much of a preview. Instead she places a kiss on top of her scalp in a bed of warm hair. Jenny squeezes her arm acknowledging the act and that was enough encouragement to let Jenny sort this out by herself.

 

Back walking up the steps to her shabby little flat, Yaz found herself in an excellent mood. She’s had sex with Jenny. She’s going to continue having sex with Jenny. She’s going to keep waking up next to Jenny and she’s going to keep learning things about Jenny and she’s going to tell Jenny how amazing she is all the time and Jenny's going to treat her right and they're going to keep making each other laugh and-

“Why are you smiling like that?” Bill interrupts Yaz’s thoughts the second she walks through the door.

Her flatmate was standing there in the kitchen doorway along with Ryan who was reaching up to screw in some sort of door hinge. Her evident happiness doesn’t fade in front of her two friends but she can’t muster up the correct words to communicate how she’s feeling. 

“Wait wait wait wait.” Bill steps forward; suspicion rising in her facial features. She sniffs by Yaz’s neck. “You smell of coffee.”

“What’s happening?” Yaz mouths to Ryan when Bill doesn’t back away. Ryan only shrugs and half way through that shrug Bill gasps. 

“When you didn’t come back last night am I right in guessing-”

“I slept with Jenny.” Yaz gets in there with the news first. 

Bill literally squeals with excitement and refrains from jumping up and down. Upon hearing the news Ryan drops all his tools and jumps right onto Yaz’s shoulders, shaking her about. Yaz was still smiling, elated by the fact that their joy was her joy and she didn't care about the attention she was getting.

“Finally! Nice one mate!” Ryan cheers. 

“Please, please tell me she topped.” Bill says with her hands positioned like she was in prayer. The sentence gave Yaz clear flashbacks of watching Jenny’s head disappear between her legs. 

“The first time, yeah.” Yaz feels heat rise to her cheeks as she says it. 

“You naughty little-!” Bill finishes her sentence by whacking Yaz in the arm before gripping onto her just as Ryan was in a three person hug. 

“Yaz finally got laid by someone meaningful.” Ryan smiles contently.

“Wow. The shade.” Yaz shoves him off of her. 

“We’re just pleased for you. Been a long time coming.” Bill says. 

“I know.” Yaz says.

If someone were to hold up a mirror in front of Yaz right now she would notice she was unknowingly chewing her lip. But she doesn’t have a mirror and her mind has become overwhelmed with another flashback of how Jenny made her feel. Special, being the overall emotion, but she also sent a tingle up her spine. And other places. 

“Holy shit, she really gave you a good one.” Bill says, looking impressed. 

“Piss off.” Yaz snaps out of her trance, still with a smile, and takes herself off to her room. 

The only thing wrong with her room was that Jenny wasn’t in it. Yaz knew Jenny’s lectures start this week too, but she also knows she works earlies and likes to not be disturbed while she does her work. She doesn’t know if she’s enough of a reason for Jenny to change her routine, as she came across as a creature of old habits even to strangers. Yaz still has her one 9am but the rest of the timetable has changed and switched around. Only when Yaz sees her new print out laying on her desk does she realises she’s missed her 11:30 lecture for today. 

Whoops. One lecture won’t hurt, will it? No, it shouldn’t be too bad. The lectures are recorded anyway. She can always catch up.

Her mind turns back to Jenny and whether she’s going to open up about what her and Clara talked about. Yaz doesn’t see Jenny as someone who would resort to shouting but she’s seen how she gets when she’s frustrated and it’s fearful. Clara wouldn’t let her get like that though, Yaz is sure of it. So, Yaz takes the afternoon to regain some energy. Sleeping in the same bed as Jenny was great until in the middle of the night Yaz wakes up squished to the wall because it’s a single bed and two bodies doesn’t leave much room. A nap will benefit the both of them and Yaz takes the chance under her wing.

Her dream was littered with gentle intimacy and the heavy pressure of another person's contact which confused Yaz’s body when she woke up and still felt it. Outside had gotten dark and it dawns on Yaz that she had slept quite a bit longer than she had intended to. Checking her phone she sees that the day has run away from her and she should be having dinner around about now. But there was something bugging her. In her dream, she kept trying to tell Jenny she loves her but Jenny didn’t hear. Every time she said it Jenny would turn away or get distracted or another version of Yaz would come and stand between herself and Jenny, stopping her message from getting across to the one woman who needed to hear it. 

Yaz decides to resort to what she always does when she runs herself into a personal crisis. She calls her mum. 

“Hello.” Najia answers after five rings. Must be a busy evening. 

“It’s me mum.” Yaz says. 

“Why do you sound exhausted?” Najia asks straight away.

“Dunno.” Yaz shrugs.

“Have you had dinner yet? When was the last time you ate?”

“Mum, that isn’t rele-” Yaz stops herself as she realises other than a couple of sips of coffee this morning she hadn’t eaten a proper meal since yesterday lunchtime. “I’ll get some in a minute. I just need to ask you something first.”

Good. What is it?” 

Yaz pauses. Asking what she wanted to ask meant telling her mum she was in a relationship. And that means admitting it happened a little while ago and she hadn’t told her. And then if she asked when Yaz had thought about telling Jenny she couldn’t just say ‘after sex’ because that would be digging her own grave. 

“Yasmin?”

Here goes. 

“Mum?”

“Yes sweetheart?” Najia uses her parenting voice. Her ‘everything will turn out okay just trust me first’ voice. 

“When was the first time you told dad you love him?” Yaz asks with her heart racing. 

“Oh, that was such a long time ago. I can’t really remember.”

“How far into the relationship though?” Yaz rephrases. “Was it… on a date or just…?”

“I said it when it felt right. It isn’t meant to be a great big confessional Yaz, it’s meant to feel natural. If you feel like you should say it, then say it.”

Yaz starts chewing on her fingernails. She’s thought about saying it so many times now and she’s ignored it; changed the subject to whatever other topic she could grab on to.

“What if she runs away?”

“What if she doesn’t?”   Najia gives a fire quick response. 

Yaz’s breathing hitches in her throat. “I haven’t thought about that.” 

“Maybe you should.” Najia says. “I’m assuming this is Jenny we’re talking about?”

“Yeah.” 

“And she’s still head over heels for you?”

“I don’t… I guess so I mean she hasn’t said-”

“She might have said in her own way already. Your dad didn’t actually say he loved me, he brought me breakfast in bed when I was ill once and he bunked off work to look after me.”

“Seriously?”

“Yes.” Najia pauses, expecting Yaz to say something else but the sentence never comes. “How serious are you two now? Spare no details.”

“I sleep at her house most nights.” 

“Sex?”

“Yes.” Yaz says through gritted teeth. 

“Safe s-”

“Mum!” 

“Fine. You want my opinion? Tell her the next chance you get.”

“Really?”

“Yes Yaz.” Najia’s tone turns serious. “Not to be a spoilsport but she could be taken away from you at any moment so do it now before you don’t have the chance.” 

“You’re right.” Yaz sighs. 

“I’m always right. Hey, now that you two are official can we come down and take you out to dinner? Just me and your dad.”

“Don’t see why not.” Yaz partially agrees to the suggestion when her phone starts to beep. She brings her phone down to see another incoming call from Jenny. “Mum I have to go, I’ve got another person trying to call me.”

“Okay sweetheart, I’ll speak to you-” Yaz cuts her off in fear of Jenny ringing out. She grimaces, knowing her mum will be pissed off at the other end. 

“Hey.” Yaz answers the other call. 

“Hey, I’m in the campus canteen, wanna get some food? I’ll pay.” 

“You don’t have to pay.” Yaz argues. 

“I want to.” 

She might have said in her own way already, Najia’s words echo and it forces a childish smile to melt onto her face. 

“I’ll be there in five.”

Chapter Text

Their dinner together that night was nice; calm yet playful and childish. Nothing went wrong, nothing was said to cause concern, and it even felt a little like a date. They laughed, they had fun and they were childish. Yaz got the overwhelming sense that if Jenny could, she’d spend all her time like that. Little did she know that her observations will plant a seed of doubt right in the pit of her stomach. But that didn’t matter at the time; they were being sickly sweet and cute like two kids in the school playground thinking they know what a relationship is. A stark contrast to how the next week and a half would play out. 

They had sex. Everyday. The second they saw each other they knew it was going to happen, they didn’t even try not to, they would just make excuses instead. ‘Readings can be done later’, ‘No one notices if you’re only five minutes late’, ‘Do you think we’re going to actually do something else today?’ ‘Probably not’.  And it happened everywhere at any time; Jenny’s house, Yaz’s room, Jenny’s kitchen floor, at night, in the morning, in the shower, at midday, the library toilets at one point. Any chance they got they did it. Yaz was right about Jenny being like a drug to her because just thinking about her made her want Jenny in front of her, naked and already wet.

That isn’t to say the pair were only spending their time together by having sex. Many times they ended up as a tangle of limbs talking shit about their classes of the day, how both of Jenny’s jobs are going, how easy it is to talk to each other now compared to how they were literally just a month ago. Yaz doesn’t like the term ‘making love’ but she guesses that yes, actually, that is what they’re doing. If they were ‘just having sex’ then surely all this emotion and built up trust wouldn’t exist. 

Now, it’s Monday again, and Yaz is sitting at her desk determined to complete all her readings for the week. She’s doing a good job of it, with only one more text needing to have notes written up about it. Yasmin Khan is on a roll and it looks like nothing is going to slow her down today.

Until a couple of knocks are created on the door. Yaz ignores them. If anyone really wants her they can text her. But then the sound comes again and Yaz has to get up from her desk to answer it. Behind the door was Bill, dressed in her best with a small bag slung over her shoulder. For a moment, Yaz dreads the idea that Bill might be trying to coax her into going out. But her folded arms around her chest give the impression that Bill isn’t in the mood to be hanging around the flat for long. 

“I found a stray lurking at the front door.” Bill says. She steps away to reveal Jenny looking concerned, tapping an envelope against her thigh and pulling her sleeve roughly into her palm. 

“Can you read this for me?” Jenny asks. She sounds like she might burst out crying her voice is so strained. Yaz silently invites Jenny in and Bill leaves for her night out. As the door shuts, panic seeps out of Jenny and she starts to pace the small length of the room and shoves the envelope into Yaz’s chest. Yaz had gone from leisurely going over her readings to being full of worry; not about what the contents of the envelope were but how Jenny is reacting to it. She sits on the side of her bed and flips the piece of paper around to see the front. In the top right hand corner there’s a crest stamp for the local law courts. 

“Jen, I don’t think it’s my place to read this.” Yaz says carefully. 

“Please Yaz, I’m too nervous, I’ll end up reading it wrong. I trust you to do it.” Jenny says. Her trust in her pushes Yaz to decide to do what she wishes however the speed of Jenny’s pacing amps up and concerns her even more. “What if he plead not guilty? What if I’m going to have to sit in a courtroom for weeks on end? Would you come with me? But then what if I can’t have anyone with me? Surely I could, right? With a case like this? What if he’s…”

As Jenny rambles on and on, making less and less sense as she goes, she starts to pinch her lip. Yaz knows the place she’s pinching and it’s the section of her lip that has a small scar, still healing from the stitches. 

“Come here.” Yaz reaches her arm out. 

“What if this is really bad? What if this was actually my fault and-”

“Jenny, you’re getting locked on.” Yaz raises her voice a little, as if that’s going to make a difference.

“-and then this whole thing is going to be swept under the rug by the system so what’s the poin-”

“Babe,” Yaz manages to catch Jenny’s hand while she’s using them to speak. The use of the pet name grabs Jenny’s attention and stops her from continuing to spiral. “Sit down.” Yaz pulls on Jenny’s arm to get her to sit on her left side.

“I really could get used to you calling me that.” Jenny says quietly. 

“Good.” Yaz nods once and uses a one word response as to not defer from the main issue here. “Can we deal with this properly?” 

Jenny snakes her arm around Yaz’s waist and rests her head on her shoulder, which Yaz takes as a ‘yes’. The good thing about a week or so of sexual intimacy meant neither of them were afraid to touch each other to an extent anymore, as in they don’t have to ask.

Unsealing the envelope, Yaz pulls out a single sheet of paper and scans through it. The news was good but Jenny might not consider it to be that. The way she is right now she’ll probably twist it into something terrible. 

“He’s plead guilty and he wants a restorative justice meeting with you.” Yaz says, making the effort to try and turn her face to give Jenny the choice to look her in the eye if she wanted, but she’s still glued to the paper.

“What does that mean?” Jenny asks, taking the paper out of her hands. 

“It means he’s accepted the charges and he wants to be able to sit down with you in a controlled environment and not only give you the chance to say how it’s affected you but also it’s a chance for him to say sorry.” 

Jenny starts drawing circles on Yaz’s hip with her fingers like they’re the coggs working overtime in her head. Yaz puts her arm around Jenny’s shoulders and lets her hand disappear behind her hair to run her fingers along the back of Jenny’s ear. Out of everything she’s learnt about Jenny’s body over the past week, it’s the soft touches in unusual places that she’s most content with. Yaz likes doing it too. The only thing is, Jenny doesn’t like anything but holding hands in public. And sometimes even that’s a push.

“I don’t want to see him.” Jenny mutters.

“Then you don’t have to do it.” Yaz taps the bottom of the sheet that explains the process is entirely up to Jenny. “Totally in your control, see. No need for all those ‘what if’s’.” 

Jenny smiles but Yaz can see it’s fake. Yaz knows Jenny hasn’t figured out how she feels about it yet and she’ll probably have to sleep on it to get a final answer. For now, in this moment, Yaz knows she can’t force Jenny to jump to any conclusions.

“What if I don’t go and then he does the same to-”

“Jenny.” Yaz says, disappointed in her negativity. “He’s already plead guilty. I know you like to think about the infinity of possibilities in the world but this is too much.”

Yaz rubs Jenny’s shoulder blades while Jenny further snuggles into her side and plays with the cuffs of her sleeves. They seemed to be past the ‘don’t touch me when I’m vulnerable’ stage, and they don’t have to ask permission to touch each other anymore, but Yaz is still cautious of overdoing touch. Jenny’s senses, depending on the day, can easily get overstimulated and make her tetchy.  

“It should be fine.” Yaz continues. “Nothing bad is going to happen if you deny and nothing bad is going to happen if you do accept, in a world when you change your mind, and that’s okay. This isn’t something to be taken lightly so- you’ve gone quiet.” 

Yaz doesn’t like it when Jenny goes quiet. She turns so that she can see her girlfriend properly. Jenny is staring down at the paper at first, running her finger over the patch on her lip, then looks up at Yaz like she was the most amazing thing in the world. 

“Thank you.” Jenny says softly. 

“For what?” Yaz smiles, unsure.

Yaz watches Jenny stroke the loose strands of dark hair hanging by her cheeks behind her ears tenderly before her cheek gets cupped in one of her hands. She doesn’t really understand what’s going on but despite her evident confusion Jenny tilts her head and kisses her. It felt a little like their first kiss to Yaz. Unmoving, unsure, but it certainly means something. Yaz lets their heads linger in close proximity to each other for a few more moments after, before there’s another unexpected knock at her door. 

“Yeah?” Yaz says as a way of inviting whoever was knocking inside. Jenny’s arm retreats from Yaz’s waist but her hand falls on the small of her back with her head only moving away to look up at the door. Yaz recons she must be comfortable if she feels she can do that and it makes her a little bit smug.

“Jas, do you know if anyone was using my cheese grater yesterday?” One of the other brunettes living in the flat, who’s name Yaz still hasn’t memorised appears in the doorway. 

“My name’s Yaz.” She corrects her. 

“Right, yeah, whatever.” Yaz feels Jenny’s arm slide back around to be visibly protective on her waist. She lets her. “If you see anyone using it again let me know yeah? Thanks babes.”

The fire door slams shut and the nameless flatmate is gone. 

“Babes? She can’t even get your bloody name right.” Jenny scoffs. “Please can we have really loud sex tonight to annoy her?”

“No- who says you're staying tonight?”

Jenny makes her face look like she’s a homeless puppy.

“Please?” Jenny draws out the word. 

“Course you can.” Yaz nudges her side. 

“If it’s any consolation, I can’t say no to you either.” Jenny says as the two of them retrieve their pyjamas, Jenny’s from her holographic backpack and Yaz’s from under her pillow.  She needs a break from the reading anyway. She can always finish it tomorrow. 

“Good because my parents are coming down to take us out to dinner in a few weeks.”

“That’s a nice- what do you mean ‘us’?” Jenny’s pitch of voice fluctuates from high to low when she realises what Yaz is saying.

“Oh, you know, they just want to stone you to death for boning me before marriage.” Yaz says casually but she watches Jenny’s face go a paler shade of white. Whiter than the toothpaste she’s portioning out onto her brush that seemed to have appeared from thin air.. “I’m kidding. It’s just a meal out.” Yaz smiles. She really has Jenny wrapped around her little finger.

“I can do that.” Jenny says. 

“You promise you won’t back out?” Yaz checks, taking a makeup wipe to lazily wash her face.

“The only reason I’d back out is if you got rid of me.”

“Yeah,” Yaz smiles. “I’m not going to do that.”

Once they’re comfortably tucked into bed together, portioning out the space each of them can get and putting an extra blanket nearby incase someone (Jenny) hogs the covers, Yaz feels incredibly small. Together they’ve done everything a new couple is meant to do and she doesn’t really know what’s meant to happen next. To some ignorance is bliss but to Yaz the unknown means she’s unprepared. She isn’t in charge.

“You know, I kind of owe a lot to that guy.” Jenny says, her voice low and quiet but not quite a whisper. 

“What guy? The one who mercilessly beat you black and blue twice?” Yaz says sarcastically.

“Yeah that one.” Jenny says seriously. 

“Why?” Yaz asks, not having the faintest idea as to where she was going with this.

“If he hadn’t of split my lip you might never have thought to kiss me.” Jenny smiles at the memory. Yaz doesn’t think she realises she’s doing it.

“Probably not, no, since we hadn’t spoken in, like, two months.” Yaz says.

“Are you still mad about that?” Jenny genuinely asks for an answer, not just to provoke a reaction.

“Not mad.” Yaz rolls over onto her back. “I just don’t like thinking about it.” 

“Okay.” Jenny says in acknowledgement and a few moments of silence pass them by. 

“Thing is, Jen,” Yaz picks at her fingers under the covers an stares at a fixed point in her ceiling. They still haven’t sorted that slight patch of damp. “I know you’re very cautious about boundaries and I think sometimes you underplay how you actually do feel about me. The sex is good- brilliant, even, trust me on that one- but I know most of the time you’d prefer to just sit and talk science to me and I think I’d like that too. Not even science, just spending time together like the other night. And I’m going on and on because I really want to tell you how much you mean to me and how I’ll do everything and anything for you but I can’t find the right words and… I think what I’m trying to say is- no, what I know I’m trying to say is that I love you.” Yaz nods, reassuring herself. “I love you, Jenny.” 

Silence. Only silence and light breathing and the sound of Yaz’s heart beating in her ears. She turns her head to see Jenny fast asleep next to her. Yaz rolls her head back and sighs deeply. Typical. She opens up and Jenny’s too tired to stay awake and hear it all. Jenny works hard though. It’s understandable. Yaz shuffles further into Jenny’s body and picks up Jenny’s limp arm so that she’s being spooned by her. The movement must have drawn her into a lighter level of sleep because Jenny pushes her front into Yaz’s back and in that position they both fall into a deep sleep. Yaz felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders but it was now nesting over her head. 

The deep sleep they were in was shocked out of them at three in the morning by the piercing shriek of the fire alarm. 

“Fuck’s sake.” Jenny grumbles into the back of Yaz's neck.

“Wait, it might be someone smoking in their room and they’ll sort it in a second.” Yaz says, placing a hand behind her on Jenny’s leg to keep her from moving. About ten seconds pass and the alarm is still ringing. “Alright, let’s go.” Yaz says, not wanting to be burnt to death or pulled up by security for not getting out in the two minutes they suggest residents should.

They both put on jumpers and shoes and drag themselves out of the flat, down the stairs and away from the rest of the crowd to avoid stares. The rest of the building might not know Jenny’s name but they’ll be able to recognise that she doesn’t actually live here. In the privacy of shadows Yaz and Jenny hold each other to retain some warmth. 

“Who’s that Bill’s with?” Jenny asks, nodding her head in the general direction of where Bill is standing. There’s a shorter blonde girl awkwardly standing next to her. Good facial features, yaz can tell that from just this far away, but she looked very very out of place. 

“She doesn’t live in the flat.” Yaz says. “I don’t recognise her at all really.”

“You don’t think…” Jenny starts and wiggles her eyebrows to finish. 

“That would be so awkward.” Yaz cringes. “I’m glad we don’t have to do that.” 

“One night stands?” Jenny smiles. “I’m glad we don’t have to do that too.” 

Yaz kisses the corner of Jenny’s jaw and tucks her head into the crook of her neck. Shortly after, one of the campus security guards announces the building is safe and it was a false alarm so everyone can come back in. The crowd slowly make their way inside, hoping that someone else from their flat picked up their keys and that they would be able to get some proper sleep before their classes tomorrow. As a couple, they follow, letting their hands swings low next to each other and brush knuckles. A way of holding hands without drawing unwanted attention.

 

“Move over, I want to be little spoon.” Jenny says as they both climb back into bed.

“God, you’re so needy.” Yaz moves over anyway. 

“Says you!” Jenny twists her neck around to see Yaz. “I kind of wish it could stay 3am forever.” She mumbles. 

“Why?” 

“Because we don’t have to do anything. We can just lie down and talk without worrying about work or classes tomorrow. We can just exist together and no one else has to know.” 

Tell her again, Yaz screams at herself. Instead she keeps her mouth shut and kisses Jenny to encourage her to turn around and get back to sleep. Over time, the activity in the flat calms down again and you would think it would make it easier for Yaz to fall back to sleep but she can’t. She’s too busy listening to Jenny breathing and watching her chest rise and fall to see if she’s asleep yet. 

“Yaz.” Jenny says her name just loud enough to get her attention. At least it proves neither of them are sleeping like they’re meant to.

“Yeah Jen?” Yaz whispers against her shoulder, keeping her eyes closed.

Jenny reaches back and pulls Yaz’s arm over and across her stomach. Yaz’s fingers get mixed in with Jenny’s and she wonders why the blonde is doing this. Does she even have anything else to say? Or does she simply want to hold her hand?

“I love you too.” 

It was an utterance. A pure confession filled with feeling and warmth like Yaz had never experienced before, but it was real. She said it. She had heard Yaz saying it earlier and wasn’t hiding from it or ignoring it like she could have. Yaz pushes her body into the back of Jenny’s until they melt into one person with two hearts, very much beating for each other, and finally, finally, fall asleep.

 

Yaz wakes to Jenny chewing her nails and reading over the letter from the courts. Still half asleep, it takes Yaz a hot minute to realise her girlfriend is wearing circle rimmed glasses. Since when does Jenny wear glasses? 

“You wear glasses?” She asks sitting herself up.

“No, I wear contact lenses. I just forgot to bring some with me today.” Jenny says. She sounds unsurprised that Yaz is awake and hasn’t moved her eyes away from the paper. She must’ve noticed a change in her breathing when she first woke up. She’s always been perceptive like that with her.

“I’ve never seen you wearing contact lenses.” Yaz shuffles the short width across her bed to cross her legs and sit next to Jenny.

“That’s because you’ve never been awake early enough to see me put them in.”

“So if I did this…?” Yaz removes the glasses from Jenny’s face.

“I can’t see shit.” Jenny shakes her head. Yaz decides to test this by lifting her shirt to expose her bare chest; all while not taking her own fully functioning eye’s off of Jenny’s face which quickly turns a shade of blush pink. Jenny gulps. “Well I can see them, I’m not that blind.”

“Are you sure it’s not selective vision?” Yaz places the glasses back to rest on Jenny’s nose, takes the paper out of her hands, and swings a leg across Jenny so she ends up sitting in her lap with her arms loose around Jenny’s neck. “As in you only choose to see what you want to see.” 

“No, I genuinely have bad sight because I read a lot.” Jenny says.

“I’m trying to flirt with you.” Yaz brushes the tip of her nose against Jenny’s.

“I know.” Jenny sighs like it’s a problem. 

“What’s wrong?” Yaz immediately pulls back to give her space. 

“Nothing, just…” Jenny avoids eye contact and shakes her head. “Nothing.”

“Are you sure? I might be able to help if you tell me.”

“No, it’s fine. I’ll get over it.” Jenny waves her hand as if it’s waving the problem away. 

“Jenny.” 

“I’m fine.” Jenny looks up again and smiles gently. “Promise.”

“Is this because I told you I lo-”

“No! No I, um, that’s good- very good.” She bursts into a silly grin which soon fades again when she realises she has to address the problem for Yaz to let it go. “I just got a bad grade for my written work, that’s all.” 

“How bad?” Yaz asks. She’s completely forgotten that grades are starting to come out today.

“2:1.”

“Jenny,” Yaz has to stop herself from laughing. “Jen that’s not a bad grade. At all.” 

“It is to me.” Jenny insists, evidently feeling sorry for herself. “I know physics, I know what I’m talking about, I just can’t write it down. It’s not a proper reflection of what I can do.” 

“Jen, you’re brilliant at physics- all the sciences- everybody knows that. You have practical exams as well so it’s not like you can’t bring up your grades. Plus your temperament and how you hold yourself is amazing, any employer would be honored to have you work for them. You're so, so, so good at everything, I don’t get how you can’t see it.” 

“Say all that again.” Jenny says. Her voice was low and quiet which Yaz only usually hears when Jenny decides she wants to top. It confuses her; all she did was pay her a couple of compliments. 

“You’re brilliant at the sciences and you as a person are amazing and anyone looking to employ you in your field will be honoured to have you work for them no matter what grade you come out with.” Yaz says a more compressed version of what she just said.

Yaz watches Jenny chew her lip. There’s absolutely no way that a few positive words could turn her on that easily. Maybe it’s the glasses- perhaps they have an added perception filter that changes the way people see her. Jenny pulls Yaz further into her lap by her thighs and before Yaz can protest or ask what’s going on with her today, Jenny’s lips seal themselves around her neck.

Yaz is instantly cut away from all brain functions. It always happens when Jenny does this. She has a way of hitting all the right spots at all the right times that sends Yaz into another plane of existence and right now is no different. A slender hand creeps into Yaz’s hair and jerks her head back exposing new skin for Jenny’s mouth to scrape, lick and caress, all while the other hand explores under Yaz’s shirt. Every now and then a small, uncontrollable gasp escapes Yaz’s lips. Usually at this point during the last week, the two of them would be at least two items of clothing down and going ten miles per hour faster but this morning their dynamic felt different to Yaz. They felt like they were finally on an even playing field with how they stood with each other and Jenny was savouring each second as if the moment her lips disconnected from Yaz’s skin they would be on different pages of an open book again. And Yaz is loving that she’s behaving like that. For her. 

“Mate, I just had the most awkward-” Bill storms in then freezes at the sight laid out in front of her. The outburst had slowed Jenny down but she hasn’t stopped and Yaz has a strong feeling her face wasn’t painting her as the most chilled out person at the moment. “Never mind, this is the most awkward encounter I’ve ever had to deal with. I’m going to leave and come back in again. Yeah?”

Yaz nods and Bill leaves. 

“Jen.” Yaz says when she still doesn’t stop. “Jen we can do this later.”

Jenny sighs against Yaz’s shoulder, knowing her fun was over for now. “This wouldn’t have happened at 3am.” She lifts her head as she refers to earlier this morning. She really did look adorable in glasses, if not a little bit older. Yaz quickly kisses her magic lips right as Bill knocks to be invited in.

“Suck it up buttercup.” Yaz says, dismounting from Jenny’s lap. “Yeah?” She calls Bill in.

“Okay, first off you really should keep your door locked at night.” Bill throws herself into Yaz’s desk chair. “Secondly- wait I didn’t know you wore glasses?” She points at Jenny. 

“Why do people keep saying that?” Jenny mutters.

“Anyway, when the fire alarm went off did you notice anything? Or anyone?”

“You were standing with a cute blonde girl.” Yaz says. 

“Oi!” Jenny elbows Yaz in the side quite hard.

“What?” Yaz laughs.

“She was fit though Jenny, let’s be real.” Bill interrupts, but it doesn’t stop Yaz becoming concerned over Jenny’s reaction to her calling someone else ‘cute’. “I met her at one of the bars- can’t remember which one- but she was keen to come back anyway so it doesn’t really matter. When we got here the fire bell was already going off but by that point I decided I wouldn't care if she said no and walked away.”

“Why?” Yaz asks, becoming more and more interested in the story. 

“Sloppy kisser with lots of tongue and the alcohol in my system was wearing off.” 

“Hate that.” Yaz grimaces. 

“Anyway long story short, I’ve only just got rid of her.” 

“That’s not too bad.” Jenny shrugs. 

“It was long enough.” Bill deliriously laughs. 

“Your fault for being such a catch I guess.” Yaz smirks and Jenny’s arm appears around her shoulders. It catches her attention and Yaz looks at her arm and then up to look Jenny in the eye as if to say ‘ why are you all PDA now? ’. Jenny either ignores the message or doesn’t understand, because all she does in response is kiss Yaz’s temple.

“Ugh. You two are gross.” Bill takes the piss. Then, without warning, she swings her head back. “Jesus, I hope I don’t run into her.”

“I said that about Jen once and yet here we are.” Yaz leans into her girlfriends side. 

“When did you say that about me?” Jenny asks, highly concerned to the point where Yaz could feel her body stiffen at the thought.

“When I said... what I said to Bill that day and then Clara told me to give you space. I didn’t want to see you if you weren’t ready to talk.”

Yaz’s lips quiver under Jenny’s stare. She wasn’t angry at her, she knew that. However there was a level of upset tainting the way Jenny is looking at her. Like something is her fault.

“I get the overwhelming sense that I should leave before my good Christian eyes are tainted.” Yaz sees Bill start to take her leave out of the corner of her eye. “Again.” She sighs. 

Bill leaves and Yaz is left with the woman next to her staring at her with insane intensity. She’s about to ask ‘what’s wrong’ or ‘what is it’ but Jenny speaks first.

“I’ve never had anyone think about my needs like that before.” Jenny says, as quiet as a mouse. 

“I mean… technically Clara told me what to do but-”

“But you listened to her and you did it.” Jenny says. There was undeniable joy in her voice but she was evidently restricting it from showing. “You actually did it and now we’re…” Jenny becomes solemn and slow in her movements. “You let me have my space.” 

“Of course I did.” Yaz laughs nervously. Why wouldn’t she have given Jenny some space. Even then, she cared about her greatly. “So, if you're basically as blind as you’ve been saying, does that mean you have to wear these when you go down on me?” 

“Dunno.” Jenny shrugs innocently. “Probably not but-”

“Wanna find out?” Yaz asks. Jenny stares at her point blank, so Yaz quirks an eyebrow to tell her that, yes, she was suggesting what she thinks she’s suggesting. 

Jenny finally takes the hint and takes the initiative to lie Yaz down. Kissing Jenny will never ever get boring. Or at least that’s what Yaz thinks for now. The way she can easily let Jenny move her lips and trust that it will feel good while at the same time being accompanied by her hands running over every patch of skin imaginable. Yaz can feel herself getting riled up and ready with each passing second. A groan was growing the the back of her throat, threatening to escape. And she does groan- they both do at the same time- because of Yaz’s ringing phone. 

“Ignore it.” Jenny breathes heavily. 

“It’s my mum’s ringtone.” Yaz reveals as she reaches for her phone. 

“Your mum is honestly the ultimate cock block.” Jenny says while she drops herself down to lay by Yaz on her side, propping her head up with her fist. 

“Try anything and I’ll revoke all privileges for a month.” Yaz warns. 

Jenny gasps, highly offended at the threat, but behaves herself as Yaz answers the call.

“Hi mum.” Yaz answers as cheerfully as she can.

But that’s the extent to Jenny behaving herself. Her fingers run over Yaz’s abs under her shirt and she begins nuzzling her neck with her nose.

“Hi sweetheart, how are you?” Najia cheers back.

“I’m good thanks, what did you want to ask me?” Yaz tries to hurry along the conversation as Jenny moves on to kissing her neck- picking up from where she left off before.

“Nothing. Just a catch up.” Yaz can tell her mum is smiling.

“At half nine in the morning?” Yaz swats Jenny’s hand away from her waistband and gives her a threatening look that in return Jenny just smiles back at. 

“You sound like you’ve been awake for ages.” 

“I have a class at- ah!” Jenny pinches some of her skin between her teeth.

“Are you alright love?” Najia asks, suddenly concerned.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Yaz wrangles her fingers into Jenny’s hair in the hopes that she’ll feel like she doesn’t have to try so hard to get her attention. “Stubbed my toe.” She lies. “I was saying I have a lecture at ten, so that’s why I’m up.” She lies again. She doesn't have her lecture until two.

“Have you had breakfast?” Najia asks.

“Not yet.” Yaz tells the truth.

“Shall I call again later? After your lecture?”

“Might be best.” Yaz tries her best to control her breathing pattern as Jenny’s tongue glides against the same patch she essentially bit. 

“Alright. Love you sweetheart, speak to you later.” Najia says, still oblivious that anything out of the ordinary is happening. 

“Love you too mum.”

“Bye.”

Yaz hangs up and throws her phone to the floor. 

“You’re in deep, deep shit.” She tells Jenny as she throws her off her body to straddle her.

“But you love me.” Jenny pouts.

“No. Don’t ever do that again. No, you can’t use that against me to get what you want. No.” Yaz wags her finger in front of Jenny’s face. 

“I think I can.” Jenny smirks. 

“Fuck you!” Yaz says, not believing Jenny’s attitude right now.

“Fuck me yourself!” 

Yaz recons Jenny didn’t mean to say it. From the look on her face, Jenny was surprised that she even said it herself. And in that moment Yaz knew what was going to come next. Jenny is constantly goofy and Yaz loves that but sometimes things slip out of her lips that make her wonder what goes on in Jenny’s head; whether there’s a darker side to her or not. 

“How? How has that worked?” Yaz mutters and shrugs.

“Because it’s me.” Jenny smiles in that way that Yaz can never refuse and she hates herself for it. “Come here.”

 

Yaz can’t concentrate in her lecture. Not because of the thought of Jenny’s fingers exploring between her legs, but because the topic being monotonously droned on at her was boring as shit. Not only boring but it’s also barely understandable content. She can leave, easily in fact, but the paper register hasn’t reached her yet and she needs to sign it for the sake of her attendance record. So, she sits and at least tries to pay attention. She knows she’s going to Jenny’s after this so she has that thought to get her through.

And go to Jenny’s she did. Yaz met her girlfriend outside the campus shop to catch a lift back with her after her shift. She looked tired and irritated but then again, most students always look like that. She also still donned her glasses, seemingly not having been bothered to switch them out to contacts.

“Bad day?” Yaz asks as she invites Jenny into a tight hug.

“No, just long.” Jenny accepts the invitation. “All I want to do is go home, have a shower, and a cheese sandwich.” 

“A cheese sandwich?” Yaz pulls back to look Jenny in the eye. 

“Yeah. A plain cheese sandwich on white bread. And maybe some crisps. Ooo! Or even some pickle, really push the boat out you know.” Jenny becomes increasingly more excited the more she thinks about it and her excitement makes Yaz smile. 

“If we get going I can make that for you if you like?” Yaz offers. 

“Make me a cheese sandwich? I wouldn’t dare make you go to such trouble.” 

“Ha ha, funny.” Yaz teases. “It’s the small things that matter though, isn’t it.”

Jenny nods. “Yeah.”

As if they shared the same single brain cell, the two of them glance sideways to check to see if anyone’s paying attention to them. When they decide they’re both safely invisible, they give each other a small kiss, then smile stupidly at each other like they’d just gotten away with a crime before heading for the north car park. 

Of course, the rest of the house were neither pleased or annoyed that Yaz is in their space. She’s kind of become part of the furniture- a presence in the house that felt expected and normal. While she stands in the kitchen, making Jenny’s dinner, snack, whatever she was classing it as, Yaz thinks over how things have progressed between her and Jenny, and comes to the conclusion that if she ends up stuck with Jenny for the rest of her life she would easily live a happy life for the rest of her life until her body ends up burning or turning into a rotting mass.

But that, again, was too much, too fast, too soon, too intense. And she was nowhere near being able to say it out loud.

“Thank you.” Jenny swoops in to take the plate of food and leans against the counter to eat. “Did you not want anything?” She asks with a mouth half full.

“I’m not hungry yet.” Yaz says.

“How was your lecture?”

“Sucky.” Yaz sighs.

“Hopefully the next one will be better.” Jenny tries to make her feel half decent about it.

“Nothing can be worse.” Yaz shuffles her feet and rolls her eyes.

“You need to call your mum back.”

Yaz groans at the reminder, resting her head into Jenny’s shoulder for some comfort. She had become so accustomed to Jenny being nearby that she’s forgotten to appreciate how she smells. 

“Amy back yet?” Clara asks as she rushes in, discarding herself of her raincoat.

“No- why are you rushing?” Jenny asks. 

“She’s meeting Rory for a date and I don’t want her taking my good jacket again.” Clara stomps upstairs, her words getting more and more distant as she flies away. Jenny chuckles at her friends chaotic energy. 

“I never asked, what did you two talk about that day?” Yaz asks. 

“Ah, it was nothing.” Jenny takes another bite of her sandwich. 

“It didn’t look like nothing.” Yaz tries to push another answer. 

“Well it’s nothing now and that’s what matters.” Jenny tears off another bite with her teeth, clearly irritated, and Yaz decides to leave it for now. I wasn’t an issue worth an argument. It wasn’t even her business to know.

“Is Clara back yet?” Amy rushes in in the same manner Clara did a few moments before. 

“Yes.” Jenny says.

“Bollocks, I was going to wear her jacket.” Amy curses. 

“Good luck with that.” Yaz winks.

“Now that is an argument waiting to happen.” Jenny mutters over the sound of feet climbing stairs.

 

After Jenny is done eating and Yaz is forced to peel her cheek away from Jenny’s shoulder they decide to watch some TV and take their time to chill out this evening. Walking over to the plush looking seats, a made up Amy makes her entrance.

Yaz wolf whistles. “Here comes the legs.”

“Thank you my sweet summer- you know what, we’re not doing that again.” 

“Not doing what again?” Jenny asks. 

“Nothing. Long story.” Yaz says, not wanting to explain that the interaction happened when she came looking for her. 

“Are you two going to sit down or not, you’re putting me on edge.” Amy says, turning herself around to pretty herself in the mirror. 

“Sit on my lap.” Jenny whispers into Yaz’s ear. 

“What?” Yaz whispers back, confused. 

“I said sit on my lap.” 

“But there’s a seat-”

“Sit.” Jenny demands. It throws Yaz off.

“No.” Yaz shakes her head definitely. She sits in the space next to Jenny, leaving cold air between the two of them. 

“Something wrong?” Amy turns around and asks when she visibly sees the change in mood.

“The label of your shirt is poking out.” Jenny lies. 

Amy feels around the back of her neck but obviously there was no label and she assumes that Yaz and Jenny are in on the joke together. 

“Ha ha, nice one Jen. Your fly is undone.”

Jenny’s head whips down to look at her crotch, seriously fearing that her fly is down.

“It’s a joke you arse.” Amy laughs and the fact that it fools Jenny and admittedly it makes Yaz giggle too. 

“You two are horrible.” Jenny grumbles as she puts her arm around Yaz’s shoulders. Yaz lets her do it since she felt sorry for her, but she was still on edge over how she’s acting and reacting.. 

“You know we love you.” Amy says.

Jenny’s hand slides under Yaz’s collar and that was it for Yaz. Enough is enough. It might be because of the broken nights sleep or it might be because this has happened too many times today but the way Jenny’s simply being is worrying her. Luckily Rory arrives home to preoccupy Amy and Yaz can take Jenny away into her room. 

“Why are you doing this?” Yaz speaks before Jenny can when the door shuts behind her. She’s still standing, as is Jenny, giving it a very standoff feeling despite Yaz keep her voice calm yet firm. 

“Doing what?” Jenny asks without a clue as to what’s happening. 

“Because this isn’t just a bad day thing, is it, because it keeps happening.” Yaz says. 

“What’s happening?” Jenny shoves her hands in her pockets. She’s receding out of the moment. “Yaz I don’t understand.”

“The club with Natalie, when I said Bill was a catch, when I had an inside Joke with Amy, when I said the girl Bill hooked up with was cute, when my mum interrupted by calling, when my flatmate called me the wrong name, all examples of you getting funny and possessive. Why?” 

A pause.

“I don’t-”

“Is it jealousy?" Yaz jumps in. "Are you jealous? Just because I have different types of relationships with people that aren’t you so you feel like you have to show your ownership over me, is that why you get all touchy when it happens?”

“I don’t own you.” Jenny says.

“Good to know you know that now but it doesn’t stop you from feeling me up whenever you start feeling insecure.” 

“I love you.” Jenny says.  

“I know, Jenny." Yaz rolls her head back with frustration. "But you can’t use that to manipulate me right now. You say it but it feels like a cover.” 

“It’s not. I lo-”

“Stop it!” Yaz can’t help but allow her voice to rise with her frustration. “Don’t say that again until you’ve let me in- properly let me in. It’s like you’re turning yourself into a different person to not lose me but you don’t understand that you have me! You have all of me! You don’t have to fight for me! Why don’t you understand that?” 

Jenny stands there, silently, not knowing what words to fill the gaps. So Yaz fills them.

“Jenny I don’t want you for sex. I don’t want a try hard. I don’t want whoever you think I want you to be. I want you. Why can’t you understand that I’m with you, whatever happens?”

“Let- let me explain.” Jenny steps forward and tries to reach out for Yaz’s hand.

“Not tonight, Jenny.” Yaz backs away, shaking her head, until the door handle pokes into her back. She hesitates for a moment, the sight of Jenny on the brink of tears stopping her from leaving, but she remembers that there’s nothing else she wants- or needs- to say and she reaches behind her to open the door.

“Yaz.” Jenny's voice breaks. She wasn’t stopping Yaz from leaving, or at least not making a physical effort to stop her from leaving, but since Yaz hasn’t seen her crying since the night of the second attack she was compelled to stay anyway. “This isn’t the end, is it? I’ve not fucked it have I?”

Yaz shakes her head. She was nowhere near giving up on Jenny yet. “Sort yourself out Jen. Before we become a nuclear level of toxic.” 

Shutting the wooden door behind her, Yaz finally breathes. Does this count as their first argument? She has said what she needed to say and she’s giving Jenny time to think about an answer rather than letting her make one up on the spot without any real thought. A door to her side clicks open and shut again, turning Yaz’s head along with her attention. Clara stands there, having heard every word exchanged between Yaz and Jenny, and she nods as if to say ‘she needed that’. Yaz nods back, swallows some of her pride and takes her leave, knowing she’s done the right thing if not for her, for Jenny.

Chapter Text

Yaz expected Jenny to blow up her phone. She expected her to ask for her attention, beg to be heard, pleading to come over. But then that wouldn’t be Jenny’s way of doing things. So, Yaz text first. Only a small gesture, but she told Jenny to talk to her when she was ready. Truly ready, not just because she’s lonely or sad. She sent that text last night and today is the following morning which the rising sun forgot to bring Jenny’s reply with it.

To keep her mind away from it, Yaz focuses on her classes. It’s annoying and not really what she wants to be doing but it needs to be done. Yaz has only just got home from the library when someone knocks at her door and she has the mind to tell them to kindly piss off but the better of her morals overcome her and she invites them in. 

“Yeah?” Yaz says. Ryan scuttles in with a packet of triple chocolate cookies in his hand. 

“Little birdie named Clara says you might need some comforting.” He says, throwing the packet at her and lowering himself to sit on her bed. 

“It was just an argu- I haven’t washed those sheets in almost two weeks and I’ve had a lot of sex in them.” 

“Okay.” Ryan jumps back up before his backside hits the bedding. It was gross and Yaz knows it, but it’s not exactly like she’s had any time or motivation to pop down to the laundrette. Ryan moves around Yaz to sit in the desk chair instead, letting her sit on her bed. 

“So this is your way of comforting me. Cookies?”

“Can’t go wrong with some chocolate.” Ryan shrugs. “Chuck us one.” Yaz opens the packet and throws one of the brown circles at him. “I thought we might go out as well tonight.”

“I don’t want to go out.” Yaz dismisses the idea straight away. 

“Aw, come on man. You’re too couped up with Jenny every night that you’re missing out on university life.” Ryan protests, reminding Yaz that even if he isn’t a student, she is. 

“I dunno Ry, I’m not really in the mood and I’ve got readings and stuff.” Yaz doesn’t budge.

“Not clubbing or anything just a meal and a couple of drinks at the pub. And no talking about girlfriends or casual sex partners, this is a lads night out.”

Yaz squints her eyes and watches Ryan swing from side to side in the desk chair. What’s he up to? “You say that like I’ve already decided to come.” She says. Ryan smiles slyly.

 

The pub is warm in light as well as temperature and it smells of a mix of booze, good food, and the remains of cigarettes once smoked clinging to the wallpaper. Ryan really knows how to pick them. The table they’re sitting at isn’t sticky but certain parts of the floor where the spills are inevitable cling on to the sole of your shoe and suddenly Yaz is back in Sheffield. It reminds her of the end of summer term at school when all the mums gather together to have a catch up with a few drinks and the kids could burn off some energy. Sitting in front of Ryan gives her the false memory of them playing cops and robbers in the pub garden one year, before his mother passed away. Perhaps it wasn’t a false memory at all but in fact a real one, however before she gets the chance to ask if he remembers, Ryan asks his own question as he swaggers over with their drinks. 

“So tell me how this tiff came up.” 

“You said no talking about Jenny!” Yaz pulls Ryan up on the terms and conditions of their evening out.

“But I’m nosey!” Ryan whines. “You’re basically one of my best mates, I need to know.”

“You just want a bit of drama.” 

“That’s me, drama queen Ryan Sinclair.” He does some Jazz hands to accompany his new title. In that moment Yaz comes to realise how much she’s grown attached to him, even if they don’t talk every day. He’s funny, witty, warmhearted and kind.

“She just-”

“Knew you’d crack.” 

“Alright, shut up or you’ll never find out.” Yaz says. Ryan zips his lips shut and elegantly  gestures for Yaz to proceed. “She had a jealousy problem. Or at least I think that’s what it is because I don’t think she’s figured it out for herself yet.”

Ryan unzips his mouth. “Is that it?” 

“It meant she got physically possessive over me. I didn’t like that.” 

“I thought you liked her touching you?” Ryan smirks.

“Yeah, when I want it, not when she’s trying to prove a point to other people. I know it might not seem like much but if I didn’t say something then...” Yaz tails off. She doesn’t want to consider what might’ve happened if Jenny got progressively worse.

“Okay.” Ryan nods, approving of Yaz’s reasons. “Is that it then? Are you not going to see her anymore?”

Yaz scoffs. “Not to be dramatic but I think if I never saw her again I’d die.” She says, only partially being dramatic. Ryan laughs. “Seriously mate, I really think I’ve fallen for her.”

“Everyone can see you have.” Ryan says, matter of fact.

“Really?” Yaz taps the side of her glass, unsure as to whether her friend was telling the truth or exaggerating. 

“Yeah,” Ryan insists. “you look lost without her at your side.”

“But that’s the thing, I don’t want to look lost without her because I shouldn’t have to depend on her. And she shouldn’t have to depend on me, you know, we’re meant to just enjoy being with each other.”

“And do you?” Ryan asks with raised eyebrows.

“Yes, when she’s in a good mood. No, even when she’s in a bad mood I still don’t hate her.” 

“Well that’s always a bonus.” Ryan takes a swig of his drink. 

“You know what I mean.”  

One of the bartenders comes over with their food. Ryan got himself the biggest burger on the menu while Yaz settled for some cheesy chips. Simple and affordable.

“Swap you an onion ring for a cheesy chip?” Ryan offers. Yaz agrees to the deal and hands over the swap without comment. Ryan does a sweep around the room during the handover, suspiciously eyeing up everyone around them. “How many people here think we’re on a date?” 

Yaz glances around the room. The pub isn’t packed but there were still a comfortable amount of people “Definitely those two old men sitting at the bar.” 

“Yeah they look like the kind of people who think POC should end up with other POC.”

“Ryan!” Yaz glances over at them again.They look old- old and annoyed the pub that is their playground every other day of the week has been taken over by people with far less wrinkles. “True though.” 

“Little do they know...”

“I’m dating the palest woman in the world.” Yaz chuckles to herself, smiling into her glass. 

“Are you sure she’s not a vampire? We’d know if she was a vampire right?” 

“Yeah, I think she’s just like that.” Yaz laughs. 

“Just so I know…”

“What, what’s going to come out of your mouth, what is it?” Yaz asks, knowing it’s going to be something terrible. 

“Does she do freaky stuff in bed?” Ryan whispers. 

“Ryan-!”

“Does she make you play lab professor or something?”

“No!” Yaz kicks him under the table. However, she remembers a different kind of behaviour Jenny exhibited yesterday. “There was one thing though.”

“Wait you’re actually going to tell me?” Ryan says surprised. Yaz ignores it.

“The other day I praised her and she kind of… reacted to it.” Yaz explains without giving away too many details. 

“Good or bad reaction?” Ryan asks, slowly bringing his burger back down to his plate. 

“Very good.” Yaz says, almost suspicious of the behaviour now that she’s thinking about it. 

“Call her a ‘good girl’ and see what she does.” Ryan suggests with a grin. 

“I can’t do that!” Yaz point blank refuses. 

“Yes you can, easy.” Ryan shrugs like it’s nothing.

“You don’t know Jenny at all.” Yaz laughs and shakes her head. 

“I have pillow talks with her best mate and you think nothing about her slips out?”

Suddenly Ryan presents himself in a completely different light. Sneaky, two-faced, backstabbing threat.

“What’s she said?” Yaz demands to know.

“Hmmmm can’t remember.” Ryan strokes his chin.

“Please tell me.” 

“I don’t know if I should.”

“Ryan.”

“Jenny loves you.” Ryan says gently. And then Yaz sees him normally again. It was nothing she didn’t already know. 

“I know. She told me.”

“Oh.” Ryan sits back in his chair. “There goes my big reveal.”

“Surprisingly Ryan, we actually do talk sometimes.”

“Doesn’t sound like it most of the time.”

Yaz throws a chip across the table. They always tried to make sure the least amount of people were around but an empty house was almost impossible to come by and needs must. Wants prevail. 

“That was another thing though.” Yaz says. Now that she’s said one thing the rest keep spilling out. “Sometimes it felt like she wasn’t actually that into it, she was just doing it for me.”

“Are you joking? Are you suddenly deaf? Mate, she would’ve said no if she didn’t want it.” Ryan says. 

“I know, she just doesn’t really come across as someone who likes it everyday.”

“Let her surprise you.” Ryan encourages her. “A healthy sex life can only be healthy if it works for both of you.” 

“Ahem.” The father of the family on the table beside them coughs, trying to make the two of them aware of the children nearby. 

“Whoops.” Ryan giggles. “But you know what I mean, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I get you.” Yaz sighs. “It’s only been a day but I miss her.” Ryan stays quiet. “What, no fake retch?”

“No, I want to tell you to go and talk to her but obviously you’re waiting for her to figure some things out.” 

“It would be easy to run to her.” Yaz says absentmindedly. 

“Relationships don’t have to be hard.”

“How far away from her house is this pub?” Yaz asks. 

“About five minutes driving. Why?”

“No reason.” Yaz shrugs and avoids eye contact. 

“Yaz.” Ryan draws out her name like it’s a warning. 

“I’m not going to literally run there, chill out.”

“Good because I wouldn’t be able to chase you.”

“Dyspraxia?” Yaz asks, as if it’s a question Ryan had the choice to say no to.

“Yup.” He pops the ‘p’.

“Can you drive?” Yaz asks out of her own selfish curiosity. 

Ryan shakes his head. “I could if I want to but I can barely ride a bike. The chance of booking a test in advance and it being a good day…” He shrugs. 

“That sucks man.” Yaz is disappointed for him.

“I deal with it.” Ryan says. “Helps that Graham’s a bus driver though.” 

“Bet it does.” Yaz says. “Do you think you’ll ever end up calling him granddad?” 

“Maybe one day. If he earns it.” 

“Harsh.” 

“But fair.” Ryan adds. “He makes Nan happy though. That’s what matters.”

“If only all men were like you.” Yaz pretends to swoon.

“Alright, don’t take the piss.” Ryan smiles. He clearly enjoyed the compliment. “What’s your relationship with your Nan like then?”

“Good. I love her. She was more supportive about Jenny than my mum was at the start.” 

“Your mum’s taking you two out to dinner soon, isn’t she.”

“Yeah- how’d you find that out?” Yaz asks, cautious of Ryance source of information.

“Jenny told Clara, Clara told me.”

“Should’ve known.” Yaz nods, accepting that there’s a whole cobweb of communication going on behind her back. “But yeah, my parents are coming down in a couple of weeks.”

“You know in a couple of weeks it’s basically valentines day, right?” Ryan checks.

“Ooooh shit.” Yaz mutters. She hadn’t thought about that and it suddenly becomes clear that her mum might’ve set it up like that on purpose.

“What are you going to do for her on Valentines anyway?” Ryan asks. “Something special?”

“No fucking clue.” Yaz says. “I haven’t even thought about it.”

“Time is ticking.” Ryan taps his watch. 

“I’ll figure out something.” Yaz says as more of a reassurance to herself than anything. 

“If you got her a ‘my first science kit’ do you think she’d dump you?” He grins.

“No. She’d be very insulted but, no. Or at least I hope she wouldn’t.”

Ryan laughs and Yaz goes along with it although her gut is provoking her to think about how she would feel if Jenny does eventually leave her. Devastated is the first place to start. Heartbroken would be everything after that.

After their meal together Yaz spots a set up for a band in the corner of the pub and decides to stick around with Ryan to see if it’s for tonight. Half an hour later with another drink later down her and the population of the pub increased at least by twofold, a student band sets up and starts playing without so much as an introduction. Ryan drags Yaz up to join the forming crowd and before she knows it, she's having the best night she’s had in months. Ryan enjoys himself a little bit too much and Yaz ends up basically carrying him to the closest bus stop. 

“I love you mate.” Ryan slurs as he leans into her side. 

“I know you do mate.” Yaz pats his head. “You’ve said it as few times now.”

“Really? How many?”

“Six.” Yaz holds her hand out to signal for the approaching bus to stop. 

“Tonight were fun, weren’t it?” Ryan mumbles. 

“Yeah.” Yaz says as the bus stops in front of them. “Proper nice.”

“What the hells wrong with him?” Graham asks, his voice muffled by the drivers cabin. 

“Few too many.” Yaz pushes Ryan up onto the bus. “You got him from here?”

“Course sweetheart. Hey, how’s it going with Jenny?” Graham pulls back the heartache that admittedly, Yaz had forgotten about. “Forget I asked.” Graham smiles, clearly having seen Yaz’s face sink. “God, Grace is gonna kill him.” Graham laughs and shakes his head as the doors close and the two mean disappear from Yaz’s sight. 

Clouds form over her as she walks the distance to the train station and luckily she makes it onto the train before it starts tipping it down. The sound of the rain hitting against the carriage makes Yaz regret not bringing any other sort of cover than her jacket but if she ran through campus she should be fine. Nothing that the radiator can’t dry out. 

However the light jog she has going comes to a halt when her phone vibrates in her pocket. Hiding for minimal cover from the weather under a nearby oaktree. She pulls it out and her heart almost stops with both excitement and dread when she sees Jenny’s caller ID. Fumbling with her cold fingers Yaz is too slow to connect skin to the screen before a water droplet and all sensitivity in the touch screen disappears. 

“Come on, come on.” Yaz mutters at the technology in her hand, willing it to work as she tries to wipe the screen clear of water but instead just spreads it further. The screen goes black. “No!”

Cursing technology and the worsening weather, Yaz wipes her phone against the back of her shirt, hoping it’s the dryest patch of fabric on her body. Pulling the phone back around there’s another notification telling her that voicemail has a new message. Yaz rushes to dial in the three digit number and hopes that the automated voice would shut up and move onto Jenny’s voice, which eventually, it does. 

“Hey, um, I was hoping to talk but Bill said you’re not home. I think I might stay outside your building for a few minutes just in case you’re on your way back. You’re probably not but...anyway. See you in a bit. Hopefully. If not...well, you know. Or at least I think you do, I’m not exactly sure on that one but-”

Yaz hangs up knowing that standing there listening to Jenny’s rambling is a waste of time. She said in her message she’ll be waiting around for ‘a few minutes’ which is exactly how long it’s going to take for Yaz to sprint home.

Making absolutely no effort to avoid puddles, muddy grass verges or groups of people hanging around buildings having a smoke, Yaz forces her legs to carry her body across campus as fast as possible. Her trainers are getting soaked with murky water and seeping through to her socks, freezing her toes to the point where if her body isn't used to running she would be stumbling face first into the ground. The whole time she runs there’s only one thought filling her mind. Please still be there, please still be there, please still be there. And as she approaches the glowing light in the distance that is her building a lonely figure comes into view. Jenny’s height, Jenny’s build, Jenny’s clothes, Jenny’s hand clinging onto a small bunch of flowers that are getting a good watering in the rain. Yaz wants to call out to her; call her name and stop her from moving but two things stopped her- her lungs being focused on keeping her alive and the fact that Jenny isn’t looking like she’s going anywhere soon, but that doesn’t slow her down. She keeps running and running until she’s reaching out her hand to touch Jenny’s shoulder.

The pair of them jump. Jenny from the shock of Yaz appearing out of nowhere and Yaz as a result of that shock like a domino effect. Yaz can’t catch her breath. She can feel her chest heaving up and down as she breathes deeply to try and regain the ability to speak but at the same time she doesn’t know what she’s going to say. It’s been a day. Literally, just a day and Yaz finds herself as terrified as she was the day she first started to realise she wanted to date Jenny. As she stares at Jenny, both of them breathing air into their lungs so deeply, she notices Jenny’s chin shaking as if she’s about to speak. 

“My name is Jennifer Smith. I have suspected but undiagnosed autism. I like science and mechanics and the universe and I’m used to spending time alone and I don’t know how to share my life and my feelings with someone else and I don’t know if I’m oversharing but I know what I did was wrong and I’m sorry and,” There’s a roll of thunder and Jenny jumps, her hands balling into fists, dropping the bunch of flowers, and her eyes become panicked. Just like they did when she came to collect Yaz in the middle of a storm. “And I’m frightened of thunderstorms because I was homeless for a while one winter and the only reason I’m not running inside is because you make me feel safe.” 

The revelations and admissions swallow Yaz. Her heart rises to her throat while the rain drips from her hair and her nose. She can tell Jenny isn’t lying. How many times has she had to find shelter from the rain? Yaz is overcome with wanting to give her warmth. Another roll of thunder and as Jenny flinches Yaz throws her arms around her. She holds her tight, a grip which Jenny replicates just as fiercely. 

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry about how I was acting.” Jenny says. “I won’t do it again.”

“I know.” Yaz replies instantly. 

“I mean it.” Jenny insists. 

“I know you do.” Yaz pulls back ever so slightly to cup Jenny’s face in her hands and force her to look her in the eye. “I know- I know you do.” She nods as she speaks, insisting on holding Jenny’s gaze. 

“I love you.” Jenny says, her voice threatening to break any second. Yaz nods her head again, tilting it to be in the perfect position to receive a kiss, but left it up to Jenny to do anything. “I love you so much it hurts.” Jenny whimpers. 

“Sssh.” Yaz whistles through her teeth. Just from holding her hand near Jenny’s neck she can tell how fast it’s beating and it’s racing to the point of cardiac arrest. 

She isn’t sure of the purpose of making the shushing noise but the result is that Jenny kisses her. Yaz can’t tell if she’s shaking because of the cold and the rain falling onto both their lips or because it feels like this kiss is a climax to something; something strong, something undeniable, something both of them are sharing together. Hands slide around Yaz’s waist, pulling them closer and Jenny mumbles against Yaz’s lips between turns of heads and breaks for air but she can’t figure out what she’s saying against the thumping of the rain against the building. They were getting soaked, completely and utterly drenched, yet Yaz can’t escape Jenny’s hold on her and she equally doesn’t want to let go. 

 

Yaz lays awake staring at Jenny sleeping next to her. Their clothes hung over the radiator and the flowers Jenny bought for Yaz sat in a mug on her desk. Their stint in the rain was ended by a loud group of boys thankfully making their presence known before they could be seen and the two of them scurried inside and realised how soaked through to the bone they were. A shower each and a set of dry clothes, a few more unspoken words and a forehead kiss for Jenny sent her straight to sleep without warning. Yaz guesses it’s emotional exhaustion and then wonders whether Jenny slept at all last night when she left her. She was so far gone that random words slipped through her lips every now and then and Yaz is trying to remember all of them to see if there’s a pattern. There isn’t, she’s just giving herself an excuse to stay awake. 

The shrill buzz of the fire alarm cuts through her internal monologue and Jenny’s arm reaches out and grips onto Yaz’s waist. She must think it’s the thunder again. 

“It’s okay, it’s just the alarm.” Yaz is quick to reassure her. Jenny looks around the room to figure out where she is. The poor girl must’ve been so out of it. 

“Does that thing go off every night or something?” Jenny asks when she knows she’s in a familiar place. 

“Think it might be the weather.” Yaz says and as she says it the alarm stops again. “See.”

“You haven’t slept yet have you.” Jenny says, her eyes darting all over the place. “Don’t lie, I can see it on your face.” 

“I’m thinking about you.” Yaz sinks her head further into her pillow, holding Jenny’s gaze. “What was it like? Being homeless?” Yaz can’t help but ask. 

“You’re asking me this now?” Jenny asks. Yaz doesn’t budge on her stance. She knows she won’t sleep if she doesn’t find out and Jenny can’t just leave her with a bombshell like that and never explain. Best to get it over with. “Cold. Wet. Horrible. Smelly. I was about, I dunno, ten years old maybe eleven. Young, I know, but it’s not exactly like I had a choice. It was just shit Yaz, I don’t really want to talk about it.” Jenny huffs.

“I won’t make you talk about it.” Yaz strokes her hand through Jenny’s hair. Mother nature’s downpour made her hair soft and wavy and Yaz likes it like that. If she could confiscate the hair straighteners off of her, she would. But then again she uses them pretty much everyday too. “I won’t make you talk about any of your past if you don’t want to.”

“It’s not that I don’t want you to know, I just…” 

“You don’t have to justify it.” Yaz says. She takes Jenny’s hand off of her waist and holds it in her own. Her fingers are always something that should be marveled at and appreciated. They write science into existence, help those in need, experiment, discover, bring comfort, bring Yaz to the point of orgasm over and over again all while simply belonging and being attached to Jenny’s nervous system. One instruction over an electrical current and those hands bring her so much joy.

“I love you.” Yaz reiterates. 

“Don’t say it too much or it will lose meaning.” Jenny complains. 

“Never.” Yaz shakes her head. “I’ll just have to find some other way to say it.” 

“Like what?” Jenny yawns.

“Go back to sleep baby.” Yaz tickles the point where skull meets spine under Jenny’s hair to send her back to a state of unconsciousness. 

“Oh.” Jenny’s heavy eyelids close. “Like that.” 

And all of a sudden, Yaz forgives everything.

 

Yaz wakes up to Jenny kneeling at her bedside, fully dressed and wide awake. How is it that some days Jenny clunks around, practically shouting at the world with her body, and then others she slips away from the progression of time?

“I’ve got to go to work.” Jenny whispers. 

“Okay.” Yaz whispers back. 

“Can I come round this afternoon?” Jenny asks. “I’ve got lab until four and then I’m going to the school to tutor but-”

“Jen, you can come over whenever you want.” Yaz reminds her. 

“I just wanted to be sure.” Jenny takes Yaz’s hand from resting under her head and kisses the back of it. ‘Don’t start’ Yaz warns her body. Her skin is specifically sensitive to Jenny’s touch at all times, especially when it comes to her lips. “I’ll see you later.” Jenny smiles, stands, and leaves without looking back- leaving Yaz to sleepily watch her walk out. 

‘Later’ turns out to be sooner than both of them intended. Once Yaz is out of bed and heading to her seminar, she realises how stuffy her nose is and before she even reaches the seminar building a tickle creeps up her throat. It forces her to cough violently until her eyes water and she decides she can’t sit through a two hour seminar like this. So, she walks back home for a day in bed. Last night definitely did this to her, there’s no doubt about it. But it was worth it. 

Yaz drops by the shop to buy herself some soup and bread for lunch and a guilty pleasure pastry, but it isn’t until she reaches the checkout till that she remembers that in fact, Jenny works here. 

“You don’t look so good.” Jenny says, scanning the tin of soup. 

“Thanks.” Yaz sniffles. “I’m going back to bed.”

“Do you want me to do anything for you?” Jenny asks. 

“Nah, I’m alright.” Yaz shakes her head. “It’s only a cold.”

“But you were fine last night?” Jenny looks confused.

“We also stood in the rain for ages last night.” Yaz reminds her.

“Card please?” Jenny asks. 

“What, is it your birthday or something?” Yaz suddenly panics. 

“Card as in payment card, Yaz.” Jenny tries not to laugh at her.

“Oh.” Yaz taps her card against the machine. “Actually, when is your birthday?” She asks. 

“June 17th. Receipt? And I don’t mean my birth certificate.” Jenny winks. 

“You're annoying.” Yaz rips the paper from between Jenny’s fingers and scoops up what she’s bought into her arms. 

“And you’re stuck with me.” Jenny smirks proudly.

Chapter Text

It takes a week for Jenny to nurse Yaz completely back to health. She cooks all her meals, rubs vicks vaporub into her chest, puts up with coughing and spluttering throughout the night, and even offers to wash her sheets and clothes after a night of embarrassingly sweating out the sickness. All that while attending her two jobs and hours and hours in the labs and library studying. Yaz isn’t sure on how to repay her, however a text from her mum confirming that they’re going to book a table at a local restaurant to the university on the 13th of February, not valentines day, which Yaz recons is a good enough gift to her. 

“They’re coming on Friday, not Saturday.” Yaz tells Jenny as she tucks herself into bed to finish off her notes and Jenny continues to peer through her glasses at her laptop screen. They haven’t talked properly for almost the entire afternoon in an attempt to knuckle down and get all their tasks done. The only time they spoke was for clarification on sentences and small check ins with each other to make sure neither of them were on the verge of a breakdown. 

“Good.” Yaz can hear Jenny’s smile. “They won’t interrupt our plans.”

“What plans?” Yaz sits herself up with caution. Jenny hasn’t said anything about plans. 

“I’ve been meaning to ask you something…” Jenny gets up from the desk, climbs onto the bed and kneels in front of Yaz, making Yaz ask herself ‘ what on Earth is she going to say next?’. “I’ve been thinking that… maybe we could… just to try it out, you know, we could… try something new?”

“What kind of new?” Yaz asks, fearing that it’s going to be something she’s going to have to say no to.

“Nothing bad just… I thought it might be fun to- obviously if you’re agreeing to do it, I’m not going to force it in you-”

“On me.” Yaz corrects her. Or at least she thinks she’s correcting her. Realising what she’s saying Jenny goes a bright shade of pink and it suddenly clicks for Yaz. “Oooh!”

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to, I- it was just a-” Jenny tries to backtrack.

“You want to use a strap-on with me?” Yaz says quietly, smirking slyly and swinging her arms around Jenny’s waist to pull her in. 

“Do- do you want to with me?” Jenny stutters. She still can’t approach these subjects without looking like she’s wearing a shirt with big bold letters spelling out ‘SHAME’ on it. 

Yaz lets herself indulge in the thought. There’s so much she could do to Jenny. So much she can fulfill. So many positions, so many ways to make Jenny cum, so many ways she could stretch her out and make her happy. She smiles and nods as a way of answering the question. 

“Cool.” Jenny grins. “Awesome!” Jenny realises that Yaz has agreed. 

“How long have you been keeping that quiet?” Yaz finds herself falling into a grin, too. 

“Few weeks.” Jenny says. 

“You sneaky bitch! Why didn’t you say anything?” Yaz lightly and playfully taps Jenny’s arm as if she’s hitting her. 

“Yeah, because ‘hey babe, I know you’re ill and barely getting any sleep but can we introduce toys into our sex life’ would’ve gone down really really well, you know.”

“So should we… you know?” 

“What?” Jenny becomes lost. 

“Buy one.” Yaz says. She feels like she’s the one blushing now. “I mean it’s only a few days away. If we want it in time for-”

Jenny throws away Yaz’s hands from around her waist and lunges over to retrieve her laptop, opening a new tab in incognito mode as quickly as possible. 

“Jen.” Yaz calls her name as she slides into the gap next to her. 

“Yeah?” Jenny says, still focusing on her laptop. Yaz flattens a part of Jenny’s hair to get her attention.

“You’re adorable.” 

“Okay.” Jenny turns her head and therefore attention away from the screen. “You’re telling me this while we’re shopping for-”

“Yup.” Yaz pushes Jenny’s glasses back up to the bridge of her nose. “You’re so good to me.” She curls her arm through Jenny’s and notices her skin breaking out into goosebumps. 

Call her a ‘good girl’ as see what she does.

Hm, yeah, one hundred percent has a praise kink-

Her friends have figured it out before she has. Again.

“Jen, is there anything else you want to try out?” Yaz asks gently. Jenny sort of shuffles, insecure in herself, making herself move so she doesn't have to sit in one place and face the question.

“Could you… could you call me… and tell me how I’m-”

“I know.” Yaz spares Jenny from saying it. “And I will.” She kisses the tip of Jenny’s nose from the side. “You didn’t hide that one as well as the other one.” 

“Shut up.” Jenny mutters and Yaz watches her neck go red. Yaz uses her hand to caress  the red patch to settle her down, which works, and they continue to shop, all while secretly hoping the university internet doesn’t keep records.

 

The day of her parents visiting arrives and Yaz is the most excited but nervous at the same time than she’s been in a long while. Excited to see her parents again, without the annoyance that is her sister, but then nervous about how they’re going to be around Jenny. Plus how Jenny’s going to react around them. Standing in the kitchen, doing her washing up as well as some of Bill's for a favour, Yaz imagines all the scenarios of what could happen. The best possibilities along with the worst, which include her mother making a remark about a certain topic, making Jenny choke on her food and then die in her arms. But, after everything they’ve been through so far, deep down Yaz recons that whatever happens this evening, her and Jenny will be able to laugh about it when it’s over.

Lost in her thoughts, a body presses itself against Yaz’s back and for a moment she panics, until she hears the voice. 

“Guess what arrived in the post.” Jenny grins into the back of Yaz’s head, dropping a cardboard box onto the counter next to the sink. When her hands are free they snake low around Yaz’s waist and she traces her lips over her neck. 

“Jen- Jenny my hands are wet.” Yaz laughs contently. 

“I want mine to be.” Jenny purrs down her neck. 

“Whoa, okay, cool it down with the-” As Yaz spins her body around so that she can face Jenny, she notices the massive number of differences in her appearance. She’s wearing black jeans with a belt, a black denim jacket and under it a wonderful shirt that looks like the galaxy has been spewed up on it. On top of all that, the piece Yaz noticed the most was the earring attached to a cuff of stars sitting neatly on top of her ear. She looks smart . Grown up. A woman. “Fuck me.” Yaz mutters.

“What?” Jenny looks herself up and down. “Also, I’m trying.”

“You dressed up differently.” Yaz goes to run her fingers over the jacket until she remembers they’re still covered in dirty dish water. 

“I wanted to make a good impression. I don’t really think your parents are that keen on me and I know that sometimes the way I dress… it’s not the most acceptable.” Jenny shrugs her shoulders up to her ears.

“Jenny, you don’t have to change who you are for the sake of my parents.”

Jenny shrugs her shoulders again. “I’m your girlfriend. I want to be something you can show off, not something you need to explain like an exhibit in a zoo.”

Yaz smiles peacefully at the declaration. The strange if not charming declaration. Jenny’s hips rock against her, pushing her back into the kitchen counter, catching Yaz off guard and almost tricking her into getting a kiss. 

“No. No, my parents are coming in just under an hour.” Yaz stops Jenny from sidetracking her. “Save it for tomorrow.” 

“But I want you now.” Jenny complains, running her hands up and down Yaz’s arms.

“Tonight then. Just get through the meal and then we can play around with-” Yaz glances into the open cardboard box for her eyes to meet a pack of condoms. “You know that thing isn’t actually going to put a baby in you, right?”

“It’s easier than using lube- hang on what do you mean in me, I’m using it on you.”

“Uh, no you’re not. I’m using it on you.” Yaz folds her arms around her front.

“Where’ve you got that idea from?” Jenny looks bewildered at the suggestion.

“You’re the one who suggested we use it!” Yaz pokes Jenny in the chest to rock her backwards again.

“Yeah on you! I want to use it on you!”

“Keep your voice down!” Yaz chuckles but her concern about the paper thin walls was very much real. “I think you’re the one that needs it more.”

“No I don’t.” Jenny insists.

“I can tell just by the tone of your voice.”

“You can tell from my voice?” Jenny suddenly becomes worried. “Will your parents be able to tell?”

“I wouldn’t doubt them.” Yaz says.

In reality, her mum and dad would never pick up on it. The changes are so subtle that no one but Yaz is able to pick up on it. The small changes include her sentences ending in higher notes, her ‘r’s coming from the base of her throat, and her eyelids blinking a millisecond slower when she says her name. All telltale signs for Yaz but to everyone else they mean nothing. 

“You’ll be fine, Jen.” Yaz hands her her teatowel. “Now help me dry up.”

 

After an inspection on how clean Yaz was keeping her living quarters (with a certain box hidden in plain sight), a tour of campus, and a short train journey (since neither Jenny or the Khan’s brought their cars to campus), the group of them made it to the main highstreet in town littered with all sorts of retail shops, takeaways, restaurants and food shops. Yaz hopes that the realities of student nights out won’t rear its ugly face later on, otherwise Najia might insist on Yaz never leaving campus again. 

Najia leads the pack of four into a small independent place right on the end of the highstreet. Yaz wonders how she found out about this place, since she’s only been in the area once on an open day, but the internet is an extraordinary thing and she already knows her mum has a knack for finding things out. Inside the restaurant, waiting for a waiter to take them to their table, Yaz feels Jenny’s hand trying to subtly reach for her own. She takes the clammy hand and gives it a little squeeze of reassurance. Jenny’s lasted a long time before losing her nerve this evening, which Yaz would be proud of if it was even half the time, but tonight she’s excelling herself and Yaz loves her even more for it. 

Once sat down with the waiter walking away from them the interrogation starts. 

“How’s school going?” Her dad, who’s sitting opposite Jenny, asks. 

“It’s alright. Nothing special I guess, just a lot of reading.” Yaz answers. 

“What about you Jenny?” He asks. “What is it you’re studying? I can’t remember if Yaz mentioned it before.”

“Yeah, good thanks. I’m studying applied physics but…”

“You don’t sound as enthusiastic as she does about your work.” Najia comments to Yaz alone over the table. 

“I’m still struggling to get into it.” Yaz says so quietly she almost mouths. She glances at Jenny, who is now in deep conversation with her dad. “Don’t let her catch on.” 

Najia winks, understanding that if Jenny finds out Yaz isn’t enjoying her studies she’ll never hear the end of it. However at the same time her face is telling Yaz she still has something to say about it herself.

“Can I get you some drinks?” The waiter asks. 

“I’ll have a beer please.” Hakim orders. 

“Orange juice please.”  Najia orders. 

“I’ll just have some water please.” Jenny says.

“Me too.” Yaz adds. 

“The students that don’t drink.” Hakim smiles. “Whatever next.” 

“I’m not a big drinker.” Jenny says. “Doesn’t usually end well.” 

At the same time, Jenny and Yaz look at each other through the corners of their eyes, and smiles pull on both or their mouths in remembrance of the first time Yaz saw Jenny drunk at Clara’s party. Or more like the morning after, waking up in the same bed together for the first time and Jenny pretending not to look at Yaz while she put her clothes on. 

“Care to share?” Najia asks with a raised brow.

“Absolutely not.” Yaz says. 

“From the looks on their faces, I don’t want to know.” Hakim mumbles. 

“Nothing like that dad.” Yaz rolls her eyes. She doesn’t need to look at Jenny to know she’s blushing. “What are we thinking food wise?” She changes the subject. 

Discussions over food options fill the air between all of them for a few minutes. This place is fairly fancy and Yaz is grateful she’s not the one paying. 

“Sorry this is so close to Valentine's Day, it was the only weekend the both of us have off work to come down.” Hakim apologises.  

“It’s fine, honestly.” Jenny smiles. 

“It’s not like you came on the actual day.” Yaz adds. 

“Yeah, but surely you’re going out to eat tomorrow? Or doing something nice?” Najia asks. 

“They’re students Najia, they’re not going to deny a free meal.” 

“I have something planned.” Jenny smirks. Yaz looks at her threateningly, wondering why she would even dare to bring that up in front of her parents. “Not the thing I told you about, it’s something else.” 

“What?” Yaz asks. 

“That’s for me to know and you to find out. Oooh! Garlic mushrooms!” 

Yaz stares at her girlfriend with awe and adoration. She’s planned something, probably something special with out of the box thinking involved. Her beautiful, amazing, talented girlfriend has planned something for them together behind her back. Yaz places her hand on Jenny’s knee, and as she moves her eyeline back in front of her, she catches both of her parents smiling at her with happiness. It pipes down Yaz’s own smile and makes her hang her head low with embarrassment, pretending she’s still analysing the menu, but her smile doesn’t disappear completely. With Jenny it never will. 

“Can’t miss a chance to meet up with your parents anyway.” Jenny adds, referencing back to the original topic of conversation before the air becomes stale. 

“Maybe one day we could meet your parents Jenny. All of us get together.” Najia says. A harmless comment to everyone else but Yaz feels Jenny tense under her hand, still on her knee. Immediately Yaz’s focus is on Jenny and Jenny alone.  

“I don’t think that’s going to be possible.” Jenny says. Yaz takes her hand off her knee and moves it to rub Jenny’s lower back, as if she’s delicately defusing a bomb. 

“Why not? Surely a parent has some spare time to-”

“Excuse me for a minute.” Jenny excuses herself from the table and walks towards the restaurant entrance with her hands shoved in her pockets and her head hung low so that her hair covers her face. Yaz feels like calling after her, but she knows she needs her space. 

“Did I say something wrong?” Najia asks. 

“She doesn’t have parents. They’re either dead or not around anymore or she never met them, I don’t know. She doesn’t like talking about it.” Yaz explains.

“You should’ve said.” Najia says. 

“I didn’t think.” Yaz sighs. 

“Should you go after her?” Hakim asks. 

Yaz considers. Does she trust Jenny enough to come back on her own accord? To come back at all tonight? It wouldn’t necessarily be because of Yaz, it would most certainly be because of her parents, but if Yaz has learnt anything recently it’s that Jenny shouldn’t be left to mull over problems on her own for a long period of time. 

“Give me two minutes.” Yaz says, excusing herself. 

She finds Jenny crouching down by the corner of the building, holding her head in her hands. Yaz approaches carefully, not wanting to scare her. She looks so lost like this- so alone and Yaz hates it. 

“I’m fine. I just needed some air.” Jenny says without even looking up to check who it is.

Yaz crouches down beside her, putting her hand on Jenny’s shoulder with caution. “Are you sure?” 

“It is what it is.” Jenny shrugs. “How were they to know.” She rises, bringing Yaz with her. 

“I’m sorry. They’re just excited.” Yaz says, flattening out Jenny’s denim jacket. Jenny catches her hands and laces her fingers through Yaz’s own. Yaz can see how sad her eyes are no matter how think her layers of defenses are. “They might say some other things but if you just say something like ‘I’d rather not talk about it’ they won’t push it.” 

“I know. They’re good people. They made you.” Jenny compliments. Yaz notes that her eyes are still hanging low so she strokes Jenny’s knuckles with her thumbs to evoke some comfort. She hopes- she trusts - that one day, when she needs it, Jenny will do the same for her. 

“Hey, just… think about tomorrow. Your surprise and the day we’re gonna have together. No classes, no worries, just us.” 

“I love you.” Jenny smiles. A warm sight in the cold outside air.

Yaz seals her promise that she loves Jenny too with a small kiss, letting Jenny linger for as long as she likes. She still gives her butterflies after all this time- all those kisses, all those soft touches and she still isn’t anywhere near tired of them. 

“Shall we go back in?” Yaz asks.

“Suppose we should.” Jenny shrugs. “If we just stood here alone for a bit longer your mum would come and disturb it wouldn’t she.” 

“Come on.” Yaz drags her back in by the hand.

Luckily, the waiter was about five steps ahead of them and starts talking to Najia and Hakim, so that when Jenny and Yaz sit down there isn’t time to have an awkward interaction over what just happened. Instead they all order, discuss what each other is having and crack a few jokes to melt the ice rather than crack it. 

“How did you two even meet?” Najia asks. 

“I swear I’ve already told you mum.” 

“Do you want the first time we interacted or the first time we actually met?” Jenny asks for clarification. 

“Both.” Hakim and Najia say at the same time. 

“Well, on one of the very first nights I went to the student union bar and…” Yaz looks to Jenny for help on how to phrase it.

“When I saw you, you weren’t exactly in the best state.” Jenny throws her arm above and behind Yaz pushing their sides closer. 

“Yasmin!” 

“I wasn’t drunk mum, it was homesickness.” Yaz tries to reel it in. Although in fairness she was a little bit drunk.

“She was having a bit of a panic and I tried to help.”

“Tried?” Hakim asks. 

“Then she told me to piss off.” 

“No I didn’t!” Yaz protests. “I told you to fuck off.” She corrects Jenny.

“Oh yeah!” Jenny scrunches up her nose. Just the way Yaz likes it. “Then we kind of just kept running into each other everywhere.”

“Jenny?” A teenage boy in trackies approaches the table. 

“Hey! Mickey, how are you buddy?” Jenny greets him warmly. 

“I’m sorry to interrupt your dinner but I just wanted to say thanks for the tutoring and stuff. I’d say it in class but the lads… you know.” He curls into himself. 

“That’s alright mate, my pleasure.” Jenny smiles kindly. “Are you coming to the session next week?” 

“Wouldn’t miss it.” He grins, waves, and walks away. 

The small interaction leaves the Khan’s stumped. Or at least two of them are clueless as to what’s going on and the other one attached to Jenny’s side very turned on with a swollen heart after seeing her girlfriend interact with kids. Suddenly Yaz finds herself wishing that strap ons could put a baby in Jenny. That she could get her pregnant and have a kid with her and raise it together.

“I tutor some kids at the secondary school as a job.” Jenny explains without anyone verbally asking. 

“You’re so good with them.” Yaz says. 

“Why do you sound surprised?” Jenny frowns.

“No reason.” Yaz shakes her head but her smile gives her away. “You’re not always the best at interacting with adults so I thought…” 

“I’m good with kids, kids are less likely to judge.” 

“True, have you ever had an argument with a baby boomer?” Hakim comes to Jenny’s defense.

“Are you talking about my mother?” Najia asks, offence dripping from her tongue. 

“Not in particular, no.” 

Najia drops it and Hakim throws Yaz and Jenny a look that said ‘I think I got away with that one’ making the both of them silently chuckle.

“Would you like to see the desert menu?” The waiter asks.

“Go on then.” Hakim says encouragingly. 

“Dad, are you sure?” Yaz asks. She’s always conscious of money but especially when her parents are paying for everything. 

“I’m completely sure.” He grins.

“Your father got a promotion yesterday.” Najia smiles proudly. 

“Wahey!” Jenny cheers. 

“Nice one dad!” Yaz praises him.

“Thank you, thank you. Thank you.” Hakim says, the last thank you being for the waiter. 

“I might skip out on this one, I’m stuffed.” Najia announces. 

“You won’t even share one with me?” Hakim asks, placing his menu between himself and his wife so they can read it together. 

Yaz, spotting an opportunity to show Jenny how she’s feeling about her right now while her parents are distracted over the sweet treats, slides her hand in between Jenny’s thighs. As she starts to slowly drag her hand up and down, she moves her face to get as close to Jenny’s ear as possible. 

“Getting excited about your after dinner treat?” She teases through a whisper. Pulling her head back to see how well (or poorly) Jenny is keeping herself together.

“You’re evil.” Jenny whispers back with glazed over eyes and a lip she’s trying not to bite. 

“What about tiramisu?” Najia’s voice alone removes Yaz’s hand from between Jenny’s legs. The question isn’t aimed at either of them, but it reminds them how dangerous the game they’re playing is. 

Therefore, instead of taking her revenge at the dinner table, Jenny steals touches, kisses and fondles when she can the entire journey back to Yaz’s halls- all while still interacting with Najia and Hakim. Yaz only ever gets to the brink of panicking while Jenny's doing it and doesn't consider it the same as a possessive thing. Jenny's aching for a shared experience with her. This isn't one sided. 

“Where do you live on campus Jenny?” Hakim asks about three steps away from Yaz’s building.

“Oh, actually I live off campus with my mates.” Yaz explains. 

“Ah, we can get the train back with you.” Hakim suggests. Yaz wishes he hadn’t.

Yaz looks over at Jenny straight away. The little world they’ve created over the last fourty minutes comes crashing down around them. Jenny even looks like she’s gone a paler shade of white. They need to find a way out of this and quickly.

“I... left my lab report in Yaz’s room.” Is what Jenny comes up with.

“We can wait.” Hakim smiles. 

“I don’t want to hold you up. You’ve had a long day.” Jenny insists. 

“You could pick it up tomorrow.” Najia suggests. 

“I really need that lab report tonight, I was going to finish it.” Jenny says, her desperation slipping through. 

“She really does.” Yaz backs her up. 

“So are we going to stand around debating it or are you going to get it?” Hakim asks, his confusion and suspicion rising.

“She was going to get it.” Yaz mutters under her breath. Or so she thinks, forgetting her mother shares the same ears as a bat.

“What was that?” Najia is quick to ask. 

“Nothing.” Yaz brushes her comment away like a speck of dust on an ornament. “Jen you should get going.” She concedes.

“Are you sure?” Jenny asks, wide eyed but disappointed.

Yaz nods. “I’ll make sure it’s with you first thing.” 

“That’s all sorted then.” Hakim smiles and claps his hands together. He hasn’t got a clue.

Yaz hugs her dad goodbye. Then her mum who leaves her a lingering look of suspicion, then Jenny approaches her with puffed out cheeks holding in a sigh. Yaz looks over to check where her parent’s attentions are and she accidentally catches eyes with her mother, who amazingly chooses not to stare her down but instead lead Hakim’s attention to the complete opposite direction to give the two of them a bit of privacy.

“Sorry.” Yaz apologises for her dad’s mood killer.

“It’s okay. I’ll wait.” Jenny says. 

“I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t.” Yaz says as she pulls Jenny into a tight hug. 

“Implying that I should masturbate and then leaving an imprint of your body on me doesn’t help.” 

“Right, sorry.” Yaz pushes Jenny off of her for her benefit. She knows she suggested what she suggested but she’s trusting that Jenny’s going to stick to her guns and wait. Time wise, the morning is literally only a matter of hours away. 

“You held it together well this evening though.” Yaz feels like she has to mention it at least once. “I'm proud of you.”

“Thanks.” Jenny beams.  

“Coming Jenny?” Najia asks. Times up. 

“See you tomorrow Jen.” Yaz goes to kiss her cheek, but with one trick left up her sleeve Jenny cups Yaz’s face and positions it perfectly to land the kiss on her lips. Yaz smiles at the trick and leans into it, not caring about any extra eyes viewing the moment.  

“Tomorrow?” Jenny checks. 

“Tomorrow.” Yaz agrees. With a final kiss of her cheek, Yaz sends Jenny confidently away with her parents for the short- but what must feel like super long- train journey back into town. She has no clue as to which hotel or b&b her parents were staying in, but she took comfort in knowing that Jenny’s going back to four loving walls with people who will look after her. 

Back in her room, Yaz’s focus is grasped by Jenny’s ‘lab report’ sitting in its box on her desk. She should probably try it on. Try to figure out how it fits around her hips and move her body to try and discover the best way to move for Jenny’s sake. But the adrenaline of having an evening with Jenny and her parents has left her body and Yaz it tired. All she wants now is a nice shower and her bed. 

However after her shower, Yaz gets a brainwave. 

“Mate, are you still awake?” Yaz texts Bill. 

“Yeah, why?” Bill texts back seconds later. 

“I need your help. Come over.” 

Yaz swears she can hear Bill groan from her room across the hall. In the time it takes for Bill’s firedoor to shut, Yaz’s is being opened and Bill stands there in her pyjamas looking unimpressed but willing to help. 

“What’s up?” Bill asks. 

“I’m asking you this because you’re the only person I trust with this information.” Yaz says, stalling asking the question.

“You have my attention.” Bill glides in like a swan to sit across from Yaz on her bed. The only thing between them being a beige cardboard box. “What’s that?” Bill picks up on it.

“Um.” Yaz hesitates. “Have you ever used, you know…”

“What?” Bill asks, not getting it. 

“A strap-on?” Yaz asks, voice hushed. Bill stares at her silently for a moment.

“Nope, we’re not doing this.” Bill moves to get up but Yaz grabs onto her arm. 

“No no no no you can’t leave, please, I need your help, I need you to teach me how to use it because Jenny wants me to use it on her tomorrow!” 

“Gross! Man, you’re the same as her when it comes to oversharing.” Bill complains, but she doesn’t go to take her leave. 

“Please?” Yaz asks again. “I’ll tell you her kinks.” 

If Yaz was playing uno, she’s just thrown down her final card and it’s a plus four.

“This better be worth it.”

Chapter Text

Cool silicone slowly and steadily slides easily into Jenny’s core. Yaz can already tell the difference in Jenny’s reaction compared to when she uses her fingers. Her breathing is forced to be deep and controlled, her head is pushing itself further into her pillow, her mouth open but her throat having no capability to make sound, and her hands instantly digging her nails into Yaz’s waist. Yaz lets half of the length in before pulling out again as to not overwhelm the woman under her. 

“Is that okay?” Yaz asks. 

“Uh-huh” Jenny nods.

“Do you want more?”

“Yes.” Jenny almost begs. Almost. To think that Jenny was under the illusion of her being the one using is laughable. But then to be fair, Yaz has just spent the past twenty odd minutes winding her up.

Yaz slides the unit back in, past the point she reached before, and when she reaches that point again she leans further down to touch Jenny’s forehead with her own. She wants to watch her face, look her in the eyes as she penetrates her but Jenny’s eyes have already been forced to close and her jaw locked open. Thanks to Bill’s lesson last night, Yaz knows the test of stamina is only just beginning. Starting to thrust, still keeping the pace as slow as possible to not hurt her girlfriend, Jenny begins to pant in her ear and her hands travel up and down Yaz’s back. Yaz is too busy getting turned on by the noises she almost misses Jenny’s hand leaving her back and going to touch herself. 

“Don’t.” Yaz growls without knowing. She uses her core strength to hold herself up on one arm while the other swats away and pins Jenny’s wrist to the mattress. 

“Please. I can’t with just that.” Jenny groans, grinding her hips up to try and get some contact with Yaz’s body.

“Are you going to be a good girl for me?” Yaz asks. It’s the first time she’s ever said anything like that and she has a split moment of not knowing whether she likes talking to Jenny like it before she sees Jenny’s pupils expand and realises her words will be worth it. 

“Yes.”

“Then you’ll finish when I tell you to.” Yaz picks up the pace of her movements. “Can I trust you to not do anything,” Yaz has to tilt Jenny’s chin up to get her to pay attention. “Jen?” 

“I will.” Jenny just manages to say. “I mean you can trust- oh, shit.” 

Yaz smiles and kisses her for the millionth time today, despite it only being about half nine in the morning. This is going well so far. Yaz is enjoying herself, Jenny is certainly enjoying herself, but the one thing that would make this whole experience better is if Jenny would actually make some kind of noise other than heavy breathing. So, before missionary gets boring for the both of them, Yaz pulls her body up to swing Jenny’s legs over her shoulders, then leans herself back down, giving them both a tighter sensation.

A guttural moan falls out of Jenny’s mouth, followed by another and another and another, each sending shocks down to Yaz’s developing heat. That is exactly what she wants to hear. 

“Good girl.” Yaz mutters into Jenny’s ear as she continues to grind and thrust. The words alone draw out another moan and Yaz feels herself start to lose it. Why hadn’t they thought of this sooner?

Jenny wasn’t joking when she said she couldn’t finish without some other kind of help. Yaz switches between fast and slow and deep to just the tip but it doesn’t seem to do anything other than switch up how she moans and makes sex noises into Yaz’s ear and how her arms flail everywhere, caressing every part of Yaz’s torso. Yaz stokes Jenny’s thighs as much she can without collapsing into her and rolls stiff nipples between her fingers and yet all it does is put Jenny in limbo. She isn’t getting anywhere. And Yaz is getting tired. She’s fit but not fit enough to keep going like this for much longer.

“I love you.” Jenny sighs the next time Yaz catches her eye. She knows Jenny’s trying to let her know they can give up, try again some other day but Yaz wants to see this through right to the end.

“Oh yeah?” Yaz chuckles at Jenny being on the verge of ‘totally-out-of-it. “Then ride it.” 

Jenny’s smile widens and somehow, not knowing the physics of how they do it, they manage to end up with Yaz on her back and Jenny on top without the third party in this act being removed. 

Yaz can’t help but gulp and stare at the sight laid out in front of her. Jenny is literally glistening with a thin layer of sweat covering her entire body, her hair falling in front of her face but her concentration being totally on her hands resting on Yaz’s ribs and her eyes keeping contact with Yaz’s. It’s like she’s needing encouragement, needing Yaz to get her confidence up to do this.

“You’re so good.” Yaz mutters, brushing Jenny’s hair out of her eyes. 

It works and Jenny sits up straight, grinding her hips in circles. Yaz, now that she’s in the right position to do so, wants to see the attachment to herself go in and out of Jenny as it stimulates her, so she reaches out her arms and holds onto Jenny’s waist to make her bounce up and down and fucking hell Yaz doesn’t know how she isn’t just passing out where she lays.

“Fuck’s sake.” Yaz laughs deliriously and drags her hand down her face. She doesn’t know how else to process it.

Jenny smirks, re-attaching Yaz’s hand to her waist. “I knew you liked to watch.” Yaz thrusts her hips forward as a way to tell her to hold her cheek and keep moving. It makes Jenny jolt and groan and her hand flies to her groin but she resists like the good girl she is and strokes it over her stomach instead and then down to grip on her own thigh while the other massages her breasts to give Yaz a show. Or at least it feels like a show to Yaz, of which she’d happily give a five star review. Then and only then Yaz realises she’s being unfair. It was Jenny who wanted this, Jenny who came up with it and Jenny who waited for this and Yaz is just making her wait longer. She sits up, letting Jenny hold onto her shoulders as the sensation rolls through her and she keeps moving no matter how long she’s been going for or how tired she’s getting. Yaz indulges herself just that little bit longer by nipping and stroking Jenny’s neck with her mouth. 

“You ride me so well baby.” Yaz tries to kiss Jenny’s lips but instead almost gets hit in the face by her chin as she tilts her head back with pleasure. She takes one of the arms draped over her shoulders and guides it down to where the two bodies are meeting. “Make yourself cum for me. You deserve it.” 

Jenny gets to work straight away, moving her fingers fast with no pattern, just an end goal in sight. She fills Yaz’s mouth with a mixture of tongue and moans giving Yaz an immense amount of satisfaction. As nails scratch and dig into Yaz’s shoulder and Yaz can sense it’s getting harder for her to move, Jenny groans into Yaz’s shoulder sending vibrations through every cell in Yaz’s body. 

“Yaz, hold me!” Jenny barely gets her name out before her body starts to shake and her hand becomes paralyzed. Yaz takes over, carefully  circling Jenny’s clit with her fingers to avoid overstimulation as she collapses in her arms. She’s never heard her climax like this before. The noises she makes are uncontrolled, feral and being broadcast straight into Yaz’s ear. Yaz thinks this might never end until Jenny’s arms over her shoulders go limp and she instinctively starts to comfortingly stroke up and down Jenny’s spine. Yaz can’t help but think about how amazing she is. Both of them panting like dogs, Yaz lifts up Jenny’s thighs to expel the foreign object, and it makes Jenny shiver and bite down on Yaz’s shoulder before she rests in her lap.

“You're amazing.” Yaz says one more phrase of affirmation to really hit it home that she’ll try out everything and anything for her. 

“Were you this good with all the other women you’ve done this with?” Jenny utters through hitched breath. 

“You’re the first.” Yaz half laughs half sighs. 

“Bullshit.” Jenny insists. Yaz leaves kisses all over the side of Jenny’s face she can reach with her lips; being as gentle as possible and ignoring the undoubtable inferno between her own legs that needs attention. “I’m sorry, I should be helping you out.” Jenny apologises as if she can read her mind.

“It’s alright.” Yaz says. Except she isn’t alright. Jenny’s so worn out she can barely move but Yaz is in desperate need for her attention. “I just want to get this off for a sec.”

Yaz lays Jenny down to rest with trembling legs and heaving chest. As Yaz gets up off the bed she swears her own legs have gone funny but now looking back on the experience she’s so glad Jenny’s housemates are nowhere to be seen this morning. She’s surprised at her own skill as well- and her influence over Jenny when she uses the right words- but she wishes her skill extended to being able to get the bloody thing off. Noticing that she’s struggling, Jenny silently musters up all the energy she has left to get up out of bed and unclips the harness in all the right places, letting it drop away down Yaz’s thighs and onto the floor with a smile and a kiss. 

“How do you know how-”

“One day I will use that on you, Yasmin Khan.” Jenny walks Yaz backwards, stepping out of the harness until her back hits Jenny’s desk. Yaz tries to regain control by going to kiss Jenny but Jenny pushes Yaz’s legs wide apart and Yaz feels the control slip away through her fingers once more, transfering to Jenny’s fingers, two of which enter Yaz’s wetness with no hesitation. “Make sure you know how good it feels when you fill me.” Another finger. Yaz bites into her lips so hard she makes it numb and it forces her to recognise how badly she needs this.  

Yaz goes to grip onto Jenny’s shoulder but her body disappears and her hand just swipes empty air. Yaz looks down, feeling the absence of digits inside her, and finds Jenny kneeling between her legs submissively, waiting for Yaz to give her consent. Of course, Yaz gives the slightest of nods, wanting her needs to be attended to and her girlfriend gives it to her the way she knows she likes it. She shouldn’t be thinking about it now, but Yaz considers that maybe Jenny’s tongue is so strong because she talks a lot. Yaz tilts her head back as an inescapable moan rises from her stomach up through her body and out of her mouth. She’s so close already, she can feel it. Wrangling a hand into Jenny’s luscious hair, the other white knuckling it to the edge of the bed, she lets the coil winding up inside her release along with a sound she at first doesn’t recognise as her own. The next thing she knows Jenny is up in her face with a glistening mouth smiling like someone just handed her the universe on a silver platter. 

“Hey.” Jenny speaks softly, cupping Yaz’s cheek. “Back with me?” There’s a hint of concern in her voice, as if Yaz had disappeared out of the room for a moment.

“Think so.” Yaz smiles, exhausted.

“Good.” Jenny finally wipes her mouth clean and grins. “Happy Valentines.” 

 

“Braces, blue or red?” A freshly showered Jenny asks. 

“Purple.” Yaz answers without looking up from her phone screen.

“Now there’s a shout.” 

“Thank you. She thinks I’m some kind of God.” Yaz quickly texts her guru a thanks for her guidance. It’s also a brag on Yaz’s part. It’s Valentine's Day and for the first time in her life she’s spending the day created for businesses to make money with a woman who she actually finds fascinating and lovable.

“She already considered you a God.” Bill instantly replies. "Also way to much information." Bill adds and it makes Yaz giggle to herself.

“So the plan is,” Jenny crawls onto the bed to lay next to Yaz. “I suggest spending a day at the aquarium, you say no so instead we go to the cinema and then-”

“Why would I say no to going to the aquarium?” Yaz stops her in her tracks.

“I thought… I thought you wouldn’t… because it’s more of a me thing and I didn’t want to force you to go and get bored. Any other day I would’ve just taken you but after this morning, when you’ve already done that for me...”

“Jenny, I want to do whatever you planned.”

“But-”

“The first plan, not your backup plan.” Yaz insists. 

“Really? You don’t think it’s childish to want to go to the aquarium?”

“No,” Yaz strokes some hair out of Jenny’s face. She doesn’t want to be rude but her roots really need doing. “I think it’s very you.”

“It’s like a museum but with living things!” Jenny sits up, almost making Yaz involuntarily slap her in the face, and scurries around her room to get her boots on. “If we get going now we’ll have enough time there before the third thing I want us to do.”

“Third thing?” Yaz asks, sitting up herself. Jenny just smiles at her. “Jenny, what third thing?” Yaz asks with a purposefully firmer voice. 

“You’ll see.”  

 

The drive to the aquarium is long and admittedly Yaz naps through most of it, leaving Jenny alone to hum along to the radio and tap the steering wheel when she thinks she’s gone the wrong way. Since Valentines Day has fallen on a weekend the roads are backed up and it makes their journey that bit more tedious but for the look on Jenny’s face when they arrive, the frustration is worth it. She’s practically jumping out of her boots at the realisation that they’re in time to see the tropical fish be fed. She has this kind of childish joy about her that doesn’t turn her back into an actual child, just a happy adult having fun. The Jenny now is a completely different Jenny to the woman in bed this morning. 

“I love that you’re so excited.” Yaz says, curling into Jenny’s side as they wait in line to get in. 

“I come here all the time. I’m excited because you’re here with me.” Jenny swings their intertwined hands between them and smiles. “I usually do this alone.” 

“Not anymore.” Yaz smiles, trying not to let her sadness over Jenny doing things she loves alone creep through. 

“Clara has come a couple of times but she can’t stand the children.” Jenny giggles to herself.

“I thought she was training to be a teacher?” Yaz asks, considering the contradiction when put with what she’s just been told. 

“Secondary school, not primary or pre-school.” Jenny says. As if on cue a child in a pram starts to scream behind them. “I don’t mind it so long as I’m not already…” Jenny raises her hand from her hip to just above her eyes. Yaz knows what it means. If her senses are already on high alert, screeching and crying children can send her over the edge. 

They take a few steps forward as more people are let in. The pair of them are now standing where the queue double backs on itself and Yaz finds herself being stared at by a baby sitting in it’s pram. A sweet little thing with barely any hair and eyes still the default bright blue. Yaz gives the baby a friendly smile and to entertain it and slowly and unsure, the baby replicates the action. 

“Cute.” Jenny says. Yaz turns to see Jenny watching her, smiling.

“Jen, do you want children one day?” Yaz asks, not really thinking about it.

Jenny turns her head away and gets up on her tiptoes to peer over the line. “I wonder what stamp they’re using this week.” She says.

Realising her question won’t be answered, Yaz can’t think of anything else to fill the gap where Jenny’s answer should be, so she stays quiet and looks at the artwork on the walls. A slender hand holds onto hers and holds it tight enough to tell Yaz ‘This is solid. We are solid.’ and accompanied by a kiss on her cheekbone, Yaz’s smile grows back.

“Welcome to sea- oh, hey Jenny.” The bulky looking guy with greasy hair behind the desk diverts from his script. “Not seen you in a while.” 

“Been busy.” Jenny shrugs. 

“I feel you. Who’s this?” He points at Yaz.

“My girlfriend, Yaz.” Jenny introduces her proudly. 

“Hi.” Yaz waves with her free hand. 

“Nice to meet you. Okay so two students, that’s £20 exactly.” He says and Jenny gets out her wallet. 

“I can pay for mine.” Yaz offers. 

“I’m paying.” Jenny hands over the cash before Yaz has a chance.

“And your change.” The guy hands one of the ten pound notes back.

“But I gave you exactly-”

“Jenny, it’s February fourteenth, a day of love. You give enough money to this place anyway.” He stamps the back of their hands. Jenny, still in shock at the act of kindness, has to be dragged through the gate by Yaz. 

“Ooooh! The octopus, I love the octopus. He knows I love the octopus.” Jenny admires the blue stamp on her hand. “Don’t try to pay for anything else again today.”

“Jen, I don’t want you spending all your money on me.” Yaz says. 

“Just for today. Let me.” Jenny says, picking on all her charm.

“Fine.” Yaz gives in.

“Only because your parents paid last night.” Jenny adds. 

“Oh, so it’s like that huh?” Yaz teases. They both end up giggling softly.

“Did they like me?” Jenny asks. 

“Course they did.” Yaz reassures her as they find a space up against the first tank filled with stingrays and huge fish. “If you hadn’t won them over already you have now.”

“Did they text you about me or anything?” She asks. "And you're just not telling me because you don't want to hurt my feelings."

“No, you plum.” Yaz whole-heartedly denies. Jenny smiles like she has no choice but to accept that she’s liked by more than just her circle of friends. “They like you and they like that you’re with me and that you make me happy, now look at the fish and enjoy yourself.”

 

Yaz feels like she has her very own personal tour guide the entire way around the aquarium. Except she’s pretty sure the real tour guides don’t have to be pulled back from almost falling in a tank by their trouser braces but Jenny recites the information plaques right down to the punctuation but with so much enthusiasm she might just burst at the seams. Yaz isn’t even listening to half of what she’s saying because she’s so busy staring at her girlfriend enjoying herself, sharing all her information because she trusts her to understand where she’s coming from. After a solid ten to fifteen minutes in each room (an extra five in the nursery and hatchery) Jenny slows her pace and takes Yaz by the hand again. 

“This is my favourite room.” Jenny says softly, as if she was walking into a place of worship, so therefore Yaz treats it as such. The room has three solid walls but the only light comes from the fourth wall, of which is a wall sized tank holding sharks, a turtle and bright tropical fish. “Helps me calm down a lot. I think they’re beautiful. Sometimes I feel like these fish. Living in a tank, swimming around the same surface area all day every day with people coming in to stare and point and tap on my glass.” Jenny steps up onto the child's viewing platform and presses her body up against the glass, her breath steaming up the patch under her nose. An electric blue fish swims by and Jenny presses her palm up against where it swims. “But then someone like you will turn up and you’ll appreciate me and my colours and my never ending sets of teeth. You don’t ask questions, you don’t point and say ‘hey look mum, that one’s funny’ you just let me exist.” Jenny turns her fixed gaze from the tank and onto Yaz. Her eyes send a chill down Yaz’s spine and makes her shuffle on the spot. “Let me swim.” 

Yaz steps up to the viewing platform. Everyone else in the room falls away, to the bottom of the ocean, letting Yaz comfortably wind her arm around Jenny’s waist with the same fluidity of the fish going about their day. She doesn’t have anything else to say- at least nothing Jenny doesn’t already know- so she stands there, staring into the fish tank while Jenny stares at her.

 

They spend almost two hours in that room. Once a space on one of the viewing benches comes free they transfer their bodies over there and sit together resting heads on shoulders, arms around waists and thighs pushed up against thighs. Their silences shared together are usually a minor worry for Yaz, since a quiet Jenny usually means a worrisome Jenny, but today- knowing that this sacred place calms Jenny down best- she relishes it for as long as possible. She’s just happy to sit there with her. 

“What’re your friends doing today?” Yaz asks, comfortably breaking out of the silence between them.

“Amy and Rory are doing some sort of murder mystery weekend at some old manor house.”

“Interesting.” Yaz nods, not knowing how else to react to that information. “And Clara?”

Jenny turns her head away from the fish tank, raises an eyebrow and smirks. “Ryan.” 

“Shut up, no way!” Yaz gets thrown backwards.

“He asked her on a proper date, all proper romantic ‘n stuff.” Jenny tells her.

“I don’t believe that.” 

“Okay so it wasn’t conventionally romantic but he tried.” 

“Conventionally romantic like how you asked me out to the police station?” Yaz teases, leaning into Jenny’s side.

“It worked though.” Jenny leans into Yaz’s side to balance them out.

“Yeah, it did.” Yaz comes over all flustered. 

Jenny’s eyes fall to Yaz’s lips and very slowly Yaz finds herself being kissed. A small, reserved kiss, but a kiss in public which is a massive thing for both of them. Yaz can’t help but worry that someone’s going to come up and film them, shout at them, tease them or even hit them. It ruins it a bit for her and it’s not until Jenny pulls away she realises that she’s safe. They’re both safe and they just kissed in public. 

“Can’t wait to interrogate him about that.” Yaz says as a cover up as to why she’s grinning so widely. 

“And I can’t wait to interrogate her.” Jenny’s hand rests on Yaz’s knee. 

“So go on then, what’s your third plan?” Yaz asks, testing the boundaries of how far Jenny’s chilled out mood will go.

“The third part of this plan is that we get a late lunch and then I drive us back.”

“Please tell me.” Yaz curls her fingers around Jenny’s that are sitting on her knee.

“Alright.” Jenny sighs. “We’re going to- if you’re agreeing- we’re going to go to the highest point of the hill on campus, order pizza and watch the sun set and then the stars.”

Yaz stands up, Jenny still attached to her hand. “I find that very agreeable.”

 

“Here you go.” Jenny hands Yaz a collection of blankets to wrap around herself.

The top of the hill on campus reveals the mass amount of countryside surrounding where Yaz lives. At least she chose the right campus even if the course isn’t to her liking. The sun is no longer in the sky and the temperature has plummeted with it; their pizza’s been eaten and conversation has been flowing beautifully. To get a better look of the sky above her, Jenny lays on her back, which Yaz then decides to do too. There’s a notable distance between their bodies which makes Yaz shimmy closer on the picnic blanket and she grabs the remaining free blanket to throw over the both of them. 

“I’m really glad I got to spend today with you.” Yaz confesses. 

“Me too.” Jenny mumbles, getting herself comfortable.

“I regret not making a move on you sooner.” Yaz admits. Jenny repositions her head so she can look Yaz in the eye.

“Want to know the main thing I regret about you?” Jenny asks.

“Am I going to be offended?” Yaz panics, thinking Jenny might be playing some cruel kind of trick on her. 

“I was too busy being moody that I missed your birthday.” Jenny says. Disappointment spills out of her but it’s directed at herself, no one else.

“Jenny, it doesn’t matter-”

“It matters to me. A lot. I know we weren’t official or anything then but it was kind of a critical stage for us, so… I know it doesn’t make up for it but…” Jenny reaches into her coat pocket and pulls out something round and silver. A ring.

“Jenny.” Yaz warns as her eyes grow wide. 

“I’m not proposing, chill out.” Jenny chuckles, examining the ring as if she’s making sure it’s worthy enough to be given into Yaz’s possession. “I noticed you sometimes wear rings and stuff and I didn’t really know what to get you but I saw this and thought you would suit it.” 

Jenny hands out the ring for Yaz to take and she does, examining it in her palm. Jenny could’ve chosen to have given it to her when there was enough light to actually see but what she can make out of it, Yaz is very impressed. It’s essentially a silver band with a rose bush etched into it all the way around. Yaz slides it onto her ring finger on her right hand. It fits perfectly. 

“Jenny how much did this cost you?” 

“Oh would you just shut up about costs today!” Jenny whines. “I’m treating you because you deserve it and I love you, Yaz.”

Seeing Jenny get so elegantly frustrated at her forces Yaz to notice her passion. Of course, Jenny's right, she’s always bloody right. Yaz is complaining too much over things she should be enjoying. Yaz lifts her head to kiss the corner of Jenny’s mouth. Pulling back, Jenny’s eyelids flutter and she exhales against Yaz’s lips.

“I know this morning was brilliant but I think I prefer it when you’re soft with me.” Jenny whispers. Yaz smiles and gently kisses Jenny full on the lips this time and Jenny takes the opportunity to bring Yaz closer by sliding her hands around the back of Yaz’s neck. Suddenly Yaz is trapped with butterflies in her stomach and Jenny’s inescapable lips attached to hers. Jenny only sets them both free when they get to the point they usually take things further. “Exactly like that.” Jenny smiles, eyes still closed. 

Satisfied and happy, Yaz lays back down at Jenny’s side twiddling her new ring around her finger. 

“I’m going to take that off you if you’re not going to focus on the sky.” Jenny says. 

Cuddling even further into Jenny’s side Yaz lays her head back on the pillow and looks up at the sky. Together they watch it turn from dusk to a deep black littered with dancing lights. Yaz swears she spots a couple of shooting stars but Jenny insists that she hasn’t seen any.

“Yaz?” Jenny mutters contently after a while of silence.

“Yeah, Jen?” Yaz lets her know she’s there.

“Do you think they love us back?”

“Who?” Yaz absentmindedly takes hold of Jenny’s hand, her new ring fitting in excellently between them.

“The stars.”

Yaz smiles. The scientist is asking her if  burning balls of gas in the outer atmosphere are sentient beings with emotions that can love them back. Jenny does that quite a lot of the time; switching from a strictly theory person to personifying everything and anything.

“I’m not sure, Jen.” Yaz answers.

“I wish I could go up there.” 

“Without me?” 

Once again proving they’re on the same wavelength, Yaz and Jenny turn to face each other. In this moment Yaz can’t wish for anything more. She’s got a woman who’s mad for her and she’s confident in saying she feels just the same. 

“I already feel like I’m walking among the stars when I’m with you.” Jenny says seriously.

“You’re an old romantic.” Yaz says accusingly, resting her head on Jenny’s chest to listen to her heart and her arm draped across her stomach. Jenny runs her fingers behind Yaz’s ear, stroking any loose strands of hair away and consequently making Yaz sleepy. No, not sleepy. Simply content.

“‘Course I am.” Jenny sighs and readjusts the blanket covering them. “Don’t tell anyone.”

Yaz, silently laughing to herself because everyone who really knows Jenny already knows she’s an old romantic (or at least a hopeless one), snuggles further into Jenny’s chest to keep watching the stars until Jenny gets bored. Yaz wonders if she should’ve got Jenny a physical gift to give her, one of monetary value like she’s been given, however Yaz is slowly coming to the realisation that Jenny doesn’t want things. She just wants her.

Companionship is a blessing to Jenny in itself.

Chapter Text

The next morning Jenny is sitting in one of the kitchen chairs while Yaz stands behind her sorting out her roots. They ended up falling asleep under the stars and woke up at about one in the morning before coming back home and even though they were both tired, they’re both up and getting on with the day to make use of the last day of the weekend together.

“You ever thought of going into hair and beauty?” Jenny jokes, clinging to the tea towel around her neck.

“Shut up.” Yaz smiles contently to herself. Until she met Jenny, she hasn't ever experienced peace like it.

A key clicks into the lock of the front door. The sound was so out of place in the otherwise empty house that both Yaz and Jenny snap their heads around to see who it is. Very much living in her own mind, Clara walks into the kitchen, not even registering that Jenny and Yaz are there. They watch her, a smile plastered on the corners of her mouth twitching every now and then when she thinks of something else. Jenny tilts her head up to give Yaz a look that says ‘wonder how long this is going to last’ and Yaz decides to cough. 

“Jesus Christ alive!” Clara jumps, clutching her chest. “How long have you two been there?”

Yaz waves her gloved hands around Jenny’s head half bleached. “Quite a while.” 

“Where have you been?” Jenny asks provocatively. 

“You know where I’ve been.” Clara slams a coffee mug onto the counter. Yaz is surprised it didn't break.

“I want to hear you say it. Oh!” Jenny looks up at Yaz again. “Sounded like you when we’re in bed then.”

“Jen!” Yaz gently hits her shoulder. 

“I stayed at Ryan’s.” Clara admits. Yaz wolf whistles. “Alright calm down. We didn’t do anything I just met his nan.” 

“Do you realise how much of an honor that is?” Yaz asks, eyes wide. “You’ve essentially met his parents.”

“I know.” Clara smiles again. She doesn’t realise she’s doing it.

“Oh my God she’s in love.” Jenny sits forward.

“Shut up no I’m not.” Clara sits across from them. “Whose ring is this?” 

“Mine.” Yaz claims it. “Jenny got it for me yesterday, I didn’t want to get bleach on it.” 

“This is a very sexy ring.” Clara says, picking it up and admiring it.

“It’s even better when it’s on her finger.” Jenny says and Yaz's heart skips a beat.

“May I ask which finger?” Clara raises her eyebrows. 

“This one.” Yaz flips her the bird, evoking a round of giggling between the three of them.

“Thank fuck we got out of that.” A Scottish voice fills the room. Amy and Rory are back too. 

“It wasn’t that bad.” Rory tries to reason with his fiance.

“Well good morning to you too.” Clara says with a playful cheer. 

“I thought you weren’t meant to be back until tonight.” Jenny says. 

“Jenny, seriously, it was literally all middle aged and old people.” Amy sits down. “Had to pretend there’s a family emergency to get out of today.”

“Bloody hell.” Clara chuckles. 

“Nice ring.” Amy takes it out of Clara’s hands. “Ryan get that for you?”

“Nope. Jenny got it for Yaz.”

“Jen, you didn’t!” Amy squeals with excitement. 

“I didn’t propose!” Jenny prevents the outburst, tensing in her chair. 

“Good because if you end up getting married before us that will be the shock of the century.” Amy says. 

“Done.” Yaz tells Jenny. “How long do we have to leave it.” 

“About twenty, twenty-five minutes maybe.” Jenny says. 

“Enough time to make a fry up then.” Rory says, making his way to the kitchen. 

“Eggs scrambled not fried please.” Clara chirps. “And make sure you leave some for me to bake a souffle.” 

 

“Are you sure there isn’t a more comfortable way to do this?” Yaz asks, looking at Jenny bending back in an incredibly confusing position to that her head is hanging over the side of the bathtub.

“I always do it like this.” Jenny says. 

“Suit yourself.” Yaz turns on the shower head and begins to rinse through Jenny’s hair. She thought Jenny would close her eyes just in case water gets in them but all she does it stare up at Yaz like she’s the most amazing woman in the world. 

“You’re looking at me weirdly.” Yaz says, running a hand through Jenny’s hair. 

“If anything happened to me and I wasn’t me anymore and I had to be looked after, would you care for me?” Jenny asks. It’s a loaded question, which Yaz is a little cautious over, but she answers anyway. 

“Of course I would.”

“I think I’d do it for you.” Jenny admits. 

“I’m not sure about wiping your arse though.” Yaz jokes. 

“Oi!” Jenny reaches round and points the shower head to spray Yaz with water. 

“Don’t! I’ve got my phone on me!” Yaz regains control on where the hell the water is going. 

“That went nowhere near your phone. Check it, it’ll be fine.” 

To humor her, Yaz takes out her phone. It’s fine, obviously it is, but an email notification catches her eye. Professor Song wants to see her in her office tomorrow morning.

“Wait did I actually break it?” Jenny becomes concerned. 

“No I just…” Yaz shoves the device back into her pocket. “River wants to speak to me tomorrow.” 

“I’m sure it’ll be fine.” Jenny reassures her. “Let’s enjoy the rest of today, yeah? Valentine’s day part two.”

“I really don’t have the capacity to do all that again.” Yaz sighs and shakes her head. 

“Lazy day in bed?” Jenny suggests.

“Lazy day in bed.” Yaz nods and agrees. 

 

Yaz sits in the comfy chair across from River Song stirring her tea on the other side of the desk. Every time she sees her Yaz can’t put her finger on the ambiance around the woman. The way she presents herself; it’s like she’s telling you everything but nothing at the same time. Maybe that’s why Jenny had her thing with her. They’re basically two sides of the same coin. Except River makes Yaz feel insecure while Jenny makes her feel safe. 

“So you’re probably wondering why you’re here.” River says. 

“A little bit, yeah.” Yaz says. 

“I’ve been asked by head of year to see if you’re okay.” 

“Why?” Yaz’s defenses automatically shoot up.

“Since the winter break your attendance has been slipping.” River explains. Yaz can feel her face falling. “I have my own suspicions as to why but I can’t come to any conclusions.” 

“It’s not Jenny.” Yaz says. River raises an eyebrow. “Well it might be a little bit but not all the time.” 

“So what’s all the other times then?” River asks. 

“I don’t really… I mean I’ve had a change of heart over what I want to do. I think.” Yaz says. It feels good to admit it out loud for once. 

“So you don’t want to study law anymore?”

“No.” Yaz confirms. 

“So what do you want to study?”

Yaz shuffles in her chair and picks at the skin on her fingers. She hasn’t been forced to put how she’s feeling into words yet and especially not under this kind of pressure. This isn’t her mother, this isn’t her girlfriend, this isn’t her group of close friends, this is someone that might actually be able to do something about it. 

“I don’t think I do.” Yaz says.

“What?”

“I don’t think I want to study anymore.” Yaz says. “I mean I’ll finish the year and see what I want to do for sure but at the moment I’m not really feeling it.” 

“Sounds sensible but what should I tell the head?” River asks no more about Yaz plans. 

“Just tell them I’ve been ill. Because I have been a couple of times, that isn’t a lie.” 

“I’ll see what I can come up with.” River winks and Yaz goes to leave, feeling like the reason she’s there has been talked about and there’s no other reason for her to stay there. “How is she?” River asks. 

“Who?” Yaz asks for clarification. 

“I know as a professor I shouldn’t be asking but she hasn’t come to see me in months.” It clicks for Yaz. She’s asking after Jenny. 

“She’s good.” Yaz sits back down. “Opening up to me more and more everyday but there’s still some stuff she’s hiding, I can sense it. But then I don’t care because every spare moment she has she’s choosing to spend it with me.” 

“Good.” River smiles. “I’m glad she’s okay.”

“If you’re worried about her I can always get her to come and talk to you.” Yaz offers, cautious that this conversation shouldn't really be happening. 

“It’s alright sweetie.” River physically brushes away the offer. “You get going.” 

Yaz gets up, however as she reaches for the door handle she uncovers a layer of truth.

“My attendance isn’t really low enough for concern, is it?” Yaz turns back around. 

“I’m sorry. Your attendance did slip a bit but not enough to warrant…” River looks like the reality of what she’s done has just smacked her around the face. “I just care about her too much.” River shrugs like she can’t help it, her wild hair bouncing against her shoulders. Yaz smiles gently.

“You and me both.” 

 

After leaving Professor Song’s office Yaz feels like a weight has been lifted off her shoulders. Perhaps, in the back of her mind, she always feared that she would never match up to the mysterious River Song in Jenny’s mind. She won’t tell on what River did today. That’s between them. Jenny might never forgive Yaz if she got the professor in trouble anyway. Too lost in her thoughts, Yaz almost trips over her shoelace. She should really tuck the excess into her shoe so she doesn’t make a fool of herself and trip over her own feet in front of everyone walking to their seminars. 

Then it all happens so fast. 

Yaz stands up from tying her shoelace and the next thing she knows her body is flying against uneven pavement. The pain hits when she stops. She hasn’t moved far, but her forearm near her elbow is bleeding and there’s a terribly sharp pain in her wrist. Bloody hell what just happened? 

“Are you okay?” A bloke in hi-vis jacket and a helmet runs up to her but he’s hesitant to lay a hand on her. “I’m so sorry, I wasn’t looking, I was on my phone and then I just swerved out of the cycle lane and- shit your arm.”

“I’m fine.” Yaz tries to sit herself up by using her right arm but she can’t. An ounce of pressure and all she can do is wince. Switching to her left arm, that only has one grazed finger, Yaz gets herself up from the floor and examines the rest of her body. She feels fine. Except her right arm.

“I think you should go to the medical center.” He says, grabbing Yaz’s arm and making her yell out in pain and her face go grey. 

“Call an ambulance.” Yaz groans. This is not good. She isn’t panicking but her concern for herself is growing by the second. 

“Okay, okay, um-” The guy fumbles with his phone so much that he drops it straight onto Yaz’s toes. 

“Alright you know what, I’ll call the ambulance and sort myself out. You just go wherever you were going.”

“But I’m responsible for-”

“Mate, please just go away.” Yaz says firmly with an equally hard stare which makes the man disappear as quickly as he turned up.

Leaning herself up against the fence post cutting off the path from a bed of flowers Yaz cradles her arm. Her wrist swelling up already. Yaz has no choice but to take out her phone and call the emergency services. 

“Ambulance please.” Yaz asks the initial operator before she’s put through to the ambulance services. 

“Ambulance service how many I assist you?” A friendly sounding woman asks. 

“Hi, I was just walking home and someone basically rode their bicycle into me and I went flying across the ground. My arms bleeding pretty badly and I’m pretty sure my wrist is broken.” Yaz explain. 

“Okay hun, so if you had to rate your pain from one to ten, one being nothing and ten being unbearable, how much pain are you in?”

“Erm probably a seven maybe an eight if I touch my wrist.” 

“Okay, is there anyone there with you at the moment?” 

“No, but I’m on campus and I can call my friends.”

“Alright my love if you tell me your name and age and then whereabouts on campus you are I can send an ambulance to you to check you out however there’s a waiting time of about an hour.” 

“That’s okay. I’m-” Yaz sighs. Except she’s starting to feel woozy. “Actually I think I might have hit my head too, I feel a bit dizzy.”

“Alright sweetheart, so I’m going to put you as a higher priority. I’ll stay on the line until one of your friends get to you, okay?”

“Yaz?” A familiar voice calls. Ryan. 

“One of them’s here now.” Yaz tells the operator. “Ryan can you tell them whereabouts I am on campus please? And my name and age.” Yaz hands over the phone thinking that Ryan will have a better knowledge of the geography of the area since he works here day in day out.

“Who’s ‘they’?” Ryan accepts her phone. “Also how old are you?”

“Twenty. The ambulance people.” 

He nods and gives the address while Yaz tries to keep her arm as still as possible. Maybe it’s her vision going funny but her wrist has swollen by tenfold. She concentrates on her breathing, making sure she’s getting enough oxygen to her brain and heart to stop her falling into a panic attack.

“Okay, thank you for your help. She’s in safe hands, yeah, thank you. Bye bye.” Ryan hangs up. “What the fuck’s happened?” Ryan reaches to touch Yaz’s arm.

“Ow ow ow!” Yaz hisses as he touches near her wrist. “Some guy swerved off the cycle path and hit me and I just went down.”

“Mate that doesn’t look good.” 

“It doesn’t feel good!” Yaz snaps. “Sorry.” She apologises for the outburst. “Pass me my phone?”

Ryan hands her phone back and Yaz dials the one number she wants to hear from right now. As per usual it takes two rings for her to pick up.

“Mum.” Yaz speaks first. 

“What is it, what’s wrong?” Najia can pick up a problem from the sound of her voice.

“Are you back in Sheffield yet or are you still near me?” Yaz asks. Ryan magically pulls out a water bottle from nowhere and offers it to Yaz. She takes a couple of sips before Ryan pours the remaining water onto the bleeding arm. It stings but Yaz grits her teeth not to worry Najia on the other end of the line. 

“We were just about to go back, why?” 

“Don’t freak out but there’s an ambulance coming for me. I’m fine but I think my wrists broken.” Yaz explains. 

“Oh my God!”

“Will you follow me to the hospital when I find out which one they’re taking me to?” Yaz asks before her mother starts to spiral the way that mothers do. 

“Of course sweetheart of course. Is someone with you?”

“Yeah, Ryan’s with me.”

“Alright, I’ll leave you with him and you’ll text when you know more yeah?” 

“Yeah, I will. Love you mum.” 

“I love you too Yaz. See you in a bit.” Najia hangs up.

“So you didn’t want Jenny following on?” Ryan asks.

Jenny’s name punches Yaz in the gut. She hasn’t thought about her until now.

“You’re not to say a word of this to her until I know what’s going on.” Yaz says and then sighs, rolling her head around on her shoulders. “She’s going to be so worried.” 

“Hey, at least your ring didn’t get scraped.” Ryan says. 

Yaz looks down at her ring finger on her right hand and the ring Jenny gave her. She needs to get it off if not for her own feelings but to avoid her mother asking where she got it. She puts her phone back in her pocket and uses her left hand to take it off.

“Yaz don’t-”

“If my fingers start swelling up too and they have to cut it off, we’ll both be devastated.” Yaz says, determined on getting it off. 

A small tug on the ring communicates to Yaz why Ryan suggested not to pull. It’s like her wrist is on fire and makes her take a sharp inhale of breath but she needs it off. She pulls again and her vision blanks to white and when she regains it, Ryan has his arm around her waist ready to catch her if she falls. Taking another approach,she twists it slowly up her finger until it’s gone and shoves it deep into her pocket. 

“Don’t touch it again until the professionals get here.” Ryan warns her. 

“Don’t you have to be trained in health and safety or something?” Yaz asks to keep herself distracted. 

“I’ve got the standard stuff.” Ryan shrugs.

Yaz is too frightened to move. Such movement will give her another flash of agony and also attention from every passerby. Of all the times she had to go and get her arm broken of course it has to be during switch over time. She doesn’t know why she’s blaming herself. It’s not like she was walking in the outlines cycle path and the offender admitted fault. Yet still, clinging to her arm and concentrating on her breathing Yaz believes she’s somehow at fault. Either way, it's now certainly her problem.

“Tell you something though.” Ryan says smiling to himself. 

“What?” Yaz asks, not seeing how any of this can be funny.

Ryan points at her wrist. “Your sex life’s going to slow down by miles.”

 

The ambulance arrive in half an hour and take Yaz to the nearest hospital. Turns out she hasn’t broken her wrist but she has fractured it and the graze on her arm thankfully isn’t that bad, just bloody. In the ambulance the paramedic team decided to give Yaz some gas and air to help with the growing pain, leaving her a little bit off her face with no filter and giggling at everything and anything. At first she was insisting she’s fine, but as Ryan helped her into the back of the ambulance the paramedics insisted she had some.

“Najia, ask her about something to keep her distracted.” Nurse Rory Williams instructs Najia while he puts the cast on Yaz’s wrist.

“Hey, how was Valentine's day? What did Jenny do?” Najia asks while Yaz sits on the medical bay bed. 

“I think the real question there mother is what did I do to her. ” Yaz starts giggling thinking about their adventures in the bedroom. She doesn’t hear herself say it but she mutters ‘fuck me she’s a good girl’ and only notices she might have said something when her tongue is running across the back of her teeth.

“Remember where you are and who you’re talking to Yasmin.” Najia says. 

“Don’t worry, I’ve literally heard it happening. Many times.” Rory says casually. Both Najia and Yaz look at him as if they can’t believe he just said that. “Sorry.” He keeps his head down.

“What did you do for the rest of the day sweetheart?” Najia continues to distract. 

“Okay so after we showered- because let’s be honest it got a bit messy and sweaty-” Yaz giggles again and Najia has to resist hiding her head in her hands. “We went to the aquarium because it’s Jenny’s favourite place, you know, and it calms her down a lot and she wanted to share that with me. She’s getting better at that, sharing everything with me. Then after that we went up to the highest hill on campus and we had pizza and watched the sunset and the stars.” Yaz smiles and suddenly sobers up from the gas and air. The nurse gives a low whistle. 

“That’s Jenny alright.” 

“They’re still in the honeymoon phase.” Najia says. 

“Yeah.” Rory half sighs half laughs.

“No, we’re always going to be like this.” Yaz insists. “You ever met Jenny?” 

“Yes, Yaz, a few times now.” Najia reminds her. 

“I live with her.”

“Oh yeah!” Yaz laughs. “I should tell her about this actually.” Yaz pulls out her phone from her back pocket and flings her ring across the room with it. 

“Let’s wait for the gas and air to wear out before we do that.” Najia takes away Yaz’s phone and retrieves the ring. “Haven’t seen this one before.” She notes. 

“Jenny got it for me.” Yaz says. “It goes on my right hand but…” Yaz sticks out her ring finger on her left hand. “Put it on there would you?” 

Najia puts it on for her and Yaz is relieved to have it back on her body.

“Thanks mum.” Yaz smiles at the sight of it.

“Are you sure it doesn’t usually go on that finger?” Najia asks with a raised eyebrow.

“We aren’t engaged mum. Wish we were but…” Yaz feels her blood run cold. “I said that one out loud, didn’t I.” 

“Secrets safe with me.” Rory says. 

“How’s the wedding panning going anyway?” Yaz asks out of interest. 

“Really well actually. We’ve set a date.” 

“Oh cool- ow!” Yaz winces, hissing through her teeth,  at Rory lifting her arm up a little. “When?” 

“August eleventh.” 

“What this year? How’d you manage that, most venues are booked up years in advance.” Najia says, shocked.

“I pulled in a few favours.” Rory smiles proudly. “No one can deny a poor student nurse. You are coming aren’t you Yaz? You and Jen?”

“Yeah, don’t see why not.” Yaz shrugs. 

“Well it sounds like Jenny’s not planning on getting rid of you.” Rory gives a friendly smile. 

“Does she talk about me? When I’m not there, I mean.” Yaz asks. 

“Oh, all the time.” Rory says undoubtedly. Yaz’s heart swells up in her chest. “I catch glimpses but she usually talks to Clara.”

“Who then talks to Ryan who then talks to me.” Yaz lines up the chain of communication.

“This set ups a bit incestuous.” Najia comments under her breath and Yaz chooses to ignore it. 

“Okay so this is all done. Come back in four weeks for another x-ray and it should be all fixed by then since it was only a small fracture. Don’t get it wet, don’t pick at the bandages and don’t overwork it so seriously Yaz,” Rory gets all awkward in his seat, throwing Najia a look before he says the next part. “No sex with that hand for the whole four weeks.”

“That’s doable.” Yaz agrees standing up. She looks at her hand, with only about two thirds of her fingers actually accessible. “Can’t exactly get far with- you know what, I’m not going to finish that sentence.” She stops herself.

Najia hands Yaz back her phone. “Since you’re starting to speak sense again.”

“Thanks Rory.” Yaz says as she walks out. 

“See you later Yaz.” Rory manages to say before the door closes.

“So what’s the damage?” Hakim asks. He’s been patiently waiting in the waiting room playing games on his phone to pass the time. 

“Fractured wrist.” Yaz says. 

“My poor baby girl.” Hakim swallows Yaz into a hug. He’s adding pressure to her arm, but Yaz doesn’t want to make a scene.

“Nothing that can’t be fixed.” Yaz tries to keep her spirits up. “I need to tell Jenny though.”

“You can call her in the car if you like. I won’t listen in.” 

“I think it might be best if I tell her to her face so she can see I’m alright. Would you mind dropping me back at the top of campus?” Yaz asks for a favour. The longer they’re here driving Yaz around the longer Sonya’s left alone at home to cause havoc.

“Of course I don’t mind.” Hakim swings an arm protectively over his daughters shoulder as if he’s trying to protect her even though the damage is already one.

The car ride was alright. Yaz is just nervous the entire time that she wouldn’t get back in time to tell Jenny herself because now both Ryan and Rory know what’s happened. She should be happy she’s getting more time with her parents than some have had in months but adrenaline and pain killers and a trip in an ambulance has rendered her silent and tired. 

Waving goodbye to her parents for an extra time than she bargained for this weekend, Yaz waits until they’re out of sight to start heading into the science labs. Yaz has missed her own lessons for today with good reason but Jenny’s still working away, doing as much as she can in class so she has free time with Yaz afterwards. Yaz knocks on the lab door hoping that Jenny will be allowed out for a couple of seconds for a quick chat. Jenny sees Yaz through the glass before the professor and makes her excuses smiling. A smiles which falls when she sees Yaz isn’t smiling back. 

“Hey.” Jenny closes the door gently behind her. “What’s up?”

“There was a bit of an accident.” Yaz brings her bad arm out from behind her back and Jenny’s face goes an eerie white. Yaz places her good hand on Jenny’s cheek and strokes with her thumb to reassure her. “I’m fine, honestly. Just a graze and a fractured wrist.”

“Are you hurting now?” Jenny asks. 

“Bit of a headache and this feels a bit dull but other than that I’m okay. Honestly, I just needed to tell you before someone else did.” Yaz reassures her girlfriend. She uses her hand and the tips of her fingers that are showing to take out some creases from her lab coat.

“I’ll come over after this and you can tell me what happened. I promise I will.” 

“You don’t have to promise me Jenny, I know you will.” Yaz reiterates that she trusts her word.

Jenny tilts her head down and gives Yaz a parting kiss before she has to rush back to her studies and Yaz walks back down the hill to home, being very cautious of the cyclists that might not be looking where they’re going. Yaz makes it to her front door but no further as a Scottish accent calling her name stops her in her tracks. 

“Yaz, hey.” Amy catches up with her. “Rory forgot to give you this.” She hands Yaz a piece of fabric and catches her breath resting her hands on her hips.

“What is it?” Yaz is reluctant to take it.

“It’s a sling for your arm.”

“I’m fine like this.” Yaz says. She really doesn’t want to go around with a piece of fabric around her neck.

“There are still painkillers in your system, you’re going to want this when they wear off. Something to do with bones and gravity or something.” 

“Why didn’t he tell me this in the hospital?” Yaz swipes the fabric out of Amy’s hand, seeing as she has no choice.

“He forgot. He’s still only a training nurse. Trust me, he panicked when he remembered. Why do you think I’m here? I had to go to the bloody hospital to pick that measly thing up.” Amy tries to laugh it off but Yaz is too busy struggling to get her arm in the sling. “Here.” Amy puts it in for her. 

“Wish you were my nurse.” Yaz mumbles. 

“I only know because I’m his practice mannequin.” Amy smiles kindly. “Do you need help with anything?”

“Nah, Jenny should be coming over soon.” Yaz shakes her head. 

“Hm always the knight in shining armour.” Amy pretends to swoon. “See ya later.” She flicks two fingers from her temple as a salute and walks off. 

Once inside her flat, avoiding everyone huddled in the kitchen, Yaz makes it to her room and decides she needs to wash the smell of hospital off of her body. She even gets to stripping down to her underwear before remembering she can’t get her new cast wet. Thinking quickly, Yaz gets out one of her bin bags and puts her entire damaged forearm in it to include the dressed cuts and she tapes it up as best she can. Even then, she still keeps that part of her hand outside of the shower out of paranoia. She doesn’t fancy going to the hospital again anytime soon. As the hot water runs over her skin, Yaz feels herself fall into a state of reflection. She should’ve gotten that guys details, or at least his number. She didn’t even ask his name and the likelihood of her finding him again on campus is low. She also thinks about her classes tomorrow. Surely she could take the day off sick if she wants? Play up the accident to her benefit. Or she could just suck it up and take the attention as it comes. Conscious that she might possibly be using up the entire buildings hot water supply, Yaz forces herself out. She struggles to wrap her towel around her body with one of her hands still wrapped in a bin bag but she manages. A few seconds after Jenny enters the room with some takeaway dishes in a bag hanging off of two fingers. 

“I got some ice cream too but I put it in the freezer.”

“Did you put my name on it?” Yaz asks as a priority. 

“Yeah, I’m not an idiot.” Jenny scoffs like it's the most obvious thing in the world. It makes Yaz smile.

“Can you give me a hand?” Yaz holds out her taped up arm. Jenny puts everything down to rip away the tape and plastic. But it isn’t all that disappears. 

“Whoops.” Jenny says at the same time the towel slips away from Yaz’s body. Yaz tries to grab it before it falls to the floor but with only one hand working she can’t wrap the fabric back around her. “Seriously Yaz, you’re trying to hide your body from me?” Jenny encourages the towel to fall from Yaz’s fingers. “See? Nothing I’ve not seen before.”

“You say that like my body doesn’t excite you anymore.” Yaz says, smiling sadly. What’s got into her today? It’s like the bike knocked all her confidence out of her. 

“Are you kidding me?” Jenny laughs. “Yaz, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of your body.” Jenny strokes her hands and arms around Yaz’s torso, pulling her in tight. Her cold hands against Yaz’s fresh-out-of-the-shower flesh instantly causes an outbreak of goosebumps. Even though, that generally is how her body reacts when Jenny decides to be tender with her. 

“Even when I’m old with saggy tits?” Yaz tests her dedication.

Especially when you’re old with saggy tits.” Jenny laughs and nuzzles Yaz’s nose with her own. Pulling back, Jenny’s eyes narrow into a state of suspicion. “Stop looking at me like that.”

“Like what?” Yaz asks innocently.

“Like that. Giving me bedroom eyes.” 

“I’m not giving you bedroom eyes.”

“Yes you are.”

“No I’m not.” She knows she is.

“Yes you are.”

“No I’m not.”

“Yes you fucking are!” Jenny becomes increasingly irritated. 

“No I’m-”

Yaz’s words are swallowed by Jenny’s lips elegantly swooping in to silence her. She’s getting good- too good- at doing this. Pretending she isn’t giving bedroom eyes when she’s fully aware she’s giving bedroom eyes is a one way ticket to Jenny giving her what she wants. Right now all she wants is a passionate cuddle and a bit of a snog but Jenny is taking it a step further and  basically lifting her naked body up onto her flimsy university issued desk. 

“Break this and you’re explaining to maintenance how it happened.” Yaz threatens during a break in the kiss.

“It’s only Ryan.” Jenny spends half a second processing what Yaz says to waste no time in getting busy.

Yaz sits there, legs apart with Jenny in between them, groping her thighs, scratching her back and teasing the skin on her neck into a bruise. She uses her left hand to run through Jenny’s hair but her right hand, her dominant hand, is uselessly flailing trying to find a place where it’s comfortable. The longer Jenny goes on, untucking her shirts and letting her braces fall down her arms, Yaz becomes more and more uncomfortable.

“I can’t have with this hand.” Yaz says, echoing Rory’s official medical warning.

“Your mouth still works.” Jenny breathes onto Yaz’s temple.

“No, Jenny that’s not-.” Yaz only has to lightly push Jenny’s body away with a few hesitant words for the blonde to remove all contact completely and respectfully. “Not tonight.” 

“Okay.” Jenny smiles and nods, all while redressing herself.

“I’m just not really feeling it after-”

“Yaz, it’s fine.” Jenny reaches around to where she knows Yaz keeps her bed clothes and passes them to her. “It would help if you put some clothes on, though.”

“Right.” 

Yaz takes her clothes putting the bottoms on first. When it comes to her top, she can get her head and her good arm through but her bad arm struggles to fit through its hole. Without asking if she needs help, Jenny steps up to the plate and helps untangle the mess.

“You’ll get used to it.” Jenny assures her, placing the sling around her neck and placing Yaz’s arm inside it.

Yaz flattens out Jenny’s braces. “Are you sure you’re alright with-”

“Yaz, I’m fine, honestly. It doesn’t matter.” Jenny insists. “How did this happen anyway?” 

“I was walking back from my meeting with River. It was fine, before you ask.” Yaz adds seeing Jenny’s ears literally prick up at the mention of the professor's name. “And I tied my shoelace and a cyclist didn’t see me because he was on his phone and he just completely ran into me. Grazed my arm and my little finger and then my wrist obviously wasn’t great.”

“Did you call an ambulance?” Jenny asks. 

“Yeah, and luckily Ryan was passing by so he waited with me.” 

“You didn’t go there on your own though? You should’ve told me!” Jenny runs a hand across the exposed skin on Yaz’s shoulder, still trying to scratch that itch of hers.

“Jen, I called my mum. They were still around so they met me there and dropped me back. Plus, Rory’s my nurse.” Yaz smiles shyly. “Think I might have said a few things under the gas and air but-”

“What did you say?” Jenny asks, afraid. “Yaz, what did you say in front of your mum?” 

“Nothing bad.” Yaz says, even though she can’t really remember what words came out of her mouth and when. “Or at least I don’t think so.”

“Ya-”

“Can we eat now?” Yaz distracts Jenny. And Jenny is never one to refuse doing what Yaz wants.

They eat, talk nonsense and settle down for bed. Throughout the evening together Yaz feels the ache in her wrist grow back harshly and she downs some more pain killers to try and let herself get off to sleep. However she can’t. It’s impossible to get comfortable, especially with another person in a one person bed. She twists and turns and rouses Jenny awake multiple times. On about the fourth time she wakes her, at about three in the morning, Jenny has to say something. 

“Will it be better if I leave?” Jenny asks. 

Yaz never thought she would ever willingly want to kick Jenny Smith out of her bed but tonight she needs it to happen. 

“Sorry Jen.” Yaz apologies. 

“It’s okay. I’ll take the floor.” Jenny takes the blanket and settles down on the rough carpet. 

“Thank you.” Yaz shows her gratitude. 

An hour later, Yaz is still lying awake thinking about too many things all at the same time. 

“Yaz are you still awake?” Jenny whispers into the darkness. 

“What do you think?” Yaz scoffs. Jenny flicks on the desk lap filling the room with a warm light- a lot less harsher than the artificial light in the ceiling. 

“Can I draw on your cast?” Jenny asks. 

“Depends on what you’re intending to draw.” Yaz narrows her eyes while Jenny hunts for some felt tip pens.

“Nothing horrible or grotesque, I swear.” Jenny positions herself straddling above Yaz.

“Promise no dicks.” Yaz tucks her cast into her chest under the covers to protect it until Jenny promises. 

“I promise no genitalia.” Jenny puts her hands above her head as if she’s surrendering. Then and only then Yaz gives up her arm and lays in her bed while Jenny works with full concentration. 

The scratch of the pen tip is quite a therapeutic sound after a while. It’s almost helping her become so exhausted it’s hard to keep her eyelids open. Jenny doesn’t try to make conversation and Yaz appreciates it because in this state of comfort she’s verging on the state of sleep. Falling further and further into it. Falling. Falling. Falling. 


Yaz wakes up again at nine in the morning. There’s no sign of Jenny still hanging about; why would she, she has a load of things to do and be getting on with. Yaz almost forgets her wrist is in a cast until she just about hits herself in the face with it as she goes to rub her eyes. Her first thought is ‘I need to email my tutors’, which is her sensible streak coming through. The second thought is ‘why is there a picture of myself on my arm?’. Under closer inspection, on the inside of her cast, the detail of the image of Yaz’s profile is extraordinary. Jenny’s drawn her smiling peacefully and naturally, and next to her, a portrait of Jenny herself is there, staring and smiling at Yaz smiling. A scene that’s played out in reality too many times to count. Despite the romance of it all, all Yaz can think is ‘how the fuck is she so good at everything?’. She doesn’t know when Jenny finished the piece but it must’ve taken a bit of time to do. Did she even sleep last night? Probably not. Just then, Yaz spots the teeny tiny penis further up the cast and she laughs to herself. Yaz makes a promise to herself as she picks up one of the pens and turns the object into a sunflower. The next time she sees Jenny, she is so in for it.

Chapter Text

The first week with cast and sling is horrible. Yaz turns up to her classes, sees Jenny briefly between them, if she’s lucky she’ll get a kiss and then she retires to the flat to do her work, eat and sleep. Uni life is busy, Yaz knows it’s a busy life for the both of them, but the pattern of ‘I have work’ this and ‘I have lab’ that has become notable. It’s like, Yaz feels, that Jenny isn’t wanting to deal with her at the moment.

“I hate everyone in this flat.” Bill storms into Yaz’s room in a whirlwind.

“I’m taking offense to that.” Yaz says, not looking up for the sheets of paper scattered over her bed.  

“You don’t count.” Bill flops onto Yaz’s bed as if it’s her own, forcing Yaz to move her work before it gets crumpled by her body. “Half the time you’re practically living at Jenny’s. You might as well be paying her rent.” 

“Not this week.” Yaz pouts as she puts her papers back in order. 

“Wrist causing problems in the bedroom?” Bill taps the cast like it's a drum kit at a heavy metal concert. 

“I genuinely just want to hold her hand again.” 

“Aaw.” Bill coos. “And you want to raw her.” She insists. Yaz rolls her eyes and sighs. Yeah, things have slowed down but Yaz has been sleeping badly or not at all and everything takes twice the amount of effort. She wants to get intimate with Jenny again, however she just doesn’t feel like it. She notices Bill staring at her face and Bill snorts. “Knew it.” 

“You try going from basically any chance you get together to nothing.” Yaz mutters, blushing.

“I don’t want to try it, that’s why I’m not in a relationship.” 

“Why do you hate everyone in this flat then?” Yaz changes the subject.

“Oh. My block of cheese and smiley faces got stolen.”

“What, all of them? Seriously?” Bill nods and Yaz gasps melodramatically. “Not the smiley faces, those heathens!”

“Don’t be a twat you know they’re delicious. Especially as a midnight snack.” Bill clearly, physically contemplates saying something in addition to that sentence. “And just as delicious as Jenny’s-”

“Don’t!” Yaz covers her mouth with her hand. “Whatever was going to come out of your mouth after that, swallow it and never let it come back up.”

Bill gulps to show she agrees to the terms and conditions and Yaz cautiously removes her hand.

“I’m only worried about you Yaz. It’s like you’re locked up in here twenty-four seven.” Bill says.

“You don’t need to worry about me.” Yaz shakes her head.

“Fine. I’m worried about your relationship.”

“Why?” Yaz lifts her head. “There’s nothing wrong with my relationship.”

“Yaz, you haven’t seen her properly in a week.”

“So? Lots of couples don’t see each other properly for bits at a time.” Yaz shrugs, only mildly unbothered. 

“Yeah, shitty heterosexual ones.” Bill shuffles up to sit next to Yaz, who’s ego has been punctured and has been slowly deflating. “I can guarantee you that if you asked Jenny to come over now, she would and you’d have a great time.”

“You say that as if I’m avoiding her but I’m not.” Yaz defends herself. 

“What are you doing then?” Bill asks for clarification.

“I’m…” What are you doing? “giving her space.”

“That’s the same as avoiding her.” Bill calls her out.

“Maybe but…” Yaz tails off into her mind. She doesn’t want to admit that she’s actively avoiding Jenny, but she has been fearing that if she invites Jenny around or invites herself into her house then they would fall into old patterns. She wants Jenny to spoon her. She wants to fall asleep being spooned by Jenny. Her hand is getting in the way of that. Plus, she’s so fed up of not being able to do what she usually does and the effect it’s having on her body that she’s not herself. Yaz is active, optimistic, level headed on a usual day. “I’m just worried that if I do spend time with her when I’m like this, she’ll get bored of me.”

“What a load of bollocks.” Bill rolls her eyes. “Look, she loves you, right?”

“Yeah.” Yaz says. 

“Then she’ll treasure the time with you. She comes across as a very lonely person and-”

“She’s not lonely.” Yaz is quick to defend her girlfriend. “She just lives in her head half the time.” 

“Her head that’s most likely filled with you.” Bill’s eyebrows shoot up. “She’s still texting you?”

“Every day.” 

“And you’re still meeting her for lunch even if it’s only, like, 5 minutes?” 

“Yeah.”

“Then of course she’s not losing interest, dumbo.” Bill slaps Yaz’s cast to force her to look at it. “That picture isn’t a lie. Look at how she’s looking at you.”

Yaz is forced to look down at her wrist. The white of the cast is obviously grubbier than when it was first put on, but the felt tip pen is still bright and holding its colour. After close inspection she realised that the image of her isn’t actually her. The woman Jenny’s drawn, it’s not her. It’s Yaz’s face but she doesn’t recognise herself in it. Somehow, Jenny’s managed to capture how she sees Yaz and made it real for other people to see. Part of Yaz feels like, yeah even though the drawing of Jenny is looking at her like the all of time and space is happening in her eyes all at once, it’s a glorification of herself that Jenny’s made up in her head. Not real. But then the other, much larger part of her, desperately wants to believe it. Because every now and then she does catch Jenny looking at her like that. A small smile tugs at the corners of Yaz’s mouth.

“How do you know so much about relationships if you haven’t been in one recently?” Yaz asks to move her mouth and avoid Bill seeing her smile, therefore not giving her the satisfaction of being right. 

“Coaches don’t play.” Bill throws some finger guns. “Now please can you come to the supermarket with me to get replacement smiley faces or I’m going to end up starving tonight.”

“I don’t really want to go out.” Yaz shakes her head and recoils in resistance.

“Yaz, come on-”

“I’m going to invite Jenny over.” Yaz lies. She’ll say anything to get out of leaving the flat.

“Alright.” Bill squints, suspicious as she rises from Yaz’s bed. “But if I come back and blondie isn’t here, I’m adding you into the phrase ‘I hate everyone in this flat’ and that is a threat.” She points.

“I don’t doubt you.” Yaz smiles at Bill’s intensity.

Despite Yaz saying it, as soon as Bill leaves she makes no effort at all to do anything but continue organising and writing up her notes. Her sleep is still relatively broken thanks to the plaster in her arm so she barely has the energy to drag herself out of bed for her classes let alone entertain someone else. Especially Jenny ‘the ball of energy’ Smith. It hurts her to say it but Yaz knows it’s best to stay relaxed alone. Four raps on the door and Yaz assumes Bill is back and wanting to check in but after a brief look at her time, there’s no way bill would have been to and come back from the shops by now. She ignores it, presuming it’s one of her flatmates wanting to borrow something or ask for a favour they’ll never return. The knocks on the door are repeated and Yaz’s suspicion rises up her spine. Why can’t she just be left alone?

“Yaz are you in?” Jenny’s voice floats through the door, hesitant but not afraid.

Yaz jumps up, straightening out her clothes as she walks to unlock the door. Sure enough, Jenny was standing on the other side, looking shocked with a hint of happiness spilling through, unable to be contained. 

“Bill messaged me.” Jenny says when Yaz just stares at her. “She said you wanted me to come over?” 

“She did?” Yaz frowns. She never thought Bill would actually get her to come.

“I-I wan- I wanted to come and see you anyway.” Jenny stutters as smiles as she steps inside. Yaz spots Jenny’s fingers lightly curling around the bottom of her coat sleeve and stores it in the back of her mind.

She’s smiling at her so sweetly Yaz can’t help but reciprocate it. Sweet, lovely Jenny who will do anything for her with a glint in her eye and a smile on her lips without questioning it. So devoted. The smiles fade from their faces a little while no other words are spoken and Yaz is reminded of the painful truth that they’ve not been spending as much time with each other. Yaz becomes absent minded to what her own facial expressions are doing and instead focuses on the journey the skin on Jenny’s face is going through. Joy to confusion to regret to wanting to backtrack.

“I want to kiss you but I don’t know if you want me to.”

“Jen are we having communication issues?”

They blurt out at the same time. Their poor timings make the pair of them quietly and awkwardly laugh for a couple of seconds before Yaz makes the executive decision to softly kiss Jenny- a small peck that lingers more than her kisses have the couple of times in the past week. Only then does she realise how much she’s missed her.

“I think the answer to both those statements…” Jenny pulls back, entwining Yaz’s good hand in with one of hers. “... are probably yes.”

“Jen, grammatically that doesn’t-” Yaz gets distracted from correcting the scientist on her English by Jenny stroking the back of her hand with her thumb, her blood singing for her at the very touch. “Nevermind.”

“So should we talk about it?” Jenny asks, removing her hand to take off her coat. She’s intending to stay a while, then.

“I have no idea where to start.” Yaz sighs as if it’s the most difficult thing in the world. In reality, she just wants Jenny to give her a hint as to how she’s feeling.

“Can we start with why this has been bothering you so much?” Jenny sticks her arm inside Yaz’s sling to stoke her fingers up, down and around her cast. “I know it has been but you won’t tell me properly when I ask.”

“It’s annoying not being able to use a limb.” Yaz offers up as an answer but Jenny waits patiently for a follow up. “I can’t wash my hair properly, I have to use my laptop all the time rather than handwriting, it stops me from sleeping properly, I can’t go running with it in fear of tripping and landing on it and I’m pretty sure that it’s starting to smell already.”

“Is that why you haven’t been wanting to spend time with me?” Jenny asks.

“A little bit.” Yaz says. “But I thought you were avoiding me more.”

“Only because I thought you were getting sick of me flapping around you.” Jenny confesses.

“Hence the communication question.” Yaz comes full circle.

“You know, sometimes I think about how we were friends for such a long time and now we’re just friends with benefits.” Jenny says and Yaz frowns so hard her eyebrows end up almost as low as her eyelids. “Wait- no, that’s the wrong phrase. We’re friends that have sex- I mean- hold on it’s in there somewhere.” Jenny taps her temple as if to shake her brain into action. “We have all these romantic and sexual feelings for each other- all these chemicals bouncing around and making everything that little bit more difficult to process but deep down at the base of it, you’re still my best friend, Yaz. Even if we’re not doing things couples do I still want to just chill out with you.”

Yaz isn’t sure which part possess her to take her arm out of its sling and throw her arms around Jenny’s body but while she’s hugging her tight she settles on she just wants to. 

“Did I say something good?” Jenny asks, her breath tickling the skin on Yaz’s cheek.

“I love you.” Yaz says and Jenny lets the words hang over the both of them like a firework going off in the sky, unfading.

“How do we make it work for the rest of the time that thing’s on? How do I help make you comfortable?” Jenny asks. 

“I’m not dying, Jen,” Yaz pulls away and shoves her arm back in her sling. “it’s not like you have to make me comfortable and get my things in order.” 

“Alright, but, like…” Jenny runs both hands through her hair, which Yaz notes gives off a waft of apple scented shampoo, and runs them down her face as she tries to find the right words. 

“You care.” Yaz says it for her; probably in a way less complicated way with about twenty seven less words. 

“How can I not?” Jenny shrugs, winding her neck in like a turtle, hiding away from her own confessed emotions.

Yaz sighs in contentment, all doubts expelling themselves from her body. Once Jenny leaves, she knows she’ll start thinking again and riling herself up for it to come to nothing. Jenny’s way of processing the awkwardness of seeing each other again is to shove her hands in her pockets and hang her head low. No, not hang her head low, simply avoid looking at Yaz at all. 

“Why aren’t you looking at me?” Yaz’s eyebrows furrow in confusion. She’s cheated on me Yaz tells herself. Luckily, she has a habit of never listening to herself. 

“I am looking at you, I’m trying not to look at your lips.” Jenny raises her gaze a litte.

“Why aren’t you looking at my lips?” Yaz almost laughs.

“Well, I mean-”

Yaz smirks, putting all the factors together. “What happened to ‘I still just want to chill out with you’?” She steps even further into Jenny’s space.

“I-I-I-I-I-” Jenny short circuits. Yaz curls her fingers into Jenny’s hair, sparking the machine back into action. “I do but I want you to decide when that is.”

Pressing her forehead against Jenny’s, Yaz smiles, exhaling through her lips. “You’re allowed to take control sometimes.”

“Really?” Jenny asks, wrapping her arms around Yaz’s waist where they sit most comfortably and nuzzles her nose against Yaz’s. Yaz feels the world sway around her but actually it isn’t the world that’s swaying, only the pair of them.

Yaz wrinkles her nose. “Only sometimes though.”

“Oh yeah?” Jenny jokingly challenges Yaz, smiling as if the last week of minimal communication hasn’t happened or had any kind of effect.

“Yeah.” Yaz gives a short bursts of nods as smugly as she can.

“Yeah, I know.” Jenny breathes against her lips right before she kisses her. 

She knew it was coming, but it still makes Yaz’s knees go weak. It isn’t even that special but simply the act in itself- Jenny’s gentle touch not pushing for anything more serious, the way the breath from her nose is tickling her top lip, the fact her hands were staying a respectful distance up her body- the tenderness of it all makes Yaz feel silly for ever doubting where Jenny’s affections lay. Truly and wholly with her. 

 

Squished up in the single bed with the dodgy mattress together Yaz and Jenny are catching up- properly catching up- Yaz finds herself getting nervous around Jenny again, like they’ve only just started together from scratch; which in fact they never had to do because like Jenny says they’re friends. That’s how they started out and it’s not going to go away. 

“Have you really only left this flat to go to your classes?” Jenny asks. 

“Yeah.”

“Yaz you have to go out more than that.” 

“You don’t,” Yaz accuses her. “you’re always studying.” 

“In the library. And the cafes. And on the green. And in the-”

“Alright I get it.” Yaz sighs. “I feel like I need a holiday.” 

“Speaking of holidays…” Jenny shuffles closer to the point where they’re breathing in the air each other are exhaling. “After exams, everyone's talking about going camping together. You know, before the wedding chaos kicks in.” Jenny looks at her hopefully. 

“What’s that got to do with me?” Yaz asks.

“Well, the tent sleeps nine but in reality it’s two people a pod for it to be comfortable and Amy and Rory will be together, Clara’s asking Ryan and I’m…” Jenny raises her eyebrows expecting Yaz to answer her sentence. “Yaz I’m asking you to come on holiday camping with us.” 

“Oh...right.” Yaz says, finally catching on. “I can do that.” 

“Awesome!” Jenny cheers, leaning in to give Yaz a kiss but Yaz turns her face away so that her lips land on her cheek. She doesn’t trust herself one bit to hold back if things got frisky. 

However, Jenny notices and the expression on her face says a million words. The one repeated most, being ‘why’.

“Yaz.” Jenny says, a questioning tone to her voice. 

“Hm.” Yaz says like she isn’t afraid of what might come next. 

“What’s lesbian bed death?” Jenny asks. Yaz’s eyebrows shoot up into her hairline.

“Why’d you ask that?”

Jenny takes hold of Yaz’s good hand, holding it lightly and resting the pair of them on her own hip. “Clara says if we keep going the way we’re going we’ll end up getting lesbian bed death.”

“We don’t have that.” Yaz insists. 

“But what does it-”

“Jenny, we don’t have lesbian bed death, we are nowhere near that, I'll tell you when we are.” Yaz pauses to allow Jenny to process what she’s said. “I promise you baby, it’s just the cast.”

“Please don’t call me baby if we’re not going to be able-” Jenny bites down on her lip to stop herself from speaking anymore. If she speaks, she’ll feel like she’s pressuring Yaz into doing something she doesn’t want to.

“Sorry, I should think before I speak.” Yaz apologises for putting her in discomfort.

“Not your problem.” Jenny shrugs it off.

“But this isn’t just affecting me, is it?”

A moment of silence occurs before Jenny starts to laugh to herself, leaving Yaz lost and confused. Yaz stares at her until Jenny opens her eyes again, sees Yaz staring at her, then continues to laugh at nothing funny.

“I have never ever had to be this honest with someone else in my entire life.” Jenny hiccups.

“So are you going to open up?” Jenny keeps laughing quietly, hiding her face by plastering her hand over her eyes. “ Baby .” Yaz lowers her voice to make it seductive and raspy, knowing whatever this new front is, this defense mechanism, her voice like that will break it down.

“Fucks sake.” Jenny pinches the bridge of her nose, steadying her breath. “You know how much you mean to me, yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“And you know I’m not really a touchy person?”

“... no.” Yaz says, after only needing less than a second to think about all the small touches Jenny used to give her before other feelings arose to the surface.

“I mean with my friends. I’m not that touchy with my friends.” Jenny clarifies.

“Hard to believe but okay.” Yaz says.

“To be brutally honest, I want to be with you all the time. Like, all the time. And I could tell when this happened you would just be tired and all your energy will be going into healing so I thought I’d give you the space but the space just made me think about how much sex we had been having and, dude, we were having so much and I realised how much your touch really felt good to me and I kept thinking about it but then that kind of made me feel bad as if if I spent time with you, I’d overstep or something.” Jenny finishes with her chest rising up and down heavily with the weight finally being set free. Yaz lets her calm down from her confession, regaining her hold on herself and bringing back the ability to look Yaz in the eye.

“Did you really just call me ‘dude’?” Yaz says. She’s softly smirking at Jenny to get her to see the funny side of her observations and not take it as if she’s offended.

“Dunno. Maybe. Don’t think I’m going to say it again though, the word doesn’t suit my mouth.” Jenny runs her tongue across the front of her teeth like the world has left a foul taste in her mouth. Stupid things like that will forever make Yaz’s heart balloon up into her throat. “Do you understand what I mean though?” 

“You tried to do what you thought would be good for me but then it backfired and made you feel bad.” Yaz repeats with less words. Jenny nods. “Do you think we should’ve talked about it in the first place.” Yaz suggests. 

“I don’t like talking.” Jenny says. 

“Seriously?” Yaz can’t help but let her eyes roll back. 

“About serious stuff!” Jenny adds. 

“I know.” 

In that moment something clicks between the two of them. Something that will probably only be spoken of or resolved much further down the line but right now it feels good. Yaz knows they haven’t lost anything. They’ve gone longer than a week apart and still come out better than before. Jenny’s lips come to the front of Yaz’s vision. She can almost see them slightly shaking, an indication to Yaz that they're on the same wavelength and for the first time in their relationship (she thinks) Yaz is the one asking-waiting for permission to meet in the middle. Obviously, Jennifer Smith for once takes the hint and takes control, gently locking their lips together and rolling Yaz onto her back. Yaz has a second of doubt about her comfort when she doesn’t know where to put her cast-up arm but it’s almost as quickly soothed by Jenny caressing it as if she can feel the skin underneath. It doesn’t take long for tongues to share spaces and legs to curl up around each other with every switch of sensation. 

“Nothing serious.” Yaz says through broken breaths. 

“Nothing serious. Like when we were at your parents.” Jenny nods frantically. Yaz quirks an eyebrow but nods back.

“Weird way to put it but I know what you mean.” She says as Jenny tenderly starts on the skin of her neck. 

 

An hour later with her head between Jenny’s legs, with thighs muffling the moans sure to annoy her flatmates, nothing serious is thrown out of the window and Yaz wonders why she ever denied herself her girlfriends company.

Chapter Text

“Just pick some.” Yaz pleads with Jenny to make up her mind. 

“This is a very important decision, Yaz, I can’t be rushed.”

Yaz can see how it could be difficult. The sheer amount of socks to choose from is a challenge in itself, she should be grateful that Jenny knows which type of sock she wants and she’s only fretting over the colour. Green stripes, blue stripes, red stripes, multi coloured stripes, polka dots, patterns with glittery threads in them, dog socks, cats sock, too many socks.

“Which ones do you like?” Jenny asks for Yaz’s opinion for the second time now.

“I like all of them.” Yaz shrugs. 

“That does not help.”

“The blue stripes then. Like the ones you have now.” 

“You don’t think I should spice it up a little bit?” 

Yaz looks Jenny- who’s wearing her mustard yellow braces a blue tshirt with an alien graphic on it and blue culottes- up and down. “Nah.” She rocks into her side lovingly. “You’re spicy enough.”

Jenny blushes. “Blue ones then.” She reaches out for them. “Or maybe the green.”

“Jenny!” Yaz groans. They’ve been standing in front of the rack for at least ten minutes although it feels so much longer to Yaz. “Get both if you want both.”

“Socks are more expensive than you think.” Jenny says. 

“You can’t wear boots and not wear socks. Or wear socks that have a million holes in them.”

Listening to Yaz’s advice, Jenny takes the blue striped socks and walks away before she can change her mind.  

The two of them are out doing a bit of shopping for essentials before they make their way to the hospital to get Yaz’s cast removed and her wrist x-rayed. If it goes well, all Yaz will need is a bit of physio and she’s all good. But she isn’t getting her hopes up. Instead she’s been focusing on trying to get Jenny out of this section let alone out of this shop. They didn’t intend on shopping before, but last night in bed Yaz noticed the state of the socks Jenny was wearing and she had to do something about it. Sometimes, Yaz notices, Jenny just needs someone who will remind her to look after herself. 

“Thank you for coming with me.” Jenny says as they leave the store for the shelter of a much larger shopping mall. 

“Jen, you’re the one taking me.” Yaz reminds her. 

“Oh right, yeah. But you know what I mean, I would’ve been in there for hours if you weren’t there too.”

“You take a lot of pride in your socks.” Yaz notes.

“Gotta stay looking good if I want to keep being the hot piece on your arm.” Jenny winks sarcastically. “Speaking of, what time is your appointment again?” 

“Half eleven.” 

“We should probably get going then.” Jenny says. 

“What time is it now?”

“Ten past.”

“Already?” Yaz says. “Blimey we spent a lot of time in there.”

“I purposefully did it to distract you.” Jenny smiles at her.

“No you didn’t.” Yaz calls her bluff. 

“No I didn’t. Come on.”

 

“This might tickle.” The technician warns Yaz before he starts up the machine. As he does, Jenny slides a comforting hand in between her fingers and when Yaz feels it she whips her head around to give a reassuring smile. 

“So who’s the artist?” The technician with greying hair asks with a grin. 

“Me.” Jenny speaks up.

“Her.” Yaz agrees. 

“It’s very very good!” He compliments. “Are you an artist?”

“No I just draw sometimes.” Jenny says nonchalantly. 

“You mean there’s more stuff like this?” Yaz asks. If there is, she wants to see it. 

“I’ve only kept a few.” Jenny shrugs. 

“So where have the others gone?” Yaz asks.

“Bin.” Jenny mutters quietly knowing that Yaz is rightfully going to be mad at her.

Yaz gives Jenny’s hand a squeeze. “You should keep them next time.” She encourages her.

“Do you want to keep this one?” The technician asks. “I’m allowed to let you take old casts home if you want.” 

“I’d love that.” Yaz accepts the offer before Jenny can undermine the quality of her work. 

“Gee, it’s nice to see that you two are such good friends. So supportive of each other.” He muses. 

To stop the poor old man seeing her smiling at his expense, Yaz diverts her attention to look at Jenny who similarly has a cheeky glint in her eye and is biting down her lips so a laugh doesn’t escape. They’re just two gals being pals for sure.

“The best.” Jenny grins.

 

Yaz escapes after x-rays with a less bulkier support brace that only has to be worn at night for the next week and some physio exercises. Plus, of course, a rush of serotonin when Jenny takes her hand as they walk out of the hospital doors. 

“I missed this.” Yaz says swinging their intertwined arms in the gap between their bodies. 

“My other hand not good enough for you?” The pitch of Jenny’s voice increases with every word and she pouts for punctuation.

“No.” Yaz draws out the word as she falls into a grin, moving herself into Jenny’s side. “This hand just feels a bit neglected in the hand holding department.”

“I can think of a few things to keep it occupied.” Jenny mumbles.

“I thought we agreed to slow it down a bit until exams are over.” Yaz says.

“Exams don’t start until May. We’re in the middle of March.” Jenny says. 

“Yeah which means you only have a limited amount of weeks to go over everything. You only ever do half the stuff you’re meant to when I’m there.” Yaz says.

“Why do you keep doing that?” Jenny asks curiously.

“Doing what?” Yaz huffs.

“Putting yourself down like you’re no help to anyone at all.”

“I don’t do that.” Yaz denies.

“Yaz.” Jenny stops walking. Her hand holding Yaz’s is the only thing that gets Yaz to stop and face her. “Yaz I’m worried about you.” 

“Why? There’s nothing wrong with me.” Yaz spots Jenny shuffle, considering whether to say what’s on her mind. That much is obvious. “Say it.” Yaz insists, but Jenny still hesitates. 

“When you’re not at mine you don’t eat proper meals. You’ve started doing your readings at the last minute. Your sex drives almost flatlined- it’s become me initiating everything and you know it. You aren’t running anymore. You’re not leaving your bed. You don’t talk to people from your course. You-”

“And?” Yaz shrugs. “That’s all just being a student.” 

“Yaz do you think you might be suffering from depression a bit?” Jenny comes straight out with it. 

Yaz flinches; a wall of insecurity instantly builds itself around Yaz and her feet start walking backwards.

“Jenny that’s fucking ridiculous.” Yaz turns around, flight winning over fight making her walk away. 

“No, wait, Yaz Yaz Yaz-” Jenny catches up to her. “I know what it looks and feels like to run away from your emotions and I promise it’ll end up finding you anyway.” 

“I’m fine-” Yaz tries to brush the woman away but annoyingly Jenny cuts in.

“Yaz you haven’t been fine since I brought you back from Sheffield.” Jenny slightly raises her voice and it’s enough to make Yaz angry. 

“Do you mind not dictating how I feel?” Yaz spits.

“I’m just saying-” Jenny steps forward. 

Yaz steps back.

“You don’t need to say anything.”

“Yaz-”

“Don’t follow me.” Yaz warns as she turns around and starts to walk away.

“How are you going to get home?” Jenny calls after her.

“The bus.” Yaz pulls the answer out of thin air.

“Yaz please can we just talk about it?” Jenny asks. Yaz keeps walking away. “I’m worried about you!” Jenny shouts as a final attempt to get Yaz to turn around.

Yaz doesn’t look back, she just keeps walking. She doesn’t know where, since she has no money on her for the bus or the train on her but she just wants to walk. Away from Jenny, away from everything suddenly rising up to the surface. Why can’t she just keep going the way she has been? She’s coping enough, right? Even if everything Jenny said is true it doesn’t mean all of it’s bad. 

She doesn’t know how long she’s been walking for but the sight of a bench positioned across from a children's playground seems so inviting to her legs when her eyes land on it. Sitting down on the rotting wood, Yaz can’t run away from it anymore. She won’t say it out loud, but she knows she wants to be doing something different with her life. She doesn’t want to get rid of Jenny. She doesn’t want to get rid of Bill or Ryan. She doesn’t want to stop living by herself. But what she does want is to not be restricted to deadlines for work she doesn’t want to be doing. She sits there, glazing over everything happening in front of her and playing out scenarios in her head. She should probably consider calling Najia. Wise words from her mother might be the biggest help right now but how can Yaz know she isn’t going to lecture her about something else irrelevant which will simply irritate Yaz more.

In her wrapped up little world, Yaz almost doesn’t notice the shape of a familiar body sitting down next to her, leaving a respectable gap between their two bodies. It almost felt like the night they first met properly. Almost.

“I told you not to follow me.” Yaz says not looking at Jenny.

“I’m not very good at following instructions.” Jenny says.

Yaz expects her to say something else; a follow up, a motivational statement or at least something along those lines. But there is nothing but silence between the two of them and the sound of kids playing on rusty swing sets. There’s a definite tension lurking around them, gently pushing Yaz to eventually look at Jenny, who takes a second to register what Yaz is doing and give her her full devotion. 

“I’m scared.” Yaz says timidly, never letting her gaze fall away from Jenny’s eyes.

“Of what?” Jenny asks with just as much gentleness to her voice. 

“Of what happens when I admit I don’t want to study law.” Yaz cheats her way around speaking it into existence. 

“It’s alright to be scared. It’s what makes people human.” Jenny says. 

“What are you scared of?” Yaz asks. 

“Lots of things.” Jenny shrugs, losing all essence of the serious persona. “Exams. What’s going to happen when school’s over, your rent runs out and you move back home up there and I’m down here. Seeing the guy who beat me up on the street. Whispers about me. You losing interest. What’s gonna happen when I finish my degree and I’m in debt for the rest of my life. That you’re suffering and not telling anyone else about it.”

Yaz can feel those hazel-green eyes burning into the side of her head. Before they burst her into flames, Yaz turns her head so her own eyes meet them. She doesn’t like the amount of concern in them and she really doesn’t like the sound of some of Jenny’s own fears. Yaz hasn’t even considered looking for student housing or housing down here at all yet. 

“Jen, I don’t know what to do.” Yaz mutters quietly. 

With a soft blink of her eyes Yaz misses seeing Jenny take hold of her hand- but she doesn’t miss Jenny kiss the back of it.

“We can figure it out.” Jenny says, just as quietly. Yaz really can’t help herself but lean in to kiss her as a sign of appreciation, but Jenny is fast in turning her face away. Yaz follows her eyeline to see a group of young teenage boys in the park across the way and suddenly she understands. 

“Later.” Jenny says.

“We’re going to have to sort out all those things you said as well, you know.” Yaz shifts the attention back onto Jenny. 

“One thing at a time, Yaz.” Jenny says, her lips parting into a smile.

 

Jenny convinces Yaz to stay over to make sure she has something decent to eat and a good night's rest. However she wakes up at about two in the morning by the tap of laptop keys and the soft glow of a desk lamp, the occupant of the desk sporting her glasses and working away as the night grows older. 

“Jen, what the hell are you doing?” Yaz grumbles, rubbing her eyes to adjust them to the light. 

“Workin’.” The blonde mumbles. “Go back to sleep.”

Yaz throws the covers off and gets out of bed. March means it’s still cold but not early enough in the year for a group of students to justify the cost of using central heating so Yaz is hit by the cold but she doesn’t care. She’s too focused on making her way over to the back of Jenny’s chair, wrapping her arms around her shoulders and planting a small kiss just above her ear. “I’ll go back to sleep when you come to bed.”

“Not tired.” Jenny keeps her reasoning short. Yaz tsks and presses her cheek up against Jenny’s, the cold frame of her glasses pressing into her warm skin.

“Come on, come to-”

“Yasmin.”

“Jennifer.” 

They’re both quick to draw out each others names. To give herself the upper hand, Yaz wraps her arms tighter around Jenny’s shoulders, pressing bare skin onto bare collar bones; a little taste of the benefits of sleeping in the same bed together to draw Jenny in. 

“‘Spose you’re right.” Jenny sighs, throwing her glasses down on the desk in defeat.

“You can’t see anything at all now, can you?” Yaz smiles.

“Absolutely not.” Jenny shakes her head. She places her hands on Yaz’s arms and lightly strokes her fingertips up and down her skin. “Can still feel you though.”

“So you’re going to get into bed with me?” Yaz whispers against Jenny’s earlobe, purposefully sniffing her hair as she moves her head out of her own selfish needs. 

“Is this just an elaborate way to ask me for a cuddle?” Jenny asks. 

“No. But that would be nice too.” Yaz smiles onto Jenny's skin.

“You’ve known this from the start!” A door slams and a Scottish accent shouts. Jenny sits up in her chair and Yaz backs away from holding her arms around Jenny. 

“That doesn’t mean there’s no chance at all!” 

Rory.

“Less than one percent, Rory! We can’t keep going over this, if you don’t want to marry me-”

“Of course I want to marry you! I just…” 

Yaz stops listening out of respect. “What’s all that about?” She asks. 

“It’s not really my place to say… but Amy can’t have children.” Jenny whispers her explanation.

"Oh." Yaz says, taken by pure surprise.

“They found out about two years ago when Amy went to the doctor thinking she was pregnant and she got some completely different news. Every few months it comes up.”

“You mean they blow up like this every few months?” Yaz asks, unable to comprehend it.

“Not usually this badly.” Jenny sighs. “They’ve never brought the wedding into it before.”

“They can’t cancel it.” Yaz says.

“Why not?” Jenny spins her chair around to face her, surprised in Yaz’s interest. 

“I want a reason to see you in a dress.” Yaz smirks at the idea, trying not think about how everything usually hidden could be hugged so well in all the right places. 

Jenny scoffs immediately. “You won’t ever find me dead in a dress. Now a tuxedo, you can bet your money on that.”

“I bet your ass looks good in a dress.” Yaz teases.

“Oi, are you objectifying me?”

“Maybe a little bit.” Yaz winks. Even with the poor lighting Yaz can see Jenny blushing. “Now come on, I’m serious, get in bed.”

“Let me just do a few more-”

“Jenny I swear.” Yaz takes hold of Jenny’s braces and pulls her forward until she has to stand up. “You need just as much sleep as me.” 

“Yeah, but-”

“Jenny, please. It’s late and you need to sleep. I need you to come to bed and sleep. What’s so important anyway?”

“Nothing.” Jenny smiles sweetly and shakes her head, her face relaxing from work mode to ‘Yaz’ mode.

“Really?” 

“Nothing more than you.”

Yaz’s heart skips a beat. “You sap.”

“You make it hard not to be.” Jenny grins.

“Stop being romantic, it’s late.” Yaz lightly hits Jenny’s chest.

“How can I know that? Time stops when I’m with you.” Jenny takes hold of both of Yaz’s hands, making this whole facade inescapable. 

“How many of these do you have stored up?” Yaz asks through smiling lips.

“Enough to show the universe how much I love you.”

“I hate you.” Yaz laughs out of embarrassment. 

“I know.” Jenny kisses her cheek. “Give me two second to get changed, I promise I’m coming to bed.”

And she does come to bed. All of that week in fact. And the next, sending them into an established routine by the beginning of April. Jenny will go to work, Yaz will go to class or the library, they’ll meet up for lunch and while they’re there decide who’s bed they’ll be sharing that night. After, they do whatever they need to do to make sure their evenings are dedicated to one another. For Yaz that means trying to organise a load of unmotivated teenagers to pick a time to meet up and discuss what they’re going to do for their group presentation in a few weeks. 

“Still no luck?” Jenny asks the second Yaz walks through the door and she sees her face. 

“They're taking the piss. I’m not doing their slides for them.” Yaz complains, kicking off her shoes and lying on Jenny’s bed, resting her head on the owners chest to calm herself down with the rhythm of her breathing. 

“Too right.” Jenny snorts. 

“What are you reading?” Yaz asks. 

“Cosmology: the science of the universe.” Jenny shows Yaz the sleek cover of the book. 

“Is that for your readings?”

“No, just for fun while I wait for you.” Jenny marks her page and throws the book across the room to land on her desk. “Found anyone to live with yet?” 

“Nope.” Yaz says. “I might just have to go back to living at home.” 

“So we’re going to have to go long distance.” Jenny says what it all boils down to. 

“It won’t be that bad.” Yaz sits herself up so that she can look her girlfriend in the eye. “I can come and stay with you. You can come and stay with me. The other times in the middle we can video call and text and-.”

“It’s not the same though is it.” Jenny huffs. 

“What else do you suggest then?” Yaz asks softly. She lifts her head and her eyebrows. “Nudes?”

“Yes but no.” Jenny considers it. Yaz finds herself getting sat up alongside Jenny, moving the feeling of the room from casual to more like a board meeting. “Move in with me. Here.” Jenny suggests. 

“For- for real? Seriously?” Yaz checks. I's a massive thing she's suggesting.

“Yeah, I mean, Amy and Rory are going to be moving into their own place so we need at least one person to move in and essentially take the room.” Jenny explains with hope in her eyes and repressed excitement vibrating through her bones. 

“So I can come home to you every day?” Yaz smiles. 

“Is that a yes?” Jenny raises her eyebrows. 

“Yeah.” Yaz nods. “Why not.” She shrugs, and just as her shoulders reach her chin Jenny seals the deal with a kiss. 

“Can I still have nudes though?” Jenny asks when she pulls away. 

“If you’re lucky.” Yaz neither says no or yes. “Wait, what about Clara?”

“What about her?” Jenny is suddenly overcome with confusion. 

“I’m assuming she going to keep living here too. Have you asked her if I can move in?”

“Oh, yeah she’s fine with it. She likes you. Says you make me happy or some shit.” Jenny says like it’s nothing, so Yaz reaches out her hand to run her fingers through that soft blonde hair.

“Hey, what do you want for your birthday?” Yaz asks.

“There’s still two months until my birthday.” Jenny frowns. 

“I know, but I want to organise something nice. I think you deserve it.”

Jenny pretends to think. “Your nudes.”

“Oh for-” Yaz rolls her eyes. “Now I’ve suggested it-”

“-I’m never going to stop asking for them now I know the option’s on the table.” Jenny grins. 

“Would I get any back?” Yaz pushes her luck. 

“If they’re good, yeah.”

“Oi!” Yaz slaps her arm then rests her head on Jenny’s shoulder while the blonde laughs. “Seriously though what do you want to do?”

“I want to go for lunch with you Clara and Amy. Eat some ice cream and cake. Then come home, chill out and maybe watch some kind of documentary.”

Yaz smiles at the simplicity of it all. “We can do that.” 

“We need to get exams and assessments out of the way first.” Jenny says, as if not to let the two of them get ahead of themselves.

“Not tonight though.” Yaz cuddles further into Jenny’s side to steal her sent and warmth. Jenny closes her arms around Yaz’s body.

“Not tonight.”

 

After dinner, Yaz decides she probably shouldn’t procrastinate telling her parents she’s going to be moving in with Jenny. It’s a big life change and they’re still expecting their little girl coming home for the summer. She probably will still visit, but it will be just that. 

“Hey mum.” Yaz greets her normally. 

“Yaz, how’s it going? You’ve not called in a while.” Najia says. She’s right. 

“Yeah, I’m fine mum. My wrists fine now, classes are almost over, I’m on top of things and I’ve sorted out where I’m going to be living next year.”

“Oh really?” Najia asks. Yaz can tell she’s already suspicious. 

“I’m going to live with Jenny.” Yaz says. 

“Oh.”

“What is it?” Yaz rolls her eyes, preparing for the protest. 

“Have you thought this through Yaz? Properly thought it through. Do you like the area? Are there jobs available for you to pay rent? What if you two have an argument or break-”

“We aren’t going to break up mum, we’re better than ever.” Yaz jumps in. 

“Honestly though Yasmin whatever’s been decided you have to take it with a pinch of salt. I wouldn’t take it for definite.” Najia warns. Yaz only partially takes it on board. “At least you’re coming home for the summer.”

“Oh, actually mum, I- I’m going on holiday with Jenny and some of our friends.”

“Alright sweetheart if you tell me the dates I can-”

“And then I’m going to start living here from then on and visit home.” 

There’s a pause on the other end of the line. Yaz’s hand moves up to pinch her lips- almost a defensive barrier between the phone microphone and whatever might come out of her mouth next.

“So you’re moving out for good?” 

“I’ll see how I like it first.” Yaz says, knowing it’s the most sensible answer her mum will accept. “Don’t forget I’m basically here everyday anyway.”

“Are you there now?”

“Yeah.”

“Is Jenny there?”

“Yeah.”

“Can I speak to her?” 

Yaz looks across the room at the other housemates sharing the washing up together. 

“Jen.” Yaz calls for her. Jenny instantly looks over, knowing Yaz is on the phone with her mother, and when Yaz waves her over she obliges. “Mum wants to speak to you.” She hands out her phone and Jenny freezes in fear. “You’re not in trouble.” 

Jenny reluctantly takes the phone and walks away, with all Yaz being able to hear is Jenny referring to Najia as ‘Yaz’s mum’ instead of her name.

“Everything okay?” Amy asks, abandoning her washing up statement to come and talk to Yaz. 

“I think so. I trust her not to say anything bad.” Yaz lies to herself.

“You find out what she wants to do for her birthday?” Amy asks.

“I did, she wants to go out to lunch with me you and Clara.” Yaz regurgitates Jenny’s words. 

“And then…?”

“She wants to watch a documentary and chill out with ice cream and cake.” Yaz says. Amy stays very quiet, forcing Yaz to take her eyes off of the phone call. 

“Can I give you a hint Yaz?” Amy asks. 

“What?” Yaz says although she has a strong feeling that she’s going to be 

“Let her see you in lingerie.” Amy pulls back and wiggles her eyebrows, walking off before Yaz has the chance to find suitable words to say in response.

“Okay I’ll hand her back to you.” Yaz hears Jenny back in her space. She takes her phone back and tries to get any clue to what kind of words have been exchanged but comes back with nothing.

“It’s me.” Yaz says holding her phone back up to her ear.

“I’m agreeable to it.” Najia says. 

“Why do I feel like the word ‘if’ should be on the end of that.” Yaz says. 

“No ifs or buts I promise. But you’ll always have a home here in case it doesn’t work out.”

“Thanks for your faith mum.” Yaz says sarcastically. 

“I am happy for you Yaz. It’s just hard to process.” 

“Thanks mum. Can you tell dad for me please?” Yaz asks. She knows if she tried to tell her dad either both or one of them will end up upset. 

“Sure thing love. I’ll speak to you soon okay.”

“Alright. Bye mum.

“See you later sweetheart.”

Yaz hangs up.

“So that went well.” Jenny chimes in. 

“What exactly did she say to you?” Yaz has to know. 

“Nothing you need to worry about.” 

“Please tell me.” Yaz lays on the helpless puppy dog eyes.

“It’s fine Yaz.” Jenny says. Yaz lets her pull the both of them close together by putting her arms comfortingly around her waist. “Why didn’t you tell her you’re considering not continuing?” Jenny asks. 

“Better to hit her with one big life change at a time you know.”

“Yaz you have to tell her.” 

“I will.” Yaz nods, making the point of looking Jenny directly in the eyes to show she’s not lying. “Just not right now.” 

“Can you two stop canoodling and start pulling your weight? My fingers are getting wrinkly over here.” Clara shouts across. Not wanting to piss off the force that is she is, Yaz and Jenny oblige.

Chapter Text

April sprints into May at an alarming pace. The trees on campus suddenly grow back their leaves, daffodils come into bloom, classes end, students say ‘see you around’ to each other, easter chocolates come and go and most importantly of all, Yaz takes part in Ramadan while Jenny gives all her support to her throughout it. Even when exams are taking up the rest of Jenny’s time, she still stays up to keep Yaz company when she eats and helps her get through the day the best she can. When the event is over and life returns to normal, Yaz finds herself missing Jenny a lot. She’s always buzzing around anyway but exam season means she’s literally never home. If she’s not in the labs she’s in the library and if she’s not in the library she’s in the labs and if she’s not in either of these places she’s crashed out from a finishes coffee buzz on the sofa downstairs. Yaz has already had to wake her up and move her four times, plus one time she can’t get Jenny to move, so she tucks her into bed where she lay on the sofa instead. 

She knows it’s only a few weeks of this and that it will be all over as soon as it has started, but it’s still taking its toll on Yaz and Jenny and their relationship. That’s why one afternoon a week before exams are over, Yaz decides to take Amy’s advice and spend gods know how long online shopping for lingerie that she thinks might suit her body. She doesn’t even realise how many options there are and slightly panics over which one Jenny would like to see on her most. But then she has a eureka moment, and no offence to Jenny but it doesn’t matter what her preference is, all that matters is if Yaz feels comfortable in it. So in the end, after hours of deliberation that should’ve been spent finishing up assessments due at the end of the month, Yaz buys a white lace bralette thing along with some kind of matching white-almost-see through panties that have strips of silk fabric that will fall down her thighs to clip onto mesh lace stockings. She hasn’t decided on whether to use that last part. She doesn’t really know what the fuck she’s doing buying the set but she knows and trusts that Jenny will try to pinch herself when she sees her in it. She deserves a break after what this academic year has put her through.

“Yaz can you proofread this for me?” Bill comes in without knocking. Yaz panics and slams her laptop lid down. “Watching porn? Jenny not doing it for ya anymore?” 

“No.” Yaz says. “I’m buying Jenny’s birthday present. I thought you were her.” 

“Whatever excuse helps you sleep at night.” Bill sighs and hands over her laptop. “Will you proofread for me?” 

“Of course my love.” Yaz switches out the laptops of that Bill’s sits on her lap and her own rests on the floor. 

“Have you sorted where you’re living next year? I swear I would’ve let you come live with me if there was room.” Bill says. 

“I’m moving in with Jenny.” Yaz says bluntly. She makes a note of where she’s read up to (one sentence in) knowing that Bill’s going to want to talk about it. 

“Holy shit!” Bill’s grin is filled with a mixture of shock and delight. “That’s a fucking big thing dude.”

“Don’t think my brain’s registered it yet.” Yaz shrugs. “Feels like the normal thing to do. The next step that makes sense, you know.” 

“You’re so in love, it’s gross.” Bill smiles as her. 

“Wanna keep talking about my relationship or shall I do this first?” Yaz asks, looking at Bill but pointing at the screen.

“Please do that first, it’s due at midnight.” 

Yaz whistles. “Cutting it fine.”

“Better to be almost late than never.”

“I’m with you on that.” Yaz chuckles and gets on with helping her friend out. 

Except she can’t concentrate because she can feel Bill staring at her. 

“You’re being very distracting right now.” Yaz decides to bring the issue up after reading just one page. 

“Do you realise how much you’ve grown since we first met?” Bill asks. “You’re like a proper well rounded person now.”

“Thanks. I think.” Yaz says, unsure as to whether it’s a compliment or not. 

“I’m being serious. Even if this hasn’t been the best experience of your life, I still think it’s done you good.”

Yaz can’t think of anything to respond to that with. Bill has essentially been her best friend through this entire experience but she didn’t realise how much attention she’s actually been paying to her. Probably because all of her attention has been stuck on Jenny since day one.

“You’ve been a brilliant friend to me this year.” Yaz says. 

“Not even been a year mate, it’s June.” 

“Don’t get clever, I’ve already picked up four spelling and grammar mistakes in this.”

Bill lets out a groan and buries her face into Yaz’s pillow, allowing Yaz to keep reading Bill’s essay until she runs out of words to check. 

 

The next week passes in just as much of a blur. The set routine they’ve got themselves into makes it easier to lose track of what day it is and how long they have left. Yaz, luckily or unluckily depending on the person you ask, has an earlier deadline day than Jenny and the rest of the science students and is free of all things university by June sixth. It sits strangely with her that she’s made it through after everything and now she gets to help Jenny through her final week. 

Now it’s June fifteenth and Yaz is waiting at Jenny’s house- soon to be their house after Yaz moves the last of her things tomorrow and gets a key- for Jenny to return from her final exam. She knows this is the one Jenny is most nervous and has worked the hardest for. Yaz is making herself nervous by imagining what kind of state Jenny is going to return home, to the point where she can’t do anything but watch the clock. Just as the clock strikes eleven in the morning, Yaz hears Jenny’s key turn in the lock. She stands, almost shaking with nerves waiting the last few moments before Jenny walks into the room. For a split second Yaz thinks she’s fucked it. Totally screwed it up by the looks of her face but Jenny has never been the best at hiding emotions and her face cracks into a smile.

“I fucking aced it.” Jenny says with pride while Yaz squeezes all of the air out of her lungs in a hug.

“I knew you would.” Yaz smiles onto Jenny’s neck.

“Should’ve told that to your face this morning.” 

“Didn’t mean I wasn’t nervous for you.” Yaz brings her head back. “I’m really proud of you, you know that?” 

“Yeah.” Jenny smiles and nods. “Same sentiments to you.” 

“What do you want to do? We should celebrate.” Yaz suggests. Jenny pretends to think for a moment but it’s evident that she’s already planned out what she wants. 

“First and foremost I want a nap because my body’s just got rid of so much adrenaline that  I’m tired.”

“Fair enough.” Yaz tries not to laugh at how much explanation she gives when she’s tired. 

“Then…” Jenny’s hands moves down so that her fingers curl around the belt loops on Yaz’s jeans. “...Since the house is empty…” They both end up silently giggling at Jenny’s words and what they imply as their faces getting closer together. “I want to spend some much over due time with you.”

Jenny goes to kiss Yaz but all she ends up kissing is Yaz’s forefinger which creates about a centimetre between them. 

“I was thinking-” Jenny automatically frowns, so Yaz lays on the seduction thick; harshening her gaze a raising one eyebrow to the high heavens. “Maybe we could save that for your birthday.”

“What, why? I wanna do it now. Well- I mean after-the-nap-now now.” Jenny protests. 

“Because I have something special planned for you.” Yaz teases a spoiler which rightfully grabs Jenny’s attention. “Will you be good for me and wait.” Yaz says to hammer the final nail into Jenny’s coffin.

“Now that’s verging on unfair.” Jenny grumbles.

Yaz cradles Jenny’s face in her hands. “Go and have your nap, Jen.”

“You have to come up with me.” Jenny insists.

“I’m not going to sleep with you.” Yaz reiterates. 

“Remember the last time you said something like that?”

“That’s not going to happen this time.” Yaz smirks, knowing she has way more self control.

“You know I’m joking.” Jenny says. 

“You are?” 

“Shut up, of course I am.” Jenny giggles. “I just want you near me,” Out of nowhere Jenny hugs Yaz tightly, catching her off guard and spinning the pair of them around on the spot making Yaz go giddy in more ways than one. “Because exams are done and we’ve got the whole of summer to have adventures together and I’m excited!” 

 

The next day Yaz stands looking at the barren room in front of her. Everything she brought down with her back in September is either already at Jenny’s or in her car ready to go there once Yaz has handed in her keys. It’s strange, seeing the place she’s lived for months empty, all traces of her completely gone. The pinboard is empty, her desk has been cleared, the pictures of her friends and from her gap year have been stored away ready to be put up alongside the pictures of Jenny and her friends. She’s cried in this room. Smiled in this room. Panicked in this room. And now she’s the only remaining testament to any of it ever happening apart from the walls that overheard everything as it happened.

“Feels weird doesn’t it.” Bill says creeping up beside Yaz. “So much has happened in this flat and I still don’t remember any of our other flatmates names.”

Yaz laughs through her nose. “We really made the most of it.”

“Sure did.” Bill says. “You going today then?” 

“Yeah. Only down the road, though.” 

“I extended my rent for another three weeks so I don’t have to go back to London just yet.” Bill tells Yaz, resting her chin on Yaz’s shoulder. “I’m gonna miss you being my neighbour.”

“It’s not like you’re never going to see me again.” Yaz says. “Who else am I going to go to to teach me how to use sex toys.”

“Out of context that sounds so dodgy.” Bill laughs.

“You ready Yaz?” Jenny asks appearing behind Yaz. 

“I’ll see you later mate.” And with a wink Bill disappears. 

“Lots of stuff happened here.” Yaz takes Jenny’s hand, suddenly overcome with sentimental feelings. 

“Me returning your keys. Halloween. Reading week. A billion almost kisses.”

“Our first kiss.” Yaz adds to the list. If she focuses closely she’s able to envision the events happening right in front of her. She can feel it all happening at once.

“When we admitted we love each other.” Jenny continues to add. 

“Exactly.” Yaz kisses Jenny’s cheek and Jenny does a quick sweep around to make sure no one saw. Ironic really, considering how much Yaz’s flatmates have probably heard. 

“Shall we go home now?” Jenny asks while they share a smile.

“Yeah.” Yaz nods, comfortably certain in herself. “Let’s go home.” 

Yaz reaches out in front of her and picks up the rubber door stop- the last thing to go- and lets the fire door shut on itself. And for the last time, Yaz locks the door and therefore the room away to wait for someone else to come and occupy it in a few months. 

“Didn’t send me any nudes from there though.”

“Shut up about the nudes, Jen.”

 

“A toast!” Clara taps her glass with her spoon to grab everyone’s attention around the table. “We’re here for lunch today to celebrate two very important things. Firstly, exams season is officially over.”

“Wooo!” Amy and Jenny cheer while Yaz give a couple of claps. 

“But way more importantly, it’s this big idiots birthday.” Clara pats Jenny on the back. “Your twenty second year had its downs but I’d be a right dick of a friend if I focused on them. So, if I was making this a proper speech, I’d say about how in the past few months you’ve become a totally renewed person for the better and I don’t think I need to explain why either.”

Three pairs of eyes land on Yaz along with Jenny’s hand comfortably placing itself on her knee under the table. 

“Jenny I hope your twenty third year continues to be just as prosperous and good as it has been recently. Since we’re all poor we haven’t got you much in terms of gifts but I’m sure Yaz will-”

“Clara.” Jenny intervenes.

“Right, too far. Ignore that last bit.” Clara checks herself and the heat in Yaz’s cheeks die down. “Happy birthday Jenny!” 

“Happy birthday!” Amy and Yaz follow Clara in raising their glasses. 

“Thanks guys.” Jenny blushes at the attention. 

“Happy birthday Jen.” Yaz steals a kiss from the corner of Jenny’s lips before anyone can clock it happening. Not even Jenny herself.

“Love you.” Jenny whispers, stroking her thumb over Yaz’s knee. 

“Ugh, Clara they’re doing it again.” Amy says with an evident playfulness. 

“It’s her birthday, let them.” Clara says, not looking up from the menu in front of her.

“Would you rather we started conversations about Ryan or the wedding?” Jenny asks.

“Nope.” The two other women say simultaneously. 

“It feels weird. That you’ve already moved into your marital home but you’re not married yet.” Jenny says.

“You wanna risk the landlord coming over and seeing there's an extra person moved in?” Amy asks. 

“That wouldn’t exactly go down well, Jen.” Yaz takes Amy’s side. 

“We’re still gonna be there most of the time- we’re just sleeping somewhere else until we’re properly moved in.” Amy says. 

“You didn’t move early because of me, right?” Yaz asks. 

“No, no of course not. The house was just sitting empty anyway so we might as well have.” Amy says.

“You’re not that significant.” Jenny says. Yaz frowns, a little offended at the sentence, and leans her body away waiting for an explanation. 

“Jen.” Clara says.

“What?” Jenny asks, oblivious. 

“Wording.” Clara says. 

“Oh!” Jenny’s full devoted attention is now on Yaz. “Oh, shit sorry sorry what I meant was you moving in hasn’t altered how we are or what we do because it feels normal.” 

“Okay.” Yaz nods, accepting the explanation.

“Did I really fuck up?” Jenny asks. 

“No, no you’re fine babe. Just a blip.” Yaz smiles kindly and relaxes even further into it when she sees the effect of it on Jenny chill her out.

“Right!” Amy slams her hands down on the table. “Food. What’re we having?”

“Cake.” Jenny says.

“Yeah but before that Jen.” 

“Ice cream.” Jenny says and everyone groans.

“We should’ve gone to a dessert bar.” Clara says.

 

The lunch was nice. Just that- ‘nice’. Yaz can tell through the whole thing that Jenny would rather be at home cuddled up watching the David Attenborough documentary that they’ve now finally got to. Yaz managed to sneakily put on the lingerie set under her trackies while she pretended to go to the toilet when they got back- ready for Jenny to discover whenever she decided she wanted to. Now, with the credits of the documentary rolling and Yaz’s arm dead from Jenny laying on it the whole time, Jenny makes her excuses to go to the bathroom and it gives Yaz the chance to retrieve the other gift she’s prepared for Jenny from under the bed.

“Yaz wha-” 

“Happy birthday!” Yaz cuts in when Jenny spots the package in her hand.

“You actually got me something?” Jenny smiles at the surprise like she can’t believe it.

“I got you two things but you should open this one first.” Yaz pushes the wrapped package forward into Jenny’s hands. 

“Where’s the other thing I get to open?” Jenny gets distracted and starts innocently looking around the room for clues. 

“My legs.” Yaz says point blank. Jenny’s head whips back around so fast Yaz is certain she heard her neck crack. “But I think you’ll like this one better.”

Yaz watches as Jenny opens the cheap wrapping paper with no sense of cleanliness or neatness. As the last piece falls to the floor and Jenny takes the gift out and unfold it Yaz relishes in watching her girlfriends face light up. Yaz has got her a brand new lab coat of her own so she doesn’t have to share with the rest of the science population. Even if she accidentally puts it back on the rack no one would pick it up thanks to the ‘J.Smith’ Yaz got embroidered just above the chest pocket. 

“How do I look?” Jenny spins around, smile plastered on her face.

“Like a Doctor.” Yaz says, smiling at Jenny’s smile.

“Can I have my second present now?” Jenny pulls Yaz’s body in close and yaz can feel her own body prepare itself with excitement and joy.

“You don’t want to save it?” Yaz asks, running a finger over the embroidered letters. 

“After needing it for two days? I don’t want to wait, not for another second.” 

Yaz can’t kiss Jenny properly at first due to the two of them smiling like idiots. They’re just bumping teeth and laughing into each others mouths but that’s only at first and soon Yaz realises how much of a mistake making Jenny wait for her birthday for sex is because now she’s being ruthless. Gripping her hips, her thighs, cradling her jaw with both hands so that Yaz can’t pull her face away, trying to undress herself but Yaz refusing to let her do it yet. When a hand tries to rid Yaz of her lounge pants, she has to take action. 

“Wait, sit in the chair.” Yaz says.

“What for?” Jenny asks, focus hazy from the taste of Yaz’s mouth. 

“A surprise.” Yaz says. It’s all she needs to say for Jenny to comply. 

The first thing Yaz does is double check that the door is locked. The second thing she does is tell Jenny to close her eyes so that she can remove her clothes without spoiling the effect of the surprise. Yaz suddenly feels bare and uneasy and in need of Jenny’s affections- if not a little bit turned on by her own bravery.

“Open.” Yaz says quietly  

“Holyyyyy oh shit.” Jenny rocks her chair from side to side, instantly hiding half of her face with her hand and smiling like she’s been handed her favourite meal on a silver platter but at the same time she doesn’t know where to look. She’s trying not to panic.

“Did I choose the right one?” Yaz shrugs, her body still tense from nervous energy.

“Uuh, Yaz…I’m…” Jenny laughs in disbelief. “...fuck.” The hand hiding half of her face slips one finger in between her teeth to bite down on.

“Speechless?” Yaz asks. It’s not really a question to Jenny, more of a confirmation to herself that her body is the thing making Jenny react like this. 

“Uh huh.” Jenny nods frantically. The pair of them both sort of nervously exhale at the same time. “I... don’t know how to process this.” Jenny laughs, uncertain. 

Yaz takes Jenny’s hand away from her blushing cheek and into her own. “It’s for you. You can do whatever you want with me.”

“Whatever I want?” Jenny asks, her eyes giving away that she can’t believe her luck. Yaz nods and straight away her free hand snakes its way around Yaz’s lower back. “Are you sure?” 

The strategically placed arm pushes Yaz a step forward, forcing her legs to spread so that Jenny’s thigh sits between them.

“Completely.” Yaz hovers her face in front of Jenny’s, hoping the eroticism of it all will distract from the inconsistency of her breathing pattern right now thanks to a sudden burst of nervous adrenaline.

“Remember the safe word?” Jenny asks. She runs her tongue over her bottom lip before biting down on it, sending Yaz spiraling. 

Holy shit.

“Y-yeah.” Yaz stutters. A shock of heat going straight to her core. 

The small amount of air between them hums with electricity as they stare; Yaz at Jenny’s face and Jenny at everything but Yaz’s face. The silence, the ragged breath at simply the visual stimulation, Jenny’s wandering fingertips trailing up and around Yaz’s body until they’re brushing over her jawline, Yaz getting remarkably turned on from Jenny being so close to losing her shit. 

“Why aren’t we kissing?” Jenny asks after five seconds of Yaz simply watching her face hover mere millimeters away from her lips. 

“I dunno-”

Yaz is cut off by her own gasp from the sensation of Jenny pinching her lip between her teeth right before a fierce locking of lips. If she knew wearing something special could evoke this kind of reaction she would have done this months, months ago. She’s always had this feeling that Jenny has some other persona hiding in the background whenever they have sex and now that Yaz has gently teased the flood gates have opened drastically. 

Feeling the dynamics are unfair, Yaz makes quick work of removing Jenny’s shirts and discarding them somewhere else she doesn’t see or care for. Jenny’s hands land firmly back on Yaz’s hips, commanding the lower half of her body to rock against her thigh at the pace Jenny chooses. Slowly inching up in speed. It doesn’t exactly stimulate Yaz- just frustrates her more and more especially when Jenny decided to turn her mouths attention to her neck. 

There’s a knock at the door that scares Yaz’s heart into cardiac arrest..

“Busy!” Jenny barks and sure enough the footsteps turn away to leave them alone. 

“Jen…” Yaz sighs directly into her ear. 

“I’m taking my time.” Her hand brushes over Yaz’s crotch with enough pressure to let her know it’s there but not enough to make her whine. “You said I can do what I want.”

Jenny shifts so that her sitting posture isn’t as pristine and Yaz ends up further up Jenny’s thigh but something catches her attention. The movement meant Yaz’s own thigh hit between Jenny’s legs and she gasped to the touch more than she logically should have. Sending a hand down to investigate, instead of feeling the usual soft heat Yaz’s fingers are met with something hard. 

Clocking on to what’s happening, Jenny pulls back to watch Yaz’s reaction. 

“Hello.” Yaz smirks, running her hand up and down the length through her trousers, knowing she can feel every touch.

“Are you okay with it?” Jenny asks. Yaz nods. She knows this has been coming for a while now. “I should say it’s different. Birthday present to myself.” 

“Different how?” Yaz asks with a hint of fear.

“Find out for yourself.” Jenny challenges, sitting back and removing all contact to leave Yaz to remove her culottes until they drop around her ankles. She does, taking Jenny’s socks off too just for the sake of it.

The difference is there is no harness. Which confuses Yaz, until she figures out how it’s attached.   

“Why the fuck is it purple?” Is all Yaz can come up with to say. 

“Don’t take the piss or you won’t get it.” Jenny says with a warning tone to her voice. 

“Are you threatening me?” Yaz smirks, climbing back to straddle Jenny’s lap. The toy hits against Yaz’s lower stomach only for an instant but it’s enough to let Yaz know she’s going to need something and soon. Need specifically that.

“Are you going to do anything about it?” Jenny comes over all smug. 

Yaz has to press her lips together and avert her eyes to stop herself from laughing. It’s not very convincing.

“Don’t laugh!” The regular Jenny she knows and loves slips through.

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry, I’m just not used to you being like this. All dominant and stuff.” 

Yaz utilises one hand by stroking the inside of Jenny’s bare thigh and uses the other to play with Jenny’s hair and the blonde goes quiet again. Jenny covers every area of Yaz’s shoulders, neck and chest with her lips and teases her tongue at all the right intervals, all while refusing to remove any clothing from Yaz’s body.

“You’re driving me mad.” Jenny mumbles when her face is level with Yaz’s again. Really she didn’t need to say it, Yaz can tell from the crazed look in eyes that only ever makes an appearance when Yaz has made her wait too long. 

“Then I want you to do something about it.” Yaz says firmly although her body already feels like unset jelly. 

Yaz lets Jenny take over her mouth once again- her hands switching between taking out the bun in Yaz’s hair and blindly rummaging around in her desk draw until she pulls out some lubricant. Yaz watches her apply it, secretly wondering if the state she’s in now would actually be enough to work without help. Too distracted at the sight, Yaz is taken by surprise when two fingers push the fabric between her legs to the side and hold it there. 

“Sit.” Jenny orders. She’s extra hot when she does that, Yaz decides. 

Yaz rests her hands on Jenny’s shoulders and tries to relax the muscles in her body as she moves her hips forward and down, embracing the device and the burning sensation as she stretches around it until her and Jenny’s hip bones touch. She keeps eye contact with Jenny the entire time, even seeing her jaw drop when Yaz takes all of her inside. 

“Need a second?” Jenny asks considerately. 

“Just a bit.” Yaz nods, shutting her eyes to focus on the sensation. Jenny kisses and nips at Yaz’s neck until she gets impatient with waiting and grabs Yaz’s buttcheeks to inch her up and let her fall again, forcing the first proper moan to escape. Her eyes flutter open to see Jenny gulp. Wanting to feel like that again Yaz starts to grind under her own steam, making her pant and she can tell Jenny’s desperate to do it herself but she just needs that one push- that one thing that will turn her into an animal. Yaz leaves a couple of kisses along Jenny’s jaw before reaching her ear and whispering the three words. 

“You’re so big.” 

And that’s all she needs to do. Jenny doesn’t miss a beat in picking Yaz up and essentially throwing her down onto their bed. 

“Hands and knees.” Jenny demands. Yaz obliges, silently smiling to herself, not letting Jenny see.

While Jenny caresses and kisses the back of her thighs and backside Yaz spreads her legs apart in an effort to tell Jenny to hurry up. When Jenny finally catches on and slides back inside Yaz can’t help but sigh and hang her head low between her shoulders at the feeling. She has a sneaking suspicion that this is going to be another one of those things Jenny is miraculously good at. Jenny wrangles Yaz’s hair in her hands and pulls, leaning across Yaz’s back so that their faces are in line and Yaz, finding it hard to catch her brain up with her body, has to be led in a kiss that disappears too soon along with the weight of Jenny’s body retreating. 

When Yaz starts to feel Jenny thrusting in and out, pounding out moans and groans with every movement all combined with the sound of two bodies slapping together, she almost can’t take it and ascends to another level of existence. Jenny picks up the pace, rolling her hips in a certain way that makes Yaz swear like a soldier and forget that other people are in the house. She grips onto the fitted sheet so hard one of the corners pings off and hears Jenny laugh at her.

“Shut up.” Yaz snaps over her shoulder. 

Jenny’s hands move from the small of Yaz’s back and wander with no purpose around her stomach, her midriff and to her breasts making her whine while simultaneously scraping her teeth up her spine. Her face appears alongside Yaz’s again with a cheeky grin plastered on it.

“Are you close?” Jenny asks, breathing heavily into her face. Yaz nods, scrunching up said face and resisting the urge to bite down on her lip as she feels her release brimming on the edge. “Do you need some help?” One hand dances along the top of the lace underwear. 

“Please.” Yaz says, voice muffled by her arm. Jenny shuffles two fingers under the fabric but not where Yaz needs them to be. Yaz turns her head slightly to ask why, but she can see Jenny’s waiting to hear something else. Yaz positions her head so that every word she’s about to say will land directly on Jenny’s lips. “Please, you fuck me so good, you fill me so good Jen, you’re perfect, I-”

Yaz’s head in thrown into the pillow along with her shoulders, the only things keeping her back end up being Jenny’s arm around her waist and her fingers circling her clit, which soon become aids to keeping Yaz up at all when she’s tipped over the edge, her legs begin to tremble and Yaz’s arm flies back to grip onto any part of her girlfriend she can find. I’ts the hardest she’s ever felt herself finish in her entire life, let alone with Jenny, who doesn’t keep moving, fucking Yaz through it until she herself collapses on her back with a sound sent straight from heaven. 

“Pull out.” Yaz has to remind her. Jenny does as she’s told and Yaz rolls onto her back while she can and just in time to see Jenny remove the toy on her end as well before she lies on her body. 

No words need to be said. No words can be said until either of them catch their breath but even then- no words need to be said. They love each other. They trust each other. Both to the point where they can comfortably do this with each other. That’s it. Yaz strokes one her hand through Jenny’s hair while the other caresses Jenny’s lower back and occasionally her backside as a reminder of what they’ve just done and marking a reminder for Yaz to try it out for herself next time. 

After two or three hours or so of lazing around in bed, touching, kissing, being quiet and peaceful together, the two find themselves getting hungry and the smell wafting up from the kitchen becomes ever so tempting. When Yaz’s feet hit the floor and gravity returns to her body she knows straight away that she isn’t going to be able to walk straight for at least a couple of days. She even lets Jenny be smug about the latter but only because it’s her birthday. 

“Yaz.” Jenny says just before they open the door to the hustle and bustle of the kitchen. “Yaz they’re gonna know.” 

“Know what?” Yaz asks, trying not to make it sound like an issue. 

“You know…” Jenny hangs her head low between her shoulders. 

“What,” Yaz shoves her head into Jenny’s space, keeping her voice low. “That we have a good sex life? That we love each other enough to do that? That you’re really really good in bed? That you can make me c-”

“Sssh!”

“-so hard like that? It doesn’t matter that they heard because you live here and you shouldn’t have to care.”

“You sound like Clara when you lecture me.” Jenny says after a moment of pause. “Is it bad I kind of like it?”

“That’s just your praise kink coming through baby.” Yaz taps Jenny’s cheek twice, kisses it, and opens the door giving Jenny no choice but to follow her in and face their friends. 

“Well, well, well, they finally appear from their cave.” Ryan tutters. “Not so busy anymore are we?” He wiggles his eyebrows and takes a sip of his drink, all while Jenny physically tries to hide behind Yaz. Yaz sends a hand behind her to rest it on the front of Jenny’s thigh as reassurance. Also just because she wants to hold it there.

“Tease either of them again and you’re not coming on holiday with us.” Clara warns him with a wag of her finger. 

“What’s happening with the holiday anyway?” Yaz asks.

“That’s what I was coming to tell you.” Ryan sings.

“We were going to have a meeting but…” Amy shrugs, stalling for time, looking for a way to say it kindly. “It’s your birthday.”

Embarrassment radiates off Jenny and not just through her bright red cheeks. Yaz can feel it coming off of her too. There’s nothing shameful in it, it’s just the fact that other people know.

“Basically it’s next week, all we need to sort out is how we’re going to get down there.” Rory says. 

“Down where?” Yaz asks. 

“You really haven’t told her anything, Jen?” Clara asks. 

“Cornwall.” Jenny mumbles to Yaz. 

“Right, yes, we’re going to Cornwall, but we need to know how we’re getting there.” Rory draws them all back to the point.

“I don’t mind driving on the motorway.” Jenny offers with a raise of her hands. “Or getting up early. It’s what, six hours there, four if there are minimal stops. Leave at six, get there for midday-ish then still have the majority of the afternoon to settle in and do whatever.” 

“See, this is why we waited for you.” Amy waves her hands at Jenny as if she’s the only one who can speak any sense. 

“And I’ll drive as well but I don’t really fancy the motorway.” Rory raises his hand.

“Alright so who’s going to come with me?” Jenny opens it up to the floor.

“I’ll come.” Yaz says straight away.

“Me too. I’m good with early starts.” Ryan says.

“Anyone else?” Jenny asks.

“Nope.”

“No thank you.”

“Your driving isn’t the best Jen.” 

“Oi!” Jenny takes offence to Clara’s comment. 

“Sorry, what I mean is… your driving…” Clara goes through the journey of trying to find words with her facial expressions. “does… not always... make me feel the most... 

“Here we go.” Jenny mutters just loud enough for Yaz to hear.

“...safe.” Clara finally finishes.

“It’s my birthday and I’m just getting pissed on.” Jenny huffs.

“Kinky.” Ryan mutters. Yaz punches him hard in the arm. “Ow!” He shrieks. 

“What was that for?” Jenny asks. She hadn’t heard. 

“Doesn’t matter.” Yaz brushes the comment under the carpet.

“He deserved it.” Clara says.

“Anyway…” Rory interrupts. “Jen, if we pack the tent into your car because you’ll probably get there before us, you three can then start putting it up.”

“Sure.” Jenny agrees. “Not being funny though, is there any food kicking about?”

“We thought you might be getting something special.” Rory says. “You always get chips on your birthday.”

“I don’t want to go outside now.” Jenny grumbles.

“I can go get them.” Yaz says turning to face Jenny, forgetting about the state of her muscles. “It’s only down the road and I like the idea of chips too.”

“You sure?” Jenny asks. Right on cue her stomach rumbles. 

“I’ll be back in a bit.” Yaz absentmindedly strokes her hand along Jenny’s stomach as she walks past, unknowingly leaving Jenny to fend off a room full of torment alone.

 

“Battered sausage and chips and a portion of chips with onion rings please.” Yaz places the order and pays for it before stepping back to rightfully wait her turn. 

“Alright Yaz?” Graham’s voice comes from behind a newspaper and makes her jump. “Thought you’d be back home with your parents by now.”

“I’ve moved in with Jenny.” Yaz shares the news Ryan has evidently failed to pass on.

“Oh, wonderful news! Congratulations.”

“Thanks.” Yaz rubs her neck and instantly her senses are thrown back to a few hours ago. Just the feeling of Jenny’s teeth against her neck-

“Are you alright love, you look a bit flustered?” Graham asks.

“I’m alright. It’s Jenny’s birthday so she’s been… energetic.”

“She still gets excited about her birthday? Ain’t she in her mid twenties by now?”

“Twenty-three. I don’t think she’s ever not going to be excited about anything.” Yaz can't help but chuckle as she speaks.

“That is true, she’s got a lot of energy that one.” Graham smiles. “Why isn’t she with you?”

“She didn’t want to leave the house.” Yaz says. 

“Why not? It’s getting lighter and lighter outside by the day, surely she wants a quick walk down the chippy with her girlfriend.” 

“She’s had a long day, I think she’s burning out.” Yaz lies. 

“I take it you’re going on holiday with them all next week?” 

“Yeah! Looking forward to it.” Yaz smiles and nods. 

“Three couples in a tent.” Graham chuckles. “Now that’s an argument waiting to happen.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you’re all settled in your own ways with your special person- you and Jenny you have your own thing as will Clara and Ryan and then Amy and that trainee nurse chap- and usually you get to retire to your own rooms, tucked away from each other. Privately. Can’t do that in a tent.” Graham's eyes flicker to the base of Yaz’s neck. “Can’t do whatever gave you that mark in a tent either.” Yaz’s hand whips to where Graham was looking. “Don’t worry kid, it’s not that noticeable.” 

“You noticed.” Yaz mutters, ashamed that she didn’t realise Jenny might’ve been leaving marks. 

“That’s because my Grace is a nurse. And I can tell the difference between a bruise and a-”

“Alright Graham I get it.” Yaz stops him as she notices people starting to pay attention to their conversation.

“Listen, don’t let Ryan go off the rails on this holiday.”

“I won’t. I’ve got his back Graham, always, don’t worry.” Yaz tries to reassure him.

“I don’t mean to judge your girlfriend and her mates but-”

“You don’t know them. I understand. I think my mum’s the same.”

“Two cod and chips!” The server calls out. 

“Thats me.” Graham places the newspaper back on the counter. “Have fun on your holiday Yaz- oh and tell Jenny happy birthday from me.”

“Will do, see you later.” 

Shortly after, Yaz’s order is called and she steps up to the counter. She can’t help but notice the server taking glimpses at her neck so Yaz keeps her eyes forward to make a point.

“It is quite noticeable.” The server says as he hands over the food.

Yaz aggressively swipes the food wrapped in paper and leaves.

Chapter Text

“Finally.” Yaz sighs getting out of the car. 

“My legs are dead man.” Ryan complains. 

“You’re the one who asked for about five pit stops.” Jenny fires back at him.

“Well, we’re here now.” Yaz diffuses the situation. 

The journey down was long. All three of them got along like a house on fire but they left at six in the morning and four playlists, five stops, a couple of naps and one check in later and it’s half one in the afternoon and they’re tired and hungry. However, they’re all so excited at the prospect of having a break from everything. Yaz has never been camping before and she thought it would be all set out pitches in clear formation but they’ve been told they can pitch up anywhere so long as they’re six feet from any surrounding campers, and even then the guy showing them around on his quad bike advised them on where the best places are. It’s also only late June, so there aren’t many children or families about yet apart from those from private schools or have been taken out early for a cheaper holiday so they essentially had the choice of the entire field. They’ve ended up choosing a plot on top of the slope, a good few meters away from the road and far enough away from the toilet block that it isn’t an annoying distance away.

“Shall we get this setup then.” Jenny says as she opens the boot. 

“I still don’t get how you’ve fit all that in this car.” Ryan giggles to himself.

“It’s bigger on the inside.” Jenny winks. 

Yaz looks around with her hands on her hips, breathing in the fresh air and letting the afternoon sun beat down on her. “It’s hot innit.” She says. 

“Gonna get hotter once this is up.” Jenny says.

“Guys I’m just gonna go and…” Ryan points over to the toilet block. “use the facilities.” 

“Cool, we’ll wait.” Jenny says. 

“Oh, you might be waiting a while.” Ryan grimaces. 

“Just go mate we can do it.” Yaz waves him away and as soon as Ryan has is back to them, Jenny’s arms fold themselves around her waist. 

“You okay?” Jenny asks in that soft calm voice Yaz will always melt for. Yaz spins around in Jenny’s arms to face her. 

“I’m good. Excited.” Yaz smiles. “You need me to help you get this thing erect.” 

“If you could.” Jenny nods and releases Yaz from her grasp so that she can open up the bag the tent is stored in.

“Things usually erect quite quickly when I’m around you.” Yaz flirts, following Jenny’s lead. 

“Yaz we’ve never put a tent up together before, that’s impossible. Can you get the bucket of pegs out from the footwell please.” Jenny instructs, tying her hair back the best she can. 

Yaz forgets she ever says it and goes to retrieve the pegs. Turning back to face Jenny for her next instruction Yaz instead finds Jenny lightly jogging the short distance towards her with a cheeky grin plastered on her face.

“I just got it.” She says, stealing a kiss from Yaz’s lips and jogging away again.

They lay out the ground sheet, figure out which end is the front and position it to how they want it, lay out the actual tent, realise they probably should have put the polls together before all this but they manage. Yaz has to follow everything Jenny says down to the last detail otherwise the blonde will follow her around correcting it. The more they move around, the more they begin to sweat. 

“I need different clothes, hold on to this a sec.” Jenny says, instructing Yaz to keep a guy rope tense. 

“Feel better now.” Ryan says, walking up with a half eaten pasty in his hand. 

“Where the fuck have you been and where did that come from?” Yaz asks.

“Shop sells them. Heats them up and-” 

Yaz can’t hear the end of Ryan’s statement. She’s too busy gawping at Jenny stretching to get both her shirts over her head, her body shining with sweat. Jenny switches out her shirts for a loose fitting white tank top. 

“Close your mouth before something flies in it.” Ryan says, chomping on his pasty. “She is proper fit though.” 

“Who’s fit?” Jenny asks, silently appearing again with no warning.

“Woman in the shop.” Ryan covers. 

“I’ll tell Clara you said that.” Jenny threatens to snitch.

“And she’ll agree with me.”

“Where are they anyway?” Yaz asks. “Surely they should almost be here. The plan was they’d help set up the tent and we’ve practically already done it.”

“Who knows.” Jenny shrugs. “Let’s just get the last bits done and we can set up everything else from there.”

Yaz groans but she gets on with it; setting up pods and following Jenny around with a mallet hammering in the tent pegs. The last thing to go into the ground is their pitch number. 

“Well we did it.” Jenny says, admiring their work. 

“I’m glad you knew what you were doing.” Yaz leans into Jenny’s side and right on cue Jenny’s hand rests on Yaz’s hip. She’s being extra touchy. Yaz knows what it means when she’s extra touchy. Basically everyone that lives with them knows what happens when jenny gets touchy.

“I’m for sure going to trip up on those ropes at some point.” Ryan says. 

“Let’s get the roll mats and our stuff out. The others can do theirs when they get here.” Jenny moves them all along. 

The roll mats are only singles, but side by side they essentially make up a double bed. Instead of having a sleeping bag each, Jenny and Yaz have one where the zip opens it up to turn it into a duvet like thing. Along with a couple of blankets and a pillow each Yaz feels the two of them will be perfectly comfortable. Ryan equally sets up his half, but Jenny’s car soon becomes empty and they’re left with nothing else to do. 

“Would’ve been nice if we brought some camp chairs.” Ryan says. The three of them have resorted to sitting on the grass outside the tent while they wait- Jenny picking at the blades like a child and leaving the trimmings on Yaz's knee.

“We did. They’re in Rory’s car.” Jenny says. “Are they gonna know which field we’re in?”

“I messaged Amy.” Yaz says. 

“Anyone wanna walk around the grounds?” Jenny suggests and there's a evident air of disagreement.

“I’m tired Jen.” Yaz rests her head on Jenny’s shoulder. 

“Yeah, I’m tired Jen.” Ryan rests his head on Yaz’s shoulder, mocking them. 

“Oi, piss off.” Yaz laughs, shoving him away. 

Right in that moment, a little red mini with who knows how much shoved in the back and strapped on to the roof bars parks up next to Jenny’s car.

“Finally.” Jenny mutters. They stand, Yaz giving Ryan a hand up back onto his feet.

“Sorry, I took a few wrong turns.” Rory explains before he even steps out from behind the wheel. 

“Bet you wish you came with me now, huh.” Jenny directs her comment to Clara. 

“Don’t start.” Clara says. 

“We’re here now anyway and we brought food.” Amy says holding up four supermarket bags for life. “Let’s get this holiday started!” 

 

After an hour of helping set everything else up Amy and Clara suggest they spend the rest of the afternoon on the beach they looked up just a ten minute drive down the road. The selling point of it all- especially for Jenny- is that dogs are allowed on this beach. After taking turns getting changed in their pods they take both cars down to the beach finding cheap parking easy enough. Jenny brings her backpack with some water bottles and a jumper and everyone else brings a towel to either lay on or use to dry themselves off as well as their fold up chair.

“This’ll do.” Rory announces having picked a good spot. It’s not even height of season and the sand is still busy with little groups, windbreaks and beach tents. “I’m going for a swim.” He whips his shirt off. 

“Me too.” Clara says, undressing herself.

“And me.” Amy adds, doing the same. 

“Suppose I should too.”

“Wait, Jen you’re the only one who’s not put on sun cream.” Yaz says, concerned for her skin care.

“I’ll be fine.” Jenny dismisses Yaz’s warning.

“That’s such a lie Jenny you’re the most prone to burning here and she’s ginger and Scottish.” Clara says, pointing at Amy.

“It’s true Jen, you should really put some on.” Amy backs them up.

“Fine.” Jenny gives in. “You guys go ahead.”

“Don’t you want to go Ryan?” Yaz asks. 

“Can’t swim mate.” He sighs, kicking his shoes and socks off. 

“I can stay up here with you.” Yaz offers. She doesn't really fancy a swim today anyway.

“What, no, I wanted you to come in the water with me.” Jenny protests.

“This isn’t the only time we’re going to go to the beach though is it? I’ll come next time, I don’t really want to today because it’s going to get cold in a bit.” Yaz explains. 

“Do you promise?” Jenny asks. 

“Yes, doofus, now you need to get out of those clothes.” 

Yaz takes off her clothes too, just to be equal and make Jenny feel more comfortable. She was smart enough to apply the cream on herself already.

“Can you do my-” Jenny starts but her eyes are drawn to Yaz’s chest. Unable to snap herself out of it, Yaz has to step in.

“Jenny stop staring at my tits.” Yaz says. 

“Sorry.” Jenny brings her eyes front. 

“You too Ry.” Yaz says without even needing to look at him to know he’s doing it. 

“I’m not looking!”

“Can you do my back?” Jenny finishes her original question.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to do your whole body?” Yaz asks quietly.

Jenny leans over to whisper in her ear. “Maybe if he wasn’t here.”

“He’s not looking.” Yaz whispers back.

“Don’t use the fact you know how much I want you to touch me against me.” Jenny says. 

“Remind me, how much is that exactly?” Yaz teases.

“Don’t.” Jenny says, her voice barely above a whisper and only then does Yaz realise she’s being unfair again.

“Turn around, I’ll do it.” Yaz changes her tune.

“Thank you.”

Rubbing the cream into Jenny’s back Yaz doesn’t have the heart to tell her that the top of her shoulders are already a little red from the exposure to the sun putting up the tent. But lathering on this safety barrier makes Yaz feel like she’s giving Jenny some protection she can’t give her every other day. It makes her think of a previous conversation, one the day after valentines with Jenny’s head hung over the side of the bath and she asks her if she’ll look after her when they’re old. Why does she have to wait until they’re old? Why can’t she do all that now?

“Done.” Yaz says. 

Jenny turns around and takes the bottle from Yaz so that she can cover her legs, arms, chest, face and stomach herself. Yaz tries not to watch. Well, not watch. Yaz tries not to stare like she can’t believe she can see Jenny naked whenever she wants but suddenly the sight of her in a bikini has her breathless. Then Jenny does something that completely contradicts everything they’ve both just done- she puts on some kind of short sleeved blue rash vest. 

“Whoa whoa whoa, you can’t put that on all the sunscreen will rub off.” Yaz says. 

“I know.” Jenny smiles. 

“But you’ll have no protection.”

“This thing has spf 50 fabric.”

“So what was the point of all that?” Yaz asks, completely lost. 

“Simple.” Jenny shrugs. “I wanted a back massage.” 

“Jen-” Yaz starts to complain but Jenny gives her a sweet little kiss that shuts her up quite nicely. 

“I’ll be back in a bit.” Jenny says. 

“Please don’t drown.” Yaz says. “I like kissing you but I want to avoid giving you the kiss of life.” 

“I’ll try not to.” Jenny answers as if she’s a teen being lectured by her mother and runs off to join her friends.

“How are you two so in love?” Ryan asks, setting up another one of the camp chairs next to his so Yaz has a place to sit.

“Dunno.” Yaz shrugs, taking the seat. “It just kind of happened.”

“You’ve gone all domestic with her.” Ryan teases, poking Yaz’s arm with his forefinger. 

“Maybe I have. What about it?” Yaz jokes back.

“You’ve only been living with her for a week and a bit!”

“Feels longer.” Yaz sighs. She watches Jenny hit the water and even from such a distance away Yaz can see her body tense with shock and she smiles. “You know when you’re with someone and if it wasn’t for the sun and the moon you wouldn’t even notice that time and the world around you keeps passing because you’re just so wrapped up in each others lives?” She asks. 

Ryan stays quiet, forcing Yaz to turn her head away from her girlfriend weaving through the waves to try and get to her friends. He’s grinning at her, like he knows something she doesn’t.

“Mate…” 

Yaz feels her cheeks go hot and not from the sun. “Shut up, I know.” 

Relaxing into her chair, Yaz immerses her senses in everything happening around her. The sound of young kids in the stream running into the ocean, seagulls nicking people’s food, the feeling of the late afternoon sun against her skin, the smell of sea air, dogs barking and running around like they’re in paradise,  the sand between her toes, two parents arguing and a kid begging for an ice cream. For the first time all day Yaz finally feels like she’s properly on a mates holiday.

Time rolls on, the beach starts to thin out of people and the sun begins to lose its heat. In intervals members of the group come back into land for a drink except Jenny who seems to just take to water like a fish. It’s only right as Ryan and Yaz finish their sand castle Jenny appears. 

“I didn’t drown.” She says to Yaz. 

“Good.” Yaz gets to her feet and grabs Jenny’s towel so she can dry herself off. Over Jenny’s shoulder Yaz can see the other three friends sluggishly walking back up from the low tide. “Are you hungry?”

“Little bit. Amy suggested we get chips on the beach, watch the sunset. Quite a romantic idea really.”

“Mmm, yeah, really romantic with four other people.” Yaz says, straightening out the towel around Jenny’s neck before she strangles herself with it.

“Triple date.” Jenny teases. 

Sure enough Amy and Rory take their orders and disappear to the chip shop across the road, leaving Clara, Ryan, Jenny and Yaz to sit back and watch the sun set. Next to her, Yaz can sense Jenny starting to shake. 

“Take the rash vest off.” Yaz tells her. “It’s still damp, that’s why you’re cold.” 

“And the fact there’s nothing on my legs.” Jenny’s teeth chatter. 

Yaz gets up and reaches for Jenny’s backpack, pulling out the first jumper she feels. It’s only hers and Jenny’s in there, so it doesn’t matter if it’s hers. Jenny catches on and removes her rash vest, happily accepting the hoodie and sliding it over her head. It’s Yaz’s, but then again they both are hers. She’s never seen Jenny in a hoodie before but blimey she needs to get her wearing them more often. She looks extra soft, extra small, extra like a baby. 

“My legs are still cold.” Jenny says, suggesting at her lap. Yaz doesn’t fight it and sits there, letting Jenny cuddle her tummy and shuffle her back so they’re sharing ever bit of body heat they can. 

“Hey Clara, my legs are getting cold too.” Ryan says. 

“Don’t try it son.” Clara scoffs. 

 

“These chips are proper nice.” Ryan muses for the third time during the meal. 

“Anyone wanna know the campsite rules?” Rory asks. 

“Alright dad.” Jenny rolls her eyes. Yaz smiles contently, curled up in Jenny’s lap still with her hand around her back and already having finished eating.

“Some of these are actually quite important.” Rory taps the pamphlet they were given when they checked in.

“Go on then. If we must.” Amy encourages him. 

“Right, pretty basic stuff. No driving between ten at night and eight in the morning. Strict noise curfew at eleven. Ball games only on the front field. Tokens for the swimming pool sold at reception.” 

“There’s a swimming pool!” Jenny gets excited, sitting forward in her seat and almost knocking Yaz off her lap and onto the sand, making Yaz cling onto Jenny's body for dear life.

“Yup. If we’re gonna have a barbecue we can borrow a breeze block from the toilet blocks. No rinsing wetsuits in the showers, there’s a tap at the back of the block for that. Men, no peeing in the bushes. No sex in the tent-”

“That’s not seriously in there is it?” Jenny asks, all the excitement about the swimming pool gone. 

“No but if you think about it, it makes sense. There are kids around as well as strangers, plus, we’re three couples in really really close proximity to each other.”

Three couples in a tent. Now that’s an argument waiting to happen. Graham’s words of warning echo through Yaz’s skull.

“We’re only here for, like, nine days, it should be fine.” Yaz says. 

“And if it’s not fine, there’s always the toilet block.” Amy says. 

“In public? Jesus Christ that’s brave.” Clara says. 

While the conversation is going on, Yaz can’t help but notice that the hand that isn’t hers under her jumper that has been drawing circles on her hip for a while now, stops. If they were at home, a day of touching and euphemisms meant only one thing at the end of the day. But they can’t now. Which is totally fine with Yaz, she’s cool with that, totally cool… but Jenny maybe not so much.

 

The sun sets and the beach becomes cold and scary and the group collectively decide to leave. Once they’re back to the campsite Yaz and Jenny make a b-line to the showers. Luckily the block is empty, since they’ve come back at the same time entertainment in the barn is on so most people are over there instead. They promise to wait for each other- whoever comes out of the shower first- which in the end turns out to be Jenny, who’s hair had already partially dried.

“Is your hair going to be wavy a week?” Yaz asks. 

“Yes, is yours going to be curly all week?” Jenny asks in response. 

“Yeah.” Yaz nods. 

“We’re both going to be really attracted to each other this week, aren’t we?” Jenny sighs, grabbing hold of Yaz’s fingertips. 

“We’ve gone longer.” Yaz tries to see the bright side. 

“Can I have a goodnight kiss?” Jenny asks.

“Course you can. Once we’re back at the tent and-”

“A proper kiss.” Jenny interrupts.

“Ooh one of those, huh?” Yaz smirks.

“Yes please.” Jenny’s arms snake comfortably around Yaz’s waist and she simply cannot refuse her.

Lips meet and Yaz realises what she’s going to be missing out on. Passion. Pure passion and love. Jenny makes an effort to keep it slow and steady and as calm as possible and Yaz keeps following her lead, knowing if she takes charge there will be no going back. Jenny cradles Yaz’s face, lightly pushing their bodies together so that both their weight is leaning on the sinks counter. It felt so good and to Yaz she felt so special.

The door to the block swings open and it rips the pair of them apart, trying to act natural flattening hair and hiding kiss bruised lips with their hands. It’s a mother with about four young kids that have come running in but the mother is the only one who seems to have noticed that something might have been happening. Luckily, she’s too busy trying to wrangle the kids to make links, and Yaz and Jenny make a quick getaway together. 

 

Turns out that fresh country air knocks you out in seconds once your head hits the pillow. That and the combination of a hoodie, warm blankets, fluffy socks and a body sleeping peacefully next to her sends Yaz into a blissful sleep. She dreams of beautiful fields, running after her friends in a game of tag, listening to Jenny talk in the car on the way down, relaxing on the beach, Jenny humping her leg-

Yaz snaps out of her sleep when reality mixes in dream. Sure enough, in irregular intervals Jenny- all while still fast asleep- is rocking her core up against Yaz’s thigh with her head hidden in the crook of Yaz’s neck. 

“Jen.” Yaz whispers and tries to shake her awake. It doesn’t work. “Jenny.” Yaz says more firmly this time and the movement stops, Jenny’s eyes blink open and she has to remind herself where she is for a second. 

“Hey. What’s up?” Jenny whispers. 

“I’m alright, I’m more concerned about you.” Yaz answers casually.

“What do yo-” Jenny follows Yaz’s stare down to her thighs wrapped tightly around Yaz’s leg. She starts to radiate embarrassment. “Yaz I’m so sorry.” 

Yaz smiles trying to comfort her. “Bit of a surprise to wake up to but-” 

“I need to go.” Jenny sits up, not willing to listen to anything else Yaz might say.

“Where?” Yaz asks.

“Toilets. I can’t keep going like this, not if I’m gonna end up dreaming about you doing…” Jenny is silenced by Yaz pushing her back down by her shoulder. 

“Need help?” Yaz whispers in all seriousness. No teasing, no flirting, just a question. 

Jenny’s eye’s dart to the closed door of their pod. Yaz knows what she’s thinking. She’s already run through all the possibilities, but the reward outweighs the risk.  

“We can’t.” Jenny mumbles. 

“But you need to.” Yaz counteracts. 

“I can do it myself.” Jenny insists. 

“I know you can but what do you want?” Yaz strokes her fingers along Jenny’s lower stomach; one ear focused on Jenny the other focused on the amount of snoring people nearby. All four are still there. 

Jenny kisses Yaz as quietly as possible while she shimmies her night joggers down her thighs to meet her knees.

“You have to be quiet.” Yaz reiterates. Jenny nods in agreement, evidently frustrated. 

Sending down a cool hand Yaz can already feel damp heat on her fingertips. Whatever Jenny was dreaming about she was probably already well into experiencing the good part, because Yaz can slide a digit inside and then a second straight after with so much ease she almost lets a soft moan escape parted lips herself. Jenny struggles to stay quiet too, biting down on her balled up fist. Yaz replaces Jenny’s fist with her lips and a flick of her tongue against the roof of her mouth which in hindsight is a massive mistake since Jenny groans into her mouth with no recognition of the situation at all. But still, no one is bothered by it. Using her two fingers and her thumb Yaz starts to slowly pump and circle, not wanting to go too fast in case she rustles the polyester of the sleeping bag but fast enough for Jenny to quietly pant against her neck. 

A hand curls onto Yaz’s cheek to make her look Jenny in the eye as a way of communicating without speaking. Hips grind against Yaz’s hand in desperation, looking for the end goal so they can both get back to sleep and not think about how they would both rather be doing this the way they normally do. Yaz feels slick walls start to close in on her fingers. 

“Uhn-!” 

Yaz uses her other hand to cover Jenny’s mouth before she exposes them both. Jenny’s hands friercly grip onto Yaz’s shoulder and top right as her eyes screw shut in concentration, focusing on being as silent as she can as she falls over the edge. Yaz takes the chance to check in on the sounds around her. Still, all four sleeping bodies go undisturbed. They’ve got away with it.

Not knowing what to do with the state of her fingers Yaz licks them clean knowing it’s the only taste of her girlfriend she’s going to get for at least a week.

“Are you for real right now?” Jenny hisses, pulling her bottoms back up. “Doing that in front of me will start me up again, are you insane?”

“A ‘thank you’ wouldn’t go amiss.” Yaz says, only a little bit annoyed, but not really. 

“You already know I love you.” Jenny's smile is wiped from her face as something dawns on her that Yaz can't quite figure out. “You- do you need…?”

“I’m alright.” Yaz whispers unconvincingly. “For now at least.”

“So you’re not alright.” Jenny prepares herself for duty.

“I don’t want anything. Not while they’re all-” Yaz stops herself. Four snoring people have turned into three. “Someone’s awake.” Yaz mouths.

They listen, all other senses on high alert too, until they hear the zip of the tent door open and someone disappears into the night. 

“That wasn’t us, was it?” Jenny asks. 

“We’ll find out soon enough.” Yaz oddly smiles at the possibility. “You really should probably go to the toilet now, I don’t want you to end up getting a UTI on holiday or something ridiculous.”

“I hate that you’re so sensible.” Jenny grumbles, climbing her way over Yaz’s body to get out.

Yaz waits for Jenny to get back again before letting her eyes shut down again.The ten minutes she’s away, Yaz begins to think. Is Jenny alright doing this? Living outside for a week and a bit when she was homeless for a bit? Surely sleeping out in the cold summer night air brings stuff back? But Yaz has to stop herself thinking. It’s none of her business anyway and if Jenny chooses to share it then Yaz will be there to listen. But for now, getting into a comfortable position together once again, they fall asleep without any other care in the world.

Chapter Text

“I’m pretty sure I swallowed a spider last night. Clara says, the last one to emerge at the breakfast table. 

“What, just because we’re outside?” Jenny says with a mouth half full of cereal, not spiders. 

“I don’t know, it might’ve been a dream. Strange noises that woke me up as well last night.” Clara sits, lost with the mystery, but Jenny and Yaz meet eyes and try not to give away their smiles or Jenny's blushing cheeks by bringing cereal bowls right up to their faces. “So what are we doing today?” Clara asks and Jenny sighs a small breath of relief.

“Dunno. There’s lots to do on site, we should probably explore.” Rory says. 

“Oh! What about that club we passed. We could go tonight?” Amy suggests. Ryan and Clara seem up for it but both Yaz and Jenny show signs of much less enthusiasm. 

“Do we really have to? I hate clubs.” Jenny says. 

“I don’t really want to either.” Yaz adds. 

“Alright, so, we can all go and the boring ones can stay here.” Ryan says.

“We aren’t boring Ryan. I’m not even supposed to drink alcohol anyway.” Yaz reminds the group.

“Let me rephrase: the domesticated ones can stay here.”

“Stop calling us domesticated!” Yaz kicks him under the table. “Domesticated people go out too.”

“Yeah, and you’re forgetting we’re literally engaged with a house.” Amy says. “We’re more settled than any of you lot.”

“Blegh.” Jenny sticks her finger down her throat. 

“You’re worse than Jenny and Yaz.” Clara says. 

“Seriously though we don’t mind if you stay here.” Ryan says empathetically. 

“So we’re going to chill out all day and then you four are going to fuck off out clubbing.” Jenny clarifies.

“Absolutely.”

“Yes.”

“Pretty much.”

“Yup.” 

“Well then.” Jenny slaps her hands on her knees as she stands up. “I’m going to get swimming pool tokens. Anyone wanna come?”

“I’ll come.” Yaz offers when everyone else stays a sleepy quiet. 

“Right, let’s go then.”

“Shouldn’t we get changed?” Yaz asks.

“Yaz we’re in the middle of a field, there’s literally no dress code at all.” Jenny reaches out her arm for Yaz to take her hand. And she does. Of course she does. 

Walking hand and hand together across the field, waving good morning to almost everyone they come across, Jenny doesn’t say anything to Yaz and Yaz doesn’t say anything to Jenny. At least not until they’re out of earshot from their friends.

“I wish it was just you and me here.” Jenny says.

“Why?” Yaz asks, holding Jenny’s hand that little bit tighter. 

“It’s just more voices all the time. When l really only want to hear yours.”

“You getting over stimulated?” Yaz asks.

“Not really. I just feel a bit… funny.” Jenny shrugs.

“Well whenever you figure out what it is specifically, you know you can tell me.” 

“I know.” 

“And now we’ve got the evening together. We can do whatever. Even if it’s sitting quietly together, I don’t mind.” Yaz says. Jenny only smiles sadly in response. “What is it, What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know. I think I just woke up in a mood.” Jenny shrugs again.

“Today’s going to be good.” Yaz reassures her by moving her hand to around Jenny’s back. “I’ll make sure whatever’s wrong is gone by the end of the day.”

“You’re too good to me.” Jenny mumbles.

“No I’m not.” Yaz disagrees. “I’m being a decent girlfriend. Sometimes I think I got a bit over the top but-”

“Never.” Jenny sighs lightly. “I don’t ever want you to change unless it’s for the better.” 

They smile at each other and the sounds of nature surrounds them and their hands intertwine between them again. The path to reception is outlined by hydrangeas in bloom and sheltered by tall trees making Yaz feel like she’s in the depths of an unknown forest. It’s set out to be another beautiful day.

“Yaz do you still get nervous around me?” Jenny asks. 

“In a good way, yeah a little bit.” Yaz admits. “Butterflies and all that.” Yaz’s answer becomes shy.

“I still get them when I’m around you, too.” Jenny confesses. “I hope that’s normal. Do you think we’re always going to be like this?”

“Maybe. Dunno. Guess we’ll have to find out.” Yaz smiles gently right as they approach they counter.

“How can I help?” A warm smile greets them at the shop reception desk. 

“Can we get six swimming tokens please?” Jenny asks.

“Of course, that’ll be three pounds.” 

Jenny rummages in her pocket for some loose coins and hands the exact change over.

“How’d you know how much it would be?” Yaz asks. 

“Read it in the booklet.” Jenny says. 

“I’m glad someone reads that thing. Honestly the amount of questions that get asked you wonder why we bother giving them out.” The receptionist chuckles and Yaz smiles at her politely. Everyone who works here- from the two interactions Yaz has had with them- are friendly and genuinely happy to be there.

“There’s a typo on the second page by the way.” Jenny says, taking the tokens and walking away leaving the shop attendant not quite sure how to feel.

“I’m sorry, she’s not the best with social cues and stuff.” Yaz apologises on Jenny’s behalf. 

“Oh, right. Sorry?”

“You’re fine, it’s not you.” Yaz smiles again for reassurance. 

“Yaz?” Jenny calls after her and like a dog returning to her owner Yaz is by her side in a matter of seconds. 

Yaz decides not to tell Jenny she might’ve had a blip back there. She can tell her confidence today is low enough already and she doesn’t want to add fuel to the fire. Instead she changes the subject completely. 

“What do you want to do tonight then? Just you and me. I heard stargazing is good around here without all the light pollution you get in cities.” 

“You don’t really want to do that.” Jenny scoffs. 

“Yeah I do.” Yaz insists. “Watching the stars with you, what else could be better?”

“Well I don’t have another ring to give you this time.”

“I don’t need anymore rings.” Yaz quickly stops to kiss Jenny’s cheekbone. “I just want you. The happy you.”

“I don’t know what’s got into me today. I guess yesterday made me tired and it’s only just hit me.”

“I mean you were in a pretty deep sleep last night.” Yaz smirks.

For the second time this morning, Jenny's face cracks into a shy smile. “I am really sorry about that.” 

“It’s alright.” Yaz leans into Jenny’s side so she can lower her voice. “Better to grind up against me than someone else.”

Jenny laughs nervously and stutters the start of a few words but she can’t manage to form any kind of sentence since she’s so flustered. Yaz clings onto her side adoringly, not making Jenny say or admit anything else the entire walk back to the tent. 

 

To pass time before the sun reaches its highest point in the sky, Yaz takes Jenny to the mini library on site to see if there are any books Jenny might want to read while they're here to keep her mind busy. Instead, since the day is so light and the grounds so delightful to the senses, they end up laying on the field in front of the hall. Jenny keeps her nose in the book while Yaz admires the flowerbeds, listens to the kids already in the pool and the people playing ping pong. Down the other end of the field, a group of boys Yaz recognises from a few tents over from them are trying to form a game of football but are arguing about who’s going to have to sit out and be ref so each team has an equal number of players. Out of nowhere, Jenny marks her page and springs up to her feet. 

“Jenny what are you-?”

“I’m going to help.”

“How?” Yaz shouts after her. 

“Watch me!” Jenny throws a flash of a gigantic grin over her shoulder and picks up her speed as she runs down to greet the group of almost teens with an ‘alright lads?’. 

Yaz watches, full of concern that if Jenny slips up and says the wrong thing she’s going to get the piss taken out of her. But then Jenny gets accepted easily and put onto one of the teams and Yaz remembers Jenny is good with kids. She works with kids and gains their respect in her own special way and she can evidently handle herself.

And, turns out, Jenny is very good at having a playful kickabout. 

She towers over the young boys and Yaz can tell that sometimes she purposely lets the ball slip from between her feet into the possession of the others, hits the goal post instead of scoring and passes to the wrong team with an over exaggerated groan of frustration. Yaz can’t stop watching her. Her heart is molding into her ribs at her being so sweet and doting to young people and people that aren’t her or their circle of friends. So many bad things- scarring things, mentally and physically- have happened to Jenny and yet still she rises above it. Yaz admires her for it. 

“Boys, come and get some lunch!” A mothering voice puts a stop to the play, rendering Jenny all alone on the pitch. Yaz gathers the blanket they were laying on and Jenny’s already half finished book, tucks them under her arm and goes to meet her. 

“That was really kind of you.” Yaz says, handing her the book. “You didn’t have to do that.” 

“It was fun. Bit hot now though, I didn’t really think it through.” Jenny says, fanning herself with the book. 

“Are you hungry?” Yaz asks. 

“Give it five minutes and I will be. Are you?” 

“Little bit.” Yaz says. Wanting to look after each other, they head back to the rest of the group.

 

“How many kids do you think have peed in here?” Jenny asks Yaz who unlike Jenny is only sitting on the side with Ryan.

“Why do you think I’ve only got my feet in.” Yaz raises an eyebrow. 

“I don’t know why you bothered to buy me a token.” Ryan says, splashing his toes in the chlorine laced water. “You know I can’t swim.”

“Like we were going to leave you to wait at the tent alone.” Jenny says as if it's the most ridiculous insinuation of all time.

“Would’ve been better than seeing you two be all gross together all afternoon.” Ryan sucks his teeth. “I swear you’re doing it on purpose.” 

“Doing what on purpose?” With her hands either side of Yaz’s hips Jenny lifts herself out of the water, flexing each and every muscle in her arms and stomach core by leaning into the space between Yaz’s legs. Yaz’s breath hitches in her throat and she knows she’s in trouble.

“Jen…” Yaz warns her since the pool is pretty busy right now with families and children.

“What?” Jenny smirks and shoves her face even further into Yaz’s face to the point where their noses can almost brush against each other. All the while Yaz is pretending terribly not to be even the tiniest bit turned on by Jenny’s forced bedroom eyes flicking up and down from her eyes to her lips. 

“Man I hate you two, come on-” Ryan peels away Jenny’s fingers one by one but Jenny isn’t affected and still keeps eye contact with Yaz, keeping herself up with one hand. Impressive, Yaz notes. “-no heavy petting.” Ryan lightly shoves Jenny back into the water and she swims away like a strange blonde haired fish to join her school of friends. 

“Technically she wasn’t touching me.” Yaz comes to their defense. 

“She’s getting more and more comfortable with PDA, I don’t like it.” Ryan complains. 

“I do.” Yaz shrugs, subconsciously biting her lip, catching herself doing it and having to shake it off. 

“It’s dead obvious you do because you let her.” 

“I’ll always let her.”

“What if it makes you uncomfortable?” Ryan brings up a hypothesis. 

“She always makes sure I’m comfortable before we do anything.”

“Anything? Like-”

“Yes, anything.” Yaz stop Ryan’s mind from wandering. “And we’ve done a lot, so…”

“Like last night?” Ryan asks.

“What about last night?” Yaz pretends nothing happened. Ryan is having none of it and stares at Yaz until she breaks. “She really needed it. It won’t happen again, it was just last night or she’d be a mess for the whole week.” Yaz mutters her explanation.

“Somehow I don’t believe that.” Ryan shakes his head.

“But that’s what-”

“The ‘not happening again’ part.” Ryan clarifies. 

Yaz is rendered speechless. Probably because she doesn’t believe it either. She loves Jenny too much to not let it happen if she asks. And denying herself the pleasure last night is increasingly seeming like a bad idea.

“I’m trying.” Yaz finally says. 

“I think we all are.” Ryan says, now swirling his feet in circles to make a whirlpool.

“Is it going alright with Clara though?” Yaz asks. All she really knows about their relationship is that it exists. 

“I don’t want to talk about my emotions Yaz.” Ryan’s walls rise straight up without a second to spare. 

“It gets better when you do.” 

“The sex or the relationship?” 

Yaz tries to think about the state of her and Jenny’s relationship just after they learnt how to read each other and communicate better than they had been. Sex got better, sure, of course it did but the difference in how they existed together...

She smiles.

“Both.” 

 

At five, the group vacate the pool and Jenny goes quiet again. Alarmingly quiet for Yaz and she takes a good hour for her to decide to ask what’s wrong. She doesn’t get a satisfactory answer even though she planned it perfectly. Earlier they had noticed that a pizza van comes onto site tonight, and Yaz had chosen the walk to main reception to ask Jenny what’s up when they’re alone since it worked this morning but, no. It didn’t work. 

“I love my friends but I can’t wait for them to go out tonight.” Jenny wriggles into Yaz’s side while they wait for the food to be cooked and put into boxes; hiding her face in her neck and holding her waist tight with her arm. 

“Ryan was right.” Yaz teases and Jenny goes very, very still. 

“What?” Jenny lifts her head with hesitant fear.

Yaz smiles. “You really are getting better with PDA.”

“It’s because no one knows us here.” Jenny’s chin settles again on Yaz’s shoulder. “We’re just the two weird friends that hang around with each other a bit too much for it not to draw some speculation.”

“I thought you hated people speculating about you?”

“Yeah but…” Jenny lowers her voice and places her lips right next to Yaz’s ear. “if they’re thinking I’ve somehow managed to get you into bed I don’t care.” 

“Weird flex but okay.” Is Yaz’s initial response. “Also you’re proper beautiful too.” Jenny stays quiet. “Are you not responding because you have no idea what to say?”

“Maybe. Shut up.” Jenny mutters. Yaz just smiles contently. 

 

They eat as a group and Jenny stays almost silent. The other four get ready to go out and Jenny starts to relax into herself again but still with some limitations. By the time Clara, Ryan, Amy and Rory are mere dots on the path down to their taxi Jenny is trying to let out all of that repressed energy by cleaning up around the tent. 

“What kind of imbeciles use knives and forks to eat pizza?” Jenny mumbles aggressively as the two of them take to the washing-up station.

“There is breakfast stuff to clean too Jen.” 

“Yeah but cutlery and pizzas… like… how?” 

“Do you want to wash or dry?” Yaz asks, ignoring the dilemma Jenny’s having over loving her friends or loving pizza etiquette more. 

“I’ll wash.” Jenny decides, turning off the tap and leaving a bubbly mass in the basin. 

“Pass me the tea towel then.” Yaz asks. Jenny does as she’s told and dumps all the washing up in the sink at the same time. “Maybe not… okay.” Yaz accepts Jenny’s method instead of questioning it. 

“Hey Yaz.” Jenny says. 

“What?” Yaz turns around and a blob of foamy bubbles lands on her nose. She stands there, trying to look unimpressed but failing miserably because of the smile she can’t wipe off her face thanks to Jenny’s excitement from fooling her. “You’re a big child, do you know that?”

“No harm in holding onto the joy of childhood.” Jenny drags her finger across her top lip leaving a trail of bubbles. It gives Yaz a dose of the giggles. “Something funny? Is there something on my face?” Jenny manages to say all while keeping a straight face. 

“No nothing at all.” Yaz plays along. 

“Are you sure?” Jenny enters her personal space.

“Positively certain.” Yaz’s accent goes all posh and it makes Jenny grin and make sure the guy at the other end of the row isn’t looking so that she can leave a small kiss on her lips. 

“There’s something on your lip by the way.” Jenny points as she pulls her face away with a new addition to her facial bubbles. 

“Funny that because there’s something on your nose.” Yaz uses the tea towel to wipe both their faces clean and wonders how long this task is going to take if they keep fooling around like this.

They get back to the tent by torchlight and Jenny wastes near to no time in setting out a blanket on the grass in front of the tent and laying on her back to look up at the sky. Yaz puts herself in a soft jumper and wooly hat since she hates the cold so much and joins her girlfriend at her side. Somehow the black canvas above her is littered with one hundred times more twinkling dots than back at uni. She can only imagine how Jenny is feeling seeing the sky like this because she seems to have been stunned into silence. A good quiet Jenny rather than an anxious quiet Jenny. So Yaz says nothing and lets Jenny bask in it. At least not until they’re standing aging ready to settle in for the night.

“So why were you so quiet today?” Yaz plucks up the courage to bring the subject up. Jenny does nothing. “Please just tell me. I can’t stand seeing you like this, I hate it when you’re quiet.” 

“Why won’t you tell your parents about not going back to uni?” Jenny asks softly and with caution.

“Jen, I am going to tell them, just in September.” Yaz holds back the groan of annoyance in her voice. 

“Don’t you think they want to know now?” Jenny persists, completely rubbing Yaz the wrong way.

“Are you trying to guilt trip me? Why do you care so much about involving my parents!” Yaz feels herself getting more and more defensive.

“Because I wish I still had parents like yours that care enough to-!” 

Jenny cuts herself off with a sad surprised look on her face. Then hurt. So much hurt.

“Jenny…” Yaz starts sympathetically and reaches out to cup Jenny’s cheek. 

“Please don’t.” Jenny shakily swats her away. “Ignore I ever said that.”

“I can’t.” Yaz denies her request. 

“I’m not going to talk about it.” Jenny states her stance and Yaz has no doubts she’s stuck in it. 

“I’m sorry, I understand now.” Yaz feels like she has to say.

“I want to be alone please.”

“Jenny I don’t think that’s the right-”

“Please.” Jenny says more firmly. Yaz takes it as more of a command than a plead. 

“I’m gonna go to bed then.” 

She steps forward to leave a kiss on Jenny’s cheek but she’s left touching air as Jenny whips her head to the side. Yaz tries to look at the older woman to ask ‘why’ but Jenny’s refusing to look up from the ground and Yaz has to frustratingly tuck herself up in bed alone.

After an hour or so of tossing and turning and broken increments of drifting off to sleep Yaz hears and feels another body slide under the covers next to her. Jenny tries to spoon her but her intentions are scattered as at the same time Yaz is rolling over to look at her. Not speak to her, not force her into any kind of conversation she doesn’t want right this moment, but just to look at her.

“Well that was shite.” A Scottish accent followed by three other sets of feet come inside. As a reflex, both Jenny and Yaz close their eyes and fake an evened out breathing pattern each pretending to be asleep. 

“Ssssh! They’re probably sleeping.” A slurred speech Clara says. 

“They’re so fucking in love it’s unfair.” Ryan says, speech also a little slurred. 

His words strike a chord with both pairs of listening ears and they’re no longer pretending to be asleep. Eyes meet through the dark, illuminated only by frantic and unsteady phone torch light; Jenny’s eyes sad and lonely, Yaz’s concerned and hoping for forgiveness from her insensitive comment.

“Shut up man!” Clara continues to try and control the noise level. 

“It’s true though!” Ryan turns his voice into a stage whisper. “They can joke with each other, they can be gross and sappy with each other, they’re comfortable with each other and they have great regular sex. What more can you want?” 

As Ryan speaks, under the covers Yaz reaches for Jenny’s hand. When she finds it, she doesn’t hold it. Instead she brushes her fingers over Jenny’s fingertips not trying to draw any attention to the movement or their pod in general. Jenny doesn’t flinch or take her hand away but lets Yaz gently stroke her palm until she’s comfortable enough to lace her hand in Yaz’s by her own accord. Everything Ryan is saying is true. They have all that together and Yaz doesn’t see any of it ending any time soon.

“Amy do you remember when Jen… Jen came home after Yaz talked to her at that club?” Clara asks, her steps falling in an erratic pattern onto the crinkly ground sheet. 

Amy snorts. “Smitten kitten.”

Yaz considers giving Jenny a look that asks ‘is that true’ but she knows it’s true. Jenny’s always said she’s been into Yaz since the day they met, so Yaz opts for ‘that’s really cute’ and Jenny’s face goes a darker shade of red.

“And then when they started hanging out together and Jenny would come back not being able to hold herself together.”

Jenny can’t keep her gaze at this point and tries to bow her head but Yaz stops her. ‘Keep looking at me’ Yaz silently begs for her to hear. ‘Look at me like we used to before we learnt how to talk.’.

“Yaz was like that too.” Ryan chimes in.

Now Yaz almost gasps at Ryan for saying that and wants to remove herself from the situation entirely. Until Jenny squeezes her hand and she wants to stay right where she is.

“Sssh! It’s rude to talk about them when they’re right there.” Rory tries to stop them.

“They’re not going to know, they’re sleeping.” Amy insists. 

Yaz has to cover her mouth to stop herself from laughing at the drunk mess and giving them away. Jenny even cracks a smile too which makes Yaz silently laugh and sends Jenny into a hushed giggling fit.

“Bed, everyone, before some fucker complains to the night warden about us.” Clara commands. 

“Yes ma’am.” Ryan says. Yaz is certain he probably did a salute too. 

“I love you.” Jenny mouths with a smile still making her lips curl.

“I love you.” Yaz mouths back hoping to communicate intensity through the forced silence.

Slow blinking at each other like trustworthy cats, Jenny and Yaz wait for noises to calm down before Yaz pulls their still joined together hands up out of the covers to kiss Jenny’s wrist. It’s not enough to say sorry. It’s not much of an apology for not thinking before she speaks. And it’s not what she wishes she could do. But it’s enough to say ‘I’m here’.

Chapter Text

Neither of them mention their argument in the morning. Yaz specifically feels there’s no point in it since it feels like it’s settled now. It can wait for after the holiday. Meanwhile, the four that went out last night are hanging and can’t seem to manage to get up out of their cocoons until the middle of the afternoon, letting Yaz and Jenny chill out and do whatever they want for most of the day, letting Jenny and Yaz be content with each other while they take walks around the site and read books quietly next to each other. At one point Yaz can’t help but think ‘holy shit we are becoming domesticated’ but she convinces herself it’s only because they’re not doing much today. By four in the afternoon Yaz and Jenny get sent out for snacks and a variation of drinks for them all to have before the sunset and they have to make chilli on the camping stove- Yaz having to choose an alternative since there’s only so much you can make with two hobs. 

“You’re not the only one paying this holiday are you?” Yaz asks as they leave the mini supermarket. 

“We’re all throwing in receipts when we get home and splitting the cost.” Jenny explains. 

“Does that include me?” Yaz asks.

“You count under me.” 

“Jen, we don’t have a shared bank account. That’s so unfair on you.” Yaz tries to make Jenny see sense as she shoves the food items into the boot of her car.

“Fine,” Jenny gives in, slamming the boot shut. “you can chip in.”

“I probably still have some student loan left over anyway. Nani helped me out the rent sometimes so…” Yaz gets in and puts her seatbelt on.

“Literally no one else will ever say that.” Jenny says. 

“I know. I’m lucky.” 

Jenny starts to drive them back the longer rural route to savour those extra few minutes alone together for today until they retire to bed. 

“Do you know what my favourite thing about this holiday so far is?” Jenny asks, taking a turn down a disconcertingly rural road. The kind people might get murdered down.

“What?” Yaz asks for the answer. 

“Seeing you in shorts.” Jenny says, almost giggling to herself for saying it.

“Keep that up and I’ll have to take you into a toilet cubicle when we get back.” Yaz says, no longer able to deny that if she had the chance to take Jenny now she would.

“Yaz.” Jenny starts to blush, which Yaz, obviously, decides to take advantage of.

“Not like we haven’t done it before. In the library…”

“I’m very aware of what happened in the library toilets, thank you.” Jenny speaks rapidly, her eyes darting all over the road as if she’s trying to find something else to focus on other than Yaz and her words.

“I think about that a lot.” Yaz continues to tease keeping her voice light and natural. “How badly you wanted me- you were so desperate. Begging for me from your knees on the floor. My leg over your shoulder with your head between my thighs.”

“Yaz…”

“If you don’t want to do that again we can always go in your car. Find a spot off the beaten track. You can take me on the back seat however you want or maybe even-”

“Yaz stop.” Jenny’s voice gains courage. 

“Why?”

“You’re making me wet.” Jenny says with increasing irritation.

Jenny gulps regretting her words so Yaz lets her stare burn into her until Jenny’s forced to quickly glance in her direction to see whether she’s said the right thing or not. The small way Yaz is finding her lips are curling at the corners suggest to both of them that something might really be developing here. That line shouldn’t have worked. It seriously shouldn’t have and yet Yaz is encouraging it and Jenny… well. 

“Isn’t that the point?” Yaz mumbles, all facial features raised. 

Jenny blinks rapidly; her mind trying to make a decision and her hands gripping onto the steering wheel just as hard. “I want you in my bed, properly naked not partially clothed. I want to be loud and I want us to take our time. Not have to rush to get rid of all evidence and I want us to enjoy ourselves. Each other. Not just doing it for the sake of the end result.”

Yaz watches Jenny try not to be surprised by herself as they take a right turn down a side road. 

“Now who’s doing the dirty talk?” Yaz says, impressed that Jenny has it in her. “We could do both.” Yaz suggests. 

Yaz notices Jenny bite her lip and her knee starts to lightly bounce. 

“We might have to.” Jenny says. 

It all happens so fast Yaz can’t keep up. Jenny takes them down a secluded road made of mainly just potholes until she pulls up by the entrance of an empty field with another empty field parallel to it. Jenny clambers over the handbrake and gearstick to get over to sit on Yaz’s lap.

“Jenny how did you know this would be-?”

“We’re in the middle of the countryside, there are fields everywhere and I’m going to end up up against your leg in the middle of the night again if we don’t do this thanks to you.” Jenny removes her braces and shirts. 

“Thanks to me?” Yaz removes her own tshirt, following Jenny’s lead- heart racing knowing what comes next. “You’re the one talking about wanting me naked in your bed! Which is our bed now by the way.” 

“You started it.” Jenny throws away abandoned items of clothing onto the driver's seat. “This isn’t what I really want this is a necessity.” 

“You’re telling me.” Yaz says, using the last of her composure as Jenny makes quick work of caressing her jawline with her lips. “How do you know no one’s going to drive past and see.”

“I don’t.” Hot breath punches Yaz’s earlobe.

“Then are we doing this or what?” Yaz asks.

“Yes. Gods, please, yes.” 

Jenny swallows Yaz in a kiss that sends Yaz’s heart straight into her pants. She spreads her legs, consequently spreading Jenny’s legs further apart and forming a soft moan that comes up from her throat. Yaz only then realises how much she’s needed Jenny’s touch like this and how bad of an idea camping is. If they were in a hotel it would be way easier. 

Yaz hurriedly fondles with the clip on Jenny’s culottes with a mixture of adrenaline and lust pumping through her veins while at the same time Jenny releases the lever to swing the back of the chair down so they’re better positioned. 

“I need you.” Yaz lets the words slip out before she gives herself the chance to catch her breath and her body arches up to press against Jenny. Jenny just laughs through an exhale of the nose while she tries to get Yaz’s shorts button undone. She can’t, and it gets increasingly frustrating for both of them to the point where Yaz needs to lend a hand. Yaz lifts her hips to shuffle her shorts and underwear away just enough so that she’s comfortable. In the same moment, Yaz’s hand flies into Jenny’s underwear to hold her wet heat.

“You weren’t joking.” Yaz comments smugly on her readiness.

“No I wasn’t. Fresh air, it’s an aphrodisiac.” Jenny grins, bearing bright white teeth.

“Funny, thought it was me.” 

Yaz flicks the bundle of nerves under her fingers and wipes the grin off of Jenny’s lips in an instant replacing it with an ‘o’ shape and half closed eyelids. The shock also triggers Jenny’s own fingers into action, rubbing Yaz in all the right ways to make her moan. 

Jenny was right. This is a necessity, not something that needs to be dragged out or mean anything. Yaz bucks her hips needing Jenny to get her off faster, needing her touch, needing her other hand to move against her breasts, needing her tongue, needing her to press harder, needing her love, needing her. It’s still enough though. Nimble fingers  and the company of each other intimately, alongside the adrenaline of the possibility of being caught, are all it takes in this case for Yaz to be seconds from release.

“Are you-?” Yaz begins to ask but Jenny reads her mind. 

“Close.” Jenny nods, pursing her lips tight and flicking her gaze up to look Yaz in the eye before .

“Me too.” 

“Are we going to-?”

“Possibly.” Yaz scrunches her face up trying to share her concentration between the knot about to unwind in her stomach and not letting her fingers falter in their pattern like Jenny’s are doing against her as she loses her control. “Now.” Yaz feels herself losing her grip. “Only if it’s n-.” 

“Fuck.” 

“Jen- uh-” 

Yaz cries out right as Jenny swears; both into each others mouths as they try to kiss each other through it but can’t muster anything up but moans. Yaz clings onto Jenny for dear life while Jenny’s fist bangs onto the side of the headrest before falling to the crook of Yaz’s neck. This has never happened before, both of them finishing at the same time, but somehow it makes it more intense. Almost special, considering the circumstances. 

The two of them sit there for however long they wish the moment to last, savouring the last of the heavy breathing and half naked torsos for a while. And these few minutes are especially important to Yaz since she can sense Jenny wishing for time to allow their bodies to melt into one. Or maybe that is Yaz wishing it. She doesn’t know. Either way, Yaz is happy that it happened. 

 

“You two took a while.” Amy says snatching a bag of cheese puffs from the bag in Yaz’s hand. 

“Sorry. Parking was a nightmare.” Jenny lies with unconvincing emphasis, dumping out the contents of the bag she has onto the little preparation table. 

“There’s about four free spaces in the entire town.” Yaz feels she has to back her up.

“Sure.” Ryan says coming to collect his ribena. “Jenny’s shirt’s on inside out.” He whispers.

Yaz frantically tries to locate her girlfriend without drawing suspicion to her need to find her. Once her eyes land on her, Jenny’s looking down at her shirt after it being pointed out to her by Clara. Bloody hell those two are the definition of double trouble. She looks over to Yaz with the same fearful embarrassment but now the two of them are looking at each other like they have something to hide and the other four are catching on. Feeling the attention on them, Jenny’s neck and face flush bright pink. Brighter than when Yaz was flirting with her.

“Aw come on man.” Ryan rolls his head back. “Rory mate I’m going back in your car.”

“Fine with me.” Rory says as if there’s something sour in his mouth.

“It didn’t happen where you sit-” Jenny tries to defend herself 

“Jenny.”

“Right.” Yaz watches Jenny shove he hands into her pockets and fill herself up with regret. 

“Look, it was gonna happen, at least we chose to do it away from you all.” Yaz gives an explanation that isn’t needed at all but it does help Jenny from falling into a sulk.

“This time.” Ryan coughs lightly. Thankfully only Yaz hears and even then she decides not to react. That, or everyone else is ignoring the matter.

An awkward silence smothers the group before they all burst out at the same time with nondescript noise.

“Right so-”

“Yup, I’m gonna…”

“The mince is on the…”

“Well I can’t wait for…”

“Let’s just…

“Yeah.” 

 

They all sit in a line in their camp chairs facing the setting sun, laughing, joking and eating. Conversation bounces from topic to topic, and whenever it inevitably lands on the past year at university Jenny’s hand always lands itself on Yaz’s knee. But there are unspoken topics that aren’t even hinted at when it looks like the conversation is speeding towards; Amy and Rory’s argument a few weeks ago, Jenny’s ‘incidents’, Yaz and Jenny overhearing the rest of them come back drunk. None of them touch them with a six foot pole. And they go to bed continuing to ignore them.

 

“You know people pee in the ocean too right?” Yaz asks. They’re standing a bit further out to sea than the rest of the group with the water reaching just under their shoulder blades.

“Yeah but there’s also dead bodies, fish sperm, pollution, all sorts in here.” Jenny says, looking down through the water as if she can locate the things she’s listing. 

Yaz pauses, staring at her girlfriend as a wave rolls around her back. “I...okay.”

“Best not to think about it.” Jenny winks. “Put your head under.”

“What? No.” Yaz’s gut instinct is the refuse.

“Put it under just to say you’ve done it.” 

“You’ve just told me-”

“Yeah but then I told you to ignore it. It’s easy, look.” Jenny dunks her head under the next wave and then flips her head up, her hair flying out like some kind of model in a perfume advert.

“Now you just look like someone who’s greased her hair back with a bucket of oil.”

“The hair flip thing was pretty sexy though. Not yesterday kind of sexy but still sexy like-”

“Please stop saying the word ‘sexy’.”

“If I stop saying it will you put your head under?”

“Still no.”

“You might not have a choice in about five seconds.”

“What does that-” The back of Yaz’s head, neck, and shoulders get engulfed by a large cresting wave, taking her feet from the seafloor and pushing her body into Jenny’s prepared and waiting arms. “-fuck that’s cold!” She gasps.

“It’s only the shock of it hitting you, it’s not really that bad.”

“Are you taking the mick?” Yaz raises her eyebrows.

“No, it’s how it works.” Jenny insists, her arms still clinging onto Yaz like the ocean is going to sweep her away any second. “You don’t have to. I’m just scared you’re not enjoying yourself.”

“Of course I am.” Yaz lifts her arms out of the salty water and rests them on Jenny’s shoulders. “Today’s been great. I’ve sat in the sun with you, buried you in sand, we played some cricket,”

“With Ryan as umpire.” Jenny nods.

“And then you taught me that game. What was it again?”

“Jump seven waves in a row and if you make a wish it’ll come true.” Jenny recites.

“Yeah, that one.” Yaz grins, tilting her head sideways. “What did you wish for?”

“Ah, can’t tell you that.” Jenny smirks.

“C’mon, why not?” Yaz presses into Jenny’s body.

“Because it won’t come true if I tell you and I really want it to come true.”

“What is it?” Yaz asks again, her intrigue rising more and more.

“You’ll see.”

“What is it?”

“You’ll! See!” Jenny rests her forehead against Yaz’s and giggling grins turn onto softer smiles. “I promise, you’ll find out soon.”

“Now you’re worrying me.” Yaz says. 

“Ha. Nice try, I’m still not telling you.”

 

The timing of them getting back to the campsite and heading for showers was bad to say the least. A queue of four women and then two mothers with a child to take in each has already formed and in addition to that Yaz, Jenny, Clara and Amy have just joined. It would be fine, if Yaz wasn’t getting colder by the minute and can feel the sea salt crystallizing around every hair on her body. She wants to use Jenny as a blanket but feels she can’t with the amount of strangers around. People go in to shower, people join the back of the queue and then leave again saying they’re going to come back later, and half an hour passes until Jenny reaches the front of the queue with Yaz standing uncomfortably behind her. She knows there’s six cubicles in use but blimey it doesn’t make it go much faster. The awkward moment of someone coming out and Jenny acknowledging it’s her go next is exchanged but instead of going straight in Jenny plucks stiff arms away from Yaz’s chest until she’s holding her hand and dragging her into the shower with her. 

“Jen-”

“You’re cold and it’s not like we haven’t seen each other naked before.” Jenny shuts down any kind of protest about to come out of Yaz’s mouth and locks the door sealing them in. 

“I can wait on the other side of the divide.” Yaz offers as a compromise, pointing at the showercuirtain. 

“That defeats the point of you coming in here with me.” Jenny says softly. Almost in the way a doctor talking to you before they tell you you’re not being silly coming to see them about your symptoms. 

Yaz doesn’t argue anymore and lets Jenny remove her swimming costume before she removes her own clothes and take out her wash stuff. Still though, Yaz hides her chest with her arms and finds herself getting insecure over being nude and in Jenny’s company. Jenny prys Yaz’s arms away again and leads her to the other side of the curtain.

“Nothing sexy.” Jenny whispers.

“We’re both wearing shower shoes there is no way this is going to turn into anything else.” Yaz says. 

Jenny huffs out a laugh and turns the shower on. Right then Yaz realises she’s been placed directly under the falling warm water. Her muscles slowly untense and she moves over to let Jenny in on the action. They have to stand close together to get a fair share each. Yaz tries not to let herself look. The most attractive woman in the universe, at least to her standards, is about five centimeters away from touching her and she’s acting like it’s not a big deal. Just yesterday Jenny was talking about getting her naked but Yaz guesses yesterday is yesterday and those urges have subsided. They’re lucky they can be like this. 

Jenny puts a blob of shampoo in her hair while Yaz prioritises getting sand, seaweed and salt off her skin with a body wash. When Yaz looks up again, Jenny is moulding soapy blonde hair into a mohawk on top of her head. 

“Tell me you don’t do that every time you wash your hair.” Yaz smiles. 

“Not every time.” Jenny smiles back. 

Yaz rinses her body and reaches for her shampoo bottle but only Jenny’s is there. 

“Use mine.” Jenny orders, picking up the bottle. 

“I have a different hair type to you.” Yaz says.

Jenny puts a portion of shampoo into her palm and before Yaz can figure out what she’s doing Jenny’s hands are massaging the soap into Yaz’s scalp delicately.

“Why are you doing this?” Yaz asks quietly. Almost not loud enough to be heard over the running water.

Jenny shrugs with over exaggerated movements. “Want to.” Jenny twirls a bubbly finger in a circle and Yaz takes it as she needs to turn around.

Yaz stares at the white tiled wall while Jenny carefully washes every thread of hair on her head. It’s getting curlier by the day and she knows by the end of the week it’s going to be hard to control but for now it’s manageable. Yaz feels Jenny lips kiss the wet skin of the back of her shoulder.

“You promised nothing sexy.” Yaz says. Even she can hear her own smile in her voice.

“That’s not sexy, that’s just me appreciating how beautiful you are, you arse.” Jenny tries to joke.

“I think you’ll find you’re the one with the arse here.” Yaz deviates from the originally meaning of Jenny’s comment.

“Now that’s making it sexy, you’re breaking the rules!” Jenny says, mildly annoyed and spinning Yaz back around again to face her. 

“It was only a compliment.” Yaz mocks Jenny’s tone of voice and leaves a tiny kiss on her cheek as a thank you. 

They make the rest of the shower brief and quick knowing that there very well may be a queue outside and they should be being considerate since it’s shared facilities. What they weren’t expecting as they left, is a group of mums with almost two kids each queued up, including the woman from the first night that almost caught Yaz giving Jenny a goodnight kiss. Any smiles Yaz and Jenny have are dissolved the second they make eye contact and recognise each other. 

“Mummy why did those two ladies shower together?” The small boy only as high as the knee he’s clinging to asks.

“Well… I-” The woman stutters but Jenny jumps in to cover their backs. 

“The water resources on this earth are depleting. One day we’ll have none and we’ll all die so we need to save water while we can.” Jenny throws up a thumb. “Save the planet, kids.”

As the stunned silence falls over the queue Yaz pulls on Jenny’s arm to trigger her to make an exit.

“Save the planet?” Yaz whispers through her teeth just as they pass the line of still stunned people.

“I panicked.”

Chapter Text

They all wake up to rain pounding against the fabric of the tent. At first Yaz finds it relaxing. It kind of reminds her of home- home home with her mum and dad and her sister in Sheffield- when she steps outside to get some air and the rain is hammering against the rails of the balconies around her. Yaz only begins to resent it when the force of the water droplets don’t let up but she needs the loo and has to run through it.  Ryan, being the positivist he is, tries to pass it off as a quick shower, but as the hours pass by and the day rolls from morning to afternoon they accept that they’re going to have to stay in today. Right now, they’ve finished having some stodgy sandwiches for lunch and are sitting on the floor, except Jenny, who’s sitting in a chair behind Yaz braiding her hair to pass the time. 

“I’m so bored.” Ryan sings. 

“It’s called camping.” Rory says. “At least you’re with friends, I had to do this every year with my parents and my cousins.”

“Ow!” Yaz winces at Jenny tugging a little too hard. 

“Sorry.” Jenny apologises. 

“Yaz how much hair do you have, this has been going on for like an hour now.” Amy asks. 

“A fair bit.” Yaz answers.

“And I’m doing very tiny braids to pass the time.” Jenny adds her two cents to the conversation.

“I can’t have people playing with my hair. Makes me feel weird.” Amy grimaces. 

“So if I told you Jenny washed it last night...”

“You’re insane.” Amy tutters. Yaz spots Clara sit up trying to figure out how Jenny could have possibly been washing her hair but before it can click for her Amy speaks again. “Jenny can I ask you something?”

“I don’t see why not.” Jenny says. From the sound of her voice Yaz can tell she’s in full concentration mode and not really paying attention to whatever Amy’s about to say. But from the smirk on Amy’s face Yaz recons she’ll soon have Jenny’s attention.

“Will you be my best woman?” Amy asks.

Yaz feels the movement above her head still.

“For real? You want me?” Jenny asks. Yaz thinks the tone of surprise in Jenny’s voice is adorable. Her friends are finally treating her the way she deserves to be treated.

“And Clara. No offence Yaz.”

“Absolutely none taken.” Yaz puts her arms up in surrender. She would never expect to be any of their maids or honours or something similar. 

“So? Will you be my bridesmaid and or best woman.” Amy persists for an answer.

“I don’t care what you call it so long as I don’t have to wear a dress, yes!” Jenny agrees enthusiastically. 

“But you look so good in dresses.” Clara teases. 

“Fucking knew it.” Yaz says, slapping Jenny’s knee.

“You’ve never seen her in a little black dress have you Yaz?” Amy taunts.

“Amelia please shut up.”

“You do look good Jen.” Clara says. 

“But in a tux, I’m hot in that too right?” Jenny asks for blatant reassurance. 

“Meh.” Amy jokes. Jenny pings a hairband at her. 

“You look good in everything Jen.” Yaz says. 

“Of course you’re going to say that.” Ryan says. Yaz throws him a look to tell him to shut up and let her compliment Jenny without judgement.

“Forget about me, I want to see you in a dress.” Jenny says to Yaz. 

“Maybe to will.” Yaz looks up behind her with a smirk on her lips. 

“Ugh, they’re starting again.” Rory grumbles. 

“You just wish we were still like that.” Amy says, nudging her soon-to-be-husband. 

The weather eventually dries up but it’s too late in the day to go out and do anything. They make pasta, eat inside to avoid the squelch of muddy grass under feet and Jenny and Yaz are sent out again to go and buy a board game they could play together.

“Do you really want to see me in a dress?” Yaz asks as they browse the shelves of the twenty-four hour supermarket.

“I’ve thought about it.” Jenny admits. “But I wouldn’t force you to wear one. Might help if you didn’t.”

“Why?”

Jenny snorts, holding herself back from outright laughing at the question. “If you wear a dress and I wear my tux neither of us will end up leaving the house and actually attending the wedding.”

“Really?” Yaz asks, unable to comprehend how much more attractive Jenny’s going to have to be for them to be unable to leave the house.

Jenny smugly raises her eyebrows. “What d’you think I think about doing to you in a dress?” 

“You’re a right little horny bastard this week.” Yaz says, focusing back on the shelf of games ignoring her blushing cheeks. 

“Maybe we should get kama sutra to play.” Jenny suggests, pointing at a book sitting hidden at the top. 

“Uuh, no.” Yaz shakes her head. She knows Jenny’s only joking by the way she’s putting on a false confident persona. “Maybe if we were at home.”

“I’m still not used to that. You, calling my house your home.” Jenny says, her tone completely separate from just seconds before.

“It’s not about the house though is it, it’s about the people. You’re home to me now.” Yaz says. If she wasn’t looking at Jenny she might’ve missed her body tense up- her breathing shallow and her nostrils flare.

“Say another thing like that and I will cry.” Jenny says.

“I think I’ve only ever seen you cry twice.” Yaz says. She’s only changed the subject slightly but it’s enough to move Jenny back from the verge of tears.  

“Almost three.” Jenny says confidently. 

“When was the third?” Yaz asks, unable to recall a third time.

“I’m not telling you, it’s too embarrassing.” Jenny shakes her head until her hair is covering half of her face. 

“C’mon, please.” Yaz tucks the freshly fallen hair back behind Jenny’s ear. She even makes sure to tickle the skin behind Jenny’s earlobe with her fingertips to soften her up and make her feel safe. “Were you really upset?”

“It wasn’t… a sad cry, it was kind of a happy cry.” Jenny shuffles and struggles to resist pulling on her sleeve. She resists. “After when we first… you know...” 

“You cried after sex?” Yaz asks, low-key amused.

“Almost.” Jenny emphasizes the importance of the word.

“You almost cried after-?” 

“Stop saying it!” Jenny whines and almost falls into a tantrum with stomping feet. 

Yaz smiles adoringly at her. “I think it’s cute.”  

“Your fault anyway, you give me too many emotions to process.” Jenny tries to pass on the blame.

“Jenny, no one’s criticizing you for it.” Yaz loops her arm through Jenny’s to make her a grounding weight. “I want you to tell me this stuff.”

“Do you tell me stuff like that?” Jenny asks. Yaz can’t help but note the hint of suggestion woven in the question.

“If it bothers me alot then yes.” Yaz says. “Now can we please pick some kind of game.”

“Fine.” Jenny reaches at random at the shelf. “Uno it is.” 

“If you plus four me we’re breaking up.” Yaz threatens.

“I don’t think a card can break us up.” 

Yaz puts on her authoritative voice. “Don’t test me.” 

 

Jenny doesn’t dare throw down a plus four on Yaz and the group go to bed with only three petty arguments between them. The next day, Yaz notices they’ve all ended up in an unspoken routine. They all eat together right after they wake up, Jenny usually goes to fill up the water supply, everyone spends the morning chilling out doing what they want to do and by mid day they’ve decided how to spend the rest of the day together. But today they can’t decide on just one thing. Clara and Amy want to go shopping, Ryan, Jenny and Yaz was to go rockpooling or fishing for crabs while Rory wants to stay home and read his book. Jenny, being the genius that she is, manages to come up with a solution. She found a town nearby that not only has shops but also a harbour for crabbing and pubs Rory could sit and read his book in. 

“Right, so I got the big bucket because I think it’s cruel if they have to walk all over each other and I got a net because there’s more of a chance of catching them with that than a line and I got some little fish things as bait.” Jenny grins, buzzing with excitement.

“Okay so how does this work?” Yaz asks. “I’ve never done this before.” 

“We put these dead fish in that net, lower it down, wait for crabs to scuttle in to get the food like-” Jenny shuffles from side to side with her hands acting like pincers and Yaz grins at her like no one else is watching. “-and then we pull up the net and put the crabs in the bucket.”

“Don’t we need to put water in the bucket?” Ryan asks. 

“I’m on it.” Jenny says. Yaz watches her jog over to some steps that lead down to the water in the harbour. 

“Stop staring and put the fish in the net.” Ryan says. 

“I’m not doing that, I don’t want fishy fingers.” Yaz refuses. Ryan stares at her. “If you make a joke about fishy smelling fingers, I’m pushing you in and not helping you back out.” 

“I’m saying nothing.” 

Ryan sets up the net and Jenny comes back as fast as she can without spilling water all over herself. 

“Is anyone else excited because I’m really excited?” Jenny says, still beaming at the thrill. 

“They’re just crabs.” Ryan says.

“No they’re not they’re living things.” Jenny defends her energy.

“So why are we pulling them out of their home to put them in a bucket?” Ryan shrugs as he asks. 

“I...well...I guess...I mean…they’ll get put back.... but...”

“We’re observing nature.” Yaz jumps in when Jenny struggles to find an ethical explanation. 

“Yes! Observing nature. Well done Yaz, ten points to Yaz.” Jenny says. 

“We’re doing points now?” Yaz asks with a furrowed brow. 

“I dunno, it just kind of slipped out.” Jenny scrunches her nose up.

“I can work with points.” Yaz dips her eyes down to Jenny’s lips and back up again making an effort to poke the tip of her tongue out to get her ulterior motive across. 

“I should’ve gone shopping.” Ryan says with regret lathering his body language and Yaz remembers he’s here too. 

“Minus ten to Ryan.” Jenny says without removing her eyes from Yaz’s lips.

“Aw wait no what!”

Yaz holds onto Jenny’s braces in fear that Jenny’s going to lean too far over to see where the net is going to land and hit the water arse over tit. There are quite a few other people circled around the harbor either sitting eating pastys and ice creams with their legs dangling over the side or trying to grab some crabs themselves. Street musicians and art stalls are dotted around but Yaz recons that the amount of people will double by the time schools are out for summer and queues will be ten times as long. Luckily, the three of them have secured a bench to sit on at the side even though Jenny’s getting up every five minutes to impatiently pace around. When Yaz finally decides to release Jenny from her misery and tell her enough time has passed Jenny almost jumps in the harbor herself to check the net.

“Whoa!” Jenny exclaims as she winds the net up out of the water. 

“Have we got one?” Ryan asks. 

“Two.” Jenny positively vibrates as she smiles over her shoulder. 

“Tip them in the bucket so we can see.” Yaz says. 

“I will do no such thing!” Jenny gets offended, flattening out net and scooping up both crabs from behind. “Yaz take a picture.” 

Yaz gets out her phone and takes a few snaps of the crabs being held either side of Jenny’s smile. As Jenny takes her two new friends away from her face and into the bucket of water Yaz sneakily sets one of the photos as her lock screen. 

“I reckon we can get bigger ones than that.” Yaz says.

“Chuck it back in then.” Ryan instructs. 

“I’ll do it.” Jenny offers. 

“Do you think we’re actually going to have a part in this?” Ryan whispers so that only Yaz can hear.

“Maybe if she gets bored.” Yaz says but she very much doubts her own words.

“Right.” Ryan slaps his knees and stands up. “I’m getting ice cream. Who wants one?”

“Me!” Jenny says.

“Me too.” Yaz adds. 

“The usual ladies?”

“Yup.” Jenny pops the ‘p’ at the same time the net hits the water again. 

 “Thanks Ry.” Yaz says as Ryan throws them both a thumbs up and walks towards the little shop on the corner. 

Yaz warmly invites Jenny back onto the bench by throwing her arm over her shoulders.

“Do you think we should name them?” Jenny asks, staring into the bucket in between her feet.

“What, like pets?” 

“Yeah.” Jenny shrugs. “Never had a pet before. Would quite like a fish but they aren’t as easy to look after than they look. And I don’t know the landlords stance on pets. Might get a hamster but they don’t live very long. Cute though.” 

“So what do you want to call these ones?” Yaz attempts to get Jenny back on topic. 

“Donna and Martha.” Jenny says after a second of contemplation. 

Yaz smiles without Jenny seeing and continues to people watch while they wait for Ryan and some more crabs. She plays a game with herself; giving these people names, families, secrets, dramas and back stories. Jobs.

“Jen.” Yaz says softly.

“Yeah.”

“What do you say about me joining the police force?” Yaz asks, eager to hear Jenny’s opinion on the matter. 

Jenny exhales heavily. “I’d say there’s an easier way to get me in handcuffs.”

“I’m trying to be serious Jenny.” Yaz doesn’t laugh.

“I know you are.” Jenny sits forward and twists her body in a way so that she’s able to look Yaz in the eye, setting Yaz herself on edge. “I saw the application form you have.”

Yaz blinks fast and almost does a double take. She had forgotten she even has the form in her possession in all honesty. “What…?”

“When you moved in it was in between a pile of books.” Jenny explains. “I usually would’ve ignored stuff like that but I saw the crest in the corner and mistook it as something that was to do with my accident.” She pauses. “Accidents.” 

“That was so long ago. Why didn’t you say you saw it?” Yaz asks.

“Because everyone’s allowed their secrets. I didn’t want to pry.” Jenny shrugs and Yaz’s respect for her grows just as much as her frustration. 

“I’ve been thinking about it for a while. Seriously though, what do you think about it?” Yaz pushes for a direct answer.

“Why does my opinion matter? It’s your life.” Jenny settles back against Yaz’s arm.

“That I’m sharing with you.” Yaz rests her head against Jenny’s shoulder ignoring how that sentence could be taken as very heavy. “I want you to support me with it.” 

“I’ll always support you if it’s something you really want to do. I think you should go for it.”

“Really?” Yaz checks 

“Yeah.” Jenny places her lips on top of Yaz’s head making Yaz feel warm and fuzzy inside and out. “Hmm.” 

“What?”

“Nothing. I just thought about you in the uniform.” 

Yaz lifts her head away from Jenny’s shoulder so she can judge her. “Jenny do you have a thing about authority?” She asks, already knowing the answer.

“Maybe a little bit.” Jenny pinches her finger and thumb together. 

“Right.” Ryan reappears with three cicle tubs of ice cream. “Strawberry for me because I’m normal, some honeycomb caramel shit for Yaz because she’s fancy and mint chocolate chip with a flake and sprinkles for Jenny because she’s a complete heathen. Can’t believe you kiss that mouth, Yaz.” 

“It’s just ice cream.” Yaz says accepting hers before it all melts under the sun.

“Why do people have a thing against mint choc chip? It’s ace.” Jenny defends her choice, starting to shovel it into her mouth until she stops, scrunching her face up.

“Brain freeze?” Ryan asks. Jenny manages to nod gently a couple of times.

“That’s what happens if you don’t slow down.” Yaz nabs the little spoon out of Jenny’s clenched up hand and takes a spoonful of Jenny’s ice cream for herself. “Actually that is really quite good.”

They catch another five crabs in two hours before Amy and Clara come and find them with a shopping bag each. 

“Get anything nice?” Ryan asks. 

“You’ll find out later.” Clara smirks sitting down next to Ryan and greets him with an extended kiss. Awkward, for the others, since those two never ever do that in front of anyone

“What did she get?” Jenny quietly asks Amy.

“Sexy underwear.” Amy says. Jenny’s head whips around to Yaz.

“She’s stolen your move.” Jenny winks. 

“Why is everyone being like this?” Yaz asks.

“Because other than you two we’ve all been holding off for almost a week because we don’t want to go in the toilets.” Clara says. “Although from what Jenny’s told me-”

“Shut up.” Jenny snaps.

“What?” Yaz asks.

“Nothing.” Jenny says, and they all decide to call it a day.

 

The thing Yaz can’t quite decide about camping is whether waking up when the sun rises is a good thing or not. Mother nature is a natural alarm clock and it helps Yaz make the most of the day but it also gives her a sight she loves. Jenny wrapped up warm last night since it was considerably colder than the last few nights and her new outfit includes a wooly hat with tassles dangling down past her ears. In the night Jenny moves a lot, and this morning Yaz has awoken to Jenny blissfully unaware to the fact that the hat is only half on her head and her shirt has twisted tightly around her stomach, emphasising her calming breathing pattern. Yaz finds her most beautiful like this. Always has, probably always will. She can’t help but smile when the hand attached to the arm under Jenny’s head sleepily rubs her forehead, pushing her hat even further upwards. Yaz holds still thinking Jenny’s slowly bringing herself out of her sleep but the pale freckled body stays put, breathing the same and almost lightly snoring every now and then. Yaz tells herself she needs to leave the blonde alone, let her sleep otherwise she’s going to get grouchy, but she can’t help but lean down to leave a light kiss on Jenny’s forehead then pull down the hat so it’s covering her head properly again. She can’t bear the thought of her being cold.

“I love you.” Yaz whispers into her ear hoping her voice will delicately creep into her dreams like a soft and soothing lullaby. 

“You’ve really got to stop telling me that while I’m asleep.” Jenny mumbles with a dehydrated throat making her voice extra raspy. Her eyes flutter open and her pink lips bend into a smile when she sees the surprise on Yaz’s face. “Morning.”

“Second to last day.” Yaz says, just in case Jenny’s woken up forgetting where she is again.

“Then it’s back to normality.”

“I don’t think anything’s been normal since I’ve met you.” Yaz says while she gently wipes some sleep from the corner of Jenny’s eye. “In a good way.”

“Is it bad I can’t wait to get back home and hide away with you?” Jenny asks. “Not even to have sex or anything. I just want to know that when I get home, you’ll be there too. You’re not going to have to run off somewhere else without me.” 

“No it’s not bad because I want to, too.” Yaz says. “Although you’ll never catch me being a housewife.” 

Yaz is too distracted by Jenny’s small giggle that she doesn’t register Jenny’s lips meeting the corner of her mouth and it’s too late by the time she does. 

“What do you want to do today?” Yaz asks. Jenny smiles brightly.

“Enjoy it with you.”

Chapter Text

“What the living hell is that!” Ryan shouts as he leaps over to the other side of the half deconstructed tent. 

“Wha- fuck me that’s massive!” Jenny tries to hide behind Ryan’s frame when she spots the monster. 

“It’s only a spider.” Yaz rolls her eyes and makes her way towards the little eight legged friend to scoop it up into her hands. It's legs tickles her palm but it's so clear that it's much more afraid of Jenny and Ryan than Jenny and Ryan are of it. “Of all people Jenny, I thought you’d be the one to like spiders.” 

“I do just not that kind.” Jenny says, clinging onto Ryan’s shoulders and peering over them.

“Look, it’s harmless.” Yaz approaches the two of them with the spider cupped in her hand. Jenny and Ryan scuffle together, fighting to keep the other in front as a barrier but as Yaz steps closer Jenny’s natural intrigue takes over. “See?” Yaz opens up her hands so that Jenny can examine the bug close up.

“Cool.” Jenny says as a smile grows and Yaz knows the bug has won her over. 

“That’s it, it’s official, she’s insane.” Ryan stomps out. 

“He’s the weird one.” Jenny mumbles. “I’ve told them to fill my car first so we can get going.” 

“Won’t they need help taking down the tent?” Yaz asks. 

“We put it up without them, they can take it down without us.” Jenny says rather quite harshly.

“What’s got into you today then?” Yaz asks as she carefully transfers the spider into Jenny’s hands for her to marvel at.

“Nothing. I think it’s time for me to go home.” 

“Had enough?” 

“I need my own bed.” Jenny sighs and Yaz starts to wonder if Jenny’s going to be able to face the six hour trip back.</