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you did something to me

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This is a bad idea.

Adora sighs and rereads the form in front of her.

 

I, ___________________, give my consent to use my image in the class project for the Documentary: Intimacy and its Narratives (FILM 311) course. The Bright Moon University Film Department agrees to compensate me with $300/week, for a maximum of four (4) weeks. I hereby agree to return all compensation received if I stop participating in the project at any time during those four weeks, unless for an unforeseen medical emergency.

 

Name: ___________________________

Email:  ___________________________

Signature:  _______________________

Date: __ /__ /____

 

Adora stops fidgeting with her pen and starts filling the blanks. This is a bad idea, she thinks again. She hesitates on the signature, sighs, and slowly fills it in, repeating in her mind, $300 per week. She then slides the paper forward to the film student in front of her, Mel, if she heard correctly, forcing a smile.

Adora looks to her right. Catra sits with one elbow hanging over her chair and one pen spinning on her hand. Adora turns forward again.

“Thank you, girls!” Mel says. “Just so I can have it in my notes, I’ll ask you some questions now.” She puts the forms in a folder and opens a notebook on the desk.

“Sure!” Adora says.

“How long do you know each other?”

They’ve known each other since elementary school, but what was the year again?

“About 12 years.” Catra promptly replies. “I moved to your school in third grade, remember?”

“Right.” Adora nods.

“Woah, that’s a really long time. Which is perfect for my project.” The filmmaker writes on her notebook. “And how long have you been dating?”

“Um, since like, sophomore year?” Adora says and avoids eye contact with the student, turning to Catra.

“Yeah, like a bit over one year ago.” Catra says.

“Exactly.”

“Cool, so I’ll email you two later with more details.”

“Sounds good.” Adora says. “What’s the documentary about, again?”

“Right, so in this class we’re exploring relationships, their differences and similarities.” She closes her notebook. “My project is about two women in a long term lesbian relationship. Each student will be exploring a different type of relationship and at the end we’ll mash up everything together into one movie, or something like that.”

“That’s cool.” Adora says.

“And about the payment?” Catra asks. She finally stops playing with her pen and sits up.

“Ah, yes.” The filmmaker reaches inside her bag then hands them each a check. “The department said to give your checks at the end of every week, but I’m fine with giving the first ones right now.”

“Sweet!” Catra exclaims, examining the check.

“Thank you.” Adora quickly folds hers and puts it in her jacket’s pocket.

“I look forward to working with you two.” The student says as she gets up from her seat, putting the rest of her stuff inside her bag. “Thank you again for volunteering!” She smiles.

Catra roughly puts one arm around Adora’s neck, a bit too tight.

“No, we thank you!” She says.

Adora tenses up but tries to keep a happy expression.

The student smiles at them and waves, walking away towards the library’s exit. Adora smiles back, and as soon as the student disappears from view she yanks Catra’s arm off her.

“Hey! Chill!” Catra says, holding onto the table to not lose her balance.

“Chill!?” Adora scowls. “I can’t believe you convinced me to do this! It’s never gonna work out!” Adora rubs her temples, thoughts racing in her head. “She’s gonna find out, then we’re gonna ruin her project, lose the money, and probably be disciplined! We’re terrible people!” Adora lies her head down on the table, forehead first, a little too hard.

Catra sighs.

“She’s only gonna find out if you freak out like this in front of her. Or if you look like you’d rather be dead than be standing next to me.”

Adora sits up and glares at her.

“I’m still pissed at you. You just had to fuck up at the smoothie bar.”

“I had everything under control!” Catra snaps. “You tried to fuck with my way of doing stuff!”

“Yes, because it was the wrong way!” Adora throws her hands in the air.

“If you didn’t distract me with your little speech as if you were my fucking boss nothing of that would’ve happened!” Catra points at her, eyebrows furrowed and mismatched eyes looking like they could shoot laser blasts through Adora’s face.

Adora groans, clenches her hands, and takes a deep breath. It isn’t worth to have that argument again.

“It doesn’t matter anymore, we both got fired anyway. And now we’re here.”

Catra relaxes, her apparent fury now gone.

“Yeah, we’re here, three hundred dollars richer.” Catra grabs her check and waves it in front of Adora. “That’d take us like three weeks at the smoothie place. So you’re welcome.” She smirks.

Adora rolls her eyes.

“Seriously, Adora. All that money for, like, holding hands in front of a camera? It can’t get easier than that.” Catra folds her check and sticks it in one of her front pockets. “You endured me for what, ten years? I’m sure you can power through these four weeks.” She gets up and leans on the back of her chair, getting closer to Adora’s face. “Just don’t fuck it up and we’ll be fine.”

Adora scowls at her and forces herself to not start another argument. Catra ignores it and turns away.

“See ya later, girlfriend.” She says over her shoulder.

Girlfriend. Adora shudders at that word.

Only after Catra is gone Adora remembers they didn’t even plan anything out. She closes her eyes and rubs her temples again, taking another deep breath. Four weeks of pretending to be Catra’s girlfriend. Those are about to be the longest weeks of her life.

 

*

 

“That sounds like a terrible idea.” Glimmer says as she reaches for a napkin at the center of the table.

Adora pokes at her food with her fork, not feeling particularly hungry as she usually does at that time of the day. She is having lunch with her best friend before their afternoon class and telling her about her new job for the next month or so.

“Because it is. I’m a terrible person and I’m going to hell.” She picks a cherry tomato and puts it in her mouth.

“You can still call it off.” Glimmer gives her a worried look.

“No, I–” Adora sighs. “The money is good. Do you know how hard would it be to find another nice campus job at this time of the semester? All the good ones are taken.” Adora shakes her head. “The smoothie bar hours were perfect.”

“I still don’t get how you were fired after two weeks?” Glimmer takes a sip of her glass of water. “You are good at everything.”

Adora groans.

“I told you, it was Catra’s fault.” She places her fork down, giving up on finishing her food.

“If the problem is the money I could help you while you look for something good again?”

Adora shakes her head. “No way, Glimmerー”

“You can pay me later, whenever you can!” Glimmer reaches for her hands.

“You’re too sweet.” Adora smiles. “But it’s not just the money…”

“What is it?”

“It’s justー” Adora sighs. “When Catra showed up at the smoothie bar she was like… civil? Until the accident, of course. But I don’t know,” Adora lets go of Glimmer’s hands and hugs her own arms. “I just thought we’d be able to reconnect again, somehow...”

“Don’t you two hate each other?”

“Yes? I mean, no?” Adora pauses. “Sort of? She definitely hates me, but I don’t know why.”

“You could just talk to her, you know?” Glimmer gestures one hand in the air. “You don’t have to pretend to date her.”

Adora shrugs. “She’s never been much of the talking type.”

Glimmer nods and her expression changes to an annoyed one. “Yeah, she is more of the punching type.”

Adora snorts.

“I guess.”

“Well, if she tries to fight you let me know because I’d love to help you kick her ass.”

“Glimmer.” Adora chuckles. “Good to know you got my back.”

“Always.” Glimmer smiles and checks the time on her phone. “We should get going.”

 

On her way to class Adora grabs her phone and clicks on Catra’s name. The last messages they exchanged were from yesterday.

Catra texted since we’re both unemployed now would you wanna do it? With an image attached of a poster on a bulletin board. Its title in bold letters was CALL FOR COUPLES! and if Catra didn’t mention the unemployed part Adora would be sure she had texted the wrong number.

Adora’s immediate and obvious reply was we’re not a couple?? which was followed by Catra’s duh they don’t have to know that. let me know by the end of the day or ill find someone else. Before Adora replied again she took the time to zoom in the picture and actually read what was there. She was ready to reject Catra’s super polite request until she read another sentence with small bold letters at the end of the page: $300/week per individual!!!

Maybe it wasn’t too difficult for Adora to be convinced to join in this madness.

Adora scrolls up. The previous message before this conversation is from more than a year ago. Around the time Adora gave up on trying to reach out to Catra. She was ignoring her texts anyway.

She finally texts Catra saying they should meet up that afternoon to come up with their backstory.

 

.

° 

Catra should’ve suspected something would eventually happen. Her life has been going way too well lately for things to not just fall apart sooner or later. Finding a chill campus job with just three shifts a week that pays relatively well sounds too good to be true. But Catra finds it, and her first shift isn’t even unbearably boring. Her second shift, though, is eventful, to say the least.

It is a little shocking seeing Adora for the first time in, what? They haven’t actually talked in like two years, even though they had some brief unfortunate encounters here and there. But Catra can’t remember even seeing her from a distance in at least a whole year. Even though her mind tricks her, and makes her think of Adora every time she spots a blond ponytail in a crowd. Every single time. Which, really, is completely annoying and unnecessary, especially when she isn’t even on campus. It’s just like a mind reflex.

So it’s a little disconcerting this time when Catra realizes it’s not just a reflex, and the girl that turns around is, in fact, Adora. It’s even more disconcerting to see she’s wearing the same uniform Catra has on. Catra’s first thought is ‘fuck’ followed by noticing how Adora looks taller, which is really not fair because Catra is pretty sure she stopped growing after she graduated high school, and how her face looks more adult-like? Maybe it’s the sharp cheekbones that weren’t that sharp in Catra’s memory.

Adora also seems to freeze. Her eyes widen and she almost drops the huge amount of bananas she’s carrying with both arms. She looks at Catra up and down. Probably having the same internal reactions Catra is having, that it’s indeed Catra and yes, they are wearing the same outfit.

The silence is starting to become awkward when their manager pops by their side.

“Adora, this is Catra. You two will be sharing Tuesday’s afternoon shifts.”

Adora blinks and opens her mouth. She holds the bananas a bit higher, then finally breaks eye contact with Catra.

“Oh.” Adora says, looking at him. “Yeah, I know. No, I mean, I know her. We, uh, we know each other.”

“Cool.” He says. “This is both of yours second shifts so I’ll leave you two to it. I’ll be in the back if there are any questions.”

“Thanks.” Catra says and the manager leaves.

Adora stares again until Catra breaks the silence.

“I need to, uh,” Catra points behind Adora, where the sink is. Adora turns to it, then turns back.

“Ah, right.” She makes space and Catra walks to wash her hands. “I, um, should put these over there.” Adora says and walks away.

 

The shift goes well. There isn’t too much movement and the weirdest order is a request to use half almond milk, half soy milk. Catra doesn’t talk to Adora if she doesn’t have to, and neither does Adora. Even though Catra can feel her staring at times, like she has something to ask but thankfully can’t open her mouth.

She manages to open her mouth once their shift is over, though.

“So we, um, have the same Tuesday shifts.” Adora says as they are removing their ugly yellow aprons.

“Seems like it.” Catra replies. “Maybe I can change my hours. I’ll check.”

“Oh.” Adora says in a low voice. “Uh, you don’t have to. I mean, we canー”

“It’s not because of you.” Catra rolls her eyes. “It may be better for my schedule.”

“Ah.” Adora nods.

Adora looks like she is trying to think of something else to say, but Catra’s all finished up, so she just leaves.

 

It was a little awkward, true, but manageable? And Catra feels… nothing. Nothing, really. Which is ironically a nice thing to feel.

Catra’s next shifts go well too. The different people she has to work with are all tolerable, and she’s getting the hang of it. Until the next Tuesday shift comes.

Adora is there when she arrives, and she seems to freeze a bit again, like she forgot they shared the shift.

“You didn’t change your hours.” She says, and smiles a little, her tone almost like a question.

Oh. Catra forgot. She briefly looked into another shift but one of the reasons she took this job was because the hours worked perfectly with her schedule.

“Wasn’t able to.” Catra shrugs, then goes to get her apron.

 

For some reason the place is especially busy today. Catra decides to use one of the tricks she started doing on her other shifts. Two blenders at the same time, both at the maximum speed, but making sure to firmly hold the lid of the funky one that has a note ‘do not put on max speed’ on it.

Adora notices she is doing that, because of course Adora would notice it. And of course she makes a comment about it. The first two times she just says that blender is a little funky and can’t handle max speed, like Catra can’t fucking read the note on it. Then Adora says she shouldn’t do that, and points at the note. Catra starts to get annoyed but only tells her to not worry about it. The last time Adora sounds annoyed and Catra turns to talk to her, turning her back to the blenders, which is her first mistake.

Adora starts lecturing her about rules, blenders and smoothie-making etiquette. And because Catra would rather smash the fruits with her own hands than be told what to do by someone who is not her boss, they start to argue. Catra forgets about the blenders, which is her second mistake, even though they are very loud. The noise just seems to fuel their argument, with their voices raising higher and higher. The poor person first in line tries to talk to them, but Catra ignores him, and that is her third mistake.

One moment Catra and Adora are screaming at each other, the next there is an explosion noise, followed by smoke and a pink liquid rain that hits the counter, the walls, the floor, both of them and even that first guy in line. The manager appears with a fire extinguisher, shouting for them to get out of the way.

Unsurprisingly, they get fired on the spot. Adora tries to explain she didn’t do anything wrong, because of course she would try to save herself, but he says he doesn’t care because he heard both of them shouting. After they clean everything up and Catra is about to leave, Adora corners her and they start arguing again, but soon the manager shows up to kick them out before anything else can explode.

 

Catra is angry, obviously, but mostly annoyed. Looking for a new job is gonna fucking suck, but the whole situation was kinda funny. The dude in line covered in smoothie running away instead of staying and probably receiving free smoothies? Hilarious. That manager guy looking as red as the fire extinguisher? Amusing. A confused and angry Adora covered in pink smoothie? If Catra also wasn’t angry she’d have burst out laughing. But now a distressed and agitated Adora still covered in pink smoothie? Not that funny, actually. Catra feels bad, which also annoys her, even if she’s sure it wasn’t completely her fault.

“You’ll find something else soon.” Catra says and Adora scowls. Catra bites her tongue, then continues, “If I find something with two spots I’ll let you know.”

Adora looks surprised for a split second before she goes back to frowning. “Okay?” She pauses then takes a deep breath. “I, uh, will try talking to him again.”

Catra rolls her eyes. That’s pointless, she thinks, but says instead, “Good luck.” Then leaves.

°

.

 

Adora sits at the wall table on the main library’s first floor cafe. She faces the window where she can see people walking by and has a notebook open in front of her with a pen in hand. The film student emailed them asking to meet on the following day for the first interview when she’ll explain more of the project then.

Adora is writing a list of things couples should technically know about each other when she starts thinking of all the things that can go wrong. Catra and her giving different answers to questions, Catra doing something stupid and Adora arguing with her, Adora doing something less stupid but Catra arguing with her nonetheless, Adora blurting out that everything was a lie... The possibilities are endless.

Adora checks her phone, 3:32PM. Catra should be here soon. She tries to ignore her fast beating heart. Adora hates lying, she’s never been very good at it. And now she is supposed to live in a lie for a whole month?

She probably should’ve thought it through before actually agreeing with Catra. But whatever, now it’s too late. Maybe if she thinks of this as just a class project she will manage to keep her nerves down. She may be doing something bad but technically she is also helping that student with her actual project, so, clearly, everyone wins. That is, if she can manage to cooperate with her project partner...

Adora hears a noise next to her and startles. It is Catra pulling the chair next to her and sitting down.

She places her phone down in front of her. “Just read the email.” She glances around then looks at Adora with her usual bored expression. “The library cafe is a little lame for a first date, don’t you think?”

“This is not a date.” Adora rolls her eyes and Catra starts to check her phone. “So.” Adora starts, “Tomorrow she’s gonna interview us so we need to get ready.”

“I’m sure we could just wing it, but sure.” Catra keeps her eyes glued on her phone.

“No, Catra, this is important. It’ll be suspicious if we look like we’re coming up with the answers on the fly!” Adora fidgets with her pen. “We also need to have the same answers. Will she ask things about us individually or as a couple? There are so many possible questions, where do we even begin?”

Catra places her phone down and looks at her.

“Can you, like, chill for a second?”

Adora clenches her jaw and glares at her.

“You won’t stop shaking your leg, it’s distracting me.”

“Oh.” Adora didn’t realize her right leg was bouncing nonstop. She stops moving it, but becomes aware of both legs and how they are suddenly heavy and feel like will start hurting if they don’t move. She feels her heartbeat accelerating and focuses harder on not moving.

“Adora.” Catra says.

Adora blinks, realizing she is staring into space, and focuses back on Catra.

“Please go back to moving your leg you look like you’re gonna explode.”

“Sorry.” Adora exhales and now both of her legs are bouncing. “I’m a little anxious, I guess.”

“Yeah, no shit.” Catra’s tone changes to a familiar, almost worried tone that Adora can’t remember when she last heard it. “Relax your shoulders.” Adora exhales and relaxes them. “Now take a deep a breath.” She inflates her chest as to make Adora mimic her, then exhales with her. “Better?”

Adora smiles a bit shy, her legs stop bouncing.

“Yeah, thanks.”  

Old memories of Catra calming her down when they were kids pop in her head. One day Catra had read somewhere about breathing exercises and taught them to Adora. They would do them together when she got one of those 'weird staring into space' moments, as Catra called them.

“Has it gotten worse? The anxiety, I mean.” Catra stares and Adora can’t really read her expression. At least she doesn’t look bored anymore. As they grew older Catra would always say the same thing once Adora had calmed down, “Dude, you should really startー”

“It’s gotten better. Like, so much.” Adora smiles. “I started therapy a while back.”

“Fucking finally.”

“Yeah.” Adora shrugs. “I figured I shouldn’t avoid it anymore after the accident.”

“Accident?” Catra frowns.

“Oh, um, yeah.” Adora averts her eyes from Catra's and looks out the window. She goes back to fidgeting with her pen. “Last year I had a panic attack episode. Ended up at the hospital.”

“Oh.” Catra says quietly. Adora looks back at her but she’s also turned to the window.

Silence falls around them and the air feels a bit heavy all of a sudden.

Adora clears her throat. “Anyway, as I was saying we should prepare for possible questions.”

“Sounds good.” Catra gets up from her seat. “I’ll just get something to drink first.”

“Sure.”

“She’ll probably ask us how we started dating, so we can start with that question.” Catra says before walking away.

Adora turns to a blank page on her notebook to brainstorm ideas, she thinks better when she writes things down. She glances behind her and finds Catra waiting in line. Adora tries to remember the last time they saw each other, not counting the smoothie fiasco.

The first memory that hits her is not a pleasant one.

 

.

°

It’s Saturday night and Adora is hanging out with her friends at another sophomore dorm, where a party is going on. Adora’s never been there before, but apparently Sea Hawk has friends who live there. He has friends everywhere.

She is walking to get another beer when she spots her across the room. Catra looks in her direction but quickly turns her face. Adora knows she saw her.

Adora sighs and starts to make her way towards her.

They haven't even had a proper interaction this semester. The last time Adora tried to approach her she just turned around and walked away before Adora got to her. There was also a time someone shoved past Adora at one party and only after regaining her balance she realized it was Catra. She is also pretty sure Catra flipped her off the other day when she briefly saw her in a crowd.

Catra hasn’t replied to any texts, not even during the whole Summer break. Last semester they already barely hanged out and now Adora feels they are going to completely lose touch. Honestly, she is really tired of reaching out and being ignored. But now it seems like a good opportunity to ask Catra what is going on.

“Catra, hi!” Adora smiles.

Catra looks up at her and rolls her eyes. “What are you doing here?”

“This is not a private party, you know.” Adora crosses her arms. “How are you?”

“Was doing just fine until now.” Catra gives her a mean smile, then her face drops to a bored expression. “What do you want?”

“To talk?” Adora sighs. “We haven’t seen each other in forever, I don’t even know what you did this summer!”

Catra doesn’t take the cue. She can’t really read her expression so she reaches for Catra’s forearm with one hand.

“You also don’t answer my texts anymore. Is everything okay?” Adora insists.

Catra flinches and Adora drops her hand.

“You really can’t take a hint, can you?” Catra scoffs.

Adora exhales heavily and shakes her head.

“I just don’t understand why you have been such a bitch.”

“I’m a bitch?!” Catra raises an eyebrow. “I’m not the one bothering people in parties. Just go back to your annoying little friends and leave me alone.”

“Don’t talk about my friends like that.” Adora raises her voice and narrows her eyes.

“Woah, girls, maybe let’s take it down a notch or two?” Bow’s friendly voice appears next to them as he puts his hands on their shoulders. Adora didn’t realize he approached them.

Catra pushes him. “Don’t fucking touch me.”

Bow almost loses his balance with her unexpected reaction.

Adora scowls. “Don’t fucking touch Bow.”

She pushes Catra, who seems ready for Adora’s reaction and just moves a few steps backwards. Catra steps forward and grabs Adora by her jacket.

“Or what?” Catra asks. The smell of alcohol from her breath burns through Adora’s nose.

Adora is about to react when she hears Glimmer’s voice loud next to them.

“Don’t you fucking dare lay a finger on Adoー”

Glimmer can’t finish her sentence because Catra lets go of her and pushes Glimmer instead. The force is such that Glimmer stumbles backwards and falls over a table.

The thing about plastic party tables is that they aren’t very sturdy. It collapses and a bunch of red cups and rests of pizza fall over Glimmer.

“Glimmer!”

Adora and Bow both scream and crouch next to her in an instant.

“Oh my God, Glimmer are you okay?!” Bow asks as he removes a piece of pizza from her shoulder.

“What the FUー My hair!!!”

“Oh man, this party just got so much better.” Adora hears Catra snickering behind them. “But I better get going now.”

Adora turns to see Catra walking away. She looks back at Glimmer, who is now struggling to take cheese off her hair while Bow removes pepperoni from her shirt, then back at Catra, who is quickly getting farther.

Adora tenses up, clenching her fists.

“This is not ending like this.”

“Adora, no!” Bow reaches for her arm as she gets up, but she pulls it from his hold and walks away.

 

Adora doesn’t like to cause a scene.

She gets frustrated easily but she is usually good at hiding it on the outside. But she is tired. Tired of Catra being rude or mean for no reason every time they see each other. Which is actually so rare nowadays. And tired of being nice.

Being rude to Adora is one thing but now Catra wants to mess with her friends?

Adora stomps. She feels her blood boiling, and she doesn’t bother to avoid shoving past people who are in her way. She doesn’t remember the last time she felt this angry.

She sees Catra almost reaching the door and starts to move faster, basically running now.

“Catra!” She shouts. “You’re not getting away with this!”

Catra pauses, then turns.

Adora blames the alcohol in her veins for her next move. She jumps and tackles Catra.

 

Thankfully the door is open and no one is in front of it as they roll on the ground to the grass outside. They stop with Catra on top of Adora, holding her by the collar of her shirt, nails craving down on her skin, but the adrenaline is too high for Adora to notice the pain they are causing.

“What the fuck is wrong with you!?” Catra shouts at her face.

Adora knees the side of Catra causing her to groan and loosen her grip, then turns them around. Adora pins her to the ground, straddling Catra and holding her wrists over her chest so she can’t move.

“Don’t you ever fuck with my friends again, you hear me?”

Adora pushes Catra harder against the floor causing her face to contort.

“You’re fucking hurting me!” Catra’s voice gets higher in pitch.

Adora shifts her weight from Catra’s wrists to her knees and lightens her grip.

She remembers the world around her. From the corner of her eyes she sees a bunch of people standing around them, staring and saying things Adora can’t really hear. She notices she is panting and her hands are shaky. Catra has a mix of confusion, disgust and fear on her face.

“Adora!” Adora hears Bow and feels hands pulling her by the shoulders. “That’s enough, Adora. Let’s go.”

Adora lets go of Catra and Bow helps her get up.

Catra sits up. She pants and rubs one of her wrists. “You fucking crazy bitch.”

Bow doesn’t let go of Adora and starts leading her back inside.

“Don’t answer. Let’s go back and help Glimmer clean herself up, c’mon.”

Adora turns, hands still shaky, then enters and doesn’t look back.

After that night Adora decides to ‘take the hint’ and to stop reaching out to Catra.

 

People grow apart, she thinks. Sometimes that’s just how it goes.  

°

.

 

Catra comes back and places a cup down next to Adora’s notebook.

“I got you some tea.” She sits down with another cup in hand.

“Oh, you didn’t have to!” Adora looks from the cup to her.

“It’s chamomile. I don’t know if you still like it.”

“Thank you. Yes, it’s still my favorite.” It has always calmed her down. “How much was it?”

“Don’t worry about it, it’s just tea.” Catra takes a sip of her drink. “Now let’s come up with our lame love life.”

Adora snorts.

“It doesn’t have to be lame." She looks at her notes. "So I was thinking we could say we confessed our feelings at the same time at a party or something."

"Lame."

Adora reaches for her cup. “What's your brilliant idea then?"

Catra hums. "Maybe we can say you had a big crush on me for the longest time, and one day I was like, ok guess she's kinda cute, so I sent you flowers but you just thought they were friendship flowers because, you know, you’re you, thenー"

Adora almost spits out the tea. "What!?"

Adora expects her to start laughing but she just blinks.

"You can't be serious.” Adora says, also blinking. She had so many questions. “Why would I think friendship flowers are even a thing in that context!?"

"Duh, because oblivious is like, your middle name."

“I, wha–” Adora scoffs and rolls her eyes. "Like if you’re even romantic to send flowers to someone."

“Excuse me?” Catra crosses her arms. “I’m like the most romantic person I know.”

“You?” Adora scoffs again.

"It's true.” Catra shrugs, then rolls her eyes. “But fine, let's go with the mutual confessing thing then."

Adora is sure Catra is trying to mess with her. She takes another sip of her tea and starts elaborating on her more plausible idea.

 

Catra doesn’t make fun of her for trying to think of lots of details, even if they sound stupid or like no one would even care for that, and she also helps coming up with ideas. Adora thinks it is weird how Catra seems to be just like, in a normal mood?

Sure, she yawns a little too often, and only speaks what is needed of her, barely making any eye contact and focusing on her phone instead, but she isn’t rude or childish as Adora was expecting she’d be. Maybe Catra matured?

Adora herself had matured. Today she thinks more before acting on her impulses. She wouldn’t run and jump for Catra’s neck in a party. Probably. Not like that really matters now. But maybe they could actually reconnect? And talk about things like adults?

“Ok, I think we’ve done enough.” Catra says bringing Adora out of her thoughts.

“Hm, yeah, I feel like we’re more prepared now.” Adora looks at Catra who is already getting up from her seat. “You leaving?”

“Uh, we just said we’re done, so yeah.”

“Oh, um, I thought since we haven’t really talked in so long, maybe we couldー”

“We literally saw each other this morning.” Catra raises an eyebrow.

“You know what I mean.” Adora rolls her eyes.

“Pretty sure we don’t have anything to talk about, Adora.” Catra grabs her empty cup and walks away.

Adora sighs. “See you tomorrow.” She says, but Catra is already too far to hear.

 

***

 

On the next day Adora gets to the library a little earlier than the time they agreed to meet. She’s always accidentally early to places, so she walks around a bit, pretending to be interested in some books on the shelves.

When she gets tired of killing time she heads to a private study group room where the interview is going to take place. She finds Mel there setting up her gear.

“Hey!” Adora says.

“Oh, hey! You’re early.”

“A little bit. I can wait outside?”

“Oh, no worries, I’m almost done.” She smiles. “Where’s Catra?”

“She should be here soon!” Adora answers and takes a seat. Hopefully Catra won’t be late.

 

The film student set up the room so her camera is on one side and two chairs are placed on the other side, facing it. Adora sees some markers and some big sheets of paper on the desk by another wall.

“So what are we doing today?” Adora asks, trying to break the awkward silence.

“We’ll film just like a little introduction and a short game of questions. It won’t take too long.”

“Cool.” Adora nods, then grabs her phone and starts to flip through her social media.

 

Catra is right on time. Mel explains they’ll film an introduction with simple questions about them first, then they will play a ‘who knows more of each other’ game. As long as they don’t get every question wrong Adora thinks they will be fine. She grew up with Catra, she still knows her, or things about her past, at least. Hopefully Catra still remembers things about her too. It wouldn’t be too bad.

 

Adora is a little nervous to talk in front of the camera. She keeps fixing her ponytail even though she doesn’t need to, but the things they have to say are all very basic. Their names, age, majors, how long they’ve known each other and been dating, and how they started dating. They were prepared for those questions so it all goes smoothly.

Adora sits straight up, keeping her hands on her legs. She looks at Catra when she speaks, trying to look very interested and girlfriendy enough. Catra looks relaxed and confident. She’s playing her girlfriend role well enough too.

Adora learns Catra is a double major in Business and Music, with possibly a minor in Studio Art if she can finish the requirements in time. She completely forgot to ask that yesterday. The Business major is not surprising but Music is a little unexpected, even if Adora hasn’t forgotten how much Catra loved playing guitar. She just didn’t know she was serious about music.

 

When they are done Mel stops recording and hands them the sheets of paper and markers.  She tells them to write questions they think they should know about each other, along with the answers on the other side of the paper. They put their chairs a little farther from each other so they can’t see what they both write and Mel leaves to go to the bathroom.

“What questions are you putting?” Adora asks as soon as they are alone.

“She said no cheating.” Catra replies.

“Catra.” Adora says and Catra glances at her. “If we get everything wrong it’ll be suspicious.”

“Already forgot everything about me?” Catra says with a funny voice, pouting. “I’m hurt.”

Adora rolls her eyes. “I’m serious.”

“Ugh, fine. I’m putting favorite food, favorite animal, favー”

“And the answers.”

“Really? Mexican, cats, you know that. Then favorite hobby–” She pauses. “Wait tell me yours too.”

“I put favorite mythical creature and also favorite hobbyー”

“Unicorn and reading.” Catra interrupts her.

“Well, yeah.” Adora then continues, “Um, childhood dream job, current dream jobー”

“Veterinarian, or, I guess, horse doctor.” Catra says while doing air quotes, then sits up raising one fist in the air, and in a dramatic voice says, “And founder of an NGO that will save the world.” She drops her hand and slumps back on her seat. “But you’re majoring in Biochem and English so my guess is you’re still going on the medicine route, right?”

Adora blinks.

“Uh, yes. I forgot to mention pre-med in our introductions.” She pauses. “Is your favorite hobby still drawing?”

“Can’t really decide between drawing and music, so I just put art.” She gets another sheet of paper and begins writing again. “Dream job is a good question but I’ll write dream career so she doesn’t think we’ve been talking.”

“Which is?” That question Adora isn’t exactly sure. What do you even do with a Business major? Consulting? Finances? But she is also into artー

“Rockstar.”

Adora frowns. “Really?” Catra keeps her focus on the paper. Well, she said ‘dream’ career.

They hear the click of the doorknob followed by Mel entering. They still needed one more question each, but getting four out of five right wouldn’t look bad. Adora tries to think of a trickier question since Catra seems to know everything so easily.

 

“Ready?” The student asks and they both nod. She adjusts the microphone on top of the camera and presses a button. “And we’re rolling. Let’s start with Adora.”

“Whoever loses pay for the next dinner date.” Catra winks at Adora.

“Alright.” Adora raises an eyebrow, then shows her first question.

“First dream job?” Mel reads out loud.

“Horse doctor.” Catra answers, like it’s an actual profession, but it is really what Adora used to want when she was little. “My favorite horse girl.” Catra smiles at her.

“How many horse girls do you know?” Adora asks and Mel chuckles.

Catra raises one of her questions. “Let’s start with an easy one.”

“Favorite animal?” Mel asks.

“Cats.” Adora answers and Catra flips the paper.

“If you got that one wrong I’d break up with you on the spot.” Catra says and they all laugh.

“Nice doodle.” Mel adds. “Your turn, Adora.”

“A similar question.”

“Favorite mythical creature?”

“Easy. Unicorns.” Catra promptly answers and Adora shows her answer. “She likes horny creatures.”

“CAtra!” Adora exclaims, almost choking on her own saliva. She glares at Catra and feels herself flushing.

“I’m technically making fun of myself.” Catra smirks at her. “Mel will cut it in post, don’t worry, babe.”

“I will definitely not cut that.” Mel laughs.

“Aw, at least everyone will see how cute she looks when she’s red like that.” Catra winks.

Adora swallows, her cheeks still burning. Catra calling her babe and being flirty like that feels very weird and very wrong. She’s better at this pretending thing than Adora thought.

Adora forces a smile and clears her throat.

“Your flirting won’t distract me from winning.”

“We’ll see about that.”

Both of their next questions are their favorite hobbies, which they both know the answers for. Then it’s Catra’s turn again.

“Favorite dish?” Mel reads out loud.

“Uh, Mexican?”

“That’s not a specific dish.” Catra says with an eyebrow raised. She bites her lip trying to suppress a smirk.  

Adora narrows her eyes at her. That was not the question she had said.

“Um...“

Adora searches through her memories. Catra liked to mix foods together, sometimes it was really gross, like dipping fries in a milkshake then adding ketchup on top. Or really weird, likeー

“Sushi with guacamole!?”

Catra raises her eyebrows and grins, then reveals the answer. “I thought I got you on that one.”

“That’s… an interesting food choice.” Mel nods her head.

Adora’s turn is next. The question is about her current dream job, which Catra obviously answers right. Catra then shows her fourth question.

“Dream career?”

“Rockstar.” Adora says absently.

“Babe!” Catra gasps and puts one hand over her chest, pretending to be offended. “That was my childhood dream career.” Her expression shifts to a cocky grin, biting the tip of her tongue, just like she did when she used to beat Adora on something (usually on a GameCube game like Mario Kart, rarely Super Smash Bros though).

She reveals her answer.

Adora squints to read it. “President and CEO of a music production company?”

Catra smirks and Adora has to bite her tongue to prevent her from saying anything out loud. That sneaky littleー

“Very specific.” Mel says. “Looks like Catra is winning.”

Ok, no way she will guess this, Adora thinks as she shows her last question .

“Third favorite animated movie?” Mel reads out loud.

“Third? Weirdo.” Catra frowns. “Let me see… your favorite is obviously Mulan.”

And that’s why Adora picked ‘third’.

“The second must be…” Catra hums and rubs her forehead. “Hercules? Gotta be Hercules, yeah. So third…” She looks up at the ceiling squinting, then after a pause, “Duh! Spirit: Stallion of something, something.”

Adora raises her eyebrows and blinks at Catra.

“What’s that?” Mel asks.

“That horse movie!” Catra exclaims, then points at Adora with her thumb. “Horse girl, remember?”

“Is that right?” The film student looks at Adora.

Adora blinks again and notices her mouth is slightly open.

“Uh, yeah. She guessed all of the movies right.” She flips her piece of paper. “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.”

“Looks like next dinner is on Adora” Mel laughs. “Catra, let’s see your last question anyway.”

Catra sticks her tongue out at Adora, who rolls her eyes, then shows her last question.

“Favorite place to hide?”

Adora was ready for another tricky question, but the answer comes unsurprisingly easy.

“Rooftops.” Adora smiles.

Their old school rooftop was basically Catra’s second home. Or third, actually. Adora’s house was probably her second home. She wonders if Catra found any rooftops to hide here in Bright Moon. Obviously she must have, it’s Catra.

Adora’s chest then feels a bit heavy, like it’s filling up with something she can’t quite put her finger on. She sighs and bites the inside of her mouth.

“Four out of five, not bad.” Catra flips the paper. “I still won, though.” She says with a shrug.

 

 

 

“Could I get some b-roll of you two around campus before we’re done for today?” The film student asks. “Still not sure how the editing is gonna go but it’s nice to have footage just in case.”

They are standing on the stairs of the library’s entrance.

“Sure. Where were you thinking?” Adora asks.

“Maybe you two can walk ahead to the student center quad which is close by? And I’ll try to film a bit on the way.”

“Sounds good!” Adora responds and starts walking. Catra follows her, walking by her side.

A cool breeze touches Adora’s face and she zips up her jacket as they walk in silence.

“You think you’re really sneaky, don’t you?” Adora asks after a moment.

“I have noooo idea what you’re talking about.” Catra replies.

Adora scoffs and shakes her head.

They walk a bit more in silence when Adora remembers they are supposed to act like girlfriends.

“Should we be, uh, holding hands?” Adora asks.

"Ugh." Catra complains then grabs her hand lightly by the fingers.

Adora knows she is probably dreading having to hold her hand right now, but she could at least hold it right.

“Is this how you hold the hands of your girlfriends?”

“No.” Catra lets go of her fingers then grabs her hand with a bit too much force, pulling Adora's arm and making them bump into each other. “This is how I do it.”

Adora snorts. Catra’s hand is softer and warmer than hers.

“I was about to be sorry for all the girls you dated.”

“You should be. Since, you know,” She gestures towards the air with her free hand, “They aren’t dating me anymore.”

Adora holds a hand to her chest.

“Such a heartbreaker.”

“Says you.” Catra snorts.

“Me!?” Adora turns her head to Catra, who keeps looking straight ahead.

“Remember all those poor little boys in high school? You broke lots of hearts back then, princess.”

Princess. Adora almost forgot about that nickname.

“Shut up.” Adora rolls her eyes. “I only actually dated, like, one dude in high school.”

“And broke up with him like two months later.”

“Well, Iー how do you even remember that?”

“You’d never shut up about him it was sooo annoying.” Catra drags a hand down her face.

“Yeah, well, he was a douche. Still no idea how he pulled off that promposal.”

Catra chuckles. “It was quite epic, can’t deny that.”

“Yeah, so I thought he really liked me, but he was just trying to get in my pants.” Adora huffs. “I can't believe I still didn't realize I was gay then.”

Catra hums and they keep walking in silence.

 

They let go of each other’s hands as they sit under a tree on an empty part of the quad.

Catra glances around. “I think we lost her. Or she’s hiding somewhere cripplingly filming us.”

Adora leans back on the tree and feels the grass with her hands. She hasn’t been there in a while.

“She’ll probably be here soon.”

Catra crosses her arms and leans back on the tree as well. Shoulders almost touching Adora’s.

 

The sun is getting low and the sky is a mix of pretty shades of blue and lilac. Adora sees some students reading under trees around them, others sitting on the lounge chairs spreaded around the grass and one group of guys practicing slacklining at the far end of the quad. Typical college scene.

Silence lingers between them, but it isn’t too uncomfortable. It feels a little familiar, actually. They haven’t sat together in that quad since freshman year.

That feeling on Adora’s chest comes back.

“I’m bored.” Catra says in a yawn.

“I’m surprised you remembered all of that.” Adora says.

Catra holds up one knee to her chest.

“Why? You also remembered things.”

“I guess. But, I don’t know.” Adora shrugs. “Some stuff was pretty old.”

“You can’t just delete a decade of your memories from your brain.” Catra scoffs, then mumbles, “Believed me, I tried.”

Adora pauses.

“Whyー” Her voice fails. She licks her lips and swallows, then continues, carefully, “Why did you try?” She bites the inside of her lip and faces forward, curling and uncurling her fingers through the soft grass blades.

Catra doesn’t answer and Adora wonders if she heard her question at all.

After a while Catra lets out a long breath and Adora turns to her. The warm sunset light gives her a glowing yellow outline that bleeds through her hair.  She stares straight ahead, jaw clenched, looking tired and a bit lost in thought.

It was always hard to make Catra talk, but it was always easy to know when something was on her mind.

Adora looks down and jumps when she sees a tiny spider walking on her jeans. She violently pats down her legs, hitting Catra with an elbow and making her jump too with the sudden commotion.

“SPIder!” Adora squeaks.

Catra bursts out laughing and, after making sure the evil spider is gone, Adora turns to her.

It’s the first time in forever she sees Catra genuinely laughing like that, head thrown back, hands over stomach and tears almost escaping her eyes. Adora can’t help but start laughing too.

“Adora,” Catra can barely speak. She sighs, catching her breath, “You’re so dumb.”

Her voice is soft and harmless, and when Adora nudges her and tells her to shut up, still laughing, it feels all too familiar again.

Mel then pops by their side. She thanks them and says she was able to film a bit. She proceeds to explain more of the project.

 

They will receive a camera on Monday that they are supposed to use to film little moments of them together throughout the weeks, like a video diary. There aren’t really rules, they can choose what activities they feel will fit best. The film student suggests they just follow their usual routine and film when they are doing something together. She mentions in past offerings of this class couples have done things they would not normally do. Something like trying a new extracurricular together, or going on a fancy date, or even recreating how they first met or their first date.

They will also have other structured filmings like today’s interview, but she isn’t sure about the details yet. She says their introduction interview was supposed to be done by the first week, so they’d probably only have something all together on the second week.

After Mel leaves, Catra drags both of her hands down her face and groans.

“I can’t believe it.”

“What?”

“Video diary!? Filming things ourselves? We have to do her job now?”

Adora snorts. “I guess it makes sense. If there’s always a stranger with a camera following the couples the recordings won’t be too genuine.”

“As if anything we film will be genuine.” Catra rolls her eyes.

“Well, yeah, but she doesn’t know that.” Adora points out.

“Whatever.” Catra groans again. “We can probably film a bunch of stuff in one day. Changing outfits and all that so it looks like it’s a different day.”

“Wow, you really wanna stay away from me as much as you can, don’t you?” Adora says, angrier than she wanted to.

Catra narrows her eyes at her and opens her mouth, but after a beat relaxes and shrugs. “I’m a busy college student. I don’t have time to suddenly become a lesbian youtuber.” She raises an eyebrow. “And I suspect you’re busy too.”

Adora snorts again. “Ok, let’s think of something.” She hums. “Maybe we could compromise? You pick a few things you do that I can follow along and I do the same.”

“Follow you along?” Catra scoffs.

Adora takes a deep breath and looks forward.

“Yeah, maybe that’s a bad idea. You wouldn’t be able to keep up.” Adora shrugs and keeps an indifferent voice, hoping Catra takes the bait.

Catra laughs sharply. “You’re joking right? You couldn’t keep up with me.”

Adora crosses her arms and raises an eyebrow at her. “Yeah, sure.”

Catra narrows her eyes, then rolls them.

“Guess we’re doing it then.” She gets up and leaves.

Adora smirks to herself. It was as easy as it used to be.

 

The sun is almost gone now and the quad is getting empty. They survived the first interview and no punches were thrown, so maybe this whole thing wouldn’t be a total disaster. But things weren’t exactly easy. Adora tries to replay the day in her head, but all that rings in her mind are Catra’s words, believe me, I tried. She sighs and finally gets up to leave, noticing her chest still feels a little weird.