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False Confidence

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“Cam, come on.” Penelope breathed out, tossing the cigarette in between her fingers to the trash bin.

 

The night was cold, cold enough to make Penelope pull the sleeves of her shirt to cover her hands. Whenever the warm breath of hers hit the cold air, little patches of steam appeared shyly. Penelope was nervous. Despite how good starting a band with your girlfriend sounded at first, it was getting more and more complicated since the once girlfriend of hers was just an ex to her right now. Now Penelope was just standing there, her back touching the walls of the pub listening the rant of her ex.

 

“Penelope,” Cammie said, almost whispering “I just can’t do it anymore, you know it wasn’t going to work like that.”

 

Penelope reached for her hand but she stepped back.

 

“I’m not asking it for myself, you can’t just leave the band like that.” Penelope was sincere, she wasn’t a big fan of having her ex around her all the time as well. But they had to do that, for the band.

 

“Penelope…” Cammie started then her gazes fell onto Penelope’s lips. “I love-…”

 

“Don’t.” Penelope cut her off.

 

“I can’t be around you like that, I’m so sorry.” Cammie finally said and turned her back, leaving Penelope standing there, disappearing into the darkness of night with the leather jacket of hers on her shoulders.

 

Penelope just waited for a while before pulling out another cigarette and lighting it in between her lips.

 

The pub was very crowded today with all those teenagers who came to have fun on a Friday night after a tiring week of school. Orders were flowing like a river and there were Rafael and Landon waiting nervously on the stage. Landon ran his hand through his hair once she spotted Penelope alone, coming without Cammie.

 

“I guess we’re screwed huh?” Rafael asked, he was pulling the cables of his keyboard.

 

“I can’t believe she just left us like that.” the anger in Landon’s eyes were too obvious despite his attempts on hiding them.

 

“We should respect her.” Penelope’s voice was stone cold. She took her drumsticks in her hand, looking at them irreparably. “And we also should tell Carl that we won’t be able to perform tonight.”

 

“But the price is so good.” Rafael said and Penelope knew how much they needed that money.

 

“I’m sorry Raf, but we can’t perform without a singer.” Penelope replied.

 

“Can’t you sing just for tonight?” Landon asked.

 

Penelope left out a small chuckle.

 

“You know that I only sing for myself Lan.” Then her expression got harder again. “I’m going to find Carl and meanwhile you guys should pack our stuff.”

 

She stood up and tried to spot Carl in the crowd. He was sitting on his usual spot with a neat whiskey in his hand. Penelope was feeling so stupid as she knew she was about to cancel one of the biggest opportunity they had ever been given. But she had no choice, they couldn’t have performed without a singer.

 

Penelope’s steps were hesistant yet she managed to reach her goal. There was Carl sitting in a loggia with lots of girls around him. Penelope gestured at him and he greeted her with a big, sloppy smile on his face.

 

“Oh there she is!” It was only the beginning of the night but he was drunk as hell.

 

He tried to hug Penelope but she catched his hand and shook it before giving him the time to do so. Carl was an okay dude when he didn’t try to hit on Penelope.

 

“Hi Carl.” She tried to sound as excited as the man but it turned out weird. “I need to tell you something.”

 

“Of course sweetie, send it away.” He let out a laugh as he took another breath from his cuban weed.

 

“We won’t be able to perform tonight due to last minute changes.” Penelope said and realized that the expression on the other man’s face dropped as soon as the words left her mouth.

 

“What the hell am i going to do now?” his voice got louder and that made Penelope splatter a little.

 

“It was a surprise to us as well.” Penelope trailed off, her mood was pretty low.

 

“I don’t care, Penelope. Just figure something out. I can’t find another band in such short time and I already prepared your money.” He said as he put out his cuban. “If you don’t perform tonight, I will be done with you all.”

 

Penelope only shook her head in approval. She took the glass of vodka that Carl offered and stepped into the crowd once again. The music was blasting from the speakers as the young bodies dance and touch, creating a never ending circulus in the confined area. Penelope was pushing the bodies softly with her elbow, creating herself a path through which she can walk when a stranger bumped into her, making her drink spill all over themselves. That sudden interaction pulled Penelope back into reality, saving her from getting too entangled with her thoughts. But now her shirt was soaked and there was a stranger in front of her who was looking at her apologetically.

 

“I’m so sorry.” The girl started and she was speaking loudly in order to suppress the music. She pulled out some napkins from her bag and started to wipe the alcohol off from Penelope’s shirt.

 

“It’s okay.” Penelope said, wearing a warm-ish smile on her face. “It’s not the first time happening.”

The girl chuckled.

 

“I bet a lot of people are just spilling drinks on you just to start a conversation.” She said as she kept wiping.

 

“And why is that?” Penelope asked, her warm-ish smile turned into a smug one.

 

“Because you’re attractive.” The stranger told her and the realisation hit her as soon as she heard the smuggy laugh escaped from Penelope’s lips.

 

Penelope held her hands and stopped her from wiping.

 

“I think that’s enough.” Penelope said trying to be friendly as much as she could.

 

“Oh… right.” The stranger said. “Let me buy you another drink, I’m sorry I messed this one up.”

 

“No it’s all fine. I wasn’t in the mood for drinking anyway.” Penelope said, her smile slightly faded away.

 

“Okay then…” the stranger told her but the disappointment haunted all over her face.

 

“I need to go now.” Penelope said, trying to look at her eyes in the dim light.

 

“I’m sorry again, for your shirt.” the stranger said and smiled shyly.

 

“It’s all good.”

 

Penelope turned her head and looked at Landon and Rafael packing up. There were flashing lights everywhere and her shirt was soaked, not to mention the abandonment of her ex. Penelope knew that she wouldn’t call this her best night. With a feeling of guilt she started to walk towards the guys. But a voice stopped her.

 

“Hey wait a second…” the stranger called her back. “Aren’t you in that band?” She asked.

 

Penelope didn’t take her time in turning back.

 

“I am.” She said, once again she was wearing her smuggy smile.

 

“Nice.” The stranger said, smiling warmly.

 

Penelope only looked at her and watched her as she turned back and went to her friends. Nice she muttered.

 

When she made her way to the boys, they were almost at the end of packing.

 

“How did he react?” Landon asked.

 

“I bet he doesn’t wanna see our amatour asses here again.” Rafael added, his features were stern.

 

Penelope paused before giving them the news.

 

“He still wants us to perform.”

 

“But we don’t have a singer.” Landon stated the obvious.

 

“I know but we have to figure something out.” Penelope said. “Or we’ll lose our chance in here forever.”

 

“We can’t risk that.” Rafael said. “That guy pays good.”

 

“Definitely.” Penelope agreed. “I’m going out to take some air. We still have an hour before stage, meanwhile you guys can think.”

 

“And what?” Landon asked, acting as if he was annoyed. “You’re just gonna wait and make us do all the work?”

 

“I’m the brain of this band, mophead. I need to think.” She said as she took a beer from a customer’s hand and offered it to Landon. “Have some, edgy boy. Those nerves need to be relaxed.”

 

Landon accepted the offer and Penelope left him there alone with Rafael. She put her grey beanie on her head. The sky was even darker than before, absorbing all the beauty in. Penelope wondered what Cammie was thinking at the moment. She just wished everything had happened differently yet she knew it was nothing but impossible. It wasn’t their time, or their world. It was meant to happen this way. It was meant to end.

 

She pulled out a cigarette and placed it in between her lips. She took a deep breath, taking all the smoke in. Smoke made its way to her lungs and she felt warm. Alcohol running in her blood mixed with the toxic fume she had been taking now made her head spin. She pushed her head back now, facing the sky and she tried to get it all out. All of her suspicions, worries and anxiety flew away when the strong breeze hit her face. She heard the door being opened and lowered her gazes again, to the real world.

 

“Pass me one.” Rafael said as he placed his scarf around his head.

 

Penelope put her hand in her pocket and pulled out another cigarette.

 

“Here, broke ass.” She said but she knew that he wouldn’t be offended. Not to her.

 

“Nothing tastes like a free cigarette.” He said as he smirked and lit the cigarette.

 

“Guys,” Landon cut them, “I don’t want to be a mood killer but we still need a singer.”

 

“Yeah,” Penelope agreed “You really fucked my mood right now.”

 

“Sorry, it’s hard being the only sane one.”

 

Rafael was about to say something when they heard an unknown voice.

 

“I can help.” The girl said.

 

Penelope remembered the voice and stared back.

 

“You can what?” Rafael asked, he was clearly drunk.

 

“Help.” The girl said, “I can sing and I can play the guitar.” She smiled but she was only looking at Penelope, as if she was waiting for her approval.

 

“Do you know the songs we usually play?” Landon asked, the girl clearly got her attention.

 

“Yeah.” She answered shortly. “I’ve been listening to you guys for a while.”

 

“Amazing!” Rafael shouted out of nowhere and hugged the girl. “We found our singer.”

 

Penelope was facing the floor, she only shook her face with a smile placed on her lips. Then she looked up again. It was the first time she could get a good view of the girl. She stared into the brown orbs of the taller girl for a while before answering. She took another breath in from her cigarette and threw it down, putting it out by stepping on it.

 

“Alright then, we have instruments to be set up.” Penelope said.

 

They all went in and started to set all the intruments up once again. The music was lower and the lights weren’t distracting as they had been minutes ago. Penelope took her shirt off, exposing a lot of skin. She was now only wearing a white tank top and the lines of the muscles on her arms could only mean one thing, that she was going to kill the drums tonight.

 

Rafael set his keyboard up and Landon prepared the guitars. He was going to give one of his guitars to the girl whose name was still unknown. He tuned both of them and handed one to the girl. She took it and put the belt around one of her shoulders. Once they were all ready, the spotlights focused on them. The stage was small just like the pub but one could swear that it was hard even just to walk. All the tables were taken and some people were just dancing on their feet. Penelope tapped the mic twice before talking, everyboyd went silent.

 

“Welcome everybody!” She shouted, making the crowd cheer.

 

“You all must have miserable lives as you’re all here on a Friday night like that to listen us.” Landon joked and the crowd laughed.

 

“But we are here to make it a little better.” Rafael said.

 

“We have an addittion today!” Landon said but he realised that he didn’t know her name when he thought about introducing her to the crowd. “Can we hear some noise for her?” he said instead.

 

 

The girl’s cheeks turned into bright red as the crowd started to cheer for her. She had always been the shy type. Some people would even consider her as invisible. But that night something provoked her. Something that even she didn’t know. Maybe it was the fight that she had with her dad earlier. Or maybe it was the four glasses of vodka cherry she had drunk all night. But she didn’t feel like she needed an answer. She just needed to let it all go, whatever she had been holding so far.

 

Penelope started to count down from four and with every number she hit the drumsticks to each other. Once she finished counting, the song started with the solo of Landon. Soon Penelope and the new girl joined him. Penelope was much more aggressive than usual, she loved leaving all of her emotions on the drum-pads.

 

When the first lyrics of Sweet Child of Mine slipped from the girl’s lips, all of them couldn’t help but stare. She had an amazing voice. It was nothing like what they had heard before. The more girl got into the song, the more her body started to feel it as well. Now they were halfway through the song and the girl was dancing with the melody, waving her hair once in a while.

 

Penelope had always played the drums with her eyes closed, she liked feeling the music all in. She loved how everything faded away when she played it. When it was dark, it was easier to focus on her music. She had always felt as if she was pouring all of her problems into that blackness. But tonight was different. Tonight her eyes were fully open. The only harmony she had with the music was the rocking of her head forth and back. She was watching the new girl. She was watching how she embraced the song, how she looked so lost in it. And Penelope Park could’ve never guessed that there would be another person who was as passionate as her when it came to playing instruments.

 

The song ended, leaving the band in sweat but also joy. They saluted the crowd and started another song. And then another, then another. They played almost ten covers that night and when the shift ended, it was almost four in the morning and they all were exhausted.

 

Now they were waiting for Carl to give their money. It had been a successful performance and Carl seemed pretty much proud of it. He gave the money to Penelope and the girl took it as she shook Carl’s hand with the other hand of hers. They went back to the stage where their stuff stood at. Penelope gave Landon and Rafael their share and then turned her face to the new girl.

 

“And that’s yours.” She said, stretching out a big pile of money.

 

“No, I can’t.” The girl said, pressuring Penelope’s hand back but the shorter girl resisted.

 

“Please.” Landon shortly said. “We couldn’t even have performed if it hadn’t been for you.”

 

“You deserved it.” Rafael said, putting his hand on her shoulder to reassure her.

 

The girl looked at the money then she fixed her look on Penelope’s green eyes. Penelope shook her head slightly in agreement. Upon being reassured by three of them, she took the money.

 

“Thank you, I really had fun tonight.” She said, there was a shy tone in her voice and her lips were trying to smile but the purple bags around her eyes gave her away.

 

“I think we all should head home.” Penelope suggested, seeing how sleepy the girl was.

 

“Good idea, i might pass out if we don’t.” Rafael said as he yawned.

 

 

They packed all of their stuff and said goodbye. Landon went to home with Rafael on his bike, leaving the girls alone. The air was even colder than before but they didn’t care. The sun was slowly showing its face and the sky was turning into a purple-ish tone.

 

“Where do you live?” Penelope asked. Then she added quickly “I’m not a pervert I swear, but I guess me telling this now made it even worse.” She let out a soft sigh.

 

The girl chuckled again. She was doing that often, Penelope noticed.

 

“Just three streets away.” She replied.

 

“Good then, let me walk you home.” Penelope offered, wearing a smug smile.

 

“Do you live around here?” She asked.

 

“Yeah, kind of.” Penelope said and she tilted her head as they walked. She studied the sky for a while. She had always loved this time of the day, when everywhere was quiet and the air was breezy.

 

 

They walked in silence for a while. When the other girl stopped, Penelope stopped her steps as well. She turned the other girl, she was trying so hard to hold her eyes open.

 

“You’ve never told me your name.” Penelope said.

 

The girl raised a brow. It had been a little late to ask for that.

 

“You’ve never asked.” She replied.

 

“Some points are made.” Penelope joked. She pulled out her phone out of her pocket and handed it to the girl.

 

“Isn’t that a bit too old school?” she replied as she creased her face. She took the phone and saved her number, leaving her name with it.

 

“Josie.” Penelope read from the phone.

 

“Goodnight.” the girl said.

 

“Goodnight, Josie.” Penelope replied. “More accurately, good morning.” She said as she looked up to the sky once again. The sun was almost fully out and the colors were nothing but amazing.

 

“See you around.” Josie said as she turned her back and got into her apartment.

 

Penelope took another cigarette from her pocket and lit it.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

It was past afternoon when Josie woke up the next day. There was an ache on her head which she did not desire at all. It was a tough night, Josie thought, but she was glad that it had happened. She didn’t know whether it was too much alcohol intake or a stupid adrenaline overload, but she decided not to question it too much. She slowly got up in order not to confuse her already messed up mind. There was this dizziness in her veins and a vauge feeling in her stomach which made her gag once in a while.

 

She looked at herself in the mirror. Upon seeing the messy bun and running mascara, she quickly grabbed her phone to check whether what she was slowly remembering was true. She clicked on contacts and scrolled down until she saw the letter “p”. But no, Penelope didn’t give her number to her. It was only Josie who gave it in order to look mysterious, but now she had to wait for the other girl to text first.

 

“You’re the dumbest person I know.” Josie said to herself. Then her attention shifted to her sister who was in the kitchen and from the noises which sounded metallic, one could guess that she was cooking. But never have Josie ever saw her sister cooking something unless she was about to starve to death.
Lizzie Saltzman was one of a kind. When she cared, often she did not, she was this soft and affectionate person, although the way of her showing affection was kind of different than the majority of people. And to be honest, she only cared about her sister and her mother, and once in a while her dad. At least it was good to know that she had a heart because if we had to rely on what we see from her interactions with other people, mostly with girls who were even only half as in charge as she was, we would be nothing but intimidated. Lizzie Saltzman loved to control, maybe not as much as she loved being the favourite.
Josie made her way into the kitchen in confusion, not knowing what to expect. She stood still behing the counter, watching her sister. Lizzie wasn’t aware of her presence, the reason of which she understood soon later, she had her headphones on. Not wanting to scare her sister, she silently sat on the chair and waited for her notice. When Lizzie turned her back, a little wave of shock covered her features which almost resulted in her dropping the pan she was holding.

 

“Holy fu- Josie!” She let out as she placed the pan onto the oven before covering the floor with sauced sausage.

 

“I didn’t mean to scare you.” Josie said, she was suppressing her laugh.

 

“Are you sure?” Lizzie said snakily. She raised a brow with the question.

 

“What are you even doing?” Josie laughed gesturing to pan.

 

“I fully dedicated myself to cook for my beloved twin.” She said, smiling proudly.

 

Josie stole a glance from the pan, then give her attention to Lizzie again.

 

“For me?” She said, smiling sheepishly.

 

“Of course frowsy head, do we have another sibling that I don’t know about?” Lizzie replied.

 

“Lizzie, I hate to break this to you but I haven’t been eating meat for four months now, and I’m not planning to stop anytime soon.”

 

“Oh,” Lizzie said but she shook the disappointment in her voice soon after “It’s okay, let me prepare an omlette then.” She smiled and turned back to the counter.

 

Josie got up, made her way next to Lizzie. She rested her elbow on the counter, grabbing an apple from the shelf with her other hand. She bit the apple as she examined her sister. Something was definitely wrong.
Then the realization hit her.

 

“Oh my- Lizzie, you got laid!” she said, a little louder than she should have.

 

“No I haven’t.” Lizzie said but then she faced her sister with a grin on her face, “but I really wish I had.”

 

Josie almost choked on her apple. Lizzie usually fell for boys too easily, but whenever they gave her attention or when she got to know them, she lost interest so it was very rare for her to find someone to go to bed with.

 

“So what’s his name?” Josie asked curiously.

 

“I don’t know her name, she just bought me a drink and we talked for hours.”

 

“Oh it is a she now.” Josie paused “that’s new information.”

 

“Gender is not a criteria for me, Josie. But being hot is, and she was very hot.”

 

“How are you going to find her again if you don’t even know her name?”

 

“Who said that I’m planning to find her? I’m not a child Josie. I’m not gonna chase every person who I find attractive.”

 

But she was lying.

 

“Well,” Josie lingered on the word a little too much, “I’ve never seen you this full of life after an encounter with an attractive stranger.”

 

“Ugh, full of life? You’re such a cliche.” Lizzie said as she nipped Josie’s arm. “Plus, I can’t find her even if I want to. I don’t even know her name idiot.”

 

“I think it’s obvious who the real idiot is.” Josie joked.

 

“That’s it.” Lizzie turned the digital of the oven off, “I’m not making you an omlet.”

 

“Oh no! What am I gonna do now?” Josie dramatically moved her hand to her head, faking a faint.

 

“You’re unbearable.” And with that being said, Lizzie went into the living room.

 

Josie grabbed her phone once again, looking at the empty message box.

 

On the other half, Penelope was doing the same. The only difference was that she was looking at Josie’s name. She had already woken up, gone for a run and taken a shower. The only thing was missing now was the breakfast, so she changed her clothes and left the house. Penelope liked being alone. Sometimes she liked being all alone in her apartment, sometimes she liked being alone when there were other people around her and sometimes she liked being alone in her mind, just thinking and nothing more. Today she decided to be alone when other people were around. She grabbed a jacket and went to her favorite coffee shop. It wasn’t that cold but last night was breezy enough and now she was sniffing, so she didn’t risk it by not taking her jacket again.
She ordered a black coffee with a toast, not forgetting to flirt with the barista. She had always thought that people who drank coffee in other forms rather than black were not really drinking coffee. She enjoyed the bitter flavour of the coffee. If she was going to stay awake, it should be by something as strong as her.
She pulled her phone out of her pocket. She was looking at the screen once again, wondering if the other girl had woken up or not. With the energy coming from the coffee, or she just wanted to associate what she had done with that, she clicked on Josie’s name and sent her a text.

 

“Hey, Josette. Just wanted to make sure that your head hadn’t exploded since yesterday.”

 

She regretted it as soon as she pressed “send”. It was a dumb thing to say. And her worries grew bigger when the screen of her phone lit up.

 

“Don’t call me Josette unless you want your hair to be burned.”

 

Penelope smiled at the response.

 

“Cocky, i see. Does your mom hate you or something, Josette?”

 

Response came quickly.

 

“Says the girl whose name is literally Penelope.”

 

A little laugh escaped from Penelope’s lips.

 

“I’ll accept the defeat. Thanks again, for last night.”

 

“It was fun.” Josie replied.

 

With that, Penelope locked her phone again. But in seconds, there was a pair of hands on her shoulder, shaking her a little. Penelope jumped slightly at the action. When she turned around, familiar blue eyes met her gaze.

 

“Mikaelson,” she said, “what a surprise.”

 

“I knew you would be there.” Hope seemed weirdly… happy?

 

“What has gotten in you?” Penelope asked, sipping from her coffee.

 

“What does that even mean?” Hope asked taking the cup from Penelope’s hand. Now she was the one who sipped down on it nervously.

 

“You’re too… I don’t know, happy?”

 

“That’s rude, so now I’m not allowed to be happy?” she tried to sound offended but Penelope was too close to her to get offended by.

 

“Cut the act, you know what I meant.” Penelope arched a brow. “Something… someone happened last night, right?” now she was smiling smugly.

 

“Maybe.” Hope said, as she started so examine the ceiling.

 

“Tell me about them.” Penelope asked.

 

“I can’t.” Hope said and as soon as she saw the insistent look on Penelope’s face, she quickly added. “I can’t, because I forgot to ask her name.”

 

“You’re a useless gay, you know that right?” Penelope joked only to be punched by her friend. “What does she look like? Please tell me that you at least managed to look at her.”

 

“How funny.” Hope rolled her eyes. “She was super tall, and she had blonde hair.” She paused for a moment as if the vision of the girl was coming to her gradually, piece by piece. “There were dimples on her cheeks that showed up every time she smiled.”
Now Hope was smiling as well with the thought of the blonde girl smiling.

 

“So you’re already whipped.” Penelope laughed.

 

“I’m never gonna tell you something again.”

 

“Okay, okay. I’m sorry.” Penelope swallowed her laugh, her features got into a more serious form.

 

But she didn’t push the conversation further, she thought that if the other girl were to tell the rest of the story, it should be by her own will.
They stayed at the cafe for almost an hour. Hope got herself a drink and they talked about their weekends.

 

“You didn’t tell me that you were at the pub yesterday. Why didn’t you say hi to us?” Penelope asked.

 

“Uhm…” Hope shifted her gaze towards the coffee cup in her hands, nails hitting on it nervously.

 

“Oh, so you were with the mysterious blonde huh?” Penelope teased, she received another punch.

 

“Yes, I bought her a drink and we talked for hours.” Hope was smiling again, she moved the cup to her lips.

 

“And she didn’t scream and start running in the first five minutes?” Penelope opened her mouth, pretending to be shocked.

 

“Ha-ha.” Hope rolled her eyes, sometimes she wondered why she was friends with Penelope. “At least I’m not being dumped.”

 

“Correction.” Penelope said and silenced her with her index finger, “I dumped her.”

 

“Okay Mrs. Heartbreaker, but she did leave the band anyway.” Hope pointed out. “Talking about the band, who was the girl singing with you yesterday? I don’t think I’ve ever seen her before.”

 

“She was just a random girl who wanted to help us, we needed a singer immediately.”

 

“She went pretty well with you guys.” Hope said.

 

“Yeah whatever, It was just a one time thing.” Penelope replied.

 

They left the cafe after that and seperated their ways. Hope had a class to attend and Penelope was now just wandering around the city alone. It was another type of loneliness now which she still enjoyed. She liked observing people although it sounded very weird at first. She had those chances to clear her mind when she was alone, and also those chances to get rid of the hangover. She pulled a cigarette from her pocket and lit it. As she exhaled a thick pile of smoke, her phone buzzed.
It was from Landon.
“I got a message saying that they need a band to play at their house part, and I agreed. It’s tonight at 9 pm.”
“Lan, we still don’t have a singer.” Penelope typed.
“Find that cute girl from yesterday. She was good enoough.”

 

Penelope closed her phone qucikly as she exhaled heavily. She ran her hand through her hair and she grabbed her phone once again, this time in order to text Josie.

 

“Get ready for tonight, we’ll perfom again. I’ll take you by nine.”

 

Josie smiled at the message. Normally she wouldn’t let anyone talk to her like this but she felt like it was Penelope’s general aura. So she let it slip. The thought of being with the band again tonight, made her feel excited. She just sinked into the sofa and dreamt about the possibilites that might happen tonight. She had been coming out of her shell lately, and to be honest she was proud of it. She was smiling to herself when Lizzie stormed into the room.

 

“I could really use a drink tonight.” Lizzie said, she sounded uneasy.

 

“Oh I can’t go out with you tonight.” Josie replied and she continued as she saw the confused features on her sister’s face. “I need to perform with this group. I sang with them yesterday, at the pub. I guess you were too busy with yourself to even notice.” Her face fell down a little.

 

“You must be joking. You and singing? You can hardly sing in the shower Josie.” Lizzie replied.

 

“I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone, and no I’m not joking Liz. I can ask Penelope if I can bring plus one if you’re interested?” Josie asked.

 

“Penelope huh?” Lizzie asked, she thought about from where she recall the name.

 

“Yes.” Josie cut her quickly. “Are you coming or not?”

 

Lizzie crossed her arms and let out a loud sigh. “I guess I don’t have anthing better to do.”

 

It was almost nine o’clock and Josie was desperately trying to decide what to wear. There was a pile of clothes on her bed and it was all for her to just pick a basic white tee with a black leather jacket. She hurriedly did her make up then tucked her shirt into her pants. And when she stepped outside with Lizzie, the cold air of the night brushed her face. The sky contained a lot of colors, mostly black and purple. There was a smooth transition between the colors, so smooth that it was breathtaking. After a short waiting, an old but well-groomed car pulled out next to the sidewalk. Although the model was old, it was obvious that it had gone through some modifications. From the door on the driver’s side, Penelope got out. She was wearing a gray-black flannel and ripped jeans under that. She had black gloves on her hands, her hands might be cold, Josie thought.
She greeted Lizzie with a warm smile to Josie’s surprise as she expected the girl to be colder. And when it came to Josie, she only winked at her. Upon getting into the car, Penelope started the engine and they set off. Josie was sitting next to Penelope and Lizzie was in the back seat. After some daily talk, Penelope put some music on and they decided to enjoy the foggy road. Air conditioner was working and with the cold air of the night, the windows misted over and now Josie was drawing meaningless shapes on them. Penelope watched the other girl with the corner of her eye, but Josie was the one who broke the silence.

 

“So where are we going?” She asked, not seperating her look from the window.

 

“It’s just a house party.” Penelope replied.

 

“So there will be good alcohol and hot guys huh.” Lizzie said, more to herself rather than the other two.

 

“Uhm…” Penelope started, “exactly.”

 

The roadtrip came to an end when Penelope parked the car. When they went inside, Landon and Rafael greeted them. They left Lizzie nearby the drink table and got into the room which was seperated for them to get ready. Landon and Rafael weren’t in the room as they were talking to the host of the party. The room was filled with silence as Penelope and Josie started to arrange instruments. Penelope was the first one to speak after she finished setting up her drums.

 

“You look nice.” She said, eyeing Josie from feet to head. “It goes well with the façade of our band.”

 

Josie noted the other girl’s smirk.

 

“I tried my best.” Josie said as she started to play with the strings of the guitar without noticing.

 

Penelope examined her for a while as Josie played.

 

“Do you know how to play it?” Penelope asked. Josie was offended by the exaggarated tone of shock in her voice.

 

“Kind of, I play ukulele. Why are you so shocked?” Josie’s question had something snarky in it.

 

“Well, you just don’t look like the type of girl who would be interested in guitars.”

 

Josie was offenden for the second time. She dropped the guitar carefully and crossed her arms.

 

“What type of a girl do I look like then? Tell me.” She bit, because she knew where the conversation was going.

 

“I don’t know.” Penelope murmured without giving her full attention to Josie. “The type of girl who studies gender studies and is the best in her class. Or a girl who likes to watch rom-coms and cries after watching Harry Potter.”

 

Josie laughed in order to suppress her annoyance.

 

“If you say so.” She just left it there. She didn’t feel like she owed Penelope an answer. She just let her live with false estimations.

 

Soon after that little bickering in the small room, the band went to the center of the living room where their instruments were standing. They stood on their places and started playing. They played the songs which Josie and them had known in common. The music was blasting through the speakers and the sweaty young bodies were crashing into each other right in front of the band. Some people just danced, some people sang along and some poeple just kissed shamelessy, which Josie associated with too much alcohol intake. After playing six songs, which felt like eternity to Josie, they gave a break. Penelope made her way to the drink table just to see her best friend and Josie’s twin flirting. She connected the dots soon after and she decided to give them some space as she really cared about Hope’s happiness. She knew the loner girl had never looked this happy.

 

Penelope made her way to the kitchen instead. She was pouring herself some neat whiskey when she spotted Rafael and Josie on the other side of the kitchen. Their arms were rested on the kitchen counter and they were talking very deeply about something. Curiosity clawed Penelope’s mind but she decided to take a big sip from her whiskey, wishing for the feeling to go away as she did so. Landon saw her gulping down on her drink. Being held by the shoulders too harshly and surprisingly, Penelope couldn’t help but jump up in her spot. She turned her face to Landon, trying to look as mad as she can.

 

“You were drowning yourself with whiskey.” Landon said as he took the glass from her hand. “And what did we talk about drinking too much? You said you were getting better.”

 

“I am.” Penelope assured him but he knew it was a big lie. She narrowed her gazes on Landon and took back her drink with a sudden gesture. “This is my first drink tonight, mophead.”

 

“Alright Mrs. Nobody tells me what to do.” But Landon was not convinced, there was something else. He eyed the raven haired girl carefully.

 

“Is everything okay?” He finally managed to ask.

 

“Yeah.” Penelope sipped one more time from her drink. “When did they get that close?”

 

Penelope gestured to Rafael and Josie who were still talking and this time their conversaiton was excorted by laughs with meaningless touches.

 

“I don’t know.” Landon looked at them as he creased his face. “You know, Rafael is a flirty guy.”

 

“You’re telling me.” Penelope rolled her eyes.

 

“Why did you ask?” Landon asked as he sipped from his beer. “Are you jealous?”

 

Landon had always been straightforward, he never kept what he thought to himself.

 

“Fuck off.” Penelope said as she realized the glass in her hands was empty now. “I just don’t want the same thing to happen again.”

Landon understood her worries.

 

“It should be fine.” He said, now his back was resting the counter. “I don’t think Josie will stick around so much anyways.”

 

“We’ll see.” Penelope said.

 

On the other side of the party Hope was having a great time with her company, again. They were talking with their drinks in their hands and since the music was too loud, Hope’s stomach twisted every time Lizzie leaned into Hope’s ear to tell her something. Overwhelmed by the feeling, Hope found herself asking a lot of questions just to feel the girl closer. The scent of her perfume was dazzling, Hope found herself sinking into the thick pile of air. She once in a while touched Lizzie’s ear with her lips just to get a reaction from the girl, and to be honest it was working. Whenever Lizzie felt Hope’s warm breath around her neck or ear, she felt a lightning striking upon her collar-bones. She realized that every time she gave a reaction upon the close touch, Hope kept doing it more and more.

 

“I can’t believe you didn’t even ask my name last night.” Lizzie shouted to suppress the music.

 

“Too much alcohol, let’s say.” As she took a sip from her drink. “You really should give me your number.”

 

“And you should really work on your pick-up lines.” Lizzie rolled her eyes but gave her phone to Hope anyways.

 

Meanwhile Penelope was in the room where their stuff was placed. She lit a cigarette and closed the door behind her. She wanted to enjoy the silence a little bit. Living such a hectic life was adventurous and mysterious but it was also very tiring. Penelope recently found herself to enjoying these slient moments a lot. She just closed her eyes and let nothing bother her other than the smoke wandering through her lungs. She was tipsy and the room was spinning a little, but Penelope liked being in that state of drunkenness. Her peace faltered away as she heard the door being opened.

 

“Wow, you crazy party animal.” Josie joked. “This isn’t the best place to be in during a party.”

 

“Shouldn’t you be out there shoving your tongue down on Rafael’s throat?” Penelope bit.

 

Josie, however, was not offended by the remark as she already noticed the other girl’s percentage of alcohol running around her veins.

 

“Rafael is a good guy.” Josie said. “But he’s not my type.”

 

“Oh really?” Penelope was slurring. “What is your type then?”

 

“Complexity.” She replied, she didn’t think too much on it.

 

“So you basically want a school project?”

 

“You’re really good at misinterpreting my words, aren’t you?”

 

“I do everything on purpose.” Penelope said as she winked flirtatiously.

 

“Why do you even care about what I do with Rafael?” Josie asked, she kind of wanted to take advantage of her drunkenness as she actually craved the truth. “Did you guys use to date or something.”

 

Penelope took a spit take from her drink, what followed it was just a laugh.

 

“I prefer not to share my personal info, Josette.” Penelope said, then she stood up but she missed a few steps. She held onto the wall to regain her balance. “But I’m more into girls anyways. And Raf is like my brother.” She added.

 

Josie just rolled her eyes upon hearing the name Josette, but when she saw Penelope trembling she reached out to hold her. Penelope’s legs were slightly shaking as if she was having problems with simply standing up. Penelope took a grip on Josie’s arm and held it tight without realizing. The taller girl uttered at the pain but she was too worried to actually care about it. She examined Penelope closely, she was sweating and her eyeballs looked larger. Trying to hold back her puke, Penelope hardly said something to Josie under her breath.

 

“Can you…” she stopped to take a breath. “…not tell Landon about this?” Now she held her head up and faced Josie.

 

“Okay.” Josie said, trying so hard to maintain both of them standing. “Okay I won’t, but we need to take you home.”

 

Penelope just nodded.

 

Josie wrapped Penelope’s arm arond her neck and she carried her out from the back door. Penelope was stumbling which made Josie’s job even harder but they managed to reach the car.

 

“Where are the keys Penelope?” Josie asked.

 

Penelope’s eyes were slightly closed, she was falling asleep.

 

“Oh-no, not now.” Josie said as she swiftly slapped Penelope.
Penelope shot her eyes open.

 

“What?” She asked.

 

“The keys? Where are they?” Josie repeated.

 

“They’re in my pocket.” Penelope said and Josie put her hand in her pockets, trying to find the keys.

 

“No” Penelope said, “inside.” As she held Josie’s hand and put it in one of her inside pockets.

 

Josie was very close to Penelope’s face and she could feel her heavy breath. There was this mixed scent of cigarettes and whiskey coming from it. Josie took a mental note on not to let her drink that much again. Diving into the left pocket, she found the keys and made Penelope sit in the passenger seat. She put the keys in and started the engine. The sound of the engine was pressed by the music coming from the party house.

 

“Where is your house?” Josie asked.

 

Penelope couldn’t answer, she just let out her phone and gave it to Josie. Her adress was written on the page she opened and Josie wondered if Penelope had ever been through something like that before.
She started off the road. They were only ten minutes in when she saw Penelope sleeping right next to her. Her head was jumping slightly and hitting the window with the each bulge on the rocky road. After a twenty-minute car ride, they finally reached Penelope’s home. Josie took her out and carried Penelope into the house. The house was pretty neat and stylish. It was both chill and elegant in a way that Josie couldn’t help but admire. She carried Penelope to her room, it was a small apartment so her job hadn’t been that hard. She laid Penelope to her bed and untied her shoes. After realizing that her shirt was covered with alcohol, she decided to change her clothes. The taller girl pulled out her pants and made her wear some sweatpants. She tried so hard not to look at her mesmerizing body as she knew it would be so inappropriate considering the situation they’re in right now. She took her shirt off and gave her a basic tee. When she was done she carefully placed her head back on the pillow and she put a glass next to her bed in case she needed it.

 

Josie took her phone and texted Landon about how a last minute job appeared out of smoke and they had to leave immediately. Letting out a relief breath for a moment since nothing went wrong, Josie just stood by the bed. Seeing Penelope sleeping safely in her home, she thought her job was done. She turned around to leave the room only to be stopped by Penelope’s fingers clinging on her wrist. Her eyes were half open, her lips were dry due to lack of water. A little wish, almost like a whisper, escaped her dry lips.

 

“Stay.” Penelope said.

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Penelope took a lazy turn in her bed. A couple of beams of light leaking between the curtains made her eyes sore. She rubbed her eyes before turning her head to right, just to see a glass of water right onto her night stand. She suspicously took the glass and let the big sip of water run down on her body. She felt a little more refreshed. After some unsuccessful tryings on remembering what had happened last night, she only could guess that Landon brought her home. That’s why she was much more than surprised when she saw Josie in the kitchen, cooking something.

 

“What are you doing here?” Penelope asked, she was frowning.

 

Josie put the pan on the cook and turned her face to the shorter girl.

 

“You were miserable last night. So I brought you here.” She replied, flipping the bacons so that they don’t burn. “I’m just cooking something now. You puked all night, your stomach must be empty as hell.”

 

She was right, if Penelope stayed hungry a litte longer she felt like her stomach could grow a mouth and start scolding her.

 

“Understood.” Penelope said coldly. “But I dont need your help.”

 

“You weren’t saying that last night.” Josie raised her eyebrows as if she meant something.

 

Penelope’s orbes extremely enlarged upon hearing the remark.

 

“Did anything happen… last night?” She barely asked.

 

“No, God. Not like that. I wanted to leave but you asked me to stay. That’s why I stayed. I thought you might need help.”

“I accept this response.” Penelope said then she stole a look from the brunette. “You’re wearing my clothes.”

 

“Did you expect me to sleep with a leather jacket?” Josie rolled her eyes, she found herself doing that a lot around Penelope.

 

“Of course not.” Penelope said. “It looks better on you anyways.”

 

Josie couldn’t help but surprise at the only nice sentence coming from Penelope’s mouth this morning.

 

“Look, I’m just trying to be nice.” Josie said as she placed the bacons on a plate and tossed it in front of Penelope. “I’ll get dressed and leave in ten minutes.”

 

As soon as Josie turned to leave, Penelope slightly grabbed her wrist once again which gave her flashbacks from last night.

 

“Okay I’m sorry.” She apologised, “…at least have a breakfast.”

 

Josie chuckled at the offer which relieved Penelope.

 

“I don’t eat meat.”

 

“What a shame.” Penelope said as she grinned playfully and took a bite from her bacon. “I can make some scrambled eggs.”

 

This sounded more like a question than a statement.

 

“If you insist.” Josie took a seat behind the counter with a challenging look on her face.

 

Now it was Penelope’s turn to cook something for the other girl. She grabbed another pan and started cracking the eggs into it. After each egg she cracked, she went near the counter and grabbed another bacon to reward herself. The brunette was watching her and she noticed how more carefree Penelope looked while cooking. Penelope was wearing a white tank top which was loose around her neck and shoulders. Behind her, Josie took a peek of the start of her tattoo.

 

“Nice tattoo.” Josie said as she poured herself some water.

 

“Are you staring at my back, Josette?” Penelope asked, mocking her. She had her usual smug grin on her face. “Nobody told you that it’s inappropriate?”

 

“I wasn’t staring, pervert.”

 

Penelope only laughed in reply. She turned her focus back to the eggs in front of her. It wasn’t a hard job to make scrambled eggs, Penelope was just too dramatic.

 

After some silent moment, when Penelope finished making the eggs, she sat in front of Josie. She was the one who pushed the plate now.

 

“Bon appetit!” Penelope said.

 

Josie was in the half-way of finishing her breakfast when a thought lingered her mind. She actually had thought about it the previous night, but she hadn’t had the chance to ask Penelope about it. Faking a cough, she gathered herself and decided to ask it right away.

 

“Penelope?” she started only for Penelope to hold her head up from her phone.

 

“Yeah?” Penelope didn’t know what was coming.

 

“Why did you lie to me about where you live? This place is definitely not a few streets away from my house.” she asked, and she was staring into Penelope’s eyes intensely. Her gazes fell onto Penelope so heavily that Josie would catch a lie immediately.

 

“I don’t know.” She started, and Josie could see that she was actually thinking. As if she didn’t know the answer either. “If I told you, It would look so dumb for me to walk you home.” She finished.

 

“You didn’t have to.” Josie said, her intense gazes breaking immediately. She felt as if she was melting on her seat.

 

“You saved my ass.” Penelope said. “Our ass… not that I’m a communalist or something.” She chuckled at her own joke. Josie noted that she had narcissistic tendencies. “It was too late, and it was our fault that you stayed that long, so I wanted to make up for it. You know, in order not to see you being kidnapped or something.”

 

“That’s so thoughful of you… I guess?” Josie joked. “…but thanks.”

 

“Thank you for saving my ass from Landon yesterday as well. Unfortunately, now I gotta do another favor for you.” Penelope playfully rolled her eyes just to receive a punch by Josie.

 

Next couple of minutes went by the endless bickering between the duo. Josie had eaten her eggs and she must admit that they tasted actually nice… and different. She wondered what was the difference but she didn’t bother to ask in order not to feed Penelope’s already enormous ego. Penelope washed the dishes and tidied the room a little. If Josie had to describe Penelope right now, she would say she looked like a disaster. Her hair was messy, she had purple bags under her eyes but, she was still surprisingly charming. Penelope asked her to join the practice they were going to have with the band today and to her surprise, she said yes. Penelope excused herself to take a shower and she told Josie that she could turn the TV on and watch netflix meantime.

 

When Josie was endlessly jumping from a show to another (she was kind of picky) she heard a knock on the door. She hesitated to open it as she couldn’t make out what Penelope’s reaction would be to that. But when the knocks started getting one after the other and louder, she paused the whatever animatoin she was watching at the moment and walked to the door. She looked from the peephole in order to see who it was, but she couldn’t properly see anything. When she opened the door slowly, a pretty woman with blonde hair and great fashion sense showed right up in front of her. She had the same vibe that Penelope had, and when she saw Josie’s unfamiliar face, her blank staring turned into a narrow gaze. Josie felt under attack, so she decided to learn who she was.

 

“Hello…” Josie said, as sweet as she could although she was slightly concerned under the looks of the blonde. “…how can I help you?”

 

“Is Penelope here?” She was speaking in between her clenched teeth.

 

“I am.” A familiar voice raised behind Josie, and if she heard that voice at another time Josie would be annoyed, but now it gave her a feeling of relief. She felt that the blonde’s gazes shifted to Penelope right now. Josie had never felt lighter than this in her life.

 

Cammie eyed Josie one more time and she realized she was wearing Penelope’s navy green sweatshirt, which she liked the most when they were dating. Then she looked back at Penelope who was only in a bath robe. She walked pass Josie without saying another word and invited herself into the house. Josie was shocked but she decided not to intervene with this one.

 

“Did I tell you that you could come in, Cam?” Penelope asked, eyes looking stone cold.

 

“This was my house too.” Cammie said. “Once.”

 

“Yeah, once.” She repeated.

 

“What is going on? Who is this girl?” Cammie threw questions one after another. She was pointing at Josie who was still waiting near the open door with a confused expression worn on her face.

 

Penelope and Josie’s eyes met for a second and by the tone of Penelope’s look, Josie could somehow feel that she was apologising for what was going to happen.

 

She walked next to Josie, never breaking the eye contact with Cammie, as if she was daring her to do something. She looped her arm into Josie’s and murmured I’m sorry under her breath.

 

“She’s my girlfriend, Josette.” Penelope said and Josie hit her in the stomach.

 

“Josie.” She corrected.

 

“Girlfriend, huh?” that took Cammie by surprise. “Penelope can we talk alone, please?”

 

Penelope shook her head, the last thing she wanted was to be alone with Cammie right now. “Whatever you’ll say, you can say it in front of Josie.”

 

Josie looked at Penelope and the game she was pulling bewildered, but she was enjoying the drama and wanted to learn more.

 

“You know wh-“ Cammie calmed herself down. “Okay, however you want.” She took a deep breath before continuing. “I still love you, and I’m really sorry that I left so suddenly. I wasn’t thinking straight and you and the band didn’t deserve that. I wanna come back, Penelope. Please.”

 

Josie noticed the shift in Cammie’s  mood but on the receiving side of the conversation, Penelope looked the same. Stone cold impression as if she had no feelings at all. Penelope pushed all the confession as if she was blowing away the flies around her. Her response was short and clear.

 

“We have a new singer.” She said.

 

Cammie laughed insultingly. “Oh let me guess, it’s the new ‘girlfriend’?”

 

Penelope only nodded in agreement.

 

“Do you have a thing for hooking up with the lead singers and then draw away from them as if nothing had ever happened?”

 

She didn’t know why, but that statement cut Josie a little bit.

 

“You know it’s not the case between us.” Penelope rolled her eyes.

 

“I don’t believe she’s your girlfriend.”

 

“I don’t need you to believe anything.” Penelope replied.

 

“Kiss her. Prove it.” She demanded as if it was a child play.

 

“What?” they asked simultaneously.

 

“You heard me.” Cammie insisted.

 

“Fuck off, I don’t need to prove anything to you.” Penelope said as she moved her head to Josie and placed a kiss on her cheek. “I can kiss her whenever I want, which is something you won’t be able to get ever again.” Penelope said as she grabbed her arm nicely. “Now, may I ask you to leave my house?”

 

“Fine.” Cammie said, shaking off Penelope’s grip on her arm. “But this won’t be the last time you see me, Park.”

 

Penelope only said “Poor me.” As she watched Cammie leave her house.

 

She closed the door behind her and threw herself to the couch, massaging her head.

 

“God, she is a never ending headache.”

 

Josie laughed. “What the hell just has happened?” she asked.

 

“Let’s just not talk about it right now. Sorry to drag you along with me, I just needed to get rid of her.”

 

“It’s okay.” She said as she decided not to push this further at that moment. But she was definitely going to ask about her later on. “Go change into something which you can wear in public.” Josie said, looking at Penelope’s robe. “Then we can head out.”

 


 

When they arrived at Rafael’s place, which was the usual spot they practiced, they saw Landon and Rafael tuning the instruments. Penelope approached to the guys with a lazy smile on her face. Kind of a smile that she wore a lot. Upon some small talks companied by unfunny jokes, Landon pulled Penelope aside, leaving Rafael and Josie alone.

 

“Pen, I have news. Which one would you like to hear first, the better or the worse?” Landon asked.

 

Penelope shot a confused look at Landon. “The better?” she hesitated.

 

“Raf has a crush on Josie.” Landon said straight ahead.

 

“What can be worse than that?” Penelope joked.

 

“I have the flu.” Landon said as he wrinkled his nose.

 

“Oh this is definitely worse.” Penelope said as she slightly pushed Landon away. “Keep your runny nose away from me.”

 

Landon fake sneezed on Penelope, making the girl groan in disgust.

 

“Remind me why we’re friends again.”

 

 

Josie was examining the garage when Rafael came next to her and gave her a little bump on the shoulder. Josie gave him a sheepish smile, but her gaze kept slipping to Penelope, wondering if she was looking or not.

 

“Hey.” Rafael said, his grin was wide.

 

“Hi Raf.” Josie said. “How are you?”

 

“Better, now that I see you.” Words slipped away before Rafael could hold his big mouth. “Uhm…” he scratched his head with his left hand, “…will you be practising with us today?”

 

“Yeah, that’s why I’m here.” Josie giggled. Rafael was a nice guy, and she liked being in the middle of attention, because she was usually the second choice.

 

Right before Rafael opened his mouth, Landon intervened and raised his hands in order to gain attention.

 

“Alrgiht slackers, let’s get into work.”

 

 

The practice went well. They played in harmony. It felt like Josie had always been a part of them. Landon got lost while doing his solos, Rafael literally killed the keys and Josie seemed like she was having a lot of fun. Penelope had always been a harsh player. She had always loved the bass. She loved to feel it in her rib cage. She loved how it was beating harder than her heart. And when she felt the bass in her chest, she became integrated with the music. She released her soul into the music. Penelope loved the beat, Josie loved the lyrics. Josie could never get into the song if the lyrics didn’t make sense. Josie loved the romantic side of the music, although she wanted to deny. She liked feeling herself lost into the lyrics. She loved putting meanings on them. She also loved seeing her own reflections through the songs. Penelope was the beat, and Josie completed the lyrics.

 

They got tired after a full three hours practice. Landon sent a look at Penelope. Penelope understood what it was right away, pros of being close friends she would say. She nodded her head in agreement which gave courage to Landon about his question towards Josie. Josie was gathering up the cables of the mic when Landon approached her.

 

“So…” Landon started, waiting for Josie to look at him. When Josie’s attention shifted from cables to Landon, he continued, “…would you like to be in the band, like permanently?”

 

That caught Josie off guard. She wanted to say yes right away but she had her own responsibilities to be taken care of. She had to go to university, she had her midterms approaching. She also had to save money. This train of thought made Josie stand without any reaction for a couple of seconds. When she took a deep breath, Landon saw the concern in her eyes.

 

“I would love to…” Josie trailed off.

 

“But?” Landon asked.

 

“But I have to go to university. I have exams and all and my schedule is pretty busy at the moment.” She admitted sadly.

 

“We all go to school.” Rafael started. “I’m sure we can arrange our practises considering your schedule as well. Also, we only play on the weekends.” He looked at her as if he was begging.

 

Josie’s eyes went to Penelope, who was very silent, with an aim to find answers. Penelope was standing by her drums with her arms crossed. Her eyes were fixated on Josie. She sent a quick wink at her before speaking.

 

“I think we can arrange that.” Penelope said.

 

Josie took her head in between her hands. After three more minutes into thinking, she raised her head and gave a big grin to the band.

 

“Alright.” She said, “…I’m in.”

And with that, Landon cheered while Rafael side-hugged her.

 

“Let’s celebrate it tonight! At my place and drinks on me.” Landon declared.

 

“Sounds good to me.” Josie said.

 

“You can bring your sister as well.” Rafael added.

 

“Then see you all tonight?” Josie asked, then three of them turned their looks to Penelope.

 

“See you tonight.” Penelope raised her hands up in defeat.

 


 

The night came quickly. But somehow, Lizzie was more excited than Josie. Lizzie was into twenty minutes of deciding what to wear when Josie entered her room, fully dressed. Lizzie threw herself into the pile of clothes as she gave out a big sigh. She covered her face with her hands, she could physically feel Josie rolling her eyes at how dramatic she was.

 

“What?” Lizzie asked as she straightened herself up. “Something inside me says that I should look good tonight.”

 

“It’s just a house party Lizzie. There will be no prom kings or queens.”

 

“I know, just give me ten more minutes please.” She said with puppy eyes, to which Josie could never say no.

 

 

 

They called a cab and went to Landon’s house. It wasn’t so long but the driver’s playlist made the road feel longer than it was. Josie gave up in the first three minutes and put on her earphones while Lizzie kept being cruelly tortured in the backseat.

 

Josie knocked on the door twice and before going in for the third time, Landon’s familiar face popped up in front of them. He greeted them and moved aside to let them in. The house was quite stylish but also somehow shabby. Josie scanned the room only to lock eyes with Penelope. The shorter girl was in a black tank top, holding her whiskey between her fingers which were covered with several rings. She greeted Josie by holding her drink up and Josie sent her a quick wave in response. There was a pretty girl sitting next to Penelope. She was even shorter than Penelope, which was something Josie never thought would be possible. She had brown hair which tend to color red slightly. Her eyes were shining as she gave a small smile as a greeting to Josie.

 

Josie realized the shift in the unknown girl’s expression as she moved right and let Lizzie come in. Lizzie and the girl locked their eyes for a second before both of their mouths dropped to the ground with the feeling of haste. Lizzie shook herself into the real world before she waved her hand towards Hope, still bewildered. She didn’t know what Hope was doing there, but she could feel that this was going to be a long night.

 

“Lizzie.” Hope whispered to herself. Penelope gave her a look out of the corner of her eye.  

 

 

 



Chapter Text

 

Lips slightly parted, Hope was in a trance until Penelope popped her bubble and brought her back to the real world. The blonde was standing there with all of her grace and beauty, so Hope couldn’t help but admire. She had been the guest star of Hope’s magically calming dreams since the first day they met, Hope had never loved to sleep that much. She thought it was just going to be that, she thought that her luck ended and that they would never see each other again. Hope had never been this happy to be wrong. There was this feeling inside her which she would describe as easiness. As if everything would be much more easier if she just had the blonde girl’s company.

 

Penelope cleared her throat in order to gain Hope’s scattered atteniton. Although pretty much everything was a blur about the previous day, she remembered seeing the pairing after stealing a look from Lizzie. Now Hope was looking at Penelope with huge pupils and a puzzled face, and if Penelope wanted to describe how she looked, she would say Hope was the deer and Lizzie was her blinding light.

 

“So this is the famous girl huh?” Penelope teased, elbowing Hope slightly.

 

“Uhm…” Hope cleared her throat, she didn’t want to make a fool of herself more by not being able to speak properly, “yeah she is” she lowered her looks to her feet.

 

“Great.” Penelope chuckled, very surprised to see her stone cold friend this whipped for a girl.

 

“What is she even doing here?”

 

“Oh didn’t you know?” Penelope said playfully as she took a sip from her drink, “You’re crushing on the half part of the Saltzman twins now.”

 

That took Hope by surprise. “They don’t even look alike.” Hope said more of a question than a statement.

 

“Fraternal, I suppose.” Penelope creased her lips then she softy pushed Hope from her seat, “Go loser, talk to her” there was a soft smile placed on her mouth.

 

“Don’t push me again.” Hope said as she raised her index finger right in front of Penelope’s face, in order to threaten her but to Penelope, she only looked like an angry baby elf.

 

With the music bounding her soul, Hope made her way to the one certain Saltzman twin. She placed a nervous smile on her lips and tried to look as confident as she could although her trembling hands said otherwise. Josie was bewildered, she kept looking at the pairing with her big bambi eyes. Her focus was finally fixed on Hope when the shorter girl stretched out her hand to meet. Josie took the offered hand without hesitation.

 

“Hi, I’m Hope.” she said with as she nervously shook tha taller girl’s hand.

 

“Hey…” Josie had the biggest grin on her face as she understood what was going on “I’m Josie, Lizzie’s twin” she said and winked at Hope which she regretted soon later as Hope’s face turned into the same color as her hair.

 

“Uhm, yeah I know.” Hope chuckled nervously, not daring to look at Lizzie’s direction.

 

From the other side of the room, Penelope was waving her hand to Josie so as to call her. Josie got the sign as she turned to Hope for one more time, this time it was to say goodbye.

 

“It’s nice to meet you, Hope.” She said, excruciating playfulness dancing on her features, “I better say hi to Penelope.” She added. When she past by Hope and walked away far enough, she turned her face to Lizzie once more just to say “she’s hot” under her breath. She received a “shut up” as reply.

 

Now there was the pairing, standing in front of each other with no other distraction. Lizzie had a smile full of emotions on her face. When Lizzie was there, Hope felt like every single thing around her darkened, only leaving the blonde under the spotlight. Lizzie was painfully beautiful and Hope could swear she had never seen anyone prettier than the Saltzman twin. She just stood there for a couple of seconds more, drinking the mesmerizing scent coming from Lizzie. Having seen Hope smitten, Lizzie took the first step and placed a soft kiss on Hope’s cheek. The lips burned the shorter girl’s skin as she closed her eyes so as not to faint right there.

 

“Hey.” Hope said, shy smile across her face.

 

“You look pretty.” Lizzie said, capturing the shorter girl in her trap with her boldness.

 

“Uhm… so do you.” Hope gained her confidence a little more but the shaking in her knees was still present. “I thought our roads would never cross again.” She offered Lizzie a drink.

 

“Maybe if you knew how to send a text.” Lizzie said as she took the offer.

 

“You could have too.” Hope said. She tried to understand what she said wrong when she received judicial glares from Lizzie. Then it clicked, “Oh, I’m the one who has your number. You don’t have mine.” Her eyes grew bigger.

 

Lizzie laughed, kind of relieved to know that Hope would text her if she remembered. “I’m glad to hear that you didn’t text because you’re dumb. I thought you weren’t attracted to me or something.”

 

“It is safe to say that you make my sanity disappear.” Hope sipped from her drink.

 

“It is safer to say that you’re not smooth at all, but I still find myself thinking about you quite often.” Lizzie said, sending her a wink just to pour boiling water on top of Hope’s head. But what she could do, she really liked teasing the shorter one.

 

 

 

When Josie took Hope’s previous seat next to Penelope, the dark haired girl was pouring herself another drink. The glass tinkled as her rings hit the surface. She put her whiskey on the counter then turned back to prepare a glass of vodka with pineapple juice for her company. Being offered her favourite drink, Josie couldn’t help but surprise.

 

“How did you know I drink that?” She asked with a genuine smile on her face.

 

“I saw you drinking this at the party.” She said as she toss the drink over the counter. “When you were talking with Rafael.”

 

“Stalker.” Josie chuckled and took a sip.

 

“You wish.” Penelope winked nonchalantly.

 

A beat, or two passed until Josie spoke again.

 

“Is she your friend?” Josie asked as she gestured towards her sister and Hope.

 

“Yeah, the closest one I would say.” Penelope said, turning her face to Josie as she eyed her shamelessly. “Red looks good on you.”

 

Josie felt her stomach twisting at the compliment, her stomach seemed to be doing that a lot around Penelope lately. She felt the heat burning inside her cheeks. She tucked a string of her hair behind her ear while she gave Penelope a weak and shy smile. Penelope’s gazes softened for a second just to be replaced with her infamous smirk seconds later. She raised her eyebrows as she sent a mocking look at Josie’s direction.

 

“You didn’t have to turn into red yourself, Josette. There must be other things that would look good on you.”

 

Josie narrowed her gaze, her mouth fell slightly open. “What things?” she barely managed to ask.

 

“Me.” Penelope shrugged as she chuckled to herself. Taking a sip or two, letting the neat alcohol run into her veins even more, Penelope leaned back to the counter “Just kidding.”

 

“Ha-ha.” Josie fake laughed as she firmly poked Penelope’s arm, “you’re insufferable.”

 

“You like me though.” Penelope stated, eyes fixated on the dance floor. She was indifferent but god she looked really pretty under the yellow light, which made the green of Penelope’s eyes more visible. At least that was what Josie had thought until she realized the accusation she’s held under.

 

“I hate you.” Josie said with a lazy smile, shrugging off Penelope’s statement as if it was a scruff on her shoulder.

 

“No sweetheart, you don’t.” The raven haired girl was confident and as most would agree, it was safe to say that it was her charm. Penelope looked like she could be a lot of things. Penelope looked like she would never want to stuck with only one role in her life. But she was also like those thousand-piece puzzles one would buy and always miss a piece. There were so many pieces, all of them meant different things but there was always a missing piece. When Josie thought she had a decent idea about the girl, the shorter one acted the opposite way the next day. Josie definitely knew she was not hating on Penelope, yet she also didn’t know what she was exactly feeling. Sometimes she felt uneasy around her, and sometimes dizzy. It was too soon to have a judgment, but Josie felt like she had plenty of time to crack that complicated code of hers. If Penelope wanted to be unbalanced, two could play that game.

 

Therefore, Josie did what she thought might catch Penelope off guard.

 

“What happened between you and Cammie?” She asked, not only to surprise her but also she really craved that answer. Not that she did know why.

 

Penelope almost choked on her drink when she heard the blonde’s name freeing itself from Josie’s lips. She wiped the drops of alcohol on the corner of her lips with her hand then faced Josie, facade building itself layer by layer. “Why do you care?” she tried to sound as nonchalant as she could.

 

“You included me to your game, you kind of owe me an explanation.”

 

Penelope sighed in defeat, the taller one was unfortunately right. “I hate it when someone other than me is right.” She gave Josie a fake smile.

 

“Just answer the question already.”

 

“Alright bambi eyes, you don’t look intimidating when you try to glare at me.” Penelope laughed, then a void filled her heart. A void was what Penelope had been feeling in her heart since Cammie and her broke up. When it was thought logically, a void wouldn’t be able to fill up a space. But Penelope only could define it that way, there was a void invading her being. She shook off all the unnecessary information in her mind that would cause her to open up too much. She only settled with enough information. “Cammie and I were dating” a pause, “she was the lead singer in the band” one more pause, “Then we broke up” another pause, “and she abandoned the band just like that. The rest is what you’ve seen.”

 

Josie just shook her head a little, trying to make something up from the inadequate information that she had just received. She wanted to ask why they had broken up but she settled on not to as the shorter girl seemed uncomfortable enough with the little information she had given. Josie just let it go, but she promised herself to ask that later one day. “Is that why you drank that much yesterday?”

 

“Curiosity killed the cat.” Penelope said, gulping on her drink as if she just wanted to drown herself right there.

 

“So did alcohol.” Josie replied, “you can’t hide behind this,” she said as she gestured the glass captured in Penelope’s fingers, “…to run away from your pain.”

 

“I don’t need a therapist, Josette. Although I appreciate the effort, I’m not a charity work.” Penelope was not facing Josie anymore.

 

They just stood in each others company for a couple of minutes. It wasn’t a peaceful company, the tension was so thick that Josie felt as if she could cut it in half if she had a knife. To her surprise, hazel eyed girl was the first one to break the silence.

 

“Your pup is looking for you.” She said, as she gestured Rafael. Josie could swear Penelope sounded almost annoyed. But once again, whatever Josie had thought about the shorter girl was proven false later on. So she only confined herself to roll eyes. Penelope disappeared into smoke before Josie even could open her mouth.

 

“Real mature.” She said, big orbes trying to spot Penelope but before she succeeded, Rafael reached her with shining eyes, full of hope.

 

“You look nice.” He said with the most sheepish one could ever have, and that’s how Josie found herself in a very long and partly unwanted conversation with the sweet but clingy boy.

 

 

It wasn’t excatly a party, it was more like a gathering among close friends. The band and the twins weren’t the only present ones, some mutual friends of Landon and Penelope were also attending. Thanks to her luck, Josie was dragged away from Rafael just to be introduced to those mutual friends of Landon and Penelope. Landon had a slight grip on her wrist and slowly pulled away her, next to his friends. Josie was thankful as she didn’t have to listen another analysis on how epic and super cool The Avengers is. She gave her kind and usual smile to the group as Landon started to tell their names.

 

“This is MG,” he said as he showed a tiny guy with a very fluffy hair and a coy smile. “He is a sweet guy, we met him at one of our concerts.” MG stretched out his hands to shake Josie’s. Then Landon kept going.

 

“This is Kaleb, Sebastian and Jed.” He said as he continued to gesture the person whose name is being told by him. “And this beautiful lady right there is, Maya.”

 

“It’s nice to meet you.” Maya said as she shook the taller girl’s hand, she had a very intimidating but also hot smirk placed on her face. Kind of similar to Penelope’s, Josie thought. But Penelope’s was also more confident. “I also have a twin brother, but he couldn’t make it today.”

 

“I would love to meet him one day.” Josie said, wearing her kind personality that she usually wore around other people who aren’t Lizzie or her mother. Her heart ached at the thougth of her mother. Before her eyes could collect enough amount of tears, Landon raised the bottle of beer in his hands to the air and yelled out in the small room as if people wouldn’t hear him if he were a little more silent. “Let’s play spin the bottle!”

 

“What are you? Thirteen?” a familiar voice raised from the other side of the room. Penelope was there holding her drink, legs lazily hanging down on the back of the sofa.

 

“You’re literally a mood-killer.” Landon’s face dropped as he lowered his drink. Rafael on the other hand, was way more enthusiastic about the game with the hopes of kissing nobody other than Josie Saltzman. “Come on! It’s gonna be fun.” Rafael said as he gathered people in the middle of the room.

 

Once they all placed themselves Landon put down the beer bottle that he had previously been drinking. “There is only one rule, you either kiss or take a shot.” He explained, showing the tequila bottle next to his feet. When the group nodded in agreement, the first spin of the bottle happened only to land on MG and Sebastian. The fluffy hair boy opened his eyes with shock as the other guy had a annoying grin on his lips.

 

“There is no way I’m doing that.” MG said as he took a glass of tequila and gulped it down in one action. Sebastian blew a flirtatious kiss to him which received a middle finger from the other guy.

 

A few more spins, kisses and tequila shots had already happened when the bottle took its next spin, passing every single person in the circle only to stop between Lizzie and Hope. A quick wave of rush washed Hope’s face as she looked her eyes with the blonde one. She suddenly took a shot and excused herself to go to bathroom. Of course, the blonde twin followed with the confusion stirring in her stomach.

 

“What the hell was that?” Lizzie hissed, making Hope stop in her tracks. Lizzie’s hands were on her hips.

 

“Liz, I’m sorry. It’s not like what you think.” Hope explained. Despite her nipping glare, upon hearing the new-found nickname, Lizzie felt her fear body become softer.

 

“Is it really that hard to kiss me, Hope?” Lizzie sounded hurt.

 

“It’s just…” Hope rubbed her face with the palms of her hands. She took a few more steps to get closer to Lizzie. Her eyes were shining with adoration, she took Lizzie’s hand into hers, her gaze fixed on the blonde’s knuckle. “…I didn’t want our first kiss to be like that.” Hope said, voice as quiet as a whisper.

 

A little oh escaped Lizzie’s lips. Her previous pout replaced itself with a stupid grin. “So you want to kiss me?” she said.

 

A laugh broke away from Hope’s lips as her grip continued to exist on Lizzie’s bony hand. “Of course I do. Just not here, not like that.” Hope said as she waved her hand towards the group.

 

 

Meanwhile the game was continuing with its full speed. Penelope had drunk everytime the bottle settled on her until the last time during which the bottle stopped between her and Maya. Penelope leaned forward to take another shot but she was stonewalled by Maya now whose lips were now on Penelope’s. She slightly sat on Penelope’s lap while the other girl made eye contact with Josie, who had a big frown on her brows, for a quick second. Then Penelope closed her eyes, not quite enjoying the kiss. She kindly pushed Maya away after five seconds into the kiss. Everyone in the circle was watching them with a perplexed expression worn on their faces. Finally, when Maya pulled back, Penelope’s eyes met with Josie’s once more. This time the taller girl was biting down on her own lip, miserably failing at hiding her annoyance. Penelope found it rather entartaining though. She had the audacity to smirk as she wiped away the remnants of Maya from her lips with her thumb.

 

Josie’s annoyance left its place to rush when the bottle landed on her and Rafael. The other guy seemed like he was enjoying the situation. When Josie was about to take a shot, she had remembered the kiss between Penelope and Maya, which made her turn towards Rafael and shoot a final challenging look to Penelope before pulling the guy to herself. When their lips met, it wasn’t as bad as Josie thought but one couldn’t say that she was enjoying it a bit. It felt forced, it felt meaningless and Josie took a mental note to not play this game ever again. The result was worth seeing though. When she pulled back, she found a Penelope whose staring was on her lap right now. She was slightly shaking her head in disbelief, a smile preserving its existence on her lips but this one seemed a little annoyed.

 

Josie took the bottle confidently as she gave it another spin. She felt like somebody gave an electroshock to her heart when she looked at the bottle, which settled on her and Penelope.

 

They both looked up and their stares melted in the middle. There wasn’t any dominant feeling in Penelope’s looks. She was just looking at Josie, and Josie was just looking at her.

 

Penelope had never liked these kind of games even when she was a teenager. All of her friends either called her boring or old while in Penelope’s eyes, they were just a group of stupid teenagers who were controlled by their newly discovered hormones. Penelope took her time as she drank Josie’s eyes with hers. They were beautiful, she couldn’t deny. She wondered if Josie was kinder or not than her eyes seemed. One minute passed, which felt like million years to Penelope, but she finally gained the courage to stand up and say, “Alright, this game is over.”

 

Josie was disappointed. She was used to being disappointed. She thought that the other girl probably didn’t see her worthy enough. She thought she wasn’t even as hot as Maya. Or pretty. She just sat there with an irritating feeling in her stomach, watching Penelope move away.

 

The group got dismissed after Penelope’s announcement. Everbody tried to speak with each other. Josie tried to stick with them for a while but she couldn’t stop herself from looking at Penelope’s direction every once in a while. She needed to drink. So she did what she needed. Since her body wasn’t used to alcohol like Penelope’s, she couldn’t take more, just enough to make her tipsy and enjoy her night a little more. She danced for some time, then she drank once more, promising Lizzie that it was her last drink. She remembered Lizzie coming to her and saying that her and Hope were going to another place. She didn’t poke much as she placed a sloppy kiss on Lizzie’s cheek, wishing them fun.

 

When it had been three hours since the clock hit the midnight, there was only her, Landon, Maya and Penelope left. Landon turned back to the girls after he walked MG and Kaleb to the door. “Alright girls, any of you can stay here if you don’t feel okay.” He said, wearing an empathetic smile.

 

“No worries, Lan. I’ve got this.” Penelope said as she gave him a reassuring smile.

 

“I thought we would spend the night together.” Maya said.

 

Josie exaggeratedly rolled her eyes.

 

“Cute.” Penelope said as she took her keys from the counter. “But I promised to Josette that I will give her a ride.”

 

“Did you?” Josie turned her face to Penelope, raising eyebrows. “And also don’t call me that.” Josie hit Penelope’s belly.

 

“I did.” Penelope offered her an arm. Josie took it, not knowing what was exactly happening but she wasn’t complaining. When they left the building then reached Penelope’s old friend, Josie didn’t enter the car right away.

 

“I don’t need you to give me a ride. I’m fine.” She said, tried to give her a cold shoulder.

 

“It’s 3am.” Penelope stated as if it was common sense.

 

“So what?” Josie wasn’t looking at her.

 

“I have a car.” Penelope dramatically showed her car, “I’m not leaving you alone this late.”

 

“Fine.” Josie huffed, arms crossed.

 

Penelope opened the door on the passenger side, “After you.” She said, her smug smile forming on her beautiful lips.

 

 

Rocky roads did nothing good to Josie’s sick-ish stomach, though Penelope seemed as if she was being extra cautious about her driving. She was checking on Josie almost every three minutes. Josie liked being at the center of Penelope’s attention. It felt good. It made her feel special. It almost made her forget the feeling Penelope caused earlier, during the game. She was so lost in her thoughts that she didn’t realize the shorter girl going from another road until Penelope stopped the car and got out. She motioned Josie to do the same, and Josie did despite the dizziness around her body. The air was almost freezing, Josie remembered the first night they met. It felt familiar, but it also felt as if it had been long ago. She couldn’t help but shiver. Penelope smoothly pulled out a jacket from the car and handed it to Josie.

 

Josie wore the jacket as she watched Penelope light her cigarette. “What are we doing here.” Josie asked, they were really high, it was as if the city had been laid under her feet. The view was mesmerizing, maybe not as much as the girl next to her. The lights were interbedded, they were flowing onto each other smoothly. Little red ligths of the few remaining cars danced on the abandoned streets. The whole galaxy was above them, bare as her thoughts. It was almost like Penelope managed to bring both the galaxy and the earth to her presence, and what made it even better was the fact that the jacket she was wearing smelled like her.

 

“I always come here.” Penelope said as she took another breath from her joint, “…when I need to sober up, or have something on my mind. You looked like you needed both.” She added.

 

“It’s beautiful, thank you. But why do you think I have something on my mind?” Josie asked.

 

“Have you seen your face tonight?” Penelope joked. “And you drank too much for a ‘you can do better than alcohol’ person.”

 

Josie chuckled. She was scolding Penelope for drinking too much earlier tonight. “Look how the tables have turned.” She replied.

 

“Don’t worry, I’m not gonna give you a talk for drinking too much, Josette.” Penelope was leaning back to her car, one arm on her supporting the other. She looked at Josie as she held her cigarette between her fingers. “Come here.” She said then she jumped on her car. Her back met with the cold hood of the car, she was basically laying on it. Josie was hesitant yet she found herself settling next to Penelope. They were now facing the bare sky, and Josie had never felt more careless.

 

“This is my favourite constellation.” Penelope said, showing a pile of stars. Josie nodded as she understood which one she was talking about. “It’s Ursa Major.” She added.

 

“I think I’ve heard it before.” Josie said.

 

“It’s a popular one, but I like it because of its legend.” Penelope was smiling.

 

“Tell me.” Josie said as she turned her face to Penelope, studying her features. God she looked so flawless under the moonlight.

 

“So, Zeus had an affair with a maiden named Callisto. Therefore, Callisto got pregnant and Zeus’ wife Hera got jealous. They turned her into a bear.” She explained, pausing a moment as she appreciated the sky, “Callisto still had the son though. But the son, Arcas, had never seen his mother. One day when he went to hunting, he saw his mother and prepared himself to attack. Callisto tried to talk to him but she couldn’t as she was a bear. Hearing that Arcas almost killed his mother, Zeus got angry and turned him into a bear as well.” Penelope stopped once more in order to show another constellation, this one was a smaller one. “Then he hung them both onto the sky, neighboring stars.”

 

“Oh…” Josie said, eyes lost among the stars, “Ursa Minor.” She said as she realized something.

 

“Yes.” Penelope chukled.

 

“So you’re basically a mythology nerd?” Josie teased, bumping her side to Penelope.

 

“And astrology.” Penelope added with a playful smile on her lips.

 

“You’re unpredictable.” Josie took a deep breath, she was somehow peaceful.

 

“Maybe you should stop trying to predict.” Penelope said.

 

And with that, the silence sinked down on them. This one didn’t feel like the last time. This one was peaceful. This one was extremely silent but also too loud with the beating of their hearts. This one was filled with admiration and curiosity as the whole universe was hung right on top of them. Standing there, not doing anything but existing in each other’s silence, Josie thought she didn’t mind being like this at all. Penelope’s shoulder touching hers gave her more warmth than the woolen jacket hanging on her back.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

It had been eleven days since the last time Josie saw Penelope, not that she was counting though. The band wasn’t at its best place because of the lack of job opportunities but they were still trying their bests to manage things. Now that the band weren’t playing together for a while, Josie lost her only excuse to see Penelope. But it was okay though, she really needed to catch up with some classes anyway. She didn’t even have Penelope in her life like a month ago, so she should’ve been fine. To be honest, she would’ve been better if Lizzie hadn’t been daydreaming out loud about Hope all day, it was kind of cute at first but now Lizzie was at her fifth round on how Hope told her that she didn’t want to kiss her because of a stupid game.

 

“…and then she said that-“ Lizzie continued right before being cut by the brunette.

 

“She wouldn’t kiss you because of a stupid game.” Josie forced a smile, “I get it, Liz.”

 

“Ugh,” Lizzie groaned as she creased her nose, “Don’t be so salty about it. If you had somebody special in your life, you would understand.” Lizzie said, only for her eyes to shine seconds later as if she just realized something important. Eureka! “We should set you up with someone!”

 

Josie choked on her water, almost. Or she wished she did. “No way, stay away from my love life.”

 

“I can’t stay away from something that doesn’t exist.” Lizzie joked under the glares coming from her sister.

 

“I don’t need a man.” Josie simply stated.

 

“Or a woman?” Lizzie playfully raised her brows.

 

“Or a woman.”

 

Lizzie shrugged her shoulders as she took a banana from the counter. “Speaking of women,” she took a bite, “I will go to Hope’s place today.”

 

“Good for you.” Josie had heard Hope’s name too many times to be able to sustain a healthy mindset.

 

“Yeah, it’s just… Penelope is gonna be there too. Just thought maybe you’d like to know.” Lizzie had a smirk on her face.

 

“What?” Josie suddenly looked up from the book she had been reading. “I mean… yeah and what about it?”  

 

“So do you wanna come with me?”

 

“Uhm… I will think about it.” Josie said as she buried her face back to her book.

 

“Fine.” Lizzie answered, looking at her imaginary watch for thirty seconds before annoying Josie once again. “Have you decided yet?”

 

“Yes.” Josie rolled her eyes, “I will come.”

 

“Need no woman huh?” Lizzie was enjoying the situation more than she should have.

 

“Oh shut up.”

 

And then Josie went to her room to get changed.

 

 


 

 

Penelope was focused. Or Penelope wanted to be focused but her eyes drifted away from her laptop to a pacing Hope every two minutes. She needed to finish her essay in two days, but it hadn’t been so easy with a friend having little breakdowns next to her so far. She took a deep breath and a bigger sip from her coffee than her breath.

 

“You know, if I attached some cables to the carpet right now, we could afford the electricity need of this apartment with the static energy you create.” Penelope said as Hope was having her -god knows which- tour in the kitchen.

 

“What?” Hope asked, eyes confused more than ever.

 

“I will drown you with this coffee if you don’t sit your ass.” Penelope replied in a way her friend would understand.

 

Hope took a seat next to Penelope. She watched Penelope write for a while. Relaxing sound of the keyboard filled the room. She moved her head to see what Penelope had been writing but when she saw the screen, she understood that it was about some political thing that she would never get; so she gave up. She sinked down in her seat, elbows on the counter. Her mind was on some certain blonde.

 

“Why are you even so excited?” Penelope asked, not breaking her contact with the computer screen.

 

“I will ask her to be my girlfriend today.” Hope simply explained, trying to sound stone cold but obviously failing.

 

“After two weeks?” Penelope let out a soft laugh, “Want me to call U-Haul?”

 

Hope punched Penelope’s shoulder, maybe stronger than it was intended. “Do you think it’s too early?”

 

“No.” Penelope shrugged as she kept writing, “You will be fine.”

 

Then the doorbell rang, twice or more. Hope exchanged looks with Penelope, not moving a single hair. One more ring on the door then Penelope hissed, “Jesus, do you even consider opening the door?” she got up to answer.

 

With all the rage, she opened the door to two big brown eyes laid underneath two wrinkled eyebrows, looking as innocent as an angel, trying to comprehend what was going on. Penelope let out a small “oh” before she could form a smile on her lips.

 

“Hey, Josette.” Penelope winked.

 

“Hey, Penelope. Sorry I don’t have a cringy name for you, yours already does the job.” Josie smiled, genuinely.

 

“You’re on your from today, how nice.” Penelope said with her infamous smirk. “Hi, Lizzie.” She peaked at the blonde over Josie’s shoulder, offering her a friendly smile. “Hope hadn’t stopped talking about you, thank God you finally-“ Penelope was cut with an apple thrown at her head.

 

“Do you ever stop talking?” Hope hissed.

 

“Oh don’t worry Hope.” Josie shrugged her off, waving her hands in the air nonchalantly, “Lizzie hadn’t been any different.”

 

And of course, she received a pinch from Lizzie. “You both lack some manners.” She forced a smile in between her clenched teeth.

 

Penelope and Josie shared a laugh, then Penelope offered her hand to Josie in the most childish way possible, saluted her then imitated a horrible British Accent “May I walk you away from this nonsense, Ma’am?”. Lizzie watched how Josie giggled, then took Penelope’s offered hand. She took a mental note on mocking Josie about this later. “Enough manners now?” Penelope asked as they reached the kitchen, she was pulling Josie’s chair to help her sit. “Now you lack humor.” Lizzie answered, and at that very moment their bitchy banter, which would later on exist between them for years, started.

 

They talked about daily life for a while, then they talked about school. Josie asked what she had been writing, Penelope only said nothing important. Hope couldn’t take her eyes off from Lizzie, neither did the blonde. You know, the usual things. They shared laughters and jokes. Some puns were intended and some were not. Almost after an hour, Hope sent a look on Penelope’s way. The raven haired girl got the hint.

 

“So what are the plans for today?” Lizzie asked, hoping to hear some exciting stuff.

 

“I have to babysit a boy.” Penelope sighed. Josie and Lizzie sent a confused look to her. “You know, the band haven’t been offered any jobs lately, so I took what I could get.” She shrugged.

 

“Oh,” Lizzie sounded happier than she should have been, “Josie is great with kids, you should definitely take her too.” Hope almost spit her coffee out.

 

“Yeah definitely.” Hope said trying to suppress her laugh.

 

Josie eyed Lizzie carefully, trying to understand her aim. Then it clicked, “I-…” she started, but soon all of her words were swallowed when her eyes made contact with Penelope’s, “I mean… if it’s okay with you?” Josie made a weird face, not sure where this situation was going.

 

“Well, only if you want to.” Penelope added. She was caught off guard.

 

“Of course she wants.” Hope chimed in, “and we can spend the day here if you want to, Liz?”

 

 


 

 

And yeah, with that they were literally kicked out of the house, but in a polite way. Now they were in Penelope’s car which smelled like lavender, just like Penelope’s clothes. Not that Josie had been thinking about the scent of Penelope’s clothes since the day she wore her jacket. But she really smelled good, and Josie really needed to stop thinking about that. Penelope started the engine, the clamorous noise filled the deadly silence between the girls. It was a good day, Penelope thought. Maybe too good to be babysitting but now things would be at least more bearable with Josie at her side. She at least had a person to talk who is not eight years old.

 

“Are you really good with kids?” Penelope asked.

 

“Scared I might steal your job?” Josie chuckled. Penelope’s heart warmed at the action.

 

“As if i would let you do that.”

 

“Yes,” Josie added, “I mean… I think I’m good with kids.”

 

“Great! You do all the work then I’ll get the money.” Penelope joked, hands gripping tight around the steering Wheel. Fingers covered with rings once again, she was tapping them against the wheel in the rhythm of the current song on the radio. They passed streets, houses and hundreds of unfamiliar faces on the asphalt road. Josie started humming the song when it was Aerosmith’s  turn to be blasted through the speakers. Wanting to drown herself in the angelic voice of the brunette, Penelope soon shook herself out of the thought and stole a glance. Josie really had a good voice, and to be honest, Penelope felt lucky for a second that they had found her that night.

 

“We should play Aerosmith next time.” She smiled at the girl who was lost in the song.

 

“Yeah, we should.” Josie smiled.

 

Then Penelope joined the song. It just happened, to her surprise. And she continued for a while before she realized it. Josie was looking at her now, admiring her voice. Then it clicked to Penelope, so she stopped, eyes shut open with realization.

 

“Why did you stop? You were actually good.” Josie asked, her voice filled with curiosity. She just wanted to listen Penelope’s voice more.

 

“I don’t sing.” Penelope simply answered, and by the shortness of the reply Josie understood she shouldn’t question it further. For her own sake at least. “You should continue.” Penelope offered her a warm smile.

 

Then Josie nodded softly, going back to murmuring the song. The next thing she knew was Penelope pulling both of her arms apart from the wheel just to mimic as if she was playing the drums, wildly counting the rhythm with her head. This took only a few seconds or so but it was long enough to make Josie worried as she yelled out Penelope’s name and glued herself to the wheel with a startled expression on her face. Penelope let out an annoying laugh which pierced through Josie’s ears. She wouldn’t bother hearing it if she weren’t trying to ride the car doubled up in her seat.

 

“Relax, Josie.” Penelope said when her laughter died, hand accidentally finding a place on Josie’s. “I’ve got this.” She said, shivering at the touch.

 

“Don’t do it again.” There was a pout on Josie’s lips. It looked so natural that all Penelope wanted to do was to squeeze the other girl’s face. Then Josie’s attention drifted to her hand which was pressed by Penelope’s on top, she catched herself gasping before pulling it back to herself hurriedly.

 

“Okay,” Penelope let out a small laugh, “I won’t.”

 

The song came to an end, so did their journey to the little boy’s house. A young but very beautiful woman showed up on the door. She shook hands with Penelope, then a little boy appeared into the sight. He was quite short. Curly and dark-brown hair swinging with the wind, the boy gave Penelope a little wave. Minutes later, Penelope was opening the door for the little man who looked rather amused.

 

“Hey,” Josie smiled widely, “I’m Josie.”

 

The boy shook her outstretched hand, “I’m Pedro.” He sweetly said.

 

“Mhmm, Pedro.” Josie thoughtfully replied, “Such a cool name.”

 

“Josette is a little jelaous, Pedro. As hers is far from being cool.” Penelope joked.

 

“Says Penelope.” Pedro joked back, sending a small wink to Josie, who, now looking at the boy with open eyes. She couldn’t suppress her loud laughter for so long.

 

Penelope glared at Josie right before rolling her eyes. “This will be remembered, pocket man.”

 

“So where do you wanna go?” Josie chimed in.

 

“The park.” The boy simply replied, eyes watching the road flowing out of the window.

 

“Alright.” Penelope said, faking an excited voice, “We’re going to the park.”

 

 


 

 

It had almost been two hours since they came to the park and to both of their surprises, the boy didn’t know what getting tired meant. He was running around as fast as he had been two hours ago. He had found some friends and now to Penelope’s guess, they were acting like they were in the Star Wars universe, faking fights with imaginary ligthsabers. “He’s such a nerd” Penelope commented, only to hear “Says the star-lover” from Josie.

 

They both were getting quite bored of sitting down motionless when Josie made an offer. “Let’s take a tour around the park. It’s not that big we can still keep an eye on him.”

 

“Why not.” Penelope easily agreed, anything sounded better than simply sitting.

 

Now they were walking around the park next to each other. Their hands inches apart from each other. The weather was amazing, and the further away they went from the kids, the more peaceful it got. Josie took a breath in, smelling the fall with its whole perfection. She stretched out her arms in the air before making another offer to the shorter girl. “Let’s play twenty questions.”

 

“You guys really like playing high school games huh?” Penelope faked a disgusted face.

 

“Oh, shut up. Do you have a better idea?”

 

Penelope shrugged.

 

“That’s what I thought.” Josie said, smiling with victory, “There is only one rule, you have to answer.”

 

Penelope nodded in disbelief.

 

“Good,” Josie chuckled, “You start.”

 

“Oh God, okay… why did you agree to come here with me?” she asked.

 

“I thought you could use my help.” Josie answered quickly, that wasn’t a full lie. Although she actually wanted to spend more time. “Why did you drink so much that night?”

 

“Oh is this about it?” she let out a nervous laugh, “I wasn’t at my best place of mind.”

 

“Why?” Josie asked.

 

“Nuh-huh, one question at a time.” Penelope cut her off, “Why did you stay?”

 

Josie stopped in her tracks without realizing, rubbing her hands to each other. She hated herself for not thinking an instant answer. Now Penelope was staring at her with teasing eyes, and she felt smaller as her gaze met hers. “You were miserable.” Josie explained, hoping it would be enough. And to her surprise, it was actually enough for the other girl as she kept walking. Josie catched her soon later.

 

“Why didn’t you kiss me at the game.” Josie blushed at the question as soon as it escaped her lips. She hated herself once more for not being able to control her thoughts. She hated how much she wanted to know the answer. She hated how little she felt when Penelope refused to kiss her in a stupid game. It shouldn’t have been that important, but she couldn’t help feeling this curiosity.

 

The silence captured Penelope’s lips for a while. The raven haired girl was clearly thinking about her answer. She didn’t wanna rush it. A small and quiet “I didn’t wanna ruin our friendship.” escaped Penelope’s mouth.

 

Friendship.

 

That word lingered on Josie’s mind longer than it should have. But she managed to give Penelope a creaky smile with a weak ‘okay’. She should have felt better now, now that she learned to truth. Josie just hated how she didn’t feel any better. Maybe she felt even worse.

 

“Why aren’t you dating anyone?” Penelope asked briefly.

 

Josie looked at her for a second before replying, “I mean… look at me.” She quietly said then she gestured herself, “who would wanna date.” the confession sinked down on her heavier than she had expected.

 

This time it was Penelope’s turn to stop in her tracks. She turned her face to Josie as she grabbed her arm slightly to make her stop. Now they were face to face and Penelope’s emerald green eyes were skimming her brown ones, clearly in search of answers. Josie felt her eyes tearing up a little under the intense gaze of the smaller girl. Penelope’s face was serious, and the tone of her voice was stone cold when she spoke again.

 

“What are you talking about, Josie?” she said, swallowing big in between her sentences. Josie wasn’t answering to her stares anymore, “Anyone would be so lucky to have you.” and she meant it, she really meant it to the bottom of her heart.

 

Josie Looked up to the sincerety of her tone. She felt her chest getting lighter, then a smile was formed on her lips without her will. “You really think so?” she asked.

 

Penelope just couldn’t believe how little the other girl saw herself when she literally had the prettiest face, the most soothing voice and a perfect body. She literally had no flaw, and Penelope just stared before answering, trying to digest the deepness confession. “Yeah,” she weakly started, voice so low that almost whispering, “Why do you think that way?”

 

“It’s just…” Josie started as she kicked a stone or two on the gravel road, “I have always been the second choice, you know.” Penelope nodded but no, she didn’t know. She couldn’t understand how one would put her second.

 

“Lizzie usually gets all the attention. She has a natural charm.” Josie continued, now she was more like talking to herself. She was more like getting rid of the burden of years that was spent under the shadow of her twin. She loved Lizzie maybe more than she loved herself, but sometimes it was exhausting. Once she confessed, she realized how tired she had been. “I like being alone, though. It gives me more time for myself.” Josie lied. She lied looking directly at Penelope’s concerned eyes.

 

“It’s their loss if they don’t see you, Josette.” Penelope smiled, bumping her shoulder slightly to Josie’s.

 

“Can you stop calling me that?” Josie asked, her smile was weak but genuine.

 

“Fine.” Penelope agreed easily. Josie wasn’t expecting winning this quickly. “I will stop calling you that, Jojo.” she grinned at the taller girl.

 

“Jojo?” Josie burst into laughter. Penelope’s grin got wider upon hearing the angelic voice.

 

“What’s wrong with it?” Penelope let out a small laugh as well, joining Josie. “I think it’s cute… and unique.”

 

“Nothing’s wrong with it.” Josie said, her cheeks tired from laughing, “I’ll take anything but Josette.”

 

And right there, at that park as they walked side to side, Penelope promised herself that no matter what happened, she would always put Josie first. She promised herself that one day, she would make her see herself the way Penelope saw. She would teach her that it was okay to have flaws, that it didn’t take anything from her beauty. But everything had a time. And Penelope promised herself to wait until the right time came.

 

“Your turn.” Penelope said.

 

“Why did you stop singing in the car?”

 

“Nothing escapes from you, does it?” Penelope sighed, she owed Josie the truth. She couldn’t have lied after the other girl wore her heart on her sleeve. “We used to sing with my mother a lot.” she started, closing her eyes as the memories began to come back, “Now I only sing to myself.” she finished, a punch placed in her guts.

 

Josie nodded, if Penelope wanted to tell more, she would. So she settled on what was given as an answer to her. She appreciated the half-honesty. She wondered if there would be a time when she would see Penelope being fully honest to her. She didn’t only wonder, she also wanted that moment. She wanted to know Penelope. She wanted to know Penelope more than she knew herself.

 

“What are you studying in college?” Penelope asked smoothly, not letting the awkward silence take over them one more time.

 

“International Relations and Diplomacy.” Josie answered without missing a beat.

 

“Oh shit, that’s hard.” Penelope laughed.

 

“Tell me about it.” Josie shook her head, “What about you?”

 

“English Literature.” she replied, “Now it sounds very mediocre comparing to yours.”

 

“No, actually.” Josie started, “I’ve always wanted to study literature but my dad was kind of oppressive.”

 

“I can understand his worries.” Penelope said, “I can’t say my future is so bright.”

 

“At least you’ve got music.” Josie assured.

 

“Yeah, at least I’ve got music.” She stared away.

 


 

As they finished their tour filled with open hearts and heavy truths, the playground came back into their sight. Everything was like how they left it. Except one thing. Josie’s eyes scanned the crowd to find Pedro, then she let out the breath she was holding when her gaze landed on the boy. But there was an old lady in front of him, and it seemed like she was telling him off. She realized Penelope’s steps getting faster so she accelerated her pace, keeping up with the shorter girl. Penelope looked quite mad and confused, Josie could have never guessed that a person who was this short could also be this intimidating. When they reached the woman, Josie grabbed Pedro by his arms and moved him to stay behind herself.

 

“Scolding an eight year old is your best move?” Penelope hissed at the woman. She had blonde hair, she was on her thirties.

 

“I wouldn’t have to if you had taught your kid how to act like a decent human being!” damn, the woman was very loud.

 

“Excuse me?” Josie interfered, “You better control that tone of yours.” Now it was Penelope’s time to be joyfully intimidated.

 

“You better control your child’s actions then. He hit my son with his toy.” She yelled, gesturing her son’s bleeding nose.

 

Penelope turned her face back to Pedro, she got on her knees as she looked expectedly to the boy, “Did you do something like that?”

 

“No, he tried to take it away from me forcefully. Then I pulled the toy to myself, and then he fell. And then his hand hit her face, that’s why his nose is bleeding.” Pedro explained.

 

“Stop lying!” the older woman snapped at the little boy.

 

“He said he didn’t do it.” Penelope argued, “And I believe him.”

 

The older woman got closer to Penelope, eyes looking at her only inches away, “You should’ve taught your son to not to be a liar young woman.”

 

“Can you step back?” Josie asked sternly as she pushed the older woman slightly away from Penelope.

 

“Don’t you dare touching me.” the woman pushed Josie back, more strongly this time.

 

“Josie, it’s okay.” Penelope held Josie by the waist, trying to calm her down while never breaking the eye contact with the woman. But it was kind of too late as the last thing she saw was Josie jumping onto the woman.

 

And with that, they found themselves fighting with a woman. Then they found themselves in a police car, then on the way to the station. And finally, they found themselves trapped in a small cell which smelled like dog poop and sweat.

 

The laugther broke from Penelope’s lungs, receiving fiercing glares from the brunette. She didn’t stop laughing until Josie asked her a question.

 

“Do you really think this is funny?” Josie hissed.

 

“Yeah, don’t you think?” Penelope burst into laughter again, “I can’t believe you jumped on her like that.” there were tears on Penelope’s eyes.

 

Josie couldn’t help it. She found herself laughing harder than Penelope. “She had it coming though.” was the only explanation Josie gave in between her irregular breaths.

 

And that was how they ended the day, laughing til their lungs exploded in a small cell. Accompanied by the unbearable smell in the air. In another universe, or under different circumstances, Josie would’ve thought that this would be the worst way to end a day, but with Penelope it didn’t feel that bad. It felt as if Penelope found a way to make everything better. Everything more bearable. Sitting there right next to Penelope, her head on her shoulder, sharing her silence made her feel safe which was quite ironic considering they were literally in a police station. But she felt like when Penelope smiled, it was touching her heart, it was wrapping her hear with a warm shield that only Penelope could open. She felt uncomfortably comfortable as she fell asleep on the prison bench with the green eyes looking over her.