Chapter 1: Bets, Restaurants, and a Whole Lotta Axe
It probably means nothing, right? After all, Hannah only caught the tail end of the exchange, but, still… the whole situation was very telling and it left Hannah’s poor heart racing.
Beth wasn’t Sam’s best friend – sure, they were good friends, but they simply don’t have the same chemistry as Hannah does with Sam. As lovers, though…
Hannah had to answer an urgent phone call before she witnessed it. It was around 10 PM, and she and Beth were bidding farewell to Sam for the day. Then, her phone started ringing, and she went inside to answer it. Mom was calling, wondering if all was alright and if she and Dad had to come rushing home from their vacation in some exotic country to put an end to a crisis. Hannah put her fears to rest and hung up, exiting the mansion's foyer and walking back out to the porch to find Sam and Beth hugging.
No, not hugging. Embracing. Intimately . Like, faces-stuffed-into-necks-and-practically-wearing-out-clothes embracing. They quickly broke apart and Sam walked off to where her car was parked.
Hannah was totally flabbergasted. Her heart was fluttering like a butterfly with an injured wing in her chest, and all she could think was, how could they not tell me?
Okay, maybe she’s jumping to conclusions. Friends can share a tender embrace like that, she’s seen Jess and Ash do it. Then again... Sam never hugs me like that!
Also, aren’t Jess and Ash a thing now?
It took everything in her not to loudly gasp, suck in a deep breath and shout “HOLY SHIT, JOSH COME OVER HERE RIGHT NOW,” so she decided to instead hold her breath for half a second then sprint down to the basement, leaving a very confused Beth (who had just finished locking the front door) behind her.
Barging into the basement, she barely reacted to the latest in dumb shit that Josh and his friends were getting up to. Heads turned her way, leaving a very… strange scene.
Chris had his top lifted up and over his head, Josh was aiming a can of Axe at one of his nipples, and Ash had been staring intently. When their heads turned to look at Hannah, they froze like they were caught burying a body. Instead of questioning what the fuck they were doing, she strides over to where Josh was and says very clearly and pointedly:
“I want to make a bet with you.”
Josh drops the can of Axe, probably leaving a dent on it, then almost slips off of the full cardboard box he was using as a makeshift chair.
“I’m sorry? You want to make a bet?” he asks with total disbelief, then quickly changes his position to seem bigger and knits his brows together. “Who are you and what have you done with Hannah?”
“What? I just want to make a bet. Is that really so weird?” Hannah finds herself questioning despite knowing that yeah, it is very weird. Making bets was a thing Josh and Beth did, not Josh and Hannah.
Knowing Hannah knows the answer, Josh moves on, “O… kay. What are you betting?”
“I bet you Sam and Beth are totally dating and they’re keeping it a secret from us.”
Josh’s eyes go wide, and he almost falls off his box again. “I, wow, sis, you sure? That’s our sister and your best friend you’re betting on.”
Hannah nods. “Positive. Willing to give away half my life savings for it.”
At this, Josh laughs and shakes his head. “That’s intense, Han. Okay, I bet that they aren’t dating and that, whatever you saw that may have sprung up this thing was just a misunderstanding. If I win… you’re totally coming with Matt and I to laser tag sometime.”
Hannah groans at the idea, but in any event if he’s right, she can probably drag Sam there to do laser tag too. In fact, she really wouldn’t mind it if that was the case.
“Well, in that case, if I’m right, we’re setting them up on, like, a triple date. You, Matt, Jess, Ash, and them.”
Ash lets out a quick gasp and her face reddens just in the corner of Hannah’s vision, and Josh raises his eyebrows so high they become a part of his hairline. He looks to Ash, who, after a moment of hesitation, gives a curt nod, then proceeds to look at Hannah, nod and extend a hand.
“Deal,” he says simply. Hannah clamps her hand onto his and they shake briefly, after which she echoes what he says. After that, Hannah quickly leaves.
Ash, who still has a red face, looks at Josh with her brows furrowed. “You know how insufferable Jess and I can be. Why’re you so confident that you’re right?”
Josh bends over to pick up the dented can of Axe, then finds a position where he’s comfortable while aiming at a nipple of his choosing. “There are no secrets between us, Ash. If Sam and Beth were dating, Beth would’ve probably made fifty-eight gay jokes about them by now.” Josh turns away from Ash and stares intently at Chris’s nipple and gets ready to fire.
Before the Axe onslaught begins, Chris chimes in: “Well, either way you’re going on a date with your boyfriend.” Josh chuckles fondly, says “Yeah, true,” then lets it rip.
Patience was one of Hannah’s strong suits, everyone knew this. It was how she got the bronze in the tennis championship. Rallies upon rallies requires poise and patience in order to find an opening to strike and score a point. Mike often remarked about how the sun would die well before her patience wears thin. Matt once said that she could be stranded alone on an island for fifteen years and still be sane once rescued (though, to nobody’s surprise, she’s not eager to test that theory).
This also requires the patience of someone whose package somehow ended up in Greenland, Iceland, Greenland again, then finally where it was supposed to be. ‘This’ being: finding proof that your sister and best friend are in love with each other. She has a plan to catch them in the act, and it will require monumental, possibly even Josh levels of hijinks.
Which is exactly why she roped him and – somehow, completely on accident – Matt into helping her execute her plan. The linebacker said that he didn’t mind, really. He was just happy to spend time with his boyfriend.
“Didn’t realize you were one for mischief, sis,” Josh remarked as they sat around a table in the local café. He and Matt were sharing a milkshake, though Josh had drank most of it already.
“This isn’t mischief! It’s just… it’s investigating!” Hannah defended herself, motioning her hands around as if they were going to prove what she was saying, almost knocking over her own iced coffee in the process.
“Setting them up on a date without their knowledge while having us watch them from afar is quite mischievous,” Matt butts in, reaching over the table to move Hannah’s drink away from her hazardous hands. “You and Josh are a lot more alike than you might think, Hannah.”
The bespectacled girl sighs in apparent defeat, shoulders sagging, sinking down in her chair in a way that was quite endearing, before straightening up and looking at the two boys determinedly.
“Well, never mind that. You two all good on the plan?” Hannah questions them, and they both nod at her. She then stands up, says “Enjoy your croissants, guys” then leaves the café with a new passion. She’s gonna win this bet, and her sister, best friend, her brother, his boyfriend, Jess and Ash are gonna have the best fucking triple date ever.
The thought crosses her mind as she steps into her car, and she chooses to ignore the butterfly with a broken wing in her chest.
The plan was in motion. The chosen restaurant was bustling, though the table reserved for “Washington, Hannah” was in the perfect spot for the table reserved for “Washington, Josh” to spy on. Josh had arrived early with Matt, probably to have a date of their own before they have to do some mischief – er, investigating – on Sam and Beth. Hannah had invited the two for a “Girls Night Dinner!” and told them of her reservation, and they gladly accepted.
She drove them there, and she was wearing a simple black dress, just so that her outfit matched with her sister’s (she was still wearing that damn beanie, though). Little did they know that Hannah had a change of clothes in the boot. Before leaving, Hannah was also sure to tell Beth to bring her own card in case hers gets declined, so paying wouldn’t be an issue once she has to leave.
Upon arrival, they spent two minutes making their way through the shopping center to the restaurant, then they claimed the reserved table and sat the way they always do: Hannah and Beth facing each other, with Sam in between them. They ordered drinks, and Hannah found herself eager to slip away and spy on the girls with her brother. Speaking of which, during the time between glancing at them discreetly when entering the restaurant and ordering drinks, Matt and Josh had swapped jackets. Hannah tried not to make it too obvious when she stole a look towards the other table, not wanting her sister or Sam to catch on.
Eventually, Hannah’s phone received a loud notification (from Josh. She was sure to turn it off silent before they left) and now comes the hardest part: leaving the table. She never had a talent for lying, so she had to be steely, sure, and try not to let her voice shake.
“Oh my god!” she exclaimed when she pulled out her phone, attracting the attention of her company.
“What is it?” Sam asks, worry making lines in her forehead. Beth looked ready to stand up and move to Hannah’s side.
“I, well – Shit! I’m so sorry, guys. I totally forgot, I – I had to go to Matt’s today.” Okay, so she stuttered out most of that sentence, but it should be satisfactory, right?
“What does he need?” Beth asked. Nope, guess not. “Why doesn’t he ask Josh?”
Hannah bites her lip and takes half a moment to think up her excuse. “That’s the thing, he, he needed help with, uhm – Their anniversary! It’s coming up soon, right? He wants to get Josh a gift and he wants my help with getting it.” She mentally pats herself on the back for that one – and she also makes a mental note to thank her brother and his boyfriend for choosing to start dating almost a year ago.
It’s enough to get Beth off her back, at least. “Oh, okay. Remember to tell him that Josh has a thing for vintage stuff lately. We’ll just get a taxi home. Stay safe, Han.” Everyone at the table gets up, and they share hugs. The butterfly is flapping incessantly in Hannah’s chest when she pulls away from Sam, but she assumes it’s because she’s gonna see what her sister and best friend do when she’s gone.
Hannah hastily leaves the restaurant and goes to the parking lot, moving her car to a totally different spot, then she grabs her backpack and makes her way to a mall bathroom to change.
Dress off, sweatpants and hoodie on. To be sure her identity remains hidden, she removes her glasses then spends longer than necessary putting her contacts in. The brunette then treks back to her car, tosses her backpack into the passenger seat, then goes back to the restaurant. She tells her that she’s with “Washington, Josh” then makes her way to where her brother is sitting.
“Did I miss anything?” she asks her brother once she’s seated, picking up a menu to pretend to look through it.
“Nah,” Josh says, pushing the glasses he never wears further up his nose. “Seems awfully platonic from here.”
“Well, the night’s young, anything could happen,” Matt encourages, pulling at his sleeves. Josh’s hoodie was almost too small on him.
“By the way, thanks for dating. I wouldn’t have been able to get out of there if I hadn’t used your anniversary as an excuse,” Hannah says casually, eyes skimming over the components of one of the soup dishes. Matt laughs and Josh giggles in response, with the smaller boy saying, “What can I say? We just go together like anxiety and school.” Matt laughs again, reaching for his boyfriend’s hand across the table.
Hannah finishes skimming over the menu and decides that she’ll have a steak, probably, if a waiter comes and asks. She puts down the food list and looks at the table with the two girls, squinting to try and see clearer. The contacts are good, but she actually only uses them for reading, so their usefulness in situations requiring far-sightedness is next to nil. This is why she is always wearing glasses.
From what she could see, Sam had moved so that she was occupying Hannah’s old spot. This made sense, after all, they would’ve had to eat awkwardly otherwise. So, nothing yet.
Five minutes pass. A Waiter goes to their table and they order their food. Beth says something when he leaves and Sam laughs. This catches Hannah’s attention, and she quickly compares this laugh to how Sam usually laughs around her. Her nose was scrunched up, eyes close from what she could see, so she was probably laughing at something dumb. It’s her best laugh, honestly – but it’s still the same one she does around Hannah. She sags in her seat.
“Nothing so far?” asks Josh, who was scrolling through his phone (he keeps showing things to Matt, saying “Us” at random intervals, Matt always laughs and agrees in response).
“No,” replies Hannah, who sits up straight again. “But I’m patient. They’ll do something, we just have to wait.”
Josh shares a look with Matt, and Hannah swears she can hear them communicate telepathically. Her brother’s probably saying “Laser tag!” and Matt’s probably saying “Aw yeah, all DAY!”
Not on Hannah’s watch. They’re going on a triple date and they’re gonna like it.
The night went on. Things seemed awfully platonic between the two the whole time, and for once Hannah feels her patience running out. Even worse, Josh and Matt haven’t paid a single glance to the other table, instead choosing to look at relatable gay memes the entire time.
When a waiter came and asked if they’d like something to eat, Hannah changed her mind and said no. She decided that eating would distract her from the task at hand, and so declined. Josh and Matt didn’t say anything, probably because they had already had a meal earlier on.
Time passed. At some point it looked like they might have been holding hands but Hannah wasn’t too sure. She considered asking Josh for his glasses before remembering that he’s considerably less blind than she is. Josh can function without his glasses, but Hannah would probably get herself hurt without them, contacts or not.
When the time came for the two girls to leave, they exited the restaurant without so much as a hug. Hannah quietly swore to herself and excused herself from the table, as it seemed like her brother and his boyfriend were staying for a while longer, then made her way to her car. She swapped her contacts for her glasses and decided to quickly tie her hair up in a ponytail before driving out. She was lucky not to have bumped into her sister and her best friend on the way out.
The drive back home was supposed to be a short one, but the smallest amount of traffic ended up making a three minute drive a seven minute one. It didn’t at all surprise Hannah to see an unfamiliar car outside the front gate to the Washington estate, but the realization that she was in different clothes and that she arrived at this very convenient time might be hard to explain. Swallowing thickly, she unlocked the gate and drove onto the path towards the garages.
However, on the way there she caught a sight that almost made her floor it. When the porch properly came into view, Hannah saw Sam and Beth standing there. After a moment of just standing passively, Beth took a hold of Sam’s hand and lead her inside.
That never happens with Hannah and Sam. There’s no spontaneous hand-holding like that – well, not all the time, anyway, and it’s usually so that Hannah doesn’t lose the smaller girl when traversing through crowds of people. This time, Hannah is sure – the restaurant yielded no satisfying results, but this is something!
But then again, it’s not enough.
Hannah pulls into the garage, now learning to ignore the butterfly in her chest.
Problems presented themselves as soon as Hannah walked in.
“Why’re you in different clothes?” asked Beth the minute she was through the door. The beanied girl narrowed her eyes at her sister in suspicion.
“Oh! I always keep a change of clothes in my car,” Hannah says, feeling proud for not stuttering while uttering her excuse. Beth nods, eyes no longer narrowed.
“Have you seen Josh anywhere? I assumed he would be back by now." Sam is the one to ask the question this time, and Hannah quickly thinks of another lie.
“Well, he dropped by Matt’s – that’s why I left,” Hannah uttered quickly, “Didn’t wanna ruin the surprise, y’know?”
“I understand,” Sam replies, simply, smiling softly. Then, she was walking over to wear Hannah was standing. “I can stay over today. Sleepover in your room?”
A smile overtakes Hannah’s face and she’s quick to nod, her ponytail bobbing along with the movement. She only halfway hears Beth say, “I’m gonna shower then hit the hay, have fun you two!” before she leaves the room.
The butterfly is back once more as Hannah ascends the stairs towards her bedroom, Sam following behind, but it’s different this time. Like the wing is fixed and it’s fluttering madly, but it’s still trapped within the confines of her ribcage.
Whatever. There's no time to worry about that, she's got a sleepover to have!
Chapter 2: Sleepovers, Horror Movies, and a Big Gay Shirt
In this chapter you see me (cracks knuckles) spout a bunch of stuff I know about horror movies, not because I've seen any of them, but because I watch kill counts for hours on end because I have nothing better to do with my time
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The sleepover, ultimately, was uneventful. For just a couple of hours, Hannah totally forgot her mission to bring Sam's secret relationship into the light and simply enjoyed the night like she always did when her best friend stayed over. It ended as it always did: With both of them passed out on Hannah's bed by the time the clock hit 2 am.
Unfortunately for Hannah, her slumber was interrupted by Marina singing about fruit or something. Groaning, and refusing to open her eyes, she fumbles around her duvet before finding her phone within one of the folds. She opens her eyes a slither, and can just make out that the numbers on the clock say 5:12 AM. She finally swipes the screen and puts the phone to her ear.
"Matt?" she croaks out, bringing a hand up to try and wipe the sleep out her eyes. She doesn’t notice the weight on her stomach. "The sun's not even up yet. What is it?"
"Oh my god Hannah I forgot you're not an early bird, I'm so sorry I'll just hang up," comes a quick flurry of words from Matt, but Hannah is quick to sit up and interject.
"Wa - Wait, Matt, n, no don't go - I'm awake, I can talk," she mumbles out quite loudly, almost jumping out of her skin when Sam shuffles around on the bed and groans. She was gripping quite tightly onto Hannah's waist, seeming quite content with where she was. The butterfly comes back, but it seems to have brought friends with it this time, and Hannah has no damn clue why they’re here now.
"You sure?" Matt asks quietly after a moment of silence, and Hannah yawns before answering (a lot quieter this time): "Yeah."
"Okay, well, I'm in a bit of a panic right now," Matt explains, and Hannah finally finds the energy to start opening her eyes properly. She looks down to see Sam's face stuffed into her stomach, and her breath gets caught in her throat for some reason.
"So, Josh and I's anniversary is coming up, right?" Matt continues. Hannah nods despite knowing he can't see it, so she quickly acknowledges him with a noncommittal noise. She looks back down to Sam and sees that she has the smallest smile on her face, a look of pure contentment. Well, it’s not like this is an unusual occurrence. This usually happens when Sam sleeps over. She's a cuddler, and Hannah's gotten used to it at this point. I think.
"I want to get him an anniversary gift but I have no idea what."
That was like a splash of hot coffee to the face. "What? No way." Hannah's in utter disbelief, voice raising an octave, and she could only wonder, is this a coincidence? Was whatever higher power that existed laughing at her by making her lies come true?
"I literally used that as my excuse to get away from Sam and Beth last night!" she whisper-shouts into the receiver, and she hears Matt laugh on the other side of the call.
"That's crazy,” Matt says with the smallest of chuckles. Hannah lets out a little huff, "I know!"
"Oh, and, yeah. I'll help you out." Hannah fails to contain another yawn as Matt cheers into his microphone.
"Great! when can we meet?" he breathes excitedly, like a kid whose parents agreed to get them takeout, and Hannah can't help but laugh.
"Later. I need more sleep. By the way, why are you awake before the sun's even up?" Hannah asks, lying back down. She hears a quiet sigh come from Sam once her head’s back on the pillow.
"Oh, I'm catsitting for Em. She and her parents just left for a vacation to the Bahamas, or something. I'm busy bringing Meowily back to my place. I was also just on a morning run when I got the call from Em, so I decided to just pick her up now." It takes a moment for Hannah to fully register the explanation, and she'd be lying if she said she wasn't impressed.
"Wow.Dedication," Hannah comments, and she hears Matt laugh appreciatively.
"Okay, go back to sleep, Han. sorry for waking you up so early. Tell Sam I said hi when you wake up again!" Hannah chuckles quietly, but quickly regrets it due to her dry throat. "No worries, and will do. See you later, Matt."
The man says his goodbye, and hangs up. Hannah carefully moves to place her phone on her nightstand, not wanting to wake the slumbering Sam, then returns to the position she woke up in, eager to let sleep overtake her once more. Her chest is filled with a warmth that she retains in dreams she won't remember when she wakes up again.
Hours later, and Hannah’s awoken by the smell of food. Not surprising - Mom and Dad are usually absent, for one reason or another. The reason for their current ‘holiday’ was because Dad had a new horror movie to direct, this time about a group of kids trapped in a jungle, or something. Hannah never paid much attention when he was telling them about it, and besides, she’ll see the movie when it’s done. Mom only went with him because the film location happened to be on her bucket list.
So, naturally, with all the absences and whatnot, all three Washington siblings learned to cook. They all had a proficiency with various things - Beth had a way with Italian dishes that makes absolutely everyone jealous, Josh could go into a career as a saucier if he really wanted to, and, surprising nobody, Hannah’s baked goods never flop. Well, she begs to differ when she tries making vegan stuff for Sam, but her best friend loves what she makes nonetheless.
Hannah sits up and rubs a hand over her face, and she hears her door creak open.
“Oh, cool. You’re awake.” It’s Sam’s voice, and Hannah vaguely remembers something she has to do. She opens her eyes as Sam starts talking again. “Beth’s making pancakes.”
“Ngh,” is all Hannah says in response as she reaches over to her nightstand and picks up her glasses, putting them where they belong on her nose. Now that everything’s clear, she looks up, only to see that her best friend isn’t standing by her open door. Instead, she’s now walked over and sat down at the foot of the bed. It then occurs to Hannah what exactly she was supposed to do.
“Matt says hi,” she says simply, stretching her arms over her head. Sam laughs, a joyous sound that brings the butterfly - just the one this time - back. Then, her best friend asks, “What?”
“He called me this morning,” Hannah explains, finally getting up and out of bed. She walks over to her desk and throws on a night robe that was tossed haphazardly over the back of her chair.
“What did he need?” the blonde asks from behind her. She turns around and leans against her chair.
“Help with getting Josh an anniversary gift,” she explains, bringing a hand up to try and wipe the sleep from her eyes, messing up her glasses in the process. She faintly hears the sound of bed sheets rustling, and she almost has a mini heart attack when cold hands are suddenly pulling her glasses off her face.
“I thought you helped him yesterday,” is all Sam says as she puts Hannah’s glasses back on her face, straight as they were before. The taller girl’s blood runs cold when she realizes that she’s been caught in the lie. Well, she was lying before, but this time she was being honest, and - gah!
“W, well, he said that he wants, er, to be sure that, y’know, that the gift’s perfect. A one year’s a big thing!” Hannah blurts out quickly, avoiding her friend’s piercing green gaze. Then, Sam simply nods and chuckles a little, before saying something that not only makes her brain get ripped apart, it also breaks the wing of the poor little butterfly in her chest:
“Yeah, wouldn’t I know it.”
Then she leaves the room.
And all Hannah can think is, Sam what does that mean. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN, SAM!?
Hannah finally remembers her mission during breakfast when she lays her eyes on Beth. It was almost as if a switch was flipped in her mind, turning on a light that illuminated a cork board covered in crumpled papers and red lines, with a massive “SAM + BETH” written in the centre with highlighter.
Unfortunately, breakfast was uneventful, and Hannah found nothing more to add to her mental cork board, probably because Sam sat next to her and Josh sat with Beth. All too soon Sam left and Beth disappeared to her room to do god-knows-what. Well, she’s probably going to practice sewing - the latest in a long list of hobbies Beth has. Hannah decides to drop by Josh’s room, just to see what his plans are for the day so her planning with Matt doesn’t get interrupted.
“Josh,” Hannah says, poking her head through the open door after knocking on it and getting approval to enter from her brother, “got any plans today?”
“Well,” Josh ponders for a moment, putting down his juice box (and shutting his laptop quite quickly, making Hannah raise an eyebrow), “Chris and Ash are coming over today. We’re gonna be binging The Good Place because Ash has a mega crush on Kristen Bell and thinks her character acts like Jess, so yeah.”
Hannah pays no mind to his explanation (that is very Ash, though), glad to know that she can help his boyfriend with no unwelcome interruptions. She thanks Josh for letting her know, then she simply tells him that she’s going out. He doesn’t ask for any further explanation and quickly opens up his laptop again with a fire in his eyes that definitely does not resemble lust.
Who knows, maybe he’s watching cute cat videos. Or doing online shopping. It doesn’t matter, and, frankly, Hannah doesn’t care.
In no time at all, Hannah drove over to Matt’s, rang a doorbell, got whisked inside and brought up to his room. Meowily was slumbering noiselessly on the chair by his desk, so he opted to sit on his bed (with his laptop) and Hannah chose to sit on the yoga ball she found in his closet. Matt didn’t just have his laptop with him - he also had a pen and a notepad.
“You’re really serious about this, huh?” Hannah comments, watching as he smooths out his sheets so he can sit comfortably. He pulls out an awfully familiar grey beanie from between the ruffles and puts it beside him.
“He’s my boyfriend, Han. I don’t want to get him something crappy for our one year!” Matt says, his nerves seeming to radiate off him like he’s a heater, but instead of creating warmth, he creates anxiety.
“If anything, I’m even more serious about this than you are about your sister and Sam,” he comments, and the butterfly in Hannah’s chest flutters feebly. She shakes the feeling and chooses to ignore what he said.
“So, any idea what Josh is into?” Hannah asks, wanting to make sure that Josh didn’t spare Matt from one of his long-winded rants about something he’s interested in, just because he’s his boyfriend.
“He really, really, really loves horror.” From where Hannah was sitting, she saw that the only note on Matt’s paper was the word HORROR , circled and underlined multiple times.
“Did he give you an earful about The Evil Dead?” Hannah asks cheekily, and when Matt throws his hands up in exasperation she already knows the answer.
“Can’t believe those movies and the Spider-man ones were directed by the same dude,” is all Matt says in response to that, shaking his head. Hannah nods her head solemnly, having also learned a lot more about that series than just a fun fact about the director from Josh when he’s had at least one drink.
“But, like, horror’s a huge genre! Like, is he a monster guy? Ghosts? Haunted stuff? Serial killers? Is he into the big names like Halloween or Saw, or does he like more obscure things like Leprechaun? Old School horror is also so different from new horror! And I’m talking old school , like, 1930s Frankenstein old school. Knowing that he’s big into a single series tells me nothing.” Matt’s rant left Hannah practically speechless, for a number of reasons. Matt can’t sit through a horror movie to save his life, especially if it’s a gore-fest like The Belko Experiment was, and did Matt actually watch some old horror flicks to get familiar with the genre?
“Well, someone’s done their homework,” is all Hannah can say, and Matt beams at her with white, white teeth.
“Josh is just so into it, y’know. I want him to be able to talk about it with me without feeling embarrassed, or something. Don’t tell him I said this, but he’s so adorable when he’s talking passionately about something,” Matt gushes, looking away from Hannah (and at the beanie. She deduces that Josh must’ve left it here at some point).
“Well, I can tell you one thing. He’s really into the vintage stuff lately. Like, he’s got a Psycho and a Frankenstein poster in the basement, his ringtone is the Re-Animator theme - Ok, maybe that’s not vintage but it’s still old.” Hannah thinks for a moment about his room, which she got to see for thirty seconds that morning. “Oh yeah! In case you haven’t noticed - he’s more likely to enjoy something if it’s got something reanimated in it. So that’s, like, Frankenstein, Pet Sematary, anything with zombies…”
Matt listens intently, writing down notes and typing away on his laptop. He’s probably searching up for various movies that fit the criteria. He glances between his notepad and his personal computing device, looking more determined than someone trying to get the last pie at a grocery store before someone else does. He almost yelps in surprise when Meowily suddenly jumps up to join him on the bed, but he only flinches.
“Hey, Meowily,” he coos, laughing when she chooses to sit right on top of Josh’s beanie. He looks back at Hannah, who was also laughing.
“He cannot stand Saw. He says it isn’t real horror, just gross torture porn. In fact, he couldn’t even finish the series! Didn’t get past the third movie. I don’t blame him,” Hannah informs him, shaking her head, then pushing her glasses up her nose before they slip off. She shivers before mumbling, “They’re really gross.”
Matt is nodding his head all while she says this, his smile growing wider once she finishes. “Holy shit, thank you so much, Hannah! That’s - that’s a lot, honestly. Really narrows it down. I’m gonna get Josh something awesome!” he cheers, slipping off his bed suddenly, startling Meowily, who looks at him like he just insulted her family. He then scoops Hannah up into a hug, which she gladly returns. Matt’s hugs are so warm, and welcoming - Josh should count himself lucky that he gets to experience them way more often than anyone else (he probably does).
“I owe you,” says Matt with utmost seriousness when he pulls away. Hannah giggles and shakes her head, saying “No. I’d say this is me repaying you for helping me with my little problem.”
It’s Matt’s turn to laugh then.
And then they’re saying goodbye, and Hannah’s back home way too soon. This becomes especially apparent when she hears Ash yelling “THAT’S MY FUCKING GIRLFRIEND ” from the basement.
Hannah proceeds to spend the next three hours creating an outline of various situations she could possibly use to catch Sam and Beth in a romantic act. She also fishes an old digital camera out a shelf in her closet, just in case she witnesses something while Josh isn’t there and he doesn’t believe what he’s told without proof.
Her plan’s quite extensive - she’s got plans for arcades, movies, theme parks, going to parks, even more restaurant dates, she only hopes that they don’t catch on. She writes down all her ideas with colourful pens in one of the notebooks she bought but neglected to actually use. Okay, and maybe she made her mental cork board a reality. It just fit over a couple pages and had significantly less crumpled paper. She had to take a break to get food (Beth made dinner while wearing an amalgamation of fabrics that was apparently her current project, simply saying, “Wouldn’t you like to know, weather boy” in order to deflect any questions asked about it. Hannah’s not sure what kind of clothing item she’s trying to make but it’s definitely going to be big, bright and gay).
After eating food, she made the notebook look pretty (even though she’s the only one that’s ever going to see it) and made a few more notes. Most of them pertaining to the week’s events: she drew a picture of Beth’s project and wrote “Gift for Sam?” in a glittery pink pen. She wrote “Dating for a YEAR?” in black, with YEAR circled. She guessed that that must be what Sam must’ve meant with what she said this morning. She also talked about the hug, and holding hands in other bright colours she could dig out of her old high school pencil case.
The butterfly fluttered like a little kid (with a broken leg) that’s taken a sip of their parent’s coffee, and Hannah had to admit that that damn thing is uncomfortable. She wonders what the deal with it is, why it won’t leave her alone. It started when the possibility of the secret relationship occurred to her, so maybe it’ll stop when the truth comes to light?
That makes Hannah more determined than before. By the time all this had occurred it was late - so she decided to go to bed. But, not before setting one more part of her plan into motion: she sends Sam a simple message.
“You up for going to the arcade w/ me and Beth tmrw?”
Her reply came less than three minutes later.
Hannah decided to save feeling invigorated for tomorrow, when she really needed it. For now, she (attempts) to fall asleep while ignoring the still-flapping butterfly in her chest.
i might watch re-animator tonight so i can actually hear the theme lmao
Chapter 3: Party Planning, Badasses and Arcades
mgmh.... arcade time
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The night passes, and breakfast time comes once more. Hannah cooks this time, and with no vegans to cater for, she makes the classic bacon and eggs, a meal that Josh often jokes about, calling it the “Washington Special.” When Beth walks in wearing her sewing amalgamation (which Hannah could now see was a huge t-shirt that went down to her knees, and she’s not sure if she’s wearing pants underneath it), the older twin informs her about her plans to take her and Sam to the arcade. Beth’s response is exactly the same as Sam’s when she messaged her last night.
Josh eventually joined them in the kitchen, huge bags under his eyes and an energy that says “If you talk to me before I get some caffeine in me I will vaporize you.” Hannah and Beth didn’t try to talk to him, instead choosing to either eat their food in silence (or, in Beth’s case, trying very hard not to get anything on her creation). When Josh seemed capable of human interaction, he announced this fact with a satisfied sigh after a long, drawn out sip of his coffee.
“You seem extra tired today,” Beth comments, cutting off a piece of bacon on her plate. “Up late doing something?”
“Yeeeeees,” wails Josh, sinking down into his seat with his hands covering his face. Hannah and Beth look at each other with raised eyebrows.
“What were you doing ?” Hannah asks, concerned. Josh peeks at her through his fingers, and Hannah could see that his eyes were bloodshot.
“Same as you,” he says simply, removing his hands from his face and simply letting them drop, his arms hanging limply at his sides, “planning.”
Hannah’s eyes widen, and her body completely tenses. She’s also pretty sure she’s done the impossible and raised her eyebrows so high they’ve become a part of her hairline - a feat previously only achieved by the oldest Washington present. The man in question doesn’t seem to realize what he’s said, and has started eating his food. Beth, however, has no interest in her breakfast anymore, her attention totally on Hannah. She’s fixed a questioning gaze on her older sister, raising an eyebrow to achieve the look of Ultimate Suspicion.
“Planning what?” the youngest Washington asks, bringing her arms up onto the table so that she can rest her head in her hands. A lump forms in Hannah’s throat, and she ought to steal one of Josh’s pieces of bacon for sharing that snippet of information, though she can’t really blame him. He does seem to have only gotten exactly twelve minutes of sleep, and god knows Hannah’s done questionable things when she’s running on the last dregs of fuel in her motor (that’s one Burger King she’s never allowed to go to ever again). This time she seems to be caught out - her brain seems to have stopped functioning and she can’t think of a good lie. Not like that would do her much good anyway - her mouth’s dry and she’s sure that if she tries talking she’s just gonna end up passing out.
Josh almost chokes on his egg in his hurry to swallow his bite.
“Well, Matt and I’s anniversary is coming up soon, right? And I wanted to do something special by throwing a party - nothing too big, just us and the rest of the group, besides Em should be back before the big day - and I wanted it to be perfect so I spent all night ordering party supplies based around his favourite things, and I also tried ordering a cake but all the cakes our local guy had in stock weren’t good enough for me and he also scolded me for calling him at 3 in the morning,” (Josh takes a moment to catch his breath and take a sip of his coffee), “so i spent a solid two hours designing a cute cake for us to have at the party, and I made sure to detail that the flavour was red velvet - Matt’s favourite - and I read that the bakery opens at 8 so i thought I could stay up until then to give the guy my design and I tried watching some random horror movie on Netflix but I ended up falling asleep before anyone even died and then I woke up because of bacon so yeah.”
To say that the twins had whiplash would be an understatement. Josh mumbled out half of his speech so his sisters had to take a few seconds deciphering what exactly he said, after which they both felt touched that Josh would go to great lengths for his boyfriend (and Hannah was mostly just grateful that he saved her from giving Beth a lie that she would definitely see through).
“Aww,” the twins both cooed at the same time. They looked at each other and giggled at their synchronisation. Josh smiled a bit, satisfied with their reaction, then sank back into his meal.
“That’s dedication,” says Beth, genuinely impressed. She chooses to continue eating her own meal, like she’s mimicking her brother. Hannah nods, and smiles knowing that Matt is just as dedicated as Josh in trying to make their anniversary special for each other. Wonder when Sam and Beth’s anniversary is.
No, don’t think about that now.
Wanting to distract herself from the butterfly flitting around her ribcage, Hannah directs her attention to her sister, casting a watchful eye over the Franken-t-shirt. She finishes off her last piece of bacon before asking, “So, what’s up with the shirt, sis?”
Instead of deflecting with a memey phrase, something horrific happens. In a manner that is very not-Beth, she avoids eye contact with Hannah, flushes , and even seems to shrink slightly. The older twin furrows her brows at this, because Beth looks like her . Meaning, she looks shy.
“I, well, uhm…” she trails off for a moment, trying to find anywhere to look that isn’t her bespectacled sister, “I’m not ready to talk about it just yet.” She said this with the quietest voice imaginable.
God fucking dammit. The butterfly starts flapping more incessantly, more annoyingly in Hannah’s chest. The behaviour is strange enough to catch the attention of Josh, who glances at Hannah with raised eyebrows (and a mouth full of food). Hannah makes a face that seems to say, “Does that mean what I think it means!?” and Josh replies with his own face that says, “I don’t know! In any case, it’s not proof enough! (I also have a mouth full of bacon).”
Hannah feels like she’s on the surge of complete heart failure in this situation, so she chooses to go and clean her dishes to escape it. Fortunately for her, there weren’t any other events that occurred over the remainder of breakfast that would have caused her to flatline.
Upon entering the arcade Sam immediately set her sights on one of those shooter games, a newer one. Unfortunately for the trio of girls, the game only provides the players with two controllers (like every single other shooter in the arcade. Or racing game. Just in general, actually), so someone would have to either stand and watch or play another game while two play. Realizing this, Beth is quick to call out the smaller girl.
“Wait, Sam, hold up,” Beth says, reaching out a hand and putting it on her shoulder to calm the eager blonde. The smaller girl turns and fixes the twins with an attentive gaze.
“Yes, Beth?” Sam says in a voice that resembled honey a bit too much for Hannah’s liking. Well, if anything, it will just add on to the growing pile of proof she has in terms of their secret relationship. The butterfly flutters feebly, as if to back up this point.
“We should have a system of playing,” Beth starts saying, pulling a few quarters out of a pocket, probably in preparation for playing, “like, everytime one of us dies, or something, we swap out so someone else can play.” Hannah copies what Beth is doing, pulling some coins out some nondescript part of her clothing.
Sam nods along, the loose hairs around her face bouncing in a way that should only happen in princess movies, saying, “You’re right. Wouldn’t be fun any other way.”
“Sam, since you’re so eager, why don’t you have first turn?” Hannah suggests, trying to dig around for more quarters in the pockets of her jeans, thrusting whole hands into them (she asked Beth to extend the pockets so that she could fit more than a paperclip and two candy wrappers in them), “and since I’m preoccupied, Beth. You have a go, too.”
Beth opens her mouth to say something, possibly debate with Hannah on this choice, but then decides that staying silent would be a better idea. Instead, she follows Sam the last few steps to the shooter and puts in the amount of coins necessary to become her player two. Heh, that’s kinda funny.
Here’s where it becomes shockingly clear that Sam’s short: while Beth can easily see over her gun, Sam either has to stand on her toes or stand slightly to the left of the gun to see the screen, and even then the gun blocks about a quarter of the bottom of the screen. It’s quite cute, honestly. Hannah distinctly remembers when she showed up to school one day post growth spurt, and Sam was pretty sad about it. She then waited eagerly for her own growth spurt (which never came. Also, strangely enough, despite being twins, Beth only grew to her full height a few weeks after Hannah did. And Josh remains to be the tallest of them - but only by an inch).
“Holy shit, Sam,” Hannah could hear Beth mutter in the back of her mind. She started thinking about all those dumb photos she took in the weeks following her newfound height, usually just her leaning an arm on Sam’s head while the blonde makes a grumpy face (she has one on her desk). The butterfly’s back, but this time it’s flapping about wildly and happily, but it almost seems to get shot down when Hannah wonders how many couple photos her sister and best friend must have like that.
She’s brought out of her thoughts by a hand on her back. She looks to the owner of the hand (it would be weird for it to be disembodied, after all. Unless she was suddenly a character in the Addams Family. She wouldn’t mind that, come to think of it), and sees Beth standing there.
“I died, you’re up,” is all Beth says, motioning to the game with her head. Hannah nods and takes her sister’s place by the gun-controller, placing in the stipulated amount of coins into the machine, then pressing a button (with unnecessary force) to put her in the game. She mentally kicks herself when she realizes she forgot to pay attention to how Sam and Beth played, but the thought quickly gets drowned out when she realizes just how hard the game is. It’s relatively easy to aim, but the problem lies in the controller. You don’t reload automatically, so there’s a button for it, as well as a separate button for throwing explosives… and the kicker is that it actually reacts to your input as if it were a gun. Like the vibrate function on a console controller, only fifteen times worse.
Sam seemed to be doing fine, though. Somehow. A quick glance at the health bar revealed that she had only been hit about two times, has an insanely high kill count, and aim good enough to make Hannah consider taking her to laser tag with Josh anyway, whether she loses the bet or not. She quickly turns her attention back to the game, and narrowly avoids getting destroyed by a piece of flying debris. Before long, the mega vibration on the controller starts taking its toll - her wrist starts to ache, vaguely, and her hand starts to hurt from how hard she’s holding onto it. She’d be lying if she said that took her out of the game, though: it does a really good job at immersing you, and the fact that she was in an arcade was something Hannah almost forgot. A reminder of her current location was Beth, who was standing behind her and saying, “Wow, you guys are doing great!” (as well as the ever-flying butterfly in her chest. Maybe she’s got a disease or something.)
In no time at all, they get onto the next stage. Hannah had to admit, Sam's awfully good at this… like, suspiciously. Maybe she's not as much of a pacifist as she led everyone to believe. Sam hasn't died yet and - okay, there goes Hannah. She moves aside to allow Beth to take her place, and during this time Sam gets hit once more. Hannah vows to actually pay attention to the two this time, and see their chemistry , or whatever.
They play the game normally, Beth making frustrated little noises every so often (usually when Sam steals a kill, or when she gets hit) but other than that, they don't talk, or interact in any meaningful way. Well, Sam's really interesting, and her way of playing enraptured Hannah when she turned her attention to her. A totally stoic face, in no way showing discomfort due to the guntroller, absolutely wrecking the enemies she’s faced with. Precision that Hannah never thought anyone could achieve in an arcade shooter, her gaze intense, like she hates everything before her with a fiery passion - maybe Sam does this as a form of anger management? Wait, no, that’s dumb.
Either way, the small blonde looked like she could be the womanizing, guns blazing protagonist in a cheesy action movie from the 80s (with a lot less moustache and a lot more smoulder). There goes the butterfly again, all flap-happy in her chest, when by some horrible miracle - Sam doesn’t destroy an in-game piece of debris in time, destroying her health bar entirely. Then comes one enemy that went for her instead of Beth - and she’s out.
“Holy shit, Sam,” Hannah echoes Beth from earlier as she takes her best friend’s place. After witnessing that power play, Hannah feels inadequate in her playing as they advance to the final stage - and the boss. Sam stands behind her, eager to see the twins beat the damn thing. The first couple parts of the boss are quick, but following that, their health is dropping like peasants with the plague in the 1300s. They’re all so immersed in this fight that, as the stakes rise, their shoulders tense more. Sam watches the two with bated breath, moving up right behind them to get a perfect view.
She also gave Hannah the scare of her life when she put her hand on her back, but that only made her one hit closer to death. The taller girl tried to pay no attention to it (and failed spectacularly thanks to the party the butterflies decided to throw right then), and only got slightly jittery when coming up on the final phase of the boss (what is HAPPENING?). Unfortunately, about ten seconds later, her character died.
“Come on, Beth!” Hannah immediately took to cheering, thinking that Beth has enough health to tank this final bit. Sam joined in on the cheer, and Beth set her jaw as she worked down the boss’s health. After a tense while, Beth landed the final shot - and a bright yellow VICTORY! engulfed the screen. The three girls shared high fives, celebrating like little kids who had climbed a tree to the highest point, and not like they were a bunch of young adults in a mostly-empty arcade (summer had ended. It was also Monday).
“Hey, look! High score!” Hannah points out post-celebration. The twins both looked at Sam (who definitely was the reason for getting the score) then moved out of the way to give her access to the controls.
“Whoa, no way guys. This was a group effort,” Sam says, raising her hands so that she could flex and massage them ( ah, so the controller did affect her ), “I think we should do, like, our first initials mashed together. HSB , or something.”
The twins nodded along with her idea, agreeing that it would be the best course of action. Beth moves to take the controller, aiming the pointer at the respective letters, and so “HSB” became highest score holder on the first shooter you see when walking into the local arcade.
I went to an arcade with my mom one time and we spent 90% of the time playing an Alien shooter game :D and those guns were a fuckin BITCH but we beat it anyway so :)
Chapter 4: Flirting, Feelings and Girl Talk
re-animator theme.... dope
also this chapter was probably the most fun to write in this entire fic. probably because the gay is cranked up to 11. yeehaw.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The rest of the arcade trip was unfulfilling in terms of official proof of a secret relationship, but it did allow Sam to show off her supreme shooter skills. On games ranging from old to new, with controllers ranging from pistols to crossbows, Sam dominated. If she really wanted, she could be a real life protagonist from a huge RPG (but because it would then be real life and not a video game, she would always take the diplomatic route. She can be really good with her words when she wants to be).
The trio returned home to Josh, who was sitting in the middle of the foyer, on the floor, with a notepad. He was looking around the room, then writing something down (he's most likely planning for the party). When he hears the front door close, his head swivels around to look at the girls. He smiles brightly at them and is on his feet in a second.
"Hey, guys!" he says, positivity coming off him in waves. "Guess who's no longer stressed about the party!"
"Party?" Sam asks, turning to the eldest of the sisters for answers.
"For him and Matt's anniversary," Hannah explains, and Josh beams at them while nodding wildly.
"How'd your mood turn around?" asks Beth, genuinely confused. In the span of a few hours, Josh went from grumpy and ready for murder to chipper and ready to go for a night on the town.
"Oh, well. I sent the cake design to the baker guy then took a nap for a few hours - until my alarm woke me. Y'know, gotta go see Alan. He really helped me out with this whole thing - said I was overthinking it. Then I realized that yeah, I was overthinking a bit. Also, Hannah, you have plenty of playlists that absolutely exude gay vibes, mind if I use one for the party?"
The three girls stand there for a moment, taking in Josh's sudden flurry of words. When Hannah's mind has caught up, she answers Josh, "Uh, sure…? But why not use one of Beth's? They're leagues gayer than mine."
Beth coughs before cutting in, "All my playlists are a bit too full of rock ‘n shit. Not enough yearning . Wouldn't be the right vibe for a party like this."
Sam nods, "Going with your sibs on this one. I mean, Han, you literally have both Jenny and a song called 'Don't Wanna Be Your Friend' on multiple playlists." The blonde laughs for a moment before continuing. "Is there something you're not telling me?"
Well, Hannah's brain just broke into several pieces. Was that a flirt? Was Sam just flirting with her? But! She's dating Beth, right? What the fuck!?
Hannah makes eye contact with Josh from across the room, and she swears she hears Kill Bill sirens. In what seems to be slow motion, his face slowly morphs into the one the cat being threatened by a knife has, and he brings up a single finger, as if to say, "Josh one, Hannah zero."
And her chest - God! It's a fucking nightmare in there. Like if what Sam had said had been a bat, and Hannah's chest was a wasp nest, but it was inhabited by feral butterflies. Her chest was totally filled with the fluttery feeling, the kind where the wings aren't broken, and Hannah isn't sure if she likes this specific feeling or hates it. Also, her face was practically on fire, like when adrenaline forces your blood to your limbs but right now something is forcing it to her face. Either way, Both Sam and Beth were totally oblivious to the effect the question had on her.
"I, no? Those - those songs are, y'know. Jams. Bops. The kind - The kind you just gotta, gotta have in mul- a bun- a few playlists," Hannah stutters, and she isn't lying why the hell is she stuttering? Sam is amused by her response, letting out a giggle then patting her on the shoulder.
"Well, this conversation is nice and all, but I have a project to finish. Later, jerks,” Beth announces, trotting to the stairs (and, furthermore, to her room). It’s silent between the two brunettes and the blonde still left in the room, and really, really awkward. Well, for Hannah it’s awkward. She has no clue how Sam or Josh are feeling.
“I’m gonna take a bath,” Sam says, shooting Hannah a smile before she goes up the stairs (in the direction of Hannah’s room, because the bathroom next to it has the best bath, according to the blonde). Once the blonde is out of earshot, Josh doubles over with hysterical laughter, tears pouring out his eyes within seconds.
“Holy shit!” he manages to breathe out at some point, “Sam totally flirted with you! Like, a serious flirt!” He catches his breath for a moment then continues, “Still think she’s dating our sister?”
Hannah flushes (even more than she did before. How she’s standing, only God knows). She walks backwards, back hitting a wall. She covers her face and mumbles, “God, I don’t know anymore! It’s just, it’s so confusing! One minute it looks like they, they’re gonna do something, but then there’s just - nope! Nothing !” She slides down the wall until she’s sitting on the floor. Josh is mostly over his bout of laughter, but still chuckles every now and then as he asks:
“Why, why don’t you just ask them?” He says it like it’s the most goddamn obvious thing in the world, and it almost makes Hannah want to groan. Slowly, she lowers her hands and gives her brother an incredulous look.
“C’mon, sis. Beth’s our sister, literally your other half, and Sam’s your best friend. And your best friend just flirted with you. Have you ever seen Sam flirt with anyone? She just - she doesn’t do that!” he continues, gesticulating wildly. Hannah ponders these facts for a moment, then concedes: she lets her arms fall limp, hands on the tiles under her.
“I just…” she starts, taking in a deep, shaky breath, “I’m just so confused. About this thing that’s been going on with me.”
Immediately, Josh’s giggling ceases. He takes a few slow steps to where his sister is sitting, then joins her on the tile floor, staring at her with attentive eyes.
“Therapy time. Tell me about this thing , Han,” the man says, explaining his intent behind sitting on the cold floor instead of the carpet in the middle of the room.
“I, well… Promise you won’t laugh? It’s really weird.” Josh raises his pinkie, as if he were making a promise to a young child, and still Hannah takes it. She finds comfort in the gesture. “I promise,” he replies.
“Okay, so…” the brunette takes in a deep breath, hand unconsciously brushing over the tattoo on her shoulder, “y’know that saying? About having butterflies in your stomach or whatever.” Josh nods. “I, well, I’ve been having that, I guess? But, but like - in my chest. And most of the time it’s just one butterfly. And it’s got this like, a broken wing?”
Josh listens, fascinated, and urges her to go on with a wave of his hand.
“I don’t know what’s up with it. It’s always fluttering around when I see Sam and Beth do anything. I, I really don’t like the way it feels, like it - it’s almost painful sometimes,” Hannah admits, and it’s weird to be explaining the whole weird metaphorical thing that’s been happening within her ribcage since that first encounter to someone else. Josh doesn’t say anything, sensing that she hasn’t finished.
“I, but, sometimes it’s… it’s nice, I think. Like, uhm… it, it’s wing gets fixed, or something. Sometimes there are more of them, all having like, a - a mosh pit in my chest. I dunno.” Josh laughs a little, then coughs, “Sorry. What causes the butterflies to party?”
Hannah thinks, then says after a moment, “Like, uh, when Sam said that? ”
Josh nods, closing his eyes, as if he’s considering this information, filing it away in his brain for later.
“Your diagnosis, doc?” Hannah jokes, trying to ease her own tension following the events earlier.
“Terminal, you’ve got two weeks,” Josh says, grimly (with a wink), “One of the worst cases of Butterfly-Chest I’ve ever seen.” Hannah laughs along with his joke, glad that he’s the one person she can tell these things to currently.
“Okay, but seriously. At the moment, I’m not sure. I’ll get back to you later. For now, for the love of god, can you hang out with your best friend? Forget about it. The bet, I mean. Just enjoy your time with Sam, Hannah.” Josh’s tone is so sincere, so intensely full of earnest that Hannah decides that that is exactly what she will do.
Sam waited patiently in Hannah's room, waiting for said girl to finish her shower so they can kick off the evening with super fun sleepover activities, like watching bad movies on Netflix and talking about nothing. The blonde sat on the bed, holding a rainbow-shaped pillow on her lap, hair loose and a hairbrush sitting before her.
Sam glances around the familiar room, suddenly noticing an oddity. There was a notebook on Hannah's desk, one of the ones she bought then never ended up using. From where she was sitting, Sam could see that the cover was blue and purple, a nebula. Maybe she finally decided to use it , Sam ponders as she slides off the bed, making her way to the desk. Sam has no fear of Hannah's things - the girl is very open with her, however her diaries are always kept in places the short girl could never reach (damn you, top shelves in her walk-in closet!). Besides, the notebooks always have doodles, sketches, drawings, and Hannah truly is a talented artist (it's a trait all three siblings share), and her best friend would most likely show this one to her at some point, so why not?
Sam opens the book, and she does her best to hide her shock. On the first page, written in big, glittery red letters: “SAM + BETH”. She wants to close the notebook and go back to the bed, but her curiosity gets the better of her and she turns to the next page. On it, various ideas for “dates” she could take the blonde and her twin sister on (while tagging along in hopes of catching some proof), and “arcade” is scratched out. There are doodles of signs for some of the establishments, but that’s the summary of that page. In her awe, Sam flips the page again. Here, there’s a drawing of Beth’s project, of them holding hands, of them hugging, and notes accompanying them (the biggest constant being glittery pen. Hannah always did love her glittery pens). She turned the page again, to find sketches of their faces, but what really struck her was the difference between them. Her own was fully fledged, no freckle left out of place. Beth’s looked like it was well on its way to that point, however it was still sketchy, totally messy, unfinished. A baseline. Sam reasons that it must be because she ran out of time to finish before… whatever.
Sam quickly closes the notebook and dives back onto Hannah’s bed upon hearing the water stop running in the bathroom nearby. Her heart is racing, and all she can think is holy shit, this is bad.
The sleepover was going well so far. They commented on the quality of any bad Netflix movies they could find, just barely paying attention to them, while lying comfortably among the mass of pillows on Hannah’s bed. Also, the brunette may have been lying to herself when she thought she was going to stop thinking about the whole bet, and everything. She couldn’t help it, really. So, as one of the movies came to a close, she made a decision to do what Josh said. Not the thing about forgetting about the bet, that went out the window, but the thing about asking one of them about their relationship status. Well, she couldn’t exactly ask her that outright, what was she gonna say? Hey, my best friend of many years, are you dating my twin sister? That would probably freak her out. Her solution to this was easy, though - Girl Talk. But, again, that was reserved for when something super spicy was happening, but there wasn’t really…
Hannah knows that Josh is prepping a party for Matt on their anniversary (which is that weekend! Crazy stuff) and how Matt was getting an anniversary gift for Josh, both without the other’s knowledge. Perfect!
“Sam,” Hannah says as the credits roll on the movie.
“Yeah, Han?” the blonde replies, turning away from the laptop screen and towards her friend. Netflix automatically exits the credits screen and brings the app to the home page, bathing Sam in a mis-matched light.
“So, you know about Josh’s party for Matt.”
“Fun fact, Matt doesn’t know about it.” This makes Sam’s eyes widen, and she replies, “I hope Josh isn’t planning to invite the whole town, Matt would hate that.”
“Nope. It’ll just be us. Like, our friend group,” Hannah quickly says, watching intently as Sam briefly turns her attention away from her in order to shut the laptop and move it away, so that they can face each other and discuss this properly.
“Wanna know something crazy?” Hannah prompts, pushing some hair out her face.
“Yeah! Wait, don’t tell me yet, let me guess,” Sam quickly mutters, going into a state of faux-thinking for a moment before continuing, “Matt’s got a surprise planned for Josh, too.”
“Ding ding ding!” Hannah cries, giving her best friend a high-five. Sam cheers, giving a little hell yeah! While fist-bumping the air.
“So, what does Matt have planned? Not a party, I hope,” Sam asks, giggling a little at the possibility of both the boys planning parties for each other. Hannah chuckles too, imagining how that would play out in her head.
“Nah. Matt wants to get a gift for him. He’s actually so sweet, he asked for my help because he doesn’t want to get a bad gift,” the brunette tells her blonde friend, to which the other girl says aww .
“You know what he’s gonna get?” Sam questions, leaning on the pillow in her lap, head in her hands. That’s kinda cute . The butterfly flutters a little at that thought, and Hannah’s thankful it isn’t all that distracting at the moment.
Hannah shakes her head, “No. I just nudged him in the right direction.”
Sam beams at the girl before her, “And what direction was that?”
“Into the loving arms of my brother,” Hannah says dramatically, falling back into her mountain of pillows as if she were falling onto a fainting couch. Sam laughs, giving the brunette a tap on her clothed knee as she emerges from the pillow pile. This makes the butterfly flutter excitedly in her chest, but she elects to ignore it right now.
“I’ve been thinking,” Sam says as her laughter dies down. Hannah watches her intently as she continues, “Everyone in our group is hooking up. Your brother and Matt, Jess and Ash, I’m pretty sure Chris and Mike are on their way to something -”
“What? Those two? Since when?” Hannah asks with incredulity. Sam blows out some air as she thinks about what to say.
“People trust me,” Sam says ( Completely understandable , Hannah thinks), “both of them have been infodumping me about each other. Mike’s a total softie about him, and Chris is worried he’s out of his league, and -”
Sam’s phone vibrates. She reaches over to where it is on the bed, unlocking the home screen and - “Yup, see? I just got one from Mike now and -” she reads over the message and her eyes widen by an amount that could leave Josh running for his money.
“What?” Hannah interrogates, leaning forward, eager to find out about this new piece of info. Her hair falls into her face again, and she pulls it out her face once more.
“Mike just said “He kissed me!” With like, a million exclamation marks!” Sam says, quickly opening the message in order to type a reply.
“Holy shit!” Hannah says, shocked, “I never would’ve imagined Chris making the first move for anything like that!”
Sam laughs before replying, “Yeah, me too!”
Hannah giggles along with her, wondering if this is another one of those things Josh and Beth had bet on (for example, Beth had said that Ash would totally make the first move, and ended up winning that bet when she caught the redhead pulling the taller girl into a kiss at a party. She only claimed her reward from Josh after the fact, though, after asking Jess if that was their first kiss a day later. When the blonde said, Fuck yeah, that was our first kiss , Beth gave Josh her best shit-eating grin while he begrudgingly handed him his copy of the original Doom, so that she could beat all his best times). But, as the thought of her sister crossed her mind again, the butterfly’s wing snapped in half immediately, putting a damper on her mood. To try and hide this, she continues the conversation with her dear best friend.
“So, where were you going with this before we got sidetracked,” Hannah asks, putting on a smile.
“Hmm? Oh, uhh… Oh, right! I was wondering if we’d all end up dating each other eventually, or something,” Sam finally finishes her thought, shrugging her shoulders. This gives Hannah pause, the butterfly’s flapping almost painful. Instead of pondering on whatever the heck the meaning behind that statement could be, she decides to seize the opportunity that just got handed to her on a triple date-shaped platter.
“Why?” Hannah starts, leaning forward, “You like someone in the group?”
Sam is immediately set on edge, and Hannah assumes that she does, in fact, like someone, because anyone would become tense when asked about their crush (this was totally wrong, though, because Hannah has no clue Sam caught a major peek at her notebook). Sam thinks for a moment, says Fuck it very, very, very quietly to herself, flushes, blows out a breath then answers her best friend.
“I, well… Yeah, I guess you could say that,” Sam admits, looking away from the brunette to a discarded pillow on the floor. She smiles softly ( most likely thinking about the mysterious crush , and god Hannah sounds like a little school girl with that), and the butterfly in Hannah’s chest can’t decide if it wants to invite all its friends over for another party or if it wants to shrivel up and die.
“Can you tell me about her?” Hannah probes, leaning closer, causing her hair to fall in her face again. Before answering, Sam moves closer and tucks the pesky lock of hair behind Hannah’s ear, and for once her hand is warm as the blonde lets it linger on her friend’s cheek. Her fingers are rough against her skin, and it’s Hannah’s turn to blush as her chest is ready to burst due to the magnitude of butterflies currently attending a rave in there.
“Well,” Sam begins, hand still on Hannah’s face, “she’s really kind, and pretty, and smart, and talented, and I’m scared that I’ll never be able to tell her how I actually feel.” Hannah listens intently, enraptured, as if the blonde before her is a siren. She tries thinking about how that could apply to either Beth or Emily (what a twist would it be if Sam liked Emily?), but her brain just seems to… stop. She's too busy thinking about the hand on her face, the soft expression on Sam's face, how the very air around them seems to have frozen, the only indication that proves this to be false being the heavy rise and fall of the blonde's chest. All of a sudden, Sam seems to be getting closer, and her breathing quickens and what is HAPPENING -
Whatever was going to happen never does, because Froot begins playing loudly from Hannah’s phone, scaring the absolute shit out of them both. Hannah’s quick to fumble around for it, struggling to swipe the screen to answer the phone.
“Y, yeah, Matt?” she stutters into her mic, avoiding looking at her best friend, now finally free from whatever spell she cast on her.
“I just wanted to let you know that Em’s coming back early. She was supposed to go on a cruise, but that got cancelled, so she complained about it to me for ten minutes before telling me she’s coming back tomorrow,” Matt explains, and Hannah could just-barely hear the Re-Animator theme in the background ( is he watching it? ).
“Oh, that sucks. The whole coming back early thing,” Hannah says, and it feels like her chest is calming down a little bit.
“What’s going on?” Sam asks, concerned.
“It’s Matt, he says Em’s coming back from her holiday early because a cruise or whatever got cancelled,” Hannah answers, sure to bring her phone away from her face as she does so.
“Oh! Is Sam there? Can I talk to her?” Matt asks excitedly, to which Hannah shrugs and says Sure . She holds the phone out in the blonde’s direction, explaining when she gave her a confused face, “He wants to talk to you.” She takes it quickly, almost deliberately avoiding accidentally touching Hannah’s hand.
“Hey, Matty,” Sam greets him. Hannah can only hear Sam’s end of the conversation as she talks with Matt.
“Hmm? No, I haven’t.”
“I’m too scared, Matt.”
“You think I should? No, no, I couldn’t…”
“I would, but I’m scared that it’ll ruin what we already have.”
A couple more seconds, Sam says “Bye, Matt” and hands the phone back to Hannah. Their hands don’t touch. Then, the blonde announces that she’s going to get a snack or something, and her absence gives Hannah the perfect opportunity to reassess the fuck out of her notebook.
gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay
Chapter 5 is basically the last chapter, but chapter 6 is basically gonna be like. a special mini-chapter.
Chapter 5: Realisations, Parties and Gorillaz
me big gay,
Also this is the longest chapter in the story! (And also the "last" one.)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Whatever had or hadn’t happened earlier that evening would have never impeded on the age-old tradition of falling asleep among the pillows on Hannah’s bed, and thankfully the girl’s sleep wasn’t interrupted by Marina this time. However, the butterflies ceaselessly flapping away in Hannah’s chest led into a fitful sleep, and she ended up waking up just before sunrise. Any attempts to fall back asleep were all for nothing when she realized that she was sandwiched between a wall of pillows and her best friend, who was clinging onto her like a lifeline. This made the butterflies go mad, and she’s still not sure whether she likes the feeling or hates it, but at this point she’s realized it’s associated with Sam, somehow.
Deciding that staying in bed would be counter-productive, she slips out of bed (well, slip is not the best way to describe it. She had to slowly, carefully remove Sam’s arms from around her body, made more complicated when her grip just tightened. And God , Sam’s got a strong grip - probably because of all those rock walls she climbs. Then she had to manoeuvre herself so that she didn’t shift the bed too much as she got off, and then she slid off), dons her trusty glasses and heads out to the kitchen to make herself something. He bare feet pitter-patter over the tile floor as she enters the kitchen, and is surprised to find Beth sitting by the counter, sewing machine in front of her and abomination of a t-shirt looking more like something could wear out without being laughed at than ever before.
Hannah’s twin doesn’t hear her enter the kitchen because she’s wearing headphones (and listening to Gorillaz at full volume) so she makes her presence known by sitting directly in front of her. Beth immediately notices, hastily dragging her headphones down so they rest around her neck.
“Hey, Han. You’re up early,” Beth says, moving to take a sip of tea from a mug Hannah hadn’t noticed before.
“You too,” is all the older twin says as she stands up, moving to the coffee machine to make herself a wake-up drink, now feeling fatigued once more now that the butterflies have all but vanished. The machine gets to work, giving the room a nice ambient noise (alongside the Demon Days album).
"You gonna tell me what the shirt's all about yet?" Hannah asks, now moving to the fridge. She opens it, her sister silent, deciding to snack on some grapes. After a moment, Beth answers, and what she says makes Hannah’s reality explode.
"Only if you tell me what's happening with Sam."
If Hannah had been eating a grape at that moment, she would have choked. Thankfully, she wasn’t, and the only victim of her shock was the package the grapes came in as it slipped out of her grip and fell onto the counter. She looked at Beth, who was sitting calmly, face neutral (if you exclude the raised eyebrow).
“Wha, what do you mean, Beth?” Hannah asks, confused, bewildered, muddled , slowly taking her place at the counter once again. Beth takes in a deep breath through her nose, allowing Dare to play for a moment before answering her sister.
“Josh told me about the bet,” Beth explains, and Hannah feels her heart seize up in her chest. Before the bespectacled girl could even begin to explain why , Beth continued, “Honestly? Good on you, sis.”
“... What?” is all Hannah could muster. She’s totally dumbfounded, made even more so when Beth starts laughing, hearty and full of mirth. She could feel her glasses slowly slide down her nose as she stared at her cackling sibling.
“You know you were never barred from betting, right? It was never a thing exclusive to just Josh and I,” Beth starts saying as her laughter quickly drops, “I’m just - you took this so seriously!” Hannah starts to feel a little bit embarrassed, wondering just how much Josh told his youngest sibling. Beth quickly solves this mystery with what she says next:
“Han,” Beth starts, becoming serious so quickly the older twin gets emotional whiplash. “This bet… it started with something. It always does.” (She then went on to explain how the Ash and Jess bet started, how they witnessed Ash starting to hang out with Jess a suspicious amount, and it became way more interesting when Ash told Josh during one hangout that she planned on telling the blonde her feelings during the coming up party. Lo and behold, Ash kissed Jess, and Beth got some shiny new spots on the leaderboard on a speedrunning website.) “I don’t know what you saw between me and Sam, but I promise you, there’s nothing between us.”
Hannah feels everything crash down around her, like an action hero who was standing in a spot convenient enough that a nearby explosion doesn't send debris flying into them (however nothing actually happened. The kitchen was totally static). The realization that she has to go with Josh and Matt to laser tag doesn't bother her as much as she thought it would, actually. Or, maybe it's because of the butterfly, who was fluttering around happily and almost seemed… relieved? How? What!?
"Also, I think I can help you with your butterfly problem." Hannah can't feel her legs. The older twin finds her voice and asks, barely audible, "How much did Josh tell you?"
"Oh, everything." The youngest Washington says it so nonchalantly, it makes Hannah almost choke on her spit. Almost. Beth must have seen the look on her face, and she laughs again before continuing: "Han. You know us. There aren't any secrets between us. He was always gonna tell me, sooner or later." Usually sooner, because he's Josh and he's just like that. Hannah thinks over this information, suddenly very flustered about how she could forget that simple fact. However, she elects to put that revelation on the back burner when she remembers Beth's offer, perking up when she remembers it.
"You said you could help with my butterflies?" Hannah asks, pushing her glasses back up her nose. Beth nods casually, the corners of her lips quirking up just a bit more.
“Yeah,” Beth says, “but take no offense to this, Han. You are really out of touch with your feelings.” Hannah tilts her head at her twin, confused, and Beth sighs.
“You want me to give you all my thoughts or to just give it to you straight?” Beth asks, smile all but gone from her face. Hannah thinks for a moment, trying to decide what would be the best one to go with. Hannah wants answers, that’s it. Beth is one of the most blunt people she’s ever known, so her confusion will be cleared immediately.
“Give it to me straight, Beth.” Hannah holds her breath as Beth leans forward on her arms, looking more like a concerned parent intervening than her twin sister.
“Okay,” Beth says, thinking for a moment as she finds the right words.
“You’re in love with Sam.”
Hannah damn near falls out her chair. And, this time she does choke on her spit. It takes a few seconds to recover, and she could barely talk given by how the entire damn butterfly population decided to mass migrate to her chest. Beth removes her headphones from around her neck, moving around the counter to her fumbling sister. When the older girl finally finds her voice, she shouts, “WHAT!?” Beth is quick to quiet her (reminding her that the mansion is echoey as all hell and she could wake up the others). She then helps her sister back onto her chair, keeping her hands on her shoulders as if it were a way to ground her (which it totally is).
“Han, Han, lemme explain,” Beth says, keeping her hands firmly on her older sister’s shoulders, sure to give a reassuring squeeze. This calms down Hannah enough to hear her out.
“Think about it, Hannah. You said that the wing was broken whenever you saw me with Sam, right? You said it doesn’t feel good, it feels more, like, more painful. Remember any other times you felt like this?” Hannah thinks for a moment before snapping her fingers after digging up an old(ish) memory: “When Em started going out with Mike!”
Oh, she remembers that well. Back when her heart decided to have that stupid short-lived crush on Mike, and all. She remembers hearing news of their first date, and now the broken wing feeling is a lot more familiar than she thought it was. Emily and Mike were didn't last long anyways, only lasting a month the last year before breaking up due to the fact that Mike was trying to hide the fact that he was actually a lot gayer than he let on. Now, he’s out and about and apparently going out with Chris ( I wonder if Josh knows about that yet? ), and Emily’s been single ever since.
“Holy shit, I’ve been jealous of you two the entire time.” Hannah slumps over in her chair as the realization hits, moving her hands up to clutch at her head but then choosing to just hold onto Beth’s arms. The younger twin nods.
“And when the wing’s fixed?” she urges on softly, giving her sister another shoulder squeeze. Hannah considers this for a moment, thinking about the things that made her little butterfly suddenly recover from its broken wing.
The flirt. The cuddling. The hand on her back. The tender way she held her face last night. Hannah’s brain gets caught on that one, and after thinking about it for a second longer her heart stops.
“ Sam was going to kiss me last night, ” the bespectacled girl breathes out, exhilarated all of a sudden. This sudden statement shocks Beth, who lets go of her sister’s shoulders and stumbles back a little bit. Her eyes widen a bit, and if you were to swap the twins faces at this moment, nothing would change.
“Holy shit!” Hannah whisper-shouts, face flaring up with a furious blush as she remembers - in-depth - that moment. The look on Sam’s face, how rough but warm her hand felt, the way she slowly moved in… and Hannah finds herself wishing they weren’t interrupted by Matt’s stupid phone call. That sudden thought takes the girl aback, and it finally seems to click into place.
“I’m in love with Sam and I’m pretty sure she’s in love with me,” Hannah says, breathing heavily as her face flushes more. Beth gives a little clap (not to be condescending, though - she was going to tell Hannah that Sam already told her when Josh informed them about the bet, but she thinks she probably shouldn’t mention that).
“How much does Sam know?” Hannah suddenly asks, and Beth decides to finally mention what she neglected to do so earlier.
“She knows about the bet but that’s it,” Beth informs her, gaze slowly shifting to the shirt as the conversation lulls for a moment.
“Well, I might as well tell you about my shirt now,” Beth says, looking nervous in a way that is simply so weirdly not like her at all before she continues, “I’m making it for Em. I like her.”
“What.” It’s not even a question, just pure shock. “Beth, holy shit. Why haven’t you told us yet!?”
“I was going to , but then the whole bet thing came up and I still wanted to mess with you a little.” Beth shrugs a little, and Hannah thinks for a moment before perking up.
“Does Josh know?” Hannah interrogates, to which Beth shakes her head. The older twin gasps, looking over at the shirt to see what it’s become. Hannah could now clearly see Emily sewn onto the white material in a whole number of different fabrics, the letters in cursive. Beth notices where Hannah’s looking and decides to flip over the shirt to show the other side and - holy shit.
Beth truly has a talent for sewing. She crafted an artwork on this shirt using the materials she had, making a beautiful portrait of Emily that the girl is sure to appreciate. Like a painting on canvas, but the paint is mismatched materials and the canvas is a random white t-shirt.
“Beth, we… we gotta do something,” Hannah suddenly says, prompting the other girl to (once again) raise an eyebrow.
“What do you mean?” Beth asks, moving to lean on the counter. Hannah thinks for a moment for an explanation to what she wants to say.
“About our crushes. We should, like, go for it, or something,” the older twin answers, also choosing to lean against the counter, propping her head up in one of her hands while she continues to ponder on their unique situation. All of a sudden, Beth snaps her fingers, drawing the attention of her sister.
“The party. We should tell them at the party.”
“Beth, you’re a genius .”
After figuring out what Hannah’s feelings mean, the days seem to fly by until the party. It’s not an event wild enough to drive the neighbours up the wall due to the small attendance, but what it lacks in partygoers it makes up for in sheer quality. Josh went all out on this one, and with the twins’ help, they made the foyer of the mansion perfect for an anniversary party. There’s a stereo at the top of the stairs playing a tweaked version of one of Hannah’s many playlists, the lights in the room dimmed down and tinted blue, Matt’s favourite colour. Speaking of Matt - he got the perfect gift for his boyfriend.
After his initial surprise, Matt gave Josh a brief kiss before handing him a couple of wrapped packages. Josh eagerly ripped open the packaging on one of them before he damn near passes out, for he clutched an HD copy of the original Night of the Living Dead in his hands. Matt laughed and smiled fondly at his reaction, mentally thanking Hannah for pushing him in the right direction, before urging him to open the other one. The shorter boy does so, and this time his face pales. Then, he’s running over to the minibar he set up in the corner, grabbing the microphone (connected to the stereo via a comically long wire) sitting on top of it. He announces, quite loudly: “ I fucking love my boyfriend! ” Then he’s running back to Matt and peppering - no, fucking seasoning - his face with kisses, which is met by cheering from the others.
Then Josh proclaims that they’ll all be watching it tonight (alongside Scream 4, something none of them had seen yet) before running off to his room to put away the other gift, which is a highly detailed Ash Williams figurine.
Hannah’s watching the room, waiting eagerly for Sam to arrive. She’s sipping on something that is non-alcoholic, deciding that she would probably be better off sober for her confession, and even then she would only have some liquid courage if she thinks she really needs it. Beth, on the other hand, is not a lightweight - at this point she’s on her second glass of whatever and chatting with Jess and Ash (Jess has her arm around Ash’s shoulders, which is just so cute). Emily was there - but she went to the bathroom. Chris and Mike are sitting together on a couch set up in the room, eyes trained on Chris’s DS as he plays one of the older Pok é mon remakes. They’ve both had a couple already, Mike watching eagerly as Chris fumbles his way through the elite four.
Josh cheered when he heard of their developing relationship, clapping Chris on the shoulder then congratulating him (he also said that they have 'hot boyfriend solidarity'. Hannah's not sure if he was referring to himself and Chris or Mike and Matt). Chris was bashful when announcing the relationship, but Mike helped him through it. Needless to say, Josh was happy for his friend.
Matt and Josh are currently having an animated discussion about something (probably horror) and Hannah’s brother is looking more in love than she’s ever seen him. Every so often the two boys kiss.
Hannah herself feels quite confident. She decided to borrow Beth’s self-made replica of Elton John’s denim jacket with patches, the highlight of her outfit, with a simple plain white t-shirt and jeans. Ash had complimented her and said that she should wear denim more often, while Chris, upon seeing it, started belting out Tiny Dancer at the top of his lungs, eventually coaxing others to join in. Everyone else is dressed quite comfortably, with sweatpants and loose shirts and stuff in preparation for comfortable movie-watching later, and Beth is wearing her trademark beanie as always.
Sam walks in right as Emily returns from the bathroom, and like they were in some kind of movie, Beth and Hannah look at each other from across the room and nod. Hannah watches as Beth goes over to Emily and tells her that she’ll be right back, followed by her walking up to her room, leaving the other girl behind. Hannah follows her sister’s example and walks over to Sam, who was wearing a leather jacket over a loose shirt and yoga pants. Sam apologized for being late ( There was a crapton of traffic! ) while they hug each other tightly, and Hannah’s thankful to finally know why her butterfly’s fluttering about wildly, after which they regard each other’s outfits.
“Denim, huh? Looks good on you, Hannah,” Sam compliments, running a hand over a couple of the patches on her arm, unknowingly making goosebumps come up all over Hannah’s arm alongside a blush on her face.
“I could say the same about you and leather,” Hannah replies, causing Sam’s face to turn red as well. "Let's get drinks!" the taller girl suggests before the silence between them becomes awkward. Though her jacket granted her some confidence, anxiety was still rearing its ugly head just under the surface.
The two of them hang around the minibar, quickly returning to the usual banter (such as discussing the movies they'll be watching that night at some point, though Hannah knows for certain that it'll only happen after a couple of things happen. After Josh gloated about winning the bet for about five hours, he says that they'll only watch the movies after the two twins confess their feelings to the girls they like. They also talked about Matt and Josh, Chris and Mike, their relationships... At one point Sam mentions a new vegan cookie recipe she found online that they should definitely try out sometime, and the image of baking cookies with Sam is just so domestic it makes Hannah feel like she's on the verge of passing out).
At some point they stop talking and watch the couch, which has attracted other people in the party to watch Chris as he attempts to fight the elite four. Jess and Ash are off to one side, the blonde trying to seem disinterested (and failing miserably), while Josh and Matt are on the other side watching with great enthusiasm, to the point where Josh had the microphone and was announcing everything that happened as if it were a sports game. Beth eventually comes back, and asks Emily to follow her. The girl accepts, following the twin up the stairs (and presumably to her room). Hannah mentally wishes her twin good luck, and her anxiety becomes more apparent. It’s almost as bad as her jealousy when she saw Sam and Beth together… almost.
Her mind wanders to all the things that could go wrong when she tells Sam what she feels. There are so many: her friend actually doesn’t like her, and they have to spend the rest of their time together very, very awkwardly, or what if Sam completely rejects her and stops being friends with her, or what if they get interrupted and Hannah never finds the confidence to say something again, just to name a few… At this point, Hannah was desperately hoping that the jacket would give her superhuman levels of confidence so that she could go through with it.
“Hannah.” Her name snapped her out of her thoughts, and she looked at the girl responsible for uttering. Sam was looking straight ahead, looking serious yet apprehensive.
"Sam?" Hannah - somewhat jokingly - says in response. The shorter girl takes in a deep breath, closing her eyes, as if bracing for something. Hannah suddenly gets that anxious feeling again, and it’s saying (once more), what if you were wrong about Sam?
What if she doesn’t like you back?
“I care about you,” Sam starts (almost sounding like she’s on the verge of tears - what? ), “so, so much.” Hannah considers what she’ll say before responding, deciding that she wants to test something, get a certain reaction out of Sam.
“You’ve been my best friend since I got my first pair of glasses,” Hannah replies, watching as Sam’s breath hitches in her throat - but only slightly, and nobody else but her would have caught the small movement in her neck. “I care about you too.”
“No, no, I - God, this is hard … Uh. Re - remember when you had a crush on Mike?” Sam stutters, looking straight ahead to where the group of people at the couch (all cheering for Chris, who had finally beaten the first member of the elite four), making Hannah furrow her brows.
“I’d prefer not to,” she says in response, thinking to herself, After all, he’s gay and likes Chris, and I like you. Sam takes in another breath, and it’s then that the taller girl notices that she’s wringing her hands nervously.
“I just - well, remember when he and Em started dating? I was.. I was worried you were going to do something drastic and it scared me. That - that’s why I spent the week after that with you, and…” Sam trails off. Hannah finds it strange how the blonde remembers the week following the announcement of the old couple’s first date - Hannah remembers the announcement specifically, but everything following that just seemed so business-as-usual that it seemed to all mold together, but… Sam. Yes, she can see her face clearly now - practically moved into the mansion at that point, wearing Hannah’s pajamas (that specific thought springing up a blush), both of them watching the brunette’s favourite movies to try and cheer up.
“And…?” Hannah attempts to coax an answer out of Sam, but the blonde’s lips seem to be sealed. The moment is broken by cheering from the other side of the room (Chris had just beaten the first elite member again, and the cheering is as loud, if not, even louder than it was before), and Sam’s brought out of her anxious state for a second, allowing a smile to appear on her face, as well as a small laugh to leave her mouth. Hannah feels a small bout of determination after seeing this change in expression, setting her glass down on the minibar and turning fully to the girl.
“I remember,” Hannah says, softly. Finally, Sam looks at her, and though there is a smile on her face, her eyes still show her fear. Hannah could count every freckle on her face if she wanted to, and she hopes to get the opportunity eventually.
“I… I think that week was when I started seeing you differently.” Oh, oh shit. There goes Hannah’s confidence, out the window. Is this positive? Negative? Hannah doesn’t know, she doesn’t know anything about what’s happening except that Sam’s no longer looking her in the eye, instead choosing to look at a patch on her jacket.
“The kind of way you should… you probably should never see a friend ,” Sam almost seems to spit out the word like it was the worst thing in the world. This provides Hannah with enough clarity to decide what to do next. Slowly, as if she were approaching a frightened animal, she slips her hands into Sam’s. The shorter girl gasps, looking back up at her, a hundred questions alongside her fear.
“Sam, I’ve had one hell of a week,” Hannah starts, talking slowly and quietly so the other girl can take in all she’s saying, “I’ll admit it, I’m not as in touch with my feelings as I should be.” Sam tilts her head. Hannah’s not sure if the sweat on their hands is hers or the blonde’s.
“After I figured it out, though… it all makes sense, now.” Hannah boldly takes a small step closer, making the gap between them shorter. They fail to notice the silence.
“It was really, really bad for me not to realize this sooner, given by how many gay movies I’m always watching with Beth -” this is when Sam laughs, nose scrunched up and eyes closed and absolutely beautiful and perfect, and Hannah swears that she could still count every single freckle. When her laughter dies down, she’s still radiating nerves, but not looking like she can and will run away at any moment.
“But… Sam.” Another bout of confidence is enough for her to bring up her right hand and rest it on the shorter girl’s shoulder. This time when Sam’s breath hitches, it’s easily noticeable. This spurs Hannah on enough to just say it.
“I… I like you as… as more than just a best friend. I think I have for a while now,” Hannah finally finishes, and now, all that’s left on Sam’s face is shock. Then, she lets out a little laugh, a smile filled with child-like glee overtaking her face.
“Oh my gosh, Hannah, I… I don’t know what to say,” Sam says, averting her gaze as a furious blush suddenly crops up all over her face, even reaching her ears. The two girls are silent for a moment, simply enjoying the silence between them.
“What… what does this make us, Han?” Sam breaks the silence, suddenly nervous once more, however looking her best friend(?) in the face. The taller girl smiles fondly before answering, “Girlfriends?”
A relieved smile. “Hannah, I… I thought this would never happen. Hearing you say that, it… it almost doesn’t feel real,” Sam admits, almost seeming more shy about this confession than the one earlier.
“Do you need proof?” Hannah says, boldly. Her heart jumps to her throat when she realizes what she’s said, her face almost as red as Sam’s, now.
“Proof like what?” Sam asks, almost too quiet to be heard. Her eyes are glued to Hannah’s own.
“Well,” Hannah starts, moving her hand up from Sam’s shoulder, brushing some of her hair behind her ear, just like the girl did to her those few nights ago. And, just like that event, she lets her hand rest on Sam’s cheek. She could feel the warmth in her face - blazing hot, like a fire, she could feel the softness, a contradiction to her rough hands. She could feel the barest traces of the blonde’s quickened breaths. “Proof like this.” With that, Hannah says fuck it to everything and just goes for it.
Sam tenses up like she just stepped into an unexpectedly-cold shower when the taller girl lowers her face and kisses her. After a moment, though, she loosens up, raising her hands to grab at Hannah’s jacket, pulling her closer than ever before. Hannah’s practically on cloud nine, revelling at how soft Sam’s lips are, how they seem to fit together, like this was meant to be (and who knows, it probably was). After a short moment that seemed to last a lifetime, Hannah pulls away, however she presses her forehead against the blonde’s. Sam rests against the taller girl, totally comfortable where she is. Hannah hears Sam sigh happily, contentedly , and she wholeheartedly wishes she could live in this moment forever.
“ Everyone give it up for my sister! ” shouts Josh, ultimate moment-breaker, over the microphone. Mortified, Hannah whips her head to where everyone was, and… they were clapping. Cheering. Now remembering that she was in the company of all of their extremely gay friends, she smiles widely, feeling giddy all over.
“How’re those butterflies?” Josh asks, putting down the mic next to Hannah’s forgotten glass. It’s then that Hannah notices the commotion in her chest, like a fire alarm has been pulled and all the butterflies are freaking out.
“I honestly feel like I’m about to pass out,” Hannah breathes, just now realizing how shaky her legs are. Sam’s resting turns into leaning on her for support, also apparently weak, so that’s not helping matters.
“Want me to get you two a fainting couch?” Josh jokes, drawing shaky laughs from the both of them. Hannah’s legs are starting to become more stable, but Sam insists on leaning on the taller girl (the brunette assumes that she’s comfortable and honestly, she is too). The eldest Washington prepares to crack another joke, but then his phone gets a notification. He holds up a finger and opens the message, looking confused after a moment. He types out a quick reply, and once he gets one, his eyes go wide.
“What? What is it?” Hannah asks, concerned, and instead of answering, Josh hands his phone over to his sister. Both she and Sam look at the chat he was having with Beth, surprised by her almost incomprehensible messages.
“START WATCHING NIHTG OF THE LIVIGN DEAD W/O ME”
“WELL I GAVE EMLIY THE SHIRT AND I TOLD HER HOW I FELT AND SHE WAS DOWN TO GO ON A DATE W/ ME ANd then sHe accidnetlaly drank MY DRiNk which was waaaaay strnoger than hers and now she’s vreRy drunk and shwoing me pictures og her cat., i thnik ill be here for aa while”
“Beth likes Emily?” Sam asks, genuinely surprised. Before either of the Washington siblings present could answer, she continues, “I can’t believe I was right.”
“What?” Josh questions, confused. “Right about what?” Sam laughs when he asks, both because the situation was funny and also because she’s embarrassed. Her giggling is muffled when she brings a hand up to cradle her face, and she even snorts a little (which kills Hannah on the spot).
“Sam wondered if we would all end up dating each other,” Hannah explains for her, handing back Josh’s phone as Sam’s laughter grows. She ends up needing to hold onto the blonde, who is so overcome with how damn ridiculous it is that something like what she said would end up happening that she was on the verge of collapsing.
“Oh, wow,” is all Josh says before he joins in on the laughter (he doesn’t laugh to the point that his legs give out on him, though). Sam ends up crying because of how long and hard her laughing has gone on for, making her hand and face wet alongside the furious blush that had come up on her face. The laughing stops soon after that point, however, and everyone moves to the living room so that they can watch a movie from 1968 in thrilling high definition (except for Sam - she goes to the bathroom to fix herself up. Hannah joins her, just to make sure she was a hundred percent okay, and whether or not they were kissing again was a topic for discussion for the group, who were all piled up on the insanely huge couch in front of the insanely expensive TV in the living room. Mike was the only one saying they weren’t, and he received five smirks courtesy of the others when the new couple returned, holding hands with red faces).
The movies were a fun affair, with Night of the Living Dead being a pleasantly surprising flick and Scream 4 leaving some bewildered, others simply satisfied (though most of the movie was spent talking about how Sam and one of the characters in the movie looked extremely similar ). By the end of it, Beth and Emily hadn’t shown up, and everyone decided to stay over at the mansion for the night. Josh made it his personal mission to see what had happened with those two since his youngest sibling wasn’t answering his messages, but Hannah was unable to see what he was able to accomplish. She was too busy lying in bed, revelling in the fact that she can actually properly hold Sam - and not have the blonde randomly start cuddling her at some point during the night. They were both so tired that, upon arriving at Hannah’s room, they both made a beeline for the bed and threw themselves onto it (well, they discarded their jackets and other uncomfortable-to-sleep-in clothing first). Hannah has never felt more content than she did falling asleep to Sam’s heartbeat, to the sound of her soft breathing, the smell of the shampoo Sam’s been using since they were little, their bodies curled around each other, Sam’s head resting in the crook of Hannah’s neck.
Hannah’s phone buzzes.
They don’t hear it or they ignore it - either way, they fall asleep without finding out what the notification is.
And I hope you enjoyed the main story! There will be a lil tiny bonus chapter about the next day and I think it's real fun so >:3c
Chapter 6: BONUS: Laser Tag Time!
Aha. Sorry this took a while. I got bogged down by exams and other projects. But it's done now, so, yay! Also, don't mind the gratuitous vine reference. I couldn't help myself.
Oh, also, I have no idea how laser tag works. I just watched 30 seconds of one video and went off of that. ALSO (gosh, I'm saying that a lot here!) I haven't read over this chapter yet so ah. Don't mind any glaring mistakes.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Hannah was asleep. Well, mostly. She had woken up a while ago, but when she remembered the events of the previous night, and learned that Sam was holding her closer than ever before, she decided to enjoy her situation and stay where she was. She was more comfortable than she could ever be, and absolutely nothing would ruin it.
“ Wake up, sleepyheads !”
…Except for an excited older brother, who threw the door open without so much as a knock. He’s gonna really regret doing that one day.
“Ugh, come on , Josh, just five more minutes,” mumbles Sam, who holds onto Hannah tighter. The brunette processes what happened just five seconds later, and then opens her eyes to see Josh, the smuggest look on his face, his eyebrow gone, now a part of his hairline. Hannah groaned, sitting up, much to Sam’s dismay, who muttered out a complaint into her side. She reached over to her nightstand and clumsily put on her glasses (thankfully not poking herself in the eye), choosing to ignore her brother for the moment so that she could grab her phone and lie back down (and Sam immediately took the opportunity to move back up and place her head on Hannah’s chest).
“Check out what I sent you last night,” Josh suggests, a mischievous tone dripping like unprocessed honey. Hannah decides to do just that, shifting her arms so that she’s not making Sam uncomfortable (or at risk of dropping her phone on her face). She taps on the notification, smiling when her eyes skim over the name she has set for him (it’s “Wellington’, based on that one guy at school that meant to call out ‘Washington’, but didn’t actually know their surname. That guy was Mike, a couple of days after they originally met. She also put a couple of zombie emojis next to his name, because he specifically requests a new emoji every time he falls into a new obsession). Then, her eyes drift to what lay under the NEW MESSAGE ribbon, and she gasps when finally looks at the thing Josh sent her.
“What is it?” Sam mumbles, moving so that she could get a look, rubbing at her eyes to get the sleep out of them.
“Oh!” she exclaims, “hell yeah.”
What they were looking at was a picture of Beth’s room - specifically, her bed. On it, Beth and Emily were cuddled close together, the latter curled up in the former’s arms. Beth was still wearing her beanie. The picture was also very obviously taken by someone who was peeking in through the door, given the angle of the photo cuts off Beth’s legs. Hannah had to admit, that was pretty damn adorable (she never thought she’d describe her sister as adorable , but there she was).
“Josh, quick question,” Hannah says, putting down her phone, “why did you wake us up?”
Josh’s smile quickly grows devilish. “Oh, we’re doing laser tag today.”
“ Fuck ,” is all Hannah says in response. Sam quickly states that she would like to join them, and then Hannah’s mood improves tenfold.
The glow of the maze made it even harder for Hannah to see than normal. The gear she was wearing around her torso was a bit too loose, and it jostled around loudly and uncomfortably whenever she moved. The maze itself wasn’t all that hard to navigate, not that that fact was apparent to Hannah. Josh even opted to wear his own glasses going in, knowing full well how blinding the lights are.
As for the other people in the maze, there were two teams, both made up of their large group of gay friends (because Josh somehow managed to rope them all into joining in). The ten of them were enough to fill up the whole roster so no other kids were running around. The couples were split across the teams so that there was an element of friendly competition - for the most part. The only couples to stay on one team were Sam and Hannah, and Matt and Josh. As for the teams, well. As even of a split as you can get with five people per team. Josh picked out Beth so that he could have a shooter as sharp as Sam on his team, though neither of the twins mention just how awesome the blonde is with toy guns so that they can both get a taste of his surprise when he witnesses her epic 80s action hero skills. Then, he picked out Ash and Chris, because why not have his friends on his own team?
So, Hannah and Sam were joined by Emily, Jessica and Mike. Everyone immediately split up upon entering the maze, leaving the bespectacled girl to navigate the blinding room on her own. They requested that the music was turned off (and the guy at the counter at the entrance of the maze caved, because holy shit that’s the Washingtons ), but mostly because a lot of them were suffering from post-party temporary tinnitus because nobody realized just how loud the music from last night was, and also because a couple of them (Mike and Chris especially, they drank the most) were still recovering from hangovers. The silence in the maze seemed to make tensions rise, and every single echoing footstep, every single electronic shot from a laser gun would set Hannah on high alert.
Hannah slowly turned a corner, trying to keep her breathing as light as possible so she couldn’t be heard by enemy ears. She quickly makes her way to the next wall of cover, and after a quick scan around, moves even further. After she’s securely behind cover, she listens carefully and picks up a hushed conversation.
“Listen, if one of your teammates comes along, I’m gonna have to destroy them,” comes a quiet whisper from nearby, which is followed by a chuckle. Hannah’s curiosity overcomes her and she goes to where she heard the talking, peeking her head around corners so that she wouldn’t be taken by surprise. In the distance, she hears Josh shout a lame one-liner followed by the noise of an electronic gun. After a while of slinking around the various walls of the maze, Hannah arrives at one of the corners. She peeks around a wall and sees something straight out of Romeo and Juliet.
Chris and Mike were kissing softly, the gentleness of their actions most probably brought on by the fact that they were both still suffering from the lingering effects of their hangovers (and also probably because they didn't want to get caught). Them being distracted with each other meant that Hannah could easily slip away, not that she was in danger of being destroyed (she deduced that Mike probably said that). That didn’t stop her from praying that her noisy gear wouldn’t give her away, however.
She moves around the outer edge of the maze some more, treading carefully with every step she took. At some point, she could hear the very shocked screams of Chris, Mike, and Ash, and Hannah couldn’t help but laugh. She catches herself when she hears a sudden rush of footsteps, but she holds her ground. After a moment, Sam rounds the corner, and the taller girl lets out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding. The blonde grins, melting Hannah’s heart in an instant, and she quickly returns it.
“Go after Josh and Matt together?” Sam offers, reaching out a hand. Hannah quickly takes it, shaking it, however she doesn’t let go once they start moving. They both listen intently, and her blindness must be making her brain kick her hearing into overdrive, because she picks up on nearby, quiet chatter. She lets go of Sam’s hand (immediately missing the roughness of it, which she found quite comforting) and quietly sneaks her way to where people were talking. She figures out who they are, but the couple doesn't get to sneak attack their main enemy just yet, because the people talking definitely weren’t Matt or Josh.
“I don’t get the big whoop about this thing anyway,” Emily whispers, “it’s not like we’re all rushing to fight each other.”
“Friendly competition never hurt anyone,” comes the voice of Beth (and Sam joins Hannah behind her cover, and the brunette instructs the blonde to keep quiet and listen), “but, yeah. You’re right. Pretty sure Josh dragged all of us along so no kids would be present for the war he wants to have with Han.”
The two girls suppress their laughter. Then there’s a sudden laser shot that breaks the ensuing silence, followed by laughter from Emily, and surprised spluttering from Beth.
“What happened to no big whoop!?” calls Beth, which is met with more laughter from Emily (who, as they could now hear through loud footsteps, was fleeing).
“Better to not let your guard down, darling!” replies Emily, and quickly, her footsteps are joined by Beth’s own. Sam and Hannah allowed themselves to laugh quietly as the other couple's footsteps echoed through the room. After they cut their laughter short, they look at each other briefly, Sam motions for Hannah to follow her.
The couple snaked around corners until they were at the far end of the maze. Sam moved out of cover, then quickly stepped back, bumping into Hannah. The brunette grunted at the impact, then quietly asked what was going on. Sam slowly raised a finger to her lips, then pointed to her ears, then around the corner. Hannah bravely took a peek, eyes widening at the sight. Josh, Matt and Ashley were huddled together, discussing something in hushed tones. Hannah couldn’t pick up any specifics, but that didn’t stop her from watching them.
Everyone jumped out of their skin when an electronic shot was fired. Ashley’s gear flashed brightly as the huddle broke up, and Hannah was quick to duck backwards to avoid being seen.
“Jess!?” cries Ashley, and in a set of events that almost sent Hannah into cardiac arrest, the short girl goes running past the two of them in pursuit of her unseen girlfriend. She didn’t notice them, thankfully, her focus on the blonde, leaving the two to continue their stealthy mission.
“Right, how long do we have left, babe?” Matt asks quietly, and after a beat of silence, Josh replies: “About three minutes.”
“More than enough time to get my sis, eh?” Josh says, and Matt quickly agrees. The two then go running off in some direction away from this end of the maze, and the two girls quietly follow.
The two boys stop dead in the centre of the maze, which was considerably more open and exposed than anywhere else. The only cover came from small barriers that you had to crouch behind. Josh takes a quick glance at his watch, then takes in a deep breath.
“Han! Sam!” Josh calls out, loud and clear for everyone to hear, “Matt and I are in the centre of the maze!” Josh continues to talk, specifically about how he wishes to challenge the two girls. Unbeknownst to the boys, the girls were right there, hiding behind the nearest of the tall walls. Sam carefully peeks out, noticing how Josh was slowly circling around as he spoke, so his message could clearly reach every corner of the maze. Matt was watching his boyfriend with a soft gaze, however Sam wasn’t in his sightline.
Patiently, Sam waits for Josh to face away from where they were hiding, before raising her gun and taking aim, right in the middle of Josh’s back. The eldest Washington finishes his grand speech, and the silence that filled the room was deafening. Everyone held their breath - Josh in anticipation of his rivals, Sam so her aim could ring true. A moment passed, maybe three. Hannah watched Sam carefully, saw as her finger flicked over the trigger. Then, just when everyone was least expecting it, she pulled it back.
The ensuing chaos was wonderful. The terrified screams from the boys covered up the steps the girls took as they ran to another tall wall of cover, Sam’s surprise shot scaring them more than any jumpscare ever could. When Josh figured out exactly what happened, he became far more aware of his surroundings. He turned whenever he heard the slightest sound, and Matt followed his motions.
Sam was quick, popping out to take a quick shot before jumping to the next wall. This disoriented Josh, who became frantic. Hannah decided to join in on creating pandemonium and went around the centre - the opposite way Sam did. The two girls, in turn, occasionally took shots at the man, racking up points and confusing him to no end. At some point, Matt caught eye of Hannah, but when he realized what was happening he doubled over in laughter.
“Come on out!” Josh eventually said, and finally, the two girls complied, jumping into the centre of the maze at the ends they were on. Josh shouted in surprise once more, readying his weapon to fire at one of the two, and then -
The lights turned on. Josh looked perplexed, to say the least. He looks around, and when he realizes what just happened, he joins his boyfriend in laughing. His laughter is infectious, so, naturally, the two girls join in as well.
“Oh, oh man!” the eldest Washington breathes out, “You guys got me! You got me good !”
They all revel in the moment. Once their laughs die down (well, by a degree large enough that they can all get moving to the exit) they all navigate the maze to where they will find out who won. They meet up with everyone else along the way, and the group of ten all shuffle into the room, eagerly awaiting their results.
To nobody’s surprise, Hannah’s team won.
I hope this was a satisfying end to the story! Thank you if you read this far, and I really hope you enjoyed this fic <3 I had so much fun writing it, even when I found myself struggling.