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stolen moments

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Penelope didn’t understand people who enjoyed living in suburban areas.  

For most of her life, she only ever lived in populated cities. Traveling from New York City to Los Angeles to Chicago and so forth. Penelope’s only ever really known the city life. Places that were always moving and something was always happening. For her, she could never get bored in those cities (to be fair, she was only ever there for a year to two years, tops). And now, she was in the middle of nowhere surrounded by minivans and trees (very many trees). And she was bored. 

Right now, school was out of session, which meant she couldn’t move into the dorms just yet. She was currently stuck with Izzie, Izzie’s mother, and her three siblings. The only bright side of this situation was that she could focus her time and energy into her writing. She had only a year left until college and that meant that she would have to either go to school for something her parents wanted or show them a viable back-up plan. 

“Trying to look pretty for a run I see,” Penelope quips, watching Izzie stare at herself in the mirror, much longer than usual. Izzie was wearing a long sleeve crop top and bright blue shorts (her typical athletic wear). She was also playing around with her hair, contemplating whether to keep it up in a ponytail or not. 

“What!? No!” Izzie sputters, keeping her hair down, “shut up.” 

Penelope shrugs and goes back to scribbling in her notebook. Izzie gives up and rushes to the door to grab her running shoes. 

“Why don’t you keep your hair up?” Penelope suggests, “and tell Casey I said hi.” 

“You’re annoying,” Izzie grumbles, slamming the door behind her. 

Penelope smirks, recalling the night she and Izzie had met. Izzie was a wreck. They were awkward with one another (at first) before suggested alcohol, getting Izzie drunk enough to admit her feelings for a certain runner on their team. Some girl named Newton (whom she later found out was actually named Casey). Ever since then, Penelope has tried to get Izzie to talk about her, but to no avail. So instead, she has resorted to teasing and implications. To be fair, she still hasn’t met the girl and they’ve been back for almost a week now. 

Penelope decides to refocus her attention on her notebook paper, scribbled with lines that could only be described as word vomit. Sighing in annoyance, she decides she’s had enough of writing for one day. So far she has been unable to finish anything. She wasn’t sure how she was going to survive the next few months being stuck in this place. 

Maybe a change in scenery will do something. But she needed a car for that and the last time she checked, Izzie took off with it. If she had known that the closest coffee shop would be thirty minutes away, she would definitely rethink her choice in company. 

“You know, Penelope,” Zahid begins, “that is a dope ass name you got there.” 

Penelope nods her head, “thank you Zahid, your name is pretty cool as well.” 

This was the last time she would take an offer from Izzie. After she decided to give into her scenery change idea, she immediately texted Izzie. Casey said that Zahid was already on his way over to that side of town and wouldn’t mind the extra company. 

“Casey tells me that you and Izzie are cousins” Zahid continues, “let me tell you, Mr. Brown sugar himself loves cousins. Not my own cousins, I’m not like that, but cousins of other friends, you know? I once met this girl who-”

Penelope groans internally. She should’ve just taken Izzie’s offer on running, which would probably be less painful than this. A long thirty minutes’ drones on before they finally reach their destination. Zahid pulls up to a plaza square and Penelope rushes out.  

“Thank you again for the ride Zahid,” Penelope forces a smile. 

“No problemo Portobello,” Zahid rhymes, “what would be a good time for me to scoop you up?” 

Penelope panics, she could not endure another thirty minutes in this car, “actually I’m meeting a friend who lives here and I’m sure they’ll be taking me home, so you can just head back to whatever you were doing before Casey called. Thank you again Zahid. It was really nice meeting you.” 

Before Zahid could respond, Penelope turns away and walks towards the plaza square, eyes falling onto a neon sign brightly promoting the Mystic Falls Diner. It wasn’t a coffee shop but it looked fairly quiet. 

As Penelope entered the facility, she recognized the dilemma she had found herself in. She did not have any other friends in this city whatsoever. That meant, getting home was going to be a problem. However, balancing the scales between taking another car ride from Zahid or being stranded in this diner, she would rather just take her chances. 

“Table for one?” a voice draws her out of her thoughts and she’s face to face with a girl with red hair and piercing blue eyes. 

“Yes,” her eyes scan for a name tag, Hope, pretty name she thinks to herself. 

“Thank you,” the girl responds, smiling at her. 

Penelope flushes red realizing her mouth has once again defied her. 

“You must be new here,” Hope points out, walking Penelope over to an empty booth. 

“That obvious?” 

“We usually only ever get regulars here,” Hope places a menu in front of Penelope, “anytime there’s a new face, it isn’t that hard to immediately notice them.”

“Fair enough point,” Penelope agrees, taking quick glance around the diner, which was, for the most part, empty, “looks like you have a lot on your hands with the regulars.”

Hope laughs and slyly responds, “well it is a Tuesday afternoon, which so happens to be our busiest hours, as you can so clearly point out.”   

“Well, if that is the case, I should probably find a different place to do some work,” Penelope banters, “maybe a decent coffee shop?” 

Hope wrinkles her nose, her eyes forehead puckered together as she mentally runs through the places in her mind, “I don’t know anything about great coffee places, but my girl Maya in the back makes a pretty decent cup.” 

Penelope raises her brow, “I’m intrigued, I guess I’ll take one of Maya in the back’s ‘decent’ cups.”

“Smart choice Ms.…” Hope inquires. 

“Penelope,” Penelope smiles sweetly at her. 

“Penelope,” Hope repeats, “pretty name,” she winks before taking off. Penelope doesn’t think much of it and settles into the booth, hoping she could accomplish something today that would make the car-ride here much more worth it.  


“Lizzie please,” Josie Saltzman groans, “I do not want to spend the rest of today hiding behind a booth while you stalk Hope.” 

“I’m not stalking anybody Jo,” Lizzie says defensively, “I supposedly happen to be there the same time she is working and if I see her, I’m merely observing her from a very reasonable distance. And if she so happens to be our waitress then that’s on fate.” 

Josie rolls her eyes, “fate? Seriously Lizzie? I promised Dad I would help him look at the upcoming students for next term.” 

This time it was Lizzie who rolls her eyes, “please Jo, next term is months away and summer is still in the air. Not to mention, dad already has Dorian and Emma helping. You can go three hours without giving into your constant need to assist someone.” 

Josie’s eyes narrow and she watches the guilt appear on her sisters’ face, “God I’m sorry Jo, that was low. I promise, I am working on it. I just really need you with me tonight.” 

Josie’s face remains neutral, not wanting to give into her sisters needs right away. 

“Please Josie,” Lizzie sighs, defeated, “I’ll do anything.”  

Josie sighs, knowing herself well enough to know she wouldn’t be able to deny her sister, “fine, I’ll go with you. But only if you pay for my meal and I get a milkshake.”

“Yes! Deal,” Lizzie beams, pulling her twin sister into a strong embrace.

“You’re also driving,” Josie adds on, causing Lizzie to groan. Neither of them enjoyed driving, especially when it came to parking.  

Lizzie manages to get them both there in one piece. When they arrive at the diner, it was empty. To be fair, Josie understood it was a Tuesday afternoon and business only ever bloomed during the weekends. 

“Must be a really slow afternoon,” Josie points out, her eyes finding Hope immediately (she wasn’t the only one). Josie could quite literally feel her twin tense up next to her. Josie watched as Lizzie gawked over the tiny red-headed girl. 

“Hope!” Josie announces, causing Hope to turn around. 

“Josie, what are you doing?” Lizzie whispers, dread dripping through her tone. 

“What? I thought her being our waitress is supposed to be fate.” 

“Yes Jo, fate herself, not you playing as fate.” 

Josie shrugs and watches as Hope excuses herself from whatever conversation she was in and waves at the twins. She saunters over to the podium and grabs two menus before making her way towards the twins. 

“If it isn’t my favorite pair of twins,” Hope grins, eyes brightening at the sight of Lizzie. 

Josie had known about Hope’s crush on her sister (for a while now), but she has been unable to tell her sister, due to a sworn oath she took (perk of being Hope Mikaelson’s best friend). And then just recently was she informed of Lizzie’s feelings for the red-headed girl and although it would only take a nudge to get them together, Lizzie made Josie swear she would not meddle. Now, she was stuck painfully watching her sister and best friend dance around one another. 

“I’m assuming, the usual?” Hope implies, leading them to their table. 

“Yes, but I’m getting a milkshake this time!” Josie exclaims, “cause dearest sister here is paying.” 

“Oh yeah? Don’t tell me you lost a bet to Josie” Hope asks Lizzie, her blue eyes sparkling, making Lizzie completely lose any train of thought. 

“Well,” Lizzie began, not knowing what to say, “you see, it was, erm. Something like that, actually yeah sure, a bet. Sounds about right.” 

Josie internally cringes watching her sister formulate a string of words that when put together, made no sense whatsoever. 

Hope in turn laughs at Lizzie’s nervousness, “well okay, I will go ahead and put your orders in. Call me if you need anything else.” 

“Thank you Hope,” Josie commented. Once Hope was out of earshot, she eyes her sister, whose head was laying on the table. 

“Liz, is everything okay?” Josie questions. Lizzie was naturally nervous when around her crushes, but Josie made it a form of habit to ask if her sister was doing okay.  

“Yeah, totally, everything is fine. Peachy. Amazing. WONDERUFL,” Lizzie lifts her head and sulks back into her seat and Josie knows it’s going to be a long rest of her day. Josie resorts to watching Hope move around to the very few other guests in the diner, until one in particular catches her attention. 

Two booths away sat the most beautiful girl Josie has ever laid her eyes upon. She had short raven-colored hair with piercing green eyes. She observed as the girl scribbled into her notebook, seeing her faces go through the many motions of writing. All which Josie could deeply relate too. She didn’t even realize she had been staring for long, until her inside thoughts started to sound a lot like Lizzie. 

“Josie? Earth to Josette,” Lizzie’s loud voice rang in her ears, bringing her back from her reverie, “are you listening to me? what are you even looking at?”

Josie immediately breaks her trance, preventing Lizzie from turning around, “nothing Liz, just wondering when Hope will be back with our food. I’m starving.” 

“I’m sure she’ll be back soon,” Lizzie defends expectantly, “it’s probably backed up.” 

Josie rolls her eyes, before sarcastically responding, “yes, along with the full crowd of people here.” 

Lizzie glares at her but Josie can’t help but feel relief as Lizzie finds something else (or someone else) to focus her attention on. Josie knew she shouldn’t be fearful of this anymore, but she couldn’t help but feel this way. The last thing she needed was Lizzie setting her sights on someone new. Something she was prone to doing. Whenever Josie had a crush on someone, Lizzie would too and usually Lizzie would win. 

She decides to focus her full attention on Lizzie, keep herself occupied. Eventually Hope arrives with their food and makes small talk with Lizzie, giving Josie a few minutes of spare time, which she uses looking for the pretty girl with green eyes. 

Chapter Text

When Penelope moved in with Izzie, she feared they would not get along. The Parks were known for being notorious assholes and with her father being the absent person he is, she never expected anything from that side of the family. And yet, when they offered to pay for her living situation at Clayton, on the condition that Penelope would be living with her, Izzie immediately jumped at the chance. 

Luckily for her, Penelope was far from bad company.  

To: Newton
I’m home!!! Run? 

Newton
Yes pls. Meet in 20?

Izzie
Perfect. See u soon c: 

Izzie smiles, her heart skipping a beat. She hasn’t seen Casey since Slurpee night. 

Slurpee Night. 

“I really love him,” Casey declares. Izzie knows. Of course, she knows.

Izzie rests her head back into the car seat, “I know you do.” 

“It’s just sometimes a thing feels, like… so right, you know?” 

Izzie’s heart sped up. Yes, of course she knows. She’s known since the day she felt as if she lost Casey for good. Nothing scared her more than losing her favorite person ever. She reaches out, touching Casey’s fingers, feeling a surge of electricity tore through her body. As she grabs ahold of Casey’s hand, she couldn’t help but think that nothing has felt more right to her than being in this moment. 

Izzie watches as Casey ignores Evan’s call. She then tries to ignore the giddiness that came from doing so. They sit there for a few minutes before her phone goes off again. This time, Casey pulls away, intrigued at the string of messages. 

“Is everything okay?” she questions, concerned but also sad that Casey had pulled away. 

“It’s Elsa.” Izzie sighs in relief, as Casey continued to read, “Hi honey bear. Bear emoji. Can you please pick up a fire extinguisher on the way home?” 

Izzie was torn between feeling sad the moment had passed to confusion. Was Elsa okay? Why would she need a fire extinguisher right now? Was this an emergency or-?

She looks over and sees Casey’s sly smirk and they both burst into fits of laughter. 

“Yeah, so we should probably-” Casey begins. 

Izzie nods, “yeah!” 

“Yeah,” Casey begins to put on her seatbelt.

“Yeah,” Izzie agrees, “Let’s go, honey bear.” 

“Awesome,” Casey whispers, turning on the car engine.  

And just like that the moment had come and gone.  

For the next few weeks, while she dealt with her family issues, she couldn’t help but be brought back to that night. She was definitely confused about her feelings, and yet one thing remained constant. She needed Casey in her life, even if it would only ever be friendship between them. 

“Trying to look pretty for a run I see,” Penelope’s voice startles her as she was stared at herself in the mirror. 

“What!? No!” Izzie sputters, unable to decided what to do with her hair, she chose to just leave it down, “shut up.” 

Penelope shrugs and goes back to scribbling in her notebook. She then rushes to the door to grab her running shows. 

“Keep your hair up,” Penelope suggests, “and tell Casey I said hi.” 

“You’re annoying,” Izzie grumbles, before slamming the door behind her. The only reason why Penelope knew about her feelings was because of one drunken night, caused by shitty liquor and a lot of free time. Ever since then, Penelope has tried to get Izzie to talk about her, only she was not willing to budge.  

When Izzie arrived at the park first, she couldn’t help but feel nervous. It’s just Newton, she told herself. Nothing to be nervous about, and yet here she was. 

“Izzie!” she hears a voice and immediately her heart flutters at the sound. 

She looks up and sees Casey dressed in an oversized yellow tank top and black shorts. So simple, it spelled out Casey, which made Izzie’s heart yearn even more. 

“Newton,” she declares softly, standing up to hug the taller girl. 

They stretched for a bit before running side by side throughout town. 

“It is so good to be back,” Izzie breathes out, “I love my cousin and her family, but after a while, I don’t love them that much.” 

“I feel like I haven’t seen you in forever,” Casey responds.

“I know. Since Slurpee night,” Izzie looks over at Casey.  

“Yeah, Slurpee night,” Cause agrees, “that was fun.” “So fun,” Izzie states, “I’m so glad to have a friend like you. I haven’t had a best girlfriend since I was little.” 

The moment those words left her voice, she wanted to punch herself in the face. But she had to remind herself that she needed Casey in her life. Even if it’s only as a friend. 

“It’s nice,” Izzie confirms, “easy.”

“Yeah, easy. Totally easy.” 

They continue for a few more blocks before Izzie’s phone goes off. 

“Are you going to answer that?” Casey points out.

Izzie nods her head and answers the phone. It was Penelope asking for a ride to the other side of town, Mystic Falls. 

“Is everything okay?” Casey questions, concerned.

“It’s my cousin, she needs a ride and I’m nowhere near the car,” Izzie explains before Casey makes a suggestion. 

“My friend Zahid is always going to that side of town, I can ask if he could take her.” 

“Are you sure about that?” Izzie asks softly. 

Casey smiles at her, “of course I am. What are friends for?” 

Friends. Yes, they were friends, just friends. Friends. Friends. Friends. 


A few hours after their run, the two girls go on their own way. When Izzie makes her way back to her car, she notices her phone start to ring as notifications came through. 

Penelope Park
DID I EVER TELL U HOW AMAZING U R? 

OKAY THAT DIDN’T GET A RESPONSE. 

IZZIE? 

HI SO, I AM IN A PICKLE. 

I’m basically stranded. Can u pls pick me up. 

[Penelope Park has shared her location with you]

Izzie
What happened to Zahid? 

Penelope Park
[ . . . ] 

Ur funny if u think im going to get into another car with him. Pls text me when ur nearby. Thank you. 

 

Once Izzie picked up Penelope and they arrived home, she immediately checked her phone, hoping Casey had responded back to any of her messages. When she saw, she had no other notifications, she couldn’t help but feel disappointed. She must be with Evan. Of course, he was her boyfriend. 

“So how was your run?” Penelope smirks, taking a seat on her side of the bed. 

“Fine.”

To: Newton
Thx again for today. Run again tmrw?

Izzie had been too caught up to realize that Penelope had been trying to get her attention. 

“How was your day today Penelope?” Penelope sarcastically says, “oh, it was so great Izzie, you’ll never guess what happened, I was stuck in a car with a man who referred to himself as Mr. Brown Sugar. Really Penelope? Tell me more, I’m so intrigued.” 

Izzie looks over at Penelope’s face. The two stare at each other for a second before bursting into laughter. 

“He did not say that.”“Oh, but he did, my dearest cousin,” Penelope cringes just reminiscing that moment. 

Izzie laughs harder, “Zahid maybe a lot of things, but I can’t deny how great of a friend he is towards Casey and Sam.” 

Penelope shrugs, “Yeah, I suppose. Well, how was your run? How was Casey? Did you tell her that I’m still looking forward to meeting her?” 

Izzie tenses up, not liking discussing Casey with anybody else, “it was great, we ran for a good amount. Casey said she’s excited to meet you too.” 

“So are we inviting her over?” 

Izzie pauses, there was no way in hell that was going to happen, “you know what? I should probably shower now.” 

“Right now?” Penelope challenges. 

“YUP,” Izzie gets up from where she was sitting and rushes into the bathroom, avoiding Penelope’s questionable glances. She looks at her phone again and sees that Casey still hasn’t responded. Sighing, she decides to just put it behind her and get cleaned up for dinner. 

The following morning Izzie checks her phone to find a string of unread messages. 

From: Newton
Hi! Yesterday was fun :) I would love to run with you, but funny story, I just finished emergency surgery. 

I am now one less organ. 

Izzie
WTF? Is everything okay? Do you need anything? What happened? Should I come over? Am I able to see you?

Newton
LOL, it’s okay. I’m fine. Sadly, it wasn’t even an interesting organ. 

Appendix.  I don’t even need one of those. 

Anyways, I am on bed rest for 6 weeks, so running away from Elsa will just have to wait. 


Izzie giggles at her comment. Of course, Casey would make a joke during this kind of situation. She turns over and notices Penelope’s still passed out. She quietly gets up and grabs her clothes, making her way towards the bathroom, wanting to get an early start without having to go through a questionnaire with her cousin. 

Izzie loved her cousin but she hated how intuitive and deep Penelope could get. She would much rather spend time with Casey, especially after her emergency surgery. Before heading to the Gardner’s residence, she looks around her pantry and finds an unopened package of Twizzlers. This will do, she mumbles to herself before rushing out the door. 

“Izzie, what a nice surprise” Elsa beams, “please, come inside!”

“Hey Mrs. Gardner, I heard about what happened to Casey and wanted to surprise her.” 

Elsa smiles knowingly, “of course, she’s upstairs in bed.” 

Izzie nods her head and mutters a polite thank you before heading upstairs. Elsa watched lovingly as Izzie walked away. Elsa would never admit this, but the mother instinct in her knew the special place Casey held for Izzie and she couldn’t help but find that endearing. 

Izzie approaches Casey’s room, gripping onto the Twizzlers. She peers into the room and sees the taller girl laying upright in bed, with a small blanket covering her. She admires her for a second, glad that she was reading some kind of magazine or book. 

“Knock, knock.” 

Casey looks up and relief floods her face, “Oh, thank God, I’m so bored,” she immediately closes the book and tosses it to the side. Izzie can’t help but smile endearingly at her. 

“You look pathetic.” 

Casey pouts and Izzie can’t help but smile in return. She looked adorable. 

“I brought Twizzlers,” she states, pulling out the candy from behind. 

“You brought me your favorite candy?” 

“You’re welcome. Scooch,” she places the candy down and takes off her shoes, climbing into the warm bed, taking half of the blanket for herself. As she settles, she can’t help but notice how close her and Casey are. 

“Your bed is so cozy and warm.” 

“It’s all the farting I’ve been doing,” Casey responds cheekily. 

“You’re so gross,” she responds, inciting a giggle from Casey. 

“You didn’t know that?” a voice interrupts. Izzie looks up to find Evan standing in front of the door. 

“Evan,” she states. 

“Hey,” Casey greets.

Evan takes a step forward, “no more appendix?”

“It’s all gone. I miss it.”

Izzie didn’t know what came over her, but as Evan made his way to the other side of the bed, she instinctively put a bit of space between her and Casey. 

“I’m sorry. Now that banana bread incident is starting to make a lot more sense: your appendix hated banana bread.” 

Evan leans over and kisses Casey. Izzie can’t help but feel uncomfortable, like she shouldn’t be here. Not to mention the way her stomach was churning at the sight of them two. 

“Maybe I should go,” she began to move before Casey immediately stops her. 

“No, stay,” Casey turns to look at Evan, “I need my loved ones around me. We don’t know how much time I have left.”

I guess I’m staying, Izzie thought to herself. 

Evan chuckles, “I got you this.”

“A sheep?” 

“Yeah. It’s a little weird, but there’s a story behind it.” 

“Super weird,” Izzie agrees, her tone a bit challenging. She didn’t mean to come off as rude, but she couldn’t help it. The sheep looked angry and Casey couldn’t eat it, so in her mind, her Twizzlers gift was much better. 

“Oh, my God, look at it, it’s angry,” Casey growls and Izzie’s heart flutters. 

“It’s so angry,” Izzie laughs, “get it away,” she grabs the sheep and places it behind them. “Movie time?” 

Casey reaches over to grab her laptop, “yep!” she turns to Evan and pats the bed, “get in.” 

Izzie watches as Evan places himself into the vacant spot. Casey hands over a piece of the blanket, “here.” 

“Thank you,” Evan mumbles, putting what little part of the blanket on one side of his jeans.

“Okay, guys. What have we got?” 

Izzie feels herself start to stir when the pillow (that was Casey) had gotten up out of bed. She could feel Evan start to get up as well and decided to remain ‘asleep’ not wanting to participate in any type of awkward small talk. 

Once the room had cleared, Izzie rose and grabbed her phone from the night stand.  

Penelope Park
IZZIE

WHERE DID U GO?

HELLO? 

I AM TAKING AN UBER TO MYSTIC FALLS AGAIN. CAN U PICK ME UP?

I AM ASSUMING UR GOING TO PICK ME UP. 

OKAY SEE U AT 6. 


Izzie rolls her eyes as Casey entered the room.  

“Where’s Evan?” she questions, distress in her voice. 

“I don’t know,” Izzie didn’t exactly pay attention to him. 

Casey quickly walks away, following Evan downstairs. Izzie begrudgingly responds back to Penelope.

Izzie P
Fine. 

But you owe me.  

When Casey returns, Izzie couldn’t help but feel off. It’s like she knew the next words that would come out of Casey’s mouth would somehow hurt.  

“Everything okay?”  

Casey nods her head, “Yeah. He just had to get home.” 

Izzie hums in agreement as Casey awkwardly looked down at the floor, “Um, hey. I’m gonna sleep over at Evan’s next weekend. You think you could cover for me?” 

Oh. Oh, yeah. Of course. 

“Um… Yeah. Yeah.” Izzie fakes a smile, pushing all the feelings of jealousy deeper into her soul. 

“Cool,” Casey responds, swaying over to the other side of the room. Izzie looks down at her phone, defeat written all over her face.

“I should actually head out as well, I have to pick up Penelope from Mystic Falls.” 

“Again?”

“Yeah, the perks of sharing a car with your cousin,” Izzie stands up and places on her shoes, “I’ll see you when I see you.” 

“Okay, cool,” Casey nods her head. It’s awkward between the two of them. 

“Bye,” Izzie waves before heading out. As soon as she entered her car, she sinks into the seat, wanting to slam her head into the steering wheel. 

This was perfect. Just perfect. 

Chapter Text

Josie Saltzman was not subtle when it came to dealing with her emotions. 

When Hope arrived with their food, Josie devoured it in minutes, that she went back to observing the green-eyed girl get lost in her own work. As she allowed her mind to drift, she didn’t even notice that Hope joined them at their table. 

Josie used this to her advantage. She couldn’t meddle in their relationship, but she could still nudge them into the right direction. 

“Oh look it’s Ethan and Maya, I’ll be right back,” Josie rises, feeling her sister’s eyes glower at her. With Hope’s back facing her, she mouths ‘now’s your chance, you got this’. Lizzie glares at her and Josie slyly beams, making a her way to Maya and Ethan, who were lounging around the bar area. 

“If it isn’t my least favorite Saltzman twin,” Maya jokes, pouring a cup of coffee and pushing it towards Josie. 

“And if it isn’t my least favorite Machado sibling,” Josie teases back. Maya scoffs while Ethan smirks at Josie. 

“To be fair, I prefer Landon over any of you all,” Ethan remarks, shrugging his shoulders. 

Landon pops his head from behind the counter and blushing a rosy pink, “thank you Ethan.” 

“Gross,” Maya remarks before turning her attention back to Josie, who was too busy ogling the green-eyed girl in the corner. 

“Dare I say you are beginning to look worse than Hope right about now,” Maya points out, breaking Josie from her trance. 

Josie scoffs, “are you seriously comparing me that love-sick puppy over there,” Josie and Maya turn their attention to her twin and best friend chatting with one another. Josie could really see the love that Hope had for her sister, which made her heart melt. 

Maya gazes over at the pair and visibly tenses up “yeah, they’re really the pair of the year, aren’t they?” 

Josie raises her eyebrow at Maya’s change in tone, “is everything okay Maya?”

Before Maya could respond, a voice come from behind her speaks up, “Hi, excuse me. I’m sorry to bother you. I saw my waitress, Hope sitting over there and I didn’t want to bother but I was wondering if I could get a refill on the coffee?” 

Josie turns to face the voice and immediately freezes. 

Maya notices the change in her friends’ stature, “yeah sure thing, I’ll go brew you a fresh pot, but while you wait, feel free to take a seat, my girl Josie here can keep you company.” The green-eyed girl tilts her head and makes her presence known in Josie’s line of sight. Her mouth curves into a smile. Maya doesn’t linger. Josie takes in the image of the girl, realizing she looked even more beautiful up close.  

“Y-you don’t have to if you don’t want too. I’m sure Maya can bring your cup of coffee when it’s ready.” 

The girl doesn’t even hesitate before responding, “and miss my chance to talk to a pretty girl? No way.” 

Josie blushes, okay so she’s smooth, “are you sure about that? You looked pretty busy with your writing,” the green-eyed girl raises her eyebrow and Josie immediately regrets everything.  

“I mean, from far away it may have looked like that, you know? When someone is invested in something, it gives the assumption they’re busy and writing is a task in which one would be invested in, but how would I know? It’s not like I was staring at you or anything of that matter.” 

Josie finally shuts up and in turn wanted to scream. Only she could dig herself into a grave in front of a stranger. 

Great, she probably scared this girl off. 

There was no way she was going to stick around now. And yet, Josie observed as the girl giggled at her. A very heavenly giggle at that matter that it didn’t even bother her that the girl was most likely laughing at her inability to speak to other humans. 

The only thing that mattered was the soft sound of a girl whose name she didn’t know.  


If there was one thing Penelope knew she was good at, it was being intuitive to her surroundings. 

Even when she focused on her writing nothing, she was still able to notice details that were not in place. So, when the loud diner door opens, she immediately captured by the cute girl that enters the facility. Brunette hair and tall stature is all she remembered before Hope seated the pair a few booths down. 

And because she was a Park, she owned an ego that prevented her from staring at the girl. Penelope had to fight every instinct to look up at her. At one point, she gave into it a little and she swore the girl had looked in her direction as well. 

An hour goes by and Penelope was fed up with her work (or lack thereof). She lifts her head and notices the girl getting up from her table and making her way towards the bar area. 

Okay, now or never Park. If there was one thing a Park never could be, it was a quitter. 

She gulps down the last of her mediocre coffee (no offense to Maya in the back) and strolls over to where the girl was sitting. 

“Hi, excuse me. I was wondering if I could get a refill on one of your infamous coffee brew?”

Maya looks over at Penelope and smiles, “sure thing, I’ll go brew you a fresh pot, but while you wait, feel free to take a seat, my girl Josie here can keep you company.” 

Josie. That is a really pretty name she thinks to herself (this time, she doesn’t actually say it out loud). Penelope looks over at the girl, taking in her features. Wow, she’s even more beautiful up close. 

Before Penelope could come up with a smooth line, Josie had already started speaking. 

“Y-you don’t have to if you don’t want too. I’m sure Maya can bring your cup of coffee when it’s ready.”

Penelope smirks, “and miss my chance to talk to a pretty girl? No way.” 

Josie blushes giving Penelope a bit of a confidence boost, “are you sure about that? You looked pretty busy with your writing.” 

Penelope raises her eyebrows. Wonderful to know she wasn’t the only one who paid attention.

“I mean, from far away it may have looked like that, you know? When someone is invested in something, it gives the assumption they’re busy and writing is a task in which one would be invested in” the girl begins to nervously laugh, “but how would I know? It’s not like I was staring or anything of that matter.” 
 
Penelope can’t help but giggle, and not in an offensive way but an admirable way. This girl was seriously the most precious thing ever. 

Josie nervously chuckles, “I should probably leave you alone before I make an even bigger fool of myself.”

“No, wait,” Penelope steps forward, “I never properly introduced myself. My name Penelope and there is no way you could ever look like a fool, not to me.”

God, that sounded so cheesy. But once those words left her mouth, she had to roll with it. 

“And if you’re free right now, I have an empty table and some extra scones. I would love to discuss writing, the task in which you saw me participate in.” 

Josie parts her mouth slightly but before she could articulate a response, a loud voice interrupts, “JOSIE!”

Josie breaks away their eye contact and stumbles back a bit, her eyes a bit dazed. She looks over to her booth, “th-that’s my cue.” 

Penelope nods her head, disappointed. 

“What are your plans for tomorrow?” Josie asks, her voice low and unsure. 

Penelope decides it is now or never. She grabs a napkin from the table and writes down her phone number, “how about you let me know?”  

“JOSIE” the voice barks again and Penelope can’t help but feel slightly irritated. Josie apologizes before walking away, holding the napkin in her hand. 


As Josie tottered back to her table, she could feel Lizzie’s eyes glowering at her.

“Who was that?” Lizzie accuses, watching Penelope return back to her booth. 

“No one,” Josie brushes off, “she wanted more coffee and I happened to be standing there while she waited. Where’d Hope go?” 

“She had to clock back in,” Lizzie explains before branching into another story about her and Hope. And as hard Josie tried to pay attention, the only thing she could focus on was the burning sensation of the napkin in right hand pocket. 

“So, you’re in, right?” Lizzie asks, breaking Josie from her thoughts.

“Yeah, okay,” Josie agrees, not entirely sure to what yet, but Lizzie seemed quite excited for it. 

“Perfect!’ Lizzie squeals, “you’re the best sister ever!”

Josie smiles to herself, agreeing. Yeah, she kind of is.

The following night, she watches as Hope walks with her and Lizzie back to the Salvatore school. Being with Penelope, even for a few minutes felt exhilarating. How does one even feel this way about a person she’s spoken only twenty words too? Usually she wouldn’t give into strangers. Something about Lizzie judging them. In fact, Lizzie has never liked any of the people she’s dated or like (unless she went for them herself). 

And yet, watching her and Hope dance around each other made Josie crave it for herself. Fuck it, she deserved a chance at being happy with someone for a change. She decided that she was going to message Penelope tomorrow. She was too much of a coward to do it today but, yes, that’s exactly what she was going to do. 

After a busy morning helping her father prep a lesson plan, she quickly rushed back to her room to find her jacket with Penelope’s number, only to find a tidied room with no jacket. 

“Hey Liz, have you seen my jacket” Josie mumbles.

“What’d you say?” Lizzie asks, curiously looking up from the book she was reading. 

“Have you seen my jacket?” Josie asks, “the one I wore yesterday?” 

“I washed it,” Lizzie states before going back to her book. 

“WHAT?” Josie’s voice spikes as she panics.

No, no, no, no, no. 

Lizzie eyes narrow at her sister’s panicked voice, “I wanted to say thank you for yesterday, so I decided to just add your laundry to mine.” 

Josie's eyes widen and she bolts out of the room. She runs to the shared laundry mat and immediately finds her basket, only to be disappointed as it had reached full spin cycle. She stops the load, pulling out her yellow jacket. Inside the right pocket held a napkin so damp, it fell apart in her hands. 

Josie groans, defeated. She throws her jacket back into the washer and sulks back to her room. 

Now how was she going to reach her? 


The following morning, Penelope felt glued to her phone the way her younger cousins were obsessed with candy. When she received no response from Josie, she decided she would return to the diner, in hopes of running into her once more. To her surprise, it was a bit busier compared to yesterday.  

“Table for one?” a voice speaks up. Penelope looks at their name-tag, Maya. She recognizes her from yesterday. 

“Yes,” Penelope agrees and Maya leads her to one of the vacant booths. 

“You were here yesterday,” she observes and Penelope nods her head. She admits she was only paying half attention to what she was saying, too busy trying to locate the tall, brown-eyed girl.  

“Yup, I couldn’t get enough of your coffee, I just had to come back for more,” Penelope lies, the coffee was okay but not the reason why she was camping out here again.  

Maya gives her a straight face before shaking her head, “since you’re cute, I’m going let you in on a little secret, our coffee sucks and whatever Hope told you yesterday is a lie.”“Uh…” Penelope did not know how to respond.

“Let me bring you back something better, like our tea,” Maya suggests. 

“Yeah, okay,” Penelope agrees.  

For the next few hours, Penelope nervously kept herself busy, not wanting to look too eager if Josie were to show up. Scribbling away once again, she didn’t even notice the amount of time had passed until Maya came back around with a small plateful of scones.  

“Long day?” Maya asks, placing the plate between them. 

“I didn’t order these?” 

Maya shrugs, “I know, just thought you’d enjoy them.” 

“Oh, thank you,” Penelope softens, “I’m okay though, it’s been a pretty short day actually, I was asleep for most of it.” 

“Lucky you,” Maya’s eyes falter to the notebook next to Penelope, “what are you writing there?”  

Penelope looks down and sighs, “nothing, nothing at all.”  

Maya reads the room and decides to just leave her be. Penelope watches as she walks away, looking at the clock right above the bar. 

4:56 PM.

She isn’t coming. 

*BUZZ* 

Penelope excitedly breaks from her trance and glances down at her phone notifications. 

Izzie
Fine. 

But you owe me.  

Penelope sighs, before responding back to Izzie. Okay, she was going to give it one more hour. 

When Izzie finally shows up, Penelope decides to call it, not wanting to embarrass herself anymore by waiting here for someone who was clearly not going to show. 

Chapter Text

Getting her appendix out was not too bad, being unable to run for the rest of the summer was what wounded Casey the most. 

First day of school finally arrived and all Casey could focus on was finally getting back out there. Feeling the breeze hit her face as her feet guided her. All she could fantasize about was running. 

Oh, fuck it. She was going to run today, even if it ended up killing her. 

Casey quickly rose out of bed, putting on a black t-shirt and red gym shorts. As she approached the living space, she could hear Elsa and Sam talking. She quickly looks around for her running shoes, which all seemed to be missing. 

That could only mean one thing. 

“The doctor said to wait six weeks, it’s been six weeks,” Casey claimed.  

Elsa steps forward, “it’s been five weeks, five days. I bet you’re still sore. Let me see your scar.” 

Casey jolts at Elsa’s contact, sliding back, “hey! My body. Bad touch.” 

Elsa send her a look and Casey walks off, “now give me my shoes. Where’d you put ‘em?” 

Casey walks around as her mother turns her attention onto Sam. She checks the cabinets first. If I were running shoes, where would Elsa hide me?
 
“Sure you don’t want me to go with you?” Elsa places the folder in front of Sam. 

“No thanks,” Sam decides. 

Elsa sighs, taking a seat, “why not?” 

Casey closes the bottom cabinet, eyes rolling, “because he’s a grown-ass man.”

“For once she’s right, cause I’m a grown-ass man.”

“Casey, why are your sneakers in my t-shirt drawer?” her dad walks into the kitchen holding up her pair of sneakers.  

“Yes!” she enthusiastically grabs them from her father, before making a face at her mom. 

“I was hiding them,” Elsa exasperates, but it was too late, Casey was out the door. 

The moment the breeze hit her face, she could feel her body start to ache. God, this was going to be hard.

She ran for a good two miles before she couldn’t take the pain any longer. When she arrived home, she snuck past Elsa, not wanting to admit to her she had been right. She could never do that. Instead she jumps into the shower to get ready for school. 

First day of junior year, here she comes. 


Izzie wakes up feeling extremely exhausted and excited all at the same time. 

Moving all her things into the dorm was difficult, borderline torturous, but sleeping away from her siblings for the first time this entire summer, that was the real heartbreaker. 

She had grown accustomed to waking up in the middle of the night to soothe Javie back to sleep or make sure Koby wasn’t trying to steal cookies. She even missed little Mila’s endless tantrums. Maybe Izzie had just grown too used to noises, getting sleep with peace and quiet threw her off balance. And yet, the other part of her was grateful her grandparents agreed to watch them, as long as Izzie kept her commitment to babysitting them weekends and certain nights. Luckily for her, Penelope was around and always willing to help. 

“Ready for today?” Penelope ponders, fixing up her Clayton uniform. 

Izzie nods her head, “yeah, I’m actually going to head out a bit early. I’ll see you before your first class?” 

Penelope nods her head and Izzie is out the door. The first place she goes to is Casey’s locker, in hopes the taller girl had made it on time for the first time ever. 

When Izzie gets there, she smiles, bouncing her way to where Casey was. 

“So, junior year, you ready?” Izzie can’t help but endearingly look at her. Was it just her or did Casey managed to look even more beautiful than ever? 

Before Casey could respond, Nate appears, causing them to awkwardly disperse. Izzie can hear Casey sigh, she hasn’t exactly spoken to Nate since the incident, even if he’s left thousands of text messages, apologizing for his action. It just didn’t feel right. 

Izzie was not about to risk her relationship with Casey for some stupid guy like Nate.

Casey whispers a “hey,” only for Nate to grab his things and irritably trot away. 

Casey gives Izzie a knowing look, “you mean ten months of that awkwardness? Can’t wait.” 

Izzie steps closer, putting her hand on Casey, pushing her into the right direction “he’s harmless.” 

Casey shrugs, “whatever you say.” 

“So what’s your first class?” Casey asks, looking for her class schedule. 

“English, how about you?”

“Pre-Calc,” Casey groans. 

Izzie empathizes, knowing how terrible the class itself is, “you’ll be great, just make sure you befriend the kid that sits in front, usually they’re the smartest, but I have to go pick up Penelope from the office, so I’ll see you later?” 

Casey nods her head, “yeah I’ll see you in a bit.” 

Izzie makes her way to the front office just in time to see Penelope to walk out. 

“And to think I thought you were going to ditch me for Casey,” Penelope comments. 

“Keep bringing up her name up and I might,” Izzie challenges. Penelope laughs as they walk over to her locker. 

“To be fair, it is the first day of school, and you did say I would meet her then,” Penelope inquires. Izzie tenses up, knowing her time at keeping them separate has come to an end.

“Sure, maybe later on today?” Izzie answers, hoping that’ll be enough for her. Penelope shrugs, focusing her attention on organizing her locker. Izzie waits around for a bit, before becomingly increasingly impatient, “c’mon P, we’re going to be late for class, you can fix it during lunch or something.” 

Penelope glares at her but nonetheless, finishes up and they gracefully make it to class on time, where Penelope effortlessly befriends everyone she’s encounters, even the professor. Izzie can’t help notice her cousin radiates head bitch in charge vibes. She doesn’t mind it though. Her being at Clayton was only so that she could further her life goals and get out of this God-forsaken town. 

She was here because it mattered. Penelope was here because her parents couldn’t bring her on their latest endeavor. 

When class finally ends, Izzie appreciates the company that Penelope had managed to congregate around her. 

“Looks like you found yourself a new tour guide, multiple tour guides,” Izzie points out, “so why don’t you let your posse show you your next class and I’ll see you at lunch!” 

“But-” Penelope protested, only to watch Izzie run out the door. 

“Newton!” Izzie greets, finding Casey already at her locker. 

Casey gives her a small wave, “hey, what’s up? Where’s that infamous cousin of yours?” 

“Out ruling the school,” Izzie remarks. 

“Already?” Casey questions and Izzie just nods. She leans her back onto the other lockers while Casey sorts through her things. 

“It kinda sucks you just had surgery,” Izzie muses, “it’s not gonna be as fun kicking your ass at practice.” 
 
Casey glances up from her orange binder, “I’ll have you know, I went on my first run, and I’m fast as ever.”

Of course Newton went on a run, that overachiever. 

“Did it hurt?” 

Casey smugly responds, “like a bitch.” 

Izzie laughs, of course it would, dumbass. 

“Hey,” Nate comes into view, holding three milkshakes in his hands, “I brought you guys milkshakes. I don’t want it to be weird with us for the next two years, so… peace offering?” 

Izzie bites her lip, her mind focused on the milkshakes in Nate’s hand, they looked so good right about now. And honestly she could care less if Nate apologize or not. She was twitching from all the nervousness surrounding the first day that she had forgotten to eat. In other words, she was starving. 

Casey nods her head, “thanks. My stomach’s still a little wonky from the appendectomy, but…”

“I’ll take it!” she shrugs, she would not turn down free milkshakes. 

Nate hands her one, “her’s too,” Casey snickers. 

Nate hands the second one over to her, “thank you. Bye.” 

Izzie looks over at Casey before leaving them alone. She would much rather spend her time with Casey, but she still owed it to her cousin to make sure she made it to class without any hassle. 


Penelope’s first day at Clayton goes a little like this. 

After Izzie left her, she went ahead and met with the principle, who felt obligated to tell her how grateful he was for her father’s donation to the school. Of course, it is a Park tradition. Once that spiel was over, she leaves, not wanting to be late her first day. Luckily for her, she runs into Izzie, only to be ditched by her cousin the minute first period ended.   

To be fair, she didn’t have a hard time fitting in with the people here. Like every boarding school, Penelope knew the ins and outs. 

The next time she saw Izzie right before her third class and she happened to be holding milkshakes. 

“Is this your way of saying sorry for being such a bad cousin?” Penelope quips, crossing her arms. Izzie gave her a dismissive look before handing over one of her. 

“For the record, I am an amazing cousin who is offering to walk you to your next class.” 

“Don’t bother,” Penelope motions, “my next class is biology, which is down the hall. But I’ll see you for lunch?” 

Izzie looked taken aback but also proud at the same time, “well okay then, just text me if you need anything.” Penelope makes her way to class, before running into an average sized man with chocolate milkshake drenched all over him. 

“Move over, you idiot,” he grumbles, walking past her. 

Penelope didn’t particularly like his tone, but before she could react she hears a voice stop her. 

“Don’t mind him, he was born an ass,” she says much louder, causing the boy to turn around and flick her off. 

Penelope looks over at the girl with short hair, leaning against the wall next to a door labeled ‘Coach Crowley’

“Let me guess, that mess has something to do with you?” 

The girl laughs, “yeah, it happens to be my finest work.”

“Wonder what he did to deserve a milkshake in the face?” 

“Besides being an ass? So much. And to clarify, I didn’t pour the milkshake on it, I merely bopped it while in his hand.”

“Bopped it?” 

“Precisely,” she responds, “it’s like a gentle punch.” 

Penelope muses, “I hope it was worth it.”

“It was so worth it,” the girl concurs, chuckling, “you must be new here.” 

“Yeah, is it that obvious?” Penelope questions, still constantly amazed at how small this town started to feel. 

“Nah not really, I just assumed based on the way you’ve just handled Nate. Most people know him and know not to get in his way.” 

Nate. That name sounded familiar. It sounded like the guy that Izzie talked about. The asshole who cheated on her and tried to come between her and Casey. 

“Any who, welcome to Clayton. I’d offer to show you around, but I kind of have to speak with my coach about the bopping incident.” 

“It’s fine,” Penelope explains, running her fingers through her hair, “I should probably get going to class anyways”

The door opens revealing a short and statured coach with short blonde hair.

“Casey.” Coach Crowley scolds her voice filled with disappointment. 

Casey?

“Hey Coach, did I ever tell you just how much of amazing person you are.” 

The coach shakes her and walks back inside. Casey gives one last look at Penelope, “wish me luck new girl.”

“Good luck,” Penelope says before the door closes on her. As she walked to biology, she couldn’t help but finally connect the dots. 

CASEY!

Chapter Text

“You signed me up for what now?” Josie stomps into her room holding a yellow jersey in her hands. 

“Correction, I signed us up for this year’s flag football game against Clayton Prep!” Lizzie trails behind, holding the roster in her hand. 

Josie shakes her head, “we usually play Mystic Falls High School, why the sudden change?” 

“We’re playing them too, just after Clayton,” Lizzie mumbles. Josie narrows her eyes, “okay, fine we weren’t supposed to play Clayton but Hope was talking about how her parents were thinking of transferring her there because of their good track team and I just thought that if Hope saw them in action, it would change her mind…”

“So you invite them to play flag football with us?” Josie exasperates, “I don’t understand.” 

Lizzie shakes head, “oh dearest sister, no, no. I invited them to get their ass kicked by us.”

Josie sees the determination in her sisters’ eyes and knew there was no getting out of this, “and when we do crush them, Hope and her family will know that Salvatore school is the best and only place to embrace the Mikaelson heir.” 

“I assume you have coerced a bunch of the star athletes into playing?” 

Lizzie grins, “yes, MG and Kaleb convinced the track team, Rafael agreed we’d have the football team, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their own games. Jed said the lacrosse team would be down. Alyssa Chang agreed on getting the softball players to join in and we have the support of Dad. So now all we need is for you to get Hope to agree to play with us.” 

Josie incredulously looks at her sister, “excuse me?” 

Lizzie’s eyes soften, “I… haven’t actually told her we were playing against them yet and Hope might want to go for QB one.”

“But you’re always QB?”

“That is true, but if Hope wants to be QB, are we really going to stop her? She’s one of the fastest runners here at school.”

“Why doesn’t she go for linebacker then?” 

Lizzie contemplates that before nodding her head, “you know what? That is a perfect idea. You should suggest that to her when you tell her she has to play.”Josie barks out a laugh, “oh no, no, no. I am not going to be the one that has to tell her that her name is already on the roster. You can keep me out of this.”

“B-b-but, but,” Lizzie stammers. Josie places the roster and jersey on her twin’s bed before heading out, “I’ll be at the diner today if you need me, let me know how the conversation goes!” 

Before Josie could hear Lizzie’s dispute, she was already out the door. Not today.

She arrives at the diner for the eighth time in the past five weeks. Each time she is hosted by Maya, who gives her nothing but questioning looks and witty remarks. 

“You know Saltzman, if you wanted to ask me out, you can just save yourself the trouble,” Maya blabs, not even looking up from her book, knowing well enough it was Josie who walked in. 

Josie frowns, walking past Maya, over to the bar area.

“Hey Josie,” Ethan waves, polishing the drafts, “Landon’s making your food right now, should be out in a bit.”

“Thank you Ethan,” Josie pulls out her laptop and begins doing working, occasionally peering over to where Ethan was standing, admiring the man for being so jubilant all the time. 

“If Ethan’s the one you want, you may have to fight Landon for him.” Maya appears with her plate of food, “not that I don’t believe you could take him, you totally could but then you’d look like you punched a puppy.” 

Josie looked ready to bite Maya’s head off, “I’m kidding Saltzman. How about we make a deal? You tell me why you’ve been weird about coming here for the past five weeks and I’ll give this to you, on the house.” 

Josie spent a pensive moment before shrugging, “nah.” 

Maya tilts her head, “okay, so it has nothing to do with the green-eyed beauty that just entered the diner?”

Josie couldn’t recall a time where she turned around so quickly, only to be disappointed and embarrassed. 

“Oh wow, can we talked about whipped. I can’t believe you fell for that,” Maya barks, laughing hysterically. 

Josie turns a crimson red, ready to give Maya a piece of her mind.  

“Maya,” Ethan scolds, watching the pair from the drafts. Maya looks at her brother and immediately stops laughing. She looks over at Josie, guilt appearing in her face. Usually when they bantered, it worked because Josie never took offense to the things Maya said or did.

Only this time, Josie lacked patience, mainly because of her stupidity that led her into the position she was in right now, “look, I’m sorry for that Jo. Let me make it up to you, this can be on the house and I’ll let you know that if you happen to be talking about the green-eyed girl who drank too much of our shitty coffee, well she hasn’t been back here since that week she first came in.”

And there it was.

“Maybe it’s time you let go of a girl you’ve met for five minutes and actually focus on what’s in front of you.”

Josie sulks, knowing deep down Maya was right. Who was she kidding coming back to this diner in hopes of seeing her again? And in a town, that large, what was the likeliness she would actually run into her again? And yet, all she wanted was another chance, to explain to her she didn’t want to stand her up. She was going to message her, but things happened and curse her for not originally saving the number. 

With all the thoughts of uncertainty running through her mind, Josie didn’t even notice the way Ethan observed them both, his sad eyes trailed onto his sister, who eagerly waited for Josie to give her the time of day. 


“You punched his milkshake? How do you punch a milkshake? It’s a liquid,” Crowley scrunches her face, clenching onto a yellow lacrosse ball.  

“I didn’t punch it. I bopped it.” Casey clarifies, “it’s more gentle than a punch.” 

“On accident?” 

“No, on purpose,” He deserved that, she wanted to scream, “have you met this kid?” 

Crowley shakes her head, disappointed, “Casey.” 

“Crowley.” 
 
“You have tremendous potential. You’re smart, you’re tough, you work hard, and you seem completely happy to throw it all away.” 

Casey grows defensive “that’s not what I’m doing.”“Isn’t it? You don’t think you belong here, so-”

“I don’t,” Casey reaffirms, have you seen the people that went here? 

“Look, I’m not trying to be a menace, and I love this team,” she truly meant it. Being here has been life-changing. 
 
“I know, but it’s junior year. It’s a big one for you, SATs, college stuff,” Casey looks down, she knows, “you need to set aside the emotional angst and decide what you want.” 

“Do I have to?” Crowley rolls her eyes and tosses the yellow lacrosse ball onto her lap. 

“Okay, since it is the first day of school, I won’t write you up but I can’t let this go unpunished, so I am signing you up to participate in this year’s co-ed flag football match.” 

Casey shakes her head, “what?”

“This year Clayton will participate in a friendly flag-football game against the Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted. It’s just a friendly match, winners earn a title and that’s that. The principle is asking me to recruit players and you’re going to the be first one on that list.” 

“But-” Casey protests. She was a runner not a football player. 

“No buts Casey, it’s either that or I make you sit out the first meet and I’m sure you and I would both agree, we need you running.” 

Casey immediately shuts up and lets Crowley finish lecturing her. Eventually it ends and she finds herself in next period, not able to pay attention to the professor at all. Before she could completely zone out, she feels a tap on her shoulder.

Next to her was Izzie, who had her concerned face on. 

Izzie leans over and writes on her notebook. 

u ok? 

Casey shrugs, writing back could be worst

Izzie raises her eyebrow, mouthing “what happened?” 

Casey writes, spoke 2 crowley

Izzie respond, about?

Casey sighs, tell u l8r 

Izzie nods her head and Casey spends the rest of the long period trying to inhale as much information about chemistry as she could possibly attain, only to be distracted again by the thought of playing football. What kind of torture was that? She didn’t even know how to play. 

God, I hope they don’t make me quarterback, she thought to herself. 

Once class ends, Izzie immediately grabs Casey’s arm and takes her too her locker, “okay Newton spill, what happened?” 

Casey starts off with the Nate incident. 

“You punched his milkshake?” Izzie gasps and Casey groans. 

“No, I bopped it! Bopped!” Casey decides to show her by bopping Izzie’s binder, causing it to drop to the ground along with a few papers. Izzie gives her stunned, dumfounded look and Casey instantly regrets it. 

“Okay, maybe a more aggressive bop that I previously expected,” Casey apologizes, bending down to grab and then continues to tell Izzie what Crowley suggested her punishment would be. 

“You’re being forced to play in a flag football match against the Salvatore school?” Izzie trails off before breaking into a grin. 

“What?” Casey asks, confused at Izzie’s reaction.  

Izzie full on laughs this time, “I’m just trying to imagine you playing football.”

Casey grunts, placing her head on the locker. This was not going to end well. 

“Hey, girl who bopped the milkshake,” Casey and Izzie look over to the voice and Casey immediately recognizes her. The green-eyed girl from earlier. The one who looked ready to bite Nate’s head off when he ran into her. 

“Hey, new girl,” Casey greets.  

“Casey, right?” She asks before looking at Izzie, “and Izzie, hey.” 
Casey looks at Izzie, who was oddly standing stiffly next to her. It took a second for Casey to connect the dots. 

“You two know each other?” 


Izzie shouldn’t have been shocked that Penelope and Casey managed to meet without her being the initiator. Their school wasn’t that big to begin with. And yet, when Penelope approached them with such ease, Izzie couldn’t help but turn ice cold. 

This was not going to end well for her. 

“Casey, right?” Penelope smirks and then tilts her head at Izzie, “and Izzie, hey.” Casey gives her a questioning look before turning to face her, “you two know each other?” 

Penelope stays quiet, giving the question to Izzie. 

“Casey, meet my cousin, Penelope Park.”

Casey widens her eyes and then reaches out her hand, “so you’re the infamous cousin I keep hearing about.”
Penelope smirks at Izzie, “so my cousin has nice things to actually say about me?” 

Izzie shrugs, unable to formulate actual words. 

“It’s nice to finally meet the best friend Izzie won’t stop talking about,” Penelope shakes her hand and Izzie immediately glares at Penelope.

“Aww, you talk about me?” Casey looks at Izzie, who is now flushing red.  

“Yeah, it’s always Newton this and Newton that,” Penelope speaks on her behalf and Casey can’t help but break out into a smile. 

“OKAY, I THINK THAT IS ENOUGH,” Izzie rushes out, “look at the time Penelope, I think we have to head to class now, right? I’ll catch you later Newton!” 

“Um okay? Bye!” Casey waves to the two of them. 

Izzie grabs her cousin’s arm and drags her into the other direction. 

“Bye Casey!” Penelope waves, allowing herself to be pulled into the wrong direction. Once they were a hallway away Penelope stops her. 

“Okay Izzie, my next class is actually on the other side of the building.”

“What the hell are you doing?” Izzie scolds, letting go of Penelope’s arm. She was unable to keep her cool. 

“I was being friendly Izzie,” Penelope explains. 

“Whatever I said when we were drunk, I didn’t mean it.” Izzie sputters out, “I was drunk and confused and it shouldn’t matter anymore because Casey has a boyfriend. So, whatever you are trying to implicate, it’s not true and it’ll only make things worst so please stop. Better yet, just leave Casey alone.” 

She has a boyfriend, which translated as keep as much distance between her and Casey to where it didn’t affect their friendship. 

Penelope steps forward, “Izzie… I’m sorry.” 

Izzie pulls away, taking a step back from Penelope, “It’s fine, I’ll just see you later P.”

Penelope’s defeated eyes bore into Izzie as she walked away. 

As Izzie continued to her next class, she couldn’t help but feel guilty for snapping at Penelope. It wasn’t Penelope’s fault for only knowing as much as she knows. It was her who was unable to be honest with her cousin. It was her who ran away each time the chance of talking about Casey was brought up. 

The sight of Penelope and Casey terrified her because what if Penelope said something that scared Casey off. There was much about that drunken night that Izzie couldn’t recall. She knew what she told Penelope but she was scared of the things she didn’t remember telling her. What if Casey found out the truth and never wanted to speak to her again?

Izzie didn’t even know her own feelings. In fact, she didn’t have time for feelings. Everything she did at Clayton mattered. She didn’t have time to worry about girls or drama. 

The last thing she needed was something to complicate her scholarship here and her friendship with Casey.  

Chapter Text

Lizzie nervously approaches the large brown door, which felt larger in comparison to her own door. In her hands held the bright yellow jersey. 

Damn it Josie, she thinks to herself. She really needed to work on not finding herself in situations like these. 

Breathe, you can do this. It's just Hope. 

She lifts her empty hand, prepared to knock on the door, right before it opens revealing a beautiful tiny red-headed girl.  

Hope Andrea Mikaelson. 

Lizzie’s heart stops and starts again. Right in front of her was the girl who she despised most of her life, only to realize she never actually hated her. In fact, she admired her. The girl who she thought would only bring upon rage and jealousy, brought nothing but comfort and peace. When things started to spiral for Lizzie, Hope was there.

Hope was always there. 

“Lizzie?” Hope exclaims, baffled, “what are you doing here?” 

“Hope, hi,” Lizzie manages, her nerves beginning to get the best of her. 

“Aren’t you supposed to be in class right now?” Hope draws, looking intently at Lizzie. 

Lizzie’s mouth goes dry and she ends up only being able to smile crazily at Hope, “erm actually class ended a few minutes ago and I needed to talk to you.”  

“Is everything okay?” Hope asks, concern now spreading across her face. 

“Of course it is, why wouldn’t it be?” Lizzie says, unable to get the words she wanted to say out.

Just spit it out already.

“Lizzie?” Hope asks again, this time, placing her hand on Lizzie’s arm. 

Lizzie jolts at the contact, taking a step back. God, she hated how nervous she became around Hope. And it all started with Josie finally admitting her previous crush on the girl, which led to her putting a wrench in their friendship.
However, this past summer, Hope has been nothing but perfect, kind, and amazing. 

Lizzie catches herself peering into Hope’s comforting eyes, ones that were filled with worry right now about. 

“Lizzie?” Hope repeats herself, unsure of what to do. 

Lizzie exhales, “okay so I’m actually here to confess something. It’s not that bad or maybe it is and maybe you’ll hate me but you need to know. Basically, I may have accidentally but not really signed you up for a flag football game against Clayton this upcoming weekend,” Lizzie rushes out, “and before you say no, I have a few things I brought to convince you. First, we have upgraded jerseys, here’s yours,” Lizzie hands over the yellow jersey. 

Before Hope could respond, Lizzie continues, speaking faster than usual. 

“Second of all, you have first pick of the positions. I suggested you have QB1, because it’s you and if you were to go for any position, that would be your first pick. But then Josie made a good point about you being the fastest one on at the school so she suggested linebacker and I can’t help but agree because you’re amazing and you’d be amazing at both, unless you want QB then it’s all yours.” 

Lizzie stops in her tracks, eying Hope’s face with wide eyes, “but if you really don’t want to do it, I completely understand and I will ask dad to remove your name from the roster and I won’t bother you again and-”

Hope stops her by leaning forward, capturing her lips in a kiss.  

Lizzie hesitates for a second before naturally leaning into the kiss, feeling the warmth spread through her skin. As soon as her mind registered with her mouth, she felt fireworks. Not like she has before. Not with Rafael, MG, or even Sebastian. With Hope, it felt right. 

Lizzie’s arms circled around Hope’s waist, pulling her closer. It felt as if the floodgates had opened and now she never wanted to stop. Until it did. 

Hope pulled away first, causing Lizzie to stumble back, receiving a mild case of whiplash. 

“Wow,” Lizzie whispers, struggling to catch her breath or better yet, pull herself together. 

Being dazed apparently did not go well in Hope’s book because before Lizzie could come up with a proper response, Hope had already entered full on panic mode. 

“Oh my God, I am so sorry Lizzie,” Hope starts to apologize, her cheeks flushed red. “I don’t know what came over me. You were rambling again and your lips looked so, and I should’ve waited, I shouldn’t have, I am so sorry. You should just go-” 

Lizzie doesn’t know what comes over her, as she’s never had real confidence when it came to people she crushed on, but seeing Hope be so vulnerable and scared over this moment, all she wanted to do was make sure the blue-eyed girl knew how much she meant to her. 

Lizzie lifts her hand to touch Hope’s face, bringing her beautiful blue eyes into view. 

“Please don’t ever apologize for doing that,” Lizzie earnestly states, her eyes radiating at the sight of her. 

“You’re not mad?” Hope questioned nervously and Lizzie shakes her head. 

“I could never be mad at you Hope,” Lizzie admitted, “in fact I really want to kiss you right now.” 

Hope smiles, “then kiss me again Saltzman.” 

Lizzie this time leans in and captures Hope’s lips. Their lips moved harmoniously, finding rhythm within one another instantaneously. It’s as if they’d been doing this forever or better yet, they would be doing this for the rest of their lives. Eventually, they both pulled away, with Hope giggling and Lizzie thinking it was the best sound she’s heard in ages. 

They grow silent for a few seconds before Hope breaks out into a wide grin.   

“So, what’s this about a flag football match against Clayton?” 


For the next three days, Izzie avoids Penelope like she’s the plague, and Penelope has no idea how to fix it. 

She’s spent the past half of the week staying at her old home and whenever she would run into her at school, Izzie would walk in the opposite direction. 

At this point, it was starting to become more irritating than it was upsetting.

It wasn’t until she ran into Casey in the cafeteria, where it seemingly grew worst. 

“Penelope, hey,” Casey greets, placing her tray right next to the green-eyed girl, “where’s Izzie?” 

Penelope smiles in return and shrugs, “to be real with you, I haven’t seen her since Monday.”

Casey raises her eyebrows, “is everything okay?” 

Penelope sighs, “I think we’re fighting right now.” “So you’re the reason Izzie’s being so hard on us this past practices?” Casey jokes, causing Penelope to laugh. 

“I’m sure you two will figure it out,” Casey reaffirms, “if there is one thing I know about Izzie, it’s that family is important to her.” 

Penelope hums in agreement, one can only hope. 

“You know what could help?” Casey suggests, “you and Izzie signing up for this year’s annual flag football match against the Salvatore school.” 

The Salvatore school, why did that place sound so familiar?

“I don’t know if Izzie would be into that…” Penelope trails off. She didn’t want to do anything that could remotely set off her cousin, much more than she had already done. 

“How about I run it by her first and if she says yes, then I’ll immediately put your name down as well?” 

Penelope contemplates this. If Izzie were to say yes, then this could give them a chance at bonding. 

“Yeah, sure,” Penelope agrees, “if Izzie says yes then I’ll do it as well.” 

Casey beams, “perfect! I’ll let you know then!” 


The following afternoon, Casey had invited Izzie to come over and hang with her and Evan. She needed to find a way to convince Izzie to sign up for this stupid flag football game. 

As she downed a bag of Cheetos, she thought of the ways she could possibly bribe her. 

“My mom had another headache this morning, which meant I had to get all three kids ready for school,” Izzie complains. 

“Hmm.” Casey listens intently, maybe now wasn’t the right time

“This…” Izzie pulls on her white uniform with a faint green stain, “this is baby barf.” 

“Ew,” Casey states, “what are you doing at home anyways? I thought you stayed in the dorms with Penelope.” 

Izzie quiets down, “yeah, about that. I’m not exactly speaking to her right now.” 

Before Casey could further ponder why, Evan reappears, “Cheetos,” he excitedly claims, reaching over to grab a few. 

“Honestly, I just need to get done with school and move far, far away,” Izzie states. 

“Where would you go?” Casey asks. 

“New Orleans,” Izzie smirks and all Casey could think about was, damn interesting choice. “Barcelona. What’s the furthest place from here?”

Casey laughs, “Mars? Oh, this is fun. Where would you go? Name three places.” 

“Um…” Casey swallows the remaining of her Cheetos before answering, “Dublin, cause Irish accents.”

“Oh yeah,” Izzie agrees. 

“San Francisco and Cape Town.”

Evan starts laughing, capturing both girls attention, “Cape Town? I think you mean Cape Cod. Cape Cod.” 

Casey stares at him, baffled, “no, the one in South Africa.” 

“Oh. Oh, right, yeah, yeah, I know that. That’s uh,” Evan leans over to grab his drink. Casey wonders, where would Evan go? “Where would you go, three cities?” Casey eagerly questions Evan. 

“Three?” Evan clarifies, clutching the drink in his hand, “Um, maybe Providence.” 

“What?” Izzie narrows her eyes. 

“Yeah,” Evan shakes his head, taking a sip of his drink, “Providence is nice.” 

“Dude, that’s like two hours from here,” Casey thinks to herself. Out of all the places in the world, there was no way that Evan would settle on Providence. 

There was just no way. 


Izzie doesn’t mean to judge when Evan gives his answers. She couldn’t help the way her face turned when he talked about going to Providence. 

Couldn’t be me, is all she could think to herself. 

After leaving Casey’s house, Izzie decides to return back to her dorm. Between her mom and her throbbing headache, she knew that her three siblings would be staying with her grandparents tonight. This gave her a chance to catch up on some homework as well as look into colleges. 

All this talk of leaving this town got her excited. She needed to get out. After doing some thorough research, she devised a plan. One that involved Casey, but nonetheless it was a plan to get her out of this small town. 

“Izzie, can we talk?” 

Izzie looks up to find Penelope clutching a bag in her hands. Izzie couldn’t help but feel guilty. She had no real reason to be upset with Penelope, and she knew that. The only reason she’s been avoiding her was because she was too prideful to apologize. 

“Yeah, sure,” Izzie responds, shutting down her laptop, “what do you want to talk about?” 

Penelope places the bag on her bed, “I wanted to apologize.” 

Izzie leans over to peer into the bag, her eyes widening, “is that a Clayton jersey?” 

“Look Iz, let me start off with saying I’m sorry for what happened with Casey. I didn’t know what I said would affect you like this. I promise I’ll stop the teasing and I won’t mention you around Casey. I just want you to know that I’m here for you, for whatever it is you may need.”

Izzie nods her head, “and yes, this is a Clayton jersey, I don’t want you to have to use your running one for when we play football against the Salvatore school.”  

“Wait, what?” Izzie shakes her head, “did you just say ‘we’?”

Penelope explains Casey’s offer and Izzie can’t help but laugh. There was no way in hell she was going to play football, much less with her school. 

“Yeah, there’s no way that’s happening P,” Izzie puts the jersey back into the bag and places it on the floor. 

“Casey seemed really adamant about us joining,” Penelope points out, “I told her that I’d only do it if you were doing it as well.” 

“Well, in that case, looks like we’re missing out.” 

Penelope laughs, “well you better tell Casey that before she officially puts us on the roster.” 

Izzie groans, “great, another conversation I have to deal with.” 

Penelope laughs and Izzie can’t help but soften, “I’m sorry too P, for everything. I shouldn’t have blown up on you like that. I was the one avoiding my problems and taking it out on you was not cool.” 

Penelope looks at her and smiles, “it’s no problem Iz, if anything we can blame our inability to communicate on our Park genes.” 

Izzie laughs and they fall back into routine, the air seemingly clearing between them.  
The following morning, Izzie wakes up in a good mood and the first person she goes to see is Casey. It’s right after the first warning bell has rung, Casey walks through the front doors when Izzie finds her. 

Izzie, bright eyed and smiles, rushes up to her, getting very up close and personal. 

“What’s up, crazy?” Casey asks. 

“I figured it out. I know how to get us out of here.” 

“Clayton?” Casey questions, “I don’t have a problem getting out. It’s staying in I have trouble with.” 

Izzie scoffs, usually she would be endeared by Casey’s sarcasm but today she was fired up about her plan. 

“Shut up and listen,” Izzie whispers, as if it’s their secret alone, “almost every year UCLA recruits a student from Clayton on a track scholarship. Two years ago, they took three kids.” Casey’s eyes light up, “that’s crazy.” “I know,” Izzie agrees, “and their coach is, like, best friends with Coach Crowley.” 

Casey smugly responds, “Crowley has friends?” 

Izzie deeply sighs, yeah she was not in the mood to joke, “Casey, we could go together, the two of us, to California.” 

Izzie watches at Casey contemplates it.

“Wow,” she breathes out. 

“I know, right?” Izzie exclaims, “and this scout is gonna be at regionals in a couple months.”

“Do you think that they’d take us?” Casey asks, unsure. 

“I mean if we train like crazy and get our times down.” Izzie explains, “we’re juniors, this is our chance to impress them.” 

“LA…” Casey breathes, “I don’t know anything about it except that it’s very far away from Elsa.” 

Izzie agrees, “exactly.” 

“You know,” Casey begins, “one way we both could work on our running is through football.”

Izzie raises her eyebrows, oh here she goes. 

“No,” Izzie immediately shuts down. 

“You don’t even know what I’m going to ask,” Casey whines. 

“I am not signing up to play flag football,” Izzie reiterates. 

"But..." Casey sticks out her lip, pouting and Izzie can’t help but want to give in.

Oh, god, Penelope is never going to let her live this down. 


When Penelope returns to her dorm, she finds that it is surprisingly empty. She walks over to her bed area, only to find a brown bag with a note on it. 

Staying over at moms’ place. Had to watch kids last minute. 
Also practice starts tomorrow after class. Lmk if u can make it. 
- Izzie

Penelope looks down and sees the navy-blue jersey Clayton jersey. She shakes her head and smiles before mumbling “whipped.” 

Chapter Text

Once the idea of leaving was implanted in Casey’s brain, it was all she could allow herself to think about. 

UCLA. California. Sun. Pools. Nowhere near Elsa. Freedom.

It all sounded very tempting. And to top it all off, she would be going to college with her best friend. 

It was perfect. 

And yet, Casey felt obligated to run this by Evan. He was her boyfriend and one of the most important person in her life. So, while they sat on her bed, enjoying this slice of delicious smiley pizza, she found the courage to actually tell him. 

“So, um guess what?” she brings the courage to say. 

Evan looks over expectantly, “hmm?”

“I think I might wanna go to UCLA.” Evan wipes his hand, his eyes widening, “what? Really? UCLA in…LA?”

“I know it’s crazy, but Izzie said they recruit kids from Clayton all the time, and if we get our time down on our splits, then maybe we could both go,” Casey can’t help but feel giddy just thinking about it, “I don’t’ know, ever since Izzie said it, it’s just felt right.” 

Evan nods his head, his mouth slightly parting, “wow.”

Casey continues, “and I was thinking that maybe you could come too?”

The thought of having Evan come with her made complete sense. It wasn’t like he was committed to anything here. In fact, in her mind, it was perfect.

And yet, hearing him remain on the fence about the whole situation provided her with a cruel reality check. 

She started to question the actual possibility of her being able to make it to LA. 


After the day Izzie has had all she could think about was running. Once she left the gym, she immediately headed out to the field, only to find she was more so late than she was on time. She spots Casey sitting on the bench tying her shoes and makes her over to her, clutching onto her gym bag. 

“Hey.” Casey finishes tying her shoe, looking up, “hey.”

“Are you cool with meeting a half hour early to train?” Izzie asks, “we can do extra conditioning and practice passes. We gotta step up our game.” “Yeah, sure. Maybe,” Casey turns to open her backpack, her tone unconvincing. 

Izzie tilts her head, noticing the slight change, “you’re already changing your mind about LA, aren’t you?” 

“No. Um, I ran the idea by Evan.” Casey mentions, “I told him he should come with us.” 

Izzie internally groans. Seriously, Evan? 

“And he’s not into it?” Izzie guesses. 

Casey looks over, giving a familiar ‘you already know’ face and Izzie nods her head. She knew.

“I’m not surprised. I mean, if we were going to college in Providence,” she jokes, “what does he want to stay here for anyways? What does Evan, like, do?”  

Izzie didn’t mean to come off as judgmental. For her, leaving was always the only option. Staying was something she never once considered because staying would mean being just like her mother, losing to her family, and giving up on the people who relied on her most. She needed to be successful to provide a life for her siblings. 

So, in turn, she had a hard time understanding people who chooses not to do anything with their lives.

Casey flusters up, “I mean, he works at Don’s, and he’s figuring it out.”

‘Figuring it out’

Sure Jan. 

“Which is code for doing nothing,” Izzie states flatly, internally rolling her eyes. 

Casey stares at her, “I hate you.” 

“I know,” Izzie reaffirms, smirking on the inside. She then leans forward to get up, “come on.” 

Casey immediately stands up, “wait up.” 

They successfully complete a few training exercises before Casey calls for a quick water break. Izzie notices the changes in her performance, especially at today’s practice.  

“Working a bit harder today Newton?” Izzie points out, crouching over to grab her water bottle.  

Casey finishes taking a gulp of her drink, “practice for flag football begins tomorrow and I don’t know what Coach wants me to do but I’m trying to get as much done today.” 

Izzie’s eyes widen as recollection draws upon her, “oh shit, it’s tomorrow?” 

“Yeah, why?” 

Izzie immediately turns to the bleachers and spots Penelope wearing her Clayton uniform, leaning her back against the fence. 

Casey follows her glance and points out the raven-haired girl, “what’s your cousin doing here?” 

“I may have told her that we had practice today,” Izzie shakes her head. Shit, Penelope is going to be pissed. 

Casey laughs, “I wonder how long she’s been waiting there.” 

Izzie groans, “let me go find out. Why don’t you and the girls do a few more laps and then we can end on that note for today.”“Aye, aye captain,” Casey salutes before running off. 

Izzie can’t help but push down the flutters that appear in her stomach as Casey runs off. 

“Hey dork,” a towel is thrown at her face. Izzie pulls it off and sees it’s Penelope approaching her. 

“Hey P, looking great today” Izzie starts, obtaining a scoff from Penelope, “please tell me you haven’t been waiting here that long.” 

Penelope raises her eyebrow, “are you about to tell me that there is no practice today?” 

Izzie gives her a look and Penelope groans, “Iz, I could’ve been at the journalism club’s meeting.” 

“I’m sorry,” Izzie pleads, “how about you let me make it up to you?” 

“How do you plan on doing that?” Penelope challenges. 

Izzie thinks about it before coming up with a great idea, “it’s a surprise. Go home and change, I’ll finish up here and then we can head over.” Penelope sighs, agreeing, “fine, but it better be worth it.”  

“Oh it will be!” Izzie beams, “also, journalism club? Seriously?”

Before Penelope could even come up with a pointed response, she was already making her way to join her team, leaving Penelope to her own defenses. 


Another hour passes by and the next time Penelope sees her cousin, it’s at the front entrance of their dorm room. 

“Sorry it took a bit longer than expected, the girls wanted to get a bit more in,” Izzie explains, dropping her belongings onto the ground and making her way into the bathroom. Penelope had already changed out of her clothes and into jeans and a black top. She was laying on her bed, scrolling through social media. 

“It’s fine,” Penelope responds, “take your time.” 

Izzie doesn’t take her time and immediately showers and gets dressed in the span of ten minutes. 

“Okay, let’s go,” she beams, grabbing her car keys from the dresser. 

Fifteen minutes later they are sitting in an empty parking lot, in front of a shack-liked building with a bright sign that read out Coney Iceland

“Iz?” Penelope raises her eyebrow. 

Izzie gives her a look of contempt and Penelope shuts up and steps out of the car. 

“Penelope Park, I introduce you to the best ice cream shop this state has to offer!” Izzie exclaims entering the small but very cool establishment. 

The moment her nose came into contact with the air inside the building, Penelope could simply taste the sweetness. Something about the freshness in the aroma made her mouth salivate. She wasn’t even craving ice cream at the time. 

“Is that Izzie Park?” a voice cries, following an older lady skipping towards them. Izzie softly smiles and the two reunite in a large embrace. 

“You don’t call, you don’t visit anymore,” the old lady mumbles, gripping onto Izzie, “I was beginning to think I was never going to see you again.” 

Izzie remains silent, allowing the older lady her moment. When she finally pulls away she tilts her head at Penelope, “and who’s your friend here?” 

“Mrs. B this is my cousin, Penelope,” Penelope holds out her hand only to be pulled into a firm embrace. 

When the lady eventually let’s go of her, she turns and excitedly looks at Izzie, “you never mentioned having a cousin that lived nearby.”  

“To be fair, I didn’t know about her till recently,” Izzie justifies and Penelope can’t help but smile nervously. 

“Well any family of Izzie is a friend of mine,” Mrs. B exclaims, “why don’t I give you a few scoops on the house?” “That would be amazing,” Izzie responds.

Mrs. B looks over to Penelope and back to Izzie, “please tell me you have no allergies?” 

Penelope shakes her head, “none at all, thank you.” 

Mrs. B nods her head and walks off, leaving Izzie and Penelope alone. Izzie guides them to one of the booths. 

“So,” Penelope leads, “she’s nice.”  

Izzie nods, “probably the best person I know.” 

Penelope can’t help but pay attention to the detail of this place. The shop itself was borderline empty and the road it took to get here was one of those roads that people don’t usually see and almost always drive past. There was also the sudden shift in Izzie’s stance the moment we entered the place. Penelope couldn’t help but wonder if there was more to why Izzie brought her here and to who exactly that lady was to her. 

“Wow,” Izzie says aloud, breaking Penelope out of her trance 

“What?” Penelope breaks out of her trance, “is there something on my face?”

“Nothing, you just have your thinking face on,” Izzie points out, “just ask me whatever is bothering that head of yours, because from the looks of it you’re dying to know.” 

Penelope shakes her head, “I’m not dying to know, you’re being dramatic. I’m just curious.”

Izzie gives her an exasperated look and Penelope gives in, “okay fine, I’ll bite. The road you took to get here was definitely out of our way and ever since we entered, you just seemed on edge. Out of all the ice cream places we could’ve come to, why here?”

Izzie inhales, taking a long deep breath before breaking out an explanation.  

“My dad used to bring me here when I was younger. And every time we were here, he would tell me stories about his childhood and that this is where his parents took him when they were in town,” Izzie turns her head and scans the wall next to them, before pointing on a picture, “look here.” 

Penelope looks and sees a younger version of her father alongside her uncle (Izzie’s dad) and her grandparents. 

“One day, my dad was unable to pick me up from the bus and my mom was working. And instead of waiting at the bus stop, I found a way to get here and Mrs. B watched over me. Ever since then, my dad and her became really good friends. Eventually, I would just come here after school or when mom was working an extra shift and dad was out traveling,” Izzie trails off, “but then he got sick and I stopped.” 

Penelope’s heart aches as she witnessed the dejection that Izzie projected while talking about her family. The worst part is, she couldn’t help but feel guilty. She knew her uncle existed, but her father did everything to ensure he kept them out of the family drama. The most Penelope really knew of him was that he left the Park legacy behind him to raise a family and that didn’t sit well with her own father. When her uncle became ill, her dad left for a bit to be there for him, but her father was Park first.  

The fact that she only met Izzie when her father needed something from her felt wrong. She grew up never knowing Izzie, never being allowed the chance to be there for them, especially during a time they needed family most. 

It angered Penelope. 

How could her parents do this? 

“The reason why I brought you here today is because I told you I’d make it up to you and-” Izzie pauses as Mrs. B appears with two cups in her hands. “What better way to say sorry than offer the best ice cream, hands down, that you’ll ever try in your life,” Izzie finishes, salivating at the sight. Mrs. B gives her a goofy grin and places the cups in front of the two girls. 

“Made it just the way you like it,” Mrs. B winks at Izzie, “hope you two enjoy.” 

The moment the spoon entered her mouth, Penelope felt as if she was tasting heaven. It was so creamy and sweet, it made her mouth form a smile. 

This really was the best ice cream ever. 
As the pair divulged themselves into the chocolatey creamy goodness, Penelope couldn’t shake the feeling of guilt bottling in her chest. 

“Seriously Pen?” Izzie speaks up, “you can’t look like that when you’re eating ice cream!” 

Penelope shakes her head, her tone stern “look, Iz.”

Izzie groans, “oh no, you have your serious face on.” Penelope brushes her off, “I’m sorry for how shitty my dad is and for being from a family of monsters. And for not being there for you, especially when your dad got sick.” 

At the mention of her dad, Izzie’s demeanor took a sudden shift as well. 

“I didn’t bring here you to feel guilty P,” Izzie clarifies, “I brought you here because it’s what my dad would’ve wanted. Because yeah, it sucked that your family completely disregarded my family until it was convenient for them to acknowledge we existed. But, my dad used to talk about your dad all the time and how much this place meant to the both of them growing up. And I know that if he were still here, he would’ve wanted to share that with you.” 

Penelope softens, reaching out to grab her cousins hand. 


Talking about her father with Penelope felt surprisingly easy. For the longest time, she had repressed her feelings and chose to put all her anger and sadness into running. 

It’s not like her mother made any effort to keep her father’s name alive. 

Izzie knew the risks with bringing Penelope here. She knew the memories it would dig up and she was fully aware of the pain that would arise alongside simply just being here, but she also knew it was what her dad would’ve wanted. He always talked about coming back here with his brother and their family. Being able to reunite with them once again. 

Did it hurt her when her uncle ended up being a class A jackass? Of course it did, but Penelope was not her father. And since they reunited and Izzie found out she wasn’t a complete asshole, she has been wanting to bring Penelope here for the longest time, but kept finding reasons to delay it.

Until today. 

“Thank you for sharing this with me Iz,” Penelope affirms. 

Thank you for listening, Izzie thinks to herself, deciding to keep that to herself. They enjoy the rest of their ice cream before it gets late enough that Penelope boldly asks about Casey. 

“So, a little birdie told me that you were thinking of going to UCLA?” 

Izzie flushes red, “please tell me that little birdie doesn’t have your phone number.” 

Penelope grins, “I may break our newly bonded relationship but I am curious about you and Ca-”

“NOPE,” Izzie butts in, “that is enough chitchat for today cuz, don’t you think?”

It wasn’t that Izzie didn’t want to talk about Casey with Penelope, it’s that she didn’t want to talk about Casey period. The last thing she needed was her business being put out there. 

If only it were that easy. 

The following day Izzie woke up early, due to a string of panicked text messages from her younger brother, Javie. As she scrolled through, the only conclusion she could come too was her mom was acting up again. 

Great. 

Not wanting to wake up Penelope, Izzie sneaks out and makes it to her house, just in time for another one of her mother’s meltdowns.

This time, she knew exactly what to do. Get the kids out. Then leave. 

After a solid thirty minutes had passed by, Izzie managed to be on her way, taking the youngest siblings to her grandparents and then Javie over to his friends house, which was ironically close to Casey’s house. 

Sending a quick text to Casey, only to find out she was on a trip with Evan. 

Before she could debate between the pros and cons, she was already walking up to Casey’s front door. 

Elsa opens the door, smiling brightly, “Izzie, hi.” “Hi, Mrs. Gardner,” Izzie breathes out, “I know Casey isn’t here, but I was in the neighborhood dropping my brother off at his friend’s house so I thought I should come by.” 

Then it hits Izzie, she turns to unzip her backpack, “I accidentally took Casey’s math book the other day.” “Oh okay,” Elsa reaches out to grab the red textbook.

“Yeah,” Izzie nods, “So… I should probably go home.”

Please don’t make me go home. She couldn’t go to her mom’s place, she was in a mood. And if she went back to the dorm, she knew Penelope would question everything, curse her cousin’s intuitiveness.

“You know,” Elsa mentions, “we could really use your help. We’re doing this big clothing drive, and you have such a great sense of style. Give us a hand?” 

Izzie brightens up, “okay! Yeah!,” she steps forward into the warm and welcoming home, thankful for any distraction from the impending stress that was called her daily life. 

Luckily for Izzie, Elsa was amazing company. To be fair, she only ever heard about her from a one-sided view, that view being entirely made by Casey. And yet, through all that, Izzie saw right through her. She saw kindness, warmth, and love. Things that a mother should be… things her mother lacked. 

It wasn’t til later in the day where it really started to get to Izzie. 

After Elsa’s friends had left and Izzie was the last to remain, she gazed over the remaining clothes and finds the smallest and most adorable purple cardigan. 

Oh my god. This had to be Casey’s, Izzie thought to herself. She picks it up and turns to face Elsa. 

Elsa’s eyes widen upon realization, “I made that.” 

Izzie giggles, “It’s ridiculously adorable,” she looks at it and can only imagine the face Casey had made when being forced to wear it. 
  
Elsa tilts her head, “hmm. Casey refuse to wear it, of course.”

Of course, Izzie nods her head. Casey wouldn’t be Casey unless she went against Elsa. 

Elsa then points out, “but she did put it on her stuffed zebra for a while so I consider that a win.” 

“Okay, nope,” Izzie states, “you are not giving this one away,” she folds the tiny sweater and places it on the ‘to keep’ pile. 

Izzie picks up the next shirt and can’t help but smirk, putting it to her chest and looking knowingly at Elsa. 

Elsa sighs, putting a pink sweater to her chest, “oh, I remember that day.” Izzie walks over and takes a seat next to Elsa as she continued with the story, “Casey got in trouble at school for acting out. She was so upset about it. So the next day, I picked her up early from school and I took her to Sal E. Sour Cream, and we had lunch together and it was special, because we could never go there as a family because Sam hated it…” 

Izzie didn’t want to be sad. That’s what she kept telling herself as Elsa recited the story, and yet, she could feel her chest start to tighten.

“You know, because of the lights and the noise and, oh, she was so happy,” Elsa laughs, before noticing how nervous Izzie was acting. 

Izzie was nervously twirling her large hoop earrings before breaking out into tears. Hearing her story felt overwhelming, especially with today. 

“Oh, honey, honey, I’m sorry,” Elsa coos, reaching over to comfort her. 

Izzie sniffles, “no, no, no, it’s okay. I don’t know why I’m crying, it’s so stupid.” 

“No, it’s not stupid,” Elsa rebuttals. 

“I don’t know, I…” Izzie pauses, trying to find the words to express her emotions, somewhere along the lines of want and disappointment, “I guess I just wish I had a childhood like that.” 

Elsa thinks, before looking down, “me too.”

Izzie tils her head, resting it on her arm, allowing Elsa to continue, “growing up, well it wasn’t a great environment.”Izzie can’t help but look down because she understood. 

“I think that’s why I always tried so hard to make it different for Sam and Casey, you know, to give them like the perfect, perfect childhood. I probably went overboard, I mean, I probably still do,” Elsa mirthlessly laughs. 

That’s when realization dawns upon Izzie and she finally understands why Elsa was the way she was. 

Elsa reaches over to run her hand on Izzie’s head to capture her attention, “I’m gonna tell you something that someone had told me. Our door is always open. No matter what you need, anything at all, even if it’s a place to stay.”

Then Izzie remembers, she still had Javie to pick up and Penelope to get back too. 

“Thanks,” Izzie genuinely smiles, “but I’m really scared of ghosts, so I don’t think so.” 

Elsa laughs and Izzie proceeds to stand up, deciding she’s overstayed her visit. That should be enough of running away from her problems for one today. 

“Thank you again Ms. Gardner,” Izzie declares, feeling warmth in her heart, “but I should get going now.”

“Are you sure?” Elsa deliberates, “Casey should be back soon and I’m making pasta for dinner tonight.”

Izzie shakes her head, grabbing her belongings, “I still have to pick up Javie and take him home, so maybe next time?”

Elsa accepts, walking Izzie to the door, “I’ll see you around then Izzie?” 

Izzie nods before heading out. 

By the time she returns to the dorms, Penelope was fast asleep. She changes out of her clothes and into some pajamas. Before exhaustion can fully take her, her phone vibrates. 

From Newton
U hung out with Elsa today? Also, why did you give me your math book? 

Izzie looks over to her desk and groans, she must’ve grabbed the wrong one when she was leaving today. 
 
Izzie
U mean the superior Gardner? Also, I must’ve gotten them mixed up. I’ll give u the right one tomorrow. 

Newton
🙄🙄
let’s be real the superior Gardner is Edison.

Izzie giggles, well, she wasn’t wrong. She sends a turtle pic in response. 

Newton
anyways, guess what I did today? I helped steal a dog named Dewey after yelling at Evans father. And that isn’t even the crazy part. Bc you’re never going to guess what happens next

Izzie smiles, glancing at the clock that read 12:52AM. She knows she should be sleeping, especially for the ass whopping practice that was going to happen tomorrow, and yet, when it came to Casey, she knew sleep could wait. 

Izzie
let me guess, you got caught? 

Newton
. . . 

Chapter Text

“RISE AND SHINE JOSETTE,” Lizzie exclaims, sliding their curtains wide open. Lizzie gleamingly stares into the distance, enticing a groan from her twin sister.

Josie shakes her head and pulls the covers over her face to shield the light that was seeping through. 

Just five more minutes. 

“COME ON JO,” Lizzie repeats, nudging her sister, “WE’RE GOING TO BE LATE.” 

Josie tiredly musters all her strength to push her sisters hands away from her.   

“JO,” Lizzie reaffirms, this time, pulling the covers off Josie’s face, only resulting in an irritated grunt from the brown-haired girl. Josie turns to her side and notices the time. 

5:48AM

“Lizzie it’s five in the morning,” Josie protests, her eyes attempting to adjust to the newfound brightness. 

“And?” Lizzie crosses her arms, “we all agreed to start practice this week, so if you don’t have your ass up in five minutes, I will drag you out of that bed.” 

“I’m sure when we all agreed to practicing, it didn’t involve being rudely awaken at five in the morning Liz,” Josie complains. Lizzie brushes her off, throwing a pair of running shorts at Josie’s face. 

Josie glares at her twin, before forcing herself to get up from her bed and change into comfortable workout clothes. 

“See? That wasn’t too hard,” Lizzie struts out their front door making sure Josie begrudgingly follows. 
 
When they make it to the field, Josie immediately spots MG standing idly on the bleachers next to Kaleb who, for the most part, looked half asleep. 

“MG! Kaleb!” Josie waves enthusiastically, walking over to where the pair was standing. 

“Damn girl, do you not know what time it is?” Kaleb grumbles, rubbing his temples together. 

Josie rolls her eyes and faces MG, who looked as equally as tired, “where is everyone?” 

MG yawns, “I didn’t even know practice was happening until Lizzie came barging into our dorm at five in the morning.” 

Before Josie could respond, she hears the slight buzz of voices only to find Rafael, Jed, Alyssa, and Hope walk onto the field. Once Hope entered Lizzie’s vision, Josie could see her literally brighten up. 

And to think she thought it would be better when they actually started dating, but boy was she wrong, the love sick eyes only grew. 

“OKAY EVERYONE LISTEN UP,” Lizzie belts out, capturing everyone’s attention, “we have precisely three weeks before our first the flag football game against Clayton Prep. Need I remind you, this is our first time playing against that school, which means we need to show them exactly what we are made of. And because of that, I declare practice every morning until the day before game night!” 

Everybody but Hope groans. Josie watched as Hope endearingly observed as Lizzie began assigning everybody into groups, making Jed, Rafael, Alyssa, and Hope captains. Gross.

Ugh, if only Maya was here to see this. 

“Josie, Kaleb, and MG, you’ll be with Hope.”

“Next time a Saltzman twin asks me for a favor, remind me to say no,” Josie hears Kaleb whisper to MG, who nudges him softly.  

Josie stifles a laugh, earning herself a glare from Lizzie.

She could already see it now.

This was going to be a long two weeks. 


Maya Machado is not in love with Josie Saltzman. 

Or that’s what she had to remind herself. 

When Maya first moved to Mystic Falls, she never thought that this preppy brown-haired girl would play such a huge role in her life. It wasn’t until after she had gotten over her disgustingly obvious crush on Hope Mikaelson. 

The funny part of the entire story was that she had met Josie at the time she still harbored feelings for Hope. Maya had just started working at the Mystic Fall Diner, all thanks to her mother for forcing her into the job in the first place. She had worked primarily with Hope, allowing herself the chance to get to know the smaller girl. Over time, she understood that her feelings for her shifted into a more caring friendship type feeling. 

The night she met Josie, it was during a slow shift. The brown-haired girl apprehensively approached her asking for another slice of cake. Maya glanced over to where Hope and Lizzie was and immediately got the hint (it was also in that moment where she confirmed her feelings for Hope were strictly platonic). Maya then offered Josie an out. With Ethan and Landon being readily available, she asked for her break and convinced Josie to trust her. She took Josie to the rooftop of the Mystic Falls Diner and they immediately hit it off. At the end of the night, Josie thanked Maya for being the best distraction there was. Over time, the two of them had grown quite close that Hope started to notice. 

“So, Josie?” Hope teases, watching the two Saltzman sisters leave the diner. 
Maya rolls her eyes, “and Lizzie?”

Hope flushes red, throwing a towel at Maya’s face, mumbling a ‘shut up’ before leaving to go clean the other tables. 

After they finish closing, Maya and Hope walk back to their cars. 

“You know that Jo’s pansexual, right?” Hope mentions.

Maya raises her eyebrow, “are you trying to insinuate something Mikaelson?” 

“I’m just saying, it’s never wrong to shoot your shot,” Hope shrugs, “at least you know you have a shot.” 

Maya hears the sadness in her voice, “if this is about Lizzie, I’m telling you, that girl is into you.” 

Hope brushes her off, “no, there’s no way. She’s so straight.” 

Maya shakes her head, “and you’re so annoying, goodnight.”

And with that, they end the conversation about her and Josie. Or so she thought. It wasn’t until three weeks after that conversation where Hope creates a proposition. 

“You should tell Josie how you feel,” Hope blurts out one day, holding a large crate of lettuce. 

“And you should learn to mind your business Mikaelson,” Maya rebuttals, walking away from the red-headed girl and towards the truck to continue unloading the produce.

Hope trails behind, “I mean it Maya, you have a real genuine chance, you should take it!” 

Maya shakes her head, grabbing another crate and walking away. 

“You know we’re both scheduled till closing,” Hope reminds her, “you aren’t getting rid of me that easily.”

“I can still easily ignore you,” Maya refutes, placing the bin onto one of the shelves. 

“How about I make you a deal?” Hope suggests. Maya shrugs, walking away again, “MAYA,” Hope growls, following behind. 

“If I tell Lizzie how I feel, you have to tell Josie the truth,” Hope rushes out, breathing heavily. 

Maya sends her blank look, “you know what, fine, whatever, now shut up and help me finish unloading the produce.” 

The only reason Maya agreed was because she knew Hope wouldn’t be able to do it and it got her to shut up for a bit about the whole Josie thing. For the next few months, Maya doesn’t think about it, nor does she worry about rushing to tell Josie the truth because, because Josie never showed interest in anybody around town. Not until the green-eyed girl appeared. Much of her actions that night was questionable. Pushing Josie to speak to the girl was the first mistake. Watching Josie spend the rest of summer waiting on the girl was her second mistake. It pained Maya to see Josie be ghosted and yet she couldn’t help but feel a bit of relief. And ever since she told Josie to move on from the girl she’s known for two minutes, she can’t help but actually feel closer to Josie. 

And then Hope Mikaelson had to go and ruin it. 

“Guess what I did,” Hope sings, walking into the diner. 

Maya had just finished reloading the drafts to care about what Hope had to share. 

“Looks like you have to tell Josie how you feel,” Hope says cheekily. 

Maya freezes, “no, you didn’t.” Hope has this grin that turns Maya’s stomach the wrong way, “but I did Ms. Machado. And now it’s your move.” 

As if on cue, Josie walks into the diner, looking a bit more jaded than usual. Hope notices this and nudges Maya. 

And just like that, they were sitting the middle of Don’s Pizza Parlor, mid traffic rush and all Maya could think about was how cute looked sitting in front of her, chowing down the pizza as if it were the only meal she’s had for days. 

“She made you do what now?” Maya exclaims, intrigued in the story that Josie was sharing. 

“Burpees Maya!” Josie whines, “She made us do fifty burpees! And I thought teaming up with Hope would be much worst, but I was severely wrong. Alyssa Chang is beast when it comes to working out.” 

Maya couldn’t help but be enamored by her story, or by the girl telling the story. Just the thought of seeing Josie work out…

“Will you come to the game?” Josie asks, breaking Maya from her trance. 

“Huh?” 

“The game against Clayton, it’s in two weeks!” Josie exclaims, “you’ll be there, right?” 

“Yeah, of course,” Maya agrees. For Josie, anything. 

“Perfect, I’ll make sure Lizzie saves you and Ethan a seat, with Landon playing and all,” Josie’s stomach grumbles and she sends Maya a sympathetic look, “I am starving so I’m going to go grab another slice of pizza, did you want any more?” Maya contemplates, before nodding her head, “yes, I’ll take two more slices with garlic bread, please.” 


“Hello, welcome to Don’s Pizza Parlor, my names Evan,” the tall blonde cashier smiles widely at Josie, “how can we serve you today?”

“I’ll take two slices of Hawaiian and two veggie pizzas please,” Josie looks around for garlic bread.

“Will that be all for today?” Evan asks, punching into the cash register. 

“And an order of garlic bread please,” Josie adds on, her stomach jumping at the thought of more food. 

It was in this moment she regretted asking her sister to switch from Hope’s team to Alyssa’s team. Honestly, she was better off joining Jed and the lacrosse squad. They didn’t look as dead as she felt post practice. Not to mention she had school afterwards. 

To say the least, she was exhausted.  

When Maya asked to hang out, every muscle in her body told her to say no, but she couldn’t deny her craving of pizza. And so, here she was. 

“You can go back to your table and we’ll bring the food out to you when it’s ready,” Evan states, sending her a wide smile. 

Great, he must’ve seen just how tired and awful she looked today.

Josie decides she doesn’t care what other people think and nods her head, turning to walk back to her table before something catches her attention. Her heart spikes at the precise moment the door opens and she comes face to face with the familiar green eyes she assumed she’d never see again.

Penelope freaking Park. 


It didn’t take much for Izzie and Casey to convince Penelope to come to this new pizza place that Casey’s boyfriend worked, Don’s or something like that. 

After their first practice, Penelope surprisingly had only gratitude for her parents for forcing her to play volleyball competitively, because if she had gone into that practice with no experience whatsoever, it wouldn’t have been much worse than it really was. 

Most of the day was spent doing warm-ups, stretching, running laps, and not once did they touch a football. 

So, when Casey asked if we wanted to grab an early dinner, Penelope jumped at the idea. 

When Penelope entered the pizza place, she didn’t think that the first person she made eye contact with was the last person on earth she thought she would ever run into again. 

However, she could never forget those dark brown eyes and that amazing jawline, like wow she was truly the most beautiful woman she has ever laid her eyes upon. Maybe she should just go over there and-

“Penelope,” Izzie’s voice brings her out of her thoughts and she breaks eye contact with her to face her cousin, who was attempting to pull her away from the door, “you’re blocking foot traffic.”

“Oh shit, sorry,” Penelope mumbles, moving away. The next time she looks in that same direction, the girl was gone and she was being pulled into another conversation. 

“B-but I need someone with me. Preferably someone whose sanity is in check. It can’t just be me,” Casey whines. 

“What’d we miss?” Izzie asks. 
 
Evan looks sympathetically at Casey before responding, “Casey’s having a dinner with Sam and Paige tomorrow tonight but I’m scheduled to work right after the ride along with her dad.”

“This means, I’m going to have to deal with this solo,” Casey cries. 

Immediately Penelope comes up with a solution, “why not take Izzie?” 

Izzie and Casey both turn to look at Penelope. 

“I don’t think we’ve met,” Evan breaks the silence, “I’m Evan.” 

“Penelope,” she smiles, “Izzie’s cousin.”

“Ah, you’re the cousin I keep hearing so much about,” Evan smile widely. Penelope nods her head before turning her attention back on the quiet girls, ignoring Izzie’s not so subtle glares. 

“Anyways, Izzie is free tomorrow night,” Penelope continues, “I’m sure she’d love to accompany you and if you haven’t noticed, she’s makes for wonderful company.”

“Penelope,” Izzie scolds. 

Casey doesn’t even hesitate, “no, Penelope is right. You’d fit amazing with everybody. Sam already likes you. This is perfect. Izzie, would you be willing to be my date to dinner tomorrow night?” 

Izzie flushes a light rosy pink, giving a look that Penelope immediately recognizes.

“Yeah, sure,” Izzie agrees, “I’d love that.” 

Penelope smiles at the moment unfolding in front of her, before her attention is quickly smitten by the brunette who has been haunting her thoughts for the past month. 

“I’ll be right back,” she mumbles, walking in the direction she last saw the girl. 

“Penelope?” she hears Izzie call out but ignores her. She eventually makes it to the middle of the place before she completely loses her. Why was it so busy in here right now?

“Penelope,” Izzie walks up to her, “is everything okay?” 

“Yeah, I thought-” Penelope stops herself, “I just thought I saw someone I knew, but it’s not them.” “Oh okay,” Izzie accepts, “well we already ordered, our tables are over there though,” Izzie points to the table on the other side of the building, near the stairs. 

“Yeah, okay,” Penelope agrees, “I’m just gonna head to the bathroom to wash up.” 

“Okay,” Izzie says, “by the way, thank you for earlier.”

Penelope can’t help but grin, “what do you mean?” 

Izzie rolls her eyes, “just go wash up and then you can join us.” 

Penelope sticks her tongue out in response. She then made her way to the restroom area. As she pushed forward the door was immediately opened causing Penelope to run into the person standing in the way. 

“Jesus… do you not look where you’re going?” the voice mumbles. 

Usually Penelope would exchange her version of words but it’s not every day you run into the girl you’ve been wanting to see for the past month. 

“You,” she mumbles, a bit dazed.