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Did you just lick Hope?

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"Lizzie! Stop trying to take my brownie!!!" 

 

Josie Saltzman, all 7 years old of her, yells as she runs in circles away from her sister. Lizzie chases after her trying to catch her and steal her food.

 

"But I'm hungry! And you don't even like brownies!" 

 

"That's a lie! I love them!" 

 

Josie trips up on the rug as she's running, fumbling down to the floor; her brownie is saved from the fall, but not from her sister's evil clutches. 

 

Everything seems like the end of the world when you're only seven, especially when your twin decides to steal what is rightfully yours. 

 

Lizzie had already eaten her brownie and was just being greedy.

 

Josie holds the chocolate goodness closer to her chest as Lizzie gets closer and closer, much like a tiger circling a wounded deer. 

 

"Everything would be so much easier if you just gave me the brownie, Jo." 

 

Her sister attempts to grab it from Josie's hands, the brunette pulls it away at the last second. 

 

Josie sees Lizzie's calculating eyes seeing how she can steal the treat from her sister. 

 

Another second passes where Lizzie makes a grab, and Josie moves without thought. 

 

Her tongue comes out and drags across the top of the brownie just as Lizzie moves. The expression her sister takes on is obvious disgust, as she retracts her hand quickly.

 

"Ew! Never mind! I don't want it anymore." 

 

Josie can barely believe it worked as she watches her sisters retreating form, walking further away. The brownie is still intact safely in Josie's hand.

 

A smile makes its way to her face as an idea is formed.

 

---

 

After that day, she tests the boundaries even more. Moving past food to jewelry to clothes to anything that Josie wanted to stop her sister from taking. 

 

One small lick and Lizzie would back off with an expression of absolute disgust. 

 

Josie had been afraid that Lizzie would grow immune to it. They were sisters, twins; they basically shared the same DNA.

 

Yet, no matter how often Josie did it, Lizzie held the same expression of disgust and left the object alone. 

 

It was Josie's way of feeling less codependent, less stuck in her selfless ways. 

 

She did it with her favorite hair clip that Lizzie had a habit of stealing, her favorite pen when they were thirteen and she was in her calligraphy stage a nd basically any dessert she came into contact with.

 

Lizzie wouldn't stop trying to steal her things, though. While usually, this wouldn't bother her, something about her sister's need to become a kleptomaniac on anything that was Josie's didn't sit right with her.

 

It might have had something to do with Josie not being "allowed" to touch Lizzie's things without facing her sister's wrath. 

 

That's how she made sure Lizzie didn't touch whatever was hers from then on. She only did it for things she deemed important.

 

Lizzie had tried to wear the necklace Hope had gotten her the second she had seen it. Her eyes caught on Josie's new gift and descended on the precious metal like a hungry vulture.

 

Lizzie had tried to guilt Josie by saying it went perfectly with her outfit and would look so good with the new boots their mom had gotten Lizzie for their birthday. 

 

When that didn't work, she tried to snatch it off of Josie's nightstand.

 

Josie had glared, snatched it from Lizzie's hand and popped it into her mouth, basically inhaling the metal.

 

Apparently, Lizzie got the hint and backed off, but Josie wasn't taking any chances. For some reason, Lizzie wearing what Hope had given her didn't sit right with Josie, so she didn't take the necklace off for the rest of the week. 

 

Hope seemed to have noticed the necklace and smiled at her more often after that as well. So much more than the smiles she had received in all of the past years combined. It had been a sudden shift that Josie hadn't been expecting. Rather than their back-and-forth antagonistic friendship, they actually talked to each other. 

 

Hope also sought Josie out at every opportunity it seemed. Whether it was to do a spell together or to watch a movie in Hope's room.

 

It was like Hope had insinuated herself completely into Josie’s life. Anytime she was walking down the halls, Hope would be there.

 

It had started off hesitant, Hope acting unsure if her presence was wanted or not. However, Josie showed Hope through small gestures that her presence was always wanted by the brunette siphoner. 

 

Josie would smile at Hope across the halls, and Hope sometimes forgot she was supposed to be the untouchable loner and waved back, a giant smile on her face.  And then she would remember, turn red and drop her hand as if cursing herself.

 

It always made Josie's day when Hope did that, a smile not leaving her face for hours.

 

Often when they were in their few shared classes together, Josie swears she could feel a pair of eyes on her.

 

Every time she glances behind her, Hope was facing towards the front, dutifully taking notes. It wasn't an unpleasant feeling having Hope's eyes on her, far from it, but it was slowly making Josie lose her mind.

 

After everything that had happened between Hope, Lizzie, and Josie, it felt like they were all finally in a good place. Malivore was now only a minor inconvenience rather than the end of the world. The super squad would form up every other week to take down the monster and then they would have a movie night in one of their rooms.

 

After Josie's dark magic phase had ended with Hope saving the day once again, everything was calm and as quiet as it could be at a school for magical kids.

 

That doesn't mean there still wasn't the drama of course. That was a given.

 

After Landon had left Hope for the nth time, Hope had decided to end their relationship. He was supposed to have been her epic love, her person that she would transcend death itself for, the one she could count on above all others.

 

And yet... He always left. 

 

She had gone to Josie right after and let the brunette hold her as she talked through her panicked emotions and feelings. How she wasn't sure if she made the right choice or if what she had felt was even justified. Josie had calmed Hope and held her, letting the Tribrid work through her struggles and the guilt and anything she needed to. Josie listened and comforted her to the best of her ability.

 

Josie couldn't believe how far Hope and she had gotten for the redhead to trust Josie to see these emotions and feelings.

 

She didn't take it for granted. 

 

Ever since then, they had only gotten closer. 

 

At first, it hadn't felt like a significant change. But then, suddenly, Hope and she would rarely be seen apart. If Josie was there, Hope wouldn't be far off; they became the support systems they both needed.

 

Hope needed someone to stay who was strong enough to protect themselves and allow Hope to be vulnerable.

 

Josie needed someone who would allow her to be selfish and, at the same time, take care of her. To show her that she could be strong.

 

So Josie and Hope had become inseparable as their friendship continued to grow.

 

Their purely platonic friendship.

 

Or at least it was supposed to be platonic.

 

It made sense when she looked at everything that had happened in the last few months.

 

The first time Josie had consciously noticed was when Hope had fallen asleep next to her on the dock. They often would study out by the water or just hang out together. Josie would read while Hope painted, the silence of the water and atmosphere allowing them to just bask in each other’s nearness.

 

Hope had been up late the night before wolfing out and didn't get back to school until the early hours of the morning. By the time classes were over, Hope had looked utterly exhausted.

 

She had curled up next to Josie with an arm behind her head and fell asleep almost at once. Josie had allowed herself to stare at Hope's soft red lips that she dreamed of kissing.

 

She wanted to know what Hope tasted like and if it was everything her twelve-year-old self had imagined it would be.

 

Once thoughts of kissing Hope entered her mind, Josie couldn't get them out of her head. Every time Hope spoke or sat next to her, her gaze would fall and stare a fraction too long before Josie looked away, a blush burning her cheeks.

 

Hope snoozing at the dock had set her spiraling into realizing that the crush she’d had many years before was back in full force.

 

Once Josie had noticed it, it became all she could think about.

 

Fuck!

 

Josie was in love with Hope all over again.

 

It was a different feeling from when she was twelve and terrified of rejection. 

 

She wouldn't take the nuclear option and set anything of Hope's on fire.

 

And yet, now that she noticed it, her crush put everything about Hope in high definition.

 

Because of her incredible self-awareness (read: lack thereof), Josie was also aware that Hope couldn't possibly feel the same.

 

There's no way the girl who was everyone's first choice would ever choose everyone's last choice.

 

The two girls were destined to be friends and only friends. Nothing more.

 

---

 

Now that life had calmed down minutely, the super squad decided to celebrate ten days of no monsters terrorizing the town. It had been far too long since they had gotten any time off. 

 

So a night in, where they could all just chill and hang out was a much-needed reprieve. 

 

Lizzie had forced Josie to agree to host a movie night in their room.

 

They set up everything they needed and, with the help of a certain Tribrid, moved the couch and the tv from the common room into the twin's room.

 

There should be enough space for everyone with the couch and the two beds.

 

Even with something as casual as a movie night, Lizzie still managed to go overboard. The snacks she stole from the kitchen lined their beds and desks, chips, popcorn, and candy.

 

Josie watched with thinly veiled amusement as Hope stole a piece of chocolate or popcorn when Lizzie wasn't looking. The blonde had a history of getting angry when someone ate before the designated time of the movie.

 

What did not ,however, amuse Josie was watching her sister flirting with Hope.

 

Sure, one could call it banter and teasing, but Josie was almost positive it was flirting.

 

Lizzie had developed a few patented moves she used to flirt with someone. First was the open pining with a bit of desperation. Josie saw it with Rafael, and basically any hot guy that Lizzie went near.

 

Second came the teasing banter and acting like she hates them. Josie saw that with Sebastian. She may have been irritated with him, but she still fell for his charming looks and his old timey vampirey ways.

 

And finally, third, when she was in love but still wasn't sure. MG fell into this category. Lizzie would act almost indifferent to someone she didn't understand her feelings for, such as how she had with MG. They were close now, but Josie could tell Lizzie still didn't know how she felt about him.

 

What she had with Hope right now was a mix of all of her flirting ways at once.

 

Josie hated this with every fiber of her being. Jealousy crawled up her throat and burned deep inside of her, but she could do nothing.

 

She had learned from her mistakes from when she was a scared kid and couldn't handle rejection. She had learned from her relationship with Landon that she couldn't let her jealousy get the best of her and force her into hurting those around her…

 

As much as she hated the idea of Lizzie and Hope together, she would rather have them both be happy.

 

Even if it makes her heart clench in nothing short of agony.

 

Josie feels a hand on her back that makes her jump.

 

When she turns around she sees the Tribrid that has been on her heart and mind.

 

"Hey, Jo, you okay?" 

 

Josie smiles at Hope's earnest expression. She really was the best friend someone could have.

 

"Yeah, I'm fine. Just thinking."

 

Hope's smile drops a little as a frown overtakes her face. The redhead reaches for her hand and squeezes once.

 

"Sit next to me?"

 

Josie nods her head and can't stop the smile that moves to her lips at Hope's grin.

 

The rest of the super squad comes into the twins’ room with blankets. Kaleb, MG, Landon and Pedro all take the couch leaving Lizzie, Hope and Josie the bed.

 

As promised, Josie sits next to Hope as Lizzie slides into her other side, squishing Hope between them

 

Lizzie sends Josie a weird look, trying to figure out why Josie has a dejected look on her face.  She waves off her sisters’ frown with a small grimace of a smile, hoping it stops Lizzie's questioning gaze.

 

Luckily, it works. The movie starts as a hush falls across the group. Well, there would be quiet murmuring or talking, but Lizzie gets irritated when someone interrupts a movie. So now, it's silent except for the TV.

 

It's some random superhero movie that MG had gotten to pick out, something with action and a semi decent love story at the same time.

 

Josie still feels a little on edge, her shoulders tight and her body not wanting to get comfortable.

 

Hope must notice her fidgeting even though she tries to keep it to a minimum. The redhead reaches over and grabs her hand, intertwining their fingers together and rubbing her thumb back and forth across Josie's hand. 

 

Warmth fills her stomach as she looks over at Hope who is paying attention to her, a smile on the Tribrids lips. 

 

You okay? Hope seems to ask, her eyebrow raised in question.

 

Josie nods her head and smiles warmly at Hope, a jolt of courage runs through Josie as she brings their intertwined hands to her lips.

 

As the movie begins to reach the halfway mark, Josie begins to get antsy. Not in a bad way, but Hope had moved so she's almost on top of Josie, curled into her side and half asleep.

 

Josie watches Hope doze, feeling a little like a creep. She feels Lizzie's eyes on her and quickly looks away, not wanting anyone to see her pathetic pining and yearning.

 

She feels her sister eyes on her for a few seconds longer, but refuses to make eye contact. She can breathe out a sigh of relief when Lizzie looks away.

 

The movie continues and Hope stays cuddled into her, curled up into her side, their hands intertwined. Josie can't help but continue to steal glances at the sleeping girl, paying far more attention to her than the movie.

 

Hope must have exhausted herself more than Josie had thought, usually the Tribrid was alert at all times and never allowed herself to relax in anyone's presence other than Josie's. She made a mental note to talk to Hope later and see if she's getting enough sleep.

 

As the movie comes to a close, Hope sits up and stretches, a little kitten yawn makes its way to Hope's mouth, and Josie has to stop everything within her that wants to coo at the adorable sight.

 

Josie could only get away with calling Hope adorable or cute when they were alone. If people were around, Hope would make her regret it by tickling her until she pleaded for mercy and promised to not call Hope cute again.

 

Josie usually kept that promise when people were around.

 

The movie finishes and the boys begin debating on which one to watch next. Lizzie immediately jumps off the bed and goes to argue her case for the RomCom she wanted to watch.

 

Josie ignored all of them as her focus went to the half-awake girl currently in her lap.

 

"Hey." Hope gives her a sleepy smile and nuzzles her cheek into Josie's leg.

 

"Hey. You get some sleep?"

 

Hope gives a tired nod with blue eyes halfway visible.

 

"I always sleep better with you." It's a little muffled, but Josie hears it perfectly. The sleepy tone in Hope's voice is so adorable she could squeal. On top of that, her heart clenches with adoration and love.

 

Hope sits up now and stretches her arms out to the side, arching her back as she does so. A small sliver of skin makes its way to Josie's vision as she sees nothing but hardened abs and a smooth stomach.

 

Her heart nearly stops at the sight and wants nothing more than to see more of Hope. Preferably with less clothes.

 

Her eyes widen at the dirty thought and she looks away, red coating her cheeks.

 

Luckily, Hope is far too tired to notice Josie's panic and continues to stretch and try and wake herself up.

 

Josie needs to get away to stop the blush that still lingers on her face. She excuses herself to go to the bathroom, but stops moving away when Hope gives her a pout. 

 

Sleepy Hope is one of her favorite versions of Hope. The other girl would do the sweetest and cutest things without even knowing it. That pout was one of them. 

 

"Don't I get a hug?"

 

She keeps the pout until Josie walks over and wraps her arms around Hope's small but muscular frame, holding on tight as she does. 

 

The blush that had died down minutely flares again when Hope presses a kiss to her neck as they part. She's thankful that Lizzie is still arguing with Mg and Kaleb about which movie to watch. Pedro joins in on the debate as he sits on Mg's lap.

 

Landon watches them with guarded eyes though, making eye contact with Josie as she runs into the twins’ bathroom.

 

Taking a few deep breaths, Josie splashes her face with cool water. She stays in there for just a minute or two before making her way back out to her friends. She felt a little better, there was a light in her step. That was the closest she's ever felt to Hope.

 

That lightness evaporates when she comes out to see Lizzie and Hope hugging. It's not terribly unusual, because while Hope opened up to Josie she also opened up to Lizzie more as well.

 

All she knows is that jealousy ate away at her, gnawing its way up her throat with vile venom.

 

She hates the way that she feels when Hope smiles at Lizzie. She hates herself for feeling jealous at the simple gesture. She has no claim to Hope and has no right to be jealous.

 

She excuses herself to the kitchen for a refill on her drink before the urge to break Lizzie's nose grows too strong.

 

She's above those childish and jealous musings that created Dark Josie.

 

She has to be.

 

Josie fills her drink up slowly and takes a deep breath. She turns to make her way back, but is stopped in her tracks by a presence behind her.

 

A hand falls onto her shoulder, causing Josie to jump and spin around. She had felt the presence but hadn't thought someone would touch her.

 

Landon steps back with an apologetic expression on his face.

 

"Sorry, Jo, I didn't mean to startle you." He gives her a little smile that Josie mimics.

 

"What are you doing out here?" he asks, stepping closer to her, causing Josie to step back. She's stopped by the counter against her back. Josie holds up her cup for emphasis, as an answer to his question.

 

He nods his head and they're both silent. It's not that Josie and Landon aren’t friends anymore; they can still talk to each other and enjoy the other’s company just fine.

 

But everything that happened between Hope and Landon had really put a damper on their friendship as well. Josie felt a wave of protectiveness for Hope. And Landon had hurt the redhead more than he should have been allowed too.

 

So, while they would still be considered friends, Josie felt a small part of her that was bitter against Landon.

 

The silence drags on for an awkward amount of time. Josie hates it. She's already an awkward person, adding another awkward person into a conversation neither seems to want makes it all even worse. Finally, after a few long and silent moments Landon began to speak.

 

"Josie, I know things between us have been weird, but maybe we could see where--" He's cut off from his sentence by an auburn-haired Tribrid who comes to Josie's rescue.

 

"Hey, Jo, there you are." Hope walks through the kitchen door and pulls Josie into a hug. She pointedly ignores Landon.

 

When Hope pulls away from the hug, she sides right next to Josie, pushing her body against Josie's, and wrapping a possessive arm around her waist as she does. She sees Hope level a glare at Landon, which he tries to match at first. Fortunately for him, he stops and looks towards the ground once he realizes he'd never win against Hope.

 

Josie's heart flutters at the thought of Hope hugging her and being possessive. It gives her poor Queer heart hope that there is a chance that Hope returns her feelings.

 

She shakes off the thought and leans into Hope's touch.

 

"I was just getting a drink." Josie shakes her cup that's in her hand for emphasis.

 

Hope gives her a look that Josie can't decipher, but she leans over and grabs the cup that Josie holds and takes a sip, maintaining eye contact with Landon as she does so.

 

The tension between the two is high and uneasy, Josie doesn't know what’s going on but Hope and Landon seem to be competing against each other for something. It’s confusing.

 

"Okay!” Josie says to break the tension. “We should go back to the movie." She smiles a tight smile at both Hope and Landon before grabbing Hope's hand and pulling them back to the room.

When they make it back, the movie has been picked and Kaleb, MG, Pedro and Lizzie are talking. MG is gesticulating wildly while Lizzie watches with thinly veiled amusement as she tries to hide it with fake annoyance.

 

Kaleb looks up as the three of them come in. His gaze moves to Hope and Josie's hands, which are locked together and raises an eyebrow but says nothing. Josie quickly let's go of the Tribrid’s hand with a blush forming on her cheeks again.

 

Everyone settles down quickly after that, there was a change in seating where Lizzie sat next to MG, curled into his shoulder. This forced Landon to take the bed opposite Hope and Josie. Pedro sits on Kalebs lap while holding onto Lizzie's hand. The sight causes Josie to want to get her phone and take pictures of the group, almost cooing at the sight.

 

With the change in seating, Hope presses herself even deeper into Josie’s side. Josie is confused about how touchy Hope is being. Usually the other girl hates PDA and wouldn't do much more than hug Josie while in public, or maybe hold her hand. When Hope had been dating Landon, he had tried to kiss her when others were around and she had gone off on Landon about respecting her boundaries.

 

Now it seems like all thoughts about boundaries and distance are the farthest thing from Hope’s mind. Not that Josie minds in the least. Not with Hope pressed into the curve of her body and a leg thrown over Josie’s.

 

While Hope was cuddling into Josie’s side, she also was not paying attention to her or the movie. Instead glaring across the room at Landon on the other bed. He kept looking in their direction with a frown on his face. He only did that a few more times before he stopped looking and kept his gaze towards the TV.

 

All of this just confused Josie even more.

 

The movie continues on, and Josie was on the brink of insanity. Hope’s hand had made its way to Josie’s stomach and was making its way under her shirt.

 

It's a completely innocent gesture, but it’s driving her crazy. Hope's dull nails scrape along the contours of Josie's stomach in a gentle pattern, touching the soft skin.

 

"I don't understand why she doesn't tell the other woman how she feels." Hope nuzzles her nose into Josie's neck, and leans up into Josie's ear to whisper. Josie fights a shiver as Hope's warm breath washes over her.

 

The movie they all are watching was one Lizzie had picked out, a lesbian RomCom. It was actually one of Josie's favorites too, but she hadn't been paying it any attention with Hope next to her.

 

"She's worried that she won't feel the same. If she opens up and finds out that her love isn't returned, she could end up losing a friend." Josie leans over and replies, her face turned towards Hope. Their noses are inches away from each other.

"But it's putting them in unnecessary pain and conflict. It's obvious they care deeply for each other, with the hugs and hand holding. The only one who can't see it is her." 

 

Josie shrugs her shoulders, causing Hope to curl even more into Josie's side, if that was even possible. She bites her lip before answering.

 

"That doesn't make it easier. She still thinks her friend is in love with that one guy she dated."

 

Hope scoffs, "As if he was anything but a placeholder because she couldn't date her best friend."

 

Josie doesn't respond, but keeps eye contact with Hope. Hope stares deeply into Josie's eyes, as if she's trying to convey something on a spiritual level. Something that she doesn't have the words to express.

 

Josie swallows and looks away, looking back at the screen. She can feel Hope's eyes on her for a few seconds longer until Hope turns at the movie as well.

 

As Josie watches, Lizzie tries to make eye contact with her, but she refuses to meet her sister's gaze. She already feels too warm and has too many feelings buzzing in her heart. The warmth might have something to do with Hope's body heat that's radiating off of her and onto Josie.

 

The rest of the movie goes on without anything else happening. Josie couldn't focus, with Hope next to her and with Hope's words bouncing around in her head. She can't shake the feeling that there was more meaning to Hope's words than just being about the movie…

 

The second the credits roll, Josie gently pulls away from Hope and runs into the bathroom. She splashes some more water over her face to cool herself off. Her brain has been whirring and spinning nonstop.

 

She's going to do it.

 

She's going to tell Hope how she feels.

 

She finishes wiping her face off and washes her hands, making her way out of the bathroom.

 

She's filled with unbridled courage and an abundance of optimism. That all flies out the window when she sees Lizzie talking to Hope again, their hands clutched together.

 

Josie deflates a little at that, and tries not to let it show on her face. As she slowly walks to the bed that Lizzie and Hope are on, she can't help but hear the conversation.

 

"There's a party at the old mill this Friday. I was thinking, if there are no untimely monsters that show up, you could come?"

 

Hope is quiet for a second before answering.

 

"Lizzie, you know I don't do parties." Even as Hope says this, she has a smile on her lips.

 

Jealousy crawls through Josie’s throat again and burns deep in her stomach. The feeling doesn't stop as she gets closer to the two, hearing her sister’s reply.

 

"If you're going to be seen with me and actually have friends, you need to have a social life."

 

Hope raises an eyebrow and looks around the room, catching Josie's eyes.

 

"What does this look like, I am socializing." Lizzie rolls her eyes and leans closer to Hope.

 

"Hope please, you need more interaction than my sister."

 

Hope looks down at their hands, raising her eyebrow again as she looks back to Lizzie.

 

As Josie takes the final steps towards her bed where Hope and Lizzie stand, the jealousy that she felt deep in her stomach came crawling back.

 

"Come on, Hope, won't you come to just one party? For me?" Lizzie pouts and bats her eyelashes in what Josie can only describe as a flirtatious way.

 

Josie sits down next to Hope and watches with rapt attention as Hope moves her hair away from her neck. Rubbing the skin there with nervous energy.

 

Before she can think, before she can even begin to register what she’s doing, Josie’s tongue touches Hope's neck and drags until it meets just under her cheek.

 

The instant she pulls back her entire body freezes as her brain catches up to her actions. It seems like everyone and everything stops moving for a few seconds. Hope pulls back and looks at Josie as Lizzie’s mouth falls open.

 

"D-Did you just lick Hope?”

 

Josie can't stand the gaze and instantly stands up, horror on her face. 

 

"I-I'm so sorry."

 

She moves to step back and runs out of the room before anyone can say anything. Lizzie waits until Josie has already run out before bursting into laughter.

 

Hope looks startled at the noise and looks back and forth between Lizzie and the door Josie just ran out of. 

 

"What was that? Why are you laughing, Lizzie?" The boys have stopped talking and looked over to see what the commotion was.

 

"Josie just put her claim on you, Tribrid." Lizzie said, still giggling and seeming awfully proud of herself, her smile turning distinctly smug.

 

"The hell is that supposed to mean?" Hope seems even more confused than before. Still stealing glances at the door and feeling the path Josie’s tongue took up her neck.

 

"Josie licking you was a sign for me to back off. She did it to mark what belonged to her when we were kids." Lizzie crosses her arms and smirks again. "You're welcome. She would have taken forever to act on her feelings for you. I gave her a little nudge. Didn’t expect her to actually lick you, but hey. Whatever works." 

 

"Josie has feelings for me?" 

 

Hope's eyes glaze over a little bit, as if that piece of information can't sink in. Lizzie rolls her eyes once again, as if Hope had asked an obvious question. Granted she did. 

 

"Are you going to go after her? She probably is crying about now. It would be a good time for you to tell her you feel the same."

 

Hope stands up quickly, taking Lizzie seriously as she tore out the door like the room was on fire. MG stands up and over to the bed next to Lizzie. 

 

"What did you do, Liz?"

 

Lizzie looks at the door of her room and back to MG.

 

"Josie needed a little nudge. And so did Hope.”

 

---

 

Hope runs down the hallway, stopping only to smell the air, hoping to find some idea where Josie might be. 

 

She closes her eyes and listens, hearing a faint but tremulous heartbeat on the other side of the school.

 

Hope runs again through the dark hallways, keeping quiet as she does. It's almost after curfew, so few students remain in the dimly lit hallways of the school.

 

She finds Josie outside of the school, standing in the walkway. It’s absolutely pouring out tonight, so at least it seems like Josie was stopped from running completely away.

 

Josie turns when she hears movement behind her.

 

"Hope… I'm so sorry." Josie steps back away from Hope her arms crossed over her stomach. "I don't know what came over---" 

 

"Do you have feelings for me?" Hope speaks quickly and with a hint of pleading.

 

"Hope…" Josie steps out into the rain, trying to distance herself away from the other girl. She can't handle the rejection she so desperately wanted to avoid.

 

"Do you have feelings for me?" Hope repeats again and follows after Josie into the rain, stepping closer until her hands can grab Josie's hands.

 

"After everything we've been through…how could I not?" Rain falls hard against their skin, soaking both to the bone. Hope still steps even closer, until her body is pressed against Josie's.

 

They breathe the same air, leaning closer and closer together.

 

"You licked me." Hope has a little smirk on her face as she says this, her voice is filled with amusement. Josie's cheeks burn red and heat even as the rain touches her body. 

 

"I'm sorry…" Josie trails off and tries to look away, but Hope doesn't let her, bringing a hand up to Josie's face and guiding her to look at Hope. 

 

"Don't be. I'm already yours. No need to claim me, I'm yours Josie." 

 

The rain hides the tears that had made their way to Josie's eyes. 

 

"If it wasn't clear already, I have feelings for you too." Hope says this as she leans forward, capturing Josie's lips with hers. 

 

The rain pours down all around them, but their only thoughts are of each other.