Some self indulgent icarus au
By: a big fuckin baby
I looked up at the ceiling, feeling too heavy to move. The quilt on top of me weighed me down, and I felt like my entire body was burning up. My head was clogged to the point I had a hard time thinking about anything. I probably had one hell of a fever.
But that didn’t matter. Because Munchy was coming home.
The winds had shifted, becoming colder and icier. A chill broke out over the land, one that would make even the gods shiver. The first snow had arrived a couple of days ago, officially marking the end of summer. Towns people started to huddle in their houses, markets started to dissipate, and all homes were lit by cozy fires.
And yet, despite the cold weather, and my sickly presence, I couldn’t be happier. After many moons the love of my life was finally coming home. The rough hands and stupid laugh I had yearned for so many months was finally returning to me. And the fever wasn’t the only thing filling me with warmth.
I forced myself to sit up, immediately feeling as if I was going to collapse. I wrapped myself in the dark, heavy quilt, dragging myself out of the bedroom.
The hut was empty, the only noises were the crackling of the fire, which was starting to die down. I grabbed the long stick next to the clay fireplace, poking and turning the wood. The fire slowly came back to life, starting to warm up the room.
A cup of wine and bread was set on a wood slab next to the fire. I sat down, grabbing the bread, and took a bite.
It was becoming stale, but I had few markets to go to get more. Buying bread in the winter was expensive, anyway. I’d just have to make due. I gulped down half of the wine in my cup, my head senses clearing up a bit. I’d have to thank Axil later.
Axil had already left to work on the maze. He’d considered it his greatest invention, and dragged me along for the ride. We’d have to prepare of course, we’d be there for a couple of weeks, a month at most. But even then, we’d have to stock up on plenty on plenty of resources. It’s pretty easy to die of starvation. But Axil and I had plenty of time. Six months was plenty of time to stock up.
It was also plenty of time to be with Munchy.
As soon as I thought of him, I stood up hurrying to the door. I hugged the quilt around me, opening the door enough to look out at the green hills.
No one. Just bare land.
I tried to bury my disappointment, shutting the door. It was early, he’s probably still asleep. He probably won’t come at all.
I should lay down. Walking around with a fever is going to make me even more disgusting.
I walk towards the small bedroom, already getting ready to lay in bed the entire day. And maybe the next, just until Munchy comes back.
The knock at the door makes me jump. I immediately sprinted to the door, reaching out for the handle. I was jittering excitedly, a smile stretched across my face. He’s here. He’s finally here.
When my hand wrapped around the door handle, I tried my best to calm down. I rolled my shoulders, dropping my smile. I wrap the quilt fully around myself again, which had nearly fallen off from my running. I took a deep breath, opening the door.
“Yes?” I internally cringed at the groggy sound in my voice.
I’m greeted with a white smile and tossed dark curls. My stomach churns excitedly, and I’m trying desperately to fight a gigantic smile. I might just tackle him. Warm brown eyes stare into mine.
“Hey, lover.” Munchy says, smile growing.
╰━ ⋅𖥔⋅ ━━✶━━ ⋅𖥔⋅ ━╯
@septicbro1005 already sent this to Blue but then realized this is almost a thousand words long
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- hey haruka-chan- called me aiko
"Why do you and Mrs. Haruka hate each other so much?"
I thought about it for a moment, since my father went to prison she became distant and I developed a contempt for her because she should be in prison, not my father, since my mother was the one with the scam
-Sometimes people just don't get along , there is no other science-I said taking out the kettle already boiling, I served the tea in a cup for Aiko and put a sachet of coffee in another cup for me
-And how do you get along with your father, haruka chan? -
-I get along well with him, although I don't see him that often
-mmm...-the girl nodded
After that mini conversation Aiko finished her tea and I sent her to sleep since she was yawning a lot, she went and left me alone in the dining room, when I finished my coffee I checked, again, my phone is 3:53, almost the 4 now if it's late, I went to my room and saw Aiko in my bed, I lay down next to her, wrapped us up and fell asleep.
The next day Aiko was the one who woke me up
-Haruka-chaaaan, geeeeeeeet up- she said shaking me
-ayyy why? - I said sleepy
-I got hungry- still shaking me
-It's fine, it's fine, I'm going to prepare breakfast there- getting up
-yey! - says the girl going to the kitchen
I follow her and and I make some pancakes with cream that I found there, I put them on a plate and handed them to her, I wasn't that hungry so I made myself a coffee again. I got a message from hiromi asking if I want to go out with him and Akira
"hey, do you want to come to the mall? We'll have lunch there, what do you think?"
I had Aiko, they already knew the little girl but I don't know and the girl will want to come with me?
-Hey Aiko do you want to come to the mall with me and some friends? - I asked
She thought about it for a while and answered- Yes, that would be fine.
I replied to the boy based on what Aiko said
"Okay, I'll go but I'll bring Mr. Hang's girl to Aiko, you remember her right?"
"cool !, and if I remember her and there is no problem, we will have fun, I promise!"
-We will eat there, right? - Asked the girl
-Tsk- yes, of course-smiling- goes to get ready yes?
-yes yes- she finished eating and went straight to the room and got dressed- I'm done! - she yelled
-It's cold today- I told
-Yes! - putting on a sweater
-Wait, I want to bring something- I said to go to my room
-What?, what thing? -he said following me
-this- I showed him my skateboard
I have this thing for as long as I can remember, my father gave it to me on my birthday number 6 , it is very precious to me since it is the only gift I have received from my father, sad? Yes, but at least he dedicate to the gift, or so I think, meh it's great
-your skateboard?-she said confused
-It's not my skateboard, it's the skateboard- I said marking the "la" in the sentence
-And how will I go? -
-Not that you are going to roller skating? -looking in the little girl's backpack for the skates
-Yes, but I don't know if I have them in my backpack
-as that no?- I said taking out the skates
-oh, there they were, let me put it on
gave her the skates and helped her put them on, then I shook off my skateboard a bit, which had a bit of dust from little use, we went out and skated to the mall.
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Hello there, I see you're back on blue-line drabbles! I love them, I am obsessed with this universe. I don't know if I ever came back to say hi after I read all your big fics, but somehow I liked each even better than the last! I don't know how that's possible! But anyway, I think one of the best signs of a good writer/good story is when you're not ready to leave the world once you've finished, and Blue Line is one of the few fanfics I've read where even well after I've finished it, (cont)
(cont) I want to keep living in it and I end up writing my own fic of it in my head (strange, I know). Anyway, for whatever reason, I got really invested in Roland and Lizzie's relationship. Like, how did they end up dating after knowing each other for literally Lizzie's entire life? How did the adults react? Do you have any Lizzie/Roland stories up your sleeve? They would not go unread :)
Hello, yes, listen, this ask has lived rent free™ in my head since I first got it and I cannot properly convey how absolutely, goddamn wonderful it is. I am a broken record of outdated references , but it continues and will always amaze me that people are not only interested in Blue Line (more than three years!!! after I originally started posting) but are also interested in other characters in the story who are, for all intents and purposes, original characters at this point. Like the overall size my heart becomes when reading something like that could potentially cause a serious medical condition.
But, like, in a nice way.
So thank you, thank you, thank you. It genuinely warms the cockles of my entire soul. And, like, if you wanna share those fic ideas of the fic, you’ll never hear me say no. Just like I will never turn down the opportunity to write more stuff. Which is what’s under the cut. This stuff includes:
Roland and Lizzie’s first kiss, what I hope is some legitimate banter, more kissing, obvious flirting, and Roland being something of a sap.
Also, uh, it’s entirely possible that I have also already written: Roland and Lizzie’s first “I love you,” their wedding and some other stuff where their kid is involved. Seriously, guys, I am always down to write other relationships in this ‘verse.
It was, she figured, something almost passably close to, sort of resembling, definitely inching somewhere nearer to—
That was a bad word. That last word. The third one was pretty impressive, honestly. Vocabulary, wise. She’d have to remember that one later. The last one, though. Made teeth Lizzie wasn’t even aware she possessed ache as she ground them together, a pronounced tension in her jaw that was likely affecting her shoulders as well. That word. An awful word. Boasted less-than-positive connotations, letters practically dripping with lack of self-control and overtly aggressive infatuation, but if the world expected her not to be a little in love with Roland Locksley by the time she turned fourteen and noticed that slight indentation in his right cheek every time he smiled, well, then the world had another thing coming.
Dimple, that was the appropriate description. Another word. More words. Too many words. All of them bouncing off the slope of her skull and scratching at the back of her brain, nearly distracting her from what should have been the very pleasant buzz lingering beneath whatever biological thing made up her top and bottom lips.
Which were parted in an emotion very similar to overwhelming surprise.
That was stupid.
The whole thing was stupid. God, maybe she was stupid. No, that wasn’t true. She’d made Dean’s List last semester. Stupid was—
A stupid word, really. Despite the blush rising in her cheeks and the wide eyes practically boring into her soul, bated breath that didn’t make any noise because that was what bated entailed, and no one else glanced in their direction. Not once. No one else noticed.
That the whole world had flipped upside down.
Or right-side-up, maybe. Depending on how the next five minutes or so went.
Because the last two minutes and twelve seconds, give or take, had seen Roland Locksley tilt his head and let his eyes flutter closed before his mouth found hers for the very first time — at midnight for God’s sake. On New Year’s Eve. Or New Year’s Day, she supposed. His parents were standing on the other side of the room.
Suggesting that Lizzie had ever been just a little in love with Roland was a rather monumental lie.
As far as those things went.
“So, uh—” she started, only to find blood in her mouth. From her teeth. Wayward and unpredictable, as they were. Biting down on the side of her tongue and Lizzie hated going to the dentist. Doing irreparable damage to her teeth on what was now legitimately New Year’s Day, in the middle of an annual party, was not on her schedule.
Metaphorical as it might have been.
She liked schedules. Had plans. Focus, even. People always said that about her — how focused she was, liked to throw around the word drive with startling regularity, as if they were amazed she wasn’t simply willing to rest on her laurels or the pair of last names she proudly toted around with her. As if Lizzie expected doors to swing open on a glance.
Rather than consistently preparing herself to knock them down.
She liked the challenge of it all. Appreciated the way disbelief always spiked something in her blood, and that was likely equal parts genetic predisposition and a product of her childhood, but right now, Lizzie was simply prepared to fight for the schedule she’d never allowed herself to mention to anyone else before and it wasn’t like they weren’t friends.
Talked outside the group chat, even.
That meant something. Definitely meant something. Had to mean something. Her lips felt like they’d been doused in liquid nitrogen.
She didn’t know all the scientific properties of liquid nitrogen, but it always made that rather impressive cloud of steam-type stuff on cooking shows. So, it seemed very likely that it did something similar to cause whatever was happening in the region directly surrounding her mouth. Buzzing and tingling, and whatnot.
When had Roland last blinked? Lizzie couldn’t remember. That would have been impressive in any other situation. Right now, it was sort, kind of, totally—
Pissing her off.
Color dotted his cheeks, no sign of the goddamn dimple because he wasn’t smiling, presumably couldn’t do that when it was clear he was so intent on pulling his lips into his mouth, and that felt a little insulting. Her tongue had just been in that mouth.
Lizzie was fairly confident in the abilities of her tongue, so she wasn’t all that pleased to be replaced by a pair of lips that could have been doing much better work against the side of her neck.
“If you sit here right now and tell me that you are,” Lizzie lifted a finger, “one, sorry,” another finger, “two, anything even remotely resembling regretful,” another finger, wiggling close enough to Roland’s nose to make him just a bit cross-eyed, “or, three, too old for me, I will throw my heel at that bruise I know exists on the back of your left calf.”
His lips twitched.
He really had impossible eyelashes. Seemingly made so he could glance up from underneath them, to meet Lizzie’s steely expression with what she refused to believe could be cautious hope. Passable optimism, maybe. She’d have to look up what liquid nitrogen did, later.
“I hate you.”
“You wanna go in order, or how do you want to work this?”
“Where else are you bruised?”
Roland laughed softly, a shift of his shoulders and tiny burst of air between barely parted lips. Feeling that tiny burst meant they were standing very close to each other. How they were standing remained another mystery.
One of those great ones, Lizzie figured. The kind referenced when people talked about the sweeping potential of life and love and—
“Please don’t threaten to attack me anywhere else,” he muttered, before quickly adding, “you gotta know this was not my end game, Liza.”
Narrowing her eyes did nothing to temper the…tempest. Swirling in her gut. Threatening the back of her throat. Eating away at vocal cords and vocal boxes and the structural integrity of her entire goddamn larynx. Possibly her tongue, too, just to be especially efficient.
“Really? Might’a been mine, actually.”
She’d always liked his eyes.
How they could widen, and it wasn’t like...a normal brown. Nothing about the way he looked was ever dull. Drifted toward regularly excited, and the sparkles were probably a figment of her over-active teenage imagination, but Lizzie liked to think sometimes the sparkle came from her. Because of her, even. When she’d call because he always wanted to hear about her latest lecture and he’d call because sometimes Western swings were exhausting and loneliness-inducing and—
They knew each other.
Grand scheme, the sparkle-prone eyes still weren’t particularly close to the dimple. On the list of things Lizzie liked. What left butterflies fluttering in her stomach and her heart hammering against her chest. Sparkle was probably a solid fourth. Behind the precise way his curls fell toward his eyebrows when he didn’t have time to get his hair cut. Which rarely happened during the season. Right now, it was happening right now. Well-defined strands that Lizzie knew felt even smoother than she’d ever theorized between her fingers, and she wasn’t sure what she was going to do with that information.
Obsess over it, probably.
For at least the next week, or so.
Still. Eyes. Eyelashes. Too long and too bright, and that was the wrong description order and she was starting to teeter. On the edge of a rather dramatic free-fall. Into feelings and possibility, and this was way too dramatic.
For both of them.
“Don’t do that,” she mumbled, a scrunch of her nose that apparently demanded his thumb. Brushing against the bridge, and there wasn’t any caution there. No obvious fear or concern. For the way it left Lizzie’s lungs pinched, and there must have been a limit.
To everything her internal organs could cope with in a limited span of time.
“What was the last one on the list?”
She swallowed. “Too old.”
“Pretty flimsy as far as excuses go. You realize I’m not asking you to marry me right now, right?”
He choked. On what, she wasn’t entirely sure. Only that it made her stomach heave and her teeth dig into her lower lip, and that was—
“Because I know I said, end game,” Lizzie continued, giving in to the need to fill empty space with the sound of her own voice, “but that sounds like several pop culture references all at once, and you know how much I—”
“Hate to come across as disingenuous.”
“Mattie’s the pop culture reference machine, anyway.”
“Please don’t talk about Matt when I keep thinking about how much I want to kiss you again.”
Her eyes, that time. Widened. Bugged. Did something unnatural. “Yeah?”
“You’re kidding me, right?”
“You’re not an old man.”
Rolling his eyes, Roland’s tongue dragged across the front of his teeth. To torture her, apparently. “I was in college when you were a freshman in high school.”
“Nah, nah,” Lizzie shook her head. Crossed her arms. Tried to stand up to her full height, but even the heels didn’t do much to add to the overall intimidation factor. Roland was doing an awful job of fighting off his smile. “Pulling out ancient nicknames is not—”
“—It’s not a nickname; it’s literally letters in your name.”
“Nick,” she leaned forward, “name. All personal-like.”
Making mistakes was not something she enjoyed very much. It was that Jones competitive streak. Plus, the Vankald stubborn streak. Created a monster of determination, who knew what she wanted, and feeling Roland’s fingers graze her cheek as a strand of hair hung limply in the minimal space between them was the result of Lizzie’s mistaken movement.
Even as much as she might have wanted it.
Goosebumps prickled her arms. Stole whatever oxygen she’d managed to get in the last forty-six seconds, or so. Her eyes fluttered. Head tilted. Towards the touch and the warmth, and for someone who spent so much time on the ice, he really was impossibly warm.
“This is your fault.”
He didn’t move his fingers. Cupped her cheek, instead. “You were doing that eyebrow thing.”
“Expand on that for me.”
“Lifting ‘em. Happens sometimes. When you’re listening intently. Like you’re a little amazed by new information. They’re these stupid little arches on your face. Drives me nuts.”
“The compliment was in there somewhere, I’m sure of it.”
“I am so much older than you, Liza.”
“Shouldn’t’a played out a bunch of teenage daydreams at once, then.” She was legitimately worried about the state of his tongue. Barely biting back her laugh, Lizzie let her eyes lift. To find Roland gaping at her, drooped shoulders and puppy-dog eyes. And that goddamn dimple. “C’mon, this isn’t...do you think I haven’t made out with people before?”
“Wouldn’t classify what we just did as a makeout.”
His eyes darkened. Shivering was probably not a good move, right? Right. Definitely. She wasn’t shivering. It was just...January. And inside. With dozens of people around them. “I would not, no,” Roland said, and the drop in overall volume was some sort of trick. Or, something.
“How many people do you think you’ve made out with? Ballpark it for me.”
“Is the issue a lack of appropriate numbers to tally that mark, or—”
She bit her tongue, again. At the flash of amused frustration sweeping his face and polluting the molecules of whatever air was hovering between them. Permeating was a better word. Lizzie really needed to work on all of that. Words. Being slightly less jealous of potential make outs that didn’t have anything to do with her and definitely happened because there had to be other people out there in the world who simply could not cope with the existence of that dimple.
“How many people have you made out with, then?”
“Scores,” Lizzie snarled, only to get immediately scoffed at. “I’m really, incredibly popular.”
“Oh, I’ve got no doubt.”
“Boatloads of guys. Lining up to,” she pointed an imperious finger at her mouth, “make out with this.”
“Your well-defined chin?”
“I’m going to take my shoe off.”
“Draw attention with a move like that.”
Whatever fight she had didn’t immediately die. It just, sort of, fell. At her feet, threatening all the bones there and there were too many. All of them far too fragile. For whatever metaphor she was running with at the moment. “And we’re not trying to do that, huh? Draw attention.”
“Shouldn’t you be out sowing wild oats?”
“Really know how to charm a girl,” she grumbled, and that got her a smile. No scoff. Not even the hint of a smile. The whiplash was hurting her neck. “Trust me, the oats have appropriately sowed. If I was ever particularly inclined to farm work.”
“I’m starting to be vaguely embarrassed by all of this.”
“Good.” Wasn’t quite a scoff. Was more like a half-hearted laugh, and a tinge of desire and that was better than the other emotions, but the decreasing level of Roland’s eyebrows gave her pause. “What about the status of your oats?”
“Well sowed, rookie season,” Roland said.
“You’re going to change the name on your jersey.”
“Not sure that particular fact has a lot to do with anything else. Seven years, Liza.”
“I’m perfectly capable of doing math, you know I took that stats class once.”
“Because I double checked everything you turned in.”
“Makes you slightly less of an idiot than the vibe you're giving off right now.”
“A freeway or compliments.”
Pulling in a deep inhale through her nose, Lizzie didn’t miss the way Roland’s gaze fell. To the neckline of her dress, lingering on the jut of her collarbones for a few seconds longer than a strictly platonic friendship should allow, and they were friends. Still. She knew that as well as she knew that he believed she thought he was simply being clever with nicknames.
And not making vaguely incorrect My Fair Lady references.
Because he’d always been a little annoyed that Eliza had gone back to Henry Higgins. Instead of Freddie.
It was really impossible not to be a little in love with him at all times.
“You’re really going to hyphenate?”
Roland nodded. “Think of all the new jerseys they’ll sell.”
“By the box-load, and Gina’s gonna buy the entire stock. She’s—that’s really nice, you know.”
“Just a fact. Little late, but—” He shrugged. Lizzie’s smile threatened to split her face. In that same nice way, she’d been talking about. Her lips were still buzzing. She might have been buzzing. With adrenaline. Happiness. The near-desperate desire to find some type of closet and get her fingers back in Roland’s questionably long hair.
“Of naming conventions.”
She couldn’t begin to guess what the record was for shoulder shifts in an emotionally charged conversation between two people who were simultaneously ignoring the point of the conversation, but Lizzie also knew her eyebrows had been halfway up her face as he’d detailed the reasons for making his jersey say Mills-Locksley. From here on out.
Maybe that was the top of the list, actually.
He was a good guy.
Had always been a good guy. The best guy, really.
Falling into that chasm wasn’t nearly as terrifying as Lizzie expected it to be.
“Why’d you do it?”
Roland’s lips disappeared. His tongue moved, again. She was staring at the area around his tongue. So, like, his mouth. Directly at his mouth. “Because, I uh—have wanted to?”
“Oh, don’t phrase that like a question.”
“Wanted to,” he repeated, a statement of fact with a certain amount of conviction. Enough to make Lizzie’s pulse sputter. “Which is kind of freaking me out.”
“Come back with more compliments.”
“Your dress nearly made me fall over.”
“Better, actually,” she laughed.
He ran his fingers through his hair. “Made sense at the time.”
“Be more specific.”
“Kissing you,” Roland said, enough emphasis that he leaned forward half an inch as well. It was a miracle their noses didn’t collide. Not the most impressive miracle, but—counted. “If I tell you that you might be my best friend does that make the lamest professional hockey player alive?”
“Matt might challenge you to a duel if he hears me talking like this, you know.”
“God, Locksley, didn’t we just talk about the Mattie rules? Also, that made it sound like Mattie wants to kiss you too, so...”
He chuckled. Fingers still tugging on the back of his hair, like he was trying to ground himself in the pull and the self-inflicted tension, Roland looked up. Back at her. And Lizzie didn’t flinch. Didn’t blink. Held her position and prepared herself to defend the schedule she’d only ever allowed herself to hope for in the silence of that one corner in her brain.
Filled, as it was, with memories. Of conversations that didn’t have anything to do with hockey. Others that did. Arguing over blue line placement in the brownstone and college rankings. Of movies watched on two different laptops in different corners of the country, bad jokes, and consistent updates, that deep-rooted understanding that came from a life full of expectations and the exact opposite. No overt pressure, but the need to prove yourself anyway, if only because of the name on the back of the jersey, and Lizzie was going to have to buy a new jersey.
“You like me? Yes, or no?”
Roland smiled. Wide and honest, the kind that ensured the dimple was on prominent display. “Yes.”
“I am a grown adult? Yes, or no?”
Crinkles appeared around his eyes. From the smile.
“Meaning I get to make my own choices. Romantically, or otherwise. Yes, or no?”
“Wasn’t one of the options.”
“Yes,” Roland corrected, fingers trailing over the bend of her elbow. Lizzie hadn’t uncrossed her arms. Or remembered when she’d crossed them in the first place.
“Ok, good. Same page, then.”
Lifting her eyebrows wasn’t a challenge, per se. Was closer to instinct, really. Specifics didn’t matter, honestly. She did that thing with her eyebrows, and he did that thing with his mouth, the same one she was staring at and hoping would move closer to her, and then—
Well, it did.
Hands found Lizzie’s hips, pulling her forward sharply enough that she let out a soft grunt. From the feel of hips bumping against hers, and she honestly wasn’t sure who hissed in their next inhale, only that it did something to the flutter-like state of her pulse and the erratic nature of her heart, and it was slow and fast and good and great and not a single person noticed.
Miracles were arriving en masse, apparently.
Pushing her fingers into Roland’s hair got Lizzie another hum of approval, the first brush of his tongue making her lips part and her head fall to the side, but then his hand was wrapped around the back of her neck, and she could not be expected to pay attention to anything except the semi-consistent swipe of his thumb against her skin. It left more goosebumps. Caused another chuckle, the kind that rumbled through her and resonated around her, a tiny bubble of that same cautious optimism from before.
Like a spark.
Fanning flames and threatening to burn everything because if this didn’t work, then Lizzie wasn’t sure what would, and that was scary and overwhelming and terrifying was a synonym, but she really was working with very limited word-based resources when Roland’s thumb kept moving. Tracing her. Committing the feel to memory, and she wasn’t sure when they’d established the rocking pattern they were moving in, but something deep in the center of her trusted it.
Someone who regularly strapped knives to his feet and raced around at top speed knew how to stay balanced. And she was a stubborn idiot. Who got what she wanted.
“Is part of liking me because I told you I didn’t think it was embarrassing that you still got a little emotional about Miracle on 34th Street?”
Laughter pushed past her lips. Took root in the pit of her stomach and the spaces between her ribs. Laced through her heart. In the kind of way that cemented itself. Right in the middle of Lizzie. Right in the middle of this. Them.
There was a them, now.
“Was definitely a factor, yeah,” Roland said, not bothering to pull away. “You, uh—you snuck up on me a little, Liza.”
“Want me to talk about your dress some more?”
She shook her head. “Unnecessary. And you didn’t.”
“That might be part of the problem.”
“Nursing old crushes, you mean?” Her hair hit her cheek. And his hand. He couldn’t seem to let go of her. “Nah, this wasn’t like...there was no torch, not really. I—I wasn’t hanging posters of you on my wall if that’s the picture you’ve painted for yourself.”
“Kinda disappointing, admittedly.”
“Pick a lane, babe.”
No sparkle, that time. Just flash and want and the very thin line Lizzie’s lips had become. “Be more specific,” Roland repeated softly.
“You’re not standing on a pedestal. Just you, Rol, as is.”
He waited. That was fair. There should have been more. Should have been a detailed list of all the reasons the grown-up version of her liked so many parts of the grown-up version of him, but that all felt a little extraneous when she was still thinking about closet-type possibilities and that stubborn streak was a mile wide, anyway.
Roland nodded once. “Good.”
Both of them jumped. At the pop of another champagne bottle and Lizzie never understood how Regina managed to order so much champagne every year, but she felt a bit like she was floating on the bubbles, and they didn’t decide. Explicitly. To keep the whole thing—
Another bad word. With bad connotations and shadows that clung to the definition, but this was them and only them and, for right now, that was enough. And if no one noticed the way Roland’s hand drifted over the small of Lizzie’s back during David’s speech, then that was a miracle she was willing to accept.