“Ladybugs are just funky lil ladies doing their best and I love them with my whole heart.”
kiwi!!! babe! thank you so much for the ask, this one went fully off the rails and i love it so much, i hope you enjoy!
(send me a sentence and i'll write a short fic for it)
content warning: conversations about insects
“Ladybugs are just funky lil ladies doing their best and I love them with my whole heart.”
Julie blinks at the light lazily, her vision slightly blurry. Somewhere to her left Luke shifts, and then Reggie shifts, which she comments with a discontend grumble. She’s very comfortable with her head on his stomach.
“Dude, are you crying?” Alex asks and Julie cranes her neck to see Luke wipe at his face. “No.”
“You so are,” she says and Luke shakes his head, putting on his best grumpy face which really still just looks like a puppy, before wiping at his eyes again. “I just love ladybugs a lot.”
“Do you think there’s something like sirbugs?” Reggie asks. “Or gentlemenbugs? What if a ladybug doesn’t wanna be a lady?”
Alex groans and moves, which causes the rest of them to move as well. Julie protests when Reggie turns onto his side but he pulls her close and she snuggles into his arms instead. Warmth seeps into her side and she’s tempted to close her eyes again and to go back to dozing, but Luke is sitting up with a pensive look on his face, and Reggie sounds completely serious, so this is a conversation she doesn’t want to miss.
There’s a reason she calls the three guys her idiots affectionately, and why Flynn has them saved as Himbos in their phone.
“Do you think there’s trans ladybugs?” Luke asks. Julie grins at Alex who rolls his eyes and buries his face into a pillow. Reggie gasps. “Do you think they change colour?”
“That’s literally not how bugs work,” Alex says. Both Luke and Reggie turn to give him an affronted look and he shrugs. “That’s just science.”
“Clownfish change their genders depending on what’s needed in their colony,” Julie supplies helpfully, winking at Alex when he sends her a look that just screams betrayal. She kisses Reggie’s cheek and crawls out of his arms over to Alex.
Reggie whines for a moment before deciding to just follow behind her, dropping his head in her lap when she settles into Alex’s side. Julie takes it as an immediate opportunity to play with his hair.
Luke, eyes still shining with tears, nods excitedly. “Who says ladybugs can’t do that?”
“Because they’re not clownfish,” Alex says. He’s playing with Julie’s hair, braiding it lightly and she leans back against him. It’s been a while since someone has done that for her.
“I think lady ladybugs are just bigger and prettier,” Reggie says. “I think I read that somewhere once.”
“Girlboss,” Luke nods. Julie squints at him and the proud nod he has going on, the wise and serene expression on his face. She’s pretty sure he doesn’t know what that actually means. Reggie and Alex agree immediately, until all three of them are nodding, and glancing at Julie with poorly concealed pride.
“Who taught you that?”
“Willie.” Alex is beaming at her, his cheeks already colouring slightly pink again, the way they always do when he talks about his boyfriend. It’d be adorable if it wasn’t also oppressively sweet at times. And if the boyfriend didn’t teach Alex, and ergo the rest of the idiots modern words without giving them any insights on how to properly use them.
“A ladybug is not a girlboss,” Julie says. “That’s not how that works.”
Luke also crawls over to her, dropping himself onto Reggie unceremoniously and staring up at her with wide eyes. The fucking puppy eyes that he uses all the time, that the three use all the time because they know Julie can’t resist them.
“How does it work then, Jules?”
“This is the shit I have to put up with every day,” Alex murmurs and Reggie reaches around Julie to lightly slap his arm. Julie laughs. “I have to put up with you and them, Lex, so I’d shut up if I were you.”
“But what’s a girlboss, Julie? Can you tell us, pretty please?” Reggie is, by far, the worst out of her idiots when it comes to persuading her to do things and Julie sighs. She knows she’ll regret this, but his green eyes are wide and pleading and she loves him too much to say no.
“A girlboss is someone who’s idolised or treated like an icon or a feminist, but actually they’re doing it for profit and being manipulative and greedy, I think.”
“Like the new Cruella?” Luke asks. Julie nods. He sighs. “That movie was awful.”
“Could Caleb be considered a Girlboss?” Reggie asks and it takes Julie a moment to fully grasp what he’s saying, then she bursts into laughter. Now that Caleb is gone and her boys are safe, it’s something she can laugh about at times, and the genuine curiosity in Reggie’s voice and face send her into hysterics.
“I guess,” she barely manages to get the words out. “I guess so, yeah.”
Reggie grins with satisfaction and Julie wipes at her eyes, before finally calming down. Luke looks pensive again. “But wouldn’t ladybugs theoretically be girlbosses, since they lay their eggs inside of other insects and then they get eaten from the inside out, and everyone still thinks they’re super cute and helpful with pests in gardens?”
Reggie reaches out for Luke and grabs his left hand, waving it around excitedly. “Bro, you’re so smart, they really are! They have this super good image and then they’re actually brutal! Ladybugs are girl bosses!”
Luke and him light up with that thought, grinning at each other and nodding and seeming so excited that Julie doesn’t have the heart to tell them that she’s pretty sure that’s not exactly how it works, even if she can understand Luke’s argument.
Alex has gone quiet behind her, and she turns to look at him, catching a gloomy expression on his features while he stares into space. When he notices her questioning glance he pulls a face. “I’m starting to think that Willie doesn’t explain modern terms because he thinks it’s funny when we use them in the wrong context.”
Julie laughs. “That’s absolutely what Willie is doing, but it’s sweet, and we love you three for it.”
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Anonymous requested: Carrie and Flynn play love interests on TV, and viewers ship them together hard core, not knowing that off camera there is some MAJOR pining (hidden by fake “hatred” for each other) happening. featuring background willex being exasperated by their lesbian friends not knowing how to function around each other?
I’m sorry you sent such an amazing request and then I effectively left you on read for literally months. Seriously anon, this is glorious, I had so much fun writing it. I got like 1.5k words in and realised I had not yet got to anything even close to your request, so there’s quite a bit of background, but I’m still happy with how it turned out (even if it is a lot angstier than you were probably expecting). I really hope you like it, thank you for being so patient!
She Was a Goddamn Dream
Despite the way she acted, there weren’t actually that many things that Carrie Wilson was completely and utterly certain that she was good at. There was her singing and dancing, but every time she watched back recordings of her performances she would pick out a dozen things she could have improved upon; there was her acting, but every time it got to the tenth take of a scene she began to feel like she was messing up time and time again, tripping over her words, delivering her lines flatly with no emotion; there was her frequent attempts to connect with her fanbase, but every now and then a fan would take it too far and she would feel like the one who had ruined it all. People could tell her those things didn’t matter or that they weren’t her fault as many times as they liked, but it never stopped them gnawing away at Carrie’s self-esteem, making her feel like sometimes she didn’t deserve the fame or renown she had built for herself over the years.
But there was one thing she knew for a fact that she was good at: being in love with Flynn Taylor and hiding it.
Carrie had first met Flynn in elementary school. She had been playing with her long-time best friends Alex and Julie when little Flynn, a new student, had walked up to them and asked if she could join in because their game (something about aliens and cowboys if Carrie remembered correctly) looked really fun. Carrie could still recall how Flynn had looked that day, even if it was going on twenty years ago – her hair hung down by her shoulders in cute twists, she had worn a bright pink t-shirt and blindingly yellow dungarees, and she wore sneakers that lit up when she stamped her feet.
Carrie remembered thinking how cool Flynn looked (for a six-year-old) and something inside her had turned defensive. She had advocated for leaving Flynn out of the game, claiming they already had enough players and it would ruin it if they had any more, but Julie had pointed out that if Flynn joined, they would have an equal number of aliens and cowboys so Alex wouldn’t be so outnumbered by the two of them anymore. Carrie had quickly been outvoted, Flynn had been allowed to play with them, she and Julie had clicked in an instant, and Carrie decided that day that she didn’t like Flynn Taylor, not one bit.
For a few years, things had been a little rough. Carrie wasn’t shy about how much she disliked Flynn, but in return Flynn didn’t mind telling anyone who would listen about how much she hated Carrie. The two of them would bicker and squabble and argue over the tiniest of things, and Carrie only realised how bad it was getting when Julie blew up at them.
It was sometime in their freshman year of high school and their feud had been going on for years without showing any signs of letting up. Julie had been going through the worst time of her life; her mother (Rose, who was the closest thing Carrie had to a mother as well, but she knew it wasn’t the same thing) had passed away, she was facing getting kicked out of the music programme for lack of participation, her family was considering moving house, and every day it seemed like more and more things got added to her list of things that were going wrong in her life. Carrie and Flynn had made a silent agreement to put their arguing on hold for Julie’s sake, knowing their friend didn’t need that extra stress in her life right then. And for a while, it had been going well.
Until suddenly it was going badly again.
The three of them were having a movie night at Carrie’s house and everything was great. They were watching their favourite films, eating copious amounts of junk food, talking and laughing and having fun, and Carrie couldn’t remember the last time she had seen Julie smile so much. It had all been going so well.
But then Flynn suggested a movie, but Carrie had wanted to watch something else, and one thing had led to another until they were yelling at each other in the middle of Carrie’s living room, the whole world dropped away around them to the point that all they could focus on was each other. They were so enraptured in their argument that neither of them heard Julie’s phone chime, neither of them watched her open a text from her dad, neither of them saw the tears slide down her cheeks as she read it. Neither of them noticed anything was wrong until Julie tried to suppress a sob but instead just made it come out louder than it would have. Flynn and Carrie had turned to face her, argument forgotten in an instant, and rushed to comfort their friend.
Julie had kind of lost it that night. She had told them everything on her mind from the text she’d just received from her dad telling her they’d officially found a buyer for the house to the fact that she had been exhausted for years from all their arguing. She explained that she thought recently the two of them were finally getting better, finally working on having a civil relationship, and maybe something was finally going right for her because they wouldn’t be at each other’s throats all the time anymore.
“I guess not,” she had said defeatedly, fiercely scrubbing at her face in an attempt to dispel any of her tears, “because you two were just faking it for me. I told you I didn’t want anyone to tiptoe around me like I’ll break if I’m dropped, but you still did. I thought you guys would understand that I just want things to be normal again.”
“We were only trying to make things easy on you,” Carrie explained, a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.
“Yeah,” Flynn agreed, “we never meant to upset you, Jules.”
Julie had scoffed. “Yeah, well, you’ve done a great job of that.”
Julie had apologised for it all in the morning, but Carrie didn’t blame her for anything she’d said the night before. She had clearly got a lot off her chest that she really needed to, and everything she had said to Carrie and Flynn had been deserved in a way. Carrie knew that her and Flynn’s intentions had only been good, but Julie had asked for reality, and they hadn’t given her that.
Which had got Carrie thinking – in this situation, what was her reality?
For years and years, she would have said she hated Flynn. She would have believed it, too. She would have said that from the moment they’d met on that playground, Flynn had been her worst nightmare. But when she thought back on everything, how she saw Flynn even when they were fighting, she couldn’t call Flynn a nightmare.
She was a goddamn dream.
Carrie had spent night and day thinking about what Flynn really meant to her, why she made her so angry, whether it was really anger at all, and she had come to a revelation that really wasn’t as surprising to her as it should have been. It turned out that it wasn’t anger at all, it was a severe case of repression and Carrie Wilson was very much a lesbian.
That was another thing she knew she was good at – repressing things.
Though she was kind of underwhelmed by her epiphany (really, she thought, she should have worked it out a lot sooner), it did make things harder. Now she knew that she didn’t want to argue with Flynn, she wanted to kiss her, and that was very inconvenient. They didn’t argue as much anymore anyway, making a genuine effort to like each other rather than pretending for Julie’s sake, but that just meant that Flynn smiled at her more often and laughed at Carrie’s snarky jokes and it was nearly impossible not to fall at her feet in worship every time she so much as breathed.
So Carrie got very good at pretending she wasn’t in love with Flynn. By the time they were halfway through freshman year, they were friends and nobody ever pointed out that Carrie felt much more than friendship. Things in all their lives began to improve – Carrie and Flynn were no longer feuding, Julie ended up not moving house and got back into the music programme when she started a band, and she got herself a boyfriend – Luke – who made her the happiest Carrie had ever seen her.
(It had prompted many a discussion about whether or not Carrie and Flynn had anyone in mind they wanted to date. Carrie had panicked and said Nick, the school’s star lacrosse player who she had spoken to maybe three times and was definitely not her type. Flynn had given a suspicious hum and said she was still figuring out what it was she wanted; Carrie had excused herself and had a ten-minute panic in the bathroom over the implications of that.)
By the time university rolled around, Julie entered the big leagues with Julie and the Phantoms, deciding not to pursue further education but instead focus on her career, while Carrie and Flynn had gone to the same performing arts school. The same performing arts school where they’d been hired by the same agent. The same agent who kept getting them roles on the same shows together. It was a ticking time bomb, Carrie knew, and it went off a few days after her twenty-fourth birthday.
Carrie had been hired to play Flynn’s love interest in the third season of a show that Flynn had been cast in two years previously.
The truth was, it was both a dream come true and a living nightmare all at the same time. For one thing, Carrie adored the show and had been aching for a role on it since it came out. But on the other hand, she would be Flynn’s love interest, and according to the scripts they would have their first on-screen kiss at the end of the season – Carrie always made sure to separate her work from reality, but in her mind, kissing Flynn was kissing Flynn, no matter what disguise it was hidden by, and it was what she would have to do if she wanted the job.
She tried not to panic, she really did, but it wasn’t the easiest thing to not be panicked by, which was where everything started to fall apart.
It was the day of the kiss scene and Carrie was a wreck (which was putting it kindly). She had been pacing back and forth in her trailer in front of Alex for more than half an hour, trying not to mess up her hair every time she ran her hands through it, saying words but not making any sense.
“Carrie,” Alex said, equal parts firm and amused. Carrie stopped her pacing and turned to face him so fast she was surprised she didn’t get whiplash. “Will you please stop moving? You’re making me travel sick.”
“Very funny,” she deadpanned, but nonetheless she crashed down next to him on the little couch, flopping against him and resting her head on his shoulder. He easily threw an arm around her and she closed her eyes, trying to ignore the stress she was under, but the pounding of her heart made it very difficult.
“Talk to me,” Alex said. “What exactly is it that’s getting you so worked up here?”
“I have to kiss Flynn,” Carrie grumbled.
“And that’s a bad thing?” Alex asked.
“No,” Carrie groaned. “Don’t ask stupid questions. It’s a good thing, which is why I’m mad about it. Keep up, Alex.”
She felt him shake with a badly hidden laugh and scowled. “There’s no point asking me to keep up when you’re at least a hundred steps ahead of me. Explain it to me, get it off your chest.”
Carrie groaned dramatically but nonetheless she lifted her head and turned to face Alex, looking him in the eye.
“Fine,” she said heavily. “I’m in love with Flynn.”
Alex nodded. “Yep.”
“We have been acting like we’re in love with each other for the entirety of this season.”
“I’m pretty sure it’s been longer than that–”
Carrie smacked his arm and he grinned devilishly. “Don’t interrupt me. We’ve been acting like we’re in love with each other for the entirety of this season, and now I have to kiss her.”
“And that’s a bad thing?”
“Yes. No. Maybe. I don’t know.”
“Helpful,” Alex said with an expression that suggested it was anything but helpful.
“Do I really have to spell it out for you?” Carrie asked. She was almost certain that Alex was messing with her now, forcing her to admit what he already knew because he probably thought it would do her some good, and she didn’t know if she was grateful for that or not.
Alex just nodded once.
“Fine,” she conceded. “I don’t want to kiss Flynn because I want to kiss Flynn. If I kiss her on the show, it won’t be real, but I won’t be able to stop thinking about it anyway. I won’t be able to stop myself from wanting to do it again, but not as our characters – as us. I already want to kiss her half the time and I know that’ll only get worse once I’ve done it for real. But I won’t be able to do it again unless it’s scripted because Flynn doesn’t love me back. Do you see my problem now?”
Alex was silent for a beat, his face working through a thousand different emotions in one go. He opened his mouth to reply, closed it again, and whipped out his phone, opening up a message.
“Oh, this is how it is?” Carrie said indignantly, crossing her arms over her chest. “I spill my secrets to you and your response is to text someone instead of reacting at all?”
“I’m texting Willie,” he explained. “I’m asking him something.”
That moment, Alex’s phone pinged with a text from Willie. He opened it up, smirked, and showed Carrie the screen.
Alex’s text read: hey, Flynn is in love with Carrie right?
Willie’s reply said: only for like ten years, yeah
Carrie read the messages. Then she read them again. Then she read them a third time, refreshed the chat, and read it again. Then she swiped Alex’s phone from his hand and turned it off, chucking it across the trailer so it landed in a pile of clothes she’d been meaning to get washed.
“Okay,” Alex said. “What was that for?”
“That’s not helpful,” Carrie whined. “How do you expect me to focus now that’s in my head?”
Alex blinked bewilderedly. “Because now you know Flynn loves you back. Which means you two can get together. You’d be able to kiss off-screen, and you were literally saying that’s what you wanted about two minutes ago.”
“But she doesn’t love me back,” Carrie said like Alex was being particularly dense.
“Were we reading the same messages?” he asked, sounding genuinely confused.
“Yes,” Carrie stressed, “but you’re wrong. She’s never flirted with me or said anything that might sound even a little bit like she thinks of me that way or anything like that. There’s no way she likes me.”
Alex opened his mouth, presumably to argue with her, but at that moment the door of the trailer opened and someone popped their head in to call Carrie to set. She thanked them and they closed the door as she got up to get ready. Alex heaved an exasperated sigh and said, “It’ll be fine, okay? If it helps in any way, just focus on the fact that it’s not you and Flynn – it’s Monica and Kai. It’s your character, not you. Got it?”
“Yes,” Carrie lied, leaving the trailer. “I’ve got it.”
Walking to set felt like walking to her death. Carrie was certain that nothing good would come out of this scene. The kiss would look realistic, yes, but she couldn’t truthfully claim that was because she was a good actress – it would only look real because it was real for her.
She arrived on set and steeled herself, going over her lines in her head and trying to ground herself. She’d been on this set so many times throughout the season; it was Kai’s apartment (Flynn’s character, a charming DJ with a rebellious streak and secret penchant for art and literature), utterly trashed after it had been broken into the previous episode. According to the script, Monica – Carrie’s character – would be helping Kai clean things up when Kai got upset about the whole situation, and it would fall to Monica to help her calm down and search through all her feelings. It would end with a big revelation as they admitted their love for one another, and their kiss would fade to black, ending the episode and the series.
On paper, it looked good. In Carrie’s mind, it was the worst thing that could have ever happened to her, but all she could do was go with it.
All thoughts of calming herself down bled out of her mind the moment Flynn walked onto set. She was in costume, a bright red tracksuit and minimal makeup, and she was smiling from ear to ear. The look was nothing special, but it was beauty if Carrie had ever seen it. Comparing herself to Flynn, she felt underdressed, even though her costume of a floral summer dress and cream-coloured cardigan was much less casual than Flynn’s.
When Flynn turned and met Carrie’s eye, she smiled that wonderous smile of hers, the one that made Carrie feel like they were the only two people in existence, everything else dropping away from them. She tried to smile back, but it was weak and close to a grimace, so she turned away to save herself the embarrassment.
And five minutes later, they began the scene.
To begin with, it went well. Carrie immersed herself in the role of Monica, playing up her concern for Kai, making sure to watch her with the most obvious heart-eyes she could manage (which wasn’t difficult). When Kai broke down crying, Monica rushed to her side, wrapped her in the tightest embrace possible, and tried not to cry herself. She leaned in close and whispered the words she had so painstakingly memorised into her ear.
“This wasn’t your fault,” she breathed. “You could never have known this would happen.”
“But it did happen,” Kai sobbed, her breath rattling heart-wrenchingly. “They targeted me. Why?”
“I don’t know,” Monica said softly, holding Kai tighter. “I can’t imagine how anyone would ever want to hurt you like this. Or hurt you at all. You don’t… you’ve been through so much, Kai, and you don’t deserve any of it. You’re the best person I’ve ever known. I wish I had those magic words that would somehow fix all this, but I don’t. All I can do is be here for you because that’s what you deserve. You deserve someone who’ll pick you up when you’re down, someone who will go out of their way to make you happy in life, someone who would love you forever and not think about stopping that for a second.”
Kai drew back a little but remained close enough to look Monica in the eye. “What are you saying?”
“I’m saying… I… Kai, I…” The words died in Monica’s throat.
“I love you,” Kai finished, the start of an incredulous half-smile on her face.
“Yeah,” Monica whispered. “I love you, Kai.”
“God, I love you too.”
And then when they surged together, meeting in a fierce kiss, it suddenly wasn’t Monica and Kai anymore. This was Carrie and Flynn, kissing each other like they meant it, hard and fast and unrestrained and everything Carrie had ever imagined. More than Carrie had ever imagined. Flynn’s intensity hit her like a truck, but for once she wasn’t one to complain. She gave as good as she got, all that built up longing releasing itself in one fell swoop. Carrie Wilson was kissing Flynn Taylor and it was the most incredible thing she’d ever felt.
The call of, “Cut!” broke them apart. For a moment, Carrie looked into Flynn’s eyes, trying to read what was written in them, but it was useless. Her hands were still on Flynn’s waist, but she let go, and a moment later felt Flynn’s hands untangle from her hair.
They did the scene again and Carrie cursed herself for not foreseeing this massive issue. They never did one-take scenes, everything was gone over time and time again. She wasn’t kissing Flynn just once that day; she was reliving it over and over, and every kiss was better than the last as they got more acquainted with each other, figured things out, became less messy but kept all of the passion. It was a change of pace, but Carrie was handling it.
Until she messed up her lines in the worst possible way.
It was supposed to be, “Yeah. I love you, Kai.”
Carrie said, “I love you, Flynn.”
The director picked up on her mistake immediately and was good-natured about it as he made them take the scene from the top. Flynn said nothing, just laughed it off, mentioned that Carrie must be getting a little tired, all that kissing really taking it out of her. Everyone was fine with it and it didn’t happen again, but Carrie was mortified. She knew that those words had held all the sincerity it was impossible to fake, even with years of acting experience under her belt. She knew she had sounded honest in a way she never could have pretended to be. She knew that it was probably the take they would use, editing her use of Flynn’s name to Kai. And it felt like the biggest mistake of her life.
As soon as she was cleared to leave set, she all but legged it out of the room and back to her trailer where Alex was still waiting for her. She sat down beside him, head on his shoulder, and she cried.
The worst part was that she was no longer certain whether she was any good at pretending not to be in love with Flynn.
Promos and trailers for the show gradually released over the next few weeks. Carrie avoided social media as often as she could – it hadn’t taken people long to figure out that she would be Flynn’s love interest, and she simply couldn’t handle their reactions.
Some comments she had seen were harmless, related only to the show. ‘Monikai for life’ seemed to be a common one, as well as ‘she better treat my girl Kai with the respect she deserves’ or some form of ‘I swear they look literally perfect for each other’. Those comments were the kind Carrie could get along with. She liked a few posts, teasing just enough to get speculation up, but not enough to confirm anything.
Then there were different comments. Comments that weren’t about Monica and Kai, but instead about Carrie and Flynn. ‘Oh my god, I have been waiting for these two to play girlfriends forever’ seemed to crop up a lot. If it wasn’t that it was ‘we are finally going to see Carrie and Flynn kiss!’ and sometimes it was the worst comments like ‘they should date in real life’.
Everything about it made Carrie feel bad. For one thing, she hated people saying things like that about her private life – she might have been famous, but she was still a human being, and these people didn’t know her, so nothing gave them the right to talk about her and Flynn like that. But also, it was a constant painful reminder of what she didn’t have, and that was too much for her to process.
She had hardly spoken to Flynn since the wrap party despite Flynn messaging her every day. She was ashamed of her slip up and terrified that if she spoke to Flynn the same thing would happen again. Now that those words were out there, she didn’t think she’d be able to rein them back in ever again.
So Carrie was scared. Scared that she had ruined everything with Flynn, scared people would figure out how she really felt, scared that this was something she couldn’t bounce back from.
And she lashed out.
Admittedly, she knew could have handled the situation better. She could have ignored all the rumours and comments, stuck to one side of the fanbase, been proud of what she and Flynn had created. But she didn’t do any of that. There was one thing she knew she was still good at, and that was acting as if she hated Flynn Taylor. It had seemed like a good idea at the time – reveal to everyone that she hated Flynn to get them off her back. If she had thought it through for more than a second, she wouldn’t have done it, but one night something inside her broke and she let it all out.
She had reverted back to old habits and written a load of unsavoury tweets about Flynn, saying she hated her and couldn’t imagine anything worse than dating her, telling everyone that the idea of them being in a relationship was really creeping her out and she wanted nothing to do with it. She had posted them all before she could think any more about it, but the regret had been instant, as had the furious messages from her PR team and agent, the thousands of unfollows, the way people immediately tried to cancel her, and the way all of Flynn’s attempts to contact her stopped after those hateful words had been said. She deleted the tweets, but they’d already been screenshotted many a time, so it didn’t do much good.
The only surprise that came from it was a follow-up tweet from Flynn reading: You guys don’t need to cancel Carrie. It’s not as if I’m upset. I’d only be upset if I liked her, which I never have done.
Somehow, she had managed to ruin everything, just with a slip of the tongue.
The night of the season premier, Carrie got a knock on her door. That in itself was weird – she hadn’t invited anyone over, planning on spending the night alone, not even necessarily watching the show she’d worked so hard on, and none of her friends were really the type to just show up unannounced.
Well, none of them except–
“Willie,” she greeted with a smile when she opened the door. He stood on the threshold with his skateboard tucked under his arm, helmet lopsided on his head, and a smile on his face that looked half genuine and half like he was up to something. “What are you doing here?”
“I thought I’d come and watch the premier with you,” he said, inviting himself in and removing his helmet, hanging it on a coat hook as he propped his skateboard up against the wall. “Wouldn’t want you to be lonely for something as huge as this, right?”
“Okay,” she said, unconvinced, “and what’s your ulterior motive?”
Willie knew better than to argue. He frowned slightly and said, “Flynn told me what you said and that you’re not talking to her now, Alex told me that you totally freaked out – like freaked out, freaked out – and then went all despondent and sad, and I wanted to see if I could help. Maybe, you know, talk some sense into you.”
She rolled her eyes, leading Willie into the living room and sitting on the couch with him. “I’m not ignoring Flynn, I didn’t freak out, and I’ve got plenty of sense in me, thank you very much.”
Willie raised an eyebrow. “Sense? Or denial?”
She didn’t reply.
“Carrie,” he said, shuffling closer, “listen to me, okay? That day, when you said to Flynn that you love her, you ran to Alex while she ran to me. She was a total mess, telling me she had no idea if you had meant it or if you’d really just messed up. She said she wanted to talk to you, and after that day she said she kept trying but you wouldn’t pick up and she thought she had done something wrong. And then all those tweets… Carrie, what’s going on?”
She sighed, threw her head back to try and tip the tears welling in her eyes back into her skull, and then turned back to Willie.
“I meant it,” she breathed. “When I told Flynn I love her, I meant it. But she doesn’t feel the same way about me.”
“No,” Carrie said firmly. “She doesn’t. I shouldn’t have said it, I shouldn’t have lost myself like that. I should have had some freaking restraint. And now that I’ve told her, she’s going to hate me because I will have made her uncomfortable and she won’t want to be around me anymore. I’ve ruined it, Willie. And the tweets were a stupid idea, even I know that. I was scared, which is a terrible excuse, I know. I thought people were figuring out how I really felt so I… god, I’m such an idiot. I never should have done it. And now I know she hates me, she said so herself.”
“She doesn’t hate you,” Willie said softly, shaking his head.
Carrie just raised an eyebrow.
“Look, I’m… I’m not going to make you talk about it tonight if you really don’t want to,” Willie said. Carrie breathed a sigh of relief, relaxing a little. “But you’ve got to promise me you’ll talk to Flynn. Just to explain yourself. No matter which way your conversation goes, I really don’t think you’ll regret it.”
Carrie just hummed, not willing to provide an actual answer, and flicked the TV on, putting on the season premier of their show. She and Willie settled down together and watched. If Carrie teared up a little watching her first interaction with Flynn, Willie was kind enough not to mention it.
Eventually, Carrie took Willie’s advice, more because she missed Flynn than anything else. And in any case, she felt she owed Flynn an apology and an explanation. She had been awful to her in a way she hadn’t since they were teenagers, and she was ashamed and guilty and just wanted things to go back to some semblance of normal. On the night the season finale aired, Carrie drove to Flynn’s house and knocked on the door before she could change her mind.
“Oh,” Flynn said when she opened the door. Carrie couldn’t read her expression but fought down the panic that arose. “What are you doing here?”
“Can we talk?” she asked, hating how cliché it sounded, but that didn’t matter when Flynn nodded and opened the door wider, letting her in.
They settled together on the couch in front of Flynn’s television. It was set to the channel their show aired on, but it hadn’t started yet. When Flynn didn’t say a word, Carrie took that as her cue to start the conversation.
“I’m sorry,” she said quietly.
“Go on,” Flynn encouraged, sounding unimpressed.
“I’m sorry for everything I said about you online,” she continued, doing her best to look Flynn in the eye when all she wanted to do was look away. “I didn’t mean any of it. You’re such an amazing person and one of my best friends and I can’t believe I let myself do things that would jeopardise that. None of it was true, anyway. I just… I got scared.”
“Scared of what?” Flynn pressed, voice slightly softer than it had been a moment before. Carrie hoped she hadn’t imagined Flynn scooting ever so slightly closer to her on the couch.
She took a deep rattling breath. She had come there that night having promised herself that she would be completely honest with Flynn because she owed her that much. Well, now was the point when she needed to be honest and it was the most terrifying prospect she’d ever faced.
“Scared of people working out how right they are about me,” she admitted. “I saw people saying that we… that we would be good together as a couple in real life. And it hit too close to home because I’ve always thought that exact same thing, but I’ve never been able to do anything about it.”
“What are you saying?” Flynn breathed.
“I’m saying… I meant what I said on set. It wasn’t me slipping up, it was genuine. I couldn’t hold it back that day.”
“You mean when you said ‘I love you’?” Flynn asked slowly.
“Yeah,” Carrie said. “I meant it when I said that I love you. I love you, Flynn, I really do.”
Flynn was silent for far too long. Carrie felt her heart sinking, knowing she had made a mess of this, that they would never be able to return from this, that Flynn probably wanted nothing to do with her now, despite what Alex and Willie seemed to think about the whole thing. She prepared herself for the shouting, the accusations, the breaking off of their friendship.
But then Flynn said, “You shouldn’t have run out of set that day.”
“I know, I know, I should have explained myself and apologised there and th–”
“No,” Flynn interrupted. “You should have stayed so that I had the chance to say it back.”
“So you… what?”
Flynn’s hands, soft and gentle, came up to cradle Carrie’s face. She felt Flynn run the pad of her thumbs deftly over Carrie’s cheeks, looked deep into her gorgeous brown eyes and lost herself in them. When Flynn said, “I want to say it back,” Carrie was so up in her own thoughts that she almost forgot what they were even talking about.
“Then say it,” she returned, leaning into Flynn’s touch.
“I love you, Carrie.”
“God, I love you too.”
They kissed again, leaning forward to meet each other, and it was like their first kiss all over again. This one wasn’t tinged with the bittersweet sting that their on-screen ones had been, but rather peppered with the joy they shared having finally revealed their truth to one another. It was a ‘thank you’, a ‘sorry’, an ‘I love you’, a ‘you are it for me’ all in one go, made of love and care and everything good in the world. Carrie lost herself in Flynn – she thought that would never stop happening – and it made her feel free.
Here was another thing she was good at: loving Flynn and showing it to her.
At some point, long after they had broken their kiss, instead curling up together on the couch to watch their show, Flynn snickered and said, “You know, our agent told me that our little spat online had done wonders for the show’s publicity.”
“Where are you going with this?” Carrie asked, smirking, knowing that Flynn wasn’t just dropping that out of nowhere.
She shrugged. “I think we could do our bit to help out with ratings. For a while it might be a good idea to keep the act up, you know? Act like we hate each other and watch everyone freak out over it. And if it’s super funny for us then that’s just a bonus.”
“Fine, on one condition,” Carrie said. Flynn nodded. “We don’t tell Alex and Willie what we’re doing. They’ve been laughing at our stupidity for years, I think we deserve a little revenge.”
“I love the way you think,” Flynn laughed, leaning up to kiss Carrie again. “I love you. But as far as anyone else is concerned, no I don’t.”
Pressing another kiss to the side of Flynn’s head, Carrie said teasingly, “I don’t either.”
(Alex and Willie were not best pleased when they found out three months later that Carrie and Flynn were not in fact mortal enemies but girlfriends when the girls asked them for help moving all of Flynn’s stuff into Carrie’s house because they’d decided they wanted to live together. They’d been given the silent treatment the entire time, but it was worth it.)
Taglist (if you want to be added or removed just let me know): @ace-bookworm @williexmercer @boggie-brainrot @itstiger720 @the-reckless-and-the-brave @that-one-newsie @bluedarkness @lookingthroughmirrors @tmp-jatp @ghostlydahlia @julieandthequeers @lmaohuh @sunnysbright @sylphrenas @callmeontheleyline
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ok for the one sentence story starter thingymathing
"shopping is what I call my number one hobby"
ceejie!! thank you so much for this, this whole thing got away from me, like, massively askdshfg
i honestly have no idea what happened but i hope you like it!!
(send me a first sentence and i'll write a short fic for it :)) )
“Shopping is what I call my number one hobby,” Reggie says and smiles proudly. Alex sighs behind him. “It’s really not.”
Willie looks between the both of them with an amused smile and Reggie’s standing close enough to hear Alex’s breath hitch just the tiniest bit. He’s pathetic, really and Reggie would make fun of him if the two of them weren’t in basically the exact same situation.
“You don’t know that,” Reggie protests, turning around to Alex who shoots him an incredulous look. Reggie knows what he just said is a bit dumb, but in all fairness he can’t really think all that reasonably anyways, and especially not when it’s nearing one in the morning and they’ve both had a fair amount to drink.
“Yes I do,” Alex protests. “We’re literally best friends, you idiot. We’re in a band. You hate shopping.”
“Yeah but he doesn’t know that,” Reggie hisses back, then turns to Willie who looks like he’s holding back laughter. “Well now he does.”
Willie does. “Now he does indeed, but I already knew that before you guys said anything. Hobby shoppers are usually coupon addicts as well, and I’ve never seen either of you with one.”
Reggie regards him for a moment, then nods. “I didn’t even know there was something like a coupon addict.”
“They’re awful,” a voice behind them says and Reggie whirls around fast enough to lose his balance. Alex, the asshole, doesn’t make any move to catch him but Bobby does, steadying him with a hand on his arm. Reggie doesn’t even have it in him to glare at Alex, heat crawling up the back of his neck.
Thing is, both him and Alex may have tiny crushes on the employees of their local non-chain grocery store. Maybe not so tiny crushes considering they come here basically every day and they decided to come here after getting drunk with Luke. And considering they know both their names and they both know their names back.
But it really isn’t Reggie’s fault that Bobby is tall and broad and has super pretty hair and eyes and a nice smile and a deep voice and good humour and that they talk to Reggie because this store is somehow always empty when Reggie comes in.
Plus, it’s totally understandable that Alex can’t take his eyes off Willie because Willie is pretty with the long hair and bright smile, and also they ran Alex over with a shopping cart train in the parking lot once, which basically made Alex fall in love, heaven knows why.
So yeah. Really it’s the store’s fault for hiring insanely attractive people who are down to talk to customers on late night shifts.
Reggie clears his throat. “They are?”
Bobby nods, keeping his hand on Reggie’s arm. “They buy a fuckton of product which normally would be good because we’d make big profit but then they pull out their coupons and it always takes ages to process them and they have so much stuff that usually it’s at least one hour until we’re done.”
“And they’re all incredibly entitled,” Willie adds. “Last week one of our regular couponers had some that were expired and we’re not allowed to apply these codes and she threw a fit because she had to pay thirty dollars instead of fifteen.”
“Ew.” Alex pulls a face, and Reggie nods in agreement. Willie laughs and Reggie would make fun of Alex for his face going red immediately if Bobby didn’t chuckle next to him. Because damn, he knows he’s not sober and that magnifies the effect but Bobby’s laugh really is something else.
“God, I hate customers,” Bobby mumbles and Willie agrees. “They’re awful.”
The two of them must notice the deer in the headlights look Alex and Reggie share because Willie immediately rushes to add on. “Not you guys though, you’re pretty cool.”
“Yeah,” Bobby agrees. “You don’t complain and you look at signs yourself instead of asking where the cereal is when it literally says that on the fucking aisle.”
Reggie grins. They come here a lot, they do, but Alex and him have never attempted to talk to Willie or Bobby via feigning to neep help because Alex’s anxiety is too bad for that and Reggie feels bad for it. They just sort of looked at other stuff to start conversations over.
He’s trying to forget the one time he asked Bobby if they come here often, but to be fair Bobby’d worn a tight long sleeved shirt and Reggie’s had a crush on Luke and his arms a few years ago for a reason.
Alex cards a hand through his hair then looks around and sighs. “I forgot what we were here for.”
“Water!” Reggie exclaims. “We wanted water and then you wanted to get ice cream or something for dinner.”
“Ice cream is not dinner,” Bobby says. “And it’s almost two in the morning.”
“Dinner is a state of mind,” Reggie says and Alex nods wisely. “We regularly have ice cream dinners. Or microwave popcorn. It’s hard to have real food when your idiot bandmate makes you practice until the middle of the night and then immediately passes out so you can’t cook.”
Reggie nods and turns to look at Bobby’s who’s got a worried crease between his brows now. “You should come to our next gig, I promise we’re really good.”
“You too,” Alex follows up, leaning closer to Willie. “If you want to, of course. Only then. Sorry, this is probably really unprofessional and you shouldn’t date- I mean go on a date with customers. Not that it’s a date if you don’t want it to be, but if you do but-”
“I’d love to,” Willie interrupts with one of their bright smiles which shuts Alex up immediately.
“This isn’t some agency, we can date customers all we like,” Bobby says at the same time and Reggie nearly chokes on his own spit. “What?”
Bobby looks sheepish all of a sudden and Reggie’s not sure if he’s imagining it or if they’re actually blushing a little. “I mean, if you’d like that to be a date I wouldn’t mind it.”
“Holy shit.” Reggie says. “Yeah, of course.”
Bobby smiles and squeezes Reggie’s arm a bit. He shares a wide eyed look with Alex, because really, neither of them expected at all that the night would go like this. Willie pushes a bit of hair out of their face.
“Just remind us to take you guys out for proper dinner at some point.”
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