Bonabelle probably lingered outside Cascade Hall too long. She knew she'd lingered in her room too long, and then in the bathroom, where she'd stared in the mirror and wondered whether there was anything she could do with her face to make it more... inviting was the wrong word. Or the right word. She wasn't even sure what she wanted her face to convey, except it's there-ness. Although the cynical part of her didn't want it to convey that at all. Maybe she wanted her face to convey indifference. It would be better than the hope that threatened to wrinkle her forehead and smooth her mouth into a smile. She forced as neutral a face as she could manage, helped tremendously by her makeup, but she couldn't do much about the way her eyes looked. Eyes, for all that they were just squishy balls of vision goop or whatever, were very revealing.
Standing outside Cascade Hall, she smoothed her robes again, smoothed her hair again, smoothed her robes again... and gave up. Her smooth, neutral expression faded into anxiety as she stepped into the hall with vaguely eager steps, practically walking up on her toes as she made her way to where Val was sitting. She wasn't even sure how to greet the girl. Another kiss seemed inappropriate, not least because she hadn't quite convinced herself that the first one even happened, let alone what it meant if it did. A hug also seemed weird because if the kiss had happened, she was pretty sure a hug was either a demotion or a sorry lack of awareness. She settled on a verbal greeting, but even that was hard to get passed her clenched teeth. She took a breath.
Having signed up for Quidditch, and not spotted Bonabelle anywhere in the hall yet Valentine had found a spot where she could be easily found when her friend arrived. If she was honest with herself, Val was a little bit nervous about this meeting. She had sprung that kiss upon Bonabelle quite suddenly and then ran away. She'd been sure that was what Bonabelle wanted, and from the response she'd gotten during the kiss, she was pretty sure she'd been right. However when she had looked back, Bonabelle had looked stunned. Maybe she hadn't wanted it after all? Maybe she had made a big mistake.
Then Bonabelle arrived, and her arrival did nothing to alleviate her fears. Bonabelle looked.. tense? She looked almost unnaturally.. 'calm' wasn't the right word. Val got the sense that her friend was doing whatever she could to not show anything? She might have messed up. Maybe pretty bad. Her words also did not quell any of the anxiety.
Her initial plan had been to jump up and greet Bonabelle with another hug, but now she wasn't so sure about that plan. Val couldn't help her voice from coming out with a bit of a worried tone, "Yes, Bonabelle. You may always sit with me... if you want to." That sounded sad and pathetic and not at all how she wanted this to go, but now she wasn't sure about things anymore. Maybe something to better gauge her friend's attitude? "How did you sleep last night?"
2Valentine DuellIt's the most important meal of the day!149005
Bonabelle blinked. Val wasn't her usual happy self at all and that either meant that she was sincerely unhappy or that she was anxious about something. The latter was way more common than the former but it seemed like a big gamble to assume that was the case. Not that there was much left to risk... She took the offered seat, choosing to sit beside her friend rather than across from her, just in case Val decided to act on any more desires, and cocked her head. Her level of energy and tolerance for ambiguity was much much lower than it had been at previous points in her life, which was saying something because she'd never exactly been patient with such things.
"I hardly slept at all," she said flatly. Finally, she deflated some, her anxiety disappearing into her want to know what the heck was happening. "I was thinking. Hey, you kissed me, right? Uh. I didn't imagine that? I was pretty sure it happened but now you aren't acting like it happened? I think? Or... what? I don't know what you're acting like. Why did you kiss me?" Her face was red by the time she was done, but she knew she wasn't really done. If Val was anxious about things, then Bonabelle had to be the one to make sense of it. That was how it was; Val helped Bonabelle make sense of her feelings, and when Val's feelings stopped making sense, it was because she needed help making sense of everything else. Probably, in this case, Bonabelle's own body language. Her level of self-awareness on the topic vastly outshone her level of self-confidence though, and she stammered through her final reassuring statement as well: "I liked it. I just wanted to know why you did it. Do you... want to date? Like actually date?"
Valentine was glad when Bonabelle sat down next to her. She wasn't upset enough to just leave, Val let out a visible sigh of relief. Bonabelle answered, and then seemed to pour words out upon her. So many of them helped her to make sense of things, Bonabelle had been worried and confused and unsure... and it had been pretty much all her fault. Still even at the thought, her own worried countenance shifted back into a smile. Bonabelle had liked it.
She let out a weak giggle. "I barely slept either, but it was mainly because I was worried that you were going to be upset with me." She admitted. Tentatively, Val reached out to pull Bonabelle into a side hug and propped her head on the other girl's shoulder. "I did kiss you," she said in an almost whisper, "because, as I've told you many times already, I love you. You are one of the best people I know, and I want you in my life no matter what."
Val simply rested on Bonabelle's shoulder for a moment before lifting her head to look into her friend's lovely eyes. "After I did that, I looked back and you... well, I couldn't tell if you were happy or.. not. I thought maybe I'd did something really bad and you were mad and..." her voice trailed off not quite sure where else to go with the sentiment, so she finished with a shrug. "After this summer, I think I'm ready for official dating," she blushed just a bit, "and kissing. I wanted you to be the first, and for the record I liked it to."
2Valentine DuellNeither to I, at the moment.149005
In her head, Bonabelle had crafted an entire speech about how inappropriate and unfair it was of Val to kiss her just to prove a point or check an item off her bucket list. As Val's reply washed over her though, she was tentatively deciding she didn't need that speech. She had not prepared one for this turn of events.
Something caught in her throat at Val's profession of love, although she was pretty sure that the Teppenpaw didn't necessarily mean 'I love you' in the way that she meant 'I want to date' because that was sort of big to just announce like that. Bonabelle loved Val too but whether she was desperately in love with her was something she needed to find out still. That being said, she was entirely sure that she would like to do more kissing and dating and kissing. And that she wanted everyone in the whole school to know that she got to be the one to date Val. Of course, that raised the question from the previous year about whether that's for sure what Val wanted and whether that was an exclusive position.
"I want you," was all Bonabelle could manage as a response to Val's initial statement and she accepted the Teppenpaw's head on her shoulder with a timid breath, her eyes closed to enjoy the way this felt and smelled and felt (the other kind, since there were inside feelings and outside feelings).
Valentine pulled away and continued and Bonabelle nodded, figuring that made sense. "I was confused," she clarified, although she was pretty sure Valentine was getting that without it being explicated. She wasn't too sure what she thought about being told she was the 'first', since it pretty strongly implied that there would be others, but she supposed that was common. "Me?" she asked, wanting to leave no room for ambiguity here. "You want to date me?"
22Bonabelle RowMy appetite is tentatively returning. 148805
Val smiled brightly, giggled, and booped her friend's nose with her finger. "Yes you, silly. I want to date you, and I'd like to try some more kissing as well." Bonabelle's simple 'I want you' had sent a thrill coursing through her body. "With you," she added just in case Bonabelle wasn't sure again. She knew she cared a great deal for Bonabelle, she wanted to make the other girl as happy as possible. She also loved the Aladren's keen and vastly superior intellect, which melded perfectly with the caring side of her that had supported Val through that horrible wagon ride and rescued her from the whole memory-broom incident. Bonabelle was almost perfect.
Almost. Valentine's now cheerful expression faltered. "I… I don't want to let you down again though." She thought back to the cafe discussion for the thousandth time. "I love you, and I want you." A playful smirk found its way through the more serious depression upon her face. "And I will kiss you until you're convinced of that if that's what it will take." The smirk had itself away again, "But I also want to fall for a boy the way I've fallen for you." She sighed dreamily, "Ideally I'd love for us both to fall for one who would love us just as much and we could all be happy together." She shook her head lightly as if to clear it, "But I know that is very unlikely."
Val gazed deeply into Bonabelle's beautiful eyes. "I just wanted you to know how I felt, to know what you might be getting into. It is only fair." She dropped her gaze then, "I love you and I want you," she summarized, "but I.. I want more at the same time." She raised her eyes once more, "I'm sorry if that isn't what you wanted, and part of me wishes that I could just be what you want me to be." Her eyes blinked back the tears that were threatening to fall. "I am who I am though." She said with a bit of a forced smile this time. "Do you still want me?"
2Valentine DuellHold onto that thought a moment.149005
Bonabelle smiled and then Bonabelle grinned. Val wanted her. Val wanted her. She wiggled a little, unable to help the excitement that made her move in her seat. Her wiggling stopped abruptly when Val hesitated and some very sad words came out. As Val worked through her explanation though, Bonabelle thought through it herself. She'd seen Uncle Killian and Ema be happy together and Uncle Killian liked dating other people too. She wasn't sure how that worked with them because she tried not to think about what her uncle did in his private life too much but she knew that Ema knew and that Ema was probably mostly okay with it. If nothing else, she was okay with it in hypotheticals since Bonabelle wasn't sure if anything had been acted on yet. She was pretty sure that Uncle Killian wasn't trying to find a boy to bring home to Ema for the three of them to live happily ever after but Bonabelle couldn't deny that it was a pretty wonderful idea, at least in theory. The only problem was--
"I don't know if I like boys," she blurted. "I mean . . . well, I don't know. I can try," she offered, blushing as she put words to a curiosity that had nagged at her. "But . . . I don't mind," she decided. She wanted Val. When Val was just her friend, Bonabelle had been jealous sometimes sure but that was only because she hadn't known how replaceable she was. Now, it didn't sound like she was replaceable at all, just that Valentine wanted two irreplaceable people. She did have to admit that the idea of them both having kids together with a guy . . . it was weird but not terrible. They could be a little family . . . that was a long way off though and this particular moment had other things to think about.
Forcing down the anxiety that made her stomach feel like she had golden snitches in her stomach, Bonabelle smiled at Val, leaned in, and pressed her lips to hers, doing her best to achieve something slower and warmer than the previous night's short spark. Today, she wanted the whole flame. Val tasted really good too. When she pulled back, her hand had found its way to Valentine's cheek and her own eyes wrinkled at the corners as she gazed into her friend's. Her girlfriend's. "I want you," she confirmed. "Very much."
22Bonabelle RowI didn't say it was an appetite for food. 148805
The warmth that spread through Val was divine. Her eyes had closed to better focus on the sensation of Bonabelle's lips upon her own. It felt like she could drift in this state forever. Then Bonabelle's hand caressed her cheek and she pulled away. That, that had been different than last night. She opened her eyes slowly and forced them to refocus on the outside world again. The outside world where Bonabelle was smiling. She had such cute little eye crinkles.
Bonabelle's smile was glorious and it washed over Val like a warming sunbeam. "I'm glad," she smiled helplessly in return, "Because I'm pretty sure you are stuck with me, girlfriend." Then in a quieter, playful tone, "Especially if you keep that up." She was so tempted to dive back into Bonabelle's enthralling embrace once more, but she wasn't sure about making such a scene in public. Plus there were still things to discuss, something that was tricky to do when mouths were otherwise occupied.
Instead she gave her new, official this time, girlfriend another quick hug, scooting closer to her if possible and then actually looked over the food options for breakfast. Suddenly she was famished. "I'm glad you don't mind. I was really worried." She admitted, then gave Bonabelle a suggestive wink and eyebrow waggle, "Naturally I don't mind if you want to experiment with some boys, I know I do." Val squirmed a little at the though as she said the words. "Mama got me a book over the summer and now I know all about how boys and that stuff works." She then suddenly turned completely red, "I mean... not that I... Not yet.. It's not..." she stumbled over any sort of words that she thought might help, "Nevermind, forget it." She half mumbled before letting out a nervous chuckle. "I'm terrible at this. Do you think there is a boy out there who'd be interested in two girls?"
Bonabelle was torn between laughing outright and laughing nervously, her amusement at the reminder of Val's naivete warring with her anxiousness at the thought of 'experimenting' with 'some' boys. The result was a giggle that sounded very strange to her own ears because it wasn't exactly something she did often.
"Can we... will you tell me first? Like just so I know? I don't want to get a... cold sore." She wasn't sure how much of the book Valentine had read, after all. "And so it's not a surprise and I know who I should be nice to for you," she added, well aware that such things weren't exactly her forte. She blinked dully at Valentine's question of whether there might be such a boy as one who would be interested in two girls and did a quick mental recalculation to revisit the idea that, book or not, Val was definitely naive. The thought of her dad's interest in women was proof enough that there were certainly men interested in lots of women, whether or not that happened at the same time. Of course, he wasn't much for relationships. "I think yes," she agreed. "Or at least interested in you and tolerate me," she added with a wry smile.
22Bonabelle RowI mean. Also beans and toast.148805
Bonabelle let out a cute giggle type noise. It wasn't something Val had heard often from her fri... girlfriend. It was a nice sound. The next bit out of Bonabelle's lovely lips surprised her a little bit. She put on her best haughty look. "My dear Bonabelle, I never. If you think I am about to go around kissing every boy in the school just for the fun of it, you can just think twice about that." The common hint of mischievousness sparkled in her eyes again. "Such things are reserved only for those that are truly special." In a flash she darted in and gave her girlfriend a very quick peck on her soft and lovely cheek. "They will need to earn it."
Then resuming her normal countenance, she picked a few eggs and some toast from a nearby platter. "Coordination may be a good idea though. I'll need to know who to be nice to as well for you if you decide to experiment a bit. Also, they had darned well do better than just 'tolerate' you or else they may not make the cut." She paused a moment, "Maybe we're different enough to attract difference sorts of boys. Do you think that any that would be interested in me wouldn't be in you? And any that are interested in you wouldn't be in me?" She didn't have any sort of answer for that one, surely any boy that cared enough for her would see all of the wonderful things about Bonabelle as well.
Valentine scanned her eyes around the Hall. "Anyway, do you have any ideas on the boy front? We'll also need them for the ball this year." As soon as the thought had left her mouth, she knew it hadn't come out right and winced visibly. She had a girlfriend now, Bonabelle was probably expecting them to go to the ball together. Now what should she do? Apologize and ask Bonabelle to go? She thought about dancing around the floor with Bonabelle and it seemed lovely and wonderful but.... it just didn't seem quite the same as swirling around with a boy. Plus she and Mama had picked out an awful floofy dress and if Bonabelle had a similar one they may not actually be able to reach each other to dance properly.
"I'm sorry," She apologized quickly, then hesitantly added, "I should have asked if you knew what you wanted to do for the ball this year."
2Valentine DuellToast okay.... but beans? For breakfast?149005
It felt really weird to sit here and talk about boys like an experiment but Bonabelle couldn't quite view them as anything else. With Valentine, it had been something a whole lot more than curiosity that made her interested and she wasn't sure she could say the same about boys. Hence the experimentation she supposed. Still, it felt weird and she felt squirmy thinking about it. Jealousy, however, wasn't coming up and Bonabelle put a hand out to make sure she was touching Val all the time, feeling something especially warm in being attached.
"I don't need a boy for anything," Bonabelle said, trying not to close herself off again. This whole thing had gone pear-shaped until they'd started communicating and she knew it wouldn't do to stop again so soon. She took a breath, trying to find those emotion words Val talked about, then push them aside in favor of logic. "I just wanna go with you," she said. "It sounds like you don't want to go with me? Are you . . . embarrassed?" she guessed, picking an emotion word. It was weird to follow a chain from her own fear to then a fear of Val's emotion . . . too many emotion words. It was gross. Her other fears, the ones that had been simmering away about not being asked, not having anyone to hang out with, not having a good time, making a fool of herself . . . all those resurfaced at the same time. Picking one was easier this way but still. Ugh. "Because if it's just the aesthetic, I'll wear a suit for you."
Valentine clasped Bonabelle's outstretched hand and gave it a small squeeze. She was so glad about everything right now. Well, almost. Bonabelle didn't need a boy, that was okay. If Bonabelle was happy with just her, that was fine. It did recall the question she'd asked Mama over the summer, 'was she being greedy?' If Bonabelle was fine with just her, shouldn't she be fine with just Bonabelle? Was it right or fair that Bonabelle only wanted her but she... she wanted more? Did she need more? Bonabelle was so much, and yet... she still wasn't enough? The thought made Val feel terrible, what kind of friend, or girlfriend was she? She did already know that she hadn't been a very good one for Stanley, and she wasn't sure she had been a very good 'fake' girlfriend to Bonabelle last year. Maybe she should just give up on the idea of finding a boy to fall in love with as well, then she could just be with Bonabelle and that would make Bonabelle very happy. That was what was important, right?
Still, Bonabelle had said she didn't mind if Val found a boy as well, and thought there might be some that would be okay dating a girl who already had a girlfriend. The thought of herself snuggling up between Bonabelle and a boy that she loved just as much made her heart sing. It didn't last long though, her girlfriend had kept talking. Val shifted into panicky, fixit mode. "Nononono," came streaming out of her mouth as she wrapped Bonabelle in a hug again. "I'm not at all embarrassed. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. I.. I just..." she scrabbled frantically though her mind for words that would work. Finally she fell upon the easier path Bonabelle had left for her. "It's not the aesthetic." She started, pulling back a little to gaze into her girlfriend's lovely eyes once more. "I want you to be the best you that you can be at the ball. If you want to wear a suit, I'm behind you 100%. If you want to wear the biggest bow you've got with a long, elegant, flowing dress to be the most beautiful belle at the ball," Val couldn't help but giggle just a bit at the mostly unintentional wordplay, "Then I want you to do that. Please, don't change anything about yourself just for me." Then in a much quieter, almost whisper, "I'm already being greedy enough."
2Valentine DuellTea is okay, I can get behind that.149005