Early to bed, early to rise. That's one motto Sanders had been trained to live by for years.
And yet, despite being up in the middle of the night speaking to her training officer at the police academy and packing up all of her things while her roommate—or now ex-roommate—was fast asleep, she still was up, dressed and out of the room at roughly 5:30 AM.
Sanders would have liked to believe it was just an internal tick at this point in her life. She’d spent a good part of her childhood and the entirety of her adolescence having to wake up even earlier than this, after all.
But...no. If anything, the dark, slender young woman knew she could only blame any of this on her own nervousness. Her awakening being significantly early for any school day; her folding and refolding of her clothes the night before that ended in her frustratedly just stuffing everything into her police academy issued duffel bag and suitcase; her new habit of checking over her shoulder every few moments to see if a certain fiery brunette was awake or even anywhere near her. She knew all of this was a result of her own paranoia, but she hadn't bothered to stop. It would help her in the long run, she'd figured. In a situation like this, she needed to be really careful.
Sanders took as many precautions as possible to avoid the slightest possibility of being detectable. She had even gone as far as to beg the taxi driver to drive her to the nearest bus station for free just so there was no record of her having to pay anyone to get there. Anything to reduce her chances of being caught.
Of course, this didn't stop the good natured ex trainee from feeling bad and apologizing profusely to the cab driver while trying to pay him in cash. He wouldn't take it, though, no matter how much she tried. He simply told her that he understood her situation and insisted she get going before she was late for her bus. That made the young woman smile even as she watched him drive away from the station. She'd never forget that man's kindness.
That was nearly an hour ago, though. Now that she had her bags packed onto the bus and was looking for somewhere to sit where she could be alone, Sanders honestly had no clue what she was so worried about. Even if the one person she didn't want to find her found out what happened and managed to follow her here, she had no way of knowing where the awol cadet was going.
“You'll be fine, ok? Just take it easy. You'll be at the lake house with dad really soon and we'll figure out everything there. You’re fine. Everything's going to be fi--”
The internal pep talk was halted by the sound of screeching tires, promptly followed by a thunderous crash. Everyone on the bus darted to a window to see what was happening, including Sanders herself. After subconsciously pulling someone out of her way so she could be close to the window, Sanders saw all she needed to see: a yellow taxi, now severely dented in the front, practically fused with the back of another bus, and the door of the cab opening to reveal the livid, crimson face of the very woman she was trying to get away from.
“God damn it, MacArthur... As if you aren't in enough trouble as it is.”
It was less than an hour ago that MacArthur was called into the office of her and Sanders' training officer. Upon her return to their dorm room, she completely lost it. She first reacted in anger, walking around their bunk bed and screaming at the top of her lungs before landing several punches on a certain spot in the wall. There was already a dent there, started when she'd gotten angry about having a roommate forced on her and simply needed to “punch something until her hands went numb” on her first day several months back. It had slowly gotten bigger over the course of her time there, and right now, she was only making it worse.
Finally, after Sanders helped her calm down, the two sat on the bottom bunk of their bed, MacArthur laying her head in Sanders' lap as the thinner young woman fed her some ice cream. The latter had no clue how her roommate was able to sneak tubs of ice cream into their closet and keep them this cold in the first place, but she didn't bother questioning it. With what she, and now the police academy, knew about MacArthur’s past, she was sure she wouldn't like the answer anyway.
Seeing her roommate--no, her friend in a state like this nearly made Sanders sick to her stomach. The reality that she was being kicked out of the academy and might be forced to return to the fruit smuggling operation her mother ran, the one she'd been so determined to put an end to once she was a full fledged officer, had destroyed MacArthur emotionally. Sanders was happy that holding onto her and feeding her ice cream was helping her feel better, but it didn't feel like enough. She had to contribute to the solution somehow. She'd never forgive herself if she didn't.
After holding her tongue about it for a little while, Sanders finally suggested MacArthur try and find an apartment nearby that she could stay in. Not that she expected that to work. The brunette probably already rejected that idea if she was sure the only option she had was going back to her mother. She just thought it might lead to them finding better ideas on where her friend could go that wouldn't involve returning to the criminal lifestyle she once lived.
And then, MacArthur rolled her eyes and scoffed. “That’s trust fund baby mentality if I ever heard it.”
The sudden quaking of the bed startled Sanders in complete spite of, or perhaps because of, the fact that she'd caused it. When MacArthur looked up at her, also apparently stunned, the more slender member of the duo cast an icy glare straight into her friend's eyes. The freckled young woman’s trembling hand was still gripping the spoon she’d just jammed into the tub of ice cream. “... Don’t ever talk to me like that again.”
MacArthur’s eyes remained wide as she stared up at the other police cadet, her own head still in the other's lap. “... I...I didn’t--”
“We both worked our hardest to be here, Valentina Escobar. I know you’re upset, but I’m not going to sit here and let you belittle everything I’ve done to get into this academy in the first place. Do you understand me?”
Before her irritation could get the best of her, Sanders took a deep breath and started running her fingers through her friend’s ponytail a few times. She couldn't stay mad at her in general, but knowing what her friend was going through right now, it definitely wasn't an option. Besides, she could tell the apology was sincere. “... Calling you that really wasn’t necessary.”
“Forget it.” MacArthur stared at the bottom of the bunk above them before closing her eyes and letting another sigh escape her lips. “... You could get an apartment close to hear in a heartbeat if you felt like it, Sanders. I had to scrape together tips and stolen money for months just to be able to be here. And since I cut ties with my family, I just...” She slowly opened her dark eyes again, gazing into the equally pitch black ones looking down at her. “I wouldn’t belittle you on purpose. Ever. Not after all you’ve put up with from me.”
“No, I get it... If you can’t get that kind of money together in time, you just can’t.” The look on Sanders’ lightly freckled face clearly spelled out her own guilt. Her poker face was never all that great. She looked down at her friend and kept running her fingers through the soft brown ponytail. “I’m just... I’m trying to look at this from as many angles as possible. There’s got to be a solution. I... I’d really hate for you to go back to that life.”
For a split second, the dark skinned cadet could see the almost awestruck gaze in her former race partner’s eyes as she looked up at her, but it disappeared as quickly as it came. The brunette tore her eyes away and huffed a little, fixing her gaze on the mattress being held above them. “Yeah...you and me both.”
While everyone else on the bus speculated on what was going on, Sanders didn't hesitate. She elbowed her way through the crowd, ran down the aisle and jumped off the bus, wide eyes scanning the area for any sign of her friend. She didn't have to wait long.
“There you are!!”
Before she could see where the voice was coming from, the lightweight cadet was easily picked up and pinned to the side of the bus she was just on. Looking up, she was unsurprised to see the blazing eyes and bright red face of a furious Valentina Escobar. Even in the face of all of this anger, though, the smaller woman remained calm enough to speak to her with a straight face. “At least we know that, in place of police work, you could be an incredibly successful taxi driver.”
MacArthur responded by slamming her fist into the side of the bus, right beside the freckled young woman's head. It somehow made her even angrier that the other woman barely even flinched. She didn't have time to worry about that, though. She reached down her shirt and pulled out a slip of paper. “What the hell is this?!”
Only upon seeing what the paper was did Sanders’ expression finally change. Her eyes widened upon seeing the letter she had received from her training officer last night, formally stating that she was quitting the police academy. As if knowing this document existed didn't bring her close to projectile vomiting as it was, now she had to actually look at it well before she'd intended to do so.
But, wait...that couldn't be right. Sanders distinctly remembered checking before her shower this morning to see that the letter was still in her duffel bag and in it's envelope. Unless... “Did you steal that from my bag?!” Now it was her turn to get angry.
MacArthur slammed her fist into the bus again, crumpling the letter as a result. “Answer me, Sanders!!” Part of her was starting to feel bad, but she refused to relent. Not until she got answers.
A heavy sigh escaped Sanders as she rubbed the temples on either side of her head. Lake house trip or not, she refused to put up with this nonsense so early in the morning. “I don't have time for this, Escobar.”
“So now, you can't make time for someone you care about who’s worried sick about you? Is that it?!”
“That's not what I--”
“There's no God given reason you of all people should just quit police training, and you know it!! You were literally bred and trained for this practically since birth!! You work way too hard every day at this to just give it up for no reason!!”
“Do you even remember how angry your family would get over this?! Nothing is worth letting them and yourself down like that, Sanders! No!! Thing!!”
“If you'd just--”
“And you still won't tell me what the hell this Brody thing is about! Ever since we got home, you started acting all weird whenever I would mention him, and then you flipped out when I said I wanted to ask if he'd hide me, and...just...AGH!! It doesn't make any damn sense!! He's done literally NOTHING wrong to you, and you just--”
Finally, as she was suddenly pulled forward, MacArthur's tirade ended. She tried to decide if it was a good thing that she was stopped by the feeling of her race partner's lips pressing against her own. She couldn’t decide on that for a while, honestly. The way her mind was racing, she’d consider it a miracle if she was able to speak in coherent sentences in the next ten minutes.
Sanders kept her eyes shut, counting the seconds off in her head as she kept holding the larger brunette close to her by her long ponytail. Some part of her regretted what she was doing, but there was nothing she could do about it now. She’d made her intentions clear. She figured she may as well let it be known just how certain of herself she was.
With one ex cadet too stunned to even move and the other too afraid to stop and inevitably open her eyes, the kiss lasted longer than what was even remotely necessary. Finally, though, the lightweight of the duo relented, gently pushing the thicker female back a step or two and unwillingly releasing her hair. She stood there with her head hanging and her eyes closed for a little while, but then she looked up, seeing the other young woman staring at her in complete shock. “... You needed to stop talking.” she murmured, wrapping her arms around herself and suddenly taking more of an interest in her own shoes than anything surrounding her.
Despite being acutely aware of what she just heard and feeling like every last one of her senses had been heightened all at once, MacArthur found herself unable to do anything but blink. Her stare remained fixated on her much more straight laced friend, putting two and two together much more slowly than usual this time. Her own cheeks flushed a bright shade of red, but she didn't pay it any mind for now. Instead, she internally celebrated as her voice decided to return, letting her at least start to speak her mind again. “So...is this why you...”
“I'm having a hard time even accepting that I just did that, MacArthur. How the hell am I supposed to know?” Sanders muttered, trying to hide the deep maroon color rising onto her cheeks. She almost wished she had her shoulder length hair back or at least a long enough wig. That would have made this so much easier.
MacArthur felt her eyes narrow as she listened to those words. “Hasn't this morning taught you not to hide things from me?” she snarled.
Sanders sighed deeply, but looked past her friend for a second to see a scrawny, salt and pepper haired man with glasses walking in their direction. “That's the bus driver. I'll see you around.” she lied again, slipping away from her bigger friend so she could scurry back onto the bus.
MacArthur watched in disbelief as her friend turned her back on her, but when she looked over her shoulder at the driver, her wide eyes narrowed into a blazing glare. Sanders wanted a bus ride? She was damn sure going to get one.
The more level-headed of the two, after returning to the bus, spent the next few minutes or so calming the panicked passengers that had somehow got it in their heads that MacArthur was a bloodthirsty murderer. Sanders’ efforts to put all of their minds at ease were much more effective than she’d expected them to be. Even though some of the people were still a little anxious, everyone did start to trickle back into their seats in what she considered to be good time. That made the ex cadet feel pretty good about herself. She'd always had a gift for dealing with panicked crowds...or rowdy roommates.
The sound of a new set of footsteps making their way onto the train would have made Sanders sit down as well, but...something didn't seem right. Even without turning around, she could tell those heavy footfalls couldn't possibly belong to the toothpick of a man she'd just seen outside.
Then a high pitched whistle sounded.
“Official police business!! All civilians, clear out of this vehicle NOW!!!”
“I should have known...”
As expected, all of Sanders’ work towards calming the passengers down immediately went up in smoke. She subconsciously stepped in front of a cluster of empty seats, just waiting as everyone rushed out of the bus in a panic.
“That’s right, move your asses, people!! This is an emergency!! We don’t have all day!!”
Sanders waited until the last few people had passed her to look over her shoulder. Her friend and former race partner seemed very much in her element as she ordered the civilians off of the bus, holding up a police badge. Whether it was the one issued to her that she never returned or a stolen one she grabbed before leaving the academy today was anyone’s guess, but the “good cop” honestly wouldn’t be surprised either way.
When the bus was cleared, Sanders finally made her move. She stormed over to the driver’s seat of the bus, where her larger friend was settling herself in, getting ready to drive off. “What the hell is the matter with yo--”
Before the sentence could really be finished, MacArthur grabbed onto an arm much thinner than her’s and pulled, resulting in her freckle-faced friend landing right in her lap. “We need to talk. Now.” she insisted, somehow strapping the both of them in with the seatbelt.
With everything around her going so fast, Sanders could hardly react to anything being thrown at her. She was at least able to register that she was now sitting in her former roommate’s lap and have her whole face flush a deep crimson as a result. “I-I...w-why are we--”
“Hold onto me! This is gonna get rocky.”
That was the only warning given before MacArthur started the bus with the stolen keys and slammed her foot on the accelerator. Even from inside the screeching of the tires could be heard as she turned to get them out of the bus station.
Even being used to this level of crazy driving from the feisty brunette wasn’t enough to prepare the already panicked Sanders for this. Subconsciously, she did as she was told and held onto MacArthur, probably much more tightly than necessary, and turned so she could bury her face in the woman’s hair. She was surprised by the fact that she was soothed and not nauseated by the sweaty smell that came from her hair this time, but she also wasn’t going to complain about it. At least in kept her from screaming in her friend’s ear.
In an effort to ignore that Sanders’ chest was mere inches from her face in the position they were in now, MacArthur stopped using both hands to drive the bus and rested her now free hand on her friend’s right leg. She let her hand slowly rub up and down Sanders’ thigh without thinking much of it, mostly hoping it would calm her down. She had no clue where they were going yet. She just knew it was going to be a long ride.
“... Something wrong?”
Dumb question, probably. Sanders was sure her soon to be ex-roommate wouldn’t have grabbed onto her hands and stared into her eyes so sternly if she didn’t at least think something was wrong.
MacArthur’s grip on the small yet powerful hands in her own tightened slightly. “You tell me.”
“Is something wrong between you and Brody? Did he do something to you?”
“What? No, I’m--”
“Did you find something out about him and not tell me?”
“Not until you tell me what’s wrong!!”
Sanders didn’t even realize she’d raised her voice until she saw the utter shock on her friend’s face. Not that she blamed her for that. Even after the incident resulting in her arm getting broken, the short haired cadet had gone to great lengths to be as polite to her race partner as possible. She’d never yelled at her before, at least not this loudly.
The slender cadet sighed and stared back at the large shirt in her hands, deciding to undo the folds she’d done and just start over again. It had only been a few minutes since the more hostile member of the duo had decided she was going to ask Brody if she could hide at his place for a while, and Sanders had immediately started folding and separating her friend’s clothes for her. It was the only thing keeping her from having a nervous breakdown. “If you want to take off with Brody, be my guest. There’s nothing wrong with it. I won’t stop you.”
MacArthur’s wide, dark eyes narrowed at those words. “Even when you manage to keep a straight face, I know when you’re lying through your teeth.”
“Let me finish folding these clothes.”
“This isn’t the first time you’ve acted funny about me mentioning Brody, you know? I’ve noticed it more and more since we came back home.”
Sanders looked up with her own eyes narrowing once again, doing everything in her power to suppress the angry growl she felt in her throat. “If you’re going to distract me, at least help me sort through your stuff.”
MacArthur crossed her arms over her chest, drumming the fingers of her right hand against her left forearm. “Brody’s a good guy, Sanders. Nicer than most people I go for. Honestly, I don’t get you right now.”
Finally, Sanders just dropped the shirt in her hands. She couldn’t even focus on folding anymore. “Honestly, MacArthur? Neither do I.”
“That’s what I-- ... Wait, what?”
Sanders stood up from her kneeling position and walked towards the door to their room. “I’ll be back later.”
MacArthur’s face reddened and contorted into a venomous scowl. “And where the hell do you think you’re going?!”
“Bathroom.” Sanders slammed the door behind her, not wanting to give the remaining occupant a chance to say another word to her.
As she was walking away from their room, the short haired cadet could easily hear a loud scream of frustration and something crumbling away behind the door. “That dent of her’s must have finally given out.” she muttered in annoyance, knowing she was going to want to find a way to cover up the new hole in their wall when she got back.
Eventually, MacArthur got an idea of where she wanted to go, stopping in a wooded area well outside of town. To her knowledge, she was the only person to know about this place. If she was right, they would be safe here for a while.
The larger brunette spent some time trying to remember exactly where she was headed, but she was snapped out of her thoughts when she felt something resting on her shoulder. A smile crept onto her face before she put an arm around the small yet toned shoulders of her good friend. “Tired?”
“Nervous.” Sanders didn’t think much as she wrapped her own arm around her friend’s shoulders as well, but she was still a little worried. As much as she honestly liked the outdoors, she had no idea where they were, so she couldn’t help feeling kind of anxious. “... You’d seriously better know where we’re going.”
MacArthur stared at the ground beneath their feet, her right hand gently poking, tugging and twirling some of the cloth of her friend’s t-shirt, sticking to the section on the other girl’s right hip. “... That was a bold move of you back there, Sanders.”
“What are you--... Oh...right...” A raging blush started spreading across Sanders’ freckled cheeks like wildfire, but she did her best to ignore it. “I-It’s really not that big a deal if you don’t--”
“I hate it when people do that.”
“... Do what?”
“Pretend it’s not a big deal if the person they like doesn’t like them back.”
“Oh...well...” It was Sanders’ turn to stare at the forest floor this time. “...Isn’t it more important that we’re still able to be friends if you’re not interested?”
That made MacArthur turn to look at the other girl and raise an eyebrow at her. “Why are you assuming I’m not?”
“Huh?” Sanders felt her face getting even hotter, but she groaned and shook her now incredibly annoying thoughts out of her head. “Ok, now you’re just teasing me. Knock it off.”
MacArthur would have corrected her friend, but looking ahead of them, she smiled as she realized they’d been heading in the right direction the whole time. “... You really like hanging out at that lake house with your dad so much?”
As caught off guard by the topic change as she was, Sanders still shrugged and answered anyway. “Well...yeah... It holds a lot of good memories for me and my family, but I just generally like lakes, I guess. I remember always liking water as a kid.”
Hearing that made the smile on MacArthur’s face grow slightly. “Well, you’re gonna love what’s ahead of us, then.”
“What are you...” Sanders didn’t get to finish her sentence. In fact, upon seeing what actually was in front of them, the lost all ability to speak. Her mouth just gaped open as she stared on at the small natural wonder she was just exposed to.
MacArthur chuckled. “I thought you’d like this.” She stepped onto a worn wooden bridge that stretched across a massive lake, cutting right through the center of the glistening body of water. Small trees, moss, lily pads and other various plants grew all over the half of the lake they were closest to, but on the other half, especially on the left hand side, it was mostly clear of plants and, instead, held a small waterfall that was rushing to meet with azure depths down below. Taking all of this in for herself made MacArthur smile wide before turning around and offering a hand to who was now her dearest friend in the world. “Come on. I’m sure you want a closer look at the waterfall.”
Any possible concerns Sanders could have had about the safety of the bridge and whether or not this was trespassing completely went out the window, and she happily took MacArthur’s hand, absolutely beaming at everything this moment was offering to her. “This...this is amazing! How did I never know about this place?”
“As far as I know, I’m the only one who does.” MacArthur said, keeping a gentle grip on the soft hand in her own and running her thumb over the small yet slightly calloused knuckles. “That might not be the case forever since this looks like the perfect spot for a party. Either way, for now, we have it to ourselves.”
Overjoyed, Sanders rested her head on her friend’s broad shoulder once again, slightly tightening her grip on her hand. “... How do you do it, Escobar? Seriously?”
Another chuckle escapes Valentina before she shrugs, careful not to move the other ex cadet’s head too much. “I basically make it all up as I go along. It’s been working so far.”
That even got Sanders to laugh a bit. “Yeah...I can vouch for that. You’re doing something right, anyway.”
MacArthur just nodded before looking at the bridge beneath their feet. She continued running her thumb over the top of her friend’s hand. “... I feel really dumb right now.”
A look of shock leaped onto Sanders’ face before she turned to see the guilt-ridden look in the other former cadet’s eyes. “What? Why? You’ve got nothi--”
“I should have seen it for myself...before you had to do or say anything... What other reason would suddenly have such an issue with Brody?”
Understanding the hot tempered brunette’s train of thought now, Sanders bit her lip and cast her eyes on the wooden bridge as well. “... There’s nothing wrong with him. He’s a good guy, like you said.”
“That doesn’t matter.” MacArthur kicked a fallen branch out of her way as she said that, partly wishing she could do the same to herself. “... I’m usually really good at spotting this kind of thing. And you’re closer to me than anyone. How could I not notice at least once?”
“You’ve had more important things on your mind... My stupid jealousy shouldn’t take precedence over everything else right now.”
“And why the hell not? How many times have you dropped everything just to help me?”
Sanders just sighed. She didn’t have an argument for that one.
MacArthur looked up again, chuckling softly to herself before stopping their walk across the bridge. “... Do you like it?”
Before she could ask what her friend was talking about, Sanders looked up and saw the waterfall they’d been looking at from a distance mere moments ago. Now, up close, she smiled at the opportunity to see the mass of liquid pearls cascade downwards, creating a light mist as they met with a glistening pool of pure sapphire. Awestruck by the magnificence before her, the freckled ex cadet hugged her larger friend as tightly as possible, nestling her head in the crook of the brunette’s neck. “... I love it.”
As her face turned a deep red, MacArthur wrapped her arms around the slender girl’s waist and held her a little tighter, eyes closing for a while as she rested her chin on top of the other female’s head. In comfortable silence, they stayed there together and drunk in the symphony that Mother Nature herself was performing just for them, aided by the cascading waterfall, gentle mid-morning breeze, rustling summer leaves and occasional croak of a small frog. What a relief it was for the ex cadets to enjoy a moment of peace like this after all of the insanity of these past few days.
After what she honestly didn’t think was enough time, MacArthur gently took her arms from around the small waist of the woman before her, looking down into her eyes and placing her hands on the girl’s hips. She’d been especially gentle with her since they arrived here, handling her friend as if she was made of glass. “So...what do you want us to do from here?”
The affectionate smile Sanders had on her face was suddenly replaced with another wide eyed stare. “... What do I want us to do?”
“Yep. I’m not leaving your side again. I’ve already decided that.” MacArthur answered, gently tilting her friend’s chin as she decided she wanted a better look at her face. “But I want you to make the choice on where we head off to since you’ve been dealing with my nonsense all day.”
Sanders couldn’t help but smirk. “I’ve been dealing with your nonsense for the past six months.”
“You know what I meant.” MacArthur laughed before lightly shoving the smaller young woman by her shoulder.
After laughing softly herself, Sanders’ expression dropped and she tried to think of what exactly she would say next. “Well...part of me wants to tell you to try and find Brody... I still remember how excited you got when--”
“Shh...” MacArthur placed a single finger over the chocolate colored lips her good friend had, noting how they were a slightly darker shade than the rest of her face. “Forget Brody. I’ll deal with that when I have to, but he’s a thing of the past right now.” She took both hands of her precious friend and partner into her own, her grin slightly growing as she saw how her cheeks had darkened. “Pretend we’re back in the dorm room. Before Brody even came up...what would you have said to me?”
The more timid side of Sanders wanted her to stare at the bridge below her again, but she decided not to. Something in MacArthur’s eyes was making her feel like it was...safer now to do and say what she truly wanted to. She didn’t want to look away and start questioning herself again. “... Well...I was going to offer to get another bus ticket to my dad’s lake house and bring you with me... It would have been empty then, but I’ve already asked my dad to meet me there now...”
Valentina smirked and raised an eyebrow. “What? Too ashamed of your girlfriend all of a sudden to introduce me to the family?”
Sanders’ eyes widened to probably the biggest they’d been all day, and if she wasn’t blushing like a madwoman earlier, she certainly was doing that now. “I-I...w-we’re... Did you just say--”
“You heard me, you adowable wittle goofball.” MacArthur purposely cooed at the chocolate skinned girl like she was talking to a small child. She was going to have to get used to genuinely complimenting her without sounding condescending. “But...if you’re really that embarrassed of me that you don’t want to introduce me to your dad--”
“N-No, no, of course not!” Sanders wildly shook her head before taking the pale yet plump hands of her precious friend in her own. “I’d never be ashamed of you, MacArthur. Ever! I have literally no reason to! You’re the best race partner a girl could ask for, the funnest if not craziest roommate I’ve ever had in my life, plus you’re so pretty and funny and confident and smart and--”
“Easy, Sanders, easy!” MacArthur couldn’t help laughing as she grabbed the smaller girl by her shoulders and tried to calm her down. “I was just messing with you. I know you wouldn’t suggest something like that on purpose.”
Sanders finally let her head hang and her eyes dart to the floor, feeling her entire face and even her ears start to catch fire this time. “... Oh.”
Still chuckling softly, MacArthur tilted her now girlfriend’s chin so they were looking into each other’s eyes. “The compliments were all very much appreciated, though. Not that I didn’t know all of that already.” she said with a slight shrug of her shoulders.
With a roll of her eyes, Sanders pushed the hand away from her face and chuckled. “Are we going to my dad’s or not?”
MacArthur grinned and suddenly picked up her new girlfriend in her arms, only to chuckle softly when she heard the lightweight shriek. “You’re gonna have to give me directions.”
A warm smile crossed Sanders’ face before she gently draped her arms around her crush turned girlfriend’s neck. “Way ahead of you. I can pull it up on my phone, but if we need it, I have physical map in one of my bags that we can--”
“Are you able to point me in the right direction? Yes or no?”
“... Yes, MacArthur.”
“Good. That’s all you had to say.”
Sanders rolled her eyes and shook her head, but still maintained a small smile. “What am I gonna do with you?”
Slowly, a devious smirk worked it’s way onto MacArthur’s face while she thought of some ways to answer that question. “... I could tell you my ideas, but I know you’ll hate all of them.”
“Let me guess. They’re all ridiculously perverted.”
Another chuckle slipped past MacArthur's lips before she kissed the forehead of the girl in her arms. “Don’t worry. I won’t say anything. Wouldn’t want my little Prude to faint.”
Any trace of a smile vanished from Sanders’ face as she heard the nickname. “I told you not to call me that.”
“What? Your name is Prudence and you are a complete prude most of the time.”
“Ok, that’s it. Put me down.” Sanders didn’t wait for any sort of permission before pushing herself out of the bigger brunette’s arms.
“Aww, don’t be like that. Come here.” MacArthur quickly wrapped her arms around the small waist of the retreated girl, not wanting her to get away that easily. “You know how much I love your name, right? ... It’s beautiful, and it’s perfect for you.” she murmured, giving a light kiss on one of her freckled cheeks.
One eye roll later, Sanders was looking over her shoulder into the lovely dark eyes she’d fallen in love with. “... Call me Prude one more time, and you don’t get to drive. Understand?”
MacArthur pouted a little and used her big, sparkly, puppy eyes, but one stern look from Sanders made her remember she was immune to that look already and sigh heavily. “Fine, fine...”
“Thank you.” Sanders said with a smile, strutting across the rest of the bridge and onto the grass. She decided she could let herself be excited over her small victory. For once, she had gotten her way with MacArthur without having to severely injure herself. Suffice to say it was a relief to know this was actually possible.
Watching her now girlfriend take long, confident strides towards where they’d left the bus made MacArthur’s own sense of pride swell a little bit before she followed after her. Prudence Sanders always had a little bit of a self-esteem issue despite how much she tried to hide it. Seeing nothing but pure confidence exuding from her for once...it made the brunette so incredibly happy.
Almost as happy as she was when teasing her.
“Seriously, though, you don’t think Prude’s a cute nickname?”
“This isn’t up for discussion, Escobar.”
“I’m telling you, it’s really cute! And you can’t tell me it’s not a perfect fit. It totally is!”
“Shut your goddamn mouth, Valentina!!”
“Heh heh... You’re adorable when you’re angry.”