Word Count: 5,100
Summary: "Hi, Camz. It's me. Or Lauren. Jauregui. Lauren Jauregui. How many Lauren's do you know? Anyway. You know my number. I don't, I can't remember it right now. But you know. Ally and Normani are here. Normani is peeing." She drops her voice, whispers a laugh: "Can you hear Normani peeing?" Lauren clears her throat and continues: "And I love you. Okay. I love you, bye." She hangs up the phone, hears the toliet flush and, oh, no. No.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything and am not profiting off of this in any way. As always, the fourth wall is a gift we should all try to keep intact. This was written for this prompt at Better Together: A Fifth Harmony ficathon. Title from R. McKinley's "8 Ways to Say I Love You."
Old rock and roll seeps from the speakers at the back of the bar and the vinyl of the booth sticks to Lauren's thighs. Her vision has gone soft around the edges, a bright haziness that makes everything prettier, easier to look at. She runs her finger around the rim of her glass, wet with rum and coke. She wipes at the little napkin she's using as a coaster.
This is a good bar. The kind where the bartender always offers newly 21-year-old college students a free shot of Rumple Minze first, just to see if they'll try it, where there's no dance floor and no loud thump of Top 20 remixes -- that's the bar next store, and that's a good bar, too, but for different reasons -- where everything reminds Lauren of a sitcom like Cheers or How I Met Your Mother.
"I'm done with him," Normani says. She downs the rest of her drink before slamming the glass back on the table. Everything seems to rumble with it. Or maybe it's just Lauren's head. She might be a tiny bit drunk.
"Good." Ally grabs Normani's hand and rests her head on Normani's shoulder. "You deserve better."
"Jesus didn't die for someone as pretty as you to date assholes like him," Lauren says.
"Lauren," Ally gasps. Normani laughs behind her hand like she's embarrassed, but her eyes crinkle like she's not.
"Well, it's true." Lauren is, in fact, pretty sure that's not why Jesus died on the cross. "I never really liked him anyway."
"I know," Normani says.
"How did you know?" Lauren narrows her eyes.
"Your face is very expressive."
"You do have a very bad poker face," Ally confirms as she sits up again. "Speaking of which, how's Camila."
"Speaking of which?" Lauren asks. That doesn't make any sense. She takes another sip of her drink, doesn't even feel it burn on the way down this time. That's good. Or bad? No, definitely good. She licks her lips.
"How is she?" Ally asks, all wide eyes and small, sincere smile. She's leaning forward almost like it's a secret.
"Fine," Lauren says. Ally's still looking at her expectantly, and Normani's face is open and non-judgey, which is the opposite of what her face looked like when Lauren talked about her last boyfriend. "Please, Normani doesn't have a poker face."
Normani scrunches up her nose and Ally's smile grows wider. "And Camila?" Ally asks, nudging at Lauren's leg under the table.
Lauren absolutely does not pout. "Camila has a poker face."
Normani snorts. Please, like Normani would know.
"Her hair is so soft and smells like citrus and her eyes are always sparkly and I like her a lot," Lauren says. She nods once for emphasis, or something. "I like her and her poker face a lot. Po-po-po-poker face." Lauren laughs before finishing her drink.
She may be a little drunker than she originally thought.
"That's good," Ally says. "I'm glad."
"Me too," Normani agrees. "But I really have to pee."
"Oh, me too!" Lauren suddenly really, really has to pee.
She follows Normani through the crowd of people while Ally watches their stuff at the booth. Their hands are locked together and Normani squeezes tightly, so Lauren squeezes back intermittently to let her know she's still there.
The bathroom is warm and makes goosebumps prickle up Lauren's arms, almost like she just realized she used to be cold. Normani lets her into the stall first, and while she waits for Normani she washes her hands, feels her phone vibrate in her pocket.
It's a text from her brother, which she ignores. Naturally.
She scrolls through her phone, blinking when her vision starts to blur. The last text Camila sent reads: i will fill a pool with jello and u'll be sorry :).
There's a warm press in Lauren's chest. It feels tight, like her lungs can't expand the way they're supposed to and it's blocking the blood flow to her head, making her feel dizzy. Lauren is unsure if lungs and blood flow are connected, but she thinks so, what with oxygenation and all that, maybe. She closes her eyes and leans against the wall.
God, she's so drunk.
She really wants to call Camila, so she does, because why not? You only live once; yolo. Camila would probably say yolo. Lauren frowns when it rings through to voicemail: Be the change you want to see in the world! This is Camila, and I'm sorry I missed you. Leave your name and number and I'll call you back. Love you, bye.
"Hi, Camz. It's me. Or Lauren. Jauregui. Lauren Jauregui. How many Lauren's do you know? Anyway. You know my number. I don't, I can't remember it right now. But you know. Ally and Normani are here. Normani is peeing." She drops her voice, whispers a laugh: "Can you hear Normani peeing?" Lauren clears her throat and continues: "And I love you. Okay. I love you, bye." She hangs up the phone, hears the toliet flush and, oh, no. No.
That was bad.
She shouldn't have done that.
Normani pushes the stall door open and cocks an eyebrow. "You love her, huh?"
"Shh," Lauren says, resting her forehead against Normani's shouldler. "I think I'm going to throw up."
"Good thing we're in the bathroom, then," Normani says.
Camila's flush against her, hands everywhere, slow and deliberate where they paint over Lauren's hips, the small of her back, the underside of her breasts, nudging at her bra. Her hands echo the way her mouth moves against Lauren's. The menu screen for whatever movie Camila brought over -- Lauren can't remember the title, stopped paying attention halfway through, anyway -- plays on the television, the looped music an insistent and frustrating buzz in the back of Lauren's head.
"So, I see you liked the movie," Camila laughs against her mouth, working a leg between Lauren's thighs.
Lauren opens up easily, nips at Camila's bottom lip and huffs. "It's not my fault you have bad taste in movies."
"Hey," Camila protests. She nudges at the edge of Lauren's jeans with her thumb but doesn't slip it under. "I sat through Rear Window for you."
"Rear Window's good." Lauren ducks her head as best she can, presses an open-mouthed kiss to Camila's jaw. She likes when Camila's body presses into her, presses her into the sofa, even likes the way it causes her heart to beat like a jackhammer.
"Nope," Camila disagrees, grinding down and gripping at Lauren's waist, nails digging into skin. Camila whimpers a little. "It was scary and boring."
"At least James Stewart and Grace Kelly are attractive," Lauren counters.
Camila nips at the curve of her ear. "Not really."
"Are you blind?"
Camila presses her hips down again, and Lauren presses her hips up in response. They're both still completely clothed, and she already feels like her body is on fire, like her skin has shrunk. Lauren whines a little, half to feel the way Camila smiles against her jaw and half because she wants Camila to pull off her jeans.
"Chopped liver compared to you," Camila says, nonchalant.
Lauren rolls her eyes. "Okay, Romeo."
"You like it." Camila winks before kissing her again, dirty and wet.
"I love you," Lauren says against her mouth, into her mouth and brushing against her tongue. Lauren's entire body tenses, and then she kisses Camila harder, keeps her from pulling away with a hand cupping the back of her neck.
She pretends Camila hadn't opened her eyes. She pretends Camila didn't hear.
"Everyone here is so old," Camila says, looking around the too fancy restaurant.
It's Valentine's Day, and Ally and Normani both said it was a good idea, the whole shebang: fancy dinner at fancy restaurant, flowers, chocolates, champagne, confessions of love.
Lauren feels like her heart is beating in her throat.
Camila looks beautiful in her dress and Lauren's red lipstick, which she insisted on putting on "For later," wiggling her eyebrows for emphasis as she wiped her own lip gloss off and dragged Lauren into the bathroom. There's something about seeing her own lipstick smeared over Camila's mouth that sparks at the base of Lauren's spine. The lightening is warm, casting Camila in soft yellows and oranges, turning her smile even brighter than usual.
Lauren wants to tell her how she's never felt better than when Camila is smiling at her like that, head tilted and looking up through her eyelashes, but instead she says, "It's because they can afford it."
Camila laughs, bright and quiet, as though she's afraid of being too loud. "You're not going to go broke, are you?"
"No, I have a decent job." Lauren shakes her head. Camila is absolutely ridiculous. "You're not worth filing bankruptcy for."
"These prices say otherwise, Jauregui." Camila taps her menu. "Not a lot of options, though."
"I'm so sorry." Lauren doesn't roll her eyes, but it's a near thing.
"I'll manage," Camila sighs. She pulls her bottom lip between her teeth, white against red, as she scans the little paper menu.
Lauren thinks about saying it now. Before they've even ordered, before the waiter comes back with the wine Camila picked out by closing her eyes and running her finger over the menu until Lauren told her to stop. But no, she can't, because what if Camila doesn't say it back? What if she thinks it's too cliché -- because it is, and even though Lauren knows Camila would probably like that, likes cliché things, she swallows it down.
"This is delicious," Camila says later, cutting into her stuffed chicken breast. "You have to try it."
"You're just hoping it will mask the taste of fish."
Lauren smirks when Camila frowns. "I hadn't even thought of that. I'm wearing your lipstick color, and I still can't kiss you because you'll taste all gross."
"Your loss." Lauren shrugs.
Camila hums and stabs at the piece of chicken she cut before running it through the sauce on her plate. She holds it up. "Try it, anyway. You need to know how bad your decision making skills are."
Lauren laughs, but then she opens her mouth and lets Camila feed her. "It's good," she decides.
"You feel that?" Camila raises an eyebrow.
"Regret." Camila points at Lauren's fish. "Hurts, doesn't it."
"I was planning on having sex with you tonight, but I'm not so sure anymore." Lauren very deliberately pops some fish into her mouth and moans around it.
Camila kicks her under the table, the heel of her shoe pointy sharp and almost painful. "Stop that. You're disgusting."
"That's not what you said the other night."
Camila groans and rolls her eyes. "You're ridiculous."
Lauren takes a deep breath, feels her heart pounding against her rib cage. Her face feels hot and she prays she's not blushing. She's about to say it when the waiter comes over and asks if everything's okay.
She doesn't say it, even after he leaves, because dinner's not over and Camila's looking at her with bright eyes that make Lauren's toes curl in her shoes. She doesn't say it when they split one of those molten lava cakes, which the restaurant has a fancy name for and Camila complains about because "it's so hoity-toity". She doesn't say it at all, because every time she thinks about it she tucks a piece of hair behind her ear and feels like she's drowning.
Lauren's just not brave enough, even though she wants to be.
She almost hates herself for it, but Camila spends the night, hair in Lauren's face and arm heavy around her waist, and Lauren just can't hate herself when Camila sighs a happy goodnight against her skin.
Lauren likes spending time in Camila's apartment. She likes the bright yellow and green of her kitchen tiles and the assortment of magnets stuck to the fridge: mickey mouse, a Chinese takeout menu, One Direction, various fruits, letters and words that are arranged differently every time she visits -- this time: you so fly you're like a butter-fly. She likes the lumpy couch Camila has in the living room and the bookshelves covered in worn, used paperbacks and knickknacks. She even likes the too pungent potpourri in the bathroom.
Camila's apartment feels lived in, feels specific to Camila.
Camila has a glass of water on her nightstand next to a picture of her with her sister and a copy of Great Expectations that she's been reading almost the entire five months Lauren has known her. Her bookmark says she's only a little further than halfway.
Lauren hears the floor creak when Camila comes in and shuts the door, flipping off the light and stumbling toward the bed. "Marco," she whispers, as though she has to be quiet.
"Polo." Lauren bites around a smile.
Camila slips into bed and snuggles close. She smells like toothpaste. "I just remembered that I had the weirdest dream last night."
"What was it about?" Lauren asks. She runs her hand under Camila's tanktop, pressing her fingers against the ridges of Camila's spine.
"I was running away from the cops, and then I turned the corner and I was in Antarctica."
"It is nearby," Lauren says.
Camila snorts. "The cops turned into penguins. And right before they were about to trample me, I got encased in this block of ice."
"Sounds very scary."
Camila smacks at her gently. "It was. Luckily, Dinah found me and chiseled me out. Then I remember something about being naked with Harry Styles."
"A reoccurring dream." Lauren dances her fingertips over the wings of Camila's shoulder blades and presses her thumb against the back of Camila's neck.
"A girl's got needs," Camila laughs. When she looks up at Lauren with dark, shining eyes, shadows curving across her skin, Lauren presses her heels against the mattress. "Do you ever remember your dreams?"
Lauren hums. "Not really. I think the Chuck E. Cheese one I told you about a few weeks ago was the last one."
"You can train yourself to remember them more often. I could teach you."
"I'm good. But thanks," Lauren says.
Camila tilts her head up so Lauren kisses her, just a peck. "Goodnight."
Camila cuddles closer, rests her hand where Lauren's waist dips like she always does. Whenever they wake up Camila's shifted, but she always drifts off with her hand on Lauren's waist and her head tucked against Lauren's shoulder and neck, breathing hot and lips slightly parted. Lauren found it uncomfortable at first, but she kind of likes it now, likes how Camila always seems to be pressing closer, like she wants to curl inside Lauren's bones.
Lauren works on steadying her breathing, clearing her mind and closing her eyes. She doesn't feel anxious sleeping over anymore, doesn't worry about waking up first or second or contemplate which would be better. Camila even gave her a drawer. Camila wrapped a toothbrush last week and watched Lauren open it with shining eyes before pulling her into the bathroom to drop it ceremoniously next to Camila's Hello Kitty one.
She's never felt this comfortable at a boyfriend or girlfriend's place before.
"I love you," she whisper into Camila's hair.
When Camila shifts, eyes flying open, Lauren closes hers, counts the seconds between her breaths so they're equal, in and out, in and out.
Lauren closes the last takeout container and sticks it next to the others in the refrigerator. Camila's just pouring the dish detergent into the washer, ponytail hanging over her right shoulder. Lauren leans against the fridge, watches Camila close the latch, then close the dishwasher before starting it.
"It's like you live here," Lauren says. She flushes after.
"Oh." Camila blinks, her smile is slow, but it's soft and pink and happy when she bites into it. "I do know my way around."
Lauren nods. "I don't even think Ally knows where to find the silverware."
"You do have a lot of cabinets," Camila reasons. She leans against the counter and pulls at her shirt. "I opened them all up like, the third time I was here."
Lauren laughs. "Oh my god, really?"
A blush blooms crimson along Camila's cheekbones. "Yeah. After the takeout got here you went to the bathroom and I just. I was looking for some forks, but." Camila shrugs.
"You're ridiculous," Lauren says. She shakes her head, pushes off the fridge and places her hands on the counter, bracketing Camila in. "But I like you quite a bit."
"But?" Camila asks. She rests her hands on Lauren's hips.
"And," Lauren corrects. "And I like you quite a bit."
"Good." Camila kisses her then. She tastes like curry and wine coolers and Camila, a little hot and little sweet and a lot good. "Because I like you quite a bit, too."
"I would be very offended if you didn't," Lauren says. She nips at Camila's bottom lip before soothing it with her tongue.
"Dance with me," Camila whispers, running her hands up and down Lauren's sides.
"What?" Lauren laughs and rests her forehead against Camila's.
"Dance with me."
"But there's no music," Lauren says.
"Doesn't matter." Camila pushes against Lauren's hips and stands up straight. She wraps her arms around Lauren's neck, humming against her ear.
Lauren rests her hands against Camila's waist and sways. "Is that supposed to be 'Riding Dirty?' Really?"
Camila giggles. "It's the first thing I thought of."
"You can't get better than Chamillionaire for romance," Camila agrees.
Lauren smiles, too fond.
She twirls Camila, likes the way her hair and skirt flare around her. Camila's laugh is like magic when it escapes between her humming, lips vibrating Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran and Jay-Z against Lauren's ear. She makes Lauren guess every time.
The sun has almost set completely outside the kitchen window, the sky dark blue and the moon visible. Camila's radiating something so bright and warm, something that has a vice grip around Lauren's heart and lungs, something that Lauren doesn't have a word for.
It's not love.
Maybe something closer to forever.
Camila dips her, almost drops her and gasps, pulling her up quick and wrapping her arms around her, hands clasped at the small of her back and chuckling against her neck. "I'm sorry," she says. "I'm a terrible dance partner."
"No, you're not." Lauren forces her to keep swaying.
Camila pulls back and grins. "You're lying."
"Would never." Lauren scrunches up her nose and shakes her head vehemently. "I love you." And with Camila looking at her like that, face flush, eyes narrowing and careful, she adds, "when you dance," a million beats too late.
Camila's still looking at her, skeptical as ever, but then she blinks and resumes humming.
It takes Lauren too long with her head spinning, the sound of her confession and subsequent backtrack echoing in her head. "Sir Mix-A-Lot?" she guesses.
"Baby does got back," Camila answers, smacking Lauren's ass.
"You're one to talk." Lauren smacks her, too.
"Must be why this works." Camila presses a kiss to the corner of Lauren's mouth. "Let me try to dip you again. Please."
Lauren raises an eyebrow. "I don't know. I value my life."
"Please," Camila whines before sticking out her bottom lip.
Lauren protests, but in the end she lets Camila dip her again.
It does go better this time. Marginally.
Lauren blots at her lips with a tissue, bending over to throw it into the bathroom trashcan when she sees the note. She almost just drops the Kleenex onto it, but she sees her name scrawled in Camila's handwriting, large and curvy like Camila took great care with it.
She fishes it out only because she emptied the trashcan last night, so the note is the only thing in it. And because she's curious. She can admit that. Lauren wants to know why Camila wrote her name on top of a piece of the stationary Camila bought her and then tossed it into the bin.
Lauren worries her bottom lip between her teeth, smooths the note out against the edge of the sink even though it isn't really wrinkled. She closes her eyes and inhales, tries not to feel like she shouldn't be reading this, tries not to feel like she's invading Camila's privacy. She reasons that maybe Camila left it on the sink before going to work this morning, maybe a gust of air from the vent blew it into the trashcan.
It's a flimsy thought.
I was thinking about the first time we met. We were walking around downtown, and you were with Normani and I was with Dinah, and they remembered each other from college. That's so lucky, isn't it? I thought you were cute right away. I think it was the way you laughed at a stupid joke I made. I can't even remember the joke, but I remember you laughing.
When you left for your dinner reservations I was pretty distraught. You could ask Dinah, but it would be embarrassing for me. I made her text Normani for the
I just liked you a lot. I liked that you were from Miami, too. I liked the way your nose wrinkled when you thought something was cute and then looked at the price tag. I'm really glad I forced Dinah to invite you and Normani for lunch the next week.
And then I was thinking about how I can picture you moving into my apartment, or maybe a new place. Maybe a house. (I like your apartment, I promise, but the water pressure in your shower isn't very good.) I don't know if you think about those things. But I was imagining this in line at the grocery store, and then I knew I loved you. I love you.
I love you.
That's big, right? But I think I could maybe love you forever. And it's not scary. It was scary with my last girlfriend. But I'm not scared with you, or when I'm thinking about being in love with you forever. I'm not scared of you being my last girlfriend. I'd like that a lot, actually. I love you.
Lauren wipes at her eyes, presses her lips together and tosses the note back into the trashcan, face down.
She wishes she hadn't read it.
Because she doesn't know what to do with it now, with the fact that Camila wrote it at all, and the fact that she threw it away. Like maybe she realized she didn't mean it after all.
Lauren doesn't know what to do with how much she hopes Camila meant it.
Camila swings their hands.
It's warm and the streets are crowded. Everything smells fresh and bright, like Spring turning into Summer. The sky's blue and dotted with wispy, cotton candy clouds, and Lauren's sunglasses slip down her nose when she looks at the cracks in the sidewalk, at Camila's purple toes peaking out of her sandals.
"I'm thinking about taking vacation time in August or September," Camila says.
"Oh. That's cool. What're you going to do with it?"
"Well. That's the thing." Camila squeezes Lauren's hand, and Lauren watches her pull her bottom lip into her mouth, nervousness flitting behind her eyes. "I was going to go home to Miami. Visit my parents. And I was kind of hoping maybe you'd come with?"
Lauren very nearly stops walking in the middle of the sidewalk. "You want me to meet your parents?"
Camila flushes, drops Lauren's hand and tugs at the strap of her tanktop. "Well. We've been together for a while, and. Yes, I guess. I just really want you to meet my parents."
"My parents live in Miami," Lauren says breezily, totally calm. Not freaking out.
"I thought of that." Camila's mouth twitches like she's not sure whether she wants to frown or smile.
"You could meet my parents, too, then."
"Only if you want me to."
Lauren smiles and bumps her shoulder against Camila's. "Well, I guess," she drawls.
"Oh, shut up." Camila rolls her eyes and shakes the bag she's holding in front of Lauren. "I bought you a friendship necklace, but I might give it to Dinah if you're going to be rude."
"I'm not rude," Lauren says.
"That sounds like something rude people say."
Lauren sticks out her tongue like a mature adult. "I bought you ice cream less than an hour ago. You have the memory of a goldfish."
"I thought that was repayment for last night's orgasms," Camila laughs.
Lauren gasps. "I cannot believe you would use that against me."
Camila shrugs. "I'm just saying that three to one isn't fair."
When she pauses to look both ways at the intersection, the little red hand staring at her from across the way, she doesn't notice that Camila's still walking until a horn sounds and she snaps her head up. Camila screams, high-pitched and short, before running to the other side of the road, the yellow cab swerving.
"Watch the fuck where you're fucking going!" Lauren screams after the cab driver even though there's no way they'll hear her.
Lauren watches Camila breathing across the street, hand resting on her chest and leaning against the post for the crosswalk light. She feels like all the air has been purged from her lungs, shaky like she was the one who almost fucking died just now. Lauren's throat dries and her hands tremble, causing the plastic bags she's holding to rustle together. When the little white person flashes, she looks both ways again before crossing the street.
"What the fuck, Camila," she says.
"I'm okay," Camila promises, one side of her mouth turning up wryly.
"You could have fucking died." Lauren holds her face and stares at her. "You could have fucking died because cab drivers are fucking idiots and this city is filled with assholes. You could have gone into a coma, and I love you and--" Camila blinks, eyes going wide, and Lauren knows that she means it, but it's the worst possible time to say it. She lets go of Camila and takes a deep breath, shakes her head. "I'm sorry. I'm just emotional. And you have to watch where you're going, idiot. I don't want to meet your family at your funeral."
Camila chews on her lip and nods. "Sorry. But I'm okay." She pauses, and then: "I guess we're even for the orgasm thing now, huh?"
Lauren scoffs, but she laces Camila's fingers with her own and tugs her along. She's not letting go until they're safely inside and the chances of Camila getting run over have decreased exponentially. "I thought the ice cream made us even? Now you owe me."
"Oh, the torture," Camila wails before leaning over and kissing Lauren's temple.
Camila hums near Lauren's ear and slips her hands around her waist. "Smells good."
"They're just fajitas," Lauren says, fighting the smile threatening to bloom across her mouth.
"Wasn't talking about the food. But that too." Camila nibbles at Lauren's earlobe.
"You expect me to believe you weren't talking about the food?" Lauren asks as she stirs the peppers and onions around the pan. "You realize I've met you before, right?"
"So, you're not going to accept either compliment?" Camila kisses her jaw and squeezes her waist before pulling away. "Wow."
"Sorry." Lauren rolls her eyes. "Thank you for thinking I smell almost as good as the fajitas."
"You're welcome." Camila bumps her hip. "Should I slice the steak?"
"Go for it."
"Don't tell anyone, but I think I like your fajitas better than my old family recipe," Camila says.
"It's the secret ingredient." Lauren turns off the stove and takes the tortillas out of the oven.
"Oh, what's that?" Camila's eyebrows are furrowed as she slices the steak into thin strips, hand clenched tightly around the fork.
It's very cute, and Lauren swallows the giggle bubbling in the back of her throat. "Love, obviously."
"Are you implying my family doesn't cook with love, Jauregui? My parents are going to kill you in September."
Lauren laughs, then, places two tortillas on two plates and spoons some of the vegetables onto them. "Hey, you're the one who said mine were better. If I'm going down, you're going down with me."
"I'm never complimenting you again," Camila sighs. "You're so bad at accepting them."
When Camila's on her second fajita, sauce dripping down her chin and piece of hair tucked into her mouth, Lauren laughs, reaches across the table and pulls on the strand until it comes loose. "Thanks." Camila beams, picks up her napkin and wipes at her face.
"I love you," Lauren says, unplanned, as natural as breathing, as natural as reaching across the small kitchen table to pull Camila's hair out of her mouth. She looks at Camila, bites her lip and blinks. Doesn't take it back. Doesn't itch to explain. Her stomach clenches, but she smiles.
"Finally," Camila says, leaning over and kissing the corner of Lauren's mouth. "I love you, too."
"Finally?" Lauren raises an eyebrow, feels the knot in her stomach uncoil.
"I've been waiting for you to do that since you drunk dialed me from the bar." Camila shrugs. "Dinah owes me $50."
"You bet on when I'd say it?"
"Dinah thought you'd do it like, three months ago. But I knew you'd take forever." Camila shoves the last of her fajita into her mouth.
"You could've said it first," Lauren says.
"Did you want me to lose $50?" Camila shakes her head. "Besides, I wasn't the one who kept chickening out."
"I take it back. I hate you." Lauren frowns.
Camila just cackles and runs her toes up and down Lauren's calf. "You looooove me. You want to kiiiiiss me."
"You're going to use that money to take me to dinner, right?" Lauren asks.
"Oh yeah." Camila nods.
"And you're going to eat me out, tonight."
"Definitely. But first we're going to call Dinah so I can gloat."
"Duh." Lauren pushes back her chair, grabs the plates and kisses Camila, sucking on her upper lip. "That's half the fun."
"You're amazing," Camila says, voice fond.
"Love you," Lauren says again, just because it's true and she likes the way it sounds, likes the way Camila lights up with it, brighter than anything Lauren's ever seen, soft and radiant and indescribable.
"Dinah!" Camila says into the phone.
"What'd up, Chancho?"
"You owe me fifty bucks, sucka!"
Yeah, Lauren loves her a lot.