I cannot believe this thing is so complicated.
Alex glared at her newly purchased appliance. While she’d fallen in love with her apartment, she was tired of only being able to cook with burners or her microwave, so she’d scrounged the money together for a nice toaster oven. Which was a little harder to work with than she’d thought. She twisted the dials, trying to adjust the settings.
Bake… four-hundred and twenty-five degrees… twenty minutes… there. Alex finally hit the start button and was rewarded with a pleasant beep as the lights inside turned on, the display reading PREHEAT.
She double-checked the chicken recipe, which had seemed easy enough. Though mixing so many spices together and preparing it was new for her, making it one of the more complicated things she’d ever tried to cook. Alex set the pan beside the toaster oven as soon as she was satisfied.
Really, really hope this turns out well. She put the chicken in the oven as soon as it was ready, then glanced at the rest of her ingredients. The potatoes and veggies can go in the microwave after I get ready. She’ll be here in thirty minutes, so I guess I should start on that.
Alex showered and dressed, taking the extra time to make sure she looked nice in the mirror. After some consideration, she re-applied what was left of her foundation to the cut on her forehead; it had faded considerably since their first date, but was still somewhat noticeable.
Man, I really hope that doesn’t leave a gnarly scar.
She sighed as she closed the drawer, happening to glance at the pair of toothbrushes in the cup above it. Steph had spent the night with her a few times, so her red one was definitely getting some use.
Alex’s stomach did a couple of backflips, before she settled it down. Relax. We’ll just… go with the flow.
A knocking at the door distracted her.
Oh, shit, has it been that long already? She glanced at her phone. Crap, I completely lost track of time!
“Hang on!” Alex called as she left the bathroom, quickly scooping up the flowers she’d picked up from Eleanor earlier that afternoon. She hid them behind her back as she opened the door.
Steph looked just as nice, in a red long-sleeved henley shirt with jeans and a white beanie. She was smiling widely, also hiding a hand behind her back. “Hi,” she greeted. “This is the crack den, right?”
“Nope.” Alex nodded behind her. “That’s down the street.”
“Ah, shoot.” Steph paused. “Well, I’m already here. Do YOU have drugs?”
“I have a half-finished bag of Charlotte’s gummies. And what hopefully turns out to be good dinner.”
“Works for me.”
Alex smirked as she stepped back, letting Steph inside. “Whatcha got back there?” she asked innocently.
Steph took a deep breath and pulled a bouquet of flowers out from behind her back, full of roses with interspaced lilacs. “Happy one-month anniversary,” she offered happily.
Alex stared at the flowers, blinking. “… wow.”
“What?” Steph’s face dropped. “Do you not like flowers?”
“No, I love flowers.” Alex pulled her own identical bouquet from behind her back. “I hope you do too.”
Steph glanced between the two bouquets several times. “… this explains a lot,” she admitted.
“Was Eleanor giggling when you stopped by, too?”
“No. But Riley was.” Steph sighed. “Dammit. There needs to be another flower store in town.”
“I still love them,” Alex said quickly. “… do you like yours?”
“Of course I do.” Steph glanced at the flowers in her hands. “It seems kind of silly to exchange them now, though.”
“Hey, nobody’s ever given me flowers before.”
Steph looked up. “Really?”
Alex shook her head and held out her hand. “Gimme.”
The brunette snorted as she handed them over, accepting Alex’s flowers in return. “They are really nice, I’ll give them that.”
“I know.” Alex looped both of her arms over Steph’s shoulders. “Happy one-month anniversary, babe.”
Steph smiled as she rested both hands on Alex’s waist. “It’s been an awesome month.”
“Yes, it has.”
Alex leaned in and kissed her girlfriend slowly, breaking apart after a few seconds as she smiled, Steph smiling back as they held each other.
Then she frowned, sniffing. “Um… is something burning?”
It hit Alex’s nose next. “Oh, shit!” she gasped as she turned and bolted to the kitchen. The toaster oven was still on, despite it having been more than twenty minutes. “Shit, shit, SHIT!!”
Steph ran in behind her as Alex turned off the oven and threw open the door, smoke flowing out. She quickly grabbed a dish towel and pulled the tray out, hissing from the heat as she set it down on the counter. The two pieces of chicken inside were a dark brown, almost black.
“Fuck!” Alex exclaimed, opening the blinds and windows behind the counter. “Damn it, that was supposed to have stopped by now! I only put it in for twenty minutes!”
Steph checked the toaster oven. “Babe, the timer’s set for an hour and twenty minutes.”
“It-” Alex looked at the display. “… mother fucker.”
“Yea.” Alex sagged her shoulders as she looked at the burnt meal. “Well, shit.”
“It… looks like it would’ve been good,” Steph said cautiously as she stood next to her. “What was it supposed to be?”
“Chicken with honey and garlic.”
“I was hoping so.” Alex sighed. “Sorry, babe. Your girlfriend sucks at cooking.”
Steph reached around her shoulder, squeezing gently. “I promise that I still like you.”
“Thank you.” Alex retrieved her phone from her pocket. “Plan B it is.”
“You know, I like this almost as much as I think I would’ve liked your chicken.”
Alex raised an eyebrow. “You think so?”
“Hey, there is absolutely nothing wrong with pizza and beer.” Steph took another quick bite of her slice, quickly chewing and swallowing. “In moderation, anyway. Obviously we can’t do this every night.”
“If only wishing made it so.” Alex took a sip from her beer bottle. “I’m still want to try that chicken again. It looked really good when I found that recipe online.”
“I look forward to it.” Steph ate her last bite of pizza and sat back in her seat. “So. Are you ready to lose your trophy?”
“Uh, excuse you.” Alex looked offended. “You meant to ask if I was ready to continue my championship legacy.”
“Not after tonight, you’re not.” Steph stood up. “I’m about to make you cry. The world will know that the Chen family will finally have lost to the mighty Steph Gingrich in the game of foosball.”
“All right.” Alex stood up behind her, the two of them heading over to the foosball table. “We’re playing best of five, right?”
“Not best of three?”
“Well, I mean-”
“No, I get it,” Steph assured her. “You want an extra couple of games to lose on, just in case.”
Alex’s eyes narrowed. “You’re gonna regret that.”
Steph extended her arms out in front of her, stretching before she took her position at the pegs. “Come get some, babe.”
She dropped the ball into the table, and it was on.
Alex’s hands flew across the handles as she clashed with Steph, the two girls fiercely battling for each point they could score. Other than the occasional barb to distract each other, there was very little conversation as they focused.
“Getting sloppy there, Chen,” Steph taunted as she won her second game, giving her a two-to-one lead. “That last goal was too easy.”
“You got lucky,” Alex growled as she slapped the points counters back into place.
“I’ve already picked a spot in my DJ booth to display my new trophy, just so you know.”
“Hope you’ve got something else to fill it with.”
Alex won the fourth game, giving them a tie. But the last game was the hardest for both of them, as they struggled back and forth with the ball. Each point took several minutes to score, before they were at the last round.
“Final point, for the win,” Steph announced as she held the ball in her hands. “Winner gets the trophy and bragging rights. Loser has to…” she frowned. “We need to come up with a punishment.”
Alex shook her hands out as she rolled her neck, preparing for the last round. “Like what?”
“Mmm…” Steph looked up. “Take a shot of Kiwi Schnapps.”
“Seriously? You’d do that to yourself again?”
“Ok, I’m REALLY looking forward to you taking a drink of it for a change.” Steph got back into position. “You ready?”
“Ready to kick your ass.”
“Big talk from a girl about to do a shot of liquid death.”
“Sounds like you’re stalling.”
Steph sent the ball through the port, and they started battling fiercely, the ball flying back and forth across the table.
“Alosersayswhat?” Steph said rapidly as she sent the ball rolling with her mid-fielders.
Alex blocked the shot with her goalie. “Nice try,” she chided as she smacked the ball in the other direction. “I feel for that last time, remember?”
“Worth a shot.” Steph returned the ball all the way back to Alex’s goalie. “Speaking of shots, your game is weakening. Hope you’re mentally ready for that Bedazzled Kiwi.”
“Never,” Alex growled as she focused like a laser on the ball, passing it between her players before sending it downfield again. It almost went into the goal before Steph blocked it at the last minute, her goalie sending the ball flying into the side of the table. “This game is mine.”
“You’re about to get beaten like a red-headed stepchild.”
“Not today.” Alex caught the ball, maneuvering it expertly back down the field. “This victory is mine, and you will rue the day you-”
She glanced up and froze, her mind blanking out. Steph had used one hand to pull the front of her sweater all the way to her neck, revealing a lacy black bra.
The smack of a player against the ball finally made her remember what they were doing. Alex looked down to see the ball flying towards her goal. She scrambled to get her hands on the defenders, but it was too late; it slipped past her goalie with a loud clatter.
“YES!!” Steph jumped, pumping her fist before she started playing air drums across the foosball table. “Boo-yah! The house of Chen has fallen, and Gingrich reigns supreme across the land! There will be feasts in my name as they sing songs of my greatness!” She raced across the apartment, grabbing the glass bottle, and holding it above her head. “Do-do-do-do, do do, do-do-do!!”
She was still smirking as she walked back, waving the bottle in her hand and setting it down on the foosball table. “This is going to look GREAT on my shelf.”
Alex was silent as she walked around the table. Steph slowly turned, following until she was between her girlfriend and the foosball table.
“You cheated,” Alex told her in a low voice.
“Eh.” Steph shrugged. “I prefer the term ‘playing to my strengths’.”
“No. You cheated.” Alex stepped forward until she was nose-to-nose with Steph, placing both hands on either side to trap the brunette in place. “And rules dictate that there are consequences for cheating.”
“Do they now?” Steph asked, a smile playing across her face. “And, uh… what kind of consequences would those be?”
“I don’t know. How are you going to make it up to me?”
Steph hummed as she leaned forward, kissing Alex. Then again. The third time she grabbed her by the neck, kissing her passionately as Alex took her by the waist, pushing her back into the table.
“Careful of the trophy,” Steph gasped as the made out fiercely.
“Shut up,” Alex mumbled back as her hands slid upward, finding the bare skin under Steph’s shirt. She started kissing her way down the brunette’s jawline, before softly biting her neck.
“Oh, fuck…” Steph whined, clawing at Alex’s back. “No, seriously, I want to display that in my-”
Alex growled as she whipped her girlfriend around, walking her backwards towards the bed as she pulled the brunette’s sweater off. Steph followed her example, tugging at Alex’s shirt as she fell back into the bed.
Twenty minutes later, both of them were tangled together and breathing heavily. Steph rested her head on Alex’s chest, eyes closed as she nestled into the crook of her arm. Alex had one hand loosely draped over her shoulder, as the other hung off the side of the bed.
“You still can’t have the trophy,” she finally stated.
Steph opened her eyes and lifted her head, brushing her loose hair from her face. “Huh?”
“You cheated. It doesn’t count.”
“Come on, that’s not fair.”
“Neither was that distraction.” Alex smirked. “I think you meant for this to happen.”
“Oh?” Steph raised an eyebrow. “You think I went and wore my sluttiest bra on the off chance I had to distract you while playing a death-match game of foosball?”
“I think that’s EXACTLY how you planned this.”
She hummed. “Maybe,” she confessed slyly.
“Yea, it definitely doesn’t count now.”
Steph ran her fingers along Alex’s bicep and up her shoulder. “You sure there’s no way I can convince you otherwise?” she asked suggestively.
Alex smiled back. “The integrity of the foosball trophy will never be for sale.”
“Aww.” Steph pouted. “But I really want it.”
“Then earn it properly.”
“Fine.” She sighed, dropping her head back on Alex’s shoulder. “Next time.”
Alex, curious, re-focused on Steph to see her aura. She was happy to see her girlfriend bathed in bright gold as she curled against her.
This is amazing.
And totally worth it.
God, I love her so much it hurts.
Alex blinked. “… you what?”
“I-” Steph’s eyes opened as she looked at her. “… were you reading my mind?”
Ah, crap. Alex bit her lip, feeling like she’d been caught doing something she shouldn’t have. “… only because I wanted to see if you were happy.”
“What in the world would make you think that I’m not happy right now?”
“My… baseless insecurities and anxiety?” Alex offered.
Steph snorted in amusement as she turned onto her stomach, resting her chin on Alex’s chest as she met her gaze. “And what did you hear?”
“… nothing you need to repeat if you don’t want to.”
“If I did repeat it, would you freak out?”
Steph bit her lip as she moved her fingers to trace Alex’s collarbone. “If I did say it out loud, do you, uh… do you think you would say it back?”
Alex only had to think about it for a few seconds.
“Never mind,” Steph said quickly, before she could speak. “You don’t have to if you don’t want-”
“I love you too.”
Steph blinked at Alex’s statement, before letting out a shaky breath and boosting herself forward to kiss her.
As soon as their lips met, Steph’s golden aura exploded like it had on the rooftop when they kissed for the first time. Alex could see it even through her closed eyes as she pulled the brunette into her.
“Woah,” she breathed as soon as they separated.
“Fuck,” Steph gasped. “That was… holy shit, was that you?”
“You felt that?”
“That was… shit, that felt like the first time we… on the roof…” She was breathing heavily again. “Oh my God, that was incredible. What was that?”
“I’m not sure,” Alex admitted. “It’s only happened twice, with you.”
“I did that?”
“I think we both did.”
“Well, shit,” Steph whispered, smiling. “I love you, Alex. So fucking much.”
Alex smiled back. “You trying for a repeat?”
“Shut up and kiss me again.”