They’re silently sitting inside a car while eating some readymade pasta meal, Alicia in the driver’s seat and Elyza sitting shotgun. The night is cold and unsurprisingly dark, the stars hidden behind murky, hopeless clouds. A shy ray of moonlight is seeping through though, and Alicia hangs on to it like a lifeline. She yearns for hope. She needs it.
What she doesn’t notice are blue eyes peering at her, soft and caring, and with a glimmer of deep concern.
“You have four chunks of meat, all exactly the same size,” Elyza speaks, breaking the brunette’s daze. Anything to see those pretty green eyes smile. “One beef, one pork, one chicken, one turkey.” Alicia stares at her like she’s crazy, but lets her go on. “You can make a fire, but have no idea how strong it will be and how long it will last.” Elyza waits for the girl’s nod to finish, “Which one do you choose to cook?”
Alicia frowns, this is a simple one. “Chicken.”
Elyza smirks as she brinks the plastic fork to her mouth. “Why?”
“It’s not as dense, so it’ll cook faster.”
Alicia’s eyebrows rise. “Wrong?”
Elyza’s smirking nod is positively infuriating. “The cooking temperature for beef is the lowest. If you choose chicken, you’ll be fucking walking around drooling blood before the meat even heats up.”
Alicia huffs and turns to the the road ahead of them, dismissing the now empty food container. She brings a foot onto her seat and props her elbow on the knee, fingertips playing with her own lips. Elyza averts her stare to the moon above them.
“So you’re like… what? A walking Survival 101?”
Elyza smirks and taps her double-barrel affectionately. “Sweetheart, have you seen my gun?”
Alicia’s reply is a perhaps too evidently annoyed eye roll. “That would work better if you were a guy.”
“And that would work better if you were actually straight,” the blonde laughs, stretching her legs and propping her feet atop her side of the instrument panel.
Alicia dares look to the right again and finds blue eyes staring at her intently. Their gazes lock for several seconds and Alicia feels herself swallow at the intensity of the moment. Before she can allow herself to drown even further into the deep blue, she breaks contact again.
“You’re an asshole,” Alicia says finally, with the ghost of a smile stubbornly playing at her lips. Her eyes return to the sky, finding that some of the clouds have given way for the stars to shine a light on the sturdy black SUV.
“Well you’re a brat,” Elyza claps back, tossing her now empty food container to the back seats, and is surprised to meet silence as an answer. She looks over at Alicia, whose eyes are once again clouded by concern, and sighs softly. “Hey,” she breathes out, withdrawing her legs to lean over the console and place a comforting hand on the brunette’s knee. “We’ll find them again.”
Alicia chuckles dryly. Her family are often protagonists to her most terrifying thoughts. “If they haven’t been eaten yet.”
“They haven’t,” Elyza reassures her again, and there is a novel softness and tenderness to her voice. When Alicia looks down at the hand on her knee, she doesn’t even feel flustered. It feels natural and comfortable, and a warmth grows in her chest. “I feel it in my bones.”
“Do you feel it in your fingers too?” She only realises what she just said when she sees a big, shit-eating grin takes over the blonde’s lips. “I meant— the song, I was referencing the song!”
For Elyza, seeing the brunette in flustered aggravation like this is a delight.
“Why do you even care anyway?” Alicia asks, and it’s a tough jab. Who can really blame her, though? All her life, her family has revolved around her addict brother. Alicia has always been left out, so she decided to make a life for herself instead of waiting around for people to notice her. So much for that now.
Instead of snapping back, Elyza points at the sky. “See that star? The brightest one of all?”
“Yeah, Polaris,” Alicia huffs, crossing her arms. “I’m not an ignorant, I was going to Berkeley before this whole shit happened.”
Elyza smirks. “Well, Miss Berkeley. Here’s the thing: whenever you’re lost, follow the star. It will lead you home.”
“I didn’t know you were a sentimental idiot. And you didn’t answer my question: why do you even care?”
“I believe in second chances,” Elyza admits with a shrug, and her eyes find Alicia’s. “This is mine.”
“So you are a sentimental idiot,” the brunette smirks.
“Maybe we’re soulmates,” the blonde says, wiggling her eyebrows. “Maybe in another universe, I couldn’t save you, and now I’m doing every-fucking-thing in my power to keep you safe.”
Alicia stares at her, eyebrow raised, for several seconds.
“That’s really stupid,” she laughs at last, and the other woman can’t help but smile fondly. “I’m starting to think you’re as crazy as my brother.”
“Crazy-er,” Elyza corrects with a teasing smile, and it’s okay that Alicia thinks it’s just a joke. Life is perfect when she gets to hear that wonderful laugh again.
Tomorrow, they will be drawn back to reality. Tonight, they can allow themselves to dream. And as she watches Alicia sink into the seat, sleepiness taking over her eyes, Elyza knows exactly what her own dreams will be made of.