Baby We’re Guilty (Wherever We Are)


”Meet me in the bathroom in a couple of minutes.“
”For real? The bathrooms are so gross.”

Also on ao3:

– – –

Ally was on an 11-hour flight to Japan. She wasn’t seated near the other girls, but she had an aisle seat so she had nothing to complain about. Through the years of traveling she had actually grown to enjoy the alone time she got during long flights. Sure she wasn’t actually alone, the air was dry, the food wasn’t great and contrary to what her taller bandmates might believe, having your feet dangle in the air for hours was actually wildly uncomfortable. But when you took into consideration that what was expecting them in their destination was three weeks living in a crammed, stuffy tour bus where peace and quiet didn’t exist, the 11 hours spent reading, listening to music, watching movies and most importantly talking to absolutely no one, except for maybe the friendly flight attendants, didn’t sound half bad. And had she ever had any complaints about flying, the invention of in-flight wifi had been sure to throw all of them out the airtight window she was currently looking at the clouds through.

It was around two hours into the flight when Ally was scrolling through her Twitter mentions and got a notification. It was a text from Lauren.

meet me in the bathroom in a couple of minutes

Ally rolled her eyes but couldn’t stop the smile spreading across her face. This was exactly something Lauren would suggest.

For real? The bathrooms are sooo gross

Lauren replied with a few annoyed looking emojis and a simple ”baby”. It’s not like Ally really needed much convincing anyway.

I’ll be there in a bit

Ally waited for a little while just to make sure no one would get too suspicious, and then unbuckled her seatbelt, stood up from her seat and made her way to the bathroom door. She knocked quietly with just the knuckle of her forefinger. Lauren unlocked the door and opened it just enough to see it was Ally, and Ally stepped right in, closing the door behind her.

”Hey there”, Lauren said quietly, wrapping her arms around Ally’s shoulders, and leaned down to kiss her.

Ally placed her hands on Lauren’s hips and leaned into the kiss, standing on her toes a little bit. She let her hands wander upward, over Lauren’s stomach and then her chest while she deepened the kiss. Lauren reciprocated by running one of her hands up the back of Ally’s neck and threading her fingers into her hair, which allowed her to pull Ally’s face even closer to hers. Ally moaned against her lips.

Ally stepped back down and broke the kiss, her eyes going from Lauren’s eyes to her lips and back.

”So how are we gonna do this?” Ally asked, moving her hands from Lauren’s chest to her shoulders.

”I don’t know, I thought you could just quickly get me off and we’d get out of here as fast as possible but now it looks like you’re just as into this as me”, Lauren said, her voice breathy.

”Fuck off. You’re a selfish lover”, Ally joked and pulled Lauren back in for a kiss. She pulled back quicker this time and looked around the tiny bathroom.

”Okay”, she said, making sure the toilet lid was closed and seemed clean enough before she sat on it, and pulled Lauren closer by her hands. She untied Lauren’s sweatpants and pulled them down with her underwear, and then turned her around and pulled her down until she sat on her lap. She wrapped her left arm around Lauren’s waist and slid her right hand over her thigh and then between her legs.

”Already wet for me, princess?” she murmured right into Lauren’s right ear. Lauren gasped and a shiver ran through her body.

Ally circled her fingers around Lauren’s clit and a quiet high-piched whimper left Lauren’s lips.

”Were you thinking of me? Tell me”, Ally spoke into her ear, her voice calm and controlled. She kept up the movements of her hand but added more pressure, and Lauren was trembling. She let her head fall back on Ally’s shoulder and started talking with a shaky voice.

”Ye-yes. Fuck, I couldn’t help it, I-I guess I was bored and I just started thinking… Of what you could do to me if we were home…”. Her eyes were squeezed shut and her face was turned towards Ally’s, breathing in the scent of Ally’s hair and neck.

”Hmm, and what would that be?” Ally asked, moving her left hand from Lauren’s waist to her lower stomach and then to her left thigh.

Lauren whimpered louder this time.

”I”, she started, but it just came out as a desperate moan. ”I don’t know, anything, anything Ally, please”, she whined.

Ally stiffled a laugh. She already had her begging, she didn’t even have to try.

”Please what, baby? You need to be more elaborate.” Lauren was moving her hips against Ally’s hand, trying desperately to get as much friction as possible.

Lauren let out a pained noise. ”Please just make me come.” Her right hand was tangled into Ally’s hair and her left one placed over Ally’s hand between her legs.

Ally lifted her left hand from Lauren’s thigh and gently nudged Lauren’s head with the shoulder she was laying on to get Lauren to lift her head and look at Ally. She brought her left hand in front of Lauren’s mouth and touched a couple of fingers on her lips. Lauren was staring deep into her eyes, her eyes glazed and eyelids heavy, parted her lips and let out a sharp, shaky gasp. She took one of Ally’s fingers into her mouth and licked and sucked on it before moving onto the next one. She could barely keep her eyes open but her stare never left Ally’s eyes as she moaned around her fingers.

Lauren was soaking wet and it’s not like she would’ve needed any extra lubrication, Ally just knew this drove her crazy. Ally pulled her fingers out of Lauren’s mouth and Lauren begrudgingly let them go with a whine.

”It’s okay, baby”, Ally whispered as she moved her spit-soaked fingers down. Her wet fingers briefly brushed against her and Lauren’s hands on her clit before she pushed two fingers into her. Lauren shivered, buried her face in Ally’s neck and whimpered incoherently.

”Ally”, she whined, pushing against Ally’s fingers and moving her hips in circles. Ally moved her right hand faster on her clit and rubbed the fingers inside her right where she knew Lauren liked it.

”Does it feel good, baby?” she asked, even though Lauren’s body language didn’t leave many questions unanswered.

”Yes”, Lauren moaned. She was shaking against Ally, obviously close to her release.

”Come on, princess, come for me”, Ally whispered into her ear before guiding Lauren’s head with her shoulder again so she could suck Lauren’s lower lip between hers. Lauren was whining into her mouth as Ally leaned in to kiss her. The kiss was deep and desperate, and Lauren came with her moans muffled by Ally’s mouth. She was still whimpering as she broke the kiss to suck air into her lungs. Ally wrapped her left arm around Lauren again, still gently massaging her clit as she shook through the aftershocks, just like she knew she liked it, before moving her right hand away to hug her tighly. She kissed the side of her face, closing her eyes and slowly rocking Lauren back and forth in her arms.

They had already stayed in the bathroom for way too long. There was no question the flight attendants knew what was going on and the other passengers were surely getting impatient too. Ally knew they had to go.

”I love you so much, baby, but we need to get you back to your seat before you pass out”, she said, gently pushing her girlfriend forward. Lauren let out a disgruntled sound but still slowly got up, used some toiled paper to clean herself off and lifted her pants back up.

Ally stood up and washed her hands before stopping to fix her hair in the mirror. Lauren stood behind her and looked at her in the reflection.

”I have more to worry about than you”, she said, trying to smooth her own hair down. Ally laughed.

”We really have to go. I’ll go first, sort your hair out and get out soon after me, okay? I’m sure everyone hates us”, Ally said and turned to leave.

”Fuck them. I love you”, Lauren said and leaned down for one more kiss. Ally hummed into the kiss happily before stepping away, smiling at Lauren, unlocking the door and leaving the small bathroom.

She walked back to her seat with confidence, expertly avoiding eye contact with everyone she passed on her way, including the man seated right next to her. She sat down, spread her big scarf over her lap like a blanket and put her headphones back on like nothing happened.

A/N: Sequel to Kiss For A Kiss (My Two Lips Got You Racing) and part 2 to my Untitled Alren Smut Series. All parts still make sense as standalones as well. Thank you for reading, I’d love to hear your comments.

Camren: At First Sight

When they opened the gates, a hum of nervous energy spread through the crowd like wildfire. It had my little sister bouncing on the tips of her toes. 

What are you doing, Camila? I scolded myself. Get back behind the computer screen, where you belong

But I was hundreds of miles away from home—in North Carolina, of all places. And like it or not, I was auditioning for the X Factor. The thought had my stomach protesting.    

“Come on, Camila, this way!” Sofia slipped her little hand into mine and tugged me to the front of the queue.    

The white tents offered some relief against the sweltering heat, so I wiped my brow and pretended the sun was the cause of the sweat trickling down my back. 

“Hold up, you. Or Mom’s gonna kill us both.” I spun in a circle, unable to find her through the heads towering over my own. “Let’s go to the side.” 

I bent to the concrete and helped Sofia onto my shoulders. “Do you see her?”

She squinted. “Yeah, she’s coming.” Her waving hands, stretched high above her head, knocked me off balance and into the side of a trashcan. 

“Dear god!” I cried, holding back an expletive in a remarkable show of self-restraint.  

The little monster giggled. “Sorry, Kaki.”

“Sure you are.” I shook my head ruefully. Her feet touched the concrete as Mom rounded the corner. 

“Don’t do that!” she panted. “Stay with me, now. We’re almost at the sound booth.” That sent a jolt to my stomach.    

It didn’t take long before I could hear a girl’s voice leaking through the walls. “Man, she sounds really good,” I whispered. 

“Nah, you’re better.” Sofia hugged my waist. 

The chills on my arms disagreed. “No way. Did you hear that note?”

Mom squeezed my hand. “You’re going to do great. You have nothing to worry about.”

I rolled my eyes. “Tell that to the thousands of people who want a spot. I—"

The sound booth door opened, and a girl stepped into the sunlight, blinking. She ran her hand through her hair and headed directly toward me.

Her eyes were too green. “I love your top,” I blurted. 

“Thanks. I love your jacket.” Her smile lit her face. “Good luck!”

“Camila Cabello,” the assistant called, and I jumped. “In here, please.”

Mom ushered me forward, whispering advice in my ear. I looked over my shoulder just before I stepped through the doorway. The green-eyed girl was gone. 

A/N: Hi guys! I hope you liked the prologue to Camren: At First Sight 🙂 There are 20 more chapters posted on wattpad (@paigejv) if you want to check them out! <3

just a dream – seventeen

December 18th, 2016

When Camila wakes up, she looks at the date on her phone, and feels anxiety building up in her chest. She doesn’t know why, because this isn’t her world. She should be happy and excited, because if Lucy is right, she’ll be going to sleep tonight and waking up where she’s supposed to be.

So why does she feel so empty inside?

When a text from Lauren comes through, Camila smiles to herself. Maybe that’s why you feel weird, Camila. When you wake up, you won’t get random texts from Lauren.

Laur (12:34PM): Hopefully you’re awake by now, because I’m coming to your house. I need to drop your Christmas present off. And NO OPENING IT BEFORE THE 25TH OR I’LL FIGHT YOU.

Camz (12:34PM): yes i’m awake and i’ll open my presents when i want thanks

Camz (12:34PM): what are you the christmas police

Laur (12:35PM): Yeah, I am. And I’ll arrest you for being a Grinch if you open your present before the 25th.

Laur (12:35PM): Anyway, put on your best Christmas sweater and get those chestnuts roasting on an open fire or whatever. We’re having a Christmas movie day.

Camila smiles down at the message, because if this is her last day here, there would be nothing better than spending it with Lauren. Especially if a movie day is involved, because Lauren is a very cuddly person when she’s watching movies.

Camila gets out of bed and brushes her teeth, before jumping in the shower so she’s presentable for Lauren. She gets dressed, pulling on some skinny jeans and a Christmas sweater, before heading downstairs to get something to eat.

When the kitchen and the lounge are deserted, she figures her parents took Sofi out for last minute shopping, and left her to sleep. She appreciates that, because Camila hates the mall around Christmas time. It’s way too busy.

She makes herself some toast, and is in the middle of making hot chocolate for the both of them when there’s a knock on her door, and she smiles. She opens it up and pulls Lauren in for a tight hug, her heart hurting at the possibility that this will never happen again, that she’ll never open her door to Lauren stood there.

“Hey, Camz,” Lauren grins, stepping inside and looking over her sweater. “I’m glad you listened to my instructions and put a festive jumper on.”

“I was making us some hot chocolate,” Camila explains, “so go get comfy on the couch and I’ll bring it through.”

Lauren beams. “That’s why I like coming over here. I get waited on like the queen I am.”

Camila snorts. “Someone thinks a lot of herself.”

“Nothing wrong with loving yourself,” Lauren shrugs, digging into the backpack on her back and holding out a gift. “If you open this before the 25th, I’ll know. I’ll make Sofi be my informant and come over every day for updates.”

“Thanks, Laur,” Camila smiles and pulls her in for a hug. “I guess I’ll respect your wishes and keep it wrapped. Once I’ve made the hot chocolate I’ll run upstairs and get your present.”

“You have my word that it won’t be opened before Christmas.” Lauren promises, nodding towards the stairs. “Can I put my backpack up in your room?”

Camila frowns. “Just leave it by the door. Isn’t it empty after my present, anyway?”

“Oh, I didn’t tell you?” I’m sleeping over,” Lauren announces, and Camila laughs a little. She misses the days she and Lauren were so comfortable around one another that they could show up for impromptu sleepovers. “So I’ll go and put this upstairs while you finish making hot chocolate.”

Before Camila can reply, Lauren heads up the stairs, so she just smiles to herself and heads back into the kitchen, making the cocoa. She takes it out into the lounge, since nobody is home and they can use the big TV, and gets herself comfortable. Lauren sits down next to her and grabs her mug of cocoa, taking a sip.

“Do you like it?” Camila asks, suddenly rather nervous. “Sofi tells me I’m the best at making hot chocolate, so your approval would be great.”

“It’s good, Camz,” Lauren assures her, taking another sip before she sets it down on the coffee table. “Anyway. Christmas movies. What’s your favourite?”

Home Alone,” Camila replies, “you?”

Lauren hums. “I don’t know.”

“Yeah, I love I Don’t Know,” Camila retorts, and Lauren laughs, “screw Home Alone, I don’t know is my favourite now.”

“Camz,” Lauren gives her a gentle shove, “don’t be mean to me. Now I’m not staying. Bye.”

“I mean, I didn’t invite you, anyway,” Camila argues as Lauren dramatically gets off the couch and shoots her a glare as she heads for the door. “So, you leaving isn’t really a punishment.”

Lauren pauses halfway out the door and seems to consider this, before letting out a loud psh and turning back around, flopping down on the couch. “I’m staying and forcing you to cuddle me. Suck on that.”

Camila doesn’t comment as Lauren curls up next to her, resting her head on Camila’s shoulder. Lauren’s arms wrap around her waist, and the younger Latina starts playing with Lauren’s hair. Camila lets out a sigh of content and closes her eyes, her heart aching at the thought of going back.

I’ll never get this again, Camila thinks to herself, Lauren and I will never do this again. If anything, that makes her heart hurt more, and her grip on Lauren tightens a little, as if the older girl is slowly fading away.

“You still have your Wii?”

Lauren’s question takes Camila off guard, and she opens her eyes to zero in on the gaming console by the television. “Oh, yeah. I don’t really play on it though.”

Lauren grins and sits up, and Camila already misses how it felt to have Lauren pressed up against her. “Alright. Mario Kart rematch. Get ready to be destroyed, Camz.”

Camila can’t hide her smile. “Fine. I’ll get it set up.”

When Camila gets up and leans over the Wii, switching it on along with the TV and grabbing two controllers, she doesn’t notice the way Lauren’s gaze lingers on her ass for a little longer than it should.

“Were you mad at me?”

Again, Lauren’s question takes her off guard, so Camila frowns as she makes her way back over to the couch and gives Lauren a controller. “When? And probably not, no.”

“Earlier this week,” Lauren clarifies, “you avoided me pretty much all day on Monday. So I was wondering if you were mad at me. Because you seemed pretty annoyed when I told you I had a date with Brad.”

Camila’s breath catches in her throat, and her heart stops in her chest. Busted. But, instead of freaking out, she decides to play it cool. “I wasn’t mad. I just had a lot of work to do that day. But I guess you’re right in a way. I didn’t like that you went out with Brad.”

Lauren hums. “Why?”

“He just isn’t good enough for you,” Camila says, and it’s part of the truth. “Besides, he seemed like a fuckboy.”

Lauren snorts. “He was. It’s not like it was a huge deal, but it kind of helped, in a way. I realised that going out on some lame date with someone I don’t have a connection with isn’t for me. I want to connect with a person. You know?”

Camila bites down on her bottom lip, nodding. She thinks back to when Lauren had told her that she felt a weird connection to Camila, like they were supposed to be friends. Maybe Camila can make her see they’re supposed to be more.

“I feel that,” Camila finally answers, “but that connection is rare. And sometimes you can’t tell if it’s platonic or romantic.”

Lauren hums. “Yeah. Anyway, before we start, can I make a Mii? We can play Wii Sports after. But I’ll have you know, I’m an actual professional at the bowling.”

Camila clicks on the Mii creator and gives Lauren the player one controller. “Here. You have full creative control.”

Lauren smiles and starts creating a new Mii, at first trying to make Camila laugh by making herself as ugly as possible, but then by actually creating herself. Once she finishes, she passes the controller back to Camila. “Nice. Now I’m officially your best friend.”

“Cut to Dinah, jumping through the window to fight you on that.” Camila jokes, and Lauren laughs, but the younger Latina is hit with a sudden wave of sadness. When – if – she wakes up tomorrow, she won’t have Dinah again. She’ll have lost her rock for a second time.

“Alright, fine, I’m one of your best friends. Is that fair?” Lauren corrects herself, and Camila forces a smile. Lauren seems to pick up on this once she turns around from selecting her character – her own Mii – from the available options. “You know you can talk to me about anything, right?”

If anything, that just makes Camila sadder, because it’s been a long time since that was true for her. “Yeah, I know.”

“Come on,” Lauren nudges against her, “perk up. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And the best person on the planet is gracing you with her presence right now.”

Finally, Camila laughs a little, and Lauren smiles victoriously. “Thanks for gracing me with your presence, Laur.”

“No problem, I love charity work,” Lauren teases her, and Camila gives her a light shove. “Hey, careful, I bruise easily.”

“Alright, sorry,” Camila says, finally picking her character – Yoshi – and going to select her kart. “I’ll get you back in another way; by kicking your ass at Mario Kart.”

“In your dreams,” Lauren scoffs, but her expression softens and she squeezes Camila’s hand. “Seriously, Camz… are you okay? Is it… is it that girl you told me about a while ago?”

“What girl?” Camila blurts out without realising, and then she remembers she’d effectively told Lauren about her alternate self without naming any names. Because while Lauren is the thing on her mind, it’s not that Lauren, it’s this one. “Oh! Yeah, no, it’s not her. That’s… communication has been cut off since September. I… I have feelings for someone else now.”

She says it like that because it’s effectively the only way to voice it. Even though they look the same, and sound the same, and smell the same, and feel the same, this Lauren and the one she left behind are a lot different. Camila doesn’t know why, but there have been times when she feels like she’s closer to this Lauren than she ever was to Fifth Harmony Lauren.

Maybe it was the fame. She knows that the other Lauren had to adapt a lot to being a public figure, and there’s nothing about being famous that wouldn’t change a person, whether it be in a positive, negative or completely neutral way. This Lauren is seventeen and she knows who she is, and what she wants in life. Fifth Harmony Lauren, however, was a different story. The one word Camila would use to describe that Lauren at seventeen was confused. And while this Lauren and the other one are the same in a lot of ways, they have their differences, too.

They’re different people, is what Camila had argued to Lucy, when Lucy had been avoiding this Lauren for something the other one had done. So, the only way she can really put it is having feelings for someone else. Because this Lauren is someone else.

She’d always thought that Fifth Harmony Lauren was her Lauren, and that this one was just the closest thing she could get. But now, she’s not so sure.

Maybe this Lauren is her Lauren.

“Oh, little Camzi has a crush?” Lauren smirks, but Camila swears she can see some other emotion concealed in Lauren’s emerald eyes. “On a girl, I’m guessing?”

“Yeah,” Camila replies, looking through the races and deciding to start off with a classic; Coconut Mall. “And before you turn into Dinah and Ally and start pushing me for answers, I’m not telling you who she is. Dinah knows, but only because she guessed.”

“Guess I’m going to head to the store after this and get some hot Cheetos to bribe Dinah with, then,” Lauren tells her, smirking. “That’ll suck for you; first you’ll get your ass kicked, and then Dinah will tell me your deep, dark secret crush.”

Camila rolls her eyes. “Shut up and get ready to lose, Jauregui.”

“Damn, that’s fighting talk, Cabello,” Lauren replies, turning to the screen and readying her controller. “I beat you once, I’m not afraid to do it again.”

As the race starts, Camila smiles. “Don’t you think it’s funny how our entire friendship is essentially stemmed from playing Mario Kart at your party?”

“Actually,” Lauren corrects her, “it’s founded on your litter sister having more game than you.”

“I thought you didn’t like me, okay? It’s not my fault you were all sullen and unapproachable.” Camila scoffs, and bashes into Lauren’s character out of spite. “Anyway, picking your Mii? Boring.”

“Hey, my Mii is new, I’m introducing her to the world of gaming,” Lauren defends herself, “and I was hardly unapproachable if a six-year-old could invite me to lunch without any kind of worry. Meanwhile you were shaking in the corner like a scared puppy because you were intimidated by my sheer awesomeness.”

“Who the fuck says awesome anymore,” Camila retorts, rolling her eyes, “like, 2008 wants its vocabulary back.”

Lauren laughs, and Camila smiles to herself, proud she could make that happen. “Alright, cool it on the sass. It’s supposed to be a festive, happy time.”

“You ruined any happy time when you suggested this rematch,” Camila replies, “I’m out for blood.”

Lauren hums. “Funny, coming from the girl who’s about to be in second place.”

Camila frowns, but when the annoying fucking blue shell comes and blows her up, she growls in frustration, seeing Lauren’s Mii drive past her at top speed. “Fucking hell. There’s nothing worse than the blue shell. And it’s always some annoying ass computer kart from the back that sends it, but it’s not like it’ll benefit them.”

“Sure benefitted me,” Lauren smirks as she passes the finish line, “when I was younger and I played the DS version with Mani, any time I was in first and I saw on the item thing that someone had got a blue shell, I let Mani pass, so it’d lock in on her and she’d get hit. Either way, I’d still win. But because this game doesn’t show you other players’ items, that strategy is dead.”

Camila scowls at the television when she finishes in second place, and she finds herself seriously rethinking her crush when she sees Lauren’s name at the top of the scoreboard. “Whatever, Jauregui. There’s still three races left. Plenty of time for me to crush you.”

But, Camila speaks too soon, because three races later, Lauren is smirking at her as her character stands on the first place podium, while Camila had come second. She’d managed to beat Lauren in the last race, but the first three were a complete flop. She puts two of those losses down to the blue shells, and claims that the game is rigged.

Lauren just laughs. “Or I’m better than you. Could be that.”

“I don’t know about that, but I do know that you’re a jerk.” Camila sends Lauren a sickly sweet smile and puts her controller down. “Christmas movies or Wii Sports?”

“Wii Sports,” Lauren replies, smiling, “I feel like I’m on a winning streak right now.”

Camila rolls her eyes, but gets up and changes the game discs. “You know, one time I played boxing on the Wii, and my arms were aching for days after. It was actually kind of depressing how much of a physical toll it took on me.”

Lauren laughs. “I used to do my fitness age, and if it brought up a task I sucked at, like golf or whatever, my age would end up being like, fifty or something.”

“My age was always over fifty regardless,” Camila replies, “my athleticism really isn’t something to brag about.”

Lauren hums, her eyes raking over Camila as the younger Latina sits back down. “So you’re not athletic and you don’t work out, but you still have that body? That’s just not fair.”

Camila’s stomach flutters at Lauren’s words. Is she flirting? She tries her best to play it cool. “I mean, if we’re talking about nice bodies… go look in a mirror.”

“Oh, this old thing?” Lauren looks down at herself and sends Camila a grin. “Thanks, Camz.”

“No need to thank me, I’m just stating facts,” Camila shrugs, smiling at Lauren. “Little Laur needs to know she’s cute.”

Camila swears Lauren blushes. “I’m not little, I’m older than you. I can call you little, but you can’t do that to me. Respect your elders, Camila.”

“Eight months,” Camila reiterates for what feels like the millionth time. “You’re eight months older than me. But I guess everyone always sees me as the dorky little sister type.”

Lauren murmurs something, but Camila doesn’t catch it. Before she can ask Lauren to repeat herself, the older Latina just smiles. “Dorky, for sure. And definitely goofy. But not, like the weird kind. You know, the cutesy kind of goofy.”

Camila remembers those same words, said in a different time, in a different context, but weirdly, they mean more here. “Thanks for calling me cute. Not to sound like Dinah, but I know I am.”

Lauren doesn’t reply, and when Camila turns to look at her, she meets Lauren’s gaze. Lauren has a soft, almost dreamy smile on her face, and she’s watching Camila, looking completely content. For a moment, Camila’s heart soars, and the smile gives her hope, but then reality hits her.

I’m going back. I’m going to wake up tomorrow, and Lauren will hate me again. The other girls will too.

Camila tries to push that thought from her mind, but it keeps creeping up on her. I’ll never have Lauren Jauregui. I’ll never be the one she’ll be out and proud with. I’ll never be the one she loves.

“I mean, you’re not wrong,” Lauren answers after what feels like a lifetime, and for a moment, Camila thought she’d spoken aloud. But when Lauren elaborates, she relaxes a little. “You are cute.”

Camila swallows the lump in her throat, because Lauren seems a lot closer than she was before. “I am?”

“Mhm,” Lauren murmurs, and Camila swears her gaze flicks down to her lips, before green locks with brown once more. “You are.”

Camila isn’t sure if this is entirely real, because it seems like Lauren is starting to lean in, and Camila isn’t exactly going to stop her. When she feels Lauren’s hand on her thigh, she almost jumps, but instead, she takes it as a positive sign and starts to lean in as well. They’re just inches apart, and Camila feels like maybe today wasn’t a negative omen after all, when the front door opens and Sinu calls out, “mija? Are you awake?”

Camila almost groans in annoyance as she moves away from Lauren, but she reigns it in. She looks anywhere but the older girl and calls out to her mom. “Yeah, I’m in the lounge.”

When Sofi walks in and spots Lauren on the couch, Camila knows that any chance they’d have to actually talk about how they were about to fucking kiss is ruined. From her experience, Lauren won’t bring it up, and if Lauren didn’t bring it up, then Camila didn’t either.

“Are you guys playing bowling?” Sofi looks at the TV, and then back at Camila. “Can I play?”

Lauren answers for her. “Of course you can play. Go grab a controller.”

Sofi gets the last controller from the drawer and sits down as Lauren works on connecting it. Camila, feeling a little upset that all of her last chances are being ruined, excuses herself to the bathroom to breathe. When she locks herself in, she sinks down against the wall and sighs.

Talk about bad timing.

Lauren closes her eyes, comforted by the gentle rise and fall of Camila’s chest. The way she’s sat, she can hear Camila’s heartbeat, and when she’d first cuddled up to her, it was practically pounding in the other girl’s chest, but her heart rate had slowly gone back to normal.

Even though they’re both keeping up the pretence that nothing happened earlier, Lauren knows that there’s some residual tension. She knows she shouldn’t have tried anything, and she doesn’t know what had come over her. All she remembers thinking was how beautiful Camila had looked, and suddenly she was leaning in, like she was being possessed by something.

But after they’d been interrupted, and she’d had time to think about it, she’s kind of glad that nothing happened. Not ten minutes before, Camila had told her that she has feelings for someone, someone that probably isn’t her. Lauren feels like she knows Camila pretty well, and she’s pretty sure that Camila’s crush is someone she gets nervous around, and Lauren likes to think Camila is comfortable around her.

Kissing her would’ve made things awkward, Lauren decides. It would’ve messed with their friendship, and Lauren doesn’t want that. She’s never felt so comfortable around a new person since she’d met Normani back in kindergarten, and she doesn’t want to jeopardise this, especially not if Camila is already crushing on someone else.

And it’s not like Lauren has a crush on Camila, anyway. Sure, she’s beautiful, and funny, and smart, and Lauren does have a connection with her. But it’s not a crush, because Camila is her friend.

Camila lets out a small sigh, and Lauren feels the vibrations of the younger girls’ chest against her as she speaks. “Not to be a drag, but this movie is boring.”

Lauren opens her eyes again and looks up at Camila. “Why do you think I was falling asleep?”

“I did suggest Home Alone 2, but someone vetoed that,” Camila looks down at Lauren pointedly. “Picking a movie neither of us has seen is always a dangerous move in case it sucks.”

“Sometimes it’s good if a movie sucks. Like, it’s so bad that it’s funny,” Lauren says, sitting up and immediately missing Camila’s warmth. “There have been times when Mani and I look up an infamously bad horror movie and spend the whole night mocking it.”

“I thought we had to be festive today,” Camila comments, “you know, since it’s the holiday season and all.”

Lauren laughs. “Yeah, we do. And we’ve watched one Christmas movie, so I’d say we’re good in that department. Anyway, we have more pressing matters at hand.”

Camila raises her eyebrows, but Lauren senses a little panic. “We do?”

“Yes,” Lauren nods, “did you get a place on the Universal trip?”

“Oh,” Camila laughs, a relieved smile on her face, “yeah, I did. It’s actually the week after my birthday, which is pretty cool.”

Lauren frowns. “You’ve never told me your birthday. Camila, I’m offended. It’s like you don’t want presents.”

“You don’t have to get me anything,” Camila rolls her eyes, “but it’s March 3rd. And yours is June 27th.”

Lauren blinks in surprise, because she’s never told Camila that. “How do you know that? I’ve never mentioned it.”

“I guess you could say I’m kind of psychic,” Camila smiles knowingly, but laughs at Lauren’s confused expression. “Kidding. It’s on your Twitter profile, dumbass.”

“Oh,” Lauren laughs, “yeah. That’s true. For a minute, I thought you were some stalker. Not that I’d blame you, I am pretty amazing.”

“Pretty egotistical, too,” Camila comments, before her smile softens and Lauren’s stomach flips. The first thought through Lauren’s head is fuck, she’s beautiful, and the second one is but that doesn’t mean anything. “You know, and also just pretty.

Lauren feels butterflies, but does her best to shrug them off. She knows this isn’t real flirting; she jokingly flirts with people like Mani all the time. Just because both Lauren and Camila like girls, doesn’t mean it’s anything more than a joke.

“You know you’re absolutely drop dead gorgeous, Camz,” Lauren replies, resting her head back on Camila’s shoulder. “And the best cuddler I’ve ever met.”

“You know, when you slept over here for the first time, literally five minutes after you fell asleep, you rolled over and started cuddling me.” Camila teases her. “It was honestly kind of adorable.”

“What can I say, I’m a big cuddler.” Lauren shrugs, rolling over on Camila’s bed and grabbing Nala from her overnight bag. “That’s why I need this baby when I’m at home. I need something to cuddle.”

“I’m totally telling everyone in school that the supposedly badass and super cool Lauren Jauregui needs a stuffed lion to sleep.” Camila laughs. “Then I’ll be the cool one in this friendship.”

Lauren snorts. “I’m not ashamed of mine and Nala’s intimate relationship. I’ll tell everyone myself. It’ll be my second coming out.”

Camila laughs, and Lauren smiles at the sound. “Damn, and here I thought you’d deny it.”

“It doesn’t make me any less cool,” Lauren shrugs, “I have nothing to worry about.”

“So, uh, what’re your plans for after Christmas?” Camila asks after a few moments of comfortable silence. “Going to a New Year’s party?”

“Not sure yet,” Lauren replies. She’d been considering going to a party with Normani, but hadn’t decided if she’s up for it. “What about you?”

Camila’s mood drops instantly, and Lauren squeezes her hand comfortingly. She doesn’t know why this happens sometimes; she’ll say something completely mundane, and suddenly Camila will get upset.

Before Lauren can ask her if she’s okay, Camila speaks. “I don’t know. I’ll probably just sit in my room and write emo lyrics.”

“Then it’s settled,” Lauren decides. “I’ll have the house to myself on New Year’s Eve, since my parents have an annual thing they do with their friends, and my siblings will be with their friends too. So you’re coming over, and we’re going to get drunk and see the New Year in together. Okay?”

If anything, that makes Camila even sadder, and her forced smile makes Lauren’s heart sink. That’s when she realises why Camila is so upset; she wants her New Year’s kiss to be with the girl she’s crushing on. Even if she hangs out with Lauren, she won’t get that.

“I’d love to-” Camila starts, but before she can finish, Lauren interrupts.

“Or we could go to a party with Mani.” Lauren suggests; even though she prefers her earlier idea, if it’ll make Camila happy, she’ll take her to a party. Maybe it’ll give her the chance to kiss the girl she likes at midnight. “It’s up to you.”

Finally, Camila laughs. “You know I don’t like parties, Laur. I’d love to come to yours and hang out.”

Lauren cracks a smile, and her heart soars. “Nice. I’ll get us a decent alcohol supply. But are you going to tell me why you were so sad?”

“I just… feel really weird today. Like…” Camila sighs, “like it’s my last day on Earth.”

Lauren frowns, because she doesn’t exactly know how to comfort Camila when it’s something like that. “I mean… when I went through a rough time, when I was figuring myself out and everything, I guess sometimes I felt like that. Like there wasn’t a point in doing anything. So I made plans with Mani and… and Lucy. You know, to have something to look forward to when things were bleak.”

But making plans is the problem, Camila thinks, because I’m not going to be here to do them. I’m going to be somewhere you hate me. “I guess. Thanks, Lauren.”

Lauren smiles, giving Camila a comforting squeeze. “I’m always going to be here to impart wisdom on Camzi.”

Camila laughs. “Stop acting like you’re so much older than me. I get it, I’m like a little baby sister to you.”

Lauren looks Camila over with a smile. Definitely not with some of the thoughts I’ve been having lately. Admittedly, when she first met Camila, she did see her like that. But she hasn’t thought that way for a while.

“I guess we will be the same age soon,” Lauren replies, “looks like you’re elderly, too.”

Camila just smiles and wraps her arms around Lauren’s waist. “Shut up and watch this dumb movie with me. Maybe it’ll get better as it progresses.”

It definitely doesn’t. When Sinu comes in to tell them to turn it down, Camila and Lauren are passed out in each other’s arms, the movie still playing in the background.

December 19th, 2016

Sunlight from the open curtains wakes Camila up. She blinks, squinting, quickly rolling over and hiding her face in her pillow. Judging by how groggy she is, it’s way too early for her to be awake. She enjoys the few moments of blissful ignorance that comes with just waking up, when her heart drops.

She fell asleep.

She sits bolt upright, but she doesn’t even have to check her phone to know what’s happened. The bed next to her is cold, and Lauren is nowhere to be seen. Inexplicably, her eyes start to well with tears, and her heart feels empty. She’s back. She’s back in a world where Lauren hates her, where the girls hate her.

She has her career back, at least. That’s one thing she doesn’t have to worry about. She gets to do the thing she loves, and even though she’s in the exact same position she was before, somehow it hurts so much more.

She rolls over to pick up her phone, not sure what she’s even going to do once she gets it, but lands on something soft. She frowns, wiping the tears from her eyes, and puts her hand under the sheets to grab the item.

It’s Nala.

Camila’s eyes widen as she looks at the stuffed animal in shock, and she jumps up from her bed, flinging the bathroom door open, not caring if Lauren is stark naked in there, and just hoping that she’s there. But when she opens the door, the bathroom is empty, and Camila’s heart sinks. She cuddles the stuffed lion to her chest, burying her face in Lauren’s comforting scent, wondering if this is all she has left of the older girl.

She shuts the bathroom door with a sigh and squeezes Nala tightly, before putting the lion down on her bed. She opens the bedroom door this time, and listens for any sign of anyone awake in the house, but she’s met with silence.

With a sigh, she goes downstairs and into the kitchen, her eyes widening so much they nearly pop out of her skull when she sees Lauren Jauregui, sat at the kitchen table, sipping on a mug of tea.

Lauren looks up and smiles at her. “Hey, Camz. Sorry, I woke up a little while ago and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I figured I’d come and make a hot drink and see if that’d help. I didn’t think you’d- whoa!”

Lauren cuts herself off as Camila practically jumps on her and pulls her in for a hug. She blinks in surprise, but her arms wrap around Camila and give her a gentle squeeze, and the younger Latina can’t quite believe she’s still here.

“I thought you’d gone,” Camila murmurs, burying her face into Lauren’s neck. “I thought…”

I thought I’d lost you, Camila finishes in her head, I thought you hated me again.

“Sorry. I didn’t know that’d freak you out.” Lauren replies, pulling away a little to smile at her. “You know I wouldn’t just sneak out and ditch you, right?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Camila nods, breathing a sigh of relief, “I know. I was just worried.”

That little part of her, the part that wants her career more than anything is yelling at her, saying what the fuck Camila, don’t you want to be back where you belong? But Camila isn’t thinking about that right now. The only thing she’s thinking about is how Lauren is here, and she doesn’t hate her. They’re friends and everything is okay.

Yeah, except you’re stuck in an alternate universe. That isn’t okay, her brain rationalises, you can’t let a crush get in the way of your dreams, idiot.

But it’s not a crush. Camila knows it’s not a crush. There’s much history and emotion between her and Lauren for it to be anything less than love.

“Come on,” Lauren says, draining her mug and standing up. “Let’s go back to bed. It’s way too early for me to function properly.”

Camila nods, following Lauren back upstairs and clambering into bed next to the older girl. She practically wraps herself around Lauren, not wanting to let go for fear of her disappearing.

Lauren doesn’t seem to find her too clingy. Instead, she laughs and puts an arm around her. “Alright, I guess I can be the big spoon for once. Sleep well, Camz.”

Camila doesn’t go back to sleep. She’s not sure if she’s just so happy that she can’t sleep, or she doesn’t dare go back to sleep, in fear of being sent back to where she’s supposed to be. Either way, for the moment, she decides not to dwell on it, and save her confusion for the next time she meets up with Lucy.

For now, she’s perfectly content to lay here with Lauren while she sleeps.

Thieves (Prologue)

(Trigger warning: gun violence and death)

The dark-haired girl was about to light up a cigarette when she saw her boyfriend, Tyrone, walk down the street. She could only make out his silhouette through the heavy rain that fell down from the sky and collided loudly with the ground but the closer he got the more it got obvious that he was in hurry. She let the cigarette and lighter disappear in the pockets of her leather jacket and approached him halfway, putting on her hood so that her hair wouldn’t get too wet now that she had to leave the little roof she stood under.

“Hey, baby,” The man greeted her. His hands were hidden in the deeps of his pockets and his face was barely visible, “We’ve got a problem,” He announced straight up and Lauren crossed her arms, waiting for him to continue without bothering to interrupt him. “Steph called and I have to help him,” He explained and Lauren couldn’t hold back an eye roll.

“Of course,” She mumbled. “And what’s up with the deal now?” She wanted to know. They had been planning this deal for months now and Lauren knew the man they made the deal with wouldn’t waste more of his time to get this over with another time. But neither Lauren nor Tyrone could afford to give up on this deal, therefore they depend too much on the commodity and Lauren hoped that her boyfriend knew how important it was that he chose Lauren over his brother this time.

Tyrone took a deep breath and had an apocalyptical look on his face, so that Lauren already knew what he would say next. She shook her head and refused his idea but he spoke before she could say anything. “I’m sorry, baby. But you have to do this alone, it’s too late for a backtrack,” His voice was stern and Lauren knew that she couldn’t do anything against his plan now. He took off the bag he wore over his shoulder and handed it to his girlfriend. “There’s enough money and a gun, for the case that there’ll be a problem,” He told her.

Lauren knew he didn’t fully trust the guy he made the deal with and usually, he wouldn’t let her go by herself but Lauren also knew that he would do everything for his brother and he always had priority, something that annoyed her more than once in the past and caused many fights between the couple but it never changed.

“Okay,” Was the only thing the latina said before she ripped the bag out of Tyrone’s grip and put it over her shoulders, turning around only moments later, ready to leave when Tyrone grabbed her wrist and pulled her back.

“Why do I not get a kiss?” He asked.

“Fuck you, Ty!” She whispered and lifted up her middle finger before she walked away, hearing his dirty laugh through the rain. She didn’t turn back around but she didn’t have to either because she knew he was already walking in the opposite direction, not caring how Lauren felt in the situation he put her in. Their relationship had always been difficult since they met and a part of Lauren believed that this would never change and she deserved something better, but another part told her that this was all she was worth and there wouldn’t be someone else for her, at least not someone better than Tyrone. Living on the street for so long left its marks, in her looks as well as in her behavior, so at some point, she started to think that she wasn’t worth more than what she already got and the more she thought about it in the past the more it sounded plausible.

She went to the mutually agreed point but there was no one to be seen yet, so she looked out for another shelter where she could take out her cigarette again. She just needed this now, to relieve some stress that was gathering inside her mind and taking over the control. This time nothing kept her away from lighting up the venomous substance and she took a first long drag, inhaling it like it was a saver of life and not something that could ruin it over the pass of time. Lauren had always despised the taste of cigarettes and it never changed, not even after years of smoking. It just became an addiction to the latina, just like so many other things since her youth.

She wasn’t done when she let the rest of the cigaret fall on the ground and stepped on it with her heavy boots, while she breathed out the last smoke that was left in her lungs, letting it die in the rain. She took off the bag again so that she could take out the gun and check whether Tyrone really put enough money in it or just wanted Lauren to believe that he wouldn’t put her in a dangerous situation but he didn’t lie to her about this.

The girl had to wait for another 5 minutes before a black range rover drove on the secluded property far away from the bright lights of New York City and the deal could finally start. She hid the loaded gun in her pants and walked towards the car, no one had left yet. She came to stop in front of it with crossed arms and waited for someone to finally get out.

“Lauren,” She recognized the voice and seconds later the man it belonged to stepped out of the car, just as the rain slowly stopped. He fixed his expensive tuxedo before he went through his gelled hair and looked up at Lauren. “What a pleasant surprise to see you’re alone,” Hector said with a hungry look on his face which cloyed the young woman. It wasn’t the first time the two of them met so Lauren was everything but surprised by his inappropriate comment. “But…” He added when he walked towards Lauren, making her feel more uncomfortable with every step he came closer. “You’re not the person I made a deal with. Where is he?” His voice changed and Lauren knew he wasn’t in the mood for any games. By now, he was so close that Lauren could smell his strong scent and she would love to take a step backwards but she wasn’t in the position to reject his proximity. She carefully unfolded her arms and silently threw the bag in front of his feet. “Nuh uh,” He shook his head and kicked the money back at Lauren, without even having a closer look at it. “I asked where he is and not where my money is.”

“He’s obviously not here,” She replied provocatively, trying to gain some confidence. Tyrone trusted her that she wouldn’t ruin this, so she had to act like the man, standing two feet away from him didn’t make her feel uncomfortable and intimidated. In fact, Hector wasn’t who intimidated her because she knew, he was just a privileged idiot with too much money and the right connections, what indeed intimidated her was that she knew what she would lose if this went wrong and once she lost it she wouldn’t get another resource soon enough. “But I’m here and a deal is a deal,” She demanded, kicking the money once again back at Hector’s feet.

“You know I don’t make deals with little girls,” He laid his head to the side and looked at Lauren with a naughty look and this time it was his turn to cross his arms. “Either he comes here in less than 10 minutes or you have to find someone else,” He threatened, turning back around so that he could go back in the car but before he could do so Lauren took out the gun and pointed at him.

“I wouldn’t get in the car if I was you,” She said with a dominant voice that made the man stop immediately. She knew this couldn’t end well for her and sooner or later she would have to pay a high price for the moment she decided to pull out the gun, but now it was the only option because she knew she couldn’t rely on Tyrone now and proceed on the assumption that this situation was what he meant when he said the gun is for the case that there would something go wrong.

“Do you want me to be scared now?” He laughed after he turned around again and saw the weapon in Lauren’s hand, visibly amused by the fact that the latina thought pointing a gun at him would help her. “Look at you, when we first met you weren’t so fragile as you are now,” He said with a look of sympathy in his eyes, daring to come closer to Lauren again. “Your green eyes could kill and now? Now they are so lifeless, you killed yourself inside and it’s painfully obvious, little one. Why are you putting yourself in such a situation? Do you even know how to use a gun because-” Before he could finish his sentence Lauren pointed the gun inches before his feet and shot the ground.

She pulled the trigger without thinking about it but seeing the look on Hector’s face made it worth it. There was clear surprise written all of it but also fear, it wasn’t too obvious but Lauren could see it in his blue eyes, the way they darkened a little and his pupils dilated, staring at Lauren’s, that tightly held on to the gun. Both watched as a slight smoke rose and disappeared into the dark night. “I know how to use a gun,” She informed him with a smug smile, loosening her gaze from the gun and looking up at Hector again, just as he gulped with the fear still visible in his eyes. “And now give me the commodity,” She forced him and seemed to work because he went to the back of the car and took out a bag with what Lauren assumed the drugs were in.

He threw the bag in her direction and she caught it with ease, yet she didn’t forget to keep pointing the gun at Hector. She opened it with the other hand to check whether everything was in it and looked back at Hector who was now standing in front of her again. “You got embarrassed by a woman you tried to drag down for her gender, how pathetic,” She whispered the last part and enjoyed seeing the anger in his face.

“Oh baby, you really think I’d let you do me like this?” He asked rhetorically while his face got red with anger. “I just wanted you to see what you love the most before I’m gonna end the sad thing you call your life. Or did you really think I’d come here without my own gun?” He hissed and after these words left his mouth his driver stepped out of the car.

Lauren had met Hector’s people more than once and until today she was sure that she had seen all their faces but this one didn’t seem to fit in. Out of the car stepped a tall dark-skinned man with a similar tuxedo to Hector’s. When Lauren met his dark eyes they were piercing through her like a knife and something about this seemed awfully familiar yet she was sure that this was the first time she saw him with Hector. There was a scar under the man’s left eye she could definitely recognize, it was the kind of scar you couldn’t forget because it seemed so nasty that it poisoned every beauty left in someone’s face. But before Lauren could remember where she knew this face from the man pointed his gun and pulled the trigger not changing his facial expression for a millisecond.

But it wasn’t Lauren’s body that was met with a bullet, it was Hector’s. Lauren’s eyes widen when she looked at Hector, seeing his eyes filling with tears, scared of the death that would get him now. He knew it, she could see in his eyes that he knew he was taking his last breaths. She could see how he felt so much at once and she wished she didn’t.

His body slowly lost its balance and Lauren let the gun she held slide to the ground and quickly took a few steps towards to catch his body which soon lost all its life. “No, no, no,” Lauren kept saying to herself with panic in her voice. She tried to find Hector’s pulse but she wasn’t able to make it out and tears were welling up in her own eyes now. She tried to find any sign that there was still a chance to save him but she had to acknowledge that he was dead. She closed his cold eyes, not being able to bear the death stare in them and let his body drop to the ground. She held her hands up in front of her so that she could see the blood on them and letting the moment sink in before she looked up at the man, waiting for him to make Lauren his next victim.

But he just stood there, his eyes switching between Lauren and the dead body. Lauren couldn’t find the slightest sign of remorse in these eyes and she asked herself how someone could be so cold. Suddenly everything seemed so surreal and she could grasp what just happened. She witnessed how a life ended without warning and now she was sure that the bullet meant for her own body would come soon. She wanted to run but when she looked down to figure out why she couldn’t get up she saw that she had Hector’s blood all over her and she had to hold back a few breathes so that she wouldn’t vomit. Everything started twisting and her ears started to sense police sirens in the distance but her brain didn’t get the information, so she just stayed kneeling there like rooted to the spot.

“You’re welcome,” She heard the perpetrator of this action say. Not just his eyes were cold but so was his voice. She watched as he quietly put away his gun before letting his neck crack and took a step backwards so that he could get in the car again and drove off, leaving Lauren alone with the corpse.

Only a few minutes later the sirens got louder, so loud that Lauren couldn’t overhear the noise anymore and so loud that she knew it was too late to run. “Hands up!” A police officer yelled when they were there and Lauren did what he told her to. It wasn’t until she felt the cold metal from the handcuffs that she knew she lost her freedom. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you by the court. If you decide to answer questions, you have the right to stop at any time.” The officer continued and Lauren didn’t say a word, hoping that this was only just a dream.

Aye I’m excited to share this with you guys and more is coming soon (:

Wattpad: @Wuskripa

Wicked Games (Chapter 19)

“I’m selfish. I want you all to myself, I swear, you don’t need nobody else.” – PnB Rock

A small, faint buzzing woke me from my nap. I sat up, wiping my eyes and then rolled over to grab my phone off the nightstand.

Dinah: 21st birthday party for Missy tonight at our place! 8 oclock!

I sighed deeply at that text. I had totally forgotten it was Missy’s birthday. Should I really go to that? A part of me wanted to so I could try to talk to Lauren, but a part of me didn’t want to so I could keep away from Lauren, her drama, and all of the feelings she stirs up inside of me.

The girl had done her typical ignoring act during practice and once practice was over she was out of the locker room quick as lightning, probably to avoid me. I tried to text her afterwards, but didn’t get a response. I looked hopefully at my phone one more time to see if she had responded and.. nothing.

I peeked over at the clock. It was almost seven-thirty. For the past week, this is typically when Lauren would be here. Her beautiful body on full display for me. Not tonight I guess.

I couldn’t help myself. I got on snap chat and sure enough, Lauren had added a picture to her story. I opened it up and gulped. It was an astoundingly intimidating photo of her in full makeup. I couldn’t stop staring at her green eyes. All I could think about was her being here with me this past week, how I made her body mine, how those eyes looked at me with such passion. I turned off my phone and stood up. I had to go. I had to see her. I had to get her to come home with me tonight.

I got dressed in my best outfit and put on makeup as quickly as I could. I left my house about twenty minutes after eight o’clock and got to their place about ten minutes later. Once inside, I realized the party wasn’t just women’s basketball. The men’s team was there too, along with some people from a few other sports, and some other people I didn’t really recognize. It was a little more crowded than I was expecting. I was met with greetings from my teammates and I went to each one and gave them a hug. I stopped and chatted with the birthday girl for a few moments as well. I still didn’t see Lauren yet, but whilst looking around I found a different brunette. Keana was there.

We made eye contact and she lifted her cup at me in greeting. I walked over to her.

“Hey,” I grinned.

“Hi gorgeous,” she complimented. “Guess you decided to come out and have a little fun?”

“Sometimes I can have fun,” I mentioned unconvincingly.

“Really? I would have never guessed. You’re always so tense.. well, the two times I’ve seen you, you’re tense.”

“Am I tense now?” I implored.

She took a sip from her cup and gave me the once over. “I don’t know.. I’m not sure.”

I laughed, slightly unnerved by the look she gave me, “I’ll take that.”

That is when Dinah came up to me with an overly aggressive hug.

“Woah.. hey buddy,” I chuckled, nearly falling backwards. The party had only just started, but Dinah was already intoxicated. They must have pregamed.

Dinah was begging me to come with her to play beer pong and she just wasn’t taking no for an answer, so I politely excused myself from Keana and went back to the kitchen. “We got next!” Dinah shouted as we entered the room.

That is where I found Lauren. She was standing next to a guy on the men’s team named Matt. He was of average height, slightly taller than her, with a toned build. He had short light blonde hair and bright blue eyes. I hated to admit it, but he was pretty attractive. They were partnered up on one side of the beer pong table and Ally and Normani were partnered on the other side. Micah and Missy were also in the kitchen along with a couple other guys on the basketball team.

I almost started laughing because it wasn’t looking good for Mani and Ally. They still had seven cups left and Lauren and Matt were on their last two cups. “Guys… you gotta pick it up! Come on now,” I chided to Mani and Ally. Ally threw her hands in the air and screamed “Mila!” as she ran and practically tackled me in a hug. “Man, everyone’s acting like they didn’t just see me this morning.” Normani, clearly the only one here not completely intoxicated, shook her head and gave me a side hug, “even Lebron has off nights,” she tried to justify her poor beer pong performance.

“Who said you’re Lebron? You’re more like JR Smith,” I teased which earned an arm punch from her because JR is her least favorite player on the Cavs. I threw my hands up, pleading innocence, “kidding, kidding.”

Reluctantly I finally turned to the other side of the table. Matt waved in greeting and said, “Hi, Camila.” To which I responded with only a fake smile. Lauren didn’t even acknowledge me and instead complained, “Can we get the game started again?”

I crossed my arms and shook my head. Guess it’s gonna be one of those nights again. Although she wasn’t looking at me, I certainly was looking at her. She was wearing a black and white striped two-piece jumpsuit that was definitely hugging her figure in all of the right places. She wore her hair straight, with it all tucked on one side of her shoulder currently, so the soft skin on her other shoulder was exposed. She was looking elegant, but sexy as hell. I eventually tore my eyes from her and sauntered over to the kitchen counter to fix myself a drink while I waited. I’d only just started pouring the Bacardi into my cup when I heard Lauren and Matt cheering behind me. I turned, raising my eyebrow to find the game was over and Matt and Lauren had completely blown Mani and Ally out. Mani and Ally were each chugging their loser cups while Lauren and Matt were hugging. I did not like his hand placement one bit. It was on the small of her back just barely above her ass. I was already getting irritated. I downed the little bit of Bacardi in my cup, as Dinah called me over.

“Lets do this Mila! We gotta put a stop to their winning streak!” she slurred.

“Yeah, seriously,” Mani groaned after she finished her drink and wiped her mouth. “They’ve won the past four games.”

I looked up to find Matt whispering something in Lauren’s ear. Whatever he said, Lauren was smiling and nodding. Aggravation bottled up and caused me to blurt out, “hey!” I made myself jump I said it so loud. Both of their heads snapped to look at me. Trying to play it cool, I lowered my pitch and asked, “You two ready to start?”

Finally the two of them separated. I was determined to win. Whatever this was going on with them two, it needed to stop. I peeked at Lauren as Dinah rolled the ping pong balls across the table to Matt. Lauren had been looking at me. I stiffened up and when Lauren realized she had been caught she smirked. Smirked! What the hell is that? She looked away because Matt was handing her a ball.

I shook my head, I wasn’t going to let her distract me anymore.

We got started and Matt took the first shot, which he sank. Dinah groaned in response. I watched Lauren intently as she leaned forward making her top raise up a little and expose some skin of her stomach. Her eyebrows creased and she bit her lip in concentration. Gosh, she looked so cu- wait, no I wasn’t letting her distract me. Instead, I decided to focus on the cups. I watched as a ball suddenly fell into one of the cups in the back row.

I frowned and Dinah groaned once again, much louder and much more obnoxiously this time. ‘Damn they’re good.’ The sounds of irritation from Dinah were accompanied by cheers from Matt and Lauren to my dismay.

I picked the balls out of the cups, and moved them to the side. Once again, I avoided Lauren’s gaze at all costs. I already knew those eyes of hers would make me miss completely. I focused on the cups on the right side of the pyramid and took my shot. The ball bounced on one cup then fell into the cup directly behind it. It was my turn to smirk.

Dinah instantly yelled, “That’s two cups, baby!”

I shook my head at her volume, but watched as she took her shot. She airballed completely. She pouted deeply, then turned to me and shrugged. I laughed and patted her shoulder, “You’re just warmin’ up,” although I expected nothing less from her the rest of the game.

The next round Matt missed, but Lauren sank another cup. In response, I made a cup in the corner and Dinah miraculously happened to make the same cup so we got balls back. Unfortunately, we both missed on our second chance.

The game went back and forth until we each had only two cups left. The partygoers around us were cheering me and Dinah along since we were the overwhelming underdogs in this game. Although it was just a simple party game, for some reason I felt there was more at stake. Maybe it was sad, but I wanted to prove to Lauren that I was better than this Matt guy. I knew a stupid beer pong game is not going to determine whether or not Matt is better than me, but I really did not like how flirtatious they were being with eachother so I did not want him to beat me in any way.

My heart was starting to beat pretty fast when I picked up the ping pong ball. I was feeling some pressure. Except for the one shot she made, Dinah had been relatively useless throughout the game because she was too drunk to see the cups properly, so it had pretty much all been up to me. I really wanted to beat Matt and Lauren and put an end to whatever was going on with them.

I was starting to focus really hard on one of the cups when I noticed Lauren out of my periphery. I had done a great job of avoiding looking at her despite multiple attempts by her to distract me, but this time I failed to ignore her. She leaned over the table right behind the cup I was looking at, her shirt hung loosely enough for me to get a great view of her cleavage. My jaw tightened as the cup blurred away from my focus and instead her boobs perched above a push-up bra became my entire field of vision. Almost immediately, my thoughts went to a dirty place, reliving memories of that part of her body pressed up against me. After a few seconds of staring I came to and looked up to meet her eyes for the first time since the game started. That typical arrogant smirk of hers was back. She knew exactly what she was doing. “Are you going to take your shot, Camz?” Lauren teased suggestively.

I blinked in embarassment and threw the ball. It airballed, landing just in front of Lauren’s chest. ‘Wow, I really could not have made it more obvious’ I chastised myself internally. The stupid grin on Lauren’s face as she stood back up was enough to have me teetering on the brink of rage. Dinah shot and missed, of course. Now I was starting to sweat, my composure slipping away.

It only got worse when Matt got his cup. Lauren exclaimed, “Yes!” wrapping her arm around him. I could only watch in horror as the two of them smiled at each other, their faces inches apart. Luckily that did not last long. Lauren leaned back, removing her arm from him. Her face constricted again with concentration as she stared at the lonely cup infront of us. I crossed my fingers behind my back, desperately hoping she would miss.

I was sorely disappointed. I heard a clunk as the ball landed inside of the cup. Although the rest of the party groaned like Dinah, Matt started jumping up and down, screaming “Yes!” over and over again. I didn’t know why he was so excited, but I also felt pretty stupid for how lousy I was feeling about losing a dumb party game. Unfortunately for me, there is no redemption shot in this household. I gladly took the assortment of beers inside of the losers’ cup and downed that sucker quickly. The taste was horrendous and my face cringed as soon as I finished the cup, but at least I started feeling a buzz pretty soon afterwards.

Ally called us all into the living room because Missy was about to blow out the candles of her cake. From then on, I did my best to refocus on the true purpose of this party and be a good friend for Missy. We all sang happy birthday for her and cheered her on as she got to take some of her first legal drinks. I enjoyed myself a big fat piece of cake and sat on the couch amongst my friends.

I was joking around with Ally and Micah when I saw it. Across the room was Lauren, seated next to Matt. They were sitting close, too close. My laugh automatically stopped. Both of them had drinks in their hands and even punched them together as if they were cheering something. Then it happened. Matt leaned forward and placed his lips on hers.

Within an instant, my blood was boiling and my fists were clenched so hard, my knuckles turned white and my nails were drawing blood in my palms. I am jealous. Probably more jealous than I have ever been in my entire life. What was even more infuriating was that I didn’t even have a right to be angry. Lauren and I aren’t in an exclusive relationship and we never were going to be, but still, I was furious. Unable to tear my eyes away from what was happening across the room, I saw Matt’s hand begin to wander up her thigh and I felt like I was about to break my teeth I was clenching my jaw so hard. The worst part was that she was reciprocating.

“Mila? Are you ok?” I vaguely heard coming from the direction of Ally and Micah.

“Fine,” I spat out.

I had felt jealousy before with Emma, but I never felt it on this level. With Emma I was never concerned because I felt secure in our relationship. There was no security in my relationship with Lauren, or whatever the hell we are. I felt completely threatened by Matt. He could mess everything up between us. What if Lauren no longer wanted me? What if I lost my opportunity to make her fall for me forever? What if she would stop making late night trips to see me? ‘God, I’m being selfish.’ I thought to myself. In all reality, would I even want to have sex with her if she was messing around with Matt at the same time? For a sad moment, I considered what that may be like. What have I become? Where my sexual desires are more important than my sanity and my dignity. But if I was being truly frank with myself.. it was never just about sex with Lauren.

I was about to look away and try to move on with my night, but Lauren pulled away from Matt slightly. However, Matt traveled to her neck, continuing his invasion of my woman. Lauren’s piercing green eyes looked straight at me. My mouth fell open slightly at her nerve. Her lips were curled up into a tight smile. It was as if she was challenging me, daring me to stop her.

That was the straw that broke me. I painfully ripped my eyes from her and abruptly rose from my seat. I charged back to the kitchen, shoving one of the freshman on our team aside so I could pick up a beer bottle out of the pack. I popped the top off and started chugging it. I got about half way down before I got a better idea.

I made my way through the party crowd, keeping my eyes peeled for what I was looking for. I found her standing with a couple of guys on the basketball team a few feet away from where Lauren and Matt were getting cozy.

I sauntered straight past Lauren, not even giving her a glance, and stepped up to Keana. “That offer still stand?” I questioned her, not caring about whatever conversation she had been having with those guys who were clearly drooling over her.

She looked me up and down, an eyebrow slightly raised in surprise, but her lips turned upwards in pleasure. “For you? Absolutely.”

I took a big swig of the beer, grimacing as I struggled to handle the violent taste inside the bottle. I nodded towards the hall, “Then let’s go then.”

Feeling especially petty, I took Keana into Lauren’s room. It wasn’t until I shut the door that I started second guessing what I was doing.

While I was trying to consider what my next move would be, I heard Keana pipe up behind me, “You sure Lauren won’t mind?”

The mere mention of Lauren stirred something inside of me. I turned to face her and responded harshly, “I don’t care and since when do you?”

“Woah, what do you mean by that?” she looked at me with her eyebrows knitted.

Immediately I softened, already feeling guilty for taking out my emotions about Lauren on her. “Nothing, sorry.”

We made eye contact and my pulse quickened. She raised an eyebrow, looking at me with anticipation. I took one more sip of liquid courage and then set the bottle down on Lauren’s nightstand. Leaning forward, I had just barely grazed Keana’s lips before she lightly pushed me backwards.

“You know, what I meant by distraction didn’t have to be sex,” Keana commented carefully.

I sighed with relief. It was like she read my mind. I didn’t really want to do this. I didn’t really know what I was doing to be honest. Seeing Lauren being with somebody else made me snap. Although I barely even kissed Keana, I already felt ashamed by my actions. It felt so high school. I never would have pictured myself acting this way, but Lauren makes me feel things in such a raw way that I almost lose all self-control with her around.

“..If you need to talk.. we can just talk..” Keana’s voice pulled me out of my thoughts. I nodded, taking a seat on Lauren’s bed with dejection. Keana sat down next to me. I could not believe that this model status girl even wanted to have sex with me in the first place, but now I was even more taken aback by how gentle and kind she was being. She seemed to pick up on exactly how apprehensive I was and she was not forcing me to do anything.

We both just rested there for a few moments in silence. I honestly didn’t know where to begin. I also didn’t know how much Keana knew about me and Lauren. Apparently she knew enough.

“Is this about Lauren?” Keana suddenly spoke. It had been so quiet aside from the distant noises from the party that it almost shocked me. I nodded in confession.

“Look, Lauren’s my friend, but sometimes she doesn’t know a good thing when she’s got it.”

I tweaked an eyebrow upwards, speaking for the first time in minutes. “Ha.. funny, I was thinking that about myself.”

“What do you mean?”

I sighed. “I have a girl back home.. I have a lot of history with her.. Not to sound cocky, but I could probably make her mine right now if I wanted to.” I was worried I was saying too much to this relative stranger, but to my surprise, Keana was listening intently.

“Well, I guess that’s the thing,” she murmured.

“What?” I was curious to see what this outsider had to say about my situation.

“If you wanted to, she would be yours right now.. so I guess deep down that’s not what you really want.”

I stared at her, speechless. Was it really that simple? Had this girl I barely met figured me out before I could? That’s not the truth though.. right?

“What if I do really want her, but I’m too scared to give her another opportunity to hurt me?” I wondered out loud.

“Looks to me like you’re giving Lauren an opportunity to hurt you.”

Well, shit. I turned and made eye contact with Keana. There is more to this girl than meets the eye. I see now why Lauren took a liking to her. She is smart and intuitive. I reached over to grab my bottle and took a big swig. “I misjudged you.”

Her eyes softened and a light laugh escaped her lips. “Let me guess, did you think I was a whore?” she asked with a wide grin.

I smiled with guilt at her and nodded slightly.

“Well I am,” she chuckled. “I’d have my way with you right now if you really wanted it, but I’m not stupid. I can see it’s not me you want.”

“Am I that obvious?” I inquired.

Keana shrugged. “No.. you weren’t to me until I saw the way you were looking at her while she was kissing Matt. You looked so sad.”

I looked down, reminded of that horrible moment. I took a deep breath. I couldn’t believe it, but my gut was telling me to tell her something I hadn’t told anybody. She just seemed so understanding and trustworthy to me in this moment that I couldn’t seem to stop the words before they were forming. It also didn’t help that I was pretty close to drunk.

“I’m falling for her, Keana.”

There. The words were out. I had finally admitted it to not only someone else, but myself as well.

Keana’s comforting voice returned, “I wish I could tell you that I know how she feels, but I really don’t. She keeps most things to herself.”

I nodded, completely understanding. “She definitely does.” All I’ve been doing since I met Lauren is trying to deconstruct those thick walls she has built up. I’ve known her for about three years now and I still feel like I have so much more to learn about her.

I couldn’t believe how wrong I was about Keana. In her words, I guess I was still right, but I only knew her on a superficial level. Now I had seen how much deeper her mind and soul is and I was very thankful I ended up trying to hook up with someone like her. She was a very beautiful girl on the outside, but I could see now that she wasn’t bankrupt on the inside like I had originally thought.

Keana stood up as well and when she did so I pulled her in to a hug. “Thank you,” I genuinely said to her.

“Oh, I’m on that level with you now?” She joked, referencing our conversation from earlier today.

I grinned from ear to ear. “Yes, you are now.”

“Can I at least cop a feel of your ass?” The original Keana I met came out of nowhere. I laughed so hard at that request I probably could have been heard by everyone at the party.


AN: Back from a long hiatus! Hope you all enjoy 🙂

just a dream – sixteen

December 12th, 2016

“I just don’t understand this,” Camila sighs, leaning against the desk as Lucy shuts the classroom door. “Why would we come here for like… four months, just to go back again after nothing significant? If your theory was right, I’ve got until Sunday. I’ll go to sleep on Sunday and wake up back where I’m supposed to be. But why?”

“Look, I know it’s complicated, but what else could it be?” Lucy asks her. “You kissed Lauren and you didn’t go back, and we thought that’d do it. So maybe it’s something simple like that. We go back on the day we got here.”

“It doesn’t feel right, though,” Camila argues, “I feel no different than I did when I got here, except the feelings for Lauren that I’ve spent so long getting rid of are back in full force. So that’s great.”

“I think you’re pretty different,” Lucy shrugs. “And it might not just be Lauren. You’re closer with the other girls too.”

“Yeah, but there hasn’t been a big thing,” Camila insists, getting so frustrated she starts to pace. “I just don’t see why I’d go back yet.”

“Change is subtle sometimes,” Lucy answers. “I think it’s pretty impossible to go through something as insane as this and not change at least a little.”

Camila sighs. “Well, yeah, but… it just doesn’t feel right.”

Lucy laughs. “What’s right about any of this? We’re stuck in some weird, alternate dimension. That’s not normal.”

Camila can’t help it; she laughs too, but it doesn’t do much to ease the tension in her body. “I just don’t understand any of this. Why would I go back after doing nothing significant?”

Lucy frowns at her, as Camila lets out a long sigh. “Shouldn’t you be happy, though? Do you… do you not want to go back?”

“No, what? Of course I do,” Camila answers, a little too quickly. “It’s just… I haven’t done anything, you know? I don’t want to go back with all of these lingering questions, is all.”

Lucy watches her for a moment, considering her words, but not looking like she believes her. “Well, I don’t know. Do you have any theories?”

“No,” Camila answers, “I’ve been here for months and I’ve come up with no reasons as to why-”


At the voice, Camila cuts herself off, and the classroom door opens. When Lauren sees her, she smiles, but then she spots Lucy and her face falls. Camila clears her throat at the immediate tension in the room.

“Uh, hey, Laur,” Camila smiles at her. “I didn’t realise we were talking so loudly.”

“Uh, yeah,” Lauren replies distractedly, not taking her eyes off Lucy. “Um… hey.”

Lucy sends Lauren a tentative smile. “Hi, Lauren. How are you doing?”

Lauren bites down on her bottom lip and looks away, shrugging. “Fine. Um, Camz, I need to talk to you, so…”

“Oh, okay,” Camila grabs her backpack from where she’d left it on the seat. “I’ll see you around, Lucy.”

“Yeah,” Lucy replies, “see you guys.”

Camila walks over and meets Lauren, following her out of the room. As soon as they’re out of sight, Lauren lets out a long sigh and shakes her head.

“Sorry,” Lauren apologises quickly, “I didn’t mean to… to interrupt and make things awkward.”

“It’s not a big deal,” Camila answers, “I know you’re not entirely okay with her yet and-”

“It isn’t that. I still… obviously I still care about her,” Lauren interrupts, “but I just… wasn’t expecting to see you with her. And I haven’t really… spoken to her since we broke up.”

“Maybe you should,” Camila suggests, knowing that it might still be too early. “I mean, you guys were best friends before you dated. So part of it is probably missing the friendship too. So… when you’re ready, you should rekindle that with her, you know?”

Lauren shrugs. “I mean, I get the idea, but I’m not sure. She really hurt me.”

“I know, and I’m not saying right now,” Camila clarifies. “I mean like, once you’re ready and feel like you’re over the romantic feelings you have for her.”

“I guess I’m making a step in the right direction.” Lauren shrugs. “I have a coffee date later.”

Camila’s heart stops, and she feels that familiar sting of heartache she’d get every time Lauren would mention liking someone that isn’t her. “You- you have a date?”

“It’s not anything serious,” Lauren is quick to explain, “it’s just… a guy asked me out to get some coffee and I figured why not, you know?”

“Oh,” Camila bites down on her bottom lip, “you know, it’s just… I thought you weren’t over Lucy yet?”

“Well, not one hundred percent, and I don’t think I ever really will be because she’s my first love,” Lauren explains, “but it’s not a big deal. It’s just one little date.”

“If it’s not a big deal then what’s the point in you going?” Camila tries to reason as casually as possible. “Besides, you just said you’re not over Lucy.”

Lauren just shrugs. “I also said I don’t think I’d ever be over her. Not entirely. And like I said, it’s one little date. I figured I might as well go.”

“Oh, um,” for some reason, Camila feels like torturing herself a little more. “Who is it with?”

Lauren shrugs. “Brad Simpson. He’s in my math class.”

Camila’s stomach drops even more, and she tries her best to get the image of Lauren and Brad of all people out of her head. “Um, okay, I have to go find Dinah. Bye, Lauren.”

As Lauren replies with a ‘wait, what?’ Camila practically sprints down the hallway, getting away from her. She can’t believe it. She’s probably going away on Sunday and she’s already missed her chance with Lauren because of some dumb guy.

It makes her blood boil. It makes her want to fight everyone in sight because she’s so fucking angry, but she’s not sure who she’s madder at; herself, or Brad. She decides she hates Brad, for asking Lauren out, because Lauren was supposed to be hers.

“Do you want to watch a movie with me and Dinah?” Camila asks carefully, knowing things have been awkward around Lauren for a while. “We were going to watch some weird conspiracy videos and I figured you might want to join since Ally and Mani are with their families and-”

“I can’t, Camila,” Lauren answers curtly, not looking up from her phone, “I have a date tonight.”

“A- a date?” Camila cringes when she stutters. “Oh. With who?”

“Brad. He asked me out and I figured why not,” Lauren shrugs, standing up and stretching. “I have to go get my makeup touched up. My call time was three this morning and I want to look presentable. Later, Camila.”

Before Camila can respond, Lauren has walked past her and out of the door, still engrossed in her phone. She sighs to herself, wondering how things ended up so strained.

Camila shakes that memory from her head; that’s not something she wants to think about. What she wants to think about is the wonderful mental image of her punching Brad’s stupid face. That’s what she needs to focus on.

Not about how mad she is at herself for being too late again.

She stalks into her first period class, glaring as she finds her desk, and a rather confused Dinah turns to her with a frown.

“What’s wrong, Chancho?” Dinah asks, and Camila can be glad that that’s at least one thing she’s done right. She still has Dinah as her best friend. “Did you forget your textbook?”

“No,” Camila bites out, trying her best to contain her anger. “Stupid, ugly Brad Simpson asked Lauren out. Before I could. I would’ve done it if I’d known she was ready for that. But some dumb boy got there first. He doesn’t even- how could she want to go on a date with him? He doesn’t even have lips. You can’t kiss someone with no lips.”

Dinah snorts, and Camila tries not to vomit at the thought of Lauren kissing him. Or anyone, really. Anyone that isn’t her.

“Truly savage, Walz,” Dinah laughs, “but what’s the big deal? It’s only one date, right?”

No, because one date can lead to more dates, and more dates can lead to a relationship, which means Lauren would be off the market again and I would’ve completely missed my chance.” Camila slams her head down on the desk, frowning when she actually kind of hurts herself. “Maybe that’s why I’m here. Maybe this is my second chance with her, and I’ve gone ahead and screwed it up. Maybe I will go back on Sunday after all.”

“Wait, what?” Dinah frowns. “You think you’re going back on Sunday?”

“Well, December 18th, 2016 was when I left. I figured- well, Lucy figured that since we both went back by a few months, that’s the time period we’re here for,” Camila tries explaining, hoping that the other students slowly filing into the classroom aren’t listening in and getting ready to commit her to an asylum. “So maybe since I’ve fucked up my second chance with Lauren, I’ll just wake up and be back where I was.”

Dinah hums in thought, but doesn’t comment. “Well, if you wanted a chance with Lauren, why didn’t you tell her?”

“Because I thought she was still heartbroken,” Camila answers, sighing again. “I was trying to be respectful.”

“I’m sorry, Walz,” Dinah squeezes her hand. “Come over to my place tonight. We’ll get takeout and watch a trashy movie to take your mind off her.”

Camila nods, resting her head on Dinah’s shoulder. “Thank you, China. I love you.”

Dinah pauses for a moment, but then she gives her a soft squeeze and murmurs, “I love you too, Mila.”

“So, what do you like to do for fun?”

Lauren takes a sip of her coffee and shrugs. “I like to paint. Sometimes I write songs, but it’s not a big thing that I’m super serious about. It’s pretty much just a form of escapism for-”

“I totally get that,” Brad interrupts her, and Lauren lets out a subtle sigh. Irritatingly, this isn’t the first time he’s interrupted her so far on this date. “I write songs too. My friends tell me I’m like that Shakespeare guy with my lyrics, which is pretty cool. Do you want to listen to one of our songs? I’m in a band, you know.”

Lauren wants to roll her eyes at that last comment. Obviously, the whole I’m in a band thing is a classic line he uses to make girls swoon. Unfortunately for him, it makes Lauren think he’s a douche. But instead, she’s not really thinking about Brad. When she hears you know, it just makes her think of Camila, since the younger girl has a habit of finishing her sentences with you know or you know what I mean, and Lauren has always found that cute.

When she thinks back to Brad’s question, she doesn’t really know how to respond. She really doesn’t want to listen to his music, so she puts on her flirtiest smile as a distraction. “How about you play me it for real some time?”

She hopes that’ll be enough of a no thanks without actually saying no, because after this is over, she has no intention of hanging out with Brad again.

“Sounds good, babe,” Brad smirks at her, and Lauren cringes a little. Too soon for pet names, definitely. “So, what’s with you and that girl you keep hanging with? The dorky one? Is she some kind of charity case or does she just follow you around?”

He laughs at his own joke, but Lauren just frowns. “Um, what?”

“You know, that awkward girl that follows you around,” Brad explains, “the one who fell flat on her face trying to talk to my buddy Austin last year.”

“Are you talking about Camila?” Lauren asks, studying Brad carefully. “Because if you are, she’s my friend, and I don’t let people make fun of my friends.”

“It’s a joke,” Brad replies, “relax. Besides, it’s not like there isn’t truth there. You’re fucking sexy, and she’s awkward and weird. It’s not-”

“Not a very funny joke,” Lauren tells him, standing up and grabbing her jacket. “If you have to make jokes at the expense of someone else, clearly you’re not very funny or original. This date is over.”

With that, she turns on her heel and walks out of the coffee shop, regretting her decision to go out in the first place. She sighs, and sends a text to Camila, seeing if she’s busy, then tucks her phone into her pocket and gets into her car.

She slumps down in the driver’s seat and wonders when dating got so hard. With Lucy, while she had her worries about coming out, and she was confused about her sexuality for a little while, once they’d actually started dating, and were out and proud, everything was simple. Sure, they had their fights, but it never took them long to make up.

She misses that. She misses the connection she had with Lucy, and she knows that one day, she’ll want to be friends again. But right now, that’s too hard. And maybe going out for coffee with whoever asks her isn’t the right way to go about getting back into dating. Maybe she just needs to wait for that connection again.

The only person she’s felt even a small connection with is Camila, but that wouldn’t happen, since they’re friends, and Camila wouldn’t like her like that, anyway. She’s hung up on the girl who would always kiss her and then act like nothing happened, and Lauren wouldn’t want to confuse her even more.

Not that I wouldn’t mind dating Camila, Lauren thinks, but blinks in surprise when that even crosses her mind. No, she’s already ruined one friendship by dating the person, and she doesn’t want to lose Camila, because slowly but surely, Camila has wedged her way into Lauren’s life and made herself at home. Camila is like her rock now, an anchor that has always kept her safe.

When her phone buzzes, she smiles, expecting a text from Camila, but it’s not. It’s from Normani.

Manibear (6:02PM): How’s the date?

Lo (6:02PM): It sucked. I left.

Manibear (6:03PM): You should’ve known it would suck. No white boy in a band is ever interesting.

Lo (6:03PM): Matt Healy begs to differ.

Lo (6:03PM): Did you see Camila at all today? I barely saw her after I ran into her and Lucy.

Manibear (6:04PM): She’s still friends with her?

Lo (6:04PM): Yeah. I told her it’s not a big deal.

Lo (6:04PM): Because it isn’t.

Manibear (6:05PM): As long as you’re okay with it.

Manibear (6:05PM): Are you heading home?

Lo (6:06PM): Yeah. Probably going to watch a few episodes of a show and wallow about how much dating sucks. Feel free to join me.

Manibear (6:07PM): Be at your house in a half hour. Get the popcorn ready.

Lo (6:08PM): Will do. See you soon.

Lauren locks her phone again, happy that she has plans with her best friend to take her mind off her awful date. She hopes there’s a party this weekend, because she really feels the need to get drunk and forget about her worries for a night, but with her luck, there won’t be.

She drops her phone on the passenger seat and starts her car up, humming along to the songs on the radio. Her mind drifts to Camila again, and she finds herself wondering what she’s doing right now, since Camila generally replies to texts instantly.

Even though she’s trying not to care, she finds herself waiting for her phone to buzz, ready to pull over at a moment’s notice, but she doesn’t get a text by the time she gets home. She unlocks the door and says a quick hello to her parents, before she gets the popcorn ready in time for Normani’s arrival.

Once her best friend shows up, they head up to her room, and Lauren gets into her sweats, not caring about looking presentable for her friend. Since they’ve been friends for so long, Normani had definitely seen her at her worst.

“The date really sucked that bad?” Normani asks as they’re picking a movie. “I mean, I figured it would, but I also wanted you to have fun and get back out there.”

“Yeah, he was more concerned about himself,” Lauren answers, shoving a handful of popcorn in her mouth. “It was like… he’d ask me a question, and I’d start answering, and then he’d find a way to segue it back to himself. Or his music.”

Normani snorts. “Trust me, I heard his music at the school talent show last year. It’s really not something to brag about.”

Lauren laughs a little, reaching around her friend to grab Nala, and cuddling the toy to her chest. “I guess everyone has got to go through some shitty dates in their lifetime.”

“That’s true,” Normani answers, squeezing Lauren’s hand. “You know, if you’re interested in another date, I have plenty of people I can set you up with. You’re like, the hottest piece of ass at our school, except for me. Pretty much everyone has been waiting until you were ready to date again.”

Lauren smiles at except for me, but doesn’t comment on it. “I don’t know. I don’t really want to date someone unless I have a connection with them, I think. Not someone who wants me for something as trivial as my looks.”

“Just don’t pick a fuckboy, thanks,” Normani says, “Brad was bad enough. Am I staying over tonight, by the way?”

“I’m working tomorrow, so unless you want to be woken up at four by my alarm, no.” Lauren answers, pushing the bad date from her mind. “Can’t wait to get called sweetheart by creepy old men.”

Normani laughs. “I thought you said Camila kept showing up to keep you company.”

“No, she shows up to mock my work uniform,” Lauren replies, smiling to herself at the constant jokes she gets. Camila had also taken to sending her stock images of grocery store workers in ugly uniforms with the caption ‘is this u’. “And she comes because she wants a ride to school sometimes.”

“Dinah told me she gives her a ride,” Normani replies, and Lauren frowns, because she hadn’t known that Normani had been spending time with Dinah. “Anyway, you and Camila have gotten pretty close lately. Dinah told me you guys went ice skating. Thanks for keeping your best friend in the loop.”

Lauren frowns. “There’s no loop for you to be in. I just went ice skating with my friend.”

Normani laughs a little, and if anything, it makes Lauren frown even more. “Yeah, okay. So, you want to watch comedy, horror, or a comedy-horror?”

Lauren just shrugs. “Anything. Something cheesy. I don’t mind, just-”

When her phone pings, Lauren cuts herself off to pick it up and check it, and Normani just rolls her eyes. Lauren doesn’t notice, and her face practically lights up when she sees a few texts from Camila.

Camz (6:59PM): hey sorry for the late reply i was watching trashy movies with dinah and hadn’t looked at my phone

Camz (6:59PM): how are u?

Camz (6:59PM): also

Camz (7:00PM): why is there a pic of u on google

Laur (7:00PM): Haha wow so funny

Laur (7:00PM): Hope you’re having fun watching movies. I’m currently doing the same with Mani. Date was a total flop.

Camz (7:01PM): i’m sorry it sucked

Camz (7:01PM): hope you’re okay

Laur (7:01PM): Yeah. It’s not like I was crushing on him or had any big expectations, so I’m fine. I’m working tomorrow if you’re going to make a surprise appearance for a discounted sandwich and a ride to school.

Camz (7:02PM): i’ll be there 🙂

Lauren smiles when she reads the message. Aside from the bad date, today had gone well, and she hopes tomorrow will be even better.

just a dream – fifteen

December 3rd, 2016

“So, on a scale of one to ten, how festive are you?” Lauren asks her, swinging their hands as they walk down the street. “Are you one of those people who literally gets excited for Christmas in June, or are you a Christmas Eve excitement kinda girl?”

Camila smiles a little, thinking back to Christmases when Sofi was really little, and how they’d both be so excited for Santa. If she’s being honest, Camila believed in Santa Claus for an embarrassingly long time.

Lauren’s question, however, makes her think about how she won’t be here for Christmas. She’ll be back in her real life, gearing up to start her solo career.

“Yeah. I get excited pretty early,” Camila finally answers, and Lauren frowns at the lack of enthusiasm in her voice. “Like right now. We can’t really be super festive in Miami, considering it’s kind of a perpetual summer, but we could try?”

Lauren brightens when Camila seems to perk up. “Yeah, sure. I know a place we can go ice skating-”

“That’s a definite no,” Camila interrupts. While she’s outgrown her clumsiness at least a little, Camila Cabello and ice skates are not a good mix. “I’ll crack my head open on the ice or something.”

Lauren pouts, and Camila has to look away, because there’s no way she’ll be able to say no to that. “But Camila. It’s the only wintery thing we’ll get to do. Unless you want to fly up to Canada to play in some snow.”

“Maybe if we had infinite money,” Camila comments, and when she looks back at Lauren, she’s still pouting. It’s enough to make her cave. “Fine, okay? We’ll go ice skating, but you have to protect me.”

“Duh, of course I will,” Lauren smiles at her, squeezing her hand. “I know you’ll be like baby Bambi once we get on the ice.”

Lauren looks so happy on the walk back to the car, that Camila almost blurts out how beautiful she thinks Lauren is. She knows Lauren wouldn’t think anything weird of it, and would just take it as a compliment, but for a split second, Camila wants Lauren to know how she means it.

But she shakes that off, because there’s no point. Starting something with Lauren would only hurt her when she leaves in fifteen days. Just this friendship is going to hurt her, because she’ll wake up in a world where Lauren Jauregui hates her. And Camila isn’t sure she’ll be able to handle that.

“What’re you thinking about?”

Lauren’s question makes Camila jump. She can’t exactly be honest without coming off like a complete psychopath, so she makes something up. “Just about my impending death on the ice.”

Lauren laughs, holding open the passenger seat door for Camila. “I told you I’d protect you.”

Hearing that makes Camila’s stomach flutter, but she ignores it. “Yeah, but you’re not exactly strong. You’re a seventeen-year-old girl, not John Cena.”

“Hey,” Lauren pouts as she buckles herself into the driver’s seat. “I can handle your skinny ass.”

Camila frowns to herself. “I’m pretty sure my ass is the one thing about me that isn’t skinny, Laur.”

“Oh, shut up,” Lauren rolls her eyes, starting the car. “You know what I meant. My point is, I’m going to protect you. So shut up and let me do that.”

Camila rolls her eyes, but smiles. “Fine. I guess I’ll let you look after me. Unless… can you even ice skate?”

“I mean, not to brag or anything, but I’m basically a pro,” Lauren announces, but after a few moments, she laughs. “No, not really. I’m okay at it. Last winter, I- um, I went with Lucy, and I was better than her, so-”

“Can I ask you something really quick?” Camila interrupts, and Lauren blinks in surprise, glancing over at her quickly before turning back to the road. “And you have to promise not to get mad.”

Lauren frowns, but nods in confirmation. “Okay. Shoot.”

“You’re not, like… substituting me for Lucy, right?” Camila asks, because it’s been on her mind a lot. Especially after that kiss. “Like… ever since you guys broke up, you always seem like you want to be around me, and you keep cuddling up to me and now you’re taking me to do the thing you did with your girlfriend last Christmas. It’s just… I don’t know how to take it. Because I want you to spend time with me because you want me, not because you’re filling some kind of hole.”

Once Camila finishes, she breathes out a small sigh of something like relief. She knows that if she were actually sixteen, and still so insecure in herself, that she’d never have had the guts to say that, and maybe that’s where she went wrong with Lauren the first time. She never stood up for herself when Lauren would sneak into her bunk, kiss her, and act like nothing happened the next day.

“Okay, um,” Lauren frowns, and pulls the car over quickly, “I’m a little hurt that you think that.”

Camila blinks in surprise. “So you’re not?”

“No. I’m not.” Lauren sighs, “I mean, why would you even think that, Camila? Yes, we’ve got closer since- since Lucy broke up with me, but that’s because you were there for me. You came over and skipped school just to make sure I was okay. You let me crash your sleepover with your friends. You’re clearly going to be one of my best friends after that.”

“You said you wouldn’t get mad but it sounds like you are,” Camila points out, “I didn’t mean it in a bad way, like I think you don’t value our friendship or something. I meant it like… I don’t want to just be someone to spend your time with in place of a significant other. Just to- just to get ditched when you start dating someone else. Because I- I don’t have many friends, and I really care about you. I don’t want to lose you, Lauren.”

She strategically leaves out the whole oh, you’re the only person I think I could love and I’d fucking kill me if you were just using me. She doesn’t exactly think Lauren needs to know that.

“I’m sorry if it came off that way.” Lauren says, taking Camila’s hand and squeezing it. “And I guess I can see it from your point of view. But I promise you, it’s not like that. And I wouldn’t ditch you for a future girlfriend or boyfriend. I’m not into anyone like that right now, and I don’t know if I will be for a while.”

“Okay,” Camila nods, “I’m sorry for asking that, but… I really needed to know.”

Lauren pulls her in for a quick hug. “It’s okay, Camz. Now… are we still going ice skating?”

“Damn,” Camila laughs, trying to ease the tension. “You’re really fucking desperate to go ice skating. I guess we can go, but if I die, you don’t get Sofi in my will.”

“I don’t think you have the authority to give Sofi away,” Lauren laughs, “that’s your parents’ thing. But I’m offended anyway. And to think, I was going to give you Nala if I died.”

“Okay, I take it back, you can have Sofi,” Camila quickly makes amends, laughing. “How’d you get Nala, anyway?”

She asks because Fifth Harmony Lauren had received her Nala from a fan, but it’s kind of impossible for not-famous Lauren to have gotten her Nala in the same way.

“Oh, my abuela gave her to me,” Lauren answers with a smile. “I was like, three years old and obsessed with The Lion King. Believe it or not, I was actually disappointed with her. I cried because I wanted a Simba, not a Nala.”

Camila laughs, imagining that tantrum in her head. “That’s like when those rich kids tweet about how much they hate their parents when they get them the wrong colour Ferrari.”

“Ugh, I hate those tweets,” Lauren replies, “there’s nothing worse than entitled rich people. Or just entitled people in general. That was honestly one of the things I- well, I loved about Lucy. Her family was well off because of her dad but she was never stuck up about it.”

She said loved, Camila thinks to herself. Past tense. “Oh, really? What does her dad do?”

“He’s Carlos Vives, Camz,” Lauren laughs. “I thought you knew that.”

She did, but she’s not about to tell Lauren that. “No, I didn’t.”

“I thought you were friends with her,” Lauren points out, “you said you got coffee with her last week?”

“Well, yeah, but we’re not really close or anything. Not like I am with Dinah or Ally. Or… you.” Camila answers, and at her last addition, Lauren grins. “Anyway, there’s no need to be jealous, Laur.”

“I’m not jealous,” Lauren answers quickly, but Camila smirks at how defensive she seems. “I was just curious.”

“Sure,” Camila laughs, “You’re as green as your eyes right now.”

“Suddenly I have brown eyes,” Lauren comments, setting off again. “I’m not jealous, Camz. I don’t care who you’re friends with. Just as long as you’re friends with me.”

“That was cute.” Camila laughs. “How long until we get to the rink?”

“Shouldn’t be too long,” Lauren answers. “Why? Are you secretly looking forward to our ice skating adventure?”

“Oh, of course not. I just need to know how much time you owe me.” Camila says, and at Lauren’s confused look, she elaborates. “Well, you’re forcing me to ice skate, so however long this takes, you have to give me an equal amount of time at an activity you’re not too keen on.”

Lauren laughs. “You know I’d hang out with you anyway, right?”

“Shush,” Camila shakes her head. “You’re ruining the illusion. I need my payback.”

“Alright, fine,” Lauren answers, and a few moments later, she’s pulling over again, this time at an ice skating rink. “Come on, Camz. Time for you to fall over.”

Camila rolls her eyes, but gets out of the car and follows Lauren towards the booth to buy a ticket. Unfortunately for her, Lauren gets there first, paying for them both before Camila can even open her mouth to ask for a ticket.

“You need to stop doing that,” Camila commands as Lauren carries their skates over to a bench. “You work at a grocery store, you’re not a millionaire. You can’t afford to buy me stuff constantly.”

“I wanted to come here and you didn’t. I’m not going to make you pay for something you didn’t really want to do.” Lauren shrugs. “It’s fine, Camz. I promise.”

“Fine, but I’m paying you back in some other way.” Camila decides on the spot. “Like if you come with me to the movies, and it’s not a movie you want to see, it’s one that I want to see.”

“Okay,” Lauren answers, and Camila takes that as a win and sits down, starting to put her skates on.

It takes Camila a while to get her ice skates on – so long that Lauren has to help her – and then the older Latina takes their shoes and puts them in a locker. Camila doesn’t try getting up until Lauren is by her side again, and when she does, she almost topples over, unable to balance on the skates already.

“I’m not even on the ice yet,” Camila sighs as she leans against Lauren. “This is going to be a disaster.”

“Believe it or not, it’s harder to wear ice skates on regular floor than it is on the ice.” Lauren laughs and walks them towards the door to get out onto the ice. The older Latina lets go of her to skate out a little, then holds out her arms. “Come on. Trust me.”

Camila chews on her bottom lip, debating if she should actually do this, but at Lauren’s open arms, she can’t help herself. She awkwardly waddles towards the ice, and once she steps on it, she almost falls, but Lauren catches her yet again.

Camila breathes out at the feeling of her friend’s arms around her. “I was so scared for a second there. Thought I was going to fall.”

“Hey,” Lauren smiles at her and gives her a soft squeeze around the waist. “I told you I’d always be there to catch you.”

Camila’s stomach flutters, and she knows she’s blushing, but if Lauren asks, she’ll blame it on the weather. Even though it’s definitely not cold right now, by Miami standards it’s slightly chilly, so she feels like she could make up some excuse and it might work.

Lauren slowly lets go of her, but keeps a tight grip on her hand. “Alright, we’re going to start slow. Even though I’m not exactly a pro here, I think I can manage to get us both around this rink safely.”

Camila nods, but sticks to the side anyway, one hand on the rails of the rink, and the other gripping onto Lauren’s for dear life. “Please don’t let me die here, Lo. You’re my only hope.”

Lauren laughs. “Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi.”

Wow,” Camila snorts. “You’re such a fucking nerd. I can’t believe you’re quoting Star Wars when- no, no, keep holding my hand.”

Lauren smirks. “Yeah. Call me a nerd one more time and you’re on your own, Cabello. I don’t think you want to take that risk, do you?”

Camila grumbles. “That’s just mean. You’re mean.”

“Oh, no, my hand slipped,” Lauren says, pulling out of Camila’s death grip and skating a little ahead. “What’re you going to do about that, Camz?”

“Kick your stupid ass,” Camila defends herself. “I swear, Lauren, come here.”

Lauren snorts. “You’re going to kick my ass? Little Camzi, taking on Miami’s badass, me? I’d love to see that.”

“Okay, first of all, you’re not a badass, you’re a puppy,” Camila points out, “and second of all, I could take you, Jauregui. I’ll prove it.”

“You might prove it, yeah,” Lauren turns to her with an evil grin, “but you’ve got to catch me first, so I don’t think you have much of a chance.”

With that, she skates across the rink, and Camila’s heart drops. She tries to push off from the side, in a futile attempt to chase Lauren, but one foot slips into the other, and suddenly the ice is coming towards her, so Camila resigns herself to her fate.

But then a pair of arms are around her waist, and she’s being helped upright again. She clings onto Lauren, sighing into her friend’s shoulder. “Thank you, Lo. I thought you were going to leave me to die then.”

“I told you that I’d protect you, didn’t I?” Lauren smiles at her, pulling away and squeezing her hand. “Anyway, all jokes aside, what am I getting you for Christmas? I know I shouldn’t be worrying about that just yet, since we still have a few finals until Christmas break, but I like to get all my shopping out of the way, and I want to know what you want.”

“I didn’t… I didn’t think you were buying for me,” Camila replies, honestly a little shocked. She hadn’t expected Christmas presents, and for a moment, she forgets that she’s not going to be around to open it. But then it hits her, and a sad smile forms on her face. “I don’t mind. Anything.”

“Whoa, why do you look so upset at the thought of a Christmas present?” Lauren frowns. “Presents are good things, and of course I’m buying for you, Camz. You’re one of my best friends.”

“I- well,” Camila shrugs, trying to think about something her sixteen year old self might like. “I don’t know, really. I need a new capo for my guitar? Just… little things like that. What do you want?”

Lauren shrugs. “Anything but chocolate. I get chocolate from distant family members and I have to give it to my siblings. It’s sweet that they thought to get me a gift, but I really don’t like chocolate.”

Camila pouts. “Give your spare chocolate to me, I’ll eat it.”

Lauren just smiles. “Why do I feel like you’re going to buy me chocolate just so I’ll have to regift it right back to you?”

“I wasn’t going to, but thanks for the idea,” Camila grins, and it’s that moment she realises she’s ice skating. And not falling on her ass. “Wait, we’re moving. Oh my god, I’m doing it!”

Lauren beams at Camila’s enthusiasm, and when the younger girl turns to her with the biggest smile on her face, her brown eyes lit up, Lauren’s stomach flutters involuntarily. She brushes the feeling off and squeezes Camila’s hand.

“Yeah, you’re doing it,” Lauren smiles, “you think you can do it without me holding your hand now?”

“Whoa, not so fast,” Camila shakes her head, “let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Maybe next year I can try without your help.”

Maybe next year has a different effect on both girls. For Lauren, it makes her heart feel warm that Camila wants to come here next year, but for Camila, she feels empty. For Camila, next year she’ll probably be on a tour somewhere, without four other girls on that journey with her. Without Lauren on that journey with her.

It makes her heart hurt, if she’s being honest.

“I have a query,” Lauren announces, and Camila pushes down the dull ache she feels. “Do you think alternate universes are a thing?”

Camila tenses up at Lauren’s question, but the older Latina doesn’t notice. While Camila’s having an internal crisis, wondering what Lauren knows, Lauren is busy humming to herself, awaiting Camila’s answer.

“I- um, I don’t know,” Camila finally replies, “do you?”

“I don’t know either, but nobody knows. It’s what you believe that I’m asking,” Lauren says. “I feel like there are. And if there are, it’s probably like, based off the choices we make or something. And every time we get that big decision, our life curves a different way and another alternate path is created.”

“Well, I mean, I don’t know,” Camila nervously answers, “I guess there might be. What made you think about that, anyway?”

“I don’t know, I like thinking about stuff like that. How the universe works.” Lauren shrugs. “how big decisions we make can shape our whole reality.”

Camila hums. “Well, what’s a big decision that you think shaped your reality?”

“There are a few that come to mind,” Lauren comments, “my decision to come out is one. Or, I mean, I guess my decision to not go on The X Factor. Not that a dumb reality show would’ve changed my life, though. I doubt I would’ve gotten very far.”

Camila’s stomach drops. Because maybe the things Lauren is talking about… maybe it’s all true. Maybe this is a reality where none of them decided to audition, and she’s in that timeline. But there are parts of it that don’t line up, and that’s what Camila wants to know.

“Are you okay?”

When Lauren speaks, Camila jumps, but nods. “Yeah, I’m fine. Totally fine.”

Lauren frowns. “You don’t seem-”

“What song were you going to sing?”

“What?” Lauren blinks in surprise at Camila’s question. “What song?”

“For your audition,” Camila clarifies. “What song would you have sung?”

“Oh,” Lauren laughs a little, “actually, I was practicing If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys for weeks before I read the fucked up contract and backed out. If you don’t sign then you can’t audition.”

Camila bites down on her bottom lip, tears stinging at her eyes. “You would’ve killed it. I know that.”

Lauren smiles at her. “Thanks, Camz.”

“So, um, why don’t you think you wouldn’t get far?” Camila asks. “I mean… you have a beautiful voice and you’re really talented, so…”

Lauren shrugs. “I guess it’s mostly because I’m not really the fame type. People look for that star quality in people, and the X Factor as an actual thing is like… how you act towards big crowds and how extraverted and friendly you are. You have to have the specific personality as well as the talent, and I don’t have that. And I’d be miserable trying to act it. Plus, you’ve got to be pretty PG and I cuss a lot, which they wouldn’t like. And, you know, there’s the whole… I like girls thing.”

Camila mulls over Lauren’s words, and she has to admit, she has a point. Management had silenced Fifth Harmony Lauren, and made her stay in the closet for years, and Camila had seen first-hand how miserable that had made her.

If anything, Camila is happy that this Lauren hadn’t had to go through that. “Yeah. That’d suck. Especially if you had to act like someone you’re not.”

Lauren just smiles. “Anyway, enough dwelling on maybes things that might have happened. It’s time we turned you into a pro ice skater.”

Despite the words, as Lauren pulls her around the ice for their second lap, Camila can’t seem to stop thinking about her world, where Lauren did audition, and where everything seemed to be a lot less happier than they are here.