"That's it," chirps Mavis from where she stands in front of the sink. She's filling a kettle from the tap to carry over to the old stove and set it on a burner. The pilot light click-click-clicks before the flame catches, Mavis adjusts the dial, and turns back to Amity. "All my stuff, I really didn't come up here with much."
A couple of weeks ago, Mavis had managed (or enlisted) Amity to go grab a few things out of her broke-down car outside of town. She still hadn't bothered to haul it to a junkyard and it's a miracle that it was still there. She cleaned it out, salvaging even the radio, hubcaps, and spare tire. All of that stuff was stashed in a shed in the backyard, along with the items she'd had shipped to Vermont. Some of her tools, for starters.
She smiles at Amity, grateful. "Thanks for helping me so much," she tells her, sounding sincere and shyly glancing down at her feet. "Helping me clean over here, get my stuff moved in, and putting me up at yours." Mavis peers back up again and tries to distance herself from the awkward subject with, "So. What'cha think of the place? She tidied up nice, huh?"
"I didn't either, but it still feels good to get the move over and done with," Amity replies. She's sat at the cozy, worn old table, watching as Mavis prepares the kettle. It's been a heck of a time getting everything together, cleaning, moving stuff, throwing out old junk and making space for Mavis to settle into her new home. It's /done/ now, though, which is the best part, really. It feels like an accomplishment--a little spark of joy and pride to warm up the chilly autumn. Her muted smile crosses her face as she looks up at Mavis.
"Of course. I was happy to help you out--I couldn't just let you do this all on your own. This place, well. It wasn't a wreck but it definitely needed some love and care." And what love and care it had been. Amity had dedicated a whole day to cleaning the place top to bottom, dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, and scrubbing her heart out. It had been a bit enjoyable, even. "She tidied up really nice. And it's a nice location, big trees, big yard. And a big house. I don't know what you're going to do with all the space." She fiddles with her smart phone for a moment, looks back up. "I'm really happy for you."
Mavis side-steps over to the counter to lean against it, folding her arms while she waits for the kettle to boil. A pair of coffee mugs are set out on the counter nearby with a ceramic jar behind them that's labeled: TEA. There had been ancient bags of tea in there, but Amity had cleaned it and Mavis bought a variety pack of different teas to keep for guests. Guests like Amity. She wasn't much of a hot tea drinker herself.
The mortal beams at Amity while she fiddles with her phone, commenting, "You are the best sort of friend, you know that?" Her smile dims, though, when she thinks about how empty the house would feel when Amity leaves. She'd spent some time here alone, only a handful of hours, and those hours had been filled with tasks to complete. That day Amity had spent scouring all three levels (save for the cellar that Mavis doesn't know about yet), Mavis had worked outside trying to tame the front and back yard with some success. She'd preferred it with Amity here.
"Say," goes Mavis, shyly, "do you want to stay the night? Or a couple?" Her voice goes a little higher, sounding hopeful, and Mavis peers across the kitchen at Amity. "I mean.. you're right, it's a big house. I know you're probably looking forward to having your apartment back, but.. I think I've got your favorite teas here?" She jabs a thumb over her shoulder, indicating the jar of TEA behind her. "And I've gotten kinda used to ya."
Amity is flicking back through a couple messages in her phone. She looks up again when Mavis speaks, waves a hand to try and chase away the praise she's getting. She's modest--probably too modest for her own good. She's not used to such unfiltered praise that's so earnestly meant, really. Propping her chin in one hand, she takes in Mavis' question, managing not to look terribly surprised or startled by the inquiry. She straightens, slowly, setting her hands on the table in front of her as she turns the proposal over in her head.
"I suppose I could. If you wanted me to, I mean," she says, hesitating in her words as she tries to find the right ones. "I can take the couch." That's the polite thing to do. Even when she's /kissed/ Mavis and shared her own bed with the woman. She resists the urge to fidget, breaks into a little smile at the mention of tea. "Ah, that's very true. You know just how to tempt me, then. I'm really happy to keep you company--so yes. I'll stay. If you want me to." She has to make sure, you know. To be safe.
Mavis tilts her head and, for only the briefest, fraction of a second, she glances down at Amity's phone then back up again to her friend's face. She hadn't mentioned meeting Nathania OR Widget, both of whom seem to know Amity, but Mavis very much wants to ask her former roommate about them now. The mortal bites down on her bottom lip, chewing it, then decides not to approach the subject for the moment.
She asks with a laugh, "Do you really want to sleep on THAT couch?" The artist rolls her honey-brown eyes and shakes her head. "It's not like we haven't slept next to each other before." Well, mostly Mavis slept and Amity read until she fell asleep before sneaking out of bed. Mavis frowns a touch, wondering if Amity ever met with Nathania or Widget on any of those nights, but she quashes those errant thoughts. They were childish. But, more than ever, Mavis wants Amity to stay, and a pensive expression has settled on her features.
"Amity," she says like someone about to broach an uncomfortable or awkward subject. There's a lowness in her voice and a question at the end of that name. Mavis opens her mouth and draws in a breath, about to bring up Widget and Nathania, but what she wanted to ask just sounded insecure to her. Instead, Mavis blurts, "Do you want to move in?" The thought had been kicking around her skull for awhile, but she didn't mean for it to come out right HERE and right NOW. She'd said it, though, and sticks to it with conviction. "I mean it. If you're not tired of me, that is."
"Well, no. But I want you to be comfortable," Amity says with a flicker of her eyes. Looking away, down. Not sure what she's doing or why. It feels awkward for some reason, to meet Mavis' gaze and say that. Amity wants to stop herself, wants to make herself feel more confident but the feeling doesn't come. It's so much easier when she's wearing a uniform behind the desk. Here, there's nothing between her and other people. She is laid bare and she has to just deal with it. The question that Mavis asks next, though, floors her a little. Move in? To the house? She blinks, tries to process it.
"You mean move into the house? With you?" The thought is deliriously exciting and terrifying all at once. She likes the company but /God/ she doesn't even know how to define the weird space their relationship has been in since that kiss. She's /ignored/ it in the hope of staving off anything awkward. "I--Yes. I mean, I want to. I'd like that, yes." Amity fumbles a little, trying to capture her words again before they manage to scurry away. She feels breathless, in an excited way. And a little in a scared way.
"I don't--ah..." What does she say though? "I'd like that." Though it might make keeping the other part of herself hidden more difficult she doesn't want to lose the warm companionship she's been enjoying these last few weeks. Emotion is a whirlwind and even a Changeling can find herself caught up in it.
"Yeah," confirms Mavis with a nod of her head and forced shrug that rolls off a little stiffly. "Into the house. I wouldn't ask if I wasn't comfortable with you, dork." She rolls her eyes in mock annoyance at Amity, but the human is smiling. "And I know you're responsible with money and stuff. You're an ideal roommate, really," she confesses, laughing and jabbing a thumb at her own chest. "I'm the nightmare, you haven't even seen my worst sides. I was just being respectful of your space, but.. I gotta be honest with you, I'll probably start to get comfortable and slack off on chores. It'll prob'ly get worse when I've got a workshop and get latched onto a project." Mavis bites her bottom lip, sheepish and apologetic in advance of the late nights filled with the buzzing of saws. "Like, power tools are really noisy and sometimes I have to revamp the entire thing or scrap it to make something /else/ at... three in the morning? Just have to put that out there beforehand, like if I had a REALLY bad dog that chewed on shoes?" She raises her brows imploringly at Amity. "I'd tell you.."
Living conditions were easy to discuss, especially in comparison to everything else Mavis and Amity specifically /weren't/ talking about. She goes on to add, "I'm not fussy about guests either if you want to have someone over," and peers over to glance at the kettle then watches Amity out of the corner of her eye.
"Well." Amity tries to find the right words for an answer and fails briefly. She /is/ responsible. She does like Mavis' company. She doesn't sleep much. It's perfect. Sort of. "Well, I don't mind cleaning. It helps me focus, honestly," she replies with a touch of almost formal stiffness. "And I'm usually awake at three in the morning, anyway, so power tools wouldn't be much a bother for me." There, those bits of logistics are out of the way. She exhales, a bit of tension draining from her shoulders before Mavis' next remark catches her off guard.
"Hm? Have someone over? I don't know who..." That much is honest. There's not really anyone else she can see having over to the house--she's pretty private, after all.
"Like if you wanted to have friends over," supplies Mavis where she feels Amity falls short. She straightens up a little and blinks over at Amity. "It's not like I expect you to throw more than one or two wild raves a year," Mavis says to her friend, jokingly. Changing to a more practical avenue of subject, Mavis says, "Figured we could half utilities and call it square, unless you want a set rent? We're-- I'm getting internet set up tomorrow and that's pretty much it aside from standard electric, water, and gas." As Amity already knew, Mavis was a bit of a Netflix and streaming service junky. "Not going to bother getting a landline or cable either. Really, I could manage to pay for the place on my own but the company would be nice.." She doesn't want to admit that it gives her the willies to think about sleeping in this house with nary a soul other than herself inside. The cleaning and cozy touch Amity had afflicted upon the house did wonders for its charm, but it was still a big, strange place to Mavis. "..and extra cash leaves me more funds for art supplies." Blinking at Amity, she adds, responsibly, "And put some into a savings."
"Oh. Um." How does she admit that Mavis is her only friend? Well, the only person she really considers a close friend. "I think if I lived with you my friends would be here already," she says with a touch of self-deprecating humor. She blinks at the low estimated cost, tilts her head as the conversation moves towards other subjects again.
"Oh, the mortgage is paid off? That makes life way easier, I guess... So just the utilities and property tax. Very nice. I'd want to pay rent, I'd feel like I was taking advantage, if I didn't." She smiles, nodding along as Mavis explains why she's not getting a landline or cable. Totally makes sense to her!
"You don't have to justify your spending habits to me, Mav." Her smile softens and she leans forward again onto one hand. "I can help keep the place clean and neat as well. It'll be homey." Yeah. That's what she means and definitely NOT romantic.
It takes Mavis juuuust a second longer than it normally would for Amity's morose statement to sink in and, when it does, she barks out a soft laugh. More seriously, Mavis tells Amity, "Don't worry about the taxes, like I said.. Utilities. I already know you won't miss television." She just wanted to make it clear that SHE didn't want cable either, therefore Amity wouldn't be paying for a service she wouldn't really use.
She shrugs at Amity when she mentions Mavis' over-explaining of her finances. "That's what I mean, though. You're /not/ taking advantage of me and I'm prrretty sure rent here's cheaper than your apartment. Dunno," she comments flatly, she wasn't asking how much Amity paid in rent. "Plus, it's not like you gotta move in tonight."
Then Mavis recalls something, realization dawning on her face. "Oh sheets. I left my phone charger in your car," she interjects and, at the same time, the kettle begins to boil then whistle loudly. Mavis leaps, startled by the screeching kettle and goes over to turn off the stove. "Oven mitt, oven mitt," mutters Mavis to herself, not wanting to burn herself on the handle of the ancient kettle, which seemed, to her, quite dubious. "Christ.. Amity, do you mind grabbing my charger? I think I wanna do a grocery shop." And, naturally, she couldn't leave the house with only 2 or less cell battery.
Amity shrugs at Mavis' remark about not having to move in right away. "It's not like I have that much stuff. I didn't bring any furniture, really. Just my sewing machine and some other stuff, so..." She trails off, mentally trying to do math about her budget. That, of course, gets cut short as the kettle whistles and Mavis makes a request! She jolts to her feet, smiles.
"Oh, of course. I'll go grab it right now while you get the tea going." She leaves her own phone sitting on the table as she turns and clatters out into the front room and then out the front door, leaving Mavis alone with the teapot. And Amity's phone.
Mavis finds the oven-mitts, puts one on her right hand even though she's a lefty. The oven-mitt is a right-handed one and the handle of the kettle is for someone also right-handed. She's used to this sort of thing and manages to move the kettle to a burner that isn't still hot for it to cool a bit. Mavis isn't sure if she was supposed to add the water NOW or wait for it to not be scalding, boiling, crazy hot. She'd always used an electric kettle, most often at Amity's. Was it different? Could it be? Was she just over-complicating this? Fuck it, Mavis decides, and carefully pours the water into the cups, replacing the kettle on the stove. She then pulls the jar labeled "TEA" over to herself and pries off the lid. Any old flavor would do so Mavis grabs something citrusy, opens the paper sleeve, and drops the teabag into her cup of hot water. She finds a flavor she'd seen Amity use on occasion, usually around this time o' day, and drops that into the other cup. While Mavis found she preferred honey or sugar in her tea, she has neither of those things, so she just walks over to the table to join Amity when she returned and sets both of the cups down.
Then she's alone, waiting for Amity to return. By Mavis' estimation, Amity was probably managing the steps down to her parked car, there were a lot of those fucking steps and they'd climbed them already a few times today. The human's eyes direct a curious glance at Amity's phone, not meaning to really look at the abandoned device, but it occurs to her that Amity's phone sure was in the woman's hands a lot more often lately.
Hadn't Amity just told her that she had no friends outside of Mavis? If she herself hadn't met two people in the span of a week who knew Amity then she would have believed Amity to be the loner she'd initially assumed she was. She wanted to believe Amity, but... Amity's reservations about discussing their not-strictly-platonic dynamic made more sense when Mavis put two and three and four all together and shook the jar. Her friend seemed to want to pretend nothing at all had happened, which was fine? She guessed? If Amity had a girlfriend, then she supposed that complicated things. They needed to set some boundaries... but what if she was way off the mark?
All of this thought-gnawing happens inside of approximately six-point-zero-three seconds and Mavis snatches up Amity's phone off of the table. She glances back over her shoulder as she unlocks it, heart thumping fast and panicked. Ohgod-ohgod-ohgod. At least she would hear Amity opening the screen door of the porch, right? Then the front door, followed by the mudroom door. She had time, a few seconds, but that's all a peek needed to be was a few seconds.
Amity, meanwhile, is on the way down to her car blissfully unaware of any angst or soul-rending awkwardness going on in Mavis' head. She just needs to get the phone charger! Which is going to take a minute or three here. As Mavis looks through the phone, it's apparent that it's pretty bare bones. There are some text messages back and forth between Amity and Mavis, some selfies that she never did anything with... and a text conversation between Amity and someone labeled 'Nathania Winters.
From Nathania Winters: I met a Mavis. Your roommate. Tell her you met me at a library while knitting. Keep the lie consistent. If she asks, anyway.
Amity: Okay. This is going to get awkward.
Nathania Winters: How so?
Amity: Having to lie to someone. I don't like it much, but it is what it is.
Nathania Winters: Sad to say, getting used to it might be wise.
Amity: I'm kind of used to it already. It feels normal, but I don't know why.
Nathania Winters: We should talk in person soon.
It ends there, with no further messages having passed between them before that exchange or since. It's not much. A brief conversation that probably lines up time and date-wise in Mavis' memory with the day she met Nathania Winters. Strange, the way little secrets like this seemed to be found in the oddest places. In the meantime, Amity is heading back up the stairs, hurrying against the brisk air and muttering as she clutches the charger. It wasn't a big deal but her legs were starting to hurt after all these damn stairs. Mavis is lucky Amity likes her. Then the front door and mud room door bang open in succession, a brief pause interrupting them as Amity removes her shoes, and then with a creak of floorboards Amity emerges back into the kitchen to take her seat and slide the charger across the table.
"Here you go!"
It doesn't take Mavis long to navigate to Amity's text messages, it's the first place she checks. She's half glad that her friend didn't have a lock on the device and the other half sick with herself, because with the security measure in place she wouldn't be nosing through Amity's text history right now. The name that sticks out amongst the few is, of course, Nathania Winter's. Her heart takes a plummet when she sees the displayed message:
We should talk in person soon.
Mavis clicks the conversation to open it then scrolls up to the beginning. It's only a couple of swipes, which she reads through twice, then backs out of the messaging application to return to home screen. Mavis then sets the phone back exactly where it was, feeling numb at the same time as her vision turns watery. Why would Amity lie to her? She's wiping her eyes by the time her friend hits the front door and sipping her tea when Amity comes walking into the kitchen. Mavis smiles over her cup, sips again, then sets her cup down and picks up her charger.
"Thanks," she says quietly, trying to sound grateful. She was, actually, but Mavis is also looking intently at Amity as if she were trying to read the woman's thoughts. She couldn't, of course. Mavis then abruptly gets up, turns away to grab her own phone off of the counter, feeling self-conscious and guilty of Amity's eyes on her back. She takes more time than necessary plugging her phone into an outlet for counter-top kitchen appliances, then pretends to check something on her phone while collecting her thoughts. There was no way she'd have time to parse them right now, so Mavis does the next best thing...
She shovels all of those wild-fire worries into a metaphorical jar, screws the lid on tight to snuff out the flames, and buries that metaphorical jar to inspect the contents later when Amity wasn't around. For now, she contented herself as much as she could by telling herself that Amity had to have a good reason. Still, though, she wanted to know what those reasons were and justifications made on Amity's behalf were as incriminating as the texts she'd found. They were deliberately lying to her, confirming Mavis' annoying suspicions that the pair were hiding something.
"Sorry," blurts Mavis, realizing she was standing there ignoring Amity. She sets her phone down and turns around, smiling weakly at Amity but finding it hard to meet her friend's eyes. Instead, she looks at a clock hanging on the wall. Fuck. It was still early in the day and she wouldn't be able to dissect this new, troubling information for hours yet. Several long, terrible hours. Despite apologizing for standing there and saying nothing a moment ago, that's what Mavis is doing now except she's staring at Amity. Finally, she opens her mouth and draws in a breath and says, "Amity.." Then, "Do you have a girlfriend? I mean, I guess you have a "thing" for artsy types.." She spreads her arms and looks down at herself with a silent implication of a sarcasm "tada!" made with that gesture then lowers her arms. "I met Nathania the other day. Then I ran into this chick, Widget, who.. kind of confirmed the impression I got when I bumped into Nathania. She tooo-otally lied to me about how you two met, but I was only asking because.. it seemed weird? You don't get out much" She tries to shrug, make it seem like it wasn't a big deal and to convince herself that it isn't. "You don't gotta lie to me about having friends, Amity, but.. You know, if you moved to Vermont to be with your girlfriend or you've GOT one then, I dunno, don't you think we should set some boundaries and talk about these things?"
So much for waiting to parse all of these things.
Amity had slipped back into her seat with all the casual comfort of someone whose secrets are extremely safe and definitely not being pried into by her friends. She does, though, notice the weird change in Mavis' mood in the brief minutes it had taken Amity to head down to the car and back. She curls her fingers around her mug, feels the warmth leech into chill-nipped fingers.
"You're welcome," she says with a cheery air, trying to act as if everyhing is okay. Usually, at least in her brief experience, Mavis would say something if she was bothered. She lifts her teacup and sips delicately, brow furrowing just slightly at Mavis' sudden apology. This was... odd.
"Sorry for what--" she starts to ask and then finds herself listening to Mavis suddenly blurt out a question and a whole hurried explanation involving Nathania and Widget and oh dear God. Her mortal and Changeling lives were colliding in a way she had not really anticipated and it takes her a moment to wrap her head around what to say. Her voice was quiet, even, controlled.
"Mavis, first I don't have a girlfriend and I didn't move her to be with anyone. I would be honest with you about any relationship I had." Any romantic relationship, anyway. She took a breath. In. Out. There's no anxiety, she's calm. Totally calm. "Nathania and I do have a relationship, but we're friends. Acquaintances. Nothing more intimate than that, the same with Widget." As for how they met? She's just going to try and avoid that subject for the moment. "I wouldn't..." She takes a breath again, tries to find the right word. "I wouldn't kiss you or--or anything else like that if I were in an intimate relationship with someone else. I promise, there's nothing like that going on." A mild frown. "What makes you say Nathania lied to you?"
She listens, unblinking and hyper-focused on every word that Amity is feeding her. Mavis isn't sure what is a truth or a lie, but she wants to believe her friend and finds herself almost content with Amity's explanations. If she hadn't just rooted through her roommate-to-be's phone then Mavis likely would have put her concerns to rest right there and then, but she wasn't sure if she'd ever have the courage to bring this up again.
"I just knew she wasn't being honest," she replies with a shrug, not sure how to quantify what sparked her suspicion in the stranger. The words and tones were just wrong somehow. "It was a feeling like right," she covers her stomach with the flat of a palm, some of the rings on her fingers glinting while others had no glean at all, "here. A sinking sensation, like when you miss a step going down the stairs before you catch yourself." Strange talk from Mavis, who was usually so practical, but she was ambling around confessing that she'd gone through Amity's phone.
She walks back over to the table, but doesn't sit. Instead, Mavis stands next to Amity and crouches down so that she has to look up at her. "I," she begins, "went through your phone. Just now, actually.. I dunno why, I just.. knew you weren't being honest with me and it makes SENSE that you've been hesitant to do anything or even /talk/ about it." Although, Mavis is as much to blame for that, but she figured Amity just didn't want to discuss what happened.
She begins to have second-thoughts. Jesus, what if she has been disillusioned this entire time and has it all wrong? NO! That text from Nathania to Amity was e-x-p-l-i-c-i-t.
Mavis furrows her brow, her voice tinting with scorn, "I saw her texts to you about lying to me, I saw that you DON'T want to do this." Those words are spat like an accusation and Mavis is now glaring up at Amity, resenting her for the sliver of hot pain in her chest.
Not disillusioned. That other word.
Amity feels her heart fall into her stomach as she listens to Mavis explain that yes, she went through Amity's phone and yes, she read the messages that passed between Amity and Nathania. Amity doesn't even really remember them except that she'd been told a lie that needed to be maintained as a reason to protect Changelings. And, as far as Amity was concerned, to protect Mavis. She looks back at the other woman, looks /down/ at her as she crouches at her side. There's a twinge of anger, of betrayal. Mavis had invaded her privacy. At the same time, she just feels guilt--she wants to tell the truth, wants to open her heart and pour out every detail she can remember, admit that she has lost something like a decade of her life and can't remember it except in flashes and dream. Admit that she is broken and twisted and changed.
But she can't. So instead she reaches out to try and touch Mavis, unsure if the other woman will let her touch her hand. She's afraid Mavis will pull back. "I don't, Mavis. It's..." She thinks for a moment, trying to put together her thoughts. Her words. "We're both. Survivors. Of the same kind of thing." Maybe that will be enough of the truth and yet vague enough to steer Mavis away from danger. She knows Mavis picked up on something the other night. "So. That's how I know her. We support each other. We're not involved like, you know. Romantically. Or physically. We knit and we talk. That's it." Please let that be enough, she doesn't know what other lies she can tell.
It's a little unjust, really, that once Mavis admits to having gone through Amity's phone, she's released from a majority of the guilt. That's not to say it doesn't weigh on her conscience, but it would have cost her more had her violations been fruitless. Mavis glances down at the hand Amity picks up to cover hers and she boldly slips her own over Amity's nearest thigh, feeling a little surer by the contact.
"I get it if you're mad," she admits, mumbling over the words and looking down. "I.. dunno why I did that. This has been bothering me for days, you kept insisting that I was your only friend and I _like_ you. That's a pretty shit thing to do to someone you like, but.. ugh.. usually I'm not such an insecure, little girl." She sticks out her tongue and Amity and straightens up enough to pull a chair closer to Amity's, then Mavis sits in it with her hand still over Amity's thigh.
Her guilt returns when Amity brings up her history, explains to her that she and Nathania had things in common that she and Mavis didn't. It made her a tad envious of Nathania in some respect, but sympathetic too. She sighs and nods, contenting herself with those answers. It didn't seem like enough to lie about and, in truth, Mavis didn't fully believe Amity. Otherwise, why not just say she has a knitting friend who she talks to sometimes? Seems less obvious and strange.
Mavis just says, "I'm sorry.. that's.. cool, I just didn't know what to think? I'm glad you have a friend you and.. process that stuff with, but you didn't have to fib over it. I shouldn't have gone through your stuff either," she admits, licking her lips nervously and her gaze drops down to the floor.
Amity has to take a little breath as she looks down at where their hands touch, unsure of what she's supposed to say here. Maybe... a little fib to nudge things along. Her internal emotional realm is a mess, strewn with the debris of trauma and pain and loss. None of that is allowed to show on the outside, of course. Unless she wants it to. Because that's better somehow.
"I didn't..." She hesitates, counts a beat in her head because she feels like she needs to. "I didn't want you to think I was broken." Because oh God, she is broken. She is absolutely certain of her broken status, as clearly as if she were a china doll taken from a shelf and thrown onto the floor to shatter into a million shards. Every time she sees herself in the mirror, there's that little reminder of everything she was and is. Everything she lost to the Gentry. What she said is true. From... a certain point of view. There's also like, hiding the dangerous world she lives in from someone she likes.
"It's okay. I mean, it's not okay. I'm upset." Not 'mad' or 'angry.' Just upset. Because feeling too much emotion isn't allowed in her head. It's a block she still hasn't managed to overcome. "I..." How do you say 'you should have trusted me' when you have admitted to lying? To being a /liar/ who is still manipulating someone she cares about? Dishonesty is a morass and she feels that she is sinking into it piece by broken piece. At the same time, though, it is a comforting blanket with which she can shield herself from the world.
Mavis leans forward, perching one elbow and her forearm on the table, while turning her hand under Amity's palm up to hold it. The fingers curl, squeezing gently to apply warm pressure. When Amity trails off, Mavis blurts, "Amity.. Even if you were broken? OR you think you are?" She gives her head a small shake and frowns, her expression wounded. "I wouldn't care. You don't have to hide stuff from me." Oh, Amity did, though. "If you feel like you can't talk about it, that's fine just.. please don't lie to me, okay?"
She felt conflicted requesting that of Amity when she suspected there was more Amity was holding back, but she too scared of losing Amity to not mend this rift. Maybe all that Amity had said was true, Mavis has no idea, after all, what Amity had gone through that was so scarring and traumatic. Nathania could have been involved, Amity could have met her on some kind of support group, or by total chance. Whatever that trauma was, Mavis wished Amity could tell her. She wants to ask, but instead Mavis gives Amity's hand in hers a tug as she leans closer in her chair. They were sharing a corner of the table, Mavis' seat pulled all of the way over to Amity's. Mavis tilts her head as her face comes nearer, eyes half-lidding and cast down upon Amity's lips.
"I won't," Amity says quietly, her eyes fixed firmly in her lap. She doesn't want to look at Mavis and see her eyes (her pretty, amazing, innocent eyes) looking at her right now. She doesn't want to see her because if she does she thinks she might find herself spilling the truth of her existence at her friend's (girlfriend's?) feet. She squeezes Mavis' hand though, seeking comfort there in the touch, the feeling of someone close to her.
"Please don't go through my phone again," she says after a moment. It's not a boundary so much as a plea for understanding. She's not sure she knows how to /set/ boundaries. It's as if you were to ask her to show you how to take apart the car outside--it is so far beyond her understanding for the moment that it is hopeless to try. She looks up slightly as she feels Mavis come closer, doesn't dare look up fully in case she sees the other's gaze. Then she kisses Mavis because she doesn't know what else to do, because she doesn't know how else to show her affection to the other woman.
Mavis flinches back when Amity asks her that. Please, don't go through her phone again. She doesn't flinch back far, though, and the human guiltily averts her gaze. "I won't," she murmurs, meaning it and sounding ashamed. She doesn't mistake Amity's forgiveness as compliance and Mavis tries to remember a single incident where she'd done something like that before. "I dunno.. why.."
She's about to tell Amity again that she's not quite sure what possessed her, but then Amity presses her soft lips against hers. Mavis peers back at the last second, catching that gentle kiss. Her breath hitches and eyelids flutter closed as Mavis leans forward, more into it, and her hand holding Amity's squeezes to pull her nearer. Her other arm lifts, hand curling against the side of Amity's neck with her ring and pinky fingers behind the shell of Amity's ear and middle and index in front. Mavis' lips pillow against Amity's, soft, and she lets her jaw relax. Her mouth opens slightly, tongue sliding out to brush Amity's bottom lip before her teeth close above and below it. Mavis nips. Softly nips. Teeth grazing, tugging just a small bit, then suckling on the flesh before she lets it go.
Amity leans forward into the kiss, hand coming up to grip at the fabric of Mavis' shirt. She holds tight, desperately, afraid of being tugged away by some force she can't describe. Amity's lips part and there comes a little gasping noise as she feels teeth tugging at her lower lip. It's almost surprise, but also a touch of excitement. She huffs, tilts her head to touch against the hand sliding against her hair. She wants to keep going but something holds her back. "Ah..." She keeps her eyes cast away from Mavis.
"I... I really like you, Mavis," she mumbles. "And. I want to move in with you. I've just--I'm excited." She's trying to make sense of the words jumbling around against her feelings, trying to translate. "It's kind of intimidating, too."
This was either a mistake or a wonderful idea, Mavis isn't sure. She isn't going to fret over one or the other either, not right now with Amity kissing her back. The human knew she could and would fret later, but in the present moment Mavis tries to put as much distance between herself and those fresh insecurities. It seems the best way to do that is to let Amity ball her shirt up in her fist and kiss her. She presses herself against the hand bunched up in the fabric of her top and makes a soft noise of 'mmnph' in her throat when Amity tilts her head slightly /away/ from her. It's a subtle que to pause, halt, cease and desist for just a second. Her eyelids open and Mavis golden brown eyes focus, the dark brows above them knitting pensively about whatever Amity has stopped for.
"What is it?" she blurts, then listens. All Mavis has to say after hearing Amity out is a husky-voiced and awkward, "Oh.." followed by a quizzical, "Intimidating?," then another, "Oh," and finally a reluctant, "Yeah.."
Amity's cheeks turn a bit brighter red. "Yeah I--I haven't really had a serious relationship? I had one girlfriend a year or so ago but we... we broke up after a few months? Um..." She hesitates again, looking a lot like the scared, unsure teenager she was all those years ago for a brief moment. "So. Is it okay if we take this whole thing slow? Even if I move in?"
Mavis blinks when Amity says that word-- "girlfriend"-- and her tawny cheeks flush a rosy color. Geez. She really had been way off the mark with Nathania and Amity, hadn't she? Then Mavis tries not to wince when Amity says "if" she moves in, but she frowns and looks quickly looks down to hide it.
"I.. Yeah, sorry. We haven't really talked about /any/ of that stuff," she quietly remarks. Mavis pulls her hand near Amity's hair away to scratch at her own scalp while she says, shyly, "I've had a few girlfriends.. and boyfriends.. mostly girlfriends. Uhm." They all broke up for the various reasons people in the late teens and early twenties tend to break up over, but Mavis doesn't exactly seem eager to get into it. She squeaks, "Sometimes more than one at the same time?" Then her eyes widen and Mavis is quick to explain, "But not like THAT. You know, just.. like.. polyamorous, but not the Mormon kind either, free-love hippy-stuff."
Amity blinks at Mavis, her hand moving to find one of Mavis' hands and squeezes. There's a little tweak of lips, an uncertain expression crossing her face as she tries to process what Mavis is saying. She chews at her lower lip, frowns. "...Like, having more than one girlfriend?"
Mavis sighs out a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding in relief when Amity finds her hand to hold in hers. The human's fingers give the Changeling's hand a warm, appreciative squeeze. She was feeling insecure with all that talk about her identity, especially in comparison to Amity's more "conservative" history.
"Yes," she confirms gravely, nodding. "Or boyfriend.. That's- That's kind of what I thought was going on with the whole "Nathania Thing", but-- yeahhh-- I was way off. It's not that I'm a cheat or anything," she's quick to explain, "but I get that's how some people see it. I'm just.. probably poly? I have been monogamous, I could be monogamous." With Amity talking about girlfriends and all, Mavis feels like it's appropriate timing to be up-front. "Like, just in the interest of full-disclosure, I want you to know that about me moving forward. Communication is important? I.. haven't been doing that very well the last week.."
Amity nods her head in understanding as she listens to Mavis kind of explain things? She's smiling a little, at least. "That... makes sense. Something like that, I mean. It'd take a lot of communication? I..." She trails off, not sure of what she wants to say quite yet. She hates feeling this uncomposed. "Well, I'm willing to try? I... Um. I don't know if we're at the point where that's something I should say, though? I--I'm just moving in, right? To my own room?"
"It's okay, I just wanted to tell you 'cos I felt like you should know," she says to Amity. "That's all.. Don't make any decisions about it right now and.." She squirms in her chair, awkwardly. "If you have questions then I can try to answer them."
Mavis peers curiously at Amity, trying to read what she's thinking by the careful expression on Amity's face. It's useless, Mavis has no idea what Amity's opinions are about her lifestyle, but she brightens at what Amity next says.
"Yeah, of course! There are tons of rooms," she says brightly, sounding a little too eager to move on to happier topics. "Have your pick. Except, of course, my gram's old room, but I don't think you want to sleep in there anyway." She'd already moved her stuff into the master bedroom, although she hadn't unpacked it yet, and had already fallen in love with the windows which opened onto the roof of the front porch. Yup. Gonna do some star-gazing. "Are you sure you still want to move in? I know it's kind of complicated with us," she uses her free hand to gesture quickly from herself to Amity and back again, "but I want you to feel comfortable, too. If that means you stay in your apartment and we visit like normal folks do, then that's fine."