|From all things, Helena has been (detached) wrote in repose,|
@ 2020-02-04 20:12:00
|Entry tags:||*log, dante zaragoza, leena bertolini|
Dante and Leena: Post dinner chat
Who: Leena and Dante
What: Talking after dinner
Where: Dante's place
When: Post dinner with Hector
Warnings/Rating: Always for language.
The nervousness she'd felt earlier was back in full once they said goodnight to Hector and he headed out. Leena didn't even know how she felt about it, except that she'd done something that was not what Dante wanted at all and there was all the weirdness at the end between Hector and Dante that she wasn't touching with a goddamn ten foot pole. All the flirting was just flirting, just words, and even though Dante apparently forgave her enough to let her stay for dinner, Leena wasn't hoping for much beyond that. This was going to be uncomfortable, mostly for her, and possibly for Dante, and already her shoulders were going tight, and it was a fight not to wrap her arms around her middle.
She could survive this. She could. And if it was that bad, she'd apologize and make it to the door before it got any worse, then never let her shadow darken Dante's doorstep again. Hell, regardless of outcome that might be best. Yeah. That would probably be best, engage in a strategic withdrawal of forces and go spend the next week in a cave while not speaking to anyone.
Yeah. Best solution. Walls up. Say whatever she needed to so Dante didn't feel bad and then break for it. She blinked, eyes shuttered like she was preparing for her own personal hurricane and turned to Dante. "So, talk?" She almost choked on the words.
On one hand it was a relief to have gotten through dinner with her father and Leena relatively unscathed. No one seemed to hate anyone, no one was crying and no one was bleeding. On the other hand Leena had acted unpredictably and that made her nervous. Not enough that it would show - Dante had kept her cool through situations much worse than this - but it buzzed in the back of her head like another signal. The signal buzzed louder when Hector left but if Leena was working for spider or was going to power out or whatever the fuck else might happen it was better that he wasn’t here as well.
The rapid shift in demeanor and atmosphere around them wouldn’t be lost on Dante and her face scrunched up a bit with a cross between mild confusion and an attempt to decipher what was happening here.
“Hey.” Her voice was soft. “You wanna sit?” There was a flicker of a faint smile. “I can make some tea? There’s still some cake left over.” The offers would be put out warmly, attempts at applying a soothing balm to the situation at hand. “No one’s in trouble, okay? I just don’t get what happened and wanna see if you’d walk me through it. See what we do or don’t do in the future again, yeah?” Because letting Leena know she was allowed to have input on setting the boundaries that they had come to share? That was fucking important and Dante had to wonder how little it had been done with other people in Leena’s life before.
The softness of her voice did not relax her. It should have, maybe, if they were in a different situation, a different place, but now it buffered off into the back of her mind. Dante didn't have to be kind and -- it felt almost as if she was. Her brows arched together, trying to suss that out because really, even though dinner had been okay and there hadn't been any fights, she hadn't freaked out about Hector -- that didn't mean it deserved kindness.
She sat like a mannequin would, on the edge of a seat, too fast like her joints were freshly oiled, and as far away on the couch as she could get from Dante.
She had pushed that proximity once, she wouldn't do it again.
"No," she said with a too rigid shake of her head. "Thank you." Because the fucking least she could be was polite. "I--" and she sighed, vocal cords tightening up on her words so it sounded more like the wheeze of something dying. She shook her head, and tried again. "It was unwanted," she said, voice steady as she dragged her gaze up to Dante's and held it. "It won't happen again." It shouldn't have happened this time, but she couldn't take it back now.
Eyebrows furrowed at the return of the stiff and… frantic? Was it starting to go frantic? There was control the movements undoubtedly. A sort of control she recognized once again.
“Can I approach you?” The question was gentle, curious, open to being rejected without issue and she’d shift, trying to better get Leena in her line of sight. There must be something here she was missing and if she could just find that missing puzzle piece it’d make this whole thing that much easier. Then Leena was talking and her eyebrows furrowed more and…
“Leena.” Dante would hold the gaze without anger, without hurt. “I never said it was unwanted I said you needed permission first.” There was a little humor in the words even if they were serious. A small smirk would be offered. “But that’s not what I asked. What was going on with you? I’ve never seen you act that way with me before.”
"No," the answer comes out so fast that she blinks again, confusion registering. Had she said it that fast? Was that her? And then she winced, because she didn't want Dante to think she'd said something wrong -- she shook her head in that same stiff manner. "Sorry, no. I don't think that's a good idea." But it wasn't said with the impending threat of violence, and it came out even. It'd be harder to confuse things if they weren't close.
She blinked again, right eyelid fluttering at the correction. She hadn't had permission for that, for -- whatever the fuck she'd been thinking. Kissing Dante? Dante could do better. She probably had better for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the end, it was something that Dante hadn't consented to, and what wasn't consented to was unwanted.
"Right," she echoed, and mirrored the little smirk, but hers was empty, and looked brittle. "I--" She shook her head again. "I got -- I thought you -- I --" She huffed, words on fail and frowned. The very least she could do was to explain something to Dante. "I, um," her face twitched into a frown before she settled again. "Everyone lets me run. And you didn't. And I mistook that to mean something it doesn't." Yes, that was good. She glanced away for a second, and when she looked back, those mental walls were in the stratosphere. "I'm sorry. It was -- it was my mistake. It won't happen again."
“Not approaching.” Dante offered the confirmation back that she wouldn’t move forward from where she was. Now there was only to wait and listen with a gentle smile or a general movement of encouragement for Leena to continue if she seemed to need one over the course of speaking. There was consideration and her brow furrowed thoughtfully. Leena thought she wanted something that she didn’t? Not letting Leena run meant that? How could she course correct if she didn’t even…
“What did you think it meant?” The question was gentle, searching and she’d try to keep the other woman’s gaze without any negativity showing in her own.
Blinking was easy to focus on. And there was another one, but her eyes remained close for a half second too long before she answered, flatly. "The-- flirting. I--" It didn't matter what she thought did it? And there was that frown again, a thick line between her eyebrows that she couldn't quite soothe away. Why did this even matter to the other woman? It wasn't like Leena could stay around after what she'd done.
"I-- I mistook the flirting for something more. And I thought -- I thought -- a kiss." She sighed, as if that made any sort of logical sense and her gaze settled on Dante's knees. "And then I was so angry because you wouldn't let me just run like -- like I should have." Leena shook her head. Some little idiot she was. Dante deserved better but maybe, at least now, she'd understand that Leena was every bit as broken as she said, and she was better off with Leena running out of her life instead of into it.
Dante would continue to listen, her face twisted with thought as she attempted to understand what Leena had been thinking, where she had been coming from. Mistook the flirting? But Dante had stated that it was just fun and she wouldn’t push anything on Leena and that of Leena ever wanted to try anything to just- Oh.
“You wanted a kiss?” The question would sound mildly confused but that was more because Dante was trying to understand the pieces she was being given and not because she had any rejection of the idea. Though a second of thought longer earned a softly amused huff.
“Leena of course I’d kiss you, you just need to ask.” The smile was light, the faintest hint of amusement present as if she couldn’t believe Leena hadn’t gotten that already. “I just…” There was a thoughtful hum. “I can do the hot aggressive push me up against a wall thing, but out the gate like that needs a little warning, yeah?” The smile offered would only add to the truth in the words.
“Unless I’m wrong…?”
She was ready to say that she was going to go, the words were there on her tongue, except Dante was talking and her words--
Her words were all wrong. They were unexpected and surely -- fuck, was she hallucinating? She inhaled sharply, staring at Dante as she ran back over the words she was saying again and again. Lip movements matched words.
Her left eyelid fluttered as she tried to focus, to understand and it was like trying to catch grains of sand. "What?" She asked, dumbly.
“Do you want to press me against a wall and make out with me?” Maybe that was a better question then a kiss? The movements had been aggressive but not in a way to hurt was the conclusion she’d come to the more she’d reflected over them over the course of the night in moments away from Leena and her father. The question was direct in tone and seeking understanding but no other emotional markers would accompany them, and certainly nothing negative.
The question made her eyes go round because -- did she want to? Some part she was ruthlessly trying to kill did and her lips parted to answer but no sound came. No was a lie, bold faced and while it protected her, kept the truth of her unwanted feelings buried, it wasn't deserved. Yes was an answer she couldn't give either, too true, and not at all true this very second. It was too revealing, too much laid bare, and she shut her mouth with an audible click and glanced away.
Maybe this was a hallucination, but it didn't come with that fizzy brain feel that her hallucinations had. "Fuck," she muttered, quiet and low. "I don't even know that this is real."
There was a curious and somewhat confused cant of her head to one side. Didn’t know if this was real…?
“Leena, the fuck?” The question was confused sounding. “Do I need to fucking straddle you to get the point across?” There was an unsure sort of chuckle as she spoke, a clear look of confused ‘what the fuck?’ written across her face but no anger, no disdain.
“Or can you just tell me what’s going on in your head right now?”
Dante coming over to straddle her was -- was -- "Yes. No," she said vehemently after realizing how she'd answered. "What?" Because that was so much better. She'd heard Dante the first time, but that couldn't be right, could it? Could the other woman really be asking that?
"I don't understand," she said finally, brows arched together. "Why would you even want to?" If there was a catastrophe with a name, it was Leena, and she fucking well knew it. She'd even tried to warn Dante about it before they got to this point, and the other woman was still (stubbornly) … here? Not kicking her out? Something?
What the hell?
The ‘yes’ had caused Dante to open her mouth to speak - a smile present - before her mouth closed and confusion streaked across her features at the sudden no. Her confusion only deepened at the ‘what’, and the look across Dante’s face probably didn’t look terribly different from the one on Leena’s face right now. What the hell was going on? Why was this all going so weird?
“Because I wanted to before we had that little hiccup earlier?” It was a matter-of-fact but questioned at the end because she wasn’t sure that’s what was supposed to be said here. “Because I knew to expect some weirdness from time to time? Not bad weirdness but having damage means sometimes things just…” A hand raised passively gesturing in the air. “Happen. That people might not expect.” Once again spoken from experience and not theory. “In ways we don’t expect.” Eyebrows bounced up before dipping back down for a moment. “I don’t know what happened at the door and yes, it freaked me for a second, but that wasn’t because I can’t face that, but because I wasn’t expecting it. You hadn’t acted that way before. If you want to act that way? Cool, but I just need to know.” There was a pause, a beat as she thought before she’d quickly continue.
“You’re an attractive woman and you’ve been there for me as a new person in town. You’ve been nice and we get along. Why wouldn’t I want to kiss you?”
Was this what it was like to have her world turned upside down? It felt like it, and it was every bit as disorienting as she thought it might be. All the words coming out of Dante's mouth, she understood them, and didn't. Because -- Dante couldn't be talking about her. No one said that to her.
"I--" There were eighteen different words on her tongue to deny Dante, and she couldn't speak a single fucking one of them. Her frown deepened and she finally lost some of that rigid posture to rub her palm against her forehead. There was that ache in her head promising a migraine or worse later and she still didn't know what the fuck to do.
She looked up, breathed in. This was all murky emotional waters -- and Dante. She glanced back at the other woman, and fell back against the couch, her spine curved as she regarded her silently. What did she want? What didn't she want?
The world straightened. "I want to say yes," she admitted quietly. "And I don't think I'm ready to." And wasn't that just the fuck of her life. A beautiful woman that wanted to kiss her, that had kissed her in the heat of the moment after a fight, and that she wanted to kiss back, only -- it shouldn't leave her feeling so fucking ridiculous about it. Dante did deserve better than that. They both did.
It was a relief to see Leena apparently relaxing some, almost deflating in some way. Maybe this whole thing wouldn’t fucking go belly up yet.
“And both of those things are perfectly okay.” Dante smiled soft, kindly over at Leena with a half shrug. “Wanna cuddle and watch a movie while having another slice of cake instead?” Because normalcy, because continued interaction, because acceptance was important, and all those things were important for Leena right here and right now. Dante could read the bright, flashing neon sign of the situation from half a mile away, even though they weren’t even sitting half a room apart.
The frown faded and she was left staring at Dante who apparently did not hate her, and was fine with her wanting and not being ready. She breathed out so hard that she felt it in the collapse of her diaphragm, and likewise felt it when her lungs inflated again.
Did she want to--? "You're okay with that?" She asked, faintly, because cuddling on the couch and watching a movie was a whole fuck of a lot different than having Dante in her lap kissing her. And she didn't -- she didn't want to make Dante feel bad about the whole damn thing that wasn't even her fault anyway.
A curious pop of brow was earned by the force of the exhale but she waited, letting the open and gentle curiosity remain across her face. Leena seemed to be trying to get through whatever she was going through and the question seemed to surprise Dante.
“Oh!” The single word was quickly followed. “Yeah, sure. I wouldn’t offer it if I wasn’t.” The bright smile emerged again. “And if you try anything too harsh that I don’t like without permission? I’ll break your fucking arm.” These sentences were said good naturedly even if they were honest, but it was clear from her posturing, her tone, her total demeanor that Dante had no expectations or belief that there would be any sort of issue moving forward.
“Pretty sure now that we have our boundaries out - as an example, you ask before you touch my body, and you tell me what mood you’re in before you progress with touching me in any unusual manner - we’ll be just fine.” Her expectations were now on display for Leena, it was a simple negotiation and one she didn’t give a second thought to. “I know you’ll seek permission before you move to touch me ever again, and I’m giving you permission to touch as long as you telegraph or ask. Like cuddling with me while we watch a movie and eat cake.” Another shrug, one absent of negativity, one relaxed and not seeing a single problem with how they planned to progress if Leena agreed, was given. This was just a normal Sunday night. That should cover all their bases for now.
She shook her head, the promise unneeded. Everything besides cuddling was off the table as far as Leena was concerned, whether it was too harsh, or too gentle, or somewhere in between. That was the only safe road for now and the only one she felt comfortable traveling.
"Alright," she said quietly, in agreement to the expectations and boundaries. They were not out of line, but her brain still felt fuzzy with uncertainty, and she didn't list her own in response. It wasn't as though people touched her anyway. "I won't."
“Didn’t think you would.” Another soft smile because those were easy and she’d wait a moment more, noting the silence that fell between them in the room. This was… odd.
“What are yours?” It was a simple thing to ask and just felt natural considering where they were in the conversation at this point. “Figure if you’re taking me up on the cuddling with a movie and cake….” Dante let the sentence die off with a gesture that implied Leena could put 2+2 together and take it from there.
She blinked at Dante for a second before her jaw slackened, mouth forming a slight 'o'. She was -- she was supposed to give the things she didn't want, or maybe the things she did and all of it was a '???' because she didn't expect to be here.
She swallowed hard, tongue rubbing up against the roof of her mouth to work up some spit or brain cells, hopefully both, and then answer Dante instead of staring at her stupidly. "I--" Leena finally managed. It was a good start --
Oh, who the fuck was she kidding? It was an awful start. Why did words even have to exist anyway? Her jaw tensed, irritation turned inward before she tried again. "Just cuddling. Hugging is okay. Just that." Decent.
“Just cuddling. Got it. Cool.” A caring smile was offered with the words before Dante would jut a thumb over one of her shoulders. “I’ll go grab some cake.” There was a tilt of her jaw towards the couch. “Make yourself comfortable, I’ll be back in a few.” The smile would widen a bit before she’d start to stand and head back to the kitchen to retrieve some cake.
The smile was the latest things that didn't make sense -- at all. But she didn't leave the couch and watched as Dante retreated into the kitchen blankly, before her head thunked back hard enough to be heard against the back of the couch. What the fuck was going on? Why was this her life? What the fuck was she doing, thinking she could cuddle with Dante of all people? Cause -- Dante. Who was apparently -- wanting her to stay for cuddles. She groaned and rolled over, falling face down in the seats of the couch.
She could do this. She could totally do this. Cuddling and cake. As soon as she heard Dante's steps getting closer, she sat up and took a deep breath. Yeah, totally. She could do this. "You don't have to do this."
Okay, cake. Cake was easy. Cake was disarming and easy and hopefully wouldn’t cause any ridiculous meltdowns for no fucking reason. Christ. Cake was fetched from the fridge and a couple of slices were piled onto one plate - no reason to dirty two - before the container was put back and Dante headed back into the living room to—
“For fuck’s sake Leena, tell me if you’re big spoon or little spoon and get fucking comfortable already.” The plate of cake would be held up with one hand as the other hand gestured toward the projector screen. “Cake.” The plate wiggled. “Cuddles.” Her free hand gestured between their bodies. “Movie!” A finger pointed at the screen. “Why is this that fucking hard?” There was a mild annoyance but mostly it was a sincere question. Dante didn’t even really wait for a response before stepping over to the couch and gesturing for Leena to move into a comfortable position. “Go, move.” And that was that before Dante was moving to climb onto the couch herself.
Dante brought back one plate. For the two of them. She blinked, and half of what she said was missed, but she got the gestures. Leena wanted to answer that she was just happy to be in the drawer, but something about her directness made her bite back the answer.
Thinking of arms around her, containing, controlling -- she bit out, "Big spoon," as she moved over for Dante and let her get comfortable first. How the fuck was she supposed to be the big spoon when she had no idea how to? That's why this was so hard. And no one ever did this with her, except for Sadie, and the other girls at the clinic. She sighed and shuffled over slowly. "My head's a mess," she finally said as if that would help explain why.
“Big spoon it is.” Dante nodded, finally they were getting this show on the road. With that out of the way she’d offer Leena the plate with forks before climbing fully onto the couch so that her legs aimed away from the other woman. With that taken care of Dante would gesture to take the plate back so that she could hold it before moving slowly - telegraphed - to lean back and rest the back of her shoulder against the front of Leena’s shoulder.
“See.” Dante would offer one of the forks back to Leena, the smile softer, more sincere, hell one might even venture happy. “Nothing’s spontaneously combusting, the apocalypse hasn’t come, no one’s breaking down the front door.” The words were teasing a little as Dante would retrieve her own fork, adjusting her hold on the plate so that it would be easy for both of them to reach and cut pieces from. From there she’d cut a bite off of her slice.
“If you’re feeling brave, you can even put your arm around me.” There was a smug little smile, something a bit challenging, and a playful wink before she’d finish settling in - leaning a fair amount of weight against the other woman - and glance about the room.
“Alexa, drop projector screen 100%, dim lights to 50% and start netflix account Dante.” Seeming pleased with how the electronics began to move Dante would let herself fall into a resting position, a happy smile tossed at Leena.
Spontaneous combustion, the apocalypse, someone breaking down the door -- none of that was what she was worried about. It was all internal, that worrisome anticipation of touch, of how she would respond to it, if she might not like it all and hurt Dante because of it. But that didn't come either, it was only warmth and weight as Dante settled against her.
"Demanding," she muttered without heat. It was enough that she held the plate of cake without her hands shaking hard enough to rattle the silverware on it. It was a win, and Leena would take those where she could.
That didn't mean that she put her arm around the other woman, brave or not, and even though the cake looked damn good, she didn't actually move to take a bite, not through Dante's directions and not even when the Netflix logo appeared on the screen. She still managed to confirm, "Good," though she wasn't sure that she wouldn't jump out of her skin if Dante moved too fast.
The lack of words and movement was noted - generally when a pretty lady was willing to drop themselves into someone’s arms the other person was… well… not reacting like Leena which only added to the theories circling in her head.
“Only when I need to be.” Dante attempted to tease back with clear humor in her tone to Leena’s commentary about her being ‘demanding’. Though eyes quickly picked out the lack of movement and Dante shifted to slowly retrieve Leena’s fork off the plate and offer it - handle first - to the other woman. “I am not eating all this cake on my own. Not that I can’t, just that I’m not going to.” There was a smile and gesturing with the fork for Leena to take it from her grasp. Dante would wait only a moment, letting whatever movement was going to happen, happen before her brows furrowed.
The Netflix screen loaded in showed largely informative documentaries and science-fiction movies and Dante offered Leena an apologetic frown. “I don’t watch a lot. It might be better if you choose.” There would be a gesture that pointed where the remote was before a slow shifting to retrieve it would be taken. With that accomplished it would then be offered to Leena.
She stared at the offered fork because on one hand -- dessert, and it was good, so good she could probably lick the plate clean and not feel ashamed about it, but on the other hand, she wasn't sure she could actually swallow another bite.
"Give me a minute?" Breathe in. "I need to digest a little." That -- that was almost true, but what she needed to digest was the situation, not the food she'd already eaten. Yeah, a minute, or five, or ten might be good. She maintained her grip on the plate though, and nodded to the information.
What was she in the mood for though? Something light, something fun, something new -- "October faction. I've been wanting to see it," she said quietly. "I watch too much Netflix, but it looks really good. Do you want to see the previews before it plays? Let me know if it's not up your alley, or whatever."
Oh, that was a lot of words.
“Sure.” And that was as far as the pushing not that topic would go. “Here when you want it.” The fork would be left on the plate without much thought. “You want me to take that back?” Would be offered in connection to the plate, a sincerely curious look was offered to Leena as Dante seemed to be sussing out if she ought to take back the plate or not.
“Oh.” Dante couldn’t help a beat falling as she processed everything Leena had to say. “Sure, wanna give me a two sentence summary and we can give it a try from there? Sometimes the previews don’t really tell you what something’s about.” The commentary was passive and all pointed towards ‘go forward, pass go, collect $200’.
“Work and projects keep me so busy I never know what’s what on here.” Her fork would be used to gesture towards the projector screen to imply Netflix. “If you wanna watch stuff you’re gonna have to tell me what’s up, otherwise I’m gonna put on documentaries that tell us how taffy is made or probably one of the startrek or zorro shows or movies if they’re on here.” She always had a soft spot for sci-fi.
"No, it's okay." And it was okay, it gave her something to do with her hands that meant she wasn't in danger of putting them accidentally on Dante in a place or a way she didn't want. It was safer not to touch her at all, at least not anymore than they were already.
"It's based on a comic? It's um, a family of supernatural hunters, and they have twins. Teenagers and monsters," she said, shortest summary ever but she was keen to see it. Supernatural hunters. "I've seen most of the Star Trek ones," she confessed quietly. "Lots of free time." And sometimes while she'd been in her cave, staying away from the rest of the goddamn world.
It seemed to be enough though, because soon the show was playing after a couple more vocal commands from Dante -- did she have everything on vocal commands? Damn. But she kinda liked it too, and half way through the first episode she finally settled a little more, and reached for the fork to finish off what remained of the cake.