DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the characters of "The O.C." since they belong to Josh Schwartz and the FOX broadcasting company. This story was not written with the intent for profit.
SPOILERS: From the season 2 premiere to current episode.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"Hey." Alex greeted Marissa in a soft whisper, watching as Marissa blinked away the remnants of sleep from her eyes.
"I guess we fell asleep." Marissa whispered just as quietly, not in a real hurry to move from Alex's arms. She couldn't remember another time when she felt so safe, so loved.
Alex nodded. They had rented a bunch of old horror movies the previous night and somehow had fallen asleep on the couch. Alex had woken in the middle of the night when the soft hum of the TV woke her but she didn't have the heart to wake the slumbering Marissa. Even though both blondes knew the couch wasn't the most merciful place to be sleeping for their backs, they always seemed to fall asleep on the couch anyway.
Alex had pointed this fact out to Marissa once, who in turn reasoned that it was probably due to their first night they had fallen asleep on the couch. Ironically, it had been after both Seth and Ryan had left the apartment with their apologies lingering in ther air. There had been an old movie on that time too and neither girl had wanted to go anywhere else.
"You should get going, you have school." Alex reminded, obviously she would've preferred to keep Marissa lying in her arms for the rest of the day but they each knew they had lives outside of Alex's apartment. Marissa would have to go to school and Alex had a club to run. Losing themselves in their self-made utopia for two just wasn't something they could over indulge themselves in all the time.
"Yeah, I should." Marissa agreed, not moving a muscle.
Chuckling, Alex poked Marissa in the side and smiled in satisfaction when Marissa let out a squeal. "There's more where that came from." Alex warned, poking Marissa a few more times to support her claim.
"Alright, alright!" Marissa gave in, scrambling away from Alex's fingers.
Standing beside the bed, Marissa shot her girlfriend a half-hearted dirty look. "You play dirty, did anyone tell you that?" Marissa accused with a huff, her attempts at a glare would have worked if she wasn't standing in her underwear and one of Alex's tank tops.
Alex just nodded smugly to herself. Silently telling Marissa that she clearly knew how dirty she played.
Rolling her eyes, Marissa grabbed the towel that was lying on the ground and lightly smacked Alex's legs with it. "Come on, if I have to get up then you do too."
Marissa walked towards Alex's bathroom, smiling when she heard Alex groaning in the bedroom. If Marissa had to get up then Alex would too.
After all, a relationship is based on sharing wasn't it?
She didn't normally fidget; in fact, she couldn't remember the last time she had.
But she was fidgeting enough now to make up for lost time.
Marissa and Summer had come into the student lounge for their daily morning coffee and had seated themselves in the stools at the counter. Marissa had walked into school with a smile on her face, actually, she had been smiling since she left Alex's place.
Of course, Marissa's happy mood wasn't lost on Summer who had been staring at Marissa for the past couple of minutes.
Finally Summer voiced her suspicions.
"Why are you so happy? Did you slip something into your coffee when I wasn't looking, missy?" Summer teased, she had been noticing that over the last week or two, Marissa's whole personality had changed for the better. The slump that had been Marissa's life ever since last year seemed to be improving.
"What? No." Marissa blushed, the memory of Alex's hands on hers enough to make her smile.
Eyes narrowing suspiciously, Summer could sense there was something Marissa was hiding.
"Okay, so it's not alcohol so is it a someone?" Summer asked, watching as Marissa bit her lip. Taking this as a 'yes', Summer steamrolled on with her inquiries.
"I haven't seen you with anyone lately well, except for Alex " Summer trailed off when she saw Marissa tense up a bit.
Summer gasped, her eyes widening with realization as she thought back on their conversation a few weeks ago about her nose grazing incident with Cohen. At the time, Summer hadn't thought much of Marissa's thoughtful words or the advice Marissa had been seeking at the time. But now now it all made sense, so much so that Summer almost slapped herself in the forehead.
Instead, she swung around in her chair and pointed her finger at Marissa. "You've been grazing that cute nose of yours with Alex's, haven't you?" Summer accused.
Marissa could only blink but that was all the answer Summer needed.
"Oh my god "
"This is "
"I can explain." Marissa offered feebly, not wanting to upset her friend further. She was surprised, however, when she found herself enveloped in Summer's arms.
"So great!" Summer exclaimed happily.
"It is?" Marissa asked, clearly confused and unsure of what to make of Summer's reaction. A part of her wondering when Summer would come to understand what Marissa was trying to tell her.
"So you're really okay with this? With me dating Alex?"
"Sure? Why not?" Summer asked, now the one to be confused but then snapped her fingers; seeing the underlying fear behind Marissa's soulful eyes.
"Oh, oh you think that just because you're dating another girl that I'm going to what? Abandon my friend? Please, that is so not happening." Summer waved her hand as though to wave away the notion. "Face it, Coop." Summer linked her arm with Marissa's, directing them towards their class. "You're stuck with me for life."
Marissa smiled to herself, knowing that there was no other person she would have rather been stuck with.
"Summer knows then?" Alex asked, putting down her clipboard to look at her beaming girlfriend.
"Uh-huh." Marissa nodded, Summer's reaction to the news of Marissa's relationship with Alex solidifying how great of a friend the shorter brunette was.
As soon as Marissa had gotten out of school, she hurried to the club to tell Alex all about her conversation with Summer.
"Wow, that's amazing." Alex didn't know what else to say. She had only met Summer a few times but that had been when she was involved with Seth and Summer's reception of her hadn't been so friendly. So to hear that Summer was happy for them was unexpected.
Still smiling, Marissa walked behind the bar and stood in front of Alex. Allowing Alex to pull her closer, "I think the fact that you won't be going after Seth anytime soon may have played a bit into it." Marissa admitted with a chuckle.
"I'm sure." Alex nodded, fingers lightly tracing Marissa's skin that was slightly exposed by the short shirt.
Shivering slightly from the contact, Marissa felt herself flushing from Alex's fingers.
"Are you cold?" Alex asked in slight concern.
Marissa shook her head, she was definitely not cold.
"Are you sure? Because I could help you with that." Alex suggested, a wicked gleam in her eyes and her tone slightly suggestive.
Marissa's eyes widened a bit when she saw Alex moving in, feeling like an animal being cornered when she realized what Alex was intending on doing.
Quickly, maybe a bit too quickly, Marissa stepped away from Alex's embrace and Alex all together. At Alex's questioning look, Marissa let out an awkward laugh. "I got to go to this thing. With Summer." Marissa explained hastily, all the while quickly walking backward.
"Okay " Alex drew the word out, clearly confused to her girlfriend's sudden change in mood. Had she done something wrong?
"So I'm just going to go " Marissa let out a slight 'oomphf' when her back connected with the metal staircase, gripping the steel railing, Marissa quickly jogged up the stairs.
"Marissa?" Alex called out, watching her girlfriend nearly trip over herself on the stairs in her rush to leave.
"Bye." Marissa offered as a goodbye, quickly departing through the entrance.
Alex shook her head; there were times that she just didn't understand Marissa's sudden mood swings. Making a mental note to bring it up later, Alex turned back to take stock of the new shipments but was plagued throughout the day with Marissa's sudden departure.
"So what do you want to do tonight?" Marissa asked.
After the incident with Alex at the club, Marissa had showed up at Summer's house in hopes that her friend would want to have a girls night out.
Eyeing Marissa, Summer tilted her head to the side.
"What?" Marissa asked when Summer didn't reply right away.
"Don't take this wrong way or anything but why do you want to go out tonight?"
"What's wrong with tonight?"
"Nothing! It's just, well, where's your lady?"
At the mere mention of Alex, Marissa's whole demeanor visibly changed. From eagerness to sudden detachment.
"I'll get it." Seth shouted over his shoulder to his parents, glad to get out of the kitchen.
Ever since his mother found out about his father's hiding an old flame no, a presumed-dead old flame, right in his own office; the arguments hadn't ceased.
Having Ryan in the house provided an outlet from the arguments but tonight his buddy in crime was out on a 'casual get together' with Lindsay, his sort-of-girlfriend.
Sighing, Seth opened the door, expecting to find the Chinese delivery guy but instead found someone he hadn't been counting on.
The two stood there in the doorway, silently looking at one another until Alex cleared her throat. "Can I come in?"
Blinking, Seth shook away his surprise and stepped to the side so Alex could come in. "Yeah, sure."
Closing the door, Seth eyed Alex curiously. Seth wasn't so much as unhappy with Alex showing up but was more curious as to why she was here. After they had gone their separate ways, Alex hadn't made any effort to get in touch with him.
"So in the neighborhood, huh?" Seth joked, not knowing what else to say.
"Is Summer around?"
"Why why would you think Summer would be here?" Seth asked nervously.
Rolling her eyes, Alex only stared at Seth. The last time she had been by the Cohen house, she had discovered that Seth hadn't gotten over Summer like she had thought. If his vast amount of drawings of Summer was any indication.
"Well, she's not here. Why?"
"I was hoping she knew where Marissa was."
"Marissa?" Seth's interest was piqued, he had heard all about Marissa and Alex's new relationship through Summer. Unlike Ryan, Seth really didn't have any qualms with Marissa and lately Marissa had been seeming more personable to Seth so he had no problem with her. "I heard you two were attached at the hip."
"Oh yeah." Seth nodded, grinning like a fool, no doubt imagining Alex and Marissa together.
Smacking Seth upside the head, Alex shook her head. Why was it that guys got so hot and bothered over two girls dating one another?
"Hey, ow, I hope Marissa's more into the hitting than I was." Seth quipped, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively which only earned him another whack.
"Alright, ow." Seth relented, shielding himself with his arms. "I think Summer saw Marissa earlier today, did you try Marissa's place?"
"I think she wants some space."
Sighing, Seth put his arm around Alex's shoulder and shook his head at her words. "Marissa 101, when she claims she needs space, she really doesn't."
"So you're saying I should talk to her."
"Exactly." Pausing for a moment, Seth pulled away from Alex. "And preferably make up while I'm around." He suggested, moving away to avoid being hit again.
"Don't make me hurt you, Cohen." Alex warned.
"Come on come on " Summer whispered to herself, shifting from foot to foot as she waited.
"Hey, Summer. Where are you?"
"Oh, just around." Summer conveniently forgot to mention that she was standing outside of Alex's apartment in hopes to talk to the blonde.
There was a brief silence on the other line, Summer hoped that Marissa wouldn't question her further; Summer was a terrible liar and always had been.
"Where are you calling from?" Summer could hear the distinct sounds of waves on the other line.
"I'm at the beach do you want to meet me here?"
"Sure." Perhaps things would work out, Summer surmised.
"Great I'll see you in a little while?"
"You got it." Summer put her phone away, "Once I do this." She whispered, resuming her banging on Alex's door.
"Alex, I know you're in there!" She shouted but to no avail.
Dropping her cell phone into her purse, Marissa let out a wary sigh.
Marissa had been asking herself why she reacted like she did to Alex at the club, why had she left in such a rush like a chicken afraid to have its head cut off?
For some reason, she had the tendency to push people away and wanting to run whenever she was beginning to get involved with someone who could truly matter to her.
"Is it me?" Marissa whispered to herself, shivering slightly not at the light breeze that was in the air but at that thought.
Maybe Ryan had been right, maybe she did drag people into her own messes. Maybe she had been the dysfunctional one every time.
Pulling into the driveway, Alex was startled to find a familiar brunette sitting on her doorstep.
Standing, Summer frowned slightly at Alex who was now standing in front of her. Whatever happened earlier today between Marissa and Alex, Summer was determined to find out.
"We need to talk."
Summer glanced every now and then at her companion, taking a real good look at Alex.
Clearly the girl was beautiful; her eyes alone would draw anyone and everyone into them. But what surprised Summer the most was how big Alex's heart seemed to be, despite the tough-façade she put forth to the rest of the world.
Their conversation at Alex's had to have lasted no more than 30 minutes, but in that time Summer got a good idea of who Alex really was.
She wasn't just the girl who worked at one of the most popular hangouts in Orange County.
She wasn't just the girl who had dated Seth.
She wasn't just the girl with the tattoos and a glare that could bore a hole into you.
She wasn't just the girl who didn't have to go to school because she dropped out.
No, she was the girl who took a stand for what she believed in, love.
She was the girl who gave up her parents and friends to follow something she believed in.
She was the girl who didn't let the thoughts of others bother her or change her.
She was the girl in love with Marissa.
And for Summer, that was all she needed to know about Alex.
Pulling into the beach's parking lot, Summer turned the car off and turned to Alex. "Just give us a few minutes, okay?"
Alex nodded, watching as Summer got out of the car and made her way towards the lifeguard tower.
Perhaps now she would be able to figure out exactly what she'd say to Marissa.
Marissa was so lost in her contemplations that she didn't even acknowledge Summer's presence until the shorter girl was walking up the ramp of the tower.
"Hey, what are you doing out here alone?"
Smiling as best as she could, Marissa shrugged. "I just needed some air, you know?"
"I figured. Scoot over." Summer instructed.
Moving over to make room for the shorter brunette, Marissa sighed. "I just freaked, Summer, I don't know why but I did."
"Okay I thought you two were getting close?"
"We've been taking baby steps." Marissa explained.
"Right, and you weren't ready for a sprint past a few steps." Summer surmised.
"So why didn't you tell Alex all this?" From what little conversation she and Alex had at Alex's, the tattoo'd blonde seemed understandable enough.
"I don't know." Marissa answered truthfully, a bit deflated. "How is it that I always end screwing things up, Summer?"
"You don't screw things up, things are already screwed up. That's life you just have to work with it and unscrew it." Summer explained, confusing even herself a bit with her words.
"Which means I should talk to Alex." Marissa was getting the gist of what Summer was trying to say.
Summer nodded, glad that Marissa had understood her words.
"Are you sure this doesn't like weird you out or anything? Me talking about kissing Alex?" Once again Marissa was overwhelmed with the desire for Summer's approval. Of all the people who she should have cared about of what they would think, Summer was the only person who truly mattered. Whose opinion had always mattered.
Smiling in soft assurance, Summer placed her hand on Marissa's clothed arm. "Coop, you're my best friend of course I'm okay with it."
Turning, Marissa wasn't expecting to see Alex walking towards them. "Alex?"
Alex stood at the bottom of the ramp to the lifeguard house, arms crossed in front of chest as a sign of her uncomfortable ness.
"What how ?" Marissa trailed off, not remembering whether or not she had even told Alex about her recent favorite getaway on the beach.
"I sort of invited her here." Summer admitted, causing Marissa to face her.
Before picking Marissa up for their little drive, Summer had stopped by Alex's apartment in hopes to find some sort of peace for the two blondes.
Sure, Summer hadn't been the first to befriend Alex in the first place but even she couldn't feign ignorance to Marissa's true feelings for the tough-as-nails blonde.
"I'm just going to leave you two alone now." Summer smiled awkwardly, knowing that she would get an earful from Marissa but figuring it was well worth it if things turned out well.
Nodding to herself, Summer gave Marissa one final squeeze before standing. "I'll see you later, Coop." She whispered, walking down the ramp and giving a brief nod to Alex before making her way up the beach to where her car was parked.
Marissa and Alex watched on in silence until they couldn't see Summer anymore. The silence became heavier as the seconds went by.
"She's nice." Alex offered, wanting the silence to end. There had been too much silence already between them.
"Yeah, she is." Marissa nodded, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.
Alex couldn't help but give a small smile at seeing this, she had learned that one of Marissa's nervous habits was tucking her hair behind her ear in times she was feeling uncomfortable. Her smile, however, disappeared when she reminded herself that Marissa was feeling uncomfortable because of her.
Sighing, Alex shook her head. Going around in circles wasn't going to get them anywhere and frankly, she wasn't the kind of person to play games and would never play games if she knew who she wanted.
And that person was Marissa.
"What's going on, Marissa?"
"I I don't know." Marissa admitted softly.
She had been asking herself the same question for days now, wondering why she was avoiding Alex when being with Alex was the most happy she had been for the first time in a long time.
Sighing once more, Alex walked slowly towards Marissa and sat beside her.
"I thought you wanted this." Alex whispered, her own insecurity forming. Perhaps she had been too quick to push away all her doubts about whether she could have a relationship with someone so unattainable like Marissa, but she had pushed her doubts away with the faith that a relationship with Marissa could work out.
"I do!" Marissa insisted, her eyes darting to meet Alex's without a hesitation. Only to gaze back at the wooden floor, "I just I always seem to ruin the good things I have in my life."
"Is that why you've been avoiding me? Or is there something else?"
"I've never done this before been with a girl." Marissa confessed.
"Yeah, I figured." Alex joked, smiling to get rid of any harshness that may have been present in her voice.
"It's just I've never kissed a girl before." Marissa stammered; face flushing in embarrassment as she looked away from Alex.
Sitting here for the last couple of hours and clearing her head made her realize how foolish she was being; avoiding Alex just because of her inexperience with women. Surely Alex would take her inexperience into consideration but Marissa still managed to freak herself out before bringing her fears to Alex's attention. Somehow she always managed to push away the most important people in her life due to her insecurities.
"Is that why you've been avoiding me?" Alex asked softly. Relieved that it hadn't been something else like what others thought of their relationship.
For Alex, when she had first come out to her friends, she had battled for months over whether or not she should. At the time though, she was willing to risk it all for Jody. She didn't regret her decision, her emancipation from her parents had been a godsend for her but there were some friends she wished she could have kept.
Marissa could only nod silently.
"We don't have to do this a certain way." Alex assured, moving closer to Marissa so their shoulders were touching. "We can pick our own speed."
"I know that. And I want to, it's just " Marissa trailed off.
"You're nervous." Alex remembered feeling the same way when she shared her first kiss with a girl. She wasn't so confident back then and to say she had been a nervous wreck would be putting it lightly.
"Marissa." Alex waited until Marissa looked at her, leaning in so their faces were just inches apart. Alex smiled once more when the scared expression that had been on Marissa's face a few days ago at the club appeared once more. Seeing the need for no more words, Alex leaned in and closed the gap so their noses were now touching one another.
Her gaze never wavering from Marissa's, Alex slowly moved her nose back and forth; her nose lightly rubbing the tip of Marissa's.
Pulling back a little, Alex was glad to see that Marissa's expression of fear had been replaced by confusion. It was better than nothing.
Touching the tip of her nose, Marissa raised her eyebrows. "What was that?"
"That was an Eskimo kiss. We don't have to really kiss until you're ready." Alex explained.
"An Eskimo kiss." Marissa repeated.
Alex only nodded, wondering if Marissa was going to run away again. She was pleased though when Marissa didn't, instead Marissa initiated the next Eskimo kiss and caressed her nose against Alex's.
After a few moments had passed of nose grazing, Marissa sighed and laid her head on Alex's shoulder, Alex's arms wrapping around her waist comfortingly.
"Thank you." Marissa whispered softly.
It would take Marissa awhile to get used to the idea of kissing a woman, she had been taking baby steps to get to that point but it helped knowing that Alex wouldn't rush her. Perhaps, one day, Marissa would be able to surprise Alex by initiating their first kiss but until that day came, the Eskimo kisses would be enough.
"Anytime." Alex whispered, her words holding a promise in them. She would wait patiently until Marissa was ready, she had been in Marissa's position before and knew how scary it was to go from something you were so used to, to something you never imagined yourself being involved in.
The two sat together, watching the ocean's waves come and greet the bottom of the beach. Each lost in the comfort the other offered and the love that was beginning to form between them.
Their relationship had the potential to be something great, the kind of love that most people search all their lives for and doubt that teenagers could ever find that love so early in their lives. But Marissa and Alex had
And it would all start with an Eskimo kiss.
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