DISCLAIMER: Los Hombres De Paco and its characters are the property of Antena 3. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"Pepa, it's a dangerous weapon!"
Silvia's tone is somewhere between a whine and annoyed, and Pepa doesn't even try to restrain her laughter. Which, of course, makes Silvia pout, cross her arms.
It's so cute, and Pepa laughs harder, and Silvia's expression changes from playing along to truly piqued. Seeing it, Pepa tries to tamp down on her laughter. (She mostly succeeds.)
This means trouble.
"Princesa," Pepa starts in her best wheedle, stepping toward Silvia. "Come on, try to understand."
"Pepa!" Silvia backs away, points accusingly at Pepa's futon. "That thing is junk!"
Pepa bites her lip, follows Silvia's finger.
Okay, so maybe the futon isn't new. Maybe it's a little dented. Maybe there are a few tears where you can see the stuffing showing through. Maybe it's not the most comfortable. But dammit, the pull-out bed still works. It has character. It has memories.
(Pepa can still remember buying it. She was all of eighteen, tall and too skinny, shivering in the cold, emotions churning in a volatile mess. She had been in Sevilla a week and had finally rented an apartment. No furniture, though, and although Pepa was down to her last 50 Euros, after waking up stiff and sore this morning, she was determined not to sleep on the fucking floor again.
It had been a flea sale two apartment buildings down. She doesn't remember the face of the man who sold it to her, but she remembers that his eyes were kind, that he had knocked 5 Euros off the price when she had bit her lip, and that he'd helped her carry it to her apartment. A bunch of thugs had been eyeing her on the way over; she had already had to defend herself with her fists twice, and he glared at them as they passed.
He had looked fatherly, and she had almost cried.
The futon had moved with her to every damn apartment she'd ever had. It was the only thing she insisted on bringing back from Sevilla.
They might have had a bad breakup, but Pepa will always be grateful that her ex didn't chuck the futon onto the curb when they broke up. Then again, Marta had understood. She had been the only one to understand, and Pepa supposes it's why they lasted as long as they did.)
Pepa tunes back in as Silvia finishes with " and it almost broke my back yesterday!"
Pepa purses her lips. Her voice is slightly cooler when she responds.
"As I recall, it also fixed your back." She stares at the futon, doesn't look at Silvia. She can feel Silvia draw in a breath and huddles into herself, ready for the fight, ready to put on her cool face, ready to dissociate.
What she's not ready for is the way Silvia steps close, fits her hand around Pepa's jaw, stares into Pepa's eyes. Silvia's head is cocked and the look in her eyes is the same one she wears at crime scenes, when she's examining the evidence and trying to figure out what just happened.
Silvia always figures it out.
Pepa suddenly feels way too open.
(She doesn't do this. She's always the one figuring out, not being figured. It's easier to leave that way.)
She fidgets, but Silvia doesn't let her go. "Shhhh," she soothes instead. Her other hand comes up to stroke Pepa's hair gentle. Pepa suddenly feels like a restive colt being tamed under Silvia's hands. But it's working; the tension is bleeding out of her. She feels herself quiet, calm.
It's even scarier.
Silvia's still gazing at her, but now her look is one of understanding, maybe even compassion. Pepa offers a crooked grin in response, tries for her usual bravado. Silvia leans in for a kiss, and Pepa shuts her eyes, but instead Silvia kisses her cheek, her forehead. It's loving. Pepa's throat tightens.
"Okay," Silvia whispers, sliding her arms around Pepa's neck and hugging her. "It can stay."
Later, they are curled up on the futon, watching the latest Almodóvar film. They are dozing. Pepa wakes up a little more, presses a kiss to the corner of Silvia's jaw. Silvia doesn't react.
"I love you," she whispers to Silvia. It is spur-of-the-moment, unplanned; Pepa has barely admitted to herself what she has been feeling more and more, day after day.
She has never been the first one to say the words before.
Silvia tenses, and with mounting horror, Pepa realizes that she has been awake, that she has heard. Silvia is turning in her arms, and Pepa desperately tries to school her expression as Silvia looks at her, sleepy but wondrous.
"I love you too," she whispers, looking surprised at herself, and something unclenches in Pepa. She feels happy, light, like she's floating. (Only it's better than any drug.) An intense wave of happiness swamps her. She can't stop herself from smiling, open and deep and like an idiot. Silvia smiles back, snuggles tighter, buries her nose in Pepa's neck. Pepa is surprised. Every other time she's done this, those words would touch off a round of passionate lovemaking. But Silvia seems content to lay in her embrace, warm and safe, and Pepa finds she doesn't feel a driving need, either. Instead, all she wants to do is lay so close she almost crawls into Silvia's skin. She wants to lay there forever.
She realizes their breathing is in sync.
So she cuddles Silvia close, lets the affection overtake her as she closes her eyes.
Silvia never again brings up the subject of disposing of the futon.
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