#Leah'sHouse – October 15, 2018

Leah leans into the kiss, eyes closed, as she presses Nathan back up against the counter. Her left hand climbs up his side, her soft touch ruffling the fabric of his shirt as it travels higher. When her hand nearly reaches his arm, she brings it around to his chest, palm flat against him as she continues to make her way upward, gently navigating across the side of his neck until her left hand joins her right at the back of his

neck. Despite the discomfort brought on by the height difference she seems unwilling to pull away, instead using the positioning of her hands along with his grip on her waist to steady herself. It's a far cry from the awkward, nervous kiss on the wedding dance floor when prying eyes and her own uncertanties were a concern. There's a confidence behind it- a sureness to her actions- that wasn't there before. It's slow,

passionate, and propelled by a sea of pent up frustration that she's eager to forget (Or at the very least, ignore). But it can't last forever and, eventually, she breathlessly drops back onto the balls of her feet. Her eyes remain closed for a number of charged moments after the kiss ends before she opens them once more and begins to slowly nod to herself. "This is fine. Yeah, this is gonna be fine..." she says softly,

moreso to herself than to Nathan. "We'll just take things slow and-... and whatever comes, we'll deal with it." she continues as that old habit of rambling whenever her nerves catch up to her kicks in. She bites at her lower lip as her emerald eyes search his, looking for some sort of assurance that- given everything he knows about her, everything she's done- this is what he really wants. "...Right?"

Nathan almost seems to melt into the kiss, pressing back against the counter whilst leaning down to meet her half-way. His calloused hand leaves her cheek and falls down to her side as her own hand travels across his torso. It follows the outline of her body, resting upon the curve of her waist in a mirror image of his other hand as it enforces the grip he has upon her. Sure, it's perhaps not the most comfortable stance

for them to be in, but at the moment that is the most distant thought that he could muster. No, the most prominent thought is... this. Or rather just her. She has been playing on his mind constantly amidst the sea of his thoughts and memories, being marred by the echoes of his past or the doubt instilled by his own self-deprecation and doubt. There have been moments where it briefly cleared, like the kiss on the

dancefloor or standing side by side upon his balcony. But the fog always came back to choke it away. But now? Now he can feel it all being brushed away. And he was content, happy. He lingers in the kiss until she pulls away, where his eyes gently open and he straightens out just a smidgen to spare his spine some strain. His smile is light, but warm as she delves back into that endearing rambling that she seems to

fall back upon. "Your damn right," he muses quietly to her. "I've got your back, whatever may come."

If either of the two happened to pay attention to their peripheral vision rather than the person right in front of them they might notice a small, pale figure in a colorful pyjamas and fluffy slippers standing in perfect silence just by the corner of the corridor, staring with wide eyes at the formerly kissing pair.

Leah studies Nathan in silence for a moment, looking up at him through big green eyes as he does his best to ease her concerns. Her hands remain at the back of his neck, fingers softly brushing through his hair while she plucks at her lower lip with her teeth. Sure, his words might not amount to much in the grand scheme of things. He can't see the future, after all. He doesn't know what is to come or how it will test them. But

hearing him still seems to lighten her burden, reflected in the deep breath she draws in. That constant stream of anxiety that has been eating away at her seems to uncoil inside of her as she decides against questioning his words or motives. She lets her guard down for once rather than worrying about what comes next and a lifetime of caution and putting the needs of others before herself is thrown to the side for once as she

dives in and goes for what she wants. Her left hand lowers back to his chest, grasping a fistful of his shirt and tugging him away from the counter as her right hand pulls him down for another kiss rather aggressively. So much for taking things slow. Beer seemingly forgotten entirely, she attempts to pull him back towards the living room. It's not until she's nearly past the living room threshold that the until-now unseen

figure catches her eye causing her to break off the kiss abruptly. Her eyes grow to the size of saucers as she takes notice of Tara, looking the part of a deer caught in headlights.

Nathan meets her gaze, the warmth of his words amplified through his stormy grey eyes. He meant every word that he said, even if in the grand scheme of things they may be considered naive or unrealistic. But dammit, he's going to stick by them until the very end, whether it be by Collectors, Slavers or the Falcons. As she draws in a breath, he sighs ever so gently as his mouth parts to continue speaking. "Le- mmmf." His

words are cut short as she drags him down for another kiss, eyes briefly wide as he was caught by surprise. So much for taking things slow indeed. For about a nanosecond he seems unsure of what to do, but that is quickly brushed aside by her pull and the fire behind her actions. He is led, arms reaching down to wrap once more around her waist as he returns the kiss with equal passion and spirit, thinking that

everything else can wait unti- he blinks rapidly as she jars to a halt and he is left kissing the air. "Wha-" He follows her gaze and he freezes up, eyes widening as he and Leah freeze in their pose. He tries to process the situation right now, his brain kicking into overdrive to say something to defuse the situation or explain what's happening. Think, Nathan, think! "...Hi?" Nailed it.

Leah blinks a few times before suddenly following Nathan's lead. "Hi!" she says enthusiastically (And far louder than intended). Her left hand releases its vice grip on Nathan's shirt, leaving behind scrunched up fabric as she bends her elbow 90 degrees to give Tara a sharp, awkward wave.

Tara seems no more sure how to react than Leah and Nathan. She remains frozen in place, but she's quick to lower her head when they look her way, her gaze turning to the floor. She goes into her default mode when not sure how to handle a situation - stay quiet and wait for instructions.

Nathan clears his throat and tries to slip out of Leah's grasp, straightening both himself and his clothes out. Thank God it's dark enough that it partly hides the crimson in his cheeks. He clasps his hands together and points to the living room, sucking in a sharp breath between his teeth. "Right. Sooooo... I'm... going to go back to-... revising! Revising over that Bioti-ball footage so I can... pick a better team to

support," he offers lamely, switching his gaze between the two of them. "And pizza. Junk pizza thatohnoIleftmyslicebestgofinishit." With that he quickly darts back to his spot as he goes to tidy up the datapads and pizza box in a poor attempt at distracting himself (and Tara) from what just occurred.

Leah doesn't seem to realize she's still holding Nathan by the neck until he begins to slip away, which causes her to snap her arm back to her side as inconspicuously as she can. Not suspicious at all! Her cheeks turn bright red in turn. And everyone knows what happens when she gets nervous... "Can't let the pizza get cold! Cold pizza sucks!" No it doesn't. Even she doesn't believe that. Nobody believes that! Even Tara has

enough pizza experience to see right through her deflection! She winces as she realizes just how transparent she's being. "Uhh-... sooooo, hey!!!!" She gives a big, toothy smile as she steps to the side to put herself directly in front of Tara, giving only a passing glance Nathan's way as he steps out of the line of fire. "Are you hungry? You're probably hungry, right? We've still got some pizza left! Do you want some

pizza? You probably want some pizza, huh? I'm gonna get you some pizza!" She doesn't await a response before shuffling back towards the cabinets in search of a plate. Nope, that's the cup cabinet. Why are you looking in the cup cabinet? Those are definitely pots and pans. Can't eat pizza out of a pot! Panic. Panic. More panic. Plates! Of course! Where they always are! Same place they've been for years! "Aha~" she hums as she

scoops a plate out of the cabinet.

Tara blinks, standing no chance of getting a reply in before Leah speeds off to find plates. She watches her search in wordless confusion. She's not hungry, of course. She'd just heard noises and left bed to investigate. But turning down the offer isn't really on the table for her. And so she watches Leah's panicked search.

Nathan stacks the datapads and plans, rapidly switching the screens or just putting them all on standby mode. No telling what might happen if Tara happened to glance at their battle strategies for fighting the people who fucking branded her as a slave. He pushes them to the side and quickly opens up his omni-tool, giving it a quick once over before he closes it down and flops back down on the sofa, resting an arm across

the back and tapping his fingers against his leg as he peers over towards the kitchen. Now, a part of him feels like he should offer to help, but the more sensible part of him realises he literally has no idea where anything goes in this house. So he sits and tries to look as calm and collected as possible. Which fails. Miserably. Whilst he's not panicking on the same scale as Leah, he just does not trust what

might spew from his mouth if he tries to talk anything over right now. So, he leaves it to Leah for the moment... unless... it's at that moment where it clocks on. Leah is. Panicking. And when she panics, she gets motor-mouthed. And when the motor kicks in, it seems like anything can come tumbling out. Quick, act! "So, Tara. What, uh... whatcha doing up so late?"

Leah passes another smile Tara's way as she closes the cabinet and crosses her path towards the living room once more. "Let's get you some pizza! Nathan was just-... uhh-.... he had something in his-..." Teeth? No! C'mon, Leah! Eye? She's not gonna believe that! You weren't tonguing his eyeball! "...We were just-..." A sigh of relief spills forth from her as Nathan picks up her conversational slack. She avoids his gaze as she

slips past his legs to retake her position on the couch, desperately trying (And failing) to make that transition back to 'big sister' mode after what just transpired. She scoops a slice up out of the box and plops it onto the plate. Shutting her eyes tightly, she scrunches up her nose as she looks to Nathan so she won't have to make eye contact. 'I am so, so, soooooo sorry!' she mouths with a wince as she waits for Tara to join them.

Tara furrows her eyebrows slightly as Leah makes a fumbling attempt at lying to her. She trails after her into the living room, but Nathan's question causes her to stop, looking his way. She hasn't sat down. "I'm sorry." she's quick to blurt out in response, lowering her gaze with a respectful tilt of her head, clearly taking the question as an indication that she shouldn't have been.

Nathan tries to offer Leah a reassuring smile but... that kinda falls flat since she's refusing to meet his gaze. Instead, he gives her knee a quick squeeze before Tara's apology causes him to snap back to her in surprise and, now, Leah level panic. "Wh- nonononono, don't apologise! You don't have to say sorry, we were just-... it's a-... well you see-... Uuuuuhhh." He flounders a little now, his interactions with Tara

never being exactly stellar. So, he falls back to plan B. He stuffs a slice of pizza into his mouth and gives Leah a frantic look that is practically pleading her to help him.

Leah is poised at the edge of the couch, seemingly ready to leap at any opportunity to speak up. The natural defenses of a Leah backed into a corner at work. When Tara speaks up, she quickly responds. "He didn't mean-..." she begins to talk over Nathan as he also attempts to fields a response himself, causing them to stumble overtop one another's words. "..Nothing to be sorry for!" she agrees, shooting a glance Nathan's way. The

panicked look on his face as he jams questionable pizza into his gullet only causes her big green eyes to widen. She's sinking fast and running out of ideas. Besides, it's not like Tara is stupid. She knows exactly what was going on. "Okay, we were kissing!" she blurts out, as if it was caught in her throat and she was just slapped on the back.

The sound of a pair of footsteps announce Francois' arrival just in time for him to catch Leah's exclamation. The older man barely gets a step into the kitchen entryway in a pair of dark blue sweatpants and a plain white tanktop- wanting little more than to see what all the ruckus is about- before taking one look at the stranger on his couch, doing a sharp 180 and wordlessly continuing back down the hallway towards his bedroom. Nope. Not

getting involved. Not today. Not ever. Just a bad dream.

Leah winces apologetically to Nathan. Her father's brief appearance only makes her expression deepen, her eyes hiding behind her lids and threatening to never show themselves again. A long, even pitched whine emanates from the back of her throat. "I'm sorry if we woke you up, Tara." she offers in a defeated, low mutter as the embarassment continues to pile on, causing her face to turn as red as a tomato. This is why she can't have nice things.

Tara blinks, gaze moving to Leah for a moment. "I wasn't sleeping." she says quietly, unsure how to even respond to the rest. It's obvious that Leah's behavior has her puzzled and unsure how to act. She remains standing in place, aimless. She feels like she ought to leave, but the fact that she's being talked to and told to eat keeps her uncomfortably in place.

Nathan almost chokes on the pizza at her declaration and, as such, decides that a glass of water will help calm his nerves. He stands and turns, just in time to make eye contact with Francois. He freezes, mouth full of pizza, eyes wide and with a pretty badly crumpled shirt. They stare for a fraction of a second before Leah's father pivots and leaves without a word. If Nate felt embarrassed before, he certainly felt it

now. He slowly sinks back onto the sofa and swallows the mouthful of pizza, eyes just set awkwardly on the coffee table. He doesn't say anything, he doesn't acknowledge the apologetic look... he just stares at the table. This... is way out of line with how he thought this would go. After a moment, he only lets out a defeated grunt, followed by a sigh and him sinking as far as he can into the cushions of the sofa.

Leah's eyes remain closed for a few moments as she draws in a long, loud breath. It's not until Tara's words settle in that her eyes open once more. Brow furrowed, she looks towards the young girl. "...Is everything alright?" she asks, her own problems (And current predicament) once more taking a backseat as concerns settle in regarding what's keeping Tara up. As if just now realizing she still has a plate of pizza laying across

her lap she looks down at it, causing her bangs to fall in her face which only seems to further aggitate the situation. With a frown, she blows at the hair ineffectually and sets the plate down on the coffee table so she can properly address it. She doesn't dare look Nathan's way as she tucks the hair back and leans forward, elbows to knees as she props up her chin in the palms of her hands. Somewhere along the way this all

took a sharp left turn. Pretty good summary of her love life in general. "What's keeping you up?" she presses, her words slightly muttered due to her knuckles pressed against her cheeks.

Tara is quick to nod in response to the first question. The truth of that response is... questionable, but she's not one to complain. The second question causes her eyebrows to furrow. "N-... nothing. Sorry." she blurts out. "I should go." she says in a rare moment of initiative as she starts to realize Leah is floundering worse than she is. She rather uncermoniously leaves, starting to escape back to her room.

Nathan looks up as Tara starts to beat a surprisingly hasty retreat out of the room, his gaze following her until she disappears from sight. He chews on his inner cheek and then turns to look at Leah. He rolls his shoulders in a small shrug and says, "Go on. See what's up with her. I'll... get to work on the... thing." He waves his hand towards the datapads, keeping his voice low. Partly out of embarrassment, partly

about the sensitive nature of the contents of the datapads. He reaches over to take one of the pads, already zipping up his riding gear again for the quick, but cold journey back to his apartment.

Leah's expression turns to one of confusion, but the room is practically painted in awkwardness so a hasty retreat doesn't exactly set off any red flags. Still, it's clear that something is up with Tara. Something beyond walking in on a makeout session. She winces at Nathan's suggestion. Not just because things went south so quickly, but because there's no doubt that she's going to go make sure everything is fine with Tara no

matter how much she'd like to try and untangle this mess with Nathan. Because of course she is. Tara might need her, and Leah is incapable of putting her own needs above others. She nods against her hand, still not looking Nathan's way as a humorless snort finds its way out. "Guessing you're regretting coming over here, huh?" she asks, that sense of defeat creeping back into her tone as it begins to sink in that things

didn't go anywhere close to how she had expected.

Nathan pauses as he looks at the datapad, eyebrows perking high upon his head. He rolls his eyes, unable to suppress the small smirk that creeps onto his face at Leah's defeat. It's almost as if she's already forgotten the moments before Tara's arrival. He sets the datapad down onto the table once more and turns to her, kneeling down in the space between Leah and table. He reaches across to remove her hand from her face

and try and turn her face towards his, his smile growing a little in reassurance once more. "Yes, because this is the face I pull when I regret things." He waggles his fingers at his shit-eating grin before lowering them. "For real though... I'm... I'm really happy you sent that message." He glances to the side and rubs the back of his neck, the rising sensation of getting flustered starting to creep in. "And...

look I'm not very good at this kind of stuff. As you can probably tell, I can miss some... pretty fucking obvious things, y'know? So just... I mean just bear with me as-... well...". He lets out a quiet, awkward chuckle. "I'm glad I was here tonight. So, no... no regrets tonight."

Leah begrudgingly meets Nathan's gaze as he takes a knee in front of her, a pout firmly plastered across her face at everything having gone so wrong. His big dumb grin causes the beginnings of a smile to sprout on her lips and she gives a small roll of her eyes to try and deny it from taking hold. His admission of missing things causes her to cock an eyebrow, whispering a sarcastic: "Ya think?" As he finishes speaking, however,

she's unable to stop her smile from fully manifesting, causing her to tilt her head ever-so-slightly as she studies him. This was supposed to be like a Devin Tanner vid, dammit! Romantic! So she makes one last go of it, inching forward on the edge of the couch and sitting up straight so she can look right down at Nathan. But, since the cosmos have decreed it, it falls apart instantly. Her knee makes contact with the corner of

the datapad Nathan just set on the coffee table and like a Rube Goldberg machine in the shape of a middle finger, it presses against the edge of the pizza box, inching it ever so slightly over the opposite edge of the table. Wouldn't ya know it, that's the side that has the pizza on it! The weight causes the box to begin to slide- slowly at first, and then quickly- off the table. Splat. Pizza on the floor. Leah doesn't

even look at it. She's all out of embarassment by this point. Her nostrils flare briefly (Not the most flattering of looks) and her jaw tightens. "Don't acknowledge it! Don't you dare acknowledge it!" she delivers to Nathan in a whisper, almost threateningly so. Leaning down, she closes her eyes and presses a brief, soft kiss against his lips. Short but sweet. As their lips part, she returns to her previous position and

draws a breath in through her nose. Her previous smile returns. "You should probably go before the roof collapses or something."

Nathan , to his credit, manages to suppress a flinch at the sound of the universe giving a big old "fuck you" to the situation. In fact, he manages to simply brighten his smile as he realises that this whole relationship deal between them is probably going to be full of many, many moments like this. And you know what? He's oddly okay with that. Better than the doom and gloom that seems to permeate much of their lives at

the moment. Instead of acknowledging the ruckus caused by her attempt at dragging up any last scraps of romance, he merely leans into the kiss, eyes closed for the moment before their lips part once more and he is left smirking at her. "Probably a good call," he acknowledges in a quiet voice. He picks up the datapad and stands up with a grunt. "I'll see you soon, yeah?" He tilts his head gently to her as he makes

his way to the front door, scooping up his helmet along the way.

Leah remains seated, hands perched at the edge of the couch on each side of her. "Not if I see you first." she says slyly before realizing that just doesn't make sense and giving a roll of her eyes at her own inability to act like a normal human being when flustered. He has no idea what he's in for. "Yeah-..." she winces, hoping to overwrite her previous awkward comment with a nod of her head, ponytail bouncing about behind her.

"Be careful. It's icy out there and-... well, it's been one of those nights." she scrunches up her nose as she considers the situation, her mouth moving before her brain, "How fucked up would that be? Survive a Collector abduction just to die in a crash during a few-minute drive home?! That kind of crap actually happens! So weird." Realizing she's beginning to ramble again, she abruptly clears her throat, propping up a

smile once again. Probably not the sort of thing Nathan wants to be dwelling on right now. "So-.. uhh-... yeah! Don't-.... you know-................ die." she offers, her words getting quieter the more her mouth moves. In a whiplash attempt at not letting things get too dark, she enthusiastically adds a: "Goodnight!" onto the end of her rant.

Nathan stops at the door and looks back to her, slowly perking a single eyebrow at her rambling once more. That... really went off-course, even for him. "Yeah... don't worry, I'll be careful." He pulls on his helmet and palms open the door, stepping out into the cold, biting air. However, before he disappears for the night, he quickly leans back in and, in a painfully sickening tone of voice, he throws back a,

"Goodnight, Engel~." He knows her translator is likely working, so he's damn well going to get some rise out of her with the little name. He then quickly dashes away before she can truly retaliate, a shit eating grin beneath his helmet. He tucks the datapad into the storage box of his bike, starts it up with a press of his omni-tool and would slowly ride off back to his apartment, a little more... bubbly than

when he left.

Leah's brow rises. Her translator is, indeed, working. The perk of being ex-Alliance. No omni-tool required. "Gross~!" she scoffs at the silly attempt at some sort of-.. what? Pet name? A look of distaste crosses her face. She opens her mouth to continue but the door sliding shut causes her to merely glare at the door. With Nathan out of sight, she finds herself giving a brief, self conscious glance about to make sure no more

eavesdroppers are around to have heard that. "He's so weird..." she mutters to herself with a shake of her head, seemingly dismissing her own weirdness in favor for putting the blame on Nathan. And then, silence. Just her and her thoughts. Okay, so maybe it didn't go the way she had hoped. It certainly wasn't a Devin Tanner vid. But, then again, maybe that's okay. After all-... 'Tanner is a shitty actor,

anyway.' she silently reminds herself as a bit of giddiness settles into her chest, causing a goofy, uncontrollable grin to take hold of her. She doesn't allow herself to get lost in that feeling for too long, however, as the dastardly mood-ruining pizza catches her eye and she cusses under her breath as she stands up to clean it up. Once that's taken care of, she silently navigates the hallway towards Tara's room. Her

gaze only briefly rests on her father's bedroom door. She'll definitely have some explaining to do in the morning. But for now she tiptoes down the corridor quiet as a mouse and gently knocks on the door at the end of the hall.

Tara opens the bedroom door a short moment later, looking at Leah, and briefly past her, perhaps searching for Nathan. She doesn't say anything.

Leah offers a tentative- almost apologetic- smile as she meets Tara's eyes. "...Mind if I come in?" she asks.

Tara is quick to let go of the doorhandle and step back to make room for Leah to come in. She continues to study her without saying anything, just waiting for Leah to speak again.

Leah steps inside, giving only a brief glance about the small room before turning her attention back to Tara. "Soooooooo~" she begins, the previous embarassment rushing right back to her the moment she attempts to speak up, causining her gaze to lower to the floor. An uncomfortable snicker follows as she tries to get a handle on the situation. Temporarily distracted, she reaches down to adjust one of her socks that's not quite

even with the other, causing the UM logo to be off center. "That was-..." she continues, looking back to Tara with a wince as no other word comes to mind outside of: "...weird. I'm sorry."

Tara blinks, obviously confused by the apology. She doesn't seem quite sure how to respond, but eventually she asks: "Did he leave...?", craning her neck slightly to look out the open door.

Leah gives a few nods. "He went home." she explains, a kind smile remaining on her face. She glances back towards Tara's bed and takes a seat at the edge, patting a spot next to her for Tara to join. "Soooo..." she begins with a small shrug of her shoulders as her hands rest in her lap. "...Something keeping you up, sweetheart?" she asks, careful not to be too pushy with her question.

Tara apprehensively joins Leah in sitting on the bed. The question causes her to furrow her eyebrows. She shakes her head slightly. "I just heard talking and went to see. Are you mad?" She sounds worried, not scared. She doesn't fear Leah, not anymore.

Leah furrows her brows, a small smile remaining on her face as Tara's concern grows obvious. "What? No. Of course not, sweetie." she snickers, her voice showing signs of the fatigue settling in. It hasn't just been a long night. It's been a long week which was part of a long month. Despite spending more time than usual in bed since her return, sleep has been irregular. Broken up. She leans to the side slightly to nudge into Tara

playfully with her shoulder. "This is your house, too. So-... sorry for bothering you. I'll try and be more mindful in the future." she assures. A bit of red creeps into her cheeks as she realizes the implication that may be gleamed from that statement. It wasn't her intention, of course, but she'd rather sweep the statement under the rug than explain it away. "You said you weren't sleeping. You know you can talk to me if

somethings on your mind, right...?" she offers, once again shifting the responsibility into Tara's hands. As much as she wants to be there for Tara, a part of the whole 'reinforce that she's free' approach is allowing Tara the choice to turn her away.

Tara listens in silence, the unintended implication of Leah's words clearly not lost on her judging by the small shift in her expression. The question causes her to look down at her own hands in her lap for a moment before nodding a few times as she turns back to Leah. She doesn't say anything, however, not exactly doing anything to help dispel lingering awkwardness.

Leah merely watches Tara in silence for a number of moments, the awkwardness permeating the room. Seems to be the theme of the night. She eventually furrows her brow as it becomes obvious that Tara isn't going to say anything else. "Oh!" she exclaims. "Do-... uhh-... Do you want to talk to me about-... about anything...?" she presses.

Tara furrows her eyebrows slightly again, seemingly considering the question for a moment before shaking her head faintly. Talkative as always.

Leah is unable to suppress a small snicker. It's accompanied by a slow nod of her head. "...O...kay." she offers, drawing in a deep breath. She plants a hand against the bed and, for a moment, it looks as though she might take her leave. But her butt only leaves the bed for a split second before she plops right back down. "...Mind if I talk...?" she asks, cocking her head to the side slightly as she studies Tara.

Tara shakes her head, clearly paying attention to whatever Leah has to say.

Leah draws in a deep breath, bowing her head slightly with a couple of nods. "I... like Nate." she says. It comes out as if an admission despite Tara probably having assumed as much by this point. "I know our lives are-..." she draws in a deep breath, her eyes turning upward as she gives an exasperated shake of her head. The details didn't matter. Tara didn't have the context to understand the weight of them even if they did.

"...Things are complicated. And I don't have the best history when it comes to relationships..." Even if you take the almost-sorta-boyfriend that she killed out of the equation, it was still a massive understatement. "...But I-... I really like him, Tara." she says, her tone laced with a somber honesty. "I'm worried this might blow up in my face like everything else does." she continues with a humorless snort, her green

eyes falling to her hands in her lap. A few moments of silence pass before she looks back to Tara. "Do you think I'm making a mistake?" Sure, she knows Tara might not have the context or experience to really know how to answer the question. Maybe it's just about voicing her own worries out loud now that the night has calmed down. Talking out her thoughts to someone she trusts, even if that person might not have any answers

for her.

Tara just listens, showing little in the way of reaction to Leah's words, but the question catches her off-guard. She's very clearly not prepared to answer such a question and it shows on her face. A frown forms as she tries to think of a response, but no words come. What eventually does is a puzzled question: "You're... worried he's going to explode?" she asks. ...maybe that one didn't translate very well.

Leah blinks a couple of times, her big green eyes fixed to Tara. After taking a moment to process the response, she once again finds herself unable to suppress her reaction, hand shooting up to her mouth as full-on laughter slips out. "No-... No!" she exclaims as she tries to reign the laughter in. "Not literally, you goofball!" she teases, hand still hovering over her mouth. "...At least I hope not..." she adds in a mutter,

brows briefly furrowing as she realizes it might actually be worth considering given her crazy life. But she doesn't linger on that thought. "I just mean-..." she sighs as she tries to find the right words, the muscles in her jaw beginning to ache from the dumb ear-to-ear smile brought about by Tara's silly question. "I hope things work out." she decides, shrinking slightly as she grows a bit self conscious at the honesty in

her own words.

Tara 's frown deepens a little, her gaze falling as she realizes her confusion was the result of misunderstanding. The final explanation elicits a small nod as she looks back to Leah, unsure how to react. She's not used to seeing her like this, and the subject matter is largely alien to her. Judging by her discomfort she feels like she's expected to do or say something, but has no idea what. Not the best reassurer, then.

Leah draws in a breath when it becomes clear that Tara has little to say. It's not a sigh of disappointment. More of realizing that's pretty much the end of the road for that conversation. Not that she expected much, of course, and she retains her smile. "Thanks for listening." she offers. It's an attempt at making sure Tara doesn't feel awkward over having so little input to give, but it's also sincere.

Tara nods slightly, an air of awkwardness remaining as she continues to sit silently in place.

Leah remains in place as well, a few silent moments passing as she seems to fail to come up with anything else to say. This is usually the part where the other person tells you what's bothering them. But it seems Tara doesn't understand cooperative moping etiquette. Eventually she looks back to Tara, her smile turning slightly forced. "...Are you sure nothings bothering you, kiddo?" she asks, her concern beginning to show


Tara 's discomfort is not helped by Leah's return to questioning her. She nods her head, worry appearing in her face since it's clear that Leah is expecting a different answer.

Leah gives a few small, understanding nods. Perhaps she was overreacting and misread the situation out in the living room. It seemed as if something was bothering Tara, but maybe it was just the sheer awkwardness of the whole ordeal. Or... maybe she just doesn't want to talk about whatever is bothering her. Both are certainly understandable. And, while that protective side of her might want to continue pestering Tara and get to

the bottom of whatever might be bothering her, she reminds herself that this is a part of Tara making her own decisions. "Okay... Just remember what I said, alright? I'm always here if you need to talk, Tara. Doesn't matter what it's about." she says softly, reaching over to give Tara's hand a pat. "Sooo~" she continues, trying to brighten up for Tara's sake rather than continuing to put the girl in an awkward position,

"...I'm gonna stop bothering you so you can get to bed." she snickers, pressing her hands against the edge of the bed to push herself back to her feet.

Tara 's response consists of a simple nod and a faint smile. She seems relieved that the awkward conversation is at an end.

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