“this,” laurie’s fingers are cold on penny’s forehead as she draws a curve at the top, that arcs into a swoop at the bottom, settling to tap the center of it, “is called your third eye.”
(there is a lot penny wants to say and ask. she came to laurie to do research, to learn things to give to kaitlyn, to gabriel in her book that made sense. she did not come to) open her eyes, focusing on laurie’s brown ones, at the sweeping brown curls that touched her sunkissed, freckled shoulders, or the smile playing on her lips. penny’s heart pounds in her chest, cheeks flushed, hands gripping the book against her chest closer than ever. she should be writing down notes, she should be focusing on anything but how close laurie is.
“r-right,” penny is very aware of standing here, in the dorm room where there’s a party going on, the music louder than it should be. she’s aware of the softness of the lights that surround them, of how her hair feels as if it’s standing on end, and how she is so, so tempted to reach out and trace the same spot on laurie’s forehead (but friends don’t do that right, friends do not touch each other so intimately, don’t think about what her skin might feel like) and instead finds her voice enough to say, “what would happen if two-- uhm,” her skin feels hotter the longer laurie’s gaze stays on her, “what happens if two people press their uhm, their third eyes together?”
laurie’s nose wrinkles (the light makes her eyes burn brighter), on the brink of a laugh (oh, please don’t laugh at me), “why would anyone need to touch another’s third eye? is this really for a project?”
“yes!” penny insists, feeling flustered again, silly and naive and so damn longing. “my-my project involves a lot of psychics. one of them, uhm,” she darts her eyes away from laurie, trying to keep steady on her feet, to not give into the urge to move in closer to laurie, “he is touched by an object. i was thinking a crystal of some kind, that changes his powers.” laurie doesn’t laugh; so penny pushes forward, “so that he’s more like a vampire. he needs psychic energy. i just don’t want him to have to kill anyone, s-so…”
her voice trails off feebily. laurie’s face isn’t good at holding back her thoughts, and when it looks like she might burst into a laugh, penny decides it’s better to stammer out, “it’s stupid, i’m-- i’m sorry, i’m going to go--”
“wait--” laurie reaches up, her fingers make contact with penny’s wrist (oh god, oh god, her fingers feel so nice--), trying to pull her closer--
penny wrenches away, throws open the door, and forces herself through the crowd. her heart doesn’t stop pounding in her head, as she makes her way to the door, opening the door, and getting out into the cool night.
her feet beat the ground, her arm reaches up, and she wipes away at the nervous, angry tears that are threatening to fall from her face.
she chides herself for reaching out to laurie, to getting so caught up in a girl when she knows that it’s not appropriate, that laurie would never, ever have pulled penny close to her, that there was no way her silly, stupid crush would ever mean something to anyone except herself.
(and still, penny holds onto the hope that maybe that it would change. maybe one day she could have the courage to at least ask. but she takes the coward’s way out, and avoids laurie for months, only keeping her name for a character in her book.)