Crush With Eyeliner
Word Count: about 1700
Disclaimer: Paglia and Crosby, not mine.
Summary: A lot of things can change in almost a year.
Zoe’s been gone for almost a year, and Jo didn’t realize just how much she’d miss her until she was gone. They emailed back and forth and Jo has actually ventured onto MySpace, which lasted for exactly three days before Zoe decided that the Eureka-based social networking site was a far, far better choice.
And sure, Jo saw Zoe at Christmas at the party Carter and Allison had for everyone, and Zoe was herself, but not quite the same.
“How’s Berkeley?” Jo had asked, clinging to her beer like it was a lifesaver.
“Full of granola types asking me about my commitment to social justice. How’s Eureka?” Zoe asked, leaning against the wall in a cute, clingy little dress that was all velvet-y.
“Same old, same old,” Jo said. “A few new weapons. I can take someone’s head off at six hundred feet and not even spatter the guy next to him.”
“You’re a little obsessed with spatter,” Zoe said, shaking her head and snickering.
“I love violence, what can I say?” Jo said with a shrug. “So how is your commitment to social justice?”
“Pretty weak. After all, I talk to cops, which means I support the hierarchy,” Zoe said with a shrug. “Of course, I only talk to cute cops, which I think makes it less bad, but my roommate thinks I’m all up in the false consciousness of it all. Does that even make sense? I told Sloan it made no sense.”
“I think your roommate need to spend a week in Eureka before judging about cops, that’s what I think,” Jo said, glowering a little.
That was about the depth of their conversation; Jo had been called out to go see what Julia Murphy had put into her festive fruitcake and if its specific density was usually found in nature, and Zoe had been busy and then gone back to the Bay for New Year’s.
And Jo realized she missed Zoe more than a little bit. She wrote more, not a lot more, but more, and Zoe wrote back. And for some reason she didn’t want to get into, Jo started to think maybe the writing back and forth wasn’t appropriate.
“Why would you think that? You were Zoe’s first friend in Eureka,” is what Carter told her when Jo brought it up. “She told me that she likes when you write, even though you don’t know how to punctuate.”
Jo had made a face — any other woman might have blushed — and Carter had grinned. “At least you know how to capitalize,” he said. “Zoe told me if I couldn’t write her email without capslock, not to bother with capital letters.”
“You were sending her all capslock messages? Troll,” Jo said, trying to feel better about it.
But somehow it was wrong, Jo knew, to send Zoe all those messages. And it was only when Jo woke up sweating from a dream where she and Zoe had been sitting in her chair in the sheriff’s office, kissing, that she finally figured it out.
It being that Jo Lupo, straight girl, lesbian cop cliche, and all that entailed, had a crush on Zoe Carter, eighteen-year-old sheriff’s daughter off at Berkeley pursuing her dreams.
Jo feels she handled it very well — she sent an email to Zoe, saying that she needed to take a break from the emailing back and forth, told Carter she was taking the day off, and promptly drove her pickup truck back into the woods to freak out.
She showed up at seven-thirty the next morning at the office with seven prize duck specimens, all with matching holes in their heads. Carter had taken one look, looked away, and said, “so, are we going to have a talk, Deputy Lupo?”
“Not unless I’m really drunk,” Jo said.
“I can have that arranged,” said Carter, giving her a look. “Did you and the weapons have enough quality time, Jo? I mean — do you even like duck?”
“I’ll give them to Vincent,” Jo replied grimly. “He can have a special or something.”
This was the first, last, and only conversation that Jo and Carter ever had about it. Jo is still pretty damn sure that he knows. She doesn’t know how he knows, but it’s something the big lug would know.
It’s just so…embarrassing. Jo looks back and it seems incredibly obvious that she’s had a girlcrush on Zoe since the beginning, when they were eating take-out and discussing Jo’s many bad options for dating in Eureka. It got beyond obvious when Zoe and Jo had that insane night out when Jo and Taggart broke up, and now it seems, Jo has figured out that you don’t have two weeks’ worth of kissing dreams about someone you don’t want to kiss. Or at least, she doesn’t.
Which is embarrassing. Because Jo somehow should have known, and deflected somehow.
And now Zoe is coming home for the summer — Allison pulled some strings and got her an internship ’round home — and Jo wishes she could sink into the earth, because she’s become a bad correspondent since she figured out she had a crush on Zoe, and Zoe’s just going to know.
And avoiding Zoe is not an option anyway — Jo is staring at an email that makes it so far from an option that it’s the opposite of an option.
I’m going to be home in two days. Please be at work tomorrow? I want to talk to you. Zoe.
So it’s not an option, especially because two days ago, Jo sent her a terse ok Ill see u then reply, and now she is squirming in her chair.
Hoping that something gets loose at Henry’s, maybe. Please God, let something get loose.
“Hey, Jo,” she hears instead, and Josefina Lupo, ex-Special Forces tough girl extraordinaire, stares at her desk and blushes. “It’s Zoe.”
“Hi, Zoe,” Jo says, and sighs. “How are you?”
“I lost my face in a freak accident,” Zoe said. “So I can’t see you staring at my toes instead of my hideous deformities.”
“WHAT?” Jo asks, looking up at Zoe, who is not deformed at all.
In fact, Zoe looks great. Zoe looks…Zoe’s wearing a little pinstriped pantsuit, with suspenders and a skinny tie. And a purple streak in her hair. And suspenders. The suspenders are about to break Jo’s brain with the hotness.
Also, she’s got a new piercing.
Also, she’s got flowers.
Also, Jo thinks the flowers are for her.
“Okay, so I didn’t lose my face in a freak accident, but at least now you’re looking at me,” Zoe says. “Hi, Jo.”
“Hi,” Jo says, swallowing. “Are the flowers for me?”
“Maybe,” Zoe says, looking away.
“Maybe?” Jo says. Her heart is pounding in her chest. This is ridiculous. But there’s still pounding.
“Will you go out with me?” Zoe asks. “I wanted to ask you at Christmas, but then you ditched me for the flaming fruitcake of death and then you avoided me, and then you suddenly freaked out and went incommunicado on me right when I was going to ask you out on email. And so I maybe thought something was going on and you had a new boyfriend but I asked my dad and he said you did something with ducks instead? And so I decided that it would be stupid if I didn’t ask you out because all you could say is no. But…don’t say no.”
Jo blinks. That was a massive info-dump, right there. “What’s the question again?” she asks.
“Will. You. Go. Out. With. Me. Jo?” Zoe says, punctuating each word so clearly that even Jo hears it.
“Um, YEAH,” Jo says, like she hasn’t been having her own private crisis of freaktastic stupidity.
“Really?” Zoe asks, and there’s this big smile on her face.
“Really,” Jo replies. “Are you mad at me for not talking to you? Because I had a thing.”
“I’m a little mad, but I think if I hear your side of it, I’ll be less mad and more the opposite of mad,” Zoe says, thrusting the flowers into Jo’s hands. “I’ve never bought flowers before. I hope you like them.”
They look better than the ducks.
“I like them,” Jo says, grinning at them. “I like your suspenders better. They’re mega-super-hot.”
“Oh, awesome!” Zoe says, grinning back at Jo shyly. “I am totally decked out in my girl-catching clothes. I asked my friend Kevin how to catch a hottie, and he said that hotties like hotties, so…?”
Zoe poses, and Jo laughs.
“So, where are we going on the date?” Jo asks. Zoe stops for a second. “Hey, you brought me flowers and all, I figured you had it all planned.”
“I…only got to flowers and maybe kissing and holding hands,” Zoe confesses. “I didn’t know if you were going to say yes.”
“Well, now I say yes,” Jo says. “And now I say that if you come back in an hour, we’re going to go on the best first date you’ve ever dreamed of going on, Zoe Carter.”
Zoe blushes, and then runs up and hugs Jo.
And then she kisses her on the corner of the mouth and Jo gets this wicked rush of naughty-bad-sexy chemicals, because Zoe’s wearing some kind of sexy musky cologne and the suspenders brush on her and yowza.
“One hour,” she says, pulling back. “I can’t wait.”
She flees, and Jo looks at the flowers and smiles.
One hour to put together a date that isn’t dinner at Vincent’s and then making out in the pick-up truck, as cool as Jo thinks Zoe would be with that. This is their first date. It should at least have a twist.
Jo has never been more freaked in her life, but she can’t stop smiling anyway.
This is their first date.