Tell Me How to Fix You
By: The Duchess of Arendelle
AN: I'd strongly suggest you all read the AN at the bottom. Enjoy the update, and I hope everyone is staying safe out there!
A knock at the front door startled the two women apart.
"Hellooooo. Guest of honor out here. Anybody gonna let me in?" Rapunzel's voice filtered in from the other side of the door. Anna casted a sidelong glance in the direction of her cousin's voice, then looked back towards Elsa.
"I'll get it, you can finish up in here." Anna told the blonde as she placed one last chaste kiss on Elsa's lips and began making her way towards the door. Throwing the door open revealed a smirking Rapunzel. The brunette took in Anna's slightly disheveled hair and red tinted cheeks and her smirk grew.
"I wasn't interrupting something, was I? You know, I can take a lap around the building and come back if you two need a little more alone time." Rapunzel told the redhead cheekily with a wink. Anna rolled her eyes and gestured for the brunette to come inside.
"You're ridiculous, you know that? Get in here." the redhead responded with a playful eye roll. Rapunzel stepped through the threshold, taking off her jacket and shoes and placing them both in the foyer closet next to Anna's. The two cousins then started making their way towards the kitchen where Elsa was removing yet another dish from her double wall oven. Making sure the blonde had safely placed the extremely hot dish on the marble countertop, Rapunzel made her way over to Elsa to scoop her up into a quick hug. Elsa warmly returned it and smiled softly when the embrace was broken. Rapunzel looked around the kitchen and sniffed the air.
"Oh my God. Elsa, you did all of this? For me?" Rapunzel asked, seriously touched and astonished that the blonde would put so much effort into something for her. Elsa blushed slightly and fidgeted with the front of her apron as she shyly looked around at all the food.
"Yes… I'm sorry if I went a little overboard." she told the brunette, now thinking that she may have actually done too much. Rapunzel scoffed and waved her hand dismissively.
"Are you kidding me? You have nothing to apologize for, I'm just— I'm seriously touched that you would go through all this trouble for me. Thank you Els." Rapunzel stated before bringing the now smiling blonde into another quick hug.
"So when can we eat?" was Rapunzel's candid statement the minute she stepped out of the hug. Elsa let out a breathy laugh and looked between Rapunzel and a nodding Anna.
"You two are definitely related. I would say give the risotto about 20 more minutes and then dinner will be prepared." Elsa explained. Rapunzel nodded in understanding and clapped her hands together.
"Sounds good! I will be commandeering your very comfortable couch and your very large television while we wait. See ya!" Rapunzel threw over her shoulder as she made her way towards Elsa's living room. Anna shook her head in the brunette's direction.
"Some people just have zero manners." the redhead commented between a mouth full of smoked Gouda and crackers. Elsa just rolled her eyes endearingly.
About 25 minutes later found the girls setting the table. Rapunzel and Anna bickered over which fork went where before they both gave up with a huff and just sat the utensils down in a random order. Elsa brought the last of the serving dishes to the table and began neatly arranging them. She caught sight of the disheveled table ware and swallowed hard as she tried to ignore the fact that they were all out of order. These were the small things Dr. Porter had told her to try and let go. She closed her eyes and took in calming breaths. In through her nose. Out through her mouth. She did this five times and felt the tiniest bit calmer- enough so that she turned away from the silverware and went back into the kitchen to retrieve a bottle of red from the wine fridge.
Finally with everything set, the girls sat down to eat. Anna and Rapunzel were salivating, but before they had the chance to start serving themselves, Elsa lightly tapped her glass to get their attention. They looked at Elsa in shock as the blonde stood from her seat with her wine glass in hand.
"I um— I'm not one to make speeches— or to speak in general really— but before we eat, I just wanted to say a few words to Rapunzel." Elsa's voice was low and bashful. Rapunzel looked on with expectant excitement and Anna just smiled encouragingly at the blonde. With that, Elsa continued.
"As you both know, I've struggled with connecting with people almost my entire life. Before you two, the only person I'd ever even came close to calling my friend was my little brother Olaf." At that, a sad look crossed Elsa's face and Anna reached up and grabbed her hand in support. Elsa smiled at the redhead in appreciation and continued.
"Then I met Anna. And I don't think there was ever a more awkward meeting of two people. In the beginning it seemed like every time we'd meet, it would either begin or end in awkwardness… Did she ever tell you about the time she'd actually walked in on me naked?" Elsa joked to the delighted surprise of Rapunzel and the horror of Anna.
"I'm sorry, what?! I will most definitely want to hear more about that." Rapunzel said, laughing heartily. Anna groaned and buried her face in her hands.
"Great. I'm never going to live that down." she mumbled into her hands. But she couldn't find it in herself to actually be upset with the blonde- because Elsa was putting herself out there. She was laughing with Rapunzel. She was making a speech. She was standing here, being sociable and happy. And the change she'd seen in Elsa- the progress the blonde had made from their first meeting, til now- it made tears of pride and happiness well up in the redhead's eyes and she couldn't help but smile as Elsa continued.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to get so close to someone. To become comfortable enough to touch them, and trust them, and confide in them completely. I thought it was a fluke. Anna was an anomaly. But then one day, she thrusted this young, energetic, perky brunette on video chat with me, and almost instantly she wormed her way into my heart too. I was able to confide in you things I was too afraid to tell Anna. When I had a problem, you had a solution. When I was struggling with my feelings for Anna, you helped me make sense of it all. When Anna and I were being ridiculous and in our heads about our relationship, you pushed us to talk it out. You never sugarcoated any of it, always telling me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear. You quickly became a best friend and a close confidant to me Rapunzel. And I'm so thankful for that. I just wanted to say that I'm really going to miss you, and I hope you come back soon." Elsa finished, lifting her glass slightly in Rapunzel's direction and quickly reclaiming her seat.
Sometime towards the end of her speech, all three girls had started crying. Anna rose her glass towards Rapunzel, giving the brunette a watery smile and mouthing a 'Thank you.' to her. Rapunzel returned it and sniffed loudly as she wiped at the tears spilling from her eyes.
"Elsa that was— this is— thank you. Thank you so much. I love you with my whole heart." was all Rapunzel was able to get out before the tears overwhelmed her again.
"Gah, this sucks. I just wanted to come here and eat up your good food. And now I'm over here crying my mascara off." she joked, taking the cloth napkin from her plate and dabbing at her eyes. All three girls laughed.
"Well I shan't keep everyone waiting even a second longer. Please." Elsa stated as she gestured for the two girls to dig in. Rapunzel didn't have to be told twice as she instantly began piling her plate with the black truffle pasta. Elsa watched with delight as the brunette took a bite and instantly groaned in pleasure, eyes closed and head thrown back.
"Oh my God, Elsa… where the hell did you learn to cook like this?" Rapunzel asked, going in for another bite. Elsa smiled.
"I've had a lot of time on my hands to take a plethora of different Master Classes. Gourmet cooking was one of them." was her simple response. She honestly wasn't sure the brunette even heard her as she continued to devour the pasta. Elsa jumped slightly when she felt a warm hand slip into her cool one. She looked over at a smiling Anna.
"I just want you to know I love you. And I'm so proud of you." Anna leaned over and whispered in Elsa's ears, lifting the blonde's hand to her lips and placing a small kiss on the back.
"For the food?" Elsa asked, cheeks warming at the praise. Anna shook her head, holding the blonde's gaze.
"No, for everything."
The next two and a half hours were spent eating and laughing at stories of the ridiculous situations Anna and Rapunzel would get themselves into as kids, the awkwardness that was Elsa and Anna in the beginning of their relationship, and the mystery of Rapunzel's own love life, or lack thereof. The brunette laughed awkwardly at that line of questioning and attempted to change the subject.
"Y'know Elsa, I'm really going to miss you. But I think I'm going to miss your apartment the most." Rapunzel said, laughing at her own joke. They had all been drinking throughout the meal and were currently finishing off their 3rd bottle. Elsa rolled her eyes but laughed good naturedly.
"I've actually always wondered— why do you live here? In this apartment building? I mean, I know you have like, major bank, so why live here? And why is your apartment sooooo much nicer than everyone else's?" she asked. Anna's ears perked up and she turned to look at the blonde, eager to hear the response.
"Oh yeah! I've always wondered that too." the redhead chimed in. Elsa's smile dropped slightly as she fiddled with the stem of her wine glass.
"Oh— um. Well this was… this was the last property my parents ever bought. Frost Industries actually owns most of the buildings in this neighborhood. My father was planning on flipping them into luxury apartments or something, but only got the chance to finish renovations on this unit." Elsa quickly explained, satisfied to leave it at that. Rapunzel, ever the observant one, sat forward in her seat and placed her elbows on the table, chin resting in her hands.
"Why do I feel like there's an entire story you're not telling us— spill." Rapunzel said expectantly. Elsa looked surprised and hesitated a bit before sighing deeply and continuing.
" I— that is my father and I, we... designed this place together. I drew up the blueprints, and we worked on the layout together. This was the first... and last project my father and I ever really worked on. After my parents… after they… I couldn't stand the thought of going back to the estate. It was just Olaf and I, and it just seemed like too much house for us… plus too many memories. So, after the funeral, I gave the driver this address and told him to drop us off here. And I've been here ever since." Elsa finished with a close lipped smile. Rapunzel nodded in understanding and patted her hand.
"So you and your dad actually designed this entire apartment? That's incredible." Rapunzel praised the blonde. Elsa just nodded and said a quiet, 'Thank you'. There was a beat of silence before it was suddenly broken. Elsa jumped slightly when Anna loudly clapped her hands together in realization.
"Elsa. This is it!" she excitedly gestured around the apartment. Elsa raised a confused eyebrow at the redhead.
"What's it? What are you talking about, Anna?" the blonde asked. Anna just continued to gesture around the apartment.
"This. Y'know, this." she stated like it was obvious and Elsa warily looked at the half finished glass of wine in front of the redhead, contemplating if she should cut her off or not. Anna huffed, when it was obvious they weren't getting it.
"Ok so, remember when you were, like, talking to Dr. Porter last week, and she said that you should find your, like, calling and stuff? Something that you're interested in and passionate about? Something that could bring you a sense of fulfillment? Well this could be it! This could be your calling. Architecture! I've seen the books on architecture in your office— and it seemed like you were really interested in those blueprints for the new Frost winter resort your company is building." Anna enthused. Rapunzel listened and eagerly agreed.
"Oh I can see that— architect totally fits you! I think that's a great idea." Rapunzel added. Elsa blushed and shook her head.
"I can't— I couldn't do that…" she trailed off.
"What? Why not?" Anna asked, bemused.
"Because… Well I— Look… I've never really talked about this before but... being an architect was… it was something I was very interested in when I was younger. You could probably even say it was my dream job... That is, until my father told me in no uncertain terms that I was going to take over his role in the family company one day. So I started off my college career taking business classes. But my unhappiness was evident, and my mother convinced my father to at least let me explore the possibility of architecture."
"He eventually gave in and let his lead contractor take me under his wing for a summer. His name was Mathias Washington, and he was also one of my father's closest friends. When father told me I'd be working with him on an actual project, I was excited to say the least. Mathias's architectural work had always been so... inspiring to me. They weren't just buildings he was designing, they doubled as works of art. And he turned out to be a phenomenal mentor. He'd encouraged me every step of the way, and told me I had a natural gift for architecture and design. He was actually the one who convinced my father to let me help with the renovation designs on the apartments. He'd really upsold me." Elsa closed her eyes and smiled at the memory.
"We completely gutted the place and rebuilt it from scratch. It took all summer to finish and father and Mathias were constantly checking and double checking behind me, but the day the apartment was finally completed, mother and Olaf showed up and surprised us with pizza from Pabi's. I remember us all sitting around this table, eating and laughing and talking. It was the last real meal we had together as a family." A tear escaped from Elsa's still closed eyes. Her head was swimming and she didn't know why she hadn't stopped talking yet. Still she pressed on.
"Afterwards, when mother was taking Olaf down to the car and father and I were tidying up, he turned to me and placed his hand on my shoulder. He told me how proud he was of me for stepping up and taking initiative. He said he could see how much I'd changed over the summer. That I'd become more confident and sure of myself. That my… that my 'problem' seemed like it was under control." Elsa picked the wine glass she was fiddling with up and took a long sip before continuing.
"And then he got this strange look on his face as he turned away from me. He proceeded to inform me that even though he was proud of what I'd accomplished here, it didn't change the fact that I would be going back to school that fall for business, and I would still be taking over his company one day. And there— there was no malice in it. No ill will. He just— he said it like it was just a fact. An inevitability beyond his control. Then he turned back to me, gave me a sad smile, told me he'd be waiting for me in the car, and walked out the door…" Elsa breathed out shakily before finishing her story.
"...He and my mother died three days later in the jet plane crash. I 'took a break' from college and I never really felt the want to design or build anything again." Silence once again fell over the room. Anna and Rapunzel were at a temporary loss for what to say. Elsa broke the silence by taking in a deep breath and letting it out with a half hearted breathy laugh.
"And that is why it is a bad idea to drink 3 bottles of wine." she said softly, trying to joke it all off, as she made to stand. Anna went to grab her hand again but Rapunzel beat her to it. Elsa tried to assure both women that she was fine, but refused to make eye contact with either. Rapunzel gently tugged on Elsa's hand, indicating she wanted the blonde to sit back down. Elsa conceded and practically flopped back down in her seat, the alcohol in her system wreaking havoc on her reflexes.
"Els I— I can't speak to your relationship with your late father, or why he was so against you following your dreams but… I can say this— I know a little something about overbearing parents full of expectations and plans. Plans that don't necessarily line up with your own— why do you think I'm heading back to Arendelle? But I'm not going back to live the life my stepmother wants me to, no matter how much she tries to guilt me— I'm going to give her notice. I'm telling her that I'm going to follow my own path— to do what I want to do and to live my life for myself. We owe it to ourselves to carve out our own futures, not to live in the shadows of our parents. I know your parents aren't here anymore… but it seems to me like you're still living in their shadow, still beholden to their expectations. Elsa look at me." Rapunzel smiled softly at Elsa and reached up to wipe away a rogue tear that made its way down the blonde's cheek.
"I know you love your parents, and I know you miss them dearly— I miss my dad everyday— but... it's time to start living your life for yourself. You said that I've never sugarcoated my advice for you, and I'm not going to now— your parents aren't here anymore. I'm so sorry, but they're gone and you're not. You're still here. You need to find purpose outside of these four walls. You can't just live your life looking through your window. If you have a passion, then take a chance and follow it. Follow it, no matter what. Or I guarantee you're going to end up regretting the chances you didn't take— for the rest of your life." Rapunzel finished her rant with a tight squeeze to Elsa's hand. Anna watched, teary eyed, as her cousin gave her girlfriend one hell of a pep talk. She also watched the different emotions flash across the blonde's face before settling on one. Rapunzel felt Elsa squeeze her hand back and watched as the blonde nodded her head once.
"Okay." was Elsa's simple reply.
"Okay?!" Anna and Rapunzel simultaneously asked, somewhat shocked.
"Okay." Elsa repeated with a smile.
"I can't say for sure if anything will really come from it but… I promise I'll at least look into it." Elsa continued. Both Anna and Rapunzel just beamed at the blonde with barely concealed excitement.
"Whoo! My girlfriend is gonna be an architect! A really hot one, too." the redhead exclaimed in an almost slur.
At Anna's outburst and Rapunzel's uncontrollable laughter, Elsa knew that it was officially time to cut everyone off, including herself. She rarely drank, and never drank as much as she had tonight. But it was Rapunzel's 'See you later' party— as they had begun calling it halfway through the meal— and she'd partook way more than she'd anticipated. And as she joined in with her girlfriend and her best friend's jokes and laughs, she wondered if the alcohol had emboldened her, or was she truly starting to recapture the Elsa from that one summer she was allowed to be herself and follow her own dreams.
AN: I don't really expect you guys to remember since I wrote it SO long ago, but really early on in the story, I started to establish Elsa's interest in architecture and I'm finally starting to flesh it out. (Due in large part to her building an incredibly detailed ice castle and staircase with like, zero thought or effort in F1) Also, I am more than conscious of the fact that drunken snails move at a faster pace than this story! So, I'm kinda gonna start speeding things along. This story is going to start moving at a much faster pace, and even time jump from time to time. I think I've been writing this story for about 7 years now and I'm ready to start winding it down. Something else I've been trying to think of how to work in was why Elsa lives in that apartment and I finally got around to it. I had the explanation in my drafts for years and I'm just now putting it in the story! (I did change the name of Elsa's father's friend though. It use to be Franz.) Anyway, I feel Elsa sent Rapunzel off with style! We'll see the brunette again sometime soon, but as of now, it's all about focusing on getting Elsa better and out there and actually living her life! Hopefully I can update again soon, and I hope you enjoyed the chapter.