yooo i'm back finally god. sorry about the wait!-! writing block ig bleh
i hope u guys enjoy this chapter!-! i really enjoyed writing it, but honestly more excited for other chapters uvu


Waiting for the Rain to Come

Opalescent glowed in the distance, the welcoming sign broad and bold over the roof of the cafe. It was hard to forget the cafe; few amongst the corporate chain cafes, but stunning looking with a personality in its presentation.

Peridot's watch ticked over to 4:13PM. She hoped Pearl wasn't impatient; she had decided to get off the bus earlier than needed to take a short walk in the wintery breeze. It was nice. She often admired the cooler weather over the mostly unbearable summers. It also helped with the built up nerves and excitement in her system, something like stretching the feelings out in her leg muscles.

She tugged her hoodie closer to her torso and shoved her hands deep into the pockets as she bound closer to the cafe, hesitantly pulling out a hand to open the door only a few seconds later. The warmth of Opalescent hit her in the face like a wave, and began to heat up her unknowingly cold face.

Peridot quickly cleaned her glasses before peering through them, scanning through the cafe for Pearl. In one of the less occupied corners of the cafe, Pearl sat, darting her eyes away after giving a brief wave at Peridot.

So she spotted me first.

Peridot loosened up her hoodie and smiled at the librarian, sauntering over to the table and taking a seat. She tried to ignore the… fluffy feeling in her stomach? Some sort of uplifting and poetic feeling, at least. (Lapis would know the word).

"Hey Pearl," Peridot greeted a little shyly, moving her face out of view slightly as her smile grew unexpectedly. "How long have you been waiting?"

If Peridot's actions were shy, Pearl was completely petrified (but in a good way?) Peridot wasn't sure. It was sometimes hard to decipher body language.

"Hello P-Peridot. I arrived early, but, um, don't worry, I always do that."

Peridot raised an eyebrow, but nodded nonetheless. "I walked here partially. It's nice out. I didn't mean to keep you waiting."

"That's why I said don't worry, I arrived early on my own accord." Pearl smiled absentmindedly and stared out the window, avoiding eye contact. "You like winter weather, I presume?"

"Yeah somewhat, I can't stand the heat. It gets sticky and humid and unpleasant. But thunderstorms are also unpleasant."

Pearl hummed, but seemed distracted. She fixedly stared through the window, and her hands were shaky, fiddly. Peridot frowned.

"Do you want to order drinks, since you've been waiting a while?"

Pearl almost flinched, and Peridot frowned deeper. It wasn't meant to sound like an accusation. "Yes, thanks. I'll pay!"

"No, it's okay, I offered."

Acting defeated, Pearl nodded, but it looked like she wanted to say something more.

"What would you like?" Peridot asked, already getting up from the seat she got comfortable in.

"Um, a chai latte. Thank you Peridot."

Peridot offered her friendliest smile. "You're welcome!"

It was sometimes strange being around Pearl. Lapis too. Even Jasper, looking back on it. Peridot was never really a sociable creature, nor was she all that friendly around strangers. She didn't really like people at all growing up, but she supposed that was her mother's doing, though whether intentional or not she did not know.

These three people seemed to be an exception. Around Pearl, she felt ignited, for lack of better words. Awkwardness always settled at the core of it all, but she felt excited and anticipated learning more about the librarian. It was an odd feeling for a person she didn't really know.

Lapis had really helped her open up. After high school's end, she coaxed Peridot to grow out of her shell, despite Lapis not being sociable either. They were able to freely have fun in public, and Peridot didn't worry over what people thought of her. It was nice to not be uncomfortable around strangers when Lapis was around, like the both of them could be socially awkward together.

And Jasper… Well, Jasper was the first person to trust her.

The barista eyed Peridot as she stared at the drinks menu. She knew what to order, but it helped to stare at something plausible as she slipped into daydreams or memories.

"Sorry," Peridot apologised, giving the tall woman a sheepish smile. "Could I get a regular chai latte and a berry smoothie?"

"A smoothie, in this weather?" the barista jokingly asked, but jotted down the orders anyway. Her name tag read 'Opal'. Peridot presumed she owned the place. "Dine in or takeaway?"

"Dine in, thanks."

"Alright. That'll be $6.50."

Peridot pulled out some spare change in her wallet, and Opal handed her the table number. She was a tall woman, her legs making up most of her height, and long sandy blonde hair trailed down her back in a ponytail. Underneath her apron, she wore colourful clothes.

Peridot decided she liked Opalescent at that moment.

Giving the barista a bright smile, she sauntered back over to her table, placing the table number between her and Pearl.

Peridot kept the smile for Pearl. "So, how have you been?"

Nerves wracked Pearl; Peridot could see it. Her hands had a slight tremor, her eyes darted away from contact, and she seemed to cave in on herself. She looked like what Peridot felt like for the past few days.

"Busy working. A job's a job though," Pearl replied, chuckling forcibly.

"I meant, how have you been feeling?" At Pearl's avoidance of eye contact again, Peridot elaborated. "You seem really anxious. I'm hoping you haven't been anxious for days."

"Oh, um…" Pearl trailed off, gazing at a wooden swirl on the table top. "I'm good. This whole concept of meeting people is kind of new to me. But otherwise, I'm fine."

Peridot nodded suspiciously, but she supposed it wasn't her business, as much as she wanted to make it so. In all fairness though, if Pearl was anxious about her, then it should've at least partially been her business. Peridot held back a frown. She didn't want to make Pearl feel that way, even if she didn't admit it.

Pearl continued; Peridot supposed she had gone quiet for too long. "So, um, how about you?"

"I've been working on an assignment in 3D character design, though it's a little hard to finish it when the college isn't giving out student copies of the software, paid or free." She felt Pearl's eyes on her and looked back to smile. "It's fun anyways! My roommate and I both like to do artistic stuff together, so I get a bit of help from her."

Pearl glanced away from Peridot's eye contact, but still seemed interested in talking. "Oh, you have a roommate?"

"Yeah, her name's Lapis. She's a friend I made as high school ended. She's a…" Peridot smiled quirkily, "…different sort of person."

"Tell me about it. I have two roommates from high school too. We're all completely different, yet somehow we've managed to live together for this long." Pearl chuckled, finally a comfortable smile curving her lips. Peridot smiled too.

Opal wandered over with the chai and smoothie on a platter in her hands, giving… some sort of look towards Pearl. It seemed liked they knew each other.

"Chai latte and smoothie?" Opal sort-of-asked, giving another look to Pearl. Her eyebrows were raised, or at least the one Peridot could see.

"Smoothie, thanks," she replied, the berry drink being placed in front of her. Also on the platter was a plate with two large cookies, which Opal placed lastly on their table. Peridot frowned; she didn't order any food.

"On the house," Opal explained, smiling to both Peridot and Pearl now. She quickly left with the empty platter, a bounce in her step.

Peridot gazed from her drink, to the cookies, to Pearl's reddening face. "What was that about?"

"Oh, um, her name is Opal. She's a friend," she explained abashedly.

"Is that why we came to this specific cafe?"

Pearl shrugged. "Kind of. I like this cafe, and I'm a regular too."

"And that's why we got free cookies?" Peridot grinned. "Okay, I'm definitely coming here more often with you for free food!"

Pearl wore a cute smile and laughed a little. "You sound a lot like one of my roommates when you say that."

"One day I might have to meet them then. If they can appreciate free cafe food as much as myself, then they must be a great person!" Peridot took a sip of her smoothie, the coldness of it already burning at her teeth. She didn't regret buying it nevertheless.

"Yeah, maybe." She sipped at her chai and gave darting glances at Peridot.

"So how long have you and your roomies been living together for?" Peridot asked after taking a bite of her cookie. It was warm and soft.

"Oh, probably a couple of years now with one of them, Garnet. Recently our other friend joined when she turned 18."

Peridot frowned. "Wait, how old are you?"

Pearl mimicked the frown. "21. How old are you?"

"Oh. Um, I'm 18 and a half."

Pearl pulled a face that seemed rather shocked. "Oh! I, uh, didn't know you were that young! Uh."

"I didn't think you'd be in your twenties," Peridot replied honestly, feeling her face heat up. Pearl didn't look like she was three years older than her; though, she realised, years are not that easy to see past high school.

Awkward silence settled between them.

"I'll take that as a compliment," Pearl eventually replied, looking away.

Peridot bit her lip. She wasn't great at reading body language, nor signals. She was sure if Lapis were here, she'd easily tell her the answer to her question, but she wasn't, and Pearl was really the only one who could give her the answer.

"Pearl… was this like a um, a, yanno… a date? I'm sorry for asking I'm just not great at reading signals and I don't want to scare you away and I—"

Pearl stood up, silencing Peridot's motor-mouthing. She seemed upset. Really upset. "I—I'm sorry."

She hugged herself and bolted out the door, her cookie left untouched. Peridot sprung to her feet, eyes wide with worry and misunderstanding, abandoning her half finished drink. (She honestly wanted to finish it, but going after Pearl mattered more than a stupid smoothie).

She left the warmth of the cafe, noticing Opal's eyes trailing over her, and into the cold outside where the grey clouds overhead covered the sun and began to sprinkle a little rain. She once again fumbled with cleaning her glasses of condensation and rain.

"Pearl?" Peridot called out, spotting her walking off in the direction Peridot came from when she arrived. She stopped on the middle of the pathway.

Peridot dashed to her, noticing her arms tight around her torso, shaking. She wore nothing more than a light peachy cardigan over what Peridot presume to be a white tank top. The rain continued to sprinkle over the both of them.

"Pearl! I'm sorry I didn't mean to say anything to upset you and being uncomfortable or too young and—and, c'mon, let's get you out of the cold!"

"C-can we walk?" Pearl asked, already taking off in the direction she was going in. "I don't want to go back in there."

"Okay," Peridot agreed a little reluctantly; Pearl had to be freezing. She didn't mind the cold or rain herself, other than glasses maintenance.

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I just—I just didn't realise…" Pearl shook her head, holding herself even tighter. Peridot risked a look up at Pearl, whose face was scrunched up.

"Oh god, are you going to cry? Please don't—"

"God, I'm so stupid," Pearl interrupted, walking faster.

"Hey, hey, let's find somewhere to sit down and talk, okay?" Peridot offered, and looked around. They were coming upon the park where Peridot's bus dropped her off. It was somewhere she was familiar with, finding herself spending some time there by herself and with Lapis. "Let's go over there, there's some places to sit under cover."

Pearl nodded meekly, not saying anything. Peridot wanted to grab her forearm and lead her, but she supposed the last thing Pearl wanted was her touch.

She sauntered under the trees, getting as much cover to shield Pearl from the rain. Ahead of them was a gazebo, its green tin roof blending in naturally with the outdoor colours. There didn't seem to be anyone around, so Peridot lead Pearl underneath its cover. She sat down on the seat within, looking at Pearl expectantly. Pearl sat on the other side of the seat.

Peridot bit her lip and crossed her legs underneath her so she could swivel and face Pearl.

"Did I do something?" she asked, genuinely curious. She hated being unaware of her wrongdoings.

Pearl shook her head, refusing to look at Peridot. "No, no, you didn't do anything. I-I just—I'm just stupid."

"How are you stupid? Because for the record, I don't think you are," Peridot asked, trying to encourage her companion.

"I thought—I thought… never mind."

Peridot frowned. "You thought I was older?"

"Well, yes, um, but that—that isn't the problem. Just forget it. I should probably go home anyway."

Peridot gazed at her hands in her lap. "Okay… I'm sorry I asked if we were on a date. I just thought… I wasn't sure if this was a date or a friend thing and I'm really sorry that I thought it was a date because I'm really bad at reading the signs and sometimes I over-exaggerate and—"

"You… thought we were on a date?" Pearl was looking at her, eyes wide with surprise.

Peridot nodded, staring at her lap. "Sorry, I know it's probably weird, you're probably not even into girls, I just—I don't know, I thought it seemed like a date, but then again I've never been on one, well a proper one, so…"

"Um." Pearl looked away again. "I thought we were on a date too… I thought you didn't think that. That's why I… had to leave. I'm so sorry I stormed out of the cafe. That was really rude of me. I'm really sorry."

"Oh," Peridot squeaked. They both fell into silence, Peridot listening to the light rain pitter patter on the roof of the gazebo. She watched droplets roll off the gutter and drip onto the seat, staining the wood darker.

"Sorry, I made this awkward." Peridot sighed, biting the inside of her cheek nervously. "Do over?"

"What?"

Peridot sighed again, but tried for a smile. She stood up in front of Pearl, eyeing her flushed face, realising she was probably blushing just as much, and hesitantly stuck her hand. "Hi, my name's Peridot and I'm a really awkward person who comes to borrow books at your library. I would like to go on a date with you, if yanno… my age isn't a worry, because I'd really love to get to know you more. Oh god, I'm rambli—"

"Yes." Pearl's face was reddening more, blending into the odd freckles splattered over her cheeks and nose. It contrasted her light blue eyes. "I, uh, never realised you actually… wanted to go on a date with me. I thought I was just hoping for no reason but, um… Yes. I want to go on a date. With you."

Peridot grinned shyly. "Then it's a date! Do you want to maybe go back to the cafe or…?"

"I'm so sorry! You probably didn't get to finish your drink, right? God, I'm—"

"Don't finish that sentence," Peridot interrupted, frowning a little. "It's alright, it's a bit cold for smoothies anyway. Just don't put yourself down, please."

Pearl nodded resignedly. "Okay, I'll try. Are you sure you don't want to go back?"

"I mean, it's warmer than here, but it would be awkward to return back to the cafe after leaving in a rush five minutes ago," she admitted sheepishly. Peridot added a shrug. "Do you… want to just walk around the park, maybe find somewhere else warm to invade? I imagine you must be really cold only in that jacket."

Pearl stared past the gazebo's roof, looking at the dark clouds sprinkling rain over the scene. "It probably would be best to get somewhere warm, we wouldn't want to be kept in the rain if it gets heavier. My car is back at the cafe if you want to drive somewhere instead of walk around in the cold?"

"Uh, yeah. That sounds good, if you want to go for a drive." Peridot pulled her hoodie tighter to her body and smiled hopefully. "You wanna head off then, before it starts pouring?"

"Sure." Pearl stood up, towering over Peridot with her long legs. She mimicked Peridot's smile, albeit a little shaky. "And thank you Peridot. It means a lot that you want to still hang around me even after bailing. If it isn't obvious, I get quite a bit of anxiety. I'm sorry."

"It's okay." Peridot wasn't sure what else to say. (Of course I want to hang out with you? No, that sounded a bit too desperate.) Instead, she continued with, "So what are your roommates like?"

Pearl's smile broadened, and she began the walk back to the cafe car park, Peridot at her side. "Well, there's Garnet whom I met in sophomore year of high school, when she was a freshman. We met in the library as two outcasts, and we've been friends ever since. She's… quiet. But she's friendly, not the anti-social quiet. Well, not all the time, heh." Pearl had a gleam in her eye that made her mood brighten that much more. "Then there's Amethyst, she's your age. A… friend of mine, Rose, met Amethyst when she was a freshman. A little troublemaker she was, but Rose adopted her into our group, even though we were three grades apart. She's the one who loves food."

"Ahh, so she's the one I'd love to eat free food with, gotcha," Peridot replied, grinning. The way Pearl livened up talking about her roommates was contagious; it made Peridot feel warm and fuzzy inside.

"I'll have to take you two to a buffet some time," Pearl joked back. "What's your roommate like? Lapis, you said?"

Peridot snorted. "Oh, she's a handful, but like a good handful, if that makes sense. We moved in together after senior year, I believe around august, and I think the best way to describe it is as a journey. She's anti-social, sarcastic, and lazy, but she makes a good friend when you need one."

"She sounds interesting." Pearl nodded towards the car park. "My car's right over here. Are you sure you don't want to grab your drink?"

Peridot waved it off. "Eh, it's probably been cleaned up by now."

Pearl winced. "Sorry again."

"Hey, it's alright!" At Pearl's uncertainty, Peridot stopped before her before they reached her car. Pearl's arms were wound tight around her waist, and Peridot briefly thought about pulling them loose, but thought better of it. She placed a hand on Pearl's arm, gazing into her eyes. "Seriously, it's alright. It took me a long time to realise mistakes are okay too. I just want to have fun with you, alright?"

Pearl smiled sheepishly and looked away. "When did you get so wise and kind? Where's snarky, defensive Peridot?"

Peridot shrugged and beamed. "She doesn't need to be here right now. Now let's go find somewhere warm to camp at!"

"Alright, alright."

Pearl got into the driver's seat, Peridot in the passenger's. Immediately after igniting the ignition, Pearl cranked the heater up. As much as Peridot enjoyed the cold, being warm during winter was equally as satisfying.

"Any ideas of where to go?" Pearl asked, pulling out of the car park.

"I would suggest another cafe, but I really don't think we need more drinks. Hrm, how about…" Peridot grabbed her phone, absentmindedly making a few searches on the internet. "How about we go out for dinner? Food, not drinks."

Pearl quirked an eyebrow, but otherwise kept her eyes trained on the road. "What do you have in mind?"

"Like a tavern? It'd be warm, there'd be inexpensive food, and maybe even a band playing. That, or we could browse the food court for different shops and find somewhere to sit."

Pearl hummed. "Honestly, the latter sounds more appealing. I could really go for some sushi right now. Would you be okay with that?"

"Sure thing. There's plenty of other food stalls around the sushi one anyways."

"So off to the shopping centre?"

"If you're okay with that, then hell yeah!"

Pearl grinned and drove towards the suburb shopping mall.

Peridot never really went out with Lapis to eat. Often they'd order takeout and pig out at home, but neither of them really went to dine in at places, whether cafes, taverns, restaurants, or everything between. Lapis was never an 'eating out in public person', and Peridot could understand why; she was a messy eater to the extreme. But Lapis never had a problem making a mess in front of Peridot, almost encouraging a food fight at one stage.

However, Jasper had taken Peridot out a few times for dining out - nothing spectacular, since Peridot wasn't the one Jasper had been dating, but cafe breakfasts and bar food during the evening weren't unheard of between them. It was awkward to look back on it; she bonded with Jasper first, but ended up living with Lapis. Peridot wondered if things had gone differently if she'd be living with Jasper instead, or even the three of them happily. Or… alone entirely.

She watched the rain roll down the windshield and windows, being pulled by the speed of the car. Peridot honestly missed drives through the winter in the evening; it was a surreal feeling oddly enough, watching the rain make trails and pathways against the glass, the sky darkening and the street lamps lighting up the environment.

"Hey Pearl, can we do a question game?" Peridot asked, moving away from the window and giving the driver a curious look. The car was mostly quiet, the radio only humming in the background and the rain splattering against the glass making hushed noises. Almost so quiet Peridot could hear Pearl's breathing, even and calm compared to the anxious huffing from earlier.

"What sort of question game do you have in mind?" she asked with a slight frown, pulling up in front of a traffic light. Peridot recognised the street - not long now until the food mall.

"Nothing in particular, I just wanna get to know you," Peridot replied sheepishly. She noticed Pearl's lips twinge back into her cute smile. "Like, simple questions like 'what's your favourite colour?'"

"A go-to question," Pearl hummed, but continued, "Light blue and pink. I like both colours equally. What about you?"

Peridot pulled out the top of her green shirt from under her dark grey hoodie. "Green. Favourite book?"

"Oh, that's difficult. I love reading so many different books. Hmm, maybe Destroying Avalon. I kinda like sad stories, and it was something I read during high school that felt oddly fitting. What about you?"

Peridot pondered for a moment. "I've never heard of that novel before, but then again I tend to stay away from sad stories. Um, I honestly really like that series we discussed a while ago, Changers? It has some coming out moments that really helped me feel more confident in myself."

"That's sweet. It is really nice finding a book or TV series with LGBTQ characters," Pearl agreed, before pulling into a parking lot outside a brightly lit shopping centre. "Alright, we're here. What's your favourite pastime?"

Peridot hummed as she jumped out of Pearl's old Honda Civic, pulling her hoodie over her mess of hair after cleaning her glasses again for the umpteenth time that day. She was starting to regret wearing them today in this weather; her nearsightedness wasn't so bad that she wouldn't've survived, more of a precaution thanks to her mother.

"Well, I like spending most of my time playing games and browsing the internet, with a good read here and there." Peridot clambered into the shopping centre, happy to be in the warmth again, Pearl trailing behind. "What about you?"

"Well, obviously I like reading a lot too, but I like playing the piano, singing, dancing, and writing sometimes too."

"Wow, you play the piano and sing?" Peridot asked, eyes wide in amazement. "Do you write songs?"

Pearl inclined her head. "Not really. I'm not sure if I aspire to be a musician, but I certainly enjoy it. My parents made me take an interest in 'practical' hobbies when I was younger, so it was either learn an instrument or play sports. So I guess I have them to thank, sort of. What do you study at school?"

The two of them walked up the escalators and wandered to the food mall, the smells of so many different food styles blending into one alluring aroma.

"I study games and animation. I'd love to work on a game in the future, but I've also thought about engineering classes if it doesn't work out," Peridot replied, eyeing the different food stalls hungrily. "So you're 21, have you studied before? Surely you haven't been at the library for a few years."

Pearl scoffed, then straightened her face nervously. "Of course not. I actually contemplated studying engineering when I first took interest in uni, but I ended up going with a literature class in college to begin with. My friends have been encouraging me to go to a music school though, but once again I'm not too sure."

"Have too many interests, I see?" Peridot stated (more like a question). "Alright, let's put this on hold until after we've got our food!"

"Agreed."

Whilst Pearl went straight to the sushi stall, Peridot wandered around the mall, glancing at all the different ethnic foods alongside the takeaways. She briefly considered getting greasy fried chicken before she turned to the Turkish takeout, ordering a marinated beef kebab roll.

Pearl wandered over with her container of sushi and sashimi, eyeing the kebab shop.

"It's a bit of a messy dinner," she observed, and Peridot snorted.

"Of course it is, but we'll see how long you want to hang around me once I've made a pig of myself."

Pearl arched an eyebrow. "Please don't make a pig of yourself."

"I'm doing it. Breaking first date etiquette and making a mess of myself."

Peridot caught Pearl rolling her eyes amusedly and grinned. "Hey, gotta be comfortable with my true self, right?"

"Sure, sure." She gestured towards the counter. "Looks like your kebab is ready."

Peridot grabbed her dinner excitedly, signalling for Pearl to follow her to their table. The mall was mostly quiet, a few families and friends scattered here and there across the tables, the shopping centre quietening down with the evening settling in. Their metal chairs squeaked against the tiled floor.

"It would be nice if there was comfier chairs," Pearl grumbled before reluctantly sitting down. Peridot shrugged.

"Better than sitting on the floor."

"Yes, I suppose that is true."

Peridot hummed to herself after taking a huge bite into the kebab. She swallowed her mouthful. "So, what's your favourite movie?"

"Honestly?" Pearled sighed a little, dropping her chopsticks. "I'm not too big on movies. The majority of them aren't bad, I'm just bored of the same themes and character tropes being regurgitated. On that note though, I do really enjoy, uh… Carol. I'm also really looking forward to Wonder Woman next year too."

"Oh, I haven't watched Carol yet! I should really get to it, I've been slacking." Peridot took another bite of her kebab, sauce oozing out of the wrap. She smiled abashedly. "I love a lot of movies, but I tend to lean towards animation of any kind. I think Wreck It Ralph has got to be one of my faves."

"Ah yes, I've seen that movie. I enjoyed it a bit, but I presume not nearly as much as you did, as you're an avid gamer." Pearl finished the last of her sashimi and dumped the container in the bin nearby. "Alright, I'm ready to go whenever you are."

Peridot gestured at her kebab almost finished, and stuffed as much as she could into her mouth.

"You really weren't joking when you said you'd make a mess of yourself," Pearl observed, grimacing. "I think you and Amethyst are going to get along really well."

Peridot self-consciously wiped at her mouth with a serviette. "Hey, just getting comfortable."

Pearl merely raised both eyebrows.

"Okay, I'm ready to go."

Pearl lead Peridot out of the shopping centre, both of them rushing for the car to get out of the cold. It honestly felt surreal being around Pearl for so long; Peridot never realised she'd actually be on a date, especially with some girl she talked to a few times at the library and found admittedly cute. As she gazed at Pearl strapping herself in and pulling the car out of the car park, her insides did backflips.

The reality was starting to sink in. She just went on a date. With Pearl.

She was sure she was blushing by the time she spoke up. "Hey Pearl?"

"Yes?"

"I know tonight's been all fun and games, but it's been really nice to hang out with you. Like, seriously great. I never thought I'd actually, y'know… have a chance to hang around you, let alone… go on a date. I'm sorry about the misunderstandings earlier today, I'm just so excited that something like this is actually happening."

Pearl stiffened, and Peridot feared she said the wrong thing.

"I, um, feel the s-same. Amethyst and Garnet know how I, uh… kinda talked about you a bit at home." She blushed, biting her lip slightly. "They encouraged me to put my number in that book, but I was terrified for my life. It's not the usual that you find other gay women, so I wasn't sure if… you were okay with it all. Honestly, um, things couldn't've gone better."

Peridot felt all warm and giddy inside. It felt nice to be thought about.

Pearl gestured to the GPS on her dashboard. "Plug in your address. I'm taking you home, there's no way I'm letting you walk home in the night and cold."

"It's okay, I can catch th—"

"Just put your address in," Pearl ordered, then softened. "Sorry. It's not safe to just leave you out there in the cold and dark. Plus, it's no hassle."

Peridot obliged and tapped her address to the apartments in. She leant back into her seat, gazing at the moon in the sky now taking over the sun's place. The ride to her home was mostly quiet, save for the radio mumbling in the background as before. The rain had cleared for now, and Peridot watched the numerous cars they passed by splash in the puddles littering the roads.

Oddly enough, it didn't feel like an awkward silence. It felt nice to have a break from asking questions and talking, to just soak up what had happened over the past hour or so. When Peridot cast her gaze back on Pearl, she didn't seem as nervous as she was at the beginning of the date, but she still had an aura of anxiety, from her strained white knuckles to her lip biting.

The apartments appeared before them and Pearl parked the car on the side of the street.

"Would you like to… come in?" Peridot asked before she left the car. "You can meet Lapis, I promise she's not as bad as I made her out to be."

"No, it's okay, my friends are probably wondering where I am anyways." Pearl gave a nervous, apologetic smile.

"Alright."

As she began to leave the car, Pearl interrupted. "Wait! Maybe, um, we can d-do this again. That's is, if you want to…"

"You mean, you want to go on another date sometime?" Peridot grinned, feeling her face warm up. "I'd be down. Call or text me whenever you want, okay?"

"Sure." Pearl looked down at her lap, drumming her fingers on the steering wheel. "Thank you for tonight Peridot. Despite everything… this was surprisingly fun. I'm still so sorry about the cafe fiasco, I hope you forgive me."

Peridot braved it out and rubbed Pearl's shoulder comfortingly (at least, as comfortingly as she knew). "Of course I forgive you, it was nerves getting the better of you. Anyways, I'll head off now. See you around Pearl."

Pearl smiled. "See you."

As Peridot trekked up the stairs to her apartment, she mulled over seeing the tears glistening in Pearl's eyes.