As per usual, schooling in such an odd place would always mean many events would occur in such a short space of time. But the only thing that happened to go in slow motion, was with her.
It was a cold, relaxing evening. The sun having lowered hours ago, though it was barely visible through thick clouds of grey, and the pelting rain against the windows. Katerina found this her favoured time to be drafting blue prints.
The only other heat source aside from the tiny electrical heater in the room was the steaming mug of tea set to the side of the desk the young mechanic worked on. Antimony's schedule began to turn more and more hectic as time went on in the Court – and Katerina barely had the time to see her best friend any more. Though, in luck, this had hardly turned the tide of their relationship; it hadn't thinned, broken, been gnawed down to a small string, and that in itself was wonderful.
However, it wasn't the only relationship staying strong for the youngest Donlan. A certain Paz Cadena-Blanco was sure to be dropping by at any moment; with the promise of warm blankets and the strong scent of flowers, and a certain smell that was simply Paz.
A small smile tugged at Katerina's lips at the thought; the corners of her mouth turning upward as she drummed her pencil to the edge of the solid oak wood desk. Her biggest distraction in her work was the beautiful transfer student. Whether Paz was literally in her company or not, Katerina always found herself with her – in some way or another.
Many months of complications, stress, tears, and churning hormones had went into Katerina mulling over and over, just who she was. But with this particular animal carer – she had no need to think of such things any more; no need to make a complete decision of who she was. She was Katerina, and Paz, was Paz. There was no need for labels, for decisions, for any other thoughts. They were drawn together; chemical reactions of a wonderful kind, and that, placed in action, was finally good enough for the young genius.
Katerina's worn fingers took proper hold of the pencil once more, and she brought it back down to squared paper to continue the draft; lines, annotations, dimly lit by a weak, cheap bulb on a rather small lamp. Not enough to give any heat off to warm her aching hands, though at her next chosen break interval, she could always shove them into her pockets if Paz didn't arrive by then.
Unfortunately, Paz wasn't the only subject distracting her mind from the usual passion it held toward her work. Antimony was, in far different favours.
"How will I explain it all?" Katerina barely whispered, despite the fact she was most definitely alone. The sharpened tip of her pencil did not leave paper, and she found solstice in the scratching sounds it made against the rough material.
"I know she wouldn't judge me, but..." The young mechanic's expression turned sullen, at even considering the thought. She was the closest person to Antimony – she was protective, more-so than the red head would probably ever realize.
But regardless of that, being with Paz almost felt as if she were abandoning her best friend. The possibility of becoming closer to another that was not Antimony Carver was a painful thought, and raven-coloured brows knitted together at the contemplation.
Katerina heaved a sigh, ceasing in her sketching for just a moment, as her icy breath clouded around her, blocking her vision just the slightest. Feeling stress ebbing it's way into her subconscious, further and further, she simply contemplated setting her work aside, and switching off for the night. Slink back to her dormitory room and curling up to sleep. Though as per usual; two things consistently stopped her from being able to rest at a decent time.
Seeing Paz in secret had been more of her decision than the animal carer's; she needed time to prepare, if she were even going to, to explain to their friends. And with Antimony; she knew her best friend appreciated, more than she'd admit, of Katerina staying up to catch her. It was usually one of the best times, if Coyote hadn't worn her out too much with training. And it was pleasant, even if she would end up nodding off now and again – her head falling on one of Antimony's tiny shoulders, as her breathing shallowed. The youngest Carver would simply giggle, usher her to sleep, and promise to continue the next morning.
But then Antimony would end up sleeping in just a little, they would almost be late to class, and then she would be gone once more.
The young mechanic would kick herself every time for falling asleep, for believing she truly would be able to catch up with her best friend. The fact she would convince herself that nothing was changing – when all that seemed to be happening was change.
Her pencil hit the oak desk with a thud that echoed in the workshop, snapping her out of her wallowing. And soon after, it was followed by a few quiet knocks at the door.
"Kat? Are you, ah, still here?" Came a gentle voice, a soothing voice. Something normal, on the grounds of everything that was not.
Katerina's head lifted, and she had no idea when it had sunk low enough for her forehead to rest on the edge of the desk. She heaved a breath, calming herself, building herself back up, and finally answered; "Hey, Paz! Just come in, we've been through this before." Followed by a gentle, breathy chuckle. It wasn't all there, and she was well aware Paz would click on immediately.
Over a short space of time, the Spanish girl had begun to see sides of Katerina only Antimony and Renard really noticed.
As gentle as always, Paz enters almost silently. Katerina rubs at her eyes, pushing her hair aside just a little, as it had begun to irritate her forehead; something that seemed to become a constant when she was exhausted.
Paz smiles at her softly, closing the door with her free hand, as the other supports a rather thick blanket between her side and her arm. She's as beautiful as always, even when dressed so plain; a t-shirt, the collar loose and long enough to show off tanned, prominent collarbones, rather tight pants that compliment her figure greatly, and Wellington boots. An umbrella is hooked to one of the belt holes of her pants, dripping quietly onto the stone flooring of the workshop. It's as comforting as the rain outside, and Paz herself.
Katerina finds herself on her feet before her mind even registers the movements, and she makes her way over to Paz as sheepishly as usual – even if they had been dating about a month so far.
The mechanic's strong, but scrawny arms engulf her Spanish partner's slender frame, pulling her close, and into an embrace that whispered sheer need into Paz's form – Katerina wasn't at her happiest, though Paz could sense that from the atmosphere, before she even laid eyes on the youngest Donlan.
"Kat, pasa algo? Are you okay?" Paz murmurs, one arm wrapping tightly around the young mechanic protectively, dark brunette brows furrowing with worry.
"I..." Katerina begins, her eyes fluttering shut as she buries her face in the space between Paz' shoulder and chin, inhaling the scent she had grown to find great comfort in, "I was just thinking too much, I think. I'm alright, though." She reassured, though to her dismay, her tone didn't sound all that certain.
"I am sure I have told you before there is no need to lie to me," Paz whispers, her voice as smooth as silk, reverberating against Katerina's bones in a far more powerful manner than is truly voiced.
"Es okay. Regardless, I am here for you, you know that, yes?"
And Katerina surely does. She knows it is certain; that she can't doubt the girl before her. Even if they truly didn't know just who they were, or why they were two girls so infatuated with one another. Or maybe, they just weren't ready enough to commit to a proper label for it. Or maybe, there's simply no need for one.
"Thanks, Paz," She responds, far more sincere, nuzzling closer to her comfort, "I guess I'm just exhausted. Over thinking, and worked up, maybe."
Katerina dislikes the idea of pulling away from her, but she must. Work has to be done; she is more than grateful Paz understands; though the young mechanic would love to do nothing more than embrace the beautiful animal carer before her until the morning. Projects were due, and her own personal study of deep importance was nowhere near progresses enough to consider it actually having a chance of working. It was a hypothesis, and it could fail. But Katerina would rather know that sooner, than later.
So she does pull away, planting a rather sheepish kiss on Paz' smooth cheek, before squeezing her free hand, and making her way back over to her desk. Paz follows, as always – whether sheerly being polite, or out of interest – Paz enjoys watching Katerina work. She finds her intelligence rather infatuating; or so she says. It makes the young mechanic flustered each time she utters words along that line, but it also makes her feel great to be herself.
"This isn't very romantic, huh." Katerina comments, laughing gently as she throws a glance at Paz, before taking a sip of tea, and retrieving her pencil.
"Any moment with you es bien, I do not mind, you know? Your working face is cute, too." Paz comments, catching Katerina off guard – a thing that seemed to be reoccur time and time ago.
Her cheeks heat up, her head ducking just a little so as to hide in the shadows from Paz, though of course, Paz knows. She always does.
"Heh. W-Well, right back at you." Katerina comments, her attempts at remaining confident dwindle, and Paz' giggle fills the workshop with the most pleasant sound of the evening.
"You are sweet, Kat," She murmurs, the sound of the blanket rustles behind the young mechanic, as it is placed on her shoulders, "Though you often get too stuck inside of your work," Her fingers find Katerina's shoulders, and she squeezes gently, "I feel I am sometimes here to make sure you do not tire yourself too much."
"I just wanna get this done," Katerina comments, her eyelids fluttering at the sudden warmth and contact from the Spanish girl behind her, "Even if I just get this blueprint, and another finished. That'll be enough for the moment. Then, uh," Her cheeks begin to flush a soft shade of pink, illuminated far more apparent in the lamp light; "Maybe we can go on another date?"
"That sounds wonderful."