Starling Hills anthills girls
The drive over wasn't the best thing for Grace's currently overworked brain.

Where the fuck was Rika. She'd driven somewhere, and either her mood was dismal enough not to send a cancellation to Catriona, or something... had stopped her from doing so. Someone. If this ghosting had been kept exclusively to Grace, she'd get it. But Cat, too. And the timing of this Cat visit was, like, not nothing, considering the bar conversation, and the phone call after.

Her mind wandered more than once to dark, dark-ass fucking places. Like. What if Rika had! Fucking- just, don't think about it.

Instead think about how you were potentially about to wreck Cat's shit, too. Everything was great. Grace had been making only good choices lately. She parked, walked until she spotted Cat's bright and familiar hair in the distance. In her hoodie pocket, the lighter and Axe clanked, brought along Just In Case.

She waved, speed walking her approach.
Catriona had moved from the bench to the grass to feel the blades beneath her palms. It was a grounding technique used to not get too scared or worried about her friend. At least not now, not until they had more reason to get scared and worried. Maybe Rika was just a no show. Maybe she had a family matter? Cat realized she didn't know a lot about the other woman. Did she have family here? Like. Besides the psychics she was close to?

She was still grounding herself when Grace arrived, only pulling herself off the grass to wipe some loose blades off her shorts before waving back.

"Grace, hey." She smiled though it was a forced sort of smile. It wasn't like Grace knew all the bullshit Cat had been through in the last few months since the party. She wasn't sure if now was the time to even bring any of it up. The vampire shit would remain off-limits to anyone and she had to trust Kidd would have at least kept his mouth shut to her friends. So. Yeah. It was probably up to her to tell Grace about the breakup bullshit. Ugh. Yeah. Not the time.

"Wanna sit in the grass by the pond maybe?" Felt nicer than sitting on a hard bench.
Side note: Catriona was so fucking pretty. Even when she looked understandably struggle smile serious, she had Disney princess eyes. And it wasn't like Grace hadn't ever noticed she was gorgeous before?

Just. Like. Felt weirdly extra relevant now.

"Good call," she said, deciding living cross-legged in the grass would be less ass clenchy than sitting on a bench staring at a pond from afar. Grace thrust her hands in her pockets, not like it was cold out by any stretch, but finding comfort in the posture.

"When'd you guys first talk about meeting up?" she asked, diving right in as her brain slapped puzzle pieces around fruitlessly.
Catriona moved closer to the pond, eyes turning silver as she grew the grass longer to be more cushion-like. She took a seat on her own patch of grown grass, setting her bag and tote on the ground beside her as she stretched out her legs. The cans banged around in the tote making a few clanking noises as they settled. It was definitely nicer to sit in the grass. She folded one leg closer to her body and thought on the question.

"A few days ago I guess?" She replied. "I should have checked in again sooner. Made sure she was still coming."
WhooOoa shit, there was grass wriggling, shimmering in front of her eyes, like she'd done some aura checking. But she hadn't, and it was definitely- yeah.

Cat powers. Very cool. She settled down cross-legged as imagined, half considering kicking off her shoes but deciding it felt too lighthearted.

Then came a line she hadn't expected, a weird sort of blaming herself. Grace's brows furrowed, and she plucked at the ends of a few grass strands with mindless fervor. Accidentally undoing Cat's work here and there, whoops.

She looked to the other psychic, frowning.

"Why's that?" she asked, deciding to go with trying to understand rather than, like. Immediate "girl why the fuck you blaming you" energy.
Catriona's brow furrowed as Grace asked the question. It felt obvious to her but maybe it wasn't. Cat frowned gently and raised her hand against some blades of grass and gently swiped her hand back and forth for the touch. Just some bonding with nature to keep her steady.

"Just in case something did come up for her? I don't know." She laughed but it wasn't a sound of joy. It was a tired sound. Upon closer inspection, one might notice it was also a worried sound but Cat tried her best to mask it.

Hopefully, it was a last minute emergency but nothing more serious than that. Nothing dangerous or life-threatening. Nothing to do with vampires.
Babe, please. Grace made a similar sound, an airy pop of almost laughter.

"I dunno, man, I think that's the job of the plan canceler," she said. Kept her gaze to the grass, plucking two pieces at the base to begin tying them together.

"I talked to her last night. She didn't mention the plans, but we had kind of like, an argument. So I might have ruined her shit enough to make her take the day with her phone off somewhere."

It was an uncomfortable truth, but it felt important to own up immediately. Keep it off Cat. Ugh.
Catriona studied Grace as she offered an alternative thought to her own. Apparently, they'd had an argument. One that was bad enough to no show someone else and not reach out to at least say they couldn't meet? Bad enough to warrant not replying to texts or calls asking for space? Cat frowned. Grace knew Rika better than her and even though it didn't seem entirely plausible to Catriona, she tried to let herself believe that was all it was. At least for now.

"I'm sorry you had a, um, argument. Do you want to talk about it?" She asked gently, willing to be an avid listener or someone to lean on.
Grace understood sympathy sorries on a logical level, but she always found herself quick to reject them. It wasn't Cat's fault they'd argued, even though, haha, fuck! It was low key kind of about Cat.

She absolutely did not want to talk about it. Zero percent. No fucking thank you, not right now, not ever. And while she wanted to come up with a million reasons why right now wasn't a good time, the reality that there wasn't a good time. Ever. And every day she put it off would let it build, and would get Cat further and further from it just in time for Grace to roll up and suplex her.

So she was quiet for a while, told herself that if all was really fucking lost here, there were other places she could go. Other people she could be. None of them a liar, or a sneak.

"Yeah, you were- who I planned to talk about to first, actually," she said, a nervous almost laugh choking out of her chest. Inappropriate and even she knew it, but here she was. "Which you'll get why, because, it's- uh. About Kidd."

Catriona watched as Grace grew unusually quiet for a long time. She chalked it up to worry for Rika, figuring there was nothing more to be said about it if Grace didn't want to talk about what they'd argued over. It was her right, and Cat had been about to suggest they just sit there for a bit when she finally did speak.

Grace wanted to talk to her. Catriona. She had planned to speak to her first? Then Rika? Cat's brows furrowed in confusion, as she tried to figure out what it was all about when his name came up.


It was about Kidd.

Cat's blood ran cold for an unknown reason at the mention of his name, and she tried to hide her feelings on that entirely from showing on her face. She looked down, wondering if Grace knew. How could she know? It wasn't like Kidd and Grace were that close, right? Occasionally, they'd hung out while Grace helped him with powers but Kidd... well. He'd never shown much interest in her friends. And that's what she'd always considered Grace. Her friend.

"What about him?" Her voice didn't shake or tremble. She didn't get misty-eyed or start sobbing over her ex-boyfriend. It was her business and not something she really wanted to talk about here and now. But she'd ask, because Grace for some fucking reason, brought him up.
What the fuck about him, Grace!

Catriona handled it well, even as fuck. Better than she would have were their roles reversed. Though they wouldn't be reversed, fucking ever, because Catriona was a goddamn angel who had never done a bad thing to anyone, and Grace was This Bitch.

Side note: she suddenly had to pee, which was definitely anxiety, but it did not make this better. Panic piss. Bodies were bad, her life choices were bad, everything was bad. Time to commit and not waste Cat's time tip-toeing around a big reveal. This wasn't a television drama. Her voice felt far away, her face hot.

"It's my- I'm the reason he broke things off. Because he'd-" but not just him! "we'd- shit was weird between us. Flirty. And it was fucked up for that to be happening."

"I'm sorry" is what should have come next, but she wasn't, exactly. She was sorry that she still wanted to be friends with him. But she wasn't sorry that they'd broken up when Kidd hadn't been good enough for her in the first place.
Catriona studied Grace before she answered her question. She looked for any sign of what was to come. What the fuck was this about? Had Kidd reached out to Grace? Told her about the breakup?

Nothing could have prepared her for what fell unceremoniously out of Grace's mouth.

Grace was the fucking reason Kidd broke things off with Catriona. Because things got flirty between them. What the fuck did that mean? Cat felt a hammering in her chest as heat rose up the back of her neck, colouring her skin. She was embarrassed. That was the first fucking feeling. Embarrassed. Shock soon followed. Then anger. Sadness would be delayed. She'd feel it later when she was back home threatening to implode in front of Heather. Here though? Here, she was fucking mad. Fucking confused. As far as she had been aware, Grace and Kidd were hardly friends. Just people who saw one another at parties or practiced on the odd occasion. Had she been fucking blind this entire time?

Kidd had been cheating on her with her friend. With Grace. It didn't matter if they'd fucked, though it would only add more fuel to the fire to learn they had. It was still cheating. It was still fucked up. That much she agreed with Grace.

"What do you mean 'flirty'?" Her words were slow. Calculated. Calm. She felt very calm despite the rage weathering against her heart. She wanted every fucking detail, Grace.
She really didn't know what to expect. Grace was pretty sure what she didn't want, which was... some kind of fucked up, horrifying apology. Cat hating herself, blaming herself, something like that. It would be beyond Grace's capacity to handle with, like. Grace, the noun.

Instead, she received a question that highlighted a lot of Grace's fumbling with it all. Because it wasn't like they were spending a ton of time together, or sharing longing glances, lingering embraces or gross bullshit like that. Instead it was vibes, hints, careful not to commit until it suddenly felt like they had. Was it relevant to say she'd had An Interest in him for a while if she hadn't acted on it? If she'd assumed it was all in her own head? Saying it felt like she was trying to ask for credit. Look, Cat, I'd wanted to bone your boyfriend for a while and I still haven't done it!

The most solid truth, what she understood best, was brief.

"There'd been comments earlier on, I thought it was just, like. Him being a douchebag. Accusing me of wanting to be alone with him or whatever."

Grace spoke entirely to the grass in her hands, unwilling to face Cat directly. If the intensity of her own gaze could put holes in the blades, they'd be smithereens.

"And then it was one night of a few texts. He said some dumb insult, and I teleported to his place while he wasn't there." And it was such bullshit. It was such bullshit that she'd done that. It was such bullshit that she'd done this, knowing how she felt. "Took a selfie with some of his watches on to spook him. It wasn't, like- fucking nude or raunchy or anything. He liked it, or whatever, in some rude-ass way. It was all this borderline shit, but. I knew."

It was her fault, too, but she hadn't yet willed herself to say it so plainly.
Catriona listened as Grace told her what Kidd did. Comments he said about Grace wanting to be alone with him. Then Grace had teleported to his house when he wasn't there. Where had he been? Catriona suddenly felt a lot older than she was. Tired by stupid bullshit by stupid people who were supposed to love her. Who were supposed to be her friend. It was fucked. Grace sent him selfies with his watches on to what? To scare him? Why? Why did she want to scare him? Why did Kidd like it?

Had Catriona really not been enough? Had this been going on for a while under her nose while she what? Dealt with vampires or whatever other bullshit life threw at her? What the absolute fuck, Grace? What the absolute fuck, Kidd? He said it was because they were different people with different priorities. Turns out his priorities involved wanting to fuck someone else. Her friend. Her fucking friend.

"When did you teleport to his place?" She asked just as calmly, trying to get all the facts straight, ignoring for now the storm in her gut. She wanted to throw up. She wanted to punch something. She wanted to rip out all of the grass in the park until it looked as ugly and fucked up as she felt.
For all the hurtful parts of this, Grace saw the answer to this question as the potential to do the most damage. And while she'd been pretty fucking honest up until this point, she wasn't going to set off that fucking bomb.

Because she got why Kidd had reached out. She did. Every single fucking month, she heard about a psychic or a human or whatever getting attacked by this or that. And often it was the same people, over and over, with similar stories. I was out at night, I was alone, I was in the woods, it was the full moon. No matter how much information she put out into the world, it kept fucking happening to people who knew better. Not just the naive and the oblivious, but experienced fucking psychics.

It was fucked up that the world was a place you had to avoid eye contact or going out into the woods at night, but doing it anyway wasn't an act of rebellion.

And she wasn't looking to tell all of these people they should have known better, because obviously they did. But having your warnings slapped away and replaced with horror stories got taxing, exhausting, insulting, flat out infuriating. Venting was a sanity measure, and she stood by that shit.

"Like late-ish April," she said, which was more or less true depending on what day you considered a thread occurring, but ultimately not the exact truth she could have pinned it to.
Late-ish April. Which put it around the time Catriona told Kidd about the vampire. Actually, after it. Probably a week or so after it if Grace meant like the end of April. If Cat was remembering correctly. She had waited about two months to tell him about it. She remembered that much. He could have been out. He could have been with Cat somewhere. If it had happened at night, he could have been at Cat's place. Or, who the fuck knows, somewhere else. At some other woman's house fucking her while he texted Grace. She wouldn't put it past the fucking scumbag.

The vagueness of Grace's answer left Catriona plenty of room for her imagination to get away from her. It was funny how you could obsess over a single detail. If it'd been before the vampire story was revealed to Kidd, if Grace meant a day or so before that happened instead, it meant he was already making an exit. The vampire reveal was just the perfect fucking cherry on top of his departure from her life.

Catriona quietly obsessed over what it meant. What the timeline was. She sat there staring at the grass in front of her, trying not to choke on the question.

"What date?" Cat felt fucking psychotic for asking but she couldn't fucking help it. She needed a timeline for when this happened to help her understand why it happened in the first place.

Cat was going to push for this. And it was her right, but it was going to put the wrong fucking idea in her head. That any of this was related to her getting attacked, when, like. Yeah. Being out in the woods at night alone and hanging out with a homeless stranger you found there was a level of reckless it fell into blatantly fucking hurtful to everyone who cared about you. And it was horrific that you couldn't do that, that some shitfuck ashpile-to-be of a vampire took advantage of it.

The timing was bad, but unrelated. But there was no saying that and sounding convincing about it.

In the end, she didn't actually have the date memorized. So she reached for the pocket of her leggings, unfolding one leg awkwardly to get the right angle with stupid fucking girl pockets. She was aware that having the phone out was, in itself, almost taunting. Here it is, my cheating device! With all my fucking cheating in it!

If Cat didn't try to grab it out of her hands, which was definitely more of a Grace move, she'd open the text thread, scroll not crazy far, and give her the date.


cw: some hopelessness but it's vague

Catriona didn't grab the phone out of her hands but she watched Grace check while her paranoia sky-rocketed. When the date was offered up, Cat only took one brief look at her phone to see when Kidd had come over and they'd spoken about vampires and ta-fucking-da. It was a match!

That fucking asshole liar piece of shit dirtbag. He said it wasn't because of the vampire story and yet he texted Grace likely when he was at Catriona's apartment. Maybe even right after. It broke her heart in her chest all over again, even after two painstaking months of putting herself back together. Here she was sitting in the grass next to someone she'd once considered a confidante. A good friend.

Maybe it still wasn't about the vampire. Maybe the vampire was just the fucking catalyst. Then there was Grace Lee using transportation to get into his house. Into his bedroom. To put on his watches, which he liked. She frowned, tore out some grass and threw it toward the pond.

"So what. What is this then, Grace? Why now?" She grit her teeth as she rattled off the questions, trying to find some reason behind any of it that wasn't just about Catriona being the worst fucking person around to be with. "Are we even friends anymore?" Or did Grace Lee just want to fuck Cat's ex-boyfriend?

It was a shitty thought. Catriona knew it was a shitty thought. But she had it anyway and she let herself have one bit of shittiness to combat the hopelessness she was fucking finally beginning to feel.
Now, for the first time, she felt Catriona's anger. It was something she'd witnessed before, directed elsewhere. Protective, on Grace's behalf, even. Her lips felt numb, her fingers. Now would be a good time for a power to act up, to send her hurtling across the country to escape.

But it was just a mix of shame and adrenaline, and she'd learned too much to claim anything like that as an accident.

The question of friendship felt rhetorical. That wasn't Grace's call, and at the same time, it seemed cruel to put it in Cat's hands. To make her wring the neck of a relationship Grace had carelessly crippled. "Somebody's gotta do it! :("

To sit here pitying herself was some dumb bitch shit, but it was what she had. She'd chased Rika off with the same behavior, and so it felt like- like she should have fucking figured out what to say by now. Learned. Learn, Grace. Fucking learn.

So many people came in and out of Grace's life, and she spent so much time grasping after them. Objectively good people, objectively bad people. Acquaintances. Friends. Family. Friends who felt like family.

And for the ones who stayed, she had so fucking little to offer in return. What the fuck was wrong with her. Grace was more the hologram than the meat bag that summoned it. Novel, fun, and absolutely useless when it mattered.

She frowned tightly, eyes burning.

"I don't know," she said. And she didn't. She was saying this because being honest was the right thing to do, but in retrospect, not enough the right thing to do. Not the only right thing to do.

"I dunno."
Grace didn't know. It hurt more than any infidelity that had happened. That she could lose Grace Lee as a friend because of Grace's choices. Because of Kidd Slater's choices. Catriona hung her head and felt the stinging finally in her own eyes.

She didn't want to be here anymore. She didn't need to be. She had heard all she needed to hear. What else was there? Whatever came next was up to Kidd and Grace. They were stupid. Careless with Catriona's heart. But they were adults and it wasn't like Kidd was chained to her anymore, so be free to do dumb shit, children.

Have fun.

They'd never have her blessing. She'd never be okay with it. But they didn't need any of that. Just like Catriona didn't need them in her life. If Kidd's priorities had been just wanting to fuck other women, then fucking fine. Be a prat. Just fucking be honest with her. Why'd it have to land on Grace's shoulders to be the honest one? Had he always been this fucking horrible?

"I knew everything he said was fucking bullshit." Catriona shook her head and looked at the pond. "So, you like him too, then or?" It felt childish. Like something a broken-hearted teenager might say. Maybe she did need to know one more thing, or at least have it clarified.
It was fucking bullshit.

Or, like. Maybe it wasn't. And not even in a way that justified it for him? But he deluded himself so hard that he really felt he was doing the right things, doing enough. Grace wanted to vent along with her, yeah, this guy SUCKS! And she believed it. She did.

And yet, she was still angling to be friends with him. And probably to get laid, at some point, if the drama of it all didn't slam her vag closed like an oyster shell.

"Like, uh." It felt callous to say, but it was honest. Maybe nobody else in the world worked this way, everyone just fell in love first and that was all that mattered. But it was not her experience. "Sexually. But not romantically. He-"

Grace found herself wanting to say more, that he had a fucking hole in his brain that was the same reason he could scam people and sleep just fine. And you could only see that gap at the right angles, but she could fucking see it. But it didn't help anyone, certainly not Cat. She fumbled through something similar anyway.

"I think it's mutual, that way. Like. I don't think he's capable of- I don't know. Real shit, deep down."

And maybe that made two of them.
Catriona wanted to bite back. She wanted to take some control over her life back from these fucking assholes who probably thought they were doing the right thing. They weren't. The right thing too late was still the wrong fucking thing.

It begged the question why Grace was even telling her this bullshit if it wasn't like they wanted a relationship. They could fuck and be done with it, without Cat ever needing to know. This felt more like it was about Grace's own sense of guilt or maybe shame. Like she was asking permission by telling Cat the truth of everything. Like if Grace told Cat the truth now about it, she would feel better. It was about her. Not Catriona's feelings. It was fucked.

Maybe neither of them were capable of real feelings. Maybe Grace had lied to Catriona about their friendship all this time. It wasn't like she'd ever really opened up to Cat. Most of the time they hung out, it was power practice or talking psychic shit. Maybe losing Grace as a fucking friend was no great loss after all. Another shitty thought to pile on all the rest.

Because she was hurt, Catriona said the next thing as she stood up, finally over this conversation. Over whatever friendship they'd maybe once had with one another.

"Guess you deserve each other then." It was meant to cut deep. To make Grace realize she was just as much of an asshole in this. Later Catriona would probably feel bad about it but her words were all she had in this moment. "I'm out."

Catriona picked grass off her fingers as she left, wanting no trace of their conversation left on her. At least one thing was clear in the moment, she was better off without both of them in her life.
She recognized, now and in the hours and days prior, what she should have done. Recognized Kidd's flirting, shut off all interest in her own brain, and went to Cat like "Hey, girlboss, your boyfriend sucks!" and Cat would be like "Thanks mate, I'll dump him!" and then Grace would be a hero and Cat would be single and empowered.

And, like. That was probably easy shit? Probably something the rest of the world had no problem with. Strong, good people. So why the fuck had it not been easy for her? She just had weak-ass willpower. Weak-ass morals.

Cat made an abrupt exit, and she couldn't deny feeling relief. This had gone as poorly as possible, but it was over. Cat would move on with better friends, better people in her life. It occurred to Grace how easily she could swap into the Glitters on her behalf.

All the good people with the good people. And maybe they'd do a better job of keeping each other safe. Grace had done plenty of picnic table shouting, and it didn't do fucking shit.

In the end, she and Cat were people who met once a year at psychic parties, with some psychic related texts in between. They'd been closer once, but like all of Grace's friendships, shit fizzled when everyone found better psychic practice partners. Because that was the foundation of every single fucking one of her relationships.

What did people meet and talk about otherwise? Grace had nothing going on in her life to share that wasn't about powers. Dead-end jobs, couldn't relate to people in romantic relationships. No meaningful hobbies that didn't involve trying to make money in ways that scared and disgusted everyone around her. Sure as fuck wasn't going to talk about her family.

She didn't have dreams. She didn't have goals. Her feelings were vacant at best, depressing at worst.

It was psychic stuff, or supernatural advice, or unheeded safety warnings. The only people who didn't need that shit from her had a way of disappearing, or a way of turning out to be someone she was supposed to tell to disappear.

Grace stared at a stagnant summer pond, listened to Catriona walking away. She pulled out her phone again, as if Rika might have replied by now. She hadn't.

This was a return to loneliness of her own design, and who could resist embracing a devil they knew.
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