- Introducing: Meredith and Lily
- Setting: Contemporary; unnamed/generic American town
- Length: 1,093 words
- Key Tropes: best friends to lovers, the big reveal, bisexual MC
- Content Warnings: alcohol, prolific swearing, cheating mention
- Explicit?: No, but sex is discussed frankly
Meredith stormed out of the bar. The wet August heat persisted even near midnight. If she walked home, she’d melt from sweating, but she was angry enough to want to work of the energy. I actually liked this guy–
The sound of her name shouted down the sidewalk stopped her high heels in place. So it was going to be a sidewalk scene, as if her humiliation in the bar hadn’t been enough. She turned around.
Lily was jogging towards her. “Meredith–”
“You shouldn’t have done that.”
“This is the first guy in a year I’ve had a good feeling about, Lily. You know what a shitty run of luck I’ve had. Don’t we all get together and bitch about ourselves every week? The guys have been lobbing me their friends and coworkers for months and none of them stick! So you come crash my date with Jess–”
Lily tossed her head impatiently. “I didn’t set out to ruin your night, Mere. But when I happened to run into you two and I realized your ‘Jess’ was the same asshole ‘Jessie’ who cheated on me with a married woman, yeah, I felt compelled to speak up. Pardon me for being a good friend!”
“That was four years ago!” Meredith snapped. A man passing on the other side of the street gave her look. She’d been too loud, so she lowered her voice. “Are you sure it’s him? And even if it is, dammit, Lily, I really liked him. He was treating me so much better than the last few guys who never got past a first or second date.”
Lily stepped close enough to lay her hands on Meredith’s shoulders. One of the straps of her top slipped under the pressure, but Lily smoothed it back into place. “I’m sorry this is hard on you, but I refuse to be sorry for interfering. Yes, it’s him, and okay, maybe he’s changed. Maybe he would never cheat again. But you deserved to know, and I knew you hadn’t slept with him yet. I wasn’t going to bite my tongue now and tell you later, only to find out you went with the three-date rule and got lucky tonight. Wouldn’t you rather know before then? That he might already have a girlfriend somewhere, that you might be the other woman?”
Meredith closed her eyes and leaned forward to touch her forehead on Lily’s, one of the benefits of having a best friend the same height. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “You’re right. Of course you’re right. I hadn’t made up my mind yet, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t considering going home with him tonight. So thanks for cock-blocking me, I guess.”
“Any time.” She giggled. “Though I’d call it saving you from inevitable disappointment. He wasn’t that great in bed. Adequate at best.”
A matching giggle sprouted from Meredith’s throat. “Now that I’m not angry anymore, I’m embarrassed. Is my taste in men that bad? Also slightly tipsy and more horny than I’d admit to anyone but you.”
Lily’s hands tensed, gripping Meredith hard enough to make her notice her own bones. “Best friend’s privilege, huh?”
Meredith wasn’t anywhere close to drunk enough to miss the odd note in Lily’s voice. She pulled back, opening her eyes to study her friend’s expression. “Lily?”
“Well, I kind of ditched someone back there to come after you.”
Oh. Lily had been there to fish for a hookup. “Sorry. You can go back–”
“She’s probably already chatting up someone else, she seemed just as eager to get laid as I was. Can’t blame her for passing on the disaster bi who had to go rescue her friend from the clutches of an evil man.” She laughed softly, but Meredith didn’t think her heart was in it.
“New plan, then.” Meredith took Lily’s arm and swung her around. “Let’s go back in, and I’ll be your wingman. Woman. Whatever. We’ll find you somebody else.” She tottered on her heels as she headed back to the entrance, but after two steps, Lily wasn’t following, so she had to stop. “Lils?”
“I don’t want anyone else.” The combination of streetlights and neon signs made her face a patchwork glow of colors, but the sadness there was plain enough. “You’re more important. Let’s get you home.”
Meredith tugged on her hand. “But there’s an entire bar filled with sexy people for you to pick from! Right over there! Who knows, we might even find me somebody worth dating.”
“No, Mere. I’m not going back. The bar full of sexy people will just have to do without me for a night.”
“But why?” Meredith wailed. It was such a perfect solution.
“Because I love you, you idiot.” Lily tugged her hand, this time, hard enough for Meredith to stumble right into her. She planted a kiss on Meredith’s face, catching the corner of her mouth. Had she been going for the cheek and missed? Or was she aiming for Meredith’s mouth?
Despite the heat, Meredith shivered. “Lily,” she breathed. “Am I an idiot? Is there something I should have seen before now?” She braced for a bark of laughter, for Lily to claim she’d misread the situation.
It didn’t come. Lily kissed her again, and she didn’t miss. Her lips were soft, and as soon as they parted Meredith could taste something fruity and sour, the remnants of the last drink she’d had before interrupting the date. The zing on her taste buds translated to a jolt of electricity down her spine.
“I’m going to keep being the responsible one,” Lily murmured as soon as they broke apart. “We’ve both been drinking, and we’re both horny as hell. So we’re going to get you home safe, but then I’m going home too, okay?” She stole another quick, glancing kiss. “You’re not a hookup. So tomorrow I’m going to call you and ask you on a date.”
“Ask me now,” Meredith whispered.
“Tomorrow.” Lily pulled away completely and dug her phone out of her purse. “I’ll get us a ride and drop you off.”
She met Meredith’s stare. “Tomorrow,” she insisted. “I didn’t mean for it to happen like this, Mere. I wasn’t sure I meant for it to ever happen at all.”
There was pleading in Lily’s tone, and for once in her life, or at least once in their friendship, Meredith saw the edge of the cliff in time to stop herself from falling off of it. “Okay. Tomorrow.”