Bubble Gum
by Amy

The thing about being friends with Regina George was, there was always some random thing you could do wrong, but there was also always something you'd get complimented on, even when you didn't deserve it. Because that was how Regina's mind worked.

So Cady wasn't surprised- not really- when she was lying on Regina's bed, staring up at the canopy and contemplating the total lack of meaning in her life, and Regina said, out of the blue, "Nice shirt."

It was a turquoise shirt, and it was cut low and V-necked and it made Cady's eyes look really, really green.

But that was usually the kind of thing that led to veiled insults about how you could almost see her bra in that thing, or to comments that were really just fishing-for-compliments in disguise, like when Regina would bring up her own inability to wear turquoise because of a tragic birth defect that meant she could only wear outfits at opposite ends of the blue-green spectrum.

But today, Regina just said "Nice shirt," and Cady was stunned into silence for a moment before quickly recovering with "Thanks. I got it at the mall last weekend with Gretchen."

"Oh, you're going to the mall with Gretchen now? Her dad drive you in the toaster strudel-mobile?"

Actually, she'd run into Gretchen there when she and Damian were stalking Janis at work. But she wasn't going to bring that one up. "We just ran into each other," she said.

Which was... true. She guessed.

"You and Gretch are spending a lot of time together," Regina observed.

"Yeah, I guess."

"Is everything okay?"

"Why wouldn't everything be okay?"

"Well, I know that when Gretchen's upset, she sometimes loses interest in the people who mean a lot to her and find someone temporary to cling to who she can drop once she gets better." A perfect, baby-pink lipstick smile. "Not that I mean that she's going to drop you when she feels better or anything. I just know sometimes that's what she does."

She's just trying to make me jealous, Cady reminded herself. Because she's jealous. Of me spending time with Gretchen.

Which, if she stopped to consider? Was kind of cool.

"Oh, gosh, I hope you're not mad," Cady said, sounding completely sincere to her own ears. "We'd never want to leave you out. It's just, you know how sometimes people have things they don't feel comfortable sharing with a group..."

"I'm not a group," Regina said. "I'm your best friend."

"Mine or Gretchen's?"

"Duh, yes."

"Well, you never tell me this stuff," Cady said, rolling over to face Regina directly instead of the weird corner-of-her-eye subtle thing.

"I do too! I tell you everything," Regina said. "Like, that time I got my bikini line waxed and Shane totally complained about razor burn? You were the first person I told."

"Yeah," Cady said. "That was a really deep and meaningful story you shared with me."

"Come on. You don't tell me anything anymore. I don't even know who you developed a crush on after I started dating Aaron again."

"I... didn't develop any new crushes." Which was technically true, if she really thought hard about it."

When you got right down to it, Girl World was really just creating the best lies that fulfilled the most of what everyone wanted to hear.

So when Regina said "Oh my god, does that mean you're still in love with Aaron?", it was really easy to just say "No way, Aaron's totally out of the picture," because that was pretty much true too. Because, well, Aaron was still cute. Really, really, really cute. But he liked Regina now. And besides, he was bad in math. Really, really, really bad.

Sometimes it made Cady sad, how bad Aaron was at math.

"Gosh, you're not still upset that Aaron's with me, right?" Regina asked, all saccharine-sweet. Bubble gum. That was the color of her lip gloss.

"No way, Regina! He liked you, and you two are happy. Why would I be jealous?"

"I didn't say you were jealous. Why, are you?"

Sometimes, Cady wanted to run into walls. For hours. Because she would make more headway than trying to have a simple conversation with Regina. "I'm not jealous. I promise."

"Oh, thank god. I was worried that I had another lesbian on my hands."

A moment, where the silence froze and then actually seemed to take form. A form that was hitting Regina on the head, over and over. Then Cady realized that was just her imagination. "Not so much."

"I didn't think you were like Janis Ian, or anything. I was just worried, because I've been burned, you know?"

An idea was beginning to take form in Cady's idea. An idea so evil, so delicious, that she couldn't not use it.

Cady smiled.

"Hey, Regina, have you ever heard of projection?"

For one magical, mystical moment, Regina was struck dumb. She was actually quiet. Cady could hear nothing but Regina's stereo in the background. And she basked in it.

Then Regina ruined it, by speaking. "What?"

"It's this thing. Where if you keep thinking other people feel this one way to you, you actually feel that way... to them."

She saw the horror on Regina's face. It was kind of beautiful. But... not what she wanted right now, so much.

"Oh, god, Regina, I didn't mean to imply anything. About you, or whatever, I mean. I know that you're in love with Aaron." Or Shane. Whore. No, Cady, don't say it out loud. "We just mentioned it in one of my classes today, and it just came to mind. I don't know why."

"Of course," Regina said. "I figured as much."

"Not that anything would be bad if you were."


"Sexually attracted to me. I mean, it's no big deal. I would never tell anyone."

Except Janis. And Damian. And Gretchen. And then, maybe, the entire school.

"Well, I'm not."

"I know. But I'm just saying, I wouldn't care if you were. I know you were freaked out by your friend in middle school, but I wouldn't be, you know? I'm there for you."

"I was not," Regina said witheringly, "freaked out by Janis Ian. I was annoyed, and felt kind of stalked, to be honest, because Janis Ian is a crazy person. But I was in no way freaked out by the fact that someone might be attracted to me."

"Of course you weren't," Cady agreed easily.

"I could kiss you right now and not be any more freaked out than I am right at this second."

"When you're not freaked out at all."

"Not at all."

Regina's eyes narrowed. "Cady Heron, are you trying to dare me to kiss you? That's the cutest thing I've ever heard."

Cady was going to kill her. Just as soon as she was done killing her with kindness.

"All that I'm saying," Cady said easily, "is that if you wanted to I wouldn't freak out at you. Because I know it can be hard to admit something for the first time. Not that I think you want to, or anything. I just wanted you to know, that if you did..."

Regina looked like a predator, and for the first time it wasn't just one of her crazy jungle hallucinations. Regina stalked to her own bed and was on it, was straddling Cady's waist, knee on either side, pinning her to the bed, and what was that about?

And then there was kissing. There was definite kissing.

With tongue. Cady might have been from the middle of Africa, and maybe she'd never really kissed a guy before, but since she'd been in public high school she'd seen a ton of teen movies, and this was really, really, really kissing.

And Regina was definitely good at it.

And Cady let it happen, maybe even helped a bit. Because... that was what to do in the situation. Regina would never expect it, was calling her bluff, and she was totally not going to let that happen.

So she was just lying there, kissing Regina George, and... wow.

This was not supposed to be wow. Kissing Aaron Samuels was supposed to be wow. Regina wasn't supposed to be anything but a game.

In the wild, animals mark their territory. They figure out where they want to find a mate, and then they do little things to label the area as their own.

Which was probably what Regina was doing with the sucking biting thing she was doing on Cady's neck that - damn. - that Cady wasn't entirely unhappy about.

And then Regina got off her. Like... all of a sudden. No warning. Just sudden off. "Told you I wasn't scared," Regina said.

"Yeah. Guess you weren't." Cady took pains to not notice the telltale signs of arousal in Regina. In her eyes, and her lips, and the way her- god, don't look at her breasts- she was in NO WAY looking at Regina's breasts.

"So things are good," Regina said cheerfully.


"We still don't know about Gretchen, though."

"Or Karen."

They looked at each other for a long, long time.

"Are you going to try to find out?"

"I don't know, are you?"

Regina's lips. Regina's lips, Regina's lips, Regina's lips. Except that Cady was straight. But Regina had really, really, really nice lips.

"Well, I don't care," Regina spoke up. "I mean, I'm not really interested in whether either of them is interested in... you know."

Yeah. Which is why you didn't just kiss me, you attacked me like a tiger in heat. "No, totally, I'm the same way."

She got the feeling Regina was looking at her, at the way she was probably all- no, forget it, that was totally just a physical reaction. Obviously. "So we're good."

"We're totally good." Regina laughed. And it was just as fake as always, and that left a little warning of self-doubt in Cady's stomach. Shit.

"Hey, I've got to go home," Cady said. "Do some homework, or whatever. I'll see you tomorrow?"

"Of course." Regina's smile was dazzling. "Hey, wear that cute scarf we got when we went to the mall Tuesday, okay?"

Blushing- of course- Cady grinned and nodded. "Sure. Bye, Regina!"

"Bye hon!"

In retrospect, she needed, like, a ride home, and possibly to not leave at all. But she couldn't just stay. She walked out of the house, saying goodbye to Kylie and Mrs. George as she went, and after what felt like forever, off their property.

Her fingers grazed across her throat, where she knew the skin was still berry-red. Which was... weird.

She licked her lips, and tasted the remnants of bubble gum lip gloss.


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