Emma sat in front of Izzy, and sipped a little more tea. After a few mouthfuls, she began to feel better. She began to feel like she could think clearly again.
She looked at Izzy, still sitting across the table from her, waiting patiently. Waiting for Emma to be awake enough to talk.
Izzy was there. Izzy was waiting. That felt like it meant something.
Emma thought. About Izzy being there, and about Izzy kissing her, and about everything they’d talked about afterwards. She had been thinking about Izzy a lot, she had noticed, and had been for the past few days. It bothered her a little that she was. She wasn’t sure what it meant. Or if it meant anything at all.
She was thinking about Izzy, though. So it probably did mean something, really.
She began to wonder what Izzy wanted, exactly, and what she might be hoping for, turning up here. Even after their talk in the carpark, Izzy was still around. She hadn’t just disappeared, offended or disappointed, and Emma wondered why. She kept wondering about it, picking away at it with her sleepy mind, as she sipped tea and thought.
She thought. She wondered. Then she decided she might as well just find out.
“So,” she said suddenly. “Why are you here?”
Izzy seemed surprised. “For coffee. And to say hi.”
Emma looked at Izzy, sleepily. She couldn’t quite decide if Izzy was joking or not. “But why here with me?” she said. “Why still? Why now? What do you want from me?”
“To have coffee,” Izzy said slowly, as if she had to talk that way to make Emma understand. “And say hi.”
“You know what I mean,” Emma said.
“I’m not sure do.”
“Yeah you do. And you’re supposed to be being honest with me. Always.”
“I know,” Izzy said.
“So be honest.”
Izzy seemed a little confused. “I am being honest. I’m here for coffee.”
“And that’s all?” Emma said.
Izzy shrugged. “Yeah.”
“You kissed me,” Emma said.
Izzy looked at Emma for a moment, then nodded. “Yes,” she said. “Yes, I did.”
“You kissed me, and then I said you shouldn’t do that.”
“Yes, you did that too.”
“So what do you want now? By being here?”
“How do you mean?” Izzy said.
“What do you get out of being here? Now you know I won’t, you know, kiss you again?”
Izzy started grinning. “Ah, to be friends, maybe?” she said.
“Oh,” Emma said. Then, almost suspiciously. “Is that all?”
Izzy didn’t answer.
Emma sipped a little more tea. She sipped, and sat, and stared at Izzy. Staring, waiting for Izzy to say something more. But Izzy didn’t.
“All right,” Emma said, after a moment. “So just so I’m clear. You’re into women, right?”
Izzy just looked at Emma.
“Are you?” Emma said, feeling a little silly.
“What do you think?”
“So why aren’t you answering?” Emma said.
“Because that question’s so boring.”
Emma thought. “Why?” she said.
“Because it doesn’t really seem like the right question.”
“Okay. Fine. So what is the right question?”
“Well, it just seems like when people ask that, it isn’t really what they mean. It seems like what they really mean isn’t what someone is into in general, so much as ‘are you into me?’”
“Yeah okay,” Emma said. “I suppose so.”
“I suppose so too.”
Emma shrugged. “Fine,” she said. “So that’s what people really mean. So what?”
“Well, you just asked me that…”
“Yeah,” Emma said, reluctantly. “I did.”
“So is that what you’re really asking?”
Emma hesitated. She opened her mouth, then closed it again.
“Is it?” Izzy said.
“I don’t know.”
Izzy smiled. A lot. She seemed quite pleased with herself. “Don’t you want an answer?” she said.
“I suppose I do.”
“So won’t you need to tell me which question you’re actually asking,” Izzy said. “So I can answer it?”
“I suppose I will.”
“So which one are you asking?” Izzy said.
Emma just looked at her.
“Well?” Izzy said.
“Forget it,” Emma said. “Forget I asked. Forget everything.”
Izzy seemed surprised. “We don’t have to forget it.”
“Yeah we do. Forget I asked. Please.”
“I don’t want to forget it,” Izzy said.
“Well, I do.”
“Oh,” Izzy said. She thought for a moment. “Are you okay?”
“Are you sure?” Izzy said. “You just sound a bit…”
Emma shrugged. “I’m fine.”
“I was only teasing,” Izzy said. “I didn’t meant to…”
“You didn’t do anything.”
Izzy hesitated. “Are you sure? You seem a bit upset.”
“What?” Emma said, surprised, then, “Nope, not upset.”
“But something? Something just changed?”
Emma shook her head, still confused. “No, not really.”
Izzy kept looking at her, thinking.
“Everything’s fine,” Emma said. “Stop acting weird.”
“I’m not acting weird. I just feel like I started something and it got out of hand. I made you ask me a question, but then wouldn’t give you a proper answer.”
“Oh,” Emma said. “I suppose so. Maybe.”
“I did do that,” Izzy said. “Didn’t I?”
“I think I did.”
“I did,” Izzy said, adamantly.
“No,” Emma said. “Not really. Actually not at all. You don’t owe me anything. You don’t have to explain anything you don’t want to explain, or give me any answers you don’t feel like giving.”
“I don’t know about that. I did start this…”
Izzy thought. “Well, maybe not owe,” she said. “Not like I’m obliged to answer. But I’ll answer, anyway, if you want me to. Of course I’ll answer.”
Emma shook her head.
“I really don’t mind,” Izzy said.
“And you still don’t have to.”
“Yeah I do. Actually. Because of the always being truthful thing.”
“Oh,” Emma said, and started to smile. “Seriously? That?”
Izzy shrugged. “And because I want to,” she said. “Honestly, I do. And if you tell me which actual question, specifically, you’re asking, then I’ll answer it for you. Or both, if you want to know both.”
Emma tried to remember. “What’s both?”
Izzy just looked at her.
“Never mind,” Emma said quickly, remembering. “But, ah, why not just answer both now…?”
“You might not want both answered.”
“Oh,” Emma said. “Yeah, I suppose not.”
Emma thought, and decided Izzy was right. She might not actually want to know the answer to every possible variation of what she seemed to be asking Izzy.
She thought, and Izzy waited, watching her while she did.
“So which question is it?” Izzy said, after a moment. “What is it you want to know?”
Emma was wondering that too. She was tempted to ask the obvious question, the incriminating question: whether Izzy still was interested in her, even after their talk in the supermarket carpark, and if Izzy was, what she planned to do about it, exactly.
Emma was tempted to ask, but she knew she wasn’t going to. Mostly because she knew what a terrible, unfair idea actually asking that would be. It wasn’t fair to encourage Izzy, and asking something like that would be encouraging her. It wasn’t fair to let Izzy think they were still flirting, and that there was a possibility of something happening between them, when Emma knew nothing was going to happen. Or at least, she hoped nothing was going to happen. Her uncertainty didn’t change the unfairness of it, though. It was still unfair, either way.
“Ask me,” Izzy said, smiling slightly, as if she was teasing.
“No,” Emma said.
“You want to.”
“No, I don’t.”
“You do. I can see you want to.”
“I will if you keep pushing me,” Emma said.
“I will,” Emma said, almost tempted.
“Ask,” Izzy said. “Go on.”
Emma hesitated, and took a slow breath, and then decided, since Izzy was being so obnoxious about it, that she might as well just ask. “Are you into women?” she said.
“That’s all?” Izzy said, sounding surprised. “That’s what you want to know? Not something else? Something more specific?”
“That’s all. Are you?”
Izzy grinned. “Probably. Is that a problem?”
Emma shook her head slowly. “Not at all. I just wondered.”
They looked at each other, and that seemed to be that. There was a short silence, while both thought. Then Izzy started to grin again, grin smugly, and was obviously about to tease yet again. “Hey Emma,” she said. “I just wondered. Are you into men?”
Emma started to smile, too. “Probably,” she said. “Is that a problem?”
Izzy kept grinning. “Maybe.”
“Oh,” Emma said, taken aback. “Maybe? Really?”
“Yeah, maybe. I’ll let you know.”
Emma didn’t know what to say. “Fine,” she managed. “Okay then.”
She sat there, looking at Izzy, not quite sure how seriously to take that. Then suddenly, Izzy laughed, and relieved, Emma did too.
“Glad we got that sorted?” Izzy said.
“Yeah, actually, I am.”
“And was that all you wanted to know?”
“Yep,” Emma said, and sipped her tea. “That’s all.”
“You’re absolutely sure? There’s nothing else?”
Emma looked up, uncertainly. She knew exactly what Izzy meant. “You don’t really want me to ask you that, do you?”
“Maybe I do.”
“No you don’t. It’ll just make everything complicated.”
“Maybe it will.”
Emma thought. “But isn’t complicated bad?”
“And you still want me to ask you anyway?”
Izzy shrugged, and grinned. “You can if you like,” she said.
“Oh,” Emma said. She looked at Izzy, uncertainly. “But what if the answer isn’t what either of us want to hear?”
Izzy kept grinning.
“What if it isn’t?” Emma said.
Izzy didn’t answer.
“Stop that,” Emma said.
“Stop smirking. It’s getting really annoying.”
“I’m not,” Izzy said, and kept smirking.
Emma sighed. She glared. “I’ll do it,” she said. “I’ll ask you, if you keep acting like that.”
“Go on, then.”
Emma glared some more, almost annoyed. “I really will.”
“I mean it.”
“Fine,” Emma said. “You pest. Hey, um, Izzy, do you want to fuck me?”
Izzy blinked, surprised.
“What?” Emma said. “You didn’t think I would?”
“Actually,” Izzy said. “No.”
“Serves you right,” Emma said, and felt quite pleased with herself.