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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author.  The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise.  No copyright infringement is intended.

 

Written for Alsha for the 2010 Ho Ho Ho Fest. <3

Author's Chapter Notes:

Maybe love is like luck - you have to go all the way to find it.

-out of the past, kirk douglas & rhonda fleming [1947]

THE BEGINNING.

Nina tells people that she met Vanessa in a bar, rather than through the Centre.

She tells people that the first time she ever saw Vanessa was in a bar in Cologne on Christmas Eve (because yes, Vanessa Steinkamp likes to spend her Christmases hanging out in bars in Cologne) (this is one of the only parts about Nina's story Vanessa likes to argue, "Why in the world would I be in a bar in Cologne at Christmas? At least say something believable," but Nina refuses, "No, it was a bar in Cologne on Christmas Eve.") She tells them that she had just arrived into the bar, when she saw an ugly head of hair sitting at the bar (this is another part Vanessa likes to argue, "Hey, don't you think you're getting a little ahead of yourself..."). Apparently (apparently), Nina walked over to her and they had a lovely chat about the meaning of life, and they realised they had so many common interests. Practically soul-mate material. Then, a few months later when the Steinkamp Centre employed Nina Sommer, and Vanessa Steinkamp bumped into Nina Sommer on her way to talk to her father, she (Vanessa) realised, "Oh." And that was the beginning of (the friendship (you have to pay close attention to that fact) of) Nina and Vanessa. Apparently.

Vanessa likes to say they met through hockey, rather than a club or a bar. She says that she played a match, and Nina was in the crowd and they seemed to be acute to each other from the beginning.

It was the Steinkamp team versus the Ruhr Rhinos, October 2006 (the Centre won 13-0). Months after that match, Vanessa walked into a bar (in Essen), when she saw an ugly head of hair sitting at the bar (if they were to tell this story to anyone (which isn't often -- mostly because (all) Vanessa wants is Nina to be happy (and that happens when Nina tells her version)), Nina tends to protest, "I have never -- and will never -- have an ugly head of hair, you complete bitch." Vanessa tends to grin and ignore her). Vanessa explains, "she turned around and smiled at me. We've been friends ever since."

(This (this) is how it really happened.)

They met in the lobby of the Steinkamp Centre, and they might say that they honestly didn't notice each other other than a half second where their eyes might have met when Vanessa was walking out of the lift and Nina getting it (but it's hard not to notice a girl wearing stripy arm-warmers and too much eyeliner -- even harder not to notice the beautiful younger sister of the Centre's acclaimed new skater).

It wasn't until an entirely too awkward dinner between their two families that they bothered getting acquainted, and only because their parents enforced it. Vanessa thinks she fell in love the moment she saw her, tells people that she thought Nina was a bitch instead. Nina (lies) says that Vanessa, to her, was just another stupid hockey player -- except this one had boobs and long hair.

Nina walked over begrudgingly, "Mama told me to come over and say hi."

An eyebrow shot up. "Hi." It was full of disinterest/annoyance/cockiness.

A scoff (Nina's blood bristled). "You're annoying. You wear ugly clothes. You bumped into me in the lift a few months ago. It hurt. You have stupid hair--"

A snort. "Are you just going to ramble the whole time, Sommer? Or are you going to tell me that I can call you Nina or whatever anytime soon? Because my parents told me to call you that, but I don't want to unless you tell me to, and--"

A smirk. "Look who's rambling now. Is my presence making you nervous, Steinkamp?"

The slow raising of an eyebrow, defiance etched in her young (proud) face. "Who do you think you are--"

A grin as she interrupts. "Nina Sommer. But you can call me Nina."

A slow smile.

(Nina would tell this story, but Vanessa doesn't let her. "It's not like it's some love story or anything, we're allowed to embellish it a bit," she says. (And that is the story of Vanessa and Nina.))



THE MIDDLE BITS.

(december '06)


It's a (fucking stupid) party at Ben's, with too many lamps letting off too much heat. Vanessa sits on the couch as she desperately concocts hideous scenarios involving ugly, hairy old men dancing naked or playing sports to distract herself, because any minute now, Nina's going to sit really, really close to her (since the only spot (it's not even a complete spot, more like half a spot, with everyone squished together on the couch) available is (indeed), next to Vanessa). And that just isn't going to work for Vanessa at all.

Before Vanessa can really get the ball rolling with her horrendous imagery, Nina is standing in front of her grinning like she's won something, then she's clambering onto the couch and positioning herself so she's all long arms and legs draped over Vanessa's body.

Vanessa grimaces and pushes at her leg. "Dude, as if we're not all uncomfortable enough already."

Nina laughs and pinches Vanessa's cheek in what could only be described as loving. She's sitting so damn close to Vanessa that Vanessa can see the slow trickle of sweat making its way down the side of her face. The desire to lick it away (coupled with the way Nina's legs keep slipping between Vanessa's thighs (over and over again)) is enough to drive her out of her mind.

Nearby, she can hear Ben and Tim laughing manically, but she can't seem to pay any attention to them. She's staring at the coffee table in an attempt not to stare at Nina. Tim says something and Nina laughs (into Vanessa's ear) as she attempts to sit up. Vanessa shivers, despite herself, and lets her head fall back against the armrest. Nina's palm is sweaty where it rests against Vanessa's neck, and the heat radiating from the denim-covered leg hooked over Vanessa's feels so intense that it burns.

Nina has a boyfriend, she thinks. (I had a boyfriend, she thinks.) Why the fuck am I thinking about Nina Sommer?, she thinks. She gets up (abruptly) and bids her farewell to the group. The only one of them that seems to pay any attention is Nina, and it makes Vanessa want to throw up because she can't figure why it brings butterflies (beetles, spiders, rats) to her stomach.

Nina follows her. "Hey, what's wrong?"

Vanessa shrugs, casual-suave; totally cool. "Nothing."

Nina smiles warmly. "Come on, Vanessa. You can tell me, you know that, right?"

Except she can't. It hurts, suddenly (and painfully), and Vanessa feels as if she can't breathe properly. "It's nothing, Nina. Go inside, have fun."

And it's not like she's in love with Nina or anything, right? Because a) falling in love doesn't happen in real life, and b) it's Nina Sommer, her friend, companion, a girl who watches rom-coms and (actually) believes in soul mates.


(This is how it is supposed to go:

Vanessa has some strange thoughts about her ((very) best) friend (and puts it all down to teenage hormones).

This (this) is how it goes:

Vanessa realises she's in love with Nina.)



(august '07)

"Come over tonight, yeah?" Nina asks, standing in the locker-room doorway during her lunch-break.

Vanessa shrugs, puts her things away. She mutters, "I'm not so sure about that." (She's not sure why she says it, because it's (purely) friendly, these nightly visits when Diana is out.)

Nina looks confused. "Why not?"

Vanessa stares at her. (Vanessa studies her. (Vanessa loves her.)) She says, "Nevermind. I'll see you tonight," because Vanessa wouldn't be Vanessa if she didn't comply to every need of Nina fucking Sommer.

That night, after a few beers and some bad television, they head to Nina's room where Nina rummages for a film to watch in her bedside drawer.

Vanessa considers herself the intelligent one, the mentally stable member of their gang with all the rationally thought out ideas. But -- in this moment, all she can think about is that she wishes desperately to crawl into Nina's bed at least once and have it be for something more than just one of their late night conversations when their families are out of town and they have nothing (better) to do. The ones where she listens to Nina prattle on for hours about how pretty the new pool boy at the Centre is and how come all the good guys are taken or gay or just about to move half-way around the world. The ones where she wishes she could say, well I'm here. (Notice me, goddamnit.)

Nina finally takes a seat on the bed, exhausted. "I can't find anything you'd like. What do you want?"

"None of that Casablanca type we watched the other day," Vanessa says (hopes, prays) with a grin.

Nina laughs. "It's alright, Vanessa. We don't have to watch that type of film, I do actually own others."

Vanessa smirks softly. "Yeah right, you've got nothing without a lovelorn blonde lead."

Nina laughs, "I can't help it. Who doesn't like a little bit of love?"

Vanessa gets up and stretches a little (to avoid Nina's eyes). "I don't really believe in love."

Nina raises an eyebrow and laughs. "Bullshit. You've watched thousands of romantic movies with me, I know you're a sucker for that sort of crap."

Vanessa sighs. She looks over at Nina. "I'm not," she says softly. It's sincere and real in a way that Nina's not used to seeing.

It causes her to go quiet for a few moments. "You know, when I was younger, I never thought I'd fall in love. I thought I'd be single forever, have a different boyfriend every week." She smiles. "But then -- but now I've met Deniz." Vanessa stares pointedly at the ground and she feels (oh so) nauseous. She can't do this. (She cannot. (Do. This.)) Nina continues, "Now, I know you loved Ben. You had that love-struck look in your eyes that everyone gets when they're in love. So maybe you're just unwilling to admit it to yourself, yeah?" She nudges Vanessa's shoulder and winks.

Vanessa's face feels hot. She walks over to a window, because she can't seem to be able to look at Nina right now. "Yeah, maybe," she says quietly, but it's evident (even to Nina) that her voice sounds pained.

Nina stands up, concerned, and walks over to her. "Vanessa?"

Vanessa refuses to turn to look at her, knows that if she does she'd (probably) (fucking) cry (and that is not going to happen if she has any say in it). She rests her head against the window. "I'm just tired. Maybe I'm catching a cold or something."

Nina places a hand on her cheek as best as she can with Vanessa leaning against the window. "You feel fine to me, Schatz."

Vanessa sighs. "I'm just--"

In love with you.


(This is how it is supposed (supposed) to go:

Vanessa falls in love with Nina. Nina falls in love with Vanessa.

This is how it goes:

Vanessa falls in love with Nina. Nina falls in love with Deniz.)



(november '07)

"I'm so sorry," Vanessa says when Nina (eventually) answers her phone (in tears, rambling on about Deniz and Roman and a kiss (a kiss)).

She can hear the rustling noise of (what might be (hopefully)) Nina nodding into the phone, but otherwise Nina doesn't reply. (Vanessa knows about heartache. Vanessa knows how much it (really) hurts to talk.) They sit like that, quietly, for a bit. The simple breathing of the other helping them calm themselves; Vanessa for the prospect of comforting a heartbroken Nina, Nina for the heartbreak itself.

Finally, Vanessa says, "You know there's nothing wrong with you, right? Just because Deniz is off kissing Roman doesn't mean you're not loveable."

"Thanks, Vanessa. That means a lot."

Vanessa closes her eyes. "I--" she stops, and swallows her words. (I love you, she was going to say. I'd wish you two all the luck in the world if it meant you'd be happy, she was going to say.) She says, "I hope you get everything sorted out between you."

A few months later, it's Nina calling Vanessa. "I'm so sorry," she says quietly down the line. "I can't believe Deniz did that to you. He's such a bastard."

"I know," Vanessa says.

She doesn't expect an immediate reply, so she's surprised when she receives one. Nina's voice is quiet (tentative) and not at all how Vanessa ever expected Nina's voice to be. "Want me to come over?"

(Vanessa isn't a selfish girl, but) "Yes."


(This is how it is supposed to go:

Either Nina or Vanessa wins Deniz's heart and lives happily ever after.

(But) this is how it goes:

Neither Nina nor Vanessa win Deniz's heart and live happily ever after.)



(july '08)

Vanessa's finished school, and it's time to celebrate. They are all at the mansion; Constanze and Juli (already) have their hair sticking to their foreheads as they battle on the karaoke machine. It's funny, Vanessa thinks, because Constanze is singing a Julio Iglesias song simultaneously to Juli's Oasis song. No one can understand a thing they're saying, their words meshing together.

She and Nina give each other a look, and as they laugh, Nina leans in and whispers something along the lines of "they're insane, why are we the only normal ones?" Halfway into the karaoke escapade, both Constanze and Juli switch to School's Out For Summer and the rest of the room sings along. Nina drapes an arm around Vanessa's shoulder, and Vanessa can't even make herself give a fuck about anything else as she leans into her touch.

They're all drunk and happy and they pray Simone doesn't walk in randomly to see them because that would be a disaster.

At one point, Nina presses her face into Vanessa's neck and mumbles, "I'm so drunk this isn't good I'm so so soooo drunk." Vanessa only giggles in reply, and then rubs her forehead against Nina's. She can't seem to stop smiling (and slurring).

Vanessa goes home with Nina that night. In the secrecy of her bedroom, Nina leans in and kisses Vanessa. It's quick and hard and tastes like the beer they had drunk. They pull apart, and, even drunk, Nina's not prepared for the look Vanessa gives her. The look of lust and want and need and something that Nina can't seem to acknowledge in the state she is in (or maybe, she doesn't want to). She says, "I need to pee," but (before she is even out of the bed), she is suddenly throwing up on Vanessa. And Vanessa is, all too soon (much too soon), more sober than she has been in hours. She pulls off her vomit-coated shirt before taking a hold of Nina's hand as she leads her to the bathroom. She helps her wash her face, only to be disappointed when a few moments later, Nina throws up (again). Vanessa stands behind Nina while Nina throws up as she attempts to hold her up. When Nina has thrown up all that she can (possibly, humanly) throw up, Vanessa washes her face again. She wraps an arm around her and can't even think about the feel of Nina in her arms as she walks her back to the bed. She puts Nina in her bed where she falls asleep almost instantly. Vanessa leans back against the wall, and (slowly, slowly,) drops to the floor. She watches Nina sleep, and wonders what the fuck she did wrong in life to deserve this. She wishes (she wishes) so fervently (not that Nina would love her back, but--) that she wasn't in love with Nina Sommer.

In the morning, Nina awakes with a pounding head. She sits up and wonders how the hell she got here, when she sees Vanessa -- shirtless, asleep on the floor, head leaning against the wall. She gets up and shakes her awake. She whispers, "What happened last night?"

Vanessa pushes herself up. She shrugs. "I don't remember," she says (lies).

After breakfast, Vanessa sits on the couch and thinks back to the previous night. She remembers Nina's skin and her lips and her smile and her eyes on Vanessa. She remembers (and remembers and remembers,) and she wishes that she didn't.

Because almost having her is far (far) worse than not having her at all.


(This is how it is supposed to go:

Vanessa forgets about that night and things aren't so bad because her feelings for Nina aren't as acute as they were before and the slowly fade away and maybe (just maybe) she can move on.

This is how it goes:

Vanessa remembers everything about that night and she realises that she has never loved anything more in her life than Nina Sommer.)



(april '09)

"Axel told me something he heard from your parents yesterday. About you going away to study medicine." Vanessa doesn't say anything. Nina raises an eyebrow, "Is it true?"

Again, Vanessa shrugs. (Nina knows it means 'yes'.)

This time, it's Nina's turn to shrug, "Were you going to wait until you were on the plane to tell me?"

Vanessa swallows, "Uh, well. It's all over the Centre, I figured you'd hear."

"Yeah, well, fuck you, Vanessa. Shouldn't I hear it first from you?" Nina spits out (fuming).

"I don't know. I thought you'd be mad."

Nina shakes her head, "Why would I be mad? You're finally getting out of this hell-hole."

"Don't call it that. This hell-hole is my home," she's offended and hurt and angry (maybe it's because she feels a clean break is best, maybe it's because she knows her heart will break anyway -- might as well be now).

Nina shakes her head, "Obviously I didn't mean it like that--"

"Yeah, whatever, Nina. You don't ever mean anything."

"What the fuck's that supposed to mean?" Nina (half) shouts. Vanessa doesn't answer. Nina gets up to leave, and Vanessa doesn't follow her. But later that night, she calls her:

"Nina. Hey."

"Vanessa."

"Listen, Nina. I didn't mean to blow up at you earlier. You know that, right?" You know I love you, she wants to say.

"Yeah. Yeah, I'm sorry about that. I think everything was just... getting to me all of a sudden. You know?"

Vanessa lets out a relieved laugh, "Yeah, I know."

There's a silence and then "Are you sure about this, Vanessa? I mean, America? It's just so far, and cold, and boring, and..." I'm not there. And I don't think I can survive without you (I don't think I can breathe without you). Don't leave me, please, don't leave me, she wants to say.

"Yeah, Nina. I'm sure."

They stay silent for a few moments, and then, "Vanessa?"

"Yeah?"

"You won't forget Essen, will you?" You won't forget me?

"Not even for a second."

"Good. Listen... I want you to know that--" That I love you (that I've always loved you), "I'm happy for you. I really am."


(This is how it is supposed to go:

Vanessa gets a place at the local Medical School, moves in with Nina, and they both agree the flat has one too many bedrooms.

This is how it goes:

Vanessa gets a place at a Medical School halfway 'round the world. She goes.)



(march '10)

Juli double takes when she sees who's calling her. Nina Sommer, says the caller ID. No way, says Juli. (It's just not often that she receives calls (from Nina.))

She picks up the phone, and says (unsurely), "Nina?"

"Hi, Juli."

"Hey..." Awkward.

"Listen, I just called because -- take care of her for me, okay?"

Um. Who? "Nina--"

"And tell those yanks that if they so much as lay a finger on her head, I’ll personally come up there and kick the shit out of them."

Okay, seriously. What the fuck is this about? "Nina, I really don't know what--"

"And -- tell her I miss her. Tell her I love her."

With that, she hangs up. Juli sits, an eyebrow raised, as she stares at her phone incredulously. Shaking her head, she sighs, Nina is really fucking weird.


(This is how it is supposed to go:

Juli remembers to give Vanessa the message.

This is how it goes:

Juli forgets to give Vanessa the message.)



(april '10)

Vanessa inhales in shock (worry, wonder). It's been a while since Nina has phoned, let alone with news like this. "You're leaving Essen?" She says.

"Yes."

Vanessa scoffs and shakes her head. She sits down (and gets up (and sits down (and gets up again))). On the other end of the line, Nina remains silent. "Why?"

Nina clears her throat (guiltily). "It's something I have to do."

Vanessa nods finally. "Right, well. Good for you." (A (minute-long) pause.) (Nothing but breathing.) "Where are going to go?"

"I've been offered a job," Nina says softly. "Over there, in America."

"So we can meet up, then?" Vanessa asks, brightening. "Hang out?"

"I don't think so," Nina sighs (and sighs). Vanessa can hear her tapping her nails against the plastic phone-casing. "I'll be in LA."

Vanessa smiles a little. "Dude, I always knew you'd end up in Hollywood. Lucky bitch."

Nina laughs loudly. It is tinged (soaked) (saturated) with sadness. "You jealous, Steinkamp?"

Vanessa laughs too. "You wish," she says. Hangs up. Is left alone (with herself (and her heart)).

Vanessa wishes she had said, I love you. Vanessa wishes she had said, can you come stay with me and (finally) try to be happy. Because I love you more than I ever thought I could love anyone, and it just fucking hurts all the time and I can't even breathe without feeling like I'm drowning. Drowning with what? I don't know myself, she wishes she had said. Maybe with all the love I have for you. Maybe. She wishes she had said, it's difficult sometimes. The fact that you don't feel the same way, it's difficult. Sometimes, sometimes I sleep at night and I look for stars to wish on. I wish for you, on those stars. She wishes she had said, does that make sense? Probably not, I know, but. But. She wishes she had said, I love you. Remember that, will you? That I love you so much I'll let you go.


(This is how it is supposed to go:

Nina Sommer stays in Essen.

This is how it goes:

Nina Sommer goes to California.)



(september '10)

It's been months since Vanessa's seen her. She wonders how it will unfold -- she wonders if Nina will beg her to come back (to Germany, to LA, to Essen), if she'll be excited about seeing Vanessa, if she'll even care.

Vanessa remembers odd things about Nina. She remembers the way chewed the skin around the edges of her fingernails until her fingers were bloody stubs. She remembers the dusty red and black and yellow flag Nina hung (crushed defeated heartbroken) out the window in the summer of Germany's failed World Cup attempt. She remembers the exact shade of Nina's skin, every muscle in her back. (She remembers Nina.)

There are other things she remembers (how it was before): how they'd spend every day together. She wonders if Nina misses her (the way Vanessa finds herself thinking about Nina every time she sees a sunset), and if she remembers the colour of Vanessa's eyes (the way Vanessa remembers getting lost in hers).

Vanessa wonders if she still loves Nina, seeing her again after all this time (it hasn't been that long, really -- but it feels like ages). She wonders if her feelings have changed, or if her heart rate still speeds up at just the sight of her.

Seeing Nina for the first time in months isn't as Vanessa would have liked. It doesn't happen as she'd pictured: Nina on her knees begging her to come back, Nina overly-emotional to see her (whispering 'ich liebe dich' (finally) over and over again in her ear), Nina excited about the new things she's done at med school (there are no 'what's it like there?' or 'what's your dorm room like?' or even a 'do you like it there?').

(She realises that Nina hasn't changed at all since she's last seen her, realises that she's the one who's always changing. She realises that Nina is still the girl from Essen who has a passion for rom-coms and musicals, who likes to sing when she's drunk (and even when she's not), who takes walks in the middle of the night out of restlessness.)

Instead Vanessa gets a smile (she's missed Nina's smile), a quick (tight warm (friendly, Vanessa decides finally)) hug, and a happy (she wishes it was wistful, she wishes it was nostalgic, she wishes it was evident that Nina missed her -- rather than Nina looking perfectly fine without her) voice saying softly, "Vanessa."

"Nina. Hey."

Nina smiles even brighter (which reassures Vanessa a bit -- Nina is still Nina, and Vanessa is still Vanessa), and places a hand fondly on Vanessa's cheek, giving it a pat, "Vanessa, look what this stupid American weather has done to your skin!"

Vanessa rolls her eyes before self-consciously touching her sunburnt cheeks, "It's not too bad..."

Nina laughs softly (Vanessa immediately misses her loud, bright laughter); "You're right -- it's your hair that's the real problem, Vanessa." And she takes Vanessa's hand and drags her (and her suitcase) out of the airport.


(This is how it is supposed to go:

Nina comes to visit and never (ever) leaves.

This is how it goes:

Nina comes to visit with a return ticket to LA in her pocket.)



(june '11)

It's Vanessa's graduation. Nina goes and sits about halfway down the hall (not right at the front where the families go, and she can't sit at the back because Vanessa won't be able to spot her). She sees Vanessa with her cap and gown and her (oh so (very) important) scroll of paper. She claps.

She walks to Vanessa's dorm room, after the ceremony. The bittersweet look on everyone's faces is enough to crack her heart, but then she sees Vanessa. Her heart? It (all but) shatters. Vanessa has her head in her hands and is shaking it quietly. Nina sits beside her and nudges her leg. Vanessa looks up, and a smile graces her features when she sees who's beside her. "Hey, dude," she says quietly.

"You're gonna really miss it here, aren't you," Nina says as a reply.

Vanessa shrugs and sits up. "Yeah, well."

Nina watches her. Nina studies her. Nina (still) loves her. "You know what I think? I think if you give some motivational speech about keeping in touch and staying friends and saving the world -- I think everything will be fine, yeah?" (Everything.)

Vanessa laughs and says, "Yeah, sure." And then: "Hey, stay here tonight."

Nina heart lurches. She curses herself for getting put in situations like this time and time again. "Okay," she says.

That night, after a few drinks, Vanessa says, "It's not the same without you, you know."

Nina shrugs in reply. "You don't need me. It's all psychological. You think you can't breathe without me, but really, you can."

Vanessa shakes her head. "It's hard though, you know? Breathing without you, I mean."

And maybe that's what makes Nina snap. Break. Crack. Whatever you want to call it. Except, she's different from Vanessa. She's calm and reserved. She hides what she feels. She wants to say, finally. She wants to say, I thought I could leave and what I feel for you could fade away. Looks like it can't. "You shouldn't rely on me," she says.

She wants to say, I love you. I've loved you from the beginning, Vanessa. (She wants to say: love me back.)

But she doesn't.


(What could have happened is this: Nina says, "You know, I love you."

Vanessa looks up, her features are somewhat traced with understanding. Finally. "I know.")


What she says is this: "The world really will shine brighter if you give more of those motivational speeches of yours, you know."

Vanessa laughs. And Nina realises, she (still) doesn't get it. So maybe Vanessa will never be with her (love her) the way she wants her to be with her. So maybe Vanessa will forever only think of Nina as the girl who seemed to know where she was at every given moment of the day. So maybe they are destined to (only) be friends for the rest of their lives, and Vanessa will never realise what Nina feels for her (too). Maybe in the end, that's all that matters: their friendship. And maybe Nina's not willing to risk it for anything else in the world. Maybe that's why Nina and Vanessa just isn't meant to be. Maybe that's why Nina and Vanessa will forever be separate: Nina and Vanessa.

She thinks, maybe this is the moment I will look back on and say, "Well, that was a stupid move," but at the moment, it feels right.

She thinks, well, this is life.


(This is how it is supposed to go:

Vanessa tells Nina that she's been in love with her since the moment she laid eyes on her. It must've been fast and hard, because you don't tiptoe into love, you fall helplessly into it and that's the only way it's done right. Nina (happily) admits that she's madly in love with Vanessa and she showers her with (all the) love (in the world). They're simply. Happy.

This is how it goes:

Vanessa falls asleep in the middle of some old, classic black-and-white romantic movie Nina had found in Vanessa's cabinet. Nina watches her sleep and murmurs with a sigh, "I love you."

(It's the first time she's said it (out loud) and somehow it feels more real.)

Vanessa shifts closer and slips an arm around Nina. She doesn't know what she's doing, of course, she's asleep, but. But it's enough.

(That moment, it's enough.))



THE END.

Vanessa doesn't know many things about life -- she doesn't know why the sky is blue or why the earth is round -- but she knows a few things about herself.

She is a Steinkamp. She has a passion for ((really) bad) rock music and ice hockey. She sings and dances in the shower. Her favourite time of day is just when the sun is setting, when the whole sky is red and yellow and orange. When she was a kid, she wanted to be a ice-hockey-playing princess. When she was older, she (just) wanted to be happy. She loves starry nights. She's passionate, caring, ambitious.

But most of all -- she's (truly madly deeply) in love (with Nina).



Nina doesn't know much, but there are certain undeniable facts that she knows about herself.

She enjoys coffee on warm days, hot chocolate on cold days. She is (definitely) not the maternal type. She loves helping people. When she was 6 years old, she decided she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her sister. When she was 13, she realised she couldn't (anymore). She's a romantic, proud, determined.

And -- she's (still (desperately)) in love with Vanessa.



Vanessa and Nina meet in a bar in Cologne on Christmas Eve.

They meet at a hockey match.

They meet at an awkward Sommer-Steinkamp dinner party.

Nina thinks she fell in love with Vanessa one night by the lake, when Vanessa informed her that her hair looked like the sand.

Vanessa thinks she fell in love with Nina the moment she saw her.

All they (really) know is that they fell in love under Essen's city lights.



THE POSTSCRIPT.

There are many moments that make up your life. There are the moments that you try to forget -- the times you cry and ache and bleed and break. And then there are the moments that last a lifetime -- the times you laugh and sing and dance and... love.





(Note: this story falls into the category of what could have been, because, you see -- Vanessa never (really) tells Nina that she loves her. And Nina never tells her that she feels the same way.)

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