5- Beating Hearts

"Baby!" Vanessa screamed just as Kevin entered through the door, making most of the people around her flinch. "Nessa!" Kevin exclaimed back as he took the woman in his arms with a wide smile on his face.

"Yuck, too much gushy gushy." Scarlet mumbled from beside Lauren, who giggled cutely making Scarlet smile at the sound.

Scarlet and Lauren had come back down after a whole half an hour of crying and consoling. Lauren had brightened up Scarlet's mood and now they both were surrounded by the Payne family members.

Lauren had been introduced to some more of the family members like the second brother of Andrew Payne -Scarlet's father- Tyler, and his wife Judith. Their daughter Juliet had also been introduced to the blonde woman, who was excited to know that someone like her had been in the family, a lover of fashion.

Juliet and Lauren had quickly been acquainted and were already becoming best friends.

"I missed you so much. California is so lonely without you there." Kevin admitted as he pecked Vanessa's lips lovingly causing the said woman to giggle like a high school girl.

"Okay, that does it." Scarlet mumbled before going over to the couple to break them apart. "Hi, I'm Scarlet. Vanessa's sister." Scarlet stretched out a hand for Kevin to shake.

Kevin pouted just like Vanessa before he sulkily shook Scarlet's hand. "I'm Kevin."

"So I've heard." Scarlet gave the man a stare that spoke more than words. Kevin shuddered before he took his hand back and smiled nervously.

"Damn it, Scarlet. Don't scare him. Dad already does that." Vanessa complained from behind Scarlet as the said girl laughed before giving Kevin the stare.

"We need to have a long and uninterrupted talk, bub." Vanessa groaned before pushing Scarlet away by her shoulders, before clinging to Kevin like a koala. "I'm serious." Scarlet smirked when Kevin gave her a nod awkwardly.

"Come on, that's enough scaring for now." Lauren dragged Scarlet away by the arm as she walked in the living room where Juliet and Blake sat chatting animatedly about episodes of Grey's Anatomy.

Kevin and Vanessa went to the kitchen where all the elders were, while the living room was the hot spot for the younger people.

Greg was sat watching Ed and Ed play scrabble while drinking juice boxes. "What? He needs to have a talk with me." Scarlet defended as she looked at Lauren, who was giving her the look that said 'leave them be'.

"Come on kids, bed time!" Came the voice of Wanda Payne as she walked into the living room with three glasses of milk.

"Greg, Ed and Ed. Drink up and go to bed." Aunt Wanda handed the glasses of milk to the three children getting whines of denial from them. "A little help please, Scar." Scarlet just stared at the three.

As if on cue, the three kids drank up their glasses of milk quickly before slamming the glasses back on to the tray. "There, all done."

"Bed time, now." Scarlet pointed to the stairs and the three children groaned before walking to the stairs with frowns. Scarlet kissed all of their foreheads making them smile before they said their 'goodnights' and disappeared up the stairs.

Lauren stood admiring the woman with a smile on her face. "Thanks, Scar. They only seem to listen to you." Wanda complimented Scarlet and she just waved it off.

"She's like a children whisperer." Blake spoke up from the sofa as Juliet nodded her head in agreement. "Greg doesn't even say my name right." Blake complained as a pout came on to his face. Scarlet and Lauren laughed while Wanda patted his shoulder before leaving the four young adults in the living room.

"Because you don't play with him." Scarlet pointed out as she went to sit down on the recliner while Lauren sat down beside Juliet.

"The twins love you more than me too." Juliet complained as well as she pouted cutely making Scarlet smile at her. "They can't. You're their big sister." Scarlet spoke making Juliet smile.

"What about me? No comforting words for me." Blake brought the attention of the three women on him. "No. I heard you were flirting with Lauren the day she came here." Scarlet squinted her eyes at him, which made him uncomfortable.

"Uh, who told you that?"

"Oh my god, he flirted with you?" Juliet questioned Lauren, who was busy blushing bashfully. "I have my sources." Scarlet answered Blake, who's eyes widened in realization. "It was Greg, wasn't it? I'm gonna- "

Scarlet arched an eyebrow at his direction making him stop mid-sentence. Juliet and Lauren were now in their own conversation as their attention went away from the flirting to shoes and clothes.

"I'm sorry." He bowed his head in embarrassment making Scarlet sigh.

"It's okay since Lauren didn't mind it that much."

"Scarlet!" Vanessa's voice came from the kitchen before the woman showed herself in the entrance of the living room. "I'll be staying with Kevin in the hotel for tonight."

"Ooh." Blake and Juliet cooed as Vanessa glared at them. "So?" Came Scarlet's question.

"So. Go to bed." Vanessa ordered before she got her jacket from off the coat hanger. Kevin walked to her with his jacket already in his hands as he smiled at Blake and Scarlet.

"No sex." Scarlet warned out of nowhere and Kevin choked on his own saliva, while Vanessa showed her sister the finger. Scarlet laughed before Vanessa and Kevin said their farewell, walking out of the front door.

"Well, time for sleep." Scarlet spoke before getting up off the recliner. "Yeah." Blake followed after.

Juliet and Lauren were still in the middle of conversing so Scarlet just left after saying 'goodnight'.

Walking into the room, the first thing that Lauren saw was that the extra mattress was gone. The second thing she had noticed was that Scarlet was already asleep to even answer the many questions of Lauren.

"Where am I gonna sleep?" She mumbled to herself as she began to pace around the room. Looking at Scarlet, she just wanted to coo at the cuteness but she refrained herself from doing such a thing.

Juliet and Lauren had talked till they felt tired and then they talked some more before they both retired to their sleeping rooms.

"I should just go change into my pajamas before I go find a place to sleep." She mumbled to herself again and then nodded her head in agreement before she went into the bathroom, closing the door with a light click.

It was a little noise but it was noise nonetheless and it was what woke up a sleeping Scarlet from her slumber.

"Lauren?" She rubbed at her eyes as she groggily called out to the blonde that was in the bathroom. Lauren, who was busy changing into a long shirt, called back, "Yeah?"

"Okay." Scarlet nodded her head before she laid back down on the bed with a subtle plop.

After Lauren had fully changed into her pajama shorts and long t-shirt, she walked out into the bed room where Scarlet lay awake waiting for her.

"Um, where's the mattress?" She asked Scarlet just as she saw that the other woman was awake. "Oh, yeah. Uncle Tyler needed it. You can sleep with me tonight." The nonchalant tone of Scarlet's voice was what made Lauren blush profusely.

"Uh, what? With you?" Lauren questioned and Scarlet only nodded in response as her eyes had begun to close. "Yeah, with me. In here. This bed is large enough for the both of us."

Lauren nodded her head before she got in the bed beside a sleepy Scarlet. "Could you close the light too?" Scarlet asked groggily as she yawned.

"Mmhmm." Lauren closed the lights as she laid down beside Scarlet with a pounding heart and a blushing face.

Scarlet turned to her side and Lauren's face flushed more than it did before. The only thoughts swirling in her head was the fact that Scarlet was there beside her, only an arm's distance away.

After a lot of overthinking, Lauren finally found a result to her situation as she placed a pillow in between their bodies and then sighed in relief.

Closing her eyes to sleep, Lauren could still feel the pounding of her heart in her ears while she tried to slow it down.


Waking up in the Payne household was a dreaded thing. No one wanted to wake up in the morning and considering that Scarlet was technically not used to waking up late in the morning, she was the first one to wake up.

And the moment her eyes opened, she saw blonde hair, lots of blonde hair. On further inspection she found out that her body was tangled up with Lauren's body, with their legs tangled together and Lauren's arms wrapped around her waist while Lauren's head rested on Scarlet's chest.

Scarlet tried to wiggle out of Lauren's hold but the blonde woman just tightened her hold on Scarlet's body as if she didn't want her to leave. Scarlet sighed before she weighed the pros and cons of staying in bed till late in the morning.

She'd miss her run, but she'd not be sweaty. She'd have a few more hours of good sleep with a human sized pillow cuddling up to her, but then she'd become out of shape.

After a lot of thought, sleep had won the argument and Scarlet had decided to wrap her arms around Lauren's body as well and snuggle closer to her before falling asleep again.

An hour later, the person to wake up next was Lauren, who had a sudden urge to pee. She woke up to the smell of lavender which she liked just from the first sniff and decided to sniff some more.

After smelling the lavender scent, she realized that she had arms wrapped around her body and she was laying on an oddly moving pillow.

Moving her hand around, she had found out the hard way that the oddly moving pillow was none other than Scarlet. Jumping away from Scarlet, their body broke apart and Scarlet jolted up as if she had just been attacked.

Lauren blushed as Scarlet's eyes settled on her. "What happened?" Scarlet asked while she scratched her head before she looked up to the wall to see the clock just about to strike 9.

"I had to pee." Lauren admitted embarrassingly as she looked away from Scarlet's gaze. "Okay."

Scarlet laid back down with a sigh as Lauren got up off the bed to go to the bathroom. "Be back quick, you are really nice at cuddling." Lauren stopped just outside the bathroom door as her face heated up and she almost choked on her own spit.

Quickly entering the bathroom door, Lauren leaned against it while trying to control her fast beating heart.

'We cuddled and she's indifferent about the whole situation. I should be too. But why am I not?

A question she didn't have an answer to.


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