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It felt like going through hell. Blowing off Asami like that wasn't healthy for either girl. Mako called her later that day, yelling at her through the phone. "What the fuck is wrong with you?! I come down, you are gone, Asami in tears, saying she tried to make amends with you, and you shoot her the fuck down?! What is your fucking problem?!"
Korra couldn't fault him. She just let him rant on, eventually muttering some sort of vague apology before quickly hanging up.
The week after was even worse. Her parents gave her a significant amount of flack, correctly assuming Korra had been piss-drunk on New Year's Eve. They pulled her internet plug for the remainder of the Christmas break, and she wasn't allowed to go over to Mako's for the next month. Not that it mattered so much, given that Mako was rightfully and legitimately pissed at her.
Asami hadn't even bothered to attempt contacting Korra again, even when school was back in. Korra knew that she didn't have to go back to the third floor, so she went back to her radiator near the gymnasiums, as she knew that Asami wouldn't seek her out again.
A week passed, and it was the most painful week Korra had ever gone through. She and Asami would occasionally lock eyes, and the expression in the emerald eyes changed during the course of the week: going from nearly breaking down to one of disappointment. That was the hardest part. The simple knowledge that Korra could fix it, if only she were a stronger person.
Oen faithful afternoon, Korra was in her room, occupied by the thing most capable of distracting her: Call of Duty. She was in the middle of planting a bomb in a Search and Destroy match when her phone rang. She quickly finished the plant and retreated to a safe corner, two teammates making sure the bomb was safe. As Korra moved to answer it, she saw that it was someone she hadn't talked to for a while.
-"Hey Korra, it's Pema."
It was oddly calming to hear that gentle voice. "Uhh, hi."
-"Listen, I know we haven't had much business for you the past couple of weeks, but you know, it has been quite calm for us."
"It's fine, Pema, I've been kind of busy myself." Liar. Kind of busy moping and wasting time, maybe.
-"Anyway, as it turns out, Tenzin and I have something coming up. Could you come over tomorrow night at eight?"
"Eight?" Fuck. Means that at least the oldest two are still awake. "Yeah, I can do that."
-"Great! See you tomorrow."
As Korra hung up, she realized this might actually be a good opportunity to discuss things with Pema. For as far as she knew, Pema wasn't anti-gay or anything, at least not vocally like her father. Plus, she cared about Korra. It would be as good a person as any to talk to, even if she was married to the house majority whip.
The next day consisted of her new routine. Get up. Go to school. Avoid Asami. Go home.
She informed her parents about how Pema called her, and, unsurprisingly, weren't too pleased that Korra didn't tell them earlier. Still, they had no reason to keep her from going, especially since Korra refused to set foot out of their house for anything other than school.
When she arrived at Tenzin's, her suspicions turned out to be correct. Jinora and Ikki were still awake, and Pema had just put Meelo to bed. Could be worse. They're seven and ten, and it's that little boy who is the real monster. Pema informed Korra that they would be home around eleven, maybe a little sooner. Some last minute instructions concerned food, bedtimes and television, and Tenzin and Pema were on their way.
Since Pema had only given her daughters half an hour after they left, they decided to play a game of Clue to kill the time. Korra was never too strict about the bedtime for the sisters, and allowed them to finish calmly before sending them off to bed.
Normally, Korra was perfectly content watching TV about nothing much, but this time around, she could only pace around nervously. While it was true that Pema was probably the only person outside of a therapist she could go to, there was that one little niggling doubt in the back of her mind that she just couldn't shake, no matter how hard she tried. What if she doesn't accept it?
She had thought about little else all day, but now that it actually came down to it, Korra was sweating bullets. The clock crept forward, and she was growing more nervous by the second.
At ten to eleven, Korra heard the front door. It meant her time making sure Tenzin's children stay asleep is over again. On the one hand, finally, means she could go home again, but on the other, she has been building up courage for this. Much to her surprise, Pema was came through the door alone.
"Pema? Is everything alright? Where's Tenzin?"
-"Tenzin is fine, he just had to stay a little late. He's taking a cab home." She handed Korra a fifty. "Here you go. For the short notice."
"Uhh, yeah, thanks." She put the bill in her pocket and hesitated. "Uhh, Pema, can I... talk to you about something?"
Pema got a slightly worried look on her face. "Is everything alright with you?"
"No. I mean... I don't know."
-"What is it, Korra?" she asked, now genuinely concerned.
Well, you made it this far. Might as well tell her. Korra unsuccessfully tried to swallow the block in her throat, and with great effort finally managed: "I think I'm falling for girls."
Pema's eyes grew large at learning this. "Wow... I... I don't know what to say." She fell silent for a while. "When did you first know?"
"A couple of weeks ago. I mean, I think I did. I just..." Korra didn't finish. She just sighed.
Pema let the silence between them hang for a little while, probably regaining her own thoughts. "Given that you're telling me like this, I take it you haven't told anyone else?"
"Who is there to tell it to? The people I know are limited to you and my parents."
-"Your parents don't know that you are... a lesbian?"
"No. And there is no way in hell I'm telling them just yet."
Pema looked a little shocked at this. "You should. They are your parents, Korra. They love you."
"Not from where I'm sitting. They always disapprove of everything I do, and now this. You know my father was elected on the anti-gay language. Having a fucking dyke for a daughter will make some real nice local headlines."
She ignored Korra's language, instead trying to make her feel better. "Don't say that. Your father would never put his career before you." Much to Korra's worry, there was a hint of doubt in the way she said that.
"He just might. If anyone is capable of that, it's him."
-"Not the Tonraq I know. He might be strict, but he loves you."
"Then why can't I shake the feeling that the fine print on that love reads 'as long as you do what I say'?"
-"Like I said, he's strict, but your father would never reject you because of that." Bet you ten bucks? "But I also get a feeling there is another reason."
Yes, you human lie-detector, but no fucking way I'm telling you I have the hots for my best friend's girlfriend. "Yeah. I... I'm not entirely certain yet, and I don't want to blow up everything because I have no goddamn clue what I'm doing." It wasn't even a total lie. She wasn't entirely certain, and still had a little bit of hope left that at least she found some attraction in guys.
-"Alright, tell you what. The daughter of friends of ours came out of the closet a few years ago, and for as far as I know, is single. I could... set you up for a blind date, maybe it'll help you. Maybe she can help you tell your parents."
Korra sighed. You went in, so desperate that you told the woman whose children you are babysitting, and now she's trying to hook you up already. I don't know Pema, I mean, who would even be interested in dating me?"
-"You need to stop being so hard on yourself, Korra. Just let it go for a moment, and trust that it will all work out."
She sighed again. "Okay. What do I have to do?"
-"Show up at the time and place I tell you to. She is a lovely girl, and I'm sure she would try it. Do you have anything this weekend?"
"Yes, I have..." but then she remembered that she hadn't gone to tennis practice in weeks anyway. "No, I'm free in the weekends."
-"Great. I'll set you up."
Korra fell silent for a moment. Rephrase: luckiest asshole in the fucking galaxy. "Thank you Pema. For... For everything."
-"Any time Korra. Come here." She moved in closer, an gave Korra a hug. Korra felt a weight melt off her, the feeling accelerated by Pema's soft and gentle hands on her back. "You go home now. I'll call you when I have a time for you."
"Okay." Korra grabbed her coat and slipped into her car, slowly driving home. She didn't want to face her parents for now, and once she got home walked on straight from the front door to her bedroom.
Everything went better than expected. That was the thought that dominated all others. Pema had accepted her full stop, not even a hint of disapproval. Korra didn't know if she was suppressing it for her sake, or that she genuinely didn't care. She really appreciated the support, and the knowledge that she could talk to Pema had just been confirmed. Okus, she might get a date out of it. It seemed like a good way to try to get over Asami. If she could manage to do that, she could save two friendships in one go, which would be nice.
Her mother poked her head around the door, again not knocking. "Korra, why didn't you come and say 'hello' when you got home?"
"Because I'm tired and I'm going to bed. Good night." Senna got the determination with which Korra said those last few words, and closed the door silently.
The rest of the week was easy. Get up. Go to school. Avoid Asami. Go home. Repeat.
Pema called on Thursday. Please tell me she told you off and I don't have to go.
"Hey Korra, so I called her, and she'd like to go on a date with you."
"Oh, ehh, thanks."
Pema ignored Korra's blank response. "So anyway, I told her to meet you at the teashop across from my store. Do you know the place?"
-"Great. Saturday, one PM, she knows what you look like, so she'll find you there."
"Wait, Pema, can you at least tell me her name?"
-"Opal. Opal Beifong."
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