Spoilers: Season 16 (Half-ASS), Episodes 1-8
Notes: Ami-centric. Continuation of Divide.
"Have you ever kissed a girl?" Ami asked.
Amanda looked out at the ocean. She shrugged one shoulder.
"Come on," Ami said.
"Not really." Amanda turned to look at Ami, and asked, "You?"
They both laughed. Ami jostled Amanda's shoulder. Amanda pushed back, and then settled, so that they were sitting together, watching the ocean. Ami inhaled deeply.
"It's lonely here," Ami said. "With just you people."
"Hey." Amanda pushed her harder.
"I mean, I like you," Ami said.
"I like you, too."
"I mean, I really like you," Ami said. She said that last line to the ocean, and sighed wistfully.
"Oh," Amanda said.
Ami looked at the sky. Cloudy greyish-blue. It was going to rain.
"Well, I like you too," Amanda said, and giggled.
Ami looked at her. Amanda met her eyes. She said, "I could totally see us going to the Final Two together."
A marriage proposal. Ami leaned in. Amanda tilted her chin. They kissed.
"Told you!" Ozzy shouted from the tree line.
Ami looked over her shoulder.
"You owe me a hundred dollars," Ozzy said to Cirie. She folded her arms.
"That's okay," Ami shouted to them. "Cirie owes me a thousand."
Amanda looked hurt.
Ami, with their bodies blocking the view from behind, patted Amanda's thigh. Amanda squeezed her hand.
Later, watching Amanda curl into Ozzy's arms to sleep, with Erik and Cirie flanking them like eunuchs to their Gods, Ami could barely contain her desire to scream at them.
* * *
The problem with Loser Lounge was that it was filled with losers. When Ami got there at two in the morning, tired of crying and being mature in front of her post-Council confessional, everyone was asleep. The whole area smelled like soap and roasted meat and chemicals. She puked into the dirt outside the Port-a-John, used it, and then curled up on a cot in a dark tent, devoid of other occupants, and went to sleep.
In the morning, she was still alone inside the tent, dehydrated, and starving. Welcome to Survivor. Sunlight came through the mesh windows. Outside she could hear Joel and another male voice she didn't recognize. They were talking about her--or rather, who was inside the tent.
"God, you losers," Tracy said, sounding closer, and then the door flap opened. Ami blinked and shaded her eyes. "It's Ami," Tracy said. She stepped into the tent and let the flap fall. She studied Ami warily.
Ami forced a smile, and said, "I guess we should have forced a tie."
Tracy smiled. "I guess we should have," she said, and pulled Ami into a hug.
Ami looked over Tracy's shoulder at the door. She asked, "Is Joel going to like, rape us in our sleep?"
"I've only been here one day. He won't shut up about his fucking wrestling career. I am so over these people," Tracy said.
Ami nodded. She asked, "Is Jonathan here?"
Tracy shook her head.
Ami closed her eyes.
Tracy took her hand. "Come eat," she said.
Without the game, it was easier to talk to Tracy about kids, about life, about getting older. Kathy joined them, and asked Ami if lesbianism had affected her strategy, and Ami lied through her teeth. The second night was easier than the first, though the cot didn't seem as comfortable. Tracy shared her tent, and Ami listened to her breathe, listened to the silence. No one snored, and they couldn't hear the ocean from here. Her skin tingled in anticipation of bug bites that never came. She stayed awake for what felt like hours, thinking about Eliza. She prayed that Eliza would understand and forgive her for not making it to the merge.
She hoped that Eliza would walk into the tent in the middle of the night, or that the game would go on in such a way that she would never see Eliza again.
Any middle ground, she wouldn't be able to bear.