A young Becky Bloom stays home one Saturday to watch TV, and is exposed to a new concept that she’s never been exposed to before— Girls kissing other girls! She calls her mother downstairs to share this amazing discovery and the two have a very important, though perhaps somewhat awkward, talk about different types of relationships. 1,946 words.
The world of Shadow Oaks is owned by TheStalkerBunny on tumblr. It is a brilliant piece of work and I recommend reading more about it HERE.
implied chronic illness
It was a Saturday, which meant Becky didn’t have to go to school. She’d been allowed to sleep in an entire hour longer than usual, and then when she’d gotten up, her dad had said she could watch cartoons!
Which made her very, very happy.
But now her cartoons were over, and she didn’t want to get up to get the remote to change the channel, so she was just watching whatever it was that had come on….
It was a weird show, Becky thought. Which, according to the “coming up next” presenter was called Pumpkin Spice.
Something about coffee. And a changeling. And a girl who bought coffee every day…. Becky wasn’t really paying attention; it was a show for teenagers. And the few shows she’d watched before that were for teenagers were always about kissing boys (which was boring because if she wanted to watch a boy kiss a girl she could just eat dinner at the table with her parents!) or about girls being really mean to each other (usually because they liked a boy).
It was just all too much about boys, Becky thought. And not enough about cool talking dogs that solved crime.
At least this show had shapeshifting in it; that made it sort of bearable. Plus, there hadn’t really been any boys— Unless you counted the girl changeling who turned into a boy to talk to another girl.
Becky cast a glance to the screen, up from the hole she’d been slowly rubbing into her pant leg, and saw that the changeling had turned back into a girl, revealing her true self to her friend.
‘You’ve always been such a good friend to me,’ said the girl, taking the changeling by the hand. ‘As both Marie, and Jonathan…. But… I feel like you’re so much more than just a friend to me. Do you feel it, too?’
‘I do,’ answered the changeling.
Good for them, Becky thought. Best friends are the best.
‘You’re my world, Eliza,’ said the changeling, leaning in close.
Becky perked up her ears.
What was she doing…?
‘And you’re mine,’ said the girl, closing her eyes and— And—
Kissing each other?!
‘MUM?!’ Becky shouted, leaping to her feet so fast she knocked the pile of cushions she’d been using as a footrest to the floor. ‘MUUUUUUM!’
‘Becky?’ Barbra responded from upstairs, sounding equal parts concerned and exhausted. ‘Are you alright?’
‘YOU NEED TO COME DOWNSTAIRS RIGHT NOW!’ Becky yelled, pointing at the TV, even though she knew her mother couldn’t see it or her. ‘THERE’S SOMETHING ON THE TV!’
‘What kind of something?’ Barbra asked, her voice growing closer and closer to the stairs. ‘A good something or a bad something?’
‘I DUNNO!’ Becky yelled, pointing harder as the credits began to roll. ‘BUT IT’S SOMETHING! AND YOU’RE MISSING IT!’
Barbra made her way into the lounge, surprisingly quickly, and looked to the television. ‘Are you alright? Did you change the channel to one you’re not supposed to?’
‘No!’ Becky defended. ‘I didn’t change it at all from what Dad put it on! It came on after the cartoons!’
‘The movie with real people!’ Becky explained. ‘There was a changeling, and a human, and they were both girls, and they kissed!’
For a moment, Barbra hesitated. She looked like she was thinking; turning a very important response over in her mind very, very carefully.
Then, she looked to Becky and smiled.
‘Did they?’ she asked, her hands trembling as she reached up to brush them through her hair. ‘Well, good for them.’
‘Why did they do that?!’ Becky asked firmly.
‘I don’t know,’ Barbra chuckled, her humoured smile turning the corners of her eyes in a way that made the darkened bags seem heavier and purpler than they were just moments before. ‘You’re the one who saw the movie, not me.’
‘How did they do that?’ Becky asked, this time sounding more awed than angry. ‘I didn’t know it was possible for girls to kiss girls!’
Barbra’s smile fell, slightly, and she looked like she was in thought again. ‘You didn’t know it was possible?’
‘No, I didn’t!’ Becky exclaimed. ‘I’ve only ever seen girls kissing boys! Never girls kissing girls, before! I thought that meant they couldn’t kiss each other.’
‘Really?’ Barbra asked, sitting down on the couch; her movements slow and stiff. ‘What did you think was stopping them?’
‘I dunno!’ Becky threw up her arms, before plopping down heavily next to her mother. She realised now, how bad her mother smelt— Acrid, like the cupboard under the sink that Becky was never allowed to look through. ‘Magic, I guess?’
‘Yes? No?’ Becky shook her head. ‘I dunno! Like how I can’t go into the part of the shop that sells alcohol with Dad or he’ll explode!’
‘Who—‘ Barbra’s face scrunched into a confused expression. ‘Who told you that?!’
‘Katie did,’ Becky explained. ‘She said that she did it once, and her dad exploded on her!’
‘I don’t think that’s what she meant,’ Barbra said, giving a weak laugh that cut off in a cough.
As she coughed there was a trill and a chirp, and a cushion came running into the room. It leapt onto the chair next to Barbra, snuggling down and purring affectionately as it did.
‘Ugh, excuse me…. Something in my throat,’ Barbra gave another quick cough, and stroked down the cushion’s back. ‘Good girl, Mimi. Good girl.’
‘There’s been a lot of stuff in your throat lately,’ Becky pointed out. Then, when her mother simply shrugged in response, Becky furrowed her brow seriously and looked to the TV, her mind wandering back to the two girls she’d seen kiss. ‘So girls can kiss girls, huh?’ she said, both her tone and expression turning pensive. ‘That’s something to think about….’
The sound Barbra let out wasn’t quite a laugh, or a snort, or a choke; it was a clumsy mess of all three.
‘Have you ever kissed a girl?’ Becky asked her mother, not thinking about the question until after it was out of her mouth. ‘Like, before you dated Dad?’
Barbra paused, pursing her lips. Then, slowly, her brow furrowed; as did Becky’s own.
‘Mm…’ she gave a conflicted hum. ‘Uh… yes and no.’
‘Yes and no?’ Becky echoed, indignantly. ‘How can it be yes and no?! You either have, or you haven’t!’
‘I’ve kissed girls,’ Barbra clarified. ‘But only after I started dating your father.’
Becky did not understand. ‘But you were dating Dad?!’ she exclaimed, confused. ‘Why would you kiss someone else while dating Dad?! That’s not allowed!’
‘Now— No, that’s not true,’ Barbra defended, raising her hands submissively. ‘It’s okay to kiss other people if the person you’re dating says it’s okay. And I always asked your father before taking those sorts of jobs.’
‘Jobs?’ Becky cocked her head. ‘You kissed girls for work?’
‘I’m a model, sweetheart,’ Barbra gave a heavy sigh. ‘I’ve done a lot of things for work.’
‘Like kissing girls?’
‘Yes, like kissing girls,’ Barbra sighed. ‘And boys. And people who are neither.’
‘Neither?!’ Becky exclaimed. ‘You can be neither?!’
‘Mhm,’ Barbra gave a nod, before her trembling hands reached up for her hair again.
She began to plat it— Though her hands were so unsteady today, Becky noticed, that she couldn’t seem to keep ahold of it for very long before having to start again. And again…. And again….
‘Are you okay?’ Becky blurted. ‘Your hands are all shaky! And your eyes are really tired! And your face is super white, today!’
‘I’m fine,’ Barbra told her, giving up on her hair and instead waving a dismissive hand. ‘Just tired. I couldn’t sleep last night.’
‘Mm,’ Becky didn’t like that answer at all. It just didn’t feel like it was completely true. But she didn’t argue with her mother; instead, she kicked out her feet, rocking back and forth on the couch before asking; ‘When you were kissing girls, did you ever do it not for work?’
‘You mean for fun?’
‘Yeah, for fun!’ Becky gave a nod.
For a moment, Barbra was quiet. Then she answered, very, very slowly, ‘A few times, yes.’
‘Cool! What did Dad think of it?’ Becky asked.
Becky thought her mother looked like she didn’t want to answer, as her lips pulled tight and she frowned. Then, she closed her eyes and gave a sigh, ‘He found it rather entertaining.’
‘What, like, funny?’
Becky didn’t quite get it, but instead of saying she didn’t, she pretended that she did and adjusted herself on the couch. ‘Cool…. Has Dad ever kissed a boy, before?’
‘Not that I’m aware,’ said Barbra. ‘He says he doesn’t like kissing anyone but me.’
‘But he lets you kiss other girls? How does that work?’ Becky asked. ‘This is really confusing… aren’t you meant to have one true love, like in movies?’
‘Well…’ Barbra tapped her knee. ‘Okay. So…. Okay. For a lot of people, there’s “one true love,” where they find one person and the two of them get married, and then it’s just the two of them forever. Yes?’
‘Well, that’s called being monogamous,’ Barbra explained. ‘Now. There’s a very special word for what I am, Becky. When you’re not monogamous, and you like more than one person at a time, it’s called polyamory. It’s not… common around these parts. But your father and I learnt about it because we work with a lot of leonin and orcs. And, culturally, they’re polyamorous and fall in love with more than one person at a time.’
She didn’t get it…. Not really.
But before she could ask more questions she heard the front door open, and she lit up, jumping to her feet and standing up on the couch so she could see over her mother as her father came into the room.
‘Dad!’ she exclaimed, loudly. ‘What do you think about Mum kissing other girls?!’
Ken looked shocked. Completely stunned, and frozen in place…. Then, he backed out of the room again without answering the question.
‘Oh, Becky—‘ Barbra half-sighed, half-laughed, and pulled her daughter back down to sit. ‘Don’t ask him that!’
‘Why not?’ Becky asked. ‘I just wanted to hear his opinion— OH! ISA!’
Becky realised, as she heard her father retreating upstairs, that his arrival home meant that Isa was home, too!
They’d gone out together, to do the groceries— Which mean that Isa would be coming in right about—
The front door opened, and Isa came in; her arms laden with bags of shopping.
‘ISA!’ Becky exclaimed, meeting the drow at the door and circling around her excitedly. ‘Did you know that girls can kiss girls?! And that Mum has kissed girls before! Have you ever kissed another girl?’
‘I kiss you all the time,’ Isa replied, pecking a kiss on the top of Becky’s head.
‘No! Not that kind of kiss!’ Becky complained. ‘I mean a mouth kiss! Like Mum and Dad do!’
‘Hmm, yes, I have,’ Isa said, adjusting the shopping bags and making for the kitchen. ‘I had a girlfriend, once— But that was before anyone knew that I was a girl.’
‘Whoa,’ Becky’s eyes widened. ‘Would you ever kiss another girl again?’
‘Maybe,’ Isa answered, simply.
Becky took in a gasp of awe, before turning and pointing at her mother. ‘Would you kiss Mum?!’
The laugh that escaped Barbra was so loud it caused the couch cushion beside her to leap to its feet and run up the stairs to hide in Becky’s bedroom.
‘Becky!’ she snickered, covering her mouth. ‘Oh, I’m going to regret talking to you about all this, aren’t I?’
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