Isabel Parker has a girlfriend, now. Something she never thought would happen. Isabel’s spent the night at her house and now has woken up to share breakfast with her girlfriend and her girlfriend’s cousin…. But a voice in her head keeps berating her for her new relationship, reminding her of all the horrible things she was raised to believe. 2,628 words.
internalised homophobia, racism, sexism, and self-hate. Implied domestic abuse
Isabel let out a long, deep breath and buried her face in her pillow.
She had a headache.
This was a hangover.
A very mild one, but still.
She should know better than to get hungover…. She really hoped her dad wasn’t going to raise his voice at her again, today….
Isabel shifted in bed, reaching for her bedside table so she could check the time on her phone—
Her fingers met soft fur instead, and she heard a grunt as the tabaxi beside her gently pushed her hand away.
‘Careful now, sweetheart,’ the voice was soft and humoured, and followed up by its owner leaning forward to peck a kiss on Isabel’s cheek.
Isabel’s eyes opened wide as she turned, blushing, to face her girlfriend.
That was right.
She had a girlfriend now….
Moon in a Cloudless Sky.
A beautiful, ginger tabaxi who’s ageing fur was streaked with specks of grey.
They’d met online and just clicked. Meeting up after a few short days for a date.
Lord forgive her, she was dating another woman! And a non-human woman, at that!
It was sinful! Oh, so sinful!
But Isabel just couldn’t help herself!
Moon was just too beautiful and sweet to ignore.
She was worth risking hell for.
Oh, if her father knew where she’d spent the night he would send her there himself!
‘Isabel?’ Moon asked, twitching an ear. ‘Are you alright?’
Isabel stared for another moment, letting her memory slowly come back to her, before she closed her eyes and groaned loudly. ‘My head hurts so much.’
‘Too much wine?’ Moon asked with a giggle.
‘I think so,’ Isabel agreed. ‘You’re a bad influence.’
Moon’s giggle turned into a chuckle, and she kissed Isabel’s cheek again.
Isabel felt herself blush as her heartbeat grew faster, and she turned so she could meet Moon’s lips with her own.
God forgive her, she just couldn’t help herself….
Whore! You stupid, sinful whore!
Moon pulled away, rolling off the bed to stand up and stretch, and Isabel was left wrestling with the horrid thoughts inside her head.
I’m not a whore.
I haven’t done anything wrong.
Yes you have.
There’s nothing wrong with being queer.
There’s everything wrong with being queer!
Barbra was queer.
Barbra is dead.
Becky is queer.
Your father will kill you.
He won’t find out.
You’re going to hell.
It’s worth it.
Horrible, filthy thing!
I’ve done nothing wrong—
A loud, shrill tone sounded, and Isabel practically fell out of bed as she fumbled for her phone. ‘Oh, shit— God— I— Hello?’
‘Isabel!’ her father, Leon, snapped at her, and she jerked the phone away from her ear as he began to scold her. ‘Where are you?!’
Where are you?
Where are you?
That was it.
No “are you alright?”
No “are you hurt?”
No “I’m worried about you.”
Just “where are you?” and then demands about breakfast.
What a sorry excuse for a human being….
Ungrateful woman. He keeps you off the streets!
‘I told you I was staying out,’ Isabel explained, trying to keep her voice even. ‘Sharon said she’d be over to look after you today.’
‘Well, she’s not here!’ Leon snapped. ‘It’s eight! Absolutely ridiculous—‘
Isabel looked up at Moon, who gave her a sympathetic look, and she felt her entire body tense with annoyance.
She was supposed to be here with Moon, having a good time. Not listening to her father bitch and moan about her sister.
Oh, she had a thousand snarky things to snap at him….
But instead she bit her tongue, and mumbled. ‘Have you called her to see where she is? She’s supposed to be staying with a friend just ten or so minutes away. She’ll be able to get to you much quicker than I could.’
Leon huffed loudly, and Isabel could almost see him rolling his eyes in her mind.
‘Try calling her,’ she urged.
‘It’s your responsibility!’ Leon snapped.
Isabel closed her eyes, biting back a frustrated retort, before she felt Moon’s hand pet her head. She let her breath out slowly. ‘I know, Dad…. But Sharon promised she would. I thought she’d be there by now. Do you want me to call her?’
‘Ugh, I’ll do it myself!’ another angry huff, and Leon hung up.
Isabel threw her phone down on the bed beside her and pulled her pillow over her face; screaming loudly into it as Moon stroked her hair.
‘God, he sounds impossible,’ Moon said, running her fingers through Isabel’s hair to untangle it.
‘I hate him,’ Isabel whined, feeling tears in her eyes and quickly blinking them back before she pulled the pillow away. ‘I can’t stand knowing I have to go back to him.’
Ungrateful whore! If he’s so terrible, move back with your mother!
Good lord, no….
Isabel let out a shaky breath as Moon pecked her on the cheek and urged her to sit up.
Her head was still pounding.
Worse, now, that she’d had to listen to her father’s yelling….
‘Can you smell that?’ Moon’s nose twitched, and she gave Isabel a smile that was both warm and sad as the woman shook her head. ‘Cheeto must be in the kitchen.’
Ah, yes. Cheeto. Moon’s cousin.
A young man, only a little bit older than Becky. He was a strange person— Absolutely lovely, with a heart of gold, but strange.
‘Why don’t you head out and see if he’ll share his breakfast with you?’ Moon chuckled, giving Isabel another nudge. ‘I need to brush my fur. And who knows how long that will take!’
Isabel nodded, pushing down her nerves at the idea of wandering someone else’s house alone, before smoothing down her hair and standing up.
She adjusted her dress (she’d slept in it even though she found it uncomfortable, because she was too shy to undress in front of Moon— Oh, how she’d changed since she was young!) before heading for the door into the hall.
Ah, now she could smell it.
The telltale scent of eggs. And bacon. And… salmon?
Bacon and salmon? What an odd combination….
Ooh, with rosemary!
She’d know that smell anywhere!
Isabel tried to focus on the herb, and was reminded of her old backyard. They’d had a rosemary plant by the back door, and the smell of it always wafted into the house when they’d air out the place….
Better times. Before you drove the only person who ever really loved you away!
Isabel’s brow furrowed as she remembered her sister, and she instead let the overpowering smell of salmon push away her bad memories.
She wouldn’t have thought of fish as a breakfast food, but… well. These were tabaxi.
And tabaxi were cats.
And cats liked fish.
Hm… Isabel brushed down her hair again as she stumbled into the kitchen. Was that racist?
Tabaxi were cat-like, but they weren’t actually cats, were they?
Though, that Baloney boy did meow….
But that was a disability.
Maybe she should ask Moon about it?
Oh heavens no, she couldn’t ask Moon that! She’d never want to see her again if she asked a question like that! Imagine hearing that from your partner— There would be no quicker way to be cut off!
Oh, no. She couldn’t ask Moon that.
Maybe she could ask Malinka…?
Yes. Yes, Malinka didn’t mind questions like that! She had said so.
She’d ask Malinka about it, next time she saw her!
Isabel sat down at the kitchen table before looking up to watch Cheeto cook—
Where were his clothes?
Isabel blinked as she noticed Cheeto was dressed in nothing but his underwear and an apron, and couldn’t help but stare.
She knew she shouldn’t. But it was a shock to see and she found she couldn’t look away as his tail lashed wildly and he fumbled with the spatula; almost dropping it on his foot but luckily managing to catch it.
Then, he turned around and met Isabel’s eye. And she supposed she must have looked confused, because he returned her look with a twitch of his ears.
‘What?’ he asked.
‘Where are your clothes?’
‘Uuhhh…’ Cheeto looked around, as if expecting to find them on the kitchen bench, before looking back to Isabel and giving a shrug. ‘Dunno. Been wondering about it myself all morning but, well. Sometimes life’s just like that I guess. Heh. I mean though, it’s not the first time I’ve—’
‘—Cheeto! Where are your clothes?!’ Moon exclaimed as she entered the room.
‘Dunno,’ Cheeto shrugged. ‘Lost ‘em.’
‘Lost them?! What do you mean you—’ Moon gave an exasperated groan, before disappearing back out of the room. ‘In front of my date and everything!’
‘Oh, I don’t mind!’ Isabel stood and hurried to the door Moon had disappeared through. ‘Really. It’s not a bother.’
‘Hah! I knew you were cool!’ Cheeto laughed, scooping the food he was cooking onto three plates and moving them onto the table. ‘Badda-bing! Breakfast! I wasn’t sure if you liked fish so I made you bacon.’
‘You… you made me breakfast?’ Isabel blinked, turning back to Cheeto. ‘I thought you would have just been cooking for yourself.’
‘What? Naw, come on!’ Cheeto mock-gasped, pulling out Isabel’s chair for her and sitting her back down in a very gentlemanly manner. ‘What do you take me for? ‘Course I cooked for you! Why wouldn’t I?’
‘Well, it’s just that…’ Isabel hesitated, trailing off. It felt like what she was thinking was a rude thing to say…. What was it that Malinka had said?
If it was something someone didn’t have control over, it was a personal question.
‘Just that…?’ Cheeto echoed, leaning forward.
‘Well… I don’t mean to be rude, but you’re a man, aren’t you?’
‘Last I checked!’ Cheeto laughed. ‘I mean my dick hasn’t fallen off or anything!’
‘Oh, you don’t need one of those to be a man,’ Isabel reassured, patting Cheeto on the arm. ‘Lots of men don’t have them. My niece’s friend, Orson, was telling me all about it.’
‘True!’ Cheeto gave a nod. ‘But, back a little— Why would being a man stop me cooking for you?’
‘Well, it’s a woman’s job, isn’t it?’
‘Hah! Maybe if you’re living in the nineteen-hundreds!’ Cheeto laughed. ‘But, girl, it’s the twenty-twenties! There’s no such thing as a “woman’s job” anymore. If you’re hungry, you cook. You feel me?’
‘Yeah, yeah you get me! Plus, what about gay men?’ Cheeto joked. ‘Two dudes who’re dating can’t just get take-out every day.’
‘Oh… yes, I suppose they have to eat, too.’
‘I told you you should have brought more than two shirts with you,’ Moon sighed, shaking her head as she returned to the kitchen.
She wasn’t angry, Isabel noticed.
Her scolding was playful. And friendly. And she was grinning ear-to-ear as she made her way over to her cousin.
She was beautiful.
So, so beautiful.
Isabel bit her lip, and kept quiet.
‘I found your pants, but that’s it!’ Moon rolled her eyes. ‘Where do they even go when this happens?!’
‘I dunno! I always come home dressed, I swear!’ Cheeto chuckled as his pants were thrust into his arms. ‘Anyway, breakfast is ready. Salmon scramble. With butter in the eggs this time, just like you told me.’
‘It looks great,’ Moon returned her cousin’s laugh as she sat down beside Isabel. She gently pet her girlfriend on the arm, her soft fingers sending a shiver up Isabel’s spine, before turning to eat her breakfast.
Moon was so lovely. It made Isabel’s body tingle in a way it hadn’t done in a long time.
You’re a horrid creature. With sinful thoughts.
Isabel tried to push the voice to the back of her mind.
Moon was beautiful. And there was nothing wrong with thinking so.
Her smile. Her eyes. Her… fur….
Isabel averted her gaze, staring down at the wonderful-looking meal she’d been given.
Toast, eggs, bacon, tomato, avocado— With a sprinkle of cheese and spring onion on top.
It looked like Cheeto had put a lot of effort into making breakfast.
‘Eat up, honey,’ Moon’s hand met Isabel’s arm again, and Isabel’s entire body felt like it had been charged with an electric current. ‘It’s lovely.’
Isabel you lustful queer!
‘Yeah, it’s good food!’ Cheeto poked at his own meal playfully. ‘Just don’t expect this service for long! I have to go back to college soon. Once they’re done fumigating the dorms.’
‘Fumigating the dorms?’ Isabel echoed. ‘For what?’
‘Rats,’ Cheeto answered, stuffing a large forkful of salmon and egg into his mouth. ‘Funny little fellows. They got a druid in to try and convince them to leave and instead they started biting people out of spite. So… fumigation it is.’
‘Oh, my,’ Isabel put a hand to her chest. ‘Rats?’
Isabel had to bite her tongue.
Don’t ask if they eat rats! She told herself. That is a ridiculous and horrible question!
‘Gaw, though, they’re bloody big things,’ Cheeto continued. ‘Half the length of my arm— No joke! Measured one and it was from my finger tips to my elbow! At that point they might as well just be opossums!’
‘Oh, my, that is big!’ Isabel gasped, moving her hand from her chest to her mouth. ‘Imagine the diseases!’
‘Mm!’ Cheeto nodded in agreement. ‘Anyway, enough about rats. What’s happening with you?’ Cheeto asked, resting his elbow on the table. ‘How’s that Ken guy doing? I liked him.’
‘Oh, uh. I’m not too sure, we don’t actually talk all that much, Isabel admitted. ‘But he seems… stressed. That’s not surprising, though, considering everything that’s going on with Becky….’
‘Hm?’ Moon’s ear twitched. ‘You mean the….’
Isabel nodded. ‘Poor thing is having some sort of breakdown. She thinks the world is ending.’
‘Aw, jeez! She alright? What’s put that in her head?’
Isabel shrugged. ‘I’m not sure, but apparently half the town thinks it, too.’
‘Mass hysteria!’ Cheeto exclaimed. ‘Oh, wow. That’s not good. They keeping the peace, or…?’
‘Mostly, I think,’ Isabel nodded, pulling out her phone. ‘Becky says she and some friends of hers have set up a page for donations, to try and help get people ready to evacuate….’
Cheeto took the phone as it was offered to him, and scrolled for a moment before pausing and staring. ‘Wait….’
‘Hm?’ Isabel gave a hum as both her and Moon craned over to see what Cheeto was staring at.
‘Aw, Moon! Look!’ he exclaimed, holding the phone down and pointing at the profile photo of a blonde high-elf girl.
‘Oh!’ Isabel took her phone back. ‘That’s one of Becky’s friends.’
‘Aw! Shit! Really? Cos that’s Jude’s sister!’ Cheeto said, pointing harder. ‘Fucking… what’s her name? Jezzibeth!’
‘Judalynn,’ Moon explained. ‘One of his clasmates.’
‘Nah, one of my bros!’ Cheeto corrected. ‘He’s a real cool guy, you know? Like. He has this goose and shit—‘
‘—Goose? Oh, yes!’ Isabel nodded vigorously. ‘Becky said one of her friend’s brothers had a goose! It bit her!’
‘Yeah, he does that!’ Cheeto confirmed. ‘Oh, shit. Wait— Becky. Becky. Fuck, your niece is Rebecca Bloom?’
‘Yes? Do you… know her?’
‘I’ve heard stories about her from Jude,’ said Cheeto. ‘Aw, man. Ken’s her dad. Ah. Aw. Yeah. That tracks.’
Isabel couldn’t help but chuckle. Becky certainly did resemble her father. And in a lot of ways. ‘What sort of stories has he told you?’
‘What sort of stories hasn’t he told me?!’ Cheeto slammed a hand on the table as Moon gave a humoured purr. Then, he fumbled for his own phone. ‘Hold on, hold on! I’ll call Jude and he can tell you about it all!’
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