“I love it,” Dani exclaimed, staring at her wife.
“Really? I wasn’t sure, I’ve always liked to be very feminine, but I have to say it’s growing on me,” Adelaide grinned, brushing her hands through her now quite short hair.
“You look stereotypically lesbian,” Dani smirked, getting a soft punch from her wife, to which she protested, “But that’s not bad! I think it’s sexy.”
Adelaide raised her eyebrows, threading Dani’s hand into her own. “Well, if you like it, then I like it.”
“I do like it, really.”
“Wow,” Adelaide murmured later that day, scrolling through the latest article to pop up on her phone.
Dani glanced over at her wife. “What?”
“It seems Tuslye just lost one of their biggest customers,” she replied.
Sera looked up from her book at her two moms, recognizing the name. “Tuslye? The phone company?”
“The phone and other electronics company, yes,” Adelaide nodded, smiling in the back of her head. Sera wasn’t all that much like other girls her age, but she would still associate Tuslye with phones, and only phones.
“Well, that’s gonna hurt. Who was it?” Dani asked, pausing before clarifying, “…the customer they lost?”
Sera, who had gone back to reading her book, once again peeked over it, listening to her moms again.
Dani raised her eyebrow. “France? Like, itself?”
Adelaide nodded. “Yeah, apparently the government used to buy Tuslye’s electronics. Not anymore, though. They’re going to be making their own.”
“Ah. I’m surprised that they weren’t already, to be quite honest, or getting their electronics from a closer ally.” Dani replied. “I wonder how much Tuslye relied on them.”
“What would happen if they went out of business?” Sera asked.
“You’d have to get your phones from somewhere else,” Adelaide laughed. “But seriously, I’m sure they get plenty of business without the French.”
Sera nodded, closing her book and going upstairs. Once again, something she read had put something she was trying to forget about back into her mind. Back downstairs, her parents had begun a conversation that they both knew could last a long while.
“Things seem stable, and yet, they’re not,” Adelaide sighed.
“What do you mean by that?” Dani asked, taking her wife’s hand and squeezing it gently.
“The outside world is… you know, relatively stable.”
“But… here, it feels like everything is waiting to explode,” Adelaide finished.
“It does. It’s probably nothing to worry about, though.”
Adelaide shook her head. “I don’t think so, not this time. Our province is still pretty divided on how they want things to be done, but I think it will eventually become socialist. But, the other provinces won’t be, and a country can’t work like that. It has to be all or nothing. Things can’t be drastically different in separate parts of a country, or they might as well be separate countries.”
Dani sucked her breath in, looking into Adelaide’s brown eyes. “What exactly are you saying?”
“I’m saying…” she paused, closing her eyes, “…well, I’m wondering if there’s a chance we’ll end up in war.”
Dani’s eyes widened exponentially, replaying Adelaide’s words in her head. “What? Here? Of course not…”
“There’s only so much that can be done diplomatically, and then it’s… and then you fight.”
“Oh my god,” Dani whispered, “you’re serious.”
“Yes, I’m serious!” Adelaide sighed. “I wish I wasn’t, but… I am. I really think it could happen.”
The two sat in silence for a little while, thinking about what it would mean for them, for their children, for everyone they knew, to live through a civil war. Dani finally turned to her wife and whispered:
“You know we’d win though?”
Adelaide turned, slightly confused but at the same time realizing exactly what she’d meant. “What?”
“Our province. That side. It would win, since it would almost be guaranteed aid from the Soviets.”
“Yes,” Adelaide said quietly, “I know. But what would it cost to get to the end?”
“Too much,” Dani replied softly, “but at least it would take less than a year, I’m almost sure.”
“And what if the Soviets chose not to help us? Then how long?”
Dani squeezed her eyes shut. “I don’t know. I don’t want to know.”
“If it comes down to it, we’d better hope to God they help us, if only to make the suffering shorter,” Adelaide sighed.
“It is what you want, isn’t it?”
“For a socialist country, yes, but I wish it didn’t have to be paid for in blood.”
“If only change could be simple as that,” Dani whispered.
“If only,” Adelaide agreed, pausing as she considered something. “What do you hope for?”
“For the country?” Dani asked.
“For the country, for the world, for the future.”
“I hope that somehow everyone ends up happy. I hope we don’t repeat past mistakes. I’m not very political, as you know, so I won’t have a very good answer,” she replied.
“I thought it was a good answer,” Adelaide smiled. “Not very detailed or anything, but it was good all the same.”
“You say that, but we could stay here all day with your ideas,” Dani laughed.
“All week,” Adelaide grinned, holding her wife tight. And for the moment, the two forgot about the problems of the world, only thinking about each other, and nothing else.
Upstairs, Seraphina stared at the ceiling, unable to get the thought out of her mind.
‘Why’d you read, then?’ She asked herself. ‘Almost every book includes romance, after all.’
She closed her eyes, finally allowing her mind to go places she wished it wouldn’t. Romantic things only made her feel like she didn’t belong. They reminded her of her old best friend, Ambrosine, or Ambie, from eighth grade. The only good thing it would ever make her thing of, she figured, was her moms. But, alas, that was not where her mind was right then. It was of the not-fitting-in that seemed to make up her life since other kids had started to get crushes and the like. At first, she had thought she didn’t fit in at school because she was a bit of a nerd and would talk endlessly about science and space, but the other nerds were able to make good friends with each other and even other kids. Then came Ambie, and her world was set straight. She fit in. She had a friend, a best friend. She was just like everyone else, just like her big sister Vali with a bunch of friends. Well, Sera only had Ambie, but that was all she needed and she was perfectly happy with her. They both loved school and while Ambie was more interested in history than science, the two of them shared a love of space. Nothing and nobody could separate them, at least until fifth grade.
Sera’s eyes shot open, staring at the ceiling once more. She hated getting to this part. She hated it because she didn’t understand it, because she… started to lose the best friend of her life.
Fifth grade. One day at recess, the two of them had been playing around on the swings and Ambie pointed to one of the boys in their class.
“See him?” She’d asked.
“Yes,” Sera had replied. “Why?”
Ambie giggled, leaning over. “I like him.”
Sera hadn’t understood. He was one of the nicer boys in their class, so she assumed everyone liked him.
“Okay,” Sera said, pushing her feet on the ground to get her swing moving again, but Ambie grabbed onto the rope.
“No, no, Sera! I like-like him. I want to be his girlfriend,” Ambie whispered with a smile.
Sera’s eyes had widened right there and then as she looked over at the boy and back to Ambie.
“Now you’ve gotta tell me who you like!” Ambie giggled.
Sera blinked. “But… I don’t like anyone.”
“No way! Come on, we’re best friends, you can tell me!”
Sera shook her head. “I really don’t, Ambie!”
Ambie frowned, crossing her arms. “Fine, don’t say if you don’t want to.
“But…” Sera sighed, looking at where the boys were playing. “Um, him.”
Ambie grinned. “The black-haired one?”
Sera nodded. “Yeah. Can we swing now?”
Of course, Sera didn’t like that boy, not like that. It was the first time she had ever lied to Ambie, but it had made Ambie so happy. Sera was simply happy for it to be over, but then was only the beginning.
Eventually, Ambie had more crushes, and at some point, Sera stopped pretending she did. By seventh grade, almost everyone talked about relationships and crushes instead of dolls or other thing they’d liked to play with when they were younger. It was no different with Ambie. They would still talk about space and school things – quite often, too – but Ambie now wanted to also talk about guys, and Sera couldn’t be less interested if she tried. Ambie, though, thought it was something else, as Sera realized the summer after seventh grade. They had been at Ambie’s house when Ambie had brought up hot guys again and Sera, once again, got weird talking about it.
“You know,” Ambie started, “I don’t care who you like.”
“Who you like. It doesn’t matter to me. You can talk about whoever you like. Guys, girls…” Ambie added extra emphasis on the part of girls, for good measure. She’d begun to think her best friend was simply a lesbian, which didn’t bother Ambie a bit. She would be plenty happy to talk about girls that Sera thought cute instead of boys.
“Girls?” Sera asked quietly.
“Yeah, girls! If that’s who you like, I’m totally cool with it!” Ambie beamed.
“I – I…” Sera didn’t know how to say it at that moment, but she did know that she didn’t like girls, or at least, she didn’t think so. She’d know, right?
Ambie smiled. “I’m cool, so don’t worry. I’ve gotta go though, my dad’s here.”
Sera had thought about it a lot that night but her answer to herself didn’t change. She didn’t like girls. But… she didn’t like boys. She didn’t like anyone, but that couldn’t be, right? Of course, Sera went straight to the internet, like she’d always done.
It told her that it was possible, to not like anyone. It was called being asexual and aromantic. As reliving as it had been at first to know it did exist, Sera didn’t like the idea, not at all. It was two years later, now, and she still tried to tell herself there was no way, that it would happen someday, she would find someone she liked.
Because what would happen if she didn’t? Her ideas for the future would all be gone. Her plans to be happily married with a little child – boy or girl – would be gone. Her idea of growing old with that special someone would be gone. It was the uncertainty that got Sera every time. Every time she almost accepted it as herself, she remembered it would shape her life, make her not be able to connect with others, like it had lost her Ambie.
‘So it couldn’t be.’ Sera told herself for the thousandth time. ‘I’ll find someone. I’ll fall in love, just like everyone else. I will.’
But this time, there was a voice in the back of her head, and no matter how much she tried to ignore it, it stayed.
‘How long will you lie to yourself, Seraphina?’
A/N: First, for everyone that had guessed Sera was asexual, she is, as was revealed in this chapter. She isn’t ready to accept it yet, but she is aro-ace. 🙂
It wasn’t said in this chapter, but Vali did get to go to Crystalline, and this chapter is set a couple weeks after she left. The story is going to go along in time a litter faster now, I don’t want to spend ten chapters going over two months anymore, lol.
Also, yes, I’ve had a recent surge of motivation to write! Thank you all for your support on everything, it means a lot. Since you all liked the world-building last chapter, I hope you’ll like the bit I added here. 😛