Disclaimer: Characters and situations are all from my imagination.
Warnings: Sex and love between women
Feedback: Constructive criticism and feedback, both welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2012 Geonn Cannon
"You look... cute."
Molly turned and glared at Shane, who quickly covered her mouth with her hand. Molly rolled her eyes and looked into the mirror as she adjusted the elastic strap currently biting into both of her cheeks. The small rubber rabbit snout covered her nose and most of her upper lip, with two buck teeth hanging down in front. When she moved her mouth to speak, the whole thing twitched. It could have been worse. The bunny ears at least looked good; they were small enough to be mistaken for an unfortunately large, pink bow. She and Shane wore matching tuxedo shirts with pink bowties, handing out refreshments with crisp white Mickey Mouse-type gloves.
There had been a white cotton tail on the seat of their black pants until Molly saw it could be removed without ripping the fabric. Some things were just unacceptable.
Molly left the bathroom and Shane followed her out of the bathroom. "You're the one who agreed to this."
"For time and a half," Molly reminded her. "Sunday plus holiday pay? I couldn't say no."
"You didn't mind the Mrs. Claus getup."
Molly turned and faced her. "That's because Mrs. Claus and Santa's elf had a lot of fun on Christmas Eve, when the fat man was away."
Shane slid her arms around Molly's waist. "Well, you know what they say about bunnies, and how they spend their free time." She wiggled her nose and bumped it against Molly's.
Shane made a strangled noise in her throat and then furrowed her brow. "What noise to rabbits make?"
Molly thought for a second and then sucked her teeth. "Fft fft fft."
Shane poked out her tongue. "Sexy."
"I thought so."
They kissed, tilting their heads so that their bunny noses wouldn't get in the way. Shane broke the kiss and tugged on the ends of Molly's bowtie. "Afterward. If you're good."
Molly groaned, but with incentive like that, she thought she could survive the day. She linked her fingers with Shane's and let herself be led out of their apartment.
Nadine bobbed her head to the music coming through the speakers overhead as she carried the portable microphone to the edge of the stage. She normally didn't use a producer, but Billy had gone to a technical school and had proven to be a godsend on these remote broadcasts. She smoothed the hem of her yellow floral dress against her thighs as the wind threatened to give her a wardrobe malfunction. She carefully descended the stairs to the soft green grass of the park.
Five kids were standing near the platform with parents standing beside them, and Nadine smiled as she approached them. "Is everyone ready to be on the radio?"
Five heads bobbed up and down, and Nadine turned to watch Billy. REM was singing about how everybody hurt and, as the music faded out, he motioned to Nadine. The microphone in her hand went live, and she turned to address the people with her. "That was REM back in their heyday. I still can't quite believe they've broken up. Anyway, we're broadcasting live from the thirteenth annual December Harbor Easter Festival at the city park, and I have with me five participants in this year's Easter egg hunt. I'll let them introduce themselves to you."
She crouched and offered each kid the microphone in turn.
Nadine winked at them and gave them a thumbs-up. "Thank you all for being here. Charlie, have you participated in the hunt before?"
He leaned toward the microphone and spoke louder. "Yeah, I did it last year with my big brother but he's too big to do it this year."
"Ah, I see. So you'll be bringing home the treats and he'll have to beg you for some if he wants any. You can make him do all your chores for you." Charlie grinned and leaned back against his father's legs as Nadine turned the microphone to Anna. "Hi, Anna. Are you excited for the hunt?"
Anna looked over her head at her mother. "Mom said that having chocolate all the time is bad, but today is an essuption."
Nadine smiled and widened her eyes behind her glasses. "Ooh, yes, I definitely like bending the rules when chocolate is involved." She smiled up at Anna's mother, who patted her daughter on the head as Nadine continued down the line.
She spoke with each child and then brushed some windblown hair out of her face as she stood again. "I'm going to let these kids go and develop their strategy for coming out with the most Easter treats, and I thank them and their parents for taking the time to talk with us." She turned to look at the platform. "We've got a lot of great music for you, including David Bowie, Cher, and your requests. Stay with us."
When the commercial for Gail's Seafood Shack started playing, she turned back to the kids and their parents. "Thank you all so much for talking to us. If you go over to the booth, Mr. Billy is will give you some buttons and stickers for your bikes. Good hunting!" The kids and parents hurried off save for one, Pamela's mother Jaime. Nadine smiled at her. "Hello, Ms. Morgan. Thanks for letting Pamela talk with me today."
"Of course." Her eyes darted to one side to make sure her daughter was out of earshot and she stepped closer. "We're new to the island and I've just started listening to your show... I have to say, it's really fantastic."
"Thank you so much. I've heard people say I'm the voice of the island which is... daunting. And flattering. I'm glad I gave a good impression."
Jamie nodded. "Oh, you definitely did. Um. Pamela's father and I are divorced. I came here for a fresh start. Maybe you could give me the official tour."
Nadine's hair was caught in her glasses. Sweeping it away gave her an extra moment to consider if she was misunderstanding the situation. "Oh. Uh, I-I'm married." She held up her left hand to show off her ring.
"Oh! I'm so sorry."
"Don't be. I'm not." Nadine grinned and shook her head. "I'm flattered, really. If you're interested, there are always some single events going on down at the library. The island has a pretty big gay and lesbian community."
Jaime smiled. "And since the first one I hit on was taken, the odds can only improve."
Nadine winced. "Sorry about that. Put yourself out there and..."
"It's fine. I broke the ice, so the next time will be easier."
"Yes! That's the spirit." She looked and saw Billy handing Pamela some stickers. "Your daughter is adorable. Fifth grade?"
"Fourth, going into fifth next year."
Nadine nodded. "It's a great age. And a great grade! I know one of the fifth grade teachers; Jill Hood-Colby."
"Hyphenated. That means--"
"Married. Yeah. Sorry."
Jaime laughed. "One more down! I'm bound to run into someone single before too long." Pamela rejoined them and showed Jaime the stickers she'd gotten. "Those are great, honey! Thank you, Nadine. You really made her morning."
"Just setting her up for the big Easter egg hunt. I hope you find lots and lots." She bent down and cupped her hand by her mouth. "Look for the big white flowers. They like to use those to cover them up."
Jaime grinned. "Thanks."
"No problem. Welcome to the island, Ms. Morgan."
Jaime nodded. "Thank you for the welcome."
She walked off, and Nadine went to the platform to check with Billy. After the commercials, they would go straight into an eight-minute block of music. Plenty of time for her to track down Miranda and tell her about Pamela Morgan. It wasn't every day she got hit on. And if she played her cards right, she could fire up rarely-seen the possessive and jealous parts of Miranda's brain. At worst, she would end up getting taken out to dinner. At best she hoped for dinner, a movie, a walk on the harbor, followed by debauchery and sexual shenanigans once they were home.
Nadine loved it when Miranda tried to win her over again. It was wholly unnecessary of course, but who didn't like a little post-nuptial wooing? She smiled as she made her way through the crowd in search of her wife.
A little girl was talking.
"--favorite is rabbits."
Nadine Butler said, "Oh, mine too. Do you like the hollow ones or--"
"Noooo, I like all chocolate."
"All right!" Nadine said with a laugh. "I like how you think, Pamela. How about you, Cindy?"
Rachel pushed up and reached for the alarm clock, silencing the radio before she dropped back to the mattress. She pulled the pillow to her chest and tried to fall back to sleep. Her shift had officially ended at four-thirty, but paperwork and a last minute ER arrival (nail-gun accident) kept her from clocking out until almost six. She literally pulled into the driveway as Alex was getting into her truck. They reunited in the driveway, kissed good morning/goodnight, and Rachel went inside to sleep alone again.
A part of her mind rationalized that the alarm had been on for a reason. If she'd gone to sleep at six-thirty, why would she set the alarm to go off less than five hours later? She was about to drift off again when the other shoe dropped and she remembered. "Oh, shit." She sat up and pushed the pillow away. The day was warm enough that she had only worn a pair of boxer shorts and one of Alex's shirts to bed, and she hopped into a pair of jeans that she buttoned as she headed down the hall to the living room just as the doorbell rang.
Why hadn't she given herself more time to prepare? Because setting an alarm to sleep for just four hours was barely better than just staying awake. She ran her fingers through her hair and opened the door to find a woman standing on the stoop, turned to face the street. She wore a pair of crisp, brand-new blue jeans underneath a cream-colored blazer. When she turned back toward the house, her long blonde hair curling like a wave, Rachel saw a pin on her lapel that read: "HOOD-COLBY - 2012." According to Alex, her name was Leah Kincaid.
Her smile wavered when she noticed Rachel's messy hair and baggy shirt. "Oh... my God. I'm so sorry. You were sleeping."
"No." She realized it was pointless to lie. "Yes. But don't worry, it's fine. Alex told me you would be stopping by."
Leah kept the apologetic smile. "I'm sorry to bother you, and I'll be brief. Is Ms. Crawford home?"
"She's out. She was hoping to be back by now, but um..." She stepped into the house and retrieved an envelope off the end table. "She told me to give you this. It's, ah, her signed statement of support. You can use that in the newspaper, in ads..."
"Thank you so much." She took the envelope. "Would you like to offer your statement of support for Patricia Hood-Colby's mayoral campaign? I'm sure the opinion of a respected doctor such as yourself would go a long way."
Rachel looked at the envelope and tried for a graceful escape. "The fire chief's statement isn't enough?"
"Every little bit helps."
Rachel squirmed. "Oh... um, no, I'm sorry."
Leah blinked. "You're not voting for her?"
"I haven't decided yet. I know she's been doing a good job in her current position, but I don't think she's made the case for being mayor. I think it requires more than, you know, her gender or sexual orientation. Change for the sake of change is as bad as being stagnant."
"Okay. Thank you for your honesty, and your feedback. I'll be sure to tell Patricia what she needs to do to secure your vote."
Rachel smiled. "Sorry."
"You're certainly allowed your opinions. And you have a valid argument. I'll let Patricia know, and I'm sure she'll address it at a town hall meeting. Thank you for your candor." She held out her hand. "And I'm sorry again for disturbing your sleep."
Rachel shook her hand. "No problem. And, ah... good luck. No matter what happens, I'm glad she's running. If nothing else, she's showing the Dugans that they can't just expect to have the job handed to them on a silver platter. Whoever runs against her is going to have to work just as hard for my vote."
Leah grinned. "Great to hear it. I'd rather have your honest criticism than insincere support any day. Hopefully we can win you over by November."
"I'll keep an open mind."
She waited until Leah was back in her car before she shut the door and shuffled back down the hall. She was on the precipice now, the point where she could either go back to sleep or start the day knowing she would be cranky and exhausted. She went back into the bedroom and put on the radio, stretching out on top of the covers as she considered her options.
She fell asleep in the middle of an ad for Gail's Seafood Shack, and she dreamed of swimming with the orcas.
Patricia rechecked her makeup in the rearview mirror for the eighth time and touched the lapel of her purple sweater to make sure her pin was still in place. She took a deep breath, let it out, and then opened the door to step out into the sunshine. Her floral skirt reached almost to the ground, but there was enough of a breeze that it was comfortable.
Physically comfortable, at any rate. The festival had usurped the parking lot of a nearby church, and the sun glinted off a row of windshields like shields of an advancing army. She adjusted her hair and made sure she had the little bag of buttons Leah had gotten made up. She eyed the crowd and grimaced. This was the part she hated. If only there was a way to get elected without having to shill like a politician. Catch-22.
"Hey. There you are." She didn't turn at the sound of her wife's voice, looking at her only when Jill's hand came to rest on her arm. "Hey. You okay?"
"Yeah." She turned and Jill's arms automatically went around her in a loose embrace. "Church with the parents all morning, and now selling myself to everyone whether they want to hear it or not. I feel dirty."
"It's politics. If you don't feel dirty, you're not doing it right." She took the buttons from Patricia and stuffed them into her own pocket.
Patricia wrinkled her nose in disgust. "Can I campaign for the other guy? I'm not so sure I want the job."
Jill adjusted the collar of Patricia's sweater and teased her hair. "You've been doing the job for a long time. You're only running for the title. You'll get it. People love you."
"Do you know how many people I had to fight off to be the one who married you? The whole town. Every single woman in town."
Patricia smiled. "Did you hurt them?"
"Clawed their eyes right out." She pecked Patricia's lips. "Go on. You're not selling yourself, you're defending the job you've been underpaid for doing for two years. You deserve the title and the perks that come with it."
"You'll be an excellent First Lady."
Jill stepped back and took Patricia's hand. "I'll campaign with you for a while. At least until the Easter egg hunt."
"You don't mind trying to sell me like I'm a product?"
"When you love the product, you don't mind pushing it." She squeezed Patricia's hand and led her into the swarm of people. "Hi! I'm representing Patricia Hood-Colby for mayor, and I'm hoping we can count on your vote this November." She took a button out of her pocket and offered it to the woman she'd spoken to. One of the other people in the small group asked for a button, and Jill handed out five without breaking a sweat. When the people moved off, Jill smiled at Patricia. "See? Not exactly selling ice to Eskimos."
"I guess not... oh. Hold on." Nadine Butler passed by with her wife in tow, and Patricia hurried to catch up. "Mrs. Butler."
Nadine turned. "Oh! Madame Mayor."
"Not yet, but thank you. I was, um, ordered by my campaign manager to see if I could get a few minutes on your show. An interview, or just a quick who's-who at the Easter festival..."
"Um." Nadine glanced at Miranda.
Miranda shrugged. "The station is run by the Dugans, so I'm sure they'll try to push your opponent on the air at some point. Equal time and all that. Come on by the booth before the Easter egg hunt and you can have a few minutes to speak with each other."
Nadine smiled. "Great. Can I have a button? The station may be equal time, but I'm not." Jill handed her a button and Nadine fastened it onto the front of her dress just underneath the blue KELF button. "I should probably get back on the air. I'll see you later?" Miranda nodded and they kissed goodbye. Miranda waved and followed Nadine through the crowd.
Jill grinned. "They're so sweet."
Patricia put her hand on Jill's shoulder and squeezed. "I think you're a better campaign manager than Leah. Thank you for being here."
"Sure thing." She looped her arm around Patricia's and pointed toward the Gail's Seafood Shack lemonade stand where two women dressed as well-dressed rabbits were working. "Come on. Pretty much everyone will pass by there at some point today. Let's see if the bunnies will support you."
Kate had one foot on the pavement, her other foot hovering as she leaned into the car. The balancing act was made even more dangerous by the fact she was wearing a rather flimsy dress - stupid Spring, stupid Easter - and she was trying to keep the display strictly PG-13 without dumping her delivery all over the backseat of her car. She almost had it free when she heard footsteps on the grass behind her and a woman said, "Can I give you a hand with that?"
She twisted and saw Alex Crawford, the town's fire chief, standing a few feet away. She sighed with relief. "Yeah, if you don't mind. I'll take all the help I can get." She stepped to one side and Alex joined her in front of the back door. They each took a side of the large covered plate and hauled it out of the car with little effort.
Alex breathed deep as she handed the plate over to Kate. She took the other plate out by herself, kicked the door shut, and followed Kate across the green grass of the hill by the parking lot. "Oh, wow, that smells delicious. What is it?"
"Cookies, fresh from the oven."
"Cookies... oh! You're, uh... your wife runs Coffee Table Books."
Kate's smile wavered. "Uh... sort of. My girlfriend owns the place. We're-we're not married."
"Oh. Sorry. I hate when people make assumptions like that about me and Rachel. They still smell delicious, regardless of your relationship to the woman who made them."
Kate grinned. Marriage was a point of contention in their household. Now that Washington had legalized gay marriage, Amy seemed to feel it was necessary they take the plunge. Kate wasn't so sure. She loved Amy and couldn't see ever leaving her or being with someone else. The only thing she could claim she desperately wanted was to spend the rest of her life with Amy at her side. It was the idea of marriage, being married, being spouses... she didn't like the sound of wife-and-wife, but what else could they call it?
Her real argument was actually ridiculous, even to her own mind. If they got married, she would feel like she was putting a leash around Amy's neck. In a year, two years, ten years, she would start to wonder if Amy stayed because she wanted to or because it was just easier than leaving.
They arrived at the Coffee Table Books area, which had three tables set up underneath a tent awning. Amy and two of her employees were standing behind a buffet-style table, and she waved when she spotted Kate. Kate hoisted her armful and stepped under the shade of the awning to deliver the fresh supplies.
"You're a lifesaver. Just when we were running low."
"Thank Stephanie. She's running the place like a dictator. Hi." She kissed Amy hello. "Do you know Alex?"
Amy smiled. "We've met. Hi, Alex." She picked up a rabbit-shaped cookie. "If you carry, you get a free cookie."
"Well, I'm not going to turn that down." She took the cookie with a nod of thanks. "I should probably head out. Rachel's expecting me home..." She looked at her watch. "Ah, shit. Well, I still have to go home to get my ass kicked. Thanks for the cookie. It'll be a nice peace offering." She waved goodbye and headed off.
Kate stepped behind the buffet table and picked up a pair of plastic gloves. "We have a while before the next batch is ready to be picked up. What do you need me to do?"
"We need a backup pitcher of iced tea if you don't mind making it."
"Nope, not at all." She thought about what Alex had said, and her own ruminations on the topic, and slipped her hand around Amy's elbow to pull her into a semi-private corner. "Hey. The marriage thing."
Amy blinked, surprised at the change of subject, but nodded. "What about it?"
"My problem is with marriage. Not the idea of being married to you. If I were to marry anybody on this planet, it would be you."
Amy pressed her lips together in an effort to contain her smile. "Good to know. Because I don't see myself walking down the aisle to anyone but you."
Kate frowned. "Who said you got to walk down the aisle?"
"You? In a wedding dress? Oh, Kate, please."
Kate had to concede that point. She hugged Amy briefly before she looked at the table to see what needed to be done to make tea.
Leah Kincaid closed the car door and tucked her hair behind her ears as she scanned the festival. She spotted a lot of people wearing Patricia's buttons, which was good. This was her first official political campaign, and Patricia had shown a lot of trust and faith in hiring her. If Patricia failed to get the office, Leah didn't want to be the one to blame.
There were speakers set up to broadcast the egg hunt sponsored by KELF Radio, scheduled to begin in just a few minutes. She hurried across the field, smiling to everyone who caught her eye. It wouldn't do for someone to see the highest-ranking member of the Hood-Colby campaign looking frenzied or dour. Her search for Patricia was cut short by the sound of the Pixie coming through one of the tower-mounted speakers she passed under.
"Welcome back and, before we get this Easter egg hunt under way, we have a very special guest joining me. Our current deputy mayor, soon to be top dog, Patricia Hood-Colby, wanted to wish luck to all the contestants today."
Leah made her way toward the broadcast booth as Patricia started talking. "Thank you, Nadine. I would say this isn't a political message, but who would believe me?" She and Nadine laughed. "The truth is, I've been coming to this hunt every year for the past decade because my son used to participate. I loved coming out, seeing all my friends, getting sunburnt--"
"I think I've got enough of one to share, if you're feeling nostalgic."
"No, thanks. But really, coming here today to campaign was just an excuse for me to participate now that Michael says he's too old to join in."
Leah turned a corner and saw a small group had gathered around Nadine and Patricia. Nadine said, "You're never too old for Easter. You and I are evidence of that, I think. Thank you for stopping by, Patricia, it was really nice talking to you. And we're going to have a sit-down interview with you before the election. We'll have to work that out with your campaign and our management and blah blah blah."
She turned to face the crowd. "But you're not here to listen to politics. You're here to find some eggs, am I right?"
The crowd cheered and whooped. Patricia snuck away from the platform and found Leah. "Hey. I thought I saw you over here. Sorry about that. I saw Nadine and--"
"No, it was great. I was just a little disappointed I didn't see you before you went on. We got Alex Crawford's written support, but her partner brought up some concerns. We haven't earned her vote yet, and I think she made some valid arguments. We can win her and other people with the same problems over if we get the speeches right."
Patricia nodded. "Okay. I think, uh, Jill is still around here handing out buttons."
"Great. I'll leave you alone... you've done enough politics for today. Go, be with other human beings."
"Thanks, Leah. I'll glad-hand a little while I'm enjoying the day."
"That's all I ask." Patricia disappeared into the crowd as Nadine carried her microphone toward the roped-off egg hunt area. She untied the rope from the stake in the ground, and three dozen pre-teens came to life with a frisson of energy. "Ah, ah, ah, kids! Not until I blow the whistle! As soon as I blow the whistle and drop the rope, it's a free-for-all. No punching or pinching or violence; egg hunting is a sport of ladies and gentleman. Be polite and generous. Now, is everyone ready?"
A cheer went up.
"Okay... the egg hunt begins... right... after the seventeen-minute version of In-a-gadda-da-vida!" The crowd jeered and Nadine rolled her eyes. "Oh, you guys are so impatient! Fine!" She closed her lips around the whistle, held the microphone behind her back, and dropped the rope as she blew a staccato little song through the whistle. As the kids rushed forward, Nadine did knee-lifting, arm pumping dance and waved them past her.
Leah chuckled and turned to walk away, nearly colliding with another woman. "Oh, my gosh. I'm so sorry."
"It's okay. No harm done."
Leah looked at the swarming kids. "Is one of them yours?"
"Ah, yeah. The little girl right there." She pointed. "Pamela. You?"
"Oh, no. I'm here on work, but I thought I'd get a little fun in." She turned and stood next to the other woman. "Remember when you could be happy just because you found a plastic egg with little chocolates inside? Was that ever really all it took?"
"My memory is hazy, but I seem to recall giddiness, yes." She held out her hand. "I'm Jaime. Jaime Morgan."
"Leah Kincaid. Hood-Colby for Mayor." She reached into the bag slung over her shoulder. "Do you want a button?"
Jaime hesitated. "Um. Sure. I'll take one... I'm not sure how invested I am in the election, though. I just moved here, so politics. Hood is the woman, right? And Colby is her deputy? Or--"
"No, no. It's a little confusing, I guess. Patricia Hood-Colby is running for mayor. It's her married name. She hyphenated."
"Oh! I see. I'll get educated on it but, for the time being, I'll wear the button. I've always supported women in politics."
Leah nodded. "Excellent. There's going to be a few debates between now and the election, at the town hall... Have you been here long enough to know where that is?"
Jaime smiled. "Not really. But I think I'll be able to find it."
Leah hesitated. The campaign was going to be going full-swing until November, and she couldn't afford the time to start any kind of meaningful relationship. Still, if she didn't have something to take her mind off the election from time to time she might go crazy.
"Listen, if you ever need someone to show you around town, like where to eat or... just to show you the sights... I'd be happy to lend my services."
Jaime had been watching her daughter, but she turned to look at Leah as if gauging her question. Finally she said, "The campaign won't keep you busy?"
"Not every single night. I'm bound to have some time free. I-if you wanted. I mean, sometimes part of the pleasure of moving to a new town is exploring it on your own, and--"
"I'd love a tour. Or even just a dinner. I think it would be lovely. Thank you, Ms. Kincaid."
Jaime nodded. "And you can call me Jaime. But it's 'Ms. Morgan.'" She smiled. "Just so you know."
Leah smiled and ducked her chin, too shy to believe what had just happened. She watched as the kids swarmed the field, while Nadine ascended back onto her platform and took a seat. Near the entrance, Patricia and Jill were speaking with a pair of supporters who promised Patricia their vote, while Kate hurried back to the parking lot for another trip to Coffee Table Books.
At the Gail's stand, Molly pushed the plastic bunny nose up onto her forehead and scratched the side of her real nose frantically. Shane watched her, stifled a laugh, and started to say something.
"If you say I look cute again, I swear I'll kick you right in your cottontail."
Shane laughed, and so did the people waiting in line for their lemonade. Shane sighed. Any mockery Shane doled out today was keep Molly too angry to be truly embarrassed. She was grateful for that. Once they got home and doffed the ridiculous outfits, she would show Shane just how much she appreciated it. She put the nose back into place, poured a glass of lemonade, and handed it out the window to the next customer in line. She faked a smile and a chirpy voice.
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