“Paige, what do you say we spend the afternoon outside together once school is over?” My dad asked as I got dressed for school the next day. “Kenzie can come if you’d like.” He then added.
“Sure, I have training though so I’ll be home by five and a half, maybe six?”
“Alright, I’ll be waiting.”
I finished preparing, took my bag and headed to school. Thinking about what to say. Kenzie was waiting for me at the front entrance and she gave me a quick hug when she saw me. I froze and returned the hug half heartedly.
With school crowded, I never found the moment to talk to her, delaying all day until we sat down in our DDA assigned pick up.
Once she was sat down, Kenzie tried to kiss me but I gently pushed her away.
“Can we not?” I asked.
“Are you okay? You’ve been acting weird all day.”
“Yeah, I’m just not in the mood.”
“Oh alright.” Kenzie gave me a small concerned hug.
I wanted to ask her now, but the words didn’t leave my throat.
“My dad wants us to have some father-daughter bonding time tonight, since I haven’t really spent time with him in forever.” I told her instead. I wanted to hit myself for evading the problem, but I was a coward like that.
“That’s alright with me. I’ll see you tomorrow, maybe?”
I couldn’t help but feel like Kenzie knew something was wrong and I shut down during training, focusing on myself and shutting everything else out. Kickback let me go without the cooking session when I told her my plans with my dad.
I took a car and got a ride home without ever talking to the others.
“Kenzie isn’t with you?” My dad asked when I came in alone.
“Nah, I wanted to spend time just with you.” I gave him a forced smile.
“Oh well. I saw that there’s an adaptation of one of those novel you love that came out a few days ago. Do you want to see it?”
I had no idea which he was talking about, but I didn’t really care; I wanted to spend time with him, it didn’t matter how. We ended up watching an adaptation of Global Guardians Galatea, which I’d really been into months ago before I’d drifted into the Hell’s gate fandom. It was entertaining, but shared the inevitable flaw of all adaptations; leaving important stuff out.
“Are you hungry?” My dad asked as we came out of the theater. “Want to get some chinese?”
“That would be great.”
My dad lead us to the right place; The lotus pagoda was an absolutely miniscule establishment, it’s customer area was about as big as my room with a few seats for people waiting for their order and an eating counter big enough for eight people. It was one of those place that was more for deliveries than sit-down diner. Still, it had food that was both tasty and dirt cheap.
We got our orders, chow mein for me, beef broccoli for him and went outside, sitting in the miniature park a block away. Thankfully for my dad, the weather was fairly mild that day according to the thermometer.
We spent awhile talking about the movie, what had been changed, what had been added or removed.
“Dad… Can I have your advice?” I asked, changing the subject after a moment of quiet eating.
“Of course, what’s troubling you pumpkin?”
“What are you supposed to do when the person you like hid something important from you but you aren’t sure if it really means something, if it’s relevant or if it concerns you. But you keep thinking about it and imagine that it means the worst...”
“Paige, what’s going on?”
“I learned Kenzie has been or had been sleeping with a boy I know, I’m not sure which, and I know it happened really recently, like at least just before we met and she never told me they had or have something going between the two of them and it’s making me all confused. I trust her, I really want to but my mind keeps making up these horrible thoughts. At the same time I want to know so it stops, but I don’t want to cause an argument or hurt her feelings by accusing her of something...”
My dad put an arm around my shoulders and dragged me closer on the bench, kissing my hoodie’s hood.
“You can’t just bottle up your feelings, you’ll hurt yourself and Kenzie too if you do that. Talk to her, even if it sparks an argument because you made a big deal about nothing and if something is wrong, find a solution, fix the mistake, change how you two behave. Relationships means that at times, you’ll be hurt, angry, jealous and so many more awful things that come with love, but you can’t let those things take you over, being in a relationship is not just about learning to trust in someone but also learning to forgive each other for the harm we’ve done. I think you should just be careful not to come into it on the defensive or accusing her, just say that you know something happened and hear her out, it’s probably nothing.”
“Thanks, that’s what I needed to hear, I think. I wasn’t sure who to ask, but I’m glad I asked you.”
“Hey, I’ve had fifteen years of practice with your mom. There were several times when we came close to divorce. But in the end, we forgave each other our faults and made the effort necessary so they would never happen again.”
“I didn’t know…”
“Most of it was a long time ago, and we’ve always done everything not to drag you into our problems. What do you say we go back home and relax?”
“Sure.” We walked back home and watched tv cuddled up under a blanket until bedtime.
I didn’t sleep that night, I felt too jittery and stressed out to do so. I considered hurting myself, cutting always helped me drain my feelings away, but I didn’t. My dad was there, I didn’t want him to risk seeing the cuts…
Instead I distracted myself however I could; taking walks around the block a few times, reading the novel Jessie had given me, cooking Mac and Cheese even if I didn’t have the stomach to eat any of it.
Somewhere around dawn my phone buzzed. I picked it up and saw Kenzie’s text.
> Morning. How are you feeling?
Tired. Didn’t sleep much. <
> Sorry to hear that :/ *hugs*
> Did you have anything planned for today?
I agonized for a moment, trying to think of what to say.
I don’t. Say, would you mind stopping by my place today? <
> Sure. What about 10am?
That’ll be perfect. <
> Alright, see you then. XxX
I put my phone down, she’d left me with a little under three hours to figure out how to talk to her. I spent some of it mumbling to myself, trying different phrasings and questions. When only one hour was left, I left my room and went to wash up. My dad offered to make me breakfast but I declined. I felt a little disappointed in myself for skipping another meal, I didn’t feel as if I could keep it down.
“Are you okay?” My dad asked.
“Kenzie is coming in thirty minutes and I'm terrified…”
My dad gave me a hug. “Sitting here worrying won’t do. Why don’t we fix your hair before she’s here?”
I didn’t protest and he helped me brush and style my hair like he’d done so many times when I was little. Eventually Kenzie rang the bell and I buzzed her in.
She hugged me when she saw me.
“Hey, do you mind if we talk in private?” I asked.
She gave me a worried look and nodded, removing her winter clothes and following me into my room. She sat down on the bed and I sat down in the desk chair.
“Paige, what’s going on?”
“Is it true that you and Travis had sex?”
Kenzie looked like I’d just hit her in the gut… She looked down and sighed. “Let me guess, Chuan told you?”
I nodded and she muttered something unpleasant.
“It’s true.” She said after a pause.
“But please hear me out.”
“It’s not something I wanted to talk about because it hurts so much, but I also don’t want to leave space for some dumb misunderstanding... I’ll be entirely honest but please promise me you won’t get angry…”
“I won’t, I just want to know what happened.”
“I have feelings for Travis…” She said, looking back at her feet, “and I’ve had them for a long time. but he’s not interested in a serious, committed relationship. We had a purely sexual relationship on and off through last year, but I swear to god that he and I haven’t been together since I met you.”
She looked like she was about to cry, her eyes tearing up as she looked at me.
“I believe you.”
“Travis was there in a moment where I was feeling alone and vulnerable, he was surprisingly kind to me and it just happened.” She explained. “I fell in love with him and continued having sex with him because it was the closest I had to a relationship until I met you. You were wonderful and you loved me back, you trusted me and were so nice… You gave me what I’d always wanted.”
I hugged her.
“Paige? I need to ask you something… Do you care that I’m bisexual, is my attraction to boys a flaw in your eyes? Would you rather I be a lesbian?”
“Of course not. Why would you think that?” I put my hand in hers and she squeezed it.
“I’ve been hurt before by someone else, I don’t really want to talk about it, maybe another day, but not now, but I’ve had people whom I cared about think I was flaky and a cheater because of my sexual orientation, that I wasn’t queer enough and would leave them and settle for a boy. And I’m not, I love you and I’m committed to you, I swear that I would never betray you. Please believe me...”
“Hey, I believe you and I like you just the way you are. Will you forgive me for doubting you? I didn’t want to, but my head was all screwed up and kept thinking the worst.”
“I understand and forgive you.”
We hugged for a few minutes in silence, cooling down from the rush of emotions.
“Do you miss having sex?” I asked her.
“Honestly, I do.” She answered.
“Do you wish I would…”
“Sex, with the right partner is great, but it’s not essential to me. If you told me that you never want to have it, I’d accept it because your love is what brought me to you. Sex is optional.” She said. “And I wouldn’t trade you for anything in the world.”
I spent a minute thinking, head resting on her shoulder.
“Would you like to… try?”
Kenzie moved and looked me into the eyes.
“Do you honestly feel like you’re ready or are you just asking because you’re scared and want to please me?”
I didn’t answer and she hugged me.
“Why don’t we go out and have fun, the safe kind, and get away from all this drama?”
“That sounds nice.”
I got up and she cupped my head in her hands, giving me a very soft kiss.
“Oh, and Paige? Thank you for being understanding.”