"How did she get do be so demoniac? My— HER parents aren't perfect, but they're not unrelenting monsters, either."

Mac's hand was still tightly clamped around mine, even though we were well away from the madness that was Madison Sinclair's birthday party. I used my free hand to text Wallace, saying I'd be back for him and to avoid the rum and coke.

"Then again, my brother's the epitome of annoyance, so it may be generational. To think, I've been putting up with Ryan tormenting me for the better part of a decade when I could have been discussing Raskin with a little sister who, instead, has to put up with Miss Bourgeois Teen America on a daily basis."

"I think that's what the great authors of our time call: Major Suckage." We were closing in on the LeBaron, so I swapped my cell for the keys in my jacket pocket. It was about then that Mac realized she was still holding my hand.

"Sorry," she said, letting go. "I guess this whole thing just has me really..."

"Freaked out? Upset? Totally at a loss for what to do next because everything you've known to be real really isn't?" Was that too telling or can I just pass it off as PI instinct?

"Yeah," she nodded as she slid into the passenger seat. "Something like that."

I couldn't help but feel responsible for Mac's mood. If I hadn't dug up the dirt on the Folks Mackenzie, Mac would be happily locked away in her room, engaged in illegal, yet, entertaining internet pastimes, none the wiser to her parental mix-up.

The guilt must have been pulsing in waves because she picked up on it. "Hey, I asked to come here tonight."

"I know. I just…" I what? Dad always says that we're just supposed to do the job, to not get involved. But this wasn't a job. It was a favor.

Her hand was touching mine, again. It wasn't the tight gripped "let's get out of here before there's bloodshed" clasping from earlier or the comforting "don't freak out, I'm still right here" that had happened on the way to the car. This was… gentler… somehow. And a little dizzying. Though, to be fair, I'm not sure if the dizziness came before or after she leaned over and kissed me.

I've kissed girls before. No big deal. Truth or dare in a limo or at a rambunctious '09er party. What I hadn't done, was kiss a girl outside of the context of drinking games or exhibition. There had always been a spinning bottle or leering boyfriends involved. But this was just Mac kissing me… and me kissing back. I won't go on about the clichés of softness and smooth skin and womanly emotional connection that any Google search on Buffy femslash will find you. We didn't rip off each other's clothes or get married or even move in together. We just kissed. Granted, it was a fairly intense and lengthy kiss that increased respiratory and cardiac activity by a thousand percent. But that's it. Not even any heavy petting. Though, there might have been if that wandering pack of drunken '09er guys hadn't started catcalling at the sight of us like they've never seen two girls kissing before with their premium Showtime package that runs The L Word six times a week.

"I should probably get home," Mac whispered, still leaning into me. "Figure out what to do with all this."

With all what? Madison? This? Us? Was this whole thing a mistake? Was she regretting it already? "Yeah, sure."



Her fingers interlocked with mine. "Don't worry so much."