Chapter 1

She was fifteen when she developed her first serious crush on another girl. The others had been minor fleeting fancies but Suzanne was different. Ellie's Catholicism taught her that homosexuality was an abomination, but she lived in a modern world and it didn't stop her from loving the daily glimpse of Sue's leg when she sat down next to Ellie on the bus. Her knee length skirt riding up, showing the skin between the hem and her regulation school socks.

It was more than just her legs, the shape of them and the pale creamy skin. It was her laugh, and the way she smiled showing her braces. The way she seemed to exude confidence and passed some of it on to Ellie, who was painfully shy and on a good day, a Sue day, was only a little shy.

The fact that they were friends made it hard for the middle Bartlet girl to block the redhead from her thoughts. They weren't best friends, but close and had common interests; they were both in the orchestra and had History together twice a week. They used the same bus stop on the days that they went home late after orchestra, even though the school bus picked them up at different stops.

On one of these walks between the bus stop and the corner where Suzanne went left, and Ellie straight on, Ellie broke the comfortable silence between them. In a fumbling, nervous way she managed to tell Sue she thought that she was a lesbian or at least bisexual, and that she liked the other girl. Sue was quiet for a tense moment after Ellie stopped speaking but took Ellie's hand in hers and gave it a gentle squeeze. Ellie's gaze flicked between their joined hands, Sue's eyes and lips, and the street around, desperately hoping that Suzanne would say something soon. Instead Sue lent towards her, tilting her head down slightly, and their lips brushed softly for a moment, an unfamiliar and hesitant action.

"I like you too," Sue replied and kept hold of Ellie's hand as they continued to walk towards the corner. Two girls in grey school uniform walking down a New England street, hand-in-hand, school bags on their backs and instrument boxes in their free hands, happy and walking closer together than friends often would.