'Ello readers. Um… I think that maybe some of you didn't like the last chapter. Sorry about that. In light of the fact that my last chapter, which had a couple of religious references, got very few reviews (one, at the time of writing this), I've changed my plan for this chapter. I've decided to cut WAY back on the religious references… like, to none. So if you didn't like the last chapter because them, no worries about the rest of the series. This was also in response to my beta readers shocked "Oh my god… there is no way you can post this!" Um… apparently it was kind of inflammatory.

Ok, now on to the regular authors notes.

This is kind of inspired by a lunch I had over Exodus (winter break from school).

…I know, not too juicy, but hey… it was a really good lunch!…Except for the conversation I had over lunch…

-sighs- you know, this was never supposed to be a series… I'm already writing two big series, and I've got a third seri… no, scratch that… I suppose this is my third series… a FOURTH series on the drawing board.

Enough rambling. On to the next –deep sigh…- chapter of the series.

-groan- this really was never meant to be a series…

Lunch with mom.

By Michael Treiber

Haruka grit her teeth in an effort to keep her face expressionless.

"So Michiru…" Haruka's mother asked in a sunny voice, "What did you think of the service?"

"Oh, it was… interesting."

Finally, the light at the end of the tunnel.

"Well Michiru… here we are!" Haruka said, pulling into her friend's driveway.

The aqua haired girl got out of the car without saying anything.

"Michiru… what's wrong?"

Though she wasn't normally to sensitive to the emotions of others, Haruka could tell that something was bothering her best friend.

Show a small, tight smile, Michiru said,

"We'll discuss it tomorrow." And with that, she turned her back and walked into her house.

"So…" Haruka's mother told her. "It was a lovely service. I'm glad your friend came along."

Haruka continued driving in silence.

"Haruka… tell me what's wrong."

"Michiru seemed awfully upset about something…"

The young woman didn't notice her mother's concerned frown.

"Pull in here." She said, pointing to a small restaurant.

"Why? We can get something to eat at home."

"Haruka!" Her mother gently scolded her. "Are you to busy for a lunch date with your poor, put upon mother?"

Haruka sighed deeply.

"Of course not Mother."

The two didn't say much until after the harried waitress deposited their ramen bowls.

"Tell me about Michiru."

Haruka nearly choked on a mouthful of noodles. She slowly set her chopsticks down and thought for a moment before answering.

"Uh… she's just a friend. We have some classes together… we met through a mutual friend, Elza Grey…"

"Oh… you know, some of the other girls in my prayer group tell me that their daughters have heard some rumors about Michiru and her… um… 'tastes'"

'Well well well…' the nagging little voice in the back of Haruka's head whispered, 'this isn't much fun, is it?'

'Shut up!' Haruka thought before answering her mother.

"Oh. Really? Rumors, you say…"

Haruka's mother nodded, taking another mouthful of noodles.

"So what do you know about it?"

'Just tell her… Michiru's out, and lying to your mother… well…'

Keeping her voice casual, Haruka shrugged and answered.

"Michiru was in a relationship with a girl on the track team before we met. They broke up, and she introduced us."

"That would be Elza Grey?"

Haruka nodded.

"Hmm… And how do you feel about all this?"

A bit confused, Haruka asked,

"What do you mean? I'm… not really sure what you're asking me."

"Does it bother you, having a friend who's a known homosexual? After all, its not like you date a lot yourself… its possible rumors might start about you two…"

Haruka couldn't answer. How could she tell her mother, her MOTHER, that she didn't care what people said? That maybe, just maybe, those kind of rumors would have a shred of truth in them…

"Any way… Just be careful. You don't want the boys in your school to be put off by some half baked rumors."

Haruka was still silent. This was started to toe lines she didn't want to cross yet.

"Well…I'm done. What do you say we head home?"

Sorry that took so long… but I was kind of busy over Exodus, what with having a new sister get born. Me, twenty years old (as of the Sunday after this gets posted) with a brand new baby sister! I think after that I might have to wri… never mind. It'll be a surprise. Anyhoo… hope you all had a fun Christmas/Hanukah/Beltain/-insert winter holiday of choice-