This is a silly, light-hearted story about parental denial. I got thinking about the various ways that people try to rationalise Haruka and Michiru's relationship into anything other than romantic. That lead to thinking about how some parents rationalise their children's gay relationships away in more or less the same manner - at least, initially. Hopefully it's obvious that, as this story is about Haruka and Michiru, it relates to a lesbian relationship. :) So, if you have a problem with that, read no further. Enjoy!

Haruka was flat on her back, examining the underside of her beloved Ferrari, when the post arrived. As such, she was not immediately aware of the envelope addressed to her and bearing a familiar seal. Michiru, however, was keenly aware of it, and curious about its contents. When after half an hour of waiting, Haruka had not returned, Michiru decided hand delivery would be the fastest route to information.

She stood at the door to the garage for a moment, observing the long, slender legs that protruded from under the car. Haruka was wearing her navy work overalls, which was a garment that Michiru enjoyed on many different levels. Unfortunately, right now she was distracted from appreciating their full potential.

"I'm sure there's a leak here somewhere." Haruka's voice wafted from beneath the car.

"There's a letter from your mother," Michiru said. She crossed to the other side of the car, where a blue and white deckchair sat. Haruka had once put it there for just such occasions - when Michiru wanted to talk to her as she tinkered. "Do you want me to read it out?"

There was a sound that was somewhere between a grunt and a chuckle.

"Go ahead."

Michiru deftly opened the little envelope and pulled out a delicate piece of white paper. She scanned down quickly, clearing her throat to read aloud.

"Dear Haruka,

It was lovely to see you over the New Year. I was surprised that your friend Michiru did not visit her own family for the holiday. Still, I suppose it's only polite to return hospitality, seeing as you stayed with them last year.

I hope you weren't too cramped in that old bedroom of yours. There was no need to snap at me for suggesting Michiru stay in the guest room - I simply thought you'd both prefer a little more space. As it is, I have no idea how you managed to fit a second futon in there, but I imagine that you did.

You and Michiru looked charming on the day itself, though your outfits were rather similar - you could almost say they were designed to match.

Incidentally, does your friend Michiru have trouble keeping her balance? Although I have now met her many, many, many times, I keep forgetting to ask. She seems to lean against you and hold onto you quite a lot. Perhaps you should advise more practical footwear.

Thank you for the picture drawn by Hotaru. Two of the figures in the drawing were labelled Haruka-papa and Michiru-mama, can you believe? She sounds like a lively little girl with a great imagination. How is it exactly that you know her again?

By the way, you left two pairs of tailored trousers in the cupboard. I also found a silky aqua negligee scrunched in the bottom of your futon, though you seem to have purchased the wrong size. It looks like it would better fit your friend Michiru. In any case, I will send these items via post this week.

I realise that you and Michiru are firm friends, but there was really no need to tell Aunt Mika that you would rather die with her than live without her. I'm sure it was all said in the context of a very particular conversation, but even so, it sounded very melodramatic.

One last thing - the son of a colleague of your father's expressed interest in your photograph when he was here. You know, the one with you and Michiru holding hands in front of that multicoloured flag in Shinjuku Ni-choume. Anyway, I asked if he'd be interested in an omiai with you, and he said he wouldn't miss it for the world. It turns out he also has a close male friend that he lives with, so perhaps Michiru would like to come along and make it a double date.

That is all for now. Please get in touch to arrange the meeting.

With much love,

Your mother."

Silence. The clinking noises from under the car had now ceased. Michiru refolded the letter and waited. Perhaps when Haruka got back from her inevitable ride to blow off steam, Michiru could be waiting for her in the garage. It was ages since they'd put the workbench to better uses, after all.

She heard fabric snag on concrete as Haruka dislodged herself from beneath the Ferrari, then saw her mop of sandy hair appear behind the bonnet.

"Did you see any sign of a leak, then?" Michiru asked.

There was no reply. Haruka stood up, turning towards her, and Michiru was surprised to see concern, rather than anger, furrowing her partner's brow. In silence, she wiped her hands on a cloth for a minute, and then looked at Michiru with genuine worry.

"Do you think there's a point where it stops being denial and starts being Alzheimer's?"

Shinjuku Ni-choume - a LGBT area of Tokyo

omiai - a Japanese custom in which unattached individuals are introduced to each other to consider the possibility of marriage. (Wikipedia)