The rain fell quickly over the usually sunny county of Los Angeles, California. Vast grey clouds emerged from every direction, hovering menacingly over the large cemetery and engulfing the party of mourners that were finally coming to the end of the service. This small group of people gathered, sobbing around a freshly-dug grave in which a grey coffin was slowly being lowered. A smaller group of six stood sheltering under several umbrellas slightly apart from the main group, each with varying levels of pitiless expressions on their faces.
"I don't mean to sound like I'm happy it all came down to this, but boy I sure am glad to see the back of her," Tina whispered, clutching Bette's arm tighter as the cold wind blew hard against her. This was somewhat true: she could neither say she was happy nor sad about what had happened, especially after finding out the exact location of the negatives for Lez Girls, but to see the people she loved interrogated for such a disastrous incident was nothing short of heart-breaking.
"That girl caused nothing but trouble," Kit sighed, standing to the left of Bette with one hand firmly placed on her hip, "The way she played every single one of us? Not cool girl, not cool." At this, she raised her eyes slowly to her sister and then moved them over to Tina whom was gripping Bette firmly and shivering into her chest. Kit was concerned about her sister's suspected infidelity but still hadn't managed to decipher exactly what had happened due to the whirlwind of events over the last few months.
"I hope Alice is OK," Max piped up, putting his arms around his stomach and absent-mindedly stroking the bump under his shirt. He had seen his doctor a day before the funeral and was overjoyed to find out that the baby was progressing well. In fact, it wouldn't be too long before his very own bouncing baby boy would be born, and Max couldn't think of anything more spectacular than that. Initially he had been terrified at the thought, but with time and the support of his friends he had come to accept and, what's more, cherish the living being inside of him.
Next to Max stood Tasha whom was frowning heavily, paying no attention to the ceremony and instead watching a dead leaf fall to the ground. "I'm going to see Alice in a couple of hours. I can't believe the Police seriously think she did this," she muttered, clutching the necklace that Alice had given her months ago. Tasha hated standing there in the graveyard, knowing that everything the love of her life was going through right now was all thanks to the woman that lay peacefully in the metal box six feet away from her. The only reason she had agreed to attend the funeral was to support Shane. After all, if the circumstances were different, she knew for a fact that Alice would be there to help her friend. That was just one of the many reasons why Tasha loved Alice.
"None of us can believe it. But all of us are here for her, right ladies?" Bette asked, looking at each of her companions in turn. The women automatically nodded their agreement; Bette gently squeezed Tasha's shoulder until the latter smiled and thanked everyone for their support.
"I'm going to go talk to Shane; see how she's holding up," Helena announced after a few seconds of silence, and she walked up the wet, grassy slope towards the dying tree under which her friend was standing. She grimaced, desperately trying to ignore the fact that her heels were digging further and further into the soft soil with each step. Looking up, she saw Shane take the last few drags of a cigarette and drop it into a puddle next to her foot. She had a blank expression on her face and, in fact, looked completely bored with everything that was happening in front of her. She was dressed as casually as she could possibly be in a grey hooded jacket and ratty black jeans. Helena suddenly had a strange feeling of being overdressed.
Shane watched Helena tentatively approaching out of the corner of her eye and moodily leaned back against the cold, damp trunk of the tree behind her, shoving her hands deep into the pockets of her jeans as she did so. She could sense what was coming: another sympathetic smile; another apologetic hug; another batch of tiresome questions as to her well-being. How was she? Was she coping okay? Did she need any help? Did she want to talk about it? Shane loved her friends dearly, but for them to think that she was weak or potentially on the verge of a mental breakdown was something she couldn't abide. She had her own ways of dealing with things, and her own way suited her just fine. Nevertheless, she acknowledged Helena with a slight nod of the head and allowed her to come closer.
"Quickly, get under here before you get sick," Helena gasped, frantically pulling Shane under her umbrella. Shane instinctively shook her wet hair wildly like a dog, but stopped when she saw Helena backing away and holding her arms defensively across her face.
"Sorry," Shane mumbled, "I didn't mean to splash you."
Helena flashed a pained smirk before adding, "Don't worry about it. This suit wasn't that expensive… not really." There was silence for a few minutes in which Helena watched the coffin reach the bottom of the open grave with a soft thud. Shane bit her lip and kicked her sneaker gloomily against a root in the ground beneath her.
"Shane? How are you fee-?"
"No offense, but if one more person asks me how I'm feeling…"
"Sorry. Right. It's just, you know, it's a lot to take in and a lot to deal with, especially alone. We're all here for you, every one of us, no matter what. Whatever you need…"
"What I need, Helena," Shane hissed through clenched teeth, "Is for everyone to stop treating me like a fucking fragile, helpless little child. Okay?" Helena opened her mouth to speak, but closed it again and nodded quickly. Shane slowly shifted her gaze towards the ceremony below them as soil was thrown onto the coffin. "Jenny was my best friend," She continued, suddenly flicking her eyes back to Helena, "My best friend and my girlfriend. And now she's gone, but not before she lied to me and humiliated all of us. So just back off and let me deal with this, okay?"
Shane and Helena held each other's gaze for a few seconds until the latter smiled cautiously and looked away. When the service had come to an end, they walked down the slope towards the rest of their group, Shane crouching against the rain to light another cigarette.
"Hit tonight, anyone?" Shane asked, seeming to suddenly perk up, "I could do with a beer." She looked questioningly from Helena to Kit, whom each nodded and smiled in turn.
Bette put her arm around Shane's tiny frame, "Hit it is. I think we could all do with a drink."
"Max will be on the orange soda though, naturally," Tina added, laughing.
"Yeah," replied Max, chuckling with the others, "I'd better go steady, right?"
With that, the ladies walked back up the cemetery path with Max in tow, still idly cradling his stomach. Shane didn't bother to look back once as she reached the tarnished gates, slid into her car and drove home.