A/N: While in graduate school, a professor told me that the best source of inspiration is cheap vodka. At the time, I probably agreed. Tonight, I'd say it's beer . . . or rum . . . or maybe cheap vodka. So, if this little piece of fluff sucks, at least I can blame it on bad inspiration.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters. I just play with them.
She had expected the call. She wasn't sure when it would come, but she knew that she would receive it. Two weeks after their initial meeting, a date had been set.
So here she sat in a coffee shop at the intersection of two busy streets, nursing her tea and waiting for her companion to bring up the topic of conversation that had brought them here. They talked of the weather (yes, it did seem the weather had gotten cold rather suddenly) and of flowers (while red roses were lovely, she preferred purple tulips and yellow daisies). Finally, rather timidly, the thought was finally vocalized: "I just don't understand. My Rachel is still married . . . to a man. How can she be in love with your Luce?"
"Love can be rather complicated, don't you agree?" I asked.
"I suppose so, but I don't understand. How can you be so calm? So accepting of this relationship."
I raised my cup and took a drink of tea, slowly swallowing as I tried to give voice to my thoughts. "We often say that we only want our children to be happy, yet we make their happiness contingent upon our own. Let me ask you, do you think Rachel is happy? I mean, is she really happy with her life right now?"
I waited a second, then another, before I hear the answer. "I think so. She seems to be. But I don't understand. How can she be happy with another woman? She wasn't raised to be this way."
"What way is that?" I asked.
"You know." She pause. "To be gay." My companion's eyes looked away before meeting my gaze. "How can you be so supportive? Don't they know what people think?"
I laughed softly. "Which people? Acquaintances? Fools who would trade their mundane lives for the chance of finding true love, but they are too afraid to stop thinking of who they are supposed to love instead of who they really do?"
"Perhaps," came the strained reply. "But Rachel would never be this way if it hadn't been for Luce. It's her fault, you know." I could hear the anger in her voice.
"Listen to me, Tessa. Luce watched as her father walked out on me, on us, when she was a child. She saw him start a new life with another woman. She watched him start a new family while he pushed his old one aside. She saw my tears; she felt the hurt that enveloped both of us. She became my confidante. I became hers. And she swore to me that she would never be the other woman. She promised that she would never go after someone in a relationship. She may be a romantic, an idealist, an optimist, but she is not someone who would break up an established couple. Call it empathy or call it intransigence, but she has always refused to be the cause of someone else's pain. She lived through what an affair cost our family."
"Obviously she didn't' learn. She was the reason that Rachel left Heck."
I cut her off with a forceful, "You're wrong!" Realizing that I had drawn the attention of patrons nearest us, I continued in a quieter voice, "You don't know how hard she tried to distance herself from Rachel, but she couldn't do it. There was always something drawing her closer. I could sense it every time I spoke with her. I could see it in her eyes, in that bittersweet smile. I watched as she fought with herself—trying to keep her distance from Rachel but being drawn closer to her."
"No, listen to me, Tessa. Luce told me what she said at Rachel's wedding while you were present, and she says that Rachel says that Heck told her the same thing the day he left. Luce said that an unstoppable force and an immoveable object can't exist at the same time. For Rachel, Luce is that unstoppable force. You've seen it even if you refuse to admit it. But you know that Rachel loves my daughter. And you know that Luce loves Rachel. I've never seen Lucy more in love, and believe me, there have been quite a few women that she thought she loved."
She looked into her coffee cup for half a minute before speaking, "I know. I . . . I just don't understand." She looked at me, confusion and hurt on her face.
"That's okay. You will. Just because you don't understand doesn't mean that you can't recognize our daughters' love for each other. It doesn't mean that you don't know what they mean to each other. Knowing something is not the same as understanding it. "
"But I want to understand."
I laughed and reached across the table to gently pat her hand. "Then might I make a suggestion?" She nodded. "Stop trying to understand, and start loving your daughter for who she is. Rachel is an intelligent, intuitive, caring woman. You raised her well. So stop focusing on what you think she should be and instead look at who she is."
"I don't understand."