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The L Word

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Bella didn’t want to chance her old-timey truck breaking down on the way to Port Angeles, which meant I had to get permission from my parents to borrow their older and less used second car. There were a few grumbles from them at first, because I had never been entrusted to their vehicle to go anywhere other than around Forks. Although, they relented when I mentioned I would be traveling with the sheriff’s daughter. Apparently nothing could go wrong when I would be hanging out with the child of the only law enforcement Forks could put a face on. I’m sure they doubted my capability of engaging in any teenage shenanigans while with Bella anyway, since I wasn’t known for trouble and they assumed I wouldn’t want to irk the town sheriff.

What if it was some romantic shenanigans? Would you care then?

I quickly hid this thought away, because yes, my ultra-conservative parents would care and no, Bella wouldn’t entertain the thought of our trip becoming some dumb romantic comedy like I secretly wanted. She would trip on some crack in the sidewalk and fall into my arms. “We have to stop meeting like this,” I would joke and this would eventually lead to her kissing me, while the camera panned out, an upbeat pop song playing in the background.

Ugh, why was I doing this to myself and what was the point? What was the point of me thinking this, but also what was the point in going on an excursion to the largest city near Forks to talk about Bella’s guy problems? I didn’t care about her weird relationship with Edward. I cared about a relationship that could never materialize.

But, I knew that wasn’t entirely true. I was curious about the mystery surrounding Bella’s feelings for Edward, since they seemed to be one big contradiction. On the other hand, if I had to hear that theirs was one of those love/hate relationships then I wasn’t sure I could stomach hearing the story. Me throwing up the night before over nervousness would surely turn into me wanting to throw up over her declarations that despite being a controlling Mad Men-esque creepo, Edward was actually a really caring guy.

When I went to pick Bella up, she came out the door dressed in her normal attire that stated, I don’t really care what you think of my clothes, but I’ll dress up just enough that you won’t comment on it. It didn’t work, because I ended up remarking rather idiotically, “Thanks for dressing up for our date. I can see you took time selecting your best outfit.”

My closeted lesbian stayed silent, but my heart flipped at my boldness, even if I had delivered my words with sarcasm. “Only the best for you, random band T shirt and skinny jeans purchased at a second hand store,” Bella quipped back and I internally sighed in relief.

“What’s the band?” I asked as Bella closed the door to the tiny car that my parents only used as backup.

“Oh, some local one my mom drug me to at some point. She's always trying to stay young and cool,” Bella said, using air quotes around the adjectives her mom had obviously clung to.

I snorted as I maneuvered the car out of Bella’s driveway and onto the road. “At least she was trying. My parents are as old fashioned as an episode of Leave it to Beaver.”

Bella shrugged. “Well, you know what they say, the grass is always greener on the other side. My mom was kind of the child in our relationship. When she got remarried it was the main reason I moved to Forks, because I no longer felt the need to take care of her. She has Phil to do that for her now.”

“So, what kind of music do you like to listen to?” I asked, changing the subject, trying to keep our conversation from turning morose so quickly by talking about our parents.

Forgetting for a second where I was, I turned the car radio on only to hear the noise of loud church hymns blasting from the car speakers. I quickly hit the button that pushed the cassette tape out and switched to the radio. “Sorry.” I stuck my tongue out to express my displeasure with the music.

Bella laughed. “Uh, not that kind of music. Who even has a cassette player anymore?”

“My old fashioned parents,” I replied, raising my eyebrows for emphasis.

Bella smiled and I made note of how beautiful it looked on her, before turning my eyes back to the road in front of me. I found some generic station that played top 40 hits and Bella seemed okay with it at first, but then after a few minutes asked if she could switch stations. “Go ahead,” I replied and was surprised when she settled on classical.

“I’m sorry, I know it's just one more thing to make me seem weird, but I feel calm when I listen to classical,” she explained when I gave her a look of surprise.

“I don't think you're wierd," I stated, my eyes still forward. "Why are you nervous?"

“I don’t know. I guess I’m worried for you ... about what my telling you today will get you involved in,” Bella said in a voice that verged on being a whisper.

You’re worried about me?!

My heart pounded inside my chest at the thought that Bella was thinking about me enough to be concerned. I glanced at her and saw that she was playing with a lock of her hair … Bella’s telltale sign of being upset. “Hey, don’t think about me.” I waved flippantly in her direction with my right hand. “I’m here for you and we don’t even have to start out this trip talking about him. Let’s just get to Port Angeles, be typical teenage girls out for some fun shopping, and then you can tell me whatever it is when you’re ready.”

“Thanks, Jess. Thanks for being a friend. I don’t have many here,” she replied after a few seconds transpired while a dead composer on the radio filled the space between us.

I wanted to reply with some heartfelt declaration that stated my deep feelings for her, but the voice of reason inside my brain pushed forth with the very platonic, “Oh, don't get all mushy on me,” and I shrugged off the seriousness of her appreciation with my trademark sarcasm.

When she didn’t respond right away, I laughed to show Bella I was joking and she echoed my humor with her own soft chuckle. Then I continued down the road towards Port Angeles, wondering what the day held for us.