Alex wasn’t that stupid, or naïve. The man had disowned his fourteen-year-old daughter for being a lesbian – she hadn’t expected him to be completely comfortable at a lesbian bridal shower. What she was, however, was surprised that he had even agreed to come in the first place. It was a long way to travel to spout hate, so she had given him the benefit of the doubt and assumed that he did want to try to put his prejudices to one side.
If he had tried, then he hadn’t tried hard enough. He had stormed out at the first sign of affection.
And because it had happened so quickly, she hadn’t known what to do, or to say. Few people in the room knew who the man was, let alone the full story because it was never a story her fiancée was that forthcoming with and, who could blame her? To have to live with that pain was more than enough without the need to constantly dredge it up. Their party guests looked at Alex for answers, whilst she looked at her mom for answers too. Throw Alex Danvers in the middle of a battlefield with more enemies than ammunition and she’d instantly come up with the best strategy to make those bullets count. Throw her in the middle of heart-breaking drama and she’d fire blanks. She was still useless at this sort of stuff.
Maggie liked her space and her boundaries, and Alex respected that. However, this wasn’t typical family drama – this was a deep-rooted trauma that had plagued her for over half her life. Alex had to take that risk, and run after her.
She took a minute too long to reach that decision and, by the time, she gotten down to the lobby and burst out onto the sidewalk, Maggie was gone, as was Oscar. Alex instinctively went to reach for her phone and cursed as she remembered she’d left it in the apartment. She took the stairs two at a time.
Everyone’s eyes were on her as she returned but she didn’t acknowledge them, only grabbed her phone from the dining table with shaky hands and called Maggie. ‘Pick up, pick up,’ she whispered to herself but it rung out, went to voicemail. ‘Baby, call me when you get this. Please? I need to know you’re okay.’ She ended the call and sent a text too. I love you. Please call me x.
‘Sweetie,’ Eliza said with a gentle hand on Alex’s back.
Alex fought back tears. She didn’t have the right, or the time, to cry – she had caused this, this was her fault and she had to fix it, had to make sure her girl was okay. ‘I should never have told her to invite him, what was I thinking?’
‘You could never have predicted this.’
‘No, mom,’ she snapped and she hated herself for it and let out a sigh. ‘I just…I just shouldn’t have.’ This wasn’t another Emily situation. This was the so-called father who had thought loving another person was shameful. That man should never have been anywhere near this bridal shower. ‘I’m guessing she headed home, so I’m gonna go there. Can you tidy things up here and ask people to leave?’
Eliza nodded. ‘Of course.’
Alex forced a smile. ‘Thanks, mom.’
‘Hey, Alex.’ Winn caught her as she turned to leave. He handed her the card and the gift that Maggie had been about to open. ‘Give her this. And tell her that we love her.’
Alex nodded. ‘I will.’
/ / /
The tightness in her chest subsided a little at the sight of the boots by the couch. The apartment appeared otherwise empty until she saw the closed bathroom door. She went over and knocked on it, gently. ‘Hey, it’s me…Just me.’
Her words were met with silence but she knew Maggie was on the other side, listening.
Alex took a deep breath and fought the urge to try the handle. ‘I’m going to be honest, Maggie…I don’t know what to say right now because I was lucky with my coming out. From day one, I had the most amazing person in my corner, a person who made me feel safe and accepted. That person protected me and did everything they could so that I wasn’t scared and that I didn’t push my feelings aside…Then, I became even luckier because that person? She didn’t just become my best friend and my safe haven. She fell in love with me…She said yes and made me the happiest person alive.’
And, again, Alex paused to steady herself before continuing. ‘She’s an amazing person and anybody who thinks otherwise is missing out…That person is also you by the way. I’d be lucky to find another girl who’d want to marry my nerdy ass.’
A faint laugh.
A smile broke on Alex’s lips. She went to grab the card from the bridal shower that Maggie hadn’t had the chance to read as things had quickly turned sour. She slid it under the door. ‘I wrote more in here. It took me a while because it’s hard, really hard, to find the words to do you justice.’ It took her a whole day in actuality, mulling it over at the DEO and taking momentary pauses from whatever she was doing to jot down some ideas. It was only a paragraph but she had wanted to get it right. It had also informed her that she should probably start planning her vows now so that they’d be ready for the big day, which was only a few months away.
A minute passed before the lock clicked and Maggie walked out and straight into Alex’s arms. ‘I’m so lucky to have you too,’ she mumbled into Alex’s chest. ‘I couldn’t have done today without you.’
Alex’s heart sank. This was her fault and this – all of this hurt and pain and rejection - could’ve been avoided. ‘I’m sorry that you had to. I shouldn’t have pushed, I--.’
‘No,’ Maggie pulled away. Tears were running down her cheeks but her voice was firm. ‘Today put a lot of things in perspective. Made me realize some things. And I thank you for it.’
Alex reached out to wipe those tears away. ‘I still feel bad.’
‘Don’t,’ she said, swallowing hard. ‘It hurt, it’ll always hurt but it was also cathartic and I can move on now.’
Alex smiled and pulled Maggie back into her arms. ‘I’m proud of you.’
Maggie let her head linger on Alex’s shoulder for a few minutes. Then, ‘So, about that present…’
‘Oh, but I thought you said I was the greatest gift?’
‘You are. And you know that I love unwrapping you,’ Maggie grinned, tugging playfully at the hem of Alex’s top. ‘But you did go to the hassle of buying me something--.’
‘Two things, actually.’
‘I know, I shouldn’t have but what’s the point of having money if I can’t spend it on things I love?’ She took her fiancée’s hand and led her over to the couch, picked the perfectly wrapped gift (that she’d made her sister wrap because she, a grown-ass woman who could, with ease, shoot a moving target from however many yards, struggled with wrapping paper and sticky tape) and set it down in Maggie’s lap. ‘It’s kinda stupid. The other one is better, I promise you.’
With a curious look, Maggie tore into the paper. Her intrigue intensified at the brown cardboard box that offered no insights into what was inside. Carefully, she opened it. ‘Alex,’ she beamed as she held the little teddy bear in her hands. ‘This isn’t stupid. This is so sweet.’
It wasn’t any teddy bear. It was custom-made for her wife-to-be, with the little guy decked out in NCPD uniform. ‘I was at the mall with Kara and I saw Build a Bear and I couldn’t help myself. However, they were kinda limited so I had Winn make the little windbreaker,’ she reached forward to point at the intricately detailed badge that hung around its neck. ‘And the badge. Look, it even has your badge number on it. That was Winn’s idea, not mine. I didn’t know he was that good at stitching.’
‘Oh, and there’s something else under the tissue paper.’
Maggie dug back into the box, removing the sheet of purple paper and pulling out the framed 6x4. The dimples were out on full display, her eyes barely able to be seen as she was smiling that big.
‘He can’t be a cop without his official photo, can he?’ Alex grinned at the photograph of the teddy bear sat on the bonnet of a NCPD cruiser. ‘James took it. We got some weird looks, but it was worth it.’
‘You guys did all this for me?’
‘Of course we did. We love you.’
Maggie took Alex’s face with both hands and kissed her over and over, before resting her forehead against Alex’s. ‘Did…uh, did the party end?’
‘I didn’t think it was right for it to continue given the circumstances.’ That was putting it lightly.
And Maggie showed her appreciation with another kiss. Then a grin. ‘Let’s throw a party here. Right now. Just us, your mom, Winn and James.’
Maggie was certain. ‘Absolutely.’
/ / /
They were all back together within thirty minutes and back playing stupid party games. This time, however, they didn’t feel scared to be themselves like they had earlier with Oscar’s impending presence and made no attempts to hide the gay. For Alex’s turn at trivia, she sat on Maggie’s lap, playing with her fiancée’s long locks and nailing every question that came her way. ‘X-Files, duh.’
James flicked through the pile of questions to find one that was a little more challenging. ‘Ooh, this is a good one. Besides a cop, what did Maggie want to be growing up?’
Alex didn’t even hesitate. ‘Professional wrestler.’
Winn’s jaw fell open. ‘Really?’
Maggie nodded. ‘Yep. I even took classes when I turned eighteen. I lasted three weeks – it might not be real wrestling, but it still hurt like hell.’
‘Okay, okay…next question. What’s Maggie’s favorite col--.’
‘Pink.’ Alex punctuated her answer with a kiss.
James tossed the cards onto the coffee table. ‘Seriously, there’s no point to this game. They’re sickingly in love.’
‘Yeah,’ Winn laughed. ‘You guys are officially that couple.’
‘And to that,’ Eliza reached for her glass. ‘Let’s toast.’
‘Actually, Eliza,’ Maggie said, grabbing her half empty bottle of bear. ‘May I?’
Eliza beamed. ‘Of course, sweetheart.’
Maggie smiled her thanks. ‘Over the years, I’ve had to choose my family. I was a Rodas, then a Sawyer when my aunt so kindly took me in and now, in a few months, I’m going to become a Danvers,’ she paused to glance lovingly at Alex. ‘Blood doesn’t make a family. Love does. And you guys, Kara and J’onn included…you’re all my family now. I love you all. Marrying this girl here is wonderful in itself, but your acceptance makes it all even more extraordinary.’ She raised her drink. ‘To family.’