Beau is sulking.
She knows she is, and she knows it’s super immature, and an indication of stunted communication skills, and yada yada yada. She keeps doing it. Very visibly, in the middle of the living room while Fjord finishes packing his stuff. Jester’s bright pink overnight bags have already taken over the couch, so Beau sulks cross-legged on the floor, glaring at the wall and occasionally sighing with great emphasis. Jester herself is working a late shift, leaving Fjord all alone to deal with The Grumpy Roommate.
(Beau knows that’s what the two of them call her. She’s okay with that—she and Fjord call Jester The Loud Roommate, after all. Fjord is known as The Handsome Roommate, which Beau is a little miffed about because hey why is his nickname a compliment but it annoys Fjord more than any actual insult and makes Jester giggle every time they use it, so in the end everybody wins.)
Fjord gives in eventually, pausing in the process of deciding which fancy shirt to bring along. (He only has two to pick from, but she can tell he’s struggling.)
“Y’know,” he says pointedly, “if you want me or Jester or both of us to stay behind, all you have to do is ask. We can come with you, even.”
It’s a tempting offer, and one that surprises her. It’s possible Fjord’s just being polite and doesn’t really mean what he’s saying, but also—it’s Fjord and Jester. Sometimes they’re so damn nice to her, her skin gets all itchy. She almost can’t stand it. Still—
“No way,” says Beau. “This Thanksgiving is, like, Jester’s chance to reconnect with her mom or whatever. You have to go. Both of you.”
Fjord shoots her a Look, probably translating into something like, Jester’s not the only one meeting up with estranged family members this Thanksgiving, you idiot. Beau just rolls her eyes. Fjord doesn’t understand that the difference is, Jester actually likes her mom and wants to see her. Beau, on the other hand, is being more or less blackmailed into going back to her parents’ house. It’s gonna be a grim, efficient event wherein Beau will make it clear, one way or another, that she’s done with their crap once and for all. She absolutely does not need moral support for something like that. Talking shit is what she was made for. Jester, on the other hand, will make much better use of Fjord’s smooth words and courteous smile.
Fjord changes tack. “No one’s forcing you to go see them, all right?” he says. “Book a bus ticket, come with me to Jester’s. Or just stay in the apartment and get drunk like last year. The weekend’s your oyster.”
“Look,” she snaps, “you’re the one who said I should try to mend fences and shit. So, what, now you’re fucking backtracking?”
Fjord’s eyes drift over to the wastebasket overflowing with the shredded remains of the most recent batch of letters from Beau’s parents. Ever since they somehow tracked down her address a few months ago, the letters had been incessant, at least one a day, all apparently intent on harassing Beau into visiting them for the holiday. Beau finally responded only because she didn’t have the money to move apartments to avoid them, and her mother had started threatening to drive to town and find Beau in person.
The idea of either of her parents barging into her home, the one she’s carved out together with Jester and Fjord, makes her teeth clench so hard her vision blacks for a moment. So maybe Fjord’s right, no one’s forcing her to do anything, there isn’t a burly hireling here to physically kidnap Beau, but she still doesn’t much feel like she has a choice in how to spend this particular weekend.
Fjord tears his eyes away from the wastebasket and shrugs, going back to his packing.
“Never mind, Beau,” he says, weary.
He leaves it at that, apparently refusing to get into it with her again. Beau knows he feels bad for her parents, because they just want to see their daughter again, their ungrateful asshole daughter who won’t return their forty voicemails or answer any of their hundred letters—not even the ones with her father’s cheques stashed not-so-subtly in the envelopes, tossed by Beau uncashed into the paper shredder with everything else. Fjord thinks of a lonely old couple sitting all sad in their big house without their only kid, and he feels bad.
She has to remind herself, again, not to get mad at Fjord. All he knows is she doesn’t get along with her parents, hasn’t seen them in six years. It’s not his fault she’s never really been able to explain her issues with them beyond that. It’s not his fault.
“Go with the blue shirt,” Beau says, getting up. She punches his shoulder on her way to her room. “Jester likes that colour on you.”
She tries, really hard, not to slam the bedroom door.
“This is about the worst idea you’ve ever had,” says Molly. “I fucking love it.”
Yasha smirks and shoves him. Molly, the drama queen, groans and makes a big show of falling off the bed.
“I had to get creative,” she says, glancing up from her laptop, “since you’re spending the holiday with your boyfriend this year.”
She draws out the word ‘boyfriend,’ all singsong and sarcastic like they’re in the fourth grade, but there’s no heat behind her words. She doesn’t resent Molly finding happiness with someone—even if that someone could use a good spa day and some new shampoo—because it’s Molly and he deserves that happiness more than anyone else she knows.
“Caleb’s not my boyfriend,” he says automatically, still on the floor. His grin turns devilish. “Well, not yet.”
Yasha snorts. Molly’s bravado is all bark and no bite—she’s seen those two together, the snail’s pace of their relationship, Molly’s gentle patience and soft grins, Caleb’s wry flirting and awkward laughter. It’s the most sugary and chaste she’s ever seen Molly, and it’s weird but also cute, sort of, she supposes.
No, she doesn’t resent Molly spending Thanksgiving with Caleb, but goddamn she’s going to miss him. It’s difficult to remember the last time they spent a holiday apart, which is... troubling.
Molly crawls back up onto the bed and presses a kiss to Yasha’s temple, almost like he can read her mind. She wouldn’t be surprised.
“I am sorry, love,” he says, suddenly sincere. “But no need to pine after me! Caleb and Nott are already fond of you. I bet we’ll all spend the next statutory holiday as one big happy family.” He’s grinning again.
“Ass,” Yasha mutters, lips twitching. “Maybe I’ll spend the rest of the year with one of these wonderful Craigslist users. You never know.”
Molly hooks his chin on her shoulder, reading the webpage. “Hm. I really think you’re underselling yourself, dear.”
“Y’know what Gustav says,” Yasha says wryly. “Under-promise and over-deliver.”
“Terrible advice,” he remarks. “Never used it a day in my life. Neither has he, I reckon.”
Yasha shrugs. She doesn’t think the ad she posted is that bad, honestly. It’s accurate, at the very least:
Pissed at your parents? Want your aunt to stop asking if you’re single? I can help you piss off your family & ruin Thanksgiving for free. I’ll pretend to be your date in exchange only for the free food and an interesting night. (I AM NOT OFFERING SEX.)
- 29, F, 6’7”
- A convicted felon with no high school degree but a fair few piercings
- Extremely bad at small talk. Willing to use this to creep out any or all of your relatives.
- Really fuckin strong.
- VERY white, colour-wise, like a vampire, or that freaky girl from your high school who never got out of her goth phase
- Willing to start actual physical fights with family members, neighbors etc.
Serious inquiries only.
Underneath the text is a photo of Yasha herself, posing at last year’s Halloween party with a giant prop sword, one of Molly’s, probably as big as Molly himself.
Yasha admires the whole ad, fighting a smile. She is actually rather proud of it. Admittedly, the Knot Sisters got drunk on mimosas and helped her write a lot of it out, and also dared her to actually make the posting, but still. She may not be the most social creature when left to her own devices, but she used to do all kinds of wild shit all over the continent, never staying in one place too long, never letting herself set down roots and get trapped or bored. Now, now she’s cuddling on her bed with Molly in their shared apartment, a tad morose she won’t be spending Thanksgiving—the stupidest of all holidays—with the one person she considers family.
No, she doesn’t resent Molly for finding happiness with Caleb, but maybe she is scared, a little bit, that recently she’s gotten a little too comfortable with this idea of home, too attached and stationary.
Molly bumps his face against her shoulder, like a cat. She flicks his nose.
“Well, Miss Under-Promise, got any decent responses yet?”
She opens up her email inbox and turns the laptop toward him.
Molly makes a face, scrolling through her messages. “Oh, now some of these are just rude. They obviously didn’t read the post.”
“Mm. I knew I shouldn’t have included the photo.” Most of the respondents think she’s looking for a hookup, and make this known in the crassest ways possible. Yasha is constantly surprised by how many men in this world lack even the most basic of self-preservation instincts. She’s pictured wielding a blade, for gods’ sake.
“The Internet lacks class,” drawls Molly. “Who could have ever guessed?”
“Wait. Molly, go back to that last email.”
“What, are you interested in”—he squints his eyes at the screen—“email@example.com? I wonder if they use the same email for their resume.”
“Don’t pretend you have a resume, Mollymauk.”
“Fair enough.” He scrolls down, reading parts of the message aloud. “Female, 23, sounds like she at least actually read your post. ‘My friend sent me this link and she probably meant it as a joke, but if you’re serious then it’d actually be rad if you could scare the shit out of my asshole parents.’” He grimaces. “She uses the word ‘rad’ unironically, Yasha!”
Yasha ignores him, tugging the laptop back toward herself so she can send a reply:
I’m serious. Pics?
“By gods,” Molly laughs beside her, “you sound like such a fuckboy.”
“Well, badassbeau420 doesn’t seem to mind,” she points out, as her inbox dings immediately with a response. Besides, she wants to make sure this isn’t a creep or a catfish.
They open the attachment and, oh. Huh. Badassbeau420 is kind of cute. The photo shows a girl with dark skin and bright eyes and quite a few piercings herself. She’s in the middle of doing a pull up on a set of monkey bars, and her T-shirt’s hiked up just enough to give a tantalizing preview of her abs. Clearly developed abs.
Molly notices her looking and groans. “Yasha! Are you serious?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Please don’t tell me you find her hot. 420 is in her username. She sent us a wink emoji. And do you realize she just has this photo of herself immediately on hand—it’s probably her lock screen!”
“I mean,” says Yasha, “it’s a nice photo.”
“She probably owns a ‘SUNS OUT GUNS OUT’ shirt.”
“Probably,” she agrees.
Molly makes an indignant noise, grabbing the laptop from her and doing that thing where he zooms in really close on a photo. A grainy image of Beau’s smirk fills the screen.
He jabs a finger at it. “Do you see this, Yasha?? This face. This is a douchey face.”
“Well,” says Yasha fairly, “you did just call me a fuckboy two minutes ago. We’re a perfect match.”
Molly flings himself backward on the mattress. Drama queen.
Beau scrolls through the Craigslist ad one last time before going to sleep. Yasha. She flips the name over in her head, letter by letter. Yasha. Towering tall, buff as fuck, has a criminal record, possibly owns a greatsword. Utterly unimpressed and could absolutely kill Beau with a flick of the wrist.
Beau has never seen a more perfect woman in her life.
Maybe there's hope for this weekend yet.