The Queer Society’s big Reopening Party is essentially a room full of glitter, disco balls and catchy pop music. They have rented out the student club on the Social Science Campus and decorated it in rainbow colours and flags representing all the different sexualities and gender identities.
People are drinking, talking, dancing or a combination of the above. A guy in shorts with rainbow suspenders is making out with a person in a unicorn-onesie in the corner and nobody is paying them any mind.
It’s essentially a wild night.
Beau is leaning against the wall watching her friend and flatmate chatter excitedly to a girl on green glitter crutches with long dark hair that has rainbow-coloured ribbons woven into it. The girl seems a bit flustered but smiling and nodding along, probably not being able to get a word in anyway.
Jester has always been better at the social stuff than Beau. She’s also been a part of the Academy’s Queer Society since the beginning of their studies, not caring about the fact that the university building that contains the group’s meeting space had been under renovations during their first semester and the group had been forced to meet elsewhere.
Adding to that, core members of the group had just graduated and for the first time in Zadash’s Academy history, the Queer Society was without a committee. Beau had been to a meeting in a café during her first month at the Academy, dragged along by Jester. But as it turns out, rebuilding the Queer Society just seemed to be a lot of responsibility that Beau wasn’t ready for.
She has a scholarship to fulfil, after all. At least that’s what she tells herself. Her studies for her Bachelor of Arts in History have been fairly easy so far and she’s been taking additional classes with the PoliSci students as well as participating in university sports. She’s been steering clear of any Student Politic groups and keeping to herself most of the time.
Which turns out to be a problem just about now.
Her eyes scan the room to see if there’s anyone she might know and could talk to as to not make it seem to Jester like she doesn’t have any friends.
Fjord is helping out at the bar, serving drinks to guests because the student club underestimated the amount of people that would show up and only supplied one bartender. Fjord, who’s worked in a bar before and who would never say no to Jester’s pleas for help, quickly jumped in when the problem became evident about one hour into the party.
But him helping out means Beau can’t exactly hang with him because he’s working and Beau is a grown-up who should be able to meet new people on her own.
Something sparkly catches her eye, which is something to say in a room full of glitter and disco balls. It’s probably the tackiest piece of clothing Beau has ever seen, a rainbow-coloured sequined blazer that actually looks more like a ringmaster coat on second glance. The person wearing it has their back to her but she recognises the purple hair.
God she absolutely definitely does not want to talk to Mollymauk.
Mollymauk, who’s good friends with Jester, who sometimes shows up at their flat to hang out with Jes and craft posters for the Queer Society to hang up in the Academy’s hallways because where else would they work since they don’t have a space yet?
Mollymauk, who she constantly gets into arguments with over stupid political stuff when he’s sticking around for dinner.
Mollymauk who is so blatantly queer that you should get your eyes checked if you can’t see it.
Mollymauk, who is currently talking to a very tall, very pale and very buff girl that Beau might have seen around martial arts class a few times but has been too awkward to talk to. And who she definitely won’t talk to tonight because fuck no, she’s not gonna make a fool of herself in front of Mollymauk Tealeaf.
“How’s it going?”
A familiar voice pulls her out of her thoughts and she looks to her left, wondering how Keg has managed to sneak up on her. She’s usually not very stealthy.
“Eh,” Beau just shrugs and doesn’t really know what else to say.
Things have been kind of awkward with Keg since that house party at the beginning of their first semester. That party where they both got drunk and then fucked in an empty bathtub. It was good but they had both agreed that it had been a one-time-thing.
And that would’ve been all, if Keg hadn’t shown up at same elective class on social justice the next week and turned out to be just as socially awkward as Beau when not completely drunk.
“I got some booze if you want some,” Keg offers and Beau finally turns back to look at her. “Y’know, since the stuff here is way too overpriced.”
“Fuck, yeah, okay.”
Keg hands her a flask and Beau quickly looks over at the bar to see if Fjord is looking before taking a swig. It burns on the way down and Beau can’t tell exactly what it is but it’s definitely something hard.
“Thanks,” she mutters, handing the flask back. “Didn’t exactly pick you to be the person to show up at this kind of party.”
“Come on, I’m bi as fuck, why wouldn’t I?” Keg tags a swig from her flask as well before slipping it back in one of her cargo pants pockets.
“Don’t know, just seems like glitter and unicorns and rainbows isn’t exactly your thing.”
“It’s not yours either, is it?”
The abrupt stopping of the music and the crackling of sound distract both Keg and Beau from their barely-existent conversation. Across the room, Jester has climbed up on one of the speaker boxes, microphone in hand.
“Hi everyone!”, she shouts, waving excitedly and completely forgetting that she’s holding a microphone. The speakers deliver her voice way too loud, making a few people wince and cover their ears.
“Thank you all for coming to our party tonight to celebrate the Grand Reinstatement of the Queer Society at the Soltryce Academy in Zadash! We’re so excited to have you all here celebrating with us and we hope that this means there’s gonna be more people joining us in the future because we’ll be having weekly meetings in our newly renovated space in the student society building here on campus again and it’s gonna be more organised and everything.”
There’s cheers and wolf-whistles from the crowd but Jester doesn’t let that faze her in her speech.
“For those of you who don’t know us, we are an official student group for all kinds of marginalised sexual orientations and gender identities, everyone is welcome, even if you’re just an ally or still questioning, it doesn’t matter. Everyone is welcome! You can find info flyers lying around at the bar and on the info table next to the entrance! We have meetings every week on Thursdays at 7PM and we talk about queer stuff and the queer agenda and how we’re gonna take over the world – I’m kidding. I’m KIDDING!”
Beau chuckles because as much as Jester tries to be all representative and official, she’s still quirky Jester who doesn’t think a whole lot before she speaks and sometimes just says what comes to her mind. Which also contains-
“There’s gonna be DOUGHNUTS next week!”
Which causes more whoops and cheers from the crowd and Jester is about to climb down from her improvised pedestal when the girl with the crutches, who is standing close by, says something to her and Jester gets back up again.
“One last thing, Cali just reminded me to mention that the renovation of the student society building wouldn’t have been possible without the generous donation from our very own queer Academy Alumni Taryon Darrington, who unfortunately couldn’t be here today but sent us a signed copy of his novel, The Daring Trials and Tribulations of Sir Taryon Darrington, for our open library. Thank you!”
The music resumes and Beau turns to say something to Keg but she’s already gone, vanished into the crowd. Fuck.
She could just bail now, she’s stuck around long enough and Jester is probably distracted enough that she won’t notice. Maybe she can check some supermarkets on the way home, go dumpster diving and save them some money they would spend on food. Beau isn’t scared of walking home alone in the dark, she knows her self defence and she’s faster and more agile than a lot of people.
But before she can make a decision, Jester herself is standing in front of her, grinning at her, her blue curls a halo around her face.
“Come dance with me”, she says, pulling on Beau’s arm. Beau whines.
The thing is, Jester has these big dark blue eyes, the same colour she’s dyed her hair, and when she looks at Beau long enough with just a hint of a pout, Beau can’t help but cave most of the time. And Jester knows that. She cocks her head a little to the side and-
Beau gets pulled onto the dance floor and Jester doesn’t let go of her until they’re standing in front of the girl she’s been chatting to before.
“Beau, this is Calianna”, she introduces, almost shouting over the music. “Cali, this is Beau, my flatmate, remember?”
“Jester has told me so much about you!”
“Oh.” Beau doesn’t know how to respond to that because she knows nothing about Calianna except for the fact that she’s apparently friends with Jester and she uses crutches. “What happened to your legs?”
“Oh, you know, they just didn’t want to cooperate today.”
Calianna laughs like she just made a joke but Beau is still kind of confused. Before she can ask any questions though, Jester interrupts her.
It takes a lot of effort for Beauregard not to groan and she refuses to turn around to face Molly who has apparently appeared somewhere behind her.
“Jester, darling, your speech was amazing!”
He swoops in, kisses first a beaming Jester and then a blushing Calianna on the cheek. They seem to all know each other, so Beau deducts that Cali must be part of the Queer Society as well. Finally, Molly turns towards her.
“Hello Beauregard”, he says, cocking an eyebrow.
“Hi Asshole”, she replies because she’s still not over the last time he had to one-up her in an argument.
“Beau!” Jester sounds less offended and more reprimanding, because she knows that her two friends just can’t seem to get along for some reason.
Beau couldn’t tell her if her life depended on it, something about Mollymauk just doesn’t sit right with her and it’s not even a love-hate thing (Beau has had those and they usually end in super hot sex, something she would never ever pursue with Molly because ew), it’s just constant disagreement and pretending not to care about what the other person thinks. They’re definitely not friends, despite what other people think.
“Charming”, Molly replies with a cocked eyebrow. “This is my friend Yasha.”
He gestures behind himself where the tall, pale woman Beau has seen him with earlier has followed him through the crowd. Her dark hair looks almost unnatural against her light skin and she seems to be a bit uncomfortable in the crowd, giving a short and awkward wave when Mollymauk introduces her.
But holy shit she’s hot.
The few times Beauregard has seen Yasha before was from across the room, never this close, and she’s doubling down on the fact that she can’t talk to this goddess of a woman in front of Mollymauk because she would just say something embarrassing.
Like how beautiful her eyes are, heterochromatic, one a more dark blue and the other tending towards a blue-green colouring. Beau tries not to stare and fails but thankfully Jester distracts everyone by turning towards the newcomer with an excited smile.
“Hi Yasha, it’s so nice to meet you!”
She stretches out her arms but Mollymauk stops her before she can reach his friend. “Remember what we talked about?”
“Oh, sorry. Is it okay if I hug you, Yasha?”
Yasha still looks slightly uncomfortable when Jester wraps her arms around her, grinning up at her, but manages to return the smile.
“Come meet my friends!” Jester tugs Yasha into the circle that they are forming now. “This is Calianna, she’s in the Queer Society with Molly and me-” “Hello...” “-and this is Beau, my flatmate!”
Beau crosses her arms in front of her chest, trying to look cool but failing miserably because she fumbles for a second before finding a way to comfortably fit her limbs together. Molly is chuckling next to her and she glares at him.
“So what do you study, Yasha?”, Jester asks, delighted by the simple fact of meeting a new person.
“History”, Beau interjects quickly before Jester can take over the conversation. “That is- I study. History. Maybe we have some classes in common.”
Everybody is looking at her now and she can feel her face heating up from embarrassment. She did exactly what she promised herself she wouldn’t do – put her foot in her mouth in front of Mollymauk Tealeaf. And a beautiful and hot girl that he brought along.
“Yes”, Yasha says, looking at her curiously. “Maybe.”
“Anyway, gotta go”, Beau blurts out and turns around, beelining directly towards the bar where Fjord is still handing out soda and beer.
“I need my stuff”, she shouts over the music.
Fjord looks confused. “Just come ‘round the back, it’s open.”
They have left their bags in the back room behind the bar, before the party had started and Beau quickly slinks through the door, grabbing her sackpack from the table where she has left it when she’d arrived, mutters an excuse towards Fjord who pops his head in from the bar area and leaves the building without looking back.
- ♠ ♥ ♦ ♣ -
The flat’s front door opens roughly an hour after Beau has come home but she doesn’t move from her place, face down on her bed in her room, wallowing in self-pity.
She can hear the muffled sounds of Fjord and Jester talking, Jester’s excited squeal when she (presumably) finds the box of very squashed but still very much edible doughnuts that Beau has saved from the supermarket bin on her way home. Among other things, like fruits and vegetables, but Jester couldn’t care less about those.
It’s amazing sometimes how much the Zadash supermarkets throw away that is still perfectly fine for eating. And for someone like Beau who has no quarrel climbing fences and sneaking around security cameras, dumpster diving is not just a cheap and easy food source, it’s a political statement.
She’s been trying to convince her friends to come with but Fjord’s been too chicken and Jester doesn’t like to get her hands dirty, not even wearing gloves. Her martial arts instructor Dairon had accompanied her on one occasion when they’d run into each other a few weeks ago, but they’re not really friends and Beau knows enough about social norms that it would be weird to ask her again after one of their classes.
There’s a quick knock on her door and it carefully inches open just a second later.
“Beau? Are you okaaaaay?”
Beau groans in reply.
The door opens and closes and the bed dips under Jester’s weight.
“What’s wrong, grumpyface?”, she asks and flops down onto Beau whose groan is now one of discomfort rather than self-pity.
Jester hums and and nuzzles into Beau’s neck. “You smell nice.”
“Took a shower. Didn’t wanna smell like rubbish.”
“Thanks for the doughnuts. Even though technically you had to rummage through rubbish for it, technically.”
“You’re welcome. At least they’re- Ow, Jester, what the fuck?!”
Jester has sunken her teeth into her neck and Beau has never turned around so quickly, shoving the other girl halfway off her. Jester grins and Beau glares back.
“Tell me what’s wrong”, Jester repeats. “You left. Like in the middle of the party. Was it because of Molly?”
“No, it wasn’t ‘cause of Molly. Mollymauk can go fuck himself.”
“Oh! Was it because of his friend? Yashaaaaa?”
Beau doesn’t answer but that’s answer enough for Jester. Her grin turns even more devilish.
“You like her!”
“Shhhh!” Beau presses her hand against Jester’s mouth to stop her from proclaiming any more of her secrets so loud their neighbours can hear them. “Yeah, she’s hot, okay?”, she hisses. “Did you see her arms? She could fuck me against a wall and I would say thank you.”
“I could fuck you against a wall”, Jester says after she’s forcefully dragged Beau’s hand away from her mouth. “You just have to ask...”
Beau sighs and sinks back onto her pillow, fumbling around for another one to suffocate herself with.
Jester and her have this thing, a thing that can’t really be described as a relationship but also isn’t really just a friends with benefits deal. They had started out as simply flatmates, when Jester’s mum helped her rent a four-room-flat in one of the nicer parts of Zadash under the condition of getting some students to move in with her and share a small part of the costs with. They had met online, chatted back and forth even before the moving date and had become friends almost instantly when they had started living together.
Jester was an easy person to become friends with, with no boundary issues and always being honest about her feelings. After learning that her mother was The Ruby of the Sea, it had made perfect sense to Beau why Jester had no problems talking openly about sex and sexuality. And while Fjord often excused himself, a bit red-faced, when the sex talk in the kitchen got too much, Beau enjoyed her new friend’s openness.
They’d been lounging on the sofa in the living room, watching a movie, when Jester had turned to her with a curious look on her face. “Do you wanna kiss?”, she’d asked her, like it fell into the same category as “Do you wanna get take-out?” or “Do you wanna go to that party on Saturday?”. Beau had been confused for a moment. “Why?” “I just like kissing people.” “Okay.” They had ignored the TV the rest of the evening, making out on the sofa instead. And then things had just progressed from there.
“Beau?” Jester’s soft voice pulls her back into the present.
“You know it’s okay if you like her, right?” She’s rolled completely off of Beau now, lying next to her and resting her head in her hands. “This is just fun, right? If you wanna have a girlfriend, you can get yourself a girlfriend. I’m gonna be fine.”
“I know, Jes...” Beau lets out a sigh and rolls onto her side, facing the other girl. “That’s not the problem.”
Jes rolls onto her side, mimicking her. “What’s the problem, then?”
“I don’t know how to talk to girls-”
“You know how to talk to me.”
“Yeah, well, you’re Jester.”
“Thank you”, Jester says primly. “That is a very nice way of you to say you don’t have romantic feelings for me.”
“Hey, I still care, okay? I care- like- a lot.”
“I know. I’m just teasing.”
“And hey- you did really well on your speech tonight. Just wanted to say that.”
They both fall quiet for a moment, which is a rarity for Jester, smiling at each other. Finally, Beau is the one who breaks first, closing the distance and giving Jester a quick peck on the mouth. Jester makes a face.
“You smell like alcohol.”
“Shit, sorry.” Beau sits up immediately. “Forgot to brush my teeth.”
Jester rolls off the bed and brushes down her blue-and-white floral skirt. “Time for bed then.”
- ♠ ♥ ♦ ♣ -
They get ready for bed in the bathroom, standing next to each other in front of the mirror, Jester taking off her make-up and taking out her contact lenses while Beau brushes her teeth. Fjord drops in, cleaning his retainer and putting it in for the night before vanishing back into his bedroom and it’s just like any other night in their little shared flat.
Nobody says anything about Beau running off in the middle of a party any more and Jester leaves her to her own thoughts after kissing her goodnight for several minutes against Beau’s bedroom door and then vanishing into her own bedroom.
Beau lies awake in her own room for a long time, staring at the ceiling. How likely is it that she’ll run into Yasha again anyway? Martial Arts Class, maybe, but she’s been showing up irregularly (not that Beau pays attention). Some shared classes if she was actually right about that. Nothing where they would have to actually interact. And if so, Beau is gonna be totally cool next time. Just act like she doesn’t have an absolutely embarrassing crush.
Maybe she should ask Fjord. He’s helped her with social situations before. Despite the fact that he can get hopelessly flustered by Jester and her innuendos sometimes, he knows how to talk to people. He keeps her in check, reminds her when she’s being rude.
With a huff, Beau turns around onto her belly, burrowing her face into her pillow. She wouldn’t be Beauregard if she weren’t a disaster on occasion.