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The History of Art and Other Things

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For the life of her, Lindsey Horan cannot believe she has a girlfriend. Like, she knows she does—she was obviously there when it happened—but it still doesn’t feel real. It feels too good to be true.

For the first time in a while, Lindsey doesn’t feel like she’s stuck in some sort of horrible situation that just keeps getting worse the more she looks at it. She’s just happy.  

 

-

 

8:07am

lindsey 🥰: good morning :)

sonny 💛: good morning, beautiful

How did you sleep?

lindsey 🥰: honestly, I had a hard time going to sleep bc I was so excited

sonny 💛: excited about what?

lindsey 🥰: about you, silly

 

-

 

Lindsey knows she needs to tell people, Mal mostly, but Kelley and Alex would both probably kill her if they didn’t find out soon. Maybe she should tell Chris too—after all, they’re really only together now because of her. She resolves to tell Kelley and Alex now, because she can already hear them downstairs arguing about who makes better vegan food (again), and then Mal when they meet for coffee before their respective 9:30 classes, and then Chris will have to wait until practice this afternoon. That is, if Kelley and Alex don’t just tell everyone within five seconds of finding out, first. 

Oh and eventually she should tell her parents. That would probably be a good idea. 

In all honesty, she doesn’t have any idea how her parents will feel about her dating a girl. She assumes they’ll be fine with it—she’s told them about being bisexual and they were fine with it— but obviously she’s never actually told them about dating a girl, so she feels justified in being nervous about it. 

But that’s not a problem for right now Lindsey, that’s a problem for future Lindsey. 

She makes her way downstairs, practically prancing into the kitchen, and just stands there smiling dopily until Kelley and Alex notice her.

It takes a few moments (vegan food debates are very serious).

Alex notices her first. “Looks like you’re having a good morning, Linds.”

“Yeah, what’s got you smiling so much so early in the morning? You’re usually preparing to bite my head off at this time,” Kelley chuckles. 

Lindsey rocks up on to her toes excitedly, “I just had a good night last night.” She smiles wryly. 

Kelley raises her eyebrows, “Oh? Are you going to expand on that thought?”

“Well…” the blonde pauses for dramatic effect, “ I have a girlfriend now.”

Kelley and Alex gasp in unison, before Kelley squeals and runs over to engulf Lindsey in a crushing hug, while Alex starts jumping up and down yelling, “Oh, my God! Congratulations!! Ahhh! This is so exciting!” 

She does her best to hug Kelley back, but she’s gripping Lindsey so tightly that she can barely move her arms, so it ends up being more of a light pat to Kelley’s side. 

“Thanks guys. I’m very happy about it!” Lindsey’s face splits into a giant grin. 

“Yeah, I can tell,” Kelley finally lets her iron grip around Lindsey drop as she takes a step back. “This is the happiest I’ve seen you in a while Linds. Like genuine happiness. Not just, like, because you scored a goal or something.”

“Yeah, Linds, you’re practically glowing,” Alex agrees. 

Lindsey would have to agree as well. 

 

-

 

Telling Mal goes about the same. Lindsey can’t hide her happiness so Mal asks her about it almost instantly, then Lindsey tells her about Sonny and Mal screams (and so many people in the dining hall look at them weirdly), and then there’s a lot of hugging and excitement before they have to go to class. 

(Lindsey hopes there’s nothing too important going on in her Computer Programming class today, as she’s not exactly in the mood to think about anything other than the little crinkles Sonny gets at the corner of her eyes when she smiles and how deep they were last night when Lindsey asked to be her girlfriend.)

 

-

 

Sonny’s already waiting for her outside Starbucks when Lindsey gets there that afternoon. 

“Hi,” Lindsey greets her girlfriend brightly. 

Sonny intertwines their fingers together and then uses that as leverage to pull Lindsey into her, kissing her affectionately. “Hi,” she parrots back to Lindsey when they separate. 

Once they’re settled inside, with their coffees and their Art History study materials spread out around them, Sonny scoots her chair in close to Lindsey’s, wrapping one hand around the back of her chair and placing her other hand lightly on Lindsey’s knee. It feels a little possessive, and Lindsey’s absolutely obsessed with how that makes her stomach flutter and her heart pound. The feeling’s intoxicating. 

“Okay, so,” Sonny nods toward the study guide on the table, “what do you want to go over first?”

Lindsey hums, “Well I don’t know anything about Early Medieval or Romanesque, because those are the classes I skipped.”

“Oops,” Sonny giggles. 

“Yeah, oops,” Lindsey smiles back at her. “So I guess we start there.”

Sonny launches into her explanation on Medieval art, how it revolves around religion and specializes in angular and imperfect shapes, and Lindsey absorbs most of it, luckily. But when Sonny leans in even closer to her to look at the next question on the study guide, and Lindsey can smell the lightly spicy fragrance Sonny’s wearing and her voice comes out a little low and close to Lindsey’s ear and then every thought that’s not “oh my god I have a girlfriend now” leaves her head immediately. 

Then, she notices that Sonny’s looking at her expectantly and realizes she must have missed something. “What?” Lindsey asks dumbly, and Sonny breathes out a laugh. Lindsey looks down guiltily, “Sorry, it’s hard to focus when you’re, like, this close to me.”

“Oh? And why would that be?” Sonny questions cheekily.

Lindsey leans in just slightly so she can peck her girlfriend’s lips. “Because you’re kinda pretty. And you smell kinda nice. And I kinda like you.”

“Only kinda?”

“Well I mean, we did just start dating yesterday. Kinda soon to be admitting everything I feel about you.” Lindsey watches as Sonny’s blue-grey eyes light up with every word she says. 

“Everything, huh?” 

Lindsey nods, and Sonny leans in again for a quick kiss.

“Yeah well, call me a lesbian stereotype but I already feel a whole lotta things for you as well,” Sonny says genuinely. “Now, I really hate to break up this feelings sesh, babe, but I was trying to ask you about characteristics of Romanesque cathedrals.”

Lindsey laughs. “Yeah, I have absolutely no clue, babe.” It feels good to call Sonny that. Sonny, her girlfriend. 

 

-

 

Lindsey was wrong about one thing, and it’s that Kelley and Alex did not tell everyone before practice. However, they did make it their mission to tell everyone during practice, starting by loudly greeting her in the locker room as Lindsey with a girlfriend — and then making sure everyone already there knew they weren’t joking and she actually had a girlfriend—and continuing by asking anyone in their vicinity during warmups if they were aware that Lindsey has a girlfriend now— including Coach Sinclair and all the assistant coaches. 

Which means Lindsey doesn’t really have a chance to tell Christen herself, but she catches her after practice. 

“Linds! Hey I’m so glad everything worked out between you and Sonny.”

Lindsey grins. “Me too. And thanks, again, for that.”

“Well, Tobin spoke so highly of her, I just really didn’t want you to miss out on an opportunity to get to know her better.” Christen reaches out to rub the blonde’s upper arm comfortingly. 

“Hey, uh, speaking of Tobin, are y’all dating yet?”

Christen blushes. “Not officially, no.”

“What’s taking so long?” Lindsey asks teasingly. 

“Well, Tobin’s just kinda shy. I don’t know, I just don’t want to scare her off or anything.”

Lindsey hums understandingly. “Yeah, I get that. She kinda has to come to you. But when she does, I want to be the first to know!”

“Of course, Linds,” Christen laughs. “Even though I obviously wasn’t the first person you told!”

“I can’t help that Kelley and Alex live with me! They were the most convenient!” Lindsey’s laughing too.

When the giggling calms down, Christen looks at her sincerely. “I’m really happy for you. You look happy.”

“I am happy.”

 

-

 

Lindsey’s never meddled in anything ever before. Lindsey keeps to her business. Lindsey likes soccer, and math, and now Sonny. Lindsey doesn’t like doing things behind people’s backs. 

But…

If it weren’t for Christen’s meddling, Lindsey would probably still be very sad and pathetic and also most likely failing Art History. So it only feels right for Lindsey to fire off a quick message to Sonny when she gets back to the soccer house after practice. 

 

6:47pm

lindsey 🥰: how would you feel about suggesting to Tobin that she ask Christen to be her girlfriend? 

Chris is worried about asking before Tobin’s ready

 

She just wants Christen to be as happy as she is. Wants her to have someone in the same way she has Sonny. She wants to have a couple they can go on cute double dates with.

 

sonny 💛: hmm, what do I get out of this deal? 😉

lindsey 🥰: my eternal gratitude…

Maybe a few kisses

sonny 💛: only a few?

imho, this type of favor requires many kisses

lindsey 🥰: ugh you’re impossible

I’ll give you as many kisses as you want

Just please ask Tobin about it

sonny 💛: your offer has been accepted

As many kisses as I want in exchange for me pestering Tobin

Can I have a kiss now?

lindsey 🥰: only if you come here

I don’t feel like moving

 

-

 

Between soccer, studying for the art history test, hanging out with Sonny, and all Lindsey’s other class work, it’s not until Saturday night that she gets some time to call her parents. 

She’s tucked into her bed with the chicken and veggie rice bowl that she persuaded Kelley to make for the both of them—she said she would help as a compromise, but she really just ended up sitting at the kitchen counter and stirring the rice a few times—when she hits call on her mom’s phone number. 

“Hey, Linds,” her mom greets her, “let me go grab Dad, he’s just right outside doing some yard work.”

Lindsey listens to the faint sound of the door opening and her mom calling out to her dad, and then the returning pair of footsteps. 

“Lindsey!” Her dad’s booming voice comes through her phone speaker. 

“Hey dad, hey mom. How’s everything going at home?”

She listens as her parents wax poetic about the new garden her dad’s planting in their backyard and the dinner they had last night with her brother and his fiancé, stuffing her mouth with her dinner and managing muffled noises of acknowledgement in between bites. 

And then the conversation turns to her.

“And how are you, Linds?” Her dad asks, clearly with a little bit of urgency to get her mom to stop talking about them and actually check in with her daughter. 

“Oh, I’m doing good. We have a bye this weekend for games and then two games next week, so I’m just trying to relax because I know next week‘ll be crazy. And I have a big Art History test on Monday so I’ll be studying a bunch for that this weekend.”

“How’s the studying going? I know you found that class pretty difficult at the beginning of the semester,” her mom prods. 

Lindsey takes a deep breath—she knows this is her segue to get to talking about Sonny. “Yeah, it’s actually been going well. Do you remember how I told you I have a TA for that class?” Her parents make noises of confirmation before she continues. “Well, she’s been helping me out a lot with tutoring and making sure I know the material. I’ll probably ask her to do another session with me this weekend before the test.”

“Oh that’s great, Linds! You’ll have to let us know how the test goes,” her dad exclaims. 

“Yeah, I will, but—” Lindsey can hear her heartbeat in her ears, “um, there’s something else I should tell you. About her—uh, my TA.”

“What’s up, hon?” Her mom’s voice is gentler than normal, seeming to sense her hesitation. 

“Well, um, we’ve actually gotten really close outside of class, too. Like, not just at tutoring, and um, well—” Lindsey swallows, “we’re actually dating. Like, um, she’s my girlfriend.”

She’s met by silence on the other end of the line until her mom says, “Oh.” And then there’s more silence. Lindsey can only imagine the looks her parents are giving each other, trying to silently have a conversation about how they’re supposed to react. Meanwhile, the longer she waits for a response, the closer she’s getting to tears, just wanting her parents' approval. 

“Well I think that’s great, Linds,” her dad says. 

Her mom however, let’s out a frustrated humph. “This isn’t really that serious though, is it?”

Lindsey’s stunned by that reaction, and her dad seems to be too, if the way he warns “Linda,” under his breath is any indication. “Mom, I—yeah, I really like her.”

“But you’re not going to, like, marry her,” her mom’s tone has changed drastically since before Lindsey said anything about Sonny, becoming harsher, more like an accusation. 

Lindsey can feel hot tears pricking at the corners of her eyes, but she wipes them with her sleeve and tries to keep her voice even as she responds, “I don’t know, Mom, we just started dating.”

“Linds—” comes her dad’s voice, but he’s cut off by her mom. 

“I don’t understand though. You’re supposed to be able to still date men, Linds. You can still be normal, honey, right?”

Lindsey’s at a complete loss for words. “…What?”

“Well, bisexuals also like boys, right? So I just don’t understand why you want to put yourself through this whole gay thing if you can just date men. That’s all.”

“Linda,” her dad warns again, “let’s not—”

But it’s Lindsey who interrupts him this time. “You say that like being gay is a bad thing. Is that what you think? Is that the only reason you were okay with me when I came out to you because you thought it meant I wouldn’t actually want to date women?” There are tears trailing down her cheeks by now, and she sniffles before she wipes them away again with her sleeve. 

“Well, I—”

Lindsey doesn’t really want to hear any more. “No, Mom, I’m gonna go. I really don’t want to hear this right now.” She hangs up the phone without saying anything else and falls back against her pillows, racking with sobs. 

 

-

 

7:18pm

Dad: Linds I’m so sorry

I’ll talk to her

I love you

 

It’s a small consolation. Lindsey likes all of his messages, but doesn’t respond. 

Instead, she calls Sonny. 

 

-

 

Sonny shows up at her house a half hour later with a pint of cookie dough ice cream. 

She listens attentively as Lindsey explains what her mom said, stammering through the aftermath of her tearful breakdown. She pulls Lindsey in to her and traces comforting patterns on the taller girl’s arm, kissing her forehead and cheeks and hand gently. She hands Lindsey a spoon and the ice cream and tells her to eat, it’ll make you feel better

Sonny doesn’t try to brush away Lindsey’s hurt (she can’t help but thinking that Russel absolutely would have), just holds her and soothes words against her hairline like I’m so sorry, babe and We’ll figure this out together and I hate you had to go through that. 

Lindsey falls asleep to the rhythm of Sonny’s breathing and the melody of her voice. She falls asleep because she feels safe, and warm, and comfortable here with Sonny’s body pressed up against hers, Sonny’s thumb stroking across her hip, Sonny’s legs tangled between hers. 

She falls asleep knowing that, no matter what her mom wants, this is going to be a serious thing. 

 

-

 

She blinks awake only about an hour later—her body has a weird thing about not being able to go to sleep unless she’s actually ready for bed—and Sonny’s still pressed up against her, making very cute, quiet snoring noises. Lindsey smiles to herself as she just allows herself a moment to trace all of her girlfriend’s features with her eyes, taking in the faint indents of her smile lines and the freckles that are scattered across her face. There’s one just below her eye at the crease of her nose that’s a little darker than all the rest, and Lindsey leans forward to gently kiss it.

Sonny twitches a little bit at the sensation, but seems to stay asleep, so Lindsey decides to just continue laying there, thinking, for a little longer before she wakes her up. 

She thinks she’s most hurt by the fact that her mom’s support was so conditional. They could have figured this issue out a long time ago if Lindsey had known, had been able to tell her mom that she saw herself dating girls in the future, maybe even marrying a girl. Then she wouldn’t have to be dealing with it now, with the girl staring her right in the face. It feels more like a rejection because there’s a real human attached to the hurt, instead of just an imaginary concept that Lindsey can argue with her mom about all day long.

Her thoughts are interrupted when she feels Sonny moving beside her, slowly waking up as well, as if she can sense that Lindsey’s thinking about her. She yawns and clumsily reaches for Lindsey’s hand, still half-asleep.

“How’re you feeling, babe?” She asks groggily.

Lindsey hums, “Still pretty bad, but I think at least I’m all cried out.”

Sonny scootches in even closer so she can bury her head in Lindsey’s shoulder and throw an arm around her waist. “Are you going home for fall break?” It comes out muffled against Lindsey’s skin.

Fuck. She hadn’t even thought about that. She has a ticket back to Denver for next Thursday, and now she doesn’t know if she wants to go home so soon. Lindsey sighs, “I’m supposed to be. Don’t really think I want to now though.” She toys nervously with the fabric of Sonny’s shirt.

“Do you, um, I—I was just planning on staying here, so…” Sonny tilts her head up so she’s looking at Lindsey’s face, “If you want, um, you’re welcome to stay here with me.”

Lindsey softens at Sonny’s apparent nervousness and tilts her head down so she can kiss her girlfriend. “I would actually really like that.” She settles back so Sonny’s head is resting against her neck again and thinks for a moment. “Although, I was kind of looking forward to leaving campus.”

Sonny nods, her hair tickling a little bit at Lindsey’s neck. “Mmm. We could go somewhere. Not like a big somewhere, just like a little somewhere.”

“Ooh, I like that idea. You know, I’ve always wanted to go to Seattle. And it’s so close to us, but I’ve still never made it up there.”

“I can make that happen,” Sonny shifts against her again so she can look into Lindsey’s eyes. “Let’s do it, babe.”

Lindsey can’t help the giddy grin that spreads across her face. She brought up something she’s always wanted to do, and at the drop of a hat, Sonny wants to make it happen for her. “Really? I don’t need to, like, sell you on it, or something?”

“Nope, I want to make this happen for you.”

“Well, can I, like, help plan at all?”

Sonny kisses at Lindsey’s jaw a couple times before speaking. “Nope, you’ve got an art history test and two soccer games to think about. Just let me do this for you.”

It’s so many emotions all at once for Lindsey. Gratitude. Affection. Relief. She can’t even begin to speak words that could convey how much this means to her. It feels like the only way to properly thank her girlfriend is to tilt her chin up and kiss her deeply, passionately, lovingly until Sonny understands the gravity of Lindsey’s emotions.

And so that’s what she does.