Monday, April 15, 2019
“I think my uterus is having a gay panic,” I mumbled, twisting so I could get a better angle at the weird stitches that had started up right in the hollows of my hips. The feeling had started as soon as Laurel and I left the bookstore, but I managed to wait a good few paces before I decided it was probably far enough away from the Elf, and I could stop worrying about whether or not she would be able to eavesdrop.
Laurel rolled her eyes, her nose twitched once displeasedly, and she side-eyed me with a skeptical frown.
“Seriously, I think it’s just now realizing it’s useless. Cute Elves, man.”
“Really would love not hearing about that, sis,” she snorted, scowling and a little lost in thought. 
“So,” I drawled, poking lightly at one of her hands, which was dangling half in, half out, of her jeans’ front pocket. “What was the look for?” Her thumb tucked itself into her pocket as she answered in a -suddenly, suspiciously, cheery tone, trying to act nonchalant and failing miserably- -tone that had all the warbling confidence of something forced flat between her teeth- passive tone that had the barely noticeable quiver of something stretched too thin.
“What look?” She leveled a decently cheery smile at me that was all too familiarly her customer service face. I narrowed my eyes. I knew she knew I was onto her, but I was just a little interested in how she’d take the attention.
“You have a look. You had a look, when you saw Lydia, and you have a look now that I’m bringing it up.”
She grumbled something under her breath, and shook her head, letting her weak attempt at diverting me fade with a drawn-out sigh, “you didn’t even look at the link I sent you, did you?”
“Of course not. You know how I feel about reading. Why?” Laurel rolled her eyes, gesturing toward her car that was parked on a nearby street corner.
“I’ll tell you about it in the car.”
I knew she was trying to hide something. She’d always say she’d tell me about it in the car when she didn’t actually want to tell me about it (whatever the it of the situation came to be).
By the time we were getting into the car, she’d gotten me effectively distracted. It’s not like that was really hard, especially for her; I honestly had the attention span of a goldfish, and she always knew how to take of it.
“How did you end up breaking your wing?” She mumbled as she was turning on the car.
“I fell on it after I like, accidentally like, how do I even,” I groaned, “you know how I’ve been having trouble with my magic?”
“Yes. Obviously. I sent you an entire article you didn’t bother to read.”
“Yes, that. I like, blew up? A bit? I’m not entirely sure what happened. I was like, about to like, smack her leg because she did, ah, something, and then just flash, bang, I’m on the floor and we’re both kind of looking at each other like what the fuck just happened.“
“That’s,” Laurel scowled at the road, tapping her little finger against the wheel thoughtfully. “That would actually make a lot more sense.” She mumbled; she said it while chewing on her lip, so it was a bit muffled and I don’t think she really said it for me to hear.
“Than what? About what?”
“Nothing. I’ll tell you about it later.” I rolled my eyes. We both knew she probably wouldn’t tell me about it later. “So, the sparking, you think it only happens around her?”
“Well, yeah, I guess. It hasn’t happened anywhere else yet, so,” I shrugged and went to look through the glove compartment for a distraction. Gum or candy, preferably; something so I could get away with not talking.
“Stop that,” she smacked my thigh, still looking ahead as she drove. By now, I think it was more habit than anything else that made her accurate even when she wasn’t looking. “How’d the rest of the date go?”
“Not a date, apparently. Not not a date, but like, not a date. She said she’d like to go on a date, but this wasn’t supposed to be a date.”
“Mm,” Laurel’s finger tapped a bit slower. “You’re lucky I understand anything you say.”
“So why were you looking at her weird when you got in?”
“I told you, I’ll tell you later. How do you plan on explaining the wing thing to mom and dad?”
“Fuck,” moaning, I pulled the lever to move my seat-back into a recline and went as far as I dared without putting too much pressure on my bent wing. “Big sweaters? Flightless February? Maybe I gained weight? Dad would never fuck with that excuse.”
“It’s April and your last molt finished less than three weeks ago. You know they’re going to find out eventually.”
“I have exactly one sibling. They better not find out.” Laurel rolled her eyes.
“I’m not the weak link here. You should probably just tell them now.” Her fingers started pattering against the wheel again, and she added as an afterthought, “did she tell you anything else about her job?”
“Oh! Yes!” I brought my seatback upright and yelped a little when my broken wing twisted a little too far and the shell dug into the soft, vascular membrane between layers. Righting myself with a sheepish smile, I continued. “She said it’s like zoology, but she doesn’t like to call it that. Something about Centaurs not taking it well. Said she wanted to study me —me as a Fairy, not like me me.” Laurel grimaced and side-eyed me, more than a little put off by the information. “Shut up, not like that. She wants my help to like get her in touch with people who know more about Fairies.”
“And study you.” She stated, still unconvinced.
“LJ, you’re cute when you’re protective, but seriously, I think she’s fine. She was also, like, I’m pretty sure she was actually flirting today. I think she was flirting. Like, she definitely wasn’t not flirting.” I rolled my lip between my teeth to try and hide a smile, absentmindedly pressing again at the tingling ache in my side. Laurel’s eyes snapped in my direction, and her lips twitched together thoughtfully. She brought her hand up and nibbled at her thumb knuckle, mumbling something I couldn’t catch.
“Is she even single? Did you ask? From what I’ve heard, Elves do a lot of... exploring and I know how you get.” Laurel’s tone was gentle, but firm enough to make her worry clear. -“Uh, no? I mean, for god’s sake LJ, I’m just a fucking mess around her, do you really think I’d actually be able to remember to ask her, and then actually ask her, if she’s single?- I choked a couple of times on answers that were half put together, tossing words around in my head; how you don’t just ask people if they’re sleeping around, how of course I didn’t ask, I’m a total wreck around her, how I’m entirely capable of making judgments for myself, thank you very much. None of which really managed to get out of my mouth, as my brain function was overridden by the hot embarrassment that rushed up my neck.
Laurel shot an exasperated stare at me as she came up to a stop sign. The annoyance, however, did little to cover the concern that twisted at the corner of her lips and brought her eyebrows together into a worried furrow.
“Look, I want this to go well for you —really, I do— but realistically, you don’t know this woman hardly at all and she could have any number of skeletons in her closet that you just don’t know about. All I’m saying is just, just be careful, okay? I know you like her, and I know you want to, but you really can’t jump headfirst into any sort of relationship with a two hundred year old Elf that may have a completely different agenda.” If it weren’t Laurel saying it, I probably wouldn’t have listened at all, but she was and I did, and it definitely soured some of the residual high of emotions that had been slowly fizzling out until now. The thought pulled at my insides, and I wrapped my arms around my stomach with a barely suppressed groan.
“You okay?” She asked lightly, no longer looking at me as she continued driving.
“Yeah, ‘m good. Just cramps. Told you it was PMS.” I ruffled my hair a little, admittedly a bit of a nervous tick, and sighed out deeply. “Not looking forward to taking care of my wing, though, or explaining it to mom and dad. Ugh, do you think there is any possible way I get out of this without explaining the whole sparking problem? Or bringing up Lydia? Seriously, they’d go completely insane if they found out I was with an Elf today.” Laurel made a squeaking sound in the back of her throat, starting to tell me it wouldn’t be so bad, and I stared dubiously at the side of her face. She groaned.
“Alright, what do you want me to say? The fact that you went out with anyone at all is one thing, but going out with an Elf? You definitely dug yourself a hole, sis.”