Muffy walked into the art room. It was colder than she remembered. She realized quickly it was her wardrobe. She wore a bathrobe and slippers. When class began, she'd be wearing nothing. It was her turn to model for the class. She hoped it went well.
The teacher gave a signal. Sketchbooks came out. Easels appeared. The smell of paint filled the air. Muffy let the robe fall off her shoulders. It formed a pile on the floor. Muffy got into position. She sat with a contemplative expression. She looked out the window. The campus of Elwood City Community College was filled with students. None looked inside. She was glad of it.
She felt eyes on her. She expected that much. But one classmate stared intensely. Muffy wondered if she was even painting. She sat by her sometimes. She normally didn't look that long. What was so different about today? Muffy didn't have time to worry about it. She stared out the window. She counted the seconds in her mind. How much longer? Her morality pleaded with her. Why would she get naked for an art class? It was for her grade but others refused. Why was she doing this?
It was soon over. As Muffy got back to her day, she smiled. She knew she'd enjoyed it.
Muffy found the letter in her bag. It was short. She didn't recognize the handwriting at first. She just knew it was from a girl. She had gotten a love note from a girl.
Muffy was nervous. Her parents were conservative. They'd flip just seeing the note. They were adamant against gay marriage. They weren't religious but her dad called it a sin. Married gays were living in sin. He was dead against it. His daughter having a female admirer would be trouble.
Muffy dismissed the first note. A few days later, the next came. She ignored it. She had no choice. Being gay wasn't a possibility for her. She couldn't let this girl get to her.
A week later, the girl approached her at the cafeteria. Muffy recognized her immediately. She was the girl from art class. She was the one who looked too long. Muffy blushed. She was embarrassed. The girl smiled to her, trying to comfort her. Muffy sighed, letting her sit beside her.
"Look, I know it's taboo around here, but I just wanted to see if I had a chance," she smiled. Muffy shook her head, "My dad would kill me. I'm sorry. It'll never work." The girl nodded, "It was worth a shot. I can't get you out of my head. I did a few portraits from the other day. Let me know if you want to see them." Muffy didn't. She stayed quiet. She took another chip from her bag. The girl nodded, "Okay, so you're not interested. I get it, okay? It's not easy being a lesbian around here, but it's who I am. I get that it's not for you. I won't pursue it again."
The girl left, but she'd gotten Muffy's attention. She at least wanted to see the portraits. No one else had shown her what they did of her. She wanted to know how she looked.
After class the next day, Muffy caught up with her. The girl was eager to show her the paintings. They were at her apartment. Muffy went with her. It was small but nice. Clutter was everywhere. The paintings of her were in a pile in the living room. Muffy didn't like the uncleanliness but she knew it was only for a moment.
The first picture depicted her in a red evening gown. She was smoking a cigarette with a fashionable filter. She looked impecable. Muffy was impressed. The second picture was the nude one for class. Muffy liked her curves, the shadows over her breasts. She was happy to see she looked good.
"I have a third, but it's explicit. Do you want to see it?" the girl asked. Muffy shrugged. What did that even mean? When she brought out the canvas, Muffy understood. They were naked together, fingers interlaced. The bed they were on was covered with rose petals. The painting was sexual. For some reason, Muffy really liked it.
"You're a good artist. What else have you done?" Muffy asked. The girl shrugged, "Just things. That's all I wanted to show you. I was really nervous about it, so maybe you could tell me what you thought." Muffy blushed, "I liked them all, even the last one. I...I come from one of those families. I'm sure you know the type. Even if I wanted to, I can't let them find out. But...maybe we could just go to dinner together. I'm really hungry right now and I hate eating alone-"
The girl accepted. She dressed and they went downtown. Elwood City had a lot of nice restaurants. The girl let Muffy picked. She chose a French place. They got a table and ordered drinks. They looked over the menus. It distracted them. Neither noticed Chip enter with his fiancé, a hot blonde from Florida. When they were done ordering, Muffy felt stares. The girl noticed she was uncomfortable.
"Hey, we're having dinner as friends. So it's just the two of us. Girls do that all the time, right? Let's talk about our weekend plans. I'm going to an art festival in Metropolis with some of the other art majors. You should totally come with if you're not doing anything else," she grinned. She sipped her wine.
Muffy nodded, "Sounds fun. I was just going to head home Saturday morning. Mom has some mail for me, some packages. I don't trust my landlord with them, so I just pick them up from home." The girl nodded, "I get you. My landlord's creepy mom used to open my mail until I complained to the post master. They almost arrested her, but she's like eighty-billion or something, so they let her off with a warning. She hasn't done it to me since, just the neighbors who refused to stand up to her. I think she just does it to fuck with people," she laughed. She eyed Muffy, "Are you listening to me?"
"Yeah, eighty-billion," Muffy nodded. She'd spotted Chip. And Chip had definitely spotted her. He was openly texting. Normally his fiancé hated that. This time she allowed it. They both looked pissed. "Look, that's my brother. I should clarify for my parents-"
"Put the phone up, Muffy," she whispered. The girl leaned forward, "They need to learn to be more tollerant. We don't have to date, but they need to be more open-minded. This world is changing, and girls like me are going to be everywhere soon. We have no reason to be ashamed anymore, and you have no reason to be ashamed either. You're having a dinner date with a girl who likes you, yes, but we're just classmates." Muffy sighed, "What if I wanted to spend more time with you? I'm torn, okay? I've only been with guys before, but this is kind of nice. They usually only want to talk about other things, and they rarely bring the convo back to me. You're easy to get along with, and I could see myself going on a real date with you."
The girl was surprised, "I never thought I'd win you over like that. It's completely up to you where we go from here, but your house isn't going to be fun Saturday. Maybe you need some support?" she offered. Muffy nodded, "You can come. I can't wait to tell them actually. Chip is always trying to make a show at home. He used to only get lies from me, but now, he can honestly say his little sister is going out with a girl named Tabitha, and there's nothing any of them can do about it."
"Mary Alice Crosswire!" Millicent yelled. Muffy led Tabitha into a sitting room. Millicent was fanning herself. The house wasn't even hot. Muffy knew it was the emotion. Chip and Ed entered, both red-faced. Chip was overly cheerful. Ed was just pissed.
They started their spiel. They raised her better than that. Two women shouldn't be together. They'd never have true love. Only a man could give her the life she wanted. Only someone of the opposite sex could ever please her. It went on and on. Then the self-blame started. Where did they go wrong? What could they have done differently? Tabitha held Muffy's hand. It was the only thing that kept her stable.
When they were done, Muffy stood strong. She kept her gaze high, "I'm sorry you feel that way. I'll have my packages delivered somewhere else. Goodbye," Muffy said. Millicent sobbed. She ran out of the room. Ed followed her. Chip remained. He laughed derisively. Muffy turned around, "Did you enjoy the show? I'm only doing this so you can finally have a truth. Too bad it's not."
"Oh I'm sure, little sister. I've waited for this for so long. I'll get everything now, and you? Well you'll probably just get the clap," he smirked. Tabitha scoffed, "Yeah, sure. Tell me, how's John doing?" Chip looked shock, "You stop!" Tabitha grinned, "Muffy, your brother is the true gay child of the Crosswire family. But she wants to try things out. When it comes to its inevitable end, where will you be? Still over-compensating with that blonde bimbo from the restaurant to hide your true love for man meat. I'll tell John your family is amazing. You should totally invite him over," Tabitha winked.
Chip was furious. He practically chased the girls from the house. Muffy waited until they were driving away before asking. Tabitha confirmed her story. She'd seen John at some meetings for the LGBTQ community. Chip never came but John talked about it. She didn't know who he was until their dinner date. Muffy was surprised but she was happy. She was going out with a girl. Her parents were pissed. The truth wasn't out but it soon would be. Finally after years of nothing, she had dirt on Chip.
A few months passed. Tabitha decided to move away to pursue her art. Muffy remained. She worked with a graphic designer downtown. Muffy was working a case when her mother came into the shop. She wore a scarf and sunglasses. She asked to speak with Muffy alone. She followed her out back.
"Muffy, Chip apologized today for ruining your life. He said Tabitha was just a friend, a girl from class, and he asked me not to believe anything about him. I want the truth from you. Were you dating that girl, and...is Chip what I think he is?" Millicent questioned. Muffy nodded, "I just went out with Tabitha to go out with her. She left town, but...she recognized him immediately. His boyfriend goes to meetings with her."
Millicent nodded, "That's all I needed. Well, he has some explaining to do. He's always looked down on you, tried to bring you down. He's a greedy child, but...you taught me to be more accepting. He's taught me to be more judgemental. I don't know what I've learned, but I'll set things straight again. I...won't tell your father about him, but I will tell him about you. You're welcome at home again, and Chip will be too. It'll be our little secret."
Muffy realized it was her father with the issues. He was the one against the gays. Her mother was just acting for him. When Muffy looked into her memory, her mother looked like an actress. She was just being dramatic to suit her husband. But things would work out now. They just had to maintain the lie.
Chip came by Muffy's apartment. A guy was with him, as was Tabitha. She was visiting for the weekend. They came inside and had a little wine. John and Tabitha wanted some pizza. They left Chip and Muffy alone. Chip immediately apologized.
Muffy eyed him, "I just don't know why you had to be so mean to me. Is it because I was fulfilling their vision while you wouldn't?" she asked. He nodded. She sighed, "You could've just told me. We're not very close, but that could've brought us closer...sooner. I support you, but you shouldn't have treated me so poorly. I guess I can forgive you, but only if John is as awesome as Tabitha says he is."
"He is," Chip nodded. He gushed about him. Muffy could tell he was really in love. When the group was together again, she saw it again. They were genuine. It was a nice sight to see. It would burn her father's retinas but Muffy was supportive. And everything had worked out for her and Tabitha. Both were artists with nice jobs. Both got what they wanted. And both helped fix the Crosswire household.
a/n: wrote this a while ago, just digging up files. hope you guys like it anyway.