I hope you're happy with what you've done to me. Thanks to your unnatural perversion, my parents are sending me to a freak camp for whorish people like you. I don't belong there Cordelia, I'm not like you – I'm not a psycho like you are. You corrupted me, Cordelia, I know that now, though I didn't see it before because I was brainwashed by you. You ruined my life, and I wish I'd never met you – your disgusting perversion made me into a sapphic. I've been having nightmares, Cordelia, and you are the putrid, monster that haunts them. You should be ashamed of yourself for what you did to me.
I hope you burn in hell for your sins – I won't be seeing you there.
I never want to see you again.
Cordelia scrunched the letter in her hand, feeling tears begin to pour down her face. Oh, I can't cry here, not in front of everyone. She stood up so quickly that her chair fell to the floor with a clatter. "Cordelia?" Zoe asked, concerned. Her voice sounded far away.
Distinctly aware of the stares she was receiving, Cordelia rushed out of the dining hall as quickly as she could without running, bursting into the corridor while muffling her sobs. How, oh how, could Mabel say such things to her? Cordelia felt as though her whole world was crashing around her. She didn't even know where she was running – where could she go, so no-one could ever see her again?
She heard footsteps behind her, catching up. "Cordelia, wait."
"Leave me alone," she said, and her voice came out in a sob. Her eyes were blurring with tears, and she couldn't see where she was running, so she wasn't entirely surprised when she tripped over a rug and fell flat on her face.
"Oh my god, Cordelia." It was Misty's voice. She felt a warm hand on her arm, helping her sit up.
"Oh, Misty," Cordelia said, and began to cry freely. "Misty, they were all looking at me."
Misty shook her head, her blonde curls bouncing. "No-one was lookin' at you, Delia."
"Yes, they were looking at me, and now they're going to come out of that room and see me crying on the floor."
"No they won't," said Misty. "C'mon. Get up. I'm gonna show you to my secret place."
"Your secret place?" Cordelia asked, hiccupping. Mabel's letter was still crumpled in her fist.
"Yeah. I go there when I wanna be alone. It ain't too fair from here."
Cordelia allowed Misty to guide her along the corridor. She wasn't sure how long it took to get there, but soon they were in a very dusty hallway that looked as though it hadn't seen light for ten years. Thick curtains prevented any sunlight from getting in, and it was stuffed with old furniture and boxes.
"In here," Misty said, slinging an arm around Cordelia's shoulders. Despite her sadness and embarrassment over the letter, Cordelia couldn't help but feel that familiar sensation of butterflies. Misty lead her into a clearly abandoned classroom, full of dust and crammed with boxes. "Do you wanna tell me what's wrong?"
Cordelia shook her head. You're disgusting, she thought to herself, and it was Fiona's voice, Fiona's hate. It was true, though. Cordelia was disgusting. Cordelia and her evil, her sin, her perversion.
"That's okay," Misty said gently. "Let's just sit here until you're ready to go."
They sat there in companionable silence for a while, and Cordelia eventually worked up the courage to speak. She was worried that Misty would think badly of her, that she would think Cordelia was disgusting, just as Mabel did. Somehow, though, she knew that Misty would only listen quietly. Something told her that Misty wouldn't care, about her… about her sapphic tendencies.
"Do you want to know why I was sent here?" Cordelia asked quietly, hugging her knees to her chest and not daring to look Misty in the eye.
"Only if you wanna tell me. Don't feel like you have to, though, I won't be offended."
"No. It's okay. I want to tell you – I want to tell someone." Cordelia took a deep breath. "I have an illness." That didn't sound right. Love didn't feel like an illness. "Well, everyone tells me it's an illness. But I don't know how it can be – it doesn't make any sense. I'm physically healthy. I feel mentally healthy, even though everyone tells me I'm not. I don't know. I don't want to believe it's an illness, but… but-"
Misty put a hand on her shoulder, and Cordelia fell silent. "Cordelia, slow down and take a breath," Misty told her gently. "You're talkin' a mile a minute."
"You ain't got nothin' to apologise for."
"I'm afraid that you'll hate me for it," Cordelia whispered, unable to look Misty in the eye. She hated the thought of Misty avoiding her – how was she meant to survive this place without her? She'd only known Misty for a week and yet Cordelia already knew that she wanted to know everything about Misty.
"Delia, nothin' you say could ever make me hate you," Misty said sincerely, taking Cordelia's hand and squeezing it. Cordelia's heart fluttered in her chest. "You could have killed someone and I'd still think you're amazin'."
"I'm not amazing," Cordelia protested, hearing Fiona's voice in her head. "I'm disgusting."
"You're amazin', and I don't care if you think you're not, because you are. And if anyone's told you otherwise, well, they deserve to rot, I think."
Cordelia smiled. She'd never met anyone as sincere as Misty – she'd never met someone who truly wore their heart on their sleeve as Misty did. "You're so nice."
"So are you."
Cordelia took a deep breath. She wanted so badly to confess – she owed it to Misty. And she needed to talk about it to someone, otherwise she'd never get a wink of sleep. "I'm… I'm sapphic."
Misty shrugged. "So?"
Cordelia wasn't sure whether to be surprised at Misty's reaction or not. "Everyone at home thinks I'm disgusting."
"Everyone at your home must be fools, then, cos you're the least disgustin' person I ever met."
"They're right, though. I am disgusting."
"You're not disgustin'!" Misty protested. "Cordelia. Cordelia, look at me. Look at me." Misty grabbed Cordelia's chin and tilted her head, so that they were looking each other in the eyes. Cordelia's heart began to flutter even more. "Do you wanna know somethin'?"
Misty sighed. "I was sent here for the exact same reason as you."
Cordelia felt all the breath leave her chest. "Really?"
"Yup. The girl I was kissin' went and ratted me out to the pastor," she said. Her voice didn't falter when she said this – she'd obviously had a lot of time to think about it. To accept what had happened. "They wanted to burn me at the stake, but my parents sent me here instead."
"That's awful, Misty, I'm so sorry," Cordelia said, reaching out and clasping Misty's hand in her own. She felt sick on Misty's behalf – they wanted to burn her? It was twisted. Cordelia was glad that people hadn't treated her quite that badly. "Sorry," she said again, not sure how to convey how twisted it all was.
"Don't be sorry," Misty replied. "They can't change me. I don't want to be changed."
"They're fools too."
Misty smiled. "Far as I see it, I can't help lovin' women the same way I can't help that my eyes are blue. It's somethin' I was born with and I ain't in any position to change somethin' that's a part of me. If God didn't like gays, he wouldn't have made us in the first place."
Cordelia thought about this. "I agree. I think."
"You do?" Misty sounded genuinely surprised.
"Yeah," said Cordelia. "Sometimes I wish I could just be normal, though. Or at least what everyone says is normal."
Misty nodded. "I get that. Even if it's just so people don't treat us like garbage."
"I can't believe I told you that," Misty said, letting out a laugh. "I've only known you for a week, and here I am confessin' things I ain't even told Zoe."
"Really?" Cordelia whispered. She didn't know whether or not she should tell Misty that she felt exactly the same way – it was as if their hearts were connected with a piece of string, pulling them closer to each other. Cordelia felt as though she could tell Misty everything, and she'd never felt that before, not with anyone. Even with Mabel.
"Yeah," Misty said softly.
Cordelia didn't know what to say, so she didn't say anything.
They lapsed into silence, looking anywhere but each other. If it were with anyone else, Cordelia would have felt terribly awkward and uncomfortable. But there was just something about Misty that put her at ease.
It was a while before either of them spoke, and Cordelia was glad when Misty broke the silence. "Can I ask what upset you so much at breakfast?"
Cordelia didn't answer her. Instead, she handed Misty the letter, which had still been clasped tightly in her fist.
Misty took it gently from her hand, and read the letter silently. When she was done, she didn't say anything, but put an arm around Cordelia's shoulder. Cordelia leaned her head against Misty's shoulder, shocked at how natural it felt, as though they'd been doing this forever.
"Who's Mabel?" Misty asked softly.
"She was my…" Cordelia hesitated, unsure of what to say. "I guess my girlfriend. We never said what we were. But I loved her, and I thought she loved me. I guess not."
"Well, she sounds like a bitch," Misty said, crossing her arms.
Cordelia let out a laugh. "She's not really. She's sweet. And kind. But she was always so scared that someone would find us out."
"And someone did," Misty said.
"Yeah. My mother. I invited Mabel over one day, when Fiona was out. I thought she'd be gone the whole day. But she came back early, and caught us – she caught us-" Cordelia felt her face heat up.
Misty didn't falter. "Makin' love?" she asked, as if it were the most normal thing in the world. Maybe it was, but Cordelia had always been taught it was a taboo – sex just wasn't something people talked about. So for Misty to bring it up so naturally, so easily – it made Cordelia feel things she'd never felt before. Not even for Mabel.
"Y-yes," she whispered. Her face was burning.
"You don't deserve to be told all those things. Mabel's got it all wrong, Delia," Misty said, and Cordelia blushed even more at the nickname. "You ain't no whore. You sure as hell ain't no pervert."
"But I did corrupt her," Cordelia said.
Misty scoffed. "Like hell you did! You said so yourself, she was scared. She's probably bin told her whole life that homosexuality is a sin. She knew from the get-go what happens to us homos. And she obviously ain't as brave as you are."
"I'm not brave," Cordelia protested.
"Yes you are. You hold your head high even though people treat you like shit for something you can't help. I haven't known you for long but even I can tell that you're brave, Delia, real brave."
Cordelia didn't know how to tell Misty just how much that meant to her. "Thanks, Misty."
"Anytime," Misty said, giving her a tender smile that brought back the butterflies. "Are you feelin' any better now?"
Cordelia nodded. "Yes. Much better."
"Good, cos we're probably late for detention."
"Oh, damn, I forgot about that. Do I look like I've been crying?"
"A little bit. Here," Misty said, and wiped the tears from Cordelia's cheek with her thumb. "Now you're perfect."
The library was without a doubt the most beautiful room in the school. It was crammed with bookshelves, which stretched high to the ceiling, and the large windows let in the golden morning sunlight. It was the first time Cordelia felt as though she might one day feel at home at the school.
A tall woman with vivid red hair wandered out from the books, smoking a pipe and walking as though she owned the world. Cordelia liked her immediately.
Misty smiled at her. "Miss Snow, this is Cordelia Goode. She's new."
"Wonderful to meet you, dear," said Miss Snow, extending a gloved hand for Cordelia to shake. "From the sounds of it, Misty has already corrupted you."
Misty grinned. "Aw, Miss Snow, I ain't corruptin' nobody."
Miss Snow tilted her head to the side, eyebrows raised. "Then how has this nice, well-behaved looking girl already received detention?"
"It was my fault, Miss Snow," Cordelia admitted. "I was careless."
"Aw, shut up, Delia, we've been over this," Misty said, playfully elbowing Cordelia in the side. "It ain't anyone's fault but Ms Venable's."
Miss Snow rolled her eyes at the mention of Ms Venable, before squinting at Cordelia, a frown growing on her face. "Are you alright, dear? Your eyes are a bit red."
"Yes, I'm alright now," Cordelia said politely, hoping that Miss Snow wouldn't push the issue any further. Cordelia just knew that she would burst into a fresh wave of tears if she had to talk about it again. "Thank you. I just had a rough morning."
"Well, I will be here if you need a shoulder to cry on," Miss Snow said airily. "And don't let Ms Venable get you down, her teaching methods are almost as bad as her taste in clothing."
Misty guffawed, and Cordelia smirked, thinking of Ms Venable's horrible purple dresses. "Thanks, Miss Snow."
"Call me Myrtle, darling, just make sure no-one else is around to hear," Myrtle said, waving a hand around. "Now, the two of you are meant to be shelving books for me, but I don't mind if you'd rather catch up on some reading. I won't tell." Her face broke into a cunning smile. "God knows I'd love to see the look on Venable's face if she knew how utterly dreamy my detentions truly were."
"Thanks, Miss Snow," Misty said. "We'll put em' away for you anyway."
"Alright, chickadees, have fun. I'm going to go make a cup of tea." The librarian wandered away, her long skirts trailing after her.
"Told you she's cool," Misty grinned.
"Yeah," Cordelia said. "I like her."
"Half the time she doesn't even have anythin' for me to do, so I just hide behind her desk and read."
"This is the first time I've ever been excited about detention," Cordelia admitted.
Misty laughed. "It's gonna be a great month."
Cordelia wondered how Misty had done it – she hadn't thought about Mabel's letter in a whole minute. When she had first read it, it had made her feel as though everything was crumbling around her – everything, now, had truly changed. But it felt more bearable, having Misty by her side.
Title is from 'Blue Denim' by Stevie Nicks. I changed 'him' to 'her' because lesbian.