Ana and Carla always ended up like this at family reunions. Both left to their own devices by older and younger relations; both nervously looking at each other, not knowing what to say. Sure they were shy, but they were also somehow particularly nervous around each other.
Ana had even told her parents once that she didn’t like spending time with Carla. “She always makes me uncomfortable.” They scoffed. How could shy, delicate, quiet Carla make anyone uncomfortable?
So here they are again, sitting on separate sofas in their grandparents’ sunroom, everyone else having wandered off to other spaces and other conversations. At sixteen, they were in the middle of the great divide between the kids and the adults.
“So …” said Ana.
“Yeah.” Replied Carla, who then glanced back down at her iPhone for the twelfth time in as many minutes.
“Got an important business call?” Ana smirked.
Carla frowned – looked like she was going to squeeze a word out, but then failed to do so. The frown wouldn’t let go of her face, however, the corners of her mouth sinking till it looked like they were going to dip below her chin.
Ana’s mouth flattened. “Is there a problem?”
Carla shook her head and hid her eyes, and Ana realized there might actually be one. She didn’t like Carla, but her cousin was about to start crying over there. She quickly crossed the room to Carla’s couch and sat on the cushion next to her.
“What’s the problem, Carla?” Her voice had a lot more concern than contempt this time.
Daggers flew from Carla’s damp eyes. The silent question was clear .“You care about me suddenly because …?”
Ana’s hope-filled and contrite face made a little hole in Carla’s wall. “I just broke up with someone.”
“Oh My God – guys – they’re impossible.”
“Yeah … guys” was Carla’s unconvincing replies.
Ana plowed forward “They just don’t understand. It’s like they’re totally clueless when it comes to women. Girls. Well, all of us.”
Carla stared at her.
Ana blinked. There was something she wasn’t getting. Oh … yea …
“You shouldn’t blame yourself.”
Ok, so Carla not blaming herself for whatever this guy did, and she’s not really registering with the “oh those men” theme …
Something’s missing from this picture. Maybe Ana misunderstood.
“Are you having a fight with a girlfriend?”
“Is it over some guy? Come on, they’re totally not worth the ~”
“Nooo – there’s no guy. No guys.”
“Well, then maybe it’s just a matter of …” it hit Ana “…oh. Ohhhhhhhh…… I … ohhh … so you’re …?”
Carla nodded warily, half expecting Ana to bolt from the room screaming “Everyone run – there’s a lesbian in the sun room!!”
That didn’t shock Ana, for some reason. It did quicken her pulse a bit, however. She wasn’t quite sure why, but it “sounded right.”
There were so many things she wanted to ask, but she didn’t want to bombard this crying girl with a thousand questions.
She tilted her head. Carla watched her.
Ana tilted her head back the other way, her quizzical expression not changing.
“… Ana – what??” Carla didn’t need the aggravation right now. She was about to get up and go somewhere – anywhere – else.
Ana looked off into space and started to reply. “Nothing, I was just … can I kiss you?”
She was horrified. That was NOT what she was planning on saying. Carla was getting angry now, then Ana turned to face her, and the expression on Ana’s face made her stop. This was not the stupid expression she was expecting. Ana asked this for a reason that evidently surprised even herself.
“I … don’t … know.”
“Do you want to?”
“I … don’t … know.”
She tried to read Ana’s face, but failed. She was pretty sure even Ana couldn’t read that expression right now.
After a short pause, Carla shifted in her seat and leaned close to Ana, who watched her quietly. She wasn’t entirely sure Ana was breathing. Well, if Ana was going to hold her breath until something did or didn’t happen, she’d better get it over with. Carla leaned in and placed one soft, slow kiss on Ana’s lips, which waited just half a moment before tentatively and tenderly responding.
Carla drew back, wanting to see Ana’s face now.
Ana looked surprised. Alongside the surprise was pensiveness.
“Oh.” That answered a lot of Ana’s questions right there, including why it was she was always unsteady and nervous around Carla.
“When did you realize …? She asked Carla.
“The first time another girl kissed me, which would have been three months ago.”
“Yeah, that would definitely do it. Wow, I, uhhh, wasn’t expecting this.”
“Yeah, that’s what I told myself the first time, too.”
Carla watched now, following the changes in Ana’s face as she reflected on what her next step would be …
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