13 April 1912
Stevonnie took a deep breath and knocked - a few seconds later, the door opened.
Lapis poked her head out the door, her eyebrows raising at the arrival of her new friend. She had clearly just changed into her sleepwear, but she didn’t look irritated at the arrival.
“Oh, Stevonnie!” she said, “Hi! I, uh, didn’t see you at dinner!”
“Yeah,” replied Stevonnie, rubbing the back of their head, “I… I got cold feet. Sorry.”
“I… no, no, it’s fine,” said Lapis, “I mean, I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable. You want to come in?”
Stevonnie nodded, and Lapis opened the door to let them in. They took a seat on the small table by the bed.
“Sorry it’s so late,” they said, “I just… needed someone to talk to.”
Lapis chuckled as she closed the door.
“Yeah,” she said, “You might not be the only one.”
“Might not… are you okay?” asked Stevonnie.
“Little bittersweet,” she replied, “But more sweet, I think.”
She sat down across from them, sighing slightly.
“So I talked to Pearl,” she said, “And we’re friends, and I… I think I’m okay with that. I mean, Bismuth is pretty lucky, but I… I don’t feel jealous, like I thought I would.”
“That’s really nice to hear, Lapis,” they said, “I’m glad you’re happy now.”
“And what about you?” she asked, “I take it you’re not?”
“No, I’m not,” they replied, “I just… how do I put this? I feel really lonely? Like…”
They shook their head, leaning forward on the table and clutching their temples.
“I’ve almost never told anyone what I am before,” they said, “There was one other person and… that was a bad time. It was just a very bad time.”
“They didn’t accept it?” asked Lapis.
“He went to the police ,” grunted Stevonnie, “Can you believe that? Got dragged off to the asylum for a fortnight.”
“You what?! ” exclaimed Lapis, “Can… can they do that?”
“They said I was suffering from delusions,” muttered Stevonnie, “That I needed to be cured . I just… I went along with it to get out. Haven’t told anyone since. If I’m honest, I’m not even sure why I told you.”
“I guess you looked… not cruel?”
Lapis chuckled hollowly.
“I can be,” she muttered.
“Well, you can’t be as cruel as everyone else,” said Stevonnie, “You haven’t given me away, after all.”
Lapis nodded slowly.
“But you know what?” Stevonnie continued, “Maybe it’s all for the best. Maybe I just have to go somewhere far away and be alone. Maybe if no one’s around, I can finally be me . Maybe…”
Stevonnie looked up as Lapis spoke up.
“I spent… years locked up on my own,” she said.
“No, but it might as well have been,” said Lapis, “I… you don’t want to be like that. It’s just crushing and…”
She bit her lip.
“You don’t deserve to hurt like that,” she said, “Like this . I… I’m making a mess of this.”
“Nah,” they said, “You’re doing great.”
They looked into each other’s eyes for a moment - then Stevonnie coughed and looked away.
“So, uh… this is gonna sound silly, but I actually brought a suit on board…”
Lapis raised her eyebrows.
“You want to show it off?” she asked, “Because I’d be - I mean, if you want to show me, I’d love to see it!”
Stevonnie grinned, sheepish.
“Okay, um… maybe I can go get it tomorrow and I’ll show you!” they said, “And, uh, you could introduce me to Pearl and Steven, if they’d… if they’d accept…”
“They will,” replied Lapis, “I know it.”
She stood up, chuckling somewhat nervously.
“You, uh, you want a drink?” she asked, “I, uh, just realised I never offered, and…”
Stevonnie chuckled, nodding.
“It’s all good,” they said, “Do you have any water?”
It was about twenty to midnight when Stevonnie left Lapis’ cabin, whistling quietly as they walked back to their own. Once again, their spirits had been lifted, and it was in no small part due to their new friend.
If they were honest, they couldn’t wait to see Lapis Lazuli again…