Amy and Hope were fastening their seatbelts on the plane, flying home to visit their families for the first time in weeks. The flight wouldn’t be too long, but Amy was still so ready to nap for a little bit. She had been studying for her mid-term the whole time, she didn’t even see Hope for days.
“I’m glad we’re doing this.”, Hope said as Amy cuddled into her.
“Me too, I haven’t seen my parents for so long.”, Amy smiled.
“We’ve been dating for almost three months now. It’s time to meet them, I guess.”, Hope added.
“It’s crazy, right? How fast time has passed?”, Amy asked.
“Yes. But I think it just seemed fast because it was so much fun?”, Hope asked awkwardly.
“It has, babe.”, Amy said, looked her date in the eyes, smiled and kissed her.
“But that’s not what we are going to tell our parents.”, Hope laughed.
“No, of course not. It has all been study dates and… you know, being in the library together to study.”, Amy stuttered to her girlfriend shyly.
“Yes, we did spend some time in the library.”, Hope said and smiled brightly thinking about sneaking between the bookshelves to make out.
The flight went by fast. They were watching a movie and Amy fell asleep for a short nap which Hope didn’t mind. She knew her girlfriend was exhausted and nervous for their exams. Hope even remembered their chat in which Amy would only respond every thirty minutes because she tried to focus on studying.
They didn’t pack much stuff, so they didn’t have to wait for any luggage as they walked through the airport. As they headed towards the main entrance, Hope’s arm around Amy’s shoulder, three girls ran in the sliding door and screamed as they saw the taller brunette.
“HOPE!”, all three of them cheered and as the youngest ran towards them, Hope let go of Amy and picked up the little blonde girl. The other two just wrapped their arms around the brunette and blonde, tightening the hug even more.
“I missed you all!”, Hope exclaimed, almost tearing up a little.
“We missed you too”, the tallest next to Hope shouted.
The hug passed as the girls took a step back and looked at Amy who was patiently waiting next to them with a big heartwarming smile on her face. She felt so touched by all the love Hope and those girls shared for each other.
“So, who are you?”, the little blonde girl asked, looking at Amy as Hope put her back down.
“Oh, yeah… I should introduce everyone!”, Hope said as she stood between Amy and her littlest sister Joy. “This is Joy, this is Mercy, and this is Faith, these are my sisters.”
Hope pointed to every single one of them. Joy, the little angel, had blonde locks and all the other girls had dark brown hair just like Hope. It was like looking at three different and younger versions of her girlfriend all at once. The similarities were indescribable, for sure all of them had the same nose.
“Well… and this is my girlfriend, Amy.”, Hope finally introduced the big question mark.
“Girlfriend?”, Mercy and Faith said in unison. Joy just waved at the red-haired girl and seemed to smile with her whole face.
“Hey, you guys. I’ve heard so much about you.”, Amy greeted them friendly.
“So, the two of you are together?”, Faith asked them, looking quite confused.
“Hope, you said you were bringing a friend. Not a friend-girlfriend.”, Mercy rambled.
“Dad isn’t going to be amused about this.”, Faith whispered into Mercy’s ear.
“I think it’s great. Hope has a special girlfriend and Amy is joining us for dinner, no matter what Dad says anyway.”, Joy said, apparently being the only adult about this.
“Thank you, baby girl. When did you become so mature?”, Hope asked her little sister in surprise.
“Faith and Mercy sure aren’t growing up at the moment.”, Joy explained herself. “Faith still can’t drive and Mercy is having all this trouble at school-“
“Stop!”, the two mentioned sisters shut their little sister up.
“Joy is exaggerating, really.”, Faith justified awkwardly.
“Well… I can’t believe you lied to us this whole time.”, Mercy frowned. “Is this what you were talking about when you told me to keep my boyfriends a secret from Dad?”
“You did what?”, Faith and Amy said at the same time.
“No, I meant to make sure whoever you are bringing home wouldn’t be scared and just run off because of Dad. You were supposed to have a stable relationship before you involve Dad.”, Hope tried to explain herself.
“She is thirteen.”, Faith tried to reason with her sister. “Stable relationship?”
“Oh man, it’s happening again.”, Joy muttered under her breath. The youngest sibling took Amy’s hand and walked them out of the situation. “Trust me, you don’t want to be a part of this conversation.”
“So, you are Hope’s girlfriend, huh?”, Joy questioned the redhead, it did sound like she was being interrogated though.
“Yes, for more than three months now.”, Amy answered smiling.
“And have you been good to her?”, Joy asked and held intense eye contact with the older girl.
“Would she bring me if not?”, Amy pointed out thinking this might be the weirdest conversation she ever had.
“It’s weird that she didn’t tell us about you though.”, Joy said in confusion.
“She did tell me so much about you though.”, Amy tried to cheer up the little girl.
“Well… what did she say?”, Joy asked with a little smile on her face.
“She told me about the mashed potatoes and about how she always drove you guys to school and took care of you. And how much she misses you…”, Amy tried to summarize.
“Well… I miss her too.”, Joy said sadly. “She used to cut off the crusts of my sandwich. Now I have to eat them.”
“How come no one else cuts them off?”, Amy asked interested.
“Faith doesn’t have the time in the morning and grandma thinks it’s healthy.”, the young girl explained.
“Well… sorry to tell you but it’s actually healthy.”, Amy giggled a little. “Why don’t you just cut them yourself?”
“That’s not the same.”, Joy pouted. “It feels wrong if I do it, you know?”
Amy was looking over at Hope who was by the expression fighting with her other two younger sisters. Just a few seconds later Hope exchanged a look with her, and both smiled shyly.
“You know… my parents would always make me food, every single day I can remember. They even sometimes named the food after occasions and then I got older and into college. Suddenly I move across the country and eat at the cafeteria every day, it’s not the same either.”, Amy admitted.
“It’s nice that someone understands.”, Joy nodded.
“So, do they always fight like this?”, Amy asked the youngest while looking over to the other girls gesturing wildly.
“This is a public place, they are keeping it quiet.”, Joy laughed a little.
“So, it gets only worse from here?”, Amy asked a little scared.
“It has been worse, yes. But they always sister-hug in the end. The car ride is going to be fun though.”, Joy answered.
“Sister-hug?”, Amy asked the little girl. “What’s that?”
“It’s something Hope came up with a few years ago, it’s basically a normal hug. But whenever we were fighting Hope made us hug and say something nice about each other and then we weren’t mad anymore.”, Joy explained the only child.
Hope waved to Amy that they should come over again. The red-haired girl got up from the chair Joy led her to. The little blonde girl held out her hand for Amy to grab it and as soon as the redhead took it, the little girl didn’t let go until they were at the car.
“Can Hope drive though?”, Mercy asked in a pissed tone.
“Yes, I can. Faith, pass me the keys.”, Hope said, and Faith threw them to her oldest sister who caught them easily.
Hope got into the driver’s seat and Faith told Amy to get into the front so the sisters could squeeze in the back. The car ride was quiet, really quiet. It was like everyone wanted to say something, but nobody had the guts to do it.
Amy tried to break the silence by asking questions about Hope. She had an opportunity to find out something about her loved one, not being able to leave out some details.
“So, what is the most embarrassing thing you guys know about Hope?”, Amy asked looking behind herself, clearly addressing the three sisters.
“No, let’s not do that.”, Hope said, already feeling embarrassed.
“One time, Hope had blonde hair. That phase was really embarrassing.”, Faith snorted a little.
“Not everyone can pull it off.”, Joy said and messed with her hair.
“You had blonde hair?”, Amy said excitedly, this time directed at her girlfriend.
“Yes.”, Hope said with a big sigh. “It wasn’t the best choice.”
“There are pictures, Amy.”, Mercy interrupted them.
“Oh my God, I have to see them.”, Amy said and laughed.
“You won’t.”, Hope assured. “I’ll burn them.”
“You don’t have it in your pants to burn them.”, Faith said. “Don’t you remember Christmas five years ago?”
“You mean Hope’s speech about how every picture tells a story and captured a memory?”, Mercy remembered.
“Girls, stop.”, Hope said and tried to focus on the road.
“Even I remember that.”, the youngest sibling exclaimed. “Best Christmas ever.”
“This certainly was a special one.”, Mercy laughed. “Didn’t I get the princess castle that year?”
“Oh yeah… the princess castle.”, Joy and Faith said in unison.
“That castle was something.”, Mercy whispered.
“It wasn’t interesting anymore after we got the Switch though.”, Faith remembered.
“The Nintendo Switch must have been the best present.”, Joy said excitedly.
They arrived at the house after Mercy shared a story about Hope embarrassing herself in gym class falling while trying to kick a ball.
“No more embarrassing stories please.”, Hope exclaimed as she stopped the car at her old home. She got out of the car, opening the door for her youngest sister, and waiting before giving Faith the car keys.
“Is grandma here already?”, Hope asked the three younger siblings.
“Yeah, she has been since last week.”, Mercy answered.
“Oh, good.”, the tallest brunette responded, sighing and walking over to Amy, stopping her in front of the porch they were approaching.
Hope’s house seemed huge to the small redhead. But fitting in four children would take up some space if she was being realistic. Hope’s father is some lawyer who works all the time, so they probably have some money. The house had a front yard with some white rose bushes and a swing. Amy smiled while looking around, she never knew where Hope lived while they were still in school.
The taller brunette grabbed Amy by her arm and told her to stop for a second.
“There is a small chance that my grandma won’t like you at first. She doesn’t like new people.”, Hope told her girlfriend.
"So, can I ask you something?”, Amy asked cautiously. Hope nodded. “Is this your mother’s or father’s mother?”
“This is my dad’s mom. She actually lives in Ohio with my grandpa, but it seems like she has been visiting more often.”, Hope explained.
“Well… that’s nice of her.”, Amy told her girlfriend. “I’m not scared or anything.”
“I like the sound of that.”, Hope said and cracked up a little smile.
They finally walked inside and what appeared to be Hope’s grandmother pulled the tall brunette in a big hug.
“Hello Muffin.”, the older woman said to her grandchild. “We missed you.”
“I missed you too, grandma. And I must introduce you to someone.”, Hope said quickly. “This is my girlfriend, Amy.”
Amy greeted her and suddenly felt super nervous. It was easy to meet Hope’s sisters because Hope told her such great things about them and they seemed really sweet, just a little weirded out and scared because of their father.
“Girlfriend, huh?”, Hope’s grandma answered. “Hello, call me Misses Stevens please.”
“First name privileges will come along the way.”, Hope whispered to her girlfriend quietly.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Misses Stevens.”, Amy said with a smile on her face.
“You know, your aunt had a phase like this.”, Misses Stevens whispered to her oldest granddaughter.
“It’s not that, grandma.”, Hope said louder to her grandmother. “I really like Amy.”
“Aunt Carol and her ‘girlfriend’ lived together for almost three years, and she still married your uncle Travis.”, her grandma reminded her.
“Grandma, could I talk to you for a minute?”, Hope asked her grandmother and shoved her inside the kitchen.
“Hope, darling, what are you doing?”, her grandma asked.
“Could you just treat Amy like a normal human being?”, Hope said and faked a smile. “I really like her and it’s not a phase, okay?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about. You told me you were bringing a friend over for dinner – which I already thought was strange – and now she is your girlfriend?”, the older woman asked in a hysterical voice.
“I didn’t want to tell you over the phone.”, Hope justified her decision not to say anything.
“Does your father know?”, the grey-haired woman asked her grandchild.
“No, not yet.”, Hope sighed. “Is he coming today?”
“He said he might make it in time for dinner but promised nothing.”, the grandmother told her sadly. “I’m not proud of him. He misses too much time with you lovely girls.”
“Yes, he misses out on all the good times.”, Hope agreed.
“Look what this has done to you. What other consequences await?”, her grandma exclaimed.
“That’s not it, grandma, and you know that.”, the oldest sibling responded frustrated. “I’m not seeing Amy because Dad missed out on me. As you might remember Grandpa wasn’t around often when Dad was young and he found a wonderful wife, as I recall.”
“Do you really know that though?”, her grandmother questioned.
“Can you keep it together or not, Grandma?”, Hope asked in a pissed voice.
“I’ll be behaving.”, her grandma told her.
“Promise, Muffin.”, her grandmother smiled.
Amy had been waiting patiently in the hall. She was looking around and there were mostly pictures of the four girls hanging on the light-blue walls. She asked herself whether she missed out on having siblings.
“Amy, why don’t you follow Hope downstairs, and she can show you around?”, Misses Stevens suggested.
Hope took Amy’s hand, intertwined their fingers, and led Amy downstairs. Turns out, the whole downstairs was all Hope’s room. It was like a little apartment in the basement. They walked by what appeared to be a storage room and what seemed to be a small bathroom with a shower inside of it.
Hope’s room was huge. It had to fill up the whole living room. The ceiling seemed a little low for someone as tall as Hope, but all the books in the shelves screamed her girlfriend’s name. In the left corner of the room stood Hope’s king-sized bed with her nightstand full of books, a lamp and a Bluetooth speaker. In front of the bed appeared to be massive TV and some gaming consoles. In the right corner was a little reading area, with bookshelves and a big comfy-looking chair. Just like her dorm room the walls were covered in little inspirational quotes and photos, many of her sisters.
“Your room is amazing.”, Amy gasped.
“And you haven’t even seen the best part yet.”, Hope announced and walked over to one of the bookshelves. Amy heard a clicking sound and suddenly one of the shelves turned out to be a secret door to her closet.
“Oh, wow.”, Amy was certainly impressed.
Hope jumped onto her bed and laid down, turned on the TV and put on her favorite Spotify playlist. Amy laid down next to her and turned her body to Hope’s.
“So… your grandma didn’t really see this coming, right?”, Amy asked a little intimidated by their conversation earlier and the fact that Hope left her alone for a few minutes.
“Like I told you… she doesn’t like new people and she isn’t the most open-minded eighty-year-old you might meet.”, Hope admitted.
“Well… I really hope she will give me a chance.”, Amy admitted.
“She promised me to behave.”, Hope shrugged.
“She won’t get rid of me easily.”, Amy smiled to her girlfriend reassuringly.
“And that’s what I like about you.”, Hope said and leaned over to kiss her girlfriend.
Just before their lips were about to connect, the door swung open, and Joy ran inside the room. The little blonde ran up to them and climbed on the bed, right between the couple.
“Hey, baby girl.”, Hope greeted her and cleared her throat, trying to avoid the fact that she was almost making out with Amy.
“Do you want to play something with me?”, Joy asked both excitedly.
“Well… what do you want to play?”, the red-haired girl asked curiously.
“What about Mario Kart?”, the little girl’s blonde locks flew around every time she looked at the other girl. The two older girls giggled at the cute sight.
“I would love to play.”, Hope said and switched the TV channel to HDMI. Hope knew that Joy wouldn’t stand a chance because of all the times the oldest girl has won. And of all the times she would give her sister a serious chance by letting her win by driving like a lunatic.
“I’ve been practicing, you will lose this time, Hope”, the youngest girl threatened.
“This is a serious competition for the both of you, isn’t it?”, Amy asked a little confused.
“This is how most of the decisions are made in this household. Old tradition our mom established.”, Hope explained and remembered all the tournaments she used to have with Faith and their mother about who has to do the dishes. If their mother was up for a movie night with their father, she would always win, and the children had to clean up. But looking over to the TV and the couple cuddling on the couch, Hope never got mad for having to clean up. She knew all the other times Mom probably let them win anyway.
“And did your Dad ever participate?”, Amy asked while taking the bright orange Game Cube controller Joy was handing her.
“From time to time, Mom had to basically force him but honestly… whenever he lost, which is like all the freaking time, he would say videogames aren’t his thing anyway. And who really chooses to lose all the time, if it means cleaning up afterwards?”, Hope answered.
“I’m the one who forces him nowadays. If he is home, he either cooks or must play with us to see who does the dishes. It’s only fair if you ask me.”, Joy commented.
“Wait, you make Dad play?”, Hope asked irritated.
“After you left for your backpacking trip, he spent a lot of time down here.”, the blonde girl told her sister. “He used your TV and at one point, when Grandma wanted us to do the dishes, we came to your room, and he was sitting in your chair watching TV. Mercy asked if we could play Mario Kart and suddenly, he wanted to join. We were surprised and I don’t really know how but he even ended up in second place, since then I ask him quite frequently if he is in your room.”
“Dad is in my room all the time?”, Hope felt so confused.
“He says there are less noise than in his study.”
“You know what? I’ll ask him if he is at dinner.”, Hope tried to change the topic. “Let’s just play.”
Hope, Amy and Joy played two rounds before Faith knocked on the door and asked if everyone would come upstairs and help preparing the Thanksgiving dinner. The three of them joined Faith and helped with the mashed potatoes, the salad, the cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Misses Stevens gave them orders and soon enough dinner was almost ready. As the turkey was almost done, the three younger sisters and Amy set the table while Hope was trying to reach her father.
“Hey Dad.”, she said as he finally called her back after he missed a few calls.
“Hey Muffin, happy Thanksgiving.”, he answered quite friendly. “What’s up?”
“Yeah, happy Thanksgiving to you too. I was just wondering if you were on your way because we are about to start dinner.”
“I’m sorry to disappoint you guys once again. Why don’t you start without me, and I’ll catch up with you later? I have to finish this before I can go, I’m really sorry.”, her father tried to reason with her.
“So… you’ll be late, or you’ll come past Joy’s bedtime, what are you saying?”, the oldest sibling was furious with her father. She was over for Thanksgiving after she hadn’t been home for months now and not even at this point, he can make an exception.
“Look, I can’t guarantee you anything, Muffin, but I don’t want to bring work with me on Thanksgiving, if that’s okay with you?”, he tried to justify his actions as he always does.
“If you come home today, remember I brought someone with me, so please be nice.”, Hope asked him, knowing that it would change nothing if she tried to change his mind about coming home.
“Grandma told me you were bringing a friend, now it’s a someone?”, her father asked her curiously. “And I should be nice, so… must be someone special?”
“Yes, it is indeed. So please be open to it.”, Hope demanded nicely.
“Well… I’ll do my best, Muffin.”, he answered and told her, he had to go now.
They hung up and Hope told the others that her father would be late, maybe even very late. The three younger siblings just shrugged it off and seemed all okay with it. Nothing they weren’t all used to anyway. Their grandmother just assured them that she would talk to him again about this.
The dinner tasted lovely. Amy complimented their grandmother’s cooking, and it finally came to the part where everyone sitting around the table said what they are thankful for this year.
“I forgot to tell you about that part.”, Hope whispered to Amy who was sitting next to her.
“Why don’t you start, Joy?”, Misses Stevens asked the youngest sibling.
Joy stood up and cleared her throat.
“Well… This year I’m thankful for Hope being here. And I’m thankful for my new sneakers, they are so cool, and they make me happy.”, she said while looking to her oldest sister who got them for her birthday.
“Joy, please pick the next person who shall express their thankfulness.”, Grandma led them through the conversation.
“HOPE!”, the little girl screamed, and everyone flinched a little.
“Okay, I guess it’s my turn.”, Hope smiled after getting up. “I’m very thankful to be here and that my flight had been paid for, so thank you Dad, even though you aren’t here. I’m thankful for having the opportunity to major in photography and English, not everyone gets in and I’m happy I did. I’m thankful for my backpacking trip and seeing so much in so little time. By the way, I need to show you some pictures, we didn’t get the chance this summer. And of course, I’m happy to have such a beautiful and caring family…”, Hope paused for a moment, “and I’m thankful that all of you finally got to meet Amy.”
Hope picked her grandmother to go next, and she said that this year she was thankful for having her best friend named Kristen and their grandfather because while she helps out here, he is understanding and tries to be as much of a help at their house as possible. Joy interrupted her and asked why Grandpa and she don’t just move in with them, suggesting that all of them could at least keep him company. Their grandmother just shook her head. She explained that moving was the last thing their grandfather wanted right now, she told them he was getting weaker and weaker by each day. A short moment of silence made everyone a little sad. Amy looked around the table and asked Hope’s grandmother very shyly why she didn’t want to take care of him and be by his side. Misses Stevens looked her deadly in the eyes and told her that she would really like to take care of her husband. But also, that her daughter Carol would take care of him and that someone had to look after the girls since Hope is gone, so she managed somehow.
“But let’s not talk about that anymore. I pick Amy to be the next one.”
Amy felt nervous, she got up from her chair and inhaled deeply.
“This year I’m really thankful for my friends and family. I’m thankful that… I get to be here today, meeting all of you, of course, and I’m thankful for getting a higher education and being healthy.”, Amy smiled.
“Anything to add? Otherwise, who shall go next?”, Hope’s grandmother asked, surprisingly nice if you asked Hope.
“I think I’m okay. What about you, Mercy?”, Amy smiled to the youngest brunette.
“Well…”, she started as she got up. “I’m thankful that I got to celebrate my birthday and that Cupcake survived another year, well, let’s hope he did.”
“Who is Cupcake?”, Amy whispered to her girlfriend friendly.
“Mercy’s squirrel. I’ll tell you later.”, Hope responded quietly.
“I’m thankful Hope is here”, Mercy kept going, “And that I got an A in chemistry this year, finally, after I deserved it a long time ago.”
Mercy looked at Faith and smiled, told her she was done and that it’s finally her turn now.
“Thank you, Merc.”, Faith said while getting up from her chair, “I’m very thankful for the car Dad got me and that you, Grandma, are here for us. I’m grateful for peanut butter…”
“Every fucking year.”, Hope said and rolled her eyes.
“Language!”, Misses Stevens exclaimed.
“Sorry, Grandma.”, Hope whispered.
“Yes, like every year I’m thankful for peanut butter sandwiches and for my math teacher, Mister Hale, who finally made me understand something.”, Faith continued.
“Well… I’m thankful for all my girls.”, suddenly someone spoke from the hall. It was a man’s voice and immediately Hope’s sisters looked very happy.
“DAD!”, Joy finally yelled as he stepped inside the dining room.
“I’m sorry, I’m late, girls.”, Hope’s father smiled.
The three younger siblings got up and wrapped their father into a warm and welcoming group-hug. Hope’s father was a tall man, almost not fitting through the door. He had dark brown hair and wore a blue suit with a white shirt underneath along with a black tie.
“So…”, the dark-haired man said and looked over to Amy and Hope who were still sitting in their chairs.
Silence flooded the room. Hope expected her father to be at least confused or to burst out into screaming or laughter. Some other reaction would have been nice, other than standing there, saying nothing at all, seeming emotionless.
“Why don’t we step out a minute?”, Hope said as she slowly got up from her dining chair, slowly moving towards her frozen father.
He cleared his throat, looked down at the floor and shook his head for a mere second. The man lead the oldest sibling out of the room, followed by looks, coming from everyone else in the room.
“Why don’t you come with us, Amy?”, Hope addressed her girlfriend before they walked through the door frame.
Amy got up really fast, almost pushing the chair over. She followed them from a respectable distant, of course, hoping for the conversation to turn out easy.
“So…”, Hope’s dad started, as everyone else was out of earshot. “I think I must have understood something wrong, Muffin.”
“Well… Dad, uhm… this is Amy and we have been together…”, Hope started introducing her girlfriend.
“You’ve be-en… togeth-er?”, the tall guy stuttered nervously. “Like… a couple?”
“Yes.”, Hope cleared her throat after answering.
“Very late April Fools?”, he laughed.
“It’s real.”, Amy finally spoke up, gulped, and held her hand out for him to shake. “I’m Amy, Hope’s girlfriend.”
“Wow…”, he yelled loudly. “Hope… I need to speak with you, right now.”
“Okay.”, the brunette girl answered, seeming so vulnerable suddenly. Amy didn’t like this look on her girlfriend. She knew Hope must have been scared that he might get violent once again.
He basically dragged her up the stairs, keeping a tight grip on her arm. Amy looked after them, seeing that Hope was in pain. She wondered if she should go after them, keeping her promise that she would not leave her alone. As they were out of sight, she walked after them. Amy heard them closing a door and immediately the yelling started.
“Are you kidding me?”, Hope’s father basically screamed.
“No, I’m with Amy, whether you like it or not.”, Hope answered confidently.
Amy felt so touched by that.
“I want her out of here. You’re not allowed to see her anymore, not as a date, not even as a friend, do you understand me?”, he sounded so angry.
“Well… if she goes, I’m going with her and you won’t ever see me again.”, Hope yelled back.
“Hope… No!”, he said, as the door cracked and swung open, revealing Amy standing in the corridor. Hope looked her in the eyes, pointed her towards the stairs and both went them down fast.
“Come back here!”, the dark-haired man yelled louder than everything else.
Amy felt the adrenaline rush through her veins. All those thoughts were messing up her brain. What about their things? What about Hope’s sisters? Were they going to get some things? Were they just heading for the door? Every step meant a new thought.
“HOPE! HOPE!”, her father still tried to convince her to stop.
Hope just ran towards the door, not looking back. She knew she could always see her sisters and that they would love her, no matter who she brings home. She knew that their mother would have been able to understand… and would probably even convince her dad to accept her for who she is. But without her… and Grandma being around, the chances wouldn’t be as good.
The tall brunette opened the front door, waiting for Amy to run through it. She shut the door behind herself and took Amy’s hand who was waiting for her. Hand in hand they paced through the front yard.
“Your mother would have been really disappointed!”, Hope’s father exclaimed from behind them.
Hope stopped, knowing he was lying to make her feel bad. She turned around, staring at him for a moment, frowning. He knew that she misses her mom every day and that she was always kind.
“You think so?”, she yelled at him, stopping him from coming any closer. “You sure as hell know, like I do, that Mom would have been the one who would have accepted me for being queer.”
She had to defend her Mom’s spirit. He was just standing on the front porch, not saying anything once again, standing there disappointed.
Hope just shook her head in disbelief, took Amy’s hand and started walking away. If Amy wasn’t welcome at her dad’s house, it’s no place she wanted to be at. They walked and walked, Amy finally stopping them as Hope’s phone started ringing and the taller girl didn’t even seem to hear it. Amy took her girlfriend’s phone out of her back pocket and looked at the caller’s ID, showing it to her girlfriend who didn’t say anything. Neither she moved.
It was Faith. Amy answered the phone, not really knowing what else to do.
“Hey Faith, it’s Amy.”, she answered breathing heavily.
“Hey Amy. Can I talk to Hope?”, she asked, sounding worried which was understandable.
“I don’t know. She isn’t really talking right now.”, Amy told her the truth. “I’ll put you on speaker though. Maybe she will answer you.”
“Hope, listen. Where are you going?”, the younger sibling questioned.
Amy looked at Hope, waiting for her to speak. Hope just closed her eyes and shook her head.
“We are going to my parents’ house.”, Amy finally answered.
“I know it’s a lot to ask… but we would like to go with you?”, Faith intervened shyly.
Amy looked at Hope, trying to get an answer out of her. She touched her face, making her look up and into her eyes. She raised her eyebrows and exhaled. The taller girl just shrugged with tears in her eyes.
“Well… my parents aren’t home, I bet it’s okay if you stayed the night.”, Amy spoke up once again.
“Okay, just send me the address with Hope’s phone and we’ll be there as soon as we can.”, Hope’s sister told her sounding happier.
“Okay, see you soon.”, Amy hung up. She sent her address to Faith, asking if they would be able to bring their backpacks as well. After that she called an Uber, they went to Amy’s empty house silently. Walking up the front porch, she looked under one of the plant pots to get the extra key.
The red-haired girl opened the door and waited for Hope to walk in. Amy turned on the lights and led Hope into the living room. The taller girl immediately went to the couch and basically dropped down onto it. Her girlfriend sat down next to her.
“Hey, you need to say something.”, Amy broke the silence.
“I don’t really know… what to… what to say.”, Hope stammered.
“That’s okay, it’s okay.”, Amy tried to support her. “You must be pretty overwhelmed right now.”
“What if he will never accept this?”, Hope rambled.
“He will.”, Amy assured her. “He will realize that he loves you no matter what.”
“I don’t think so. He will never be okay with us.”, Hope knew her father has always been kind of an asshole.
“I know it seems like it’s never going to be okay. But even if your Dad can never accept you for who you are, he loses one of his own daughters.”
“And I’m losing the only parent I have left…”, Hope thought out loud.
“I’m sorry… sorry, I never thought about it… this way.”, Amy stuttered nervously, not knowing how to answer.
“No, it’s okay… I know you are only trying to help me process.”, Hope took Amy’s hand. “I just feel like I just lost my home and… I don’t know…”
“I don’t think you lost anything, Hope. I mean all your sisters are coming over, you could never lose them, and they are what really made your house your home.”, Amy told her.
“I don’t even know what to say to them, really.”, Hope answered her.
“That’s okay. They’ll understand, after all, they wanna be here with you, maybe even be there for you.”, Amy said, “They love you, I can tell.”
“You couldn’t tell that about me all this time”, Hope giggled a little.
“Wait…”, Amy closed her eyes for a second, “did you just say you love me?”
“Uhm… yeah, I think so.”, Hope answered.
“Did you mean it?”, Amy asked, her heart beating in her chest.
“You know the two women from ‘Dead To Me’, Jen and Judy?”, Hope answered.
[DON’T READ THIS IN CASE YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ‘DEAD TO ME’ WHICH IS A REALLY NICE SHOW YOU SHOULD GO WATCH. YOU CAN READ AGAIN AFTER THE LINE.]
“Of course, I know them. Saw every episode”, Amy answered.
“Well… no spoilers, I’ve only finished the first season, but you know… I would accept if you killed my husband in a hit-and-run.”, Hope said.
“And well… I guess that’s just my way of saying that I love you, yes.”, Hope continued.
“I love it…”, Amy giggled, kissed her girlfriend, “and I love you, too.”
The doorbell rang. The girls flinched.
“Shit.”, the doorbell rang again.
Amy got up to open the door and as the door flew open, the three sisters shoved themselves inside.
“Hope!”, Faith ran to her sister, followed by Mercy and Joy. “We snuck out as fast as we could.”
“You snuck out?”, Hope raised her voice a little bit.
“Chill, Joy told Grandma.”, Mercy pointed to her little sister, rolling her eyes a little.
“Okay, that’s good.”, Hope backed down. “So, how are you, guys?”
Amy went to the kitchen, preparing a few snacks for everyone. She told them, they could talk in private for a minute, Hope nodded and exhaled deeply.
“I can’t believe what happened, why would you leave?”, Faith asked worried.
“He said, if Amy was my girlfriend, I couldn’t see her anymore and that she has to go.”, Hope told them honestly.
“What a crappy thing to say.”, Mercy said.
“So, you understand why I left?”, Hope asked them, looking at each of them. “What about you, Joy?”
She noticed her youngest sister seemed a little confused.
“I have a question. Does this mean, you are never coming home again?”, the little girl asked.
“Honestly, baby I don’t know.”, Hope admitted. “I don’t know what this means.”
“Well… I sure as hell am not living with Dad anymore if he doesn’t want you around.”, Mercy added.
“I can’t believe Dad is such a homophobe, it’s the 21st century, dude.” Faith was furious with their father.
“What’s a homophobe?”, Joy asked curiously.
“It’s someone who hates on people for not being heterosexual.”, Mercy whispered to her younger sister who was sitting next to her.
“Well… if Dad doesn’t like Hope anymore, I don’t want to go back there.”, the youngest girl sniffled a little.
“Dad might not be your favorite person…”, Hope started talking.
“More like least favorite.”, Mercy interrupted her oldest sister.
“Right now, he might not be, but I can’t give you a home or house.”, Hope reminded them. “I live in a one-bed dorm room across the country at the moment.”
“So, you’re saying we should just ignore everything that happened?”, Faith asked and frowned. You could see she didn’t like the idea at all.
“I mean… isn’t he like super dangerous?”, Mercy asked cautiously, looking Hope straight into the eyes. “I mean… he came back inside and just… exploded, really. The man broke a fucking lamp.”
“Oh, my God. What else happened?”, Hope asked, frustrated with her father.
“He came back inside and yelled that all of this was bullshit. He came into the dining room, finally sat down and told us that this is all Amy’s fault. He told us that we couldn’t pull off the same shit and that none of us will marry a woman or anyone else who isn’t a real man, really.”, Faith remembered.
Faith seemed like she wanted to punch her father in the face while the other girls seemed a little scared of the memory.
“Dad said you were wrong and that running away only made it worse.”, Mercy remembered. “He seemed to hate you, really.”
“Dad even said you aren’t his daughter anymore if you try to pull this off for real instead of crawling back to him and his rules.”, Joy said, and a tear rolled down her cheek.
“Hey, hey, hey…”, Hope said as she dried the little girl’s tears. “You will never lose me, alright? If he doesn’t want to see me, I don’t want to see him either, but I’ll always be your sister, no matter what.”
“And we will always be yours.”, Mercy smiled for the first time after arriving.
“Grandma is calling”, Faith said as her phone began to ring.
“Take it.”, the oldest sibling told her.
“Hey Grandma, everything okay?”, Faith answered the phone.
Everyone else got silent, listening in.
“We’re at Amy’s house.”, Faith explained furiously. “Yes, Hope is here as well… No, Grandma, we want to stay here. Amy said it was fine… I don’t care what Dad thinks, he just kicked out his own daughter.”
“Faith, give me the phone.”, Hope whispered to her sister. The younger sibling handed her the call.
“Hey Grandma, it’s Hope.”, the tall brunette answered. “Look, is it okay if the girls stay here tonight?”
“Your father is mad, Muffin. He wants them home immediately; he can’t believe they snuck out.”, her grandmother said.
“Well… they are staying, no matter what he says.”, Hope answered and hung up after.
“You didn’t tell them the address, right?”, the oldest sibling asked the others.
Everyone shook their head.
“So, he is mad?”, Mercy asked, a little scared.
“Seems like it.”, Faith admitted.
“We’ll deal with him tomorrow, okay?”, Hope asked them.
“Guess there is nothing else to do, so yeah.”, Mercy shrugged.
Amy stepped inside the living room, holding onto a plate with some fresh-baked muffins and crackers.
“Did you just make these?”, Joy smiled and smelled the blueberry scent.
“Yes, I thought you needed a dessert after all and maybe we just watch a movie?”, the red-haired girl suggested with a shy smile.
“Yes, what about ‘The Lion King’?”, Mercy exclaimed excitedly.
“Will you ever suggest a different movie?”, Faith asked unamused.
“Probably not… I mean, it is the best movie ever made!”, Mercy defended her favorite movie.
“It’s my favorite movie.”, Amy admitted. “So, I would be down.”
“What about a movie no one has seen?”, Faith asked.
“Well… have you guys seen ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’?”, the redhead asked them.
“Not that I know of.”, Hope said.
“Well… me neither, but I got the DVD for Christmas a few years ago, never watched it though.”, Amy remembered.
All of them watched the movie silently while enjoying the snacks. Joy eventually fell asleep. Hope carried her up the stairs into the guest bedroom Amy had prepared. The other two younger sisters slept in Amy’s room, Mercy in the top and Faith in the bottom bunk bed. After everyone was ready to go to bed, Hope and Amy wished the girls a good night and walked over to Amy’s parents’ bedroom. She wouldn’t want her parents to know anyone else slept inside their bed.
As both changed into their pajamas, Amy started whispering to her girlfriend.
“So, how are you?”, Amy asked the tall brunette quietly.
“Actually, I’m pissed.”, Hope admitted. “Really, I can’t believe this idiot told my sisters I won’t be part of the family anymore.”
“I get it.”, Amy said. “I don’t understand any of his actions, really.”
“Well… trust me, I totally get that, too.”, Hope laughed a little.
They got in bed together, laying side by side.
“So, what about your sisters?”, Amy asked shyly.
“Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t want to send them back to this maniac. I’m scared for them, especially if they support me. Which they probably will.”
“Seems like they do, especially Faith.”, the red-haired smiled.
“I just wish he’d understand or at least… be open to it. If he got to know you, he probably wouldn’t mind. Like at all.”, Hope thought out loud.
“I’m sorry he doesn’t yet.”, Amy said and bit her inner cheek. “I wish it was different.”
“These are the times, I miss Mom even more.”, Hope sniffled.
“I understand.”, the smaller girl said. “I’m sorry she isn’t around anymore.”
“You don’t have to be sorry about that, really.”, Hope answered. “I’m really thankful that you are staying by my side, this whole time.”
“Of course!”, Amy supported her, no matter what, “Especially because you don’t deserve any of this.”
“Oh, come on.”, Hope reminded her, “You know I was a total bitch in school.”
“Your past doesn’t define you, Hope.”, Amy assured her.
“I really hope you are right.”, the taller brunette answered.
Amy woke up early the next morning. Her eyes felt heavy, basically like she didn’t sleep at all. It was a rough night, Hope and she kept on talking for a few more minutes before they decided to fall asleep. Amy could hear a little snore coming from her girlfriend, but her mind wouldn’t shut up, so she laid wake for quite some time.
Amy checked her phone; her mother had sent her a simple text asking at which time the redhead and brunette would arrive this afternoon. The red-haired girl got up quietly, without waking her beloved girlfriend who needed all the rest she could get.
She walked down the stairs, searching for her mother’s contact and immediately calling her as the phone symbol popped up.
“Hello darling.”, her Dad’s voice answered.
“Hey Dad.”, the red-haired girl smiled a little, “I need to tell you something.”
“Oh, should we sit down for this?”, he said and laughed a little. “Just kidding, we are already sitting in the car, so shock us all you want.”
“Well… put me on speaker.”, she waited a moment and continued, “Hope and I are already at home because…”
“You are already at our house?”, her mother interrupted her. “I thought you would spend the night at Hope’s?”
“Well… we didn’t because her father kicked her out.”, Amy explained to them.
“He kicked her out?”, Amy’s Dad sounded confused.
“Actually, he wanted to kick me out and Hope ran away… like with me?”, Amy tried to remember the exact conversation Hope had with her father yesterday.
“Wow… that’s a lot for a young adult.”, Amy’s mother answered. “So, the two of you are staying at our place the whole weekend then?”
“That would be great, yeah.”, Amy was thankful that her mother always supported her.
“No problem.”, Amy’s dad said, the red-haired girl could hear the smile on his face. “We are happy to help you and Hope in any situation and even happier that you will be around all weekend.”
“Well… there is another thing I need to tell you.”, Amy admitted.
“Which is?”, Amy’s father asked curiously.
“Hope’s sisters stayed the night as well, but I think they are going home today.”, the redhead continued.
“Don’t worry, darling. We totally understand. And Hope’s sisters are just as welcome as Hope.”, her Dad assured her.
“Thank you.”, Amy exhaled deeply. “So, you are already on your way back?”
“Yes, but we still have like three hours ahead of us.”, her father answered her question.
“So, you’ll be here around 9am?”, the daughter asked her parents specifically.
“If everything goes according to plan, yes.”, Amy’s mother answered this time.
“Okay, I’ll prepare breakfast for all of us.”, Amy insisted.
“We’ll be there soon, love.”, her parents said in unison and threw in a short ‘Goodbye’ before hanging up.
The house went silent again, everyone was still sleeping upstairs. Amy walked into the kitchen, rubbing her eyes, and yawned lightly. It was still very early but four house guests meant a lot of work, especially because her parents would probably eat something as well as soon as they arrive. Of course, Amy didn’t have the skills they had… yet. But every time she could, she would watch closely how her parents prepare dinner. She decided she would prepare some scrambled eggs, pancakes and maybe the vegan bacon she liked. It definitely tasted good for her, but she had to admit it didn’t remind her of meat.
First, she made herself a coffee with milk and honey to actually start her day and avoid the tiredness from the short night she had. The pancakes took the longest to make, that’s why she prepared them first. As the dough was ready, she filled a pan with a short piece of butter and waited for the heat to melt it. The butter started to become a buddle and Amy shoved it through the pan, covering the whole ground. Next to the lightly sizzling butter, the redhead sat up another pan with a little oil for the eggs and the bacon. She put enough dough into the first pan for a pancake and while the first side cooked, she prepared the scrambled eggs. After turning the pancake to its other side, she poured the eggs into the oil pan. The pancake looked fine, so after putting it on a plate, the redhead started shoving the eggs from side to side.
She heard someone coming down the stairs slowly and soon as the person stepped into the kitchen, she turned around and immediately had to smile.
A truly sleepy Hope stood in the door frame, rubbing her eyes. They wished each other a good morning and Amy turned back around to the eggs.
“Smells so good.”, Hope said and hugged her girlfriend from behind, kissed her neck. “Can I help you?”
“If you want, you could either do the eggs or the pancakes.”, Amy smiled.
“Let me do the eggs.”, Hope said and yawned.
“Do you want like… a tea?”, Amy asked her girlfriend while putting dough into the pan.
“That would be lovely.”, Hope smiled because Amy remembered she didn’t like coffee.
“Green, black, fruit?”, the smaller girl offered.
“Green.”, Hope answered.
The smaller girl prepared a cup of hot water while turning the pancake to its other side, almost burning it lightly. The couple kept on preparing breakfast for everyone.
“My parents will be here in a few hours.”, Amy told the taller girl.
“First thing I’m gonna do is apologize, definitely.”, Hope laughed.
“They said it’s fine”, Amy continued.
“I’m still going to do it, though.”, Hope insisted. “It’s not every day you have four guests, especially minors, without a warning.”
“So… how are you today?”, Amy asked shyly.
“Fine? I guess. I mean… Dad might never speak to me again but as long as I’m in college on scholarship, I’m… fine?”, Hope tried to summarize her thoughts.
“What about your sisters?”, the red-haired girl asked.
“I don’t know, they can’t stay here… so, I guess they gotta go home today.”, Hope admitted and shrugged. “I don’t want them to be with this douchebag, but I can’t magically take care of them in my dorm room.”
“It must be hard to have no other option.”, Amy frowned.
“I wish there was an alternative, but the only other option would be like… some aunts or uncles… I don’t want to take their whole lives away, you know.”, Hope exhaled deeply.
“I see, it’s really not fair for each of you.”, Amy supported her.
“Well… I don’t care what he thinks, but I’m scared for the girls, you know?”, Hope stated seriously.
“So, are you gonna tell them to… like… not support you?”, Amy questioned.
“Maybe, do you think it’s a good idea?”, Hope answered.
“I mean… it will protect them, not to get kicked out or… beaten, but will he ever change his mind if no one influences him?”, Amy raised the question.
“I understand your point but honestly, he would never listen to them.”, Hope shrugged. “He is unbelievably stubborn since Mom died.”
“Then tell them not to say anything supportive.”, Amy suggested. “It’s probably the best option for all of you.”
“I guess so.”
Breakfast was ready. Hope woke up the sisters just like she always did before school. Amy sat up the table, a plate and glass for everyone. She put the pancakes, the scrambled eggs, and the bacon, which they decided to make, on the table along with orange juices and milk.
The girls came down in their pajamas, all still pretty tired. They each greeted Amy nicely and thanked them for making breakfast. They sat around the table; Amy switched on the radio so music would play in the background. Joy wanted to try the vegan bacon because she was curious about how it would taste. Mercy asked for maple syrup for the pancakes and Amy got up, told them she forgot about that and reached into one of the cupboards to grab it. Hope just ate a bit of everything and she had to admit, everything tasted lovely. Amy was quite the cook. The orange juice turned out to be empty after everyone had two or three glasses. The girls’ kept on talking about all the other Thanksgiving disasters that had happened before. Amy thought it was quite lovely to hear the three oldest siblings to talk about their mother. Mercy surely doesn’t remember much but Hope and Faith fill in all the memories the two other girls missed out on. Apparently, a lot of accidents happened. Like someone dropping the pumpkin pie and their mother just started to eat it from the floor. Or like their parents once had forgotten the turkey in the oven because they fell asleep after being awake for almost three days straight. They had just gotten Joy and it was so much work. All laughing and eating together felt like a real Thanksgiving dinner, unlike the one yesterday.
“See? All these Thanksgivings turned out just fine… so will this one.”, Faith said at some point, ruining the mood for a moment.
“Girls… I need to ask something…”, Hope remembered her decision earlier.
“You sound so serious suddenly.”, Mercy seemed frightened.
Hope inhaled deeply, pausing for a moment.
“Look, you can’t tell Dad that you support me in any way…?”, she asked them shyly.
“So, you don’t want us to say that we love you?”, Joy asked confused.
“Well… yes, you can’t tell Dad that you don’t care if I’m dating Amy.”, Hope stated. “Maybe don’t even tell him if you talk to me?”
“But… Love is love and he should accept that.”, Faith insisted. “Shouldn’t he?”
“I agree, Faith, I totally agree.”, Hope admitted. “But look… he didn’t want someone who is not heterosexual at his house, so I don’t know what he will do to supporters.”
“So, you think it will protect us from getting kicked out or something?”, Mercy concluded.
“Yes. I know it’s not easy to lie sometimes but you have to do this… for all of us.”, Hope insisted. “It’s probably for the best, for now at least.”
“I don’t wanna do this.”, Joy responded. “It’s not fair.”
“I know it isn’t fair. Nothing with Dad is really.”, Hope assured her. “Please, baby girl, for me?”
“Oh…”, the blonde girl clicked her tongue. “I would do anything for you.”
“What about Christmas? And what about the Thanksgiving bet?”, Mercy rambled. “What about Toni?”
“Who the hell is Toni?”, Faith asked confused.
“Toni is a friend of mine at school, and she just came out as bisexual?”, Mercy told them.
“Well… first, don’t tell Dad about Toni. Second, I don’t know about Christmas. And how about we do the Thanksgiving bet happen on Sunday? If Dad isn’t home, we could play Smash.”, Hope tried to answer all the questions.
“That’s fine with me.”, Mercy said. “Dad will probably be golfing with his work buddies anyway.”
“I have a tournament on Sunday.”, Faith rolled her eyes. “It will take all day.”
“That’s a problem.”, Joy said. “Haven’t you been missing out on football practice anyway?”
“You have?”, Hope asked concerned.
“Not every time.”, Faith assured her older sister. “I’ve been to every game and like practice once a week.”
“Don’t you practice like four times a week?”, Hope remembered.
“Yes.”, Faith gulped quietly. Hope needed a moment to breath.
“Guys, honestly, I don’t know if the Thanksgiving bet will be happening if that’s the case.”, Hope told them, not knowing what else to say.
“Well… what about Saturday?”, Amy interrupted. “You could all come over and use our living room. I bet my parents don’t mind.”
“You sure?”, Hope directed the question at her girlfriend. Amy just nodded and told her that they could ask them today.
The doorbell rang. Amy frowned, wondering who might be behind the door. She got up from her chair and walked over, opened the door, and got her mind blown.
“Hello, Amy, are my daughters here?”, Hope’s father said.
Amy gulped and Hope walked over fast, recognizing the voice immediately.
“Dad?”, Hope asked. “What are you doing here?”
“I came to pick up my daughters, Hope.”, he didn’t call her by her nickname.
“Seriously?”, the brunette girl asked confused.
“Yes. Now… are they here?”, he tried to speed up the conversation. “Faith! Mercy! Joy! We are going home. NOW!”
He tried to look around the room from the door. The girls got up from their chairs and walked over to their father.
“Get your things. Faith, you are driving your car in front of me, and your sisters are sitting in my car.”, he demanded.
The girls all looked at their big sister. She nodded and told them that it’s okay. The three sisters walked up the stairs, collecting their things while Amy and Hope waited downstairs with Dylan.
“Come on, Dad.”, Hope tried. “Don’t involve them in this.”
“They’re my daughters. They live under my roof, and I never wanted them to go here.”, he tried to shut her up. “You stay out of this!”
“I can’t believe this.”, Hope scoffed. “You are such a maniac. What are you going to do? Forbid them to talk to me?”
“Yes. I’m going to monitor their phones. Locations and all apps.”, he said.
“Completely insane!”, Hope exclaimed. “Don’t punish them, they don’t have anything to do with this!”
The girls came downstairs silently. They all just waved at Hope and Amy, walking past them without opening their mouths to say a proper goodbye. Hope’s father looked her dead in the eye and told her to leave them alone. All walked away, Faith to her car in the driveway and the others to Dylan’s massive SUV.
“This is so messed up!”, Hope shouted as soon as the door was shut.
“It’s insane, Hope.”, Amy agreed with her. “How did he even know where I live?”
“Probably some old class records or anything, he is an amazing lawyer. Unlike his parenting qualities.”, Hope tried to guess.
“I just hope the girls will listen to you…”, Amy paused for a second, “After this, who knows what he is capable of.”
“I feel like Faith is going to pay…”, Hope said with fear in her voice.
“What do you mean?”, Amy asked worriedly.
“I think he is going to make her pay… for what I did.”, the taller brunette tried to explain her thoughts.
“You think he is going to hurt Faith?”, Amy asked again. Hope nodded. “Is there anything we can do?”
The taller brunette shrugged, and tears dwelled up in her eyes. Amy hugged her girlfriend tightly around the waist and Hope immediately wrapped her arms around the redhead, feeling tears run down her cheeks.
“It’s going to be okay.”, Amy tried to comfort her.
“I really hope so.”, Hope answered her. “They just mean so much to me.”
“I can tell. You get along quite well.”, Amy chuckled a little, remembering the few moments she had witnessed.
Hope stopped the hug and dried her tears. Amy reached for a tissue and handed it to her girlfriend who gratefully accepted it and chuckled a little. Hope confessed that she never cries in front of people. If she knows she needs to cry, she just watches a sad movie and uses it as an excuse.