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we got married in a fever (hotter than a pepper sprout)

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It’s strange to think that somehow everything in April’s life has completely changed in the last two years, and yet everything feels so familiar as she shops for Thanksgiving items with Sterling in a jam-packed Kroger the Wednesday afternoon before the holiday.

“Hey, April? You know how your mom gave us that fully-assembled cheesy green bean casserole that we just have to sprinkle onions on and put in the oven tomorrow?” Sterling asks as she weaves the shopping cart around the ridiculously indecisive people standing in the dead center of the aisle.

“Yes? Your point?” April asks, looking over her shopping list. She plans on making tiramisu for dessert, as it seems like a logical move to serve something with espresso-dipped ladyfingers to counteract the rest of the meal.

“Well, isn’t that what we’re bringing to Thanksgiving tomorrow? So why are we getting stuff for something else?” Sterling asks, always one to enjoy a trip to the grocery store, April guesses she doesn’t find it quite as fun when people are likely to fight her for a box of stuffing.

“Because I don’t want your mother to think me so incompetent that I have to have my contribution to Thanksgiving made for me,” April argues, putting a container of cocoa powder into the cart. This is her first Thanksgiving as a married woman who is in charge of her own household, and she intends to make the most of that fact, even if her mother still thinks she’s a child.

“My mom could never think of you as incompetent. She loves you and she’d honestly be fine if we didn’t bring anything to Thanksgiving dinner at all,” Sterling says to April’s absolute horror, even if she doesn’t mean any harm by it.

“Sterling, we are Southern. Debbie would not be fine with us bringing nothing, she’d say, ‘oh girls, bless your hearts for even thinking of it’ and judge us—especially me, as her daughter-in-law whom she is biologically inclined to hate on a certain level—for the rest of our lives.” April is surprised that this doesn’t go without saying, though she can tell her impression of her wife’s mother was probably a little too disturbingly accurate. 

As if Sterling needed another reason to have mommy issues after Halloween.

“I’m just saying that you don’t have to put all this extra work on yourself,” Sterling says as they come up on the dairy section and April goes looking for mascarpone. “Like Whitney Houston and Dolly Parton before her, my mom will always love you.”

April makes a face of disgust at her wife. “Ew, since when do you talk like Ted Lasso?” She pictures what Sterling would look like with a mustache, and it’s...not cute.

“I’m going to take that as a compliment,” Sterling says, completely unbothered. “But if you want to make an extra dessert, I’m not complaining.”

“Thank you,” April says, relieved that Sterling is so agreeable to anything involving sugar. “Now, let’s finish up here and the two of us might just be able to have time for an adult nap at your parents’ house before we’re supposed to meet up with Hannah B., Ezekiel, and Luke.”

Sterling smiles deviously. “Would that be an actual nap or the kind where we say we’re gonna go take a nap and then we just...don’t?”

“I wouldn’t have prefaced the word ‘nap’ with ‘adult’ if I meant that I wanted to sleep,” April says, trying to seem blasé about it, but in all actuality, there’s something so thrilling about the idea of her and her wife going at it in the same room where they used to play with Barbies. “Though unfortunately, it all depends on timing.”

Sterling holds out her hand. “Give me the list,” she says, and April hesitantly hands over her shopping list.

“What are you going to do?” April asks as Sterling scans it over.

“I’m gonna Guy’s Grocery Games this list. Meet you by the check stands in...three minutes?” Sterling asks, moving the cart back and forth like she’s about to take off running with it--because she absolutely is.

“Mmm, nothing gets me going quite like Guy Fieri,” April says sarcastically, but if Sterling wants her so bad, she’s not going to shut her down. “Make sure you don’t forget anything or I’ll have to dock you points.”

“What would that do, though?” Sterling asks, seeming genuinely curious, and honestly, April doesn’t know either. 

She just knows she’ll be annoyed if, after all this, she has to go back through the store to get a can of Reddi-Wip. “Do you really want to find out?” she asks mysteriously.

Sterling shakes her head furiously before taking off with the cart like Road Runner.

If April had known that having sex with Sterling would be a guaranteed way to have her do basically anything, she may have reconsidered her purity pledge in high school. Or at the very least let Sterling touch her boobs more.

Any hope of the two of them taking an adult nap this afternoon is dashed the minute they walk through the front door of the Wesley house and are greeted by an Anderson and Debbie ambush of affection.

“My baby! I can’t believe you’re finally home,” Debbie says while she hugs Sterling tight before going in to hug April as well, with Anderson joining in.

“But we just saw you guys on Sunday,” Sterling reminds them gently. “I’d think you guys are enjoying having the house to yourselves without Blair and me causing issues.”

“Well,” Anderson says, his arm still wrapped around April’s shoulders. “When you’re used to chaos reigning supreme, it can get a little quiet around here.”

“Which is not to say that your father and I aren’t... enjoying having the entire house to ourselves, but you girls keep things interesting,” Debbie adds, piquing April’s curiosity about a rather pressing matter that will have a very large impact on the amount of alone time with Sterling that she’ll be able to count on.

“When does Blair get in?” April asks, hoping it seems like she cares about the whereabouts of her dear sister-in-law because she wants to see her, and not because the countdown to her arrival directly correlates with this little extended weekend trip becoming significantly less fun--at least for her.

“Not until tomorrow morning,” Debbie replies as Anderson picks up the girls’ bags and begins to haul them toward the stairs. “By the time we convinced her that driving home and back would be a lot more trouble than just flying Delta, all the flights for today were booked.”

Sterling sighs. “Typical. And I was gonna try to talk her into going out with me, April, and our friends tonight.” The way she phrases this lets April know that Sterling isn’t particularly looking forward to playing second fiddle to the Holy Trinity tonight.

“What a shame…” April says, not the least bit convincing, but then, she’s not trying to be. “Sterling, would you mind helping your dad get our bags upstairs while I get the groceries from the car?”

“Sure,” Sterling agrees, going to help Anderson, who’s been particularly struggling with April’s bag--packing essentials for a holiday weekend means being prepared for everything.

With that, April heads back out to the car, with Debbie following her.

“So,” Debbie says, grabbing two of the bags from the trunk without April having to ask. “Tell me the truth. How’s Sterling doing being away from home?” April notices the genuine look of worry on her face.

April smiles reassuringly at her mother-in-law. “She’s doing fine, Debbie. More than fine, actually. She’s the only reason I’m passing our econ class right now.” She uses the term ‘passing’ loosely, as she’s currently pulling what amounts to a C- average. But Debbie wants to know how her daughter is faring living a whole hour’s drive away from her, not how her brilliant daughter-in-law is having a Gifted Kid Crash N Burn™ her first semester of college. “Though I will say that her skills in the kitchen leave much to be desired. Unless you’re a person who likes their grilled cheese sandwiches well-done.”

Debbie gives her a look of shocked horror. “Oh God, you didn’t let her anywhere near the stove, did you?”

If there was ever any question of why April’s wife is so completely helpless, she has her answer. “Once, yes. But she’s so sweet. For my birthday a few weeks ago, she bought us a couples cooking class with the executive chef at Marcel. And a Vitamix.”

“What it is about that girl and buying blenders as gifts, I’ll never know,” Debbie chuckles. “But I’m glad y’all are holding up okay. And I’m sorry if taking care of Sterling is making you fall behind in your classes. I can start coming out there more to help if you need me to.”

That is perhaps the most horrifying offer she could have ever extended to April, especially after Anderson has already let himself into their house on more than one inconvenient occasion. “Oh, no, really, it’s no trouble. I know that Sterling could more than take care of her herself if I needed her to. The change in class structure just comes with a bit of a learning curve,” April assures Debbie as she closes the hatch of the Lincoln with the remaining grocery bags slung over her shoulder.

Pretending like she doesn’t feel like a total idiot who can’t seem to absorb information the way she always has is a feat and a half for April. Because the truth of the matter is that it’s not perfectly fine that Sterling is doing so well while she just has to play the dutiful wife. She was always supposed to be the one who had everything together while Sterling would just continue being...Sterling, and that would work for them. But now, April feels like nothing makes sense.

Nothing except that if she weren’t married to the love of her life, she’s sure she would not be outwardly holding it all together as well as she is.

“Just don’t be too hard on yourself, April. I remember worrying I was going to lose my scholarship when it was halfway through my first semester and I was pulling a C average in all of my classes,” Debbie says, walking back to the house and into the kitchen.

“Well, what made you turn it around?” April asks, knowing that despite quitting to be a stay-at-home mother not long into her career, Debbie did in fact graduate from UGA with her nursing degree, which even she has to admit is not too shabby for a girl from Nowheresville, Georgia.

“Well, for starters, I got a lot of private tutoring sessions free of charge from this very cute, but kind of gangly and awkward boy,” Debbie says, eyes pointedly cutting toward the stairs. “And a few months after that, I came to accept that academic essay writing just wasn’t for me and there was no use trying to force it to be.”

Sometimes it shocks April to hear the perfectly normal and acceptable stories of other people’s parents meeting when she knows that the story of how John met Mary was far less romantic. When her father was 24, two years out of UGA, he would crash frat parties and say he was a senior to more easily pick up college girls. Unfortunately for him, a junior by the name of Mary Emerson remembered him from when he was actually a senior and she was a freshman, so she exposed his lie to all of her friends. At which point, John decided that he wanted the challenge of impressing her. And 25 years and one amazing child together later, they’re now going through a vicious divorce.

“But what if I can’t just accept defeat like that?” April asks, getting her head back into the conversation at hand because if she dwells too much on her parents’ marriage, which effectively ended Mary’s time at UGA before her senior year, she will get very depressed.

Debbie shrugs. “That’s just something you’ll have to figure out for yourself. But if you want some sage advice: keep asking yourself if this is what you want. Do you want to be a lawyer?”

“Yes,” April says quickly, though a voice in the back of her head is telling her that she isn’t quite so sure. “Sterling and I have it all planned out. It’s a good plan--very concise.”

“Well, plans change. Anderson and I planned on having two kids five years apart and I would go back to work when I was 35. Clearly, none of that ended up happening.” Debbie starts putting away the groceries as April feels her Favorite Daughter-In-Law tendencies kick in.

“Wait, you’re not 35?” she asks innocently.

Debbie rolls her eyes so hard April thinks she probably gives herself a headache. “Go help Sterling unpack, you little suck-up.”

April makes a show of being playfully offended as she leaves the kitchen to go upstairs, content with the knowledge that even if her parents suck, God was nice enough to give her the Wesleys to make up for it.

“Sterl, April, over here!” Luke calls from where he, Hannah B., and Ezekiel are already seated at a table in the hipster pizza place they all agreed upon in the group chat. It wasn’t April’s first choice, but she can’t deny that them having a whole classic arcade is pretty cool. Though it does significantly bring down her feeling that going out to dinner on a double date (plus one) with her wife is a very grown-up thing to do.

“Oh my God, I’ve missed you guys so much,” April says, wasting no time to run into Hannah’s waiting arms and give her the biggest hug before doing the same with a slightly more reluctant Ezekiel.

“Uh, who are you and what have you done with my ice bitch?” Ezekiel asks, awkwardly patting April’s back before she lets go and he gets a better look at her. “But my God you’re glowing. What’s your skincare routine?”

April smiles coyly. “Oh, you know, just nightly serum and moisturizer and the occasional facemask.”

“And getting railed on the regular?” Ezekiel asks, raising an eyebrow.

“Oh, yes, and that too,” April agrees before the both of them burst into laughter and sit down at the table, where Luke and Hannah B. seem to make a point of staring at their menus and without making eye contact with anyone while this conversation is ongoing. “Now, it might turn us into the Un holy Trinity, but you guys need to join me in the Not-A-Virgin club soon.”

“Speak for Hannah B. because I go to an arts college. There is no shortage of boys who want this,” Ezekiel says proudly, gesturing to all of himself.

Hannah B. looks quite distressed. “I understand why April did it, but you too?” she asks, sounding betrayed.

“Yep. Congrats on being the only one at the whole table who hasn’t had their V-card punched. Repeatedly,” Ezekiel says callously as he pops a fried ravioli into his mouth from the basket they must have ordered before Sterling and April got here.

“Hi Luke,” Sterling says after a moment of silence falls over the table, smiling and waving at her ex while April’s hand not-so-unconsciously moves to rest on her wife’s thigh. “We haven’t had a chance to talk since midterms. How did that chemistry exam go?”

“Way better thanks to April’s notebook. I’ll get that back to you after finals, by the way,” he says, turning to April, who nods politely, but it was entirely Sterling’s idea to let him use her old AP Chemistry notes in the first place. But then, curiously, Luke’s face shifts into one of confusion as he seems to look beyond April and Sterling toward the front door of the restaurant.

“What is it?” April asks as Luke slumps down in his chair, obviously trying to make himself smaller and less noticeable (a nearly impossible task).

“Uh, don’t look, but I think Ellen just walked in here,” Ezekiel says, so obviously April has to turn around, and in doing so makes direct eye contact with their Bible Studies teacher, as if God himself is punishing them all for trying to destroy Hannah B.’s purity, teasingly or not.

“Oh my goodness, April Stevens, is that you?!” Ellen says giddily and comes flouncing over, much to (April is sure) everyone at the table’s chagrin. “Oh, and Sterling and the whole gang! I haven’t seen any of y’all since the wedding—which, imma just be honest with y’all, was just about the nicest wedding I’ve ever been to. Amazing cake. Just amazing.”

Even in this awkward situation, April always loves a compliment, but Sterling beats her to the Southern charm of it all. “Aww, that’s so sweet of you to say, Ellen. We were so glad you could come,” she says, and then thinks to point out something April is only now noticing. “You’re dressed up nice. Are you meeting someone?” She’s of course referring to what appears to be a high-end department store navy cocktail dress, certainly pushing what a teacher could afford, and most definitely not in line with Ellen on any other day.

Ellen blushes and can’t suppress a smile, even as she looks around nervously. “Well, this is kinda awkward, but I’m actually on a date right now. Or at least, I will be when my date gets here.”

“Well, good for you, Ms. Johnson, for putting yourself out there,” Ezekiel says bitchily, but Ellen doesn’t appear to pick up on that.

“Thank you, Ezekiel. But please call me Ellen—I’m not your teacher anymore, unfortunately. Though if y’all are ever interested in volunteering with the drama program or any of the fundraisers, let me know. There is no shame in taking pride in your alma mater.” For someone who isn’t their teacher anymore, she still does very much talk like a teacher.

“How is the drama department faring without its stars?” April asks, knowing she probably sounds quite full of herself, but she isn’t wrong and everyone at the table knows it.

“Oh, well, we’re actually in rehearsal for Big Fish the Musical. You know, like the Tim Burton movie?” Ellen looks at something out of the corner of her eye that noticeably startles her and April follows her gaze to…

“Jamie?!” she says in disbelief upon making full eye contact with her maid-of-honor, who seems just as surprised to see her, which is ridiculous considering that she doesn’t even live here.

Jamie shifts her demeanor from one of a deer in the headlights of a Mack truck to faux happiness. “April, oh my God, what are you doing here?” she asks, walking up to their table with her hands shoved into the front pockets of her black jeans.

April crosses her arms as she hears Ezekiel snicker and Luke asks Hannah B. what’s going on. “I could ask you the same thing. You didn’t tell me you were going to be in Atlanta--or the state of Georgia, for that matter.”

It’s clear to April what this is. Against all odds, her best friend is here in Atlanta, on the best possible night of the year to pick up impressionable young women in a bar (or sad divorcees in a different type of bar), all so she can go on a date with Willingham’s own 35-year-old virgin. It would be almost heartwarming, actually, if it weren’t so damn weird, and also a serious violation of the Friend Code.

“Well, I was going to, but I figured you would be too busy with your first Thanksgiving with the in-laws to meet up, and I didn’t want you to feel bad,” Jamie lies poorly.

Sterling clears her throat. April knows full well her wife is a true hater of any awkward situation, and that’s probably especially the case now, seeing as Ellen and Jamie hanging around their table are likely to draw extra attention. “Well, since we all just so happen to be here at this fine establishment, would you two like to join us?” she asks, gesturing to the extra seats at their table and earning herself a sharp squeeze of her thigh from April.

“Honey, if they’re on a date, I very much doubt they would-“

“We’d love to, of course,” Ellen agrees quickly.

April forces a smile. “Awesome.”


As the night goes on, Sterling really can’t tell what April was so worried about when it came to inviting Ellen and Jamie to join what is now their triple date (plus Ezekiel, now a rare seventh wheel). Ellen, unchained by the rules of maintaining a healthy student-teacher rapport is quite fun to talk to, especially once she started sipping on a glass of honey mead, which Sterling didn’t even realize was a thing that was still served in this century. It just sounds so...medieval.

“Now, I’m not sure if I’m supposed to tell any of y’all this, but you five were some of the best kids I ever taught--and I’m not just sayin’ that because one of you set me up with this wonderful girl,” Ellen says, slightly tipsy after only one glass as she reaches over to put her hand on Jamie’s.

April dabs at the corners of her mouth after taking a bite of a piece of the pizza she and Sterling are sharing, swallowing before speaking. “Well, I wouldn’t say I set you up with her. As I’m sure you’re aware by now, Jamie is a woman who cannot be tamed. But if you two are happy, then I’m so happy for you. Even though I must say that it came as a bit of a surprise to Sterling and myself that you...share our inclinations?”

Ellen laughs, perhaps more than she should. “It came as a surprise to you and me both. Here I thought that the only reason I ever liked animated Biblical men was that I’d never met the right one in person.”

“We’re so happy for you,” Sterling says, though she wonders if it was even discernable to everyone else because she says it with her mouth full, hand blocking the view for everyone else.

“Manners, Darling,” April whispers pointedly in Sterling’s ear before turning back to Ellen. “So, are you out to anyone besides us?”

Jamie takes the opportunity to answer for her. “We’re having Thanksgiving with her parents and her sister’s family tomorrow.”

“Yes, though I did tell my mother ahead of time that I was bringing my plus one, who is the person I’ve been dating, who is a woman. I just...don’t know if she heard me.” Ellen says, then awkwardly sips at her wine again while Ezekiel and Sterling, in a rare moment of solidarity, share a look across the table that says that they both think Ellen’s mother heard her just fine.

“Well, we’re praying it all works out for you, Ellen,” Hannah B. says sincerely, her hand on Luke’s shoulder to signify she’s speaking for both of them, which exemplifies something Sterling has always noticed about her. The habits that come from being the worker bee to the queen apparently die hard, as Hannah B. in both her mannerisms and quickly jumping into a full-blown relationship with Luke, is obviously taking a lot of cues from April’s behavior.

If being a lawyer doesn’t work out, Sterling could totally be a psych major.

“Hey Sterl, do you wanna go play some games with me for a few minutes?” April asks with her thumb over her shoulder in the direction of the arcade.

Sterling looks down at her two-thirds-eaten piece of pizza and contemplates just leaving it behind while they go and no doubt talk about everyone at the table, but ultimately ends up shoving the whole thing in her mouth before getting up from her chair. “After you,” she says, hand out and allowing April to get up and walk ahead of her to the arcade.

April puts a five-dollar bill in the change machine for quarters, doling out half to Sterling. “Now, are you feeling two-player Mario Brothers, or do you wanna kick it old school and watch in amazement as I beat you at skeeball?”

Sterling knows from experience that very good conversations can be had during games of skeeball. “Like you have to ask?”

April smiles and the two of them walk over to the skeeball alleys. “So being on a couples date with our teacher is super weird, right?”

“So weird,” Sterling agrees and they share a laugh. “Also, has Hannah B. ever dated anyone besides Luke? Because It sort of seems like they’ve been married for ten years.”

April scoffs. “Well, unless you count the crush she had on Ezekiel for years, no, she hasn’t.”

Sterling nods, figuring that to have been the case, but after a moment of silence, she has to say, “I had a feeling you wanted to get away from the table for reasons besides awesome antique arcade games.”

“Vintage, actually. ‘Antique’ means that something is over 100 years old,” April corrects Sterling, and she can’t even mind because God it’s so attractive how smart her wife is. “But yes, I did sort of have an ulterior motive as well.”

“Which was…?” Sterling asks, wondering how April plans on more delicately phrasing that she wants to smack talk their friends behind their backs for a little while.

“It’s so embarrassing,” April says, shaking her head and rolling a ball down the lane into the 500 slot as Sterling notices she’s blushing.

“What is it?” Sterling asks, rolling the ball she has in her hand before giving April her undivided attention.

“It’s because I just wanted to spend time with you,” April admits, her answer a lot more wholesome and flattering than anything Sterling could have ever anticipated from her wife, who despite having her moments is not exactly known for being a softie.

“Awww, Babe,” Sterling says, pulling April in for a side hug and kissing her forehead. “I’m your wife. We see each other all the time. Like, literally all the time.” As sweet as it is, Sterling can’t imagine that she’s all that special to talk to after they’ve spent the last three months never leaving each other’s side for more than a few hours at a time.

“I’m aware of that,” April says, nodding. “But of everyone at that table, you’re the only one I really want to talk to for hours on end, and our dear friends aren’t so great about letting anyone get a word in edgewise.”

“So you missed me? When you were sitting right next to me?” Sterling asks for final clarification, intending to store this conversation in her mind vault for all eternity so she can dredge it up the next time April calls her annoying.

April rolls her eyes. “Try not to let it go to your head,” she admits without saying so before rolling her final ball, and Sterling does as well.

They look up at the final scores on the LED boards, which Sterling is astounded to see says that she just beat her wife by 100 points. “Well, would you look at that?” she says smugly, turning to April with her hands on her hips.

“I let you win,” April says petulantly and tears off her string of five tickets. “Basketball, double or nothing.” She points to the side-by-side basketball games.

Sterling tears off her own ten tickets. “You can’t double down on a wager that has never been made,” she notes. “So name your terms.”

April raises an eyebrow, smiling just a bit. “Loser has to do whatever the winner tells her to for the rest of the weekend.”

Sterling shakes her head. She knows that basketball is greatly affected by height and that she has an advantage over April in that department, but she isn’t about to chance it with stakes that high. “No deal. It’s a long weekend.”

“Fine,” April says in a huff. “Then the loser has to do whatever the winner tells her to for the rest of the night.”

Sterling does the math in her head and concludes that as it is now 8:00 in the evening, and they have an early start tomorrow to get ready for Thanksgiving dinner, then she could potentially tolerate being April’s slave for the next three hours or so. But she very much doubts it’ll come to that. “Deal,” she agrees, putting out her hand for them to shake on it before they put their money in the machines and go when the timers start counting down and the balls roll out.

Sterling swishes her first shot into the basket while she hears the tell-tale clunk off the rim on April’s side. She smirks and shoots again, but this time the ball bounces off of the rim and comes right back at her face, bouncing off of her forehead and back down into the ball return.

“Smooth moves, LeBron,” April says sarcastically, chucking a ball one-handed at the rim and miraculously making it in, and then another before Sterling gets her bearings, but by then she is fighting a point deficit too big to overcome, and when both of their clocks have wound down to zero, April is the winner. “Well, well, well. Looks like you’re about to learn the true meaning of ‘to honor and obey,’ my dear wife.”

Sterling isn’t about to take this lying down. “Triple or nothing. Nicktoons Racing.”

There’s a fire in April’s eyes as she smiles at the challenge. “Oh, you’re so on.”

It’s past ten when they finally get home after Sterling is forced to concede defeat to April and go back to the table to finish her pizza with her tail between her legs. Based on how dark the house is, save for one lamp in the foyer, Sterling knows her parents have already gone to bed, which is just as well considering that she’d had to have to explain to them why she is carrying April into the house on her back.

“Hyah!” April whispers as she kicks the side of Sterling’s thigh with her heel like she has spurs on.

“That’s not funny,” Sterling hisses, grateful that April probably can’t see her smiling from her vantage point. Goodness knows April can be a bit serious at times, so if she wants to be a goofball and ride Sterling up to their room, then she isn’t going to stop her, but she also can’t let April know that this is something easily repeatable either. Especially not after she demanded the last bite of dessert.

“It’s hilarious,” April insists as Sterling powers up the stairs and down the hall to their room, where she backs up to the bed and unceremoniously tosses April off of her back. April laughs at a volume that would make Sterling think she had been drinking, especially since that tends to bring out Fun April, but she knows that this isn’t the case.

“Shhh. You’re going to wake my parents,” Sterling scolds her, kicking her shoes off and climbing onto the bed to lay beside April, who reaches out to push a few strands of hair out of Sterling’s eyes--this dang haircut she insisted on really likes to do that.

“You know, you’re pretty cute,” April says, hand now playing with the sleeve of Sterling’s jacket.

Sterling rolls her eyes at such a sentiment being expressed toward her from her actual legal wife. “Did you sneak some of Ellen’s wine at dinner or something?”

“What? No,” April insists. “No, I’m not drunk, I’m just...happy. You make me happy, Sterl.”

It’s such a simple thing, and yet there is more weight in those words than in almost anything else April has ever said to Sterling. Indeed, money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does get pretty dang close, and April has always had a lot of it. So the fact that Sterling can make her truly happy while out for pizza and arcade games (on April’s dime, no less), feels like a serious mission accomplished, and Sterling intends to keep doing things like that for the rest of her life.

Sterling leans in to give April a lingering kiss, holding back just a bit, given their surroundings, but still needing that intimacy.

April, however, seems to pay no mind to any of it, and she’s quickly deepening the kiss as her hand comes to rest on Sterling’s cheek and her tongue slides along the crease between Sterling’s lips.

Sterling can’t help but think about their first kiss—or at least, the one she doesn’t like to consider their first kiss because her ambushing April and almost scaring her off completely shouldn’t count, especially since it was, as she would find out later that night, April’s first real kiss ever. Going into it, she never could have anticipated where it would lead them. How one impulsive, spur-of-the-moment decision could irreparably change absolutely everything.

Even with the heartbreak that followed just a few days later, and all that followed from John Stevens almost destroying them, to a wedding that came years earlier than anyone could have ever anticipated. She wouldn’t change a thing, because all of it led to being right here in this bed with the love of her life, who by no stretch of the imagination is exactly a perfect person, but she wouldn’t be April if she was.

“You’re still on the clock to do whatever I say,” April says when they break for air momentarily.

“I would do whatever you say even if I’d won tonight,” Sterling admits but has to remind herself that even her overwhelming love for April doesn’t supersede the lingering feeling that they should definitely stop doing whatever it is they’re doing as long as they’re just down the hall from Anderson and Debbie.

“Well, then I think you already know what I want,” April says, her hand lightly dragging across Sterling’s abdomen from her side before she unceremoniously shoves it down the front of Sterling’s pants. This sudden action practically knocks the wind out of Sterling as April’s fingers go extra exploring. “And I can feel that you want it too.”

Sterling swallows hard, her body and her brain in an increasingly one-sided debate on the merits of allowing this to happen or not. Her body is taking the affirmative, pro-sex side while her brain is already sliding into ‘you make a great point’ territory.

“My parents could hear us,” Sterling argues weakly as April’s fingers brush over her clit in a way that makes her have to suppress a whine.

April sighs in annoyance and removes her hand from Sterling’s pants, the sudden lack of slow stimulation making her want to cry. “So? We’re married now. Do you honestly think they assume we’re still celibate? But, if you really don’t want to have sex with me, then I guess…” April looks down and off to the side, which is something that Sterling has certainly picked up on by now as a tell that she is being manipulative, “I guess I’ll just go get ready for bed,” she says, and follows through by getting up and even avoiding Sterling’s outreached hand trying to get her to stay.

It’s a dangerous thing to let someone like April know they can get away with playing you like a fiddle, but Sterling’s brain has already thoroughly lost the debate when she calls after her, “April, wait.”

April has already grabbed her overnight toiletries bag and has started taking it to the bathroom, but she turns around, a smug grin on her face. “Yes?”

Sterling can’t believe she’s saying this. The closest she ever came to having sex with Luke in this house was in a tent in the backyard. And he wasn’t a particular vocal lover like she knows April to be. “Maybe…if we’re really quiet and fast, we can…do that.” Even making it conditional still feels like accepting total defeat, but the insistent throbbing between Sterling’s legs doesn’t seem to give a rip.

“Well, in that case, I think we might need some assistance,” April says ominously, and sets down her bag at the foot of the bed, unzipping it and removing a very familiar little blue bag that has only ever been brought out one other time, on their honeymoon.

“April, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Sterling says as April unzips the bag and begins removing the necessary items including the lube, o-ring briefs, and—to Sterling’s horror—their bachelorette party present from Blair, which is a lot scarier looking than the one they’ve used before—for one, it’s noticeably bigger, but the thing that really gives Sterling pause is the bulbous end intended for the wearer.

“You said you wanted to make this fast. Will this not achieve that goal?” April asks as she inserts a bullet-looking thing into the back of the toy.

“How do you figure?” Sterling asks, minorly horrified by the idea of being on either end of that thing.

“It’s built for mutual pleasure,” April says as if she’s stating the obvious, putting the toy through the o-ring of the briefs and tossing them in Sterling’s direction. “And not to sound like an absolute thirsty bitch, but I’ve sort of been dying to do this again since the honeymoon.” She unbuttons and unzips her own jeans, stepping out of them before taking off her shirt.

“You know, you could have just expressed that to me a lot earlier in our own home and not while we’re 50 feet from my parents.” Sterling feels the need to remind April of this very important fact as she gives in and takes off her own shirt.

“Yes, well,” April says, climbing onto the bed in just her bra and underwear, crawling between Sterling’s legs like a panther before getting a firm grip on the waist of her jeans, “Maybe I just wanted to make a lasting memory for the both of us.” She assists Sterling in removing her pants, and then also her underwear while Sterling gets out of her bra.

“Every time with you is memorable, April,” Sterling says, rolling her eyes and grabbing the briefs, putting them on and bracing herself before putting in the thing that is supposed to make this thing ‘strapless.’ “Okay, yeah, that hurts.” She breathes through the pain in a pattern like she’s giving birth.

“Sooo sexy,” April says sarcastically, getting herself fully naked before settling down onto the bed.

“Oh, you know it,” Sterling says, getting on her knees and leaning over April, hand going between her wife’s legs. “Any requests while I’m still obligated to fulfill them?”

April seems to think on this a moment before smirking. “Don’t be too gentle.”

Sterling fully intends to follow through on that, especially seeing as she isn’t looking to draw this out any longer than she has to. The longer this goes on is more time for her parents to walk in on them. So without further adieu, she starts to rub April’s clit in slow circles for a minute or so before moving down to enter her with her fingers. Of course, she could have just tried to rely on April’s level of arousal already, but this toy is not small and Sterling is not an animal, so she only pulls her fingers out again when she’s sure April will be okay.

“Lube please,” April says, holding out her hand for Sterling to give her the bottle within her reach while she attempts to adjust herself.

“I’m not exactly sure how this is supposed to feel that good from my end, but I hope you enjoy it,” Sterling says, having reached down into the briefs to feel around for the part of the toy she guesses she just has to pray she’ll rub against.

“You’ll find out,” April says ominously, like someone who’s thoroughly read the toy’s instruction manual. She squirts some lube into her hand and starts to rub down the toy in a way that is both weird and pleasant to look at. When that deed is done, she briefly looks into Sterling’s eyes with a devilish grin before sneaking her hand into the briefs via one of the leg holes, her hand going up under the toy, searching for something until…

“Oh my God,” Sterling gasps as she feels vibration emanating from the area where April put in that little bullet thing earlier.

April smiles and removes her hand from Sterling’s briefs. “Does that feel good?”

“Mhm.” Sterling nods, struggling to not make any sounds that’ll carry throughout the house--or worse, sounds that will cause Chloe to start howling.

“Good.” April pulls Sterling in closer with one hand on her back while the other wraps around the toy to guide it inside herself. “Ready whenever you are.” The words are confident and disaffected, but Sterling can see her wife struggling to hold her composure while her body gets used to the fullness, which Sterling realizes that she herself hasn’t experienced in years now. Though Sterling would like to hope that April gets a bit more enjoyment out of the experience than she ever did, hence her making sure to not just ram it in her and go to town. Even if the overwhelming sensations that the vibrator is giving her make that idea seem very tempting.

“I told you not to be too gentle,” April whines, hips bucking up insistently to get Sterling to move, which is something Sterling will never quite get used to, she’s sure.

A deal is a deal, so Sterling starts to thrust her hips slowly, her aroused state making her hyper-aware of the squeaks coming from her mattress as she does. But goodness gracious, the feeling of the vibrations, plus the toy actually rubbing her like it should, plus the look of her beautiful wife beneath her as she makes love to her is...a lot, and she isn’t about to stop now that they’ve started.

Unless April asked her to. Obviously.

“Fuck, Sterl, that feels so good,” April chokes out before letting out a decently loud moan that has Sterling momentarily panicking before she figures an obvious solution would be to put her hand over April’s mouth, just as she did in that Disney castle bathroom that she’s fairly sure gave April the UTI.

Big mistake, it would appear, as April bites down on the palm of Sterling’s hand hard.

“Ow!” Sterling cries, retracting her hand and stopping the movement of her hips to examine the damage in the form of a red bite mark that at least doesn’t appear to be bleeding.

“Well, don’t put your hand over my mouth like that,” April says unapologetically. “It feels rapey.”

That’s a decently horrifying revelation for Sterling. “Noted. Just please try to be quiet,” she reminds April, earning a look of annoyance that turns into one of shock and pleasure as Sterling begins thrusting the toy into her again.

It’s a strange sensation to be feeling pleasure herself while she does this, almost like it’s her inside of her wife, which is a weird but not entirely unpleasant thought.

After a few minutes of this, April surprises Sterling by hooking her jeg up under her butt and does some kind of MMA move that has Sterling now flat on her back with the best possible vantage point in this entire bed, given that April is naked and on top of her, experimentally rolling her hips on the toy, which not only seems pleasurable to her but causes the toy to drag against Sterling in a way that almost has her seeing stars.

“Oh my God, oh my God,” Sterling says as her brain short-circuits, not able to articulate anything else that wouldn’t be particularly profane, but April’s non-verbal sounds of pleasure aren’t much better as she’s begun to rub her clit with one hand. And then, the impossible happens. “Sh-shit April, I’m close.”

“Me too, Sterl,” April says, not bothering to comment on such a rare utterance from her wife because her hips are not slowing.

Sterling is in fact grateful that the toy is not a part of her, as she’s sure she would have come inside April more than once by now, and that would be embarrassing...almost as embarrassing as the fact that just thinking about ejaculating inside her wife is what manages to get her there.

“Oh fuck Sterling, yes!” April yells in a way that if Anderson and Debbie don’t at the very least get startled awake by it, then they’re just flat out dead. 

But like her parents in that scenario, Sterling can’t come to the phone right now, so she doesn’t care. She’ll just lie here in a daze--it doesn’t help that the vibrator is still on and overstimulating her to Mars and back--while she watches her wife come undone on top of her.

April finally seems to catch her breath, swooping her sex-mussed hair back out of her eyes as she starts to giggle a little bit. “Well, that was an experience,” she says, climbing off of Sterling and doing her the serious favor of reaching into the briefs and turning the vibrator back off.

“Oh my goodness, thank you, I thought I was gonna die,” Sterling gasps, finally capable of speaking English again as she’s quick to remove the harness and toy from herself, feeling very used, but in a good way.

“Well, for future reference, I know CPR,” April teases her, settling down in the bed and hiding her face in the crook of her arm like she could go to sleep at any moment. “You were right, we probably should have done that at home.”

Sterling can’t believe she just heard those three magic words leave her wife’s lips, but it makes her unbelievably happy. Even if her being right in this scenario is fairly likely to lead to some awkwardness tomorrow. Or like, a lot of awkwardness. “At least my parents don’t have to worry about me getting you pregnant.”

April scoffs. “Thank God for that...though I’m sure even He would consider what we were just doing as a very valiant attempt,” April says, rolling onto her back again. “Oh hey, that’s the first thing I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving.” Post-sex April is even more endearing to Sterling than the usual one, and that’s saying something.”

“You’re thankful for the fact that I can’t get you pregnant?” Sterling asks in amusement, earning a fervent nod from April. “Okay, well, I guess I’m thankful for the fact that my sister is weirdly knowledgable when it comes to buying sex toys.”

“Ew, Sterling, don’t bring her into this,” April says, a look of disgust on her face as she gets up from the bed, toy in hand, and takes it to the bathroom.