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

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Sterling hears the sound of rain outside before she opens her eyes. The pitter-patter on the roof is accompanied by the even breathing of April asleep beside her. 

This is a rare occurrence for Sterling, being awake first, and for a moment she wonders if it might actually still be the middle of the night. But this is not the case when she opens her eyes to a dreary and only slightly darkened room as a result of the storm, so she reaches for her phone on the nightstand and squints at the too-bright screen to check the clock and sees it’s 7:26. Fairly early, considering their strenuous nighttime activities, but they’ll be needing to get up soon to help with all that goes into Thanksgiving.

April stirs next to her, making little annoyed grunting noises to express that she wishes she was still asleep, but she is so cute that Sterling can’t help but smile at her. “WhattimeisitSterl?” she mutters, barely audible, with the words melding together

“Almost 7:30,” Sterling whispers, and completely melts when April rolls over and drapes an arm across her torso while she buries her face in Sterling’s neck. Sterling holds April close, feeling so content and connected with her wife’s naked form in her arms.

Sleeping naked isn’t exactly new for them—it’s often much easier to go to sleep this way after a night like the one they just had—but it’s rare when they have the time to just do this. Usually, April is out of bed and dressed before Sterling is even conscious, so having the opportunity to have morning snuggles with her is a real treat.

April sighs with contentment when Sterling starts gently running her hand through her hair. “Let’s never leave this bed, ‘kay?” she says.

“Sounds perfect to me,” Sterling agrees, truly wishing it was a real option. The warmth of the bed and their shared body heat, the familiarity of being in the place she’s called home since she was eight years old, and the pitter-patter of the rain on the roof all serve the same purpose of exemplifying that at the moment, this is the most comfortable and peaceful place in the entire universe. 

But unfortunately, life dictates that they don’t have much time left to linger in the perfection of it all, and even a sleepy April seems to realize that as she pulls her head back slightly so she can slowly open her eyes, blinking as her eyes adjust as best as they can in the absence of her glasses or her contacts. “Good morning, Blurry,” April greets Sterling with a sleepy smile.

“Morning, Bedhead,” Sterling replies as she continues attempting to smooth down April’s hair, but there’s a reason it can hold Doritos without enough product.

April scrunches her face in adorable embarrassment. “And here I’ve spent months trying to convince you I don’t wake up looking like a hideous troll.”

Sterling shakes her head fervently. “You could never look hideous, but I do know that humans don’t wake up with their makeup done, even if you tried to convince me otherwise on our honeymoon.”

April feigns shock at what Sterling knows to be a totally true accusation. “Sterling Stevens-Wesley, what are you implyin’?” she asks, putting her hand over her heart to go with her Appalled Southern Woman drawl.

Sterling chuckles to herself, honestly quite flattered that April cares so much about her opinion, but if truth be told, Sterling would find April attractive even if she was completely bald with no eyebrows. “I’m not implying anything. You wanna take a shower together?”

“Mhm,” April hums, nodding. “But in a few minutes.”

“Sounds good to me,” Sterling agrees, allowing herself to fully relax again as she and April share a moment of peaceful silence.

Their hands come together between them, fingers intertwining. April’s hands are so soft, and Sterling can’t help but bring one to her lips to kiss her knuckles. All the time she spent growing up envisioning what being married would be like, she never could have imagined that it would be to her uptight little friend who insisted she needed salad on the side if she was going to eat pizza at a sleepover. But at the same time, being married to April is so much better and easier than Sterling could have envisioned even as recently as a year ago.

Not that they don’t have their disagreements or moments of genuine irritation with each other every once in a while, but Sterling would be concerned that her wife had been body-snatched if April Stevens-Wesley woke up one morning and decided to not be at least a little bit spitefully contrarian.

“I love your hands,” April says, pulling Sterling’s hand back in her direction to turn over her palm and run her finger over the lines.

Sterling smirks. “Yeah, I’ve kind of noticed.”

April rolls her eyes. “Not like that, you pervert.”

Sterling shrugs, thinking April has now proved lots of times that she does love Sterling’s hands for that reason, among many possible others. “You love this pervert.”

April sighs in defeat. “I really, really do,” she admits easily, then leans in to kiss Sterling, their lips just barely touching when the bedroom door slams open and Blair comes flying in like the Tasmanian Devil.

“Wake up, lovebirds!  The entertainment for the long weekend has arrived!” she yells, leaping onto the bed and subsequently on top of them. Her hair and her clothes are almost soaking wet, which is slightly less of a concern to Sterling than the fact that she and her wife are currently naked, but even then, reuniting with Blair feels like regaining a piece of herself that she hadn’t fully realized was lost.

“Why are you wet?!” April shrieks, rolling away while trying to keep the sheets pulled up to her chin.

Sterling, on the other hand, is slightly less concerned about Blair seeing her, considering she has been naked around her pretty consistently since she was an infant, and vice-versa. They’ve even given each other (botched) bikini waxes once—a huge mistake never to be repeated. Mostly, she’s just excited to see her proper other half…which is something she’ll be sure to never let April hear her say.

“It’s raining,” Blair offers with a shrug. “But oh man, are you guys naked right now? Did I interrupt something?” Blair waggles her eyebrows and narrowly dodges a pillow April one-handed tosses at her head. “Hostile, much?”

“Blair, get the fuck out of here!” April growls.

Sterling sighs and shakes her head. Those two couldn’t get along even if she were dying. “Blair, I am very happy to see you, but do you mind giving April and me some time to get ready in private, please?” she asks delicately.

April, being very unhelpful in a moment like this, smirks at Blair and snuggles in closer to Sterling.

Blair laughs, more than a little amused at her continued uncanny ability to get under April’s skin, even after a whole quarter of a year apart. Then she looks Sterling in the eye.

“Hello, Mrs. SIMPens-Wesley.”

“That’s not even clever.”

“Yes, it is, and even you have to admit it.”

“…okay, it’s a little funny. But can you please at least try not to set April off anymore today? You know how family gatherings stress her out.”

“Yes, Sterl. I do know that, because you married a younger, more compact version of our mother and I’m sure that’s something you’re going to have to discuss with your future therapist.”

“I’ve missed you so much.”

“I missed you too. But did you know that I’m pulling a 3.4? How crazy is that?”

“Uh, nerd alert. Guess we have a new smart twin...except I’m pulling a 3.8.”

“You bitch.”

April snaps her fingers in front of Sterling’s face, yanking her out of her Twinspeak focus. “Hi, yes, I’ve asked politely many times for you guys to please not do that in front of me, thank you.”

“What a bitch.”

“Blair, that’s my wife!”

April growls in frustration. “Please leave. I have to shower before your grandparents get here and I would prefer for only your sister to see me naked.”

Blair puts up her hands in surrender upon Sterling giving her a pleading look, as it’s nearly impossible to satisfy them both at the same time. “Okay, okay, I’m going. But before I do, I just have to ask-” Sterling braces herself for what is undoubtedly going to be some awful question to follow, “-What were you freaks doing last night that has you guys naked and dad flinching at even the mention of your names?”

April smiles menacingly at her. “Thank you so much for your generous bridal shower gift, Blair.”

Horror dawns on Blair’s face before she gags. “Oh God, it’s so much worse than I thought!” she says in exaggerated distress before finally leaving them alone in the room, slamming the door behind her.

This is going to be a very long weekend

Thanks to Blair’s presence being like a bucket of cold water on April’s sex drive, their shower together turns out a lot less...romantic than Sterling had anticipated it would be. But because they apparently traumatized her father with their bedroom antics last night, she can’t say she necessarily feels up to making love to April in her parents’ house again any time soon either.

“Can you hand me my conditioner, please?” April asks, hand outstretched and eyes shut as she rinses the shampoo out of her hair under the stream of the water whilst Sterling is busy shaving one leg propped up on the lower soap ledge.

Sterling dutifully sets down her razor but keeps her leg firmly in place as she looks around for April’s no-doubt expensive French conditioner, eventually finding it on the higher ledge behind her. “So are you going to be cooking with my mom until dinnertime?” Sterling asks as she hands over the little bottle, actually hoping that her assumption isn’t the case.

“That’s the plan,” April confirms, running the conditioner through her hair with her hands. “Why do you ask?”

“Well, you know how our house is still kind of bare minimum furnished because your dad still hasn’t come through with that allowance he said he was gonna?” Sterling asks, knowing that her suggestion is already off to an awful start by leading in with that, so she decides to act more nonchalant about it by going back to shaving her legs.

April makes a sound of annoyance. “Yes, I am aware.”

“Well, I found out that a few stores at the mall are doing early Black Friday starting at noon today, and-” Sterling does not get to finish that sentence without April interrupting.

“Wait, but it’s Thanksgiving. It’s Thursday and not even nighttime. How can they possibly justify calling that Black Friday? It’s just a Thanksgiving sale for crazy people.” April’s opinion on this subject is stronger than Sterling had anticipated, with her voice getting a bit higher on those last two words, though it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, considering April’s strong opinion that the Christmas season doesn’t start until the day after Thanksgiving, aka Actual Black Friday.

Still, it makes Sterling more than a little nervous to even ask what she was going to. “Yeah, you’re so right,” she lies, scoffing. 

“So what are your plans? Because no offense, Honey, but I’d prefer if you stayed far away from the kitchen. At least until after we take that cooking class,” April says, trying to sound as nice as possible, but Sterling knows she was very upset to have to throw away a frying pan that Sterling scorched beyond repair.

“Might take Chloe for a walk and watch the Falcons game,” Sterling fibs, figuring there’s no use in telling April about wanting to go shopping if she for sure wouldn’t want to go…and if Sterling intends on buying something that would be a present for both of them.

April finishes rinsing her hair and puts her hands on Sterling’s hips, moving them so that Sterling can be under the stream of the hot water. “Sounds like a plan. Do you have any advice for me when it comes to dealing with your grandmother and aunt today?” she reaches past Sterling to get her bottle of shampoo, squirting some into her hands and lathering it into Sterling’s hair.

Sterling sighs in contentment, the feeling of April’s fingers massaging and nails lightly scratching at her scalp being absolutely heavenly. Though, unfortunately, it makes it hard to think clearly. “Just…uh…honestly, be yourself.”

April scoffs. “Well, that’s amazingly unhelpful,” she says, chuckling and lightly pushing Sterling backward so she can rinse her head.

“No, I’m serious,” Sterling says, eyes closed and trying not to get any soapy water in her mouth. “You know I love you exactly the way you are, and you are the most intense person I know. You don’t take lip from anyone, and you have the uncanny ability to make everyone around you feel dumb in comparison to you. Use that.” It feels so obvious to Sterling, even if she definitely shouldn’t be encouraging her wife to serve any verbal beatdowns to her brand new in-laws. But Sterling knows as well as anyone that her aunt and grandma kind of suck.

April pulls Sterling closer to her again, rubbing conditioner into her hair. There’s something to be said about how much she loves to take care of Sterling like this, but the same could be said about Sterling enjoying it so much. “I don’t know why hearing you say that just made my heart soar, but I appreciate it, Sterl,” she says, punctuating her sentence with a quick peck to Sterling’s lips. “But I think I understand your point now.”

“I’m glad,” Sterling says, leaning back to rinse again. “So, how do you think your mom is doing?”

“Well,” April says, pausing as she seems to ponder the best way to word her answer. “I believe she’s doing her best to hold firm during divorce proceedings, and that she’s choosing to spend the holiday with my aunt because she’s the one person who’s wanted her to leave my father all along. But do I think she’s truly become a strong, independent woman throughout all of this? No, of course not.”

“Well, that seems…harsh,” Sterling says awkwardly but isn’t surprised by anything April just said. She just hopes that April isn’t still holding out hope that her parents will reconcile, because, in that regard, Sterling is firmly Team Franny. She knows the divorce has been hard on her wife, but it’s what’s best—even their pastor, who is generally pro-marriage counseling in times of trouble, thinks that the Stevenses will be better off when they aren’t together.

“I’ve known my mom a lot longer than you, Sterl,” April reminds her, pouring a more than generous amount of her own shower gel into her hands and giving Sterling the show of a lifetime as she rubs it into her own skin. “I’d tell you to take a picture, but I know you actually would.”

Feeling particularly bold, Sterling shocks her wife by taking her by the hips and pulling her in close until their bodies are firmly together—enough so that she’s sure they’re both going to come out of this smelling like cranberries, oranges, and eucalyptus. “I’d take all the pictures of you like this,” she says with complete confidence, looking down at how they fit together so perfectly.

“At least I know you’ll never leave me as long as I keep my figure,” April says with a smirk but Sterling knows that it’s still something her wife fears, and she will always be here to assuage those feelings.

“I’d never leave you. I’m not crazy.”

“Good.” April gives Sterling a long kiss that for a minute has Sterling wondering if this will turn into a sexy shower after all, but unfortunately, April eventually pulls away and rinses herself off before opening the glass shower door. “Don’t forget to wash everything important,” she says, stepping out and grabbing a towel to wrap around herself.

Sterling rolls her eyes, rubbing in the suds still on her from April. “Yes, April. I’m not a dude.”

“Mmm, and thank God for that,” April says, giving Sterling one last thirsty once-over before shutting the shower door.

It’s not until she’s gone that Sterling realizes how worked up she’d gotten once things took a more romantic turn, and now her body is wanting release, with April or not. “Dang it,” Sterling says to herself, knowing that denying this urge will only cause her pain and suffering on a day still likely to be stressful. Frustrated, she grabs the detachable showerhead off of the wall.

“A proper good morning to you, my dear sister,” Blair says, emerging from her room in a fresh outfit just as Sterling leaves her room dressed in the sweater ensemble April picked out for her. “Nice to see you fully clothed, even if you look like a total dweeb.”

“I am a dweeb who is loved,” Sterling says, unashamed…though that might be the post-masturbation IDGAFrick attitude talking.

“Yeah, well, are you too domesticated to make a run to Yogurtopia with me today to visit our old friends?” Blair asks, the request itself innocent enough in words, but the implication is…less so.

This is the first day they’ve been in Atlanta together without a wedding to take part in since the last time they went bounty hunting together. And Sterling knows she promised April no more, but the rush is like a drug. A drug that betters society, sure, but that doesn’t make it any less addictive.

Still, Sterling values her relationship too much to give in to temptation for the thing that almost ensured her marriage didn’t happen at all. “Blair, I can’t. April and I are trying to do the total honesty thing, and I very much doubt she would be okay with me doing that while she stays here entertaining our grandparents.”

“Okay, but what if Bowser has some super easy, super lucrative skip and you buy April something nice to make up for the minor betrayal?” Blair asks, reminding Sterling why she is the one who has never had a relationship last longer than a few months. “C’mon, please? I haven’t seen you in months and this is our thing.”

Sterling stubbornly crosses her arms, not wanting to budge on this, even with Blair trying to guilt-trip her. “Blair, no. I won’t betray April’s trust like that. And besides, you being so busy is why we’ve had maybe half as many FaceTime dates as you said we would when you decided on UNC.”

“I’m sorry, okay? I’m just…I’m trying to navigate my whole life not involving you, and it’s like learning to play lacrosse with one arm tied behind my back. Talking to you reminds me what I’m missing and I get sad,” Blair admits, really showing her vulnerable side that Sterling has missed dearly.

“Yeah, I get what you mean,” Sterling agrees with a nod. “But it still doesn’t make me half as sad as thinking that you don’t care if you talk to me or not.”

Without warning, Blair pulls Sterling into a crushingly tight hug, not letting her go even as she struggles slightly to breathe. “I’m sorry I’m such a jerk. You’re my spiritual wombmate and I never should have let there be distance between us.”

“I love you, Blair,” Sterling says, unable to stay mad at her sister, even when she deserves it. She knows her sister’s brain too well to think she ever means to cause harm, especially not to those she loves. And despite her abandonment, Sterling has never doubted her sister loves her.

“And I love you, Sterl. Even if you’ve let April totally pussywhip you.” Blair says, clearly trying to stop the moment from getting too sappy. This is just as well since Sterling doesn’t want to cry off what little makeup she put on this morning.

“In my defense,” Sterling starts, trying not to smile too much when she says this next part, “April’s…well, it’s pretty dang amazing.”

Blair makes a look of disgust. “Grossss, I told you not to tell me details with her name attached to them!”

“Then don’t bring up my wife’s private parts and how they influence me if you don’t want to hear my opinion,” Sterling says, feeling entirely unapologetic about this. “But no Blair, I will not betray her trust by going back to bounty hunting like I’m the Spider-Man to her MJ.”

Blair frowns, confused. “Wait, at what point did Spider-Man stop being Spider-Man and it helped his relationship with the kidnapping-prone ginger?”

“Spider-Man 2 with Tobey Maguire,” Sterling answers easily.

“That movie is as old as us and isn’t even a part of the MCU,” Blair counters.

“As if that matters,” Sterling says, exasperated at her sister continuing to not see the genius in the Sam Raimi campfest Spider-Man movies…gosh, she has been spending too much time around April. “Anyway, the answer is a big no.”

For her part, at least Blair seems to accept this but still looks disappointed about it. “Fine. But can we go see Bowser anyway? I want froyo.”

Sterling knows that she’s probably opening a can of worms by agreeing to this, but she does miss their big, scary, teddy bear of a mentor. “Okay, fine. But you’re buying and I’m getting extra toppings. And we need to go to the mall so I can get a few things.”

“Oh right, the Thanksgiving Black Friday deals?” Blair asks.

“Yes!” Sterling is so glad that Blair acknowledges that the day of the week doesn’t matter when the violent spirit of the Capitalist holiday is in the air.

They head downstairs, where Sterling can hear her mom and April in the kitchen and football coming from the TV in the den. Seeing as she’s yet to greet either of her parents this morning, she heads into the den, leaning over the back of the couch to kiss her dad on the cheek. “Morning, Dad,” she says cheerfully as she notices her father’s whole demeanor shift, even without seeing his face.

Anderson clears his throat and awkwardly replies, “Mornin’, Princess.”

Sterling hears Blair giggle from the hallway and remembers what she said about their dad’s reaction to her and April this morning, more than likely due to last night. “Who’s winning?”

Anderson gives a grunting shrug in response, telling Sterling he isn’t quite ready to confront her open sexuality as a married woman just yet. Or possibly ever.

“Dad, if Mom and April ask where we’re at, tell them we’re at the mall, okay?” Blair calls to him.

“You got it, Babygirl,” Anderson replies, sounding almost relieved to hear that Sterling will be out of the house, which is kind of hurtful.

Still, Sterling figures that he’ll be fine if they give him some space, so she follows Blair out to the driveway without another word until the front door is shut behind them. “Are you sure we shouldn’t tell Mom and April we’re going out now? What if they need us for something?”

“Ask for forgiveness, not permission,” Blair says like the horrible philosopher she is as she keeps walking past their dad’s hunting truck, which Sterling had expected they would drive, seeing as the Volt is back in North Carolina. “You got the key for this baby?” Blair asks, going up to April’s Lincoln and running her hand over the hood like she’s caressing a lover.

“Uh, yes, but April barely even lets me drive her car and I’m married to her. I very much doubt she’d care for us taking it for a joyride,” Sterling says, knowing she’ll have to be firm about this because April’s Lincoln is among her most prized possessions, and stealing it on top of neglecting to inform her of where she is going could prove disastrous.

Though Blair seems unfazed by this prospect. “You’re married to her, so it’s your car too, Sterl. C’mon, I’ve been dying to try out those heated seats.” She pouts pathetically at Sterling, and truly, after all these years, it should not work in her favor. And yet, Sterling just can’t say no to that face.

“Fine. But under no circumstances are you driving,” she gives in all too easily and pulls out the keyfob from her jacket pocket, still there from when she was unloading the car yesterday.

Blair smiles, her whole demeanor one of smug satisfaction. “And here I thought I’d have to pickpocket that off of your dear wife,” she says, going around to the now unlocked passenger door and getting in, followed by Sterling in the driver’s seat. “You guys have satellite radio in here?”

Sterling scoffs, wondering if there’s a universe where April could survive on public access alone. “Yeah, of course,” she says, starting the car and pushing the button to switch on the Sirius XM, cringing when she realizes that April last left it on the showtunes channel.

Blair looks over at her, expressionless. “You have got to be shitting me,” she says mostly to herself as she quickly changes it over to one of the heavy metal stations, which is playing one of her all-time favorites--’Down with the Sickness.’ “Aww yeah, this is a sign!”

“A sign for what?” Sterling asks, pulling out of the driveway.


“Bowser, my good man!”

The twins say simultaneously as they enter their old haunt and find their friend working the register, just as he was the first time they came here. And just as he did that day, he looks far too tired to be all that happy to see them.

“Oh no, it’s you two,” he says, just before Sterling runs across the shop to lean over the counter to hug him. “And here I thought I was rid of you forever.”

“Never ever,” Sterling assures him, pulling back but keeping a hand on his arm. “How ya been?”

“Yeah, how’s business? And also, business?” Blair asks, using air quotes where appropriate, but it’s not like there’s anyone else here besides them. Not even Ms. Cathy is working on Thanksgiving.

Still, though, Bowser isn’t exactly the most subtle guy they know, so Sterling feels the need to more quietly add, “You know. The bounty-hunting.”

Bowser waves her off. “Yeah, yeah, I knew what y’all meant the first time; I ain’t got time for any other side hustles.”

Blair raises an eyebrow at this. “Really? Because I could totally see you taking up a hobby. Like...puzzle-ing.”

“Ooh, I’ve been thinking about learning to crochet,” Sterling feels the need to add, having considered the hobby so she can make April a cute scarf or beanie for their homemade first anniversary gifts. She recognizes that they’ve barely been married for three months, but she’ll be needing time to perfect the art. Though that’s a bit off-topic, she recognizes.

“What the Hell does yarn work have to do with any of this? Why are y’all here?” Bowser asks as Blair meanders over in front of the toppings, not so stealthily snatching a few gummy bears. “And if ya don’t work here no more, then you for sure don’t get to eat the toppings! It’s a health code violation.”

Blair rolls her eyes and goes around behind the counter, Bowser frozen in place by his confusion as she proceeds to pull out an apron and visor from under the counter. She puts them on haphazardly and proceeds to continue eating the toppings.

“As delicious as crumbled Oreos are,” Sterling says, glancing at her entirely shameless sister, “We mostly just came by to say hi. We missed you while we were away. And Yolanda--where is she?”

Bowser looks down sheepishly. “Oh, she’s just at her house gettin’ Thanksgiving dinner ready. But uh...that’s sweet of y’all to miss us.”

Sterling smiles, ribbing at Bowser. “Aww, is she making Thanksgiving dinner for you?”

“Among others, yes,” Bowser replies monotonously. “How’s your girl? The little crazy one?”

Blair scoffs. “Only girl she’s ever had…”

“Blair, shut up!” Sterling hisses at her, not enjoying the idea of any other parental figures having intimate knowledge of her sex life. “April’s good, Bowser. Thank you for asking. We actually just celebrated our quarterversary.”

“That’s not a thing,” Blair chimes in, but Sterling ignores her, even if she knows that it was only an excuse for April to plan a special evening where they exchanged gifts--the girl loves her presents.

“Anyway, we’ve been married for a quarter of a year. Aren’t you proud?” Sterling asks, to which Bowser rolls his eyes.

“Take it from someone who spent ten years married to a crazy girl; you make it a quarter of a century, and I’ll personally give you a damn medal.”

“That’s 25 years,” Blair supplies needlessly for Sterling

“Yeah, I got that,” Sterling replies, a little annoyed at nobody recognizing the accomplishment of getting not just used to, but comfortable with sharing under 1000 square feet with April Stevens-Wesley.

“That means you and April are literally 1% of the way to 25 years,” Blair adds, greatly increasing the probable percentage of Sterling coming back there and smacking her. “Anyway, Bowser, you got any skips you think we could track down for you in the next few hours? We kinda have to be back to the house by dinner time.”

“Blair, no, I told you-” Sterling tries to argue, but Bowser looks like a lightbulb has gone off.

“Actually, I recently got one for another one of y’all’s country club buddies. Either of you know a Thomas Jordan?”

Sterling and Blair look at each other within milliseconds.

“Oh my god dude, that’s Tala Jordan’s dad.”

“There could be lots of Thomas Jordans.”

“None that also go to our club.”

“Blair, the last time we did something like this almost cost me my engagement.”

“But we’d be ridding the city of...whatever it is Thomas was booked for. And besides, don’t you want to embarrass the shit out of Tala for that homophobic stuff she said that made you kick her ass?”

“I punched her once,” Sterling says, feeling the need to justify her actions even when it’s just the two of them in this world in her head.

“What, may we ask, was Mr. Jordan arrested for?” Blair asks. “Because we could totally track him down and get him booked in hour. We know things.”

“If we were interested,” Sterling adds, as it’s an important caveat because it would have to be something particularly egregious for her to break April’s trust, even if she would be hurting the skip’s daughter in the process--and in this case, she wouldn’t even feel bad about that part.

“Solicitation of a minor,” Bowser replies, and Sterling sees red.

“We’re in.”


Having Thanksgiving without her parents or the rest of her family for the first time in her life feels…odd to April. She knows that this is a perfectly normal thing that every married woman will almost inevitably experience in their life, but even though she’s loath to admit it, she’s only just turned 19, and in no universe does that make her a full-fledged adult. Not even the fact that she is responsible for taking care of her wife--babying her, more like--makes her someone who should be in charge of her own life, let alone someone else’s. So being here in her in-laws’ home, helping Debbie make their family’s recipe for sweet potato casserole that doesn’t even include a splash of pure vanilla extract (the good kind her mom buys from the farmer’s market) adjustment.

Still, she recognizes that Debbie and Anderson, and of course Sterling all love her unconditionally, as much as her parents--if not more so, seeing as the Wesleys have never called her slurs or subtly fat-shamed her. “Debbie, what consistency am I going for, here?” April asks, turning to Debbie and gesturing with the potato masher in her hand. “Smooth as mashed potatoes, or a little bit intentionally lumpy for textural diversity?” Seeing as this recipe is also lacking in the candied walnut department, she sees this as a valid question.

Debbie makes a face of bewildered amusement. “Whatever consistency you see fit, Sweetie. Honestly, the only people who’ll be eating here who care much about texture tend to avoid that sugar bomb.”

“Fair enough.” April gets to mashing, making sure to leave it lumpy anyway. “So, when is the rest of the Wesley clan expected to arrive?”

“Soon, unfortunately,” Debbie says too quickly.

April chuckles, appreciating the honesty. “Wow, tell me how you really feel about them, Deb,” 

Debbie comes over to playfully swat April on the arm with a dishtowel. “Not everyone can be so lucky to have wonderful in-laws like you, young lady.”

“That’s true,” April agrees, knowing she is very lucky indeed to have Debbie and Anderson. Blair, she could do without. “But did I hear correctly that it’ll be ‘cousin,’ singular?” There’s more than a hint of hope in her voice at the idea that Kristina will not be attending this shindig.

“Yes, Deacon and Cordelia are only bringing DJ. Kristina is with her boyfriend in Texas,” Debbie explains as April makes a confused face.

“I thought he dumped her?” she asks, still relishing in that highlight of her wedding day.

“He took her back,” Debbie says, shrugging as Lord knows neither one of them understand why someone would do such a stupid thing. “Though I can’t say I’m exactly disappointed to not have her here antagonizing the girls.”

April laughs, wondering when she earned the privilege to be gossiped with like a real adult, but she loves it. “Speaking of the girls, I’m surprised at how quiet they’ve been.”

Debbie’s eyes narrow. “You will soon find that that is rarely a good thing,” she says, putting down her mixing spoon. “April, before the rest of the family gets here, there is something I’d like to…discuss.”

April has a pretty good idea of what that thing is, but she very much does not want to discuss that thing. “Oh? And what’s that, Debbie?” she asks innocently.

Debbie’s face is very tired. “I know I told you and Sterling that I wanted you to hold off on certain…activities until you were married, and I know that by all accounts, the two of you engaging in those activities is perfectly understandable, I just-”

April cuts Debbie off there, shaking her head. “Debbie, you don’t have to say it. I know we should have tried to keep it down last night and will be more mindful while staying here in the future.” As mortifying as it is for her to admit her wrongdoing in this department, it would be even worse to be chastised for the volume at which she cries out in the throes of passion.

Debbie breathes a sigh of relief. “Oh, thank God! I’d been trying to come up with what to say since last night. But for future reference, Anderson and I don’t sleep until we know our girls are home safe. Just a heads up.”

April doesn’t know if she should laugh or be mortified by the fact that they apparently heard everything, “I’ll be sure to keep that in mind. Is Anderson okay?”

Debbie does laugh at that. “Oh God, no. Sweetie, this is the man who insisted that he and I wait until our wedding night, and who is convinced that Sterling was a virgin on your wedding night.”

April gasps. “Wait, she wasn’t?!” she gives it until Debbie looks like she might have just made a huge mistake before she breaks into a smile. “I’m just kidding. I’m the one who found out about her and Luke and told the whole school.”

Debbie playfully shoved at her shoulder. “Don’t mess with me like that, you little butt. I’m your mother-in-law.”

“Doesn’t that mean you’re supposed to be extremely overbearing as well as obligated to undermine my relationship with Sterling and eventually the way we raise our future child?” April asks all in one breath.

“If you were married to my son, yes. Different rules apply when you’re married to my…very special little girl.” The way Debbie says the word ‘special’ makes it clear that she doesn’t intend for it to be a compliment by any means. Just a descriptor.

“And on that note, Sterling, Blair, what are you doing?” she calls out to nowhere in particular as she heads out of the kitchen into the foyer, with April following her. There’s ultimately no answer, and Debbie goes to the den where Anderson is laughing at an UberEats commercial. “Anderson, have you seen the girls?”

Anderson turns around in his seat, flinching upon noticing April behind Debbie. “Uh, they said they were going to the mall.” He turns back to the tv.

“Goodness gracious, if those girls get hurt going to one of those ridiculous Black Friday stampedes, I will not feel the least bit of sympathy for them. I will fight my motherly instincts and everything,” Debbie says as she heads back to the kitchen but seems otherwise unbothered by this revelation from her husband.

April, on the other hand, has got a bad feeling about this. She goes and opens the front door, looking out to the driveway to where she parked her Lincoln, only to find it missing. “Oh, she is in big trouble,” she says to herself, getting out her phone and taking the drastic step of skipping a text and calling Sterling immediately.

The phone rings three times before Sterling’s voice finally answers nervously. “Hi, Baby…”

“Don’t you ‘hi, Baby’ me! Where are you and where is my car?” April asks, knowing she could go about this a bit more delicately, but she’s pissed and having serious deja vu back to the night when Sterling came home with a busted ankle after subduing a violent criminal.

“Blair and I just wanted to say hi to a few friends before we went Black Friday shopping. Didn’t you say that you would kind of like to have an immersion blender?” Sterling says, and April can tell from the background noise that she is clearly driving.

“What is the deal with you and blenders?!” April asks, truly bewildered by her wife’s apparent fascination with liquifying things that shouldn’t be liquid--she’s seen a rather notorious TikTok of Sterling’s titled ‘The Forbidden Smoothie’ from when they were around 13.

“I like to watch things blend, okay?” Sterling replies defensively.

“Regardless, bring me back my car! I didn’t give you permission to take it!” April hisses into the phone, trying to be mindful of her volume.

“It’s her car too,” Blair chimes in, definitely on speakerphone. “Y’all are married.”

“We won’t be for long if you bring that car back in anything less than pristine condition,” April fires back.

“Is that a promise?”

“Blair!” Sterling clearly takes the phone back and puts it into regular speaking mode--none of which exactly bode well for safe driving. “April, my darling, my love, I promise you I will be back with your car before dinner. I just wanted some time with my sister.”

“And what are you expecting me to do with your family until then?” April asks, taking the phone into the bathroom and turning it on speaker at a low volume so she can take it away from her ear and pull up the GPS tracker app connected to her car--this isn’t an invasion of her wife’s privacy, according to their (obviously necessary) honesty policy.

“I’m sure you’ll think of something, but I really have to go, and-” Sterling doesn’t get a chance to finish that sentence before April interrupts her, having geolocated her car in Downtown Atlanta--miles away from the mall.

“What are you doing downtown, Sterling?” she asks, knowing that there are only a few possible options for what her wife is doing, and all of them involve her wife lying to her.

“Uh…” Sterling stalls, always a bad liar, even when she’s at her best.

April gasps, knowing that Sterling could only really be lying to her about one thing. “Are you bounty hunting? On Thanksgiving?!”

“April, I swear it wasn’t my idea,” Sterling says quickly, not at all denying the accusation, which shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, but it is anyway.

April is positively fuming. “Get back here right now, or so help me God I will never do that thing you like in bed ever again.”

“You’re bluffing,” Sterling says, and she is not exactly wrong, seeing as it would end up being a punishment for the both of them.

April growls in frustration. “Fine. Then I will tell your mother what you’re doing.”

Sterling gasps. “You wouldn’t tattle on me. I’m your wife!” she sounds appalled.

“And it’s my fucking car,” April says into the phone and figures that that is a good place to press the ‘end call’ button.

For a few moments, she just stands there, seething with the phone in her hand. She doesn’t understand how someone she loves so much can also infuriate her like no other. She doesn’t want or even anticipates wanting to spend her life with anyone else, even when Sterling is like this, but it certainly does give her pause when it comes to thinking about their future.

Is she really going to one day be her mother’s age and still be worrying about her wife and her sister-in-law fucking off to wreak havoc on major holidays while she is stuck at home playing the good little wife and making bland sweet potatoes? Most likely. And to an extent, she knows she signed up for this when she married a woman who is and always will be half of a human bonded pair. But that doesn’t make it any less annoying.

April grabs the hand towel from the ring next to the sink, brings it to her mouth, and bites down before letting out a muffled scream of frustration. Why can’t life just give her a break for one Goddamned day?

She calmly replaces the towel and looks into the mirror, seeing a version of herself that she doesn’t like. April doesn’t want to be Sterling’s shrew of a wife who’s out to stop her from having any fun—God knows she’s already done a bang-up job of that by allowing her to domesticate herself before she’s even 19–but she just can’t help herself. Why should she have to be the responsible one while Sterling can go off and be reckless as ever, doing the one thing April begged and pleaded for her to stop doing?

Suddenly, she’s startled out of her doom spiral by someone knocking on the door. “Look alive, April; we’re in DEFCON 1!” Anderson calls through the door, signaling to her the arrival of the rest of the Wesleys.

“Wonderful,” April sighs before putting on a big smile and heading out to the foyer to greet Sterling’s Uncle Deacon’s family.

It’s past dark now, and though the Wesleys eat Thanksgiving later than April’s family ever has, she’s starting to get truly worried about her wife’s whereabouts.

Texts to Sterling, first angry and then pleading, have gone unanswered. She even tried to phone Blair but got sent straight to voicemail after a ring. She’s starting to wonder if she should have followed through with her threat to tell Debbie, if only because Sterling’s safety could be at stake here.

“Hey April, have you ever played Monster Hunter Rise?” DJ asks, scooting over on the couch in the den so he’s right up next to her, Switch in hand.

If it were up to April, she would still be in the kitchen, putting the finishing touches on dinner before they serve, but Sterling’s grandmother and Aunt Cordelia practically forced her out, so now she’s stuck with the boys, watching the Atlanta Falcons get clobbered. Really, DJ’s video game obsession is a welcome distraction.

“I haven’t,” she answers his question, shaking her head and trying to still seem interested, but DJ is a smart kid.

“Oh, okay,” he says, surprising her by turning off his game and setting it down on the couch next to him. “Do you and Sterling ever play games together?”

April shakes her head again. “At least not video games. We would, but we don’t have a TV, so Sterling just plays on the handheld. But I have a PlayStation 5 at my old house, and when I had the time, I loved playing Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.” She could add that she spent a lot more of her time explaining the plot to her dad while he watched than actually playing that game, but it’s an unnecessary detail. She’s sure DJ will hear plenty about her father from his gossip of a mother eventually.

DJ looks at her with heart eyes that remind her of Sterling—oh, how she would have killed to be looked at like that by Sterling when they were 12 instead of having to see Sterling with Luke. “You’re sooo cool. My cousin doesn’t know what she’s got.”

April smiles and shakes her head, appreciating this ego boost. “Thank you. You’re not so bad yourself, DJ,” she says, seeing so much of her wife in this lovesick little Wesley that it’s hard not to be endeared to him, even when she knows she’s supposed to still be mad at her wife.

“You’re unfortunately barking up the wrong tree, son,” Deacon says, not looking away from the TV.

Big Daddy clears his throat uncomfortably. “Anderson, did you end up buying them girls that little shoebox you showed me?” The not even passive-aggressive remark about her home has April’s nails digging into her own palms.

“Yeah, Dad, I did. But it’s just the perfect size for the girls and it’s walking distance to their classes.” Anderson tries to justify his actions, but April knows from experience that explaining oneself to a person just looking to be critical will always be a waste of time.

Big Daddy scoffs but otherwise holds his tongue, which April doubts he would be doing if she weren’t sitting here right now.

But April’s attention is quickly drawn away by the buzz of a text notification from her phone, which she looks at immediately in the hopes that it’ll be from Sterling, but alas, it is not.

Jamie ✌️: how’s thanksgiving with the in-laws?

April 🏳️‍🌈: gonna be making Sterl sleep on the couch indefinitely for ditching me to hang out with her sister. You?

Jamie ✌️: Ellen’s dad actually had to ask her if I was a girl or just a very skinny, metrosexual dude. But they’re otherwise nice, just kinda geriatric and old school…and defs the reason why Ellen is the way she is.

April 🏳️‍🌈: yeah I sort of figured that level of enthusiasm and childlike wonder doesn’t come out of thin air.

After she sends that text, April receives another one, but this time it’s from the person she was expecting to hear from.

Sterling ❤️: Will you come out to the driveway, please?

The nerve of this girl to just show up and make such a request as if April isn’t about to fly off the handle at her. Still, it’s probably best that that happens outside, so she subtly makes her way out of the house, and only then does she allow her rage to take over the second she sees Sterling get out of the driver’s seat of her car.

“You know, you have a lot of nerve, Sterling Wesley,” April sneers, seeing Sterling’s eyes widen upon being called her non-married name. But that’s a good thing because April means business and she needs to know it.

“April, please, I can explain,” Sterling says, hands up defensively, and April doesn’t exactly want to give her a chance to explain, but she’s sure she’ll never hear the end of it from Pastor Booth in their session on Sunday if she doesn’t.

“I’d love to hear how you can justify going off to play fucking Batgirl while leaving me stranded here.” April watches as Blair awkwardly leaves the passenger seat, sucking on the straw of a large gas station soda and trying to fade into the background.

Sterling wrings her hands and seems to consider how best to phrase it that won’t lead to the very likely event of April indirectly punishing her for the duration of this extended holiday weekend. “We weren’t going to go bounty hunting. I swear we weren’t, and I swear that that’s not what we were doing for most of the time we were gone. We just wanted to say hi to Bowser, but then he told us that Tala Jordan’s dad is a perv who tried to ask out a minor, and-”

April isn’t about to just let Sterling gloss over that detail. “Um, what?”

Blair removes the drink straw from her lips to finally speak up. “Tala’s dad was our skip and we found him in like an hour hiding out in a bar downtown because he thinks he’s a food critic and gave the place a 1-Star review on Yelp when he was still sitting there. But we figured you wouldn’t be too freaked since it means that your dad is not the biggest creep we’ve ever caught to whom we also have a personal connection.” 

She...oddly has a point. “You arrested Thomas Jordan?” It’s strange, how weirdly satisfying it is, considering April knows that it was his devil child who spread the rumor around the school that her dad had been arrested for killing a hooker. By design, it was close to the truth, but if April had tried to correct people by saying that her dad had only roughed up a prostitute, it would hardly sound much better, and she would have been confirming the rumors.

Tala Jordan is pure evil, and her going through this now feels like ultimate karma.

Sensing April’s vulnerability in her redirected rage, Sterling places her hands on April’s shoulders and looks into her eyes with sincerity. “Now do you see why I couldn’t resist? I would have asked you to join us, but it was sort of time-sensitive that we got downtown as soon as possible, and I thought you were in your element here. I’m sorry for not making that clear sooner.”

April sighs, not able and not wanting to hold onto her anger towards the woman she loves anymore. “Yes, but it doesn’t explain where you were after you picked him up.”

At that, Blair smiles deviously and heads around the back of the car, popping open the trunk. “Now, Sterl told me that you have a thing about Black Friday happening on Thanksgiving Thursday, but I think even you will appreciate the deals we got at the mall.”

April and Sterling follow Blair around the car, and the first thing April notices is the rather large thing hidden behind other shopping bags, covered with a blanket. “Sterling, what is that? Please tell me that you don’t have a body in the back of my car.”

Sterling and Blair give her matching looks of bewilderment, with Sterling saying, “What?! Why would it be a dead body?”

April shrugs exaggeratedly. “I don’t know! You’re a freaking bounty hunter and isn’t the whole thing like, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive?’”

“We don’t kill people,” Sterling says, seeming surprised that she had to say as much. “Though if we did, don’t you think we would have just gone with the other, easier option with your dad so he couldn’t tell anyone?”

“It would have made y’all’s relationship a lot easier if we had,” Blair chimes in.

“WHAT?!” April says, hardly believing she’s hearing her wife and sister-in-law explaining the logic of murdering her father for reward money like a damn Red Dead Redemption side quest—though she recognizes she opened this conversation up for debate, she just hadn’t realized they’d put so much thought into it.

“Anyway…” Sterling says in a singsong voice, clearly wanting to change the subject of conversation right quick, looking at the contents of the car trunk. “No peeking at anything else back here, but…” she reaches into one of the shopping bags and quickly pulls something out, holding it behind her back.

“You can’t bribe your way out of trouble,” April says plainly, crossing her arms.

Sterling looks at her incredulously. “First of all, this isn’t a bribe, it’s just a no-strings present for my beautiful wife that is also an apology for not keeping you in the loop. But since when do you look a gift horse in the mouth—whatever that means?”

“Still sounds like a bribe, but okay,” April says, holding out her hand expectantly.

Sterling rolls her eyes, clearly having anticipated for this to be more romantic, but even so, she brings the small velvet jewelry box from behind her back, reminding April of the night they got engaged, especially when she pops it open, but it isn’t a ring this time. No, they’re matching rose gold earrings that take April’s breath away, despite herself. “They’re from the Disney-inspired jewelry collection—Belle, just like your wedding dress,” Sterling says as April continues to admire the earrings, which are studs shaped like small roses with a diamond embedded in the center.

April is frustrated at how much she loves them, and how much she loves the idiot girl who bought them for her with no doubt dirty money. This must be how mob wives feel.

“She’s pretty slick, isn’t she?” Blair says, looking rather proud of her sister before patting her on the back and heading into the house to finally give them their privacy.

April waits until the door closes behind her before finally speaking again. “You know in the future that I won’t be so easily appeased with gifts, right? I’m not my mother.”

Sterling nods. “I know that. I just figured it couldn’t hurt, and when I saw these, I thought of you and how beautiful you looked on our wedding day.”

“You think I look beautiful every day,” April says, a little surprised at how certain she is of this fact, but then again, she hasn’t ever been given reason to question it. “But it’s nice to hear you say so.”

Cautiously, Sterling leans in to kiss her, and it feels right, just being with her like this. Real love means fighting without coming out of it liking each other any less, after all.

“Mother, would you like the honor of saying grace?” Debbie asks once they’ve all sat around the table—well, everyone except Blair and DJ, who are the only occupants of the kids' table but don’t seem too bothered by this fact. Or at least, DJ doesn’t.

“Oh, that’s sweet of you to offer, Deborah, but I think it ought to be left to someone else—truth be told, I’m drawing a blank as far as things I’m thankful for this year,” Mother says, her voice cheery and innocent, but the comment is as backhanded as they come. Especially in the year when she had her first grandchild get married.

April, who’s had the misfortune of being sat next to her wife’s grandmother—who has yet to speak two words directly to her today—just goes about her business putting green bean casserole on her and Sterling’s plates. She isn’t about to offer herself up to do the prayer, even if she knows it would be better than anything anyone else at the table could come up with. She’s just going to bide her time and take some satisfaction in knowing that she won’t have to deal with any of Sterling’s extended family this Christmas when they’re in Vermont with hers—though she hasn’t exactly informed Sterling of this just yet.

After a moment of awkward silence, Sterling clears her throat. “Uh, I’ll do it, Mom?” she says, gently raising her hand.

Debbie gestures for her to continue before they all clasp their hands and bow their heads, eyes closed, save for April, who can’t help but glance at her wife out of the corner of her eye.

“Dear Lord, we thank you for this day and that we can share it with our wonderful family. We thank you for the food and love you have blessed us with, and we hope we may always be so fortunate. We also thank you for bringing my amazing wife April into our family—I don’t think any of us could do without her,” Sterling says, sneaking a look and a smile at April towards the end. She really does know how to charm the pants off a girl when she wants to.

Cordelia jumps in after Sterling is finished to add, “And Lord, we pray that you may forgive our sins and continue to shine your light upon this family as we close out this rather…eventful year. Amen.”

“Amen.” The rest of the table echoes and finally gets to eating just as April feels her phone buzzing in her pocket.

Thinking nobody will notice, she pulls it out of her dress pocket but before she can even look at the screen to see who’s calling, Mother practically glares daggers at her.

“We’re having phones at the dinner table now, are we?” she asks pointedly, raising an eyebrow and attracting the attention of the entire table.

April hits the ignore button on her phone and returns it to her pocket, figuring that if it’s something important, they’ll leave a message. “I guess not.”

Mother makes a sound of satisfaction and everyone goes back to eating dinner, with Sterling reaching under the table to hold April’s hand.

April glances over at her wife, who offers her an encouraging smile, knowing that April would like nothing more than to be treated as a member of the family, but that except for Anderson and Debbie, they all kind of suck. “It’s so nice to see everyone again. I think this is the first time we’ve all been together since our wedding,” April says, figuring she may as well get some friendly conversation going.

“Oh, and it was such a lovely wedding, girls,” Aunt Cordelia says, which comes as a surprise to probably everyone. “Here’s hoping it’ll give Kristina a little incentive to get a move on things.”

Deacon scoffs. “Doubtful, unless she’s about to get down on one knee and ask herself.”

Blair chimes in from the kids' table, “Now that is something I would pay to see.”

“Me too,” DJ agrees, and they both laugh.

Cordelia smacks her hand down on the table, causing April to jump more than it should, but she’s got a pavlovian response to such things happening at dinner tables, as growing up, that tended to lead to her getting hit, one way or another. “Deacon Kent, you know how that’s a sensitive subject for your sister.”

“Dad started it! And she’s not even here!” DJ whines, his pubescent voice cracking on the higher tone.

Cordelia shakes her head. “I don’t care. Now, you best be putting green beans and salad on your plate, or I will do it for you.”

DJ makes a face and rolls his eyes. “I’ll eat vegetables when Dad does.”

Cordelia looks around at her fellow adults. “Do you hear this child? I have no idea where that attitude has come from, but I’m at my wit’s end.”

“Well, you’ve almost got another teenager on your hands, Cordy,” Debbie says, sounding like she feels a good deal of schadenfreude at this fact.

“And you can’t blame the boy for not wantin’ to eat rabbit food,'' Big Daddy adds, accentuating his point by piling his plate with more turkey and ham—though April can’t help but notice that he’s also got himself a good helping of her mom’s green bean casserole, so score 1 for Team Emerson. “Now, did you girls do your civic duty and vote in the midterm elections?”

April and Sterling share a look, knowing that Big Daddy would probably have a similar reaction to who they voted for as her own father—or even the April of three years ago. Deciding that keeping it vague is best in this setting, they just nod.

But of course, Blair is Blair and therefore isn’t about to keep her mouth shut in the name of keeping the peace. “I know I made sure to get my absentee ballot in. You could say that I voted my Ossoff.”

Cordelia and Mother gasp in unison like Blair just declared she’s converted to Satanism.

“Blair, Jon Ossoff wasn’t even on the ballot this time,” Sterling reminds her gently.

“I know that. But ‘I voted my Warnock’ doesn’t exactly have that same je ne sais quoi, now does it?” Blair says, ignoring the fact that every word she’s saying right now seems to be actively killing her grandfather by putting him on the verge of a heart attack.

“Maybe this isn’t such a good subject to discuss at the dinner table,” April says and wants to gag when she realizes how much she sounded like her mother just now. But, she sees an opening to bring up another hard subject that will seem mild in comparison to Blair being an out and proud Democrat. “Anyway, I’m so glad we could all get together. I know Sterling and I will miss you all when we’re in Vermont with my family for Christmas.”

Anderson drops his fork onto his plate with a clang. “You what? What’re you talking about? Of course, y’all are gonna be here for Christmas.” It’s the first time he’s looked at either of them all day, and to say that he seems devastated that they won’t be here to repeat the source of his and Debbie’s trauma on Christmas Eve would be an understatement.

“It’s a tradition in my family that we go to Vermont for Christmas, and seeing as I haven’t seen any of them since the wedding, it only seems fair that we go. Wouldn’t you say so, Honey?” April says, turning to Sterling and giving her a smile that says that this is the price she’ll be paying for breaking the rules today. Though the earrings are nice.

Begrudgingly, Sterling nods. “I mean, yeah, I guess I agree. We do see you guys like…every week.”

“You don’t see me,” Blair says, seeming appalled that her sister could even begin to go along with this.

“Blair, I promise we’ll be back before you have to go back to school. Maybe we can do second Christmas on the 27th, or something,” Sterling says in an attempt to appease Blair, with April—actually trying to be helpful for once—adding,

“Yeah, we can open presents and everything.”

Blair seems completely unhappy about this, but you wouldn’t know it by the way she suddenly grins. “Well, let’s look on the bright side. At least I won’t have to deal with the aftermath of the newlyweds’--earmuffs, DJ--loud as heck sexcapades.”

Sterling is clearly mortified by this revelation being made to everyone including her grandparents, and rightfully so, but April isn’t willing to give Blair the satisfaction of knowing that she has managed to humiliate her in front of the in-laws that April has yet to impress--and now she might not ever, so she may as well have some fun with it. “Well, Blair, as you know, Genesis 1:28 says to ‘be fruitful and multiply,’ so, in order to follow God’s plan for us, we’re just going to have to keep trying to do that and hope for a miracle.” She takes a great deal of fascination when this seems to render Blair--and everyone else--speechless, though Mother, Big Daddy, and Cordelia look like they just witnessed April commit atrocities.

Meanwhile, Sterling’s Uncle Deacon just seems excited to have something truly scandalous happen in his family for once, and after a beat, he whistles long and low. “Man, you kids grew up way too fast.”

On that note, the rest of the meal is pretty quiet for April, Sterling, and Blair. Despite herself, April does feel guilty about separating them on Christmas for the first time in their lives. But at the same time, Sterling should be willing to make sacrifices for her wife, shouldn’t she?

It’s something April is still pondering as she helps Sterling rinse off dishes in the kitchen.

“You know, you could have maybe warned me ahead of time that we’re apparently going across the country for Christmas,” Sterling says as she starts loading the dishwasher.

April hums. “Maybe I was going to broach the subject sometime today when you were off arresting a man and shopping?” She looks at Sterling pointedly before shaking her head. “I’m sorry, okay?”

Sterling nods, probably recognizing how rare such an apology is, especially when April does still have good reason to be mad at her. “Who was it calling you during dinner?”

April shrugs, just now realizing that she never actually checked, so she pulls out her phone, and her heart drops into her stomach when the screen comes on and reveals she has a missed call and voicemail from Daddy 🚀👨‍🚀, a contact with a number that her father should have no means of accessing from prison.

Her hand is shaking as she hits play on the voicemail and brings her phone to her ear, ignoring Sterling’s questioning look.

“Hey there, Padawan. It’s Daddy. I’m sure you’re wonderin’ how I’m able to call you without it being on your dime. Well, thanks to my exemplary behavior—and the legal proceedings with your mother being rather difficult to navigate in that place—I’m out! I guess I just wanted to wish you and your new family a very happy Thanksgiving. I’ll see you soon, Babygirl.”