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Sapphic September 2021

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Alexis looks ethereal in the glow from the rising sun streaming through the motel window. Her eyes are sparkling, and her hair is a golden waterfall spilling over her collarbones. Rachel can’t help but admire the pinks and oranges and yellows from the sun painting rainbows across her skin.

“It’s morning.” Alexis’ voice is soft.

“Can’t believe we’ve been talking all night,” Rachel murmurs.

She’s warm and relaxed in a way she hasn’t felt in years. Yesterday marked the end of an important chapter in her life, so now — Rachel smiles — maybe it’s time for the start of something new.

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“This is stupid,” Stevie grumbles.

The picnic blanket is too flowery. The sun is shining much too brightly. A bee has been buzzing by her ear since they sat down. She’s pretty sure she can smell something gross wafting up from the creek. Her flannel is too hot, but she’ll burn if she takes it off. Everything about this is annoying and—

“Shut up and eat your cheese.” Ruth smiles, and there’s a funny fluttery feeling in Stevie’s stomach. Her lips are twisting upwards without her permission, and actually the cheese is pretty good.

“Maybe it’s only kind of stupid.”

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Heather is doubled over with laughter, tears sparkling in her eyes as she clutches her stomach.

“I can’t believe…” she gasps between giggles. “You really thought it would be a good idea to plant a garden this close to the goats.”

Shannon spent all afternoon transplanting tomatoes from her own garden into Heather’s backyard as a surprise. The real surprise is how easily a group of goats can outsmart a farmer’s well-intentioned girlfriend.

Shannon surveys her demolished garden sadly, and Heather pulls her into a hug, laughter still lighting up her face. She's so beautiful. Shannon can’t help but smile.

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When Alexis was six, Adelina said to wish on a star for her heart’s deepest desire. Alexis wished her parents would stay home.

When Alexis was fifteen, she had midnight photoshoots modeling for agencies whose names she didn’t know. She wished people would stop looking at her.

When Alexis was twenty, she visited a different club each night. She wished for quiet.

When Alexis was twenty-seven, she stood outside a rundown motel. She wished to be anywhere else.

Alexis is thirty, holding Twyla’s hand under a sky full of stars. She can’t think of a single thing to wish for.

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“Stevie, babe, you know I love fashion risks, but I can’t even see you beneath this hat!” Alexis swims to where Stevie’s sitting on the pool’s edge, leaning up to lift the brim and attempt a boop that Stevie dodges.

Twyla swims up beside her. “Come join us, Stevie!”

“Yes, come join, babe!” Alexis pulls Twyla into a searing kiss, putting on a show. “You’re missing out.”

Stevie kicks her legs, splashing her girlfriends with water and laughing when they both shriek. Spending the day at the pool may not have been her first choice, but it’s still pretty fun.

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Ronnie surveys the Town Hall, impressed. Dulce catches her eye from across the room and winks. Ronnie wants to play it cool, but like a magnet, she’s drawn to her side.

Dulce smirks, like she knows Ronnie can’t resist her.

“You really pulled through with the flowers,” Ronnie says.

“You offered a very powerful incentive,” she replies. “You gonna ask me to dance?”

Dulce holds their bodies close as they dance, the feel of her beneath Ronnie’s hands a tantalizing reminder of the night before.

“Are you coming over later?”

“Oh, I plan on us both coming tonight.” Ronnie grins.

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“I can’t see anything.”

“Exactly.” Tennessee smiles. “Tonight’s the new moon.”

“Maybe we can come back another night?” Heather suggests.

“No, I wanted us to come tonight.” Tennessee takes her hand.

As much as Heather likes Tennessee, her practical side is often confused by Tennessee’s more… eccentric hobbies. At least their first date doesn’t involve pinecones, she supposes.

Tennessee faces Heather. “It signifies a new beginning. I waited to ask you out until the new moon because the universe is brimming with energy.”

Heather leans in for a kiss. She has a feeling she’s going to love this new beginning.

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“It's too early,” Rachel complains into her pillow.

“C’mon, wakey-wakey.” Heather yanks back the covers.

“I’m coming, I’m coming.” Rachel remains facedown in her pillow for another minute before hauling herself to her feet. “Okay, I’m up. Let’s do this!”

The goats bleat happily when they enter the barn, and even though it’s the crack of dawn, even though she does this every morning, Heather’s face lights up. Her love for her goats is infectious, diminishing Rachel’s grogginess as she takes in the scene.

Rachel wraps her arms around Heather from behind. “Thanks for making me get up for this.”

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“I promise the fire will heat this place up. It just takes a little longer than I remembered, I guess.” Shannon worries at her lower lip. “I really thought this cabin would be romantic, but it’s just freezing.”

“Babe.” Alexis grabs a blanket from the couch and sits beside Shannon in front of the fire, wrapping the blanket tightly around both of their shoulders. “It’s so romantic. I love it.”

“Really?” Shannon smiles hesitantly, and Alexis simply has to kiss her.

Yes, babe. Thank you for bringing me here. Besides, I can think of some ways to warm us up.”

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Rachel’s hair is a blazing fire against the backdrop of the setting sun as the ferris wheel makes its steady rotation. When Rachel’s thumb traces slow circles against the sensitive skin on the inside of her wrist, Twyla feels that fire burning inside her.

Rachel’s eyes meet her own, and they’re shining golden and bright, kicking Twyla’s heart into overdrive. Her stomach swoops as their lips meet, and she’s certain the ferris wheel is spinning out of control, but no, the wild thrill lighting her up inside stems entirely from the incredible woman sitting beside her.

Twyla loves the thrill.

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Stevie’s lost track of how long she’s spent staring blankly at the motel deed. David left ages ago with an awkward pat to her shoulder and vague reassurances. She picks up the photo of Aunt Maureen and blows dust from the frame.

It’s a good photo. Maureen looks about Stevie’s age. She looks happy.

Stevie wonders if she looks happy. Is she happy? Is this what she wants for her life — motel ownership?

A knock at the door startles Stevie. She opens it, finding Elaine on the other side, armed with a bottle of wine.

“Want some company?”

Stevie smiles.

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Ruth knows she puts too much pressure on herself. She knows she holds herself to impossible standards. She knows she should still feel proud of what she’s accomplished, knows she’s done plenty to be proud of. She knows this, but she still feels that sinking pit in her stomach when she doesn’t meet a goal. The feeling of failure is a gnawing ache eating her up inside and leaving her hollow.

Twyla squeezes her hand gently and pins her with a steady gaze, waiting until Ruth meets her eyes before speaking, her voice soft and measured.

“I’m proud of you.”

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“Schitt’s Creek won’t be the same without you here, Moira,” Jocelyn says.

“I would hardly expect it to be.” Moira gives a haughty sniff, and Ronnie cannot stand this woman.

Moira has been driving Ronnie up the wall for three long years, shoving her way onto Town Council and the Jazzagals. This insufferable woman has infiltrated her life in every way, and the worst part is…

Now she’s leaving.

Ronnie’s eyes are wet, and when she looks at Jocelyn, she sees that hers are, too.

“Come now, ladies.” Moira holds her arms out. “I suppose a farewell hug is warranted.”

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“The peanut butter thingies are so yummy.” Alexis shimmies. “These farm witches make them.”

“Farm witches?” Stevie asks.

“Mmhm, they’re, like, Amish? I think.” Alexis waves a hand dismissively. “Anyways, will you come to the farm with me?”

“You’re sure they won’t mind us just showing up?”

“It’ll be fine, babe. They totally loved me. Will you come?” Alexis bounces on the balls of her feet; Stevie hates how she finds Alexis’ enthusiasm so damn endearing. She shrugs and follows Alexis to the car.

Stevie can't deny that ever since Alexis Rose entered her life, there's been plenty of adventure.

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Vivian awakens to a screeching caw. She opens her eyes to find a woman covered in crow feathers perched beside her bed.

“Good lord, who are you?”

“I am Dr. Clara Mandrake!” she shrieks, drawing her name out in another deafening caw.

“Am I possessed again?” Vivian sighs. “Perhaps my boudoir is haunted?”

“My plans are for redemption…!”

“You know, I’m a renowned surgeon,” Vivian interrupts. “I could fix that beak of yours in the blink of an eye.”

“We crows don’t just have eyes!” Clara caws.

“For heaven’s sake,” Vivian groans. “I’m going to need a drink for this.”

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Stevie takes a long drag from the joint, exhaling slowly and passing it to Twyla. Her head’s beginning to feel pleasantly fuzzy, and her body’s loose and relaxed.

“You’re pretty,” Twyla giggles, petting clumsily at Stevie’s hair.

Stevie rolls her eyes but leans in for a slow, languid kiss anyway.

“You’re ridiculous when you’re high,” she says.

“Nah, you’re always pretty.” Twyla shakes and nods her head simultaneously, giving her the appearance of a bobblehead.

Stevie snorts out a laugh. Twyla looks puzzled but joins in laughing. They dissolve into wild giggles, bodies shaking, cheeks aching, and so damn happy.

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Rachel’s hands are clasped under her chin. She's gasping with delight at each burst of color lighting up the sky. Her eyes sparkle, golden rings circling each iris, and her hair's a vivid flame lit up by each colorful flash. She’s dazzling — glowing brighter than any firework.

“So beautiful,” Rachel says.

“Yeah,” Shannon exhales.

“I can feel you staring at me, you dork.” Rachel rolls her eyes. “C’mon, watch the fireworks with me.”

“How could I look away from this view?”

Rachel presses her hand to Shannon’s cheek, gently redirecting her gaze.

“Plenty of time to admire me later, baby.”

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“It’s been too long since we’ve had a li’l double datey!” Alexis shimmies. “Love this for us.”

“I’m not sure it’d be considered a double date since we’re all dating each other,” Ruth muses.

“Um, there’s two sets of two people. Pretty sure that’s double, babe.”

Ruth opens her mouth to argue, but Stevie shakes her head.

“Best to just let it go,” she says. “Before we get sucked in too deeply by Alexis logic.”

“I’m so excited we’re all together in the same place again!” Twyla bounces in her seat.

Alexis raises her glass. “To us, babes.”

“To us!”

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Stevie hums to herself as she sweeps a neat pile of debris into the dustpan, thoughts drifting to the book she's planning to read after cleaning. She turns from the trash can after depositing the debris and is startled to see her girlfriend hovering mid-air above their kitchen counter, idly peeling an orange.


“Hey, babe!” Rachel waves cheerfully.

“I just swept the floor, and you’re dropping fairy dust all over the place!” Stevie exclaims.

Rachel glances down. “Oopsy! Want an orange slice?” She widens her eyes, blinking innocently.

Stevie lunges up, snatching the entire orange. “You’re cleaning this up!”

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Wendy glances nervously around the café, worried her date might stand her up, like the last two. She doesn’t have a great history with dating, with three ex-husbands and more failed relationships than she cares to count. Sometimes she thinks about giving up, but hope springs eternal. She doesn’t know much about this date. A friend from her pinochle club offered to set them up.

A woman with short grey hair enters the café. She strides confidently to Wendy’s booth, sliding in across her with a smile.

“Hey there, I’m Gwen,” she says. “Ready for a good time?”

“Fuck yeah.”

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“That’s Leo,” Vanessa points. “I bet you’re a Leo.”

Ronnie sighs. This is what happens when picking up ladies at the Wobbly Elm — thirty minutes of astrology mumbo-jumbo before sex.

Vanessa leans back onto her elbows on the hood of Ronnie’s truck, drawing Ronnie’s eyes to long legs and gorgeous curves. Ronnie’s reminded why she picked her up.

“I’m fucking with you,” Vanessa laughs. “I just wanted to make out here for a bit before going to your place. The look on your face!”

Ronnie barks out a surprised laugh and leans in to kiss the smirk off Vanessa’s face.

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Alexis loves Tennessee’s passion for nature. She loves when she plans super romantic dates, like the vineyard with lots of yummy wine or the meteor shower. She especially loved that time they went skinny-dipping in Elm Glen.

But she has to draw a line somewhere, and she’s drawing it at pinecones.

“Mmhm, babe, that sounds like so much fun, but what if we just visited, like, a cute little orchard? Better yet, we could grab some PSLs and go shopping for new boots. That’s how I usually celebrate the start of autumn.”

Tennessee shakes her head and laughs. “Okay, Alexis.”

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“Veronica, you may as well begin the funeral procession now. My career has reached its twilight. I hoped the Crows would be my salvation, yet it was instead the final nail in my coffin,” Moira wails from inside the tiny closet.

“That’s bullshit, and you know it,” Ronnie says. “You grew up with nothing, and you made a name for yourself, and not just any name — you’re Moira fuckin’ Rose. I don’t doubt for a second that you can do it again.”

The closet door creaks open, and Moira’s hand slips through the gap. Ronnie takes her hand and squeezes.

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“Mags, how much longer do we have? Maybe we should start heading back to Mrs. Moira’s home.”

“Kristen, darling,” Magdalena sips from her martini glass, gesturing to the bartender for another. “it's still ages until midnight. Relax, have some fun.”

“But Mrs. Moira will be so upset if she notices we’re missing from the wall,” Kristen says.

“I’m sure she’s passed out by now.” Magdalena waves her hand dismissively. “Have I ever failed to get you home before the spell breaks?”

Kristen shakes her head solemnly.

“Precisely.” Magdalena brushes the hair from Kristen’s eyes and smiles broadly. “Now, let’s dance.”

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When Twyla won the lottery for free tickets to join an elite space trip, she nearly turned them down. She’s a small town girl at heart, but lately her life has been feeling stagnant. Maybe it’s time for a risk.

The trip is long and uncomfortable. Twyla exits the spaceship on shaky legs and freezes on the spot, overwhelmed by the enormous space station. Maybe this was a mistake.

“Hi,” a woman says, offering her hand to Twyla. “I’m Shannon.”

Her smile is warm and instantly puts Twyla at ease.

Twyla’s not a risk-taker, but maybe she can be brave.

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Ruth has spent most of her life on the go, picking up hobbies and projects like tokens to brandish as markers of her success. She’s never been good at slowing down, at balancing her enjoyment of a new extracurricular with her desire to be the best at it.

Alexis declared this morning that today is a beach day because even super successful girlbosses deserve a break.

As the soothing sound of waves lapping against the shore finally quiets the constant buzz in her mind, Ruth reaches for Alexis' hand and squeezes.

“Thank you for this,” she sighs.

“Any time, babe.”

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“I’m not spending this entire trip next to a sullen teenager.” Ronnie glances away from the road to shoot Stevie a look.

Stevie picks at the hole in her jeans and bites back a scream of frustration. As if this stupid road trip to tour universities was her idea.

Stevie doesn’t reply, and Ronnie matches her silence. But Ronnie always wins at this game. Even with Ronnie’s eyes on the road, Stevie burns under the spotlight of her piercing scrutiny.

“This is pointless,” she finally mumbles. “I’m never gonna go anywhere.”

“It’s okay to have dreams for your life, Budd.”

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“I’m sorry for that.” Albany gestures to the glass of previously-hot water.

“You don’t have to apologize for your friend.” Twyla smiles gently. “Besides, it sounds like she’s not so nice to you too.”

“I do a lot of annoying things.” Albany shrugs.

“How about a fresh muffin?”

“Only if you let it cool and then heat it up again,” Albany jokes. “Kidding.”

There’s a long moment when she worries she’s messed up, but then Twyla laughs, her face lighting up. A feeling of warmth fills Albany’s chest.

It’s been so long since someone laughed with her and not at.

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Jocelyn adjusts her naughty sailor costume’s hat and smiles when Moira catches her eye from across the room. As always, she’s unsure if Moira’s in costume or dressed in her everyday attire. She makes her way to Moira’s side.

“Our dear inamoratos seem to be enjoying themselves,” Moira muses.

Jocelyn follows her gaze to watch their husbands laughing uproariously as Johnny tells a story. She pulls a joint from her pocket and turns to Moira.

“How about we have our own fun?” she says with a wink.

Moira’s fingers trace lightly along Jocelyn’s wrist as she smiles. “A marvelous idea.”

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David and Patrick are still dancing as Alexis slips outside. She’s happy — she really is — yet a heavy ache lingers in her chest.

Tomorrow morning, her parents are leaving. In another week, she’s moving to New York. She’s excited for both things, and yet…

“What a beautiful sunset.” Moira approaches softly. She’s looking out toward the horizon with a serene expression.

Although the rain has finally stopped, the sky is cloudy. Alexis frowns.

“You can’t even see—”

“The sun is setting on this chapter in our lives, my dear,” Moira says. “but the next one will be even more beautiful.”