Marked for Death
Part VIII: Talking Outside
Amber seemed to have gotten used to the attention as after a while she was chatting up with Emma about fencing techniques, one of the dozens of sports Emma had tried and done well at. The only thing I had she couldn’t do was draw.
As we talked, shouting began in Sage and Allen’s room. The two of them had gone to change a minute ago and were now arguing about Sage’s choices of clothing. Despite being a non-binary guy Sage was very feminine, often wearing skirts, tights and makeup, while Allen was less than accommodating.
I wasn’t quite sure what exactly happened, as we couldn’t see inside their room. All I knew what that that Jaeger got involved, then stuff fell on the ground, Jaeger ran away and Caroline went in. On top of that, Sage and Allen’s parents came up to see what was going on and began arguing.
“Maybe we should move outside?” I proposed and my family agreed.
We got our things and moved down the stairs. I took a look at Amber and she was stiff as a board.
“Are you okay?” I whispered, taking her apart for a second.
“Yeah, I just need some air.” She answered.
“Let me come with you.”
“No, stay here. I’m just going to take a smoke and I know how much you hate it. Plus, your family’s here to see you so enjoy that.” She said with a smile.
“You sure you’re alright?”
She nodded and I gave her a tight hug. I let her go after a minute and she went out of the house. I joined my parents and Emma in the garden, sitting by the pool on the lounging chairs. It was a bit of a chilly evening, but not quite cold enough you absolutely needed a coat.
“Your girlfriend seems nice.” My dad said when I sat down.
“She is, at least with me.” I chuckled nervously. “She can be a bit of a handful, doesn’t get along all that well with some of the others. So, what’s up on your end?”
“Well, we added two new types of bread to the menu; a seven sprouted grains loaf and a tomato basil roll. They’ve been selling like hotcakes.” My dad said. “We also retired the spiced rye to on-order only, it wasn’t selling well enough to justify baking every day.”
I had to smile at my father’s enthusiasm talking about bread. He and my Mom were devoted artisan bakers, they had met working together and opened their own bakery a little after my oldest sibling had been born. Although the family-ran bakery was their dream and we had all pitched in at one time or another, they didn’t force us to take up the family business.
“So, how did you and Amber get together?”
“Honestly, it’s not much of a story there. Thank god she made the first move, I never would’ve worked the courage to say or do anything on my own. We hung out one morning, she kissed me spontaneously and we just sort of rolled with it…” I said, my speech slowly getting less and less confident and more muttered.
“Regardless, i’m glad you found someone you like.”My dad asked. “Annabelle, are you alright?”
“I don’t know, guess I was expecting more of a lecture or lots of questioning since I kind of rushed into things with Amber.”
“Annabelle, you’re almost an adult, we trust you to make the right choices by yourself, but if you ever need advice we’re there for you.” My mom said, kissing my temple.
“Thank you.” I muttered.
“How long has Emma known about it?” My dad asked.
“About Amber or about being gay?”
“Either?” He answered with a chuckle.
“About Amber when she came to see me in the hospital. About being gay a few years, I told her after getting my first girlfriend.”
“Your first girlfriend?”
“Right…” I muttered. I’d never told them about Natalie. So I explained everything to them, how we’d met, how we’d fallen in love in the hospital, how her parents had reacted when I had told them we were in love. “— so that’s kind of it… My paranoia got in the way of telling you I was terrified of how you’d react.”
My parents both got up and gave me a tight squeeze. “Annabelle, you know we love you, we’d never be angry at you.” My mom said, kissing my forehead.
“Unless you give chocolate to the dogs again.” My dad joked.
“I was three years old, I didn’t know it was bad!”
As we talked, Ahti’s family and Allison’s little brother had come into the backyard and began swimming. Soon enough a bunch of people were hanging around the yard, Allison even using their powers to warm up the pool.
“Hey.” Amber said, coming through the house’s backdoor. “I’m back. As you can see…”
“Feeling better?” I asked, I patting the seat next to me. She sat down there and I leaned against her gently.
“Yeah, although I ran out of smokes…” She grumbled. “And I have no idea where to get them here.”
“Here.” My mom said, looking around her bag and taking out a still unopened pack of cigarette and giving it to Amber.
“I know how cranky I get without my nicotine fix and I don’t want to inflict a cranky girlfriend on my little girl.” She said with a smile. “But if you want my advice; try to quit while you’re still young.”
Amber nodded. “Eh, thanks again.”
We talked about silly things, my parents completely unashamed to give Amber all the embarrassing anecdotes they could remember until dinner time was called.