Fandom: Big Love
Spoilers/Continuity: Big spoilers through the end of the first season.
Summary: Sarah's been planning her escape for a long time. This is part of the plan. No, really.
Word Count: about 1,300.
Disclaimer: Big Love is the intellectual property of Anima Sola, Playtone, and HBO. This original work of fan fiction is Copyright 2006 Mosca. This story is a labor of love, not money, so it's protected in the USA by the fair use provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976. All rights reserved. All wrongs reversed. They'd give me their blessings, if I would not fall for you.
Written as a backup for The Dog Days of Summer 2006 Femslash Advent Calendar.
Date in Calendar: 20 June 2006
Unofficially, Sarah has been staying at Heather's house since her family got outed. That's not the party line: if you ask her dad, they're all for one and one for all, a mighty nation of Henricksons. Sarah's all for the party line, in theory. They took a vote, and that's the side she raised her hand for, motivated mostly by the fear of having to go live with her aunt. But it's tense and ugly at home now. She makes her required appearances at dinner and on weekends before making an excuse to be somewhere else. Usually, she's so quick about it that no one has time to make her take care of the kids. That, or nobody's going to bother asking: it's not like any of her parents are making much of an effort to keep her in the house. They get it, just enough. They don't trust Heather's family, but they figure it could be worse.
Heather knows the whole story, top to bottom. The girl will talk until she has milked all your information out of you, until she can repeat verbatim things you don't remember telling her. Not that she would repeat them: she prides herself on her secret-keeping abilities, and that pride is well justified. She's good at being a best friend. It's like she's been training for it her whole life. She got her parents to accept Sarah as a semi-permanent houseguest with very few questions asked. There's stuff going on at home, she explained, and her parents pursed their lips and nodded with concern. They keep a polite distance. There are six kids in Heather's family, four still at home, and they keep that distance, too. The cramped little nuclear families on TV would be alien to Sarah, unlivable, but this is close to what she's used to. It's just a slightly higher kid-to-adult ratio, and not even that, the way Margie behaves half the time.
Even Margie has been subdued since they got outed, but Sarah's mom, her real mom, has been the worst. She objects wearily to the word "outed." She says they've been exposed, like their family is a breast that needs to be covered up for the public good. Or, worse, like the Match Girl in the book of fairy tales that Sarah stole from the school library for most of fourth grade. She died of exposure after all of her matches were spent. Exposure, Sarah has gathered, is tragic.
Outing, on the other hand, she can sympathize with. That implies something you wish you could be proud of but can't, something that seems natural to you and wouldn't be a problem if the world didn't keep telling you to be ashamed of it. That's how she explained it after the first time she and Heather made out. Heather had never been kissed before, and she'd wanted to practice. She asked so innocently, it sounded like the kind of request that Sarah's cousins on the Compound made. Like the time Sarah had walked a whole prairie-garbed troop of them to DQ, and they'd been confounded by their Blizzards, overwhelmed by all that sweetness.
As far as Sarah is concerned, there's no such thing as practicing. You're either kissing someone or you're not. She kissed Heather because she'd wanted a real kiss from her and had not expected to ever get one. She'd taken her time getting used to wanting that. By the time her dad had married Nicki, she'd known she didn't ever want to be someone's wife. Being the oldest, she's spent so much time raising kids that having her own would be a repetitive chore more than a blessing. It took her some time to get her head around it, but it's kind of a relief to her that she's a lesbian. She spent a long time feeling disgusted with herself. Freshman year, she stole a book from the school library on how to overcome homosexuality, and she read it eleven times before she decided it was baloney. She's come to see it as a blessing: it will give her an excuse to escape the orbit of all this. She has escape in her blood, but it's hard to leave unless people don't want you.
Sarah has stuck with Heather because she's the only person who really seems to want her. She's the only compelling reason to hang around Salt Lake, to see this year through. Her family wants her as a babysitter or as the memory of a sweet little girl, but Nicki's no longer the only one who glares at her like she ought to be thinking about who she's going to marry. When the guidance counselor at school pushes BYU, telling her to think about her future, what he's saying is, there are lots of boys looking for wives at BYU, and one of them will probably be willing to put up with her.
Sarah pretty much assumes that's where Heather is going to end up. It's what she wants -- not just what she says she wants, but a hope that she talks about with terrific conviction. No matter how deeply she sighs when Sarah teases her breasts through her bra, she's still going to grow up into a quiet and boring life. It almost seems like she's using Sarah to get something out of the way, like she wants to have her whole passionate love affair while it's practical. So she can get her regrets out of the way before she meets some easygoing, personality-free guy in college, go on his mission with him, and perpetuate suburbia. This is how Sarah is able to believe that Heather loves her. It's not like Sarah plans to be with her forever, either. And that temporariness hasn't stopped her from falling in love.
They haven't had sex yet, although Sarah is pretty sure they will sooner or later. She knows her brother just lost his cherry, and she's inferred that it wasn't that great. She wants her own first time to be amazing, and she doesn't think they're there yet. So they kiss a lot and touch each other's breasts. There's a lot you can do with that. Every time Heather unhooks her bra, Sarah is captivated by the perfect dusky roundness of her nipples, the soft paleness of her skin, the way they yield to hands and lips. Heather squeals when Sarah sucks hard and giggles when she flutters her tongue. She likes what Sarah does to her: she gets lost and quiet in it. For Sarah, that's even more satisfying than Heather's cool, steady fingers on her, shaping her nipples into hard beads, sending electric pulses between her legs.
Sarah has seen Heather's vagina a few times -- just looking, no touching. She understands now why books are always comparing women to flowers: the way it opens up, all that sweet-smelling pink. She's surprised that Heather has gotten this far this fast; she's surprised that she's gotten this far. She has to remind herself that Heather has been waiting just as long for a girl to do this, and that somewhere in her brain, she must have been aware of it. Heather said once that she'd never thought about it either way until she'd started hanging out with Sarah. Like, she hadn't been all that interested in boys, but she hadn't thought much about it.
Sarah didn't think, so much as she knew. She remembers the exact moment when she was sure. At work, watching Heather make a batch of fries, the way her breasts resisted the cheap starchy fabric of her uniform. Girls are beautiful, she realized: Heather more than most of them, at least for now, but also in general. Girls are beautiful, and she wants as many of them as possible. This makes her understand her dad -- not completely, but as much as she's probably ever going to. The Compound people are always frowning sideways at Ben and saying how much he takes after Dad, but Sarah is the one they ought to be worried about. They're so afraid of losing girls to the world, afraid of producing something they can't control. Sarah is proud to be their worst nightmare, the girl who's already gone.