Squire’s Isle Created by Geonn Cannon

In the Silence

Summary: The Powells have a quiet night before Christmas.

 Miranda poked her head around the kitchen door. “What are you humming?”

Nadine stopped mid-hum and turned around the package she was wrapping. “Nothing. Certainly not that song you hate.” Miranda looked suspicious, but she retreated back into the kitchen. Nadine said, “If you don’t want me to hum, why don’t you put on the radio?”

“All they’re playing is Christmas nonsense.”

“Gee, if only you knew someone who had the power to change the programming…”

Miranda said, “Hey, give the people what they want. And they don’t want subversive Christmas carols or new songs. They want the standards. Rudolph rang the Jingle Holly while running over grandma. There’s no way I’m getting the Pogues or that Tim Minchin song on the air. I think I have some Trans-Siberian Railroad on the iPod, though.”

Nadine bent down to kiss Orson’s head before shooing the dog away from her project. She was sitting on the floor with one leg curled and the other extended out in front of her. The pose was intended to keep the dog from interfering with her work, but he had other ideas. He capered around under the tree, snapped at a dangling ornament, and then tried to get over her ankle again. Miranda came out of the kitchen and gently shooed him away with her foot.

“I’ll take him out for a walk in a minute. Deal with this nervous energy.” She crouched next to Nadine and held out an elf-shaped gingerbread man. “Following tradition, you get the first cookie.”

“Thank you, sweetheart.” She took the cookie and paid for it with a kiss. She bit off the cookie’s arm and nodded. “Perfect, as always. Keep making them like this and you’ll never be able to retire as the group’s cookie mensch.”

“Good. I love being the cookie mensch.” She kissed a crumb off the corner of Nadine’s mouth, and Orson bumped into her leg. “Okay, fine, no more smooching. Let’s go, mutt.”

“While you’re gone, I’ll wrap your present.”

Miranda frowned. “How do you wrap a trip to Paris?”

Nadine grinned. “I keep telling you, on our tenth anniversary I’m totally calling your bluff on that. You better start practicing the language now.”

Oui, oui, my love.” Miranda kissed her again and let her fingers run through Nadine’s hair. “You need a trim. You’re starting to get shaggy.”

“Maybe I’m trying to grow it out. What would you think?”

Miranda shrugged. “Could be cute.”

Nadine chuckled. “I’ll probably get it cut after the holidays. I don’t want to deal with a ponytail and all that nonsense.”

“Good. You’re cuter as a pixie.” She stood up and patted her hip to call Orson. “Come on, buddy. Let’s go walkies.”

Miranda retrieved the leash and headed out as Nadine finished wrapping Kate’s present. She put it under the tree, got herself up, and checked to make sure Miranda was out of the yard before she retrieved her real gift. This year the plan was to get each other something small and unique. No jewelry, no clothes, but something that was maybe slightly out of the ordinary. Nadine had searched high and low until she finally realized… soap. Miranda had a habit of smelling soaps when they were out shopping, and she had confessed to smelling the soap when she visited someone else’s house.

They both typically used Dove or whatever other generic brand happened to be at the store, but Nadine decided she deserved something special. She finally found the right soap in a Seattle shop. Coconut and hibiscus shea butter. It had a very light smell, and she hoped Miranda found it appealing. She had bought a package with four bars, so if she didn’t like the smell she would have to live with it for a while. She sat cross-legged on the floor and began wrapping it.

Her phone chimed when she was taping up one side, and she held the paper in place as she tapped the screen with her knuckle. She was able to glimpse the caller’s picture before the call went live, and she felt a flash of awe at who she was about to speak to.

“Madam Mayor. Hi.”

“I told you when we did the podcast to call me Patricia.”

Nadine smiled. “Maybe one day. Are you calling to ask if you can be a guest again?” Patricia Hood-Colby had been her first guest on The Pixie’s Podcast, a conversation slash interview that had ended up running almost two hours instead of the thirty minutes Nadine had originally expected. Even so she felt there was a lot more to talk about if the Mayor was willing.

“I’d love to, if we can find the time.” Almost as if cued, Nadine heard a baby fuss in the background. She smiled as Patricia took a moment to soothe her daughter before she continued. “Sorry about that. I actually am calling about the podcast. I’m not catching you at a bad time, am I?”

Nadine said, “No, I’m just wrapping presents.”

“Good. Earlier today I met this great older couple. They’d been together fifty years, and they wanted to celebrate by getting married. They asked me to perform the ceremony and afterward we started talking about their lives. Shannon was in charge of the lighthouse in the fifties and sixties until it got decommissioned. Before that she worked as a deckhand in Alaska. Dylan started at the grocery store as a delivery girl and eventually worked her way up to manager. She owns the place now. They’re just so incredibly fascinating that I hated that I had to go back to work. So I thought if I was engrossed in their story, maybe others would be, too.”

Nadine nodded absently, already working on the podcast in her head. “Yeah, it sounds really interesting. I would love to meet them.”

“Great! I told them I’d be in touch with you. Let me give you their contact information.”

Nadine used a Sharpie to write the names and number on a scrap piece of wrapping paper. “I’ll give them a call after the holidays.”

“Fantastic. And I want you to know this isn’t going to be a regular thing. The podcasts are your baby, and I don’t want to become too… you know… dictatorish about suggesting who you should talk to or what your subjects should be.”

“I welcome you input Ma– Patricia.”

“You’re getting better!”

“I’m trying.”

“Okay. I’ll let you get back to your holiday. I have a little one here who is demanding some attention. It’s always nice talking to you, Nadine.”

“You too!”

She hung up and smiled at the note. Two women who had been around for decades, who had seen the world changing into a place more accepting of same-sex relationships… If Mayor Hood-Colby kept bringing her stories like that, she didn’t care if it was a little “dictatorish.” She put the note aside and went back to wrapping so Miranda’s present wouldn’t be out in the open when she brought the dog back.

 

#

 

When Miranda got back, she suggested going out for dinner. Nadine was eager to get out of the house, so they both quickly changed and debated where they should go. Eventually they decided tourists and visitors to the island would be slammed so the best option would be the Shipwreck. They arrived before a line had formed and managed to get a table near a window. Miranda thanked the hostess as they sat. Outside they saw three more cars arrive at the same time, with another pulling in as those people were parking.

“Wow. Lucky. We got here at the exact right time.”

“I don’t believe in luck.”

Miranda furrowed her brow. “You don’t?”

Nadine shook her head. “I figure I got lucky with my job, with growing up on the island, with you as my boss, and then when you fell in love with me. If luck did exist, I think I got too much of it.”

Miranda smiled. “Some of that was other people’s luck. The people of the island lucked out when you decided to broadcast to them every day. I got lucky when you said you’d be with me.”

“So you’re saying I might have enough left over for the occasional dinner?”

“I’m saying it’s possible.” She put her hand on top of Nadine’s and touched her wedding ring. “You know sometimes I still dream about you? I mean, you’re in my dreams a lot. But I still have dreams where we aren’t together, and I’m just harboring a crush on you. Then I wake up, and you’re there. And I think about how lucky I am to see you being quiet.”

Nadine laughed. “Gee, thanks.”

“No, I meant… everyone on the island gets your voice. They get it all afternoon on the radio and now whenever they want on the podcast. Everyone gets to hear you. I get to be with you in the quiet moments. When you’re asleep or reading. I don’t know. I think that being with someone who talks for a living, it means a lot to be present for the moments when they’re not being a voice. Those moments are when I fall in love with you again.”

Nadine rested her chin on her hand. “Crap. Now I’m thinking I should have gotten you that trip to Paris after all.”

“I’m sure whatever you got me is perfect.”

The waitress came over to take their order, and they focused on dinner. They ordered wine, and Miranda ordered Nadine to cut her off before she got tipsy. When they left they ran into Kate and Nicole on their way inside. They spoke briefly before they went on their separate ways.

“That was weird.”

“Hm?”

Miranda shook her head. “Seeing them together like that without Amy. When you first told me about their situation I couldn’t really wrap my head around it. But it’s already gotten to the point where seeing them separately like that is unusual.”

Nadine said, “They make a nice… uh…” She tilted her head. “Well, I can’t say couple.”

“Didn’t they say the word was thruple?”

“Yes, but I don’t like that so much.”

Miranda chuckled. “Family.”

“That’s much better.”

They got to their car and Miranda felt she had partaken too much wine to drive. She passed the keys to Nadine over the roof of the car and got into the passenger seat. “Do you think if things had worked out differently, that would be us?”

Nadine was accustomed to riding her bike, so she took a moment to re-familiarize herself with the console. “What would be us?”

Miranda fastened her seatbelt. “If the situation had been different… if you and Kate were still in love when you and I got together, do you think we would be the thruple?”

Nadine shook her head. “No. For one, I never loved Kate as much as I love you. If our relationship hadn’t already run its course, I would have broken up with her to be with you. And I don’t think it has to do with any one person, you know? Just because Kate is one-third of the equation… I think…” She rubbed her lips together as she thought. “I don’t think Kate would ever be in a three-way relationship with anyone but Amy and Nicole. The love she has for them is unique. If anyone else was a part of the equation it would change the whole dynamic.”

Miranda nodded. “Maybe I’m just jealous.”

“You want a third person?”

“No. I mean, not permanently. But a threesome might be fun.”

Nadine laughed to hide the fact she was blushing. “Okay, I think you had way, way too much wine tonight, pretty lady.”

Miranda grinned and poked Nadine’s arm. “I know it’s one of your fantasies.”

“Sure. But we’re going to talk about it some night when you’re not tipsy.”

“Okay.” Miranda sat up straighter and blinked at the road. “Oh, we’re driving.”

Nadine laughed. “Wow. Good for you, handing over the keys.”

“Oh, thank God. I was afraid I might be driving.”

“Now you’re faking.”

Miranda laughed and then stared at Nadine. “Maybe. Six of one.” She slumped again and looked at Nadine. “God. You’re my wife.”

“Mm-hmm.”

“Merry Christmas to me.”

“I married you a couple Christmases ago, actually.”

“I know. It’s still cool.”

Nadine grinned and pulled into their community. Miranda was quiet for the drive to their house, and Nadine walked around the car to help her out.

“Dean,” Miranda said.

“Yes, M’panda?”

Miranda kissed her cheek. “Keep being married to me, ‘kay?”

“Hm. Okay. If you insist.”

When they got into the house, Miranda stopped her under the entryway to the living room. “Hey. Mistletoe.”

Nadine looked up. “Honey, there-there’s nothing there.”

“We’ll put it up tomorrow. Get in ahead of the game.”

“God, you are blitzed.” Nadine smiled as she kissed Miranda’s lips, slipping both arms around her waist and swaying with her. “What does my little Blitzen want for Christmas?”

Miranda cooed. “I want to go into the bedroom and I want…” She pursed her lips and pondered for a moment. “Well, it’s Christmas. Will you be my little elf?”

“Do we have time to put on the ears?”

“We don’t need the ears.” She leaned in and nibbled on Nadine’s earlobe.

Nadine giggled and squirmed. “Okay. I’ll go get changed.”

“I’ll see if I can find something to sober up a little.” She started to walk away, but Nadine held tight to her hand. “What? What is it?”

Nadine looked at her and smiled. They held eye contact, and still Nadine said nothing. After a moment Miranda realized what Nadine was doing and returned her smile. She put her arms around her wife and they smiled at each other as Nadine, the voice of the island, said nothing at all.

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