Squire’s Isle Created by Geonn Cannon

Morning After

Summary: In the early-morning hours of November 7, newly-elected Mayor Patricia Hood-Colby finds out how the other elections went, and discovers a little secret in her own house.

Jill was murmuring in her sleep again. Patricia woke with her wife’s voice soft in her ear, fingers dancing across her hip. She tried to sleep through it as she had done before, but today her mind snapped up on the opportunity and urged her to full waking. She sat up carefully, so as not to disturb Jill, and eased to the edge of the bed before she sat up. She pushed her wild hair out of her face, blinked until her eyes adjusted to the darkness, then stood up and went to her laptop. She turned it so the screen’s light wouldn’t shine on the bed before she turned it on.

She and Jill had gone straight to bed after the victory party. Part of her found it hard to believe the election was actually over. A year of her life had been dedicated to campaigning and pushing people to choose her for the job she’d basically been doing for the last few years anyway. Now that she could officially drop the “deputy” from her honorific, now that she was Mayor Patricia Hood-Colby of Squire’s Isle, she could breathe a sigh of relief and focus on bigger things.

The first page she loaded had the news story she was looking for was front and center. She exhaled sharply and smiled as she saw that Obama had been reelected. It would have taken some of the joy out of her new job if she was elected on the same night as Mitt Romney; she couldn’t respect and be disappointed by voters in the same election. Of course, four years ago, California had put Obama in and taken same-sex marriage out, so…

That thought reminded her of another item on the Washington ballot, so she did a quick search. Her hands froze over the keyboard as she read the results, her heart soaring with joy and sinking because she had to wait until morning to share the news with Jill. She waited a full thirty seconds before she caved. She carried her laptop to the bed and slid her hand over the blanket, stroking Jill’s calf through the thick material.

Jill stirred, then put a hand up near her eyes to block the light from the computer. “Baby, what are you doing?” It came out as “bayee whaoo’ooin,” but Patricia was well-versed in Jill’s special sleepy language. “Aye-see’ee.”

“I know you’re sleepy. But you’ll want to see this.”

Jill sat up, one eye open and the other covered by tangles of hair. She managed a sincere smile and held her fists up in victory. “Yay, both people I voted for won. Can I go back to sleep?”

“Hold on. This also passed.” She clicked and Jill looked. “Marijuana.”

“Oh, God.” Jill dropped her head to the pillow. It was the one thing up for vote they had disagreed over. Jill was terrified that kids would start getting into the drug earlier, while Patricia saw it as a way to protect people from being tossed in jail for having a joint. “Try not to gloat too much. And I want programs, Madame Mayor. Programs for drug-free schools, and–”

“I know, I know.” Patricia smiled. “Oh. And there’s one more thing you might care about.”

“Honey.” She droned it into four syllables but lifted her head anyway. Patricia had clicked to the new page with the most important result of the night. “Referendum passed.”

Jill sat up and stared at the screen. “It passed?”

Patricia had tears in her eyes. She cupped Jill’s cheek and leaned across the computer to kiss her. Same-sex marriage was suddenly legal in the state of Washington.

“I can’t believe it passed. We made history!”

“Actually we didn’t.”

Jill frowned, more awake now. “It’s the first time same-sex marriage has been passed by a popular vote. Of course it’s historic.”

“Well, actually it was the fourth time.” She turned the computer around and did a new search. “Thanks to the time zones, we were last to officially pass it. After Maine, Maryland, and Iowa.”

“Four,” Jill said softly. “How many states does that make now?”

Patricia chuckled and shook her head. “I’m not sure. Nine?” She rested her forehead against Jill’s. “I’m not sure how many states we could get married in. But I know we can get married in this one, and that’s all that counts. Jill Marie Hood-Colby… we started our lives together when we agreed to be partners. But now I want to make you my wife. Officially and in our home, I want to marry you.”

“I want to marry you.” She kissed Patricia and pulled her close, sleep forgotten, the laptop pushed precariously close to the edge of the bed. “Wait. How does that work?”

“What?”

“Do we have to dissolve the partnership? I don’t want to lose our anniversary.”

“Oh. No… I mean, we’re not going to act like what we’ve had the past four years weren’t important. I think we can just file for the license. Like, um, trading a learner’s permit for a driver’s license.”

Jill nodded. “Oh. Well, we can figure out the specifics in the morning. Maybe you know someone at City Hall who can pull some strings.”

Patricia raised an eyebrow. “Abusing my power already?”

“What good is power if you can’t abuse it?” She stroked her fingers over the back of Patricia’s neck. “Wanna make waking up worth my while…?”

Patricia rescued her laptop without breaking the kiss, but then lifted her chin and pecked Jill’s nose. “Yes. I owe you for all the distractions you gave me last night, too. But I want to get a glass of water first.” She kissed the corners of Jill’s mouth and then looked into her eyes. “I’d marry you a hundred times. Domestic partner, wife, soul mate. As many times as they let me.”

“The hyphenation would get out of control.”

Patricia chuckled and pulled away. “I’ll be right back. You can turn off my laptop.”

“Actually, I want to check my mail. See how many congratulations we’ve gotten.”

“Okay.” She slid off the bed and checked to make sure her pajama top was buttoned before she left the bedroom for the kitchen. She could have gotten her water from the bathroom sink, but the only cup they had made the water taste toothpaste-y. The door to Michael’s bedroom was ringed with light from within, and she smiled knowing that he had fallen asleep with the light off again. Even though he was almost sixteen, she couldn’t stop thinking of him as a little boy. She tiptoed up and put her ear next to the door. When she was sure he was asleep, she quietly turned the knob to reach in and click the light off for him.

Her hand froze halfway to the switch, hovering just above the wall. She bumped the door with her hip and got a full view of what was within.

Michael was on his bed, still dressed in the clothes he’d worn to her victory party. He was completely out, lips slack and limbs strewn. The shocking part was the red and purple dress draped across him, the dress that still contained the body of Callie Marcus. She was facedown, head on Michael’s chest, her feet bare. Michael’s hand was in the small of her back.

She backed away from the door and pulled it shut as quietly as she could. Pirouetting on the ball of her foot, she turned and glided back down the hall like a ghost. Jill looked up when she came back into the bedroom, her face shining with the light from the computer.

“Hey. Didn’t you get me a glass?”

Patricia pressed her back against the door, trying to steady her breathing. “I need you to talk me down.”

Jill frowned. “What? What’s wrong?”

“I need you to calm me down, and right now, or else I’m going to tear this door off the hinges and start screaming. I need you to tell me that’s the wrong thing to do, and then I need you to tell me the right thing to do.”

“Come here.” Patricia crossed the room as Jill put the computer aside. “What happened?”

“Michael’s in his room, on his bed, with Callie.”

Jill’s eyes widened. “Oh. Were they…?”

“No. I mean, I don’t think so. They were both…” She seemed to choke on the word. “Dressed. It looked like they just conked out. In his bed. Together.”

Jill smiled and stroked Patricia’s hair. “Oh, honey. He’s almost sixteen. They’ve been going out for a while. You have to assume they’re going to be… active. When did you lose your virginity?”

Patricia glared at her. “This is not helping.”

“Okay.” Jill chuckled and pulled Patricia to her. “How’s this? We’re not going to ignore it and we’re not going to pretend it’s okay. But we’re also not going to lock him away in the tower and throw out the key. And we are not going to forbid him from seeing Callie. That would just cause all kinds of problems and it would never work anyway. So we’re going to sit them down and let them know we’re not going to punish them, but it shouldn’t happen again. We don’t approve, but we understand. How does that sound?”

Patricia’s head was resting on Jill’s chest, her eyes closed as Jill stroked her hair. “Sounds like I picked the right person to raise my son with. The right person to have another baby with.”

Jill bent down and kissed Patricia’s forehead. “Want me to go with you to talk with him?”

“No. I don’t want him to think we’re ganging up on him.” She sat up and twisted to look at her. “Thanks for the pep talk, coach.”

“Any time.” She swatted Patricia on the rear when she stood up. “Go get ’em.”

Patricia aimed a warning finger at Jill and then left the bedroom again. When she got back to Michael’s room she could hear furtive movement and she knew her previous entry had woken them. She knocked and pushed the door open just as Callie finished putting her shoes back on. She looked up like a prisoner on death row who had just seen the warden on the way to escort her to the gallows, and Patricia felt a moment of compassion for the girl.

“Mrs. Hood-Colby, I-I am… this is totally my fault, we didn’t–”

“Mom. This was, it–”

She held up a hand to silence them. “I’m not mad. I’m not thrilled, but I’m not mad. Callie, I think you should go on home, okay?”

She stood up and looked at Michael, then at Patricia. “I… Can I come back?”

“Of course you can.”

Callie looked so relieved that a large fraction of Patricia’s anger vanished. She turned toward the bed and kissed Michael quickly on the lips, whispered something, and hurried out of the room. She whispered another apology as she passed, and Patricia watched her go before entering the room. Michael had a desk between his bed and the door, and she used that as a lectern. He was still on the edge of the bed, shoulders slumped, examining the pile of dirty laundry spreading out from his hamper.

Whatever she had meant to lead with slipped out of her mind, replaced with a question. “Did she just say she loved you?”

His ears turned pink, then red. “Yeah.”

“That wasn’t the first time she’s said it, right?”

He shook his head. “In Seattle. When I took her to the concert. She said it then.”

“Did you say it back?” He paused and then nodded. Patricia knew she was giving up her ‘stern mother’ façade by smiling, but she couldn’t help it. “Okay. Tell me what happened here tonight.”

He took a breath and sat up straighter. “We decided to go around the pick up the campaign yard signs, like you said for us to do. She was just going to drop me off, but she was tired. I was worried she’d fall asleep on the road. So I asked if she wanted to come in for a second with the light, so it would wake up her brain a little, and it didn’t work. We didn’t do anything. We were just sleeping.”

“Okay.” She nodded. “Having a girl in your room, Mike, that’s a big one. You know Jill and I want you to be a little older before you take that step. And if you have taken that step, then… you picked a good person. Jill and I really like Callie. We just don’t want her as a daughter-in-law just yet. Understood?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay. Now get to bed. You have school tomorrow and I’m not giving you a free pass just because you’re the mayor’s kid now.” She winked and backed away from the desk. She was about to shut the door behind her when Michael stopped her.

“Mom?”

“Hm?”

“I guess we’re even now, huh?” She looked confused so he elaborated. “You caught me with Callie. I caught you and Jill that first day she was over here.”

Patricia raised an eyebrow. “Well, not exactly the same. Unless now you’re telling me you and Callie did have sex tonight.”

“No. But we… wait. That first day when Jill was over here you guys had sex? I thought her clothes were just wet from the rain!”

Patricia’s eyes widened. “They… were.”

“Oh, God.” He dropped onto the bed and covered his head with the pillow.

Patricia fled from the room, shutting the door behind her. “Brilliant,” she murmured. “Just brilliant. God.” She covered her face as she ducked back into the master bedroom.

“Uh-oh.” Jill had closed the laptop and was sitting up, waiting for a report on the talk. “Things not go well?”

“Just go back to sleep.” She took her laptop off the bed, placed it safely on the desk, and pulled the blankets back just long enough to slip underneath. She pulled Jill to her, kissed her, and said, “Let’s just go back to sleep and pretend everything that’s happened in the past fifteen minutes was just a dream.”

Jill smiled. “Well… not everything.”

“Yeah,” Patricia said with a smile. “That marijuana thing was pretty cool.”

Jill twisted a sensitive part of Patricia’s anatomy, making her yowl. Jill kissed her and pressed against her side. “And the marriage thing,” Patricia said softly.

“Yes. The marriage thing. I love you, wife.”

“I love you too, wife.” She remembered hearing Callie tell Michael she loved him and felt pride and happiness for her son mixed with a feeling of sadness that he had grown up so much. She stroked Jill’s arm and closed her eyes. She was the mayor, she was married to the right person, they could be legally married to each other whenever they wanted, and she had a son who was growing up into a good person. And soon, maybe by Christmas of next year, she and Jill would have a new addition to their family. It was a lot to take in.

She decided she could wait until tomorrow to process it all and relaxed in Jill’s arms.

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