“Are you sure you’re up to this?” Kat asked. She looked over to her friend on the seat next to her. Violet was fidgeting a little, though it was hard for Kat to be sure if it was nerves or the general jostling of the bus. She didn’t want to make any assumptions, but she was, for obvious reasons, worried for her friend. Violet took a deep breath, and nodded. She opened and closed her mouth a few times like she was going to say something, and then just nodded again. Kat glared.
“I’m… I’m as fine as I can be, Kat. Are you sure you want to be there too? You don’t have to…” she trailed off. Kat would probably, after some prodding, be willing to admit that she wasn’t always the best at reading people, but even she picked up on the fact that Violet was low-key begging her to be there.
“I offered because I want to be there for you, dumbass,” she chided playfully, but when Violet shrank away, she wrapped an arm around her best friend. “Hey, I’m sorry. I genuinely want you to be okay, okay?” She felt a bit guilty for making Violet feel insecure, especially with how vulnerable she was. “I’m here,” she added.
Violet rested her head on Kat’s shoulder, which was giving Kat some complicated feelings, which she was ignoring for now, focusing on her friend and the difficult step she was about to take. Violet had decided that she couldn’t pretend to not be Violet. She hadn’t been home in the past month -- her parents both worked several full-time jobs, and there wasn’t much for her to do at home alone -- so this would be the first time they’d see her as Vi. Kat squeezed Violet softly. She was going to be there for her, of course. She’d decided as much as soon as the idea of officially coming out had been uttered. It wasn’t that she was necessarily worried, because Violet’s parents were good, kind people, but Violet had a tendency to lose herself in her own head and Kat figured she could do some good being there with her.
The bus approached their stop, and Kat nudged Violet out of the seat with a playful hip-bump, trying to keep the mood light. “C’mon, we’re here.”
“I live here, Kat, I know,” Violet joked, but it was clear she was forcing herself to seem a bit more cheerful than she was.
“It’ll be fine, Vi,” Kat said as they got off the bus and made their way to the front door of Violet’s house, a convenient stone’s throw from the stop. Violet stopped in front of the house, taking deep breaths. After a few seconds, Kat realized that she was trying to psych herself up and that it wasn’t working. She spun her friend around and pulled her in for a hug. “It will be fine,” Kat repeated, as she pulled away and pressed the doorbell for her friend. She gave Violet’s arm an encouraging squeeze. A few seconds of nothing happening intensely passed by. Then a few more. “Are you sure they’re h--” Kat began, and then the door opened.
Christopher -- Chris to his friends -- was a fairly short man who had clearly attempted to stay in shape until well into his thirties, at which point he must’ve lost track of things. He had since acquired a layer of what might be best described as padding, giving him a self-assured but eminently huggable presence. This was further amplified by the jovial, friendly smile on his face, marred only by the bags under his eyes. He looked tired but determined to enjoy his Saturday.
“Oh, hello, Katherine,” he said, his eyes darting between the two girls on his doorstep. “I thought Mark would be coming home today; he didn’t mention bringing any friends.” Kat could feel Violet shrinking into herself next to her at the use of her old name. It had only been a month, but she’d been violently opposed to even considering switching back to her old name. She’d made that very, very clear. They’d rehearsed some of the stuff that had to be said on the way there, though, and at some point the name would’ve had to be said. Kat was going to be the one to do it. She doubted Violet could even get the name past her lips at this point.
“Heya, Mister R. I’m actually here on… their behalf. Is their -- is your wife home? It’s a little important,” Kat said. Chris looked concerned.
“Uh, yeah, she is. Is everything okay with Mark?” he asked as he stepped aside to allow Kat and Violet to come in. Kat nodded as she walked past.
“Yeah, it’s just… something that needs to be talked about, I guess,” she said as she walked the familiar route to the living room, where Violet’s mom was curled up and reading a book. They’d both taken the weekend off, which was why Violet had chosen this particular day to come out to them.
Laura looked about as tired as her husband, but she looked incredibly comfortable, a large iced tea on the little table next to her as she was clearly buried deep in a book. She had enough of a presence of mind to look up as they walked in, and her face split into a smile as wide and full of hospitality as Christopher’s.
“Hello, Kat. It’s good to see you!” She looked at Violet for a moment, and then looked behind them, looking for her son. “I thought Mark was going to be with you?”
Kat nodded as Chris walked past her and sat down on the sofa next to his wife. “What’s up, Katherine?”
Kat took a deep breath, about to start the conversation, but it seemed that Vi had regained some of her courage as she was the first to speak up. Kat looked at her friend with proud surprise, and took a step back to allow her to do what might well be the bravest and most difficult thing she’d ever done, but not so far that she was out of Violet’s zone of safety, available for a comforting hug or hand squeeze when necessary.
“How it happened doesn’t really matter,” Violet began. “But I’m… I was turned into this,” she said, waving generally at herself. Her parents frowned and leaned forward, confused as to what this new girl, this stranger was telling them.
“I’m sorry,” Laura said. “I’m not sure I caught your name. Who are you, exactly?”
Deep breath. Kat put a hand on Violet’s back, and the simple touch seemed to give her the encouragement she needed. “You gave me… my name when I was born. M-Mark.” She paused to let what she said sink in. Laura blinked a few times. Chris leaned back, his eyebrows raised.
“Mark?” Laura asked, squinting.
Violet shook her head. “Not anymore. I… I prefer being this way. It’s taken me a while to figure out, but… Mom. Dad. I’m a girl.”
Laura rubbed her face. Chris chewed his tongue for a second. Then he looked at Laura. Back at Violet. “You know,” he said. “She does kind of look like you when you were younger.” Laura cocked her head and nodded. Chris leaned forward and clasped his hands together thoughtfully. “I…” he paused, and looked at Kat. “This isn’t a joke, is it? If it is, it isn’t very funny.” Kat shook her head. “Well, in that case…” He looked Violet in the eyes. “I think I speak for both of us when I say… hi, girl, I’m Dad.”
“Chris!” Laura said, barking a laugh, and she playfully slapped his shoulder. When she turned to Violet, her expression softened. “It’s really you, isn’t it? I see it in your eyes. I’d recognize my baby anywhere.”
Violet, throughout all of this, had been frozen, Kat realized. She had been completely immobile like her entire body had been spooled up and wound tight. She might even have been holding her breath. But when Laura got up and smiled, Violet broke down. Tears started rolling down her face and Laura immediately stepped forward and hugged her newfound daughter.
“Hey,” Vi’s mom said. “It’s okay. Your dad and I always told you you could tell us anything, and that’s never not been true. Gracious, your hair is soft.” Her little non-sequitur eased some of the tension out of the room. She held her daughter for a few more moments and then stepped back, holding Violet by the shoulders. “It really is you. I -- oh!” she exclaimed. “I can’t believe we still don’t have an answer yet.”
“?” Violet said.
“What’s your name, dear?”
“I’m Violet,” Violet said.
“Violet Rose?” Laura raised an eyebrow and looked over to Chris, who was grinning like he’d just won the lottery. “She really is yours.” She turned back to Violet. “It’s good to finally meet you, Violet.” She turned to Chris a second time. “Darling, good news. We have a daughter!”
Millieficent: oh my god that sounds amazing
Katastrophe: Right? They were _so_ nice
Katastrophe: Vi is still hugging it out with them
Katastrophe: Got invited over for dinner :)
Katastrophe: home now
Millieficent: i’m so glad to hear that
Millieficent: about the parents being good I mean
Millieficent: tbh i have no idea what i had to expect. glad the girl has supportive parents
Katastrophe: as opposed to?
Millieficent: i’m a lil worried about April. her parents aren’t the most eh…
Millieficent: i was gonna say chill
Millieficent: her big brother is a pilot, apparently, and so the pressure on her has been high to also do well
Katastrophe: poor thing
Katastrophe: took my parents a while to be okay with me too tbh
Katastrophe: made it clear to them that they didn’t get to decide how gay or not I was
Katastrophe: only whether or not i was gonna be in their life
Millieficent: you’re hot when you take charge
Katastrophe: how absolutely _dare_ you
Millieficent: are you blushing?
Katastrophe: no! >:#C
Millieficent: are you free tomorrow?
Katastrophe: aaaaaabutalso yes i should be. what’s up?
Millieficent: so there’s two things
Millieficent: first off, i wanna talk to you about like, them at school. you mentioned something about a counselor?
Katastrophe: ms Lopez, yea
Millieficent: i wanna strategize a bit there
Katastrophe: probably a good idea
Katastrophe: what’s the other thing?
Millieficent: i haven’t kissed you in _hours_
Millieficent: it’s downright criminal
Katastrophe: okay :3
Millieficent: you’re cute when you aaa
Millieficent: i wanna see what other noises i can make you make
Kat threw her phone across the bed with a squeal and hid her face under the pillow. Millie was much, much too powerful for her own good, and Kat had no reasonable defenses against it. Not that she really wanted to defend herself. To a certain extent, it was liberating to feel so… vulnerable to someone she trusted not to hurt her. But good golly did the girl ever know how to turn her into a useless puddle.
She did have one final trump card, something she’d been saving up for the right moment, where she’d be the one in control, where she would be the one melting Millie instead of the other way around. She crawled across the bed looking for the phone while she thought of Millie. Officially, while they’d been dating, they weren’t together together yet. It was an important step, of course, and one not to be taken too lightly. But at some point, she realized, she was going to want to call Millie her girlfriend. Well, she was going to want to do so out loud. It wouldn’t change anything between them, she knew, but there was something magical about having a girlfriend. About being a girlfriend. A warm sense of belonging. Belonging with.
She found her phone again when it dinged with a new message.
Millieficent: still there, kitkat?
Katastrophe: kitkat? :o
Millieficent: don’t like it?
Katastrophe: i like it coming from you :)
Katastrophe: hey Mills?
Katastrophe: I love you
Millieficent: i love you too
Millieficent: dang, it’s just not the same when i can’t whisper it in your ear
Katastrophe: you’ll have plenty of opportunities tomorrow :3
Millieficent: parents aren’t home again. wanna do another sleepover? without vi and april this time?
Millieficent: good girl
The phone bounced across the bed again as Kat yote it in a panic.