"Pay attention!" I hear the urgency in her voice, but choose to completely ignore her. My hand slowly makes its way up her thigh. Just a few more inches… "Knock it off!" I frown and give her an irritated look. "Come on, you know as well as I do that this project is just to pass the time until school ends…" "It's still a grade." I sigh and set my head down on the desk. "You're mean." "You'll thank me when you get into a good college." "Tsk. Whatever."

School's gonna be out in one week! The teachers know they're bullshitting us. Liina puts her hand on my shoulder, making me look up. "Come on, stop sulking. We're graduating next Friday! Aren't you excited?" "Whoopee…" Yay, I've made it past drop-out. "It's a big deal!" "I guess." She leans over and whispers something shocking in my ear. "You know, when I graduate, I'll really be a woman… I think I'll be ready for 'that'…

"So, is graduating a big deal?" Suddenly I find myself enthused by the thought of graduation. "Hell yeah!" I blurt out, causing the other students to turn around and glare. Like they were doing their work. "Let's get this work done, 'kay?" I sigh. "Fine, fine. Only for you." With my cooperation, we finish the project within the hour. Teachers always do that; give us a packet and assume we'll screw around and not get it done until the last day. I look around at my classmates. Okay, they have their reasons for thinking that. 

"What are we gonna do for the rest of the week?" Liina asks. "I know what I'm doing," I mutter, folding my arms and putting my head down. "Oh yes, go to sleep and leave me all alone." "You'll live." I barely have time to doze off when the bell rings. Just Health class left. I like Mr. Johnson. He doesn't bullshit us with assignments. He also doesn't really give a shit what we do in his class. Probably because he's young. After we get into class, it becomes abundantly clear that our teacher has checked out on us. He's playing ping-pong with some of the other students. Hell yes. Time to sleep. 

"Carmela..." I hear Liina's annoyed voice after I put my head down. I turn my face up to hers, though keeping my head down. "What?" "You're ignoring me..." "Liina, we live together." "So?" I sigh deeply and sit up. "What do you want?" She kinda turns a little red. How odd. "What is it, Liina?" She very subtly gestures elsewhere in the class. I follow her gaze to see a particularly adventurous couple making out towards the back of the room. A few of our classmates watch out of boredom. 

"You wanna make-out? Seriously? In front our teacher and classmates?" "Do you not want to?" I smile to myself. Sometimes she surprises me. "Hell yeah, I want to. We can't let these breeders show us up." I sit sideways in my desk, legs out. Liina takes the hint, gets up, and sits right back down in my lap. It's gonna be a bit of an awkward angle, but all in all, this is going to be fun. She sits sideways on my lap and turns to face me, waiting for me to make the first move. 

She should know I don't work that way by now. She sits there awkwardly for a moment before catching on and pressing our lips together. She wraps her arms around my neck and slips her tongue into my mouth. A few people in our class have started to take notice of us. We aren't hiding in the back like the other couple. I start to play along with her, leisurely kissing back. I wrap my arms around her waist and start to kiss her with more fervor. 

Most of the male population of the class are watching now, including the guy who was making out with his girlfriend. Ah, nothing distracts men like lesbians. She looks pissed though.  A few of the guys have their cellphones out. Normally, I'd be pissed, but we're kinda asking for it. Plus, Liina seems to adore the attention. She's shaking because she's so excited... She moans loudly into my mouth. That was certainly audible. Anyone who wasn't looking before is looking now, teacher included.

Mr. Johnson stares at us, dumbstruck and not really wanting to stop us. He quickly snaps back to reality and starts acting like a teacher. "Hey, break it up you two!" His order is met by groans from most of the students watching. Liina turns beet red, gets up, and returns to her seat, though she's still facing towards me. I can't stop smiling. I guess she's a bit of an exhibitionist... I am going to hold this over her head forever. 

"I can't believe I did that," Liina says, exasperated. "Yeah, I can't believe it either. I mean," I pull her close to me so I can whisper in her ear, "everyone was watching us..." She turns red again. I never get tired of screwing with her. "Even Mr. Johnson was watching... Our teacher was watching us make-out..." "S-stop saying things like that." I smirk and decide to leave her alone for a little while. I've been trying to sleep all day, after all. 

No sooner than I doze off does the bell ring. "God dammit," I mutter, standing up lethargically. "Aren't you happy school's over?" "I still have to come back tomorrow..." "You're so bratty." She takes my hand and we walk to the entrance. The second we exit the school, she tries to drag me towards home. I plant my feet firmly, sobering up from my tiredness. "You're forgetting something." "What do you mean?" I pull out her invitations to graduation. "The thing we've been dreading all week." "Oh..."

"You still want them to come, don't you?" "Yeah..." "Come on, then. Let's get this over with." "You don't have to come..." "Yes I do. First off, they need to start seeing us as a couple, and second, I'm not letting you go alone." She looks at the ground dejectedly. "I don't think they'll ever see us as a couple..." "Doesn't mean we shouldn't try." I grasp her hand firmly and we start the trek to her parent's house. 

It doesn't take horribly long before I'm looking up at the towering structure that is Liina's childhood home. I squeeze her hand gently. "Ready for this?" I ask, unsure of my own answer. "No, but I don't think I'll ever be." After our first meeting, I've had little dealings with her parents. By little, I mean I saw them once on Christmas because Liina missed them. They didn't speak to me and barely spoke to her. It wasn't a total bust, though. I met her younger brother and sister then. Good kids. Her parents referred to me as heathen or sinner to them. "Yeah, you're probably right." 

We walk up the steps in unison, neither wanting to go ahead of the other. She knocks on the door nervously, holding my hand very tightly. "I'm here for you," I murmur quietly, just to remind her. She nods and stares straight at the door. The door opens to reveal Liina's mother. She looks relieved when she sees Liina, but when she opens the door the rest of the way and sees me, her look sours. "Yes, Mrs. Nash, I'm still here." She ignores my snide comment and lets us through regretfully. 

Liina enters with me directly behind her. "Is Daddy home?" Mrs. Nash shakes her head no. "Will he be home soon?" She nods. "We'll just wait in the living room, then." Liina pulls me over the sofa and we both sit down. She's shaking... "Liina... It's gonna be okay..." She nods slightly, but stares intently at the floor. "Your brother ans sister are gonna be home soon," I say with a smile. She smiles with me. "I really wish I could see them more." 

"You can," Mrs. Nash steps in, "Just leave the heathen at home." "Any time I come here, Carmela is coming with me." She wraps her arm around my waist in an earnest display of affection. "Have some decency," she says sharply. "This is perfectly decent, Mom." Her mother makes a face like she's about to snap back when I interrupt her. "Let's not get into this now. I'd like to have a decent visit for once." "You're talking about decent? A sinner like you?" "I'm not a sinner; I'm gay. G-A-Y. It means I love women, not men." "Carmela..." Liina begins to scold. "Sorry..." I really am just exacerbating things.

The front door opens and Liina's brother, Mike, steps in. He used to go to my school, from what I understand, but the second Liina's parents found out about us, they switched him to a private school. He's... Fifteen, I think. He looks over and sees Liina, and his face lights up. "Liina! He rushes over and throws his arms around her. He acknowledges me by stretching out a hand, which I firmly shake. "It's good to see you too, Carmela." Ah, someone in her family said my name. I'm in heaven, truly.

"Don't talk to her," Mrs. Nash cuts in. "Mom, she's not a leper." "She might as well be. Go upstairs, I'll send Liina up to say goodbye later." He throws an apologetic look to both his sister and I before complying with his mother's commands. "I don't need someone making deviants out of my other children." "Mom, don't start this." Her mother purses her lips and drops the subject. "Liina, go upstairs and spend time with your brother. I'll be fine down here," I say, not entirely convinced myself. Liina gives me a grateful smile and heads upstairs.

"Ma'am?" I say softly. Mrs. Nash looks up at me in surprise. "I know I'm not as respectful of you as I could be... But I do want you to know that I love Liina dearly. I'm going to be by her side for the rest of my life. I want to be a part of her life... And that means I'm going to be a part of your life. I know you don't like that she's with me... But you should at least know that we are so happy together." Mrs. Nash seems to consider what I say seriously.

"It's hard for us," she mutters, the conversation obviously difficult for her, "We were raised a certain way. It broke my heart when I saw her with you. We're taught that homosexuals burn in hell. It feels like I was robbed of an eternity with my daughter." "But at the same time, she's gained a lifetime of happiness. She would have never liked men. No matter what anyone did. And... You don't have to believe what we're doing is wrong. There are so many Christians who believe it's no different from a man and a woman being together. You can still have that eternity with her. I'm not going to take that away from you." 

We sit in silence for a long time. "I know it doesn't seem like it, but I am happy that Liina's happy. She's always been so difficult to keep happy. She was very depressed as a child, and now I realize it's our fault. We made her hate who she is. I don't know how to accept her as she is now." "She's no different than she's ever been.  She's always been this way." "When I first found out, I thought she was just with you to make us mad, after... All we did. But as the months went by it started to dawn on me. I did some research on it... Without my husband knowing, of course."

"And what did you find?" "It's not a choice. I just wanted to believe so badly that it was just a phase. I'm not ready to accept that part of her just yet... But I hope I can treat her like my daughter again." "I'm sure that'll make her very happy." "But you're still a heathen sinner. I need a lot of time to think things over." "I understand." "And don't expect any sort of breakthrough with my husband." "I'm not." "Oh, and... thank you for telling me your feelings for Liina... It's good to know that you're sincere with her." I nod in acknowledgment.

Liina enters the room and sits back next to me. "I told you you can go spend time with your brother." "I did, but I wanna be down here when Sarah and Daddy get home." I wrap my arm around her waist and I push her gently so her head is leaning on my shoulder. "Carmela..." She looks at her mother, expecting a comment, but nothing is said.  Liina smiles at me, and I stroke her hair absentmindedly. This is something I've wanted from the start. Being able to show affection in front of her family.

The door opens once more to reveal her sister, Sarah. She's a sweetheart, a lot like her sister. If Mike is fifteen, that'd make her... twelve. She run up to her sister and I and hugs us both earnestly. "I missed you, Liina," she says with the saddest look in her eyes. "I know, I've missed you too." Sarah looks at me and gives me a big smile. She turns back to Liina, "I like it when you bring your girlfriend. She's always so nice to me." I smile to myself. I don't know why, but kids of all ages adore me. "Sarah, go upstairs," Mrs. Nash says sharply. "Already? But..." "No buts. Go upstairs."

Even though we had a breakthrough, I don't expect her to change her behavior overnight. "Your dad should be home any minute." The second she had said that, he came through the door. He's the one I really have trouble dealing with. Liina's abuser and a complete asshole to me. "Why is that here?" he asks his wife, gesturing to where Liina and I are sitting. "They're... I don't actually know." She turns to Liina. "Why are you here?" "I wanted to give everyone a ticket to my graduation." "Oh, I knew it would be soon," her mother says with a small smile. 

"It's the 22nd; will you be able to make it?" "Of cou-" "No." Her father interrupts her mother harshly. "Charles..." "Absolutely not." Liina looks so downtrodden... "Sir, it's only a few hours," I speak up, "surely you can-" "You are not allowed to speak in this house." I shut my mouth immediately. I stand up and hand four invitations to Mrs. Nash. "Should you change your mind," I say with a deliberate tone, "the offer still stands. You don't even have to all go together if you don't want." I turn to Liina. "Go say bye to your brother and sister for me. We're leaving."

Liina runs upstairs and says her goodbyes before we storm out, hand in hand. "That could've gone better..." she mutters. "I'm sorry..." "I wasn't expecting anything more..." "Maybe your mom will still come." Liina doesn't answer; she just keeps walking towards my house, eyes down. I follow her silently, knowing she needs some time to think everything over. We reach our house after about thirty minutes of silence.

"Wanna talk about it?" "Not really." She sits on our bed and picks up a book to read. She deals with anger through distractions. After about an hour of me occupying myself with various magazines, she speaks to me. "Carmela?" "Yeah?" "What happened to your dad?" I thought for a long moment. I haven't thought of my father in a long time. "Come to think of it, I don't know. Mom left him when I was, like, eight. I wasn't old enough to understand what was going on, and Mom doesn't like to talk about him."

"How can you not even know?" "After that, Mom was... Well, you saw how she was. She always said it was because of him, so I never really wanted to distress her by asking." "You should ask." "What would be the point? He hasn't been around for ten years. He hasn't tried to contact me once," I mutter with slight bitterness. "Maybe he's been looking, but can't find you. If what he did was bad enough, your mom might have tried to hide you." "Liina, you believe in people too much." "There's no such thing." 

I chuckle lightly. I suppose it's better than her being cynical. I kiss her lightly on the forehead. She's a real sweetheart. "I really think you should ask, though." "I'll think about it." I don't know what I'd do if I found my father. I don't remember much about him, but we were very close. Losing him was devastating. It really didn't seem like he could just disappear like he did. Dad... "You okay? I'm sorry I brought it up..." "No, it's okay... It's just been so long since I've thought about him..." 

I blink away a few tears; Liina's never seen me cry, now will not be the first time. "It's okay, Carmela... I'm here for you..." Whether I want them to or not, the tears are falling now. I turn my face down, obscuring it with my hair. "Carmela..." Liina brushes away my hair and cups my cheek, turning my face to hers. She pulls me up against her, resting my face in the crook of her neck. I wrap my arms around her and let the tears flow, staining her trademark white button-up. 

She runs her hands soothingly through my hair, gently trying to calm me down. "I'll find him, Carmela... I'll get all the answers so you never have to feel this way again." I cried harder than I had in years that night, and for the first time in my life, I had someone to share my pain with.

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