• Published 21st Sep 2018
  • 1,047 Views, 97 Comments

meanwhile...: Tales of the Berylverse - Shinzakura

Part of the Berylverse. There are hundreds of stories out there. Not all of them are Sunset's.

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Love and Loveless

The second day of school wasn’t as exciting as yesterday, but Canterlot High School students knew how to bring their own drama to the table when necessary.

“Do I look short?”

Lyra Heartstrings looked at her best friend. “Look, if this is about the prank I played the other day, I’m sorry, okay?”

Trixie Lulamoon looked at the celeste-and-ivory-haired girl. “No, I’m being serious!”

Seated next to her girlfriend, Bon-Bon gave the olive-skinned girl a sympathetic look. “Look, if this has something to do with your date walking out on you last week, I’m sorry about that. I honestly thought he was going to be good for you, Trixie.”

“No, it doesn’t have anything to do with that, Bonnie,” Trixie replied. “I’m being serious here.” She paused for a second, then asked, “Okay, you remember my cousin, Starbrite Lulamoon?”

“Isn’t that the one that owns that athletic wear company?” Lyra asked.

“Yeah, Aunt Starswirl’s daughter. Anyway, I got a package the other day with a whole bunch of free Lulamoon Athletica attire, with a note from her to wear it around school. Apparently she wants me to model it around as stealth advertising. Except….”

“Except?” Lyra parroted. Trixie muttered something under her breath and Lyra groaned. “Trix, I’ve known you forever…but I still can’t read lips, okay? Speak up, wouldja?”

“Look, they’re too big. I look baggy in them.” She pouted, then asked her friends plainly, “Be honest with me: am I shrinking?”

Lyra and Bon-Bon looked at each other for a few seconds before breaking out into laughter; needless to say, it wasn’t something Trixie found very amusing. She glared at both of them before finally Lyra calmed down enough to tell her, “Trix, just stop, okay? You’re being silly – well, sillier than usual.”

“I’m being serious!”

“Trixie, did you ever think that it might just be that the clothing is too big?” Bon-Bon suggested. When Trixie gave her a querulous look, she added, “Seriously. This shirt I’m wearing right now fits kinda tight—”

“Shows off your curves though,” Lyra leered.

“Hon,” Bon-Bon warned before turning back to Trixie. “This shirt I’m wearing is an XL. At first, I thought it was mislabeled, but then my sister got a medium from the same company and it wouldn’t fit her, either. She ended up buying an XL. Do Burgundy or I look like XLs to you?”

Trixie leaned back unconsciously in surprise at that. “Of course not,” she replied.

Lyra took a bite of her sandwich, gulping it down before continuing. “See? You’re worried over nothing, Trix. Trust me, if something was wrong, I’d let you know.”

Trixie speared an offending piece of lettuce with her fork. “Yeah,” she said dejectedly.

“Look, if you don’t believe me – and I’d be hurt if you didn’t – go talk to Sunny. You know she wouldn’t steer you wrong.”

Trixie sighed. “Yeah, I guess,” the teen magician murmured, finishing off her wilted salad just before the bell rang.

“Trixie? You okay?” She winced the moment she heard that voice. The day had nearly been done and she had hoped to avoid running into her at school. But this was Canterlot High, and she didn’t have any such luck.

She turned and faked her best entertainer’s smile. “Heya, Sunny. What’s up?”

Sunset Shimmer approached, the look in her eyes sympathetic. “You know you don’t have to fake it in front of me.”

“Fake what?”

“Trixie, I’m being serious.”

The smile went away. “What gave me away? Did you talk to Lyra or Bonnie?”

Sunset shook her head. “This is going to sound kind of strange, but I kinda get the feeling I know when my friends are in trouble.”

Trixie, despite her feelings, smiled. “What, is it some sort of thing you picked up now that you’re a French princess?”

“I’d like to think that it’s more important that I’m your friend and not just some royalty in pretense,” Sunset pointed out.

Trixie nodded. “I appreciate it, Sunny. It’s just….” She sighed. “I’m just having an off day, you know?”

“Believe me, sometimes it feels like that’s been my entire life,” Sunset said with a soft smile. “But hey, if you need someone to talk to, you know where you can find me, right?”

“I know. Thanks.” She paused as if in thought, then decided to ask, anyway. “Hey, Sunny?”

Before Sunset could say anything, there was a loud faked cough, and both girls turned towards the sound, seeing Vice Principal Neighsay standing there.

“Ladies, just because it’s almost the end of the school day doesn’t mean that it is,” he told them pointedly. “Unless you desire to have detention, I strongly suggest that you head to your classes.”

“Sir, I’m just trying to help out a friend with a situation—” Sunset began, but Neighsay cut her off.

“Ms. Shimmer, regardless of whatever your personal life may have accorded upon you, this is an educational institution and that is the responsibility of adults. If Ms. Lulamoon requires assistance, she may inquire of the counselors, not queen bees.” He gave her a piercing stare. “Do not make the mistake of thinking that I am as tolerant of social climbers as other educators may have been in this past. This is a place for learning, not for socializing.”

The two girls looked at one another, then headed off, while Neighsay gave himself a small smile and turned to see what other issues needed correction at his school. He had been hired by Luna to fix Canterlot High, and he would most assuredly do so, though…

…inwardly, he winced. The very fact that Luna’s older sister and predecessor, Dr. Celestia, had allowed the school to become like this galled him. Small wonder why even as high up on the performance ladder as Canterlot High was, it was still not thought of as well as Holy Cross, Zacherle or Muenchinger.

Well, Neighsay thought to himself, that’s why I’m here. To correct that error.

“Dear, your chakra—”

Trixie sighed. “Mom, not now, okay?” Trixie had gone home straight after school to get her magic equipment. She had her weekly volunteering gig at the children’s hospital and she was already running late. Plus, as much as she loved her mother, she did not want to deal with the granola-chomping crap at the moment.

“Dear, is there anything wrong?” Harmonic Convergence asked.

“No, running late to the hospital,” she replied. “Probably won’t be home for dinner tonight. Later!” She bulldozed out of the store before Harmonic could ask her anything further, pausing only to let Lyra come in through the door as she left.

“Lyra, dear,” Harmonic stated, turning her attention to Trixie’s best friend and a filial figure to the adult, “my dearest daughter seems to be unaligned with her chi. Did something happen to upset her balance so?”

“Probably,” Lyra admitted as she went behind the store counter to grab what she was working on for the day, “but she hasn’t really told me. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.”

Harmonic favored her with a smile. “I know you will, my dear. After all, you two are a Janus, tied together in heart and soul, as befitting the cosmic diamine. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to order some new amber supplies. We ran out after the whole terrible ordeal with that serial killer business, and while our customers were understanding that we were limited due to situations, one cannot shirk one’s responsibility to keep the celestial dial level, correct?” With that, she wandered off towards the office.

Lyra watched as Harmonic walked off. She adored the older woman greatly and thought of her as a surrogate mother – in many ways a better parent than her own, truth be told – but even if Lyra considered herself an enlightened Wiccan lesbian, there were times that she just did not understand Harmonic Convergence. This was clearly one of those times.

She smiled lazily; at least, thankfully, her parents were out of town for the next week. That meant that Bon-Bon could stay over; actually, given that Bon-Bon’s parents completely approved of their relationship, it would be all but certain.

Still, not everything was perfect tonight. Not with Trixie being a hurting unit, Lyra sighed.

“Once again, Trixie, that was amazing,” a boy said to her as she started to pack up her gear. Given that it was a children’s hospital, she wasn’t the only one that volunteered for the kid helping program. Skee-Ball’s father owned GolfWorld, the local family entertainment center out in Everfree Glades, and so the young man often brought arcade games from their business for the kids to play. He was strong, tall, with a winning smile, gorgeous orange eyes and perfectly-tousled red-and-tan hair. Needless to say, he pressed all of her buttons in the right ways, and Trixie was somewhat smitten.

“You think so?” she asked.

“Yeah. The way you work with the children? A lot of them just play the games I bring in, but…they were watching you. They were entranced. And I can see why,” he told her. “You are quite the magical lovely.”

“Thanks,” she said, blushing furiously at his flirtatious compliment. “But…I’m not that great, really.”

“Says the girl that comes from a famous line of entertainers?” he said and she looked at him with surprise. “Oh, I know about that – we went to visit my grandmother in Atlanta over the summer and I got to see your family’s show there. So I guess you could say I’m a fan.”

Trixie suddenly felt flush, not sure of what else to say. “I…uh….”

“No, really!” Skee told her. “Seriously, though, you should talk to my dad sometime. We’re always looking for entertainers for parties, and maybe we could get you a couple of gigs with kids’ parties. Trust me, we’re always looking for ways to one up those guys at Johnny Jackrabbit’s Pizza Party Palace!” He handed her one of the business cards.

“I’ll think about it,” she told him, trying to focus more on the card and less on him. It wasn’t working.

“Don’t just ‘think about it’,” he assured her. “I know I’d love to have you around!”

Trixie’s heart started thumping in her chest. “R-really?” she asked, feeling a weakness in the knees.

“Yeah!” he said, giving her a winning smile. “Well, I need to go make sure the games I’m taking back are secure in the van. I’ll see you later?”

“Maybe,” she replied with a dazed smile.

“You know he’s taken, right?” Trixie turned to see Cherry Cordial standing there, looking at her. Cherry’s family owned a café in Darkside and while it wasn’t as good as Sugarcube Corner Café or even Brews & Bakes, the foodstuffs she brought in from the Dark Roast Coffee Co. weren’t bad at all. The two didn’t really know one another, as their volunteer schedules didn’t overlap much, but Trixie didn’t have a problem with her.


“I see how you’re looking at him,” Cherry Cordial commented. “You want in his pants. And don’t give me that look like you don’t. It’s blatantly obvious that you do.”

“What?” Trixie’s jaw practically dropped; whether or not that was true – Okay, maybe it’s a little true, she had to admit to herself – she wasn’t going to stand for a practical stranger calling her out on that. “And I suppose you have a problem with that?” she challenged.

Cherry just rolled her eyes. “Just giving you a friendly warning. I wouldn’t do it if I were you – you’re going to end up with your heart broken. Yeah, sure, he flirts with all the girls, but at the end of the day, he’s already spoken for, so don’t push your luck.” The two girls looked at each other with the gaze of two cats sizing up one another before the claws came out. Finally, Cherry shrugged and added, “Okay, not my fault you don’t listen,” before walking off.

“Ignore her.” Trixie turned to look at Skee as he came back. “I’ve known Cherry for years and she tends to be a bit possessive. I mean, I appreciate it, but sometimes she doesn’t know how to keep her nose out of my business, you know?” he explained in an apologetic tone.

“I see,” Trixie stammered. Now that he was back, he’d stepped a bit closer to her, well within her personal zone.

He gave her another winning smile, and she realized they were alone. “So, um, Trixie…there was something that I wanted to ask you….”

Yes, I’ll go out with you! she sang to herself, though she didn’t say it aloud.

“Look, I was wondering sometime if you have some free time—” he began.

I’m free Saturday! she was just about to blurt out.

“Skee!” Out of nowhere a boy, just as hot looking as Skee came out. He had mauve hair, sea-green eyes and a charming smile…

…a second before he kissed Skee. The two boys briefly locked lips, then broke off.

“Hey, wasn’t expecting you to show up, Cutie,” Skee told the other boy. Turning to Trixie, he said, “This is my boyfriend, Acute Angle. Cutie, this is Trixie, the girl I was telling you about.”

“Charmed,” Acute said, shaking her hand. He then looked at Skee and explained, “I got done tutoring the kids I was working with early tonight, so I figured we could go get a late dinner, okay?”

“Sure.” Skee fished in his pocket for the truck’s keys. “Meet you at the truck, okay?”

“No problem.” Acute waved to Trixie. “Nice meeting you again, Trixie.”

“You…have a boyfriend?” Trixie asked, feeling her heart shatter into a thousand bits.

Skee blushed. “Yeah. Anyways, I know this is sudden, but I was wondering if you were free Saturday. My kid sister saw your show in Atlanta and we’re throwing a birthday party for her, so I think she’d really appreciate it if you put on a show. I’d be happy to pay whatever your rates are, really.”

“I’d be delighted,” Trixie said, entertainer’s smile clearly on her face while inwardly, she was screaming.

After hours, Lyra and Bon-Bon were on the couch together at the former’s home, in theory watching a movie. The truth was, however, they were more focused on the visual display in front of them, with the two already in romantic abandon, and Bon-Bon already having shed her shirt and Lyra having even less on. Lips and tongues darted and dodged and the two let their hands explore in places already familiar to both.

“Bed?” Bon-Bon breathed, cooing as Lyra’s lips traveled down the side of her neck.

“I don’t know if I can make it that far,” Lyra said, her mouth applying a flurry of erotic touches down her girlfriend’s body.

“You two had better,” a third voice said. “I really don’t want to have to go rent a Rug Doctor.”

The two teens froze at that third voice. Like a pair of potential victims in a horror film they turned in the direction of the door, to see a nightmare.

Sure enough, two adults stood there, a man and a woman. “Told you this would happen,” the woman told the man.

“It’s okay – you two can go back to your foreplay,” the man said, “although I’d really appreciate it if you went to your bedroom first, Ly.”

The two girls screamed in shock, desperately trying to cover themselves with the couch pillows.

“You just had to do this, didn’t you?” the woman said, a slight smile coming onto her face.

“You know me,” he said with a shrug.

“HARPER!” the two girls screamed at the guy.

Harper Heartstrings narrowed his eyes. “Oh, don’t give me that shit, you two. For starters, Bonnie, put your shirt back on – I already see your sister’s breasts on a regular basis; I don’t need to see yours.”

“Yes, I’d rather you look at mine instead,” Burgundy, Bon-Bon’s older sister and Harper’s fiancée, told him as she looked at both teens with a reproachful glare.

“And Lyra, as for you,” Harper continued, “I distinctly recall changing your diapers when you were a baby, so I’ve seen everything as is. I just didn’t expect you to still be as, um, you know, clean shaven?”

“The term is Brazilian, dear,” Burgundy reminded him.

The two mortified teens looked at the two adults, who were, in a sense, older variants on themselves: Burgundy looked like an older version of her sister, save for her darker hair colors of navy blue and burgundy, while the Heartstrings siblings both had the same hair and eye color, as well as the same lithe build. Really, the only differences between them were gender, height, voice, Harper’s soul patch and his slightly more mature outlook on the world.

“What are you two doing here?” Bon-Bon gasped.

“Apparently preventing you two from being stupid,” Burgundy snapped. She looked at her sister. Kẹo Dừa, tôi mong đợi bạn tốt hơn! Bạn là một phụ nữ và bạn nên hành động như vậy. Bất kể mối quan hệ của bạn là gì, bạn nên biết tốt hơn là chỉ hành động liều lĩnh như vậy trong một tình huống như thế này!”

“Tôi xin lỗi, Cục Kẹo. Tôi để cho cảm xúc của tôi thoát ra khỏi tầm tay,” Bon-Bon said, chastened.

Burgundy then wheeled upon Lyra. “And you, you idiot! You know that your parents are so Old School Catholic that they probably knew the folks that were protesting in Avignon at the time! Do you want to end up at a boarding school?”

It was an old threat that Lyra’s parents had mentioned enough times; the real reason her parents had moved to Canterlot was not just because their job let them work from here, but that it was more conservative than even Orange County down south. She was so busy hiding too many things from her parents that she was always afraid that whenever they were home that something would slip. Her parents were so strict with her when they were around that she was afraid that one day they would just give up and send her to boarding school – especially if they found out their little girl was busy getting biblical with the sister of her brother’s fiancée.

“I….” Lyra didn’t know what to say. She looked helplessly at her girlfriend, then her brother and future sister-in-law.

“Get dressed,” Burgundy ordered. “I’m not the gay sister; I don’t need to see your snatch, moron.” She then turned to Harper and said sweetly, “Okay, peep show’s over – you have to turn around now.”

“Hey, it’s not like I enjoyed that,” he said.

“I know,” she said, kissing him on the cheek. “Besides, you have my body to look at later.” A few seconds later, she then looked at the girls before telling him, “Okay, they’re decent again. Well, dressed in any case.”

“Good,” he replied. “It would be really awkward explaining that to the cops.”

“Sorry,” both girls, chastened, said at once.

He sighed, looking at them both. “Look, I love you both dearly, but you both know you should save it until you know you’re alone and in a safe location. When you’re older and you have an apartment like Burgundy and I, then you two can have sex until you get bored of each other. But until then, remember that you two are minors and while your parents might not care, Bonnie, ours do.”

“Message received, bro,” Lyra sighed while doing the “OK” handsign. “What are you doing here, anyway?”

He threw his bag onto the couch. “You really want to know? Mom and Dad don’t trust you to be by yourself anymore during the weekends, because of that Club shit and then the Dead Hand murders. So they called me and said that I had to come over to babysit you. Pissed as hell; I had to cancel a gig with my band and shit.”

“Seriously?” Bon-Bon asked, offended.

“Yeah. Not happy about it,” Burgundy said. “Record label was supposedly sending out a scout to check out Harper’s band, so needless to say, they’re pissed as fuck. You two owe us, big time.”

“Got it,” both girls said, sighing.

“Oh, get a grip, you two,” Harper said. “One night of chastely sleeping together without sex isn’t going to kill either of you.”

“He’s right,” Burgundy added. “But if you do that shit again, I’ll kill you.” Burgundy, being the better martial artist of the two sisters, had the ability to back her threat up.

“Sorry,” Lyra said again.

“Sorry isn’t going to make everything better all the time, stupid,” Burgundy told her. She then looked at Harper. “I’m going to make us some dinner, unless you want to order a pizza.”

“Naah, I’m just tired from the drive,” he told her.

“You two drove up from LA?” Bon-Bon asked. “We didn’t hear your car.”

“Probably because you two were busy trying to figure out who was going to bury the nose first,” Burgundy told her, getting her sister to shut up. She shrugged. “Well, I suppose I should be glad you two can’t get pregnant – I’m too young to be an aunt right now.”

“Hey, they’re both creative,” Harper reminded his lady. “I’m sure they’d find a way.”

“Don’t encourage them, love,” she replied.

Meanwhile, Lyra, desperate to get the attention off her, looked at her phone. “Oh, shit,” she stated.

“Something wrong, Ly?”

“Yeah, it’s from Mrs. Convergence. Trixie hasn’t come home yet.”

“That’s not good,” he said, looking at his sister, then to his fiancée. “Guess I’m going to go look for her. Even with the serial killer caught, there are still copycats out there.”

“Plus, it’s probably going to rain,” Burgundy agreed.

“I’m going with you,” Lyra told him. “She’s been in a mood lately – doing her usual deflection thing. She won’t talk to me at all and made up some story about how she’s shrinking.”

“Shrinking? Seriously?” he asked and both girls nodded. “Well, it’s better than the time she swore some girl in third grade found a memory erasing stone….”

“Really?” Burgundy asked.

“Yeah. Turns out it was just a very ornate looking stone, but still, it’s her way of getting attention,” Lyra clarified. “In any case, let’s get going, bro.”

“No, you’re staying here – both you and Bonnie,” Burgundy ordered.

“And why can’t I go?” Lyra challenged the older girl. Usually Lyra didn’t make waves with Burgundy, but this was Trixie she was talking about.

“Two reasons: one, be glad we’re letting Bon-Bon stay here instead of me sending her back home,” Burgundy stated.

“And the other reason?”

“Because we told you to get dressed,” Harper said blandly, “And I don’t think you want the public to see your underwear – especially the ‘I’ve got the Prettiest Kitty’ picture on the front of it.” Lyra’s eyes went wide and under a different circumstance, the two adults would have laughed.

“I’ll be back soon as I can,” Harper told them.

“We’ll be up,” Burgundy promised as he departed. Once he left, Burgundy looked at the two of them. “You two really owe us. He may have lost out on his big chance, and I had plans for the weekend. Neither of us wanted to come – and we especially didn’t appreciate your impromptu biology lesson.”

The two teens had the grace to be completely embarrassed once more, and an awkward silence filled the living room until Bon-Bon had the courage to look at her sister and ask, “Then why did you come?”

“Because we knew that with Lyra’s parents out for the week, it’d give you two time to spend together.” To their surprise, a smile came onto Burgundy’s face as her stern demeanor vanished. “We know you two love each other and we know how hard it is for both of you to have to maintain that relationship. Harper and I are straight, obviously – we have it easy. For you two to still be together? We know it’s hard for you both, and we want to support you two whenever we can.”

“Thanks, sis,” Bon-Bon told her sister.

Burgundy bent down and kissed both girls on the foreheads. “I still think you two can be idiots…but at the end of the day, we’re still family.”

The rain came down in a torrent, but she didn’t care. She was soaked to the bone, but it didn’t bother her. The rain was warm, like summertime rain always was, and it was great for hiding her tears.

She’d had her heart broken again, and she wasn’t sure if she had the right to have it broken. She was attracted to Skee – yes, Cherry was right; she thought he was hot. She thought his comments had been just for her, his way of trying to get her attention.

Well, she was giving it…and he didn’t want it. It had nothing to do with the fact that he was gay; her best friend and sister figure, after all, was lesbian, so that didn’t matter to her. Maybe it was because it was her heart shattering once more. Cracking in a way that made her feel useless. Worthless. Pointless.

Part of her even wondered if she should just throw herself at Flash Sentry; since the events of earlier in the year became public, his nice guy image had been all but evaporated and, some would argue, he had more girls throwing themselves at him than when they thought he was a gentleman. Surely enough, she knew of at least three girls that had slept with him since his “public outing.” She briefly wondered if she should make herself join that number…but then knew that wouldn’t happen. For one, given that his ex, Sunset, was one of her friends, that made it uncomfortable for her to do so. Secondly, she knew Sunset would try to put a stop on it, because she’d worry about her. And third, the whole idea was silly, anyway.

So here she sat, on the swings in a small park two blocks away from her house, letting the rain soak her to the bone and prevent the world from seeing her cry at her loneliness.

“You know, even with all that’s happened, you probably shouldn’t be out here by yourself at night.”

The moment she heard that voice, she wanted to both smile and cry all the more at the same time. Smile because she knew who it was. Cry all that much more, because it was one of the few guys in her life…and yet another that was, pretty much, untouchable.

She looked up at Harper and he saw her eyes were rimmed with red, a sign that she’d been crying. “Would you sleep with me?” she asked him in a soft voice.

He was taken aback by that. “You know, that’s a hell of a question to ask me,” he told her.

“I know. But I’m asking it all the same. If I threw myself at you, would you?”

“That’s two for two right there. You know I’m not going to justify that with an answer, because I’m not that kind of guy. Even if we were complete strangers I wouldn’t do that.”

“I know,” she told him. “I meant it in the abstract. And I know you wouldn’t.”

He looked at her, the rain sliding down on his face; he’d come out here without an umbrella as well. “So, want to tell me why you’re here by yourself, Bea?”

She gave herself a small, girlish smile; given that her name was Beatrix, most people called her Trixie; not so Harper, who had once said Bea was a little sister’s name and had called her that ever since. An irony, given that he was the one that gave Lyra the idea for Trixie. “You’d laugh.”

“Maybe, but not at you. Especially when you’re thinking about throwing yourself at any guy out there.”

“I said I meant it in the abstract, Harper.”

“Bea, give me some credit. You may have meant that in the abstract to me, but I get the feeling it wouldn’t be so much of a theoretical question if I was some other guy, am I right?”

She blushed again; he knew her too well. “I’m…lonely. Lyra has Bonnie, so many of my friends have relationships and I feel left out. My mother relentlessly teases me about being gay when she knows I’m not, and just about every guy out there thinks I’m weird because I do that third person thing when I’m in my stage persona! For fuck’s sake, I got turned down by a guy who was gay today who was giving me signals that I misunderstood! I wanted to sleep with him, but he was just being nice!”

“That’s really not a good reason to sleep with someone,” he told her. “I mean, being nice helps get a girl, but it’s not the end-all, be-all.”

She got up and leaned against him, crying. He put his arms around her and she bawled all the more for it. “I’m going to be alone forever!”

“Wow, you really worked on your melodrama. You ever consider going into acting?”

“I’m serious!” she sobbed.

“No, Bea, you only think you are,” he told her. “You’ve never been in a relationship before, so you don’t know how to savvy how life can really be when it comes to things like that. But you want to know the truth? No one really does until they’ve been in one.”

“Not me. I’m weird and guys hate me!”

“Bullshit. Yes, you’re a lovely girl…but I’m biased, since you’re like a kid sister. But I can promise you that you will find someone. Might not be today. Might not be until you’re in college. Might not be until even after then. But when you do find that person? They will love you like you deserve to be loved.”

“You’re just saying that,” she accused as he led her to his car.

“Hey, I’m a musician, remember? Stories about love are my stock in trade,” he laughed. “Trust me, you’re not the only one who feels like that. Not everyone finds someone to love right away, and not everyone is meant to. Do you remember when Lyra came out to you?”

Trixie didn’t say anything until they were both in the car. “I remember,” she admitted. “She was afraid I was going to break off our friendship, because she’d had a fling with a girl she’d met the night before when we went to my first public show in LA and she was afraid that I was going to be sick of the fact that she’s a lesbian.”

“And yet, you didn’t, because we’re family,” he said as he started the car and left the park. “But that’s not the point. The point I’m trying to make is: do you remember what happened afterwards?”

Trixie nodded. “Yeah. That other girl, Abby Cadabra, told Lyra that it was just a meaningless fling to her and that later that day, she’d slept with one of the boys who was doing his first show.” The look on Trixie’s face became a brief glance of anger. “I was angry for Ly: it had been her first time, and the girl she’d given her virginity to turned out to have done it just for the kicks.”

“Yeah. That happens, and that’s life. Not every relationship is meant to be, and not everyone’s going to get into one instantly. Love is a complicated thing, Bea. Be glad you don’t have to deal with it now.”

She laughed bitterly. “This isn’t cheering me up, Harper.”

“It’s not meant to. It’s me doing the older brother thing and telling you life wisdom, because that’s what big brothers do. You want cheerful, read a greeting card.” He smiled, and tapped the forward button on the car stereo. The CD advanced to the next track and as it did, he said, “I want you to listen to the lyrics.”

“This your band?”

“Yes, and that’s me singing, and yes, this is the single that we were supposed to play for the talent scout this week and that’s not important,” he told her. “I want you to listen to the lyrics, okay?”

“Fine, fine.” The two drove around, drying off, giving the girl time to absorb the lyrics. “Wow, those are some fucked up lyrics,” she told him.

He sang along with his recorded vocals the moment the chorus came up again: “’Because you couldn’t come to me, I had her instead; Because you wouldn’t love me, I made my home in her bed.’ You know, the song’s based on a real story?”


He nodded. “Yeah. Our drummer, Carnival Beat? That was about the first girl he really liked and how that relationship went south…before it even started, no less. He had a girl that he was really wild about, but she wasn’t willing to take it to the next step; she was kinda shy, or playing hard to get, I guess. Anyway, she had her cousin staying over – Carnival doesn’t really remember why – and said cousin was anything but bashful. In any case, the girl he wanted was so slow in trying to decide whether or not that she wanted a relationship with him, that night, her cousin came up to him and dropped her clothes off in front of him and had sex with him while the girl he’d wanted to date was sleeping in her bedroom next door. In the end, he ended up with neither because he couldn’t face his intended girl for what he did and he couldn’t date a girl that would just throw himself at her.”

“Wow, that’s messed up.”

“That’s life, Bea. That’s how love is, sometimes.” He then asked, “Did I ever tell you how Burgundy and I met?” When she shook her head, he gave a grin. “It was eighth grade, and you were, if I remember, out travelling for a week with your grandfather’s act. Lyra came up to me, crying that someone was beating up on a fourth grader, and I had more bravado than brains back then. I went and confronted the bully – who turned out to be Burgundy, scaring some jerk that had been picking on another girl. Well, she didn’t explain and I really wasn’t in the mood to listen. Kinda like our relationship, in a sense,” he said with a nostalgic grin.

“You didn’t hit her, did you?” Trixie asked.

“Are you kidding? My only martial arts training is whatever I’ve picked up from playing Street Fighter. She and Bonnie have been training all their lives. I was lucky that I didn’t get turned into one giant bruise! Anyway, she had me on the ground, slugging as hard as she could, and hoo boy, did it hurt! I was getting desperate, so I decided to bite her. Kinda unsportsmanlike, admittedly, but I was getting my teeth rattled in my head – I wasn’t in the mood for niceties.” He gave another nostalgic smile. “Thankfully I screwed that up.”

“Screwed it up?”

He nodded. “Ended up kissing her, in public. To my surprise, she returned the kiss. She said I won the fight and the prize I won was a date with her. Hey, I wasn’t going to argue with that, and I think I got the better end of that deal.”

Trixie beamed. “Yeah, you did. I just hope if I meet someone, it won’t be as violent.”

“So do I. Trust me, so do I. Besides, if the guy turns out to be a jerk, you know who to call.”


“Oh, please! Weren’t you paying any attention to my story?” He grinned as they finally came to a stop in front of the store. “In any case, feeling better now?”

She leaned against him again, throwing her arms around him in a hug. “A little, thanks. You’re the best big brother in the world, you know that?”

He hugged her back. “Always here for my kid sis, Bea. Always.”

“I’m sorry about yesterday,” she told Lyra the following morning. “I was….”

“You don’t have to explain, Trix,” Lyra said, hugging her. “Harper told us. I just…you know I’m here for you, right?”

“I know, but I….” She pursed her lips and stopped. “Look, it’s not important.”

“It is to me. Look, come on over tonight; Harper’s making chili and we can talk about it, okay? We’re family, Trixie. I don’t give up on you because you don’t give up on me.”

A loving smile came over the teen magician. “Okay. Tonight, then. I need to get to class. See you at lunch?”

“You can count on it.”

Bon-Bon approached, watching as Trixie departed. “I’m glad to see she’s doing better. I was really worried.”

“So was I. Good thing Harper dealt with it.”

“Yeah. Not happy that Burgundy shut us down like that, though.”

“Well, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise,” Lyra told her girlfriend. “She needed to hear that from Harper, not me. Even though I love her like a sister, she needs to figure out things on her own sometimes. She wouldn’t have been happy if I stuck my nose where it wasn’t wanted – she was jealous of us, you know. She didn’t want to admit it, because it would hurt both her and us, but she was.”

“Really? I didn’t think she—”

“In the general sense of a relationship, not either of us specifically,” Lyra explained. “That’s why I asked Harper. He knows her well enough to do what needed to be done. He’s not just my big brother, you know. He’s hers, too, sorta; and last night, she needed her brother more than she did her sister.”

“Wow, looks like you actually planned that one out ahead of time! I’m impressed!”

Lyra laughed nervously and scratched the back of her head. “Well, I probably used up my quota for the month.”

The Asian teen giggled, then kissed her girlfriend on the cheek. “Well, I still love you anyway. C’mon, we’re going to be late for class.”

They weren’t the only ones that watched Trixie Lulamoon walk off.

“Man, I wonder if she’s ever gonna pay attention to me,” a lanky, gangly reed of a boy with turquoise hair and sleepy charcoal-gray eyes said in a forlorn, lovesick voice.

Snips patted his buddy on the back. “Snails, old pal,” the portly teen told him, “You just gotta talk to her, man! I’ll bet if you just said something to her she’d be yours.”

“Yeah, right,” Snails said dejectedly. “Girl like Trixie? She probably has guys constantly throwing themselves at her feet,” he groaned. “Guy like me wouldn’t stand a chance.”