Borders, Blues, and Baes
Blue sat on the roof of her new home, watching the people of the Border go about their day. This had become her favorite thing to do in the morning before work. She would wake up and start a pot of coffee for the early birds of the house, then wander up to the roof to watch Bordertown come alive. This was the only time through out the day that she had to herself, where she was totally at peace. No tics, no random out burst. Just total clarity. That is until her roommates woke up, and the chaos of the house began.
Venus and Blue had been living at the Dove house for over 3 weeks. The Dove house was a home for all those who identified as femme. It was ran by a woman named Amor. She had initially started the home with the intention of providing a safe space for woman, but had decided that all feminine energies needed to be protected. Amor was an intimidating woman, standing at 5'9, carrying what had to be 250 pounds of muscle, Amor was a war vet. She wouldn't tell us everything that happened while she served, but something had happened to make her desert and come to the Borderlands. Once here she made it her mission to protect woman, and then eventually femininity in general. She had taken over a small building in the middle of Mock avenue, painted the outside yellow and fixed up the inside enough to be habitable. Those of us who live here feel safe. No one messes with Amor, not even the Elf gangs.
Blue looked towards the west clock that seemed to keep its tell its own time, one of the many things you had to learn to get used to while on the Border. It was time for her to get to work at the Hard Luck Café, she waited tables in the morning, then around noon she would set up a corner in the café to braid hair. She had been wearing her hair braided with colorful yarn for a few days and had garnered a lot of attention, even the Elves were interested in her braiding, so for a decent fee she had agreed to braid for others. The owner of the Hard Luck let her use the place for ten percent of her profits. Blue was surprised with how well she had blended into the Border life. She had a job, she had a roof over her head, and great friends. Some would argue that she had a potential love interest or two, but she had been avoiding getting involved with anyone, particularly the sexy half elf who made her attractions known whenever she was near. Just thinking about Brynn made her body heat up. Brynn was the reason that Blue and Venus had moved into The Dove, she had introduced them to Amor and helped procure a room for the two of them. Although Brynn's room was on a different floor, she somehow always found a way to bump into Blue in the hallways. Blue feeling flustered with the attention had started taking measures to not be in the house much, early shifts at the café, often braiding for hours on end, taking any customer who wanted to be seen that day.
On her less busy days she chose to wander the streets of B-town. She was determined to know all there was to the Border, and had made her own mental map of the place. Bordertown reminded her of New York a bit, the city was at the center, and the suburbs were located on the outer area of the Border. Most people who lived in the suburbs, both Elves and Human, were older and had either lived here their whole lives or had lived here long enough to want to be far from the city and the youth who terrorized it. There was a lot less gang activity towards the edge of B-town.
Giving herself a stretch, she hurried to start her day. She slipped out of the house unseen, most of her household wouldn't be up for awhile, too much partying the night before. The Hard Luck was a fifteen minute walk from The Dove, there were only few people out as she walked, mostly shop owners. As she passed Elsewhere Books, she found Wolfboy opening the shop. She waved to him tentatively, for some reason she always got shy around him. Wolfboy was like a celebrity in town, most knew him as a nice guy, but know one knew how he became a wolf guy. There were rumors of course, that he had been bitten and turned into a werewolf by day, and a normal guy at night, was the first one she had heard, but that had disputed itself early on when she realized that he sometimes bounced at Danceland at night. Wolfboy gave her a wave back and pointed to a poster in the window of his shop. He was reminding her about his sign language class, which she had signed up for. She gave him two thumbs up to let him know she still planned to be there.
Halfway towards the café Blue started to feel like she was being watched. She looked around but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. She continued walking and tried to shake it off. She was cutting through between two buildings when she heard it, a spell bike. She looked behind her and sure enough perched on a spell bike was an Elf, a gang member at that, She couldn't tell what gang they were affiliated with, she just knew they were watching her. She was on neutral territory, Ho, Carnival, and Carmine were strictly enforced as neutral territory, so she should be fine. But she didn't like how the Elf stared at her. Gunning its engine the elf proved her right and began racing towards her. It was a small alleyway so there was no where for her to go but forward. She ran as fast as she could, her heart beating out of her chest. She reached the end of the alley and jumped to the side. The Elf sped out of the alleyway and made a violent turn down the street, not even looking back at her. She felt herself shake and began to lose control. She calmed herself down long enough to walk to the café, when she got there she went to the back and splashed cold water on her face.
Elf gangs were known to harass humans, but she had managed to avoid them. When she was sure she had full control and wouldn't start ticking she began her shift. Eventually she pushed the event to the back of her mind and got on with her day. She was halfway through her shift when Venus and Ken walked in with Brynn behind them. Venus and Ken stopping by to say hi was not out of the ordinary, but Brynn had never come to visit her. Blue shot a look at Venus, who just seemed to shrug with her eyebrows. During the past three weeks Venus had officially opted for her pronouns to be she/they, had dyed her hair green, and had started working at the Dancing ferret. Ken was working at Bingo still, with the help of Venus and Blue had changed his wardrobe, he wasn't allowed at the Dove because he was a guy, but he often met up with them for drinks at the Ferret. Brynn did a lot of odd jobs she knew, along with working under Amor at the Dove house. She looked good today, her Viking braids were decorated with beads. She flashed Blue a devastatingly devilish smile.
The three of them met her at the coffee bar and ordered drinks.
"So Brynn was telling us about a party tonight by the river, she's going with some of her friends and thought we would like to tag along. I thought it was a marvelous idea, its a nice change of pace from the clubs. So what do you say?" Venus said in a rush while coyly stirring her coffee.
" Well I start my sign language class tonight, so I don't know if I will be able to. I already promised Wolfboy that I would show up.." Blue gave a tentative shrug.
Venus clearly on a mission gave Blue a challenging stare and said " Well your class is in the evening and its only an hour. Plus the party doesn't start until late. That even gives you enough time to come home and change. And even better your don't work tomorrow…." Venus raised one of her eyebrows and looked at Blue as if she dared her to find another excuse. Blue sighed inwardly and said " Okay sure, sounds like a plan." She wanted to be mad at Venus, but her friend had been quietly encouraging her for weeks to hang out with Brynn more, she seemed to have opted out of being quiet about it. After some small talk they promised to meet in front of the Dove house and began to leave, before fully moving away, Brynn waited until Venus and ken were out of earshot and leaned towards Blue and whispered " I'm glad your coming out tonight, I've wanted another dance with you. I promise it will be worth it." with a cute wink and a smug but very sexy smirk she walked out and followed them out the door.
Blue was frazzled for the rest of her shift. She didn't know what she would wear, or how she would act. She just knew that she was filled with both fear and excitement. After her shift, Blue only had one client to braid for, so she was able to finish in time for her class. While walking to Elsewhere Blue felt like someone was watching her again. She checked around to confirm but did not see anyone who was paying attention to her. She remembered the mornings incident and decided to hurry. There were 5 people taking the class including her, three humans and 2 elves. Every one was nice, with the exception of one of the elves who seemed to roll her eyes at everything Blue said or did. The elf wasn't particularly nice to anyone but for some reason Blue got an extra dose of attitude from her. The stress of worrying what she did wrong set Blue's tics off. She kept repeating things and knocked her notebook on the floor. Everyone seemed calm and supportive and reassured it it was okay. But she kept feeling the glare of the female ripping into her.
When class ended Blue stayed behind to help Wolfboy clean up, but mostly to give the evil elf a head start. Wolfboy slid her a note, knocking her out of her reverie. *"Are you okay? I noticed the tension between you and Serenity. Is something wrong?"*
Blue shrugged and said " I've never met her before today, I thought it was in my head but she seemed to not like me very much."
He tilted his head like he was thinking and then scribbled another note. Wolfboy wasn't just a hairy man, he had a snout like a wolf and couldn't actually speak. The most he could do was laugh and even that sounded canine. He passed her the note, it said *" Well elves are weird, and there's no telling what's going to offend them. But be careful, I don't know her very well, but elves are unpredictable when offended. Come by tomorrow and I will give you a stress free one on one lesson."*
Blue thanked him and agreed to return for the lesson.
She walked home quietly, only a handful of people were out. As she started to cross the street to her building, she heard the sound of a spell bike kick in and instinctively pulled back. The biker she had noticed earlier zoomed passed her. If she had not stepped back when she did she would be roadkill. She gasped for air and held a hand go her chest as she tried to calm her nerves.
She felt better as she finally walked into the Dove. That is until she walked into her room to find Venus going through her stuff and laying out outfits.
"Oh good your home, just in time. Which outfit do you think screams *"fuck me already"* ? she asked while gesturing vulgarly. Blue looked at the two options on her mattress. One was a short red skirt with an orange knitted cropped top, and the other was a pair of tattered jeans and a blue knitted bikini top.
"Well it depends, who are you trying to get fucked by" Blue asked in genuine confusion.
"Not me honey. You!" Venus said with a hand on her hip.
"Me? I'm not sexing anyone!"
"Yeah that's the issue mija, your running around here hopped up on coffee, missing opportunities to have your world rocked by Odin's daughter. Meanwhile every tens minutes she comes sniffing around here looking for you like a lost puppy. No no hear me out. Of course you don't have to do anything more than talk. But give this girl a chance or at least tell her why your avoiding her. You owe her that much."
Blue sighed and pointed at the jeans and orange top, which caused Venus to squeal. They got ready for the night, Venus borrowed her red skirt and wore an 80's graphic t-shirt with it, she did their makeup and helped Blue put her pink and orange yarn braids in a bun. They both wore chunky boots. They headed outside to find both Ken and Brynn waiting for them. Ken gave a whistle of appreciation, but Brynn just stared at Blue with hunger in her eyes.
Blue vaguely heard Ken and Venus talking, but she couldn't hear anything over the roaring in her ears. She felt a blush creep up her cheeks and thanked the melanin gods that it wouldn't show. Ken gave Brynn a nudge, which startled her out of her trance.
"OH sorry, my friends should be here in a few minutes. You ladies look delightful. " She spoke to both of us but she continued staring at me. After a few moments of sweet awkwardness two of her friends arrived. One was a short halfie with spiky yellow hair and the other was a very tall Elf male who had a very androgynous look to him. The only reason I knew he was male was because his shirt was open. We took off together for the river which was ten minutes away, Brynn walked beside me in a comfortable silence. At some point I looked up to find Venus and the tall male talking amongst themselves, while Ken and the halfie were gigglto themselves. Just as we pulled up to the Mad River I realized I had been set up. This was some sort of pairing. This was all intentional. Was I on a date? My eyes flashed to Brynn who just gave me a smile that almost made me buckle. I looked at Venus for help but she was a traitorous pixie who merely grinned and shrugged. Before I could even think to back away Brynn stopped to give us a warning.
"OK everyone new, no drinking river water. Humans can not tolerate it the way Elves can, and its very addictive. So unless you want to end up like the ward rats do not touch the stuff. If you feel tempted come to one of us. Now I'm not saying it's not fun to let loose, but we call it the Mad River for a reason. So stick to alcohol!."
The Warf rats were kids who were addicted to river water. They were their own gang, they lived by the river and survived solely off of river water. They occasionally ate food, and only came into town to steal things or start trouble. But most of their time was spent drinking, breathing and sleeping river water. When you first arrive everyone warns you not to drink the stuff. But I often noticed both humans and elves drinking a reddish liquid from a jar. I had avoided being this close to the river for fear of temptation.
As we walked closer to the river I found found hundreds of kids dancing around a bonfire. There was a table set up with some kind of punch and other random drinks. It looked like a potluck kind of party. There was even a bowl of assorted mushrooms. There was a live band, I had seen them play at Danceland before. They didn't play the kind of music I was used to back home but it made me want to dance all the same. Venus pulled me with her towards the fire and began to dance with me, I felt a bit stiff until she whispered in my ear. "Loosen up love, your in safe hands tonight." She winked and twirled me around and next thing I knew Ken was holding my hands and dancing with me in circles.
He laughed and whispered in my ear, "Hey you know why I never asked you out? Because I see the way you look at her. Stop getting in your own way Blue. You came here to let go, so let go." He looked behind me, then smiled and gave me a dramatic bow and before I could ask, Brynn was placing my arms around her neck.
My breathing hitched. I had never come to full terms with my sexuality. I had always repressed it because my mother had always spoken negatively about homosexuality. But I had always had a crush on my best friend Dana. Well ex best friend. I kept that hushed for years and never told anyone. So having Brynn pursue me absolutely terrified me.
"I don't bite you know… I mean unless that's your thing" she winked and laughed at my face. "Sorry that was kind of lame I know." There was a slight tint in her cheeks.
"No no… I just…. this is all.. overwhelming?" I didn't know how to explain how overwhelmed she made me feel.
"Well I didn't mean to make you feel overwhelmed. Venus thought you would feel safer if we came as a group. Less likely to bail on me..." She gave a gentle chuckle to let me know she was joking.
" Do I make you nervous?" She asked with a raised eyebrow.
I nodded because at this point I was barely breathing.
"Good." There was that smile again. Her smile promised nothing but wicked things. I felt like putty in her hands as she led me away from the party. We found a sturdy log on the beach and sat down. A cool breeze blew by and we instinct moved closer to one another.
"So tell me about yourself sweet Blue. Where are you from and why are you here?"
I cleared my throat before describing New York to her. I didn't feel like going into detail everything that had happened with my mother and best friend. I just told her our toxic relationship finally got to me and I had decided to leave. I explained that all though I still had tics when I was stressed, I had not had them as much in the last two weeks. It had been a relief to have a conversation where I didn't lose control. I realized my home life had been a major part of it.
She nodded and said "I know a thing or two about toxic mothers." She gave me a nudge with her shoulder. After a deep breath she said "My mother was the elf in the relationship. My dad was some needy human who had come to the Border to live his best Lord of the rings life. She had visited from the realm for a vacation. She met my father and made him her pet. She got pregnant and stuck around long enough to have me. She waited 13 days before going back to the realm. Without me. She let my dad name me. I think that I was too human for her. I grew up wanting to know more about her, but my dad didn't know much, he had been high most of the time with her. She had him strung out on river water. When she left he got sober and raised me on his own. We lived up in the suburbs, in a little green home. When I turned fifteen out of nowhere, unannounced she shows up suddenly all interested in me. She's asking about my education, my upbringing, my love life, all of it.. And I ate it up."
She looks at the river for a few moments, sadness emanating from her.
"I was happy that she had finally come to visit, and that she seemed to care about me. My dad wanted nothing to do with her. He didn't discourage me from getting to know her, but he wanted her far from him.. so I met her in town where she was staying. One day I go to meet her and she introduces me to some elf guy my age. He was the son of a friend she said. She had us sit for a lunch date. Afterwards I told her I wasn't interested. He wasn't my cup of tea. The next day I show up... and she introduces me to his sister. And the same thing happens. Except this time she's got me. The girls name was Rose. She was two years older than me, tall and had legs for days. I was smitten. She and I dated for three months. Three stressful months. Rose was beautiful but controlling. She and my mother planned all of my free time. They even conspired to change my wardrobe. During that time I stopped partying with my friends and started hanging out with her snooty friends and family. I hated it. Then I found out that Rose was part of one of the elf gangs here. That was my last straw. I hate elf gangs, they are all so full of it. So I broke up with her. My mother had a fit and raged about it forever. Turns out she had set me up with Rose to get closer to her parents. She was hoping that we would have some sort of union that would hind our families. I don't really know why til this day. Financial reasons most likely. Anyway... I told my dad, he freaked out on her and threatened to call the Silver suits on her. Silver suits are B-town's version of law enforcement. She didn't seen scared as much as she was annoyed by the idea. So she left and I haven't seen her since. It's been a year and a half. I see Rose occasionally, she barely talks to me, but she always makes her presence known. So that's fun. Not long after that I decided to moved to town and I've been on my own since. I visit my dad every other weekend. And yeah thats about it." She looked at Blue sheepishly and said. "I'm sorry I feel like I just told you my whole life's story. You didn't ask for that."
"I don't mind." Blue said. "Thank you for telling me. I kinda feel better about my family. Not so alone."
Brynn stared at me and said "I want to take you out sometime. On a proper date. If that's okay with you? Just us?" The girl who had been pretty confident this whole time, seemed scared of my answer. Without really thinking I kissed her on the cheek. Barely an inch from her lips. "I think I would like that." Was my reply. I laid my head on her shoulder and we sat in companionable silence. I was reveling in the moment when I felt like I was being watched. I casually looked around, and almost right behind us a distance away from us and the party I saw a bike. There was a familiar person on it. Whoever the person was they were staring right at us. I somehow remained calm enough to act like I didn't see them.
I turned back to Brynn and leaned in close to her ear and whispered "Someones watching us."
She giggled and said "Maybe they are hoping for a peep show."
"I don't think so..." I then told her about my morning and how I've felt like I was being watched throughout the day. I mentioned almost being run over by a gang member twice that day. She frowned. And casually tried to look around, but I stopped her from looking to obvious.
"Why are you just mentioning this Blue? You have to be careful. It could be harmless, but gang members are more than just a nuisance. They can be dangerous. Maybe one has taking a liking to messing with you. Where do you see them exactly?"
She looked where I indicated. "I don't see anyone. But that doesn't mean they aren't there. Let's go back to our friends. We will stick together." She held my hand as she led me back to the party. I felt safe with her. Some of my initial fear had subsided. We joined our friends in drinking and dancing. Whatever was in that punch had me feeling like I was made of cotton candy. We all had goofy looks on our faces. I was actually having fun. Brynn touched me a lot. Like a lot. But I didn't mind , she made my body feel like it was on fire. We stayed out all night.
As we walked back to the Dove house all of us inebriated, one of her friends, the short halfie looked over at us and giggled.
"I guess that fortune cookie was true." She said it in a knowing way. I looked up at Brynn who had her arm around my shoulder, with a question in my eye. She looked embarrassed as her friends laughed at her. Clearing her throat she said "So Ms.Wu's by Elsewhere is a little market that sells a bunch of herbs and stuff. She herself tends to give out fortune cookies. Ms Wu can be... a little creepy sometimes. Some of us think she's a witch because she's a human who seems to be too good at magic.
Anyways a few days before you showed up I was in there for some tea...she gave me a fortune that made no sense. I guess until now if you believe that kind of stuff." She looked really embarrassed, I was starting to see a blush under her caramel skin. I nudged her with my hip.
"It said "Love comes in blue"* she whispered in my ear.
My face got hot, but we didn't break eye contact.
"And ...and you think it's true?" My voice sounded shaky.
"I think Ms Wu has an uncanny way of being right about things." Her voice sounded husky in my ears.
"Get a room!" Venus shouted from in front of us. Everyone laughed hysterically. I tried not to dwell on the fortune cookie, but my stomach was in knots. I tried not to poop on my own party.
We were a few buildings away from the Dove when we heard it. Several spell bikes were being revved up. We all looked around to see where they were coming from. I noticed first, they were coming from where we had just been. There were 5 of them. And at the head was the person who had almost ran me over before. I couldn't tell if they were male or female but I remembered the colors of their jacket and bike.
Brynn cursed under her breath and pulled me behind her as the bikes sped towards us. There was some yipping and hooting coming from them as they sped towards us. They circled us, herding us like cattle.
Brynn kept a hand on me, motioning for me to stay behind her. After a few moments the hikers stopped riding around us but kept us locked in between them. The leader, I'm assuming they were the leader, took off what I though had been a helmet, but now saw to be part of a mask. I was shocked. It was the girl from wolfboy's class. She was glaring at me and Brynn.
"So this is your preference? Human trash?" She flipped her long dark hair over a shoulder and looked down on us like the queen of England.
"Who died and made you the queen of Faerie Rose? Who I date is none of yours...!" Brynn was cut off by the sound of laughter. I was shook. The person who had been stalking me and trying to run me over had been Brynn's ex? How and why? I was beyond confused. I was so in my head I didn't hear what they were saying as they argued back and forth. Venus and I looked at one another. I had been in fights before, but the fighting an Elf wasn't the same as fighting a junior high girl. Words were exchanged and next thing I know we were being pushed to the ground. I moved closer to Venus to make sure she was okay. Ken was grappling with one of the elves, while Brynn's tall friend fought with another, two of the other elves were moving in closer to the rest of us. I kicked at a bike making the user fall down and encouraged Venus to run, which she did. I felt better knowing she would be safe. She wasn't a fighter. I on the other hand... fed up I felt calm as I launched up and punched Rose in the face. Who the hell did she think was ruining my first date? And stalking me!
She and Brynn looked shocked, Brynn also looked like she wanted to laugh.
Rose fully dismounted and let her bike drop. She pulled out a blade and lunged for me. I weaved and bobbed as fast as I could. Elves were freakishly fast, I think her anger had gotten the better of her. Brynn was fighting with another elf as they blocked her from helping me. I didn't have anything to use as a weapon so I just kept up my dance and hit her when I could. I kept punching the same spot in her side and I could see she was starting to favor it. She kicked and caught me in the side of my knee making me buckle and fall. She pounced on me like a wild cat. I thought I was a goner but then she was being dragged off me by her hair. Amor had a sword in one hand and Rose's hair in another. Rose snarled like a pissed cat.
Surrounding us were a bunch of people I wasn't familiar with. There were elves and humans and halfies in the mix. They all had small badges clipped to them. Must be the Silver suits I had heard about. They only came out for important things apparently.
"This is neutral territory, no one is above that rule!" Amor roared. All fighting had ceased. Brynn helped me up and moved me closer to Venus who must have woken Amor up. The Silver suits arrested Rose and her gang. There were talks of deporting them back to the Realm.
Amor took us all home, she even allowed Ken and Brynn's friend to sit in our common area as everyone was looked over. I had a few scratches but I had managed to stay away from her blade. Her anger had made her sloppy. Plus years in the hood had taught me to survive. It was early morning and we were all exhausted. I had told my story a few times before Amor lost her patience and told the suits to let me sleep. They agree to it with the promise that I would talk to them later in the day. After some awkwardness everyone hugged and went their separate ways. Before letting me go to bed Brynn stopped me in the hallway and looked down at me with a look I didn't quite understand.
"I'm so sorry about all of this. I knew she was a little off her toadstool, but I didn't think she would resort to this. I don't even know how she found out about you. I understand if you don't want to see me again." She looked defeated.
I grabbed her shirt collar and pulled her down for a kiss. I think she stopped breathing. She waited a moment before pinning me to a wall. We were like this for what felt like an eternity when we heard someone clear their throat. Amor was at the end of the hallway looking like a tired gym teacher.
"Take it to your room kids. This is a no sex zone." She brushed past us towards her room giving us a pointed stare before closing her door.
Brynn kissed me one more time before pulling away. "You surprised me Blue. What happened to the nervous little kitten I was used to? "
"Blue? Blue... BLUE" I sighed and took a deep breath to calm myself down. I grinned and said "I grew up in a rough neighborhood. I had to learn to fight or else I would have been picked on all the time. My friend and I used to get into a lot of fights with some of the popular girls." I shrugged to let her know I didn't want to go into it anymore.
Brynn shook her head and laughed. "You are full of surprises." She leaned into me and said "It's too soon to spend the night together. So you should know that I will be thinking about you as I fall asleep."
I stopped breathing, her eyes bore into me with pure intent.
"Maybe later, if your up to it , we can go out on that date...? " she looked down at me with a hopeful look.
I smiled and nodded. All my bravado had failed with that last remark. She kissed me once again then walked downstairs to her room. I was leaning against my door when it yanked open and I felt myself falling into the room. Soft hands caught me and helped me upright. I turned to find Venus grinning at me like the Cheshire cat.
I laughed as she squealed and demanded details. I was exhausted but it felt good to laugh and talk with a friend. So I told her about my night.