Chapter 2:

Scene 2

On the Ship (girlxgirlxgirl)

It had been a week and none of them had uttered the word.Bookmark here

Amira was legitimately surprised about this.Bookmark here

With the way Claudia worked, she had expected her to be jumping into her arms at every possible moment, but it seemed that even the grand romantic herself had some trouble getting used to the concept of it.Bookmark here

And Nono... well, she was the one who had suggested it!Bookmark here

There was no way Amira was going to be the first one to say “girlfriends.” She was perfectly fine with figuring out her emotions on her own time, but she was way too easily flustered to spout something out as outrageous as that.Bookmark here

She hadn’t even mustered up the courage to tell her Mom, and she was standing right next to her in the kitchen. Surely she still remembered that talk they had earlier in the year, that stern talk she gave when Amira had decided to seriously pursue Claudia.Bookmark here

“I’m serious. That’s what she told me.”Bookmark here

“You’re dealing with a crazy woman, you know that.”Bookmark here

“I’m aware of that. But...”Bookmark here

“But?”Bookmark here

“I may be in love with her too.”Bookmark here

“Amira Aziz, I will not grant you permission to marry a girl you met a month ago, no matter what she says and no matter what you think.”Bookmark here

“And that’s why I need your help, Mom. Tell me what I need to do.”Bookmark here

In the end she talked it out with Claudia and they decided to wait for a while to see how their feelings sorted out, you know, like normal people who weren’t rushing into adulthood with jet engines strapped to their backs. But then Nono came in and wrecked everything up, and now Amira was here in her house with two girlfriends and about to serve them some fried noodles. She was sure her mother wouldn’t understand at all, especially after all that initial drama. So for now she was just going to hope they weren’t too obvious about it.Bookmark here

Her Mom removed the lid from the pot and waffed the scent up to your nose. “Too much paprika. I’ve made better,” she said. “If it’s too salty, take them some extra bread, please.”Bookmark here

“Yes ma’am,” Amira said. she had learned never to question her Mom’s self-deprecating comments on her cooking. Even if everything she made was great, it just wasn’t worth the arguing to convince her that, yes, everyone really enjoyed her soup, and no, nobody noticed the fact there were too many carrots.Bookmark here

There probably wasn’t a better cook on all of Horus One and yet she acted like she was one of those first-round loser contestants on an episode of Chef-Off.Bookmark here

“Thank you for making lunch for us, Mom,” Amira said. “It means a lot.”Bookmark here

“Well, maybe one day you should show them your own skills! You’re a lot better than you think.”Bookmark here

“No thank you,” she replied. Amira picked up all three bowls of fried noodles in a dangerous game of balancing and headed towards her bedroom. Now she herself was different-- she really did have no talent in cooking, despite what her Mom said, and it would be an utter embarrassment to hand any of it to either Nono or Claudia.Bookmark here

“Will you be back before dinner?” her Mom asked.Bookmark here

“Probably not,” she said. “Nono wants to get dessert afterwards.”Bookmark here

“Well then, have a nice afternoon. And Amira... leave the door open, please.”Bookmark here

She froze and nearly spilled one of the bowls over. “Y-yes ma’am.”Bookmark here

Amira swore, sometimes her Mom was as bad as Claudia. She entered the bedroom, where Nono was sitting on the carpet floor at the table sketching something out, and Claudia laid on Amira’s bed with her knees up and hands behind her head.Bookmark here

As soon as the two of them smelled the noodles, though, their attention was immediately taken by the food.Bookmark here

“My gosh, that smells good,” said Claudia. She sat up and hopped off the bed, onto the floor.Bookmark here

“Well, here you go,” Amira says. “There’s some bread in the kitchen if you need, uh... less saltiness.” Whatever, she said it.Bookmark here

Nono chowed down on the noodles and her eyes lit up with stars. “Absolutely spectacular.”Bookmark here

“The basis of the purity in this world,” Claudia said after a few bites.Bookmark here

“Utterly heavenly.”Bookmark here

“Not just heavenly, but the essence of Heaven itself.”Bookmark here

“Oh, how do I top that one?” Nono whined. “You went too quick.”Bookmark here

“It just means I appreciate Ms. Aziz’s food more,” said Claudia.Bookmark here

“No, it means you are just too hyperbolic with your words,” said Nono. “You don’t have the same nuance I do.”Bookmark here

“We get it, it’s good,” Amira said.Bookmark here

“Good is simply... an understatement.” Claudia waved her hands around like these fried noodles had completely changed the fundamental laws of the world. “When Amira and I get married, I’ll get to have noodles every single day. What a thought...”Bookmark here

“What about when Amira and I get married?” Nono asked.Bookmark here

“Marriage is stupid, anyway,” Claudia said. “The City Council just encourages it because they want a bunch of population bonuses when we get to New Memphis. We should do whatever we want.” That was certainly a complete and utter reversal from what she had told Amira a couple months ago...Bookmark here

“What if I want to get married, Claudia? What if I want to marry you?”Bookmark here

“Well...”Bookmark here

“No more marriage talk... please...” Amira had had plenty enough of all that already. “Why don’t we just be girlfriends first?”Bookmark here

The banter stopped, and each of the three of them were frozen with flushed faces.Bookmark here

“You said it...” Claudia was starting to tear up, her lip quivering. “I love you guys.”Bookmark here

Amira turned her head away slightly so she wouldn’t look like she was getting emotional too. “Well... don’t get the wrong idea. It’s not like I l-like you or anything-- wait. Uh, nevermind.” Now that they were all dating, she couldn’t use that line anymore, even as a joke. That was a disappointing loss.Bookmark here

Nono had the opposite reaction to Claudia tearing up; she scooted across the carpet and moved up next to Claudia, so she could hug her around the neck and kiss her on the cheek.Bookmark here

Egh, Nono, don’t start the kissing thing so soon. The door was open... Not that her Mom was anywhere around or anything, but...Bookmark here

“Don’t worry, I love you,” Nono said.Bookmark here

In response to the hug, Claudia gripped Nono in an embrace of her own, wrestling her over closer to her and forcing the girl onto her lap. Nono accepted it and turned around so she was facing Amira again, with Claudia’s arms wrapped around her. Both of them were giggling.Bookmark here

Amira kept glancing at the doorway with unease, but she was really glad to see them enjoying each other. That’s what this whole little “experiment” was about. Could the three of them really date each other and keep their love mutual?Bookmark here

She couldn’t deny that she held a lot more affection for Claudia than for Nono. She definitely liked them both, and they both liked her--she wasn’t going to say “love” willy-nilly like them--but she had only known Claudia very well for a few months, and Nono for even shorter.Bookmark here

Even before they began officially dating last week, those two had been a lot more physically intimate, never passing up a moment to snuggle up to one another. Amira was a bit more touchy about being touched so she usually left herself out of these.Bookmark here

Still, once the two of them got up and moved across the table to force Amira into their hugging, she didn’t put up much resistance. It was too nice a feeling. Instead, she took her arms from her lap and moved them around the girls.Bookmark here

Amira’s cheek brushed up against Nono’s, a bit of warmth and peach fuzz from each side. And then Claudia kissed her on the lips, just a brief peck.Bookmark here

“I’m really happy,” Amira said.Bookmark here

Claudia sighed. “If we could just stay like this forever...”Bookmark here

“Hey now, don’t forget about our date!” Nono said. “I’m going with or without you two.” In response, Amira and Claudia hugged her tighter, making her utter a tiny grunt. “Ah, fine, I’ll do whatever you want.”Bookmark here

“We’ll go with you, don’t worry,” Claudia said. “We probably can’t hold this for another five minutes without getting really uncomfortable.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, I didn’t... finish my noodles,” Amira said. “Can we--”Bookmark here

Amira’s mother passed by the doorway. She didn’t stop and stare, but she was definitely looking this way.Bookmark here

And... that’s where things were going to get really fun to explain after she got back from the date. Oh well. Amira had a lot more in her life to complain about than being with her girlfriends.Bookmark here

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