A Bi-Line Might Work

“But you can’t meet my parents,” Rachel said, dropping her chin and holding her head in her hands. “It’s just–“

“What’d I do wrong?” I raised a brow. Rachel and I didn’t fight. We didn’t hold grudges. We’d get whatever we’d needed to off our chests and move forward. 

Rachel blew out her lips. “You wouldn’t understand.” The brisk September evening wind whipped through the bedroom window, sending chills the length of my spine. I didn’t know what, but something wasn’t right. Something hid beneath the surface of Rachel’s wall of silence. 

“We’ve always told each other everything,” I said. We’d been together for a good year, but I still hadn’t met her parents, and she’d always had an excuse. For being in their sixties, her parents had stamina. I mean, they’d travel the west coast in their RV for a summer. Rachel’s mother retired from a computer programming company. Her mother’s pension sustained her adventurous lifestyle. Maybe I embarrassed Rachel? I mean, usually, women rushed me to meet their parents. I had a decent job with benefits. But out of any girl I’d dated, I’d wanted to meet Rachel’s parents. Maybe I shouldn’t have promised myself if another woman asked me to meet her parents, I’d jump off a cliff. Was this God speaking to me? Telling me, I got what I wanted? An Omen? 

“It’s just you wouldn’t–“

“Try me,” I said, lowering my body to sit beside her. “What’s going on?” I stroked the back of her neck. 

Rachel brushed my hand away and stood to her feet. “God…”

“Did I do something wrong?” I raised, then lowered my arms.

“What? No. Of course not.”  It wasn’t like Rachel to keep things bottled up, but whatever had happened with her parents wasn’t her desired topic of conversation. It’s just, I thought of moving this relationship to the next step. I’d wanted to move in together. Okay, I’d wanted more than that. I’d wanted to ask her to marry me. I’d wanted to ask her father for her hand in marriage. I mean, that was the right thing to do. It was the respectful thing to do, I thought.

“Well”–I shrugged my shoulders–“what’s this all about?”

“So you know how you go to church, read the Bible, and everything?” Rachel raised a brow, and her big brown puppy dog eyes pulled at something in my memories. The memories of her and I traveling down I-5 on weekend getaways. We’d travel to different cities to stay in the best hotels and take pictures of the city lights. Anywhere with a forest made for a memorable hike. Before I met Rachel, I’d never gone hiking or seen the lake. I don’t mean just seeing a lake. I mean, really seeing the lake for all of its beauty and to breathe the fresh mountain air took me to a space and time that I’d never want to forget. 

I snapped back into my current state of being. 

“Hello?” Rachel snapped her fingers near my nose.

“Yeah?” I shook my head. “What? I’m fine. So, you were saying?”

“I haven’t been as honest as–“

“I knew it. You’re cheating.” I slammed my fists on my hips.

Rachel raised a brow. “That what you think?”

“I mean, what else could it be?”

Rachel folded her hands as if she were praying. “It’s my mom.”

“Would you just spit it out!” I said. “She die? Or What?”

Rachel lowered her chin. Oh, fuck. She’s dying of cancer, I thought.

“My mom is, well, she’s a bi as in bisexual.” Rachel folded her lips under her teeth and held her hands behind her neck as if to say; I’m okay if you want to leave me. “I mean, you are a Christian and shit. I mean, stuff.”

“Wait.” I held my hands in front of my body. “Say what you said only this time; say it slower.” I crinkled my eyes to see the words roll off her tongue.

“My. Mom. Is–“

“Don’t be condescending.” I folded my arms across my chest. 

Rachel rolled her eyes. “My mom is a lesbian as in gay.”

I threw my head back and cackled. “That’s what you’re worried about?”

“I’m glad you find this amusing.” Rachel’s narrow eyes turned to crinkled slits. 

“Oh, stop it.” I grabbed her shoulders. “I was laughing because that’s a stupid thing to keep from me.”

“You’re not mad?” Rachel raised a brow.

I wrapped my arms around her waist, pulling her closer. Our eyes locked with an eccentric static burning the passion throughout my bones. “Since we’re putting everything out on the table, I have something I need to say, well have needed to say for a while now.”

Rachel gave me a long warm kiss. “What is it, babe?”

“Who do I ask for your hand in marriage.” I nuzzled my nose against hers. 

“You just did,” Rachel said as tears spread her cheeks. 

“I guess I don’t understand.”

Rachel pulled her phone from her back pocket. “I wanted Mom to hear your genuine reaction. Please, don’t be upset. I just needed–“

I grabbed the phone from Rachel’s hand. “Ms. Adams?”

“Yes. The answer is yes.” Ms. Adams’s voice cracked.

“I’ll call you later, Mom.”

“I love you both,” Ms. Adams said before ending the call. 

Rachel embraced me again. “All of my previous boyfriends left me when they found out my mom was gay.”

“Forgive me if this is insensitive to–“

“Ask. Ask away,” Rachel said.

“If your mom is a lesbian, how did she have you?”

“Oh, that one is simple. A patron at the bar she worked at raped her after closing time.”

My mouth hung open, not closing. “Woah.” I paced the floor. “You’re the product of rape?”

“And before you go judging my mom for having her rapist’s baby, I’d heard everything you could possibly think of, and some you can’t I’d been called. I didn’t know about the rape 

“You’ve got nothing to worry about,” I said, raising her chin with my hand. “Look at me. You’ve got nothing to worry about.”

“I’ve got one more thing to say.” Rachel crinkled her eyes and gave me a neutral smile. 

“What is it?” I swallowed hard. 

“Are you going to wish a man would ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage?”

“Should I be lucky enough to have a daughter, of course.”

“Get ready to plan for that day.”

“Wait. Are you pregnant?” My chest tightened. 

Rachel shrugged. “Suprise.”

I swooped Rachel off of her feet and twirled until we fell on our backs. I asked through belabored breaths, “What should we name her? What should be the baby?”

“Hannah. I like the name, Hannah.”

“I choose Jane for her middle name.” I turned to Rachel. “That okay?”

“Hannah Jane Franklin. Sounds easy on the ears.” Rachel nodded. “Just might work.”

Inside I didn’t know how to reconcile my conservative beliefs with the beautiful woman I’d loved with all of my heart. I couldn’t love anyone any more than I loved Rachel. It was a war within my soul, but one that love would have the last say in. I’m staying, and she’s not leaving.

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