Hello, gentle reader. Just as a warning, this story has some brief sexual descriptions and some minor bad language. It also has (duh) homosexual content between two females, although the story centers on the mother of one of the aformentioned females. The characters... blah blah blah... no real resemblance... yadda yadda... to anyone living or dead... Anywho! Yeah, this is NOT about my life at all. I could only wish my mother would deal with things half as well.

Oh, and this is part of the Rainbow Book series of short stories.


Acceptance

Jennifer deliberately avoided Pamela's eyes as the PTA president drawled through his speech, shifting uncomfortably in her seat and trying to find something else to look at without being obvious. She stared at the table for a while, and then her hands, and then Grace at the other end of the table, but she was drawn back to Pam.

Her jaw tightened as she watched her former friend tap her red fingernails lightly on the tabletop, her face turned attentively towards the speaker, her perfect perm settling gracefully around her cheeks. Jennifer and Pam hadn't spoken for weeks. Neither of them knew what to say to each other. The situation was, by all means, awkward.

Jennifer leaned back in her chair, half closing her eyes and trying to close her ears. Before, PTA had been so important to her. So had Healthy Homes, ActiveNow! Mothers meetings, and all of the other organizations that busy housewives were expected to attend if they wanted to be considered 'good parents'. For the first time in her life, Jennifer felt sick of it.

She thought about Jackie, and made a mental note to herself to pick up a pizza on the way home. She had left Jackie alone again that night, which probably wasn't a good idea considering what had happened last time... she'd been at Luke's soccer game, driven them home, opened her daughter's bedroom door to kiss her goodnight...

"Jennifer?" a voice next to her ear said. She jumped out of her seat, her heart pounding, and relaxed when she realized that the meeting had ended.

"Oh. Hi, Pam," she said awkwardly, clutching at her purse strap and trying to collect herself. "Er... how are… things?"

"Things are fine," Pam said coldly. Jennifer frowned. She wasn't in the mood for Pam's bitching. She had actually been expecting some embarrassed sympathy. Maybe an invite for coffee so they could talk things over. "Perfect."

"They weren't perfect when I last checked," Jennifer snapped, shoving her arms through her coat sleeves and folding them across her chest.

"None of this is my problem," Pam said, "it's your problem. You have to keep your daughte-"

"This whole situation is MY daughter's fault?"

"If it wasn't for you child's influence, Rachel would be perfectly fine. She's got all these crazy ideas in her head about being a… being a…"

"Being a what? You can't even say it, can you? I thought we were in this together. I thought we could talk to them and work something out. I guess I was wrong."

"Your daughter has brainwashed Rachel and forced her into... into..."

A well-placed glare on Jennifer's part made Pam close her mouth. "Forced her?" She leaned forward and lowered her voice, spitting out her words through gritted teeth, "if I remember correctly, I walked in on YOUR daughter shoving MY daughter's face into her cunt, so don't you dare fucking tell me that YOUR daughter is completely innocent."

"There's no need to swear," Pamela said, her lips trembling. "And your daughter's influence has..."

"Shut. Up. I am not pleased with Jackie's and Rachel's behavior either, but I won't allow you to go around talking about my baby that way."

"It's my opinion that your daughter needs serious psychiatric help..."

Jennifer tightened her grip on her purse. "It's my opinion that you need to take the stick out of your ass and leave my daughter alone." She turned around and stomped towards the door, unable to talk to Pam anymore.

"This is entirely your fault!" Pam yelled after her. Jennifer refused to turn around and yell back. She knew that if she kept taking, she'd keep swearing. She lectured Jackie about it constantly, and Jennifer didn't want to be a hypocrite. She didn't regret her words to Pam- there are some things that just need to be said- but she didn't feel the need to make things worse.

Jennifer hurried across the parking lot to her car, her boots scraping through the gray slush that had been churned up by hundreds of dirty tires during the day. She felt hot all over even though it was at least twenty degrees out, not adding windchill. The nerve of that woman. She had practically accused Jackie of rape.

Before, Jennifer had been traumatized by her daughter's secret. Then, she'd been angry. Then, she had been numb. Now, she was angry again, but not at Jackie. She was angry at herself, angry at the world, and especially angry at Pamela Berlinsky. God. Some of the things she'd said to Jackie that night sounded just like things Pam would say.

Jennifer's thumbnail fumbled over the button on her keys, and the car stubbornly refused to unlock for several seconds. When it finally cooperated, she pulled the front door open and climbed into the driver's seat, tapping her boots against the side of the car before she closed the door to knock off the worst of the snow.

She tossed her purse on the floor next to her feet and backed out of her parking space, clutching the steering wheel so tightly that the blood drained from her knuckles. The two minute drive to her house seemed to stretch on for hours, and she felt like a wound up jack-in-the-box by the time she pulled into the driveway.

Careful to make a great deal of noise, just in case, Jennifer deposited her purse and keys on the kitchen table and started brewing coffee, even though she didn't want any. Anything to postpone the inevitable trip up the stairs to Jackie's room.

The memory of that night three weeks ago flooded to the front of her mind. She remembered the heavy smell of sex washing over her face as she opened the door; Rachel's small, pink mouth, the lipgloss not completely kissed away, falling open in a scream as she threw her head back in enraptured bliss, her eyes glazing over as she curled her fingers through the thick, tangled brown locks of Jackie's hair and pulled her lover's face more tightly against her.

It had taken her fifteen seconds to notice Jennifer standing there in her confused state of lust, and when she did, she immediately crossed her arms over her small breasts and screamed, diving under Jackie's covers as fast as she could. Once Jackie had figured out what was going on, she'd followed Rachel's example. "Mom! Oh my God, oh my God…"

"Oh my God," Jennifer said to herself, remembering.

"What?" said a voice behind her. Jennifer turned around. Her daughter was standing there, one hand extended.

"Nothing," Jennifer said, lowering her eyes.

"Are you sure you're okay?" Jackie asked, leaning back against the counter, a worried expression on her face. "You have tear streaks on your face."

Jennifer reached up and touched her cheeks, staring down at her damp fingertips in disbelief. She hadn't even realized that she'd been crying. She turned her back on Jackie and hurried over to the sink, grabbing a paper towel and wiping her half-dried tears away. Then, she turned back to her daughter. "I'm sorry you had to see me like this," said Jennifer, keeping her voice low to keep Luke from hearing her upstairs. "I had a... an intense conversation with someone at PTA."

"Was it Rachel's mom?"

Jennifer nodded once, crumpling the paper towel in her hand and setting it onto the counter. The muscles at the corners of her mouth twitched once, as if she wanted to frown, but she managed to keep her lips straight by pressing them together. Then, impulsively, she opened her arms, and Jackie ran into them, burying her face in her mother's sweater. They hugged each other for a long time.

"Jackie, I'm still having trouble accepting you, but... I want you to know that I'm trying really hard, okay? And I'm sorry if... I'm sorry if any of the things I said before were hateful. I love you very much, and nothing could ever change that. You know that, right?"

"I know. I love you, too, Mom," Jackie said, her voice muffled by the fabric of the sweater. Her throat felt scratchy and swollen from holding back tears, but she knew that she didn't need to say anything else. That was all her mother needed to hear from her.

Finally, Jennifer let Jackie wriggle out of her arms, and they smiled genuinely at each other for the first time in weeks. "Do you want to know something else?" Jennifer asked, grinning at Jackie conspiratorially.

"What, Mom?"

"You're right. Pam is a bitch."

Jackie burst out laughing. "Ohmigawd, you swore! I'm telling Luke!"

"Oh, you wouldn't dare. I've already done enough swearing for one evening, so don't expect me to start doing it on a regular basis."

"Oh God, did you swear at Rachel's Mom, too?"

"Yes," Jennifer said proudly. "And I enjoyed it."

Jackie covered her mouth with her hand to try and muffle her giggles. "I can imagine her face! Did she do that thing where her lips go all shaky and she tries to look self-righteous?"

"She did."

"Oh!" Jackie howled, still trying to stifle her fit of giggles.

"By the way... I want you to know that Rachel can come here. But please... try to lock the door next time." Jackie's cheeks burned a deep shade of crimson. "Or better yet, spend time at her house."

"Oh, her mother would love that," Jackie said, torn between embarrassment and genuine amusement. Then, her smile vanished. "I really love her, Mom."

"I know you do," Jennifer said faintly. Then, she shook herself and changed the subject. "It's past eleven. Get in bed, you," Jennifer ordered, pointing upstairs. She knew it was pointless to try and send her seventeen year old to bed when there was a computer in her room, but she did it anyway for appearance's sake.

"Fi-ine," Jackie said, clomping over to the stairs and hurrying up to her room.

Quietly, Jennifer left the kitchen with her cup of coffee and slipped into her husband's office, settling herself into his heavily-cushioned leather chair. She opened up a window on the browser, and Google's main page flashed up in front of her. She moved her mouse to the search input box, and typed: "Homosexuality", "Info for Parents".