I turned to her. “What do you think about what your father just said?”
“That those women are going to hell for loving each other.”
“I don’t know, Sevin. There’s a part of me that feels like it’s wrong…you know, two women together. It’s not what God intended. At the same time, I feel real badly for them and what they’re going through.”
That wasn’t the answer I was hoping for out of her, and it only made me angrier. I’d had enough of this night. Needing to be alone, I got up from the table.
“Thank you again for today. I’m kind of tired. I’m gonna head over to the house.”
“Can I walk you?”
“No. It’s okay.”
Stepping outside was a welcome escape. Smoke mixed with the cool night air; a neighbor must have been burning firewood. My heart felt heavy, and I couldn’t even pinpoint the exact reason why anymore. I just wanted to get under my covers and shut off the world.
On my way to the guesthouse, I noticed a light coming from the small red barn on the property. Either that meant someone had accidentally left it on, or someone was in there. I needed to know if it was her.
She was huddled in a corner sitting on a mound of hay when I found her.
“Hey,” I said.
She jumped and covered her chest with her hand. “You scared me,” she said, sniffling.
“I’m sorry. I saw a light on and thought I’d come check on things.”
“You shouldn’t be here.”
“I know.” Instead of leaving, I walked toward her and sat down on the pile next to her. After several seconds of silence, I said, “You’re right, you know.”
“Your friends…they don’t deserve what people are doing to them, keeping them apart. That’s the real sin, and I truly believe those asshole family members are the ones going to hell.”
She rolled her eyes. “Don’t let my father hear you say that.”
“Well, he almost did. I almost lost it. I should have said something.”
“Don’t. It’s not worth it. He’s too far set in his ways. It would be a waste of effort. I love my father, but I’ve just had to learn to agree to disagree.”
“My brother is gay.”
I’d blurted it out. It was the first time I’d ever admitted it aloud.
“Yep. No one knows, and I’m not sure he even realizes it himself a hundred percent.” I chuckled. “But seriously, the attitude that people like Lance and my stepmother have makes me scared shitless for Luke and what the future holds.”
“It must be such a horrible feeling to have to hide who you really are.”
Lying further back onto the hay, I said, “I feel like I can relate to that myself a little lately.”
“You mean here…with Elle?”
“Sometimes, yeah. I’m not perfect, and I really want this…my being here…to work out, but there are times when I feel like I can’t be myself. But that’s sort of how it’s always been for me.”
“You mean you can’t show your inner pervert.”
My stomach dropped.
She must have noticed the look on my face when she said, “Sevin, I’m just kidding. You confided in me about those drawings. It was just a bad joke. I don’t think you’re a pervert at all.”
Throwing some hay in her direction, I said, “You’re a little wiseass.”
Her cheeks turned rosy. “Speaking of perverts…poor Imogene.”
“Oh my God, Evangeline. That night…the two of us were the only ones losing it.”
“You went to the bathroom to laugh, didn’t you?”
“Yeah! I literally thought I was going to die from laughter. I don’t think I’ve laughed that fucking hard in my life.”
“I knew that’s why you got up!” We both started to crack up, and when it faded, she said, “I’m sorry I missed your birthday.”
“It’s still my birthday.” I smiled. “Anyway, you didn’t miss anything. I’ve been in a real funk today.”
“It’s a long story.”
“I have time,” she said.
I threw some more hay at her in jest. “You just stole my line from the day we met.” I hesitated. A part of me really wanted to tell her what was bothering me, but I didn’t want to take away from her own problems. Instead, I changed the subject. “Do you come in here a lot to think?”
“Sometimes. How did you know I was in here anyway?”
“Like I said, I could see the light. Process of elimination.”
“I would shut the lights off, but I’m deathly afraid of the dark.”
“Yes. For some reason, it doesn’t bother me so much being outside in the dark, but being in a pitch dark room makes me panic.”
“That’s a sucky feeling, but I’m the opposite. I like to sleep in total darkness.”
“You’re lucky you’re marrying Elle and not me. We’d never be able to sleep in the same room.”
“Yeah. Guess not, right?” There was a long silence before I looked over at her and asked, “Why not you?”
“If you’re the older daughter, why did Lance want to marry Elle off first?”