Secrets and Things Not Well Hidden
~ Chapter 3: Amy ~
Serena stood at the door to Amy’s home and rang the bell for a second time. The windows were dark, and Serena was just about certain no one was home. Yet it was always better to be optimistic, and following that philosophy, she rang the bell a third time.
At the third ring, a light came on in one of the downstairs windows. A second later, Serena heard footsteps, then the door opened.
“Serena? What are you doing here?” asked Amy, her accent slightly thicker than normal.
For a moment Serena just stared at her friend, not able to answer. And it had nothing to do with the subject she wanted to discuss. There stood Amy, hair lightly tousled, wearing sweat pants and a t-shirt that came half way to her knees.
She’s slumming it, thought Serena. In all the time I’ve known her, I’ve never seen her just bum a night away.
Finally, Serena asked, “Can I talk to you about something? Please.”
Amy hesitated for just a fraction of a second before moving aside and gesturing Serena inside. “Come into the living room. We can talk in there.”
Both girls settled on the couch. Just to give her hands something to do, Serena pulled one of the small floral pillows into her lap.
“How’s everything, Amy?” asked Serena, looking around nervously. “Where’s your mom?”
“Mom’s on shift until .” Amy grinned shyly and gestured at the bowl of popcorn and empty water bottles on the coffee table. “And everything’s fine. I just fell asleep watching TV. I’m glad I remembered to set the VCR.”
Serena nodded absently.
“So, you wanted to talk about something?” prompted Amy after several seconds of silence.
“Oh, uh, yes.” Serena fidgeted for a moment, her hand going into her pocket. She took a deep breath, and then said quickly, “It’s about Amara and Michelle.”
Amy tensed instantly. Serena, however, was too occupied with pulling a piece of paper out of her pocket and smoothing it out on the coffee table to notice her friend’s reaction.
Amy looked down at the magazine page Serena had laid out in front of her. For several seconds she just stared at the picture. Then she slowly picked up the paper, folded it very neatly into a little square, and let it fall into the waste basket next to the couch.
Serena stared at her, dumbstruck. “Amy?”
“Who else have you told?” asked Amy, her demeanor icy calm and her accent now so thick Serena was having a hard time understanding her.
“No one, but I…”
“It’s none of our business, Serena.”
“No,” Amy cut her off with a gesture. “This isn’t any of our business. They’ve already said they want us to stay out of their way.”
“This doesn’t have anything to do with being Scouts.” Serena leaned forward to reach for the basket Amy had tossed the page into.
A firm hand on her arm stopped Serena halfway. She looked up into Amy’s frowning face.
“Are you so sure of that?” asked Amy.
Serena sat back up.
Amy sighed and her face softened just a bit. “We all have secrets. Things about ourselves that we don’t want other people to know. Whatever the reason for keeping those secrets, most of the time it’s best to just not question them and leave them be.”
Serena was about to offer another protest, but Amy put up a hand stopping her. “It’s just like what we do with Lita,” she said quietly. “Whenever she says her mom won’t let her do something or her dad wants her home by a certain time we just go along with it. Why?”
“Because we decided it would hurt her too much to ask about it when we know her parents are dead.”
“Right. It’s just one of those things that we leave alone and don’t question.”
Serena nodded as if she understood what her friend was saying to her. Then she froze. Judging by the look on Serena’s face, Amy thought she knew what was coming next and was already nodding an affirmative before Serena finished asking the question.
“Yes, I knew,” answered Amy. “The way they are with each other, especially when they think no one is looking. Discretion isn’t their strong suit.” She looked down at the hands she had tightly folded in her lap. A slight blush colored her cheeks as she went on. “It’s hard to hide it sometimes, when you love someone that way. And under the circumstances, they really don’t have any choice but to keep it a secret.”
Amy watched as Serena sat there with a frown on her face. The blonde’s eyes were just slightly unfocused and her lips were moving minutely. Amy could practically hear the gears turning in Serena’s brain as the girl tried to puzzle out all the information, or in this case the lack of, that she had been presented with. Amy reached over and placed a hand on Serena’s. The blonde focused back on the girl next to her.
“I’m sorry, Serena, that I’m not telling you what you want to hear,” said Amy gently. “I hate not being able to give you answers, but this time I just can’t.”
Serena smiled at her friend and took Amy’s hand in both of hers. “It’s okay, Amy. I don’t completely understand, but it’s okay.”
“Good,” said Amy. She stood, and Serena understood that this visit was over.
Amy walked Serena to the door. “Remember, Serena. Don’t tell anyone. We’ve got bigger things to worry about now than what two people we barely know do behind closed doors.”
Amy walked back into the living room and fell boneless onto the couch. She leaned her head back to stare at the ceiling and blew the bangs out of her eyes. That had been a close call, and after the conversation with Serena she wished she had just ignored the doorbell altogether. There were just some things people didn’t need to know.
“She’s gone. You can come out now,” yelled Amy.
“I would, but someone took my shirt,” said Lita as she came down the stairs. She leaned against the banister, dressed in a bra and jeans, her hair loose and curling softly down and around her shoulders.
“Sorry,” answered Amy with a smile.
“No, you’re not.” Lita moved further into the room and sat on the couch next to Amy.
“You look better without it, anyway.” Amy rested her head against the taller girl’s shoulder.
Lita took Amy’s chin in her fingers and tilted the girl’s head so they were eye to eye. “So do you,” she said softly, then brushed her lips against Amy’s.
When they parted, Lita asked, “What did Serena want?”
“Nothing important,” answered Amy, not quite able to meet Lita’s eyes. “She just needed a few things clarified. You know how she is sometimes.”
“Uh huh.” Lita had noticed the heavier accent Amy was using. She knew that usually happened because Amy was nervous or upset.
“Hey, Love, you know what?” said Lita to the girl in her arms.
“I think you’ve forgotten what country you’re in again. Come on.” Lita took Amy’s hands and pulled her up off the couch and towards the stairs. “We’ll go upstairs and you can say ‘bloody hell’ a few times. Then we’ll pull out that list of Americanisms Mina made up for you.”
Lita laughed as Amy cringed. That stupid list full of stupid words and phrases had been a gift from Mina. ‘From one Brit (Part-time) to another (Retired),’ it said. Mina’s heart had been in the right place when it was given, but Lita just couldn’t imagine prim and proper Amy using words like ‘freaked,’ ‘wicked,’ or ‘psyched.’
Lita grinned as she thought that maybe tonight she could get little miss perfect to say ‘get bent.’