Only I was talking to jennyo and we were chattering about Desperate Housewives and suddenly a bunny leapt out of the bushes at me. And I finished my first fic in many months. Thanks to Jen for useful betaing.
Usual disclaimers - Marc Cherry owns them but he should let them do this sort of thing more often.
Love is a wild fire that sweeps down from the hills into our lives in ways we never dreamed of, leaving ashes where it has been. It is a flash flood that washes over those ashes. It is the green sprouts of something new that come from the mud where fire and flood have been.
Bree Van De Kamp was a perfect hostess; everyone knew that.
Even when she had a few of her girlfriends over for cards and coffee, the cards were a clean pack and the coffee freshly hand-ground and brewed in an elegant German system it hurt your eyes to look at.
She had spent days on a trip with her late husband Rex charming a café-owner in Milan for the recipe for the small brown biscotti that her friends variously nibbled, ignored or dunked.
Bree knew that being a good hostess was to provide people with the best, and not to comment on their manners. They were her friends, after all - not her children.
‘You remember Neenaa?’ Lynette said. ‘Who used to be my boss. She lost twenty pounds on vacation in Cancun and came into the office to show off her Ecuadorean personal trainer.’
Lynette smiled, wryly.
‘I used to feel guilty about her, but she’s looking so well on it that I don’t feel a thing any more.’
‘Oh, come on,’ said Edie, as she reached for another card. ‘You’re not that saint. You hated working for her; you’re glad she’s gone. And you think she’s making a fool of herself with some hunk who’ll leave the moment he has a green card.’
‘No, really,’ said Lynette. ‘ I wish her well.’
‘Not everyone is spiteful,’ Susan said. ‘Some of us can be glad for other people.’
Edie looked fiercely at her.
‘And who would that be?’ she asked. ‘Certainly no-one whose name begins with an S.
S is for Spiteful, after all.’
‘And E is for Enough,’ Susan snapped back. ‘ Which is what we’ve all had of you.’
Gabrielle smiled indulgently at them both.
‘Changing the subject’, she said, and Bree relaxed because someone else had taken charge and stopped a scene in its tracks.
‘Changing the subject,’ she went on. ‘I had a wedding invitation today. From New York.
‘People you used to work with’ Lynette asked.
‘Girls I used to work with,’ Gabrielle said with that particular naughty little child smile that normally only showed up when she needed money for a credit card bill. ‘Helier and Julienne’.
‘They’re both getting married?’ Susan said. ‘It’s a double wedding?’
‘Nooo,’ said Gabrielle. ‘Well, yes.’
She paused with a true gossip’s theatricality.
‘To each other,’ she said with finality.
Bree looked slightly pained.
‘That’s not a real marriage,’ she said.
‘Oh, lighten up,’ Lynette said. ‘I think that’s fabulous news. So, Gabi, what does the well-dressed woman wear to a Sapphic shindig?’
‘I really don’t know,’ Gabrielle said. ‘I mean, it’s a huge problem. You don’t want to look too good, because some girl might suddenly come on to you. But it’s Helier and Julienne. Who were always, just, the biggest bitches. So I can’t go in just anything. Or they’ll laugh at me and go ‘Hausfrau’. And then they’ll go ‘Straight Hausfrau’.
‘Were they always like that?, ‘ Susan said.
‘You were sharing changing rooms with them,’ said Edie. ‘You must have known.’
‘No,’ Gabrielle said. ‘That’s the thing. I had no idea. I always thought they hated each other. They were always fighting and always stealing each other’s men.’
‘Obviously,’ Edie said. ‘They were putting up a front for you. That you didn’t see through. You didn’t know them as well as you thought.’
‘I did so know them,’ Gabrielle said. ‘And they fought all the time, and they said horrible things to each other. They were like, I don’t know, like you and Susan.’
And suddenly there was one of those terrible pauses in the room. One that did not break even when Bree pointedly poured everyone another coffee.
Then Lynette giggled.
‘Well,’ she said, ‘always sleeping with each other’s men. That’s a giveaway.’
‘No it isn’t,’ said Susan and Edie at the same time. And caught each other doing it and caught each other’s eye and looked away.
Gabrielle giggled, too.
‘You two,’ she said. ‘You’d be so cute together.’
‘No, we wouldn’t,’ Susan stuttered in a sudden wave of embarrassed fury. ‘I absolutely hate her. And I’m not like that.’
Edie said,’ Well, I’m not like that, but I bet Susan is. It would explain so much. About why she can’t keep her men. It’s because she really doesn’t want to.’
‘Oh please,’ said Susan. ‘At least I don’t jump the bones of any man who walks past my house. Covering up and overdoing it.’
‘I’ll bet,' Edie said, ‘that if I kissed you hard on the lips right now, you wouldn’t be able to contain yourself. You’d just collapse on the spot into a big heap of lesbian jello.’
‘I dare you,’ Susan said. ‘I double dare you. Then we’ll see who can control themselves.’
Edie picked up a cup and aimed it at Susan’s head.
‘Not the Spode,’ Bree said.
Suddenly, and very deliberately, Edie put the cup down again, walked round the table and seized Susan by the waist. Equally suddenly Susan grabbed her by the ponytail and pulled her mouth down against hers, bruising their lips together. Edie narrowed her eyes still further and started to stroke the side of Susan’s left breast with her free hand. Susan shuddered, then fixed her jaw in determination for a second before moving her mouth to the point on Edie’s neck just below her right ear.
Then it was Edie’s turn to shudder,
‘Funny,’ Susan said in a triumphant little voice ‘both Mike and Carl said that was one of your spots.’
Edie moved her hand forcefully to Susan’s left nipple, suddenly visible under her tight green tank top..
‘And they both told me that was yours,’ she said.
‘Well,’ said Susan looking up at her, ‘I guess you know they weren’t wrong.’
And Edie looked down at her and suddenly her eyes weren’t narrow at all.
‘I’ll help you clean up, Bree,’ said Lynette. ‘In the kitchen.’
‘I’ll help,’ Gabrielle said. ‘There are plenty of plates to carry.’
‘Yes,’ Bree said in a flat dazed voice. ‘ Plates. Kitchen’
She really was not coping at all well. Lynette and Gabrielle steered her from the room, tactfully, and then Edie and Susan were alone. Or rather, neither of them was anymore.
Love. We don’t know where it comes from or who it will be for. It’s love, a sudden madness. Moralists may condemn it, but who knows what they will feel when someone presses the right button.
And that night, Susan and Edie found that they both had a number of buttons to press.