So Many Ways is a collection of short stories about women loving women.
Author note: This story was produced for a charity anthology To Love and To Cherish specifically put together by a group of authors (we called ourselves “Sapphic Planet”) who wanted to raise money for Marriage Equality USA, because at the time (2010) marriage equality was not yet a done deal. I wanted to showcase, with my story, that “traditional” marriage things, like asking for family blessing, and “quizzing” your child’s intended, show that same-sex marriage would be absolutely no different than heterosexual marriage. And I feel that it should all just be called marriage.
Story setup: Reuniting with her girlfriend, police officer Kennedy McMasters pops the question.
Traditional Values excerpt
“Listen. We can go out on the boat for the whole weekend.”
“A whole weekend?”
“Four days. You, me, and the open Gulf.”
“What about –?” Kennedy laid her fingers across Jean’s lips.
“What good’s my promotion if I can’t take time off to be with my family?”
That brought the forgiving tears. “Family?” Jean choked softly.
“Well? Wanna be a McMasters?”
“Canada’s legalized marriage. Or if you’d rather, Massachusetts is closer.”
“Well, we don’t have to go up to the frozen north today, but…” Kennedy smiled. “Dad’ll want to come along anyway.”
“You’ve talked to your father about this?”
Kennedy understood some of Jean’s surprise. Michael McMasters, Kennedy’s father, was a retired Ocean Cove cop himself, second generation Irish-American and devout Roman Catholic. Such a profile, as the department psychologist would say, practically dictated the personality of a man who would be in total, even vocal opposition to such a liberal, and queer, idea.
But it had only taken Kennedy being shot, nearly fatally, six months ago, and Jean’s daily vigil at her hospital bedside for Michael McMasters to consider “something different,” as he had told her, his eldest daughter, over beers at O’Brien’s Tavern.
“That gal deserves til death do you part, like your mama and me,” he said.
Kennedy had not shared that conversation with Jean, treasuring something even more personal in that one conversation with her father. When he accepted Jean’s love for her, he also had conveyed an acceptance of Kennedy’s true self.
“I think you’ll be beautiful in white,” Kennedy interrupted her own ruminations with a gentle smile, and tug on a lock of Jean’s golden hair wrapped around the fingers of her right hand.
“Will you wear your dress uniform?”
“You really want a reminder that I’m a cop?”
“It’s who you are, and who I fell in love with.”
Author PS – I wanted to leave this one with a different after-note.
I have 4 copies of the print edition of To Love and To Cherish remaining here at home (this book is out of print). I was both an author and an editor. For $10 — I will autograph a copy and mail it to you. I’ll donate 50% of the sales ($5 each book) to Human Rights Campaign which is still working on equality issues, because the law didn’t change some people’s minds and legal challenges need money to keep going. If you’re interested, drop me a note using the contact links and I’ll get back to you ASAP to make the arrangements.~ Lara
Other authors who contributed to To Love and To Cherish include Beth Wylde, Adriana Kraft, Kissa Starling, Moondancer Drake, Jean Roberta, Jolene Hui and many more.