The clothes Erika wore to visit Dina’s family was less bold than the date. It was a jeans pants and a black blouse with long sleeves that Dina bought that week in preparation. Dina herself wore a dark blue mini dress with a pleated bottom that she hadn't used in ages. It was a present from her mother, so she thought it would be appropriate.
Before they even went out of the house, Dina made Erika sit on the couch and stood in front of her with her hands on her waist. Erika just sent a curious look her way.
“Look here,” Dina said. “And please, don't forget it. We might kiss, but that doesn't mean we're lovers yet.”
Erika inclined her head.
“That's confusing. When will I know we elevated our relationship to such status? Is it sex after all?”
“No. Look, this is not a thing that just happens, it's a thing we decide. When we both decide to become lovers, we are lovers.”
“Is it that easy?”
“Yes,” Dina nodded, confirming.
“So why don't we just decide it right now? It would simplify things.”
“No, you see…” Dina avoided her eyes. “I still need some time to…” and said in a small voice that Erika almost couldn't hear: “it's scary…”
“Scary?” Erika asked, tilting her head.
“Ah, don't worry about that now. If we keep talking about it, we'll be late. Just remember, please, we're not lovers yet.”
“Understood!” Erika nodded with a little too much vigor.
“Also, please, say nothing about we kissing or sleeping together.”
“Okay…” Erika reflected in silence until she asked: “Can I say we live together, then?”
“That should be fine. I'll introduce you as my roommate. Oh, but nothing about the alien stuff. That's the most important.”
“Don't worry. I have a better understanding of the taboos in your society now. You live in fear that we, as extraterrestrial life, will try to conquer your planet. Even though your planet has nothing worth fighting for.”
“Not sure I like that, but okay, you understand it.”
That settled, Dina and Erika left their apartment, heading to her mother's house. It was the same city, so they wouldn’t take much time to get there. Dina had sent a message already saying she was visiting and bringing someone with her.
They arrived at a humble little house in the most retired part of the city. Dina was holding Erika's hand the whole way but instinctively let it go as they saw her old house. She opened the gate and knocked on the door, with Erika waiting behind her. The door opened and a middle-aged woman with brown skin darker than Dina and long hairs showed up from behind it. A little girl and a man peaked from inside.
“Oh, my darling!” The woman said and hugged Dina. “I missed you.”
“I… I was here just last month, mom,” Dina said, gently escaping from her mother's embrace. “Also, happy birthday.”
Dina’s mother looked at Erika waiting behind and gave her a smile.
“Oh, so you’re the friend Dina said was coming? What a beautiful lady.”
“Yes. My name is Erika,” she said, giving a big smile. “I’m not Dina’s lover yet!”
Erika was playing with the little girl in the living room. She turned out to be Dina’s niece. The man, father of the little girl, was Dina’s brother. Dina and her mother were talking at the kitchen. She was still embarrassed and nervous after Erika’s disastrous introduction.
“She looks like an... interesting girl,” Dina’s mother said while preparing the food. Dina said she would do it herself, but her mother was insistent on that being her job.
“Ha...haha,” Dina laughed nervously. “Yeah...hum...about that…”
Before she could even say anything, her mother interrupted her thoughts.
“Dina, remember your uncle Finn?”
“Ah, yeah…” Dina said to the abrupt question.
“I never told this to anyone, in respect to him, but now, I think I should. You see, your uncle…”
She stopped, letting go of what she was doing at that moment to focus on her daughter.
“So yeah, this was before you were even born. In our hometown, a story started to spread about how your uncle was seen kissing another man. That was way more controversial on those days, and of course, he hadn’t told us anything himself. Still, those stories arrived at your grandpa’s ears, and as you can expect, he was not happy with it. One night he called us all, told us what was happening and wanted to hear from your uncle if that was true. Your uncle wasn’t a liar, so he told the truth. That made your grandpa mad. He said that if your uncle would keep doing that, he didn’t have a place in that house. He said he would be better dead.”
Dina’s mother stopped her story to think. A bitter smile crossed her face.
“I was just a girl, like, thirteen, I think? But he was my brother, and I didn’t want him to die, so I started to cry and yelled at your grandpa that I didn’t want that. Well, your uncle Finn did get out of home, and I’m not sure what happened with his love life, as he was never open about it. You know he lives alone now. One thing he said me years later is that he really thought about taking his life that same day. He said my crying stopped him.”
Dina’s mother looked at her daughter and gave a gentle smile.
“So, darling, if that girl is your girlfriend... or something, you can tell me. I wouldn’t do like my father.”
“She…” Dina said, avoiding facing her mother. “What she said is the truth. She’s not my lover... yet. Maybe something similar, though.”
“And you want it to become something more?”
“And what’s stopping you?”
Dina turned to face the living room. Erika was being shown all the dolls the little girl had with a perplexed face. Dina heard her asking: “Are these alive?”.
“I’m afraid, I guess,” Dina said, finally.
“Because she’s a woman?”
“Not really. I mean, sure, there’s that. But, huh…”
Dina wanted to find the words. She couldn’t just say: “because she’s from another planet”. It was good that her mother was tolerant, but an interspecies relationship could be too much.
“She’s a little...different,” she said, finally. “And I’m not sure what my feelings mean for her.”
“Well, she looks like a good girl to me,” Dina’s mother said, looking at the living room. “A little peculiar, but a good girl. Just wanted you to know I would welcome her if you wish.”
That day, they had lunch together. Dina’s niece didn’t leave Erika’s side the whole day. During lunch, Erika and Dina’s mother traded some words. Most of it was the woman interest in who was her daughter’s roommate. When it finally came time to go home, they gave their goodbyes. Dina’s niece was crying and didn’t want to let go of Erika’s hands.
“You don’t need to cry, she’ll be back, right?”, Dina’s mother said, looking at Erika, who just nodded with a smile. The woman then hugged her, whispering in her ear: “Take care of my daughter.”
Dina protested, but Erika didn’t understand well what was going on.
When they were walking home, with Dina not letting go of Erika’s hand, the alien girl said:
“So that’s family?”
“So they’re people whom you can’t lose, and they can’t lose you…”
Dina looked at Erika’s face. She was making a serious expression as if worrying about something.
“Is there something wrong?” she asked.
“No, it’s just… I was thinking… Hum…”
She went silent. Dina squeezed her hand.
“You know, you can think of them as your family, too, if you want.”
“What?” Erika looked confused. “I’m not the offspring of any of them, though.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Dina said, smiling. “That’s not what family is. In fact, if you want my love, you’ll end up becoming family with them.”
“Is that so? But then…”
“Huh?” Dina looked right into Erika’s eyes.
“It’s nothing,” she said, shaking her head. “It’s nothing, really.”
During that week, Erika seemed to go deep into thought at times. But otherwise, they spent it as always. As Dina had asked, they did go back to kissing. At first, only during the nights before sleeping. But as the days passed, they started doing it during the day, when Dina went to work or at night when she got home. Erika’s reaction didn’t change much, but for Dina, those become important moments.
In a Saturday, Dina was looking at Erika cooking. The woman insisted on making lunch that day with all her “meticulous researches about your not-that-health food”. Dina was excited for tasting what her partner would make. Even Erika’s movements in the kitchen were enough to charm her. Dina realized, she was probably falling in love. Or maybe it was too late, already.
As Dina finished her plate, and she had to admit, Erika did understand the appeal of their food, Erika asked:
“How was it?”
“Good… I guess…”
“Did your heart skipped a beat as you felt the love I put in it, as it was supposed to go? I wasn’t sure how to put love in it, so I just thought about you while making it. I’m not sure that’s how it’s supposed to go…”
Dina’s eyes fell to the empty plate, still colored by the remaining of which was inside. Her eyes didn’t turn to Erika, as she asked:
“But did you feel it?”
“Huh?” Erika inclined her head smiling. “I’m not sure I…”
“You can’t give love if you don’t feel it...”
Erika’s face still looked clueless, as she put her fingers on her lips and seemed to fall into deep thought. Dina just waved her hands, saying Erika to forget. During the rest of the day, the two women hardly spoke with each other.
It was during the night when Erika was washing the plates that Dina couldn’t hold it anymore. She grabbed Erika and turned her body to face her.
“W-what?” Erika asked.
Without saying anything, Dina pushed Erika against the cabinet behind her. Holding a grip on her waist, Dina locked her lips with Erika. She used her tongue for the first time, as their kisses at night were purer. As she finished, she looked at Erika’s face, but the other woman looked yet more confused.
“I… I don’t get it,” she said.
Dina took a step back and put her hand on her face, hiding her expression.
“I can’t do this anymore…” she let her voice out.
“What do you mean?”
“You don’t get it. You won’t ever get it. I’m sorry, but can we stop that. I’m not sure I can keep doing this?”
As Erika’s face still looked confused, Dina burst out:
“I’m falling in love with you, okay?!”
At first, Erika’s face illuminated itself. Then she realized the pained expression Dina was making. Her smile disappeared as she gave one step forward.
“I’m sorry…” Dina said again. “I am falling in love with you, but I think it’s useless. You don’t understand it, and probably never will. If I keep doing this, I’ll just end up hurt, so please, let’s stop?”
Erika realized there were tears on Dina’s face. She opened her mouth twice, without any words coming out of it. She finally placed her finger on her lips, as she thought about it.
“I see,” she let it out, after some thought. “So I failed.”
“Don’t worry,” she said with a pained smile. “It’s a shame, but I failed. I’m embarrassed and feel awful, but at least I know I did all I could. In fact, I could learn something from all this. I’ll reflect on this whole experience once I get back.”
As she said that, Erika walked to the door. Dina jumped to stop her but failed to grab her hand.
“Wait, you don’t need to go now. It’s dark outside…”
“Don’t worry, I can take care of myself,” she said, putting her hand on the knob. “If me staying here just hurt you, I would rather go…”
She stopped there, with her hand on the knob, but the door didn’t open.
“Huh? What?” Erika said, looking confused. As Dina walked to look at her, she realized Erika was crying.
“Erika… I’m sorry. That’s about your mission, right?” she said, trying to make a more understanding voice, but Erika shook her head.
“No… It’s not that. I accepted it already, so I… Huh? I don’t get it…”
She took her hand from the knob and touched her face. She looked at her fingers humid with her tears in confusion.“I… I… Don’t want to go… Why? When I think about getting away… No, it’s not that… When I think about not being able to see you… What? I don’t get it…”
She put both her hands on her face and started to cry. Dina approached her.
“Ah… I’m such an idiot…” Dina said and hugged Erika from behind. “Please, you don’t need to go. I’m sorry…”
“I don’t get it,” Erika said, making a perplexed face wet with her tears.
“If you cry just with the thought of being separated, you already know what love is. I’m stupid, stupid! I wanted proof, but I don’t need it. You can’t say you love me because you don’t understand it.”
“I’m in...love?” Erika turned her body in a flash to face Dina and held her shoulders. “I love you?” Then a bright smile transformed her sad face. “I’m in love with you…”
Dina couldn’t hold a laugh, seeing Erika’s reaction. She put her hand on her partner’s face and kissed her lips.
“You are… and you know, I love you, too. Now, come on, let’s wash your face.”
Dina was nervous as she sat beside Erika in their bed. That’s because, after Erika washed her face, they had the following conversation:
“You know, that might be a little too fast, but I was thinking, and, huh… If you want to do it…”
“You mean sex!?”
“Y-Yeah… Don’t be that excited, please.”
“I want to do it, of course! Ah, but I don’t know how. That might be a problem…”
“Don’t worry. I can teach you.”
But when came the time, Dina was having a hard time to take initiative. Erika was looking at her with anticipation in her eyes.
“So, when will we start? Should I take my clothes off?” As Erika said, she started to pull her top, but Dina stopped her.
“Huh? We’ll do it while wearing our clothes?”
“No...Just...Well, I’ll take your clothes when it’s time.”
“When?” Erika had a smile all the time while Dina had just a nervous expression.
“Wait a minute. I just...huh...never did it with a woman. And, uh, you’re just...Huh…”
Dina looked at Erika’s developed body through her clothes. She avoided her eyes, deciding that wouldn’t help her situation.
“You can do with my body as you want, Dina…”
“Ahhhh! That’s not helping at all!” Dina slapped her face with both her hands. “Okay, first, lie on the bed!”
“Okay!” Erika said and obeyed Dina.
Dina got above Erika and slowly started to kiss her on the lips and the neck. Erika’s reactions were as weak as before, but she smiled and hugged Dina’s body.
Dina’s body fingers through Erika’s body and finally, she gathered the courage to remove the woman’s top. As Erika’s naked body showed up in front of her, she gave a nervous smile.
“That… won’t be easy…” She said.
Hours later the two women were lying on the bed, with their hands intertwined. Dina knew she had a really good time, but she was afraid to learn about how it went for her partner.
“So…” She asked. “Did you...huh... like it?”
Erika thought in silence for some minutes. In these minutes, Dina thought her heart would explode with anticipation.
“Yes… Although, I don’t understand some of it, so I’m not sure I did things right.”
Dina looked at her and smiled.
“I wonder if your body is different from ours or that’s special for you. I know some people on this planet are like that, too.”
“Or maybe it’s something different. Well, it doesn’t matter.”
“I don’t understand, but what I feel while we were together was comforting and warm. Having your body so close to mine. I just felt...safe, somehow?”
“Because it’s me?”
“Also, the faces you made when I touched you were you asked me, those were really interesting. I want to see them again…”
“Hey, hey, hey!” Dina jumped in the bed. “Please, don’t talk about that!”
“Why? Did I say something wrong?”
“Is that so?” Erika asked, inclining her head. “I wonder, though, can I make those faces, too?”
Dina smiled and gave a kiss to Erika’s lips.
“It doesn’t matter, don’t worry about that.”
“Right. So I’ll just study better for next time.”
“Please, don't! Huh, let me show you everything, ok? The internet has some...bad ideas.”
“Is that so?”
Dina laughed, hugged and kissed Erika again.
“I’m just happy that we’ll be able to be together from now on…”
Dina thought Erika avoided her eyes for a moment and acted weird, but soon she faced her again with a smile.
“So, can we do it again right now?”
Those night encounter became a daily thing for both of them. And they spent their days like that for a whole month. Dina would get anxious to be home every day. The house chores were usually all done and Erika even cooked for her now. Weekends they would usually do something together, like going to the movies or eating out. Dina considered they were already a couple, and she planned to tell her family in the next opportunity she would get. She had already talked about it with her friends, who gave some “as if we didn’t know” comments.
Still, exactly one month after their first night together, Dina got home to an Erika giving her a weak smile and saying:
“I wanted to say goodbye. I’m going back home tonight.”
That took Dina by surprise. She left her bag fall to the ground.
“Are you joking?” she asked. Erika just shook her head.
“I got a message from my planet last month. They wanted to know how my mission was since they would be crossing through here. My mission is over, so…”
Dina shook her head, walking in slow steps until Erika.
“It’s not over… Wasn’t your mission to learn about love?”
“Yeah, and now I love you, so…”
“If you can just go away like that, you know nothing at all!” Dina shout, clenching her hands, avoiding her impulse to raise it against Erika. “If you can easily abandon me like that, you can’t say you love me!”
But what she saw in Erika’s eyes were tears, and that made her anger disappear.
“I don’t want to go either!” Erika cried, not able to control herself anymore. “I don’t want to go, but I can’t just abandon them. I… I don’t know what to do…”
Dina realized Erika’s body was shaking. At that moment, probably, she understood completely how Erika felt about her duty.
“I want to stay with you...forever. I don’t want to go, but I don’t want to desert my mission, either. I don’t know what to do, and I don’t have time to think anymore. I don’t know…”
She was crying and shaking so much that Dina hugged her, fearing she would fall to the ground. Erika hugged her back.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Dina asked, in a calm voice.
“I didn’t want to ruin the time we had. If we have to part ways, I wanted to…”
“Will you come back?”
“I can’t. For the last part of my mission, I need to be there. I have to teach them through all my life,” Erika let go of Dina and looked into her eyes. “And I can’t ask you to come with me. You can’t leave your family. At first, I thought that was an option, but…”
“I see…” Dina gave a long breath. She looked at Erika with a serious face: “I can’t stop you, but let me say that: I’ll wait for you.”
“You can’t… I won’t be back…”
“So I’ll just wait forever.”
Erika smiled and inclined her head, saying:
“You’ll get over it, right?”
Dina gave her a bitter smile back:
“You think you know enough about these feelings now?”
Suddenly Erika made a startled expression and jumped in Dina’s arms. She kissed her for a whole minute, not wanting to let go. When she was over, she started to walk backward in the balcony direction, with slow steps.
“They are here…”
She stopped in the balcony, with the moonlight touching her body. Dina tried to run to reach her, but a strong light appeared in front of her and Erika's body disappeared inside it. Dina could only hear a faint: “Goodbye...and sorry”.
Dina fell to her knees on the apartment’s floor. She murmured: “goodbye”, putting her hands on her face and starting to cry.
It was two years after she had said goodbye to Erika. Dina had finished her college, but sometimes she still would meet up you with her friends again. That night, in particular, she had a dinner with Anna. And as they were leaving the restaurant, the Asian woman was trying to convince her to go along.
“Come on. If you’re not interested in a boyfriend, I know some girls, too…”
“I said give up, Anna.”
Dina would just brush her friend’s invitation off with a smile.
“Look, I know you loved her, but it’s been two years. Don’t tell me you’re really waiting for her yet?”
“I’m not waiting. I know for sure she’ll probably never come back. I think I gave up soon after she was gone, actually. But you know, Anna. What we had was something special. That was actually love. I’m not sure I can feel that again, but I know for sure I can’t force that.”
“Didn’t she force your relationship, though?”
Dina only smiled, without saying anything. Anna sighed.
“Look, I’m an idiot. I believed your alien story because nothing else would make sense. And you’re my friend. I just want you to be happy.”
“I know. I appreciate that.”
“Isn’t your family worried?”
“I never told my mother anything about that. She probably wouldn’t believe anyway. She asked about Erika at first, but I think she just believes she dumped me and didn’t ask again. She’s not worried about me being alone, though.”
“So I’m worse than your mother, it’s what you’re saying.”
“I’m happy by having a friend like you, really.”
Anna looked at Dina, who just smiled at her. Finally, she seemed convinced.
“Okay, then. But I’m going to that party, even if alone.”
“Yes, of course. Have fun.”
As the two friends parted ways, Dina started to walk in direction of her home. She still lived in the same apartment. Somehow she was at peace with the memories she had there. Of course, she was always thinking about the things Anna said. The truth was that even if Erika really was gone for good, she never felt the need to find someone else. She was feeling better alone.
Dina heard the voice behind her. The voice sounded too much like the one she heard two years ago. She turned back in a jump, but of course, it was someone else. It was the same age as Erika in the first time Dina saw her, with the same black hair and dark eyes. Even her clothes were similar. Her skin was a little darker, though. But her voice was the exact same.
“Y-Yeah?” Dina asked, confused.
“Miss, can you pay me some food?”
It was the same snack bar. The girl was eating the same kind of hamburger and drinking the same kind of cola. Dina was having a strong sense of dejavu, but that was impossible. She knew that girl couldn’t be Erika, even if Erika could change her body. She knew Erika good enough to recognize her if that was the case. Still, a girl who looked like Erika stopping her in the street and asking for a hamburger was too much of a coincidence.
“These are really delicious!” the girl said, as she stuffed her mouth.
“I’m sorry, but I really don’t get what is going on here,” Dina said. The girl gave her a curious look, inclining her head the same way Erika used to do when she was confused. Dina had to ask: “Who are you?”
“Oh, miss. Talking with you suddenly must sound weird. I’m sorry. My name here is, huh, Luna. Cute, right?”
“I love this name, Luna. Oh, I also love this hamburger. I had something similar, but it was completely different. I love how the people walking around in irregular movements makes no sense. I really love this place.”
Dina just looked at the energetic girl smiling about pretty much everything astonished. She opened her mouth, but couldn’t make a sound out of it.
“Say, miss. You might find this weird, but do you have a lover now?”
“I... don’t…” Dina just answered in almost automatic tone.
“Really!?” The girl gave a big smile and devoured the last piece of her hamburger. “There’s someone I really want you to meet, then. She asked me not to say anything, but please, please... It has been my dream since I was a kid!”
Dina was just as confused. She didn’t know what was going on and could just nod with a weak: “y-yeah” coming out of her mouth. Hearing that, Luna jumped from her chair and grabbed Dina’s arm, pulling her along.
“Then come, come with me...mommy.”
Still confused, Dina just lets herself to be guided by that girl, until they walked to the other side of the snack bar. There she saw a woman sitting in front of a table. She looked more mature, and her eyes were giving a different impression, but Dina was sure she knew who she was.
“Erika?” She said.
Erika looked at her with a surprised face. Then sent an angry stare to Luna.
“I said not! I said you could just talk to her!”
“I’m sorry, mom,” Luna said, looking at the floor. “But you see, she doesn’t have a lover, so…”
Dina was still gathering her thoughts. She was confused but tried to make sense with her words.
“Mom? She is your daughter?”
“Look, Dina. Just forget all about it, okay?” Erika grabbed Luna’s hand and pulled her to the entrance direction.
In a jolt, Dina grabbed Erika’s shoulder to stop her.
“Wait, where do you think you’re going?” Dina asked.
“I said to forget…”
But Dina hugged Erika and kissed her on the lips. As Erika let Luna’s hand go, the girl just looked at everything with a smile on her face. Erika’s eyes were full of tears as they stopped kissing.
“I don’t know what’s going on here,” Dina said. “But I won’t let you get away from me again.”
Erika was sitting on the same couch as two years ago in Dina’s apartment. She seemed nervous, playing with her fingers like she used to do. Beside her, Luna was sitting moving her legs as if she couldn't contain her energy. She would send smiles at Dina, who was sitting on the other couch.
“So you’re still living here…” Erika said, after all.
“Yeah…” Dina said. “Erika, I want explanations. That girl is your daughter, right?”
Erika nodded, not saying anything.
“But she called me ‘mommy’.”
“She is my daughter. But she’s also your daughter…”
Dina stared at Erika, not knowing how to react. Somehow she was as lost as the first day they met.
“Look, Dina, there’s a lot I didn’t tell you at that time because it was confidential. It doesn’t matter anymore. But I can just go away and you go back to your life, as it was supposed to be.”
“Mommy!” Luna said, but Erika sent an angry look that made her shut her mouth.
“You stay silent!” She said. “I knew I couldn’t trust you with that. We should never have come here…”
“Erika!” Dina stopped her, with an impatient voice. “I don’t think you get it, but I am serious when I say I won’t let you go. So you can just explain everything already.”
“You...don’t hate me?” Erika asked, inclining her head while looking at Dina.
“I don’t hate you. I think I...still love you, even know. But I don’t know what’s happening here. I think I’m afraid to know. Still… tell me, please.”
Dina’s tone was almost pleading. Erika looked at her face in silence for some seconds before finally giving up.
“Right… I’ll explain everything. You see, besides my initial mission around here, I had another secret mission. That was, collecting samples of my partner’s reproductive cells. I guess they were expecting male samples, but I did as I was instructed, even if my partner was female.”
“You did...wait, when?”
“When you were sleeping. I’m sorry…”
“That’s…” Dina started, but gave a deep breath and stopped. “Okay, that doesn’t matter now. Please, go on.”
“So you see, giving the difference in the gravitational force, time flows differently in my home planet. Way more time had passed there while I was here, but I expected that. In fact, for me, fifteen years passed since I left this planet. For you, it should be around two years. Even before, when I first came to this planet, I had made some stops in the way and wandered through the space looking for a suited place. So, actually, a hundred years had passed in my home planet as I got back. I knew my mission could become irrelevant, but that’s how it always was. But when I got home, a secret project that was in development since a long time ago was finished. We found… ways to reproduce between two females, using our science.”
“You… knew about that project while you were here?”
“I had some information. It was confidential, though. I couldn’t tell you. But it turns out that with this project done, my mission became yet more important. We planned to start building a family system. The experiences of researched like me, who had contact with such a culture, would be valuable. But I would need a family of my own or at least a child. That’s when I was given the choice of becoming a mother. And, you see, they asked if I wanted the cells of some specific female…”
“So you used mine…”
“Yes. Because I loved you, and I thought if I would have a child, I wanted she to be yours, too. I’m sorry…”
Dina looked at Luna, who smiled at her. It was a way to improbable fact that she had a daughter she didn’t know with another woman. Still, she decided to accept that fact. So she just asked:
“But you’re here now. Why? I thought you would be needed there.”
“It’s because of this girl,” Erika looked at Luna with a faint smile. “Even though we built a family system, it was still too different from yours. I taught them, and they did change a little, but somehow we are still a cold and logical society. I believe that’s just how we are. But this girl, she was different. I don’t know if it’s your genes or maybe the way I raised her. She’s way too emotional. She didn’t fit in our society at all, and I thought she would be happier here. So I deserted. We… huh… can’t come back.”
Dina stared at Erika. She kept her head down. The truth of her decisions was probably still hard for her to accept. She still had her duty with her people, and betraying them was probably not easy.
“So why avoid me?”
“Because!” Erika almost jumped from the couch to answer. “I… I did something terrible for you, I know. I can’t just go away, saying I’ll never come back, and suddenly just show up in front of you again. I know I don’t deserve it. I wanted you to move on, so… Also, I’m way older now…”
“That’s not true!” Luna said, then turned to Dina. “You see, our life-span is a little longer than yours, so mommy should be around your age in comparison now…”
“Luna, shut up, please!” Erika shout, with tears welling up in her eyes. There were tears in Luna’s eyes as well.
“No! That’s not fair! I know how you loved her through all these years!”
“I said shut up! It’s your fault in the first place! You said you just wanted to meet her…”
“You both shut up!” Now it was Dina who shouted, raising from the couch. She turned to Erika. “Erika, you still don’t understand. You don’t understand anything at all. Sure, it was terrible how you just left, and yeah, I suffered a lot then. You know, I moved on already. I accepted you wouldn't be back, so don’t worry. I moved on, but I didn’t give up in loving you...”
Dina pulled Erika by the hand, raising her from the couch. Erika’s hand was shaking, as tears crossed her face.
“Besides,” Dina said, smiling. “It has been fifteen years for you, right? You suffered way more than me. You even had a daughter to remind about us. And even if you shouldn’t do that without telling me before, I actually feel like I’m somewhat responsible for this girl now... When her other mother is so irresponsible.”
Erika smiled. Her hands hugged Dina’s back, as she looked into her eyes.
“So… You mean…”
“I said I won’t let you go, right? I want you both living with me. Erika, I still love you after all. You know what love is, right?”
“I…” Erika couldn’t talk, between smiling and crying. Dina thought about how different she was now, while still looking the same. “I know…”
Luna smiled as her two mothers shared a kiss that night.
Dina wanted properly introduce Erika in their society. But for a person with no identity at all, that proved a challenge. Hopefully, she had Anna’s help with important contacts that made it faster. When Dina asked where she knew them, she would only answer: “You never came to my parties”. Soon Erika and Luna had official identities. With that out of their way, Dina arranged to make Erika her wife and adopt Luna, who was recognized as Erika’s biological daughter only. She mentioned to Anna how they could actually make a DNA test and have Luna as her biological daughter as well. That would be impossible to explain, so they didn’t try it.
Explaining to her family why Erika was back with a teenager daughter was scarier. Fortunately, her mother didn’t make many questions. She welcomed her new daughter in law and granddaughter in the family, as she promised she would do. Sometimes she commented how Luna’s manners and way of speaking resembled Dina as if she was her actual daughter. Dina wanted to tell her the truth, but it was still too hard to explain.
Anna and Dina made a point to Erika how she could use her knowledge about same-sex reproduction to help women in their planet, too. She didn’t know much about the specifics but could remember some elements of their research that could be applied, if she had the right knowledge. So she applied to a science university. Since she needed to make tests to prove her capacity, getting a transcript for high-school and passing the university exams was easy. Studying was something she could excel, after all.
As for Luna, with everything settled, she started to study at a local school.
“Damn, I’m late!” She said, certain morning, after grabbing her bag.
Her two mothers were in the kitchen. Erika was studying some medical book while Dina made breakfast before going out to work. Dina forced Luna to eat something before she went out.
“Did you went sleep late last night again?” Dina asked.
“I was looking up something in the net, so I lost the notion of time.”
“Looking something up? What was it?”
Luna blushed and turned her eyes away from Dina.
“It doesn’t matter, forget it. You should wake me up. You know I have school.”
“Ok, ok, I’m sorry. Are things good, though? Are you fitting at school?”
“Yeah,” she answered with a smile, but then her face became serious. “Well, kinda…”
“Is someone giving you a hard time?”
“Oh, no. Everyone is nice...well, almost everyone. But there’s this one girl… I wanted to be her friend, but she keeps avoiding me.”
“Hm… Why you want to be her friend?”
“Because she’s so cute!” Luna was energetic while saying it. “And she’s always alone. It’s a shame. I want to see her smile a little more.”
Hearing that, Erika rose from her chair, leaving her book aside and walked to Luna. She put her hands on her daughter’s shoulder.
“You shouldn’t force it. Act natural. Just get close to her and try to earn her trust. Then she will open herself to you.”
Luna faced her mother and couldn’t stop a laugh. Erika looked confused.
“I-I’m sorry, mom. It’s just… you giving me sentimental advice is kinda…”
“You may not believe that, but this is something I learned myself.”
“Oh, she might be right there,” Dina said, with a smile on her face.
Luna looked at Dina, then back at Erika.
“I see… I’ll keep that in mind. Ah, but I’ll really be late, so if you’ll excuse me.”
And saying that, she stormed out of the apartment, leaving her two mothers looking at the door. Erika let a smile form in her face.
“She’s way more energetic than when she was home. I’m relieved.”
“Say, you think she might have an interest in girls… Like, you know…”
“Maybe? We didn’t have any male at our home planet, and she never showed any interest in their existence. I think she was in love with a girl we knew, even. But it didn’t work out. I wasn’t such a good mother back then.”
“Don’t say that,” Dina hugged Erika and looked at her face. She still had to move her face slightly up to face her wife, who was still taller than her. “You’re an amazing mother. You threw everything away for your daughter’s happiness.”
“But I got my happiness back, too. So I’m selfish…”
Dina kissed Erika’s lips. She had done that a lot in the past days as if to compensate all the time they were away.
“Say…” Erika said. “We’re alone right now. Do you have some time before work?”
Dina looked at her watch.
Erika pulled her wife’s arm, walking in the room’s direction.
“Let’s just have some fast fun? I want to see you making those interesting faces again.”
“Erika, I said it already! That way of talking is embarrassing!”
The door closed behind them as the two women entered the room.