DISCLAIMER: Showtime is lucky enough to own this show and these characters, not me.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Labor Day
By speakpirate

Opening scene: Camera pans along an opulent hallway. High Spanish archways, mahogany paneling, old California hacienda feel. Focus on an older woman, heavy set, in a long black dress and white apron. A maid. She is moving slowly from room to room, we see a time lapse as she comes and goes, back and forth. She approaches the last room at the furthest end of the hallway, and opens the door. She freezes for several beats, staring in the doorway - transfixed and confused - then she bursts into a scream. She runs the length of the hallway shouting in Spanish at the top of her voice. "Ave Maria! Dios te salve, María, llena eres de gracia, el Señor es contigo. Bendita tú eres entre todas las mujeres, y bendito es el fruto de tu vientre, Jesús. Santa María, Madre de Dios, ruega por nosotros pecadores, ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerte!"

Caption on the screen: Garden Grove, California 2003.

Camera turns towards the now open door to reveal: The bedroom of a typical teenage girl. Or not so typical. Posters of Billie Jean King line the walls. Multiple trophies clutter the various surfaces - shelves, dresser, the top of a large closet. They all look similar - bunches of gold plated girls in the suspended animation of a forehand smash. There is a large net suspended from the ceiling, full of stuffed animals. Very cute. Mostly cats, with a few stray teddy bears. One twin bed, currently occupied by Dana Fairbanks and Alice Pieszecki, waking up and looking groggy. The faint cries of the maid are still barely audible, as the two women stare at one another in bewildered silence.

Cut to: The Night Before

Dana Fairbanks was wide awake, staring at the ceiling. Every muscle in her body was tense. She looked around the room. All of her trophies from high school were still here. Idly she stroked the furry gray stuffed animal next to her on the pillow. She tossed and turned, trying to get comfortable. The mattress was too firm. The pillow was too soft. She hated her parent's house.

Suddenly she heard a noise, a door creaking. Maybe her mother. Quickly, she closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep. Alice Pieszecki, clad in silk pajamas and girly pigtails, tiptoed into the room. She stared for a moment at Dana, her long limbs stretched out on the tiny bed. Then she giggled and leapt on the bed.

Dana's eyes flew open with a start. "Alice?" she whispered loudly. "What are you doing?"

"It's no good, Dane." Alice responded. "I can tell you weren't asleep. You usually relax in your sleep. Or maybe just tense up a little less."

"Hmph." Dana grunted. "I can't sleep. What are you doing here?"

"You invited me, doofus."

"Yes, I know I invited you. To the house. To the Fairbanks Annual Labor Day Barbeque. Not to my bedroom at 4am."

"I couldn't sleep either." Alice confessed. "Your mother put me in that creepy equestrian themed guest room, with all the horse pictures and paintings all over the place. I mean, under normal circumstances I'd be thrilled to be put in a room with riding crops hanging on the walls, but it feels like the horses are staring at me."

"They're not staring at you."

"Shut up. Then you go sleep in that room."

"No way, I don't want the horses staring at me, either."

"Why couldn't you sleep?"

"You know why."

"I don't know. Why?"

"Because the whole point of us coming down here for this big red blooded, red meat, red state cookout was for me to come out to my parents, and I was too chicken shit to do it."


"No, say it. I'm a coward. A worthless, gutless, coward."

"Would you stop beating yourself up? You're not a coward."

"How can you say that? Look at you, and Shane, and Bette and Tina. None of you care who knows about you. God, I hate my life."

"Stop it," Alice said, sounding angry. "Knock it off right now. You are one of the strongest women I know. And you took a big step this weekend."


"Did you, or did you not, come out to a member of your immediate family?"

"It doesn't count."

"Why? Because it's your little brother? It totally counts. And it was really brave of you. Now, when you do come out to your parents, you'll already have an ally."

"An obnoxious fifteen year old is not an ally."

"Well, he is a family member you won't have to hide from anymore. Who still loves you, and looks up to you, and knows that you're a lesbian," Alice pointed out.

"Please. He doesn't look up to me."

"Right, because every boy has a big sister who's a professional tennis player. It's no big deal."

"Whatever," Dana said again.

"Hey," Alice interjected. "I can't stand anymore of this self-loathing crap, okay? You beat yourself up because you're not out, and then torture yourself because you're petrified that someone else might find out that you're gay."

"Thanks, Al. That makes me feel much better."

"Dana, listen to me. These people are your family. They love you. They will still love you."

"They're Republicans."

"So are the Cheneys."

Dana made a noise that was half-way between a laugh and a guffaw. "That's true."

"See? There's hope. They could set you up with Mary Cheney."

"Eww. So not my type."

"Yeah? So who is?" Alice inquired, genuinely curious.

"I dunno." Dana answered, sounding evasive. `Dyed blondes in pigtails, wearing pink silk pajamas' she thought.

"You must know. Everyone has a type."

"Uh, women, I guess."

"Women are a gender, not a type. We'll figure this out. Who do you like?"

Dana was silent.

"Come on," Alice persisted. "You must like someone. Melanie?"

"She's alright." Dana muttered, fighting the impulse to add `for someone who's not you.'

"Alright?" Alice asked with raised eyebrows. "Her hands all over your ass at that seedy bar in San Francisco last time you were on tour there, and she's just alright?"

"How did you know about that?" Dana frowned.

"I'm just sayin'" Alice responded, avoiding the question. "What about Marina? She's hot."

"You think Marina's hot?" Dana couldn't quite keep the jealous note out of her voice.

"No, she's too French for me." Alice grinned. "What about Shane? Do you like Shane?"

"What is this, junior high?" Dana asked in an irritated voice.

"Fine, fine. If you want me to go back to the freaky horse room, just because you won't tell me who your little crush is."

"Who said I have a crush?"

"Please. I am an investigative reporter, remember?"

"Not like I could forget. What does that have to do with anything?"

"I know that something must be going on in there. You're the gayest girl I know who never tries to pick up anyone. Therefore, you must have a secret crush that you haven't told anyone about. Not even me. And that is not allowed."

Dana gulped. `You!' she wanted to shout. `I never hit on other girls because I never meet anyone the I like better than you!' She resisted the impulse to blurt out her true feelings. "I don't have crushes," she bluffed.

Alice gave her a look which clearly said she didn't believe her.

"Fine, whatever, keep the secret to yourself."

"Fine, I will." Dana retorted.

"Ah-ha!" Alice whooped, launching herself at Dana, and tickling her mercilessly. "I knew there was someone! I knew it!"

Dana was giggling uncontrollably. She didn't usually like being touched, so her skin was especially sensitive. She tried to squirm away, but the bed was too small to put any distance between them. "Stop," she protested weakly. "Stop it.."

Alice let up with the tickling, still laughing. Her hand rested on the back of Dana's right shoulder. "God, Dana, you're so tense."

"Yeah, well, attempted coming out weekends at my parents house aren't at the top of my relaxing vacations list. Or yours either, and they're not even your parents. I'm sorry I dragged you out here."

"Roll over," Alice commanded. "On your stomach."

"Why?" Dana asked, staring at the wall.

"Just do it. Trust me."

"I trust you," Dana said, rolling over.

Alice ran her hands over Dana's back slowly, then gently began to knead her shoulders. Dana shivered a little at her touch.

"Alice, you don't have to do that. My trainer has people on staff."

"Who are - I'm sure - great at rubbing you down after practice to make sure your serve won't go stiff or whatever. This is different. Besides, I'm totally qualified."

"Why, because you wrote a story on LA's best masseuses?"

"No, because I slept with like, two of them."

Dana groaned, suddenly wishing she were a masseuse.

"Anyway," Alice continued, her hands working Dana`s shoulders and upper back in small circles, "I'm glad you invited me out here. I had a good time."

Dana scoffed. "Smoking up with my little brother behind the pool house? Listening to my dad give you investment advice? Talking to my mom about the best wrinkle free drapes? I'm sure it was a blast." This is definitely the best part, right now, she thought, as her skin hummed underneath her tank, wherever Alice was touching her.

"Dana, how many matches do you think I've watched you play?" Alice asked her.

"I don't know. A lot. Almost every one in California. Except the one in San Jose, when you had food poisoning the night before. And a few of the out of state ones." Dana wondered idly what Alice was getting at. She flashed on images of Alice, always dressed for the occasion, wearing cute tennis sweaters and polo shirts, waving at her from various grandstands. Times like that, she would feel her heart racing partly from tennis, partly from Alice.

"And how many times have you seen me sitting with your folks?"

"Oh, yeah." Dana considered. "I guess you must be pretty used to them by now. I just forget sometimes." God, that's true. My parents actually seem to like her. But how could they not? She's so perfect.

"No big," Alice assured her. "And your dad's investment advice is totally great. It's like having a free financial advisor. But the thing is, they don't always talk about that kind of stuff."

"Right," Dana agreed. "Sometimes they talk about how their church is the broadcasting base for `Hour of Power,' and how disappointed they are that Pat Buchanan isn't active in politics anymore."

"Well, yes, sometimes they do talk about that." Alice agreed. "Which is, I grant you, crazy and weird. But mostly they talk about you."

"About me?!" Dana yelped. "What about me? How I'm too thin, and don't have a boyfriend? Or my condo, I know my dad hates condos."

"Quit freaking out," Alice admonished. "They talk about how proud they are. How you have the best double backhand in the game. How you play with such assurance and skill and grace."

Dana gulped again, and to her supreme embarrassment, felt tears welling up in her eyes. She made an effort to keep her voice steady. "They really say that about me?"

Alice heard the slight tremor in her friend's voice, and understood what she needed. "Of course they do," she assured her, suspending the massage to lay beside Dana in the small bed. She put a strangely tentative arm around the athletic woman in front of her.

Wordlessly, Dana gave herself over to the comfort that was being offered to her. She curled up against Alice, who held her close and stroked her hair. Dana quit fighting, and the tears ran silently down her cheeks, dripping softly on Alice's pajama top.

"I'm sorry," she murmured. "I don't even know why I'm crying."

"Just let it out, honey." Alice said understandingly.

"You're.so good to me," Dana muttered between fresh tears. "I don't deserve you."

"Don't ever say that, Dana. You deserve the best, okay?"

Dana made a small snuffling noise as she thought about that. Alice was the hottest woman she'd ever seen, and the best friend she'd ever had. She couldn't imagine ever wanting someone more than she wanted Alice everyday. But she could never ask Alice to be anything other than herself. She could never ask her to pretend to be straight, and double date with Harrison. She had a hard enough time hiding her feelings as it was, she could never hide her feelings towards her if they were actually dating. And Conrad had always made it very clear that big companies were not clamoring for lesbian spokeswomen. Whatever Alice might say, she deserved someone who could give herself over to her completely, without all the baggage that Dana always felt weighing her down. She wondered what Alice would say, if she told her everything she was thinking right now. But that was impossible.

"Thanks, Al." she said instead.

Hearing Dana, who Alice always thought of as the dominant athlete that she was on the court, use her small, scrunched voice, always broke Alice's heart. She was never sure what exactly Dana needed. Although sometimes she had some graphic ideas about what might help. But more than anything, Dana seemed to need friendship from her. She wished that she could be Dana's secret crush, but that seemed totally impossible. Smiling to herself, she remembered how Dana looked after the semi-finals of the US Open this year. Coming off the court, glistening with sweat, grinning from ear to ear, the veins in her forearms standing out against her tanned skin. How much she wanted to tackle her and have her way with her, right then, right there. But Dana was so beautiful, and so private. Good lord, she had fan sites on the internet. Alice sometimes looked at them when she needed a pick me up at work. She could have any woman she wanted. She wouldn't settle for a sometimes flaky bisexual feature writer for LA Magazine.

"Anytime." she whispered.

"Are you going to go back to the horse room?" Dana wondered aloud, not wanting Alice to leave.

"What do you think your mom would do if she found us in bed together?" Alice asked mischievously.

"Hey, maybe this will be the weekend I come out to my parents after all." Dana smiled. "Or at least to the latest in their rotating series of maids."

Alice giggled and snuggled up against the sadly unattainable girl of her dreams.

Dana relaxed into her warm embrace, and wished they could sleep like this every night.

Soon, both women were asleep, wrapped in each others arms, dreaming the same sweet dreams.

The End

Return to L Word Fiction

Return to Main Page