DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I saw the movie Beautiful, and I saw some subtext that was worth writing into a story. I know it is an odd movie to write femslash for, but I was bored. This fic takes place after the movie ends.
CHALLENGE: Submitted for the first International Day of Femslash.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Erin Griffin


I love her to death, but I want to kick her in the head. Doesn't she realize how beautiful she is? To me? To Vanessa? That sash and crown will never show just how amazing she is. Never. I think it sometimes makes her less so. I've been in love with Mona since she defended me when we were kids. She never knew. She still doesn't, though she knows that I am a lesbian. Jessica Larson, my girlfriend in the women's prison, sorta came out for me. We'd become friends in the time we were roommates; I told her all about Vanessa and Mona, and she'd told me about good times she had with her partner before she was murdered. It was vengence that had her there in the prison, serving 32 years. We bonded over loneliness, and she'd been my shelter in that prison, holding me on a matress that was barely big enough for a woman my size, sharing meals and kisses... but Jessica knew that Mona would always have my heart after nine or ten years of longing for her, just as I knew no one could ever replace Crystal in Jessica's heart. My longing for Mona seemed so great at times that I am surprised she hasn't figured it out.

Mona is convinced that she has gaydar. Really good gaydar, yet she never had a clue. It took her by surprise to see me kiss Jessica (or kiss her back after she gave a big bear hug goodbye) the day I left the prison, but she hasn't said much about it. I have a feeling that she will. Someday soon. Right now, Mona's entering a Most Marvelous Mom pageant. Seriously. "Ruby, look at this. It says I have to be thirty-five years or older," I hear from the couch, where Mona has her stack of applications pinned to a clipboard as she listens to the Xena episode on TV rather than watches it. I turn from the computer where I am typing up Jessica's letter, since she had told me she couldn't read my handwritting.

"Take this a a sign that you shouldn't enter, Mona." I look at the back of her neatly cropped head before she turns to face me. Our eyes meet, and those hazel orbs burn me as they quizically look back into my green ones.

"Ruby?" I can see she's fighting down a hurt expression that I feel guilty for causing. She looks away, her hands slowly folding in her lap. I stand up and stretch, then I walk around my chair and surrounding furniture in a figure eight movement to get to her side. I sit on the couch next to her. She looks at me, surprised that I had moved.

"Look," I say, taking her hand in mine, fighting the urge to kiss it, "you are beautiful. We all know that." Slowly, I move a finger on her palm as a way to help my mind think of how to say my next sentance, a sentance I wanted to say since Vanessa was about three years old. I inhale a deep breath and sigh. "To tell the truth, I am sick of these pageants," I blurt out. "I mean, after the last one, I thought you'd quit because of Vanessa." I stop talking when Mona stands up, clipboard in hand, and I wouldn't be surprised if she was angry with me. These pageants were her dream, and for a while, they were mine, too, but my dreams have changed. Mona sighs and does something unexpected. She unclips the applications and throws them in the recycle bin, then she walks back towards me, sighing again.

"I know, babe. Old habit." I dont know what to do now. I only watch her hair as the swaying stops with her movement as she stands still. She stares at me, letting her eyes roam my face. "Can I ask you a something?" From the look on her face, I can tell that I might not like the question, but we have been friends forever and I trust she won't react badly to my answers, or me to her question.

"I-I guess so. Go ahead."

"Being a lesbian, would you ever..." she breaks off, "... experiment with someone who wasn't sure?" I shake my head.

"Not unless Uma Thurman or someone equally hot wasn't sure," I say. Part of me is hoping that she wants to try stuff with me, but another part of me doesn't want to settle for being her experiment, which is why I said what I had. Mona's eyes look me up and down before her eyes lock with mine once more.

"Would you ever see me as hot?" Mona asks. I think I know where this conversation is going.

"No," I say, seeing her face fall, " 'hot' is a word I use for a woman who is well endowed in her looks, but that is the only attraction I could ever have towards her." I can't believe I'm about to say my next sentance. "You are not 'hot', you are so much more. Elegant is the only word I can think of on the spot for you," I admit. I have been waiting a long time for an opperatunity to say that, and I hadn't actually meant to say that then. She's walking towards me now, and I don't know what to do when she enters my three foot bubble. She's so close to me that I can feel her breath on my cheek as she just stares at me. I hunger for her lips, her touch, but I can't bring myself to be her experiment. I want all or nothing. "I don't want to be your experiment, Mona," I whisper to her. My body is shaking, and I am not sure how long I can keep this up.

"I don't want you to be my experminent, either." I am confused by this.

"Then why-"

"I've already been there, done that. I did the whole questioning thing, and I've kissed and touched a woman before at a pageant when I caught another contestant checking me out. I was just wondering if you ever would."

"Oh," What else can I say to that? I'm completely taken aback by this. Part of me (the perverted part of me that only Mona and Jessica has ever seen when I was really horny) wanted every detail, but the other part of me is jealous that I wasn't her first kiss. It is a crazy mind I live with, one minute wanting to be Mona's first, the next not wanting to be her experiment. I can't think gay when she is this close to me. I'm half expecting Vanessa to come home and interrupt this moment, but I know that she is at her friend Dani's house, and isn't expected to be home for another hour. "Well," I say nervously to break the silence between us, "did you-

"Enjoy it?" she finsihes. "It was better than being with men, but something was missing. I am not sure what the outcome really meant. Something is still missing." I try to move away from her once my brain starts to work a little more, but she takes my arm and I am held there. I freeze. "I don't think I am a lesbian, but I think I am bisexual." I don't say anything to that confession as she stares at me. "Ruby, I love you. We share everyhing, motherhood, the apartment, creditcards, and on many occasions, we've even shared our beds." Oh yes... I remember those 'many occasions' when the pageants would have us in hotel rooms with only one bed, or on some occasions when she would come into my room to talk and end up falling asleep... So many times I'd wake up with her next to me, sometimes snuggled up, her arms holding tightly to me, and I'd fight the urge to kiss her awake or wake her with a whisper of 'I love you' in her ear. My thoughts are interrupted when Mona continues to speak, "We are partners in every sense but one, and for the longest time after I slept with Jojo-" Whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-WHOA!

"Jojo? It was Jojo?!" I ask, appauled. She continues to surprise me, seeing as she hated Jojo. Mona nods, but her face is serious.

"Ruby, I don't know what love is," She takes my hands in her own as she looks down at me, "but I think you are it." I look into her eyes, but I know even before seeing her confimation in them that she is telling me the truth. "You don't have to say yes or anything, and I hope I haven't just ruined our friendship, but I need to ask you for one thing."

"What is it?" Did I ask that? Do I want to know? Have I just set myself up for something? Many questions flood my mind as my heart seems to beat out of my chest. 'What does she want from me?' I wonder.

"A kiss?" The hope I see on her face is surprising. Is she afraid of me saying no? Doesn't she know that I have been wanting the same thing from her for so long?

Instead, I stammer, "A-a-A kiss?" I feel like a fool with each second near her. Mona's eyes close momentarily as if to think things over. She seems almost unsure now, with my stuttering like an idiot. I am not sure why I didn't just say yes, or even take the initiative and kiss her.

"Yes..." she says, "Just... one kiss." She's leaning into me now, and I raise my chin to meet her half way without fully knowing it until our lips touch. I can't help the shudder that goes through my body and the tingle she's caused in me. She wraps her arms around me as if to warm me up, when in reality, my body is becoming hot with her touch. Feelings I have succeeded in hiding bubble to the surface and I cannot help but want to take her to bed. Before I can verbally or even physically tell her this, she slowly, reluctantly pulls away, and I find that I have forgotten how to speak. "You were what was missing," she says after a moment.

I fight my brain and force my self to finally say something. "But I've been here the whole time," I say in almost a croak, looking into her eyes. I feel like I have walked into one of my lesbian romance novels.

"That is what make me the fool." I smile. "Let me take you out tomorrow night. Think of it as a date... Or- or don't- it's up to you. I just want to be with you, Ruby. I'll go as fast or as slow as you want me to," she finishes in an unsure murmur. I nod, leaning upwards to kiss her on the cheek.

"Okay. Tomorrow at seven. That'll give me enough time to find a sitter." Mona copies my smile and kisses my forehead.

"Great. Tomorrow at seven it is, then."

The End

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