“You know, I actually love your mom,” Beau whispered.
The words echoed, getting trapped by the high ceilings of the Chateau before quieting down. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Beau wince at the unexpected noise. Jester waited until the only sounds were that of the waves against the beach and their breathing before answering.
“Of course you do, everyone loves my mom.” She turned to face Beau and waggled her eyebrows. “Beau, are you trying to get with my mom?”
“What?” Twisting around, Beau faced Jester. “Why the hell would you say that?”
“Well it’s not like it’d be weird or anything, lots of people try to get with her. She’s a pretty big deal. I mean why else would you start talking about how much you love her.”
She watched Beau sigh and run a hand down her face. “Okay, yeah, I kinda see that but no, I’m not trying to get with your mom. I was just thinking.”
“About how much she loves you. I mean, you had a big room with toys and books and shit, and your mom adores you and makes sure you know. I don’t know, it’s just nice.”
Jester squinted, trying to read between the lines. That was the thing with Beau. She was blunt but that didn’t mean what she said made sense. Sometimes it took a bit of digging to figure out what she was really saying. Luckily, Jester was one of the best detectives around (and also Beau’s very best friend but that didn’t count). “Well, yeah it’s nice but that’s how moms are. They’re supposed to love you and give you things and try to help you.”
“Yeah but you know that’s not how all moms act. Some moms don’t do that stuff, even though they should.” She reached out a hand towards Jester, something they’d done since they first became roommates. It was their sign that what they were saying was important and/or weirdly emotional. “And you don’t deserve that. You deserve a mom who’s going to love you through anything. And, I guess what I’m saying is that, I’m grateful that Marion was there for you.”
“Aw, Beau.” She reached out her hand to clasps Beau’s. “Thank you. It means a lot. But what made you think of that?”
“Oh well, uh-” Beau stammered out. Even in the dark of the room, Jester watched as Beau’s cheeks darkened. “I, uh, was looking at your bookcase and stuff and found that huge fairytale book you have. And I was flipping through some of them and they all seem to have just really awful moms. All of them. So that got me thinking about your mom and how she treated you and all that.”
She knew which book Beau was talking about. It was huge, almost too heavy for Jester to lift when she was younger, and it felt like it had every story imaginable. It had been her favorite.
“Oh yeah. There were a lot of bad moms in that. I loved it though. I used to make Mama read it for me every night.”
Beau laughed. “Yeah I can see that. You would have been impossible to say no to back then. Course,” she said, a small smile breaking out across her face. “You’re kind of impossible to say no to now.”
Jester smiled back. “Of course I am! It’s all part of my charm.” She wiggled around in her bed, doing what was probably a very cool dance while still laying on her side to talk to Beau.
Beau sighed and joined her in her very cool dance. “You must’ve had a favorite story though right? One that if I mention at breakfast tomorrow, your mom might kill me on instinct?”
“Oh of course. It’s the one with the tower and the princess and-”. She paused, her own voice bouncing back from the rafters. “Oops. Sorry, I’ll be quieter.”
Beau shook her head. “Nah don’t worry about it. Here,” she said, shuffling back on her bed. “Just come over here. That way we won’t have to shout across the room.”
She hesitated for just a moment. It was one thing to tell a romantic fairytale with the space between their beds separating them, it was another to do it just inches away from Beau. On her bed, there was no way to hide her face, no way to ignore the heat of Beau’s body or the way her smile seemed to be just for Jester.
But this was Beau. And no matter Jester’s feelings, the two of them were friends, best friends, and if Beau wanted a story, Jester would tell it.
She slipped out her own bed and padded her way across the room. Even trying to make them as quiet as possible, her footsteps still seemed too loud. Beau pulled back the covers and Jester slid in.
“Hi,” she whispered and poked Beau’s nose just to make her go cross eyed.
“Hi,” Beau whispered back. “So what was that story again?”
“Oh right! Okay so, it’s about this princess who got kidnapped as a baby by an evil witch and was forced to live in this tower, except the only way in was by the princess’ hair which was suuuuper long, you know? And the princess never left the tower until one day, some guy shows up and climbs into the tower and finds her. And of course…”
Jester kept talking, the story coming as naturally to her as any one of her spells did. She let her mind wander, taking in as much as she could about Beau. She wouldn’t risked staring at any other time but Beau was so close and Jester didn’t know when they’d be this close again.
She made note of every smile and the way it made her eye crinkle around the edges, the breathless way she laughed, the leg that had ended up tangled with her after Beau made a halfhearted attempt to kick her when she made a pun. She let the heat from Beau’s body wash over her, moved close enough that her hair tickled Jester’s nose, watched as the light of the moon made her eyes glow, and felt her heart ache.
“And they lived happily ever after. The end.” She added little jazz hands for flair. “How’d you like it?”
“It’s good.” Beau yawned, worming herself deeper under the covers. “I can see why it’s your favorite.”
“Well I mean, beautiful girl stuck inside her whole life? Kinda sounds like you before you met all of us. Minus the terrible mom of course.”
Jester smiled. “Or the handsome man who saves me.”
“Yeah that too.”
They were silent for a few minutes, the world shrunk down into the bed they’d fit themselves in. Jester had almost fallen asleep before Beau broke the silence.
“Hey Jess? I know you don’t need anyone to save you or whatever, but uh, if you’re ever trapped or whatever, I’d come get you.” She brushed a piece of hair behind Jester’s ear. “No matter what.”
Jester had been hit in the chest before, one of the downsides to the adventuring life, but nothing had knocked the breath out of her quite as effectively as that. In the time it took her to collect herself, Beau had started to work herself into a panic.
“Hey was that weird, I didn’t mean it to be weird, I was just-”
“Beau,” she interrupted. She reached her hand out into the few inches still separating them. “I don’t really need anyone to save me.” She took a breath. “But, if I needed to be saved, I hope it would be you.”
“Of course. You’d never let me down.”
The smile Beau gave was so soft and real that Jester felt like bursting into tears. Instead, she just pulled herself in closer, her hand nearly crushed between them.
“Stay here tonight?”
Jester’s voice had dropped off to the point where not even the echo could pick it up. But in the small world they’d created in that bed, it was enough. “Of course I will.”