She had met Francis first. His stupid laugh- actual laugh that is; not that stupid hononon he showed everyone else- had wormed it's way into her brain and refused to leave her alone. At the most random times she would remember bits and pieces of past conversations with him, and it infuriated her. What right did he have to make her blush (in anger, dammit!) and feel emotions she didn't know existed?
Slowly, ever so slowly, time went by, and suddenly she the hate wasn't quite so hateful. Alice had no idea how it happened, but she knew that she was not supposed to notice the way his eyes would light up at romance- romance; not sex. She wasn't supposed to realize he liked plays and poetry, or that he got annoyed when people pronounced his name Bon-ne-foy instead of the French pronunciation Bon-fwah. She did though, and while it was useful, (his last name was always sure to get a rise out of him) it- well, it scared her. Their relationship was supposed to be purely hate, and the idea of anyone finding out it wasn't made her stomach churn.
Then she had met Francine, and that girl was confusing on twenty different levels. Unlike with Francis, (the irony of their names were not lost on her) Francine and her got along somewhat. Not much, but a bit. They spent more time bickering than anything else, but it brought a sense of familiarity to the Englishwomen that she liked it. It wasn't said aloud, but in the confines of her own mind she scream it again and again. Her feelings grew along with their friendship, and it confused her. Francine was a girl; she was a girl. Therefore, she shouldn't be thinking about these things, but she was. Francine may have been fine with liking girls, but she wasn't! Alice was supposed to be a proper women that would marry a man, not a women, but her dreams mocked the very thought. They didn't seem to care that if she did like Francine, which she didn't, it would mean discrimination and drama she didn't want nor need.
It was almost sad how readily she would admit her crush on Francis after a particularly graphic dream.
Then she found out they were the same person. As in, Francis=Francine. She would erase that memory if she could, but she couldn't, and flashes of screaming and confusion and betrayal would keep her up at night. And now she was here, sipping tea across from Francine. At least, it was Francine at the moment.
The air was awkward, and both girls were to prideful to break it. Eventually Alice felt more curiosity than pride, and asked bluntly, "What's your gender?" Normally she would have had more tact, but she was tired of pretending to be some proper lady. She just wanted answers, dammit!
"I was wondering when you would ask," Francine said with a sigh. "I am, as you would say, genderfluid. So, the answer would be both, I suppose."
"Why the fuck would you want to do that, though? As a girl everyone would think you were weak, and as a guy you'd be forced to act all muscular or you'd be called a wimp. You are literally getting the worst of both worlds!" Alice said in exasperation.
"Perhaps," said Francine with a slight tilt of her head, "but I also get the best. As a female I can like things such dresses and jewelry without being judged, and as a male I can be outrages and out there without being called a bitch. It's confusing at times, but I love it, and I wouldn't change it for the world. You may think of me as an idiot, but I get the best of both worlds, and it outweighs the bad a million times over." She looked Alice strait in the eye, showing a defiant she rarely showed. "I'm not changing it."
Alice was, for lack of a better word, dumbfounded. She had never seen Francine- or Francis, for that matter- been so dedicated to something. Not even with his nose in a poem had he been this happy just to talk about it.
"This means a lot to you." It wasn't a question.
"Oui," she answered anyway.
". . . Fine. Obviously nothing I say would change your mind," not that she would've tried, "but I do have on question. Speaking. . . . physically, what gender are you?" In a way, she hoped the answer was male. She was tired of questioning her sexuality, and honestly wanted to be strait, but just then she heard a small boy's voice. Usually she was quite fond of children, but this one was an exception.
"Mom, are they on a date?" His mother (mortified) tried to shush him, but he ignored her. "It's weird though, they're both girls. I supposed to be a girl and a guy; not a girl and a girl! Why are they different?"
Deciding she didn't give a single damn about gender, Alice got up and kissed Francine right on the mouth. Then she resisted the urge to stick her tongue out at the now silent boy.