Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Golden Girls
Character/Pairing: George/Blanche, Men/Blanche, Dorothy/Blanche, Sophia
Challenge/Prompt: 1_million_words: Say What Friday: "Love is just sex misspelled." -- Harlan Ellison and "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." -- Eleanor Roosevelt
Word Count: 1,454
Date Written: 15 July 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
“Love is just sex misspelled,” Blanche drawled, stirring a spoon through her coffee and watching as her milk and cream evaporated into the dark, hot liquid.
“You don’t mean that!” Dorothy exclaimed, looking up from her newspaper.
“Of course Ah do, Dorothy.” Blanche yawned pointedly. “Every night, it’s th’ same ol’ thing, just a different beau.”
“Well,” Dorothy shook her newspaper, making a snapping sound, “maybe you should change your routine.”
“Ah have! Don’t you think Ah’ve tried to change it up, to find new interests again? For th’ longest time, Ah thought Ah’d find another George! Ah really did believe Ah loved him, ya know, until he died. Ah honestly didn’t even think o’ othah men when Ah was with George.”
“He must’ve been some man.”
“He was! He was strong and strappin’, brave, an’ such a gentleman. A true Southern gentleman.”
“What about that millionaire you went out with last week?” her best friend asked. “He seemed like a gentleman.”
“Oh, he was until we got home all right. Then he wanted th’ same thing every othah man wants.” She sighed.
“You’re not telling me Blanche Devereaux is complaining about sex!” Dorothy cried in shock.
“No! No, o’ course not! It’s just . . . Ah’d like something different, something new, ya know, something to shake up th’ ol’ routine? An’ besides he was a gentleman, but he wasn’t a Southern gentleman. There is a difference, you know.”
“What?” Dorothy smirked, hiding the pain that welled in her heart. “One likes his coffee strong and black and the other likes grits in the morning?” It was better by far to crack a joke than it was to speak the challenge that had originally came to her mind. If Blanche truly wanted something different, why didn’t she try something entirely different than her usual, endless lines of beau? Why didn’t she take a female lover for the first time in her life? Why didn’t she give her a chance?
“No!” Blanche exclaimed heatedly. “It’s just . . . “ She sighed and toyed with her napkin. “Ah don’t know how to explain it to a Yankee, Dorothy, Ah’m sorry.”
Dorothy lowered her paper and glared over its top. “Try pretending I’m not a Yankee,” she countered. She’d never known anyone to put such strong belief and favoritism in the place where they’d grown up, not when it was just a part of their nation and not the actual, whole country of their birth.
“A Southern gentleman . . . “ Blanche sighed. Her gaze grew distant as she remembered. “Well, for one thing, they nevah put their own selves first. They always put th’ pleasure o’ their lady first. It’s not a wham, bam, thank you, ma’am, with them, an’ it’s not about games either. Makin’ love for a Southern gentleman is . . . It’s like a fine art, an’ they always have their audience’s best intention in mind. Ah’ve faked it many times in mah life, Dorothy -- you know, it, but Ah nevah had to fake it with George. He always made sure Ah went first, an’ then he’d follow after.”
She sighed, her lovely face falling down into an intense pout. “But Ah guess he had to be different in death. He had to go first. That’s a Southern gentleman thing too: If somebody’s gonna suffer, it’s gonna be ‘em first, an’ they’re gonna take as much o’ it as they can wit’out evah sayin’ a word.”
She sighed again and slowly looked up at her friend. Tears glistened in her eyes. “Ah guess that’s th’ real problem,” she admitted softly, as though realizing the truth for the first time herself. “Ah just miss him so much! An’ nobody else can measure up to mah George.”
Dorothy was struck by the real tears in Blanche’s beautiful eyes. It took her a moment to move, but then she laid her newspaper down on the table between them, reached over it, and took Blanche’s hand. She squeezed her hard and felt her small hand trembling within her larger one. “Blanche,” she spoke slowly, choosing her words carefully, “if George really was all that, if he really always put your pleasure first, don’t you know he’d want you to be happy?”
A smile fluttered over her full lips. “Ah . . . Ah guess you’re right, Dorothy. No,” she corrected herself. “Ah know you’re right, but Ah’m also beginnin’ to think that it doesn’t matter how hard Ah try. Ah’m nevah really gonna be happy with any man othah than him.”
Dorothy almost said the words then. She almost asked her if she could be happy with a woman, if she would even consider the possibility. Instead she squeezed her hand again and spoke softly, “You’re just missing him right now.”
“You’re darn right Ah’m missin’ him! We would’ve been married sixty years today.” She sighed wistfully. “An’ Ah guess in a way Ah still feel like we are married an’ every man Ah see him after him is a man Ah’m cheatin’ on mah dear husband with.” She forced a laugh, trying to make light of the situation. “But o’ course it isn’t, an’ o’ course George would want me to be happy. Ah know he would.” She squeezed Dorothy’s hand, then let go of her, picked up her napkin, and dabbed at her eyes. “Thanks for listenin’ to an ol’ fool babble, Dorothy,” she said, fluttering her eyes.
She got up and was already swiftly retreating from the room when Dorothy spoke, “You’re not a fool. You’re just a woman still in love.” There was no wonder, she realized, sighing herself as Blanche left, that she could not make the other woman look at her anywhere near in the same light as she admired her. Blanche may see man after man after man, a different guy almost every night, but she was still in love with her husband. And Dorothy, damn her hide, was still in love with her, a woman who would never look at another woman after being loved so thoroughly by a man, even if he was deceased!
“That’s exactly why you’re never going to get that Slut Puppy,” Sophia spoke up from the stove, waving a wooden spoon at her daughter.
“Ma!” Dorothy cried in dismay./ Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, Dorothy: ‘The future belongs to those who believe in their dreams.’ You’ve been dreaming after that girl for years, Dorothy.”
“She’s not a girl, Ma. She’s a woman, a woman with a broken heart -- “
“A woman who lets every guy in Miami and beyond try to mend that broken heart. You might actually succeed.” Sophia waved her spoon again before returning to stirring her soup. “But as long as you just dream about it in secret, Pussycat, and don’t act on it, you’ve never going to get anywhere.”
Dorothy sighed audibly. She gathered her newspaper, slid her chair back, and stood up. “Then I’m never going to get anywhere,” she said decisively, “Ma, because I’m not going to mess with what she had with her husband.” She left, ignoring Sophia’s further advice as she moved out.
“Then you’re going to let her dwell in the past instead of moving on to the future you both deserve.” Sophia sighed and looked down at her soup. “Sal, our daughter’s a nut.” She was a nut, but she loved her. She loved Blanche, too, and only wanted all her girls to be happy.
They weren’t going to, though, because as Blanche would have said, she was barking up the wrong tree. She wanted another man to make her as happy as George had, but only George had had that ability of all his gender. If she truly wanted happiness, she was going to have to find it with someone completely different; she was going to have to find it with Sophia’s proudest daughter, Dorothy. But neither Dorothy nor Blanche were willing to let go of their fears or past to seize the future.
“Do something about it, will you?” she asked, looking up at the ceiling and never realizing how much she herself was like Blanche, still talking to and mourning for her dead husband. “‘Cause I’ve tried and I can’t.” She sighed and went back to preparing lunch. Dorothy was right. Her girls were two women in love, but as long as neither tried to move forward, they’d never do anyone any good. The future was for dreamers, but you had to act on your dreams to make them happen. She sighed again, thinking wistfully, Maybe one day. All she could do was keep stirring things between them and trying to guide them into something beautiful, much like the very meal she was stirring now.