Spoilers: None that I can think of.
Summary: Margie misunderstands the way things work. Pre-series.
Word count: ~1,100
"Margene!" Nicki said, scandalised. "You've got completely the wrong idea."
Margie didn't look convinced. "But we're getting married, right? You and me and Barb and Bill. All four of us. And you and Barb are always saying how much you love me."
A blatant lie. Nicki had been very careful only to tell Margie she loved her when it was absolutely necessary. Nevertheless, it was clear that some more instruction was in order.
"Barb and I love you very much," Nicki said, straining to keep her tone as sweet and patient as possible under the circumstances. "But you've obviously confused the sacred covenant of plural marriage with some sort of satanic lesbian orgy."
"I just thought-" Margene was pouting. Sometimes Nicki wondered if Margie had ever had a problem she couldn't pout her way out of.
"Well, you thought wrong," Nicki said. She picked up her laundry basket, suddenly keen to end the lesson. "We're sisters. If Heavenly Father wanted sisterwives to kiss each other, he wouldn't have given us husbands."
"He gave us a husband," Margie said, following her upstairs to their shared walk-in closet. Not for the first time, Nicki found herself missing the big house. "There's only one of him and there's three of us. Does that seem fair to you?"
"We've been over this, Margie." Nicki busied herself folding linen, hoping that Margie would get the message and leave her alone. Or at least offer to help out with some of the bigger sheets.
Margene didn't have a bedroom in this house. The four of them were rotating her and Barb's two rooms - Bill and one wife sleeping in Barb's double bed while the other two shared Nicki's, depending on whose night it was. There was so little space in this house. She hardly missed the compound and she was glad of Margie's company in the daytime, but she hadn't had to share a bedroom since she was a child. It was almost degrading.
Still, Bill kept promising they'd be moving into their new homes soon. Nicki already had a mental shopping list of furniture she'd need for the boys' rooms.
Margie was leaning against the doorframe. A strand of hair had fallen in her face and Nicki's fingers itched to brush it behind her ear. Or clip it back with a pin.
This would never have happened if they'd just hired Wanda as a babysitter, she thought irritably. Or anyone from the compound, really. Someone who properly understood and truly lived the principle. Or, at the very least, someone who could tell the difference between celestial marriage and pornographic fantasy.
Nicki pointedly turned her attention back to the shirt she was folding. The education of the unwanted third wife was hardly her responsibility. It was bad enough that Barb was insisting on teaching again. Stranding her in the too-small house with this pouting, misguided lump was just too much. She made a mental note to have a word with Bill later.
"Haven't you ever wondered?" Margene asked, her voice dropping. She didn't even bother to specify what she was asking about.
"Of course not," Nicki snapped. She shook out a freshly-laundered sheet, proud that she didn't feel her hands tremble at all.
"You know, it's not that big a deal," Margie was saying. She sounded unusually distant. "Didn't you used to kiss your friends when you were growing up?"
Nicki kept her eyes fixed on the laundry basket. "I'll tell Barb," she said.
"You'll tell Barb about how you used to kiss girls?"
Nicki's heartbeat thudded furiously in her ears. "You keep talking like this and I will repeat every word of it to Barb," she said. "Maybe even Bill too. Don't push me, Margene."
Margie laughed, sounding uncertain and dismissive all at once. Nicki grabbed her wrist, squeezing harder than she intended to.
"This is completely unacceptable," Nicki said, her voice tightening in her throat. "I don't care how many trailer park hussies you've sullied yourself with. You are part of this family now and I won't let you drag us down into the mud with you."
Margie didn't reply, but she didn't pull her hand back either.
Nicki softened. "I'm telling you this for your own good," she said. "You're not even married to Bill yet. Do you really think he'll want anything to do with you if he finds out that you're in poor condition? You know, at your age he'll be expecting you to be a virgin."
"I really don't think he will be," Margie said gently.
Nicki sighed. Margie could be so naive sometimes.
Margie's hand awkwardly twisted in her grip so that she was the one holding on to Nicki. Nicki noted the smooth softness of her hands with irritation. Margie was looking at her face but didn't seem to be meeting her eyes. It was Barb's night, she realised distantly.
"You know, it's obvious you've never done any heavy lifting in your life," Nicki heard herself say, one finger tracing the surface of Margie's uncalloused palm. "If you'd grown up in my family, there's no way you'd get away with-"
Margie leaned forward and brushed her lips against Nicki's. Her hand was still wrapped loosely around Nicki's. Nicki decided that she almost certainly wouldn't be able to break out of the hold and that it would be easier to just wait until Margene was finished. It would give her time to strategise, she reasoned. She resolutely didn't think about the warmth of hands and fingers and mouths and skin.
Margie was barely demanding anything, she thought absently. It was almost casual. Chaste and filthy all at once. As though kissing women was something that you could just do. Barb wouldn't kiss like this at all.
The thought jolted her back to reality. Nicki pulled back. Margene didn't look phased.
"Well," Nicki said. "I hope that's out of your system now." She looked at the stacks of folded sheets, at the half-empty laundry basket, at the wide-open door of the closet. Any one of their children could have walked in and seen her. Them. Her.
"We're going to have to top and tail," Nicki heard herself say. "In bed tonight. I can't have you-"
Her bottom lip was tingling. She swiped the back of her hand over her mouth. Margie was just looking at her.
"Are you okay?" Margie sounded nervous. Apologetic, maybe. Which was exactly the way she ought to feel, Nicki reminded herself.
Margie looked uncomfortable. "I could, uh, finish the folding. If that would help."
Nicki drew herself up, looked Margene up and down. "No," she said decisively. "I have a special way I like to do it." There was no precedent for how to respond to this sort of insubordination, she thought. Not outside Juniper Creek, at least. She ought to order Margie out of the house. Or storm out herself. Or, at the very least, send her errant sisterwife downstairs to load the dishwasher and pray for Heavenly Father’s forgiveness.
Barb wouldn't kiss like that at all. Barb wouldn't approve, and she'd be absolutely right not to. But it was just one little indiscreation and Barb didn't have to know about everything, not really.
Nicki handed Margene one of the sheets. "Here," she said, shaking out a duvet cover, ready to begin the demonstration. "This is the way we do it here."