Chord, p.20Chelsea M. Cameron
“Are you kidding? You’re the golden child. You could tell them you murdered someone and they would throw you a party to celebrate.” That was an exaggeration, but I got her point.
“I can tell them without you, if you want. But I think if we do it together it will be better.”
“You sure about that?”
I stood up.
“Only one way to find out.”
We both walked downstairs to find Mom and Dad in the kitchen loading the dishwasher and talking about Kate.
“You want me to go first?” I said. Somehow, having Kate next to me was making me feel like I could do this. All my uncertainty was gone. This was happening.
“Sure,” she said, standing behind me.
“Mom, Dad?” I said, and they looked up, realizing we were both standing there. They shared a look.
“Can we talk to you?” I indicated myself and Kate.
My parents blinked a few times and then nodded.
“Do we need to sit down for this?” Dad asked.
“I mean, I don’t think so, but we could,” I said, so we went to the dining room.
“So,” I said, taking a breath, “there’s something I wanted to tell you. I know both of you noticed that I seem different. Well, the reason is that I’m dating someone.” My mother made a squealing noise.
“I knew it. Who is it? Is he cute?” Dad hushed her.
“He isn’t. Because he’s a she. I’m dating my roommate, Cordelia.” Thick silence descended on the room.
“So, does this mean you’re ...” Dad trailed off.
“I don’t really know. I’m still working on that one. But I think it’s safe to say that I’m not heterosexual.” I looked at Kate.
“I’m bi,” she blurted out. Mom’s eyes got the size of dinner plates.
“Hold on, hold on, one daughter at a time,” Dad said. “How long have you been dating this girl, Chase?”
“Uh, for a few weeks? I wanted to tell you in person. So that’s why we waited. She told her dad today too. We didn’t plan on it, obviously. It just happened. And I know it’s complicated because we live together, but I’m happy. She makes me so happy.” Now I was going to cry.
Dad got up from the table and wrapped his arms around me.
“Thank you for telling us. It’s going to take me a little while to wrap my mind around the fact that you are dating your roommate, but I’ll get there. I love you, Chase. Always have. Always will.” I hugged him back and looked at Mom.
“Why didn’t you say something sooner?” She got up and attacked me with a hug. “You’ve been letting me yammer on about boyfriends. I had no idea, Chase, I didn’t.”
“It’s okay, Mom. I didn’t know either. It’s a shock to all of us.” I laughed a little and Mom kissed my forehead.
“Oh, Chase. I love you so much. And I’m sure Cordelia is a very nice girl. Are we going to get to meet her anytime soon?” I gaped at her.
“I don’t know.”
“Don’t pressure her, Linda. Give her some breathing room.”
“Uh, hi?” Kate said and then they hugged her too.
“So you’re bisexual?” Mom said, and Kate nodded.
“I think so.”
“Okay, then.” And that was that. That was what Kate had needed. They had given me what I had needed. They sat back down and I told the story of how I had gotten together with Chase (leaving out the more salacious aspects) and Kate talked about the girl she had a crush on. We laughed and it was comfortable. They were fine, as I knew they would be. The doubt was gone. We stayed up talking for hours, like we hadn’t done in years. It was good and I was happy I could text Cordelia and tell her that everything was fine. And that now my mom was pressuring me to bring her over so she could meet her. I was going to put that off as long as I could. If my mom would let me.
THE REST OF THE WEEK flew by, surprisingly. I hung out a lot with Kate, who also had a few days off from school. While my parents were at work we hung out and talked about queer things and laughed about all the signs we had missed when we were growing up. I hadn’t felt close to her like that in a long time.
I also talked a ton with Cordelia, who’s dad had gone out and gotten a rainbow flag to hang on the front of their house and had joined PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), an organization for the parents of queer kids.
“He’s really gotten into this whole thing. It’s kind of freaking me out, if it wasn’t so sweet.” I didn’t want to tell my mom about PFLAG because she would inevitably want to join it too.
Everything had worked out, as it rarely did in life. I didn’t know how I’d gotten so lucky to have an amazing girl and an amazing family behind me. I also talked with Kyle, Stella, Elise, and Eli during the break and they were all thrilled for us. It was a big step to tell our parents.
I’d also read several of the books I’d borrowed from the queer organization and I still hadn’t landed on a label. I was thinking I was probably a lesbian, but then there were so many different genders and I just didn’t know. Cordelia and I talked a lot about working on our labels and definitions together, and she had decided to shelve it for the time being. The idea of not knowing did not work for me, so I was still going to try and figure it out. But it wasn’t essential for my survival. Right now, I was enjoying being with her, and enjoying having a supportive family. The label stuff could wait until I got back to school. I might just go with “queer” since it encompassed so many things and was an umbrella term. At least for now. I just wanted something that felt right for me, and I hadn’t found it yet.
The rest of the week with my dad was a blast. He dove headfirst into the fact that he had a daughter that was dating another girl and I thought he was almost too enthusiastic about the whole thing, but I couldn’t fault him for it. He loved me and he didn’t do anything halfway. We had that in common.
Missing Chase sucked, but I was thrilled that her family was on board with everything. Apparently her sister was also bi, as she’d recently found out, so they had bonded over that. It was so sweet and it made me want to be a big sister-type to Kate as well and we chatted a few times. She wanted to come up and visit Chase and stay with us for a weekend sometime. We just had to convince their parents it was a good idea.
In between pining for Chase and hanging out with my dad, I got my work done, even though I hated every second of it. I really needed to pick a major at some point. My classes weren’t great, but they were all required, no matter what my major was, so I had to do them anyway. Art history was not my jam, and I told my dad that. He seemed to accept it, at least for now. Weird that he had a harder time with that than the dating girls thing.
I arrived back at school on Sunday afternoon before classes started back up on Monday. I was ready to go the second the sun came up on Sunday, but Dad forced me to have pancakes with him and watch too many baking shows. Guilt stabbed me as I packed up to leave again.
“You’re not lonely?” I said as he grabbed me up in a bear hug.
“No, I’m not. I have work and I go out. I do have friends, you know. Other than you.” He was an adult, but I still worried.
“You should get a girlfriend. Or a boyfriend?” He chuckled at that.
“I think I’m just interested in women, but I can’t seem to find the right one. It’s not what I need right now.” I hugged him back and figured that was all I could do. I couldn’t force him to date someone, and I knew he was still so hurt after my mom left. She’d really broken his heart.
“I love you,” I said, jumping up to kiss his bearded cheek.
“I love you, Sprite. Drive safe.”
I waved goodbye to him and got in my car. It was time to drive and see my girl.
IT TOOK FOREVER FOR her to get back. I kept looking out the window and checking my phone and nibbling on my nails. At last, there was the sound of her key in the door and I yanked it open before she cou
“I fucking missed you,” I said, hurling myself into her arms and kissing her hard. She dropped everything she was holding and grabbed me so we didn’t both topple over.
“I missed you,” she said in between kisses and then set me down. I couldn’t stop looking at her, but a throat cleared and I looked away from her beautiful face.
We weren’t alone.
“Oh,” I said, my face going redder than it had ever been before.
“Cordelia, this is my mom, my dad, and my sister, Kate.” They were all here. They were all here and they had seen me tackling her. Welp. This was awkward.
“Uh, it’s nice to meet you?” It sounded like a question.
Her dad looked like he was trying not to laugh and her mom was beaming. Kate had a smirk on her face. She and Chase looked so much alike, but Chase took more after her father in height and body shape. Her coloring was all her mother.
“It’s nice to meet you,” her dad said, sticking out his hand. I was pulled into a hug by her mother and Kate gave me a hug as well.
“Do you want to come in?” I asked. I didn’t want to prolong this horrible encounter, but I also didn’t want to be rude.
“No, that’s fine. We just came up to say goodbye to Chase,” her mom said. They hugged and then they left. Kate gave me a little wave.
“Have funnnn,” she said with a knowing look. I wanted to die.
“Did that just happen?” I said, finally looking at Chase.
“Yeah, it did.” She burst out laughing and dragged me into the room.
“So are you sure?” she asked me for what felt like the millionth time.
“Yes, I’m sure that I want to live with you next year. It would be impossible to live without you at this point,” I said. It was next to the last week of classes and Cordelia and I were signing up for next year, including where we wanted to live and who we wanted to live with.
“Okay, I’m typing your name in,” she said in a sing-song voice. Our parents had cautioned us on living together next year, but we’d made it one entire year without killing each other or breaking up, so I figured we could do another one. I loved living with her. Even when she made a mess or didn’t wash her dishes. Even when I found her hair everywhere. Even though we had to share a bed that didn’t really accommodate two people. It was all worth it.
“I’m typing you in,” I said and submitted the request form. It came back immediately confirmed that we were set up to be roommates for the coming school year.
“Yay!” Cordelia said when she saw the confirmation. She dove into my lap and kissed me.
“You’re not sick of me yet?” she said.
“Nope. You’re not sick of me?” She shook her head.
“Not even a little bit. But I’m thinking maybe we might want to bunk our beds and put a futon on the other side. Or see if we can get rid of the beds and just have a futon.” She had a good point.
“We can look for a used one. I bet someone is selling one.”
“I can’t believe we have to be without each other for a whole summer.” Most people probably looked forward to summer, but I wasn’t this year. All I wanted was to be with Chase the whole year, but we were going to be apart. Since we were both going to be working as much as possible, our face-to-face time was going to be limited. Still, other couples had done long distance before and at least we would be in the same state.
“We’ll get through it,” I said. My phone buzzed with a text. “Hey, Kyle is wondering where we are.” We were having another bowling night and Elise was out front waiting for us.
“Are you sure we can’t just stay in?” she said, reaching her hand under my shirt. “We only have a few more days to get in as much sex as possible.”
I snorted, but her clever hand was making me think about things other than bowling.
“You’re being distracting and our friends are waiting for us. Maybe if you’re a good girl at bowling, you’ll get a reward later.” She made a little whining sound.
“You’re so unfair.”
“Mmmm, you love it,” I said, taking her hand.
“You’re right, I do. I love each and every thing about you.” She put her arms around my neck.
“I love each and every thing about you, Carrots.” She wrinkled her nose at me.
“Even though I messed up all your plans?”
“Yup. Now I have new plans and they all involve you.” I stared down into her eyes. They were like the ocean again today.
“That’s so weird, all my plans involve you.”
“What a coincidence.” I smiled down at her and smacked her butt.
“Come on, our friends are waiting.”
Acknowledgements: This book is a LONG time in coming. Holy crap. I wanted to have it out in 2017, but clearly, that didn’t happen. I had a bad time with my mental health last year, and I’m finally feeling like I’m getting things back on track. I also moved and sold my house, so 2017 was a year of new beginnings. I knew, when I wrote Style, that I would do a series of spinoff books, but I had no idea who they would be about. Then Chase and Cordelia popped up and I loved the idea of roommates falling for each other. I have had so much support from my readers for this book. You all have kept me going, kept me writing, and I am forever grateful.
I also have to thank my editor, Laura Helseth, who worked on such a tight deadline and who has been a friend and supporter for nearly as long as I’ve been in this business.
Thank you to the many bloggers and authors who have supported me in my career. I can’t explain what y’all mean to me and how your support keeps me going when things seem bleak.
Thank you to my Patreon supporters, especially Brandi (whose last name I shamelessly stole) for your unfailing enthusiasm. You help me keep going.
A Very Special Thank You to my love, my dear hear, my Allie, who not only designed this cover, but who did the laundry and made me eat when I was working on this book. I couldn’t have done it without you, babe.
This one also goes out to the amazing queer people out there. Whether you’ve found your label, or you haven’t. Whether your out of the closet or not. You are loved. You are valuable. You make this world a better place.
I did a list of my favorite queer books in the back of Style, and I’d like to do that with some that I’ve read since I published that:
Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman
A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith
Coffee Boy by Austin Chant
Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Misfits by Leigh Garrett
Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha
An Unsuitable Heir by K. J. Charles
Shades of Magic series by V. E. Scwab
How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J. C. Lillis
When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
*If you are an educator/librarian/work with LGBTQIA teens in the United States and would like a paperback copy of this book for your library/collection, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’d be happy to donate one to your school/organization.
About the author:
Chelsea M. Cameron is a New York Times/USA Today Best Selling author from Maine who now lives in Boston. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world's worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.
Other books by Chelsea M. Cameron:
Nocturnal (The Noctalis Chronicles, Book One)
Nightmare (The Noctalis Chronicles, Book Two)
Neverend (The Noctalis Chronicles, Book Four)
Whisper (The Whisper Trilogy, Book One)
Deeper We Fall (Fall and Rise, Book One)
Faster We Burn (Fall and Rise, Book Two)
Together We Heal
My Favorite Mistake (Available from Harlequin)
My Sweetest Escape (Available from Harlequin)
Our Favorite Days (My Favorite Mistake, Book Three)
Surrendering to Us
For Real (Rules of Love, Book One)
For Now (Rules of Love, Book Two)
Behind Your Back
Back to Back
Bend Me, Break Me
Style (OTP Series, Book One)
Brooks (Benson Brothers, Book One)
Second Kiss (Violet Hill, Book One)
Double Exposure (Violet Hill, Book Two)
Second Chance (Violet Hill, Book Three)
Find Chelsea online:
Facebook: Chelsea M. Cameron (Official Author Page)
Sign up for her Patreon!
Chord is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are use fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, business establishments or locales is entirely coincidental.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2018 Chelsea M. Cameron
Editing by Laura Helseth
Chord by Chelsea M. Cameron / History & Fiction / Romance & Love have rating 3.6 out of 5 / Based on25 votes