Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Golden Girls
Character/Pairing: Blanche/Dorothy, Rose, Sophia
Challenge/Prompt: hc_bingo: Cages and femslash100100: Ink
Word Count: 1,649
Date Written: 29 November 2016
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
Rose looks up as Blanche slams the door behind her. The blonde stands and begins to follow her friend as Blanche partially stalks and partially sways through their living room into their kitchen. "Another bad date?" she asks with a grimace, catching the kitchen door just before Blanche can let it slam in her face.
"Cheesecake?" she suggests timidly as the Southern belle drops down to survey the refrigerator's contents. Blanche sighs dramatically, and Rose grimaces again as her friend completely passes by the cheesecake to grab a bottle of wine they've been keeping for an important occasion in the back of the fridge. "Blanche, that's not -- " she starts to say.
"Shut up, Rose," Blanche snaps, and Rose's mouth shuts. She watches through wide and startled eyes as Blanche moves to the sink and pops the cork on the wine. She doesn't even reach for a glass, just takes a large gulp that burns her lungs from the bottle itself. "Ah need this after tonight. Cheesecake doesn't fix everythin'."
"Too bad you girls didn't figure that out twenty pounds ago."
"Sophia," Blanche snaps, "not tonight."
"Put a lid on it, Slut Puppy. I'm not in the mood to listen to your drama tonight, either. If you'd stop running out the door every night with a different man, maybe you'd have a good date for a change!"
"It's not like Ah knew Bernard was goin' t' have a foot fetish!"
"With a name like Bernard -- " Sophia starts to say, but Blanche continues on as if she's not even heard a word she's just said.
"Ah mean, Ah suppose Ah should've guessed it, what with his bein' a podiatrist an' all, but Ah didn't think it would come to our feet on th' first date."
"If the man was upset because he'd gotten a whiff of your feet, wait 'til he'd smelled what's really been around the block!"
"Sophia!" Rose cries. "That is enough, out of the both of you!" Her moist and angry eyes dart between the two women. "Really, the way you two go at it you'd think you didn't love each other!"
"All of Miami loves the Slut Puppy," Sophia quips. "She doesn't need me."
"Enough! Now you two hug and make up!"
"I don't need what she's carrying," Sophia shoots, but she does leave the room -- and Rose gaping open-mouthed behind her.
"She . . . She doesn't mean it," she tries to reassure both Blanche and herself as she continues on her own way to the refrigerator.
"Of course she does." Blanche takes another long swallow from the bottle. "She just doesn't know how t' sweet talk like th' rest o' us does, but sometimes all th' sweet talkin' in the world can't get us what we want."
"Blanche," Rose turns from setting out the cheesecake to take a long, careful look at her friend, "you're not just talking about tonight's date, are you?"
"No, Ah -- " Blanche pauses, searching for the right words but unable to find them.
It doesn't matter a second later any way as Rose hits her with another question, "Where are your shoes?"
"Ah left them." Blanche turns away from her and toward the sink, taking another swallow of sweet, red wine as she does so. "Shoes can always be replaced. A lady's dignity can not."
"What did he do?" Rose whispers, wondering what a man could have possibly done to make Blanche run from him as she did her date tonight.
"He . . . He . . . " Blanche sighs. "Well, like Ah said," she speaks quickly, obviously flustered, "he has a foot fetish."
"And he didn't like your feet?" Rose asks, her face screwing up in confusion.
"He . . . " Blanche sighs again. "He got too close."
"When does a man ever get too close for you?" Rose wonders aloud, then blushes. "I'm sorry, Blanche," she says earnestly. "I didn't mean that the way it sounded."
"It's okay. Ah get it. Everybody thinks Ah want their grubby, filthy paws all ovah me. Ah can't blame y'all. It's th' image Ah project, after all."
"You don't want them?" Rose almost whispers.
"Ah want a man. Th' man. Th' perfect man." Blanche sighs again as she admits, "But he doesn't exist."
Silence falls between them for a moment before Rose offers, "Would you like a glass?"
"No," Blanche answers quickly.
"A slice of cheesecake?"
She smirks at her own self. "Ah nevah say no to cheesecake."
"None of us," Rose agrees, cutting a nice, thick slice, "and it has helped us to solve many problems in this very kitchen."
"Yeah," Blanche whispers, suddenly sounding hoarse, "but that was before . . . "
Rose turns to her again, and the light catches on something new she's never before noticed. "Blanche, what's that on your foot?"
"That's mah tat," she whispers.
"Your what?" Rose questions in disbelief.
Blanche takes another quick swallow of her wine before answering, "It's mah tattoo. It's a silly thing Ah did years ago." She pauses, remembering, then adds quickly, "It was supposed t' be Rod."
"But it doesn't say Rod," Rose replies gently. "It says Dor." She tilts her head to one side in her look of confusion that Blanche has said before makes it look like all her brains just finished spilling out -- not that she had many to begin with. But tonight, the proverbial wheels in Rose's mind are spinning quickly. "Dor," she repeats.
"It was supposed t' be Rod," Blanche says again, but Rose either doesn't hear her or, for a change, has the good sense not to belief her.
"Dor," she says again, and then she gasps aloud, her eyes widening in shock. "Dorothy?!"
Blanche's head falls. Crimson as dark as her low-cut dress stains her cheeks. "Now," she whispers, the sound of her broken heart finally clear in her voice, "you know mah secret." Quickly, she pours another third of the tall bottle of wine down her throat.
Rose touches the glass, and Blanche slowly lowers the wine. The two old friends stare into each other's eyes for a moment. "Rose -- " Blanche starts to say but doesn't know what to say after she speaks her name. She knows about her ink, just as Bernard learned tonight, and maybe she did do too much talking at the dinner table this evening. Maybe that's why he was able to deduce that her tattoo really was for Dorothy, who broke her heart when she left their family to marry Blanche's uncle. Her bottom lip trembles. Tears fill her eyes.
Slowly, Rose's hand closes around Blanche's. She guides her to set the bottle onto the counter, then wraps her arms tightly around her friend. "It's okay," she whispers, and then, louder, she says again, "It's okay."
"Ah -- Ah wanted -- " Blanche's voice breaks. There was so much she had wanted for the two of them. She had wanted Dorothy to be the perfect man for her, but Dorothy hadn't wanted to keep their relationship secret. She had wanted to be able to love Dorothy openly, but she had never dared even say the words aloud. She had wanted . . . She had wanted to stop Dorothy's marriage to her uncle. She had wanted to scream to the world that Dorothy should be marrying her instead, but such an union was illegal. She had wanted to keep the life they had and keep her love with and for Dorothy to the shadows until Dorothy had become everything Blanche needed, including having the sex change operation to which she'd never agreed.
She should have just shut up and loved her any way, but she'd always believed, and always been told, that she belonged with a man. But now she was alone even in a room full of people. She was alone even with Rose's arms around her. She was alone even when she had a man inside of her. No man could complete her. Dorothy already had. She just hadn't seen it until it was too late and Dorothy had broken her heart, her very being, when she'd left her.
Blanche's words shatter into a heart-wrenching sob. Rose holds her tight. "It's okay," she says again and again, stroking her back. "It's okay." She holds her as she sobs.
Sophia pokes her head back into the kitchen. The old woman takes one look at the two women who have become like daughters to her over the years they have been together, and for once, she can find no acidic words to sling at them. Instead, her own heart wrenches at the sight. She glances at Blanche's tattoo, remembering the night her girls came home as high as kites and she noticed the cover on Blanche's ankle. She'd known then that they had done something from which they would never be able to turn back.
"Rod, my ass! You should've told her you love her," she tells Blanche, standing in the doorway.
"Ah know!" Blanche sobs. "Ah know! But it's too late now!"
Sophia's head hangs. She knows she's right. No amount of words can bring her Pussycat back to them now. It's just the three of them, and so it will be until the day she dies. Their own ugly words, stubborn prides, and quick tempers have built a cage for them to which Dorothy will never return for more than the occasional visit. All they have left is the three of them.
Her tears start to spill. Rose looks over, her arms still wrapped tightly around Blanche's sobbing form. She reaches a hand out to Sophia, who walks over and takes it before wrapping her skinny arms around her two remaining girls. Here they are. Here they will live. Here they cry, and here they will die the three of them alone in this cage they built for themselves.