When we last left off, Rachel and Ariane were visiting a sex club, when Ariane ran into her mother.
Ariane stands up to confront her mother, but her mother stops Ariane and leads her into a nearby bathroom where they can talk in private.
Ariane’s mother is the first one to speak, “I’m sorry you caught me like this, this is a side of my life I did not feel like sharing with you or your brother.”
“I’m a little embarrassed you saw me here as well,” admits Ariane, “I have no idea where to begin.”
“I, uh, me neither actually,” says her Mom, “well except, are you dating women now?”
Ariane just stands there with her mouth open, not knowing how to answer that.
“No judgment, moms just want to know what their kids are up to. Besides lesbian sex is a lot of fun, once you learn how to do it right.”
“MOM! I beg of you please stop talking!”
“I’m sorry, too much information. Maybe we should talk later when we are not so emotional.”
“Agreed,” says Ariane, “We’re still on for Christmas dinner right?”
“Yes, of course 4 PM, you’re bringing the mashed potatoes right?”
Ariane smiles at the sudden change of topic, “What’s ham dinner without mashed potatoes?”
“Of course, and after dinner we will have that talk about the birds and the birds if you want.”
“MO-O-OM!” cries Ariane at her mother as if she is 6 years old again.
“I know you like to deflect emotions with humor, I do it too,” says Ariane. “But now is not the time. Now if you don’t mind, I think I’ll find Rachel and leave before it gets any weirder. We’ll talk after Christmas dinner.”
Rachel and Ariane ride the elevator down. “I think we should talk about what happened tonight,” says Rachel.
“I agree says Ariane, but not tonight. I’m no longer in the mood for anything sexy. I just want to go home by myself, brew some tea, and watch Disney movies.”
“You don’t want company?” asks Rachel.
“No I need to be alone,” says Ariane, “but I’ll call you when I’m ready to talk.”
Rachel nodded and neither of them said another word to each other, except a mutual “Goodnight” in the parking garage.
Rachel and Ariane didn’t meet again until after Christmas, six days later.
“Thanks for meeting me for coffee,” says Rachel.
“Well for future reference, the text phrase ‘we need to talk’ is a bit of a trigger for me,” says Ariane. “It is what I say to guys when I get tired of them and about to dump them.”
“Well, that was kind of my intent,” says Rachel.
“It has been almost a week since the Top Club, and we have never really got together and barely text,” explains Rachel. “I get the feeling something is wrong, and the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced there might be.”
“You are right, something is wrong,” says Ariane. “But not between us, I swear.”
Ariane continues in detail. “Seeing my mom at a sex club was, well it was a shock. She keeps that part of her life away from the rest of the family, and I had no idea. This has taken most of my attention the last week, especially since yesterday was Christmas, and I had to spend the day with her.
“I was half expecting for her to cancel Christmas dinner, and I thought about doing it too to avoid the awkwardness,” Ariane continued. “She didn’t. In fact she was more concerned with me being at the sex club, than embarrassed about me seeing her.”
Ariane pauses and takes a sip of coffee. “We had a good talk, turns out my mother and I have a lot more in common than either of us thought.”
“Anyways,” Ariane concludes, “that was the reason for my lack of contact the last few days, I was preoccupied with family.”
“Wow, that’s good to hear it all worked out with your mother,” says Rachel.
“When I found out the BDSM submissive I talked to was your mother, it actually made a lot of sense. She’s a nice woman.”
“Well thanks, I think,” says Ariane.
“That’s only part of it though,” continued Rachel. “I’ve been thinking about the events of that night, and it got me thinking about our rel… uh, whatever it is we have.”
“Ah, so you were bothered about me going off and having sex with Hiro and Heidi?” asked Ariane.
Rachel nodded. “It’s not that I’m jealous, you have nothing to feel guilty of, after all I went and played Westworld,” explains Rachel. “You’re my friend and I want you to be free to do whatever makes you happy.”
“I just feel that our little ‘more than friends’ relationship experiment may be over.”
Ariane realized where this was headed. “So you are basically saying, ‘let’s just be friends’? I don’t want to hear that speech, I have given that speech too many times.”
“I’m sure you have — to ex-lovers. While we have come close, we are not lovers. That is what is different about this situation than your typical breakups: We already are friends!”
“Think about what we did at the club together, we were up front and honest with each other about our exploits with others in the club. We dropped any relationship pretense for the night and ultimately proved we are better as friends.”
“So when you say we should ‘just be friends’, you are meaning it literally, not in a breakup scenario.”
Ariane quietly thinks about this a while, sipping her coffee.
“You know what, this might actually be the best way to go, drop the charade of a relationship and just be friends who can tell each other anything,” says Ariane agreeably.
“But does this mean no more cuddling?”
“I hope not, as far as I am concerned, part of being a friend is being emotionally supportive of one another, and sometimes we need a good cuddle,” answers Rachel.
“I’m OK with that,” says Ariane.
“So in the spirit of honesty among friends, let me tell you something you don’t know,” starts Ariane. “Remember when I left you and did the whole manga cosplay thing with that Japanese guy Hiro?”
“Well it turns out, he thought I was an escort, a prostitute. That red envelope I got at the end of the night, it was filled with $1000 cash.”
“Oh My God!” says Rachel.
“I seriously considered giving it back until the whole mom thing happened. I brought it up to her when we talked yesterday. She made me feel less guilty for keeping the money, but she couldn’t help slipping in a motherly ‘I told you so’ in there.”
“Wow, she’s great,” says Rachel.
“So BFF,” says Rachel, “It’s the day after Christmas, I got the usual stack of gift cards as presents, and you have an unexpected wad of cash…”
“Way ahead of you Rach,” responds Ariane. “Let’s order some breakfast first, then it’s off to the mall!”
Ariane and Rachel spent the rest of the day at the mall.
For the rest of the holiday week the two “just friends” spend as much time as possible with each other. No sleepovers or any kind of intimacy, just “hanging out”.
One day is spent at Rachel’s place where she shows Ariane her favorite movies that Ariane hasn’t seen yet.
The next day Ariane attempts to teach Rachel how to ice skate.
The fun continued until New Years Eve…