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Mercy liked to hold Lucy, strong and fast, as if Lucy would disappear if Mercy let go. Lucy didn't mind it. She wasn't going to disappear, but her head was full of problems sometimes and they weren't just going to go away.

Right now they were in bed together, Mercy's head pillowed on Lucy's shoulder.

"I called my mother today," said Mercy.

Lucy shook her head. "If you're trying to make me hot, that isn't going to work."

"I just want you to know that I talk to her about you. I don't want you to think I'm hiding you from anyone."

"Okay," said Lucy. "But your mother is never going to accept me." She didn't like talking about Mercy's family. Or even thinking about them.

"She doesn't say that to me," Mercy protested. "I'm sure you'll make a better impression on her the next time you meet her."

"It's already too late for me to be what your mother wants for you. I mean besides that I'm a woman. She probably could learn to deal you being with a woman from a wealthy family who had a good upbringing. And a good education, maybe worked for a non-profit like you. She'd just go around telling everybody you were roommates."

"I don't think she's that bad. Maybe she'll make a better impression on you the next time you meet her, too."

Lucy made a face. "There's going to be a next time?"

Mercy frowned. Lucy felt Mercy's hand trail down her side and grip one of her hands.

"Don't you want there to be a next time?" Mercy asked.

"I guess, but I'm still going to be a girl who only has a high school diploma and works a minimum wage job. And I'm still going to be my father's daughter."

"You are who you are and I want you stay that way," Mercy said gently. "My mother will see what I love about you someday. And if she doesn't, that will be her problem."

"Wait, back up, did you say you loved me?" asked Lucy, grinning.

"Oh dear, did I let that slip out?" said Mercy with a laugh. "Yes, I do."

Lucy picked up a pillow and hit her gently with it. "I love you, too. Now let's stop talking about your mother."

Mercy picked up Lucy's hand and kissed it. "Sounds like a great idea," she murmured.