Eva lay on her back in bed. She had hardly gotten any sleep the night before. She'd spent the night tossing and turning. She felt the woman next to her snuggle closer to her side. At least Kennedy seemed to be sleeping well. One of them would have some energy for the day. Good. Eva rested her arm across Kennedy, gently rubbing her shoulders. She was mostly just trying to keep from having an anxiety attack over today, and Kennedy helped. An old friend was coming to stay with her, along with her child, who was much younger than Eva's own. But Eva hadn't seen her in years. She had moved away when they were in high school, and hadn't spoken to her until Eva went searching and called her up. She didn't know that Eva's mother had died, how painful it had been for Eva to see her fade away. She hadn't witnessed Eva's father rejecting her. She didn't know that Eva had been left totally alone. She also didn't know Eva was transgender. Eva had wanted to come out to her during the phone call, but the words had caught in her throat. She just couldn't do it. As far as her friend knew, she was still Eric. She still sounded like Eric when she talked. When she was younger people had thought she was gay because of how she spoke. She'd never spoken that way on purpose. It was just her voice. She knew some things. She knew that Eva had a wife, and adopted children, but that was really all. Their phone call had been brief. The smaller woman stirred beside Eva and sat up. "Hey," Kennedy said softly, leaning over to kiss Eva's cheek. She pulled Eva up into a sitting position and gently stroked her hair. "You look awful, honey. Didn't you sleep?" "No," Eva mumbled. "I'm freaking out. I couldn't sleep. It's been so long. I'm scared. I don't know what's gonna happen when she sees me. I never even told her about this. I didn't even hint at it when we were kids. She's all I have left in terms of people I grew up with. I don't want her to come back just to go away again. I've really missed her, but I don't know if I can face her. She doesn't even know that our mom is dead. She knows I'm married and adopted kids, but that's it. Nothing about...me. I need her back with me again, and I'm afraid she won't want me back once she gets here." Kennedy sighed and gently stroked Eva's cheek. "I don't know what you're going through," she said. "To say I do would be a lie. I still have my mother, and my brother always hated me. I didn't really have close friends. I can't promise that she won't be upset. But if she's really the person you always tell me about, I'm sure things will work out." She paused. "Positive energies, babe," she said before giving Eva a peck on the cheek. "I'm going to try and wake the kids. Take your time getting ready." Eva lay there a bit longer, and eventually stood up. She shuffled into the bathroom and began to brush out her messy hair. She was tall, unlike Kennedy, who was a petite five foot two. Kennedy passed better. Nobody ever realized she was trans anymore. Eva was not as lucky. She reached for the bottle of pills in the cabinet. Her estrogen tablets. She took her usual dose and swallowed them dry. Probably a bad idea, but she didn't really care. She took a deep breath and began to do her makeup. That usually calmed her down. Not today. Her hands shook, and she had to wipe off and reapply her eye makeup several times. She jumped slightly as she heard a knock on the door. "Eva?" she heard Jupiter call. After a moment they knocked again. "Mom? I can't find my breast forms and I need them." Eva chuckled and stood up. The kids did call both her and Kennedy Mom sometimes. If they were together the kids used their names. Easier to tell them apart that way. She opened the door and smiled at Jupiter. "Good morning, love," she laughed. "You seem rather chipper for so early in the day. Did you leave your forms in one of your bras by mistake? Check the laundry room." She watched the kid run off down the stairs. Jupiter had longed for the feminine curves that girls had. Eva had tried to find out about getting them on a low dose of estrogen, but nonbinary genders were tricky. Therapists weren't as accepting. On occasion she slipped Jupiter one of her estrogen tablets even though she wasn't supposed to. She pitied the poor kid. She knew what it was like to hate your body. Kennedy had gone into Ronan and Hugo's room to wake them. Ronan was already awake and standing in front of the mirror looking at himself, tipping his head to the side. "Good morning, Ronan," she greeted the boy, giving him a friendly nudge. "Morning!" he chirped happily. "Do you know what time Eva's family is getting here? I'm excited to meet them." "Soon," Kennedy said with a smile. Ronan was always so excited about everything. So optimistic. It made her happy to see him doing so much better than he had when they'd met. The boy left the room then, and Kennedy turned toward Hugo's bed. The boy was still buried under the covers. She sat down on the edge of the bed. "Hugo," she said, gently nudging him. "I know you're awake under there. We're having company soon. Come on, doll. Up." "I don't want to," Hugo mumbled. "I'll just sleep until they leave. I don't know them. There's no reason for me to get up. They won't like me. Pretend I'm not here." She heard a whimper under the covers. "Please, Mom." Kennedy sighed. She pulled back the covers to see Hugo attempting to bury his face in the pillow. Even under his oversized t-shirt she could see he was shaking. She pulled him up and closer to her. "Hugo," she said softly. "It'll be okay. They will like you. They're Eva's family. I know you love Eva. I'm sure her family will love you. I don't want to pretend you aren't here. You're a part of this family, and we love you. I know you're scared, but Eva and I won't let you get hurt, I promise." She kissed the top of his head and kept her arms wrapped around him. "If any argument happens at all, it will not be because of you. Come on, Hugo. Get up and eat something. It'll calm you down." "Kay," Hugo mumbled and Kennedy stood up to leave. Ronan was upbeat and always cheerful, but Hugo lived in fear of people he didn't know. He didn't want to get hurt. She knew that. She wanted him to be happy. Not living life afraid of everything new. She just hadn't figured out how to convince him yet. She entered the bedroom again just as Eva had finished getting dressed. "You look beautiful," she purred before starting to change into her own clothes. "Don't be nervous. It'll be okay." She began attempting to fix her wild curls, and eventually just settled once they looked okay. Not great. Just okay. Good enough. She heard a knock at the door and looked over toward Eva. "You gonna get that?" she asked, but she knew the answer by the look on Eva's face before she even spoke. "I can't do it, Kennedy," she said, her voice shaking. "I can't face her." Tears began to well in her eyes. "I...Can't you get it? Just send her up here to talk to me. I don't want to shock her in front of everybody." Kennedy sighed and pulled the other woman into her arms. "I will. It'll be okay. I promise. Just try to calm down." She wiped Eva's tears away and slipped from the room just as another knock sounded. Kennedy darted down the stairs and pulled open the door. "Hi," she greeted the woman and child standing there. You must be Ev–" she stopped herself. "Eric's family." She cringed. It felt wrong to use Eva's birth name, even given the circumstances. "I'm Kennedy. I've heard a lot about you. Come on in."