Steph’s mother was out again. She was using Chez Newlove as her own personal hotel. Outside in the garden the children shrieked and played. Ellie bounced on the trampoline. None of them sounded in pain so she left them to it. Finally, Steph had time to check her messages.
I pity your wife
Dangerous, latent transphobia.
You’re not accepting your wife’s gender
Get a divorce and let her live her life.
Stop misgendering her with terms.
She’s your wife and the children’s mother.
Fucking transphobic bitch. ...and they continued.
A cup of coffee grew a skim and decreased in temperature as it remained untouched. Buried in the insults was the odd message of support but the unpleasantness drowned out the good. She placed the phone down and buried her head in her hands. Was she ever going to get this right? Was she holding Nick back? Steph and Nick sometimes Lori had been out on a couple of dates since they got back and things were going well but an innocent comment on an online forum where she had referred to Nick as her husband had brought down so much hate that they bruised her mentally. Fact was she struggled to say my wife and there was no way she would ever force the children to call him mother, mama or the equivalent. They came first and they adored their superdad. Calling Nick or Lori my wife was hard. They’d reached a stage where she called Nick or Lori by whichever name their dress at a particular moment suggested. When they got married only one them knew this was a same sex union.
“Steph? You OK?” Nick opened the fridge and poured himself a glass of orange juice. “Want a glass?”
“Apparently I’m not worthy of you.” She waved her hand over the phone.
He sat kitty corner to Steph and sipped his orange. When he read the messages, he went quiet – too quiet. “Steph, it’s just online rubbish.”
“When I put myself out there online I expected it, but some days the comments get to me and today is one of those days.” She took a sip of the coffee and spat it back in the cup. “Ugh.”
“Here, Steph, take this before I throw it. We can’t afford a replacement.” His voice was angry and quiet. “Reply and say your husband says their pity is unwelcomed and unneeded.” He covered her hand and smiled.
“Our relationship is our business and nobody else’s.”
She sighed. “It’s just I’m straight. I don’t fancy women. And at the risk of paraphrasing a Meat Loaf song. I want you and I love you but there ain’t no way I’m ever going to need you. Well not you as such her. It's complicated.” She tapped her head. “At least not in that way I can imagine a man whilst we’re being intimate. That man may even be Nick. I do love you and I think our marriage is worth fighting for.”
“It’s my fault. I knew and I...”
“I get it.” Her smile reached her eyes. “And perhaps it’s a good job you didn’t say anything or we might not have got married.” Her hands slipped under the table and she rubbed his leg. “And… I wouldn’t now be imagining you in that silky nightie. It’s well – silky. We can fool around and find… well ways of making this work.”
For the first time in months he gave her a seductive smile, he grabbed her hand and moved it further up right into his groin. “I guess you’re right we have a lot to work out and I guess a practical...”
“Mum...” Luke appeared in the door with blood pouring from his nose. “Jake made me fall over.”
Behind him Jake appeared. “I did not.”
“Can happen tonight,” Steph mouthed to Nick before dashing to Luke’s aid.
Lori picked up Steph’s phone and typed a message in reply to the comments. Her indignation refused to leave this alone. She’d never agreed with the don’t feed the trolls and she believed they should not go unchallenged. There had been times when she was vulnerable and the people who countered them had strengthened her: This is her husband. Whether I stay with my wife is my decision. Your pity is unneeded and unwanted. We are a trans family. My wife, my kids and myself are transitioning together. We’re all allowed time to work it out.
"Best Possible Taste" is very loosely based on real life events.