I found a stack of old Baby-Sitters Club books at the thrift store this week and brought home Kristy’s Great Idea to reminisce about those long summers when my sister and I would lounge on the hammock in our backyard and read every BSC book, over and over. I don’t know how many of those books we read before we outgrew them, but I do know if Mary Ann would have just ditched Logan and gone steady with Kristy, my life would have made sense a whole lot sooner. I looked it up on Wikipedia, and sadly, Mary and Kristy did not end up together. But I also looked it up on Tumblr, and they lived Happily Ever After, together.
Below are 7 Baby-Sitters Club fan fics to take you waaaay back.
Pairing: Claudia Kishi/Stacey McGill
Plot: Claudia’s always stayed friends with her exes. All except one—her ex-best friend, Stacey McGill.
Length: 3,700 words
While everyone else left for the reception dinner at Chez Maurice, I made a beeline for the closest bathroom. No way was I going to toast my sister looking like Alice Cooper had given me makeup advice. I turned on the cold water—better to reduce redness—and leaned in close to the mirror as I scrubbed, making sure I didn’t miss a speck of smudged mascara. I was just digging into my clutch for emergency cosmetics when the door opened and shut softly behind me. I looked up and just about fell over in surprise.
It had been a small wedding (as small as a wedding featuring all nine hundred thousand members of the Thomas-Brewer family could be); I didn’t know how I could have missed her. I hadn’t even known she was invited.
“Stacey,” I gulped. She looked gorgeous, of course, in an entirely different little black dress than the one she’d worn to Pete’s wedding. Silk, with a deep V-neck, and longer sleeves for the cooler autumn weather. It made her blonde hair blonder, blue eyes bluer. Staring at her while wearing a simple, Janine-approved burgundy sateen bridesmaid dress and not a speck of makeup, I must have looked all of thirteen years old.
“You looked like you could maybe use some help.” There was enough hesitance in her voice that I took pity on her.
“I think I’ve got this,” I said, giving her a small smile. “But you can keep me company, if you want.”
Plot: From the beginning, it’s been Kristy and Mary Anne, Claudia and Stacey, together and apart.
Length: 2,000 words
Stacey dresses carefully for each date night, but even more so on her nights with Claudia. Mostly, she likes to look good for herself, but she loves the way her girlfriends’ eyes light up when they see her. With Claudia, though, she feels a delightful pressure to look like art in her own way, to match the living canvas that is her girl. It’s not just date night, but opening night for the new show at the art gallery, and Claudia pretty much ran this one. (Which unfortunately means none of her art is on display, but she got such pleasure from finding artists and working with them to pick the best pieces for the show, and then arranging all the displays, that Stacey can’t actually be disappointed.)
Finally, Stacey settles on a black pencil skirt with light gray pinstripes, a darker gray sleeveless shirt with a tiny bit of shimmer to the fabric, and blood red heels. Chunky silver jewelry (each piece made by Claudia) decorate her ears, throat, and wrists, and she curls her blonde hair and leaves it loose.
And, of course, she wears a treat just for Claudia; sexy bra and underwear in candy-bright colors, because she knows her girl. When they close down the gallery tonight, Claudia will be riding an adrenaline high. Sometimes, they have to settle for making out in the backseat of Stacey’s car, a gift from Dad and Samantha when she turned seventeen, but Stacey’s mom is out of town this weekend for work, and their house empty.
Pairing: Claudia Kishi/Dawn Schafer
Plot: Every time Dawn sends her a letter from whatever far-off city she’s in this week, Claudia reads it over carefully, three or four times, and then pins it up next to her sketches.
Length: 2,000 words
Claudia sells her work at coffee shops and street fairs and open markets. Sometimes she lets Ashley convince her to submit a sketch to one museum exhibit or another, but so far she hasn’t gotten anything accepted.
“If you’d just work on producing something for a specific exhibit, instead of sending them whatever you sketched in half an hour three weeks ago,” Ashley always says, exasperated, but Claudia has to pay her share of the rent and buy groceries, and she can’t spend six months working on a painting that might or might not get accepted for an exhibition that doesn’t pay and might not lead to any sales.
When Claudia was a little girl, she didn’t imagine life as an artist would be like this, but hey, at least she doesn’t have to wait tables.
She draws the places she sees and the people she knows, and she draws the places Dawn describes in her letters; she might never go to Europe again, or ever see East Asia, but she can imagine them as vividly as the bodega she goes to once a week, and she can put them on paper, and it’s almost like being there.
But not really.
Pairing: Claudia Kishi/Ashley Wyeth
Plot: Claudia realizes she’s not just boy-crazy after all.
Length: 2,000 words
I had a secret, and it was kind of a pathetic one, I guess: I still wrote in the club notebook. Of course, it was more like my diary now than a whole club thing, and if the rest of the club saw some of the stuff I’d written in there (like the stuff about Jeff Schafer and Byron Pike dating that I promised Dawn I wouldn’t tell anyone about) then it would be really, really awkward.
When I was about seventeen, when the club disbanded because we were getting too much schoolwork to do much sitting, I started writing really bad poetry. When Mom got sick and I thought I was going to lose her the way I lost Mimi, I told the notebook. When Janine first brought a guy home from college. When Janine first brought a girl home from college. When Mary Anne and Logan split up halfway during our senior year at SHS and everyone thought it was for good. (It wasn’t.)
I guess I should explain who I am. My name’s Claudia Kishi, I’m twenty-one, and the club notebook was like a journal of baby-sitting jobs for my group of friends who used to meet up in my room three times a week to take calls and eat junk food. These days I don’t eat so much junk food. Turns out your metabolism screws up if you really expect to live off Doritos and Ding Dongs. At least Stacey’s happy when she visits that there’s no temptation in her way.
Pairing: Claudia Kishi/Ashley Wyeth
Plot: Claudia, Ashley, and New York City.
Length: 4,000 words
Ashley’s room was beautiful, and it wasn’t even that small (as far as New York apartments go, anyway). Her work table was covered in concept sketches and art supplies, crowded but obviously ordered. She had no bedframe, just a mattress on the floor under a window, but there were enough pillows on it that it looked like the most comfortable thing in the world right now. The shelves on the wall were filled with art books, and beautifully decorated paper lanterns crowded the ceiling.
“There’s a standing lamp for when I’m working with something in color and I need a neutral light,” Ashley was saying as she put her bag on a hook on the wall. “But when I’m just sitting in here, and that doesn’t matter, I love to use them.”
She flicked the switch, and the lanterns glowed, bathing the room in warm golden-red. The lights played with the shadows on Ashley’s face, and she was looking up at the lights as if she was still delighted by the sight of them.
“It’s beautiful,” Claudia said, and she was.
Ashley caught her staring and grinned mischievously, opening the door to her apartment again.
“Would you like to see something special?”
Pairing: Mallory Pike/Jessi Ramsey
Plot: Mallory and Jessi are an old married couple!
“Are you mad?”
“It’s not a problem,” Jessi tells me. I know this is a lie because she’s not making eye contact with me when she says it. She’s picking up glasses from the coffee table and pointedly taking them into the kitchen to load into the dishwasher. Even if I didn’t really know her I could tell she was upset. As I’ve known her since we were kids and we’ve recently moved in together, I don’t just know she’s upset, I know better than to admit it. So I just start helping her tidy the living room, knowing she will eventually tell me what’s bugging her.
“It’s honestly not a problem,” she repeats once I join her in the kitchen, “but…”
Pairing: Kristy Thomas/Mary Ann Spier
Plot: Kristy has six months to come to terms with one of the biggest changes of her life.
Mary Anne bit her lip and said, “I got into both. But I read this other college, Drake University? It’s in Des Moines, and it sounds wonderful—smaller, quiet. And it’s only a three-hour drive to Maynard. Grandma Porter’s getting older, and I—I just thought this would be a great way to be close to her.”
Jerking my hand away, I snapped, “What about being close to us?” I waved my arms around, as if encapsulating Richard and Sharon, Stoneybrook as a whole, and most importantly, me.
Her eyes filled with tears. “I’ll miss you, of course, you know I will. But Grandma’s the only family I have on my mom’s side—I might never get another chance to live close to her. You have to realize how important that is.”
I did, sort of, but I just stubbornly muttered, “I guess.”
“Besides,” she said, smiling a little. “I’ll be home during breaks, and there’s always email and Skype. It won’t be as bad as it be. We’ll always be best friends, right?”
I’m collecting Tumblr drabbles of any femslash couple for next week; if you have favorites email them to me: heather at autostraddle dot com! Or leave them in the comments!