by Cara Malone
This story is a work of
Any resemblance to real people or events is entirely
All Rights Reserved.
Note from the Author
by Cara Malone
McAllister had never felt quite so acutely uncomfortable as she did
walking into Westbrook University’s LGBT student organization with
her best friend, Michelle. It was past seven and they were running
late thanks to Leah’s stalling tactics, and when they opened the
door to the library conference room, a half dozen heads all turned in
unison to watch them enter. Leah felt nervous butterflies filling her
stomach and she fought the urge to clutch the steno pad in her hand
defensively in front of her chest.
She hated to be the center of attention like this, and
she’d rather melt into the floor – or better yet, scurry back to
her dorm room where Netflix and a package of Oreos waited for her –
than come to this meeting.
But Chelle insisted, saying it would make for a good
article in the student newspaper if nothing else. Leah felt her hand
gently on the small of her back, pushing her further into the room.
There was a red-headed guy sitting at the head of the table and as
Leah took a few tentative steps into the room, his hand shot up in
the air and he waved the girls in.
“Welcome to Open Doors,” he said with a large,
friendly smile. “Hey, would you shut that door behind you?”
“Huh?” Leah asked, as a few people around the table
laughed and there was more than one groan. One of them came from
“Alex, if you don’t stop making that joke we’re
going to vote you off the island,” she said, rolling her eyes.
“Leah, that’s Alex. He’s the Open Doors president, and he’s
not as funny as he thinks he is.”
“Hey,” Leah said, returning his wave.
Chelle made introductions all the way around the table –
there was Donovan, linking his arm in Alex’s as he nodded at Leah,
and then Christy, who looked familiar but Leah couldn’t place her
yet. Chelle gave Leah the names of the other girls and guys sitting
around the table, too, but she was starting to feel a little bit
anxious again and they didn’t stick in her mind. She was wondering
what would happen when they got back around to her.
Leah glanced around the room – it was pretty sparsely
furnished, and aside from the conference table in the center of the
room, the only other piece of furniture was a long rectangular table
pressed up against the wall by the door. There were an assortment of
chips and dips and cookies and a veggie tray spread out on it, as
well as a couple two-liter bottles of soda and a stack of red solo
Replace the soft drinks with coffee slowly cooling in a
grimy carafe, and replace the conference table with a circle of
folding chairs, and this would be an Al-Anon meeting. She didn’t
know how to introduce herself to an LGBT student group, but she did
know what to say at one of those meetings.
She tried the words out in her head. My
name is Leah and I’m a lesbian. She’d say
them out loud to a round of polite clapping from the other group
The idea made her pulse quicken. No, after three years
of pestering on Chelle’s part, Leah had finally agreed to come to
an Open Doors meeting, but she’d made it very clear that she was
here in a journalistic capacity, to cover whatever event the group
was planning for LGBT History Month in October. Leah thought that it
had been a fine compromise, and she hoped that it would get Chelle
off her back for at least a little while.
“And this is my roommate, Leah,” she was saying, and
Leah could just tell by the sideways grin she was giving her that
this was not the first time the group was hearing her name. Chelle
always did have trouble minding her own business. She prodded Leah
lightly in the ribs and said, “Introduce yourself.”
“Umm,” Leah said, looking around the table. The girl
with the familiar face – Christy – was studying Leah with an
intensity in her eyes, and it made her feel flushed. “Well, I’m
just here because I got kicked out of Westbrook’s fight club. They
really take that no talking rule seriously, and I figured I’d come
check you guys out while I’m waiting to hear back from the
intestinal parasites support group I applied to join.”
She got a much heartier round of laughter than Alex’s
overused one-liner, and Chelle pulled her over to a pair of empty
chairs to sit down before she had the chance to second-guess her
“Leah writes for the school paper,” Chelle said as
the laughter died down. “She’s going to write an article about
our LGBT History Month events.”
“Well then I guess that means we better come up with
some ideas,” Alex said, calling the meeting back to order. “What
do you guys have for me?”
People started throwing out ideas – movie screenings
and panel discussions and poster campaigns – and Leah flipped to a
new page in her notebook to jot down notes as ideas flew around the
Once when she glanced up, she caught the stare of
Christy sitting directly across from her. She looked tall even in her
chair, with impeccable posture and an athletic build. Leah was almost
sure that she’d noticed her last spring when she’d gone to the
university’s pool to interview the coach of the swim team after
they won Divisionals. Christy was very pretty, with long, sandy
blonde hair and eyes that had just a hint of emerald in them. The way
she was looking at her made Leah feel anxious, and she fixed her eyes
down on her notepad for the duration of the meeting.
the flurry of ideas for LGBT History Month died down, Alex called a
snack break and everyone started to push away from the table and move
toward the refreshment table. Leah felt the anxiety beginning to well
up inside her again, but thankfully Chelle saw the way she was
gripping her notepad like it was a lifeline and stuck beside her.
Chelle had always been the more social one between them,
Leah preferring to fade into the background in social situations and
become more of a wallflower, and as the meeting became more casual
she wasn’t sure that her journalistic façade was going to carry
her much farther. Chelle took Leah by the elbow and pulled her out of
her chair, then they headed over to the snack table where everyone
was piling cookies and chips onto little paper plates and chatting
with each other.
“Let’s go say hi to Alex,” Chelle said. “He’s
been the Open Doors president for two years now, and he’s the
reason we’re as functional as we are. If it wasn’t for him, our
meetings would probably devolve into sitting around someone’s dorm
room eating cookie dough and watching Orange
is the New Black.”
“And that would be a tragedy,” Alex said, his voice
dripping with hyperbole at Chelle’s prediction. Then he smiled and
held out his hand to Leah. “Nice to meet you, Leah. Glad you could
finally squeeze us into your schedule.”
Leah blushed, then shot a look at Chelle.
“I may or may not have mentioned you a time or two,”
“Well, thanks for having me,” Leah said. “And I’ll
be happy to do a follow-up article when you get the details of the
panel discussion worked out.”
Alex arched one eyebrow at her, and she was worried that
she’d said something wrong. Then he cocked his head to the side and
asked, “Are you sure
you’re only here in your capacity as a reporter?”
Leah felt a lump forming in her throat and she swallowed
it down hard, glancing over to Chelle for backup, but she was very
unhelpfully wandering away to talk to a pretty girl with beachy
brunette waves in her hair who was standing near the drinks. Leah
rolled her eyes and then turned back to Alex, ready to defend her
motivations, but thankfully the boy Chelle had introduced as Donovan
came over and threw his arm around Alex’s shoulder, distracting
“Baby, we’re out of regular Coke,” he said,
resting his head against Alex’s. “Do you have any more in your
“I suppose you couldn’t possibly drink a diet soda
instead,” Alex said, playfully poking Donovan in his somewhat pudgy
stomach and eliciting a scowl from him. After a moment, he relented.
“Oh, fine. I think there’s another bottle in the trunk. I’ll go
get it because I wouldn’t want you to die of aspartame ingestion.”
“Thank you,” Donovan said sweetly, planting a kiss
on Alex’s temple.
“Excuse me, snack emergency,” Alex said to Leah as
he dug a keychain out of his pocket. “It was nice to meet you,
Leah. I hope you’ll come back to Open Doors sometime. Oh, and help
yourself to some food.”
“Thanks,” Leah said. She looked around for Chelle
and found her sitting at the conference table, eating chips off the
brunette’s plate while they talked and smiled at each other. Then
she looked at the snack table. It was clearing out now as people took
plates back to their seats, so Leah wandered over.
She was pouring herself a cup of diet soda when she
sensed someone approaching behind her. She turned just as Christy
grabbed a plate and gave Leah a flirtatious little grin that made the
butterflies in her stomach burst into flight once again. She was even
taller standing beside Leah, lean and muscular through her bare arms,
and she thought that she caught a slight smell of chlorine in her
thick blonde hair.
“Umm, you’re Christy Jameson, right? You broke the
school’s hundred-meter freestyle record last year,” Leah said,
then went back to busying herself with the snack table so she
wouldn’t have to look into those smoldering eyes. It was obvious
from across the conference table that Christy was flirting with her,
and it made her heart race.
“Yeah,” she said, a broad smile breaking across her
face as she set down her plate and turned to face Leah. “How did
“I write for The Western Review,” Leah said. “I
didn’t cover that particular story, but I remembered your name
because I did do the
article on the team’s Divisionals win last spring.”
“Very cool,” Christy said, leaning against the end
of the snack table and sliding a few inches closer to Leah. She
looked around at Chelle, wondering if she could use her as a feasible
excuse to run away, but Chelle was watching the two of them and shot
Leah a devious look.
She thought she knew everything about Leah, from the
first moment when they’d been assigned to be roommates freshman
year. It took Chelle exactly ten seconds to look her up and down and
decide exactly who Leah was, even if three years later Leah still
hadn’t quite figured it out for herself. She knew that Chelle would
be of no use in this particular situation because she would fail to
see the problem.
“So this is your first Open Doors meeting,” Christy
observed, and Leah felt another flush rising into her cheeks as she
felt Christy’s eyes on her. “You’re not a freshman, though?”
“No,” Leah said, grabbing a plate and piling it with
chips and cookies for lack of something better to do. She wasn’t
even particularly hungry, but she didn’t like the way her insides
went fuzzy and fluttery when she made too much eye contact with
Christy. “I’m actually a senior.”
“Me too,” Christy said. “What are you studying?”
“Journalism,” she said, her voice cracking just
slightly as she spoke.
“Oh, duh,” Christy said with a laugh. Then she took
a step closer and Leah could feel her body heat. It was making her
pulse throb in her ears and an uncomfortably strong, thrumming warmth
build somewhere deep in her core.
“It just seemed logical,” Leah replied with a
nervous laugh. Finally, her plate was full of food she didn’t
really want and she had nothing left to do but turn and look Christy
in the eyes.
She was at least a full head taller than Leah, with
long, straight hair the color of the wheat fields that surrounded the
campus. Her lips were full and pink, and her eyes sparked with
something wild while she studied Leah’s expression. It felt almost
obscene to be looked into like that in front of so many strangers.
Leah’s eyes darted around the room, expecting to see an audience
hanging on the tension growing between them, but instead, everyone
was wrapped up in their own conversations.
“Do you want to come to Tink’s with me after this?”
Christy asked, and her voice was practically a whisper. Leah bit her
lip. Tink’s was another place that Chelle had spent three years
trying to drag Leah to. Christy saw the hesitation in Leah’s face
and added, “Hey, how can you write about the Westbrook LGBT
community and not mention Tink’s? Bring Chelle, of course.”
“The thing is…” Leah said, then paused. Her heart
was racing all the more as she said, “I’m not gay.”
Christy’s brow knit together, and while it wasn’t
quite the skeptical eyebrow arch that Alex had given her, it didn’t
look as if she was fully picking up what Leah was putting down. She
was just about to thank Christy for the offer and say that she had an
early morning tomorrow – it was true, after all – when Christy
said, “Doesn’t matter to me. So are you in?”
“In for what?” Chelle asked, finally
choosing to come over and rescue Leah at the
exact wrong moment. Of course she
was going to want to go to Tink’s - it was her favorite place in
Westbrook. Leah knew there was no way she was getting out of it now.
“Tink’s,” Christy said.
“Hell yeah, we’re in,” Chelle replied, shooting a
shocked glance over at Leah, who returned it with a somewhat helpless
“Why not?” She said.
Park had never been into the bar scene, and a year shy of her
thirtieth birthday, she was even less enamored with Tink’s than
she’d ever been. It was loud, electronic dance music pumping
through speakers strategically located all throughout the bar so that
no matter where you stood, it was hard to have a conversation. Being
the only gay bar in a relatively small city, it was always crowded,
and the heaving, sweaty sea of bodies on the dance floor often
overflowed to the bar area. When Morgan came here, which wasn’t
often, she spent most of her time in the small room off to the side
of the dance floor, where there were a couple of pool tables and a
dart board, and it was sometimes possible to have a conversation.
Her girlfriend, Allison, on the other hand, thrived on
crowds and heavy bass beats that vibrated your chest, and that’s
why they were at Tink’s tonight. They’d had a rough day and
Morgan decided Alli needed to dance it out.
They’d been there for about two hours and Morgan was
on her third bottle of Yuengling, and she was beginning to really
regret making that decision. She’d snagged one of the few stools
that capped each end of the bar – Tink’s was not a sitting kind
of place – and she was watching Allison on the dance floor.
Morgan had let her order a single drink – an amaretto
sour, pretty much the only thing that Allison ever ordered – and
then she’d cut her off because it was obvious from her behavior
that more alcohol would only be pouring gasoline on the fire that was
raging in Allison’s head.
Her beautiful girlfriend was completely immersed in the
sea of bodies on the dance floor. She was probably the only one out
there who was old enough to rent a car, and she was throwing her
hands in the air, sloshing the dregs of her drink over the back of
her hand and showering everyone within a two-foot radius of her. Her
long blonde hair was stringy with sweat and alcohol, and her eyes had
that manic glint in them that Morgan hated to see. It was there more
often than not these days – her expression a little too big, her
eyes a little too wide, her smile a little too stretched.
It made something at the bottom of Morgan’s stomach
want to turn over whenever she caught that look on Alli’s face.
She thought that maybe it hadn’t been the right
decision to bring her to Tink’s tonight. Maybe they should have
gone home and worked on some form of self-care instead. But Morgan
didn’t have the energy for that – it was a hard day for her, too
– and at least Allison looked like she was having fun.
Maybe a little too much fun.
Morgan watched as her girlfriend of six years wrapped
her arm around the waist of some teenage-looking girl, probably from
the college up the street, and grinded her hips against the girl’s
tight little ass. Morgan chugged down the remainder of her beer and
waved the bartender over to order another.
was overwhelmed by the frenetic energy of Tink’s, the town’s
closest approximation of a dance club. At nine o’clock on a Friday
night, the dance floor was already packed with sweating bodies and
the entire bar pulsed to a drunken beat.
Christy went over to the bar and shouted Leah’s drink
order over the noise, then shrugged and smiled when Leah asked if
she’d put it on her tab. She hung close to Chelle at the end of the
bar while she drank her first beer, then started on another one. The
alcohol was making her belly feel warm and her head feel just the
right amount of tingly. She watched with awe as a few dozen people
formed a mass of dancing, intertwined bodies in front of her – boys
with their arms around other boys’ waists, girls with their hips
pressed against each other, couples kissing and getting lost in each
other and the music.
“You want to try it?” Christy asked, catching the
drift of Leah’s gaze.
But before Leah had a chance to argue, Christy grabbed
her hand and pulled her onto the dance floor. Leah attempted and
failed to snag Chelle’s hand while Christy led her away from the
bar, and then it was just the two of them.
Well, just the two of them surrounded by about forty
other people all moving and undulating in close proximity around
them. Bodies pulsed all around them and a rainbow of colors splashed
Leah’s skin and reflected off the mirrors surrounding the dance
floor from a strobe light slowly revolving over their heads. A
sensual, slow song played, and Leah noticed that most of the people
around here were grinding rhythmically against each other.
The music vibrated through Leah’s body and the colors
and mirrors and sea of bodies around her made Leah lose track of
herself. It didn’t feel quite like reality on the dance floor, and
it felt nice when she
noticed Christy’s hands on her hips. Maybe it had to do with the
alcohol, or the lights, but Leah slipped into the moment and let
Christy pull her closer.
And then there was a second set of hands on her.
Someone was grabbing her from behind, squeezing her hips
insistently. Leah turned around, surprised – she knew Chelle would
never do something so forward, but she’d almost rather it be Chelle
than a stranger.
It was a blonde woman who looked like she was in her
early thirties, her skin and hair wicked with sweat. She’d
obviously been on the dance floor for quite a while, and fleetingly
Leah wondered if some kind of party drug was responsible for the wild
look in her eyes. Ecstasy, maybe?
Then, before Leah could react, the woman pressed herself
up against Leah. She wrapped her arms around Leah’s waist and
thrust her leg between Leah’s thighs as her body moved just
slightly out of rhythm with the music.
“Hey beautiful,” she said, a wide smile stretching
across her face. “How are you tonight?”
“I’m okay,” Leah said, trying to balance the
ingrained need to be polite with a concerted effort to extricate
herself from this stranger’s grasp. She was suddenly very
present, no longer hypnotized by the
atmosphere of the dance floor and wanting desperately to get out of
this woman’s sweat-slicked arms.
“I bet I could make you better than okay,” she said,
her hips grinding seductively over Leah’s thigh. “What would you
say to a threesome with me and my girlfriend over there by the bar?”
She nodded to the bar, but Leah was too busy trying to
“Uh, no thanks,” she said, pressing the woman’s
arms down over her hips.
Then came Christy’s voice, barking over Leah’s
shoulder. “Hey, back off.”
Maybe it was because Christy towered over almost
everyone else on the dance floor – including a lot of the men –
but the blonde woman immediately let go of Leah, spinning around and
dancing casually away to insert herself in another group of girls
before she could garner any more trouble from Christy.
“Thanks,” Leah said to her savior.
“No problem,” Christy replied. “You want to go
outside and get some air?”
“Yeah, I think that would probably be a good idea,”
Leah said. She looked around for Chelle and saw her chatting with the
bartender, a girl with a pixie cut and a geometric deer skull
tattooed on her bicep. Too far away to shout to, and too many bodies
in between them to make it feasible for Leah to thread her way
through the crowd to tell her that she and Christy were going to step
Besides, she didn’t look like she’d welcome the
interruption – she was leaning over the bar and batting her lashes
at the girl. So Leah let Christy slide her hand into hers and lead
her through the crowd to a door on the back wall of the bar that led
out to a small smoking patio.
was cool and dark outside, and quiet once the door swung shut. There
were a half dozen smokers standing around, laughing at each other’s
jokes and lighting up. Christy led Leah to the far corner of the
patio, which was closed in by a tall wooden fence with a gate at the
“Ah, I can hear myself think finally,” Christy said,
a smile spreading across her lips. She had perfectly white, perfectly
straight teeth, and Leah found herself drawn to the girl’s mouth
and her plump pink lips. The alcohol running through her veins made
her a bit more uninhibited than she was used to, and – like it
usually did – it made her stare at pretty girls longer than was
Leah caught herself doing this – she wasn’t that
drunk yet – and wrinkled her nose as a cloud of cigarette smoke
wafted over to them. She said, “It’s a bit smoky out here. Does
it bother you?”
“Not really, but we can get away from it if you want,”
Christy said, bumping the latch off the gate. “After you.”
The gate swung open on a little alley running between
Tink’s and the pizza shop next door. The alley was empty and lit by
a street lamp burning at the opposite end, and the smoke on the patio
was starting to turn Leah’s stomach so she went through the door
and Christy followed after her, the gate swinging shut behind them.
Leah wandered a little way down the alley and Christy
followed behind her.
“So what made you come to Open Doors tonight?” she
asked. “I mean, I know you were there for the newspaper, but why
were you really there?”
Leah twisted around to face Christy, the world spinning
pleasantly on its axis as the alcohol made her sway on her feet. She
studied Christy’s face with a very serious expression, then said
with a little laugh, “Chelle. She made me go.”
Then she wandered a few more steps down the alley and
decided the alley was a little too much like a tilting funhouse floor
to keep walking. She leaned up against the cool brick wall of the
pizza joint and Christy followed her.
“Yeah she can be a bit pushy when she thinks she knows
what’s best for you,” Christy said with a laugh. She inched
closer, and Leah could feel her heat the same way she felt it when
Christy approached her by the snack table – only now there was no
audience, real or imaginary, to watch them.
“She’s usually right,” Leah admitted, feeling her
breath catch in her throat.
Christy took another step forward, her toes bumping
against Leah’s and those full, pouty lips less than a foot from her
own. Christy put one hand on the wall and leaned in over Leah’s
shoulder, her lips brushing Leah’s ear as she said, “I want to
kiss you now. Is that okay?”
“Yes,” Leah breathed, barely able to conjure any
words at all.
And then Christy’s mouth was on hers, her free hand
cupping the side of Leah’s face as their lips met in a soft,
teasingly short kiss that left her panting and feeling both sober and
Christy stood up straight again, then her lips brushed
against Leah’s forehead as she asked, “Was that all right?”
Leah didn’t answer with words this time. She reached
up and grabbed the straps of Christy’s tank top, pulling her back
down to meet Leah’s lips again. This time the kiss was more
passionate, more urgent, and Leah felt desire blooming deep in her
core. Her heart was racing again, but it felt so much better this
time, her back pressed up against the brick and Christy’s tall,
lean body against her own.
She let her hands wander up the curve of Christy’s
hip, and then when Christy nudged her knee between Leah’s thighs,
she got up the nerve to let her hands rise higher. She ran her
fingers lightly up Christy’s ribs and then cupped her palms against
her breasts as Christy let out a low moan of approval.
Everything was a blur of hands and flesh and excitement
tearing through her. Christy was squeezing Leah’s hips, moving them
back and forth over her thigh and sending shivers of desire up from
her core all the way through her body. Before long, she was grinding
her hips against Christy of her own accord, moaning and feeling
herself getting wet. She squeezed Christy’s breasts with urgency
and her breathing grew heavier, the need to release building like an
ache between her thighs.
Then, before she could object, she felt Christy’s
hands going to the button of her jeans. With a swift flick of her
fingers, her fly was open, and then Christy’s hand was sliding down
her stomach and hooking under the waistband of her panties.
“We shouldn’t-” Leah objected, glancing up and
down the alley as Christy bowed her head to kiss and lick a trail of
shivering pleasure down from Leah’s jaw to her collar bone.
“We already are,” Christy said, and then her fingers
slid into the wetness between Leah’s thighs.
She squeezed her eyes shut, pleasure like an explosion
going off behind her eyes as Christy’s hand slid up and down over
her. Her thumb found Leah’s clit, rubbing circles around it as her
fingers continued to play through her wetness, and all Leah could
manage was a long, incoherent moan.
It only took a few strokes, Christy’s thigh still
pressing tightly between Leah’s legs and her lips sucking her neck,
before Leah was plummeting over the edge into one of the most intense
orgasms of her life. She threw her hands around Christy and clung to
her as her thighs squeezed against Christy’s and her hips moved of
their own accord.
She shuddered as the last waves of her orgasm subsided,
and then, out of breath, she looked up to see Christy smiling with a
smug satisfaction in her eyes.
“What?” Leah asked, suddenly self-conscious. She
untangled her limbs from Christy’s and slid away from her on the
wall as she rebuttoned her jeans.
Christy put one slick flinger to her mouth, her tongue
snaking out to taste Leah on her skin, and she said, “You came
pretty fast for a straight girl.”
“I just… I don’t date girls,” Leah said, feeling
the need to justify what just happened between them. The real truth
was that she had no clue what had come over her, or why her body had
responded so powerfully to Christy’s touch.
“No need to explain yourself to me,” Christy said.
Leah sighed as she straightened her clothes, looking bashfully at
Christy. Christy linked her arm in Leah’s and led her back toward
Tink’s. She added with a shrug and a grin, “I know I’m
Leah laughed, her pulse slowly returning to normal and
the flush of her cheeks beginning to fade. One thing was for sure -
none of the very small roster of boys Leah had fooled around with had
ever made her feel like that.
slid off her barstool and elbowed her way across the crowded dance
floor. Allison had a redheaded girl pinned up against the mirrored
back wall, her lips zeroing in on the girl’s, and Morgan had had
enough. She put her hand on Allison’s shoulder just as Alli was
cupping her hand under the girl’s chin and turning her face up to
“Okay, that’s enough,” Morgan said, and Allison
turned to face her. The mania danced in her eyes, and for a moment
Morgan felt a strong urge to take a step away from her. But this was
Allison, her girlfriend, and that would be ridiculous. Shame washed
over her for having thought otherwise.
“Hey, baby,” Alli said, her voice a few registers
too high. She turned back to the girl on the wall, who was now
looking quite uncomfortable. Morgan thought she looked barely old
enough to get into Tink’s, and certainly not long enough in the
tooth to know how to deal with someone like Allison. She said to the
redheaded girl, “This is my girlfriend I was telling you about.
Isn’t she beautiful?”
Allison turned back to Morgan and ran the back of her
hand down the side of her face, from her temple down to her chin –
it was something that the old Allison
used to do, and it used to set Morgan on fire with desire for her.
Now, it was just another gut-wrenching reminder that things weren’t
the way they used to be. She brushed Alli’s hand away.
“Sure,” the girl said warily, clearly nervous about
whether she was about to get laid out on the dance floor by her new
companion’s butch girlfriend.
Allison threw her arm around Morgan’s shoulder and
shouted over the music, her words vibrating against Morgan’s ear,
“What do you say? Should we invite her to come home with us?”
“What? No,” Morgan barked.
The suggestion stung, a lightning bolt of disappointment
tearing through her heart. There was never a time when she wasn’t
enough for Allison, in all the years they were together, and it hurt
to be asked to share her bed in such a casual way. But Morgan
reminder herself that this was not the real Allison, and at least
tonight, it was as much Morgan’s fault as anyone’s that she was
like this. It had been her
idea to come to the bar, after all.
With a sigh, she said, “Let’s go home.”
Then she wrapped her arm around Allison’s waist and
started pulling her away from the girl, threading a path through the
was calmer in the car, away from all those people whose intoxication
and energy only served to ramp her up. She rested her feverish
forehead against the cool passenger window, but Morgan could tell by
the way her feet tapped quietly but relentlessly against the
floorboard that she was still keyed up.
She should have known better than to bring Allison to
Tink’s, but the bar seemed like a better atmosphere tonight than
their little two-bedroom apartment with the empty room they had been
slowly converting into a nursery. She didn’t think either of them
wanted to look at that room with its cheerful, pastel green walls –
not after the day they had.
Just this morning, the world seemed like a completely
different, more hospitable place. Morgan woke up to Alli snuggling
into the crook of her arm, her gorgeous body warm and curvy and
pressed up against her own. She rolled over and kissed Allison’s
stomach, then her mouth inched lower over her soft skin. They stayed
in bed longer than usual, savoring the rare opportunity to spend a
lazy morning in each other’s arms. Morgan made spinach omelets and
toast, and then they got ready to drive into the city to see their
That car ride had been the polar opposite of this one –
Allison was animated and hopeful, and if Morgan had been paying
closer attention instead of being wrapped up in her own little bubble
of bliss, she might have noticed the subtle signs that said Alli was
on edge. But she didn’t, because everything felt so right.
“I can feel her growing inside me,” Allison said, a
healthy flush in her cheeks as she reached across the center console
to take Morgan’s hand off the wheel at a stoplight and rub it
gently over her stomach.
Morgan felt happiness swelling in her heart. She was
more of a pragmatist than Alli, and she knew that the success rate of
in vitro fertilization was les than fifty percent. She wanted to
remain cautiously optimistic until after they met with the doctor and
he told them that the embryo transfer was successful, but Allison’s
certainty made it hard not to imagine their child growing and
thriving in her womb.
“What makes you think it’s a girl?”
“I don’t know,” Allison said, a frown darkening
her face for just a moment. Then she said, “I just feel it. We’re
getting good news today.”
Despite all of Allison’s positive vibes and her
endless happy chatter as Morgan watched the nurse draw her blood, the
doctor opened her chart with a sigh and the appointment did not go
well. Morgan’s heart cracked in two the moment she heard him say
the words implantation
did not take, and
everything after that was a wall of static. She caught little
snippets of his speech here and there, things about waiting until
Allison’s next cycle, and the costs associated with trying again.
It wasn’t money they had laying around – everything had gone into
this first attempt, which Morgan realized in the wake of
disappointment that she had set her heart on, against her better
And then, against her better judgment, they’d walked
out of the doctor’s office and she’d looked at the darkness
gathering behind Allison’s crystal blue eyes. Morgan didn’t want
to watch the depression wash over her girlfriend again, pulling her
under, and she didn’t want to look at that fucking empty nursery.
So they went to Tink’s. They drank and Allison danced
and Morgan watched her getting more and more out of control as the
afternoon turned into night and the college students started to crowd
into the bar.
Morgan could forgive the flirtations, and even the fact
that Alli had tried to orchestrate a threesome without any prior
discussion. They were both grieving any way they could. But Morgan
couldn’t forgive herself for not knowing how to take care of
Allison in a way that wouldn’t make her spin out of control. It had
been a long day, and with Allison as keyed up as she was, it was
bound to be a long night, too.
Leah and Christy rejoined Chelle at the bar, she immediately cocked
her eyebrow at them.
“And where have you been?” She asked. “I was
looking for you.”
“We just stepped outside for some air,” Christy
said, shooting a little sideways grin at Leah and making her turn an
uncomfortable shade of red.
“Yeah, I bet,” Chelle said, laughing as she looked
from Christy – confident, tall, and self-assured – to Leah, who
was struggling to maintain eye contact. “Look, I have an early
shift at the library tomorrow so I think I’m going to go.”
“I should go, too,” Leah said, stepping away from
Christy and inching toward Chelle. Her body was still thrumming out
the last faint spasms of her pleasure, but the idea of staying here
alone with Christy brought fear bubbling back up in her.
She’d gone to her first Open Doors meeting this
evening and wound up with Christy’s hand thrust down the front of
her jeans, and she wasn’t about to spend the rest of the night
alone in a gay bar with a girl she barely knew – who had,
incidentally, just given her one of the most intense orgasms of her
life. It was too much for Leah, especially without Chelle there to
act as a safety net.
“No, stay,” Christy begged, taking hold of Leah’s
hand in both of hers and trying to tug her back in the direction of
the dance floor. “Dance with me some more.”
“I really should go,” Leah said. “I have an
interview tomorrow morning for The Review.”
Christy turned to Chelle with a sarcastic look, clearly
a little annoyed that she’d put the idea into Leah’s head to go.
“Who the hell needs the library to be open on a Saturday morning,
“The books aren’t going to shelve themselves,”
Chelle said with a shrug, and Christy let Leah’s hand slip out of
hers, realizing this was a battle she would not win.
“Okay,” she said. “Well I’m going to dance some
more. Will I see you around Open Doors, Leah?”
“Yeah, maybe,” Leah said, although she hadn’t
exactly had much time to reflect on how it would feel or what it
would mean to return to the group as a girl instead of a deputy of
the school newspaper. She still felt heavily intoxicated, drunk on
the atmosphere and the way Christy had made her feel more than the
meager amount of alcohol she’d consumed, and her head was swimming
with new thoughts and feelings.
“Good,” Christy said, shooting Leah a flirtatious
look that made Leah’s stomach go warm and fuzzy all over again.
Then she danced her way back into the crowd, disappearing into the
middle of the dance floor, and Leah and Chelle headed outside.
made it about twelve steps down the sidewalk before Chelle burst with
excitement and demanded, “Okay, spill!”
“Spill what?” Leah asked, suddenly feeling bashful
about the whole night.
“You know what,” Chelle
said, exasperated. “Tell me what happened between you and Christy.
You were gone for a long time.”
“We just went outside for some air,” Leah said,
repeating the partial truth that Christy had told Chelle in the bar.
It seemed like she might blow a blood vessel if Leah
didn’t appease her, so with her face turning redder and redder, she
relented and confessed haltingly, “We… kissed a little bit. And
then she… put her hand down my pants. And I may have… gotten off.
Just a little bit.”
Chelle stopped midstride on the sidewalk. “Holy shit.”
Leah turned around, waiting for Chelle to recover from
her melodramatic moment and start walking again. As innocently as she
could muster, Leah asked, “What?”
“Nothing, straight girl,” Chelle said with a roll of
Leah instantly regretted telling Chelle what happened
with Christy. She should have downplayed it, omitted most of the
details, because this could only add fuel to the fire Chelle had been
kindling ever since their freshman year in the dorms. She’d decided
within minutes of meeting Leah that she knew everything about her,
including her sexuality, and while most of the time Chelle’s
cockiness proved to be earned, it could be quite irritating when it
was directed at you.
“Why do you care so much?” Leah snapped.
The state of Leah’s love life – in particular, the
players involved – had been the prevailing narrative of their
friendship for years, and sometimes it got really tiring for both of
“I just want you to be yourself,” Chelle said with a
sigh, then started to trudge toward campus again. “I don’t
understand why you’re fighting it so hard. It’s not like your
family is religious and they’re going to disown you if you come
myself,” Leah insisted. “There’s nothing to come out of. Do you
know how many straight girls kiss other girls in college? Throw a
stone at any frat house on campus and you’ll hit a straight girl
drunk enough to kiss her best friend. But I’ve never fallen in love
with a girl.”
“Okay, fine. If that’s your criteria, then how many
men have you fallen in love with?” Chelle asked. “Better yet,
what was the name of the last guy you dated?”
Leah sighed, irritated that Chelle knew her well enough
to paint her into a corner so swiftly. She said, “Fine, so the
truth is I’ve never been in love at all. That only means you can’t
make assumptions about me based on-”
“Based on the totally slutty things you do at gay bars
with lesbians you meet at LGBT student groups,” Chelle shot back
with a laugh.
Leah knocked into her, sending Chelle stumbling into the
path of an oncoming group of bar-goers passing them on the sidewalk.
She muttered an apology to them and then Leah turned serious and
said, “I just don’t want things to be harder than they have to
“Love is fucking hard no matter who you’re with,”
Chelle said, looping her arm around Leah’s elbow to steady herself.
She’d had quite a few more beers than Leah had, and she rested her
head on Leah’s shoulder as they walked back to their dorm.
don’t know why you had to drag me out of there like that,”
Allison snapped as soon as she and Morgan were alone in their
apartment. Apparently, the short car ride home had reinvigorated her
and now she was in the mood to fight. “Those people are our
friends. I’m embarrassed they had to see that.”
“Trust me, I’m embarrassed too,” Morgan said under
her breath. Out loud, she tried to appease Allison by pointing out,
“Those people used to
be our friends, five years ago. Now the Friday night crowd is a bunch
of barely legal college kids and all our
friends are at home with their families.”
This was the wrong thing to say, and Morgan realized it
the moment it crossed her lips.
“Their families? So you’re saying this is my fault?”
Allison asked, a quiver working its way into her voice. “I bet
you’ve been waiting all day to sling that barb at me, haven’t
you? It didn’t take. It’s not like I told
my uterus to reject the egg.”
She flopped down on the couch, drawing her knees up to
her chest, and Morgan saw a few tears rolling down her cheeks. Her
heart was breaking for the second time today, and she went over to
Alli and wrapped her arms around her, trying to encompass the
entirety of the tight little ball she’d curled into.
“I never said it was your fault,” Morgan said
softly, kissing away a salty streak on Allison’s cheek. “And I
don’t think that.”
“I’m sorry,” Alli said, the tears flowing freely
It was the first honest moment Morgan had seen her have
all night, and even though it was killing her to watch Allison sob,
the heave of her chest bordering on violent as she shook in Morgan’s
arms, a little bit of relief washed over her. The mania always stole
Alli’s honesty and took her emotions hostage, and if she was
feeling the loss of their failed IVF treatment this acutely, then
maybe she’d broken free from the demon in her head.
With a mucousy, barely audible voice, Alli murmured, “I
was so sure it was a girl,” and then she buried her face against
“It’s okay, babe,” Morgan said, stroking Allison’s
damp hair. She worked the sleeve of her shirt down over her hand and
lifted Alli’s head by the chin, using her sleeve to wipe away the
tears smeared across her beautiful face. “It’s not the end of the
world. We’ll find a way to try again.”
A rustle of anxiety stirred in her stomach as she said
those last words, but she forced it out of her mind. They were okay.
Alli was okay. They would be okay. That had become somewhat of a
mantra running through her head with increasing frequency over the
last few months, and the feeling in her gut was saying that it might
not be a great idea to try IVF again. At least not right now.
But Morgan didn’t want to think about that, or the
implication behind it. She bent down and brought her lips to
Allison’s, kissing her and tasting the salt of her tears. All
Morgan wanted was to put an end to this horrible day, and to end it
on a note that she could look back on without wanting to cry. She
wanted to make love to her girlfriend and believe that everything was
Alli returned her kiss intensely, opening her lips and
pushing her tongue into Morgan’s mouth. The move never failed to
send fireworks through her, igniting every inch of her body with
passion and creating an urgency within her. She needed Allison, now.
Morgan flipped her onto her back on the couch and
straddled her hips, her hand sliding under the hem of her shirt and
yanking it up over Alli’s head in one swift movement. Her porcelain
skin was so soft and inviting, and Morgan could see her nipples
growing hard beneath the sheer fabric of her bra. She slipped the
straps down over Alli’s shoulders and yanked the cups down to
reveal her perfect breasts, the sight of them never failing to thrust
Morgan’s desire into overdrive.
She took Alli’s nipple into her mouth, circling it
with quick movements of her tongue while Allison arched her back and
let out a moan. Morgan felt her hand going down to where their hips
met, and then Allison was working the button of her jeans open and
sliding her hand over the damp cotton of Morgan’s underwear.
Morgan let out a groan bordering on primal and rocked
her hips against Allison’s hand while she tongued and teased her
nipples. Alli’s fingers hooked under the elastic before long and
plunged into her wetness.
“Oh god,” Morgan grunted as she felt Allison’s
fingers sliding up and down, making her ache and throb as the need to
release built to almost unbearable heights, and then Alli was inside
of her and Morgan’s hips were grinding wildly against her hand. Her
heart was racing and everything in the world seemed to be fading to
black, and as she came – shuddering and thrusting against her
girlfriend’s palm – she nipped at Alli’s flesh, her teeth
closing momentarily around her nipple.
“Ouch!” Allison cried at the sudden pain, but the
anger that flashed in her eyes was gone as fast as it appeared. She
pulled her hand out of Morgan’s jeans against the last quiver of
her thighs, then pushed Morgan down between her legs. Morgan could
hear the pleading in her voice as Alli breathed, “My turn.”
Morgan was still catching her breath, her muscles still
throbbing between her legs, but she was hungry to taste Allison.
Whether she wanted to admit it or not, watching her relentlessly go
after all of those girls tonight at Tink’s was doing something
feral inside of Morgan’s head, and she needed to make sure Allison
remembered who she belonged to. She shoved the billowy fabric of
Alli’s skirt up over her hips and yanked her sheer, sky blue
panties down around her knees, then laid down with her arms hooked
under Alli’s thighs. She always clamped them against the sides of
Morgan’s head when she was getting close, and it was the best
feeling in the world.
She closed her lips around Alli’s clit and sucked
while her tongue made tight little circles over her skin, and Allison
was immediately writhing and moaning loudly beneath her. Morgan
stopped for just a second to look up at her – she loved knowing
that she could get Alli going so fast with one simple move, and she
was going to enjoy teasing her for quite a while before she let her
come tonight. That would be her revenge for everything that happened
at the bar.
Allison laced her fingers through Morgan’s short,
thick blonde hair, pushing her head back down between her legs.
Morgan ran her tongue up and down over Alli’s slickness, tasting
and teasing every inch of her and watching the flesh of her thighs
stand up in goose bumps as she moaned with pleasure.
“That feels so good, baby,” Alli whispered, always
the more talkative one between the sheets – or on the couch.
Morgan squeezed the soft skin of Allison’s thighs in
her hands and flicked her tongue up and down over her clit. Alli’s
hips squirmed beneath her, her back arching again and her fingers
tightening around Morgan’s hair.
“Right there,” Allison breathed. “Don’t stop.”
Morgan untangled one arm from Alli’s legs and slid her
hand between her thighs. She teased a finger up and down over her
wetness, then plunged it deep inside to another loud gasp of
appreciation. She was corkscrewing her fingers as Allison bounced her
hips up and down against them, putting her hands over her eyes, when
Alli said, “Can you imagine how much better this would feel if
there were three of us?”
Morgan stopped moving her hand and snapped her head up
from between Alli’s thighs to glare at her.
Oblivious, Alli was still rocking her hips against
Morgan as she added, out of breath, “Triple the pleasure, babe.
Don’t you wish we’d brought that cute redhead home?”
Morgan got up from the couch abruptly, going over to the
kitchen at the far end of the living room to get a paper towel and
clean herself up.
“What’s wrong?” Alli asked, sitting up on the
couch. “You coming back, baby?”
“No, I’m not coming back,” Morgan snapped. “And
no, I don’t need another woman involved to enjoy being with you.”
She stood at the sink wiping her hands with the paper
towel until they were long past clean, and she kept her back turned
to Alli as she spoke. A lump was forming in the back of her throat
and threatening to turn to tears, and she wouldn’t give Allison the
satisfaction. She’d assume that stunt with the girl at the bar had
been designed to get a rise out of her, and they’d never once
discussed the possibility of a threesome before Alli decided to just
go ahead and invite someone home with them. Morgan was willing to
forgive it in the bar, but while she had her head between Alli’s
Realizing that Morgan wasn’t going to be coming back
to the couch, Alli stood up and yanked her panties angrily up her
legs, not caring or maybe not noticing that her skirt was caught in
the waistband in the process. One ass cheek hanging out, she put her
hands on her hips and indignantly declared, “Maybe I wouldn’t
either if you were a little more fun.”
Morgan wanted nothing more than to spin around and snap
something equally cruel back at Allison. She wanted to stomp across
the room and get in Alli’s face and tell her how much fun the last
six months had been, walking on eggshells just to keep her on an even
keel. Instead, Morgan dropped the wadded up paper towel into the sink
and then gripped its porcelain edge. Even without looking at her,
Morgan could hear the mania rising back into Allison’s voice, the
unreasonable, unmanageable version of her girlfriend rearing its head
“Are you listening to me?” Allison demanded, and
Morgan closed her eyes.
It was better not to engage. After a few seconds of
silence, she heard a loud thump – the sound of their solid oak
coffee table being up-ended. It was Alli’s new go-to move, and with
the exception of a few extra dents in the hardwood, it didn’t
really hurt anything to let her take her frustrations out on the
furniture. Morgan heard the floorboards creak as Allison started to
pace back and forth in front of the couch, working herself into an
increasingly agitated state.
Morgan sighed, then opened one of the cabinets next to
the sink. She took out a glass and filled it from the tap, then
opened the junk drawer next to the stove. It had all the usual junk
drawer staples – scissors, opened packs of birthday candles, rubber
bands, a cheap deck of playing cards, takeout menus – all the
debris that a couple acquires over a six-year relationship that
proves, more than the furniture and the décor and the memories, that
their relationship is real. And at the back of the drawer,
intentionally hidden, was a blister pack of Nyquil LiquiCaps that
Morgan bought on a hot summer day a few months ago when Allison was
particularly out of control.
She took out the pack and carefully broke open four of
the capsules over the water glass, making sure to hide her actions
from Allison, who was so wrapped up in her frenetic pacing she’d
almost forgotten about Morgan in the kitchen. The water turned a
murky, faint green as the medicine dissolved, but it didn’t matter
– in the handful of times Morgan had become so exhausted with
Allison in the past year that she was willing to drug her for some
relief, Alli was too hyper to notice the color of the water. Morgan
tucked the rest of the blister pack into the back of the drawer, then
Allison was muttering to herself as she paced, and when
Morgan approached, she gave her a dirty look and snapped, “What do
“I just thought you looked thirsty,” Morgan said
Alli took the glass, and Morgan watched with a mix of
relief and guilt as she downed it in a few quick gulps. She loved
Allison more than anyone else in the world, and when Allison needed
her most, all Morgan could do was drug her.
The Nyquil didn’t take long to work. After Allison
handed the empty glass back to Morgan, the jittery way her feet
insisted on pacing the floor slowed down, and a minute or two later
the fire raging behind her eyes had begun to die away. That was
always the worst part for Morgan, trying to decide between letting
the fever of mania go unchecked, or turning her vibrant, glowing,
lovely Allison into a
zombie. But today had to go down as one of the longest and most
trying twenty-four hour periods that Morgan had ever experienced, and
the Nyquil that calmed Alli’s racing thoughts was a crutch Morgan
was willing to use tonight.
“Want to go to bed?” She asked quietly, and suddenly
she had to resist the urge to laugh because it was an ordinary enough
question, but at this point in their lives it felt like trying to
convince the feral cat to do what she wanted.
Thankfully, Alli was done putting up a fight for the
night. She’d had a long day too, and the sedative effect of the
cough medicine seemed to have done its job, sapping the last of her
Morgan righted the coffee table and set the empty glass
down, then went to Alli, looping her arm around her waist and kissing
her temple softly before leading her down the narrow hall to their
bedroom. Allison melted onto the bed and Morgan removed her shoes,
then pulled the covers over her and turned out the light.
“Aren’t you coming to bed?” Alli murmured,
struggling up through heavy eyelids to reach for Morgan in the dark.
She patted Allison’s hand and then stepped away,
saying softly, “Soon. Get some rest.”
fought the urge to pause in the hallway as she walked past the open
door of the second bedroom. Three weeks ago – just before Allison’s
implant appointment – the two of them had spent a sweaty, messy,
cheerful afternoon painting the walls in Benjamin Moore’s Mint
Julep – fifty dollars a gallon, because the nursery had to be
The room was empty now except for a couple large,
unopened boxes stacked in the center of the floor. Allison had gone
out and bought a crib, a changing table, and a rocking chair, and
Morgan had promised to assemble it all this weekend. She hardly saw
the point now, and she couldn’t keep her eyes from stealing a look
into the room as she walked by. It was the same as it had been this
morning, only the pastel green walls no longer reminder her of spring
and growth and optimism. In the shadows of night, they took on a
sickly pallor. Morgan pulled the door shut.