~ D'Artagnan ~
by Zee

I wish to disclaim I hate doing the disclaimer. This story revolves around a lesbian. So I'm guessing if the word lesbian bothers you don't want to read this.
No real violence to talk about until much later in the story. As for sex, yes its in there.

Please send feedback to: zeeamy@gmail.com

Part 1

I stand outside the dirty brick building smoking a cigarette. I know its silly and that I can smoke inside, but I need a moment. I need to stretch time out a little farther so I can put them off for another minute or two. Oddly the "them" I'm trying to avoid are my friends but as the saying goes, "with friends like this who needs enemies," for better or worse they are my friends. I've known them forever: we grew up on the same block, got into trouble, started clubs, and went to the same - elementary, middle and high school together. As puberty hit we discovered boys and then girls. It wasn't until college that I broke the cycle and dropped out, but they continued on becoming the three musketeers with me as the ever aloof forth member. I'm more of a sidekick to their Athos, Porthos, and Aramis not even really ranking as a D'Artagnan, but that's fine because I couldn't wield a sword if my life depended on it and chicks defiantly do not fall at my feet with their bosoms all a heaving. Mmmmm, heaving bosoms. Sorry I was having a moment.

My so called friends as well as everyone's parents still give me crap for dropping out of college, but I like my life just fine, I think.

I take a long last drag and let the ashy butt fall from my fingers onto the gravel below and then I grind the hot cherry under my boot heel. Wiping my hands on my jeans I open the door to 'The Closet', I haven't got a clue to who originally named the bar but they certainly had a twisted sense of humor. The Closet was the first openly gay bar, here in town. They were here and queer and proud of it in this two-horse town. Since then a men's bar called Matt's and a gay friendly dance club called the Castle has opened, yep my town is a regular gay Mecca.

My favorite bar however is The Closet, it's old and has personality, it may have had a brief life as a cowboy bar before its secret life as the gay place to be. The décor is all old worn wood, which makes it seem cozy and relaxed to me. I also DJ here on weekends so my loyalty to the place is also bought by the fact they give me a paycheck.

Its not even ten o'clock on a Thursday night so the DJ hasn't started yet and the tiny dance floor is empty of life. The few people who are in the bar sit around watching the TV's set up on the walls around the room; or are playing pool or darts.

I spot Jen first she's leaning up against the pinball machine working her charm all over some poor girl. Her blue-eyes are shining a bit -- probably from the thrill of the hunt. A quick glance and the others are spotted sitting at a table, as I walk over to join them Ashley spots me giving a wave. I wave back as she nudges my sister sitting next to her.

Olivia looks up and follows to were Ash is pointing, she smiles and raises an empty pitcher in a clear sign that if I want to drink I need to go get it. Sighing I head for the bar, they love me just for the free beer I know it.

I wait at the bar; Jeff is around somewhere probably changing a keg in the back. I tap the wood with my thumbnail until he comes from around the corner his mouth stretching into a smile. "Carmen. I didn't know you were the DJ tonight."

"I'm not. Just meeting some friends."

"Ah, the brat pack." He nods knowingly.

I just give a laugh; I'm not sure how we got that nickname but its ours. "Can I get a pitcher of Bud Light and a glass?"

"Just one glass?"

"Yep, looks like they started without me."

"One glass and one pitcher coming up."

As he passes the beer my way I grin and ask what the damage is. "Its on the house. If¼" he pulls the beer back from me. "If you bring Kevin with you tomorrow night. Its my night off." Jeff says with a goofy grin.

I just give a laugh. My buddy Kevin is the heart breaker of gay men everywhere. "I'll do my best."

"That's all I ask."

I give another smile and walk back to the table with the fresh pitcher in tow. To my surprise Jen has returned to the table but she's girl-less. "Oh my did you strike out Bridgewater." I know it sounds snarky, but I know she can give far better than I can.

"Shut it Carmen. She's on a date and didn't want to be rude. I'll be going out with her tomorrow."

"Oh." Secretly I want to be there the day somebody uses her and not the other way around.

"My you certainly look like a big old dyke tonight. What's up with that?"

I roll my eyes. I hate when they start picking apart my clothing choices. Next will be my lack of direction and why I should go back to college and apply myself.

"Let's see." Ashley starts. "Baseball cap turned around. 501's, a t-shirt, and Doc Martins all you need to finish it off is a flannel."

"Bite me."

"I would but I don't think you could handle it." Ashley shot back.

Ugh, beer. I need beer. Beer will make the whole evening better. Beer good. I think to myself as I fill my glass up. The more I have to drink the better I will be able to deal with them. I sip my beer happy that they have moved on to things other than my clothing style. Jen Bridgewater is the reigning queen of our pack and we are but her lackeys. She's tall and beautiful in with long chestnut hair and blue-eyes that would make a Nazi jealous. She's a lawyer in her father's firm so she has it all: the looks, the brains, and the money. Unfortunately, she's a major bitch and she really does think she's God's gift to women. As I understand it she likes it rough, and no I don't know this from personal experience, I mean I did have a small crush on her but I've so gotten over that. I know this useless piece of info from some of my girlfriends or ex-girlfriends that she stole from me. One or two came back telling tales and pleading their 'I'm sorry' and blah, blah. I'm sorry if you've slept with Jen I won't touch you with a ten-foot pole.

I know that Jen and my sister Olivia are fuck buddies on occasion, she never talks about it but sometimes I see a mark or two and I just know. My sister and Jen use to date until Jen broke it off. I think Olivia is still in love with her, but that's none of my business. Olivia is about two years older than me we both have dark hair and pale skin, her eyes are more of a gold why mine are brown. She works as an upper level manager for MR Technologies. She's a good sister but I wish she'd get over Jen and start dating seriously.

Then there's Ashley. She's got short spiky hair that she's started dying blonde; she's the shortest of us at 5'4". Its funny that she was calling me a dyke when she looks like the queen of stereotypical dykes, but oddly she's bi-sexual. Actually Ashley is just sexual, she doesn't let a little thing like gender slow her down. She works as an accountant for the local correctional facility. I'm brought out of my musings by someone yet again telling me what my problem is.

"You know what your problem is, Carmen?"

Christ here they go again. Its going to be my clothes again or college.

"Your too nice you let people just walk all over you."

I snort, "Yeah like you guys."

"Hey that was uncalled for."

I roll my eyes again and reach into my pocket for a cigarette and matches.

"Don't even think it." Jen growls out.

Sighing I put them back, it's a bar I should be allowed to smoke other people are smoking. Olivia gives me a shoulder hug, "So sis what have you been up too?"

"Oh you know the usual. Working at Fleet Feet Couriers and here spinning disks. Oh I went mountain biking with Kevin today."

"You know if you went back to school and got a degree you could be making a lot more money¼"

I cut Ashley off. "I like my life guys." I need a break from them and there critique of my wasted life. "I'm going to go outside and smoke."

They just grunt at me and turn their attention to the bar patrons sizing up potential conquests.

Outside the air is tangy with the scent of spring that is just arriving on the heels of winter it is almost sweet and bitter like you can taste winter's anger at being replaced by spring. I sniff again catching a whiff of lilacs. A small smile tugs at my lips at the smell and I pull out the pack of cigarettes, but it almost seems sacrilegious to block out that smell.

I fumble with the matches wondering what I did with my lighter. I could have sworn I had it before I entered the bar, but lighters are tricky that way. Lighters are an unfaithful lot and have a tendency to wander, but matches are loyal they stick with you even if you accidentally wash them. I finally get the match to light and I make an assign comment in my head, look Carmen make fire. I follow that thought with some ape grunting noises. I made a funny and I chuckle at myself. Suddenly a voice purrs in my ear, "You shouldn't smoke you know. Its bad for your health."

What the fuck? I jump back startled. My head whips around to the left and I am struck dumb. I am so cured I will never ever light another stinken cancer stick again if she will be my reward for kicking the habit.

The voice is attached to the most gorgeous thing in the female gender that I have ever scene. She is taller than me with short curly red hair and deep blue eyes, which I'm sure, would look like the ocean if I had ever seen the ocean.

My mouth gaps open and the unlit cigarette falls to the ground but I don't really care.

"Sorry." She says with a grin, which makes me think she's not sorry at all. "I didn't mean to startle you."

"Oh it was my pleasure." I croak out all suave. But oddly it is my pleasure because my long lost libido that I had thought had gone south for the winter only never to return has comeback with a big old howdy in my pants.

She arches a red eyebrow at my comment.

"Oh shit. Here let me get the door for you." I quickly get the door open and she smiles and that smile makes me a big happy puddle of naughty thoughts.

"Thank you." She extends a hand. I take it floating on cloud 9. "Anna Russell."

"Uh, er, uh. I'm Carmen Webster."

Her eyes go slightly large, "Really?"

"Uh, yes." Something strange has just happened and if my libido would quit doing the happy dance in my jeans I could probably figure it out. However, before anything more can be said and exchanged she walks away into the bar, I think she muttered something like "my you've changed." I must be hearing things cause to imply that I've changed would mean taking on the assumption that we know each other before now, but I know there's no way I would forget someone like Ms. Russell¼ le roew.

The door closes and I let her get away but I just shrug, she so out of my league why dwell on it. I stoop over and pick up my fallen comrade and strike another match.

While I'm standing outside drawing the nicotine goodness into my lungs, I toy with the idea of just going home, but I know if I leave without saying good-bye I'll never hear the end of it. I ponder if it's worth it and then put the cigarette out and go back inside nothing is ever worth the shit they give me. As I go back into the bar I'm not surprised to find every drunken eye in the place latched on to the newcomer, Ms. Russell. However, I am surprised that Jen isn't trying to work her magic all over Ms. Russell.

Jeff is mixing the beautiful red head a drink at the bar. He catches my eye as I walk in and gives me an evil grin. My brain screams, don't Jeff. Don't do it. For the love of God don't do it. But its too late I know what's coming.

"Carmen." He shouts out.

"Jeff." I reply back lamely.

"Come over here." He wiggles is hand in a come here gesture.

I slink over to the bar trying to hold off the potentially awkward social situation that I know is coming.

"Carmen we've got a new patron to 'The Closet'. Carmen I want you to meet Anna Russell, she's visiting us from New York. Anna this is our resident Friday and Saturday night DJ." He paused letting them say their hellos before starting up again. "Anna since you are new to our fair city you'll need a tour guide. Carmen here being unattached would love to help you out."

Anna quirks an eyebrow, "Really."

They way she says 'really' makes the word naughty, well naughty in a good way. Honestly I love Jeff and all the gay boys at 'The Closet', but I do wish that they would mind their own damn business and stop playing matchmaker. I can feel the skin in my cheeks flaming out under her gaze.

"I¼ I¼" Come on Webster make a sentence here. "I, sure, I could play tour guide."

Ms. Russell's red, moist, lips, purse into a delicious smile. "Hmmm. What if I wanted to play something other than tour guide?" She asks with an innocent expression on her face while her lips drip innuendo.

My face turns even redder. Oh jeez, she's flirting. Women don't flirt with me.

"Uh¼" I stammer. Come on Webster flirt back you can do it.

"If you're looking for someone to play with around here I'll be more than happy to help you out." Replies Jen's voice from behind us.

Shit. Game over. I can't compete with Jen. Jen brushes past me whispering, "So out of your league Carmen." She grabs Anna's hand and kisses the knuckles.

For the first time I am really and truly angry with Jen, even though I let her do this shit to me all the time. "Jen." My voice comes from somewhere and it sounds pissed.

Jen looks at me clearly taken back but it doesn't last her face shifts into predatory mode. "Go away Carmen. Ms. Russell and I were having a private conversation."

"I¼ I¼" Is all I can stammer out as I look at the players. Jeff looks pissed at Jen and Anna just looks amused at the whole thing. Fuck it a woman I have known for all of five minutes is not worth Jen's wrath. I turn and go back to the table. As I approach I see my sister looking wistfully at Jen and Anna, and Ashley looks delighted.

Ashley looks up at me sipping her beer, "Whoa there. For a minute I thought you might have finally grown a pair." She jokes.

That's it. "I'm out of here."

"Awe. Jen stole your toy so now you're going to go home and pout."

"Shut up Ash!" I nearly shout. She looks befuddled at my anger.

I turn to my sister and I can't take the whipped puppy dog look on her face, "and for Christ's sake Olivia get over her and move on with your life." She just looks at me her golden eyes becoming moist and I feel like a shit. Disgusted with my friends but mainly with myself I stomp out of the bar with one thought burning in my head. Got to get me a better class of friends.

My exit of righteous indignation complete I stand lost on the street corner unsure what to do. Should I go try to meet up with my roomies at the Castle? Or should I just head for home? Maybe Collin's Bar and Grill will have a live jazz band tonight I could check out? At a loss I automatically reach in my pocket for another cigarette, while I think over my options for the evening. Fumbling; I yet again can't find my lighter but I come up with a book of matches. I tear out a stick and strike it.

"I thought you might have listened to me the first time."

Ms. Russell had snuck up on me again. "Wha..? How do you do that?"


"Sneak up on me?"

"You must think too loud. I was hardly sneaking."

Suddenly I realize the match that I had lit a few moments ago is now cooking my fingers to a light golden brown. Goddamn Ms. Russell is distracting. "Ow! Fuck!" Okay yes not the smoothest things to utter in female company. I release the burning match.

"See." She says with a sinful smile, "I told you smoking was bad for you."

I ever so suavely hold my burnt finger up to my mouth and blow on it to relieve the pain. This whole situation is weird. I'm not the type of girl other women flirt with or chase after. Nope no chase after girl here. Jen is the type that happens too. So needless to say I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that this gorgeous, hot woman is out here, with me, standing on at street corner at 9:45 at night. When she could be inside being smooth talked by Jen.

We're standing and I'm trying to think of clever dialog to engage her in¼ well something other than, "There's this motel up the street. You game?" I'm pretty sure she's the type of girl who would slap me if those words came flying out of my mouth. After a moment or two I give up on the clever dialog and go with, "Um, was there something you wanted?"

She looks at me and I swear its one of those smoldering looks I've read about in lesbian romance novels.

"Yes." She states. "There is something I want." She takes my hand the one I am now absently holding near my mouth. I'm not blowing on my finger any more in fact I've forgotten how to breathe. She slowly kisses my burnt finger and then opening her mouth her tongue pokes out. It is swirled along my skin and I can say honestly there is no more pain in that finger. She gives it a light kiss the tongue bath complete and releases my hand; it just flops down to my side.

"I was hoping you might take me back to your place."

Uh. Jesus. I haven't had sex in like 2 years and my sex drive is burning rubber and running laps in southern region. "I, I, c-c-can't." What the hell? What is wrong with me?

My libido is doing the salsa of the sex fairies but the rest of me is scared by this amazingly hot woman and her rather aggressive come on. Okay in all fairness if I was Jen it would have been a PG rated come on, but I'm not Jen I'm me, and me is scared.

"Oh." Is all she says with a disappointed look and I want to kick myself in the head.

"Your more of a challenge than I thought Ms. Carmen Webster." She pulls out what looks like a business card and slides it into my back jeans pocket. I forget how to breathe when she does that.

"If you change your mind there's my number call me." Leaning over she kisses me lightly on the lips and turns and goes back into the bar, back to Jen.

I really want to tell her to comeback, but I don't. I feel like I missed an opportunity of a lifetime. Damn it I need beer, the Castle it is.

- - - - - - - - - - -

I'm having the best dream; it has to be a dream cause nothing like this would happen to me in real life. For once I didn't do the nice thing or the right thing. Instead I let that aggressive woman pick me up so I could take her home. Oh God. The things she can do with her tongue. Oh jeez. It's never felt like this. Its all hot and pulsing like there's lava in my arteries and the sex fairies have started a union and they're all buzzing around my ears. It just keeps building, this heated pressure expanding out until it's to big for my body to contain. This isn't real. This isn't right. It's never like this. This is some unrealistic fantasy feeling that only women in cheesy romance novels and porno's feel. It can't really be like this. My skin can't hold it anymore its bigger than me and I'm coming hard and¼ I'm falling out of bed.

Damn. Even in sleep I knew it was too good to be true. Lying on the floor sticky with my own sweat my heart thumping in my chest and my¼ oh, um. I think I had an orgasm. I thought I had one before, but now, now I'm not so sure. Damn that was, intense, would seem an appropriate way to categorize what just happened but I think I will use the word weird. This is so unlike me, for crying out loud I had a wet dream. I'm 26 years old not a 16 year old boy.

"Hey Webster you okay?" One of my roomies asks through the door.

"Uh¼ yeah. I'm fine."

"You didn't bring someone home that we were unaware of?"

"No." Smartass I never bring anyone home; it's a big joke with them. "Just a bad dream." A bad, evil, very bad even, nasty sweaty dream.

"Okay." With that I hear footsteps walking away.

I lay back down on the floor where I landed. Since I only have a mattress on the floor I didn't have far to go. I reach over to the crate I use as a nightstand and grab my glasses so I can see the time. Its almost noon but I don't have to work at the courier service so I'm free until 10 tonight. I need to do something to get my mind off of my dream and my new state of arousal. I'll give Kevin a call and see if he wants to go mountain biking. As I sit up I get a sniff of myself, but first a shower one should not walk around the whole day smelling ones own arousal.

-- - - -- - - - - -

The music is pounding tonight. I love it. What is even better nobody has come up to request a slow cheesy love ballad. They all want to dance out there on the dance floor, be eaten up and consumed by the controlled chaos of the music and the other bodies gyrating on just the nice side of obscene.

I haven't seen Jen, Ashley, or my sister at all tonight. They're probably at the Castle, this place just isn't their style on the weekends, from what I understand there are some pretty cozy dark nooks where one can get lost in for a quickie. Not that I would know about that, I have a hard enough time asking for a dance let alone quick sex with a stranger in a somewhat public place. I look over and see Kevin with Jeff.

Kevin is an odd boy. I've known him for like what seems forever. In the classic boy meets girl, he stuck gum in my hair and I beat him up at recess we were like in the 4th grade at the time. Growing up when I wasn't hanging with the "brat pack" I was hanging with Kev. My mom was thrilled I think she even made all these grand plans in her head for our wedding. Unlucky for my mom she got not one but two gay daughters and Kev who's a real flamer himself.

Kevin comes from this really wealthy family. His parents are divorced and he and his mom live here. His mom doesn't work she just lives off his dad's money. Kev also comes from a very religious family. He has sever internalized homophobia issues and can't seem to reconcile his faith with his being gay. Every once and a while he freaks out on himself finds some girl to date and tries to be "normal". Whatever that is. After a week or so he's fallen of the straight wagon and is back to being gay.

The gay boys love him he's a really hottie, I guess, but for as long as I've known him he's only ever slept with one guy. Kevin and this guy had some tawdry affair that would be the envy of any daytime soap plot. The guy just left him high and dry. No good-bye or anything.

As I look around some more I see Sue and Rob, two of my roomies, over at the pool table. They have a band with the other roomy Ed. Sometimes when they want something brassy in their set they'll ask me to come play with them or sing back up to Sue. Okay, I'll just get this over with now. Yes, I was a band geek. I play the trumpet. I was also stuck in the church choir until I grew into a moody teenager and refused to do it anymore. Sue and I actually had band together in high school she played the flute, and no I'm not telling if she ever went to band camp.

My attention quickly shifts to the dance floor and a new couple I've never seen at the Closet before. One is Asian with short black hair and the other is white with long curly blonde hair. They are a beautiful couple and they dance very well together. Okay, they look like they're having sex on the dance floor. Only with their clothes on and standing up. Well I guess it really isn't that unusual to have sex standing up¼ I'll just stop the train of my thoughts now. There really isn't any need to dwell on tits; I mean it, any longer. God knows I've never had sex standing up. Stopping that train again and switching to thoughts of golf now.

I begin my mix into the next song now it's a disco song by Abba that some old Queen requested; it clears the floor slightly but not to bad. Out of the corner of my eye I see Jeff trying to get my attention. He's waving and pointing. Kevin just looks amused. I'm trying to read lips. It looks like he's saying, "she's here."

"What?" I mouth back.

"She's here."

What the fuck? Who's this "she"? I try to look where he's pointing but I don't see¼ oh. Oh Shit! It's the aggressive Ms. Russell. I'm so screwed and I so need to be mixing into the next song.

The mix is horrible I can see people muttering on the dance floor. Once the horror of the transition is over I look around again for Ms. Russell and find her coming my way. She smiles at me and it's a dangerous sexy sort of smile as she stops short of the DJ booth.

"May I come in?"

"Uh, yeah, sure." Danger! Danger!

She pushes through the swinging door and she's suddenly here with me in the tiny booth.

"You didn't call me." She says with a breathy pout.

In all honesty when I remembered about the card she had so naughtily slipped into my pocket I did war with the idea to call her. In the end however, I talked myself out of it.

I am reminded of why I should listen to organs other than my brain as she stands before me. She is wearing tight black leather pants and a white button up shirt with the bottom buttons undone to expose a yummy stomach.

Damn I had forgotten about that breathing thing again.

"Carmen my eyes are up a little higher."

Oh right. "I was just noticing how in shape you are." I am so out of my league. I'm wearing baggy jeans, my superman shirt and a blue visor. I look like a club kid.

"Thank you." She says and I blink at her. What is she thanking me for? I have to rewind the conversation in my head. Oh right.

She continues to look at me and I fidget till I blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. "And about calling you. Well, you really intimidate me." I cringe in horror. Can I be any more of a dork?

She throws her head back and laughs. Oh look at that I forgot how to breathe again. I have this sudden urge to wash my fingers in the fiery river that is her hair to see if it is as soft and silky as it looks. I snap back to reality, song ending. Turning to the mixer even though it means removing my eyes from her. I almost forget to hit play as I feel her come up behind me. The heat that burns from her body into mine is delicious. I can feel it scorching the skin of my back.

"I would really like to see you again." She whispers into my ear.

All I can think is that it can't be healthy for a person to be deprived of oxygen like this. I force my lungs to remember their purpose in life and I force my brain back to the task at hand. I'm fading out of one song while bringing the other up. For a moment the two songs blend together their rhythms in sync matching each other a lot like good sex I imagine. Mental slap. Okay I really need to get laid two years is too long to go without. Finally the next song is a go and Anna hasn't moved from behind me.

"Ah, could you back up a little?"

Her breath is hot in my ear again and a shiver hurls itself down my spine. She felt that I think cause I feel her smile. "You didn't answer me." Is all she says.

"Backup a little and I will." This is how Jen acts; all forceful queen bitch of the world sort of attitude, and I hate it. However, on Anna it just makes me horny.

She steps back and leans against the wall all cocky self-assured.

"I'm really baffled here. Women only do this to me when they want to use me to get a date with Jen. I see it. It's a brief flicker but I saw it in her eyes. Shit.

"Get out!"


"You just want to use me to get a date with Jen. I can't believe this. Get out."

"I don't know what you are talking about." She acts confused and slightly offended but its too late I'm on to her.

"Look I'm sick and tired of being used as a spring board for Jen. Now get out."

"Alright. I'm leaving, but I did just really want a date with you. This isn't about getting a date with Jen."

I cave slightly maybe I was wrong. "I'll think about it." I grumble as I turn back to the mixer.

I watch her off and on during the night. She knows the Asian and blonde chick, I watch them laugh and drink together. I also watch her dance. The way she moves, lets just say she's a very naughty dancer and the sex fairies are back doing the polka in my jeans.

It's just cruel the way I'm stuck back here and she's out there. Not that it would matter I dance like a drunken cow with only three legs.

"Hey sexy mama." Kevin and Jeff have decided to join me

"Hey boys."

"How's the resident fairy duster?"

"I'm good."

"But wouldn't you like to be better? I bet you'd be great if you were dancing with that red headed vixen."

I quirk an eyebrow, "Duh. Who wouldn't be?"

"Go on go dance your dance of 1000 idiots I'll spin for an hour and Kevin here will keep me company."

"You sure?"

"Yep. Go on."

The headphones are removed and I move quickly out of the booth and out on the dance floor. I know, well, I'm 98% sure that she's using me, but there's something about her. Truthfully she's hot and I'm horny and I don't really care much at this point. I mean I just don't have sex fantasies about just anybody. Okay, so she's the first. Where the hell is she? I swear I just saw her out her shaking her groove thing not but 2 seconds ago.

Suddenly two hands grab my hips pulling me into a warm body. I smell the faint scent of lilacs and I know its her. My body freezes and she whispers in my ear.

"It's okay. Just relax and move with my body."

We dance together and its like we're the only ones on the dance floor. I'm wrapped in her warmth and the heady scent of lilacs, and before I know it I have to go back to the DJ booth.

"Stay and dance with me." She whispers.

I want to. "I can't."

She pouts.

"Tomorrow, I'll call you." Somewhere I've gotten brave, but it's not hard because I think she's caused my hormones to get all out of whack. I start to leave the floor and she grabs me. "Wha¼"and my lips are covered by hers.

It's not a gentle kiss, but it's not rough. I think it's a 'don't forget to call cause this is what you'll be missing' kiss. In the distance the gay boys shout pointers.

Her lips leave mine and I stare at her stupidly. Articulate me says, "whoa."

"Don't forget to call." Then she's gone disappearing in the writhing bodies.

Up in the DJ booth I look for her the rest of the night but her and that new couple are gone.

- - - - -- -

The world is a peacefully place at 4am. I ride my bike home through the downtown streets and its empty and silent, the street lamps highlight everything in shadowy contrast. All the bar fly's have crawled home to pass out or hover over toilets. There is the occasional car but not many at this hour in another 45 minutes the morning rush to work will start.

I'm not stupid I ride through areas that are well lit and I don't cut through the park or down alleys. I enjoy this time it's only a 12-minute ride home. Most night it's a rush at the bar other nights it's a drag. Normally I use these 12 minutes to come down and focus. Tonight, however, I think about lilacs. I think about the mystery woman, Anna, who just walked into my life and I think I know how this tale will end. Me clutching my broken heart in my hands looking for duct tape. I could lie and say all I want is sex, don't get me wrong I'm all for having sex. Unlike some folks - Jen- I have a hard time separating my heart and my clit where one goes the other is sure to follow.

I think about dancing with her. Pressed up against her feeling her heat, the softness of her skin and her strength when she would wrap her arms around me. She is the embodiment of strength made human; you can sense its all not just physical. Its her will, her personality, its just her; strength. I could lose myself in it and never come up for air. Being in her arms I could be kept safe from all things. That's a bit scary. I could lose myself too her and in her. That's not good.

I blink and I'm home. The porch light is on and I see Ed out smoking on it. I carry my bike up the steps and rest it on the railings.

"Hey." Ed says.

I love Ed we can hold a monosyllable conversation that would make primates jealous.

"Hey." I grunt back. Translation: give me a cigarette and matches.

He hands them over. While I try to light it, he says. "Hot night?" Translation: Sue and Rob said they saw you dancing with some hottie.

"Oh yeah." Translation: I nearly came on the dance floor and would willing give up freewill and smoking to be her love rhino.

"Cool." Translation: you the woman. Go Carmen.

"Cool." Translation: you better believe I'm the woman.

We spend another minute out on the porch. Ed gets up with a grunt and I follow bringing my bike inside.

Sleep is an elusive thing. My mind keeps working I think about Anna and the smell of lilacs. I wonder why I said I would call, but I did so I will. Call and do what? Its not like I can pick her up. I don't own a car. God, I am such a loser, "hey baby. Wanna go for a ride on my handle bars?"

Maybe we could meet downtown somewhere or maybe Kevin would let me borrow his car? I could take her up to Thompson's Grotto and we could hike around and do the picnic thing. I smile softly in the dark. That doesn't sound half bad. Kind of romantic in a half-assed way and I'm nothing if not half-assed. Clutching the pillow I let myself drift off.

Part 2

It's about 11:30 in the morning. I'm lying in bed, grasping the sheets in my hands while I clench my thighs together and sweat dots my forehead. I've had another dream - another very erotic dream. I think there may be a sixteen-year-old boy taking over my body. This is bad. I've never been affected by another person like this. I mean, sure I have my fantasies and things that get me all hot and bothered, but this is different. This feeling is new and the intensity of it is a notch above what I thought myself capable of. And this is just the wet dreams. What happens when it's reality?

Groaning, I roll over and bury my head in the pillow. Perhaps I'll just stay in bed today. Grrr. No, I said I would call and I will¼ eventually. I'll just shower first so I can put it off for another 20 minutes.

Showered, dressed, and now to call. I twirl the business card in my fingers; it says, "Anna Russell. - Consultant," with some numbers. On the back is a local number with a room number below it.

'Call, Carmen, call. Call, Carmen, call,' the evil voice in my head chants. It just wants to get laid. Bad inner voice. Bad.

Okay, just make the call. She'll either be there or she won't, no big deal. The worst that can happen is that she'll realize her mistake and not want to see me. I hate that. Everyone says, "Go talk to her, Carmen. What's the worst that could happen, that she'll say 'no, thank you'?" Well, in my book rejection is pretty damn bad. Let's say you're at the bar and you see this hot woman across the room. Your mind wanders and you wonder could this if this could be the night you finally get lucky. Better yet, it could be more than just sex. She could be the one - the mythical eternal soulmate, the one who will complete you. Then you build up these expectations; even though you shouldn't, you do it anyways. So by the time you make it over to talk to her, she ends up looking at you like you're something on the bottom of her shoe. She pretends to be flattered but tells you 'no, thank you.' Then she'll want to know if the tall brunette sitting with you is available because it always ends up being about Jen.

I notice that this mental tangent has taken up a good five minutes. Go me.

Finally I pick up the phone and dial. It rings at the front desk and I ask for Room 612. I wait, wondering if I should just be proud I made it this far and hang up. As I'm getting ready to freak out on myself, a woman answers before I can finish my follow through and hang up.


The voice is not Anna's. There's a strange woman, who is not Anna, answering the phone.


"Um. Yes. Is Ms. Russell in?"

"No, Anna's out at the moment. May I take a message?"

"Uh, sure. Could you tell her that Carmen Webster called?"

"Of course, she's been expecting your call. I'll let her know when she gets in. Does she have your number?"

I give it to her and we both go on our way.

Well, at least she was expecting my call. I wonder who the woman is that answered the phone? What if it's her girlfriend? What if this is some sort of kinky game they play luring innocent women into their clutches so they can do evil nasty things? Really, what do I know about this woman? Nothing. Well, that's not quite true; I know she's hot and she makes my libido do the happy dance. I will admit I'm a firm believer in that lust, love, and or whatever at first sight is bad. It prevents you from asking the important questions like, 'Is she an ax murderer?'

Crap, now what do I do with my day? Do I sit around wasting my afternoon waiting for a call that may or may not come? Ugh. Rob is poking me in the back of the head in a rather annoying fashion.

"Hey, geek. Why are you staring at the phone?"

"I'm staring cause 'cause I called a girl."

"A girl. A girl. Did you hear that, Sue? Our little girl is growing up so fast."

I shove him. Smartass.

"You go, Carmen. Was it that hottie you were dancing with at the bar?"

"Yes, it was the hottie I was dancing with."

"Oh man, she was stacked."

"Pig." I shove Rob again, only harder.

Sue turns from where she's looking at the mail and glares at Rob. "She was, was she?"

"Uh, did I¼ what I meant to say, um."

"You're sleeping on the couch." Sue winks my way to let me know she's not really all that upset before she storms off. Rob stares at me, then at in the direction that Sue stormed off.

"Guess it's time to run down to the store for whipped topping?"

"Guess so," he replies while stroking his goatee.

When Rob pisses Sue off, making up requires whipped topping. I really don't want to go into detail why I know this. Let's just say I came home early and have never been able to burn the memory out of my head.

Rob goes off in search of his wallet and I go off in search of something to do. I wander outside and find Ed coloring with chalk on the driveway.



I look down and see he's got the outline of a human form.


"Yep. I'm making me a Sistine Chapel, only with all chicks."

"You just want to draw boobies."

"Yep." He hands me some chalk and then goes back to work drawing God or now the well-endowed Goddess.

We watch in amusement as Rob runs out of the house.

"There goes a man on a mission."

"Whipped topping?"

"Uh huh."


"You got a point, Ed. I should go grab my shoes and wallet before they really start going."

"Uh huh."

I run inside and then return to our feminized version of the Sistine Chapel on the driveway. As we work away in different colored chalk, we see Rob rush back, brown paper bag in hand. It only took him 14-minutes this time; he's been working out.

Ed and I continue to work, wrapped up in making the Goddess and Eve when until Sue comes outside wrapped in a sheet.

"Carmen, come get the damn phone and make it quick."

Shit! Anna! I totally forgot.

Dutifully I run into the house. "Hello."


Oh my goodness, what her voice does to me. I am yet again a puddle of naughty thoughts.

"Hey," I respond, being ever the witty one.

"I'm sorry if I called at a bad time. I hope your roommates aren't to too upset with me."

"What? Oh that, don't worry about it. They've moved on to other things already." And they have. I can hear Rob's high-pitched wheeze. Ewww. 'Happy place. Happy place. I'm going to my happy place.'

"Good. So you called me."

"Yep. Said I would." Fuck. It's become awkward. "Uh, so, would you like to get together and do something?" Go, Carmen. That was so lame.

"Doing¼ something sounds like it has possibilities. What did you have in mind?"

Oh, oh, oh my God. Her voice has dropped down to a sexy purr and the sex fairies are doing the lust samba in my pants. Of course, it doesn't help that somewhere in the house Sue and Rob are having sex close to a vent. "I was thinking that maybe we could go for a hike and have a picnic, or something."

My suggestion is met with silence. "Or we could do something else." Stupid. Stupid. What if she hates the outdoors?

"No, that sounds sweet."

"Really? I mean great. I'll pick you up in like an hour."

"Sounds like a plan."


A rhythmic pounding has begun and I can only feel sorry for whatever piece of furniture is being used. I can feel my face turning red as I dial Kevin. "Kev, I need a favor."

- - - - - - - - -- -

I pull into the gravel and dirt parking area of Thompson's Grotto. Luckily I only see one other car parked up here, which means it's all ours. Even with spring almost here it's still cold in the mountains; the grotto is a little warmer and never gets any snow. In another two months this place will be crawling with overnight campers on the weekends and underage kids having parties. I like the grotto; there are some nice trails to hike or bike on, and up a little ways past the parking area are some campsites. Nothing fancy, just some cleared dirt and some rocks setup in a ring for campfires.

I glance over at Anna. The 25-minute ride up has been really quiet. All I learned about her was that asking about her family was off limits, and that she was a consultant. However, what or whom she consults remains a mystery. Oh, and she's in my fair city on business, and whatever that business is, is no business of mine.

She does, however, look really good in jeans and a dark blue sweater, but this doesn't make up for the fact that has she's been acting like a jerk ever since I picked her up.

"Well, we're here."

"It's charming." The way she says it implies the opposite.

My shoulders slump a little. This is one of my favorite places. I grumble to myself as I get out of Kevin's Jeep. As she gets out I can hear her boots crunch on the gravel.

"Would you like to walk around? Or if you're hungry, there's some tables over there we can eat at." Seeing the bored expression on her face, I deflate a little more. I'm such a dork. I can't even take someone out on a date right. "Look, you don't have to humor me. If you don't want to be here, just let me know and I'll take you back."

"What? No. It's great."

"No, it's not. You think it sucks. Just get back in the Jeep and I'll take you back." For some reason I'm really worked up and I can feel tears in my eyes. I just wanted a chance to get the girl for once. I might not be as suave, or attractive, or financially well off as Jen, Ashley, or my sister, but fuck, I'm an all right person. I have a big heart and, fuck it¼ why won't the key work in the door? My eyes burn and I blink rapidly to keep the tears from falling. There are hands touching me, rubbing up and down on my arms. Her voice tickles in my ear.

"Carmen. Carmen. Hey, I'm sorry. I'm sorry I was acting all distant. Really, this is great."

Stopping my frantic stabbing of the key towards the lock, I look at her, noticing her sheepish expression. "Are you sure? Because I really don't want to make you do something you don't want to."

"No, this is fine. Really." She smiles and it's a genuine smile, not her predatory sexy smile. It makes her look young and I can't help but smile back.

"Okay then. Come on, there's a great trail over here. Just let me know if you get hungry. I brought a bunch of food and stuff."

She laughs as I pull her along to the trailhead.

"You're so cute. Almost like a little kid at Christmas."

I blush and duck my head. Hmmm¼ not quite the effect I was going for, but I am feeling kind of hyper at the moment. I have this great buzz going through my body and I feel fantastic. How's that for an emotional roller coaster? I was about ready to burst in to into tears minutes ago and now I'm on top of the world.

As we hike along the trail, I point out various things to her and make her stop so she can take in the view. Way down below you can see my fair hometown; it looks so tiny and unimportant. As we hike and talk, I find myself moving beyond the lust stage that she has invoked in me into a scary murky area. I knew it. I knew I was incapable of keeping sex and love separate. Damn me! And we haven't even got to the sex part.

Anna seems more relaxed and I find this part of her even more beautiful and desirable than her predatory sex goddess persona.

"You must not be a big outdoors person," I state as she laughs at the antics of two squirrels.

"Well, living in New York City doesn't leave one with much appreciation of nature. I'd have to say I'm more of a city girl, but spending time with you out here is really nice.

"Thanks." I'm blushing again.

"You're so cute." She laughs and gives me a hug.

My brain's going into overload. I go with the moment. Maybe it's because of the erotic dreams I've been having about her, but I'm really aware of her breasts and how they feel all smooshed up against my body. I'm channeling that damn 16-year-old boy again. She steps back and I instantly miss her body. She has this strange expression on her face and I realize that she hasn't really moved all that far away. Is she going to kiss me? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe¼ Oh, the tension. I'm afraid she'll kiss me and I'm afraid she won't. Finally, even though it's probably only been 10 seconds, I ask, "are you okay? You have a weird expression on your face."

"It's nothing. You're just so sweet."

"This is bad, how?" I'm feeling kind of defensive about this whole sweet thing.

"It's not, Carmen. It's wonderful."

Then she does kiss me. This takes me by surprise because I was under the impression that the moment had passed.

Her kiss is like a disease. It quickly infects my body and senses. My legs give out, knocking us both to the ground. Reality rocks! This is so much better than any dream. I want to touch her; so far I haven't been very proactive about this whole kissing thing. My arm feels heavy, but I get it to move and I submerge my hand in her hair. It's wonderfully soft. I sink my hand in deep through her hair to the back of her neck. I stroke her neck, her shoulders, and move on to her back. I rub small circles there. Finally, after several civilizations have come and gone and eternity has fled, it ends.

I just lie there, not caring in the least little bit that the damp grass is soaking through my jeans. I just lie there with my eyes closed and a silly grin on my face, smelling the scent of lilacs. I can feel her hovering over me, and softly, like the breeze created by butterfly wings, I feel her finger touch my lips. She traces them and moves on to my jaw, up my cheek to my eyebrows.

"Carmen, was that okay? I mean, I wasn't planning on attacking you."

My grin just gets larger. "That was fabulous. Oh my God. I didn't know that a kiss could be that good."

Opening my eyes I see her blushing face, but her eyes, ¼ her eyes make me gulp. Such an innocent face with the eyes of a devil. A hand traces lines on my stomach and hip.

"You liked the first one. Maybe we should find out if it was a fluke?"

The words slink into my brain on velvet feet, which starts a dangerous chain reaction beginning with the sex fairies having a rave in my southern anatomy. My eyes snap open and I'm looking into her blue eyes. She's so close. This could be dangerous. I'm not sure I could survive another kiss. But what the hell, all those sex fairies in my pants couldn't be wrong.

There's a trick to open-mouth kissing. We're not talking gaping open-fish-mouths here. Not open enough to really want to get your tongue involved but not closed. No, not closed, uptight, 'I'm too fucking in control to loosen up' kisses. Just nice wet open mouth kissing, but there's a trick to it. I haven't got a clue what this trick is, but Anna does. It creates a simmer under my skin. She never speeds up; she sometimes slows down her kisses, making one linger longer than another. What really impresses me is the lack of drool; having you your mouth open for an extended period of time causes drool. Oh, you want a little bit of moisture or you don't get nice wet open mouth kisses.

She needs to have more of her body draped over mine. The sex fairies are unhappy about the lack of pelvic grinding area going on. Because if she would just swing that leg over and nestle it in between mine, it would give me something, oh so lovely to arch my body into. She is being such a tease. I can feel my breathing start to hitch a bit as her hand starts to do some lazy touching below the belt. My body feels like the Amazon, all hot and moist and teaming with life. I just want to grab her body and¼

"Oh my God, are you all right!"

What the hell was that? Wait! Where are Anna's lips going? I'm seriously unhappy here and I think the sex fairies are building their own Death Star.

I blink, trying to find my way back to the here and now and out of my lust-induced reality. Anna is looking away and there's another person here. Oh, for the love of¼

"Are you two okay?" The same voice repeats again.

"I was until you¼" Anna stops my rather sexually frustrated comeback.

"We're fine. Why would you think otherwise?"

"Well, she's passed out on the ground and you're administering CPR."

"CPR! Oh for¼" I can't tell if I'm pissed off or amazed at his stupidity.

Anna beats me too to it.

"She's fine. We're fine. But you did rather rudely interrupt our make-out session."

"What? Oh¼ I'm so sorry; I didn't realize. Oh my God, you're both dy, ¼ lesb, ¼ women."

"Yes, now why don't you file this away for some male masturbatory fantasy to use later, but please go now."

Nice. Anna just verbally kicked his ass all over the wilderness. Speaking of asses, my mine is rather cold and damp.

Anna just looks at me. "He's gone." She pauses. "The moment's gone too, isn't it?"

I sigh and nod. Stupid guy.

Grrr. My butt is all wet, and not in a good way mind you. I wouldn't mind so much if the only other person up here hadn't interrupted the smoochies. I mean, what are the chances of him coming across us making out? There are dozens of trails and he just has to use the one we're on. Of course I think we scared him as bad as he scared us. I glance at Anna out of the corner of my eye and I catch her doing the same to me. We just look at each other and bust up laughing.

Mmmm. Spontaneous kissage.

"You are so cute. I wasn't sure who was going to have the heart attack first, you or him."

I try glaring at her, but I'm too happy. My face muscles won't conform to the scowl I want to level her way. "It wasn't funny at all. He blundered into a perfectly good make-out session. And now all I have to show for it is a wet butt." I'm pouting.

She pulls me to her and nips my pouting lip, which makes me pout more. I thought we might be having more spontaneous kissage.

"So is your butt the only thing that's wet?"

I blush. She's such a naughty little vixen, but I love it. Maybe I should have 'Anna's love rhino' tattooed on my butt. "Hmmm¼. maybe."

She raises an eyebrow at my response. Yeah, color me surprised by my snappy somewhat-sexual comeback as well.


Whoops, somebody is much better at the sexual foreplay game than me.

Mmmmm. Hands in new places. I honestly can't remember the last time somebody grabbed my ass. Well, I guess she isn't so much grabbing it as fondling it.

"Maybe it's a secret."

"Guess I'll just have to search around and see what I find."

"I guess so." Okay, for the record, that was the sex fairies talking.

Mmmmm. Okay, hands are not in new places; my hands go there all the time. However, it's much better when her hands go there. There are advantages to having baggy jeans on. All she really had to do was get my belt undone and she could slip her hand right in. I swear to God if that stupid guy bumbles in on onto us again¼ "Oh sweet Jesus." Can I just mention again how much reality rocks?

"Yep, definitely wet."

I can't believe she just stopped and pulled her hand away. For crying out loud, me and that hand were becoming best buds.

"Wet and oh so yummy."

She is so trying to kill me with sexual frustration. She slides two fingers into her mouth and starts sucking them in a very erotic manner. Fine. I debate whether or not to just throw her on the ground and ravage her. I'm almost shocked by my thoughts; they seem far more assertive than the thoughts I normally have. Then again I haven't had sex in like 2 years. Ah, Nikki Watson. I had to jump out a window when her hubby came home so it's no wonder my sex drive went on a long vacation.

I push away from her and re-buckle my belt. My brown eyes met meet her blue ones. "You suck," I say, as I start off again down the trail.

She laughs, "You have no idea how good I suck."

Grrr. Down, sex fairies, down.

- - - - - - - -- - -

"Where's that trail go?"

"It goes to the local high school party spot. The kids come up here and to camp and drink. They get to feel like they're getting away with something, but everybody knows what they're doing."

"Really? Did you come up here and get wild?"

I cough and look away. "Sometimes. Peer pressure and all that."

"I bet you were cute with your long curly hair and all dressed up."

"Ah¼" I just look at her. That's kind of creepy; that's exactly what I looked like. I wasn't always the tough bull dyke you see today. Okay, the words 'tough' and 'bull dyke' are stretching the truth a bit even now. However, in junior high and high school I was a real girl. I had long hair that I curled and I wore dresses almost all the time. In my defense I was two and a half years younger than everybody else. I was also scared most of the time, 'cause other than my intellect, I didn't really fit in. So I let my mother dictate what I was for a long time; it was nice to have someone in control of my life because so much of my life seemed out of control.

"That's freaky."

"What?" She blinks her blue eyes at me.

"That's pretty much me until my junior year. I was a big old geek."

"What happened your junior year?"

What didn't happen? My mind sheers sharply right to avoid thinking about anything from high school.

"I dunno. I think I just went unto into my teenage rebellion years."

"Did you wear a lot of black and listen to the Cure?"

"Uh, well, more like the Sex Pistols and The Ramones."

"I bet you were a cute punk rock girl."

"Actually I was an angry, confused child. If it hadn't been for my friends¼" I may seriously dislike Jen, Ashley, and my sister on occasion, but they were there for me when I need needed them, even if I didn't realize that I needed anybody. Of course, in a way I got into that place because of them.

"Hey, where did you go?"

"Uh, just remembering high school and wishing I wasn't." Okay, I think I just killed off all the sex fairies in my pants.

"I understand that."

"What? The sex fairies?"

She's looking at me very oddly. Oh shit! I said that out loud. "Man, am I starving! Why don't we go back down to the car and have a picnic?"

I start off down the trail, looking back to see if she's following, because I don't really want to see her face.

"So tell me about the sex fairies. Do they visit you often?"

My cheeks are turning pink. If she only knew how many visits I'd been getting from the sex fairies since I met her.

- - - - --

"Um, could you not do that?"

"Do what?"

Her innocent blue eyes look at into mine. Trust me; what she was doing seconds ago was not that innocent. It was very indecent, verging on obscene.

"You know what you were doing."

"I was just sitting here eating my banana."

She was going down on her banana for crying out loud. I'll never be able to look at the fruit the same way again.

"There's another one. Do you want it?"

"Not really."

"Your loss. You know what bananas are good for, right?"

"They help prevent muscles from cramping."


"I give. What else?"

"Boosting sex drive."

I'm so dead. Anna is going to kill me.

"So I'm dying to know."

She's got this evil look in her eye; I'm almost afraid to rise to the bait.

"Know what?"

"Did you ever come up here with anyone and make-out?"

"Not really. I was bumped up two grades so I was younger than everybody else. Who wants to make-out make out with a kid?"

"Not even once?"

I squirm, uncomfortable with the question. Truth was I came up here once; I didn't know it was to make-out, but it happened. It kept happening till until Jen and Olivia caught us. My memories don't go any farther; there's a black hole where they should be. I get a sense that something bad happened but I can't remember.

"Are you okay? You don't have to answer me if you don't want to."

"There was a person. They were 15 and I was 13. Jen caught us and it was over."

"Lucky guy."

"Not really."

"What happened to him?"

"It wasn't a him."

"Whoa! At 13 you knew you were gay?"

"No, I didn't. Can we talk about something else?"

I must have snapped at her; she's looking at me oddly. A headache begins to pound on at the back of my skull. I can vaguely remember what she looked like. She had blonde hair, blue eyes that remind me of Anna's, and braces. I remember not really wanting to kiss her but not really able to say no either.

"You don't look so good. Maybe we should go back."

"Yeah. Sorry, I'm just getting a headache."

"Hmmm, not quite the effect I was hoping for tonight."

"I have to work tonight but you're welcome to come by The Closet and hang out. Maybe we could go grab a cup of coffee after I get done."

"Only if you grab it with me back at my hotel room."

Okay, Carmen, be brave. For once in your life go for something you want. You want her, the sex fairies want her, and she even wants you. See? It's a win-win situation for all involved.

"I, well, um¼"

"You're so cute. I'm not sure I've seen a person blush as much as you." She comes forward and I don't have the good sense to back away. Her arms encircle my body, drawing us closer, and I imagine myself to be a moth. I am drawn to her fire even though I know it could be deadly. Her lips capture mine, and being the traitors that they are, they give up without a fight. We kiss until somehow she entices my lips to open and encourages my tongue to come out and play with hers.

Our tongues play hide and seek in each other's mouth until her lips trap my tongue and suck on it. A gentle suction, but it's one of those things that sets my brain on fire; the sex fairies are doing the hokey-pokey and ringing roses around my clit.

I push her away. "Stop now, please."

"I'm sorry; I thought. ¼"

"Oh no. Trust me, you thought right. I just¼ I just freak out on myself a lot when things get too intense."

God. What the hell am I doing? Things were going so well and then I had to go and remind her of what a dork I am.

"It's okay. I really want this, but I want it at a pace you're comfortable with."

I look up at her sheepishly.


"Okay." I decide to be brave and give her a quick kiss on the lips.

"Come on. Let's get me back so you can get ready for work."

I follow her back to the car, slightly surprised that she remembers the way. "You're a quick study."

She glances back with a saucy wink. "You have no idea."

You put one sex fairy in, you put one sex fairy out, you put one sex fairy in and you shake it all about. You do the hokey-pokey and you turn yourself around and that's what it's all about.

- - - - - - -

The Jeep is idling outside her hotel. "So this is your stop."

"Yes, it is."

"So I'll see you later?" It comes out as a desperate question.

"Oh yeah, we have a date later."


I'm staring at her and she's staring at me; the air is all expectant and heavy. Should I lean over and kiss her? Should I just wait and see what she does? Screw it. I'm going in.


Hold that thought. "Yeah?"

"I really am beginning to like you."

"Uh¼ okay." That wasn't what I was expecting.

"But you should know I'm here on business. I'm not staying."

Well fine. Just go and burst my balloon. I can feel myself deflate at her words.

"But I thought I should be upfront about this whole thing."

She does look really upset. I should say something. Gah, come on, brain, work.

"You don't have to say anything."

"No. Anna. I know that you're not staying, but I like you too. So let's just have fun with this until you have to go and then we'll see. Okay?" I am such a liar. This crap from the person who was going to have 'Anna's love rhino' tattooed on their ass. Sure, I can do non-threatening fuck buddy. Grrr¼ I am such a loser. When I do manage to find a girl, she's not even from this state.

"Okay, I just thought we should be honest before this went any farther."

"I appreciate that." Mmmmmm, ¼ more spontaneous kissage in front of the hotel. What were we talking about? Right - love rhino. Screw later, I'm going up now for more kisses, maybe followed by naughty touching.

Suddenly the car lurches forward. For the love of¼ I look over to see if Anna is okay, and then I get out. Just in time to see a large man getting out of jacked-up truck. Looking at the back of the Jeep, I see that the two vehicles are kissing bumpers.

"Jesus," I mumble.

"You got a problem?" The large man growls.

Do I have a problem? You bet your pumped-up ass I have a problem. However, when I say it out loud it comes out more like, "No." I'm no superhero, and it won't do me any good to get bent out of shape.

"Where the hell did you learn how to drive, meathead? Not only did you hit my friend's car, you managed to hit a parked car. It wasn't even a moving target."

I'm utterly amazed as Anna verbally grinds the man under her boot, and, I have to admit, a little turned on. Apparently I like assertive women. This guy is seriously about ready to kiss the ground she walks on.

Stunned she hands me his insurance and registration information. "So, later tonight. You're mine. Right?"

I just nod. I'm so hers tonight.

- - - - - - -- - - -

"What happened to my baby?"

I roll my eyes. Kevin has this sixth-sense about his Jeep. Some gay men get hyped up about clothing and decorating; Kev has his Jeep.

"Some over-pumped muscle-head rear ended me. You can barely even see where they kissed bumpers."

"Barely see? Barely see?" His voice rises and cracks in distress. "It looks like a fucking crater on the moon. It's huge."

Oh for¼ he's on his knees spitting at the faint crease in the bumper and trying to buff it out with his shirt. "Kev, come on now. They have professionals for that."

"This is the last time I let you borrow my Jeep."

"Jeez, Kev, its it's just one little scratch. Could you overreact more?"

He looks at me then flings himself on the ground, failing his limbs, screaming that I wounded his baby. Okay, I was wrong; he could overreact more.

He gets up with a grin. "How was that?"

"The academy called. Your award is ready."

"I knew I missed my calling."

"What is your calling exactly?"

"Spoiled rich gay boy."

"Oh, so you're gay this week?"

"I think so. I've gone the whole month without going to church or the confessional."

"Good gay boy." I pat his head. "Any reason for this religious sabbatical?"

"Oh yeah. Sex with girls is alright but it can't compare to a man's mouth wrapped around my¼"

I cut him off. "Stop. Just stop that sentence before it goes to too far."

He grins and says, "Cock."

"Oh my God, you just had to go there. I didn't need to know that. I mean, happy dance that you had sex and all, but now I need disinfectant for my brain."

He continues to grin at me.

"Ewww. It was Jeff, wasn't it?"

His grin just gets bigger. "He's like a vacuum."

"Let me repeat. - ewww. Like that imagery was remotely sexy. Do you frequently get friendly with your cleaning appliances?"

"Blah Blah blah. You're just torqued 'cause I got some and you didn't."

"Well, I'm getting some tonight. So there." Yes, I do follow this really childish reaction by sticking my tongue out at him.

"This would explain why your butt is all wet."

"Come here, Kev. I feel the need to beat you up." He takes off running and I follow quickly after him. At least he's forgotten about the scratch on his bumper.

I pull my waterlogged body out of Kevin's pool. I almost had him. I think that elementary school incident where I beat him up affected his self-image. The boy started running and lifting weights after that. Of course he never grew to be over 5'7" either. I think Kev's estranged father may have died and willed him a bunch of money, but as far as I know, Kevin doesn't have a job that pays for the kind of life he has. He's a personal trainer at the local gym. Not the kind of job that pays for a nice two-bedroom home with a pool and hot tub.

"Looks like I got you way wetter than Ms. Russell did."

I spit water at him. "Not everything has to have a sexual connotation."

"Hey, you're the sick person who took it as a sexual reference."

Lying on the nice soft marble that surrounds the pool, I look up at the darkening sky. "Kev, she's not staying. She's just here on business."

He throws me a towel. "So it sounds like the perfect relationship to get you back in the dating saddle. No fuss, no muss. Just exchange some fluid and go your separate ways."

"Kevin, you realize you really have no room to be coaching me on the ins and outs of sex and dating."

"Yeah, but I thought I should be a good friend and try."

With a laugh I get up. "Yeah, and I love you for trying."

He gives me a hug and leads me into the house. "To bad we can't both be straight. It would have solved a lot of our problems."

I smile but don't say anything. He says that a lot. Sometimes I think he really wishes it were true, but I can't imagine being any other way.

Part 3

Disclaimer - Oh my God! There be sex in this part. If sex between women bothers you -- How the hell did you get this far into my story? Really I'm curious.

Oh my God! I'm going to have sex. I have to sit on my bed and tuck my head between my knees. Kevin brought me home an hour ago and so far I've been trying to figure out what to wear. However, the thought of Anna's sexual promise of "coffee" later keeps banging against the inside of my mind every 2.5 seconds. I was going to get some tonight and now I'm almost hyperventilating. This is kind of, well, sex is not my greatest strength in the 'attract a mate' category. I mean it can't be. In fact I'm fairly certain I'm the worlds worst lover. If I was any good at all then I wouldn't lose my girlfriends to Jen. All she offers them is sex so that has to be what I'm lacking. I think I heard my ego whimpering.

Deep breaths one after another, the floor is a lot closer when your head is between your knees.


"Jesus." I look up the room blurring around the edges a bit. I see Ed looking at me with a worried look on his face. Normally his face is really neutral, but when he gets worried his mouth purses up just a bit and shifts to the right. He has a glass of water in his hand, bless that boy. I haven't got a clue why he's single he's the sweetest thing, its probably that quirky non-talkative side that keeps them away.

Ed sits next to me on the bed and silently hands me the water. "Better?" Which translates to: saw you freaking, thought you could use some fluids.

I don't say anything a just sip the water and try to organize my thoughts.

"It's cool." He whispers patting my back. Translation: you really don't need to talk about it if you don't want.

"Thanks. It's just. You know¼"

"Ahhh." Translation: it's about sex.

Yes Eddie knows me well, if I fumble for words the subject must be about sex.

He smiles, "The key is communication."

I'm floored. Ed used a whole sentence I'm fairly certain there was punctuation and everything.

"If you're scared or uncertain, its not right. Don't push the moment, but don't let fear motivate you."

I am speechless, utterly speechless. "Ah, you, with a period at the end and everything."

"Yeah." He ducks his head. Then he hugs me and gets up to leave.

"You're the best Ed."

"Yep." Translation: I am the Master of Love.

It's the quiet ones I'm telling you.

I take some more deep breaths and then turn my attention back to more important matters, my selected plumage for the evening so I can attract my mate. Maybe black, black is a good all purpose color made to make one look elegant in any occasion, like, yes lets go have coffee back at your hotel room. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. Unfortunately my skin is too pale I just look like some Goth wannabe, so black is out. Jeans are always good or maybe kakis, oh for, I just don't know.

"What's the problem? Is there a spider in your underwear drawer?"

"Wha?" I turn to see Sue standing in the doorway. Apparently its check in on Carmen night. "No, I would have been screaming and cowering on my chair."

"So no spider I take it. What's the quandary?"

"I don't know what to wear?"

"And this is a problem how? Wear what you normally do to DJ."

"I." I clear my throat. "Its like this¼ um, well, I have a date after work."

"You have a date?"

There was clearly a tone of incredulousness in that statement. I turn and glare at her.

"I mean¼ Wow, you have a date. When was the last time that happened?"

"Two years ago, Nikki Watson."

"Oh right. She had a husband and you dove out the window. Good thing there were bushes there to break your fall."

I give a shudder remembering that night. She had driven us from the bar to her place, so I was walking the five miles home with no shoes and holding my pants up. Olivia was too stoned to pick me up; out of options I called Jen to pick me up. Trust me I was very surprised when she came and got me. She never said anything just told me I was lucky yet again that she was there to bail my ass out. Yeah she really pisses me off sometimes. So I brought up the prank against the Alpha Chi Omega's that got me kicked out of college. Let's just say it involved lots of honey, Tabasco, and a few rats. To make a long story short when the cops showed up they told me to run a decoy because I was the fastest. Being the running man doesn't work if you trip over a sprinkler head in the dark and sprain your ankle. Olivia, Ashley and Jen didn't even show up to my hearing. Jen's dad did work his mojo and got the charges dropped so I was only suspended for a semester, but after a semester off I didn't really want to go back.

"Is it fun where you went?"

"Oh sorry big involved flashback scene in my head about Nikki, Jen and the semester I got kicked out."

"That was quite the involved one."

"Uh, yeah. So I have a date."

"Yes and you're having dressing issues. What are you going for?"

"Uh, clothed."

"No silly. Do you want to look sexy, fun, serious, or a combination."

"Uh, I don't want to look like a club kid I want her to take me seriously."

"Oh honey. She's attracted to the person she met, she's not going to be impressed with the woman you try to create out of these clothes."

"But I'm a dork."

"Sometimes I wish I had the guts to strangle those so called friends of yours. But honestly Ashley and Jen scare me. Carmen you are a lovely, very intelligent girl, you have so much to give to that special someone, but something inside of you fails to see it."

I blush and duck my head. Sue is well, biased I'm sure, but my ego sure feels better.

"So how about the kaki's with the light blue "Getting Lucky in Kentucky shirt"? I like that one the cotton is so soft so if you snuggle you'll get bonus points."

"I love it when you use video game talk Sue, it just gets me so hot and bothered." Oh yeah, and the visual I got about snuggling with Anna made the sex fairies sit up and take notice. They been oddly quiet since I got off the mountain, but now they're all sorts of perky.

- - - - - - -- -

Ugh, it just blows tonight. Was there a gay couples meeting tonight? I have had request after request for slow, cheesy love ballads. I just want to puke, sure I'm making good tips but still there's only so much horror ones psyche should have to deal with. Now if I was hopelessly in love with some fabulous woman then I probably would feel the love in these songs, but right now they make me ill. Okay, I used the word fabulous in a sentence I have been spending way too much time with the gay boys.

Nervously my eyes dart over the club again, still no Anna. It's only Midnight so no need to worry yet. Although she's probably changed her mind her and that mystery woman who answered her phone earlier at her hotel room are having a good laugh, and I wore the soft snuggle shirt. I'm so over the top here its not even funny, I mentally slap my face and get my thoughts back on track.

I'm trying to decide if I should be mean or not on the next song. I could play some hard techno and piss everyone off or play the YMCA that the really drunk group of straight girls keeps begging me to play. One even went so far as to promise me a kiss if I would play her song. Yeah, yeah just what every lesbian wants, to get her toaster oven. Actually I don't harbor any fantasies about converting a straight girl. The last thing I want is some drunk ass kiss from a girl whose going to freak out on herself five minutes later. Plus straight girls don't know how to kiss another girl. They're automatically trying to kiss you like you are some guy, but guys are hard with sandpaper like facial hair. While girls are soft even the hard core butch ones. The give and take is different, not many guys know that a good kissing session can rank right up there with sex. To most guys kissing is just a way to get sex. So the approach is totally different. I will admit the last time I kissed a guy was on a dare at some party my first week of college I can only hope for the straight women in the world that they get more trainable as they get older.

So why would I want to kiss a straight girl when I could kiss an already trained lesbian?

Fine, I'll play the Village People, YMCA here we come.

Okay, I'm not sure what surprises me more. The fact that the girl came up and followed through with her tip or the fact she knows how to kiss another woman. She smiles at me shyly and winks as she goes on to the dance floor with the rest of her friends. The sex fairies are doing the Macarena, which is so annoying, and I'm really starting to feel like I've been stood up.

"Hey Dork."

I look up from the CD racks to the golden eyes of my sister. "Who died?" I know, it's an awful first response, but it was the first thing that came to my head. Olivia never comes to see me at work, and she never comes to The Closet on a Friday and Saturday.

She blinks at me, "no one."

"Then why are you here?"

"When are you going to get a damn cell phone?"

I slam the CD into the player, "What would I need a cell phone for? I'm not that hard to find."

"What if you fell off your bike on the mountain and busted a leg? Who would know?"

"That's why I never go biking alone."

"Mom's been trying to get a hold of you all day. Where have you been?"

"If you must know I had a date. I took her up to Thompson's Grotto for the day."

Olivia just rolls her eyes at me. "Right. You don't date."

"Well, I would, but, oh, somebody keeps stealing all my girlfriends." I can feel the vein in the center of my forehead starting to pulse.

"Well if you would find a decent girl who wouldn't bed hop you wouldn't have that problem."

"So, it's all my fault. Oh, that's right the HIGH AND MIGHTY MS. BRIDGEWATER CAN NEVER BE WRONG!" I am not going to look around, because I'm sure if I do I will see every eye in the place focused on me.

"I didn't come here to fight with you." She says with a sigh.

"Then why are you here fighting with me?"

"We aren't fighting, yet."

I just look at her, "Olivia, just tell me what you want. I'm working here. I don't bug you while you're at work." I can see she's trying really hard not to roll her eyes and sneer at what I consider to be work.

"Tomorrow mom is having a family dinner night. She wants us all to be there."

I feel myself pale and Olivia shakes her head in understanding. Family dinner night is nothing short of hell on earth. Our mother seems to be under some misguided notion that it promotes unity and some sort of well being, when in actuality it causes ulcers and anal leakage.

My real dad ran off with one of his secretaries when I was 5, and when I was 12 mom remarried Justin Meyer. As step-dads go he's a good one, he tries really hard to be a father figure, which is more than I can say about, Mathew, my real dad. Once mom remarried he stopped sending child support checks, those were the only things he sent to us. No birthday or Christmas cards, no gifts, nothing. I once asked mom if she was hiding the gifts our dad was sending so we would hate him more. She just looked at me sadly and I knew she wasn't doing anything; our biological dad was just a big loser. Justin made up for a lot of the failings made legendary by Mathew. The best memory I have of him was when I came out to my family. While mom was turning red in the face and swearing at me in Spanish, which I knew meant that she was really pissed. He just looked at me in his own startled way and said, "being a lesbian fits you." Also when mom was going through her phase where I didn't exist he tried to have the 'birds and the birds' talk. He wanted to make sure that I was being safe when I had sex and I quote the man. "Carmen, even though the stats say the risk of getting diseases is low when two, uh, women, uh, you know. You can still transmit diseases so you still need to be careful. This is a dental dam¼" I was about ready to die and poor Justin I thought his head might explode. I was mortified and wouldn't talk to the man for months, but now I think he was incredibly sweet to even try. How many step-dads would do that for a kid that's not really their own?

The man's only real big failing is his two sisters' they are two of the biggest bitches on the face of the planet - if you look up bitch on the Internet and they have their own web pages dedicated to them. Janet and Karen Meyer are married to two over-achieving scumbags and have managed to both produce from their loins two children each who are equally as annoying and pompous as they are. Thankfully they live an hour away.

However, family dinner nights consist of Justin's sisters and their brood as well as Grandma and Grandpa Cortez. My Grandparents are Argentinean-American, and they are quiet disappointed that Olivia and I are unmarried they refuse to remember that we are lesbians, and they are also perpetually unhappy that other than our dark hair and eyes we look white cause mama went and done it with a white-boy, and they hate the fact I could never pick up any Spanish what so ever. When it comes to foreign languages I am tone deaf. I almost starved to death when I was 8 over at their house cause Grandma said I couldn't have anything to eat until I asked for it in Spanish. I'm so bad I don't even know the cool swear words that even the whitest of Americans' knows.

So tomorrow mom wants us all over for a family dinner night.

I look at Olivia, "I don't suppose there's anyway I could flee the country and get out of it."

She snorts, "She'll track you down to the ends of the earth if you don't show up."

"I know. Are the demons coming?"

"As far as I know."

I grumble as I mix into another song.

"You know maybe you should bring your date. That's if she really exists."

I pale at this. "Don't even go there. Do you remember what happened that last time I brought a date?"

Olivia snorts in laughter. Ha ha, she can laugh it up 'cause she's smart she never brings her dates around the house. The one and only time I did that Chris ran screaming from the house because Grandma Cortez thought that she was possessed by the Devil and tried to perform and exorcism on the poor girl. However, I have to say that Olivia's mocking of my dating abilities has me pissed. "Maybe I will. And won't you be surprised at the hot redhead that comes to dinner on my arm."

She rolls her eyes, "Whatever. When I see it I'll believe it."

"Get out of here. Don't you have a public sex demonstration to give at the Castle?"

"Ha ha. See you later dork¼ Don't be late and don't forget you date." She says with a snicker as she leaves the DJ booth.

I sigh as I stare at the Budweiser clock. Its 20 minutes until closing, and I'm fairly certain that I am not getting lucky tonight. Which is a happy and sad thought all rolled up together. The sex fairies are pouting I think they were fairly certain that they would be moving on to a higher plane of existence after this evenings activities. The pressure of sex is a fleeting memory, which makes me way more relaxed, but the fact that I've been stood up makes me unhappy. To top it off I have family dinner night tomorrow its almost enough to break a girl's heart.

We hit last call and I'm at a point of non-caring. The music has become angry and hard, causing what little patrons that there are to flee. I can feel Jeff staring at me concerned from the bar, but I refuse to acknowledge him. I so don't want the gay boy pep talk at the moment.

"Excuse me."

"Yeah." It comes out rude and harsh. Turning I see the straight girl from earlier.

"Um¼" she's a little taken aback and pauses to re-group her thoughts. "I was wondering if you wanted to join my friends and I up at the truck stop for coffee when you get off work."

I can feel my eyes blinking rapidly in surprise while my mind tries to come up with a reply. Maybe I was wrong; maybe she's not straight? Could she be hitting on me?

"I¼ I'm supposed to meet someone after work." There's a flicker in her eye, I swear it looks like disappointment. "But if it falls through I'll come up and see if you girls are still there." She gives me a big grin and I feel like I've saved the universe.

"My name is April."


"It's nice to meet you."

"Uh¼ same here. The kiss was a nice tip." I add that last part to be cocky and test the waters.

She blushes, "I'm glad."

As she turns to leave I call out. "If I don't make it I'm here every Friday and Saturday night. Come back and see me April."

She turns back to me smiling, "we'll see." And then the little tart winks at me.

Women, if I ever figure them out I'll write a book and be wealthy.

I've given into the mindset of defeat Anna is not coming. The bar is closed and I'm outside unlocking my bike. All that is left to figure out is if it is worth it to bike all the way out to the truck stop. My insides are slowly going numb, my libido is packing its bags to take another vacation far away from here and the sex fairies are starting to slip into hibernation. I hate this town. Once I thought of escaping, up to Seattle or down to the coast of California to be a bum on the beach. I find myself entertaining these thoughts again.

"Hey sexy."

Startled I whip around brandishing the bike lock as a weapon. It's just Anna.

Just Anna, just fucking Anna, who made me feel like a loser, who gave me the impression that I had been stood up, yep, just Anna.

"Ready to go have some coffee."

"I thought you had stood me up." I get my bike out slipping the bike lock into its holder.

"I'm sorry. I had some last minute business to take care of. I thought it would be resolved in plenty of time for me to get down here. As I you can see I barely made it."

"Could have called." It comes out all pouty.

She smiles. "I should have called, your right, and I'm sorry if I worried you."

I think I'm forgiving her. "Yeah, I think I'm ready for coffee." I give a small smile.

There's no room for my bike in her rental car, I leave it with one of the bouncers to lock up inside the bar. I slide into the Benz, the leather seat crackling as I put weight on it. The first thing I notice is she smells good. The next thing I notice is that she looks good. She looks professional in a tailored business suit it has to be tailored. It fits her too perfect not to be. It gives hints and accusations about her womanly curves, tailored to hide and tease about the woman under the suit.

The sex fairies are stirring wiping sleep from their eyes; I can feel their wings begin to flap causing and internal fire to spark and flare up. She hasn't really looked at me since we stared driving and in a brief moment of panic I wonder if we really are going to have coffee. The sex fairies want me to steal a kiss, and maybe the quick grope of a thigh. Would that be okay? Should I or should I follow her lead?

I lean over slowly, we aren't touching, and I can see her eyes flicker over to me then back to the road. I inhale slowly through my nose, and her scent flows in on the air. Into my nose, down into my lungs, and I hold it there for a moment pretending that the bloods cells are making the exchange of carbon-monoxide for oxygen laced with Anna's scent. They carry it deep to every tissue and organ inside my body apart of her is inside me combined deeply with me. I exhale through my mouth, inhaling again I lean over farther not even half an inch away from her now. Her eyes flicker to me again then back to the road.

"You're killing me with anticipation. Is this revenge for me being late?"

That's all I need to know, anticipation implies she wants me to do something, that something I'm going to take is me, nuzzling her neck and maybe nibbling on her ear.

"No, no revenge." I whisper against her skin as I move closer. "This is just cause I want to and I'm feeling brave and very much not like myself at the moment so just humor me."

"Okay." She squeaks out as I nuzzle her neck giving it a lick and a kiss I move up slowly to her ear. I breath out softly onto her ear smiling as I feel a small shudder go through her body I take the lobe firmly in my teeth and follow with my lips drawing it into my mouth. As I feel the car swerve I release her not wanting to cause an accident.

I chuckle a bit feeling empowered, "You're speeding."

"I don't care."

- - - - - -- - -

I thought there might actually be coffee involved with this night of seduction. I was wrong. I mean our brains may have been okay with coffee and more getting to know you time but the body had other plans. If you deny the physical too long your body steps in to remedy the problem. My skin wanted to be caressed and stroked. My lips wanted to be kissed and nibbled. My nerves wanted to be firing off good happy messages of euphoria to all other parts of my body that were missing out on direct stimulation. Once we entered the suite my body staged a coup over my mind, I think it was egged on by the sex fairies. I'm not sure what came over me. The sex fairies were doing the lambada and I had Anna pushed into the wall as I kicked the door shut with my foot. I need to taste her lips, her throat, and her skin that taunts me peaking out from gray-blue fabric. There are so many buttons; I'm not that out of control that I rip it open even though I really, really want to. I read about someone doing that in one of those cheesy lesbo romance novels and it just sounded cool, but I'm sure if I did that with Anna's expensive suit she'd kill me.

"God with a mouth like that how can you possible be single?" It's whispered low and breathy.

It sends chills up my body and not good chills, creepy chills. I break away in the murky darkness all I can really see in the shadow light from the window are her eyes her blue eyes that remind me of someone else, someplace else. Echoes in my head of another girl's voice from years ago. She repeats a similar phrase over and over again it reverberates inside my mind, "with a mouth like that you'll never be single." White pain burns through my head it threatens to take me away and shuttle me to the past. The past is a blonde haired girl, with blue eyes, and a cocky smile. "Heidi." She's standing on the edge of the earth and then she just falls away. No more blonde hair, no more blue eyes and no more cocky smile. Its all bathed in red and colored in pain. My stomach heaves and I vomit on Anna's shoes.

Just shoot me now I'm sure Anna's shoes are worth more than me. My head aches and I just want to scurry away and hide. The damn sex fairies get to hide and it's their fault I'm in this mess. I wait not willing to look up, not willing to move at all, maybe I'll give up that whole breathing thing all together, that way I can die and just fade away, and not have to deal with the humiliating situation that I have gotten myself into.

"Whose Heidi?"

"What?" That wasn't what I was expecting at all.

"Heidi. Who is Heidi?"

My head whips up to look at her, which was a bad move. Ugh more pain, followed by dizziness. A voice that vaguely sounds like Scotty from Star Trek goes through my mind. "She can't take no more Captain. She's going down." And down I go ass over teakettle on to the nice plush carpeting. I don't want to deal with reality so I let the blackness come without a fight.

- - - - -- - - - - --

I'm standing in the grassy landscape of the grotto. Heidi and I are just standing watching the sunset. In the distance in the trees we can hear the high school kids in full party mode.

"So how are things?" I ask.

"You know same old, same old. When you die nothing much changes."

"Yeah about that whole dying thing. I'm sorry."

"Why? It's not like you killed me¼ oh wait you did."

I flinch but it's deserved.

"I didn't kill you. You committed suicide remember. You jumped right off these very rocks. Left a note and everything."

"Right, the school tough who couldn't even spell her name right left a pristine handcrafted note with perfect spelling."

I have no response to that. "Um¼ I didn't kill you."

"You, your friends what's the difference."

"Nobody killed you! You fucking off'd yourself! Why the hell would I want to kiss¼ fuck, I meant why the hell would I want to kill you?"

She laughs. It's that fucking self-assured the world is always going to go my way laugh. "Yeah that pretty little mouth of yours. Its quite the weapon, I know I could never stay away from it, it always had me coming back for more. On the other hand an artist should appreciate their work, and I made you a work of art baby, taught you how to kiss and the whole nine yards."

"Yeah they have a term for that, child abuse."

"Yeah well they have a term for what you did to me its called murder."

"I don't remember killing you. I think I would remember that."

"Not yet but you will in time. Your mind is growing up and soon it will give up its secrets like a bride on her wedding night."

She blows me a kiss and that's it that's the last fucking straw. Screaming I charge her only to fall over the damn cliff into darkness.

------------- - -

Voices are talking; they fade in out of the safe dark place that I'm floating in.

"Anna. Is revenge worth the games you're playing with this girl?"

"You know growing up, I had classes with her up until the 3rd grade then she tested out and moved up to the 5th grade with her sister and those friends. She was so smart everyone was so sure she was going to find the cure for the common cold or something. Then in high school she starts tutoring my sister and the next thing I know my sister is gone. Those bitches took my sister away from me. I will find out what happened that night, and she knows, she was there."

"Did you try just asking?"

"They ruined my family and my life. I'm going to return the favor."

"Right. You have a college education, and a cushy job were you rake in cash. This kid doesn't even own a car; she works two jobs and barely gets by. Oh yeah Anna, your life just sucks."

"What the hell is wrong with her?"

"I'm guessing you triggered something. I have nothing in my report on her to suggest any childhood trauma. What were you two doing?"

"We were getting cozy."

"How cozy?"

"Well she was taking the lead in a rather aggressive make-out session and the mouth on that girl my god I have never been kissed so thoroughly in my whole life I was about ready to come from just that and then she was puking on my shoes."

"I don't know what happened."

"Some help you are Jordan."


"Fine, help me move her to the bed."

What's going on? I try to remember to hold on to what they were saying because something tells me its important, but everything fades back into darkness.

- - - - -- - - - --

I sit up with a start. Vaguely I notice a sheet slipping down my body. The inside of my mouth tastes like shit and I have a slight headache that is fading away. What really gets my attention is the fact I have no idea where I am. This isn't my room, and all I am wearing is my t-shirt and my panties. My pants seem to have run off with my shoes and socks to have some affair.

I stumble out of the bed; the fact that it is high off the ground compared to my own mattress on the floor causes me a brief moment of trouble. I make my way to the drapes, I slowly inch them back to look out. Morning is just beginning to break through the darkness turning everything from black to gray.

"Hey you're up."

The voice is raspy and slightly sexy. I turn and notice Anna sitting up in the bed I just exited. How the hell did I not notice she was there? Oh, my she's kind of on the naked side of clothed. Did we? Was it good? My bell really most have gotten rung.

"Uh, yeah, I up."

"Come back to bed it's early."

"Um¼ in a minute I'd like to find a bathroom first." And get rid of whatever died in my mouth.

"Okay. Hurry back to bed." She mutters as she flops back down and snuggles under the covers.

I stagger around until I find the bathroom, it wasn't that hard to find out of the two doors to choose from. Happily I see there is some liquid blue mouthwash just sitting by to aid in my emergency halitosis, and even better is the safety sealed never been opened toothbrush sitting next to it.

As I brush my teeth I try to picture what happened last night, she was still in bed with me so I couldn't have been half bad. However, I figure I would be a little sore in my nether region if we had done some sweaty horizontal grindage. Gargling it comes back to me the whole puking on her shoes and I almost choke to death - but it would have been a minty fresh death.

"Jeez, I can't believe she still let me stay the night let alone get in her bed after puking on her shoes." I mumble to myself.

Slinking back into the bedroom I stare at the shock on red hair visible above the covers. Maybe I should just find the rest of my clothes and get the hell out of here before I do some more damage. Suddenly the covers are whipped back and a sleepy voice mumbles, "Stop staring and get the hell back in bed."

Slowly I lower myself back into the bed and cover up. I give a small squeak as a naked leg is thrown over mine and then I'm being used as a pillow. Dear God there is so much flesh-to-flesh contact going on here. The sex fairies perk right up and start their morning exercises, little bastards.

I can clearly identify that those are breasts pressed into my back, and well, someone's a little aroused this morning if the wetness I feel on the back of thigh is what I think it is. If it isn't I'm so out of this bed.

"Um¼ Anna you awake."

"Uh huh."

"Good I just wanted to apologize for last night."

"It's okay. I was really worried about you. I'm not use to that sort of reaction when I make out with somebody."

I blush, "well I really liked what we were doing. I think it was just nerves."

"So who is Heidi? You know most women might get a little ticked off having another woman's name come up when in the midst of a really great kissing session."

I squirm around uncomfortably, but she's not budging in fact her body seems to cling even more to me.

"Heidi was some girl I tutored in high school, um, she killed herself up at the grotto."

"I'm so sorry, but wigged that it popped into your head while we where kissing."

"It was your eyes, there almost the same shade hers were. I don't know why she popped into my head, I haven't thought about it in years."

"It must have been tragic for you, to witness that sort of thing."

"I don't remember it, they say I was there, but it's a big blank spot in my memory." The headache that was going away is coming back.

"Shhh. It's okay." She whispers kissing my neck. "Let's talk about something else okay."

Her kisses feel good, and I suddenly don't want to talk about death anymore. I roll over on to my back and tug her on top of me. "Why don't we talk about coffee?"

She complies and settles her glorious naked weight on top of me. "Coffee? Oh, coffee."

I'm so glad she's following me here. "Someone is a morning sex person." I whisper as I tangle my hands in her hair and pull her down so I can kiss her lips. She wiggles her hips and I groan as the warm wetness smears on the exposed skin on my stomach where my shirt has ridden up.

"Nothing wrong with a little sex to jump start ones day."

I have to agree with her on that. She's got my tongue again and is sucking on it. God, that causes a shock to travel all the way down my body to my clit. I don't know why I like that so much but it's a big turn on for me.

The sex fairies have started a toga party and are all chanting and doing beer bongs.

We come together like pieces of clay being molded together, we join and clash, tumble and turn, sink into and out of each other.

"Someone is wearing to much." She breaks away and we pause a moment panting. Then she turns around mooning me, and grasps my underwear firmly thrusting it down my body.

I struggle to get my shirt off, fuck Kentucky I'm getting lucky here and now, but damn her ass is distracting. It's all firm and round with that rosebud red puckered opening staring me right in the face. I've never really been a butt woman. Sure if I'm having a rough sex fantasy I think about some hot mystery woman, a strap-on and fucking her up the ass, but I don't have those a lot. Normally I have a thing for lips. I like a woman with nice full kissable lips. I fantasize for hours about just kissing women and sooner or later one pair of lips becomes another pair only lower on the anatomy chart.

However, there's just something about her ass. Maybe its cause it's right there, sitting in front of me teasing me. I get my shirt off and lie back on the bed. She leans forward the muscles in her back going taunt as she tries to get my underwear off over my feet. Unable to resist I run my fingers over her back letting my nails leave parallel red lines. When I get to the muscles in her butt I dig in deep giving my own evil chuckle as she gives a shudder and a moan. She seems to like it, if the renewed wetness I feel is any indication. I lean up on an arm letting my other hand move around to her front and explore that wetness. I drag a finger back and forth, until I feel her hips buck. Then I bring it back around, letting that lone, wet, little finger circle around the rim of that rosebud red opening.

She stills and so do I. Maybe I went to far? I know some folks aren't up for this sort of thing, and I haven't really done what I'm doing before. I've only read about it in books. Suddenly, I'm a little embarrassed by my bold behavior and I quickly remove my hand and lay back down throwing a pillow over my head to hide my face.

She moves around, and through the pillow I can feel her staring at me.


"I'm sorry." I mumble over and over again into the pillow. "I'm such a dork."

"I can't hear you. You wanna come out from under the pillow."

I shake my head in the negative. I feel her chuckle.

"Okay. More fun for me."

A warm wet tongue licks the underside of one of my breasts causing me to jump. Then it moves on to the other one. That tongue keeps working, tracing wet trails over my breasts and stomach. Finally, it stops and hot panting breaths wash over my wet curls. Desire clenches in my stomach, it rolls up like a tightly coiled spring waiting to be given release. At the first warm lick to my clit that coil begins to unravel sending out hot pokers of lust in streamers through my body. I rip the pillow away, needing the cool air on my overheated skin and the oxygen. The sight of her between my legs is breath taking. Her red hair is being lit up like a crown of fire from the rays of the rising sun. A finger invades, but I quickly surrender, after a moment it is followed by another one. I'm crumbling away and soon all that will be left of me is my molecules and they will be set free to float on the wind.

I'm pretty sure I screamed and that it was loud. And the sex fairies came forth proclaimed it on high that it was good and went back to their toga party.

As the pounding of the blood in my ears settles back down to a non-deafening level, my sense of hearing returns. Slowly my other senses comeback to me as well. I can hear and feel her chuckling lightly as she lays prone on top of me our skin starting to stick together slightly as our mingled sweat starts to cool.

"Pretty proud of yourself huh." I whisper to the top of her head.

"Uh huh." She says with a giggle.

I trail my fingers over her sides and back letting the roughness of my blunt nails dig in slightly. A smile twitches at my lips as she gives a moan. After a few moments of this action being repeated I roll us over when I feel her give a small shudder. On our sides I wiggle down until I am level with a breast, gently I lean in and kiss the tip of the nipple. Then I give small kisses all around the areola, coming back to the tip to give it a lick. The flavor of her salty skin blooms like a flower on my tongue and I dive in wrapping my lips around the nipple and suckle.

Grasping her hands in my hair she groans and then rolls over on to her back. Shaking free of her hands I move to the other breast and start from the beginning again. Anna begins to sweat and shiver, her hands clutch and pinch at my skin. Everything she does; the way she touches me, whispers my name, and whimpers and groans, seems to set my mind in a sort of madness. I can't stop touching her, tasting her. Some sort primal need to crawl inside her and possess her flashes through boiling brain. I can honestly say I'm a biter. When I get worked up in the bedroom, I just have this urge to bite. Now I'm not talking vampire blood sports here, just a nice firm bite. I guess it's a marking territory thing; well at least I don't pee all over everything.

I kiss my way up her chest, my kisses becoming rougher and rougher till they are almost bites. While my head is going up my hand is going down to that smoothed shaved skin of her pubic mound. My fingers lightly trail over it enjoying the smooth slickness that is sometimes broken up by faint rough stubble. It's a fun contrast for my sense of touch.

I hear her breathing start to hitch which sends me spiraling further into my impassioned haze. My fingers bypass her clit and move into the thick wetness, they map and explore until Anna has had enough and roughly grabs my hand thrusting it into herself.

Groans echo in the room building in point and counter-point to each other. The climax itself is a silent affair; unlike me she is not a screamer. Her hands clutch me tightly while my thumb makes one last pass over her hard straining clit. Her eyes clamp shut and the muscles in her body seem to seizes for a moment, and there is an almost inaudible high pitched whine that comes out of her throat then she goes limp.

After the aftershocks quiet I remove my fingers and collapse limp and spent on to the cool sheets. After a moment of coming back into myself I notice that she is still quiet and unmoving. Did I kill her? Rolling over onto my side I can see that her eyes are still shut tightly but small tears are leaking out. Shit!

"Anna?" No answer. "Anna? Did I¼" Did I what? Hurt her? Did I suck? Was it not what she wanted? I gulp. "Did I do something wrong?"

She rolls over presenting me with her back. Okay, this I know. That is a clear signal to grab ones clothes and leave.

"It's not supposed to be like this."

I'm confused but stay silent.

"You're sweet and fun¼" Anna just trails off.

"Hey, it's okay." It's not okay. Not really. "It's early. Why don't we try and grab some more sleep?" She nods and rolls over and buries her face into my shoulder.

As I'm starting to dose of she whispers. "Why do you have to be so damn likable?"

And the sex fairies in togas lie passed out in the remains of what was a truly wild party, the kegs are tapped dry, and Bacchus would be proud. I have to smile myself; maybe Anna and I will be able to work out some sort of future.

Part 4

"Why do you have to be so damn likable?" Anna had whispered that to me after we had sex for the first time. Apparently I'm not all that "damn likable" because I'm alone in the bed and there's no sign of Anna. I'm not really sure what to do, but I swear if there's money on the nightstand I'm trashing her hotel room. Let her credit card cover that.

Sitting up I'm relieved to see that there's no money; however, there's no note either. What the hell? Proper after-sex behavior requires you to at least leave a note if you're going to act like a shmuck and jet. Maybe Anna never got the memo on that. Giving a frustrated scream, I punch the bed a few times. I don't really feel better but I'm a little more awake. Slipping out of the bed, I pick up my clothes and give them a quick sniff. Ewww! I recoil at the smell; they smell like the bar, saturated with cigarette smoke and human sweat.

I stand next to the bed, uncertain for a moment. What to do? What to do? Should I just leave? Fuck it. I'm not sneaking out with my underwear in my pocket. I'm going to take a shower and maybe even order some room service. Have sex and then leave me, will she? I'll show her. Just because of this I will not get "Anna's love rhino" tattooed on my ass; that'll show her. God, I need a cigarette.

The shower is running and I'm smoking in the bathroom. It's a no-smoking suite; go figure. I have a lit cigarette in one hand that's hanging outside the shower door and the other hand is trying to soap up my body. Every once in awhile I shove my head out and take a drag. I groan, letting the hot water hit my body. Yep, I defiantly had sex last night. I have that pleasant achy muscle thing going on in my thighs and lower abdomen. Thinking about how I got achy gives me a pleasant little shiver. My nostrils flare for a moment but then I'm back to being cool. I'm not certain but I don't think this is going to be a good day. First there's this thing with Anna and then I have a family dinner tonight. Sticking my head out the shower door, I take another drag and then flick the cigarette butt at the toilet. Ducking back under the water, I wash my hair.

Shutting off the water, I sniff the air. Is that smoke? You know, I do indeed think it's going to be a bad day. I just want to smack myself on the back of the head. Peaking out of the shower, I'm greeted by the sight of cheery bright orange flames coming from the toilet. How the hell did I set the toilet on fire? Isn't there water in the thing? Bolting out of the shower, I run over to the toilet and discover that I completely missed it and hit the trashcan which was full of tissues and a newspaper. Oh shit, oh shit, ohshitohshit. I need to put it out. So I do the first thing I think of - I spit on it, which does absolutely nothing. Oh shit, oh shit, ohshitohshit. I pick up the flaming trashcan, not feeling the really warm plastic, and run around in little circles trying to figure out how to put it out. I'm not really a morning person; I don't wake up and function until at least one in the afternoon. Next thing I know my legs are flipping out from under me and I'm falling over backwards slipping in a puddle of water while the burning trashcan goes flying. In a small part of my brain, way in the back, I'm wondering if I'm going to be responsible for burning down the hotel and killing a few dozen people. Air comes out of my lungs in a great whoosh as I hit the floor with a wet smack. I'm this close to breaking down in tears, as the hiss of the fire being put out hits my ears. The bathroom door slams open. From my upside-down angle, I can see I managed to hit the toilet; finally. The bathroom door suddenly slams open. There's an Asian woman wielding a fire extinguisher standing in the doorway. Weakly, I joke, "Don't shoot."

She just stares at the thick dark smoke curling out of the toilet, and then glares at me. "This is a no-smoking suite. You know that, right?"

I nod up at her from the floor.

"Okay then, I'll just let you get dressed." She turns to go, then pauses and shoots the fire extinguisher into the toilet. She nods to herself and walks out, shutting the door.

I have never been so embarrassed in my life. Then the time I caught my Mom and Justin having sex on the kitchen table flashes into my mind. That was way more embarrassing than this. Gingerly getting up, I poke at my sore flesh, trying to determine if I'm going to be a big bruise. Amidst all of the poking, none of it good, it dawns on me that there was a strange woman in Anna's room. Wide-eyed, I stop mid-poke. After overanalyzing the whole thing, I jump to the first conclusion that makes any sense - Anna has a girlfriend, and when I walk out of the bathroom, she's going to kill me for sleeping with her girl. Damn those sex fairies and their wily ways. I'm going to get my spleen handed to me on a platter. Great, that's just how I like to start my day. I open the bathroom door, darting my eyes around trying to gage if I can make it to the door before she can stop me. I think I can make it unless she's some sort of kung fu master, in which case I'm toast.

"Hurry up. I have things to do that don't include carting your ass around."

"Um¼ okay." I am so confused it's not even funny. Maybe my spleen will get to stay inside my body. I exit the bathroom looking like a puppy that knows it's going to get spanked for pissing on the carpet. She just looks at me and sighs, rubbing her temples.

"My name is Jordan; I'm Ms. Russell's personal assistant. She had a early morning meeting and wanted me to run you home."

"Oh." I'm looking at Jordan and Jordan's looking back at me. The only thing I can think of is 'Thank God this woman isn't Anna's girlfriend'. My unstoppable brain then points out that Jordan probably knows that Anna and I had sex. That just makes me feel kind of cheap and easy.

"Anna wanted me to tell you she's very sorry that she couldn't do it herself, but these things happen."

Now I'm pissed; I think I'm more upset at myself for getting into a situation I want to be cool about but I'm really not. "Look, Jordan," I snap, "if it's all the same to you, I do not want you to drive me home. In fact, I'm going to scrape up whatever little bit of ego I have left and dramatically leave the room." You know, I think this whole thing could have been avoided with some after-sex cuddles, Anna leaving me a note, or Anna waking me up and to tell me she was leaving. Holding my head high, I leave the room; being the bigger person, I do not slam the door. Then I open it again. Looking at Jordan, I say, "For the record, tell Ms. Russell that the sex wasn't that great." Then I slam the door. I'm fairly certain I totally overreacted, but then again I'm not a morning person.

My mom used to clean rooms in this hotel. Luckily I know where the employee entrance is so I can sneak out without anyone really noticing me. As I hit the back alley behind the hotel, big fat tears are running down my face. Note to self: - never say you're okay with a one night stand or being fuck buddies when you're really not. I walk out to the street and start hoofing it home. Anther note to self: - stop letting the other person drive. This is the second time I've been stranded because of a woman.

Thankfully it's only an hour walk home. As I pass people on the street rushing to and from destinations, I begin to get paranoid. Were people eyeing me funny? Could they take a look at me and know I just had a one night stand? God, I can't wait to get home and take another shower. I feel kind of dirty, but I think I'm just messed up in my head. Sex will do that, I guess.

"Carmen. Hey, Carmen."

Hearing Jen's voice, I freeze. Could my day get any worse? Maybe if I start running, she won't know it's me? Damn. No, running will give it away.

"I thought it was you. I was just coming back from a lunch meeting and could have sworn it was you. Lucky me, it was."

"Yeah, lucky you. Um, I'm kind of in a rush, so I'll see you later."

"Hey, you're not still mad at me because of that redhead at the bar, are you? You can hardly blame me; she was hot. I even had a date with her last night for dinner, but she blew me off."

"What? You, what!? You couldn't have." I'm so pissed I think the world has turned red, and I can feel that little vein in the center of my forehead throb.

"Jeez, what's up with you? Of course I had a date with her. I took her to the steak house, then asked her to come back to my place. She thanked me for a good time, but said she had other plans. Can you believe it? She ditched me."

Part of me is thinking 'Oh my God, Jen got ditched' another part of me is pissed that Jen made a date with my girl. I know that another part of me should be pissed 'cause Anna made a date with Jen, but I'm more focused on the first two reasons. "Yeah, I can believe she ditched you. We had a date."

"What? You and the redhead? Come on."

Jen looks perplexed, like she seriously can't imagine me and Anna together. My fuse is already pretty short today and Jen seems determined to light it. I round on her and the look in my eye must be murder 'cause she takes a step back. I'm in her personal space, flailing my limbs and gesturing. "Yes, me and the redhead. She has a name, you know; it's Anna. What the hell is wrong with you? Every time I find a girl or show interest in one, you're all over them, sniffing in my territory like some sort of bitch in heat!"

"What, like it's my fault they find me attractive?" She looks stunned.

"No, it's not your fault, but if you were really my friend you wouldn't: A - encourage them, B- actually have sex with them, C - tell me about it."

"What kind of friend would I be if I let you keep dating those women? If any of them had been right for you, they wouldn't have jumped after me."

"What kind of perverse logic is that?" People are giving us a wide berth on the sidewalk.

"Look, Carmen, I don't want to argue with you about someone who's only going to be in town for a little bit. Obviously, Anna is just after a good time. Seriously, what kind of woman makes two dates with two different women on the same night?"

I ¼ gah, ¼ I hate her perverse logic. I just can't take anymore. Those big fat tears from earlier come back, I'm sobbing, and I hate the fact that I'm breaking down in front of Jen.

"Oh hey, what's going on?"

Jen's arms come around me and I want to push her away but I don't have the strength for it. I don't want Jen's comfort, pity, or anything else.

"I just want to go home," I sob into her chest.

"Um, okay."

If I wasn't so upset I would be amused at how I've stunned Jen. She's guiding us off the sidewalk and into the shadows of the parking garage. She leads me up two flights of stairs then she's opening the passenger door on her Durango and sliding me inside.

She gets in, starts the SUV, and pulls out. She hands me a tissue; I grab it and blow my nose. Out of the corner of my eye I can see her eyeing me. I'm just waiting for her to put two and two together as her eyes take in my rumpled appearance.

"So did you at least practice safe sex?"

For a moment I want to slap her, but she has a valid point.

"From your silence I assume I can take it the answer is no. Did you talk about your sexual history at all?"

I slump further and further down into my seat. Here I thought I couldn't feel any worse. Boy, was I wrong.

"Carmen, you should really know better."

"Fuck you! I don't want a lecture." Anger feels so much better than hollowness.

"I'm just trying to help."

"Well, you're not. I'm tired of your help. I'm a goddamn adult and it's about time you guys started treating me like one. I'm Carmen. Not, Olivia's brainy younger sister here to tutor you all through class."

"Well, then start acting like an adult."

"I, ¼ why, ¼ I can't¼" Big breath. "Fuck you!" Thankfully Jen is stopped at a light as I open the door and get out, slamming it shut. It's very childish, but I don't care. As I sprint off down a side street, I can hear Jen calling after me.

I stumble through my front door, happy to see that no one is home. The insistent ringing of the phone greets me, but I ignore it. I just want to go to bed and pretend this day never happened. As I start to walk by the kitchen, the answering machine picks up. "Carmen, are you there? It's Anna. Jordan told me you just stormed off. What's wrong? Please call me." Her voice slides through me, making me feel uncertain of myself. I rub a hand over my face, trying to wipe away some of the confusion. The phone rings again, and my hand hovers over it. Maybe it's Anna again. I should really talk to her; maybe I did overreact. My uncertainty freezes me until the answering machine picks up again. "Carmen, you home? What's wrong with you? Give me a call. Your behavior today has me worried." It's Jen. Her voice reawakens my anger. In my mind I get the sickening vision of Anna and Jen fucking each other, limbs all shaky and sweaty, entwined together.

With a scream I pick up the small gray machine and hurl it against the far wall. God, my maturity is at an all time low today. My hands are shaking; my vision is narrowing into tiny little tunnels; and I think I'm crying again. I never knew I had so much salt water just waiting to leak out of my body. My legs give out and I'm kneeling in the middle of the kitchen, sobbing. The phone starts to ring again; I'm fairly certain this is the kind of day that creates axe-wielding psychos. Oh God. I still have to survive a family dinner night tonight.

I take deep breaths, one after another, until I think I've gotten control of my water leakage problem. Rising off the kitchen floor, I stagger my way to my room and shut the door behind me. In the dark room I strip my clothes off, sending them in the general direction of the clothes hamper, and slide between my sheets, hugging a pillow to me as I curl around it. The darkness is soothing and the sheets smell of just me - well, just me and some bar smoke - but that's a part of my life. As I drift off to sleep a thought rolls through my brain. Someday it would be nice to have my sheets smell like somebody else but know it would be okay because they were a part of me.

-------- - - - ------

Eyelids move rapidly as the mind moves into REM sleep, hands curl around the pillow, clutching hard, and breathing becomes ragged. A mind is never at rest; it's always searching for the answers to questions nobody asked.

I feel a soft pressure, from a hand stroking my hair. It feels good and I lift my head into the comfort, of the connection being offered. Rolling over onto my back, I struggle with my eyelids; they feel heavy and rough but I get them open. Shock has me instantly awake. I am so consumed by fear I can't even scream. The blue eyes are gone, the face is smashed and broken, but the blonde hair is the same, only streaked with red in some places.

"Hey, kid."

The mouth doesn't move but I can hear her just fine. "Would you just leave me alone?"

"Sorry, it doesn't work like that. You work through your issue and tell the truth about what happened to me and I'll go away."

"God. For the last time, you committed suicide. You jumped off the goddamn cliff."

"Come on. You and I both know it's not true."

"Yes, it is. You just won't admit it."

"I'm dead. Holding on to secrets isn't high on my list of things to do."

"Why the hell are you bugging me now? I haven't thought about you in years."

"Because the truth isn't just about you and your so-called friends. You're so self-absorbed that you can't see the big picture. When you do, everything will come together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle."

"I am not self-absorbed."

"Sure you are, but kids normally are until they grow up a little."

"What the hell? Are you channeling Jen?"

"Right, like I'd channel that bitch. But compared to Ashley and your sister, she's a saint. At least with Jen, the person you see is the person you get. Olivia and Ashley are wrapped up in shadows."

"Could you be any more cryptic? What the hell does that mean?"

The corpse that used to be Heidi laughed, a cold sound that rattles my bones. Fear rises up again inside me as I realize I'm lying in bed with a corpse.

"Time to wake up. Olivia's here." Thin arms of sunken flesh shove me out of bed. I gasp out, "Olivia?" and then I'm falling.

With a gasp and a flailing of my limbs, I shoot up in bed. "Olivia?"

"God, goober, could you sleep any deeper? I've been trying to wake you up for the last 5 minutes."

"What the hell are you¼ Heidi was¼ then you¼" I fade out. The nightmare I was having becomes vague and unclear.

"Heidi? Why were you dreaming about that loser?" Olivia's tone is sharp, snapping me into the here and now.

"Just a nightmare. I think I still feel bad."

"Well, you shouldn't, not after what she did to ¼ she got what she deserved."

"Jesus, Olivia. She died. Let's not speak ill of the dead, okay?"


"Why are you bugging me?"

She lifts an eyebrow. "Family dinner night. It started 15 minutes ago. Mom sent me to get you."

Panic sets in. I have committed the holy grail of family offenses; I am late for a family function. "Oh my God." Eloquent, I know, but it's the first thing that comes to mind.

"Come on, get up and lets get going."


Olivia stands next to my bed, looking down at me expectantly. "Well?" she asks after a minute of not moving.

"I'm kind of naked here. A little privacy, please."

She rolls her eyes. "I'll be waiting."

After she leaves I sigh and get up to dress. I pull out my nice slacks and button-up shirt. I always leave them hanging nicely pressed, ready for such family dinner night emergences like tonight. Actually I don't own very many nice clothes. I'm more of a jeans and wacky T-shirt girl. I slide into the slacks and tuck in my shirt. I hate tucking my shirt in; it's odd how one little act can make me feel restricted and trapped by my own clothes.

Olivia and I arrive at the house with minimal butt chewing in the car. She ragged on me again about getting a cell phone. I have lived my life this long without one and I don't see it making a big impact now. With my luck I'd lose it while I was mountain biking and the raccoons would call Cambodia or something. I get out of the car, tugging on my shirt.

"You look fine. Quit messing with your shirt." Olivia pauses and squints at my shirt then down at my pants. "Isn't that the same outfit you wore to Christmas dinner?"

"It's the same outfit I've worn to every family function for the last 3 years. Jeez, you really pay attention."

"Well, you're such a fashion mistake that I try not to notice what you're wearing."

"Thank you, Martha Stewart."

"Duh, if you're going to insult me, do it right. Martha is decorating not fashion."

"Fine. Here's a simple one you can get. Stop being such a bitch." That's the moment my mom opens the door to welcome us inside. Her face pales, her mouth drops open, and she looks shocked. That, in turn, shocks me 'cause just last week she was calling the mayor of our town a lot worse than bitch.

She starts yelling at me in Spanish and my palms begin to sweat. I have no idea what she's saying. It's either something about embarrassing me in front of Justin's sisters or there's a cat on fire in my nostril. When she grabs me by the nose and drags me into the house, I get a pretty big clue it's not to put out the cat. My eyes are watering as she drags me to the back of the house, lecturing me the whole way. Thankfully she's not rambling in English which means no one but Olivia knows what she's saying.

"Mom, stop. Let go of my nose."

She shuts her bedroom door and stares at me. "Carmen, it is family dinner night. You will behave and be nice to your sister."

"She started it."

"Bu, bu, bu¼ I don't want to hear it. You behave yourself or you leave and never come back."

"Jesus, Mom, that's a bit melodramatic." I wince as she smacks me upside the head. "Owww! Mother!"

"Do not take the Lord's name in vain like that."

"I said Jesus, not God." I take a step back.

"Oh my Carmen. You were always the nice one, the smart one, so polite, and so kind. What has happened to you?"

I fight really hard not to roll my eyes. "Mom, I promise to be on my best behavior. Okay?" She smiles and kisses my cheeks and leads me to the dining room. Whoo hoo, anal leakage here I come.

Olivia smirks as we enter. The table is set and all eyes turn to us. Oh joy, I see that Justin's evil sisters and some of their spawn have arrived. I have to grit my teeth to keep at bay all the nasty comments I want to utter upon seeing Janet and Karen's superior 'I just sucked on a lemon' facial expressions. Grandma grabs me as I go to pass by and pulls me down for a hug. She may look tiny and shrunken but Grandma is made of iron. She holds me for a moment, looking into my eyes, and then says something I don't understand, but - I think it's probably a prayer - then she kisses my cheek and lets me go. Grandpa just blinks off into space. I remember when Grandpa Cortez was big and scary, but now he's just a tiny lost man who wanders around the house yelling for his long dead dog. It's kind of sad.

"Hello, Abo. How are you today?"

He looks over at me, blinks, and then rambles something off in Spanish. I look to Grandma for a translation; when she studiously ignores my unspoken plea, I kick Olivia.

"Ow! What did you do that for?"

"What did he say?"

"Oh. He wants to know who the hell you are and what you're doing in his house."

I blink and look at Olivia. "Did he really?"

She looks down at her plate but I can see the sad quirk to her lips. "When did he get so bad and how come I never noticed?"

She shrugs. "Some days are better than others. Today is a bad day, I guess."

I nod and look at everything but Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma looks embarrassed by his outburst and Grandpa looks lost again.

Karen and Janet are talking to Justin, ignoring everybody who is non-Anglo or of questionable racial background. I'm happy to see that they have left their husbands at home, or maybe left them with their mistresses. Their husbands just look just like the type of self-important businessmen who would have them. Karen's youngest daughter, Michelle, is sitting next to Olivia. Michelle is 18 and in her first year at the university. Janet's youngest son, Dillon, is sitting next to her. Dillon is a senior in high school and is a poster boy for why steroids are bad. Now that he has no neck, there's a strong resemblance to a frog. Apparently their two eldest have grown wise or figured out excellent excuses to get them out of family dinner night.

Justin gives me a little wave from the head of the table then goes back to his conversation with Janet.

Dinner is going well. No one has spoken to me directly so I don't have to try to play nice. My mother smiles and nods, running back and forth from the kitchen to the table, keeping everything well stocked. It's keeping Dillon's girth well stocked as well. Man, can that boy shovel it in. The way my mother plays servant at these family get-togethers used to bug me a lot when I was going through my feminist phase. However, when I got older I realized that every time Justin tried to help my Grandpa, his sisters, and my mother would all come down hard on Justin if he tried to help. Blah, blah, blah¼ Justin, it's the role of the women, role of the mother, role of the wife to¼ blah, blah. So Justin did the smart thing; he sat his ass down at the head of the table and kept his mouth shut. Justin is a "pick your battles wisely" sort of guy. He doesn't believe in the macho husband crap, and I know he loves my mom dearly. He's the kind of guy who doesn't forget the important dates: birthdays, anniversaries, high school concert recitals or the day you came out. He brings Mom flowers just because he sometimes starts thinking about her and gets overwhelmed with love for her. He shows up at the house with dinner because he wants to make sure us slacker types are eating right. When I grow up, I want to be just like Justin.

"So, Carmen, how is work?"

I stop chewing in confusion. Michelle has asked me a question and I'm almost certain there's no hidden 'slam on Carmen' agenda in there.

"Michelle, you know Carmen doesn't have a job," Karen hisses out.

I swallow, wondering if Michelle and Karen have a tag team effort going on.

"She does too; she's a DJ at a club. That must be so much fun."

"Being a DJ is not a real job. Especially in that sort of place."

Okay, Michelle, I think, is being serious. The first thing I wonder is if Michelle is a closet lesbian or maybe a fag hag. Karen is just pissing me off; nothing new there.

"Yeah, making a hundred bucks on a good night for four and half hours worth of work is most definitely not a real job. It's a totally fake job." What I don't say is that good nights are rare and I normally take home fifty bucks.

Michelle giggles at that and I have to wonder if maybe she's adopted. She stops as soon as her mother and her aunt give her the look of death. Mama is giving me my own death glare.

"And just what do you mean 'especially in that sort of place'? You mean in a place where people are gay?" I stare back challengingly, waiting to see what Karen will do.

It's the gasp from my mother that lets me know I may have gone too far. My eyes dart to her, and - 'oh crap' - she's genuflecting, which means I have traveled into the realm of the profane. Everybody's eyes at the dinner table have zeroed in on Grandma. She stops eating, a puzzled expression on her face.

"What? I think it's wonderful that young people can go to a place and be happy."

Oh, thank God. I've never been so happy that Grandma is so out of date than at this moment. She goes back to eating while Mom gives me the look of death. Justin is trying to hide a smile and Olivia is just smirking at me. Okay, I just need to shift attention away from me to someone else. Come on, brain, think. My eyes move from dinner guest to dinner guest, trying to quickly come up with something. "Speaking of real jobs. How's work, Olivia?"

I caught her unawares and in mid-gulp of her water. I'm good.

Coughing, she turns bright red, giving me the evil eye, and I have to wonder if it's genetic because it looks exactly like the one Mom is giving me.

"Yes, Olivia, how is your job going?" Karen butts in. "Michelle, Olivia has a good job with benefits at MR Technologies. You should really be talking to her about job opportunities."

Michelle rolls her eyes at her mother's condescending tone. You know, there may be hope for her yet; more and more I'm thinking Michelle was adopted.

Olivia clears her throat. "Well, until a few days ago my job was going fine. Apparently somebody has been skimming a little money from the company and the stockholders have brought in an independent consulting firm to check us out from top to bottom."

My ears perk up at the word 'consulting'. Is this why Anna is in town? I feel¼ upset at the thought that Anna and my sister might be working together. Maybe even a little bit angry, but most definitely I am not jealous because that would be silly, not to mention irrational. I am not any of those things. I think the sex fairies are laughing at me, damn little bastards. I almost miss what Olivia is saying.

"¼ and to top it off, I have some bitchy little oriental woman breathing down my neck, asking for books and data from the last three years like I'm some sort of secretary or number cruncher."

Well, Anna is not oriental, and I'm almost tempted to ask Olivia what exactly she does at MR Tech 'cause it doesn't sound like she does much.

"Olivia! You will watch your language at the table."

It's my turn to snicker as sister dearest realizes her improper use of language. "Someone's in trouble," I taunt.

She kicks me under the table. "Ow! Mom, Olivia is kicking me."

Mom just glares at us both. Michelle snickers while Karen and Janet pretend I don't exist.

"So, Carmen, how was your date last night?"

Fork halfway to my mouth, I freeze in terror. She looks so innocent, but I'm sure she's the secret twin of the anti-Christ.

"Carmen, you had a date? Was he a nice boy?"

Jeez, that's one way to get Grandma to perk right up. Justin looks like he's going to bust a gut; except for Olivia, everyone else looks horrified.

"Um, Abi, there was no boy." Deep breath and go. "I'm a lesbian. Lesbians only like other women, not boys." And brace for impact. Grandma starts going off and either I'm going to hell or the raccoon steals underwear from the drawer at night, one of the two. "Oh, and Olivia is a lesbian too. Ow! Olivia, stop kicking me!"

"Well, you didn't have to remind Abi I was a dyke too."

Being the mature young adults that we are, Olivia and I glare at each other, ready to shower each other with green beans when Dillon decides to join the table conversation in true hormonal teenage boy form. "You two just haven't met the right man yet." He says it with a leer and I swear he's undressing us with his eyes. Okay, I'm not really related to the over-pumped hormone, but still - ewwww. Doing some sort of silent sister mind meld, Olivia and I come to a truce and fire green beans at Dillon.

- - - - -- - - -- - -

Justin is still chuckling as he hands me a towel. "Your mother and grandmother may never speak to you again¼" He pauses to laugh some more. "But that was just too damn funny, and Dillon really needed to get whomped by two girls."

I just glare out from under soggy bangs.

"Oh sure, it doesn't seem funny now, but just you wait. Someday you'll be sitting in a cubicle somewhere, having finally sold out to 'the man', and you'll think back to the night where you clobbered a walking testicle with hundreds of semi-cooked green beans, nearly giving your Abuela a heart attack, and setting Karen's eyebrows on fire."

In all honesty, the Great Green Bean War of 17 minutes ago was started mostly in fun to get back at Dillon's walking hormone mouth. It's hardly my fault the walking steroid can't roll with the punches or, in this case, the green beans. I end up outside with Justin while Olivia and Mom deal with Grandma. I can hear Spanish being spoken rapidly, sounding almost like gunfire from inside the house.

"You think Grandma is going to try to perform an exorcism on me?"

He looks at me for a moment then we both start laughing. He throws the towel over my head and starts to vigorously dry my hair. "Oh, Carmen, don't ever change."

"You mean that?" I sputter out from under the towel

"Of course I do. Why?"

"Lately, well, everybody¼ do I act like a self-absorbed child?"

"Carmen, I'm going to let you in on a little secret." He pulls the towel off my head to make sure I'm listening. His blue eyes look into my brown ones. "No matter how old you get, there are always going to be times when you act like a spoiled child. Just look at your Abuelo."

"Well, Abo is allowed. He can't remember what year it is anymore."

"Its not that. I remember the first time I met the man after your mom and I had been dating awhile. He looked at me and said 'The only way you are marrying my daughter, white boy, is if you can knock me out with one punch.'"

"Abo said that?"


"You knocked out my Abo?"

"Nope, your Grandmother did. She came outside, caught him being an ass, and laid him out, yelling all the time that this was America and people didn't act like that here."

I chuckle. Grandma should come down to the bar and see all the dyke drama as well as some well-fought-out gay boy drama. "Go, Abi," I breathe out. "You think Abi is going to be okay? She got awfully pale."

"Yeah, by the next family dinner she will have once again forgotten you're a lesbian. You can shock her all over again and even out Olivia one more time. It's almost not a true family dinner unless you two come out of the closet as lesbians yet again. You wanna know what I think?"

I shrug. Of course I do. I'm sitting here, aren't I? "Sure."

"I think it's a game the three of you look forward to playing. You and Olivia taunt each other, then one outs the other. Abuela feigns shock and outrage. My sisters throw a snit, although lighting Karen on fire this time was an inspired touch."

I can't help it; I have to blush. Either Olivia or I had knocked over one of the candles on the table in our frenzied rush to pelt frog boy with green semi-cooked goodness. The candle landed right in front of Karen on her napkin. The napkin promptly lit on fire and I - honest I was trying to be helpful - I tried to put it out. Another honesty moment - I thought, for the record, that it was grape juice not wine. Grandma has a heart condition; she's not supposed to be drinking alcohol. I threw what I thought was grape juice on the burning napkin only to have it billow up in a great flame, eating away Karen's eyebrows and most of her bangs. That's when things got ugly. Distracted by the vast amount of chaos I had caused, I never saw frog boy's soup bowl until it was too late. Covered in soup, I tripped over Grandpa's walker and fell back into the kitchen. At least then I was out of the fray. To her credit, Olivia took out Dillon by using her plate as a Frisbee.

I snort, trying to keep my laughter in, and with as straight a face as I can muster, I say, "At least no cops showed up this time."

Justin pauses and then starts howling with laughter. I can't hold back and join him. Last Thanksgiving the cops got called to our place for a "domestic disturbance". Douglas, Janet's eldest, a walking study in backwards evolution, tried to hit on Jen. When he didn't understand that no meant no, Jen just casually reached over with her dessert fork and stabbed Douglas' wandering hand that as it tried to burrow for warmth in her crotch. As he's yowling in pain and bleeding all over the place, Jen just as casually tells him to shut up, he's disrupting dinner. Janet, of course, freaks out; well, I think we were all freaking out except Jen. Somehow the freaking out and yelling disturbed the neighbors and the next thing we know the cops are there and we're all being hauled in. It was the best Thanksgiving ever. I even had my picture taken with my cellmates so I could remember it. Trust me, sitting in a cell with a teenage runaway, two pros, and a loud drunk was a picnic compared to other family dinner nights.

We pause for breath as Mom comes outside; she looks at us carefully. "Abuela is going to be okay. We got some heart medicine into her and she's resting. Why we have to do this every time remains a mystery to me." She mutters something in Spanish which I think was a prayer for peace. "While I'm not happy, I do hope Janet will leave that horrible boy at home next time. It's not proper for him to be looking the way he was at Carmen. She's his cousin."

"Yeah, we're a little too far north for that to be proper." Whoa, death glare! I'm shutting up now.

"Now, honey, as dinners go, this one was a good one. Karen's eyebrows will grow back," Justin reassures mama.

She cracks a smile. "Couldn't have happened to a nicer lady."

I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked. Mom does have a evil bone in her body.

Justin gives her a sweet little kiss on her temple. "I think Carmen here is decent; she can be let back into the house."

Mom snorts at the concept of me being decent. "Carmen, my little one, whatever am I going to do with you?" She gives a sigh and carefully wraps me in a hug so she won't get wet. "She's not coming inside until she stops dripping."

I sigh and sit back down, throwing the towel over my face.

"So did you have a good date?"

Justin is a nosey little shit. "It was just coffee."

"Is that anything like 'Would you like to see my china?'"

I throw the towel at him. "What are you talking about?"

"Never mind; it's from a play. So was it coffee or was it 'coffee'?"

"It was the¼" Okay, I know Justin isn't really my dad, but he's damn near close enough, and I wish he were my biological dad so I'm not going to have a talk about my sex life.

"Oooooo, I see you blushing. Was she hot?"


"Come on, sweetheart, I don't really want details because then I would have to go find her to give her the third degree, make sure she's good enough for my little girl. You going to see her again?"

I frown. Good question. "I don't know. I think it was a one-night thing, and¼" I pause, fumbling for the right words.

"And you're not sure that's the thing for you."

"Yeah, pretty much. I felt kind of dirty."

"Did you two talk about it?"

"Yes, and I thought I would be okay with it, but I was wrong."

"Did you tell her this or did you just have a major freak out?"

"Um, well, er¼ the last one."

"It will be okay." He gives me a big solid hug, not caring that he gets wet. "But you may want to talk to her, not for her but for you so you can work through the emotional crap you're storing up because of this experience."

"Thanks, Justin."

"Hey, what are dads for?"

"I'm so glad Mom married you."

"Me too, sweetheart."

The father-daughter bonding moment is ended by Olivia's call to action. "Come on, goober, we're getting the hell out of Dodge before we knock over a gas main and blow up the neighborhood."

"Fine." I roll my eyes and disengage from Justin.

Justin and Olivia just smile at each other but make no move to hug. They have always been a little cool towards each other, while Justin and I have been close. Maybe it's because Olivia is older and can actually remember our biological dad. Whatever the reason, they're not that close.

"See you later."

"Bye, Carmen. Oh, Carmen, bring your bike over on Friday and I'll give it a tune-up."

"Cool. See you Friday." I give a little wave and squish on out to Olivia's car.


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