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The Best of 2012
by Elliot DeLocke
By Cherry Black
Never Leave Me Alone
By JT Langdon
By Jean Roberta
My Indentured ...
Sword And ...
A Stiff Neck
By Robert Buckley
The Magic Lesbian
By Teresa Lamai
By William Dean
Note to Self
by Geneva King
Girls' Night Out
by Giulia Cosentino
by J.T. Benjamin
by J.Z. Sharpe
by Nicholas M.
by Remittance Girl
The Problem of Leather
by Roxy Katt
Taste of Jessica
by TD Fallon
My Dark and Empty Sky
by Teresa Wymore
by Tulsa Brown
by Kathleen Bradean
Note to Self
by Geneva King © 2010
Note to Self: You’ve been set up on a blind date with your ex. Your dating life is officially shot to hell.
We stare at each other for an uncomfortable minute. It’d taken me six long months to get over our breakup and even then I’d had to convince myself I’d really been dating Satan in disguise.
If she is the devil, she’s gotten a serious makeover. No snarling fangs curl from her gums or pointy horns rise from her scalp. I can only see the front of her, but I’d wager there’s no leathery tail protruding from her backside either.
Her face breaks into a smile and she envelopes me in a hug. "Darling, it is so good to see you! How have you been?"
Darling? And why is she talking like she’s afraid of contractions? A year ago, y’alls had decorated her speech like gaudy jewelry. I hug her back, trying to ignore the scent that engulfs me. It smells expensive. And good.
"Well." Now we’ve observed the niceties, I’m not sure what to do. "I’ve already got a table."
She beams and I notice her chipped tooth is no more. Actually, everything in her mouth looks a bit...straighter. Whiter too. "We should eat. Besides, I want to catch up."
This is a bit too weird. I know the lesbian social network is small, but give me a break.
Note to Self: Kill Merrill.
"Do you go by Jessalyn now?"
Kizzy/Jessalyn nods. "I thought it was more professional. Kizzy sounds so backwoods country."
I watch her examine the menu, her straightened hair falling over her face. She looks angelic. Suddenly, I can’t remember why it didn’t work out with her.
"I wonder how the salads are. Do you know what you’re getting?"
"I hear the burgers are really good."
Her nose wrinkles. "You’ll never lose those last ten pounds if you keep eating like that."
Now I remember. Satan in disguise.
After dinner, we walk out of the restaurant together. When we reach my car, we stand around, arms folded, looking everywhere but at each other.
"Well, it was nice seeing you again."
"You want to come home with me?"
We speak at the same time, so it takes me a moment to register her question. Go home with her? Is she serious?
I shake my head. "I don’t think that’d be very smart. But thanks for asking."
She snorts. "Who said anything about smart?" She steps close. "I’m asking if you want to come back to my place and have some no-strings attached fun. Like we used to." She presses me against the car and kisses me like we’re already in bed and not in a crowded parking lot.
When she pulls away, my knees are shaking. "Ah. Fun. You should’ve said."
She grins. "I’ll meet you there." She gives me another kiss. "Don’t keep me waiting."
Note to Self: Ex-Sex is the best sex. Ever.
I share this insight with Raquel and Merrill the next time we go out. Happy Hour used to be me and Raquel’s tradition, but once she started dating Merrill, we became a threesome. And lately, Merrill’s been pushing me to find a fourth, hence the run-in with Kizzy.
"Well, was it good?" Merrill leans forward, her eyes bright with curiosity.
Raquel slaps her arm. "It doesn’t matter! She fucked Pyscho Kizzy." She turns her wrath back on me. "What were you thinking? You should have left as soon as she walked up."
Truthfully, I’d been thinking that it had been a while since I’d had another girl in my bed, something Raquel doesn’t know much about. Part of me wanted to show Jessalyn nee Kizzy what a fabulous girl she missed out on. Another piece of me had melted when I saw her and couldn’t remember why Raquel had to steal my phone so I wouldn’t keep calling her. Raquel was great during that whole ordeal. So supportive, staying up with me until late at night, always there with a friendly hug and a kind word.
Now, she doesn’t look so accommodating. "I hope it was worth it."
A memory surfaces of Kizzy's face between my legs. Fucking amazing, but somehow I don’t think that’s what she wants to hear.
Merrill lights a cigarette. "Hey, I'm sorry. I didn't know. I thought you two would hit it off." She takes a deep drag. "Next time I’ll do better."
Not only do I not want her to set me up with anybody she knows ever again, but I have my own suspicions about why she’s so hot for me to get a date. Before I can speak, Raquel cuts me off.
"I thought you were quitting?"
Merrill shrugs and takes a puff. "I’ve been quitting all day. It’s time for a break." She winks at me.
Raquel slumps back in her seat, arms folded. I know that look, she’s pissed. "Merrill, we talked about this. You promised."
"Dammit, it is one fucking cigarette."
"It’s always one fucking cigarette!"
And they’re off in another of their excessively dramatic arguments. I sip my drink and try to pretend I’m invisible, like I’m not really watching the hurt spread across my best friend’s face as she pleads with Merrill who’s storming away from the table.
"I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to start a fight in front of you." She puts her face in her hands and starts to cry.
It’s not like I haven’t seen it before. "It’s okay." I slide in next to her and wrap my arm around her shoulders.
She looks up at me, runny mascara streaking her cheeks. She’s saying something, but I only notice how brown her eyes are, how she bites her lips when she’s upset. How soft her mouth must be.
She wipes her face and I snap out of it. "Honestly, sometimes I wonder where we’re really going. I mean, all we do is argue and make up and fight again. What kind of a relationship is that?"
It’s on the tip of my tongue to tell her to dump Merrill on her ass and find someone new, preferably me, but my sensible side keeps still. Instead, I shrug noncommittally.
Merrill comes back to the table, fresh drinks in hand. "I’m sorry, baby."
Raquel sniffs, looking at her girlfriend. "Me too."
"I really am trying. I just get tense."
"I know. I should be more supportive."
"I love you." Merrill kisses her temple. "You’re the only girl for me, you know that."
"I love you too."
"Will you dance with me?"
Raquel nods and follows her to the dance floor. I repress the urge to gag, instead plastering a smile on my face. They look so close on the floor, I’m envious. I wish it were my hands resting on Raquel’s bottom, my chin that her head snuggles into. But Merrill’s the one holding her and I’m left cradling the purses.
Note to self: Get over Raquel. For real this time.
My vow to move on from Raquel lasts about as long as Merrill’s promise to quit smoking. It’d be easier if she weren’t my best friend and we didn’t do everything together.
"Okay, how about this one?"
The dress looks the same as the first three she tried on. "It’s fine. Just pick something please."
She examines herself in the mirror. "I don’t look fat in this?"
"No, you’re perfect."
"Merrill told me I should lay off the dessert for a while."
"Merrill’s a bitch." And a blind one at that.
She smiles. "I knew you’d say that. Hang on; I have one more I want to try."
"Just hurry up." I’m almost out of magazines and my foot’s fallen asleep.
"Hey, I know that last date was a disaster, but I think I found someone you’ll really like."
Jeez, not her too. "Could you two stop trying to set me up? I can find my own dates."
Her voice sounds muffled. "I know. I just want to see you happy."
Then stop fucking around with Merrill and notice me? Shit, does that sound as pathetic as I think it does?
"Ta-da! What do you think?"
I can’t answer her immediately. I’m too busy checking out the way the thin material drapes over her full curves. Merrill’s an idiot if she doesn’t appreciate how gorgeous Raquel is.
"That’s the dress."
"Sweet!" She twirls around the room. "That’s a relief; I was beginning to think I wasn’t going to find anything to wear." She pulls me off the bed and drags me with her. "You are truly the best friend a girl could ever have."
I’m thankful I’m not a guy, because right about now I’d be trying to find a textbook to hide behind. As it is, my pulse feels like a runaway train and I’ve started to sweat from the exertion of appearing unaffected.
"Seriously, Dani. I don’t know what I’d do without you. I don’t want you to find a girlfriend. It’s selfish, I know. I keep thinking, what’ll happen to me when you find that special girl and you’re no longer around when I need you?"
I pull her close to me and give her a hug. "I’ll always be there for you." I lean back and look her in the eyes. "Always."
She pushes the stray hairs from my face, a contemplative look on her face. I can’t breathe, much less move. All I see is her mouth come towards mine then suddenly I feel the brush of her lips. Soft. Sweet. Tender.
We kiss again. Firmly. Urgently. Her fingers entwine in my hair, my hands caressing her back as her tongue explores my mouth.
Still, my brain won’t totally let me enjoy the moment. "Raquel—"
She silences me with a tug at my shirt. "Take it off."
Note to Self: When the girl you’ve been lusting after forever wants to fuck you, shut up and let her.
And so I strip, falling into her on the bed, loving the way her body feels against me, a bundle of creamy brown curves pressed against my flesh. The heat of her cunt warming my thigh as she straddles me. She hasn’t shed the dress and I don’t want her to. I want to fuck her in the dress that was meant for Merrill, the dress that the self-centered bitch wouldn’t be able to appreciate, make her come and leave my mark on it so that every time she wears it, she’ll think of me.
I loosen the top enough so her breasts spill out and grasp a nipple between my lips. She moans and leans closer until I’m almost smothered by the flesh pressed against my face. Her hardened nubs occupy my mouth as my hands sneak under the skirt to explore her body. My nails scratch a trail down her slightly rounded stomach, until she grunts and shoves my hand further down. Already, the heat from her pussy warms my hands and the merest stroke leaves my finger covered with her juice.
With great reluctance, I leave her lip gloss streaked nipples and lay her down on the bed. "Come here," I whisper.
Her eyes close as I kneel before her splayed body. I open her lips gently and inhale her earthy scent as arousal washes over me. My finger slips easily inside and as she opens her legs further, I add another and caress her from the inside. I'm torn. I want to draw it out, tease her the way she's been teasing me all these months, but then she moans my name and I can't make her wait any longer.
She tastes like ambrosia and I suck at her clit like I'm receiving sustenance from the gods themselves. All too soon, she's tensing and shuddering forcefully. She grasps my free hand as the orgasm hits her. I crawl next to her and kiss her soft mouth, wondering what happens next. Wanting her to touch me before she snaps back to reality and the dream has to end.
I needn't have worried. She squeezes my ass and then straddles me, kissing a trail down my spine.
"Dani." Her hand makes its way between my legs, stroking me where I need it most.
"Now. Please." I push my hips up towards her until I feel her tongue make contact with my cunt.
That’s the last we speak until we collapse, spent, next to each other and drift off, limbs entwined.
When I wake, she’s still sleeping and the dress is twisted around her waist. Reluctantly, I slip out of bed and pull the covers around her neck. The reality of the situation is starting to sink in. It’s amazing how clear and ugly things become after an orgasm.
Note to Self: When your best friend decides to fuck you in a moment of insanity, don’t do it. Seriously. Not a good idea.
Three days later, my phone rings. It’s Raquel. It’s the first I’ve heard from her since The Incident. Even though I’ve tried to call her, I just chicken out and hang up. What would I say anyhow? Sorry for jumping you, I couldn’t resist your tits in that gown? Anyway you put it; it comes off bad.
"I’m downstairs. I want to come in." There’s no warmth to her command, so I hit the buzzer and wait for her to come to the door.
She looks pissed. "Hi," I offer tentatively.
"Next time leave cash."
"Next time you fuck me and run out without having the decency to say goodbye, leave some money on the dresser."
"I…I didn’t know what to say." It sounds lame even to my ears.
"Bye. Thanks for the sex. I lo— I don’t know, anything."
She folds her arms and stares at me. "I know."
I don’t know if she’s referring to my apology or me. "We made a mistake?"
Did we? What kind of question is that? And then I’m reminded of my drama with Kizzy, the constant push-pull, fuck me, fuck you, power struggle. I don’t want to go through that with Raquel. "I don’t know, Raquel. It’s your relationship, you tell me. You’re the one with a girlfriend."
"I just know that you’re my best friend. And what happened…we never should have crossed that line. Look, we’ve always said we never wanted to be those girls that constantly hook up with their friends."
She sighs. "Yeah."
"So, let’s not do that now."
"I thought maybe you…I don’t know, maybe I’m imagining things."
No, she’s not. I know it, but I’m too chicken shit to say it, even though it’s almost cruel to deny her the validation she’s looking for.
We look at each other for a long minute, our gaze saying everything we can’t bring ourselves to put into words.
Finally, she looks away. "So it was a fluke."
"Heat of the moment."
"Completely out of our system." She looks at me slyly. "It was pretty hot."
I shrug. She looks offended. "You don’t think so?"
"Eh. Why else do you think I snuck out?"
She slapped my arm and we burst into laughter, pretending to be past that awkwardness and back to our natural rhythm.
"Want to go to Happy Hour with us?"
"Pass." So not interested in watching her cuddle with Merrill. "Next time, I promise."
"Okay." She looks sad. She gives me a hug, our usual goodbye ritual, but this time our bodies seem stuck together. Her heart thuds against my chest and I feel her hair brush against my cheek as she turns her face into me.
We stand there, mouths inches apart, for an indeterminably long period of time. One kiss can’t possibly hurt, right?
Carefully and reluctantly, I push her away. "Merrill’s waiting for you."
She nods and gropes for her purse. "Bye, Dani."
And then she goes, leaving me alone in my tiny kitchen.
A week later, I still haven’t made it to Happy Hour or any of our other usual hangouts. Worse, Raquel hasn’t come to drag me out either. But Kizzy hasn’t been so silent.
"Dani? Hi, it’s Jessalyn. Well, Kizzy, I guess we know each other too well for that. Anyhow, I had a great time with you last week and I was hoping we can do it again soon. Movie, coffee, it’s up to you. Call me."
Delete. Next message.
"Dani, it’s me again. I know you’re busy, but I’d really like to see you again. I just keep thinking about you and I realized…I still love you. I was stupid to let you go. Call me, please."
I hit the erase button so forcefully the machine clatters against the counter. Is this how my life is going to turn out? Doomed to fall for women when they’re emotionally or logistically unavailable only for the affection to be returned when I no longer want it?
Note to Self: Women have an innate ability to sense when your life is at its shittiest and pick that time to make it worse.
The phone rings. I recognize Merrill’s number. With a sigh, I pick up.
"I want you to come to dinner tonight. I’ve got a surprise for Raquel and I know she’ll want you to share the day with us."
My stomach drops. Surprise? That doesn’t sound like anything good.
"Yeah, I guess I can come out."
"Great! I’m so nervous; I just want everything to be perfect. It’s at Mari’s at seven. I’ve got a table.
"Mari’s, seven," I repeat dutifully.
"Oh, can you pick her up and bring her?"
"Sure. Merrill, what’s the surprise?"
She laughs. "I’m not gonna say. Let’s just say, if all goes well, you’ll be helping her pick out a new set of china. Oh, and don’t worry, I’ve got something for you too." The phone clicks off.
China? The only time I know people waste money on that is for— The word floats in my mind like a caricature bubble. Marriage? Merrill and Raquel? MY Raquel? No fucking way!
Note to Self: Fuck!!!
Raquel and I pull into Mari’s at exactly seven. She’s been talking about something, but I haven’t been able to focus. I don’t know to say, but I can’t let her go without one last attempt to make things right.
Finally, she notices something’s off. "What’s the matter?"
"Nothing. Everything. Are you in love with Merrill?"
"What? Dani, what’s going on?"
I straighten up and look her in the eye. "Just answer me. I need to know. More importantly, if you go in there, you need to know."
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"I can’t tell you"
She folds her arms and gives me The Look. I take a deep breath. "Merrill’s going to propose."
"What?" She looks at me incredulously. "Don’t play with me."
"She said that? She actually said marriage?"
"Well, no, not in so many words. But it was pretty damn clear."
She sits back in the seat. "Oh."
I’m puzzled as to her lack of outrage and then it hits me. "You’re not seriously considering it?
"Why shouldn’t I?"
What kind of question is that? "Because she’s all wrong for you! And you know it."
"I know that she doesn’t hide her feelings from me, no matter what they are. Is it love? Who knows? It’s not perfect, but at least I know where I stand with her."
I don’t miss the barb. "That sounds…pathetic if you want to know the truth."
"I don’t think you’re one to talk about to pathetic."
I grab her arm as she fumbles for the latch. "At least I’m trying here."
She whips back around. "Trying to what? What exactly are you trying to do?"
My tongue feels stuck and I’m struck silent by the force of her anger.
"That’s what I thought." With a last venomous look, she hops out of my car and disappears inside, leaving me banging my head against the steering wheel.
I make it inside in time to see Merrill kissing Raquel hello. When they break apart, Raquel sits in the chair Merrill has pulls out for her and starts examining the menu.
"Hi Dani." A silky voice startles me. I turn around and come face to face with Kizzy.
"What are you doing here?" I don’t have it in me to be polite, but she doesn’t seem to notice.
"Merrill invited me," she purrs as she kisses my cheek. She looks at the couple talking at the table. "They’re so sweet, aren’t they?"
So is sugar until it gives you diabetes. "Um, sure."
She slips her well-manicured hand in mine and snuggles against me. "I think that could be us one day."
I snort. We were them at one point. And that’s why we’re no longer an Us.
She must have mistaken my reaction because she turns to face me, a serious look in her eye. "I know we didn’t work out before, but I want another chance. I’m such a different person now. I know we can have something special."
I start to speak, but she presses a finger against my lips. "You don’t have to answer now. Just think about it."
I catch the approving glint in Merrill’s eye and pull away from Kizzy. Raquel’s studying the menu, but her face isn’t as friendly as it was moments before. For some reason, my spirits lift just a little.
We sit down and Merrill reaches for her glass. "Now that we’re all here I want to make an announcement."
Here it comes, the moment of truth. My stomach feels tight and I wonder if I’m going to be physically ill.
"As you know, Raquel and I have been together for eighteen months now. And they’ve been the happiest months of my life."
She pauses dramatically to beam at Raquel, who I’m pleased to see looks as ill as I feel.
Merrill takes a deep breath before continuing. "I love you and I want us to take the next step." She pulls a box out of her pocket and places it gently on the table. Raquel stares at it hypnotically as Merrill lowers herself to one knee.
Beside me, Kizzy squeeze my arm. "Here it comes."
"Raquel, I want—"
"Don’t do it!"
It takes a moment before I realize the words came out of my mouth. And now that everyone is staring at me, I can’t take it back. And I can’t ignore it.
My mouth feels like a desert and I’m super aware of my heart thudding in my chest. Half of me wants to curl up and die, but the other half is bitch slapping me, daring me to grow a backbone and fight for the woman I love before it’s too late.
"So maybe you’re right. I’m not the most open or demonstrative person." Once I start talking, the words seem to trip over themselves to come out. "And I totally fucked things up between us and I know what you wanted to hear in my kitchen and I was too chicken to say it because I didn’t want to fuck everything up between us…and I guess that didn’t work cause I wouldn’t be here and I know you totally don’t owe me anything, even listening to me now, but I am asking, begging you.
Don’t marry Merrill."
"What the hell is going on?"
From the corner of my eye, I see Merrill push back from the table. She looks pissed, but I’m only focused on Raquel, who’s staring back at me.
"Danielle?" Kizzy whimpers, but I shake her arm off mine.
"I love you Raquel. Seriously. I always have."
"Raquel, what the hell is this?" Merrill demands.
Raquel opens her mouth, but nothing comes out. Finally, she manages a "I don’t know what to say."
"Well I do." Merrill jerks up so quickly I think she might hit me, but instead she throws some money on the table. "Don’t think I didn’t know you were after my girl. Fuck Dani, this is pathetic, even for you. Grow up and stay the fuck away from us."
She starts to storm out, muttering something I can’t hear, and tugs Raquel’s arm. Kizzy sweeps behind them with a scathing backwards glance. "So selfish," she mutters, her beautiful face twisted in a scowl. Even worse, I can feel everyone else in the restaurant watching us, like we’re some characters in a bad play.
"She’s right, you know."
Raquel speaks so quietly at first I think I imagined it.
Merrill stops in the middle of her tirade to stare at her lover. "Raquel, what are you saying?"
Raquel’s eyes lock with mine as she frees herself from Merrill’s grasp. "She’s right about us. We’d never work out. We hardly do now."
"Wait, what? You can’t be serious. You’re leaving me? Because she made some stupid public speech?" Merrill seems caught between anger and confusion as she stares at Raquel.
"No, this has nothing to do with her. We’re just not meant to be." She turns to face her now-ex. "I’m sorry, Merrill. I should have said something ages ago."
Merrill looks back and forth between us, then shakes her head and throws up her hand. "Whatever bitch. This is so not worth it. Come on Jess, let’s go."
That leaves me and Raquel together in the middle of the restaurant, staring at each other.
I can’t tell if she’s angry or not. "I meant every word."
She tilts her head as if she’s considering me, then gives me the first smile of the evening. "You owe me a ride."
My heart speeds up as I step towards her. "I’ll take wherever you want to go."
Our mouths meet and I kiss her like we’re the only people in the room; the patrons, waitresses, everybody has faded away. I try to put everything I’m thinking and feeling into the kiss and I think she understands because she’s giving everything back to me.
"Take me home," she whispers as we break apart. "Now."
I stroke my beautiful Raquel’s cheek and grab my purse. "As you wish."
Note to Self: Sometimes, just sometimes, things actually work out in your favor after all.
Note Note to Self: New relationship loving beats ex-sex any day.
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