Coming out to my friends turned out to be crazy easy. When it happened, the reactions were mostly, “No duh, genius.” Which was fair. It had been obvious to everyone for some time. Except me. I started telling people I was a lez when I was fourteen, although the feelings had been swirling around for years before that, stuff I didn’t understand, how I felt around pretty girls, their smiles, and their cute little butts as we piled onto the bed, my friends and I, at some slumber party, in flannel pajamas that gave teasing hints of the soft curves beneath. It was great to accept it, to own it, to tell people. Most were cool about it. A couple got weird. In a few wonderful cases, things broke out into episodes of furious kissing. That was really amazing.
Three years have gone by since those first revelations. During that time I’ve learned a couple things. The first, your parents can turn out to be surprisingly cool in ways you never expect. The second, don’t hide yourself from yourself.
Today I sit on the couch in our living room as my mother scrambles and frets. She passes me with a box of ribbons. “Daisy, would you help. Grab the tape.” I pop up, grab the tape, and follow. We enter the Florida room at the rear of the house, which used to be a screened porch back when we first moved here, but now is a breezy, carpeted space with louvered windows opened wide. We are decorating for a party, my sister’s sweet sixteen. “Please hand me the tape,” Mom says. “Hold this. No! There. A bit over.” I hold ribbons in place as she tapes them up. The result, after ten minutes, is a bright, festive place in yellow and pink — Jennie’s favorite colors. The ribbons flutter in the breeze. Mom crosses her arms, looks around, and nods. I give her a smile and then return to the couch.
When Jennie and her friends arrive, back from shopping, Mom is in the kitchen putting the final touches on the cake, cookies, and cokes. I greet them as they pour into the living room, a maelstrom of chattering girls with cascades of shopping bags filled with soft, colorful loot. “Check me out!” Jennie says as she struts to the center of the room in the most darling impersonation of a fashion whore. Her skimpy outfit looks new, so I guess she wore it out of the store. She pinches the hem of the skirt, lifting only slightly, and swirls about. Her friend Becky, every bit as trashy-pretty as her, scrambles over and dances with her. They shimmy and touch. Another friend, Megan, settles on the couch not so far from me and watches.
There are two more friends, Dawn and Summer, who rush past holding hands down the hall to the bathroom. Mom’s voice echoes from the kitchen, “You girls head on back to the Florida room. It’s all set up.”
“Yay,” Jennie says with a little hop. “Let’s go.”
Jennie, Becky, and Megan spill out of the room. Soon I hear their laughter from the back of the house. Next Dawn and Summer emerge from the bathroom, arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder, and follow.
I lean back and pinch the bridge of my nose. Thoughts swirl in my mind like sea of colors. I press my hand to the surface of the couch, old and threadbare, retired to this room after Mom bought fancy new furniture for the other living room. It’s familiar, like a faithful lover. It feels good against my skin. I sit that way for a while, while my butt sinks into the cushion that knows my shape, until Mom comes in. She smacks her hands together like a mom from a fifties show, who beats away the flour after a day of baking. Except no baking here. Mom has only been assembling store-bought pastries on plates. “Will you help me carry?” I get up and help her. In the kitchen I grab the coke and plastic cups.
As we shuffle down the hall with the goodies, Mom whispers, “Is Ashley coming?”
I shrug. “Probably not. She always feels weird around Jennie’s friends.”
“Hmm,” Mom says. She looks away.
“But I think I’ll go over and see her tonight.”
That night I sit on an ugly couch in Ashley’s downtown apartment. Trash lies scattered everywhere, across the floor, covering the coffee table. There is a pizza box thrown into the corner, left by her horrible roommate, Ashley insists. “Come on, let’s go in my room,” she says. I’m happy to. Her room is small and has only one chair, which faces her makeup table. Its floor is covered with a sprawling expanse of clothes. Still, there is a difference, I remind myself, between clutter and filth. We enter. She settles into the chair. I plop onto the bed and lie back with my hands behind my head.
I gaze at her. She faces the mirror and checks her mascara. Tonight she wears a flowing red dress in satin. I wear canvas dungarees and a thick blue tee. Her shoulder-length hair is black and lustrous. It’s styled. Her bangs hang in a straight line over soft blue eyes. My hair is cropped, a shock of blond. When we go out together, people always assume I’m the “guy” in the relationship. How little they know.
“Must we go out?” she asks. “I can’t do anything with my eyes tonight.”
She fiddles with a mascara brush, but doesn’t bother to apply it. Then she picks up several small containers of, I assume, eye shadow — reds and greens of brilliant hue. She sets them back down and lowers her shoulders.
“We can stay here,” I say.
“I’m sorry, baby.” She turns to me and bats her eyes in a practiced way.
“Don’t worry about it. Come over here.”
My arms remain behind my head. My legs are stretched out. She climbs into bed next to me and presses close. “How is my buttercup tonight?” she asks.
I close my eyes and we kiss. I feel her small breasts rub against me. I reach for her bottom. Our hips press together as our kisses deepen. Down there, I feel something stir. She sighs.
“I see you’re getting ready,” I say.
“Don’t remind me.”
“Get up. I wanna undress you.”
She rises. I rise also and then unzip her dress. It’s the type that closes on the side, so she has to shimmy and squirm as I pull it over her head. It’s awkward and slow. But I press against her, push my breasts against her back, kiss her neck. I let it take as long as it needs.
The dress is off. I cast it aside. She sits on the bed and looks up bashfully.
Ashley is nineteen. By day she serves coffee at a tragically hip urban bookstore. By night she performs at a local club, wearing elegant dresses and gaudy theatrical makeup. She struts on a tiny stage and sings old standards in a husky voice. The crowd goes wild.
With her dress off, all that remains up top is a little pink bra that easily contains her budding breasts. Down low she wears a pale, satiny slip. I reach to the hem to pull it down.
“Please wait,” she says.
She always wants that, to leave the slip until the last possible moment. It hides her cock. It lets her believe for that brief while that she is entirely a girl.
It does an imperfect job. Already things have escaped the boundaries of her panties and the slip is tenting up. A small spot of moisture appears. “Mmm,” I say as I put my mouth there, softly touching. I gaze up at her face. She rubs her breasts.
“You’re so beautiful,” I say. “So beyond beautiful. Everything.”
Her eyes close. Her lips part.
I climb up her body, rubbing. I’ll let the cock wait. I’ll give her love first, the love she craves, soft kisses, gentle touches — a girl’s love. We embrace. The sheer fabric of her slip rubs against the stiff fabric of my pants.
Soon my clothes are off. Then her bra. We put our mouths all over the other. She brings me close. But I know how I want to finish — the way I crave, even though I’m a lesbian. “Please fuck me.”
The slip comes off. She finishes me on the bed.
Later I hold her while she cries. I stroke and kiss her. I touch her breasts and hair.
Ashley has been on the hormones since I met her last year. All in all, it’s worked wonders. Her voice is luscious, with only a hint of male, a raspy down low that is in fact very sexy. Her face is soft, her neck elegant — no surgery needed there. Her fingers are long and thin. Her breasts have filled out. They’re small, but attractive nevertheless. If her hips are too square, that seems a small sacrifice.
Only one step remains, the knife. She seems in no hurry for that. Turns out I don’t mind.
Next Saturday Jennie and I are at Dad’s apartment all together in his tiny wood-paneled living room. The two of them are by the TV, playing tennis on the Wii. I’m curled on the couch reading a book for school, Great Gatsby, on chapter three. I’m pretty sure at this point that I hate my namesake from the story.
Jennie laughs as she scores again. “Yes!” The TV plays the little music from when you win a match.
Dad groans. Then he says, “Oh! Oh! I can’t believe it!” Jennie gives a little bow. He sweeps the back of his hand over his forehead and staggers away in mock despair. “I’m defeated!”
“One more match, Daddy!”
He falls back into his chair under a tall pole lamp, the only source of light in the room other than what filters in from the kitchen — and the TV. “Please!” She hops. “One more.”
“Oh, sweetie. Ask your sister.” He takes a deep breath, which he seems to hold longer than natural. Then he puts his hand on his chest.
Last year he was in the hospital twice for heart things. Nothing too serious. No surgery. The term “heart attack” was never used. But still, when he turns pale and breaths heavy like this, I worry.
I set down my book. “I’ll play. But maybe not tennis. What else is on there? That bowling thing?”
“Bowling?” she says with a frown. “Like, dykey enough?”
I shrug. “And tennis isn’t? Or do you wanna see me play softball?” I step over and take Dad’s controller. She waves hers at the screen and switches the game to bowling. The TV beeps a lot. Soon the lanes appear along with the blaring sounds of crashing pins.
“Good luck, loser!” she says with a dazzling smile.
She’s up first. She crouches and aims, poised and balanced. She swings her arm and releases. On the TV the ball shoots down the lane in a perfect arc. A strike. “Ha! I am so amazing!” She jumps in place. “Top that, sucker!”
“Give ’er hell, Daisy,” Dad says.
He leans forward in his chair to watch. She steps aside, but locks her eyes to me, an eager gaze. I scrape my bare feet over the thick yellow carpet, probably fashionable during the years of hula hoops. I adjust my aim, so carefully. Jennie draws in her breath. I swing my arm. The ball careens madly down the lane, curving sharply at the last moment to decisively knock down three pins. The TV plays a sad little melody.
“Oh! Close, dear,” Dad says.
Jennie is grinning at me. “Nice try.” She nudges my elbow. “Good luck.”
I try again. I get four more.
“Aww. Too bad,” Dad says.
That continues for nine more frames. The final score: 196 to 68.
“Aw! Wanna play again?” She looks at me sheepishly.
I give her a look that says no. She frowns. Then, completely out of the blue, she throws her arms around me and gives me a long hug. When she releases me, she’s smiling. She touches my arm.
“Uh,” I say, “you okay?”
Dad’s apartment is small, so when Jennie and I stay over, we have to share a room, which has only one bed and a couch, which I always take like a good sister. The blankets are thick enough. Actually, it’s more comfortable than Ashley’s lumpy bed. And the company, while not quite the same as a lover, is still a fine thing.
Tonight Jennie wears her pink pajamas with pictures of bears and honeycombs. I wear cottony blue panties and a tank top. After switching off the light, she curls up near the edge of the bed where she can look down at me. She watches me for a while. In the dim glow from the window, I can see the vague sparkle of her eyes.
“Can I ask you something?” she says.
“You just did.”
“Ha! No, I’m serious.”
She’s quiet for a while, long enough that it feels weird. From outside I hear the dull hum of the traffic on the boulevard.
Finally she speaks. “So, like, you can kinda sense when a girl is — y’know — like you?”
I assume she means gay. “Sometimes yeah. Sometimes no. Who do you have in mind?”
She’s quiet again. Too quiet. Strange ideas begin to form in my mind, things beyond words.
“It’s Megan,” she says. “Like, Becky says that Megan said something. And she’s freaking.”
I roll onto my back and pull the blanket to my chin. Megan? Hmm. Did I sense anything from her? From any of them — those young, pretty girls, fashionable, popular? A rumor had gone around that Dawn and Summer were bi, but I never saw them do more than hold hands. To my view, it was all an act, to be “edgy” and freak out guys. Megan is different, though. She’s the quiet one, as much as any of that giggling gaggle is quiet.
“It’s possible,” I say. “But it’s not like she sets off alarms or anything.”
“Is Becky gonna be cool to her?”
Jennie is quiet again. Then she says, “I dunno. She’s been kinda weird about Megan lately — like, talking shit about her.”
Which sucks. I like Megan well enough. Becky on the other hand seems a horrible phony, that sort of girl who smiles while she stabs you in the back. Honestly, it bothers me a lot that Jennie hangs with her.
“You be cool to her,” I say, “no matter what fucking Becky does. You got that?”
She reaches over the side of the bed toward me. “Yes! Of course. I would never…”
I see her hand in the shadows, reaching. I stretch out and grab it.
“I promise,” she says. “I’ll totally have her back.”
She squeezes my hand.
The next day Dad and I sit at a cafe across the street from the tennis complex where Jennie has her weekly lessons. Through the big windows I can see her on the court in her darling tennis outfit, holding her racket, balanced, her knees slightly bent. In the sunlight her bronze skin glistens. Dad sips his coffee. I look at my phone again.
We had been waiting for Ashley, but she just texted and said she couldn’t make it. I show Dad the screen of the phone.
“Is Ashley okay?” he asks.
I shrug. “Yeah. I guess. I mean, she’s all weird and distant these days. I don’t know why.”
Dad has been totally cool about Ashley, which surprised me, since he had always been a beer and fishing kind of guy. Back when I came out, it took him a while to accept me. But he did. Finally. Still, I didn’t expect him to accept a someone like her. A girl liking girls is one kind of thing. A girl with a cock is something else entirely.
So when I brought her around the first time, I held my breath. Like, “Hey Dad! This is my nineteen year old transexual girlfriend. Say hi!”
He shook Ashley’s hand and then gave her a little hug. “Welcome,” he said. “Nice to meet you.”
Yeah, Dad is pretty awesome.
“Well, I guess you gotta have patience,” he says. “It can’t be easy for her, y’know. Has she decided on the surgery thing yet?”
I shake my head no.
“Well, be patient with her. Give her some space.”
I break off a bite-sized piece of my blueberry muffin and look at it. “Yeah. I know.” I pop it into my mouth.
A flash of motion catches my eye, Jennie on the court dashing for a loose ball. Dad notices also. “She’s getting good,” he says.
“Yeah. Think she’ll go pro or something?”
“Ha!” He smiles. “I hope so! Think I’d be a good tennis dad? Milking my daughter’s fame.” He winks.
Jennie serves the ball, tossing it up and smacking it. Even from across the street through the window, I can hear the sound of the racket on the ball, which shoots off like it was fired from a gun. Her opponent barely gets to it in time. They begin to volley. Jennie dashes to and fro, skidding on the hard court. She seems almost perfect.
“You know,” I say, “nothing would make her happier than helping you out. Both of us.”
He looks at me with his old brown eyes. Then he nods. Of course, he knows better than to count on me for fame and fortune.
A week passes without hearing from Ashley. During that time, my texts are ignored, my calls unanswered. Then I run into her at the mall.
I’m walking along with Jennie, who has taken my hand and is pulling me toward some store called “Zaria’s,” which is reported to have “the cutest” outfit that “would look soooo amazing!” on me. “Hurry, hurry, hurry,” Jennie begs, as if there might be an army of fiendish lesbians descending on the store the buy the outfit before me.
Suddenly Jennie stops and says, “Fuck!” She tugs my arm, as if to pull me the other way, like maybe I won’t see what she sees. But it’s too late. I look. She’s there — Ashley arm in arm with some other girl, really close. They seem happy. Jennie hisses. “Fucking bitch! I don’t believe her.”
I stand frozen in place. The girl — the other girl — is young and pretty, with short brown hair in a bob, with gigantic round green eyes, with a cute little body, a little butt, shapely hips, darling breasts. She’s adorable and heading directly toward us, until Ashley notices and stops.
Jennie freaks. She stomps over right in front of them. “You fucking bitch! Who’s this? Huh? Fucking around on my sister!”
Ashley steps behind her dainty new girlfriend, who seems to wilt in front of Jennie, who grabs the girl’s shoulders and pushes her aside. Not too hard, but the girl stumbles. She stays up only by tugging on Ashley’s arm. Jennie gets right in Ashley’s face.
“I should kick your ass! I should yank your cock off!”
Which seems a bit too much. I dash over. “Jennie, let it be!” I grab her arm and pull her away. I catch Ashley’s eyes. They seem — guilty — terrified.
“Kick her ass!” Jennie says. “She’s such a skank!”
“Jennie, please,” I say. Then I look at Ashley and her new little thing. “You should have told me.”
Ashely begins to cry. New-girlfriend takes her hand. “Baby, what’s wrong? Who are these people?”
Jennie seems ready to answer that, but I stop her. “Jennie, no.” I turn to new-girl and say, “I’m the ex. Can I talk to Ashley, just for a bit?”
Ashley opens her mouth. Then she closes it. She looks around, like a trapped animal. New-girl steps back and says, “Uh — yeah. I guess.” She glances fearfully at Jennie.
Minutes later Ashley and I sit face to face at a small table in the food court. A few tables over sit New-girl and Jennie, who has promised not to do anything crazy or violent.
I look at Ashley for a while, wondering if she will speak first. She doesn’t, so I ask, “Baby, what happened?”
Her eyes drop. “I found someone else.”
“Obviously. I mean — why? What was wrong? I thought we were solid.”
She wipes away a tear. Then she says, “She’s good for me. Like, in ways you couldn’t be.”
“She doesn’t look. I mean — ” She motions down to her lap. “She doesn’t like my… you know.”
“Ashley! I love all of you.”
Or, I did love her. Then. Before.
Can feelings change so fast? Was our love such a fragile thing? The fact is, the last week without her hasn’t been so bad. I haven’t pined for her. Not really. Sure, I wondered. And I kept trying to call. It seemed natural. But still, this doesn’t surprise me. I’m not freaked out.
“Look!” Ashley says. “You’re way too into cock.”
Now I’m a little bit freaked out.
“Like, you’re not a lez at all! You’re just another hetero-girl playing games, and that isn’t what I need.”
I can’t quite believe what I’m hearing. Me? That? She’s crazy.
“Amy is for real. She loves the girl in me.”
“Jesus, Ashley — what the fuck?”
We’re getting pretty loud, enough that a stern-faced father and his two young daughters sitting at the next table look at us in horror.
Ashley grabs my hand. “You were good, but you need a man. I need someone who wants a girl.”
It’s crazy — crazy! crazy! crazy! I have no idea how to respond. In a meek voice I mumble, “Ashley, you’re completely wrong.”
I loved her so much before, as a person, as a girl. I accepted her, her thing, her confusions, because — it was love. How could she understand me so little?
I open my mouth to speak, but then I decide there is no point. “Fine, Ashley,” I say. “You’re an idiot.”
We sit and glare face to face. But we don’t speak. For several seconds we sit like that. Then I get up, turn, and walk away. She doesn’t even try to say “sorry” or anything. Soon Jennie catches up with me.
“Holy fucking shit!” she says.
“Did you hear?”
“Yeah! She’s whack!”
Indeed, Ashley is whack.
We go on to the store to see the “oh so cute” outfit, which is indeed sickeningly cute, a short denim skirt and a gay-rainbow tee in pink. As I skeptically examine it, Jennie says, “I can’t fucking believe she is so dumb-as-fuck. Stupid, stupid, stupid!”
“No! She sucks so much. I hate her.”
I touch Jennie’s shoulder and then step away. The mirror is here. I look into it, into my own eyes. And I think. Should I hate Ashley now? I have a right to. But then, I find that I don’t. Not really. Inside, when I think about it, I just don’t care — which surprises me. But still, it all seems just another stupid thing that never mattered. I glance at Jennie, cast her a small grin. She raises her eyebrow. “What?”
Whatever else, I find her passionate defense of me utterly charming. My awesome sister!
“Forget about Ashley,” I say. “She’s old news already.” I shrug. “Really. Time to move on anyhow.” I saunter back over to her with a giant smile.
A grin crosses her face. “Okay. Right! We’ll find someone better for you.” She peers at me with her fiery eyes, like she’s thinking something. “Waaaay better. So! Try that on!” — she points to the skirt and tee — “No girl will be able to resist you.”
I almost never wear skirts. But when I try this one on, it looks amazing. My pale thighs. My hot, round butt. I strut around while Jennie’s eyes light up. “Niiiiice!” she says, and I agree. If I saw the girl in the mirror, I wouldn’t turn her down. I buy it immediately.
“Wear it out of the store,” Jennie insists, which I do. She holds my hand and scampers along beside me as we walk out to catch the bus. She keeps looking around at the other people in the mall, like she’s proud to be seen with me. “You’re so hot!” she says. Indeed, I feel beautiful.
Over the next week Jennie won’t leave me alone. She gives me no time to sit home forlorn and pining for lost passion. No, never for a moment, it seems, will she let me feel unloved.
Tonight we’re crammed into a messy booth at an intimate “family style” pizza joint near Mom’s house. Jennie sits next to me, pressed close. Across from me sits Megan, who’s been quiet all night. Scattered across the table are the remains of a large Hawaiian pizza, mostly crusts on plates. But there’s one piece left. None of us dare.
Through the window outside, I see Dawn and Summer leaning against a Mazda holding hands. They’re talking to this boy, Jessie, who at that moment struts around and waves his arms like he’s telling the most exciting story ever. Dawn and Summer laugh.
“They’ve got him wrapped around their fingers,” Jennie says.
“Oh really?” I ask. “You sure it’s not the other way around?”
Megan glances up, right at Jennie, who says in a knowing way, “Trust me, I’m sure!” Megan’s gaze drops. Jennie adds in a whisper, “We caught them kissing.”
Well, that clears that up, I think. I glance back outside and wonder, just what game are these two playing? If they’re together, they do themselves no favors by toying with boys. I learned that early on, be what you are and don’t make it a game.
“They have some learning to do,” I say.
Megan blushes. Jennie laughs. “Yeah! I bet!” She presses me further against the wall, her hip against mine. “Who’s gonna teach them?” She pokes my ribs.
Later the waitress clears away the wreckage of our meal and brings us fresh cokes. Dawn and Summer are back inside, both squeezed in next to Megan, who now looks doubly uncomfortable.
“So,” Jennie says, breaking the silence, “I think Megan is looking for a girlfriend too. Right, Megan?”
“Jennie!” I say.
Poor Megan. I’ve known girls like her before, so shy, always friends with that one overwhelming girl who completely dominates her, which is bad enough for a straight girl. Add some girly-crush to the mix, and it’s a recipe for perfect heartache.
Megan has a crush on Jennie. I can see that plain as day. And no doubt Jennie sees it too.
What fun! To be the target of a crush.
“Give her some space,” I say. I reach across the table and beckon for Megan to give me her hand. “Come, sweetie.” She reaches out and we grasp. Her hand feels cool. Her fingers seem soft and small as they touch against my palm. “It’s gonna be okay.” She looks at me and nods. “Just be careful who you fall for,” I add. Her eyes grow wide and she stares at me, fixes my eyes with hers, so intense. She opens her mouth to speak, but says nothing.
“Get a room you two!” Jennie says. Then she hugs me and kisses my cheek. Again Megan looks down. Dawn and Summer giggle.
I come home from work the next night to discover an impromptu slumber party. Mom is out at the movies with friends. Megan, Dawn, and Summer are there, piled into the living room with Jennie. The cushions are off the couch and set against the wall, where Megan and Jennie sit close. Dawn and Summer are curled up together on the big old easy chair.
“Yay!” Jennie shouts as soon as I appear. “My amazing sister is here!”
Jennie has her arm around Megan, holding her close. Which seems cool, if surprising. Well, maybe it’s cool. Maybe it’ll really suck for Megan. That all depends on Jennie.
“Come join us, Amazing Sister!” Jennie releases Megan and slides over. She pats the little space that forms between them. Megan stares at me with a cryptic look.
“Uh — okay,” I say.
The four girls watch as I cross the room and settle into the space between Megan and Jennie. Then Jennie presses close, pushing me against Megan. “Let’s get all squeezy!”
Megan presses a bit also. Tonight she wears soft, cottony shorts and a little embroidered pink blouse, buttoned low. When I look, I can see the shadowy cleavage between her small breasts. She glances up at me. Jennie whispers into my ear, “Kiss her. She wants it.”
What the fuck!
I wait for Megan to seem shocked or embarrassed — or to do anything to indicate that it isn’t true. Her eyes grow wide, like a small, frightened animal.
“Megan,” I say, “do you like me?”
“Sure she does,” Jennie says. “Are you blind?”
I keep my gaze fixed on Megan, who nods. “I do,” she says in a quivering voice.
I feel Jennie shift around in place behind me. Then I feel her hands on my back. “Come on!”
Megan closes her eyes and parts her lips. Her chin is raised.
“Isn’t she pretty,” Jennie says.
Indeed, she’s lovely, very lovely, like wildflowers in spring. Her cheeks are blooms of pink. Her eyes, now closed — only her eyeshadow is visible — are strokes of blue. She seems so perfectly soft and shy. After a few moments, when I haven’t yet kissed her, her eyes open. They’re so brown they seem golden. In them, I see sadness mixed with hope. A “please” forms on her sweet mouth.
“You wanna come to my room?” I ask. She nods. But Jennie says, “No! Kiss her here. I wanna see.”
Which is weird. But why not? It’s just a kiss.
I lean forward and put my mouth to Megan’s, just a brush, my lips to hers. She presses forward, seeming hungry for more. Her arms slip around my neck. Her small body moves against me.
I feel Jennie press against me from behind. “Amazing,” she says. “So sexy.”
Megan’s eyes — they seem to grow before me. They open wide, then they close, then they open again, like all of life is in her pretty eyes. We kiss more.
I feel warm all over. Especially down there. I wonder, why haven’t I seen this before, felt this until now? Megan is indeed a little angel. She is younger than me, but only two years. Seventeen and fifteen is not unthinkable. After all, Ashley was nineteen.
My bed calls to me. I want Megan in it.
“Megan,” I say, “I think you and I better continue this alone, not — y’know — with my sister.”
Megan says nothing. Instead, Jennie speaks. “Oh no! With your sister. Definitely with her!”
“What the — ”
Is Jennie asking to watch? I try to form the idea in my head, to shape it into something I can grasp. But the words she said won’t produce any sane thought. I feel panic. I break away from them and slide over. “Jesus, Jennie! What’s gotten into you?”
This cannot be what it seems!
Megan leans back into the cushions and breaths heavy. Her bare feet are near me. They seem so small. Jennie, with wide eyes, moves forward. “It’s what I want. I wanna see you with her. I like both of you so much.”
Megan wraps her arms tight like she’s hugging herself. She looks down.
Jennie grabs my elbow. “Come on.” She slides forward more, her face close to mine. “You know I love you.”
From the chair, Dawn and Summer gaze at the scene with cryptic faces. I notice that each has her hand on the other’s breast.
I get up. “Jesus! Are you all in on this?”
Megan shakes her head no. Dawn says, “I’m as surprised as you.” Then she adds, “But — ”
Summer finishes her thought, “It’s soooo sexy.” Both girls giggle and nod eagerly.
On her knees before me, Jennie reaches for my hand. “Come on.”
“Megan,” I say — she looks up — “if you wanna join me in my room, you can. But this…”
I back away, shaking my head. Jennie shoots over to Megan and grabs her arm. “Megan! Sweetie! I’m your friend. I’ve always had your back. Beg her to stay, to fuck you out here!”
Megan looks around in a panic. Then Jennie grabs Megan’s chin and kisses her mouth. Dawn says, “Oh my God!” Summer begins to laugh.
I dash to my room. Megan stays with Jennie.
I lie in bed and listen to the sounds of love drift in from the other room, four voices, four girls, little giggles and coos of sweet pleasure. I hope, so dearly, that they are two pairs, rather than four in a pile. At least let that be true! It’s weird enough. Don’t let it be a proper orgy. I resist the desire to creep out and look, afraid of what I might see. If Jennie is involved — I can’t help but realize — things will be beyond.
How long has Jennie been gay? Or bi? Or just omni-hyper-mega-sexual? — which is most likely, for her. I should have known! Yes, the day that my Jennie entered the world of sex, on that day, she would obliterate it, like a hurricane — beyond a hurricane, the kind of event that leaves even the greatest scientists quivering with panicked eyes. “We do not understand! Our theories cannot explain!” Nothing remains in her wake.
The sound of loving goes on and on, a series of passionate crescendos, four voices, again and again. Then they taper off, replaced by the normal sounds of happy girls. Later I hear Mom arrive home, pleased to be greeted by her daughter and her friends. I hear her voice clearly. She asks about me. Jennie answers, says that I’m tired, depressed about Ashley, in my room.
Moments later Mom pokes in her head. “Hey, sweetie.”
“Goodnight. Love you. I hope you feel better.”
I clutch my blanket to my chest.
That night I dream I’m a tiger creeping through the jungle choked by vines. I stalk beneath ominous flowers spread gray in the moonlight. I breath air thick with the stench of rotting things. Fluids drip on me from drooping leaves. Ahead of me I spy a fire, its flickering light vague through the vegetation. I creep along a dead log and hide among ferns in shadows. I watch. There are men around the fire. One, the oldest, with brown leathery skin and eyes that glow like topaz, speaks of the tiger in the darkness. The men glance around nervously, but they do not see me. “The tiger won’t attack your face,” he says. “He will not approach if he thinks you watch him.”
I smile to myself, my wide, tigery smile. Stupid man.
“No, the tiger will take you from behind.” He holds up a hat. “So, always wear this.” He turns the hat to show its reverse side. On the back is the image of a human face. “Always wear a hat like this, and the tiger will not attack.” I look and see that he has given each man such a hat. When they put on their hats, they each have two faces, their real face ahead, and their mock face behind.
I retreat back into the shadows and wait. I feel no hunger. There is no need to kill. But the arrogance of the man insults me. So I plot.
At dawn the men start out in file, trudging along the narrow, winding path that stinks of human. They sing and talk. One lights a cigarette. Beneath their feet, soft grass swishes and twigs snap. I lope along beside them, utterly silent and invisible among the trees. By midmorning they have spread out, the slowest lags behind. But I don’t take him. The oldest, the man of lore, he is my target. I watch as he drinks deeply from his bottle, and I know it will not be long. Indeed, he soon breaks from the rest to relieve himself. He does not go far, a dozen yards into the jungle.
That’s plenty. From a branch above, I leap.
I awake in my bed in my house. The moon is low, a knife-like crescent that casts its vague glow through my window, which lights a shadowy figure in the shape of a girl. “Daisy,” the figure says in a hushed voice. “It’s me.”
Indeed. It’s her. My sweet sister. She gets into my bed under my sheets.
“Can I lie with you? Just — you know — nothing kinky.”
Her hand creeps onto my tummy.
“Is this fine?”
Her mouth is near my face. But I do not speak.
I can’t speak. The words — they won’t come. The thoughts — they course through my mind like an inferno. It’s too much. I clench my fists from the ferocity of it all.
I spend several seconds figuring out how to breath. Jennie spends those seconds running her fingers up my torso, softly, between my breasts to my throat.
“Whatever else,” she says, “no matter how crazy this is, I do love you. A lot.” She touches my chin.
Yes. Love. This is love — crazy, heart-destroying, mind-crushing love. I quiver.
“I love you so much,” she says.
Me too! Me too! I love you with all my heart!
But there is no way to form the words. I lie silently. Terror consumes my every nerve.
How long have I felt this? How long have I hidden such an immense thing from myself?
I turn to her. Her face comes forward. Tentative. Yes! Jennie is being tentative. She is waiting for me. But she is so close.
Inside, I die a million times. Then I kiss her.
Soft lips, sweet breath. Her hands on me. We press close and kiss, long and slow, again and again. She makes pretty little noises.
“Jennie,” I whisper.
“Shh!” She puts her finger on my mouth. “No words, let it be, let it consume us.”
It does, the feelings overwhelm us, like a swirling storm over a surging, endless sea. In my heart, seabirds soar above the maelstrom, filled with love.
Next morning we sit across from each other at the breakfast table. Mom is by the stove, juggling spoons and pans. Before her, eggs fry and bacon sizzles. “Breakfast coming up!” she says.
Jennie is looking at me with the most gigantic possible smile. I keep glancing and grinning. Soon we hear mom get down plates. Next the eggs and bacon appear before us. “Well, you both seem happy,” Mom says while she returns to the counter to prepare herself a plate.
Jennie picks up her fork. “Yes! I feel quite pleasant today.” She jabs her eggs, spearing a rather large chunk. I break off a bit of bacon.
Still by the stove, Mom says, “And you, Daisy — are you feeling better?”
I look at the bacon. “Sure, Mom. I’m feeling pretty good today.” I pop it into my mouth.
“Good. I’m glad you’re getting over Ashley. I still can’t believe she said that.”
I cast a stern glance at Jennie, who returns an apologetic shrug. She had told Mom about the whole Ashley encounter, all the little details, each absurd claim. I would rather she had not. Beneath the table I feel her foot on my leg.
Mom sits down with her own plate piled high. Together, we eat.
Later Mom is back in her room. Jennie and I are in the living room, side by side on the couch. “So, what’s gonna happen?” I ask.
She takes my hand. “What do you mean?”
“I mean — like — what? Are we girlfriends? We can’t tell anyone.”
She raises my hand, guides it to her face, and brings my index finger into her mouth. She sucks and licks. “Mmm, such a yummy finger. I could gobble you up.” Her arms slip around my neck and she kisses me.
I let her, but then I break away. “Jennie! If Mom finds out…”
“We won’t let her. And if she does…” She shrugs.
She comes in for another kiss, but I lean away.
“I’m serious! What are we gonna do?”
“I don’t know!” She faces away from me. “Really — I mean — I didn’t plan this. I don’t know. It all just came over me. I mean — ”
She swallows and bends forward with her hands on her knees. Then she says in a slow, steady voice, “I’ve wanted this for a while. I thought maybe I could hook you up with Megan, and that would be sorta-kinda halfway… y’know… enough. So that I’d be happy. But this! This is — it’s amazing!” She turns to me and grabs my hands. “It’s what I want. I love you so much.” She peers at me with her beautiful eyes. She smiles with her beautiful mouth. So beyond. I’m stunned.
But do I want this? I say nothing.
“Daisy…” she says, “say something.”
Still, I’m quiet. She touches my face. I turn away and say, “This is too much. I can’t handle it.”
“No!” She embraces me, pulls us together tight. “It isn’t. We’ll make it work. Somehow.”
The sex last night was beyond description. It was quiet and gentle — nothing like the outrageous, energetic sessions with Ashley. But still, there was so much tenderness. Things went slow, small touches, on all those places that a girl loves to be touched: my neck, my breasts, the back of my legs behind the knee, down my arm, this little place on my side beneath my ribs — soft strokes, gentle kisses. It blew my mind. It grew and grew, the feelings, till I was overwhelmed. When we were ready, at that point beyond, we wrapped ourselves into a slow sixty-nine, side by side, for hours, climaxing again and again, with muffled sighs of pleasure. I had to press my face into a clump of gathered sheets to contain my cries. I came more than I ever had before.
“Mom must never find out,” I say. “Never, never, never. Dad either. They could not handle this!”
Jennie looks at me. She seems to think. Then she nods.
“I’m serious. That’s my rule. We’re both super careful all of the time. Okay?”
She nods again.
She says, “Yes.”
Yes and yes and yes. I feel it in my heart. I take her hands and kiss her mouth. Then I glance around to make sure we’re still safe. “From now on, we’re careful,” I say.
Then we hug. I don’t worry about getting caught doing that. After all, sisters are allowed to hug.
That afternoon finds us together with Megan in her room. Her Mom and kid sister are out for the day at some camp. I’m sitting on the chair. Jennie is plopped down next to Megan, both side by side on the bed.
“Oh my God! You’re kidding!” Megan says. Her mouth hangs open. Her eyes are as wide as eyes can be. Jennie has just told her about us — she convinced me to tell one person, just Megan. “No way! Really?”
“Yep.” Jennie says. “See, watch.” She pops up from the bed and rushes over to me, throws herself into my arms, her sweet body. We kiss on the mouth with obvious tongue. Megan gasps. “No way!”
Jennie rushes back over to her. She plops back down and takes her hand. “So, what do you think?”
Megan quivers and stares at us. But then I see it, such a small touch, but it’s clear behind her eyes. She’s happy for us — if shocked. I see that clearly. But beneath the smile is a hint of sadness, as if she’s losing something, that thing that Jennie and I have gained.
Will Jennie do it, what we planned, for Megan?
“That’s cool,” Megan says. “I’m happy for you.”
“Yeah,” Jennie says. “It’s so super-beyond amazing. So, about you…”
Jennie has slipped onto her knees so she’s facing Megan. She gets close and whispers into her ear, “Why don’t you go kiss Daisy too.”
If Megan looked surprised before, this is another level. She gasps. She squeals. She sits and shakes. “Really?” She glances at Jennie, their faces so close. “Really, really?” She glances at me.
“Yes,” Jennie says. “Really, really.” I smile and nod.
She’s up like a lightning bolt and across the room in a flash. She throws herself at me. Her arms slide around my neck. Her chest presses to mine. We kiss — so hot. She squeezes tight, nuzzles her face into my neck, shimmies and squirms. It feels amazing, her little body. I grab her bottom and pop up from the chair, lifting her. I stagger while she wiggles. Her legs wrap around me. We fall onto her bed beside Jennie, who lies back and joins the kissing. We three girls. Kissing and kissing. Then Jennie and I tear off Megan’s clothes and fuck her like a hurricane. We take turns. The afternoon fills with inexpressible delight.