Leakers Ignited, Lesbian Adventure Club: Book 6
(Character Drive, First-Person)
Blurb: Just when things seem to be moving forward for the group, hostesses Ginny and Kris make everything backwards. And as they taught them in the past, winning isn’t always rewarding. Either way, it’ll be a blowout.
Two chapters follow, or alternately, you can use this link to download a PDF sample.
Note: For reasons explained in the following Author’s Note, the ebook comes with a backward version and a forward version. If you’d prefer just to stick with the tried and true, I’d suggest not reading the excerpt below.
Firstly, thank you!
Secondly, you are probably expecting certain things—from the Dykes Who Dare and from me. In the pages that follow, the characters are true to the women you have come to know. Even the story line, while new, rings true to the heart of the Lesbian Adventure Club. It’s this author who is about to throw your expectations out the window.
Why mess with a good thing? Excellent question!
The books contain strange adventures. You have tagged along with the characters, but thus far, you have merely watched. So, why shouldn’t I create a book that’s an adventure for you? You’ve listened to Kate so often curse, “What the hell?” as she tries to make sense of what is going on around her. Why shouldn’t I make you ask, “What the hell?” so you can experience it as they do? Are you game? If I D Double D dare you, would you make a beeline down the pier and plunge into something shockingly different?
What exactly have you done, Roz? Another excellent question. You are full of them.
It’s fairly simple: This book is written backwards. Instead of them arriving at the beginning, they are leaving. When you get to the end, they’ll be bailing out of cars wanting to know what the adventure is. It will all make sense to you by the time they step foot on Ginny and Kris’ lawn.
So again, why mess with a good thing? Because it’s the nature of the Lesbian Adventure Club: to mess with and to be messed with. It’s merely your turn; it’s paying your dues.
If you’re not up for my dare—if you’re a leaker—that’s okay. I’ve got you covered. Simply read the Forward Version included in this ebook. The chapters in numerical order will give you what you came here expecting.
If you are up to the dare, grab my hand, and let’s zoom down the pier. Heads up!
Note to self: My friends’ business is not front page material, but still, take good notes.
I stirred from sleep to spy Kris tossing another log on the fire. Instead of acknowledging her, I snapped my eyelids shut and nestled closer to Claudia. The night’s passage had not lessened my need for her, but regardless, she remained dead to the world. The smell of coffee dripping in the kitchen at least gave me something realistic for which to hope. I held her for a few moments, kissed her softly, and then did my best to sneak out of the sleeping bag without rousing her.
I padded down the hall and shoved my head out the front door, fully expecting the Sunday Granton Journal to be waiting like a faithful friend for me on the step. It wasn’t. I turned and found Kris approaching with an offering of coffee. Instantly, I grabbed the cup and took a desperate slurp.
“We don’t get the Sunday paper delivered until the snow flies,” she explained. “Until then, it’s an excuse to walk two blocks to the bakery for donuts.”
“I’ll make a run for donuts and a paper. Do you want to go?”
She laughed. “I’m lucky I can stand after Ginny and I slept on that couch. See whether Alison or Janice want to go. They’re in the study doing yoga.”
I headed that way and found Janice eager to make the trek with me. We grabbed jackets and shoes, and I ran comb-fingers through my plastered down hair. Then, I peeked into the living room once more. Claudia still slept soundly, and I hoped she stayed that way until we returned. The others were comatose, too, and little Muse kept vigil atop the Holly-Laura stack.
Janice and I headed out into the frigid morning. The cold was sobering in a good way, as was the city’s stillness. I lit a cigarette and sipped the coffee I had brought along. We walked in silence for nearly a block before the busybody within me became fully caffeinated and finally awakened. I asked, “If you and Alison are trying to go back to how it was before the Lisa thing, does that mean something’s wrong?”
“I wouldn’t call it wrong,” she said and then paused to think. “Something is different though. We latched onto each other really tight, and then when Lisa was out of the picture, I think Alison was afraid it was only fear that made us latch.”
“Not for me,” she readily admitted. “I loved her before that. But, I do admit that while I hated what happened, what it did to her, I really liked her needing me so much. I liked her depending on me. And she doesn’t as much now. She’s quite a force when she’s not afraid.”
“Maybe she just needs you and depends on you in different ways,” I reasoned.
“She probably does; I hope she does. I think I was just stating to learn that when Lisa came along and screwed things up. We got horribly sidetracked. So I think maybe Alison was right to slow us down a bit, even though I hate it.” She laughed. “We make big deals about dates and flowers and letters and stolen lunches at the park. How can that be wrong? … We’ll be okay. We’re working on the little things, because the big things were kind of forced on us too soon. It’s actually very sweet—frustrating sometimes, but very, very sweet.”
That made sense to me, and I told her so. When I looked back at nearly ten years with Claudia, it was a conglomeration of little things that made us what we were. The day I didn’t appreciate her laughter or receive a swat on the arm was the day the abyss came far too close again. Maybe that was what brought it so close to begin with and put us on separate sides of it. If it had been a big thing—or had stayed the huge thing it was when her grandmother died—I would have seen it. Maybe we could have run to safety sooner. Maybe it never would have happened at all. It proved easier to stay present and connected when there was a threat. It was much harder in a get-up go-to-work come-home routine. But, I relished waking to the feel of her beside me. We made a point of sending each other off to work every day with a shot of love in the arm. And I absolutely craved coming home to her. Humungous little things, jumbo shrimp.
Janice and I completed our sojourn to the bakery and headed back to the awakening house.
I zipped to the living room. Claudia barely stirred, and I greedily jumped back in the sleeping bag to be with her and to regain the warmth the autumn morning had looted. I glommed on and recognized in an instant how lucky I was to have a plethora of little things. I kissed the soft spot on her neck, her shoulder, her side. Field studies were indeed incidental to this.
“You got front page, dilly!” Maggie suddenly exclaimed, holding the newspaper up for all to see. “Way to go!”
I quickly qualified, “It only got front page because the world cooperated for once. No scandals or disasters out-shouted me. October is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month; that sure didn’t hurt either.”
“Still! That is so cool!”
Susan snatched the newspaper from her. “You kept your Crappie Cabin promise, Kate!”
“So did your cape-less crusader. So did everybody else. Read the names in the story.”
She started poring over “One in Four Women,” eventually yelling, “Dr. Kris Maltry! … Detective Laura McCallister! … Oo oo, GLBT Center volunteer Maggie Novak! That’s you, honey! … AT? Who’s AT? Alison! Alison Tenner!”
“None other than the one who said she’d work to get her shit together.”
Claudia gave me a sleepy kiss and an even sleepier “good job” just as a groggy Holly managed to ask, “Did you get anyone for a support group, Maggie?”
“I got a therapist to volunteer to lead it, but no women yet,” she answered. “But on Friday, the Rainbow Room let me wallpaper the women’s bathroom with flyers.”
A groggier Laura laughed. “Good work, Novak! That’s where I’d start looking for them … while their partners are on the other side of the door, out at the bar slugging them down before they slug them up. Find them all, Novak! Find every one of them.”
“I’m sure going to try. Then maybe we’ll see what we can do for the guys.”
Ginny and Kris came into the living room with trays of food, coffee, and Mr. Earl Grey, who would see to it that I got all of Ms. Ballsy back from the sandwoman. Then, Alison and Janice reentered, plopping themselves on the couch. They held hands, they smiled at each other, and I had no choice but to trust that the little things they focused on were as pushpins keeping them fastened together. I looked to Maggie and Susan, realizing they were about to land feet first in a big thing, but a big thing that would only thrive if filled with little things. We were all stronger since last we had been here, and yet, we were still scavenging. We would always be scavenging for little things to pick up along the way. Yep, the old Victorian had to be smiling all the way up to her antique lightning rod.
We ate, drank, and enjoyed laid-back chatter: the reliable morning-after things that were just as prized as any other part of our meetings. Then, we solidified our plan to meet at Maggie and Susan’s new place at two o’clock to clean. We reiterated our agreement to help them move their stuff next Saturday. Maggie agreed to enlist Denny and his pickup, and Holly swore Noelle would be there with her minivan even if she had to tie her to its front grill. Claudia informed them of our intent to besiege Crappie Cabin on our anniversary weekend. Again, we concluded our meeting with beginnings. Something ended, but hope remained ignited nonetheless.
Ginny and Kris easily talked us into leaving our pumpkins with them for Halloween decorations. It seemed fitting since we merely gave our partners triangle eyes and noses and jagged teeth. Holly, however, was insistent that theirs make the trek home with them, a wish Ginny and Kris expeditiously granted. Apparently, the little red car that could not haul body parts could manage Smut Pumpkin just fine. A red-faced Laura was charged with holding it the entire distance.
The rest of us collected our stuff, and Ginny and Kris walked us out.
“Hey, crybabies!” Laura suddenly shouted. “Butt war! We can’t have a weekend without a butt war!” She stuck her behind halfway across the driveway. When we crybabies took our offensively defensive positions, she craned her neck and whispered, “I’ll give fifty bucks to anyone who makes me accidentally drop this pumpkin without my getting into trouble with that gorgeous, jiggly one over there. I D Double D dare ya!”
Dare? Did someone say ‘dare’?
We started laughing, and rip-roaring butt-warring ensued, obnoxiously enough to drown out the bellowed warnings and threats from littermates and hostesses. And then, it happened. It was not at all pretty sight. It did not make a pretty sound. And the gasp from Holly was so far from pretty that it made damn ugly look damn good.
“Sutter, you f-er!” Laura shouted. “You made me drop the pumpkin! Aw, it’s ruined! For shit’s sake, Sutter! Hol, she busted it!”
Fifty bucks for this? A public flogging? What the hell was I thinking?
“I’m sorry, Holly,” I declared while trying to squelch laughter and the urge to save face by ratting out the catty one. “I’m really sorry, Holly. It was such a beautiful pumpkin.”
Holly came over and wordlessly stared down at Smut Pumpkin’s chunked corpse. Neither carved side survived the fall. While it was far, far too late for forethought, I suddenly feared her reaction. I admit that I had not even considered it. Shit!
After the passage of a gay netherworld eternity, Holly very coolly said, “You’re right, babe. It’s busted. … And so are you. Throw the poor pumpkin in the trashcan, and get in the car, you big shit! We’ll have to go buy another one.” Oh, she swatted her a good one, but she winked at me in passing.
Now that was worth fifty bucks! The next fifteen seconds of the story, however, was not.
“Maggie, get in the car!”
“Janice, get in the car!”
All aboard! Snake! Order #52! Kate!
“Get in the car, Kate! Get in the car!”
Claudia tossed the keys and a dirty look at me. I did what she asked but managed to stall long enough to watch a laughing Laura being dragged to the car by her jacket sleeve. The scene ranked right up there with Professor Soup Fountain at the dinner table. Then, in a shocking turn of events, it ranked even higher as I realized that Claudia heartily laughed.
We composed ourselves as the little red car sped down the street, followed by redhead, blackhead, and the new housemates.
“Balloons?” I asked as I shoved the car into drive. “I seem to owe you balloons. Should I stop somewhere?”
“Nah. That’s seems rather juvenile this morning, doesn’t it?”
It did seem juvenile—funny but juvenile. I decided in that moment, however, to take a billboard hint from Alison and Janice. I’d send a bouquet of balloons to her at work tomorrow, for no other reason than to make her laugh and swat me a good one. I wondered if they made balloons that read: Happy Pop Splooosh Aaa Ahhhhhh!
“Pantyhose?” I asked as I prepared to pull away from the dear old Victorian. “I seem to owe you those, too. Should I stop somewhere?”
“Nah. Slacks and knee-high variety will do, especially on a Monday and especially after a weekend like this.”
“Home?” I dared once more. “Or are you going to give me a ‘nah’ for that, too?”
“Home then,” I acknowledged and stepped on the gas. “Home is where the squishy heart is … and the Lover Doll, who will need some pumping up now that bimbo babe is gone. Home is where the demolished porch is … and the bodies of fired contractors, and—”
“Us! Don’t forget us,” she interrupted. “The rest really doesn’t matter, does it?”
“Let’s talk about sex!” Holly suddenly shrieked. She sounded like someone completely engulfed in flames requesting a bucket of water.
“What the hell good is talking about it going to do?”
“If we can’t do it, we can at least talk about it,” she desperately reasoned. “God, come here, babe! Talk naughty to me!”
A frantic “No!” resounded with numerous shouts.
“Stay away from her, Laura!”
“Laura, don’t move!”
“Don’t say, don’t even think one naughty word!”
Surprisingly, stillness trounced, and we waited, completely unsure as to why it had won out. I watched the strobe-light flickers around the room created by the fire in the hearth. It was difficult to tell whether anyone actually moved or if it just seemed as though they did. I knew for certain I wasn’t. Claudia lay next to me, so distant that it hurt, so close that it hurt even more.
“Who the hell’s idea was it to turn this into a slumber party anyway?” Maggie asked. “Don’t Kris and Ginny have like fifty bedrooms in this place? Whose dumb idea was it that only they get one?”
Silence seemed to win the round, but then, Janice sheepishly spoke up, “Um, that would be me, Maggie.”
Now, stillness and silence vied for first until Holly shrieked again, “Why, Janice? Why? I think I’m going to scream so loud that I’ll shatter into a million pieces. God, move closer, babe!”
“Hol, I can’t get any closer. I’ve tried.”
“God, try harder, babe!”
“Um,” came the big explanation from Janice.
I heard Alison swat Janice and say, “Go ahead. I won’t be mad. Put the blame where it belongs.”
“Um,” Janice said again. She hesitated and then blurted, “Alison decided we needed to go back to how it was before this whole Lisa thing happened.”
“What the hell does that mean?”
“Um,” Janice declared once again. “We’re supposed to forget the Flippin’ Unlawful Carnal Knowledge we so happily gained and somehow go back to being content with hand-holding and very sweet but measly pecks on the cheek.”
Someone counted to three; I was sure of it. Three couples sat straight up in double sleeping bags and simultaneously screeched, “What?”
“You’ve got to be joking.”
“Oh, so your cookie jar is sealed, so we all have to suffer?”
“Still, Janice, what the hell were you thinking? I’m going to die!”
“I’m sorry,” Janice said, but it didn’t achieve much more with us than an “um.” She took her turn to shoot straight up, and it suddenly dawned on all of us that she and Alison were not sharing a sleeping bag. She clung to her blanket and apologized again, “I really am sorry. I just didn’t want to be alone with her. Well, actually, I did, like, I really wanted to be alone with her, especially after all that happened today, but… Holly, I think I am going to die right along with you.”
Three couples released a collective and humungous sigh and fell backward. As we did so, Alison took the occasion to bolt upright. “Is it really that horrible, Janice? It wasn’t supposed to be horrible. It was supposed to be wise so we were sure we arrived at certain places because we were ready and not because we were pushed. Janice, is it really that horrible?”
“God, it is, Al! If I’m not supposed to want you, I really suck at this.”
“Oh God, me, too!”
One, two, three: three couples shot straight up only to witness one couple in a lip-lock of holy-shit proportion. Their lips didn’t even unlock while Janice did some fancy maneuver that tucked her inside Alison’s sleeping bag in two seconds flat. Someone counted to three again, I figured, because the one sleeping bag with two bodies plopped back to the floor, leaving the poor blanket feeling rather dejected.
“No the hell way!” Maggie shouted at them. “You two got us into this! If we can’t, you can’t!”
“Who the hell says we can’t?”
Silence and stillness duked it out yet again, but now stupor entered the ring with a badass right hook at the ready. The flattened couple upraised itself, and all eyes shot to Holly.
“Well, why can’t we?”
“Because we’re not adolescents at a make-out party. … Are we? … Are we?”
“Could we be?”
There was a pregnant pause, which is probably not a good descriptor for a group of lesbians. But hey, it was pregnant–very, very pregnant, twenty-seven frickin’ months pregnant. Minds reeled. Libidos squealed. Decorum slipped like a spike heel on a banana peel.
One, two, three: four couples in double sleeping bags fell backward. And yeah, I pounced. I freely admit that I rolled onto Claudia so fast that the flickering silhouettes on the wall didn’t even have time to catch it. Jesus! She had the softest lips in the world; I knew for sweet certain. They were kissable, suckable, bitable. But they were lips. They were lips. Like face cheeks and butt cheeks, there was a good reason that when Homo sapiens began naming body parts, some terms denoted two things. (There was probably a good reason they were called Homo, too, but that discussion could wait for another day. I was busy, busy, busy.) But what the hell was I saying? Oh yeah, two body parts, one name. Sometimes what you did to one had a direct effect on the other. I kissed those full lips five dozen more times. Sometimes I honestly thought I could attach my lips to hers and do nothing but kiss her all day long, at least if that counterpart didn’t always have to have its say. Kissing her made my lips tingle. Jesus!
One, two, three: three couples in double sleeping bags shot upright followed by a loud mingling of swear words.
“Oh my God,” Janice said with a great inrush of breath. “We’re acting like them.” She pointed to the only couple not sitting, and I could have sworn I heard Holly growling or purring or maybe Muse had escaped her stint in detox.
An out-of-breath Susan wailed, “We are acting like them. Oh my God!” But that harsh blast of reality didn’t stop her from seizing Maggie or from obeying that irritating yet silent count of three. The two of them toppled backwards.
Not to be outdone, Claudia suddenly latched onto me; I latched back. The dancing silhouettes showed billows of smoke coming out of my ears; my brain was short-circuiting without a same-named counterpart to assume control. Had I ever in nine frickin’ years with this sexy woman ever even experienced a second’s hesitation when she sound-mindedly wanted me? Hell no! So go ahead, lips. Tingle the hell onward as we fall the hell backward.
Moments later, I seriously wanted to maim whomever the phantom was that insisted on frickin’ counting to three. I wasn’t insane; they all heard it. One, two, three: three couples in double sleeping bags shot upright followed by a louder mingling of swear words.
“What the hell is wrong with us?” Claudia gasped.
“We spent the whole damn day playing with body parts!”
“Maybe this is what Kris and Ginny intended to happen.”
“Somehow I don’t think that’s the case.”
“No, they set it up, but we did this to ourselves. Too many breasts. Bobbly ones bobbling, jiggly ones jiggling–everywhere we looked today there were boobs. Nipples even. Aroused nipples. We were worn down. It was bound to happen that we’d want the real ones. Human nature.”
“That’s true. Lesbianism isn’t always human. Sometimes, it’s downright animalism.”
“Well, no more flicking the bobbly ones. The bimbo babe is ours! We got her fair and square–kind of. She’s the first thing Susan and I are going to take into our new house. Right, honey?”
“Her? I was kind of hoping you’d take me first. You know, right there in the foyer.”
Goddamn it! One, two, three…
Claudia’s wits were returning, and that profoundly saddened me and my lips. She whacked the two of them, and they shot upright again. “Behave yourselves!” she yelled at them. “We’re stronger than this! And you guys, too.” She thwacked Holly and Laura repeatedly until they finally rejoined real time.
“What? What the hell do you want?”
“God, I love you, babe!”
“Oh God, I love you, too, Hol. Move closer.”
“Oh God, I can’t, babe. Your skin is in the way.”
Claudia cuffed them both again as Susan yelled, “I’m not sure why, but we’re behaving, guys! Sit up and behave with us.”
“We don’t want to behave,” Holly said, pausing long enough to elicit an oh-God from Laura. “Do you we, babe?”
“We don’t want to behave,” Laura dazedly affirmed.
“Then, neither do we.”
One, two, three: three couples in double sleeping bags plummeted backward.
But this time, things were quite different in our landings. Laughter erupted. Hysterical laughter. The kind that rendered lips useless, as though Medusa had cast a stony look at us in mid-guffaw. One, two, three: three couples in double sleeping bags shot upright, but the force of the laughter left us doubled over. Tears streamed from dilated eyes. Our mouths were wide, but sound was incapable of escape. It wasn’t until a prolonged absence of breath forced us to inhale that noise became possible. Shrill laughs mixed with outrageous gasps followed by hoots and hollers and wheezes. It was a ruckus to the nth degree. It was the loudest goddamn thing I had ever heard in my life.
Then suddenly, even louder than the dang din we discharged…
“For Pete’s sake, what’s going on in here? Are you trying to get the cops called again?” Ginny shrieked.
The flickers on the wall gave notice that Ginny and Kris stood in the living room entryway, hands on hips.
The cacophony did not cease, but above it, Holly wailed, “Oh my God, Ginny, I’m going to die!”
Ginny laughed. “Holly, I don’t even need to ask from what. If you and Laura could only bottle that chemistry between you.”
“I think their chemistry may have leaked all over us.”
“Ew, is that what that is?”
“God, I am going to die! Move closer, babe!”
“Hol, I can’t move any closer. You move closer.”
“Can we have bedrooms?” Maggie braved.
“Of course, you can have bedrooms,” Kris replied. “They were offered. You’re the ones who chose the living room.”
Without time for a three-count, dirty looks sped to Janice with laser precision. Even Holly and Laura shot upright to oblige.
“I’m sorry,” Janice screamed. “I’m perfectly okay with being alone with Alison now. So, yes, let’s take bedrooms. God, let’s take bedrooms!”
Oh yeah, this time there was time for a dumbfounded count to three, and on that last nonexistent digit, all hands seized a pillow and began beating the crap out of the celibate massage therapist.
“No way in hell do you get a bedroom, Janice!”
“We’ll glue the lid shut on your cookie jar if we have to!”
“You’re stuck with us now!”
“Stomp your ass, you red-headed shithead!”
“Get your hands out here where we can see them!”
Alison tightly held her pillow over her head. “You’re beating me, too, you guys! The slumber party wasn’t my idea!”
Janice gasped. “You’re throwing me under the bus, Al?”
“Don’t worry, Janice. It’s a short bus. It won’t hurt for long.”
Ginny’s voice suddenly shook the room, so much so that even the flames cowered and the flickers flinched. “All right, I have had about as much of you as I can stand!” She stomped to the center of the room. “Hand over the pillows!” When nobody surrendered, she repeated her demand–louder if that was at all humanly possible.
“Fine!” Claudia surrendered.
“Fine!” Maggie surrendered.
In an instant, Ginny tossed a pillow to Kris and screeched, “Get them, Kris!”
Let it be stated for the DWD record: professors pack powerful pillow punches. And they were merciless. Perhaps it stemmed from anger at what we had done to them. Perhaps it was frustration with the fact that we had been leakers all day, bending the rules to fit our lusty and/or sisterly needs. Whatever it was, they unleashed it with great abandon. Maybe we had it coming.
But then again, so did they.
I was not at all sure who grabbed the first professor leg or even which professor toppled sooner. I did know for certain that every one of us beat the crap out of them, too, with pillows and couch cushions. They lay there in fetal positions with their arms wrapped tightly around their heads to stave off the blows that now levitated popcorn from a spilled bowl.
And then, we all turned on each other. I think even partner turned on partner; at least that’s what I figured when Claudia clobbered me and I exacted unbridled revenge. What was left in our slumber party from hell? Shaving cream and glasses of warm water? I doubted we’d stoop quite that low, but I reminded myself to keep my hands inside the sleeping bag and my face hidden.
Eventually, the violence waned. Eventually, the laughing stopped. Eventually, breathing returned to normal. We lay amid the carnage of popcorn, pillows, cushions, and disarranged sleeping bags. The first few moments were needed, welcome, amiable. And then that count of three clicked, and all minds drifted to where they did not belong in the presence of sisters. For civilization’s sake. For shit’s sake. For Pete’s sake. For God’s sake. For Christ’s sake.
And then, the inevitable happened. Yes, even you knew it was coming.
“Let’s talk about sex!”
“Fine, Holly. Let’s talk about sex.”
“Just keep it clean. This room is dirty enough.”
“How can we talk about sex and keep it clean?”
“All I know is that you had better do it.”
“Um,” Holly said. “I know! I know!”
We braced for impact. It was good that Holly’s brain was not her only functioning part. But still, you could never predict these things.
“Where is the weirdest place you guys ever made love?”
Without a second’s delay, I started thumbing through the scrapbook in my mind. Shit, I had snapshots, sound recordings, dates, times, colors of undies, even. I wasn’t a pervert, mind you. I was a reporter; it was my job to observe and take notes to fill my brain to overflowing. Page ninety-two especially caught my attention. Jesus, I remembered that! Holy shit!
“Well?” Holly finally asked, derailing all trains of thought and snapping all scrapbooks shut.
“Um,” Susan said. “I’d have to say Holly and Laura’s bathroom.”
One, two, three: Holly and Laura both shot to seated positions.
“Al and I would probably have to say Holly and Laura’s spare bedroom.”
“Our spare bedroom?”
“Our spare bedroom?”
We could smell their brain cells burning. It stank. Really, really bad.
“Yes, Kate and I would probably have to say the same thing.”
“The same spare bedroom?”
“At the same time in the same spare bedroom?”
Cough. Cough. The cerebral smoke was getting thick.
“Ginny and I would probably have to go with Holly and Laura’s laundry room.”
“Our laundry room?”
“Our laundry room?”
One, two, three: three couples in double sleeping bags bolted upright.
“Their laundry room?”
“Their laundry room?”
“Their laundry room?”
“Oh my God!”
“You two are supposed to be role models!”
“Maybe they were! Somebody sure started something in that house that day.”
“Are you honestly telling us that you two … you know … you know?”
“Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Wait an f-ing minute! What day? Our house? All of you?”
“What day? Our house? All of you?”
Ginny suddenly yawned very melodramatically. “I’m getting awfully sleepy, Kris. How about you?”
“Oh, I am, too, Gin. Should we head back to our soft, warm bed in our very private room?”
Now, the brain smoke was so thick that no one could see, except those frickin’ giggling professors.
“Come on, Kris. Let’s just mosey on off to bed. Let’s go … you know.”
“No f-ing way!”
“If we can’t, you can’t!”
“We’ll seal your cookie jars shut, if we have to.”
“Kate, go rip the blankets off their bed!”
“And bring them here!”
I rose to do as instructed. God help me; I only did what I was told. I macheted my way through the stinky brain smoke and darted to their bedroom. I opened the door and– “Shit! Muse is out! Hide Laura!”
With a mighty heave, I grabbed the blankets from their bed and headed back to the living room. They had Kris and Ginny flattened on the couch. Susan seized the blankets from me and threw the pile over both of them. One, two, three: they all sat on them, over them, or in front of them. I joined the effort. I really didn’t know why, but the feel of it brought back childhood memories. Their laughter caused them to rise and fall, causing us to wobble-rise and wobble-fall, creating a quarter ride at the supermarket like after I helped my mother with shopping. I decided there and then, I liked my mind’s other scrapbook much better.
“All right, Kris and Ginny, you big shits. If you want us off you, you’ll tell us the truth.”
“The truth about what?”
“Did you or did you not … you know … in the laundry room that day?”
“For shit’s sake, what day?”
“It wasn’t out fault,” Ginny tried. “There were these sounds. The sounds got us going. They were contagious or something.”
“In our house?”
“In our house?”
“Yes, sounds. Holly and Laura, that wall next to your laundry room is paper-thin. We couldn’t help but hear. I swear! Two of you girls were awfully, awfully noisy.”
Scrapbooks snapped shut again as the six of us frantically fumbled with the smoking brain blueprints to Holly and Laura’s house. I had just gone ashen when I figured it out, but it really didn’t matter. Claudia gasped so forcefully that the flames in the fireplace were nearly drawn mid-room.
“Oh my God!” Her hand clenched my arm so tightly that I spontaneously donated a pint of blood. “Kate, were we noisy? Oh my God! Were we, Kate?”
I ask you: Would it have helped anyone in that room to remind her that two rolls of industrial strength duct tape would fail to keep her quiet during certain moments? I always harbored a sneaking suspicion that was why she chose prudishness most of the time. It was sheer self-preservation, an acute fear of incarceration. Holly and Laura could boast about dressing rooms and lingerie shops. Hell, someone would hear us if were on the moon in a soundproof dune buggy with the windows rolled up.
“It doesn’t matter if we were or if we weren’t, honey,” I reassured. “What matters is that Kris lied.” How was that for creative deflection?
Kris indignantly defended, “I did not lie. I do not lie.”
“You said you kept your pants on all day, Kris. You said you didn’t do anything bad.”
“I said I kept my pants on except for the panty-swapping. Aha! See, that is the truth. And we didn’t do anything bad. How could being with Ginny ever be bad?”
“So you’re admitting it then?”
“Panty-swapping! Oh my God, babe! They’re talking about our weekend! We tried so hard to be good girls and look what we missed out on!”
“Are you admitting it?”
Kris dared, “Do I have to admit it?”
“No, you don’t have to admit anything. It’s your own private business, but we’re still not getting off you until you do.”
“Well, how in the world does that make sense?”
“It’s us. It doesn’t have to make sense.”
“Okay. Okay,” Kris said. “I admit it. We admit it. … We’re just messing with you.”
“Aha! So you didn’t … you know … in the laundry room!”
“You had us going there for a minute!”
“At least two of us in this group need to know how to behave. It should be you two.”
“Sorry about your bed.”
“That’s okay. We’ll live. Now, get off us.”
“No! Not until you answer the question honestly. Where’s the weirdest you two ever … you know.”
The supermarket ride started again without the need for a quarter.
“I don’t know. After twenty-five years, the list gets incredibly long.”
“We’re running out of weird places. We’ve had to wipe the slate clean and start over … several times.”
Bumpitty. Bump. Bump.
“Just answer the question!”
“You girls didn’t answer honestly! Why should we … if we didn’t already? You only said what you said to get Holly and Laura going!”
“Really! For Pete’s sake, if your weirdest place is a spare bedroom or a bathroom, Kris and I need to have the real lesbian birds and lesbian bees talk with you.”
“Okay, do it, Ginny. Because I suddenly miss our house so bad right now I think I’m going to die! God, move closer, babe!”
Wasn’t this where we started? Wasn’t this what instigated this whole frickin’ ordeal? Wasn’t this Act I Scene I in a comedy-tragedy of epic proportions? Holly dying of starvation and making the rest of us hungry?
Suddenly, Ginny wailed as she tried to swat from her squished position, “Holly Crawford, do not kiss her like that while you’re sitting on me! For Pete’s sake, if someone looked in the window, they’d think we were having an orgy!”
“Now that would definitely belong in the weirdest column.”
“Babe, have we ever ravished each other while sitting on top of someone?”
“Well, there was that one time when–”
“Muse!” Holly screamed at the cat in mid-pounce.
“Maggie!” Ginny yelled. “Would you be a dear and throw that untamable creature in our bedroom?”
“Do you mean Holly or Muse?”
“That is not nice, you guys! … Can Laura go with me?”
“No, she can’t! All cookie jars are closed for the day.”
Maggie pulled Muse off Laura’s back and said, “Holly, I think your possessiveness is making Muse want Laura even more.”
“God, does that ring unhealthy lesbian or what?”
“I am not possessive! … Okay, I am possessive … but not in a bad way. I share her with you guys all the time, but I wouldn’t want you rubbing on her. That seems reasonable. Doesn’t it, babe?”
“Trust me, Holly. No one wants to rub on her except you … and Muse.”
“Just make Muse stop!”
“You make her stop,” Maggie countered. “Just give her some attention. Distract and then befriend the enemy, Holly. It may be your only defense.”
The look on Holly’s face indicated that she was not quite gung-ho about the rules of vegan warfare. She scrunched her face and stared at Maggie. “What exactly do I have to do?”
“Just pet her! You have more in common than you think.”
Reluctantly, Holly took Muse from Maggie and sat on the floor between Laura knees. She set Muse in her lap and began petting. Muse instantly skimmed back and forth between Holly’s hand and Laura’s legs.
Holly said, “Muse, you’re a bad, bad girl! … Hey, we do have things in common!” She laughed and then made us awkwardly privy to an extremely bizarre but enlightening conversation. “Muse, if you really want Laura, you’re going about it all wrong, chickie. Yes, I know she’s pushy, but she’s actually the sweetest, most gentle person in the whole world. If you’re not gentle, she’ll push and not trust, get all bristly. Then, you’ve got big problems. But if you’re gentle, oh, Muse, she’ll love you so sweet that you won’t be able to stand a minute without her! I just hate being without her. I think I’d die if they locked me in a room like you and I couldn’t get to her.”
Laura’s face was the deepest shade of red I had ever witnessed. I tried like hell not gape.
Holly twisted around, tugged Laura closer with her shirt collar, and then kissed her very tenderly. “I love you so much, Laura. You are so good to me.”
Laura scooted Holly forward and slid down to sit behind her. She whispered something that caused Holly’s face to light up like a supernova, and then her whole body slackened into Laura. They sat there contentedly petting a little gray cat.
Whatever the hell we had just witnessed not only ignited a completely different passion within the two of them but in each of us as well. We were suddenly all dying for something very primal but certainly more civilized than anything else that had taken place, thus far.
This time, the count of three came backwards. On the count of one, we all rose, kissed the professors, and tucked them in on the couch. Then, we straightened out our sleeping bags and orderly, eagerly climbed in.
Again, I covertly raised our shirts and attached myself to Claudia’s back, finding a sudden plenitude of solace. I closed my eyes and drifted with her, waiting for the sandwoman to clunk us over the head with her stiletto sandals.