Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Living With My Boyfriend, Loving My Girlfriend - Part Two

Chimera – 
Part Two
Read Part One Here

I marvel at how she can make the phrase sound both so proper and so positively filthy at the same time.

Lydia, pulling on her boots, laughs before grabbing her bag and turning to go. “Night, ladies, don’t forget to lock up after.”

Hallie—Hallelujah Hannings—grins, catlike and knowing, as we watch Lydia leave. The door shuts and it’s just the two of us. Heart racing, I can’t catch my breath.

For a long moment, we just stare. She’s so beautiful. Like a 1950s pinup girl. She’s Marilyn and Bettie. She’s Hepburn and Deneuve. She’s Samantha Stevens and I Dream of Jeannie. A blond bombshell, destroying my life.

“Miss me?” She leans in to press her soft, pink-painted lips against mine.

God, yes.

I kiss her with lips, tongue, teeth, and heart. I kiss her with my entire soul.

She reaches up and touches my hair. 

Not my hair. My wig.

I stop.

“What’s wrong?” she asks.

I look past her. Past her creamy skin. Past her incredibly lush curves. Past her beautiful, soulful blue eyes. 

I stare—glare—at my own reflection.

Or at least at the woman staring back at me from the mirror. 

“What’s wrong?” Hallie strokes my face with satiny hands and I swear I can feel the layers of makeup between us. She kisses my lips again, just a smacking touch. “You seem...different.”

“Different how?” I ask, a little afraid of the answer.

She shakes her head, her blond hair wisping around her sweetheart face. “I don’t know. Distant, somehow. Are you tired? From doing the show?”

Tired? Yeah, I feel tired. So tired sometimes. “I’m fine, baby,” I coo as I touch her shoulder, sending her a smoldering look. I let my hand tangle in her golden hair and cup the back of her head. Trying to turn Hallie’s mind, I pull her close and kiss her.

But, as my lips touch hers, it’s my mind that turns. Spins, actually, as I lose myself in her kiss. I deepen the kiss with a helpless, needy whimper.

She moans, such a sweet sound. Her hands slide over my back and down to coast over my ass. My breath hisses out when she grasps the tender flesh and smiles wickedly. She slips her fingers lower, under the small triangle of my G-string and I choke on a surprised gasp. Sighing—a half-laugh, half-moan—I feel my body begin to melt while her clever hand tickles the silken, slick skin between my legs.

“You’re so wet,” she leans in to whisper in my ear before she bites and tugs at the soft skin of my lobe, making me squirm. She slides her fingers up and down between my slick lips, pausing to play with my clit. She laughs at my eager groan, my spine bowing before I shudder with pleasure. “So wet,” she purrs with feline satisfaction. She licks the sensitive curve of my ear before sliding two fingers deep inside me.

I moan as I reach out to grip her shoulders. “Hallie.” My voice is a breathy sigh. “Hallie.”

I can feel her fingers—magic things—as they slide in and out of me with a smooth strength that rocks me. My head falls back, rolling along my shoulders as a strange stuttering sound slips from my lips. God, it feels so good. She feels so good.

My hand slips up her neck. I want—I need—to kiss her. To devour her. I pull her close and take her mouth. She tastes sweet, my favorite treat. 

I squeal excitedly when she pushes me back up against the wall, all the while pulling and tugging at my clothes. Desperate for her silken, luxurious skin, I attack her clothes too.

“Rebel.” My name is a sigh as my own hand sidles up her skirt to touch...nothing. Just sweet, hot, wet flesh.

I’m taken aback enough to stop the heated kiss. “No panties?” I ask, knowing—intimately—her extensive lingerie collection.

As owner of Bits ‘n’ Pieces, my favorite new and vintage lingerie boutique, Hallie is never in want of something sexy to wear beneath her perfectly groomed and immaculately dressed appearance. Silk and satin held up by barely there straps. See-through lace that cup but never quite cover. Pretty, innocent cotton, floral and sweet. 

It’s one of my favorite things about her; how it always feels like Christmas morning with her, feels like unwrapping something lovely and magical every time.

She smiles at me with a wink. “Guess you’ll just have to find out for yourself, won’t you?” 

I grin, feeling more than up for the challenge. With my back still up against the wall, her fingers still buried deep beneath my panties, I reach between us to undo the buttons on her shirt. Each slip of the material reveals more of her perfect, mascarpone skin. Shoulders. Breastbone. Cleavage.

My eyes widen as I stare at the racy, red and white, seashell-shaped demi-cup lace bra lifting her luscious breasts. The tips of her pale coral aureoles peek just above the scalloped edge. My hands shake a bit as I, nervous as a preteen, reach behind her to unclasp the back.

But, her fingers slipping out from inside me, she steps back. I frown when she wags her still slick finger at me. “Not so fast, Miss Rouser.” Her laughter teases as it tinkles.

I stare at the perfect picture of glamorous innocence she presents in her pretty bra and her full, knee-length, white skirt, her blond waves falling around her face as she stands like a centerfold before me. 

Reaching for the side zipper, Hallie let the teeth slide, releasing the fabric so it pools down around her perfect, patent leather pumps. Wearing white silk stockings, a white and red lace garter, and nothing else, Hallie is stunning. A vision too beautiful for words.

For a moment, I’m afraid to move, afraid that this is a dream and that any sudden movement—that even the slightest breath—might make the dream disappear.

Hallie moves to sit up on the makeup counter with her knees spread wide, her heels resting on the chairs, and grins. I stare at her pussy, shaved and wet, her juices glistening on her lips. 

I lick my lips.

She giggles. “That’s the general idea, gorgeous.” With a knowing smirk, she reaches between her thighs and spreads herself open to my gaze.

She’s so pink and so soaked, I scramble to kneel before her. On a hungry groan, I lean in to taste her. She feels slick and smooth against my tongue. I inhale, her scent and taste making my head swim. I can’t get enough as I suck on her clit.

I grasp her thighs in my hands, her muscles bunching and clenching as they threaten to squeeze me vice-like while her need builds. She reaches for my hair, her fingers toying with the long brown strands.

Startled, I inhale sharply. I stumble back, my hand unconsciously touching the wig. I peek at the mirror, panic gripping me.

“Are you okay?” she asks.

I stare at the wig, still pinned perfect on my head. My makeup still pristine. “I’m fine,” I assure, my voice sounding flat even to me. 

I shake my head and turn to her. Determined—to enjoy myself, to enjoy her—I push Hallie back, pressing her against the cool mirror. I rise up from the floor, her cream still sticky on my mouth, to kiss her again, sealing her hungry mouth with my own.

Straddling her leg, I ride her thigh and thrust my fingers inside her wet, clenching cunt. Her back arches, pressing her leg harder against me. We moan, a lusty chord filling the air. Furiously, we fuck—my fingers digging deep as I buck and rub against her writhing thigh.

“Fuck me.” She digs her nails into my shoulder. “Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck. Me.”

“Oh God,” I moan as we press close to each other, staring into each other’s heat-filled eyes, “I lo—” I stop, surprised by the words threatening to bubble up from my throat. I swallow before kissing her again. “I love fucking you,” I settle on. It’s not what I really want to say, but it feels safer. “I fucking love fucking you.”

Her head falls back against the glass with a crack as her entire body stiffens. She comes, the sight and feel of her tight body against mine enough to push me over the edge as well.

Together, we thrust against each other, helpless while pleasure rides us. Still shuddering, we hold each other, our arms entwined in an almost crushing embrace.

Hallelujah.

“I love,” I say softly, my voice muffled against the downy cream of her skin, “what you do to me.”

For a moment, we’re silent, just breathing slowly as we hug. “I’m falling for you too,” she whispers and strokes my back before pushing away a bit to look me in the eye. “And I’d really love to see more of you.”

———

“I need answers, people!” Governor Reynolds paces the room. “This story is now almost a week old and we’ve yet to say anything significant!”

Aaron, the governor’s right hand man, says, not even looking up from his hand-held device, “Longrin, where are we on a press statement?”

Keith sits up straight and shuffles his notes. “We’ve got the first pass back and are working on the rework now. We should have it to you by tomorrow morning.”

“Make it this afternoon;” Aaron says, still texting away, “we’ve wasted enough time on this. Carrington, where are we on the priest?”

I cough and straighten too. “We’ve called Anointed Assumption and have respectfully requested that Father Nicholas be asked to step down from his post, but they say that the church officials are still discussing the situation. I’ve been assured that the minute they come to a decision, we’ll be the first to know.” After a beat of silence, I hurriedly continue, “And they wish to convey how very honored they are to be Governor Reynolds’s place of worship and how much they deeply appreciate his donorship and generosity.”

The governor harrumphes. “Tell them that if they want to keep appreciating that donorship and generosity, they’d better damn well get rid of that perverted priest.”

“Let the church officials know,” Arron amends, “that we would appreciate expediency in this resolution and that Governor Reynolds and his family would like them to know that they’ve always appreciated Anointed Assumption’s excellent record of devotional adherence to the morals and goodness their faith has always stood for.”

“Of course.” I take notes, knowing how much Aaron's a stickler for precise syntax.

“And see if you can get a hold of that priest,” Aaron suggests. “See if you can’t talk him into stepping down on his own.”

I pause. I don’t personally know Father Nicholas—we don’t exactly run in the same circles, not even as members of Donovan's. But the idea of trying to shame-drive him out of his position and home makes my heart sink.

I bite my lip and wonder what would happen if anyone found out about me—about the act. About Hallie.

I look at Keith and worry my lip.

He smiles and winks. I smile weakly back.

“Are you okay?” he mouths at me.

I nod as the rest of the staff pushes back from the table to leave. I move to leave myself, knowing I’ve got phone calls to make. I sigh and head to my cubicle.

After leaving Aaron’s message on Anointed Assumption’s machine, I call up Father Nicholas and, after looking out at the open office space and the tens of campaign workers milling about, arrange a meeting in town.

———

“I want to thank you, father,” I say as I sit down at the cafe table, “for agreeing to see me.”

“Oh, please, Ms. Carrington,” the mousy, blond man says as he seats himself again, “call me Nicholas.” He gives a sad, sardonic shrug. “After all, soon I may be just plain, old Nicholas; I may as well get used to it now.” 

I wince. “What will you do if you have to leave the church?” I find myself wondering aloud before I can stop myself.

He shrugs. “I don’t really know.” He sips his coffee thoughtfully. “I’ve had several members of Donovan’s offer me help or jobs, if that should happen. They’ve all been so kind, but being a priest is my calling. It’s what I was born to do. I don’t know what I’ll do if they ask me to leave.”

I bite my lip again.

He shakes his head resignedly. “So why did you want to meet today?”

I clear my throat and think. I choke on the rehearsed words I’d been practicing all the way to the cafe as they die, dry in my throat. I sigh. “I—” I start, “I need to ask you a question, fa—I mean, Nicholas.”

He gives me a strange look. “A question?” Crossing his arms over his chest, he asks, “Are you a reporter? Ms. Carrington, I’ve given quite a few interviews, I’m afraid there’s really not much of a story left.” 

“No,” I say as I shake my head, “I’m not a reporter; I’m—” I pause before leaning in close to him. “I’m a member too.” 

His eyes widen and he nods his head knowingly. “What’s your question?”

I look at him—really, look. Taking in his watery blue eyes, I notice that while they look tired and dry there’s a peace and tranquility there I envy. His shoulders, though slim and a bit on the weak side, are firmly held and sure. Everything about him speaks of a confidence and freedom I can recognize but can’t relate to.

“Your question, Ms. Carrington?”

“Are you happy?” I ask, looking out the cafe window at Bits ‘n’ Pieces, Hallie’s shop across the street. “I mean, now that you’ve told?”

Inhaling deeply, he sits back in his chair. “Am I happy?” he asks. “That’s your question?” 

I nod. 

He sighs. “Well, my life’s in upheaval. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to keep my job, my home. I’ve already lost many of my friends, my congregation, and even my brothers at the church aren’t talking to me right now.”

I sigh and rest my head in my hand. I think about what it would be like if my coworkers knew. If my friends or family found out. If Keith found out. Where would I go? What would I do?

“But,” he says with a deep breath, “it was bound to come out sooner or later. And, this way, it was my decision. I’ve been living the lie for so long, I’ve forgotten what it feels like to not look over my shoulder—to not fear and worry and fret all the time. It’s...”

“Freeing,” I supply as I spot Hallie through her display window. She’s laughing with her employee as they wrestle the display outfit off one of her mannequins. I smile sadly and watch them struggle.

“Yes.” Nicholas nods as he sips his coffee. “That is indeed right; the truth sets you free.” He set down his cup before leveling me with a knowing gaze. “Now, why don’t you tell me the real reason you called me today?”

———

I watch detachedly—almost disembodied—as a familiar hand applies makeup on my face. 

Rebel Rouser. Dressed tonight as Donovan’s darling devushka. A two-faced, tricky spy, as dangerous as she is beautiful. A near mythic creation of foundation and powder. Built with blush and colored shadows. A shade in a wig and flashy costumes.

I stare at the pretty, painted smile that reminds me of a clown. A tear slides down my cheek. I watch it fall as the paint smears in a long track down my face, ruining the mask of makeup. All except that smile. 

My smile—painted and poised—is perfect.

“Rebel,” Elin says quietly as she touches my shoulder, “are you okay?”

I grab a tissue from the counter and mop up my mess with a sniffle. “Of course,” I say. “I just— I—” I turn to her and flash my smile. “I’m fine.”

“You sure?” my stage manager asks, her eyes worried. “You don’t look fine.”

I’m breaking inside. Cracking up. The two halves of my life pulling me apart. I stare in the mirror and touch up the line my tears had left. “I’m fine, Elin.” 

I pause when I feel her hand grip mine. In the mirror, I see it—our hands intertwined, hers so small but strong surrounding mine. I look up at her. 

She smiles at me before squeezing my hand. “Good luck;” she says quietly, “knock ‘em dead.”

As she turns to leave, I whisper, feeling more tears threaten the repairs I’d just made, “Thank you.”

I make my way backstage, feeling nostalgic as I remember my very first Burle-Q dance—just a chorus part, a novice with a bad wig and no bit. I remember the first time I performed as Rebel—the silly name feeling ridiculous, an odd but strangely exciting fit. Like stepping into a fantasy. And each time I stepped in, the more real the fantasy felt.

But she isn’t real. Rebel Rouser is a dream. A lie I let myself believe.

From the wings, I stare out at the stage while the act before mine finishes, feeling nervous and sad.

It hits me, as I hear the audience laugh at the slapstick before thundering into applause, that this will be Rebel’s last performance. This is the last time I’ll wear the wig and the makeup. The last time I’ll put on the costumes and perform the routines. 

I can’t live with the lie anymore. I can’t split my life. I have to choose between the sides. And learn to live with the choice. I could be Cady. With a steady job and a storybook life. And with Keith. 

I can do that.

The lights dim as I walk slowly onto the stage—the other performers swiftly clearing the space. Each step feels like farewell. I stand in the dark for a long time, the wait heavy and seems to last forever.

The music starts, almost drowned out by the applause that starts as the lights rise. My heart flutters hard. The first strains of “Chimera” begin to play, the slow sensuous sound swaying.

Don’t look now; you’ll never see.

The spotlight blinds and I blink back tears.

Outside your eyes, forever free.

I move; my hips and thighs, my shoulders and breasts, move as I shimmy and quiver. I do high kicks and let my black trench coat slip off my shoulder. I turn my back, my stance wide.

You think you see what’s there beneath.

I wink cheekily at my audience before letting it drop, hearing the crowd whoop. I bend low at the waist, the taut string of my filmy, flimsy, black thong pulled tight between my cheeks as they cheer.

But there’re layers still, thick and deep.

I hug my leg a moment, reveling in the stretch’s pull, before standing straight again. I bite the fingertips of my black tea gloves, pulling them off to toss them uncaring at the foot of the stage. I see excited hands reach for the scant, discarded cloth; touching them, taking them, leaving green, crumpled bills in their place.

Upright again, I push my shoulders back as the lights reveal the tight black shelf-bra and matching black shorts, the material barely hiding the peach-colored tips of my hard-tipped breasts.

Mirrors are liars; my eyes have no soul.

I reach for the clasp of the bra, when I see her.

Trust nothing you see; only what you know.

Hallie. 

In the front row, she’s watching me contemplatively, as if she sees something that makes me pause. 

I stop. My hands fall to my sides. For a moment, I just stare into Hallie’s beautiful, blue eyes.

Intellectually, I knew. If I say goodbye to Rebel and the Burle-Q girls—if I choose the steady storybook life—I'll be giving up Hallie as well.

My heart clenches at the thought.

But what choice do I have? Cady is real—tangible and undeniable. Safe and stable. Rebel, as exciting and fulfilling as she is, is a dream. Ephemeral and too hard to keep. She can only exist within the walls of this club and every second spent here puts my life as Cady at risk.

Leaving Rebel behind makes sense. It’s my only choice.

But Hallie.

How do you say goodbye to Hallelujah?

The music plays for a few bars before the crowd realizes that something is wrong. Before the crowd’s cheers stumble into awkward and questioning twitters. I watch Hallie’s smooth, sweet brow crinkle in confusion.

My window’s locked; you’ll never see.

I close my eyes, my heart fluttering almost painfully in my chest. I gasp for breath and my hands fist. Distantly, I feel my long manicured nails dig into my palms painfully.

The cage that blocks, also keeps me.

“I’m sorry,” I mouth at Hallie before I reach behind my head and pull at the pins in my hair. I can't be Rebel. Not even for Hallie. Rebel is evanescent. Fleeting. The harder I try to hold on to her, the more my world will crumble like sand, dragging everyone around me down with it. I give Hallie a sorry sigh. “I love you.”

It keeps me safe, keeps me strong.

I can't be Rebel, but I want one moment, before the dream ends, before life coalesces into Cady, with Hallie. One moment where she sees me. 

Whoever that even is. 

Over the music, I feel as if I can hear each tiny, falling pin as it tings against the stage.

So here I stay, right or wrong.

Shoving my fingers underneath the wig’s cap, I take a deep, steadying breath before pulling the cloud of dark curls off.

The song ends, its last strains dying out. I shake my head—my short, blond bob flying out wildly. I stand straight and stare out at the confused crowd.

But all I see is the glaring gleam of the stage lights as I stare at Hallie’s tears.

I see her blink while her eyes adjust to the new me—the true me. Cold shock fades into suspicion. I wonder if, without the wig, she recognizes me from the campaign coverage. My heart aches at the sheen of betrayal in her blue eyes. She shuts her eyes and turns away.

My heart breaks at the realization of what I've done. To myself. To her. The dream is lost. And I don’t know where that leaves us.

Please don't leave me.

Still staring at Hallie—my Hallelujah—I hold my breath and mouth, “Forgive me.” Please.

Nicholas was right. The truth does set you free.

But, as my own eyes that never leave hers tear under the harsh lights, I know freedom always comes at a cost.

Standing in the spotlight, suddenly I know. I can't be Rebel. But, even if I tried, I can’t be Cady anymore either.

I need to be me. Whoever that is. And, as Hallie's unsure gaze meets mine again, I know I want to figure that out with her. No more secrets. No more masks.

Just me. 

If she’ll have me.

“Please.”




THINK YOU OWN ME?
Find more from Hallie in my novel Show Me, Sir from Sinful Press that celebrates feminist kink!

FORGIVE ME, FATHER, FOR I HAVE SINNED!
Check out more from Nicholas in my story in Sexy Little Pages' anthology that explores the taboo juxtaposition of holy and sensual!

REBEL WITH US!
Discover more from Elin in my stories in Coming Together's defiant, charity anthology that celebrates diversity and equality in the face of our uncertain future! Erotica is an expression of rebellion. 

LEARNING A NEW WORLD
Please check out my novel The Taming School from Sizzler Editions that explores discovering kink!

LOVE EROTICA? LOVE CONSENT?
Please check out my story in The New Smut Project's anthology and see how consent makes everything sexier!


GEEK SEX IS THE KINKIEST SEX!
Please check out my story in Riverdale Avenue Books' anthology that proves no one knows how to play better than nerds!


LET'S GET INTENSE FOR THE MEN!
Please check out my story in The Sexy Librarian's anthology that gives us a bold peek into lust and love from the male perspective!
At Audible

HAVE YOURSELF A KINKY, LITTLE XMAS!
Please check out my story in Coming Together's charity anthology that lets your feel-good do some real good!


MAKE-UP SEX MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER!
See what happens after Kat & Peter's happy ending in my story from Deep Desire Press!

YOU'RE INTO WHAT?!
If it exists, someone’s kinky for it! Check out my story in Sexy Little Pages' anthology that takes a walk on the weird side: you won’t regret it.

PRIDE & PUNISHMENT!
Please check out my story and get ready for some fit-on-the-streets-but-fun-in-the-sheets, pervertable play this PRIDE!




BREAKING THE RULES!
Please check out my story in this hand-held library of erotica & explore to your libido's content!









Also, find out how you can support me and collaborate with me on my Patreon Page!

Living With My Boyfriend, Loving My Girlfriend - Part One

Chimera -  
Part One

In the mirror’s glassy surface, I watch detachedly—almost disembodied—as a familiar hand applies makeup on my face. 

Foundation, thick and matte. Powder, dust from a flaking cake that shimmers on the skin as the brush caresses cheeks, forehead, nose, neck, and breasts. 

Blush.

Eyeshadow. 

Eyeliner. 

Lipliner. 

Lipstick, for color.  Red. Fire-engine bright. Slathered on in a pretty, painted smile, it reminds me of a clown. 

A tear slides down my cheek, ruining all my work, causing the paint to smear. 

All except that smile. 

My smile is—as always—perfect.

———

“I can’t believe this!”

I yawn and stretch, hearing the crinkle of newspaper beside me.

“I cannot believe this!” Keith Longrin yells again, pounding his fist against the mattress. I roll over to look up at him sitting against the headboard of our bed. “Look at this, Cady, just look at this!” He waves the paper at me. “The governor’s priest—Father Whatshisname—just came out of the closet today in the Sunday paper. The front page!”

I yawn again and begin to crawl up, tucking my knees and elbows beneath me, to sit facing him, the comforter wrapped haphazardly around me. “A priest came out as gay?” I push stray, bedheaded blond hair out of my face, pulling the blanket up with me as I shiver in the morning air, wondering why Keith cares so much.

“Not gay.” Keith scoffs. “I wish. We could have spun that to our advantage.” He sipped from a mug of what smells like life-giving coffee as I see thoughts—campaign plots and strategies—churn in his intense gaze. Feeling groggier in the face of his focus, I lean forward to snag my own sip from the other side of the mug. “No, he came out as a member of,” he pauses to shake his head before saying through gritted teeth, “that club.”

I stop, perking right up—choking on the coffee I’d just sipped. I sit back with a squeak as I sputter and cough. I wave him away while he sets the coffee down and leans forward in an effort to pat my back. “Donovan’s?”

It's the governor’s latest endeavor to clean up the city. After struggling with his war against drugs, Jacob Reynolds realized that if he was going to be re-elected next term, he needed a war he could win.

So he’d aimed his sights on Donovan’s. Kink clubs. Dungeons. Bath houses. And sex workers. It’s the latest craze for politics. Publicly shutting these organizations down—with lots of cameras and media present to document, of course—works as an instant way to boost voter morale and an official’s lagging approval rating. And, let’s face it, they’re easy targets. Nothing excites conservative voters quite like a sex scandal happening right under their noses.

So Governor Reynolds and his entire staff jumped on the bandwagon.

I gaze at Keith over my mug as I take a deep swig and think, some had leapt more enthusiastically than others.

I’ve always considered myself a conservative, ever since eighth grade civics. I believe in fiscal responsibility and slow and steady change. And I believe that, unless it’s broken, there are parts of a person’s life where government just doesn’t belong. 

I firmly believe in the politics—lower taxes and giving more power back to the state governments—that had built Jacob Reynolds’s first campaign, when he was just an up-and-comer in the republican party. I’d volunteered and interned and eventually got hired to work on his campaign on those promises.

And then the political sphere shifted. Tom Rosen, a celebrity tycoon with a flair for drama and presidential aspirations, changed the world. Suddenly, the nuance of tax code and financial reform got outshined by border walls and birth control rights. The rhetoric against the strain of overspending and the choke holds of regulation were replaced with rants about the evils of immigration and vice. Instead of debating the points of political rivals, suddenly we were debating the rights of those deemed the undesirables.

It shouldn't have been possible. A man who made more than half the country his enemy—women, minorities, the LGBTQIA+ community, immigrants, liberals, and even conservatives who refused to get in line—shouldn't be able to become the next president of the United States. His promises to "make America Rise Again," like some callback to Confederacy days, should have fallen on deaf ears. The American people should have known—should have learned from our past—that in order to truly rise as a nation, we cannot be content to leave our own people, whatever their race, religion, gender, or orientation, behind. A man who would sell the soul of our country, that had been won with the blood, sweat, and tears of those before him, should never have been elected to lead.

And yet it happened.

Right before my eyes.

And, suddenly, I wasn’t the same kind of conservative that Governor Reynolds and the rest of the party had become. Or that Keith had slowly morphed into. Or even like my working-class, rural, Protestant parents want me to be.

The Risen. That was what Rosen's followers call themselves and what those in the party were expected to be. Deifying him into some figure who could do no wrong, no matter how outrageous, unconstitutional, or unconscionable his words or actions. How this self-righteous, alpha-male, might-makes-right, nationalistic sideshow became the focus—the face—of political conservatism, I’ll never understand. But somehow they—along with a good amount of fear-filled disinformation and flat-out ignorance—had taken over the party over, casting the entire conservative stance as caricatures and endless fodder for late night comedy shows.

“Donovan’s,” Keith grumbles, tossing the paper aside. I stare as it lands on the rumpled sheets between us. “We’ll get them—they’ll eventually slip—but this,” he says with a sweeping gesture over the newsprint story, “looks bad for us.”

Yes, it did. Reynolds had won on the merits of a campaign touting faith-based civic service. If his religious advisor was the enemy all this time, what did that say about the state of faith in his flock?

“Listen to this.” Keith picks up the paper again. “ ‘When asked why he felt the need to announce this now, Father Nicholas Bailey of Anointed Assumption Church said, “This issue is being framed in terms of lust and lasciviousness, of squalor and sin. But, in my three years as a member of this establishment, I’ve seen sinners find salvation, of a sort. I’ve seen the lost become found. And I’ve seen couples—often lost in mistrust or mired in the grind of modern life—find love again. These are gifts given. These are miracles witnessed. My faith tells me that God places upon us the sweet demands of love, so that we may find happiness by responding to them.” With unshaken faith, Father Bailey has no plans to leave Anointed Assumption.’ ” Keith balks, his hazel eyes—usually kind with a sheen of undeniable intelligence—bugged. “Can you believe this guy? Using religion to defend this whorehouse?!”

“It’s not a whorehouse.” I nearly groan, knowing that was the absolutely wrong thing to say as soon as it’d been said.

“We can’t prove that it is,” Keith insists, “not according to the letter of the law as it’s written today, but it’s only a matter of time.” He rolls his eyes dramatically—his whole head and shoulders getting in on it. “Men pay to get into this club to engage in sex acts of…” he shakes his head as his lip curls in disgust, “all kinds. If that’s not prostitution of some sort, I don’t know what is.”

Except that the men—and women—paying to get into Donovan’s aren’t paying to have sex with employees. They’re paying to get into a club where, yes, nights often end with consensual patrons having consensual sex. Which happens at nearly every club and bar anywhere.

Which is why the governor is having such trouble shutting Donovan’s down.

They aren’t doing anything illegal.

And, believe me, I would know.

I grab the paper from Keith, tossing it onto the bedside table, before I place my hand on his knee. I slant him a seductive look, the one that instantly makes him forget everything in the world but me.

It works. He blinks at me a moment before a haze of lust clouds his eyes.

I let the covers around me fall, revealing my body to him as the sunlight filters in through the slotted blinds.

He moans and kicks the sheets down to the bottom of the bed before crawling closer to me. He kisses me, his mouth ravenous as teeth and lips and tongue overwhelm me. Gripping his shoulders, I try to keep up. 

I slide my hand low, down his neck, his chest, his stomach, his hip. My fingers cup him, already half-hard and hot, in my hand. He stops—his entire body freezing—with a hiss while his eyes close and ecstasy overtakes his face.

It marvels me that, like this, this man—this powerful, intelligent, capable man—is mine to control. 

I begin to stroke him, my hand rubbing and running along his smooth shaft in the rhythm and routine I know he likes. He lets out a guttural groan deep in his throat that warns me that he’s close.

Pushing him down lower on the bed, I climb atop him, my knees straddling his hips. The stretch in my thighs, the bite and burn of pulled muscles, excites me. I reach into the drawer for a condom and a bottle of lube as his mouth captures my nipple and his hand cups the breast now shoved in his face.

It beads in his mouth while he laves and licks, while he sucks and nips softly.

I want to tell him to bite, but I know what he’ll say. He doesn’t want to hurt me.

Which is sweet, I think, as I lean back, my breast falling out of his mouth. 

As his hand sweetly massages, I reach between us to slide on the condom. He’s hard in my hand while I rub lube along his cock. Knowing his need to be neat, I wipe my hand on my thigh before I reach for him again, rising up on my knees to slip him slick and ready inside.

I ride him, my thighs burning a bit as I bounce, strands of my short blond bob whipping about me, getting stuck in my mouth. “Are you close?” My voice is throaty and broken in a staccato beat tuned to my writhing body.

“Not yet.” He grunts, his hands caressing my hips, my waist, my breasts, almost reverently, worshipfully. His eyes shine with an infinity that scares me. “A little longer. I want to stay like this for as long as possible. I never want to stop.”

He’s so sweet. 

So I bob some more, my knees clenching him as I feel him inside me like a piston. I arch my hips to get in the position I know he likes and clench my pussy tight in time to hear him grunt and moan when he comes. 

I collapse against him, resting in the crook of his neck, before running my hand through his dark blond hair and wetly kissing the salty skin behind his ear. I cuddle close as his arms wrap around me.

“I love you, Cady girl,” he says into my hair.

“Love you too,” I say, even though I don’t really know for sure. I say it because, even though I don’t really know what else to say, I know I can’t say nothing. I used to mean it. I know I did once.

But now...

I listen to him yawn and then, after a moment, snore before I relax into him and close my eyes too, feeling the rising sun warm on my face.

———

“I lo— I’ll miss you,” I say quickly before I hang up the phone after having just left a whispered message on Keith’s phone about working late, a gloved hand cupping the phone’s mouthpiece furtively.

“Rebel!” Elin the stage manager of Donovan’s Burle-Q Burlesque Troupe hisses, “The Risen number’s up next.”

I breathe out deep and slip my phone into my bag before standing tall on wobbly heels. I fix my long, brunette wig, fluffing the bangs over my grotesque zombie gore makeup as I lean in close to the mirror.

Showtime.

I’ve been performing as Rebel Rouser, a Russian Bettie Page, a doe-eyed devushka with a heavy accent and too many stilted A-meri-kan idioms, for nearly five years now. It’s a fun escape to play the clueless tourist or the tough-as-nails, sexy-bitch spy. To step into a role so different from yourself.

But, since the election, the Burle-Q girls had been performing as The Risen, sexy Rosen-supporting zombies who shimmy and shamble aimlessly over the stage losing limbs and clothes throughout the dance. A real crowd pleaser.

Stripped of my usual conservative suit or Stepford sweater set, I hardly look like myself. With ample cleavage showing and my long legs exposed by the torn “We Shall Rise” dress, the woman I’d been earlier that day—the prim and proper campaign aide—all but disappeared. With the dark wig and heavy makeup, I couldn’t recognize myself at all. 

It’s almost frightening how easy it is to lose yourself. To erase all traces of the life you’ve built and the person you’ve become. A change of clothes, different hair, some makeup, and a brand new person’s born.

Which is the point.

Cady Carrington doesn’t exist in Donovan’s. In fact, outside a very well-protected file kept under digital lock and key, that part of my life has no ties to the club or any of its shady clientèle. And there are a whole bible of rules and regulations keeping it that way. Cameras, video, and recorders of any kind outside of the club’s sanctioned security are strictly forbidden. Anyone caught outing or telling on any fellow member is banned. 

Donovan’s believes in privacy for its clients above all else. With all their efforts—not to mention my own—the two halves of my life remain completely separate.

Sighing, I blink at the image in the mirror and wonder who the hell I’m looking at.

“Rebel!” Elin calls. “Cue’s up in ten.”

I adjust my props—a detachable zombie arm and breast—and rush out of the dressing room to the stage wings.

The other girls are in place, making last-minute adjustments to costumes and props. 

Elin hands out mic packs and says in a hushed whisper, “Good luck, girls, knock ‘em dead.”

The lights dim as the other performers clear the stage and we take our places. As the eerie music starts and the lights come up, I blink, blinded by the brightness. But soon my eyes clear and then—the first sight I see is her.

Hallie.

Smiling that brilliant, beautiful smile, she’s clapping, cheering us on. Cheering me on.

Hallelujah.

As we go through the routine—a mix of old school vaudeville humor, tawdry striptease, and good old fashioned bump and grind—all I see, all I can think of, is Hallie.

Even after the show is done and all the yocks have been had, I still can’t get her out of my head.

She’s so stuck in my head that I don’t even notice her watching me while I take off my makeup and change out of my costume. But, when I look up, there she is reflected back at me in the full-length mirror.

“Great show,” she purrs, her Southern belle tone drawing out the sound. “As always.”

“I’m,” I say, suddenly flustered and nervous as I futz with the edges of my robe, trying to decide whether to close it or not, “so glad you could come.”

“Well, you know me,” she drawls as she saunters close, snaking a hand beneath my robe to grasp my hip. “I rarely pass up the opportunity to come...” 



Read Part Two Here

Friday, January 20, 2017

We Need a Nasty Nation - Moving On Anthology

There are a few days that I will remember—with near painful vividness—for the rest of my life.

The day of the Columbine shooting, the day I learned schools weren’t the safe haven of learning I thought they were.

9/11, the day the whole nation was attacked and mourned while the world changed.

The day my dad died and I was viciously reminded how short life is and how little control we have over it.

November 8th will be a day like those. That is now burned into my brain and stamped on my soul. It was the day I felt hope die.

The hope for progress and tolerance. The hope for a better tomorrow. Hope that my country loved me as much as I love it.

That night, as I cried myself to sleep in the arms of my partner, I lost hope. In a way that—somehow through all the other tragedies in my life—I never had before. 

Which, I know, sounds so overdramatic and like eye-rolling liberal tears.

But it’s not.

This isn’t a liberal/conservative thing. This isn’t about tax plans or health insurance or court appointments or drug laws—even though all these issues are indeed very important and I wish they could be the biggest issue we have to worry about. This isn't about an outside enemy; this is about the darkness within our borders. One we must live with and work alongside to survive.

What terrified me in that moment—what terrifies me still—is that the rhetoric and sentiments being spread by this administration and its supporters tries to rob the people they view as their enemies—liberals, immigrants, people of color, muslims, women, the disabled, veterans, and so many more—of their humanity. Of our humanity.

And, terrified or not, with tears in our eyes and fear in our hearts or not, we cannot allow that.

When Hillary Clinton embraced the term “Nasty Woman,” so many of us cheered. Because the title and the emotions it evokes resonated within us.

We have been called nasty because we refused to fit ourselves into the boxes they issued us. We’ve been called nasty because we railed against their limitations and expectations we didn’t want to live by. We’ve been called nasty because we would not make ourselves less just to make someone else feel like they were more.

In that moment, nasty became a badge of honor.

We, as a nation—as a people, as a world—need more of that kind of nasty.

Because there are some crazy, improbable things happening right now. The world is becoming a crazy, improbable place. And, like other times in our past where this has happened, we must give this moment in history a voice.

We must become the thing they fear. The voice and vision of an era. We need to take all the anger and terror inside us and let it fuel us. Fuel us to act and to create. We cannot fester under the weight of our sorrow; we need to use it or we risk losing ourselves in it. We need to share it or risk missing our moment to put more empathy into the world. To allow it to see the things—the ideas and, more importantly, the people—it would rather ignore. Few things make people meet those they view as problems as people like art. Few things change the mind and touch the soul like art. 




Art has always been an act of rebellion. And they know it. One of Trump’s first budget plans is to “privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities entirely.” Artists have always been targets for the power-hungry. We have always been tasked to be freedom fighters. Have always needed to be bold. We explore the impossible and make the inexplicable real. We are the light that shines on society and shows it for what it is and what it could be. Times like these require more, not less, from its artists.




We cannot cower. We cannot be complacent. We need to “ask one final question man to man. A simple yet profound question recently asked of me. ‘When the stage is dark and the lights and cameras are off … Who are you? And more importantly, who do you want to be?’ ”

I don’t know about you, but I want to be bold.

I want to be nasty.

I want to be an artist. 




This is what I tried to do in my stories in Coming Together’s Moving On anthology. In “When There Are No Words,” I wanted to capture November 8th, to let its demons out into the light. To give voice to the scars I will now carry for the rest of my life. And, hopefully, it gives someone who doesn’t understand that fear and sadness a peek at an experience outside their own. In “The Help,” I wanted to explore the idea of power and submission. The difference between who we feel forced to submit to and those who we freely share and exchange power with. Because, if freedom and equality are truly ideals we want to live by, we need to examine that difference closely.

Please check out this great, defiant anthology that celebrates diversity and equality in the face of our uncertain future, whose proceeds go to Move On.



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