Taking joy in life is a woman's best cosmetic.
The land of Roz is almost as joyful as the world of Wonderland. Today I'm queer - er, here - with an excerpt from my lesbian love story "Kiss and Makeup," which appears in the recently released anthology First Time for Everything, edited by Anne Regan and published by Harmony Ink, the young adult imprint of Dreamspinner Press.
My contribution falls into the Sweet Stories of Newly Discovered Love category. In it, Gina, a recent high school graduate, is committed to coming out.
Of her shell, that is.
Simone, a beauty consultant at a department store, is committed to helping Gina shed her shell.
As the girls grow closer, will Gina blush and concealer - er, conceal her - crush on Simone?
Or will she beaut-defy her fears and make a move?
"I Love Lucy," I answer, twirling my bendy straw, watching as the grape juice sloshes against the glass. "Favorite candy?"
"Corn. Favorite superhero?"
"Pippi Longstocking, if that counts. Um… favorite horror movie?"
"That's a docu—"
"Favorite movie actress?"
"Oh, um, Joan Crawford."
"I need sex for a clear complexion, but I'd rather do it for love," Simone shares, gliding her thumb along the silver chain of her necklace. "Hey, can I see your room?"
The change in subjects is sharp and sudden, like an orgasm. I groan inwardly and push my thighs together as discreetly as possible, regretting my choice of thoughts. Dropping my eyes, I direct my attention to the denim-colored cushion of the sofa. Sex? My room?
My parents are out (well, not like that) and even though I'm out to them, they trust me to be respectful. Somehow, I don’t think that having sex in their house with an older-than-me-by-two-years woman on our very first date qualifies as respectful. Or even wise. Oh, boy. Any minute now, my pores will instigate a mutiny and my face will be dappled with puffy pink pimples.
"Hey, I didn't say it, Joan did," Simone clarifies, doing little to relieve my confusion. She chuckles, squeezing my knee. "That was a quote," she elaborates. "I need sex for a clear complexion? Joan Crawford said that. It's true, too. It has to do with endorphins and circulation and the release of toxins and all that." She removes the bottle from my hand and returns it to the coaster on the coffee table, next to hers. "Let's see that room," she requests, unfolding her body from the sofa.
With an unsteady hand on her arm and an even less steady grip on myself, I escort Simone down the hallway, my pulse outpacing my footsteps.
As we near our destination, my anxiety kicks into high gear and I seek refuge in the bathroom.
"Gina, you all right?" Simone calls from the other side of the door.
My heart punches my ribcage, whap whap whap, like a fist connecting with a boxing mitt. "Yes," I croak, clutching the counter. I watch as the color disappears from my knuckles. "I just need a little bathroom break, that's all."
"You know," Simone remarks, and I can't tell if she's amused or annoyed, "when I asked if I could see your room, I meant see as in take a look at, get a load of. You know, the usual."
"Oh. Those definitions are doable." So saying, I resume breathing, curl my fingers around the doorknob, and tug. I wonder how I'm going to save face, considering that my face value has just depreciated considerably.
Simone's, on the other hand, has skyrocketed—there's a million-dollar smile on her face when I emerge. "What is it about bathrooms that makes them everybody's favorite sanctuary?" she ponders, following me into the bedroom. "You've got to teach me your stall tactics."
Because I don't know about you, but I hate to wait.
Fortunately, you don't have to.
And that's the beauty of it.
Curiouser and curiouser,