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My story, which I plan to publish later this year, is called “This time now”, “Novella for adult lesbians”.
Here is a small taste of what you can expect (without editing).
The backyard smelled of stale cigarettes. This is where most smokers snuck in. I really did not mind the smell. I got used to it. Nowadays, this place is empty and I can understand why. It was like a sauna here. But because of the abundance of clouds, tomorrow it will rain in the sky. Hopefully, by that time the weekly heat will be over.
I sat in one of the plastic chairs and tucked my hair back into the clip, trying to calm my nerves and not thinking about Billy, who was probably looking for me. I was laughing and rolling my eyes. Why would she even want to talk to me? Too many years have passed without communication between us.
A piece of hair stuck to my neck. I hated sweating. This weather made a lot of noise in my hair. It was too fluffy and uncontrollable, and always was. It was a dirty blonde, but she also had lighter shades that people thought I had professionally emphasized. At least I had it for me, in contrast to the fact that I didn’t have enough height, which gave me bristly legs and ankles. I took a sip of water, grumbled silently about my ugly, fat aching ankles when some of the water missed my mouth, dripping down my chin and moistening the top.
“Perfect,” I sighed and cleaned my chest. Usually at some point in the night I got stains on my shirt and jeans. At least it was not beer, rum or vomit. Yes, I was already throwing up. Too many times to count.
The door opened and the sounds of loud voices and music broke through the silence. When the door slammed, I looked up and exhaled a shaking breath at the sight of Billy.
She took a sip from her beer bottle. Her eyes were on me all the time. I sat and drank from my beer bottle. We continued to drink and stare without talking.
I finished first and slouched in my place. Billy finished her beer, threw it into the trash can and leaned against the wall next to the door. If I wanted to leave, I would have to pass by it because the patio was fenced with a wooden fence. There was no other way out. I did not take a single step to get up. I was afraid that if I got up on my knees I would close them and my feet would swing.
“I always liked your hair,” Billy said softly and caught her thumbs in her belt. Fingers knocked once, twice, and then calmed down.
I studied her hands, not her face. She had short nails with burgundy varnish and silver rings on both thumbs. The rest of her fingers were naked, no jewelry.
I spread my palms over the jeans and looked at the bare fingers without nail polish and rings of any kind, with their rough cuticle. I really needed a manicure. At least, I had a pedicure a week ago. Funny, my nails were almost the same color as Billy’s. We made each other nails and used the same color of varnish.
“Thank you, I guess?” I asked and studied her face. After more than half a decade, Billy did not look much older. Not that she had plastic surgery or botox, because she was still young. I would be surprised if she had any procedure, because she was not a fan of doctors or needles. But when I took a closer look at her, I noticed strained lines around her eyes and mouth that weren’t there before. Also, her intense look, directed exclusively at me with her smoky brown eyes, had something else floating in them. Either my brain was fried from the heat, or it was a shock from what I saw Billy.
“Is that all you are going to say?” she asked and scratched her boot finger on the sidewalk.
“The first thing you are going to say to me after all this is a comment about my hair. What is it?” I asked and rubbed my palms against my knees.
It imprinted my movement with my eyes and moved away from the wall. “Where are my manners? What’s up, Mandy?”
I got up when she took a step towards me. I refused to sit and wait for her to come to me. She touched me and then I broke.
“Don’t call me that,” I spit and moved behind a chair.
“Why do you have problems with me calling you Mandy? That’s your name,” she said, smiling widely. Then she did something that I didn’t expect. She sat down.
I looked into her head and hugged my hands to her chest. It would be so easy to put my hands on her shoulders or wrap them around her. I was walking in front of her. She sat down with her back and crossed her legs staring at me with her eyes.
She is proud of herself. I snored and peeked at the door. I could run.
“I will stop you before you even open the door, Mandy.”
I cleaned my throat, which looked more like a growl, and looked down at the annoying woman. “If you want me to stay, stop calling me that stupid nickname. Now I am walking past Amanda.
“You’ll always be Mandy to me,” she whispered, and the corner of her mouth bent.
“I wonder what your fans would say if they knew you were a fan of Barry Manilow.” I shot back, ignoring the sad sadness in her voice. I should have heard. Again, I would blame it on the heat.
She was spinning one of her thumbs. “You know that I only like one Manilow song. Maybe “Copacabana,” but when I drink and there is karaoke.”
My mother was a big fan of Barry Manilow. I will never forget how Billy came one day after school to study. We were alone in my house, and she flipped through my mother’s CD collection and found Barry’s Best Hits. For fun she stopped by the CD and sang “Copacabana” to me. Eventually I sang with her, and when Mandy played, we started dancing. It was the first time when she kissed me.
That’s when I started to fall in love with her.
“I never sang your song to anyone,” she said and pushed aside the bangs falling on her forehead. There were sweat beads on her eyebrows. Maybe it was the heat or she was nervous like me?
“You sing your own original songs, which you wrote for your beloved admirers. There are no covers for you,” I said and placed behind one of the tables. I could sit down, but I wanted to take over.
“One day some artist will make a cover version of one of my songs. Maybe, “Lady of Pearls”. They are really good.
I nodded. “They are one of the best things to hear in Hillsborough.”
“What about me? Would you say I am the best of Hillsborough?”
Billy seemed cocky, but the way she grabbed the arms of a chair suggests otherwise. She wanted me to agree that I would approve her success, which I never had. All I had to do was nod or say yes and admit that I bought all her albums and read any magazine article or interview about her climbing to the top. But I was hurt and angry at her sudden appearance after all this time. She didn’t deserve my praise.
“Why did you come back now?” I asked.
“I was tired of the West Coast scene and decided that my vacation was fine. Also, Aunt Leah and Uncle Felix wanted me to visit them. The last time I saw them was two years ago, before I went on a European tour.
I chewed on my sketch. Billy had no problem keeping in touch with her aunt and uncle, but not with me. It was a pity. I had a million questions in my head that I wanted to ask. She looked at me as expected that I would ask them.
“Mark, the bartender said that you came to see Lady of Pearls and Alana, the soloist. Can they perform a song on your next album or open it for you when you go on your next tour?”
“I am taking a break from my tour. As for my next album, this is in the middle of it, although Ivy thinks we should at least record one song with Pearls before it’s too late”. Billy smiled. “Ivy isn’t very happy that I took a ‘vacation’, as she calls it. She lifted two fingers and made quotes.
It was obvious that Billy was taking care of Ivy with her tone. The way she said Ivy’s name was enough proof that they were close friends, and at one time it was more than I already knew.
“Are you and Ivy still together?” I asked, digging my fingers in the forest behind me. It was one of the questions floating around in my head since Billy walked into Sisco’s, as if she had never left.
She crossed her arms and stuck her legs out. “We’re just friends and business partners. The things that Ivy and I never came close to sharing together.”
“Did you tell her about me?” I asked with a smooth voice. My stomach was jumping everywhere, and my heart was beating so hard on my chest that I could taste it.
“Ivy knows everything about you. I had to tell her about what I had planned.
Planned? Judging by Billy’s concentrated look, I had a good idea that I would be part of those plans. But how?
I stepped away from the table and put my hands in my back pockets of jeans. “What are your plans?”
She leaned forward and threw her elbows back on her knees. She gave a wide smile, showing her teeth. “They are connected to rest and catch up.”
“To catch up with me?” I asked tentatively.
She got up from a chair and came up to me. “Yes, I hate that we have lost touch and I want us to become friends again.
“Just friends?” I came to the door.
“Not just friends.” She followed me. “I want what we had before I left for Los Angeles. Now that I’m back, we can work on fixing it…”
“Stop right there! There will be no flogging between us. I raised my hands and stopped. Billy looked at me with a questioning look. There was only one time when I raised her voice and it ended badly.
She snored and looked at the sky. She was shouting something that I couldn’t catch and then she looked back at me. The humor swam in her eyes and it made me rise.
“You can’t just waltz here and think that I will fall above you as one of your fans. I poked my finger in her face. “I have a good life here and I refuse to uproot her because you want to get laid.
She grabbed my finger and I tried to pull away, but she was too fast and grabbed my wrist. I reached out and landed at the door. I grabbed the door handle with my free hand, but Billy dropped her palm against the door and dared to join our fingers. I stared at the ground. My breathing was restless, and my body was tense, with a deep pain that expanded in my stomach. I was surrounded by the smell of Billy, a combination of her sweat and something as pure as the smell of the ocean or forest. I was tempted to ask her what perfume she was wearing, and a nervous giggling came into my mouth.
This time, the New Adult Modern Novella of Lesbians.
Advertising: Twenty-three year old Amanda Barkley works as a kindergarten teacher and a part-time server at Sisco’s, the most popular bar in the city, where most bands that perform there become one of the biggest names in music.
One day an explosion from Amanda’s past returns to the city. Her former neighbor Billy Lane, one of the biggest rock stars of the decade, returned home. What she wants most is to see Amanda, with whom she hasn’t talked since she left six years ago after a big fight between them. When Billy was offered a recording contract, but had to move to California to accept it, she wanted Amanda to go with her. Amanda was more than ready to follow Billy anywhere, but then her mother almost died in a car accident and was paralyzed and could never walk again. Amanda refused to leave her mother. Billy left without looking back.
Now that Billy is back, she wants to renew their friendship in the hope that they will become lovers again. Billy will do everything possible to get Amanda back, even though Amanda is struggling knowing that Billy can break her heart and leave her again for the promise of an even bigger star.
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