Coming Home and Coming Out Chapter 12

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That night, when Julie tucked herself into bed, she discovered that Logan had left her a note on her bedside table. She smiled, picked it up and ran her fingers across the thick, black lettering on the front.

 

To my Jewel, it read. She felt the warmth spread within her as she held his note. It was the same warmth that filled her when she was a child and her mother was tucking her into bed. She held the note close to her chest, closed her eyes, and cherished the moment.

 

When she did this, she felt the long, slender bump inside the paper. She curiously unfolded the paper and the joint that had been tucked inside fell onto her lap. She chuckled, picked up the joint and read the note.

 

Don’t let yourself feel lonely. Mary Jane will keep you company. Love always, Logan.

 

She laughed a deep, warm laugh, lit the joint and lay on her back in her bed. She had smoked half of it when exhaustion crashed against her. She put the joint out in an ashtray on her bedside table, turned off the lamp and tucked herself into bed but she did not sleep.

 

She lay on her left side, staring at the unoccupied pillow beside her. She aimlessly caressed the sheets with her fingers, tracing a line where Tawny’s body should be. She hated that empty space because it was an aching reminder that she was alone. Mary Jane wasn’t the company she needed tonight. Tonight, she needed a warm body to cuddle up to.

 

She thought of the nights she had spent in this very bed, with Tawny.

 

Some nights, they had laughed and talked all night. Some nights, they had yelled and fought all night. Sometimes, they would do both these things in a singular night. This was the shape of things with her and Tawny.

 

Her mind cycled through the nights she had spent with Tawny, until it settled on one specific memory. She and Tawny had spent the night at George’s with Logan and some other friends. Logan and Tawny were shooting Tequilla so Julie stuck to beer.

 

Logan and Tawny got wasted and so Julie made them leave the bar and head for home. After Julie dropped Logan off at Michael’s house, the fight with Tawny began. She was angry that Julie had made her leave early. She was angry that Julie had supposedly been flirting with the bartender. She was angry for a million things that had happened, or that she had thought happened in the past.

 

So, they fought. They fought on the drive between Logan’s house and theirs. They fought up the stairs and as Julie struggled to open the lock on the front door, they fought. They fought as they walked through the door, through the living room and into the bedroom. They fought as they undressed and climbed into bed.

 

Julie couldn’t tell where the fighting ended and the kissing began but before she knew it, Tawny was on top of her. Tawny kissed the spaces between her neck and her breasts and then stopped, looked up at Julie and smiled. Julie smiled back, flipped Tawny on her back and crawled on top of her. They kissed passionately and then Julie made a trail of kisses from Tawny’s lips to her right breast.

 

Julie kissed the space around the nipple softly before flicking it with her tongue and, finally, covering it with her mouth. She sucked and teased Tawny’s nipples until she moaned in pleasure and when Julie was sure that Tawny was wet, she slipped her hand in Tawny’s panties.

 

This memory played in Julie’s mind as she lay in their bed, looking at the empty space. As she remembered the encounter, she felt her own undies getting wet beneath the covers. She slipped her own fingers beneath the covers, into her he undies and began to caress herself.

 

She thought of that night with Tawny and many other nights when they had pressed their bodies together until they had both found paradise. She moaned under the caress of her own finger. With her free hand, she opened the bedside drawer and rummaged around for her vibrator.

 

Her body ached for the feel of it inside her but she couldn’t find it. She pulled her hand out of her underwear, sat up in her bed and turned on the bedside lamp. Irritated, she rummaged through the drawer, searching for it. She knew it wasn’t there but she searched anyway.

 

“Fucking Tawny!” She yelled. Then, she went into the living room and picked up her cell phone. She searched her message list for Tawny’s name and composed the message.

 

You took the vibrator? That’s a new low, Tawny…Even for you…

 

She knew it was way too harsh but she sent it anyway. She was irritated. No, she was pushed to the limit and masturbating was the only way she could think to unwind; to release the pressure that had built within her for the past couple days. Now Tawny had taken that away from her, as well.

 

She carried the phone to her bedroom and put it on charge. Then, she re-lit the joint and smoked the other half of it, before drifting off to a long, dreamless sleep.

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Coming Out and Coming Home Chapter 11

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Julie had been sitting at her computer for an hour. She had taken out her electricity bill and hung it on the wall behind her desk as motivation for finishing the Mama Rosa Pizza job. It was working and Julie was making progress, until 20 minutes ago when Logan’s phone had rang.

 

It was Michael. She had tried not to listen as they argued but when Michael began apologizing, she couldn’t ignore it any longer. She knew how this went. They would argue, Logan would apologize and then he would leave. Next weekend, she would be picking him up from Michael’s house or a bar. He would be drunk, probably covered in vomit, and he would likely have a new bruise or busted lip or nose. It was like clockwork.

 

The familiarity of it didn’t make it any easier for Julie to swallow. She tried to focus on her work. As she was trying to decide whether she should give the smiling pizza a mustache, she listened. She could hear Logan confessing his love for Michael.

 

She recognized this as the final act in the Logan/Michael drama. She knew that pretty soon, he would walk into the room, kiss her on the cheek and be gone. She would fight the urge to beg him not to go back; to tell him that he deserved better. She would bite back on her fears that one day it would go too far. She wouldn’t tell him that she was afraid that, instead of a drunken call on a Saturday night, she would receive a very different call. It would be a call that would be Logan’s last.

 

So instead, she sat quietly and worked on her logo. She hadn’t made much progress when Logan walked into the room, kissed her on the cheek and then turned to walk away. Before he reached the front door, he turned around, paused and then began to speak.

 

“Hey, thanks for everything.” He said.

 

Julie Nodded.

 

Logan looked down. “About you going home…”

 

“I don’t want to talk about it, Logan.” Julie protested.

 

“No…I mean, I know…” He sighed. “I’ll go with you, if you want.”

 

Julie smiled at him. “Yeah”

 

“Yeah?” His surprise was apparent. “Hells, yeah. Road trip, babe!” He added, walking toward Julie, kissing her on the forehead and then walked out the front door.

 

Julie felt reinvigorated. Everything that had been dark in her head had been turned to light by Logan’s visit. She finished Mama Rosa’s pizza logo, submitted it and collected payment within the hour after he walked out the door. As she worked, she thought about Logan and his impact on her life.

 

When she moved to the city, he was her roommate and her first friend. They had spent so many nights going out and then staying in bed all the next day, talking about life, philosophy and art. Logan was the most beautiful person she had ever met and during those early years, he made a home within her heart that she knew would never be occupied by anyone else.

 

She had come out to him 2 years before she had told her parents and when she met Tawny, he was the first to meet her. He was her biggest support system and she was glad he would be with her as she faced her parents.

 

Even more, she knew that it would be an emotional trip for Logan, as well. She knew that his own coming out was disastrous. His father had caught him chatting with guys on AOL when he was 17, beat the shit out of him and kicked him out of the house. He hadn’t talked to anybody in his family since that day.

 

He had lost everything and then moved to the city alone, when he was barely an adult but he had made a life for himself. He had worked hard to finish high school and then he put himself through college. He used his degree in psychology to work with at risk youth and volunteered at a shelter where he counseled homeless LGBT youth.  

 

WIth the exception of his tumultuous relationship with Michael, Logan’s life was pretty amazing. There were times, however, when he would become an emotional wreck and Julie was kind of afraid that the trip back home might stir the beast inside.

 

She picked up her cell phone, opened the text messages and typed:

About that trip home with me, don’t worry about it. I think I need to go alone.

 

Her hand hovered above the “send” button as she tried to imagine Logan’s response. Would he be angry? Would he feel hurt? Worst of all, would he agree?

 

She sighed, erased the message, and threw her phone on the couch.

 

“No” She thought. He would see right through her and insist on going anyway. She knew that once Logan had set his mind to something, there was no way to deter him. So, as always, she would indulge his whim and suffer with the worry of his well being in silence.

Coming Out and Coming Home Chapter 10

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By 11:00, they had smoked an entire bowl, eaten all the bacon and drank all the orange juice. Julie’s bladder was full and so she decided to finally get out of bed. She used the bathroom as Logan stood in the doorway and recounted what he remembered from the night before.

 

He went to George’s with a group of people and they drank, a lot. There was kareokee…somebody got mad…yada…yada….yada….

 

The only thing Julie could think about was how great it felt to piss but she was glad to have Logan’s voice, filling the space in her empty apartment. Once she had finished peeing, wiped and pulled up her own Tomboy boxer briefs, she noticed Logan was staring at her, wordlessly.

 

“What?” She asked self-consciously.

 

Logan answered without cracking a smile. “I seriously thought you peed standing up. I guess you just proved me wrong.”

 

“You DICK!” Julie exclaimed and threw a roll of toilet paper at him.

 

They both laughed and Julie rolled her eyes in the mirror.

 

She yawned at her reflection and noticed that she looked like a pile of warm shit.

 

“How do you do it, man?” She asked. “You had a ROUGH night but you’re up early making breakfast and shit…and you look amazing?”

 

Logan thought about it. “I’m Irish,” he replied. Then he gave Julie her favorite, impish smile.  

Coming Home and Coming Out Chapter 9

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Back at her apartment, she stripped Logan down into nothing but his boxer briefs, laid him on the couch and placed an empty wastebasket next to his head. In all this, he said nothing. Julie wiped his auburn brown hair out of his eyes, tucking it behind his ear with one finger. Then, she kissed him on the forehead and walked to her desk.

 

Mama Rosa’s pizza was still smiling at her from the screen. Behind her, she could hear Logan vomit in the wastebasket and then groan. Julie sighed, closed the lid on the laptop, fixed him a cup of water and then collapsed in her own bed. Within a moment, she was fast asleep and the weight that had collected on her melted away.

 

The next morning, Julie awoke to the smell of bacon and coffee. She glared at the clock on her bedside table. It was 9:00 am. She covered her head in her pillow, protesting the start of a new day. Just as she had decided she would spend the day in her bed, 10,000 Maniacs floated from the kitchen and crawled under her head pillow.

 

“Becuase the night belongs to lovers

Because the night belongs to us.”

 

Logan’s voice joined in on the second refrain and Julie couldn’t help it. She lowered the pillow from her head and joined in.

 

“Have I doubt when I’m alone

Love is a ring, the telephone

Love is an angel disguised as lust

Here in our bed until the morning comes.”

 

Logan was leaning on the frame of the doorway, still dressed in only his boxer briefs. He held a plate piled with bacon and a glass of orange juice. His blue eyes were squinted and his lips were pursed in a boyish grin. Julie envied his beauty.

 

He raised one eyebrow. “We have to stop meeting like this” he teased then walked to the bedside, placed the plate of bacon and orange juice on the bedside table, and sat down on the bed beside Julie.

 

Julie chuckled and took a piece of bacon off the plate. Between chews, she said “I hope this is turkey bacon”.

 

Logan huffed, reached in his pocket and produced a small glass pipe. “Wake and bake?” He asked. He did not wait for an answer before he lit the bowl and took the green hit….and so they smoked.

 

As they smoked, they talked. They talked about nothing in particular. He didn’t mention Tawny and she didn’t mention Michael. The pair just existed in the moment. It was so effortless to exist like this with Logan.

 

“If all boys were like you, Logan” Julie mumbled.

 

Logan was mid sentence in a rant about postmodern-something when Julie said these words. His sentence erupted in a deep laugh. When Julie didn’t laugh back, he tilted his head to the side, frowned and added, “What? You would make me your wife?”

 

Julie laughed too hard. When they both composed themselves, she added seriously. “If all boys were like you, it wouldn’t be so hard to at least pretend, you know?”

 

Logan rested his head on her chest and sighed. “I know, Jewel…I know.”

 

They lay like this for a while and the feeling hung between them. They were drawn to one another because of the commonality of their fears and regrets. They had both given up something to embrace their true selves and for this, they would always be bound.

 

“THIS is community.” Julie thought and she realized that Logan was more family to her than anyone back in *town name*. Then, she remembered the invitation, the phone call, and the wedding.

 

“I’m going home,” she said.

 

Logan huffed. It was a small gesture but Julie knew that she didn’t have to say any more. He got it and this is why she loved him so. She never had to explain herself to him.

 

After another moment, Logan sat up, put the pipe to Julie’s lip and lit it for her. She took a long hit from the pipe and as she did, she stared at Logan. His lip was busted, why hadn’t she noticed it the night before.

 

Once she had exhaled a thick plume of smoke, she said “Your lip.”

 

Logan raised his fingers to the busted spot, self consciously, lowered his eyes and muttered “Yeah.”

 

This was the entire exchange on the matter. She didn’t press for any more information. She knew him too. Instead, she took the pipe, pressed it to his lips and lit it for him. As he inhaled, she vowed to kill Michael next time she saw him.

Coming Out and Coming Home Chapter 8

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Back at her apartment, she stripped Logan down into nothing but his boxer briefs, laid him on the couch and placed an empty wastebasket next to his head. In all this, he said nothing. Julie wiped his auburn brown hair out of his eyes, tucking it behind his ear with one finger. Then, she kissed him on the forehead and walked to her desk.

 

Mama Rosa’s pizza was still smiling at her from the screen. Behind her, she could hear Logan vomit in the wastebasket and then groan. Julie sighed, closed the lid on the laptop, fixed him a cup of water and then collapsed in her own bed. Within a moment, she was fast asleep and the weight that had collected on her melted away.

Coming Out and Coming Home Chapter 7

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When Julie woke up, she had 15 new missed calls. She was groggy when she picked up her cell phone and checked the call log. Tawny had called 4 times. The other 11 missed calls were from Logan.

 

“Shit” she muttered and she fought her eyes awake enough to find the clock in her living room. It was 1:45am.

 

“FUCK!”

 

She dialed the phone with shaky hands and paced while it rang 1…2….3 times…Voicemail…

 

“Fuck, fuck fuck!”

 

She tried again. This time, Logan answered on the first ring.

 

“Where are you, is everything okay?”

 

The voice on the other line was slow and slurred. The only words she could make out were “Michael’s” and “Locked out” followed by a string of obscenities and what she thought sounded like pounding fists on the door.

 

“Logan!” She spoke sternly into the phone. “Stay there. I’m coming. Whatever you do, don’t go anywhere and DON’T pound on the door anymore. Just sit there quietly. I’ll be there in 10 minutes.” Silence….”Logan, I’m serious. You don’t want to make him mad.”

 

“Okay” Logan muttered.

 

‘Click”

Coming Home and Coming Out Chapter 6

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When Julie woke up, she had 15 new missed calls. She was groggy when she picked up her cell phone and checked the call log. Tawny had called 4 times. The other 11 missed calls were from Logan.

 

“Shit” she muttered and she fought her eyes awake enough to find the clock in her living room. It was 1:45am.

 

“FUCK!”

 

She dialed the phone with shaky hands and paced while it rang 1…2….3 times…Voicemail…

 

“Fuck, fuck fuck!”

 

She tried again. This time, Logan answered on the first ring.

 

“Where are you, is everything okay?”

 

The voice on the other line was slow and slurred. The only words she could make out were “Michael’s” and “Locked out” followed by a string of obscenities and what she thought sounded like pounding fists on the door.

 

“Logan!” She spoke sternly into the phone. “Stay there. I’m coming. Whatever you do, don’t go anywhere and DON’T pound on the door anymore. Just sit there quietly. I’ll be there in 10 minutes.” Silence….”Logan, I’m serious. You don’t want to make him mad.”

 

“Okay” Logan muttered.

 

‘Click”

Coming Out and Coming Home Chapter 5

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She hadn’t really thought about home in a while. Not like this. Home was a weird concept to Julie. She had made a life in the city but it never felt like home. Home was a distant thing, like the love her mother had for her.

 

But now, as she lay on her couch in her empty condo staring at the ceiling, her mother’s words echoed in her head. “I can’t wait to see you, you know” and then “I’ll see you soon”. Julie felt nauseous.

 

How long had it been since she had been to that place?

 

“3 years” a small voice answered in her head.

 

“3 years” Julie repeated aloud. Then she fell quietly asleep.

Coming Home Chapter 3

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It was 10pm on the same night. Julie was sitting at her desk in the dark, drinking coffee by the light of her laptop. She was working on a logo for “Mama Rosa’s Handmade Pizzas”. This was her “day job”. She made logos, banners and brochures for companies. They were mostly small companies, who had chosen her based on price alone. They always wanted something stupid and cute, like the damned smiling pizza she was working on for Mama Rosa. She hated creating things like this….stupid cute things for companies who would probably be bankrupt in 5 years time but it paid the bills, and so Julie worked.

 

Sometimes, she worked all night long and slept all day. This suited her well enough and so she continued paying her bills by doing freelance graphic design. She made other art; real art but she hadn’t had an luck selling any of it to a gallery or collector.

 

When she had dreamt of becoming an artist, the dream looked nothing like this. She didn’t imagine herself setting in the dark in the middle of the night, designing logos. She had had dreams of gallery openings and art shows; maybe even illustration for games and movies. Really, those were the reasons for her moving to the city in the first place.

 

The fact that she had failed so miserably was killing her. That, and the fact that with every cutesy logo she designed and sold, she felt like she was selling a little piece of her soul.

 

It bothered her, to the very core. As an artist, she was fundamentally opposed to capitalism. “The system” was the thing that had tried to stuff her into a box; to kill her creativity. The irony of the fact that she now used that creativity to support the system of capitalism was not lost on her. It was just another thing to add to the ever growing list of things she hated about her life.

 

Her phone had been ringing all evening long. It wasn’t the landline phone, the one that only her mother (and now Susie Beechum, apparently), used to call her. It was her cell phone, which meant that it was a real person. Either Tawny or a friend, calling her to apologize or invite her out for a drink. She didn’t have the energy to answer it.

 

She knew that whomever it was probably wanted something from her. Even if they didn’t realize it, they wanted something from her. Even if the only thing they wanted was her company, Julie was sure that it was more than she could give. Between the phone call with Susie, the fight with Tawny and the pizza smiling at her from the screen of her laptop, she had nothing left to give.

 

She would ignore them, she decided, until whomever it was stopped calling or drove to her house and forced her out into the world. She would just sit in her chair, staring at her laptop screen with only Mama Rosa’s fucking smiley Pizza for company. She would not even change clothes or take a bath. At least then, she thought, she would have a good excuse for not attending Susie Beechum’s wedding.

 

Julie was trying to figure out what she to do about them wedding when, suddenly, she had to go to the bathroom. Then, the phone rang, again. This time, it wasn’t the soft, melodic ring of her cell phone. It was harsh and it rang all around her. The sound pulled her out of her own head and before she had really thought about it, she was on her feet with the landline phone in her hand.

 

“Susie?” She answered.

 

There was a long pause and then a deep chuckle. “No, son. It’s me, dad.”

 

Julie was immediately disappointed.

 

“Oh. Hi, dad.”

 

“Well, don’t sound so excited to hear from me.” He teased.

 

Julie softened. “I’m always happy to hear from you, daddy.”

 

“Great. How are things in the big city?” He asked.

 

“Everything’s good..Well you, know, I pretty much just work and things.”

 

“That’s great. Well, listen…” he trailed off.

 

“Your mom wants to talk to you” Julie mouthed the words as her dad spoke them.

 

“Yeah, okay. I love you, dad.”

 

“I love you too, son.” He replied. Julie took a deep breath and then sat down.

 

“Hey, honey! It’s been awhile, how have you been?” Her mom’s voiced chirped through the phone line. Before Julie could answer the question, her mom was already talking again. “Where you gonna call you momma and tell her that you were coming home?”

 

Julie looked at the clock. It had been 5 hours since she had talked to Susie Beechum on the phone. “Word travels fast” she thought but she didn’t speak aloud. She just waited for her mother to speak again.

 

…and she did. “Anyway, I was thinking that maybe we could all go to the park and take some pictures…you know, like old times…and I KNOW that your brother is going to want to see you. You haven’t even met Lilly yet. She’s lovely. I think you’re really gonna like her. We spent the whole weekend together, last weekend…”

 

Her mother’s voice went on, carrying through the phone line into Julie’s ear but they were just words. She was too lost in her own thoughts to comprehend, as her mom recounted all the things that she and Lily were doing together. “The daughter you never had” Julie thought and she tried not to listen. She tried not to feel like she was being replaced by this faceless woman; her brother’s lover but she couldn’t will herself to feel any other way.

 

It was what it was and every conversation with her mom these days left her feeling this way. No, she didn’t want to meet Lily. She didn’t want to see exactly what her mom REALLY wanted her to be. Still, she couldn’t stop herself from picturing the two together and her mind made an image of LIly, for her.

 

She was probably blonde and perky. She wore little black dresses and heels to formal events. Julie was sure she loved makeup and manicures, cleaning supplies and doing stupid little crafts. She laughed at Julie’s mother’s jokes and charmed Julie’s brother with her long eyelashes. She was perfectly girly and perfectly straight. She was normal. Most of all, she was the exact opposite of Julie in every way. This was enough to make Julie’s mom love her, for real.

 

“Anyway” Her mom digressed. “We’ll have to go shopping when you get here…to get you something you can wear to the wedding.”

 

Julie knew that her mom meant “I want to buy you a dress” but she did not argue, or refuse. She figured they could sort all that out, when she got there. Still, she could hear her mom’s breath on the other end of the phone. She sensed that her mom was anticipating Julie to rebel but she didn’t. She didn’t agree, but the didn’t protest and this seemed to be enough to satisfy her mother.

 

After a brief moment of silence, her mother spoke slowly. “I can’t wait to see you, you know.” It was the same sequence of words Susie Beechum had uttered earlier in the day but her mom’s were more careful and much, much heavy.

 

Julie felt a stirring inside her; one that she didn’t quite understand. She had to fight the tears welling in her eyes, so that she could speak. “Yeah, me too.” She was surprised that she had meant it. “It’s been a while.”

 

“Yeah. Well, I better go feed your dad. I’ll see you soon.”

 

“Yeah, see you soon.”
There was silence on the phone and then a dial tone. Julie hung the phone on the wall, walked into her living room, and collapsed on the couch.

Coming Home Chapter 2

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Julie walked around the condo for a while, picking things up and putting them back in their tidy little places. She felt no sense of remorse for the thing that she had lost…the thing she had spent the past three years of her life building. Where Tawny was concerned, there was no room for loss. Julie knew she would be back. She always came back after a few nights on the town, or a week at her mom’s.

 

Once, she was gone for an entire month. That time Julie had actually felt a hole in her life where Tawny had been. That time, it almost felt real. But then Tawny showed up at 3am, banging on the front door of the condo. Julie opened the door, let her in without saying a word and things just resumed, as they were before she left.

 

It was strange but familiar and as Julie finished cleaning up the destruction from their argument, she realized that Tawny was the most constant thing in her life. She was a beautiful storm, for sure, but Julie knew that she would always blow back to her. The problem was that Julie wasn’t sure that she wanted it, anymore. She had grown so tired of it all. She was so numb to the explosion that was Tawny that she really wasn’t sure if she would let her back in this time.

 

This time, she would leave her standing outside that door at 3 o’clock in the morning. Even if it was raining when she came back, she wouldn’t open the door. She wouldn’t even look through the peep hole in the front door. She would just leave her standing there, with her little pink suitcase in her hand. Then, Tawny would know that it was really over.

 

She could do this, couldn’t she?

 

Of course not. She would let Tawny in. She will always let Tawny in.

 

Once the condo was tidy, with all the little things in their proper place (except of course the things that Tawny had taken), Julie found herself in their bedroom…her bedroom. She was standing in the door of the room, looking at herself in the adjoining bathroom mirror.

 

Her eyes were the same stark blue they had always been. They were the eyes of a child, with shallow fine lines growing around them. Her eyeliner was smeared, giving her a smoky, almost too sexy look. Her cheeks were taught and smeared with reds and blues from her painted hands. Her dark hair was a tangle of long dreadlocks, except for one side, which Tawny had convinced her to shave. It was a look that Julie, secretly, kind of hated. Her body was lean but strong and she noticed, for the millionth time that her shoulders were too wide for a woman.

 

Her full lips were pursed, her eyebrows were creased and she realized that she wasn’t smiling anymore. Like the books from the bookshelf, Tawny had taken that with her when she left. She couldn’t be sure if it was one of the things that Tawny had taken a long time ago but never remembered to bring back, like the Fear and Loathing DVD or the fucking toaster.

 

Finally, Julie surveyed her body, again. “You’re too thin” She could hear her momma saying. “And why do you insist on always dressing like a 12 year old boy?” She sighed a heavy sigh and shook her mother’s voice from her head but the truth was that she despised herself for looking like a walking lesbian stereotype.

 

Then, she remembered the invitation and the phone call. She would see her mother again, soon because Susie Beechum was getting married and she was going to attend the wedding….alone. Her expression turned into an even harder grimace. It stared at her from her bathroom mirror with hard, accusing eyes. Tawny was gone, and she was going home.