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.

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 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 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 Out and Coming Home (a working story) Chapter 1

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It was a kiss….just a simple kiss. It was a closed mouth, barely gaping, pressed against her cheek, in the back of her dad’s El Camino after the Volleyball Team’s loss to North Hills. To the giver of the kiss (Susie Beechum), it was no big deal, but to the receiver (Julie Carson), it was everything.

 

For Julie, it would be the beginning of a 3 year unrequited love affair. It would be, at least for a while, the kiss that Julie would use as a standard for which all kisses would be compared. More importantly, Julie would spend the remaining of her middle school and high school years perfecting the art of kissing girls.

 

She remembered, quite vividly, every kiss she experienced during these years. She could recall the feeling of every pair of soft lips which tasted of strawberry lip gloss, snuck behind the bleachers or behind the closed doors of the bedrooms of innocent young girls. Some of these kisses were given, some were taken but they were all very much forbidden.


It was funny to Julie, in hindsight, how an innocent kiss on the cheek could create such a strong awakening for her. It was funnier, still, how the same kiss was so small and meaningless for her good friend, Susie.

 

This was Julie’s precise thoughts as she read the wedding announcement for Mr. Billy Sanders and Mrs. Susie Beechum (high school sweethearts). She was setting at her breakfast nook, in the one bedroom condo that she occasionally shared with her sometimes girlfriend, Tawny.

 

As she sat and listened to the chaos Tawny was creating in the bedroom, she tried to wrap her brain around everything that had happened this afternoon. She had been outside, working on a large canvas piece when the phone had rang, so now the piece of paper in her hand was covered with rainbow colored fingerprints.

 

The phone call was from Susie Beecham, herself. She had called to ask if Julie had received the wedding announcement. Julie had received it, weeks ago but she had tucked it in the bin with her coupons and past due credit card bills. It was still unopened. She wanted to forget that it existed.

 

“Well” Susie’s voice promted.

 

“Huh” Julie replied.

 

“The invitation. Have you received it, yet?”

 

Julie lied. “It just came this morning, there must have been a problem with the mail. It’s beautiful.”

 

There was a silence on the other end of the phone. Julie felt her face flush. She knew that Susie knew she was lying. Susie cleared her throat before speaking, again. “It’s plus one. You could bring a…” Susie paused longer than necessary. “You know, you could bring a friend, or whatever.”

 

In the next room, Julie could hear Tawny throwing things and cursing. “Um, it’ll probably be just me.”

 

“Oh…Oh!” Susie was cheery again and she spent the next 15 minutes gushing about seating charts, flower arrangements and her eventual, unnamed children. To all this, Julie just nodded and added the occasional “Uh-huh” and “Oh, really?”.

 

It all felt very surreal and Julie didn’t realize that she had actually agree to attend the wedding until the conversation began to wind down and Susie said “I can’t wait to see you, you know.”

 

Julie’s heart thudded against her chest when she heard those words but all she could muster was a weak, “Yeah, me too.”

 

There was another long pause before Susie spoke again. “Hey, I have to go. Is this a landline phone?”

 

The room was spinning. “Uh, yeah.”

 

“Well that’s charming. I’ll see you soon.”

 

“Yeah”

 

“Okay, buh-bye”.

 

“Bye, girl”

 

‘Click’

 

Julie steadied herself on the kitchen counter, retrieved the invitation from the coupon bin and opened it up.

 

There she sat, running her fingers across the golden embossed letters on the front of the invitation. She held that damned RSVP card in her hand for a while. She considered taking it outside and setting it on fire as the ruckus in the next room grew louder but she gathered the energy to fill it out. She left the check mark in the plus one box empty, placed the card in an envelope, and took it outside to the mailbox. For a while she sat, looking at the rainbow fingerprints on the return envelope.

 

When she walked back inside, Tawny was in the front room, taking books off the bookshelf and stuffing them in her little pink suitcase.

 

“Going on a vacation, babe? Julie asked.

 

There was a moment’s hesitation as Tawny paused, made eye contact with Julie and then took a deep breath. Julie recognized the gesture as the calm before the storm and she raised one eyebrow. This was a challenging gesture and Tawny answered it with a barrage of anger….and so they danced. It was a dance of fury as they recounted every ounce of pain that had occurred throughout their 3 year on again and off again relationship.


Angry, nasty words flew from their mouths like blades of agony as they waltzed from the living room to the kitchen and into the bedroom. Tawny threw things and Julie apologized. Julie begged and Tawny yelled. To anyone on the outside of the dance, it would look like hate but Julie felt nothing but passion toward Tawny. What she found in the language of hate from Tawny was love and the strongest, most earth shadowing lust.

 

She imagined, as Tawny berated her with the foulest words, was herself wrestling Tawny to the floor and tearing at the slinky silk shirt until nothing but the red lace bra was showing.

 

She imagined herself crawling on top of Tawny and smothering her in deep throbbing kisses. She imagined her mouth covering Tawny’s until she could speak no more angry words.Then, she would slip her hand into Tawny’s matching panties and Tawny’s filthy words would be replaced with deep, aching moans.

 

She would caress the angriest parts of Tawny until she came and the two would collapse into one another, without another word. Only then could they continue to live the life they had built together. If this was a dance, Julie knew that was the only way it would end.
But she was exhausted, emotionally and physically. She had grown old and tired of Tawny’s dance and so she vowed to let her go, for good this time. She felt no real anger or sadness at the thought of this. In fact, the only thought she could muster was the sound of Susie’s cheerful voice, and that damned RSVP card. So, she let Tawny yell, grab her bag and then walk out the door.

Darkness Within—.99 cents #OneDaySale #Kindle

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Happy Groundhog’s Day! In celebration of a (hopefully) returning Spring, I’m offering a one day sale on my debut novel, Darkness Within (Amazon Ebook). Until 6:00 pm (CST) tomorrow, it will be on sale for only .99 cents! This is a 30 hour deal and will only be offered once! Click on the picture (or link below) for a direct link to Amazon to get your copy, OR search for “ac willis darkness within” on Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Darkness-Within-AC-Willis-ebook/dp/B00HHZ5D30/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388741401&sr=1-1&keywords=ac+willis+darkness+within

Goodreads book giveaway!

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Today is the day that the Darkness Within Book Giveaway opens up!!! It is for one physical; signed copy of my debut novel. I will ship the book to the winner after the contest ends on February 2, 2014. Follow the link below to enter. You may have to create a goodreads account to enter (if you don’t have one already)

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/77463-darkness-within

Darkness Within—on sale soon! #EbookSale #Kindle

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Mark your calendars—Darkness Within is going on sale soon!

On February 2, 2014 at 10:00 am (CST), Darkness Within ebook through Amazon will go on sale for only .99 cents (76% off)! It will remain at this price until 6:oo pm (CST) on February 3, 2014!

Then, it will go up to $1.99 and remain on sale until February 5, 2014 at 2:00 am (CST).

Finally, it will remain on sale at $2.99 until 10:00 am (CST) on February 6, 2014.