My throat felt tight and my eyes were hot. I gulped for air and turned my head to rest my cheek on Gwen’s breast. I couldn’t keep it in and my chest heaved against hers as a quiet sob ripped through my throat.
“What are you- Oh my god, are you crying?” Gwen asked incredulously, stroking my arm. I sat up, shoving her arm away from where it had been wrapped around me and wiped a tear from my cheek.
“I’m not crying!” I protested, but my voice broke. “It’s just-” Gwen was laughing at me! “Come on, do you have no heart? Bette and Tina are supposed to be together forever!” I sobbed at her. “You knew this was going to happen and you made me watch it anyway, you bitch!”
She cracked up, doubled over laughing at my heartbroken state. “It’s a TV show. Tabby, you’re crying over L Word. They’re not real!” she managed in between chuckles.
“It doesn’t matter. It’s – They’re – Jesus, Gwen, she was her first!” I wasn’t crying anymore, mad at her instead.
“So she can go out and experience something new,” she shrugged. “That’s a good thing. You never know what’s going to happen, who’s going to stay together or get together or get back together or what’s going to fall apart. That’s all part of the fun.” She got up to get herself a glass of water.
“It’s not fun,” I grumbled, clutching a pillow to my chest. I wiped the stray tears from my face and the ache behind my eyes dimmed and took up residence faintly behind my heart. She brought a glass of water for me without asking and I gulped it down gratefully. I hadn’t realized how thirsty I’d gotten. Wordlessly, she handed me the other glass and I drank the whole thing as well, but slower. I handed it back to her with a raised brow and then flushed. Right, I’d been crying, of course I was thirsty.
“Can we watch something happy now?” I begged.
“Happy? With lesbians?” she joked wryly. “Pick out whatever,” she gestured to the shelf.
I looked through the titles she’d already made me watch: My Summer of Love, Itty Bitty Titty Committee, But I’m a Cheerleader, Lost and Delirious, Better than Chocolate, and Boys Don’t Cry. I guess happiness was a mixed bag.
“Find anything?” she smirked at me, an eyebrow raised mockingly.
I shrugged, still thinking about the fictional break up I’d just witnessed. “Can we just…I don’t know.”
“You want to go for a walk?” she asked, and I lit up. How could she know me better than I knew myself? We pulled on our coats and I slipped on my flats as she took a cigarette from a pack in the back of a kitchen drawer. It was odd that she wanted to smoke, since usually it was a social thing for her, but we had both been stressed out at work. She lit it and we quickly made our way out the front door, locking it behind us.
The night was cold and crisp, the stars overhead were glowing, crystal clear points in a dark lake. Our breath fanned out in front of us and frost was already gathering on the grass. The tops of my feet chilled between my flats and the hem of my jeans.
“Gwen,” I took her hand in mine, velvet-soft, warm, slightly larger than mine. We fell into synchronized step immediately, I’m not sure whether it was a conscious effort on her part or not. It didn’t seem like it.
“What’s up, girl?” she asked, blowing smoke from the corner of her mouth. I loved when she did that. I loved the Christmas smell of her vanilla and clove cigarettes and wondered what she must taste like.
“What’s it like to live in the city, where you can’t see the milky way, or the teaspoon?”
“The teaspoon?” she laughed questioningly, pulling another drag off her cigarette.
I nudged her playfully. “Pleiades. The Seven Sisters. It looks like the Big Dipper but really, really tiny so I always called it the teaspoon. It’s right there,” I pointed it out to her and she readjusted her glasses.
“Wow, I don’t think I ever even realized there was a constellation there,” she confessed, cigarette pressed against the frame of her glasses. She still hadn’t let go of my hand. I let my head drop to her shoulder and looked up at the stars, breathing her in.
“There’s a thousand of them. Cassiopeia is that big ‘W’ shape, and her daughter Andromeda and Perseus are both up there with her. Perseus is carrying Medusa’s head – that red star right there is her eye, and it’s a malicious star in every culture.”
“Weird,” she craned her head back to look at the constellations I’d pointed out. The cold bit into my skin and I was shivering, but I brushed my nose against the skin of her neck. I leaned in and kissed the warm, soft skin below her ear, begging silently for her not to pull away.
“Your nose is cold,” she noted, not really a complaint. She took a drag off her cigarette and I slowly kissed her neck. I let my mouth linger. I had wanted to feel her for so long. She was so soft, so sweet. I brought my free hand up to slip my fingers through her belt loop and sighed into her skin. We were quiet for a few minutes as my lips mapped out the contours of her skin, memorizing each inch of velvet, each sweet freckle. I could feel her chest rise and fall as she smoked, could feel her body pressed against me, so much warmer than mine.
She squeezed my hand and I pressed a tender kiss against her skin and allowed myself to come up from nuzzling her neck. She stared at me and my heart raced. Her eyes sparkled like fire, as brilliant and wonderful as any of the stars overhead. My fingers twitched against her side and I clutched at her belt loop for balance.
She dropped her cigarette but didn’t watch where it landed. Her stare was melting me, killing me, burning me just as I was freezing from the frost all around us. She brought her fingers up to brush against my cheek and I closed my eyes at the whisper soft pleasure. “You’re shivering,” she realized, and crushed the cigarette under her sneaker.
“Gwen,” I protested, but I could only whisper. I tightened my grip on her jeans and she brought her hand up to cover mine. I stepped closer to her and her legs entangled with mine, her torso pressed against all my curves, and I skimmed my nose along hers, brushed my cheek beside her own. I was begging her with my body but I wasn’t ashamed. I whimpered and her lips brushed against my cheek, not so much a kiss as a drag of her open mouth across my skin. It felt so delicious that I shuddered. She pulled back slightly.
“We’d better get you inside,” she breathed, and I could feel her chest move against mine. I wanted to protest again, but she unhooked my grip on the loop of her jeans. She squeezed my hand reassuringly and I gripped onto hers like a lifeline as I followed her back into the warmth of the house.