Disclaimers: The two main characters may or may not look like two ladies on a television program that we all know and love. But, it's uber, it's mine, so poo on you! If you're under 18, don't like relationships between consenting adult women, yadda yadda yadda, take a hike.

Sex/Violence/Other Stuff: this story, at some point or another, will depict a consensual relationship between two adult women and to adult men. There's a little violence that won't mentally scar anyone. Oh yes, and all my characters are potty-mouths.

Feedback: Send comments, questions, threats, praises, canned goods and beer to: BardBQue@Aol.com




Part One

The steam in the bathroom was dissipating around her reflection. She was calmly combing her wet hair, watching the growing pile of fallen blonde soldiers accumulate in the sink.

"Dammit I hate stress. I'm going bald and I haven't even hit 21."she mumbled to herself.

The phone rang and she jumped in spite of herself. Biting her bottom lip, she waited in anticipation for the answering machine to pick up.

*click * Hey, this is Alex, I'm erhmm…. BUSY.. leaveamessage. * beeeeeep *

"Yo, pick it up ho, I know you're just getting yourself off in the showe-"

"Hello?!?" she quickly picked up the phone before Tony could finish his obnoxious message on the machine.

"Hehe… what's going on? I got your message, tell me ‘bout your worries before you finally dig yourself into that hole in your backyard." he said, trying to lighten up his brooding friend's mood.

"How many times have I told you NOT to leave messages about my auto-erotic-stimulation habits?! My mom could be listening." She scolded.

"But she wasn't, so dish it."

Sigh. Leave it to me to be blessed with the world's most sensitive friends.

"Alright, here we go…" Alex took a deep breath to prepare herself for the re-hashing of her soul's latest torment.

"Well, Natalie went back to Colorado to finish college. We've been doing the long distance thing and all that shit that you know about. A few days ago, I get a call from Noelle.."

"Wait, your ex? The one you had all that drama with?"

"Yes, that one. Now shuttup and let me finish. So, she calls me up, and tricks me into talking to her for hours. In said hours, she suddenly tells me that she realized everything that she did to me was horrible and horrendous- "

"So she finally saw the light?" He interjected.

"Yeah. and then she tells me she would like more than anything in the world to try to make up to me all the shit she put me through."

"All right, you needn't say another word. I can finish this up. You're caving, you're thinking of going back with her, you wanna dump what's-her-face-who-doesn't-live-here-right-now-and-probably-won't-in-the-near-future, correct?", Tony said, an air of amusement in his voice.

"Well, yes and no. I mean I care about Natalie, in my own way. I think it's just weird about Noelle and … well, I dunno. I was thinking, when you're with someone in a relationship, I shouldn't really be .. you know …. Thinking about anyone else? Like, wandering eyes and all that?" Alex was absently twirling the phone chord between her fingers. She was gazing around her room, looking at nothing and everything at once. The posters on her wall, her desk, it all swirled and turned into one giant mass of crap. Her heart was hurting, and she wasn't even finished with half the story. A shiver ran down her spine, past the towel wrapped around her dripping form. She waited patiently for Tony to respond with some mystical, all knowing phrase that would explain everything, or at least make her feel better.

"Uhh… I think it's like… natural to have wandering eyes. Sort of. I mean, I look, just because it gets in my line of sight, you know? Anyways, you want to go play pool and get a milkshake?"

"Yeah, I thought that's what we were going to do. Am I driving tonight or are you?" She asked, disappointment in her voice.

"I'll drive since you're all… depressed and stuff."

"All right, I'll be ready in 10 minutes."

After she hung up the phone, Alex walked over to her closet and began getting dressed. She picked up her usual wardrobe of jeans and a t-shirt. Her mind was still all sorts of confused. She had neglected to tell Tony of where exactly it was her eyes had been wandering lately. She closed her eyes and began dejectedly listening to Sublime play on her stereo. A small smile spread across her features as she thought back to the painting class she had just started this semester. She needed an art elective and this was the only thing open, so she had no choice, despite her complete lack of artistic talent. She had gone into the class expecting to want to commit hara-kiri with a paint spatula within the first ten minutes. Until of course, her eyes had wandered to a brooding figure with wild black hair and a worn out biker jacket sitting in a corner. Suddenly the teacher's mindless psycho-babble about still lives and fruits became background noise, as each of her senses shifted into overdrive and she began absorbing the strange but beautiful specimen with every molecule she had. The girl was obviously ignoring everything around her and was scribbling in a sketchbook. Alex took the time to commit to memory everything about her: Dirty combat boots, ripped denim jeans, a thick black belt with a fairly large buckle, a gray Jimi Hendrix shirt, the black leather jacket, and then came her face. Angular, but beautiful, with soft, full lips, great cheekbones…God, what a woman…, she said, looking off into her ceiling. It was then that she remembered the 3 seconds where the girl had stopped scribbling, her face scrunched up as if she had heard something, and then looked up directly into Alex's probing green eyes. Perhaps it was longer than three seconds, after all, Alex never knew what it was like to black out, so it could've lasted a day or two, but the girl's eyes were this enigmatic shade of blue, the kind of blue that any artist would die to create with paint. Alex grumbled as she remembered the girl didn't smile, but rather sent a wave of "PISS THE FUCK OFF" in Alex's general direction. To her embarrassment, Alex had almost tipped her stool over in shock when that happened. And so the third facet of her emotional war had been put into place.

The ringing of her telephone jolted her out of her vision of the divine, and warily, she picked it up.

"… Hullo?" she answered cautiously.

"Hey honey."

"Hey Nat. I uhm… I didn't think you were going to ah… call… tonight. Weren't you working or something?" her cheeks were 3 shades of red, having been interrupted in the middle of her memory.

"Yeah, I'm on my break, so I got a phone card and decided to call you. I've had like, the worst day. Everyone here is so fucking fake it makes me sick. Like, this guy asked for a double mocha cappuccino, and I gave him a regular mocha capp, and he was all ‘What the fuck, this isn't what I ordered!' and I was all ‘Hey, you're not the only one here waiting for coffee, EXCUSE ME if I forget one stupid shot of mocha, ya know?"

Did she breathe at all for the past 2 minutes? "Yeah, that sucks."

"ANYWAY, so like, I almost got evicted today because my landlord discovered my cat."

"How did she discover that?"

"Because like, I hadn't cleaned the litter box in like, a couple of weeks. But I mean, SHIT, I've been working like a dog, and it's not like she shits that much anyway…"

Blah blah blah blah blah..

"ALEX?! Are you listening??" Natalie nearly screamed into her ear.

"Yeah! jeezus you don't need to scream Nat, I was just grabbing my shoes." Alex pleaded, now playing with her cat to entertain herself while Natalie sent curses to patrons of the coffee bar in Colorado. Alex silently thanked a couple of saints for having her far away, then, feeling guilty, took it back. Mostly.

"Whatever. I have to go attend to the idiots' caffeine addiction. I love you"


*click *

"Mew?", her cat pleaded, and then jumped into her lap.

"I don't know. I think working with so much caffeine has made her perpetually high strung and bitchy." She said, giggling to herself slightly. Her cat merely purred in agreement.

"What I really want to knooOOw… my baby… what I really want to say, I can't define…"

Alex listened to Bradley Nowell's voice, suddenly feeling quite melancholy at her failure to properly understand her own feelings.


"So what you're saying is that you think I'm a cheap slut?"

"What?! That is absolutely NOT what I'm saying!"

"Then what ARE you saying?"

"What I'm SAYING is that you need to find someone you're comfortable with, and open up to them like you did with me, and then maybe, I dunno, start a COMMITTED relationship?!"

Carl looked over to Sorrow, who was balancing 5 bottles of beer and a bowl of French fries. Her wild black hair was momentarily tamed and put up in a ponytail, her blue eyes focusing on the pool table they had acquired for the following two hours.

She placed the goods down on a table and tossing him a bottle, cracked hers open.

"Commitment is overrated. Here, three for me, two for you." She stated matter-of-factly. "You're driving."

"Yeah, and so are you!" He countered.

"But I have better tolerance. Now, chuck up and drink up." She smiled triumphantly as she tipped her head back and chugged her beer.

The two sat down amiably for a few moments, sipping beer and eating the fries they had bought. Sorrow was looking around the pool hall, glowering at people as she usually did. Having smoked pot only a half-hour before, the duo's eyes were bloodshot; however, it only made Sorrow look even more untamed. The redness brought out the crystal blue of her eyes, and made them seem unnaturally intense. She was fiddling with a zipper from her leather jacket, zipping it up and then down, as if the zipping sound had her in a trance. It was only when she heard the sound of the door opening that she had become distracted from the magical zipper. Her jaw clenched, and instinctively she reached up and let her black hair cascade down, forming a wild, black frame to her stoic face, and successfully hiding behind it. She watched intently as the blonde girl from her painting class, the one she had caught blatantly staring at her, walked in with a male friend. It was then that she suddenly realized the balls had yet to be racked, so she got up and attended to the task as Carl happily munched away on the fries.

"Oh my god…"

"What? What is it?" Tony asked, turning around suddenly to find out what had caused in his friend such an ominous statement.

"It's the girl from my painting class." Alex nodded with her head to the pool table towards the back of the room. Her stomach was suddenly in a knot, and her palms were sweating profusely. She quickly stuffed her hands in her pocked and stared at Tony's face, which had suddenly become full of glee.

"GORGEOUS!" He exclaimed.

"I know, I know…"

"Oh yeah, she's pretty too… but I'm actually referring to that beautiful boy she has accompanying her." Tony's face was lit up; his blue eyes tended to actually sparkle when he had found good eye candy. He absent-mindedly adjusted his blue shirt, and then ran a hand through his short brown hair.

"Hey wait a minute. What's the story with her? You never mentioned ‘The Beautiful Biker Chick From Painting Class' before?" he asked.

"Well… I haven't actually talked to her. Or anything. I think I kind of pissed her off. Like, a lot."

"How so?"

"Uhmm… well I was just looking around the room when my gaze HAPPENED to fall on her, and I started admiring-"


"You say potato, I say po-tAH-to… Anyway, she caught me, gave me this evil look and that was the end of that. I think she hates me."

"Awwwwww… homegirl, who could possibly hate someone as interminably cute as yourself?"

Alex blushed slightly and let her green eyes travel over the length of the pool hall to land on her mystery woman. She had taken off her jacket and was racking the balls. She was wearing a black tee shirt which clung to her torso. Tony pushed Alex through a small crowd and managed to get a table comfortably close to the pool table where Sorrow and Carl were stationed. A waiter arrived and they both ordered milk shakes.

"Hey, dude…" Carl said suddenly, his voice a loud whisper.

Sorrow turned to him, her face serious as she noticed that the girl from her class was sitting a little too close to their own pool table.

"Did you check out the blonde girl that just walked in? She's gorgeous!" He said smiling, never taking his eyes off of Alex as he took a swig from his bottle.

"Are we going to start the game any time soon, or what? What's the deal here?" She said impatiently.

"You break, I think I'm going to go mingle."

Sorrow had already grabbed her cue and was staring intently at the triangular shape of the balls in front of her. "She's with a guy." She didn't look up at him.

"Like I have to worry. That guy's so flamey I'm surprised the fire alarm hasn't gone off. Just give me a holler when it's my turn to shoot." And with that he slid himself off the chair and began walking slowly, but purposefuly over to the table in question. Sorrow refused to watch him. Instead she sent the triangular shape before her into an explosion of colors, a few striped balls falling into a side pocket.

"Your solids," she said to no one in particular.


Tony sucked in a quick breath of air and then whispered quickly, "Ohmygodyou'renevergoingtobelievewho'swalkingoverheeeeeeeeeere!!!"

Alex glanced up from her milkshake to see the towering form of the girl's companion walking over.

He grabbed a chair and asked casually, "Mind if I join you two?"

"Not at all, sit a spell, won't you?" Tony had plastered his best ‘I'm available and I think you're gorgeous take me home and make me pant like a dog' smile and waved to an empty space at the table.

"I'm Carl, thanks for welcoming me." He said gruffly. Alex studied him momentarily, noticing the dark black hair and brown eyes, the nicely trimmed goatee and winning smile. By all accounts, I'd say he's handsome. She thought to herself. She knew Tony was dying, because he was exactly his type. He was wearing a green shirt and a pair of khaki pants, which showed he was in fairly good physical shape. Oh yeah, I can see the drool forming at the corner of Tony's mouth, she added mentally, and then smiled.

"Nice to meet you Carl, I'm Tony and that grumpy little care bear across from me is my dearest friend Alexandra."

"Just Alex." She said, extending her hand.

"Well, nice to meet you, Just Alex." Carl repeated, and took her petite hand into his own large one. "Well, I don't think I've seen you guys around these parts very often. You new here?"

"Well, we only come here when there's an emotional dilemma." Tony answered.

Carl's eyebrows went up in question and looked over to Alex.

"She's having ‘Girl Problems'." Tony looked over to Alex with a sly grin on his face.

"Oh really? Maybe I could help you out?" There was a note of disappointment in Carl's voice, but he ventured on. Alex sat quietly since Tony seemed to be handling this conversation.

"Well, grumpy, I mean, uh, ALEX, has secretly been pining over this one blue eyed black haired vix-" Alex cut off Tony's stream of language with a quick kick under the table to his shin. She opened her eyes widely, silently threatening to kill him should he utter another word in front of the object of her desire's friend. Carl however, began smiling and turned around briefly to glance at Sorrow, who had been silently playing pool by herself, sinking every one of the striped balls until only a small universe of solids remained on the table.

"You mean Her Royal Gloominess, over there?" He chuckled slightly at his own wit.

Alex and Tony both glanced over to where Sorrow stood stock still, lighting a cigarette. Alex's gaze lingered briefly, running over the slightly muscular arms to the long, surreptitious fingers which held a glowing flame close to her face. Alex forgot all about the world around her, about Tony, about Carl, about the music and the smell of the place and her bitchy girlfriend and her equally bitchy and psychotic ex girlfriend, everything just disappeared the moment that metallic blue eyes met her own mystified green ones for one brief second; then her pristine vision had turned cloudy with cigarette smoke that providing a vale for Sorrow to break the moment and turn around to begin drinking her third beer.

"Well, she's single, for starters. And she ‘swings-that-way'…" Carl glanced at Alex with a smile on his face. "… she's smart as a whip, loyal to a fault, but VERY moody, very gloomy, always brooding, cranky… she's not one to let people in, if you know what I mean. Very private person. Not much of a talker … uhm…" Carl suddenly became self-conscious as he realized he was divulging a lot of information about his friend that he probably shouldn't be.

"What's her name?" Alex's green eyes bore into Carl's brown ones, the question had come out desperately, she needed to know.


Alex tilted her head in silent concentration. How apropos… she thought.

"Sorrow…" she repeated, almost dreamily.

"Sorrow?! What the hell type of name is that?" Demanded Tony, his tone quite irritable since he had lost the spotlight with Carl.

"Hahaha… It's a funny story actually.."

"How can there be a funny story about a name like Sorrow?" Alex asked, shocked that the girl's own best friend seemed to lack sensitivity.

"Well, her parents were like, MAJOR hippies, and Jim Morrison was their god. They were so upset about him dying that they vowed they'd name their fist child Sorrow, after how everything seemed down since Jim died, and voila! that's how she got her name." Carl took a small swig from his beer bottle.

Alex sat quietly processing all the information she had just received concerning her brooding girl. Her mind raced with images of a child version of the woman she was lusting after, wondering what it was like to grow up with such a negative vibe surrounding her constantly. It had obviously followed her into her adult life, as Sorrow was certainly not the world's most pleasant of people. Beautiful, yes, but pleasant? Not at all.

Carl and Tony were engaged in small talk when suddenly, out of nowhere, Alex heard a small "whooooooooooooosh" noise, and then a smack and a cloud of blue dust forming at the back of Carl's head. His eyes shot open, and turned around quickly to see where his assailant was. Three heads looked over as Sorrow made her way to their table, looking none too pleased. When she finally arrived, her eyes were glowing with anger. Everyone waited for her to speak.

"I'm getting out of here. I have work tomorrow." Sorrow looked directly at Carl, even though there was something that seemed to be tugging her to look to her right. She knew the blonde was sitting there, looking at her. Part of her wanted to snap at her, the other was quite tempted to reach over and plant a long, searing kiss on those adorable lips. Thankfully, she remained neutral to both impulses and stared at Carl, waiting for him to respond.

"Oh.. uh, sorry, dude. I got carried away over here, although I doubt that's any reason to throw chalk at my head. It's just that Tony and Alex are great company, I really just kinda zoned out."

"Of course." She replied curtly.

"Well uhm, before you go, this is Tony…" he said, pointing to Tony, who smiled politely at Sorrow, despite his fear that the girl was going to kill someone. "… and this beautiful young lady over here is Alex."

Alex was staring at Sorrow with her mouth slightly open. She couldn't believe how powerful and beautiful and wild this girl was coming off. She realized this was her golden opportunity to come up with something witty, something charming, something mind blowing…

"Nice to meet you, finally. We're taking painting together." Yeah, that was majorly lame. Alex smiled regardless of her pathetic attempt at communication.


"Nice meeting you. I'll see you shit-head." She said, slapping Carl lightly on the back of his head before retreating.

"And that, ladies and gentlemen, is about as nice as she gets." Carl and Tony started to laugh and re-engaged in conversation. Neither realized Alex wore a goofy, albeit confused, grin on her face for the rest of the evening.

Her hand still tingled where Sorrow had held her, and her sensual voice was still reverberating through Alex's skull.

Oh, this is not good. She thought. Not good at all.


Two days later, Alex's heart was pounding like it was nobody's business. She had been thinking of nothing beyond Sorrow for the past few days, and she retreated within herself. She sat at night in the darkness of her room, watching a candle flicker, becoming mesmerized by it. It would lead her back to things that she wasn't comfortable dealing with or talking too openly about... mainly, the death of her father. Even as those thoughts seeped into her mind, they gradually faded and were replaced by images of Sorrow. Sorrow playing pool, smoking a cigarette, writing, drinking, walking, breathing… anything and everything that she had processed she had mentally put on repeat. And to make matters worse, now she was about to walk into the first real painting class, where you actually got to screw around with the brushes, and be there silently absorbing the beautiful stranger, for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Could she handle it?


As Alex walked in, she immediately noticed that Sorrow was in a corner by herself, with her back turned to the rest of the classroom. She had a veritable assembly line of paints and brushes and cans and towels lying in front of the canvas she had pinned to the wall. She was wearing a dirty t-shirt and jeans with holes at the knees and blotches of paint on them. Obviously, she was a veteran of the war of artist versus canvas.

Alex quietly set up her stuff away from Sorrow, not wanting to disturb her. There was only a handful of people in the class, and it didn't officially start for another ten minutes. Alex gathered up all of her strength and walked passed Sorrow to the water fountain.

I'm fucking brilliant sometimes. Now, on my way back, I can nod at her, she can acknowledge my presence, and we can have a nice, amiable chat. It'll be perfect. Alex smiled at her own deviousness.

As planned, she had got the drink of water, and was now moving into phase two, where she would make eye contact and force a greeting out of Sorrow. She deliberately slowed her pace down, and even made a bit of noise as she was walking to be able to catch Sorrow's attention. Not that it did much. Sorrow continued to sit indian style in front of the canvas, her eyes glued to it, as if she were trying to memorize each and every stitching. Alex decided it was best not to say anything. She would probably piss her off again, and that would spoil everything.

"All right, everyone, stand in front of your canvas! Our first project is going to be free form. Meaning, you guys can do whatever you want to the canvas in front of you for the next 2 hours. The last 45 minutes I'd like to reserve for a quick critique. NOW, don't get used to doing this ‘whatever you want' deal. This is just to get you guys loosened up, so you get used to using the paints and the brushes and the whole deal. Okay, now, get to it, let your emotions spill forth and remember it doesn't matter what comes out, just have fun with it!" The cheerful teacher clapped her hands a few times to get the kids who were dragging out the creative process to begin putting paint on their brushes.

To Alex's surprise, she was actually better at this than she had originally thought. Though at first she found it difficult to connect to her painting, soon, it was all flowing out, she just instinctively knew what to do, and, in truth, she completely forgot about everything, and everyone, around her. What seemed like only seconds later, the teacher was calling for everyone to stop painting and to clean up for their critique.

Shit. I've never done this thing before… what the hell am I supposed to say? What if someone's stuff looks like complete crap? What if MY stuff looks like complete crap? What if Sorrow thinks my stuff is complete crap?

The novelty of becoming an artist faded rather fast as slowly but surely the critiquing came to a halt in front of her canvas. Alex was panicking, and worse still, she was beginning to blush under the scrutiny of everyone's eyes.

"Err… uhm.. hi. I don't really know what to say. I've never really done this sort of thing, but I … ah… enjoyed the process." She quickly shut her mouth before any more idiocies could pour forth.

"Well… for your first time, I'd say it's a pretty successful piece. Your strokes are very powerful, confident, yet the colors you've used… the blues and greens and the darker blacks, seem to me as if you're hiding something… or perhaps that something is hiding within the picture. Keep that in mind as far as what message you want your painting to display. I'd like for you to explore that and maybe address it in your final project. Very good." The teacher moved on to the next students work. Alex was stunned but incredibly satisfied. She even felt… confident. She moved with the rest of the class to the next painting. There were only three left before they arrived in front of Sorrow's.

The teacher seemed incredibly pleased with Sorrow's work. As well anyone could've been. All the admiration that Alex held for the girl multiplied ten fold when she stood before the piece. It was a naked woman shown from mid-thigh up, her eyes looked up to what seemed to be a sun, which contained the "Ohm" symbol. Around the naked form was a radiating ice blue, almost the color of Sorrow's own eyes, and that color faded to black. In the background where ghost like faces screaming, hands that peeked out from the darkness yet held nothing. All were trying to capture the attention of the woman, but she was oblivious to everything. The strokes were powerful, the emotion was spilling out of it, the whole painting seemed to be a mass of moving colors, with a stoic and paint splattered Sorrow standing next to it. The teacher looked over to her expectantly.

"Painters are made to paint, not talk." Sorrow looked directly into the woman's eyes, daring her to make her speak more. She crossed her arms in front of her chest and looked casually at the door.

"All right… with that said, who would like to comment?" No one moved. No one even breathed.

"Surely SOMEONE has something to say? This piece certainly evokes many emotions and questions. Anyone?"

Alex bit her lip but decided on a course of action. She knew she was insane, but slowly her hand raised up and above everyone's head.

"YES! Go ahead, what would you like to say?" The teacher asked gleefully.

Sorrow's eyes moved to the center of everyone's attention, not entirely surprised that it was Alex who was speaking about her piece. She instinctively glared at Alex, waiting for her to ask something ridiculous like ‘What is it?' or ‘I don't get it. What's it about?'

Alex, shakily, began. "Well, I'm not one to speak, I mean… I'm no artist or anything but… you're uhm… your piece is very powerful and evocative in a subtle way. It seems that there's a lot of you that's coming out in there, like, you're taking a chunk of yourself out and interpreting it through paint and exposing yourself. Making yourself vulnerable…" Sorrow averted Alex's eyes when she began listening to her words. She found herself feeling very emotional and honored, and suddenly decided memorizing every inch of her boots would be fascinating. Alex continued…

"To do something like that takes an incredible amount of courage and confidence. Having to expose yourself in front of a group of strangers, having to face their criticism, is not an easy thing to do. I'm astounded that you're able to do that alone, and well, being able to interpret your emotions so beautifully, in a technical sense, is just… amazing to me." Alex had noticed Sorrow's change in body language, from arrogant to fragile, all with the sounds of her words. Sorrow's blue eyes looked up as Alex finished her sentence. She looked so beautiful, so vulnerable, and … hopeful? But it was only an instant, and her eyes were back to examining her boots.

"Expertly said. I agree with you completely." The teacher said, smiling and nodding at Alex. "With that said, I expect that you're work continues to grow with this strength and beauty. It's a good thing you have a fan here to help you along." she finished with a wink at Alex, who merely offered a small smirk.

The rest of the students grumbled as they cleaned up their mess. Before Alex realized it, Sorrow was rolling up her canvas and exiting the studio quickly to her car. She zoomed by Alex, without thanking her for her appraisal of her work. Alex didn't expect it, but still found it incredibly rude. But, there was nothing to be done, except hope.

Hours later, Sorrow was lying down in her bed, her thoughts rolling over what Alex had said. No one had ever called her brave. No one ever even acknowledged how scared she felt when she painted. But Alex had seen it; she had seen right through her. Her words were so beautiful, resounding in Sorrow's head. She had come home and cried, something she rarely did and never admitted to. She felt alone. Both her parents had been gone for years. Carl was her closest friend, and she couldn't even tell him everything that went through her mind. She didn't feel comfortable. And, he was a bit dense at times. She drifted off to sleep a few minutes later, her pillow still wet with her tears.


"So she never even thanked you, huh?"

"Nope." Alex began rubbing her tired eyes again. Tony sat biting his lip and looking at the table in front of him. He swirled his coffee with a spoon, thinking quietly to himself.

Alex looked over to The Claw machine. There was a fuzzy stuffed owl that she thought was all too adorable. She slid out of her seat and reached into the pocket of her jeans as she arrived at the controls of ‘The Claw'. Damnit I know I put change in here… lint, lint… string… movie stub.. WHOO HOO!!

"Fifty cents goes INTO the machine…" Alex was speaking to herself, trying to focus on getting the claw just in the right position to nab the owl. She squinted her eyes and pressed the button. Down went the claw, clasping securely onto the owl and picking it up. It moved a few inches before the time ran out and the owl fell back into the sea of stuffed animals in the machine. Alex silently cursed the evil contraption and returned to the booth.

"What is your obsession with this girl if she's such a bitch to you?" Tony looked up, it was an honest question, and Alex sensed that he was actually worried.

"To be perfectly honest, I don't know. It's just one of those things where… She fascinates me. There's a lot to her that I don't know and I want to know, she's beautiful, mysterious…"

"Moody and psychotic." Tony grumbled. "What about Natalie. Your GIRLFRIEND, with whom you have a committed relationship, who you might LOVE, or have you forgotten?"

Alex averted Tony's eyes and gazed out the window.

"I don't love her, Tony. You know my rules on that. And… I dunno. I just don't care to listen to her go on about herself for hours…"

"Well no shit! You have The Mistress of Gloom and Doom in one corner, and a raging egomaniac in the other! You have wonderful taste in women, my friend."

"Hang on a second. One, I'm not interested in Sorrow in that way. I'm just curious about her and I'm attracted to her. Who wouldn't be? It's just one of those things that I obsess over. To quote the great Courtney Love, ‘When I get what I want then I never want it again'." Alex finished, a triumphant smile on her face. Indeed, she didn't love Sorrow. She didn't know her. She wanted to find out about her, and she would anyway that she possibly could, but there was no basis for love. Right? And Sorrow was very beautiful. She certainly couldn't help that.

"Whatever. So what about High and Mighty? What are you going to do about her?"

"I don't know. I hate breaking up with people, it's incredibly overrated to be the ‘dump-er' as opposed to the ‘dump-ee'. Besides, we barely ever talk, she never writes to me, I think I'll just let it erode."

"What you SHOULD do is have a sense of closure. Break it off, just end it, no big deal. It'll be better that way. I mean, letting a romantic relationship erode itself from existence is like.. like…" Tony's face scrunched up as he thought hard about the metaphor he was going to use. "Whatever. It's just not good and you should make sure that she knows how you feel."

Alex stopped listening to him. He was babbling and that never lead to anything good. She quickly changed the subject.

"So what about your love life?"

"Uhm… well I kind of like someone." He smiled mischievously and batted his eyelashes.

"Oh reaaaalllyy…. And who might this be?"

"Carl. But you can't say anything to a soul!!! I don't know, I gave him my number after that day that we all met, ‘cause I honestly just really liked talking to him. I mean, he's like totally straight but he called me anyway, and we just talked for a while and he's just… very charming."

"MM-HMM… you should be careful before you end up getting your feelings hurt. This isn't the first time you've fallen for tall, dark and straight!" Alex giggled a bit when Tony stuck his tongue out at her.

"Well, I have experience, so at least I know what I'm getting myself into."

"Does he talk about Sorrow at all?"

"Not really. They hang out a lot. But he never actually tells me about her. But then I again I don't ask…"

Suddenly Alex felt two hands go over her eyes, not allowing her to see. She momentarily panicked, but realized she wasn't in any danger or Tony would've jumped over to her side of the booth and kicked someone's ass. Or at least she prayed he would've. Suddenly she felt lips brush her ear, which sent a very nice tingle down her spine, despite the situation.

"Guess who?" The sultry voice beckoned her. Alex had to put all of her senses to work. Obviously, the mystery person was a woman. She briefly entertained the thought that it might be Sorrow, but she dropped it rather quickly. There was a slight scent of… vanilla? She didn't feel any jewelry… the hands were large, with callused fingertips… Who do I know has calluses on their fingers….


The hands dropped from her eyes, and Alex turned to see her ex-girlfriend with a large grin on her face. She was wearing tight blue jeans and a black tank top, with sandals to complete the outfit. Her dirty blonde hair was a bit of a mess, and her brown eyes reflected back something curious…

"Can I sit here with you?" She asked innocently.

Alex looked to Tony, who was smiling broadly.

"Uhmm.. yeah, sure."

Noelle slid into the booth next to Alex, never unlocking their gaze, her smile never leaving her face. Alex, for the first time, felt flushed at such open admiration. She let a small smile creep onto her face as Noelle's hand slid into place with her own… not entirely disliking the sensation.

"So Noelle, what brings you here?" Tony asked, still smiling broadly.

"Well, I came in to get some coffee before I went home again, and I noticed you guys were here so… I hope I'm not interrupting anything?" She looked over to Alex, suddenly feeling a bit out of place at the table.

"No no… not at all." Alex looked over to Tony, who was placing five dollars on the table.

"Well I see you two ladies have some… I dunno, dyke stuff to do. I'll leave you be. Call me, Al." He patted Alex's head and winked at her as he left the restaurant.

Noelle's intense scrutiny was making Alex feel uncomfortable. She averted her eyes and started collecting a few bucks to cover for her portion of the bill.

"Let's get out of here and go talk somewhere, okay?" Noelle said pleadingly.

Alex, to her own surprise, agreed, letting Noelle lead her out of the restaurant, holding onto her hand tightly.

"Uh… where would you like to go?" Alex suddenly realized this situation may not be altogether a good idea.

"Just follow me, k?" Noelle gave her one more flashing smile and then jumped into her car.

Alex, abandoning all reason, walked over to her own car, and hesitantly, started the ignition. She followed Noelle out of the restaurant, wondering where they were off to.



"So, can you hold the little man in my hand's coat?" Carl asked Sorrow, who was looking at him as if he had three heads growing out of his left shoulder.

"You're a freak."

"Play along dammit! It's funny. Now, HERE, hold the little man's coat."

Sorrow rolled her eyes and extended her hand, holding the imaginary "coat" between her forefinger and thumb with annoyance.

"Do you believe I have a little man in my hand?"


"Then why are you holding his coat?" A huge smile lighted Carl's face as he saw Sorrow's eyes narrow. He knew he was in no trouble when her grimace turned into a full-blown smile, and she playfully smacked his arm. It was rare that Sorrow smiled so genuinely, but Carl loved it when it happened, and even more so when he was the cause of it.

"You're such a dork. Ask for smoking, will ya?" Sorrow turned and went to the Claw Machine, and focused on a big furry owl inside. She stuffed her hand into her jacket pocket and pulled out a wrinkled dollar bill.

"Oooohh… go for the owl! It's cute." Carl came up behind her with his eyes wide open.

"That's my plan my dear."

The claw began to move over the stuffed bird, and with a few seconds left, Sorrow pushed the button and down went the claw, fastening itself securely around the toy, and lifting it up. It brought the owl over to the dropping area, and let go. Both Carl and Sorrow gave each other a high five and retrieved their prize, holding it up triumphantly. Sorrow put the toy on her shoulders, and walked over to their booth.

"So what're you going to name him?"

"I dunno, I figured I'd buy him dinner first and see where it goes from there." Sorrow's lopsided grin indicated to Tony that she was in an unusually good disposition tonight. He didn't think she was this elated over beating The Claw, and he knew for sure it wasn't because of his silly joke.

"So, why are you in such a great mood tonight?" He asked cautiously, knowing that her usual grumpy demeanor was only a hop, skip, and a jump away from tonight's happy disposition.

"I dunno… just been an all right couple of days, I suppose…"

"Would you like to elaborate?"

Her eyes began to study the owl intensely, a grin still on her face. She slowly looked back up to his eager face, and began to speak.

"Well the other day in painting class the Prof let us paint whatever we wanted, just to get us in the ‘swing of things', so to speak. After everyone was done, we had a little mini critique over our stuff. Uhmm… so then when it came to my piece, I got a really…" Amazing? Penetrating? Honest? Caring? "… good review. From Alex."

"Alex, Alex? The cute blonde Alex we met the other night and whom you scared half to death?"

"I believe you're embellishing the story a bit, Carl. I did not scare her. But yeah, that's the one. The Prof agreed with her too, which was even better."

"Well, what was so good about this review that she gave you? What'd she say?"

Sorrow began to blush slightly, as she wasn't used to hearing people compliment her (except of course for Carl, but he was her best friend, it was part of the job description), and she certainly wasn't used to having to repeat such praises to anyone else. She stammered a bit while remembering the look on Alex's face…

"Well uhm… She said I was incredibly courageous for painting the way I do. Taking a lot out of myself and putting it out there for everyone to see, making myself so vulnerable. She said I had confidence in myself… and that my painting in and of itself, was beautiful." Sorrow looked off at the some of the patrons inside the diner, waiting for Carl's response.

"Wow. That's very perceptive of her. Did you thank her?" Carl silently crossed his fingers, hoping that his friend hadn't made a complete ass out of herself as usual.

"No. Why?"

"You didn't thank her???"


"Lemme guess, she said that, you packed up your shit and took off like a bat out of hell ‘cause you were so overwhelmed."

"What you said."

Carl's face scrunched up in what looked like genuine anger. He shook his head and averted Sorrow's confused eyes.

"YOU, my friend, have GOT to be the BIGGEST ASSHOLE I have EVER met!!!"

"Whoah, whoah, whoah, there cowboy. What's with the foul language?"

Carl merely looked at her fiercely. He was gathering up all the courage he had to continue telling his friend what he felt.

"This girl, Alex, has done NOTHING but be nice to you. You blow her off, look at her like she's got the plague, and what does she do?? She compliments you to the point that three days later you're still euphoric about it. AND do you even thank her? Give her the time of day? I bet if you would have just said ‘Thanks' on your way out the door she would've been thrilled. But no, as usual, you let a good thing pass you up."



Their voices were getting louder. Not to the point of screaming, but definitely enough to make a few waiters raise their heads in concern.

"Look, all this girl wants is to be your friend. It's beyond me WHY, considering how you are, but apparently it hasn't fazed her. Most people would've fed you to the vultures by now, but she just wants to get to know you."

"Are you trying to give up your position as my best friend?" Sorrow suddenly felt a pang of sadness course through her. Could it be that even Carl had gotten tired of her attitude towards life?

"No, man. But give the girl a chance. She's beautiful, she's nice, sweet…"

"Have you been talking to her?"

"No, just to Tony. But he tells me stories about her and stuff."

"I thought you were straight? What the hell are you doing having late night conversations with gay guys who obviously have less than platonic interests in you?"

"He's nice. Besides, I need to talk to SOMEONE when my best friend is in one of her ‘Fuck The World' funks. Don't try to change the subject on me either. I don't care what you say, how much you threaten to kill me, YOU are going to apologize to Alex."

"WHAT?! NO WAY!!! I can't do that. I can't…" Sorrow felt herself panicking, she couldn't believe this was happening to her.

Carl, in the meantime, had taken out his cell phone and began scrolling the numbers he had saved there. He found the one he was looking for and hit talk.

"NOW? You want me to apologize NOW?!"

"Don't be such a pussy." He narrowed his eyes at her, and she sank back in her booth.

"Tony? Hey it's Carl, what's happening man?" Carl had a huge smile on his face, looking at Sorrow evilly.

"Yeah, I was wondering if maybe you and Alex could pass by the diner? Sorrow and me are here and we wanted to hang with you two…Oh you guys were just here... Is she… she left with a friend of hers. Hm… Well, what are you guys doing tomorrow night? Nothing… okay well… Sorrow and I were going to get some beers and hang out at the beach, it's drum circle tomorrow night. Why don't you guys come along? All right. Mm-hmm. Yeah, around 11 or so. Call me if anything. Great, see you tomorrow then. Later."

Carl put away his phone and regarded Sorrow. He felt sorry for his friend, seeing her sitting there as if she was waiting to get her head chopped off.

"You lucked out, bitch. They just left the diner, Tony went home and Alex went … elsewhere with a friend. BUT we're hanging out tomorrow night, and YOU are going to apologize. I'm getting you lots of beer so you can actually speak to her, and a little weed so you can actually say what you need to say. AND THERE IS NO COMPLAINING, you're doing this, no matter what."

Sorrow opened her mouth to protest, but for once she decided this wasn't a fight worth taking up. He wanted her to apologize, fine, then she would. She looked over to the owl and held it tentatively in her arms. It was comforting, in some way.


Noelle had driven way out west, to a secluded spot just off the highway where there weren't any streetlights, and you could see the stars clearly. She sat on the hood of her car and waited as Alex slowly walked over to her.

She patted a spot on the hood next to where she sat, and Alex leaned against it, a bit farther away than Noelle had originally intended.

"So, why are we here?" Alex was the first one to speak. It suddenly dawned on her that being out in the middle of nowhere with THIS particular ex girlfriend was most likely not going to make it to the Top Ten List of smartest things she's ever done.

"I wanted to tell you what I told you the other day, but in person. I think you might believe me that way." Her eyes were pleading with Alex's. She put her hand on Alex's thigh, and squeezed a little, hoping to get some reassurance that Alex wasn't going to run away. She continued.

"I am apologizing for everything I did to you. For making you cry and worry all those nights, for cheating on you, for the boyfriend I had when I was with you… everything. I mean it. This sounds incredibly trite but I kind of had an epiphany the other day and I realized that I love you. You're the only girl I want to be with, the way you make me feel… Please Alex, forgive me? Let's start over?"

Noelle was almost crying. She was looking down at the floor, as Alex stared blankly at the empty highway, listening to the deafening noise of the crickets and frogs.

"I forgive you. I forgave you a long time ago…" Noelle looked as if she was going to burst from happiness. "… But I have no intention of resuming a relationship with you. I'm already…" Alex stammered briefly. She was involved, in the loosest sense of the word. "… Seeing someone. Sort of."

"You're girlfriend in Colorado? You're kidding right?"

"Look, all I can offer you right now is friendship. I care about you, Noelle, because, unfortunately, I will always care about you. You don't go through so much shit with someone and then just erase all feelings for them. Although I wish I could."

Alex paused long enough to see Noelle had moved away from her, and was now star-gazing, playing with a piece of tape between her thumb and forefinger, as was her custom when she was upset.

"Well… can't we at least fuck?" Noelle looked over to Alex's shocked face. She was calm, as if she had merely asked her what time it was. Alex couldn't (but could) believe her audacity.

"I can't believe you. All that pretty bullshit and all you wanted was sex?"

"No, but I figured if you were too frightened to get romantically involved, then maybe you'd be willing to do something with no strings attached? If that's the only way I can be with you, then so be it."

"The ONLY way you're going to be with me is AS A FRIEND. Get that through your thick skull, please!

"Well, can I kiss you?"


"Pleash?" Noelle decided to try and be cute to get her way. It was something she did as a rule when her and Alex had been together. Alex couldn't be mean to her when she had that puppy dog face.

As expected, Alex's face softened. She smiled in spite of herself and began to grow warm as Noelle inched towards her. She felt a hot breath in her ear as Noelle whispered, "Pleasssshhhhh??"

Alex turned her face towards Noelle, and gave her a chaste kiss on the cheek. Noelle, seizing the opportunity, grabbed Alex's face and kissed her lips softly but quickly, not wanting the blonde to become too angry with her.

"You still have the softest lips… friend." She got up off her car and headed for the door. Alex said nothing, but went into her car, eager to be home and away from all this confusion. She drove herself back into civilization, with silence and her sense of irony as her only company.


Alex arrived at her home half an hour later. She had two messages on her machine. She hit the play button and began undressing.

*click * Message One * beep * Alex, it's Tony. Call me, I have some news that you're going to die over. * click*

*beep * Message Two *beep * Hey baby, it's Natalie. Uhmm… I was just wondering where you were, doll. I miss you. I've had the longest day today you wouldn't believe me. I wish I were back in your bed with you, you little tiger. Call me when you get in. I love you. *click * END OF MESSAGES *click *

The room fell silent. Alex walked over to her phone and dialed Natalie's number in Colorado. She figured it was best to get the more undesirable conversation out of the way, so she had something to look forward to when she spoke to Tony and the "news" she was going to die over.

"Dominoes Pizza, how may I help you?" A high pitched voice answered on the other end of the phone.

Alex, momentarily caught off guard, searched for her voice. "Uh… is Natalie there?"

A giggle, and then. "Yo, Natalie!! Ishforyou!", followed by more giggling. Alex raised an eyebrow, wondering what was going on in Colorado that seemed to be so much damned fun.

"HeeellloooooOOo?" Natalie was drunk. "Ish that you, Alesh? I was WONDERing if we coulshd fuggabit?" Two times in one night, I'm amazed. Next thing I know, Tony's going to tell me that Sorrow has asked to see me exclusively to chit-chat.

"Natalie, you're drunk." Alex's tone was harsh.

"Jusha liddle bit."

"Who's there with you?"

Silence. "Wha..?"

"Who's there with you?"

"OH… it's Diane. She drove from … someplashe far away… she's so shweet…"

"Okay, well, how about if I call you later when you're not slurring your words and you can form coherent thoughts?"

"Because I wanted to fuck tonight. I'm all sorts of wet over here just thinking about you. You're head between my thighs, your fingers all over my body…"

Alex, for the first time in her young life, was repulsed at the mention of sex. Maybe it was just a bad night, or maybe she was just hormonal. Whatever the case, she hung up on Natalie and decided to move on with her call back list.



"Girlfriend, I have some incredible news that you are going to flip over."

"I certainly hope so."

"Okay, when I'm done, you tell me what happened with Noelle, deal?"

Alex rolled her eyes at the thought of having to recount that tale to Tony. Reluctantly she agreed.

"Well, about 30 minutes after we left the diner, Carl calls my cell phone. Apparently, he and Sorrow had just gotten to the diner and wanted some company. OUR company. I sadly informed him that we had just left and gone our separate ways, and he invited us to go with them to Drum Circle tomorrow night, and I, of course, agreed! Isn't that great!? You get to see Gloom and Doom and probably even talk to her, since it'll be a few hours at the least that we'll be with them!!"

Alex's heart caught in her throat. What the hell?! Did I step into some vortex to an alternate dimension when I left the house earlier? She couldn't pick whether she was excited, scared, pissed, happy… Each encounter she had with someone left her feeling ill at ease. And this news sent a whole new set of thoughts running through her head.

"So, the gossip with Noelle, tell me all about it." Tony was eager to find out the latest news with his best friend.

"Oh… that. Well, we drove out to basically the middle of nowhere, and she told me she wanted to try to be with me again. I told her I was involved, and that all I could be to her was a friend. She agreed, and we went home." It's not lying, per se. Alex thought. I mean, I just neglected to mention a few minor details.

"WHAT? That's it?! God, one would think your story would be a bit more… I don't know, scandalous."

"Well… we kissed. She kissed me."

"Oooohhh… I knew there was some juice in there. How'd that happen?"

"Well, she asked me. So I kissed her on the cheek. And then she proceeded to grab my face and gave me a quick kiss on the lips. And then we left."

"Was it good?"

Alex sighed. "It was all right. But it doesn't matter, because I'm not interested in her that way. Oh, and you want to know something else?"


"I spoke to Natalie a few minutes ago. She's piss drunk with… some girl that drove over to see her."

Tony fell silent for a few minutes. "Does that really matter to you?"

"Well, yes and no. I mean, we're not technically broken up, and she still seems to love me, or so she says… I guess it just … I dunno, I'm disillusioned with relationships already."

"Is it normal to be so jaded at 20?"

"Probably not."

"Just officially break up with her, Alex. It's what all the kids are doing these days."

She chuckled, "I know. I will. I just need some time to think over what to say to not hurt her. I mean, it's not like I'm interested in anyone else anyway."

"Riiiighhht. Well, I'm going to get my beauty sleep. There's only so much time until we see Carl and Sorrow tomorrow night."

"OK, call me tomorrow when it's time."

"Will do, babe. Goodnight."

Alex hung up the phone with a sigh of relief. Truly, now things had gotten interesting. She looked around her room slowly, mulling over her thoughts in quiet contemplation. Her cat suddenly jumped on her bed, and purring trotted over to where Alex was sitting.

"Hey Lincoln. You're so lucky to be a cat. All you have to worry about is when you can find me to pet you behind your ears."

The cat's eyes closed contentedly as Alex scratched the top of her head. Lincoln had curled into a ball on Alex's lap, listening to the soft tone of Alex's voice as she talked about her worries.

"… So then Noelle comes over and tells me she wants to be with me again. Noelle, the only girl I ever loved, the girl who, as a rule, broke my heart at least twice a day. She doesn't believe in being subtle about anything. She kissed me, asked if we could have sex, and pleaded to be in a relationship again. Not in that order. I still care about her, Lincoln, but … I don't want to be hurt again. Then there's Natalie. Thousands of miles away wrapped up in her own little world. She always uses her past as an excuse for her actions. Like tomorrow I'm sure I'll hear from her, and she'll say, ‘My mother hit me once over the head really hard, I have a right to get drunk with strange women in my apartment.' I can't see myself with someone who actually enjoys being a martyr to her own cause…" Alex looked down at Lincoln, who merely yawned and adjusted herself again.

"… and then, of course, is Sorrow. I wonder if she's as wrapped up in herself as Natalie is? Or if she's as uncaring and insensitive as Noelle? Or maybe…" Alex's face lit up into a small smile, "… maybe she's just as scared as I am of being hurt and hurting someone else?"

With that thought, Alex let her hand drop from her cat's head, and curled herself into a ball as well, thinking that perhaps tomorrow, her answers would come.



Saturday had been like any other day for Sorrow. She woke up, as usual, at 7 a.m. She sat outside, listening to the stillness around her. She made her usual breakfast of black coffee. She painted. She was doing everything as she had always done it, but at the bottom of her stomach was the largest knot she had ever felt. Her apprehensions about the night's scheduled activities were going to surely drive her insane, or kill her. It's not the she had NEVER apologized, but she certainly wasn't in the habit of doing it. Carl said he would help her, coach her about how to approach Alex. She narrowed her eyes.


Indeed, Alex's influence over Sorrow's normally routine life was having disastrous effects on her. She found herself pacing in the middle of her room, just thinking about her. She sat down on her bed and let herself fall back down. She was restless. The time read 3:45 p.m. She had a ways to go before she would actually have to see her. It was going to be a long night.


Alex's Saturday had been as any other day. She woke up, as usual, at 9:30 a.m. She played with her cat, and made her usual breakfast of toast and orange juice. She walked around her neighborhood, wrote an essay for one of her classes. She even cleaned her furniture. Everything was fine, save for the ever-growing knot in her stomach. She was restless. Her mind was shooting from one place to another, wondering what, if anything, would happen between her and Sorrow. Tony said he would help her on how to approach and successfully deal with Sorrow. She closed her eyes.


Her newest obsession. Her personal mystery. She looked at her watch, which read 4:00 p.m. She took a deep breath, and decided to take a nap. It was going to be a long night.


Tony's Saturday was unlike any Saturday he had ever experienced. He woke up at 2 in the afternoon, and walked outside where his mother sat. Her eyes were downcast, and she held what seemed to be a book in a small brown bag. He eyed her curiously, and walked over to her. Before he was able to utter a "Good Morning", his mother had dumped five gay porn magazines onto his lap. She told him he was no longer welcome in her home before he had even washed the sleep from his eyes.


Carl's Saturday was like every other Saturday since he could remember. He woke up, and the time read 4:00 p.m. He decided it was time for a nap, and went back to sleep, setting his alarm for 8 o'clock.


"I can't believe she just kicked you out of the house, Tony!!"

"YOU can't believe it?! What about me? Where the hell am I going to live? I can barely afford my CAR, let alone an apartment."

"Well, you can bunk with me for a while, you know that." The gravity of the situation was suddenly hitting Alex. Tony wasn't one to live in other people's homes. He enjoyed the creature comforts his own room and his once loving parents had brought him.

"Yeah, for a little while." Tony looked out the window of the diner, and took a deep breath, releasing it slowly while he closed his eyes.

Alex was studying him. His hair was tousled, and his eyes were sad. The blue, which so recently gleamed with excitement, was now dulled with a hollow pain. He was wearing an old gray shirt and a pair of blue jeans with sandals. His long, muscular arms cradled his head as he put it down; a million questions that had to be answered immediately weighed down his spirit. Alex slid out of her side of the booth and slid in next to him. She cradled his torso and planted a kiss on his head. She didn't know what to say to console him. She was worried, she was troubled, and she was disappointed that his mother would react in such a way. There was no way to change what had happened now.

The waitress appeared and placed the bill on the table. Alex put down enough money to cover them both, regardless of Tony's protests that she didn't need to pity him.

She covered his mouth gently, and Tony remained silenced. For a few minutes.

"So, it's time to start heading towards the beach!"

"You want to go to that!?! After what happened? You're kidding." Alex couldn't believe her friend's ability to put cute boys over all the world's worries.

"Hey, I had a tough day. I want to go out and party, forget about my worries, you know?" Tony smiled in spite of everything. He took Alex gently by the hand and led her outside to her car.

"And, for the record, we're not mentioning any of this tonight. I'm forgetting about all this and moving on." Tony said jubilantly.

"Well, that's certainly the attitude I like seeing from you." Alex smiled at her friend and patted his head. She put her car in reverse and they were off into the unknown.



"So you go, ‘Yo sweet thing, lemme talk to you about a lil' somethin'-somethin', aight?' And then she says ‘Oh but of course you beautiful woman, but let's skip the talking and go right to the sex!' hehehe…" Carl was holding two pieces of seaweed up that were supposed to represent Sorrow and Alex. Sorrow, for her part, was watching her friend amusedly as the seaweed dolls suddenly hopped on top of each other and started moaning. She let out a chuckle and then finished her beer.

"Yo dude… how … how many have you had, man?" Carl asked suddenly.

Sorrow looked up and began ticking off her fingers as she mentally counted her beer intake for the evening.

"Uh… more than my fingers?" She smiled at him, and they both erupted into laughter. Around them, several people had set up torches and small bonfires. There was a large circle of people to one side with bongos and all sorts of different drums. Some had tambourines, maracas, and other miscellaneous instruments. A few people chanted and some danced in the middle of the circle of drums and instruments. Most of the people were scattered on the sand in small groups, doing drugs or drinking. Everyone however, couldn't help but look at the full moon and marvel at its beauty.

Sorrow lit the joint she had in her hand and inhaled deeply. She let out a long cloud of smoke and smiled, pleased with the sensation. Carl's phone interrupted the serenity.

"Hullo? Tony, what's up man? You're here!…" Sorrow looked up at him, her eyes wild with fright. "Yeah, we're both here. We've got some beer and stuff. Yeah, we're by this… oh wait, I see you guys." Carl hung up his phone and lifted himself off the sand wearily.

"They're here." He whispered loudly to Sorrow. She took another long drag from the joint and put it out. She exhaled again, and opened another beer, waiting for Carl to return with the rest of the night's agenda.

Alex and Tony both giggled as they saw Carl's groggy form making his way through the crowd of people. When he reached them, he wrapped them both in a fierce hug, and began to chatter about the evening. They both followed the suddenly very talkative Carl, and Alex wondered to herself if Sorrow was as talkative when she was drunk. The closer they got to where Sorrow sat, the more and more nervous Alex got. She could feel her heart in her throat, and even in the darkness, knew her face was glowing red.

"SORROW!!! We're here!" Carl exclaimed as he dropped himself once more to the sand.

Sorrow was facing the ocean, but turned around and through heavy lidded eyes, gave a weak wave to Alex and Tony.

"Sit, you two, sit sit. Here, have some beer. We got like, a twenty-four pack, and an extra sixie. Sorrow downed most of them, I think." He smiled over at his friend, who merely looked away and nodded.

"I think I'll help you finish off the rest of them, Sorrow." Tony made a grab for two beers, and handed one to Alex. "I've had a terrible day."

"Why, what happened dude?"

"Well, I said I wasn't gonna talk about it… but fuck it, I need to vent!"

Tony began explaining to Carl what had happened between him and his mother. Carl kept stealing glances at Sorrow, who was studying her beer bottle again. Alex sat next to her, watching the beach with its hundreds of happy faces dancing and singing in the sand. When Sorrow caught Carl's gaze, he opened his eyes at her dramatically, and pretended to change sitting positions when what he really did was kick her in the shin to get her to talk to Alex. Sorrow grimaced slightly at the pain, but got up all her resolve. She looked over at Alex, who was watching a group of young college kids play hacky-sac. She leaned over to Alex's ear and whispered huskily…

"Can we go somewhere and talk?"

The sound of Sorrow's voice, the feeling of her breath on her ear, caused Alex to jump at least 4 feet out of her skin. She turned to Sorrow, her eyes wide and in shock. It was about a minute (or an hour) before she opened her mouth, and, realizing that no sound was emitted, mutely nodded. Sorrow stretched and then stood up, reaching her hand down to the still stunned Alex. She pulled her up quickly, and Alex ended up standing close enough to Sorrow that had she stuck out her tongue, she could have licked her. Sorrow picked up an extra two bottles and, her hand still in Alex's (and not sure that she wanted it to leave its place) began the trek to more private grounds.

OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD… I think I'm going to black out. She spoke to me, she whispered in my ear!!!!! AND SHE'S HOLDING MY HAND!!!

Alex's head was swirling. She suddenly thanked herself for only having a sip of her beer, for an entire bottle would have surely had her out of control by now.

Sorrow stopped suddenly and sat down on the sand, releasing her hold on Alex. She patted the sand next to her, indicating for Alex to sit, which she did obediently. She found herself watching Sorrow as she looked out at the ocean and opened another beer bottle. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Alex held her breath, involuntarily.

Sorrow continued looking out at the ocean, and smiled slightly. She turned her head slowly to be able to face Alex. When she looked up at her, she thought she was seeing a vision of the divine. Alex was sitting on her side with her legs stretched out along the sand. She was wearing a white tank top that revealed a few inches of her very toned stomach. Olive green shorts adorned her pelvis and thighs, and from beneath the fabric of those shorts stemmed out two beautiful legs, that extended to two beautiful feet, which were held captive by a pair of sandals. Sorrow wanted suddenly to reach out and let her hand trail along the smoothness of Alex's legs, and perhaps even sneak her hands up her shorts, trailing them along her thighs. But it was Alex's face that suddenly caught Sorrow's full attention. It was truly as if seeing the most beautiful creature on earth. Alex's choppy blonde hair was blowing slightly from the sea wind. Her green eyes sparkled, daring the stars themselves to outshine them. Her lips were in the sweetest smile Sorrow had ever, truly, seen. Her face was open, asking, and curious… Her lips glimmered slightly, and Sorrow thought she was trembling. She tried to snap herself out of her daze, but the more she tried, the more she stared at Alex.

Alex, for her part, being under such incredible scrutiny, began to blush, but never looked away from Sorrow's eyes. The intensity that she found there scared her, and she wondered if Sorrow was trying to devour her with her eyes.

"I uh… I wanted to apologize for being so rude to you the other day in painting class, and just in general. What you said… about my artwork… it was probably one of the nicest things that anyone has ever said to me. And, considering I haven't been all that nice to you, I figured you meant it. So uh… yeah, thanks." As she finished, she took a long drink from the bottle, celebrating that she had gotten so much out of her own mouth.

Alex sat smiling at her. She thought it was adorable that Sorrow had taken her out here to apologize and thank her. She knew this probably wasn't something that was done on a regular basis, so she felt honored by the small token of charity.

"Well, apology accepted. And you're very welcome. I meant what I said, Sorrow, you're work is incredible. And for the record, I'd hate for this to be the last conversation we ever have. Regardless of your rude behavior towards me, I'd like to get to know you. Maybe even be your friend." Alex was smiling proudly at herself. She was not only speaking to Sorrow, but she was sitting dangerously close to her, and telling her what she wanted. She was surprised at her own courage but showed no signs of it.

"That's very sweet of you…" Sorrow said, finally. "But after a while I rub everyone the wrong way. I bet in a month you'd be sick of me."

"All right, deal." Alex held out her hand for Sorrow to shake. Sorrow just looked at her, clearly puzzled.


"Give me a month, and I'll tell you if I'm sick of you by then." Alex was challenging her. She didn't know what had come over her but she figured it was worth a shot.

"You're crazy," Sorrow said with a lopsided grin on her face.

"Actually, I'm serious. Let's hang out, talk, philosophize, paint, BOND for a month. If by then, I'm sick of you, then you win."

"What do I win?"

"A toaster."

"I thought the toaster is for when you turn straight women into lesbians?"

"It's the standard prize, I think."

"Hmm… okay. And what if you win?"

"Then I get to stick around and annoy you some more."

"And what if you're not sick of me, but I'm sick of you?"

A glitch in the plan. "If you, at any point, get sick of me, I give you full permission to end the bet. But then you run the risk of not getting a toaster."

Sorrow appeared to be seriously contemplating this idea. Alex bit her lip in excitement.

"Do you always bite your lip when you're excited?"

"No, just when I'm waiting for monosyllabic women to confirm a bet."

Sorrow studied Alex's hand. She weighed out her options, mulling over whether this was a good idea or not. She didn't know whether it was the beer, or the joint, or the beach itself that made her do it, but she held Alex's hand once again in her own, and their bet was sealed.



To Be Continued in Part 2…

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