Disclaimers: Nope, sorry, can't say there are any. All of the characters are mine. I take full responsibility for all of their actions. Hmm ... On second thought ... I've never seen them before in my life. They just followed me home one day ... really ...
Violence/Sex: No violence, I don't think. I guess that would depend on what you mean by "violence" ... I don't think there is any. You can decide for yourself. And sex? Umm ... I'll go on the safe side and say there will be. But don't go suing me for false advertisement if you can't find any. It really depends on what you mean by sex. As there are people in some cultures that show their affection by licking each other's eyeballs, it is possible that my definition of sex may be different than yours. Mine may involve cows in ballet slippers for instance ... wait, that doesn't sound right ...
Warning: This story involves an in-the closet actress, online relationships, Puerto Ricans, the Spanish language, Starbucks coffee, angels, boyfriends, sexual relationships between women .. and a ton of other random things that poured forth from my artistic loins. If none of the above things interest you, then you may not want to partake in this little tour of my demented psyche.
Dedication: to you and you and you you and you .. to people living with living with ... ::notices there are people watching:: Ahem. Sorry. Too much "RENT" for me. Strike that. There can never be too much RENT. Unless it's the kind you have to pay. But my point.. and I do have one .. is that this story is dedicated to you. Thank you for taking the time to delve into my madness. What a brave soul you are .. muahahaha <coughcough>
Special Thanks: To Amber, Cindy, Camilla, Christy, Amy, and Robin. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I don't know what I'd do without you guys.
Write me: Cause I'd love to know what you think. I may be reached at email@example.com
Leigh glanced away from the television set. "News from your dad?"
Kris looked away from Julia's email and shook her head. "No, um, this girl I've been emailing with for a few weeks. She's gay."
"What else is new?" Leigh said with a shrug, her attention back on the TV. "It's like this well-kept secret that's slowly seeping out to the masses. Like a tidal wave. A big gay tidal wave, ready to convert anything in its path."
Kris laughed at her roommate's comment. "Right," she replied, turning back to the computer. How strange that she'd spent twenty years of her life not knowing a single gay person and all of a sudden, they were everywhere. "Guess that pretty much evens out my range of friends."
"You need a bisexual now," Leigh commented. "You've got the hot gay boy, the mysterious cyber lesbian, and the straight girl. Still missing one."
"Want to be bi?" Kris offered.
Leigh considered. "You know, I would be, but I think my character works best as a straight girl, don't you think?"
"This being the Brooklyn straight girl with the Southern accent?"
Leigh grinned. "I'm changing my name to Mary Sue. Or Billie Jo."
Kris laughed. "You need some serious therapy." Returning to the matter at hand, she hit reply.
I'm glad to know that my secret is safe with you. And thank you for your revelation. I admit it wasn't one I was expecting, but I feel honored that you would reveal something that you've only told one other person.
My step-brother just came out a few weeks ago. The family didn't take it well. They've pretty much disowned him. The last time I went to my parents' apartment they'd taken down all of the pictures he was in. I wish they would understand, but religion has deep roots in my culture. It's pretty much a lost cause.
Anyway, I didn't mean to go off on a tangent. I'll rephrase my original question. What do you look for in a girl?
I got my essay back on Friday. The one on Shakespeare. I got a C. Thankfully, it was the last one of the semester. Finals are coming up soon. And no more English classes for me! But I would've loved your help had I met you sooner. I would've liked a B on that paper. Oh well.
So, Miss Poet, what is your favorite poem?
* * *
"I wonder what she looks like," Kris said thoughtfully, staring off toward nowhere in particular. She was parked at her usual spot in the shade, her artwork proudly on display. So far no one had stopped to buy anything, but that was okay. It was early yet.
Leigh let out a long yawn and stretched. "Who?" she asked finally, absently flipping through the pages of her magazine.
Kris watched this display for a moment, then shook her head. "Julia," she finally replied, looking away. She stared at a blindfolded guy juggling cans of soda for a couple of seconds, before returning her gaze to Leigh. "The girl in California."
"Ask her for a picture," Leigh suggested. "How did you meet this chick, anyway? You'd never mentioned her before."
Kris suddenly realized something. "You met her!" she exclaimed excitedly. "She bought that drawing from you. You know, that day a few weeks back when I left you in charge of selling stuff?"
Leigh stopped to think back. She shook her head and smiled. "That wasn't a girl. It was a guy. A really, really hot guy." She frowned suddenly. "You know, I even gave him my number but he never called." She froze, suddenly looking panicked. "Wait, what if that was her. She said she was a lesbian. Maybe she's just really butch! Oh shit!! Oh my God, I think I may be gay."
Kris blinked a few times, suddenly confused. Leigh gave Julia her number? She frowned, thinking back. "A guy called once," Kris said suddenly, remembering instantly. "I thought it was wrong number! It was during the whole mess with William, I didn't think to ask who he was calling."
Leigh paused in her panicking. "Are you sure it was a guy?"
"Well it sounded like one," Kris replied. That couldn't have been a woman, could it? She shook her head. "Who knows anymore." Ah well, as long as she was being open-minded. "So what did he/she look like?"
"Like a really hot guy!" Leigh whined, banging her head on the table. She stopped. "Oh wait, wait. I just remembered something. When he walked away from me, he went up to a girl and handed her the drawing." She nodded, suddenly looking relieved. "So that was probably that chick you're talking about. Which means, I did in fact give my number to a guy." She sighed with relief.
Kris considered this new information. "Well, then what did the girl look like?"
Leigh scrunched up her face in deep concentration. "Uh, I don't remember," she said apologetically. "I think she had blonde hair. I was too busy checking out the guy's butt."
"What is it with people and butts?" Kris wondered. "It's a butt."
Leigh sighed. "It's more than just a butt, my dear Kristina. It's ... Well, they're pretty okay? Especially when they're nice and tight. Yum."
"Gross, Leigh," Kris replied. "That's nasty. You just said yum to a butt."
"Firm and luscious..."
Kris held up her hand. "You will desist."
Leigh laughed. "So the guy called and you thought it was a wrong number? Damn. That could've been the beginning of something beautiful." She shrugged. "Oh well, maybe next time. He's friends with your fiend?"
Kris thought back to some of Julia's emails. "She did tell me her best friend was a straight guy. That's probably who she was with." She was kind of sad in a way. Of all the times she'd left Leigh alone at the table. She could've met Julia in person. "So, she's blonde. Is that it?"
"I really don't remember," Leigh replied. "It was a long time ago. Had I known it was important, I would've committed her to memory." She grinned suddenly at something in the magazine. "We're taking this quiz. It will reveal if Nathan and you are indeed meant for one another."
Kris glanced over. "What is that, Seventeen?" she asked.
"Hush," Leigh replied. "Question one. When you and your boyfriend are out on a romantic stroll, what's usually running through your mind? A) I can't believe he's so romantic, he's definitely the one for me. B) Wow! Look at that cute guy over there, or C) I wonder what's on TV tonight?"
Kris rolled her eyes. "Is this really necessary?"
"Of course it is," Leigh answered. "Now pick one."
Kris sighed, and thought it over. It was definitely not A, but definitely not B either. She could remember several times when her thoughts had drifted to other topics. "I guess C," she said.
Leigh nodded and made a mark on the page. "Mmhmm. Moving on. Question two. In bed, my boyfriend is A) The Energizer bunny B) Limp Bizkit, or C) Han Solo." Leigh giggled. "Guess we know the answer to that one."
Kris rolled her eyes again. "How many questions are there?"
"Just five, calm down." She cleared her throat. "Question three. Whenever my boyfriend is not near me, I feel: A) Like the world is going to end. B) Glad that he's not around so I can scope out some other hot bods, or C) Fine. I have a lot of other stuff to keep me busy."
Kris sighed. "C." I'm starting to see a pattern here.
Leigh continued. "Question four. When we are together, my boyfriend: A) Always listens and cares about the things I have to say. B) Talks way too much! I'd rather be thinking about the cute guy in math class, or C) Thinks the world revolves around him."
"Definitely C," Kris answered.
"One more. Question five. Over all, I feel that: A) I'm completely in love, he is absolutely perfect! B) There are plenty of other fish in the sea, or C) I deserve much better than this." Leigh stared at Kris expectantly.
Kris frowned, not wishing to answer. Nathan may not be perfect, but he's all I've got.
Leigh rolled her eyes. "Your results are mostly C's, which means the following: You are obviously settling for something less than you deserve! Dump this loser before Mr. Right passes you by." Leigh looked up with a satisfied smile. "See?"
"Right. My life decided for me through the professional and accurate analysis of a teeny bopper questionnaire."
Leigh shrugged. "Be that way," she said. "But you can do so much better than Nathan. He's a total ass."
"Oh and I suppose your life is just brimming with perfect guys?"
"You just gotta keep looking," Leigh replied.
Kris looked back at the juggler from before. "And if you don't find him, then what?"
Leigh laughed. "Then you move in with your best friend."
Julianne paced nervously in front of the computer. She'd managed to somehow avoid checking her email for a week, but her patience was starting to wear thin. She was scared of Kris's reaction. What if she starts insulting me? What if she's so disgusted she didn't even respond? She sighed sadly. What if she stops being my friend.
The devil on her shoulder spoke up. And why do you care if she never talks to you again? You were doing perfectly fine before she ever came along. It's not like you're going to lose anything by never speaking to her again.
But Julianne knew that wasn't true. Besides Adrian and her grandmother, she'd never found somebody else she could open up to. Even when she chatted online, it was always one-time conversations. They never amounted to anything. She lied to them all, anyway. But Kris ... Kris was different.
Julianne let out a deep breath and stopped in front of the laptop. She moved the arrow on the screen until she was confronted with her inbox. Both to her relief and dread, there was an email from Kris.
Just open it, she thought. Get it over with.
She counted to five and then clicked on the email. She read it over. Once. Twice. She blinked a few times and smiled. "She doesn't care!!" she yelled happily. She started dancing around the living room, nearly tripping on the rug.
Returning to the computer, she hit reply. Julianne couldn't believe how relieved she felt.
"Or how incredibly dorky I am," she added, shaking her head. But she didn't particularly care, cause she was happy. "I'm sure Entertainment Tonight would've paid top dollar for a copy of that performance."
Reining in her excitement, she began to type.
I'm relieved that my sexuality doesn't present a problem. I admit I was a bit nervous about telling you.
"Ha, try petrified," Julianne commented.
I'm sorry about your family's reaction to your step-brother's news. It must have been really hard for him coming out to them. But it's really nice that you're there for him. I'm sure it means a great deal to him to know that he's got your love and support. I know how important it's been to have Adrian's, and he's not even family. I'm pretty certain that mine would react in much the same manner as yours did, though for different reasons.
I come from an upper middle class family and they (my mother and sister especially) are the kind of people that make everything about what every one else thinks. If they were to find out about me ... well, the world would end at my household. I don't even think they're homophobic, per se. Just too focused on their social standing to think for themselves.
Now who's going off on a tangent? :o) But you spoke of your culture... what culture are you referring to? Every time I read one of your emails I realize how very little I know about you.
My favorite poem. You couldn't ask me something simple? ;o) I have so many I love. But I suppose I can pick one for you. I'd have to go with "The Indian Serenade" by Percy Bysshe Shelley. I'm particularly fond of the first stanza. I am a sucker for romance poetry, though I'm sure you could guess that by now. :o)
So who's your favorite artist?
* * *
"I brought a couple of scripts to glance over," Eric Moura said, handing them over to an impatient Julianne.
Her agent had shown up at her house early the next morning to discuss some of her upcoming roles. She looked at the first screenplay and then the other.
"They're filming around the same time," Eric continued. "Shortly after the release of Guardian, so you'll have to pick one or the other."
Julianne flipped through one of the scripts, not particularly reading anything. "So which one do you think would be best?"
Eric sighed, running a hand through his disheveled brown hair. He pushed his glasses up with one finger. "Frankly, I'm not sure. One is an excellent role, but it may be a bit more controversial than the other."
Julianne glanced up. "What do you mean?"
"The character's a lesbian," Eric responded hesitantly.
Julianne stared at him. "Absolutely not, Eric," she replied at once.
"I figured you might say that," he said, looking a bit disappointed. "But it's an excellent script and the character is truly remarkable. Definitely Oscar bound."
"Lesbians don't win Oscars in Hollywood," Julianne informed him, tossing both scripts aside. "What's the other role?"
"A robot," he answered.
Julianne sighed. "That's it? That's all you've gotten me? A lesbian and a robot? What kind of crap is that?"
Eric shook his head. "They're both good roles," he said on his own behalf. "Though I feel that the lesbian role may only help you grow artistically."
"Grow? No, it will not help me grow. It will only box me into a category I will never escape from. I play an angel for crying out loud. No one's going to want to see me get it on with another woman!"
"Hollywood's evolving," Eric tried again.
"Screw Hollywood's evolution, Eric!" Julianne yelled. "I will not fall into this bullshit trap!"
Eric Moura sighed again and shrugged his shoulders. He was used to dealing with Julianne's temper. It was legendary. She must have been in a good mood today. "Well, on to the good news," he said, removing some paperwork from his briefcase. "Guardian wants to renew your contract for two more seasons. Do you accept?"
"Gladly," Julianne answered, though she was fuming still from the original topic. A lesbian?! She couldn't play a lesbian! She may as well start prancing around wearing an "Out and Proud" tee shirt.
"Great." He handed the papers over. "You can go over the details with your lawyers. I've already faxed them a copy." He rose to his feet. "If I get you any better offers, I'll contact you. In the mean time, think it over, Julianne. At least read the scripts."
Julianne walked the man to the door, flipping through the papers in her hand. "Yeah, whatever," she muttered, and slammed the door shut behind him.
She headed back to the living room and picked up one of the scripts. She guessed the one entitled A Robot's Diary wasn't the one about the lesbian. So she stared at the other's title page. Summer's Dance, written by Amy Robins. Julianne opened it to the first page, where she noted that the character of Tori Doyle was highlighted in yellow.
Julianne shook her head and went to close the screenplay, but paused as she noticed the setting. New York City ... Kris ... She frowned and threw the script across the living room. It crashed noisily against the vertical blinds. Angrily, she stormed up to her room and slammed the door.
She would not play a lesbian. No way. No how.
Kris stared at herself in the mirror and cocked her head to the side. Her mother had selected the most atrocious dress in the entire evening gown department. It was aquamarine with like ... ruffles. And tackily-placed sequins in the form of a mermaid. There is no way in hell I'm wearing this in public. It's bad enough I have to wear it outside this dressing room.
Swallowing her pride, she stepped outside to face the critics.
Sari smiled and nodded in approval. "Mira que linda te ves. Very nice."
Leigh had a look of obvious distaste and kept shaking her head, mouthing, "No way."
Kris gazed down at herself, then back up at her mom. "I'm not sure how I feel bout this one, mami," she commented. "Perhaps something a bit more ... subtle."
Sari nodded. "We'll keep looking. We've got all afternoon to get you a nice prom dress."
Please God, make the world end right now. Kris returned to the dressing room to slip out of nightmare number seven and back into regular clothes. I hate shopping. I loathe it with a passion. I think all malls should die.
"Where to?" Kris asked, casually, her tone masking her utter despair. She didn't even want to go to Nathan's prom. It had been hellish enough when it had been her own graduating class. I'm being selfish. Nathan was a real trooper about going to my prom. Resigned to her inevitable fate, she followed her mother to another rack of dresses from the Miss Reject collection.
Sari held up a red gown, but a look at the price tag made her put it back. "Isn't there a sales rack somewhere around here?" She glanced around.
Kris kept herself from audibly sighing. That was issue number two. Her parents' had enough to pay with her school and apartment, not to mention their own rent and food and Dimitri's needs. They couldn't afford to blow three hundred dollars on a stupid prom dress.
"It's too bad you gave your old one away," Sari commented.
Kris just nodded.
Leigh held up a black velvet dress. "How about this one?"
"That one's nice," Kris said, walking over to inspect it. It was soft. Soft was good. And it was pretty sexy. Nathan would approve. She glanced at her mother.
Sari came over and took the dress in her hands. She held it up in front of Kris. "Go try it on. We'll keep looking."
Kris retreated to the dressing room once more. They'd been on their quest for at least three hours and Kris was ready to keel over. Please fit. Please look nice. I just want to get out of here.
She slipped out of her clothes and into the dress. Kris stared at herself critically. It was tight enough to hug her curves in all the right areas. And showed off the right amount of cleavage, enough to make Nathan happy, but not enough to give Carlos a heart attack. She was particularly fond of the slit on the side, allowing a fair amount of leg to show. Thankfully, not enough to make her appear like a total slut. Overall, Kris was content. She tucked a strand of hair behind her ears and smiled. Let's hope they like it ...
Leigh whistled and clapped the moment she spotted Kris. "Now that's hot."
Sari twirled her finger, instructing Kris to spin around. Satisfied, she nodded and smiled. "Perfect."
Relieved, Kris went back inside to change. Finally. We can go home now. She put the dress back in the hanger and joined her mother and roommate. She handed the item over to Sari and watched her mother walk off to make the purchase.
"Nathan is going to die when he sees you," Leigh commented with a smile. "You look incredible in that."
Kris shrugged. "I'm just glad the search is over."
Leigh grinned. "Now it's off to find shoes."
* * *
I've been to Hell and back today. Shopping for prom dresses is not fun. But that wasn't even the worst of it. Dress shopping led to shoe shopping which led to make-up shopping and ended finally with underwear shopping. Why my mother insisted I buy new underwear is beyond me. It's not like Nathan is going to see it. Or anyone else for that matter.
So yeah, I have to go to Nathan's prom with him next week. I'm not looking forward to it. I've already been to mine and lived to tell about it. I'd feel guilty not going though, after Nathan went to mine. Still, I don't want to do that all over again. Nathan's getting a limousine with a few of his friends. And I hate his friends. They're so obnoxious and immature. They'll probably spend the night crushing beer bottles with their skulls in order to show off.
I'm done venting now.
On to other non-so-relevant topics. I must admit that it took me a while to get used to the idea that William (my step-brother) is gay. It wasn't like I was disappointed in him or ashamed or anything of the sort. I suppose it was due mostly to the shock factor. William had always struck me as the man's man type of guy. Hehe. Guess I wasn't too far off. ;)
It was also due in part to the fact that I'd never met anyone gay before. I know it's kind of strange, me living in New York and all. I mean, I've seen gay people before. But I've never been friends with one. And to have William come out all of a sudden really threw me for a loop. But I'm over it now. I went to visit him and hung out with his boyfriend, Mark. They're both really cute together. And in spite of the family's reaction, he seems to be happy.
Oh, I forgot to mention I'm Puerto Rican. Well, half Puerto Rican, anyway. My mom was born there but she moved to New York when she was four. My (biological) father is Italian, but he was raised in America. He doesn't know much Italian and I'm ashamed to say I don't either. But I speak pretty fluent Spanish, though English remains my first language. My mother's made sure that I learned it well. She kind of let it slide with my brother, Dimitri though. He understands the language but he doesn't like to speak it all that often.
There I go off again. I don't generally babble on so much, so I'm gonna assume it's your fault somehow. :)
My favorite artist is Salvador Dali. Ever hear of him? I think he's amazing.
After doing hitting send, she typed "The Indian Serenade" into an internet search engine, and pressed enter.
A moment later, she found the poem.
I arise from dreams of thee
In the first sweet sleep of night,
When the winds are breathing low,
And the stars are shining bright
I arise from dreams of thee,
And a spirit in my feet
Hath led me--who knows how?
To thy chamber window, Sweet!
The wandering airs they faint
On the dark, the silent stream--
The champak odors fail
Like sweet thoughts in a dream;
The nightingale's complaint,
It dies upon her heart;
As I must on thine,
Oh, beloved as thou art!
O lift me from the grass!
1 die! I faint! I fail!
Let thy love in kisses rain
On my lips and eyelids pale.
My cheek is cold and white, alas!
My heart beats loud and fast;--
Oh! press it to thine own again,
Where it will break at last.
Kris smiled at the words. How sweet. She suddenly remembered something and opened a fresh email. She addressed it to Julia.
You never told me what you look for in a girl. :)
She sent that on its way, and shut down the computer. I arise from dreams of thee ... She smiled at the thought.