Rainne O. Lawless
1) The characters in these stories belong exclusively to me and are not the
property of anyone else.
2) These stories include depictions of lesbian relationships.
This means two women, in love, who have actual physical love relationships.
Unless marked otherwise, story content is PG-13. If such material is illegal
in your area, you need to find someplace else to live. If you are offended
by such material, do not read it. There are plenty of other bards who have
general fiction material available.
Feed the Bard Here
It wasn't what they were used to seeing. Normally leather and lace, satin
or silk, the face right off the front of a CD cover. This was not that person.
This was a person in a flannel button-up, worn button-fly jeans and battered shitkickers,
hair pulled back into a utilitarian tail and face speaking of the memories of
a thousand fragmented, haunting horrors. But it was Kaia, and whether she
looked like she'd seen Hell and come back to tell about it or not, she was still
their Kaia. And if she'd seen Hell and come back to tell about it, they
were all there to listen.
Her hands moved gracefully, if listlessly, across the bar, tracing idle patterns
on the scarred surface. A longneck bottle sat near to hand, its label peeled
off and shredded into tiny pieces which rested in the ashtray which also held
the stubs of many cigarettes. A small notepad was under her elbow, its top
page blank. She did not look up or look around as women entered the bar,
calling out to each other in greeting. No one had seen her yet but the bartender,
as she was hidden in a shadowy corner between the back-bar refrigerator and the
jukebox, which no one was playing due to the presence of the live deejay.
Melinda moved toward her. "Need anything, hon?" Kaia looked
up then, shook her head and Melinda moved away again, careful not to attract attention
to the ravaged figure in the corner. Kaia's wishes were clear: she wanted
to see without being seen for as long as possible. She did not know how
the other women would react to her now and she had to make sure that she wanted
to be seen. If she decided against being seen, she would leave the bar and
go to the back porch, which was unlikely to be occupied tonight, locking the door
Now Kaia began looking around the bar. Many familiar faces greeted her.
She saw women with whom she had been friends for four years or more, women who
had always seemed to genuinely care about her as a person and not simply as someone
famous. She saw them greet each other the way they had always greeted her
when she was in the bar, and tears came to her eyes as she thought how much things
had changed. Not the bar, nor the people in the bar, they had all stayed
the same; it was herself who had changed, and she wasn't sure she liked the change.
Kaia watched as Dixie approached the bar. "Melinda! What about
that pretty girlfriend of yours?" Melinda smiled halfheartedly and
shrugged, and Dixie's face showed real concern. "I'm serious, Mel,
how is she? Tina and I were talking about her last night. We haven't
seen or heard from her since she came home from New York, and it's been three
weeks. How's she doing?"
Melinda carefully refrained from looking toward the corner in which Kaia hid.
"She's doing, Dix, and that's about all. But I think it helps to know
that people care. It was nice of you and Tina to have sent flowers.
She appreciated it a lot."
Dixie nodded. "Well, tell her she needs to come out. We all want
to see her for ourselves to know that she's going to be all right."
Dixie bought a drink and moved away from the bar. As she walked past Kaia's
hiding spot, the singer made a split-second decision and took a leap of faith.
She reached out and took hold of Dixie's arm as the older woman made to pass.
Dixie jumped, then peered into the shadows at Kaia. "Ki?"
Kaia nodded, and Dixie set her drink down to hug Kaia. "It's good to
see you, Kaia! How are you feeling?"
Kaia shrugged and picked up her notepad, pulling a pencil out of her pocket.
Some days better than others. Not feeling so well all the time.
Dixie hugged her again. "I'm glad to see you here. And I'm glad
you're not dead. We all love you, Ki. Come on, say hello to everyone."
Kaia's haunted eyes widened and she shook her head violently. No - I
can't. What would they say? what would I say? she scribbled.
Dixie looked hard at her. "Kaia. Just because you've been through
a bad experience does not mean you can cut yourself off from everyone else here.
Do you think you're the only one of us who's ever been hurt? Now come on,
pull yourself together, woman. Be strong, because if you're not then
you'll never get past it. Do you want to be come what was done to you?"
Kaia sat for a moment longer, thinking very hard. Then she stood, picked
up her beer and followed Dixie into the light. She couldn't quite make herself
smile, but she almost managed a ghost of one when she saw Melinda watching her
with tears in her eyes. She moved over to the bar briefly for another beer,
and left a small note behind. I think it's going to be okay. They
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