The Rainbow Room


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 behind herself.

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.  Sick inside.

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 care.

Part 4

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