This is an original fiction story. Any resemblance to actual people is coincidental.
A sexual relationship between two consenting adult women is depicted. If this offends you or if you are under 18, do not read further.
The F-word is used and there is mild cussing (always in good taste, of course).
Moderate alcohol consumption is depicted.
Thanks to Barb, Mavis, and the rest of the Hearthstone Writing Group for your invaluable feedback and expertise as betas. As Always, thanks to Sara for your unflagging support and love.
Before I met Madison, I had a habit of categorizing everyone into one of two groups, according to how they responded when they found out that I was a writer. In one group were the people who figured that writing was a piece of cake. They had always wanted to write a novel. The only reason they hadn’t was that they’d never had the time. They often suggested that maybe we could collaborate on a book. They could supply the ideas, and I could do the writing. Then I would tell them that I loved their concept, but my head was already full of things to write about, so maybe I could supply the ideas and they could do the writing. That was always pretty much the end of the discussion.
Without exception, everybody who wasn’t in the first group fell neatly into the second group. They were the ones who asked the same old questions. Where do you get your ideas? (I don’t know. They just come to me.) Do you make an outline before you start writing? (No, the story just flows out on its own. When I’m writing chapter six, I have no idea what’ll happen in chapter seven.) Are your characters based on real people? (No, but they’re usually composites of several people I’ve met, as far as I can tell.)
Then I met Madison. She was unique in a lot of ways, not the least of which was her reaction to me. She assured me that her first name really was Madison. It was the perfect name for her, because she was an incredibly attractive androgynous dyke. She was a second-year law student at Arizona State University. She had a penetrating gaze, and when she talked to people, they knew beyond a doubt that they were the only thing on her mind. When Madison found out I was a writer, she didn’t tell me she would have written a book if she’d ever found the time, and she didn’t ask me where I got my ideas and my characters. She looked intently into my eyes and told me she thought it was a fascinating occupation.
I was probably almost old enough to be Madison’s mother, and I didn’t entertain any fantasies about what might happen between us. In fact, she reminded me of my own alter ego. She was the type that ends up as a protagonist in a romance novel where everyone is extremely intelligent and unbelievably gorgeous. The author wouldn’t have to take a little from one person and a little from another and combine the parts into a fantasy character. Madison was a complete package.
I don’t recall exactly how I stumbled onto the concept of depositing Madison verbatim into a story. I think it must have started the evening she came over to my apartment to make illegal copies of a few of my CDs. When she was finished we sat at the kitchen table and started to work our way through a bottle of Chivas Regal. Madison told me what law school was really like. My impressions had been based almost entirely on television and movie versions—highly romanticized and hopelessly naïve. But I thought her story was actually more interesting. In her first year alone, some of Madison’s experiences were almost shocking. By the time we were halfway through the bottle, we had hatched the plan.
It would be a short hop from Madison’s true-life experiences to a fictionalized account of a sexually charged love story. The idea fascinated her. Although I don’t generally let anyone read my work in progress, I agreed to make an exception for Madison. I started the novel a few days later. By the end of the second week, Madison was addicted to it, and she began to come to my apartment every evening to see what I had written that day.
Madison had been around the block a few times, but she had never been involved with any of her classmates. So I created Emmy, a woman deeply disturbed and confused about her past, her future, and her sexuality. Meeting Madison was both a blessing and a curse for Emmy. A blessing because it pointed the way to her true nature and the possibility for a fulfilling life. A curse because the path was lined with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. During the first few weeks, Madison acted mostly as a technical advisor on the mechanics of law school.
In chapters one and two, Madison and Emmy meet. The reader gets acquainted with them and sees the first hint of Emmy’s internal conflict. The first six thousand words boiled down to this:
Madison didn’t like the idea of joining the study group. Like her, two members had full scholarships. The other three didn’t need scholarships. They were all “the brightest of the bright.” She should have felt flattered that they had invited her to join, but she didn’t. It meant a commitment to other people. It meant depending on other people to get passing grades. It was the only way to survive law school.
A fleshy young man named Gene, whose hair was already thinning at the age of 23, emerged as the group leader. Madison imagined him in forty years¾an even fleshier bald old man heading up a prestigious law firm in some big city. Perfect. Gene divided them into three pairs. Maybe coincidentally or maybe because Gene was a chauvinist, Madison was partnered with the only other woman in the group. That was fine with her. Gene babbled on and on. Each team would read only a third of the assignments, but would research and analyze them extensively for the benefit of the group. Starting Monday, they would meet three times a week to present their reports.
“That’s it for today,” he finally concluded. “Since classes don’t start until Monday, you might want to take advantage of the free time to get to know your study partner, and maybe set up some plans.” Goody. She was putting her notes into her backpack when the woman moved to the seat next to her.
“Hi, I’m Emmy,” the woman said. “I guess we’re partners for the year.”
Madison looked up and found herself gazing into the eyes of an angel. Alarm bells went off in her head. She took a deep breath.
“Hi, I’m Madison. Ah, would you like to have coffee?”
“Sure,” she smiled.
Omigod, thought Madison. She’s even more gorgeous when she smiles. Emmy rose from her chair. Madison couldn’t keep her eyes off the slim hips, the flat stomach, the beautiful breasts, the … stop it! she told herself.
Over coffee they exchanged the short versions of their life stories. Emmy was engaged to a wonderful man named George. They hadn’t planned to get married until after she finished law school, but then they decided there was no point in waiting. They would marry on Valentine’s Day. George thought that was terribly romantic. Emmy planned to practice real estate law, except for the years when she was raising her family. And Madison?
“I’m single,” she said. “My partner and I broke up about a year ago. She’s going to medical school now in New York. I’m going to be a public defender for a few years, then I plan to advocate for gay and lesbian rights.”
Emmy’s eyes were saucers. Her jaw dropped. “So, you’re a…?”
Madison laughed. “Yeah, but don’t worry, Emmy. You and I are study partners, not life partners. You stick with George and I’ll stick with—whomever. It won’t be a problem. Really.”
Emmy silently panicked. Memories she had buried years ago suddenly flooded to the surface of her consciousness. Marylou. It was just high school. It was just a silly crush. It only lasted for a year or so. It was nothing. Madison looked something like Marylou. Her directness, her eyes, her smile, her … stop it!
“Oh, it—it’s okay, Madison. I’m fine with it. I’m fine.”
During the next few weeks, we both became obsessed with Emmy. Madison didn’t think Emmy should have to suffer so much angst. She was a nice person. Her journey should have been much less painful. Ah, but then there wouldn’t be a story, I explained. Easy resolutions make dull reading. Emmy would have to suffer the tortures of the damned until she reached the last twenty pages. Only then could she walk happily into the sunset with Madison. We spent long hours discussing Emmy, and after a few weeks she began to seem almost real. Chapters three, four, and five took another ten thousand words to show the details of the slow but steady evolution of the relationship. Basically, it came down to this:
As the weeks passed, Madison met other women, dated them, slept with them, had a series of meaningless relationships with them. She became accustomed to her attraction to Emmy, which had grown intense. Occasionally when they were working, she would look up and find Emmy watching her. With those eyes. She dismissed the thought that she saw desire in Emmy’s eyes. Emmy was straight. She just happened to have eyes that made her look like she wanted Madison.
Madison began to grow impatient. She knew Emmy wanted to make love with her. I knew it too. But I thought it was too soon. It would throw off the timing of the story. At least, that was my outward rationalization. In the dark recesses of my mind, the part that I kept hidden from Madison and everybody else, lay the real reason: I was jealous of Madison. At first I thought it was just a harmless little crush. But as the story unfolded, I realized that I had fallen in love with Emmy.
In the past I had written about the intimate feelings and physical pleasures of dozens of women of every description. Nothing like this had ever happened to me. But I had never talked about a fictional character as much as I talked about Emmy. After countless late night discussions with Madison, Emmy had gradually become as real to me as anyone I had ever known. I thought about her constantly. My thoughts were sexual. I told myself it was ridiculous. To be precise, it was ludicrous.
I hit an impasse at chapter six. It wasn’t exactly writer’s block, because I did write something—but it was a lot of pointless babble between Madison and Emmy about a problem one of the guys in their study group was having. It was irrelevant and it did nothing to move the story forward. But it kept Madison from making a move on Emmy.
Madison got upset when she read it. We both knew Emmy couldn’t resist much longer. I had to face the facts. A kiss was inevitable, even if it was too soon to take it any further. With a heavy heart, I began to rewrite the chapter.
Neither of them had planned it. It just happened. Emmy arrived at Madison’s apartment, on time as always for their study session. She carried the usual study materials, together with something else. She smiled almost apologetically as she handed a necklace to Madison.
“The clasp on this thing came loose. Can you help me?” she asked.
She turned away and Madison gingerly fastened the clasp. “All set,” she whispered as she put her hands on the back of Emmy’s shoulders.
Emmy suddenly spun around and let her books fall to the floor. She threw her arms around Madison and pressed into her body. She clung desperately for a few seconds, until Madison drew back a little and looked at her intently.
Emmy’s eyes reflected the maelstrom of emotions swirling through her. Embarrassment. Confusion. Anguish. Terror. Need. Hunger. Desire. Desire. Desire.
“Oh God, I’m sorry, Madison,” she sobbed. “I don’t know what I’m doing. Hold me. Please just hold me. Don’t let me go. Oh God, I’m so sorry.” She breathed raggedly, clung desperately.
Madison’s heart pounded. “I won’t let you go, Emmy. I can’t let you go.”
I tried to continue, but I couldn’t. The thought of Emmy’s desire for Madison stopped me. I wasn’t sure about Madison’s feelings. Would she fall in love, or would Emmy be yet another in her long string of conquests? Emmy was so sweet and kind and wonderful. She deserved more than…what the hell was I thinking? My hands trembled as I turned off my computer and headed to the kitchen for a drink.
Madison arrived as I was finishing my second scotch and soda. She joined me at the kitchen table and reviewed what I’d written for the day. All two hundred words. She raised her eyebrows.
“Looks like the fireworks are about to start,” she said. The hint of a smile flashed across her face.
“I don’t think so,” I told her. “I’m not even half finished with the book. People don’t generally have sex until past the halfway point.”
“Why not?” she asked.
“That’s just how it’s done. Think about it, Madison. Except for erotica, there’s hardly ever any sex in the first half of books. Including mainstream novels. You have to develop the sexual tension. It takes several chapters to do it right.”
“In this case, I disagree,” said Madison. “Look at Emmy. She’s been sexually frustrated for years. You’ve already established that she doesn’t have orgasms with George because he doesn’t know what he’s doing. And she really wants a woman. She needs a woman. She’s frantic with need. It’s cruel to keep her in the state she’s in. She can’t even think, for Chrissake!”
“I can’t help it,” I said with a shrug. “It’s just too soon. Maybe she can have a little kissing and fondling, but that’s as far as I’m willing to let her go right now.”
It was going to break my heart. But Madison was right—I couldn’t leave Emmy completely in the dark, not even knowing where she stood or what she was all about. She would have to figure it out by interfacing with Madison. Interfacing. That was an interesting way to put it. I was in trouble, and I knew it.
I promised Madison that the necklace scene would lead to some heavy foreplay. She lobbied me for more before she finally gave up and went home. I showered and turned in for the night.
Someone was poking me. I opened my eyes. It was Emmy. No, that wasn’t right. Emmy didn’t exist. It had to be a dream. I decided to stay with it. If it got unpleasant, I could always force myself to wake up.
“What do you want, Emmy?” I asked. This would be interesting.
“You know everything about me. You know what I want. I’m a complete mess. I can’t handle the frustration anymore. I want Madison. And I’m talking about more than foreplay.”
“You don’t even know what happens after foreplay,” I protested.
“Oh, but I do. You gave me a little history. Have you forgotten about my affair with Marylou in high school? It made a lasting impression on me.”
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. “Yeah, now that you mention it, I remember something about Marylou in chapter two. But is that really relevant to the current situation?”
“Relevant? Are you kidding?” she gasped. “Of course it’s relevant! It means I know exactly what I’m missing. It means I know exactly what I want. You’re fully aware of that, and furthermore you know how much I want it. And knowing all that, do you really find it so surprising that I made my way across a couple of dimensions to find you? We may have only a short time together, but it’s very important to me.”
The fact that she almost made sense was disconcerting. “I’m not sure about any of this, Emmy. In fact, I’m not sure of my feelings about you.”
“Oh, I think you are,” she said, softening. “And I want you to know that if you and I existed on the same plane, I wouldn’t give Madison a second thought.”
“No,” she whispered. She leaned over and kissed me lightly on the lips. Then she slipped into bed next to me.
Suddenly I was completely aroused. My dream was spiraling out of control. It was time to end it. I sat up and took several deep breaths. Emmy began to run her fingers up and down my forearm.
“Stop it, Emmy. I don’t like this.”
“You’re uncomfortable because you don’t understand it,” she said. “But that’s okay. You don’t have to understand. Tomorrow you’ll try to make yourself believe it was just a dream.”
“It is just a dream. And I’m going to end it. I’m going to wake up now,” I told her.
“Believe whatever you want,” she said. “But the fact is that sometimes doors open between dimensions. It isn’t often and they don’t stay open for long. I’m not sure how I made it here, but I know that you and I have been given a rare gift. I know that you’re not going to wake up from a dream because you’re not asleep.” She nodded at the lamp on the night table. “Turn on the light if you want to. Take a good look at me.”
It sounded like a good idea. I thought the light might help me wake up. I reached over her and turned the knob on the lamp. Emmy looked exactly as I had described her.
“Do you believe me now?” she asked.
She gazed at me, and her face reflected the passion she felt. I knew it was genuine because the way I had written it she—
“Shit!” I said as I turned out the light and fell back on the bed. “You don’t exist, Emmy. I can’t seem to wake up and I’m having a conversation with a person who doesn’t exist. Damn!”
“But I do exist,” she said. “You created me, and here I am. And you don’t need to wake up because you’re already awake. I think it’d be nice if you got rid of these.”
She was referring to the T-shirt and boxer shorts I sleep in…when I’m alone. I decided to stop fighting the dream, since it was getting me nowhere, and to go with the flow. I slipped out of my nightclothes and dropped them on the floor. I couldn’t remember if Emmy had been nude before, but she certainly was at that point.
She leaned over me and insinuated her thigh between my legs. She pressed her body against mine and ran her hand up and down my side. Wherever she touched me, I felt an intense tingling sensation that I couldn’t identify. I thought at first it was extreme heat. But that wasn’t it. Nor was it extreme cold. Whatever it was, it was extreme and it was incredibly sexual.
Then she kissed me, and the feeling became even stronger. Her tongue set me on fire. She pulled away from the kiss and buried her head in my neck.
“Is this a vampire thing?” I asked breathlessly.
“No. It’s a hickey thing. I want to leave you with something to remember me by. Besides wild sex, that is.”
I reached up and pulled her closer. The strange tingling I had felt from her hands and tongue had spread over her entire body, and I felt it everywhere we touched. I heard her sharp intake of breath when I cupped her breast in my hand and ran my thumb over her nipple. Her body was suddenly covered with a thin layer of perspiration. She dug her fingers into the back of my shoulders, and before I even touched her, she cried out in ecstasy and I felt the violent convulsions of her orgasm.
I was so aroused it almost frightened me. She collapsed over me and after a few moments she began to cover me with kisses. Wherever she kissed me I felt that strange, tingling fire. She was still breathing heavily as she moved down my body. When she slid her fingers inside me, it felt ethereal. She stroked me with her thumb as she moved lower. When her mouth closed over my clitoris, I soared into space. To say it was the greatest orgasm of my life would be to understate it by a factor of light years.
Then Emmy was once again beside me, stroking my arm and kissing me lightly on the forehead. The tingling feeling still emanated from her fingers and her lips.
“That was wonderful. I’m glad I didn’t wake up,” I told her.
She laughed and shook her head. “I’ll say it one more time. You’re already awake. But from the looks of you, you won’t be for long. If you doze off for awhile, I’ll understand.”
She was right. My next awareness was of the morning sunlight streaming into my room. My T-shirt and boxers lay crumpled on the floor. My naked body felt sated beyond comprehension. I marveled at the power of the human mind to create such realistic images and physical sensations while in a sleep state.
I stumbled into the bathroom and splashed water on my face, but it did nothing to get me going. I pulled on a pair of sweatpants and a clean T-shirt and walked barefoot to the kitchen. A pot of strong coffee seemed like a good idea.
I filled my mug the minute it was ready and sat at the kitchen table. I couldn’t stop thinking about Emmy. My feelings for her before last night had been disturbing enough. Being in love with a nonexistent person had already caused me to question my sanity. But last night was so real. I could still feel the effects. What the hell was going on? Was I really—
The doorbell interrupted my thought. Then I remembered that it was Saturday, and Madison was due at nine o’clock. She was already ten minutes late.
When I opened the door, she looked me up and down and said, “Geez!”
“You didn’t wake me up,” I assured her. “I overslept a little, but I’m already on my second cup of coffee. C’mon into the kitchen and have a cuppa.”
“If I’d known you had a date last night, I wouldn’t have suggested that we get together so early,” she said as she followed me to the kitchen.
“I didn’t have a date,” I told her. She took a seat at the table and I set a cup of coffee in front of her. “I haven’t had a date in two months.”
She took a sip of her coffee and eyed me suspiciously. “So what’d you do—run down to the bar and pick up some woman for a quickie? I didn’t think you went in for that sort of thing.”
“You’re right on that score. No, I stayed home by myself last night and went to bed early. I don’t know why I overslept.”
“Maybe you got stressed figuring out how to give yourself a hickey,” she said with a chuckle.
“What are you talking about, Madison?”
“I’m talking about your neck. Looks like somebody was turned on to the max,” she said.
I jumped up and ran to the bathroom. When I looked in the mirror I realized why Madison had reacted the way she did when she first saw me. I looked the way people do at the beginning of an affair—after hours and hours of sex at the expense of sleep. On my neck was a huge pink and purple hickey. Emmy hadn’t been kidding about leaving something to remember her by.
“Oh, shit,” I said to the face in the mirror.
I walked back to the kitchen in a daze.
“Are you okay?” Madison asked. “You look like you just saw a ghost.”
“Talk to me about Emmy,” I said.
“Okay. But I can’t tell you anything you don’t know about her. She’s your creation.”
“Then talk to me about Madison.”
She looked at me strangely. “Do you mean the real me, or the one you created for the book?”
“The one in the book. Do you think she’s a lot different from the real you?” I was suddenly aware of the possibility of two very different Madisons.
She shrugged. “I suppose she must be. I mean, I’m me…the sum of all the experiences I’ve ever had. And you know about only a tiny fraction of that. But the Madison in the book is really you. That’s all she could possibly be, don’t you think?”
“Oh, shit,” I moaned.
“Gee, you’re articulate today,” she said sarcastically. “Are you sure somebody didn’t fuck your brains out last night?”
“No, I’m not sure at all.”
I must have looked rattled, because she leaned across the table and stared at me intently. “Do you know anything about Gestalt psychology?” When I shook my head, she continued haltingly. “Well, I only know a little about it. But the thing is, when you have a dream, you’re not only every person in the dream, you’re every object as well. If you dream you see a car, then you are that car. Or that car is you. However you want to look at it.”
I touched my neck where the hickey was, felt a stab of soreness. “I didn’t have a dream,” I told her. “It was something else.”
“I’m just saying that maybe it’s the same when you write a book and create a character. Maybe that character exists because you exist. So I can’t tell you about the Madison that exists in the book. You would have to be the one to tell me.
“I have to let her go,” I mumbled.
“Let who go?”
“Emmy. You were right about her all along. She belongs with Madison. I mean the one in the book—not you. See, they exist on another plane and we can’t really touch them. Except under very weird circumstances.”
“Weird circumstances,” she repeated, nodding slowly.
“Right. So what needs to happen is that Emmy and Madison proceed to fall in love, act accordingly, and get on with their lives.”
“Sounds good to me,” she said.
I spent the next six weeks working on the draft. I gave Madison some qualities that I knew Emmy would find captivating. I was happy to maneuver them through the requisite trials and tribulations of young love. The real Madison even blushed a couple of times when she read the hot sex scenes I had written.
I felt a rush of satisfaction the evening I finally wrote “The End.” The draft needed a serious cleanup, but the story was all there. Madison and Emmy had found joy and fulfillment. I was happy for both of them. I printed the last pages from my computer and put them in place in the binder where I kept the latest version of the manuscript.
I thought fondly of Emmy as I got into bed that night. My sweet, wonderful Emmy had at last found happiness. I drifted off and slept like a baby.
When I woke up the next morning, I felt disoriented. It’s a feeling I always get after the end of a big project, but I’ve never gotten used to it. I splashed water on my face and went to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee.
The binder with my manuscript lay on the table exactly where I had left it. On top of it lay a sheet of paper. It looked like someone wearing lipstick had left a kiss on the paper. I picked it up and felt an intense, tingling sensation.
- The End -
Return to the Academy