Same Con, Next Year




Disclaimer:  Characters are mine, although one or two may resemble familiar blue-eyed and green-eyed gals.

Fandom: XWP Uber/Alt

Rating: R

Warning: This story includes intimacies between women. I long for the day this doesn’t have to be a “warning.”

Summary: Two devoted movie fans meet at a yearly Halloween convention that celebrates a cult horror film and get a little more than they bargain for.




“Welcome to day three of the 15th annual Enter At Your Own Risk convention brought to you by Brainchild Extravaganzas! We’ve made it through two days of the scariest fun you will ever have! EAYOR Con celebrates the love of everything about the Halloween based cult movie, Enter At Your Own Risk. Con virgins, as of tomorrow evening, you will be virgins no more! Take that any way you wish.

“I’m your host every year and this final year, Witch Hazel Weymouth. The many events planned during this EAYOR Trick or Treat week, have already made your head spin…just like the character of Austin in the film. And, I have just found out, for the first time ever, right here on this stage, Noelle Nevin and Harper Keegan and will appear together! That’s right, Emery and Cady from your favorite film, right where I am standing tomorrow! Isn’t that exciting?”

As Hazel continued to recite her spiel, two female fans, dressed up as the two main stars, listened to the audience’s collective breath of surprise and excitement.

“Why is that such big news? Aren’t they here every year?” asked Julie, a first time convention attendee. She was attired in the black suede and deep purple, laced up, hooded ensemble that distinguished the Emery character. She was speaking with Tess, a veteran con goer. Tess was dressed in the Cady character’s white witch costume, a combination of silver-colored flowing fabrics that appeared to be more incantasia glamor sorceress than Stevie Nicks.

The interesting dynamic was that in the film, Emery was the taller of the onscreen couple. Julie was at least a head shorter than Tess. There were a lot of fans that came to the convention in costume but rarely was there a tall Cady and a short Emery.

“That’s because you’re a con virgin,” Tess said, referring to it being Julie’s first time at one of the crazy, addictive gatherings. They were fans of the movie who had met online through an EAYOR chat and decided to share a hotel room to cut down on convention expenses. “Well, they’ve never appeared together before because there’s always been the rumor that they hate each other’s guts.”

“Really?” Julie was shocked. “Wow. I never heard that. But…they had such chemistry in the movie. You mean they aren’t even friends?”

Tess shook her head. “Nope. At least that’s always been the talk.”

“Did they have a fight?”

Tess shrugged. “I don’t know. For some reason, I guess they never hit it off or got along.”

“Huh. That’s some pretty good acting then. Because they sure seemed close in the film. I mean, that kiss… the one that seduced Emery away from the dark side…”

“The kiss that launched a thousand lesbians, you mean.”

“They really sold that,” Julie said, clearly getting all hot and bothered just thinking about it. “And neither one of them is gay, huh?” Her tone, in anticipation of the response, was crestfallen.

“Far from it.” Tess studied her new friend. “When did you become a CaMery shipper, anyway? Doesn’t sound like it’s been that long.”

“It hasn’t. Remember, I told you that I saw the film for the first time last year at Halloween. Right around the time I came out. My friends had been after me for years to see it and finally dragged me to a midnight showing and Halloween party. Well, with my reaction to Emery and Cady, I couldn’t lie to myself anymore. Come to find out, no one was fooled, except me. Everybody suspected. Kinda made coming out somewhat anti-climatic.”

“Better anti-climatic than everyone disowning and turning away from you,” Tess said.

“Did that happen to you?”

“No, thankfully. But it did happen to my first girlfriend so, in a way, I was a victim by proxy. It’s the story of a lot of the usual con goers, too.”

“Man, that sucks.” Julie strolled over to one of the vendor tables and started to look at autographed photos of the cast. She pointed to a provocative publicity pose of Noelle and Harper in costume. “They’ve never appeared together at a con? Really?”  

“Nope. Every year they attend but Harper shows up on one day and Noelle shows up on another. They are never scheduled to work any events together. Even when the film first came out, they did separate promotional tours. So this is a really big deal. I wonder if they agreed to do it that way because this is the last EAYOR con.”

“I know,” Julie said, sadly. “I really couldn’t afford to be here this year. Maybe next year or the year after, I would have had enough saved up but since that isn’t a possibility now, I had to drain my savings, plus borrow some to get here. I just couldn’t imagine not coming to an EAYOR con, ever, after the movie basically changed my life.”

“That movie changed a lot of women’s lives. I don’t think most of the people involved even understand the impact it had on our community.” Tess sighed. “I don’t have a lot of money, either, which is why I can usually only afford the minimal ticket. But, you know, I can’t not attend. It’s like coming to a family reunion every year to see people you actually like.”

“I wonder if it’s that way with the cast, too. I wonder if it will be as weird for the actors as it will be for the fans not to be here next year.”

Tess thought about that and then said, “All the actors are doing different projects, spread all over the world and I guess it’s difficult to fit this into their schedules every year. Plus, a lot of them are tired of being typecast in the same parts.”

“That’s kind of ungrateful, isn’t it? I mean, they were all pretty much unknown until this movie shot their careers into the stratosphere.”

“I don’t think ungrateful is the right word. I really believe they are thankful and indebted to the film but they’re actors, you know? I think they want to move on and become better known by other more serious, less campy projects. Plus, they’re probably sick of dropping everything to come here every year.”


The door to the hotel room shut, unassisted, with a firm click, signaling that the lock automatically engaged. Harper Keegan pulled her luggage fully into the parlor area of the suite and then sought out the bedroom. She carried her garment bag to the closet, placed her suitcase on the chrome and leather strapped rack and looked around the room. “Nice.”

She stepped backward and flopped on the luxurious king-sized bed. Harper closed her eyes for a moment, winding down from the stress of being up at 4 AM to make her 6:30 flight and spending the day in airports and in the sky. She was relieved that she’d had the common sense to get everything prepared the night before so that all she had to do was take a quick wake-up shower, dress in the outfit she set out last night, call for her car, load up and get to the proper terminal.

Her eyes stayed closed as she relished the comfort of the big bed. She thought about taking a nap when the sound of the shower running caught her attention. A smile graced her features, once impish and cherubic, now mature and sexy. She sat up and unbuttoned her embroidered, white denim shirt, leaving it open to reveal a sports bra and a tanned, toned tummy. As she poked through her open suitcase, searching for a more comfortable top, her cell phone rang.

Harper grabbed it from her purse and read the caller ID. She rolled her eyes at the displayed name. “Hi, Jason. Yep, just got in.” She walked into the dining area and saw an ice bucket cooling a magnum of champagne. She smiled, approached the table, lifted up the chilled bottle and read the label. “No, I think I’m going to have dinner in my room. I need to wind down and relax a little.” She turned over two tall, narrow wine glasses that were resting upside down on the table. She then peeled the foil off the cork and twisted the wire to loosen and remove the cage.

“Seriously, Jason, I am not available for anything tonight.” She held on to the stopper and took the towel draped over the bucket, wrapped it around the bottle and began to twist. “She said what?” The cork released with a soft popping sound and Harper set the champagne down. She placed her hand on her hip and raised her voice. “I don’t give a good goddamn what she said, I told you last week that I am not doing photo ops with Noelle Nevin. It’s bad enough I have to share the stage with her! She knows that is not an option. I’ll do my photo ops tomorrow, alone, as planned. No, I have no idea; I’m not Noelle’s secretary.”

Harper decanted the sparkling wine into the two flutes, pouring each glass about three-quarters full. She trapped the phone between her cheekbone and shoulder and carried the glasses toward the bathroom. “I don’t care, Jason. The only reason I agreed was because you guys said this is the last one. Hey, I consider myself a good actor; I can pretend to like her for an hour but that’s all so if you’ve promised photo ops, you need to un-promise them.” She set one of the glasses down on the marble counter next to the sink and walked toward the shower with the other. “Yes, my husband is already here. He flew in this morning.” She lightly rapped on the steamed-up glass of the shower room door. “Listen, Jason, let me call you later. I’d like to catch up with Andy since I haven’t seen him in a month.” The shower door opened only enough for a hand to reach out toward the flute. “Okay. Yup. Bye.” Harper watched the call disconnect and she placed her phone on the cover of the toilet tank.

Instead of the hand taking the glass of champagne, it pushed the door all the way open, grabbed onto Harper’s wrist and pulled her into the shower. Harper let out a small squeal of surprise. Torn between being upset and thrilled, she settled on the latter when a surge of arousal flashed though her nether regions. She looked up and smiled. “Hey, baby. I’ve missed you.”

“Mmmm. I’ve missed you, too,” Noelle said, kissing Harper deeply.


“Who’s scheduled first today?” Julie asked, searching for her program. They had decided to get a bite to eat while the conference  organizer’s speech was still going on. They strolled up to stand in line at the hotel’s café, whose prices were not cheap but still less expensive than the main restaurant and more convenient than finding a fast food place outside the convention area.

“Austin…um, Perry Francis. Did you want to see him?” Tess asked.

“Well, it’s not imperative. I’d like to see everybody, though, if I could.”

“Just a head’s up, he doesn’t look anything like he did in the film because he’s all grown up now. Plus, he’s kind of an egotistical asshole. He’s become a heartthrob in the last 15 years and he plays it for all its worth. Most of his fan base is screaming teenage girls who are more from his new show than from this film.”

“Ah. Good to know. Did you pay for any photo ops?”

“Yeah. I splurged this year. I’m getting my picture taken with Harper tomorrow and then Noelle. There was talk of that they’d pose together with fans but that won’t be happening.”

“I just can’t believe they hate each other that much.”


Harper was now as naked as Noelle. The heat from the water spiraled mist up around them as they renewed their intimate acquaintance of each other’s bodies. The only communication between them was sexual. It had been a year. They had a lot of catching up to do.


Julie and Tess were seated at a tall bar table, where they decided on splitting a couple of appetizer dishes. “Hey, isn’t that -?” Julie pointed to an attractive man in his mid-40s at the entrance of the café.

“Andy Eastman, Harper’s husband. Must mean Harper has arrived.”

“Think she’s in the cafe somewhere?” Julie asked, looking around excitedly.

“She had to fly in from wrapping a film on Prince Edward Island. My guess is if she’s here, she’s probably in bed.”

Snuggled up together in the California King, Harper and Noelle were both trying to calm their breathing from their most recent bout of lovemaking.

“We’re going to need another shower,” Noelle murmured in Harper’s ear.

“Fine by me,” Harper said. She twisted in Noelle’s arms and maneuvered herself on top of her older, former co-star.

“Again?” Noelle said and grinned as her arms reached around to caress Harper’s backside. “You’re insatiable.”

“Said the spider to the fly,” she responded and then planted a fiery kiss on Noelle’s lips. “I don’t know what happens to me when I’m around you. It’s like I can’t ever get enough and I have to keep touching you.”

“I know what you mean. Every year it gets harder and harder to pretend I don’t even like you.”

Harper expelled a breath and rested her head on Noelle’s shoulder. “I know.” She kissed her neck. “I hate that things are the way they are. But we both know what would happen to our careers if this got out.”

“We wouldn’t have careers. At least not where we wouldn’t be labeled box office poison for the rest of our lives. Our fans would be thrilled, though,” Noelle said and chuckled. She ran her fingers lightly up and down Harper’s back.

“Remember the first time?”

“I’ll never forget it. The thrill of victory…and the agony of defeat.”


“All right, let’s get this blocked and then we’ll break for lunch,” Andy Eastman, the good-looking, boyishly handsome director, announced. “This is the last scene and then we’ll be wrapped so let’s take our time and get it right.” He turned to Harper. The petite, green-eyed blonde stood off to the side, her reluctance obviously displayed with her arms folded across her chest. Eastman smiled. “Buck up, kiddo. This is the scene that will make or break this film,” he said, prophetically. “You read the script before you signed on, you know Cady seduces Emery with a kiss. We can’t…no, we won’t change it. Anything else would lessen the effect.” He then focused his attention on Noelle. “I don’t know what the issue is between you two but you need to put it aside for today. The audience needs to believe that when you kiss, all the darkness in you completely melts away. It ain’t gonna happen with just an impersonal peck.”

Noelle, the tall, dark haired, pale blue-eyed beauty nodded at Andy and stepped up to her mark. “Okay, let’s get this done. I’m hungry,” she said, sporting a lopsided grin. She shot a quick glance over to Harper, who was staring down at her feet.

Andy shook his head in mild frustration. “I don’t care what it is but when we return to set after lunch, whatever animosity you two have for each other needs to be gone. I don’t want to see even a hint of it that might show up on film. You feel me, ladies?” His eyes switched back and forth between the two female leads.

“Got it, boss,” Noelle said.

“No problem,” Harper mumbled.

“Alrighty then,” Andy clapped his hands together. “Emery,” he addressed Noelle using the character name, “you emerge from the shadows of the forest and you are once again mesmerized by the vision before you. You stop there -” He pointed to her first mark, “- and just admire the chimera who is naively determined to invade your realm.” He turned to Harper. “Cady, at this point, you are bent over the stream and you haven’t seen her yet. Suddenly you sense her presence and you shiver in anticipation of what you know needs to be done. You slowly stand and make a half-turn and your eyes lock with hers.”

He walked over to Noelle and gently touched her forearm. She followed him to Harper. “Emery, you move slowly toward her, as though under a spell. You stop right here and just let Cady’s spirit encircle and engage you. The meaning has to be passed with a look, so this will be the first part of your selling the scene to the audience. Harper, I mean, Cady, you will convey with your expression that you need this to happen; you need her conversion. Emery, your expression will convey inflexibility, then surrender. What is about to happen is forbidden for both of you but you cannot be together until one of you yields. You slowly come together and then the kiss happens. When you reluctantly break apart, Emery has come to the light, blah, blah, blah. CGI. We’ll fix it in post.”

He walked back to the camera. “Let’s do a walk-through, make sure we have the general idea and then that’s lunch.” Andy looked at both women. “Good?” They nodded. “Great. Everybody back to one.”


There was a knock on Harper’s trailer door.  She took a swig of water to wash down the mouthful of salad she had just been chewing on. The knock sounded again. Harper stood up and stepped over to her dressing room door, opening it. Her eyes registered mild shock to see Noelle Nevin standing there. “Yes?”

“May I come in?” Noelle asked, politely. She stood there momentarily, tolerating Harper’s stare. “Please?”

“Um, sure.” Harper stepped aside and let Noelle pass, then looked outside to see if anyone was milling around that might have seen Noelle near her trailer. There was no one in the vicinity. Harper shut the door and turned around. She gestured for Noelle to sit on the small sofa. “What can I do for you?”

“You can tell me what it is I’ve done to offend you.”

Harper looked somewhat stunned by Noelle’s frankness. “You…you haven’t done anything.” She broke eye contact with the gorgeous woman and found interest in the carpet.

“Then why the acrimony? You haven’t said two words to me that haven’t been in the script. You can barely even look at me. I am wracking my brain to recall what I might have done to piss you off but I can’t come up with anything. I would really appreciate, at the very least, a clue.”

Harper was initially silent, her skin flushed with chagrin. Finally she said, “It’s, um, it’s not you, it’s me.”

“Unfortunately, that doesn’t help me, Harper. What about me makes it impossible for you to be civil to me?”

“I…I really don’t mean to be uncivil.” She bowed her head.

“Really? Well, you could have fooled me.” Noelle observed Harper as she seemed to wilt, like a dying flower, before her eyes. “Harper?” She stood up and took a step toward the smaller woman. “What is it?” she asked, now concerned.

“I’m so embarrassed,” Harper whispered.

Suddenly, Noelle wasn’t as annoyed as she was puzzled. “What’s going on? Talk to me, maybe I can help.”

Harper let loose a frustrated snicker. “That would probably make it worse,” she said, more to herself than Noelle.

“I don’t understand.”

“I…um, I’m…oh, shit, I might as well just tell you and get it out there. I am really attracted to you.”

Noelle couldn’t have been more shocked if Harper had reached out and slapped her. “What?”

Harper interpreted Noelle’s reaction as disgust. “I…I know. I don’t know why and I apologize. I haven’t wanted to offend you or foster this feeling so I guess I just shut myself off and -”

Noelle put her hand up in a gesture to halt Harper’s speech. “Wait. Wait. Back up. You’re attracted to me?”

“Look, you asked and I was honest,” Harper said, defensively. When Noelle began to chuckle, Harper was puzzled then insulted. “What’s so funny?”

Sensing Harper’s affronted demeanor, Noelle laughed harder. That really annoyed the younger woman.

“Great. Thank you for making me feel even worse.” Harper walked to the door, about to open it. “You can leave any time.”

Noelle stepped over to the door, stood in front of Harper and flipped the lock to secured. “No, we’re going to talk about this. Why are you so freaked out about it?”

“Aren’t you?” Harper challenged.

“No.” She appeared to be choosing her words carefully. “I have always considered sexuality to be a fluid thing. For example, I have been crushing on you since we started filming.”

Harper’s eyes widened in surprise. “But…but…you’ve been married. And you have a child and a boyfriend.”

Noelle nodded then shrugged. “Yeah, so? I love my ex-husband and my beautiful son was born from that union; but I came to the realization that I am much more attracted to women. My ‘boyfriend’ is also gay. It’s a cover relationship to keep any suspicion off either one of us.”

“Really?” Harper blinked in disbelief.

“Really,” Noelle said and grinned. “Women are much more accommodating sex partners. I find them much more attuned to my needs, physically and emotionally. You should try it. Find out what all the fuss is about.”

Harper shook her head as she spoke. “The fuss? I know what ‘the fuss’ is about. I’m not a virgin; I’ve had sex,” she said, indignantly.

“With a woman?” Noelle asked, her eyebrow arched in skepticism.

“Well, um, no, but -”

“Then, trust me, you have no clue what the fuss is about.” There was an appraising, almost wolfish expression on Noelle’s face that made Harper’s heart beat a little faster.

“Hey, I don’t think that’s fair. My sex life has been pretty satisfying.”

“Just ‘pretty’ satisfying?” Noelle smirked, knowing she was flustering her adorable co-star.

“Oh, please. No one can really make the earth move or cause fireworks or any of those other clichés.” Harper studied Noelle, who continued to stare at her in amusement, with her lips pursed. Harper visibly swallowed. “Can they?”

“You want to find out?” Noelle’s voice was low and sexy.

Harper opened her mouth a few times to speak but nothing came out. Boldly, Noelle slowly backed Harper up, trapping her between herself and the wall, a determined look in the taller woman’s enchanting blue eyes. “What – what are you doing?” Harper asked, barely audible.

“What do you think?” Noelle said, her breath mingling with Harper’s. She took Harper’s face in her hands and leaned in for a kiss.

Harper froze. She felt helpless to neither encourage nor discourage the action. The touch of Noelle’s lips to hers was feather light before she pressed in for serious contact. The sensation was scary, gentle, revealing, exciting and forbidden. After enjoying the kiss entirely too much, Harper broke away. “I can’t do this. We can’t…”

Noelle still held Harper’s face, her thumbs making light circles over cheekbones. “Why?”

Tears glistened the corners of Harper’s eyes. She covered Noelle’s hands with her own. “I just – I…my father is a minister. My family is evangelical. I cannot be attracted to you. I shouldn’t be kissing you.”

“But we have to kiss for the camera.”

“That’s different. That’s acting. Just like me playing a white witch. It’s fantasy. Anything else, well, let’s just say I would be disowned.”

“Nobody has to know.”

“I would know.” Harper said, quietly.

They stared into each other’s eyes momentarily. Then Noelle placed a soft kiss on Harper’s forehead and dropped her hands to her sides. “Okay. I can respect that. At least I know now that the issue isn’t me. I mean, yes, it is me but not in the way I first thought.” Noelle turned and headed for the door. “I’m still willing to talk it out with you, if you want.” She turned and looked at Harper. “Listen…let’s not mention my confession to you about my having slept with women.”

“Not that I would but why? If you’re not ashamed -”

“I’m not ashamed,” Noelle said, quickly. “I have no reason to feel any shame. As a recovering Catholic, I’ve carried more than my share of unnecessary guilt but my sexuality is not a part of that. This is strictly regarding my career. People can speculate all they want but if it got out by any reputable source that I’m…” Noelle contemplated the proper word. “…adaptable…my future in this business will be non-existent. Look at all the entertainers – actors, especially – who have come out as gay or bisexual. Their employment opportunities dry up, unless they get cast as a gay or bisexual character.”

“That’s not always true,” Harper countered.

Noelle leaned against the door and folded her arms across her chest. “Really? Name one.” She waited while Harper tried to come up with a name. A few silent minutes passed. “Exactly. For example, Rupert Everett. Probably one of the handsomest, most classically trained, talented actors to do film in the early 90s. Everybody wanted him, wanted to be him, wanted to work with him. And then he came out. Our industry pretends to be very liberal but they’re really conservative and beholden to whoever provides the money and if there is anything that might interfere with the financial return, it doesn’t matter how popular you are. If they foresee the dollar signs dropping, they’ll happily throw you under the bus.”

“So your private life is removed from your public life,” Harper said.

“It’s the only way to fly.”

“How can you be sure no one will say anything?”

“I can’t be positive but I do know the women I’ve been with – at least so far -  have as much to lose as I do so it’s a pretty good bet they will be as prudent.”

“But what if they aren’t?”

Noelle shrugged. “I’ll deal with it if the time comes.” She studied her younger co-star who was deep in thought. “You know, Harper, I’m well aware that you have been visited by a crew member or two during your meal breaks. Aren’t you concerned that might get back to your religious relatives?”

Sandy colored eyebrows shot up to hide under blonde bangs and what could only be described as a mortified flush covered Harper’s face. “I…I don’t know what you mean.”

“Sure you do,” Noelle disputed. “And the reason I know that is a couple of your satisfied customers couldn’t help but brag about your, um, excellent oral skills.”

Harper covered her face with her hands. “Oh my God. I’m mortified.”

“Just giving you a head’s up, so to speak,” Noelle said, clearly tickled by her own play on words. She walked over to Harper and placed her hands on her shoulders and turned her around so that they were facing a mirror. “Have you really looked at yourself? Have you watched yourself on film? You may be insecure…and God only knows why…but if you are going to waste your time on casual sex, for heaven’s sake, blow someone who matters, like the director. At least that might further your career and not too many people are going to run their mouths about anyone who has any power in this town. We are in the midst of an age of information like we’ve never seen before and if you aren’t careful and don’t choose your situations wisely, you will become a casualty of your indiscretions.”


“I couldn’t believe you said that to me,” Harper said, as she lay in Noelle’s arms.

“You needed to know. Those crewmembers began to treat you like a dirty joke. And even though I wasn’t sure what your problem was with me, I knew you didn’t deserve that reputation. You were way too talented, even back then, to be brought down by good ol’ boy locker room gossip.”

Harper sighed. “I was so naïve. I had no confidence. I stupidly thought that, because I enjoyed sex, I could be as casual about it as the guys. I think I just wanted to be liked and I wanted a boyfriend.”

“And you got one, didn’t you?”


Noelle turned Harper around and removed Harper’s hands from Harper’s face. She then put a finger under Harper’s chin and lifted. Their eyes locked on each other. “It’s okay,” she said, gently. “Knowledge is power, as they say.” Noelle smiled.

Harper didn’t trust herself to speak just yet as she was on the verge of tears. She couldn’t decide if she was more angry or humiliated.

“So,” Noelle said and took a step back, “I’ll see you on set. I have all the confidence we can pull off that kiss now.” She placed her hand on the doorknob. “Thank you for seeing me.” As she turned to exit the trailer, Harper’s voice stopped her.

“Noelle, wait.”

Noelle stopped and swiveled back toward Harper. “Yes?”

“Did, I mean, do you want to rehearse?” Harper asked shyly but not without a hint of hope in her voice.

A wide grin lit up Noelle’s face and she flipped the lock on the dressing room door again. “Yes. Yes, I do. Very much.”


“I had never been kissed like that,” Harper said, with a sigh. “It was such an awakening. There was so much feeling behind it. You were so smooth. You knew just what to do to send bolts of lightening right to my lady bits.”

“I didn’t want to stop. The only incentive I had was that we had to go film the kissing scene,” Noelle said, with a smile.



 Back on set in full costume and make-up, Noelle and Harper walked through the blocking of the scene with Andy once more before the actual first take.  The director wished the two actresses would be able to pull off the kiss in more than just a convincing manner.  He was amazed at how two women who could barely stand the sight of each other could still have that spark sizzling between them. If the kissing scene came off with even a smidge of the heat these two put out, well…it was too much to hope for.

He settled himself at the monitor behind the main cameraman and the assistant announced the mandatory ‘quiet on set.’ When there was silence, Andy announced, “Roll sound.”

“Rolling,” came the reply.

“Camera speed,” Andy said.


A young man holding a marked clapperboard, placed it, centered, in front of the camera. “Scene 54, Take 1.” He then slapped the two striped pieces of wood together, which were attached to the slate.

“Annnnnnnnd action.” Andy watched through the monitor as Noelle and Harper moved around in practiced activity and recited the minimal dialogue before the big moment. He was about to guide them through the kiss but before he could open his mouth, the scene took on a life of its own. He’d made sure three cameras were running at the same time – one from one angle, one from the other and one, using a zoom lens, filming a close-up, in case for whatever reason they couldn’t repeat the segment. The cameras were lined up so that none of the three would catch even a shadow of each other in the sightline.

He stopped watching the monitor and looked over at Noelle and Harper to make sure what he was observing was real. Noelle, as Emery, had slowly approached Harper, as Cady, and stood before her. Her expression had been one of defiance, wonder, longing and then complete submission. Harper’s response was equally reciprocal, reflecting tension, fascination, craving then victory. The kiss was perfectly executed, so much so, that Andy forgot to yell cut until the DP cleared his throat.

“Uh, right, cut. That’s a cut.” He ran his hand through his usually unruly hair as Noelle and Harper moved apart. “Good. Yeah. That was good.” He watched both women carefully. If he hadn’t known how much they couldn’t stand each other, he would have sworn a look of utter wanton desire passed between them before each actress found interest elsewhere. Andy spread his hand over his lower face and then let it drop to his side. “Any chance we could do that again? We’ll reset, capture it from the opposite angle.” He normally filmed a scene several times, even if the takes were perfect and then one more for ‘safety’, just in case. He knew this scene, however, was going to be difficult and had only planned on one take unless there were unforeseen circumstances. He never once thought the unforeseen circumstances would be that Noelle and Harper would actually pull it off better than he could have hoped for.

“Are we resetting, boss?” the director of photography asked.

Andy looked at his female leads. “If you two can put as much into it for one more take as you did the last one, I’m all for it.”

Noelle glanced over at Harper then back to Andy. “I’m okay with that,” she said, nonchalantly.

“Not a problem,” Harper said, her expression blank.

“Great! Okay how about we take 20 so that we can reset and relight.”

“Sure,” Noelle said as she turned and headed off in the direction of her trailer.

“See you in 20,” Harper said, leaving the set in the other direction.

Andy studied them both and absently rubbed hi chin. “Something’s different,” he mumbled to himself. He pivoted and put his focus back on the crew. “Can somebody get me a sparkling water?” he asked, while he began to calculate the new camera angles.


Noelle flopped back in her chair, careful not to mess up her hair or make-up. She reached around and removed a container of vitamin water from her small, refrigerated wine cooler. She had just twisted the cap off when there was a knock on her door. She stilled momentarily and then a knowing smile creased her lips. “It’s open,” she called.

Harper stepped in, closing and locking the door behind her.

“Yes?” Noelle asked, drawing out the word while her eyes smoldered over every inch of Harper’s form.

“I think you created a monster,” Harper said, her voice raspy from want.

Noelle stood and took Harper’s hand, leading her to the small bedroom. She slid the divider shut to block the door and took Harper’s face in her hands. “Are you sure?”

“Yes, but…we only have about 15 minutes and what about our make-up and wardrobe and -?”

Noelle silenced her with a kiss. When neither could catch their breath, Noelle broke away. “We don’t have time to do what I really want to do. Do you want to go somewhere after we’re done for the day?”

“If we wrap this scene, that’ll be it and then there’ll be a celebration and who knows how long it will last and -”

Noelle gently pressed her index finger to Harper’s lips. “Then we stay and celebrate and excuse ourselves to get out of these get-ups and shower our facepaint off. Then…”

“Won’t you have anyone, um, waiting for you?”

“You mean my boyfriend? No, he’s in San Diego with some Navy buddies at some kind of reunion for one of his squadrons. And my son is with his father this weekend. I have the next three days totally to myself. Of course, that could change, depending on you.”

“Aren’t you going to our Halloween wrap party Saturday night?”

“I’ve thought about it. Are you going?”

“Yeah, I told Andy I’d be there.”

“Maybe we should show up together, you know, solidarity for the film and all.”

Harper’s eyes reflected a touch of panic. “Probably not a good idea.”

Noelle nodded. “Right. Probably best to keep things the way they are.” She smiled and couldn’t stop herself from capturing Harper’s lips once more. It was thrilling to feel the willing surrender of Harper’s once rigid reaction. “If I give you my address, will you come over later?”

Harper’s eyes remained closed, her expression dreamy. “Yes.”


“Being stood up never hurt as much as it did that night we wrapped the film,” Noelle said, brushing an errant, sweaty clump of hair off Harper’s forehead.

“You terrified me,” Harper admitted.

“My attraction to you terrified me,” Noelle confessed. She pressed her lips against the blonde head. “Still does.”

“I’ll never forget the look on your face when I showed up to the party with Andy.”

“My heart shattered into a million pieces when he told me you two were going to start dating.”

“I know,” Harper sighed, regretfully. “I could tell. I felt horrible. I didn’t think you’d ever speak to me again.”

“Well, you made up for it a year later after the premiere,” Noelle said and smiled lasciviously.

“Yes but, until then, getting you to even stay in the same room with me was a task. If looks could kill, I’d have been dead multiple times over.”

“That’s because you married Andy.”

Harper chuckled. “And then you found out why.”


The premiere of Enter At Your Own Risk had ended and the after party was in full swing. The previews had earned the film positive publicity due to its blend of drama, romance, horror and camp. There was an excited buzz that EAYOR would be the next cult film with audience participation and that meant longevity and pretty much instant recognition for everyone involved.

The mood at the event was sanguine and buoyant. The mainly unknown cast was about to become internationally famous if the movie was the success it was predicted to be. All the players had moved on to other projects but something about this one had felt momentous, especially after popular, shock rock musician Max Mayhem had added a catchy soundtrack.

Noelle had been cast in a supporting role in a television series about police procedurals that was shot on location in New York and Harper was slated to start filming a three-part historical thriller in Vancouver for a cable movie network. This was the first time the two women were in the same room together since the EAYOR wrap party the year before. Even though Harper had tried her best to contact Noelle during the twelve months between then and now, the taller actress was never available to return her calls. As Noelle saw Harper stalking toward her, she knew her intentional avoidance had come to an end.

Noelle finished her cocktail in one huge gulp and sauntered over to the bar to order another. The click of high heels stopped behind her. Noelle handed the empty glass to the bartender and signaled for one more. Then she turned around to face the woman who had haunted her dreams for over a year.  “I hear congratulations are in order, Mrs. Eastman,” Noelle said, coolly.

“Why haven’t you returned any of my messages?” Harper’s voice was tight, angry.

“Seriously?” Noelle arched an eyebrow. “What was the point?” The bartender tapped her on the shoulder and she turned to take the refilled glass from him. She turned back, sipped it, looking at Harper over the rim.

Harper took a deep breath and appeared to gather her thoughts before she spoke. “The point, Noelle, is that I could have explained to you everything that has happened and why I have made the decisions I have.”

“And what difference could any of that have made to me?” Noelle was trying to stay aloof but that familiar pull was back. The chemistry suddenly felt explosive and Noelle tried to mask the loss of her breath from the heat of the powerful arousal.

Harper evidently felt it, too, as her face flushed and her pupils dilated. She reached out and grabbed Noelle’s sleeve and pulled her toward a closed door. Once inside the room, which appeared to be some kind of office or study, Harper flipped the bolt lock on the door. “You tell me you don’t feel that,” Harper hissed.

Noelle shook her head, then spit out, “What fucking difference does it make, Harper? You stood me up and you married Andy!”

“And if you had returned any of my calls you would have learned that it’s a fucking arranged situation!” Harper took a step closer to Noelle. “Andy offered me an opportunity too good to pass up. He is not only asexual, he cannot get or maintain an erection and he is sterile because of a childhood illness. He needed a wife and the promise of heirs by the time he was 30, in order to inherit his grandfather’s empire. I took him up on his offer because I thought it would be the best way to indulge my family and be with you.”

“Wait, what?” Noelle placed her drink on a desk behind her. “You and Andy are together in name only?”

“Yes! We’ve never even been intimate. We never will be intimate.”

“But…then how…how can you give him heirs?”

“It’s all planned out. In vitro, the donor being someone with Andy’s coloring and characteristics. Jesus, Noelle!” Harper scrubbed her face in anger and walked around in a circle. She then took in Noelle’s stunned, speechless expression. “If you hadn’t left so quickly the night of the wrap party, I would have explained it all to you.”

Noelle remained silent while she let Harper’s words sink in. Finally, she said, “Are you telling me that you gave up the chance of a real husband and a real family so…so that you could be with me?”

“Yes, you stubborn wench! I love you!” Harper’s eyes filled with tears as she whispered the words again. “I love you.”

Noelle had to sit down before her legs gave way. “But...” She looked up at Harper, bewildered. “Why did you stand me up? You didn’t show up at my house, you didn’t call and I didn’t see you until two days later, with no explanation.”

“I had every intention of going to your house that night. You left after the final scene wrapped. I stayed and had a glass of champagne. I started to pack up my dressing room and Andy stopped by. He began to tell me about his personal and family situation and before I knew it, it was already after midnight. We were both exhausted and we fell asleep. The next morning, the conversation continued where it left off and by the time he had convinced me to take this leap with him, it was late afternoon. I went home and I was so consumed with the idea of how my life was about to change, I needed some time to think about everything. I will readily admit that I should have called you before the wrap party and explained everything. I have no excuse for that, other than I was uncomfortable and scared.”

“Scared I could see but uncomfortable?”

“I didn’t think you would understand and I was embarrassed about standing you up. I thought if you’d heard that Andy had spent the night in my dressing room – and we know how rumors spread on that set – you would have changed your mind, anyway. By the time the wrap party started on Saturday, I had decided to at least tell you everything up front and let you decide what you wanted to do. But…my main reason for going along with all this was dominated by the idea of being able to be with you without drawing any suspicion or judgment from my family.”

 “Do you see how convoluted this is?”

“No more than the arrangement you’re in,” Harper countered. She stared at the nonplussed expression Noelle knew must have been on her face. “I’m going to go out and say my goodbyes to everyone. If you’re still interested, I’ll be at the Westgarden Hotel in Brentwood. Room 401. Andy is not staying with me.” Harper turned on her heel and left the room.


“Clearly, I showed you I was still interested,” Noelle said and grinned.

“Oh, yeah,” Harper said, nodding enthusiastically. “And then some.”

“It was just so unbelievable. Andy just oozes sex appeal. I mean, who would have thought? Especially since you now have two kids. How are the little rugrats, by the way?”



“Can we not talk about my children while I’m trying to seduce you again?”

“Not much trying to it, really,” Noelle said, with a knowing smirk. Harper squeaked with delight as Noelle rolled them over and trapped Harper beneath her. “Now, where were we?”


“Couldn’t they have come up with a better term than ‘con virgin’?” Julie asked Tess. They were once again seated in the main convention hall. No one scheduled was currently on the stage as helpers from Brainchild helped set up the table and chairs for the next event, which was the director/crew panel.

“Probably but con virgin is universal,” Tess said. She looked over at Julie. She was wildly infatuated with the younger woman who had similar characteristics to Emery, and Noelle, as well. “So, what is it? The word ‘virgin’?”

“I think so. It’s been so long since I’ve been one,” Julie said and smiled shyly.

“So what happened to that woman you told me you were seeing?” Tess asked, fishing. When they met in the EAYOR chat room and Tess checked out Julie’s Facebook page, Julie’s status was, “It’s complicated.”

“Oh, her. I had a huge crush on her but it didn’t go anywhere. She was experimenting.”

Ah,” Tess said and nodded in comprehension.

“I mean, she was – is  - a nice person but I felt more for her than she did for me.”

She must be an idiot, Tess thought. Out loud, she said, “That happens some times.”

“As long as it doesn’t happen every time,” Julie said. She pulled the schedule out of her back pocket, unfolded it and looked it over. “Who’s Melody Jimenez?” She glanced up at Tess, who was staring at her wide-eyed.

“You’ve never heard of Melody Jimenez?” When Julie shook her head, Tess said, “She’s only the most popular fan fiction author of CaMery femslash.”

Julie regarded Tess as though she spoke a foreign language. “What?”

Tess chuckled. “Oh, grasshopper. You have so much to learn. Do you read?”

“Of course. I mean, I know how,” Julie said, defensively.

“No,” Tess clarified, calmly, “do you read online fiction?”

“You mean written by fans of this film?”

“That or fans of any show or film.”

“Oh. Actually, I think I did read a story online that was based on Law and Order: SVU. A lot of sex between Olivia and Elliot.”

“Yes, like that – except instead of Olivia and Elliot, the narrative would be about Olivia and Alex or Olivia and whoever the female flavor of the season was. Melody Jimenez is the most well-known, prolific author of Cady and Emery fiction. She has created a library of stories that deals with an alternate universe where Cady and Emery are together in every way possible.”

“Wow. I’d love to read those stories,” Julie said, enthusiastically.

“There are a lot of others out there but Melody’s are the first and most popular. Remind me to give you her website. All her work is there and it’s best to start with the first one and read them in sequence. Anyway, they started inviting Melody to the cons the 3rd year and she’s such a favorite that they bring her back every year.”

“Cool. She’s next, so I think I’ll hang out and watch her.”

Tess grinned. “You’ll like her. She’s funny and really interesting.”

“So, basically, they made her famous?”

“Only if you are a diehard EAYOR fan,” Tess said. “If you said her name to anyone who isn’t familiar with this film, they wouldn’t know who she is. She gives the EAYORites what they want: a continued love story between Emery and Cady, something that’ll never happen with Noelle and Harper.”


“Hey, I have an idea,” Harper said, as she wiped her hands on a linen napkin. She and Noelle were both attired in the plush bathrobes the hotel provided, seated at the small table, enjoying room service.

“I liked your last idea,” Noelle said, smiling seductively. At Harper’s blush, Noelle said, “Sorry. Couldn’t resist. What’s your idea?”

“Every year on the night before the last day, doesn’t the convention do a midnight showing of Enter At Your Own Risk?”

“I believe so.”

“Where a majority of the audience dresses up?”

Noelle’s eyes narrowed. “Yes…what are you conjuring up in that pretty little head of yours?”

“I think we should dress up and go. Just kind of hang in the back and mingle until we get recognized. Don’t you think that’d be fun?” Harper’s enthusiasm was child-like.

“Seriously?” Noelle sounded intrigued.

“Why not? This is the final con, right? Let’s provide a few surprises of our own.”

“If we do that, it will put a serious dent in the rumor that we don’t get along. I mean, we wouldn’t just randomly show up both dressed in character at the midnight showing, especially since neither of us has ever done that before. We would have had to coordinate it.”

“Well…we can pretend we’re not really us; just two people who look like us.”

“Yeah, in fact, identical to us,” Noelle said, grinning and shaking her head. She appeared to be contemplating the scheme as she sliced into her salmon. After she took a bite, she said, “It does sound like fun, though. I mean, since this is the last convention, then you’re right, why not?”

Harper looked around for a clock and spotted the time digitized and projected on the wall. “Okay, it’s 7:15 now. The film begins at midnight, so we should be downstairs by 11:30 at the latest.”

“What about wardrobe?”

“I always bring mine with me,” Harper confessed.


“Hey, I’m prepared for everything. Brainchild has been known to come up with last minute changes.”

“True. I don’t have mine, though. In fact, I’m not even sure I could fit in it anymore,” Noelle admitted.

“Oh, please. Your body is just as hot and in shape as it was 15 years ago.” Harper waggled her eyebrows. “And I should know.”

“Thank you. But things have shifted in the last decade and a half.”

“Clearly in all the right places.” Harper’s eyes drifted to Noelle’s cleavage, which peeked up through the robe.

Noelle followed the direction of Harper’s admiring gaze then looked back at Harper. She arched her eyebrow. “Are you sure you want to spend the time getting into costume and make-up and going down to the screening instead of staying right here? Just the two of us? Alone?”

“Noelle, we have just spent four hours, the two of us, alone, revisiting every inch of skin on each other’s body, several times. I know we only get together like this once a year but we still have couple days after the con’s over. We should do something to make this convention memorable.”

“But if this is the last one, where are we going to get together every year?”

Harper paused in thought. “Well, there’s always Comic Con.”


“Thank you, EAYORites! That concludes the third day’s line up. For those of you coming back for tonight’s screening of Enter At Your Own Risk, show time is midnight. This is normally a standing room only event, so if you want a seat, get here early! Those who aren’t attending, tomorrow’s program begins at 10:30 with Dark Knight Tyler Wendell. I’m your host, Witch Hazel Weymouth, for Brainchild Extravaganzas! Goodnight!”

The crowd began to disperse as Tess searched for Julie. They had gotten separated before the final Friday evening appearance and Tess wanted to find her new friend before she went up to the room. She’d sent Julie a text but the noise level during the exodus from the main conference room was so loud, the usual alert tone could probably not be heard above it. She decided to move to a corner while the crowd passed to watch for Julie and to keep an eye on her phone, in case Julie tried to contact her.

Finally, when the main corridor was almost clear and the only people who seemed to be hanging around were individuals Tess recognized as Brainchild Extravaganzas staff, she received a text message from Julie. She sat down on a section of wall that jutted out in a corner behind a huge marble pillar. The text read: Lost track of time talking with Midge and Myrna. Give me a few more minutes with then and I’ll meet you somewhere.

Tess smiled, knowing that it would take more than a few minutes to stop talking with Midge and Myrna. They were an older couple who attended the con every year and it wasn’t that they were hard to get away from once the conversation started, it was they and their stories of past conventions were so fascinating, it was difficult to leave them. Tess sent back the response: Take your time. I’m relaxing behind the pillar near the old piano by the side doors.

She figured Julie would know where that was as they had left through those doors many times. She could have suggested they meet in the hotel bar but she knew that place would be packed. It always was at the end of the day. If Julie wanted to go for a drink, there were a few places across the road, where the fare was much cheaper. It’s not like they would have to rush back to get into costume for the midnight movie. They had a couple hours to kill before that.

As she sat, quietly reading the Facebook notifications on her phone that she had missed the entire day, she heard voices become louder as the two people got closer. They stopped on the other side of the pillar, clearly not seeing Tess.

“Why can’t they just drop the façade this once and do a joint photo op? This is the final con. Can’t they just say they’re biting the bullet and doing it for the fans?” That voice was recognizable to Tess as Witch Hazel’s and the emcee’s tone sounded annoyed.

“Come on, they’re already biting the bullet to appear on stage together,” the second voice said. Tess scrunched her eyebrows in thought. Was that Andy Eastman talking? She looked around and from what she could see, the area was totally empty except for the three of them.

“You and I both know there is no bullet to bite, Andy,” Hazel said. Tess had guessed right. “It’s been fifteen years, you would think would announce a professional truce and just do this. Brainchild is on my ass about this.”

“You never should have let it ‘leak’ that they would do a joint photo op in the first place.”

“I didn’t. Jason did. That’s what happens when nepotism is allowed to run rampant in this company. Just because his uncle runs the business, he thinks he can say and do whatever he wants and we’ll just hop to and make it happen.”

“He’s telling everyone it was your call.”

“Of course. Because it backfired and he won’t take any responsibility.”

Andy sighed. “Look, Kathy, the parameters of the contract haven’t changed.” Kathy? Who was Kathy? Did that mean her first name really wasn’t Hazel? Or even Witch? It was a trivial point but Tess felt tricked and mildly disappointed.

“Can’t you speak to them?” Kathy’s voice had a pleading tone. “You and I know they aren’t really enemies…”

“Far from it,” Andy commented. The words were accompanied by what sounded like a dirty little chuckle.

“Exactly. I’m only asking that maybe while they are appearing together, they can announce a ceasefire. I’m not asking them to act like the lovers they are, for God’s sake.”

Tess’ eyes went impossibly wide and even though her mouth dropped open in shock, she held her breath. They’re lovers? Noelle and Harper were lovers? But…that couldn’t be! They were both married to/involved with men. They both had children. They both… She shook the stereotype out of her head. A number of her lesbian friends had been married and had children. A few still maintained sham marriages because of whatever reason they needed to keep up the pretense. She tried to digest that while she realized she’d just heard something really private.

Just then, Tess’ cell phone loudly chirped out that she had received a text message. She held her breath and when she looked up from her phone, she saw two surprised pair of eyes staring at her.


Tess found herself being quietly led to one of the smaller rooms behind the main conference stage. When she sat in one of the comfortable chairs, Andy took a seat opposite her.

“Were you eavesdropping on us?”

“No. No, honest, I was there first. I was waiting for the crowd to thin and then decided, because it was so peaceful, I would wait for my con roommate to meet me there.”

“Did you hear any of our conversation?” He asked her, calmly.

“Most of it,” Tess answered honestly.

“The last part?” Kathy/Hazel asked.

Tess nodded as Kathy and Andy exchanged a troubled glance. “Look, I won’t say anything,” Tess said, quickly. “I am a true EAYORite in every sense of the word. I wouldn’t do anything to betray Noelle or Harper’s trust.”

Andy’s expression reflected skepticism. “Are you telling me if one of those tabloid shows or internet sites offered you a ton of money, you wouldn’t tell them what you just overheard?”

“First, I would never seek out those offensive rags for any amount of money,” Tess said, defensively. “And they would never approach me unless someone told them I overheard something I shouldn’t have. And that someone won’t be me.” She was indignant at the suggestion.

“Okay, fair enough,” Andy said. “But what if you tell someone and they aren’t quite as loyal as you are?”

“If I told anyone, that person would be as devoted to the EAYORite community as I am. I just wouldn’t do anything to sell them out like that. Not too many faithful EAYORites would.”

Andy ran his hand through his hair, making it appear even more unruly. He looked up at Kathy. He then pulled out his cellphone and pressed a button. “Hi, it’s me. Are you two dressed? I’m sending Kathy up with a fan. I’ll explain while they’re on their way.” He stood up, still holding the phone to his ear and held a hand out to Tess.

Tess stood with Andy’s help and followed Kathy out of the room. Oh my God! She was going to actually meet Harper and Noelle! Then she suddenly panicked at the fact that she was going to actually meet Harper and Noelle. Together. Because they were together.  She should have done everything she could to reassure Andy that she was trustworthy. On the other hand…she was going to meet Harper and Noelle.


“What was that about?” Noelle asked, as Harper placed the phone back on the table.

“Seems that a con attendee overheard Andy and Kathy talking about you and me.”

Noelle’s brows knit together in confusion. “So? Why is that unusual? Andy is your husband and Kathy does run our segment of the con.”

“They thought the area was deserted. Somehow the discussion touched on our relationship. The real one not the public one.”

Noelle sank back onto the couch. She sat in silent contemplation, then looked at Harper. “I guess it was bound to happen at some point. I’m grateful we could keep it a secret for as long as we have.”

“Hey,” Harper said, as she leaned in and gave Noelle a lingering kiss on the cheek, “Andy said that the fan seems to be willing to keep it under wraps.”

“At what cost?” Noelle inquired, suspiciously.

“I guess we’ll have to see. Kathy is escorting her up.”

“What? Now? Harper, we’re still in our bathrobes,” Noelle declared, unnecessarily.

“Really, what difference does that make at this point?” Harper asked. She leaned over the coffee table and poured herself a glass of water. “Let’s meet her, gauge her and then see where it goes from there. Andy said that she seems to be one of our fiercely loyal fan base.”

Noelle shrugged. “You seem to be handling this awfully well for someone who has much more to lose than I do if this should get out. I mean, I’m pretty lucky that none of the women I’ve been with have sold their soul to the tabloids yet to make a quick buck. You, on the other hand, have only been with one woman – me.  And, even though it’s only once a year, you know your non-EAYORite fans would never understand and drop you like a hot coal.”

“Come on, Noelle, you know that someone saying they overheard something about you and me, when there has never been any rumors about either of us in that vein, can be easily denied and called wishful thinking on that fan’s part.” Harper studied Noelle and smiled. “Honestly, I don’t think the EAYORites would understand why it’s only once a year and we’re not together full time.”

“Well, that’s true. It’s a shame our work schedules don’t allow more than that.” Noelle stood up. “I’m going to throw on a t-shirt and some shorts or something. I’m not big on being in my bathrobe for just anybody, you know,” she said to Harper and winked as she walked into the main bedroom.


“Can I send a text to the friend I was going to meet?” Tess asked Kathy as they rode in the elevator. “She’s a con virgin and is kind of depending on me and if she goes to where I was and finds me not there, she’s going to be confused and concerned.”

“Just don’t tell her where you’re going,” Kathy lightly cautioned.

Tess nodded and concentrated on her phone. “I can’t get a signal in here. It’ll only take me a second, would it be okay if when we get on the floor, I send it then?”

“I don’t see why not,” Kathy said.

It was taking them a while to get to the 51st floor, where the suites were, as the elevator stopped at nearly every floor. When they were alone on the lift, Tess asked, “I am going to see Noelle and Harper, right?”



Kathy turned toward Tess. “Wouldn’t you like to meet them?”

“Oh, yeah, absolutely. That’s not it. I’m thrilled. But…why? Are you thinking they might ensure my silence?”

“What’s your name?”

Tess held up her conference pass tag that was in a see-though holder that hung around her neck. She lifted it toward Kathy. “Tess. Tess Ramsey.”

“Tess, I’m going to be honest with you. I have dealt with EAYORites ever since we started this yearly convention. I have never met a more honorable, dedicated, generous, committed group of people in my life. I don’t know what it was in that film that struck a chord with so many decent people But -”

“It’s the message,” Tess interrupted. When Kathy’s expression indicated she should continue, Tess said, “It’s the message of following your heart, regardless of whether or not it’s forbidden or unpopular or even, in some cases, illegal. It’s doing what you know is right for you, despite the obstacles. It’s a message of love and hope and perseverance and…a really clear example of soul mates. It gave most of us a hint of optimism and a lot of verification.” She returned her attention to the floor numbers lighting up next to the door to let them know their location. “I guess it’s hard to ‘get it’ if you aren’t gay.”

Kathy stayed quiet for the remaining time they were on the elevator.


They stood in front of a door with a placard attached, which advised them the room was Suite 51 B. After, Kathy’s knock, Tess heard the bar lock flip and the door opened to reveal the vision that was Noelle Nevin. Even without make-up, Tess believed that Noelle was one of the most flawlessly beautiful women on the face of the planet. Tess had been coming to the EAYOR conventions since they started and always attended the scheduled appearances of Noelle and Harper. She had never seen either of them close-up because those seats were out of her budget, nor had she been able to afford to have her picture taken with either of them until this year. Now, to be standing mere inches away from an actress she not only idolized but had had way too many erotic dreams about, rendered her nearly unresponsive.

“Hey, Noelle,” Kathy said, stepping into the room. When she noticed Tess had not walked in with her, Kathy reached back, taking Tess by the elbow and ushered her inside.

“Hi, Kathy, good to see you again,” Noelle said, closing the door.  She held her hand out to Tess. “Hello, there,” Noelle said, pouring on the charm. “I’m Noelle.”

Tess stood transfixed, completely captivated by Noelle. She had no saliva in her mouth and wasn’t sure she could speak even if she had just downed a glass of water. Her limbs were also uncooperative.

Kathy rolled her eyes, took Tess’ wrist and pulled Tess’ arm toward Noelle, who grasped Tess’ hand and shook it. “This is Tess,” Kathy said.

“Hi, Tess,” Noelle said. Her indulgent smile revealed the straightest, whitest teeth Tess had ever seen.

Tess involuntarily leaned in to check out, up close and personal, the famous azure eyes. Wow. They really were that color blue. When she focused back on the here and now, she realized she hadn’t let go of Noelle’s hand yet. Tess disengaged and dropped her arm by her side. “I’m…I’m…”

“Tess,” Kathy reminded her.

“Tess. Right. What she said.” Tess was unable to look away from the statuesque actress. When Noelle chuckled, Tess blushed and finally broke eye contact. “Sorry.”

“No, no, you’re fine,” Noelle said. She gestured to the couch. “Would you like to sit? Harper should be out any minute.”

“Harper,” Tess repeated, suddenly spellbound again. Her inner self wanted to bitch slap her outer self for not being able to behave with any semblance of decorum. In her mind, she had always believed if she met either of these women in person, she would be cool and collected. Reality was not living up to fantasy and she could not stop herself from acting like a typical, star-struck fan. Perhaps it’s because you’re a typical, star-struck fan, her brain screamed at her.

The door across the room opened and Harper stepped out, wearing a thin, long-sleeved, t-shirt with a hood and cotton, cargo-styled shorts. She approached Tess, smiled radiantly and extended her hand. “Hi, I’m Harper.”

If there was one person Tess adored possibly even more than Noelle, it was Harper Keegan. She had certainly blossomed from her pretty, girl-next-door appeal in the film.


“Tess,” Kathy and Noelle supplied for her.

“Yeah. Tess,” Tess confirmed. She wanted to say more but her mouth did not seem to be receiving that message from her brain. She shook Harper’s hand and remembered to let go this time.

“Relax, Tess,” Noelle said. She gestured to the couch. “Would you like to sit?”

“Um, yeah, sure, thank you.” Tess stepped over to the couch and sat.

“Would you like something to drink?” Harper asked her. “We have water, vitamin water, sparkling water, wine and a ton of champagne.” At the raise of Tess’ eyebrows on the last beverage mentioned, Harper said, “Champagne, it is.”

Harper walked to the table, removed the bottle from the ice bucket. She looked around, went into the kitchenette and took a small glass from a cupboard. When she returned to the living room, it was with a full glass of bubbly. She handed it to Tess.

“Here you go,” Harper said.

“Thank you,” Tess said, accepting the tumbler. She blinked a few times before she took a sip. Harper Keegan is serving me champagne. I’m sitting here in the same room as Harper and Noelle. Who are lovers. Could life get any more surreal? Don’t ask, Tess. Don’t jinx it.

“So,” Kathy said, clapping her hands together, “I believe Andy filled you in on the situation?”

Before either actress could answer, Tess jumped to her feet. “Look, honestly, I won’t say a word to anyone. I tried to tell them that. I don’t know how to convince you that I am a true blue, trustworthy EAYORite. I would never betray either of you, I -”

Harper held her hand up. “Tess, calm down. It’s fine. We are not doubting your loyalty.”

“But…then…” Tess looked at Kathy. “Why am I here?”

“Andy said you wanted to meet us,” Harper answered.

“Who wouldn’t?” Tess asked, rhetorically. “But, I think, if that were the only reason, the occupation capacity of this room would have to be condemned by the fire marshal. He indicated – or Hazel, I mean, Kathy, indicated that meeting you would be some kind of bribery for not saying anything.”

Harper pressed her lips together forming a thin line with her mouth. “Okay. That’s fair. He probably thought we could personally appeal to your dedication to the fandom and ask you to please not say anything about what you heard them say.”

“Really, there’s no need.” Tess crossed her heart and raised her right hand. “I, Tess Ramsey, do solemnly swear your secret is safe with me. If this gets out, it will not be my doing, I promise you.”

 “We really appreciate that, Tess,” Harper told her. Her focus was then pulled to Noelle, who began to slowly circle Tess in studious contemplation, tapping her index finger against her chin.  

Tess noticed Noelle’s movement, as well.

“How tall are you?” Noelle asked.

“Five, eleven. Why?”

Noelle glanced over at Harper and smirked, then looked back at Tess. “How much would it cost me to borrow your costume?”

“What?” Both Tess and Harper chorused.

“Well, Harper and I were thinking of showing up, unannounced and undercover, at the film event tonight but I don’t have my costume with me. You and I are close to the same height and body shape. I was wondering if I could rent your costume.”

“You…you want to wear my clothes? The ones I have on right now?”

“No one would be looking for a tall Cady,” Noelle said to Harper.

“True. That would make us both Cadys. Too bad I don’t have a short Emery costume,” Harper said.

“I know somebody who does,” Tess said.


First, Julie could not grasp the fact that she was standing in front of Noelle Nevin and Harper Keegan. Second, she needed to ask Tess how Tess came to be in this suite with the two stars of the film. Why wouldn’t Tess tell her she knew them? Third, she couldn’t believe that Harper was asking to wear her clothes. “So, you’re saying that if I let you wear my Emery, you’ll let me wear your actual Cady from the film?”

Harper smiled, charmingly. “If you would be so kind.”

“Did somebody slip something in my water?” Julie looked around, expecting the illusion to dispel itself at any moment.

“Julie,” Tess said, gently touching her arm, “You’re the only one I know with immediate access to a short Emery costume.”

“You and I need to have a serious chat after this,” Julie told her. She looked back at Harper. “I would be honored to have you wear my Emery but I’ve been wearing it for three days now…it’s not exactly in pristine condition.”

“No problem,” Kathy said. “We can have them cleaned and put an emergency rush on it.

“What is Tess supposed to wear in the meantime?” Julie asked, not really caring and wondering why those words even slipped out of her mouth.

“Well,” Noelle looked Tess’ way, “You could go back to your room and quickly change and bring the costume back to me,” Noelle suggested.

“Or you could lounge around in our bathrobes, order room service and finish our champagne until we get back,” Harper said.

Julie looked at Tess, wide-eyed. “Please slap me.  I know I must be hallucinating.” She then refocused her attention back to the two actresses. “On second, thought, don’t slap me yet. Let me have this moment.”


The knock on the door an hour later signaled the return of the dry cleaned wardrobe and both Harper and Noelle excused themselves to the bedroom to change into the costumes.

Unfortunately, even though Julie was small and in good physical shape, she was not as petite as Harper and could not fit into the Cady attire. When Tess returned from their room, she had brought some of Julie’s clothes with her. After the bedroom door to the suite closed and Kathy was in the kitchenette on the phone, Julie turned to her con mate.

“Uh, Tess? What’s going on? Why are we in this room? And why did Harper and Noelle go back to the same bedroom to change? I thought you said they hated each other.”

Tess looked to Kathy. “They made peace since it’s the last con,” Tess said, determined to keep her promise.

Julie narrowed her eyes in suspicion, then studied Tess. “Do you know them? Did you know they were getting along? Were you going to tell me? Did they -?”

Tess placed her hand on Julie’s shoulder. “No, no, yes, no. I tried that.  Yes, both ways. No, I don't know. No, again,” Tess recited.

“I see what you did there,” Julie said, remembering that exact line from the film. “But that still doesn’t answer any of my questions.”

“I can’t tell you,” Tess said, as she watched Kathy pace the kitchen. Then in a lower volume, out of the side of her mouth she said, “Draw your own conclusions but please don’t ask me to confirm or deny anything.”

Julie glanced around the room again and then shook her head. “We just sat here for the past hour, chatting with them as though we’re all good friends. I’ve had dreams like this.” She sipped from her glass of champagne. 

The bedroom door opened and Noelle and Harper emerged, attired in the opposite wardrobe from what they played in the film. “These feel pretty good,” Noelle said. She looked at Harper. “I always wondered how your flowing robes felt as opposed to my tight leather and suede. You had it easy,” Noelle said, moving freely.

“No kidding,” Harper said, fidgeting. “It kind of chafes.”

“I told you to wear underwear,” Noelle said.

“You’re not wearing underwear?” Julie asked.

“I’m a commando kind of gal but don’t worry, we’ll make sure they are returned to you, cleaned,” Harper said.

“No, don’t,” Julie said, quickly, and then, realizing what she had said, blushed profusely. “Did I just say that out loud?”

“Okaaaaaaay. That’s a little disturbing,” Kathy said, as Harper chuckled.

“She means, you don’t have to go to all that trouble, we’ll wash them,” Tess spoke up, patting Julie on the forearm.

“Well, how do we look?” Noelle asked.

“Like the actresses playing Cady and Emery switched costumes,” Kathy told them.

Noelle and Harper turned to Tess and Julie for a second opinion. “She’s got a point,” Tess said.

Kathy pulled out her cellphone and pressed a number. She waited while it rang on the other end. “Where is that little – Jason, hey, it’s Kathy. Across the street, in that small strip mall, is a costume shop. I need you to go there and buy out all their wigs. Oh, Jesus, then send someone else but it needs to be done right now. I need those wigs up to Suite 51B within the next 30 minutes. If they aren’t, heads are going to roll, starting with yours. I don’t give a shit, Jason, this is for Noelle and Harper so if you don’t get it done, it’ll be your ass, not mine. Yes. Every wig. We’ll return what we don’t need afterwards.” She terminated the call and smiled, triumphantly. “Problem solved.

“Who’s Kathy?” Julie whispered to Tess.


Twenty minutes later, one of the Brainchild minions showed up with three large shopping bags stuffed with all different kinds and colors of wigs. Noelle picked out a long, platinum blonde haired one with pink and purple spikes in it. Harper choose a short-length, frizzy, black color with wild, corkscrew curls that covered up a lot of her face.

“Now how do we look?”

“Kind of ridiculous,” Kathy said.

“But nothing like Noelle and Harper,” Tess spoke up.

“Perfect. We’re ready.”

“Wow. I can’t wait to tell everybody that Harper and Noelle got into our pants.” Julie suddenly looked like a deer caught in headlights, to see everyone staring at her. “Sorry. My mouth seems to be writing checks my common sense can’t cash.”


The main conference room that was to show the film was already packed when the five women stepped off the elevator. After Tess, Julie, Harper and Noelle squeezed into the back to stand along the wall, Kathy parted from them and walked to the private area behind the stage, reserved for the Brainchild staff and guests.

“Damn, look at this crowd,” Noelle said to Harper.

“Oh, yeah, this happens every year,” Tess told them. “You’ve never been here for the midnight showing?”

“No. This is seriously impressive,” Noelle said, clearly awed.

“Too bad it’s the last con,” Tess said. “You could get here early next year, disguise yourselves and experience it from a fan’s point of view. It’s pretty amazing.”

“So what happens during the film that makes this different than outside midnight showings?” Harper asked.

“I guess just because it’s here that makes it special,” Tess said. “And Hazel, I mean Kathy, chooses people to act out the parts while the movie is playing. She usually picks one couple per scene and it can get really funny watching other people’s interpretation of the characters and how they do the roles.”

Both actresses turned and grinned at each other. “I’m so glad we did this. Good idea, Har -” Noelle caught herself. “Emery.”

Tess nudged Julie, who stood next to her. “How are you doing?”

“Still pinching myself. By tomorrow, I’m going to be one big bruise.”

Within moments, Kathy appeared on stage. “Wow. Look at all of you! Excellent turnout. For those of you who don’t know me or have forgotten, I am Witch Hazel Weymouth, your host this year and every year for the 15th and final Enter At Your Own Risk midnight cosplay event. Every year, we show the film and select members of the audience, dressed as the various characters, to act out the scenes on stage at the same time they are happening on the screen. I will chose the participants and assign you a scene number that you will recreate. So, let’s get started.” She looked out over the crowd, then began pointing at people. “You, you and you with the silver lame vest, you will do scene 1.” By the time she got close to the final scenes, there were still plenty of Emerys and Cadys to choose from. “Scene 54…let’s see.” She appeared to be searching the crowd.

“She wouldn’t dare…” Harper said and looked at Noelle.

“Yes, right there. You two – the tall, blonde Cady with the pink and purple spikes and the shorter Emery. You do scene 54,” Kathy said, pointing right at Noelle and Harper. The actresses stared at her slack-jawed. “Yes, you two. Come on up here.” She beckoned them forward.

“She’s a dead woman” and “I’m going to kill her,” were chorused as Noelle and Harper walked to the lineup for the stage.

“This is going to rock,” Julie said to Tess.

“I have a feeling Kathy is going to rock and not in a good way when this event ends,” Tess muttered, observing the body language of Harper and Noelle as the made their way through the throng.

The lights dimmed, the audience cheered and the film began. Everyone did their part and when it came time to reenact Scene 54, Noelle and Harper played it to the hilt. “Wow,” someone standing next to Tess and Julie, said, “that was the best kiss I’ve ever seen done, aside from the movie, and I’ve been coming here every year. I don’t know who they are but they’re good!”

Tess and Julie exchanged knowing smirks as the film drew to a close with the audience exploding in cheers and applause.

“Now, let’s meet our cosplayers,” Kathy said, bringing the re-enactors back up to the stage. She held the microphone up to the participants and had them introduce themselves, scene by scene. When she got to Harper and Noelle, she had a sly grin on her face and said, “And you two just brought down the house in that kissing scene. So, who have we here?”

The actresses traded impish looks and when Harper nodded to Noelle, they pulled off their wigs and shaded glasses. “I’m Harper Keegan from Tallahassee, Florida.”

At first there was dead silence but when Noelle grabbed Kathy’s microphone and said, “And I’m Noelle Nevin from Monterey, California,” the capacity of the room went ballistic.  

Kathy was stunned into stuttering shock. “W…wh..why did you do that?” she whispered harshly to them.

“You started it,” Noelle said, speaking closely into Kathy’s ear.

“Yes, but…I just…I thought you’d stay in disguise and just have some fun with it all.”

“What the hell,” Harper said and shrugged, while the crowd was still reacting. “It’s the last con, so why not?”

“Oh, no. Oh, shit,” Kathy said, looking down at the floor.

Two sets of eyes narrowed at her, suspiciously. “What? Oh, shit, what?”

“I was going to announce this tomorrow. Because we had such a record attendance this year, the powers that be have decided that we need to schedule another con next year.”

From the back of the room, Tess said to Julie, “Interesting expressions they all have. I wonder what’s being said.” From their view, it appeared that the two actresses were about to pound Kathy into the ground.

On stage, fake smiles to the crowd adorned the three faces. They waved and nodded to the still thrilled, screaming fans. Finally, Kathy took the mic again. “Harper and Noelle will be back tomorrow, together on stage and for individual photo ops. That concludes the annual midnight showing of Enter At Your Own Risk. Goodnight, everybody and thanks for playing along.”

Noelle and Harper smiled, waved and took several bows and then practically dragged Kathy backstage. Once they believed they were alone, Noelle said, “Really, Kathy? If Brainchild has another EAYOR con next year, they’ll be having it without us.”

“Honestly, the announcement was a shock to me, too, but there is no EAYOR con without you both,” Kathy protested.

Jason, who had just entered the room, obviously overheard Noelle’s comment, ran over to them and said, “But…think of your fans…”

Harper turned on him so quickly, he felt the wind from her movement. “We are thinking about the fans!” Harper snapped. “This is wrong, Jason. We visited with some women earlier and spoke to some fans while we were in line to do the scene and you know what they told us? That because this was the final convention, they put themselves in debt to be here. Because it’s always been their dream to attend a con and see or meet us in person that, where they could have afforded it a couple years from now, they had to practically beg, borrow and steal to get here now, for the final con. That’s why attendance was so large. And they weren’t the only ones.”

“Hey, that was their decision, no one forced them to do that,” Jason said, shrugging his shoulders.

Noelle straightened up, rising to her full height, which was a good six inches over Jason. She stepped up to him, fiercely offended. “You forced them to,” she hissed through clenched teeth. “You and Brainchild have advertised since last year that this would be the final one. If there was even a possibility of another year, you should have made sure everyone knew that.”

“We aren’t responsible for these fanatics ruining themselves financially for a stupid movie,” Jason shot back.

“Jason, you are an idiot of the highest degree,” Kathy said, as she closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose.

Harper looked at Kathy. “And you knew nothing about this?”

“I was just told about it before the end of the movie tonight. I was shocked when word came down from Henry that they wanted another year.”

Noelle glared at Jason. “Was this the plan all along? To announce this was the last one, knowing people would pretty much sell their souls to get here, knowing Brainchild – or, more specifically, your uncle Henry – would get a windfall because of it being the last and then, on the closing day, say, ‘oops, April fool’?”

“More like Happy Halloween, actually,” Jason commented, cluelessly.

“I hope someone goes after you for false advertising,” Harper said to Jason. “You and your uncle don’t get it. As stupid and about the money as it all may be to you, this film was a lifeline for some people. The other cons Brainchild has a hand in are important to its fans but not like this one. And the fact that you took advantage of the heartfelt devotion to this film and us is unforgivable and just…greedy and shameful. And we won’t be a part of it.”

“I agree with her,” Noelle said. “So good luck getting the crowds next year if we don’t attend or have any part of it.”

“Like I said,” Kathy said to Jason, “There is no EAYOR con without Emery or Cady.” 

“Hey!” Jason barked at Kathy. “You work for us, not them!” He took a step backward and pointed at Noelle and Harper. “Don’t think it won’t get back to my uncle that you’re siding with them on this.”

“We’re done here,” Noelle said. “Come on, Kathy. Why don’t you go grab Tess and Julie and meet us back up to the room for a pizza.”

As the three women walked away from Jason, he yelled, “You’re upset now but when you see how much money you’ll make, you’ll be back next year!”

On their way out, they passed a livid Andy stalking into the room. “Get your uncle on the phone right now, Jason!” Andy said. “This is bullshit.”


“So they really want to do another year?” Julie asked, wiping remnants of pizza sauce off her lips.

“At least,” Kathy said.

“You should do it,” Julie said. They all looked at her.

“What? Why?” Noelle asked. “That would look as though we are just in it for the money and exploitation of the generosity and loyalty of the fans.”

Julie shrugged. “I’m just thinking about the people who have always wished to go but have never been able to get here, that there’s still a chance for them.”

“But, Julie, there will always be fans. The movie gains a brand new following every year,” Tess said.

“And every year, the prices go up and the perks get fewer,” Kathy said. Brainchild really is only in it for the profit.”

“Also, if they continue to bill it as the final EAYOR con every year, that’s really doing a disservice to the faithful EAYORITES, like Myrna and Midge. They’re on a fixed income and scrimp every year, saving every penny to be here because we are their family. Their biological families have disowned and abandoned them. We are their family of choice,” Tess said.

“But doesn’t that mean the cons should continue, for people like them?” Julie asked.

“Not if they are being taken advantage of,” Kathy said. “The EAYOR fandom is a committed sisterhood. Brainchild really only cares about the money. It’s a business. You see community and acceptance and they see dollar signs. That is their job.”

“I see what you’re saying,” Harper said. “If the fans are going to spend money they really don’t have every year and we aren’t going to guarantee we can attend, why not make it fair and turn it into a reunion and have it in different locations around the country and instead of it being an EAYOR con, it would be an EAYORite con or an annual EAYORite Halloween festival?”

“I’m not sure that’s what I was saying but what an excellent idea,” Tess said. “How would we set that up, though?”

“I could help with that,” Kathy said. “After tonight, I will probably be persona non grata with Brainchild, anyway, and since I’m the one that puts the EAYOR cons together for them, I might be able to call in a few favors to get it started.”

“That would be awesome,” Julie said, excited.

“How about you two getting on board with Kathy to figure out how to put it together?” Noelle said. “And, depending on our work schedules and where we are working, we might be able to pop in and spend an hour or two. I mean, I can’t speak for Harper…”

“I’m game,” Harper said. “But if Brainchild is determined to announce another con, won’t that be a conflict of interest?”

“I doubt there will be another. Andy didn’t look too happy, I’m sure the fans will feel deceived and when Jason tells his uncle that we won’t return -”

“Or hearing it directly from Andy,” Harper interrupted Noelle.

“Right.” Noelle yawned and looked at her watch. “Sheesh, it’s almost four AM.  We should talk about this more tomorrow, either before or after we go onstage.”

“We?” Julie asked, not able to hide her delight.

“Well, yeah. You’re a part of this,” Noelle said.

Julie looked upward. “Please, please, please, don’t let this be a dream.”

Tess joined the others in laughter and stood up. She held her hand out to Julie. “Come on, dreamer. Let’s let them get their beauty sleep.”

Julie took Tess’ hand and was pulled to her feet. Kathy, Harper and Noelle walked their two new friends to the door. “Can we walk whichever one of you whose suite this isn’t back to your room?” Julie asked, innocently.

“Thanks, Julie but we’re already there,” Harper said, winking at Tess.

“Wow, you two really did call a truce,” Julie said.

“Oh, you have no idea,” Tess mumbled as she ushered Julie out the door. Julie didn’t appear to have heard her.

Kathy followed the two women into the hallway. She turned face Harper and Noelle. “I’ll see you tomorrow at noon.”

“You’ll know where to find us if we’re not there,” Noelle said. “Goodnight, ladies.” Noelle closed the door and then leaned against it. “Well…that was enlightening,” she said to Harper.

Harper stepped forward into Noelle’s arms. “Yes, it was.” She kissed Noelle on the chin. “Guess, it’ll be same time, next year again.”

Noelle hugged Harper closer to her. “I’m glad. I’d miss not having this constant in our lives.”

“Mmmm. I wish at some point we could make it a permanent in our lives.”

“Let’s see how tomorrow goes. Jason might try to destroy us, especially after our little display onstage tonight. The decision might be made for us.”

“Even if it ruins our careers?” Harper asked.

“We could always move to Europe somewhere and work in the theatre until it was no big deal anymore.”

“Or we could just continue to deny it.”

Noelle leaned down to kiss Harper. “That’s getting harder and harder every time we’re together.” She kissed Harper passionately.

Harper stepped away from Noelle, taking her hand and pulled her toward the bedroom. “I’ve still got some energy. Trick or treat me, baby.”



The End