“Hey, hope you have a good night.” Joe texted Emmie. Emmie was hurriedly walking to the quad. Her teeth chattered but her heart was warm from wine.
“Thanks babe,” Emmie texted back, hurriedly. She could hardly feel her fingers.
“Remember, if it looks like anything happens tonight with Heather or someone, you have to tell me before anything actually happens. This open relationship will only work if you’re communicative and honest.” Joe texted her.
“I know. I know. You know I never have any luck though. I think Heather just wants to be good friends with me. Besides it might mess up our friend group… Idk.”
“I know, Idk, I’m just getting this feeling something's going to happen tonight and I just love you so much and don’t want to lose you is all.”
“Dude, you’re good. I’m pretty positive nothing’s going to happen. It’s like pretty dead tonight and I’m not feeling well.”
“Okay well have fun at the fashion show. Love you.”
“Love you too.” Emmie put her phone back into her hoodie’s pocket and looked up at the expanse of people in front of her. How was she ever going to find her friend group? The landscape started to spin.
But then she heard her.
“Emmie!” It was Heather.
“Come stand with me while we watch the fashion show!” Heather hollered across the hundreds of people watching the midnight drag fashion show on the college’s quad. Emmie waltzed over; Heather kissed Emmie on the cheek. Emmie’s face reddened. She wasn’t sure if her flushed cheeks were from the kiss or the alcohol or the fact that it was 40 degrees out.
Emmie shivered. Heather looked down at Emmie and hooked an arm around Emmie’s hips, pulling Emmie into her plush navy jacket. Standing so closely, wrapped up in Heather, Emmie realized she just barely reached Heather’s nose. Her heart raced. She had never been so close to Heather before. Her chest tightened as she melted into Heather.
As men in wigs flaunted their bodies, and while fans sprayed Natty Lights onto runway, (and subsequently the audience) all Emmie could think of was how much she wanted to kiss Heather. Emmie looked up at her. Heather looked down and pulled away for a moment.
“How crazy would it be if we kissed in front of our mutual ex? You know. For revenge.” Heather said in her drunk Russian accent. The corners of her lips just barely upturned into a smile. Her eyelids lowered; her eyelashes fluttered.
Emmie looked over at Kevin from across the runway. They made quick, awkward, eye contact. Emmie’s heart leapt at the thought of kissing her in front of him.
“Not crazy at all,” Emmie smiled back, warmly, deeply.
Heather first touched Emmie’s chin, pulling Emmie into a kiss.
Emmie leaned into the kiss, feeling Heather’s soft, supple lips press fiercely, yet softly against her own. Emmie wrapped her arms around Heather’s neck as Heather pulled in Emmie’s hips to her own.
“Joe is okay with this, right?” Heather interrupted.
“Yes, we talked about it. As long as I tell him what’s going on it’s all good.”
“Good.” Emmie kissed Heather, running her fingers through Heather’s long black hair.
“ Ugh, you have been making me wait so long,” Heather said, coming up for air.
“What do you mean, ‘wait?’” asked Emmie, looking into her eyes, swaying from the alcohol and endorphins.
“I have been waiting for you for sooo long. I thought you would hook up with at least one girl before me. But I just couldn’t wait anymore.”
“Heather- I had no idea!”
“That’s what that coffee date was for! And all those phone calls! I was trying to serenade you.” Heather winked.
Emmie’s lips upturned into a wide grin. Emmie didn’t think that time at the coffee shop was an actual date.
“Heather.” She said with a smile.
Heather kissed her before she could say anything else. They kissed all the way through the fashion show; they were one of those people out tonight.
*fifteen minutes later*
“Come back to my room.” Heather whispered into Emmie’s ear. Emmie nodded and took Heather’s hand, realizing suddenly that she had regained warmth in her fingers again.
Heather brought Emmie back to her suite where they proceeded to wash off their makeup. It was almost as if it were just two girls having a sleepover… except for the fact that Heather started stripping.
“Something’s gonna happen with Heather afterall tonight.” Emmie quickly texted Joe.
“Okay, good luck. Tell me what happens!” Joe sent back.
*two minutes later*
Emmie marvelled at Heather’s body. She had never seen a naked girl in this context before. Heather was tall and lean and so effortlessly beautiful. The way she moved about the room and the way her fingers unzipped her leather jacket and then her sleek red dress awed Emmie. In a word, Heather was suave. She wish she had half the confidence Heather had. As Heather turned around to sit on the bed, Emmie quickly slipped off her sweatshirt, revealing a skin tight bodysuit and baggy, bleached boyfriend jeans, which she also quickly stripped off.
Emmie sat down on the bed, across from Heather gingerly. Heather inched her body closer. Heather leaned into Emmie and kissed her. Emmie closed her eyes, breathing in Heather’s rose perfume, moving her hands slowly from Heather’s neck, down her back.
“What do you want?” Heather asked between kisses.
“I like when my neck is kissed,” Emmie said, nervously. She wasn’t sure what she wanted.
Heather then moved herself so that she was behind Emmie. She slowly kissed Emmie from her neck, down her back. Emmie’s whole body tingled. Heather paused at Emmie’s tattoo.
“I didn’t know you had a tattoo.”
“Really? I thought I’ve shown you.” Emmie said.
“Nope. This is news to me. What is it?” Heather traced Emmie’s floral heart tattoo along her rib cage.
“It’s a symbol for body positivity and recovery.” Emmie did not want to mention it stood for eating disorder recovery. She didn’t necessarily want Heather knowing that quite yet.
Heather kissed it and moved back, gazing over Emmie’s body.
“Lay down,” Heather instructed.
Emmie listened, laying down looking at Heather in between her legs.
Heather winked and began to gently kiss her way down Emmie’s inner thigh.
*four hours later*
Fuck. Emmie’s eyes shot open. What was she doing? Heather’s body was wrapped around hers. Heather’s alarm clock read 6:25 am. Emmie rolled out of Heather’s arms, and reached for her phone.
10 unopened texts from Joe.
Emmie got up, which stirred Heather. Heather’s eyes slowly opened.
“Hey, I have to go. I have things I have to do today,” Emmie said as she pulled on her sweatshirt from last night. Fuck putting on that bodysuit again.
“It’s all good. Text me.” Heather said, rolling back over to sleep.
Emmie hurried out of the room, down the stairs, and out of the building. She immediately got in her car and called Joe.
“Hey.” Emmie said, almost out of breath.
“Hey.” Joe said sadly.
“I’m sorry I didn’t text you right afterwards. I fell asleep.”
“Em. Last night stressed me out so much.”
“It doesn’t have to happen again. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you with this.”
“It’s okay; I’m glad you still got to do it. Your itch for a lesbian love affair has finally been scratched. I’m happy for you. I just wish you communicated more to me at the time is all.”
“Okay.” Emmie’s heart raced.
“So what even happened?”
“You want to know?”
“Okay. Are you sure?”
“Yes. Honestly the more details the better.”
“Um okay. I’ll start at the beginning of the night I guess.”
*three weeks later*
“Do people know that you’re bisxual?” Heather asked Emmie. Heather was slicing vegetables for the dinner she insisted on making Emmie tonight.
“Um. Anyone who wants to know can know I guess.” Emmie said, nervously rubbing her arm.
“Does anyone know that you’re-” Heather cut Emmie off.
“No. No one knows except you.”
“Oh. Wow.” Emmie was bewildered. She raised her eyebrows and ran her fingers through her own curly hair.
“Yeah. You’re the only woman I’ve ever been attracted to…” Heather said, her voice trailing off.
“Oh. Wow. I wasn’t aware of that. I thought-”
“Nope. I thought I was completely straight until we danced together a year ago now.”
“Yeah,” Emmie chuckled, “We definitely looked like a lesbian couple that night.”
“Exactly.” Heather said.
“So…” Heather’s voice trailed. “I want to keep this on the down low. I’m not ready to come out yet.” Heather said. Her eyes lowered.
“I understand. I mean, I still have a boyfriend.” Emmie said outlandishly, like having a boyfriend was an absurd thing to have.
“Okay. I’m glad we’re on the same page.” Heather smiled at Emmie. Her shoulders relaxed. Emmie opened a bottle of wine.
“Let’s have a drink,” she said as she poured.
“Cheers,” Heather said.
*two weeks later*
“What the fuck Emmie.” Joe texted Emmie, a couple weeks after Heather had come over to make dinner.
“I’m so sorry. I thought she was just coming over to make dinner. We literally just talked for hours. Like I even ended up telling her about my eating disorder and everything and then she kissed me at the end of the night like literally right before she was about to leave and I told her to stop and we stopped and she went home. She’s actually not even talking to me anymore because of everything.”
“You knew I was at Army Training and wouldn’t have cell phone service during that time and yet you still had her over. Unbelievable.”
“Joe, I didn’t think anything would happen. I even went home that weekend to try and stop it. She came over on a Sunday night.”
“Well clearly you didn’t try hard enough.”
“I’m sorry. I was drunk on red wine and I don’t really remember now how it even happened. All I know is that my relationship with you is more important than the one with her.”
“Well that’s good to hear.” Joe texted back.
“I believe you. I’m just a little hurt. I still love you.”
“Love you too.”
Emmie looked up at her ceiling from the floor. Her eyes were puffy from tears. She was furious with herself. She had hurt two people she deeply cared about and for what? One hook up? She wondered if it was all worth it. She vowed to herself she would keep trying with Joe. She would put her own feelings on hold and be the best girlfriend he could ever ask for. She had to right her wrong.
*five months later*
“I miss you.” Joe texted Emmie.
“Yeah” Emmie responded.
“Do you miss me?”
“Honestly? No. I’m sorry.” Emmie typed.
“I just feel so disconnected from you. I miss what we had when we were together. But I don’t miss what we have now, when there has been so much distance between us. You live in DC and I live in Vermont. I’m not sure how practical it is anymore. I’m trying so hard but it’s getting harder.”
“I appreciate you trying Em, I really do.”
“Thank you,” Emmie typed. Her eyes welled with tears. She would keep trying. Maybe things could change.
*two weeks later*
“Joe. I just can’t do this anymore.” Emmie said over FaceTime. She looked down. Tears rolled down her cheeks.
“What do you mean you can’t do this anymore?” Joe’s voice cracked.
“I’m all tried out of this long distance relationship. The distance really killed me.”
“But we could’ve been together in just two more months!” Joe said, crying.
“But it’s been ten months of distance already. All that time did a lot of damage. I don’t feel the same way I used to.”
“Is it because of Heather?” Joe asked, defensively.
“No. What? That happened months ago now, Joe. That’s not fair of you.”
“I don’t know. I’m just hurting right now Emmie.”
“I know. And I’m sorry. I really am.”
“It’s just, it came out of nowhere.”
“We’ve been talking about how I haven’t been happy for months now.”
“I know, I just thought we could fix it.”
“I’m sorry. I don’t think I can do this anymore.”
“Goodbye, Joe.” Emmie hung up. She took a deep breath, turned off her phone, and tried to fall asleep.
*three weeks later*
“Hello, Heather,” Emmie said as Heather sat down across the table from her. They were at the same coffee shop where they went on a date months earlier. Emmie’s hands shook. Her heart was racing.
Heather still smelled like roses.
“Hey.” Heather said. She looked different. Her hair was shoulder length and she seemed… happy.
“You look great,” Emmie said, nervously. She felt her face get hot.
“Thanks, you too.” Heather said. There was a pause. Emmie nodded her head and looked around the room. She noticed how tall the ceiling of the coffee shop was. She felt so small. But she needed to be brave.
“I know you were mad at me before and I just don’t want things to be weird between us!” Emmie blurted.
“I don’t think they’re weird.” Heather said, assuringly. Emmie caught herself doing a double take before saying,
“And I was angry for like a week.” Heather added. Emmie felt a wave of relief course through her like a tidal wave.
“That’s good to know. I had no idea how long you were going to be mad so I was just giving you your space.”
“Well thank you, but I’m all good now, really.” Heather said, adamantly.
“That’s so relieving to hear.”
“So…” Hannah said, “Do you still want to hang out and stuff? Or just be casual friends who only see each other in group settings?”
“Yeah, I’d like to hang out together sometime. I missed talking to you.” Emmie looked down. Her hands still shook.
“Hey, are you alright?” Heather asked, concerned. Emmie’s anxiety began to build.
“Yeah. Just stressed. I just want to make things right with people right now in my life… and… I broke up with Joe recently.” Emmie said, her voice cracking.
“I’m sorry to hear that. I’m sure it’s not easy. But none of us really wanted you to stay with Joe anyway. He wasn’t a good match for you.” Heather said.
“Thanks.” Emmie said, clearing her throat.
“Well, yeah. How are you and everything?” Emmie said quickly. Her heart started to beat a little slower again.
“I actually am in a relationship right now. His name’s Matt.”
“Wow! Heather in a committed relationship? Where is the real Heather and what did you do with her?” Emmie demanded, jokingly, trying to hide her disappointment.
“I know right? It’s crazy but I really like him.” Heather looked off, smiling.
“That’s awesome. Like, I’m really happy for you.” Emmie said, sitting up straighter in her chair.”
“Thanks.” Heather said, smiling.
“I’m glad we’re both in better places now,” Emmie said as convincingly as she could muster.
“Me too. And don’t worry! Things aren’t weird between us. Call me or text me anytime.” Heather assured. While Emmie felt a rush of relief, her heart dropped to the pit of her stomach. She couldn’t help but feel a little sad even though she could see Heather was so happy.
“Thanks Heather. It really means a lot to me for you to say that.” Emmie said, impatiently. She wasn’t sure how much longer she could hold it all together.
“I think this place closes soon,” Emmie said after a pause.
“Yeah I think in five minutes. But hey- friends?”
Emmie and Heather side hugged before they left the coffee shop and went their separate ways. Emmie thought she was going to get into her car and sob. But she didn’t. She felt a surprising feeling as she walked away. She felt at peace. She smiled as she got into her car, feeling like a ray of light for the first time in months, knowing she had finally righted her wrong.