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Lesbian Romance Friendship

My nose presses up against the dusty blinds as Peyton’s truck pulls into the driveway. Breath catches in the back of my throat and my heart leaps. I pinch my thigh. No. 

I make my way to the front door, grabbing a wad of cash from the countertop on my way out. The sun beats down and I choke on hot dusty air. The exhaust of her truck only makes it harder to breathe.

When I reach the truck, I open the door and rest my feet on the dashboard. The smell of cheap air freshener and sweat waft through the vehicle. My face is red from the heat, so she can't my reaction to the shirt she's wearing: cropped just below her breasts. If I tilt my head I can see the lace of her bra. I pinch my thigh. No. 

“Wanna tell me what we're doing?" I ask.

Peyton silently presses her index finger to my lips. She's smiling so wide and I can't help but return it. So I sigh in defeat and rest against the leather car seat, tensing up when the hot material touches my most recent sunburn. 

She pulls out of my driveway and away from my house. I close my eyes, I am safe with her. She rambles on and on about some movie she saw last night, “a romantic horror” she called it. If anyone else ever said this to me, I’d roll my eyes at them. But talking to Peyton is like escaping a room full of smoke and getting to deeply inhale the fresh air you’ve been yearning for. 

We drive around our town, stopping for ice creams and a walk through the park. I lick vanilla drips from my fingers. My skin is dust and sweat. 

Peyton slaps at her neck, "Fucking gnats!"

I giggle. She glares. I bump her hip with mine.

"So," I begin. "How long will my parents have to miss me?"

She slurps at her melting mint chocolate chip slush, "Mm! Overnight. Your stuff is already at my place, no need to worry."

This kind of impromptu planning has been the norm for years with Peyton, and it's only gotten worse since she got her truck. Picking me up before ten and returning me hours, sometimes days later. Our time echoes with late-night giggles, melting ice cream, stolen brandy, and fake alibis when one of us sneaks over to a boy's house. Our pinkies interlock, not enough to be yelled at by a conservative but just enough so they know to back off. 

Mine.

As a friend, of course. 

The light dims, the sun sets, and we’re pulling into her driveway. Peyton drags me up the stairs, pulling me by the arm. I slip on my loose shoelace, my knees roughly hitting the hard wooden step. Our laughter echoes around us. She grins and pulls me up by my armpits. She throws her arm around me and we take the rest of the steps together, one step at a time. 

When we finally reach her bedroom, she plops me down on the chair by her vanity, soft golden light illuminating her mirror. She pulls colored creams and powders from the drawers.

“Can you please tell me why I’m here now?” I ask as she slathers my face with moisturizer. 

She avoids my question with a smirk on her face, “God, your hair is so soft. What kind of conditioner do you use?”

Her fingers ghost the back of my neck, making me shiver. I relax into her touch. 

I sigh, “Peyton-”

“Fine,” she concedes. “Remember that abandoned pool in the woods behind my house?”

I nod, “The tetanus hole.”

Peyton grins, “Anyways, I heard through the grapevine that some kids are gonna be there tonight.”

My body stiffens. I pull away, “A party. You’re dragging me to a party.”

Peyton shakes her head at me. “Don’t call it that, it's lame and cliche.”

“Should I call it a bunch of dysfunctional teenagers having one last hoorah before real responsibilities melt their last two brain cells?” 

“If we call it that, will you come?” She asks. 

I don’t even think, “No.”

Peyton snorts down a laugh and reaches for a concealer two shades too light for me. She presses a sponge into my skin and I can feel the lightly colored cream soak into my pores. Before Peyton, I never even considered wearing makeup. But the way she hides my imperfections and accentuates the little beauty I have is almost an art form. Whenever she finishes with her brushes and creams, I can’t help but relish the look of pride she has on her face. Peyton doesn’t respond until she’s done blending the concealer. She reaches for a pink powder and pauses.

"How come you never go to these things with me?" She asks.

Because I hate everyone who isn't you.

"Because I'm an introvert," I say. "I don't like going out or partying. I'd much rather stay in bed and read a book."

Peyton chuckles, "Okay, pick me."

"And," I pause as she tilts my head towards the light. "I like it when it's just us."

"Aren't you always bitching and moaning about being single? There'll be boys there. You guys can-"

"Hook up once and never talk again?" I interrupt. 

Peyton sighs and backs away, crossing her arms. Her teeth gnaw at her lip as if she were debating something. 

"I'll stay by your side the whole time," she begrudgingly offers. "I won't go anywhere."

I look at myself in the mirror. This changes everything. 

“Fine,” I smile. “I’ll go.”

Peyton rolls her eyes, “I hate how that worked.”

The brush strokes harshly at my skin as my cheeks turn light pink. Her feet tap quickly on the carpet, something she always does when she’s irritated. She looks at my nails and shakes her head. Cool polish swipes over my nails as she bites her lip in concentration.

“You don't even try," she says. "You could make so many friends if you wanted to."

"But I don't, that's the entire issue," I respond. "Everyone here is an asshole."

"That's not true."

"And I'm happy with how things are now."

"That's also not true."

I struggle for another explanation, "Crowds just make me nervous!"

She slams the bottle onto the vanity, "That's bullshit."

Fuck.

I nervously bite my lip. I hate the look she's giving me. I have to do something, to make her smile again. I get up and grab Peyton’s phone from her bed. It takes seconds before the song starts playing from her cat-shaped speaker. 

“Hey, you can’t just derail this conversation,” she objects.

I twirl over to her and press a finger to her lips, “Shhhhhhhh.”

I pull a neon pink feather scarf and wrap it around my neck. I mouth the words while spinning around Peyton’s room. She rolls her eyes at me as I grab a hairbrush and pretend it’s a microphone. I mimic movements I’ve seen in those 80s musicals your mom makes you watch. Refusing to let my friend’s glaring deter me, I leap up onto her plush, pink bed. When I land on my back, my hair is in a messy clump over my eyes. My head cranes over the bedpost to see her reaction.

Peyton looks down at the ground, trying to hide a smile from me. I laugh and get up to pull her from her seat. 

“I don’t want to-

”Remember the eighth-grade dance? They played this song and everyone got together to slow dance," I intertwine our pinkies. 

She nods, "You saw me alone, across the gym."

"And I left my date and danced with you," I remind her. "It's us, Peyton. It'll always be us."

"I just wish-" 

I grab her face and lean our foreheads together, my hips swaying to the rhythm of the song, “I’m going with you, aren’t I?”

“Yeah, you are,” Peyton sighs, looking down. 

I playfully rub my nose against hers, “Then just focus on that.”

I pull away from her. The music picks up to a crescendo and I start to dance again. I spin Peyton into me and smile when she starts to laugh. We sway and twirl together, letting the music guide us. We grow closer and closer, like two flowers fighting for the sun. I’ve never felt so safe. So loved.

The room dims, everything is dark except for her. A spotlight focused on us and us alone. There are no parents, no conservatives, and no boys. She is the sun that I orbit around and right now her arms are encircling my waist. She pulls me closer, our noses touch, and I grasp at her beautiful face. I can’t let go of her, or else I will stumble and fall and drown alone, without her. A lump forms in my throat. I grip harder.

Our feet tangle together, causing us to fall onto the scratchy carpet. Peyton falls first, pulling me with her. I land directly on top of her. We’re laughing, even our bodies are throbbing. But our laughter quiets when we make eye contact. I lean in ever so slightly. 

But then she closes the distance. She closes the distance, the song keeps playing, and tears run down both of our faces. 

And I am full.

June 11, 2022 01:37

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1 comment

Ashley Cullen
21:13 Jun 15, 2022

Hannah, I really liked this story! It was so sweet. The dialogue was really good too, it felt genuine. I also liked how you kept the tension going throughout and ended it the way you did. Good job!

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