It had been a while. Too long actually. An ad in the town’s paper said the movie house was showing “A Streetcar Named Desire” for Tuesday retro movie night. Gloria was new in town and figured it would be a good way to meet new people who shared her love of classic cinema. She decided to go. Things might finally be turning her way, she thought.
Gloria’s apartment was only a few blocks from the downtown scene. She liked living within walking distance to everything. It was faster to get where she needed to go if the need arose. Better than finding her keys, walking to her car, driving then parking, locking it up, blah, blah, blah. She had a car, of course, but only used it when absolutely necessary. Plus, a car collected things. Things Gloria didn’t want hanging around.
The movie house was a step back in time with its marquee jutting out over the sidewalk. It was lit up with red, orange, and blue neon lights spelling out CINEMA with gold lights chasing the area where the title of the film was spelled out. They must have run out of e’s because a backwards 3 was used as the last letter of desire. It was perfect, she thought, as she walked up to the ticket booth and got in line.
It was chilly tonight and she was glad she decided to wear her leather jacket. An homage to the era as it were. Gloria was checking out her surroundings when she saw a woman leave the ticket booth and walk toward the cinema door. Something about the woman piqued Gloria’s interest. The way she swung her long brown hair out of the way as she opened the door reminded her of someone from the past making Gloria’s heart beat a little faster.
Gloria casually glanced the lobby as she approached the concessions counter. There weren’t many people for tonight’s showing and Gloria didn’t see her at first. She caught a glimpse of the woman just as she was entering the auditorium and noticed she was carrying a small popcorn, a drink, and a box of Junior Mints. Perfect. Hopefully she’s alone, Gloria thought, as she ordered the same from the guy behind the counter.
Meeting new people, while appearing nonchalant about meeting new people, was an art form for Gloria. She preferred it to feel natural. As Gloria was walking slowly down the aisle, “looking” for her seat and checking out where the woman was sitting, she heard someone half-heartedly yell out, “Stella!”. She turned toward the voice and saw it was the woman she was looking for. It couldn’t have been more perfect than if she had orchestrated it herself. The opening was like a gift from God.
Gloria stopped, acted a bit surprised, and asked the woman if she knew her. The woman responded with a bit of embarrassment and said she was just acting out the bit from the movie. As the woman rambled on awkwardly, Gloria approached the aisle the woman was sitting in, cut her off with a wave of her hand, and told the woman it happened all the time. The woman laughed, apologized again, and the woman asked if Gloria was alone.
This was too easy. Gloria said yes and told her she had only been in town for about a week when she saw the ad for the film. The woman smiled at Gloria, said it seemed like they had some things in common, and offered "Stella" the seat next to her. Gloria took a moment, not wanting to seem too eager, and then said she would love to. Gloria was intrigued by what this woman thought they might have in common.
Her name was Kim, after the actress Kim Hunter, who played the character Stella in the movie. Kim remarked how cool it was to meet someone named Stella like the character in the movie. It was like they were the same person. Gloria nodded along while Kim chatted away about having the same taste in snacks and old movies. She told "Stella" she and her mom used to come here every Tuesday night before she died. Before Gloria could express her sympathy, the lights began to dim. Kim smiled at her and mouthed “Stella!” with her fist in the air. Gloria smiled back and felt a pang of future regret begin to grow in her gut. That was a bad sign.
After the movie ended, Gloria and Kim gathered their things and went outside. It was a bit colder than earlier, so Gloria took the time to zip up her jacket while contemplating her next move. She had mixed feelings about Kim. She would be perfect for Gloria in so many ways but she couldn’t shake the feeling of dread in her gut making every step feel like swimming in molasses.
Kim thanked “Stella” for sitting and talking with her. It was nice for a change, she said, and so cool to meet someone with a connection to the film like her. It was fate, she told “Stella”, and laughed out loud about what else they might have in common. Kim said she wasn’t really ready to go home and asked if “Stella” wanted to get coffee together. Gloria knew she had to play this carefully if she wanted this to work. Gloria gave her a regretful smile and told Kim she had an awesome time but she wasn’t able to join her tonight. Gloria didn’t want to rush things and she had to be sure Kim wasn’t just being polite.
Kim seemed genuinely disappointed by the rejection but bounced back with a smile as if to say maybe next time. Gloria watched as Kim walked briskly to a car parked a couple of stores down and drive away. Gloria thought she might be the one. Taking it slow was going to be hard.
Gloria was a bundle of nerves which was a new sensation for her. She didn't like it. She was tired of laying low the last couple of weeks but it was important not to become too familiar to businesses in the area. She was excited to see the cinema was playing her favorite film of all time, The Night of the Hunter, and anxious about her longing to see Kim again. Gloria hoped she felt the same way. She didn’t want to appear to eager, so she waited until she knew the movie was about to start and then left for the cinema.
The lights in the auditorium had already dimmed which gave Gloria a chance to stand in the back, let her eyes adjust to the dark, and see Kim sitting in the same seat as before. Gloria used this as an opportunity to appear to be searching in the dark for a seat and quickly heard Kim whisper “Stella!” in Gloria’s direction. She turned toward Kim’s voice and made her way to the seat next to Kim. Kim whispered excitedly how happy she was to see “Stella” again and noticed the lack of snacks in “Stella’s” hands. Gloria shrugged her shoulders, whispered she had run out of time to get them, and she was happy to see Kim, too.
Halfway through the film, Gloria felt Kim nudge her arm offering to share her popcorn. An intimate gesture, Gloria thought, as she gratefully took a small handful from the red and white striped box. The popcorn was drenched in movie butter making Gloria thirsty and her fingers oily. As she debated whether to lick her fingers or find something to wipe them on, Kim held a napkin out to her and then her drink for Gloria to take a sip. It was a total mom type move. Gloria was definitely interested in Kim but made it a rule not to get involved with people who had kids. It made things too complicated. She made a mental note to ask her later when they were alone.
Later that night, Gloria laid in bed thinking about Kim and how lucky she was to have her fall into lap so quickly and easily. They had gone to the diner Kim liked after the movie ended and spent the evening talking about film, how they grew up, and Kim’s husband. Gloria could see a sadness come over Kim’s face as she spoke about him. He was a nice guy she assured "Stella". He was a police detective who worked the homicide division. On the rare occasion he was home, he was always working a case, so it was like he was never around. They had only been married a few years and were new to the area as well since his transfer last year. She said she didn’t make friends easily so she ended up doing a lot of things by herself. She was so happy to have met “Stella” at the cinema and felt an instant connection with her like an old friend she hadn’t seen in a long time.
Kim was lonely. Not at all what Gloria expected. Kim had seemed so bubbly and friendly, Gloria thought she would have her work cut out for her. Lonely was different. Lonely was good. Lonely meant Kim was vulnerable. Vulnerable meant hungry for attention and Gloria knew just the kind of attention Kim needed.
Gloria mirrored the sentiment then told Kim she worked as a writer and traveled a lot looking for inspiration for her work. She never stayed anywhere for very long which meant she didn’t make friends easily either. Gloria felt like she could really connect with Kim and it saddened her in a way as she knew it wasn’t going to last. As they sat for a moment in quiet, Gloria looked at her watch and noticed it was after 1 am. There was a lot to do if she wanted to stick to her deadline, "Stella" told Kim, and thanked her for the conversation saying she would see her next Tuesday at the cinema and leaving before Kim could object.
That was four weeks ago. Gloria and Kim had spent every Tuesday night at the cinema since and found ways to find time together throughout the week. Kim had become different in the short amount of time they had been together. She was less chatty, more grounded, and seemed content with momentary silences where before she would have found anything to talk to about to fill the void. Their first kiss came tenderly as Kim cried about her loveless marriage, perpetual state of loneliness, and longing to be with “Stella” in a relationship she knew could never be.
Gloria held Kim in her arms and kissed her gently and sweetly until her tears stopping flowing and her cries turned to moans of longing and pleasure. Gloria made love to Kim that night and many nights since but now those nights were coming to an end. Gloria knew she couldn’t afford to become emotionally attached to Kim and if she lost sight of what she had set out to do, it would haunt her forever. She had procrastinated long enough. Gloria threw her hair into a ponytail, put what she needed in her backpack, and headed out the door for Kim’s house.
Gloria parked a block away from Kim’s and walked the rest of the way. Kim was waiting for Gloria in the doorway of her house which brought a smile to Gloria’s face. She heard the door close behind her, turned around to face Kim, and was met with a warm kiss and a glass of wine. Kim had prepared a tray of meats, cheeses, and crackers for them to enjoy while sitting by the fireplace. It was very romantic and Gloria thought it was the perfect setting for tonight. There was no rush for Gloria so she slipped off her shoes near the door, set down her backpack near the coffee table, and helped herself to some cheese.
Kim joined her and they nibbled in silence, occasionally looking longingly into each other’s eyes, smiling and enjoying the peacefulness being together brought. Gloria reached into her backpack, pulled out a lacy black negligee with a deep neckline, and handed it to Kim. Kim smiled and took the negligee into her bedroom to change while Gloria refilled their wine glasses. Kim looked beautiful, Gloria thought, and felt more than ever tonight was going to be better than any of the others from the past had been.
Gloria summoned Kim with her finger to the pillows she had laid out in front of the fireplace. Kim took her place on the pillow in front of Gloria. The orange glow from the fireplace bounced off Kim’s skin and Gloria’s heart began to beat a bit faster as she leaned forward and kissed Kim lightly on the mouth. Kim pressed herself into Gloria while they kissed and her breathing became shallow and her movements urgent.
Gloria gently lowered Kim down on the pillows as Kim moaned with pleasure and began to move rhythmically with Kim’s body underneath her. Gloria hadn’t removed her clothes as she would’ve liked but things were moving along and she didn’t want to interrupt the flow of energy. Gloria felt Kim’s hands pulling on her waist into her body and knew what Kim wanted. Gloria sat up on her legs, looked into Kim’s eyes, and without looking away, traced her left hand down the front of Kim’s body slowly to the space between Kim’s legs. Kim’s eyes were half open in anticipation of Gloria’s fingers. When they entered her, Kim gasped in pleasure and moved her body under the control of Gloria’s hand.
Gloria could tell it was not going to take long to bring Kim to orgasm and she wanted to feel every shudder in Kim’s body. Gloria lowered herself closer to Kim’s body so she could use her hand to pleasure Kim and kiss her at the same time. As she did this, Gloria reached under the pillow near Kim’s head, pulled out a thin blade, and held it carefully in front of Kim’s throat without touching it to her. Gloria could tell Kim was close and felt the rush of adrenaline begin to surge in her body. The moment she had been planning for weeks was finally happening. Gloria used her fingers to bring Kim to climax and as Kim’s body surrendered to pleasure, Gloria kissed her while slowly slicing her throat. Gloria felt Kim’s body jerk underneath her in a mix of pleasure and pain until it finally laid still.
Gloria sat back on her legs and admired Kim laying there in a pool of blood. It was for the best, Gloria thought. She couldn’t live as Stella much longer and as much as she really enjoyed Kim’s company, Gloria had to think of herself. What she was and what she would always be. A killer.
Gloria took a long swig of the wine left her glass and tossed the rest of it into the fireplace. She put the knife and wine glass in her backpack and carefully stood up without touching the table. She looked around to make sure she didn’t leave anything behind, picked up her backpack, then carefully walked to the front door and slipped on her shoes. Gloria took one last look where Kim laid dead and said, “You’ll never be alone again, Kim.” She then blew Kim a kiss, turned off the porch light, and headed into the night toward her car. She knew she would be up late burning off this energy cleaning up and packing everything to leave in the morning but it was worth it. The rush was unlike anything she had ever felt.