Desire helped her best friend Jennifer with her make-up.
“So, I heard you like Todd?” Jennifer asked Desire as she put on her eyeliner.
“What? I never–”
“I’m just kidding–blush brush.”
“Here you go. He’s gross anyway.”
Jennifer finished her makeup and looked at Desire. “What do you think?”
“Looks great.” Desire looked at her beautifully made-up friend and she couldn’t help but stare. She had never seen her friend with that much makeup on before.
Desire opened the door to Jennifer’s mess of a closet. Boxes fell from the shelf and clothes plopped onto the floor. “Jen, when was the last time you cleaned out your closet?”
Jen looked into her vanity mirror, admiring her makeup. “Last month, why?”
“Because your closest is a disaster.”
Jen looked behind her. “Oh, let me clean it out before we pick an outfit.”
“There’s no time. Your date is in two hours.”
“How about this red dress?”
“Nah, how about this blue dress.”
“No, it has a stain on it.”
“This purple dress?”
Jen changed into the purple dress behind her changing screen. She folded the screen. “What do you think?”
“My mom just texted me to come home. I can’t wait to hear all about it tomorrow.”
“About that, I have dance class tomorrow.”
“Okay, you can tell me after.”
“I get tired after dance class.”
“The next day.”
“I have a cooking class.”
“Another day then?”
“Sure.” Desire walked out of Jen’s room and left.
A few months later, Desire saw Jen at the mall. Jen was laughing friends when Desire yelled, “Hi!” to her.
Did Jen just intentionally not say hi back to me?
Desire rushed up to Jen’s group of friends. “Hi, Jen! Jen?”
Jen still ignored her.
Desire stood in front of their path, but they just walked around her.
Jen looked at Desire and they even made eye contact, but she still didn’t say anything.
Maybe she’s moved on from me.
After volleyball practice, the team left the locker room, except Desire and Jen.
Desire finished getting re-dressed and she heard one of the showers running. She thought she was alone, but maybe someone left it on. She pulled off her socks until she heard someone singing in the showers. She recognized her voice, it sounded mature and pitch-perfect. It reminded her of when they were kids, her and Jen would sing along with the radio into hairbrushes.
She peeked around the corner and saw it was Jen. She saw everything. She was baffled, she had never seen a woman fully un-clothed before, except for herself.
She rushed back to the benches and put her socks back on. She ran so fast out of the locker room that she almost slipped on the newly wet floor in the hall.
After their practice next week, Jen saw Desire sitting on the bench in the back of the locker room.
Jen sat next to her old friend. “I know you saw and heard me.”
“What? I didn’t see anything!”
“It’s okay. I like girls too.”
“I didn’t say I liked girls.”
“I saw how you looked at me. A straight girl would glance and look away disgusted. But you did more than glance, you stared.”
“Alright, is this a joke?”
“No, it’s not.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes and I think you like me.”
“Wait, if you like girls–and I’m not saying I do. But why do you date guys?”
“It’s all a facade. I’m seen as one of the popular girls and they all want to be like me. So, I have to be a good remodel.”
“Why can’t you just come out?”
“It’s not that easy. I’m afraid everyone will make fun of me. Who will they look up to and want to be?
“Give that job to another popular girl.”
The janitor opened the door a crack to check if anyone was in the locker room. They packed their gym bags and walked out of the building.
“I’ve known you since we were kids. How did I never–”
“It’s not like it was obvious. I wasn’t checking people out.”
“I know, but why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
“I was going to, but I felt like it wasn’t the right moment. And we lost touch.”
They sat down on the steps of the English Building.
“Yeah, why did we lose touch?”
“To be honest, it felt wrong hiding the truth from you anymore. I also didn’t want to ruin my reputation by people knowing I hung out with you. And those ‘dates’ didn’t happen. They were all a ruse to get people to think I’m straight.”
“What did you do instead of the dates?”
“I hired a guy to drive me to the mall and I spent some time alone, shopping.”
“Wow, how long are were going to keep this up?”
Jen’s mother drove up. “I gotta go. I’ll see you at next week’s practice.”
I can’t believe Jen was gay all this time. I wonder when she first knew.
During the next practice, Desire couldn’t look at Jen the same way. It was different now, she knew the truth about her friend.
The coach caught Desire staring at Jen. “Hey, Hais, focus on the ball.”
She refocused her attention before the volleyball hit her. She slapped the ball in the air to the other side of the court.
“Nice one, Hais.”
The scoreboard on the ‘HOME” team side changed from 14 to 15. It was the last set out of the three sets. The buzzer went off and the game was over. The home team won.
Even though Desire struck the winning point, she still was focused on Jen. Her teammates lifted her up in the air, but she looked down at Jen.
Jen walked to the locker room.
“Hey, put me down!”
Desire followed Jen into the locker room. “What’s wrong? Aren’t you happy we won?”
“Yeah, I guess. But I should’ve made that strike!”
“Why do you care? We still won.”
“I should be the center of attention!” Jen darted her eyes to the right as her teammates entered the locker room.
Desire mouthed the word “Oh” and they circled around them. They changed into their street clothes.
Minutes later, everyone left but Desire and Jen. They sat together on a bench.
“So, uh…what now?” Desire asked, perturbed.
Jen went in for a kiss.
“Woah, what are doing?” Desire questioned in shock.
“Isn’t this what you wanted?” Jen questioned back.
“Not yet–this is too fast.” Desire walked out of the locker room.
Jen was going to follow her, but she didn’t know what she’d say to her. How would she apologize to her for almost kissing her?
Jen waited twenty minutes and walked out of the locker room. Desire had left with her mother.
Jen had to make it up to her. She asked her mother if she could make a stop at Desire’s house.
“Alright, be quick. I have a roast in the oven,” her mother replied.
She rushed to Desire’s front door and knocked on it.
Desire’s mother answered the door. “Oh, you must be one of Desire’s friends. Desire your friend–”
“Jen is here.”
“Tell her I’m not home!”
“She definitely heard you.”
Desire’s mother looked at Jen and she nodded.
“She’s upstairs, second door on the left.”
“Thanks.” Jen walked upstairs and knocked on Desire’s bedroom door.
“Desire, I’m sorry. It was too soon.”
“I have nothing to say to you.”
“I promise we’ll take it slow.”
Desire opened her door.
“Really. So, what should we do first?”
“Um, we already know mostly everything about each other since we were best friends. I have a few questions for you before we officially start dating.”
“Okay, go for it.”
“When did you first know you were gay?”
“I guess, a few years ago when I saw the most attractive woman I’ve laid my eyes on. I couldn’t help but stare at all her curves. After seeing her, I couldn’t get her off my mind. Right then and there, I knew I was gay. I used to think I liked boys, but they became boring and unattractive to me.”
“Interesting, how do I know I was gay?”
“I assumed you were since you checked me out when you helped me before my last date.”
“What? I wasn’t–”
“I saw you checking out my makeup and my body when I finished getting dressed.”
“Uh, that’s it for now. We can officially start dating, with a few rules. First, no kissing until the third date. Second, this is my first girl-girl relationship, so let’s take it slow.”
“I know, hun-.”
“Third, no pet names or nicknames until the tenth date, so from now on I’ll be calling you Jennifer.”
“Isn’t that a little extreme?”
“If you want to date, these are my rules!”
“Okay! Where should our first date be?”
“Give me a few days to make reservations and prepare.”
“You also need spontaneity in a relationship. Meet me at the park on Friday after school.”
“I gotta go, see you on Friday.”
Jennifer rushed down the stairs and out of the house.
Desire’s mother stood on the stairs. “Bye, Jen.”
“It’s Jennifer,” she shouted loud enough for Desire to hear. She slammed the front door shut.
“Why did she leave so soon?” Desire’s mother asked as she pushed the door open.
“She had a date to get to.”
“Oh, are you alright?”
“I’m fine, in fact, I’m better than ever.”
“That’s good to hear. What happened between you two?”
“Let’s just say we made up.”
“That’s great. I’ll leave this plate of cookies here. They were meant for you and Jennifer, but you can have them,” her mother said as she set the plate on her nightstand.
A day of school turned into an afternoon at the park. Jennifer laid out the picnic blanket and set up the food. It started to rain and Desire drove up in the parking lot. She saw her date running up to her car with the picnic fixings.
Desire rolled down her window and laughed. “Get in.”
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay, what happened?”
“I was setting up the picnic and it started to downpour.”
Water from Jennifer’s hair dripped onto the seat.
“Is any of the food still salvageable?” Desire asked.
“Let me check.” Jennifer pulled out two peanut butter sandwiches in baggies from the picnic basket. She handed Desire one of the sandwiches.
Desire bit into the sandwich and a dab of peanut butter plopped on her dress.
“Don’t worry I have napkins!” Jennifer pulled soggy napkins from the basket. “At least you can wet the stain.”
“I have wipes in my purse.” Desire grabbed her purse from the backseat and scrubbed the stain. But the stain just got bigger.
“Hey, it’s fine.”
“It’s not! This date was supposed to be perfect and it’s ruined.”
“It’s not ruined. I’m having a great time.”
“Well, I’m not.”
“Would pudding cups make it better?”
“Maybe a little.”
Jennifer handed Desire a pudding cup.
They finished their pudding cups.
“Let me drive you home,” Desire insisted.
“My mom was gonna pick me up, but I didn’t give her a set time–so okay.”
Desire nodded her head and put the car in reverse. She backed out of the parking spot and drove her home.
A few days later, their peers were whispering behind their backs.
Jennifer’s popular friends wouldn’t hang out with her and they wouldn’t tell her why. Did they see me in Desire’s car?
Desire’s friends still hung out with her, but they kept giving her strange looks. Do they know we’re dating?
Desire and Jennifer had to be more secretive with their rendezvouses or dates.
Desire invited Jennifer to her house. Desire’s mom let her in and she rushed up to her room.
“I want to show you something,” Desire said as she put one leg through her open window.
“Alright.” Jennifer followed her friend out the window and onto a tiny balcony. She climbed up a ladder to the roof.
They sat on the roof. The sun set and the streetlights turned on.
“You can see the whole neighborhood and city from here,” Jennifer said in amazement.
A cold breeze blew between them.
Desire climbed down the ladder and grabbed a blanket. She brought it back up to her. She wrapped around them and they held each other close.
It got late and Jennifer was getting sleepy so Desire drove her home.
Desire was excited about their date. She surprised Jennifer by driving her to a bowling alley named Pins, a bowling alley for all couples.
“A bowling alley? How romantic?” Jennifer asked in confusion.
“This is our third date, so–”
“I’ve been waiting for this date.” Jennifer pursed her lips and leaned in for a kiss.
“Not yet, let’s bowl first.”
Desire turned off the car and got out. She opened the trunk and pulled out her bowling ball bag. “I used to be in a bowling league.”
They walked into the bowling alley.
They got their bowling shoes and were told to lane ten was open.
They bowled a few sets until Desire had to go to the bathroom. She told Jennifer to follow. She knew what was about to happen.
Desire went into one of the stalls and slipped a business card under the stall with the words “Let’s do it!” on the back.
Jennifer rushed from the other stall into Desire’s stall.
They made out until a girl from Jennifer’s old friend group walked into the bathroom. Jennifer recognized her expensive red heels. It was her friend Bethany.
Bethany recognized the bottom of Jennifer’s designer jeans.
Jennifer pulled her legs on top of the toilet seat with Desire behind her.
“Jen, is that you? What are you doing here?” Bethany asked.
Jennifer walked out of the stall. “I’m here with my date, Dustin.”
“Well, introduce me to him.”
“I can’t–he went home because he had diarrhea.”
“Gross. I saw you with your friend the other day, so we stopped hanging out with you. We didn’t want to ruin our reputations. No hard feelings, right?”
“Nothing, I was just in the middle of–”
“Oh, I see. I’ll see you around school, Jenny.”
Bethany walked out of the bathroom and Jennifer reopened the stall door.
“That was close, Jenny,” Desire joked.
“Hey, I thought you said no nicknames until our tenth date.”
Desire got up from the back of the toilet and gave Jennifer a smouch on the cheek.
“I’m sorry about ruining your–reputation?
“It was diminishing anyways.”
“What do you mean?”
“My friends saw me alone at the mall. I ran into a store and they started getting suspicious.”
“I’m too embarrassed to go back out there.”
“Do you want me to go out there and check if she left?”
“She might recognize you.”
“So, what are we supposed to do? Wait until she leaves?”
They sat on their phones for what felt like hours, but it was actually twenty minutes.
“Fine, go look,” Jennifer said, tired of waiting.
Desire walked out of the bathroom and found the bowling alley empty. She texted Jennifer:
Jennifer walked out of the bathroom.
“Do you want to keep bowling?” Desire asked.
“Nah, I don’t feel like it anymore.”
Desire drove Jennifer home.
Suspicions grew at school, so Desire invited Jennifer to an old treehouse deep in the woods of the park. That way they would be far away from everyone and no one would find them.
Jennifer tried the picnic thing again and brought a picnic basket. Desire followed Jennifer through the park and into the woods at the far end of the park.
“We are going? It’s getting a little too spooky for me,” Desire said as clutched Jennifer’s right arm.
They walked up to a newly varnished treehouse.
“My friends and I built this treehouse when we were kids. And I recently fixed it up,” Jennifer said.
“All by yourself?”
“Well, my dad helped me. He’s a carpenter.”
“Wait, I don’t remember this treehouse and we’ve been friends for ten years.”
“We built this the summer before we met.”
Desire climbed up the planks on the tree trunk and sat in the treehouse. Jennifer followed her, cautiously trying not to drop the picnic basket.
Only after a few minutes of talking and eating, Bethany and her boyfriend, Kyle walked by.
“Look at the two lovebirds sitting in a tree! K-I-S-S-I-N-G!” Bethany shouted up and pointed at the treehouse.
Jennifer threw a blanket over Desire, so Bethany wouldn’t see her. “Hey, Bethany. What are you doing in these woods?”
“Oh, Kyle wanted to show me this great spot in the woods to kiss.”
Kyle pulled Bethany by the hand as he was antsy to kiss her.
Desire threw the blanket behind her. “What was that about? And why does she keep calling you Jenny?”
“She used to call me that when we were friends. I don’t want anyone at school to find out that we’re dating. Bethany is a blabbermouth.”
“Fine, but could she even see us up here?”
“I don’t know.”
“Maybe she thought we were friends eating together.”
“That sounds ridiculous. I would get it if we were in a restaurant, but come on.”
“Well, what are we supposed to do now? Keep trying to hide and hope no one finds us. That’ll be a long game of hide n’ seek. We’re not kids anymore.”
“I know, but do you want everyone to find out about us?”
“I don’t care. I’m sick of hiding. I want to be out and open.”
“What if your family members or friends shut you out?”
“Why would they do that?”
“I don’t know because you’re gay. Religious reasons?”
“My family and friends aren’t that religious.”
“You never know.”
Jennifer quickly packed up the picnic basket in hopes that Bethany wouldn’t see them again.
“What are doing?”
“Let’s go, it’s getting cold.”
“It’s fifty degrees–oh, I know why you’re doing this. You don’t want Bethany to see us again.”
“Yeah,” Jennifer said in embarrassment.
“What would happen if she found out and told everyone? We’d still be dating, right?”
Jennifer started to climb down the ladder.
Desire followed her. “Wait, Jen!”
Jennifer jumped from the last steps to the ground. She ran out of the wood and stopped in the park. A wave of relief flowed through her, but then she looked behind her and saw Desire chasing after her.
Desire caught her breath and said, “You can’t keep running from your problems, from us.”
“I know, so that’s why we can’t see each other anymore.”
“What? You’re going to end this, for your reputation?”
“Yeah, I’m sorry. I may not be popular anymore, but I don’t wanna be known as the only gay girl.”
“I’m sure there are other lesbians in our school. They’re just not out, but if they found out you were dating another girl, they might feel comfortable to come out.”
“I’m sure there are, but I’m not ready to come out yet.”
“I understand, but Jen-”
“Like you said ‘Are we gonna keep hiding?’ I am and I don’t want to be found. Goodbye Desire.”
Desire didn’t follow her as she knew she couldn’t change her mind.
Years went by and they saw each other in the hall. But they didn’t talk to each other. They graduated and moved on with their lives.
Maybe they would see each other again in the future.