Archive: Gossamer may. Anyone else must ask.
Title: Nightclub Lamentations
Author: Psyche (psyche_bound@yahoo.com)
Rating: R
Category: Author will not categorize
Spoilers: None
Keywords: Author will not list
Summary: One night stands are dangerous.
Notes: This is a companion piece to Dasha K's "Nightclub Jitters." It might be a good idea to go read that first. Thank her for the situation and inspiration, blame me for the rest.
Feedback: Comments, criticisms, general discussion to psyche_bound@yahoo.com. Public discussion also welcomed. Flames will be used to make peep s'mores.
Warning: If you are prudish, have delicate sensibilities, or are offended easily, do us all a favor and don't read this.

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"I don't want to be your lesbian experience."

The year I came out, I put that bumper sticker on the back of my rusted, tempermental Hyundai. Unlike many who venture out of the closet, I was not suddenly shut out of my social circle. In fact, several of my female acquaintances suddenly felt the need to announce that they were "bi-curious" and to proposition me. I wasn't interested.

My, how six years can change a person.

I'm in the middle of a crowded club, dancing with this straight chick. Which would normally be fine, except her right leg has somehow found its way around my body and the heel of her shoe is doing very interesting things to the back of my knee. Things that are making me forget we're in public. Damn having accessible erogenous zones. My hands, which seem to have forgotten anything they once knew about decency, are slowly working their way up her spine. I luxuriate in the feel of her. I trace a slow circle around each vertebra. Reaching her shoulders, my fingers gently dance across her collarbone and then with a single finger, I caress the hollow of her neck. She exhales sharply and begins to grind herself against me. At this moment, it is easy to forget that I may never see this woman again after tonight.

I first saw her several months ago. I don't usually come to Jitterbug Perfume on the weekend. I'm generally here for open mic poetry on Tuesday, but have basically giving up clubbing. Somewhere between the ages of 25 and 30, I had decided I preferred belly-dancing to techno. (SCA and a fondness for Middle Eastern history will do that to a person.) And I've gotten tired of the "ex-girlfriend swap." Every woman I've met in the last six months had been the ex of at least one person I knew personally. The community is so small that it almost borders on incest.

Still, for whatever reason, I let Lynn, who's a good friend when not prying into my love life (or lack thereof), drag me to the 'Bug on a Friday night. As usual, I complained that the music was loud and obnoxious.

Lynn tried to coax me onto the dance floor. "It's only obnoxious because you're not moving."

"I'll dance when they play a song I like."

We've know each other for three years; she recognizes by now that that can be effectively translated as "I'm sitting at this bar and not moving until your wild ass is ready to go home."

"Sure, Tristan," she gave up tugging on my arm. "Go ahead. Sit there all night. _I'm_ going to dance." She walked over to a group she knew and convinced a few of them to join her.

Suddenly feeling old and miserable, I ordered a Long Island Iced Tea and prepared to drink myself into a comforting alcoholic fog. I was just starting my second glass when she walked in, looking lost. She didn't look lost really; it was more that she was obviously in the wrong place. I would have taken bets that five seconds after she noticed that there were about three men in there to 150 women, a light bulb would have flashed above her pretty little head and she would have run out of there, leaving skid marks.

I'm glad no one was around to let me make that wager -- I would have lost. She looked around once, then strode purposefully toward the bar and sat down two stools away from me.

Liquor puts me in a talkative mood, so I asked the obvious question. "What's a het girl like you doing in a place like this?" One perfectly arched eyebrow rose in challenge. Maybe the question wasn't so obvious.

"You're not gay. You're in a lesbian club. Why are you here?"

That seemed to surprise her. My bluntness should have surprised me, but I have always been a lightweight when it comes to alcohol.

"How did you come a conclusion about my sexuality after watching me for three minutes?"

Not for the first time, I silently thanked my mother for my olive complexion. If I had been as fair as my sudden companion, the intense embarrassment burning my cheeks would have been too visible. For a moment, I was speechless. I knew I hadn't been that transparent. I've always been subtle, except when I didn't want to be. And I certainly hadn't wanted her to know that I had been watching. She was observant. I was impressed.

"You may refer to me as the Orientation Oracle. I just know these things."

She rolled her eyes; she was not convinced. "Which of your stereotypic notions of homosexuality have I failed to live up to?"

This was getting interesting. "I have no such notions. Don't ask me to pinpoint it, but your whole being just screams 'hetero.'"

Her laugh may have been either flirtatious or condescending. I either can't or won't remember which. "What, did you read my aura?"

I laughed with her and asked, "Am I wrong?"

She pondered the question for a maximum of three seconds. In that time, her eyes melted from an ice blue to a smoky gray. In that time, I also realized that I was hoping that the oracle had for once misinterpreted the signs.

"No," she crushed my hopes with a single word. Even so, she moved to sit in the stool next to mine. I sighed, maybe she was an anthropologist studying primitive American culture and had begun with the DC Dyke Circuit.

"I'm Tristan," I offered my hand to her.

She paused a fraction of a second too long before answering, "Katherine. Nice to meet you." She grasped my hand firmly, not the limp handshake you would expect from someone who had just given you a fake name.

I took me a moment to identify what felt odd. I looked down to find a small, pale, flawlessly manicured hand resting lightly on my thigh, just barely above my knee. I looked up to find the strangest smile on Katherine's face -- tentative, yet inviting and just the slightest bit bemused.

I looked away quickly. That smile. Oh, boy. Definitely scratch that. Oh, girl. I gulped down what was left in my glass and tried to remember how to breathe. I'd like to believe that there was a full moon that night, that I had some external excuse. But I have no defense, other than being drawn into those eyes or pulled by that smile.

I have very strict dating rules, which probably explains why I haven't been with anyone for nearly two years. First off, I don't do one night stands -- the emotional turmoil they put me through has never seemed worth it. I also don't date anyone in the closet; I'm not into being someone's secret screw who has to hide in public. I will not even consider anyone who's bi. I know it's not politically correct, but they always seem to leave you for a man as soon as they decide to stop straddling the fence. I refuse to even look at a het chick; window-shopping never interested me.

Katherine offered to buy me another drink. Normally, my limit is one and I had already exceeded that, but I let her buy it. After all, if I was going to break so many rules in one night, I was going to need to lower my inhibitions a helluva lot.

We talked for a while, the inane, meaningless talking you do with someone you plan to fuck and never see again. It's a brutal word, but reality is often brutal. Especially when sex is involved. It's not healthy to hold any illusions about these things.

I didn't ask where she worked, where she lived, where she normally hung out. I especially didn't ask why. I wanted to know why she was here, why tonight, why I let Lynn bring me here, why I was doing what I knew I shouldn't. It didn't matter really. It was going to happen regardless. So I didn't ask and she didn't answer.

Instead we talked about books. Hadn't I meant to stay on safe topics? Something about good intentions and the road to hell would be appropriate here. Literature is not a neutral subject for someone who majored in English, even if she is now working a nice, comfortable job that in no way reflects her degree. We didn't just talk, we argued about it. Somehow we end up discussing Melville; I don't remember how. She had some totally confused ideas about the relationship between Ishmael and Ahab, but her interpretation of the whale really did justice to its elusive, open, ambiguous nature.

That was probably the point when I should have shaken her hand and said, "Thanks for the discussion, Katherine. I haven't had anyone challenge me this way for years." Then I should have left. I should have ignored the urgency with which my heart was churning my blood and the heat radiating between us. That would have been the reasonable course of action, the safest course, the best course.

It wasn't the course I chose to follow.

I found Lynn on the dance floor, gave her my car keys so she'd have a way home and let Katherine drive me back to my apartment.

I fumbled the key three times before I finally managed to get in it the lock. I was probably more nervous than I had been the night I threw my virginity to the wind. Which made perfect sense, actually, since I had been in love with Angie and this woman I didn't know at all.

Katherine calmly and obliviously toed off her shoes while I tried to think of a nice, safe way to back out. Abruptly I realized that without her three inch heels, she was my height, if not a little shorter. For some reason this struck me as hilarious and I erupted in demented giggles. She smirked and gave me questioning glance.

"I'm taller than you are," I managed to choke out.

"Story of my life," she shrugged. "It could be worse. What if I could only reach up to your chin? It would take me forever to work up the courage to do this and even when I did, I'd always have an excuse not to."

I would have questioned where that particular statement came from, but I got distracted. Distracted by a woman who was much stronger than she looked. She grabbed my shoulders and pressed me into the door and began to kiss me.

I knew I was indeed taller because her face was ever so slightly tilted up so that her lips could reach mine. That was certainly novel for little me who's not even 5'4". I smiled at the thought. She must have appreciated the smile because she pulled back a little and returned it with one of her own. No longer feeling shy, I tangled my hands in her copper-colored hair and pulled her head closer. I slowly ran my tongue against her beautiful bottom lip. Any remaining thoughts of stopping before I did something I would regret promptly vanished when her lips parted.

Her mouth was so cool, so welcoming. I slid my tongue along the inside of it as gently as my minimal self control would let me. Had it been that long, I asked myself, though I knew it had. I quickly gave up on gentle and pulled her tongue into my mouth and tugged. I'm not sure where I learned that trick anymore, but I like it. It's a bit rough so not everyone does. Katherine must have because she groaned and quickly began removing my shirt.

There are times when I hate my apartment. It's spacious for a studio and I love Georgetown, but there are times when you don't want your bed in the front room. This was not one of those times.

The contrast of black fabric sliding across the milky white cream of her skin was striking. The word alabaster sang through my mind. She neatly folded her blouse and leaned over to place it on the table, revealing an ouroboros -- stark art on silken skin. My tongue followed its defiant curves. Endlessly feeding on its own tail to survive, it was an apt metaphor. The night was an exploration of pleasure, uncomplicated and unheightened by emotions or attachments. It was an exploration by lips and tongues and hands and fingers; a revelation of touch.

Afterwards, I lay there, panting and satisfied. She was next to me, one hand absently stroking the inside of my thigh. It took a few minutes for the post-coital euphoria to wear off and the awkwardness to set in.

When it did, she jerked her hand from me and sat up. "I have to get home. I need to get up early tomorrow. I'm meeting my mother for breakfast."

I nodded solemnly. She quickly collected her clothes from around the room and dressed, while I averted my eyes from the body I had just finished lavishing with my attentions.

"Good Night. Drive safely," I called as she opened the door. I would have said thank you, but it never seems quite appropriate in that situation. We made no attempts to pretend that it would be a recurring event. She smiled briefly and closed the door behind her.

I forced myself up to go lock the door, taking a mental inventory of my body, predicting where the bruises would form. I did my best to try not to guess why the little het chick was out playing with girls that night. Sad thing was, Katherine (or whatever the hell her name really is) was the best lay I'd had in five years. There is a popular misconception that all small women are delicate creatures and must be treated as such. Damn, but it was good to be with someone who understood we weren't.

Still, I was fully prepared to never see her again. I can be very practical. I was being quite reasonable until about nine minutes ago.

Once again I let Lynn drag me to the 'Bug tonight. "C'mon," she cajoled, "you haven't been anywhere with me in _months_." Which was true so I agreed once again, but only after making her promise that if some unknown woman tried to pick me up, she was to talk some sense into me. I'm not sure how seriously she took the promise; she laughed when I told her I felt a little like a slut for that night.

"Tristan. I hardly think a slut only gets some action every other year. You have _issues_. Deal with them some other time. Let's go."

Lynn finally got me to dance, using the excuse that she couldn't possibly watch me if she was on the floor and I was all the way over by the bar. I humored her. I like to dance and they were playing a song that I remembered from my high school years. Nostalgia alone was enough to get me up and bouncing around like some teenager.

And shock alone was enough to make me stop when I saw Katherine. Gone were the skirt and blouse, they were replaced by a tight baby tee and black hip huggers. There was nothing subtle about that outfit.

"What are you staring at?" Lynn wondered at my sudden distraction. She followed my gaze to Katherine. "Oh. Day-um." She let out a slow, quiet whistle. "While I must say you do have good taste, aren't you the one who is never picking up anyone at a club again? Though the way she's staring back, Sista-love, I wouldn't fault you if you tried. I see definite interest from her."

"That's her," I managed to mumble.

"Her who?" She asked before realization set in. "Oh." She laughed and gave me a push.

I reached the bar before it occurred to me that I had nothing to say. By that point, it was too late to back away; she had already seen me.

"Tristan." I could smell the alcohol on her breath. I'm ashamed to admit I also wanted to taste it.

"Katherine," I returned the greeting. "Why do you come here?"

"Does it matter?"

I suppose it didn't really so that's what I told her. "But I was just curious. You're a bit too old to be doing it to shock your parents. If you were doing it 'to broaden your options' you wouldn't choose this place."

"Maybe the loneliness started to get to me and this was the best option."

That was not an answer. "The safe option for you?" Maybe that had been an answer.

Her lips curled in a sad, wistful little smile. She reached for my hand and pulled, "Let's dance." I let her lead me to the middle of the floor.

We did dance, for a while at least. Until she began getting increasingly close. So now, here we are. Her leg is wrapped around me and my hands are roaming her body. We are walking that fine line between sensual dancing and floor show. When she pins me against a pole, I decide I don't care if the whole club is watching. The exhibitionism adds its own electric charge to the experience. When she kisses me, it's fierce and maddening. For this, I'll be a slut. Tomorrow I'll gladly have a scarlet "A" sewn to all my clothes. Or an "L," whatever.

My hands run roughly over her stomach, her arms, her shoulders. I lift her too small shirt and caress the small of her back. I reluctantly break the kiss; my poor lungs demand oxygen.

"Shall we go?" I breathe into her ear. Her face is flushed as she nods. She pulls away to allow to move from the pole. I think I whimper when her body leaves mine.

We're walking out, when she suddenly stops. "Oh my God." She looks like a little kid who's just been caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

Her eyes are locked with those of a tall man. He has the face of a lost puppy. The kind of man my younger sister would chase. The kind of guy whose cheek I would pinch before teasing him with "if only I were straight." The kind of guy who is apparently Katherine's boyfriend. He finally breaks eye contact and runs from the club.

The world has slowed down to a quarter of its normal speed. For a few minutes, we stand there unmoving.

"Busted." It is the only thing I can think to say.

She turns around, startled, as if she has forgotten I am here. She probably has. I knew better. I put myself in this position.

"So he found out you come here without him." The only response I get is a blank stare. "Your boyfriend. He looks like the type who likes to watch. There are always a few of those around. They drag their girlfriends in and some end up surprised when they have to leave alone."

"No." Her voice is distant. "It's not anything remotely like that. He's not...I'm...It's..."

"Look. It's none of my business. You don't owe me any explanations. Thanks for last time, but I see you have other obligations. Go take care of them." I wave her off. I don't want to know. The little fiction I've created is more than enough. I want to know nothing else about them.

She opens her mouth to speak, but changes her mind. Instead she shakes her head and is silent for a minute.

"Yes. I need to go after him. I'm sorry," she says distractedly as she walks away.

"Bitch," I mutter. I'm not sure if it's directed at her, him, me, or the situation.

I find Lynn and tell her I'm leaving. Whatever crack she was about to make is silenced by the look on my face. She just tells me she'll find another way home.

As I drive home, I mentally review my rules.

No one night stands. No bisexuals. No hets. No picking up people in bars. No one night stands. Definitely no hets.

Suddenly I think my Altima needs a bumper sticker.

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Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction; any resemblance to real persons or events is a coincidence. Resemblance to characters from "The X Files" is entirely intended, even though they are property of Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions, and Fox. They are used here without permission, but also without financial gain.

FYI -Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is an international organization dedicated to researching and recreating pre-17th-century European history (See http://www.sca.org/ if interested)

Psyche
psyche_bound@yahoo.com