Short Story – Anne and Renee

Anne and Renee: The Soulmate Series

 

 

 

Renee slammed the bedroom door and kicked her stilettos toward the closet. She ripped at her black lace garter and stockings, tearing them off in frustration and throwing them into the trash. The little black mini dress got balled up and thrown on the floor. She stomped into the bathroom and started the shower. As steam filled the master bath, she sat down on the toilet seat and let the tears come. The love of her life, her soulmate, and partner simply did not want her, no matter how hard she tried. Stepping in front of the full-length mirror, Renee took off her black push up bra and used it to wipe away the fog that was already clouding her reflection.

Her breasts were still full and firm. Admittedly, they were a little lower than they were the first time Anne had taken her, up against the wall in the bathroom of Catch-22, the previous incarnation of The Kitty Klub. It was ten years ago today, in fact. Halloween. Anne had been pursuing her for weeks, but Renee had held off. She was fresh out of bad relationship, and she was dead set against getting involved in another one. Anne was gorgeous and charming. She was older than Renee by a couple of years, but sometimes she seemed ages wiser. She had a compassionate and kind air about her and a simmering sensuality that seemed to thrum under her skin. Renee guessed that most people didn’t realize the depths of feeling under the quiet exterior. When Renee met Anne, she was alternately intrigued and anxious and she did her best to keep Anne at arm’s length. Renee claimed they were better off as friends, but every time Anne’s hand slid over Renee’s neck as they were hugging hello, the tremors would start in her toes and shudder through her body like lightening.

Finally, Renee agreed to a date. They decided to go as a couple to a mutual friend’s giant Halloween party at the club. Renee wanted them to dress as something sexy, but Anne wanted to be playful and funny. They ended up dressing as ketchup and mustard. Renee wore a red mini dress and red tights, with a big K on the front and Anne wore a bright yellow t-shirt with an M, and jeans. They had pointy hats to match their costumes and they won second place in the contest and everyone laughed and wanted to try on their hats. Anne was charming and funny and Renee found herself laughing more than she could remember laughing in years. When the contest ended, Renee somehow found herself in the club bathroom, backed up against the wall, with her ketchup dress around her waist and Anne’s mouth locked on hers, as Anne reached down and slid her fingers inside of Renee, getting them wet before moving them up to her clit and circling it until Renee came hard, her teeth locked into Anne’s neck to keep from screaming. It was a hell of a first date.

Renee shook herself out of the past. There was no sense dwelling on a part of her life that was obviously over. She let her eyes slide down her naked body. She wasn’t bad looking, even now on the downhill stretch to forty. Her hips were full, she was a little rounded at the belly. But she had looked like this when she and Anne met and Anne had always wanted her then. The mirror was fogging up again, so Renee shook her head and jumped in the shower. She reached down with her fingers as she let the hot water run over her head. If Anne wasn’t going to give her any, at least she could give it to herself. She stroked her clit softly, then harder. It got hard under her fingers and she reached out one hand to brace herself against the wall as she quietly made herself come. She felt released, but sad. Renee had always loved masturbating, but doing so because she couldn’t get Anne to make love with her was a lonely business.

It wasn’t as if their sex life died all at once, either. They made love constantly in the beginning. Anne would sneak up on Renee while she was making dinner and kneel on the ground behind her, running her tongue up the length of Renee’s thighs, searching between her legs. Renee would go weak at the knees and drop, allowing Anne full access. Sometimes Renee would put her head on Anne’s lap in the car, biting and pulling on Anne’s jeans with her teeth, then pressing one hand hard against Anne’s cunt, rubbing it through her jeans, trying to make her come while Anne tried to keep her eyes on the road….

 

Do Anne and Renee get their groove back? Want to read the rest of their story? Check out the erotica series “The Soulmate Series” by Olivia Craft on Amazon.com. Free for Kindle Unlimited Users – only 99 cents for everyone else.

 

 

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Jennifer

Many years before The Love Sucks Club was even on my radar, before I had even entertained the idea of writing any novels at all, I wrote a short story called “Dreams.” It started in high school, with a short story about a woman who told her dreams to her partner every morning when she woke up. The main character was Jennifer and my teacher found it fascinating – as did I – it stayed in my head for almost twenty years until I wrote the following story.

A few years after writing this story, a conversation with my best friend Aj led to the idea of The Love Sucks Club and Jennifer popped into my mind again. Something about her appealed to me and though I didn’t see her having her own book, I wasn’t quite ready to put her in the bottom of the dead ideas pile. I pulled it out, polished it off, and opened a novel with it. Jennifer from this story became Esmé in The Love Sucks Club and the narrator became Dana.

I found this story again tonight while going through the old “fragments and short stories never published” folder and decided to bring it out to show how sometimes the writing process really can take over twenty years from start to finish.

 

Dreams

       It all comes down to this. Her body under mine is slim, yet soft. Her wet bikini leaves smears of water on my clothes. I push salty strands of hair out of her face and as I press my mouth against hers, I think, “This is the moment in which my entire life changes forever.”

Jennifer looked a bit like a teenage boy. She was slim and long. Her legs seemed to bend at strange angles when she sat and somehow, she always seemed in danger of knocking something over with her elbows. Jennifer’s deep brown hair, longish over the face, short everywhere else, stuck up in impossible pieces all over her head. Yet, there was something so female about her, something in the curve of her jaw, or the length of her neck, or the perfect shape of her ears.

I saw Jennifer for the first time at a beach bar on Strand St. I was sitting alone with my notebook, nursing a beer. I heard the men in the bar muttering to themselves, but I didn’t pay much attention. On an island as small as this, any new girl is a reason for a press release. I continued to scribble dream worlds in my notebook. I fancy myself a writer, some cross between Robert A. Heinlein without the nipple fixation and Robert B. Parker without the testosterone.

I didn’t look up again until a few droplets of water across my page interrupted my thoughts. I blinked against the glare which was outlining the most striking woman I had ever seen. I don’t think I thought she was beautiful, or even hot, not then, but she left me stunned. Her mouth was full and smiling, and her face completely open. Her eyes, hazel, with flecks of gold were full of amusement and vitality. I just looked at her, my face impassive.

“Hi, I’m Jennifer.”

I nod. Look pointedly down at my notebook and back up at her.

“The guys at the bar told me not to talk to you.”

“They were probably right,” I answered, looking back down at my notes.

“They said you believe that your dreams tell the future.”

I ignored her and  sat, trying to write, trying to think of anything that could take my attention, while she stood there for several moments. I could feel her eyes on the top of my head and I fought against every impulse in my body that was telling me to look up. Finally, I heard her leaving. I waited a few minutes, then got up and left. They know me here, I spend enough time at this table, drinking their booze and eating their overpriced fried food to warrant a tab that I pay on a monthly basis. There are advantages to being the local celebrity.

Three days later, I took my morning coffee onto the deck and Jennifer was sitting on a lounge chair. I glared at her.

“You’re on private property.”

“I asked the bartender where you live. She said I couldn’t miss it. She was right. It’s beautiful up here, do you live alone?”

“I live alone because I prefer to be alone, “ I snapped. “What do you want?”

“I read Annabelle’s Lies,” she said quietly. “I had a dream that we met and fell in love.”

I sat down, and passed a hand over my eyes. Annabelle’s Lies. I didn’t want to be reminded of Annabelle or her lies. I glanced at Jennifer, resisting the urge to straighten the hair that was blowing across her face.

Several hours later, Jennifer was still occupying my space, drinking my booze and rummaging in my refrigerator. She moved constantly, opening and closing books, looking at my artwork, touching the glass frames. Her hands were always in motion, she had a frenetic energy that kept me in a constant state of anticipation. Everything she said, everything she did seemed like a prelude to something else. My head was spinning.

Five days later, she hadn’t left. I took her back to her hotel to get her clothes. I took her to K-mart, the island’s only store to stock up on bathroom supplies and makeup and postcards. She cleaned my kitchen and cooked for me. I didn’t eat fried bar food for five whole days.

During the day, we went to secluded beaches and snorkeled and swam. On shore, she fed me fruit and wine from her picnic basket, while I rubbed her pale skin with suntan lotion. She jet-skied while I watched.  She went diving. She jumped off of a cliff. She learned how to kite surf and parasail and skydive, and I paced obsessively on the shore, sure she was never coming back. At night, I made love to her on the porch, under the stars and let her gently mock my awkward fumbling.

“It’s been three years,” I muttered. “And there was no one before Annabelle.”

“I know,” she whispered back. “I know.”

Every morning, she made me tell her my dreams, sure that there was meaning in every one. She quoted to me from my novel, in which I wrote about my dream of the Old Man and the Sea. I was a young boy, and I sat in a boat, and the old man wanted to tell me something, but I could never understand what it was. After Annabelle died, I finally figured it out, but it was too late. I talked about the old man, but I wouldn’t talk about Annabelle. I wouldn’t talk about those dreams. I talked about all of the others, though. Jennifer loved to hear about my dreams, and I elaborated on them, weaving her into my tales of lucid dreaming, precognition, and fairy tale worlds.

Five days.  This morning, I refused to tell Jennifer about my dream. I didn’t want her to leave the house today, but she insisted we go out and be among people. Jennifer didn’t want me to be a hermit, she didn’t want the others to hate me, to tell the tourists not to talk to me. She wanted to go snorkeling, she wanted to be in the water. Jennifer insisted. It is important to remember that Jennifer insisted.

It all comes down to this. Her body under mine is slim, yet soft. Her wet bikini leaves smears of water on my clothes. I push salty strands of hair out of her face and as I press my mouth against hers, I think, “this is the moment in which my entire life changes forever.” I breathe hard into her mouth, then switch my hands to her sternum. I fall into the rhythm of the CPR. Push, push, push, breathe, repeat. The familiarity weighs on my shoulder. I breathe into her mouth over and over, until the ambulance shows up and the EMTs take over. This is it, this is the pattern of my life.

I don’t think I will dream tonight.

Are you a real writer?

I belong to several online writing groups. Some are geared toward feedback, some are instructional, and some, the bulk of them, are simply places for writers to get together and talk about writing. Online groups are an excellent way to connect with other writers when a live writing group isn’t a possibility.

Lately, I’ve found a disturbing trend happening in my groups – maybe it has always been there, but I’ve seen it a lot recently… People telling other people that they aren’t real writers. I have been seeing it constantly in my groups and it is pissing me off. Some new writer who is just learning to break out of the cage of self-doubt and flex those creative skills is going to read these judgmental posts and slip right back in. These are just a few examples of what I mean:

  • You aren’t a real writer if you don’t write every day.
  • You aren’t a real writer if you don’t feel compelled to write.
  • You aren’t a real writer if you aren’t almost overwhelmed by your ideas.
  • You aren’t a real writer if you haven’t studied the craft of writing.
  • (My personal favorite) Writing is hard. If you tell me you love writing, I’m going to assume you aren’t a real writer.

 

I’m a writer. I don’t write every day. I don’t always feel compelled to write. I am sometimes overwhelmed with ideas and sometimes, I stare at the blank screen for an hour paralyzed with the fear that all of the ideas have dried up forever. I have studied the craft of writing. I continue to study the craft of writing. I can’t imagine I will ever stop studying the craft of writing. There are a lot of ways to do that and they don’t all involve going to college and many of them are free. The fact that I have a degree in Creative Writing doesn’t make me a more genuine writer than anyone else. In fact, I think I’ve learned more about the craft of writing over the past year than I did in my years of school.

I love writing. I also hate it. Sometimes, I’m afraid of it. And sometimes, it even bores me. It’s a job, it’s a life, it’s a passion, it’s an addiction. It’s a dream come true and a way to make a living. It’s creating worlds and it’s forgetting to move the laundry to the dryer because the story is so compelling, it can’t be stopped until the end. Some days, it’s deciding all the heating vents in the house need to be cleaned because that’s easier than writing. Writing is hard and sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes writing is busting out an incredibly brilliant short story in twenty minutes and sometimes it’s laboring over a submission with a deadline for three weeks.

There is one thing that makes someone a real writer. They write. They write when they can, they write when they’re able. They write. End of story. If you want to be a writer, write.

Now, if you want to be a published writer or a freelance writer or a working writer or a novelist or a blogger or —- Well, that’s a different story.

But whatever you do, don’t sit in judgment of someone else’s writing process. A real writer is too busy focusing on their own work to point a finger at everyone else.

 

Conference Call

The incredible Bella Books and GCLS anthology Conference Call is a delightful collection of short stories by some of the best writers in lesbian fiction. The proceeds go to the Golden Crown Literary Society, an organization designed to promote, education, and recognize lesbian literature.

 

https://www.bellabooks.com/9781594935749-prod.html

 

I contributed an intense story about an affair – written in first person collective which puts the reader in the audience with the rest of the conference goers. And that is just one among many. It is worth a read.

 

 

I did this video reading….

I did a video of one of my favorite scenes from my first novel. Davey and her mother, Leah are having a rather public exchange about Leah’s sex life.

 

It was fun to record, though not as fun as reading to a crowd where I can see facial expressions and get feedback. Still, I like the video a lot. This is not pornographic… it’s funny. But some of the subject matter may be a twee unsafe for work listening.

 

Check it out. 

 

 

“Guest author, Beth Burnett.”

I had my first author appearance today at the trans family support group at the LGBT community center in Cleveland. I was terrified, because terrified is what I do. I was anxious about any number of things. Will they hate me? Will I make my pitch and ask for questions and get nothing but dead silence? Will this group which consists mostly of transgendered people wonder why I think I have the ability to write a trans character that they will find believable or interesting? What if my voice completely shakes? What if I pass out, can’t talk, forget what I’m supposed to say, screw up dreadfully?

Yeah, that’s me. Ms. Confidence.

My sister Dorothy went with me. When we got there, right on time, there was no one there except the couple who run the group. I was worried that no one was going to show. However, people started to filter in as we got closer to the start time. As we got very close to start, I decided to make a quick bathroom break. Well, I got locked in the stall! It wouldn’t open. I tried unlocking it, relocking it, jiggling the lock and it wouldn’t open. I had this moment of panic where I thought that I was going to have to try to crawl under the door at my first author appearance and could just picture someone walking in as I am stuck halfway through! Finally, I yanked on the door and it slammed open. Later, on the way home, Dorothy said, “I forgot to tell you this earlier, but guess what happened to me in the bathroom?” I said, “Did you get locked in?!!” She said, “Yes!” I was like, “Thanks for the warning!”

Back to the meeting. We arrived with business cards and fliers. Per the advice of my mentor, Linda Kay Silva, I had a giveaway. I marked three of the business cards and let the people know that someone was going to win a free book at the end of the session. That got them all talking a little before we even started.

The meeting started with everyone in the room introducing themselves. I introduced myself in turn, but didn’t really give any info about myself and told them that I wanted to save it so they would all feel inspired to ask me questions after my speech.

There were about twenty people there. There were three young people, maybe teenagers or possibly early twenties. Some people who looked to be in their thirties, the rest older than that. The only ones who seemed uninterested were the three youngsters. Everyone else looked excited to have a “guest author.”

After the introductions, I got up and stood at the head of the room, so I could make eye contact with everyone there. I had written a speech, but at the request (read: order) of my mentor, LKS, I didn’t bring it. Instead, I decided to wing it.

I started off with my name, the name of my novel, etc. Then, I realized my voice was completely shaking. So, I said this:

“Some writers are also natural born performers. They can get in front of a crowd and suddenly, they are in the spotlight, working the crowd, getting the laughs, and selling themselves without a care in the world. I am not one of those authors. I have terrible stage fright right now. But I try to live by the motto of ‘Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.’ And that’s what I’m doing.”

At that point, they all got interested. Every single one of them, including the youngsters smiled at me when I met their eyes. One woman gave me a thumbs up when I looked in her direction.

I went on to say, “I had a whole speech written that I was going to give today. It was a delightful speech. I read it to the dog. I read it to my mom and she loved it. I practiced it in front of the mirror. I totally had it down. But when I woke up this morning, I realized that I didn’t want to give a delightful speech. I want to talk to you instead about the lack of transgender representation in the media. So, please excuse me if this sounds a little stilted, but I didn’t get a chance to practice this one on anyone, not even the dog.”

They laughed and I suddenly relaxed. My voice stopped shaking. They were all smiling at me, every single one. Then I asked them to give me a show of hands of how many of them thought transgendered people were fairly represented in mainstream media. No one raised their hands.

I said, “Off hand, two transgendered characters come to mind. There’s the transgendered character in Silence of the Lambs who was… oh, yeah. A serial killer! And there was that stupid Jim Carey movie… Ace Ventura? Sean Young’s character was a Male to Female transsexual. The big joke was that she had made out with Jim Carey earlier in the movie and when Carey found out that she was transgendered, he yells “Einhorn is a man!” and runs into the corner to puke. Really funny, right? Right. It just seems to me as I was looking for lists of transgendered characters in mainstream media, what I was finding were predators or criminals or “sneaky” transsexuals who pretend to be something they’re not in order to fool the poor, innocent cisgender, heterosexual males. Give me a break.”

A couple of people actually said “Yeah!” at this point. I was not even close to nervous at this point. I felt like they all wanted me to succeed by now. It was pretty awesome.

Then I said, “I don’t claim to be some Pulitzer prize winning novelist who penned the next Great American Novel in which the transgendered people are so believable and rich and well-rounded that everyone in the world will read about them and change their ignorant minds immediately!” (They all laughed again here.)

“I never had any intention of writing a novel at all. I mean, I was technically a professional writer. That is to say, when I was working as a bartender at a beach bar in the Virgin Islands, I wrote short stories on bar napkins and sold them to drunk tourists for five dollars a pop. Of course, the laws in the Virgin Islands are a little more lax than they are here, so more likely than not, I was a little drunk writing them, too. Most likely, they were all used to mop up spilled drinks. Still, I was broke, but content. I might have told people that I wanted to write a novel, but most writers do say that, whether they actually intend to do so or not. ”

Another person actually said, “Right on” here and everyone laughed again. I could totally get addicted to this stuff.

I went on. “But one night, I was sitting with a group of supposedly enlightened and educated friends. They were different races, but they were all gay. The ages ranged from the mid 30s to the mid 50s. As drunk gay people are wont to do, we started talking about gay politics, and stuff like that. I simply mentioned that I thought the T in LGBT was largely ignored by the community as a whole. Well, I was attacked. The transphobia coming out of the mouths of so many of these people was depressing. And I was shocked and appalled at some of the ignorant things I was hearing. I guess I’m naive, but I honestly could not believe that people who have suffered from oppression and bigotry because of something that they can not help or change would turn around and do it to someone else. So, yes, I was shocked. And frankly, I was pissed. And when I get pissed, do I beat people up? No, I’m a total wimp! Instead, I write nasty things about them!” (Another big laugh here) I wrote several blog posts about it, then decided that since fiction is my forte, I needed to go a little deeper. What I really wanted to do was to write a light, funny, romantic book which happens to contain transgendered and gay characters in which all of the so-called “fringe” people are completely normal and the only ones who are idiots are the ones who judge my characters! Basically, the bigots were the bad guys. My book involves the good guys… my FTM character, the straight ally, the pot-smoking single mom, the big, sexy butch lesbian… they are all beautiful and loved and valid. They’re flawed, yes. But they’re good.

I think the important thing about my book is that is may contain subject matter that some people find uncomfrtable, but it isn’t in your face. It’s sweet and light and non-confrontational. It addresses the issues without pounding it down people’s throats. It calls out the bigots without calling them bigots. I have had several great reviews on this, including a few from straight Christians. And the reviews from people who have never really had any dealings with trans people are saying that they will never be able to look at someone, regardless of gender or orientation without realizing that it is not their place to judge.

THAT is some kind of amazing! So, while I really want all of you to read my book and love it, which I think you will, what I really want is for “mainstream” society to get a hold of this novel, read it, and possibly change their minds. Wouldn’t that be a trip?”

At this point, taking the advice YET AGAIN of the lovely Linda Silva, I said, “Before I ask you if you have any questions, let me ask you a question. Is there anything that you would like to see addressed in my next novel as I continue to write transgendered characters?” There was silence for a few seconds, then a few people started speaking up. One wanted to know if I would talk about the process. One wanted me to address the high suicide rate of trans people. Another thought that it would be good if I could talk about depression and loss.

Then, I said, “Does anyone have any questions?” (I was armed here… Linda warned me that there might not be any questions, or people wouldn’t know what to ask. If that happened, I was going to say, “One question I am often asked… “) But there was a moment of silence… then one lady said asked a question. By the time I finished answering that, three hands were in the air. Everyone had name tags (total bonus for me) so I just called on everyone by their names. I spent AN HOUR answering questions!! An hour! They asked all sorts of things:

Did you miss your characters when you were done writing the book?

How long did it take you to write?

What are you working on now?

Why would you leave the Virgin Islands to come back to Ohio? (That one got a lot of laughs.)

Do you think bigotry should be confronted with anger or patience? This was a great one for me to answer. Earlier in the session, before I spoke, a sweet trans woman said that she didn’t mind ignorant comments as long as they weren’t spiteful. A few other people scoffed at her and said that ignorance is ignorance. I was able to address her comments for this question. I said, “As XX said (I am not putting names here because not all people are out) if the questions are not meant in a mean-spirited or ugly way, I think you can use it as a learning tool. A case in point, I recently had cause to confront some of my own bigotry in regards to religion.” Then I talked a little bit about that and they were all nodding and smiling. The lady who had made the original statement looked very excited that I called her name and agreed with her in my response. It was really cute.

“What color is your mini-van?” (What? LOL… I had mentioned earlier that I was going to drive to California in my mini-van. But I thought it was an odd question.

“Is it true what they say about fiction writers?” (Said with a bit of a leer.) Me: I don’t know… what exactly do “they” say about fiction writers?  “That you use your family as your characters.” (Looks at Dorothy.) Everyone laughed.

“Why do you think there is so much bias in the gay community against trans people?”

“Do you have any MTF characters in your book? Is there going to be one in the next book?”

It was an incredible time. I think that right from the beginning, they had empathy for me because I was nervous. I forget who gave me the advice to tell them I was nervous, but it was spot on. I’m also glad I didn’t bring the speech because it felt more like a conversation than a speech.

After the meeting, I was approached by almost everyone there and they all thanked me for coming to speak and said they couldn’t wait to read my book. A few people actually said, “Wow, I’ve never met an author before!” which almost made me laugh, but didn’t. (Not laughing at them, mind you, but at someone being excited to meet me.) The teenagers (or twenty somethings) who were so bored at the very beginning, but so excited a few minutes in, made sure to come over and tell me how much they loved it. They ended up asking more questions than anyone else, and asked for my Facebook information so they could find me there.

All in all, it was an incredible time from start to finish. I tried so hard not to be nervous and I hate that my voice shakes like that. I don’t know what to do about that, but hopefully the more appearances like the one I have, the more comfortable I’ll feel with them.

Quick funny side note. My sister Dorothy kept smiling encouragingly at me… so as I was looking around the room as I was speaking, I would often glance at her for encouragement. Well, at one point, when I was talking about bigots being forced to confront their bigotry, she claims I was looking right at her the whole time! She said she was thinking “Hey! Stop, they’re all going to think *I* am one!!”

In the end, the entire thing was awesome and I am so glad that I went. And again, as seems to keep happening these days, I was confronted by the fact that things are rarely as bad as I think they’re going to be. Wow, I sure don’t seem to be able to swallow that lesson, do I? 🙂