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This is a story about Leigh, a girl who doesn’t know what she wants, and a woman who is just too much. After being urged to set herself free, Leigh learns about all the different ways to leave a lover.
Drop Off The Key is my contribution to the 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover event.
We descended a narrow set of wooden stairs, the steps barely visible under the flashing rainbow lights and the mixed haze of fog and deep, pumping bass. The girl who’d let us past had raised an eyebrow at the group of us, her black-stained lips twisting judgmentally as she stamped each of our wrists.
“Mandatory coat check,” she grunted, and tilted her head toward the cut-out in the wall.
My friends giggled and peeled off their coats and sweaters. Krista’s midriff peeked out above low-slung jeans, Jacquie made sure her cropped sweater revealed just enough tanned skin to be enticing, and Anne-Marie shivered and rubbed her bare arms as her mini-skirt sashayed around her thighs.
Who they thought they’d be attracting at a place like this, dressed like that, was beyond me.
“Um, mine’s not really a coat,” I mumbled to the pale, black-haired girl. I rolled up the sleeve of my flannel plaid shirt to let her stamp my wrist.
“You’re fine. Tell your straight friends not to ogle at the queens, will you?”
“Oh, we’re all—”
But she had already turned to the next people in line.
“Mario! Sean! How are you boys doing? Where’s that cute red-head of yours?”
I rubbed my own red hair unconsciously and waited restlessly as the other girls paid the bored-looking girl in the coat check window.
“All right ladies, let’s go!”
Jacquie’s voice was sing-song, almost mocking as she pushed past me and began descending the narrow staircase. I made to follow her, but Anne-Marie rushed past, giggling as she held Krista’s hand.
“Don’t do that, they’ll think we’re… well, you know.”
Yes, because appearing to be gay at the gay bar would be such a scandal.
I sighed and began my descent down the narrow staircase. As far as I knew, none of the four of us identified as anything besides straight. I certainly didn’t. The girls knew that; I had met all of them through my boyfriend, Wyatt. I’d certainly heard enough about all of their conquests to know that none of them had even dipped a toe in the lady pond, unless someone was really keeping a secret well.
The novelty of the gay bar had enticed them. I tried not to cringe as they giggled and whispered—well, shout-whispered—about all the things they saw.
“Ohmigod, that guy is wearing a mesh shirt!”
“Jacquie, look! Is he… oh my God, he’s wearing a jockstrap, never mind.”
“Leigh, that girl is wearing the same shirt as you. You fit right in!”
Krista nudged me and pointed at a girl with short hair, indeed wearing the exact same flannel plaid shirt I had on.
“Let’s get a drink!” shouted Jacquie.
She looped one arm through Krista’s, took Anne-Marie’s hand, and began sauntering off through the bar. I had to scurry to catch up with them.
The bartender wore a sheer tank top, muscles flexing beneath the gauzy fabric as he shook a pink fruity beverage into a cocktail glass for Jacquie, a tropical blue fruity beverage into a hurricane glass for Anne-Marie, and an orange fruity beverage into a martini glass for Krista. They each paid and turned to scout out a table while I stepped up to the bar.
“Can I just have a beer?”
He popped the cap off a bottle of Heineken and slid it across the bar to me.
“Hey, just FYI,” he shouted. “Like, I know you haven’t paid yet so not so much for you, but for your friends. Tipping is customary.”
I swallowed and jerked my head forward into a nod, handed him a twenty, and dashed after my friends before he could get me the change.
They had found a table not too far from the bar and were leaning into each other, giggling.
“Leigh, did you see the guy with the beard and the long skirt?”
I shrugged and sipped my beer.
“Oh my God, are you going to be a complete downer all night?” Jacquie’s usually-nasal voice was harsh as she shouted over the music. “Lighten up, Leigh.”
“I didn’t say anything!”
“You look like we dragged you into a funeral instead of a club.”
I bit my lip, my hand itching toward the phone in my pocket.
“I’m just worried about Wyatt.”
“Ugh!” groaned Krista. “Wyatt, Wyatt, Wyatt. Can we go one night without you complaining about Wyatt?”
“I don’t complain about him,” I mumbled, but no one heard me.
“She’s got a point!” Anne-Marie shouted. “You always seem so unhappy about our dear Wyatt.”
“I’m not unhappy!” I protested. “He just seems distant right now.”
“Maybe if you stopped being so damn clingy,” Krista said snidely.
“I’m not clingy! I just—”
“Guys, for my birthday, I have a request,” interrupted Jacquie. “Can we puh-lease stop talking about Wyatt?”
I swallowed and nodded.
“That’s my girl,” she said, istanbul escort nudging me. “Forget Wyatt, loosen up, put a goddamn smile on that face, and drink up, bitch!”
I hated when she called me one of her bitches, but I forced a smile anyway and took another sip of beer.
The three of them had finished their drinks before I even got through half of my Heineken.
“Watch the table for us, Leigh,” demanded Jacquie. “We’re going to get a refill.”
“Don’t forget to tip,” I said, but she had already turned on her heel to lead Anne-Marie and Krista back to the bar.
My friends, for lack of the existence of anything else in my life that could be described as a friend, were friends of circumstance. They were better than nothing, I reasoned, and if it weren’t for them, I would have no friends. Making friends in a city where you know no one is hard enough. Me making friends period was next to impossible.
I had met the three of them through Wyatt, my boyfriend. He was the only organic friend I’d made after moving to the city for school. I’d met him at the convenience store near my apartment the first night I’d moved in. He had worked there—still worked there—and had been kind enough to walk me back to the apartment after seeing me pass the store three times.
“You lost or something?” he’d asked when I came in.
“Keep seeing you walk by.”
“Yeah,” I had whispered. “I can’t find my building.”
He had smiled, charming and sweet, and slid the bottle of water I’d stopped to buy across the counter without charging me.
“I get off in ten minutes. Let me help you.”
So I had waited outside the store, and ten minutes later he came strolling out, backpack in one hand and cigarettes in the other.
I didn’t, but I took one from him anyway.
I told him my address and he led me down the street, pointing out the side road I’d kept missing when I’d been wandering back and forth by the convenience store, and walked me up to the front door of my apartment.
“Thanks,” I said.
“No problem. Cute girl like you shouldn’t be wandering around all alone.”
My face had turned red and he’d laughed.
“You know, it’s pretty hot out here. Maybe I could grab some water from you before I walk home?”
So I invited him up to my apartment and he left the next morning.
It wasn’t the most meet-cute story out there, but it didn’t have to be. A few months later, I asked if we were boyfriend and girlfriend. He shrugged and said we might as well be, and a couple of weeks after that, introduced me to his friends. I became “one of the girls” with Jacquie, Anne-Marie, and Krista. Somehow, I still managed to feel like a fifth-wheel even though there were only four of us.
While they were getting their second round of drinks, I took the opportunity to check my phone to see if Wyatt had messaged me. He had been upset when I said I was going out for Jacquie’s birthday.
“I thought we could hang out and watch a movie or something,” he said when I stopped by the convenience store on his break.
“You’re not off work until 11.”
“Yeah, but you’d still be up. Besides, I gotta cover the mid-shift tomorrow, so I thought maybe I could just stay at your place since it’s closer.”
“You still can. You have a key.”
He rolled his eyes.
“Yeah, I guess.”
There were no new texts. Sighing, I set my beer on the table and texted him quickly.
At the bar. How’s work going? Miss you.
“Ohmigod, you better not be texting Wyatt or I’m going to honestly take your phone away from you,” Jacquie shouted when she came back to the table.
“I’m not,” I said, tucking my phone into my pocket.
When I felt my phone vibrate a few minutes later, I nearly pulled it out, but knew Jacquie would snatch it from my hands the second I did. Instead, I gulped down the rest of my beer.
“I’m going outside,” I said.
Anne-Marie scrunched her nose and Krista made a gagging gesture.
“We’ll wait here,” Jacquie said kindly.
Well, kindly for her. Jacquie was an on-again, off-again smoker. She was currently off-again, but I knew she’d be begging to bum a smoke by the end of the night. She did, too, which is why she was being “nice” about it.
I left my beer bottle on the table and crossed the bar, pressing my body against the wall of the narrow staircase as a group of men cascaded past me.
“Can I go out here and come back in?” I asked the girl with the black lipstick.
“Just go to the left instead of the right. There’s a fenced area.”
There were a few people milling about the smoke pit. No one paid any attention to me as I stepped around them, finding a spot against the brick wall of the building to lean as I lit my cigarette. Nervously, I pulled out my cell phone.
I took a drag of my cigarette before replying.
Are you mad at me?
I was nearly done when he finally responded.
Of course he was. bahçeşehir escort
Sorry. I can come home if you want.
I butted my smoke out in the ashtray and jumped out of the way as a girl gestured wildly, almost smacking me without realizing it. At the door, I held my wrist up for the bouncer to see. He wasn’t paying attention and I walked past both him and the girl with the black lipstick before starting back down the stairs.
The table I’d left my friends at was occupied by four men and eight shot glasses. The beer bottle I’d left on it was gone, as were my friends.
The club wasn’t particularly huge, but I couldn’t see them anywhere. I bit my lip, glancing around, before deciding they must have gone to the bathroom. I could see that there was a line for said bathroom, so I went to the bar in the middle of the room to order another drink while I waited for them to finish.
I tipped well again, taking a sip of beer just as my phone vibrated.
No, stay out. I love picturing my girlfriend rubbing up against a bunch of dudes and then coming home to me.
The girl wearing the same plaid shirt as me bumped against my arm, sloshing some beer from the bottle as my shoulders slumped. If it was possible for a human being to feel any smaller and more invisible than I did, I didn’t know how.
We’re at the gay bar. No dudes rubbing up against me. I’ll finish my drink and meet you at my place, if you want.
Send a pic.
As surreptitiously as I could, I tilted my phone up and took a photo, sending it to him as my cheeks stained red. Moments later, he texted again.
Damn. Finish up that drink and come home so you can tell me about the chicks rubbing up on you instead. In detail, baby. Particularly that one in the tube top.
Well, at least he wasn’t mad.
I sipped my beer slowly, looking around the bar to see if my friends had re-materialized. They hadn’t, but a loud burst of cackling laughter caught my attention on the other end of the bar.
Even from across the bar, I could see that everything about her was too much.
She was too tall, too big, too loud. Her smile was too wide and her hair too wild. She wore a T-shirt that was too tight around her breasts and too baggy around her waist. Her jeans were too snug around her hips and too loose around her thighs. Her cutting laugh was too sharp to be dulled by the pulsating music and foggy lights.
I had never seen a woman like her.
Some people are like black holes. They absorb all the light around them, all the energy and life and vivacity from anyone who happens to pass by. They demand attention by being drains of everything around them.
People like her, though… she didn’t absorb the energy or light. She consumed it, refracted it, and exuded it back into the universe. The people around her were dulled by comparison, but not because she stole the spotlight. She was the spotlight. She was the golden hour, rays of the sun that made everyone around her glow with promise, shining on them, highlighting them, letting them bask in her luminescence.
Her light wasn’t a physical thing. She wasn’t ugly, but I would have hesitated to call her beautiful if I hadn’t seen the way she lit up a dark, hazy club. Her face was round, chubby cheeks causing the corners of her eyes to wrinkle as she grinned. I couldn’t see what colour her eyes were, but they were lively and intense. Her tongue darted across pale pink lips before she said something to the woman beside her, the laughter turning to a sensual pout.
Really, though, her beauty was a mix of illusion and aura. She didn’t wear makeup, at least not that I could tell. She was dressed plainly, even more plainly than I was. Yet somehow, she was the most captivating person in the room. She caught attention, yet didn’t demand it. She inspired intrigue, instigated fascination.
She was the kind of person I wasn’t. The kind of person who would never even notice me.
At least, until her light found me, revealing me, pulling me out of my comforting invisibility.
Sparkling eyes met mine across the bar as she caught me staring. One corner of her mouth tilted up into a smirk, an eyebrow raised, and she winked.
Her eyes were green.
My face burned the colour of my hair. I tore my eyes away from her, took a huge gulp of beer, and left the half-finished bottle on the bar.
“Come on, Leigh. Tell me about the bar.”
“I didn’t even talk to anyone, I don’t—”
“There were tons of hot chicks in that picture and not one of them grabbed your ass or—”
“—rubbed her tits all up against yours, or maybe—”
“I didn’t even dance with anyone.”
“You ditch me all night to go out with your girlfriends and won’t even tell me one dirty little story?”
I sighed. There was no reason to tell Wyatt a dirty little story. One, nothing had happened, and two, he was already pushing his cock against my ass, hard from whatever dirty little story he had been telling himself bakırköy escort since he’d found out we were at a gay bar.
“Come on, Leigh. You can make it up to me. Paint me a picture.”
He reached around me, unceremoniously dipping his hand into my panties and cupping my pussy.
He wanted to fuck. I knew he wanted to fuck. And if I didn’t get on with it, he was going to get annoyed.
“Well, there was this one girl…”
He made a soft grunt of satisfaction and shoved his cock against my ass again.
“She was really… pretty, I guess. She had green eyes.”
“What’d her tits look like?”
“Um, big, I guess. They were kind of pulling at her T-shirt.”
“Mmm, and her ass?”
“I didn’t see—”
He groaned in frustration.
“I mean, it was… round.”
“Not like this bony little thing?” He pinched my ass as he spoke.
“No, she was really, um, curvy. She looked… soft. Like she’d be really warm and… Wyatt, I don’t know how to do this. I don’t like girls.”
“Pretend you do.”
I swallowed and closed my eyes.
“Okay. Well… she had long hair. It probably would have been really nice to pull on if she was, um, licking me. And if I’d danced with her, I probably would have got to feel her big tits, um, bouncing?”
I pictured the woman who was too much. Really, if I’d danced with her, I probably would have felt like I was floating. Her body would have pressed against mine, her curves jostling as I put my arms around her. I imagine she would have touched me, maybe slipped her hands beneath the plaid shirt I was wearing and felt the soft slope of my waist as she pulled me in.
I bet she would have kissed me. I pictured the tip of her pink tongue flicking against her lips, a glistening wetness on her soft mouth. I wondered what she would have tasted like, if she’d been drinking beer or highballs or fruity cocktails.
Would she have kissed me, or would I have kissed her?
Wyatt’s hand moved against my pussy, and I realized with a start that I was getting wet just thinking about touching and kissing that woman at the bar. My eyes flew open as he pulled his hand out of my panties and insistently pushed on my hips.
“Look at you, getting all wet thinking about this bitch,” he murmured. “Maybe I do need to worry a little when you go to the gay bar.”
He positioned himself behind me as I got to my hands and knees.
“Keep talking, baby. Tell me how you’d lick her pussy.”
“I, um, would… lick it.”
He shoved his cock inside me, one hard thrust, and I cried out softly.
“Yeah? You think you’d like eating some bitch’s pussy?”
“I don’t… maybe.”
“Yeah you would, wouldn’t you? You’d like to get your tongue all up in there, suckin’ on her clit like a little whore, wouldn’t you?”
“Fuck, Leigh.” He grunted and kept thrusting, his skin slapping against mine as he fucked me.
He didn’t make me keep talking. I didn’t know what to say, so it was probably a good thing. Instead, he muttered things, painting images for himself of her big tits pressed against my normal-sized ones, her sitting on my face and grinding her pussy against my mouth.
When he finished, I hadn’t, which wasn’t unusual. What was unusual was that I wanted to.
Normally, once Wyatt had grunted, came, and rolled over, I’d get up, use the bathroom, and then curl up next to his already-sleeping form.
That night, though, a tingling sort of need was still prickling inside me. A sad, lonely sort of dissatisfaction washed over me as he groaned, his cock buried inside me. My pussy clenched as he pulled out, not ready to be empty, but Wyatt was already pulling his boxers back up and collapsing on the bed next to me.
I went to the bathroom as usual, and returned to the bed as usual, where Wyatt was snoring as usual.
Instead of falling asleep, I lay on my back beside him, staring up at the ceiling, picturing those green eyes as they met mine. Then I pictured those green eyes looking up at me from between my legs.
My pussy ached. Actually, physically ached as I imagined the woman’s round face nestled in my thighs, the tip of that pink tongue flicking out and licking not her lips but mine, dancing around my clit. I pictured her sucking on it, circling it, eating my pussy hard and fast.
Glancing at Wyatt’s sleeping form, I carefully slid my hand into my panties and bit back a moan as I touched my clit. Slowly, I began to rub myself, pictures of the things Wyatt had described flowing through my mind.
When I came, I almost cried out, but managed to hold it in. Wyatt shifted beside me, but the snoring didn’t stop. Panting quietly, I withdrew my hand from between my legs and glanced back at him.
I liked men, I told myself. It was just a weird night. She was pretty, she was intriguing. She was a fantasy, and nothing more.
I shrugged at Wyatt as I slid my debit card through the card reader.
“Jacquie said they met some guys who do drag and they’re doing a show tonight.”
“Ugh. And that’s supposed to be entertaining?”
He opened the pack of cigarettes I’d just paid for and took two before sliding it over to me.
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