T/w: This story contains alcohol, non-explicit sexual content to cope with trauma, mental illness. Death and mourning. Profanity with a capital P, mildy graphic violence. Unapologetically problematic queer characters against problematic anti-queer characters. Bullying children. As well as sexy "devil's" out for blood...but with a sense of humor on the side. Those are your warnings. Enjoy.**
Being a sex-positive aromantic was probably the most confusing identity to explain to someone without sounding like a creep. No, I don't really like dating, or cuddling, or compromising for the betterment of the relationship, I just like to have a good time and leave and never see you again before someone gets attached. There isn't a great way of wording that. Luckily for me, I'd gotten pretty damn good at finding the men and women on dating apps who couldn't care less about my moral compass and just wanted the same thing. Was I proud of it? Not always. But it took away from the misery and loneliness of living a failed existence in Los Angeles, so why stop now?
I walked up to apartment 304 looking damn fine, if I may say so myself. My hair had been freshly dyed with the sides clean-shaven. My make-up was perfect to make me look a touch fem, but not too fem, because my clothes were there to pull me towards masc. Confusing the hell out of people with my gender was another hobby of mine. That one I was proud of.
With one last check of my messages to ensure I had the right address and the right apartment, I knocked on the door. An adorable redhead answered, wearing a skin-tight top and yoga pants that highlighted every curve of her body, and cherry red lipstick that drove me wild. There was also a sense of relief when they looked like their profile pictures. Audrey Lucas, according to her profile. But we weren't here to introduce ourselves and tell each other how good we looked, and we both knew it.
"Hey," she said.
"Hey," I said.
And that was it. We snapped together in magnetic force, and our lips pressed like two characters in a rom-com who'd just admitted their feelings for the first time, and not two people who met three seconds ago. Kissing like that was far less practical in real life. Our heads banged on each other, and the various walls and doorways of the house but the few drinks in my stomach and the raw yearning for what was about to happen made that irrelevant. We were both here for one reason. No bullshit. Get in. Get out. Get done. By the time we reached her bed, I could feel the cherry-red lipstick coating my face, but who could give a shit? It actually tasted like cherries, and that, right there, was exactly what the fem had over the masc. Nothing was sexier than a delicious body spray and flavored lip care.
She shoved me onto her sheets and dominated on top of me—a refreshing twist as most women I hooked up with expected me to dominate since I leaned more masc. Fuck gender roles. Bring on the confident women.
Her hands crept under the same white t-shirt I always wore and even her ice-cold hands didn’t stop my body from pressing closer to hers for more. Sometimes cold was even more sensual. She took the signal and ripped my shirt over my head before she sat up to remove hers.
Damn, she was hot. Her pearl skin was flawless except for a few freckles here and there which were exceptionally cute. She wasn’t the textbook definition of skinny, but her curves were held so perfectly it took all my power not to immediately pull her back down so I could run my lips over all of her. Not to mention the way she looked in the black-lace bra she revealed. It was so sheer it hardly left anything to the imagination, which only drove me more wild. We fell back into deep kisses I snapped the clasp of her bra and tossed it to the side, then rolled over so I was on top and could adequately kiss and bite up and down her whole body. We weren’t here for slow and passionate. We were here to fuck away our feelings so we could forget we were miserable for a few shining moments of our lives. Or maybe that was just me. Either way, she didn’t seem to care when I made things rougher. She responded by digging her perfect, pink nails into my back hard enough to hurt in the best way: a trick I was a fan of using myself.
She tried to claw at the compression shirt keeping my chest covered, but I pulled her hands away and pinned them above her head. I had only a few rules with one-night stands, the biggest one being: the compression shirt stays on. Sure, it limited some of the pleasure of the night, but it helped me claim my identity. That was always most important to me when it came to someone I'd hopefully never see again after we were done with each other.
Luckily, Audrey didn’t fight it. In fact, I think she liked being pinned and leaned in to bite down my neck and to my ear. I eventually positioned myself to pin her there with one hand, freeing my other to work its way down her body. Lower. Lower. Lower.
I reached the rim of her tight-as-shit yoga pants when—
My phone screamed from the pocket of my jacket all the way across the floor.
I stood up to my knees and released Audrey. “Shit.”
“Just ignore it.” Audrey wrapped her arms around my neck and attempted to pull me back in.
I looped out from under her and got off the bed. “I can’t. It’s my niece’s ringtone.”
“So?” Aurdey’s face grew nearly as red as her hair.
I scrambled to put my shirt back on and dig my phone out of my jacket pocket. “So, she knows only to call when it’s an emergency.”
“You’ve got to be shitting me,” was the last thing I heard Audrey groan before I walked out to her living room and answered my phone.
“Hey, Sky. It’s late here. What’s up?”
“Sorry. I know, but it’s an emergency, and I remembered you’re going to be on a plane tomorrow, and I need advice because it'd be too late by the time you got here, and I really need your opinion, please.” Her words spit out so fast I only got half of them, but it was enough to understand the just.
I made sure my voice was in a whisper, even though I was sure Audrey could hear Sky screaming on the other side of the phone. “Advice on what?”
“Hold on…let…me…just.” Things clanked and crunched around into the phone speaker until a loud BEEP deafened the ear I had pressed against it. I pulled it away and saw an invite to a video chat.
“Sky, no. I’m not—”
“Please? Come on. I need you.”
I placed the phone against my shoulder, hoping that covered the sound of my frustrated growl before I answered the video invite and stood in a dark corner of Audrey’s living room. Maybe Sky wouldn’t notice—
“That’s not your house. Are you on a date?” Sky’s eyes squinted tight into the camera on her own phone. “No, you don’t date, right? Oh my god. Were you—”
“SKY!” I spit through clenched teeth both as loudly and quietly as I could. It wasn’t even mid-night but I knew Sky would wake up half the apartment if I let her.
“Okay. Fine. Whatever.” She moved the phone and placed it so she could walk away and it still stood upright. I knew from the angle she had placed it on her bedside table, facing her closet. “Okay, so, tomorrow is the school’s holiday dance, and I’m stressing about what to wear.”
My mouth hung open and my eyes blurred. There was no way this teenager called me at 11:50 pm, interrupting the only joy I got out of a weekend, to talk about school clothes. “Are you serious?”
“Yes. You’re the only one who would get it! I can’t show up in a big sparkly dress. I just made friends again. But I don't want to pretend I'm okay in my suit and tie from last year. Eck.”
I sighed and turned the phone away from me while I rubbed my forehead. I did get it. Finding formal wear when you don’t want to appear your assigned gender was…difficult as best, and expensive as hell at worst. Ever since Sky started to transition last year, she was always looking to me for this kind of advice, because she sure wasn’t going to get it from our family. She had no one else, and so I had to be there for her.
I put the phone back up to my face and tried to check out what Sky had thrown all over her bed. “Right. If you’re not ready to go full-on ball gown, that’s fine. You can take steps. Keep it more casual. It’s a holiday dance, not a prom. Suits aren’t just for men anymore. Find one, maybe from a few years ago, that might be a little small but most men wear them too large anyway, pull it in at the waist as best you can. Men’s and women’s button-up shirts have their buttons on the opposite sides, it’s subtle but your mind can easily gender them without you knowing why. You can go with a nice t-shirt and still make it look dressier under a jacket—” I rambled on about every design choice I’d had to consider over the past ten years while Sky gathered up pieces she thought might work and threw the rest in her garbage can—drastic if you asked me, but I wasn’t paying for her clothes so what did I care?
At the end, she put on a combo of an old grey jacket, a white t-shirt, black skinny jeans, and nice black boots. It worked to make her not too masc, but not presenting so feminine that her peers would bully her out of eighth grade…and my mother might actually let her out of the house with it on. I personally thought it looked pretty good with her bleach-white hair she’d just started to grow out. And I'd always been a fan of boots, myself.
At the end of the talk, Sky said, “Thanks Mikkie.” But I could see a hint of sadness behind her eyes. She wished she could wear the fancy gowns like the other girls. I’d have given a lot to give her that confidence, but I also knew it only came with time...and Jr. High was hardly the time to find it. I knew that all too well too. And my friends were more supportive than most people. At least, most of them.
“Any time, Sky. Good luck at the dance.”
We both hung up and it took several seconds of looking around for me to remember where the fuck I was. Oh. Shit. Audrey.
I ran back into the bedroom where she was waiting, fully clothes in pajamas and scrolling through her phone.
“Uh, sorry about that. I just—”
Audrey didn’t look up from her phone. “Whatever.”
I stood absolutely still, waiting for more than one word, but it never came. “Do you—?”
Audrey flicked at her phone. “My boyfriend is going to be home soon. You should just go.” Then she flicked the other way. Was she back on the dating app already? Damn. And hold on...back up a moment…
“Yeah. How do you think I pay for this apartment in downtown LA? Alone? Please. Judge me or whatever. At least I don’t stop in the middle of a hook-up with someone like me to talk to a kid.” Not once, even for a second, did she stop swiping at her phone.
“Alright. Have a nice life, then.” I picked up my jacket, threw it over my shoulder, and walked right out the door. What a waste of a Saturday night. I wanted to blame Sky, but I really couldn't. I wished I'd had someone like me to talk to in the middle of the night many times in my life. It was a small price to pay for her happiness.
If nothing else, I might've owed her for getting me out of there before the boyfriend actually did come home. I didn't need to be dealing with that. I hated messy hookups.
Of course, I knew how fucked up they could get. Believe me, I knew. But relationships were even messier when you’re a genderqueer, aromantic, sex-positive, unemployed failure. And I was not about to get in another relationship with some guy or gal who swears they won’t miss the romance and don’t want to get married and have kids someday anyway for them to turn on me after three months and tell me I’m unwilling to compromise. I’d rather sell my soul and rot in hell. Couldn’t be that much different than trying to make it in LA when you can’t afford an air conditioner anyway.