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Alexandra rang the bell next to the door numbered 415 and waited. She had checked out her reflection in the mirrored wall of the elevator and relaxed: she looked good.

Her hair was back up, held loosely with a hair claw, and her makeup looked perfect after a quick touch-up at Katy’s place. Her sweater and jeans clung tightly to her body underneath the coat, and she’d lose the outer layer soon enough. She hoped Kira would like the look as well.

The door opened, and before her stood Kira, tall and smiling, her blonde hair down over her shoulders.

She kissed Alexandra lightly on the lips and moved aside.

Alexandra removed her coat and hung it, dropped her bag on the floor, then turned to Kira again. She kissed her more deeply this time, rising onto her tiptoes to do so. Kira grasped her hand, lifted it skywards, and twirled her in a rapid circle.

“Well, well, do come in,” she said. Alexandra moved deeper into the apartment, taking in the cooking smells emanating from the kitchen.

“Early dinner?”

“I was getting hungry, so when you asked if you could come over sooner, I thought I might get started early. It’s just going to be a chicken stir-fry. I assume that’s ok?”

“It smells delicious.” She wasn’t lying: the aroma of the vegetables, meat, and oil made her stomach rumble.

“It’ll be ready in about ten minutes. Care for a glass of wine, seeing as I can tell you’ve already had some, hm?”

Alexandra blushed. Before she left Katy’s place half an hour earlier, they’d sat on the couch and made out while finishing the glasses of red wine they’d left half-drunk earlier.

“Yes, please.”

“Red, I think?”

“Mmmhm.” So, does she know? I mean, I might have tasted a bit like wine, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. I know she said it was fine, but saying it and it holding up later are different.

Alexandra tried to control her thoughts.

“Don’t worry,” she heard Kira say from the kitchen. “I like girls who drink wine.” Was she hinting? Does she know I hooked up with Katy? Or is she just teasing me, like usual?

Alexandra took a deep breath.

Kira returned with two glasses, each filled with a dark red liquid. “This is a red blend, since I couldn’t quite tell that one off that quick kiss.”

Alexandra leaned in. “How about another? Maybe you’ll be able to tell if I give you another chance?”

Kira slid her arm behind Alexandra’s waist and pulled her in, kissing her more deeply than before. Alexandra loved the feeling of Kira’s full lips every time they met her own, and she nibbled lightly on the bottom one as the two women stood in the entrance to the kitchen.

“Hmmm,” said Kira. “Cabernet? Maybe Malbec?”

Alexandra laughed. “Right the first time.” What is it with these women and their red wine? she thought.

Kira went back into the kitchen, and Alexandra followed. She saw the tall woman peering at the label, then turning triumphantly towards her, a grin on her face.

“Well, this one’s mostly Cabernet, so looks like we have a match!”

Alexandra had noticed already that Kira often embedded double meanings into her speech. Or perhaps it’s my own mind that does that, she concluded. I just can’t help reading into things she says.

“Indeed we do,” Alexandra replied. “Thank you for the wine.”

“And thank you for coming over,” said Kira. “Make yourself at home while I finish this off.”

Alexandra made no move to leave, but leaned on the doorway to the small kitchen as she watched Kira conclude the cooking. She knew already that she loved watching Kira move, the effortless way she made even the most mundane chore into a worthwhile spectator sport. There was an undeniable athletic grace about her.

On the living room wall just across from Alexandra, there was a small line drawing on the wall, held in place with what looked like a single piece of tape. She moved closer to look at it. It was a light pencil sketch of an airplane from the left side, the word UNITED down the plane’s side. Though Alexandra knew little about airplanes, it looked true to life.

She returned to the kitchen, where Kira was adding a final batch of seasoning and turning the vegetables over for a final time.

“That drawing is new, isn’t it?”

Kira looked up. “Yes, you like it?”

“I think so. Where’d you get it?”

“I couldn’t sleep last night, so I did that instead.”

“You drew that?”

“Yes, why?” Kira did not sound offended, just curious.

“I just didn’t know you could draw.”

“Well, now you know?” She turned off the gas and portioned the steaming food onto two plates. “This’ll need a minute to cool. Fork or chopsticks?”

“Either one’s good. Why an airplane?”

Kira reached into a drawer, grabbing two sets of chopsticks without needing to search.

“I think I told you my brother’s a pilot for United. He flies 737s. That’s a 737, a 737-800 to be more specific. I was texting him last night just before he was heading to bahis siteleri the airport to fly a red eye in one of those, so it just sorta stuck in my mind.”

“I remember you telling me he was a pilot. Does he have to fly red eyes a lot?”

“Yes, but ‘have to’ isn’t quite right. He actually likes them. They’re fairly long flights for the 737, so it actually makes things easier and lower-stress, fewer takeoffs and landings, less waiting around, gets your hours in faster. It’s usually just a redeye and one more short flight, and he’s done for the day.”

“Still, those hours must be rough.”

Kira shrugged. “He’s not married, no kids or anything, and he lives alone, so he sleeps whenever he wants to. It works for him. And he likes what he does, so it’s hard to feel bad for him.”


“Yeah, he’s six years older than me.” She laughed. “Sometimes I think I may have been an accident.”

“Does he get to see a lot of cool places?”

“Not that many. The 737 isn’t a long-range plane, so he doesn’t get Europe or anything like that. Sometimes he gets lucky and gets a turn to Hawaii from the West Coast. Sometimes Caribbean, too, but that’s rarer.”

“I think if Hawaii and the Caribbean don’t count as cool places, I need some recalibration.”

Kira laughed. “I think you’re fine where you are. Eat?”

“Yes, please.”

They sat at the table and ate, mostly in silence. The food tasted as good as it smelled, with crunchy vegetables, tender chicken, and a tangy, slightly spicy sauce. So she can draw, she can cook, she’s athletic, she’s hot. Check, check, check, check.

“You know,” Alexandra said. “One of the things people forget in college is that it’s ok to use parts of a kitchen that aren’t the microwave. I know I do sometimes.”

Kira nodded. “I did too. I don’t know what it is. It’s just like there’s some unspoken social prohibition on drinking anything that’s not for sale by the gallon or eating anything that hasn’t been frozen.”

“Better in grad school?”

“Better once you remember that you’re an adult and can do things for yourself. I think our convenience culture somewhat stunts people’s development.”

“You mean beyond microwave burritos?”

“Yes, but food is a lot of it. Our whole relationship with food has changed in the last few decades. It used to be that people would eat leisurely meals and talk. Now they guzzle grease bombs in their cars. True story, the first car with cup holders wasn’t until 1983. Can you imagine a car now without like six cup holders?”

“No,” said Alexandra. “Wait, is that true? That can’t be true.”

“Truth by Google,” said Kira. “The first car with cupholders was in nineteen eighty-three, for the model year ’84 Plymouth Voyager. And now there’s a car coming out with nineteen cupholders. Nineteen!”

Alexandra giggled, trying not to spit out stir-fry onto the table. “And who know you were an expert on interior design in cars?”

Kira smiled. “I may or may not have been thinking about this an hour or two ago and gone straight down the Wikipedia rabbit hole.”

“I do that too. It’s like, where did the last two hours go? But seriously, this is fantastic. Thank you.”

They finished eating at the same time. Kira moved to clear the plates.

“Another glass?” Kira had finished her own wine. Alexandra held out her glass, mostly empty as well, and Kira took it, returning with no plates and two full wine glasses. They moved to the living room.

“So, I think we left a little unfinished business from our conversation earlier,” said Kira.

Alexandra immediately felt her stomach turn into a knot. “I think so.”

“Have a seat?”

They sat next to each other on the couch and Alexandra felt herself leaning into Kira, tucking her legs underneath herself as she turned towards the smiling woman.

“I hope this won’t be weird or too soon or something,” Kira began. “I think we’ve hit it off rather well. Incredibly well, actually.”

Alexandra nodded and took a sip of her wine. Kira did the same.

“It hasn’t been long since we met, but there’s clearly a lot of mutual interest here. I see you didn’t bat an eye when I asked if you wanted to bring over some more clothes, so I think this may be pretty simple.”

Alexandra felt a warm and fuzzy feeling inside, which she hoped was not just the wine, then a pinch of worry. When do I bring up the subject of what I was doing two hours ago? What’s she going to say?

Kira kept going. “I know we’re different in a lot of ways, and we’ll probably find many more, but I think we’re probably at a point where we both are pretty sure we want to move forward with this?”

“Yes,” said Alexandra.

“OK,” said Kira, “Well then. I’m not a huge fan of labels most of the time, but I know a lot of this is really new to you, and I’d like to attach one to you.”

“Yes?” said Alexandra. Oh my god, ohmygod, say it! Say the word!

“How does ‘girlfriend’ sound to you, Alexandra?”

Yes! “It sounds canlı bahis siteleri like exactly what I want.” I actually feel like jumping for joy, like hopping up and bouncing across the room going “Eeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

“Seal it with a kiss?”

They leaned in at the same time, then rested their faces an inch apart, nose to nose. God, those amazing eyes, thought Alexandra, closing hers immediately after the thought.

The kiss was soft but still passionate, Kira’s hand resting on the side of Alexandra’s face. The thoughts again raced through Alexandra’s head. I have a girlfriend. Like, an actual woman, with whom I am in an official romantic relationship, and I wasn’t lying when I said this is exactly what I want. Yes. Hell fucking yes.

Kira took another sip of wine and leaned back. Alexandra went with her, nestling herself into the taller woman’s lap, her arms draped around Kira’s neck.

“This feels amazing,” she said.

Kira kissed her on the cheek. “It does. I suppose we should maybe talk a little more about how we expect to do this?”


“I think the easiest way to think about it is we take things as they come, as lovers and partners. Assuming this works as well as I hope and think it will, we’ll probably have some big decisions to make about how things work when you graduate.”

Alexandra nodded. “I was actually thinking about that a bit earlier. I think like 90%, maybe more, I want to stay here in Chicago. So let’s not plan on the thought that I’m going to vanish in six months.”

“I figured that was probably the plan, but I didn’t want to assume.”

“I’d like to think I would have told you before now if that was the situation.”

“Perhaps, but I try to never assume anything.” Alexandra shifted her weight slightly, feeling the warmth of Kira’s body. The taller woman continued. “OK, a few things should probably be kind of obvious from how things have gone so far, but I want to make sure you’re ok with everything.”

“Shoot,” said Alexandra.

“I know this seems a little quick, but I’d expect us to spend most nights together. At least, that’s what I’d prefer.”

“I think I’d prefer that as well.” Alexandra smiled. “Especially if you make dinner.”

Kira laughed. “I’ll make sure you have my class schedule and work schedule, but I think most days we can just commute together. I know that doesn’t make a ton of actual sense given that your place is right by campus, but is that cool?”

“Yes. Your place is a lot nicer, so it definitely makes sense. We can crash at my place if we need to?”

“Oh, yes, definitely,” agreed Kira.

“But because that seems to be how we’re trending, I’m totally fine with you being here when I’m not home. There’s a spare key taped to the top of Paul and Darnell’s doorframe, 401. Don’t try to use the one taped to the top of my doorframe, unless you’re trying to get into their place.”


“But, to be clear, I’m fine with you being here when I’m not, so don’t be shy about it. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have been comfortable taking this step. Trust is important.”

“Yes,” said Alexandra.

“Otherwise…yeah, I guess we just take things as they come? I think you already know more about me than anyone has ever really learned this fast. It’s silly and stupid, but I feel like I’ve known you forever, Alexandra.”

“I know what you mean.”

Alexandra curled her body, swinging her legs across Kira’s lap and snuggling into Kira’s warmth. They kissed, Alexandra running her hand along Kira’s forehead to sweep away a stray hair.

“I guess there are a few more things we need to talk about.”

“Talk away.”

Kira hesitated. “These are all a little more sensitive, and I’m willing to listen to what you have to say on them. OK?”

“OK,” Alexandra said. Where’s she going with this?

“OK, so now that we’re official and stuff, I guess we need to hash out things like the fact that I’m out and you’re not, yes?”

“I’m listening. I mean, this is all new to me.” I think I’m already starting to forget that I actually have no idea about a lot of LGBT things, Alexandra thought. Like, I know what being ‘out’ is, but I’m so, so glad I have someone to guide me through this.

“It’s pretty foreign to me, too, actually, at least as to recent things. It’s been a while since I dated someone who wasn’t out. I think where I come down on this is pretty simple. First, I will never out you. I hope that goes without saying, but that decision is yours alone and I’ll support you one hundred percent with whatever you do. My only worry about it is things being awkward if we’re in public and someone puts one of us on the spot about our relationship.”

Alexandra took in a deep breath. “If that happens, I’m not going to deny that we’re together, if that’s what you’re asking.”

“That’s what I’m asking.”

“Then you have an answer, I think?”

“Yes,” said Kira.

“Actually, Kira, I’m not really worried about, like, somehow hiding our canlı bahis relationship. When we meet new people and stuff, I’d prefer to be introduced as your girlfriend.” Wow, I can’t believe I’m saying any of these words, but I guess I am.

“Well, that solves that!” She kissed Alexandra lightly on the forehead. “You sure you’re ready for that?”

“Yes. Like, it was so, so awkward yesterday when we ran into Lucía. She obviously knew we were more than friends, but I could tell you were in overdrive trying to not say too much.”

Kira nodded slowly. “I try, but you can’t really hide the connection between two people.”

“I’m learning that.”

“OK, next one is probably easy, but I want to make sure we discuss everything and we get everything rolling right.”


“Sex. I’ve been pretty open about my sexuality and how that works with us, I think.”


“I wouldn’t expect anything to change there. To be really clear about what I mean, I mean that I do have quite a high sex drive and I prefer a certain kind of sex.”

Alexandra covered her mouth, feigning modesty. “You don’t say!”

“As long as you’re fine with this, it’s all good. But I’m serious. Don’t expect me to suddenly become some soft, sweet, tender lover, at least most of the time. That’s just not who I am.”

“I understand.”

“I don’t want you to think it necessarily extends beyond the bedroom, and given everything so far I really don’t think this will be a problem, but I do expect to continue taking the lead in bed,” Kira said.

The tight feeling in Alexandra’s core was returning, as was the warmth between her legs. “Yes.”

“Good. We can discuss anything I want to do that might bother you, limits, anything like that, as we go forward, but as a general rule, everything I’ve said is all good?”

“Kira, seriously, you’re not telling me anything I didn’t already know.”

Kira grinned. “I do suppose we already crossed that bridge, didn’t we?”

“We sure did.” I think the phrase was “I want to be your slut,” if I’m remembering right, Alexandra thought. I actually said that to her. While I was sucking her cunt in a back room of a bookstore, nonetheless.

“Last item. This one I really want to hear your views on, everything you think.”

“I’ll try my best.”

Kira’s face tightened slightly, then her body.

“I actually don’t really know how to go about this one.”

Alexandra stroked the top of her head, leaning her own head right alongside. “Try?”

“I’ll try. I really like you. I want us to have a stable, easy, long-lasting relationship. I wouldn’t be dating you otherwise. But it’s a real challenge to date someone who is just getting used to dating women. I’ve been there, of course, a while ago, and I remember what it was like and how hard it was. Like, I was all mixed up inside all the time and I wanted…alright, so here it goes: I wanted to have sex with every fucking woman I could get my greedy little hands on. And I do worry that if I tie you down, you’re – A – never going to have that experience, and – B – regret that you never did.”

Alexandra had no idea what to say, so she simply nodded. I think she’s thought this through better than I have.

“So that’s the background on our conversation yesterday about Katy.”

Alexandra nodded again.

“I see you took it to heart.”


“You did sleep with Katy, didn’t you?”

Her tone was not unfriendly, but the question still caught Alexandra off guard. Alexandra’s mouth opened, then closed, then repeated the process.


Kira placed her index finger vertically over Alexandra’s lips. “Don’t apologize. Seriously, don’t. I don’t want you to be sorry, and I don’t think you are.”

She broke into a huge grin, and squeezed Alexandra tightly around her midsection. “If I were you, that’s exactly what I would have done.”

Wait, really? She’s not mad? “I…I guess…” Alexandra could not get the words out, as much as she was trying. Kira pinched her fingers delicately onto the exposed part of Alexandra’s chest, where the sweater’s v-neck gave way to bare skin.

“I mean, I assumed you wanted me to know.” She held up a single blue hair to Alexandra’s face, which immediately turned crimson.

“So you knew this whole time?”

“Honey, I knew as soon as you walked in the door.”


“You tasted like a nice red wine, not something you’d have at brunch, so I knew you’d gone back to her place. But you didn’t take a shower afterward, did you?”

Alexandra felt like turning into a tiny ball and burrowing herself into the ground. “No.”

“I didn’t think so. I can smell her on you.” She paused. “She smells good, by the way.”

“Kira, I -”

“I’m not done. That makes this easier in many ways, as I’d been thinking about offering you this anyway.”

“Offering me what?”

“A little bit of freedom, shall we say.”

Too good to be true. No way, Alexandra thought.

“So, let me back up. I don’t want to get into exes much. It’s too early for that. But one thing I’ve wanted, really craved, for a while, is a girlfriend who’s as sexual as I am. Alexandra, I think you’re that woman.”

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