GENRE: Lesbian / Transgender Romance
LENGTH: 12,171 words
Christmas and New Year in North London. Disgruntled coffee shop worker Madeline Calohan is between relationships, dealing with the fallout of the end of one romance whilst pining for a girl she professes to not even like. Agatha wears a Slayer jacket; colours her hair in wild, bright colours; and is very tall, for a girl.
Madeline is uncertain about what the year beyond might hold and uncomfortable about the prospect of being alone. Can she put her past behind and let the girl in the Slayer jacket know how she feels?
She could not tell if the band on stage were the headliners or the support band. Not that it especially mattered to her, both were somewhat interchangeable as far as she was concerned, but Rosie seemed to like them, swaying as they took turns to pass each other double vodkas, and greet a friend, wide-eyed and cheery -- “Darling, I’m afraid I am slightly drunk,” he warned them -- who then professed surprise at seeing her at a deathrock event.
With discontent, she asked when the band would finish, when the DJ would play some old stuff. He looked slightly concerned, leaning close and worriedly breaking it to her that it was not that kind of goth tonight.
She offered him an unhappy look in response. That’s only kind of goth, she thought sourly to herself because, of course, Madeline, how could things have possibly moved on without you?
Her friend looked to Rosie and frowned.
“Is she a different one?” he asked.
She smiled thinly.
“A friend,” she answered back, not knowing who he was talking about.
“I thought you and --”
Rosie turned to momentarily look over her shoulder with a knowing smile before returning her attention to the stage.
She recalled sharply that other girl, the blue in her hair all but washed out, on the fringes of the pit, cautiously evaluating when was the right moment to pitch herself forward into the crowd, and she felt something, a pang of something she could not identify, she did not want to identify.
“No, this is Rosie. I don’t really know Agatha,” Madeline protested. “I mean, we’ve never met. Not properly.”
Her friend arched his eyebrows.
“Oh,” he replied with mild surprise, “it’s just you’re always at the same things.”
She squirmed, uncomfortable, uncertain as to whether she might say something stupid, feeling abruptly lightheaded from the alcohol in her system.
“It’s not like that,” she murmured, and then seizing hold of Rosie by her heavy coat, pulled her close and pushed her forward. “This is Rosie, she’s my best friend. You’ll love her. Totally.”
On the stage, the band rattled on, the basslines torn from an earlier time, the guitar some kind of post-punk twang, and maybe she deserved this, she thought, maybe she deserved all of this. This was the feeling that resonates.
In the cold outside, in the bitter almost-January air and the mist of cigarette smoke, in the warm inside amongst the expired Hallowe’en party spider webs and the parade of leather jackets and not-quite-latex dresses, she came abruptly to the realisation that she did not want this, she did not want any of it; she wanted to be a different girl, she wanted to be dressed in pearls and pastels, to never have been kissed, to never have taken drugs. She wanted so, so much to be wholesome. Yet such a quality was thin on the ground here, a sentiment not shared by others.
She looked down at her glass. Surely things would get better soon?