I felt a mixture of delight and terror waiting for LouAnne and Tina to arrive that Friday night. Casie didn’t want to hide our feelings anymore, and I let her talk me into telling LouAnne and Tina. “They’re our friends,” Casie assured me. “They won’t be judgemental. They’ll be happy for us. Well, maybe a little surprised at first. But then happy.”
I think for Casie this was the “test case.” I’m sure she thought, if we could proclaim our feelings to friends we’d known since junior high, we could make it out in the world. I see now how incredibly naive we both were.
Casie and I were sitting on the couch when a love song came on the radio. Casie looked at me and smiled. “Come on,” she said, holding out her hand and pulled me to my feet for a slow dance.
We didn’t hear them come in.
From the periphery of my awareness I heard a small gasp. I looked over to see Tina and LouAnne staring at us as, Tina’s pink lipsticked mouth a perfect “o”, her eyes wide. LouAnne’s eyes were hidden by the glare of her glasses, but her lips were pressed into the thin line we all knew meant she disapproved.
In that instant, everything I’d felt for Casie since we’d cast the spell felt wrong and dirty. I felt disoriented, like I was coming out of water and didn’t know where I was. A cold sweat broke out on the back of my neck. I pulled out of Casie’s embrace, staring at the floor, the ceiling, anywhere but at Tina and LouAnne who hadn’t moved.
“Hi,” Casie said, reaching for my hand.
Before I moved out of her reach, I felt her trembling. I sensed that not standing with her now would cause emotional fallout from her, but I moved away anyway, falling into the bean bag chair. My shaking legs no longer supported me.
“We were just dancing,” Casie said, trying and failing, to sound casual.
“We saw,” LouAnne said, nodding. She kept nodding, like her neck had become a spring.
“Maybe we should just meet next week,” Tina said. “Hank wanted to see me tonight anyway. I had to tell him no, but now I can say yes.”
“I’ve been wondering about you two lately,” LouAnne said. “I never really figured you’d turn out to be lesbian’s. Well, at least not you, Linda.” She looked at me.
Tina gasped. “Lez-bos?”
“That’s a really disgusting term, Tina,” Casie frowned.
“That’s disgusting?” LouAnne continued. “What I just saw was pretty disgusting.”
“We were just dancing,” Casie smiled. “You and I have danced before, LouAnne. In this very living room if you recall.” She walked over and took LouAnne’s hands.
LouAnne pulled her hands away and stepped back. “Not like that we haven’t. That was dirty dancing. Linda,” she said, looking at me. “Is this really what you want?”
I looked at LouAnne, but I was mute as ever. What did she want to hear? My feelings were too convoluted for a simple “yes” or “no.” I turned my gaze away from her to stare at a dirty cobweb in the corner of the ceiling.
“So that’s it?” Casie laughed, breaking the tension.
“What?” LouAnne and Tina asked in unison, taking a step back.
“You make a judgement like that and then—”
“Look,” LouAnne held up a hand. “I don’t care what you two do in your alone time. Obviously, you didn’t hear us come in and we saw something you probably weren’t ready to have us see. But to be honest, it feels just a little weird to see you two … like that. So, I think Tina and I should just leave for now. We’ll call you guys later. Come on.” She grabbed Tina’s arm.
“I’m not a lesbian!” I called getting to my feet.
Casie turned to me, cheeks red with anger. “What?”
“Well I’m not,” I said.
Casie leaned in close, until her flashing hazel eyes were an inch from mine. “All right,” she glared, “what are you then?”