A New Alexandra Ch. 04


Alexandra pulled the fleece blanket over herself and leaned forward, hunching over her laptop. Even though it had been an unseasonably warm 54 degrees, the setting of the sun brought back the reality of late autumn in Chicago. The air outside had its familiar bite back, the wind had returned, and the temperature in Alexandra’s apartment had dropped along with it.

Not that it had been a bad afternoon. Far from it, in fact. Alexandra had gone for a long run in the sunshine along Lake Michigan and had returned as the sun began to set. The time and exertion had been good for her, taking her mind off the classwork she needed to do and the events of the past few days, which Alexandra knew she needed to sort out.

Since returning to her apartment and showering, she had tried to focus on her classwork. She was trying to draft an economics paper, which required turning a disorganized set of notes and formulas on Pareto optimality and the ride-sharing economy into something resembling English.

She found she spent more time pulling on the strings of her hoodie than typing coherent sentences. In other words, it wasn’t going well.

The cold and the material itself weren’t the sole causes, of course. Alexandra’s mind kept drifting to the last few nights, which she’d started turning over in her mind as “life-altering.” Tonight was Saturday night.

On Thursday she’d considered herself a bookish, fairly straitlaced college senior facing the end of her college soccer career and, less than a year off, the looming specter of Real Life. Now, barely forty-eight hours later, she figured she had to cross “straitlaced” off the list: someone who had sex with a virtual stranger (a woman, to boot), enjoyed being handcuffed to a bed, then had sex in a bookstore in broad daylight was surely not uptight.

Alexandra checked the time on her phone. Sure, Kira had locked the room before they’d gone at it, but the reality was that twelve hours earlier, Alexandra had been naked on the floor of a store that was open for business, kneeling between another woman’s legs and eating her pussy.

Alexandra leaned back, letting the couch envelop her. Not just sex, she thought. Lesbian sex. Meeting Kira, talking to Kira, sleeping with Kira, heck, everything about Kira, made Alexandra Henderson re-evaluate things. The sex had been amazing every time, but even on top of that Alexandra couldn’t help but feel that the two women fit together, that they were somehow meant to be together.

“Am I really a lesbian?” she wondered out loud. “Could I really have missed something like that for so long?” She tucked her hands under the blanket, staring at the ceiling. “Yes,” she answered herself, still out loud. “It’s possible.”

Sex with Kira is totally different than sex has ever been before, and it’s not like Kira’s the only woman I’m finding attractive, Alexandra thought. She removed her hand and ran it through her hair, finger-combing out some persistent tangles. She thought back to her brief encounter earlier in the day with Katy McLean. They’d sat next to each other in class two years ago, hit it off, and then drifted apart. Katy had been then as Alexandra was now, a studious, outwardly conventional college athlete in her final year.

And then there was now. Alexandra remembered the feeling she’d had when she’d briefly passed Katy on the street earlier in the day: pulse racing, spine tingly, slightly wobbly in the knees. Katy was hot. She looked absolutely fierce in a tight leather jacket and jeans, with a silver septum ring and messily cropped blue hair.

Katy’s look was a stark contrast to Kira’s conventional blonde beauty, but Alexandra knew that made no difference to the conclusion she was slowly admitting. Katy was just a symptom. Since she’d had her eyes opened to the real possibility two nights ago, Alexandra realized that she was indeed attracted to women.

“Maybe it’s just a phase,” she mumbled to herself, embarrassed to be thinking out loud again.

Her phone buzzed, and she lazily pulled it out. It was a text from her friend Lydia.

Lydia: Hey there, you up to anything tonight?

Alexandra thought for a moment. She and Lydia were already scheduled for brunch the next day, so she could easily decline any invitation and go to bed early, as she had planned. But before she had a chance to reply, another message arrived.

Lydia: I have a Skype interview tomorrow at noon now, so could we do tonight instead?

Alexandra checked the clock on her phone. 9:30.

Alexandra: Sure, long as I can wear a hoodie and jeans.

Lydia: Jimmy’s, 9:45?

Jimmy’s was a dive bar and (allegedly) a restaurant midway between their respective apartments, no more than a 5-minute walk from either.

Alexandra: Lol, you that thirsty?

Lydia: More like borrrrrrred.

Alexandra: K, see you there.

Alexandra closed her laptop and grabbed a down jacket, zipping it up and shoving her wallet into a pocket along with her phone. As she shuffled out the door and into a chilly breeze, she gave herself a mental pat Ümraniye Escort on the back for choosing the heavy outwear.

The four blocks to the bar passed quickly. For once, her mind was mostly blank.

When Alexandara walked through the narrow doorway, she saw Lydia already sitting at a table in front of the grimy street-facing window, a pitcher of beer and two glasses in front of her.


Alexandra nodded, sliding her coat onto the extra chair next to her. Something had registered as different about her redheaded friend from an initial glance.

Lydia turned her head slightly, and Alexandra saw it, a gold ring through the left side of her friend’s nose.

Lydia slid the beer across the table, and noticed the look on Alexandra’s face.

“Like it?”

“I’m…it’s definitely different.”

“That’s a no, isn’t it?” The disappointment was clear in her voice.

Alexandra took a deep breath. Actually, it’s kind of cute. The gold looks pretty cool with the red hair. “No, actually, I kinda do like it. Why’d you do it?”

“I’ve wanted it for a while, and now seemed like the time.”

“Did it hurt?”

“Actually, not too much. It’s still a little tender when I twist it, and I need to clean it a lot for a while, but not too bad.”

Alexandra lifted her glass. “Well, toast?”

“Yes, to new beginnings?”

“Cheers.” They each took a deep drink.

“So,” Alexandra said. “Interview on a Sunday?”

“Yeah. I mean, it’s a Skype thing and the company sorta requires people to work shifts around the week, so it’s no big deal to me.”

“Doing what?”

It was Lydia’s turn to sigh. “I’m not sure how comfortable I am talking about this yet. It’s…well, ok, I’m a botany major, and I’ve done some classwork on hybridization in tropical plants.”


“Alex, it’s in Denver. Two plus two is four. It’s a company that’s trying to create a new hybrid strain of marijuana that grows fast, has high THC content, tastes good and all that good stuff, but creates fairly neutral-smelling smoke.”

“Is that even possible?”

Lydia shrugged. “Decaf coffee exists.”

“Isn’t decaf coffee just a chemical process, not a different plant?”

“Alex! Shut up, I’m the botany major.”

Alexandra smiled. “So you’re sure you want to do this? Drop out, take half a year off, whatever it is?”

Lydia’s expression hardened. “Yes.”

Ouch, sore spot, thought Alexandra. They each took a drink. “It’s unusual, but it sounds like you have an actual plan.”

“Thanks. I do. I’m tired of everyone telling me I’m nineteen, too young, yadda yadda…”

“Speaking of that, whose ID did you use to get the beer tonight?”

She gestured to one of the bartenders. “Mine. The girl with the brown hair is also a botany major, and like most starving college students, likes tips.”

“So anyway,” she continued, “I think you have a date to tell me about? Or is it dates, plural?”

Alexandra froze. She had not been expecting to be asked so directly.

“Um, well..”

“So, who is he?”


Lydia turned her head slightly to one side. “You okay?”

Alexandra’s thoughts raced. She really wanted to tell Lydia about Kira, about how amazing and eye-opening the last part of her week had been, but she couldn’t find the words. She realized her whole body was tense.

Breathe. She inhaled deeply, then held it, exhaling slowly. Recovery breathing. She took another deep swig of beer, nearly emptying the glass.

“OK, here goes, subject to one thing.”

“Go ahead,” said Lydia.

“I’m serious. Please don’t tell anyone. I haven’t told a single person. Not one of those giggle middle school don’t-tell-anyone things, either.”

“I get it.”

“So, the dates were awesome. Like, amazingly awesome. I haven’t slept in my own bed since Wednesday.”

Lydia raised her glass.

“Her name’s Kira.”

There were a few seconds of silence as the redhead’s glass hung in mid-air.

Then Lydia reached for the pitcher and topped both drinks off, then raised her glass again.

“So that was unexpected. Cheers.”

They clinked glasses, then drank.

“Now,” said Lydia, “tell me everything.”

Alexandra didn’t tell her absolutely everything, but she told her a lot. She described their meeting initially in the library, their sexting, the dinner date and even bits of the sex. She left out the handcuffs and blindfold, and the daytime sex in a locked room of a bookstore. Some things were better left unsaid, even to very good friends. As she concluded, she crossed her legs again, realizing she had — as she had at breakfast with Kira — managed to turn herself on with words alone.

At the end, Lydia smiled. “Dude, I’m not gonna lie, that sounds hot as fuck.”

“Well,” Alexandra said, “that’s kinda what it was.”

Lydia laughed. “So, is this thing…like, serious?”

Alexandra held her drink aside for a moment, thinking. “I…don’t know. I mean, she’s like eight years Ümraniye Escort Bayan older than me, so that’s a little weird. But I’m not going to say I’m not definitely interested in a lot more of what I’ve had so far.”

“Got a picture of her?”

Alexandra whipped out her phone and scrolled through photos as Lydia emptied the last of the pitcher into their glasses. She turned the camera around, showing Lydia a selfie they’d snapped together while waiting for an Uber after dinner. Just before we started making out like crazy in an Uber, but Lydia doesn’t need to know that.

Lydia took the phone. “Whoa. Alex, she’s hot. Like, really hot.”

Alexandra exhaled. “At least it’s not just me who thinks that.”

Lydia handed the phone back, playing with her nose ring with her other hand. “No, it’s not. I’d totally do her.”

“I’m sorry?” Alexandra couldn’t believe what she’d just heard.

“I said ‘I’d totally do her.’ Which I would…I mean, if you weren’t dating her.”

“You…wait, what?”

“There are some things I don’t tell anyone either, Alexandra. Yes, I do occasionally find women attractive.”

“Have you…?”


“What was I going to ask?” This is so confusing, thought Alexandra. I just basically admitted a huge secret, and now she’s admitting she likes women too?

“You were going to ask if I’ve ever hooked up with a woman.”

Alexandra blushed. She realized the beer was having its effect, and that was indeed the precise question she was going to ask.

“Actually, it’s someone you know.”

“So you’re going to tell me,” said Alexandra.

“No. But actually…well, maybe I shouldn’t ask this.”

“Ask wha-“

There was a sharp rap on the window. Both women looked up, startled. Standing outside, smiling and waving comically, was their former teammate — and Lydia’s good friend — Samantha Reynolds.

Without consulting each other, both Alexandra and Lydia began pointing to the empty chairs next to them. The young woman grinned and ducked in the door.

Alexandra scarcely had time to take the coat off the chair next to her before Sam was in the door and hugging them both. She was a very talented soccer player, an athletic forward with a nose for getting goals while well-defended, and also Alexandra’s successor as team captain. Despite that — and despite Sam’s close friendship with Lydia – Alexandra and Sam had never been particularly close.

Alexandra went up to the bar and got a new pitcher of beer, along with a third glass. When she came back, Lydia and Sam looked at the beer like a pair of hungry animals.

Alexandra slid behind Sam, and Sam eagerly poured the round into the glasses.

Alexandra regarded the scene with some curiosity. “You, I can understand pouring that beer like it’s the last one on earth, but little miss ginger over there has already had half a pitcher.”

“Thanks, mom,” interjected Lydia.

“Actually, I’ve already had a couple drinks myself,” said Sam, who looked none the worse for wear.

Lydia continued drinking while staring vacantly into space, so Alexandra picked up the conversation.

“Where were you?”

Sam rolled her eyes. “An awards dinner at this stuffy club in The Loop. My dad was presenting some award to one of his clients, and my mother had enough sense to avoid the thing. So guess who got to go with him?”

So that explains it, thought Alexandra. She’s wearing a dress for once, a nice one at that, and even has her hair down. Alexandra thought back to all the times she’d seen Sam, both at practice and on campus and couldn’t recall even once she’d seen her in anything other than jeans and with her hair put up messily.

“Sounds like you stayed too close to home for school.”

“Not close enough, according to the ‘rents.” Alexandra knew that Sam’s parents lived in Winnetka, an enclave of wealthy professionals like themselves along the lake fifteen or so miles north of Chicago. “Seriously, they’d probably have me live at home if I’d put up with it. Kill me now.”

“At least you got free drinks?”

Sam ran her left hand through her hair before answering. “And an evening of conversation with a bunch of people who talk about nothing but work. Let’s just say I was a little left out.” She has what I used to joke about as hot-girl hair, thought Alexandra. Wavy, long, very dark.

Alexandra shook her head. “You mean you didn’t want to talk about enormous companies fighting over gigantic piles of money? Shocking.”

“You know, I’d complain a lot more if the bills from Megacorp v. BigCo didn’t buy my groceries.” She smiled and took a deep drink of beer.

“I’m going to miss this,” said Lydia, breaking her catatonic silence.

“What?” Sam had said exactly what Alexandra was thinking. As far as either remembered, the three of them had never hung out without others present.

“You two. I think you’re the only people here I actually trust. I feel like I’m walking out on y’all.” She finished her beer, Escort Ümraniye then poured another glass.

Alexandra and Sam looked at each other. “Honey, please don’t feel like you’re doing that,” said Alexandra. “We all have to do what’s right for ourselves.”

Lydia took another gulp. “Why aren’t y’all friends, anyway?”

Awk-ward. Super duper awkward. They sat in silence for a long moment.

Lydia stood. “I’m gonna go to the ladies’ room. How about y’all chat about that and figure it out, mmk?”

She stumbled off, crossing the room and heading down a hallway to the back of the bar.

“Wow, how much has she had to drink?” asked Sam, trying to hold back a chuckle. She has a really pretty smile, thought Alexandra. Actually, she’s just really pretty, not that I haven’t noticed that before.

“Well, at least we have the answer to the age-old question of what happens when a 110-pound munchkin has four big drinks in a half-hour?”

“Oh, I’ve known the answer to that question for too long. My roommate first year was about her size and did that just about nightly. It gets old after a while, but sometimes it’s pretty funny. Like that was.”

Alexandra wrinkled her nose and took another sip. “But she does raise an interesting point, doesn’t she? I mean, like, I like you, I think you’re nice, we have a lot in common, and we literally never hang out.”

Sam blushed. Not a small flash of pink, either: a full-blown crimson rush across her pale, delicate features. “I…yeah, I don’t really know. I mean we’re different years, different majors, played different positions on the team…”

Uh, what was that? “And we’re both introverts, which hardly helps.”

“Exactly,” agreed Sam.

“So maybe the ideal time you spend with someone else is sitting in opposite corners of a room, reading books?”

Sam laughed. “Preferably a long book. I mean, if it ended I might need to talk to someone.”

“You’re talking now.”

“You’re not quite so intimidating in this context.”


“Don’t take this the wrong way. When we were playing soccer together, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to be exactly like you or whether I should be terrified of you.”

“And now?”

“You’re…different. You smile. You look at me like you like me.” The blush returned, less intense this time. Am I blushing too? Shit, I think I might be.

Sam continued, her complexion slowly returning to normal. “I dunno. Anyway, I learned a lot, but I don’t know if I can be that kind of captain next year.”

Lydia was stumbling back from the bathroom, albeit a bit more steadily.

“That’s up to you to decide, not me. I mean, I did the job the only way I knew how, or I guess the only way I could dream of doing it.”

Sam tossed her dark hair to one side. Do that again, please, thought Alexandra. Oh shit, not another one of these crushes, her mind quickly followed. “That can’t really be all there is to it,” she heard Sam say.

“No, there’s a bit of a balancing act. It’s not easy trying to be one of the girls, but also not quite one of the girls. I don’t think I balanced it that well, really. Especially given what you just said. I’m not really worried about that with you, Sam.” She saw the young woman’s eyes brighten when Alexandra addressed her by name. “You just need to remember that you can say more than one sentence in a row.”

“So,” said Sam with an air of conclusion. “I’ll probably need some advice on captaining a soccer team. And with that mess over there out in Colorado, looks like I’m down a friend. Therefore, let’s be friends, and pretend that this was not the most awkward beginning to a friendship ever. What was that, three sentences?”

“Would it be less awkward if I just spilled a drink on you and then we tried this little chat again?”

Sam laughed again, just as Lydia slumped into a chair the other side of the table. “You’re ok, Henderson.”

“You too, Reynolds.”

“Soooo,” Lydia interrupted, picking up her drunken conversational meander. “What were you two new besties talking about?”

“Mostly how it’s time for you to go home, Lydsters,” said Alexandra. “No more for you. My new bestie and I will finish this one off. You down, Sam?”

The brunette responded only by lifting her glass. Then she winked. “Chug?”

“Chug,” replied Alexandra. “Just to warn you, you’ll lose.”

“Doubtful,” replied Sam.

“For fuck’s sake, drink the motherfucking beer,” said Lydia.

“Shut up,” they replied in unison.

Alexandra had a talent for drinking extremely rapidly; it was a little-used party trick, but one she’d used to embarrass frat guys on the few occasions she’d bothered to attend fraternity parties. She hammered the beer like her life depended on it.

Still, she beat Sam by half a second, no more.

Lydia’s eyes went wide. “Jesus,” she muttered. “And y’all say I drink too much.”

Sam asked Alexandra if she’d already paid, to which she received only a nod in reply.

“Lydia, you ready?”


“Good to walk?”


As they all slipped on their jackets, Alexandra couldn’t help notice the way Sam and Lydia both slid into their coats. They were both smooth, fluid athletes, and next to them she felt like she was pulling a plastic bag over a particularly large box, all corners and angles.

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