December, 2012
my mind has changed, my body's frame, but god i like it.
Kendall: Just come! I hear it's like "the spot to be" tonight.

Layne: And what exactly does that even mean?

Kendall: don't be a killjoy, layne

Layne: will they be checking IDs?

Kendall: you overthink. Just paint your face up like a whore and you'll be in. trust me. And also I may or may not be fucking one of the bartenders.

Layne: KEN!!!!

Kendall: yolo

Brushing past a crowd of people, The Cruise Room at the Oxford Hotel wasn't a place Layne had been to before. Truthfully, she hadn't been to too many bars since she still wasn't technically allowed to traverse the bar scene without an ID. Ever at the mercy of her parents, she didn't want to risk being confronted by law enforcement for under-aged drinking and thus lose all financial help she might've been receiving from her strict but loving parents. But it was Christmas break, and fuck, she was bored to death at home as Katrina whined about not being able to go ice skating with her friends or Sam played video games.

The bar had an older, classy vibe to it. The area was awash in a red hue, which was fitting for the holiday. For the most part, the atmosphere was an eclectic mix of middle-aged people and young twenty-somethings home for the holidays. Wearing a tight fitting and slightly uncomfortable dark red dress, she scanned the crowd for Kendall. Somehow she had sidestepped anyone asking if she was the appropriate age, but she blamed that on the smoky eye makeup she had played with earlier, coupled with everyone being too drunk to care.

A flash of wavy brown hair caught her eye - which was unusual because it was so common in the sea of people tonight - but Kendall was loud and outgoing and essentially everything Layne was not.

She was tugged along to a table full of drunken people she'd never seen before. Not unusual, but what was unusual was the pull of two dark eyes on her. A girl sitting right across from her, staring at her, even though her lips were moving to a conversation with another girl. Layne swallowed hard and leaned over to Ken.

"Who's that?"

January, 2013
working on a feeling, breaking down the ceiling, digging up a deep end.
"Let's go, slowpoke!"

Kate's body moves in unexpected ways - her legs pad across the hard-packed earth, her hair whips behind her shoulders and Layne can't keep her eyes off of her.

Except Layne hates running, and Kate loves it.

When they finally stop at an overlook, the view of Denver breathtaking from the top, she looks over at her and grins. Puffs of air looking like smoke release in steady whiffs as they catch their breath in the bitter cold.

"Why did we run in subzero temperatures again? I'm pretty sure I'm going to get sick sometime soon." Predictably, Layne would be right.

"I just wanted to show you what makes me feel exhilarated," Kate's smile softens and she shrugs, taking off one of her gloves and searching out Layne's hand.

"Oh, runner's high, right." She was still catching her breath, gripping Kate's hand and taking in the expanse of the view.

"No, not runner's high."

February, 2013
you could sense it all, my fear of heights, my slow emotions.
It isn't long until they're in bed together, limbs tangling, aching for more. Layne isn't new to sex, but she is new to this feeling. The sort of knot in the pit of her stomach every time Kate's lips descend between the square of her chest, down her abdomen, resting atop the hemline of her panties. The desire is there, there's no question. But something else is burying inside and she isn't sure if she's ready to admit it.

Kate's body shifts on top, fits between her hips in just the perfect way. The warmth pooling in her chest is now directing their efforts between her legs and it only increases as the other woman moves against her.

"I..." Layne begins, the position almost too intimate for her.

"Shh," Kate coos, continuing to move. She's frozen for a moment, tense, then mimics her movements.

Later, they lie intertwined in the dark and her mouth parts, then closes.

"I love you. "

It's unexpected. Layne's heart stops. Kate shifts to look at her.

"Did you hear me?" Kate says, blinking. There's something uncharacteristically vulnerable in her eyes and Layne nods in the silence of their room.

"Yes," A beat. "I love you, too. "

August, 2013
here's to thinking that it all meant so much more. i kept my mouth shut and opened up the door.
The music is far too loud, and she's far too drunk to enjoy it at this point. The nausea is hitting her, her eyes water as she flushes the toilet. Bending over the sink, she washes out her mouth and searches the random bathroom for something to kill the taste and scent.

"Fuck," she splutters, the bitterness eating away her insides. She needs to find Kate and go home. This is a bad party. She can feel it.

Her legs stumble out into the hallway, too bright for her senses. Kendall is downstairs, making out against a wall with some random guy. She makes a mental note to check on that situation, if she's able to, later.

Where the fuck is she? Her feet take her to a random bedroom and she opens the door, expecting to find people having sex. What she finds is worse.

Kate's kneeling over a coffee table, her head down. She's clichely holding a rolled up dollar bill, and for a second Layne thinks she's in some sort of movie.

She's with a couple of people who look her way in a sort of haze, laughing and clearly monumentally fucked up. She catches Kate's wrist before she's about to snort another line. "What the fuck are you doing?"

She expects some sort of guilt, some apology. She doesn't expect the snapping of her wrist from her grip, the crazed look on her face when she turns around. "Leave me alone!"

But Layne loves her, for some goddamned reason, and she attempts to drag her away from the powdered-covered glass. Kate resists, perhaps a little too much, shoving Layne against the door. Even in their fucked up stage, the people in the room fall silent. The music reverberates through the walls, boom, boom, boom.

"I said, leave me alone." Kate's voice is steady, laced with something rotten Layne has never seen in her before. It's worse than the shove, or a slap.

Layne listens.

November, 2014
come along, fool. a direct hit of the senses, you're disconnected.
"I don't know what to do," Her tears stain her pillowcase, phone pressed to her ear.

"Layne," Kendall is in her first two months abroad, and as much as she didn't think she'd miss her best friend - she does. It was stupid to let her relationship eclipse everything, but Kate was all encompassing in all the wrong ways.

"I know you don't want to hear this, but she's trash. You can't keep letting her do this to you. I..." Kendall pauses, as if cutting herself off.

"What?" Layne responds, sniffling.

"I've heard some things...about Kate." Layne sits up a little and swallows, trying to steady her voice.

"But you're in fucking England right now..."

A small hollow laugh escapes Kendall. "Believe me, the irony isn't lost on me. But...fuck," Layne can hear her sigh deeply. "Leslie you know her?"

"Should I?"

"No, I guess it's also besides the point. She's in my group here for one of the courses. International relations - which fyi, this whole thing is a joke and I've been just studying one day a week and traveling every time else but um, sorry, I'm really nervous I just-"

"Kendall, you're scaring me."

"Leslie told me that her friend, Brittany, is dating some girl named Kate Prescott. Who graduated from UC Denver two years ago. She said they've been dating for four months. I thought maybe she was mistaken. But then she showed me a picture of her...of them."

Layne's heart is beating like a drum, her eyes are welling up again. "That can't be...there's no...way...that's..." But her voice comes choking out, she can't form the sentences.

"Layne, I'm so sorry. I've been struggling with how to tell you since I found out..."

"I have to go."

That night, Layne makes dinner. Kate comes home late, which Layne recalls has been happening much more often than usual. She was so stupid. These had to be rumors. Maybe Leslie Watts had no idea what she was talking about. That had to be it, right?

"How was your day?" She serves herself some pasta, then passes the bowl to Kate.

Now that the seed has been planted, all Layne can do is focus on the signs. The way Kate's eyes seem to stare right through her, the way her voice is languid and her answers shallow.

"Who's Brittany?"

For the first time in months, Kate's eyes look straight into her. She can see her swallow hard. Her fingers grip the stem of her wine glass, knuckles turning white.


"Brittany Walsh."


"Just answer me."

"You're acting weird and slightly psychotic right now." Kate gets up from the table. She's running.

Layne follows her, eyes focused on their target. "Answer the question. Who's Brittany Walsh?"

Kate spins around, glaring at her. "You know who she is. Why are we doing this? It's not like you didn't know. You've known for months."

Before she can stop herself, Layne's palm is colliding with Kate's cheek. "Don't you do that. Don't. I--I didn't know."

Kate stands there, the emotions building in her chest. Her eyes are cast towards the floor, and she finally seems to show some remorse for her bold assumptions. Her bold lies. Her voice is barely above a whisper, "I know."

January, 2015
there is no love here and there is no pain. every day is exactly the same.
Boxes. Everything is in boxes.

Her eyes burn from crying every night for two weeks straight. Every picture is burned in glorious fashion when Kendall is home for break. Katrina, never having been a fan of Kate, delighted in the process of shredding the memories of cheaters past. With every part of her relationship torn asunder, she feels a piece of herself die with it.

A month into it, she decides she's done feeling sorry for herself and goes out drinking. One night turns into multiple nights, until she's high on MDMA and fucking a girl in a dingy club bathroom.

The hangover is worse than the act itself. Self-loathing follows. Rinse, wash, and repeat.

Months pass and gradually she accepts being alone suits her. If she never lets anyone in, she can never be hurt.

That mantra lasts almost three years.

September, 2017
you're like a wildfire, got me rising high.
The app downloads in a matter of seconds. She tosses her laundry onto her bed and collapses.

"I'm downloading tinder again. Fuck my life." She texts Kendall, navigating to the app and logging in with her facebook.

"This is such a joke," She snickers, passing through a few less-than-stellar lesbian choices.

One girl makes her linger. She clicks on the picture to read her profile, smiles, and swipes right.

IT'S A MATCH! YOU AND BREE HAVE LIKED EACH OTHER! Flashes across the screen.