Like a literal sex magnet, the group gets larger and larger as we walk over to the Darkroom. All told, we wind up with fourteen people: myself, Santiago, Enrique, Claire, Sam, Pen, Sorrento, Chain, Sinclair, Charlotte, Lawrence, Chantelle, Morgan, and Rain.

When we get there, Enrique empties his pockets and shouts, “Enjoy!” as condoms go flying everywhere. There is a chorus of laughter, and people begin taking over benches and corners. There is a rustling of clothing and the wet sounds of people kissing and licking and sucking each other. At one point, someone calls out, “Who wants to be spit roasted?” and I laugh as Santiago eagerly volunteers. I am gazing at my fiance, enjoying watching her when I hear Lawrence say to Rain, “Don’t ever call me Larry while my fist is in your ass!” Morgan and Chain co-top Claire and Chantelle for a while, and Rain receives one of his infamous “poetry blowjobs,” reciting poetry in between grunts and thrusts. Everyone is enjoying themselves, but it’s not just the sex. There is a camaraderie that permeates the room. A few years ago, this would have felt like a bunch of strangers fucking. It still would have been hot, but this is different. This is a room full of friends and lovers, people who care a great deal about each other, who are not there just to get off. It feels like a community.

Suddenly, a fist grasps my hair and hauls me up from the leather bench I was sitting on. I gasp, a tingle traveling through my body that starts at the hand on my scalp and settles in my loins. Santiago drags me to the center of the room and pushes me down to my knees. “Time to show everyone that you belong to me.” She says something else, but it doesn’t register. It doesn’t matter. I know what she wants.

I grasp her hips and lean forward, purposely letting my hot breath fall against her pussy before I even touch her with my mouth. I kiss her outer lips softly, then open my mouth and lick at them gently. I hear her suck in her breath, and I grin. I love having that effect on her. Parting her lips with my tongue, I begin lapping at her clit. She moans above me and clutches my hair, pushing my face harder between her legs. I tense up the tip of my tongue and swipe it up and down, just the way I know she likes it. After a few moments, I can tell she’s getting close. I slide a finger inside, then another, and fuck her with my hand while she humps my mouth. She convulses around my hand, smothering my face as she cums. I wait until I’m sure she’s finished before removing my fingers.

As soon as she catches her breath, she pulls me up and kisses me passionately. “My turn.” She drops to her knees to return the favor.

“Oh, god,” I cry out as her tongue quickly finds my clit. Hearing her cum has me so turned on already that I’m cumming in less than a minute. “Oh– oh, god– yes, yes– Maria!” I gasp out. “Maria, oh, fuck, yes, please, ahh, god!”  My nails dig into her shoulders as my body shudders. “Maria, Maria, oh, fuck, Ma–Ma–MARIAAAAAA!

I’m leaning against her, still catching my breath, when I dimly hear a voice somewhere in the room ask, “Who the fuck is Maria?”

It’s Not A Party Until…

I am hanging out on the back porch when Enrique, Claire, Pen, Sorrento, Nate, and Sinclair. “Heyyy, Katherine… you busy?” Enrique asks.

I study the group. Claire is watching the exchange and giggling. “Umm… not really. I was just dancing. Why, what’s up?”

“Well, a few of us,” Enrique gestures toward his entourage, “were thinking about going over to the Darkroom.”

I raise an eyebrow. “Okay… so?”

“So, I was wondering if you’d like to come along.” He tilts his pocket toward me, and I see that it’s stuffed full of condoms.

I laugh and I glance over my shoulder at Santiago. “I might be convinced. Is this party invite-only?” Santiago catches my eye and comes over.

“What’s happening over here?” she asks, wrapping an arm around my waist.

“Enrique’s just invited us to a little gathering over in the Darkroom,” I answer, nodding my chin towards the pocket that he is still displaying.

“Oh, fuck yes!” Santiago exclaims.

No Escape From Death

I honestly don’t remember a lot about the morning after of 1983. It’s pretty hazy. I remember the ominous music, and I remember the Agents of Death demanding thirteen names instead of ten this time. I remember giving them three tickets again, especially since I’d been unprotected not only with women, but with men. I remember holding my breath as I listened to Pepper calling out people’s names. More than half of them were people that I knew and had recently interacted with in some way: Evelyn, Pen, Enrique, Mr T, Steven, Ruben, Abner, Trevor, Nick, Walter, Claire, Max… and Kimberly.

I remember my shock when I hear Kimberly’s name called, and my denial. There’s no way she’s going to die, I thought. She’s part of my group, one of my girls. I’m going to go down to the funeral field and she’s going to be fine. I think I really believed that, too… right up until I saw her laying in her coffin.

I remember waiting as the music continued playing, the only sounds in the room sobs and people shuffling about as they hugged and consoled each other. I remember the feeling of suspense as I wait for the Agents to come back and escort us down to the field where we would learn who passed. I remember the feeling of dread as I pause to peek into each coffin. The first one I stop at is Abner’s. I barely knew him, but he was a friend of Santiago’s, and I’d recently chatted with him about the possibility of including one of his poems in the Times alongside Sinclair’s interview.

I fling a flower onto his chest angrily. “Fuck you, Abner. And I’m still going to print your–” my voice cracks, “–stupid poem.”

I know before I even get there. Kimberly is nowhere to be found… she’s in one of these other caskets. I find her just behind Abner’s and look down for a moment, sobbing. I place a flower gently on her unmoving chest. “You fucking moron!” I gasp out between sobs. “I told you to be careful!” I am crying so hard that I can barely get the words out. But… it doesn’t matter.

The Agents call us back to begin the funeral. The Angel of Death stands before us once again. “We are gathered here today to mourn the loss of Trevor.” It’s the same as last year: people hugging and sobbing. “We are gathered here today to mourn the loss of Abner.” Grief, fear, determination, anger, sadness… all are present. “And we are gathered here today to mourn the loss of Kimberly.” As tears stream down my face, all of my emotions war for dominance.

I wonder which one is going to win.

Your Pen Doesn’t Work

I always enjoy the drag show. Nate is as sassy as ever, the kind of Queen you can’t help but love… or love to hate, for some! A few of the Club Diamond regulars perform (Lady Verona, Reginald), as well as a few new guest stars. When Santiago’s girlfriend Pen takes the stage, I can feel her tense up beside me.

Earlier in the day, Santiago had told Charlotte, Kimberly and I that Pen was planning something. “I don’t know what,” she says, “but something ‘to show the world that you belong to me’ or something. I don’t know– whatever. I’m sure it will be fine,” she says, waving her bejeweled wrist dismissively. But I know better – Santiago hates feeling anything less than independent and especially hates feeling “caged.”

Knowing this, I almost expect her to bolt as soon as Pen takes the mic. “Touch me,” she croons. “How can it be?” She glides effortlessly up and down the stage, as though she was born to be in the spotlight. “Hold me close to your heart…” Pen reaches into the audience, past the first row to the second where Santiago and I are perched. “Touch me…” She grabs Santiago’s hand, smiling. “And give all your love to me…” Santiago’s eyes are wide with shock as she gapes at Pen, transfixed. Pen drops her hand and finishes the song to much applause. Afterwards, she returns to her seat without so much as a glance in our direction.

I turn to face Santiago. She looks… uncomfortable? Certainly not happy. I lean over and whisper, “You okay?”

She nods unconvincingly. “Just…  feeling overwhelmed.” I don’t quite believe her, but I don’t push. Knowing Santiago, she’ll tell me when she’s good and ready, so I let it go.

After the drag show, Urban Renaissance takes the stage. “Move those fuckin’ chairs, and let’s dance!” they cry out. I sway with the music, enjoying the buzz from my beer. After a few moments, I can feel someone’s eyes on me. I turn and make eye contact with a butch-looking woman. I generally tend to go for femmes, but something about her intrigues me. I dance closer, closing the distance slightly. She does the same. We dance together for a few moments, wordless.

I step off the dance floor and grab my beer, studying her. We make eye contact again, and she comes over.

“What’s your name?” I ask.


“Katherine.” She offers no further information, and I don’t ask. Her arms encircle my waist. After a few moments of dancing close, she gestures over her shoulder with her chin. “Wanna get out of here?”

I smile devilishly and open my mouth to answer when I hear a shriek, and a hysterical voice yelling. Santiago. The music stops as I whirl around.

“…WITH YOUR FINGERS IN MY CUNT! YOU DON’T FUCKING OWN ME! FUCK!!” Santiago runs from the club in tears, leaving Pen standing by herself near the stage. Without a second thought, I leave Dawn alone on the dance floor and race outside after her.

“Santiago! Santiago, WAIT!” I catch up with her. “What the fuck just happened??”

Her voice cracks as she spits, “She fingered me on the dance floor. But it wasn’t for me. She just wanted to show people that she owns me, to show off how fucking perfect her life is. But no one fucking owns me. NO ONE!

Her shoulders are still quaking. For a moment I am lost. The strongest woman I know looks back at me, her face streaked with tears. It pains me to see. I wrap an arm around her and escort her back to the cabin we share with several others. Thankfully, it’s empty. We lay on a mattress on the floor and I hold her until her tears subside, stroking her hair and whispering that everything was going to be okay.

Suddenly, her lips are on mine. After a moment, she pulls back slightly. “Katherine, what are we… I mean…” I hesitate, then tangle my fingers in her hair and pull her face back to mine. She moans into my mouth. There is a small voice in the back of my brain warning me that we’d both promised not to do this again, that we are better off as friends, that this is going to be a disaster… but I ignore it: this feels so right. She kisses across my cheek to my ear, nibbling at my earlobe. I dig my nails into her back when she gently bites the top shell of my ear and breathes hot air against it. Her lips travel down my neck to my breasts, pausing there. I pull her shirt up and rake my nails down her back, which arches at the sensation.

I raise my hips to allow her to pull my skirt down and off, along with my panties. “Wait,” I pant. Sitting up, I pull my shirt off and unclasp my bra. Leaning forward, I pull her shirt up over her head. I caress her cheek, tracing her jawline. “You’re so beautiful,” I whisper, pulling her lips to mine again. She twines her fingers through my curls. When she pulls away, she pushes me back down gently and her lips continue their downward descent.

She is gentle – more gentle than she’s ever been with me. Our lovemaking feels both frantic and tender. She knows exactly how to touch me: my body is her canvas, her touch the paint brush. I shudder beneath her, calling out her name – not the name everyone calls her, but her real name, the one she tells almost no one. When I’ve caught my breath, she is staring at me in wonderment. My mind flashes briefly back to the tantra workshop from earlier in the night. How does it feel to really be seen?

I pull her down next to me, kissing her passionately. Then I raise myself up to kneel over her. I lick and suckle at her breasts, rolling her nipples in my fingers before lowering my mouth to her center. I am gentle also – almost too gentle, as she pushes a hand on my head and thrusts her hips up at the same time. I chuckle against her and lick her with greater fervor. I feel her convulse beneath me, and I continue. She convulses again… and again… and again…