Heather is bent at the waist. She says, “You’ve got a good memory. We happen so fast, I don’t know how you do it, remember where our clothes end up.” Kate stares at the dark crack of her ass, her breasts hanging like udders. Earlier Heather had to push Kate away from them, knowing what she was trying to do. She grabbed Kate by the chin, squeezing hard, and said, “Don’t be sick.”
For Kate and Heather, sex is an annual occurrence. Usually in the summer time, at this time, when their friends get together for the long Fourth of July weekend.
Kate has wanted to ask if Heather was pregnant the last time they were together, or if that was something that happened just afterwards, if she’s doing her math right. But then, she thought, how do you phrase this, and why would it matter?
Kate sits up in bed, rubs her eyes with the meat of her palms. She says, “I met a girl,” reaching for her underwear, then bringing her knees to her chest, pushing down the bed sheet.
Heather wiggles into her shorts. Kate can see her stomach muscles retract while she buttons them. “A girl? What are you talking about?”
“A woman,” Kate says, bringing her legs over the side of the mattress and steps into her underwear. Standing, she says, “Julia,” and moves her thumbs from the front to the back of the waistband, pulling the fabric up over her ass.
Heather’s shirt is back on. She looks at Kate, wary, suspicious. She asks, “For what?”
Kate looks confused, holds a bra out, and says, “This is yours.”
“Oh, shit,” Heather says, “I knew this was too tight.” Heather takes the bra from Kate and drops it on the mattress. Her arms disappear, moving back through the sleeves of her t-shirt. They work beneath the fabric in a furry that resembles what Kate imagines only Houdini would have been capable of, that master of escape. She wonders why Heather thinks now is a good time to keep her breasts covered, wonders if Heather will spend the rest of the evening ignoring her like she always does after they fuck, with her hands on Michael’s chest or rubbing Chris’s head until he lets it fall into her hands, rolling back his eyes and flashing her a stupid smile.
Kate says, “I don’t know. She’s amazing.”
And Heather, “Is she married?”
Kate takes her bra from Heather and puts it on. She repositions herself in the cups, the snapping of elastic on her skin, and thinks of Julia, not wanting to tell Heather all about her, wanting to keep some of Julia for herself. “No.”
Heather is at the mirror now, running her hands through her hair, fingers getting caught in snarls at the ends. She says, “Uh oh. Is she single?”
Kate’s shorts are on. She holds her shirt in her hand. “Totally single. Totally gay.”
Heather, whose eyes have been only on the mirror, reapplying lipstick, mascara, turns to Kate and says, “Oh, that is so fucking gross.”
These words move Kate into action. She brings her shirt over her head, punches her arms through the sleeves. She says, “She’s not what you’re thinking. Absolutely nothing like what you’re thinking.”
“Don’t get angry.”
“Chris is a really great guy. You have no idea how lucky you are.”
Kate pulls her hair from the shirt’s collar, grabs a hairbrush from Heather’s bureau. “We’re not talking about Chris.”
“But I’m thinking we probably should be, talking about Chris and not about some woman you met. Please tell me you’re not fucking her.”
Kate tosses the brush back onto the bureau, knocking over tubes of lipstick, eye shadows in brown and pink compacts. “I don’t know why I tell you things.”