June had been in New York for three New Years Eves with Chloe, and she thought she knew what to expect. Chloe's love of taking shameless advantage of the amateur New Year's drinkers was only the beginning. June had learned to be prepared and keep a hangover kit by her bed the next day. And a bucket. Just in case.
But nothing prepared her for Chloe yelling in her face, as the morning sun shone into their living room, "Wake up, June, we're going to be late for our honeymoon!"
"No," June said, because the words didn't make any sense. Then she registered them and opened her eyes. Chloe looked fresh as a daisy. She also wasn't wearing a bra, June noted, and shifted her gaze to Chloe's face. "Wait," she said. "Honeymoon? What? No."
"Yes honeymoon, because as of last night we are a totally legally married couple in the state of New York, and the wonderful, burly men behind Rod's Moving Service are sending us to Paris. Now put something on." Chloe narrowed her eyes. "Or on second thought, don't, because I don't want everyone in Paris to think I'm traveling with Miss Iowa."
"I haven't done pageants since I was five," June said. "Did you hit your head?"
Chloe shoved a document in her face. "No, June. Now get packing!"
The explanation, which may or may not have been illicitly chemical-fueled, was this: Chloe had become interested in couple's sweepstakes years ago. ("I was an early proponent for gay marriage. Why not widen the pool?" "For scamming?" "You don't need to get married to have sex, but travel agencies have rules.") Her interest had finally paid off in the form of a ceremony officiated by James, with a license Chloe had obtained some time ago, with June's forged signature on it. The details were fuzzy, because June's head was fuzzy. But after thinking about it for ten long, somewhat nauseated minutes, she decided she could go to Paris and be mad at Chloe at the same time. In Paris. Paris!
The flight left ridiculously early on January 2nd, and unlike Chloe, June didn't plan to prepare by taking a whiskey nap at 1AM. She called her parents an hour before bed and explained that she and Chloe had won a trip, conveniently leaving out the whole "for being married" part.
But her conscious still nettled her, so she said, "I just think that it's a little dishonest, you know, because Chloe and I aren't destitute, so we could go to Paris on our own if we worked hard, saved money - the important stuff."
"Ohhhh my Godddd," Chloe said from her position on the couch. June ignored her. Her laptop's microphone wasn't that good, anyway.
"Sweetie, I believe in hard work too," her mother said, "but sometimes hard work comes with spontaneous rewards. You take a trip to Europe where you can get it. That's why I'm going to Italy with James in the spring."
June blinked. "What?"
"What?" June's dad said.
"Oh, look at the time," June's mom said. "We'll talk to you later, sweetie. Have fun in Paris, love you!" The screen went blank.
"You know," Chloe said, "I did tell James it was high time for his cougar phase. Maybe that's what this is about. Although I also told him to pick someone rich. You know, Madison Ave, not Madison, Wisconsin."
"I'm not from Wisconsin," June said. "I'm going to bed." The turn of a new year wasn't supposed to be this overwhelming.
They took a cab to JFK punishingly early in the morning. Chloe snored on June's shoulder the whole way. June's bag was packed with sensible clothes and tagged with her name. Chloe had a bright red suitcase, a large, hat, and a flask. She'd given the keeping of the marriage license to June, though why she thought they'd need it, June had no idea. It all seemed so...tawdry.
June wasn't some Barbie-obsessed, regressive, Leave it to Beaver-loving girl. But she had always thought her wedding would be special. Different. A way of committing herself to the man of her dreams forever.
The one comforting thing about Chloe was that she was so Chloe in every other way that her being a woman, and the prospect of explaining that to Mom and Dad, was pretty far down on the list. Definitely after "con artist", "thief", and "overly fond of designer drugs".
"Chloe, wake up," she said as the cab rolled into the departures drop-off lane. "Chloe. Come on. We're at JFK."
"Vodka," Chloe mumbled, then opened her eyes. With her head still on June's shoulder, they were uncomfortably close. Oh boy, June thought, had anything happened last night? No, it couldn't have. Chloe would have told her. Laughed at her, even.
"Let's go," June said.
And so off they went.
No one died on the flight, despite a close call when the flight attendant told Chloe she wouldn't be bringing her a fourth mini bottle of vodka. June's own concern dissipated as soon as they made it through customs. Paris! Everyone was chic and charming, and speaking French, and even the snow was less slushy than in New York. When the taxi driver pulled up in front of their hotel, June thought she was going to faint. It was five stories tall and gorgeous, with old stone and a plush carpet beneath the awning.
"Merci," Chloe said, paying the driver. "June, come on, don't be so gauche. We have honeymoon champagne to drink. Bonjour!" She kissed the bellhop on both cheeks and grabbed June's hand, pulling her into the building.
It all went well until they had to climb upstairs, at which point things got a little...weird. "You can let go of my hand now," June said as they walked down the hall.
"Absolutely not," Chloe said. "We're here because Rod's Moving told this hotel we're newlyweds, so we have a discount, being paid for by them. I know when to play a role. Plus, technically speaking, we both signed a form saying fraud is illegal. Oh look, 309!" She opened the door with the room key - which was an actual key; Paris was amazing! - and pushed June inside.
Part of June, the practical part who was still worried about this entire enterprise, had expected a roach trap motel. "Rod's Moving" didn't exactly inspire confidence in their sponsorship abilities. But the room she gazed at as Chloe slammed the door and said, "If this is some illegal cam girl op, by the way, we are performing and then extorting," was beautiful. Lacy white curtains hung from the huge doors leading to the wrought iron balcony, and the bed had a light pink comforter and was big enough to fit four Junes. A door - even the doors in France were more delicate! - led to a tiny bathroom with just enough room for a claw foot tub and toilet.
"Oh, Chloe," June said, turning back around. "This is wonderful."
Chloe paused in doing her shot of duty-free vodka to roll her eyes. "You don't have to act while we're in the room, June."
"I'm not acting." June flung herself down on the bed. It was as soft as a cloud! "This is perfect." She closed her eyes.
When she opened them a moment later, slightly puzzled by the lack of response, she saw that Chloe had fallen asleep with her head on the baroque desk. She sighed. It was barely noon Paris time, but Chloe, of course, hadn't slept. She sighed and let herself out of the room. The hotel was meant to host tourists, so she managed to obtain some bread, cheese, and fruit from the restaurant next door without much trouble on the language-barrier level. For a moment, upon returning to their room, she felt profoundly concerned that Chloe had been murdered. She was lying on the floor with her eyes closed, limbs akimbo. When June said, "Oh my God," though, Chloe just snored.
June sighed and put her food down, going over to Chloe to poke her with her foot. "Chloe. Wake up."
"Go stick it in an outlet, Josh, I'm busy," Chloe said, expression not changing a titch.
June sighed. "Chloe," she said a little more loudly. "I'm not Josh, I'm June. Your roommate? We're in Paris?"
Another loud snore.
Well, June had dealt with shiftless drunks before. She'd even dealt with Chloe the Shiftless Drunk before, who was generally a more dangerous brand than the others. She leaned down and hoisted Chloe on her shoulders, staggering until she got her onto the bed. She took Chloe's heels off and laid her legs straight. Chloe thanked her with a head lolling to the side and another long snore.
June sighed - not, she thought, that somewhat passive displays of annoyance were likely to bother Chloe just now - and went to retrieve the bread. She smeared Brie on it - real French Brie! - and took a huge bite.
"Oh GOD," she said through a mouthful of cheese. It tasted like - like - she didn't even know. Something terrible. Like licking a shoe from someone with athlete's foot, maybe. How did French people eat this all the time?
She set it down and ate some fruit instead. As she popped grapes into her mouth, luxuriating in the breeze coming in through the cracked French doors, she watched Chloe.
Most people, in June's experience, looked more innocent when they slept. Not Chloe. Chloe always looked ready to knife someone. In fact, once June had walked in on her sleeping like a baby and clutching a rhinestone-encrusted knife. Chloe was just a little more than other people in some ways. June had learned to be wary.
As June watched, Chloe's brow wrinkled. She muttered, "Ugh, June," and clawed at the bed a few times. Then she went still again.
June had nothing to do in the room, really, and a whole city to explore. After a moment's thought, she wrote Chloe a note explaining she had some exploring to do, and grabbed her bag, leaving Chloe in bed to sleep it off.
Parisian bookstores were lovely. Parisian cafes were divine. But Parisian bars, June discovered that night, were where Parisian men were, and they were the best.
"Oui, oui," she said, smiling at one of them. "You see, I was -"
"June! Darling, I missed you!"
June whirled around just in time to catch an armful of Chloe. Before she could say something like "What are you doing here", Chloe was kissing her.
The kiss tasted of alcohol, which shouldn't have surprised June, yet somehow did. What also surprised June was how aggressive Chloe was. June had never kissed a girl - not even in college, thank you very much. Maybe she'd been missing something all that time, because Chloe got to business very quickly, tugging June's hair and biting her lip, pressing their bodies together so that June could feel her nipples. Her nipples! "Chloe," June hissed as they broke apart, "being in Paris is not an excuse to stop wearing bras."
"Okay, whatever - hi, everyone." Chloe turned her smile on the men June had previously been enjoying charming, calm, Parisian conversation with. "I'm Chloe, June's wife."
Wife. Wife! It sent a frisson down June's spine. Of course, it was almost immediately followed by a frisson of annoyance when June realized what Chloe was doing. "Chloe," she said. "Can I talk to you?"
"Sure thing, sugar tits." Chloe smiled at her. "Anything for -"
"Privately," June snapped, and dragged her over to a dimly lit corner.
Though, even through her anger, she couldn't help but note that the corner wasn't nearly as dimly lit or as full of sticky unknown substances as it would be in New York.
As soon as they were mostly-alone, Chloe dropped the act. "Come on, June, what's your deal?"
"I was talking," June said, "to some very nice gentlemen, actually, and you interrupted!"
"Okay, first of all, Parisian men are almost never nice and almost always smell like eggs. So no. Second of all -"
"Second of all, June, we're married! We can totally make out and then take some guy home with us. It's fine."
"Wait, you're saying you want to use our fake marriage to pick people up?"
"What else is it for? Also, technically speaking, it's real. In the legal sense, anyway."
For a moment, all June could do was stare. Well, that wasn't technically correct; in that moment she could easily have also slapped Chloe, and maybe yelled at her, too. June could be assertive! But then people would start asking questions, and deportation from France sounded like the kind of nightmare Chloe would help her get into, so on a practical level: staring. And staring, and staring, until Chloe gave her a Look and said, "Are you ever going to say anything?"
"I don't want to fake being into women because you want a threesome. Also, I do not, personally, want a threesome."
"Don't be ridiculous. Everyone wants a threesome."
Again June was back to staring. Chloe stared back, visibly impatient, more than a little annoyed.
And for a moment, probably due to the alcohol, June let herself think about it.
She'd gone to college. She knew that it wasn't necessarily a requirement to say, own Birkenstocks and have your gay wedding planned, just to make out with someone. She knew about bisexuality and lesbianism, thank you very much. But since she'd been dating Steven at the time, it hadn't really been relevant. And anyway, drunk kissing was often very, very gross.
Chloe was hot. June knew that. The fact that Chloe was a certified Hot Girl had been obvious from the get-go, given the whole 'sleeping with June's boyfriend to prove he's a cheater' thing. But someone being hot didn't make them personally attractive. June liked depth. And having an actual threesome would mean personal attractiveness, right? Chloe doing things. With June. And June being interested. And a man there, too, but June knew what men liked from their fantasy threesomes. It involved a lot of touching. And fluids.
June would have said, most of the time, that she didn't want that. But staring at Chloe right then, she thought maybe she might. Chloe would be fun, and willing to forget about it in the morning, and her drunk motor control was good enough to be somewhat frightening. Chloe would use her fingers, maybe her mouth, and -
And there would be a man, there, a French man, for no reason other than that Chloe couldn't let June pick up a guy on her own. June shook her head.
"Well, I don't," June said. "I want a husband and some cute kids."
"You think you'll find that in Paris? Seriously?"
"No," June said, "but at least I can have a nice, romantic vacation fling. Not a free-for-all."
"You are seriously underestimating the joys of a sex buffet."
"Never say those words to me again," June said, and turned to go back to her table.
She saw the flaw in that plan almost immediately, of course: the men had abandoned the table and, by extension, her.
June cast Chloe a hairy eyeball. "I'm not going to be able to get rid of you, am I?"
Chloe's smile was sweet. Suspiciously, sociopathically sweet. "Probably not."
What happened in Paris could stay in Paris, right? June gritted her teeth. "Fine. Buy me a drink, then."
"Who buys drinks?" Chloe surveyed the bar, locked onto a man, and smiled. "Hey there!" she said, and made her way over to him.
June followed her, less because she wanted to, and more because she felt fairly certain Chloe would do something incredibly embarrassing if she didn't follow.
Three hours later, June had consumed several glasses of wine she was assured was very fine, and hadn't paid for any of them. The 'no money' part was a relief, because the first glass and a half had tasted kind of like feet dunked in grape soda. Of course, once she was all liquored up, everything tasted great.
Including, as it turned out, Chloe's tongue.
Yes. June was doing it. She was kissing Chloe, in Paris, while Chloe got them free drinks from their many admirers - only about seventy percent of which, June noted, were men. Later she would probably regret it, but right then, she just joyously cried "je regrette - nien? non!" and downed another glass.
All told, it was a heck of a party, and so muzzy-headed, four AM June was surprised when Chloe dragged her into a cab. Alone.
"Where are all the nice French people?" she asked. She tried to look out the window, but everything was blurry. The cold glass felt good against her nose, though. She sighed and closed her eyes.
"Gone," Chloe said. "I'm wayyyy too hammered for any kind of multi-action right now. Oh, and also, you're trashed beyond, you know." She banged her fingers together in what June guessed was a gesture meant to approximate, well, sex.
And it was true; she was. Still, she felt distantly affronted. "I could do it!"
At this advanced stage in their roommate-lationship, June didn't need to actually be looking at Chloe to know she was rolling her eyes. "I can!" she said as the taxi began driving them back to the hotel. "I can - do you know how many times I've gotten drunk? At least ten. Every New Year's, thanks. With Steven, so hi, totally capable of the whole kit 'n' caboodle." She broke off her persuasive speech with a snort when she made eye contact with the cab driver.
"Oh my God," Chloe said, "Ten times? You're practically a drunk-sex virgin."
"I am not!" June said, and then, because there was really no other way to prove it, she leaped across the cab to tackle Chloe against the far window.
June had really only kissed a few people, but Drunk June was ready for anything. She grabbed Chloe's hair and kissed her hard, laughing when Chloe shoved at her bra to grab at her chest. They made out for the rest of the drive, much to the disgust of the driver. June didn't care. Alcohol was amazing.
She was gonna do it. She was so gonna do it. They were gonna go upstairs, and make passionate, drunk love, and absolutely nothing on this earth was going to stop her.
"I'm gonna do it," she announced when they got upstairs.
"Uh-huh," Chloe said.
June sat down on the bed. "No, I am. You think I won't, but I will. Just wait." The bed was soft and her shoes were proving hard to remove. She lay down to try to get them from a different angle. Angles! Angles were great. "Just wait."
Her pillow was so soft. So, so soft. June yawned, and slipped into sleep.
She woke up slowly the next morning, mostly because the first thing she registered upon regaining consciousness was pain. So much pain. Pain in her head, pain in her jaw, pain in her knees...had she transformed into a ninety-year-old?
She opened her eyes and looked down. Normal legs. Going-out clothes. And - "Gah!"
Chloe shrugged and continued to eat her yogurt while staring down at June. She wasn't, June noted, wearing any clothes at all. "Chloe! You're - naked - you're going to make the bed dirty!"
"That's what room service is for," Chloe said. She took another bite of yogurt, still staring at June. "How's the head?"
A smile broke out on Chloe's face. A devilish, dangerous smile. "I knew it. Congratulations, June. You've officially become slightly more normal."
"Because I got drunk and made terrible decisions."
"Yep," Chloe said. She reached over to her side of the bed and produced another yogurt. "Now eat this. I stole five guys' wallets last night, and we have shopping to do."
Like most things that involved her, shopping with Chloe was more ridiculous and exciting than it had any right to be. Chloe spoke a bit of extremely affected French, and liked using it in the most expensive stores in Paris. June followed along, an ugly American everywhere but the face, as Chloe bought them both shoes, skirts, dresses, and coats, until they were both so loaded down that June's arms ached holding their purchases. "How much cash did those guys have?" she said.
"Oh, not a lot, initially," Chloe said as they tumbled into a cab. "But while you were busy promising François and Louis that we could totally have a foursome, I went to the ATM."
"Chloe!" June shrieked. It was muffled by the sheer number of bags in the cab, which also - probably conveniently - kept June from seeing how much Chloe was smirking at her.
Her cranky mood had faded by the time they got back to the apartment. All the beautiful clothes definitely helped, as did the fact that room service had come and erased the evidence of June's previous debauchery. Chloe threw the bags down on the bed and said, "Okay, I want you to put on the red dress and those super strappy shoes we bought."
June blinked. "Sorry, what?"
Chloe's nonchalance was absolutely, positively, cross-your-heart-and-hope-to-die false when she said, "We're going to the President's Gala for Orphans or whatever tonight."
"President François -"
"Frenchy-French, yeah." Chloe waved a hand. "And honestly, who cares about dying orphans, am I right? But there's an open bar and rich French guys have a thing for lesbians just as much as regular guys, so." She looked at June expectantly.
Before June had moved to New York, she'd been able to trust her vagina. It had been reliable. Now, when Chloe said "lesbians", a little zing went through her. Zing! And she pressed her legs together and glared in response. "I care about dying orphans, Chloe. I think most people should."
Once, midway through deserting a bottomless mimosa brunch without paying the check, a woman had handed Chloe a baby. She'd had the same narrow-eyed, suspicious look then that she wore now, glaring at June. "June. I didn't win us a trip to Paris -"
"- for you to be a boring stick in the mud." Chloe crossed her arms. "We're going to the gala."
June didn't feel a thrill of excitement at the way Chloe ordered her. No way. If anything, she was annoyed. "Fine," she said. "But if I fall and break my ankle, I'll blame you."
"Oh no," Chloe said. "Anything but blame." She rolled her eyes - and then watched, eyes intent, as June got dressed.
It was weird. But the gala was weirder. Chloe knew a strange number of French men, or at least, she knew a strange number of French men for a normal person. They approached her all night, hanging all over her, then getting weird boner-face when Chloe would messily kiss June. By the end of the night, June's head spun with champagne and she had an entire speech prepared for when Chloe sexiled her.
Apparently she had too much champagne, though, because when they got back to their room, it was just her and Chloe. "Um," June said. "Where's Pierre?"
"Pierre, François, Jean-Paul, and Auguste are all exiled," Chloe said. "Ugh, it's so much more romantic when you're high on peyote in the desert." She flopped into their luxurious mid-century chair and eyed June with suspicion. "If you give me a lecture about coked-up sluttiness, I swear I'll drop you out the window."
"I wasn't going to say anything," June lied. "But I thought the point of this trip was, you know. Hooking up?"
"It was. Ugh. Maybe I'll just give up. It's probably a desert down there by now anyway. It's been days."
And then, to June's horror, Chloe shoved her hand down her skirt.
It was a very tiny skirt. It looked infinitely tinier when Chloe spread her legs, arched her back, and said, "Okay, no. Not a desert."
"Ummm," June said. The plumbing company hadn't shelled out for a suite, and she didn't want to sleep in the tub. She wanted to sleep in the bed. The warm bed. The bed that she'd meant to have sex with Chloe in, her drunk brain reminded her helpfully.
Oh. Sex. Right. June watched as Chloe's hand moved under her skirt, and listened as she made tiny noises. She didn't sound like she normally did when she took guys home. This sounded more private. Maybe even honest.
Okay, it was still Chloe. Probably not honest.
Chloe's voice cut through the air. June looked up in spite of herself, meeting Chloe's gaze.
Chloe's eyes were intense. They looked like movie star eyes, or romance novel eyes. June felt suddenly absolutely sure that Chloe wanted to have sex with her. To fuck her. Not for a joke, but because she wanted it.
It was extremely terrifying.
"Come here," Chloe said.
June took a step forward, and then another step, until she was standing over Chloe, whose hand was still moving, whose head pressed against the back of the chair.
"Closer," Chloe said.
June didn't trust herself to lean over without falling, so it seemed natural to crouch down. Only then she tilted forward, and then she was on her knees, inches from all of Chloe's business.
"Oh," she said.
Chloe pressed her foot against June's back. She was, June noted, still wearing her shoes. It send a thrill down June's spine.
"Get busy," Chloe said.
Part of June, the part that wasn't drunk and stupid, noted that 'get busy' was a stupid thing to say - in that context, or really in any context. But Drunk-and-Horny-June didn't care. She could smell Chloe now, and she wasn't some Amish virgin. She'd watched porn. She knew what to do. Or at least, she could guess.
She pushed Chloe's skirt up farther, batting Chloe's hand away in the process. Ah, yes. A vagina. Right there. With all its...parts. This was great. June was totally in control.
"June," Chloe snapped.
"Right! Right." She leaned in. Fingers were a thing. She pressed her fingertips against Chloe - experimentally at first, then a little harder when Chloe moved against her. It was easy enough to slip them in, Chloe being as wet as she was. And then there was just the clitoris. Clit. June curled her fingers, thrusting clumsily, as she leaned in and placed her mouth against Chloe's -
Her mind sort of broke trying to find a word for it. But it didn't matter, because when Chloe moved again, and made another one of those tiny noises, her sensible brain stopped paying attention. Drunk-June was in charge, and Drunk-June knew exactly what to do.
It was easy, really. She was warm and salty, and this close, it was super obvious what worked and what didn't. June thrust her fingers, moved her tongue, sucked and flattened her mouth, until Chloe convulsed around her. Then she did it again - this time, with Chloe tugging her hair. She was so absorbed in the task that she didn't even realize she was also kind of turned on until Chloe sank to the floor and basically tackled her, shoving a leg between June's and kissing her.
"Fuck, fuck," Chloe said, and June could feel her hand wiggling by her hip, trying to get between them - but it didn't matter, because June was so wet that just rubbing against Chloe's leg set her off a bit. She shuddered and closed her eyes, clinging to Chloe - and then crying out when, the second she relaxed enough to put space between them, Chloe got her hand between them and pressed against June's clit.
"Come on," Chloe said. Her dark eyes stayed on June, and June found herself trapped in them. "Is this good?"
It was more than good. She felt like there were fireworks in her hip flexors. But she couldn't say that out loud, or anything else. It was too much. She nodded, angling her hips when Chloe moved them, crying out when Chloe pressed fingers inside her. Everything was messy, everything was too much - and she came again and then again on Chloe's hand, clinging to Chloe's shoulders, collecting carpet burn head to toe and not even caring.
She didn't realize that she fell asleep on the floor until she woke up drooling on it. For a moment, embarrassment suffused her. Then she remembered what had happened, and embarrassment smothered her. And then she heard a snore extremely close behind her, and realized that Chloe had also fallen asleep on the carpet.
Oh dear. Oh, oh dear.
A shower would fix a few things, like how her mouth tasted like vagina and also champagne and probably death. A shower, brushing her teeth, and washing her face, because Paris was not an excuse to abandon hygiene, oh God. June wiggled and then, when she established that her body was more or less free to move, began to roll away from Chloe.
A hand landed on her breast.
Chloe, June thought, was a walking stereotype. With two fingers, June removed the hand. She wiggled a little farther.
The hand returned, and this time, it pinched her nipple, and June lost her patience. "Chloe! I want to shower!"
"Shower with you," Chloe mumbled.
June craned her neck to look over at Chloe. She'd seen Chloe passed out drunk in fundamentally undignified positions many times, but she'd never seen anything like this. Chloe had a tight hold on three pillows, smushing them between her chest and face. She had an iron grip on June's shoulder, and her eyes were still completely closed.
June felt like she'd just seen Jesus, or an affordable apartment in Park Slope: Chloe wanted to cuddle.
"Okay," she said, and lay back down.
Chloe yanked her to her almost immediately. June's face was mashed against a pillow, Chloe's hair, and Chloe's bony shoulder.
It wasn't the most comfortable position, but June's monster hangover didn't care. She fell back asleep almost right away.
The next time she woke up, it was to see a pair of breasts dangling in her face.
"Augh," she said, and the breasts moved away.
"I was trying to hypnotize you into being awake," said the owner of the breasts - who was, unsurprisingly, Chloe. She sat back on her heels, looking both clean and very bored. "It didn't work."
"Shocking," June said. At least Chloe had a shirt on. A bra, no, but really that would have been asking for too much. "Ugh, my mouth -"
"Smells like a dead squirrel? Yeah it does. Go shower." Chloe pelted a bar of hotel soap at her, and then looked away.
Speaking of dead squirrels. Right then June felt very certain that one had taken up residence in her stomach. Or maybe that lower pelvic area was her intestines? June hadn't exactly aced anatomy class. Either way, she felt terrible! She felt dirty and used. Drunk sex was so tawdry, and June's skin needed maintenance that drunkenly passing out didn't allow. By the end of the day she'd probably be breaking out! And then there was Chloe, whose skin looked as smooth and alabaster as a goddess, and who'd probably go out tonight and have an orgy and not have a single pimple the next day.
Life was unfair.
"Well?" Chloe said. "Go shower!"
Oh. Right. June scurried to obey.
She did feel somewhat less debauched after bathing, though "somewhat" was, of course, a highly subjective measurement. For example, showering revealed to her the numerous bite marks all over delicate places. And trying to get dressed revealed that none of her necklines covered some of those same bite marks.
But June was a Colburn, and thus she would persevere. She put on a cute dress and marched into the bedroom. "I'm all ready to go, so let's - Chloe!"
Chloe stopped waving out the bedroom window, completely naked, to send June a glare. "What?"
Her butt was so nice. No! "It's not - it's - manners!"
"Uh-huh." Chloe turned around and crossed her arms under her breasts. That didn't help matters either. Why was June suddenly so gay? "This is France, you know. I can be topless in my window if I want."
"You do that in New York all the time!"
"I take my home with me." Chloe breezed past June. "I have an appointment with the most darling chocolatier this morning, don't wait up."
"Oh, I love chocolate," June said.
Chloe poked her head out of the bathroom. "Make your own appointment, then."
That was that. June found herself sitting on the loveseat as Chloe left the apartment. It was such a reversal of morning roles that for a moment, June contemplated ringing for some booze. She ended up settling for instant coffee.
But the primary question on her mind remained why she'd become so gay all of a sudden. Oh, sure, it was Paris and Paris was the city of love, and Chloe would have sex with anyone, as long as they were attractive or wealthy - though preferably both. But June knew that this was more than just a simple case of French-crazed lust for her. She wouldn't suddenly decide muff-diving was her raison d'etre just because she'd had some really nice bread at a cute cafe in a beautiful city. She could easily get two of those three things back in New York, and the entertaining street shouting matches would be added on for free!
It had just never happened before, and that was weird. Well, okay, Tina in tenth grade had been the reason June started questioning her sexuality, but meeting Steven had meant she only thought about one person after that. Except in dreams, of course. And sometimes when she was mad at Steven. But those were only a few times, really.
Things would go back to normal, June thought. Paris was just exciting, and Chloe's decision to have them get married meant that their whole vibe had changed. But going back to New York would make things normal again. They could get the marriage annulled, or however that worked. June could embrace bisexuality with people who abused fewer substances. Yes, June thought. Good. And in the meantime, June could keep her distance.
All that thinking took up only about half an hour. At the end of it, June looked around, half expecting someone to appear out of mid-air to congratulate her, or for Chloe to come back hours before she'd promised. But of course, neither of those things happened, so June wound up sitting by the French doors - French doors in France! - and reading a book. One that wasn't in French, sadly.
Chloe returned around lunch, imperiously instructing a room service flunkie. "Here you go, it's not cash, but it's worth at least double the cash I have on me," she said, and passed over a ring June was pretty sure she hadn't brought with her from New York. "Adieu!" Chloe said, shutting the door in the baffled flunkie's face.
"Looks like you had a good morning."
"It was marvelous. You would have loved it." Chloe plucked a strawberry from the room service tray. "Did you seriously spend all morning reading?"
"Oh, I was also thinking."
"Well, one of us has to think," June said. "The vacation will be over in a few days, and then we'll be back in New York. We'll have to get the marriage annulled then."
"Hah! Good one. Here, it's a croak madman or whatever they're called." Chloe waved at a plate with a croque madame and, really, the most delicious-looking roasted potatoes.
June was so hungry - but she couldn't let Chloe distract her. "You don't want to get the marriage annulled?"
"Why would I do that?"
"I don't pay taxes." Chloe sat down on the bed. "And married people can't testify against each other. It's a win-win."
"No part of that is winning! Listen to yourself!" June stood, because it made her feel more authoritative, and put her hands on her hips. "We can't stay married just because you think it's cool!"
She knew Chloe would make fun of her, because Chloe made fun of everyone, and June most of all. But something about her mannerisms changed. Instead of looking June dead in the eye while calling her the biggest bumpkin in the world, she looked over June's shoulder. "I didn't know Iowa took marriage so seriously. Is divorce even legal out there?"
"That's not even funny. Why are you being so weird?"
"Because I had a great morning, June, and now I'm back at the hotel room that we had perfectly fine sex in, and you're being weird."
"So the sex was fine? That's why you left so quickly?"
"We were drunk. What do you want me to say, that it blew my mind and ruined me for all others?"
And suddenly, just like that, everything clicked. The planets aligned. It was like an N*SYNC reunion, or Grey's Anatomy ending on a happy note. "You're having a feeling."
"What? I am not!"
"You are! You are." June advanced on Chloe and, as she'd predicted, Chloe retreated. Since she was on the bed, that mostly meant she leaned back a little and looked vaguely repulsed. "You don't want to stop being married because you like this. And you liked the sex, even though we're friends."
"And clichéd. And true."
"Oh my God." Chloe rolled her eyes. "Go watch whatever dumb movie you got this idea from and -"
June leaned forward, grabbed Chloe's hair, and kissed her. For a second she thought it was going to backfire, based on the way Chloe froze and made a weird screeching noise. But then, even as June pulled away, Chloe grabbed June's shoulders and tumbled them both onto the bed, pressing June into the mattress.
"I fucked several firemen," Chloe said with a triumphant smile.
June laughed. And then gasped, when Chloe moved her hand between June's legs. God, she was turned on. She could get used to this. She was apparently going to get used to this.
"Pay attention," Chloe said, and pushed June's knees apart, biting at her thigh.
And oh boy, June did.
"So this is what it's like to look in the eyes of a traitor," Luther said. He pursed his lips, looking June up and down. "If you start wearing plaid everywhere, lose my number."
"It's not that bad, Luther. Honestly. I like to think I have a civilizing influence." June looked over to where Chloe and James were doing shots. Chloe hadn't even tried to grab anyone's private areas yet.
She didn't realize she was smiling until Luther said, "Well, I'd have preferred my own dramatic el-gee-bee-tee love before yours. But she has been somewhat less irritating since you two got back. Of course, two weeks isn't that long. Imagine the tenth anniversary. Ten years with Chloe and only tin to show for it."
"I think I'll survive," she said. She was still smiling. What a great side effect.
"Mmm, if you say so." Luther sipped his spritzer, and June drank her vodka tonic. Chloe's laugh echoed from across the bar.
"I do say so," June said, at the same time Chloe yelled, "You're the matador and I'm the bull, bitch!"
"And now I have to go," June said. "Chloe, no!"
It was going to be a long night. June was looking forward to it.