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Hold Hands and Play Nice

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“Claire,” Gloria says as they enter the crosswalk, “why are you holding my hand?”

Claire stops on the corner, her and Gloria’s joined hands swinging between them. “What do you mean, why am I holding your hand?”

“That is what I asked!” Gloria raises their hands, shaking them so her bracelets jingle on her arm. “Those men thought we were lovers. Or at least I think they did. They didn’t stare at me.”

Claire feels her face heat. The thought itself isn’t unappealing—it never has been, which is one of those secrets she is taking beyond the grave. “You took my hand at the coffee shop and didn’t let go!”

“I was trying to hand you my purse so I could get my wallet,” Gloria says, still shaking their hands. Neither of them have bothered with release. “But then you paid so I just…kept doing it.”

People pass them on the sidewalk, but they just stare at each other—it’s always a competition to see who will break first. Only this time, both women stand their ground, and as they continue walking, they keep their hands clasped.

“Let them think we’re lovers,” Claire says haughtily, knowing the word sounds better in Gloria’s accent. “You should be so lucky to have a woman like me.”

Gloria laughs, fingers tightening around Claire’s.