by Croupier

Rory wanted to slash her professor's jacket. She wanted to slice parallel, uneven slits in it with a butcher knife, step over the professor himself, and go to her bedroom, where Paris would be waiting. She thought of wearing nothing but the jacket, and about the butcher knife she'd keep with her. Hot blade on Paris's skin, warm pressing here, a few shallow cuts there. They were small. They'd heal up. She pressed her clit harder into the seam of her jeans and idly took notes, wanting to be his voice.

Paris from the back was something spectacular, and Rory watched her leave. Rory hoped Paris would be back early tonight, that the jacket wouldn't keep her out too late. When she heard the suite's outer door slam, she slid the deadbolt over and slid between Paris's sheets, and slid her hand between her legs, and left a small wet spot of come on Paris's linens.

It took her nine weeks to work up the nerve to go to one of the LGBT group meetings. When she did, she saw Laundry Boy there and spent the rest of the evening twisting her hands inside her shirtsleeves, blushing towards the table.

The group was voting on tee shirt designs that night. Rory didn't want to wear a tee shirt. She didn't want to be group property anymore. She craved isolation. Too nervous to sleep in Paris's empty bed at night, she stole Paris's pillow and spare sheets. She spent nights reading in bed, or with her iBook on her lap, typing out half-assed papers in one window and writing rambling, flowing lines about thorns and thread counts in another.

By day, she stared at the jacket. The board sported the chalk, the chalk floured the hand, the hand sprouted from the watch at the wrist, the pulse pushed at the skin from beneath, she felt her own pulse, the wrist was attached to the arm, the arm was inside the jacket. Her own elbow, feeling the table through her sweater, polishing the wood when she fidgeted. There was class, but class was just an excuse for their daily showdown. She never spoke. The language raced in their veins; a mention of Lolita was more than a mention of Lolita; A Streetcar Named Desire was more than A Streetcar Named Desire. She hated and loved it at the same time, more, less, never enough, stop, could feel herself transforming beneath her veneer into something entirely different. A grin under the mask's powder grit because no one could see her real face, except her eyes, and they gave away just enough. She felt disconnected afterwards, as she wandered back to her room. She looked normal, but everything on campus seemed sexual. The breeze, impatient, tugged at the slow-moving boughs, and the leaves waved back a tease. The ground felt solid, like a body would feel. The buildings existed only to house secrets, and when she got back to her room, she'd throw herself on Paris's bed and slowly move over to her own, and wait for Paris to get in and then leave, and she'd smell the air where Paris had just been, moving her hips beneath her hands. She'd borrow Paris's old-lady period-week panties, shifting in her seat before the jacket man, thinking I'm wearing the things she's ashamed for you to see. I'm wearing her worst things, and she will never let you see.


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