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of it.
Taryn turned her head and looked down at her, puzzled.  Of
course not.
Rosalind s stomach knotted. She pushed away from Taryn s
shoulder and sat up. She couldn t ask the next question. It would brand
her as possessive, a mortal sin in Taryn s world. She recalled how Taryn
had spoken of Colleen with distaste when she had gotten proprietary. If
Rosalind let Taryn know how possessive she already felt, it would be
the death knell for whatever they had between them.
Taryn noticed the immediate change in Rosalind and sat up as
well.  Didn t Rhea tell you?
" 79 "
SUSAN SMITH
 She intimated that someone was upstairs with you, yes, Rosalind
said, through clenching jaw muscles. The immediate, red streak of
jealousy that blinded her was a complete surprise. She d never been a
jealous person in her life.
 Egyptia was too drunk to go home, so she crashed with me.
Rosalind managed not to repeat the drag queen s name in
amazement. Rhea had left that part out. Somehow Rosalind couldn t
see the omission as a simple mistake.
 I didn t want to wake you, so I left the clothes with Rhea,
Rosalind said, feeling absurd. She settled back against Taryn s shoulder,
hoping that the stroking would begin where it left off. Taryn seemed to
be thinking about something. Her hands were still.
 Rosalind? Can I ask you something?
 Sure, honey. The endearment slipped out before she could stop
it, but Rosalind was glad. Every moment she was around Taryn was
becoming a struggle not to say what she was feeling. She didn t want
to scare Taryn away, but it felt like the missing part of her heart had
come home.
 Would you go out with me? Like, on a date?
Rosalind turned and looked right at her. Taryn s tone was unsure,
and she had never sounded like that. For the first time, it occurred to
Rosalind that this might be new for Taryn, too. She was serious, and
gentle, when she answered.  Of course I would. Rosalind managed
not to tack sweetheart to the end of her sentence.
Taryn beamed.  A real date. Dress to the nines, go out to dinner, all
that, she said, almost as if she were informing Rosalind of an obscure
cultural practice that might be unpleasant or dangerous.
There was no need to hesitate. Rosalind offered her best smile.
 Just say when, and I m yours.
 Tomorrow night. Eight o clock. Come by and pick me up.
Rosalind leaned in and kissed her, letting that be her answer.
When her bed s structural strength had been tested, when her pale
peach sheets needed replacing, Rosalind slipped into her nightshirt and
dropped back onto the bed. Taryn was leaning up against the headboards
with the smug grin of a boy who has nothing left to prove. She d stripped
down to her boxers and sat with her arms behind her head. Rosalind
couldn t shake the feeling that Taryn was still performing, still showing
" 80 "
Of Drag Kings & the Wheel of Fate
off. Not that she was complaining, exactly. Rosalind drew a lazy hand
along her thigh, tracing the winged lion.
 Tell me about doing drag, Rosalind asked, feeling bold.
Taryn s grin lost some of its self-satisfied edge, softened by
unexpected pleasure in the question.  What it s like or why I do it?
 Both. Whatever you want to tell me. I know about women
passing as men during the Civil War. I ve read about girls disguising
themselves as boys to be sailors. I know Hatshepsut declared herself
a man by the will of the gods to rule as Pharaoh. I don t know much
about modern drag. Just talk. I like the sound of your voice when you
talk about what you love.
 There are some who do it for money, deadly serious passing. Some
do it for sex. It s righteous. I do it to hear the women howling for me.
 Dog. Rosalind s hand stopped its stroking. Taryn reached down
and nudged it into starting again.
 Never claimed different. But it s more than that. For me it s
natural. You know Egyptia? She s in drag when she ain t in a dress, you
know? Male clothing isn t right on her. It fights against who she is. It s
hard to watch.
 I m not sure what you mean.
 Picture me in a dress.
Rosalind tried. Her mind balked, finally producing an image
that looked like a Milton Berle skit Taryn in combat boots and a
pink chiffon prom dress, the straps hanging off her broad shoulders.
 Yikes.
 You see what I mean? That s not how nature intended it. All
clothing is costume. But we don t live like it is. When I put on a suit it s
illusion, sure. But the illusion can be more real than the real thing.
Rosalind saw Egyptia sighing in the chair, surrendering to the
beautiful boy who sang to her.  That I willingly believe.
 Illusion and revelation are powerful magic. Rhea taught me that
the trickster gods all do drag. They move between the male and female
worlds and have secret knowledge.
 Drag as a sacred act. I like that. But I think you were being a
little too honest when you told me you do it to hear the women howl
for you.
 Hey, the gods have to have a sense of humor. They made me.
I feel right in a suit. I feel sexy. I m just glad that some women agree.
" 81 "
SUSAN SMITH
There was a note of vulnerability in her tone that made Rosalind s
heart ache. It gave the hint of a well of pain underneath the words that
Taryn silenced. Rosalind pulled Taryn s head down and kissed her,
softly.
The night had been sweet beyond imagining. Taryn had wrapped
Rosalind up in a tangle of long arms and legs and fallen directly asleep.
She was like a puppy. Her whole body was engaged in capturing her
bedmate. Rosalind, frustrated by the amount of heat Taryn gave off,
finally shucked her nightshirt and slept naked. She considered that
having someone so warm-blooded might be an evolutionary benefit [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]