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A Very Thoughtful Manicure

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Planet 7 wasn’t Rosa’s usual scene, but she could vibe with it. Since Liz had ditched her to go on a date with Max, and Maria had gone on a road trip with Alex, she had to go elsewhere for company. And hanging out with her dad on the night of the meteor shower was just lame. She needed to get out.

So here she was.

Two of the people talking at the bar were very familiar. She grinned when she recognised them as Kyle and Isobel. Seeing either of them at a gay bar surprised her, but the two of them together? Priceless. She hid a smile and walked over to them.

Isobel’s jaw dropped when she saw Rosa approach. “Um, aren’t you a bit young to be at this bar?” she said, causing Kyle to whip around and stare at Rosa too.

Rosa raised her eyebrows. “Bitch, please. I was born 31 years ago. That’s not underage anywhere in the world.”

Kyle stepped towards Rosa and grabbed her arm. “Should you really be at a bar? Since, you know…”

“No, Kyle, I don’t know. Is it because I’m an alcoholic? Or maybe it’s because I’m legally dead? Or are you really concerned that technically I’m under 21, if we’re only counting the years I’ve been alive?”

Kyle glanced at Isobel for help, but she shrugged. “Girl’s got a point. And it’s not like anyone here will recognise her.”

“All right,” said Kyle, turning back to Rosa. “Why are you here?”

“Why are you here?” she countered. “Have you got something to tell us? You know you can tell your big sister anything.” Her heart jumped at the sound of Isobel’s laugh. “And you, Izzy… Well, I can guess why you’re here.”

“Can you now?” Isobel raised an eyebrow, but the scary effect was ruined by the diamantes around her eyes. Instead she just looked good enough to eat.

“Well, I’m guessing that either you’re experimenting now that you’re single, or you’re one of those girls who thinks gay men are hot. Not that there’s anything wrong with either option, but— I’m going to shut up now,” she said, realising she was rambling from the funny looks both Isobel and Kyle were giving her.

“We should dance!” She gestured at the room, where people were either on the dancefloor or sitting down and drinking their colourful space-themed cocktails. The three of them standing there talking didn’t fit in.

“Of course, Rosa,” said Kyle in an upbeat tone, though his sarcasm couldn’t be more obvious. “I can’t think of anything better than dancing with my formerly dead half-sister at a gay bar in my hometown.”

“Ugh. Who said I was talking to you?” Her eyes wandered up and down Isobel in her black leather dress. She had to tell herself to keep breathing and stop staring at Isobel’s legs.

Isobel’s eyes lit up. “You need some sparkles first.” She took Rosa’s arm and yanked her away.

“Don’t worry about me,” Kyle called after them. “I’ll be just fine getting home.”

Rosa let herself be pulled over to the bar, where a tall blonde she could’ve mistaken for Isobel if it were dark enough was serving drinks and giving out rhinestones and feather boas to patrons. Exchanging flirty smiles with Isobel, the woman handed over a plastic packet. There was a satisfying rip as Isobel opened it.

“You know you don’t have to do this,” Rosa said to her. “I won’t be offended if you go hang out with the bartender; it's obvious she's into you.”

“I know.” 

Isobel peeled off a diamante from the plastic. She paused with her finger scarily close to Rosa’s eye. “Where do you want them? Ooh, how about a lightning bolt, old-school Gaga style?”

“What? What’s a Gaga?”

Isobel gasped and put her hand to her chest. “Girl, tomorrow we are so having a pop culture catch-up session.”

“Just do, I don’t know, a heart or something. That’s on theme here, right?”

Her eyelids fluttered at the first press of a rhinestone onto her cheek. She could feel Isobel’s breath — did she need to be that close? — and got a whiff of her perfume. When she sniffed, she could also smell rain. It was such an innocent scent that was somehow seductive as hell.

Their gazes locked and Isobel licked her lips — possibly in concentration, but it made Rosa swallow. 

“So,” Rosa murmured, “do you wanna tell me why you’re at the gay bar?”

“I didn’t feel like being near a bunch of predatory straight men tonight. It’s too… soon. Do you wanna tell me why you’re at the gay bar?”

“I was bored.”

“You were bored,” Isobel said. “You thought you’d risk being found out because you were bored .”

“That’s not gonna happen, since I don’t know anyone here. And hey, you backed me up before! ‘Girl’s got a point’,” she said in what she thought was a perfect imitation of Isobel’s brand of sassiness. 

“That was when I thought maybe you were here out of some desire to find yourself, not out of boredom.”

“Maybe I have found myself,” Rosa retorted, grabbing Isobel’s hand where it was hovering near her cheek. “You done yet? I seem to remember asking you to dance.”

Isobel’s lips parted as if to speak. Instead, she smiled with eyes that sparkled, or maybe that was the rhinestones. She nodded.

Rosa touched her own cheek, tracing her fingers over the diamantes. It felt like a heart shape. She sighed in relief, as she wouldn’t put it past Isobel to make up her own design — maybe not the shape of a dick like a teenage boy would do, but maybe something just as cheeky.

After a cursory check around the room to see if Kyle had left, she pulled Isobel onto the dancefloor. The thumping beat was unfamiliar, but then she wouldn’t have recognised the dance music from 2008 either. They danced. Rhythm flowed through her veins, and she closed her eyes for a moment, just letting her body move how it wanted to. When she opened her eyes again, she found Isobel staring.

“What?”

“Nothing; I just hadn’t noticed how beautiful you are,” Isobel said with an unusual softness in her voice. There was a sadness in there too.

Of course, that was when the music changed to a slower, more intimate track. Rosa blushed under Isobel’s gaze, but came closer until she could put her hands on Isobel’s hips, smiling when Isobel gasped.

“When in Rome,” explained Rosa, jerking her head at the other couples on the floor. Somehow she maintained her cool veneer, despite her heart thudding in her chest like she’d just been for a run. 

Isobel responded by placing her arms around Rosa’s waist. It was Rosa’s time to gasp as their torsos pressed together. They swayed to the music, watching each other. Their lips were very close, and Rosa could still smell Isobel, and knew she wanted more. She took a deep breath and leapt. It was risky, as she had no idea what Isobel was feeling right now, but she touched Isobel’s chin and pressed their lips together. 

Isobel kissed her back. Relieved, Rosa put her hands in Isobel’s hair as they kissed like it was their salvation. Rosa opened her mouth, letting Isobel in and moaning when she did. It had been a long time since she’d been kissed like this. Isobel slid her hands from Rosa’s waist to her butt, holding her against her. 

All too soon, they had to pause for breath. 

“Wow,” said Isobel, looking starstruck. Pride blossomed in Rosa’s chest.

Rosa scanned the room. “Do you wanna…?”

“Go somewhere private?” Isobel finished the thought for her.

“Yeah.”

“Let’s go.” 

Isobel took Rosa by the hand and led her through the double doors and into the bathroom. Rosa locked the door, pressed Isobel against the cubicle wall, and kissed her, grateful that she’d trimmed her nails the other day, as it would make what she wanted to do a lot more comfortable. 

“Ever done this before?” Isobel asked.

Rosa’s hands froze on Isobel’s tits. “Maybe once or twice.” She didn’t want to admit who with, not to Isobel.

“Wow, that officially makes you more qualified in this department than me. So what do you wanna do?”

“I want to finger you, if that’s okay with Your Majesty,” said Rosa, rolling her eyes a little. Stating what she wanted like that made her feel unsexy, so she nipped at Isobel’s lower lip to compensate. 

Isobel took a shaky breath. “That’s more than okay,” she whispered, and pulled Rosa’s hands away from her breasts and under her skirt.

Isobel’s thighs were like the rest of her, sleek and strong and — though Rosa would never say it — sexy as hell. Rosa rested her head against Isobel’s shoulder, overwhelmed. She moved her hand higher, until her fingertips brushed the top of Isobel’s underwear. She looked up at her for permission. 

“Go on,” Isobel murmured. “Do I have to dare you?”

Her lips curved in a saucy smile that Rosa had to kiss. Then Rosa slipped her fingers inside Isobel’s panties and showed her just how qualified she was.

Afterwards, they straightened their clothes and washed their hands, meeting each other’s gaze in the mirror above the sinks. Isobel was grinning like the cat who got the cream, and Rosa couldn’t help the smirk on her own lips. Yep, she’d found herself, all right.

Isobel checked her phone. “It’s late — are you okay getting home? Should I get you an Uber?” 

“A what?” Rosa frowned.

“Oh, sweet summer child,” said Isobel, who then winced. “I don’t think I can call you that now. Anyway, I’m coming over tomorrow morning to catch you up on the decade you’ve missed.”

Rosa looked up at the ceiling. “Yay.”

Isobel tapped on her phone. “Okay, your ride will be here in seven minutes. Don’t worry about paying the driver, it’s sorted.”

Rosa shook her head, wondering how this Uber thing worked. “What about you? Are you going home now?”

“Yeah, but I drove. And yes, I'm sober enough. Do you want me to wait outside with you?”

“That would be nice.”

They left the bathroom together, the blonde bartender whistling and winking at Isobel, who went over to settle her bill before coming back to Rosa. Rosa bit her lip, feeling like the bartender thought she was a prize. Or maybe it was Isobel who was meant to be the prize.

They went outside and chatted for a few minutes before a white Prius pulled up. Isobel nudged her. 

“That’s your ride.”

“Thanks.” Before Rosa opened the car door, she turned back. “Um, you won’t tell anyone about tonight, will you? Because if Liz or my dad finds out… Ugh. If they don’t kill me, they’ll kill you instead. And as far as Kyle’s concerned, we just danced, okay?”

“Relax — I can be discreet,” Isobel said, and kissed Rosa one more time, slipping in a bit of tongue. 

Rosa snorted. There were many words she would use to describe Isobel, but discreet wasn’t one of them.

“Good night, Rosa.”

“Night.”

As she got into the car, she hoped Isobel hadn’t bought any of the tacky Planet 7 T-shirts — it would be just like her to keep her promise of discretion by way of loophole. Rosa sighed. But she spent the entire ride home touching her lips and smiling, glad she’d taken a risk. She wondered what the chances were of it happening again.