Over on Facebook, I'm an admin for the Spanking Ficton Readers and Writers group. Wanting to get us talking about writing and sharing our writing, I offered a writing prompt. I decided to take some time from my WIPs to attempt the prompt myself.
Two dirt-poor art students survive by sharing a nasty little apartment above a bodega. They struggle through four years, barely making ends meet, comforting one another through tragedies and triumph, but never openly admit how they feel about each other…until they graduate, and one of them gets a job in another city. Is it too late to confess their love?
The stench washed over them, blue hair and purple hair.
“Here's the $30 down,” Timpany said.
“Move in now, if you want. I ain't got no money to clean it up first,” the landlord said.
Rela set hir bag on the floor. “It'll work. Thanks.” Ze closed the door behind the fleeing landlord.
“That's done.” Timpany relaxed onto the floor with his legs spread apart. “First class tomorrow at noon.”
“Yeah. And we're doing it without our families' support.”
“Right you are.” Timpany turned onto his side and closed his eyes.
Rela stood up with blue hair falling all around them. “Fuck yeah. New start.” Ze wandered onto the shower tiles and turned on the water. Fast rinse to push the hair to the drain, ze hurried through the cold shower. “Damn broken water heater.” Ze shook off the water.
The door opened and Timpany walked in. “You get a bad grade again?”
“I was gonna show my parents.”
Timpany wrapped his arms around the dripping wet Rela. “You can still show your parents. It's one bad grade. Just one.”
“What you get on the project?”
“B,” Timpany said.
“Shit.” He continued to hug hir. “Look, I scored us some ramen. Let's eat.”
Ze noticed a towel and grabbed it. “Dry enough.” Half-watching around the towel, ze relaxed into Timpany's care.
Pot on the hot pad, he ripped open two packages of ramen and poured the noodles into the boiling water.
“I'm laying.” Ze dropped down onto the futon.
“Shaved head's a cool look,” he called out.
“Another year of classes. Why are we doing bachelor's rather than associate's?” Timpany looked up from his sketch pad to watch Rela scrubbing the inside of their only window.
“Because we live in this shithole so we can get the slightly more impressive fine arts' degrees?”
Timpany snorted. He pulled his blanket up his lap and readjusted his sketch pad.
Gun shots sounded and Rela dropped to the floor moments before a bullet smashed through their window.
“Okay, going to tell Miranda. Don't clean up the glass, just our other stuff.” Timpany jumped to his feet and pulled a red dress that reached his ankles. He hopped across the floor to miss any broken glass, pulled on his flip-flops, and hurried out the door. He practically flew down the stairs to the bodega and stopped in front of the counter, trying to catch his breath.
“Yeah, Tim?” Miranda asked.
“Sen...senora, our window was broken by those gunshots.”
Miranda sighed. “Put a plastic bag or something over it. I'll see if I can get a cheap enough window.”
“Gracias.” Timpany rushed back up the stairs. Just inside the door, he said, “Fucking hell! Plastic bag or something! I should have known better. She's not coming to look.”
Rela looked up from hir tidying. “You tried to do the right thing, as far as we were raised to think it.”
“You mind getting all the glass up so I can finish this drawing? It's due tomorrow?”
“No problem. And then I'll get a garbage bag over the window hole.”
Gazing at his drawing for a long moment, he started to sketch a pistol in the upper left corner.
“Fuck, I'm cold!” Rela placed another garbage bag over the window and applied liberal amounts of duct tape.
“At least we're in New Mexico,” Timpany responded. He placed his sketch book on the floor. “Why don't you take a break and we'll cuddle. That'll warm you up.”
“You're naughty.” Still ze crossed the room, dropped their jeans to the floor, and then relaxed between his legs before he covered them both with the heavy, new blanket he'd found in the lost and found room at school. “You may be from the frozen north, but I'm from Brazil. This is frigid to me.”
“It's okay. Aren't you feeling warmer already?” He rubbed his hands against hir arms rapidly.
“Yeah. This is good. How's your classwork going?” Ze rested hir cheek on his chest.
“Lots of papers in this class. Freaking art history! But it feels good to be learning, especially since this is focused on art outside the Western, white male canon. You know, sometimes seeing people who look like me in the textbook?”
“I get you. I'm loving my sexuality in art class. All the extra reading material the prof suggests is way cool. Radical sexuality and politics.”
“That must warm your funky, little heart,” he teased.
“Shush your rotten mouth.”
“You know you like it.”
Ze turned to look at his sketch pad. “What's this you're working on? If it isn't for a class?”
“Oh, it's for a class, just not the art history one. Well I already had it started, but it fits an assignment.” He studied his drawing with hir. “A fantasy, something I'm not sure is an experience I could ever have.”
“I like it.” Ze closed hir eyes.
“Yes! Yes! Yes!” Rela screeched, a piece of paper in hir hands.
“What?” Timpany closed and then taped a cardboard box.
“The advertising company in Arizona that I wanted to work for said yes. They'll even help some toward my student loans.”
“That's great.” Timpany looked at the floor and moved to some last things of theirs needing boxed.
“What?” Rela moved in front of the box and grabbed Timpany's hands.
“I.” He dropped a sketch pad into the box; it fell open to show the picture of his fantasy from a few months before. “I mean, do you.”
Ze traced the lines of the nurturing figure without actually touching the paper.
Ripping his hands away, he turned to grab the paperback from the worn down futon mattress they'd agreed to leave behind.
“Adult babies?” Rela murmured. Ze flipped slowly through the dog-earred book, pausing to read and study various pictures and passages. “Do you want to be my baby?” Ze looked up quick to his face.
“I was too scared to ask. That you'd think me weird. That you might not.” He swallowed. “Love me.”
Ze flopped down on the futon. “Pants down and across my lap.”
Once he was in position, he murmured, “Love?”
“I was waiting for you, silly goose. I love you too. And since you almost waited until I was gone, I'm going to spank your butt with the book and then you'll start loading your stuff into my car.”
“Your Per loves you very much.” Ze brought the paperback down on his butt hard enough that it made a crisp smack five times before pulling up hir pants. “We'll have awhile on the road to take about this.”
“Yes, my love, my Per.” He sighed and burst into movement.