"When We're Forty"
Two friends joke they'll get married when they're forty in this sparkling queer love story by Georgia Clark.
I'm thrilled to introduce Georgia Clark — author of this summer's smash hit ISLAND TIME, cheese board devotee, co-founder of Heartbeat — and her short story, "When We're Forty."
Last month, Stranger Things' teenaged stars Millie Bobby Brown and Noah Schnapp joked that if they're both single at forty, they'd tie the knot. In this swoon-worthy tale, Georgia put her own spin on that exact idea with sci-fi blockbuster stars Michelle Balmain (a rule-following workhorse) and Zef Kobayashi (a trouble-making, big-hearted flirt). The tension is hot; the yearning is palpable; the 2000s nostalgia is so real. With lush prose and laugh-out-loud humor, this queer love story simply dazzles.
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“When We’re Forty”
If you pause the footage at three minutes and twenty-six seconds, you can see it. The moment my smile turns frozen. The moment when panic flares behind my eyes. The moment when (I’m slightly ashamed to say), I freak out. Because that is when Zef Kobayashi oh-so-casually says, “If we’re both still single at forty, we’ll probably get married.” Then to me, mischief flashing in her dark brown eyes, “Right, babe?”
Babe. Like I’m actually Zef’s girlfriend, not just someone who plays Zef’s girlfriend in a movie.
We’re filming an interview for a cable entertainment show to promote Dark Sky. I am eighteen years old. I am, to everyone’s surprise, an actress in a sci-fi blockbuster that will go on to become one of the year’s biggest-grossing movies. I am completely out of my depth.
The interviewer widens her eyes, sensing chum in the water. “Really! Are you two…” She waggles a manicured fingernail between us. A couple. That would be a real story. The only out gay celebrities I know are Ellen and k.d lang. I’ve never kissed anyone but when I do, I’m planning on it being a boy.
Our publicist is frantically shaking her head. The studio is freezing cold, even under the wall of lights.
I force a high, brassy laugh. “No! We’re not a couple. Zef’s just kidding.” I babble about how my character and Zef’s character “sort of, like, flirt” in the film but considering Zef plays a spunky genderless alien… “It’s… just a story,” is how I awkwardly sum it up. My heart is beating triple-time. I’m sure Zef is finding this all hilarious. Ordinarily, I love her cheek. Her willingness to break the rules. When Zef stole all the pastries from craft services to feed stray dogs when we were shooting in Mumbai, I cheered. When I found out she’d changed her name from Stephanie to Zef, I told her she was coolest girl I’d ever met. The night we snuck out while on location in London to explore the Thames with bottles of beer in brown paper bags is one of my favorite memories. Now, I’m sweating.
The interviewer turns to Zef for her response. “Right, but we’d make a good couple.” Zef runs one hand over her undercut, the edge of a tattoo visible under her t-shirt sleeve. She’s dressed like she’s about to hit the skate park. I look like a pastor’s daughter: a nightmare in pastel. Why did I let our pushy publicist pick out my clothes?
Zef goes on. “I never get sick of hanging out with her. If neither of us find anyone else, expect me to show up to your 40th, Mish.” And then the little brat winks at me.
It’s that wink that really does it: makes Zef’s comment stick. Michelle Balmain and Zef Kobayashi, two promising young actresses are secretly lesbian lovers and will get married when they’re forty—if gay marriage was legal, which of course it is not. We’re asked about it in subsequent interviews. Seventeen magazine writes about it, gay panic masquerading as teen gossip. Even my mom, a public-school teacher in my hometown of Cleveland, makes a delicate enquiry about my type. I am mortified. Constantly. Zef is never mortified.
She’s not out. But she’s not exactly in the closet, either. It didn’t surprise me to learn she’d hooked up with girls, something she mentioned one night in my trailer. I nodded, thumbing through the script as if I was barely interested. In reality, I wanted to know everything.
“Why did you say it?” We’re in Beijing for the last international premiere. This city is a brutally beautiful metropolis. The air is thick and humid. We’re hanging out in Zef’s hotel room before the step-and-repeat. The sun’s just set. The windows of the surrounding skyscrapers glow orange and pink. Zef’s leaning on the balcony, taking in the mess of lights. She’s in sneakers and a man’s suit, sipping from a silver flask. I’m reading yet another teen mag story about our “secret love.” I’m in another dress picked out by my publicist. I’m exasperated. “We’re never gonna live it down. And it’s not even true—we wouldn’t make a good couple! We couldn’t even share a house platonically—“
“Mish.” Zef gestures for me without taking her eye off the sky. “C’mere.”
“Mish.” Zef sounds patient. She’s the only one who calls me Mish. “C’mere.”
Huffing a sigh, I totter to the balcony, already regretting being talked into stilettos.
Zef points, high above the skyline.
“Oh,” I say, in pleased surprise. The evening star. I love getting to see the evening star. That first jewel of the night sky.
Zef’s perfect plump mouth is usually set in a smirk. Even with her laidback boyish charm, she’s unfairly pretty: smooth olive skin and artfully tousled mop of jet-black hair. “Don’t worry about the stupid marriage thing. I just said it to get a rise out of you. Shit, I just turned twenty. You’re eighteen. We’re never gonna be forty.” She laughs, as if the concept is ludicrous.
By the time I’m forty—over two impossibly long decades from now—I’ll be married to a great guy. I’ll have two kids, maybe three. Hopefully I’ll still be doing what I love—performing. But maybe I’ll be a soccer mom, living in the suburbs, driving a minivan. The idea is momentarily sobering.
I’ll never be forty. Forty is old. Forty is ancient.
Zef nudges me in the ribs, nodding to the star. “Make a wish.”
Someone knocks on Zef’s hotel room door. I should answer it. “We should go.”
“Babe,” she says, her voice teasing and low in a way that gives me full body shivers. “Make a wish.”
“Happy birthday, babydoll!” My good friend, Cara, offers me a flute from the bar set up on her enormous kitchen island. A spread worthy of a Renaissance painting crowds the marble countertop: fresh fruit, edible flowers, chunks of gooey cheese fanned by paper-thin crackers.
I take a grateful sip of Champagne. “Tell me you didn’t go overboard on the guest list.”
Cara’s a stylist obsessed with statement accessories. Tonight, it’s long, spangling earrings dancing from side to side as she shakes her head. “Tiny. Like, a hundred.”
I almost choke on my drink. “A hundred?”
I groan, but I’m mostly kidding. I’m fortunate to have so many people in my life who want to celebrate me. And Cara always throws the best parties. Around us, uniformed wait staff bustle in preparation. I pop a cherry in my mouth. Summer sweetness explodes on my tongue. “You said it’d be small.”
Cara tucks her arm into mine. “But darling, you’re Michelle Balmain. Forty has to be a blow-out. You’re too fabulous for it not to be!”
I have to laugh. I hadn’t planned on being in New York for my birthday, but I needed to be in town for a meeting with a director and besides, I adore the city. I usually stay with Cara in her sprawling Chelsea loft—more fun than a hotel. When she insisted on hosting, of course I acquiesced.
I have mixed feelings about turning forty. Last week, my agent sent me a script where I’d be playing Tom Holland’s mother—he’s twenty-six. But overall I feel lucky.
I just wish I weren’t wondering if she’d be here.
Zef wasn’t on the guest list I sent Cara. Our lives went in different directions after Dark Sky. I put my career first, slogging it out with terrible roles until in my mid-twenties, I landed the part of Dr. Kate Kind, head pediatrician in Code White, a cable medical drama set in L.A. We’re on summer break from our fifteenth season.
Zef did a handful of interesting, offbeat indies, mostly low-budget, all directed by women before moving onto other artistic interests: photography for a while, then music. We always kept in touch, but these days my career means non-stop work. Zef moved to Paris and last I heard, dates a model called Brigitte who I may have spent too much time Google-stalking. I thought the press would unearth our interview from twenty-two years ago, and my fortieth birthday would reignite the ridiculous fantasy that we’d get married. But no one did. Maybe because Zef isn’t in the spotlight anymore, not in the way I am. The interview was shot before the Internet—maybe the file is sitting on a Dell desktop computer, essentially lost forever. Or maybe because I’m the only one who still thinks about it. On my own. Late at night.
I smooth my dress. “How do I look?” I’m playing it safe with classic elegance: my tight black Oscar De La Renta with the sweetheart neckline and my prettiest diamond necklace (a gift from my ex-husband; we’re still friends).
Cara gives me a once-over, frowning at my kitten heels. “Gorgeous. But you have to do these.” From behind her back, a pair of this season’s Louboutins.
I wince, even as I admit the red-soled stilettos are showstoppers. “Not heels.”
“Yes, heels.” My friend is slipping my feet into them like I’m Cinderella. The glossy patent pumps elevate me five inches. Cara is gushing. I know they look good, but I’ll be paying for it later.
“Fine,” I sigh as the doorbell rings. “But for my fiftieth, I’m wearing Uggs.”
The party is lovely. A crowd shows up, people I respect and adore. Lots of industry folk and their elegantly dressed plus-ones. Activists I’ve worked with. Artists I admire. I laugh about old times with old pals. I meet new friends, let myself be charmed. Cara swirls me from group to group so everyone gets their five minutes. It’s a whirlwind of air kisses and toasts and praise, and even though I can’t fault the party, something about it feels like it hasn’t yet started.
I’m waiting. Waiting for a guest who wasn’t invited and probably isn’t even in the country. Waiting for a guest I haven’t spoken to in person since a Dark Sky screening we did for charity, three years ago in Portland. Something had still glittered between us. Chemistry, I guess.
But it’s already 10 o’clock, and I’m flying back to L.A. first thing. I’ve just started to wonder how early is too early to make a graceful exit when Cara appears by my side, scandalized. “She’s here.”
I jerk around so fast, the tiny bruschetta on my plate slingshots under a table. I don’t have to ask who. I know.
There, in the middle of the loft, surrounded by chattering groups—Zef Kobayashi.
She’s dressed in a slouchy pantsuit over a tight white tank, a jumble of gold chains circling her delicate throat. Her thick black hair is longer than I remember, snaking loose around her shoulders. Her jacket is pushed up at the sleeve, revealing a few tattoos on her forearms. New ones. Ones I already know.
My heart rears like a bucking bronco, then takes off. I can’t find the reins. I can’t even smile. I just stare.
She swaggers toward me, hands in both pockets, grinning and relaxed. “Mish.”
The old nickname is a key unlocking a dusty chest. I want to see what’s inside. “What are you doing here?”
Hand on her breast, she affects insult. She’s not wearing a bra. “Nice to see you, too.”
Cara brushes past, kissing Zef on both cheeks. They met at the Portland event and bonded over teasing me. “Darling, you came. So fabulous to see you again.”
The hairs on my arm lift. Cara invited Zef? I suddenly regret my dress, a carousel of edgier options flashing through my mind. It all takes me by surprise. I’m not a tongue-tied teenager. I’m forty. Says it right there on my novelty party hat.
Cara goes on, addressing Zef. “I knew you wouldn’t miss our girl’s big night.“
Her comment is loaded. I know it’s because of the interview. She brought it up a few weeks ago; I pretended to laugh it off. I think Cara suspects I have a crush on Zef, something I’ve long denied. Zef’s my friend. My oldest, coolest, most special friend.
More guests arrive. Cara flows to meet them. I stay rooted to the spot.
Zef grabs a glass and toasts me, her eyes moving up and down my dress. “Happy birthday, babe. Shit, you look hot.”
Even though I’ve been hearing variations of this all night, the compliment flusters me. Sweat pricks my forehead and I start to blush. “Oh, please. I’m just— I didn’t know if I should—“ I punch her arm, like we’re kids again. “How are you? I thought you were in Paris.”
Zef nods, leaning against the wall. “Oui. But I hate to miss a party.”
“You came all this way. For me?”
Zef nods again, and I catch something vulnerable in her eyes. Like she’s insecure about the effort she made and doesn’t want me to see it. “You only turn forty once, Mish. I said I’d be here, didn’t I?”
Does she mean the interview? Before I can ask, Zef hands me a wrapped present. “Joyeux anniversaire.”
“You didn’t have to.” Tugging off a red silk ribbon, I open a packet of Depends. Adult diapers. I laugh, a big belly laugh. The most I’ve laughed all night.
Zef grins back. “You’re so old. Just like me.” She turned forty two years ago. The years have softened my friend. There are more lines around her eyes. But she still oozes that confident punk-sexy vibe that I’ve always found addicting. The coolest girl I know.
I want to know how she spends her days. I want to know who is in her bed. I want to know if she remembers the time she fed craft services snacks to stray dogs in Mumbai and how it filled my heart and made me worship her. But before I can ask any of that, Cara is back, tugging me away to greet new guests.
I resist, gesturing at Zef. “We haven’t finished talking.” We haven’t even started.
“She’s not going anywhere.” Cara won’t be deterred. “You’re the guest of honor!”
“I’ll be back in five,” I call back helplessly before spinning around to fake excitement at seeing Cara’s stylist friends. It’s late but people keep arriving and my feet are starting to hurt and all I want to do is talk to Zef.
I’ve never dated a woman but I’m comfortable accepting that I am attracted to all genders. That became apparent in my marriage, and who I was fantasizing about. Besides, it’s 2022. But, as I’ve long maintained, my attraction to Zef is purely platonic.
Five minutes passes. Then ten. Twenty. I don’t have eyes on her—would she have left? The thought wedges itself into my ribs so hard I almost panic. When I finally catch sight of her lingering by a window, I make an excuse about needing to use the bathroom. I hurry over, grabbing her arm. “We’re going.”
I’m already hustling her towards the door, checking Cara is distracted. “Prison break,” I whisper, old slang from Dark Sky days, when we wanted to bail without the adults noticing.
Instantly, Zef’s onboard. Heads lowered, we speed-walk to the door. Speed-hobble; my feet are killing me.
“Here.” In the foyer, Zef slides me a pair of Cara’s sneakers. I don’t know how she knew they’re exactly what I need. Relief: after five hours in heels, sneakers are walking on a cloud. I get a burst of new energy, high on the idea that I, the good girl from Cleveland, am escaping my own birthday party.
We sneak out of Cara’s apartment and run to the elevator bank, breathless with adrenaline. Where will we go? What happens next?
The elevator doors ding open. No guest steps out. Zef and I exchange a grin.
Cara is behind us, expression accusatory. “Where do you think you’re going?”
I can’t say it. I’m leaving this lovely party you have so generously thrown for me because I’d rather spend the night hanging out with Zef Kobayashi. And that means I can’t leave. What was I thinking? I’m standing here in stolen sneakers, for chrissakes.
Zef steps forward, dead serious. “Cara. I’m about to let you in on a matter of national security.”
Cara blinks. Not what she was expecting. I hide a smile.
Zef goes on, in full dramatic actor mode. “Michelle and I have just gotten word from the president of the United States that alien forces are about to attack this fair city. And only we can stop them.”
Cara rolls her eyes.
“We must leave now to plan our defense!” Zef’s voice swells. I adore her goofy side. “Will you stand in the way of truth, justice, and liberty for all?”
My friend huffs a sigh. “Where are you really going?”
“Fresh air,” I say, “We won’t be long.” And then, because being with Zef has always emboldened me, I add, “But don’t wait up.”
Cara clucks with annoyance and disappears into the apartment, reappearing with a bottle of Dom Perignon. “I always knew you two would…”
The inference causes heat to rise in my cheeks. But I’m also a good actor. “Save the planet. Yup, me too.” I take the bottle and step into the elevator, shooting her a grateful smile as the doors close.
Outside, the night air is warm with late summer heat. There’s a freedom in being in New York. The locals don’t care who I am. I feel like a teenager again, untethered and untamed. I want to run. And so I do. I grab Zef’s hand and we’re running down Ninth Avenue, past bars and restaurants, around hapless tourists and late-night dog walkers, just running for the sheer pleasure of it.
The city is alive with night magic. Of all the places I’ve been, New York pulses with the most possibility, especially now: the witching hour. Zef’s hand is warm in mind and she’s matching me stride for stride. I let out a whoop of glee. I feel grounded in my body, present in a way I haven’t been all evening. All week. All year?
Finally, we stop, panting at a red light. “Where are we?” Zef looks for a landmark.
All I have is the unopened bottle of Champagne. Which means: “I don’t have my phone.”
Zef pats her pockets. “Shit, me neither.”
Ordinarily, this would make me anxious. But tonight, it makes me feel free. We’re in the West Village, I know that much. The charming streets are a drunk’s attempt at a map, jutting at all angles. “Let’s just walk.”
Zef’s smile could melt ice cream in Alaska. “I’m in.”
We stroll side by side down the sidewalk, past neat rows of brownstones. “So, what are you doing these days?” Zef’s not on social media; I’m always so curious. “Last thing I heard, you were playing in a band?”
Zef laughs. “Oh, wow. No, that’s old news. I’ve actually gotten into ceramics.”
Pottery? “Tell me more.”
“I really love it,” Zef enthuses. “I signed up for a class, partly to practice my French socially, and now I have a membership. I even started selling some of my pieces.” Zef goes on to tell me about a quaint studio near Montmarte where the cool kids of Paris come to make hand-made ashtrays. The studio has a backyard with views of the city and most afternoons, Zef takes a beer in and spends hours making tiny bowls in the sunshine.
“It sounds heavenly.” Part of me wants that life—low-stakes creative pursuits in Paris, in the sun. But you can’t be an American television star in France. “You never wanted to go all the way with acting. Why not?”
Zef shrugs, as we make way for a couple dragging two roller suitcases. “Casting directors looking at me like I was a face on a stick. Having to fake-laugh at all everyone’s bad jokes. The terrible roles—always some guy’s girlfriend who never got any good lines. And, of course, being told by every publicist not to bring my girlfriend.”
I feel a brush of jealously even as I nod, remembering the way I bit my tongue for years. I still do, all the time, affecting graciousness and gratitude when I really want to tell someone to fuck off.
We wait for a light, then start to cross the street. “You were tougher than me,” Zef says.
This surprises me. “I didn’t know any better.”
“You knew what you were doing. You always did. And you’re better at the acting thing than me.”
I start to protest.
Zef waves it off, laughing. We’re standing on the corner of Washington Square Park. “I’m not jealous. I’m proud of you. I’m proud of your resilience. The life you have isn’t easy. But it’s a beautiful one.” Her tone softens, and she touches my bare arm. “You’re beautiful, Mish. Inside and out.”
I want to kiss her for saying that. I just want to kiss her. A part of me can’t believe we haven’t already.
I catch myself. New York is intoxicating. Zef is just giving me a birthday compliment and I don’t know if she’s with Brigitte, and even though I don’t think anyone’s paying any attention, I can’t kiss someone in the middle of the street. “The fountain,” I blurt, nodding in its direction. “It’s gorgeous at night.”
Twentysomethings roll by on their skateboards and dance by someone’s portable speaker. We make our way to the fountain in the middle of Washington Square Park, kicking off our shoes to dangle our feet in the water. Zef picks up the bottle, waggles her eyebrows.
“Here?” I glance around.
“If we get busted, I’ll take the rap.” The cork sails overhead like a shooting star. Zef hands me the open bottle. “Make a wish.”
I do. The same wish I’ve made for two decades. Heat rises in my cheeks at making at now, here. I can’t think about what it means. I never do. The bubbles fizz down my throat. There are physical realities of aging but it’s also a just a construct. I’m forty, but in this moment, I am ageless.
“How’s Brigitte?” I pass the bottle to Zef.
She blinks twice. “That was over a while ago.”
A wave of happiness undulates though me. “Are you seeing anyone?”
Zef drinks, her dark eyes on me. “No. You?”
“Nothing serious since Jeremy.” My ex.
“Did your love of label-makers scare him off?”
I giggle—she remembered. I ready my standard answer—great guy, we just wanted different things—before I pause. I don’t need to pretend with Zef. Casting around for the truth, this is what I find: “We weren’t very good friends.”
Her smile curls up, intrigued. “Really?”
“We both worked all the time—he’s a lawyer, remember?— so I was always planning little vacations for us. Weekends away—three days in Rome or the Bahamas. I’d clear my schedule, plan the whole thing. We’d jump through all these hoops to get to pasta al fresco in some rustic plaza or sunset drinks over a gorgeous horizon. But after we got through logistics, we’d just …. sort of … sit there.” I frown, remembering those oddly awkward dinners. “We ran out of things to talk about. Actually, I don’t think we ever had anything to talk about. It wasn’t enjoyable. Or interesting.” It wasn’t Beijing. I take another swig, the Champagne unlocking more truths in me. “I realized I didn’t need a husband. I don’t want children—I thought I did, but turns out, I don’t. I don’t need a man. I want a partner. An equal. Someone who’s interesting, and interested. In . . . life! And all the amazing things in it!”
Zef’s eyes sparkle like the wine we’re swigging. “Like our girl Margaret Atwood’s new book?”
Our shared favorite author from way back. I’m so excited, I almost shout. “Yes! God, I loved it so much. What did you think?”
And then we’re off, launched into a conversation that’s equally fun and filling. One part of me is nudging my ribs, saying Isn’t it obvious? and the other part is saying, Shh, just enjoy it.
The moon sails overhead. We finish the bottle, our fingertips brushing as Zef passes me it for the last time. Our eyes lock. I want to skim my hand down her cheek. Taste her mouth. Touch her in the place that’d make her gasp. But more than that, I just don’t want her to go. Ever.
She clears her throat, eyes skipping away. “I should— You should…”
Disappointment burns through me, even as I realize, yes I should. I need to sleep before my flight tomorrow, not entertain silly tipsy fantasies about one of my oldest friends. People are counting on me. My feet are wet when I push them back into the sneakers.
The complication of not having money to hail a cab is solved when I remember Cara has a doorman—he can spot me. Zef is going to an AirBnB in Bushwick. The driver sits behind plexiglass. We click on our seatbelts and suddenly, our perfect night is coming to a too-quick close.
There’s still so much we haven’t said. “Do you remember—“ I say, at the same time she says, “Mish, I want to tell you—“
She insists I go first. I have to know. “Do you remember the interview?”
I don’t need to clarify which one. Her gaze isn’t just on me. It’s in me. “Of course I do.” The air in the taxi feels so charged, it could light a fire. She edges closer, her fingers brushing my knee. “Why do you think I came?”
I want her to tell me. I need her to tell me. “Why?”
Zef inhales a long, deliberate breath. The kind of breath that contains the entire world. “Mish.” Spoken from her lips, it sounds like a song. “I’ve been in love with you for a very long time.”
Time stops. My body stops. I’m not aware of the cab or the traffic or the city or anything. My response is a stunned whisper. “What?”
Her cheeks bloom red but her gaze stays even. “The whole time, really. I’ve been in love with you the whole time.”
I’m a fish on the bottom of a boat, flipping around in a panic. “But—what? No! Why didn’t you— How did I not…” No, I was the one obsessed with her—Zef, the badass, street-smart kid who changed her name, forged her own path. Blood is pounding in my ears. “Why didn’t you make a move?”
She lets out a soft laugh. “I told the world I wanted to marry you.” She looks back at me, the passing lights streaking over her face. God, she’s beautiful. Inside and out. “Why didn’t you make a move?”
Why didn’t I? Because I always played it safe. I’ve been on the same show for fifteen years. I’m still the girl who gets talked into stilettos. Playing it safe ends now. Tonight. I know what’s best for me, and if that doesn’t look like what people want or expect, who the fuck cares? I’m forty. But before I can articulate any of this, we’re pulling to a stop and the driver is announcing Cara’s address.
My heart is still thrashing in my chest as I unbuckle my seatbelt. I have to borrow some money from the doorman. “Wait here.”
Zef is staring back at me. Even though her expression is low-key terrified, she manages a smile. “Happy birthday, Mish.”
“Wait here,” I repeat, sterner, getting out of the cab.
I’m only half-way to the entrance when I hear the engine. The cab is leaving. Zooming up Ninth Avenue. I spin around, gasping. “No!” I yell after it, running up the sidewalk. “Wait! No, wait!”
But it’s gone. She’s gone.
I stand frozen on the sidewalk, unable to process what just happened.
Why didn’t I say it back?
Why didn’t I say it back?
Why have I been denying my feelings for all these years? Why haven’t I let myself feel what I feel? I love Zef Kobayashi. I love that she’s brave and funny and lives life on her terms. I loved her when I first met her and I still love her now. And I let her go. I let her go. Tears blur my eyes. A sob rises in my throat. I have to get to her! I spin around, unsure whether to hail a cab or get to my phone.
But then I hear someone running.
It’s Zef, bolting for the second time tonight, down Ninth Avenue. Toward me. “I’m sorry!” she screams. “I got scared!”
“I’m sorry!” I yell back, laughing and crying, close to hysteria. I’m in public but I don’t care about anyone except her. “I love you, too! I love you, too!”
She flies into my arms. I’ve hugged Zef so many times, but never like this. Never like I’m holding my entire heart and I’m never going to let it go. “I always wished for you.” I can finally tell her the truth, every emotion I’ve ever felt fountaining out of me. “On every star—it was always you.”
She cups my chin. I close my eyes. Her kiss is the snap of a clapperboard on the first day of filming and the satisfaction of a wrap party toast. It’s the heat of a thousand spotlights and a quiet moment between takes when no one needs anything off me. Zef kisses me and her lips are warm and certain and everything about her fits me perfectly.
It’s the scene in a movie when the credits roll. The best part is, we’re just getting started.
Next week on Heartbeat, get ready for a short story from Alison Cochrun, author of The Charm Offensive.
Follow Heartbeat on Instagram at @storiesbyheartbeat for upcoming behind-the-scenes sneak peeks at Alison’s story!
Three quick things from Georgia:
I adored The Summer I Turned Pretty, a delicious adaption of the popular Young Adult romance by Jenny Han. Steamy teen love triangle in a dreamy beach setting. A perfect mix of smart and escapist.
90% of my wardrobe is from Aussie label, Gorman. Bold prints, fun design, good quality linen and cotton. They ship internationally and the exchange rate is *really* in the U.S.’s favor right now. Go forth and shop, lovers.
My next Romance workshop starts Sept. 6th. This fun and intimate class is a mix of craft lectures, writing exercises, and a workshop environment. Recommended for all aspiring novelists!