In Her Closet, The Philadelphia Stories




Fresh off of a night of anonymous sex we join Yves Santiago on the curb for a cigarette. Yves is a self-proclaimed slut who vows to live her life as carelessly as a man and make no apologies for any of it. The only place she can make room for a man in her life is in her closet where she keeps a collection of the discarded remnants of her nights of pleasure. Yves is certain that there must be something more to life than marriage and motherhood and she is making it her business to find out. Everyone in her life seems determined to prove her wrong but still she manages to escape most encounters with her heart and pride intact.

At least until she meets Elijah Weinstein.

Elijah saunters in like a dream proclaiming to be the next great love her life–a declaration that Yves finds ridiculous though it doesn’t make him any less enticing. With his moss green eyes, broad sun-kissed shoulders and a mouth so damn sensual it should have an NC-17 rating, Elijah Weinstein is damn near irresistible–a tasty challenge that Yves willing accepts. She was no silly girl with her heart set on love so getting him in the sack is a task easily done without relinquishing her heart…right?

Full Length Novel
100k+ words
Warning: this title contains F/F situations, light bondage and spanking.





EXCERPT:

Chapter One
I pause on the sidewalk to light my cigarette, only slightly aware of the glares I receive from the Sunday morning worshipers trickling out of the church behind me. The first taste of mentholated smoke nudges me closer to wakefulness. I squint and rub my eyes against the bright, mid-morning sunlight. My lashes feel stiff and brittle from sleeping in last night’s make up. I don’t bother taking out my compact to survey the damage. I know it’s a complete wreck.

Why bother faking the funk?

I am making the quintessential walk of shame. That much is made evident by my attire–a large men’s dress shirt and break-neck stilettos. I’m sure I was wearing a dress when I stumbled into the South Jersey apartment of the man who belongs to this shirt. An expensive Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress, to be exact. A twenty minute search amongst the discarded clothing at the foot of his bed ended fruitlessly. My only option was to make my escape in the first thing I found that made me decent. I’m thankful to at least have my underwear. There’s nothing worse than sitting bare-assed on a plastic subway seat.

Who knows what sort of communicable diseases you can catch that way?

I take a long, satisfying drag from my cigarette while waiting at the corner for traffic. It suddenly occurs to me that I have no idea where I am. South Jersey is basically a cluster fuck of small towns and I could be in any one of them.

I groan and scratch my head. “This morning after amnesia is brought to you by Jose Cuervo,” I murmur to myself. “Damn you, Jose.” Maybe if I hadn’t gotten so drunk last night I might be able to figure out where I am right now.

I look up and down the block for signs. Bus stop signs, train station signs, any sign that would point me toward some means of transportation back to the right side of the Delaware River–the Philly side. Unfortunately, none of the bus numbers look familiar and the bus stops are strangely devoid of waiting passengers. A quick call to my brother Marcelo would be the perfect remedy to my current predicament. I’m about to dig out my cell phone to do just that when two ladies dressed in their Sunday best join me at the corner. They stand shoulder to shoulder in their pastel suits and large decorative hats. Their hats seem to be at just the right jaunty angle to make it possible for them to ignore my very presence on the street corner next to them. I clear my throat to get their attention.

“Excuse me, can you ladies tell me where I can catch the train to Center City?” I ask politely.

The woman closest to my right ignores me but the other points in the direction I’m already heading in.

“You can catch the bus to the Speed Line two blocks that way,” she answers tersely.

“Thanks.”

The traffic light changes and I step off the curb to cross the street.

“You should be ashamed of yourself!” the old woman who was silent before hisses.

“Why should I be ashamed?” I ask, turning toward them in the middle of the street. “Because I did things last night that you can’t even think about without muttering the words, Lord forgive me?”

They gasp in astonishment and I can’t help but laugh. This isn’t the first time I’ve stumbled out into the morning sun still drunk off last night’s tequila, wearing the clothes and sex scent of a man whose face and name I won’t bother trying to remember. And I’m certain that it won’t be the last. Falling into the beds of anonymous men is one of those not-so-guilty pleasures that I have been indulging in more and more frequently. So frequently, in fact, that the far back corner of my closet is a growing collection of the remnants of my nights of pleasure. The fabrics hold the scent of every one of those hungry strangers who know how my face looks when I climax but, not my last name.

I haven’t always been this way. There was a time when I wasn’t the sort of woman who, with a practiced smile and flirting lashes, could carelessly seduce a man to an end of my own design. I wasn’t raised that way. 
“Good little Catholic girls don’t”, as my mother always says. Growing up, I had a long list of can not’s, will not’s, and better not’s-most of which were directly related to sex. Sometimes I feel a little animosity toward my mother for raising me that way but, ultimately I realize that it isn’t her fault. It was the way she was raised and the way her mother before her was raised so she didn’t know anything else. Personally, I think that there has to be something more to life than marriage and motherhood. I’m not exactly sure what that something is but, I’m going to make it my business to find out. I want to live as carelessly as a man. Eat what I want, drink what I want, and fuck who I want whenever I want. Do what feels good and make no apologies for any of it. In this life, there are only two people you have to answer to–God and yourself. And since God and I aren’t really on speaking terms, that leaves me and I’m just fine with how I live my life–very few disasters and even fewer regrets.

My apartment is in South Philly on 8th street between Washington Avenue and the famed South Street. South Street is the only place in the city where you can get a cheese steak, an Italian ice, a vintage dress and blueberry flavored condoms–all at one in the morning. I love my city and I love my shitty little apartment. Even though entering said shitty apartment is always a bit precarious.

I have a cat named Maniac who is constantly trying to escape. We’ve lived together for three years but, every time I open the door she sees it as her opportunity to make a break for it. Deep down, in places I don’t like to talk about at parties, I think it’s because she doesn’t like me. Why would she? I’m not the typical cat lady who lies around her apartment getting fat on cheese steaks and weeping into her kitty’s fur. She probably thinks she can do better and sometimes I’m inclined to agree with her. But even considering all that, there’s some sort of weird connection between the two of us. A relationship based on necessity, not love, and there’s something refreshing about that. Unfortunately, necessity doesn’t keep her from bolting for the door every time I open it. This time I must have caught her off guard because I’m already inside by the time she makes a break for it.

“Aha! Thwarted again!” I tease.

She pauses for a moment and gives her usual haughty glare, then returns to her perch in the living room window–leaving me feeling slightly rejected.

I drop my bag under the hall table, slip out of my shoes and push the playback button on my answering machine.

First message: “Hey, hermana! I know you’re probably still hung over but I was wondering if you wanted to hang out this afternoon. I need to get out of the house for a couple of hours. Maybe go to the movies or something. Call me. Ciao!”

I frown as I walk into the kitchen and open the fridge. I love my sister but, I am in no mood to hear her tales of marital bliss today. Mercedes is younger than me but, she’s been married for four years already. My sister is the sort of woman who is born to be a wife and a mother. A perfectly noble quality but, it’s something I can only tolerate in small doses.

I take a long gulp from a carton of orange juice–the one and only edible thing in my fridge. I won’t call Mercedes back today. I don’t have the stomach for it.

Next message: “Good morning, Ms. Santiago. My name’s Elijah Weinstein. Your editor, Louise Davis gave me this number. I’ve been trying to reach you in hopes that we might discuss getting you into print–well, book, not magazine or newspaper. If you’re interested give me a call at 215-555-0737, that’s 215-555-0737. I’m very interested in speaking with you and I hope to hear from you soon.”

Who is this Elijah Weinstein and how does he know about me?

I write under a pseudonym at the City Paper because I don’t want to shame my mother with the graphic telling of my sexcapades and Friday night benders. It’s not exactly the glamorous writer’s life I dreamt of in college but it gives me publishing credibility and keeps the bills paid.

I scribble his name and number on the dry erase board tacked to the wall by the kitchen door. I’ll call him in the morning anyway. He has a nice phone voice. If he looks anything like he sounds it could be an interesting evening.

Next message: “Yves? Where you at, cow? Probably crawling out from under some man. There’s a sale at Lord and Taylor today. Hit me up if you want to go.”

I glance at the clock as I open a can of Friskies for Maniac. It’s already noon, no point in calling Ava back to go down there now. There’s probably nothing left. Although, I do need to replace the dress I left at that fireman’s apartment over in Jersey. My wardrobe is dwindling down to nothing while the corner shrine to discarded nights of pleasure seems to have doubled in size. If I don’t make more of an effort to keep up with my things, men’s dress shirts will officially become my signature look.

“Pshht! Maniac!” I call out as I dump the fishy, greasy mess into her bowl. Maniac appears at the kitchen’s threshold. “Come ‘ere, it’s time to eat.”

She pads over to her bowl, sniffs its contents, then turns and walks out of the room again.

“Well, fuck you very much, too. You moody bitch.”

Next message: “Yves…”

“What the fuck?” I mutter breathlessly, standing stock still–completely immobilized by the voice projecting from my answering machine.

“It’s Cesar…I know we haven’t talked in a while but, you’ve been on my mind a lot lately. I miss you, Yves. You can’t tell me you don’t miss me–”

I suck my teeth and press the ‘Delete All Messages’ button. “Fuck that,” I mumble to myself.

Two guesses who gave him my number but, I only need one.

I unbutton the dress shirt and let it fall to the floor as I walk down the short hall to my living room. Showering would probably be a good idea but, I fall into the couch and marinate in the musk of the man I was with last night.

I can’t believe my mother gave Cesar my new number.

“If you love him so much, you marry him,” I grumble, digging around in the couch cushions for the remote. When I find it, I flip through the channels until something worthy of a Sunday morning veg session pops up on the screen, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, starring Liz Taylor. I wiggle a little deeper into the cushions and slip my hand down the front of my panties, giving my best Al Bundy rendition. I’m not going anywhere or talking to anyone today. Instead, I’m going to enjoy the fact that I live alone and no one will complain about me spending the day laying around on the couch half naked.

Maniac jumps onto the couch and curls against me, her silky, black fur feels delicious on my skin. These moments of affection from her are rare and I take the time to savor it. She begins to purr which makes me smile. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon–ex-boyfriend and intrusive mother be damned.


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