Edge of the Borderline by EJ Coleman

‘Edge of the Borderline’

by EJ Coleman


Alex Gallagher took a deep breath and surged up the stairs, opened the door and entered into another world.  She let out an elongated sigh.  As she walked towards the bar, flashing lights from the dance floor provided momentary lighting through the thick smoky air.  The rainbow colors from the neon lights filtered through the various bottles and flashed against the mirror behind the shelves and bounced back into her eyes.

Sitting at the bar, Alex slowly examined the crowd, trying not to look too obvious.  She felt a bit nervous about being in this bar.  It was the mark of a new start, or at least it would answer many questions.

“Drink, stranger?  A voice called out from over Alex’s shoulder.

Alex turned and faced the bartender, “Uh, yeah.”  She hesitated briefly, “I’ll have a rum and coke.”

“Coming up.”  The attractive young bartender poured the drink quickly with a practiced hand and served it to her.  She was pretty with stunning blond hair that flowed to her shoulders.  Her eyes were sparkling green that out shown even the neon lights.  Her semi-muscular build was accentuated by her perfect smile.

“Some crowd tonight,” she said loudly having to raise her voice over the latest by Madonna.

“Say, you’re new around her, aren’t you?  I know almost every face that comes through that door,” the bartender said as she pointed.

“This is my first time here.”

“Well, there’s nothing wrong with meeting a new friend.”  She wiped her hand on her bar rag and extended it to Alex.  My name is Kelly.”

Alex smiled.  “I’m Alex.”

A voice interrupted the moment Alex began to feel comfortable looking into Kelly’s eyes.  “Yo, Kelly, we do have other customers!”

“I’ll be right there!”  Kelly shouted back.  She turned around.  “Look, when you need a refill on that, you come and see me, ok?

“Sure.”  Talking to a friendly face took some of the edge off the night.  Picking up the drink, she began strolling through the crowd.  After several minutes of bumping into strangers and squeezing by them, she finally found a small table near the dance floor and sat alone.

She lit a cigarette from an old butt still smoldering in the ashtray and put the old one out by grinding it until it was demolished.

Alex felt she was an intelligent woman with a flair for the arts.  She wanted someone to share the finer things of life with.  She was a musician, an artist and a writer.  She could express anything on paper, but, when it came down to real conversation, she was a flop.

Alex also felt others had always been insensitive to her needsAnd then there was the new issue:  Lesbianism.  Lord, what an ugly word, thought Alex.

“Hey, is anyone sitting here?” asked a stranger as she sat across from Alex.

“Yeah, I’m expecting a party of Mormons any minute now,” she said sarcastically as she gave the stranger a look that would kill.

“Huh, some people!” mumbled the stranger as turned and she walked away.

Alex wanted to be alone.  She hardly ever let people in to get to know her.  She did manage to let her guard down occasionally, like when she lost her virginity to some gorgeous guy in Florida.  They never even introduced themselves.  It was sheer lust in the back seat of a ’77 Monte Carlo.

She wondered what her parents would think if they knew she was in a gay bar.  She could just picture her father rolling his eyes into the back of his head, ready to lecture her.  Her mother would probably just walk away like she always did.

Alex felt someone sit down beside her.  She thought it was that pesky stranger again, but when she raised her head and realized it was Kelly, she quickly bit her tongue.

“Alex, mind if I sit here?”

She was tongue tied like a school girl. She felt clumsy and out of place.  She wanted to crawl under a rock and forget about the whole thing.

She pointed towards the bar area and managed to stutter out, “You’re not working?”

“No,” she said with a slight giggle.  “I was just filling in for one of the other girls for a few hours.  This is my usual night off.  Oh, and I brought you another drink and one for myself.”

“Um, thank you.”  Alex suddenly felt the anxiety building up within her.  Her palms were sweaty, and her heart began to beat louder than the bass line from “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie.  She took a long swig of the drink and swallowed hard.

As Alex continued to talk, her eyes followed the fullness of Kelly’s lips down along her throat to the opening of her blouse, which puffed out like a sail in a full wind.  Her attention was drawn to the roundness of Kelly’s partially exposed breast.  Alex had to look away to swallow.  There was an unfamiliar lightness in her head.   Embarrassed by her own feelings and afraid that Kelly might know what she was thinking, she turned away.

The DJ’s next song was Heart’s “Never” and more women filled the dance floor.  Alex’s intrigue was spiked once again.  The lyrics bounced around in her head as if they were sending her a message.

“Hey baby I’m talking to you
Stop yourself and listen
Some things you can never choose
Even if you try yeah.”

She thought, “Could I really be gay?”

“What are you thinking?” asked Kelly.

“Nothing.  Everything.”  Alex cleared her throat and said, “I’m not even sure I should be here.”

Kelly placed her hand on top of Alex’s and asked, “Why are you here?”

Alex felt a slight panic when Kelly touched her hand.  It was a touch she had never experienced before in her life.  It was time to tell someone her truth as she lifted her head and turned her gaze into the eyes of this stunningly handsome woman.

“I’m here because I’m not sure where else to go.  I’ve been with men, and don’t get me wrong, it’s nice.  But it’s not enough.  There is no real connection and I move on and I tell myself it’s because my job demands all of my time.  But, when I have time, and I do have time, I get this “feeling”… I can’t explain.”

“It’s called the borderline,” stated Kelly as a matter of fact.

“The what?”

“The borderline.  It’s the place where you like men and you like women.  Being with a man is socially acceptable.  Being with a woman is truly wonderful.

“That’s exactly how I feel!  Do you know how many times I’ve been by this place and wanted to come in?  A lot!  Women dancing with women, holding hands, kissing – well, everything!  It’s really all quite captivating.”  Alex reached for her rum and coke and held it to her lips.  She let it run down her throat until a single ice cube found its way into her mouth.  She flicked it around with her tongue for a moment and then let it melt along with her revealing words.

Alex blushed as she leaned in.   “I once dreamt about making love to a woman and when I awoke, I was convinced that I did have sex with a woman.  Isn’t that crazy?  I’m straight.  All I know is sex with men, so, why would I dream that?”

Alex reached for her cigarettes.  Before Alex could get them out of the pack, Kelly took two cigarettes out, placed them in her mouth, and flicked the Bic lighter.   Her inviting lips inhaled deeply and lit them both perfectly at the same time.  She gently flipped the cigarette over towards Alex to take from her.

Alex leaned forward.  “No one has ever done that for me – ever.   She paused and inhaled the smoke from her cigarette deeply.  “I don’t know.  Maybe this is wrong.  Maybe I really shouldn’t be here.  What if someone found out?

“Relax.  No one needs to know.  Confusion is all part of where you’re at and you’re allowed.  You’ve just got to decide what’s right for you.  And I think you’re doing just fine.”

“Yeah?” Alex asked with uncertainty.

“Would you like to dance?”

Alex nodded.

Alex and Kelly stood up together.  Kelly took her by the hand to the dance floor and the two of them began to let go of all inhibitions.  The two bodies moved together perfectly to “Sweet Love” by Anita Baker.  They smiled at one another.  Alex saw how Kelly took notice not only to her lips, but also to her straight black hair, her crystalline blue eyes, and her slender build.  Alex tossed her head back and laughed.  For the first time in years, she was letting go and having fun.

Kelly stared into Alex’s eyes and pulled her in close.  “I want to kiss you. Don’t be afraid.”

They paused, holding their breath in the stillness.  Then very slowly, they both leaned forward, their faces meeting halfway.  The tension was expressed by the tiny quivering of the lips.  Very gently, their lips touched and explored each other.  Everyone and everything in the bar disappeared.  Their bodies were in a full embrace.  Alex felt a surge of excitement that started at her lips and exploded between her legs.  Kelly lowered her head to explore Alex’s neck.  Immediately, Alex felt selfish in such pleasure.  She lifted Kelly’s head and kissed her more strongly

As the dance continued, they found themselves up against the back wall unnoticed.  They pressed their bodies hard against each other.  Alex reached for Kelly’s hand and brought it up to her towards her breast and when Kelly squeezed it, Alex pulled back a little in fear.

“Don’t worry, babe.  No one is looking,” assured Kelly.

As they continued to kiss, Alex lifted her right leg up and pressed between Kelly’s legs.  She let her head fall back and moaned with excitement as she could feel Kelly’s heat and wetness upon her own knee. As the music played on, no one noticed the two new lovers in the corner of the dance floor.  Kelly continued to play with Alex’s breast through her navy blue silk blouse and unbeknownst to Alex, Kelly had already unbuttoned it, slid her hand into her bra, and cupped her breast.

Alex could feel the heat radiating from her blue jeans.  She dropped her leg and placed her hand on her own pleasure center, and then turned it around to feel if Kelly was just as hot and wet as she was.  Kelly grabbed Alex by the back of her neck and kissed her hard again.

Without warning, Alex stopped.  She quickly moved her hands up onto Kelly’s shoulders and shoved Kelly up against the wall.  As she headed back towards the table in a near sprint, she buttoned her blouse in shame.  When she got to the table, she lit up a cigarette with shaking hands.

A barback passed by the table and Alex grabbed her by the shirt.  “Can you get me a shot of Tequila?”


Alex sat there, stunned, sweaty and scared.  Oh my God, what have I done?  I’m so embarrassed, so ashamed.  And yet, how could something that feels so right be so wrong?  I am so afraid and I don’t want to get hurt again.  Although, I have to admit, that was the most erotic thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. 

The barback returned with her shot and before the girl even had a chance to walk away, Alex downed the drink and slammed the glass upside down onto the table.  It went down smooth and warm, much like Kelly’s touch.  And whether it was the alcohol finally catching up to her or just passion, she suddenly she missed her even though it had only been a few minutes.   She took a drag off her cigarette and there was Kelly, arms crossed leaning up against the wall near the DJ station.  She had been watching Alex’s every move, but dare not approach.

Alex’s mind continued to wander.  I want her.  I need her touch.   I have never been so turned on in my life by the energy of life itself.  I wonder what making love to a woman is even like.  I’ve been denying who I truly am and I can’t go on like this.  It’s time for me to be honest.

Alex put her cigarette out and left a tip for the barback.  She got up and walked slowly towards the exit.  After several minutes of bumping into strangers and squeezing by them, she finally found her way to the door.   As she pushed it open, she turned her head and noticed Kelly was right there.  Alex extended her hand and Kelly took it.

Did you like the story? Opinions? Praise? Please leave a comment below



west haven 7 2010EJ Coleman is a lesbian and a native of CT.  She also lived in NY while attending college.  While in college, she was published in every edition of the school magazine.  She majored in English and minored in Public Speaking.  EJ first started writing when an assignment in 9th grade grabbed her attention.  Her short story, “A Day In The Life” (written 2 weeks after John Lennon was killed) was submitted to the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards in 1982.  She has been hooked on writing since.  An avid and award winning photographer, EJ also enjoys playing her guitar, writing songs, knitting, and being a “dog whisperer.”   This is her first story for Roadside Fiction, her first published piece, and is currently working on her book, “Marked.”


Flower Sellers, Delhi

Flower Sellers, Delhi

Photo by Anjumon Sahin

Contents                                                           Next Page


Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

11 Responses to Edge of the Borderline by EJ Coleman

  1. sharon horvath

    This is amazing!!

    • EJ

      Thank you so very much, Sharon! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the story. I have not done ANY writing since college and was very afraid to do this. I look forward to putting more out there. It’s comments like yours that will inspire me to do so much more!! You made my day :)

  2. EJ, the erotic tension and pacing are spot on. Alex is vulnerable, brave, and thoroughly likable, though I’m not convinced I have the same high regard for Kelly. She’s a well rendered character, but I fear that she might just use Alex and break her heart. Maybe I’m just a cynic. ;-)

    I enjoyed this a great deal.

    • EJ

      Great pick up, Jeff!! Let the reader decide and I like the way you have looked at it. I LOVE to leave it up to the reader’s interpretation and sometimes when we make our peace, we lay between the sheets. However, it could be true love…? Thanks for your comment!!

    • Sara Stefanini

      I got the same feeling about Kelly. Too quick to hone in on the new girl. I don’t trust her!

  3. I do hope it’s true love, but I worry about sweet young hearts laid bare. Plus, I remember a thousand years ago being a young man meeting women in bars. I fear I was sometimes less than gallant. But maybe that was just me. ;-)

    Your story absolutely benefits from the reader not knowing how things work out. It allows for the thrill of expectation and gives us license to worry. Better yet, it gives reason to hope. I’m rooting for Alex, no matter how Kelly works out.

  4. sandi yade

    Great story! What happens next?? More please.

    • EJ

      Thank you, Sandi!!

  5. Annelise Lutz

    Steamy and suspenseful. Leaves me wondering what will come of Alex and Kelly. Love the perspective it’s written in.
    Also, wondering what “Marked” will have in store.

  6. Superb writing, tension, description and characterization. I feel Kelly probably preys on the ‘newbies’ as trophies rather than for any kind of relationship.
    Struggling with her inner most demons Alex is well portrayed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>