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you’re the reason I had to start telling lies

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“I’m not going to lesbian Woodstock with you so you can prove to your friends you have a job.”

“It’s only for one night!”

“No.”

Ava throws her head back on the sofa in exasperation.

She knew Deborah wouldn’t agree to come with her to the Dinah Shore. Even though it’s happening mere blocks away from the pristine, mid-century home that Deborah owns in the heart of the Palm Springs old Hollywood district.

I mean it’s just as well, she can’t really picture her sandwiched between a vegan librarian hippie and a vape-smoking party girl.

They’ve come to Palm Springs to tour the new show and Deborah does have a gig in three days. Still, that doesn’t mean they can’t have an interesting time while they’re here. Besides she has already taken two edibles and is feeling just buzzed enough to shoot her shot.

Also, Ruby is in town and that has become a whole thing.

“Look I wouldn’t be asking you if it wasn’t a big deal. Like there’s … okay so there’s a girl … and —“

“Oh Jesus let me stop you there. I’m not going to sit through another graphic play by play of the time you went down on a girl in a Starbucks bathroom.”

“Relax, it wasn’t with her.”

“What a relief,” Deborah deadpans and pours herself a cocktail from behind the bar.

“No. So, she was my… well she’s my ex and I mean we were kind of flirting the last time I saw her and we kissed and—“

Deborah fixes her with a glare and Ava holds up her hands in surrender, “We didn’t fuck!”

“Can you just get to the punchline before I die?”

“So, I thought we were kind of going in a certain direction and I sent her a…” Ava covers her face in her hand and mumbles past her fingers… “a sexy photo and then she stopped writing back.”

After dead silence, Ava peeks up at the older woman through her own fingers in time for Deborah’s infectious cackle to fill the room. Ava can feel her cheeks getting redder.

God why did she even tell her?

“No offense, but that’s hysterical.”

“I’m glad we can laugh about it now.” Ava groans, very much not ready to laugh about that shameful moment in very recent history.

“So, you’re going to turn up somewhere this girl is and what? Flash her?”

“No! I would never — I mean the photo was, well we were flirting about lingerie and—“

“You showed her your lingerie? From Target? You should have at least borrowed mine first, Christ.”

Ava’s thoughts flash to Deborah in full La Perla lingerie. She can imagine her standing at the bar, the black lace against her fair skin…

She tries to remember what the fuck they were even talking about to begin with when Deborah sits down beside her on the sofa.

“What was the plan?” Deborah asks, a smile still at her mouth as she sips her cocktail. It’s teasing and treacherous and Ava feels like she’s one false step from being the butt of the joke.

“I just thought we could happen to be at the club they’re at tonight and she could see me being successful. You know, people don’t even think I really work for you.”

“I’m sure that will be a catchy headline. Late in life lesbian: Deborah Vance on the prowl at Pussy Palace.”

“How did you know that’s what it’s called?”

Deborah cocks an eyebrow and Ava rolls her eyes. Sometimes she’s so easy.

Deborah’s phone dings and she glances at it briefly, before swallowing the last of her drink. She uses her thumb to scroll through a message and drops it in Ava’s lap, then gets up and leaves the younger woman on the sofa.

“Next time you send unsolicited sexual advances, make sure you’re sending it to the right victim.”

Ava feels the blood vacating the top half of her body and she looks down at the semi-nude photo of herself on Deborah’s phone.

“Oh and Ava, I’ll meet you in the Rolls in thirty minutes. If we’re going to a club I’m going to look halfway decent.”

Deborah’s eyes rake over her towards her doc martens where they settle disappointedly. Then she disappears down the hall and Ava wonders if she could just flee into the night successfully without anyone noticing.