Penny Red

She has penny-red hair, my Tina, and freckles spilling tan confetti over milk-white skin. She is big-boned, thick, meaty, and muscular; it makes me want to bite her. And when I press my face into her neck, she smells like “Lucky Rabbit” candy; I salivate like a lunatic.

We are in the south of Spain, a place where straight girls hold hands and dance together all the time. But tonight, we’re at the “English Bar”—a place for tourists, where that sort of thing is frowned upon as being wholly too “latin”. We’re dancing slowly in a place where women don’t slow-dance together, just to piss them off. Our classmates watch and whisper, but Bowie’s “Heroes” is playing loud so I close my eyes and bury my face back into her red, red hair and I could give a fuck.

All I want is the courage to start the conversation. I want the guts to say, “I like you, a lot, and not as a friend.” But I’ve seen her slice boys into pieces; I’ve seen her choose one and fuck him and throw him out of bed, all in the space of an hour. So, I’m scared.

I’m not worried she’s going to freak; I know her better than that. Tina is many things, but a bigot isn’t one of them. No, she’d just laugh and pat me on the cheek and say: “I don’t go with girls.”

What worries me is that she’s going to say ‘yes’. She’s going to take me back to that Scandinavian pine bed of hers, in the basement of her parent’s house, consume me, and then toss me on the bone pile outside her door, with all the other poor sods.

So, fuck-it, fuck-it, and fuck-it.

I take her face in my hands as we dance and I pull her lips down onto mine. My senses are alert for the tiny jerk of resistance, the hesitancy that will tell me she just wants to be friends. And when it doesn’t happen—when she wraps her hand around the back of my head, her fingers thread through my hair and she presses my lips hard against hers—now I know it’s time to get really scared.

She kisses like a boy; she wants to see if she can get the whole of my mouth into hers. Her tongue slithers in and explores like a tentacle until I trap it and suck it into submission. We stop, switch angles, and kiss again. This time the assault is gone, the walls are breached already; this time it’s a real kiss that speaks for other parts of the body. The song finishes, the next one starts, but we stand there, still in the middle of the room, eating face.

Mick, the red-faced Dane, walks up and puts his arms around us both. “Hey, hey, hey … ladies! You put on for all of us this very sexy show. But maybe they will kick us out,” he says conspiratorially. “Come back to my place and we can continue,” his voice filters through the music and the exquisite taste of Tina’s tongue.

Slowly, she pulls away from my mouth. She looks drowsy-drunk as she licks her lips. And slower still, she turns her head towards him.

“Fuck off, Mick,” she says. Quiet, cruel, cold.

I know why. Mick is on the bone pile. Tina has already had him, eaten the meat and sucked the marrow out.

“Fuck off,” she repeats, calmly shooting him in the head with words.

He stands there frozen, executed. I like Mick; he’s a nice, sweet person and he’s not offended by what he’s a witness to but I know he’s hurt. The sting in his eyes, in his heart—I get that, too. Maybe that’s how I’m going to feel soon; kicked out like a dog that has served its purpose and isn’t needed anymore. But when her eyes meet mine again and she’s dismissed him so utterly that he no longer exists, they are the same eyes as before; she is the Tina of always. There is nothing of predation in her face and it makes me feel a little better. Just a little.

“Come down to the beach,” I say. Maybe it’s the pine bed that makes her mean. Maybe if we fuck at the beach, I can trip the switch and stay just a little longer in her glow.

We hold hands as we cross the dusty street and plow into the sand dunes. This is nothing new; we have always held hands. She’s been my best friend for a year. We’ve sat at the tables of the outdoor café by the port and teased sailors together; flirted with the boys in the flower market together; smoked weed behind the gymnasium wall together; returned obscenities at the whistles and the wolf-calls together. This is Spain, where girls hold hands.

Tina lets go of it and links her arm through mine. The sand is still hot from the day’s sun, warm and thick as it splays my toes.

“Have you ever been with a girl?” I ask.

“No. You?”

“Oh, shit! I thought you had!”

We’re standing at the water’s edge now. The tide is in and the air smells fresh and salty, alive. Out over the water, the fishing boats are catching squid by lamplight. I let myself collapse, ass first into the sand, pulling her down beside me.

“Nope, never,” I say, unbuckling the ankle-straps on my sandals and setting them aside. I push my bare feet into the sand, digging into the surface until I feel my toes hit the mud beneath.

“Then how do we start?” Her voice wasn’t anxious or nervous. It was just a question like any other—like ‘where do you catch the bus to Cadiz?’

“I think we already did.”

I can hear her sigh over the sound of the lazy waves. There’s no moon tonight, just the light of the stars and their reflection on the water. So when she unzips her dress and wriggles it off awkwardly, the freckles on her skin look much darker, almost black. I stare at her body; I’ve seen it before but, oh, it looks different now. It looks like a place I want to be, a pool I want to plunge into, something good to eat.

“Well, come on!” she says, lightheartedly. “Don’t get shy on me now!”

But I am … now. I look at her body and her breasts and she looks like a woman to me. And, me, I’m just a skinny little thing with no tits and no hips. I sit up on my knees and pull my dress over my head. She’s seen it before—in changing rooms, at sleep-overs. I’m not worried about rejection. I’m worried that I’m offering something unworthy of her attention.

Tina reaches over and tweaks my closest nipple. It’s a friendly thing, a teasing thing. “You’re going to get some soon you know.” I think she’s lying. I’m 18 now and they still look like anthills, but it gives me the excuse I need to reciprocate the touch. I reach out to cup one breast and the feel of it in my hand … stops me breathing.

Oh, it’s warm and soft and firm and it’s calling me. In a moment, I’m pushing her backwards and my mouth is on it. Her giggles mutate into moans as I suck at her, my hand reaching blindly to find her other breast. Beneath me, I can’t believe what her body is doing. It’s a writhing snake as I drag the skin of my cheek over her chest. The fingers of one hand are tangled in my hair again and she pulls me up to her mouth. Her other hand is on my back, sliding downwards, under my panties, to press my hips against hers as she grinds into me. I have decided I could live on her saliva.

This is not the Tina I know. I have seen her fuck guys; I’ve watched and listened as she lies back bored, spreads her legs and waits for entertainment, bothering only to gasp out instructions as she nears orgasm.

This is a different Tina. She moans into my mouth and, as my thigh slips between her legs, her hips surge upwards leaving a trail of wetness along the line of my skin. If I was ever worried about what to do if I got this far with her, it seems laughable now. Because, as I move my hand beneath her underwear and onto her mound, she actually squeals high and soft against my lips and, when I press my fingers into her cleft, it drops to a growl.

Then she’s at me, rolling us both onto our sides and plunging her fingers into my cunt.

I get it now—I get the squeal—because nothing feels this fucking sweet—because boys never do this right. They rub your clit as if it’s a spot that needs removing. But not us. We know exactly what it feels like when you graze the flat of a finger softly over a clit and down to the opening. There’s a river down there and it has a course; it tells you what path to take … that valley was made for fingers.

When I pull her face to mine again, there’s sand between our lips. If I can’t kiss her anymore, I’m going to die.

“Let’s go into the water,” I pant.

I don’t remember how we get there but Tina’s giggling again, standing waist-deep in the sea. I vaguely remember tugging at her underwear and flinging it wet over onto the dry sand. I don’t recall if the coolness of the sea was a shock, or how I divested myself of my panties, but we submerged and came up, sand free.

The salt water mixed with her spit and I still thought I could live on it. I felt her nipples erect as they brushed against mine. All I could think of now was, if my arms were longer, I could finger her and still feel her body flat against mine all the way down.

Where the sea meets the sand, we crawled over each other, kissing and stroking and probing until we found the perfect place, the perfect way to lie and enter each other. Slightly apart, with our legs tangled in the water and our bodies on the wet sand.

Tina wasn’t shouting out instructions. When I pushed a third finger into her, letting my palm slide over an incredibly erect clit with each thrust, I knew exactly where she was. Her own fingers became insistent and fluid, fucking into me, telling me how she wanted it.

I was kissing her again when her lips went slack. I felt the tremors ride over her body and felt her legs tense. I tried so hard to concentrate but I was coming myself and it must have become a matter of fucking each other’s fingers at the end. I don’t remember very well, except that it was lovely and that she was making puppy sounds and I wanted to fill my body with them.

* * *

Tina slipped her sunglasses down her nose to look at me.

“What are you thinking about?”

I smiled and watched the weak autumn sun do wonderful things to the penny-red hair. Twenty years later, she was still the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen.

“I’m thinking about the beach,” I said, pulling my sweater a little closer around my body. The sun was golden and mellow, but September in London has a special kind of bite.

She sipped her cappuccino and licked the foam off her upper lip. Then, settling the cup neatly back down onto the saucer, she said, “We go to Thailand every year, Ellen and I. To the beach, you know?”
I looked at her and smiled again. I was a little sad that she hadn’t caught the reference, but she’d been with Ellen for twelve years now. There was no reason to expect her to be nostalgic about something that happened so long ago. She gave me the same sexy, crooked smile that she would probably take to her grave and then spoke.

“Every time we make love on the sand, I still remember you. I remember everything.”


…this story now appears in the “Coming Together Anthology: Remittance Girl” which is a collection of my work. All proceeds from this book go to support free speech, through the ACLU.

Please consider purchasing it.

  44 comments for “Penny Red

  1. City Different
    August 2, 2009 at 3:29 am

    You had me from “freckles spilling tan confetti over milk-white skin.” You still had me at “I remember everything.” A fine story, Rgrl, full of heat and longing.

  2. August 2, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    I suddenly feel so sad after reading that, RG. In the best possible way one can feel sad from a story. This remembrance of a long ago memory, cherished & treasured, beautifully told, just makes me sentimental and melancholy. Well done, love, very well done.

  3. Maya
    August 3, 2009 at 11:02 am

    ah, memories. good story

  4. August 3, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    One of the first (if not the very first) of your stories I read, and one of my favourites. It still gives me the chills, even more now that I know what to expect. Beautifully constructed, thank you for re-posting. Ciao, Michael.

  5. August 3, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    I can’t believe I haven’t read this one before, as many times as I’ve read through your works.

    And it made me cry.

    Sexy, beautiful, honest, poignant.

  6. Carissa
    September 10, 2009 at 11:13 am

    A couple of months ago, when I read this story for the first time, I loved it as much as your others. But life changes – I’ve changed – and now this story means more to me than I ever thought it could.

    Thank you.

  7. E_Woman
    October 4, 2009 at 4:57 am

    exquisite… thank you for the experience


  8. joe
    November 9, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Just brilliant RG. Beautiful story and writing but it was the ending that took my breath away. Just brings up the memories of loves lost and then remembered..

  9. Heloise
    December 5, 2009 at 7:55 am

    … wow…i don’t really know what to say to that so i’m just going to agree with City Different, Tess, E_Woman, and joe. Thank you for creating these beautiful stories for our enjoyment.

  10. December 16, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Wonderful. The ending was beautifully heartbreaking. What a gift.

  11. gia
    February 6, 2010 at 6:05 am

    i lived the beach

    …15 years on, still miss you sometimes, G. my first youth ended when we did.

    RG, thank you; yours are the best stories.

  12. February 13, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Simply breathtaking, my dear. The imagery is flawless as usual, but I love that I am left with mystery, desire and so many other thoughts. And an erection, of course. I’m only human.

  13. February 13, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    You must know I like this one, the imagery. Nothing better than two people, into solely each other.

  14. em
    March 15, 2011 at 9:17 am

    It has been some time since I have read, and I have never posted, but I am compelled to tell you that this story has always been my favorite. It is beautiful.

    • March 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm

      And in appreciation of your comment, I’ll put the full story back up in April.

  15. bklynmermaid
    October 25, 2013 at 3:24 am

    a wave of nostalgia, longing, and sweetness washed over me as I read the last line….your voice is a unique treasure, thank you for sharing with us

  16. V
    February 7, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Thank you! It was delicious.

  17. jj
    April 11, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Fabulous more olease

  18. Anastaria
    July 4, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    My gosh, this had it all. Reality, sadness, happiness, excitement, closure, and arousal. It was wonderful, simply wonderful

  19. entheos
    September 16, 2014 at 12:18 am

    Masterful storytelling, beautiful story.

    Thank you.

  20. Harley
    July 9, 2015 at 2:58 am

    This was the first story I have ever read and it was beautiful. All the deatail was amazing.

  21. Wyatt
    November 2, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    This is my first time ever reading stories like these and all I can say is that I’ll be back to read more.

  22. Alexandra
    November 12, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    This is the director of yours I have read. I want more…

  23. Dez
    January 15, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Great read.

  24. Ana
    January 28, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Beautiful. I cried for a solid 10 minutes. You have perfectly crafted into words the feelings that are so difficult to express. Thank you.

  25. Corvid
    March 20, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    8 years later and this is one of my favorite stories. Thank you.

  26. Kimberly
    October 4, 2017 at 7:20 am

    This story was beautifully written. I look forward to reading more of your collections.
    Thank you.

  27. Abi
    November 22, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    You have beautiful writing. I say that as a fellow writer, your diaologue and thoughts flow easily. Overall, this story brought back feelings. I really like this girl, and she’s only the second girl I’ve ever asked out. I did, but I was too late. She said she used to have a crush on me but she isn’t willing to pretnd she still does. This story really made me miss her. Thank you

  28. ME
    December 7, 2017 at 4:29 am

    Well written. The imagery is stark. Felt every drop of water, tasted every kiss, felt the bite of London in September. Saved to favs on my computer. Look forward to reading another.

  29. December 27, 2017 at 7:57 am

    I absolutely loved this. I’m looking forward to reading more

  30. Steven
    January 2, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    Honestly I wish I could find a better story, but it’s just not possible. I wish I could find your level of writing finesse in a book I could bring to school, but it won’t happen. I wish the word could be truth, but nay. We must all be trapped in our pleasurable cafes that keep us coming back for more, because nowhere else can you find a writer who both has the words and the knowledge of what they’re writing to compose such a masterpiece. Brava. I do hope you realize just how satisfying all of your stories are. I hope you understand that I search for a single flaw, and I find none. There is no writers error, the only error that could have possibly been made is your being too good. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. B R A V A.

  31. Ashlee
    January 11, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    Nice read.

    Thanks for the story

  32. K The Red
    January 15, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    First of your works I have read. I often thought I could convey words into a story and captivate. Girl you can create art. My how wonderful. Thank you for the tears.

  33. MM
    April 8, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    This makes me so sad. This is such a beautiful story

  34. Seremela
    April 15, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    I cried at the end and hugged my husband, who had no idea what was going on and i couldnt tell him because my throat had closed up. Thank you for an achingly beautiful turn to a lovely story.

  35. Amy
    April 30, 2018 at 2:22 am

    Thanks. Sweet and sexy!

  36. Christine
    June 3, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    I have fallen in love with you. Your words of fiction have beckoned a lost truth deep within me. Who are you and how far away from me are you? In time and in space and in lifetimes? I am a particularly adept online sleuth, but I haven’t even tried. I want to know the depths of you, only if you pull me into you. Please, please pull me in.

  37. Hillary M LaFrance
    August 3, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    Thank you for all your beautiful gifts. I’ve treasured them. This is my second favorite so far. The Tortes dilldo is my absolute favorite!

    I could wax eloquent but suffice it to say I adore your mind, your hands the loving and intimate way you caress your characters with your crafted words.

    I agree with everyone’s praises and cash only say Thank you!

    • Hillary
      August 3, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      Thank you for all your beautiful gifts. I’ve treasured them. This is my second favorite so far. The Tortes dilldo is my absolute favorite!

      I could wax eloquent but suffice it to say I adore your mind, your hands the loving and intimate way you caress your characters with your crafted words.

      I agree with everyone’s praises and cash only say Thank you!

  38. Hillary
    August 3, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    I just wrote a comment and realized the first time it had my full name. Can you do the one with just my first name?

  39. Andrew
    August 5, 2018 at 4:28 am

    Wow! This story had it all. Memories, worries, eroticism, and nostalgia. Very well done.

  40. Se7en
    January 17, 2019 at 10:37 am

    Exquisite, so meaningful and inspiring. So many elements, I am excited to dive into more of your writings

  41. Nicole
    January 27, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Wow that was hot!! Love this story, so beautifully written x

  42. Magdoll
    March 18, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    Love love loved it.

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