Is She?

When Claire starts university she moves in with fellow student Jasmine and immediately falls for her. But how do you tell if a girl is gay? Claire looks up the ‘signs’ on the internet and desperately seeks advice from friends. But with all the signs pointing in either direction she is just left wondering: Is she?

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5. CHAPTER FIVE: THE BIG REVEAL

‘OH. MY. GOD.’

Claire stared at the tiny computer screen, open mouthed. She had no idea that this kind of thing happened in anything other than porn.

At the first indication that the main character might be a lesbian, she had been surprised, then at the mention of the gay camp she had been intrigued. But as the film went on it became clear that it was something she had never encountered in her sheltered and untutored life: it was a lesbian romance.

When the main characters had started getting it on, Claire didn’t know where to look! Yet she had been transfixed, feeling as though she shouldn’t be looking but unable to resist, and confused about the etiquette of handling the situation: people aren’t supposed to admit that they want to watch sex, so what do you do when your housemate shows you a film with sex in it? Where on earth do you look?

Thankfully for Claire the scene eventually ended, the film returned to its former hilarity and she could bury her discomfort in slightly-too-enthusiastic-laughter.

She glanced across at Jasmine, giggling away, and wondered why she had chosen to watch ‘But I’m a Cheerleader’ with her. Claire was now almost certain that Jasmine was definitely a lesbian. The signs were there; the doc martins, the way she wore her hair and now this film!

But almost certain, wasn’t absolutely certain. There were still niggling doubts. What if she was just open minded? What if it was just that a gay friend had lent her the film?… but then what if Jasmine had purposely chosen the film in order to tell Claire that she was a lesbian!? To give out the signs loud and clear and now all Claire had to do was make a move…

‘Oh GOD! How do I make a move?’ she thought, desperately. She had no idea! ‘Maybe I should  lean closer?’ she tried to delicately sidle up the bed, but all she managed to do was wobble the laptop, annoying Jasmine and making herself look like a beached dolphin flailing about on the sand.

Claire tried to think back to some of the advice she’d read online: bite your bottom lip, lick your lips, stare at her lips, all she could think of was lips, nothing else, nothing came to mind from those hours and hours of research! And in order for her to get Jasmine to notice her lips she would have to stick her head in front of the film and she didn’t think that would go down particularly well. Whether she was managing to simultaneously bite, lick and look, or not.

She suppressed a sigh of frustration and tried to focus on the film, not really taking it in and doing nothing but thinking about Jasmine’s lips. Maybe… just maybe… if she played her cards right she would be able to do more than just think about those lips.

“So what did you think?” Jasmine asked.

Claire hadn’t even realised the film was over. “It was brilliant!” she said, a little too enthusiastically.

“I loved that bit with the guy trying to play football!” Jasmine said, laughing.

“Yeah! That was funny!” Claire sensed an opportunity, she knew she had a chance to take the conversation into an area where she could get absolute confirmation. Probably.

“So” she started, trying desperately to be casual but knowing her phrasing was going to have to be perfect to take this next conversation in the direction she wanted it to go “I never knew they had those kind of ‘gay camps’ in America.” she looked up at Jasmine sitting regally on the bed, her legs kicked out to her side giving her the look of an Indian Princess, especially with her long dark hair and her deep dark eyes and those succulent, juicy lips. ‘Focus’ Claire told herself. 

“Oh, yeah!” Jasmine started, clearly she had some prior knowledge of this, which Claire hoped would play straight into her hands. “They still have some in parts, and not just in America either, there are a lot of people who think they can ‘cure’ people who are gay. In fact, it wasn’t long ago that Boris Johnson banned a group of them from advertising on London buses, I think he got in to a bit of trouble about free speech though.”

“What do you think about all of that?”

“Free speech?”

“About the cures for being gay?” Claire asked, trying to keep the conversation flowing in the right direction. “Do you think people choose to be gay, or can choose to stop?” she knew she would have to get a clear answer to that, she prayed for the right answer, she prayed that Jasmine would be open to the idea and then she could push her further on it.

“No, you don’t choose who you fall in love with.” Jasmine looked at Claire and smiled slightly “If you love someone then you love them regardless, don’t you?”

Claire felt every part of herself wobbling with excitement!

Jasmine had basically just admitted she likes girls, and that look! That look told Claire that she knew exactly what she was admitting to and was totally ready to open up about it.

Claire tried to speak, but her throat felt dry. “Yeah” she managed to say, she knew she had to ask her next question. Her skin was tingling with anticipation, her heart pounded in her chest and she struggled to keep her breathing level: she need to sound calm and relaxed, she had to master this, to stay in control of the conversation. “So...” she asked casually, unable to maintain eye contact with Jasmine, the nerves knotting in her stomach “is there anyone you’re interested in at the moment?”

She had asked! There was no going back now, she’d committed to that conversation and in three seconds she was about to hear the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ that could define the rest of her life. Claire couldn’t breathe.

Jasmine giggled.

Jasmine actually giggled! Claire looked up, she knew this was the moment. Her mouth was dry, her heart was going so fast she was almost worried it would explode.

“Actually, there kind of is someone… sort of.” Jasmine said.

Claire wanted to scream. To shout and cheer and yell for joy, she couldn’t suppress the grin that had spread across her face, but she had to keep calm. Had to stay cool and collected.

“Really,” she asked, her voice slightly higher pitched than it had been a few seconds before “tell me more!” she was trying to go for the interested friend tone, but she thought she probably sounded more like an hysterical belieber. But she knew she was close, so close! After all, Jasmine invited her into her bedroom, Jasmine showed her the lesbian film, Jasmine has been friendly to her ever since she arrived, and now Jasmine was acting all shy and coy as if she didn’t really want to say anything and being forced to open up, yet all this time she had no idea that Claire felt the same way! But of course, Claire won’t have to reveal anything until after Jasmine has admitted how she feels….and that could be any second now.

“Well it’s a bit of a secret…” Jasmine whispered.

Claire thought she was going to have a meltdown, it was just too much, she couldn’t take it. “Oh, you can tell me!” she squealed excitedly.

Then Jasmine looked her straight in the eye, they held one another’s gaze while Jasmine seemed to be assessing her, trying to tell if this was the right moment.

‘Tell me!’ Claire screamed in her head.

“I’m in love with a girl.”

And with those words Claire thought she would die of exhilaration right then and there! She wanted to tell her she felt the same, she wanted to lean forward and kiss her, finally taste those sweet, juicy lips and let her hands run all over Jasmine’s body.

She had been right all along! She knew from the very beginning, that moment way back when they first met, the very first instant, electricity had sparked in that moment and she knew that the smile Jasmine gave her as she left meant something more.

She knew she was right to have done the research, and now it had all paid off! She was right about everything! Jasmine was so totally gay and she had known! Her gaydar had clearly worked brilliantly, she just had to have more faith in herself in future. She knew there was a spark between them, she knew that she couldn’t have been alone in feeling that buzz of excitement deep in her belly when she looked into Jasmine’s eyes, she knew secretly that Jasmine must have felt the same thing and now it was confirmed! Now, everything was justified! Sacrificing her first few university essays to get this moment right was totally worth it, because now she could tell Jasmine just how she felt, explain how she had known from the beginning and she was just waiting for Jasmine to admit it.

She wanted to play one last card, she wanted to hear Jasmine say the words to her, she wanted to hear them on her lips and then kiss her.

Claire lay down on the bed, trying to appear as seductive as possible, without really knowing how to look seductive. She needed to be cool, calm and in control.

“Cool,” she said, trying to sound husky, but the excitement in her voice meant she was still higher pitched than usual “any one I know?” she asked the question but she knew what the answer was going to be.

She started to think about how their relationship would pan out, she’d be able to introduce this gorgeous girl to all her old friends, they would be jealous of her, they certainly wouldn’t laugh at her for being gay anymore, and Mandy would have to be so apologetic about how wrong she was to doubt any of this. They might even move in together, get some chic little pad somewhere and get out of this awful house.

“Actually, yes,” Jasmine said.

Claire felt like the master of the conversation, completely in control of every step, every move that this exotic dance was taking, she smiled, knowing what was coming next, waiting in anticipation of Jasmine’s admission of love, of her passion, of how she fell in love with her at first sight.

“Ali, the girl you met downstairs, and I have been seeing each other for about two months.”

Claire’s body seemed to stop working. She didn’t understand, she heard the words but she didn’t understand. That girl? The gangly one? In the football shirt? But why? She wasn’t even beautiful! She was nothing compared to Jasmine, she was sporty, she didn’t wear make-up… why would Jasmine like her? When she had been so nice, so thoughtful, when she had looked at Claire with that look?

“If her family find out” Jasmine continued “they will disown her, so we have to keep it a complete secret.” Jasmine looked at her with those deep dark eyes of hers, so beautiful, so seductive, so interested in someone else “I can trust you can’t I?”

As Claire’s heart thundered to a crushing, juddering, smashing break, she smiled weakly and nodded.

“Of course” she whispered.

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