Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kimpy says you'll be Damned if You Do

Damned If You Do

Kristen Nicole



One-Shot for the "Love For The Unloved" Contest. Lauren Mallory might be high maintenance, but she has her reasons. Lauren/Jessica SLASH. AU.

Kristen Nicole is one of the best writers in the Fandom; she wields the grammarsword like no one’s business. It’s bad enough that she is wicked intelligent, but on top of it, she is also bitingly witty, a true beauty (inside and out), and a superb human being. It doesn’t seem fair, or right, that one person could receive so much goodness from the universe, but she clearly did. You want to hate her a little bit, just because, but it is impossible, because she is that freaking adorable.

Her multi-chapter stories, The Caged Bird and Bella Swan, Zombie Killer, are skillfully written, and have received some good review counts. It grieves my soul, however, to see that her wonderful one-shot about Lauren Mallory only has 40 reviews. Forty! True, it’s about a character that everyone loves to hate, and it is a femmeslash about that same character, but that’s no excuse. It’s a great one-shot that deserves recognition, so I’m doing my best to fan the flames.

In general, coming out stories kill me dead. When you see an individual fighting hard to deny their sexual orientation, it’s like a kick in the gut. No one should have to deal with that. No one. Not even Lauren Mallory. While my inability to cry is practically legendary, if you show me a coming out story, I’m gone.

It takes some genuine writing skills to make someone who is the high school equivalent of Heather Chandler—the original mean girl—a character you can care about. I didn’t hate her Lauren Mallory incarnation; in fact, I actually empathized with her. I wanted things to work out for her. That’s just one example of why Kristen Nicole’s writing is so good.

I’m a total h00r for snark, and Kristen Nicole’s Lauren is as snarky as they come. The entire piece is filled with gorgeous little gems like this, about Angela Weber:

She was almost too sweet to be around sometimes, like adding sugar to pre-sweetened Kool-Aid. If she wasn't such a genuinely nice person, I might have hated her just on principle.

In the moments when she isn’t being snarky, however, Lauren’s internal monologue reveals an aching sadness and loneliness, because she’s figured out that she’s gay. It dawned on her with sudden clarity during a 7th grade sleepover at Jessica Stanley’s house. She played Truth or Dare, and was dared to kiss Jessica. Her description of Jessica is surprising, yet sweet:

I moved closer to Jessica on the floor and kneeled in front of her. Her pretty hair was all in her face, and I tucked it back behind her ears, marveling at the softness of her downy skin. I left my hands on her shoulders, the sweat from my palms dampening the cotton of her nightgown. She looked up at me, her big brown eyes huge and scared…To say that the kiss was life-changing would be an understatement. She didn't taste like gross lunchmeat. She tasted like bubble gum and candy and sweet girl. I felt like all of my insides were unraveling. Fireworks shot behind my closed eyelids and my fingers clenched on her shoulders, my whole world rocking wildly on its axis.

This is the kind of first kiss everyone should get, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. This kiss is what it’s all about. The answer to the universe must surely lie in there somewhere.

Like all good things, this kiss had to end, and Lauren was instantly branded a “lesbo.” The way she describes her feelings, like she had been punched in the gut, takes your breath away. It completely describes the reasons behind Lauren Mallory’s epic cruntiness. Given the choice between being called a dyke for the remainder of her school years, or being a mean bitch to keep everyone away, I think most people would make the same selection as did Lauren. Thus, the mean girl was born.

Lauren pines for Jessica every day following that fatal kiss. She stands by, watching Jessica lust after Mike Newton. Her heart breaks when she learns Jessica and Mike are going to prom together. To help her forget, she takes on a bottle of Grey Goose. When Jessica calls her, sobbing because Mike broke up with her that night, Lauren is waiting in the wings. They down shot after shot of vodka, until Jessica gets the ingenious idea of sending a mass e-mail to everyone about how tiny Mike Newton’s peen is. When she sits down at Lauren’s computer, however, she discovers girl-on-girl porn right in front of her face.

I watched, horrified, as Jessica scrolled through my browser history to reveal the massive amounts of erotica I'd been looking at on a daily basis. Veritable orgies of women, all with dark, curly brown hair. These were my substitute Jessicas. These were the girls that I got off to when I was alone in my room. My sad little delusions on display for her to see, with me squinting and pretending they were her every time I touched myself.

Jessica’s response to all this girl-girl porn? No, it isn’t “Get lost,” or “You freaky dyke,” it is a simple request: Show me.

*cue the whimper*

Oh, Lauren shows Jessica exactly what’s going on:

"You taste so fucking good," I muttered, my tone nearly guttural with suppressed need. She looked so vulnerable and needy sitting in front of me that I couldn't seem to stop the next words that flew out of my mouth. "I love you so much, Jessica. Please just let me make you cum."

Typically, I go bonkers when Edward says this kind of stuff. I have to admit, however, that hearing it come out of Lauren Mallory’s mouth was just as fucking hot. Lauren has wanted Jessica ever since that 7th grade kiss, and to be a fly on the wall in that moment where her dreams came true was priceless. That was all it took to redeem Lauren Mallory in my eyes.

Do yourself a favor—check out Damned If You Do. Because, da-yum, you’ll be glad you did.