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The Beauty Queen Called Twice

Lesbian Light Reads 7


Elizabeth Andre

Published by Tulabella Ruby Press

Copyright 2016 Elizabeth Andre/All Rights Reserved

Thank you for downloading this ebook. This book remains the copyrighted property of the author and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer. Thank you for your support.

All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is strictly coincidental.

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Other titles by Elizabeth Andre:

Love’s Perfect Vintage

Lesbian With Dog Seeks Same

Bodies in Motion

Right Time For Love

Landing Love

Lesbian Light Reads Volumes 1-6 Boxed Set

Skating on Air

Someone Like Her

Roll With Me

Stop and Go

Nice Jewish Girls

Lesbian Light Reads Volumes 7-12 Boxed Set

Love Most Likely

Joy For Julie

Give Me Thorns: A Lesbian BDSM Romance

Tested: Sex, love, and friendship in the shadow of HIV

The Time Slip Girl


Learning to Kiss Girls

Editor: Cassandra Pierce

Cover Consultants: Beth, Marc and Patty

Table of Contents

The Beauty Queen Called Twice

Skating on Air/Chapter One

About Elizabeth Andre

Connect with Elizabeth Andre

Other books in the Lesbian Light Reads Series

Other books by Elizabeth Andre

The Beauty Queen Called Twice

Lesbian Light Reads 7


Elizabeth Andre

People have all kinds of triggers. Sights. Sounds. Smells. All of them can trigger an avalanche of memories and feelings. I was no different from anyone else. My trigger was a name. The name was Charlenae White. When I read her name in an email my editor had sent me, I was overwhelmed with memories of things tangible and intangible. A drag queen beauty pageant. Chiffon trousers. Long black hair. Embarrassment. Regret.

Charlenae White had made something of herself. She was the CEO of NaeWha Cosmetics. My fellow reporter, Jodi, seemed to know all about the CEO version of Charlenae and NaeWha. She was leaning over the cube farm wall that separated our work areas.

“Hey, Lauren, why do you get to interview Charlenae, and I get to interview an old white guy who invented a new kind of golf ball?” she asked, sounding truly indignant.

“Just lucky, I guess,” I said, stretching and yawning to cover the surprise I felt at encountering Charlenae again for the first time in several years.

“I’ve seen her photo. She’s beautiful. Are you going to meet her or just do a phoner?”

“Not sure, but whatever I do, I have to do it now. Boss man wants the story as soon as possible, even though whether some company may be buying NaeWha Cosmetics isn’t exactly breaking news.”

Jodi and I worked as reporters for an online business news website, along with a dozen others. We made an attempt to write the occasional hard-hitting feature on trends in business or on one brewing scandal or another, but a lot of what we did was rehash press releases and write puff pieces on business owners. Anything to get more clicks. We lived and died by clicks.

“Well, you know Tim,” Jodi said. “He still likes to give us these deadlines even when it doesn’t really matter.”

Tim, the editor-in-chief of our little operation, had his maudlin moments from time to time. At those times, he’d say that our little website was scrappy enough to punch above our weight like the bigger business news outfits, like Bloomberg, but that we just kept missing the mark. He wasn’t sure how we would hit it. I thought we actually did good work. Truthfully, Tim, an old guy with a big belly and a shock of white hair swirling around his head, clearly missed the old days when newspapers, actual news printed on actual paper, weren’t mostly shadows of their former selves. He proudly referred to himself as an ink-stained wretch even though his words hadn’t been on paper in years, even though some days he seemed to think that he too was a shadow of his former self. On particularly bad days he would point to his 20-year-old journalism award hanging on his wall and again tell the story of how he broke the story of a crooked judge and set a man free from death row.

“Great journalism can change the world. It changes lives,” he would say and then tell us about the story that he felt should have won an award but didn’t. Invariably, this well-worn tale would end with him asking us why we were still in in his office and pointing to the door.

I reread the press release that came attached to Tim’s email just to see her name again. I was having trouble keeping my mind in the here and now. The first time I saw her, she had been sitting at the judges’ table at a drag queen beauty pageant at the gay bar in the town where I went to college. I was covering the pageant for the college newspaper. It would be the lead story in the paper’s entertainment section in the next edition. She had dark skin and lovely long hair that cascaded past her shoulders. When she looked up from taking notes on the contestants to laugh or smile, I felt my mouth go dry. I forgot how to talk.

Jodi was snapping her fingers in front of my face. “Hey! You’re so far away, so far away. What’s going on?”

I shook my head. “Nothing. So, what’s the golf ball story?”

“This guy’s special golf balls are selling really well. I’m to find out his business secret. You know, the usual. What is it about Charlenae White that’s got you all knotted up? She’s beautiful and all, but there’s clearly more to it than that.”

“I’ve interviewed her before,” I said and then told Jodi about meeting Charlenae at the drag queen beauty pageant. I told her about interviewing Charlenae for a story about her own pageant competition and how she called me even after the story was done. I admitted that I didn’t return her calls.

“You thought you were too good for her?” She was half serious, half teasing.

“No, it’s not that. Journalists aren’t supposed to date sources, you know. Besides, she’s too good for me. She’s amazingly beautiful. I bet she has a gaggle of her own beautiful friends who would sneer at me for missing a bikini wax. She probably had a boyfriend back then and has a husband now. All you straight girls do is flirt with us gay girls and then crush us. Been there. Done that.”

At that, Jodi seemed noticeably miffed, and I didn’t blame her. But it was the truth, my truth at least, and I really didn’t want to get hurt by Charlenae or anyone else.

“Sometimes you’re pathetic,” Jodi said, sitting back down. “How do you know what she wants if you don’t ask? How do you know if you don’t return her call? Maybe you’re the reason you’re still single.”

I was about to say something smart when our editor came strolling through the office. Jodi got on the phone. Soon, I heard her asking about golf balls. I got a stare and a raised eyebrow from Tim as I picked up my phone. Most days the receiver was pretty light, but today it weighed two tons. I don’t know why it was so hard to make this one call. I was a reporter. I had a few years of experience talking to people and writing down what they said with reasonable accuracy. I called people I didn’t know all the time. Since I was writing business stories, most of these people were richer than me. Plenty were prettier, smarter and more talented.

Jodi was right. Charlenae was different.


I never thought I’d see her again, even though I’d never forgotten her long black hair cascading around her shoulders and the chiffon trousers that managed to be both sexy and modest at the same time. I never gave myself the chance to get too attached to her when we first met. I was totally focused on finishing college and becoming the best journalist ever. I, Lauren Golden, wanted to become a hardball journalist like Helen Thomas or Maureen Dowd, and all I was interested in was getting stories and passing classes. I didn’t have time for love, and I didn’t have time to mess about with a girl who seemed too straight and too beautiful for someone like me.

I’m not saying I was ugly then. I’m not ugly now. I’ve always liked my hazel eyes and thick red hair, but there’s a difference between being somewhat attractive and competing in the state beauty pageant. That’s what she was doing. I was just writing a story about her for the college newspaper, one more clip to add to my binder.

I told myself that that was all she was—just another story.

I had been mildly surprised when the editor of the college newspaper had been enthusiastic about my pitch to write about a drag queen beauty pageant at the local gay bar. He thought it would be a good cover piece for the entertainment section. He assigned a photographer, and off we went. It was a Sunday night in March. The ice and snow of a brutal winter had only recently melted, but there was still a chill in the air. Once in the bar, we watched a half dozen men dressed as women compete for the privilege of wearing a sash and crown. I think they also got $50 in free drinks. During breaks, I asked contestants about their beauty routines and what it took to do drag.

I dutifully scribbled in my battered green steno pad about how these men avoided having a bulge and where they put their dicks while wearing a dress. I learned how they used bronzer to accentuate their cleavage and how those sponge paint brushes usually sold at hardware stores to apply paint can be used to apply foundation.

And then I saw her sitting at the judges’ table. She, too, was scribbling notes about the various contestants.

Every time she looked up she broke into this perfect smile, the kind you saw in fashion magazines and beauty pageants. Her long, dark hair looked soft, almost ethereal, as it floated around her face, like there was a soft summer breeze flowing through it. She managed to pose at this perfect angle as if she was always ready to have her photo taken. She wasn’t as made up as the drag queens, but her eyebrows were perfectly arched. Her lips were painted a natural gloss. Her teeth were a perfect white. She wore these flowing black chiffon pants that revealed the outline of her legs and became opaque in all the right spots. They were stylish rather than sluttish. They suggested the skin beneath without revealing it.

Focus. I needed to stay focused on getting the story, and I was on deadline. The show would end at midnight, and I needed to get my story in by noon the next day. I couldn’t get distracted.

After the pageant, the contestants mingled with the judges and spectators. The crowd had been getting pretty rowdy throughout the night, and now that the contest was over, the rowdiness ramped up. I had just finished getting quotes from a few of the spectators when I glanced around and caught sight of Charlenae chatting with a couple of the pageant contestants. I headed over there, but stopped just short of joining the group right away. I caught a few snatches of their conversation.

“Their voices are heavenly!” the older of the two pageant contestants had exclaimed. “They performed intricate harmonies.”

“And they’re called the Lemon sisters?” Charlenae said.

The older drag queen, called Tiki Barr, shook her head vigorously. “No, darling. Lennon. Two Ns, not an M. They’re not fruits.”

“Unlike us, honey!” Chi Chi Lopes, the other, younger drag queen, said and dissolved into giggles.

Tiki rolled his eyes and turned his attention back to Charlenae. “The Lennon Sisters are marvelous. You must listen to them.”

This was when I stepped in. “I remember my mother or grandmother talking about seeing them on the Lawrence Welk Show.”

Charlenae and the drag queens looked at me.

Charlenae smiled at me. “You know who the Lennon Sisters are?”

I nodded. “I think they were regulars on the Welk show.”

Tiki draped his arm across my shoulders. I was glad he did because I thought I would swoon when Charlenae smiled at me.

He said, “It’s good to find young people who know something of quality pop culture.”

This time, Chi Chi rolled his eyes.

Then the conversation drifted to matters of makeup and hair. I offered a few thoughts and opinions of my own, but mostly I listened and watched Charlenae. I was really impressed by how natural and kind she was. She didn’t treat the drag queens like they were zoo animals, something to be gawked at. She seemed really interested in them and their stories, and it was clear they adored her. It was the two of them who told me about her competing in the state’s upcoming beauty pageant.

The younger drag queen said to me, “You should write a story about her. She’s gonna win that pageant.”

“I just might win. Are you guys gonna come cheer me on?” Charlenae asked.

The drag queens said “Yes!” in unison, and offered to get a gaggle of their friends to come with them. “Road trip!” they shouted in unison.

I told Charlenae that I’d love to write a story about her participation in the state pageant. We chatted for a bit. I found out that she was studying business, and she was fascinated by my being a journalist. All too soon, she had to leave. I told her I’d be in touch about the story.

That night when I rubbed my clit as I fell asleep, I was wetter than usual.

The next day I wrote my drag queen pageant story, made my deadline, and pitched my editor a story about how Charlenae, a junior in the business school, was competing in the state’s beauty pageant.

“Hey, don’t think of it as a beauty pageant,” I had said. “It’s a scholarship program.”

He gave me the go-ahead. I interviewed her over a cup of coffee at one of the campus coffee shops. There was something about the way she talked and moved that was so gentle and easy. She smiled non-stop, but it looked like that was natural for her. She brushed her hair back off her face every so often and crossed and uncrossed her legs. She told me about competing in a modeling contest at a shopping mall when she was 12 years old. I asked her why she was interested in modeling, and I never forgot her answer.

“When you’re tall and black, people expect you to either model or play basketball. I didn’t like basketball.”

I’m sure I asked her other questions. I don’t remember them or the answers, but I do remember that Charlenae did something that no other source, no other story subject, had ever done before. She called me after the story ran, but not to thank me. She wanted to go out again. She wanted to hang out with me. I didn’t return her call.

I had all sorts of good, valid reasons. I had gotten everything I needed from her. I had my story. She had her publicity. She didn’t win the pageant, so there were no more stories to be written. My journalism professors repeated incessantly that journalists didn’t have friends. We had sources. We’re not supposed to be friends with sources or date or have sex with them, even though I knew it happened. Journalists are human beings, but it can get you into all sorts of trouble. Journalists are supposed to observe and be objective. We don’t become part of the story.

She actually called twice. And, much to my chagrin, I did not return her call, twice, but it wasn’t just the whole journalist/source/media ethics thing. I also couldn’t figure out why she would call me. I figured she had equally attractive girlfriends with whom to hang out, so why call me? She probably had a boyfriend, too, or men lining up around the block to date her. I continued working for the student paper. I landed some page one stories, a few awards, and a plum internship. I scored the city council beat, which meant covering politics all the time. I had fantasies that Helen Thomas or Maureen Dowd would take me under her wing and mentor me. When they were ready to leave the biz, I would take one of their places asking powerful people questions that made them squirm. When I wasn’t trying to make that dream a reality, I hung out at the gay bar and a monthly lesbian coffee house. Sometimes, I met a girl. Most of the time, not, but that was okay. I was focused on building my career.


After I graduated, I spent some time in print chasing stories that were old news by the time they hit the streets. I quickly realized print was not the future. I needed to make a living, and I, like many other hacks, moved online. We lived for clicks instead of bylines. The news hole was bottomless. Stories went live in minutes and sometimes in seconds. I learned how to use social media to both get stories and promote mine once they were posted. The deadlines could still be pretty brutal, but at least I didn’t feel like I was trying to survive in a dying industry.

Working for the business website wasn’t bad. Jodi and I competed for juicy stories, although not for women because she was straight. Yes, I could just interview Charlenae by phone and skip a lot of discomfort. Even more pathetic, I could email her some questions and have her email answers back. Then I wouldn’t have to see her at all—not her smile or her lovely hair.

I took a good look at myself in the office bathroom mirror. Sure, the lighting wasn’t great, but nothing could hide the fact that I had acquired a few small crows’ feet at the corners of my eyes and a couple of smile lines near my mouth. I found a gray hair that I’d need to pluck and soon. I wondered if she was still perfect. My desire to find out if she still was perfect overcame my insecurity about my appearance, so I decided to interview her in person.

I dialed NaeWha’s number and got through to Charlenae’s personal assistant who put me in the calendar for tomorrow. I was to be there at 9 a.m. sharp. I told my editor that the story would be in tomorrow, and he told me to find something that would get clicks today.

“Why are you still standing in my office?” he barked, like he always did.

That evening I looked at my wardrobe. I wanted to make a good impression tomorrow, not because Charlenae was a former classmate or a former acquaintance, but because she was the CEO of a big company. She was important. I wanted to look important, too.

I pulled out my brown tweed pantsuit with the gold pin at the lapel. I shook my head. That suit got me jobs, but it seemed too serious for the offices of NaeWha. I looked over at my bed where my bunnies, Lily and Manny, regarded my efforts at finding the perfect outfit for tomorrow’s interview with what I liked to assume was avid interest. I came from a family that had always had pets—dogs and cats—so I assumed I’d have a dog or a cat someday. Instead, when I went to a pet shelter with a friend a year ago, I was drawn to the rabbits, especially to a black brother and sister pair. They’re Havana rabbits, adorable, smart and well-trained. They hop onto my bed whenever I open my closet because they sense that I’m going to model for them. They didn’t seem thrilled with the suit either.

I put it back in the closet and pulled out my old trusty black pinstripe with the skinny trousers and the vest. This outfit was serious and mannish in an ironic way, but I thought I could give it some flounce. I pulled out a white lace shell top and a green polka dotted scarf and laid out all the pieces on the nearby chair. This would work. I would look professional and cool as a cucumber. But more importantly, Lily and Manny seemed to like it. They each twitched their noses madly when I showed them what I picked out. They had good taste.

To prepare for tomorrow’s interview, I pulled out my college binder with the old articles I had written about Charlenae. I read up on her suburban childhood and her dream of becoming a beauty pageant winner. I ran my finger over the yellowing newsprint and took a deep breath. The newspaper’s photographer had gotten some really good pictures of her. The one that accompanied the story in particular made her look radiant. Next I typed her name into a search engine, and a bunch of videos promoting her products popped up. I watched her demonstrate the best way to put on mascara and eye shadow before heading off to bed.

As I lay myself down to sleep that night, I ran my fingers down my pale white skin that an ex-girlfriend had once described as pearlescent. I ran my fingers down my neck to my breasts. I cupped them in my hands. I loved the feel of their weight. I circled my breasts with my fingers until they reached my areola and then my nipple. I pushed in on my breasts and played with my nipples until I was wet. I ran my fingers down my stomach. I didn’t have a six-pack, but my belly was still as flat as it had been in college. I paused briefly to play with my belly button which sent flashes of pleasure down to my snatch. I sent my right hand down but pulled my left hand up to get lost in my long hair. I loved the feel of its silky softness. It just made me even wetter. Meanwhile, my right hand spread my labial lips and dove into my vagina. I inserted two fingers into myself and played with my clit with my thumb. One of the many wonderful things about self-love is you never miss your spot. I quickly brought myself to climax and then fell asleep.


When I arrived the next morning, Charlenae’s assistant met me at security and escorted me to Charlenae’s office. It was the kind of office even my editor-in-chief could only dream of. There was a huge brown desk larger than most beds with a few papers for her to sign and a couple of pens. Japanese artwork and numerous awards decorated the walls. The office was large enough for its own lounge area complete with a matte silver grey leather sofa and a pair of overstuffed chairs. The air smelled of perfume and flowers.

The assistant, a heavily made-up woman with hair so coiffed that it didn’t move, offered me coffee and croissants and apologized that Charlenae was running a few minutes late. She assured me that Charlenae would be here soon. I refused the refreshments and set up for the interview in the office’s lounge area. I had a brand new notebook and at least two pens. If need be, I had more pens in my purse. I was ready.

I started scribbling down my impressions of the office, but I didn’t have to wait long before Charlenae glided in with a coffee in one hand and a phone in another. She wasn’t wearing the chiffon trousers I remembered and loved so well, but her black, straight-legged pants and low heels suited her. Her hair was still long, although curlier and bouncier than I remembered it. The smile hadn’t changed. She looked like she had managed to mature without aging.

“Lauren!” she exclaimed.

She looked excited to see me. I was surprised that she remembered who I was.

“Charlenae,” I said as I stood up to shake her hand. The skin was as soft as I remembered it. “You haven’t changed a bit.”

“Oh, but things have changed so much,” she said enigmatically.

She took a seat on her sofa next to me, flipped her long hair and answered my questions about her business success. She had launched her company three years ago because she felt there was a market need for makeup that suited her aesthetic and her skin tone. She wanted strong but subtle colors for women with dark brown skin, and she wasn’t satisfied with what was already out there. She had spent about a year at a large corporation after finishing college before deciding that she didn’t want to work for someone else. She wanted to be in control of her work and her life. She sold her products online directly to customers, bypassing the department store cosmetic counters.

“People always want something different. Something that speaks to them and makes them feel good. I was selling that. People bought what I was selling,” she said as she reached forward and placed her hand on my knee. “And you know that gal who won last year’s best actress Oscar? She loves my stuff.”

She gave my knee a little squeeze. I tried to ignore it.

The heat from her hand radiated through the thin fabric of my trousers as she continued dropping the names of minor and major celebrities who swore by NaeWha cosmetics and periodically interjected questions about me. She actually seemed interested. For most sources, I revealed only limited information about myself, and most of them didn’t care that much about me anyway. I told her that I had made my way in journalism since college, from print to online publications. She asked me whether I had a girlfriend. I smiled, said, “no,” and tried to get control of the interview again. I asked her about her love life even though it was completely unnecessary for the story. I worked for a business website, not a tabloid newspaper. Still, I was curious.

Her hand was still on my knee, and I was getting warm all over.

“You know, you changed my life,” she said.

I couldn’t imagine how. She was beautiful and rich and about to become richer. I couldn’t imagine how that had anything to do with me.

“When I met you at the drag queen beauty pageant, I felt attracted to you, but I didn’t know it at the time. I’d never felt those kind of feelings for a woman before.”

I dropped my pen. She kept talking.

“When I lost my own pageant, I learned a lot. I realized I wanted to work hard for exactly what I wanted. I didn’t want to chase anyone else’s dream for me anymore. The pageant was my parents’ dream, not mine. I wanted to give my desires more than my all. I worked a corporate job for a little while as the token black person, just like my parents wanted, just like everyone expected, but my dream was to run my own company. Being attracted to you felt like the most radical thing in the world, but I knew it was who I really was. I knew it was breaking someone else’s rules for me, but it meant I could go ahead and break lots of other rules.”

The heat I had been feeling from her hand radiated beyond my knee, down my leg to my toes and up my thighs to my snatch. And I started to generate some heat of my own. My face started to turn red and get hot.

I had just been told by the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen up close that she liked me. And still I told myself to focus. I was on deadline. I still wanted to be a great journalist. I reached for my other pen. It was slick and hard to hold. My palms were sweaty.

“So, tell me how you break the rules,” I said, my pen poised over my notepad ready to take down any pearls of wisdom she offered.

What happened next violated all of my media ethics and everything I had learned in journalism school. Maybe I was giving up on journalism for just a moment or at least giving up on playing by all the rules. Maybe I was just horny. Maybe I didn’t want one more regret.

Charlenae leaned in close enough for me to see on her eyelid where one eye shadow ended and another began, and then she kissed me, a light peck on the lips.

She pulled away and smiled.

“Like that,” she said.

I nodded, and my notebook dropped to the floor.

“Why me? You’re so beautiful. Why do you like me?”

“You’re so special, and you’re so beautiful. Your skin is so smooth, and your hair is a beautiful color. And you have a strength that radiates around you.”

I was actually starting to believe her, and I was starting to get wet. She kept talking.

“I’ve spent a lot of Saturday nights alone because everyone thought I was too beautiful not to have date already set up, so they didn’t call me. Why didn’t you call me, Lauren?”

“I didn’t believe you really liked me. I thought you were straight.”

“Believe me.”

She kissed me again, but this time was longer and deeper. Her lips pressed against mine. Her lipstick tasted of vanilla and cupcakes. She ran her fingers through my hair.

“Mmm, so soft, so lovely,” she said.

“You’re spectacular,” I said. I was so turned on I could have come right then and there, but I wanted to wait. Nothing like this, nothing so spontaneous had ever happened to me before. I forgot about deadlines. I didn’t care about readers for once. I knew men who had slept with sources, but I never thought something like this would happen to me.

Her lips finally left mine, and she started a trail of little kisses from my cheek to my chin to my neck. I ran my hands down her back, feeling the shape of her flesh and the bump of her bra strap. We stood up and faced each other. All I wanted then and there was Charlenae. Her hands moved slowly over my body. She was clearly hungry for me, too.

And then she pulled away. With her index finger, she traced around my lips.

“One moment, please.” She walked over to her desk. She hit a button on a remote that lowered the window shades, and then hit another button on an intercom. “Hold everything.”

I assumed she was talking to her assistant and that there was now no chance we would be disturbed. And we weren’t.

“Sorry for the interruption.”

I smiled and realized this was really happening. My dream of even one moment with Charlenae was coming true. Today, there would be no regrets.

I reached toward her and unbuttoned the one button of her little black jacket. She let it fall to the floor revealing a black sleeveless shell that showed off the gentle curves of her shoulders.

“Everybody wants something from me,” she said. “You’ve never wanted anything.”

“I want you now. I always did.”

Again, she was kissing me, madly, deeply. My jacket and scarf landed on the floor. I kicked off my shoes. My hands kept moving from her hair that felt so soft to her cheek. I traced down her neck. She smelled of makeup and roses. She tasted delicious, like a donut that was more than a memory or a perfectly aged wine that was just about to be opened. I took off my lace top, and she lightly squeezed my breasts. Her top came off next. She was wearing a black bra, and her abs had the kind of crisp definition I’d never seen up close. They were so firm.

Next thing I knew I was on my back on that great giant desk. The rich brown leather provided some cushioning against the hard wood. I sat up, and she reached behind me and undid my bra. I felt her hot breath against my now naked breasts.

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