And The Truth Is… by Jamey Moody

1

“Tara is here,” Krista said, sounding surprised. She looked down at her phone then over at Melanie.

“Are you going to let her in?” Melanie asked, raising her eyebrows.

Krista went to the back door and opened it. “Come on in. Why didn’t you just knock?”

“I didn’t want to interrupt anything. You are kind of like newlyweds,” Tara said, walking into the room.

Krista and Melanie both smiled at her. They’d fallen in love thirty-two years ago, but couldn’t get past the obstacles to actually be together. Three months ago Melanie had turned her business over to her daughters, sold her house and announced to Krista that she was never leaving her again.

“If this is our honeymoon then it’s been great, but why haven’t we seen you? I thought you’d be back after the Ten Queens meeting,” said Krista.

Ten Queens was the production company they had formed with eight other actresses, directors, and producers to make quality movies with an LGBTQ+ storyline. They’d met the first week of June to discuss future projects.

“I had things to take care of in LA,” Tara answered.

“Take care of? Like what? Or should I say who?” Krista teased.

Tara smirked at her. “Believe it or not, there was no one.”

“I was just teasing, Tara. What’s going on with you?”

“How long have you had Lovers Landing now? Three years?” she asked.

“We just finished our fourth summer,” said Krista.

Lovers Landing was a lake resort she and her best friend Julia had bought three and a half years ago. They’d worked there as kids when it was a vacation spot on the lake. As adults, she and Julia had made it into a hideaway for closeted Hollywood lesbians. Krista had been a beloved actress in Hollywood for decades and one of the obstacles she and Melanie had faced was coming out. Krista had waited for years in fear that coming out would negatively affect her career. When she and Julia had the chance to buy this place, they made it into Lovers Landing in hopes of helping queer women that were afraid to come out, just like Krista had been for so long.

“I was serious about looking at property around here,” said Tara.

“What about all your friends in LA?”

Tara laughed sarcastically. “What friends? You know as well as I do that we don’t have any real friends in Hollywood.”

“Are you ready to retire then?” Krista asked.

“I’m fifty-seven years old. What kind of roles do I have to look forward to?”

“Are you kidding me?” Krista said, bewildered. “You won an Academy award last year!”

“I know and I’m grateful, but come on, Krista. Look at all we gave up for fame and fortune. We knew then the consequences that would come along with it. Sitting here looking at the two of you, though, makes me happy,” said Tara.

“If I could do it all over again,” began Krista.

“Stop,” Tara said, interrupting her. “None of that matters. You’re finally together, so don’t waste a minute.”

“Oh we haven’t,” said Melanie, smiling at Krista with love in her eyes.

“Good,” Tara said firmly. Then she chuckled. “You know, I never told you this, but I knew how jealous you were when Krista and I were together.”

Melanie narrowed her eyes at Tara, but didn’t say anything.

“I laughed to myself because I knew you two would end up together,” Tara said.

“You did?” said Krista.

When Krista was twenty-two she begrudgingly went to Hollywood, Melanie couldn’t come with her because her daughters were so young and she was starting her own business. Times were different back in the early nineties when they were trying to navigate being in a gay relationship with kids while starting a business and Krista beginning her acting career. They’d broken up and Tara was there to comfort Krista in her loss and they had been together for several years. Tara was ready to come out at that time, but Krista wasn’t, thus their relationship had ended.

“Kris, I know you loved me, but Melanie has always been the only one for you. And thank goodness you found your way back to one another. There’s no one like that for me, but the real friends I have are here. That’s why I want to have a house nearby. Could you stand me as your neighbor?”

“Is that the reason you want a place here or is it your real estate agent?” Krista asked with an accusatory tone.

“Lauren is my friend. I’ve heard you every time you’ve told me she’s not the one for me,” said Tara, obviously frustrated.

“I didn’t say that!” Krista said, sighing. “I know she means something to you, Tara. Julia and I have known Lauren since we were in grade school. She married her high school sweetheart and had two amazing kids. Then they raised those kids and grew apart. It was hard for them to end their marriage.”

“But you think she’s curious about women, right Kris?” asked Melanie.

“When Julia found out this place was for sale she had me come home. Lauren was the agent and asked us questions about how we knew we were gay and so forth. Then later when it was just her and I, she had more questions. I think she is open at this point because she was unhappy in her marriage and wants more out of life. She wants the passion that you and I have that you read about in romance novels.” Krista looked at Melanie and reached for her hand.

“Who wouldn’t want what you have!” Tara exclaimed.

“She and Marcus didn’t have anything but the kids in common and she asked me if there was more to life than that. For me there was, but getting it sure was challenging,” she said, glancing at Melanie. “I’m glad I didn’t give up, though, because look what I have now.”

“Look what we have,” added Melanie, squeezing her hand.

“That’s why I still have hope. I may have been a player since you and I split, but not anymore.” Tara shrugged.

“Since we split? That was over twenty years ago!”

“I’ve had a couple of relationships that were serious, but neither lasted more than three years. It’s hard to have anything lasting in Hollywood,” said Tara. “You know that relationships like Allison and Libby have are rare.”

Allison Jennings and Libby Scott were both very successful actresses that had starred in several blockbuster movies, and were both members of Ten Queens. They had hid their twenty-year relationship and only came out three years ago.

“I think Lauren was looking for that passion too and had to decide if ending her marriage was worth taking that chance. It took her three years, but right now I think she’s finding out who she is without Marcus. She knows she may never find what she’s looking for, but she’s open to all possibilities. That is courage, that’s being brave,” said Krista.

“You’d know,” said Tara.

“I’m not the brave one, Tara, or Mel and I would’ve been together thirty years ago. Melanie is the brave one in our relationship.”

“You’ve had your moments, babe. You’re not acting anymore or even doing much with Ten Queens. You’re only entertaining couples at Lovers Landing because you knew I wanted to do this with you,” said Melanie.

“I like having these couples here. They get to spend a week with no worries of being outed or pictures showing up on social media. All I do is give them the experience you and I had that summer we fell in love here all those years ago. Who doesn’t love the lake, the beach, dancing, karaoke, and your own private luxurious cabin?”

Tara chuckled. “You can tell you love your work.”

“I do! And now I have this hot partner that helps out,” she said, wiggling her eyebrows at Melanie.

Melanie rolled her eyes. “You still haven’t told us why you’re here, Tara.”

“Lauren called and said there is a property she thinks I’ll like that hasn’t come up for sale yet. They’re putting it on the market next week and if I like it I can have first dibs.”

“Oh wow! You really meant it when you said you were looking at property. Did she say where it is?”

“No, but that’s one reason I’m here. Would you both like to come along when we look at it?”

Krista and Melanie looked at one another.

“Fuck yeah, unless… Do you want your real estate agent to yourself?” teased Krista.

Tara looked up and sighed. “I’m telling you, we’re friends. Did you ever think that while Lauren is finding out who she is as a single woman that I may be doing the same?”

“What!” Krista exclaimed. “You’ve made your reputation as a single woman!”

“What I mean is that maybe I’m finding out who I am without someone on my arm,” explained Tara.

“Oh,” Krista said, eyeing her friend. “I guess that’s true. You do always have someone you’re dating, even if it’s brief.”

Tara nodded.

“Tara, we’d love to come along and you’re more than welcome to be our neighbor,” said Melanie kindly.