Content Note, please be aware that this story is of a frank, sexual nature and may not be suitable for all audiences.
TRANSCRIPT: This story is written by Cassandra Rose. This bisexual playwright has had over 300 of her plays performed across the US. That includes the hundreds of micro-plays that made up all five years of The Dictionary Project, a challenge she created for herself to write short plays for her friends based on their suggestions and random words found in the dictionary. She is currently developing three plays with Chicago theatre companies, two of which she is able to talk about publicly and include Billy to His Friends through Broken Nose Theatre’s Paper Trail and The Battle of Charlottesville through The New Colony’s pipeline. Cassandra earned her BA in playwriting from Columbia College Chicago and did an MFA alternative program at Chicago Dramatists as a Tutterow Fellow. She now lives in Los Angeles where she is enrolled in UCLA’s TFT Professional Program in Writing for Television, and Upright Citizens Brigade’s sketch comedy program. She misses you all very much. This is This is “The Heart Wants”.
“Before we go any farther,” he whispered breathlessly. “I need to tell you something.”
Honestly, things had gone pretty far already. The starting line had been at The Fountainhead, where they had shared coy glances and a glass of mead before Eleanor had worked up the courage to lean more than halfway across the table to capture Zane’s face in her hands. His lips still tasted faintly of the stout he’d started the night with, to Eleanor’s delight. And when she felt his hand grasp the back of her head, she knew her gamble had paid off.
From there it took less than ten minutes for Zane and Eleanor to get the check, bundle up, walk the half a block through the snow to Eleanor’s apartment, unbundle, and for Eleanor to push Zane up against her favorite wall in her bedroom. Six months was a long time for Eleanor, especially when four of those months had been spent fantasizing about Zane. Things had continued to progress nicely as Eleanor removed her chonky midwestern sweater and set about unbuttoning Zane’s flannel.
But now Zane’s hand was on Eleanor’s, stopping her from unbuttoning button number four. Eleanor tried to gauge the level of seriousness of Zane’s something-he-needed-to-tell-her by the look currently occupying his face. Over the years, many lovers had paused to tell Eleanor their deepest, darkest secrets. Chicago was the heart of the Midwest, after all, and the Midwest’s top export was regret. This was definitely more serious than, “I just realized that your best friend was my Bumble date last week.” Not quite as bad as, “My fiancée died two years ago and I haven’t loved anyone since.” Perhaps Zane’s confession was somewhere along the lines of, “I was trying to convince a friend to break up with her abusive boyfriend, and in the process we ended up sleeping together, and then her abusive boyfriend found out, and that’s why I’m keeping an aluminum baseball bat under my bed”? Eleanor waited patiently for Zane’s next sentence.
Zane took a deep, steadying breath. “I’m a lizard person,” he breathed out.
“Oh,” Eleanor replied. “Legit.”
Zane tilted his head slightly to the side, skeptically. “You’re just… fully cool with that?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?” Eleanor asked. She wrapped her arms around his waist, pulling Zane even closer to her. “I mean… I like you… And I think you like me too…”
“I do,” Zane said, his voice getting huskier with every movement from Eleanor. “Very much.”
“So why should you being a lizard person get in the way of that?” Eleanor returned to Zane’s fourth button, and looked up at him. He nodded in affirmation, and the button was set
free. Eleanor continued on to the fifth button while simultaneously kissing at the exposed skin on Zane’s chest. Zane also liked that very much.
“I guess I’m just used to people freaking out when I tell them,” Zane gasped out between kisses. Eleanor straightened back up, having finished with the buttons, and cradled Zane’s head in her hands once again.
“Well those people sound awful.” Zane smirked, and Eleanor shrugged before continuing on. “I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m bi, but I’m just never bothered about that kind of stuff.”
“You’re bi? Like, bisexual?” Zane asked. And/or shouted. This sentence was definitely said more forcefully than his previous sentences. Eleanor mock frowned at him.
“Noooo, bi like bicycle. I am actually a bicycle.” Then Eleanor mimed hitting a bike bell. “Brrrring brrrring!” Zane didn’t laugh at Eleanor’s joke, and she started to worry. “You really didn’t know I was bi? It’s like, on Facebook and everything.”
Zane sank down onto Eleanor’s nearby bed to continue processing. God damn it, Eleanor thought to herself, not this conversation again. But it had been six month, and Zane was a very hot lizard person (and half undressed), so Eleanor dutifully sat down next to Zane and waited for him to catch up with her.
“But I’m straight,” Zane finally replied.
“Totally cool with me.” Eleanor placed a hand on top of Zane’s.
“But won’t you feel like you’re lying to yourself every time you’re with me?”
“Well,” Eleanor mused, lightly drawing circles on Zane’s hand, “do you feel like you’re lying when you’re with someone who isn’t a lizard person?”
Zane looked at the floor at this. “Sometimes,” he quietly admitted.
Eleanor took her hand away. “Oh,” she said. And then they were both just silently sitting on Eleanor’s bed. Neither touching. Just both staring straight ahead.
After a moment Zane took another deep breath, his pupils turning into slits for a moment before returning to their human-like spheres. “I mean I know that my mom wants me to have a traditional wedding, with another lizard person. But…”
“But the heart wants what it wants,” Eleanor finished for him. Eleanor turned so that she was fully facing Zane again. “Zane, do you want to be here? With me?”
Zane took Eleanor’s hand. He nodded yes.
“Then be here with me.”
And with that, Zane leaned forward and kissed Eleanor deeper than he ever had before. They continued to kiss as Eleanor leaned back on the bed, and soon Zane was on top of her. He pulled back again, but only slightly, and only so that he could look at Eleanor. Eleanor looked straight back at Zane, watching his eyes darken. She wrapped a hand around the back of his head once again and pulled Zane down with another kiss. Her hand slid down his neck until she found a zipper near his spine, between his shoulder blades.
“May I?” she asked?
“Please,” Zane gasped.
And with that, Eleanor slowly unzipped Zane’s human suit.
Alex B Reynolds began their acting career as Sherlock Holmes in the second grade, and has since been seen around Chicago in such roles as Gandalf the Grey, Luigi Mario, and Skeletor. They are so grateful to return to the Gateways Reading Series, and can otherwise be heard on the “Meet/Cute” sitcom podcast, the Filmthusiast “Final Cut” podcast, and on whatever customer support line is paying their bills this month.
Rachel Granda-Gluski is a Chicago based voice actor and movement professional. She currently enjoys working with radio play company Starlight Radio Dreams. She also performs every summer with the Bristol Renaissance faire. When she’s not performing she enjoys being a huge nerd and hanging out with her cats.