South of Sundance
Days before her sexy documentary debuts at a popular lesbian film festival, director Bebe Yasbeck is confronted by an old flame and conflicting feelings about the direction of her career and her assistant, Debra. Will her experience at South of Sundance provide her with the happy Hollywood ending she desires?
“Bebe Yasbeck! Get that skinny white ass over here!”
Guh! The bile roiled in Bebe’s gut, yet she steeled herself not to show her displeasure. Ignoring Debra’s bemusement, she forced a sweet smile and led her assistant over to where Giselle sat with another woman, whom Bebe didn’t recognize.
“Your timing is uncanny, we were just seated ourselves. Come join us, plenty of room.” Air-kissed greetings exchanged, Giselle motioned the two to chairs and introduced her companion. “Sheila and I met at Tribeca, after High Tea premiered.” Giselle’s blood red nails curled into Sheila’s palm while the other woman, incredibly cool in track pants and a burgundy hoodie despite the heat, gazed with blatant, and perhaps obedient, adoration. If Bebe had remembered anything about her failed relationship with Giselle, submission didn’t feature in the woman’s vocabulary unless used to describe somebody else. Even now, given how badly they ended, Giselle showcased her dominant behavior by flaunting her new relationship and treating Bebe as though they’d split amicably.
Whether Giselle would now acknowledge Bebe’s accomplishments since the breakup remained to be seen, since every day working together had begun and ended in competition. Surely at South of Sundance, their films would compete for the same awards, too.
Bebe draped her napkin over her lap, content to watch the show before her. Giselle and Sheila made goo-goo eyes at each other, with the new girlfriend shooting the occasional ice dart with her eyes at Bebe.
“Debra, how are you doing?” Giselle sipped from her water glass. “Last I heard, you were finishing up your Master’s. How’s that going?”
“It’s gone. Done. I walked in May.” Debra thanked the waiter arriving with two more place settings and water. “I work for Bebe full-time now.”
“Oh.” Giselle nodded and looked as though she might collapse into a fit of laughter. Bebe couldn’t mistake the indignant tone of Giselle’s reaction. Why not just come out and ask the girl why she’d bothered to get an advanced degree in the first place if she intended to keep working at Bebe’s cardboard box of an office? Bebe had offered Debra no less than a stellar reference if she decided to apply to a major studio, but Debra made the decision to stay on at Yaz Films. It’s feasible to follow your bliss rather than the money, she wanted to say to Giselle, but doubted her former lover could equate happiness with success. However, her rising irritation fueled her appetite, and Bebe figured it better to keep her opinions to herself, lest Giselle expel them to the lengthened queue at the café’s door.
They ordered and ate through companionable conversation, talking about everything and nothing. Giselle and Sheila seemed genuinely interested in Buzz and promised to arrive early to get good seats for the main screening. “I have to know, Bay,” Giselle said after the waiter brought the checks, “what inspired you to film a documentary about…masturbation?”
Bebe wanted to laugh at her ex girlfriend’s sudden demureness. Interesting behavior coming from a woman who could howl an orgasm to set off car alarms. Oh, to have filmed a segment with Giselle.
She shrugged, not caring if her voice carried over the crowd. She wanted people to hear about the film, why else come here? “Why not?” she asked. “I approach film as an art form, and personally I can’t think of a better example of beauty than a woman’s appreciation for her own sexuality. I thought, wouldn’t it be great to film the joy when it truly flowers, and allow that woman to watch the end result and see her true self?” Those scenes in particular, where each woman filmed for the initial buzz was then taped watching her “performance,” Bebe thought especially wonderful. It almost moved her to tears to watch some women realize their beauty for the first time.
Sheila appeared uncomfortable now, and Bebe wondered if the woman’s earlier excitement over seeing Buzz had merely been transference of Giselle’s desire. Giselle, meanwhile, absorbed the comments and said, “Well, I keep hearing all this stuff about the film, how it’s artistic and sexual without being graphic…but I have to ask, is it really entertainment? I mean, you just filmed an hour or so of O-faces.”
“I filmed life, Giselle. I wanted to create something to last in people’s memories for a long time to come. If I merely wanted to ‘entertain’ people, I’d shoot a fluff piece about a couple of idiot teenagers trying to knock over a quickie mart to pay for college.”
They’d eaten, and as a waiter came to bus their table Bebe plucked three tens for her wallet and tossed them by her water glass. She could afford to be irritated now. Before Giselle could react, Bebe dropped her napkin on the table and stood. “Thank you for sharing your space,” she added, calmer this time. “We’ll see you around.” She hustled Debra out of their reach, leaving Giselle and Sheila to stare after them in astonishment.
“Forgive me for that,” she asked of Debra after they’d walked far enough to cool Bebe’s nerves. “I don’t know why I let her get to me.”
“Because she can and she knows it,” Debra said, “and, even though she’s a bitch, you still have feelings for her.”
Bebe turned sharply, but Debra didn’t flinch. “Yeah, I know. You’re oil and water, but even layered like that somebody gets to be on top, and there’s a good kind of friction, too.” She winked. “Why don’t you admit there’s still something there?”
“Do you support something being there? You just called her a bitch.”
Debra shrugged. “She does have good points, too. Maybe it takes a while to bring out those qualities.”
“Well, whatever’s there, I don’t want it to be there.” Bebe let out a moan. She couldn’t rebut Debra’s affirmations—all through lunch she sensed those old attractions tapping at her heart. Giselle had looked incredible with her short, blonde hair teased in all directions, and her full lips tinted a lovely shade of rose. Bebe recalled those lips on her skin during the best of days with Giselle, rolling around in bed on lazy Sundays, exploring tender new places to kiss.
Just her heart? Bebe stopped walking abruptly, under the pretense of window shopping a nearby shoe boutique. Really she wanted to press her thighs together to still the throbbing in her clit.
Debra stood beside her. “Nice,” she said, pointing to a pair of red heels. “You can get Jimmy Choo’s all the way out in the sticks?”
“Probably just for the festival,” Bebe mused. “You get several hundred women in one place for a weekend, you’re bound to sell at least a few pairs and pull in enough to cover costs.”
“Even lesbians? They buy Choo’s?”
Bebe shot her assistant a withering glance. “You make one crack about Birkenstocks and you’re fired.”
“Maybe you should take yours off before you fulfill that threat.”
Bebe looked down at her feet, and laughed. Eyes back to Debra, she asked, “You think Giselle would have been jealous if I told her I filmed you for Buzz?”
Debra huffed. “I wanted to tell her myself, but you didn’t give me the chance. You dragged me out of there so fast. Also wanted her to know how many hours of tape we have. She acted like we did everything in one take.”
So much for lauding Giselle’s good points. “Sorry.” They resumed their slow trek back to the inn, the twinge in Bebe’s pussy now dulled, yet still in need of attention. “Would you like to hear about my idea for the, shall we say, sequel?”
“Huh. More of the same, or do I detect a hint of envelope pushing in your voice?”
Bebe looped her arm in Debra’s and the two quickened their gait, brushing past other couples on the sidewalk. “Let me put it this way,” she said. “The working title is called Pump.”