QSFer A.M. Leibowitz has a new Bi/Lesbian/Non-Binary time loop romance out: “Every Time We Meet.”
Heidi’s life may be a complicated balancing act between work, her kids, and a messy relationship with her ex. But all that is about to change when she proposes to her long-time girlfriend at the top of the hill during the annual Lilac Festival. What could be more romantic?
When nothing about her day goes according to plan, and her proposal is rejected, Heidi is devastated. She confesses her one wish to a stranger on a park bench: to have the whole day over again. Little does she know, this will set her on an endless loop of reliving it, each time hoping for a different outcome.
As Heidi replays the events, she confronts her own poor choices and actions. Now she must figure out how to make things right if she hopes to break the cycle and find true love before time runs out.
The smell of coffee from the automatic pot woke Heidi from a deep sleep. She stirred restlessly, vaguely recalling that she’d been dreaming—something about Cass, her long-term partner. She squinted and peered around. Gray light filtered in around the curtains. She blinked, trying to clear the sleep from her eyes, then opened them fully.
Instantly, she regretted that decision. Her head hurt, no doubt from last night’s celebration with her friends. Heidi screwed her eyes shut then rubbed them. After several attempts, she was able to keep them open. She switched on the radio on her bedside table, wanting to wake up more slowly while listening to her favorite station.
“Goooooood morning, Rochester!” It was the cheerful voice of Angelica DeWitt. She was one of the usual morning commute co-hosts. “We’re live here at the Lilac Festival, where the parade begins in less than a half hour!”
That was when it hit Heidi what day it was.
She threw off the covers and dashed around, yanking clothes off hangers and out of drawers. Her alarm hadn’t been set properly, or maybe she’d shut it off instead of hitting snooze. Either way, she was late. There was only enough time to throw on clothes, leave a note for her kids, and grab her coffee to go. She had to be at Highland Park by ten-thirty, and it was five past now. Not even enough time for a shower.
She yanked on her jeans, threw on a white T-shirt, and added a deep violet flannel button-up. Her standard uniform when she wasn’t working at the hospital. She had to search for socks of the same size, and even then, they didn’t match. No time to care.
At her dresser, she fluffed her hair in the mirror and shoved a tube of lip gloss in one pocket. Also a Heidi-standard. Taking a deep, cleansing breath, she fished around in the top drawer among her lacy underwear to find it. The ring. If she couldn’t be dressed up, then she’d at least have the best piece of jewelry she could afford when she proposed to Cass underneath the huge magnolia tree right at the top of the hill.
Heidi carefully put the velvet box into her shirt pocket and patted it. No sense losing it or all her plans would go awry. She left her bed unmade and went into the kitchen to get that much-deserved—and needed—cup of coffee.
Kate, her oldest daughter, was already at the table. She had cards and envelopes laid out and was filling them in with her careful, neat handwriting. She looked up when Heidi entered.
“What’s all this?” Heidi asked.
Kate’s mouth hung open for a full five seconds. She closed it and glowered. “Mom. Graduation? You know, that thing I’m doing in six weeks? These have to go out as soon as possible.”
“Oh, damn. I’m sorry, sweetie. I totally forgot. I’ll be home to take them to the post office as soon as I do this one thing.”
A sly grin blossomed on Kate’s face. “You mean Cass? Today’s the big day.”
“Yep. Ah, crap. I have to go. You’re taking Max to play rehearsal, right? Jilly has her viola recital this afternoon.”
Another open-mouthed stare. “Again, Mom. You know I can’t. I have a game, and then I’m going dress shopping for the prom with Bre and Amber. It’s in two weeks, remember?”
Heidi didn’t hold back on her swears this time. “Fine. I’ll call Dad.”
“Thanks, Mom. And don’t worry about the invitations. I’ll drop them off on the way to the game. See you there?”
“I wouldn’t miss it.” Heidi bent and kissed the top of Kate’s head. “I’ll catch up later, with good news, I hope.”
A.M. Leibowitz is a queer spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. They keep warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing about life, relationships, hope, and happy-for-now endings. Their published fiction includes several novels as well as a number of short works, and their stories have been included in anthologies from Supposed Crimes, Beaten Track, Witty Bard, and Mischief Corner Books. They are an occasional host for the Bi+(plus) podcast as well as doing bi+ advocacy work and curating the best-of bi list on the QueerBooksForTeens website. They are a social media contributor for Supposed Crimes, LLC, and they post about news, reviews, and updates for the website. In between, they blog coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, books, chronic illness, and their family.