Meeting my hot doppelgänger: A Salon After Dark read

NSFW: From the New Lovers erotica "Fantasian," a woman is intrigued by a lookalike friend of her girlfriend's

Published April 6, 2019 7:29PM (EDT)


Excerpted with permission from "Fantasian," a novella by Larissa Pham. (Copyright Badlands Unlimited LLC). The New Lovers series is devoted to publishing new works of erotica that explore the complexities bedevilling contemporary life, culture, and art today. Reprinted with permission from Badlands.

A young Asian woman's life at Yale takes a dizzying turn when she meets Dolores—her doppelgänger—at a party. As they begin to merge into each other’s social and sexual worlds, it becomes impossible to tell where one girl ends and the other begins. When Dolores' boyfriend and his twin brother enter into this pas de deux, identities and couplings spin off into a sinister and perverse web of illusions. "Fantasian" is "Single White Female" for the dawn of a new sexual fluidity.
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Tonight I have helped Astrid unfold a chain of paper lanterns, propping them open on wire spindles and stringing them around the periphery of her apartment. We have put the cut heads of flowers—peonies, dahlias, chrysanthemums—to float in clear bowls of water, and I watch now as Astrid, glass of wine in hand, absentmindedly trails her fingers through one such basin, setting the petals in it spinning in tight, elliptical currents.

In the belly of each lantern, held in place by the wire spindle, sits a flickering tea candle, a real one, throwing golden discs of light and shadow onto the walls. We’d gone back and forth about whether to use real candles instead of LED ones, but of course Astrid had won, throwing back her flaxen head in triumph. “It’ll be fine, I promise,” she insisted, clutching my hands in hers, bringing my fingertips up to her lips to kiss them, then—coyly—sliding my fingers into her mouth, swirling her tongue around the pad of my thumb. Anyway, it’s her party, not mine: she wanted to start off our last year of college with a grand get-together.

The great creaking windows of her apartment, their frames caked in years of layers of white paint, are pushed up to admit a sweet September breeze. If I let my attention slide a little, slipping into the background of my own life like I’ve done a bump of ketamine, I can hear the murmur of people on the sidewalk and the rumbling of traffic three stories below, and if I come forward again I emerge into the hopelessly inane chatter of the party: the record spinning on the turntable, the theatrical re--tellings of summers abroad, of money made and hookups had and drugs eaten in the m...

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By Larissa Pham

Larissa Pham is a writer living in Brooklyn. She has written for Adult, Guernica, The Nation, and Nerve. Pham studied painting and art history at Yale University.

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