Honey Girl Page 1

Author: Morgan Rogers

Genres: Romance


In Las Vegas, they sell cheap replicas of the love locks from the Parisian bridge for twenty-five dollars. You can buy them on your way out of a chapel, drunk and giggly and filled with champagne bubbles. There is someone on your arm, a girl whose name you cannot remember, or perhaps never knew.

She says, “Let’s get one of these,” and points to the locks. Their shiny surfaces barely echo the originals, but a pretty girl asks, and you say yes.

It’s the second time you’ve said yes, but you don’t remember that yet. So, you say yes to this, to this replica lock in a replica city.

In your hazy, champagne-pink reality, you find somewhere for these locks. You won’t remember where later, but now—

But now.

This place is sacred. This place has two people, bound together by ceremony and glittering bands around their left ring fingers. This place has roses that bloom purple and pink and red that can be seen even at night. This place has links in a fence, and the lock clicks into place with finality.

“Where should we put the keys?”

In your dream or your champagne-pink reality, you decide to make a swap. The girl’s key hangs warm around your neck, and yours around hers.

In Paris, the love locks made the bridge bend and buckle.

In Las Vegas, they are light. Was it your whole heart that has been locked away, or just a piece?

It’s a ceremony. Two locks hang from a fence neither of you will remember in the morning or the months that follow. All you have are keys, warm metal from where you gripped them in the meat of your palms.

There, a ceremony finished.

It’s a good dream. Or, it’s a hazy, champagne reality. Perhaps, it is a memory, made up of the two.

As an alarm buzzes, loud and bright, it is hard to tell the difference. Maybe there is none. Maybe there is no difference between the weighted, heavy locks in Paris and the knockoffs in Las Vegas tourist shops. Maybe there is no difference between dreams and the things you barely remember. They say the things that happen here, stay here, and perhaps that is the same for your midnight dreams and fizzy memories.

An alarm buzzes. You wake up. Or maybe you just remember.


Grace wakes up slow like molasses. The only difference is molasses is sweet, and this—the dry mouth and the pounding headache—is sour. She wakes up to the blinding desert sun, to heat that infiltrates the windows and warms her brown skin, even in late March.

Her alarm buzzes as the champagne-bubble dream pops.

Grace wakes in Las Vegas instead of her apartment in Portland, and she groans.

She’s still in last night’s clothes, ripped high-waisted jeans and a cropped, white BRIDE T-shirt she didn’t pack. The bed is warm, which isn’t surprising. But as Grace moves, shifts and tries to remember how to work her limbs, she notices it’s a different kind of warm. The bed, the covers, the smooth cotton pillowcase beside her, is body-warm. Sleep-warm.

The hotel bed smells like sea salt and spell herbs. The kind people cut up and put in tea, in bottles, soaking into oil and sealed with a little chant. It smells like kitchen magic.

She finds the will to roll over into the warm patch. Her memories begin to trickle in from the night before like a movie in rewind. There were bright lights and too-sweet drinks and one club after another. There was a girl with rose pink cheeks and pitch-black hair and, yes, sea salt and sage behind her ears and over the soft, veiny parts of her wrists. Her name clings to the tip of Grace’s tongue but does not pull free.

The movie in Grace’s head fast-forwards. The girl’s hand stayed clutched in hers for the rest of the night. Her mouth was pretty pink. She clung to Grace’s elbow and whispered, Stay with me, when Agnes and Ximena decided to go back to the hotel.

Stay with me, she said, and Grace did. Follow me, she said, like Grace was used to doing. Follow your alarm. Follow your schedule. Follow your rubric. Follow your graduation plan. Follow a salt-and-sage girl through a city of lights and find yourself at the steps of a church.

Maybe it wasn’t a church. It didn’t seem like one. A place with fake flowers and red carpet and a man in a white suit. A dressed-up priest. Two girls giggled through champagne bubbles and said yes. Grace covers her eyes and sees it play out.

“Jesus,” she mutters, sitting up suddenly and clutching the sheets to keep herself steady.

She gets up, knees wobbling. “Get it together, Grace Porter.” Her throat is dry and her tongue sticks to the roof of her mouth. “You are hungover. Whatever you think happened, didn’t happen.” She looks down at her T-shirt and lets out a shaky screech into her palms. “It couldn’t have happened, because you are smart and organized and careful. None of those things would lead to a wedding. A wedding!

“Didn’t happen,” she murmurs, trying to make up the bed. It’s a fruitless task, but making up the bed makes sense, and everything else doesn’t. She pulls at the sheets, and three things float to the floor like feathers.

A piece of hotel-branded memo paper. A business card. A photograph.

Grace picks up the glossy photograph first. It is perfectly rectangular, like someone took the time to cut it carefully with scissors.

In it, the plastic church from her blurry memories. The church with its wine-colored carpet and fake flowers. There is no Elvis at this wedding, but there is a priest with slicked back hair and rhinestones around his eyes.