Getting back into this groove! I wrote two stories for our annual Secret Santa Story Exchange at the fiction archive. One was a gift, the other was a fill in for a writer who could not complete her story. I spent about three weeks on my gift story and liked it a lot by the time I posted it. I spent about five hours writing the fill in and frankly, liked it a ton more. No idea what that means, but interesting turnabout of events. It also means that I can no longer say that I can’t write ‘off the cuff’. If I have an idea, clearly I can.
If she wasn’t drunk, she wouldn’t have done this. Thank goodness she was drunk
I peel off my clothing, doing a little dance of joy as soon as I can take the bra off, and slip on the shorts and t-shirt he gave me. It’s a Led Zepplin tee. I make rock horns in the mirror at myself, then gather my clothes together and head out.
He rolls over when he hears the door open. “Oh. Leah. That was you, the whole time? I didn’t recognize you under all that gunk.”
“Ha ha,” I say, but I smile and drop my pile of clothes on the side of the bed and crawl back to my spot. “Thank you for the clothes. I like this shirt.”
“Keep it,” he says. “What do you want to watch?” He’s still flipping through the cable channels. He probably has every channel ever invented, and there was still nothing on TV.
“I don’t care.”
“A Christmas Story it is, then!” He gets up, grabs a blanket from a chair and comes back to the bed and spreads it over the both of us, then snuggles down against the pillows and, via some button or switch somewhere, turns the lights down.
So I’m taking inventory: I am warm. I am comfortable. I have spent a night laughing and playing games with JC. I am, for all intents and purposes, in bed with him. Under a blanket. Watching a movie. And… did he just scoot up against me and toss his arm over me? Score.
Ralphie is begging his mother for a Red Ryder BB Gun, and she’s saying no, because he’ll shoot his eye out. Other than quoting the famous line, he doesn’t say anything. He lies next to me, snuggled up against me, his arm heavy and warm and comfortable across my belly. I feel his chest rise and fall and his breaths on my arm. The hairs stand up on end and I fight a shiver.
I wonder at what point in the past I could have done this. Just shown up out of the blue to hang out with him, and he’d let me in and basically act like some psycho chick didn’t invade his house. Maybe he was just tired enough or just lonely enough or just curious enough. Maybe I was just drunk enough or just funny enough. Maybe it was all of the above. Who knows, and because I’m kind of proud of myself for making the effort tonight, I decide that there must have been some perfect aligning of the stars for this to happen.
“So you’re not going home for Christmas?” He sounds so sleepy-his voice is like gravel. The rumble vibrates through my body as he speaks.
I shake my head. “Here is home. When I left, everyone basically said ‘see ya when you fail and have to crawl back’. I haven’t been back since.”
“Wow. That sucks.”
“It did. But now I don’t really think about it. I’m not doing what I came out here to do, but I’m making it.” Close enough. I’m a Buyer for a group of Department Stores. It’s sort of modeling. I just dress up other people in my head and buy what looks good on them. And as fake as I have to be to those bitches, there’s plenty of acting.
“Good. If you’re happy doing what you’re doing…” He pauses to yawn and shift his body. One of his legs wraps around mine. I swear I am going to explode. “… then you should keep doing that. That’s what I believe in.”
“Yep. So you’re flying to Florida tomorrow?” He nods. “Excited?” He nods again. Witty conversationalist. “Your family seems close. That must be nice.”
“Mmmhmm,” he answers. “It is. They’re supportive. As long as I’m happy.”
“And are you?” It seemed like a logical question to ask, but he heaves such a long, hard sigh that I’m worried I offended him.
“For the most part.”
“Like 99.9 percent happy? That’s pretty good.”
“Well 99.9 is technically 100. I’d go with a more arguable 93.7.”
I laugh. “So what would fill in the other… what…six… point… fuck I can’t do math at this time of the morning.”
“I’m not looking for 100 percent. I think if you don’t know pain, you don’t know love. If you never see rain, you’re never thankful for the sun. 100 percent is a fallacy but… if I could get a couple more points, I’d consider myself completely happy. Happy enough.”
“So, but… you didn’t answer the question. What would bring a couple more points for you?”
He shrugs. I don’t think it’s that he doesn’t know. It’s that he doesn’t want to tell me. And that’s okay.
Thanks for stopping by!