Anyone perfect must be lying, anything easy has its cost
Anyone plain can be lovely, anyone loved can be lost
from "Falling for the First Time," by Barenaked Ladies
April 15, 2005
Walker State Student Union
Walker State University
"And I told her that I'll go on a date with her if she's actually a decent human being to my friends," Tim said over pizza.
"And that's how you're going on a date with Janet ?" I asked, incredulous. "Of all the things I never thought would happen."
"Well I never thought I'd see you having sex." Carlos laughed.
"It was cute in an utterly disgusting way." Wanda added. She and Carlos were finishing each others' thoughts more frequently now.
"Kind of like you." Keesha beamed. "Is it right to hold sex over her head like that?"
"Who said we're having sex?" Tim asked.
"Dates with Janet involve sex." Ralphie warned. "Which may involve a lot of alcohol."
"I don't think she's that bad." Tim shrugged.
"She's nice once you get to know her." Arnold added.
"Unless you're me." I said.
"I don't think he'll have that problem." DA jumped in. "If you like her, I say go for it."
"It's a little hard to see past the bitchy exterior she's putting up," Tim confessed, "but I'm willing to give it a shot."
April 15, 2005
Walker State Student Union
Walker State University
After class, we met back up at the table in the union. Keesha liked to grab the school newspaper so she could see her name in print. I liked the crossword. Wanda used to like checking out guys, but had been remarkably faithful to Carlos since their fluke marriage in Vegas.
"How do you feel about this Janet pursuing Tim thing?" I asked DA casually.
"Pursuing?" DA raised her eyebrows. "She's hunting him – stalking him like a cheetah or something."
"She's relentless." Keesha conceded.
"Well how do you feel about it?" I pressed. Unfortunately, Wanda was the one studying psychology, and she had the least amount of tact of all of us. "I know you were sore at Wanda over Carlos,"
"I wasn't." DA interrupted. "I was just surprised that they didn't annul it."
"You should really take Arnold up on his offer." Keesha prodded. "He's a nice guy."
"Why should I?" DA looked away. "What does it matter to you anyhow?"
"We decided this as a group." Wanda replied, taking a bite of her candy bar. "He's perfect to rehabilitate you from Tim. It was a consensus." Granted, that consensus had involved Keesha whining a bit, but few consensuses came without compromise.
"So?" DA snapped. "It was Keesha's idea for me to get with Tim, and look how that turned out!"
"Maybe I got a bit too cocky about that," Keesha confessed, trying to calm DA down. "I know it must still upset you, but you have to let go."
"Easy for you to say." DA said, still bitter. "Don't even say anything, Phoebe." I shut my mouth and folded my arms. "You have no idea what I'm going through."
"Do you want us to help or not?" Wanda asked sternly.
"I don't need your help," DA retorted.
"Well, we're your friends and we can't just watch you make yourself miserable." Keesha added. I stood up and walked away. Arnold had caught my eye and I went to talk to him. I walked so the girls couldn't see me.
"Have you asked DA out yet?" I asked.
"Wait, what?" Arnold was disoriented.
"Sorry, I just saw you and thought I'd do some reconnaissance." I explained.
"I haven't, but I'm waiting for her to give me more signs that she won't just laugh at me." Arnold said.
"You know what would work? Talk to her. Help her get over all this crap with Tim." I suggested. "Then go for it, but only if you're okay just being her friend."
"Do I get sex out of this deal?" Arnold asked slyly.
"I'm not making a deal, I'm giving you suggestions." I sighed. "Try to keep it off my bed this time, okay?"
"I can't promise anything, but I'll try." Arnold smiled. "Hey, I've got to run to the GRANITE meeting – but I'll see you later, okay?"
"Okay, bye." I waved, and went to sit back down.
"Where the hell did you run off to?" Wanda asked.
"Oh, I saw someone and wanted to say hi." I said. "I didn't want to sit here and be tempted to tell DA what she doesn't want to hear."
"Drop it," DA leaned her head back and inspected the ceiling. "I really don't want you guys trying to rehabilitate me or anything. I'll be fine on my own."
"Um, can I join you?" We turned to see Janet standing at the edge of our table.
"Pull up a chair!" Wanda smiled. I was silenced by fear. "If you aren't mean to Phoebe." Wanda added after a moment.
"Oh, right." Janet sat down awkwardly. "I just wanted to talk to you guys about Tim."
"Why?" DA asked suspiciously.
"I just wanted to know if you'd heard him talking about me or anything." Janet's vulnerability was unnerving. I didn't intend to speak unless and until I was directly and politely addressed.
"He thinks you're cool," Keesha said.
"Really?" Janet squealed. "I didn't realize he was the same guy that was friends with all of you, you know? And then after the concert when we met up, I could swear he was intrigued or something."
"He's definitely… intrigued." Keesha said slowly.
"How long has he had that crotch rocket? Can I ride it?" Janet blurted. "Seriously, he needs to take me somewhere cool where I can be seen with him on it."
"Are you using Tim?" DA asked, incredulous. "Are you using him to make you look cool? That's just low. I can't believe you."
"No!" Janet protested. "I'm not using him. If you were out with someone that awesome, hot, talented, and… and hot, wouldn't you want to make sure people see you?" DA grabbed her bag and stormed off. "What's her problem?"
"She and Tim were engaged." Wanda explained.
"She's not really over it yet." Keesha replied.
"Oh." Janet ushered in a long, awkward pause. "And he dumped her?"
"Yeah." Keesha said quickly. "But you'd better be actually genuinely interested in him."
"I am, can't you tell?" Janet almost whined. She looked at me and opened her mouth, presumably to say something about being seen with a loser, but didn't.
"I'm going to go – I have to let the dog out." I said quietly and picked up my bag. "See you ladies later."
"Why wasn't she saying anything to me?" I heard Janet ask as I walked away.
I put my key in the lock of the door and heard Spartacus barking. I opened the door to see Arnold quickly pulling his arms back and DA adjusting her shirt. "How did you get here so fast?" I cried. "How did you get in?"
"We know where you keep the spare." DA confessed. "And I thought you'd still be at lunch for a while…"
"So this is where you ran off to?" I asked.
"What are you doing here?" Arnold asked.
"I live here!" I retorted. "I was just going to play with Spartacus for a while…"
"Outside?" DA asked, hopeful.
"You're not going to stay in here – in my house – while I take the dog outside!" I insisted. "Can't you guys go somewhere?"
"Arnold's too cheap for a hotel," DA said.
"And we can't go to her house – we're trying to keep this on the down-low." Arnold added. "No one was supposed to find out."
"You planned this?" I asked, still borderline furious.
"Well, yeah, we've been doing this since the Vegas trip…" DA bit her lip.
"IN MY HOUSE?" I yelled.
"Maybe…" Arnold looked away.
"You should have asked!" I insisted. I grabbed Spartacus's leash and fastened it to his collar before letting him out of the crate. The force of him rushing out to say hello to everyone nearly pulled me over. "Whoa!" I commanded, and he calmed down a little. "Please don't hang around when I'm not here. That's creepy." I shoved my keys in my pocket, dropped my backpack, and shut the door behind me. I walked quickly, stopping when Spartacus started to pull. He was a very well-behaved dog. I noticed I was walking over to Ralphie's house, and I didn't stop myself. Instead, I fished my phone out of my pocket and called him. "Ralphie, you won't believe what happened."
"What's wrong?" He asked. "Where are you? Do you want me to come over?"
"I'm about two blocks from your house, so don't bother." I smiled. "I went home to get Spartacus and you'll never guess who was making out on the couch."
"Keesha and Tim?" Ralphie guessed.
"No, Arnold and DA." I corrected.
"They don't even live there!"
"I KNOW!" It was always a relief when someone validated what I was thinking. "And I was pissed, so I left. I can't believe I left them alone. They're probably having sex on my bed."
"Well, maybe." Ralphie thought aloud. "Maybe they had sex on Keesha's bed."
"I think Keesha sleeps on a twin to keep that from happening." I explained. "Damn her."
"Normally, I'd tell you that you should try that, too, but I won't." Ralphie said mischievously. "Do you want me to go help kick them out?"
"If you want." I sighed. "I just need the moral support."
"Okay, I'll be there in a second." He hung up. He didn't even know for sure where I was. I waited for him to call back and realize that, but he didn't. He ran up to me and Spartacus, who wagged his tail furiously and barked twice at Ralphie. "What are you barking at, fuzzy?" He knelt down and petted Spartacus on the head. "He likes me more than he likes you,"
"You wish." I retorted. "I'm the one he sleeps with."
"We sound like a soap opera." Ralphie laughed, standing up. After a quick greeting kiss, he said, "Let's go kick out some trespassers."
"They're probably gone by now," I handed Ralphie the leash and quickened my pace to catch up. "Not that I scared them off or anything, but … maybe I did, I don't know."
"Were their clothes on?" Ralphie asked.
"Yes, for the time being." I said. "DA was adjusting her shirt when I came in, so they weren't going to be on for much longer."
"Do you think they've done it?" he looked at me and nearly tripped over a crack in the sidewalk.
"Probably, because they've been alone in that house with my bed. You know how my bed is." I tried not to stumble on the same crack.
"Oh, I know." He raised his eyebrows at me suggestively. I hit him lightly on the arm.
"Stop it!" I cried.
"So, if they're not there, what do you want to do?" He continued in the same vein.
"Gee, I don't know, Ralphie, do you have any ideas?" I asked.
"I might have a couple." He winked. I rolled my eyes and laughed.
Arnold and DA had left by the time we got home, but Keesha had beaten us, much to Ralphie's dismay.
"Aw, you went out for an afternoon stroll with the baby!" Keesha cooed. "How is he, by the way?"
"Doing well, not pulling as much." I said proudly. "Arnold and DA were –"
"I know, I got here before they left." Keesha was calm.
"Aren't you surprised?" I asked.
"Not really." Keesha shrugged. "You're lucky you left the union when you did. Janet went on and on about Tim for an hour."
"No way," I sat down on the couch with her.
"Then Tim showed up,"
"Seriously?" I squealed.
"Why did I come over again?" Ralphie moaned.
"Sex," Keesha answered. "You probably came over for sex."
"Right." Ralphie rolled his eyes. "If I would've known this was a slumber party, I would've stayed at home."
"So what did she do?" I ignored Ralphie's exaggerated complaining. He sat next to me on the couch and held my hand while I talked to Keesha.
"She asked him out and he said yes." Keesha shrugged. "They're going to a movie or something tonight."
"Aren't you interested in how it goes?" I asked.
"Pheebs, you're stalking again." Ralphie warned playfully. "And how do you know you're not doing something else tonight?"
"Normally my plans are made in advance." I retorted.
"You guys are going to make me throw up," Keesha sighed. "Even when you aren't being cute, you're cute."
"We probably don't have to stalk them anyway." Ralphie started. "People come over here in droves as it is."
"DA and Arnold have been sneaking around since Vegas!" I said.
"That long?" Keesha's eyes widened. "So all this 'I'm not over Tim' crap was a lie?"
"More like an exaggeration, but yes!" I said. "Don't you feel betrayed?"
"I do!" Keesha exclaimed. "That bitch will pay!"
"I bet they've had sex on my bed." I continued.
"Who hasn't had sex on your bed?" Keesha retorted.
"You have?" I accused.
"Maybe once… with Carlos… but don't tell Wanda." Keesha confessed.
"I haven't with anyone but you," Ralphie jumped in. "I wanted to make sure I was covered."
"You could get away with murder." Keesha laughed. "Phoebe has cooked you hamburger. She never does that."
"HE LOOKS AT ME." I insisted, and Ralphie (being Ralphie) gave me one of his looks. "Like that! I can't say no to that look. What do you want?"
"I just wanted to see if it would work." Ralphie grinned.
"Looking at you."
"STOP IT!" I was frustrated. "I'm going to sit with my dog and watch TV." Keesha got up and got a drink, and Ralphie moved over so there was space between us for the dog. Spartacus loved watching TV. "Ralphie, is the remote over – DON'T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT." He was doing puppy eyes for no apparent reason again. "Fine, we can watch Sportscenter, anything you want." I laid my head on Spartacus. Ralphie tapped my head with the remote.
"You can pick." He grinned. "I'm sorry, I just love teasing you."
"I know." I smiled and took the remote. "Just for that, you're not getting any today."
"What? I was being nice!" Ralphie insisted. I flipped through the channels. "What about tonight? Is tonight today?"
"Yep." I nodded.
"Then I'm going home." He didn't move.
"Fine then, I see where your priorities are."
"Maybe I'm just going to stay here and watch your precious SAHX get beaten."
"Making fun of Boston makes you lose another day…" I warned. "Besides, I still have the remote. Oh look, Carmen Sandiego!"
"You want to know what's funny?" Ralphie started. "Your mom used to look just like Carmen Sandiego when she wore that one hat of hers."
"Seriously? I never noticed." I laughed.
"And then she was never around for parent teacher conferences or anything…"
"She was working." I rationalized.
"I was so convinced that your mom was conducting heists." Ralphie said seriously. "I was afraid of making you mad in case I ended up tortured or something because your mom is a big crime boss."
I was laughing really hard. "My mom, Carmen Sandiego? That's the best thing I've heard in a long time!"
"How do you know she's not?" Ralphie raised his eyebrows.
"I've been with her to work," I replied. My mom was a botany professor.
"It's a cover-up." His eyes widened. "Your mom's a huge crook."
"Your mom married a mob boss," I retorted just as seriously.
"And dumped him for selling drugs," he continued, "but not before she became pregnant with his heir."
"And that's how you'll inherit the whole Northeast," I added.
"Unless your mom stops me first." He leaned in closer to kiss me, but Spartacus jumped off the couch, throwing his balance off and he landed on me. "It was an accident," he said into my ribs.
"I'm going to leave you two alone." Keesha said loudly. "Don't mess up my stuff."
We were about to start kissing when Ralphie's phone buzzed.
"Who the hell is texting me?" Ralphie asked, reaching into his pocket. He kept his phone on vibrate, which Carlos thought was to ensure "sexy times."
"Who is it?" I asked.
"Arnold." Ralphie said, confused. "Apparently he wants to come over – with DA."
"Tell him my bed is off-limits." I was surprised at how fast both Ralphie and Arnold could text.
"He says fine, they're coming over." He looked over at me. "Should we do it?"
"You're insane." I laughed. "Maybe after everyone leaves."
"That's no fun," There was a knock at the door. "I bet he texted me from the driveway, that little shit." I opened the door and Arnold and DA burst in.
"TIM AND JANET WERE HAVING SEX AND I COULD HEAR THEM." Arnold half-panted, half-yelled. "I needed to get out of there."
"I thought Tim was too hung up on DA," I wondered.
"Apparently he prefers Janet. And being really, really loud." Arnold shuddered.
"It's okay, sweetie, it's all over now." DA assured him.
"Were you and Tim ever that serious?" I asked.
"Not really, no. I think he just proposed because we'd been together so long." DA confessed. "But I'm not sure. He does sound really happy though. Really, REALLY happy."
"Don't remind me." Arnold covered his ears.
"I'm actually kind of glad you found us today," DA said to me. "I was getting sick of being so bitchy, but we didn't want everyone to talk about it or anything. We were going to make it look more normal."
"I was worried sick!" I sighed. "And then I come home and you guys are playing tonsil hockey – what am I supposed to think?"
"The look on your face was awesome." Arnold laughed. "I don't think I'll ever get over how awesome that was."
Our junior year in college wound up rather neatly that way. Unfortunately, Keesha hadn't found a man worthy of her affection just yet, but she was too plucky to give up so easily. We renewed our lease and started making summer plans just before finals week. The last year of college was going to be awesome.
Thanks, everyone who reviewed and stuff. There will be more from me, I promise. I hope you enjoyed it!