Well, this is it, my friends. What can I say? I hope you liked it. I know that I had an absolute blast while writing it. When you do a story like this, you really get to test the waters of how weird you are and how the things running through your head relate to the things running through everyone ELSE's heads. And for the most part, I'm a lot less weird than I had originally predicted. Because some of the feedback...WOW. I loved it...even if it was borderline psychotic :)
And as I said earlier, most of it was a million times more humorous than anything in any of these chapters.
I tend to wander into the angsty fan fic world, so to be able to do a light story like this really pushed my limits as a writer, and I thank anyone and everyone who supported me while I did it.
This chapter isn't long. It's more of an epilogue if anything, but it's in the usual style, so I hope you like it. And for the last time, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope to see you over at "The Assassination of Trust" which is my last story for Spashley.
"You have a vagina."
"What if I did?"
"Dude, you do. What the fuck do you mean, 'what if I did?' You totally do. It's sitting pretty in those Diesel jeans. And you know what? It got wet like the vagina it is the second you decided to have a dinner party. Super wet when you pulled out the fresh basil to make this dip we're eating right now. And dangerously wet…like caution sign wet the second you brought out these art-deco plates you bought at Target last year. Try to deny that shit, because I was with you when you squealed like a girl and bought the fifty-piece set."
"You bought an Old Spice Christmas gift basket that you kept for yourself. Does that mean you have a penis?"
"No, that means I had an active sex life and a desire to smell like the sweet, natural spices of God's nature. Is that so wrong?"
"Is it so wrong that I enjoy planning dinner parties?"
I thought about it for at least three or four seconds.
"Yes…yes it is, actually."
"Ashley's just jealous because the only thing she can make in the kitchen is…"
"Love. Sweet, married love," I say, sliding my right arm around her waist.
"Spencer, I appreciate the effort but Ash has been railing on me since the second we met," Aiden said with a shrug.
"It's true, lady. The second I met the infamous Vagina Man…it was like magic. I knew I was born to make fun of this kid for the rest of my life. He's a lucky man, and I…a lucky lass. It's a beautiful thing."
"And when you met me?" she asked, eyebrow raised as usual.
"I thought to myself, 'this is a girl who one day is going to trust me enough to let me go off to L.A. for a month and believe me when I tell her I'm not sleeping with every actress I meet at the Kabbalah center.'"
She grinned, nodding knowingly.
People, what I love most about my perfect, gorgeous, intelligent, yoga-bodied wife is that she lets me be myself. Yeah, there were declarations of love, hours spent talking over coffee brewed at midnight, merging Netflix accounts, and soft, gentle sex with tears and whatnot. But that didn't mean the playful banter came to an abrupt halt. It didn't mean the end to our differences. It simply meant we had learned to appreciate them.
"And when I met you," she said, wrapping her arms around me, "I thought to myself, 'this is a girl who one day is going to trust me enough to leave me behind while she films in L.A. for a month and believe me when I tell her that I'm not fucking the chick I met at the hardware store with the incredible tits and cute name tag.'"
"I have incredible tits."
"They're alright. But even so…no name tag, Ash."
"I don't need one. I get confirmation once…sometimes twice a day, that you definitely remember my name."
"And with that," Aiden said, walking towards the swinging kitchen doors, "I make my exit."
The second he was out of sight, her lips found mine. She was sweet and soft and perfect, and being away from her for a month had been the equivalent to a day spent watching a Freddie Prinze Jr. movie marathon.
I wanted to kill myself.
And Julia Stiles, because most things wrong about the world are her fault.
But like the sadistic commercial break she is, in walks Chelsea with a presumptuous grin and a glass of red wine.
"I don't mean to interrupt, but while things are getting hot in here, dinner is getting cold out there."
"We're coming," Spencer says with a sigh.
My wife. The adorable, perpetual sigh-er. The surrounded by wires and scrap metal little lamp-maker. The woman who would never admit that her favorite CD is by Bone Thugs n' Harmony…everything she did made me feel like busting out songs from "Aladdin."
Maybe not the one that kid, Jafar, sings…but everything else.
We followed behind Chelsea all the way to the dining room, hand-in-hand.
"Aiden, everything looks really good," Chelsea said, beaming at her fiancé as we all sit down.
Of course, we spend the first few minutes in chaos. Bowls are passed. Salt is shaken. Wine is poured. Insults are flying.
"You're a regular Barefoot Contessa, Tiger Beat," I say as I butter a slice of sourdough bread.
"Uh-oh, I sense I might be getting a new nickname," he replies before attacking his roasted garlic potatoes. Imagine "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," only it's shown on "Animal Planet."
"Dude, no. You're Tiger Beat for life. You're just one of them. You're a Jonathan Taylor Thomas…a Devon Sawa…a Leonardo DiCaprio. Now we're moving on towards the present-day members of your tribe. Keep up. Ok, so then we get like, Jessie McCartney…Chris Brown…oh, and what's his name…"
"Whose name?" Spencer asks.
"Who's that guy…oh God. This is really going to bother me."
"Ok, the kid with the hair and the…the makeup…"
"Regis Philbin!" she screams.
And suddenly we have a dinner game.
"Spencer, seriously?" I ask, smiling.
Because, you know…everything she says is cute. Even if it's completely wrong and strange.
"Joe Jonas?" Aiden asks, innocently.
"Dude, why do you even know his name?"
What kind of adult male actually knows the Jonas Brothers individually?
Or at all?
"Spencer, you're not allowed to play anymore."
"Oh, I know," Chelsea says, dropping her fork, "Zac Efron!"
"That's the one."
"He's hot. I like him," she says with a nod.
I was going to have to agree, "I'd share my Sour Patch Kids with the guy."
"I'd totally share my Sour Patch Kids with Regis," Spencer says, "though I picture him as more of a Milk Dud sort of man."
"Sounds about right, Spence. Sounds about right."
"So, how's the wedding planning going?" Spencer asks, lighting up at just the mere thought of things being planned.
"It's stressful. But you'll see when you guys re-marry in the summer. It's like putting all your energy into something everyone else will enjoy but you."
"Like a threesome?" I offered with a shrug.
Chelsea laughed, "I guess?"
"Personally, I'm more concerned about the bachelor party," Aiden joked.
"I'm working really hard on it, Tiger Beat. I'm calling up every contact I've got trying to get you Clay Aiken."
"Thanks, Ash…but no thanks."
We ducked out as soon as possible, after a half-hearted offer to wash the dishes. Well, from me at least. Spencer's offer sounded reasonably sincere. Dare I say, like she was asking for a favor. But where there is anti-bacterial soap, there is my wife with an excited smile.
She moved into my apartment completely, insisting it was important to her development as a person to part with those tile floors. And once her loft was sold, she treated herself to supplies for her new career and me to a night of sex atop a pile of hundred-dollar bills. Hey, "Indecent Proposal" had always been a favorite of movie of mine.
Afterwards, I had paper cuts in unfortunate places and I smelled like the government.
"You want tea?" she called from the kitchen, as I slipped into my over-sized "Weather Channel" t-shirt.
"Green, black, or white?"
"What do we have that's white?"
"I'll take it."
Five minutes later, I met her on the couch.
"I love that shirt on you," she said, pulling me closer.
I was highly aware of this fact.
"Really? I had no idea," I say, feigning innocence.
"You look good in black."
I was highly aware of this fact.
"Really? I had no idea."
"I had a good time tonight. Aiden is an amazing cook."
"He makes the same thing over and over…which means, he's totally perfected this one meal and he makes it all the time. It would be like hearing that song Nelly did with Tim McGraw and assuming all of his stuff sounded like that. It doesn't."
"I can't wait for your show to start airing. I'm a very big fan of your work, you know."
"Now, are we talking my two appearances on 'Sesame Street' when I was five, my Clearisil commercial from when I was fifteen, or my time spent as a 'teenager on the edge' when I was drunk?"
"The first two, I'll be YouTube-ing tonight. I was more talking about your days on the edge."
"I see…my dramatic work."
"Well, I think you'll like my small-screen return. I play a recovering drug-addict who works at a grocery store."
"Who knew there was a demand for such a character?"
"I know, right? Which is why the dark circles I sported on set from staying up on the phone all night with you came in handy."
"I do what I can."
"And I might have a surprise for you in the credits somewhere."
"What? What is it? You know I hate surprises!"
"Nothing major. But there's a chance I might've asked to be credited as 'Ashley Carlin.'"
"Oh my God! You're my bitch!"
My wife. Lamp maker. Aspiring rapper.
"That's the sweetest thing ever. Come here," she says, squeezing me so tight I feel my intestines in my throat, "and when I say 'bitch' I mean…you know, you're my wife…and that's sweet."
"We should familiarize you with the definition of 'bitch' maybe, but yeah…it felt right. It's my new start as an actress, and my new start with you."
"I love you," she says, brushing away stubborn tears.
"I love you too."
And this time, I squeeze her. Smiling like an idiot. Smiling like Julia Stiles as she reads an atrocious script. Like Aiden at the premiere of "Brokeback Mountain." Like George W. Bush…well, all the time.
And like Spencer Carlin, who's smiling back at me and crying into the heavy cotton of my favorite hoodie.