A/N: This story is part of the Ravelry fiction In the Days of Auld Lang Syne, along with Feisty Y. Beden's Fix You and Jayne Rulis's Bold as Love.
Thanks bunches to Saturday Night Chat: my liver and my storyline wouldn't be the same without you. And Unicorns Unlimited, I love you all! All chapter titles are taken from Ludo's "Love Me Dead," which should play at Em and Rose's wedding.
Rated M for Emmett's potty mouth. And for eventual lemony goodness.
Stephenie Myers owns Twilight and all its characters. I just like to play with them like paper dolls. Or Barbies.
Chapter 1: Hideous and Sexy
I totally couldn't believe this shit. I mean, Edward's job got us into some pretty sweet parties, but a gig at some chick bar called the Unicorn Pub? On New Year's Eve?
"C'mon, Emmett, so it's a girly bar…you know the ratio will be good." Edward ran his hand through his hair. Already working on that bedhead for the party. Girls loved that shit…although why they'd want to hook up with a guy who looked like he just got ridden hard and put up wet, I'm really not sure.
"But, damn, Edward, you know what kind of girls are gonna be there. It's gonna be the mani/pedi-getting, Sex-in-the-City-watching, Manhattan-drinking, three-inch-heels crowd."
"Isn't that the kind of woman you usually bring home?"
He had me there. Women like that loved my shit. I couldn't deny it. But I was so fucking sick of that scene. Those women were all the same, and not one of them had any self-respect. They didn't expect any more than a one-night stand, and frankly, acted like there was something seriously wrong with you if you called the next day. One particularly nasty bitch said, "How needy are you? Who the fuck calls first thing in the morning?"
Gee, I don't know. Somebody who gives a flying fuck about you?
Most of those women I met at my gym. Ursa Major was a serious meat market. I didn't really set it up that way, but most gym rats were…well…shallow and whoreish? I know, I know, they make me money, right? But it didn't mean that I enjoyed it. I'd prefer some actual athletes, people who gave a shit about performance, not just looks, but even I knew that the money was green no matter how they looked at their workouts. And I did have a few Mariners who came in for training.
But day in and day out, spending time with tanning-bed addicts and muscleheads who were dumb enough to actually do steroids (but not in my gym…I'd busted more than one head for that shit), I'd just gotten burned out on them.
It's good that I had Edward and Jasper. And I'd had the Red Bar. Until last night, when it'd all gone up in flames. Literally. Tanya and Kate, who ran the place, were the queen mothers of the three-inch-heels set, but they could throw them back with the best of them. They both drank me under the table on a regular basis, and not with Natty Lite and apple martinis, either. Straight-up tequila shots most nights. I'd had them both at various times, but it was just sex. We liked each other okay, but it was strictly physical.
And that's what it was like with all of them. Even if I found a girl that I thought had a little more to offer, then any effort to get to know them resulted in a similar conversation: "I just want to have fun right now"; "I don't think you're relationship material"; "I like you as a friend." The last one in particular threw me. Um, sorry, the fact that you were willing to blow me in the bathroom at the party led me to believe maybe I was a little more than a friend. Silly me.
"Edward, I'm seriously sick of that kind of woman. They don't have shit to talk about except shopping, shoes, and their hair. I just can't take it any more."
"So I take it you're not on the market tonight?"
"Fuck, no, Cullen. Not in that market."
"Mind going anyway? I promised Rosalie I'd bring friends. Sometimes the male population at the Unicorn is a little thin, apparently."
"It's a costume party."
"Fuck, Cullen, are you seriously trying to kill me?"
"Look, we drink for free…how bad can it be? And, um, it's a storybook theme."
"OH. MY. GOD. This is the lamest shit I've ever heard."
"Jasper and I are going to pick out costumes this afternoon. You wanna come?"
I just stared at him for a while. Fucking A. "So which of you is going as Snow White? Or are you skipping that shit and just going as a giant vagina?"
"I'm not sure what storybook has a giant vagina in it…"
"I can name more than one."
"I'm sure you can, McCarty. Look, I'm not saying you have to dress up as Prince Fucking Charming. Just come in whatever, okay?"
"Fine. I think I've got something around."
I actually did, too. I'd never tell the guys what a complete pussy I was, but I read to the kids at the library on a regular basis. I had a Max costume. Max, from Where the Wild Things Are? Not at all sexual, not a chance of some chick in a matchy-matchy costume coming on to me. And I looked pretty much like a giant freaking marshmallow in it. Generally didn't appeal to women at all.
Cullen looked at me suspiciously. "I'm not sure I want to know."
"You know me, Cullen. Always got some kinky shit around, right?"
"Yeah, I'm definitely not asking."
Let him worry about what I was going to show up in at what was essentially his work. Served the prick right for getting me into this shit.
A few hours later Ed and Jasper finally got back, both holding garment bags. I was sitting in my boxers and an old t-shirt, watching a bowl game on ESPN and eating chips.
"Tell me that's not your costume." Jasper looked pained.
"Yeah, Whitlock, I'm going as the eighth dwarf: Horny."
"Thought you weren't into that tonight."
"Cullen, you pansy, you're always so fucking worried about my behavior. I have a costume, this isn't it, and it's appropriate for the theme. Okay, Martha Stewart?"
"Whatever. Listen, we're going to have to leave a little early. I've got to get there to set up, so try to be ready in an hour."
I put on my best falsetto. "Oh, no, how will I ever have time to do my hair???"
"Fuck you, McCarty. One hour, or we're leaving without your sorry ass."
"Damn…threaten me, why don't you? You know how much I'm looking forward to this."
"Whatever. One hour."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah."
The ladies went upstairs to change. I wasn't sure what costumes they'd picked, but neither bag looked big enough to hold hoop skirts.
In a few minutes, the game went to halftime, and I decided to go upstairs and change so that I wouldn't get nagged any more. Cullen was still primping in his room, but Whitlock was standing there in some purple suit with yellow gloves and a giant hat.
"What the hell is that shit, Whitlock?"
"I'm the Mad Hatter."
"I wasn't sure if you were going for Professor Plum or Colonel Mustard."
"Mad Hatter…from Alice in Wonderland?"
"Oh, I see. Looking for an Alice tonight, are we?"
"What comes will come, man."
"Well, Dr. Phil, I'm gonna get dressed. What the fuck is taking Cullen so long?"
"I don't know. We don't exactly shower together."
"Nice. Go get dressed, or you know he'll nag."
I dodged into my room just as I heard Cullen's door open. He didn't need to see me in my underwear and freak out again. I dug Max out of the back of my closet. I tried hard to keep my volunteer work under wraps. I knew they'd wonder why the hell I had this costume on hand, but I figured it wasn't really any of their business.
A few minutes later, I came out into the hallway, where Cullen was wearing...not a costume.
"What the fuck are you wearing?" My eyes bugged out a little. He was wearing a t-shirt and jeans.
"My costume didn't fit. Besides, I'm working, so I figure I can get away with not wearing one."
"Motherfucker. You better sleep with your eyes open the next few weeks."
"More to the point, what are you wearing?" Whitlock gestured to my costume. "What is that…footie pajamas? No, wait, let me guess. The dormouse. You wanted to match me. Awwwww…I always knew we'd end up dating eventually."
"Shut the fuck up, Whitlock. I'm Max." They both looked at me blankly. "Max. From Where the Wild Things Are." They kept looking at me, mouths a little open. "Jesus, close your mouths. You're drawing flies. And catch up on the classics."
"Why do you have that?" Cullen finally asked. Whitlock walked slowly around me, being sure he got every angle.
"It's left over from college. What the fuck does it matter? You wanted a costume, I have a costume."
"It's got a butt flap!" Whitlock finally busted out laughing.
"Seriously? You're wearing a 50-gallon top hat and you're laughing at my butt flap?"
"All right, all right," Whitlock held up his French's-yellow-mustard hands.
"Are we getting out of here or what? Let's get this over with." I put on a Burger King crown that I used as part of the costume. Whitlock and Cullen doubled over. I just rolled my eyes. "Laugh it up, bitches. Let's go." I mustered all the dignity I could and walked down the stairs.
It was a long drive to the bar, with my roommates giggling the whole way.
"You know what makes your outfit, McCarty? It's the red Chuck Taylors."
"I'm sorry…are they inappropriate? You should have taken me shoe shopping. Or let me borrow those strappy Manolo Blahniks of yours…"
They both looked at me, confused. Whitlock finally spoke up. "You know, knowing the name of what I'm assuming is a shoe designer doesn't really help you look more manly right now."
Fuck, I've dated too many of those toe-walking, shoe-babbling Barbie-doll types. It was starting to rub off. "Whatever, Professor Plum."
We finally pulled up to the bar. It was pretty nice, compared to how it'd looked the last time I'd met a client there, kinda Tudor-style with an old-fashioned pub sign outside-- this Rosalie chick had done some major overhaulin'. She had already set up a fair amount of equipment when we'd stopped in with Edward the other day, but now she'd tricked it out with all kinds of cheesy New Year's décor, too. Whitlock and I looked around while Edward tweaked bars and twiddled knobs, or did whatever it was he did during soundcheck. The bar was mahogany, and super glossy. Bottle after bottle lined the back wall…she had some really good shit back there. Not bad. The dance floor was large and ringed with really posh private booths. All in all, I had to admit it was nicer than the Red Bar. But what really made a bar was the people that who showed up and the staff. I'd yet to meet any of them, so I was withholding judgment.
Then what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a table completely covered in these cakes….fucking A. They were beautiful and smelled heavenly. My mouth immediately started watering. Cakes did to me what a ringing bell did to dogs. Fucking Pavlov.
"Yo, Edward, you think anybody'd miss a cupcake?" I called out.
"Help yourself." The voice came from just behind me, and it was clearly not Edward.
I whipped around, and behind me was Rosalie Hale, in the flesh. Fuck, what a girl. She was tall, blonde, and the Bo Peep outfit she wore shoved her amazing tits up like they were on a silver platter. Damn. I looked her up and down in spite of myself. And stopped at her shoes. I was expecting some pointy-toed, spike heeled number, but no. They were fucking sneakers. With black polka dots and loud pink unicorns on the toes. And for some reason, they made me redonkulously hot.
I stammered for a while, looking for something to say, and finally managed, "Nice shoes."
"Thanks. I'm Rosalie. Pleasure to meet--oh, you're that friend of my DJ's I met earlier, right?" Her voice was cool, almost pathologically uninterested. "The one who had connections in the sports world?"
"Yeah, I'm Emmett. Emmett McCarty."
"Nice outfit, Emmett McCarty." She looked me up and down. I was beginning to wish I had a book to hold in front of myself. "What are you, exactly?"
"I'm Max…from Where the Wild Things Are. It's, you know, a book."
"Yes, I'm aware. Well, try not to eat all of the treats. Save a few for the paying guests, okay?"
"Right." I wanted to say something, but let's face it—I knew when to admit defeat. This chick hadn't risen to the bait I'd chummed up the water with, not once. And that kind of chick was most likely a card-carrying member of the three-inch heel club (in spirit, if not in footwear), and therefore going to be just like the ones I usually dated. But damn, I'd be pretty happy to luck into a one-nighter with her.
She was walking away. My mouth worked noiselessly as I struggled to process the tantalizing glimpse I'd had of her ass as she'd turned—perky, round, and clad in white ruffled bloomers to match that short, bouncy kinder-whore flounce of a skirt. She was almost gone, probably headed to her office in the back, when she turned back toward me and said, "Oh, Emmett McCarty? Nice ass flap."
After about six fucking delicious cupcakes and a vain attempt to clear my head of the humiliation, I meandered over to the bar. A spiky-haired goth-looking chick was pouring.
"Hey, there," I said, trying to seem cool, even though my ass was still sore over my little encounter with Rosalie.
"Max, isn't it? Rosalie mentioned there was one of you skulking about. Can I see your ass flap?" She was joking with me, but her voice was weirdly flat.
"Yeah, I'll pass. After a few drinks, maybe. So what are you?" I really couldn't tell.
"Alice in Wonderland…goth version."
"Really? I know someone who's in the market for an Alice tonight." I smiled, but she winced back at me. Probably just stuck my foot in. Great. This night was clearly going to be the bomb diggity. "Anyway, you pouring?"
"That's what they pay me for." Geez, she was gloomy. She needed to try that bottle marked Drink Me, or maybe run into that caterpillar with the hookah.
"Well, could I have a 7 and 7?"
"You got it, Max."
"Emmett." She looked at me blankly. "Emmett McCarty. When I'm not disguised as Max, I mean."
"Whatever, Max. Listen, you probably need to let your buddy the DJ know that he's pissing Rose off not being in costume. Just saying. She's about to go on the warpath. Jake's trying to calm her down now."
I felt my face get hot. Rose and the huge Native kid? I sure as fuck didn't see that coming. "Yeah, I'll do that." Yeah, right. I thought it'd be pretty fucking funny to watch Rosalie on the warpath. As long as that path didn't end at my door.
I settled in at the end of the bar. The place was filling up nicely. There were some seriously weird costumes in here. I mean, what was that shit on that chick by the door? Was she like a rutabaga or something? And that dude with the assless chaps was seriously under the impression that this was a gay bar. I reached back to make sure that my ass flap was fastened. Better safe than sore tomorrow.
There were suddenly voices from the doorway behind the bar. I couldn't really make out what they were saying, but there was an angry shrill female voice and a soothing male voice. I looked up. There was a window in the door. Rosalie's face was framed neatly in the middle, and she looked pissed. A very large brown hand was smoothing her hair, and I felt a lightning bolt of straight-up rage hit my chest. Then a face appeared next to hers and kissed her cheek. She smiled a little and nodded. Great. The night just looked better and better.
I decided I needed to get majorly shit-faced. "Hey, Alice! Get me another 7 and 7, sweetheart?" She rolled her eyes. What the fuck was with women lately?
She slid one down the bar toward me. "You mind just keeping those coming?" I asked her. She gave me a sarcastic salute and turned back toward the crowd that was growing in front of her. Her little hands flew as she poured drink after drink, never having to get anyone to repeat anything, never losing track of what she was doing, pouring drinks, making change, slapping hands away from her ass. It was like a dance. She made me think of that Elton John song "Tiny Dancer." When Sir Elton showed up at the party, I was usually about halfway to shit-faced. The evening might improve yet.
At that moment, Rosalie burst out of the back office, clearly getting ready to go on a tear. As in "tear somebody a new one". My money was on Edward. Being a good friend, I tried to slow her down, calling her name as she passed by. "Rosie! This is some party, baby!"
"Oh, yes. Emmett McCarty. Exactly why are you sitting at the bar? I wanted Ed's friends here so they could mingle with the guests. The ratio needs improving." She looked me up and down, a sneer curling her lips. "I suppose you are a step above the guy in assless chaps. If you'll excuse me, I need to have a conversation with the fucking DJ."
"Now wait, wait, wait a minute. What if I just want to mingle with you?" I tried to put on my sexiest bedroom eyes. God knew they'd fucking worked time after time at the gym. I stood. I towered above her, and walked toward her, reaching out to slide my hand down her bare arm.
"Fuck off. I have a business to run." She turned abruptly to stalk over to Ed, but she tripped on my tail. And when she tripped on my tail, you guessed it, the fucking ass flap on my costume came open, exposing the old fraternity boxers I had on.
"Motherfucker! If you wanted a piece of tail, you could have just asked, Rosalie," I joked, trying to coax at least a smile out of her.
"Nice boxers, sugarmouth. Oh, look-- a frat brother. What a fucking surprise. What are you?" She bent her face entirely too close to my ass, and her face just froze. "You have got to be fucking kidding me. Where did you go to school?"
"University of Washington. Why?"
"No wonder you fucking look familiar. Do me a favor. When your boyfriend is done spinning records, get the fuck out of my bar and never come back. Got it? I don't want to see your pig face ever again. Am I clear?"
"Crystal, you fucking psycho. Jesus, do you ride your broom to work even when it's raining?"
She rolled her eyes and stomped off to have a word with Edward. I had no idea what the fuck any of that was about, but I did need to find the bathroom to cover myself before I reboarded the Tie-One-On Train.
Jasper came around the corner. "Hey, man, you know where the bathroom is?" I asked.
"Sure. It's just down that hallway. Um, you are aware that your escape hatch has been opened? Did the midget run out of oxygen?"
"Nice, Professor Plum. By the way, there's an Alice working the bar. And stay the fuck away from that Rosalie chick. She's fucking nuts."
"Really? That sounds difficult. Maybe even anatomically impossible."
"Yeah, well, there you go. I'm pretty sure Edward's on the receiving end right now. You can ask him how that's going, if you're feeling that suicidal. Me? I'm gonna go fix my costume. Then I'm gonna drink a hell of a lot more."
I came out of the bathroom a few minutes later, ass tucked back into my costume, when Edward came streaking up to me, a little pink in the face. "Hey, man, what's happening?" I asked.
"Can I borrow your crown? If I don't get a costume together, Rose is going to flip her lid, and I'll be out my fee for this gig."
"Um, I think that lid flipped a long time ago. But here." I handed over the paper crown. "Shine it up good before you give it back."
Edward stalked off. I wasn't sure how a Burger King crown made a costume, but whatever. Not my problem. I was headed back to the bar to make sure tomorrow's hangover would really be one for the record books when I saw a couple in a little alcove near the payphones. The guy had his hand about halfway up her skirt, and the girl was crying. A lot. "No! Leave me alone," she said, trying to push him away.
But he had her pinned up against the wall. "Aw, baby, you know you want it. Nobody's going to see over here. You been flirting all night, and now you're going to get what you asked for."
My vision just went red, and before I knew it, I had the guy by the neck, pulling him off her. "Motherfucker, she said no. You need your hearing adjusted?"
"Well, well, what have we here? What the fuck are you supposed to be, anyway? The Stay-Puf Marshmallow Man? Get the fuck out of here, man. I got some pussy to get." He turned away from me, already reaching out for the girl, but before he could get there, I snatched him back by his throat and slammed him against the wall.
"I don't fucking think so, you piece-of-shit motherfucker. You get your kicks this way, huh? Picking on girls?" I slammed him against the wall again. His feet were dangling a little above the floor. He was gasping for air. I slammed him again. "I think what you need to do right now is to take your drunk ass the fuck out of here. If I see you again for the rest of the night, the only thing getting fucked around here is you. You feel me, bitch?" He was clawing at my hand, his face purple. "I think we have an understanding." I dropped him. He slumped to the ground, his feet unable to support him. "Get the fuck out of here." He scrambled up and beat a hasty retreat.
The girl was still in the corner, her hands over her face and her clothes still slightly awry. "You okay there?" She just sobbed. I went over to her. "Did you come with anybody? Can I get anybody for you?" I touched her on the shoulder. "Miss?" She shrank away from the contact.
Shit, I wished for a girl to come along who could take better care of her. She didn't really want to be around me, and who could blame her? Unfortunately, the wrong girl came around the corner.
"WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?" Rosalie's shriek would have woken the dead. "GET AWAY FROM HER!"
It probably looked bad, but damn, she didn't even know me. What was with the jumping to conclusions? I held up my hands. "Look, I'm just trying to help her. Wasn't I?" I was really hoping that the girl would jump in sometime. Any time. She gave a tiny little nod, but her face was still tear-streaked and terrified. It really wasn't that convincing.
Rose seemed to swell right in front of me. I thought that Bo Peep costume was going to split and some sort of alien was going to emerge from her carcass, Men in Black-style. But her voice, when she found it, was deadly quiet. "Emmett McCarty, I want you the fuck out of here. Now. Not five minutes from now, not an hour from now, not after midnight. Now. I don't give a flying fuck where you go or how you get there. I just never want to lay eyes on you ever again. Ever." For emphasis, she got right up in my face. "And if I ever hear that you touched a girl without her consent ever again, so help me God, it will be the last time you ever touch anything. I will shove your hand so far up your own asshole that you could scratch your own lungs. Got it?"
Fuck. For whatever reason, Rosalie Hale had already mentally tried and convicted me. There was no reason to defend myself. I just turned and walked out. No, fuck that. I turned back toward her and said, "You know what, sweetheart? You don't know shit about me. And no matter how hot you are, you would be the last woman on earth I would let within a hundred yards of my ass. You are fucking insane." I turned and walked out, not even bothering to find Jasper or Edward. I could take the fucking bus home. I looked back, and Rosalie was glaring my way. She'd followed me to the door to make sure I left.
"Oh, and Bo Peep," I called out. "You didn't lose your sheep. They fucking ran away."
I slunk off to the bus stop. Looked like midnight would find me alone. Happy Fucking New Year, Emmett McCarty.