Baby You Can Drive My Car
Chapter Twenty Sex
In Which Lauren Speaks For All Of Us
"Bella, you know there are cupboards in your kitchen, right?" Lauren said when I went back inside.
"No. What's a kitchen?" I answered.
"The little room through that door right there."
"Oh, I never even noticed it. Fancy. What's a cupboard?"
"It's a receptacle for things. Let's optimize your space."
"You're speaking fucking Jupiterian."
Lauren was right about the "cupboards". They were wall to wall, and floor to ceiling. Fucking stupid things, taking up all that room. She dragged me down to the mall and around some storage solutions godawful place, full of containers, and she brought home a billion of them. Then she started sorting my worldly goods, and putting them in the containers, and finding places for them that didn't involve the middle of the floor. To add to the disarray, another of these "cupboards" had been discovered in the hall. Lauren put towels and sheets in it, which I liked to keep nicely displayed on exposed surfaces.
"Strange new worlds," I muttered with a shrug, but I had to admit, after a day and a half my apartment had inexplicably gotten a whole lot bigger. My sofa had gone from being a no-seater to a three-seater, and my books and cd's and dvd's were on shelves. It was completely disorienting of course, and without my usual guidance markers I got lost a couple of times just trying to get from one side of the room to the other.
And Lozzy discovered a folder somewhere amongst the debris of my past containing my school art brilliance. She insisted on a mission to some thrift stores to buy frames, and the next time I blinked my humble abode resembled the fucking Guggenheim. It was making my psyche falter, like stepping out on a iced-over lake, not knowing how thin the ice was. Bella? Tidy? Organized? Nope, couldn't reconcile it, although the terms Bella and newly-discovered-space rang like the most pleasant of wind-chimes.
Meanwhile she was doing okay, the Lolster, considering she had misery in her heart, though I constantly assured her she had a stalwart as a bedfellow. Keeping herself busy was working out great for the both of us - me, because I was getting a home makeover, and her because, well, she was giving me a home makeover.
James called a couple of times a day, and she'd be teary after speaking to him, but never unsure of her decision. Tyler didn't call because she'd embargoed him.
And let me see - how long was Bella allowed to go without having a call from Deadweird?
About ten minutes.
"Bella, there was a day's pd's that you didn't sign for. I'm going to need you to come into the office to complete the paperwork."
"Bella, remember that tv show? One of the kids you spoke to has sent a demo cd of a song they wrote asking for your opinion. I can convert it to mp3 and email it, or you can just collect it at the next band meeting."
"Bella, you know all those flowers you got that night? I had them delivered to a hospice and we've received a letter from the management and staff thanking us. Just thought I should let you know."
He was relentless. Like a swarm of locusts.
"Jesus, Lauren - he won't fucking leave me alone. But it's all work, work, work! We're having a meeting this week, aren't we? Couldn't he just type all this up and send it in an email?"
Smugness is an ugly personality trait, and Lolly's face covered in smugness dimmed her beauty somewhat.
"Told you. He loves you," she said, smirking.
"He doesn't, because he's not ringing up saying, "Oh, Bella, come and play my love trumpet", and by the way, when you do that smarty-ass smile you get a double chin, and your eyes go squinty," I told her. It was only right that she knew. Still - why did I have to get fifty thousand phone calls a day? I was trying to set my life in order, and the constant stream of interruptions simply wasn't helping.
The millionth time on Wednesday the phone rang, I breathed into it, "Oh, fuck, I'm missing you. I can't stop thinking about you. I want us to make love."
The silence from my caller was deafening.
Then Edweird's voice, sounding choked, said, "Bella?"
And I responded, "Oh - Edward? I'm sorry, I though you were someone else. My mistake."
Lolly was muffling laughter.
"You've got caller ID," he stated, shakily.
"Oh, I know," I answered. "The ID said Gog, and I thought it must be God of Gorgeous, but it's actually Gremlin of Grouch."
I heard him take a deep breath, and then he said, "How's Lauren?"
"Why don't you call her directly? I'm not her answering service."
Another deep breath. "I will. Okay then. Band meeting is tomorrow, five o'clock, Carlisle's house. Do you need me to collect you?"
"Fuck no. Is that how you're trying to justify your exorbitant daily rate? Offering to drive people five blocks or so? Get a real job," I said, pressing end call.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. God, Gremlin, I will plaster you to the fucking wall, and then lick you all over and then lick you some more, until you're fucking screaming. Oh, yes. Can't fucking wait.
Although seriously, I would just have to hope that my perplexing see-saw fucking nerves didn't take over next time I saw him and render me a fucking basket-case. I didn't know what it was about him that reduced me to a shadow of my usual glorious mess of a self. Oh hang on, I was still a mess. But I used to be a fucking cavalcade - laying waste and wreaking havoc! Now I was all about the big talk, but where Gog was concerned, very little follow-through. Jax didn't have this deletorious effect on me. Lolita was right - the discerning little minx. It was all because Fuckweird mattered. Color me screwed.
But hey, since Lolly and I had been on a bit of a detox, our livers were totally cleansed and in need of some actual sustenance. Butterscotch schnapps is the best, launching you into a voyage combining reality and unreality as it does, and it's all you need, really, to be as one with all things and in harmony with the universe.
Furthermore, in my newly discovered kitchen, there were these circular heat-dispensing units arranged in a little square, and I had experimented with scientifically altering the molecular structure of fresh food items using heat, and I believe I had invented cooking. Lauren claimed scornfully that this discovery was not new, but history is not written by the nay-sayers and deny-it-alls.
"Perhaps you'd like raw sausage for dinner tonight, missy?" I suggested.
"Perhaps I would, as it happens. Is there any on offer?"
"I think there might be. Just dial T-y-l- "
"I'll dial you in a minute."
"You're so gay."
We didn't have a sausage in the house, needless to say, and we were settling for eggplant parmigiana, which can be very nice when due diligence is exercised.
"Jesus, I hope Edweird can cook, and he won't mind that you can't," Lolita gasped after one mouthful, but she was full of crap, because it was delicious.
After our humble repast we settled back in the newly enormous lounge room and regarded one another.
"How long are you holding out for?" I asked her, and she knew exactly what I meant.
"At least another month, maybe more," she said. "How about you?"
"Oh, impossible to forecast, really. Before the end of muddlement, there's the hurdle of uncertainty, and the river of unknowing, and the mountain of doubt, and the forest of perplexity - I don't know. It'll be a long journey for our intrepid adventurer."
"Talking about yourself in that distancing way is bizarre, and you're not intrepid at all. You're chicken."
"I am not!"
Lauren started crowing, "buck buck buck," and luckily for her, I put this down to the alcohol, and not to her being a fruitcake. I could have called mental health services and had her taken away, I really could. It's not normal to impersonate a hen.
"What's the fucking difference then, between you and me, Ms fucking I-will-not-make-a-booty-call-for-another-four-whole-weeks?" I demanded.
"You're not on the rebound, Bella. You are one single lady, and you have been for a while. You want Edward because you want him, not because you're worried about finding yourself alone after years of security in a relationship, and you're not just about to leap at the nearest guy."
"Don't give me your bullshit. You have no concerns at all that you might be using Tyler as an interim guy. You love his big dick."
"Has Edward got a big dick?"
"How would I fucking know?"
"You kissed him. Didn't you rub up against him? Didn't you get an idea of it then?"
"I kissed his mouth you brazen slutbag! And no, there was no rubbing!"
Ah, memories. Longing. Romance. Lolly and I had to stop talking and smile dreamily for a while, each in our own little lust-bubble. Then we had some more butterscotch schnapps, because why? Oh, you don't need a reason. Those silly flask bottles from our local store were way too small, by the way. Lucky we'd had the common sense and foresight to buy two.
Taking what amounted to rather more than a sip, Lauren remarked, "Well. Party at Carlisle's tomorrow," as though I'd been capable of thinking of anything else.
"So I hear."
"You're going to make the jump, right?"
"On the fuck what? Remember Faith from Buffy? Want, take, have. Now there's a credo."
"Yeah, well, that's for people with superpowers."
Lauren fixed me with her beady eye.
"For Christ's sake, Bella," she said, and I knew from her expression something momentous was about to come.
"How long have I known you?" she demanded.
That was all? "You know exactly how long, darling. How dare you pretend to forget? You inwardly celebrate every anniversary."
"Three years. Shut up. How many boyfriends have you had in that time?"
"Two. What were their names? Oh, who even knows? You barely even liked either of them. You just thought you should have a boyfriend because you were lonely and horny and you were over being so single, and you picked the least threatening option each time. Neither of them lasted longer than five minutes or five months or something because there was so little to draw you to them in the first place."
God, her insights were unnerving and unwelcome. I might have been kidding myself about those guys, but apparently I hadn't been kidding Lollipops, shrewd observer.
"And now, Isabella Swan? There's someone around who isn't fazed by your crazy, who's strong and clever and actually gets you and your nutty humor, and, yeah, I know the Jaxinator's around as well and he's hotness incarnate, but babe - you don't need someone who's in a band, too. And let's be honest, Jasper is so fucking cruisalicious he would never stand up to you. He might give you what you need in bed, but he's on his own trip, along with all the gorgeous that he is. You and him would fly in different directions sooner rather than later. You need someone grounded in reality. Edward is perfect for you - perfect. But you seem to have your sabotage boots on! You told me you want him - then you fucking cut him off when he calls! Bella, fucking grow a pair, I'm telling you. Take the bull by the horns."
Lol in lecture mode. Never thought I'd see the day. "You said horns," I snickered.
"Tomorrow. If you don't get fucking laid tomorrow, or close to it, I'm going to take drastic action."
Fuck me. She was so serious.
"Threats are coercive!" I replied, nervously. "Coercion is nasty. What sort of action?"
"I'm going to tell him."
"You know who."
"Tell who what?"
"Tell Edward that you want it fast hot and hard, from behind, twice, standing up in the shower stall in Carlisle's bathroom."
"I do not! Well - that sounds damn good, but hey - you are not going to tell Edward that!"
"Give me one good reason."
I stopped to think. Because - because Lol was right. I was chicken. What if Edward found out I really, really liked him, but he actually thought I was a dickwad? So we'd had a few one-on-one chat sessions where we enjoyed talking to one another, but there were plenty more when we didn't. And yeah, apparently he was stunned at the sight of my boobies, but maybe he was reduced to speechlessness and gawping by the sight of anybody's bare chest. Maybe he got a fucking embarrassing boner every time he walked past a newsstand. And sure, he kept calling me, but he was probably calling Mike ten times a day as well.
"Sitting here waiting..." Lauren pouted. "Growing old..."
Damnit - I didn't like being this way. I didn't fucking know myself.
"Okay. Totally doing it at the band meeting. Totally," I announced.
"Right. Getting my happies tomorrow then, knowing you're getting yours."
"I have never met anyone as perverted as you. You belong in a psychiatric report. I'm going to use you as my thesis subject for my advanced Masters degree in people with unsavory practices and tastes."
"I'm going to mention you in my assignment at hairdressing college for most glaring and regrettable disregard of split ends."
"Oh my God, Lolly - do I have split ends?"
I was horrified, and rushed to the bathroom, where the light was better, wailing, "I need a protein treatment!"
She was lying of course, but the two of us launched a pre-emptive strike against dry hair by giving ourselves hot oil applications and winding our hair up in caps, and then we wandered back to my bedroom.
"Bag-lady," Lauren suddenly accused sternly, with a disapproving gaze at one of the bags from the laundromat the other day that I'd yet to deal with. Anally retentive as she was, not to mention presumptuous and intruding, Lauren had cleared herself a space in my closet and put all her laundry away like a prissy Catholic schoolgirl. No wonder mine was still sitting around.
"Oh, I was saving it as a treat for myself," I mumbled, but I upended it all on the bed anyway, and started finding places for things. The helpful folk at the laundry facility had not only cleaned and dried all my garments - they'd folded them as well, so I just needed to transfer everything to its rightful place. Jeans, here; t-shirts, here; sweaters, here; etc. Underwear - second drawer.
"Oh. Yeah, of course - you've still got that. I never found mine all that comfortable you know," Lolly remarked, gazing at what I held in my hand. A purple thong - the last remaining one of the matching pair we'd bought.
"I quite like it," I admitted. "It's hardly even there."
"Well, that's certainly true. Mine was so flimsy it pretty much fell apart on contact. Contact with Tyler the sex-beast, that is."
"Really?" I asked, hoping to get a juicy and very detailed account.
"Yeah - you remember, you found it in the van the next day and threw it away. Although, how could you have done that? Where did you throw it? Oh, I'd been pretty hungover, let me think. What happened that morning?"
We both cast our minds back through the current golden haze of schnapps which is nowhere near as high in alcohol as it is in pleasure, although small amounts of it can make recent events recede. Consumed in larger quantities it can make matters of a mere couple of weeks ago elusive, and if you were to ever really indulge yourself in the taste you could probably lose decades. As it was, I might have lost a cell or two of previously tightly-held discretion.
"Um, um..." Lolita was mumbling. "The night before we all went to some cave of a nightclub somewhere, and you'd hurt your foot, and I went on a mercy mission out to the van for your painkillers, and Tyler came with me, and well, you know what transpired, and then we all went back to the hotel and I crashed out... And when I woke up you weren't there, but you turned up and said you and Edward had been for coffee. That was kinda unusual, I guess, but anyway... then we all left and he was in such a foul mood, heaven knows why...but hey, thanks for what you did. Was there a trashcan in the hotel foyer or something? You must have been pretty sneaky. Way to go, Bells."
"Mmm," I said.
"So what was up Eddie's nose that morning anyway? Why on earth would he make you get up and have coffee with him? He knew you always have sleep issues on tour. For someone who's such a stickler for rules, that was a bit unorthodox."
"Mmm," I said.
"He never asked me to have coffee with him. And why that day?"
"Mmm," I said.
Lolly screwed her eyes up unattractively suddenly and tilted her head.
"There's something you're not telling me," she said, jabbing me with a finger. She's quite clever, the old Lol, for someone with her looks.
"Oh, yes there is." She's quite determined, too. "You've got a fucking secret, I can tell. The magnitude of the denial is inversely proportionate to the magnitude of the secret, and you never, ever give a one-syllable response to anything. You'll get a chinese burn if you don't 'fess up right now."
Not being a pain-fan, I succumbed immediately.
"Deadweird was pissed because he thought I fucked Jasper," I admitted.
"Well, I thought he might think that, because he found you in the Sexinator's hotel room. But that was a day or two afterwards, when both the bands were staying in the same hotel...oh, wait - what?"
Apparently I needed to repeat myself. "Edward thinks I fucked Jasper. The van business. That broken foot, nightclubbing night. He had given me the keys. Then about half an hour later he got the keys back from me."
"Um, Lolly - it wasn't me who found your underwear. It was Edweird. He'd made some sort of surveillance check that night after we all got back to the hotel, and he'd made the grisly discovery, and his brilliant brain worked out that I'd had a half hour window of opportunity to get jiggy in the van. He rang me the next morning and said I had to meet him in the breakfast room of the hotel. He went off his fucking head, lecturing me about getting sordid in a space that everybody had to share."
"But why didn't you tell him it hadn't been you?"
"Because - because I needed to speak to you first. It didn't seem right to me that Edward should know something that James didn't know. I thought it was your private business."
My Lolly gasped and threw her arms around me. "But, Bells - you actually let the guy you like believe you were screwing somebody else right under his nose because you were trying to keep a secret for your friend who was being a shameless slut?"
"I wasn't thinking of it quite in those terms."
When Lolly pulled her face out of my shoulder she was sniffling.
"But you got in trouble, over me."
"Ho's before bros. I mean - what's the equivalent of that, anyway? Sistas before mistas."
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"You felt bad enough. Deadweird already thought I was a colossal loser - what did it matter adding one more thing to my long list of heinous crimes?"
She frowned, my Lolly. "He just thought you drank and swore too much. That's not exactly the same as him thinking you had loose morals."
"Hmm," I said. "You know what, Lolly-Polly? I wouldn't have a fucking clue what he thinks. In fact, if he thought Elvis was alive and well and living in Minneapolis, I wouldn't be surprised."
"You're avoiding the issue. It doesn't matter what he thinks about Elvis. It matters what he thinks about you."
"If he thinks Elvis is alive and well he's clearly not well himself and we don't want him thinking about me. I should be protected from him. He should be sectioned to special hospital."
"Bellie, you should be sectioned to special hospital. But I think you need a hot beef injection. Leave it with me."
This peculiar assertion of Lauren's caused me to grimace. "You don't have the apparatus," I reminded her, since she must have misunderstood the diagrams in Gray's Anatomy.
"Tired now," was her response. "I'm on it. Just not tonight."
There was no way she was going to leave it there, tired or not. I waited, though not for long.
"So, what exactly did Deadwoodweird say at your pleasant morning chat?" she demanded, within less time than it takes for the lights to turn once you're too far over the line.
"Oh, some raving garbage about disregard, lack of respect... general fucked-upness... extreme disappointment... flagrancy..."
"Vagrancy?" Lollipop asked. "Fragrancy?"
"Yep, and bad behavior... hooking-up..."
"Now it's starting to sound like his wishlist."
A little snigger escaped me. Trust Lolly to see the humor in it. Good girl.
"Oh, and he sort of may have mentioned the item."
Now Lolly really sat up.
"The item? Like, the underwear?"
"Yes. Christ fuck almighty God - the item."
"It's a holy relic," Lolly whispered. "Sanctified."
I thought about it for less than a second. She thought about it for less than a second.
"Do you think he might have kept it?" she asked. "Like, sniffed it and kept it? Thinking it was yours?"
I threw myself on her and pushed her over.
"Lauren fucking Smellory - you are the sickest fucking person that ever lived and I will wash your fucking mind out with soap while you sleep! You know that thing they did in medieval times where they drilled people's skulls to let out the insanity? I am so fucking drilling your head, you utter psycho! I am excavating your brain to donate it to the Smithsonian because you are so rampantly mental!"
"Has Jasper called?" she asked sweetly, and narrowly saved her own life. I paused in my attack.
Jax had rung a couple of times actually, intuitively calling during the few seconds a day that Lauren wasn't so close to me her dead skin cells were rubbing off and blocking my pores, and it was nice to speak to him.
"Maybe," I said breezily.
"Missing you?" she said.
Fuck, she was a nutjob. Why would she be trying to remind me about Jax in the middle of talking about Edward?
"Whose team are you batting for, Lol?" I queried, narrowing my eyes.
"Oh, I've already said. And so have you. I just want to make sure you're on track," she replied.
What fucking track? Indeed.
And just tonight, since using LollyPower to bring about the monumental expansion of my apartment, the Princess-Bride herself had declared she'd sleep on the sofa. This was to stop her breaking law and convention and decency by inappropriately touching my person and parts during the night.
"Why don't you scram and go to bed?" I asked, ready to face my contemplations, when I remembered something crucial.
"Don't drool on my cushions."
She probably would, loose-lipped as she was, and then I could just embroider her name on them and give them to her for Christmas to save myself the bother of throwing them away, and so that I wouldn't have to think of anything else to give her come December.
Lying awake with crossed-eyes trying hard to make my ceiling look 3-D, I devoted what was left of my attention to wondering what track she'd been fucking talking about. Did anyone publish a help manual on this particular matter? The Lonely Planet Guide to Knowing How To Unlonely Yourself With A Hot And Mystifying Guy?
Who fucking cared? But, Goddamn, the butterscotch schnapps bottle was no fucking use to take to bed, elixir of heaven though the taste might have been. Fuck. I was so full of gold courage and so wanting and needing a certain annoying somebody that I nearly fucking texted Gog and demanded that he turn up right now. Right fucking now. Come and check on me. Check and come on me.
I don't know how I didn't, because every single word I'd said to him on the phone was true. I did miss him. I couldn't stop thinking about him. And I really, really really wanted for him and me to make love.
In Which Lauren Speaks For All Of Us by Dashzap