Dramacon - Love & Sarcasm
Before Christie left the convention for the second time in a row, as an outro to being broken up and a deterrent from getting my hopes up, I asked one of her more gullible friends for a favor. I needed to know if she would be getting anyone new while she was away. Honestly, I had no ulterior motives, except to make sure that I was the only guy crazy for her. And so it began. It was kind of insane the way that her girlish thoughts mirrored my own, but well… There was this post, ironically about me. About a month before the next convention, with shaking fingers, I wrote her a comment just one line long to show her I was still here, and interested. I was going to say that I still thought about her too, but instead, I found that I just couldn't help myself:
You misspelled 'salaciousness' in today's entry.
There was no replay for several days. I assumed that she needed some time to digest the fact that I had been reading her blog, which was largely about me. Then one morning, somewhere between my thesis and breakfast, Christie wrote back an equally short answer:
What? That's it?
- Christie Leroux
She sent me a message with her cell phone number. I took a deep breath. Thank god. She still wanted to be in contact with me.
I called her the next day. Sandra was proud when I told her, convinced that I finally grew some balls. And so I spent the next three weeks talking to Christie over the phone until she texted me and then it was a full-blown text war.
In the two years that I had known Christie, she didn't change much. Sure, she grew up a little, but she was always the same and I guess you could say I was equally so. Things would be different this time for sure. I had made her cry last time, and it hurt like nothing I had ever experienced. I wouldn't allow myself to hurt her again, if I had to put my sarcasm in a chained box every time it boiled over, I would. I told her that Emily and I broke up, just to clear the air. It felt good, but I could tell that Christie was both relieved and annoyed by it. I just couldn't win.
About three days before the convention, my wonderful sister let me know that Emily would be joining us at the booth. So much for a weekend with Christie free of outside tensions. When we got there, I think I ended up calling her twice just to see if she was there. Of course, she wasn't. But then after I sent her my first text of the afternoon and started to set up the booth, I saw her.
"OMG, Christie, that you?" said Sandra, twisting around to look behind me.
I automatically smiled when I turned to see her, "…Hey…!"
Man, she looked nervous as hell, "H-Hi…!"
"'Sup Chriss," said Emily behind me.
I was about to invite her to have lunch with me, but she gave me a quick wave, claiming that she still had to help setup the booth, and took off at top speed. I looked over at Emily's smug expression. Why me?
I was supposed to meet Christie at 3:30pm. So I waited… and waited. She was late. Of course, her sense of direction was horrible. I looked to my left and saw her standing there. Nice move to ninja her way into my presence where I couldn't see her.
"…Hey," she said happily.
What on earth was she wearing?
"Hey! You're late."
"Noooo, your watch is early," she teased.
"My watch is never wrong."
"Oh yeah? Sandra and I know…"
I must've stopped listening, or maybe she just stopped talking, but my mind went blank. She was staring at me. My heart gave a sharp throb. I missed her so much.
"Sooo, what do you wanna do? Any anime you want to see?" she said a bit timidly.
This was kind of awkward.
"Nothing I like is playing. Want to check out the dealers' room?"
She smiled, "Oh, yeah, yeah! I need to find a pair of wings for my costume."
She was happy. Good. That meant that I could be happy too.
"Speaking of which," she continued, "what do you think?"
She twirled happily and I took off my sunglasses, looking her over before putting them back on my face. This had to be one of those 'do I look fat in this' moments. Wasn't it best to just be honest?
Her expression faltered when I put my shades back on, "Don't you see worse with those?"
"Sometimes that's a good thing," I said to myself quietly, but she heard me.
"Augh! WHAT'S SO WRONG WITH MY COSTUME?"
"You're asking me?"
Don't say I didn't warn you, "…Okay."
I looked her over again, "One sleeve is shorter than the other."
"Well, yeah, the pattern was…"
"The stitching looks like the march of drunk ants—did you do this the night before?"
She twitched. Remember, Christie, you wanted to know.
"Who told you satin was a good fabric choice? I can kill them for you," I was suddenly transported back to when Sandra first made costumes. Shudder.
"What's so wrong with satin?"
"If you have to ask, you'll never know."
"Well, at least I have the character look do—"
"Asahi's skirt is blue, not purple. Also…"
"OKAY, shut up now."
Crap. A nice start I had gotten off to. She was already mad at me.
"…All right. I suppose I did ask for your humble opinion. Thank you kindly for your critique, I shall endeavor to raise the bar next time."
"Off the floor?" Crap. Shut up, you idiot.
"What makes you such an expert, anyway?"
"My sister is a professional costume-maker?"
That part was actually totally true. Sandra majored in fashion design in college, and she was damn good at it, hence her awesome costume making skills. Cosplay costumes were just a hobby though.
"…Oh yeah. She didn't make you an outfit this year?"
Here we go, "She did. I'm not wearing it—done with that. However, I did get a little something…" I turned around to show her my back, "…to participate in the culture."
My t-shirt read: yourvillagecalled,theirCOSPLAYERismissing
I turned back around to see Christie sporting an appalled expression.
"I'm not walking around with you wearing THAT!"
"Well, I'm not walking around with you wearing that."
"…! Well I guess we won't be walking around together then!"
She turned and walked away before I could stop her, "Goodbye!"
Yeah. That was totally my fault, "…This could be a problem."
The problem between her and me was that I couldn't keep my remarks to myself and she couldn't keep her temper in check. Therefore, we were doomed. Why was this so hard? It wasn't like this was the first time. Was it because now I was the 'ass of a boyfriend' instead of Derek?
I decided to wait fifteen minutes, buy a new shirt and then give her a call. It couldn't end up any worse than it already was. When I told her that I wasn't wearing the shirt anymore, she went really quiet before asking me if I was naked. I had to laugh because I knew that she was picturing it.
"No," I said, "I got another shirt. Something less offensive."
There was a pause, "R-really? Wow, that's… that's pretty cool."
"How about it—truce?"
There was a pause. Was she still mad at me? "I'm afraid I will need a formal apology. In person."
Back to the hot chocolate instead of coffee thing, huh?
"Deal. Where are you?"
My phone beeped, alerting me that I just received a new message. What?
"Sending you a clue. Catch me if you can!"
She hung up and I looked at the picture she sent. No way. I was dead in the center of it. I saw a faint outline of her sprinting away out of the corner of my eye. Oh no you don't. Not this time. I pushed through the crowd, nearly knocking down everyone around me. I was just about there when someone else grabbed her and made me freeze in place. She turned around, laughing happily until she came face to face with the person who had grabbed her arm. Her asshole ex-boyfriend had the nerve to lay a finger on her after all he put her through. Anger surged through me. No way was I gonna let this happen again. I could see Christie's expression change to a deer in headlights almost instantly. She remembered all of it. With a forceful yank, she tugged her arm out of his grasp. Just as she started to fall backwards, I was there. She looked up at me before spinning around and grabbing my shirt. She was shivering quietly against me. Naturally, one of my arms folded around her, still glaring at her ex.
"What do you want?"
"I just wanted to say hi, I wasn't…"
"I told you what would happen if you touch her again."
Yeah, you prick. You keep that wide-eyed look on your face. Serves you right for touching her.
"M-Matt, wait! It's okay! Um…"
I backed down. I felt kind of like a guard dog whose master had just told it to heel. I love Christie, but how she can manage to control me the way that she does… I can't explain it.
There was suddenly a loud shout from somewhere in the crowd as a woman came towards us, "Honey? There you are!"
Derek turned to look at her, "I found the Toroto plushie! Buy it for me?"
At that moment, I suddenly became completely thankful that the brawl two years ago had ended with Christie breaking up with the creep. The girl who had started to come towards us was several months pregnant.
"…Are these your friends? Introduce me, honey… Oh, you were talking, sorry!"
Christie and I just stood there for a moment taking it in. This had to be more awkward for Christie than it was for me, right?
"…Um. This is Maria, my fiancée."
Something inside me wanted to tell her that her husband-to-be had once almost been a rapist, but I held my tongue.
"Nice to meet you!" she said, happily.
"And this is Christie and… Matt. We, um, we're…"
This couldn't end well…
"We went to school together," said Christie cheerfully, saving him.
"Oh my gosh! High school buddies?" chimed in Maria happily. "Oh, you must know all kinds of embarrassing stuff about him, ha ha!"
This girl totally had that douche on a leash. Good for her.
"Actually! It's just me, Matt didn't go to our school," said Christie, faking happy memories.
Why was she trying so hard to help him, and why was I so turned on by it?
"…he's an East Coast boy!" Christie laughed happily. "I actually don't have as much dirt on Derek as you'd think."
My head swam with just how untrue that statement was, but she was trying so hard that I couldn't bring myself to ruin it.
"Just," she continued, "you know. Stupid teenager high school stuff."
"Awww, no blackmail material?"
If she only knew.
"Well, give me your e-mail, if I remember anything, I'll be sure to share."
"Deal! I'll give you my cell number too."
I could see the discomfort on Derek's face, even with my one eye.
"I wish I had some current dirt to offer in exchange, but the boy is too squeaky clean! You know, not every guy can face an unplanned pregnancy like a man."
"It helps when he's not the one pregnant," I blurted out. Sorry Christie. I just couldn't help it.
Maria giggled, "Oh, I like that!"
My mind wandered. Maria started talking to Christie about how she met Derek and the wedding and whatever else before she finally said something about having to sit down. They left, leaving Christie and me alone. She was silent.
She turned around and hugged my arm, resting her face on my chest.
"Thank you. For always finding me…"
She always managed to end up where it was hardest for me to see her. I turned my head, about ready to kiss her hair when her head gave a sharp upwards thrash, nearly breaking my nose.
"This was damn weird! He's getting married? He's gonna be a daddy? I'm getting whiplash just thinking about it!"
At least she wasn't the one pregnant. The whiplash would be even greater.
"Please signal before changing topic next time. Ow…"
"Sorry! That'll bump right out!"
That's what I'm afraid of, "I wonder if insurance covers damage caused by abusive girlfriends."
And… she was sliding away from me again. What the hell?
"I didn't know they sold insurance to gluttons for punishment. I mean, really, the things you bring on yourse—"
That's it! She'd had more than her fun today! I trapped her between my arms and the wall.
"STOP. PLAYING. GAMES," I growled.
"Why?" she timidly reached for the glasses on my face and moved them up to my head. "Are you afraid… you'll lose?"
I leaned in, still frustrated, "You want to play? What happened to the shy girl I met two years ago?"
"Sh-She is not here right now…"
She had such beautiful eyes, and her hand was so soft against my cheek.
"…Would you like to leave a message?"
Sure, on your lips. I bent down and was just inches from her when a bright light went off nearby, blinding the hell out me and Christie. It came on the side with my bad eye, so it didn't affect me as much as her, but the mood was gone.
"Crap! Why did the flash go off?"
"Told you video would be better."
Seriously? I was this close… this close to doing something right today.
"I-I mean—for shame, you guys! Right in public view!"
"Y-Yeah, like… get a room, you two."
I pretended to think this over, watching Christie freak out entirely.
"Never on the first date!"
"Guys, seriously," pleaded Christie, "can you like… give me some privacy? Relative as this term may be in a crowded con center…"
The less crazy of her two friends held up a hand, "I protested all the way here, honest."
The other was now on her phone, "Raj, wait, talk slower. Who came by the table? …We'll be right there!"
The girl hung up the phone and turned to her partner in crime, "There was a mangapop editor by our table just now. Let's roll."
"Uh," Christie started, but she stopped talking just as soon as she began, plastering a fake smile on her face, "You guys go. You know they only look for artists. Thanks for asking though..."
And they were gone. About time. I pulled her back into my arms.
"If they had stayed a minute longer, there may have been police involved."
"Well, show sympathy for my plight as an unemployed writer, why don't you?"
"I weep crocodile tears. Unemployed writers have more free time to spend with half-blind jerks."
She started giggling as I picked her up off the ground, cradling her against me. I couldn't remember the last time she and I actually felt like this. Had we ever been this close?
"Ha ha! Put me down! I'll kick you!"
I had to chuckle along with her. It felt so good to be together finally… Wait was that…? Emily… why? Why did she find the need? This is why I hate people. They just don't know when to go away.
"Seriously, can I hang out with you two for a bit? I'm going to need therapy if I keep facing this place alone…"
Shoot me, please, "Well, go back to the booth, I don't…"
"Oh my god, you got a new shirt?"
"Yeah, I think everyone needs one of these here," I said with a smile.
Much to my satisfaction, my new shirt read: Glompmeanddie.
"Ha ha, that's hilarious!" chuckled Emily.
"This is the less offensive t-shirt?" Christie piped up.
"Lower the volume! What is your problem?" Emily chimed in.
"Alas, she's also sensitive to the feelings of cosplayers everywhere," I said absently to Emily.
"Aw, Jeez, is that why you're not wearing the cosplayer one?" Emily giggled.
"She is sensitive to the feelings of fans everywhere."
"Man! You guys aren't even going out yet, and she's already got you under her boot! Top that one, lover boy."
I stopped and looked at her. I had just screwed the hell up. Emily had set a trap for me knowing what kind of person Christie was, and I had fallen head first into it.
"…Okay," I said, trying to salvage the situation. "We are going out. So if you would kindly take a hike we'd like to…"
Christie pulled away from me.
"You two get along so well. Maybe you should get a room with her," she said moodily.
I ran my fingers through my hair in frustration. Why couldn't I do anything right today?
Sandra ordered pizza for dinner, and by the time I had finished with my part of it, I was probably as miserable as I could get.
I walked out of the room and leaned against the wall next to the window at the end of the hallway. Sandra followed a few minutes later, closing the door to the room behind her.
"Are you okay? You haven't said two words to anyone since we got back," she said.
"I don't want to go into it," I said simply, sinking to the floor with my arms resting on my knees and my head against the wall, closing my eye. Why did that little red head stir up such a storm inside me?
"Since you won't talk about it, is there anything I can do to help?" she asked.
I opened my eye and looked at the ground beside me, "No."
"Okay, but if you need anything…"
"Actually," I said, "can you do me a favor?"
Sandra stepped in front of me and squatted, "Sure."
"Can you keep Emily away from me… away from us tomorrow?"
"Okay. I'll make sure everyone else knows that you aren't accepting calls. Just make sure that if it's me, you pick up the phone or there will be hell to pay. I'll tell Emily to stay put for a while. Anything else?"
"Not really," I said.
"Matt, did what happened today have something to do with Emily?"
"Yes… and no. I hurt Chriss… again. I didn't mean it, but it happened."
"So what are you going to do about it?"
I got up, looking out the window, "I'm trying to go over everything that I did… everything that I said to her today… so I don't do it again."
"A noble cause, but don't stop being yourself just because of a girl. She accepts you, that's why you started liking her, remember?"
Sandra clapped me on the shoulder and walked away, leaving me to sort out my thoughts in front of the window. Why couldn't I just be nice to her? I tried, and then I started talking. I was no better than Derek except that he hurt her with actions and I hurt her with words. Some time after one, I think Emily saw that I wasn't in the room yet.
"Why are you still up?" she said, running her fingers all over my back, "Too busy brooding?"
It made me want to scream at her. Her inability to keep her hands and her comments to herself was half the reason why Christie was pissed at me right now.
"What? I told you it wouldn't work. Opposites attract and then they blow up in each other's faces."
"Stay away from us tomorrow," I told her quietly. I was too tired, too frustrated, and hurting too bad too yell. All I wanted was for everyone but me and Christie to disappear, so we could finally work things out.
Emily started laughing loudly, startling me, "Oh man! You think today was my fault! Matt, baby, you two don't need my help to screw this up. And you know it."
Yeah, I knew it. So what? Sue me for trying anyway.
"Guys like you just don't date girls like her. The sooner you face that, the sooner you can get some sleep. G'night!"
She walked off. My fist lightly hammered against the glass. Guys like me… and girls like her, huh… There was no way I could accept that. I wouldn't repeat today again. Tomorrow, things would be better, if I had to write myself a script, wear a plain jacket all day, and pretend to admire that poorly made costume of hers, so be it. I loved her too much and for too long to let something like my inability to play well with others and her quick temper ruin everything. She slept in, right? Tomorrow, I would apologize before she even left her room. I looked around. It was probably around one thirty. Time to go to sleep if I wanted to be up before her. I walked to the door, inserted my key and walked inside.
So, I know I haven't written anything in a while. I recently found some fan fictions that I started on my computer, so now that the school semester is drawing to a close, I might take this opportunity to finish and post them. I can promise that there is more to come on this fic. I already have the 2nd chapter written. I just have to edit it. Let me know what you think! :D