Notes: A follow-up of sorts to my first Girltrash! fic, Reasons Why Not (although it can be read as a standalone). Set two months after the events of Episodes 4 and 5. It's another Daisy fic- I've tried to write fic from Tyler and LouAnne's perspectives, but finding their voices is unbelievably difficult. Writing them from Daisy's point of view, however, is refreshingly easy. Easy, and fun.

As always, to Alicia for looking over it for me, and to Lisa Rieffel for the crack about slamming somebody's head in a bus door.

Disclaimer: All characters belong to Angela Robinson/Girlpop Productions and Ourchart.

It's been two months since Judge Cragen called me on the way I felt about Tyler. Two months since I started that whole stupid stage, that stupid little oh-my-God-I-think-I'm-in-love-with-Tyler stage. Finally, I'm over it. Took me fuckin' long enough is all I can say!

I really am completely over it, which is just about the best thing that's happened to me all year. God, I nearly went nuts when it hit me that I'd developed a thing for Tyler. I can see now that I just started wanting my best friend because I was- y'know, lonely and bored, some psychological shit like that, and Tyler was just there, being fine as hell and hanging out with me constantly. Still, when I first realised, the sheer shit factor of the corner I'd backed myself into made it so I couldn't even think straight. A few days went by where I just couldn't deal and completely avoided her. I kept hoping like crazy that I'd made a mistake, hoping that if I just took good care of myself and got more sleep/food/sex, I'd be cured.

Gotta admit, avoiding her wasn't the best idea I ever had. She was pissed at me for sabotaging her chances with LouAnne, but once she cooled off, Tyler wanted to hang out, same as usual. It was painfully, cringe-makingly obvious that I was avoiding her. Things came to a head when the boss sent the two of us out on a job. When I kept ignoring Tyler, even when we were alone together with nothing to do but talk, she blew up at me. Said she didn't know what my problem was, and if anyone had the right to be giving the silent treatment it ought to be her because I was the one who had tried to fuck up Tyler's chances with LouAnne, on purpose.

We fought. Being angry with her felt good. What sucked was afterwards, when she tried to make peace by taking me for a drink and skipped out after twenty-five measly minutes to go meet LouAnne.

"We're cool, right?" she asked me, just before she split. I had to say yes, of course. What else was I supposed to say?

Things between Tyler and LouAnne were pretty heavy for awhile. They've cooled off now, which is great. In fact, I haven't seen LouAnne in a couple of weeks, and Tyler hasn't mentioned hooking up with her, which is even better. Some days it seemed like Tyler only wanted to hang out when we were working, and even when we were she would be distracted thinking about LouAnne. It made me feel like shit. LouAnne made me feel like shit. This one time, LouAnne popped up and dragged Tyler off to go have sex in the bathroom at the club we were at. This, in the middle of the first night out Tyler and me had gone on in two weeks! God, I felt like slamming LouAnne's fake head in a freakin' bus door.

I bitched to Tyler that LouAnne must be stalking her, and LouAnne gave me this look… I didn't- couldn't- let on, but it made my gut turn to ice, I swear. She gave me this look of, Puhlease, at least I don't have some pathetic crush on my best friend. I nearly had a heart attack wondering if she knew, wondering if her and that bitch Cragen had been talking about me, wondering if they had told all Tyler's and my friends (or worse, our enemies) about it. It was a few days after that before I calmed down enough to assure myself that the look hadn't meant anything. LouAnne was just a bitch, plain and simple.

Tyler hasn't seemed too upset that LouAnne's let things tail off. She's been quiet, but that's just Tyler. She's a woman of few words. I'm not worried.

It's nine in the morning. I'm lying in bed, feeling warm and sort of happy about how my day's gonna turn out. I have a feeling it's gonna be a good one. Things are looking up, getting back to normal, back to the way they should be. I'm not in love with Tyler, and Tyler's not with LouAnne. The cosmic balance has been restored.

My phone rings. I hang over the side of the bed, dig around and eventually rescue it from inside one of my boots. I flip it open, press it to my ear. "Hello?"

"Hey, Daisy." A low voice- Tyler's voice. Tyler's calling me.

"Hey," I answer, super-casual and loving it. I love when I get these little reminders that I'm over the in-love-with-Tyler phase. I don't feel awkward at all. It's so great to be over that whole thing.

"What's up?" Tyler asks.

I pull one bare leg out from under the covers, followed by the other. I stretch them, right down to wiggling my toes. I feel pretty fuckin' fantastic right now, if I do say so myself. "Just woke up ten minutes ago. You hungry?"

"Excellent call," Tyler says. "I'm starving. Wanna swing by and visit?"

I sit up. "Where are you parked?"

"Usual place."

"I'll bring donuts."

"Nah, forget the donuts. We'll go out for breakfast."

"Sounds good, I'll be there in about a half-hour."

"Cool. See ya soon."

"See ya." I hang up.

When I find Tyler's car a half-hour later, parked in a side street that's nearly deserted, Tyler's kneeling down by the bumper of the Grand Torino, busily changing her numberplates. Since the second I left the house, I felt slightly less awesome because of all the glaring daylight. I would've thought Tyler would be disoriented at this time of day too, since the two of us do so much at night that we both have these similarly fucked-up body clocks. She's actually looking- like, chipper, or some other fuckin' weird word which should never be spoken in the same sentence as the words 'Tyler Murphy.'

"Tyler!" I cross the street quickly, and sit down with a thump on the trunk of her car. "What's up?"

She looks up at me. "Not much. I'll be finished in a minute." She holds up two plates for me to see. "Your opinion: which do you think, for my car? Orange County or Santa Monica?"

I raise my eyebrows. "You have to ask?"

She looks at me for a split second, before turning back to screw on the numberplate. "Santa Monica it is."

Santa Monica's the city I grew up in. "God, that takes me back. I haven't been home in the longest time. I should go back and visit… see the places I used to hang out when I was a kid. Do some reminizing."

"Reminiscing," Tyler corrects me.

"Whatever," I say, waving my hand.

Tyler finishes fixing on the numberplate. She stands, dusts her hands off on her jeans and sits down beside me. She doesn't say anything.

I nudge her. "So, we gonna go get some food now, or what?"

"Give me a sec." Tyler looks over her shoulder briefly, before saying, "I mean, have some consideration, Daisy. I did just spend the last fifteen minutes on my knees, servicing my girl here." She pats the Grand Torino before giving me a sly grin.

I laugh. "Oh, man. Who knew you'd be in this good of a mood at this unholy hour of morning?"

"She's a good ride, you know? Always keeps me satisfied." Tyler could probably keep on cracking 'that's what she said' jokes until lunchtime, but I'm actually curious.

"This is fuckin' early for you, man. Normally you don't surface before noon, at least. And now you're all chirpy and making jokes, and it's not even ten yet. What gives?"

"Oh, right, like you're up at the crack of dawn every day to bake a pie and go to church?" She leans over and flicks my hair pointedly. See, when I'm tired, anxious, pissed off, psyching myself up for something big or just trying to get myself to think straight, I tend to play with my hair. Not the twirling-around-your-finger kind of playing with your hair that my kid sister Colby used to do, before I got sick of her trying to be cute and told her I'd disown her if she did it one more time in my presence. Nope, I just put it into different styles, from having it loose to a ponytail, then back to loose, then into pigtails. It's a good way of occupying my hands when I'm stressed. Since we spend so much time together, Tyler picked up on this habit ages ago, and started up a little habit of her own: flicking my hair. Whenever she thinks I'm being too nitpicky or serious, she'll reach over and flick my hair as a way of telling me to chill.

"Ready to go yet?"

Tyler looks over her shoulder again. "Give it another minute."

Maybe she's not quite as awake as she seemed at first. Well, that's cool by me. We sit and watch the people going by- and then I happen to glance over at Tyler. She's got this smirk/grin plastered all over her face, practically right up into her hair. She looks so freakin' pleased with herself.

I start laughing. "Man, I know that look."

"Oh, you think so?"

"Yeah, I know all your looks. That look is the 'graphic sex flashback' look. Someone had themselves a good time last night."

Tyler can't help smiling. "As a matter of fact… yeah, I did." She ducks her head, starts to laugh, and I laugh too. I live for moments like this. These awesome little reminders that I'm not in love with Tyler. See, if I were in love with her, I'd be wicked jealous that she spent last night sexing up some nameless chick she'll never see again. But I'm not angry at all.

(I'm not angry as long as the chick remains nameless and the never again really does mean never, ever, ever again. But that's just me being exasperated with Tyler for fucking around. She'll get into trouble one of these days, if she keeps on doing that.)

"Was she good?" I ask. After a split second, I say, "Nah, wait, don't answer that. Of course she was. You wouldn't have that look if she wasn't. Was it anyone I know?"

Tyler doesn't answer. She looks over her shoulder again (why does she keep doing that?) and shrugs at me. Another silence. Not quite as comfortable as the one before, but it's just because Tyler's holding out on me about who rocked her world last night.

Tyler pulls out her phone, starts messing around with it, going through all her photos. Tyler just got a cell phone with a camera a few weeks ago, and she's not bad at taking pictures. When Tyler snaps a picture, she does it quietly, sort of as an afterthought to whatever she's doing. She doesn't haul out the camera and screech at everybody to say cheese. At the same time, she's not all artsy and stick-up-the-ass-like about it. She's like a comfortable middle between the two.

I end up looking over her shoulder as she flicks through 'em at lightning speed. Tyler's taken photos of street signs, a wrecked car with smoke pouring from under the hood, a couple of my kid sister and her girlfriend posing outside a 7-11 shortly before Tyler and I left them to their own devices and they tried (and failed, miserably) to rob it. She has lots of pictures of me. Mainly of me giving the camera the finger. Tyler stops on this one picture, and just sits gazing at it. Her graphic sex flashback face is back with a vengeance.

I don't recognise what the picture's supposed to be of. I don't recognise it, and I don't like it either.

"What's that?" I ask, jabbing a finger at the screen.

Tyler jerks back to life. "What?" Her thumb slips a few times, shuffling down the row of little pictures on the cell phone screen.

"That! Go back!"

"To what? The car?" She brings up the picture of the wrecked car.

"No, Tyler-"

"Your sister?" she asks innocently, and snickers when I punch her lightly on the arm.

"Tyler! Seriously, dude, don't be an ass. Show me the one I mean."

"Well, I don't know the one you mea- hey, give it back!" she shouts, snatching at me as I swipe her phone easily, hop down from her car and stride away a few steps.

I finally get a good look at the picture. There is a silence which is most definitely very, very uncomfortable.

"… Tyler?"


"You wanna explain to me why you have a picture on your phone of LouAnne Dubois asleep?"

Tyler clears her throat. I've always said she has ridiculous amounts of style, mainly because of her ability to keep cool under pressure. Which is really just a nice way of saying that she's good at stalling for time and then bullshitting for all she's worth. "You could say I took it for you, Daisy."

I consider this. "You could say that. You could also say that I have a dick growing out the back of my head, but that wouldn't make it true, now, would it?" I look at the picture again, but somehow it looks even weirder the second time around. "So. Run it by me again, why the fuck you took a photo of LouAnne sleeping?"

"You said-" Tyler runs her hands through her hair, thinks for a second and takes a deep breath. "A few weeks ago, you said to me that LouAnne was such a ho and such a parasite, always looking out for someone new to bleed dry, that she would never fall asleep after sex. You said that after sex, she'd make a hasty exit to go bang the second or fifth or twenty-eighth person of the night. You said even though the amount of people LouAnne's slept with probably numbers somewhere in the two-thousands, she could probably count the number of people she's slept with and stayed with 'til morning on one hand. I took a picture so I could prove that I get to be counted on that one hand."

… I didn't hear a word of that. All I know is that it was a bunch of grade-A bullshit. "When did you take this photo?" I ask.

She shrugs. "It's the newest one there, Daisy. Take a guess."

"So you're still seeing LouAnne? You've seen her recently?"


I'm having a lot of trouble getting my head around this. "So she's around?" I narrow my eyes. "LouAnne's been around recently?" At this rate, I'll get around to asking the question I really want to ask- Tyler, you bitch, why the fuck didn't you tell me?- a couple of hours from now.

Tyler smirks. "Yeah, she's around-"

"Tyler?" comes a voice from the Grand Torino.

"- here, somewhere," says Tyler, her smirk getting bigger.

Tyler jumps off the trunk of the Grand Torino as we hear the front passenger door open. The first thing we see is LouAnne's legs as she swings 'em out, then as she stands up straight we see the bitch in all her glory. And as much as I hate to admit it, she does clean up nice despite it being the unholy hour of nine forty-five in the morning. LouAnne looks to be wearing last night's clubbing dress and killer heels, but she looks fresh and pretty all the same, her hair and makeup only just done. The two of 'em probably went across the street to that diner there, got washed up in the ladies' room, made out for a bit, got kicked out for not buying anything and came back here so LouAnne could put on her face in Tyler's rear view mirror.

"Bitches, both of you!" I say under my breath. I don't even know why I'm going to the trouble of keeping my voice down. All Tyler sees is LouAnne.

Tyler beams at LouAnne, putting her arm around LouAnne's waist. "Hey, beautiful. I forgot to ask before, how'd you sleep?"

"I slept just fine," LouAnne says, giving Tyler this Aw, golly gee, you're thoughtful look. She sighs in satisfaction, gives Tyler a little smile and adds, giggling, "Slept like a log, after the night we had."

Fuckin' A. What is this shit? "Ugh," I say, before I can stop myself.

Tyler hears it, and sends me a warning look before she says to LouAnne, "Daisy's here. She's coming out to eat with us."

Um, why wasn't this discussed with me? Tyler expects us all to go out to eat? With LouAnne and Tyler making eyes at each other and slinking off to the bathroom or the alley or the back of Tyler's car to go get it on before our orders are even taken? Fuck that, I'd rather eat poison!

LouAnne looks right at me. "Hello," she says, wiggling her fingers at me.

I grunt something that could be a greeting and look off to the side, away from them. Oh, but LouAnne can't have somebody actually turn away from her. She lives to make people stare, and twenty-five years of practice mean that she knows exactly the way to do it. LouAnne reaches out, grabs some part of Tyler's shirt and pulls Tyler to her suddenly, kissing her hard on the mouth.

LouAnne gets off on having people look at her. I swear, with her it's like a fetish or something. I actually dare to hope, for a whole second, that this fetish of hers is going to bite her in the ass right now, that there'll be some teeth clicking or noses smashing together. But it's perfect, and Tyler is so into it, so into her, that she's kissing her like they've been separated for years and not just a couple of minutes while LouAnne did her makeup.

They kiss, and kiss, and kiss, and keep kissing. Tyler laughs against LouAnne's mouth. She's totally forgotten that I'm even here. When she licks at LouAnne's bottom lip, slowly… my stomach aches like hell imagining what it'd feel like for her to do that to me.

I hate them, LouAnne and Tyler both. I want to smack their goddamn heads together.

They keep making out. I feel sicker by the second, until finally I can't stand it any more and blurt out, far too loud, "Dude, get a fuckin' room!" Which is weak shit compared to my usual standard of insults, but it seems to do the trick all right. They break apart and stare at me.

LouAnne raises an eyebrow. "God, isn't she special? Well, if we're all bossin' Tyler around-" LouAnne looks to Tyler and says, in a voice so sweet that my teeth nearly fall out of my head just listening to it, "Tyler, baby, maybe you should tell your friend there not to be so uptight and that if she wants to join in, she should just come out and say so."

Tyler laughs. She takes her arm away from LouAnne's waist, steps closer to me. "Up for it, Daisy?" she asks, smirking, and runs her fingers down my arm. Every single nerve jumps to attention. I could punch her into the middle of next week for being able to do that to me. She's not even doing it in any kind of subtle sexy way; she's doing it in an exaggerated joking-sexy way. I think I'm supposed to be finding this funny.

I scoff. Loudly. For about eight seconds at a stretch. It's a very good way of stalling for time when you're so pissed you can't think of anything to say. I want to rip the shit out of both of them, but I'm just too pissed.

(Unbe-fuckin'-lievable. Tyler makes a pass at me, and it's because LouAnne suggested it. I should tell Tyler to kiss my ass- but why would I, when I could just tell LouAnne to tell Tyler to kiss my ass? She'd probably do it as well, if LouAnne were the one who said it.)

LouAnne smirks. She reaches out, hooks her finger through one of the belt loops on Tyler's jeans, pulls her close and leans her head against Tyler's. "Look, baby, she's speechless!"

I hate the way she calls Tyler baby. Like she's doing it on purpose, just to piss me off. Still, I should thank her, 'cause hearing her say it snaps me back to life. "Yeah, OK. Tell me, LouAnne, how's your sugar mama?" I ask. "Still got Property of Judge Melinda Cragen tattooed on your ass?"

Tyler stops laughing. "Daisy, come on. It was just a joke."

"You're defending her?" I demand.

"Aw, we made her mad," LouAnne says, pouting. To Tyler, she says smoothly, "Be back in a sec, I left my purse on your front seat."

Tyler doesn't say anything, she just smiles and nods and blatantly checks out LouAnne's ass as LouAnne makes her way back over the front passenger door. Her mouth is smudged with LouAnne's lipstick- I have this urge to attack Tyler with a washcloth.

LouAnne opens the door, pauses and thinks for a second. "Daisy?" she asks, looking over to me.

"What?" I snap.

"The three-way offer still stands, OK?" LouAnne calls. She winks at us and disappears back inside Tyler's car.

Tyler grins dopily for a few seconds, then remembers me. "Sorry, man. That was kind of awkward. I- hey, where are you going?"

I'm already making a swift exit by the time she looks around to me. I'm so unbelievably pissed that I can't see or think anything, all I can do is hear Tyler's shouts for me to come back and the sounds of my heels clicking on the sidewalk as I storm away.

It's nine at night. Since this morning, Tyler's left me a bunch of messages, but you know what? I didn't listen to a single one. Fuck her, and fuck fuckin' LouAnne. I'm going out. I'm going out and staying out until I find someone who is so traffic-stoppingly sexy that the things they can do to me make the things Tyler does to me feel like being pawed by some virgin fifteen-year-old kid.

When Tyler and me are having a night out, she always comes over to my house to get ready. We have going-out rituals. We'll have a drink, have a smoke, laugh about stupid shit, elbow each other for room at my bathroom mirror and, most importantly of all, play loud music. A night out must start on the right note, and what better note than the notes of some truly trashy, loud, obnoxious music? Even when I'm going out by myself, I'll normally always play a little something to get me in the party mood.

Right now, there's no music. The house is creepy-quiet, and I'm putting on my eyeliner so aggressively that it's really only a matter of time before I'll need to call 911 because I'll have stabbed myself with my eyeliner pencil. Looking back, not playing music was a bad idea all around. Not only am I not in any kind of party mood, but without anything to drown it out, it's kind of hard to keep ignoring the knocking at my front door.

It's Tyler. I knew straight away that it was her, because she started out doing her special knock, which is tapping out the tune to the chorus of some song she always plays in her car. When I didn't answer, she started kicking the door and yelling.

"DAISY!" Tyler roars. "Don't be such a bitch, Daisy. Open up! Daisy, for fuck's sakes!"

Well, she's good and mad. Now's as good a time as any to open the door. She'll be so pissed at me for leaving her outside for so long that we'll have a huge fight, naturally. She'll stomp out; I'll go out and find the magical person who's going to make me forget I ever felt any love-reminiscent feelings toward my best friend. Everything's going to be fine now.

I haul open the door. "Fuckin' A, Tyler. What do you want?"

I stand there, expecting her to tear my head off. Now that I've opened the door, she's stopped yelling immediately. Tyler looks relieved, but still kind of surly. "Took you long enough. Thought you were gonna leave me out on your doorstep all night long."

"Sounds like an idea," I snap, irritated.

"Daisy…" Tyler trails off. She gets distracted as she gets a look at what I'm wearing, noting all the back and midriff and thigh I'm showing. She smiles, giving me an approving look. "Nice outfit."

"Shut up," I say, automatically. I turn my back on her and storm back inside the house. I don't close the door in her face, though. I let her follow me inside.

"Where've you been all day?" Tyler says, closing the door behind her. "I tried calling you."

"That's a funny thing. I tried ignoring you, and I was doing just fine with it, but then you had to show up at my door being all, 'Stellaaaa!' except that you were saying, 'Daisyyyy!'" I sigh, agitated. "Why are you here, Tyler?"

She follows me into my living room. "I came to find out why you bailed this morning."

"Oh, so you wanted to find out why I didn't go out to eat with you guys? I bailed 'cause fuckin' LouAnne's a bitch, that's why!"

"She's not that bad," Tyler protests, folding her arms and glaring at me from where she stands, back against the wall. "She was just messing around. It was meant to be funny."

I gape at her. "LouAnne said I wanted in. Is she smoking something extra special? I don't want a fuckin' three-way with you guys! If she says it again, I'll punch her in her smug face."

Tyler looks a little taken aback. "OK, OK. Point taken. I'll tell her, OK? No more threesome jokes."

That should be the end of it. But for some reason, I feel the need to say, "I don't want to fuck you, Tyler. I don't think about you that way."


"I prefer to think of it as making sweet love," Tyler teases me. That's been her favourite joke for years now, her favourite way of dissolving tense situations. She groans when I don't crack a smile. "Jesus, can't you take a joke? LouAnne's my type, not yours."

"Oh, she's your type now? Since when is LouAnne your type?" Come to think of it, since when is Tyler's type two-faced skanks with more cleavage than decency?

Tyler looks at me, long and hard, before she speaks. "You're amazing, you know that?"

Sarcastic bitch. "Well, I try," I say coldly.

"When I was intimidated about getting back into the game after the Lana thing, who was the one who kept telling me I had to face my fears and conquer my anxiety and seize the day by the balls? Who was the one who kept saying I needed to find somebody special to take my mind off the whole disaster with Lana?"

"Dude, that doesn't sound like something I'd say," I retort. "Except for the part about seizing the day's balls."

Tyler's not laughing. "You've been nothing but a bitch to LouAnne since the first night we met her. You haven't even given her a chance."

"She doesn't deserve a fuckin' chance! The chick fucks around like it's going out of style. LouAnne's bad for you, man. She'll screw you over sooner or later. You wait and you'll see what I'm talking about," I say, like it's a gypsy curse or something. "You just wait."

I fully expect Tyler to flare up, but she doesn't. She crosses the room, stands directly in front of me. "You guys are different. I get that. Maybe it was stupid of me, but I wanted for the two of you to get along. I like you and LouAnne more than just about anybody else. You're… like, my two best girls." Tyler says the last part with a grin and a laugh, fully aware of how corny she's being.

Miserably, I try not to feel too happy about the fact that she said my name first. "So, where's your other best girl tonight?"

"We had a fight." She pauses deliberately. "About you."

"Me? Why?"

Tyler speaks slowly, choosing her words carefully. "LouAnne said that- when you saw us kissing, you looked pretty pissed. She said that she thought- and don't take this the wrong way, OK?- LouAnne said she thought you might be… jealous."

I stand, frozen on the spot. "Well, LouAnne's got her head firmly wedged up her ass if she thinks I'm jealous," I say, not very convincingly.

Tyler shrugs. "Maybe. Maybe not. I'm gonna ask you something, Daisy, and I want you to tell me the truth."

"I'm not telling you shit! You think you can just barge in here and start askin' me all these questions? Screw that! In fact, you know what? I don't remember inviting you here. Why the fuck are you even here?" I ask, frantically trying to change the subject.

"You know why I'm here. I have to know."

"Tyler, you can kiss my ass, 'cause I am not telling you anything."

She considers this. "Fair enough. If it's what I think, though, I'll bet it's gotten around and some people already know. If you won't tell me, I'll go ask some of our friends. Or some of LouAnne's."

It feels like she's kicked me. All I can think is JudgeCragenohmyfuckin'GodNO. "You wouldn't."

"I would."

"You're bluffing, dude."

Tyler knows she's got me. "Do you want to answer me here and now, or do you want me to hear it from someone else?"

Goddamn it. Doesn't she understand? I don't want either one. I just want this to stay private, until the day that I can look at Tyler with someone else and not feel like I've just gotten one of Monique Jones' nine irons straight to my gut. Why can't I just tell Tyler to go fuck herself, and let her leave, and not worry myself sick that she'll find out from somebody else?

I'll be fucked if Tyler finds it out from Judge Cragen, though. Maybe if I'm the one who tells her, I can kind of downplay it, make it sound not so bad…

"OK, fine. Whatever. You got me, so ask away." I put my hands on my hips, look straight at her and say it plain. "You might not like the answer, though."

"I'm prepared not to," Tyler says, looking determined. "Daisy…"

"Yeah?" I ask, flinching as Tyler puts her hands on my shoulders. Normally, I'd be totally into that, seeing as her hands are beautiful and it always feels good to have them touching me. Tonight, I'm wincing, already imagining how much it's going to hurt when the truth comes out. I'll have no option but to tell Tyler the truth. She'll let go of me and step back in shock. Our friendship will be fucked over, possibly forever. God, what am I even talking about, with 'possibly?' Of course, she'll never speak to me again. She'll never, ever touch me again.

Tyler's jaw is set as she asks the fateful, fateful question: "Are you into LouAnne?"

"… What?"

"Are you attracted to her?" she presses.

I start laughing like crazy. It's all I can do. She looks so serious and the question is so, so, so, so, so stupid that there's nothing else I can think to do.

Tyler scowls, lets go of my shoulders. "It's not fuckin' funny, man!"

I manage to recover enough to speak. "All right, yeah, I agree it's not funny…"

Tyler looks at me expectantly.

"… except… for the part- where it so is!" I launch into another fit of the giggles.

Tyler rolls her eyes, jams her fists into her pockets and drops heavily onto the couch. She mutters, "Forget it. Just forget it, OK?"

I sit down next to her. It takes me a few seconds to stop laughing completely. Still grinning, I put a hand on Tyler's shoulder (and it feels almost like before, when I could touch her and not worry that if I touched her just one more time she'd guess). She's scowling, so I rub her shoulder. I keep rubbing until she relaxes a bit and the Glare of Incredibly Sexy Death gradually fades from her face. Finally, I put my arm around her. I haven't done that since that night in the bar, when Cragen called me on the way I feel about her. It's OK, though, because this isn't about me. This is about convincing Tyler that I don't want to get in LouAnne's pants.

"Tyler. I'm not saying anything about your taste in women, but… if LouAnne and me were the last two chicks left on the planet, I would screw men. Or trees, or dogs, but never LouAnne."

There is a long, long pause. Finally, Tyler slings an arm around me, gives me a squeeze and says, "Good to know." We sit in silence for a minute before she asks quietly, "Do you have a problem with me seeing her?"

What kind of a dumbass question is that? Of course I have a problem with you seeing her, Tyler. I have a problem with you fucking her. I have a problem with you kissing her in front of me. I have a problem with LouAnne suddenly being your type, whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean, and I definitely have a problem with you going glassy-eyed when I'm trying to talk to you, and me realising that the glassy-eyed thing probably means that you wish you were fucking her right that second. I have a problem with you having pictures of her on your phone, because whatever bullshit you came out with to try and explain it away, I know that it means that you're actually getting pretty serious about her. But most of all, I have a problem with you thinking that her and me are going to get along just 'cause we both happen to be- what was it? Your best girls, that was it. I guess if you're fucking her and I'm only your best friend, that makes me second best, huh? God, I hate LouAnne. I hate her, I hate her, I hate her.

But none of that really matters, does it?

Thank God, Tyler doesn't make me answer that question. Her arm falls from my shoulders, and I let go of her instantly. "It's just… I haven't wanted to get really involved with anyone since the whole Lana thing. Lana was so intense, and LouAnne- she's sweet. She's not about to try and kill me by shooting me in the head."

I'm not sweet. I'm direct, honest, straightforward- when she's pissed with me, Tyler would say that I'm blunt, annoyingly so. I guess that's the difference between what Tyler values in a friend compared to what she looks for in a fuck buddy. Yet, I'm probably not as direct as I'd like to think, because if I were I'd be telling Tyler, "Yeah, she would never kill you with a bullet to the brain. LouAnne'd be a lot more creative. I hear she has a thing about setting people on fire." If I were really honest, I'd be telling Tyler all the things I've heard about LouAnne. God, am I actually trying to spare her feelings?

"One time, LouAnne said to me that the two of us were soul mates. She was just joking around," Tyler says hastily, at my shocked face. Just as my heart rate returns to normal, she adds, "I didn't freak out at the idea."

I stare at Tyler. "Are you in love with her?"

Tyler shrugs. "How the fuck am I meant to know? I could be. I mean, I could see myself being in love with her."

"Dude, don't tell her that, will you? You'll be her slave if you do."

"Don't worry, I won't," is what Tyler says. "I already am," is what I know she means. There's a pause. Tyler looks me up and down again, taking in all the skin I'm showing. I feel like smacking her. It's really shitty of her to tell me that she could be in love with LouAnne and then look down my shirt two seconds later. "You're going out," she observes.

"Nah, man, I always dress like this to do my vacuuming," I say, completely straight-faced.

She glares, then laughs. "Shut up."

"I plan to get wasted, find myself a hottie and have meaningless sex. Which is always more fun with two. Wanna come with?"

I… can't believe I actually just invited Tyler to come along on the night I'm supposed to be finding someone to take my mind off her. God, if LouAnne gets off on having people watch her, I must get off on being hurt. Tyler's turned me into a masochist.

"Love to." Tyler grins, and I can't help grinning back. She stands up, brushes herself off. "Gimme two minutes to get cleaned up, OK?"

I roll my eyes. Whenever Tyler says she needs a minute to get ready, I mentally convert it to a half-hour. She hogs the bathroom something fierce, let me tell you. Pretty fuckin' hilarious, how people assume that Tyler must not put any effort into her appearance just 'cause she happens to dress so butch.

"I was ready to go when you got here. Don't take forever in the damn bathroom," I call after her.

"Yeah, yeah," she yells. I watch her ass and her legs and her back as she saunters out of my living room. "We'll go out, right? We'll have fun."

I sit. I listen to the sounds of the shower running, and I think about what's just happened. I should be able to find an upside to this. Things are OK with Tyler and me. We're gonna hang out, and LouAnne's not gonna be in the picture for a few days.

The truth is… right now, I don't even want to go out any more. What I want, right this second, is to follow Tyler. I want to pull and push her until we wind up somewhere horizontal, pin her down and kiss her until she can't even remember LouAnne, can't think anything other than my name. I want to make her moan and writhe and dig her fingers hard into my back. I want us to fall asleep in the same place, wherever that might be, and go out to eat tomorrow without it being awkward. I want us to still be best friends and still talk, joke, argue, work together, hit clubs and bars, drive each other up the wall like we always have. I want her to be confessing to somebody else that she's not sure yet, but she thinks that she could be in love with me.

I want everything about the way we are together to change. At the same time, I want everything to stay the same. Since when did everything get so fuckin' complicated?

It's been two months since Judge Cragen called me on the way I feel about Tyler. Two months since I started this whole stupid stage, this stupid little oh-my-God-I-think-I'm-in-love-with-Tyler stage. I'm so not over it.