All recognizable characters, settings, or music references are owned by their respective authors/creators. The story line is owned by me, and I prefer to keep it that way. No copyright infringement is intended.
Have you taken a look at your life lately?
Really looked at it?
Examined every tiny facet of it? Every last little pathetic self-loathing piece?
That must mean you're happy.
Or you've diluted yourself to the point that you believe you are.
Or you're just on a shit ton of Zoloft. In which case, I envy you.
Especially if you are happy. When you're happy you don't analyze. You don't nit-pick. You believe all things happen for a reason. You're in that perfect bubble that I am just constantly tempted to go up and poke and say,
"Take that you smug asshole! I just took you down a notch! Welcome to my fucking level!"
There may or may not be a dance or some lame grunting action associated with said bubble poking.
I haven't exactly decided.
This is of course a metaphor. Not unlike the Matrix, there is no spoon. Or bubble, as it were.
But you see the fucking thing, whether a physical manifestation of the thing is there or not. More often not.
Okay never, but you get the point.
When you're happy, you don't sit like a bitch listening to the "Tony Rich Project" wondering where the you went wrong with the latest girl who gave you the "it's not me. It's you" speech.
And no, I didn't get that backwards.
Glossy french tips of my friend, Ali, quickly removed me out of my life is incredibly fucked up haze.
"Edward is this going to be an epically long musing? Because, I swear, I'm late enough as it is, and I cannot afford to take another sick day to hold your hand while you wonder why your life is total shit."
I put another Patterson thriller on the Bestseller rack, I called it the Bullshit rack, but I digress.
"Let it never be said that you are anything, but a selfless and impeccable listener."
Watching Ali mouth the title of the new addition, and ignore me, further proved my point. "What?"
I looked over my shoulder and frowned at her. "This where you're supposed to give me the best friend pep talk and be on your way."
"Oh!" she chimed. "It's not you, it's them. There are other fish in the sea, time heals all wounds, they wanted someone with more money?"
I scoffed and placed another book in the Education section. Marital Arts for Dummies sat among the other yellow and black instructional books.
I glared at Ali. Her pep talks sucked when she hadn't imbibed her morning espresso shot.
She shrugged, recomposed her face and opened her mouth, but nothing came out. I walked away assuming she was too under-caffeinated to continue her non-peppy talk.
"You were too good for the undeserving skank-whore and she gave lousy head. Am I on the right track?" she called making her way to the front of the empty store.
"Brilliant. Way to pull it out of your ass at the last second."
"I do what I can."
"Eternally grateful. Now, if you could only give my life some meaning."
She started pouting.
"I'll settle for a girlfriend with half a brain," I offered instead.
It was her turn to frown. "I thought you said you liked the woman, from that club last month?"
"I did," I confirmed. "But being as how she didn't think enough of me to give me her name, or stay after we fucked around, It's probably for the best that I don't dwell on her luscious tits or deep brown eyes."
I remembered the night those deep brown eyes, caught mine for the first time.
She didn't really mingle with anyone, but the short black dress, heels and red lips made it clear she was absolutely not there for happy hour. Unless her goal was to start happy hour in the pants of all the sorry suckers with cocks. She could have retired if we all had to give her a c-note. I would have given her two just to find out her name.
I couldn't stop watching her as she moved across the club. From the bar and to the dance floor and back. A short altercation with an overzealous guido impersonator who grabbed her perfect ass while she was dancing, left him with a bloody nose and her with everyone's attention.
I caught her eyes several times, but being the insecure, overly guarded douche I am, I didn't go over.
No one knew her name. She refused to give it as multiple guys went in with a finite, albeit incredibly hands off move, only to get shut down. Even Tyler, Jasper's roommate, repeatedly quizzed her until she finally called herself a very disinterested "Joan Collins" and sauntered away.
Finding my balls and relishing in Tyler's embarrassment, I immediately introduced myself as a very interested "Harvey Wallbanger" and to my complete surprise, and awestruck dick, Joan was clearly only interested in Harvey.
"It's about damn time." She said so low, I wasn't entirely sure I heard her. "Your place or mine Harvey?"
"Mine." I answered with little thought.
I didn't really have causal sex, but after peeling her prefect body out of the tight black dress and plowing her against the bookshelf in my living room, I was starting to rethink my philosophies on life.
More causal sex.
It wasn't until we were nestled next to copies of Catcher in the Rye and a few other classics, that I asked her real name.
She breathed silently against my chest, and replied that "anonymity was too precious to give away, and that she wouldn't change and would still smell as sweet." I was half in the bag and it sounded like poetry to me, not to mention, I wasn't about to argue when my dick was about to beg for a second time out.
It made for cumbersome bedfellows.
When I woke up in the morning she was gone and all the books were put away, except the Salinger
There was a note on top.
Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
I decided she was a CIA operative and she was simply in town for one night, and I was the lucky SOB who she was drunk enough to fuck around with before she took down a foreign, tyrannical, fascist with a pocket watch and pen.
"That could be a movie of the week," Ali cut in jarring me out of my memories.
"No, it's just my so called life."
She smirked and picked up her bag. "I've got to go. Later, Ward."
I smiled and gave her a half hearted wave as she left, staring after her.
Now stop. Right there. This isn't one of those stories.
Where the girl who was right in front of him was his true love and he was too blind to see it.
I love Ali, but I'm not in love with her, for the pure and simple fact that we had one thing in common.
We were both in pursuit of pussy.
She came out to me after junior prom when I tried to kiss her and she threw up on my shoes. I'd like to think it was the two shots of tequila that made her ill enough to vomit, and not the thought of kissing me, but I don't dwell on it.
We stuck together like glue through our college years, nursing each other through heartbreak, bad grades and hangovers. She was there when my father died after his battle with prostate cancer three years ago, and I helped her move back to Washington after she got laid off.
This also isn't going to be one of those stories either.
Where some pathetic, though awkwardly charming, and if I might be so bold, decent looking guy, whines like a bitch over his failed attempts at love only to ride off with the girl of his dreams at the end, realizing that not everything was as bad as he had made it out to be.
As I've said, this is not one of those, so if that's the tripe you're looking for, keep walking. I'll direct you to the romance section and you can go about your goddamn cliched-sated existence.
Because this story and all of it's glory...
See what I did there? I rhymed. Just incase you're phonetically challenged, I thought I needed to clarify.
Has nothing to do with fucking Nicholas Sparks and his remember the notebook in a bottle drivel.
And I'm allowed to say that because, I own a bookstore.
Now there is three ways I've been responded to when uttering that admission.
The red-head way:
Like books with actual pages? Wow. That's so...deep.
The brunette way:
Physical copies of books will be archaic in a few years. You should cut your losses.
And lastly, though oh so important, blonde way:
Oh, you mean you own a Nook store? Right?
I know, it sounds terrible that I would stereotype women based on their physical specs and what a select few of them have said, but luckily I'm an asshole. Therefore, I don't particularly care.
It was a meek existence, waking up every morning with a cat that my ex left when she moved out two years ago. The pussy she left behind happened to be less catty than the one attached to the bitch who left and took my ice cube trays.
It also happened to be better groomed. Again, I digress.
I decided to shake off thoughts of pussies of varying kinds and started to think about opening up Magic Eight. I smiled weakly upon seeing my Magic Eight ball on the same shelf it was always on. A short time before my father died, we sat at the hospice in silence. The two of us unsure of what to say, or how to address the fact that our minutes were waning.
"Remember that summer when you were ten?" he questioned. "The one we spent at the lake?"
"There was that little brunette girl, with the pigtails at the general store," he clarified after a moment. "who convinced you to trade your Drumstick for a handful of gummy bears?"
I nodded, unable to remember her face, but remembering what happened after. "After we traded and I ate one, she told me she'd dunked them in the toilet."
My father choked on his laughter and it took him several minutes to calm down. "Do you remember what you asked me?"
I laughed too. "If something horrible would happen to her, because she tricked me. Like a meteor would fall on her."
He nodded. "And I brought you over to the Eight Ball and told you to ask it. Since it would know more than me."
I shook the hell out of that ball, silently wishing the meteor would be on fire and she would turn to ash. I smiled as I remembered the rest of that summer and the answer the ball had given me. "It was a great summer."
He silently brought out the eight ball and shook it with a forced smile. "Will I live through the week?"
I gave him a disenchanted look, disturbed by his casualness. When he showed me the answer, I couldn't help but laugh, it had given him the same answer it'd given me about the gummy dunking delinquent.
Signs Point to Yes.
He was gone two days later.
I took the dusty ball off the shelf, taking the time to turn it slowly over in my hands. The smooth plastic against my rough skin made me feel like I was ten again. A jolt of excitement unexpectedly hit me as I quietly asked my question.
"Will my life get any better?"
Signs point to yes.
The balls above the door jingled signaling me someone was in the store. I quit dicking with the seemingly confused ball and made my way out front.
"Hello. Welcome to..." I stopped dead in my tracks.
It was her. The amazing girl from the club last month. The one that never gave me her name. The one who had me at half mast while she stood there staring at a book and chewing her lip before she saw me.
She froze upon seeing me. "Oh shit."
"It's you," I responded as lightly as I could. The book she was holding dropped to the floor.
She tore ass out the front door, not looking back. I lost her somewhere a half a block down where she disappeared into the crowded sidewalk. I was pissed and hoofed it back to the shop, cussing out my dick for making me chase a girl who clearly didn't want to have anything to do with me.
I slammed the door and the balls flew off and hit me as I flipped the front sign to "Closed"
Throwing them across the shop only irritated me further. "Fuckers."
I deserved this. I should've realized that this was my life. Running after chicks I can't keep and getting hit by balls.
I guess I should be thankful they weren't sweaty balls attached to another guy's scrotum, because that would be worse.
Walking back to where I threw the balls, I reluctantly bent over to pick them up. When I saw the book that the mystery girl was holding. I dropped the balls, and swiftly went to the book. It became the only thing I could see in the shop. I was familiar with the book and had a vague idea of the contents, but a stark feeling of panic overtook me as I contemplated the title and what it could mean.
What to Expect When You're Expecting.
I swallowed hard, examining the book like I was looking for clues.
Why would she be reading that? Unless...
What the hell is this? The book was on a random page, I started to read. Two sentences made it into my brain before I wished I had a way to rewind time and invent actual brain bleach.
We were safe. There's no way that kid is mine.
I had a brief mental image of Maury Povich going "You are not the father!"
Several hours of me losing my shit and wondering how I could get some conclusive information passed, before I called Ali for the third time in ten minutes. After repeating the story to her four times, because she couldn't quite shut up long enough to hear the entire account without saying "oh my god" or shrieking, she arrived at the shop door.
She walked in quickly and dropped her large bag by the door. She immediately started in with explanations I couldn't bring my frazzled brain to concoct.
"Maybe she had a project she was researching, or getting a baby shower gift?"
I was pacing around, wearing a tack in the carpet. "Yes! Good! Keep going."
"A gag gift?"
I was pacing again. "Still acceptable, but reaching."
"Little sister had a question about babies, and she didn't know how to answer?"
"And we are out in left field," I replied frantic, pretending to hit a baseball with a bat I didn't have.
"I'll try harder."
I ran my hand through my hair and walked in the back. "Great! Because at this point I'm willing to believe that she's an alien and curious about human reproduction."
"Or it could be..." Ali began to giggle. "that a hot one night stand knocked her up and she wanted to know what she's in for."
"No. No! Not what I want to hear right now!"
Ali looked anything but apologetic, as she laughed and patted me on the back. "I'm sorry."
"I don't even know this woman's name and you're making jokes about this?"
"You're always pissing and moaning about your life," she defended. "Maybe God got tired of your constant bitching and gave you a real reason to bitch."
"No. This isn't happening. I am dreaming. Mystery girl isn't pregnant and my life stays as shitty, though uneventful as it was."
I was putting my foot down. Which meant I was bound to crush my other foot in my attempt.
"There's only one way to be sure," Ali interrupted my obsessing. "You have to find out her name, and you know... talk to her."
"Fantastic. Why didn't I think of that?! Let's just look her up on Google!" I quipped, walking back out front again to the computer. "What should we look up first to narrow her down from seven billion people?"
Ali rolled her eyes and folded her arms, but didn't respond.
"Brown-eyed girl? Luscious titted lady? Auburn haired, maven of the blow-job?!" I continued, typing each one in, realizing I'd gone far past the point of stark-raving and had jumped into mad-hatter territory.
"Why don't we just type in "Possible mother of my child" and see what pops up huh?!"
I was too busy to notice, but somewhere during my ranting, we were joined by two other people.
"How about we start with Bella?"
My head whipped in the direction of her voice. She stood wrapped in a light blue jacket and jeans. Her auburn hair was pinned up and a light sheen a pink gloss was on her lips. There was a tall blonde with her. A stern look on her face as she tapped her foot and nudged Bella forward.
I couldn't bring myself to say anything back, so Bella continued.
"Edward," I answered, though it sounded more like a question.
"Great. Good to know." She immediately did an about face and tried to go out the door, but her friend stopped her.
Bella mouthed something to her, but I couldn't hear. The companion turned her around and stood there like a parental figure. "Cut the bullshit Bella and tell him."
Bella shot her a glare. "Rose thinks your bookshop should be torn down to build a Pinkberry."
Rose smacked her shoulder. "Grow up!"
"Get out!" Bella griped.
"Get to it!" Many agitated looks crossed between them, before Bella spoke again.
"Look," she paused walking a few steps away from the blonde, her head turned up slightly and her eyes met mine. "It has come to my attention that I happen to be pregnant. And since you were the last person I had sweaty, kinky bookshelf sex with, I can say with a good amount of accuracy that your condoms were defective."
Yes. This was my brilliant response to a one night stand telling me I had impregnated her.
"Hi Bella, I'm Alice, Edward's wife."
The look on Bella, and the blonde's faces were mutinous as Rose started to cuss me out and threaten my balls. I choked on my tongue and immediately refuted Alice's statement.
"What the fuck is wrong with you?" I barked. "We're not married."
"We could be," she countered. "If I didn't think Rose is the hottest thing on two legs within a five mile vicinity."
Rose looked dumbfounded, blushing as Alice walked over to her.
"It's probably ten miles," Rose replied, bashfully.
"Would you like to take a walk? Let the kids discuss their situation, while I buy a drink for the hottest woman in a ten mile radius?"
Rose blushed and nodded, before Alice took her hand. "Don't wait up, Ward."
They left hand in hand, walking towards the bar down on the corner.
Bella and I spoke at the same time, snickering as we realized we'd spoken over each other. She shifted on her foot, and looked at the ground, then walked over to one of the shelves. Apparently looking for something she couldn't find.
It seemed ridiculous. She just told me she was pregnant. Did that mean she wanted to keep it? I was hardly a pro-life zealot, but I was kind of glad I fathered a child with someone who was willing to bare a stranger's offspring. Did she want me to be part of this child's life? Was it even mine?
It could be one of her fellow operatives, or worse, the tyrannical diplomat's, who she slept with in order to off with a cyanide capsule.
These are the workings of my mind people.
Bella had taken the time it took me to confuse myself further, to take a dictionary off the shelf and flip through the pages.
"Like I thought, 'awkward' isn't a strong enough word for this situation." She hastily closed the book and placed it back in its space.
"Bizarre works fairly well," I offered.
She grinned slightly. "Untimely?"
There was a few beats of more than awkward silence, before I attempted to ask her the basic question.
"Are you keep..."
"Yes." Her eyes were set, and her answer fierce.
She was far from impressed with my response. "Glad to know I have your approval."
I knew I needed to get the next obvious question out in the open. "Can...are you sure its...you know?"
I was as articulate as a man with no tongue. She sorted out what I was trying to ask and became offended.
"I don't sleep around and I've got better things to do than mind fuck you."
She was pissed and walked to the door and pulled on the handle, I slammed it shut and blocked her from leaving. "That was awful. I'm sorry. Okay?"
She folded her arms. "Its fine, I suppose I should have expected that. After all, you don't know me."
"I'd like to."
She looked up cautiously and bit her lip. "I suppose, it'd be beneficial to know something about me now, given the circumstances."
I nodded, and encouraged her to go on.
"I'm a Virgo. I like thunderstorms, but not getting caught in the rain."
"I hate Pina Coladas," I replied simply, taking a swift step towards her.
"I noticed, Harvey."
Before I really comprehended what was happening, my arms were around her and she wasn't protesting.
"I couldn't stop thinking about you," I admitted.
Her arms wrapped around my waist. "I have a new copy of Catcher in the Rye, masturbating next to it doesn't hold the same appeal."
"Tell me about it."
We both laughed quietly, and then her lips met mine. A sweet remembrance passed between us and I wondered if the insurance premiums on the store were paid up, because odds were, most of the books were going to be destroyed after I fucked her against every last shelve.
"Are we going to be able to handle this?" she asked, more to herself than me, after our lips broke apart.
I decided to take our question to a higher authority, I led her to the back room and motioned to the Magic Eight Ball.
"An Eight Ball?" she scoffed as she picked it
"It knows more than you think. I got it at Pine Lake when I was ten. It's right...sometimes."
"I know that lake," Bella laughed, looking at the ball.
I was more than a little surprised. "You do?"
Bella nodded and flipped the eight ball over. "I used to carry tainted gummy bears around with me and trick kids into eating them."
She looked down at the ball, and I stared at her. Astounded and awestruck, feeling as if life was a giant ball and I had just completed a circle of some kind.
She laughed and shook her head in disbelief as she read the prediction out loud.
Signs Point to Yes