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Something I Said
Sleep eluded me that fateful night and several after as well. I couldnt get Elmers words out of my head. I figured if something didnt happen soon, my brains would slowly leak out of my ears. It was fast becoming more than I could handle.
I had left Elmers three nights before under the guise of a severe case of food poisoning. It wasnt for from the truth- every time he tried to talk to me about Ellison, I threw up again. I had finally staggered home after twenty minutes of that vicious cycle only to toss and turn all night and every one since then.
Tired of trying to force myself to sleep, I got up and washed my face. A glance at the alarm clock on the counter told me it was two am. I had no idea what I would do until morning broke so I sat on my battered couch and turned the TV on.
After re-illustrating to myself that there is nothing on after two am, I shut the sheep fucker off and wished I could do the same with my thoughts. It was driving me crazier to think that there was a chance Ellison felt romantically inclined towards me. But I couldnt help the nagging suspicion that Elmer was wrong about the whole thing. I mean, I would have seen the signs, right?
Then there was the other side of the coin. Even if it were true, it would never work out between us. Once she saw how screwed up I really was, shed change her mind in a bigger hurry than Osama bin Laden trying to escape the U. S. army. That, or I would sabotage it myself with my propensity for keeping people at arms length. For Christs sake, she already knew that much about me!
I rose from the couch and started pacing. The only way to clear this up one and for all would be to talk to her about it. Yeah right. I had promised Elmer that I wouldnt say anything to her so that she wouldnt disown him. So what should I do?
Then something dawned on me. What did it really matter that I didnt know how she felt? I had always resolved myself to the fact that I would have to keep my feelings to myself and deal with it. What was so different now? All I would have to do was keep going on the way that I had been when it came to Ellison Woodrow. That wasnt so hard.
I layed back down on the couch, a huge weight off my shoulders. I drifted off to sleep thinking that everything would go back to normal.
I awoke the next day and went about my morning routine as usual. It was Saturday and thankfully I didnt have to go to work. I decided that I would pay Elmer a visit since I hadnt spoken to him since the night he told me that Ellison was gay. That caused me to shudder but I got over it quickly- after all, everything was a-okay, wasnt it?
I finished brushing my hair out and looked at myself in the mirror. Fatigue was still evident around my eyes but I looked decidedly better. I tucked a dark strand of hair behind my ear and made my way to Elmers.
Elmer opened the door and looked at me for as minute before standing aside to let me in. I thought that it was strange that he hadnt greeted me in any way, then I remembered the way I had parted company with him the other night. He probably thought I was upset or something.
Remembering that everything was going to be all right, I greeted him cheerily. I figured I would explain later if he said anything about it.
"Hows that food poisoning?"
"Much better. I went to work the next day and it hasnt bothered me since then."
"Hmm." He plopped down in his chair and ran a hand through his messy hair. "Got any plans for tonight?"
I shrugged. "Not really. I dont feel much like doing anything, its been a rough week."
"Ill say. Listening to you pace that apartment the last couple of nights has been hard on me too."
He looked at me pointedly and my cheeks reddened. I hadnt realized that insomnia had been that obvious. I certainly hoped that he wouldnt want to talk about it.
"Whats been bothering you?"
Ever heard the saying want in one hand, shit in the other? I guessed it applied to hope as well. I sighed in defeat and thought about how I would answer that. I certainly didnt want to tell him that the majority of my problem was the idea of Ellison having feelings for me and all the things that could possibly go wrong. No way. Because then I would have to tell him that I was gay and that just didnt seem like a good idea. I didnt know hoe he felt about Ellisons sexuality either- I hadnt quit puling long enough for him to tell me.
So I made light of the fact that I hadnt been sleeping. "I dont know, just a few things on my mind, I guess."
"Yeah. Like what I told you about Mary."
Dammit. The way he said that left no room for argument.
"Yes," I answered defensively.
"Well, what do you think about it?"
"I dont care if shes gay." Denial is such a wonderful place to be.
"I dont care either, smart ass. What I want to know is if you can handle her bein attracted to you."
"Isnt there a baseball game or something you should be watching?" I got to my feet and went to the sink to get a glass of water. At least her sexuality didnt seem to bother him.
"Look, Connor. I want to know if you can handle that. I been thinkin about it too and Im wonderin if I made a mistake by telling you about it. Id hate to think I ruined yer friendship with my big mouth if thats not somethin yer all right with."
I took my place on the couch and looked helplessly at him. I hadnt thought that he would be so worried about it. Suddenly I didnt know how I felt about the situation.
"I dont know, Elmer," I admitted in exasperation. "This whole shit-licking situation has had me all bent out of shape for days."
"So it does bother you that Mary likes you." It was more of a statement than a question.
"Yes. And no. Im so confused, Elmer! If she likes me, it will only be a matter of time before I do something that will screw it up and then shell hate me. If she doesnt like me, then oh well, I just go on trying to hide the face that Well, Im pretty sure Ive fallen in love with her."
Oops! My eyes widened and I stared at Elmer in surprise. I hadnt meant to say that much but once it started coming out it was like I had no control over it.
He smiled at me gently. "Its okay to love her, Connor."
"Its not, though. You dont understand, Elmer! She doesnt know how bad it would be to have to put up with me all the time. And let me tell you, this Tourettes is getting worse. Ive never been to jail until recently. And Im telling you, its only a matter of time before I get blacklisted from every job in this town! Then I either get to take the check that the government wants to give me every month and lose my hemorrhaging placenta mind of boredom, or I go to an institution. Im telling, Ellison would be better off to go find someone else. And besides," I began with a raised eyebrow. "How do you even know she likes me?"
"Just trust me on that one, Connor. She hasnt acted like this since Well, I cant tell you about that."
I snorted. "It seems there are a lot of things you cant tell me. Why did you even bother telling me shes attracted to me?"
Elmer relaxed back into his chair and stared at the ceiling thoughtfully. "Connor, listen to me. I used to be a young man, an I was even in love once upon a time. I remember like it was yesterday, the way she smelled, the way her eyes would light up when she saw me " He shook his head and sat up, looking me right in the eye.
"The way my Marys eyes light up when shes talking about you, and trust me, she does it all the time, is like my wifes used to when she saw me. Theres no mistakin that look, Connor. The reason I bothered to tell you is because, believe it or not, you got the same look on yer face when it comes to her. I know love when I see it. You didnt even have to tell me, I already knew."
I blushed, not having realized hoe transparent my feelings were. I just worried that if Elmer could see them, couldnt Ellison as well?
"I just wish you two fools would come to your senses and realize that life is too damned short to keep hiding it. Thats why I told you."
I took a sip of water. I felt like a bomb had been dropped on me and I had no idea of how to clean up the mess.
"So you never answered me. What are you going to do today?"
I shot him a playful dirty look. "You dump that squishy cow gut mess on me and expect me to do something?"
He grinned, and I swear there was something evil about it. "Sure. Why dont you practice how yer going to tell her you love her?"
I felt my eyes widen and my mouth drop open. "You- you are evil, Elmer!"
He chuckled. "I mean it. Shes comin fer dinner tonight. I could make some excuse to leave and you two could have a nice romantic dinner. Maybe some candles, a little vino to set the mood "
"No way!" I got to my feet and went to the kitchen counter to put my glass down. "No way in a rotten babys ass will that happen. In fact, I feel my food poisoning coming back. Im going to be sick the rest of the weekend so you can count me out!" As I headed for the door he called after me.
"Dinner will be at seven oclock. Dont be late!"
I returned to my apartment and flopped down on the couch. After covering my head with my hands, I contemplated how much it would hurt to jump off a building. That would be easier than talking to Ellison about my feelings for her. I made up my mind then that I would pretend that I wasnt home the rest of the day. Yep. Thats exactly what I would do.
Bang bang bang!
I cringed. It didnt take a rocket scientist to figure out who was trying to beat my door down. I crept to the TV and turned it off, hoping Elmer would give up and go away. I didnt want ant part of whatever he had up his sleeve for the dinner he had so cleverly planned.
Bangbang gang BANG!
I rolled my eyes and went back to the couch. I was determined to wait it out, even if he stood there and pounded all night. I was NOT going to be part of his matchmaker game.
"Connor? Grandpa said youre coming over and were waiting for you so we can eat!"
Oh that fart munching, geriatric menace to society! He was playing dirty and I was starting to wonder what had happened to kind old man I had once known. I could just imagine him sitting at his table, cackling away because he knew I couldnt say no to Ellison without feeling like a creep.
"Just a minute!" I hollered and trudged to the door in defeat. "Dirty rotten turd sucking egg head!" I muttered to myself on the way.
I opened the door and waved her in, then turned back to get my shoes.
"How are you doing tonight?" I asked, trying to make conversation to cover up the fact that I was mad and nervous.
"Just fine. What were you doing?"
I sat down and shoved my foot into a tied sneaker, glancing at her as I reached for its mate. "I must have lost track of time."
I got the other shoe on and stood to follow her over to Elmers. She looked incredible, especially from behind in the tight Levis she was wearing. I kicked myself mentally and took a deep breath, knowing I had to be prepared for the worst. Who knew what sort of stunt the old man would pull.
"Connor, so glad you could join us!" Elmer greeted us with a grin as we walked into his apartment.
I was immediately on my guard when I noticed the dimly lit room with candles placed strategically about and full wine glasses on the table. Beads of sweat broke out on my forehead and I had to make a conscious effort to keep my face neutral. I didnt want Ellison to sense my discomfort and wonder what was wrong. I could only imagine what Elmer had brewing in his bag of evil tricks.
I looked at him warily, then forced a smile and took a seat at the table. "Yeah, thanks for inviting me," I told him in a sarcastic tone.
Ellison raised an eyebrow then said, "Grandpa cooked my favorite meal- fried chicken and mashed potatoes!"
My stomach took notice then of what my nerves wouldnt let it moments before. A wonderful aroma was wafting about and the table looked great.
"Sure looks good," I said to her then turned to Elmer. "Kinda dark in here isnt it?"
He shrugged nonchalantly. "Mary wanted it this way."
I was about to shoot him a dirty look to let him know I didnt believe him when Ellison spoke up.
"Yeah, I bought him all these candles to make the place smell better. I can always smell Jackrabbits cat box when I come over."
Ellison went about loading her plate and I eyed her suspiciously. I had never noticed any smell when I had been over before. I mentally shrugged and went about heaping my own plate with the delicious smelling food.
By the time dinner was over, I was pleasantly buzzed. After four generous glasses of wine, I had forgotten my fears that Elmer would try something to further his attempts at matchmaking. Conversation had been pleasant, and if I wasnt mistaken, Ellison was looking good enough to eat for dessert.
I bit my lip at that thought and tried not to keep staring at her. I couldnt help it though- she was just so stinky scrotum juice beautiful. And then I had to chuckle that here I was, mooning away after this woman, and I had thought stinky scrotum juice and beautiful in the same thought. I wondered what they would think if they knew what was going on in my head.
From there it went straight down the toilet. The more I thought about it, the funnier it seemed and pretty soon I was laughing out loud. Elmer and Ellison were both staring at me like Id grown a third eye and it was winking at them. It was then that I knew I was drunk. And most likely in trouble if I didnt settle down. I wiped the smile off my face and took another sip of wine. "Sorry. Private scrotum juice joke."
Ellison frowned, and damned if it wasnt the cutest thing I had ever seen. I drank some more and tried not to think about it. It was hard not to, though, with the two of them staring at me like they were.
My imagination got the better of me and I started trying to picture that third eye winking at them. I giggled, took a big gulp of wine, and giggled some more.
"Connor, are you alright?" Ellison asked cautiously.
In my mind, I tried to picture what would happen if I told them what exactly was so funny. It didnt look good so I shook my head in the affirmative instead.
"So what should we do now?" I asked, then cringed. Good gods on a mermaids tit, was I ever slurring.
"Isnt this enough fun for you?" Elmer asked dryly.
I laughed and finished the rest of my drink. "Well sure, ol man, but Im worried bout you. Ya look alil bored or somethin. Say, s there any more of that wine left? Im on E here." I held the empty glass up and turned it upside down. "See?"
Elmer shook his head and rested his forehead on his palm. "Good grief," he muttered.
"What?" I asked and looked at Ellison. "Was it something I said?"
When I realized what I had just said I went clear into hysterics. I remembered the circumstances surrounding the last couple of times those words had been said to me and it was all too much. The stress of the last several days coupled with the drink sent me clear over the edge and there was no coming back, of that I was certain. So I laughed harder.
"Oh good Lord, Mary, we gotta get her drunk ass to bed before she ruptures something." He stood from the table and came to my side, waving Ellison over impatiently. "Come on, ya wino. Lets get you stood up."
I went to set the wine glass on the table but missed, sending it crashing to the floor. A yowl and a hiss later, Jackrabbit came flying out from under the table and I was laughing so hard I couldnt even move. I felt their arms under mine and I rose from the chair as they lifted me.
"Take that, you crazy kitty from hell!"
"Oh my God," Elmer muttered and I turned to look at him as they helped me stagger through the door and to the corridor outside.
"Whaddaya keep prayin for? It aint Sunday."
Ellison giggled beside me and it was the most lovely sound I had ever heard.
"ya know, Elly May, you should laugh more. Yer waaay too serious."
Elmer guffawed and opened my door. "Looks like yer not exempt from the fun either," he told her sardonically. "Cmon, lets her to the couch."
Once I was deposited safely (but unceremoniously) on the couch, Elmer straightened up and shook his head. "Guess we shouldnt be feedin her any more alcohol. She dont handle it very well."
"I heard that," I muttered to him.
"Im going to stay a minute and be sure shes okay, you go ahead and go home," Ellison told Elmer. "Ill be along after a bit."
"All right. Well, drunkard, Ill come by un the morning and bring you some eggs over easy. See how bad you feel."
"Bye." I waved to him and wondered why Ellison had thought that was such a funny statement. It was forgotten as soon as the door clicked shut behind him.
"Here, lets get you tucked in for the night," Ellison murmured and began taking my shoes off.
I closed one eye so I could see straight enough to watch her.
"Why did you drink so much tonight, Connor?" she asked and brushed a blond strand of hair out of her eyes.
"I was thirsty?"
She chuckled. "So was I. But Im still standing." She sat down at the end of the couch and I moved my legs so she would have more room. "Really, you seemed like something was I dont know, like something was on your mind."
"Oh that," I slurred. "Its nothing." Suddenly all the humor had left me and dizzy or drunk not, I was somber.
She rubbed my leg. "Yeah? Then why were you acting so weird? What was on your mind?" she asked gently.
I sighed. "the craziest thoughts in the world. Ya shoulda been there!"
"I was, remember?" She smiled and leaned back against the arm of the couch.
"Oh yeah. Wow, I dont think Ive ever been so shit-faced, fucked up drunk. In fact, Im so drunk I cant even cuss good!" I told her with a grin.
She shook her head and laughed. "I better get going. You look kind of tired."
She got up and started for the door and I followed her. As she grabbed the doorknob, I put my hand on hers. She turned around, looking confused.
"Ellison, I "
I was at a loss for words. Her green eyes searched mine as I looked for the words to say, suddenly wanting to pour my heart out to her. I looked at her lips and there was only one way to tell her what I felt.
I leaned closer to her, the inches taking hours to close the distance. I wet my lips and brushed them against hers, marveling at their velvety softness. I needed more and this time I pressed against them harder, closing my eyes, my tongue flicking out to taste them.
She hesitantly moved her lips against mine and I found the courage to touch her cheek with my fingertips. I felt a burning in my stomach that urged me on. I took her bottom lip in mine only to have it suddenly stolen from me.
Opening my eyes, I saw a look that pained her delicate features, and I took an involuntary step back. My stomach clenched and I knew it wasnt from the wine. I had done something terribly wrong.
"Connor, no I cant- we cant No. I have to go." She flung open the door and left me standing there in a state of utter confusion.
"Im in love with you," I whispered to the open doorway, then shut it and went back to the couch. The cushion was still warm where she had been sitting.
I pulled the blanket up over my head and let the effects of the wine wash over me. I was so tired and hurt that I couldnt bear to keep my eyes open a minute longer. As unconsciousness drifted up to greet me, I thought that I could hear raised voices at Elmers.
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