Disclaimers: Nope. The characters are mine. I don't really want them, so perhaps I'll just let them have each other. That way everyone's happy. If you haven't read Alix and Valerie then you'll probably be lost. If you're lost anyway.. then... you'll have to see Bertha about that. I'm not responsible for anything I write. Unless.. of course... you like it :)
Sex/Violence/Naughty language: Yes/No/Maybe so.
Special Thanks: to my best friend Christy, who makes me appear far more creative than I am. And as always, to Cindy, for everything.
Feedback: Feel free to direct all comments, questions, rantings, ravings, roommate stories, bad hair days, radioactive rock information, UFO sightings, and amusing anecdotes to firstname.lastname@example.org
Three ‚ Valerie
couldnít sleep. I kept listening to the DJ on the radio announce song after
song, in that resigned, monotone voice reserved for the graveyard shift. I kept
glancing at the clock, daring time to pass. The patterns on the ceiling began to
form constellations only I could see. I wondered if this was insomnia.
was ëWhoís That Girlí by Eve from her latest album, Scorpion. Iím DJ
Tomas and youíre listening to todayís greatest hits right here on Z98.5.
Next we have Aerosmith with their latest single, ìJaded.î
groaned, pulling a pillow from under my head so I could push it down on my face.
When my attempts at suffocating myself failed, I rolled over and turned off the
music. ìWhy did I agree to start over with her?î I asked the air. ìItís
never going to work.î
lifted her head, seemingly confused by the silence.
that I had her attention, I sat up, leaning back against the mountain of pillows
behind me. My brother had a tendency to exaggerate. ìShe wants to start
over,î I explained to the dog, because I could tell that she was greatly
interested. For a moment, I couldíve sworn she rolled her eyes. But that
couldnít be. ìThat means that I have to be totally honest with her about
I pulled the covers over my head. ìSheís going to leave me either way. Do I
want her to do so knowing all the horrible things Iíve done? Is that how I
want her to remember me?î I peered out from under the covers. Loki was
pretending to be asleep. ìI really need to stop talking to myself.î
frowned and listened intently for a moment. There it was again. Definitely a
knock. ìWho the hellÖ?î I rolled out of bed and grumpily made my way
across the apartment, muttering incoherent things under my breath. Loki followed
behind me. Apparently a strange visitor in the middle of the night was far more
interesting than me. Hmph.
the door, I hesitated. I didnít sense any danger, but that didnít mean there
wasnít any. A part of me was hoping there was some. I hadnít kicked some ass
in while. ìWho is it?î
the bloody Tooth Fairy, open up.î
rolled my eyes and opened the door. So much for butt-kicking. ìDo you have any
idea what time it is?î
entered the apartment and shrugged. ìThree? Itís not like you were sleeping
shut the door and leaned against it. ìHow do you know I wasnít sleeping?î
a hunch,î she responded, looking around. ìNice pad.î
my brotherís,î I answered.
seem like he was all that tight for money.î
comment stung for a variety of reasons, none of which I wanted to particularly
think about at that moment. So, I decided to change the subject. Or at least,
get to the point. ìSo what can I do for you, Jade?î
wanted to make sure weíre even.î
nodded, taking a seat on the couch. I hesitated only a moment before sitting
across from her on the loveseat. ìSheís really intent on making things work
out with you two,î Jade told me. ìWe just want to make sure that sheís not
going to get hurt again.î
I wasnít entirely sure where this was going but it was starting to sound like
something I wouldnít like.
she sent you here to supervise?î I asked, my jaw tightening.
shook her head. ìLook, I want nothing more than to see you and Alix work
Jessica? What does she want?î
looked confused for a moment. ìShe wants to see Alix happy.î
stood, unable to sit still any longer. ìHappy without me.î
and I both know thatís not true,î Jade argued, but I could hear the
uncertainty in her voice.
a deep breath, I sat back down. ìBe honest with me, Jade. Jessica doesnít
want Alix to end up with me. True or false?î
looked away for a moment, then met my gaze. ìShe doesnít think you can give
her everything she deserves.î
statement hurt more than I could ever express, but Iíd be damned if Iíd let
Jade know that.
she would never do anything to keep the two of you apart,î Jade added. ìShe
trusts Alixís judgment.î When I didnít say anything, she continued.
ìValerie, I have never seen Alix happier than when the two of you were
together. She was like a totally different person. I donít care what Jessica
thinks, the two of you belong together.î
caught my attention. ìSo why are you here?î
I need to know that I can trust you not to hurt her again,î Jade answered.
ìFor my own peace of mind. I just need to know you wonít lie to her
wonít lie to her again,î I promised, more to myself than to her.
looked relieved. ìGood.î She smiled. ìIíll let you get back to not
sleeping.î She stood and headed for the door.
I called. ìAre you going to tell her that you were involved?î
shook her head. ìIím too much of a coward.î She went to open the door,
then paused. ìBut if you have to tell her, then tell her. No more lies between
you guys okay? Iíll deal with the consequences.î
nodded and watched her leave. Then I headed back to my room, feeling a rush of
can give her all she deserves and more,î I promised to no one but myself.
precisely 2:03pm there was a knock at my door. ìYou sure are punctual,î I
said, as I let Alix into the apartment.
She was clad in her usual black, though the jeans and the shirt were
tighter than usual. No complaints here.
shrugged, turning around to face me as I closed the door. ìActually, Iíve
been standing outside since 1:55, but I thought Iíd be fashionably late.î
course,î I agreed, trying not to stare at her. Iím pretty sure I failed.
Iím also pretty sure she had no idea how hot she looked in tight clothing.
she asked, self-consciously. Then she must have noticed where my gaze was
directed. ìI had a disagreement with the dryer,î she said, by way of
explanation. ìI told it to keep my clothes nice and baggy, and it decided to
shrink-wrap me. But we compromised.î
cleared my throat. ìHowíd you compromise?î
it kept them black.î
that the washerís job?î
was thoughtful for a moment, then narrowed her eyes, which seemed greener than
usual. ìYes. Youíre correct. But I like to pretend we compromised, so just
that dryer,î I said.
smiled. Then she whirled around and started walking toward the TV in the living
room. ìOh my God! Iíve been dying to see this video.î
followed behind her to see what all the commotion was about. Aerosmith. Duh. I
struggled to figure out what she saw in the group but for the life of me Ö
Steven Tyler?î I took a seat beside her on the couch. I laughed. ìYouíre
frowned as she turned to me. ìNo. Why? Donít you think heís gorgeous?î
arched a brow and turned back to the TV. She had to be joking. ìUhÖ no? But
his daughterís pretty hot.î
I frowned. "You are a lesbian, right?"
smiled, her gaze glued to the screen. ìSort of.î
of?î I must have missed this particular subject while we were playing truth or
dare on our first date. ìWhat do you mean by sort of?î
gotta get this CD today,î she said. Then she realized I asked her a question.
ìOh. Well Iím mostly a lesbian.î
of.î The song finally ended and I had her attention back. She grinned.
ìYouíre cute when youíre all confused.î She tapped my forehead. ìYou
have like a vein that bulges out right here.î
do not!î I argued, swatting her hand away. ìNow answer my question.î
cocked her head to the side. ìWhy is it important?î
ìI guess itís not,î I said, though I was still curious as hell.
stood, grabbing my hand. ìCome on. Take me somewhere interesting. Itís my
first time in the Big Apple.î
let her pull me to my feet. ìHungry?î
do you feel about peanut butter?î
torn between the Elvis and the Fluffernutter,î Alix announced, as she
continued to stare up at the menu posted up behind the counter of Peanut Butter
girl behind the counter was subtly checking her out and I found myself taking
Alixís hand in a possessive gesture. Fortunately for her, the chick took the
hint and disappeared into the kitchen while we decided on our order.
glanced down at our interlocked hands.
I pretended it was no big deal and focused on the menu. ìI think Iíll have
the Spicy Peanut Butter.î
glanced up and squinted at the ingredients. ìGrilled chicken with peanut
butter? Youíre a freak.î
youíre one to talk,î I teased.
girl reappeared and gazed at us expectantly.
I asked Alix.
nodded. ìFluffernutter,î she responded confidently. ìAnd milk.î She
started to reach into her pocket to get out some money but I stopped her.
got it,î I said.
She turned back to look at the menu. ìToo bad they donít sell lobster
and peanut butter? And you said I was weird.î
grinned and walked over to look at the items they had for sale.
turned to the girl and instantly offered her my most charming smile. ìIíll
take a Spicy Peanut Butter, a Fluffernutter, and two whole milks.î
kind of peanut butter did Alix like? If I turned to ask her it would look like
our relationship wasnít serious enough to call for peanut butter preference
knowledge. Then Miss Thang over here might start getting ideas. On the other
hand, if I picked the wrong type of peanut butter, Alix would be unhappy with
her meal. Not an option. Oh well, it was time for Plan B. ìActually, can I
have two Fluffernutters instead? One with crunchy the other with smooth.î
There. That should solve the problem.
girl shook her head but rang up the order. I paid the bill and picked a table in
the corner. We were the only people there.
joined me a moment later. ìThis is a really cute place,î she said, glancing
around. ìYou seem to know New York City pretty well. How long did you live
time. Here we go. ìA little less than two years.î
nodded, clearly wanting to know more, but afraid to push the subject.
sat up. ìTell you what,î I said. ìI promise to answer all of your
questions, if you promise to answer all of mine.î
I told her, sitting back. Hopefully sheíd start with the easy ones first.
Whatís your favorite car? That sort of thing.
was thoughtful for a second. ìOkay. Why did you sleep with me if you knew you
were lying to me?î
whole milks.î The girl placed the two cups in front of us. ìYour
Fluffernutters will be out in a minute.î She winked at Alix and gave me a
disapproving look before returning to the kitchen.
ìAre you sure you want to discuss this here?î I asked, when I was sure the
girl was out of earshot.
took a drink from her milk. ìSure.î
did I even begin to explain this? ìI shouldnít have allowed it to happen. I
talked myself into doing something I knew was wrong and Iím sorry.î Oh, good
one. Tell the girl that you regret sleeping with her. Nice move.
hurt in Alixís face was crystal clear.
That came out totally wrong.î I was trying to think back to what Iíd been
thinking. Truth was, I hadnít been thinking. ìI donít know why I did it. I
just know that Iíd never wanted anyone as much as Iíd wanted you. It
wasnít about sex. I just wanted to express how I felt about you. No words
meant no lies.î
ìI really have no way of justifying it,î I admitted. ìIt was wrong on so many levels but I couldnít have stopped myself if Iíd wanted to. Unless you had wanted me to. Then I wouldíve stopped, of course." Shit, now I'm babbling. "I just meant--"
okay,î Alix interrupted. ìI know what you meant.î
was it so hot in there? ìOkay.î
smiled, instantly making me feel better. ìYour turn.î
that mean I answered correctly? This relationship thing was a lot more
complicated than Iíd imagined it would be. They made it look so easy on TV.
ìWhat kind of peanut butter do you prefer? Crunchy or smooth?î
Alix had a chance to respond, our delightful hostess appeared beside us,
carrying two plates. ìTwo Fluffernutters,î she announced. She turned to me.
ìCrunchy or smooth?î
much for Plan B. Time for Plan C: Deductive reasoning. She likes to wear black
all the time. And she thinks Steven Tyler is hot. What does that tell me about
peanut butter? Not a damn thing. ìSmooth,î I guessed.
girl put one plate in front of me and the other in front of Alix. ìIf I can
get you anything else, let me know.î Then she walked away.
turned to Alix, waiting to see if Iíd guessed correctly. She was picking up
the sandwich. She was biting it. Guess I was right after all. ìSo you like
crunchy better?î I asked casually.
shrugged. ìItís all the same to me,î she responded. ìThis is really
good. Try the chips.î
that work and she didnít even care one way or another. I popped a chip in my
mouth. Served me right.
know she was totally checking you out back there?" I asked casually,
because subtlety is my middle name. To express my complete neutrality on the
subject, I kept my gaze focused on the sidewalk.
Alix asked, seemingly distracted by whatever thoughts danced in her head.
"Oh, you mean Susan?"
eyebrows lifted. "Pardon?"
back at the Peanut Butter place?"
knew her name? I must have missed something. "Yeah," I respond
Deep, calming breaths. "So, you're friends?"
I see. "So how did you know her name?"
dug her hand into her pocket and withdrew a small piece of paper. "She gave
me her number while you were in the bathroom." She shrugged and put it back
in her pocket.
wondered if she really planned on keeping that. Worse yet, if she planned on
actually dialing the number.
are we headed?"
looked around for a moment. "Christopher Street? Unless there's something
in particular you want to see?"
Lead the way."
walked in silence for a few minutes. I wasn't particularly content about this
whole Susan issue. Did Alix want to get back together at all? Did she just want
us to be friends and see other people? I wasn't particularly sure I could handle
that particular arrangement. I was having enough trouble keeping myself from
turning around and telling off that Ö
my turn to ask a question."
glanced down at Alix. "No it's not. Our food arrived before you had a
chance to answer."
you asked again, and I answered."
If she wanted to play it that way. "But then you asked where we were going
and I answered. So technically, it's my turn."
narrowed her eyes at me. "Cheater."
smiled proudly. "So, let's see." What did I want to know? Lots of
things. "What are the rules?"
the question game?"
to our current relationship."
She looked away before answering. "Well, I figured you and I should figure
that out together. I mean, it is 'our' relationship."
enough. "Alright." Might as well get to the heart of matters.
"Are we seeing other people?"
eyes met mine. "Do you want to?"
no! "Do you?"
shrugged, placing her hands in her pockets. "Not particularly."
hoped she hadn't heard the huge sigh of relief that escaped my lips. "Me
neither," I responded, trying not to sound as happy as I felt.
of saying anything, Alix handed me the scrap of paper with the phone number on
eyebrows narrowed in question.
I don't want it," she said, by way of explanation.
smiled, crumpled the paper in my hand, and threw it away in the nearest
trashcan. Better luck next time, Susan.
you callin' a whore?" Alix asked.
I responded simply, dribbling the ball away from her. "Why didn't you tell
me you were this bad?"
crossed her arms. "Valerie," she said, her voice controlled. "I
told you on the way to your apartment that I sucked at basketball. Then I told
you all the way here. And I told you the first time I lost. Then the second. And
even the third. I think you just like the fact that you're winning."
hid a grin. I did like winning. But I much preferred watching the cute look of
concentration that passed across Alix's features right before she made a shot.
Granted, she hadn't gotten the ball in the basket once since we'd arrived at the
basketball court, but I was still enjoying myself. "Let's see if you can
make it from here," I said, mockingly. I stood as close to the basket as I
could without being directly under it, and made the shot. I caught the ball as
it fell from the net and passed it to Alix.
she walked over and stood at the same spot I'd been standing. "I really
hate this game. Why is it called 'HORSE' anyway? Can't we spell something
cooler?" She bounced the ball a couple of times and stared up at the
basket. Then came the concentration look that never seemed to work. Then the
by a mile.
"Ooh, it almost touched the rim that time," I teased, running to catch the ball before it interrupted someone else's game.
don't we go play pool?" she suggested innocently.
I conceded. "But at least I'm winning."
rolled her eyes. "Fine. But that means you have to buy me dinner."
do you figure?"
you've already destroyed my self-esteem. Do you want to deplete my bank account
laughed. "You mean Jessica's bank account."
shrugged, taking a seat in the middle of the court. "Hers. Mine. What's the
difference? We share. She's like the sister I never had."
about Rachel?" I asked, slightly confused.
gazed up at me with a smile. "Like I said, she's like the sister I never
looked at her watch for a moment, then leaned back on her arms, staring up at
me. "Are you gonna shoot any time soon, or are we camping out here?"
glanced up at the basketball hoop. I couldn't very well make the past couple of
hours end in a few pointless games of "HORSE".
I sat down across from Alix. "Tell you what. If you make the next
basket, I'll buy you dinner."
glanced at me wearily. "And if I don't make it?"
treat." I was pleased to see my smile reciprocated.
fair to me," she said.
grinned to myself and rose to my feet, looking around the court. Where should I
shoot from? Regardless of the spot, I doubted that she'd make it so it wasn't
that big of an issue. But I couldn't let it seem like I was trying to let her
I decided on the Foul Line. It seemed fair enough. I shot the ball and watched
it sail smoothly through the air, ending in a perfect swoosh through the hoop.
With a satisfied smile, I glanced at Alix. She was in the process of retrieving
the ball. "I
think I'll order lobster," I was saying, as she passed in front of me to
take her place behind the line.
shook her head and bounced the ball a few times. This time there was no look of
concentration. She just let the ball fly. I watched it, suddenly feeling like
everything was happening in slow motion. And then the unexpected happened.
made the shot.
blinked a few times, unbelieving. Then from somewhere far away I heard three
"Lobster sounds good."
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