Read chapter 2 here.
Julius rolled his eyes irritably and got off the couch, but dumbstruck Preston morphed back into angry Preston.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” he yelled, his face flushing. “Two days?”
“Two days,” I said calmly, and grabbed my keys as I walked out the door.
Then I was driving angrily to my friend Lance’s house, ready to get a little bit drunk and complain for a while. I stormed up to the back door and banged on the glass. His wife Peggy opened the door.
“Oh, Sam,” she cried dramatically, clasping her hands to her pert bosom, “my little fairy boy!”
Despite my mood I smiled. “You’re a bitch,” I informed her good-naturedly.
Peggy reached out and cuffed the back of my head, but then laid a playful kiss on my cheek. “Lance isn’t here, dollbaby,” she told me. “You’ll have to settle for a fellow feminine spirit.”
Peggy’s a smartass, but she suits Lance’s laidback personality. They’ve been married for six years now, and I couldn’t have chosen a better partner for the only friend I’ve kept since childhood. Sure, Peggy makes a big deal of Lance having a gay best friend, but if she really thought homosexuality was contagious (as she claims it is), she’d bar me from the house.
I rolled my eyes at her. “You’re just pissy because I won’t get manicures with you or go to the mall.”
Peggy affected hurt. “Is it really that much to ask of a gay best friend?”
I pushed past her and went back to the kitchen. “I’m not your best friend. What’s-her-face-is.”
“Schma,” Peggy scoffed with her head in the fridge, waving a hand dismissively. She tossed me a 1664 and joined me at the table. So tell me, what got your thong in a knot?”
Tipping the bottle against my lips I drank half my beer before answering. “You know Julius, Preston’s boyfriend?”
“The male who models?” She gave me a Zoolander face.
“Yeah.” I rolled my beer bottle between my hands. “Preston caught us making out on the couch.”
Peggy’s eyes went wide, then she started to laugh uproariously.
“It wasn’t funny,” I admonished sternly.
“Are you kidding me?” she gasped, clutching her sides. “This is awesome!”
I shook my head. “No, it isn’t. I ended up kicking them both out.”
“No, no, no,” Peggy says quickly. “This will be good.”
I folded my arms and cocked my head expectantly.
Peggy explained, “See, knowing you’re head over heels for him has given Preston this odd security blanket, if you will.”
“He knows that whatever bullshit went down, he still had you. Boyfriend dumps him, he comes to you. Troubles at work, you help him sort it out. Strapped for cash, you lend him some and don’t nag him when he forgets to pay you back. He gets tired of a boyfriend, he wants your advice. Car broke down, you call the mechanic for him. You’re his lifeline.”
“Okay,” I admitted, “but that just means I’m a pushover.”
“Well, yeah,” Peggy agreed ungraciously. “But Preston has no excuse for being an ass to you.”
“But it isn’t his fault, really,” I protested. “He wasn’t ever interested in a relationship, and I’m not going to force the issue.”
Peggy slapped the table emphatically. “That was exactly the issue!” she declared. “You never told him to choose, so Preston never had to figure out why he needs you so much, or why none of his relationships have lasted as long as his friendship with you.” She leaned forward and tapped her temple knowingly. “It’s that introspective shit. Preston’s probably never taken any time to reflect.”
I swallowed the rest of my beer. “Kicking him out isn’t going to change things, Peggy. Preston is never without a boyfriend; he’s too likeable to stay single.” Peggy raised her beer in acknowledgement. “Plus, I was the one who made out with his boyfriend, then kicked him out. That doesn’t exactly lend itself to reflection.”
Peggy waved her hand dismissively. “Whatever. He’s still going to wonder why his sex-on-legs boytoy is so into you. Who did he get mad at first?”
“Julius,” I replied, giving her a what-the-fuck-does-that-have-to-do-with-anything shrug, head shake and all.
“See?” Peggy dragged the word out. I shook my head stupidly.
“See what?” Lance asked from the doorway. He came over to kiss Peggy then stole her beer.
“Our little boy’s balls are finally dropping,” Peggy said proudly as she patted my hand. I flipped her off.
“What did you do?” Lance asked, lifting Peggy from the chair and repositioning her in his lap as he sat in her place. “Did you kick Preston to the curb?”
“Ugh!” I groaned, scrubbing my hands over my face. “Did you both hate him and never tell me?”
“Don’t get your thong in a wad, Samuel,” said Lance. “Preston’s not a bad guy, he’s actually a pretty good guy, but he’s just a bad roommate.”
When Peggy stood to fetch more beers Lance turned to me. “So, wait. Did you kick him out?”
“Yeah,” I said morosely, peeling the label off my beer.
I groaned and scrubbed my eyes with the heels of my hands. “Motherfucker.”
Peggy patted my knee. “Well, now you’ll know whether or not it was meant to be.”
“Meant to be?” The sarcasm was nastier than necessary, but I was still in a foul mood. “Of course it’s not. I wouldn’t be so damn miserable if it was.”
“Man, don’t be such a whiner,” Lance said. “Peggy broke my heart a few times before we finally got together.”
It’s true. Lance called me every time to do a little crying of his own. Peggy bared her teeth at him then turned to me.
“What are you going to do before they move out?”
I hadn’t really thought about it, other than knowing I wanted to avoid both Preston and Julius like the plague. “I think I’ll just eat at my mom and dad’s for a couple of nights and go to the gym after work instead of before. I just don’t want to see them.
Lance sighed. “Well, you’re always welcome here, buddy.”
“What are you going to do if he calls?” Peggy asked. I got the feeling she was enjoying this too much.
I leaned back and rubbed my head, thinking. “Voicemail, I guess. I mean, I shouldn’t ignore him completely if he has a legit question about moving out or rent or something, but I’m not going to give him the opportunity to get off track and weasel his way back into my home.”
Lance smiles at that. “So he’s gone from good guy to weasel?”
“It’s a healthy stage of the separation process,” Peggy informed him. “Next he’ll be a little bitch, then fall through the ranks to a worthless bastard, etcetera.”
I tossed my beer cap at her. “I’m crashing here tonight. Fetch me another beer, woman. I must drown my sorrows in booze.”