Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Beautiful Honesty Part 2

After enduring the country bar for what seemed like forever, they said goodbye to everyone and went down to the next bar in the casino, with Dawn in tow.  It seemed to be packed, so they decided on a more low-key bar with a cover band.  She texted SD that if she wanted to come down and join she was free to.  The cover band was a little loud, but they managed to talk a bit with Dawn.  While she was checking her phone, she heard Piz invite Dawn to an awesome beach town about 4 hours drive away in September for a music festival.  He had a buddy who was running it and he thought that he'd really like Dawn.

A few minutes later the entire rest of the party trickled into the bar and ordered drinks. There was more time to talk and interact, and they were in the middle of the action now that they'd got there first.  There weren't enough chairs to go around, so she got out of one and stood next to Piz.  They continued to converse and chat with the cast and director, and he put his arm around her waist.  It felt nice there, but after a minute SD and Dawn called her into a girl's bathroom meeting.

She told them about the 7 month departure, and they blew it off saying that she should just cross that bridge if she comes to it.  They were right, of course, but she couldn't help thinking about how sad it made her.  They were just getting to the highlights...would it put a damper on the entire future?  She shook her head, reminding herself that she hadn't even kissed this guy yet, there was no future until something else happened.  They still spoke honestly about their respective divorces and their uncertainty of what they really wanted in a relationship.

They returned back and hung with the gang for a little while, until suddenly they all said goodbye and disappeared, leaving her alone with Piz.  Finally.  By then of course, the cover band had just gotten way too loud.  They decided to head out as well, and walked around the casino for a bit before deciding that they were starving.  They headed out to the street to find something to eat, and he reached for her hand.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Beautiful Honesty Part 1

"Hi Penny, I am so sorry to have to do this to you but I have to cancel our date on Monday.  I figured since next week is my last free week before school starts I better go to SoCal to see my friends and my sister.  I'll be back next Sunday.  Can we meet up when I get back?"

Of course she was bummed, but he did still want to meet up.  She didn't want to wait that long, she felt like they would lose momentum.  Then her director told her that Friday they were getting bottle service at a club, and to invite everyone that she wanted to invite.  She took a deep breath, and texted him to ask if he wanted to meet up, even though clubbing was not either of their scenes.  He was a good sport yet again and said that if he could spend some time with her, that would be awesome.

Giddy, she barely registered the opening night festivities as she mentally prepared to see him again.  She had thought she had a few more days to prep for potential kissing, so she was trying to mentally get there beforehand.

She closed up the theatre as soon as she could and headed over with SD and Dawn.  The bottle service was under her name, and they made her pay the $20 gratuity before even walking in the door.  She was a bit miffed but just put it on her credit card.  By the time she got in, everyone was at the reserved table, filling it up so that she and Piz could only sit on the couch beside them.  She felt a little left out, but decided that this was good alone time for them.

Out of the corner of her eye she noticed a man in a giant cowboy hat.  After another minute she glanced over at the dance floor and saw people line dancing.  Dawn looked over at her with an expression that seemed to say "Is it country night or something?" She shrugged back, as she had never been there before.  As she looked around she discovered that a lot of people in the bar were dressed in Western Wear.

"I've been here once before," Piz yelled over the godawful music. "My old boss took me, and I didn't realize at the time that it was a country bar."

"Oh god, it is a country bar?  I'm so sorry, I would have never come to this or invited you if I had known."  She was mortified that she was tricked into a country bar outing.  Since they were stuck for a bit, they enjoyed a couple of free drinks from the bottle service and exchanged "I was so drunk once that I" stories.

He had gotten his new job, and she congratulated him on it and asked him about the details.  He wasn't actually starting until December, which was fine by him because he was just about to start school for his Masters degree in Finance.  Then he dropped the news on her, gently as possible, that he also had 7 months of training starting in March...that was in Arizona, light years away.  She felt a pang but pushed forward, congratulating him on the job yet again while wondering where in the world that left them, and how he felt about it.

Monday, August 29, 2016


At 9:30 the next morning, KSL FB messaged her "How goes?" and she could actually feel her blood boil.

"I'm still fucking furious.  I was up all night.  I was thinking about how you feel like you only share things with me, not because we are friends, but because you think you owe me something. That's not how friendship works. I feel like you only apologized to me so you wouldn't have to feel bad about someone hating you for something you did. It calls into question everything I thought we put behind us. If you don't want to be my friend because you like me as a person, then stop. Because that's what I'm getting from you. It's not a friendship, it's an obligation. With everything I'm going through, I need people in my life who are there for me, because I need them and because we are friends. If that's not you, then lets just fucking stop right now."

He took awhile, then responded "
I don't feel obligated to hang with you, nor be your friend. I could tell you were distressed by the information I divulged, and I panicked and backpedaled.
I just started spewing nonsense
Which of course didn't help the situation
As to your messages last night, I understand your frustration. I was going to cheekily suggest that the 'woe is my dick' thing is part of my charm, but thought better of it
Bottom line, I feel no obligation
It was just me trying to smooth over a situation rather than just saying #DealWithIt"

"I was upset because your time table doesn't match up. You make it sound like you were fucking Banana for awhile, but managed to have a little non-romance with X at the same time. Basically you were never going to tell me, and then you say you only tell me because you feel an obligation. Backpedaling and telling me to deal with it isn't the friend style I'm looking for in my life. You of all fucking people should know that. You always manage to 'accidentally' make me feel like shit about myself, and I need the opposite to happen."

"I checked my messages. July 18th was the first rendezvous with Banana. Whether that helps or hurts, so be it. I am who I am, Ive made choices good and bad. I will find a way to live with them, regardless of whatever judgment or approvals I receive along the way. It's hard to be truthful with anyone nowadays, because my truth always leaves a path of shit and destruction in its wake. Everybody wants honesty until you say something they don't like."

"You think your lies are better?  I think maybe you should start living your life so that you never have to lie to prevent hurting people. Let me be clear: I don't care that you slept with Banana...I'm glad she got some, glad you got some. But at a time when I deserved at least a heads up that our pact was over, that is what I'm angry about. Your distrust, while at the same time lying to me, is what I will always have a problem with."


I'm sorry
Its a learning process for me
I appreciate you telling me, sharing your frustration."

"Okay. With that in mind, is there anything else you need to tell me? Because this is it. I'm one more deception from setting fire to our friendship and keeping warm as it burns to the ground, and inviting everyone to roast marshmallows."

"Everyone, eh?
And no, you're up to speed.  For what its worth, I haven't spoken to or heard from X since it fell apart. Something tells me I'm off her radar now. Not losing any sleep over it. 
So, that's one less thing to worry about
I'm sorry I caused you distress."

She didn't respond.  She was still blood boiling mad.

Friday, August 26, 2016

More Than Once, Shame on Me

Tech week had gone okay, and preview went really well with KSL in the audience with his loud laugh.  He agreed to go out with the cast afterwards, and she was immediately drunk after one cider because she hadn't been able to eat in the last 6 hours.  She found herself less tolerant of KSL's constant "There is no one that will fuck me" lament when he was out in public.

She texted him across the bar "Banana and Acrobat are fucking?  Maybe?"  He walked over to her and said he'd talk about it later.

She raised her eyebrow, but agreed they would talk later.  She demanded that he drive her home about a half hour later and tell her the story.

They were walking to his car, and he asked how she was.  "Drunk, since I didn't eat anything.  Don't dawdle, tell me the story!"  She looped her arm through his as they walked, meant it to be a friendly gesture.  However, even in her drunken state she could feel him tense up.  She pulled away, hurt that even a friendly gesture couldn't be taken as such by him.

"Well, Banana and I have been hooking up actually.  For about a month."

She stopped cold, glad that she was not touching him in that moment.  "A month?"

"Yeah, about that.  Anyways she texted me, this morning actually, to say she and Acrobat are in a relationship now so she can't hook up anymore.  Which is sad, she was nice...uncomplicated."

She couldn't believe the dumb insults he was throwing at her.  Her emotions were all over the place.  She decided cold and calculating was the best way to go.

" were fucking Banana while we were fucking?"

"NO!  No, it was after.  You weren't even speaking to me at the time."  She didn't buy it.  His timetable didn't match up with X and Banana.  She suddenly realized he had sex with 4 different women this year alone.  She had honestly dodged a bullet.  She wondered if he planned on telling either girl that they were at risk for HPV.

She was pissed by the time he dropped her off, and basically became tight lipped about it when he asked.  She wasn't about to let another drop spill that wasn't completely venomous.  He saw her anger and said "I'm sorry, look, I only told you because I felt like I owed you...for like, everything.  I didn't have to tell you."  Luckily she saw SD walk into the building, made the excuse she had to talk to her, and left the car.

She got angrier and angrier as her elevator rose higher and higher.  She fired off three rapid texts to KSL when she walked in her front door:

"So, just one thing...can you not like, be all 'I can't get one person to fuck me' when you are SWIMMING IN PUSSY?  It's annoying.  Clearly you can get it.  You've literally slept with 3 fucking people since your ex.  It hasn't even been a year.  Just own it."
"And yeah, I'm upset, at the fact that I'm fabulous but literally everyone would rather fuck someone else.  It's demoralizing.  I'm fucking done.  I ruined a mediocre marriage to be alone for the rest of my life.  Like an idiot."
"Because THIS is what I get for being vulnerable.  Opening up.  I get shit on.  Why bother?  With fucking any of it."

He texted a simple "Stahp."  She responded "I'm not saying anything that isn't true.  You can't even deny that."

She stayed up all night, only getting a few hours of sleep, because she was furious.  With everyone, but especially KSL

Thursday, August 25, 2016


"I'm running kind of a greatest hits tape in my head of our whole thing." She told KSL.

"Oh yeah?  How goes the highlight reel?" KSL responded.

"Good.  I find it helps me mentally close the chapter on that stuff."

"Who, or what, is included in this 'Now That's What I Call Memories' collection?"

"Us, naturally.  Closing the chapter on the tumultuous sex part.  What was your favorite part?  Besides the blowjobs, obviously."

"It was nice being close."

"Like physically?"

"Everything.  To feel needed."

"What was the worst part?"

"Always feeling like I was somehow disappointing you/letting you down/emotionally damaging you."


"As a byproduct of my afflictions, yeah, kinda."

"Even with how much I opened up to you, I was/still am more hesitant to show that with anyone because that means I'll just get more hurt. Compliments given and not returned are like sandpaper to the psyche. And I always had a feeling you weren't going to ever feel the same way about me. I didn't realize I was contributing to it."

He gave her a thumbs up, as if to say everything was okay.

"Well, I appreciate you finally admitting that you didn't feel anything for me so I can move on, so I'm not stuck in-between." 

He didn't answer.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Only Slightly Awkward Second Dates

Piz had been super straightforward about liking her and wanting to go on a second date. They basically picked a time and place at the end of their first date.

She sent off her location on her phone for the rest of the night to Dawn, as a safety precaution.  Dawn answered that she was in the bar across the street, and maybe she should stop by to say hello.  She laughed and said feel free.

The hipster bar was not where she remembered it, but then she hadn't driven there all those years ago.  She only vaguely remembered the bar as she walked in.  Piz was already there, with a water waiting for her.  She was 5 minutes early.  She sort of adored that he was punctual and wanting to make plans so far in advance.  He also earned points when he let her buy him a beer, since she got it last time.

They each had a drink and sat in the hot bar for a few minutes before Dawn "surprise" showed up.  They both used their acting degrees to their benefit and made it seem like it was a crazy random happenstance.  Piz became a little uncomfortable, and suggested they visit a different bar for a drink she had expressed interest in.  After awhile she still wasn't done with her drink, so she suggested that they go outside where it was bound to be a little cooler.  She felt the breeze on the back of her neck and breathed a sigh of relief.  The heat had started to make her nauseous and she wasn't sure how much longer she could hang out.

In the breeze they talked about families, and there was a beautiful ease to their conversations.  He confided that he had stopped smoking since the last date, as his friend's mom was dying of lung cancer, and he realized how terrible it was to start up again after the last time he quit.  She did quietly wonder if it was also because she had called it gross last time they met.  The conversation was still in getting to know territory, so it was polite, and yet to reach an excitement level.  But he was nice, cute, and sweet.

Dawn drunkenly stumbled out to the patio and sat down, admitting she wasn't okay to drive.  She suggested a different bar down the street where her friends were, and she would leave them alone.

The place ended up being a brewery that served her a beer that she actually liked.  They had more conversations, and Dawn went back and forth between the two groups of people that were there.  While she was away, the subject of their divorces came up again.

"Sometimes I worry about we are just too damaged to really move on right now.  To develop new relationships."  She said boldly to him.  She waited for a bad response, or a defiant one at least.  She got neither.

"Yeah...I honestly don't know what I want, what I'm doing in regards to dating, or love." He said.  They looked at each other with understanding, and she felt that maybe they would end up just being good friends.

But then he offered to take her and Dawn to a 90's concert the next month, and talked about a bunch of different things he'd like to do with her alone.

Dawn finally sobered up enough to go home, and they walked back to their respective cars.  Piz walked her part way to her own across the street, and they exchanged a longer hug than the first time.  Piz awkwardly kissed her on the cheek, then looked at her as if asking permission for more.  She didn't really process in time, and ended up just smiling at him.  He said they should grab food next time, and she agreed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hitting the Reset Button

She felt his presence as soon as he entered the bar, even though her back was turned.  She looked up to see him walk past her and around the corner, coming out the other side and finally spotting her.

He went straight in for the hug, and they stayed for a long time.  The soap that he used hit her nostrils with eerie familiarity, and she felt a pang in her chest.  She had missed that smell.  The hug was comforting, but it no longer felt like home.  This was the first time they had seen each other in a month.

They got their signature drinks and took a seat in the bar that smelled like gas (acetone from the painting going on upstairs) and had tiny gnats flying around them.  It was hardly an ideal place for their talk, but it was better than the danger of her apartment.

After some friendly chit-chat about his roommate being a jerk and him being tricked into a final disastrous date with X, they sat down with their drinks and got down to the meat of everything ending between them.

He apologized again for being a jerk, and the "second worst friend" she'd ever had.  She took a deep breath, accepted his apology, and decided to broach the part she was having a hard time with.

 She explained how hurt she was by the fact that he had never brought up this "spark" before, the thing that propelled him to be in a relationship.  Why had he agreed to the pact if he knew it wasn't ever going to go anywhere?  He answered he was shit at timing.  She told him that was bullshit and she needed a better answer.  He had more of his signature beverage before answering.  She pointed out every time they had a fight and she told him to just tell her that he never felt anything for her, and he always refused.  He just responded, again, that he was terrible with timing. He always felt backed against a wall when they were fighting, and didn't want to admit anything.  With how dirty they both fought, she could understand.

"What do you want with me?" She asked him.  "You don't want a relationship, you're not ready.  We've both been horrible to each other.  What do you want from me?"

"I want our friendship back.  We were really, really good friends.  I miss that, so much.  I want that.  I want to not be the second worst thing to ever happen to you."  She nodded, the clarity finally coming to the surface.  They were, are, good friends.  This was how it started, and it was going great until they both screwed it up.  He stated that he knew she wouldn't touch him again unless they were in a relationship.

They continued to drink and talk, despite the smell and the flies, and talked like they were just friends again.  They joked, they reminisced, opened up.  She admitted she was having a hard time moving on, that starting online dating was just to distract herself from him.  She strangely felt like deleting her online dating profile, as they were fine now, and she didn't need the extra distraction.

He needed to go to the grocery store for his movie night, and he invited her to a future one.  "What about the roommate?" She asked.  "Screw her, you are my friend.  She can go mope in her room.  In fact, it would be kind of funny." It was the answer he should have been giving the whole time.  She smiled, glad that they were back.

They joked and moved through the store as they used to, and it was magically if nothing sexual or passionate had ever happened between them.  It made her happier than any outcome she could have foreseen.  She had her best friend back.

They embraced in the car before she headed out.  The smell of his soap hit her once again, but now the pang had evolved into...nostalgia?  Distant longing?  It felt different that a couple of hours before.  Her deodorant got on his shirt, and they both laughed and she attempted to brush it off.  "Stop!  Stop slapping my man boob!" He exclaimed as they both smiled at each other, without a hint of romance or sexual tension.

The reset button had been hit once again.

Monday, August 22, 2016


"You're welcome to produce a shitshow" he messaged her about their upcoming drink date.

She responded "I've been trying to get my emotions together, trying to figure out why I'm still feeling the way I feel. I'll try my best not to make it a shitshow."

"Its fine. Maybe an emotional purge is necessary"

"I just fear for the same outcome we always come to."

"Which is?"

"Your uncertainty coupled with my emotional vulnerability.  Classic Us."



Her friend was going through a casual sex encounter that he needed to stop, and he said something she found very important: "(I have to say to him) I care for you but don't want your love...fuck it even feels horrible typing it."

She immediately thought about KSL saying that to her...and though she felt hurt, she also felt a sense of calm.  It was harsh, but true.  "The truth shall set you free" she said.  She suddenly realized the real reason she still felt all the feelings was because he had lied to her twice.  He said he felt "The Spark" with everyone he had ever dated.  Clearly he didn't ever intend on the pact ever coming to fruition, because he hadn't felt the spark with her.  Or at least he never said so.

It was something you'd think he would have brought up before this girl.  So he either lied about the spark, or feeling the spark with her.  Either outcome, she was going to get hurt.

She just hoped that he had enough guts to finally let her know the truth.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Saturday Night Revisited

"Wait, you guys don't remember what you were doing before you kissed?" the one in the middle of said kiss, Banana, asked them.

"Oh my god, it was great.  I can't believe you don't remember!" The tale that followed was one of sitcom level hilarity.

"I came back from getting my stuff out of the car, and sat in-between you guys.  You were really angry at each other, yelling even.  You were yelling about how you weren't attracted to each other.  It was this hilarious 'I don't like you' 'Well I don't like you either' and so then Acrobat was like 'I'll prove it to you, I'm going to kiss you' and so you guys kissed over me, and Acrobat said 'See, I felt nothing' and YOU said 'If that's the case, then stay the fuck away from me' and it was the funniest thing I'd ever seen."

She felt her face flush with embarrassment.  It was after the fact that she had assigned all these underlying emotions to the moment, they were literally just fighting like a bunch of kindergartners. About their sexual attraction towards one another.

It would be shameful...if it wasn't so darn funny.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Suicide Love

She had made plans to spend her expense check from work with her Maid of Honor from her wedding.  They hadn't made time to see one another or have sushi in a movie in so long, they needed to catch up.

"So....your life has changed a bit, huh?"  MOH asked.  "The whole marriage falling apart thing?  Yeah, no bigs." She joked.

She explained what had happened, sans the chaste make out session with KSL.  She did say she had been tempted, and that is what got her to just break up.  She and MOH had always been pretty straightforward with each other, and she was supportive and understood.  They didn't delve too deep into emotions with each other, but that sort of changed throughout the night.

Now that they were both single, they could share "whore tales" together, and they did until they went to see Suicide Squad later that night.  They sat in the cooler night air and discussed how nice it was to just be with another person, to feel the power of someone else wanting you.  The bruises, the excitement.

The utter loneliness when you didn't have someone to constantly desire you.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Sausage Filled Weekend Part 3

The Lumbersexual Poly Vegan was supposed to meet her for food on Friday, but a clusterfuck of miscommunication had caused them to postpone until Saturday.  Even though she tried to get him to grab a beverage or something before, he kept shooting down all her ideas. Fussy once really provoked, she became irritated with all his prior communications.  He seemed to always want to meet up, but once it really came down to it, he was just downright wishy washy about it.

He was staring out into the river as she approached him, so she had to say his name to get him to turn around.  He jumped at her voice, and she wondered if she was shrill or if he was just nervous.

He immediately started walking, and she struggled for a moment to find which stride would be best to keep up.  Being the short one always had it's drawbacks, and he didn't notice or care to slow down.  It was as if he already wanted to get this over with.


She proceeded to start about a million conversations with him.  She asked him about the movie he had seen, how his polyamory worked with 4 different people.  His family's cabin up at the lake, STDs and how scary they could be.  He gave limited answers to her questions, and didn't ask her any.  She suspected he was high as a kite, because he never really removed his sunglasses.

They rounded the corner where to the right of the path it sloped sharply down to the river.  She felt herself get slight vertigo, and she slowed down enough that he noticed.

"Want to turn around?" The first sentence he'd uttered since the walk started.

"Yeah, this seems like far enough."

Once they reached her apartment, they shared a tepid hug before he took off, never to be heard from again.

Another bullet dodged.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sausage Filled Weekend Part 2

Piz was slightly goofy looking, but very sweet.  She arrived a little early to the bar and texted him she was going to be on the porch.  He arrived minutes later, early.  They both picked out the same drink, and took it outside to the porch to enjoy them.

He was in great spirits for having lost his job earlier in the week.  He had decided to go outside his comfort zone and try life insurance, but they had let him go when he said he wouldn't join the union.  It was a right to work state, and he was well within his rights to refuse to join a union.  They were also well within their rights to let him go.  It was a bad situation, but he had an interview with a job in his field on Monday that he was positive about.

He let her prattle on about when she met their favorite author, the stories he told.  She talked about the plays she was doing, and he seemed genuinely interested. He was...sweet.  She kept coming back around to that adjective.  But he was.  He was nice, and sweet.

"So, something that isn't in my profile..."  He started.  "Oooh," she said, scooting forward in her seat, "Yes, tell me a secret."  He smiled slightly, and confided to her that he had gotten a divorce in December.  He had just started to become friends with his ex again, but it was a pretty rough divorce.  She could feel her face soften, and she told him about her impending divorce.  The talk shifted to the feeling of divorce, of having to try so hard but in the end not being able to make it work.  Her heart went out to him, as she could see him feel the same.  There was a sense of camaraderie, of getting through separate wars but understanding what the other person went through.  Their hearts were open to each other, but suddenly in a non-romantic way.  She realized that, like him, she wasn't ready for a serious relationship.

They made plans to check out an old bar the next weekend, and it felt like the beginning of a beautiful friendship...and maybe more in the future.  When they were ready.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sausage Filled Weekend Part 1

"A weekend of dick.  That's what I have lined up for me." She told Dawn over coffee.

Thursday night she had a date with a guy she had met online dating.  They had exchanged very long messages about her favorite author before he took interest in her writing and invited her to drinks. Dusky dubbed him her Piz from their shared favorite TV Show, since he seemed perfect for her and wholesome.

The second date was Friday afternoon, with a guy who seemed like quite the character.  He was into polyamory, in fact he was already in a relationship with 4 other people. She almost stopped the date in it's tracks, but then she thought it would be good practice.  Plus, he was attractive.  The original plan was to meet on Friday, but after a ton of miscommunication they decided to push it to Saturday at noon after her yoga class.

Friday night she had plans with SD and Goldie to see a play, and hopefully get drinks afterward.

Then her dates took a platonic turn.  She planned on meeting with KSL for a walk on Saturday.  It started as drinks on Friday, but then the roommate lost her job.  Again. So it was downgraded to a walk on Saturday since he got called into rehearsal.  Then he got sick, and it was canceled altogether.  She then made plans to have dinner and a take in a movie with her maid of honor.

Sunday morning was taken up by a rehearsal for the morning, and a light board instruction in the afternoon.  Then she and Dusky were going to her building's 50th anniversary dinner and recording the first episode of their podcast.

For her first free weekend in a long time, it sure filled up quickly.

Friday, August 12, 2016

PJ Validation Talk

"I'm a little concerned that you feel like you have to get that from another person, that you don't feel that yourself." PJ had called her for a chat since they hadn't seen each other in awhile.

"I don't....I don't need it.  I just want it.  It's a big difference.  It's been so long since I've had that, since I had words of affirmation.  It's nice to know, even if it's just one date, that some guy thinks I'm worth spending time with.  It's been awhile since that happened."

They had another one of those conversations...the one that hearkened back to the night in her car a year ago...where they talked about life, about love, about what was to come.

"I think,'s your time.  It's your time to do what you want.  Make mistakes, even if you know you are making them in the moment."

"It's your time."

Thursday, August 11, 2016

KSL's Mea Culpa

She had decided that she didn't want to see his face unless she had to.  Meeting would only mean she would have to look him in the face again, remember how attractive he was, maybe make a mistake.  Or maybe he would make a move and she wouldn't be able to resist.  Or, he wouldn't make a move and break her heart.  Meeting would solve nothing.

She messaged him, told him to give her stuff to Banana.  She couldn't meet him, she'd made other plans.  He said okay.  She closed the chat window, and busied herself with plans with other people.

She was determined to build a life with other people, without him in it.  She was doing a good job.  For half a week, everything was her new normal.  It was okay.  Passionless, but okay.

She posted a status about a joke she and Dusky had shared on Facebook, harmless fun.  20 people liked it...and one of the first to do so was KSL.

His profile pic...the picture she had taken of him of their first show together...stared her in the face.  He saw.  He acknowledged.  She had said horrible, mean things to him.  He had said horrible, mean things to her.  It should be over.  Why was he suddenly, for the first time, liking her social media posts?

A couple of days later, she posted a photo on Instagram and shared it on Facebook with her and the boys from the show.  They all liked giving her a lap dance at once, and they caught it one night.  It was blurry, full of underwear at eye level with her face.  It wasn't any big deal.  KSL liked it.

He was the first person to like her new profile picture.  He liked her photo of her time at the lake.  A show she attended that night.  Her eyes narrowed in suspicion.  This was pretty manipulative, even for him.  She posted an update, lame and contrived about her calling it a night early.  She waited.  Minutes later, he liked the post.  "God damn it." She said aloud in her apartment.  What was he playing at?  She decided to ignore it, like she hadn't noticed it.  She stopped posting things altogether.

Two days later, he messaged her.  "How was the closing weekend?  Did you get your stuff back?"  She responded mostly in kind.  He thanked her for letting her borrow her stuff,  and said: "It was kind of you to share some personal nostalgia with me."

"What else are friends for?  Thanks for taking care of it for me."

He started typing.  He kept typing for a long time.

"You *are* a friend to me. Truly. I know I haven't been a good friend to you. Hell, I haven't even been halfway decent. You go through enough shit without me unloading on you. What was the line? 'Vomiting all your shitty neuroses.'  Yeah. You don't need me doing that, nor do you deserve it. Just because I sometimes feel a little safer talking to you about things doesn't me license to open the floodgates of douchebaggery. I ask your opinion, request your counsel. I need to respect what you give me in those times, and not lash out just because I may not agree with your interpretation or if I'm particularly stung by it. That's not what friends do. So, for what it's worth (which I'm sure isn't much), I'm sorry."

She took a shaky breath.  She was glad he apologized, but she wasn't sure where it would go.  She decided to at least keep her wall up, but say what she needed to say.

"I appreciate your apology. For what it's worth though, it's not really your unloading but your approach to unloading that comes off as accusatory towards me. If you need to just vent, I understand that, but when it comes off as attacking me, then you aren't really venting anymore, you are lashing out. And as of late I haven't been extended the same courtesy. I'm sure you don't really care about the specifics, but I do appreciate your apology."

He responded that he hadn't been fair to her at all.  She asked, then what now? 

"I feel I owe you a drink or seven and some hang-time.  I need to make some time to meet with you."

He did owe her a drink or seven.  She'd bought him so many drinks, comforted him in his time of need.   Could she hold it together, stay strong?  Could she even really forgive him and forge a friendship?

"When are you free?"

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Son of a Beach

She had one day off in-between her last show and rehearsal for the next.  She already felt lighter, her schedule finally letting up.  She was also a little panicked, as she would have more time to accept dates from the dating site.  Both her previous dates had requested a second, but she wasn't interested in either one of them.  She did need to give the weapon back to the first one, so she supposed she was going to have to go on a second date whether she liked it or not.

She put her phone on airplane mode, and decided to just enjoy the day.  She, BFF, and Dusky had decided to go to the lake for the afternoon before seeing BFF's show.  They took photos all day, sat in the sun, went in the pool, and basically just relaxed and worked on their tans.  She managed to only get burned on one leg, so badly that it was swollen before the show even started.  She popped two painkillers and managed to get through the show, only almost falling asleep once.  It had been a long day and a lot of sun.

After the show they ended up giving another friend a ride home, and she caravaned everyone back to their homes before heading home herself.  She still had so much to do for the week, but she was too tired to do anything but get some after-sun lotion slathered on her and falling into bed.  

As she feel asleep she thought about how great the day had been, simple.  No drama of the past show, the new show shaping up to be amazing.  Everything was still busy, but her mind was finally calming down.  She'd only coughed a few times that day, and was sure that her sickness had been her just sick of dealing with the drama of the show.

She finally felt like life was leveling out.  Just as she drifted off, she realized she might have just jinxed herself.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Smoothing it Over

" you remember what you said to me that night?  To make me react that way?" She asked Acrobat before everyone else arrived to rehearsal.

"....I honestly don't.  I mean, we said a lot of stuff that night.  We were all pretty far gone." Acrobat responded with a smile.  Clearly this wasn't something that was bothering him.

"Yeah, we were.  It was really fun until it wasn't, apparently," He agreed and said that he most likely said something like he wasn't ready for a relationship yet, which he wasn't.

"Oh, I know you aren't ready...but I don't think that's what you said."

"I'm sure I didn't exactly put it eloquently." He responded, still with a smile.  Her phone chirped that the director had arrived but wasn't sure what room they were in.  The conversation put on hold, she messaged him the next day to clear everything up.

"So, I remember some of what was said Saturday night...I just felt like I was out of line and you deserved an explanation along with an apology for my hostility, but not all the info is really coming back to me for a good explanation. I guess all I can say is that I was used by my ex, and used by another recent "relationship," so whatever was said struck a nerve with me because I felt like it was playing into a pattern and I was angry at men for being seen as easily usable, and I took it out on you, and I'm really sorry. I hope it doesn't make our friendship awkward from here on out. I totally get you aren't looking for a relationship, I see where you are in your healing process and I totally respect it, I think our innocent flirting just made it a little messy that night. Just to clarify, SO not looking to get into a relationship with you. I like where we are, or where we were before the end of Saturday night."

Then she suddenly felt like she had shared way too much and added "tl;dr version, sorry I was a bitch suddenly on Saturday night."

He responded quickly: "Thank you for the message and I'm glad you have a better idea of what made you upset that night. I agree innocent flirting with alcohol can get messy with emotions. I must have been oblivious to you being upset or a bitch as you call it because I thought the night ended well."

Whew. Bullet dodged on an awkward rehearsal period. When she saw him, the flirting had been put on the back burner, but they were the good friends they were before the flirting started, and she couldn't really ask any more than that.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Closing Night

The Show From Hell had finally come to a close.  They had a great last crowd, and everything went mostly smooth, save for an audience member who had mixed hard core pain meds and booze and ended up throwing up at the top of the show.

After the show she, Dusky, and 21 were going to go for her and KSL's signature cocktail.  She was hoping that if she shared it with someone else it would lose it's KSL power.  Now that they were basically through as friends and lovers, he was liking every post.  It was unnerving, and pissed her off as he hadn't liked anything of hers in months on social media.  He was doing it to virtually keep his face in her memory.  All she wanted to do was forget.

21 came to her in a panic after the show: He had forgotten his wallet at home, and couldn't buy her the drink.  She sighed as he lived a fair distance away, and said that they needed to leave then to fix the situation.  She told one of the directors what was going on and that they'd be back, and took off.

They were on their way back with the signature drink when she got a barrage of texts from cast members.  Where were they, everyone was waiting on them.  She was irritated, because the director knew damn well what was up with the situation.  They all arrived back a little irritated, and they were yelled at by everyone.  It looked like the shitshow was ending appropriately enough.

What they were "waiting on" was a toast the director wanted to make to everyone about all their hard work.  They got emotional, and it just got weird because obviously it didn't mean as much to everyone else.

After some pizza and cake that had the poster of the show printed on it, they moved onto another bar.  She unabashedly brought her signature cocktail in and sipped it throughout the night.  They were out until 3AM talking about their new shows and just making the moment with the people they cared about last a little longer.

Eventually she and SD walked home, their next hangout now up in the air with the close of the show.  She would miss certain people, but she was feeling no la petite morte for this one.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Neighbor Drama

She fell asleep around midnight, already cursing herself for getting to bed so late.  She needed to go to yoga with TM at 9, and she had a pick up rehearsal with her new cast at noon.  There was going to be no time for a mud mask or other pampering that she usually gave to herself on Saturdays.  Then that night was the last night of the show, and she knew it would be another 3 AM ordeal.

She awoke suddenly at 5:00 AM to some loud people in the alleyway.  She held onto sleep, waiting for them to walk and move on.  After a few minutes they hadn't moved on, but gotten louder.  Suddenly, once she had fully woken herself up, she realized their speech was very clear.  She climbed out of bed and opened her balcony door, and the sound became so clear she realized that the people were in her next door neighbors 400 square foot apartment.

They were clearly drunk, loudly yelling about what they were celebrating.  One girl kept asking over and over again "Who's dog is this?" So clearly they all weren't good friends.  By 5:30, once it became clear no one was leaving, she called downstairs to the doorman.  No answer.  She sighed, pulled on some pants, and went downstairs.  The doorman had the "back in 10 minutes" sign posted.  As she waited she looked on the sign in book, and found that literally no one had signed in to be a guest for her neighbors party.  How did they manage to get in?  She made her complaint once the young punk doorman returned.  He said he'd be up in a minute to ask them to keep it down.

She heard the doorman knock on the door next to hers, and suddenly she heard her neighbor, clearly angry and drunk.  "I never even see that fucking cunt.  She's complaining about me?  You know what, both of you can just fuck the hell off." SLAM.  The door was closed, the conversation over.  She was legit scared of her neighbor at this point, and decided that she guessed she was up.

An hour later, he had finally had enough of his company, opened his front door, and yelled at everyone to get the fuck out.  It took two full elevators to get everyone out, and once they were gone he continued to complain, loudly.  He certainly had a mouth on him.  She managed to tune him out enough to fall asleep for about an hour before she got ready for yoga.  Just as she was about to leave, she heard a knock at his dog.

In a real Gladys Kravitz move, she went to her peephole to see who it was.  It was 2 plainclothes officers.  She didn't call the police!  Someone else must have.  She wondered if it had been the front desk or another neighbor.  She found out later it had been both.  The man a floor above her on the other side of the elevators had heard the party, and he got very angry at that sort of thing and always called.

The neighbor never did open the door for the police, but after they left she heard him get in the elevator.  She hurried to grab the next one so he wouldn't see her, and made her way to Yoga.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Coming Clean

"I think, now that it's over, I'm going to tell SD about KSL." She said to Dawn.

"That's a good idea...I think she knows something is up."  Dawn replied.  Guess that settles that.


"So....I know that you had an idea that something was up, and it's over now, so I wanted to...I wanted to tell you...KSL actually did end up having sex a few times."

The look of shock on SD's face was genuine, and she almost regretted having another person know.  Clearly she had given her too much credit as to knowing something was up.

", you need to back up.  What happened?!?!"

" started the day I moved in." She said sheepishly.

"Oh, this is all starting to make so much more sense.  This is all coming together in my head.  What happened?" SD said.

She started the story at her move in day, when he had come and kissed her in the studio.  SD didn't ask if there was anything leading up to it, and she didn't offer any of the pre-show information.

"We agreed there was this...disconnect of emotions between us.  Though we were great friends, and the sexual attraction was there...the romantic wasn't.  So, I'm a nerd and I typed up rules for us."

"Good for you!" SD exclaimed.  She was being much more understanding than she could hope for.

The rest of the story came out.  The tumultuous back and forth of the friendship, how he was in bed, and just how he could be in general.  SD had known KSL for years, knew his patterns, and commended her for not falling into the "same trap" all his other girls had.  When she told her about this latest sad girl,  she shook her head and said "You see what kind of a person he is?  He just...he knows what he's doing.  He knows that he's hurting people."

"And he knows that I know too." She said.  She pulled out her phone and showed her the last conversation they had.  She had torn him apart, and their last message was one of formality.  She had decided she didn't want to see him in order to get her stuff back, and to give it to a mutual friend, Banana, during the next Sunday movie day he had...the one she wasn't invited to because of his heinous roommate....if that was even the truth.

"I would still like to keep this vaulted for obvious reasons.  No one needs to know that I banged the village bicycle like every other girl.  Plus we have that whole fun HPV thing to contend with now.  That's why I was so concerned with it."

"Oh shit, yeah!" SD remembered.  "Don't worry pumpkin, I won't tell anyone, and I'm here for you."

It was a better outcome than she knew she deserved.  She was lucky to have a friend like SD.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Perfect on Paper Part 2

The day of the date had arrived.  She had a stupid busy day at work, and it was mid-morning when she first wrote down the date and realized it was her wedding anniversary.  It would have been 12 years.

A pain hit her chest and her eyes filled with tears unexpectedly.  She wanted to text him.  What would she say?  Her throat constricted.  She would have to put it out of her mind for now to concentrate at work without falling apart.

Her mind kept wandering back to it throughout the day, but she had to go straight to rehearsal after work so she couldn't think about it for long.  She felt terrible, unknowingly making a first date on the day of her anniversary.  This date was doomed from the start, as he didn't really look very attractive from his photo.  She didn't immediately feel that "spark" she guessed.

She got a text on her way to the date.  Her ex said "Happy Anniversary, which I realize isn't really an anniversary anymore, but it still feels like I should send you something positive today as it has been an important day in our past and I would like it to be something to celebrate our friendship going forward.  So I hope you have a great day today."

She stopped in the parking lot, and making her date wait, she responded "Thank you.  I've been struggling to send you a message today, so thank you for reaching out.  Even though the love is different, I still love you."

She wiped the tears from her eyes, took a deep breath, and proceeded to have a date with the most vanilla man she'd ever met.  He was at good listening, but not great and making her feel understood or validated in her opinions.  He was a crisis counselor with zero interesting stories.  Before the food even came, she knew there would be no second date.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Curtains for KSL

"I told you about X, right?" KSL started.  He hadn't.

"X" was a girl that about a month ago he started basically dating.  

"I'm happy to make out and grope around, sure, but I try not to let it go further. I succeed, to my surprise. Explain my way outta the situation and leave."

She asked "Why didn't you just have sex with her if you were basically dating? What stopped you? What we had going was pretty much all but over, not that it wasn't easy out clause central, so what stopped you?"

"Alright, fine. We did it once. There." He replied.

She wished that she felt anything but inevitability when she read that sentence, but she didn't. She'd predicted this over and over. She was anything but surprised.

"Okay, well in the grand scheme of things that makes more sense. So, you think that she is awesome, you are attracted to her, clearly you have sexual took her on dates. If you really like her, something you could never admit with me, then what's the problem? What is stopping you from being in a relationship with her?"

"I didn't feel the spark."

"So, let me ask you...were you really not going to tell me that you slept with her?"

"I was gonna try and find a way to work it in. I wasn't entirely keen on your potential reaction"

"We had an easy out clause, but now that you withheld I'll always wonder if you slept with other people while we were sleeping together."

"Well wonder no more! She was the only one. And yeah, I wrapped it up. Wouldn't want to potentially give out HPV, you know?"

This conversation spiraled into dragging the name of the girl who potentially gave him HPV out of her. After dragging her through his trash, she relented.

"Fine, you know what, why not take absolutely everything away from me KSL. Take it all, everything that I am so that you can treat me like trash some more, until I lose faith in everything about you, because clearly you won't be happy until you've rejected absolutely everything I am."

She gave him the name. "She'll deny it, everyone will deny it, and then you won't trust me despite the fact that I have never been anything but honest to you. You doomed me before you even knew me."

"Oooh, that's a good line. I'm sure it'll read great when you type it up. I guess I just shouldn't be with anyone anymore. I'm sure you support that decision."
"I don't care what you do with your dick anymore. Our pact is over."
"I ruin everything I touch"
"I can't disagree. You throw away perfectly good women and pine for the worthless ones."
"I came to you to talk, as friends

How the fuck do we always end up here?

Because me


I do this

Every time"
He was being manipulative. This was the point where she was supposed to turn, to feel sorry for him. She was over it this time.
"What do you want to do about it?"
"Well, I don't have the money for a therapist and I hate meds"
"Okay, eliminated options. So, without those things, what do you want to do about it?"
"I would love to fix it. But at this time, I don't see a way how. So, I can withdraw from interaction and keep everyone safe."
"Do you want to fix it? Or do you just want to be happy?"
"I don't know if both can happen"
"You think that fixing it won't fix your relationships, thereby making you happy? If you don't believe that, then maybe there is less accident in your being an asshole than you think."
They planned a time when they could meet to drop off her stuff. Without the orgasms, all he was to her was a terrible, terrible friend.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sunday Brunch is Okay for Chilling

She kept looking on the inmate list, calling the automated number, and 21 wasn't there.  She finally had to admit defeat and walked home.  She was just heading into her apartment when Dawn texted asking if she could head over to her house early.  She couldn't be alone, she had gotten a text from her ex that upset her.  She said sure and hopped in the shower.

Right as she was almost ready, Goldie knocked on her door with a job opportunity for her at a film festival.  They chatted for awhile, she told Goldie about the MIA actor, her kissing Acrobat.

"You are going to end up fucking him." Goldie predicted, and she immediately winced at the thought.

"No!  I'm done being anyone's rebound.  I'm sick of being used." Secretly though, she was terrified.  Goldie was almost always right.  Why didn't anyone want her as a relationship?  Was this her future?  The girl you fucked to get over your ex?  Where did that leave her? Basically feeling as used as anyone could feel.

Minutes after Goldie left, Dawn entered her apartment.  She got ready quickly and they headed out to early morning coffee.  Dawn got filled in on the evenings events, and Dawn filled her in on the text message that sent her into a panic this morning.

Dawn's ex had sent her a text inviting her to paddle-board in an area she previous said she would love to go paddle-boarding.  He basically had invited her to what could be described as her dream date.  Only problem was, he didn't want to date her anymore.  She was conflicted as she really wanted to go, but already had plans all day.

"If you want to ditch out on me I totally understand!" She said to Dawn, who immediately said no.  They discussed how stupid men could be, giving them what they want only after it was too late.  Earlier the last week Dawn had slipped up and had sex with her ex, thus throwing the whole "we are friends now" dynamic into super orbit.  The waters they were navigating were very treacherous, and she didn't want Dawn to get hurt.  Their situations were too close to one another, only Dawn had at least had a small relationship first.

They both weren't in love with their male counterparts, but there was more emotion there than normal.

They decided to drown their sorrows in an indulgent day.  They went to coffee, then breakfast with mimosas, a bar for some hard cider to kill time, and arrived just in time for the matinee of TM's one man show.

Goldie and SD were there also, as well as Dusky sitting next to her and Acrobat in the row in front of them.  They had seen each other in the lobby, and Acrobat had acted like nothing at all had happened, except for 21's DUI.  She told him he looked nice in his shirt, and they parted ways.

"First of all, hotter than I remember" Dawn said of Acrobat. "Second, older than I remember.  You should go after that!"

"I don't think so...he's still not over his last girlfriend.  The last thing I need is another emotionally unavailable man.  I'm a little burned out on that type of guy."

21 texted that he was out of jail and doing okay, just very embarrassed.

The show started, and it was fantastic.  Afterwards she and Dawn were still feeling a little down about their situations.  They went to dinner where she drowned her sorrows in sushi, and Dawn had some vegan ramen.

They perked up as they left each other, hopefully that their situations would turn around.