Monday, January 30, 2017

Interview Jitters

"Are you nervous?"  Her boss asked her.

"Not really...I tend to interview pretty well.  I feel confident."

"You do interview really well.  You've got this, I'm proud of you for getting it!"

Really it wasn't her doing at all.  The producer of the play she was stage managing mentioned this job to her, and she sent in her resume right away, expecting to hear nothing back.  She got a phone call and an interview in less than 72 hours.

Her ex was also up for the job, and had told her that he "talked her up" while he was there.  She told him that wasn't very smart, he needed to fight for the job himself.

She was in the car on the way to the interview.  Things had been tense at work today and she was trying to put it out of her head.  Then her phone went off.

"The university just let me know that they have reviewed my program info and officially approved my graduation.  Confirmed might be more accurate."

There it was.  The reminder that she was, in fact, ineffectual.  She couldn't do this job.  She couldn't even get her own husband to care about his own damn life.

In a panic, she knew she needed someone to give her a self confidence boost.  Someone from whom it would matter.

"Ugh, because OF COURSE right before he knows I have an important interview he texts me reminding me of something he accomplished without me, making me feel ineffectual, the worst way to go into an interview.  Fuck him.  Now I'm going to fuck this up."

"You won't fuck it up.  He has no power over you.  You are a fucking badass and are gonna crush it."  KSL texted back a minute later.

She went in, and she was charming.  She was nice to the people that she met, remembered little details of things that people appreciated.  But she knew that she could have been more, and she not been shaken.

"Breathe.  You're alive." KSL texted.

"I know.  Thank you for the words of affirmation.  Much appreciated.   Fuck, just the damn timing on that.  I was fearless before that moment.  I knew I had it."

"And you still have it."

She wasn't so sure anymore.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Opening Night

Finally, her play that wouldn't end had finally made progress.  It was finally opening night, and come hell or high water it would finish.

After a taxidermy head fell off the wall and a vase got smashed by a falling sword, but no one was hurt.  In fact, in the face of everything the actors actually seemed to be on top of their lines for the first time ever.

They were in the home stretch when she got a text from MG asking to come out and drink.  She instead invited her to the reception for the play, and said they would hit up a place to drink afterward.

After a boring reception, they headed over to a faux-dive bar with Acrobat, Banana, and JJ in tow.  They played pool, coupled off and switched around when the mood suited them.  All in all it was a fun time despite the temporary awkwardness of the recently split up of Banana and Acrobat.

MG and Acrobat were engaged in a deep conversation when she came back over from playing pool with a JJ.  She reached out lovingly for MG, when MG recoiled and ran out of the bar.

"What did you say to her?!?" She yelled at Acrobat, who insisted they were just having a conversation about relationships.

She gave her a minute, then went after her.  MG was smoking a cigarette and crying.  "It's not you at all, I'm sorry.  He just has a way of saying things that make you feel like the whole world is caving in, you know?"

She knew.

Soon afterward MG was making out with JJ after saying she wanted to leave.  Reluctantly she went with her, and they went for a hamburger so that MG could throw up what she had been drinking that night.

MG slept on her couch until noon the next day.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

When it Rains, it Floods

The river was rising fast.  Rocks she could see that morning were now being covered by the ever increasing current.  She was afraid to go and afraid to stay in her she took the coward's way out and stayed.  Up on the higher floors she might be trapped, but nothing would be damaged.

The city was in chaos, everyone coming down to the river to watch it rush by, throwing pictures up on social media at alarming rates.  KSL had a rehearsal down by the river, and did some live video right at the base of her apartment...but he never texted her or offered to let her stay with him.  In fact, only PJ had made an offer for her to stay.  Not even BFF had offered her spare room.

She was feeling despondent.  Her job was in serious jeopardy, she could be laid off any day now.  She had her tonsillectomy scheduled for February, and she just hoped that her health insurance would hold out until then.  She was applying everywhere and getting nothing back.

She remembered a saying about how there are only three things in life that make up happiness: Career, Love, and Health...and you could never have all three at the same time.  One was always missing.

This time, she felt all three were missing.

She had gone on three dates, and all had deleted their profiles after dating her.  What was wrong with them?  What was wrong with her?

Right before she had gotten serious with Piz, she went on a single date with a guy she hit it off with right away.  She had taken to calling him The Pilot, since he owned his own planes and worked with drones.  They went out for AYCE sushi and hit it off right away, as friends.  He had sort of fallen off the face of the earth until texting her a Happy New Year, and the conversation had continued from there.

She asked him if their date had been bad, or if there was something that she was doing wrong.  He told her no, that he had a great time and she was one of the most normal, yet not boring people he's ever been out with.  And he had gone on a lot of bad dates.

It made her feel a little better, as she stood on the balcony and watched them clear the debris from under the bridge as the flood raged on.  Goldie did a live stream and she and Super Director provided some commentary.

In the end, nothing close to them got to the point of flooding, and all was okay.  She still went to bed wishing something would go right for her.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Past You Didn't Leave Behind

"How goes?"

They had just spoken the night before.  Usually he would let it cool off for a couple of days.  What in the hell was his problem?

"I'm just worried about my show."

"You never sent me anything for the script."

So he sent stuff to her, including a piece that was extremely autobiographical.  It included the "relationship" he had lied to her about.  The deciding factor for cutting him out of her life. 

She had managed to almost forget about it.  Reading about it brought it all back.  It made her sick that the girl he had accidentally dated had made it into his writing, and she had still...never made an impact on his life.

"Any of the scripts your favorite?"

"That one was hard to read.  Maybe just because I know it's true.  But because it's true it might ring too true to actually get the laugh in the end.  Or the hope.  Maybe it's just me.  Maybe it's still hard for me, your whole "spark" thing.  Maybe I'm too close to it.  I'm not having a good day.  Year.  Life.  Whatever."

"What's going on?"

"Just everything.  Hard to be at work because it feels like the ax is going to drop any day and I can feel everyone's anxiety.  Feeling like I'm too hard to love because I'm a fucking porcupine and I go on dates with guys who them delete their profiles after our first date.  If I'm not worthy of employment or love or healthy friendships then what am I even still doing here.  You know, the usual."

She took a deep breath and continued.

"Maybe that is why the whole spark thing is hitting me harder than it usually does.  Like, we've officially made it to good friends that occasionally fuck but I'm not worthy of anything more.  And never will be.  Apparently."

"It has nothing to do with your worth as a person, as far as you and I are concerned.  Please know that."

"Hard not to take it personally."

"Because you are too close to it.  You're also still very much freshly divorced.  And a self-identified hypersensitive.  A lot of the relationship stuff that often is brushed off by others is gonna be painful for you."

"The divorce is in the works, and the feelings are long gone.  Were gone long before you made it onto the scene."

"Wasn't suggesting that it had anything to do with love.  More the social stigma that comes with it.  The fact that you have had to be strong for so long makes you more sensitive to all the bullshit baggage that comes with the dating world."

"I don't think this is regular bullshit baggage.  I think most people just date.  Or fuck.  Or be friends.  But hey, maybe it's just normal for you."


MG saw the bruise on her arm later that day.  She was caught, and told her that she had slept with KSL on New Years.  She didn't tell her about any of the times before, and swore her to secrecy.  She hoped to God that she didn't tell anyone.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Way the Wind Blows

"What are we doing?" seemed to suddenly be a reoccurring theme in her love life.  She had asked it in her marriage, when she started with KSL, with Piz, and again now with KSL.

KSL.  She'd now had sex with him just as many times inside of their agreement as outside of it.  I guess it sort of made them even.  They had both initiated it an equal number of times.

Maybe that made it time to stop.  Or at least made it so they went in a different direction.

He had been liking her Instagram posts, but hadn't made contact with her since the text that he got home okay.  She had un-followed him on Facebook and blocked him from popping up on her messenger sidebar.  Again.  She just didn't want to be the first one to reach out, or get clingy, or anything like that.

She felt they had reached a turning point, but she was unsure what that turning point was.  She hadn't quite made up her mind.  They had gotten closer, and it was feeling more romantic than ever.

And yet...she knew it wasn't how it would be if he actually had romantic feelings for her.  They had the best time when they were together, and she obviously liked him more than just friends.

Did she want a relationship with him?  Did she want to just cut ties and run?  Was it just because of the new year that she felt she had to make a decision one way or the other?

"As you know my advice would be just to try to find a way to enjoy it and not expect more out of it, but I know with your past feelings that's not easy.  So you do you girl!" Goldie texted her.

Could she just be okay with mindlessly having sex with him and letting it continue to skirt the edges of a relationship?  Could he?

She flashed back to the last few months, them hanging out, him telling her about flirtations he's had with girls, her telling him she didn't care because they weren't in a relationship.  He would always say that he knew that, but he wanted to let her know.

Was it because he knew about how much she hated lies from him, so he was just revealing everything?  Was it because he wanted more of a relationship and knew that couldn't happen with her without some hardcore trust?  Maybe it was only because she had threatened to burn their friendship to the ground and invite all their mutual friends to roast marshmallows by it.  Either way, it showed that he had changed...for her.  She couldn't discount that from her overthinking.

Why did he keep coming back to her?  He literally couldn't go more than 72 hours without texting her to check in.  She thought back to when he said he was going to "slut spiral."  Granted he had sex with two other girls last year that both meant nothing also, but that wasn't exactly a spiral.

He also kept bringing up how he was going to end up alone forever, couldn't be in a relationship, blah blah blah.  He kept hammering that point home with her, over and over.  Almost if he wanted to ask her.  Or, more like he wanted her to ask him.

She had no idea what to do, just knew that something must be done.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Rockin' Eve Part 2

KSL walked through the door, and she reintroduced him to Dawn.  He hugged JJ, who immediately said he had to leave and took off.  Dawn was resting on her bed, and KSL made her a margarita with the booze he had brought.  He also gifted her an entire pizza, saying he picked it up at one of his other parties.

They sat down on the couch, and Dawn got up and started gathering her things.  She gave Dawn a hug goodbye, and then she and KSL were alone again.

"I swear I didn't do that on purpose.  I thought everyone was staying for awhile." She said.

He shrugged it off and sat down with his drink.  They slowly descended into being fairly buzzed on their drinks, and he talked about his next show.  Around 3AM they drunk dialed his friend who was going to be part of it.  He didn't answer of course, so they continued to watch videos and talk.

They got to talking about their lives, and she shared a little but was evasive.  She explained her feelings of not feeling desired or wanted.  Her spirit animal and the two dates that had deleted their online dating profile.  "Even you." She added.

"Me?  What about me?" He said, obviously offended.

"Nothing, never mind."

He started talking about how bad he felt about where he was in his life.  He confessed he was a little in trouble at work, even though he was doing well there.  Everything was coming down on him the same way that it was coming down on her.

She felt she kissed him.  He kissed her back, but didn't move his hands.  "What are you doing?"

"I like kissing you.  But not when you aren't playing along."

"Hey, the last few times it's been all me.  I'd like you to take charge for once."

Challenge Accepted.  She pulled herself to straddle his lap and continued to kiss him while taking off his clothes.  He finally gave in and reached under her shirt to remove her bra, then her shirt.  She led him over to the bed, but he started to pull her hair.  She was trying to get his belt off, but wasn't able to do it.

"I'm sorry, am I distracting you?"  He smirked.

"Very much so.  This is my rodeo pal, drop the hair."

Her control over the situation was lost a few moments later, when he realized she still had her jeans on and he was completely naked.  It got wild with them quickly, and his aggression was almost too much for her to handle.  He seemed to want to actually start to have sex, so she stopped him and asked him if she wanted him to grab a condom.  He continued to kiss her and come closer and closer.

"KSL?  Condom?" She asked again.

He grabbed her and growled into her ear "Not yet.  It's my turn to have some fun."

He took over and ravished her for a long time before finally pull her up off the bed to get a condom.  The sex was, as always, amazing. It was like he had decided to take over for being the marathon man in her life.

There was no cuddling afterwards, he went straight to the bathroom.  She waited her turn, and he was dressed by the time she came out.

"It's like, 7 in the morning.  You've been up for over 24 hours.  Would you sleep for like an hour or something before driving home."

"Actually, that kind of invigorated me.  I feel like I've had an energy drink or something.  She put her head to his chest, and his heart was indeed pumping very hard.

"Look, you got me a little this time." He said, pointing out a small bruise forming on the inside of his arm.  "I got you a little too," he said, pointing to her shoulder.  She looked down and frowned.

"No...that's birthmark.  It's always been there."  She was more than a little shocked that he had never noticed it before, considering how many times he had spent with his mouth over it.  Piz had noticed it one of their first nights together.

"Hey, maybe I can beat the sun home." Sunrise was fast approaching outside her giant wall of window.

She walked him to the door, and he hugged her goodbye.  Knowing this might very well be the last time, she kept his embrace, looked up and him and said "Hey" so he was looking at her.  She tapped her finger to her lips, indicating a good bye kiss.

He pretended not to understand for a minute, then bent down and they shared a single kiss.  They'd never done that before, it had always lead to making out.

"Happy New Year." She said after they parted.  He echoed her sentiment, without any awkwardness or dread behind his tone.  Maybe they had made it to their plateau.

He texted her that he was home safe 20 minutes later, and she fell asleep.  At least her year was off to a multi-orgasm start.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Rockin' Eve Part 1

Dawn walked in and was unable to sit down.  She was agitated, very upset.  As the countdown show raged behind her, she cried about her new relationship.  He was spending time with his ex again, and had just invited her to use the mediation app that was their "thing."  She was hurt, and wasn't sure that she could get past it.

They had been dating three months.  It hit her as she was talking that their first kiss was the end of her and Piz.  Three months and she still wasn't over him.  How embarrassing.  She decided then and there that it was time to stop.  She needed to completely put Piz out of her mind and stop letting him have a hold on her heart.

She comforted Dawn, who calmed down after awhile and managed to enjoy herself a little bit as they chatted and snacked on Dawn's vegan cheese.  She got a call from Goldie, who lived on the wrong side of the building for fireworks and wanted to come over for the count down with her husband and dog.  She agreed, and 15 minutes before midnight, MG said she was heading over and had invited a mutual friend, JJ.

Her introvert New Year's Eve had blown up in her face.  She'd never had this many people in her apartment.

They all stepped outside and watched the fireworks rage for almost 20 minutes.  They headed back inside and she checked on her phone to see that KSL had texted her "HAPPY NEW YEAR"

She responded in kind and asked if the two parties he was invited to were fun.  He said he should have stayed at the first one as it was more fun.  Dawn interjected, "You should invite him over, everyone is here!"

So she went against her better judgment and sent off the text "Well still kicking it here with a couple of people."

Before she could send the second text inviting him, he called.  She answered, and MG decided it was time for her to leave.  She was saying goodbye to MG and KSL took it as her saying goodbye to him and hung up.  She texted him after closing the door on MG.

"I was saying goodbye to MG not you silly.  So legit I didn't hear a word you said over the phone.  I was inviting you over to hang but I guess have a happy new year."

He called a second time.  He was close and could head over.

There was a knock at the door, and JJ was on the other side.  Goldie and her husband and dog left, so it was just JJ and Dawn.  Her party was dwindling, and it was going to look silly when KSL got there.

The doorbell rang.

Thursday, January 5, 2017


"Caught up in the Romance of noble deeds and the pursuit of unreachable goals; idealistic without regard to practicality."

She had a "When Harry Met Sally" style fantasy.  She would be spending New Year's Eve alone, watching the ball drop and gearing up to the watch the downtown fireworks from her balcony.  Just before midnight, her doorbell would ring.

He would be standing there, and an electric moment would pass between them.  They would kiss, and she would know they were meant to be together, that he was finally in it for the semi-long haul.

It would be either Piz or KSL, waiting to give her the speech.  They couldn't spend another moment apart from her, and wanted to be with her.  Only her.

She wasn't sure which she wanted to be at her door more.  It didn't much matter, since it wasn't going to happen.  Not with Piz, not with KSL...not with her ex.  She would spend the evening with Dawn and MG, they would go home, and she would cry herself to sleep.

The truth was, she wouldn't end up getting to sleep until 7:00 AM.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Christmas Spirit Animal

"Acrobat said he had a Christmas present for me and wanted to bring it over.  It was a print of what he thought my 'spirit animal' should be." Banana said.

"So, what was it?" She asked.

"A wolverine."

To be fair, Banana had broken Acrobat's heart.  After only a month of dating she got sick of him.  She broke up with him, and he was devastated by it.  She had talked to him one night, and his thoughts of being able to just be tossed aside mirrored her feelings of being left by Piz.  Acrobat had clammed up hard after a few minutes of talking however, and they hadn't really spoken since.

She sent him a basic "Merry Christmas" text, and he returned the favor and asked what she was doing that day.  "I have something to drop off to you.  Just a small Christmas gift."

She texted Banana and Melody.  "It's like a real life Buzzfeed quiz.  I wonder what spirit animal I'll get."

Acrobat knocked on her door later, he had been across the hall having Christmas dinner with his brother-in-law.  He gave her a hug and presented her the art with a devious smile.

"I just went through and thought of everyone and picked one out for my closest friends."

"We're friends?  I can't even get you to go out for a drink with me!"

"Just look at it."

It was an adorable little sketch, and under it the words "Penny the Porcupine"

Prickly.  A Rodent.  Quills on the outside that shoot at anything that comes near them.  Who would ever love a porcupine?

"You sure know how to be heavy handed with your commentary Acrobat."

She could barely keep it together and seem grateful, putting it up next to his modeling picture on the wall.  Not more than a few minutes after he left, BFF came over to gloat over her new ring.  She wouldn't shut up about how many people already wanted to help her and how overwhelming it all was.  Her being stressed out over something that should be really happy for her only made the situation even more depressing.

She finally left, and her studio was her own again.  Suddenly the emptiness of it made her feel hollow.  Like a quill from a porcupine.

Her phone rang, it was MG asking how her Christmas had gone.  She thought of the radio silence from KSL, the two dates she had that deleted their profiles after going on a date with her, and her new Spirit Animal.  It was all coming to a head.

"Apparently I'm a porcupine; a prickly personality who no one will ever love.  Hopeless."

"I'm coming over with some wine."

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

High School Dating

"Well I would take you right now if you wanted.  But almost all the seats at IMAX are sold out.  I just checked."

Nothing like a last minute invite to the new Star Wars movie to warm a girl's heart.

"Well if you want to wait for Rogue One until Thursday I could treat you to that.  Or we could pretend we're in high school again and do some mini golf somewhere.  I think that could be a good laugh.  The movie is gonna be us staring at a movie screen with me wishing I could kiss you.  Or mini golf is where I attempt to make a fool of myself at flirting with you.  You may choose your awkwardness."

She actually got this guy's name before accepting a "High School themed date" with him.  He had already seen the movie, and she hadn't been mini golfing in a long time.  He made jokes about "helping" her with her golf swing, and said it was a good way to "feel each other out" and they already passed the sarcasm test.

As it turned out, he didn't pass the "in person" test.  He was painfully shy and barely spoke to her throughout the whole course.  She tried to start conversations, and though he was friendly, he didn't exactly hold up his end.  As they were heading back she motioned to the go karts and said that she'd always wanted to try the fast ones.  He offered to buy them a race, and she said it was too expensive.

"I don't mind, it's no big deal.  Let's do a race."

He walked her through getting a fresh "head sock" and picking out a helmet.  She tried on a medium, and as soon as her head was in she started to panic and ripped it off.  She always managed to forget about her claustrophobia until this kind of situation presented itself.

"We don't have to do this." He said, after she had explained her issue.

"No,'ll pass.  I'm good."

"Go for the larger helmet."

She did, and he buckled the chin strap for her, but she was still freaking out a little bit.  She put her glasses on through the eye shield and got strapped into the kart that could go 45 miles per hour.  It was about halfway though when she finally got the hang of it and started whipping around corners and having fun.  The wind coupled with the face that she couldn't breathe through her nose left her with a terrible sore throat.

"So what now?" He asked as they walked out into the cold.

She was sort of done with carrying on a one sided conversation, so she said she had some Christmas presents to deliver and made her exit.

"Sure, I get it...I mean, it's the season." He said, slightly dejected.

"Yeah.  I had fun though, I know it doesn't sound like it because my throat is wrecked, but it was fun!"


A day later he had deleted his online dating profile.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Romance is Dead

"It was...romantic.  It was a romantic evening.  We shared a blanket and watched the moon rise.  He shut off all the lights so we could see the moon.  We made each other laugh until our cheeks actually hurt.  It's never romantic like that, and it threw me for a loop.  I don't know what to think, because now it's just hardcore radio silence.  It was full on boyfriend/girlfriend status, and now nothing.  Which, to be fair, is typical of him when we get too close."

PJ took it all in as she spoke.  He picked up his white Bic lighter and held it in-between his rough fingers.

"Pretend this is a magic wand.  What do you want to have happen?"

She took a deep breath.  "It's so hard to answer that.  I know we wouldn't work out.  I know it.  It would be an emotional shitshow from beginning to end.  I'd always think he was cheating.  Eventually I'd be right.  We've already hurt each other almost as badly as you can without being romantically involved.  We've been brutal to each other.  I can't imagine how bad we would get if there were feelings involved.  Well, more than mine anyway."

PJ kept silent.  He knew she was going to go the other direction.

"There is a lot of caring there too.  I mean, he would have been out the door the first time we had sex if there hadn't been any feelings about me right?"  PJ nodded, agreeing with her statement.  He took a deep breath before he responded.

"I'm just trying to take it all in.  He does have feelings for you, he cares for you, clearly. times it just seems like a toxic relationship."

Maybe, for the new year, she needed to give up on KSL.