Thursday, August 12, 2010

Miztrezboo Week 14 Entry: A Pocket Full of Maybes


Picture 1Picture 2

Miztrezboo's Choice: Picture 1

A Pocket Full of Maybes

"I love that one of you guys! Do you remember that trip we took in the fall out to the Grand Canyon?"

I laugh and look at what she's holding, a slightly yellowed photograph of the six of us on this old tour bus that we had on loan from Emmett's dad. The McCarty's owned a fleet of these great silver bus's that mostly rock stars used to travel across country. Daisy, our luxury liner, had just finished a coast to coast tour with this up and coming little band that now traveled by plane.

It's why we had the bus in the first place, the McCarty's business was slowing with managers wanting their clients to hold more and more concerts in shorter periods of time.

"Whatever happened to Daisy?" I wonder aloud and Vicky either doesn't hear me or ignores me. She's rifling through this huge striped bag full of rags that were once clothes, ticket stubs, coasters and what looks to be even more photos.

I'm shifting through the bundle that she gave me, all silly pictures of the people that I've spent most of my life around. Of people that I no longer see in anything but photographs.

Emmett has taken all of these. He was our official road trip memory maker and for all our crazy trips back in the early seventies when we were just finishing college and thought we knew it all. Emmett is barely in any of these because of that, the occasional thigh or finger. Sometimes, if I took a shot, he was there, but mostly its just the rest of us.

Vicky, James, Bella, Edward and me.


That's a name that I haven't even thought of in such a long time.

I flip through a few more - there's Vicky and I high as kites with wild hair and ash on our faces in the firelight. Another, James and Edward's white asses hanging out Daisy's window. One more and I stop cold, unable to breathe.

How can he still affect me like this ten years on? How can just one picture bring back all the feelings I'd thought I'd buried along with any thought of him at all?

This must have been how Emmett found out. This trip, this last big road trip with the six of us was the ending of a lot more than just our misguided youth. What had started out as one last hurrah before our final year of college turned into an ugly mess by the time we started back.

Four couples and two singles started that adventure. And only one couple made it back home.

Emmett had always wanted me, we'd fooled around but were never serious, and say it was because we were too different. He was all studious and smart. A book nerd through and through. I was into politics and sit ins and chaining myself to trees and speaking out.

Not that much had changed there, I was still very vocal on the environment in my role within our town council. I just didn't wind up in jail for my stunts anymore. Time and age had taught me that words were sometimes louder than actions.

Emmett could never understand what made me so passionate about 'a bunch of trees' and its what stopped us from being anything more. For a guy whose parents were the original hippies, he was one of seven after all, he was completely against the free love movement. He wanted a woman to settle down with, and I was not one to settle.

For all the reasons Em couldn't be with me, they were the exact reasons Edward and I got along. Edward ran our little movement of political warfare at Berkley. He and I would argue and argue from sun up to sun down, both of us incredibly stubborn and never willing to back down. It was amazing really that we ever got half the things done that we did.

That was probably where Bella came into it. She was quiet, but she listened to both sides and after a while she became the deciding vote on every matter that Edward and I stood our ground upon. The three of us worked closely together, but when it came to actually doing what we fought about, Bella would sit it out. Her daddy was some chief of police or whatever in the podunk town she had came from. She refused to take part in something that would end up on her permanent record.

Mine and Edward's however, was probably a good six to ten feet long. Or a couple of folders, depending on how they stored those things then.

Our passion, our fire, was what burned everything we had together back then. That build up of tension, the subsequent release and then the ashes that were all that was left of our relationship at all by the end of it.

I could see it in this photo. Vicky on James' lap, James with those stupid aviators that he would never take off and I'm fairly certain his hand on V's ass. Then Bella perched between Edward and I, his large hand high on her thigh. Her face dewy and bright and smiling like they were sharing some private joke.

When really, she was the joke.

Or I was.

Edward's other hand, you could just make out on my shoulder. I'm leaning in slightly and I remember it was seconds after that, that his knuckles brushed against my cheek.

No wonder Emmett figured it out. It was all there in these photographs. The subtle touches, the looks, the smiles, the everything we thought we were doing well hiding was as obvious as the sun in sky.

It had all started between Edward and I over paper. One single piece of paper. He wanted green and I wanted red as the background for these flyers we were handing out one weekend. I can't even remember now what was on the flyers. Just that the color became this battleground and ended up with me half naked on the copier, Edward with his pants around his ankles and more than just copies of our flyer flying about. As I recall, for days afterward you could actually see my ass print on anything that was copied on that machine.

When it was over, when we'd pushed and pulled and come, we swore it was a one off. Never to happen again. Bella didn't need to know.

It was a promise we made the next time.

And the next.

And the next.

Until we stopped saying it, just having it as this little secret between us both.

Emmett and I were casual, it wasn't like we were hurting him.

But Bella.

Bella and Edward had been together since orientation. They were practically attached at the hip. Unless he and I were.

Going on holiday together should never have happened. We swore that we could keep our hands to ourselves for the two weeks we'd be gone. That nothing needed to happen. That he had Bella, and if I was feeling horny, I had Em.

I should have known it wouldn't have worked that way. All that nature, all the arguments over what music was being played, who would drive, where we would stop to eat.

They were all our usual precursors to fabulous sex. Hot, needy, rough and amazing sex, but sex we shouldn't have been having on a trip like this.

Yet we did. We were camping on some part of the Canyon that we probably shouldn't have been. We were high - like we had been most of the trip - and one by one, our companions either dropped off to sleep or in Vicky and James' case, went off to screw, and then we were alone.

Alone by the campfire that was making his hair glow in the firelight. Alone with only a sliver of moon to make his skin look ethereal and white instead of its normal pasty grey. Alone with nothing to do, except each other.

I had thought we'd been quiet enough. I had thought we'd walked further enough away from everyone else. I had thought we had been quick and not spent the hours that we had exploring each others smokey scent and sweaty skin.

But two sets of eyes had seen us. Two sets of eyes had seen and two hearts had been broken.

The third broke when we finally woke up and made our way to camp the next morning. Bella and Emmett had already packed up their tent and James and Vicky weren't far behind. The air between us was filled with awkward from the moment Edward went to kiss Bella. She turned her cheek and stared at me. A stare so vacant and devoid of emotion I knew immediately what had gone wrong.

"I can't believe you."

Emmett had whispered in my ear and everything I thought I had came crashing around me.

The long drive back was quiet. Filled with nothing but the radio and the occasional call for a pit stop. Edward's husky tone begging Bella to forgive him. That it was nothing. That I was nothing.

That hurt.

Emmett wouldn't meet my eyes or touch me.

Vicky and James were the peace keepers but didn't try to involve us all in anything after Bella told her to shut the fuck up.

Bella was never loud, but that one massive outburst was enough to end any hopes of reconciliation.

When we'd got back, Edward and Bella transferred to Seattle.

Emmett never spoke to me again. If he saw me on campus or we were at the same party, he would stare right through me as if I wasn't there.

The only friendship that remained intact was mine with James and Vicky.

"We should do that again,"

And Vicky's voice brings me back to the present, where I don't hurt about things that I can no longer change in my past.

"Do what?" I ask, as she takes the photos from my hands.

She smiles as she flips through, a little sadly because I know she remembers that trip too. How things changed for all of us. Because not only did I lose these friends, she and James did too.

"A road trip or something. It doesn't have to be the Grand Canyon. Or, I don't know... maybe just get the old gang back together?"

I stare at her with one brow raised in disbelief.

She rolls her eyes and shifts one of her red curls behind her ear. "Oh come on Rose, its been a decade. Shit that happened back then fades away you know. I'm sure no one even remembers."

I snort, "You do and I do, so what makes you think that they don't?"

Her lips purse and I've known her for long enough now to recognize that smirk. "Vicky, what have you done?"

She shakes her head and that curl pops out from behind her ear again. "Nothing." I stare her down. "Well okay, I saw Edward at the farmers market last weekend. We got to talking and he'll-be-here-in-an-hour."

My mouth slackens and I'm gaping like a goldfish. "You, he, what?"

Vicky flicks through a few more pictures and holds up one in front of me. Edward and I together on the bus, his arm wrapped around me and my head resting on his shoulder. I'm smiling and he looks to be laughing at something. But its not those things I focus on. It's the look between us that says so much more. Its what I always thought I saw when I looked at him, but to see this physical evidence that the look was returned, that it wasn't all on my side. It makes my heart beat that little bit faster.

"I showed him this, I told him you were single and I told him you'd be here for lunch." The door bell rings and my the thumping in my chest is now a hummingbird wings staccato.

Vicky stands up and as she heads to the door she calls out one last piece of information, "He's single too, just in case you wanted to know."

I laugh nervously because in a way I do and I'm standing and straightening my clothes and hating that I'm not prepared for this.

But in a way, I've been waiting forever, wanting this forever and its probably the reason none of my previous relationships up until now have worked out.

Life doesn't often give you second chances, and this is one I won't ignore.