Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kimmydonn Week 36: Happily Ever After


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Picture 2

Kimmydon's Choice: both

Happily Ever After

I wasn’t sure I belonged here. Peter and Gary were watching the improv group do their weekly show, and I was at my old apartment, Jamie’s place. I was barely starting to show, but the morning sickness seemed to be easing up, thank God. Still, just sitting here made me a bit queasy.

“So,” I asked, having no idea what to say.

“So,” Jamie said, looking at me across the table. “How are you?” She smiled, seeming without a care in the world.

“How do I look?” I asked, sitting back in my chair.

“Radiant. God, you pregnant women annoy me.” Her expression soured, and she slouched onto the table, arms crossed.

I started. “Women?”

She laughed. “Not Mary! Haha! No! Just a girl at work, Leanne. She’s glowing like you.”

I let out a small sigh of relief. I had no idea what was state their relationship was in, but I knew, at any moment, either Mary or Brian was likely to come through the door.

“They aren’t coming over,” Jamie said, not meeting my eye. She spun her mug on the table, empty of tea. I’d long since stopped being surprised when she knew what I was thinking.

“No?” I asked, surprised. “You ask them to stay home tonight?”

She glared at me suddenly, angry. It was my turn to know what she was thinking. “I don’t assume they stay here. I don’t think you spend every night with one or both of them. Don’t look at me like that.”

She grinned. “Right, sorry.” She sighed and looked into her empty mug. “More tea?” she asked, rising to start the kettle.

“I’m good. Are you?” I asked, not meaning tea, of course.

“Bet, I don’t know what to do.” I could hear the strain in her voice. “It wasn’t until you... and Peter...” She was searching for words, something she usually had as little trouble with as me. “When you weren’t with us, I realized how good we were together, you know?” She leaned her back on the counter looking at me. “I mean, you have been such a good friend, but I knew you weren’t mine, not really.”

I smiled at her. “Not more than, you know, a blood sister.”

She laughed now. “Yeah. Remember your mom’s reaction when we came back to the cabin?”

I grimaced. It wasn’t easy to forget. We’d gone on an extra long walk, but that part had been cleared. They knew we’d packed a lunch and were going around the far side of the lake where there was an actual beach instead of just reeds and docks. It was rocky, but secluded. The beach area was very small, only a few hundred yards long. Just enough for us. We sat, we talked, we ate sandwiches, and we cut open our palms with my pocket knife and gripped each other’s hands, swearing to be friends forever.

The cut hadn’t really hurt at all, barely a sting, but once open, it started to burn. Jamie’s didn’t stop bleeding quickly either. We’d both put our hands in the water, but hers just kept bleeding. Eventually, she pulled off her sock and wrapped it for the walk back, but by then we both looked like we’d been to some sort of accident scene, with light streaks of blood, diluted with lake water, all over our pants and shirts. Mom had flipped her lid. She’d known off the bat it was me and my knife at fault. Blood makes Mom queasy, and she’d turned green while shrieking at the top of her lungs. Eventually Dad came and took Jamie for stitches; her parents and brothers were out on the lake.

She was fingering the pink line on her palm now. “I still can’t believe I cut so deep.”

“Me either. It was supposed to be a couple drops,” I teased her.

She started to tear up again. “A couple of drops,” she said. I was at a loss, having no idea what she was thinking this time. “I’m drowning in a couple of drops. It feels like I’m barely keeping my head above water.” She turned to the kettle again.

I stood up and hugged her from behind. “I know it’s bad, Jam, but it’ll work out. You know that, right?”

She shook her head, not trying to throw off my embrace. “I can’t see it, Bet. We can’t be happy, not all three of us.”

I leaned my cheek on the top of her head, looking into the red notes among the straw colored strands. “Is it my fault?” I asked.

“No,” she said, chuckling. “Well, maybe. If you’d been honest with Peter a little sooner, I wouldn’t have tried to get together with Brian.” She sighed. “I don’t know that that would have been better.” We both looked at the empty tea cup next to the pot.

“I wish I had an answer for you, Jam. How are they doing?”

She shrugged, throwing off my hug at last. “They’re getting along.” She suddenly blushed. “They’re getting along better than I expected.” Her smile was sly now. “Don’t tell them I told you.”

I laughed. “Mary won’t be surprised, and why would I tell Brian?”

She nodded, adding hot water to the teapot. “Why can’t my life be simple, like yours.”

I rolled my eyes. “My relationship isn’t that simple. I have a dead sister haunting the house. Okay not really, but Peter is still carrying her around. My husband...” It was my turn to blush. “has some difficult needs.”

Jamie raised her brows. “Do tell.”

“As if,” I said swatting her. “Or are you going to tell me about Mary in your bedroom?” I looked at her sideways.

“I could. I could tell you how soft she feels, how warm. How her breasts are smaller than mine, but fit my hands better...” She smirked, sure she was making me uncomfortable. She was, a little, but only because she was talking about Mary. If she’d been telling me about her coworker, Leanne, it would be different, but I knew Mary. I shook the images from my mind and Jamie snickered.

“Fine,” I said flatly, fighting fire with fire. “I have a new toy for Peter. The flogger was too long, not flicking enough, so I have a new cane.” I reached into the reusable bag at my feet to pull out the thin stem.

Jamie choked on her tea. “Special needs all right,” she said, laughing. “Why isn’t this in the fairy tales?” she asked cracking the cane on her scar-free palm.

“Here’s where we prove their fairy tales wrong. We find happily ever afters that aren’t in the story books.” Reaching across the table, I squeezed her hand.

“Happy. Ever after. I’d like that.”