NaNoWriMo 2017, in parts. [M]
Tour had been amazing. Carla was pleased with the reception. They got to open all ten shows. Plus, because they had so much time in between shows and travel, she ended up getting them three other small gigs. Cover shows. Blake had expressed wanting money. Carla wasn’t sure why she wanted the money, or needed it, but hey, if the girl wanted funds, Carla was all for getting a bit extra on the side. The boys were just happy to get attention. Normally it would be more fair to say that Jamie was the one that most wanted attention, but Drew had been antsy. Miranda being at home and all. Too many girls thought Drew was cute for him to ignore it. Surely the nightly face time calls with Miranda had helped.
Blake had been different. She seemed extra quiet before each show. They’d talked. They had so much time together on the bus, of course they talked. Carla got in her due amount of ERS as they drove too. Jamie made the mistake of deciding that they should bet on it. And that’s the short version of how he lost three joints. It was Drew that talked him out of double or nothing when Carla offered to take a shot before they began the game. It wasn’t that her hands were faster than his, it was that she was used to the game. It wasn’t a better game, but she was unlikely to turn down the offer.
They had talked. Blake wasn’t giving Carla a lot to go off. She was quiet. She admitted some things, but for the most part she just wanted to focus. Carla couldn’t fault her for that, and although she felt like something was the matter, she let it go. Blake wanted it to be left alone. Of course Carla wasn’t going to mess with anyone’s process before an actual performance. Blake just seemed distracted. She was focused, even fixated, before the shows. She was fully on during a performance. After the shows she seemed to just want to get to the next one, but not in the normal way. She was more interested in getting to the shows because she had something she wanted to get home to. Carla and Blake had a lot of time to talk, but some things just were not said. Carla had to assume.
So she assumed that Blake wanted to get back to her boytoy. He was nice enough. Nice enough looking. Tall. Maybe a bit too tall for Blake, but there was nothing wrong with just being tall. His hair was curly and messy which gave Blake something to touch, and Carla knew how much she enjoyed doing things like that. He had brown eyes so… their kids would have brown eyes? If they ever had kids. Of course Carla didn’t have any assumption that they were going to rush off and have kids. Blake was keeping her lips sealed on that front. The last thing Blake wanted was Carla to implore her to keep her legs, or at least her fucking womb, closed while they were making headway in their band.
Whatever was going on in Blake’s head the whole time, Carla was grateful for her lead singer’s dedication to performances. They all seemed to have a good time, and of course Carla was raring to get more travel under their belt. Go farther. See more people. Get paid. Money was, after all, important. Especially since Blake seemed set on this whole Living in Connecticut thing. As long as she could come to practices and go to shows, they could work it out. Carla was willing to set up more cover gigs in Hartford if it kept Blake engaged too. That seemed to have been a pretty positive experience.
They got back to New York the night of the 11th, and was, for some reason, expecting Blake to spend the night. Decompress. Sleep? She knew that Blake hated to drive when she was feeling at all impaired. The girl had a fucking breathalyzer on her keychain. And she didn’t even drive if she’d had more than two anyway. She didn’t like driving at night. The drive back and forth between Lochland and New York couldn’t be fun for her. However, she didn’t wait long. They got to New York, brought all their stuff, and took a quick shower. Well, Blake took a shower. Carla was checking over her stuff to make sure she hadn’t forgotten anything or lost anything along the way. Once the shower was done, Blake insisted that she would be getting a couple of energy drinks, and started packing her car. Uncle Rolan had asked if the boyfriend was that special, and Blake just laughed nervously before saying her goodbyes.
That was a week ago. Carla was still a bit tired, but she was actually in Connecticut. Lochland Grove. Carla had long since enjoyed the benefits of not having a week day job to wake up for. She only had little kids to tend to. They were back in school, but she was allowed to enjoy some time away from them and that. One problem with Blake moving into Kiefer’s house was that it limited Carla’s sleeping space. She still had the air mattress, which would apparently be set up in the living room. There was some degree of suspicion about the couch, so she didn’t even bother trying to see why she shouldn’t be sleeping on the couch. Kameron might end up crashing there. Or was he still not drinking? Blake said he didn’t drink, or he hadn’t that she noticed, and Carla took notice of that fact when they’d been at the one ESL gig. Blake had been to more though.
Blake was certainly the dutiful girlfriend. Carla hadn’t been a girlfriend in so long. She doubted she would do it as well as Blake. Blake got so much joy from being a girlfriend. If it weren’t for her own dreams and band, she would have been the best band girlfriend. Enthusiastic fan, understanding of the time and the atmosphere. Not easily distracted by jealous thoughts. Happy to fuel whatever impulses came after a gig or practice. Carla, biased as she was, felt like Kiefer was pretty lucky to have Blake. Whether she would have suited the other guys at all, they would all have been lucky to have a girl like her. At least one as dedicated. She hadn’t asked Kaleb and Kameron their opinions on that. No need. She liked them both enough to be in the house with them, but she didn’t entreat them for their opinions on Blake’s girlfriend proficiency.
The air mattress had been aired up and stowed in the garage for the time being. Carla had come after lunch and had the reasonable plan of leaving tomorrow afternoon. Spending Saturday night would hopefully be no more eventful than the time she’d spent Friday night. Even if her sleeping arrangements were slightly less appealing this time around. Maybe she would actually sleep better in the living room than in Kaleb’s room. At least she wouldn’t be able to hear Blake and Kiefer hooking up from there, right? If, of course, they managed to keep their hands off each other long enough to make it to the bedroom later.
Carla was sitting on the couch. Worn jeans, a long sleeved raglan top, hair down, shoes off, socks on. She didn’t bother to bring her beer. Blake wanted to drink, drinking would occur. Carla had a red solo cup of Pepsi mixed with vodka, and she had been sipping on that. She wasn’t buzzed, but she was working on it slowly. It gave her something to do. She was trying to carry on a conversation with Kameron from the edge of the couch to the nearest chair. The alternative was to stare at her phone or try to engage Blake and Kiefer. There was no Blake, or Kiefer, but Blake and Kiefer made quite the… team? Carla wasn’t sure she’d seen Blake leave Kiefer’s side since they got back to the house from the store.
Blake was wearing her hair in the pigtail braids that Carla had done for her earlier in the day. Almost no makeup. Long loose black pants with a few holes showing the red tights underneath. A loose black lacey top with those massive windmill sleeves that Carla was convinced were a drinking hazard. Just one slip and they would be in the drink. She preferred to be comfortable. How she dressed and behaved could certainly vary depending on the situation. What fuckface actually said otherwise? You talked to your best friend one way, and your boss another. If you spend time with kids you would act differently than you would with your peers. It was not that Carla was by any means a different person, but she acclimated. She wasn’t like Blake. She didn’t want everyone to love her, and didn’t get hurt when they didn’t. She just had enough respect for some people to act that way. She also fed off the energy of people like Blake who really didn’t mind the banter. They had fun. Still, in approximately all situations, Carla wasn’t one for super dangly sleeves. Hoodies and cardigans were fine, but Blake’s sleeves just made Carla want to take a scrunchie, roll them back up and pin them there to make sure they didn’t get in Blake’s drink. Was it too much to ask? Probably, which was one of the reasons Carla didn’t bother. The other reason being… well, she could ignore it if she looked elsewhere.
Regardless of how Blake was dressed, her face remained extremely close to Kiefer’s for the duration. Carla did not struggle to focus on other things, but it was impossible to completely ignore them. She knew a few more shots and Blake would just be in Kiefer’s lap. She was a touchy person. Especially with alcohol. God it was so much worse with alcohol. She was cute though, and Carla figured Blake probably minded even less than Carla. So from “that’s fine, we snuggle” to… whatever crossed Kiefer’s mind. At least he was in a good mood tonight. He could do very little wrong if he kept being a positive force. Kaleb was at least somewhat anti-social, even in the small group, Kameron hadn’t starred at Carla like she was a piece of meat, that she noticed, and then there was Vera. Liam had apparently sulked himself all the way into another room. Was he upstairs? Was he out of the house? Carla didn’t know. If she’d been around he and Vera enough she might have considered Blake’s behavior with Kiefer amusingly similar to some of Vera’s with Liam, but without the frame of reference, Carla was just observing what was in front of her.
Without Liam to distract her, or perhaps just because she wanted to be a social host, Vera was interested in engaging with people. Everyone had a drink, whether it be alcoholic or otherwise. Blake had, because of course she had, insisted on making snacks. Carla, who did a fair bit of cooking at home, had helped earlier. She wasn’t trying to impress anyone, and cooking wasn’t what she would call a hobby, but she liked doing things with her friend. Somehow this had also involved Blake staying very close to Kiefer. It was almost like she forgot she’d been home a week. Maybe Carla just wasn’t clingy enough. She understood they liked each other. She wasn’t bothered by the affection but… people liked having their own air, right? No? No, they definitely wanted to share air? Okay, well, she was getting an education on this whether she wanted it or not.
So, with the group having snacks, and just sitting around, Vera had to find something else for them to do. A game. Blake loved games. She even said as much. Except her answer came more in the form of “Ooh, I like games.” Carla snorted. Blake liked a lot of things. She was very fond of games. Maybe her opinion was diminished slightly while approximately 90% of her function was snuggling with her beau. They weren’t even making out. They were just… being. Carla glanced at Kaleb at one point, thinking about the conversation at The Old Rose. Did this register as something that bugged him? Was this part of sometimes? Sure, it didn’t really matter, but a girl could wonder. And she did, unfortunately, wonder. She gained nothing from the curiosity, but most people were not immune to the wanderings of their mind.
“We could play truth or dare.”
Approximately one person had an issue with this suggestion, since it applied to everyone in the room. Well, a good one and a half. Carla had an issue with the dare portion of things, but she did not voice that yet. It was more of a looming concern than any kind of refusal. She hadn’t said anything yet.
“I don’t want to play truth or dare, its stupid.”
No, you’re stupid. Carla laughed despite it being entirely in her own head. An argument she’d actually heard. Vera immediately went about convincing Kameron to play. With Blake’s head on Kiefer’s shoulder he was perfectly happy to play.
“You don’t mind truth or dare anymore, hermana?” Carla asked finally. She took another sip from her cup while she waited for the question to register for Blake. Blake, always so concerned with talking about her past. Always worried about what might come up if she asked questions. Selective about what she said, what she showed. Now she was totally fine playing a game where you answered random questions? It was a change, even if Carla didn’t expect any questions to pop up asking “what is your least favorite thing about your childhood?” Blake could, of course, lie. Carla was not so good at that sort of thing.
“Its fine,” Blake affirmed. Carla shrugged.
It would appear that Vera had convinced Kammykins of the necessity of his participation. That hadn’t taken very long. It only left… the sullen looking man across the room. Carla didn’t know what the game would include, but there was just about nothing that embarrassed her. There were some things that she didn’t want to say, didn’t want to explain, but that didn’t mean she was embarrassed. Honestly, even the worst parts of her life(and she wouldn’t have said they were worse than what she knew of Blake’s,) Carla was willing to admit. She could admit to the past because it was part of her life. Things that were out of her control and things that she’d done. What was there to hide from? Not everyone was so forthcoming with their thoughts and actions. So Kaleb didn’t want to play the game, but everyone else had agreed.
“He’d rather remain a mystery novel, not one of those grocery store tabloids,” Carla mused with a grin. She couldn’t say she knew a lot about him, so he was in no danger of seeming like a tabloid, but of course everyone else was more chatty than him. A furby was more chatty than he was, honestly.
It was with the most reluctant of agreements that Kaleb agreed to participate. It seemed tentative as much as it was reluctant, but he’d sighed and said something close enough to “fine.” Vera was appeased.
“So… what are the rules?”
Apparently there was some sort of app. Oh god. Of course there was an app. Press a button, pick truth or dare… and it would generate something. They could skip if it was a repeat. Only so much pressure on answering the same question five times, right? And you could skip. You could always skip. That was how the game worked. It was a sort of girly sleepover game, so exactly how bad could it get? You weren’t going to strong arm little Cindy and waterboard her until she told you exactly who her second period crush was, right? So apparently the rules for this game involved taking a shot if you refused to answer a question. Carla snorted. Well, that didn’t really seem like much of a punishment. Or maybe it was there to incentivize looser lips.
“So what kind of questions does this game have if drinking is the penalty…” she took the phone that was apparently going to serve as their app device for the time being. Randomize. It had settings. The worse end of things. Do you enjoy watching your partner masturbate? Well. That. Okay. Was there a certain liquor that you refused to drink? Much easier. Have you ever been sexually attracted to someone you knew was mentally ugly? Okay, so not everything was heavy. Sure. So what did the dares include? Or more specifically, how close was this to spin the bottle, because there was going to be an immediate issue there.
The dares were not nearly so… innocent. The first random one involved getting as undressed as someone else in the group. That wasn’t bad, if they were talking number of articles of clothing. Girls were at an obvious disadvantage, but if she had a top and pants, life was fine. She wasn’t trying to play strip though, so ideally not. Next, involved putting someone’s fingers in some gooey food and cleaning them off with nothing but your mouth. Well… if they were trying to just play foreplay instead of a game with multiple not sexually involved people… yeah, no. She blinked. Next, get a deck of cards, and everyone of the opposite sex got a card. If you got the Ace, you didn’t do anything. If not, you played. 2-10 was a kiss on the cheek, all kisses for five seconds. Five seconds wasn’t a long time, but the cards went up. Jack, passionate kiss. Uh-huh. Queen. Grab their ass and kiss them deeply. Not getting better. King involved rubbing their chest and crotch, because apparently they weren’t gender specific, and you had two hands, so why not use them. Ace, the pinnacle of success. Stick your hand down their pants while kissing them.
There was an incredulous laugh from Carla before she managed to speak. “Nah, not sticking my hand in your boyfriend’s pants.” She was looking at Blake.
“What?” Blake asked immediately. Carla laughed again, this time more amused.
“It wasn’t my suggestion,” she said, handing over the phone as if it was evidence for her case. She glanced at Kiefer, shrugging. She wasn’t sticking her hand in anyone’s pants, but this one had occurred to her first. Because… it was the most easily agreed upon nope. At least three people would have a big problem there. The rest probably would just for being in the room. She might be a more sexual person than Blake, and she fucking most certainly was, but she also didn’t fondle people for a game.
Blake’s mood was not diminished in the least.
“Yeah, none of that.”
“Nah, really?” Carla asked, smirking back at her friend. She decided to ignore how this was making the game at least less appealing to some people. “Just gunna avoid the dares. ‘Cause this ain’t spin the bottle and… anything like that won’t exactly work.”
“I mean, there’s three people with only one person they can really do anything with, one of those people isn’t even here. So if we’re excluding cheating… and I think the rest of the party is most likely straight… that leaves about…” Math. Carla with two people, or Blake and Kiefer.”Three options, and… no.” Because again, not for a game. Like, really.
“You could just not do the dares,” Blake suggested helpfully. Carla glanced back up at her away from Kameron who she’d apparently been speaking to. That was her response? Not awkward. Not weird. Just… don’t do the dares? Well… yeah. Pick truth. Truth was at least just words. Except this was Blake. Blake who got embarrassed and wouldn’t knock on a door with a sock on it. Blake who didn’t like PDA but was still just barely not in Kiefer’s lap already. Blake who didn’t like anyone to know about her sex life, if she had one, when she had one. Blake who got worried and didn’t drink for months because some people had a fight over some stuff that happened to have happened that night. Blake who… fuck, was Carla in the Twilight zone? What was evening happening?
“Yeah. I’d say I’m gunna avoid the dares. Thanks, hermana,” Carla said with a small chuckle and a roll of her eyes. Well, she was in good spirits, and if Blake was still in a good mood, then all the better. Could she feel the disapproval in the room or was it just in her head. She looked at everyone fleetingly wondering how many of them cared? Yes. She could feel the disapproval.
It was agreed upon that for the sake of keeping the peace no one would be picking dares. That was for the best, really. So it was truth. They were playing… Truth. Truth or shots. Fair enough. Someone went to the kitchen and got a shot glass and a bottle of alcohol. The alcohol Carla had been drinking. Well, it was for the group. That was fine. She poured a bit more into her glass and got more Pepsi to balance it out. Apparently she should watch her drinking. She was sleeping here. In this room. She doubted she would have any trouble with the questions. So… what was the harm? Still, she didn’t have a lot of alcohol in her cup. She could have a few more shots, and her whole cup, and probably act about as sane. No matter how many times Blake gave her some weird “but when you get drunk” look. Like that happened every time. It did not happen every time. Carla was self-aware.
So the game started. If you drink, what’s the last alcoholic beverage you had? Such an easy question. It went to Blake. “Vodka.”
Carla answered in her head any time it wasn’t her turn. Vodka, clearly. Have you ever hooked up with someone after drinking that you would not have hooked up with stone sober? Well… probably not. Anyone she’d hooked up with drunk, she would have hooked up with sober, if she’d been in the mood. It wasn’t the person, it was the mood. Fortunately.
“Have you ever masturbated in school?...” Sure, start off with a question like that. Whatever. “Nope.” Had she? Wait. College was school too. Had she ever masturbated at college? Nah… she’d done some things but… not that.
A certain liquor she wouldn’t drink? She liked most liquor, honestly, in some way or other, so no. When was the last time she was wet, or had a boner if she was a guy? Oh how the room moved. Carla sipped at her mild drink, eyes flitting across the room to faces as they played. Carla would have said… the day before. Intentionally. Didn’t really happen unintentionally, although had the question fallen on a guy, it would have been much easier to see it being unintentional. What, daily? Just because anatomy worked that way? Have you ever been in love with someone, but still made out with someone else? Carla was pretty sure any time she was in love with someone, she was already dating them, so… no.
“Would you like to have sex tonight?” Carla really shouldn’t laugh, but she couldn’t help herself. It was a small laugh. Was there a change that somehow Blake wasn’t going to have sex tonight? From how she was acting? Carla couldn’t actually see Blake’s face from where she was sitting, on the other side of Kiefer, but she could see Kiefer’s face. Blake could see it too, no doubt. “Uh, sure.” She could hear the awkward amusement in Blake’s tone, and Carla chuckled again. Well, she was definitely not surprised. Carla continued answering in her head. Would she like to have sex tonight? She might not mind, but it wasn’t like she was craving it. It wasn’t… whatever. Would she like to have sex? Yeah, sure, was she going to have it, no.
Have you ever kissed anyone of the same sex? Nope. Well, on the cheek, but not what they meant.
“If you had to stick your hand down some other player’s pants, whose pants would you choose?” Carla looked at the ceiling for a moment. Think. Oh! Right. “Blake.” Blake coughed. “*It would cause less of an uproar than literally anyone else, sister. And there’s less to bump into accidentally than most of the group,” Carla spoke in Spanish, for Blake’s benefit. Vera could think whatever she pleased. And hey, maybe Kiefer had picked up enough to get the gist. If she had to pick a guy… she could, but she did honestly figure Blake’s would be the best call.
What is your dream car? Well, that was… innocent. Also, Carla couldn’t say she had a dream car. Would you ever date a friend? What? Carla didn’t need to already have a lengthy established relationship with someone but the implication hat she wouldn’t have a romantic relationship with someone because she already had a platonic relationship with them? That was… she was making a face. Who would say fucking no to that? Just… what? Anyway. Next. What is your biggest turn off in someone of the opposite sex? God, why did she actually care all of a sudden? It was not a feeling she enjoyed at the moment, but as she did with all questions, she glanced at the person answering and then looked at her cup while she considered her own answer. Hm. Biggest turn off. Immaturity? Apathy? Spinelessness? No. No. Oh. Aggression. Yeah. It was so easy to answer a question when you could put a face on someone you hated that much and just pick something. She took a sip.
“Have you ever been sexually attracted to someone you knew was mentally ugly? Uh… not… really. I mean, they might be cute, but I’m not attracted to them if I can’t stand them,” Blake admitted. Good girl. Carla supposed that was fair. If someone ticked her off enough, she couldn’t exactly want to hate fuck them.
What was the most “pathetic” thing, apparently Kiefer, had done to impress a girl? Carla was more curious than usual, but not as curious as Blake. That was for sure. So where did that leave them? Right, Carla was… hm… pathetic… hm… Her hand was on her mouth, looking in deep thought. Probably washing a guy’s car before she found out he had a girlfriend. Not that he’d told her that. He had intentionally left that out. Carla considered any efforts to woo a guy that wasn’t into her fairly pathetic. Because she hated to be the desperate girl. Not that it really happened but-
“Right, uh…” her turn. She read the next question. “Imagine you are in the room with another couple when, unexpectedly, they begin going at it hot and heavy. What do you do?” She chuckled. “Apparently I ignore them.”
Apparently. Carl a looked innocent enough despite feeling Blake judging her from the other side of Kiefer. Blake wouldn’t dare lean forward enough to give Carla a look that could be received. That was her answer though, and she was sticking to it. What was, in your opinion, the best game to play while drinking? Video game or otherwise. Carla decided beer pong was pretty good for that. Name someone you might want to have a night of “steamy,” because that word was necessary, fun with, and one person to spend the rest of your life with. Not the same person. Apparently they were assuming a certain level of detachment for this answer. Carla couldn’t say she felt that good about spending the rest of her life with anyone, considering she didn’t have that whole love thing going on, but she managed to narrow it down to, for detachment’s sake, sleeping with Drew. Oh, she wasn’t going to share that with him. But at least she knew he was pretty good at not ruining friendships if there was sex. He’d been friends with a few girls he’d broken up with even. Her answer for spending her life with someone… she didn’t really have a good answer for that one.
“Would you ever date your best friend? No.”
Carla continued to be entertained. Poor Kiefer. She could see Blake’s hand on Kiefer’s leg. Blake was probably a good consolation prize.
“What is the most unusual method you have used to pleasure yourself?” Blake took a drink. Carla was amused. She was pretty sure, with that speed, Blake didn’t have an answer, she just wasn’t going to think about it. There was that slightly awkward little Blake that Carla knew and loved.
Most romantic dream? Hm. Like a plan or an actual dream? Carla would have to say as for a dream… she’d had some that just involved cuddling, but her dreams weren’t usually all that romantic.
“What turns you on? You must state three things, important number I guess, that really get you hot. Hm.” Carla thought about it. She held up three fingers for her own benefit and counted down, “Backbone, strong hands, and knowing what you want in life.” She wouldn’t necessarily have said that got her hot, but those were the first three turn ons she came up with, so they would suffice.
First kiss. Gabby. Carla wasn’t speaking, but she smiled. Kiss her over her guitar while she was trying to show him the new song she’d finally memorized. Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Carla didn’t suppose it had sounded great, but she’d been pretty willing to give up the effort. Are you circumcised. Well… that was a pretty easy question for the person it fell on. Carla chuckled. Yeah, not so much. Nothing to circumcise. Do you like tattoos? Yes. Carla liked tattoos. She only had one, but she did have a whole book of tattoos she hypothetically wanted. That didn’t mean she’d ever get them but… she liked them. Most of the men in her family had tattoos at or by eighteen.
“How did…” well Carla was going to assume the question involved sex, by Blake’s trailing off. “you decide who you would give your virginity to? … I mean, there wasn’t a raffle… we were… dating, so… process of uh… normalcy?” It wasn’t that awkward of a question, after all. Carla missed Ben… not because she had any issue with Blake dating Kiefer. Not because Carla had any sort of thing for Ben. But… he’d been her friend, and it was sad to have to think about him. Blake, at least, didn’t seem sad right now.
Do you prefer doggy or cowgirl? Carla was going to have to agree with Blake on cowgirl on that one. Not that they’d discussed sex positions and their preferences, but it happened to be something they could agree on.
“Have you ever fantasized about having sex with a teacher? Which one, and describe them… not… really…” She was thinking it over. A teacher? No… Why was Blake looking at her? Oh. “Okay, I dated one, but he wasn’t a teacher, he was a teacher’s aid. I guess he counts though, so sure. Uh… he was tall and studious…” Probably breaking rules to fuck Carla but hey, she didn’t fault him for that.
An atomic bomb explodes and you can save only two non-relatives. Carla would probably… well, Blake, and… there was a chance she’d pick Kiefer to make Blake happy. Miserable Blake was so unpleasant. Yeah, sure. Kiefer got a pass. Which of the players could you imagine having a one night stand with? Probably the one that wasn’t going to have a one night stand. Who in the room would you be most likely to marry? Also, probably Kaleb. Vera and Blake were girls. She wasn’t attracted to Kameron, and Kiefer was… Blake’s, among other things.
“Have you ever had sex with someone much younger or older than you? What’s the biggest age difference?” Blake pondered. Carla pondered. Carla’s was probably… hm… ten years. Blake, considering her number of guys was… three. Her difference was smaller. “I think two years… yeah, two years different.”
Would you ever let someone of the same sex girl you oral. Carla was gunna say… a really strong maybe. She wasn’t usually that loose with her sex life, but she’d slept with people she would never date so… maybe.
This question was lengthy. “Many of us behave differently when tossing a few back… what is the worst thing you have done while drunk? Also,” Because two part questions were fair, “what is something you’ve done while drunk that would surprise other players? … I mean, I got arrested that one time. I think I got arrested for underage drinking, technically. Or charged for that, anyway. But mostly I got into a fight with my sister’s boyfriend. That’s probably the worst thing.” And he fucking deserved it.
Who was the hottest person any of the players has ever dated? Ben or Kiefer, but Carla hadn’t seen Ben in years, and he was still years younger by now. She wasn’t into Kiefer but… he probably got the point anyway. Plus she didn’t know what anyone else’s exes looked like, and Liam was too young for her. Do you enjoy knowing someone wants to have sex with you? Does it turn you on? … yep. Well, she enjoyed it most of the time, unless they… were a person’ she’d assaulted. Ew. Okay, so it was conditional. Fucking ew. Ew. Ew. Ugh. Carla took a longer sip. Definitely conditional. Do you enjoy not wearing underwear in public. No.
“Have you ever been interested in tying someone up… sure.” A simplest answer to ‘yeah, bondage is alright’ from Blake. Carla was neutral right now.
What is one thing you struggle with doing sober but find easier to do after drinking? Kiefer could answer as he saw fit. Carla… being cuddly. Needlessly. At one point just being affectionate at all had made the list, but she got over that a long time ago.
“Who was the last person you had a ‘hot’ dream about? What happened, when did you wake up?” Uh. Carla’s eyes went to the ceiling. Well, she could answer that… but then Blake would probably be uncomfortable. Oh, and other people would be uncomfortable. And for once, Carla would be uncomfortable. Oh, or embarrassed. Couldn’t control a dream but… answering would help no one. She was still looking at the ceiling because there was a good chance her eyes would wander where they were not supposed to. If it were something simple like Kiefer she would chalk it up to dreams being fucking weird, and taken the judgment from Blake in the aftermath. Well, maybe she wouldn’t. Blake would have found that uncomfortable. There was no winning in this… “Nah.” Carla took a shot. Best to avoid actually embarrassing herself when she found the one in a thousand revelation that it did in fact happen. She supposed she would just run out the game and hope for the best. They’d been playing quite some time anyway. She drank more from her cup and the questions rolled.
“So, you have experience with cars?”
” Carla said quickly, nodding. She wasn’t shy, and she knew her way around a car. She grinned, at the man with the clip board. Her hair was braided to one side, and she had on nice jeans and a blouse over a tank top. She didn’t have much time after school so she’d come straight here and just worn that to her classes. If anyone at school had thought she was dressed up, no one bothered to give her a hard time about it.
“Let’s see… and it says you know one of our other employees.”
“Yeah, Benedict Weir. We are classmates.
” Carla wasn’t sure if saying that they were friends was a good call. It was probably evident that they would be friends, considering she was listing him. If she didn’t get along with him, she might not be applying to work at the same place. It was actually because he spoke so highly of the place that Carla figured it would be fun to work there. They’d been neighbors before his parents moved to another house. They had been friends since junior high, and she thought he was a pretty neat dude.
“Looks good. Well, if we did hire you, we don’t need another mechanic,” the man explained slowly. Carla nodded. She grasped that. She wouldn’t have expected a mechanic job. Partly because she was a teenage girl, partly because knowing about cars
did not automatically equip her to actual do mechanical work on them. “So it would be something ordering parts, helping around the shop, cleaning, and making appointments. Clerical work, but we don’t want someone who doesn’t know their way around a car.”
“I understand. I know my war around a car. My family is pretty into cars, so I’ve been around them, doing some work, and hearing the details since… my whole life.
“Sounds good. Well, I’ll check on your references, talk to the boss, talk to Ben, see what comes of it. I’ll give you a call by the end of the week either way.”
She liked the job. She walked around with a clip board half the time, keeping track of what other people did. Of course she could only work after school and on Saturdays. She worked eight to noon on Saturday, which was kind of sucky, but she could use the money. After school she worked two hours a day. She was a moderate student with the distraction, but if she applied herself, it quickly improved. She was a bit too distracted, but B’s and C’s were just fine while she started working. Sean didn’t like C’s at all, but he was a bit preoccupied with his one year old, and Carla’s grades were often enough overlooked.
Carla had her hair in pigtails, wearing her shorts from class and a tight white and black stripped t-shirt. Sofia had handed the shirt down to Carla several months ago. Carla had initial misgivings about the fact that it could have been a shirt Travis ever touched, but she’d never seen her sister wear the shirt around him, so free clothing remained a positive.
As she checked a few boxes, Carla used the box cutter to cut them open. She removed parks, checked the numbers and the description. Once she had confirmed the order she slapped a piece of tape with the number on the top of the box and moved it to the appropriate location.
“Are you the booking girl or a model?”
Carla turned around after moving a few boxes. “Huh?
She recognized the man on the other side of the small storage room. Dusty brown hair, fair skin, especially compared to anyone in Carla’s family, stocky build. His fingers were a bit on the fat side, the thin gold band on his left hand showing that they’d once been smaller. Not an unattractive man, if someone had asked Carla one way or the other, but definitely in his forties. Mid-forties, late forties? She couldn’t remember. Patterson “Pat” Carlisle. The owner, although she didn’t directly work with him. He wasn’t her supervisor, but his name was on her checks.
He chuckled, his mustache tilting up at both sides in a smile as he walked over. Carla wasn’t short, but when he got closer she realized he had a good… what, six inches on her? She glanced down, no boots on him, so yeah, he was probably around six foot, and she wasn’t quite five foot seven yet.
“You’re Carla, right?” he asked, correcting his previous joke so that she understood.
“Oh, yeah. And you’re Mr. Carlisle, right?
” The guy from the checks.
She held her clip board at her side as he looked her over.
“You can call me Pat, everyone else does, but yes,” he told her, still beaming. He had a friendly smile at least.
“Am I just one of the guys then?
” she asked, smiling back a bit. She knew how to be friendly.
He laughed, and Carla quirked a brow. It hadn’t been that funny, so she wasn’t sure what stuck him as so humorous. “No… you’re too hot to be one of the guys. But you can call me Pat all the same.”
“Uh… thanks then, Pat.
” She blinked. He said something about letting her get back to work and she was immediately happy to do so. It was strange enough from just a couple of minutes.
Sloppy dark chocolate hair was covering his eyebrows. “You look like you’re going to grow up to be a vagabond.
“My hair looks fine,” Ben replied with an amused look. It was hard to look stern while smiling. It was possible, but he definitely hadn’t mastered it. Carla chuckled. He brushed his hair back from his face, “Its not breaking dress code, so I don’t care.”
“You’re just too lazy to go get it cut,
” she accused lightly. She licked the tip of her thumb and rubbed off the smear of grease from his forehead. He looked confused until he saw her thumb and then looked at his own hands. Yeah, still grease. He wiped them on his coveralls.
“Yes, I am. But it also costs money. I’m not working this job because I’ve got dough to spare, you know.”
“Come by my place after school Friday, I’ll cut it for you. I’ve been cutting my brothers’ hair for a couple of years to save money.
The offer was considered for a moment before Ben shook his head, “Can’t. I have work right after school. I’m helping Ronny look over an engine. He says he has a few things to teach me.”
“Lucky… think he’d care if I drop in just to watch?
Ben hmmed for a second, “Not sure. You sure you wouldn’t be bored?”
“I like to know what I’m talking about, I wouldn’t be bored,
” she said with a roll of her eyes. “Anyway, we’ve got a few days, can you just ask him if he cares and let me know on Friday?
“Yeah, that’s fine.”
“You two making dinner plans?”
They looked up from their seat on the couch. The break room was not amazing, but it was a comfortable spot. A long, sturdy, surprisingly comfortable brown couch was Carla’s favorite. A sink, tiny counter space, fridge, card table, two chairs, and a mail sorting box. The two teenagers were sitting side by side on the couch when Pat walked in.
“No dinner plans,
” Carla informed him casually. She wiped her thumb off on her knee.
“Oh, are you two not an item at school?”
“Nooope,” Ben said with certainty. With some guys she might have feigned offense, but she’d known Ben long enough and there had never been anything. It would just be stupid and immature to try to act offended now. He was great, but not like that. Well, he was probably great like that but…it just didn’t cross her radar. She’d been with Gabby when they met anyway, and she hadn’t retroactively developed a thing for Ben.
“Do you have some other boyfriend at school?”
“Uh… no. Not right now…
” She’d gone on some dates with guys, and maybe seen them for a month or two, but no one counted as a boyfriend. Not since Gabriel, and they’d broken up when Carla was fourteen
. It had been two years, she was decidedly single.
“Huh.” Pat seemed flummoxed by this response. Carla wondered if her being single was really a shock. Did she act like she had some boy at school? She spent enough time working… she didn’t get it. “Don’t you think she should have a boyfriend?”
It took Ben far too long to register that the question was meant for him. Seeing as there were three people in the room, process of elimination really only left him.
“Uh, I mean, she can have a boyfriend if she wants, I’m sure.”
“Probably. She’s hot enough, don’t you think?”
Carla continued rubbing the oil off on her knee, ignoring the question. She could feel Ben’s confusion radiating off his person.
“How enough? To have a boyfriend… uh... I guess?”
“Don’t you think she’s hot?”
“… um…” Ben looked at Carla. She didn’t look up, just felt his eyes on her before they returned to Pat. “I don’t really think about it.”
“Really?” Again Pat sounded really stricken by this admission. Didn’t think about how hot Carla was? Unthinkable. “Well. I’m sure she just has high standards. Not any boy will do. Or is it girls?”
Carla cleared her throat, “Uh, yeah, boys. I guess. Yeah, not… into immature ones.
“Probably need a man soon anyway.”
” she trailed off, rising from her seat. “Anyway, I think my break is over. Nice to see you Pat.
” With that, Carla left the break room, not running, but certainly not wasting her time. Ben followed, since he actually did have work to get back to.
Despite the colder weather, it was still Nevada
, so Carla had never felt particularly chilled to the bone. Of course it got cold there, and having lived in Nevada her whole life, she didn’t know what a frigid winter felt like. It was rainy though, which was really about the worst
possible thing to deal with. She stepped into the shop at 8 in the morning, shivering. The workers were busy, and she walked past them into the back bathroom, past Pat’s office.
When she stripped off her hoodie even her light gray t-shirt was soaked. She took several paper towels and dried off her face and hair, and worked on stuffing her shoes s that at least her feet wouldn’t get all wrinkly. She could not walk around an auto repair shop without shoes on. And bare foot on concrete in December? Ew. So unpleasant.
“Feeling a bit wet today?”… yeah, wet… or drowned.
Carla saw Pat in the mirror. “Uh, I thought I closed the door. Sorry.
“Its not problem. The door doesn’t always latch. Swings open on its own sometimes.”
” She was going to see about ordering a new doorknob or something. He remained in the doorway looking at her. Carla awkwardly patted down her shirt with the paper towels. Her t-shirt was clinging to her bra, and she was pretty sure her nipples were visible through her shirt, or the outline anyway. He was still standing there, so she stuffed some paper towels in her shirt to correct at least one
problem. Her jeans were also clinging to her at this point, unfortunately. “Ronny isn’t in today, right?
“Can I borrow the spare jumpsuit? I know its too big, but…
” she made a small gesture to her wet self. I don’t really want to go home… I need the money.[ For gas and my paycheck…
“And cover up such a sweet frame?”
” She pulled at some paper towels to do something with her hands. “I don’t want to get sick.
“It would be a shame. Definitely not a proper fit for you, either.”
Carla bit her cheek. You sign my checks, dude.
“Anyway, would it be alright if I borrow his jumpsuit?
Pat sighed like there was a horrible injustice in the world, and then gave a solemn nod.
Bending over to pick up a box was a pretty innocent activity, generally speaking. She did that regularly. Bend, picking up a box, carried inside. Unfortunately lately she was aware of eyes on her every time she did. He signs the check. You need the money.
This was the daily mantra. Nothing happened most days. She didn’t even see him every week, but on the days she did, she was aware. She didn’t need to wear shorts, but she did have a pair of jeans in her locker at school in case she needed to change into them before work. Always with the eyes.
” Carla stared at her locker. Wide open, paper strewn about. “Fuck!
“That is inappropriate language, Ms. Martin.” The reprimand stopped short when the teacher took notice of why Carla was so upset. Her locker was open. Most of her books were still there, but everything else was gone. A few pictures were torn out of the locker, her fucking notebooks were gone, and the handful of personal possessions she kept in there. Including her jeans. That was really the least of her worries right now though.
” she said quietly, to herself. She was beside herself enough that she didn’t really register that her teacher was looking into it. He tried to be nice. Talked about her speaking to the office. She’d lost homework. Notes. Fucking homework
. It would have to redone. God she didn’t want to redo her homework. Her hands were on her head. Right… she had to go to the office. “I can’t. I have to go to work…
“How are you getting to work?”
“I… I get a ride.
” Some days.
“Can you ask your ride to wait? You’ll need to report this and talk to your teachers.”
“I don’t have time to talk to my teachers… my other teachers.
” She groaned, looking increasingly worried. She didn’t need
this. She had too many things to worry about. Her teacher implored her to calm down and talk to her ride. She gave Ben a call and he came over. It was fortunate that he had a calm head on his shoulders. Carla was pretty calm, but she felt overwhelmed, so that trumped her usual state. Ben talked her down, and Carla got things cleaned up before going to the office.
By the time they got to work, Carla was upset at having had a brief conversation with her step-father on the phone. She had to replace her school supplies. Her mother was pregnant, they didn’t have the money to spare on buying Carla all new binders and supplies. She should have locked her locker. It was fucking locked, but he was convinced she must have just forgotten. Whatever. What the fuck ever. She didn’t have the energy to spare. She barely registered that she was still wearing her skinny jeans from school when Ben and her arrived, late
, at work.
Ben received a two minute conversation about being on time before heading to work. Carla was given a stern look for about ten seconds before it felt a whole lot less stern. Apparently her jeans made her ass look good. She didn’t have the energy to care. I need the money.
She was beginning to hate the power money had over her. And maybe her mother should stop fucking having children. It was a long day.
After that, she didn’t bother dressing differently for work. She didn’t have the clothes to spare. All of Sofia’s pants were booty shorts and pants that might as well have been painted on. And that was on Sofia
. Carla at sixteen and a half had more curves than her sister. She must have been an inch or two taller as well.
“Are you sure you can’t fit into your jeans anymore?” Marta had her arms crossed.
” Carla gave her a sort of endearingly pitiful face. If she could even pull that off. “Please? Can’t I just borrow two pairs? When I get more money I’ll buy a couple new pairs of jeans. I just… please?
“But you like your pants. Mine are so maternal. They won’t look flattering at all.” Her mother remained confused.
Carla sighed, “Its fine, Mama… really. I just need to borrow them for a bit. I don’t care if they’re flattering.
” In fact it would be great if they weren’t flattering, actually. That was the point. Her mother was shorter, but bigger, and her pants were going to be a bit too big on Carla. That was perfect. “Please? I just need some extras, and Sofia’s won’t fit me and… Via you know is too tiny.
“Alright, alright, Carlita. You can borrow them until the end of the school year, and before then, try to buy some new pairs for yourself.”
“Gracias. I love you, Mama.
Although nowhere in her job description did it say that Carla was a mechanic, she had
been paying attention to the work. She knew how to change a tire, change her oil, check out minor problems. She wouldn’t have minded actually spending more time in the shop some days. School was distracting, but she’d gotten over the hurdle of being sidelined by her locker situation. Sean wasn’t an awful dude, he was just… biased. Biased, and when he got stubborn he could be a bit of an asshole, according to Carla. Well, according to her thoughts when he was lecturing her. She didn’t really think he was an asshole most of the time, and she most certainly wasn’t going to say it out loud. She didn’t really care to be grounded when so much of her free time was already spent doing work. School work and the work that made money. She was actually going to have to buy those jeans, but at least she worked that summer. She would have a lot more time.
It was a Saturday, and Carla had been coming in every Saturday at eight for months. She was working until about three in the afternoon too. Which meant when she got home she took a shower and then a nap. Then it was on to homework while babysitting. Babies were demanding. And that was just her half siblings. Antonio was not even a year old and Angel was only
a year old. Didn’t doctors say you were supposed to wait like… a year to get pregnant? Or something? Well Mrs. Shaw formerly Mrs. Martin hadn’t heard that message. Or maybe she thought birth control was too expensive. Carla decided if she ever got another boyfriend, she was going to get on birth control. And
she was going to keep condoms in her bag. Because not only was her mother pregnant with her third baby… but Sofia had two kids. Sofia had a newborn and a two year old, and she was nineteen. Yeah, no, Carla was going to keep her fertility in check. At least one
of them had to.
Carla sort of assumed her sister got pregnant whenever there were big changes in the family. Couldn’t take focusing on other people. She had to make dumb decisions and keep the focus on her. The timeline matched up. Got her dumbass boyfriend as soon as they moved after the divorce. Got pregnant when their mom got married. Then once Marta started popping out babies, Sofia had to keep up and have another of her own. Carla was so over picking up the slack for other people, but at least she understood sort of why Sean didn’t want to give her money for extra school supplies or new jeans. No one in the whole fucking family had money. They were too busy making babies.
So she went into work, and she came home tired, and she still had shit to do. At least she got to learn about something she enjoyed. Her uncle had a car place out in New York, and Carla had visited once with family. Back when her parents were married. Well, he hadn’t had the shop back then
, but he had it now, and she’d seen pictures. He was her Mom’s brother so Carla got to hear more about him then she did her dad’s side of the family. Carla enjoyed learning about the mechanical side of things. No one was going to let her actually handle repairs, but she still wanted to know. She liked to know what was going to happen when a customer called in to book an appointment. Complaining about this or that. Of course she could rarely predict it, but at least she was a bit more helpful when once the appointment was set up and the mechanic asked what the complaint had been.
Working long hours on Saturday was also nice because generally it was just the mechanics hanging around. Wasn’t a lot of customers coming in, and better yet, there wasn’t a lot of management. So Carla was more comfortable at work on those days. Ben didn’t work Saturdays because he actually a life
… or more of one than Carla. That wasn’t any kind of bragging right though, really.
For all of these reasons she was not prepared for anyone to come into the office while she was working. She’d been told, a few more times than she’d kept count of, that she was welcome to work in Pat’s office on her paperwork. He didn’t mind, of course. She tended to find some other place to keep busy, claiming something about needing to be up and about checking on different things. All the while repeating her mantra about needing the money. On this day she’d been helping for a few hours, watching and asking questions, while Ronny did some repairs to an old truck. Admittedly she was probably not helping at all, but he was polite enough to claim that she was. Once she finished that task, she found herself in Pat’s office working on his computer, inputting the information from some paperwork into the website for orders and official files.
The door opened and Carla’s eyes didn’t even leave the screen. Whoever it was would talk.
“Like the chair, kitten?”… shit.
Carla all but jumped to her feet just then. She looked up to the doorway. “Uh no, sorry. Er… the chair is fine.
” She had three more papers to input, and she was in the middle of one. She couldn’t just get up and leave.
“Well you’re welcome to come use it all you like.” He closed the door and went to sit on the edge of his desk. Carla tapped her fingers on the desk for a moment.
“Do you need your desk? I can come back and finish this later if-
“No, no. I can wait. Take your time, get everything you need done.” And she felt his eyes going up and down over her. It occurred to her at that point that she had not dressed for an office job. It was very warm outside, and she was dressed how she might be dressed at home. Or… well, at the mall, maybe. It was one of Sofia’s old shirts. Fitting Sofia, and fitting snug
on Carla’s larger bust. So much so that the shut had actually been cut in the front. The deep v-neck was frayed slightly where it had been butchered with kitchen scissors, but then sewn back up to prevent further tearing. It was low enough that the Evanescence logo was split in two, and the top of Carla’s bra was visible. It wasn’t visible when she was standing and eye level, but with a tall man looking down at her from atop his desk while she saw, she had an idea of the view.
“How many papers do you have left?”
” She shifted her arms awkwardly, wanting to keep them close to her body but not wanting them to push anything around in the process.
“Then you should get them done.”
Carla took a breath and turned her attention back to the screen. She could type quickly, although she found she was making more errors than usual and having to go back and correct them. The attention was unnerving. When her train of thought would disappear she tapped her nails against the desk, trying to gather up her brainpower again quickly. Pushing herself wasn’t really helping, but after far too many uncomfortable minutes, she was just writing the dates on the paperwork to say when she’d input them into the computer.
” Carla replied. She logged out of the computer and stood up. Her mood was lifted.
“That’s a shame. It’s a nice shirt.”
She stood there for a moment, looking at him. He looked so… friendly. And cheerful. And… she wasn’t sure what to say, but heard herself talking anyway. “My sister gave it to me. She likes the band.
“What’s the band?”
” It said that, but she assumed the cut made it too difficult to read. She would like to think that was the problem.
“Looks like a good shirt to cum on.”
Carla paused, blinking, squinting at the desk, before looking back at his face. Was that really what she heard him say? She wet her lips, feeling they were desperately dry, along with her throat if she’d been keeping a list. He just smiled at her pleasantly.
“Is something wrong?”
“N-no, anyway, I’m going to go, have a nice afternoon.
“Its still morning, kitten,” he winked.
Her mouth was open, without words, and she just walked out, grateful once she reached the hall to find the papers were clutched in her fist. Money. Carla. Money. Fuck.
“I think its my fault. Kind of. Not…victim blaming. It was his fault. I know that. But it could have been avoided.” She pushed some beans around in the bowl with her spoon. She wasn’t hungry. If she’d still been hungry she would have had something else to do with her mouth.
Blake’s eyes fell on her, confusion visible. It was possible that Blake had guess what Carla was talking about, but it was so abnormal for Carla to bring that up that Blake couldn’t be sure. One of the only reasons Blake even knew about the incident had been her relationship with Ben. Sure, the girls had gotten close while being in a band together, but that had not been why it came up. Carla didn’t talk about it. She was not some fragile girl, but she had her scars. Scars that she turned into something much more self-serving. She could handle a hurricane like Blake could handle a light rain, but one made it look easy and the other would probably cry. It must have been for Blake’s benefit that Carla even explained the situation years ago.
“I could have prevented it. Its kind of fucked, but I could have.” She knew no one was home. It was just them, Leeloo, and the snake. It was a big house to be this empty, and Blake didn’t really like being there alone, but she did have Carla. Carla was pretty sure Blake could stand to get over her weirdness. She lived here, she could be there alone. She just wanted everything to go so nicely. Wanted everyone to get along. Needed to make everyone like her. However Blake handled it was on her, but god… Carla would have been so exhausted. She liked some people to like her, but everyone? Half of them could fuck off. She might be in a weird mood. She drank more from her cup. Another thing Blake could stand to worry about less. Dishes. She’d bought a few to put in the house under the excuse that she lived there. She used them, but Carla felt like Blake just wanted to give everyone everything. Whatever, it meant Carla had a cup for her liquor.
Blake didn’t speak. Carla had something on her mind and Blake was going to allow her to work it out. When she wanted input, she would give Blake a stare. Unmistakable eye contact, maybe an eyebrow or two raised up to punctuate the look. She was looking at her drink now, and that meant she didn’t want to be interrupted.
“Pass the liquor.”
Blake stood and got the pitcher from the fridge. It was strange having Carla drink more and Blake drink less. Carla was rarely drunk though. Not often buzzed, but she liked to shoot for buzzed, tipsy, but still in control, when she did drink. The pitcher also belonged to Blake. Randi insisted it was a good recipe. So much so she’d texted the details to Blake. Then she’d texted them a picture of the ingredients on the counter. Then she texted a picture of the finished result in a clear pitcher, with her thumbs up in the photo. She had been a bit derailed when Carla told Blake to point out that Drew was walking around in boxers in the background of the picture, but it hadn’t soured the mood. Blake’s pitcher was brown, not clear, but the drink still tasted good. Strong, but good. Much weaker than her earlier attempts at mixed drinks.
Carla poured more into her cup and sighed. “Does that…” No, she wasn’t going to start with a question. Too pitiful. She knew the answer. The answer to her unfinished question was no. She didn’t need someone else to tell her. Didn’t need to be affirmed, not even by Blake. Not for this. She’d come to terms so long ago. It was strange that it was on her mind. Must have been the dream last night. She knew what brought that on. She took a drink. Strawberry, blueberry, pineapple, and booze. Mmm. “I could have told Ben, kept someone around me more often. Told him off… I could have… left.”
The mention of Ben confirmed Blake’s suspicion. Direct Auto Repair, in Sparks, Nevada. They never talked about the place. Ben had left after that, and when they graduated high school and moved, he got a job at another place. He really liked his job, but he was too nice to ever want to think about that shop. All of his memories were tainted by Carla leaving. Blake found Carla’s eyes on her, no eyebrow movement, but there was silence.
“Do you feel bad?” Blake asked quietly.
“No. I don’t feel fucking bad.” Was she annoyed? Not at Blake. No, she wasn’t annoyed. She was frustrated. She wasn’t even frustrated at Pat. “Should….” she shook her head. She wasn’t asking. She drank some more. Cleared her throat. “I could have stopped it before it got to that point, but if I had… I wouldn’t have gotten the money. That’s the fucked up part. Like, I don’t feel bad because I got something out of it. Maybe it bribed my feelings, but I don’t care. Because… I mean, I got to go to college because some dude fingered me in a break room. That’s really got to count for something.”
Blake’s eyes were wider than usual, and her mouth remained decidedly closed. Although she assumed that was part of it, she also knew more than just that happened. The explicit details were never laid out for her. It had been enough to change how Carla viewed sex, or at least how she went about it, but not enough that Carla called it any four letter words starting with r. She called it fucked, but usually she just didn’t bring it up. Blake was just not used to Carla being so… blunt about this. About other things, yes, but this topic was taboo. She might answer questions if someone asked. Someone that she liked enough to level with them, and not just some rando off the street. But this time she was bringing it up herself.
“Thing is, if I had to go back and change it… I wouldn’t. I don’t think I would. I dealt with it and… life goes on. It didn’t ruin my life, its just something fucked up that happened. And I got more good out of it than bad. And that is fucked. But that’s not why I’m talking about it.” She drank some more.
“And… why is it that you’re talking about it?” Blake became paranoid that someone else was home. No one was home. She could count the cars outside and it was two. Both parked on the street because Blake didn’t want to take anyone’s spot, and Carla was a guest. No one else was here, but Blake still felt awkward given they were sitting in the kitchen and… well, four other people lived there. She knew Kiefer wouldn’t be home for hours, but she didn’t have anyone else’s schedule written out in her mind.
Carla had imbibed some more of the fruity drink. She was lost in thought. It was over a minute before she answered. Whether or not she’d even heard Blake’s question to begin with. “My Mom was calling me, asking if I could loan Sofia money.”
“Mierda….” Blake knew that was not going to be good.
“Mentioned the settlement. Asked if I had any money left. Like, its been nine years mom, and if I have money left, its because I managed my money, not because I got a fuck ton of it to start. I got enough, but I had expenses and… its not even a big deal. Its stupid, but its not a big deal. Travis lost his job. I didn’t even know his dumb ass had a job. But I guess he has to because Sofia sure and hell doesn’t. She thinks she does, but she doesn’t get a paycheck. She gets paid in groceries and free repairs from people in their apartment complex. So I guess the boys will eat, but they won’t be able to buy gas. Unless an empty fuel tank counts as a repair now-a-days.”
Blake didn’t have to say that an empty tank didn’t count that way. It was still pretty weird. “I was in a good mood, told her I didn’t have money to give to Sofia. I don’t know if I should… she’s thirty. You’d think she’d figure her shit out by now. At least she hasn’t popped out any more babies… its like everyone went, ‘oh, Carla is moving, I better stop getting pregnant. I don’t have free babysitting anymore.’ Actually, I hope that’s what they did. I don’t want Via or Leila getting stuck babysitting.”
“Sorry your Mom called.”
“Oh…” Carla took a deep breath. “No, its fine. I don’t mind her calling. I like talking to her… it doesn’t happen that often… just… she has to stop trying to take care of Sofia sometime. And stop trying to take care of her through other people’s means at least. Anyway, sorry, I’m just kind of… in a bad mood. But I’ll be fine. Thanks for dinner, hermana.”
Blake smiled. Carla was resilient. Even now. Being asked to support a deadbeat family member would have resulted in a very different reaction from Blake. Guilt. Anxiety. A sudden drop in her own finances. Blake was a pushover for some people. Maybe, hopefully, not everyone, but definitely some people. If her cousins had needed anything, for example, she would give it to them. Especially Rosie. Her aunt and uncle might find Blake less cheerful, but the guilt would eat her up. Carla seemed more than accepting of her position. She’d already given them money, and fuck if she was giving them more money now.
Carla laughed. “You look so worried, hermana. I’m fine.” She was smiling now. Blake smiled more. “There we go. That’s why the boy is in love with you.”
Blake laughed. “I don’t… think that’s why.”
“*Aw, why not?” She slipped into Spanish just for the question.
“I don’t think he is in love with me for my awkward smiling, that’s all.
“Well you’re cute. I mean, when he’s not sulky and drunk you guys are cute.”
“He’s not usually sulky and drunk,” Blake said, maybe to drive home the point that they were usually cute. The conversation lulled into something pleasant. Carla got up after finishing her last spoonful of chili, and washed her dishes. Blake put away the leftovers. She liked cooking, apparently, so she did it more. The fact that anyone besides her got to eat the food was a bonus.
It was a good half hour later when they found themselves on the couch, Carla’s head back against the couch. “I should go home.”
Blake laughed, “What, drive to New York tonight?”
“Yeah.” Carla sounded serious, but that didn’t mean Blake worried she was actually going to try.
“You’re too drunk for that.”
“I’m not that drunk,” Carla argued. “But I’m too drunk to drive, yes.”
“You drunk enough to hit on Kaleb?” Blake asked with another laugh.
“Yeah.” Had it been established that Carla would hit on him drunk? Well, Carla was much more lenient with her standards when she was properly drunk. Blake was more curious about what Carla would have done sober, but thus far the answer was “nothing.” Blake had her opinions, but Carla didn’t really worry about them too much. Carla had whatever interests and taste that she had, and unless she was actually doing something about them, they weren’t the concern of anyone else.
“Wait… that’s not why you want to go home tonight is it?” Blake asked with another laugh.
“Yes,” Carla confirmed.
“So you’re that drunk?”
“No…” Carla said slowly, looking around the room. She saw the lights of someone pulling up to the house. Winter really did get things dark early. Blake didn’t believe her, but there was only minimal time to argue about it. Carla had decided that she needed some air, and whoever was coming home right now, was her excuse to get it.
“I think I’m going to take a walk.”
“Am I coming?”
“I won’t be gone that long. I can find my way back to the house.”
“You want to walk around Lochland Grove, alone, after dark, intoxicated?” Blake had been handed Carla’s drink while Carla grabbed her coat and her bag.
Carla pointed to Blake, “Yes.” She’d backed up to the door and opened it, stopping before running into the now returning member of the household. The one she was not going to hit on, for reasons, but was thinking about hitting on, for reasons. She sidestepped quickly to let him go. Blake stood, holding the mostly empty cup of Carla’s alcohol.
“Uh, welcome home. Carla’s going to take a walk.”
“Yep. Nice seeing you.” Blake noted that Carla’s tone was decidedly less flippant and evasive. Less hurrying out the door, but once he was inside, she was stepping outside to go on her adventure. She didn’t have a key. Blake wasn’t going to bed. She would give Carla maybe an hour before expecting her back home. She wasn’t worried that Carla would get into trouble, just unsure how to proceed.
“… you could follow her if you were bored,” Blake suggested. She didn’t think he would. He probably wasn’t bored after all. For all Blake knew, Carla would be back in five minutes. Or she would reach the end of the block and turn around. Or she would find a park or something. That was a much longer walk though. She had her coat though. Blake looked out the window to see which direction Carla had gone, if she had in fact chosen a direction, and then went back to sitting on the couch, placing the drink on the table. All would be back to normal once Carla had cleared her head.
“Does she have a boyfriend yet?”
Carla felt her ears heat as she kept checking the boxes and their labels. She had just finished organizing some tools. She was really not going to acknowledge that she could hear them. Did they know she could hear them? She was hoping they assumed she couldn’t.
“… um, what?” Ben sounded confused.
“She didn’t have a boyfriend last year, which is strange. Does she have one now?”
“… that’s… that’s really kind of creepy.” Ben sounded uncomfortable.
“How is it creepy? She’s an attractive girl.”
“Y-yeah, I guess b-but… she can hear you, you know.” Ben sounded annoyed and
“Oh, she knows what I think.”
Carla sighed, or maybe deflated, still not looking over at them. Ben, frustrated, stopped the conversation after that.
“I know I’ve been working extra since I got back from my Dad’s… but I think I’m going to actually have to cut back a lot on my hours.
” Carla rocked back and forth on her heels, waiting for her supervisor to come over with her check. He handed it over. She glanced at the amount, and the usual signature. Patterson Carlisle.
“Why are you cutting back on hours?”
She kept looking at the check, as if reading far more than was written there. She took her time, but then looked back up. “I’m in a band now. Colors. That’s the name. Not really sure why, but I guess it sounded cool, so that’s what we’re rolling with.
“Rocking and rolling, hopefully,” he said with a teasing smile. Carla chuckled for his sake.
“Sure, maybe rocking and rolling.
“So does that mean you are leaving us, or… just cutting back to less hours?”
“Just cutting back my hours. I still need the money, and having a garage band doesn’t pay me.
“Mmm, always motivated by the green.”
” Carla said, as if exaggerating.
Her hands were blurry. The black polish on her nails shone under the street light as she wobbled to one side. “Fuck.
” She overcorrected and ended up teeting over to the right and nearly walking off the side walk. Too drunk to go home. Too drunk to stay at the party. Too fucking drunk. Sean would blow up. He was reasonable, but he would lose his voice if he saw Carla fucked up this way. Couldn’t he just keep his attention on his own kid? Cody was… you know, responsible and shit. Carla usually was, but she needed to unwind. She had work tomorrow at some point. She’d changed her schedule around so she only worked afternoons on Saturday, and two days a week after school. The band was important to her, but more importantly, she had worked out a specific schedule. She could do the paperwork and whatever the fuck else and not have to be there all the time. She still got paid, but… her dad had given her enough birthday money and some new jeans so she didn’t feel so much like she was drowning anymore.
Why the fuck had she worn high heels? Because they made her legs look good. That was the dumb reason she’d decided on hours earlier. Back when the sun was still up. She slumped down and realized she had found a bus stop at some point. When did that happen? Well it was good luck. She still had most of her lipstick on. Purple. Why purple? Because it matched her heels. Because, also important, it matched her bra. Sofia seemed to think that this was important. Something about if her top came off the lace matching the hickies or something. Sofia gave such good advice. Carla hadn’t let any guy get her top off in… okay, since Gabby. Sometimes she missed him, but it had been a couple of years, and she wasn’t thinking about it tonight. She realized she was staring up at the sky with her mouth open.
“C’mon turkey. Don’t drown. Not much farther to work.
” She slipped her shoes off and carried them in her hand. Short cotton skirt in black, gray blouse that for some reason zipped up the front, because that wasn’t sending some sort of message, wing tip liner, she was definitely not dressed for school. Not dressed for work. She had wanted to have a good time, and she had. Now she just needed to find a nice couch to crash on. Work had a couch. Work had her car. She’d been picked up after work by a friend, who hadn’t been sober enough to drive her back. So here she was walking. It was fortunate that the walk was only… six blocks? Six blocks from the party. Unless she made a wrong turn. Her vision was blurry but she was pretty sure she hadn’t fucked things up so badly to miss a straight shot. That was the hope anyway. Fingers remained crossed.
Somehow her feet carried her to the building. Her car was ignored while she tried to get her key to open the building. It wasn’t her car, but it was the one she borrowed. Sean would notice it was missing, and she would fucking endure his wrath hungover, but not drunk. Door closed. Door locked. It was so quiet inside. She pulled someone’s water from the fridge and found a packet of crackers. She downed them both quickly, and refilled the water in the bathroom. She was still dizzy, but she was pretty sure if she lay down she wouldn’t end up throwing up, so she was set.
Carla didn’t bother to turn off the light. It helped her not get dizzy. She curled up on the couch, heels on her purse, purse on the ground. She tried to set her alarm before leaving it on the ground somewhere. She fell asleep quickly.
The protection of her eyelids was barely enough to keep her asleep. She squirmed as she felt warm skin on inner thigh. She wasn’t that warm. The hand moved along her skin and she squirmed again, lazily trying to shift away from the unexpected contact. She didn’t want to be awake. Her head was still spinning. She settled when the movement stopped, and felt she must have fallen back asleep for at least some length of time. The idle rubbing between her legs was what caused her to stir again. Squirming again but finding the movement of her legs did nothing to dislodge the hand that had pushed up her skirt.
She groaned and finally pried her eyes open. The film of haze over her vision was hard to focus on. Her eyes burned, but she blinked more when she saw another person in the room. Sitting on the couch. Reaching over to her. She looked down and realized his hand was between her legs. Carla moved to sit up but found it was a lot of effort. She got up to her elbow.
“Had too much to drink?”
What was he doing here? She couldn’t think. What time was it? Her alarm hadn’t gone off yet. Her head wanted to go back to sleep. It was so hard to wake up while she was still drunk. She couldn’t sort this out. He moved his thumb over her underwear and she finally sat up, struggling to scoot away. She got as far as the armrest though, and that was maybe two inches away. He closed the gap without any discernable effort.
Carla squirmed. Her first impulse was to argue, but she didn’t see how that would help. She would have said it anyway, but she was at a loss for words. Her brain wasn’t functioning, but panic was fighting with the usual argument that she couldn’t do anything to argue with him.
“You smell like liquor. Do your parents know where you are?”
She shook her head and when she reached a hand over to move his, he put his other hand on hers to stop her.
“They wouldn’t be happy about you being here. Are they worried?”
“I don’t know,
” she said quietly.
“They probably wouldn’t be happy that you are drunk though?” She shook her head slowly, then inhaled when he his fingers started moving again. She closed her eyes, trying to think. She failed. Her skin felt cold, her muscles tense, he wasn’t getting any kind of reaction from her, but she wasn’t even thinking about that. Words. He said something. She didn’t hear him. What was she doing? She needed to do something. Something. What? He continued on while her eyes were closed tight, and he said something about not telling her parents she was here and why. The irrational part of her brain wanted to say that it was her mother and step-father, not her parents
, but why? It was so irrelevant.
He pulled her underwear off and she was somewhat aware of the colder air before being distracted by his fingers again between her legs and soon inside her. She gulped and closed her eyes again. Escaping at least the visual of the situation, while not moving any of her other limbs. Sean was going to be so mad. She needed to do something, or she needed to ride it out. She was frozen by feelings she didn’t want to acknowledge.
“You’ve done this before, haven’t you?”
was, it didn’t seem like anything Carla had done. She shook her head, ignoring how his tone had changed. Much less calm. Much less relaxed. Much less friendly.
“You’ve been with one of your little boyfriends, right? Sexy girl like you.”
She wasn’t sure what to make of the additional statement, but she nodded at the question. One of her little boyfriends. One
of her little boyfriends, sure. It didn’t even click in her mind that he was saying his was the same thing. Nothing about being with Gabby had felt similar to this.
He didn’t ask anything else, just kept playing with her for some time. She had no solid grasp on how much time had passed. It felt like an hour, but she was so aware of each second, it could have been minutes. She could hear him breathing, and it made her feel like she couldn’t even get in air. He had his other hand free once he’d let go of her hand. Convinced she wouldn’t do anything with her free limbs. His hand was on her cheek and she felt his lips against hers. She turned away, eyes opening again, but all she could see was the side of the couch. He didn’t bother being disappointed. His lips found her neck easily and she felt every scratch from his mustache. Every warm breath. God she should really… something. Her mind was blank on solutions, she just didn’t want to be there. She whimpered at his continued touching and eventually he unzipped her shirt. She was never wearing his shirt again.
His touch on her chest was distracting from his other hand. She was torn between two unpleasant sensations. His hands weren’t particularly rough, but they felt grating
. His mouth felt worse as it moved down her skin. Carla’s internal monologue was frantic and profane. Desperate but pathetic. She should just leave, right? What would happen? Would something bad happen? Something worse? Was it going to be that bad if she left? Would he be mad?
She was easily pulled closer, and from the positioning of one of his hands she winced. He didn’t notice. She heard more noise and looked at him unzipping his pants. The internal monologue sped up, but nothing coherent was said.
“I’m going to need you to do something for me.”
Like this had all been something he was doing for
her. She caught the tone. How his voice was deeper and more desperate than usual. It wasn’t a joke, he was very serious, and he was very needy. He slipped his fingers out of her finally and she didn’t notice him wipe them off on the fabric of her skirt. Her feet finally hit the floor, but only so he could pull her as close as possible. Her bare leg against his jeans. His larger body looming somewhat. He didn’t say what he wanted but for how he’d put his hand on her upper back, she was getting the impression. He pulled his penis out of his shorts and Carla complied when he pushed down on her back. Autopilot was easier.
She had checked out before he passed her lips and with his fingers finding their way into her hair it was even easier to stop caring. He was doing the work. Using her, and she was just there to let him.
The massage of time was easier to track now. She had to be more aware. Auto pilot or not, she wasn’t in a coma. She could feel it all, taste it all. The bile in the back of her throat when he went too far. Threatening to come out as she coughed, threatening to stop his fun. He was torn between being over-eager and desperate to continue. He could not afford to let this get out of hand. If she was puking, he couldn’t put his dick down her throat. This was important to remember.
Besides coughing, Carla didn’t respond much. When he pulled her back she inhaled loudly. She was aware of the purple smears on his skin from her lipstick, but her eyes moved away quickly. He had been talking to her, but she didn’t distinguish the words apart from the groans. Something about having wanted to do that for so long. Something about finishing the job. His hand eased away from her skull. She didn’t have the time to recover before he was pulling her close with the same hand at her back.
She was pulled, lifted, placed in his lap. He was warm against her cold skin. So warm and firm. Autopilot was sending error messages. She didn’t need this. Sean was going to be mad. She wasn’t even sure what he was going to be mad about. That she was drunk, or that this was happening with her boss. Would he blame her? Her mother would defer to him. Let him make the decision. Could it be worse than dating Travis? This was worse than dating Travis. Panic was over taking whatever sanity was left in her internal monologue. Overpowering the numbness.
As he began rubbing against her, Carla finally pushed back against his chest. He was surprised, and she managed to fall off of him, off of the couch. The floor hit hard
. Concrete could knock the air out of a sober person. She was a drunk in blind panic. She was scrambling. He was talking to her, his voice rose, but she couldn’t make out the words. The grabbed her bag and her underwear. Her heels were left. She didn’t need them, couldn’t have worn them right now anyway.
She must have run to her car, must have straightened her skirt at some point. She didn’t even do anything with the ball of underwear in her clenched fist. It was a wonder she’d dug the car key out of her purse. He didn’t follow her outside. What was she doing? Her hands were shaking. Fuck. She took a deep breath to calm the shaking. Where was her phone? Fuck
. She must have left it. She wasn’t going back. She was freezing
. Carla fixed her bra, zipped her shirt up. What the fuck was she doing? She turned on her car and started driving.
The road was a blur. The streetlights were a blur. The car radio clock read three AM. She saw the red light and jerked to a stop. She opened the car door and spit out onto the street. She wiped off her mouth. Purple smears all across the back of her hand. She wiped it off with the front of her hand, angry at the sight. Whatever was left on her cheeks, maybe her teeth, she didn’t know. She couldn’t see in her mirrors. Didn’t have the sense to turn on the heat. She barely remembered to turn on the headlights.
She pulled over to the side of the road somewhere. She wasn’t sure where she was. Was it familiar? She finally pulled her underwear on. Her feet felt so cold against the pedals. She needed her phone. She needed to get home. She didn’t need to drive. She was going to crash. Whether it was the panic or the liquor still making her head swim. Either way she should not
be driving. Carla took several deep breaths. She was still shaking. Lipstick was on her steering wheel now.
After finding a familiar place to park, Carla walked the rest of the way home. She unlocked the door. Had Sean or her mother texted her for being gone so late? She had no way of knocking. The neighbor dog chained up in the yard barked at her, but Carla kept on target. She got inside. By the time she got into her bedroom her clock read five. Five in the fucking morning. This was ridiculous. Everything about her felt numb. She was grateful to have her own bed. Via and Leila had a bunk bed, and Carla’s bed was on the other side of the room. Mercifully they did not stir while she rummaged around in the closet. She stripped off everything she’d been wearing and left it in a pile on the floor.
She didn’t bother to go shower, didn’t bother to clean the makeup off her hand. She just pulled on layers. She wasn’t sure how many she had on when she stopped, but she felt stiff. She pulled the blankets up over her head. The son would show its bastard face soon, and she didn’t need that. She doubted she would be getting any sleep, but at least she was covered up.
Carla placed the last dish in the cabinets before hanging up the drying towel. Her mother was sitting at the table with a cup of coffee and a book.
“You’ve been home a lot lately.”
“Don’t you have any more shifts at Direct?”
” Carla leaned on the chair across the table from her mother. She sounded entirely indifferent.
“So… you aren’t going back to work there?”
“… why not?” she was confused, clearly. Carla wasn’t offering up any explanation. “Don’t you like working there anymore? You do need the money.”
Carla winced. Her mother frowned. “No. I don’t like it there anymore. I’ll… figure something else out.
[hypothetical tour January 2018)
Admittedly, Emmet was very attractive. Currently his hair was blond, but the last time she’d seen him it had been black. She wasn’t necessarily into emo boys, but a little hair dye didn’t hurt anyone. Except, apparently, first trimester pregnant ladies. Or their babies. Or whatever. She’d been told that was a thing. By her sister. Carla had never been pregnant. She was fine not being pregnant. Maybe if she ever got married and settled down and all that shit, she’d have a kid. She wasn’t opposed to having a kid. She was opposed to getting knocked up when she wasn’t planning on having a kid. She just needed to be responsible. She was on birth control. She had condoms in her bag. And she hadn’t even hooked up with anyone in the last year. She was overly prepared. No, that sounded desperate. She wasn’t prepared because she was really hoping to get laid. She was prepared because Carla really preferred to be prepared for life.
Also, she was prepared for touring with a band whose bass guitarist had been hitting on her for a month. Could she be a groupie and go hook up with a musician on tour? Well, she was physically capable of doing that, sure. She never had. She also wasn’t a groupie. She liked him fine. He was attractive. She liked his voice. She liked his musical talent. She liked his hair. She liked talking to him. That was important. Carla was far less attracted to guys if she couldn’t talk to them. The childish, the boring, the too self-absorbed. Emmet talked about his songs, talked about the next show, talked about her band. She liked that about him. He’d spent the last two nights talking to her about how much downtime they had after their Sunday show.
She wondered if the rest of his band had noticed. Blake hadn’t noticed. She was busy texting Kiefer. Probably heart emojis or topless pictures. Was that something she did now? Kiefer was certainly an influence on Blakely. So maybe that was something she did now. Drew was too busy sexting Miranda. Carla didn’t even need to ask. She wasn’t going near where he was sleeping. Not that she needed to, but she wasn’t going to even if she needed to. That left Jamie. Jamie had apparently deemed it best to avoid Drew as well. Or at least their shared hotel room.
Jamie gave Carla a nod. She nodded back. She took a picture of the venue from her phone. Everyone had cleared out. It was still a mess, but things were getting cleaned up. The instruments for Pink Slip had long since been put up. The other band had cleaned up as well. Although Emmet was still meeting up with them. Carla had a beer in hand and was drinking it when Jamie came closer.
“You got plans for tonight?”
“Not with you I don’t”
Jamie chuckled. He could take the sass. It didn’t bother him in the slightest. That meant he got more of it. People who couldn’t take it didn’t react well. It wasn’t fun to tease people that didn’t like it. Then it was just bullying. Carla teased, she didn’t bully. She stopped if someone minded. Either out of respect, or just avoiding the awkwardness. Plus she didn’t like to make people sad.
“Going to be spending a lot of personal time with Emmet?”
Well she hadn’t expected that question. She sent the pictures to Lochland’ Grove’s resident man bun toting musician and considered how Jamie had come to this conclusion. “What makes you ask that?”
“Probably the way he was looking at your ass earlier.”
“Never subtle, are you?”
“I try not to be. It gets in the way of the swag,” Jamie said with a self-important sigh. He was god’s gift to Carla tonight, apparently.
“I’m sure it does. I might be spending time with him. I don’t know when he is done wrapping up. I might find something else to do.”
“Someone else to do?”
“Not what I said, Jamie.”
“I was trying to translate sassy bitch. Sometimes I get a bit rusty.”
“Like a butter knife to the brain.”
“That the best you got? I was going to say something about your kooch. And you come back with a butter knife? Carla. Carla,” he repeated her name, this time with intense fake sympathy. “You’re usually better at this.”
“My kooch… wow. This is why you aren’t getting laid tonight.”
“I mean, and you’re busy.”
She laughed outright, “That was never going to happen.”
“Yeah but you could have found me a girl. Aren’t you there to take care of all the band’s needs?”
“You don’t need to put your dick in anyone tonight. You have a hand. A sock. I really don’t fucking care what you do with your dick if it isn’t hurting the band, buddy,” she smirked at him. This was why they couldn’t be civil to each other in private. In public, they could. In private they mostly just liked to rag on each other. Jamie was the little brother that Carla had never wanted, and who was also older than her. “But its not my job to find you a place to put it.”
“Ooooouch. Referring to classy fan ladies as places.”
“They’re the ones who are hypothetically willing to sleep with you.” She didn’t think that poorly of people. Really they could sleep with who they wanted. She didn’t think Jamie was all that bad, even if she wasn’t into him at all. She just liked to give him a hard time. More bark, no bite if she wasn’t crossed.
Her phone vibrated. Emmet. Hitting on her. “Is that the fuckboy?”
“He isn’t a fuckboy.”
“Might be a fuckboy.”
“Yes, its Emmet,” she said with a roll of her eyes. Normally she wouldn’t encourage the flirting. Was something wrong with her? It was the tour. She replied to his text. He was cute. He kept her interested, kept her entertained. Kept her from… thinking about cute boys in small towns that she was not trying to hook up with. God, if she so much as mentioned that Jamie would probably try to take her phone just to see what she was saying to people. He would do something obnoxious and potentially embarrassing. Carla was not easily embarrassed. Was Emmet really a fuckboy? Nah… he was a musician she found attractive. It couldn’t hurt to go hang out with him.
“Do you have condoms in your purse?”
Of fucking course she had condoms in her purse. Carla glared at him. The implications were felt. He wiggled his eyebrows at her and she scoffed before walking off. A parting “Fuck you,” was said.
“It would be too convenient if you did,” Jamie called after her. He was a mess. One of them was a mess. Maybe they were both a mess. He was a better drummer than he was an ass. And he made quite a convincing asshole. He wasn’t a jerk though. He cared. He was a good friend, if you liked that sort of banter. If you didn’t… well, it was up in the air. He and Carla had known each other since college, so they were very well acquainted with each other’s antics.
Emmet had given a location, a bench outside the hotel, in the dark. Yeah, sure. She went to meet him and the conversation quickly moved past the show and their next destination. Well, the tour’s next destination. Things were moving fast. They ended up in the ice making room of the hotel making out. It wasn’t particularly dark, but it was secluded. So there was that. Jamie’s annoying comment was ringing in her ears, but so was the sound of the ice making machine, so she could ignore one more sound just fine.
It felt good, and they were making their way to his room. She didn’t remember which of his bandmates he was sharing a room with, or maybe it was both of them? Hopefully it wasn’t both. Either way he said the room was clear. She hadn’t yet decided that she was going to go to his room, but they were definitely kissing in the hallway leading up to the room. And… the elevator. They’d reached his floor a couple of minutes earlier but were only just now getting out. She heard the tone on her phone.
“Just a sec.”
Emmet groaned. His patience was thin, and Carla was actually compliant. Why did she had to answer her phone? She checked her phone pretty frequently, actually. Too many relatives, too many bandmates to take care of. She liked to be in the loop. She didn’t check social media all the time, but she did check her texts. This one was… a reply to an earlier message about the show. From Kaleb. She frowned.
She frowned at Emmet.
“Is something wrong?”
“… fuck.” Yeah, probably. She sighed. Okay, maybe she had a crush on him, but it didn’t really matter. She wasn’t trying to hook up with him. Or date him. Which really meant she wasn’t trying to do anything that would prevent her from hooking up with Emmet. Except that she shouldn’t be hooking up with Emmet in the first place except as a distraction for pent up sexual frustration that apparently fucking came from having a thing for a guy she wasn’t pursuing. Oh god that was fucking teenage girl levels of ridiculous. But more sex. Er… actually no, not more sex. She hadn’t had sex tonight. And she wasn’t going to. Great. Whatever. “Nothing is happening. I’m going back to my room, can’t leave Blake alone too long.” Well yeah, she could, but still.
“Oh come on. You’re leaving right now?” He was frustrated but not angry. She could guess why he was frustrated. She was frustrated, but she was making the call.
“Yes. I’m leaving. Sorry for the sudden cold shoulder.” And that was that. She went back to the elevator and pressed it to her floor. She ran her hands up and down over her face. “God you’re so ridiculous. This is not how you deal with sexual feelings. Good god what is wrong with you?” she grumbled and got out on her floor. She passed Jamie and Drew’s room and saw Jamie sitting in the ice making room with… a bong. Smart. So smart. Carla opened the door. What was it with these little ice making rooms anyway?
“You’re going to get us in trouble if you smoke in a public space. At least take it to the room.”
“Can’t. If I interrupt Drew before he busts a nut I think he’ll cry.”
“You get laid or not?”
Carla groaned and rolled her eyes.
“Oh, you turned down the fuckboy? Good for you.” He examined her, blowing out a ring of smoke. “You… didn’t turn down the fuckboy? Did he turn you down? How very fucking dumb of him. You’re hot.”
“I know I’m hot, Jamie. I got a text, so… I needed to leave.”
He laughed. Too much. She was going to be nice and blame the weed. She almost wanted a hit just to cope with him laughing. He could apparently tell from her manner that she hadn’t left because she wasn’t into the idea of getting some. Apparently. Which meant. “You got cock blocked by your phone?”
She took that moment to make sure she’d replied to his message. Yes, good. Might as well not ignore him. Since… she’d texted him first. Did she get cock blocked by her phone? What? “I don’t need a phone to cock block. I have hands for that if I feel like it.”
He wasn’t having any of her logic. He was just laughing. He laughed himself into a fit where he started coughing, but he was still smiling. That shit eating grin that she wanted to wipe off his face. “Fuck you.”
“Maybe if not for your phone.”
“God you’re stupid sometimes.” Carla rolled her eyes and left him there. She would go to her room with Blake and… not deal with Jamie. Or Emmet. Or herself.
[December 16, 2017]
Blake would be busy later. Banging her boyfriend. Or… not banging him, it didn’t really matter. They were living together, and would apparently have the house to themselves for Christmas. So she would be there, and that was why she was in New York right now. Saturday afternoon, the 16th. Carla had given Blake small box with all three patches in it. She said there was one for all three of the KKK squad, and Blake hadn’t known how to respond to that. Carla gave it a second before saying “nevermind. ESL. I made them a Christmas present. Just… deliver it. You can give it to them individually, I don’t care.
So that was out of the way. They were all sitting around at Drew’s apartment. Randi was making drinks. Spiked eggnog. Did the girl make anything without mixing alcohol into it? Quite possibly, but she always seemed to think they needed booze when they came over. Carla was oddly aware of it, but in Miranda’s fussing she pointed out that she had some without alcohol. Blake hadn’t been drinking much lately, after all. Carla didn’t drink when she needed to drive someone home. Jamie would just sleep on the couch for all he cared.
Drew had been drinking for hours, but not quickly enough to get really annoying. Miranda had also had some. Blake mixed the spiked and unspiked into her drink, and Carla simply had the non-spiked Eggnog. She didn’t think it mattered, but she didn’t feel like getting at all impaired. That resolve lasted a good hour before she begrudgingly accepted that she was drinking some alcohol. It wasn’t even that she went and got some. Drew was reasonably intoxicated, and thought he was being sneaky. He continued to pour parts of his drink into Carla’s when he was convinced she wasn’t looking. Even if she hadn’t seen him do it a couple of times directly, she could tell her glass kept getting more and more full. When she did actually take a drink, she could taste the rum.
So everyone was having some to drink, but some were much more intoxicated than others. This was their version of Christmas.
“You could have brought your boyfriend,” Miranda said at one point, snuggling up in Drew’s lap and idly kissing his neck.
“Yeah… he needed to work. And we have Christmas stuff coming up. He’ll be alright,” Blake affirmed. She didn’t want Miranda to worry about someone who wasn’t even there. Maybe Kiefer would have liked to come, but Blake didn’t think so. He could have come if he’d really wanted to. She wasn’t going to exclude him from social things when she in his personal business all the time. It came with living with him, and making food whenever he had band practice. Regardless, he wasn’t here tonight, but she would see him the next evening when she got back to town.
“Carla could have brought hers too,” Jamie offered helpfully. He just wanted to watch the world burn, didn’t he?
“Don’t have one of those,
” Carla told him with a tone of indifference. Blake took a long drink as she looked between the faces.
“Could have invited her lover,” he adjusted. He’d adjusted incorrectly though. Carla blinked at him. They didn’t even date, they sure as fuck weren’t fucking. Jamie’s over-reaching was earning him a simmering glare. This is was what she got for ever
texting someone in mixed company. She wasn’t sure if she’d actually given anything away or if this was just one of those times that Jamie had found a joke too funny to give up until he suffered physical ramifications. Alternatively Carla could tell him to cut it out, but she would have to really make an impression to get him to stop, and she wasn’t willing to bother.
“Don’t have one of those either.
“The fuckboy then?”
It was enough to cause some degree of irritation in Carla. “Would you like me to spill your drink all over your lap?
“I would not like that, actually,” Jamie responded pleasantly. “Was that because I’m on the mark?”
“No, its because you’re being an ass. Can we exchange gifts now?
Jamie shrugged. Gifts were a fine distraction. He’d gone to the trouble of wrapping all of his presents, and knowing who would be present, he had four to give out. Everyone had something for everyone. It was very jolly. Jamie’s annoyance was forgiven and forgotten by all. He was safe and secure until his next outburst.
Carla had simply made everyone personalized gifts. Jamie wanted something on one of his coats, on the inside, so she’d borrowed it and sewn in what he wanted. He was appreciative. Blake got a sort of leg holster for her personal belongings. It was an odd accessory. She loved accessories. Miranda got coasters with pictures of places around the country that she’d been saying she wanted to go. Drew got a new guitar strap.
It went nicely, and then there were Jamie’s gifts. Miranda got a poster with pictures of various drinks and little bar codes that she could scan with her phone that brought up recipes. Drew got an Iron man keychain that lit up into a little flashlight. Blake was given a t-shirt that said “I Prefer the Drummer.” Carla laughed. Blake examined it with tentative amusement.
Whether it was meant for Jamie
was unclear. Fortunately, in the end it probably didn’t matter. She was pleased. It was a joke, no doubt, but it came from a positive place. She did like it, and she would wear it. She wasn’t sure how Kiefer would receive the information of how she got the shirt but… he’d be fine. She smiled and gave Jamie a hug, thanking him.
Carla opened her gift and was confused. It looked soft at least. She touched it, yes, it was soft. A long sleeved black hoodie
with some white stripes at the elbows, a wide
hood with white laces and a white inside. And an Indian face on the front. No words. She looked it over, back, front. It was fleece inside, which made it warm. Ideal for her. She did like hoodies a lot. Realistically she would wear it, but she didn’t get
it. Jamie looked pleased with himself. Carla glared at him.
“What?” Jamie asked, but he didn’t sound surprised. He knew what he’d done, Carla just didn’t know yet.
“Blackhawks?” Miranda asked. She liked hockey. She was the only one besides Jamie that had any earthly clue what the logo was. Carla looked at Miranda inquisitively. “Oh, they’re a hockey team. From Chicago.” She shrugged. She didn’t get the relevance. Carla
didn’t even get the relevance. Jamie still looked happy. It was suspicious.
It seemed to have dawned on Blake though. “That’s
why you asked me where Kaleb was from?”
Wait. What? Blake had expressed enough for Carla to grasp that Kaleb liked sports. Carla may or may not realize he was from Chicago, but that
was why the random hoodie? She couldn’t tell if it was desperate reaching or actually clever for being so subtle. If Jamie weren’t so pleased with himself Carla might not have even realized something was amiss. Jamie was scrutinizing Carla’s expression, which was decidedly blank as she stared him in the eye.
“Who is Kaleb?” Drew asked, now wearing some earmuffs Miranda had given him.
“He’s one of Kiefer’s friends,” Blake supplied helpfully.
“I like him.” Drew had decided. Blake was momentarily confused about whether he meant Kiefer or Kaleb. He hadn’t met Kaleb. “He seems like a cool dude.” So he meant Kiefer. That made sense.
“Oh, I want to meet Kiefer,” Miranda chimed in. She wanted to meet anyone attached to the band. Blake was a crucial part of the team, so Miranda wanted to meet her boyfriend. She was disappointed to have missed him at the September first show. She’d been told Blake squealed. It sounded very cute.
“So, do you like it?” Jamie tested.
” Carla decided. It was a warm hoodie. It seemed really comfortable. It would fit well. Yeah, sure. She liked it. She even liked the aesthetic, despite knowing nothing about the team.
“Are you gunna wear it?”
It wasn’t the answer he wanted, but it would work. She’d wear it in New York, fine. She took her cousins to the park at least twice a week. She would wear it to be cozy. She might even take it on tour or something. She might as well wear it. Whatever he wanted to accomplish, she didn’t want him to accomplish it. The only reason he was poking so hard was because she was giving him what he wanted. Reacting at all. Generally speaking if she liked someone she did something about it. There was never a time where she liked someone and didn’t
do something about it. The resolution was swift. Much the same as a certain Kiefer getting “fuck off or fuck me” as a response from girls, Carla was pretty decisive. So he must have decided that now was a good chance to get in on some unfamiliar territory. Have his fun while it lasted, because he’d known her since college and not had a chance until now. Whatever. She got a hoodie out of it. There could be worse things for him to do.
Well, apparently her friend was pregnant. Could that be more inconvenient? She wasn’t sure. Well, if someone had died that would be more inconvenient, but it also would have been something that Carla could reference. They had job opportunities, but Blake was a mess of anxiety and sickness. It was hard to even come up with a good argument for how they could still perform when Blake went off to throw up or, actually worse, collapse from a dizzy spell. The girl could really stand to learn to not move that quickly. Carla heard the panic, and she understood the worries. Carla would not have been surprised if Blake actually thought losing the baby would somehow result in Kiefer dying. She was under a lot of pressure, and it wasn’t exactly her fault, but that didn’t make it any better for the pregnancy.
Carla would sort that out. She was trying to come up with plans that would promote the band, involve Blake, and not make Blake think she was killing her baby. Youtube was a pretty nice alternative. Carla had been putting a lot of videos on there. Well, more accurately, Drew had been putting things on youtube for Carla, but she managed everything. He liked youtube, but she was the one who had actually scheduled time dedicated to doing “market research.” Jamie once claimed that it was a glorified way of saying she just binge watched things, and then she laid into him for a got twenty minutes explaining her process of which channels she watched and her strategies, who she wanted to be similar to, what ideas she found fault in, and what he could do if he thought it was so chillax. He had yet to make that claim again, so Carla would call it a win.
Regardless of her plans for the band, she was going to visit Blake sometime that month. She would weigh out just how overwhelmed her friend was and see if she could help. Realistically, as a friend, she could give Blake stuff. After all, Carla’s family had never been short on babies, so they had a lot of things in storage. For boys and girls. She hadn’t told anyone else in the band or in her family. She’d kept it to herself. It was relevant, but she could stand to let Blake handle her own matters. In the meantime, two of her brothers were in town.
Santiago and Cody, both twenty three year old men who looked nothing alike. Probably because they shared no parents, and were only connected by three biological half siblings. Step-siblings, but they got along well. Sean Shaw had married into the family in 2005, and from then, Cody had been part of the family. His mother was a slightly sketchy woman from Florida, but Sean had full custody of Cody. The only time Cody actually went to visit his mother, who had lived in Nevada before the divorce, was when both Cody and Sean wanted him to go see her. It didn’t speak to the former Mrs. Shaw’s maternal instincts that she had moved most of the way across the country from her son, but Carla supposed that she must be a piece of work. Sean was a piece of work, after all, so he must have had something weird to deal with before Marta to make him that way. At least, it was nice to think that he had a good reason.
Cody was shorter than Santiago, standing only about three inches taller than Carla, instead of Santi’s five inches taller. Cody had sloppy blond hair, similar in some ways to Jamie Parker, but he was not as fair skinned. He was olive skinned, usually letting the sides of his hair be pushed back by his ever present sunglasses. They were Ray-Bans, from Sunglass Hut. Carla told him that they made him look like a douchbag, because only a douchbag would spend over a hundred dollars on sunglasses from the mall. He told her that his fiancé liked how they looked on him, so Carla could mind her own fucking business. She liked Cody.
Cody was engaged to a girl named Sandra, and they hadn’t set a wedding date. It seemed that “engaged” was approximately the status that they both felt comfortable sitting in. He was a clean shaven man with brown eyes and a black band tattooed along his wrist. For the afternoon he had on a black coat, blue jeans, boots, a nice wristwatch, a green button up shirt, and of course, the engagement ring that Sandra insisted was not girly. It wasn’t a girly ring, but there were some who said a man having an engagement ring was weird, because it was a girly thing to do. Cody, for what it was worth, sided with his fiancé. Carla figured that was in his best interest. Even if she did think he was a bit young to be engaged. His sunglasses were placed safely in their case once the sun set.
Santiago was a much more “macho” man. He preferred the term suave. He had very dark brown eyes, muscular shoulders, tan skin, three tattoos all hidden beneath his clothing, predominant stubble, long limbs, and an intimidating stare. Carla blamed his thick eyebrows. She didn’t find him intimidating in the slightest. He was three years younger than her, and she was happy to have him try to intimidate her. He wouldn’t so much as breath too heavily on her, and he wasn’t any scarier than a cat sharpening its claws on the sofa. You just snapped your fingers, looked disapproving, and maybe for good measure stood up as if you were going to go over and impose your will, and they shaped up quickly. Santi, along with his extremely shy girlfriend Laura, worked at a gym in Nevada. The gym was apparently next door to the smoothie shop that Cody managed.
Both of the boys were in New York to visit Carla in her downtime. She’d given them her whole day. The next day she planned to have a band meeting with Pink Slip on Skype. Or Face Time if she didn’t personally reprimand Drew hard enough the last time he’d tried. If he wanted to come up with an actual alternative, she was fine with that. If he wanted to try to call into the call with his phone and make Jamie hold up the screen for him, Carla was going to lecture him like his mother. She might have felt bad, but she definitely didn’t. This was why she so appreciated relationships that were equivalent. If she had to mother everyone, her opinion of them, while positive, was hardly the most romantic. She did appreciate that no matter how much she lectured Jamie, he had his shit together. He might be a bit of a trainwreck on the outside, but he’d usually made up his mind. She couldn’t tell him what to do and expect to get very far with it if he’d made up his mind to do otherwise.
That was for tomorrow. Probably around noon. Blake should be free, and not currently sick to her stomach. If Drew was hungover, Carla really didn’t care. Jamie was apparently visiting his sister out of state, but he had left the time slot open for their meeting. For tonight, Carla was happy to be distracted. She sent a few text messages through the day, but not enough for Santi or Cody to question her. They’d gone shopping for clothing. Carla went to the trouble of texting Laura and Sandra for the boys, and helped them pick out things that the girls would like, and that the girls could actually fit into. After that they had lunch. Lunch was followed by a long walk around the park, and visiting two music shops. Past they, they visited a venue that would love to have Pink Slip play there, if only Carla could get Blake on board. She still wanted to maintain good relations with the owner. She’d known the owner back since her Play Things days in college, and she liked any time where the connection was not based on Jamie keeping his asshole level in the “charming” category.
It was a full day, and they were on their way home for dinner. The venue in question was really nowhere near Rolan and Barb’s house so they should have a while to talk. Santi asked about Blake. Since she was the only band member not in town. Carla answered his curiosity without giving too many details. Blake’s life was her own business, but Santi had known her as a teen, so he has some justification. He said that he hoped her boyfriend was nice.
Was Kiefer nice? Carla’s amused scoff from the backseat was not lost on her brothers.
“I didn’t say anything,” Carla reminded Santi, in case he thought he knew what she was thinking.
“Yeah, but… that kind of speaks for itself, Carli,” Cody reminded her. Carla shrugged, looking at her phone. She was waiting to get a text back, sitting directly behind Santiago, who was driving. Cody saw her shrug. “So… he nice?”
“He’s… Well, I like him fine, but I don’t know if I could ever call him ‘nice,’” she emphasized the quote fingers so that even Santi could see them in his rearview mirror. He chuckled. “But the important thing is, it seems like he treats Blake well. She is a pretty biased news source but, if she’s happy, and she is happy, that’s what matters to me.”
“Right. Well, you’re a pretty harsh critic.”
“I am not a fucking harsh critic. I don’t care what other people do with their lives.”
“Oh, you fucking care,” Santi disagreed.
“Yeah… you’re pretty opinionated.”
“Whatever,” she rolled her eyes. She might have opinions, but that didn’t mean she was all too bothered. She couldn’t account for Kiefer’s ability to plan for the future, or make great choices, but Blake didn’t complain. He didn’t hit her, he didn’t cheat on her, and Carla felt he had good taste in girlfriends and friends, so Kiefer was fine. “How about instead of asking me about Blake’s love life… we talk about Laura. Is she coming to Thanksgiving or what?” It was a long way away, but Carla felt it was a valid diversion. Cody, personally, didn’t care about Blake’s love life, so he accepted the diversion. Santiago didn’t seem so thrilled.
“She’s… just intimidated.”
“Have you even asked her if she wants to come?”
“Look, you have to approach these things with caution. There’s more of an expectation when you are engaged. It’s a given. But, Laura is skittish.”
“Yeah, I’ve gathered that. I work next door and she hardly talks to me.”
Carla allowed them to hash out whether or not Laura’s shyness had actually developed into genuine rudeness, or if Cody was just being a prick. Those seemed to be the two opposing viewpoints, and Carla replied to another text from the backseat without comment. Santi slowed as he approached a red light, but kicked up the gas when it changed to green before he hit it. He was not the most patient of drivers, especially while he argued.
She registered the highlights no more than she registered any other passing distraction. An outside stimulus. It wasn’t until the horn blaring that she began to register anything more. When the semi became a part of Santi’s car was a bit too late to really react. The much smaller green car went spinning, the brunt of the impact making contact with the left back of the vehicle, and my extension, Carla.
In the hospital morphine was a pretty amazing thing. Or maybe it was just that Carla was dead, she couldn’t tell. Everything had hurt like hell, and then it felt better. She assumed morphine. Maybe it was acid. She didn’t really care. She had been in and out of consciousness and she wasn’t sure how much time had passed. She couldn’t see a clock, and she didn’t have her phone. She looked at her wrist as if she might have been wearing a watch, and realized her left hand was bandaged up. Fuck. Fuuuuuck.
Cody peered in the doorway. He hurried over, “Hey, you woke up. Are you okay? Is something wrong? How are you feeling?” He sounded frantic.
“What? Did I say that out loud? What… I don’t… what the fuck happened? Are you okay?” God her voice hurt. It was hoarse. She could hardly hear herself. Cody actually seemed to be struggling. His arm was wrapped in something and he seemed stiff. He also had a bruise on his cheek.
He nodded quickly, “Yes, I’m fine. I… my arm got banged up. I hit the door, it got cut up some but its fine. You and Santi… uh, this semi hit us and you and Santi took the hit. More you. So don’t worry about him.”
“Don’t worry about him!?” Carla felt like she was trying to yell but she could hardly talk. She coughed. She couldn’t talk during the coughing fit, so Cody tried to continue.
“Yes. Don’t worry about him. He’s doing better than you. You both have concussions, they said, but Santiago didn’t pass out. We were… in the car and you were knocked out.”
Carla had finally stopped coughing, and she could tell it was stressing him out. “Is anyone with Santi?”
“Yes, Rolan came, Barb is at home with the kids.”
“Good.” Her voice sounded fucking awful. She looked around the room, she hadn’t seen her own face, but if she’d been knocked out, and had a concussion, it probably wasn’t great. She spotted a bag of her personal belongings. “Cody, get my phone.”
While he was tending to her request, a nurse came in to check on Carla. She started explaining things, but Carla tried to stop her for a moment when she was told she’d need to stay the night. That wasn’t convenient. Not that she could talk like this. She was just grateful that she wasn’t currently hurting all over. She was pretty sure that would happen whenever the medicine wore off.
“One second,” she told the nurse. She wanted to talk to Carla without Cody anyway, or maybe Carla preferred that. She wasn’t sure if it was optional, she was fine with him leaving, but she needed to address this. “Cody?”
“You have text messages,” he told her, looking at her phone. “Do you want me to check them for you?”
“No,” Carla definitely didn’t want that. She could just guess who would have picked then to reply back to her, and she didn’t really care to have Cody going through those texts. “No, just, look in my contacts. Get ahold of Blake, Jamie, and Drew. Tell them I’m going to be busy tomorrow.”
He nodded. The nurse had Carla’s attention now, and Cody was left with a phone in the hallway. Carla probably expected him to send text messages to these people, but that wasn’t what occurred to him. He preferred talking on the phone anyway. He would just call and hope for the best. Blake was the first of the three names he’d been told, and she was starred, so that was easy. They all were, but she still hit the top. Alphabetical order was nice like that. He gave her a ring, and waited until she answered.
Oh, she expected Carla. “Hello, Blake. This is actually Cody.” He hadn’t spoken to her since… high school probably. He remembered her, but that didn’t exactly mean he knew how to talk to her.
“… Hi Cody. Why do you have Carla’s phone?”
“She wanted me to tell you that she is going to be busy tomorrow.” Well that was pretty harmless. He could make good time with these calls.
“Why is Carla busy tomorrow? Is she cancelling our meeting? Why do you have her phone? Is Carla there?”
“Uh…” from there the conversation deteriorated until he found himself staring wide eyed at a wall. He didn’t expect her to start crying. Or asking so many questions. He wasn’t sure if Carla being in the car accident was a secret, but he hoped not. Because he was pretty forthcoming. It only seemed to upset the girl more. Did she say she was coming to the hospital? He didn’t know where she lived, but hopefully it was pretty close. She sounded very upset. The all took longer than anticipated, but once he was done he quickly sent out two texts. Busy tomorrow. Will try to explain later. All our plans for the day are cancelled. He looked in on Carla’s room. She was still busy, getting some sort of medical attention. He wasn’t good at identifying any of it, but he supposed he would keep hold of her phone for the time being. And not look at her texts, since she seemed to not want him to do that. He would try to sell this as having gone smoothly. She didn’t need to extra stress right now.
They got to the current location early and Blake was tapping away on her keyboard while Carla attempted to contribute on Drew’s guitar. He might have had a say, but he was helping Jamie clean out the van after they made a mess of it.
“In my bedroom dancing all night long
Is when I knew nothing could go wrong.
You’d be the girl who’s always on my mind
We’re unofficial, now I think its time,”
Carla didn’t like the band nearly as much as Blake, but she was happy to play her part and sing along. She knew the different parts simply because she’d googled it.
“Maybe you and I-I-I”
“Could be so much more.”
“Some day you will be mi-i-ine,” Blake continued. She was bouncing around from side to side while she sang and played, Carla chuckled as she went, “And I will be yours. Oh Jessica, won’t you be, my girlfriend, officially. Jessica, won’t you be, my girlfriend, officially.” The song wasn’t a long one, so they faded out soon, and Carla unmuted the youtube video with the lyrics playing.
It continued on with an argument between band members that ended with “Earth to Jessica, Ryan wants to be your boyfriend.”
“This is a very strange song.”
“Yeah, they’re a pretty odd band I guess,” Blake guessed. Carla put the guitar back and moved around through things. Drew had let her take in his stuff and asked her to unpack a few things, so she soon found herself listening to the iPod in the bag. Blake was playing around on her keyboard again, but not really playing anything.
Carla hit forward a few times on the shuffling music. Get Right (Instrumental) by Jennifer Lopez. Well… why exactly did anyone have the song without words? She swayed around a bit, dancing a bit, but finding it truly unrewarding without the intentional lyrics. Forward. Kerosene by Miranda Lambert.
“Do you ever listen to country music?”
Blake arched an eyebrow at her, “Why would I do that?”
Carla mock gawked at her friend. “Do you ever listen to rap?”
“Sometimes I guess.”
“Okay I think-”
“Yes. Okay, I think I get your point,” Blake said, giving Carla a sideways look.
“I’m just trying to get to the root of your racism against country music, Blake,” she joked with a smirk.
“Uh-huh. I’m sure its fine. Lots of… twang?”
“You’re hopeless. Lots of guitars. Oh, Techno?”
“I really like techno, but that’s about it,” Carla said, her tone mocking one from a song.
“Are you… quoting Garbage right now?”
The unspoken answer was obviously. “I only like it when it rains.”
“Ew, no thank you.” Blake cringed. Carla knew that it was just her dislike or storms.
“Good song though.”
“Sure,” Blake agreed. Carla skipped through the iPod.
“Acapella by Karmin.”
“Whose music is that anyway?”
“I think its Miranda’s.”
“… why do you have her iPod?”
“No, I’m pretty sure this is Drew’s iPod.”
“Why does he have her music?”
“I don’t know, they share a device? Or she just wanted to? It was a guess.” She pressed forward some more. Hats by Amy Grant. “This song makes me think of you… ‘why do I have to wear so many things on my head? Hats. One day I’m a mother, one day I’m a lover.”
“I’m not a mother though.”
“Yeah but you’re definitely a lover.”
Blake blinked, not denying this for various obvious reasons. “Who is that song by?”
“Its Amy Grant.”
“Huh… I don’t think I know her stuff, actually.”
“Really? Hm… Sofia liked her. This CD came out in 1991.”
“And I guess Miranda likes it.”
“It would appear so. Unless Drew is secretly really good at hiding his taste in music from us,” Carla flipped to the next songs. She stopped for maybe ten or twenty seconds per song and continued to go further. “Jump5… Beyonce…she’s so over-rated.”
“Having some music ADD over there?”
“We don’t need any more ADD here.”
“What, like Drew?”
“Does he actually have ADD?”
“I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. Probably.” Carla continued to flip around through the music. She settled for Whenever, Wherever by Shakira and moved around dancing. She was in a pretty good mood, regardless of any sense of restlessness.
“Who is that?”
“Shakira. Whenever, Wherever.”
“Ah, of course. She suits you.”
“Why?” Carla continued the dancing. “Because sex?”
“Yeah. I mean… sex appeal, but yeah.”
Carla stopped dancing to give Blake a judgmental look. “That really needed clarified? Like, is any music just sex? Man… I really… love when my performances are literally just sex with the music. I think people can really connect with it.”
“Mmhm. There’s a Panic at the Disco song for that,” Blake said, not reacting much to the teasing.
“Sure. Mime sex. Not sure that is quite the same thing though. I’m not really into porn. And… making porn, so we’re probably good just playing music with sex appeal.”
“Probably for the best,” Blake conceded. The boys were apparently still busy with the van, so Carla kept up her music flipping. She only stopped once to comment that a song by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus reminded her of Sofia’s boyfriend. Blake didn’t react to that, not wanting to get Carla going while she was in such a light mood.
“Why Worry, Set it Off,” Carla informed her when she finally settled on another song. They were a band that she definitely liked. “I’m going to meet them someday.”
“It’s a goal,” Carla confirmed. Especially since she wanted to do more travelling in the future. Touring. And she liked connecting with other bands, especially ones she actually listened to.
“So you can hit on Cody Carson?”
“Why would I hit on Cody Carson?”
Blake smirked, “I don’t know, you have a thing for emo boys.”
Carla chuckled, “He isn’t even emo looking right now. He moved past that look.” Despite the lip ring and gauges. She wouldn’t have claimed Blake was emo, and she had pretty small gauges.
“But you do keep track of what he looks like,” Blake pointed out. Carla shrugged, smiling. “So… how’s Kaleb today?”
Carla rolled her eyes, not frowning, “I’m sure he’s fine.”
“What, you haven’t texted him today?”
“Its possible. What’s your point?”
“I think my point was that you find emo boys attractive. We kind of got lost in translation…”
It was apparently finally time for Drew and Jamie to show up. Drew went ahead and took his iPod when Carla offered it to him, but Jamie was not easily distracted. “Who is Carla finding attractive now? Is Emmet hitting on her again?”
“Again?” Drew asked.
Jamie rolled his eyes. “Nevermind. He definitely never hits on anyone. He’s a saint.”
“You called him a fuckboy this morning.”
“He’s a saint and a fuckboy,” Jamie corrected.
“I don’t think you can be both.”
“Were we going to finish setting up or… bicker about our touring buddies?” Carla’s way of saying she was bored by the conversation.
[December 01, 2017]set
The excuse given was simple. Carla had pre-existing plans. The delivery had been done prior to Rosie getting to the house. Carla needed to leave on time to make sure that she got to Stamford on time. In the meantime, she was socializing with Rosie and Blake. Now, Rosie didn’t actually know where Carla was going. Blake
knew where Carla was going. She was gracious enough to not pester and prod. Mostly.”That’s fine, we can hang out in your room, or go to the park. Where are you going to be?”
“I agreed to meet Kaleb in Stamford. He knows some guitarist whose band is,” she could already feel Blake’s look over the phone, “performing there. He was going to go alone and asked if I wanted to come.”
“And its not a date.”
“Its definitely not a date, Blake.”
“Hm...Stamford… how far away is that?”
“Nearly an hour drive.”
“Mierda. So you’re driving all that one way, going to the show, and coming back.”
“Yep. Is that alright? I mean… I’ll be driving you guys to and from Lochland Grove, and spending all day with you Saturday, and some of Sunday. I figured you wouldn’t mind some more time alone with Rosie anyway…”
“No, its fine. We’ll be entertained. You wouldn’t agree to go if you didn’t really want to so… have a nice time.”
“I’ll be there before I leave, and I’m sure you’ll be up when I get back.”
“I’ll be happy if Rosie sleeps at all.”
The prevailing assumption was that Rosie would in fact sleep. She was waking up in Nevada, and traveling to New York. The time difference would clock in at two hours, plus spending all day on a plane. She would be having a long day, so she would crash eventually. The two hour time difference was the biggest blessing.
“I really like your room, Carla,” Rosie said, beaming.
“Thanks,” Carla replied. Rosie moved over to give her yet another hug, and Carla chuckled. “You’re sweet.”
“I like the fan, its so…” Carla was not sure what Rosie could say about a fan. It was just a standing room fan. It made noise to drown out everything else that might disturb her ability to sleep. It was practical, but it wasn’t interesting.
Carla laughed, “Is it?”
“I mean, what’s it there for?”
“She’s a very light sleeper,” Blake interjected. Carla noticed that Blake talked a lot
less when her sister was around. Rosie was just so happy. Of course they talked to each other, but Rosie wanted to get to know everyone. Carla hadn’t seen her since she was twelve. Rosie hadn’t exactly been her friend either. She was… quieter, if nothing else. No doubt college had been a freeing experience. She made a good free spirit. Carla probably didn’t seem like it, but she was pretty into the sort of zen mentality. Certain aspects of Eastern culture, meditation, keeping her shit together, not letting people get under her skin(usually), and various other things. She wasn’t trying to change her life with any of it, but she had a distinct fondness. The closest thing to this affinity being obvious was her small collection of Earthbound metal bracelets. Namaste, Peace, and a collection of symbols made up her favorites. She happened to have the Namaste one on at present. In summary, she liked that Rosie was so carefree. It was a good thing for her.
“Oooh,” Rosie said, but then began to look confused.
“I use it to block out noise from outside the room. That way there is no change in the ambient noise. If there is a change, I tend to wake up. The fan really helps. I… could probably also invest in some earplugs I guess…” although she’d never done that before. She wondered if it would help. It wasn’t a bad idea, and it apparently worked for Kaleb.
“Yeah, that might help. But if the fan works, that’s neat.”
“Yeah, it usually works,” Carla confirmed. “Its just… not portable. I mean, I can move it around the room, obviously,” she added, because she could already predict Rosie’s gears turning that direction. “But when I stay with Blake, or when we go on tour… its not going to be ideal. I have actually wondered if I would be able to wake up to my alarm with earplugs though… I think maybe I’m a bit paranoid on that front.”
“That makes sense. Maybe you could try it tomorrow?”
“No, I mean… like when we’re in Connecticut.”
It crossed Carla’s mind that she was going to be in Connecticut that night, but Rosie didn’t know that. “You think I should set an alarm then?”
Rosie shrugged,” It would be a good place to test it.”
“I don’t know. We’ll see if I remember. Actually I should get changed to head out,” she looked at her watch. Not that she planned to change much but she was going to pay attention to what she wore. She didn’t plan on overthinking it. They gig was at a bar. Those were temperature controlled, but could get pretty hot, despite it being, as of today, December. So she didn’t want to get too hot or too cold, and she wasn’t trying to dress crazy either. It would be useless to deny that she cared a bit how she looked, but she wasn’t going to voice this out loud.
“Ooh!” Rosie perked up, “Can I help pick what you wear?” It seemed like a good enough idea. She would be engaged, and Carla did want to humor the girl, except “Where are you going?” she didn’t really want to give her any details.Uh…
“I agreed to meet a friend,” he was promoted to this now, “at a bar for a show.” Rosie nodded, taking in the details. “I’ve never been to the bar though so… I mean, just a bar of some kind.” It seemed that there had not really been anything to worry about, she wasn’t asking to come along, wasn’t asking questions about who Carla was meeting, wasn’t making any assumptions. This seemed like a best case scenario, actually.
“You can accessorize, and I can pick the outfit.”
Carla laughed, “Okie Rosie. You can pick my outfit.”
Rosie went to work immediately digging through Carla’s collection of clothing. Blake decided to participate. If it was time to play dressup with Carla, they were all going to get involved. Carla just ended up laughing more. She had her watch and her Peace bracelet. Her nose ring wasn’t exactly changing either. She had one some makeup and went ahead and touched it up just because she hadn’t done so since the morning. It was after dark, definitely late enough to try again. Not that it was probably going to matter, but it mattered to Carla. She stuffed one of her lip balms in her pocket before checking in on what the team had prepared for her.
“So, what is my fate?”
“Well,” Rosie gestured to the bed where they’d laid out some clothing. “We found that cool Batman shirt.”
“It is a cool Batman shirt,” Carla agreed.
“So we picked that. And then those jeans with the slightly holed knees. Holey? Holey knees,” she determined, Carla nodded. “And the plaid jacket because I don’t think it’s that cold right now.”
“That looks perfect. Am I keeping my same shoes?” Rosie looked caught off guard. Should she pick different shoes? “I’ll keep these shoes, its fine.” She had on some faded yellow converse high tops, she did not
need to change shoes. She changed into the outfit and put on some gold hoop earrings. She didn’t always find an appropriate occasion to wear hoop earrings, but they were her favorite. Now seemed like a fine time. Once she was dressed, with the plaid tied around her waist for the moment, she did a turn for Rosie and Blake’s amusement.
“There. Do I look presentable to the outside world?”
“Absolutely!” Rosie informed her gleefully.
“Have a nice time,” Blake giggled.
“Gracias. It was a team effort. Anyway, I should probably get driving. I’ll text you when I have an idea of when I’ll be back. You two good?”
“We’re good,” Blake assured her. It wasn’t a big deal, but Carla was still pretty solidly excited.
50,000 words reached.
10376 (from solo posting) [Blake's posts in her solo thread]
3277 (from apps written) [for NPCs]
4748 from Sabrina/Blake thread [Writing to myself]
3312 Sabrina's journals [all IC]
224 OOC Sera journal [the OOC summaries]
684 IC Sera journal [her IC thoughts]
27402 (NaNoWriMo 2017 file) [the entries included in this page]
That is where the numbers come from, adding up to 50,023
I did go into December because I wanted to finish and not be miserable trying to finish on time, but I wanted to wrap this and archive it before 2018.
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