I just realized that although I read and enjoyed and lmao at these chapters, written during and after my birthday weekend . . . I never posted them, or added to my memories!
Damn tsp!crack! Eating my brain!
So . . . here we go!
“We’re just tryin’ to help you, Chris,” Eliza said. She idly bit into a square of
“Yeah,” Snow said indignantly. “We can’t help it if we got here while you were still in the shower."
Jules sighed. “Too bad his towel is so big.”
“If you bitches don’t get out of my way and let me get dressed----“ Chris began.
The women perked up. “What? What will you do?”
“I won’t come out of the bedroom,” he said. “I got a newspaper in there.”
Grumbling, the women decamped to the kitchen. “Some host he is,” Eliza said.
Seth yelled, “Is anyone gonna help me, or am I gonna have to drop this cheap wine on the floor?” Snow and Eliza rushed to hold open the kitchen door as he staggered in with a crate of bottles. Chris escaped and stalked back to his bedroom. He didn’t seem all that concerned about the state of his towel.
“Hey, where’s the cakes?” Seth asked.
“No cakes,” Snow said menacingly.
“Ixnay on the ake-nay, “ Jules said. “It’s kinda a sore subject.”
“I’m fucking sick of my cakes being smashed on someone’s ass,” Snow said, ripping open bags of potato chips with over-sufficient force.
“But so much fun for the rest of us,” Eliza said. Snow narrowed her eyes at her, but Nicky averted a crisis by bellowing from the carport for lighter fluid. “I swear, if he didn’t have such great meat, I wouldn’t put up with this,” she said, and grabbed a plastic grocery snack and went outside.
“She can’t even get through one sentence without making ya feel dirty,” Chris said, appearing in the kitchen, threading a belt through the waist of his jeans. (An unnecessary refinement, to the women’s minds) His hair was still damp, and he hadn’t buttoned his Western shirt. He looked up, his hands cinching the buckle. “I like it.”
“Red and green plaid? Nice seasonal choice,” Seth said, trimming the foil from a wine bottle.
“I thought so,” Chris said seriously. “My socks match. Somebody gave me Christmas socks.”
Jules, Snow, and Amber, who had walked in the front door, all stared at the toes of his boots.
Snow spoke for them all. “You’re shitting us.”
Chris said, “Wanna look?”
They probably would have looked, but Larry and Mark and Andy came staggering in with the industrial-sized aluminum pot of chili, Alexis with crackers and cheese and paper goods, and the other folks were all driving up in their vehicles and parking at random along the street.
Jess and Kelly sat in a corner, Jess fitting together the little plastic stems to the plastic wineglasses, Kelly filling cups of ice.
“Don’t we have a keg?” Chris said, opening a bottle of Lone Star by snicking the top off on a drawer handle.
“Big Adam’s bringing it,” Nicky said. “We’re gonna put it on the deck so people can fall off into the pool.”
“That reminds me,” Chris said. “I see anyone pissin’ in my yard, I’m gonna piss on them. And is Cindee coming?”
Snow raised her head. She was arranging bread slices on a platter with dips. “I keep calling and leaving messages but she won’t answer.”
Chris swiped a crusty slice through a little tub of spread. “What’s this?”
“Three-pepper hummus,” Snow said.
“Bleagh,” Chris said.
Music started coming from the speakers.
“And the noise ordinances get tested,” Snow grinned. “Got your lawyer’s number?”
Chris sighed. “I keep telling you, the union lawyer says we’re not supposed to call her unless someone’s dead, and only then if they’re killed at the store. By management.”
“Which could happen, knowing our management,” Snow said, cutting her eyes.
Chris just blinked at her.
Behind them, someone asked, “Where’s the cakes?”
Chris stood in the doorway arch, surveying the party guests. Things were shaping up nicely, he thought. James and Jules were elaborately polite to each other, in the way that people who had been having sex and were trying to pretend that it didn’t bother them could be. That Nathan guy was sitting in the corner next to the bar, with the blonde chef-lady on his knee, big Adam was tracking Jules, Andy was tracking Adam, Michelle and Vinnie were following James like minions behind Napoleon, Steve and Cindee were arguing over song lists and lyrics, and Sarah Michelle, Julie, and Amy were all clustered around David, holding onto his arms and trying to steer him over to the mistletoe without being obvious.
David was watching college hockey on the corner television, and answered the girls’ cooing questions totally at random.
What a big dork, Chris thought smugly. In his peripheral vision, he saw Eliza emerge from the hall bathroom, and gesture wildly at Snow.
This could be interesting.
“Come in here,” Eliza hissed.
“No,” Snow said tranquilly. “I’m gonna find my guy and act disgustingly well-shagged around the rest of those losers.”
“Commere,” Eliza grabbed her by the elbow and dragged her into the bathroom.
“You aren’t investigating your bisexuality again, are you? Because I so don’t fuck my clerks.”
“Shyeah,” Eliza snorted. “Take a look at this. Someone’s living here.”
Snow gave her a pitying glance. “Chris?”
“Bitch. Look. Look in the shower.” She pointed to a plastic bottle. “Conditioner.”
Snow picked it up. “Good stuff, too. Hm.”
“And look in the medicine cabinet. Two electric shavers, and hair product.”
The women gazed at each other. “Fuck. Someone’s living here, because Chris wouldn’t know what product was, even if it applied itself.”
“Yeah, but who?” Eliza said.
“It’s James,” Nicky said. “Five on it.”
”James? “ Eliza had her palm pilot o’ gambling out.
“I can see that,” Seth said. “All that fighting could be construed as sexual tension. Or, that they don’t like each other.”
“James what?” Jules said.
“Lives here with Chris,” Eliza said.
Jules promptly turned on her heel, and was next seen stroking Adam’s bicep.
“Ten that James and Jules get back together,” Seth said.
Manager Dave came in the kitchen. “Where’s the cake?”
“There. Is. No. Cake,” Snow said.
David gave her a stricken look. “Oh, fine. No hockey, and now no cake.”
“Suck it up,” Snow said.
“I just wanted some green Christmas icing, and those little silver things,” he said. “I thought that cake you were doing was for us.”
“Nope,” Snow said, uneasily. “Sold it.”
David looked through the sacks on the counter. “Cupcakes?”
“No,” Snow said, alarmed.
Seth nudged her. “Be strong.”
“Yeah, that’s right. I was sick of people smashing my cakes.”
David sighed, so very put-upon, and went out of the kitchen, as sadly and slowly as possible.
Snow turned to Seth. “We could go get that one out of the trunk---“
“No!” Everyone chorused.
Chris had taken the precaution of locking his bedroom door, so the guests wouldn’t have sex on his clean sheets. He could open it with a straightened-out piece of wire.
It seemed like a reasonable precaution, because people were starting to climb in each other’s laps and find quiet corners while Steve and Cindee and James were playing their guitars on the deck.
“Pretty mellow,” Seth said approvingly. “I may take my woman and go before it deteriorates.”
“Nothing’s going to happen,” Chris said. “I don’t know who that is fucking on my bathmat, but I don’t care about that.”
“Well, Julie’s passed out on the guest room bed with the coats, but that’s okay, because Marc and J are going to take her home.”
David walked in the kitchen. “I’ve got to go to bed,” he said. “I’m falling asleep. I’m goin’ back to my place.”
“No,” Chris said, “just go to bed. I’ll tell everyone to go home.”
David raised his eyebrows. “You got money on the New Year’s thing,” he said.
“I don’t give a fuck about my bet,” Chris said. “Seth ain’t saying anything, anyway, and it’s Christmas.”
“Hell, no,” Seth said. “I stay out of this stuff.”
Chris looked at David. His eyelids were drooping. “Come on, “ he said. “I’ll unlock the door.”
They went down the hall, David pulling his sweater over his head as he walked. Chris jimmied the door open, and turned on the light. David walked past him, and sat down on the bed, tossing the sweater in the corner. He unzipped his boots.
Chris grinned. “We’re wearing matching Christmas socks. Does this mean anything?”
David lay back on the bed, unbuckling his pants. “Means someone else bought your socks,” he said. Without sitting up, he shucked his jeans off.
Chris closed the door and locked it. “Hell with it,” he said. “Can I have my Christmas present now?” He yanked his shirt loose and tugged his boots off. “Or are you too tired?”
“Don’t make me get up,” David yawned, and crawled farther up on the mattress.
“I’ll make you get up,” Chris said, skinning the rest of his clothes off and getting on the bed.
David patted the mattress, and then got an absorbed look. “Hey, did you get one of those egg-crate pads?” he asked. “Feels good.”
Chris put his hand down David’s boxers. “Feel this,” he said.
Seth brought Snow’s purse to her. “We gotta leave,” he said. “I have a sudden need to be home.”
Snow blinked. “You have a---oh! Okay!” She looked around. “Everything all right? Can we just leave, or did Chris need us to do anything?”
“I think Chris is just fine,” Seth said.
Pancake Heaven still had Christmas decorations. "We don't take them down until Epiphany," Cindee said, pouring coffee for the Bakery Bitches.
The girls looked at each other, and then went back to talking about the Christmas party.
"Chris just went to bed," Snow said. "Think he was pissed off?"
"Why would he be pissed off?" Eliza asked, drizzling syrup on her hotcakes. "It was a great party. No one fought, everyone got home okay, live music, good food, and a whole lotta hook-ups."
"Pissed off because we asked David," Jules guessed. "Nah, he does that kind of thing, Chris does. Got tired and told us to let himself out. David already drove Julie home, I think."
"Man, the odds are getting long about Chris getting in Dave's pants by New Year's Eve," Eliza said. "I'm not taking any more money on it."
The other two made extraordinary faces at her, so she turned around to see Chris walking in the restaurant.
"Hey, he's cut his hair," Jules said. "Hey Chris, your hair looks good! Why'd you cut it?"
Chris shrugged. "I got a gift certificate for Christmas."
"Sheesh, it looks nice. Are you wearing," and Snow did air-quotes, "product?"
Chris rolled his eyes. "Yeah, you gotta put it in from the back and zhuze it," he said, as if reciting.
"Zhuze?" Eliza mouthed silently to Snow. "So," she said aloud, "Whatcha doin' New Years' Eve?"
"Gettin' laid, I hope," Chris shrugged and accepted a carryout cup of coffee from Cindee.
"Takin' volunteers?" Cindee smirked.
"Always," he said, uncapping his coffee and taking a long drink. "Not at the moment, though."
Next came the screaming bitchfight in the parking lot of the grocery store, between Jules and James. People could hear them with disastrous clarity, as their shift had just ended.
"You think you're being cool and trendy, but you're just an aging teenager trying to avoid commitment," Jules said.
"Well, who the hell wears chains like you do? Pimps would be embarrassed."
"Hey, I can take off my bling, but you're still gonna be the same age when you get home. You don't realize anything, because no one in this damned store wants to tell you the truth," Jules said defiantly. "So if you're too stupid to know what a good thing I am for you, then you don't deserve me and fuck you."
At that point, manager Dave came out of the store and wrapped his arms around Jules and hauled her away. "Get out of here," he shouted at James.
"Come on," Eliza said, towing James to his car. "Go on."
So, James decided, apparently, to go to talk to the person whowould tell him the truth.
Chris looked moderately surprised to see him, and was doing laundry, when James knocked on his door.
"Want your advice," James said. "I know you'll tell me the truth because you can't stand me."
"That's true," Chris allowed, letting him come into the kitchen. "Want some coffee? I got the gourmet shit brewin', got a box of it for Christmas."
"Yeah. You hear about me fightin' with Jules? Well, we kinda broke up, and she just---she said some things." James accepted a cup. "She said I had to grow up, that I was using sexual freedom to hide from intimacy."
Chris sipped his coffee. "Yeah."
"Yeah, you are. All that open relationship stuff is okay when you don't care about anyone, but it's time to stop playin' around with multiples. Jules is a damn fine woman, and you'd be lucky if she wanted to live with you." Chris tilted his head, as if listening for something. He got up and checked the dryer in the storeroom, and came back. "So, get back with her. Or don't. I don't really give a fuck."
"Okay," James said, dazed, and stood up.
Chris opened the door for him, and watched him get in his junker and drive away. He saw Snow in her muddy Kia almost run into the ditch.
Behind him, his boyfriend yawned. "That James? The hell?"
"Yeah, he wanted me to mentor him, I guess. Shit. I start using conditioner in my hair, and I get people wanting me to give 'em advice. I think I'll go back to my split ends."
He felt David's fingers in his hair. "But it's soft."
"Yeah, and that's another thing. The fabric softener you brought home smells girly. My shirts smell April-fresh. How gay do we have to be?"
David yawned again. "Don't look at me, you're the one who started Febrezing everything." He perked up. "Hey, is that the good coffee?"
Snow and Eliza were organizing the betting book. "I'm tellin' you, James was comin' out of Chris' house!"
Eliza got out her Palm Pilot. "We're gonna lose money if we don't get some money on that. And, some money's getting put on Nice Adam, to do either Jules or David." She shrugged. "Hostility as sexual tension thing."
Seth looked up. "Jeeze, you two. If two guys get along, they want to have the big man-love. And if they don't, they still want to have the big gay sex."
Eliza and Snow gave him a pitying stare.
"I don't want to have sex with guys," Seth said.
"Keep tellin' yourself that, babe," Eliza said. "You tryin' to tell
me you wouldn't do Nicky?"
"You're projecting," Seth said.
"Oh, did I tell you that I think that 'Ocean's Twelve' is just as slashy as it can get?" Snow said.
Seth made a noise and got up.
"He has trouble with his bisexual issues," Snow said.
"Don't we all, " Eliza said.