More from the lost Romantica series. Drawings by Christine Norrie, words by me.
Because people seem to like them.
I recall Christine thinking this first one was too harsh, and we had an argument similar to the one in the story. Art, meet Life.
It's also easy the longest, so just it and a shorty this time.
Geoff had a bitter taste in his mouth, and he knew it was due to more than the vodka he drank. It amazed him how shame and anger could be so tangible.
Stacy was on the other side of the room. She was dressed in a slinky black number that was clearly picked for effect. The party was a fancy one, black tie, and Stacy’s dress was perfectly centered between appropriate and inappropriate, proper enough for her to get away with it and just improper enough that there was something to get away with.
Geoff caught Stacy’s eye. The set of her jaw was familiar to him. She was the only person he knew that could make the angle of her mouth appear condescending.
The vodka went down with a gulp and cleared away everything. That was the beauty of being drunk, Geoff thought. The rose colored glasses were shattered. His vision was as clear as the liquid itself.
He crossed the room in what seemed like only two steps. He was upon her before she even realized he had moved. Geoff grabbed Stacy’s arm just below the shoulder. He searched for her eyes, but she was looking around, looking down at the hand that had a hold on her. Geoff grabbed her other arm, straightened her.
“This has to end,” Geoff said.
“Go to hell.” Stacy practically hissed the words.
“What is it this time?” he demanded. “How did I make this one go wrong?”
“It’s always the same, Geoff. It’s never anything different. It might be interesting if it was.”
“Why can’t we just have a good time?”
“Because you can’t accept who I am. I’m tired of you slumming between my legs. I’m tired of you reminding me that I’m not the same as you, that I don’t have what you have.”
“When have I ever cared about any of that? How long do I have to work to prove it?”
“You drag me out to your parties and wait for me to do something stupid, to show everyone--”
Geoff let go of her. His hands dropped to his side. His arms hung heavy, like he could no longer lift them. “That’s never been me, Stacy,” he said, quietly. “It doesn’t matter how many times you try to maneuver me there, no matter how many times you try to make me a judgmental prick, it’s not going to happen.”
Stacy looked away from him.
“It doesn’t matter how much you want me to be every other man that’s hurt you, you can’t make it true.”
Once the bus got outside of Tacoma, the rain let up, and the clouds mingled with the vehicle exhaust somewhere behind it. Nicole looked up at the now clear sky and the select stars whose light made it down to her, bouncing between the window and her eyes. To her, there and then in that seat, on that bus rumbling over the highway, James was just an empty reflection from light years away, dissipating exhaust in the fading distance. Her mouth didn’t change, her face didn’t say it, but it was there--there in the light, there in her eyes. A picture of a smile, of the pieces of her broken heart coming back together.
Current Soundtrack: The Verve, Forth
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All text (c) 2008 Jamie S. Rich