ETA: the movie shooting starts today, oh my god.
calculus of a single variable
He catches her sitting by the sidewalk alone after a bunch of stuff has already happened, and she’s caught the bad guy. Which is typical. She wants to look busy; things to do, places to be, she’s not pining, nope, not at all, because she broke up with him, so.
“Stalker,” she intones, “you left thirteen messages. Please try to not be in love with me. It’s like you aren’t even trying.”
He shrugs, “you’re going to delete all of them without listening anyway, so I just like the idea of you having to constantly press the button, while secretly wanting to listen, but trying to let your self-righteous moral high-ground overrun your curiosity for once. Getting more exasperated each time, cursing my family name, and taking longer to delete the next one. The psychological manipulation warms the cockles of my heart, honestly.”
“You’re so weird,” she states, because, "and you've thought way too much about it." Before snatching the apple from him and taking a bite.
She coughs almost immediately, “it’s sour.”
“Pot, meet the ugly step-sister, kettle.”
“Clever,” she stretches, “but you practiced it in front of the mirror so long, it’s affecting the performance. Come on now," she claps her hands theatrically, "once more, with feeling.”
He plucks the apple back from her hands, “you don’t have rights to me or my sour apples anymore.”
She thinks about that for a moment, “that sounds vaguely dirty.”
He turns his wrist around, like he’s wearing a watch, which he isn’t, “took you two minutes, thirteen seconds to bring in sex into the conversation.”
She steals the apple out of his hand while he’s distracted with his hand-gestures, and takes another bite.
“So you’re, like, friends or something.”
“Or something,” she agrees, absently, trying to figure out if the bright blue nailpolish is a good idea, because black is nice, black is standard, black is tough, but it’s had a good run and maybe it’s time to retire it and explore other options. She is apparently now a girl who thinks about these things. She is apparently now a girl.
It takes her a moment to register what he said, “if by friends you mean people who can’t really stand each other at all.”
When she looks over, Piz is shoving his hands in his pockets, “I feel like I should be jealous of the ex-boyfriend.”
She pats his shoulder comfortingly, “the ex-boyfriend is more jealous of you.” Which is probably not true, because Logan mostly looks on at Piz like a minor annoyance, the volume left too loud in the neighbor’s apartment on a Best Of Avril Lavigne collection… that metaphor is disturbingly specific.
Piz sighs, “that actually makes me feel better, which probably makes me a terrible person.”
She turns back to her contemplation of the shade of blue, maybe it’s not bright enough, “don’t worry, I’ll show you the ropes around here.”
Her dad loses the election. She makes conciliatory dinner. Which is ice-cream. But she does put it out in a fancy bowl and everything.
He looks at it in silence for a moment; it has a sprig of mint on top, “I’m not a thirteen-year-old girl going through her first break-up, honey.”
She gasps, “I was misinformed, then. Darn. It must have been your voice on the phone that confused me.”
She turns back towards the kitchen, “well, since you don’t want it.”
Keith gets up and almost wrestles it out of her hands, “mine.” He points to himself, probably in case she slept through possessive pronouns in the fourth grade.
She drops her eyes, as he settles down on the couch, “I’m really sorry, okay. I know I messed up. Probably worse than I ever have. I’m just so— sorry.”
Her dad swallows another spoonful, placid still, somehow, “I know. And I still mean what I said about loving you.”
“I don’t know,” she’s waiting for the other shoe to drop, because she’s been awful, and she doesn’t deserve to be treated nicely, “why you’re not mad.”
“I am,” he dad says, evenly, “but then I think of how many times I’m going to get to play this card, and how you’re not going to get into trouble for a long, long time, because I’ll just turn to you and say ‘hey remember that time I lost the election because—’ and even your underactive conscience is going to stutter.”
She laughs through watering eyes, “I don’t know why you’re a PI, you should join in the criminal side of things. Blackmail is apparently right up your alley.”
He wiggles his feet on the table, "now about that foot rub..."
She snorts, "that is not normal, no matter how many deviously subtle ways you try to bring it in in."
"Hey, honey, remember that time I lost the election be--?"
She throws a cushion squarely at him, "too soon for jokes."
“You’re the best daughter," he says, pointing his spoon at her, "that is, when you’re not the worst, and turning me grey before my time.”
She reaches over and taps his bald head, before bending down and stage-whispering, “think about it this way; no one will be able to tell.”
“You’re following me.”
“Am not,” he says, “do you buy a separate plane ticket for that ego?”
“This is Piz’s concert,” she says, pointing to the stage, “that is Piz. You are at Piz’s concert. My boyfriend Piz. Whose concert this is.”
He looks over at the stage in careless disdain, “you just broke the World Lameness Record for the most number of ‘Piz’s’ in a monologue. Better call up Guinness, before one of the prepubescent girls here steals your thunder and beats you to it.”
She turns to face him completely, “oh my god, that’s what you’re doing here. You’re here with one of the prepubescent girls. Oh my god. You’re dating a girl who would willingly come to Piz’s concert.”
He turns his gaze to someone in the distance, she tries to follow, but there are too many people, which is so bizarre, she can’t even.
He winces, as the band bows on stage, and the decibel level goes up exponentially, “at least you know she’s going to be a screamer.”
She turns her wrist over too, except she’s actually wearing a watch, “took you twenty seconds to bring sex in the conversation. I’m still winning the moving on thing.”
“Didn’t know it was a competition.”
She snorts; because, of course he knows it’s a competition.
“You just said you wouldn’t have willingly come for Piz’s concert,” he says, a slow grin spreading across his face. He's apparently mastered the art of making her boyfriend's unfortunate name sound like an insult all on its own.
She stares at him, “shut up, I did not.”
“Yes, you did,” he crows.
She snatches his glass from his hands, to give her something to do, and also because it’s kind of a habit, and she’s a creature of habit, and she’d bought another bottle of black nailpolish this morning, “whatever. I was with you for the longest time, and I never willingly came to watch you surf.”
“With all that water dripping off my rippling muscles,” he spreads his hand, before taking his glass back, long fingers almost lingering, but not nearly long enough to make meaning from, “please, you were there with bells on, babe. Or at least a bodice ripper, give you a legitimate reason for being wet without ever even getting into the water.”
“Classy,” she drags out, before shuddering delicately, “I think I’m scarred for life hearing you say ‘rippling muscles’.”
He raises his glass, and she watches the muscles shift beneath his shirt, tracing them in her memory, “you weren't scarred ogling them though, huh, M?”
“You are not Bond in this scenario. In your head maybe. God, that must be a terrifying place.”
He looks her over, “you don’t wear so many clothes. And your mouth is too preoccupied to talk. You're often tied up. I rescue you, sometimes. Sometimes, I just thank the dragon and get the hell out. And congratulate myself on balls intact. And still being a functional member of the male species, because you never had the chance to happen.”
After which the prepubescent date interrupts, which is kind of a shame, because she thinks if she’d insulted his manhood just enough, he’d probably have taken off his shirt.
“I am going to warn my friends off you from now,” Wallace tells her sternly.
She reaches over to hug him, “you love me.”
“Yes,” he sighs, like he can’t believe he does, “but you’re Trouble with a capital T.”
“Also Veronica with a capital V,” she says, which is so stupid, even Logan wouldn't have gone there.
He glares at her, “that is my roommate whose heart you just crushed beneath size six shoes crushed beneath a piano falling from a ten story building crushed beneath the ten story building. Which means I am sitting for hours, holed up in our dorm room, and handing him the Kleenex.”
“Hey, he broke up with me. I'm the victim here!”
“Because you’re pining over your ex with the piniest pinage that ever pined,” she doesn’t remember Wallace’s scary voice being quite so scary before.
“I am not pining over my ex,” she gasps in indignation, “I do not know the meaning of pine beyond that it is a tree in the genus Pinus, in the family Pinaceae, because Stanford-material, bitches. And I am not a tree.”
“And my roommate,” Mac chimes in, all the way over from the computer, “whose heart Logan crushed. And with whom I had to attend frat parties for weeks to scope out 'potentials', because she was so over Logan, like, so over him, really. You two are like a dastardly team of evil, soul-destroying supervillains.”
She pulls the keycard out of her bag, watching Wallace look at it in resignation, “are you going to call Logan to warn him off me?”
She raises a hand to her chest, “I thought it was just indigestion, but I can feel the BFF love.”
She blinks as she comes face to face with a short blonde, keycard still in hand, “hi.”
The girl looks her over with disinterest, “hey. Veronica, I’m guessing.”
“You saw the sex tape?”
The disinterest turns to mild surprise, before the girl shakes her head like she doesn’t even want to know, “no, your boyfriend just uses your name a lot. Mostly at very inappropriate moments.”
“Gross,” she says, “where is my boyfriend?”
The girl points to the bathroom, “knock yourself out.
She knocks on the door instead.
“Go away,” his voice calls out.
“Piz broke up with me.”
He opens the door in a towel, water dripping off rippling musc-- fuck, she is going to kill him afterwards, “it’s you.”
“My evil clone just left. Subtle, by the way. Also, super creepy, and probably Freudian. But yes, it's me. Except, that of course leads to that eternal existential question; who am I?”
“Super Megalomaniacal Bitch from planet Don’t Keep Making The Same Mistakes Over You Lovesick Jackass?” he guesses. Okay, so no more philosophy for him.
She raises her hand to his towel, “my mothership is taking its time. I have a couple of hours free, and I want to be made an honest woman out of, before being sold into slavery to the cruel king of planet,” she pauses for a second, trying to make the acronym “DKMTSMOYLJ. Because that way, no matter what this cold world throws at us afterwards," she bats her eyelashes winningly, "we'll always have Neptune."
He shakes his head, “you’re unbelievable. You can’t just waltz in here like that, demanding pity sex, because your cotton candy, clearly insane boyfriend, temporarily regained his sanity. And you broke up with me, so you don't have any ground to stand on here.”
She thinks of that, “hey, Logan?”
“What?” he's nearly pouting.
She turns her wrist around, she's not wearing a watch this time, she's not even wearing a bra, “it took me seven seconds to bring sex into the conversation.”
He’s silent for a moment, “I won the break-up?”
She nods, breathing shallow, “you won the break-up.”
She’s going to retract that later, obviously. Apparently she’s a good extortionist, maybe her dad and she can embark on that life of crime together. And anyway— "but now, the real question here is, who will win the making up?"
He drops the towel.