Roxy's having naughty thoughts about Benji, but before she can act on them, her boyfriend calls. Yay, boyfriends.
“Hey” I said, smiling back. He stepped inside and shut the door.
“Hey, Benji!” said Nick. Benji waved at everyone in the kitchen and then made a face at the bacon frying in the frying pan. Nick raised his arms in question and I nodded at him. Apparently it was a universal thing.
“How are you feeling?” Benji asked me.
“Like a train wreck,” I said brightly. “What about you?”
“Eh,” he said. “I’ve felt better…but then I’ve also felt worse.”
“I must have been pretty drunk,” I said. “I don’t remember anything.” Benji’s grin widened. Damn. Apparently he remembered a few things. I cleared my throat. “So what the hell are you doin’ here?” I asked. He shrugged.
“I wanted to see how you were doing,” he said. I raised an eyebrow. “And I wanted to know if you wanted to hang out.” He looked around. “Maybe get out of this shithole.”
“Hey!” said Matt. “This is a NICE HOUSE, considering our meager salaries!”
“It does need a paint job,” I supplied.
“Great, thanks for volunteering,” said Matt. I blinked.
“Anyways,” I said, turning back to Benji. “What did you have in mind?”
“I wanna get out of this shithole!” said Tony. Matt rolled his eyes and Jeremiah put a hand on his shoulder.
“You could paint the house,” Nick said, shrugging.
“Anyways,” Tony said, turning back to us. “You were saying?”
“Painting the house actually sounds kind of fun,” Benji said sheepishly.
“Great!” Matt said, jumping up and heading for the garage. Tony and I muttered to ourselves. Yay, painting the house.
Matt emerged a few seconds later and handed each of us a bucket of paint and a paintbrush.
“I honestly don’t know what colors are in these cans or even if the colors are the same,” he said. “I just found them in the garage. But a paint job’s a paint job, right?” We all shrugged and nodded. Fair enough.
“Here,” said Nick, handing us a CD player. “Have fun.” Tony and I shared an eyeroll and then looked at Benji, who was grinning in excitement.
“Christ,” I muttered as Matt herded us out the door and then shut it.
“Well, thanks a lot, Benji,” said Tony.
“What? It’ll be fun!” he said. “Painting houses is fun. Plus we can listen to music!”
“I’d actually rather listen to music while doing something of my own leisure, like driving, or flipping through a magazine, or just sitting somewhere,” I said.
He ignored me and bent to open his paint can. Man, he was hot. I licked my lips as I watched his arm muscles flex as he worked to get the can open. When he got it off I slid mine towards him.
“I would really enjoy it if you did mine next,” I said. He gave me a small, puzzled smile, and then he took my can and repeated the process while I enjoyed. Tony was watching, amused, and then he slid his can to Benji.
“Eh, might as well make a show out of all three,” he said.
“Jeez, you guys are helpless,” Benji said, taking Tony’s can. Tony and I grinned at each other. Benji didn’t understand.
Just then the sounds of “Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer filled the air. I took out my cell phone. Benji made a face.
“What the fuck is that ringtone!” he said in disgust.
“It’s MC Hammer!” I said. “He’s only the greatest rapper of all time.”
“You sound like my brother,” Benji said.
“You have a brother?” I asked.
“Yeah, a twin,” he said. Then, realization hit me and I gawked at Benji. He was Benji from Good Charlotte! With the twin brother! I hadn’t heard much from them…a few songs maybe, and maybe I’d seen a couple pictures, but that’s it. I couldn’t believe I’d missed it! And I was coeditor of a magazine! A big magazine, too, that also came equipped with a TV show that I co-hosted, a fashion studio I co-owned, along with a label I helped design for. AND I co-ran the magazine. I co-did all these things with Kristy Adams, my lifelong best friend. It might seem like tons of work, but since we co-owned everything, we really hardly had to do anything but show up for the show and be available for when our minions had questions or issues. It was pretty great though, it had been a lifelong goal of ours. We’d actually started building the business right after we graduated high school, and because it had actually started to take flight, we were able to skip all the general education of college and just focus on journalism, business, and a minor in communications, and that enabled us to graduate from the University of Oregon with a bachelors’ after two years, hence the reason I’m twenty and not in school.
“Uh…Raz?” Tony said. “You gonna answer that? I can only take so much MC Hammer at a time.”
“Oh! Right,” I said. I flipped the phone open and stuck it on my ear. “Hello?”
“Roxy!” said Kristy. “Where are you? You never came home last night!”
“I’m still in Chicago!” I said. “Why didn’t you come party with us last night?”
“It was Carter’s and my one month anniversary, remember? I told you,” she said.
“Oh yeah, your new boyfriend with the hot name,” I said. “Well, you guys should come over! We’re at Tony’s. We got stuck painting the house, thanks to Benji.”
“Who?” Kristy asked.
“This guy I met. Come over,” I said. “Take the jet.” Our business had made us quite the rich couple of chicks, and thus enabled us to invest in a jet that could take us anywhere in the world in a matter of minutes, or hours, depending on how far you’re going. Our jet pilot’s record for flying from Oregon to Chicago is one hour. Can YOUR jet pilot beat that? I think not.
“Do you want me to bring Jeff, too?” she asked. I gritted my teeth. Jeff was my boyfriend.
“Er…no,” I said. She was silent for a while.
“You’re not gonna cheat on him, are you?” she asked. I glanced over at Benji just in time to see him whip his shirt off and toss it aside. I swallowed hard to keep my jaw from falling to the ground. Then I squeezed my eyes shut.
“Um…not yet,” I said.
“I should bring Jeff,” she said.
“NO,” I said. “Please don’t bring Jeff. It’ll ruin everything.”
Kristy sighed and hung up.
“Who’s Jeff?” Benji asked. Before I could reply, a black beat up Range Rover pulled up to the side of the road, and a guy who looked almost the freaking same as Benji, with the exception of a few minor differences, got out, along with a cute, hefty blonde guy and a thin guy with black spiky hair and chiseled cheekbones.
“What the hell are you guys doing here?” Benji asked in genuine confusion.
“You left in the middle of a sentence,” said Benji’s twin. Benji glanced at me sheepishly.
“Guess I was in a hurry,” he said. Then he turned to them and gestured to me. “This is Roxy. Roxy, this is my twin brother Joel, and my friends, Billy and Paul.” I waved at them, and they greeted me back. “And you know Tony,” Benji finished.
“What are you guys doing?” Billy asked.
“Painting the house,” said Tony. “You guys wanna help?”
“Fuck no,” said Joel, and he, Billy, and Paul went into the house.
“Bitches…” said Tony.
My phone rang again.
“Goddamn your ringtone!” said Benji. I smirked as I put the phone back to my head.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Roxy, where the hell are you?” Jeff asked. I squeezed my eyes shut. I needed to start checking the caller I.D.
“Hi Jeff,” I said.
“Why didn’t you come home last night?” he asked.
“There was no way for me to get home,” I said. “Plus I was too drunk.”
“Well…when are you coming home?” he asked.
“Sometime today,” I said. “I’m painting Tony’s house right now, but I’ll be home as soon as I finish that.” I groaned internally. Why did I have to have a boyfriend?
“Why are you painting Tony’s house?” Jeff asked.
“It needed a fresh coat,” I said.
“Are you painting it alone?”
“No, Tony’s painting it, too,” I said. “And this other guy I just met.”
“What other guy?” Jeff asked.
“This guy I met,” I said, starting to get frustrated. “I have to go, Jeff.”
“Are you really painting?”
“YES!” I said. “I have to go!”
“I’m coming over,” he said. “Kristy said she was, so I’m going to, too!”
“No! Jeff!” I said, but he’d hung up. “Dammit,” I muttered. I dialed
Kristy’s number frantically.
“ABORT THE MISSION, ABORT THE MISSION!” I said. “Jeff just called and said he was coming. I DON’T want him coming here! Tell him the jet’s not working or something. ANYTHING. I’m sorry you won’t get to meet Benji, but I’ll be home later today, so yay for that, right? Just DON’T JET IT OVER HERE.”
“Okay, okay,” she said. “I don’t know why it’s THAT important for your boyfriend to not come see you, but whatever.” She hung up. I knew why it was important. Jeff was jealous by nature and probably wouldn’t appreciate me staring at Benji’s hot ass all day.
“So who’s Jeff?” Benji asked. Tony cleared his throat and abruptly turned around and began painting the house.
“He’s…um…my…he’s sort of my boyfriend,” I said. I looked up at Benji carefully. His expression was unreadable. “But not for much longer,” I said quickly. Benji looked at me a little while longer with his unreadable expression, and then he smiled.
“Hey, whatever,” he said. “So you’ve got a boyfriend, that’s cool. Hey, let’s paint.” And he turned around and began to paint. I bit my lip and looked over at Tony. He shrugged and held up his paintbrush.
We “painted” for about another half hour and then Joel and Billy and Paul collected Benji and drove him away for “band practice.”
“Well, that was unsatisfactory,” I said to Tony as we put the paint stuff back in the garage. The house had once been blue, and now, after our paint job, it was blue with a big splotch of red (Tony’s paint), almost a whole side of yellow (Benji’s paint), and a tiny spot of orange (my paint).
“Break up with Jeff,” said Tony. “It would make things so much easier for you. I don’t know why you’re still with him anyway, the guy’s a whiner.”
I blew out a sigh. I should do it, but it just wasn’t as easy as everyone seemed to think.