The third episode for an imaginary season three. Joan is confused about her relationship with Ryan, and her family have their own problems. Can she trust her friends to help?
Lilly nodded. "So, okay," she began. "The next sacrament we have to discuss is-oh." Her face froze slightly. "Marriage." She snorted slightly. "Well. You know more about that than I do, and really: what is there to say about it anyway? So let's skip it and move on to-"
"Wait a minute," Helen interrupted. "I don't think we should skip it-there are a lot of interesting questions about marriage as a sacrament."
"Name one," said Lilly dryly.
Helen peered at her face and then laughed slightly. "Oh my God," she said. "I don't believe this. You're uncomfortable discussing marriage with me?"
Lilly looked even more uncomfortable. "It's just that, well," she hedged. "You know." Helen looked blank. "I haven't exactly been playing a winning game in the great marriage sweepstakes," Lilly explained irritably. "Until recently." For half a second Helen continued to look blank, and then her eyes widened. "Oh my God," she repeated. "Do you think...I mean...you and Kevin?"
"I don't know," Lilly snapped, hostile and embarrassed. "And I don't want to jinx it by talking about it," she added more gently.
Helen, after a moment's startled silence, found herself feeling sympathetic. "How about if we discuss it in abstract terms?" she suggested, trying to hide a smile.
"Abstract is good," Lilly agreed. "The abstract-er, the better."
The shower did wake Joan up a bit. In fact, it woke her up enough that the weirdness of the whole situation was beginning to creep her out. She got dressed quickly, then lingered over combing her hair. There was no hair dryer, so she towel-dried it as well as possible. Eventually she'd combed out every tangle, even the imaginary ones, and had to leave the bathroom.
"Ah, good," said Ryan when she re-entered his living room, as casually as if she dropped by his place to shower every day. He set a plate of pasta on the coffee table with a flourish, then bowed. "Dinner is served," he said. Joan wondered if he was making fun of her.
"You don't eat in the dining room?" she asked. "I had you figured as a dining room type of guy."
He shrugged. "I thought the couch would be...cosier," he said, and Joan's stomach jolted nervously.
"Now all that's missing is the wine," Ryan said, and stepped into the kitchen.
"Okay, God?" Joan muttered under her breath. "This is the one time when I'd welcome an appearance. Seriously. Help?" She spun around at the sound of footsteps, but of course it was just Ryan. "Oh, it's you," she said, too disappointed to notice how odd that sounded.
Ryan looked at her knowingly. "I'm the only one here, Joan," he said patiently.