You know how in old, period-piece movies it's considered the Devil's work to be an artist of any kind. The theatre, writing, even alchemy...all damned professions. But worst of all were the gypsies...
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Chapter Eight: Note To Self: I Miss You Terribly
What could you possibly see in me?
Is it my soul hung out to dry?
I think my dysfunctional family
Has shaped it,
They've thought out my life
- "Your glasses" by Maria Mena
I ended up crying myself to sleep that afternoon, the length of the trip combined with the weight of my memories bogging me down into exhaustion. I didn't wake up until 10 am the next sunrise, the sounds of my family downstairs making sleep near impossible. What were they /doing/ down there? After 45 minutes of trying to ignore them so as to possibly find some more sleep at the mercy of my subconscious, I gave up and hauled myself to the bathroom. Shower time kiddies. Ugh, note to self: try your best to avoid sleeping in the clothes you've had on since 7 am, it leaves a stale aftertaste on your skin. Gross.
I hadn't taken a warm shower in weeks, usually opting to wait until I was overheated from a workout to jump under the shower head and by then I could only handle cool water. But after a year in Las Vegas...New England was suddenly effing /cold/. I'd woken up missing the heat of Brendon's body even more than usual.
Speaking of Brendon, I wondered if I should call him. I was beyond pride at that moment, pathetically pining for my boyfriend after just a day of separation. Then again, it had been more than a day, hadn't it? Sure we'd been under the same roof, but we'd been so distant those last few days (hell the last week), even when we had been sitting on the same couch.
Shaking my head I went back to my shower. He loved me. We were just going through a dry season, nothing major. It was healthy.
Post-shower, I threw some clothes on (attempting the preppy look half heartedly) and headed downstairs to see what all the noise was about. My Uncle James was over to see me and congratulate my sister, and he'd taken the liberty of bringing my baby cousins.
"There she is!" my mom beamed as I walked into the room at the same time as her, minus the tray of scones she was carrying. "How'd you sleep dear?"
"Fine," I walked around our coffee table to give my Uncle and his wife a hug, "Hey guys, it's good to see you! And who is this?" I tucked my hair behind my ears and squatted to get down at the infant's level. She looked up at me with big blue eyes, 'Save me' /her look seemed to mumble under the table, 'These people are driving me nuts.' /
'Hey,'/my eyes bounced back as I sat crisscross applesauce in front of her, 'Join the club and get used to it babe, things aren't going to change for a while./
"This is Jenna," my Aunt beamed like the sun on a package of Land-O-Lakes butter.
"Aw, hi Jenna!" I chose a toy from the many that lay defeated on the carpet around my cousin, putting on an impromptu puppet show. "Where's Ben? He's not off driving already is he?" I smirked, referring to Jenna's slightly older brother.
"He found your old tree house." My Uncle explained.
"Uh-oh." I laughed, going back to Jen. She had the most beautiful blonde curls...and a funny laugh that came out her nose and made me want to laugh. It reminded me of Ryan's. I really did smile that time, tripping over my reminiscence. I missed my boys. "Which one's your fave Jen? Can you show me your favorite?" I asked her, just to talk. I didn't expect an answer, you can never expect an answer from babies, but it's enough for them that you're communicating with them in the language you use with your piers...not goos and gaas. Trust me, they can tell the difference. She reached out for the stuffed frog in my hands, laughing when I made him kiss her cheeks. I could picture me and Brendon sitting in our living room back home, just us and Jenna on the floor. In my day dream I wouldn't have to hold back. Jen wouldn't have to settle for a talking frog who dances and kisses your cheeks. She'd be dying of laughter from watching Brendon and myself make up our own ridiculous puppet shows, from Brendon attacking himself with a plush puppy. I knew she'd get a kick out of it...and somehow I knew Brendon would too. He'd be a good dad, I decided.
Oh no...did I really want to be thinking about kids? And how good of a dad my boyfriend would be? Ew...scary.
"So Bailey, are you still living in Las Vegas? How are the colleges there by the way, any good?" my aunt asked. It was weird calling this chick my aunt, she was barely ten years older than me. Kerri was a good person though, she was meant for the housewife profession and stay-at-home mom seemed to have been written into her DNA. Still she stayed cute and fashionable. Again, I liked her.
"Umm, well the campuses are fantastic because so much funding goes into the city budget, for obvious reasons. The same goes for most of the neighborhoods. The professors are pretty normal, I mean you have the usual suspects, boring, boring, awesome, boring. It's the same as anywhere else." I shrugged.
"What are you majoring in again?" Uncle James asked. He was just being polite but it was kind of an odd subject around my parents and I mentally cringed.
"Well, technically I'm under Psychology right now, but it's shaky. I'm still somewhat undecided."
"You don't know what you want to do with your life yet?"
I sighed, staring down into Jenna's young eyes. So what if I didn't? Neither did Jen and no one was hounding her/. "I...I guess I just want to..." 'Live? Exist?' /"I've been thinking about counseling children Domestic abuse is a big problem anywhere, let alone in Las Vegas. If nothing else I'd be assured job security."
"Why did you move out west again? I can never seem to recall." God bless my Aunt, she really did mean well.
"Umm, my boyfriend, Brendon Urie?" God, how pathetic did that sound. I could just read their thoughts, 'Love struck this one, throwing away all that good breeding for some fanciful daydream. In a few years she'll figure it out, she'll regret it.'
"Oh." they both looked somewhat surprised, "And what does he do?"
You know how in old, period-piece movies it's considered the Devil's work to be an artist of any kind. The theatre, writing, even alchemy...all damned professions. But worst of all were the gypsies. Singing and dancing, in love with pleasure and wine and gold. It was considered crude and savage. You know those movies? Yah, I suddenly felt like I was /in one/. What was I supposed to say? He's a musician? He sings in a band? He can play more instruments than you can count and he's better at it than you could ever hope to be? That's right guys, my boyfriend's a /superstar/....what? No, he's not gay.
"He's in the music industry. The lead singer of Panic! At the Disco. They're on a promo tour right now."
"Oh." again, their looks were tragically surprised and read somewhat to the effect of 'But why...?'
"I think I've heard the name somewhere...Panic At the Disco? James, doesn't Laura's daughter listen to them?" Kerri consulted her husband. I cocked an eyebrow, knowing for a fact that Laura Pantone's daughter was 13. Great, just what I wanted to hear..
"I don't think so dear," my Uncle dismissed his wife with a wave of the hand before turned back to me, "Are they famous at all? Do they make much money?"
"Their album has gone multi-platinum and they just got back from a headlining summer tour, every venue of which completely sold out. I think they're making some headway, yah." a smirk tugged at my lips.
"Oh, well that's great." James smiled widely, taking a sip of his water.
"Sounds lovely, very glamorous." my Aunt winked at me and I just laughed softly at her.
"So, do you have any plans then, you and this boy, what did you say his name was again? I'm afraid I got too caught up in the Disco part to remember." Uncle James chuckled.
I giggled, "Brendon Urie. And um, no plans not really, no." I shrugged, "I mean we live together and all that, I already work for an online magazine in the area. We're pretty happy as is."
"Right," my Uncle shifted in his seat, leaning forward somewhat, "But you haven't discussed marriage or any thing of the sort? I mean, unless you plan on spending your life with this boy, I dunno, it just seems to me that without a proper direction in college and all that, you're wasting your time out there."
I couldn't come up with anything to say back. Partly because I was stunned. Partly because he was right. Partly because...I just didn't know what to say to that.
"Quite frankly I think marriage is out of the question." my mother jumped in on my account, "I'm sure once she's done with college she'll be moving back home. Won't you, dear." she smiled down at me, taking a sip of her tea. I wanted to hate her for her crazy assumptions...but I just didn't know anything any more. Did I want to spend the rest of my life in the L.V.? Did I really? Suddenly I didn't know anymore. You'd think being back in the environment that made me wanton for Las Vegas would cast things in an even clearer light for me. But it only muddled them up that much more.
"I um, I don't really know." I shrugged hopelessly at them as they all looked down at me. I didn't like them looking at me like that. I'd never been able to think properly when people stared my way.
"Well, you should really do your best to figure it out soon sweet-pea, life's not going to slow down because you're not sure." James stood, patting my shoulder as he walked by, "I think I'm going to go check on Ben."
I just nodded, looking back down at Jen.
'What?' /her eyes laughed, 'Don't expect answers from me. I'm exempt from hard life decisions until I'm three and that's ages away. Go ask someone else. I want to be alone with my stuffed giraffe.'/
I smiled at my over-active imagination, stroking her soft cheek for a moment before excusing myself to go clean up the kitchen. The problem was, it was pretty much clean to begin with. My mom never left much of a mess anywhere she went, very much unlike myself. My mind flittered to the state of my closet and a smile graced my mouth. I was in the mood to make a mess. Where was the recipe book?
Around five I was just taking a batch of cherry turnovers out of the oven to join the army of pastries I had assembled (snicker-doodle cookies, choco-chip cookie cake, turtle brownies, Russian tea-cakes and apple strudel) when my mom came in and ordered that I start cleaning up so she could make dinner for my father. Sighing, I did as I was told. But my mom was never content to just let me brood silently, she had to 'discuss' something with me while I was at it.
"I thought your Uncle had a very good point today."
"About what?" I asked, as if I didn't remember. Yah right.
"You know, about you wasting your time in Las Vegas." the name of the city I now called home sounded very odd in my mother's mouth. She hated referring to that city for some reason and I for one found it amusing. I decided if the opportunity arose to play dumb so she'd have to say it over and over again, I would most certainly be taking it.
My shoulders shrugged as I licked brownie batter from my spatula, setting the large ceramic bowl in the sink and turning on the hot water. "I don't see how I'm wasting my time. I like living there, if I'm happy then what's the big deal?"
"The big deal is I'm /not/ happy with you living there. Besides, it's not as if you get anything there that you're not offered here."
"Right, 'cause they sell Brendon Urie's down the street at Chico's." I grumbled, rolling my eyes as I went to grab the zip-lock baggies, plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
"Bailey, you aren't going to spend the rest of your life with that boy."
I turned to her, hand on my apron covered hip. "Do you know that you've never once said his name. He has a name, mom. Just say it, Brendon Boyd Urie. Personally I like his name, don't you?" my eyebrow cocked and I gave her an angry, well I wouldn't call it a smile, but let's just say that she definitely knew that if she wanted a fight I was in the mood to thrash her right back. She also knew I was the kind of daughter who just might elope merely for the satisfaction of beating her at her own game.
She avoided my eyes as she got out some plates for dinner, "Here," she shoved them at me, "Set the table."
The next day I was at the gym with my sister, brooding about my psychotic family, my grudge-happy boyfriend (who still hadn't called) (insensitive, pride induced freak), and the rain. That's why I was on the stationary bikes by the way, instead of outside running. Guess a year in the desert makes you forget about things like daily t-storms. Well, the weather was out to jog my memory with a torrential vengeance, making any jogging of my own out of the question. I guessed the gym was good though, there was more available to me, like weights and whatever. It was just the thought of being in a gym where people looked at you and knew you were there for a reason. Plus, you get hit on a lot at the gym. Don't ask me why, but it was sick. Not to mention scary. Though, let's be honest here, how funny was it that I was passing up preppy, muscular hunks because, gee, sorry I'm dating an emo dork skinnier than me who's glasses turn me on way more than your pecs. Gigglesnort of the century.
I'd like to say my sister ignored me at the gym and I was nursing rejection with my iPod. Reality check? Beck didn't seem to have the ability to Shut. Up. I swear. About Erik, about the wedding, mom and dad, our brother Bryce, her (few) friends, shopping, horrible customer service, cute waiters, parking spaces, pigeons, how she needed a tan, Harvard Medical...GOD it never ended.
Finally though, she got quiet. I glanced over at her suspiciously as she worked her abs and my legs spun around and around on my stationary bike. I'd almost gone two miles and quickly made a silent vow to quit at 2.5 so I could move on to my abs as well.
"You alright?" I asked, weirded out that she'd just stopped talking out of nowhere..
"Yeah,..." a few more sit-ups and she quit, facing me sitting up with her hands behind her for support. She was just as sweaty, if not sweatier, than myself as she dragged in one deep breath after another, "It's just...You haven't said anything about Erik. Do you like him?...Be honest with me."
'Well, you haven't really given me the chance Beck, you won't stop talking.'
I shrugged, "I dunno, I mean Mom thinks he's great"-
She rolled her eyes. "Of course Mom thinks he's great. I mean, he is great. But plenty of guys are great."
"Beck, he's...he's nice, ok?" I wiped at the sweat gathering on my forehead with the back of my hand, really not in the mood for this. It was one thing for her to talk. It was another for her to drag me into doing the same while trying to work out.
"/Nice? /The lady down the street is /nice/. Mom's pearls are /nice/. I want to know what you honestly think of my fiancÃ©."
"Honestly?" I glanced at her for a moment before letting some silence peruse between us. I wanted to be up front with her, it was my nature to tell people straight-up how I felt. Likewise however, it was Becky's nature to bite your head off for telling her things she didn't want to hear. But she wanted an answer right then and she /had asked /me to be honest. "He's way too soft for you." I admitted.
She just bobbed her head, silent at first. God, couldn't she just stay that way? Sigh Guess not... "God, I know." she groaned, going back at it with her sit-ups, "I feel like I'm baby-sitting half the time. I don't know what happened, I mean he used to be so interesting."
"He was interesting or interested in you?" I challenged her. This time, she just stayed quiet and I must say, I was very happy with myself.
"Honey, how would you like to season some chicken for me?" my mom mumbled absently, examining the back of a package of chicken breasts as she walked from the fridge to our island counter. I was nearly done making a salad for dinner, finishing up the sentence of a cucumber condemned to being drawn and quartered. In other words, sliced.
I looked up at her, glanced quickly at the chicken and rolled my eyes at what I was getting myself into, "Always." I replied, half sarcastically while sliding the finished cucumber slices into the salad bowl. After washing my hands and drying them on my apron I took a deep breath and faced that disgusting package of dead poultry parts. Did she really expect me to massage spices into this thing? I found myself wondering: if enough seasoning was used, could I possibly avoid all skin contact with it? Then I realized that would probably defeat the purpose of seasoning since such an amount would make my family puke.
But Jesum, I felt like /I /was gunna puke. I couldn't help it, after a year of living with vegetarians (and hanging out with their mostly vegan friends) I wasn't used to handling dead animal parts and quite frankly it grossed me out. I was trying to hide it but apparently I wasn't exactly doing a tip-top job because my father lowered his newspaper and cocked an eyebrow at me.
"Are you alright?" he asked, obviously weirded out that I was grossed out. A year ago this wouldn't have bothered me at all because my parents had not raised squeamish children. Preppy, but not squeamish.
"Not really," I swallowed distastefully after an unsuccessful attempt at holding my breath.
"It's just a chicken breast," he chuckled, "Show it who's boss."
"I know, I'm just not used to this. Brendon's a vegetarian." Oops. Why did I have to go and say that? /Why?/
"A vegetarian?" Now my dad was really weirded out. "What is he? An animal right's activist?"
'No dad, he's emo. It comes with the territory.'
"Umm, no, he just....I dunno, it makes him sick when he looks at like steak or whatever and thinks that it used to be a baby cow. He can't stomach it." I shrugged. I was so in for it now. I was just asking to be reamed up and down about how I was dating a total loser just because his favorite meal wasn't a medium-rare fillet minion with garlic mashed potatoes. But if it was any consolation, he liked garlic mashed potatoes just fine.
"Animals were put on this earth to be eaten. Look at lions, they eat raw meat for every meal and they get by marvelously."
I sighed, fighting my hardest not to roll my eyes. "It's nothing political dad, he just can't enjoy the idea of dead animal in his stomach. It's like how mom hates burgers and always eats salads. That's just what he likes."
"Yah, but that's your mother, she's a lady. Your boyfriend is a man. He /is/ a man, right?"
'No dad, he's a fucking transvestite. In fact, he's still so pretty I bet you'd think he's hot too.'
"Yah, he's definitely all man." /'I've checked.' /I smirked to myself.
"Well, what's his problem? Does he think he's better than anyone else? Is he too good to eat steak like the rest of us?"
"Dad!" I finally snapped, slamming my shaker of seasoning on the counter, "Plenty of people are vegetarians. It's /not/ a big deal!"
My father resigned himself back to the Sports page of that day's paper. "I just think it's strange is all. What kind of real man doesn't enjoy meat?" he mumbled to himself. Rolling my eyes, I kept my mouth shut. My family was impossible.
By the time we'd finished cleaning up after dinner I was way too thrilled about retreating back to the confines of my room. Hey, you'd be deliriously happy about being stuck in your room alone too if you had my family, ok? Of course, once I got there I quickly remembered that I still hadn't properly unpacked. Settling in to that, I hauled my suitcase onto my bed and began going through it, separating all my clothes into their appropriate piles. Forgive me for thinking my family was actually going to give me an hour of peace.
My sister's timing always /had /been hella awful. Or maybe it was perfect...? However you choose to view it, she decided that right then was a great time to walk in, clad in a robe, and start going through my closet.
"I need a bag for tomorrow and I can't find anything to match my outfit. I'm sure you've gotta have /some/thing cute in here." I just cocked an eyebrow at her.
"Sure you can raid my closet, go right ahead." I rolled my eyes.
"So along with a tragic fashion sense you've picked up quite an attitude in Vegas, huh?" she mumbled absently, playing it cool as she took a straw number from its hook, examining it thoroughly.
"What are you airport security? Just pick one already." I snapped at her. I rather liked my fashion sense.
Her eyes slid in my direction, a satisfied smirk tugging at the edge of her mouth. She really liked to piss people off. I guess I'd forgotten. Living with sane people can do that to a girl. Isn't that sad, next to my family, Brend, Spence, Brent and Ry looked sane. Ha, if only.
"/Meow/, what's got you so ruffled up?- Geez Bails! You're a size nine now!" she suddenly exclaimed, catching sight of the label on a pair of denim capris.
I sighed, "Look, I'm working on it alright."
She ignored my comment. So typical. "God, you're borderline obese. What are they /doing /to you out west?"
Right. So I was quickly remembering why I loved having guys as room mates as apposed to my sister. Jumping up off the bed, I grabbed my jeans and shoved the hanger back on its rack before turning to my sister.
"/Bags/, you came in here for /bags/, remember? Not to harass me about my weight problem. It's not my fault I have an overprotective boyfriend."
She cocked an eyebrow, actually looking as though she was taking me seriously. I'd learned though, my sister didn't take people seriously. She didn't level with them. She took what she could and left. The. End.
"Trouble in paradise?" She turned back to my closet, stopping at a leather number before wrinkling her nose and pushing past it.
"No," I shifted my weight from one foot to the other, crossing my arms under my chest, "He just worries about me is all. Doesn't Erik ever worry about you?"
"Sure he does." she purred distantly, "He worries about how much of his money I'm spending."
A tired smile graced my mouth, "I'm sure you give him good reason."
She offered me a smirk, "Of course I do. So what's Brady doing, force-feeding you?"
"/Brendon/, his name's /Brendon/." Why couldn't anyone in my household just say his name?
"Whatever," she sighed picking up a clutch from inside another purse, "Hey, you don't have this in white do you?"
"No," I grabbed the clutch from her hands and stuffed it back where it belonged.
"No, he's not force feeding you or no you don't have that in white."
"Both." And then I realized that was sort of a lie, "Well, I mean he's sort of been watching what I eat...like making all my food and whatever. It's getting a little annoying actually. I'm never going to get anywhere with this diet if he doesn't stop. Do you know he made Alfredo the other night. And I actually ate it. I'm on a diet and I ate Alfredo."
"Oh suck it up." she sneered, holding up one of my belts, tilting her head at the bright blue. "It's called purging."
Alright, as much as I could jump on board for this whole extreme diet and exercise thing, I wasn't touching bulimia with a 30 ft. pole.
"Yah, I'll pass thanks." I frowned at her, taking a seat on the edge of my bed.
"Suit yourself Nine-West*, they're your thighs. So if he's so much trouble, why don't you just break up with him?"
"I love him?" My sister had never seen Las Vegas because she'd been away at college during /that /escapade. She wasn't exactly jealous either, having laughed when I'd told her how our mom was forcing me to tag along. So, of course, she had no idea what she was missing when I told her about my life in the desert.
"Aww, that's cute and everything, really. But get real Bails. What are you getting out of that relationship?"
"What are you talking about?" Maybe it was the stress of the wedding, but my sister seemed to be reaching all new kinds of crazy.
"People only keep doing things if they're getting something out of it. Pour examplÃ¨ ," she turned and held a jacket of mine up to her body, turning this way and that, checking the color against her complexion as she spoke, "Mom stays with dad for the money, for the kids and also because she believes in saving face- even if not literally. So why are you staying with Brandon?"
"/Brendon/." I mumbled, beginning to get lost in my thoughts. She had a serious, surprisingly profound point. Let it be known that evil people are rarely without genius. After a few moments she put my coat back in the closet and turned to me.
"Let me put this in simpler terms for your brain, because honestly I'm dying to know what lulled you out into the desert- what's so special about this guy? Why are you head over heals?"
"Oh gosh," the inescapable grin that spread over my face was almost embarrassing, "I love the way he cuts his hair, and God, his lips- he's a spectacular kisser by the way. He knows just how to"-
My sister snorted, "Spare me the details sis, I asked why you liked him, not if the sex was good."
Her bitchiness couldn't erase my smile, that's just what Brendon did to me, "He has this way of being really dorky and fun. He never takes himself seriously and I love it...His voice drives me up the wall, he has an amazing voice."
"That's right, didn't you mention something about his being a singer?"
I cocked an amused eyebrow. My family just didn't get it and I was starting to realize they never would, "Yah, something like that- Oh! And his style. The boy's got killer style, I'm in love with it. He's a shopaholic just like me, so we have a lot of fun at all the malls and stuff. Umm, Oh! His glasses are really hot, he looks drop dead adorable in them. You know what's really cute though? He's like addicted to Red Bull, you should see him, he can down like four in an hour. It's insane"-
"Okay, now you're just rambling. I get it, he's amazing. So, what's something so amazing doing with /you/?" she asked me over her shoulder, a wicked smile on her lips. Just then she pulled a ChloÃ¨ bag from the depths of my closet which was semi junkie since I was very much used to my walk-in back in Vegas and this whole one rack thing just wasn't cutting it. Before I could say anything back a gasp filled her lungs, "/Where/ were you hiding this? This is simply divine, I'm stealing it. Thanks sis." And with a wink she was gone. Unfortunately, her words weren't so easy to get rid of.
'So, what's something so amazing doing with you?'
I hadn't wanted to think about it back home, but now, thousands of miles away where I didn't have to look into his eyes and feel guilty, my paranoia was a cancer feeding on an insecurity that I couldn't deny had been building lately.
What if Brendon and I weren't meant for one another? What if the very foundation we were built on was a joke. For the first time I began to actually consider the circumstances under which we'd come together and realize how crazy they were. We'd met by chance in a mall, we'd lived worlds away from one another. Sure there had been a physical attraction (for weeks afterward those gorgeous kohl-lined eyes had haunted me, the burn of his lips leaving my own insatiable)...but on what grounds did we really have the right to call ourselves soul mates? Had I simply latched on to the first person who showed me what life was like without expectations, rules? Had I just been a sucker for his attention? The freedom I felt when I was with him? Had I used him as an excuse to get away from my parents?
Okay, I drew the line there. I was madly in love with Brendon...wasn't I?
Visions of our cat fight in the park flashed through my mind and suddenly I wasn't so sure. And what about him? He loved me, he needed me. Right? What if, after a year of calling him for support in the wake of my parents' disaster of a marriage and my own battle with self-image, he saw me more as a responsibility than anything else. He did have a tendency to treat me like a daughter or a little sister at times, making me meals, forcing me to take multi-vitamins.
Ring. Ring. Apparently my phone was feeling lonely. I glanced over at my caller I.D. 'Speak of the Devil.'
"Hello?" Normally I would have answered a phone call from Brendon with something playful and random like, "Hello, Mimi's Little Shop of Horrors, what's your pleasure?" But my family was choking our atmosphere.
"You know it's me." Great. We're already on the brink of falling apart and I have to go and make it worse. Isn't there supposed to be some kind of connection between your heart, head and mouth? Something besides pride? "Why haven't you called?"
Apparently not. I always waited for him to call me because his schedule was so hectic that I never knew when it was safe for his phone to go off. You can't be on The Late Show and get a call from your girlfriend who just wants to say Hi. It just isn't done, like an unspoken rule or something. Here's the unspoken fine print though, Brendon /always /called me within 24 hours of separation. Baby, we caught our flight and landed safe. Hey sweetheart, our hotel room is really shitty, but there's an arcade downstairs. God Bailey, if Spencer doesn't stop snoring I'm gunna slice my ears off Van Gough style. Or here's a classic: I fucking miss you. This distance is killing me. I need you. My family is driving me insane. I'm scared for us. Come back soon, please.
"I've been busy."
"Bullshit, you're never too busy to call me. Even if it's three in morning and you have to call my cell, you /always/ call. Why didn't you call me?"
Silence. /'God, don't do this to me tonight Brend, I can't handle it.' /My family was ganging up on me about our relationship too much for him to hand me any kind of evidence that might fuel my own fears. I needed him to throw me a lifeline before I had a nervous breakdown.
"I've been..." he sighed, "I was still upset. All the shit that's been going down, I was just...I'm sorry. I was angry and hurt and God knows I was drowning in my pride. I was kind of enjoying nursing that 'playing the victim' feeling. But that sorta faded fast. I missed you too much. You were all I could think about."
I smiled sadly, "Funny that, I was just thinking of you too."
"Why?" He seemed almost worried.
A sigh left my mouth, "Do you love me?"
"What would make you ask something like that, of course I"-
"Why? What's so special about me that makes you so sure?"
"Well, I think a good place to start would be your hips, because I love that you actually have curves."
There's that lifeline I phoned in. I could hear the unspoken message behind that sentence. 'I love you just the way you are, please don't change.' My smile this time harked something more genuine, "Uh-hu, what else?"
"The way you always steal my clothes, and let's be honest, you look much better in them than I do." We shared a small chuckle over that, "The way you actually dance to rock music. The way you can never find your car keys, which is probably a good thing because you're a horrendous driver." I laughed, " ...but I love that too."
"You know, I love the way you never do your laundry and I always end up doing it for you." I confessed. I could hear his smile.
"Well, I love that you /do/ my laundry, so I think we're even."
"Not even close, 'cause I'm so in love with the way you always leave the ice dispenser on crushed for me."
"What is this a game now? Because I love it when you tease me."
"Oh, and you know I /love /to tease you." I did my best impression of a cheesy porn star voice, over-the-top-dramatization included.
"You're random theatrics." he laughed softly.
"You're voice." My own was more serious now. I missed him so much all of a sudden, it was like a wave crashing over me.
"The way you never get jealous."
"The way you always get so protective." I confessed. Our game halted for a moment in the wake of Brendon's confusion.
"I thought you hated that." he said softly. This was another weird part of myself that was inexplicably hard to explain. I had a way of hating something and appreciating it with all of my being at the same time. People hardly ever knew of both feelings since it confused me enough and I wasn't sure too many other people, besides myself, would be able to handle the utter illogicalness of the situation. That is, they'd think I was bi-polar or schizo or just nuts in general.
"I do. But you're the only person who's ever honestly, passionately fought for me. And I know it's hard on you and I know it's hard on our relationship, because I fight back. And that's not your fault, it's because of my parents, my upbringing. I can't say I'm just going to magically stop pitching a fit when you try and help me, but I think it's only fair that you know that at the end of the day: I /do /appreciate you and you're a /fantastic /boyfriend for putting up with all my bullshit. God Brend, I don't know what I'd do without you."
He was silent for a few seconds and I wondered if I'd said something wrong or if he was just letting that sink in. I heard him swallow.
"Thanks Bail." his words were a shaky whisper. "I love the way you make me feel worth a damn."
'Oh God, don't make me cry,' "Same here. I love that you're a little bit fucked up, just like me."
It was kind of odd how we'd all found a family in each other because the ones God gave us all decided 'Hey, you're not good enough. You're not the son we wanted. You're not getting me any attention. You're not fulfilling my dreams for you. You're not as beautiful as you could be. You're not trying hard enough.' It was just plain sad however, that we'd believed them. Brendon only lived with me after all because his parents had kicked him out when he'd announced his plans of being in a band. Ryan had run away to Spence's house and now both lived with me for the support, for the family. Brent liked to act like a hard-ass about it, 'Oh, the rent's just cheaper' he'd say. But he knew he was just as screwed up as the rest of us. Speak of the devils.
"Can you guys quit it, honestly that's getting disgusting." I heard Spencer's voice in the background and couldn't help but laugh lightly.
"Oh shut up Spence, you and Haley were saying your good-bye's for like twenty minutes today. If anyone's disgustingly mushy it's the two of /you/."
"Aww, Brendon! Tell the guys I miss them!" I insisted, suddenly overcome with longing for my friends, the Lords of Dorktown.
"Meh, they can wait. I'm talking to you. Ugh, Bailey, I'm so hungry you don't even know."
"Aww, why? Are they not feeding you?"
"Well, technically they are. We went to a steakhouse for dinner."
I couldn't help but laugh, "I'm sorry sweetheart. Don't they have like, salads at steakhouses."
"Yah, I got a side Caesar but those mothers are tiny, man. I need some /food/."
"You know, I made snicker-doodle cookies the other day, I thought of you." Snicker-doodle's were his all time fave.
"Oh my god, don't tease me."
I giggled softly, "And then I /really /started missing you, so I made cherry turnovers." Well, his all time fave right under cherry turnovers that is. ;)
"Alright, you better stop, you're turning me on."
The burst of laughter that followed hence just could not be helped. Can you blame me? I was tired and I missed him way too much.
"Did you eat one for me?" he asked, and I could tell he was smirking.
"Well, my brother and his friends kind of got to them first, but I licked the spatula for you."
"Thank you, I thought so. So how's big pimpin' up in NYC?" I asked, laughing softly.
"Very well, actually. Did you catch us on TRL?"
Again, I just had to laugh, "Umm, sorry Brend, no."
"Bitch, why not?"
I sighed, "Because it's just weird. Seeing you on T.V. with masses of screaming girls in Panic! shirts...I dunno, it's just not my thing. Besides, I've never liked TRL. I'm more of a Steven's Untitled Rock Show kinda gal. Although, I gotta admit, that one host guy is pretty hot..."
"I don't know, is that his name?"
"Pfft, I could take his sorry ass."
I coughed, "Babe, let's not kid ourselves here. You can barely take me and Ryan in a remote control fight."
"Well that's you and Ryan, you guys are gangster."
I shook my head, grinning like an idiot, "Hey, don't sell yourself short, you're a bit gangster yourself." I loved this, it was just like old times when I had lived with my parents and called him up in the middle of the night for no reason other than to hear his voice.
"That's right, so hey, umm, how's your exercise thing going?" I heard him switch ears and I could just picture his shift in position, the way he was probably biting his thumbnail.
"It's alright. It's harder to keep up my diet, my mom won't stop feeding me meat." I laughed softly, not meaning for it to sound as sad as it did. He laughed with me, but I could tell it was a little forced.
"That's good." his voice was soft, more serious.
"Yah...God, I was so pissed, I found a sidewalk that wraps around the marina and a park near the house so I can keep up with my jogging, right? I was all excited to be outside near water and tons of healthy plants and whatever, as apposed to the /oven /that we live in. Well, I totally forgot about the daily thunderstorms that roll in all summer." He cut me off, chuckling.
"Ooh, not good."
"Yah, I tried to just go with it, ya know. But uh, that didn't really work out."
"Aw, did I miss you in a wet sports bra?" he laughed softly.
"Yah, tough luck super star." I chortled, "So, anyways I've been compensating by going to the gym with my sister."
"Oh? And how's that?"
"Oh god," I flopped back onto my bed, groaning as I slapped my palm against my forehead. "She never shuts up. I'm serious Brend, like I need to get into my zone, ya know? But she seriously doesn't stop talking."
"Hey, at least you don't have to live on a bus with Ryan and Spencer, ok."
"Dude, I pay my dues by living with the four of you every /other /part of the year."
"Oh, stop bitching, it pays well."
"Riiight, you eat all my food and then make me do your laundry."
"Anything else you feel the need to vent about? Might as well get it all out at once." He was being sarcastic, but hey, he /had/ offered.
"Umm, the /sun/? I forgot about how it rises at like fucking five in the morning here. God. I just want to shoot it. I mean, ok, my room faces east, so I guess that's kind of my fault, but still. It's really annoying when you're used to thick curtains in a valley that's like nocturnal."
"Yah, try waking up at 5 am to the sound of Brent singing in the shower every morning. Try that and then tell me about rough."
"Why in the good name of God is he waking up at 5?"
"Because he's an asshole and hogs the shower and we have to be ready by 7 everyday for, ya know, /promo/. So, yah."
I giggled under my breath, "So you know what you've got to do right?"
"Enlighten me, Buddha."
I rolled my eyes, "/Punk /his ass. Swap his shampoo out for like axle grease or something."
"Axle grease? That's the best you can come up with? I would have expected better from my girlfriend."
"Well, I dunno, call Pete and ask him what to do, he's much better with these things than me. But still, have fun with it."
"Hmm, I like the way you think Ms. Lennox."
"I'm evil, I know. But I make really good snickerdoodles." I reminded him in a dorky, mock-husky voice.
"What is this, phone sex?" We both laughed as I made the mistake of glancing at the time. My heart broke when I saw it was getting kind of late for me to be on the phone. Which was ridiculous since I was technically an adult, but under my parents' roof I certainly didn't feel like one. This was senior year all over again.
"Hey Bren, lemme talk to you tomorrow ok? It's getting kind of late and I don't want to piss off the people I'm spending the next week or so with." I sighed, standing and leaning by my window, pushing the curtain back. I smiled to myself at the old habit that was resurfacing automatically after so long. Whenever I had talked to Brendon in my pre-Las Vegas days he would ask me if I could see the stars that night; what I could see, which constellations were the brightest, what was the moon like? It gave us something to connect with across the miles we were separated by. For a moment, distance had seemed weak. It didn't matter how many hours of flight were tearing us apart, we were under the same moon and the same stars were smiling down on their favorite lovers.
"Sure, just don't forget to call me okay? I really miss you. And I hate missing you."
My heart melted into a puddle at my feet, "I miss you too Brendon. Have a good night on me okay, sleep well and all that."
"I won't. Not in an empty bed."
"Then dream about me." I murmured, lost in my longing and the night sky outside of my window. The stars were promising me better days ahead, a light at the end of the tunnel, just like they had a year ago.
"I will, and hey, I love your smile and the way you get /so /drunk."
I laughed softly, "I love the faces you make while putting in your contacts and the way you hold your martini glasses."
"I love /you/."
"I love you, too. Night babe."
"Night." Click. Suppressing the urge to call him back, I changed into pajamas that still smelled like home (home home, Las Vegas home, dry heat and Brendon's soap/cologne home) and crawled into my bed, curling into a ball beneath the sheets.
So just like that we were patched up and good as new again. We needed each other too much to let pride or delusional families act as ice packs for our shoulders.
A smug, satisfied smile spread over my lips as I remembered my sister's words...and my mother's words...my father's and my uncle's. Maybe, just maybe, there was a method to this madness. Maybe visiting my insane family, though it was causing me more stress than I deserved, was doing me some good. Maybe through all their attempts to break Brendon and myself apart, they were really just making us realize how awesome we were together.
*Umm, so when I was proof-reading I realized the Nine-West might be a little difficult for some people to catch. Nine-West is an inference to Bailey being a size nine and having moved out west. Becky's shopaholic, fashion obsessed mindset gave me the feeling that she'd pull nick names and stuff from fashion references. So yah...just though I'd explain, lol.