Moving day! Pantsless Joe? And a very strange meeting.
It's a surprisingly beautiful Friday in March, and I've got all my windows open and all my crap piled in the back lot. The owners of the store I live over were okay with me having it dropped off there (thank god for hippies), but I'm trying to move everything as fast as possible; I don't want to overstep my welcome. Unfortunately, but predictably, I'm not getting too much help here.
"Joe, seriously, I just bought those jeans! If I find one single drop of ballsweat in them, so help me God, I will shave your head and feed you your hair."
"But they look so good on me!"
"That's great. Go do something productive. And put on your own pants!" I shout at his retreating figure.
Tom was the first to arrive, and he helped me move my new bed into the second bedroom while the movers unloaded everything else. Then Andy and Tyra showed up, followed shortly by Joe with Patrick in tow. Patrick is bringing in boxes, claiming he's too delicate for heavy lifting. What he's really doing is finding the boxes with books in them and getting distracted by reading. Tyra has been helping me bring in clothes, sheets, dishes, etc. while Andy and Tom bring in the big stuff. And, apparently, Joe is trying on my clothes.
"So, are you and Tom dating then?" Tyra asks once I convince Joe to help Patrick.
"Oh, no. I only met him the once, down in Florida. I mean, we talked a bunch after that, but I didn't see him again until just the other day."
"Oh, okay. Well, he's really cute. I mean, I'd hit it." She winks at me and I laugh.
"You better not! Not only do I never, ever want to see Andy cry, he's also the first non-worthless guy I've been attracted to in a long time. So I'd have to fight you for him."
I hear scuffling in the living room, followed by a loud bang, and I wince.
"Those kids," I mutter and Tyra laughs, following me down the stairs. I stop dead at the bottom of the stairs and Tyra runs into me, knocking us both down.
"Oww. What the..." She freezes in mid-head rub, glances at me, and we both crack up. Joe is laying on the floor, my pants bunched up around his ankles, still clutching half a curtain rod. Tom is trying to hide the other half behind himself while smoothing his hair, and Andy, wearing only one shoe, leans against the wall with a broom resting against his shoulder like a rifle. Patrick is in the corner holding a curtain and shaking his head.
"What... the fuck..." I manage to gasp out.
Tom and Joe exchange sheepish glances and Patrick sighs. "I was trying to be helpful and hang this curtain," he begins.
"You still haven't explained how you know how to do that," Joe interjects.
"... and someone figured out how to take apart the rod."
"It fell apart in my hands, I swear!" Tom exclaims. "Then Joe grabbed the other half and we, uh, we..." he seems a little embarassed as he looks down at Joe.
"We battled. Tom's totally a red-light saber kind of guy. Did you know that?" I shake my head as Joe rattles on. "Then Andy fell..."
"I tripped over a box you left in the doorway!"
"...and blamed me and started wailing on me with the broom and I..."
"He started talking about ballsweat," Patrick adds with a completely grossed-out look on his face.
"And shaving," Tom adds, sharing Patrick's look.
"I remembered what you said and I wanted to keep my hair so I tried to take them off," he gestures to my pants, "but I had to defend myself at the same time and... I fell."
Tyra and I bust out laughing again, and eventually, everyone else does too, even moody little Patrick in the corner. After I regain my composure, I help Tyra up and look around.
"I think we should take a break."
Eleven o'clock rolls around and I've finally finished alphabetizing my movie collection. I stand up with a sigh of satisfaction and look behind me to see Tom asleep on the couch. I smile and cover him with a blanket, and he stirs but doesn't wake up. Joe and Patrick left a few hours ago, and Andy and Tyra went to sleep in the guest room.
I've just decided to leave the newspaper and pizza boxes for tomorrow when I hear a strange but familiar ringing sound. I cock my head for a second before realizing it's my phone, and run up the stairs to my bedroom. A glance at the screens shows one missed call from a number I don't know, so I call it back.
"Uh, yeah. Who's this?"
"Oh sorry. Hi, it's Anna."
Anna? Anna who... Oh. "Oh." There's an uncomfortable silence while I try to force my mouth to say something. "Uh... What's up?"
"Uhm, is Patrick with you? He said he'd be helping you move in today but he forgot his phone here."
"Oh. No, he and Joe left around eight thirty, nine-ish. Maybe call Joe?"
"Okay, thanks. Actually, I called to talk to you too," she rushes on.
"Oh?" I have officially lost the ability to speak.
"Yeah. I was wondering if you maybe wanted to get together tomorrow, talk and stuff? I know you just moved in, so if you're busy..."
"No, no. That sounds, uh, that sounds good. Do you want to come over here? I could make dinner or something?"
We decide on five thirty and I give her directions before we exchange an awkward goodbye.
That is the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me.
I finally get everyone kicked out around noon, and I go about cleaning up after yesterday's efforts. I spend a couple hours collapsing boxes, reorganizing my refrigerator, vacuuming, and the like, and I'm about to take a nap when I realize Anna's coming over today. Shit, shit, shit. I take a quick shower and throw on some sweats, making a mental note to make myself more presentable later. I open the fridge and freak out; what do you cook for someone who might want you dead? I settle on pasta with a pesto sauce and some roasted vegetables, throw all the ingredients on the counter, and run back upstairs to fix myself up.
At ten till five, there's a knock on the door and I open it to see Anna with a bottle of wine. She's prettier than I remember, but that might be because she's smiling now.
"Hey, come on in."
She hands me the bottle and fidgets with her fingers. "I was pretty sure you drank; Patrick's told me some funny stories about you and Lucy back in the day."
I laugh and lead her into the kitchen. "He would talk some smack about me when I'm gone. Dinner's almost ready, glasses are to the left of the sink if you want to pour yourself a drink."
We laugh about the fact that I drink out of coffee mugs instead of wine glasses, and I find myself relaxing. She's really not that bad. We decide to eat on my back porch, and conversation comes pretty easily. I find out she's about to finish her marketing degree but she really wants to go into fashion design; I tell her about my escapades at Fueled by Ramen.
"So, you never told me why you wanted to meet up. I mean, I'm glad you did, and all, but I'm still curious."
"Well, Patrick's been away a lot recently, recording and everything, and I got to thinking one day about what you said when you were here last. And I realized that you were right, that we were going to see a lot of each other and I was tired of holding a grudge over nothing."
"Huh. Why were you so mad that night, anyway? I mean, if you don't mind me asking."
"I'd just had a bad day, I'd missed Patrick's birthday, you know. And I'd always had this awkward feeling about you, even though we'd never met, because everyone talks about you. You knew Patrick way before I did, and I was worried about being second best to someone who wasn't even here. I guess I was jealous, which is stupid, I know."
"Yeah, it is. No offense. Sure, Patrick's my best friend, but he'd never put you second to me. He's not really part of the 'bros before hos' group, if you know what I'm saying. And he seems to be really happy with you. He's a lot different since he met you, more confident, more easygoing. I would never want to get in the way of something that makes him so happy. So we're good now?"
"I'd like to think so."
"Cool. Wanna get drunk?"
Chapter title from "Seven Weeks" by Gym Class Heroes. My eyes don't hurt so bad anymore.