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Sunday, December 13, 2015

stories from the past - part three, the sociopathic suicide girl

My sophomore year in college, I was really good friends with this girl Danielle. We spent a lot of time together, usually we'd cut class on Fridays and drive out to the mountains and smoke pot and go hiking and then come back and get super drunk at her house. She was super outdoorsy, and since the area we lived in was really pretty, I didn't mind. She was also pretty wild, and down the line became my best friend and partner in crime. I'll tell y'all about that another time.

The new freshman class that year included this girl named Devin. I instantly hated her; she seemed syrupy fake sweet and she was also super hot. She looked like a really skinny, young Jennifer Connelly. She also dressed like a baby prostitute, but she was really thin so it didn't look bad. However, everyone else loved her, including Danielle.

"Devin's so cool," Danielle would say. "Did you know she dated a buyer at Nordstrom's when she was 16?"

"Sure," I'd reply, because I always thought Devin was full of shit.

"And did you know that her mom raised her all by herself? They were really poor, and they lived with her grandmother," Danielle would go on.

"Yeah, although didn't she tell a story about her dad being a state trooper one time?"

"Maybe," Danielle would reply. "Who cares? She was a Suicide Girl, isn't that awesome?"

The little Devin-infatuation among my group of friends went on for MONTHS. I seriously couldn't stand her, and after a while I started wondering whether or not I was the one with the problem. She was never outright mean to me, but she was super passive aggressive. But since no one else noticed it, I eventually tried to just ignore my initial dislike of her and get over it.

"It must be so nice not to care what other people think of you," Devin would say, in this diabetes-sweet voice. "I'm too sensitive for that."

And everyone would coo and aww because aw, how sad that such a nice, cute girl would feel like people didn't care about her!

It seriously got to be too much after a while, and I cut back from hanging out with those people because of how much I couldn't stand being around Devin. The worst thing was, there wasn't one particular thing that stood out in my mind about why I didn't like her. I had a boyfriend that year, and he and I just started hanging out a lot by ourselves. My friendship with Danielle was pretty much over at this point, and eventually the stabs of jealousy I felt when I saw her walking around with Devin started to fade.

Devin had a boyfriend, Chris. He was in my class, and we'd actually hooked up a few times the year before. He was really sweet though, and that was the one thing I wasn't actually resentful about. I knew that he really loved Devin. He'd always talk about how he wanted to marry her and protect her and give her everything, because apparently she'd been abused and mistreated growing up. He tried to act like a white knight around her, and was always giving her flowers and presents and taking her on trips. It was funny, because he was a hardcore metalhead with a thick NYC accent, and people assumed he'd be this jerk but he was actually the sweetest guy ever.

Devin's style when she came to college had been really preppy--lots of flare jeans and crop tops (this was the heyday of A&F) and strappy sandals. But after she and Chris had been together for a couple of months, she started dressing like a metalhead and getting tattoos and piercings. "I'm gonna start modeling on Suicide Girls again," she'd say. "Did I ever tell you I dated a professional photographer?"

The rest of the year, I kind of did my own thing. So I was really surprised in April when I got a call from Danielle.

"Hey Lauren!" She chirped, like it was nbd that she'd friend-dumped me for a bitch. "Are you thinking about living off campus next year?"

"Yeah," I told her. "I've been looking at apartments, and I found one that I like enough to sign."

"Don't!" She admonished me. "Come look at this house with me."

She seemed really apologetic about the past year and I felt bad, so I met her downtown and we looked at a house. It had 3 bedrooms; Danielle was planning to move in with her boyfriend Caleb, this girl Elene and her girlfriend Abby, and they needed one more person. For obvious reasons, I didn't ask about Devin.

It was a gorgeous row house. Restored 18th century with these plaster frescoes on the ceiling and gold leaf detail, plus a really nice, modern kitchen. Even though I was kind of mad at Danielle about the past year, I'd missed my friends a lot, and I was happy about the chance to patch things up. I signed the lease without thinking twice about it; the house was right in the middle of downtown, close to all the bars, and it finally looked like things were going my way again.

That summer, Danielle worked at Home Depot (she had to pay someone to take the urine test for her) and I worked at a spa. The first month was pretty quiet; our friends would come over and drink with us at night, and smoke, and usually play guitar. We were pretty stereotypical potheads. Elene and Abby kept to themselves for the most part. We didn't mind because they stayed in their room having really loud sex and it made us all feel kind of awkward. Once, Danielle's mom came over and brought us a bunch of cakes and other food that she'd made.

"Hullo Mrs. Danielle's Mom," Abby drawled in a low voice. She'd come out from the bedroom, smelling musky. There was a baseball cap pulled low over her short hair, and she was actually wearing cargo pants. "You're very pretty!"

"Why thank you!" Danielle's mom blushed. She turned and stage-whispered so Danielle would hear: "Danielle! That nice boy just told me how pretty I am!"

Abby was very butch.

Anyway, about a month into the lease, we came home and Elene and Abby were gone. Like, they'd just cleaned out all their shit (and stolen some of ours) and gotten the hell out of Dodge. We were mad, obviously, but we were also worried; the rent there wasn't cheap, and we blew most of our money on pot. I sat down with Caleb and Danielle and we had a 'family meeting' and decided that we had to find another roommate asap.

I don't even need to tell you who they picked. Devin showed up at the end of the week, bright-eyed and chipper as ever. She had a job working as a silversmith's apprentice, making jewelry, and she was just so happy to be there! I was mad about her being the roommate replacement, but I also knew that sophomore year had been pretty miserable for me. If anything, I just needed to suck it up and play nice so I wouldn't lose my friends again.

So I tried. I tried hard. When Devin had a bad day and was crying in the bathroom, I brought her some wine and we sat and talked. When she and Chris had a fight over the phone (he was back in NYC for the summer), I took her out for froyo. The results showed up pretty soon; Devin was stuck to my side like glue. She got really clingy about hanging out with me, and couldn't go more than a day without wanting to get out of the house and do something with just me. In private, she told me that Danielle annoyed her.

"She's so loud," Devin would complain. "And have you ever noticed that Caleb stares at me all the time?"

I had noticed, but obviously I wouldn't have said anything. It wouldn't have been news; I was pretty sure that most guys at our school wanted to fuck her.

After a few weeks, it felt like Devin and I had always been this close. I felt so bad for not liking her the year before, and I apologized more than once. Graciously, she always forgave me.

"I've just never been this close to anyone," she admitted, one night when we were drinking on the roof together. The whole house was quiet; everyone else had gone to bed. "Growing up was so hard, I mean, my dad was so mean to me."

"Wait," I said, trying to clear my head. "I thought it was just you and your mom? At your grandmas?"

"Oh," she said, looking down. "Yeah, that was later. After he went to jail."

"Oh," I replied, feeling bad for her. "That's tough."

"Yeah," she said nonchalantly. "I've never told anyone before. Hey, I have a weird feeling about Chris."

"Oh yeah?" I asked, wrinkling my brow. I couldn't imagine that they were having problems. They were like the happiest couple I knew, and he was always so good to her. "What's going on?"

She sighed. "He's just being a dick, and I think he's cheating on me. He spends all of his time with this one girl back home."

"That sucks," I said, genuinely feeling bad for her. It was depressing to think about someone as hot as Devin getting cheated on. "Have you talked about it?"

"He won't listen to me," she said flatly. "I think we're going to break up."

That was the general theme of the next two weeks of conversation between us. After a while, I felt really angry towards Chris. She involved me so much that I even messaged him on Facebook one night to see how things were going. He seemed really normal though, and said he was going to a party with his buddies. I wondered if that girl would be there, but I didn't say anything.

Devin started talking to this other guy we went to school with, Ernie. They would stay up and message each other on Facebook all night, and she said that he felt like a big brother. I actually felt bad for her because she said she'd never had guy friends before.

"It's just too hard for me to be friends with guys," she'd admit, shyly. "They always wind up thinking I want to date them."

When I got home from work later that week, there was this really hot brunette guy lying shirtless on our couch.

"Hey Ernie," I greeted him. "I didn't know you lived in town!"

"I don't!" He said with a big grin. "I'm here to visit!"

"Oh, cool," I said, rifling through the mail on the table. There was a half-smoked joint in the ashtray and I picked it up, offering it to Ernie. "Where are you staying?"

"Here," he said proudly, taking a big hit. I coughed, sending a giant cloud of smoke into the air.

"What?" I asked, narrowing my eyes. "Really?"

"Yeah," he said, grinning. "Devin invited me. She's such a babe," he confided, raking a hand through his hair. "I'm so fuckin' lucky!" He grinned at me conspiratorially.

"Uh, sure," I said. "She and Chris are dating, though. They've been together almost a year."

"No they're not," he laughed. "Didn't she tell you?"

The whole week, Devin and Ernie fucked like wild beasts. We heard them at all hours. It was like Abby and Elene, only worse. They fucked so hard that the plastic chipped off some of the ceiling frescoes.

That Saturday was Devin's birthday, and Ernie was taking her to one of the nice restaurants a few blocks away. They fucked, and then he sat downstairs with us and smoked while she got ready. I actually didn't mind having him around, he was much a better handyman that Caleb. In a week, he'd fixed the toilet, changed our showerheads to those nice rainforest ones, and gone grocery shopping for the whole house. When they were getting ready to leave for dinner, there was a knock at the door.

"Hi!" Chris said, holding a giant bouquet of roses, a teddy bear, and a bag from Bvlgari. "Is Devin here? I really want to surprise her."

As luck would have it, Devin and Ernie came down the front steps, holding hands at that exact moment. She had hickeys all over her neck and collarbone, and when she saw Chris, she turned white as a sheet. There was no pretense of things being okay; everyone immediately knew what was going on. For maximum schadenfreude, Danielle and Caleb were also getting home. They were standing behind Chris on the front steps, clearly surprised to see him.

Chris looked at Devin, and I thought he was going to slap her. Instead, he stepped back, grabbed Ernie, and dragged him into the street. Ernie was tall but no match for Chris; Chris did MMA and Crossfit, and made pretty short work of him. I thought Devin would be upset and try to pull them away from each other, but she didn't. Instead she just stood there, watching intently. Eventually she started crying and ran inside. Since I was still the devoted friend, I chased after her. The house stayed quiet for hours and by the time she'd calmed down, it was pretty late.

From downstairs, we heard the door opening. A couple of male voices laughed and talked, and we went downstairs and saw Ernie and Chris, laughing like bros and slapping each other on the back. Ernie had two black eyes and a split lip, but they were laughing jovially and having a great time.

"Lauren!" They exclaimed, clearly intoxicated. "How are you?" Chris rolled a blunt and handed it to me. I looked at them; I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be mad or not. Either way, something wasn't really adding up.

"Devin thinks you're cheating on her," I told Chris, flatly. "She's been talking about it for weeks."
Ernie laughed. "And she told me that you dumped her two months ago."

Chris snorted. "Bitch."

It came out that obviously, Chris hadn't cheated on Devin (or dumped her before summer break started.) The two of them had gone out to a bar and worked out the whole story. They both seemed fine, but Ernie started packing up his things. "I'd planned to leave next week," he told me. "But Devin told me that she knew she'd be alone on her birthday, so I couldn't leave her alone for that."

There were light footsteps on the stairs. Moments later, Devin appeared, looking artfully disheveled. She'd fixed her makeup but kept some traces of it under her eyes, so we could tell that she'd been crying. She looked tearfully from Ernie to Chris. Just when I thought she was about to apologize, she started screaming in their faces. She said that she'd been manipulated, she accused Ernie of rape. She told Chris that he'd cheated on her so she had every right to do what she did. They both looked baffled; it was like they had no idea that she could be angry like that.

Danielle and Caleb came home in the middle of this, eyeing Devin with disdain. I figured that they must have heard what happened. When none of us stepped forward to comfort Devin, she turned on the waterworks again and ran outside.

"Everyone is conspiring to ruin my life!!!!!" She screamed, throwing herself down in the street.

"Whatever," said Danielle. "Let's go smoke."

Devin moved out a few days later, and spent the rest of the summer smearing us on Facebook. Nobody in my group of friends bought her bullshit anymore, but there was a whole new class of kids on campus in the fall, and pretty soon she was reigning again in a different clique.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

stories from the past - part two, the kink party

This post is more explicit than usual, just a heads up. Not in a fun-sexy way, but just kind of an X-rated sexy way.

Since around the time I started having sex regularly, I knew I was into some pretty kinky shit. Not with everyone, but with most people. I was a bottom, meaning that I prefer to be the submissive one in the bedroom. I liked really rough sex; usually rough enough to leave marks for a few days, but less than a week or two. Hard spanking, being hit with a riding crop, choking, having guys tie me up and use vibrators on me, all of that. I fucking loved it. Most of the time, I preferred my kinky partners to just be fuckbuddies or casual boyfriends; I couldn't really handle the emotional weight of someone I loved hurting me physically, that would have made me feel too vulnerable even though I really got off on it. It was an odd paradox, and one that led me to seek out a lot of casual sex in my early 20s.

When I was still living in Frederick, in 2010, I started seeing this guy named Jason. We liked each other, but the chemistry wasn't all there. He was living with another girlfriend, Nico, and once I met her, I actually liked her much more than Jason. The three of us got along really well, and I started having dinner over at their place maybe once a week or so. Nico was from Argentina, and she was this amazing cook; one time I came over, she made pasta from scratch with a duck ragu. It was fucking incredible. Anyway, Nico and Jason belonged to this group, TNG. It was like a Meetup group for kinky people. They met in DC and Baltimore at bars once a month, and some of the wealthier (and older) people hosted kink parties in their houses. Jason and I went to a few TNG happy hours together. It was pretty fun to meet other people who were as open about sex as I was; in fact, it was kind of intoxicating. The happy hours obviously weren't anything that weird, they were held in public bars, so we kind of had to behave. There was a lot of gossiping (the kink community is literally filled with drama) and talking about upcoming parties. Almost all of TNG was polyamorous, which made sense; a lot of kink practices don't translate well to monogamy.

Once, at a happy hour, this blonde girl ran shrieking through the bar, laughing hysterically. She was being chased by this giant hulk of a dude, Ariel, a really pretty black guy with long dreads. He caught up with her and bent her over his lap, making this big show of spanking her. She was screaming her head off and laughing, and he was in hysterics. A few tables away, some little old ladies were glaring. They looked like they were going to shit bricks.

Ariel saw them, and stopped for a moment. He flashed a grin at the old ladies. "It's her birthday," he informed them, proudly.

There was a pause; they didn't stop staring. "Is it your birthday, too?" Ariel tried, unable to keep from laughing. The little old ladies left in a huff, muttering about the demise of humanity.

A few weeks after I'd become friendly with Jason and Nico, they told me about a kink party that was happening that weekend. It was at this mansion outside of Bethesda, oddly close to the Mormon temple, and hosted by Judy. Judy was this eccentric lady in her 60s who made a ton of money in the stock market. Her house was lavishly normal, until you got to the basement, which was a dungeon. There were different rooms, each themed, with every kind of BDSM toy or equipment known to man. There was even a medical room, with a real operating table and hospital supplies. People would start off upstairs at the party, and then move downstairs after they'd had a few drinks or wanted to watch people doing scenes. People would plan scenes in advance of the party; it wasn't uncommon to hear people saying things like "he's going to put me on the St Andrews cross at 8, but my other boyfriend might not be there in time to watch, what a bummer."

The theme of this party (they were all themed) was "Naughty or Nice." Predictably, I went as 'naughty'--ripped up black leggings over fishnets with spike heels and a black and red corset. When I drove over to Jason and Nico's to pick them up, they were arguing. Nico was in a really bad mood, and she sulked through dinner, barely speaking. Jason didn't tell me what was going on, and I didn't ask. We weren't really at that stage of friendship/dating/whatever yet.

After dinner, we all drove down in my car. Nico was sullen in the backseat and as soon as we got there, she immediately slipped off her coat and disappeared into a throng of people. Inside the front door, I had to fill out a liability waiver and hand over scanned copies of my driver's license. The house was packed; there was a really nice buffet spread out into the living room and tables with champagne flutes and two full bars. Most people were in some kind of slutty costume like mine, but a few were totally naked and some of the men were wearing tuxedos. It was a little like what I've always expected a porn set to look like. Despite what I'd heard about "no playing" upstairs, there was definitely shit going on. I sat down on one end of a big black leather sectional couch with a flute of champagne. Almost immediately afterwards, a short, squat guy walked into the living room carrying a large cardboard box; he set it down on the floor with some effort and wiped the sweat off of his brow. A quartet of tall, leggy, gorgeous blonde women followed him, squealing and yelping. They were all dressed as fembots from Austin Powers, and they jumped on the guy at once, trying to kiss him and grab his cheeks and hug him while giggling and chattering away. With a good natured sigh, he pushed them all off at once and they slid to the floor, looking disappointed, their gazes not moving from his face.

"Does he have blow?" An adorable skinny guy in a dog collar and leather leggings and nothing else perched next to me; his long legs folding underneath him like a colt. He had beautiful big blue eyes and better mascara than I did, and as I laughed, he held out his hand to shake.

"That's exactly what I was wondering," I said, under my breath, not looking away from Average Dude and The Fembots. My new friend laughed, and put his head on my shoulder.

"I'm Eric!" He chirped, reaching up to play with my hair.

"Lauren," I said, and we shook. Average Dude opened up the cardboard box, and took out what looked like a black leather cushion shaped like a half-circle. With some effort, he positioned it right in the middle of the living room and stood back with his arms folded over his chest, looking satisfied. The girls all shrieked at once; I didn't get it.

"It's a Sybian," Eric hissed in my ear. "Oh my god, I bet he gets so much pussy."

"Uh, yeah," I said, not wanting to admit that I had no idea what was coming.

"It's good for him, really," Eric went on, waving a hand in the air as he talked. "He's so short I bet he couldn't get laid otherwise!" I giggled; it was unfortunately true.

We watched, rapt, as the guy started pulling other things out of the box. He set a bunch of dildos up next the Sybian, and then some butt plugs alongside them. He was talking and joking with the Fembots--about the weather, of all things--while lining up the butt plugs from smallest to largest. I buried my head in Eric's shoulder, unable to stop laughing.

"Who wants to go first?!" He asked, and the Fembots started shoving and smacking each other, trying to be in front. One of them won the privilege, and he gestured for her to sit on the thing that he'd set up on the floor. "Oh, wait!" he paused, motioning for her to keep standing. "I forgot the puppy pads!"

Eric and I looked at each other and mouthed "puppy pads!" and I bit the inside of my mouth to keep from howling laughter. It suddenly occurred to me that I didn't really want to watch what was about to go down, and got up from the couch. Behind me, Average Dude was pulling puppy pads out of the box; he spread one over the Sybian and let the Fembot straddle it.

"Do you want to go downstairs?" I exchanged my empty champagne flute for a full one, and looked at Eric. He shrugged at me, fiddling with his collar.

"Yeah, sure," he said, looking around. "My friends ditched me as soon as we got here."

"Mine did too," I pulled a face. "They were fighting when I showed up."

Eric's eyes flashed with interest. "Ohmygod, who are your friends? Why were they fighting?"

"Uh, Nico and Jason. I don't know," I shrugged, not wanting to expose even more of their personal life.

"Ohhhh," he got a weird look on his face. "They fight a lot."

I was slightly skeptical; from the few weeks I'd known them, they had seemed pretty chill. "Really?"

"Yeah, trust me. She has a really bad temper," he said confidentially, leaning in my ear.

Downstairs, the atmosphere was much the same, but the scenery was completely different. The walls and ceiling were covered in black leather wallpaper; there were twisted silver chandeliers with actual candles burning, and leather sex furniture everywhere. The carpet was also black, and so plush I could feel it between my toes. On the walls were racks containing whips and floggers and crops and paddles; bottles of lube and disinfectant and paper towels lurked in an open cabinet. It was dimly lit, and reeked of sweat and sex. Naked people were everywhere; at one point, Eric and I were standing in front of a display until we felt something pushing us from behind. I turned around, and there was a drunk, middle-aged couple having sex in a sex swing, knocking into us with their toes.

"This is really weird," I muttered to Eric, looking down.

"Yeah, but that's part of the fun!" He was sort of dancing without really moving his feet, and eyeing every dude that came within a few feet of us. I felt really uneasy for some reason; it wasn't that I was prudish or weird about other people having sex around me, but it suddenly seemed like a bad idea to be as open about things. I started wondering how these people acted in private, when they had no one to show off for.

After a while, I started just feeling desensitized to everything. I struck up a conversation with an older dude who was standing next to a suspension set-up; there was a girl hanging upside down with a blindfold on, unmoving. We were talking about ropes and suspension bondage and then he suddenly started asking me about the traffic on the MD/DC beltway. It was fucking bizarre.

Having had enough of this, I went back upstairs. I was going to look for Jason and Nico and tell them that I wanted to head home pretty soon. I'd had plans to get late drinks with friends back in Frederick, but all I wanted to do was watch a documentary on anything other than sex and then go to sleep. Alone.

But I couldn't find them anywhere. I was seeing a lot of the same faces by this point, and people had gotten pretty drunk and started to move into the backyard. "No spanking!!!" Judy yelled at the people heading outside; at some point in the last year, another kink party had been raided by the cops after a neighbor called and complained of loud moaning coming from next door.

Finally, around midnight, I was sitting on the couch and scrolling through one of the many coffee table books that were lying around (spoiler alert: it was definitely a copy of the kama sutra). I heard screaming, and lots of people suddenly rushed from the basement into the main part of the house. There were familiar voices; some girl was shrieking at someone and calling them a bastard, and yelling in Spanish.

I got up and immediately tried to see around the crowd. In front of a large group of people, Nico was standing there, screaming at Jason. He was completely naked, and he looked really freaked out and upset. She was so angry; her face was twisted and contorted into this rage and she was throwing whatever was in reach. He dodged a flower vase, and it crashed into the wall behind him, shattering. Water flew everywhere, the people in the group in front of me started screaming. I felt like I was on a really bad reality TV show; this was getting to be way too much for me to handle.

After that, I went outside and sat in my car, chainsmoking. Eventually, the dude with the Sybian came outside, carrying a giant box. He saw me sitting in my car and came over to chat, but I only rolled down the window a couple of inches because I was kind of creeped out by him. When I told him I was waiting for Jason and Nico, he smirked at me and dropped a business card through the crack in my car window. Ew.

They came out about three hours later; Nico was looking smug and resting her head on Jason's shoulder. He was wearing a towel wrapped around his waist and snowboots, because it was the middle of winter but apparently that hadn't occurred to his psycho girlfriend when she was ripping off his clothes and throwing various items at his head. They greeted me like it was no big deal that they'd been acting like fucking psychos for the past few hours, and I tried hard to ignore them.

"Sorry we took a while," Nico yawned, burying her face in Jason's neck. "God, I'm really tired."

"Yeah, really sorry," Jason muttered, flopping down in the backseat of my car. "Can we stop at Taco Bell on the way home?"

When we got back to Frederick, I parked at my apartment and made them walk home in the frigid weather. And that's when I left the kink scene.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

little update

I'm so glad y'all liked the flashback post! It was fun to write, but put me in a really weird mood. I have literally not been able to get that dude out of my head since then, and I spent most of the day Googling him (he still lives in Philly, apparently) so I feel kind of guilty and weird. And now I have a pretty huge chunk of work to get through tonight because I wasted my day being a creeper. The past is stronger than any drug sometimes.

I'll be doing more flashbacks, and then I'm thinking about posting some fictional stuff on here as well. Ghostwriting is going well for me, but since I usually write things to the client's specifications, sometimes I get ideas that I can't exactly incorporate in a certain story. Plus, I would love the feedback from y'all; writing professionally is very fun but I feel like I could use all the criticism possible. And if something here goes well, it could turn into a pitch to a client for a novel. But if you don't want to read fiction, let me know. My feelings aren't going to be hurt.

Monday, November 2, 2015

stories from the past - part 1, john from philadelphia

I've decided that some of my posts now will be about things that happened in the past (stole that idea from Reese), because honestly my life is pretty boring right now. I'm married, I work from home, and all my embarrassing drunk moments happen at home. I'm not going to write about things I regret specifically, but things that had a huge impact on me at the time, for whatever reason.

In December 2009, I was 21. It was my senior year of college, and I lived in downtown Frederick in this sweet bachelor-chick (I hate the word 'bachelorette') apartment. For the past 2 years, I'd had this boyfriend, Taylor, but we'd broken up in August and that was kind of the beginning of some of my more 'questionable' years. I think before he and I broke up, my number was like 7 or 8.

Anyway, I had just started dating Patrick. We had this super meet cute at a toga party (he was there on a date with the hostess and I was shameless because he was brutally hot), and we'd started seeing each other a few times a month. Most of the time, we'd go out dancing/grinding on each other to indie-pop and then go back to his house and have sex for a few hours. We always had this really raw, intense connection and I was pretty obsessed with him. He lived about an hour away, so it wasn't like we'd bump into each other unless we had plans together, which made it kind of hotter. He was like my secret hot not-yet-boyfriend that lived in DC, except I had calculating plans to make him my boyf and then eventually marry me and buy me a house with his fancy advanced degrees.

I was pretty young and naive, and Patrick was unlike ANY of the other guys I had met. He was so considerate and genuinely nice (he's from Iowa), but he was also super sexy and a really good cook and could talk about beer and wine, plus he was a few years older. I was hooked, pretty much instantly. I started falling in love with him after like, the second time we'd slept together and I had it so bad.

Patrick had been dating this other girl in Frederick (the girl who hosted the toga party, Amanda) and he kind of wanted to keep it on the sly that he and I were seeing each other. I claimed to not mind this, but one morning, we went out on a rare post-fuck quest for bagels and she must have seen us, because she called him about thirty seconds after we stepped outside.

"Hey there, Amanda. Oh, yeah, well I'm actually not in Frederick right now. I'm getting ready to fly out to Iowa, for Christmas."

They talked for a few more minutes and he did a piss-poor job of convincing her that she hadn't just seen us, and then he hung up. He gave me this weird face, and said: "she wants to 'talk' to me later,"

"You're so dumped," I said, in this really happy tone because I hated Amanda. "But seriously, did you just lie about being with me? That's very not cool."

"Yeah," he looked sheepish. "I'm sorry, I just thought it would be for the best, because she hates you and everything,"

I had this massive pit in my stomach. "Don't even with that right now. I can't believe you lied!"

We stood there for about ten minutes in the freezing cold, and I tried not to cry. Then he bought me a bagel and we went back to my apartment. I was going into Baltimore that night, my friend Janelle worked at the Walters Art Museum and she was taking me as her date to this really swanky Christmas party.

I made Patrick watch as I curled my hair into these giant barrel curls and did a really dark smoky eye, wiggling into a black bandage dress which I knew made me look super hot. He looked kind of bummed out, but he was probably just thinking about how to take my dress off.

When he left, I knew I wouldn't see him for a couple of weeks because of his Iowa trip and that he was going straight from my place to Amanda's, to "talk". We hugged for a long time and then I drove to Baltimore, crying and listening to Neutral Milk Hotel. I had to redo my makeup when I got there, but the Christmas party wound up being really fun. They had ice sculptures shaped like famous artworks! And also lots of free wine. But I couldn't stop thinking about Patrick, and I know I probably talked about him the whole time. I was so desperately early-twenty-something-in-love with him and his big dick and fun brain, but also super pissed and hurt that he'd lied to me. I was feeling really vengeful, which wasn't like me at all. Normally, I can only stay mad at people for like two seconds, but this time around felt very different. I wanted to make him hurt the same way he had hurt me.

After the Christmas party, it was starting to snow so I said goodbye and headed back to Frederick. My best friends at the time were out at this bar, dancing, and they said there was a really good band, these bluegrass/folk/rock dudes. I sped all the way home and then ran out to the bar, without changing out of my bandage dress or spiky black platform heels. The snow was getting pretty slick at this point, but I figured it would just be a few inches, and I only lived three blocks away from the bar.

The band was actually really good, and I proceeded to get massively drunk on gin & tonics. The double bassist was sooooo cute, he had this crazy brown wavy hair swooping back off of his face and big expressive eyes with killer brows and a little beard. We kept eyeing each other and grinning while he was playing, and he was so sexy I wanted to go over and bite him. There were a bunch of people dancing, so I got up and joined them when one of the bartenders came up and poked me on the shoulder.

"Hey!" I recognized her, I went to this bar almost every night. I was actually 'friends' with the owner, Dave, which I'll have to tell y'all about some other time.

"Hi," she hugged me. "John thinks you're really cute," and she pointed at the bassist. My eyebrows went up, because I turn into Scarlett O'Hara when I've had a few drinks.

"He's really sexy," I said. "And I'm single!" I added, helpfully. She gave me this 'duh' look, and then informed me that he was going to buy me a drink.

"So maybe you'll want to go thank him," she said, before handing me another drink and disappearing.

I walked up to him and introduced myself when they took a break from playing, and he said hi, and then when we were going in to shake hands, he wrapped his arm around my the small of my back and pulled me close and kissed me right on the mouth. I think I saw stars; it was like the most cinematic moment of my life thus far.

"Stick around after the show, okay, beautiful?" He whispered, kissing the side of my neck. I felt my legs turn to jelly, and I nodded. Then the other band members came back on stage, so I went back to the bar with my friends. My friends were a little judgmental and upset about the whole thing, so I laughed them even though my friend Devin rightfully pointed out that I'd been upset over Patrick not fifteen minutes ago. I laughed at her, too.

Since I'd been reminded about Patrick, I once again couldn't stop thinking about him. This was before the age of ubiquitous smartphones, so it wasn't like I could send him a cute selfie (or a pissed off selfie.) Thinking about Patrick was making me vengeful and mad again, but I didn't want to fuck up and text him, so I texted this other guy, Billy.

Billy was also super hot, in this jocky way. He'd played rugby in college, and had this longish blond surfer hair and a really toned body. He was pretty much the reason why I'd broken up with Taylor, and we'd dated for a few weeks earlier in the year but still slept together occasionally. He was probably a little freaked out by how weird I was, but he didn't really show it, and we hadn't really "broken up"--more like just stopped talking to each other.

My friend Devin grabbed my hand and said: "Oh my god, Lauren, it's Billy!"

"I texted him," I laughed, downing the rest of my drink. Devin's face looked stormy.

"What? But you just kissed that guy? And what about Patrick?!" She looked really mad.

"I'm sorry," and suddenly I was laughing too hard to speak. "I know!! I fucked up!" I couldn't stop laughing. It was the funniest thing in the world.

"Lauren that's really not nice," she said, shaming me. I stuck out my tongue at her and then went over to see Billy. He was standing in a corner of the bar, looking kind of uncomfortable and sober.

"Heyyyyy boo!" I threw my arms around his giant neck, and he patted me on the back.

"Hey there, want to leave?" He sounded amused, but not particularly tolerant of how much fun I was having.

"What?!" I was confused. "No!"

"Lauren, there's a blizzard outside. I won't be able to get home."

I dragged him over to the window, pointing at the snow. "That's fine, don't be a pussy! You'll be fine!! You live right down the street!"

"Well, I don't really feel like being out right now. If you want to hang out, let's go to my place."

When I was putting on my coat, I had second thoughts about leaving. The band was really good, after all, and it was so fun and warm there. Plus, the cute bassist! But I'd already called Billy, so that was probably lost and gone forever.

We bought a bottle of wine on the way back to Billy's apartment, and then I passed out on his couch after he told me he wouldn't kiss me until I brushed my teeth.

When I woke up in the morning, Billy was hopping around on one foot, tugging on long underwear.

"What are you doing?" I rubbed my eyes, my head was killing me.

"I have to go into work," he whined, pulling on pants and thick socks. "No one can drive in, so I'm just going to walk over."

I furrowed my brow. "Wait, how much snow did we get?"

"Over three feet. Listen, do you want to go?"

"Yeah," I tugged on my jacket, over my bodycon dress. "I'm leaving now."

It took me an hour to walk home in the snow, in my black high heels. It was up there with one of the worst walks of shame I've ever taken. Nobody was out to see me, but my feet were frozen and I wound up walking barefoot because of the ice. Plus I was incredibly hungover, and the blinding white outside was killing my head. It was also still snowing, and I had no idea what to do the rest of the day. I knew my friends were pissed at me, so I wasn't exactly about to call them, plus they all lived too far away to really get together in the snow.

I wound up sleeping the rest of the day, after taking a hot bath. When I woke up, it was dusk, and I had a bunch of messages on my phone from an unknown number.

"Hi, this is John. We met last night, Dave gave me your number. Call?"

"I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be creepy, but I'd love to see you again. We're stuck here in the snow."

"We're playing another show tonight, can you come back? I promise I won't text you again after this."

I could not believe my good luck. It was like getting a Get Out Of Jail Free card, only for hot men.

I immediately texted him back and said I'd be there, to which I got a smiley face (ew).

This show was much quieter than the previous night's; the roads were impossible to drive on, and they hadn't been plowed. Someone actually drove down the main street of the town in a pickup truck pulling a kid on a snowboard behind him. It was like a fucking fairy tale.

I sipped only a few drinks while the band played, and I was relieved to see John looked just as foxy as ever. He didn't take his eyes off of me as they played their last song, and I immediately went over and hugged him when the music stopped. It was like we were old friends.

"This is Hoots, and this is Hellmouth," he gestured to his bandmates. "This is Lauren," he said to them, wrapping his arm around my shoulder. Every time he touched me I felt this electric bolt fly through my body; I was already thinking about when and where we could make out. It felt like the connection I had with Patrick, only better, because I wasn't currently pissed at John.

They smiled at me in the blithe way that guys' friends' do when he introduces a new girl, and they know he's a major Lothario. It didn't bother me. I didn't exactly have any pretensions about where this was going to lead.

The owner of the bar, Dave, invited us all up to his loft. He passed around bottles of beer, and we built a fire in his fireplace. The loft above the bar was this incredibly gorgeous space; it was all panelled in dark wood with a high cathedral ceiling and vintage stained glass windows. One of the band members took out a joint and lit it, and we passed it around without talking.

Dave put on some music, and I pulled John up and started dancing. He sort of walked me back into a corner of the room and started making out with me, and I practically wrapped my legs around his waist. He was an insanely good kisser, tender but very deep and not too messy, and he smelled like delicious boy-mixed-with-cologne.

"Let's take a walk," he whispered, and I went to get my coat. When I came back into the living room, I was surprised to see that all the guys had their jackets on.

"Frederick never gets snow like this," Dave said. "We're not missing out."

We left through the bar downstairs, and Dave grabbed a bag full of beer bottles for us to share on the walk. We all cracked one open, and made our way through the ridiculous amount of snow to the creek, where someone pulled out and lit another joint.

It was an insanely magical moment; I was standing in the snow with this amazingly sexy guy, smoking, drinking delicious beer, and feeling incredibly reckless because of the combination of everything. It was so beautiful out, it looked like a completely different place and time.

"This is so cool," I said into John's neck, and he turned around and started kissing me again, gently licking my bottom lip and nipping at me with his teeth.

"Can I stay with you tonight?" he asked, wrapping his arms around me. I nodded, and then found out that the rest of the band and Dave had mysteriously walked off. "We slept on his floor last night," John reached up to rub his back. "And it really didn't do great things for my neck."

"I have a bed," I teased, grabbing his butt. "But who said we were sleeping in it?"

We went home and had this amazingly magical sex, it was the rare perfect first time with someone when it's not awkward and fumbly, but everything just felt charged and so good. He was such a thorough lover, and I couldn't help but hope that maybe, I would be able to see him again.

"How old are you?" he asked, playing with my hair as we lay sweaty and naked in my bed.

"Twenty-one," I admitted.

"Wow, that's uh, younger than I thought," he ran his hands through his hair and sighed. "It doesn't matter, you're mature,"

"Not really," I wrinkled my nose. "I'm pretty horrible sometimes,"

"I think you're pretty cool, I like you," he said in this reassuring tone, and pulled me closer. We fell asleep and spooned all night; it was the first time I remember cuddling with someone and liking it.

He had to leave the next day; he lived in Philly with the band and worked as an architect during the day. We texted for a few weeks, and once he seemed to understand that I wasn't going to go crazy and stalk him, he started opening up a lot more and telling me he wanted to see me again.

But, by that time, Patrick and I were in a 'better' place--he'd stopped seeing Amanda, and been a lot more honest with me. We still weren't monogamous, but neither one of us really slept with other people anymore.

John came back to visit in February, after the snow all melted. It felt awkward, and really weird; the magic or feeling or whatever was completely gone. I had bronchitis that weekend, so I didn't feel like going out. We sat on my couch and watched a movie and then went to bed and had pretty unremarkable sex. It wasn't bad, but I don't really remember it. I really wanted that feeling to be there again, but it wasn't, and I think it's because I had already sort of moved on from Frederick--I was spending so much time with Patrick by that point, and I was almost done with college.

Then, about six months later, I saw that the same band was coming back to the bar. I went that night, but it was a different bassist. Hoots & Hellmouth both recognized me, and I asked about John, and they said they'd kicked him out for smoking and drinking too much.

But the really weird thing is this: my husband reminds me exactly of John. That's why I named him John in the blog. They look almost exactly the same (Real John was taller and skinnier), they're the same age, they have the same delivery and manner of speaking, same type of dating history. It's fucking spooky!



Friday, October 30, 2015

in a horror flick, i'd last about 2 minutes

A few weeks ago, J's friend Kelly called and asked if we wanted to go to this book release party in Milwaukee. Kelly works in publishing and consulting, and we figured it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to meet some local-ish people doing the same thing. I got a rental car from Enterprise, and we did some research on restaurants and bars. I figured that we could head up there for a couple of hours and then come home, nbd.

One of the weirdest things (sorry) about the Midwest to me is that it's so spread out. Like, it takes hours by car to get virtually anywhere else you'd actually want to visit. The East Coast isn't really like that; I actually used to say this was one of the reasons why I'd never want to move to Chicago. But look where I am now. Anyway, after my proofreading shift on Wednesday, I went to go pick up the rental car. The guy working at Enterprise was super weird, and he was a dead ringer for Simon Pegg (the redheaded guy in Shaun of the Dead.) He told me that I wouldn't be able to leave the car after-hours at that location, which I thought was weird because I had it reserved until 11pm at that address, but he found another place much closer to where we actually live. At the time, I thought that was a great idea.

When we got out to the car, I got in and he kept reaching inside and doing things like turning the windshield wipers on.

"This is the lever to turn on the windshield wipers. You move it down to get them to go faster," he'd say, demonstrating for me. It was so fucking awkward and took like 20 minutes. Eventually, I pushed him away.

"I've driven a car before, yeah. Thanks though. Bye!"

That whole process took about 45 minutes, and I was feeling so embarrassed because there had been a ton of other people and he was the only guy working. Then, there was traffic all the way home. It took me an hour to go 8 miles, and by the time I got to Lakeview, I knew J was getting antsy. The release thing started at 7, and we were hoping to grab some food beforehand but it was already looking like we wouldn't have time.

Getting out of the city was a monstrous pain in the ass, it took another 45 minutes to go 1 mile on N Halsted. We were already talking about turning around. I was starting to feel really guilty, because I felt like if I'd been more on top of planning, this wouldn't have happened. J had worked until 4 as usual because he said he didn't think the traffic would be that bad, and naively I only assumed it would suck on the highway.

"We should still be able to make it," I craned my neck and tried to see if the traffic ended anywhere ahead. Spoiler alert; it didn't.

"It's okay, honey. If you want to go home we can go home," J said, patting the back of my neck. The traffic and the rain were giving me a headache, and I didn't feel like being touched but I didn't want to shrug him off either. I think I grunted in response. "Babe?"

"Yeah, sorry, it's fine. I dunno, let's give it like.. 45 minutes. And then turn around if we're still sitting here."

"That's being generous," he snorted. "Are you sure you want to wait that long?"

"I don't mind. It's probably worse for you as a passenger." I looked over at J, who was leaned over in his seat, rubbing his temples. He nodded without saying anything, and we kept crawling up I-94 at a glacial pace of 2mph.

Around 7, I sighed and looked over. "I'm about ready to say fuck it. Do you mind?"

"No, baby. Let's just take a whole weekend and do this for real. I'm not sure it would have worked out this way,"

"I know, I just feel bad. I feel like I could have done this better. This has been kind of a disaster," I whined, taking an exit so we could turn around. We were both doing that passive aggressive thing where we both kept trying to take the blame, but the conversation petered out and we settled into silence on the drive back. The rain was starting to let up, but the traffic getting back into the city was almost as bad as it had been leaving. I was starting to feel much better about the whole ordeal, we decided to order Chinese when we got home and find a movie (typical), but I was dying to get rid of the car. I usually don't pay for rental car insurance because I feel like it's a scam, but then again, I've never wrecked a rental car. But the traffic and the rain and the dark were making me incredibly nervous, and I couldn't wait to get rid of the damn thing.

It had taken another half hour to get back into the city, and I was almost crying with relief when I pulled up to the place where I was supposed to drop it off after-hours. Except the gate was closed and there weren't any instructions for how to leave the car. I started rifling through the paperwork I'd gotten when I picked it up, and nada. Fucking nothing. I called the customer service number, and there was no option for talking to a person, even when I hit 0. The panic was starting to build in my stomach and I felt my throat tightening up. J sat patiently, and I tried not to have a meltdown. Eventually, I found a line that put me on hold for customer service, but then I got a message saying my call would be disconnected, and they hung up. I couldn't help it, my eyes started burning and I tilted my head back so I wouldn't cry. A tear fell down my cheek, and I sniffled.

"Lauren, do you want me to call them?" J asked, patiently. He didn't try to touch me again, which I appreciated.

"No," I sniffled again. "I'm fine,"

"You're very obviously not fine, honey," he laughed humorlessly. "You need to calm down, okay?" I started nodding furiously, but I couldn't stop crying.

"I know," I said quietly. "I just want to go home."

"I know, baby. Just try to take deep breaths, okay. Can you do that for me?" At least he was being soothing. I took a couple of deep breaths, and stopped crying although I still felt like shit. I wanted to go back in time and strangle that creepy Simon Pegg asshole.

Eventually I called roadside assistance, waited 10 minutes for a person to pick up, and then they had to transfer me to the Enterprise at ORD. It was a fucking nightmare. The woman who answered there told me that I wouldn't be able to leave the car at that location, so I'd have to go across the city to drop it off, and I had to make it there in 15 minutes before it closed. I told J to walk home without me, since I'd be going far enough away to cab home. He hopped out of the car, and I sped across the city, getting 3 (!) red light camera flashes to go off. Whoops.

When I finally got home, I felt drained and it wasn't even 9. J was sitting on the couch and looking at me patiently as I shrugged off my combat boots and black suede hacking jacket.

"Did you order dinner?" I called out, going into the bedroom and yanking down my high-waisted black skinny jeans.

"Not yet, but I got you a surprise. It's in the fridge," he called back, and I perked up a little bit. Settling on a teeshirt dress and American Apparel legwarmers, I padded into the kitchen, expecting a bottle of wine in the fridge. Instead, there was a Taco Bell bag with 2 steak quesadillas and a giant handful of verde sauce packets (my absolute fave.) If I had been in a better mood, I probably would have squealed. Instead, I walked over and leaned down to hug him.

"Thank you, honey." I buried my face in his neck. "I love you."

"I love you, too. I just wanted to make you smile."

"Stop it, or you're gonna make me cry again," I teased, still not really feeling better. I still did want to cry, but tried to just focus on letting it go. I still felt guilty, too, but he had really acted like a champ about the whole thing so I didn't want to beat a dead horse. The rest of the evening was pretty chill. There was a GOP debate on TV but instead of electing to drink and go nuts watching it, we put on a movie. I could tell J was kind of shocked, I always want to watch political stuff on TV.

The next day, I was feeling better for the most part. I got up around 9 and made tea before starting my proofreading shift. During the week, I spend 4 hours a day proofreading guestbook entries on funeral and obituary sites. It's pretty interesting at times, and I think some people would probably find it morbid but shocker, it's right up my alley. Anyway, I was going through the usual sentiments and I read an entry that mentioned a 'horrific tragedy' and 'senseless act.' I can't post anything that would upset the family of the deceased, so obviously that went into the trash bin. But I couldn't stop thinking about it. Later on, I googled the name and found out that the person was killed in a triple homicide last week. It was so creepy, I had to tell J.

"And now you're probing about it online? Don't horror movies start out like that?" He joked, making a face.

"Yeah, bad ones," I rolled my eyes. "It's weird, though, I don't see stuff like that very often."

"That's probably for the better. You probably shouldn't spend all of your time thinking about that stuff," J said lightly, but I caught the underlying meaning.

"I don't," I protested gently. "It's just morbidly intriguing."

"You could use that as a plot basis for your next short story," he said, with raised eyebrows.

"I'm pretty sure that's been done before, like, a lot,"

"Yeah, but you could get some mileage out of it. Ghostwriting, right?" J smirked, and I groaned.

"You are so lame," I shot back, but I grinned. "And I'm going to heat up my leftover Taco Bell. Do you want anything?"

The rest of the day was pretty chill, and I made these delicious egg white omelettes (well, mine was egg whites) for dinner with sharp white cheddar and scallions and jalapeno. When I went to bed, I fell asleep almost right away, which is kind of unusual.

At 1:33, I woke up and got up to pee. For some reason, the fan in our bedroom had shut off and everything was super quiet. I could actually hear the cats snoring in the next room. The floor was creaking and it was really cold, we haven't turned on the heat yet. When I got back to bed, it somehow felt impossible to go back to sleep. I kept tossing and turning and rolling over; it was amazing that I didn't wake up the husband. I couldn't stop thinking about all of the news articles I'd read earlier about the triple homicide, and how it was over a week ago and they still hadn't caught who had done it. They didn't even have suspects; there was tip line information and a reward posted on all the news sites I'd read.

Just as I was falling back asleep, I heard this scratching and metallic picking sound. It sounded like someone was trying to cram the wrong key into our front door, and I jerked back awake. The sound got louder and louder, but I didn't hear any voices, and I could hear someone turning the doorknob. I was terrified out of my wits; I know that sometimes we forget to lock our front door since we're usually not sober at bedtime. In college, someone broke into my room by mistake (they were drunk) when I was asleep, and it traumatized me. I'm not sure I've gotten over that, and since our building is having construction done, I was especially worried about the downstairs door being propped open by the construction workers.

The sound stopped for a moment, and I was lying there, sweating and shaking and panicked. It felt like someone was pouring ice water all over my body, and my heart was slamming against the inside of my chest. I didn't want to wake J up; he snored on quietly next to me, but I started calculating how long it would take me to run over to the other side of the room, where we keep a baseball bat propped against the wall (#guncontrol.)

The metal scratching started again, and I froze. I counted backwards from 10, and slowly got out of bed. The floor creaked and all of a sudden, the sounds stopped, and I heard footsteps slowly back down the hallway outside. I didn't move, and waited to see if I heard anything else, like the doors at either end of the hallway opening. Nothing.

After what felt like hours but was probably only a few minutes, I cautiously lay back down in bed. And then proceeded to stay awake, sleepless, for the next 5 hours. I did everything, I took melatonin and NyQuil and had some milk and got up to read a book for a while, and nothing helped. Nothing was able to clear my mind, and I worried that if I fell asleep, someone would break in.

This morning, I didn't tell J. Honestly, I'm embarrassed that he would laugh at me because we watch too many horror movies. So sleep deprivation is a pretty awesome way to start off the weekend, yeah?



Tuesday, October 20, 2015

do the hustle

Last Thursday was probably one of the busiest days I've had in recent memory. The night before, I told the client who I'm writing the novel for that I'd be away Friday-Sunday, and that I could send him a draft before I left, with plans to finish up for good on Monday. He flipped out, and we had this terse conversation where he told me he "expected me to be around" during the week. This was coming on the heels of him emailing me at 3am, and then Gchatting me frantically because I wasn't answering. I sent an email that read like: Hi, I normally am asleep at that time. I do not wake up to check my email in the middle of the night. Thanks! Then, he told me he'd be needing regular blog posts from me as well. I was pissed, but since I was already halfway through writing the novel, I didn't want to lose the client. So I offered to write two for him on Thursday, and he came back and asked me to do three, plus another draft of the story.

I felt like this was overly demanding at the last minute, but whatever. I wrote basically all day, and by 6pm, I hadn't even taken a break to shower or get dressed. I sent him the blog posts and the drafts, and then decided that I was going to start drinking and worry about packing for the weekend later.

"You're not upset I'm waiting to do this, right?" I asked, idly flipping through movies on Vudu. J snorted.

"No, honey. I trust you." He laughed. "Besides, I'm not your parent." I rolled my eyes and turned back to the TV. "Will you paint my nails later?" He dangled his right hand in front of my face, showing me the chipped nails. J started painting his nails a couple of weeks ago, but he did a really bad job so I immediately swatted his hand away and took over. And now we have a little ritual every few days where I fix it for him.

"Sure, if we can get Taco Bell for dinner."

I know I drive a hard bargain.

We spent the night relaxing, and never got around to packing. We keep the suitcases (and stuff like out of season clothes) in storage above our walk-in closet, and I need to use a stepladder to get up there. But after 5 or 6 shots I was a little worried about falling, so I just decided to wait until the next morning.

Friday morning, I had to wake up early to blowout my hair and pack for us. Being a girl though, I already knew what I was wearing to the wedding on Saturday (all three outfit possibilities, plus an extra.) By the time I finished packing, I had to sit on my rollerboard to close it.

"Um, honeybunny, did you pack for me?" J asked, coming up and nuzzling the back of my neck. I tensed.

"Of course!" I said with a grin, lying through my teeth. "What were you bringing besides pants?"

Rolling his eyes, J unzipped the suitcase and gaped at me. "Are you serious, Lauren? You don't need four pairs of shoes. We're going to be there for 48 hours, max."

I pouted. "Fine."

After narrowing down my haul to three dresses, one pair of jeans, three tops, leggings, and only two pairs of shoes (!), we left for ORD.

At the airport, I decided that since we were going on vacation, I could break my diet. And the best way to break a diet is with carbs, which meant finding a pretzel place. We were early, and I found one in the next terminal, so we walked over and got pretzels and then sat at a neighboring gate to eat them. It was still pretty early in the morning, and I sat sideways in my seat and threw my legs over J's lap as we ate. We were laughing about something and being kind of loud, and I noticed these people glaring at us from a few rows over. For a moment, I saw us the way that everyone else probably sees us: this smug eurotrash couple with black nails, all in ripped up black and doc martens, cackling and feeding each other and showing way too much PDA.

It wasn't exactly flattering.

After our snack, we found our gate and had one of the most turbulent flights I've ever had. Seriously glad I don't get airsick on a regular basis (just when I'm hungover) because I would have died on that plane. Even J looked a little green, and he loves to fly. Afterwards, when we were walking off the plane, the pilot was standing there shaking hands with everyone, and he looked like a twelve year old. Suddenly I was glad that we'd made it at all.

"Is that Vincent Adultman from Bojack?" I whispered to J, digging my elbow into his ribs. He threw his head back and laughed, and people stared. I felt like that obnoxious couple again.

That night, we stayed in Bethesda, which is this really wealthy suburb of DC. I used to live there for a couple of years, so I was pretty familiar with the area. We went and picked crabs for dinner (I completely ruined my manicure and cut my hands up on the crabs and bled everywhere) and then went to a bar where they have like, $20 cocktails and you have to make reservations. They only seat 10 people at a time and they have a couch that looks like a cactus. It's kind of a weird place; it always makes me think of the scene in the white room from A Clockwork Orange, where Alex chases the old lady around with the phallic statue. Anyway, I was chattering on a blue streak about DC and I noticed J looked sort of exhausted. We were supposed to meet my friends Matt and Barry at this other bar, but I remembered how tired J had been the last time we were in DC, and I didn't want to make him miserable. So we went back to the hotel and rolled around on the giant kingsize bed and had vacation sex and watched these cheesy paranormal shows.

The next day was Anna and Matt's wedding, in Frederick. It was cold. Like, 43 degrees cold. As soon as we left the hotel and walked to where I'd parked the rental car, I had goosebumps. All of the clothes I'd brought with me were not exactly winter attire, and I settled on a Rebecca Minkoff minidress with long sleeves, black tights, and platform ankle boots. I was still freezing. J looked at me and kind of groaned, and then passed over his sports coat without saying anything. I felt guilty, but I took it anyway. In a weird vintage way, it kind of went with my outfit.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but the wedding was a little weird. Anna and Matt waited a really long time to get married (they were engaged for almost 4 years) because there was a lot of family and money drama when it came to planning their wedding. I know they almost called it quits a couple of times, and Anna was kind of snarky to me when she found out I got married to J after only 9 months. She kind of sniffed, and made a comment about how it must not have been as important to me. Ugh. I don't know why people are so catty sometimes, but I understand that she must have been feeling frustrated.

The officiant was Anna's cousin Emily, and for some reason, I bawled through almost the entire ceremony even though she was incredibly dry-sounding and stilted. She sounded like Ben Stein from the Clear Eyes commercials. It was seriously awful, and I still cried!! The language of the ceremony was also kind of weird, they did like 100% gender neutral, so Emily said things like:

"We are here today to join these two human beings in marriage,"

and

"You may now kiss your spouse."

and

"I now pronounce you partners for life!"

and then, announcing them afterwards:

"I now present to you, for the first time, the Hyphenated-Hyphenateds!"

Of course they're both hyphenating their last names. Of course.

The reception was also kind of weird; it was in a giant banquet hall but there only 45 or 50 people there. J leaned over and whispered that it looked like a high school dance where no one had shown up, and I had to bite him to get him to shut up. They had one sixtel keg of cider for the entire reception, and there was a huge crowd around it. I left J by himself and went to get a drink, which I immediately downed and then refilled my glass. I was looking for old friends, but didn't recognize a lot of people, so I think most of their guests were family.

J looked kind of awkward and out of place the whole time, and he kept checking his phone. It really annoyed me and at one point, during the toasts, I leaned over and whispered: "get off your phone!"

Anna's best friend Troy was her "person of honor" and the toast he gave was seriously awful. He's one of those gay guys who seemingly hates all women (except Anna), and the speech he gave was littered with these little gems like, "congratulations, y'all, Anna finally found a man I think is good enough for her!" and "I had to give up an afternoon of play rehearsal to be here, but I know y'all worship me so I'll survive!" Afterwards, Anna's mom came up and hugged him and he made this big show of putting on anti-bacterial handgel on after she'd walked away. What a cunt.

I don't know, maybe I'm just a grump when it comes to weddings.

After all of the dances (to obscure indie covers of slightly less obscure indie songs), they opened up the dance floor. They were playing oldies & motown, so J and I got up and danced.

Not sure I've ever mentioned this before, but I'm a pretty solid dancer. I did ballroom and latin for a few years in college, and I know all of the weird old stuff, like the jitterbug, and some West Coast swing. J is good too, but he hates prolonged cardio so I knew we only had a short time to be fabulous. We danced for a few songs, and then sat down. I was getting kind of antsy; all the cider and food was gone, and according to the little schedule, we still had 3 hours of dancing before they served cupcakes.

"Let's go talk to people and then make our exit," I leaned over, whispering in J's ear. He was on his phone again. "What is it with your phone today?" I hissed. He made a face at me.

"Meh, it's nothing, my friend is ripping my new script apart." Feeling myself soften a little bit, I reached down to squeeze his hand. J finished a new TV pilot last week and sent it around to his friends who work in the film industry in LA, and apparently they were sending him predictably-LA responses. But he put his phone away after that, and kept it out of sight for the rest of the day.

We walked around and talked to the 3 or 4 people I knew there, most of whom I hadn't seen in at least three years, and then walked downtown and made our way through a few bars. It was nice to be in Frederick again, I really loved living there and sometimes I really miss it. J told me all about his script when we were drinking after the wedding, and I was glad he was finally opening up to me about what his friend was saying. Sometimes I feel like he doesn't take criticism particularly well, but I know I have the same issue at times. Either way, it's nice to feel included. The last thing I want is him keeping secrets from me.

I checked my email in the bathroom of one of the bars and found one from, of all people, Patrick. He had written: "How was the wedding? You and your new husband popped up on facebook. Doing the hustle."

Ugh. I was drunk, but not that drunk. I deleted it. And then went out and ordered shots of fernet for us and everyone else at the bar. A little while later, J said he was starting to get tired, so I sent for an uber and we went back to the hotel (taking a detour first to buy more vodka, obvi.) There was nothing on television, because we had all of 8 channels, so we took the blankets off the bed and bundled up and took our vodka outside to sit by the empty pool. There were some other people staying in the hotel and they came out and started drinking with us, and it was all fun and games until I noticed massive track marks on one of the guy's arms.

"We're going to bed!" I announced, probably not very subtly. J looked at me, confused. "Because we're really tired." I smiled at our new friends with heroin problems. "Have a good night!!"

"But it's only like, 9pm," one of them said to me. I shrugged, and faked a massive yawn. And then, one of the girls took out a pill bottle, crushed something up under the table, and brought her hands back up to her nose and snorted.

We stayed up the rest of the night, semi-paranoid that our new friends would mug us for meth money. And then when we got home Sunday, I was exhausted, but I had to write so I actually made myself work for 3 or 4 hours. I literally cannot remember the last time I worked on a weekend. Maybe it was never!

So that was my weekend! I finished the ghostwritten novel yesterday, and I'm waiting for feedback right now. This week should be a little less deadline heavy, so maybe I can even squeeze another post in.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

I know I suck!!!

I'm so sorry, guys, I've really wanted to post for you lately. I've even had a draft going for a few days, but it's been a weird week!

I'm working from home full time now, and I have a remote proofreading job that gives me about 20 hours a week. I went looking for other work, and amazingly managed to pick up some assignments. Most of those have been articles (like, the kind of stuff you see on about.com... ) but earlier this week, I actually got a contract to ghostwrite a romance novella. I'm so excited, this will be the first time I've ever been paid to write fiction. The client is already talking about other genres (I'd love to write fantasy/sci-fi, but who knows what will happen), and it's a tremendously exciting but also stressful time. Secretly, I've always wanted to be a ghostwriter for a series, like a YA series, so this is one of the best things that could have happened.

Anyway, I've been writing my fingers off, and desperately hoping for a lull so I can blog.  I think I should be able to start posting again by the beginning of next week, fingers crossed.

I'm sorry, cause I know so many blogs have been disappearing lately. I promise I'm not going anywhere, and I will keep posting, but I can't exactly say when. I know that sucks, and I apologize, but I think blogging is going to help me with writing so I'm really motivated to keep doing it. I even used a couple of entries as samples when I was applying for those freelance gigs. But I probably wouldn't have even kept writing in the first place if y'all hadn't been so supportive. So I really owe you guys a lot. Thank you so much!

xoxo & be back soon,
L

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

those airsick bags are a really good idea !

Saturday morning, we got up really early and took an uber to Midway with Karen (my MIL) and her boyfriend (Nordan) to go to DC. I was crabby because J and I had been sick for, no fucking joke, over a week. We both had chest infections that somehow migrated to our sinuses, and it was sooooo fucking disgusting. I was going through a box of tissues a day. The only silver lining was that I hadn't been able to eat in 4 or 5 days, so I felt like the cold was accelerating my diet nicely.

Our plane was delayed, and then we had 3 hours of traffic once we got to DC, so we didn't wind up getting to the hotel room until about 20 minutes before we had to leave for dinner. I had booked us reservations at the Old Ebbitt Grill, which is kind of touristy but really nice, and J's parents had their first date there in 1980. I knew he had really wanted to go.

"Do you need the bathroom?" I mumbled, hopping around the room and pulling off my leggings. J didn't answer. I looked over, and he was lying on the bed with his eyes closed. "Honey?" I tried again.

"Mmn?" he didn't open his eyes.

"Do you still want to go out to dinner?"

"Yeah," he mumbled, yawning. I could feel myself start to deflate a bit. I'd really been looking forward to this, but I definitely thought we'd have more time to relax beforehand. I hate being rushed. It drives me crazy.

After taking the world's quickest shower, I threw on a dress and my favorite heeled sandals (I'm so hard on shoes that I never want to spend more than $100 because they get chewed up so easily. Can someone teach me not to do that?) and we left. Karen had given me the keys to her rental car, and after almost killing us on 395, I left it with a valet on 15th St. My blood sugar was so low that I felt like my stomach was going to cave in on itself. J looked at a menu for all of five seconds before practically jumping down the waiter's throat and ordering us a spread of oysters, seafood, and steak. I don't even think I said anything until we got the bread basket and I'd eaten half of it. Diet, be damned. I was too fucking hungry.

"Honey," said J slowly, after devouring half of the oysters. "We really, really need to get out of the Midwest. These are fantastic," he closed his eyes again, and trailed off. I was used to seeing him in a state of orgasmic bliss over food, but he definitely had a point.

"I know," I wrinkled my nose. "Something about being back here is really doing it to me. I miss DC so much, sometimes."

"I know," he looked at me. "Would you want to move back here, instead?"

"No," I said, slowly. I wanted to make sure I could give him a thoughtful response. "Not really. It felt a little too small by the time I left, and it's really not affordable for us. I think Florida is a better plan," plus, not gonna lie, the idea of being that close to the ocean again was making me want to move, like, tomorrow.

"Me too, princess. All this fresh seafood, so close to us! And the beach.. and our pool..." he leaned back in his chair and relaxed. Seeing him look that way put me more at ease, and finally I started to calm down and enjoy myself. I honestly can't believe how hard it is on me to be rushing around all day.

After dinner, we took an uber over to U St to meet Matt. We had planned on going to this bar that I used to love because a) they have no TVs and b) they don't let people stand, either you sit down or you have to leave. So it's never very crowded. It's basically the perfect bar for someone who hates both people and technology (me.) But they were closed, so we wandered around and found a wine bar instead. Matt was talking about his work (he's still getting his PhD in nuclear physics)--he works on lasers, and was talking about building this neutrino coil in a way that no one had been able to do physically before. So he would be the first in the world, and then he could copyright it and work on that for the rest of his life. I was kind of awed listening to him. My friends are so goddamn smart, it kills me.

"So this is a little weird, right?" Matt said, spreading his hands out. I looked at him warily, waiting for him to start popping off in front of my husband about a time where I made a fool of myself.

"A little," I grimaced, hoping to move on.

"No, no, chill," he laughed, and patted me on the shoulder. "It's just.. uh, it's been a year! And you're back, and you're married."

"This is the guy you heard me gushing about nonstop for a little bit before I left," I explained, wrapping my arms around J and nuzzling into his neck. "We're crazy about each other,"

"Ah," said Matt. I could tell he didn't really remember. I guess I can't really blame him, though. And he is used to me racking up guys like you wouldn't believe (remember when I was slutty and not boring? lol.)

After that, we started talking about this new girl that Matt was dating. He said he's kind of freaked out because he found out that she's Muslim (he's an atheist, and she knows that, so I guess she must be pretty liberal) and he's not sure what's going to happen. I have no idea how he winds up in these situations. His last girlfriend, Helena, was pretty cool on the surface but obviously turned out to be crazy because she just stopped talking to him completely. She lived in London (they had always been long distance) and apparently one morning he woke up and just found out that she'd blocked his phone number and email. She never even explained why. She had been scheduled to come back over to the States for another 6 months and she just never showed up. Weird!

When we were leaving, Matt hugged me and slipped a baggie into my purse. Pot is legal in DC now, did y'all know that? We bought some rolling papers at a 7-11, and I got a six pack of grapefruit shandy (#girlbeer) and we went back to the hotel. J rolled us a really nice joint and we sat around in our underwear smoking and watching The Sopranos while I drank beer. It was just like being at home!

The next morning, we cuddled in bed until we absolutely had to get up. J was spooning me and I kept drifting in and out of sleep. At one point, his hand moved against my belly and I thought it was the cat, and when I realized it wasn't, I started missing her a lot. I'm such a loser, I don't really think you're supposed to miss your cats when you go on a trip.

I drove us over to my parents' house for brunch, and J met the rest of my family--my two uncles and their girlfriends. My stepdad made us screwdrivers, and we talked to him and one of my uncles about how they'd sat up all night drinking Makers Mark. Anyone who thinks I have problems with drinking should probably look at the rest of my family.

The party was really fun. Almost all of my friends showed up, and it was really nice to see people again. It doesn't even feel like a year has gone by since I moved. It was a little awkward, a couple of people made jokes about how quickly we'd gotten married (rude!!) and I didn't know how to respond other than like, no, it wasn't because I got pregnant, because that's clearly what a lot of them were thinking. One of the only people who didn't say anything is my friend Barry, who is in kind of a similar situation. He had dated this girl, Alice, for a few years until she turned out to be literally batshit insane. Then they broke up, and he met another (amazing) girl right away, and they got very serious quickly. He and I used to commiserate over it on gchat together. Admittedly it kind of sucks when all your friends think you're crazy, but you do get used to it after a while.

Barry brought his newish girlfriend, Julie, to the party, and I loved her right away! She's a vet and has the most laid-back sense of humor. I grabbed her hand and dragged her into the kitchen and we drank wine and laughed together for like, an hour. Then Karen poked her head in, and asked if we could find somewhere to go smoke cigarettes. I was kind of drunk, and I pulled them both out on the porch with me, and bummed a cigarette from Karen. We thought we were being all sneaky until my stepdad poked his head outside.

"You are so busted!" said Karen, resting her head on my shoulder and laughing. I hugged her. My mother in law is so cute.

After most people left, my stepdad brought out this bottle of tequila that he'd bought in Mexico last summer. That's where it gets kind of hazy for me. I did a couple of shots, and then realized I hadn't seen my husband in a while. I went around looking for him--and it felt like it took forever. When I finally saw him, I leaned over and whispered (but since I was drunk it came out really loudly) that I felt sick. He escorted me to the bathroom and sat with me for a little while, but I didn't throw up. Karen drove us back to the hotel where I passed out right away. And of course, we both slept horribly and woke up multiple times. I can't remember a time where so many days have gone by without us having sex. I know that being sick and also being tired were to blame, but it wasn't really an awesome thing to contemplate.

Our flight was at 8 the next morning. I couldn't even close my eyes in the backseat of the car because my nausea was so bad. I even thought about asking Nordan to pull over so I could try to throw up, but I was afraid it would happen when I opened my mouth to speak.

After we got through security and to the gate, J handed me my rollerboard.

"You need to sit down for a little while," he pointed at some empty chairs. "I'll be right back." I whimpered at the thought of being alone in my pathetic, hungover state, but I didn't say anything. I just put my head between my knees until I felt his hand on my shoulder again. Raising my head up, I peeked at him through my bangs.

"I brought you these," he handed me a bag and I looked inside to find a bottle of ginger ale and a big bottle of Fiji water. I know it's not much, but it almost made me cry. I've never been with anyone so considerate before.

I puked on the plane anyway, of course. I couldn't get up to the bathroom because we were still ascending, so I used one of those airsick bags. It didn't even leak!!! I was really impressed. The flight attendants also sprung into action like a well-oiled machine, and brought me a trash bag and a cold thing for the back of my neck and another can of ginger ale and plain crackers. I wanted to tip them but J suggested that probably would make them uncomfortable.

Next month, when we fly back to DC for that wedding, I am going to try really hard not to get drunk.

Friday, August 28, 2015

i had an overwhelming sense of ickiness

I know I need to post, guys, but things have been really weird!!

I had a work-related breakdown, and decided to give my two weeks' notice and start freelancing and doing transcription full-time. I've done it before, part-time, and was almost at the point in 2012 where I could have quit my then-job to do it, but I was always too afraid. I think it's probably because of the way I was raised. I was always taught that the only way to make a successful living is to do so in the traditional route. But I've always struggled with that. And now it feels like I don't have a choice. I'm sick of spending my weekends in this spiral of shame and panic because I can't handle the thought of going into work on Monday. I can't handle crying and puking blood and shaking and not being able to eat because of work-related anxiety. I'm too old for that shit. I want to actually enjoy my life.

I can't handle being in an office anymore. Almost everything about it is awful to me. I think I've mentioned this a few times before, but I'm not really very career-driven. I've always worked to live, rather than lived to work. I hate how it's become a crime to admit that you're primarily working for a paycheck. Employers want to squeeze everything they can out of their employees' without paying them more, which is why they created a corporate culture--it basically says "look at all we do for you! Do you want to give just a little bit back to us?" And I totally get that some people love their jobs. But I think I'm one of those people who just feels the enjoyment is sucked out of whatever it is that I'm doing once I'm in an office. It just feels like a prison. I'm too much of a hippie fuck to put up with it anymore. So freelancing it is!! My last day at the office is the 11th. I know I'm going to be working harder than I was before at salaried jobs, but I don't even care--knowing that I can be my own boss and set my own hours is totally worth it to me, and I honestly look forward to the challenge. And I don't think I've ever said that before and meant it.

We have also talked a lot about moving. My parents' wedding gift to us was a down payment for a house, when we decide to buy, and after some pretty extensive research and thinking, we settled on Sarasota, FL. So that's a thing happening in the next couple of years. We're going down in December to look at some houses, but probably won't wind up buying anything unless we really fall in love. The plan is to move around the time I turn 29 (ugh!!!), which is 2017.

Next weekend, we're flying out to DC for our belated wedding celebration. I've been looking forward to this forever, I can't believe it's here. It feels like this took longer to happen than our actual wedding.

Sorry I didn't write more. I expect that things will calm down a lot, and I definitely will resume a normal schedule. I know it's disappointing that it won't be happening right away, because a lot of blogs are ending, but I promise I'll be around for quite some time.

What's been new with y'all? Anything good?


Monday, August 10, 2015

is this our punishment for sodomy?

I took last Friday off work so I could make myself go to the DMV and get an Illinois drivers' license. I've been using my DC one for the past year--I really had absolutely no motivation because I don't even have a car anymore, so why the fuck would someone expect me to sacrifice hours of my day sitting in a government facility? I don't know, either. But then my MIL--her name is Karen, most of the time I feel kind of awkward calling her mom--bought us plane tickets for our trip next month, and I had to get a new ID since my license was the last thing to still have my maiden name on it. I don't care what anyone says, changing your name is still kind of a pain in the ass.

It worked out really well since last Thursday was the first GOP debate for the 2016 election. I have a huge lady boner for politics/political science, and it's one of my favorite things to rant about, especially after drinking. In college, my friends and I would watch all the debates live and drink in our dorm rooms. Then, in DC, bars would actually hold events (like drinking games and giveaways and fun stuff) whenever there was a debate on. It was definitely "A Thing" to do in DC,and I got kind of upset when I realized that it wasn't the same here. (A lot of things about Chicago have been upsetting me as of late, to be perfectly honest.)

So before I left work on Thursday, I made little debate bingo cards for myself and J. When I got home, I also made vodka gummy bears because bae had thoughtfully gone to the store and gotten us snacks for the debate (doritos, haribo gummy bears, a little tub of caviar for me, a giant plastic thing of vodka for us to split.) The night was a lot of fun, we didn't drink as much as expected and went to bed feeling pretty okay. I didn't even eat too much candy. A couple of months ago, J told me this horrible story about running into one of his exes on the L, and how he didn't recognize her because she had really put on a lot of weight. And I instantly envisioned myself at our party in September, being hugged by my old friends while they secretly thought about how fat I looked. I kind of freaked out, and decided that I had really let myself go and that I was going to be hot again so people wouldn't have the same kind of thoughts. I know that's probably pretty bad, but I don't care. Anyway, I have to fit into this dress again by October for a wedding, and I only have maybe 10-15lbs to go at this point, so it shouldn't be an issue. (I'm so mad that dress is on sale now... grr.) I want my thigh gap back, and once that happens, I'll just call it done and try not to pig out too much in the future.

I spent 4 hours at the DMV on Friday and it was such a hassle. I look like shit in my new license picture but I didn't even ask the guy to retake it because I just wanted to leave as soon as I possibly could. Normally I'd make the person working there take 5 or 10 pictures--my DC license was so cute!--but I just didn't have it in me that day. So now I'm stuck with a troll license for years.

When I got home, I was in this really bad mood because of the DMV. J's shift was almost over, and he ran a bath for me while he went out to buy pot. He even left a glass of rosé for me on the edge of the tub! Aw. We wound up watching some of Rob Zombie's horror flicks and drinking a lot. Like, way more than usual. I think we were each taking a shot every ten minutes or so. When I got up to pee, I was staggering and he started giggling at me and that just made me giggle and then I fell over in a heap on the floor, laughing. 

"Baby, come on, let's go to bed. I want to snuggle," he half-slurred at me, attempting to climb off the couch and winding up in a pile with me on the floor. 

"I hurt my butt," I whined, trying to roll over into a sitting position. The walls and furniture were moving around, including the coffee table, which seemed to be shifting away and evading my feeble attempts to grab it. Whoa. 

"I'll kiss it and make it better, come on. Bed!!" J managed to right himself and pulled me up off the floor, half-carrying me into the bedroom. Our bedroom never looks very dark--even in the middle of the night--we live on a main drag with lots of streetlights. Somehow, I still managed to trip over the bed and plant facedown in the pillows. J used one hand to yank my panties down to my knees and the other to pull my shirt up, but not off. He rolled me over and started biting and kissing at my nipples and pushing his fingers between my legs. 

"You're being really rough," I half-moaned into the pillows. "I like it," 

He climbed up beside me, suddenly naked, and turned so his dick would be right in my face. I leaned over and started giving him head, and he lay back down so we could 69. We never do that! I was kind of shocked. 

We wound up having anal, which we do pretty often, but he didn't really do an awesome job of warming me up beforehand and I remember it hurting a bit.

On Saturday, we slept in. When I woke up, J reminded me that we were meeting his mom at Market Days, a street festival happening a block or two away from our apt. I hadn't washed my hair in maybe 4 days, so I went to turn on the shower only to discover that we had no hot water.

"Bae!" I yelled, naked and dripping wet and freezing, "there's no hot water!!" He eyed me sympathetically, and came over to the bathroom. "Is this our punishment for sodomy?" I asked, teeth chattering.

"I'll call maintenance," he kissed me on the temple and trotted off to grab his phone. If I hadn't been covered in lube from the waist down and didn't have such an oily scalp, I would have waited, but I made myself get in the shower anyway and it was miserable. These are basically the worst things that happen to me on the weekends now. My life got so tame, so fast.

Market Days was really fun, I drank a bunch of frozen alcohol in a pineapple and split tacos with Karen. I also checked my phone and realized that the night before, I'd been texting with our old roommate, Doug. I had texted that I missed him and that he should come over to watch movies with us at like 3am, which he declined, but he did invite us to his birthday party at Logan Arcade that night. Even my drunk texts are benevolent now. I used to text people (coughPatrickandsometimesDavidcough) awful things about missing them or about how much they sucked but not anymore, I guess. Funny how that no longer seems like a good idea to me.

"We should go!" I chirped, waving my phone in J's face. He looked doubtful.

"You want to?" he said skeptically. "It's in Logan Square," he added, clearly waiting for me to suddenly change my mind. He knows I hate Wicker Park & Logan Square.

"Yeah!! It'll be fun, I miss Doug," and I was totally being honest, too. It did sound fun. Besides, we've almost never gone out to a bar on a Saturday night before. And maybe we would make new friends. Or knowing us, stand there in the corner glaring at people.

"Okay," he shrugged. "If you think it's a good idea,"

I kissed his cheek. "Yes, for sure. I love you." He twined his fingers through mine and rested his head on my shoulder.

When we got home from the street festival, it was still early afternoon so we decided to sit outside on our deck and drink and read for a while. Then I got too hot, so we went inside to watch a movie. I decided that it would be a good idea for us to take a nap so we'd be refreshed for the party that night, and we snuggled up together and put on our matching sleep masks ("we're like The Professor and His Wife from Gilligan's Island) and fell asleep. I set an alarm for 8.

Instead, we woke up at 11:21pm. Shit.

"Baby," I said, loudly enough to wake J up. "It's 11. We overslept. Fuck!"

"Oh well," said J, spreading his arms so I would come closer. "Come and snuggle with your hubby," he said in this Dracula voice. I giggled, and rolled against his chest. He wrapped his arms around me and I buried my face in his armpit, completely relaxed. I love him so much.

"I'm kinda sad we missed the thing," I said, muffled by his chest. He shifted onto his back and I wrapped myself around one of his legs.

"Eh, I'm not, I didn't really want to go. We'll hang out with him sometime this week," J stroked my hair and ran his hands down my back, making me shiver.

"I know, but we like, never go out. I was kind of looking forward to it," I absentmindedly ran my hands through his chest hair, tapping my fingers along with his heartbeat.

"We can go out if you'd like, princess. Just pick something and we'll do it,"

"Okay, well, we should definitely go to the next party that we're invited to. We should be more social," I mused, pulling myself up. I looked down at J, and he nodded. It still felt kind of weird, though. I can't believe how fucking antisocial we are. And he used to be such a textbook extrovert!

We wound up hauling ourselves out of bed and finishing our Rob Zombie horror marathon, which took until 5am and most of a handle of vodka. And yesterday, we both had the hangovers of a lifetime. We totally deserved it, but still, ouch. I think that's the drunkest weekend I've had in... quite a while.

I don't know if it's just summer doldrums or whatever, but I'm fucking dying to go on vacation. We have two trips coming up in the next couple of months, and I'm so anxious for them. Except not really because I'm not done losing weight.