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Amour On Tour

 

 

AMOUR ON TOUR

 

 

Marena Blakely

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2015 © Marena Blakely

 

 

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 3

Chapter 2 8

Chapter 3 21

Chapter 4 34

Chapter 5 49

Chapter 6 64

Chapter 7 76

Chapter 8 87

Chapter 9 103

Chapter 10 117

Chapter 11 134

Chapter 12 149

Chapter 13 163

Chapter 14 177

Chapter 15 190

Chapter 16 202

Chapter 17 212

Chapter 18 221

Chapter 19 233

Chapter 20 250

 

Chapter 1

Friday: 2 p.m.

 

 

Today as usual, the hot midday sun bakes the people walking on the New York City streets like cookies. No really, skins not already in shades of crisp brown and in some cases lobster red, are well on their way to it.

One of them with slightly sunburned cheeks and shoulder is Annie Gibson, who is on her way uptown. She is a girl in her early twenties, doubtfully taller than 5 feet 5 inches and is currently dressed in cozy jeans and brown satin shirt, has her long blonde hair tamed in a ponytail, and her hazel eyes hidden behind a pair of nerdy black-framed glasses.

Just a block away from her, dressed like a rockstar, is a blue-eyed and dark-haired, evenly tanned guy named James Brooks, who is a little older and much taller than Annie.

Soon they will cross ways on a crosswalk. So far, they have never seen each other. But in a few moments, they will fall in love. How do I know? Well, I am here to make it happen. I am Cooper, currently one of the so called kid amours. The best way to visually describe us in action may be to say that we are like the typical world famous Cupid. You know, the chubby little boy angel who flies around shooting people with a bow and arrow to make them fall in love.

He, however, has another reason to do that as he is a working angel, kind of an assassin only with friendlier intention. Cupid has to shoot them and doesn’t really give a shit what happens to them or with who they will fall in love with. He just goes to one, shoots and is off to the next. With us it’s another story. We choose our future parents and therefore, we do and should care who we’re gonna hit. And boy, do I care, because when the genes of those two mix something amazing will happen. Me! Well, hopefully me. In short, the flesh and blood version of Cooper.

Packed with the bow and two arrows, infused with a serum, that will work like a love potion, I get ready. The moment is here. On one side is James, in front of three teenage girls enjoying the sight of his butt, an older couple holding hands and some weird looking guy licking eagerly on his high piled chocolate ice cream cone. On the opposite end, all alone is Annie. She adjusts the relatively large purse she carries and like often is lost in a world of thoughts, biting her perfectly arched, doll-like lips.

Now, I have to act fast before the light will turn green, making them move towards each other in hectic New York pace.

I place myself in front of Annie and don’t hesitate for long, sent out a wish, aim and voila, hit her perfectly in the heart. I can clearly see the arrow stuck in her heart and a red glow steaming slowly through her body as the arrow slowly dissolves itself. She sighs and so do I, anticipating the fact that very soon she will fall madly in love with a great guy who coincidently got hit with an arrow dipped in a substance counter parting to hers, thus essentially making them instantly go bat shit crazy for each other. Awakening of reproductive instincts included.

Happy and confident, I turn around to face exactly that guy. I eagerly aim to his heart, just seconds he is about to cross way with Annie, pull and the arrow sets off in full speed about to give them an astounding cheesy love at first sight moment.

I close my eyes grinning like an idiot expecting to open them to see two people, who are too busy staring at each other and trying to get a hold of the overwhelming feeling that they probably forget that they are standing in the middle of a busy road.

“Ahwa.” A cry out suddenly stirs my eyes open, instantly yanking me out of my fantasy. My body cringes as I get a grip on what disaster has just happened. There, right in front of me, I witness something so terrible that it momentarily puts me into a state of shock. The ice cream guy is on the ground. My arrow sticks in his balls.

“Watch out, dammit!” James, who he has taken halfway down with him, scolds and gives him mad stares as he stands up fully and wipes dirt from his shirt and skinny jeans. He raises one of his shoes and inspects them, flinching at a scratch.

“Those are real leather. Idiot!” He spits in his hand, rubbing them in hopes they will heal by themselves.

The girls giggle and walk off.

Annie gazes at James.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” he fusses at her.

The older couple offer a hand as the first cars starts to honk.

“Thank you, I got this.” Annie forces a muffled smile at them to which they also set off.

Ice cream guy still lays on the street crunching as if he has serious issues. He only tripped, therefore he obviously is a drama queen.

Annie holds out a hand to help this, as James had addressed, filthy idiot up. While doing so, she sneaks another glance at James who shakes his head in their direction and walks off annoyed. Not my idea of love at first sight. Damn.

Great, James is gone and now all of Annie’s attention is towards that guy whose hand grips equally dramatic around hers. He smiles at her brightly as he rises now fully exposing the horrible sight of my arrow sticking right in his crotch.

As I try to puzzle the pieces together, while not being able to look away from the misplaced arrow that currently dissolves into his system, it dawns on me that while I aimed towards James’ heart, this guy, with the worst timing ever, decided to fall to not only misdirect the arrow but to skillfully catch it with his genitals. This guy totally screwed up my foolproof plan. Only because he, a grown man, was too stupid to fall over himself. There was no gap, nothing uneven, not a single tiny rock that could have been in his way.

He now frantically uses a tissue, trying to clean some of his ice cream off her breasts, making it look perverted as fuck. She just stands there and endures that far too long, smiling enchanted at him.

“I, I am so sorry. I’ll buy you a new one.”

Annie looks confused.

“A shirt, I’ll buy you a shirt. Oh, wait, how expensive? Dry cleaner, yeah. I’ll pay for the dry cleaner.”

He smiles at her and points to the end of the street. “There. Clean and Sheen. Cheap and good. I…I live near by it. Often go there. P…perfect for a bachelor like me.”

Annie smiles, apparently finding his stutter attractive. “Don’t worry, that’s nothing my washing machine can’t take care of.” She is about to go when he stops her.

“Here.” He takes out a 5 dollar bill and after she refuses to take it, he tucks it insistently in the backside pocket of her jeans and then finally they continue to walk, luckily in different directions.

[][][] Chapter 2

Friday: 2.10 p.m.

 

 

I am left there standing, still holding the bow in my hand as I watch Annie walk away. I can’t believe this is happening. Only weeks ago, I came down on earth with such excitement, positivity and looking forward to my future that I never even remotely entertained the possibility of such a situation.

Really, all I could think of was who I wanted to be. This young man, a hot rock star, talented, popular and awesome. A vision I have mastered to perfection in heaven. One I now needed to turn into reality. All I needed was a mother and a father with the right genes. No problem I thought. I mean I won the lotto. The gene lotto. A thing as much, if not more, desired and unlikely to win as the earthly one, where you get money. I could pick whoever I wanted. The only restriction is that they must be compatible, looking for love and want kids.

Sounds restrictive? Nope. A lot of people are. It’s like a big catalogue. Even for me, who unlike many of my colleges chose the express serum. The main difference between this serum and the less risky, yet more complex way is that they have a device called a glory c, like an iPad, giving them details and access to individuals anywhere in the world, being able to pick parents, even if they are currently in complete different geometrical places, whilst I basically have to take what I get in front of my own eyes while going on a parent hunt on earth. However, while they might have to wait weeks to decades before their parents meet, my parents, more precisely, the egg and sperm of them, will most likely meet really soon. Yes, those two reproductive human gametes are reserved for my conception, the moment I chose their owners to be my parents and no, if this ‘meeting’ happens in the time frame of one month following it, the designated lifespan of this reservation, neither a condom or pill can prevent that I’m gonna be the result of it.

The one key ingredient for the mission’s success is the love serum. With the help of it, shot into the parents soon after choosing them, being at full bloom, activated and reliable right away, the mating in a month part is pretty much a sealed deal. Primal and unromantic to some, genius and helpful to others, I’m raising my hand here. Anyway, you never know, those two might hit it off long after the serum fades. It happens, you know. Of course, it can also happen that they’ll move on after making their job of creating a life, get separated by another kid amour who could chose the father, but wants a better fitting mother for their plan, or simply feel this parent thing isn’t for them. It’s just how the world works, animals, inclusive humans, are supposed to reproduce and romance is just a sugarcoated bonus treat given by the mighty universe, and sometimes by the hands of us.

Getting increasingly bored in heaven, I couldn’t wait to get down there already, and sweeten the lives of two individuals, while also literally launching my career.

And then finally, after my last day of Amour school, in which those lucky individuals like me have learned the basics, shooting, picking out and all that, we, hundreds of dreamers, future queens, actors, equipped with a huge bow and arrow, got sent to earth to go parent hunting.

Now we were all earthbound, alone, soon to be hanging out at places where you can feel as if you have all of a sudden, out of nowhere, fallen in love and most likely end up having a one night stand or rush into a passionate affair. Usually, this is at a party or maybe some rodeo. Whatever is available. One of my colleges, a future country singer, indeed went to Texas, others to England. I went to a place where potential model and musician parents would be plenty.

When I found myself later on a street, seeing the Empire State and Chrysler Building and all those various people around me, I felt like I landed in a pot of gold. Realizing shit just got serious, I broke out into a little happy dance, and then immediately set out to find myself a pair of parents.

How that works is relatively easy. You wear some magic glasses in which most of the people are grey, and those fulfilling the basic criteria points, therefore being the ones of interest to you, are in color. It could be that they know each other, already are dating, already have kids or are complete strangers passing by each other.

Whenever two matching individuals are close by, there appearing in front of me is the vision of the spawn they would make, their kid. The stronger the parents capability, the stronger the vision. It literally stands there, presenting itself, spinning around in circles, sometimes even acting as if being on a fashion show, at the end of the aisle, making a hands-to-hip motion.

Besides it, although being more passive, appear the parents, a necessary tool in case you make a pick, because then those two would be the ones you’ll need to shoot. But first you have to claim the body of whatever person has just persuaded you in wanting to become them. Once you step into it, fusing into it, this body, this person, already having a name and skills, will be yours. Basically, your soul has found a vessel and with a snap, you are no longer a formless being, you are this person, having a body that already feels like a phantom one, and now the only thing is to make sure to put it from ghost form into live form. Make your parents make you, if you will. Love infuse them. Oh, and make sure that no other guy puts his sperm into her first, which I forgot to add, this would indeed be able to kill the version in its tracks and most certainly not only kill it but create a whole new one. But why the fuck would that happen.

To help you concentrate all other visions disappear, they just puff away, and every person is colored again.

Choosing an auto age of 18, I spent hours watching hundreds of versions, boys and girls with skin tones raging from dark brown to snow white, hair colors from black to white blond, bodies from model-like gazelle to dwarfish short, beauty from a face only a mother could love to knockouts, but none of them looked the way I have pictured me. And worse, none of them had the skills that would be useful in pursuing a career in the music industry. I had come across all sorts, artists, surgeons, even an astronaut. The only one labeled as having a mad talent with instruments and voice was a girl. Therefore, I had to, like with all the others say “next” and dismiss her.

When it was beginning to get dark, I got scared that I might not be able to find what I am looking for. I was pickier than I thought, acting almost assholish seeing a beautiful talented person and only give them a once over that says with an unspoken arrogant and sassy manner, are you fucking serious? At least four times I thought I might have let go one worth snatching. But I always hoped to get something better, and then after having headed to Times Square, being bombarded with many more versions, I finally saw him. This tall, ice blue-eyed, caramel-skinned, raven-haired, musically talented, guy named Cooper. His body being the kind you can stare at for hours but still won’t find a real flaw, the legs, arms, torso all having the perfect proportions. His face, oval shaped having features like razor sharp cheekbones, a slightly too long nose, lips nicely arched, eye lids somewhat hidden. All those things giving him an extensive appearance but undeniably the combination worked out more than well in his favor. It’s like a stature crafted to perfection, using flaws, or pop in the eye features to make it stand out, make people turn their heads and say “holy shit that guy’s hot”. A guy, I immediately knew I wanted to become.

I lost no time and claimed him, feeling incredibly happy and relieved to have found him, as he was more than I could have ever hoped for. Now my visions would finally have a face. Before I got totally lost in my newest vision of standing on stage and making the girls crazy, I got back to the scene, realizing the two people, my future parents, I have not even looked at properly, are somewhere around, in definite need of my arrow sticking in their hearts.

I hurried around and after looking into several faces of the wrong blonde with ponytail, as this was the way she had her hair, I finally spotted her, the woman I now know as Annie, just as she entered a store selling special effects makeup. She was clothed in similar outfit like she wears right now, with those nerdy glasses, and had a large coffee in her hand. While she chewed on a piece of gum, she scanned the aisle displaying a variety of makeup palettes.

Being sure it’s her, my would be mother, I tagged her, and then I went out to look for the guy who would be my father. He wore something odd, a shirt with different colored dots, so I thought he’d be easy to spot.

I didn’t see him. I fanatically ran around and looked in every guy’s face hoping I will see the one whose aura just caused that vision. But he was nowhere to be found. Nowhere, gone. It was terrible, knowing those two, who are ridiculously compatible, possibly soul mates, are only a few meters apart and don’t have a fucking clue. And knowing if that status doesn’t change, me and my newly acquired body’s days on earth will be numbered. So, all I could do is follow her and hope she would pass him again, see him, be friends with him, meet him at work or a party. Along with that, I would head out to look for him. And this I did 24/7. But every day that went by was the same. I did not find him. Soon days tuned into weeks.

It was frustrating, but then finally, yesterday my heart skipped a beat, when suddenly outside the pub named Blue Zombie where Annie works, a poster hung. There, the face I searched for all this time now stared down at me. The poster said, “James Brooks, musician, actor, come see his movie Viva Las’bitas and hear him play live afterwards. Entry 7 dollars. It has replaced one that said, Devils Brat.

Posters like that are at the pub because of its tradition to play a movie on Saturdays. Usually, they are scary movies with loads of gore and all sorts of monsters, human lunatics or simply fucked up plots. Another tradition is that there is live music after the movie. So the people who already began to drink during the movie could get even more wasted rocking to music that sometimes is scarier than the movie previously shown. Though I’m not sure if this is intended. They have a bunch of regulars, like some older band and a female singer who, in my opinion, sounds like a witch.

Now he would be there. It was the best turn of events that ever turned events. I couldn’t believe my luck. First, that he’s doing some amazing stuff like acting and music, giving no point to wonder why his spawn would get such great genes, and secondly, that he’s going to be showing off that in Annie’s work place, gave me enough reason for another extensive happy dance.

The only itzy bitzy problem was that Annie currently had some days off, meaning there was a great possibility that she would miss that spectacle. Even though she lives only opposite the street of the pub, Annie has no problem hanging in her room most, if not all, of the day, have her curtains drawn, being so shut off that the world could end and she would not know it.

Therefore, I needed to find a way she would meet him. I waited eagerly for the moment, when not only I will get my eyes on him but she locks eyes on him too.

Somehow they must cross ways, or at least be close by each other. In essence, it doesn’t matter they don’t actually see each other. You could hit them separately and the serum would work its magic. They would be guided to each other by an invisible force. But rule is, the closer they are, the stronger and faster the attraction. That’s why I planned on hitting them when they are so close to each other that they might as well start mating on the spot.

I thought this will have to wait until tomorrow but then a few moments ago, I saw him, far in the distance, his mesmerizing self, popping into view, walking to whatever place he’s now at, and definitely veering into the direction of Annie who’s quest to again make a trip to the special effect makeup store got her out of the house.

Realizing their ways would soon cross, I steadied my weapon, got ready, anticipated the moment, being sure they would by now recover from the fresh hit of my arrow. Preferably helping each other, at any stage, from having a chat to fucking on a car accepted. But then along came ice cream guy. This motherfucker, plan screwer, life screwer, everything screwer. No, one thing he isn’t allowed to screw and that is Annie.

Now as Annie and this guy have gone out of my sight, I suddenly feel something in the hand that doesn’t hold the bow. I open it up and see several little pearls, white, radiating fog, as if it’s dry ice.

Yes! I scream, swirling them around, taking a closer look, smelling, feeling them, knowing they mean I am monitored and sneered at, getting bets and on how I will use them and how most likely, I will screw up, but not giving a care.

In all my shock, I have forgotten about those, the so called pills of shame. They got a whole hour of attention in class. Those are the last resort, the generous pity gift from the Amour headquarters, granted to unfortunate individuals like me, who somehow messed up one of the easiest things to do, placing two arrows from a close distance into the hearts of the chosen parents. Though our teacher made sure to let us know that those mess ups are rare as not many are so unskilled, uncareful and stupid, and if you have to be a freaking genius to break the spell, which if you are the former, you probably aren’t. The spell, of course, if I’ve not explained it well enough yet, is the highly concentrated love serum now glistening in two bodies, in my case in at least one body, where it isn’t supposed to be. Since this acts like a drug, manipulating rational senses, making the individuals have only one goal, and that is to find their counterpart, mate and even if not aware of it, breed, and for this, at least until the serum fades, only one person comes to mind, the one holding the other part of the serum.

Making them change their mind, will be as difficult as convincing a dog person that cats are cute, and to give their sweet smiling doggie away to replace it with a grisly cat. What I am trying to say is that Annie is now thinking the guy is a dog, the cutest one she’s ever seen and James is a cat, an evil thing she doesn’t want to come close to.

So how will I convince her James, the cat, is better than the dog? I have no fucking clue. What I know is that with each of those pills, I have the chance of ‘attempting’ to change her mind, to fix the problem, ditch the dog, get the cat. How? That’s another tricky part, and something all of the amours sitting in glass have exchanged question mark glances, wondering who has came up with those, making us all pay extra attention to the bow training to not have to go through this.

There are three things on the menu to choose from. Manifestation of default character, meaning I can manifest as the flesh and blood version of Cooper, always dressed in white linen clothes but able to chose any age. Possession of somebody, meaning I can pick anybody I like, excluding the three parties involved, and make them deliver my message with either suggestion or complete over taking of body and mind, using them as a puppet. Appearing in dreams, meaning I can hop around their dream and there make my point.

What are you complaining about, you now might ask? Well, those three options are all carrying a burden. For example and let’s be honest here, it’s weird as fuck to manifest as the future child of the person. Not that they’ll know it but still. Also what are you going to do? Say, “Hey, ho, I’m your kid, there is the guy being my father, mate with him or I blow your brains out?” Mhh, I might get back to that thought later. Or, when you choose to posses some unlucky person, would you go and say something similar, only telling them there is a ghost who wants to be your kid. How high are the chances the person would go and say, “Really, all right, in this case, lead the way and I’ll do as you wish”? The odds are not high. Also, I see a big flaw in that you can’t use your parents. Sure, I get it’s probably a safety precaution to avoid immoral behavior by desperate contestants, but still, it sure would make things easier.

Also, as the teacher has pointed out, a possession doesn’t work on everybody, so by choosing a victim you are on a gamble and might not be able to do more than give them words in their heads, which they will discard as a silly daydream and surly not act on it.

The thing with the dream manipulation isn’t any better in the stakes of job security as it’s a fact that dreams are often forgotten once you wake up. The only hope is to make such a deep impact that memories linger in the mind long after waking.

Weighing them, it is the safest bet to go and become that future, or hopefully future citizen of earth, thinking of something smart to do. The moment the genius in oneself is required. By now, while contemplating, I have counted the pills, which was not as much of a genius move or challenge, as there are no more than four. A number that is the equivalent of the days I have left before I would fade.

It’s basically one pill per day, meaning I have only four short days to prove the odds wrong. Another thing I recall is that you also only get double the equivalent of minutes per pill, as you have on days. So it really would have been better to mess up earlier, so I had many more days with much longer chances. But that’s what I have to work with now. I’ve got four days, from today, Friday until next Monday midnight, to turn my fate with four pills, each containing eight minutes of shape-shifting power. In short, I have to plan every move precisely and better do so, starting now, as ice cream guy has already slipped from my view and since he is now my enemy number one, I need to put my hawk eyes on him, not letting him corner in on my mother.

My motivation can’t be higher as I only, for a second, imagine to be the kid of him. This would be almost as bad as having to go back to heaven and for a very long time, if not forever, say goodbye to my worldly existence, being another failure, another guy teachers would use as a scary story to make them pay extra close attention. And surely, I won’t ever become Cooper. This beautiful talented boy who would grow to be the rock star, will never live. What a waste of talent, and eye candy.

I rub the pearls, shake them in my hand. No, I don’t plan on going back to heaven anytime soon. I need to fix this. I need to, I want to, I have to become Cooper.

Realizing that, I sprint quickly after this guy, catching up with him after only seconds. Also in only a matter of seconds I am done with an observation round, a first attempt to get to know one better, and there he has scratched his butt, whistled to a girl in shorts, muttering a comment that she makes him melt like his ice cream, which he, I kid you not, is still licking on. The cone is broken, the ice cream drips down his hands and arms, no cares given about dirt, germs or his own sweat, that will make the chocolate salty whenever he makes the move to catch a drip.

My verdict is this, I am not ready to get to know him just yet. Still, I need to tag him, so I can track him. After that, I only have to think of him, and I will automatically appear where he currently is. With haste I do so. Ice cream guy now having joined the small group of people I monitor, or more bluntly expressed, stalk on earth. Obviously I’d rather stalk some more beautiful girls but what can you do. Not more than straightening up, getting into a warrior, don’t mess with me posture and make a motivational announcement to oneself, I suppose.

“I got this shit,” I say to myself and think to myself, “Hey, since the serum’s power depends on natural compatibility and sometimes can already fade in a matter of a few days if there is none, maybe with what happened, she’s not even affected at all,” while I start to beam myself with excited anticipation to the place wherever she is.

Chapter 3

Friday: 2.30 p.m.

 

 

Annie stands in queue at a Starbucks. Sadly, she appears to be quite effected by the serum. With the ends of her lips curled up to a little smile and her eyes dreamy, she acts as if being busy studying the tablet on which is written what those coffees, lattes and teas, in either tall, grande or venti cost. Given the fact that Annie is a Starbucks addict, meaning there is hardly a day where she doesn’t enter at least once one of those coffee shops where a green mermaid lurks you in, she sure won’t find anything new on the menu. Annie, who never gets anything else than a tall coffee latte, doesn’t seem to mind, it’s always good to know what to not order must be her philosophy.

Usually a coffee to go girl, with the habit of treating herself with a cup on her pre-work walk that happens most mornings, she sometimes sits down. When she does it’s often, or possibly always, here. I can see why. Unlike most other of those shops, this one is cozy, small and fairly unoccupied by people. So if you want to lounge on one of the ten golden fluffy armchairs, contrasting beautifully against the Starbucks green walls, where golden framed and scaled pictures featuring New York’s landmarks are hung upon, you can do it without having to kick one out of the way first. Also, it’s the closest to where she and her fellow coffee loving best friend, Samantha, live. They have separate flats, being in separate boroughs, but only about a ten minute walk each, and they’ll be here, making it the perfect place to spent most friendship moments.

“Two tall lattes, one iced please,” she orders as soon as the last person in front of her, a fat middle-aged half-bald guy in a suit, steps to the side.

“Your name?” the young mocha-skinned barista asks, chuckling at her own joke. It’s because this ten minute distance to Annie’s flat is also the reason this store is her coffee pit stop in the mornings, which sets their meeting rate quite high. Especially since the barista seems to always work around that time.

She, a chatty and cheerful owner of dreadlocks in the colors of the rainbow and lips thicker than a white girl’s mouth repeatedly stung by bees, often wants to convince Annie that they have so many more summer appropriate drinks besides a warm coffee. But Annie’s mind is unchangeable in that matter. Right now, unable to restrain herself, she shares the information that it’s currently 95 Fahrenheit outside, but then as Annie fiddles in her purse for change smiles defeated, holds out her hand ready to receive the 5 dollar and couple cents the order costs.

Seeing that there are only mostly bronze coins in her wallet, Annie frowns, probably thinking she shouldn’t have gotten those two coffees earlier. But then, remembering only a fraction of a second after I did, her face lights up and she gets the crumpled money bill from her pants’ pocket. After vaguely straightening it out to be more of a worthy exchange tool, she hands the bill over to her faithful caffeine supplier. Then, shortly before the barista can grab it, Annie stops in midair, stares at it and immediately retreats. Taking a closer look, she begins to smile even more and before I get a chance to find out why this money inflicts that reaction in her, she quickly crams it back in her pocket.

Now seeing how she gathers a handful of coins to pay with, being so calm and slow that it seems she has forgotten that there are several people behind her who probably don’t like that she hasn’t gone for the bill, I get increasingly annoyed. The reason for that is that it’s fairly obvious that the whatever is up with the money has something to do with the ice cream guy.

“Are you going to pay or what?” The voice of Samantha, coming from behind, startles me. And Annie too, because she jumped on the heel of a little girl behind her who now cries dramatically. Annie wildly apologizes and Samantha, holding her tiny dog in her arms, says, “Hey little girl, if I get you a marshmallow pop, will you stop crying?”

Instantly, the crying changes into a wide grin. “The one with sprinkles,” the girl says. Then as her mother scolds her, she starts to flutter her eyelashes sweetly and adds a stretched over pronounced, “pleaaase,” and an excited, “I love marshmallows.”

Samantha responding with, “Thought so,” turns to the barista and hands over her money while announcing that she’ll pay for the coffees, that she should upgrade them to venti, put some chai syrup in hers and that she wants a marshmallow pop for this little girl. Annie is still apologizing and looks at this blond, pointy-nosed girl as if she was too sweet for this world.

Meanwhile the dog, whose skinny grey body is naked, but has long fabulous white hair on head, feet and tail, stares at me with his one blue and one brown eye. It’s what he always does. This psychic thing. I suspect he sees me as if I was a real person, but has a sense that something is off. Usually when we meet in public places and I ignore him, his attention will fade. It’s a whole other thing if it’s not a public place. Then I sometimes get to see his teeth.

“What’s its name?” the girl asks, just as I get into hardcore ignoring mode.

“His name is Monster,” Samantha answers. “He’s a twelve-week-old Chinese Crested puppy.”

“I want this for Christmas. With hair dyed and braided, and a dress.” The girl rubs her hands together, in her imagination this stuff already happens.

“All pink,” she adds.

“Christmas is a long way.” The woman chuckles.

“Long, long way,” Samantha agrees and now grabs Annie by the shoulder and wiggle walks her to the section where the orders will be handed out.

“Are you all right?” she asks Annie as they wait for their drinks.

“Yeah.” Annie, appearing mentally absent, pats Monster who has already forgotten about me and lusts after the cheese sandwich this bald-headed guy eats who is sitting at a table nearby.

In the background, the little girl, already holding the free snack from Samantha, tugs on her mother demanding a strawberry frappuchino instead of a small chocolate drink. Samantha shrugs, not sharing Annie’s admiration towards the girl.

In my opinion, Samantha is quite a character. She gives herself the nickname ‘firebomb’ which is to be fair not too much of a delusion of hers. In fact, her hair sure looks like fire. Though she is a natural redhead, hers seems way redder than the usual coppery hues of the people blessed with this rarity. Also it’s mad, very curly and the ends reaching her butt almost make her look like a cartoon character. The ‘bomb’ in her nickname must relate to her relatively huge breasts that are prominent on her otherwise slim but hourglass-like figure. A body she proudly shows off in dresses. Thinking about it, I have never seen her in anything else than a dress. Any color imaginable in either skin tight, with nothing left for fantasy or loose, playful and classy. Today, she wears a mossy green summer dress that she has fashionably matched with her big, also mossy green eyes.

What I know from hearsay, tales and observation is that the two of them have met at an expensive school for makeup some years ago. Back then, both started out with the same goal of getting into the movie industry but now while Samantha gets one cool job after the other, working for movies and TV shows, getting good pay, Annie is stuck working in a pub. A job she only got because Samantha asked her mother, the owner of the pub, to hire her. Samantha tries to get her connections and makeup related jobs but no matter the efforts, Annie just doesn’t get a job. She usually plays down her frustration over this, but secretly it can happen that she sits at home and cries about it. Then she makes a TV marathon, which usually, at the latest when makeup is involved, only upsets her more. At least right now she doesn’t seem to care about any of it. She doesn’t seem to care about anything. Only maybe ice cream guy.

“Rrrrhh.” Monster, whose food porn is over, as the sandwich is in the man’s belly, snarls at me. Must be because of my accidental eye contact with him while walking through a cleaning sign. I go the route again, making a point of walking around it this time, but he keeps staring and growling into seemingly nothing.

Samantha shakes her head, rubs his head and mutters, “Crazy dog,” as they take their drinks and go to a table in front of the huge opened glass front facing the street.

“You’re welcome by the way,” she says as they sit down.

“What?” Annie asks.

“I paid for the drinks.” Samantha puts Monster behind her on the seat and gives him a bone to chew on. He’s all into it, so I sit on a chair next to them and out of eye sight of him.

“Oh, yeah, thanks.”

When Samantha watches the girl leave, trotting after her mother, in one hand holding a half-eaten marshmallow pop and in the other a pink frozen drink, glancing with a grin at what’s behind her back, she furrows her forehead. “Kids,” she says simply, as she gets into a lady like pose. Sitting with a straitened back and her longs legs crossed, she adds with delicate movements some sugar to her cup, eager to make this drink a blessing to her taste buds. After she’s done she takes a long suck on her straw, having a face of pleasure that only shifts when she turns her attention to Annie who now clearly and completely is gone to la-la land.

She just sits there staring towards the street, doing nothing, not even drinking from her human form of fuel.

Samantha, with her head tilted, eye brow raised and mouth pouted observes her for a short moment. Maybe half a minute or so. She’s not very patient.

“Ok, I’ve got updates,” she announces. “Job wise, man wise and otherwise as well.”

Annie doesn’t react, her mind still anywhere but here.

“So, yesterday I had sex with Claude Johnson,” Samantha says as if it’s no big deal, making this statement an obvious bluff. If she had she would be now jumping up and down on the tables as this guy is her celebrity crush number one. He is an actor, a young hot rising star that makes most teen girls worldwide rush into the cinemas hoping he would have some scenes where he will be naked and of course that if they are lucky he will one day marry them. Although Samantha is one of them, she’s hands down a step ahead of them as she has scored a makeup job for the movie he is currently shooting in and around New York City. It’s a period costume drama were Victorian people somehow got stuck in the modern times and are confused like hell about cell phones, iPads and pants that look as if the diapers are full. And because she is a self-proclaimed lucky bitch, she gets to apply his makeup and his wig for the next two months.

Yesterday, they were shooting until late at night in Central Park and as her schedule for today still includes going to a long due hair dresser’s appointment, going to a date with an old crush who called out of the blue and eventually going to another possibly very long stretching night shoot, she only gets some little precious time to spent with her friend right now. That may be the reason she’s so eager to get her back and engage her into a conversation.

“Annie?” she hisses. Then repeats it so loud people turn heads. “I got into Claude Johnson pants,” she says. “Where’s the applause, Annie?”

By now, Annie has somewhat reacted, offering her friend an absent ‘I have no idea what you are talking about but good for you’ smile.

“Did I tell you yet that I got a job at a Tim Burton flick?” Samantha asks in between sips, staring at Annie who now also realized there is a drink waiting for her to be consumed.

“Pinewood Studios,” she remarks, after getting a little shrug from Annie. “I’ll have to move my all-American, sun-worshiping ass to rainy as hell, grey London. Can you believe that?” She sighs. “I will be in the land of pale, posh people who eat fried fish and have ghosts as roommates.”

I have a curious eyebrow raised, as she is paler than a person could be. But then, she’s clearly talking nonsense. At least she now got the attention from Annie, who snapped back the moment Samantha mentioned London.

“Really?” she asks a little delayed and rather dumbstruck.

“Yes really, and tomorrow I will become the queen of England making many very redheaded princes with Harry. Awesome news, huh?”

Annie nods and smiles as if this was a legit fact and she is sincerely happy for her.

“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you get a nice room in our palace,” Samantha says and then she makes a dramatic eye roll as Annie drifts again.

Seeing the serum radiating in her body leaving a subtle glow on her skin, I am not too surprised about her behavior. I got her full on, so she must currently feel as if she is on drugs. A drug she may or may not want or need a new fix on soon again. This stupid thing called love, love that isn’t even love. It’s just a manipulated feeling and wrong, a lie, a mistake, accident. I was close of having forgotten about my current reality and the guy responsible for Annie’s thoughts being stuck in la-la land. Heck, I don’t even want to know what she fantasizes about. Not thinking of Annie as somebody with a dirty mind, she possibly has visions of them, ice cream guy and her, jump walking happily, holding hands in a field of flowers.

Now, after having exchanged a helpless glance with the barista, who probably wonders if she now finally got this hot drink in summer shock, Samantha can’t take it anymore. She stands up, makes a step towards Annie, pulls her up from the seat, spins her around and gets the five dollar bill from the jeans pocket.

“Annie, you slut.” She gasps after a quick inspection. “Got that from a table dance or what?”

“No,” Annie protests. “I got that from a guy.”

“Yeah, duh.” Samantha breathes, places the dollar bill on the center of the table before falling and sinking back into her seat, waiting for an explanation.

Annie playing for time drinks on her coffee and escapes Samantha’s demanding gaze, pretending that she has interest in the school kids who pass by the window.

“Who’s Mike?” Samantha asks, having grown a curious but also somewhat knowing smirk on her face.

By now, I have gotten a good look at the money and sure enough, there is a number on it. A big, clear sharpie written phone number with the name ‘Mike’ above it. The number of the ice cream guy. He put his damn number on the money. What kind of silly flirt method is that? And here I was happy that he let her go without asking for a number or date. Damn, why couldn’t she just pay with it, making it one of those bills, hopping around the states, going from wallet to wallet, likely not being hers again.

Annie currently fails to hide a busted smile. This of course sparks Samantha’s interest even more and now her eyebrows take turns of being crocked while waiting for an answer. After a while of this, I am surprised about the athletic skills of Samantha’s eyebrows and Annie eventually gives in.

“There was a guy,” she begins shyly. “He tripped on the street and fell into me.”

“Tell me more.” Samantha is intrigued now resting her head in the cup of her hands, while her elbows are on the table, leaning in as far as she can.

“I almost fell,” Annie says, then quickly adds; “But I didn’t.”

Samantha has an impressed facial expression.

“He kicked that wannabe rock star over that’s playing in the pub tomorrow.”

My eyes are widened in terror. Did she just call him “a wannabe rock star” and that in a not very admiringly way? I can’t believe how disdainful she talks about James, my ideal as a father. Also, if there was any number making her smile like that than it should be his.

I frown at her, wishing she could see it. However, soon after, I try to soak positivity at the fact that she at least knows who he is. Knowing one exists is kinda essential for falling in love, right?

She continues to talk about how snobby she thinks he was and that he was freaking out about a scratch on his shoes.

“Hold on.” Samantha raises a hand. “Don’t change the subject.”

I frown again, this time at her, the subject is good, and it’s much better that she talks about James than the ice cream guy, even though it’s hate talk.

“I want to hear about that magic Mike, whose number on a money note makes you smile like an enchanted person. Nobody ever enchants you. So spill the info.”

“He ate ice cream,” Annie explains. “He splashed it all over my shirt.” With a silly little giggle she shows Samantha the remaining spot just beside the décolleté cut, which is hardly visible on the brown fabric. “He was so nervous and sorry. Almost like when Monster gets busted eating from the countertop.”

Did she just refer to him as a dog? A puppy? You gotta be kidding me.

“So, a random guy crashed into you with his ice cream and coincidently hit your breasts with it, that sounds exciting,” Samantha teases and takes a long sip of her drink, keeping her glance fixed on Annie who squirms uncomfortably on her seat.

“Don’t tell me he gave you a helpful hand wiping it away.” She laughs at that thought and Annie decides to not comment on that. As we know he did, he did indeed.

“And why exactly do you have money with his number on it?” Good question.

Annie shrugs.

“It’s just odd in a world of cell phones,” Samantha continues. “If a guy hits on me he usually wants me to type my number directly in his phone and dials it to check I haven’t screwed him right after.”

“I forgot my phone at home. It’s still on the charger,” Annie says. She explains that he didn’t ask for her number anyway and the only reason she has the money is because he offered to pay for the dry cleaner. Then with a notable sadness in her voice, she adds that he probably isn’t even aware that his number is on it or that it maybe isn’t his at all. But Samantha is quick to object saying that she doesn’t think it was an accidental falling into her at all.

That thought, which hasn’t yet occurred to me, twists my insides hurtfully. It gets even worse when she asks if he said anything about him being single, of cause in a random manner, to which Annie nods and Samantha smirks winningly.

“He’s one of those guys who are too weird or shy to hit on a girl the normal way and pull off stunts like that. Although the dry cleaner number one is a new one to me,” she says. “Anyway good news is. He seems odd. You like odd. Is he your type?”

As Annie makes a head movement that looks as if she can’t decide between nodding or shaking, Samantha comes closer as if she was about to tell a secret. “What if he was godsend, nobody ever just fell into me. On a scale from toast to Claude Johnson, how hot was he?” she asks.

To answer this question myself, I would say two weeks old moldy rotten half eaten by mice toast. His face comes in my memory. The fleeting chin, longish yellow hair. That clown smile of his. Bah.

“Toast, I guess.” Yeah, Annie. I clap happily at her judgment.

Samantha doesn’t seem to buy it, though.

Unfortunately neither do I, her constant smirk gives her away.

“I’m hungry,” Samantha now says while stretching. “How about you go and get us some blueberry muffins from this money?” She takes the bill and shuffles it over to Annie whose smirk has finally faded. In return Samantha’s has gone to a beam.

“Gotcha.” She winks. “Keep me updated.”

While they continue to chat about guys from Samantha as well as men in general, I get a super idea, I will use my first form and just get that bill and destroy it. Therefore she won’t have his number anymore, and she won’t, if that was her plan, be able to reach him.

Now, I only have to figure out the how, when and where. I guess it’s official, game on.

 

Chapter 4

Friday: 3.45 p.m.

 

 

Annie is almost home. The only thing between her and the disastrous device, her phone, the thing making her able to contact ice cream Mike are a couple steps, a front door and a staircase. This all wouldn’t be so much of a dread if I wouldn’t have had to witness her behavior she pulled ever since parting ways with Samantha. It was as if after saying goodbye, and all need of suppressing emotions delved, she’s gone full on ‘I am in love’ mode, turning her smirk into this unbelievable half moon form. Seriously, I swear, if she doesn’t stop that soon, or at least tones it down, I’ll have to use my first pill and slap it off of her face. It actually makes her look creepy. Her face wasn’t made for this. Smiling yes, half moon no. I’m fairly certain, on her way here, it made a baby in a stroller cry. So basically, if this persists, I would make the world a favor with a bit of slapping.

She’s getting closer to the steel door that is the entrance to the Bed and Breakfast where she has a flat in. The apartment complex, consisting of six flats, belongs to the pub where she works. It’s positioned opposite the street of it and to signal it’s a thing, even though divided, it’s painted in the same black wall color and has a name that matches the theme. As the pub is called Blue Zombie, the Bed and Breakfast has the word Breakfast replaced with Deadfast, so it’s a Bed and Deadfast. Not sure how that is appealing to guests but it’s constantly booked out.

Annie gets to live there for a fraction of the usual New York rent as her boss has offered her the room in exchange of working as a barista for almost free. She only gets some money for food and her coffee but she seems to be okay with that. Understandable, I mean who doesn’t want to live in a Bed and Deadfast.

The front door opens in full speed, doing the slap job for me.

“Annie.” Sue, her boss, is the one to give credit for Annie’s temporary normal face.

It’s easy to tell that this woman is Samantha’s mother, as she looks like the older, but not less stylish, version of her. She’s clearly the genetic reason why Samantha has her red hair as this woman has the same deep copper, fiery hue. Only hers is in a shoulder long bob. She is also perhaps the reason Samantha is a bit gaga, because, yeah, she’s a bit gaga. Just as the fashionista she is, she currently wears a blood red dress, decorated with a black corset and heels, has her lips red and her mascaraed eyelashes are so thick they look like insect legs. The odd thing is, it looks kinda good.

The incident startled her so much she needed a moment to collect herself.

“I’m so sorry, didn’t see you there,” she explains, the words half amused, half guilty. As she gives Annie a tissue there comes a scream from the house, resulting her to make a victory strike.

Annie taps her nose and the tissue gets some red snot on it.

“I’m incredibly sorry, are you all right?”

“Yeah.” She acts as if high.

Sue looks as confused and skeptic as her daughter. “Sure it’s not broken?”

Annie touches it, not sure herself but then nods, along with an assuring smile.

“Did you see that?” Sue points to the poster of James.

“Didn’t you want to show Devils Brat?”

“That was before I’ve seen this guy play at a pub in Soho. He’s fantastic.”

Annie looks at the poster. I can’t read her face though.

A bit to nonchalant for my liking perhaps.

“I chatted him up after his gig and asked him to do a show for the Zombie, then when I told him about our movie nights he told me that he is an actor and recently got his first feature movie out. I watched the movie, it’s great. Lots of gore and skin. Just what I like. He agreed to do a gig here tomorrow instead of the other pub.” Sue goes on saying, “That right there is the next big star” announcing, “and he will play here,” and remarking, “It’s gonna be the coolest thing we ever had. I am so excited.”

“I can tell,” Annie says.

“As usual, you are very welcome to come.”

Please try to persuade her.

“He’s coming in at 5, shows starts at 7. Wouldn’t want miss it if I were you.”

Good. Go on.

“I gotta run.”

Pfff.

Sue hurries over to her pub, the dress lets her only do mini steps.

Annie goes in, making her way up to the first floor, not giving a second glance at the numerous blood splatters, hand, foot and dragging a dead body around prints that are all over the place. It’s as if she just walked into a chopping party, and as the blood looks fresh, really fresh in fact, it’s easy to assume that the party is not over yet. But fear not. This is only paint, no harm done here.

The reason that woman screamed earlier wasn’t because the killer had chosen her as the next contributor for the bloody decor. No, it was probably because she found one of the hooded, prop knife carrying, dummies hidden either under the bed, in the closet or behind the curtain. The way Sue’s mind ticks. She wouldn’t want to disappoint any guest paranoid enough to check for a killer lurking around. That’s just what the guests have to take. A dash of gory glory in the otherwise friendly champagne color walled, Ikea furnished, rooms.

Annie’s room is killer free, though. The only thing she’ll find under her bed are dust bunnies. And now she could hunt them because she’s in it. Her first floor flat, a cute medium-sized living room along with attachments in the form of a small kitchen corner, bathroom and bedroom. As Annie shares the floor with another apartment and there are two more above her and below her, the addressed random screams usually emerge at any time of the day, from any direction.

Right now, she’s doing her ritual which is throwing the shoes and purse in a corner, and changing into comfy sweatpants. With the jeans in the laundry basket that stands in her bedroom, I have a moment of joy but it doesn’t last because she moves on to do one frightening thing after the other. First off, she gets the dollar bill of evil from her jeans pocket, then she gets her phone, puts the money on a shelf beside some books and a chewed on dog squeaky toy, then she paces around before spending a good minute standing before it, staring at it with the love smirk, tapping around it with her fingers. I think you agree. That all is a big red flag.

Thank God for the impossibly crappy battery life of her phone because, just unplugged, it’s already letting a dying peep and shows a red battery on the display. Face palming herself, she goes away from the shelf and plugs it back on the charger besides her bed. Next move is flipping on the switch of the power cord it’s attached to. This happened before. Why learn from mistakes. I’m not complaining.

With that sorted, she throws herself on the bouncy squeaky mattress, making it bounce so much that her laptop is about one inch from falling onto the floor. This scares her a little and she sighs relieved finding her baby is all right. The laptop has its permanent place on the bed. Just like her British flag blanket and an overload of pillows. During the day, when working on it, it’s usually on the right side facing the room, and during the night, it gets moved to the left side facing the wall. That’s how she sleeps. Her on one side, the laptop on the other. It’s time somebody, aka James, kicks it out of this spot. Unfortunately, it doesn’t speed up the process of him doing this, now that Annie has the obsession about the number that belongs to another guy. Even though she is currently in a safe distance from it, she repeatedly lifts her head and glances in its direction. I am lucky that she hasn’t called or texted this Mike yet, and I have to make sure she can’t ever do it. This bastard can’t get her number, no way.

It doesn’t take long and Annie rolls over, checking her phone. Apparently it’s not charged enough, so she puts it back with a sigh. Soon it will be charged, though, so I shouldn’t allow myself to relax. Then when she checks again seconds later and lets a long impatient sigh, the red flag that began to wave now goes wild in the storm. She means business.

Doesn’t she have any pride? She’ll appear so needy if she’ll call so soon. How about sleeping it over for a night or at least go take a shower, so I can snag the thing unseen? In truth, that was my master plan to get it so far but as she usually goes to sleep late and isn’t to be trusted to resist much longer, I really need to reevaluate my options.

Sure, I could just pop up right here, right now, get this bill, eat it up or do whatever is required to destroy it. However, as I don’t know how Annie would react seeing a stranger appearing out of thin air in a locked room, but see a stay in a psychotic asylum in the range of possibilities, I better dismiss this option. It’s gotta be a less creepy approach.

Of course I could try to do it in a way she can’t see me but the way the apartment is set, it’s not that easy.

Annie’s bedroom is really only an extension of the main room. The space is so narrow that she can’t even fully open the drawers of a thin sideboard because her king-sized bed filling 90 percent of the room is in the way. The only other objects in there, placed in front and half tucked inside of the doorless closet right at the entrance, are the laundry basket, a trash can next to it, and a sparkly ballerina shoe. It’s pretty much the bed, perfectly surrounded by three walls as if custom fit on one side and all those other things on the other, leaving only a tiny path from the back wall to the also doorless yet white string curtain decorated doorway, that separates the rooms.

The way she lays right now, she can easily see trough this curtain that really barely provides any cover. Here in the living room there is not more furniture besides a red polka-dotted low couch, an even lower table in front of it, a jacket rack at the door and the shelf on the side. So, not much hiding space to work with even if I tried to size the moment to rush up like a ninja as she lays flat. And as I said, she doesn’t lay flat much. It’s almost as if she does crunches or something like that.

Waiting for her to go to the bathroom, the only thing likely soon going to happen won’t do, as she has the habit of leaving the door open and from the throne she has a magnificent view to the door mirror that has an even better view to the shelf. Trust me I checked. Well, at least she won’t shit herself then.

I could bite my ass right now that I haven’t just stolen the damn thing on her way here, especially with the dread her behavior gave. It would have been too easy and convenient to get it while being out in the wild where I could just be one of the many odd people walking around. Unfortunately, I chickened out of it when I realized I had to get it from her butt pocket. Thinking back, I could have just been one more idiot like this Mike and unashamedly grab her backside to get it. If at all, I’d only get a slap on the cheek and it’d be over with.

She just unplugged the phone. All right. Plan where are you?

People are out in the hall downstairs. I hear a woman chatting to a guy about what she found in her room, informing him that she’ll need a couple of drinks to get over the shock, followed by a loudly shut door, and a decreasing clicking sound of heels on the cement.

Maybe I could come from there. From outside. All manners. No creeping. The way she looked at that girl… yeah, that could be an idea. Be a kid. As a little innocent boy, she probably won’t hinder me to walk around or be suspicious of my motives. I could knock on the door, ask for a phone, walk in and get that number.

The only problem is, why would I knock on her door, yet alone, why would I choose one located on the first floor of this complex instead of asking somebody on the street? That is a question I need to answer myself. Simple, there is no answer but there is also no time to think up the solution as she has just stood up.

She’s still having the smirk, clearly debating something out. Since her phone is in her hand and her gaze on the money, I have a vague guess what it could be.

Her legs move. She maneuvers over here. Shit, she really does. No optical illusion. She maneuvers. Straight and quite determined.

Oh no, this can’t be. Stop it, I scream to a person who I know can’t hear me, seeing her coming closer.

Please change your mind. Don’t do it now. Sleep over it. Please, please, pretty please.

She is almost here.

Pretty please, with a freaking cherry on top.

Now standing at the shelf, she intensively eyes the money and hovers her fingers over the phone’s buttons.

She’s about to make a move. Think. Think!

Annie tilts her head to the side and back, the debating reaching its conclusion.

Don’t do it! Get yourself a drink, food, nap, dance, do anything but this.

A nod to herself. Smirk. Ahhh.

Ok, no time to think anymore, it is time to act or else it’s too late.

I rush to place myself outside her front door. After a quick check around to avoid bad talk or heart attacks I take a pill in my hand.

All right, what now? A kid. What age? Must be young enough to be cute, old enough to talk and walk. What if it’s not working? A prank? Ah, fuck it.

Cooper, five years old, become flesh and blood, I chant, swallowing it. Boom, I’m a human. That stuff works fast. Awesome.

I hold up my hands eyeing them baffled. Then as I stroke over my skin, going over arms and cheeks, I get a bit fan crazy over myself. The skin is so soft, so beautifully pigmented. How do I smell? Sniff.

Whoa, concentrate! I am here for a reason. A disaster needs to be prevented.

As any other attention seeking kid would do, I start to cry so loud and miserable that she must notice it.

Really just seconds later, her footsteps approach the door, giving me an intense feeling of excitement as I stare at the doorknob waiting for it to open. It will be the first time I’ll actually be able to talk to her, my soon-to-be mother. It would be cool if she knew that I’m her yet unborn son. Or maybe it’s good for her to be unknowing as I don’t want her freaked out.

The door opens and she carefully peaks outside. In the seconds of preparation, I have rubbed my eyes fanatically, hoping they will look as if I had cried for real. She looks at me, the crying little boy who looks shyly up to her with the same irresistible puppy dog, eyelash fluttering stare like the Starbucks girl had. After all that made her go all shuu cutie pie let me cuddle you on her.

“Can I help you?” she asks in soft tone, looking for other people around.

“I’m lost.” I sob. “I lost my mommy.”

I think I got her.

“Do you want to come in?”

I nod, grunting between my calming sobs, hoping she didn’t see my short escaped smirk.

“We’ll find her, no worries.”

“Mommy.” I whimper, making another ugly cry noise.

Gosh, I’m good. Never have I ever seen more concern and compassion in one’s expression.

Now having made a step towards me, she offers her hand to help me up. I take it, letting her pull me up the same way she did it with the Mike guy earlier this day.

This simple gesture and the attached memory brings my focus in gear. Her skin also feels great by the way. So warm, soft, motherly.

“What are you doing here in the complex? she asks as she waves me in. “Were you here with your mother?”

The door shuts. I’m in. Yes. I gotta admit, knowing almost every angle of this apartment, it feels a bit stalkery to now be physically standing here. Anyhow, making it seem as if it’s just the curiosity of somebody who’s never been here before, I check if the money is still on the shelf, but realize I am too small to see it. I scan the other surfaces to see if the money has changed its place. As it’s nowhere, I assume it’s still there.

And as she gets her phone from there, I am sure it is.

“Where you with your mother?” she repeats, the voice in higher volume.

I’ve heard her the first time, but I still don’t have a plausible answer. “I am lost and need to call my mommy,” I say.

Seeing her holding the phone, I become aware that even if I managed to stop her from contacting him, which I can only hope, there is the real possibility that his number is somewhere in there. Inevitably another thing to take care off. All traces must get deleted.

“Please sit down. I will take care of you until you are safe in your mother’s arms.” She points to the couch and sends me the warmest sincere smile ever to be received.

I sit down, smiling gratefully back at her.

“Do you want a chocolate milk or something to eat?” she asks as she lays her phone on the little table in front of me. I try not to stare at it. “There are some yummy chocolate dipped strawberries in the fridge.”

I watch her thinking, you sure have a potential to be a good mother. “No thanks.”

“Sure?” Annie smiles, as if she doesn’t believe me.

Right, what kid says no to sugar. Also, it’s good if she’d go away, so I can do what needs to be done.

“Ok, thanks.” I again, smile grateful at her. I’m getting nervous, unable to do something else than sit there with my hands on the knees instead of having them on the phone and money.

“My mother lives in another state, she regularly sends me packets with more candy I could possibly eat,” she tells me while she gets several things from a cabinet. “I just remembered there were some marshmallows in it last time.”

Annie, carrying a plate with two chocolate strawberries and two similar sized marshmallow squares on it, comes back. Great, now I’ve lost a chance of action while she had gotten all that. She puts the plate in front of me, smiling excitedly. Then she takes the phone and asks, “Do you know your moms number?”

Do I know her number? Tricky question.

“If not I can call the information office.”

“I know it,” I say.

She holds the phone, ready to dial, only waiting for me to give numbers.

“Can I call?” I ask.

“No worry, I’ll do it. You go ahead and eat.” She smiles.

Impatiently I look at the phone, finally wanting it in my hands.

“Give it.” Crap, I didn’t want that to come out loud. Deep breath. Back into character. Shyly I meet her eyes, hoping she won’t over think her hospitably towards me.

I’m only a little boy in need. Smile.

Suddenly the phone rings, making her shriek and almost drop it. Following that, she excuses herself and answers it. “Mom, how are you?” she says, urging me to start eating something.

This can’t be real. She can’t have a conversation with her mother now, can she? Does everybody around here have the worst timing to make my life hard?

I’m so annoyed that I haven’t even noticed that I stood up and began to pace around. Annie, asking her mother something constantly has me in her eyesight. Maybe she is scared I will steal something. A five dollar note perhaps? Good idea. I should take care of that first.

Pickpocketers you have my awe. I can’t even pick shelf without being seen. I attempt some tries, but it always ends up in a pretended yawn or scratch.

But then, as she gets two mugs from a cabinet and therefore has her back shortly to me, I size the chance, get on my toes and tap around blindly to grab it.

While I feel nothing but the dog toy and dust on my fingertips, I begin to feel ice cold chills run through my currently not so ghostly body. My arms look like a plucked chicken and I’m pretty sure I just mouthed the word fuck, and she’s seen it. Where is the damn money?

“Mom, I’ll call you back in a second, ok.” She hangs up, while I once more, and this time more openly, scan the room for the money. I must have missed it before. It must be somewhere. But I don’t see it. No bill, no number, no nothing.

“Did you lose something?” There is unease in her tone and expression. Dammit.

I shake my head as an answer but keep searching. The time pressure begins to become apparent and in growing desperation I fight the urge to start pulling out those couple of drawer boxes that are placed randomly on the shelf.

With her expression skeptic, she approaches me carefully. Upon reaching me I stop, stare at her, expecting to be whipped, then realize that she, being the mother of the year, reaches out the phone to me.

“Here you go,” she says, gives a little smile and goes back into the kitchen corner.

Now as I hold the cold white phone in my hand I realize that I don’t have a clue how to use this. I have hung around in the modern world for several weeks now, watched many people on those things but nothing could prepare me for this.

Reassuring myself that this can’t be so hard to use, I smile to Annie who, while getting the drinks ready, checks if I am ok. Life is so much easier not being watched. This really makes weird things.

With shaky hands I press randomly around. While I want to master the getting any Mike details off this phone quest, I only see some messages from Samantha and some notes. Then there is something telling me the weather. I keep pressing, unable to give fucks anymore about the fact that it’s pretty damn obvious I’m not just dialing a number. What the hell is Candy Crush? Horrible sounds start to play.

I swear at the phone, wanting to smash it, suddenly understanding that one man I once saw who smacked his head with his.

“Need help?”

Hell ya I do. Feeling itchy I run over to her, throwing the phone as if it’s hot coal. The clock is ticking. Tick tock, possibly only seconds left.

She makes the phone stop and then in a moment that feels like a miracle, I see the money. It lays there, next to the mugs on the countertop. She must have carried it and put it there.

“Did you reach your mom?” Annie asks, trying her best to sound as if she talked to a normal kid. Also she hands me my mug. She’s too good for this world.

Taking it I notice my hand still shakes, then acting on impulse, I drop it and pour the chocolate milk over the bill.

“Upps,” I say as if it was an accident.

“It’s ok.” Annie gets a paper towel to clean up.

Apparently, chocolate milk is not an immediate sharpie destructor, so I rub it in to help the process of blurring the numbers. Doesn’t work, though. What the hell did he use? Frustrated I look at her. She is already staring at me, dumbstrucked.

Being out of options, I do the thing I should have done right away. I grab the money, tell her I am sorry and run off. Being happy to have reached the outside, I hurry to the next trash can to get it where it belongs. Only inches before reaching it, I vanish into air and the money slowly flutters to the ground.

“Nooo,” I scream, unable to bear this defeat. What if she comes out, finds it and just takes it back? I breathe heavily, hoping that at least nobody had seen me. Trying to detect any baffled gazes in my direction from the several people in sight, I suddenly see how the Bed and Deadfast’s door opens.

Chapter 5

Friday: 4.30 p.m.

 

 

Ok, it wasn’t Annie who went out the door. She stayed put in her apartment. It was somebody I don’t know and better yet, a dog pissed on the money bill some minutes later. The stream was so heavy and hot that the number finally blurred and when he kicked it away the thing crumbled together and now lays hidden behind a bag of McDonalds. I guess later on when people clean the streets this worry will be gone and since New York is a very big city, I hope Annie and Mike will not see each other again soon.

Even if that wasn’t the most graceful and smartest approach, the mission is accomplished and I am temporary happy and anxiety free, sitting next to her on the bed and imagining how one day she might tell me an anecdote about a weird little thief who once came into her apartment, poured a drink over a money bill and hysterically ran out. Guess that doesn’t happen every day.

Annie currently watches some YouTube videos on her laptop. For the last minutes it was some videos about funny, awkward movie moments. In there is a moment where a guy named Edward Cullen, in a vampire movie named Twilight, acts oddly as his flame sits next to him in class. Seems like she stinks or something.

After the video is over, she looks through some video suggestions given by the site and I hope she doesn’t think about watching that one movie again. A Wuthering Heights adaption I have seen her watch at least two times before.

Good, she’s deciding against it and only chooses to listen to its soundtrack. Something that is on repeat all the time. Music that makes you cry. In a good way. I think. String orchestra and choir. It’s so beautiful it must be enjoyed in a relaxed position with the eyes closed. That’s what she does now, and out of experience I know she can do this for hours.

A song called ‘I Will Find You’ plays. For reasons I know but try to push aside, I start feeling nervous again. With full forced anxiety back upon me, I think about making a round trip through some nearby pubs to maybe find James. Seeing him play might make me feel better. Those thoughts about ice cream guy possibly trying to find Annie are driving me crazy.

I head out. James is not to be found. After the tenth pub I decide it’s time to stop procrastinating and face the enviable. Mike. Only his name gives me shivers. I’m not entirely sure if I can stand to see him without getting a mental breakdown just yet, but I know that I have to watch him like an adventurous toddler to avoid him doing some fatal shit. The flashbacking stories of other wrongly hit guys make it worse. Some people, no matter how stupid, suddenly would find a way to get to some far away space galaxy if the person of interest was there. God knows what he is capable of. I should have checked on him sooner. I need to go.

Taking a braving deep breath, I beam myself to where he is. Not so brave after all, I have my hands covering my eyes, letting other senses do the first step of exploring.

My nose picks up a mixture of stale food, cigarettes and something cheesy. My ears pick up a mixture of chewing, gangster rap and more chewing.

When my eyes flare open, probably to double check that I didn’t accidently end up in a zoo where some ghetto monkeys have a chew off, I find myself in a room similar in size of Annie’s home with the only monkey being Mike.

Seeing him being where he is and doing what he does isn’t that much of a surprise. He said he’s a bachelor and picturing him living in a nice house, cuddled up to kiddos on the sofa watching cartoons, would never occur anyway. The loving, I’d say bachelorish note of a guy like him is clearly prominent here. The walls are painted in piss yellow, the I haven’t had a drink all day kind. There stands a dirty bike next to the entrance and those few pieces of furniture present look as if they’re bulk garbage picked up from the street. The two flower pots on the table and window have been taken care of with the black thumb and empty beer cans, pizza cartons and rand full ashtrays are the messily scattered decoration of choice.

Slightly swaying to the music that comes from somewhere next door, he stands in the middle of it all.

He’s turning to his sides, faces a reflective window and moves around so he can get a view of every angle of his body while eating noisily from a bag of chips.

Being his invisible judge, I would say he is at least 20 pounds overweight. While he didn’t look fat earlier this day when he was dressed in flabby pants and a wide shirt, I can see the body now. It’s literally presenting itself, the muffin top, saying “hello” from out of his mega tight muscle shirt. It’s so tight that I am surprised he managed to get in it, and now as he did, is able to breathe. Then, some minutes later, as if he had heard the suffocating screams of his trapped man boobs, he slowly starts to roll up his shirt while humming a seductive melody. Having halfway released a beer belly he stops as another song next door starts to play.

“Yes baby,” he says, throws the bag over his shoulder and immediately starts moving in a rather not-so-sexy way to the emerging beatboxing.

“Louder!” he commands.

I take a quick look into the other room. There I find a space with only a mattress and some clothes on the floor, a huge desk with a computer, and a guy who must be his roommate, sitting on a chair in front of it. He’s blond, and looks like he’s starving. Mike must claim all the food around here. His bony fingers are on the computer mouse, jerking up the volume on a playlist entitled ‘Songs Lindy likes’. The song itself is called ‘Hood Them Good’ and it’s basically just some aggressive beatboxing with a male voice shouting words like the ghetto versions of ‘lady’, ‘African American’, along with smack your ass, hot beast, get in my bed and a female moaning to it. The guy moves awkwardly in his chair, happy and trying too hard to be cool.

I am a little bit shocked by those lyrics and wonder why stuff like that exists when I go back to Mike who is going wild to the music. He moves his hips in circles, smacks his ass as the song commands, and whenever hot beast comes up, which is often by the way, he stares at himself in the window as if the song was written for him. It’s ridiculous. His curves, back trapped in his shirt, joggle like Jell-O back and forth, plainly disgusting. He is unstoppable.

Then suddenly, like that isn’t bad enough, some really horrible smell joins the others. I look around in the room, trying to locate the source, only to realize soon after that he is the source. He farts along with the beatboxing and those newly added hand wavy movements is him getting it away from him. Sometimes it is better if you don’t see what happens behind closed doors, believe me.

Holding my breath while taking several steps back, I gape at him in a similar manner people do seeing a train wreck. Any prior thoughts that nobody worse could have caught my arrow are long and thousand percent confirmed. He didn’t have to fartbox to rub that in. This is way better than seeing James play. This night is great. Might as well make camp here. His nauseating gaseous evaporations keeps popping and reaching my nose. What in the world did he eat? This can’t be from the chips. Too bad Annie isn’t here. This smell would surely cancel out any serum.

Just when I believe the song is on repeat and going for the tenth time another much less animating song starts. Breathing heavily and with sweat starting to seep out of every pore, Mike makes a weird gesture, attempting to give himself the, ‘hey you are the checker’ pose. He raises his arm, aims his finger towards his reflection in the window and then, he burps, loud, very loud and long. When he is done I can hear another burp from the roommate’s room. Admittedly, Mike’s was way more impressive and his proud face tells me that he knows that. Gotta have talents I suppose.

Under the now tuned-down music that continues to play, I can hear a knock on his door. I can’t stop laughing, while I imagine that this person had just listened to his burp and maybe even seen his weird gesture towards the window, since his door is right next to it, basically inviting the guest to look inside.

It knocks again and he still doesn’t hear it. I hope he will continue what he started before my new favorite song began to play and pull the shirt over to give the knocking person an, I am sure, much appreciated show.

Another more aggressive knock. Now he heard it. Damn. He goes to a chair and gets a button up shirt before going to the door. At least he knows he looks ridiculous.

Moments later, briefly buttoned up, he opens it. Seeing his guest, my happiness puffs away like his farts. Thinking, didn’t I just steal his number and how the heck do you know where he lives, I regain hurtful awareness that not only Mike must be treated like a toddler. There is baby Annie. Naive, blinded by the serum effects and prettier than I have ever seen her. In fact, opposite like with Samantha, I have never seen her wearing a dress. Right now she wears one, a very short one, a very red one. Red. Samantha’s once spoken words replay in my head. “Red shows you want him, availability.” I also remember her saying that shoes with a little heel give you an instantly more attractive posture and something reaching the half of your calf would really suit you, while I take note of the dark brown cowboy style boots gracing her feet. Her blond hair is open and wavy on the ends. Earrings? I didn’t know she owned something like that. Seeing how her also red lipstick beautified lips form a wide grin I realize that the power of my amour arrow must made her truly mad. Why is she doing this to me?

The visual of Annie, standing there like that, dressed like that, instantly triggered his macho button, resulting his one arm to be propped on the doorframe.

“Well, hello. Look who’s here,” he says, mustering her with an overdose of excitement and serious underdose of manners.

“Hi.” She seems hurtfully happy to see him again.

“What gives me the pleasure of finding you here at the front of my door?” He is armed with a flirt face, one that she quickly catches up with, mirroring the way he moves his eyebrow, the way he stares. How he looks her deeply in the eyes.

“Well, the cleaner costs 6 dollars and 75 cents,” Annie says. “I thought maybe I should just drop by and demand the rest.” She tucks a bit of hair behind her ear, making it look terribly flirty. “You only gave me 5.”

Mike says nothing but he doesn’t have to. I bet that this is the best thing that happened to him so far. A girl like that, standing in his doorway, literally begging to be hit on. He enjoys it so much that he now also puts his hair behind his ear.

Annie reaches out her hand to him, “We never really introduced ourselves.”

They shake and exchange their names. Grumpy I stand beside them, not all that happy that their hands are intertwined much longer than needed. Neither does the comment, “I hoped you’d call, but I like that better,” from him, degrump me. Or her lip bite while glancing down and then up, straight and deep in his eyes.

“How did you find me?”

Yeah, how the fricking fuck did you.

“Did my magic pheromones guide you here?” That came with a straight face. I stare, mentally sobbing. The worst is that his silly guess is the sad, sad truth.

“You told me you go to this dry cleaner.” Her voice is shy. “Clean and Sheen?”

Great, I remember that. But it wasn’t exactly the address. Explain. Waiting to get enlightened I get the answer when Annie directs her gaze to first briefly the infamous window and then to a sticker plastered on the front door. There is a cartoon woman with spread legs, holding a sign that says, ‘Mike’s Hood’ in front of her ‘entrance’. Classy.

“I figured that might be your door,” she says.

He chuckles, “Yeah, that’s my hood, you got that right.”

Ha ha, excuse me while I chuckle along. Go get him Annie. Thumbs up. Surely she got at least a little peak at his awesome dance. Placing myself in her height near the window, I’m sure of it. What a delightful surprise that must have been. Going out to find the man of your current desires. Suddenly along the way, doing the natural thing of looking in those people’s homes who ask for it, you see him, Jell-O dancing. What’s the most fascinating is that he must be aware of this, but he’s simply not giving a shit. Maybe he even feels sorry for her ovaries.

With seductive wink, after some wordless flirting, he steps out his hood. He leans on the door, making sure she won’t get a glimpse inside. Like that’s not too late.

Please fart, please fart, I think, seeing him and her walk to the dry cleaner next door. There at the window of Clean & Sheen is written in big letters, ‘$6.75’ for shirts. Did she do research before coming here?

“Too bad it’s closed.” Thinking hard while staring at her he suggests, “How about I pay you a beer? Costs about 2 dollars. Then we’re even.” He beams and worse, she beams even more.

“Let me get some keys and I will take you right now.” Confident he goes to the door. “Don’t move!” he commands and goes inside. With a big fat smile he closes the door, to immediately make a school girl happy, he just asked me out, dance. When he makes is approximately 5th round, he starts to dry hump the door.

“Who is this?” his roommate interrupts, standing in his rooms doorway.

Mike walks to him and whispers, “Dude, hot girl, red dress, dying to get laid by me, standing outside.”

He is skeptic. “Why would that happen?”

“Don’t ask, it’s a miracle. Ok, I need some cash, got some?”

The roommate gets his wallet. “You should start to get your own money.”

He tries to steal a glance out of a window.

“Holy shit.”

I guess he saw her.

“What’s her name?”

“Her name is ‘I want to get fucked by Mike’ that’s her name,” Mike says, making it clear that the serum only messed with his dick and not his heart. This bastard already forgot her name. I wish she would know.

“A not too common name,” the roommate says watching Mike go to the door. They give each other the middle finger as a farewell and off is Mike, ready to conquer Annie.

“Let’s get our beer,” he says eyeing her intently.

Annie asks where he wants to go. I don’t hear his answer. All I see is him taking and holding her hand as if they were a couple, a proper legit couple.

They are going out together. Right now. I wasn’t even thinking about this the last minutes as I was too busy getting to know him. I start to get nervous. This all happens faster than I figured it would.

Luckily, the moment they start to walk, unbelievably enough with their hands swaying together like not only a legit couple, but a legit happy crazy in love couple, Samantha’s loud and quite terrifying singing voice emerges from Annie’s purse. It’s Annie’s ringtone that signals her it’s Samantha calling. Every other caller gets a normal old fashioned ringing tone.

They hold, so she can answer her phone. Listening to the other side, she rolls her eyes. A sigh and a muttered “all right” later, she hangs up, looking apologetic. “I need to go, friend in need.”

He frowns.

“I’m sorry.” Annie turns to leave.

“Don’t do this, teasing then dropping.” He pulls her closer. “I won’t let you go.”

It makes her chuckle. His hand moves to grab her ass. She lets it. So far it’s the highlight of the sad yet fascinating demonstration on how very powerful the serum really is. He himself acknowledged it as a miracle and he’s clearly taking full advantage of it.

“I really need to go.”

“When am I going to pay you the beer? I want to pay you that beer”

Annie thinks for a moment.

“Do you wanna watch a movie?” she finally suggests. “I work at the Blue Zombie. Do you know it?”

Mike nods, waiting for her to continue.

“We show a movie tomorrow, it’s called Viva Las’bitas.”

Movie. Date. Zombie Pub. Is she?

“I am off work but my boss wants me to see it, so I am there. If you like you can come.”

Ha, she did. She just totally invited him to the pub tomorrow.

“Do you have beer there?”

“Yes, we do.”

“Count me in babes.”

Annie smiles, “Seven at the front?”

“Yeah.”

So quickly a mood can change. The excitement that she wants to go in the pub for the movie is so great, I can watch the scene playing in front of me without the flinching it deserves. It’s Annie walking away. Him staying where he is. Her acting cute and shy while she turns around to him, giving a little wave. Him acting cute and shy while waving back. This they repeat so long until she’s finally around the block, obscured by houses.

As she keeps walking and it’s unlikely she’ll decide one more wave needs to be added, and make backward steps to peak around the corner, I let out a big sigh of relieve. I didn’t have to use another life today. More left for tomorrow in the pub. Of course it’s a bummer that they’ll meet there for a date but hey, if that’s what it takes to make her go there and meet James, I guess I’ll need to be cool with it. Also, seeing that her boots that do look quite new have a price tag on, I need to remind myself that she is the last to blame for her behavior. I was the one hitting her directly in the heart. I am the one that needs not only save me but also her. This Mike is horrible.

Annie goes straight to meet Samantha, who waits for her on a bench in a park. I am thankful for her having unknowingly stopped Annie from going out with Mike.

She walks to her, getting greeted with a frown. “He ditched me! He fucking ditched me!” Samantha complains.

While sitting down next to her, Annie gives her an understanding look.

“After the hairdresser’s, I had some time left. I went to the salon. I remembered him dropping a hint he doesn’t like any hair on certain body parts, so I thought…”

Annie looks at her, grimacing hurtful.

“That’s right. Landing strip no more,” Samantha confirms. “Then I come to meet him, think oh he is just late. Damn he is late. Still not here.” She sights, glancing sadly at Annie. “Do I really have an asshole radar, like my brain deliberately looks out for them?”

Annie still looks understanding and I think that means she thinks that’s true.

“He didn’t answer his damn phone probably fucking some girl while pressing me away. Rhh if I knew where he lived I would go and kill this asshole.”

She takes out her phone and dials only to hang up annoyed soon later. “Still fucking.”

Looking into the nothing, her eyes slowly find Annie’s legs. While going up to her waist, torso, face. Annie smiles innocently.

“What happened to you?” Samantha asks as if Annie was covered in bruises.

“Nothing,” she tries.

“You are dressed as if you were trying to look good.”

Annie blinks innocently knowing she has no chance to lie to her friend who tells her, “You look great by the way,” while waiting for an explanation.

“I went to see Mike.”

Samantha’s eyes slowly make their way back in her head. She takes Annie’s wrist and feels the pulse. “Is everything ok with you?” Now she touches her forehead like a worried mother would do.

“Yes, I’m fine.”

Samantha takes a deep breath. “Ok again, what did you do?” she says calmly.

“I went to see Mike.” Annie eyes are clued to the ground.

“No you didn’t, you just went there? What has gotten into you?” She is truly baffled. “Why didn’t you just call him?”

Annie tries to explain herself and tells her about my number destroying stunt. While she tells the story, saying that the boy looked so sweet, she immediately felt a strange connection, and she thought it was so odd he stole money that way, Samantha doesn’t seem to be very interested in this tale.

“What did you say to him?” she asks, clearly referring to Mike, after Annie did the ‘crazy huh?’ shrug.

“I asked him if he wanted to see that movie in the Blue Zombie tomorrow.” Annie’s answer came fast and proud. Somewhat toned down she adds, “It was the only thing I could come up with.”

“Ok, that’s it I want to meet this guy. Heck, you went to see him, I can’t believe that.” Samantha peels off the price tag of Annie’s boot when she crosses her legs making it visible to her. This results in Annie having to make another confession.

“Charity store,” she murmurs.

“Today?”

Annie nods ashamed but also somewhat proud.

Samantha glances at her. Thoughts on her mind. “We’ll shoot at least until late in the afternoon,” she says. “I may not finish till seven or later.”

Considering she’s talking about work and is due on set in a short while, it’s amazing that she doesn’t at least whine a little about having to work that long, but I guess when you love your job, it doesn’t matter.

“Today’s going to be exciting. Tons of horses and extras. Chases, sword fights, time travel, gateway enterings.” She beams, her frown face gone, although a bit of an apologetic guilty expression sweeps in right away. Annie after all could get jealous.

“It’ll get me over the agonizing wait for next week when we’re finally filming that love scene,” Samantha goes on, an attempt to earn a humorous eye roll from Annie. “I will probably be horny as fuck. You know. Claude. He will have pretended sex. They will repeat the take about hundred times. In between, the director will be like ‘Samantha, touch up,’ And I go and put that damn powder on and have to fight the urge to not push the actress away and say, “Here, I will continue. That bitch is out. Here I don’t mind doing full frontal. Let’s start!” Samantha demonstrated the last part she said with sissy hand gestures. I’d say go for it, if she’s that bossy, the director might actually do what she says.

“You don’t even have to worry about a red bush,” she adds, then grimaces jokingly before turning to Annie. “Anyway, I will be there as soon as I can.”

They agree that Samantha will try to drop by after the movie has finished. By doing this she will be able to see him and in case Annie needs an excuse to run she just has to signal her with her thumb pressed and Samantha will rescue her.

[][][] Chapter 6

Saturday: 4.50 p.m.

 

 

The night is over, morning has approached, noon has also approached, and afternoon as well. Bored, I lay next to Annie who catches up on the sleep she didn’t get earlier because she spent the nightly hours with some guy, creating art.

Now, while I’m not sure about her free time activities, I will forgive her the current daytime uselessness and focus my energy on imagining the great possible outcomes later this day. Obviously my main protagonists are Annie and James. I’ll just ignore she’s about to go on a date with Mike for some longer. He’s currently taken a seat in the far corner, because 5 o’clock nears, the moment Sue said James will arrive.

Even though I have vaguely seen him before, I can’t wait to finally get a good look at him. It’s such an anticipated moment that I decide to not peak and wait until he will enter the Blue Zombie. It will be like unwrapping a present at Christmas. As if opening the door was the zip of the wrapper. And so as the time comes closer I sit here now on the floor of the pub, waiting for the Christmas bell to ring.

 

In here with me is Sue, this time dressed all white, and the two bartenders for tonight. They are Adam, a tall blond boy that basically belongs to the inventory, and Kelly, a small choppy mahogany-haired girl that joined the team only two weeks ago. Still, she already has her own tip box standing at the bar with her photo on it, just as any other person working here has. All three prepare the pub for later. Sue does some paperwork on a table, Adam prepares a little stage and Kelly, appearing to have the sniffles, swirls around with a broom and mop.

It is 5 on the dot and just like yesterday shortly before my first human to human contact with Annie, I yet again stare at a doorknob as if it’s the holy grail. Nothing less unholy happens now that the door opens, turning all our heads to this tall majestic silhouette standing in contrast to the bright blazing sun outside. Hello daddy.

Boy, he works his entree, making me gape at him just like the others as he comes to clearer focus. This guy is the kind of person who enters a room and the aura instantly floods the room like a wave, instantly spell bounding everyone in its way.

With his black leather pants, white tight v-necked shirt, gelled hair and a blue guitar strapped on his back, he looks like a picture perfect rock star. In essence, this is how I plan to look in some years. It’s sexy, but not too much. Giving turns, he sends everyone a greeting smile, while gliding his hand through his hair.

Observing the scene, I can’t help but feeling a bit annoyed that Annie is in neither Adam’s or Kelly’s spot right now instead of sleeping like a baby only meters away. Kelly only sneaks glances. Not Adam, though, there is no secret glancing with him. I have to mention he is gay, openly. He looks normal. I mean not gay in the way of being dressed. But whenever he talks or moves you know. Now he openly shows what he thinks of James. If Annie could think the same, I’ll have no problems.

They had a bumpy start but if they, and I must make sure they do, meet properly and he is nicer to her than when they crossed ways on the street, I have high hopes everything will work out in the originally planned way. Just mildly postponed. Anyway, he seems to be a nice guy and back then he was just upset and distressed. Many would be grumpy in a situation like that. Expensive shoes ruined by an idiot. Maybe if I am really lucky he is only a charming guy to Annie, pleading for forgiveness and acts out revenge on Mike. He has muscles, just saying. Oh well, my fantasies get out of hand, I should stop before I begin to get too jolly and sing ‘Jingle Bells’. Too late, now it’s my ear worm. Dammit.

Along with the happy bells and jingly lyrics in my head I see how Sue makes a hipply excited walk over to him. If I could I would kneel in front of her and kiss her feet. Be it luck, fate or whatever, she was the one seeing him playing elsewhere and she is responsible that he is here now. It’s as if she’s an angel making things happen, help out a guy in need. Not to mention the well fitted timing of it all. Screw it, I’m kissing her feet. She’ll feel the love.

“Hello James,” I hear her say, stretching the syllables.

Rising up I see her shaking his hand energetically. Her other hand is placed over his and her face shows pure excitement. “You have no idea how happy I am to have you here tonight.”

You’re not the only one woman. She deserves another kiss.

“My pleasure,” he says with a deep mesmerizing voice. Jingle all the way.

“This is a first, having the star of the movie play music afterwards.” Sue beams. “When I saw you play in that pub last week, I just had to get you here.”

“Thanks,” James responds absently, as he now stands in the middle of the pub and looks around fascinated. He sure has a reason for this. Pretty much anybody who first enters the pub has a similar expression like him.

The Blue Zombie consists of a huge room. The grey cold walls and high ceilings make it look like part of a warehouse. It is easy to see why it is called the Blue Zombie because all over the room are zombie dummies positioned in all kind of poses. I am not talking cheap Halloween props, I’m talking get the shit out of here, they are going to eat us, ruuuun, realistic ones. I have counted them once and came to the number 24, which is a lot for that kind of space.

The floor of the pub is blue. It is on its basis dark blue and got roughed up with whites, greys and lighter shades. The same counts for the outfits of the zombies. They are all dressed in different shades of blue. Some are females, wearing mostly dresses and some are males, wearing anything from swimwear to a fancy suit. While some look as if they have been dead for a long time, others could get away as a newly dead, water corpse. Most of them hang down from the ceiling and seem to crawl upside down as if the rules of gravity don’t apply for them. Occasionally they reach down. I guess it is a good thing that they hang up so high because if not, they look as if they could grab you, steal your drink or do whatever with their greedy hands. Then there is a couple sitting on one of the tables on the side. The woman, having an extravagant hairdo, wears what appears to be a wedding dress and the guy seems to be her freshly (or not that freshly) baked husband as he is wearing a fancy suit. On the table is the wedding cake, looking like a couple of brains piled up. They look happy and gaze into the pub observing what is happening around them. Another two are at the bar, one being dressed as a butler next to it, and the other one, a busty waitress, behind it. They also have an observing stare. It is weird, because you always have the feeling as if you are being watched. Technically you are, even when only from odd blood vessel lined makeshift eyeballs with light grey, whitish contact lenses plopped onto them. The pupil is bright red, by the way.

There are also two child zombies, who are set up as if they secretly smoke a cigarette. But the weirdest one around here is a toddler zombie. It wears real diapers and got himself the coolest spot in the bar. He sits right in between the alcohol bottles which are lined up behind the bar. It could be considered disturbing but at least he isn’t drinking anything.

My favorite of all though, is to be found somewhere else. The bathroom. Now, where would be a good place to place it? Sure, somebody must have thought, the toilet is the answer. So now one of the three toilet stalls of the ladies restroom is constantly occupied by a zombie relieving itself. The funniest thing is that when you accidently open the stall door you look into the shocked and ashamed face of the girl. As if you just walked into a real person on a toilet. It is an entertainment for many girls.

While telling you all that James got supplied with a drink and got introduced to Adam and Kelly. Adam now follows them.

Sue, after complaining that the fog machine is a bit shit and that they should get a new one as soon as possible, explains the basic routine for tonight and he gladly gives his input. Stuff like, doors open at 6:45 p.m., until then he can practice and have a sound check, Adam is mostly responsible for stage and other mechanical things, there will be a security guard protecting him from fangirls and so on.

“They can get loopy,” Adam says in his nasal way of speaking.

James smiles, now having his attention on one of the ceiling crawlers, who wears a bright blue tuxedo like suit and has his hair in his face like an emo.

“Those are some freaky bastards,” he remarks.

“Aren’t they?” Sue freaks out behind him until he turns around to immediately let her return to normal. Her poker face should win a price. Sue is funny. She must be around forty but always comes across as if the soul of a prepubescent teen girl lives inside of her. She also seems to be more immature than her employees and guests in their early twenties as she occasionally dances on tables, gets wasted and doesn’t shy away to personally remove any person daring to touch one of her zombies. This is strictly forbidden, of course. But they get touched all the time. Not that it would harm their beauty.

“They give me the creeps. The boss is obsessed with creepy things.” Adam shrugs.

“I do, the creepier the better.”

“How’d you come up with that?” James asks. “The Blue Zombies?”

“Annie,” Adams says to which James raises an eyebrow.

“It’s a girl that works here,” Sue explains. “She’s a makeup artist. So is my daughter.”

Now both, Adam and Kelly continue their work, because Sue, it’s known, loves to tell this Blue Zombie origin story and it doesn’t look like today is going to be an exception.

“Originally,” she starts enthusiastic, “always wanting to have anything but a boring pub you find around every corner, I had stocked the pub with skeletons, but always had the feeling something is missing. No matter how many skeletons I tore apart and put dozens of skulls and other bones into piles, they just didn’t give up the Paris catacombs vibe I had hoped for. What do you expect from a 50 dollar per skeleton decoration?” She laughs. “Finally, last Halloween I was so desperate to get the pub cool, I jumped on the opportunity of a theatre closure from a friend to get lots of their costumes and other materials, brought some more materials from a store and got my daughter to help me decorate this place.”

Turning to James, Sue mocks a frown, “Unfortunately, Sam, unlike her mom, is not all that into creepy things and Annie, more of an appreciator of it, was far away in London at the time.”

She says that was a real shame because Annie had just got a supply of all sorts of sculpting materials anyway, because she wanted to expand her makeup skills and portfolio to start making sculptures, making it possible that she might have pulled something useful out of her sleeve, especially with all those new materials available.

“We ended up wiring the still intact skeletons up, posing them like they were alive and invited anybody entering the pub to get creative. The winner of the creepiest one would win a prize later at the party.”

“The winner was a neon green painted one with massive googly eyes and donkey teeth,” Adam shares.

“My daughter made a princess with pink nail polish, also with goggle eyes and fake eyelashes.” Sue, recalling the event humorously, needs to wipe a little happy tear pooling on the side of her eye away.

“Then, two days later, I walked in here early in the morning, and there I found one of the skeletons, being turned into a zombie with a real looking head, wounds and blood. It was dressed with a ripped tuxedo, originally beige, now tinted in a bright blue, and looked so real that it almost gave me a heart attack. Mind blown, I took this thing, went to Annie’s apartment, rang her out and told her that she better get her butt back here and make some more of those, saving us all from having to look at silly googly-eyed skeletons all day.

“Also, I finally got a cool name for the pub. The Blue Zombie.” She breathes pleased. “I gave her money, sent her to get more materials and encouraged her to get creative with them and use what she comes up with for her portfolio. All I requested was for them to be in different stages of decay and dressed in something blue. She ruffled them up, gave them eyes and started to turn most them into those really boney zombies. They got creepier with every one she did.”

“Who’s the original one?” James asks.

“This handsome guy over there.” Sue points to the one hanging right in the middle. The emo one, he looked at earlier.

“He’s the one looking the most alive. If the hair wasn’t covering his face. An artist and her insecurities.” She’s having a dismissive chuckle. After that she announces that there are many similar pubs in plan and that her husband currently sets up a pub named Pink Zombie in Los Angeles.

Adam has with some hinting from Sue realized he has a job to do and now rearranges chairs and tables that already stand lined up on the wall. He’s staying in eavesdropping distance, nevertheless.

“Honestly, I don’t know how she does it,” Sue says talking like Annie is her daughter, proud, and loud, answering questions nobody has asked.

“She doesn’t even cast faces or look at pictures, she does them out of her head. Even the ones with distinct features.”

“Remarkable.” James smiles.

“That’s the story.” Sue stretches. “Annie made a blue zombie and I made her do more. Now they are here. More to come.”

They walk towards the bar.

“That’s her.” She tips on Annie’s tip can.

James looks at her, slightly tilts his head, and smiles a little. Is it recognition I see?

“Who are they? The zombies? The ones with actual features. Random people?” James asks, again looking around.

“No, Sue wanted that they resemble us, but that would be really, really creepy, having to stare at my own dead self all the time. No, thank you very much,” Adam states in a matter-of-fact way to James.

“I think she’s genius but I don’t know if she could do actual people.” Sue shrugs.

“Oh, I’m sure she’s got that skill, too.” James has another look at the tip can. “How long did it take her to do all those? You said it was after she was in London?”

“Yes, about two years ago. Time flies.”

“What did she do there?”

“A job interview with Big Ben Jones. This makeup guru from this UK-based zombie TV show, Rise of The Dead,” Sue says. “First I thought she got inspired on set, but she didn’t even get to go there.”

“No surprise, Ben isn’t one to let people easily in his territory.”

With a sharp head tilt Sue signals that she wants to know why he said that.

“I know his daughter,” he explains.

“No you don’t.” Sue exhales. “You have no idea how badly she wanted to be his assistant.” She shakes her head, pity in her face. “If there was a dream job for her, it would be this. She wants to get into special effects and he is one of her idols. The job opening was making the rounds in the makeup artist community, my daughter got wind of it and presented Annie a copy of a forwarded email by a college in an envelope with a bow and good luck clover on it.” A big sigh escapes her. “She spent all her savings on that flight. I guess she wasn’t ready for it yet.”

“I think she’s more bummed that she can’t live in London, she’s the biggest Londonphile ever,” Adam pipes in.

“You’ll know it, they are outstanding in special effects. Would have been a great introduction to the field. We love the show, sometimes play a marathon here. She avoids watching it, mysteriously asking for an evening off when it’s scheduled.”

“Ego,” A nasal voice says.

“She could do it. There are less skilled people working for them,” James says. “All she needs are the right connections. The business is ruthless but I wouldn’t rule out second chances. I reckon her portfolio improved.”

“Any strings you could pull?”

“I might.”

Sue smiles brightly. Clearly excited for Annie.

“Anyway, forget it. I don’t want her to leave.” She winks wildly. “Let me show you where you can put your things.”

Sue leads him to a storage room beside the stage. In there, she has managed to cram tons of packages with catacombs leftovers, bar supplies and other things into a space much smaller than required. It’s also the room where Annie has spent last night and on a table in the back lays the bad boy keeping her busy. It’s one of those cheap skeletons, halfway through the reversed decay process and looking freakier than most of the others. Around him are all of those materials that Annie needs to breathe somewhat life into the bones. Clay, latex, hot glue, makeup, knifes, sticks, scalpels, wigs and fake blood, loads of blood. Some of this she got yesterday in the special effects store.

Why she chooses to do this Frankenstein work at night, I’ll never understand. Maybe to feel more like working in her dream job. Working at hours boring normal jobbed people sleep. Maybe she does it for sympathy to Samantha’s work schedule. No idea.

Yesterday was the second time I’ve witnessed this. She just goes in here, the pub dark and empty, puts on some spooky cello and violin dominated film scores, often the Wuthering Heights music, and dives into this passive aggressive creative frenzy that makes her look like some mad artist, soon to cut his own ear off or do something similar as crazy. While unimpressed by the horror film like atmosphere, she only had moment of fear last night when a tiny spider got stuck in a blob of hot glue. She tried to rescue it but I am sorry to say, spidy is no longer with us.

“That’s where the magic happens, huh?”

“Indeed,” Sue says, admiring him as he admires Annie’s work. She clears a spot beside the door and tells him that he can put his stuff there.

He smiles, lays down his guitar and goes to a makeup mirror that stands nearby. It’s surrounded with light bulbs and photos featuring people in heavy stage makeup. He ducks down and fixes his hair while addressing Sue’s reflection in the mirror, asking her if she makes her employees wear makeup.

“Not really,” she answers. “I got this thing from a theatre wrap, just like most zombie costumes and wigs.” She makes a thinking motion with her jaw. “I should make them, shouldn’t I?”

James turns around, nudging his head towards the table. “Well, I bet that Annie could make them freaky. Would add more zombies to the mix.”

Sue exhales a heavy breath, smiling but also looking remorseful. “It’s a shame she has off tonight,” she rightfully remarks, then adds, “I should introduce you two.”

I grin widely, knowing a proper introduction is nothing I have to hope for anymore. It will happen and with the ‘Jingle Bells’ tune back in my head, I give her another worshipping kiss.

 

[][][] Chapter 7

Saturday: 6.15 p.m.

 

 

There is no way I will accept to trade James in for that looser Mike. No fucking way. I’ve just seen him play a little bit. It was really only to get warmed up and do what they call a sound check. Anyway, it already sounded amazing. Just as anything else I heard from him was, as he kept chatting with Sue.

To give you some informative snippets, he, due to good response on the casting couch, wants to do more acting, but as his true love is music, he’s primarily focusing on that. He used to be in four bands, taught himself to play guitar, piano and a bit of violin, and is almost done having written and recorded his first solo record.

Some of those songs he wants to practice now, as he says hearing them hooked into an amplifier and filling a big room, might just give him hints of what needs some tweaking. Sue, Adam and Kelly, plus a security guard that somehow had appeared, are all in.

Then when after a short break, he reunites with his guitar and instead of saying, “Test…1…2” and something else, begins to sing and play a real melody, I start to get nervous. I don’t know what’s going on with me and why I am so needy for a big show but the moment he’s really getting into it, I make the decision that I want to see him perform the same moment Annie does. Therefore, I can have something else to look forward to.

A beam and I’m back at the not far away place where Annie is. She’s now up, and about to get ready for her date, taking a bunch of clothes out of her closet.

A piled crumpled nest of jeans and tops lay on the bed soon after. She inspects them one after the other, dismissing several outfits immediately. The first to go are her baggy pants and her normal casual everyday tops. Others she tries on, mainly tops she herself seemed surprised she either still had or had at the first place, going to the bathroom mirror to see if they are something to consider, then dismisses them.

What she frowns upon makes me happy. The only real sexy outfit, the red dress, is in her laundry basket. You wouldn’t want to wear that twice. Uh-uh.

After a while Annie narrows the options down to two. One, a super tight-fitting black pair of skinny jeans with a dark grey top and the other is also a tiny grey pair of skinny jeans with a black top. Admittedly considering she only managed to squeeze into those jeans after a few jumps and the tops are both so short that they must be from her childhood days, leaving a strip of skin on the belly, I never thought they’ll land anywhere else than back in the darkest corners of her closet. Anyhow, the fact that they are so tight is most likely the reason she chose them. Fingers crossed that no button pops and nothing rips open.

Her trouble on deciding what combination is the right thing to wear drives her in visible despair. Annie sits cross legged on the bed, having the options displayed before her. She begins to say “eeny meeny” and repeatedly points to them, but she doesn’t remember the text of this game-like decision making help.

She stands up to get her wallet. No coins. Oh dear. What terror!

Back on her bed, her phone as usual plugged on the charger is in reach. Annie takes it.

‘1 or 2?’ is the text she writes Samantha. Since she is at work, on major movie set, I pity face Annie. She’ll need to figure it out all herself. But I have underestimated her again. The phone peeps. You could count down to a minute. There will be a text immediately.

‘Whatever is the hottest,’ it says. Annie shrugs.

Curious of how she pulled that quick reply, I decide to see for myself. A second later I find myself right in that scene she talked about yesterday. The set is on a large open field. The usual camera, cranes and light reflectors are everywhere. Horses gallop in full speed. People with medieval outfits, detailed to an impossible degree and are on them. They have swords. I recognize Claude Johnson. He, dressed in a prince like gown, his white horse and a girl, clutching tightly around his waist, are a few meters ahead. They are getting chased. The girl looks behind herself in terror. A sword in the hands of an angry chanting man about to chop her head off.

They are coming closer, heading right towards a massive green screen.

It’s a lot to take in. Mostly because I expected to find Samantha in the loo or something like that. But she’s not far away from me, standing with her makeup belt around her waist, next to other cap and walkie talkie wearing people of the crew. They all stare intensely at the scene. Some have their fingers nervously on their lips. Samantha, however, looks excited. She bites her lips and while managing to miss nothing that happens, she also somehow, with only an occasional glance at her phone that she inconspicuously pulls out from a pocket, manages to text Annie back. Her casualness is almost as fascinating as the scene they film.

Mesmerized by it all, I go closer to the scene and as I do, I almost get run over by this camera on a track that speeds by, trying to capture a cool shot. I’m currently so close to the action that I can literally feel the energy from Claude jumping through an opening on this green screen.

“And crash,” the director shouts from a speaker. Instantly, all those other horses and the people on them act as if the green screen is a wall and they crash into it. They whir, jump on their back hoofs and holy shit…

Buh, I’m back at Annie’s place. A horse was centimeters away before landing on me. The adrenaline of the last second beam to safety, the escape from the huge black mass coming out of nowhere let me fall dramatically onto Annie’s floor. What a thrill.

Annie’s phone peeps. I get up and go see what Samantha has written. ‘You can pimp the red dress. Pull something over it. He’ll not notice or care,’ reads the text. It’s like she’s saying, ‘Oh my, it’s so boring here, get me outta here.’

Annie texts her back ‘Thanks, see you later.’

Right this moment, a bee that was buzzing around lands on one of the shirts. She smiles at it. It’s eerie. As if she’s communicating with the yellow and black striped fat thing. Seriously, it’s so fat and fluffy, it’s almost like a stuffed animal. One with big fat bee eyes that really do seem to make contact with hers.

“Thank you,” she says to it and as if being released from its duty, the bee flies away. Annie goes to her kitchen, telling it that she doesn’t have flowers, therefore no pollen, and proceeds to fully open the kitchen window for it.

With the Blue Zombie in her line of sight, she gets the reminder that she has to continue getting ready for her date. Now if the bee would only fly to the poster with James on it to help with the man dilemma she unfortunately not yet has. She leans out the window a little and stretches herself, soaking in some sunshine.

While she goes back in, she, to my great delight, indeed looks for a longish moment at the poster. Being in a happy mood, Annie who catches herself stare, playfully furrows her eyebrow, closes the window and goes whistling back in her bedroom. There, she takes the losing outfit, the grey pants one, folds it as well and tucks it back in her closet. The winning outfit remains on the bed, waiting for her to squeeze back in.

With this heavy decision lifted from her shoulders, she gets some underwear and heads towards her bathroom for a shower. A good moment to go and see what her date for the night is up to.

In Mike’s hood, I am in the living room, immediately facing him with a beer in his hand, sitting on the couch. The bathroom is occupied, presumably by his roommate.

Luck is on my side. This smack my ass song plays. I almost forgot how amazing it is. However, today I don’t only get to hear it, I get treated with a view at its music video. I’m not going to go into detail but one scene that includes a lap dance for the golden teethed rapper by a woman who twerks her massive butt in his face, makes Mike grab his balls and tells them lovingly, “Don’t worry you guys, daddy is going to get you something hot tonight.” His hand remains comfortably on his private parts. Why not, I suppose. Comes in handy with that itch he seems to have there.

When the song is over, he takes a huge sip of his beer and lets a world record worthy burp. Another far inferior burp comes from the bathroom. Way worse compared to last time. Shame on you roommate.

Mike puts the beer on the table and starts looking around while the TV plays a commercial. Happily he grabs a piece of old crusty pizza which he conveniently finds stuck between some piled up trash.

Because of the summer time and flat condition, there is also a winged little insect buzzing around in here. Not a fluffy bee but a little black clingy fly. It wants a bit of the pizza too but is kicked away by Mike’s snappy finger before he goes on to put the whole piece in his mouth as if he is attending a who can eat the most in the least time eating competition.

He switches channels in the meantime, stopping after two news channels and several other commercials, to a movie. There is a young man and a woman, apparently after a date. They walk home, the streets look like they are here in New York.

His roommate comes out. He wears pants but no shirt. Please offer him some pizza.

“Yo, Frank. Just in time.” Mike looks excited at him, nudges to the TV and moves over on the couch. “Something to get you in the mood.”

“I’m so nervous,” Frank says as he sits next to Mike, getting himself a cigarette. “I won’t know what to say. I lied so much. She will probably run away when she sees me. Or say she needs to go to the toilet and then never return.” His hands are shaking just at the thought.

“Keep up the lies and just nail her. I told you all my tricks,” Mike says now also taking a cigarette. He helps nervous Frank to finally light his.

“Yeah, but I’m not sure if I’m like you.”

On screen the two enter the flat and they stare flirty at each other. When they begin to kiss, Mike leans forward. Frank looks sad at this.

The pair falls into bed, the kissing goes on, some clothing pieces get thrown around the room, and the cover gets pulled mostly over them, soon starting to slightly move up and down.

“Oh c’mon, she’s not even taking her bra off?” Mike complains. “Ridiculous.”

When the next scene is the pair laying in bed, waking up giving each other a sweet little morning kiss and she’s slipping out bed, with bra and granny pants, he switches the channel. “We need DVR,” he says. “Daytime TV’s for pussies.”

It’s back to the music channel. A boy band jumps around in what looks like a school hallway, singing with hands placed on heart and exaggerated motions to smitten girls standing around. Mike sways to the catchy melody and looks around some more. I am beginning to hope he’s forgotten about the date. He sure as hell doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.

The fly is back. It comes to Mike and a piece of salami he found and is about to eat. He kills it with his bare hands, rubbing off the mushy residue of it on the couch.

Frank goes to his room. I decide to follow him as I already need a break from Mike. Also, I want to know what this guy is so nervous about. He goes on his computer and opens a webpage that displays many light blue and pink hearts. In the centre is a winking cupid, aiming directly to the screen.

The site is called ‘Web cupid’ and has the tag line; ‘We’re better than the real one. Promise. Invite us to the wedding.’ A dating site.

“Yeah, cupid’s for shit,” I tell myself, trying to not feel like they mean me, the somewhat kind of inept cupid that could possibly get beaten by a webpage like that.

The profile of a young girl shows up. She seems to be in her late teens and has dark skin, with short curly black hair. He is still shaking as he reads through the many messages they have exchanged. While doing so, he writes down notes. On his table are some balled up papers, a couple of open packages and a letter from a car hiring company.

Mike comes in. “Oi, do you know where my check-her-out shirt shirt is?”

Instinctually, Frank has put down the tap but now his background shows. It is another picture of this girl, sporting a broad smile. I’m sure those teeth shine in the dark.

“She’s so out of your league,” Mike comments, laughs, and goes through a stack of dirty clothes and picks his outfit of the night which is a Ralph Lauren pink shirt and white fold pants. He takes the clothes to his room, the living room. There is no other room, so it really must be the way their flat mate situation is organized.

After putting the outfit on, he looks at himself. A moment later he pulls the collar up and announces proud, “Check-her-out shirt ready.” Following that he makes the, in my opinion, necessary trip to the bathroom. There, he puts a load of gel into his greasy blond hair and smells his armpits, realizing that he may should have considered to shower on a day like this but assures himself that a bit of nasty smelling dollar store cologne would be enough. He sprays some of it under his arms followed by two for his balls and another on his butt, hair, and cheese feet. But this ‘handsome man’ apparently is a perfectionist and decides while smelling his alcohol breath that he could quickly eat a spoon of mint ice cream instead of doing the rational thing of brushing his teeth which scream loudly, “Brush me!” As he begins to scrape some yellow stuff off them, it’s clearly time to switch back to the far nicer place where Annie is.

She is really a beautiful woman and I am pleased she appears to go for the natural, I’m not fuckable, at least on the first date, look. There is only a little mascara on her lashes and the originally exposed belly button due to the short top is covered with a thick belt.

Annie combs through her hair and makes final makeup adjustments with slightly red lip gloss that she gets out of a strawberry-formed pod and a hint of rosy rouge. I hope I will get those doll-like lips. What am I talking? I know I will get them. Just as I will get the eyes from James. I can’t help but watch her admirably.

When she too now sprays herself with perfume, a warm vanilla scent, she smiles at herself in anticipation as if she was going to go on a date with a hot Hollywood star. I wish I could tell her that something is awaiting her, which definitely is only worth a big puke in the toilet. But I can’t and she wouldn’t believe me anyway. So I have no choice and have to let them go on their date.

She looks at the time and realizing she’s done early, goes on her laptop. Earphones in. Wuthering Heights soundtrack on. Alrighty.

“Let’s go. I don’t want my honey to wait,” Mike urges.

He and Frank go outside where a white Porsche awaits parked in front of the door.

The car is nice and all but I’m distracted by Frank who is now also dressed in a cool shirt, only his is bright yellowish green and has the collar down. It’s not the problem, really. More concerning is the thick golden necklace and rings he wears.

Frank presses the key, making the car peep and the headlights light up.

“Mind if I drive?” Mike asks and gets the key right away.

Both go inside.

“If that doesn’t get you laid nothing will,” Mike says touching the leather fronts.

“Ok, so I go pick her up at Grand Central Station,” Frank starts. “I am Frank. I work at Wall Street. With my money, I invest in new talents. Currently looking out for a new rap star. I live upstate in a nice suburban house with pool and basketball court. Have come here for a very important meeting with managers that I just finished up. That’s why I’m late. Busy schedule. Recently divorced after 6 years. My wife still loves me. No kids.”

Mike puts the key into the ignition, pulls the windows down and checks the mirrors.

“And I have kids I sponsor in Africa,” Frank adds.

Some awkwardly pronounced names follow.

He takes the paper out to see if he forgot something.

“I play golf,” he says. “I’m an ugly lying loser.”

“Yeah, but she doesn’t need to know that,” Mike says being a friend nobody needs.

“You pretend to have money. Therefore you don’t need good looks. Just play along. She wouldn’t have written with you that long if she wasn’t a gold digger anyway. Serves her right. Pretend to listen to her even when she only babbles bullcrap. Let her talk, laugh at her jokes, make compliments, fill her up with drinks and then when she least expects it, go for it. You are the dominant one, remember. Women like that. Having someone who takes what he wants. I will do that today and you better too.”

They begin to drive and as they head line cutting and with much honking towards the Blue Zombie, Mikes continues to share his wisdom about women. That includes, if everything else fails, party drug her, demand a kiss, even when she says no, because she probably says it only to encourage you.

“Ok, I wish you luck,” Frank says after they hold near the pub and he takes on the driver’s seat.

“Yeah, you too,” Mike replies. When the car drives off he shouts, “Don’t forget I let you have it only today!” making sure to get some stares from people standing near him.

[][][] Chapter 8

Saturday: 7 p.m.

 

 

Annie, very pretty and styled, takes a last critical look in her mirror. In those last fifteen minutes her lips have gotten redder, her hair the way she had it yesterday on her surprise visit at Mikes place, and her new pair of boots grace her feet.

Not gonna lie, I still immensely hate the fact that she’s going to meet Mike, especially after what I just heard him say, but the fact that she’s only minutes away from also meeting James, just about boosts my excitement up the roof. He will see her like this and she will get a full on overdose of him on screen and off screen. There will be alcohol and there will be Sue. Surely, there will be plenty of time for them to recognize each other’s attractiveness. I cross my fingers and hope for the best as I watch her taking a nervous breath before leaving her apartment.

It is clear that the Blue Zombie has something interesting to offer today. There is an impressive line of mostly girls waiting to get in. They are, exceptions included, all styled in a non-Barbie way. Mostly dressed in black or other dark colors.

In between them is a guy in a pink shirt and white pants. No wonder Annie immediately finds him. Adjusting her hair and shirt, she gracefully approaches Mike who has his back to her looking up at the poster decorating the space above the entrance.

As if being nervous, she takes a breath and then taps him on the shoulder. He turns around.

“Heeeyyy.” Mike looks like he just won the big price, claiming it, ehrm… her, with a possessive hug. I bet she is currently enjoying his gracious odor.

“Isn’t that the guy I fell into on the street?” he asks.

Annie nods and tells him that he’s a musician, has a part in the movie today and will play some songs afterwards. She says it all in a nonchalant manner, only glancing once and shortly at the poster. However, there’s no reason to worry about that. After all she got a good look at it earlier.

“Cool,” Mike says. He sounds thrilled for James’ success and to see him again. Somebody needs a refreshment of memory. They didn’t exactly part ways as best buds.

Annie walks past the line and goes, accompanied by Mike, right through a gap at the front door. She knows the bodyguard standing there and gets some envy stares of the others who all have to pay their 7 dollar entry. Inside, the light of the pub is dimmed. You can barely see before your eyes. But what you see is that the place is now converted into a movie theatre, even though a somewhat odd one. Up front hangs a huge banner which will function as the movie screen. All tables and chairs have all been moved to the side and been replaced with white along with black light fluorescing sitting pillows which are spread all over the floor.

The room is slowly filling with people. Some of them are already sitting down. Some of them struggle to not tumble over the pillows and most of them shoot amazed gazes towards the also partly black light speckled zombies.

The zombies, those things I became used to and are tolerable during the day but right now even though the light is dimmed, or maybe because of it, they are making me uneasy. I know where they are, this wedded couple on the side. Yes, they are watching.

“Are we going to sit on the floor?” Mike asks, finding Annie’s butt to be the only interesting thing to see.

“Yes,” she replies, her gaze, scanning the pub. I’m sure she’s trying to be subtle.

I fight the urge to pop up behind her back and whisper, “Looking for someone?” I may be reading a bit too much into this but she could totally look for James.

“All right, let’s get our beers,” Annie says and they make their way to the bar. Busy behind it, besides the not very helpful zombie waitress, are Adam and Kelly.

“Adam,” Annie calls with raised voice, wanting his attention.

“Girl, you’re here.” He looks sincerely happy to see her.

“Can you get us two beers, please?”

With a ‘gurl you serious?’ expression, he waves her off. “The boring stuff is her responsibility.” He points to Kelly, who struggles to get a hold of all the orders pouring in, and keeping her snot in her nose.

Annie smiles at her sympathetically. She sure knows how stressful this job can be.

“I’m on the cocktails, today the Blue Zombie, Bloody Brain, and Vampire Punch, are 25 percent off, plus you get a free medium bucket of popcorn sprinkled with blood. It’s just syrup.”

Adam is a bartender of heart. He always does this sales talk. Without asking he presents the popcorn and shows some premade cocktails that are featured on the bar.

“Sure you want beers?”

Annie looks to Mike for consulting.

“Two beers, boring, 8 dollars. Two cocktails, mind blowing 10 dollars.” Adam feigns impatience. His hips move with the tapping of his foot.

“Kelly!” he shouts, and the girl turns, sucking up a chunk of snot looking exhausted.

“Two of yours please.” Annie, having a worried glance at her, tells Adam who smirks and immediately gets to work. Soon later he hands them two dark blue cocktails with really gross grey syrup and dark red chunks lined on the inside of the glasses and a fairly huge popcorn bucket that gives at least a little bit of the feeling as if being in a real movie theater.

“Where do you want to sit?” she asks.

Mike smirks and takes her hand to guide her to the very end of the room. They stop on a huge single pillow. Next to it is another one of the same size with a couple on it.

“We’ve got a love seat, I am already loving the night,” he comments while sitting down.

Annie isn’t sure of this idea as there is really only a little more space for her. Mike taps that space animating her to sit down. She does. Uh, again I remember his getting ready routine and feel for her and her nose. So close to him for such a long time can’t be fun. They sit there, Mike comfortably, Annie rather squished trying to not fall down. In short silence, they sip on their drinks and try the popcorn. It could be just her coping with the situation or she really could look out for James. Either way, she never stops glancing around. James, so far, is nowhere in sight.

Later when the room is almost completely filled with people, Sue gets on stage and announces that the movie Viva Las’bitas is about to start in 10 minutes.

“Get your drinks, get settled,” she says. “And be sure to stick around afterwards. After a short break one of the main actors in Viva Las’bitas will play some live music.”

Just then, James suddenly appeared. Towering over the mostly sitting crowd, and with a box tugged in his grip, he immediately has caught the attention from several people. Especially girls start to whisper to their friends, and show signs of excitement. Some are inconspicuous about it. Others aren’t. There was at least one loud ‘ooh la la’ coming from somewhere nearby.

Happily, Sue gestures him to bring the box to the side of the stage. I assume it’s a new fog machine.

“What’s the movie about? Sounds like a Vegas comedy,” Mike asks after having shared a short acknowledging glance with Annie. Like, here’s the guy. I’d almost expect him to wave.

“Yes.” Annie looks at James glancing around. He seems happy that so many people are there. Her gaze remains quite long I’d say. Can’t blame her, that’s the magic he’s radiating.

“I…” She seems to realize she should say more. “I heard it’s a dark comedy.” Her hand grabs a bunch of popcorn. “With loads of blood and bare skin,” she adds, starting to munch.

In the front, it appears that Sue shows James places where he could sit and is cracking a joke or two along the way. While girls, those with inconspicuously not being their forte, giggle, point and make pretty eyes to him, he uses his friendly responsive laugh to throw some flirty glances back to those girls.

“Imdb says,” Annie, done judging the scene with chewing in an increasingly slow and unimpressed manner, rises up her knee, leaning on it, “it’s about a girl who comes to Las Vegas and then a zombie apocalypse breaks out.” The last pieces of popcorn made their way in her mouth. “Then vampires come.” She, remembering to be a lady, chews and swallows them. “It’s a mix up between vampires and zombies basically. I guess we will have to see if it is as bad as it sounds.”

Mike begins to touch her hair. “Can’t be bad with you on my side,” he smalzes.

There is no real response from her. So much goo must first be digested.

“So you say loads of blood?” he continues, not leaving her hair alone. I am sure the ‘blood’ part was the only thing he caught.

One can literally tell that Annie is debating to pull a sassy comment. Seems it’ll happen. In a flirty and daring way she turns to him and says, “I guess. I mean when two blood lusty beings come together it can get messy.” She puts her hair back, and does not see that James’ gaze has stilled on her for a moment. He smiles a little, but then gets his focus on Sue and the drink plus popcorn she pushes in his hands.

“Got a problem with that?” Annie asks Mike.

“Not at all.” Mike stares at her. “I’d love you to cling on me in terror so I don’t have to do my special yarn and accidently put my arm around you move.”

He smirks at her and she blushes. It’s even visible in this low light. However, the flirting shall go on.

“Well then,” she challenges, “let’s see if I have to. I am not your typical scaredy cat. You much rather cling on me than the other way around.”

“No way, I only might touch you because you are hot.” He laughs.

Annie acts shocked which only encourages his flirting.

“Ok, if you do cling, I get a kiss on the spot,” Mike teases.

“And if you do you won’t ever get one,” Annie joins in the game.

“I will get a kiss if I leave my hands off?” he squeaks excited.

Not a second later, they make a handshake in agreement. Actually, he takes her hand shaking it himself, but since she doesn’t complain I guess it counts as an agreement.

The next minutes I swear, Annie and James both miss another of each other’s glances. They do, I’m getting more and more convinced, check each other out. There is nothing I want more than to witness their glances clash. If there only wasn’t so much other ‘important’ stuff to give attention to. In Annie’s case, it’s mostly because Mike keeps making those distracting moves as if he wants to touch her but then acts as if he suddenly remembers their agreement. It’s his not annoying at all way of saying, I want to win the challenge. I must better do it every other second, so she gets it.

“Ladies and gentleman.” Sue is back on stage. “I hope you are all having your drinks. Let’s get an applause for our star. She gestures to James who has settled on a spot at the right side of the first row to stand up. He gets his applause, but it’s not long until Sue taps the microphone for attention.

“And now…” she begins just before the microphone peeps a shrill sound and the lights go off.

I’m aware that this probably is part of the show but now in the complete pitch darkness I become even more aware of the zombies in this room. I feel silly, realizing that I am a ghost and normally people are scared of us and now I am begging for the lights to turn on. You know, in case that darkness awakens them or something.

“…enjoy the movie,” Sues wannabe creeper voice eventually says and with that the white logo of a production company lights up the room a little and I relax, knowing faint continuous light will continue to float the room until the movie is over. I sit so I can see the movie and them.

The first minutes of the movie are pretty unimpressive. Like Annie said, there is a girl, Julie, who just moves to Vegas because some people from her high school made fun of her pale tan and accused her of being a vampire. Julie comes to the conclusion that she will go to Vegas as her brother lives there and she feels that is the best way to escape those people is to go just there. In her mind, if there is any place in the world where vampires wouldn’t be then it must be that city in the middle of the hot desert. Somehow, I have the feeling this theory will be proven wrong soon.

Arriving there, she quickly gets introduced to the friends of her brother. One of them in particular seems to interest her. The mysterious Shaun. Tall, pale, beautiful. You guessed right, Shaun is no other than James, only paler and with contacts. When he first entered the screen cheering emerged.

Acting a bit like Edward from Twilight, he avoids her. The poor girl tries to get his attention in ways one can only facepalm. Then one day the zombie part gets mixed in.

Julie is home while all of Vegas is crowded by zombies looking for snacks on the strip. She watches a movie when she hears a weird growl. All innocent and in underwear she asks, “Is anybody here?” Obviously, this makes the four zombies down the hallway aware of her.

Appearing a bit tipsy, they make their way to her. She does not notice them yet, thinking her mind is playing games with her. The audience knows better seeing how the saliva starts to drip out of the rotten faces as they almost reach the room where she is.

I can see the first girls cling on either their dates or friends, watching through only one eye in fear. So far, Mike and Annie only exchange amused looks. But now he does this thing where his eyes repeatedly switch from the scene to Annie, as if to check if she gets scared. Funny dude. It’s almost as hilarious as this sudden remembering of the deal. At least he hasn’t done that for several minutes.

Soon the girl sees them walk by and quickly hides in the closet. Sure the zombies are also equipped with good noses. Sniff. Sniff. They go in the room and instantly creep towards her hiding space. As the closet has gaps, Julie and the zombies have eye contact. One, the tallest and heaviest of them all, the ring leader, I suppose, who besides a super sniffer, possesses outstanding motor abilities for a zombie, opens the closet. Now all four make happy faces as they see her standing shivering in a corner. It’s almost cute how happy they look but of course the reason for this is the girl and I doubt they have friendly plans for her. They go to her moving in slowly, making a mess with their saliva. Seriously, they drool more like a dog teased with bacon.

The girl fights hard. Besides some desperate girly catfight moves, hangers become her weapon of choice. Apparently, they aren’t a good weapon. They bounce right off, break and make her look as if she really could use some help to get out of this. I wonder what happens next.

Suddenly filling the space of the whole screen, the beautiful face of James. His complexion even paler than before. His eyes even lighter. Two of his teeth longer than the others. A vampire. That was not predictable.

There are random claps and cheers as he enters the house. Right away, a zombie that stumbles along to greet him gets greeted by his knife. Now everybody claps.

My thoughts, at this point, are, didn’t that guy just look as if he was drunk as fuck? Do they actually direct those actors to act as having looked a little too deep into a bottle? Anyway, with those moves, gamblers in Viva Las’bitas universe could get a real kick out of zombie hunting. Drunk or zombie? Zombie or a drunk? Ah? Uh? It’d be a wasted joke, if there isn’t a scene later on where people suffer through that.

To confirm this one was a zombie, the camera pans on him, showing his weakening rabies-like nagging of his teeth as he tries to hold onto his dear zombie life and get another chance of a bite, while a loud desperate “Help!” emerges from upstairs.

Shaun, after off camera stomping on his head, follows the girl’s screams in the same speed as the zombies do. It’s just cooler that way. He wipes the blood from the plate of his knife on his pants. There are already red stains, hinting that it he killed some before.

Finally, he walks in the room. The girl is still completely cornered by the bloodthirsty zombies. Being all heroic, he starts to stab the first of those zombies. Then the next. Slash. And the next. Now, there is only one left. That guy, the one who first saw her, currently seeks close body contact with her. He tries to bite her, eat her.

“You’re in the way,” Shaun announces, followed by a close up on his determined eyes, then with one move he gets the zombie, kills him and throws him to the side.

Now a close up on her eyes. Zoom out to the awestruck face of hers. The music makes sure the viewer gets the spark between them as they stare at each other for a few seconds. Then they fall into each other, immediately kissing in a very unprude way. They must have suppressed their feelings a little too long. Good thing the zombies got them together. If they could only do it off screen. This tongue wrestling.

Seriously, why must there be a love scene like that? Couldn’t they just stick to slashing people? It really gets too romantic up there, especially as I can tell that Mike’s current horny face, has a lot to do with that his former TV love scene complains, seem to not be an issue here. You can already see her hard nipples through the top. No bra.

The two on screen, currently in desperate need to get naked, start to peel each other’s clothes off. First his weapon belt, then her top. Free nipples. Yay. In between they get rid of some pieces of zombie flesh sticking on each other’s body. A bit disgusting if you ask me. Don’t get me started on Mike’s facial expression.

Shaun moves quickly, uses his leg to make her drop onto the floor. There, having found a spot not completely plastered with body parts, she pulls down his pants now exposing a mighty good looking pale butt. I’m not surprised by the wild cheering of the audience.

Happy for them and surely not absent of wanting to copy the occurrences with Annie, Mike sizes his chance to get all cliché and gets popcorn just as she does. When their hands withdrawal from the bucket, the aftermath from the brief oh so coincidental touch, he mischievously looks to Annie who smiles a little. He’s going to lose his bet.

Unlike the other girls, Annie seems a bit uncomfortable by what is happening on screen, as by now the toned butt moves up and down, thrusting as if there is no tomorrow.

The camera work is pretty clever, showing in short cuts their sweaty skin, the faces of them moaning, then the butt again, of course zoomed in. I wonder if the director was a woman.

Then in the corner of my eye I see how his hand starts wandering to her knee again. Like so often before, she shoots him another look, resulting in him backing off, smiling even more.

Looking around I am sure to not be the only one thinking about if those two are only good actors or if they are actually having sex. A porn. Eww. I suddenly recall that the person up there is my chosen father. Who likes to watch their father fuck? Not me. I turn away, finding my visual safe haven on the exit sign but soon I hear a collected gasp from the audience, making me turn back to the screen, through with half-closed eyes. There, we the audience see how another drooling zombie seems to fancy a threesome and slowly approaches the pair.

Thinking that this would be an interesting twist, I look back just to make sure Mike manages to keep his hands off. Relieved I see he does. Yet, he acts a bit weird. For whatever reason his eyes are not glued to the screen anymore and huh? Why is his head tilted to the back? Then I see it. He has a boner!

Is this really happening? Did he just get turned on by James’ performance on screen? This must be a joke.

The couples’ moaning continues. The zombie’s moan blends in. Mike bends over to Annie. Whatever he has to say, I want to hear it. I get as close as I can handle. It’s not real close.

“It’s hard to behave,” he sorta whispers.

She, who obviously hasn’t yet seen what is happening, looks over to him narrowing a playful eye.

“Really hard.” He groans. In his white pants, despite the lighting, you can clearly see his bulk poking up. He doesn’t even bother to hide it with the popcorn or drink. Instead, he does the opposite, still leaning back he looks at it unashamed.

Now, Annie sees it as well and quickly pretends that she didn’t, now rather looking at those two who must be shortly before orgasm. I shake my head again. Is that really necessary? We get it by now that they enjoy each other’s company. There are people out in Vegasland needing your help, time to wrap it.

At least his hands are under him, possibly to keep them from going uncontrollably to Annie. But he struggles to keep them there.

Wrap it. I growl through gritted teeth. Time for a scene change. Maybe seeing some dead people ripping out intestines from show girls and Elvis impersonators can cool him off.

I hear two loud moans. They are done, yes. Slash. Laughter. Shaun has waited until the last moment to kill the zombie. You know like he was thinking, “Hey, let me finish first, then I stab you without even seeing you directly in the head.”

I turn halfway to Mike who has a face of utter satisfaction. Oh no he didn’t.

Catching his breath, as his pants smooth out, he looks at Annie as if he was about to tell her it was good. I look at him in disbelieve. This guy seriously just had an orgasm, now having a load in his pants and worst of all, it is totally fine with him. I mean, why being embarrassed about something like that? I wish I could tell what is going on in Annie’s mind. She sure is aware of everything.

For the rest of the movie, Mike with a constant grin continually gazes over to her hoping to catch her eyes. She, however, quite intentionally keeps her focus on the screen, however, it is easy to tell that her attention isn’t completely devoted to the movie. Luckily, he keeps behaving and keeps his hands under himself.

It takes another approximately 45 minutes until the movie gets to the end. The zombies are dead, the hero saved the world. The usual. I doubt it will win an Oscar.

Anyway, honorable mentions are, they used up the gambling joke, some scenes included pretty badass white zombie tigers, and we learned how vampires don’t turn to dust or start to glitter in Vegas. How? They wear sunblocker. A guy answered the question deadpan when somebody asked him. He walked away annoyed by being asked such a stupid question. The simplicity of it all and the line delivery was so stupid it made me laugh. Over are the days of them sleeping in a coffin and only being able to go out at night. What remains is the question of how they are able to pork girls, considering they are technically dead, meaning the blood circulation should be rather poor, but whatever that blue pill, labeled with ‘special edition’ and ‘caution do not take if not dead’ was that Victor, a tourist from Transylvania had while visiting a strip club, may have something to do with it.

Finally the moment the credits begin to roll a heavy hard rock song begins to play along with the enthusiastic clapping of the audience. The lights turn on. Not the greatest setting for after-movie romantics in the last row, thank goodness.

“Ladies and gentleman, Shaun,” Sue proudly announces, after having cut off the credits early. James walks up onto the little stage.

By now, I hoped Annie would look at him just as the majority of the girls do. She, however, seems a bit unimpressed and only claps to be polite instead of sincere. At least Mike grants him a proper loud clap. It drives me mad, realizing that he likes James more than Annie does.

“Thank you guys. Thank you.” James bows resulting to raise the volume of the cheering. He gets treated as if he is the biggest star in the world.

“I’m glad you enjoyed the movie. It was great fun to be involved in it.”

He talks for a few minutes about how it was on set, how this movie might get a sequel and that the female director had insisted on the butt close ups. This last comment makes the room giggle. Annie chuckles a bit but only because Mike’s busting out.

With the microphone switching back to Sue who says, “Stay tuned guys, after a short break, we get to see him play live,” the crowd begins to split. Some go to get more drinks and others make their way to go outside for a smoke. Along with them are Annie and Mike.

“Did you like it?” Annie asks him.

“You know I did,” he says making a good point.

Chapter 9

Saturday: 9.30 p.m.

 

 

They are now outside, Mike is almost done with his cigarette, and somehow he has the conviction that puffing the smoke out of the side of his mouth while staring her in the eyes is incredible sexy. He wanted to persuade her to have a drag but she declined.

“This guy is such a hottie,” a purple-haired goth girl besides them says.

“I wonder if he is single,” comes from another girl. She’s a bleached blond and looks as if she went to the wrong party with her pink short dress and orange fake tan. A beer is in her hands. “When I see movies like that, I really consider becoming an actress,” she adds.

“Like totally, imagine that girl got paid for this,” yet another girl, raven-haired and styling wise more on the rockabilly side, says. She follows it up with, “What I’d give to touch those abs,” and makes a dreamy sigh. Her tongue piercing sticks out of her front teeth for a moment before it slips back in her mouth. “Like for real. What am I doing wrong with my life?” she asks into the round.

“No, what I am doing wrong?” purple-haired girl replies.

“And I thought Claude Johnson was hot,” the blond girl comments.

They giggle and continue to swoon but Mike is unaffected by that, and keeps eye-fucking Annie as if he’s the guy they’re talking about and she’s the lucky lady who’ll get him.

“Sure you don’t want one?” He takes another one out.

While she replies, “No, thanks, I never liked the taste,” he lights his cigarette and takes a deep drag before saying, “Maybe I should make this my last for tonight then.”

She acts as if she didn’t get that message.

“It’s still time, isn’t it?” he asks Annie and goes on to tell her that he wants to keep standing here some longer as the pub is worse than a sauna. Annie doesn’t mind.

And again the sideways puff.

Just as he implies that he wouldn’t mind going somewhere else less crowded now, I see Sue coming out looking around. When she spots Annie, her face lights up like a candle sprayed with gasoline.

“Annie!” She approaches Annie excited. “I thought you weren’t coming.”

“I thought I wouldn’t want to miss it,” Annie says, and I swear she was making a step away from Mike. Shame?

“I am so glad you are here. Adam told me you were and I didn’t believe him.” Sue touches her hair and makes a comment of how stunning she looks tonight. Then she notices Mike who has filled the gap Annie has left and now has his arm around her shoulder.

Annie smiles a little, a little pained, not sure what to do smile.

“I’m Sue, Annie’s boss. Who are you?” she asks him, looking at Annie and him repeatedly as if both are welcome to answer.

Mike smiles and says, “I’m Mike. Annie’s date.”

Sue looks at Annie mischievously. She must think Annie has finally taken her advice of going out to get herself a boyfriend. Sadly that appears of being exactly that.

“So young, so beautiful and so solo. It’s not right,” she comments every time Annie blocks off a flirt from a guest. To that I must say Annie gets hit on a lot and not always are the guys ugly, old or Mikeish. Besides the habit of sending Annie to every remotely attractive guest to take orders, I witnessed her several times trying to persuade her to try online dating or better yet try speed dating. “You sit at a table and guys change every 5 minutes, no wasting time on horrible dates, it’s great. I wish that was possible back in my days, then I probably wouldn’t have ended up with that old guarwk,” she said just a couple days ago. But Annie refused, insisting that she won’t try to get a boyfriend just for the sake of it. If a guy would come along, and there is a spark, then she may go and try out this love thing. As I remember her words a cord tightens my insides. Try out this love thing? Spark? Mike? This is serious.

Sue puts a hand on his arm and makes a sweet face. “Mike,” she begins. “Can I borrow your date for a second?”

He looks to Annie and shrugs.

“Why do you need to borrow me?” Annie wants to know.

“I need you to do me a favor,” Sue says and Annie frowns, fearing what the favor will be.

“No, don’t worry I’m not asking you to bartend,” Sue qualifies and goes on to tell her that she needs her to do some makeup. That she only needs to do some basic stuff, nothing fancy, and that she didn’t call her because she had off but now that she is here, she needs her.

“Pleeeaassee,” she begs, nailing the puppy dog eyes better than me, the Starbucks girl or in fact, any puppy. This mascara must be the trick.

“What makeup? For you?” Annie plays dumb. She caught onto it. At least I really bloody hope Sue’s next words are, ‘No, for James, of course.’

“No, not me silly,” she says. “I have James Brooks sitting backstage”

Yes! I scream, doing a little celebrating dance. This is amazing.

The other girls now look at each other, expressions of jealousy notable.

“Little information on the side. He’s from London. Knows Ben Jones’ daughter.”

“Great,” Annie says.

“You never know. Now that you added so much to your portfolio.”

Annie is skeptic.

“We came up with the idea that it would be great to turn him into Shaun, I mean a vampire. You know, since he was one in the movie, to make his show more special.” She narrows her eyes in fun. “I have started to do it but you know my skills in that department.”

Annie raises an eyebrow. Sue can’t even write the menu in chalk without making it look like some ancient language. Mike stands there still making his smoke rings.

“I’ll give you an extra day off?” she offers.

Annie explains that she is there with Mike and can’t leave him alone.

“Hey, easy, take him with you,” is Sue’s solution. “I’m sure he won’t mind.”

No, I protest, again hating to be invisible and inaudible. There is no way to bring Mike, it’s simply not an option. Annie also says that she doesn’t think that’s a good idea and that James can put some white makeup on himself but Sue shakes her head and tells that his whole torso looks like he got vitiligo, before facing Mike again with her sweet face.

“Mike,” she says. “Annie here is a fantastic makeup artist. I need her to do a little bit of make up on our star backstage right now. Would it be ok to wait for her for a little?”

He shrugs.

“She will be back in about 20 minutes.”

By now I’m sure the girls are adding makeup artists to their list of dream jobs.

“Okay,” Mike answers. Annie frowns. After all, Sue is her money giver and therefore she can’t protest too much against her actions.

“C’mon inside.” Sue makes them follow her and takes them to the bar.

“Adam!” she shouts. “Drinks on the house for him until I return Annie.” She smiles to Mike, who seems more than ok with this turn of events. Following that she smiles excited to Annie before they both head to the backstage room with me trotting happily behind them.

I can’t believe Annie is about to put makeup on James. It’s better than anything I could imagine. Better than any casual chat. Now, she will have to spent time with him, hopefully alone, talk to him and the best part, she will need to touch him. Physical contact! Awesome. More than awesome. Annie and Mike’s date is going well.

Sue opens the door and there he is, James, sitting in the chair, not wearing any shirt. He is already white. The makeup patchy all over his face and upper body.

He makes eye contact with Annie through the mirror.

“James, this is Annie.”

Or as I’d say, “Dad, this is mum.”

“Annie, this is James.”

Not exactly in the same speed as Sue, Annie comes closer to him.

“Like I said, she is a master in makeup. Much better than me.” Sue lets an exaggerated breath, sizing the chance to muster his abs. “She’ll fix this.”

She turns to Annie and asks her if she could do it in about 15 minutes. Annie shrugs but Sue just smiles positively having confidence in her.

When Annie is in reach distance to James to get a picture of what she needs to fix, he holds out his hand and when they shake hands he tells her, “Nice to meet you again.”

I am getting even happier now as he really does remember her.

Annie smiles politely at him and starts to get to work right away. She goes to the table with the skeleton and gathers some materials.

“Do you have any of those contacts you use on the zombies left?” Sue asks her.

“Yes.”

“Great. You’ll look great,” Sue tells James. “With those eyes nobody will notice you don’t have fangs. They’ll go crazy for you.”

“I don’t have any real equipment,” Annie explains when she comes back.

“Doesn’t matter. Just do what you can.”

She places her gatherings on the little area on the mirror and while she does it, James’ eyes never leave her body. No doubt she is aware of it, and I can see it, her hands tremble, especially now when she puts a little blue hair clip, I assume a leftover from the zombie bride’s hairdo, on his head to get his hair out of the way of the makeup. An act that proves to be tricky. Sue observes this as well but her smile hasn’t changed, nor did her position, she still stands behind James.

“I have to say it again. That movie was amazing,” she finally says, filling the awkward silence. “I can sense it, our guests will keep asking for new movies of yours.”

“Thanks.” James meets her eyes briefly in the mirror before putting them back on Annie who starts mixing some white, green and other colored makeup together.

“Like I said, I’m working on it.”

“Like I said, I have no doubt you’ll succeed.”

Annie tries to ignore this sweet talk going on.

“Did you do all those stunts yourself?” Sue asks and before he can answer, she actually reaches out to his arms and squeezes the muscles.

“Yeah I did.” He smirks and tightens them so they move.

Annie watches this with unconcealed bewilderment.

“When I was younger, I wanted to be a stuntman,” he says. “Always did stuff that drove my parents crazy and the girls wild.”

“I can believe that,” Sue says, having managed to let go of his arms, though her face is flushed into a half ripe tomato. “And the love scene, so much passion,” she goes on and Annie can’t help but rolling her eyes as she gives her mixture a last stir. The vampire tan is ready. She gets a makeup sponge and dips it in.

“I was dating the girl, so that point doesn’t go to our acting ability,” he says, then nods to Annie that he is ready for her to do whatever she has to do.

What she does is plaster his face with the makeup, massaging it in. Nice, though she clearly makes it as unerotic as possible, making quick and calculated movements around his nose, chin, forehead and cheeks. Anyhow, his eyes are closed, the face is relaxed and she, no doubt, inspects his face.

Sue gets a chair, places it next to them, making a statement of not wanting to leave anytime soon.

“Are you guys still dating?” she asks once her butt is placed on the chair, her legs crossed and head rested on her hand in the now I want to hear everything about you position.

“No, it was just a fling.”

Sue seems ready to make her connection interrogation, having just begun to say, “Annie,” the way there can only be some sort of followup like, “Did you know… have I told you?”

Annie already gets her annoyed face when the door opens, distracting Sue. It’s Adam, peaking in, eyes on James, unable to speak for a second.

“Could you come out for a sec?” he asks Sue after regaining momentum.

Sue excuses herself, wordlessly indicates to Annie she should have a chat with James and finally gets out the door. A moment I have feared would never arrive. Now they are alone. Annie and James are alone. I sit down on the chair where Sue just sat, watching them, intrigued.

And the show starts right away as James says, “Finally alone, huh?”

With his face already flawlessly pale, Annie gets a big chunk of makeup on her hands, appearing even more nervous, now that Sue is gone. Slightly trembling, she rubs them together while looking at his body. She’ll be able to touch him now.

She smiles awkwardly at him and tells him that she has to use her bare hands for this.

“Go ahead.” He watches her observant, smirking at her.

Again with fast, harsh, and non-sensual movements, she eagerly starts to even out those white patches on his upper body.

“No worry, I don’t mind rough,” he says.

“I’m sorry, I need to hurry.” Annie continues being more tender, going over his arms, chest, and shoulders.

James keeps watching her with an increasingly amused smirk while she only watches the time on a wall clock and the door.

“Do I make you nervous?” he finally asks.

“No,” she replies, glancing at his face shortly, while moving on to get more makeup. Sure enough, something falls down. Hectically she picks it up.

“I do make you nervous. Good God, look at you all shaky and weird.”

Forcing a smile, she works on, but her hands are back being like the brush of a modern art artist. James ain’t Mona Lisa. Delicacy not required. He’s white in a whip.

“That’s done,” she announces. After cleaning her hands with a wet wipe, she gets a little pointy makeup brush and puts black color on.

James looks up so she can work on making his eyes mysterious. “Not that talkative, are you?” he says, daringly, as the brush is real close to his eye.

“I need to work, I don’t know what to say.” She looks for a second in his eyes.

“Well, we are here in a room together, you touch me. I am getting bored.”

He’s got nerves. She’s still very much able to accidently slip off.

“Tell me something about you.”

“What do you want to know?”

“Anything.”

She shrugs and continues her work, looking at the time.

“I like your zombies.”

“Thanks.”

“I heard you’ve been to Big Ben Jones in London.”

“Yes.” Annie has that face she does when she is annoyed that Sue tells her live story to everyone.

“Ambitious.”

“Apparently not enough, that’s why I’m here now.”

“Are you complaining?”

She is done rolling her eyes and makes some final touches on his makeup, putting traces of red on corners of his lips and eyes.

“Shame you didn’t make it. They’re having this huge season premiere tomorrow.”

“Great.” I think the words she wanted to say were ‘fuck them and you’.

“What inspired you for the zombies? Your boss said you didn’t get to go on set, so I guess it must have been some random costume on the street, but as us Brits aren’t anywhere near as enthusiastic about Halloween like you guys, it must have been one of Ben’s zombies on the loose. Happens, they are real, you know.”

She comments, “If you’re trying to be funny it’s not working,” and adds, “Maybe I just watched the show, The Walking Dead or the million other zombie movies out there like your Vegas one.”

The point gets taken.

“Did you celebrate at all?”

“No.” She grabs a comb and after getting the hair clip out goes through his hair.

“I did. Got so wasted, I could pass as a zombie myself.”

Annie keeps combing, slowly getting him this wild look he had on screen while James, who starts to fiddle with the clip, continues to tell her more about that day.

He says that he seldom was that drunk like on this night and went through the full program that seems to be drinking, making out with a random girl, throwing up, and being hung over for two days.

He laughs at some of memory of this and says, “She was such a bad kisser,” followed by, “One of those nights you swear to yourself to never drink again,” and “What about you, ever been drunk like that?”

“I don’t get drunk,” she snaps.

“Never?” he pushes, with a curious smirk. Then he pulls her to him on her arm and smells on her. “I smell some booze on you.”

Annie flinches away.

James looks at himself in the mirror and asks her, “Ever done something dirty or are you as clean as you look?” while making little adjustments on himself.

“I am as clean as I look.”

“Common never hooked up with a stranger? Had sex with a guy you didn’t even know the name?”

“Stop asking me questions like that.” She tucks a bit of hair behind her ear. “It’s none of your business.”

“Just curious,” he comments.

“Now the contacts and you’re done.”

“I’ll do it,” James says. She hands them to him and he begins to put the first one in. Annie stands next to him, her arms crossed.

“Do I know you from somewhere?” he wants to know.

“Yes from the street, where you bitched at me.”

“Yeah, sorry about that but your boyfriend pissed me off.”

Ha, I knew it. He’s not only recognizing her but having a radar on her.

“Somewhere else? I can’t shake off the feeling I know you.”

“Can’t think of anything.” Annie gives him the other.

“Yeah, you have a bit of an everyday face.” He shrugs and she grins through gritted teeth.

James, popping in the other contact lens is about to continue engaging her in small talk but then Sue comes in. She, happy as ever, immediately comes to get a look at him.

Annie is relieved to see her. James, I don’t know, he’s busy blinking his eyes. Me? No, why does she have to be here already? They were just getting warm, weren’t they?

Sue comes closer to take him in. “Wow. You look great.” She turns to Annie. “Done?”

“Think so.”

“Show yourself.”

He stands up, standing directly behind Annie, who starts to get the makeup supplies together.

“Annie, thank you so, so much,” Sue says.

“Yes, thank you.” James nudges her. And then he leans down and asks her if he could keep the hair clip, as he thought he looked rather handsome with it.

Annie tells him, “Be my guest,” and gives it to him before she goes to put the supplies back where she got them.

“Ready to rock?” Sue asks James energetically.

He answers just as pumped, “Hell yeah.”

Right after, on her direct, hasty way to the door, Annie gets stopped by Sue. “Have you guys had a nice chat?” she asks her and Annie comments with an exasperated breath.

“We had a great time, talented and a delight,” James says.

Sue smiles, proud of Annie who by now is already halfway out the room. “You can get back to your man now,” Sue shouts after her.

“I need the gents,” James says, winks and sprints to catch up with Annie.

And now they both, together, side by side, leave the backstage room, walking into a crowd of girls who make space for the couple as if they were royals, then James goes to the toilet and Annie goes to Mike.

Chapter 10

Saturday: 9.50 p.m.

 

 

Annie looks for Mike and finds him on the bar, drinking the last sip of the drink he has. There is wild chatter everywhere and people already gather around the stage.

She approaches him from the side and says, “Sorry” while looking apologetic.

“Don’t worry I used my time wisely,” Mike replies as Adam gives him a new cocktail.

“I need to discuss something with you,” he goes on, takes her hand and drags her into the corner next to the zombie kids. There, he places himself right in front of her. Like, right in front. There is no air between them.

“I believe I have won our little bet.” He stares in her eyes demanding as he straightens up proudly. “I didn’t put my arm around you.”

“Yes, and I didn’t cling on you,” Annie counters.

“Anyway, I think you owe me a kiss,” Mike says. She blushes looking away.

“And I’d love to get it now,” he continues.

Annie gives him a little quick kiss on his cheek.

“Seriously? Close your eyes,” Mike commands and she closes them smiling instead of running away, knowing what he would do.

Putting away his drink, he holds her chin and slowly moves his thin dry lips towards hers and I cry out of terror and disgust being not able to watch.

“Omg Annie, what are you doing here?” Samantha once again being a real life saver comes to the rescue having managed to stop him right at the very last second.

“Samantha!” Annie tries to act surprised and just then I remember that this was planned.

They hug and air kiss each other. Annie introduces Mike to Samantha and her face says it all, surely and understandably she wonders what drugs Annie took.

Still, as professional as she is, she tries to be friendly even though she can’t help flashing a quick ‘what the heck’ stare towards Annie.

“How was the movie?” she wants to know glancing at Annie’s hand obviously waiting for the rescue signal, hoping it comes hard and desperate. Annie guesses that as well but only shakes her head slightly making Samantha frown a little.

“It was good, inspiring,” Mike says while pulling Annie closer to him as if she already belonged to him.

“And now you’re sticking around for the concert?”

“Not sure,” Annie replies, looking asking to Mike.

And Mike’s response is, “It’s certainly not what I had in mind for that time of the night.”

Annie chuckles once, I assume just to be friendly, but Samantha eyes him judgmentally.

“What did you have in mind?” she asks, giving Annie a now more obvious look so as to say, ‘Really? That guy looks like a raped potato.’

“I’d like to get to know her apartment,” he says.

“Maybe test out if her bed is comfy enough. Supportive for her delicate stature. The right mattress is vital to a good night’s sleep.”

Annie laughs irritated, probably wondering if it was a joke or if he was serious.

Samantha also laughs, only she makes sure it is an unmistakably sarcastically one.

“Oh yeah? I think we should all stay here and see this guy play.” Samantha grabs Annie’s arm and starts pulling her away. “Let’s get drinks,” she says to Annie before turning to Mike. “Save us the spot, I see you are covered.”

And off they are, heading straight to the bar. I am happy that Samantha is here, and that she creates a buffer for me to think about my next necessarily needed move, before Mike can get a chance to play mattress tester.

“Don’t be so rude,” Annie scolds at Samantha who tells her straight out what she thinks and that is that he is worse than toast and an overall disaster.

“Hey.” Samantha leans over the bar to kiss Adam on the cheek. “Two blue zombies please.” She makes a shush sign to Annie who is about to complain. “We never go out. I’ve just had a 20 hour work day, no party pooping tonight.” She snatches a beer coaster from the inside of the bar. “Where were you anyway?”

Just as Annie is about to answer the lights shut off again. In between the toned down chatter of the guests, there is a fizzing sound.

“Ladies and gentleman, exclusively at the Blue Zombie tonight,” Sue’s voice announces from the microphone, “playing his newest song…”

The fizzing doesn’t stop.

“…Shaun. James Brooks.” As she says his name, a bright spotlight shines on him, and he has fog coming up to his knees. And he’s sitting on a highchair. The new fog machine doesn’t disappoint. A little more and we’re all blinded by the fog.

In that setting James owns the sexy vampire look. He might just jump from the seat and drink from everyone’s throats. Not that most girls wouldn’t offer their artery for a sip of theirs, if that means he’d had his lips on their skin for a moment. But right now he’s only interested in his guitar that he holds like it’s his precious baby in his arms. He steadies it with his legs that are propped high on the middle section of the chair and before he begins to slowly hit some chords, he gives a short glance into the crowd. And maybe the fog messes with me, but I think at least a third of this glance was into the direction of Annie, Samantha and Adam.

“Get us beers, okay?” Samantha says impatiently, because Adam, at least momentarily, isn’t even able to do something like a cocktail. He gives them two bottles, and after writing the price on the beer coaster, Samantha takes Annie and walks past Mike towards the stage. There, only making it into the crowded forth row, they come to a hold. Still, it’s close enough to get a good look at James, who’s beginning to sing along the music.

Now Samantha looks as if she got hit by an arrow.

“That right there is Mr. Perfect,” she tells Annie.

“Yeah, you just missed him having close up sex on screen.”

Without words Samantha drinks about half her drink.

“Also, I just had to put that makeup on him.”

And there goes the other half.

Mike has now joined them, standing close to Annie.

James plays beautifully. He really knows what he does. I can’t help but to go on stage. Now being so close to him, I can really feel the music and at the latest by the climax of the current song, where he gets wilder, his deep melancholic voice, screaming while also whispering, while doing incredible stuff with the guitar, I get the most pleasant and massive chill I have ever felt. What he is able to do with the simple use of instrument and voice, frankly, blows me away. Overwhelmed I close my eyes, knowing one thing; one day I want to be the reason this happens to somebody else. One day I want to open my eyes and see what he currently sees. A heard of overwhelmed people, girls and guys going bonkers for you. And that’s what they do. The song is over and they whistle and give loud euphoric applause. I join in and I look up to him, coming aware that this guy could become my father. He could inspire me, teach me all this. And seeing that he’s so moved by the response that tears pool in his eyes, I can’t wait to one day be the cause of some proud daddy tears.

I glance into the crowd and see Samantha standing right in the front row having a similar expression I have. Swooning.

Then I see way back the stupid smile of Mike, which quickly yanks me back to my reality. He is like the evil voice in your head who laughs and lets you know that it’s not gonna happen, while you attempt to dream of something. Mike does not look envious. Damn he should be. I bet he has so much confidence that it doesn’t even cross his mind that Annie could like the hot famous guy on stage more than him.

As I put my focus back on James, still standing there taking his praise, giving a wave and smirk to the fans, and still being unable to start a speech, I again feel powerless and sorry for myself. If the arrow had just hit him, then I would probably already be in the belly of Annie by now. Remembering why I am here, I quickly look to the spot I saw Mike and Annie just seconds ago, but they’re gone, so I jump down from the stage to look for them.

Luckily I find them where I suspect them, at their little corner next to the zombie kids. Not that luckily they look as if they’re continuing what Samantha had interrupted earlier. Mike’s head is dangerously close to hers and before I can reach them I see how he eagerly licks her ear. I am puzzled that Annie’s hand doesn’t automatically go up to slap him for such ear abuse. Instead, she smiles and continues to sip on her drink.

I try to catch what he whispers in her ear.

“I wish I could do you right here on the spot. You don’t know what you do to me.”

Oh I bet he would. How drunk is he to be this forward? And how drunk is she to accept this kind of talk. Also, I can still see his slobber shining on her earlobe.

Up front James now plays another more energetic song. Mike is already done with his drink and animates Annie to follow his example. Not knowing how having this kind of drink in her bloodstream will affect her, I begin to really get nervous. She is only on her second cocktail but it already seems to influence her. What will happen when she drinks more, becomes more willing as she already happens to be anyway, I don’t want to find out.

“This next song I dedicate to a very special person,” James says up front.

I keep staring at them as I try to find a solution when suddenly I see how Mike guides her hand onto his yet again bulked pants. That guy is never short of a new surprise. Annie makes big surprised eyes now obviously having what she does to him in her hands.

The same moment James begins to play a song sounding weirdly enough a bit like Annie’s ringtone. It is just more graceful and a bit creepier as he speeds up the melody, howls along, and lets the chords squeak.

The girl next to me has goose pimples. I see why. Where is the murderer lurking? Horror score at its best.

Annie, frozen and also goose pimpled holds onto Mike, who takes this as a victory. He licks his lips staring at her. Finally, Annie pulls away and I can’t believe what a show he pulls off. Even worse, she still doesn’t run. A potential murderer chilling in the pub is less frightful than this nitwit. He just laughs at this as if it was incredibly funny.

Annie looks to the stage where James ends abruptly, and then with a smirk and short comment about liking variation and wanting them all to dance, he hits some chords and has them all hopping around in an instant. It’s some sort of monkey dance and I hear something like “cool jungle book” from several people, who participate in it.

Whatever that is. This book.

“I’m afraid you either have to give me a hand or blow job right here, right now, or come gift me with your mighty all in the restroom, or I need to go and rub lil Mike down myself. Those pants can’t possibly stand more juice,” Mike says convinced she is dumbstruck because of him.

He grabs her face. She blinks nervously. He waits.

“Guess you have to rub,” she finally says.

“Believe me that only makes me want you more.” He winks at her and then casually asks if she wants the same cocktail from earlier again, a beer, or if they should drink something else. Sure he wants her to drink more.

“Can I borrow your bag?”

Also, he’s probably paying with her money.

For a moment she is confused but when he points to his crotch she knows why.

“I guess I need to make a stop to the bathroom before I get us the drinks.” He does a subtle hand up and down gesture while tilting his head with a begging face, hoping she will change her mind.

She tucks a strain of hair behind her ear and looks away and so he goes on holding the bag in front of him smirking mischievously.

I try to think straight. I need to get him off Annie and I better find a way before he and lil Mike come back from his restroom and bar trip. The problem is, I don’t have any idea what I can do here to make him keep his hands off. I am hundred percent sure he will demand his kiss. And Samantha doesn’t seem to be a big help anymore. She is all swooning over James, not moving from the front row.

As I observe the crowd still engaged in the world of James’ music, who now has some romantic tune, I realize that it’s really not easy to think straight when there is a guy dying to get laid. Don’t underestimate a horny beast, I think. Up front I hear the words ‘love’ coming from James’ mouth making me even more upset. Why can’t he fucking love her, dammit! I so wish I had a functioning human body right now so I could drink up some cocktails as well to be more creative or just to be a bit more relaxed.

So what are my choices? I could possess someone. But who? I think about the prospect of taking over some girl’s body in this club and hit on Mike or better say crazy things about him and making sure Annie gets to hear them. It’s a shame I can’t just overtake Mike’s body and make a fool of himself with himself. Something like showing off his sloppy naked body in a table dance, an eating poop and wearing diapers fetish confession, or by simply dry humping other girls would do the trick in a matter of seconds.

Maybe I could use Samantha. After all she is her best friend and would probably listen to whatever she had to say. While being in her body I could tell Annie a freaky made up story about Mike or just quite frankly talk her into her senses. That’s what friends are for I guess. Maybe after what I’ve seen she would do so anyway not appearing to be a Mike fan so far but I can’t rely on that. Thing is, I am scared to try it. This whole possession thing. It’s just too risky to waste a chance and maybe not be able to posses them enough, that they do what you want. If I would choose to possess any other person here, I wouldn’t know what to do. If I said things while in their body, they, when back in their body, could easily tell the truth if confronted.

Looks like I have to become Cooper again. I am still weirded out by the thought that I have the body of the person I might one day be but the good thing is that I could pick a club appropriate age, blend in here, and do something to put a hold on that date. After that, I can just vanish. But then, as a guy, what will I do? Punch Mike? Start a random bar fight? My creativity is low. I just don’t know what I should do.

Anyway as l wait for inspiration, thinking you just never know when it strikes, I wander or better to say float around the dancing people and observe everything. After a while I notice the girl with the very blond hair from earlier, and think again how not at all she fits in here. There is an empty cocktail glass below her feet. It’s a wonder it doesn’t get kicked over because she goes wild having an interesting way to engage her head into her dance moves, desperate to steal the show and even more desperate to gain James’ attention. What fascinates me the most is that the song James plays isn’t even so upbeat that it would justify to dance like that. It is entertaining to watch and I can see James suppress a smirk while singing.

Sensing that an idea will soon present itself, I suddenly see how her hair moves. I mean not simply flying around but actually turning completely to the side including the parting. And since normally hair doesn’t just move like that, I know she is wearing a wig. I consider the thought of having that wig, being able pretend to be a girl, but I still don’t have it figured out. Then finally as I listen to James’ lyrics, my long awaited light bulb goes on, brightly.

“♫ Your jealousy is killing mmeeee.♫” he repeats. Thank you James. That’s it. I’m going to be a jealous girl. Obviously not amused with my beautiful Mike hanging out with another woman. I could be the version I based my decision on. 18, beardless, still on the edge of becoming a man. He’s just liking the masculine type.

Yeah. I need to get that wig. Let’s do this.

To not draw any unnecessary attention towards me while getting it, I decide to wait until that girl needs to go to the toilet. Due to her intake of at least the whatever drink in that glass was and the former beer, it doesn’t take long until the moment arrives.

After James finishes the song she celebrates him and starts to glance around. Her knees bob up and down. Also she has her feet crossed. Pee time. Her friends are occupied and far away, the goth girl talks energetically to another of her species and the rockabilly girl has a man on the hook. Early stage. Post name exchange, I guess. Blond girl appears to be considering to get them for some precious pee break girl bonding time but thank God her bladder makes the decision for her because she looks really desperate. With a short jerk, her knees bend down. Some drops must have leaked right there.

When she makes her way to the bathroom, the glass getting dutifully placed on a table, nervousness and chickening out in the last second symptom hits me. In a flash, all along with the bright blond wig in front of me, I mentally go through all other wigs possibly available. At first the remembering that there are others was short reason for excitement but I fear that there was a reason the wig idea based on those here anyway didn’t occur to me in the first place. There are two torn ones backstage. Annie pulls strands out and puts them like that on the zombie heads. There is a box with other hair strands and toupees. She mostly uses them to create eyebrows and other body hair, therefore most of it is already shredded into short pieces. The only one with an almost full wig is the bride. Annie would recognize it on my head. Besides, it has maggots and gross stuff all over. In short. No, nope, nooo… blondie, I’m so sorry.

Mike walks past us. He’s en route to the bar. An anticipating smile is on his face. Next stop will be Annie. All right, better get this sorted out.

Upon entering the bathroom a group of three exit. Inside there are two others topping up on makeup in front of the mirror. They also leave fairly quickly. Unfortunately we are not alone as there are two other girls in the other toilet cabin chatting about how drunk they are and if they looked hot enough to be recognized by James. What is it with girls going on pee dates? I mean, together in a stall? Why?

My ‘victim’ has just let a long piss, when I seize the moment. She’s about to get company too. I materialize right in front of her in the stall. Inevitable and I admit understandably, she screams out as loud as she possibly can through my hand which is covering her mouth tightly. Thank God I was thinking about her possible reaction before and managed to solve the problem so quickly.

She is literally freaking out, attacking me wildly in catfight style, similar to the girl fighting zombies in the closet. Honestly, I hoped she was already too drunk to even be impressed by something minor like some guy manifesting out of thin air, nevertheless in such a tiny space, but now that she did I have to act fast.

Sure thing, the girls next door ask concerned what was happening and if they could help. Then I do, the only thing I can think of. I start to moan and also add movement that could indicate that this girl has some fun in the toilet cabin. Of course, she doesn’t seem to join in, so I also give my best to play her part as well.

“Yeah I am fine… aahhh ohhh mmmh,” I moan in the most girlish voice I am able to fake. Surprisingly, it works. Still in heavy pretended action I can hear how the girls leave all giggly from the restroom.

After I make sure that I am now alone with this girl, I have to think what to do with her. Still holding her mouth, to prevent another scream that would get me caught in seconds, I begin to explain my situation.

“I’m here because I need your wig. Do you have any makeup with you?” I ask. The look on her face is priceless. With her eyes locked on mine she opens her purse and gets out a small pink bag with all kinds of makeup in it, handing it to me.

Stuck in this awkward situation I decide that I can’t take any risk, so I tell her a little lie. One which is possibly way more believable than the truth. I inform her that she has to stay in this toilet cabin and she has to stay there for at least 10 minutes, not making a sound. In that time I will have left the club and she can come out unharmed. If not however, my gang buddies, who are all very muscular and merciless, will get her. They are supposedly standing outside. One placed right next to the toilet and two others at the bar and also the exit. They all know exactly who she is and they would, of cause, catch her and kill her painfully.

She is terrified and drops on her knees, begging me to spare her life.

“Get up,” I shriek, feeling uncomfortable having her so close to my hips in this little space. I hear no voices anymore and sneak a glance out but decide it will be safer to stay in there. The coast seems clear anyway. Short relief but one thing is for sure, I am running out of precious time so I continue to play the crazy psychopath and force her to take off her clothes.

She still stares at me as if she wants to decipher something while she strips down her dress. As she hands it to me it occurs to me that it might be a good idea to get off my clothes as well. Awkwardly I undress myself, taking off my linen pants and shirt before I put on the dress. Naturally as I do so, I rip one side open causing her to flinch painfully at the sound. I tie the ends together making the usually knee length dress shorter than it should be. The short pink dress beautifully features my hairy legs, but I can’t put attention to details like that. But one thing bothers me right away. “The bra, I need your bra,” I tell her while looking at my flat chest.

Without hesitation she obeys and gives it to me, covering her breasts with one arm. I tuck it on and stuff it with lots of toilet paper to turn that décolleté into a more inviting sight.

After that I continue to the most important part, I take her wig and place it on my head. Underneath the fake blonde hair she has short brunette hair changing her whole appearance instantly. I’m about to compliment her telling her brunette flattered her but get distracted by looking at the makeup bag that she has again in her possession.

“Can you do makeup?” I ask and she nods. “Turn me into a pretty girl, ok?” I say and she starts to do it.

“Faster,” I command and she does so again.

“Ok done,” I hear her for the first time and she sounded awfully calm.

Girls come in again singing in wrong hurtful tune to the song James currently plays. Not even knowing if or how much time I have left, I take a last look at this girl who still covers briefly her body parts with her hands.

Now I can only trust that she is frightened enough to keep my orders, take my clothes and I rush out smiling at the girls who burst out laughing as soon as they see me.

I slowly turn to the mirror and see Cooper staring back at me looking like a freaky clown. My face is pasted in makeup at least 4 shades too dark for me. The eye shadow is majority overdone and uneven. Also the bright pink lipstick really doesn’t look all that flattering. I turn to the stall meeting her eyes. She smirks victoriously at me and then shuts the door locking herself in.

I head out of the restroom, throw the other clothes into a corner and become aware that I can’t walk in those killer heels at all, not to mention they are uncomfortably small for my feet. Good for me, I can just pretend to be too drunk to walk properly. Certainly I am not the only one who has that kind of navigation problem around here.

Fanatically I look for Annie and Mike but can’t spot them, not in their corner, not at the bar. The worst picture begins to build in my head. Apartment? Bathroom? No, that can’t be. She isn’t the kind of girl to do such a cheap thing. Even manipulated you still must have an amount of free will left.

Just when I’m scared that maybe she actually is, I spot them standing in a corner way back, kissing. Admittedly the sight is better than finding them in bathroom flagrante but the shock is still massive and it is utterly unpleasing seeing them kissing each other like that. It is a horrible sight.

Stumbling my way through the crowd, I swear my butt is grabbed at least 2 times. I am not sure if I am being mocked or if they somehow find me appealing in their drunken fogged vision, but it annoys me quite a bit. Sadly I have no time to give out free punches in the faces, instead I have to stop those two from eating each other up.

After reaching my target, I instantly grab Mike and pull him off of Annie, making a huge scene.

“Get your dirty hands off my husband, bitch!” I yell at her instinctually.

“That’s your wife?” She gapes with mouth wide open.

“Duh, and who are you?” I turn back to him, facing him directly. “What do you do with an ugly bitch like that?” Then I take his hand and look at it even more upset. “And where the fuck is your ring? Oh my God! Thanks for throwing years of our happy marriage away.”

I start a heavy pretended cry and wipe away my invisible tears as I watch their reaction. It seems to work as I have them both dumbstruck.

“What should I tell the kids now, huh?” I add just to be sure.

Mike can’t defend himself and stares at me perplexed while shrugging his shoulders innocently to answer Annie’s questioning look.

I have no clue what to say anymore but it doesn’t matter anyway since I suddenly feel that my 8 minutes are more than up. My skin begins to itch so terribly that I actually scratch myself inadvertently on the most inconvenient parts, something what possibly comes across weird.

I have to leave quickly and run off like a heartbroken woman and vanish back into nothing in the middle of the dancing crowd. Now, invisible again, there is just the dress and the wig left on the dance floor. And well a bra plus tissues, but nobody even seems to notice that. I, amazed by my own acting skills, go back to the scene I had just left. Here they are. Mike tries his best to explain Annie the situation. “I don’t know who that crazy psychopathic woman was, I swear.”

“Sure, you seriously want me to believe that a random woman just walks up and makes a scene like that?”

Annie asks.

He nods and says, “Yes,” as if it was a really stupid question from her side.

“Yes?” she exaggeratedly copies the way he just said it. “You know what? You are clearly just an ass like any other dick-driven guy I’ve met.”

She finally got it, as if he haven’t had shown signs before that. I was glad to help.

“Who the hell was that?” By now Samantha is back too and holds Annie’s arm all friend like and protective.

“His wife,” Annie scoffs betrayed, “mother of his kids.”

Samantha has her mouth wide open, and fixes him with an evil glare.

“Let’s go, he’s an asshole,” she says. Annie nods, gets her bag and walks off with Samantha not giving him another look. He doesn’t even try to stop her and is left behind, now realizing that he is getting some more evil stares of some girls around who have witnessed it all.

I am so relieved and even more amused to see him standing there all alone and miserably drinking up his drink and the one Annie had left behind on a counter.

 

Chapter 11

Saturday: 10.42 p.m.

 

 

“Assholes, Assholes, everywhere!” Samantha says loudly as soon as they are in Annie’s apartment. “See even you aren’t safe from them.”

Annie sits down on the couch to get her boots off and just shrugs.

“That makes me so fucking mad. There is finally a guy making you all la-la and then he turns out to be this. Married and with kids. Sorry that didn’t even happen to me.” Samantha walks around in the room, as she’s having the rant. Her face red with angered passion. “Cheaters yes, guys wanting to collect me as a trophy to tell their pick-up artist community yes, gays trying me if there is something straight in them yes, married with kids. Fuck no. That’s the worst. Worst!” she says, while Annie, wordless, and barefoot, as her socks got stuck in her boots, goes into her bedroom.

There she sits down on her bed, opens her laptop and viciously eyes the sparkly shoe. While Samantha goes to the bathroom, Annie stands up and throws the shoe into the trash can next to it. When Samantha comes back, marching through the curtain, Annie lays down, having her laptop on her belly.

“I still can’t believe you did it with Adam,” Annie says.

“Well, I wanted to help,” Samantha replies, matter of factly, as she plummets down next to her, making the mattress squeak so loudly, that she can’t help but let it squeak some more and leave a short comment about how thankful Bed and Deadfast guests must be that she doesn’t live here. Then, I’m guessing to make Annie feel like she’s not alone in the having met a married asshole club, she tells her a story about a girl from the costume department who went out for months with a guy, who told her he loved her and was serious, because she said she wanted to settle down, and one day, never having suspected anything, she ran into him in a store having on his side his wife and a newborn.

“She’s a mess. Made the mistake to fall in love and trust the wrong guy.”

Annie looks at the ceiling and her mouth makes this weird movement as if she’s about to cry.

“Imagine that. Being truly in love. Thinking for a long time that you’ll marry him, have a family with him. Then you go to get your broccoli and find that he already has this with somebody else. A dream gone. And because you are diabetic you can’t even eat a chocolate cake. Be happy you found out on the first date. Saves you lots of drama.”

When Samantha turns to look at Annie, she spins to the side and leans on her elbow. “Are you crying?” She takes Annie’s head, moves it to her direction and stares at her. “Don’t you dare cry for him. He is not worth crying about.”

Annie wipes a tear away, making herself look cheerful.

“If you want to I will go back and give him black eyes, not using any makeup. Just tell me and I will do it.”

Annie says no and then Samantha, remembering something gets up and goes to her purse.

“Good thing we aren’t diabetic,” she says and sits back down on the bed, gives one of two golden wrapped pralines to Annie, unwraps her own and stuffs it in her mouth. From there, she flicks the wrapping into the trash. At least that was the plan. Similar to my recent mishap it lands just next to it.

“C’mon,” she curses, stands up, picks it up and just as she does another try, this time standing right in front of it, she pauses.

“Why is the shoe in your trash?”

“Because I threw it.”

“Why?”

“Because apparently love is a fairytale.”

“Oh, you and your negativity.” Samantha takes the shoe out. “Only because your parents hate each other. Mine do, you happen to have one bad date and your best friend has a massive asshole radar, doesn’t mean love doesn’t exist.” She sits down on the bed, facing Annie. “I haven’t found my true love yet, you clearly haven’t. Does that mean we never will?”

Rhetorical question will be answered by herself in 3, 2…

“No.” She smacks Annie’s arm playfully with the shoe. “Our better halves are probably just around the corner. There are good guys out there. I promise you that.”

Annie’s expression says, ‘I wish I was as naive as you.’

“Now forget that fucker. Plenty of fish in the sea,” are Samantha’s concluding words of this motivational speech. She stands up and makes a spin to send a smile. “Just don’t do deep sea fishing, stick to the riffs, if you know what I mean.” She looks at the shoe. “It’s so beautiful, I can’t believe you lost the other one.”

“Yeah,” Annie mutters.

“Mike should go back to his unfortunate wife and we have a long overdue girls’ night,” Samantha announces, “and this shoe, Madame, stays here. You kept it for ages on this spot. You, yourself said that you keep it as a metaphor for love.”

Annie, wanting to say something, quickly gets shut up with, “And don’t give me that crap that I talked you into it,” from Samantha who gives her a daring look.

“Now don’t throw it out because of that ugly deep sea fish,” she continues and puts the shoe back in its place. “It’s Swarovski. It must have cost your mother a fortune. If you want to get rid of it, fine, but I’ll get the crystals, pluck them on a dress and you’ll have to wear it.” Her arms are on her hips. “Every day,” she adds.

“Ok, ok.”

Pleased, Samantha heads to the kitchen. I go with her to have a casual look out of the window, so I can see if Mike decides to come over.

“Let’s stay superficial for a moment,” she says as she gets two cups out the cabinet. “That guy on stage, how hot was he?”

“He’s an asshole as well.”

“Why? What happened backstage?” Samantha pours milk in.

“We only talked a little.”

“Did he do anything?” She stirs chocolate powder in.

“No, no. He is just one of those many guys who don’t click with me. He talked with me as if I was someone … I don’t know. More as if I was a male buddy of his. I just felt as if he didn’t respect me much. It was not like you talk to somebody you just met.”

“Oh well, sounds as if it is the opposite.” Samantha starts to look for something else. “Ever heard of what teases each other likes each other?”

I can mentally see Annie rolling her eyes.

“You are lucky. Did you see how hot he is?”

“He’s not my type.”

“That guy is everybody’s type. Unless you are blind.” Excited to find the marshmallows in the packet from Annie’s mother, Samantha gets one out. She also takes out one of the chocolate-dipped strawberries from the fridge.

“Oh, sorry, I forgot about his music,” she adds. “He’s everybody’s.” A knife and a pen taken from a drawer has joined the other materials.

“Speaking of which.” Abandoning them for a second she takes out a DVD out of her purse and shows it to Annie, as she pokes through the doorway curtain. It’s Viva Las’bitas.

“Your insight of the movie has made me curious.” She winks. “Put it in the player, will you?” she continues as she tosses the DVD to her. “Drinks are almost ready.” Then she goes back to the kitchen and says, “Just kidding. Pick any romantic comedy you like.”

Annie rolls her eyes, but smiles fondly as she watches Samantha do her drink preparations through the wall. However, her eyes get watery again. Right now I stay with her. The reason is what happens right now. A longish look at the cover from her. I wanted to witness this for approval. There’s gotta be some attraction. Perhaps she’s not only upset about Mike. Perhaps Samantha’s what teases each other likes each other theory is true.

“Didn’t you think that that one song he played sounded like your ringtone?” Samantha asks after a while. “The one I, with so much love and talent, created?”

“Don’t know.”

“I could have sworn.” With the cups in her hand she returns to the bedroom. “You know what? We should watch this Viva Las’bitas flick.” Samantha moves the DVD away, “because if I wouldn’t have to be here to fix you, I’d either be sleeping or hitting on the vampire himself in the pub,” she teases as she sits down on the bed.

“You can go,” Annie assures her. “You must be tired anyway.”

While Samantha tells her, “Nope, I’m at least 2 Red Bulls away from that,” and adds, “anyway, I just remembered that I have that new Cinderella live action movie on my to watch list,” Annie smiles as she notices the cute as hell marshmallow fish swimming on the surface of her cup. It has the green leaves of the strawberry as fins, a kiss mouth formed with two pieces of the strawberry itself, funny painted on eyes that look up, and scales cut in and lined with red fruit juice.

“Does Cinderella sound good?” Samantha asks.

Annie shrugs.

“Any better idea?”

A head shake.

“Awesome.”

“Yay.” Annie looks thrilled. Not forced at all.

Samantha selects the movie and it begins to play.

A couple minutes into the movie, I hear a familiar sound and look outside. There is the Porsche picking up Mike who proudly gets in.

Not that thrilled about watching Cinderella either, and being interested in what he is up to, as well as to prevent possible attempts to get to her, I decide to go and press myself into the not too spacious middle area in the front of the car to follow him around a bit.

“How’d it go?” Frank asks Mike as he drives away in a not very Porsche-like manner.

“You drive like a grandfather who just escaped the elderly home. I hope you didn’t do that with her,” Mike comments. Frank now picks up speed.

“She eats out of my hands I tell you,” Mike brags. “She looked so hot today, you should have seen her. Very tight jeans.” He looks at the magazine that is tucked in the front, advertising to tell you how to get any woman you want. “What’s with your date? Did she turn out to be a guy, has a beard? Blind dating can be a bitch I heard.”

“She was even better than I expected.” Frank smiles to himself. He begins to tell Mike how the evening went. How like he planned picked her up at the station. Took her to a fancy restaurant. Told her that he recently got his first million.

“Did she buy it?”

Frank shrugs.

“Are you still a virgin?”

He looks sad. “I thought I did everything right.”

The indicator blinks and he lets several cars in front of his. Being in thoughts, a little smile returns on his face.

“We had a drink and had a really awesome conversation. She likes the same things I like. She wants children.”

“Did she tell you that?” Mike seems shocked.

“Yes.”

“Red flag, she tells you she wants kids. Imagine those diaper shitting screaming things. Unless you leave her, your life will be over.”

I’m having a proud moment. Isn’t Mike great parent material? He better stops wanting to get into Annie’s pants or else this is exactly what will happen in his near future.

“After dinner I asked her to come with me to the hotel. She said that she was tired. But she said she enjoyed the night. I didn’t bring myself to ask her for another date. It’s too late anyway as I am officially on my way back home tomorrow morning.”

“Yeah, that sucks. Not even a kiss?”

Frank shakes his head and before he is in danger to cry directs the topic back to Mike who doesn’t need to be asked twice to tell again how hot his date was, giving way more detail than anyone needs. He says stuff I would never tell anyone, just out of respect of their well being, but somehow Frank doesn’t seem to be bothered by his I constantly have a boner confessions.

“Seriously, she is so freaking hot,” Mike says for the third time. “She just has to be around me and I have to use all my mind power that he doesn’t go up. I mean, as you know, I’m on the horny side anyway but that never happened before. It’s like she’s a snake charmer hypnotizing a cobra. The weirdest part is that I wouldn’t usually pick her if I had other options. Small tits, flat ass, kind of a mousey type. When I first met her she had those ugly glasses on. She really isn’t your typical porn star type.”

“Depends on the porn you watch,” Frank mutters, looking shyly ahead.

Mike glances at Frank, saving to comment on that, rather continuing his story.

“There was a porn star girl later on, she came in when Annie was doing something backstage with that musician. She had red hair and the most amazing boobs.” He gestured the boobs, having his hands almost hit the front. “If I hadn’t tried to get with Annie, I’d banged her instantly.”

Then he also lets him know that when they were watching the movie and she was sitting beside him he, as this hot scene played, had the nastiest visions of her undressing herself and then giving him an incredible lap dance in the narrow space there was between his legs and the people in front of him.

“She squished her flat ass in my face, opened my zipper, took out my cobra, bended down, slowly worked her tongue from the shaft to the tip, and just as she was about to take the whole thing in her mouth I jizzed the biggest amount I ever jizzed in there.” He lets that sink in. “She swallowed,” he then adds as if it was the climax to the most amazing story ever told.

Great, now at least I know the behind the scenes of his tent performance. Frank also seems impressed. Especially as Mike tells him that he really had a boner and that she kissed him afterwards despite noticing it.

“So, why exactly did you want me to pick you up and you are not with her?”

“She’s mad at me. She thinks I’m married.”

“What married? You? Why would she think that?”

Mike tells him that a random chick came up and told Annie that he was married to her. So far, so good, but he also tells him that he thought that woman was also quite yummy. His words. He thought I’m yummy. Do I need to comment on that? The worst part for him was that she made Annie leave and left herself leaving poor Mike all confused.

“If she thought I was so attractive then she could at least keep me some company,” he says in a tone that sounds as if he is serious about that.

They go to a gas station. Mike buys some magazine with naked girls in it and two beers.

“Here, that’s the stuff you need to read.”

Frank can barely look at those photos Mike pushes excitedly into his face, right after they are back in the car.

When Mike looks at the centerfold he gets sentimental. “I need to get fucked today. If Annie doesn’t do it today, somebody else will have to.”

He gives driving directions to Frank. A few blocks away they drive into a long narrow road and park in an almost empty parking lot. There is a house with red lights surrounding the window frames. They go up some stairs and Mike knocks.

A woman opens with a greeting smile. Mike, being the cool checker he is, nods at her and walks in immediately. His posture is confident. He knows the woman. He knows the place. Frank is hesitant but follows. The walls are red and are decorated with more lights.

“That’s a…”

Mike helps Frank to find his words. “Whorehouse.”

After going up a narrow staircase leading up to several small rooms, they stand in the hallway looking into the rooms whose doors are open. Inside there is nothing but beds, sheets, more lights and several objects I don’t even want to know what they are.

Quickly two women present themselves having a bit of a contest of who gets picked by whom. Both are clearly older than Mike and Frank. They look like normal weight, average-looking women, only dressed sparsely. Mike turns to the one with the bigger breasts.

“Ok, you get me,” he says.

That woman officially has the worst job in the world. Mike is such a douche. Annie is at home sad and hurt and he has nothing else to do than go to a prostitute. She takes his hands and guides him in her room.

“All right, have fun,” Mike says to Frank who now also gets waved into the other room by the woman now waiting for him.

Not really knowing why, I slip into the room with Frank. He stands awkwardly in the room. His hands hang loosely on his sides. The woman, at least 20 years older than him, places herself on the bed. She pats the bed like Mike did with the pillow earlier.

Keeping eye contact she begins to seductively open her top. Slowly she unbuttons one button, then two, then it’s open. Just as she is about to reveal her breasts Frank finds his voice.

“Erm, can we just talk?” he asks not looking at her.

“Talk?” She is confused, but continues anyway.

“Yeah, I mean I’m not sure if I am ready for this. You’ll get your money anyway, I promise.”

“Praise the Lord.” She pulls her outfit back on and sits up.

Frank looks to the floor clearly hurt. I start to feel bad to have called him starving skinny. He doesn’t seem to be comfortable in his skin at all.

“It’s not that. You remind me of my son. Would have been a tad bit awkward.”

They both smile and the room’s atmosphere changes from awkward to comfy.

“Then talk son,” the prostitute says as she pats the bed again.

He sits down next to her and begins to tell his story. A story of him looking for love online as he gave up looking in the real world. Being rejected and mocked as long as he can remember. He tells her openly what he thinks he is. It’s him being a loser.

He is 22 years old, has a job as a kitchen runner in a sushi restaurant, hates sushi and never had a girlfriend. After also being rejected online he, with the golden advice of Mike, began to spice up his profile. So loser Frank turned overnight into a rich business man. As predicted his success rate went from none to a couple a day. He wrote with several girls beginning to like to play with them, not thinking he would ever meet any of those anyway. Then being his alter ego he began to talk to a girl that he immediately liked. She was a nerd like him. After months of writing he said he will have a meeting in New York and that he would like to meet her. The fun began when she said yes.

He smiles a little and then tells her the same story he just told Mike. “Do you have any advice? I mean as a woman. What do women like?”

“I can only tell you what works for me,” she replies. “My husband used to buy me flowers. That’s how he asked me for our second date. The first was a disaster. It was so bad I walked out on him. I never wanted to meet him again. I was so bored.” She turns to Frank who listens with a worried expression. Like she’s stirring a wound. “He didn’t give up,” she continues brightly. “He wrote a note explaining why he was such a bore. He bared himself on the paper, making me cry of laughter and sympathy. That was the sweetest thing. Turns out he wasn’t a bore at all. I do believe he had me at the moment I was done reading the note.”

Franks looks hopeful. She noticing it says, “We ended up having three kids,” and rubs over his knee. It’s not in a sexual but caring way and the gesture seems to work. Frank smiles. After exhaling a long breath she adds, “Oh how I miss this crazy idiot.”

“What happened?”

“He died.”

Frank looks away ashamed.

“We never had much money. I didn’t inherit a thing, but as silly as it sounds having me sit here with lingerie exchanging my body for it, money is not everything, honey. Of course if I had picked a rich guy I would now live in a mansion but you know what, I wouldn’t be able to go home tonight, open that squeaky door to our tiny flat and be able to walk in and kiss the three people who mean the world to me.” She looks ahead. “I see him in them. Their eyes, mouth, laugh. He gave me this. I will forever love him for that. I’d take him and his flowers again any day.”

Again she turns to Frank. That he reminds him of her son shows. She’s like a mother. “I’ll tell you something. Keep your money, get her flowers, write her a note. Write down what you feel. Be honest.”

“What kind of flowers?”

“Whatever feels right. Orchids, lilies, callas are nice. You can never go wrong with roses.”

He makes mental notes, concentrating as he imprints the names in his head.

“You know, every day I have guys here, mostly dressed in suits. Guys clearly on business trips, bankers, managers, lawyers, who often have a wife and kids at home.”

Hearing that, I can’t help but hear Samantha scold, assholes, assholes everywhere. I suppose it’s a good thing she isn’t here. However, right here is also the perfect example of why she is right to also believe that there are good guys out there.

“I only have to look you in the eyes and see that you love that girl,” the prostitute tells Frank.

He smiles and has that spark. This is what I’m talking about. That guy is totally different from Mike or any of those other assholes Samantha refers to. He actually seems to care about this Lindy girl. A genuine care. One that goes beyond getting her to bed.

After saying goodbye to the woman who wishes him all the luck in the world with the girl of his dreams, he goes out of the room smiling.

Mike, who I see giving his prostitute some money bills and making a call me gesture, follows soon after, zipping up his pants.

“Was good, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, good.”

“Tomorrow it’s Annie’s turn, I thought about her in there. I think I might be in love.” Mike laughs while checking out another half-naked woman. Isn’t he adorable?

“I want to see Lindy again. I think I will buy her flowers. I read that is romantic and shows that you care,” Frank says.

Mike looks disgusted.

“I will try. I will bring her flowers first thing in the morning. I’ll tell her everything. She told me where she works. I’ll go and then I ask her for another date.”

When I see Frank smiling to himself like that, I realize with pain, that everybody I get to know is likeable of some kind. Annie is probably the nicest person one will ever meet, Samantha being a loyal true friend. Sue, in her childish, but caring way. James, acting like a playboy but not ashamed of shredding tears. Even the prostitute giving honest advice to Frank. And well Frank, a guy that almost shocks me how much in love he is. Only Mike has yet to show me anything I could like.

“Wow, your prostitute must suck, you talk about flowers after fucking. Remind me to never go to her,” he says leaving me speechless and ready to curl up in Annie’s bed sobbing.

 

[][][] Chapter 12

Sunday: 6 a.m.

 

 

A while ago after watching James play into late at night and then watching Viva Las’bitas with Samantha, with a pretentious sleeping Annie next to us, I got stirred awake by Samantha tiptoeing out of the flat. Now the heavily chirping birds outside and my mind make it impossible to get back to sleep. But maybe it’s a good thing because day two is officially over, day three officially starting, and even though I feel some pride after having them successfully separated last night, it’s no time to relax. I have to make some sort of plan of action for today.

As I watch Annie, whose eyes move wildly under her closed eyelids, I get the impulse to take a look at James. He, also tugged into a king size hotel bed, also has his eyes moving while he sleeps.

What are you two dreaming about? I find myself asking and knowing I could get the answer in an instant, I consider if I should give the dream approach a go.

I know that a lot of amours, the ones who aren’t in any hurry, shoot their chosen ones while they sleep. It’s a pretty secure way to do it because both, most likely dream of the person they just got matched with and when they wake up, they are madly in love with them. Or are at least well on their way to that, as any sparked interest, potentially synchronized to their subconscious mind, becomes this subtle voice in their head that knocks and says, ‘Hey you, you like this guy or girl, remember?’ A knocking that not always stays subtle – especially if said person enters their real world radar soon after. As those usually know each other, they probably are pleasantly troubled by the feelings they experience and get paranoid the other knows they got ‘secretly’ down and dirty with them.

Here is the coolest part. The other will know because they were with them. Yes, people can meet in dreams. And what could give me, a powerless, arrowless, kidamour, hope is that sometimes this also happens to people who weren’t hit by anyone. Sometimes all it takes is having recently interacted with each other, some suppressed emotions and two separate dreams, plus dreamers mingle together. Obviously, as I want them to mingle, I need to find a way make this happen. Or do I?

Excitement rises inside of me seeing how both James and Annie have started to make sounds that could be some sort of moaning. You guys, I think, and carried away by impulse, I get ready to beam myself into the first dream and as I’m currently with James, it’s his.

With the pill in my hand, I also remember that the time to be in a dream equals the same as in real time. Since dreams, while lasting only minutes can feel like they go on forever, this can be of real advantage for me. Perhaps I can even try to only take half of one and use the other for later opportunities.

Precautions, second guessing, and hoping I will be spared from any sight of daddy’s or mommy’s certain body parts, I bite half of a pill, swallow it and beam myself eyes closed and fingers crossed into his dream.

Before I know it, I am there. In the Blue Zombie. It’s empty, foggy and… oh c’mon, there is a lady riding him. On stage, spotlight flooded. Shameless. She’s got very long hair. Red hair. Huh? Samantha. What the fuck is she doing there? Is that what friends do? Ok, I’m a wet dream of my father. I need to quickly distract myself.

I beam myself to Annie, who lays quiet and peaceful. Only an occasional grunt escapes that in retrospect sounds more like she’s prone to snore. A relief of sorts. Recovery nowhere near. Anyway, thinking about what I just saw, it wouldn’t hurt if she’d take example of James’ dream. Only with the right participant, please.

What I forgot to mention is that of course one can also have cuddly dreams about somebody without them being directly involved. So, if there isn’t the real or a projected James in her dream already, a fake, only doing PG-13 stuff, one’s gonna have to show up and spark her interest, to make her subconscious knock and nudge her to the man of her dreams. Literally and figuratively.

She’s the one to really convince anyway. Guys, well most of them, don’t usually turn away girls, especially when a nice ass, tits and a flirty smile is included. Fair enough this statement is mainly based on Mike’s actions and tales but let’s be real, so far I’ve seen James in several situations that makes it not too daring to put him in the same category. Annie must start liking him. In a way she thinks she likes Mike.

I concentrate fully on her now and go into her dream. Currently being in dream world, she could be anywhere. She could be galloping with a unicorn through the universe, sitting in a house of candy and eat it all or simply on a beach slurping margaritas. Annie, however, is in her beloved Starbucks.

I brace myself for a mega boring dream, following her yet again, going to the counter to order a tall latte from the same rainbow-haired girl she so often orders from.

Maybe Samantha will join but oh well, I guess she is otherwise busy right now.

Suddenly her phone alarm goes off. It is a church bell. A really loud church bell. I can hear it. I hope she won’t wake up. Stupid alarm.

“English tea please,” she orders, not waking up.

Having her order immediately in her hands, in a nice tall paper cup with the British Union flag on it, she goes towards the exit.

The alarm still goes. It gets louder. Bam, Bam.. and another Bam. She steps out and is… Hey, that’s Big Ben. Hello London.

Thank God her brain decided to just build the alarm in her dream. Good thing it’s only Ben’s bell and not this horror music James played, a zombie moan or something like that, because, as I said, she could have ended up anywhere, unwelcome nightmarish by background sound inspired scenarios included.

Annie closes the door and the Starbucks disappears, leaving her now in the middle of the street somewhere in London. Besides some trash swirling around in the wind there is nothing and no one around her. It’s only me on her side and I am still in my invisible form.

The sky is a dull grey, the ground is damp and there is a hint of mist in the air. This eerie atmosphere makes me hope that any zombie-related thoughts are currently wiped from her mind. Because if not, influencing background sounds or not, it’s still quite possible that zombies are going to soon crawl out of every corner.

Uneasy I look around. Her having a hobby making them and just having watched a zombie movie, makes it quite possible that something like that could happen. No, I have had enough of those things. Please Annie!

How about a nice dream of teddy bears, Hello Kitty or any other girly plush. Or, if you must dream from Viva Las’bitas limit it to the vampire in it.

She stands in front of Big Ben and looks up to the clock. Inpatient I watch her. What is she waiting for? That he comes alive, tells her a joke? Okay, it’s her dream and anything is possible. Let’s see.

The only thing that happens. No spoilers… the arrow moves. I guess I have to spice up the party. That’s why I am here anyway I suddenly remember.

Since I am in a dream, I also have the privilege to do whatever one is able to do while lucid dreaming. That means I can think about something and it will manifest immediately. I can also make up people and they will do whatever I like. The only thing I can’t influence is Annie and the stuff she creates herself.

I have enough and concentrate to beam myself into the form of James. He’s dressed in his white shirt and leather pants. A choice I made to give her the feeling as if she meets him at random on the street. All alone in London. What a coincidence.

Going for the Shaun look would have been too risky because of reasons that start with a “z” and end with “ombie”. Besides them being creepy, if they’d show up, they would be an unnecessary distraction.

Now that I’m with her, right in the random run in situation, is the point I realize that I’m not the most romantic soul on earth. I have absolutely no clue how to seduce a woman. But hey it can’t be so hard I convinced myself, remembering that I currently have the incredible look of him.

Confident, I walk by her and give her excessive flirty stares. With deep seductive voice I whisper, “I love you, baby.” I do this crocking the eyebrows thing, lip biting, looking from her up to down as if I was undressing her with my eyes and winking. I literally do everything I think belongs to unashamed flirting in just a small amount of time. Maybe it is too much but do I have any time to lose? No, I don’t. Anyway, her eye rolling tells me that it doesn’t seem to work. I guess I need to get more creative.

I see her walking past a statue riding a horse. Good idea. I am going to be her very own prince charming riding a horse. Like Claude on set. Him being a hero on a horse, dressed up like that was sure designed to get girls swooning. Heck, I’m a dude and swooned. This Cinderella movie, and I’ve seen only the beginning, also relied on the same strategy. In fact, this prince was already on horseback at the voiced over intro scenes of the movie. It’s a perfect plan. Most girls like princes. Annie’s a girl. There is a chance for the win. Decision made.

I get a large white horse. Its fur is brushed and so white it’s glowing. Its tail and mane are braided and waving in the wind. As for myself, I get dressed in a prince gown. All along with the balloon sleeves. Sword. Hat. It is mainly a white fabric with golden accents.

I sit on the horse, which really is tall, holy Moses, and holding the thin gear, feet in the saddle, I get a bit scared. People gallop like that, fight? Should have gone for a car. She’s walking away. It’s time to do a cool performance.

Starting at the other end of the bridge, I haul in the horses sides, and right away, with an accompanied whir, it’s running, galloping, going from standing to lightning speed toward Annie. I try to keep sitting steady in the saddle and not land on the ground, especially as she turns to give me a look. If those stuntmen can do it, I can do it. There’s not even a stunt required, it’s just some running. Keep running, be cool, is my mantra and the loud hooves cracking on the cement provide the tact. Just a little bit longer.

As I reach her, I pull the reins, and in an impressive stunt, I bring my horse to a halt right next to her. Ok, I admit, I’m hanging halfway down the saddle.

“Need a ride?” I ask casually. She looks up at me, still not fully enchanted.

“No thanks.” She continues her walk. I follow her, always ready to give her a bright smile whenever she looks at me. But two smiles in, she seems increasingly annoyed, whistles and suddenly a huge black horse snuffles outside a side street coming to her. It has the gear already on. She nears it, and then, making it look as if she’s doing nothing all day than this, swings on the horse, does the same thing I did, kicking it in his sides, only making it look much more graceful, and off she goes. I’m standing there for a second, seeing her speeding away. My horse turns his head and in his profile I see confusion.

“Follow the black horse. No questions,” I say, kick it, and again, struggle in the saddle. Quickly we have followed up, and so we run, side by side, for a while.

Thus the sightseeing is bumpy and waggly, I try to intake the things we pass. London, I must say, whether it’s the accurate picture or just her idea of it, is pretty cool. Several minutes on our way, we go to a park with some dude standing high up on a protest as if he owns the city and there are several big lion figures on fountains. I get the feeling she wants to get rid of me because she makes turns around them as if it’s a maze. After that she starts going up some stairs leading to a building named the National Gallery. It’s really bumpy. Making it up all the way, I have to adjust my hat. Tricky girl. Nice try, but not good enough.

I keep following her, but then up the street she jumps off her horse and runs into a mass of people who have suddenly appeared. I get off from mine, say thanks to it and dive into this place called Leicester Square, where people young and old, are so close that I struggle to squeeze through them. They aren’t even making space for a prince, how rude. Anyway, they look alive. I will not complain.

To keep her on radar, not wanting her to escape like in real life, I put a sign on her, making it hover above her. I go, follow it and see that on this Leicester Square place something big is going on. Judging from the camera cranes, barriers and lights, it must be a premiere. I look up at a banner, where I see the words, Rise of The Dead. All right, this must be the premiere from that TV show James had talked about yesterday. The one she wanted to be a makeup girl for.

She nears the event and gets a place in between autograph hunters and fangirls, going crazy as they see some male celebrity, who on the other side of a barrier walks by. I stand next to her, doing what they all do, trying to catch glimpses at the stuff going on on the red carpet.

A zombie comes by, making us all scream. There are more. Unlike the Viva Las’bitas ones they look really dead, not just tipsy. The dead limbs are lazily dragged along but it’s quite obvious they’re actors, therefore they’ll likely do nothing but provide some jump scares. Yes, no need to worry. One currently takes a selfie with a fan. The people, not disguised as zombies, are all famous and important looking people. Dress code, fancy.

As Annie stands there, tucked and abused by the other fans, I wonder why she keeps on being so modest. She should walk the carpet, nobody would mind. She is the one making the whole thing up anyway.

She seems to have special interest now that a girl stands there swimming in the camera flashlights. The girl is blond, poses skillfully with the cameras and listens to the name Jasmine. One of the stars I suppose.

A guy joins Jasmine. He is small and beer bellied, holding her in his arms.

“Big Ben Jones.” The people scream. Aha, I’m starting to get it. This is the guy Annie wanted to work with.

I follow where her eyes go and there I get a little shock seeing her, being all glamorous, entering the carpet. Interesting. She’s wearing her black skinny jeans, a white lace blouse and her glitter shoes, along with glitter jewelry. Her hair is loose and curly and in one hand is a leaflet, likely the invitation to this premiere.

While the real Annie is only onlooker, her projected, I guess dream self, greets some stars. Then she hugs this Big Ben Jones guy who makes her pose with him, holding her just as proudly as Jasmine, who’s on the other side. Annie got it. She’s posing like a pro.

I look over to Annie expecting her to have a dreamy face, but instead I find her looking disgusted at her glamorous self who now sends an evil glance to her non-glamourous self. When the latter one notices me, glamourous Annie, sending another glance, moves on and disappears into the theatre soon after.

I stand there watching this, thinking she should go on the carpet, already. Better yet, kick the other version of her to the side and take her place. She, just as she is right now, is good enough to rock the carpet herself. I know she’d want it. That perfect version of hers is indicator enough. Annie wants to be her, deep down, even though they seem to have some moral differences. But whatever. Now is the time.

Knowing that in her dream it probably feels as if it is reality and therefore she acts like she would as if it was a real situation, however odd it seems from another perspective, I ponder on telling her that she can do whatever she wants when I get a better idea. Since I am aware that this is a dream, I am going to show off a little. I want to impress her and make James more appealing to her. What better way than being celebrated, adored and cheered on the carpet. Now not only by those girls in a pub, now here with the mega stars, TV channels. The big deal. It’s worth a try.

Eagerly I pull back my prince sleeves. It’s time for my show. Out of the way people.

Now walking the carpet, always with an appropriate distance to the zombies, I become aware of a problem. Whatever her mind creates is not changeable for me. Therefore, as I am not created by her, nobody pays attention to me, which doesn’t necessarily help my quest to look popular. On the other hand. I can do whatever I want into hers.

I put a couple more photographers there. Let’s say a couple hundred more?

Better. “James, James over here. Over here.” I am in the spotlight. Now there is no way she can miss me.

On my side is still that Jasmine girl, who makes the shoulder pose like a boss.

“Turn left,” a person directs.

“Take off your shirt,” my crew screams. Oh well, let’s not deny their wish. Shirt off, voila. Shirtless James. I pose, trying to steal the show of the other quite eye catchy guests. The competition is hard. Tuxedos, glamourous dresses, mega heels and diamonds everywhere you look.

After a quick thought, I decide to put some shiny baby oil on his body. In no time I have a bottle of the shiniest kind in my hands and I splash it generously all over his arms, belly and some on his hair to give him a dolly look. Now polished and with the look of a hot bachelorette party stripper I spin around to face her. Believe it or not she is not watching me. Still no attention.

Clearly, I need some fangirls.

“AAAhhhhh James. AHHHHHH!” My ears hurt. Wow they are doing their job well.

I wink to them and they freak even more. I could get used to that. It’s amazing. Only Annie keeps on being stubbornly unimpressed.

“You,” I say as I point in her direction. Sure enough my fangirls all gape at her.

“Come here.” I go to her, directing her with my finger to come closer. Yes, yes she’s coming.

As soon as she is near enough to touch, I pull her over the barrier and get her on the carpet. Once there she’s coy but stays. Proud I place myself next to her.

“How is it being married to the most amazing guy on this planet?” a reporter asks her. Acting flattered by his generosity I wait for her reply. She doesn’t answer.

I lay my arm around her and kiss her on the cheek. It is as if I’m not there. Why isn’t she flirting with me?

‘C’mon, loosen up’ I complain in my head. It’s just an innocent dream in which you are allowed to do whatever you want. Everything is possible. No burdens, hurdles or judgment. You could jump on him, do anything you like, nobody will ever know. Nevermind the hundreds of cameras currently on us. It would be your fantasy. Your subconscious at work. That is the whole point.

Suddenly Big Ben Jones knocks on her shoulder.

“What are you doing here?” he asks. It didn’t come across as a friendly question.

Jasmine eyes Annie mockfully.

Annie spins around as people all the sudden have a little too much interest in her.

“Security!” one person screams, and the security people near.

I step to the side. Then there comes the weirdest thing. Mike. What a lovely surprise. He is already in her dream. Samantha is in James’ dream, Mike in Annie’s. The Fuck! He’s in his pink shirt, white pants outfit and has me, what she thinks is his wife, on his side, wearing the blond wig, short pink ripped open dress and clown makeup. They just walk by, giggling.

I’m not sure what to do, I only know that I need to size the chance, and this preferably before vanishing into the nothing. My time must be more than up already.

I push them over willing to make my way to Annie.

One security grabs her and she gets pulled away, not even struggling against it. She gets escorted from the carpet. Every single eye on her. From fans, stars, zombies, Mike and his ridiculous date, her glamourous self who came back out and speaking of being exposed, the birds on the nearby trees also stare judgmental.

I trot beside her, not sure if I’d stand a chance against this muscle monster. Would have been great if she’d create a security who is less frightening. Should I get my own army and free her? Probably not a good idea.

As the last of the arriving guest list guests make space so she can get shuffled out back into the masses of fans, I scream, “Annie, I am your prince and you are my princess.”

And she’s out.

“Aaannniiee, we belong together. Marry me. Love me.” Seriously that was all I could think of. At least I didn’t say make babies with me, though I was close to doing so. Don’t judge, I know those were the stupidest lines I could come up with. I would never say anything like this in the real world but here my last seconds counted and I wanted to get my point across that I or better to say James wants her.

“Stop making fun of me,” is all I get from her who is somewhere away in the crowd.

“Stop making fun of me,” I hear again, but it’s only an echo. I got pulled out of her dream without even noticing it and am back in her bed.

Ben strikes again. Oh shut up. This time Annie wakes up. She lays in bed, rubbing her eyes. Great, that was one wasted chance, this is for sure. I have no Idea if she will be able to remember anything, but then, maybe it’s better if she doesn’t.

Chapter 13

Sunday: 9 a.m.

 

 

Annie yawns as she makes Big Ben shut up who, I kid you not, has been chiming about ten times over the last two hours. I must say Ben got a little on my nerves, as I tried to just chill and forget the hustle for a few hours, enjoying the last moments of laziness, because as soon as the day would start I have to come up with something better than hopping oiled and shirtless around in a dream, achieving nothing more than that Annie’s fears and self doubts get branded deeper in her mind.

Choosing laziness over a morning run, she turns around yet again, her head leaning on her arms, facing her two babies. Her laptop and me. One can dream. After repeatedly opening her eyes to check the time, she reluctantly stands up. She stretches, yawns again and sleepily goes into her kitchen where she opens the cabinet. She takes out an aspirin, pours tap water in a glass and dips the thing down, as she looks out of her window. Seeing the Blue Zombie her face shows no delight.

Annie moves on to pour some more tap water into her ‘My name is Annie and I am a caffeine junky’ mug and puts it in the microwave. When it peeps, she opens another cabinet and reaches again into her mother’s send packet where a pack of Starbucks instant coffee sachets are to be found. Heartbroken she flips it over. It is empty. With a disappointed sigh she empties the cup of water, leaves it in her sink and goes on to get ready.

It doesn’t take long and she is done. With ponytail, glasses, no makeup, washed out jeans and tank top, she leaves the house. As she walks across the street to start her shift in the Blue Zombie that during the day functions as a cafe, she glances longingly into the direction where the Starbucks is. Therefore she does not see what I see. The white Porsche parked a bit down the other side of the road. I look inside and see a mega nervous, nail-biting Frank, sitting in the driver’s seat, with a small bouquet of flowers on his lap. I hope Mike is not where I think he is.

Annie opens the door, entering the dark cool space. It’s as if she’s entering the night and I am not surprised that guests, especially with those temperatures outside, choose other places to hang out during the day. Still, there are a handful of guests in there. I assume they are staying in the Bed and Deadfast, enjoying an appropriate breakfast in the dark. And on one table, far in the back, sits a huge bouquet of flowers. It is a mixture of red roses and some other bigger white flowers tucked in between them. There is a hand coming from it taking a cup in its hand, and guides it to a mysterious mouth not visible in the back. Annie stops, looks at it for a second, but then goes on behind the bar where Sue waits for her. She is grinning.

“Morning,” Annie mumbles, holding back a yawn.

“Morning Annie.” Sue cheerfully shows her how to approach the morning. God knows how many coffees she has in her system already. She’s currently drinking one and has also prepared one for Annie, who already drinks from it.

“You have one hell of an admirer,” Sue says, pointing to the flowers that now wiggle. Annie looks at it and it doesn’t take long until Mike’s face pokes out from the side. All right, Mike for sure took the idea from Frank. It’s so over the top and big, he must have begged him for loads of money. No wonder poor Frank had only enough left to get a mini version of this massive flower bouquet for his girl.

Mike wiggles the flowers more, I think in case she won’t notice them otherwise. Unfortunately, it makes Annie smile. Sue, who stands next to her, can’t hold her mischievous smirk.

“Don’t want to get your flowers?” she asks.

“I am working,” Annie replies while grabbing a cloth to clean a clean surface.

“Well, you are fired if you don’t.” Sue kicks her in the side animating her to go.

Annie looks at her with narrowed eyes while keeping on cleaning.

“Go,” Sue commands, kicking her once more.

“He’s married,” Annie says with a sigh.

“He’s not. There was a woman yesterday complaining that a guy attacked her in the toilet, stealing her dress and hairpieces.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean he’s innocent. A target of a prank from some crackhead.”

Well, thanks Sue. Should I have been thinking of this? I should have. Damn.

“You mean that wasn’t his wife?” Annie’s smile has just grown back to her half-moon grin.

“Yes, it wasn’t his wife and he’s here with those flowers, you better go. Now!”

Annie, being happy, goes and approaches him slowly. On her way, she’s stopping on the little buffet which serves cereals, fruit, toast and other breakfast stuff that is prepped in between skulls. She gets a strawberry and bites into it. Eye contact is already established. Too much flirting on her side. It’s just flowers, and too many of them. The strawberry is devoured upon reaching him. She licks residues from her fingers.

“How is your family?” Annie asks feigning to be mad but fails to hide a smirk.

“I don’t have one, I told you.” He smirks back as he gives her the flowers.

“I will get a vase,” she says, “then I need to work. I doubt my boss will be pleased with me small talking with guests.” She looks to Sue who doesn’t support that statement.

Annie goes to the direction of the restrooms where a cupboard is propped against a wall. As Mike follows, I watch skeptically. Also I am alarmed. He has that confident face.

Now being in privacy, he grabs her and gives her a wet, hard and disgusting kiss on her mouth then he let her go sighing, not letting go of her gaze. She seems stuck for a second. So am I by the way. Now she has his slobber in her mouth again but this time not being fogged by alcohol. There was no disgust filter, she must have felt the whole slobber attack. I feel sorry for her.

Mike licks his lips, obviously giving himself a mental hug.

“And you really don’t know who this woman was?” she asks, somehow not wiping away his spit.

“No,” he answers. “And there is something else I don’t know.”

“That is?”

“Your number.” He pushes his phone into Annie’s hand.

She types her number in. Something is on her mind.

“She was pretty.” Say what?

“Not half as pretty as you are,” he replies and touches her hair a little too admirably. His mouth is now formed into a wide grin. Just like hers. They just stand there and grin.

“I am really supposed to work right now,” Annie finally says. She gives him his phone back and induces an innocent hug. “Thank you for the flowers.”

After he lets her go, innocent hug turned into some sort of death grip, she gets the biggest vase she can find and takes it, along with the flowers, ready to go.

“Thanks,” she says. “They are beautiful.”

Again, Mike is on her back. “Let’s have another date,” he whispers.

She turns around not giving anything away if she wants it or not and continues her way to the bar.

“I’ll text you.” Mike gives her a slap on her butt, says a cheesy goodbye to Sue and starts to walk off squaring his narrow boyish shoulders as if he was a masculine Adonis.

“Oh yeah that went well, well, weeeell.” He smiles to himself and leaves the pub.

“I love dem white lilies.” Sue looks at the bouquet.

“Are they staying here?”

Annie nods and then without words Sue gets something from under the bar. Holding what looks like a syringe filled with syrup blood she asks Annie if she would mind and when she says that she doesn’t Sue starts dripping the blood over all of those white lilies.

“Perfect,” she says after she is done and turns to Annie who, somewhat absent, happily washes some glasses. Sue, now having the most annoying tell me all smirk I’ve ever seen, corners her, trying to catch her gaze.

“Tell me all.” Duh, why did I know this was gonna happen.

“Just a guy. I just met him two days ago, it’s nothing serious.”

“But you already took him here. It’s like a family meeting.”

Annie smirks, but doesn’t say anything to that.

The staring doesn’t end even after Annie attempts to hide behind the fridge door under the sink where bottled beer and sodas are stored.

“Ok, yes we had a date yesterday, yes I like him and no I don’t know how this is going to end up.” Annie gives her a friendly I told you all now leave me alone smile and continues to work.

“That was quite a kiss.” Sue smiles mischievous.

Annie looks shocked.

“C’mon you know I am the nosiest person walking this planet,” says Sue. “When will you see him again?”

“I don’t know.” Annie’s cell phone peeps.

“It’s him isn’t it?” Sue asks and I appreciate her nosiness as it helps me to get info as well. “What does he say?”

Annie rolls her eyes playfully giving in. “Babe, let’s meet up tonight.”

Sue asks if Annie wants to go and she says that she isn’t sure yet. She also confesses that she still isn’t sure if he is honest with her, that she may let him hang there a little bit, to see if he is serious about her.

“I don’t want to be someone’s toy,” she says. That’s my girl.

The next minutes they both begin to be intrigued in their work and I have some time to reflect on the situation. I know I am going to use my next form soon, preferably before or at the latest on their possible date they would have after she had him hanging a bit. After all I am sure he, who still has a generous dose of I love, aka ‘I am hot for Annie’ serum in his blood stream, will fight for another date. He won’t leave her alone.

Her phone peeps again, telling me, you’re damn right about that.

“Too bad you left so early yesterday,” Sue says, and Annie acts as if she didn’t just looked at her phone with a big smile. Her new strategy, I’m sure. If she wants to not get bugged about Mike anymore, she has to act as unaffected by him as possible.

“We all had a blast,” Sue continues. “James played until late in the night.”

A guest holds up his hands wanting to order something. Before leaving Sue adds, “In the end, we had him dancing on the tables.”

She takes the order and is back quickly. In her hand are empty coffee mugs. When she places them in the sink and goes to put two new ones under the coffee machine, she leans closer to Annie. “You know what they say. Like they dance so they are in bed.”

Annie washes the mugs. She has a wry face.

“He also helped us clean up. He’s such a darling.”

“Great.”

“By the way, he texted me this morning, asking if he could play here again tonight.”

“Really?” Annie and I say at the same time. Only mine sounded excited and hers more like if she couldn’t care less. But Sue’s enthusiasm is not breakable.

“Yes, he said that he had some more songs he would like to try out on a live audience. I told him Sundays are usually not busy but who am I to say no to him.” Sue turns until she stands with her back to the coffees and faces the back of Annie. The last words she pronounced in a thick southern slang. I don’t know why she did it but I’d love to have been available for the high five she probably wanted to share. Like you got that right sista.

Quite loudly, the coffee machine buzzes, as last drops of the coffee plops into the cups. A buzzing that overtones the peeping of Annie’s phone. She’s keeping herself busy. Who knew mugs need so much polishing.

“Kelly got sniffly last night,” Sue continues. “I hope she’ll be able to work later. If not I’ll ask Adam. He’ll be here any minute, so we can try this new recipe for red velvet waffles. He got bored and did the batter last night. Can you believe that? That’s what happens when you swear off alcohol and cigarettes.” She laughs. “I’m willing to bet those will taste great. It’s about time we get a better snack for coffee than those caramel cookies.”

“Uh-uh,” Annie says.

Sue kneels down to grab some of those cookies from the bottom of a cabinet. Meanwhile, Annie has a quick look at the phone. She furrows her eyebrows amused. He better not send her dick pics or something like that.

“I’m sure he’ll want to work,” Sue continues being back on eye level. “He’s cursing God that James isn’t gay but is enjoying what he gets offered from him anyway.”

True that. And I’m cursing God he didn’t make Annie and James a case of insta-love.

“Are you going to stick around?”

Annie shrugs and shakes her head the same time. A double no.

Sue heads to the customer with the coffees when Annie gets another text. This time more openly she takes another sneak at her phone. I’m getting a look. It says, ‘Tonight, 7? Mike x’

He’s bombarding her.

‘Your place or mine?’

He’s bombarding her with weird texts.

And it goes on.

‘Just kidding.’

Peep. ‘No seriously.’

‘Am I annoying? I miss you and your sexy glasses.’

Annie puts the phone back into her pocket. Having a bit of a go when you are so happy that you just stick your face in the air looking up, as if saying thanks to the heavens for being so nice to you. She’s open with her happiness until her facial expression freezes. She quickly looks straight ahead, then, when nobody looks, up again.

I follow her gaze and what I see is somewhat mega amazing weird and I can’t find the words. There, one of all those zombie dummies is one, the one in the very middle of the room, the one who had all his hair in the face like some emo, now he has his hair neatly tucked back with a hair clip. If I’m seeing it right it’s the hair clip James had in his hair yesterday while getting his makeup. And now to the interesting part, this guy, there is not a single doubt, looks like James. It looks as if he hangs there. The pale, zombie version of him. The hair brushed out of the face, a perfect view on it.

Annie, distressed, goes to the bar where Sue checks her own phone.

“Can I please have a smoking break?” she asks her.

Sue is confused reminding Annie that she doesn’t smoke but then offers her one of hers and grants Annie her break.

Annie is truly not herself and rushes out of the door. When she swings it open she falls into Adam who was just about to enter.

“Whoa girl,” he says, “don’t make me spill the blood batter.” In his hand is a big bowl with a tin foil over it.

“Sorry,” she mutters and Adam stares with a raised eyebrow at the cigarette.

“Don’t ask.” She steps outside, flinching at the sun.

“Alrighty. I’m going in,” he says, halfway in but then stops and looks back. “Smoking kills, makes you wrinkly, impotent, in your case infertile, brown teeth, just saying. It’s the worst to do when stressed. I can teach you breathing techniques. By the way, did Sue tell you that this woman hitting on your man was an asylum escaped transvestite?”

“Yes.”

“Good.”

“Did she also tell you that James helped us clean?”

“Yes.”

“I made him pick up trash,” he says. “That ass.”

With that comment lingering in the air, he disappears inside.

Annie, who looks a tiny bit more relaxed, sits down on the ground. She lights the cigarette but after a hesitant drag and a followed disgusted cough, she puts it out, aggressively. The thing is torn to pieces in no time and she goes onto ram her hands on her forehead as if being angry with herself and the world, looking up in the air again, only now, she’s not looking as if she’d thank any gods for anything.

As I watch her wondering what the hell this all is about I decide to go and see what James is doing. It is quite possible that he, as he danced on the tables, did that little hair do, revealing the dummies face. Also, I think it is quite possible that he and she know and have more in common than they will admit to each other and the world. It’s something I want to find out.

James lays with his back on a huge rock. It’s surrounded by trees, a little lake and high buildings. I take it it’s Central Park, because there are already many picture-taking tourists and joggers on the paths below him. Especially the joggers give off the Central Park vibe as they look as if they do this every day since there really is nothing on their bodies to sweat off. And they wear sport outfits all along with sweatbands, timers and those funny bottles with a grip on, so you can drink while running. On top of that, most guys are shirtless and most girls have a seductive ponytail waving around as they run. It’s like a beauty pageant. And somewhat a show off in some cases. Maybe it’s jealousy speaking. I’m probably the first to run here, if I get the chance to.

Anyway, as James is dressed in grey shorts and a red shirt, with some sweat in the armpits, he looks as if he was one of those joggers not long ago. I figured he didn’t get this body from eating hamburgers.

He has a Coke on his side, earphones in his ears, an iPod on his belly and the hands on his sides. Occasionally he hammers along with the music with his fingers and moves the tact with his foot that is folded over his other propped up leg. He has a little smile on his face and his eyes are closed. At some point he hums the song he played yesterday. This song that really does sounds like Annie’s ringtone. He smiles wickedly. If I’m allowed to dream and interpret everything the way I want, he’s maybe hoping to see her again.

I’m predicting that he’s staying here and doing nothing but to chill for a while. Also, I like that he doesn’t seem interested in those random girls that are gathered around him, drinking that pink strawberry frappuchino drink from Starbucks. Which makes me curious about what Annie and James’ dummy are doing.

The pub is close to empty now. Sue and Adam make waffles in the kitchen and when the two last guests go on a potty break, Annie sizes the chance to hop on a table, trying to get rid of this clip. As the table did not stand right under the dummy before I left, she must have done an attempt before. Or at least prepared for it. Now on the table, being way too small, she balances on her toes and makes little jumps as she reaches for this clip, that doesn’t want to get off this easily.

When she hears that Adam and Sue come back she trips, while having had a good grip on the dummy and a bandage gets loose. Terror stricken, yet quick to act, she jumps from the table and acts as if everything is normal when the two come out.

“They taste delicious. Told you,” Sue tells her, holding a silver tablet with a pyramid of small snack-sized red waffles on it.

Annie smiles but has a frightened eye on the dummy who moves a bit. As if slipping off.

“A whole batch done in under 10 minutes, looking like blood.”

“Cool,” Annie comments, while inconspicuously looking at the dangling dummy. Good for her, I just realized, the clip is in her hands. She hides it in her pants pocket.

Then as Sue goes to the returned customers advertising the new waffles, the dummy makes another move. This time the hair falls back into the face, covering it just like before. Annie, exhaling relieved, goes to the bar to join Adam who proudly watches how the customers each take one. On her way, Annie gives a last look to the dummy. It now seems to have found its place and keeps still.

Adam eats one of those waffles and stuffs another one into her mouth once she arrives. As they both munch on them he begins to talk. “Good aren’t they?”

Annie nods and gives a sign that I guess means, they’re the bomb.

“Kelly called while we did those. She has the flu,” he explains, takes another bite, chews while watching her and seems eager to add more, which he does, eventually. “Sue’s going to ask you if you can work double shift, but is scared.”

“What? Why? What about you?”

“I just popped in for the waffles. I got to go to a wedding. They’re going to make pictures on Times Square and all that straight people’s stuff.”

Then Sue comes back. I never enjoyed her sheepish grin more than right now.

 

[][][] Chapter 14

Sunday: 4.10 p.m.

 

 

With Annie at work the day quickly went by and now she has off and goes home. In two hours James will arrive. Hip, hip hurray. Yes, I was too early too excited, because Sue remembered that there is a girl named Adriana, who applied last week to work there.

She called her and asked if she wanted to do her ‘test’ day tonight. Girl said yes, Annie was relieved. I watched James practice guitar in his hotel room until some minutes ago and now I am considering to knock Adriana out, so Annie has to jump in and go back there. But as tempting as it is, I really don’t want to hurt anyone. It doesn’t seem right. I must approach the matter of love with love or something like that. But how, I still don’t know. What I know is that Annie has to get pregnant by James at the latest by tomorrow at midnight and therefore, I have to make a plan, right now, how to make her meet him instead of this annoying creeper text bombing Mike tonight.

So far I believe she has not texted him back, but he texted her several times more.

“ :(. Why u not text me. I need cuddles,” was his latest text. Need I say more?

Annie keeps playing hard to get, so that’s a good thing. However, she’s always smitten when reading a text, so that’s not so good.

She lays in bed and opens her laptop. Apparently Samantha forgot to take the DVD out, because there is a stand picture of Viva Las’bitas on the screen. Annie looks at it for a moment. Then, without really doing anything she closes it again, and lays on her side. Her eyebrows are furrowed. The motion of a hard thinker.

As long as it’s not Mike on her mind, I am happy.

Seeing her like that, I think, maybe doing this helps me thinking too. Soon later, I lay in the same position, but besides being sad that I can’t use either of Annie’s body or James’ body to make their meeting happen, nothing happens. It’s as if my brain is a light bulb and I keep on pulling the switch, but the damn thing doesn’t turn on.

After a while her phone rings. It’s that ringtone signaling it’s Samantha. I’m happy she calls because maybe an idea will pop in my head as they do informative friends talk.

“Hey,” Annie answers.

Samantha on the other line says something I don’t understand.

“I do actually,” Annie says. Her next reply is, “I know, I know.”

I get curious, wanting to know what Samantha says and as she usually has the speaker on while being on the phone, I beam myself in her place.

Bingo, she, master of multitasking, listens with a skeptic expression to Annie’s faint voice on her phone speaker while sitting on her table, her legs up on it, so that her nail polish on her toes can dry and is busy sewing tiny copper glitter pearls on an orange fabric flower. She must hate walking around like everybody else. Some days ago I was here and she actually sat there and crocheted a flower pattern on a dress like a granny.

Her pink box, filled with fabrics, yarn and all kinds of other things you need to make stock stuff more unique, sits in her lap. On top of it are the leftover cotton balls, that are not stuck between her toes and they now get thrown at Monster, who snarled at me the second I arrived.

We currently have a stare down, which he’s determined to win, so he’s not reacting to Samantha’s attempt to make him quiet and keeps on snarling.

As I copy his teeth flinching he only gets more aggressive.

Now something else flies.

“Who’s a good dog?” I say, trying another approach. I’d love to understand what Annie says, after all.

“Who’s a good doggy? Doggy boo?” He’s tilting his head and yelps. Incredible.

Now as he’s silent, there is no other sound as well.

“Samantha?”

“Yes. Look, Annie. I don’t know what to say,” Samantha says with a needle between her lips as she’s opening another pack of pearls.

“Yes, I know but I want to give it a try, we’ll have just one drink and I will see if it works or not.” Annie pauses. “Maybe one night.”

I don’t have to tell you what I think, right. One night? What! Nooo! She is clearly talking about one night with Mike. This doesn’t sound like letting him hang anymore at all. That sounds more like giving him all he wants. Her body. Soon he will have it and will be able to do with it whatever he wants.

I force myself to not completely freak out and deeply breathe in and out with little effect.

“Ok, you consider to spend a night with a guy you just met, let’s skip details about what kind of guy, on a work night, again. What the hell did he do to you? Some kind of voodoo magic? He’s fucked up. Don’t you see that?”

Annie takes time to come up with an answer. “I don’t know. Kind of feels like it.”

“It’s just odd. I always thought you are the kind of person who would only date if your baked guy came along. Like some British film composer.” Samantha stitches another pearl on the flower. “And even then, you’d probably run away like a headless chicken, the moment you’d feel fuzzy in your tummy or below, because we both know, it’d scare you.” She gets yet another pearl. “And then there comes this guy, ugly, having nothing you desire. And bam your pupils are hearts. And you are so forward. It’s so not you.”

There is a pause as she pulls the needle trough the pearl, ready to add it to the flower. “What does he even do for a job?” she eventually asks.

“I don’t know.”

“Really? Honestly, the only reason I left you alone in the pub with him and even let him kiss you was because I hoped that would open your eyes. I can’t believe you enjoyed that. From my view, yes I watched, it looked as if he was a horrible slobbery kisser. Then that jealous transvestite, really Annie.”

Um, yeah…she got a point. Samantha is a class an A observer. However, I’d love it to not get my club apparition failure rubbed in my face every other minute. By everyone.

Annie tells her that this woman was not his wife and also tells her that she for whatever reason really feels as if being under a spell, feels this strange desire to be with him.

“He asked me to have a drink with him tonight and I said yes, I doubt it will be more anyway,” Annie says after hearing her friends loud sigh.

“Right, I’m not your mother and you are a big girl. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Annie agrees.

“Oh hey, before I forget, I think there must be Monsters squeaky toy laying around at your place.”

“Yes, it’s safe on my shelf. He was crazy about it, wouldn’t leave it alone.”

“I know and I think he is absolutely love sick. It’s as if he has an imaginary friend lately even. Barking at nothing. Now he’s like as if this friend makes doggy talk with him. He needs it back or he’ll die of heartbreak or insanity.”

Monster currently lays on his back. This whole doggy boo talk makes him want a belly rub.

“Can I drop by later and get it?” she asks and tosses another cotton ball.

“Sure when do you want to come?”

“It will be later. I don’t think I have enough time before I head out tonight. Busy bee.”

“You have a date as well?”

“Not exactly. It’s more of a self-invitation. I overheard Claude is meeting with some actors down in Soho. He’s enjoying the first day off after two weeks as well. So I guess I’ll come by after that.”

“I guess I’ll see you in the morning then.”

“Guess so,” Samantha says. “Fingers crossed.”

“No problem, in case you come earlier and I’m not home by then, you have the keys, just don’t forget to double lock the door.”

Samantha nods to the phone and I am like… Keys? Yeah baby, right there is my idea. She, of course, as the very best friend of Annie, has keys to her apartment. Knowing that James will at some point be on his way to the Blue Zombie and this will be around the time Samantha goes to her date thing, there is a real good chance that they are close to each other at some point on their paths.

I’m going to try to possess her. If successful, she can seduce him and make him go to Annie’s place and lock him in there. That’s exactly what those two need. They need to get together again. I mean alone, locked in, so they are forced to interact with each other. Similar to when they were in the backstage room, only without the chance of easy escape or interruption. After all, this meeting has activated both interests, at least a little bit. They just might need a bit more of alone time to hit it off. Some people sometimes need a little push towards their luck. Maybe Annie’s inviting bed, discreetly hinting on possible ways for killing time works wonders too, and who knows, maybe the ball rolls itself from then on and they don’t need any assistance anymore.

Mentally I already see them humping each other like rabbits. A thought I try to push away but it only gets stronger as I realize that this vague, day-dreamish plan blossoms to become a real possibility as the next two hours progress. And really now after having repeatedly beamed myself from one to the other of the three, a seemingly great opportunity arrives shortly after 7 p.m.

Annie gets ready for her date and has blond coloring cream developing in her hair roots while plucking her eyebrows in front of a handheld mirror, using the light of the evening sun from her kitchen window. Simultaneously and very conveniently, James is already on his way towards the pub. Also Samantha just left her apartment grooving to the music, whatever comes out of her headphones.

I prepare myself to take her over, getting nervous as I have no idea how it will feel to be inside a living body that doesn’t quite belong to you. I follow her, who walks gracefully on dangerously high heeled stilettos, turning the dirty sidewalk into a glamourous catwalk. She even gets the attention she would get walking a show, as not only guys but also girls eye her in different degrees of conspicuity.

The warm humid air, lingering between the high buildings cools off as grey monstrous clouds begin to roll in over the city, scattering heavy rain drops every now and then, foreshowing a thunderstorm.

She is on her way to her date, all dressed up in a knee length dark teal-colored lace dress and primped with the now completed orange fabric flower stuck into her almost equally colored hair. It is straightened flat and just before her wild locks can pop up again she protects them with her purse while hailing a cab.

It doesn’t even take a second and a fresh out of the car wash shiny yellow transportation is to her service. She puts her iPod away, hops in and gives instructions to what I think is some kind of bar and I wait until it reaches the street where James is at in this moment.

As the moment comes closer I take the pill, getting ready to go into possession mode.

While she sits there, refreshing on her nude lip gloss, I go in her body which happens to be easier than expected. She fights me a little bit. Ok a big bit, acting like a weirdo with random jerky movements as if she was an actress performing a scene where she transforms into a hairy ugly werewolf.

A few convulsions later, her body which was spared from any downgrade, goes calm and obeying to me as her soul is now momentarily put on hold. First I move a hand, stretching finger after finger, followed by a leg which I circle and stomp in the tiny leg room of the car.

Relieved about the fact that her body parts do exactly what I want, I decide to test if she can also say what I want.

Only now, I notice that the taxi driver, which looks as if he has a not yet fully completed werewolf transformation at his back himself, gapes concerned at her from his back mirror.

“All good sir, all good,” I say and her mouth does deliver the lines perfectly.

I try to get hold of the situation and find out where we are and were I have to give directions to when suddenly, James who strolls upright and proud between a dull mass of people, mostly clothed in mousy boring colors and partly shielded with umbrellas, pops into my sight. The white leather jacket he wears is hardy missable and I focus my eyes entirely on him.

I come closer and closer and my or more precisely her legs begin to shake of nervousness. It is as if I have a serious attack of stage fright, scared to fail and make a fool of myself but if I don’t go on stage the show will fall into the water and I will only get boos instead of applause. This is my last chance.

We pass him and my gaze worryingly follows him, now glued at the back window, with his stature slowly shrinking in my view.

“Are you all right?” the driver asks in a raspy voice.

I’m not all right at all but attempt to smile at him as if I am, though I possibly have the expression of a confused squirrel. Bam, he hits the brakes and as a result of him giving far less attention to the traffic than me, I bang hard into the front seat. Ouch, that hurt. Somebody will have some nasty bruises tomorrow.

The driver turns around in shock making sure I am still alive when I, now with a clear view on the red traffic light ahead and the logical neurons back in order, decide to make quick process by rushing out of the cab. I, Cooper, stuck in Samantha, finally make the brave step onto stage. First thing, I almost fall flat. I totally forgot about those killer heels currently on my feet.

I kick them off and pick them up as I start to sprint away.

The driver honks and complains wildly wanting his money. C’mon, if at all, it could only be a few bucks and his almost murder was a far worse crime than that. I ignore him, even if I wish to give him a friendly kiss my ass pose after seeing him stick his middle finger rather unfriendly up in the air.

Somewhat clumsily, I just run towards my goal James who is already on a different path heading in a smaller alley. I almost lost him but now that I have him again on my radar, I become aware of my determination to accomplish what I have set out to accomplish. As I come to reach him, I pull the top of the dress down to get a more sultry look. I prepare myself to play miss horny, straighten up, stick the boobs out, take a last deep breath and go on to the next step.

“Hi,” I say while placing myself right next to him, matching his speed.

“Hey.” He looks at me first confused but after checking out my host body he looks at me in a way that makes it clear that the seducing part of my plan would surely work. Yet he doesn’t seem to slow down therefore I decide to bluntly pull him out of the crowd to the side. He doesn’t show any sign of refusal or resentment as I have him now in a corner all to myself. To be honest, I am a bit lost of what I will do next but when I notice that he glances at me with a flirty stare, I come back to words.

“I know that will come across a bit weird but…” One side of his lip raises to a ‘I know you want me’ half smirk. Well, from trustful sources I happen to know that he want her as well. Remembering his dream I get confident.

“I really, really want to ahhm,” I hesitate but since we all already know where this is going I continue, “fuck you, you know.” Here I said it, not sure if I had picked the right words. Unexpected, his raised lip goes back down and his expression turns stern. I think are you kidding me? Take the bait dammit! He can’t be serious. That girl in front of him is a hottie. Countless guys would kill to get a chance like that. Was I judging him wrong? It gets worse as seconds thoughts about him and Annie creep in. If he is just a bit more uptight than I expected he won’t touch her. Screw it, there is nothing to lose here. I turn back to brave and hold his gaze in confidence. Just a flash later, he bursts and grins like an excited schoolboy. He was just teasing and yeah, he nearly got me. I should have known better.

“Right now?” James asks while observing the surroundings. He probably thinks he is going to get a quickie right here.

“I live just opposite from the Blue Zombie,” I hush while curling the red hair seductive around my index finger. “I’ve seen you on stage.”

He now raises an eyebrow in a ridiculously seductive and alluring way accompanied by a loud thunder in the background, spurring the clouds to now pour relentlessly. That is my go sign and under growing time pressure I take his hand and we run off.

In the hand which isn’t occupied by the masculine grip of James, I carry her shoes on the thin straps. Therefore I am still barefoot, feeling every detail on the wet concrete. The water splashes under them and I’m scared to walk into glass or dog poop. I really can’t recommend to run barefoot through New York, but there is no way of wearing those shoes. I’d rather give her some scratchy dirty feet than two broken legs. Oh, how I wish she would have worn more comfortable shoes.

What girls do to look sexy is astounding and this is just one more reason I decided to become an easy to maintain boy. Only a little grooming of short hair and beard seems more appealing than spending hours shaving body parts like legs, straightening and styling long stubborn hair, putting on extensive makeup and struggling yourself into uncomfortable shoes and dresses.

We run as if there is no tomorrow. It is a longer run than expected and I feel a mixture of sweat and warm rain run down my borrowed body. About half way there, feeling itchy and dizzy, I make the decision that I must extent this possession, to avoid Samantha getting back before I can do what’s planned. There is no way I can to throw away one chance just like that. So I must do it.

I stop, breathe and take the last half of a pill I have left. “A mint,” I say, when he gives me a questioning look, but then I take his hand and we go on, running like crazy.

As we finally reach Annie’s apartment, we both snap for air breathing heavily. James sounds exhausted but Samantha’s body literally lets weird grunting sounds, something I just can’t get under control. His still present excited smile just grows bigger at our already exhausted and soaked state.

We go up the stairs reaching the front door when he eagerly leans in to kiss me. Lucky me I can move my head fast enough to only catch a cheek smooch.

“Let’s go inside, I don’t want the neighbors to talk,” I say as I go through some wrong keys having trouble to open the door. Not big of a help is the fact that I can already feel to itch again, making it even harder to not mess that one up.

Then finally, it opens and we go up some more stairs until we reach the door of Annie’s apartment. Looking at the small golden lock, I fear to struggle again but I am able to open this one far easier. The keychain consists of a little scruffy cross eyed rabbit with Dumbo ears, a chain with tiny red hearts and about 6 keys who have been all decorated with different colored yarn. Now I know, dark green belongs to Annie’s front door and light green to her private one.

We enter and I carefully check if the coast is clear, noticing that James already dropped the guitar case on the floor and starts to take off his leather jacket. He opens one button after the other while I feel his eyes glued on that wet dress and fire red returning locks.

“Let’s go to the bathroom,” I suggest and grab his hand to lead him there. I can hear water running and I am pleased about this perfect timing.

Slowly I open the door a bit and quietly take the key from the inside of the other side of the steam filled room where Annie is under the shower humming. His jacket is on the floor and I can see a part of his phone sticking out a pocket. Good. No need for that.

“Go inside and I will follow.” I give him the most flirty look and he immediately follows my directions.

Just a moment before Samantha is going to come conscious again, I push him in all the way with all my strength. Quickly I close the door and lock it to then run as fast as I can back outside. There I run more until I reach a people less dead end street where I leave Samantha’s body shortly after sitting on a curb to dim her possible fall.

After her soul regains utter control over her body, she just sits there in the now weakening rain, not having any idea why and how she got there. I feel sorry for her but I get a release from this emotion when I see her taking a half smoked joint from her bag, looking at it while shaking the head and throwing it away. Yep, don’t do drugs kids.

Now I desperately want to see how my hopefully soon to be parents are doing.

[][][] Chapter 15

Sunday: 7.30 p.m.

 

 

I admit, I popped into the steamy bathroom, thinking, giving the circumstances they’d finally hit on each other and if I am lucky really lucky she’s thinking, yeah well I am hot, he is hot, I am naked, he could be soon, let’s have some fun. And he is thinking, well I am hot, she is hot, she’s naked and I better get so too soon, let’s have some fun. Precisely I hoped they’d exchange glances that scream loudly inner cinema rated X. Never would I have guessed that Annie, currently having blue stuff in her hair and a green mask on her face, and being wrapped in the white shower curtain while standing in the bathtub itself, would spray him aggressively with the hose.

All wet and trying to escape the water, James attempts conversation. “Heck, I don’t know what the hell I am doing in here. Where is that other woman anyway?” he asks in raised voice.

“What? Who?” Anne asks, still outrageous and still spraying him.

“The hot red head, about to get dirty with me before locking me in with you.”

She turns the water off, but now holds an open body wash bottle in her hands, as if she’d not hesitate to squeeze a big slosh of the golden glimmer gel on him.

He looks at her for a moment, head to toe, or whatever is visible to him. “No defense,” he says, making a pitied grimace, which makes her to go into a more frightful ‘don’t mess with me’ pose. Swopping the curtain dress into a black body suit and the body wash in a gun, I’d have no trouble to believe she’s a female badass.

“Now calm down,” James says with a calming tone. It’s obvious he thinks the same and plays along. And it’s obvious she’s not amused. Maybe if he starts to hold up his hands he’s gonna get sprayed and will smell of vanilla peach all day.

“Out. Get out!” she shouts causing James to open the milk glassed window, positioned right next to the bathtub. It’s still rainy outside and I look at what he looks at, and it is the railing of her first floor fire steps that leads down to the little alley between this house and the one next door. As he’s soaked anyway I guess he is actually thinking about going out of there. Not gonna happen, I scowl. He’s supposed to stay in here with her. What are those steps doing there anyway? Stupid New York.

He gives Annie another look. She still holds the bottle and nods approvingly towards the window to tell him out now, out of there, quick.

“Ironically,” James says having an exited face, “I was just on my way to you.” He continues as he jumps out but Annie already shuts the window forcefully behind him. Just as she repeats in thoughts ‘on the way to me?’ making a turn to open the window there is this really loud damp bump outside.

“Oh my god,” she says, her eyes wide open. She grabs a towel, wraps it around her, opens the window and looks down at James who lays on the ground, looking a bit like a pretzel.

“Oh my god,” she repeats, looking down at him in terror.

Annie screams from the bottom of her lungs for help and carefully climbs out the window, while doing so. Shivering she puts one naked foot after the other on the steel. With her delicate hands tightly clutched around the pole, occasionally adjusting her loose towel, she carefully steps forward. A last little jump and she reaches the ground, immediately bending down to James who struggles to keep his eyes open.

“Hold on, hold on,” she pleads stroking his head and continues to scream for help.

“Happy?” he asks weakly. Annie looks him into the eyes and wildly shakes her head.

“Why, why were you on the way to me?” she asks.

He doesn’t answer but sort of smirks before his eyes roll to the back followed by a dramatic closing of his eyes.

“No, no, no, come back.” She slaps his cheeks. “You need to stay conscious! Wake up!”

Annie puts her lips on his to give him the kiss of life. She seems desperate and not too confident about what she should do.

“What the hell is going on?” Out of the Blue Zombie, from which you have a fairly clear view into this alley, storms Sue. Quickly she runs back in. A blond girl comes out, checking what is going on. This must be Adriana. She looks terrified, pales out and leans on the wall. This makes me really full on aware that this is a really fucking bad situation. One that makes the fact that I only have one day and maybe a quarter left to get made even worse. James does not look healthy at all.

Annie still tries to reanimate him. Then Sue rushes back out.

“911 is on their way,” she announces, takes a closer look at him, realizes, “Bloody hell, that’s my gig for tonight,” and addresses Annie with a loud, “Annie?”

Annie is embarrassed. She can barely look her in the eyes. Several other onlookers have appeared. Some come close, others stay in distance.

Suddenly in between the crowd a familiar face appears. Samantha, who is interestingly enough back in her heels, rushes to them.

“My God, what happened?” She inspects concerned Annie who is only dressed in a soaking wet towel covered with blood stains and as she has not cleaned herself up yet, also has the green face, now with red streaks and the blue hair. Some people seem to find Annie more interesting than James.

Then she turns to James. “That’s that hottie from yesterday,” she observes having a huge question mark on her face. One that is demanding an explanation.

Annie sobs. “He, he was in my bathroom.” She gasps for air. “Just out of the blue. The door was locked and I forced him to go out the window and ta da.” She points towards him with blood all over his head.

Soon, the ambulance arrives with shrill sirens and speed. The emergency guys rush out, immediately performing first aid. Annie steps back with a pained face while the other people watch the scene more fascinated than worried.

Sue repeats what Annie just said to the guys.

Samantha comforts her even though she has a hard time to follow her friend’s explanation.

“What a minute, he told me a hot redhead locked him into my bathroom.” Annie gives her a suspicious look.

Samantha looks back, equally suspicious. “Why would I do that?”

“Did you?” Annie cries.

Samantha looks at Annie in utter disbelieve. “Annie. Seriously, that is the most ridiculous thing that ever came out of your mouth.”

Annie is confused.

“If I was in a situation like that what would I do?”

Still confused.

“I would kick you out, lock myself in and the only thing I would have forced him to do would be to get naked and fuck me on the floor.” Samantha looks at him. “I’d make him fuck me hard and senseless,” she adds and I think she just had a mini orgasm just thinking about it. Fanning some air to herself she smiles innocently to her mother who briefly interrupted her talk to a paramedic, checking if her daughter is all right. This parametric now goes to Annie.

“What does he have?” she asks him.

“We can’t be sure. We have to have a closer look in the hospital. By the look of it, there is no fracture, but he’s rapidly losing blood on the head, possibly has a brain concussion.” While the other guys get him on the cot, he tells her that they’ll bring him to the nearest hospital.

“He is ready to go now,” one of the guys says as they start to put him in the car.

Annie is just about to hop in the back when she looks down herself, realizing how not at all appropriately dressed she is. Samantha offers to go but then they decide to head upstairs so that Annie could get dressed.

They use the keys I just used some minutes ago.

In the apartment, they find that the bathroom door is really locked from the outside and that James’ guitar lays on the floor just as his jacket that lays tossed directly in front the bathroom. They only exchange a puzzled look before Samantha goes to pick the jacket up. She smells on it, first vaguely then she sniffles it in with pure delight.

“My goodness Givenchy. That guy has taste,” she says.

Annie gets the first clothes she can lay a hand on and goes into the bathroom. Moments later she returns with her face washed, head rinsed and wearing the same outfit from earlier. She gets a skeptic look from Samantha, who is still sniffing on James’ jacket that she holds, as if she’s not planning to let go of it ever again.

“This scent drives me wild,” she says. “Guess we’re going to take that with us.”

Both now look at the guitar case.

“This you better get to the Zombie or keep it here.” Curious Samantha opens the case. The sight of the guitar results in more swooning.

“What’s with you? Aren’t you cold?” Annie asks her but doesn’t even wait for an answer, instead goes to her closet and scouts for something.

“Since when does my ass fit in your jeans?” Samantha begins to peel off the dress which sticks on her skin, getting naked in front of us. She neither wears a bra or panties and they both giggle about it for a moment before she heads to the kitchen sink, squeezes the water out and puts it in the dryer.

“I might still go to Soho,” she says and just stands there, looking like a marble stature with her almost white porcelain skin, something I was never so aware of when she had colorful clothes on. I usually resist the temptation to get a look. It’s creepy and crosses the fine line of being a basic stalker to pervert. But situations like that make it hard to not do it. Yes, screw it, she’s basically asking to get looked at.

She goes into the bathroom. There are several water soaked towels laying on the floor.

“Did you spray him?”

“Yes.”

“Unbelievable.”

“Well, what would you do?”

“I told you and now knowing how he smells doesn’t exactly change my mind.”

Samantha gets two towels, gives one to Annie and uses the other one to dry her hair. As she does, she stands in front of that door mirror and looks at herself, seeming to be satisfied with what her reflection has to offer.

“Sure you’re not a lesbian?” she asks Annie who stands head down, also vaguely drying her hair. Then she wiggles her boobs making a run to Annie, chasing her until they both laugh. If she only knew there is a guy in the room, who is very straight and honestly gapes at her, wishing the dress never gets dry, but it really looks that luck is not on my side today, because the dryer already beeps.

Samantha slips into the dry and warm dress and after she gets the squeaky toy for her dog and the white leather jacket, they set off to the hospital to make sure everything is all right with James. Taking the lead, Samantha with her arm looped in Annie’s, go through the sliding doors, pass the information desk and finally reach the waiting room of the emergency area. They sit there next to an old man with his arm broken, and who likes to talk. After a while of nerve wrecking waiting on Annie’s side, and a conversation about dogs with the man on Samantha’s side, they are allowed to see James for a moment, although he is not responsive yet.

The young friendly nurse guiding them to his room briefs them on his status, saying he has a mild head concussion and is currently in some sort of coma.

“Are you family members from Mr. Brooks?” another grim nurse taking over, eyes especially Samantha pejorative, giving special attention to her high heels.

Annie looks nervous to Samantha whose face tells me she is musing something out, being clearly aware that this woman doesn’t think highly of her.

“Oh you bet, I am basically Mrs. Brooks.” Samantha has her hands on her back while distracting the woman. “I’m his fiancée.” Then she shows her proud a golden vintage ring on her left ring finger. “He spent a fortune on that.”

“All right but only for a few minutes,” the woman says while walking away.

“That brick totally thought I’m a hooker.” She loops her arm back into Annie’s.

“Isn’t that the ring you found on the street?” Annie asks her as they enter the room.

Samantha just laughs and nods. They walk slowly in the room and look at him. Annie seems clearly guilty and can hardly lay eyes on him while Samantha takes a good look.

“Beautiful,” she observes.

“And in a coma because of me,” Annie says.

Samantha goes to her and hugs her, making Annie almost loose it again.

“Everything is going to be ok, girl.” She comforts her holding her even tighter.

“Thanks for being there for me.” Annie smiles. “And sorry for accusing you.” Another thought comes, along with a guilty face. “And sorry that I messed up your plans.”

I can’t believe how fast they let go off this topic. I mean he talked about a redhead who locked him in the room and the description fitted to Samantha like a fist to the eye. Also she’s probably the only hot redhead around who has a key to her home.

“Maybe a true loves kiss can get him awake,” Samantha suggests.

Annie laughs slightly but returns quickly to being sad faced.

“Wouldn’t it be nice. A prince charming, looking like him. Just a beautiful, witty, intelligent, prince with a big skilled dick, is that really too much to ask for?” She frowns being serious about what she sarcastically said.

“Too bad life isn’t a fairytale,” Annie comments and gets the words, “Says the girl with a shoe in her room,” thrown right at her. In a shush your mouth manner.

“No, actually, I begin to think you are in the middle of a fairytale. Guys seem to just bump into you. First on the street, then this hot piece of man just walks into your bathroom. It’s as if the gods of Disney have chosen you, wanting to finally give you your happily ever after. Obviously there just was an accident with Mike and then he came.”

They stand around.

“Sure you don’t want to kiss him?”

“If I kissed him, he’d turn to stone.”

“You don’t know if you don’t try. I’d take your job but it seems he’s yours. My prude best friend who wouldn’t want to take advantage of him.”

“Why because he broke in my bathroom and I didn’t floor fuck him?”

“Yeah,” Samantha replies. “Anyway,” she goes on, “what you need my Cinderella, really is a prince giving you a…”

“Happily ever after.” Annie finishes her sentence.

“And a real good floor fuck.” ‘

Annie rolls her eyes.

“Or bed whatever,” Samantha adds. A few moments go by. The instruments in the room make calming yet distressing sounds. His heart rate and all that.

“Not that I care but what’s up with your other choppy cheating guy, wasn’t today date night?” Samantha asks while still admiring James. “I wouldn’t judge if you ditched him for this.” She looks to Annie with an exaggerated love struck face. “Givenchy.”

“I completely forgot about him.” Annie takes her phone out of her jacket only to see that there are several missed calls. “Great I had it on silent, he will be so mad.”

Samantha looks at her own phone. “Yeah, it’s already after 10 p.m. you naughty, naughty girl.”

That comment sends a chill through my spine as it means that the last day of possibly being conceived is just around the corner.

“I try but I still don’t get it. Why the hell do you want to date that guy?” Samantha asks. “Especially when you have guys like him presented as an alternative. Like served on a silver tablet? It’s like a waiter comes, opens the lid and there is this awesome chocolate dessert and the other thing is dry toast and you go, yeah, toast.”

I can’t agree more, that girl speaks wise words.

“Why can’t you just be happy for me?” Annie asks as she texts him.

“That’s the problem here. I want you to be happy and he’s not gonna make you.”

“How do you know? You know nothing about him.”

“I know enough,” Samantha says, to which Annie looks at her questioningly, especially because she nervously rubs her neck.

“Okay, okay, I didn’t want to say it but here it goes. He hit on me big time when you were backstage the other day.”

Annie doesn’t speak but her mouth does again this weird movement.

“C’mon, relax.”

“No, I can’t relax.”

“Why? He’s not worth it.”

Standing towards a wall Annie starts crying.

“Stop crying,” Samantha says as she goes to her, but Annie blocks her off.

“C‘mon, why are you like that?” She asks, hugging her anyway from behind.

“Like what?”

“So sad, easily hurt, scared of love.”

“Why am I like that?” Annie breaks away from her.

“Look, I’m sorry,” she begins. “I’m sorry I’m not an outgoing, happy go lucky, everything falls into my lap girl like you. I am reserved, shy, insecure, and I don’t know why. I was the kid hiding behind my parents and I don’t know why, okay? It’s just me. I’m sorry I don’t look in the mirror thinking I’m hot, that I don’t like to dance to Rhianna songs but rather listen to depressing movie scores while drinking coffee and not alcohol.

“I’m the one going to London, getting my dream job, thinking my life finally gets great, go to an after party, drink tons of free champagne, chat with actors, then just when I’m about to call you giving the news, Big Ben says it’s time to be grateful meaning my prude self runs off like a wrack crying her eyes out.”

Samantha has her mouth open.

“I didn’t even kick him in his balls,” Annie continues, angrily at herself. “I’m the one who whenever she tries to let her guard fall, gets punched in the face. I’m the one who steps into every disaster, bump into everything, fall over everything. Name anything embarrassing, it probably happened or will happen to me. My clumsiness now even infects people coming in contact with me. Mike. James. I don’t want to know what’s up next for me.

“My life is no fairytale. The only thing I have in common with Cinderella is that we both are tortured by an evil stepmother. Only mine lives in my head and she is right. There is no prince for me. So please stop calling me Cinderella and let me be sad if I want to.”

When she’s done, there is short silence in the room.

“Well, you could hardly count Mike a prince,” Samantha finally says.

“I am not talking about Mike,” Annie says and goes outside.

[][][] Chapter 16

Monday: 0.15 a.m.

 

 

Unable to persuade Annie to change her mind and tell who she was talking about back in the hospital, Samantha now makes a, maybe or maybe not, last attempt with sending Annie a picture of herself making a pouty face. I have to give it to her, she’s not one to easily give up and followed her all the way here, begging, wanting to know if she knows the guy, sporting theories including an affair with an actor, or if it was indeed James. All of those sound interesting. However, my vote goes to James. Even if it’s just wishful thinking and a try to cheer myself up as Annie will soon blob in her bed and knowing that James, her alleged prince in question, is not only sleeping but apparently even being in a coma.

Samantha, reluctantly left some minutes ago. Basically when Annie shuffled her outside the flat with a demonstrative yawn.

“Not today, I’m tired,” she muttered before shutting the door in her friend’s face.

Samantha could be heard, clearly in her sassy alter ego saying, “At the latest when I stand again in this door, I want an answer, madam,” and when Annie closed her curtains, she stood outside on the street looking up with begging folded hands.

Annie, currently taking two sleeping pills, has to smirk a bit at Samantha’s picture on her phone. Good thing, because since she’s alone, or thinks she’s alone, her already sad face turned into the flipped down version of her half moon smile. And let me tell you, it’s even creepier.

“Tomorrow. Maybe.” She texts her back and after getting another picture reply of Samantha who now looks overly excited, she who is already ready for the night, puts her phone on the charger, stuffs those wet towels from the bathroom floor in the dryer and eventually goes to bed.

As she slowly but steadily dozes off, I must accept the fact that, since she doesn’t talk while sleeping, I too, probably have to wait for answers for a couple more hours. I lay down, close my eyes and force myself to sleep as well, but I didn’t even reach sheep number twenty when suddenly her door bell rings.

Annie does not wake up. I look at her cell phone which must be still on silent as I see the words ‘Mike calling’ flashing up. Awesome, it must be him at the door. It rings again. She opens her eyes.

“Annie!” Mike, now standing outside of her window screams.

“I know you are in there.”

Sleepy, she puts her pillow over her head. Poor girl. Soon he will probably toss pebbles at her window, not guessing that the problem is not her not hearing him but her not wanting to hear him.

“Annie!” Oh boy, let’s hope he won’t start a love song.

“Shut the fuck up, motherfucker!” With that Annie sits up in her bed. A very angry male neighbor from her seems not amused by Mike’s visit. Becoming aware of the situation she sprints to the window and opens it.

“It’s the middle of the night, what are you doing here?” she asks Mike, trying to keep her voice down.

“I know but I still want that date you promised me tonight,” he says having his hands demanding on his hips.

Annie, who just woke up, obviously has no clue how to react to that.

“I won’t leave until you have at least one beer with me.” That guy and his beer is so annoying.

“Man, shut up or I call the cops!” comes again from a neighbor’s window leaving her unsettled.

Mike just laughs about that and gestures to her that she should come down.

“I have to work tomorrow,” she says.

“I know, c’mon one drink.” He smiles and keeps gesturing actively.

“All right, give me a second.” She turns around, sighs annoyed and after a moment of consideration, puts on her boots and throws a black coat over her shorts and odd top clothed body. When she comes out he is already awaiting her giving her his specialty, a big wet kiss on her mouth. Her response is to back off which I like. If I was her I would slap him and tell him that he should learn some manners or maybe I would have even called the police on him myself. I guess she is just too nice to do something like that.

He holds her demanding while asking why she had ditched him.

“I’m sorry, I was just really tired after work today.”

Mike studies her. “I shall forgive you.”

“Ready for cruise?” His hand raises, it holds the Porsche key and over his shoulders he presses the button, making the car that stands one parking space away but well in sight, peep. He looks smugly at her, as if her panties had dropped seeing that car. Hopefully she’ll ask if it’s his or how he can afford it, so I can laugh at the story he crams out.

“Where do you want to go?”

“Surprise.”

“I really should get back in. Another time. Ok?” Annie is already on the move to go back in but Mike grabs her arm semi aggressively.

“I’m going to honk. Your neighbor won’t be pleased.” The smirk offered by him shows that he’s not bluffing. If she goes, there will be a honk concert with background being the neighbor’s yells and later on police sirens.

Annie sighs. A glance goes to the direction of the neighbor. “All right, but not for long.”

He’s happy and escorts her to the car, opening the passenger’s side for her, who hesitantly goes inside.

In the car she notices an open beer can in the can holder, a paper bag around it. She takes it, holds it up and looks at him. “Did you drink?”

He laughs and tries to kiss her. His body launches over onto her. She pushes him away with all the energy she has in her and takes the car keys.

“I drive you home,” she announces, not allowing him to talk her out of it. Without guidance she finds the way, but as she drives struggles to keep her eyes open. To help her to not be a traffic danger herself, she has all windows pulled down, the air conditioner on high and the radio turned on. It took a bit of random button pressing but she’s set, seeming to be the owner. However, I’d appreciate if she would switch the channel because it’s hip hop music playing and I fear the worse. Any time the smack your ass song could come up. The remix right now already gets Mike to move in his seat. The moment the radio host announces the new hit single from a singer named Rhianna, Annie breathes exhausted but having arrived, parks right before Mike’s hood.

They go into his apartment and wait. What is that?

I spot a wince in Annie’s face. Inspecting her expression, I consider if I just imagined it, if she just reacted like any other rational delicate nosed woman coming in here would do, but then she does it again.

Could the amour power already be fading? Maybe her sleeping pills are rationalizing drugs. Maybe since it’s already the beginning of day 4 and my arrow hit his you know what and didn’t go deep enough, the amour bound was fading from day one. It’s pretty much what I hoped for at the beginning but it seemed like it was not the case. Maybe she is already cured. She seems to be aware of that mess, the smell and all that. Even better it seems to really bother her.

“Let me help you out of this,” Mike says as he begins to tug on her coat. He takes it and looks at her as if those short pants she wears, were deliberately put on for him, before placing the coat on the top of a chair already cluttered with other clothes that don’t appear to be the most convenient to be laid upon on.

Annie having watched him, and possibly identified those clothes also as dirty underwear and socks, finds her way to the mud brown nasty couch, on which she then tries to find a free and not so dirty spot on it. One of the dark ones is the rest of that fly he recently killed. A part of a wing is still there. In the end, she halfway sits on the side arm.

She couldn’t know it but this room is actually in the best condition I’ve seen it so far. Apparently he made some effort to clean up a bit. At least some of those old pizza boxes and beer cans are gone. Another object gone is the bike. She glances over into Frank’s room. Sure enough, the mattress on the floor is covered with red rose pedals. Frank, I’ve just checked, is not home.

Her face freezes.

“Ready for the beer?” Mike asks while already opening a can for himself in his little kitchen. She declines.

“C’mon sweetie, let’s drink one together.” He hands her a beer and she sips briefly on it.

“Uh uh.” He takes his beer and drinks it up right on the spot. “That’s how we do it around here.”

This time, even though he struggles, he holds his usual burp in which almost impresses me. Anyhow, the idea that he wants her drunk, couldn’t be any less obvious. She sips again, and only after she starts pouring it down, having chucked at least a third of it, he goes into the bathroom. The sounds coming out of there almost immediately indicate, yeah you know. Something he clearly couldn’t hold in. Annie, for the very first time I saw her with Mike, has an utterly disgusted face.

She goes to the sink and lets it have most of her drink.

“Get comfortable, feel like home,” he shouts out of the bathroom.

With careful eyes in this direction, she gets her coat and makes a suspicious I am going to sneak out towards the front door move. She wasn’t fast enough.

“Where do you think you’re going?” he asks overly seductive.

Annie turns around to see what already hurts my eyes. Mike is naked up to his ugly skin tight black latex thong. The worst, however, at least for me, is the shirtless part. His man boobs jump forcefully right into my view. I bet many women would be jealous of those good sized babies, just maybe minus the hair around it. One is even bigger than the other but this doesn’t seem to weaken his by beer acquired confidence.

“I have to work tomorrow, I really should go,” she explains apologetic as she puts the coat on, giving the exit a couple feet away way more attention than him.

Ignoring that and likely thinking that she’s only shy and in reality inwardly melting, he turns on some schmaltzy song and walks towards her seductively. She is too shocked to walk away and gets the bill a moment later when Mike pulls her energetically towards him.

I’m right behind him and see her holding her breath. He moves to the music and makes her slow dance with him. There is no indicator that she secretly likes it.

Her hands hang down, her legs drag along and she only takes short necessary occasional breaths.

Now even having little hope left of being born any time soon, I start to regain hope that at least I won’t have to be the kid of this disgusting guy anymore. I decide that hanging out a few more years in heaven will be a far better option than that. I mean if she isn’t feeling much attraction towards him anymore, she will probably not be jumping on this filthy mattress tonight.

Confident that it’s time to take this seduction a step further, he tries to kiss her but she, apparently being almost back to her senses, doesn’t let him and turns her head to the side whenever his lips aim for hers.

“What, don’t I get a kiss?” he asks when it does come even apparent to him that she’s not in for it. After another failed try his mouth goes to her ear.

“Exhausted from earlier?” he whispers, however, his boyish voice turned harsh all the sudden. “Is that it?”

Uhm, no maybe your boobs, that thong, your smell and attitude you idiot.

“What are you talking about?” Annie is perplexed by the way he talks to her.

“C’mon, I saw you half naked on the street with that musician. Tired from work huh? I guess more tired from intense mattress gymnastics.”

Her jaw drops open.

“I bet he made you very happy.” He looks at her from head to toe. “You know what, I bet I can make you mega happy.”

I wish she talks back but she keeps still.

“Once you had me you’ll never want another dick other than mine.”

Now my jaw dropped open. I can’t figure out if this is his actual conviction or if it was just a lame pick up line he’d read in one of Frank’s magazines.

She understandably steps back, keeping her eyes focused on his face. Wonder why that is.

“This is all yours, baby.” He smirks, nudging down at his body, as he comes closer again.

She stands there staring, not running. Not running? Whyyy? You’re cured! Run!

“I don’t want to,” she says firm, staring in his eyes.

“As if,” he comments.

I watch her, him coming too close to her, and seeing how he undoes his thong zipper. I close my eyes, terror comes over me. Why is she not running?

Mike opens the coat and attempts to take it off from her, but she fights against it. “All right let’s be kinky.” He trails his finger along the line of her shorts. “But those definitely need to go.”

“I don’t want to,” she repeats but he’s already beginning to roll down her shorts, slow and in the tact of the music.

Having restricted view I can’t see how far down they already are. Thing is, he’s with one hand continuing to open his zipper and if nothing happens something terrible happens. Why the hell did I not save up the last pill? I hyperventilate, wanting so badly to punch the daylights out of him.

I close my eyes, terror comes over me and grows hearing him groan. Why is she not running? There is no way Annie has changed her mind. The last thing I want to hear is a groan from her.

A slight tuck signals some fabric fell on the floor. I half expect a giggle from her or a gross comment from him. But it’s silence.

“Nice panties, I’d like to see them around your ankles,” he says. So it was her shorts. It’s unbearable. It is very possible that he’s working on seeing them there.

This moment of fear ends abruptly with a girly fierce scream. My eyes open. I turn to them. It was not from her, but from him as Annie finally expressed her gratitude with an awesome kick in his balls.

She hops on her foot, her knee hurts. Must have been a hell of a kick. He looks at her, she thinks and kicks him again, even harder, and again, until he just stands there, holding in agony what had once caught my arrow. I grin, total excitement has replaced former fear. A view I could get used to look at.

“Don’t dare to go anywhere near me again,” Annie says trough gritted teeth. “If a girl doesn’t want you, you keep your fucking fingers away from her!”

He is in so much pain that the words coming out of his mouth are in parts and barely audible.

Annie gets back into those shorts, closes her coat and makes her way out.

“Whatev..ever. G…go to your pr..pretty boy,” he attempts to shout after her. “Y..your not m..my league an…anyway. I’m t…to attractive.”

I spit a big pit on him and even though he can’t see or feel it, it gives me some kind of relief. Anyway my mother rocked it and I am proud of her.

Chapter 17

Monday: 1.45 a.m.

 

 

Annie walks slower than a turtle on crack. With her arms wrapped around her, as the cloudless night sky above sends a cold refreshing breeze, she stumbles along, ignoring some taxies that offer themselves to her, while continuously choosing to venture off the main street for empty dark valley short cuts.

Watching this is quite nerve wracking. Especially when they aren’t all that empty but sprinkled with random creatures lonely pretty young girls, out and about at night, should avoid at all costs. Those include some homeless people laying around in bags, lurking around in corners, gathering their breakfast from trash cans or simply sit there with those long beards and hair, looking scarier than Annie’s zombies.

I’m talking about a particular one here. One that has one eye blurred white, the other swollen red and the rugged clothes tinted with dry blood or some other liquids I can’t or don’t want to identify. On top of that he weeps with his head like a maniac in an asylum, and as Annie comes closer I hold my breath hoping I won’t be able to meet her in spiritual form in the next moments.

But that is just me, Annie, likely thinking she’s immune to New York’s street violence, apparently doesn’t have the same visions. Not only does she remain on track and doesn’t changes sidewalks as I hoped she would do, no she goes straight to him, pauses, gathers her purse, pours all the coins on her hand and gives it to him.

Instead of killing her he says, “Bless you my angel” and I can breathe out relieved.

But it doesn’t take long and there comes the next moment of terror. The guy stands up, turns to her as she walks and moves his hand into his pocket to get something. And again, I envision him pulling out a gun and doing not so nice things with her.

“Hey, hey. white girl,” he says, still fumbling.

Annie looks to him with the ease as if a mate of hers called for her.

“Got a lighter?” In his hand, instead of a gun, is a pack of cigarettes.

“No, I don’t smoke, sorry,” she answers and he responds with, “Good for you. Thanks anyway.”

Annie smiles at him and then continues walking.

“You’re a good girl,” the homeless person shouts after her. And that’s it. He puts the cigarettes back, and sits back down. Anyhow, even her luck could turn grim any moment and therefore I am glad to see that some minutes later Annie, somehow looking saddened ever since the man called her a good girl, has almost reached her street.

Just when she walks by her Starbucks where she halts because she’s magically drawn to the artistically written special edition menu on the glass about new fruity drinks that says ‘sooo good’ where on the word ‘good’ some ninja bird managed to splatter shit on, she suddenly gets startled by an emergency car that drives by. I got startled too, big time, because they decided to bust the sirens the moment they passed us.

Annie’s gaze follows the emergency car until it’s out of sight, then after checking the time, and thinking about something for several seconds while looking with saddened longing into the dark closed coffee place, she makes a decision that she approves herself with a nod, spins on her heels and goes back down the road leading away from her flat.

She still walks like a turtle but the crack seems to have left her system, well, somewhat. I follow her a while and when I realize what she is up to, I get that fuzzy feeling again. She’s on her way to James and that is enough to make me hop happy alongside her.

Shortly after we enter the emergency area where again, a bunch of not too well looking people wait for a doctor. Just like yesterday there is a pregnant woman and a man with a broken arm. It’s as if they are the same, only they aren’t. They just got replaced by others making the same mistakes, or having the same accidents. Wait. That one guy looks like one yesterday. Is that possible? He smiles at her, and she smiles back, so, holy crap, that man has persistence. Now a girl almost pukes on Annie’s feet.

When a nurse, unamused and distracted by seeing the girl’s dinner on the floor, has her back to Annie, she sneaks through the door that leads to the patient’s rooms. Hesitantly, she continues towards the room where James is at. She has her head down, the coats hood up and avoids eye contacts, but as the few nurses and doctors on the corridor are busy otherwise she can move freely, and soon she stands in front of James’ bed.

There she stays for several moments, gaining the attention of a woman who has slept besides her husband. The room is fairly dark as the blinds are closed and you can only make out basics. Judging the expression of her I believe she considers that Annie is not a drunk girl but a grim reaper that has just chosen his new victim. Annie pulls her hood down and the woman makes a relieved cross over her chest.

Annie takes one of two chairs that stand along a wall and puts it next to James. Yawning she sits down.

“I’m sorry,” she whispers. “I really didn’t mean for that to happen. My mind just blanks out sometimes when something happens I don’t understand.”

She looks at the time on her phone and yawns again, letting it all out and seems to think hard about what to do next. The combination of this early morning brainwork, the absence of coffee and the darkness of the room seem to have the same effect on her as if the sandman has visited and put sand in her eyes because now they close, despite her struggles to keep them open. Not sure if she is aware of it but after she has snapped into a nap, she positions her head on the bed beside his head.

What a cute couple I think, seeing their heads so close together but then reality hits me and I get frustrated to a level of wanting to smash something. I mean really, what a weird moment. Finally they are together but this is far from how I wished it to be. I’m sure not about to get made while they are peacefully sleeping next to each other. But that’s what they do, they sleep. Or to be precise Annie sleeps and James is even a step ahead and in a freaking coma. He lays there so still and sound that he might as well could be dead. I need him alive, wild and horny for fuck’s sake.

Several hours go by, hours I spent feeling so sorry for my own situation that now I want to just hug myself and say “alright bud” and then cry with myself but I refuse. I am not a crybaby and only because my chosen parents are knocked out next to each other while I only have one day to get made, is no reason to cry. This I tell myself so long until I sob, an ugly breathy sob, one that is so heavy and nauseating that I also lull into a nap, as soon as I lay down besides James and Annie, having my back facing him and my front facing her, feeling like a kid that sleeps between its parents. It feels so comforting and real that even the loud bell from Big Ben needs four chimes to stir me awake. I might have put my thumb in my mouth and suckled on it.

At the fifth chime, the loud bell on the edge to wake up anybody than her, even Annie comes back, at least she manages to press the button that makes it end. I have my eyes only open a gap, seeing how she, with eyes still sealed, tries to get comfortable, probably thinking she’s in her own bed.

Knowing that Big Ben is on snooze and about to chime again in a few minutes I plan on doing what she does, which is enjoying some more minutes in this blissful state of half sleep where your mind is your tool and you can go into places that are way out of reach in the world you reenter once you get fully awake. The state of mind where you think you could open your eyes and you are at another place, a better place. I know what I am talking about, because I am yet again this twenty-something-year-old Cooper having girls swooning over me, and I can imagine the body next to me is not James but some hot girl groupie. But I know it’s not, my dream is still a bubble of nothing, a bubble that will bust once I wake, and then all my troubles come back to me. And so do Annie’s.

Doesn’t she have to work today? I yawn and with my eyes closed I try to give as much care about that as she does, at least until the alarm gives a friendly reminder. But then I hear somebody quietly clearing his throat, and as it sounds as if this somebody is close by, so close that it must be from the other side of the bed, I slowly turn my head to see who it is. Then I almost get a heart attack when I realize it’s James, who sits erect and shined upon by a dusty beam of light. I check the bed but there is also James. Two Jameses, holy shit.

I shake my head awake, blink wildly, get closer. It’s not possible. Through I can’t make out much, I can see that he watches Annie who still absently looks for the most comforting snoozing position.

Just as he can’t pull his eyes from her, I can’t pull mine from him. Or let’s say from him and the other one still laying on the bed. As my gaze switches back and forth between them I am quite happy about the fact that I am invisible and therefore able to stare as long and unashamed as I want to. No worry about coming across like a crazy creeper stalker is something I never crease to appreciate.

As my eyes adjust and he becomes a clearer picture I begin to see some slight differences in their otherwise identical appearances. The most prominent one is that he doesn’t wear a hospital gown, instead the fabrics that cover his body are more or less the opposite of that, it’s a dark grey fancy suit. If I’m not mistaken it could also be a tuxedo, though where the bow tie usually sits is nothing and the white vest underneath has its upper buttons undone. In general however, he looks like he just woke up himself. His hair, which is also dark and relatively short, is curly and loose, sticking in different directions while laying James hair, even now, looks as if he just came from the barber. Snobby is the word I’m looking for. Also, while snobby James face is as smooth as a babies butt, this one has a three day beard, whose dark perfectly trimmed stubbles cover the lower part of his face. A face that seems a bit paler. But maybe it’s the lightning. Oh well. Anyway, Big Ben now pipes in interrupting my spot the difference game, and displeasing Annie.

“Shut up,” she says hitting the button again. He smiles, still looking at her. But now, especially as the background sounds have increased, she seems to realize where she is, so after making a grimace while rubbing her eyes she slowly opens them. Lifting her head, her view goes first to James, then to, well the other James. Clearly sleepy and not fully back in the awakened state she seems to not be able to help it and now does what I have done before, checking him out, only does she not have the advantage of being invisible, and I understand his amused expression as her eyes scan every inch of what is presented to her from him. Then after they have rested for a little longer than needed on his stray curly chest hair peaking out of the vest, her gaze wanders to his blue eyes that are highlighted by the sun. I swear the moment their eyes properly meet, there is this heavy static filling the room. A static now only getting stronger as both their gazes seem to be completely locked onto each other. Annie is the first breaking free. She narrows her eyes irritated, looks over to the James in bed and then ruins whatever the heck of an awesome moment that just was with one question.

“Are you his ghost?” are her words. “Shit I killed you… I am so sorry,” she continues appearing way more brain fogged and confused than she probably is.

“Uh, no I am just his brother.” Yep, he has the same voice.

She gives him a puzzled stare, trying to not drown in his eyes again.

“Twin brother,” he adds. I fall back, lay down and let those happy positive feelings caress my body. I kind of figured it the moment I saw him, but now that it is a validated fact I can’t barley believe my luck. He has a twin, obviously an identical one, how freaking amazing. A twin that isn’t in a coma. Even more amazing. My hopes have filled back up, maybe this right here could be a second chance. He sure has almost identical genes and if I can trust my intuition, those two aren’t too disgusted from each other.

A heavy cheerful nurse comes in. Her energetic entrance causing them both to stand up. Simultaneously, I might add. Now they are positioned opposite of each other, and the only thing between them is James and the bed he lays on. It’s not only obvious to me that they behave awkwardly, because the way Annie adjusts her coat and tugs her hair behind the ear, and the way non-comatose James rubs his hands on pants, it seems as if they have been just caught in the act.

“Let’s get some light in here,” the nurse says after sending them both her slightly forced professional smile. It was so confident and bright, that I bet it’s the result of many years having to switch it on like a tap, having to be friendly while you would rather be on a killing spree, or at least, be locked up in your house and cuddle your cat. I mean who doesn’t have those days?

Not being a woman of empty words the blinds are open about a second later. The room is now lit with broad daylight and those two could get an even better look at each other. They don’t use this chance and avoid gazes, but good thing the nurse who checks the machines James is plugged on to, is a welcome distraction.

“How’s our patient doing?” she asks looking at Annie.

“Coma, still,” she answers. A look at her phone follows. “I gotta go to work,” Annie announces, gives James twin a last startled look and goes away.

I follow her, she is totally lost. Her eyes. Confusion.

She looks back, nobody follows.

Chapter 18

Monday: 2.45 p.m.

 

It’s afternoon and I have spent most of today switching back and forth between what Annie is doing and what this guy, James brother, is doing. I can sum their activities up quickly. Annie has worked and he had chilled out in Central Park at the same spot like his brother did, also listening to music, looking up into the sky and drinking a Coke. The only difference was that it was a diet one.

I am still in the process of not being frustrated that Annie’s and his ways have so suddenly parted, and that the chances of them meeting again are slim. That my chances are all used up is beyond frustrating, because then I could potentially make them meet each other somehow. My only hope is that Annie will later on come back to the hospital, and that he will be there as well. Clinging on that hope I have my focus on him again right now as he makes his way back to the hospital.

This morning, about a second after Annie left, the cheery nurse turned to him and said that he should fuck off too. Obviously her words have been a little more carefully chosen but the message was clear. No visitors right now. You’ve had your little chat with the doctor already. We give you a call in case something happens, either him waking or dying. Don’t worry and let the staff do its work. Adios.

“You can come back later, around three o’clock,” she said with her forced smile.

This time has now approached and as he walks towards James’ room, he halts the young friendly nurse from yesterday that has just came out it. She jumps seeing him and lets a giggle.

“Can you tell me how Mr. Brooks is?” he asks.

“His condition hasn’t changed. But he appears stable.”

A doctor wants her. She goes to his direction but turns around after a couple steps. “Maybe you can talk to him, they say people can hear, it’s good when the patient knows somebody is there. Can help the recovery.”

“I will, thank you.”

As she moves along he hurries a bit after her. “Do you know who this woman was that was at his bed this morning?”

“Yes, his fiancée.”

His smile looks a bit pained.

“She’d been there all night, bless her.” She makes a face that shows that a) she really believes her story and b) that she really thinks it’s incredibly sweet. Her facial expression screams ‘Awwww’ and she seems to wait that he’ll do some swooning with her. But he doesn’t and it confuses her.

“I need to go,” she says and goes to the doctor. His eyes follow her, but I doubt he’s got interest in anything of what is under her gown as the relationship news of his brother really doesn’t appear to thrill him much. I’d love to tell him that the nurse might have exaggerated a tiny bit with the facts as Annie was here only about 4 hours and seriously, they aren’t anywhere close of being engaged but yeah, I can’t. Anyway, gotta love rumors and what they can do to people who believe them. Right now, it’s as if he got the news that his brother has something worse than a fiancée. His eyes seem to even water a little. Even though he currently acts as if something has gone into them. Well, maybe that’s what happened. It’s too early to judge.

He gets some coins out of the little back pack like bag he carries and heads towards a vending machine to get himself a drink. The machine is out of diet Coke. Out of diet Pepsi, and everything else not having brightly colored designs. So, appearing hesitant and skeptic, he gets himself a green can of Mountain Dew. He pops the lid and pours it down and when he stops I wonder if he may lets a little burp but he’s keeping it in. One point for, I still don’t know your name. Grimacing, he drinks some more and then places the can next to a trash bin.

“Would you like a cup of tea?” the friendly nurse, who must have watched this from down the hall, asks him.

He’s shakes his head not wanting her to bother, but she insists, telling him the drink choices here are appalling and soon later he has one in his hands.

“I’m sorry if I said something wrong. I’m just such a sucker for romance,” she explains when she walks away.

With the tea, he slowly enters the room walking toward James. Also slow and with a not really readable face, he approaches the bed and sits down on the chair he sat on this morning. Now that the room is filled with sunlight, I again stare at him while he stares at somebody else. This time his brother. His face was way more relaxed with Annie. Another thing of note is that he indeed looks like he isn’t a big fan of the sun unlike James who has a noticeable more tanned look. One and a half shades lighter and he would look like Shaun. Comparing them, I have to admit that this almost vampire-like style suites the oval shape of the face even better than sun kissed and clean shaved. No wonder Annie’s level of nervousness rose as she pasted James white.

After a while he clears his throat and his mouth parts. He is about to say something. But the words don’t want to come out yet. He looks around. I get intrigued. Will he talk? Talk dammit. I hammer my fingers impatiently on the steel seeing him obviously having mental conversations. Maybe he practices telepathy but since I can’t tune into that, I say it again, “Talk, talk out loud.”

He looks at my direction for a brief moment and feeling busted I smile. Then he shakes his head, facing me, like a blind person who thinks you are there but can’t entirely figure out your location. He probably thinks how weird it is, the feeling of being watched when obviously it’s only a mind fuck. No, it’s not, beautiful mystery man. Now talk, I repeat.

After he sips some tea away he parts his lips again and yeah, finally words come out. “Hey brother,” he says quietly. “It’s Jim.” And here we got a name. Jim takes another sip before adding, “Long time, no see.”

A pause plus more tea. “Nurse said I should talk to you. Well, since I am here.”

I get into a comfortable position, waiting for more words to come.

“How long has it been?” he asks but obviously doesn’t get an answer, so naturally he asks another one. It is, “Remember when we last saw each other?” and having figured out he will have to provide the answers himself he does just that. “It was when I walked in with you and Jasmine. We were getting ready for the after party of that premiere from her father, wanting to get crazy drunk. Remember, how I met her?”

He pauses. “I was that zombie extra one time. It was her first day on set as the new leading actress. We had a scene together at Big Ben. You know, back then she played that scared girl and I was one of the zombies from a wedding. The groom’s best man. I chased her and shortly before getting her that other guy killed me and so I ended up kneeling in front of her and she later joked that it was almost as if I had proposed. So, I thought, since it’s Halloween, and okay to dress up, it would be great to get into a similar outfit, similar makeup, take her to Big Ben and then actually propose.”

He sighs. “I wanted to do this that night.” Next he says that he was so excited to see if she gets the message right away when she sees him like that but that she didn’t even see him as she was too busy making out with James.

“You know what happened afterwards?” he asks.

Somehow feeling engaged in the conversation I suggest, “Getting drunk?”

“I got drunk. I got so drunk. I wanted to die,” he says, and I nod in sympathy. He says that he really wanted to die, feeling empty and unable to understand how the two most important people in his live could betray him like that.

“Also, I wanted to be like you,” he goes on after mentioning again how drunk he got. “I went out and wanted to get laid, wanted to be a needy ass like you. I broke down. Crying. So while I planned to propose I sat down on some steps near Big Ben looking like a drunk pathetic zombie hobo. There was almost nobody but then somebody threw some coins in my hat that lay upside down beside me. But no that wasn’t all. Soon later a drunk guy dressed as a monkey came eating a banana. He spit on me and laughed as if it was the funniest thing ever to spit on me. I thought I had finally hit rock bottom when all the sudden I heard a weird bang. She slipped on the banana peel, fell and landed flat on her back right next to me.

“She couldn’t even laugh, just looked blankly in front of her. She was crying, had eyeliner streaming down her face. The most beautiful mess I ever saw.” He makes a short pause and continues, his voice lower.

“I felt oddly drawn to her. I felt this ridiculous static. A weird connection. Attraction.

“Also, like I said, I was drunk and probably not myself. And since you ask. Yes, I was horny. Heartbroken. When Big Ben started to chime I took a strand of her hair and wiped it from her face. She grabbed my arm. I thought she will push it away but then she stopped. And just this tiny touch messed more with me than Jasmine did in two years. I thought maybe she wasn’t the one, you know. Maybe I should be thankful to have an ass brother like you. Maybe there was some higher power making that that stupid monkey decides in that moment to do it that she will fall while she just would have passed me like anybody else otherwise. Maybe I am just drunk as hell and hallucinate.”

Don’t worry alcohol plus pretty girls nearby apparently causes that in some dudes.

“It was midnight and as the first chime of 12 started I pulled her to me. Then I pulled her even closer and kissed her. At first it was innocent but with every other chime we got wilder. We kissed like I’ve never kissed before with so much passion.”

Let me guess, then she took your copra and um…

“For a moment we were one. Two strangers giving each other love and comfort in a moment they needed it the most.”

Wow, that’s some dirty talk right there.

“After London grew silent we stopped and I looked at her. Seeing my makeup on her, almost like a cat who has marked her territory. Then just as I gathered strength to say something, her phone rang. A silly ringtone that sounded as if somebody sang on it.”

He sighs. “Then she ran away and disappeared from my life as quickly as she came in.”

I raise my eyebrow. If that is how the story ends I will give him a prize.

Jim stands up and paces around. “I cursed myself for not following her. Then I saw that she lost one of her shoes. I stood up wanting to go after her, stammered ‘Wahhaiit’ but then blacked out.”

A chuckle escaped me, how gracious that must have looked.

“I don’t know how long I was out, but there were many more coins in my hat.”

Jim says that after he woke up and threw up he walked for hours around in London hoping to find her. A procedure that eventually got stopped by the police who asked him to get home and not scare people. He hadn’t found her on this day and also not on the following day where he searched the whole city for her, hoping to see her again.

“I just couldn’t get her out the head,” he says. “Then I thought silly me as if God or whoever makes it possible that that could happen. I mean there are only about 10 million people in this city. Also, there is a 99 percent chance she was a tourist and therefore no chance to have a random run in with her again. Still, I kept that shoe in my bag always ready to be returned to its beautiful owner. Hold on, it gets even weirder. In the last months I went almost every day to that spot, sitting there in my little corner.”

He leans back. “You know what I did? I played violin, became a street musician. Something I’d never thought I would do. Whenever I had time, I played the melody from her ring tone, almost as if it was a mating call, as if it would attract her. I always hoped she might be there. Reliving our kiss, dying to feel her strawberry tasting soft lips on mine again. I always wondered about her. I had no idea who or where she was. If she was married, had kids, was single, or maybe even dead by now. If she ever thought about me or if I was just a creepy guy that freaked her out. If she may feels the same. Maybe I was waiting for a ghost but I was waiting. Seeing her one more time. Just one more time, even if it’s just to realize she’s not what I think she is. You know. That she in my fantasy is much better than in real life. That my feelings are silly. Heck, I couldn’t even date anymore. I tried but my fantasy girl spoiled the others, making them less perfect for me. Because yeah, I’ve got a better one somewhere in the world just waiting for me.” He giggles at his silly thoughts before they muffle down. “Then I come here and there she is, on your bed. Sleeping.”

Holy crap.

“She is my brother’s girl.” He breathes. “Should have guessed it.”

I currently sit there with my mouth open, trying to get all this digested.

“She’s not mine,” he continues. Or wait? What the fuck. That came from James. Yay, he’s back.

James lays there with one eye slightly open in a curious peak, directed to his brother who grimaces. Talk about good acting, he is a genius to have not even remotely smirk listening to all this.

“Fucker,” Jim fake scolds.

James now looks at him with both eyes wide open.

They seem very happy. I can’t tell whose eyes sparkle more.

“Do you want to know what happened with Jasmine?” James asks, his voice still weak.

His brother nods and somehow with some sort of twin talk, meaning this arrangement conversation got lost on me, it happens that he hurries out and soon after comes back with a can of normal Coke.

“You’re lucky they’re not popular around here,” he comments, handing it to James and after he carefully props him up and James has freed himself from some tubes and plasters, story time has started.

“Like you know,” James begins, flicking the can open, “I figured that she was indeed not the right girl for you. I knew you wanted to marry her which I thought was a massive mistake. So while we were waiting for you we already got drunk and went chatty.”

He takes a sip. “I tried to get information out of her. Something that would prove my point. After a while I decided to go in the offensive. I asked her if she was ever unfaithful. She was all oh haha lol, no not me, lol u r so funny. I didn’t believe her. So I told her that I was having the hots for her the first moment I laid eyes on her. After that I leaned in for a kiss and that bitch was all over me. So I think you really should be thankful that I saved you more time with that girl.”

His brother still pretends to be mad but it seems that James got both their acting skills.

“I had an interesting talk with your new flame yesterday and the day before that,” he goes on, smirking. “I’m sure she thinks I was you. I bet she also thought I was her fantasy boy and now I am here and am nothing like she thought. A crashed dream.”

Jim smiles.

“You know what, there is a whole pub filled with blue zombies. You were the inspiration for this. There is one right in the middle, hanging from the ceiling, that looks like you. Even down to the longer hair you had back then and your brown spot in one eye.”

“Really?”

“Yes, and as far as I know you just scored a composer job for the show, with your debut song from the melody of her ringtone.”

“Yes, a producer heard me and yeah.” He looks shy.

“Congratulations on that brother.”

James laughs. “You both are truly the two weirdest people I know. Believe me when I say you both have my blessings. You are made for each other.”

Jim doesn’t disagree.

“I’m glad you came,” James says after they sat around in silence for a moment.

Jim narrows his eyes as James demonstrates his eye rolling.

“Stuntman, actor, best brother,” James adds. “I did fall harder than planned, though.” He scratches his head, with the plasters.

I can’t believe I fell for that. Realizing that James has faked to be sick to get his stubborn brother here, does affect me a little right now. Weird. I hope the hospital bill won’t make him regret it.

“Of course I would,” Jim mutters.

They don’t have to say it out loud but both clearly say I missed you and if I wasn’t a guy still pretending to be mad I would hug you breathless. Jim bites his lip. I suspect, he’s gonna be to first to give in. Being the cool bro, James puts his arms behind his head.

“I’m sure you could afford the flight now that you made it into the industry,” he says dismissively, getting a mocked frown. “By the way that monkey got a punch.”

Mocked frowns turns into a confused frown.

“Did you seriously think I didn’t follow you that day?” James asks. “I was scared you would do something stupid.”

“You saw us?”

“Of course. And the moment I saw her running away and you staying there, I knew you have found each other.”

Jim knows his brother is right. So do I and also the friendly nurse who stands outside, shushing the cheery nurse and stopping her to interrupt them.

“I wanted to see if she was into you and believe me she passed the test.”

I’m outside with the nurses, who both now shush and stop a doctor that wants to come in.

“I had fun with her,” James says, followed by, “You know what I mean.” This makes the friendly nurse chuckle, and the others confused.

“Why are you here and not after her?” James then asks. Cheery nurse and doctor get it. Amused they move on. I go back inside and watch James telling him that she works at a bar named the Blue Zombie, giving him directions to the place and finally the command, “I don’t want to see you here again without having her by your side.”

 

[][][] Chapter 19

Monday: 6.10 p.m.

 

 

I am in the Blue Zombie now. It is just after seven and the pub is almost empty. The only people here are an older couple, two women, and a group of three young Spanish guys who are getting entertained by Sue. Getting entertained by Sue means more or less, recruiting Annie. Yes, couple Sue strikes again, as her firm believe right now is that poor Annie got hurt by Mike, thus is so ‘zoned out’ today and now quickly needs a guy to fix this heartbreak.

Good thing that Juan, Petro and Kene, have come here today. Three attractive tourists, Latino lovers, who are only too happy to help Annie get over him. Especially that one guy. The Juan who has long black wavy hair, which he like a girl puts away over his shoulders. He is also the one who, I believe, is hundred percent sure that the reason Annie has dropped a whole tablet is him.

It was the highlight of Annie’s clumsy day. So far whenever I made a quick glance on how she is doing Annie made something stupid. Normal things like taking orders, giving out food, and cleaning tables took a toll on her and she constantly forgot stuff or dropped things. Like the just mentioned tablet. She was somewhere in thoughts and it just fell out of her hand, the three beers shattering and slashing on the floor.

“Oh,” she just said, still being in thoughts. At that point Juan did his hair flip, smirking to his friend, saying without words, look guys, that’s what my hair does.

The mess is now cleaned up, they got new beers, and Annie currently hides out in the kitchen, volunteering to bake another round of red velvet waffles. Too bad, so she won’t hear that Juan is an aspiring author, single and ballet dancer. And thinks Annie is cute, reminding him of one of his female characters in his latest novel.

If this character burns waffles as well, who knows. Annie, still rocking her Pjs, an outfit highly praised by Sue, doesn’t know she does yet. But the smell coming from the iron indicates that they become coal black instead of blood red.

“Crap,” Annie curses just as realization kicks in. She opens the iron and hurries to the window opening it. With a towel she fans the dusty air out. A thing she interrupts briefly to put another towel in the gap of the door before continuing to hop and fan around like crazy, this time mostly targeting the zone around this dangerous red blinking machine on the ceiling that potentially could tell on her, along with an indoor water breeze.

When the air starts to clear enough that this is unlikely to happen anymore, she takes a critical look at the waffles. Ready for the task, Annie takes a huge knife but as she attempts to cut some black away, the knife slips and just barley misses her artery. A real close call.

Okay, guess her brain has not yet returned.

Literally, meeting Jim has wiped all her out of her brain cells blank. When she told James this could happen, she wasn’t kidding. Now that I know some of the back story it all makes sense. And it gives me hope. Even better, Jim, after getting a bit more information from James, is now on his way here and must arrive any time. Yes, soon, very soon, they will meet again. A moment I can’t wait to witness. It was the reason I just hung outside with Sue and the Spanish gang, waiting for the door to open. But maybe he is just strolling around nervous and wants to play for some time.

Annie is still trying to get the room smoke free, and then stops, eyes wide open. The reason, Sue has just let a loud excited scream. Jim must be here.

Not sure if Annie knows what’s up, but she seems not too eager to get back out to find out why her boss screamed. So, seeing her starting cleaning up some plates, having no hurry at all, I assume she knows. Then when she looks at herself in a small mirror and adjusts her clothes, I am sure she knows what will be on the other side of the door.

Some moments later, she slowly steps outside her hiding space. Her eyes and Jims meet immediately, and they, no doubt, radiate this amazing chemistry again. Even Juan all the sudden looks defeated.

Sue, standing with Jim on her side waves her excited towards her. Then, not being able to wait for Annie to get to them, Sue rushes to her, dragging Jim on her arm.

“Annie.” She beams. “Guess who this is.” She lets go of Jim and like a magician presents him, he smiles awkwardly.

“It’s not James,” Sue helps.

“James’ twin,” Annie says.

“That’s right.” Sue claps in her hand with excitement. “James has a twin brother, can you believe that?” She pauses and repeats, even more excited, and with extensive hand gestures, and neck curl, “Can you believe that?”

Annie and Jim share a wonderful millisecond of a smile. That’s the good thing with Sue, you can get amused about her outbursts.

“What’s your name again?” she asks Jim who answers, “Jim.”

“Jim. What a beautiful name.”

Now Annie has rolled her eyes. Jim smiles and reaches out his hand to Annie. “Annie” he says, sounding like a statement as they shake. She nods.

“Jim came here all the way from London after getting a call from the hospital,” Sue tells Annie. “Imagine the shock.” She looks at Jim in sympathy. “How is he? Your brother? Have you talked to the doctor?”

“Actually he woke up.”

Annie and Sue make big eyes.

“He’s built of stone,” Jim says.

“Thank goodness, Annie was feeling so bad about it.”

“Yeah, no need to, he’ll be up in no time,” he continues. “He told me about this place here, said I should check it out and say apologies for him that he couldn’t make the gig yesterday.”

“What a darling,” Sue says and then announces that she will visit him soon at the hospital, followed by a question she asks many times during the day. “What can I bring you?” The following, “Is it too late for cup of afternoon tea?” makes Annie flinch.

“Uh, a water is fine.”

Sue seats him at the table besides the wedding zombies and then goes behind the bar. Annie follows her.

“What a cutie, isn’t he?” Sue whispers, having completely abandoned the Spanish boys who occasionally look at the happenings. “And he doesn’t wear a wedding band.”

“That doesn’t mean anything.”

“Oh I can find out.”

“Don’t,” Annie hisses.

Sue smirks, seeing how Jim looks around. “They are fond of after hour drinks, aren’t they?” She asks Annie without really asking to get a response. It was more a speaking out loud enlightenment.

“Make him a beer, okay?” Sue says, gathering some of the older red velvet waffles that are in a basket on the bar. “And make two more.”

Annie can’t protest as Sue is already on her way to join Jim.

“Tell me more about yourself,” she says as soon as she sits down and having placed a plate with the waffles in front of him. “I can’t believe it. Twin.”

Jim smiles and glances over to a certain blond girl behind the bar who acts as if she is unaware of him and incredibly immersed in the act of preparing drinks. Good for her he probably doesn’t see that her hands shake as she fills the glasses.

“I can’t believe I didn’t know that. What kind of fan am I?” Sue shakes her head being ashamed of herself. She isn’t irritated at all that he only is half way with her. Now, as it happens, Annie just stole a look at him, and if you want my opinion, her way of looking super quick away, was just a hint to obvious. He’s nice and gives his attention now to Sue who babbles about something about how a cousin from a friend’s dentist had triplets, who could feel when the others got wedgied or had diarrhea. Man, I’m good not sharing my egg with people whose diarrhea I’ll feel.

“Interestingly enough, I had a gut feeling shortly before the call that something has happened.”

“Really?” Sue, gets her tell me more look.

Soon later, as he’s telling her that he didn’t feel horrible though, just connected, Annie is on her way to them, bringing the beers and being extra careful to not drop them. She places them on the table, her hands trembling. One for Jim, one for Sue and one for, well, for who could it be?

“Who’s beer is that?” Annie asks high pitched, clearly hoping it’s for Juan or someone other than her.

“Who looks like who could use a good cold beer?” Sue asks her.

Annie looks around.

“Sit down,” Sue commands.

“I, I gotta work.”

“Anybody out of drinks, food or entertainment?” Sue asks loudly. The people in the pub look at each other for confirmation and then say that they are fine.

Hesitantly, after having a lingering glance at Juan, who I think wondered for a second if he should use the chance to refill his half empty drink, and to be back in the game, but decided against it, she sits down next to her boss. Instantly Jim searches for Annie’s eyes who don’t feel comfortable being found, so she gazes at her beer, moving it around.

Sue, aware of the situation, has just the perfect icebreaker. “Waffles?” she asks overly excited as she hands the basket to them who both don’t take one. “You must try. I insist. It’s not made with real blood, if that’s your worry Jim.” She kicks Annie playfully in the side who chuckles politely, and awkwardly. “And I haven’t seen you eat all day. Take one,” she tells Annie, and to demonstrate how delicious they are, she bites in one.

“Uh those are stale,” is her statement, after some grimacing chews. “Annie, didn’t you bake fresh ones?”

“Sort of yes.”

“Wait, I’ll get them.” And despite Annie’s attempt to warn her, off she is, leaving Annie and Jim, sitting in an awkward silence. They exchange even more awkward glances and, yes it is possible, even more awkward smiles. Jim, then looks around the pub. The way you do when you plan on commenting on something.

“Nice here,” he says.

Sue comes back, empty handed. “Well, somebody is a bit lightheaded today,” she says, clearly addressed to Annie. “No waffles I’m afraid. They got a bit crispy.” Sue sits back down. “Just a tiny bit.” She smiles at them. They both look at her.

“I’m sorry, was I interrupting a conversation? You go on.”

“I was just saying that I really like it in here.”

“Awww, thank you, Jim.” Sue blushes. Compliment her on her looks she doesn’t care, do it with her work and she busts with pride. She is just about to dive full on into her infamous monologue when Annie urges her to stop. Sue laughs and then briefly tells her story of how the pub came to be and also that Annie is the one doing the zombies. Basically she can’t possibly not tell everything. It’s programmed. She has done so also with the Spanish guys just about half an hour earlier. Then she stops, telling Annie that she should not worry, she won’t keep bragging about how she does them, and how the zombie stuff all started.

“It was after she came back from London,” is her next sentence. “I came in here, the room back there,” she gestures to the backstage room, “and there was this zombie, looking like a real person. It blew me away.”

She looks lovingly to Annie. “I’d love to show him off but Annie made sure all hair is in the face.”

Annie kicks her daringly in the side so she shuts up.

“An artist and her insecurities. He was…”

Annie kicks again and this time it works. Sues gets her focus on something else. “You live in London, don’t you?”

He says that he and James had been born there, grew up there and stayed there. Only James has moved to California about a year ago to work on his film career. Though, as he says, it’s only a matter of time and he would come back again.

“Annie loves London. I’m sure if she got the opportunity she would go there and not cry a single tear about her life here,” Sue says. Annie is about to give her another kick but settles to send a daring frown. This time it doesn’t work.

“She once even said that she left her heart there.” Sue, excited to share what her thoughts are, signals Annie that she just needs to add one more thing. “If I’d known about you, I’d ask you to bring it back.”

Sue, thinking she’d just cracked the joke of the day, laughs. Jim smiles shy and Annie looks away. Sue is clueless.

“I have to travel there one day. All I hear, and I mean if I don’t talk to my husband, is praise,” says Sue, continuing on the conversation. “He’s an appreciator of historic landscapes, only too willing to move into a deserted castle if he could,” she explains when she spots a look of why would he not praise my precious city in Jims face. “He keeps on complaining that London gets polluted by modern buildings and says in a couple years it’s like Vegas, or worse.”

Jim, fully attentive on her story, purses his lips.

“A couple years back he sent me a postcard with the dildo building and just wrote. Are they fucking serious?”

“We yet have to build replicas of other cities but I admit, this one got getting used to.”

“I think it’s hilarious, we need a building like that, maybe it can even vibrate.”

Annie has given up. She just sits there and smiles nicely. Even when Sue really graphically demonstrates the vibrating with a folded into the form of a dildo napkin.

“Anyway,” Sue adds, “in movies and especially lately in the show Rise of The Dead, I often see them walking on a path along the river from where you can overlook the city, including those buildings. I think it all looks gorgeous, especially at night.”

“Absolutely. You can walk all the way from Tower Bridge to Big Ben,” Jim says, “and even further. On both sides. It’s stunning. I love walking there.” He makes a short pause before adding, “My favorite place is the area at Big Ben.”

In super quick flashes the story surrounding Big Ben he told James comes in my mind. That the last sentence was meant to be a pun, in my opinion, is confirmed with that he ever since, which is fair enough only about a second, retries to catch her glance. However, Annie seems to currently think, ‘What beautiful bubbles this beer has’ because she has either not realized he was doing coded talk or has done so very well. Or she’s not sure about it. Whatever it is, I can tell, there are some thoughts running wild in her brain as she keeps watching the beer’s surface.

“What do you like most in London?” he asks Annie, who needs a moment to realize he talks to her.

I would suggest itʼs you, I snort seeing her glancing up slowly, but Annie needs more time to look for another answer.

“I like it too. There.” She puts a strain of hair back. “And North London.”

“She likes it because all of her favorite celebrities live there,” Sue interjects. “All British of course. Can’t get her with those American stars we have living all around here.”

“Tell me about it. I live in Crouch end, itʼs in the north. I shop groceries with Dr. Who and wait on red lights next to James Bond. It’s as British as it gets,” Jim says while witnessing Juan sending Annie a flirty smile, looking for a sign that Annie got swept away by the most recent hair flip and wink. Her coyness gives space for speculation.

“Itʼs expensive but close to work,” he adds.

“That’s exciting. What do you do?” Sue asks him. “Not also a rock star, are you?”

“Do I look like rock star?” he teases.

Sue tries to read him, then seems to get it. “Posh band like those Hurts boys,” she announces.

Jim looks down at himself. “Ah right my outfit.” He laughs. “No, I’m a composer. Mainly for movie scores.”

Sue makes an impressed face and Annie, obviously tries to keep it together.

“I try to be, anyhow. Mostly I’m violinist in an orchestra. Also mostly for movie scores.”

Now I’d like to see how any hair flip can compete with that.

“Usually l wear lousy clothes,” he continues and takes a bow tie out of his pocket to show them. “I was just on my way to attend a premiere. The finale of Rise of The Dead. I did several songs for them,” he says, then adds, “that’s why I look so snub,” before Annie and his eyes lock into another ultra short but deep glance. Does he know he just catapulted himself into the dream man category? Possibly.

Sue, a bit speechless herself, after looking at Annie, says something that interrupts Annie’s obvious moment of admiration. “So, what did your plus one say when you left her there alone?” are the words that now make Annie tensely clutch her drink.

The wait for an informative response regarding his love live gets unnecessary prolonged by Juan’s phone ringing and him jumping up, flipping his hair and going near the bar, instantly flooding the room with loud Spanish words nobody understands.

“I’m sure she wasn’t happy about it.” Sue tries to overtone him.

“Actually,” Jim also loudly goes on, “my date called her friend and made her the luckiest person.”

I think Annie just died inside. At least the part of her that hold the drink because her hand got loose.

“They both love that new boy band that was announced to come. I don’t even know their names, but they are all made to appeal to teens. A group of Justin Biebers.” With a glance and I’m starting to suspect Spanish understanding ear, he adds, “Definitively helps if you know the cousin of the one having a ticket to see your celebrity crush. They just about kicked me to the side. Good thing is, they’ll look after my cat.”

Similar to how those girls must have reacted, Juan starts to freak out over the phone. He’s hyperventilating, and gets the attention of pretty much everybody.

“I adopted her recently from a friend whose baby girl has an allergy,” Jim says loudly and their eyes meet. Annie’s and his. Of cause. He already knows how to push her buttons. Sue’s also back from her short, unsuccessful, because clearly not having a Spanish understanding ear, eavesdrop trip, to what’s important.

“Cat,” she says, gathering her thoughts. “Isn’t it better to trust your neighbor or girlfriend with that?” The ‘girlfriend’ was over pronounced as hell. Sue is so obvious.

“They’re fine. I don’t want to bother the neighbors and I, I don’t have a girlfriend.”

Did I say she’s obvious? You should have seen how obvious happy she just glanced at Annie.

“Guess, they’ll have to do,” Jim says.

“They’ll be just fine,” Sue assures, then she reacts with an excessive “Ohh,” when Juan ends the call and happily yells something to his friends. They all jump up, happily yell something back to him, and greet him with fist pumps, as he with an awestruck expression returns to the table. Unnoticed besides by me, Annie smiles at Jim who looks to the others.

“My agent sold my book,” Juan announces after another round of fist pumps.

“No way.” Sue immediately stands up and seriously, just having met him, congratulates him with a big fat bear hug. This woman has too much love to give.

“I’m going to be a published author,” he says, and when Sue starts clapping for him all the other guests do so as well and look at him proudly. It’s as if they know him now.

“We must have a bottle of champagne somewhere in the kitchen,” she says. “I’m going to look for it, get glasses and then we’ll celebrate.”

Annie is already up, wanting to help but Sue gestures her sit down again. “I got this. The glasses are too expensive to trust you with today.” She winks and cheerfully goes into the kitchen, while Annie probably wants that the floor opens up and eats her. And with this, Annie and Jim are alone again.

Trying small talk, and trying to act casual, Annie asks what other movies he was involved with, and as he starts to count some of the titles, I can clearly see how Annie slowly loses her struggle to keep it together. She swallows hard, when he says, “The newest version of Wuthering Heights.”

Well, well, as if he wasn’t already perfect enough for Annie.

Sue comes back with a huge golden bottle in one hand and she’s balancing skillfully a tablet full of fancy champagne glasses with the other.

“Here we go,” she says as she puts them down on Juan’s table and immediately opens the bottle. The cork shoots up and hits the loose mannequin who almost falls down. Screaming fills the room but it’s soon replaced by laughter, especially as the champagne fuzzes out the bottle and Sue makes a show of pouring it over the glasses, who are equally filled soon after.

“Everybody get their drinks.” She waves to those random guests in the background, who come right to the table to get their drinks.

“Annie and Jim, vamos.” She now waves those two to the table.

Meanwhile, the dummy, who hangs half way down, faces exactly this table everybody currently goes to.

Annie, with big scared eyes, looks as if she’s going to faint. When she steals a look, as they all stand around the table, clicking their glasses and congratulating Juan, all color leaves her face. The dummy’s face is hanging down, but it’s visible. And this is not James. This is Jim. And at least two of the Spanish guys seem to notice as well, as they look at it and Jim, with confusion. Jim himself pretends that he isn’t aware that his body double hangs behind him.

Annie makes steps back, and uses the moment to hop on a table to avoid questions she doesn’t want to answer.

“Annie, what are you doing?” Sue asks.

Annie stands in front of the dummy, hiding it.

“We have tall men in here. Get off there.”

Juan, Jim and another guy quickly offer their help but she shakes her head, as she jumps up to catch a cable.

The guys still move on and keep offering to help.

“No, no, I can do it,” she insists, but it seems that some champagne got sprayed there and she slips, landing flat on the table. The dummy follows and now they are doing the missionary position.

“I’m fine,” Annie says, after now Sue was the one dropping and chattering one of her glasses. She hurries to her and gets the dummy off from her.

“I’m bringing him backstage. Can someone help her up?” she asks after checking on Annie, who, I think, has that blank face Jim has talked about. Unfortunately, Juan is the one picking her up and lifting her on her feet. Annie goes to get a broom, Juan goes back to his friends, Jim stands there not knowing what to do and Sue takes the dummy and goes backstage with him. First she looks confused, and maybe even a little mad at Annie. That’s until she sits the dummy down and brushes the hair out of his face. James was right, he even has the brown spot in his eye. It’s amazing how he picked up on that. Especially when half of the face was covered with hair. At least at the beginning. After a good hard look, she smiles just having solved a puzzle.

Knowing Sue I am anticipated to find out how she will continue with the situation. Will she be blunt and speaks what I believe everybody knows anyway or will she be more discreet about it? I tend towards the first option.

When she goes back out she heads behind the bar, where she, having an observation round, has a special interest in Annie, who sits back on the table, trying to look as if nothing is odd around here but sure does avoid her gaze. Jim also sits there on his old spot. His ‘attention’ is on Juan that still is all over the moon.

With her eyes narrowed she watches those two sit in silence next to each other and smiles smugly when they both look at her briefly just seconds apart.

The smug expression continues to stay steady on her face now that she moves on to get an ice pack out of the freezer that lays between red colored ice cubes and reaches in her purse to get her wallet, where she crams out a pizzeria coupon and money. After she puts this into a pocket on her blouse, she carries the ice pack and goes to the table from Juan and friends. She asks them if they are alright and when they all say they are, and she’s done asking the other guests, getting the same reply, she goes and also sits down on her old spot.

“Where are you staying?” she asks Jim, while handing Annie the ice pack.

“I haven’t booked a hotel yet.”

“Well, I’ve got a bed and breakfast, but the rooms are booked. Tomorrow I got one.” Sue muses openly before a brand new idea seems to present itself. “Here, my Annie, she has a flat in the bed and breakfast, it’s just opposite from here. She’s got a couch. I’m sure she won’t mind you sleeping on it tonight.”

Ha, I love her.

“Am I right?” She looks to Annie knowing full well in what of an awkward situation she is bringing her in.

“Annie?”

“Um, ok.”

“Sounds good Jim?”

I stare at him mentally saying that he shouldn’t dare to decline.

“Sounds good,” he says. Oh yes.

Sue smiling and wasting no time now says, “Uh, it’s getting late. Annie take him with you.” Following that she suggests, “Order some food, have dinner,” and takes out the coupon with a twenty dollar bill.

“Dinner’s on me,” she continues, putting it in Annie’s hand, and faces Jim as she says, “It’s a friend’s pizzeria. Say the code on there and you’ll get 20 percent off any main meal. They have great stuff. I highly recommend the veggie bomb pizza.” After that she turns to face Annie, “And then get yourself in bed and get this guy to his bed,” and literally shuffles the two out of the Blue Zombie.

Chapter 20

Monday: 7.15 p.m.

 

 

Annie and Jim are in Annie’s apartment. Seeing them walk together towards to here, where they will hopefully get closer to each other, was amazing. They were totally awkward and they still are. Since leaving the pub their only verbal exchange was him asking her if her head is ok, and her apologizing in advance for the messiness of her flat. The rest was stolen glances, awkward smiles and occupied heads, figuring out what to say next. Even if I tried, I couldn’t help but picture myself already as their child strolling besides them. There was just this perfect little gap between them. A perfect spot to feel their radiating static. What a cute little family we could be.

“Do you even like pizza? Maybe we can go somewhere to get something else?” Annie shrieks right after they hung their bags on the rack and sees him kneeling down and undo the laces of his shiny black shoes.

“I like it, yes. How about you?” he asks, looking up to her.

“Yes,” she says and then, a little reluctantly, she puts her foot on the other heel, to also free herself from her shoes. Good. Let’s all stay here.

Annie, unable to get them off the easy way, now puts up her leg, and somewhat aggressively pulls on the first one. It doesn’t look that ladylike, I must say. After succeeding, she, courage driven, and quite a leading lady, speaks again. “I’m, I’m really sorry for what happened. I’m sure your brother told you.”

“Don’t worry about it,” he replies, as his feet, one by one, slip out of his shoes, revealing blue socks with yellow plush dots. A sight, Annie, currently pulling on her other shoe, acknowledges with a head tilt.

After putting his shoes neatly on the side, Jim stands back up. I’m only waiting for her to stumble, so he can catch and hold her like a hero, but seems she has used up all her clumsiness for today, and skillfully balances herself with one hand on the wall as her second shoe also goes off. She bends down and puts her shoes next to his. The top of her boots, that look like from a doll besides his, lean to the side, literally snuggling up to his. Annie, as she takes a hold of the ice pack laying nearby, looks at them for a moment.

“You know. I’m actually glad it happened,” he says.

Straight faced, but with blushed cheeks, she rises back up, gives him a little smile and ventures away.

“If at all you had brought us together.”

Man, couldn’t you have said that while she was vulnerable and only on one foot, I say, beaming with excitement.

Annie, acting unaffected, continues to her kitchen corner and, always facing away from him, opens the fridge. She puts the ice pack in the freezer section, but I’m sure she’s thankful for being able to stick her bright red head into the coolness.

“I mean, you brought him and me together,” he eventually rephrases, but not after having let those words linger for a bit. “We had a fight, haven’t talked for a while, and are so stubborn, neither of us would have ever done the first step, you know,” Jim explains, leaving the fact that as for yesterday this statement isn’t entirely correct anymore out.

Annie, closing the fridge, but still only exposing her profile, nods.

“And I don’t mind the other circumstances, too.”

She goes to the sink, a big smile breaking on her face and he, watching her just stand there, also smiles.

Swoon. Those two are crushing so bad, it’s incredible. Not a drop of manipulative love serum, or nudges of devoted match makers like Sue and me, needed to convince them from each other. And here I was struggling to make her fall in love with James, while he had a copy of him sitting in London, dreaming of meeting her again. I can’t take all the credit for their reunion myself, most of this goes to James, but overall, I’d say great amour work, Cooper. Doesn’t matter it was somewhat random and accidentally, does it? Anyway, I guess, as a thank you and reward, I deserve to get loads of parental love from them.

“You know, funny thing is, a month ago, on our birthday I was here in New York. I knew he was playing a show up state. Just an hour away. I really wanted to go see him, but didn’t. I sat in a pub by myself and saluted with him, who wasn’t there.”

Annie, with an empathetic face turns around and sees him stand in front of the couch.

“It’s a pull out couch,” she qualifies and comes closer.

“Oh, ok,” he responds. And then they stand there, sharing another round of awkward glances, letting their static already match, and the butterflies fly. This is better than any movie. Those two are like magnets, trying to not go together, failure to do so, inevitable.

Now I can only hope this happens sooner rather than later. You know what I am talking about. They need to hook up and that pronto.

“Do, do you want to drink something?” she asks as she retreats in the kitchen, and opens the fridge again. “I have water, apple juice and milk. A coffee maybe?”

“I’m fine, thanks,” he says watching her how she starts putting all sorts of misplaced items, like her used coffee mug, crumpled paper towels and other things away.

As I see him, standing there, with those socks, the curly hair, recalling his recent birthday story and also the timeframe of my hit and miss, it dawns on me. It was him I picked. When I got that vision it was him that was close by, not James. No wonder there was no spark between Annie and James.

Just as he slowly strolls to join her in the kitchen Jim turns around startled by a sudden open flashing front door.

“Ding dong, pizza man on duty to give you a badass culinary orgasm.” Samantha who just invited herself in almost drops the large pizza carton and drink holder she carries. “Not pizza man, Samantha I am.” She struggles for words staring at Jim. He steps forward and helps her with carrying the carton.

Annie looks surprised by Samantha’s visit and even more than that flat out busted. “Samantha, what are you doing here?” She shrieks coming closer. I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had said it’s not what it looks like even though they aren’t doing anything remotely naughty.

Samantha furrowing her eyebrow at Annie and asking, “Are those your Pjs?” to which she gets a nonverbally “don’t ask” reply, simultaneously points to the carton Jim now carries to answer Annie’s question about her visit. She also gawks at him again.

“Jim, like hospital Jim?” she asks looking confused to Annie. “With beard?” she continues setting her gaze back to him. “That grew fast.”

Jim laughs at that and now also looks over to Annie.

“This is his twin brother. He’s from London and came to see him.”

“No shit.” Samantha smiles at him. “You’re like clones.” She comes closer to him watching him without shame or awkwardness of intruding his personal space.

“I know, I know, I almost forgot about that twin confusing thing,” he says.

Samantha, in gossip mode, keeps on smiling at Jim while taking Annie in save distance from him. “Could you put the pizza on the table, please?” she asks him on the go.

“Oh my God.” Samantha, like a fangirl, eyes him secretly. At least she tries to not stare that obviously anymore. “All right, first what’s he doing in your apartment, second what are you going to do with him, third can I have his brother?” she asks excited.

“No hotel, your mother offered him my couch, I guess nothing and yes you can have him, he’s all yours.”

Samantha victoriously strikes her hand, something that doesn’t stay unnoticed by Jim. “Seriously Annie,” she says leaning in, “I hope I just didn’t get your sarcasm and you plan to take advantage of this little situation you have going here, it’s been way too long that you had some fun.”

Annie looks at her not agreeing yet somewhat agreeing, and begins to get out some plates and glasses from a cabinet.

“Monster chewed on my last condoms. They were chocolate flavored,” Samantha says, the pain of the loss, still evident. “Maybe he carries one,” she continues and pats down some of the messy hair on the back of Annie’s head. “What happened to your hair?”

“Don’t ask.”

“Uh oh.” Smiling, Samantha puts the glasses back in, and takes the two Coke cups and carries them to the table. There she offers one to Jim and takes a seat opposite of him on the floor. She opens the pizza carton and I want to be human, right now.

“It’s called the veggie bomb,” she says, admiring it, and waving the smell in her nose. “I hope you don’t mind me being here and making you eat fattening pizza. Well, welcome to America I suppose.” She shrugs apologetic.

Annie joining in hands out the plates and napkins and sits down on the couch in a bit of a distance to Jim.

“It’s just that I wanted to bring her food, I didn’t want her to starve that’s all,” Samantha continues as she shuffles her Coke towards Annie. “Also, my mother texted me earlier, saying Annie was not feeling good today, so I thought, what she needs is a big cheesy pizza. And Annie wanted to tell me…” Annie flashes her a ‘shut up’ gaze and she obeys instantly.

“I don’t mind at all, I never say no to a cheesy pizza.”

Jim takes a slice, smiling and the dripping fat that he manages to catch with his other hand in last second. “We were probably going to order a veggie bomb ourselves later anyway.”

“It’s as if I’m physic.” Samantha beams.

They all begin to eat from the family-sized pizza stacked with mushrooms, peppers, olives and lots of cheese. It looks really good and all of them seem to enjoy it.

“Extra cheesy,” Samantha says munching mouth full. She watches them both with obvious excitement offering a smile every now and then, making this situation weirder than it should be. After one slice she hectically cleans her fingers with a napkin.

“All right, I will leave you two here alone now.” She stands up and Jim does so as well.

“Oh all British gentleman, that’s splendid,” Samantha says impressed and raises an approving thumb towards Annie who flushes in shame.

“Annie, will you walk me to the door?” she asks even through the door is literally just 5 feet away.

Annie stands up.

“Goodbye sir, it was very lovely to meet you.” Samantha shakes his hand trying to speak with a British accent and Annie loops her arm into her friends to get her away from him.

“The pleasure was all mine,” Jim says as a farewell.

“I am glad guys like you come in double, kudos to your parents,” Samantha shouts as she get dragged laughing at Annie who opens the door now also laughing a bit. “See you around Jim.” She blinks innocently into Annie’s eyes. “I will see him again right?”

“I wish you and your mother weren’t that embarrassing sometimes.” Annie pushes her playfully out of the door.

“I know, sorry I don’t mean to, it just happens, no control over it. It’s all mum’s fault. I didn’t choose my genes.”

This makes them laugh even more and they lean in for their goodbye hug.

“Don’t do something I wouldn’t do,” Samantha whispers and then leaves smirking and mouthing ‘love you, he is great’ while doing the thumbs up gesture towards Annie’s apartment again. One last step and she is out of sight. Annie stands there probably to make sure she really left and then goes back inside.

“Sorry, I hope that didn’t bother you too much.”

“No, it was nice to meet your friend and the pizza was lovely”

She sighs. “All right, let’s get you something to sleep in.” Annie, appearing more relaxed, makes her way to her bedroom and looks around picking up a blanket out of her laundry basket.

“I sometimes babysit Samantha’s puppy and he peed on the spare blanket,” she says gazing at him carefully, as he stands in the doorway, looking in.

“I can use my jacket.”

Annie scans her room stopping on her unmade bed. “Wait.” She takes the Union Jack day sheet that lays crumpled on the end from it, says, “This is clean, I don’t sleep in it anyway,” and hands it to him.

He takes it happily. “That will do.”

Loosening up further Annie looks around tapping her finger thoughtful on her lips. “And that.” She crawls on her bed to get to the middle and fiddles through her pillows. There must be at least eight. Two big ones in white linen like the rest of her bedding and the others are red and blue. “Blue, red or white?” she asks before she starts to realize that she now kneels in a position on her bed that may come across as if she wants to give him a preview of what could happen there.

I can see it clear as day, his face shows lust. Oh yes.

He tries to keep his breath swallow.

“How about red, to match the couch,” he says.

She grabs one and tosses it to him as she goes back on her feet putting nervously a strand of her hair behind her ear. “Is that enough?”

“Yes, thank you very much.” He walks to the couch and places the pillow and blanket on it to help Annie clearing up the pizza feast from the table. Then after she puts the table to the side, he tries to open the couch.

“It’s stuck,” he says after some unsuccessful pulls.

Annie tries it too, rattling like crazy, but it’s not doing anything. Good thing her bed has plenty of room for two. Now the next step is them realizing that too.

Jim makes another go, putting all his power into it. “It’s not working,” he finally announces. Oh yeah.

“I never tried to do it. I didn’t know it’s broken,” she apologizes. “Sleep on my bed, you will never fit on this thing.”

Here we go.

“I will sleep here,” she adds.

“I’ll be fine, don’t worry,” he says and puts the blanket and pillow on it, making it cozy.

“I just have to go in the bathroom and after that you can get ready, ok?” Annie says, after seeing him taking out a toothbrush from his bag soon after.

“You can go first if you want,” she offers but goes along as he waves her off friendly. She goes for a pee, quickly cleans up a little and brushes her teeth while looking at herself in the mirror, obviously debating with herself what to do. Then she combs her hair and is ready to come out.

He already stands outside having taken off his white fancy shirt, looking great in his not so fancy undershirt.

“You can go.” She doesn’t even dare to properly admire him. He goes inside and she falls onto her bed. When she turns to the side, her eyes wander to her single glitter shoe, which is not single anymore.

Immediately a smile forms. Yes girl, it’s him. Your fantasy boy in your bathroom. And he knows it’s you as well. She stares at the direction.

After a few minutes he comes out and goes to his sleeping space.

“Night,” he says to her direction.

“Night, night,” she responds.

He hesitates, but soon takes off his pants before slipping under the blanket making himself comfortable on the couch, which is really way too short for his long legs.

Now they lay there. Annie on her bed. Jim on the couch. They are separated only by the doorless doorway, therefore there isn’t a huge barrier or distance between them. Both have their eyes open and randomly set them towards it. I go from one to the other shaking my head in disbelieve as they continue to lay there by themselves, neither making the first step to work on the distance problem. It would be too easy for one to get up and sneak under the covers of the other. It would take approximately ten steps. Optional would be a seductive entrance through the curtain.

Many minutes go by and this goes on. C’mon that can’t happen. I’m sure not the only one who wishes desperately to see them together. They both clearly want it as well, probably mentally undressing each other already, but are too shy or simply too classy.

An attitude I usually find sympatric and honorable if it wasn’t for me coming to life or not. I wish there was a bit more James and Samantha personality in them. Time to put any prudishly to the side and get what you want. I mean, even their shoes snuggle. Anyway they have both kissed each other already, without even having exchanged a word. Alcohol or not, don’t act all innocent here.

I pray to God that he will make them braver, I beg him to give me another chance and I sure hope they will get so horny that their brains won’t function strait anymore.

Sadly the only thing that happens is that their eyes eventually close and their breath sounds show me they are in deep sleep soon after. Can somebody please find a dummy and scream?

I’m having a little freak out right now as I picture them sleeping peacefully through my last hours of possibly being conceived and wake up later, refreshed and going to Starbucks, while I am back in heaven, sentenced for many more years to be there, having lost my lottery ticket.

I know I shouldn’t be so selfish but my heart breaks at this thought. I was almost ready to accept my defeat before I found out about Jim but now it is even harder for me to give up. There is nothing I can do. I lost all my 5 chances a long time ago and therefore have no way to manipulate anything anymore. By now, especially Annie grew so close to me that I would probably watch them from above living the life I wish I was a part in. I would see my potential brothers and sisters but I would never belong in their lives.

To distract myself from the agony to see them like that, I go, hoping to come back to a better picture, to say farewell to the others. First I go to Sue who is still celebrating with the Spanish guys. Then I go to Samantha who stands before James’ bed. She is thinking of something and as I see some flowers on a table from another patient, I go to see Frank. He drives around with a bike and has the girl of his dreams clutching around his waist, as she sits behind him. They laugh and have fun. Now there is Mike, maybe it cheers me up, knowing I’ll never have to see him again. He’s on his couch, and has a big can of ice cream sitting on his crotch, enjoying the cooling effect on something that might be hurting. He eats from it, as he reads through an article from Frank’s magazine. I go back to the hospital, and I am not at all surprised that Samantha tried to kiss James awake and from the look of it, I mean, her laying on top of him as they kiss each other like there is no tomorrow, no pun intended, she succeeded.

Of course, when I return to Annie’s place, nothing has changed. I want to be alone and with only about one and a half hour left, I crawl into a corner of Annie’s living room like an animal who holes up when it knows it’s about to die. Being there, I stare blankly into the nothing awaiting my final defeat. Then I hear a scream.

A noisy verbal fight of a couple emerges right outside of Annie’s window. I rush towards it to steal a look outside.

“Shut the fuck up!” Annie’s neighbor who also shouted at Mike the night prior, growls so loud it almost gives me a heart attack. The couple runs away, holding hands as they are obviously so frightened by him that they forget that they are mad at each other.

A window bangs shut and I spin around in serious hope his massive scream had woken up those two incorporative sorrow children of mine. Relieved I smile at the sight of Jim sitting up. Immediately I go to see Annie and while she continues to lay down, she sure has her eyes open as well. Still they are separated and the chances that they will go back to sleep are way higher than I like. He now also returns to his sleeping position.

After a few moments of seeing the same old scene of them laying there in thoughts, Annie who had fallen asleep in the clothes she wore all day, stands up. She sneaks on tiptoes into her kitchen while Jim pretends to be fast asleep, still having one of his bare legs hanging out the blanket. It’s dark and the room is only slightly lit by a streetlight casting a soft golden shine over the surfaces, making them visible to her darkness adjusted eyes. She carefully pours herself a glass of water and drinks it up while looking longingly in the direction of him.

Again on tiptoes, she gets a towel, an oversized white Mickey Mouse shirt and panties out of her room, and makes her way to the bathroom. By doing that, Jim accidently opens his eyes a little as she walks by and quickly closes them tightly right after which puts a smirk on Annie’s observing face.

She closes the door quietly and turns the key with similar lightness. Jim stretches and changes his position on the couch to get more comfortable until his eyes widen as the key turns again. This time it was more roughly and there is no Annie coming out. I am baffled. Did she just invite him into the bathroom? Is he aware of it? What will happen next? My thoughts go nuts. I watch him while he sports a massive what should I do face. It doesn’t take long and I, well we, hear water running.

“Go in, go in, pleaaassee, go in,” I keep on telling him wishing he can hear me. Several minutes pass until she turns the water off. Right this moment one of his feet reach the floor followed by the other and he sits up stiffly, pointing his head towards the bathroom door. He hesitates as if something was holding him back. Well, it certainly isn’t me. Then he stands up, still wearing only his white shirt and black boxers. Slowly he comes closer to the door looking around like he is about to do something bad and is afraid somebody will see it. I cheer for him. He is doing the right thing. His hand reaches the doorknob and the door cracks open letting him freeze for a moment.

I go inside and there on the other side is Annie wrapped in a towel with dripping wet hair, similar to when she had that encounter with James not that long ago. She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath as he opens the door further.

Their eyes meet and he slowly steps inside, closing the door behind him, never letting go of her gaze. Really, they stare at each other in a way I know it is about time to leave them to some privacy. Yet I want to witness the first kiss, or more precisely, second kiss, of my, if everything goes right, parents.

They approach each other slowly keeping a bit of a distance. Then he reaches out to her and tenderly pulls her towards him on her hips. Their bodies touch followed by their lips. Here it is, the magic first, er, second kiss, soft and modest. The moment they will always remember as the moment they finally got together.

I am so happy for them and of course I am exceedingly happy for me. Still over half an hour to go. Two people who clearly want each other in a steamy bathroom with one of them only wrapped in a towel and the other one already in underwear. This time it will end in bed and not in the emergency room. The kiss turns French and I go out of sight.

I place myself outside her flat, head bowed and excited to feel the dizziness and the buzzing rushing through me. Soon, I will be deported into Annie’s belly and have the dad, yes the dad that I actually picked, and Mike will be history forever. No, I’m not even going to think about him now. Important are those two, Cinderella and her prince, who hopefully take Samantha’s wise advice to heart, meaning there is some serious floor sex going on. And if it’s too hard for them, and they are more flowery, they can go to her bed, which squeaks so loud the neighbor will complain again. They could go on the couch. But it’s so small they have to do some karma sutra pose. And as I don’t hear moaning, I should at least hear them shriek, laugh or the moving of furniture.

Oh God. Maybe they decided to do something which doesn’t include any body fluorides. After all there is still some of that pizza left, they obviously enjoyed. To my hyper mood mixes real anxiety now. What if they really decided to eat cold leftover pizza right now? What if they decided kissing was enough for now?

As much as I want to get an update on the process, I still don’t dare to go back to the scene. Or maybe I would, but as the last moments fly by in such a speed I feel the clocks arrow spins hundred times faster than usual, this option diminishes, just as quickly as my dizziness increases, so all I can do now is wait, hope, and shiver.

If the next thing I see is the sweaty exhausted face of Annie as a nurse lays me on top of her chest, and then Jim, proud and teary eyed, my uncle James, and possibly Auntie Samantha, or if it is a bunch of ghosts, laughing at me in heaven, I don’t know.

Wish me luck, oh please wish me luck, it’s the first option, and if you may, sometime in the future, if coming across some cool rock star dude named Cooper, give him a high five.

I’m out any second now. Oh God. Ok, byeee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Amour On Tour

Cooper is dead, bored and dreams of becoming a successful, good looking rock star, who gets every girl he wants. But to turn his plan into a reality he must first find and match his self chosen perfect parents together on earth. Just after he accomplished amour school and making his choice, he eagerly stretches his love potion infused arrow aiming to Annie, a lovely woman, and James, a real hot rock star. But the arrow accidentally misses its target and hits Mike, a really unattractive loser. In horror that his life plan is placed in jeopardy, he must now stop them to fall in love with each other and make sure that Annie chooses his perfect father. In order to do that he is given 5 chances to take a form on earth and save the risky situation, but quickly learns that this seems to be much harder than he would like.

  • Author: MarenaBlakley
  • Published: 2015-11-23 00:50:17
  • Words: 73243
Amour On Tour Amour On Tour