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Bloodflowers excerpt 8

May 21, 2013

caution: typos are at an all time high. It took two hours to type this. Stupid useless hand.

caution 2: and excerpt from SIATSIA is needed here, I think, to explain who TGB is. I’ll get that posted ASAP, but it might not be today.

This picks up right after excerpt 7.

 

As it turns out, it looks like I won’t get the chance.

I spent today spraying water on anthills for no good reason. Grunt ran around the yard with his favorite stick, and I just sprayed anthill after anthill that I found scattered between the patio bricks in the backyard. The water doesn’t kill the ants. It just confuses them, makes their work Sisyphean, annoys them. Even if I’m anthropomorphizing, the reality is that if I were a better witch, I wouldn’t torment the ants.

And if I were a better person, I’d plan a dinner and show up at James’ apartment and try to sort things out once and for all. We haven’t broken up, and he hasn’t taken any of his stuff back to his apartment, but he still barely communicates with me, and that communication is mostly limited to text messages. I absolutely cannot bear the silence any longer. I need to tell him I love him. I know the thought hurts Dave immensely, but I know I need to do this. And ultimately, because of my link to Dave, I know he loves James, too. Ironically, though we are both entirely capable of hurting one another with such knowledge as this, we no longer actually seem to have romantic love for one another. Since our, well, let’s call it “entwinement,” it’s become less and less possible for us to be in love with each other. It’s bizarre, but I’ve become strangely accustomed to the bizarre. People talk about someone being in love with themselves, but they don’t mean it in an “’I’d-fuck-me’-Silence-of-the Lambs” sort of way, you know? So while we love “us”, we can no longer be in love with “us.” Instead, we are each in love with James. I suppose this is better than us each being in love with different guys, but the bitch of it all is that while the romantic love is gone, the jealousy has yet to fade. I suspect that eventually, our bonding will be so complete that there will be no separate identities left between us. I have given up hope that David will eventually fade away. We will simply become a synergistic gestalt: Bravid. Or Dyan. Whatever. Neither of us will no longer exist as we will exist as something else entirely that is greater (we hope) than the sum of our parts. Neither of us is sure how we feel about that, and we thusly content ourselves with the shared jealousy of being in love with James.

I pack up Grunt and the assorted groceries I’ve purchased to make dinner for James. I know he’s at home, so I’m going to drag everything over and try to make things right.

“what r u doing tonight?” I texted him earlier.

His response was noncommittal. “nm. working on a photo spread all night here. deadlines. u know.”

I didn’t send a reply. It was all I needed, knowing he’d be at his apartment. No point planning everything out to find he wouldn’t be at home, right?

I double check to make sure I have everything. Groceries, Grunt, recipe printed out, a small but meaningful surprise in my coat pocket.

I have an ugly feeling about this, B., Dave warns as I pull out of the garage. Maybe it’s time to just cut ties here. Didn’t you write the perfect lyrics for this? He quotes my own lyrics at me. ‘Burn all your bridges/and cut loose all the ties that bind/make no mistake about it/I think I’ve made up my mind.’

“Babe, you have a bad feeling about everything lately. What’s with that? Why should this be any different? Besides, there’s irony in those lyrics, or did you miss that part?”

He says nothing in response for a while as I start driving.

I haven’t always been so negative, you know.

“Well lately you have been. You haven’t exactly been Mr. Positivity.”

Hmph. We’ve not been on the greatest terms with James, he replies. I’m just trying to protect you.

“And whose fault is it that James and I are not on good terms, Dave?” I ask him. “You act like it’s my fault that I’m not on good terms with James. You try to make it sound like I’m the one who fucked everything up. I’m trying to pick up the pieces. Why can’t you just let it go?”

Dave says nothing for the rest of the drive, and I tell myself it’s because he knows I’m right, rather than because he suspects that my plan to make amends with James is about to blow up in my face.

I knock on the apartment door, and Grunt whines for James. After a seeming eternity which is more likely under 20 seconds, I hear a lock slide. The door opens slightly, and James peeks out. Grunt sticks his snout in the available space. He tries to shove the rest of himself in, but James doesn’t budge.

“Bryan,” he gasps. “What are you doing here?”

I hold up bags of groceries and offer a sheepish smile. “Dinner,” I tell him. “It’s time for us to talk. For real.”

He bites his lip before he responds. “I know we should talk, that we need to talk. It’s just, well, tonight is not really good timing. I’m really busy with this new magazine project and-”

He’s cut off by Grunt giving a hard shove to the door with his massive head. James stumbles and the door swings open, wide enough for Grunt to barrel in and jump all over James contentedly, and wide enough for me to see the immaculate, impossibly tall goth guy sitting on James’ couch, glass of red wine in hand.

He looks familiar, but I can’t place him. There is no indication, however, that his presence in my “boyfriend’s” apartment is in any way business related.

Grunt catches my unease, barks at the stranger, and sits at James’ feet again, whining slightly and with his tail thumping. His behavior is pathetic, and I wonder if I look as pathetic.

Dave whispers to me, Oh my fucking god, Bryan! It’s TGB! His voice is soft, slow, and incredulous, but as I look at the couch figure through Dave’s eyes, I know he’s right.

“TGB,” I say to James. “Really?” Dave adds, “You’re fucking TGB?”

For James, it takes a moment for the realization to set in. Whether it bothers him that I’ve just caught him cheating on me remains unclear.

“TGB?” He stares at me. That is TGB?” He jerks his head in TGB’s direction.

“Yeah.”

Shit.”

“Yeah.”

Dave breaks the awkward moment by calling out to TGB. “Hey, hotstuff! Do you still drink Pabst?”

TGB, not surprisingly, doesn’t answer, but gets to his feet and crosses the room to us. He stands behind James and places his hand on James’ shoulder. A defensive, protective gesture. “What’s going on?” he finally asks James.

I answer before James can. I’m trying to save face, but am likely failing. “Nothing. Dave, Grunt, and I just came to drop off dinner for you two. I, um, knew James had a lot to work on, so I thought I’d do something, um, nice. The recipe is somewhere in one of the bags,” I say and hand the bags off to a very silent James. Then Dave is fumbling in our pockets, eventually pulling out a new, still sheathed straight razor. He takes James’ hand and places the razor firmly in it before James can even see what it is.

We lean in close to James and whisper. “This is a gift from us. It was supposed to be for later. We wanted to prove that everything is okay between us.” I start to choke on the words, so I just smile wanly. “You can keep it, though. It’s not something David or I really need. Not anymore.”

Once more in control, Dave softly kisses James’ neck. He says nothing. I don’t say goodbye. We move to walk away, and Grunt comes running to follow behind.

In an instant, everything I have built with James comes crashing down and is gone. I feel like the ants from earlier. I am helpless. I can only rebuild, but the trust is gone. I can only have faith in David.

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From → Bloodflowers, fiction

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