She shrugged but looked slightly chagrined. “I knew that’s where you used to keep your pills. I thought that’s where your pot was too. Didn’t find that either, so I went for the smokes. I don’t know, it calmed me down.”
“Calmed you down from what?”
She sighed and laced her fingers through mine. “I’m just sad, that’s all.”
For a second there I thought she was going to tell me she saw my dead mother too, but this was much worse. It broke my heart in two to hear her say that. And, selflessly, it stung a bit, because if she was sad, it meant I wasn’t making her happy.
I chewed on my lip before asking, “Is it because you’re homesick?”
She nodded, her eyes shining. “Yeah. I guess I am. I just miss…I don’t even know what I miss. I miss Ada. I miss the way my parents used to be around me. I’m…” She sighed loudly, looking up at the ceiling. “I hate that I can’t have everything. I hate that I can’t have both you and them.”
Ugh. It felt like my gut was being filled with rocks. I found myself asking a question that was probably better left unasked. “Would you rather go back to them and leave me behind?”
She looked at me sharply, a pained expression on her brow. “No. No, Dex, I chose you because I…I know you’d never make me choose. And my parents, well, they made it pretty clear what they think of you, think of me, and think of us together. And hell, even if they didn’t have a problem with you, I’d still have a problem with them. As long as I’m seeing ghosts and acting like Pippa, my mother is always going to be afraid of me, a hair-trigger away from trying to get me help. It’s just…it’s not fair. I want that normal life and to be treated normally and to be loved.”
“I love you,” I said quietly, blurting it out more than anything. I remembered what I’d told myself about not scaring her or pressuring her, but fuck, the words kept wanting to come out all the time. It was taking over me.
She swallowed. “Oh, Dex.” I could tell she was fumbling for words, searching for something to say that would placate me but nothing else would do. We both knew it.
“It’s okay,” I told her, bringing her hand up to my lips and kissing along her knuckles. “I just want you to know that I’m here for you. And I will do what I can to give you a normal life here.”
“Thank you,” she said softly. Then she smiled. “Though I don’t think normal is in the cards for us.”
I got up and loomed over her. “That’s true. But do you know what is in the cards for us?”
I stripped off my underwear and threw them across the apartment. From serious to hard-on in zero point five seconds flat.
I reached down and scooped her up in my arms. She squealed with delight, scaring the crap out of Fat Rabbit, and I carried her over to our bedroom.
Normal definitely wasn’t in the cards for us. Not when you went to a meeting with your boss and he was trying to tear you a new asshole because your footage of Sasquatch had been confiscated by Canadian authorities.
“You seriously fucked up this time!” Jimmy barked at us from behind his desk, his face red and contorted. We’d only been in his office for two minutes before the obscenities started flying out of his mouth.
I looked over at Perry who was wringing her hands together, looking wary of the big bad Korean man who only recently begged her to come back to Experiment in Terror. What a fickle fuckhead.
“Hey, Jimmy, hey,” I said, jerking my head at Perry. “How about toning it down a bit in front of the lady?”
Jimmy looked at me as if I had a cock growing out of my head. “Tone it down? Christ, Dex, the girl works with you. Or she did.” He glared at the two of us and leaned across his glass desk. “You can’t possibly think that going all the way to BC on the company dime and not coming back with an episode is okay.”
“We didn’t think it was okay, but—” Perry started.
He raised his hand. “Stop. I don’t care about your excuses. For once you actually had something—evidence—and it was taken away.”
“Oh fuck that,” I exclaimed. “It was the police, it was evidence of a fucking murder.”
“Murder?” Jimmy scoffed.
“I don’t know, maybe not murder, but the thing was definitely related to us in some X-Men mutant type of way. Whatever. An attack. The man died. Of course the damn cops are going to confiscate it.”
He narrowed his eyes at me. “You should have lied. You should have said you didn’t have any evidence.”
I glared right back him. Jimmy had always been a bit of a dick, but this level of dickishness was new.
“Well, maybe, Jimmy, we thought it was in bad taste to air the episode anyway.”
“That is not your call,” he seethed. Then he straightened up and walked over to the window with its view of Elliott Bay. It was overcast and blustery but the rain had held off today. He clasped his hands behind his back and rocked back and forth on his heels.
“The economy still hasn’t picked up yet,” he said to the window. “And I’m having to take a long hard look at the lineup and figure out what’s worth it. Some shows are doing really well with hits, others are tanking. You guys were doing really well but I don’t think I can rely on you anymore.”
“With all due respect, sir,” Perry said rather snidely. “This show was dead and buried. You resurrected it.”
“I assumed you wouldn’t be wasting my money. Obviously I was a moron and now I’m in the hole because there’s no show to air. So the resurrection is on hold until I figure out what to do with you.” He finally turned around and eyed us over his glasses. “This isn’t the first time you’ve nearly gotten hurt or lost most of your footage. What you do is entertaining, even when you have nothing to show for it, but it can’t survive in the long run. I was this close to getting a big fucking sponsor for you guys, I was counting on it. It would have meant better pay, better technology. But you two just aren’t professional enough.”
I felt my blood begin to boil. “You hired us because we aren’t professional. I recall you throwing around words like real and believable.”
“No, Dex. That’s what you said. That’s what you wanted. If we’d done it my way, it would have been Hollywoodized.”