Breeze (The Mighty Queertet: Story 3)
Chapter 24: Wedded Bliss I
I enter the room where I have health class. I really don’t want to be here at Eden Hall, but health class is going to be hell, and then some.
It’s required for freshmen to take Health for one semester, and gym the other. I was lucky, and had gym last semester. Health is an easy enough class, it’s just that…
Adam, Taz, Maya, Connie, Luis, Goldberg, and Linda are all in this class. So are Julie, Guy, Fulton, and Portman, who are all fine. It’s the first group I’m not too keen on seeing.
I suppose it doesn’t help that we got to choose our own seats at the beginning of the class last quarter. I’m in the middle of Taz and Adam.
Adam doesn’t look at me. We haven’t spoken since that night I told him to keep the ring.
That really confuses me. Does he want to keep it? He must, because he’s stubborn enough to give it back if he didn’t want it. So… if he wants it, does he still have feelings for me? And if he has feelings for me, why isn’t he acting on them?
I could go on for hours on that path, but I think I’ll try to pay attention in class. Our teacher, Mrs. Bean is a small and stocky woman. She’s sweet enough, but a little eccentric.
“Class, I am pleased to announce that it is that time of the year again!”
I see Fulton and Portman exchange a worried glance in front of me. I share their concern.
“It’s time for the infamous marriage project!”
I feel my face go pale. Oh no. She mentioned this at the beginning of the semester, but I had forgotten about it. For two weeks we’ll all be paired with someone who will act as our husband or wife. You could be stuck with a business, kids, or some other kind of disaster.
“Since I haven’t been able to do anything over this break besides grade your last tests… which were atrocious, by the way…” she cuts off and glares at us. The glare shortly turns into a grin. “I’ve already paired you up. And no, these were not random pairings at all. I’ve put you with people I think you will learn about married life very easily with.”
She sounds horribly evil.
“David Kirchall and Erika Clifford.” They exchange glances, and Mrs. Bean motions for them to sit together. She continues. “Maya Hansen and Fulton Reed.”
Maya and Fulton don’t look too unhappy. I think they’re glad that they’ve been put with each other, because at least they get along.
“Julie Gaffney and Greg Goldberg. Guy Germaine and Linda Simon.”
Poor Guy. Stuck with Linda. It kind sucks—he and Julie actually had a chance of being put together, but instead he’s placed with the devil in female form. No, wait, that’s Taz.
It reminds me of a TV show I once saw—Duncan’s River, or something like that? I don’t know… it was on in the background while I was doing some homework. All of the main characters were paired up together and given a budget to work with. The only worthwhile guy on the show—Percy?—was paired with a snotty rich girl. Percy wanted a really awesome looking car but she wouldn’t let him have it. I think he finally got it in the end, good thing. I hope I’m not paired with someone like that girl.
“Charlie Conway and Taryn McDonald.”
I have a habit of speaking way too soon.
I shoot a glare at the purple haired girl, who grins somewhat meekly back. I roll my eyes.
“Adam Banks, Connie Moreau.”
I look up at Adam. I can’t help but feel kind of bad. It just figures that he of all people would be placed with the Ice Queen. He looks just about as happy as I figure he would.
“Now, boys… I know that you might not exactly be happy about this, but… there was an uneven number of people in the class. So, I’ve decided that instead of making each of you do this project individually, I would have you together and you could work as a young gay couple.”
A few people in the class laugh out loud, and I glance at the two remaining people in the class.
Portman and Luis.
Mendoza looks like he’s going to pass out, but Portman has a wide grin on his face. I can tell he’s really looking forward to this project already.
I, on the other hand, am not. I’m not speaking to Purple at the moment, so why would I want to be paired with her on a project? This sucks.
Mrs. Bean tells us to get together to start to work, and that she will come around to give us our individual assignments. She picks up a small carton of eggs on her desk, and I start to grow wary again.
She reaches us first, and consults her sheet. “You two will be dealing as a lower middle class couple. Charlie, you’re working as a cook at a local restaurant, and Taryn, you’re still in college. Oh yes.” She opens her carton of eggs. “You have one child. Sex, name, everything is up to you… but I do expect to see it addressed in your final report. And Taryn, you’re also four months pregnant with the second child.”
Taz makes a face at the teacher as she moves to the next couple (Fulton and Maya), probably because she called her Taryn. She then turns to giggle at me. “Two children? Wow, Charlie… you’ve been a busy boy!”
A blush creeps onto my face. “Shut up, Taz.”
“That’s Mrs. Conway to you, snookums.” She seems to have forgotten our argument, and has started up her life mission of annoying me again.
I sigh, and try to be grateful that I haven’t been paired up with Connie or Luis, or even worse, Adam. But as Taz chatters on about naming the unborn child Charles-Taz Jr., I find that it is a little hard.
I wonder if anyone will object if I shove this pencil into my eye.
One look around the room shows Luis Mendoza wishes he’d thought to sneak out. He looks terrified of Portman.
I wink at Maya, grab my bag and sneak out too.
I follow him down the drive and out of the gates to the bus stop. I’m glad he’s not skating, I’m useless at that. I allow myself a grin, thinking of the time he took me skating and I was so bad he ended up piggy-backing me around the rink. Just over a week ago we were best friends. Now he hates me.
I thankfully collapse on the bench next to him.
“Go away,” he says in exasperation.
“No,” I say. “You hate me, fine. But I’m not failing because of you and your issues. I intend to not only pass this, but collect my first A of the school year in something other than art. And you’re going to help me whether you like it or not.”
“Taz, I’m going home. And you’re not coming with me.”
The bus pulls up and he gladly gets on. I quickly follow.
Charlie grunts at the driver and slings some money down. I have no idea where he lives, despite having charmed Casey into inviting me over whenever I want, so I mumble, “Um, same as him please.”
The driver gives me a toothy grin. “Stalking isn’t the best way to get a boyfriend.”
“He’s not my boyfriend,” I say loudly. “He’s my husband.”
Everyone on the bus looks from me to Charlie, who looks like he wants the earth to swallow him, and laughs.
Payback’s a bitch, Charles.
I have to run to keep up with him after we get off the bus. He runs to his front door and starts scrabbling around for his keys. In desperation he rings the doorbell.
Casey opens the door and Charlie almost knocks her down in his attempt to put a door between us.
I hear him say, “Mom, shut the door.”
I make it just in time to put my hand on the door. “Hey Casey!” I say with genuine joy. She’s my favorite parent by far. Maya’s Mom and Dad are cool, but I get the feeling they don’t like me. Casey does. I’m not completely oblivious to the rest of the world, I do realize that I’m highly irritating at times, and I’m well aware of who I annoy and who I don’t.
“Hi, Taz.” She smiles and shoulders her son out of the way and holds a hand out to me. “Come on in.”
Charlie sighs loudly as I step over the threshold.
There’s a moment of awkwardness as I’m ushered into the living room. I see the Charlie Sheen-alike is here. He’s also a nice guy. It’s deathly silent.
Time for a Taz moment.
I rummage in my bag and bring out the egg we got earlier. I turn to Casey. “Congratulations, you’re a grandmother! I named her Casey after you.” I pat my stomach. “And there’s another one due in five months. I’m going to call it Taz-Charles Jr!”
Casey giggles, Gordon snorts, and Charlie storms out.
“Oops.” I say. “I meant to say Charles-Taz Jr. Men and their egos.” I suddenly remember there’s still one guy in the room. “Oops, again. You don’t have an ego,” I tell Gordon, who starts to laugh.
“Taz,” Casey puts a hand on my shoulder. “Come into the kitchen and tell me why you’re brandishing an egg and telling me it’s my granddaughter.”
She gives Gordon a look that clearly says go after my son and beat some sense into his thick head.
I allow Casey to lead me away. “Marriage project at school. Charles and I got paired together. Didn’t I tell you at Christmas I was going to marry him?”
I grin at her and set the Casey-egg on the table. “It was a beautiful day. Maya and Adam were the bridesmaids—they looked marvelous in lilac—and I can’t remember who gave me away, but Gordon was Charlie’s best man, and the Bash Brothers were also involved. You looked stunning, not many women can wear hats well.”
Casey gives me an indulgent smile, but I really should be quiet soon. I know that Pepsi during study hall was a mistake.
“I’ll hush now.”
Casey nods approvingly. “So, I take it my son is still being a… what did you call him? A ‘pig-headed twit’?”
Oops. “Did I say that? He’s my best friend, I’m allowed to get nasty when he hurts my feelings.”
At this point the pig-headed twit in question walks in. Gordon jabs him in the ribs and he sighs deeply. “Fine, we’ll talk, but only because I don’t want to fail this project.”
“Charlie…” Casey says warningly.
“That’s all I’m asking.” Actually, it’s nowhere near what I want, but I don’t want to cause any more ructions that I have already.
Casey is still glaring at him, and Gordon looks on disapprovingly. I sigh inwardly, time for another Taz moment. “Oh Charles!” I say in a melodramatic tone, putting my hand on my heart. “Our first fight, now we get to make up. I’m welling up with emotion.” I dab at my eyes for effect.
He fights the amused smirk threatening to take over his face. “Don’t push me, Taryn.”
He called me Taryn! This time my Taz moment isn’t forced. I can’t help but leap into his arms. Several months of friendship have prepared him for me jumping on him, and surprisingly he doesn’t let me fall.
Casey giggles again, any other parent would be calling the men in white coats by now. Gordon looks amused, and asks Casey in a low voice, “Is she usually like this?”
Casey just smiles and replies, “Sometimes she’s hyper.”
Charlie finally smiles at me. It’s only been eight days, but I’ve really missed him.
“Come on, Taryn, let’s go ace this rotten project.”
He turns, still with me in his arms, and as he does, my feet knock the table. The Casey-egg wobbles and starts rolling towards the edge. “Charles! No!” I yell.
Gordon leaps forward to catch it, but doesn’t get there in time. The egg smashes all over his feet. He turns to Charlie. “What is it that you and eggs have against me?”
Charlie laughs, so I guess it’s a private joke.
“We just killed our firstborn!” I wail. “Now social services will take Charles-Taz Jr. off us when it arrives.” From the shaking, I can tell that Charlie’s fighting another laugh.
Casey goes to the fridge and gets another egg. She holds it out to me. “Here’s Casey the Second. Now please get out of my kitchen.”
I take the egg and Charlie and I leave—with me still in his arms.
One last Taz moment, I think.
“We’re off to consummate our marriage!” I call over my shoulder.
Charlie laughs so hard he drops me. Casey II survives the fall, even if I don’t feel too chipper.