Breeze (The Mighty Queertet: Story 3)
Chapter 25: Wedded Bliss II
As far as partners for this damned project go, I’m somewhat glad that Fulton and I have been paired together. He’s a fairly hard worker and has been a lot more pleasant since his talk with Bombay a few days ago.
None of us are exactly sure what Gordon said, but we figure it must have been helpful. It’s so good to see Fulton happy again.
I glance over at Adam who is working with Connie. Poor thing. I wouldn’t have minded working with him, but I’m secretly glad that I’m not. He is my best friend, but ever since his break up with Charlie he’s been attached to my hip. He’s taken to calling me Monkey for no apparent reason and he’s just always… there. I’ve kinda had a Banksie-overload.
Fulton wrinkles his nose at the paper on his desk.
We’re supposed to be a middle class family expecting twins and putting another kid through college. It’s pretty tough. We’ve been looking at tentative budgets and it’ll be a tight squeeze. I’m glad we don’t have real kids to work with, though. I hate kids, especially babies.
I sigh, and pass over another paper for Fulton to look at. We work for the rest of the period and slowly gather our things together when the bell rings.
“Want to go work in my dorm?” I ask him. “Ellie, the supervisor, is gonna be around… and she’s a real nightmare… but it might still be a little peaceful. Taz shouldn’t be back for awhile.”
“Yeah, sure. It’ll be a lot cooler than working outside, plus the air conditioning is messed up in our building.” Fulton grins and we head in the direction of my room.
Once I’m situated on Taz’s bed and he on the floor, we get to work again.
I’m looking through a printout of estimated college tuitions. Damn, it is going to be expensive! Thank god I’m only a freshman.
My mind starts to wander. This is so boring… and why are we working on it so soon, anyway? It’s not due for another two weeks. I push aside the papers and roll over onto my stomach.
“So Fulton. How’s life?”
He glances up at me, slightly amused. We get along ok, but we don’t often have heart to heart chats. Technically, we’ve never had even one.
“It’s better,” he says. “A lot better.”
“What did Bombay tell you? You don’t have to tell me, of course, I was just wondering…” I hastily add.
He grins. “No, I don’t mind. He talked me into calling my aunt and uncle that live right outside of St. Paul… and they said they wouldn’t mind being my guardians.”
“Fulton, that’s great!” I scramble off the bed and jump on him, pulling into one of the hugs I have picked up from Taz.
He laughs and squeezes me back. I get off him and sit down cross-legged.
“So what else is new? How’s Portman?”
The smile on his face falters the slightest bit. It was barely noticeable but from years of trying to read Taz’s real emotions I catch it.
“What?” I ask softly, not wanting to press.
He shrugs, and takes a deep breath. “I love him and all, it’s just… I feel very in debt to him. He’s doing so much for me, and that’s going to follow me around for the rest of my life.”
“You’re not thinking of breaking up with him, are you?” I know I sound alarmed. I’m concerned for both he and Portman… it wouldn’t be for the best if they broke up right now.
“No, of course not!” he says quickly. “I just don’t know what to think.”
“Yeah, I know.” I know how he’s feeling, but I can’t exactly identify it with any situation I’ve been in. I’m not sure what else to say, so I reach out and pat him on the back. He puts his hand on mine and gives me a small smile.
“So, what about you?” he asks loudly, an obvious attempt to change the subject and get the conversation going again.
“What about me?”
“Anything new and interesting going on with you?”
I shrug. “Not really. Taz made a new masterpiece on the wall.” I motion to the new scrap of velvet on our wall. We have six in all, purple of course.
Fulton laughs. “What was it?”
“Nothing.” I respond quickly. I’m sure the blush is evident on my face.
“What?” he asks again, more insistent.
I shake my head, still red.
He gets to his feet and fights his way to the other side of the room. I’m in front of him the whole way, desperately trying to hold him back. It obviously doesn’t work—he’s double my size.
He gingerly takes off the velvet that we have tacked onto the wall, and I’m faced with Taz’s art again. She’s drawn a foot-tall drawing of me, naked. All the special parts are covered with flowers, but it’s still very embarrassing.
Fulton is doubled up with laughter. I give up and join in.
“Let’s ditch the project,” Maya suggests. “I’m bored of raising kids and budgeting for them. It makes me glad I’m a lesbian.”
“It doesn’t have to be in for another couple of weeks,” I agree, with a grin. “Why stress now?”
She frowns. “So what do we do now?”
Hrmm. It’s a good question, we’ve exhausted our stock of conversation.
“Ooh! I have an idea!” she says excitedly.
“If it’s truth or dare I’m hurling you out of the window,” I say.
She giggles. “No, I think we should start forming alibis for either Charlie or Taz.”
“You don’t seriously believe that they’re both going to survive this project, do you?”
I laugh. Now there’s something to put a smile on my face. Charlie has spent eight days ignoring Taz, and now he’s ‘married’ to her. “I would pay good money to be a fly on the wall during their study session.”
“Yeah,” she says.
Well, we’ve talked about my relationship, now we should talk about hers. “You’re ok with them working together?”
Maya smiles at me. “Yeah, of course. Why wouldn’t I be?”
Too much enthusiasm. “You didn’t like Charlie much a week ago.”
“Yeah, well, he’s Taz’s best friend. I know it’s platonic, I’d never thought otherwise, I just sometimes wish that she wouldn’t forget me when he’s around.”
I think after the big fight everyone expected all the bad feelings to go away. “Look, I know Taz and I aren’t great friends anymore—”
“You don’t like her anymore,” she interrupts.
“Not true, I do like her. She’s just…”
“Taz,” Maya finishes. “And Charlie really brings it out of her.”
“Maybe.” I realize that we’re going off the point. “But I know she loves you, otherwise there wouldn’t be such huge explosions every time she thinks you’re leaving her.”
She nods. “I know, I just wish I could let her be as crazy as Charlie lets her, then maybe she’d be around me more.”
I glance around the room. “And what do you call this?” I get up and point to the six sheets of velvet covering Taz’s art. “Charlie doesn’t live with her, that’s why he can deal with it. If he did they probably wouldn’t get on so well. You’re good for her.”
She gives me a big smile. “Thanks, Fulton. You’ve helped.”
“I guess we work well as a team…”
We look at each other, then the project on the floor, then back to each other.
Life imitating art, or the other way around?