Chapter 4: Annie’s POV by Star
Notes: Three naughty words in here, not horribly offensive, but still, consider yourself warned.
I glance around the room. Portman, Taz and Maya are in one corner, sharing a bottle of white wine (red gives both girls headaches and Fulton said he like red best, so naturally Portman wanted white). They’re having a very crude conversation. Taz brought along a CD by a group called Atomic Kitten (some British teenybop) and cheerfully announced that her cousins call them Nuclear Pussy, Portman suggested Toxic Muff as another name, and the conversation has degenerated from there.
Averman is reciting the entire Corinthians/St. Paul letters thing by Eddie Izzard to Luis, Goldberg, Jesse and myself and we can’t stop laughing. If I wasn’t gay and Luis wasn’t available, I’d definitely want to date Averman, a sense of humor is very important.
Charlie looks distinctly uncomfortable. He’s sitting with Kory, Adam and Fulton, and—by the looks of it—trying to talk to everyone equally (whilst trying to smile at Taz on a regular basis). Poor guy. Fulton’s still in a raging huff with Portman, Adam looks to be feeling rejected by Charlie when he talks to Kory and Kory only knows Charlie, so it’s no wonder that she’s sticking close to him.
I down another large sip of my wine and sputter inelegantly when Averman says in tones of great indignation “You arrogant bastard! You wrote a letter to an entire city!”
“Nice one, Annie,” Luis says with a grin.
“Shut up.” I give him a shove and he falls of the couch.
Abruptly, the music changes (Portman, Taz and Maya are in charge) and It’s Raining Men comes on, loud enough to make the pictures on the walls shake. Taz bounces to her feet and offers her hand to Portman, to my surprise he accepts and they move to the center of the room for a dance. They’re friends, but not really close, they say hi to each other in the halls and occasionally do the small-talk thing, but they wouldn’t sit together in class. Also, he’s about a foot taller than her, so they made an odd couple. Although I must say, they’ve both been a lot nicer to each other since the Bash Lovers broke up.
Maya grins and takes Luis’ hand, hauling him off the floor for a dance.
“Come on, lads,” I say cheerfully. “One of you has to dance with me.”
It must be the wine, but they all offer. Jesse, Goldie and Averman and I join the four already dancing. Adam looks nervous, it’s just dancing, what harm could we do?
I notice that Kory is moving her shoulders to the music. I detangle myself from Jesse and dance over to the foursome sitting on the couch and offer my hand. Making sure she’s looking at me, I ask her to dance. She looks around then shrugs and smiles at me and gets to her feet.
“Most people wouldn’t ask a deaf girl to dance,” she comments when we find a space.
“I saw you moving to the music. Can you hear it?” I ask, interested.
“I can feel the beats through the floor. And I can hear some sounds,” she explains. “I suppose if you put your head underwater in the next room, you’d hear what I hear.”
Luis taps her on the shoulder. “Don’t give her ideas,” he says sternly. “I don’t want to find a dead Annie in this cabin.”
“He’s kidding,” I reassure her. “I wouldn’t drown myself trying.” But I might try it later. Just to see what it’s like. However, no need to alarm Luis.
Kory opens her mouth to reply, but is accidentally shunted forwards by an over-exuberant Taz. Kory reacts instantly with far more grace and agility than (I’m sorry to say) than half of my cheering squad. She slams her elbow backwards into Taz’s midriff and Taz stumbles back, the backs of her legs catching on the coffee table. She crashes down on it, snapping it in half as if it were made of matchsticks. Two bottles and three glasses of red wine go flying all over Taz and Charlie, Adam and Fulton, who had the misfortune to be sitting nearby.
I notice the deep, fluffy rug on the floor also gets a large amount of wine on it. It looks like someone got killed on it.
There are tears in Taz’s eyes, poor kid, that did look like it hurt. Then she bounces to her feet and rounds on Kory and I realize they are tears of frustration as well as pain. “Why the hell did you do that?” she demands angrily. “You stupid cow! I didn’t mean to bump into you, it wasn’t deliberate!”
“Look you grape-haired leprechaun, I’ve been trying to be polite and ignore you, but you’re making it really hard for me!” Kory replies, then turns bright red.
“So what, you throw me across the room to make your point!” Taz bellows at the same time as Kory tries to make a swift apology.
“Taz,” Charlie begins in a placating tone. Very sensible of him not to call her Taryn right now. “Kory didn’t mean to, it’s just her reflexes…”
“Oh, take her side why don’t you!” Taz snaps, and one of the tears that was refusing to fall finally gives up and trickles down her face. She turns back to Kory. “You’re ruining everything! You’re not supposed to be here! See, me and Maya, we’ve known the Ducks for ages, and Annie’s been Luis’ best friend since Freshman year, but you! You’ve known Charlie two minutes and you’re already taking over! You get to sit with Charlie in the cab and on the plane. You get to go shopping with him. What do I get? Told to be nice to you because you’re new and shy. Who cares? You’re ruining everything!” She turns angrily and runs out of the room.
Maya glances around the room, looking as if she wants to apologize, but can’t bring herself to be ‘disloyal’ to her girlfriend. Poor Maya, “gifted” with the ability to see things from everyone’s perspective. She in turn follows Taz.
I realize the whole room has stopped moving. Eventually Jesse moves towards the stereo and turns the music right down. This snaps several people into action.
“Oh god! Look at this rug!” Adam says in dismay.
“It’s just a stain, Banksie,” Fulton points out.
“That’s easy for you to say. I had to put my spleen up as collateral to get this place.” He sighs. “Have you ever met my Grandpa? He believes that thumbscrews and torture with hot pokers are lenient punishments.”
Kory exits the room without a word, her head held high. Charlie thinks on this for a few moments, then follows her.
Adam looks hurt. “You’re all so stupid!” he snaps abruptly. “You’re always doing stuff like this.” Then he also leaves the room.
“Ok,” Jesse says shakily. “That’s five swift exits in two minutes. Anyone else going to be offended then leave?”
“I’m going to see if there’s anything that will get rid of red wine,” I say, and tug Luis’ sleeve, indicating that he should come with me.
“Behold the weirdness,” he says when we’re in the kitchen, after checking that no-one is in earshot. “I almost felt sorry for Taz for about two seconds back then.”
“Ummm,” I say noncommittally, my head in the cupboard under the sink looking for some form of cleaning product that doesn’t contain bleach. While bleach would kill the stain, it would probably eat the rug, and I think Banksie really wants his spleen back.
“I didn’t realize that she was so spiteful though. I mean, I’ve seen her and Averman go head to head, but it never gets nasty like that,” He continues, filling a bucket with warm water.
“Poor kid was probably in pain. It can’t be fun to go through a table,” I point out. “Plus, she looks to be the jealous type. But I agree, what she said to Kory wasn’t nice. It’s not Kory’s fault that Charlie is the only one she knows. If I’d have come skiing with you guys after only knowing you for a couple of months, I’d be sticking to your side the whole time, so I can see her perspective. And I should imagine that she didn’t mean to launch Taz into outer space.”
“Annie, you do stick to my side at all times,” he replies with a grin and I stick my tongue out at him, before resuming my search. “And you’re certainly able to see both points of view,” he continues in a tone I know well. That’s Luis’ mocking tone. “You, Annie, the pig-headed girl who usually refuses to do so.”
“Maybe I’m growing as a person,” I say, my hand closing around a useful cleaning product. I grab some cloths and sponges too.
“Or maybe you have a crush. You only act reasonable when you’re crushing.”
“Yes,” I say sarcastically as I stand up. “I’m crushing on Taz. The girl who’s been happily ensconced in a relationship with one of my friends for over four years.”
“Annie.” Luis throws an arm over my shoulder. “I think you’re crushing on Kory.”
“I don’t have crushes,” I say sternly. “Remember the Bush Pig? I don’t do relationships. Or crushes. Or anything. It always ends badly.”
“You’re so jaded,” he says in a melodramatic tone as we return to the living room.
It’s a flurry of activity when we get back. Jesse has gone to talk to Banksie, Fulton and Portman are managing to move the sofa (without killing each other) so we can clean the wine that has seeped beneath it, Averman is collecting the broken glass and Goldberg is seeing if the coffee table is repairable.
“Looks like we’re cleaning,” I say with a tired smile. Right after this, I’m getting in the hot tub, then I’m crawling into bed and having a nice long sleep.
Luis mops up the wine spilled on the wood flooring and I tackle the rug, my mind on the hot tub. Nice, relaxing hot tub. And if Kory’s there, that will be nice too.
Not that I’m having a crush.