A Vantage Point of Asses, chapter 8
Jenna needs the entire weekend to come to terms with the fact that she has opened up to someone who is basically still a stranger to her. It scares her a little bit because he doesn’t open up to people easily. Some people would probably disagree and say that she shares a lot about herself on the blog that she writes and they would partially maybe have a point. And it is only partially because even though she shares a lot of opinions on the internet, she doesn’t open up about the things that really matter.
All she has done with Alex is bake the simplest cookies in the history of the world and yet he has already managed to get her to talk about some of the biggest and hardest decisions in her life. It took Jenna at least a year to tell Lemon as much. Lemon was the kind of person who assumed and Jenna has never blamed her for it. She could have told her sooner, had she been more prone to share personal things that make her vulnerable and an easy mark for judgment. Lemon doesn’t openly judge her for it, but Jenna knows she disagrees with that choice. But that’s part of being a friend, too, pushing others to do better.
Lemon comes over on Sunday afternoon because she wants to hear all about this Alex guy. When Jenna discusses her fear that maybe she’s falling too fast, her best friend is there to reassure her.
“Maybe it’s actually a really good sign that you trust him like that,” she reasons. “I wouldn’t run away from it. And from what you told me he sounds really nice and genuine and hot, so I don’t really see why you’re worried. It’s not like you’re going to marry this guy next week, you’re just hanging out. Just see where it goes and if it starts feeling wrong, just quit. It’s not that difficult.”
Jenna eyes her critically. “Says the woman who hasn’t been on a date since college.”
“Ugh, I hate dating. It’s a choice. I mean, if I meet someone and get friendly, fine if it turns into something else. But dating, ugh… But you kind of just hung out and talked, I wouldn’t exactly call that a date either.”
“Point taken,” Jenna says.
“But I am curious,” Lemon grins. “What’s in the box?”
Jenna chuckles. “The best chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever tasted. I guess he thought maybe we would fail so he brought ones from a bakery.”
“Great vote of confidence in your skills there,” Lemon teases and Jenna throws a pillow at her head. “Hey!” Lemon objects, laughing. “Soooo…” she says when she’s recovered, “Are you going to see him again?”
Jenna looks invasive.
“Next Saturday, he’s picking me up at four,” Jenna replies, all in one breath so maybe Lemon won’t hear, but she does.
“He’s picking you up? Where are you doing?” Lemon asks, her eyes wide with excitement.
Jenna chuckles. “I don’t know, he says he wants to show me something.”
“OoooOoooOOOoo,” Lemon, uh, oo’s.
Jenna snorts. “What are you, two?”
Lemon shrugs. “You have to admit that sounds pretty exciting and warrants an oo.”
Jenna tries to keep a serious face but then she is giggling. “Ok, yeah, I mean, I guess?”
Sometimes it’s really lovely to not have to be so mature and just let lose a little. The only person Jenna does that with is Lemon. They spent most of the evening talking about Alex and where he could possibly be taking her. Lemon insists that he wants to show Jenna his record collection, wink wink, bit it’s all just a bit of a laugh between them as they open up a bottle of wine and cook dinner.
At the end of the night the bottle is almost empty, mostly on account of Lemon’s tendency to refill glasses whenever they’re less than half full. They’ve lapsed from giggly and silly into a contemplative mood, which would actually be useful if they weren’t drunk and the topics they’re contemplating weren’t so silly.
“Ughhh I have to go home…” Lemon eventually drawls, looking rather miserable.
“Honey, you can’t drive…” Jenna replies.
“Then I’ll take a buzz.”
“There are no busses at this hour.”
“Then I’ll just have to stay up all night.”
“Or I could make up the guest bed for you.”
Jenna could have offered to share her own bed, as there is plenty of room, but she isn’t all that sure she can handle alcohol breath right now and Lemon has a tendency to roll around and yell when she’s drunk.
“That’s actually a pretty good idea,” Lemon replies, “But I need an alarm clock and shower because work.”
“I can fix all that…” Jenna reassures her. She’s actually a lot more clearheaded than most people when she’s drunk. She giggles a lot, but she doesn’t lose her head like most people do.
Lemon murmurs in what Jenna can only assume is agreement. “You’re going to have to help me, though.” Jenna says, pulling her chair over to the couch and getting into it with more difficulty than usual.
“Nggg. Can’t get up,” Lemon groans.
“Yes you can, I’m the disabled one here…” Jenna deadpans.
Lemon’s eyes widen and she stabs her index finger into the air, intending to point at Jenna but it’s a little bit off course. “You pulled the disability card!”
“I did. Now get up,” Jenna replies, clearly having head enough now, and moves herself into the hallway and out to the back room, which doubles as a guest room and a laundry room. The guest bed is in fact a pretty respectable sofa bed. She pulls the cover that keeps it together off and tosses it aside, then waits for Lemon because there’s no way she’s going to be able to pull this bed out by herself. The guest room is the only room in the apartment that has a carpet, because people have complained about the floor being too cold in the mornings. So, in order to be a better host, Jenna put a rug in the room, even though she can barely move her stair around on the thing as it’s woolly and thick.
Lemon manages to get to the back room and nearly walks into the shelves on the wall. They contain mostly books that Jenna never reads anymore, but since she’s a collector, she can’t possibly throw them out. “Those weren’t there last time,” Lemon accuses, pointing at the shelves and nearly tripping on the carpet because she’s not watching her feet.
“Just pull the bed out so we can both go to sleep. I’ll get you a sheet and some blankets and a pillow.” Jenna’s initial buzz has worn off and all the giggling has been replaced by a strong feeling of annoyance, which Lemon completely fails to pick up on.
Jenna leaves to let Lemon struggle with the bed and moves into her own bedroom, pulling the built-in closet open and pulling out a sheet and two blankets and then grabs the second – typically unused – pillow from the half of the bed that nobody has laid on. She takes it back into the other room but finds Lemon sprawled out on the sofa bed, already asleep. Jenna groans. She moves over to the bed and attempts to take off Lemon’s shoes, but that proves a nearly impossible task, because whenever Jenna touches Lemon’s shoes, she kicks. She manages to get one shoe off but gives up on the other, deciding that it’s a waste of time that she could be spending asleep.
“Forget it,” she sighs and more or less just throws the blankets and pillow on top of Lemon and then remembers that there’s no alarm clock in the room and that Lemon is likely to kill her in the morning if she lets her oversleep. So she gets hers and puts it right next to Lemon’s ear on the bed. Call it payback. Jenna turns of the light and sets her own alarm on her phone hoping that it’ll be sufficient in waking her up in the morning. Even though her work can be done during rather flexible hours, Jenna doesn’t want to risk anything right now. It’s with that thought that she crawls into bed and stares at the ceiling. Alcohol makes sleeping hard and it sends her thoughts into warp speed. She’s never been a risk taker. It’s the reason she feels so nervous about seeing Alex again next Saturday. But maybe it’s time to take a risk and just go with it for once. She thinks briefly about sending Alex a text message, but it’s nearly 2 AM and doesn’t want to wake him up. The thought of him makes her smile, though, and she falls asleep on a positive note.
It is the next morning when Jenna releases that she shouldn’t drink on Sunday night and be expected to be pleasant in the next morning. Especially on a Monday. Lemon doesn’t appear to share Jenna’s hatred for Mondays and it seems she is not at all hungover, even though she had about three times the amount of wine that Jenna had. Life is pretty unfair that way. So while Jenna is moody and in pain, Lemon is chipper and doesn’t understand why Jenna is so cranky. Jenna doesn’t really have the heart to tell her that she nearly kicked her in the face last night and that is partly the reason why she keeps glaring. Besides, Lemon is unknowingly making up for it because after she’s had a shower, she clears away most of their mess from yesterday and she makes breakfast for two.
They get the same bus out to the city and much to Jenna’s relief, Lemon starts working on an article on her iPad so there’s no need for communication. Jenna briefly tries to listen to music on her iPod but soon decides that her hangover headache is too bad to withstand even the quietest of songs. So instead, Jenna dozes off a little until they get to their stop and Lemon gently reminds her that this is where they get off.
They make their way to Little Spoon, because Jenna can’t imagine going into work without coffee. The line isn’t as bad as usual because they’re already a little later than usual. Lemon orders a chai tea, and orders a tall coffee for Jenna, while Jenna finds an empty table near the window. It’s not the most pleasant spot to be in as it’s in line with the constantly opening door, but it’s better than no table.
As Jenna waits for Lemon and her much needed cup of coffee, she can’t help but overhear a guy at the next table, who appears to be having a rather tense conversation on his phone, not very loudly or anything, but Jenna’s hearing is hungover.
“I’m not really cool with this, man,” he says, “I mean, it’s a stupid thing to say and everything, but bros before hoes, you know. This is pretty much the only appropriate time to use that. I thought you said you weren’t going to blow off our things for Lisa.”
Jenna cringes at the saying, almost as much as the guy does, and for a moment she pities him for being apparently set aside for a girl, but her pity vanishes pretty quickly when she takes notice of his athletic build and his good looking features because she just knows that when he’s with a girl next week – guys like that never stay single – he’ll do the same thing.
“Oh, then what are you blowing me off for? Whatever, man, it’s still not cool. I’ve got to go, I’m gonna be late for work.” He hangs up the phone and Jenna looks in another direction when he looks up and forgets about him as soon as Lemon arrives with her coffee.
“If I give you this, will you stop scowling?” Lemon asks, holding the Styrofoam cup just out of Jenna’s reach.
“Depends on how fast you give it to me,” Jenna replies, her hands outstretched for it like a five year old wanting candy.
Lemon rolls her eyes and hands it over, shaking her head as Jenna practically cradles the cup and takes a gulp and goes into a coughing fit. “Ow! Hot!”
“There is a heat warning on the cup, Jenna.”
“Well, it doesn’t take into account the people who are caffeine deprived and hungover and who cannot possibly function without coffee,” Jenna protests. “Besides, I can’t be terribly late in work today because I can’t miss the Monday briefing. Supposedly there’s a new big client and I can’t miss out on this because if I do, I might very well lose my job.”
“Right, so I’ll carry your cup to work,” Lemon suggests, holding her hand out for the cup as she gets up from the little wrought iron chair that’s uncomfortable to sit on for longer amounts of time anyway.
Jenna eyes her friend critically, seeming hesitant to hand over the coffee, but then reluctantly parts with the cup and back away from the table and exits the shop as Lemon holds the door open.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to come up there so I can tell your boss what I think about that thing he said to you?” Lemon asks as she hands Jenna her coffee cup back, which Jenna jams between her knees as she pushes the elevator button.
Jenna smiles thankfully. “Nah, I mean, it’s been two weeks and things have gone back to normal a little, you know. I think I just panic sometimes. I’ll be fine.”
Lemon tilts her head for a moment and then shrugs, pulling Jenna into a quick hug as the elevator pings to let them know it’s arrived.