Thursday, September 20, 2012

The pizza was gone and they were working on their second movie when P. J. laid her head on Jamie’s shoulder and fell asleep. They had pushed the coffee table to the side so Kayla and Lori could stretch out on the floor with a couple of pillows. They were both wide awake and discussing making a bag of popcorn. Brandi was stretched out on the loveseat texting someone on her phone while she watched the movie.

They were watching a suspense movie that Kayla and Lori had picked.  It was okay but Jamie was tired too. She reached up and gently touched P. J.’s face. P. J. stirred a little. “You ready to head to bed?” Jamie asked.

P. J. turned her head and nuzzled Jamie’s neck, “If you are.”

Jamie kissed P. J.’s temple. “Come on,” she said getting up and pulling P. J. up with her. “We’re going to bed, girls. You all are welcome to spend the night or whatever. Just make sure to lock up if you leave.”

“Cool.” Kayla said as she looked up at them. “I’m going to crash here then.”

“Yeah, me too,” Lori said, getting up and claiming the couch.

“Ah, you dog,” Kayla said, swatting Lori’s leg.

“You can get the other end, I’ll try not to kick you off.”

Kayla got up and got on the opposite end of the couch from Lori. “You staying too?” she asked Brandi.

“Probably. I might have a date so if that works out I’ll be leaving but if not I’ll crash here.” Brandi didn’t look up from her phone while she was texting.

Jamie was pulling P. J. by the hand towards the bed. “Cool. See you all in the morning.”

After they disappeared into the bedroom, Brandi said, “They are so stinking cute.”

“I know,” Kayla agreed. “I wish I could be lucky enough to find my soul mate but I doubt that will happen.”

“Why?” Lori asked.

“I’m a dyke nerd. How many other dyke nerds do you think there are in the world?”

“Probably more than you think,” Lori said. “Why do you think you have to meet someone exactly like you for them to be your soul mate. You know, they say opposites attract.”

“True,” Kayla agreed. “But that would mean I would have to go out and meet people.”

“And?” Brandi said, turning her phone off.

“And, I hate people. I hate crowds. I’d rather talk to a computer than a real person, so  I’m probably not going to meet anyone who would like me.” Kayla said, not looking at Brandi.

“You don’t hate people,” Lori said, giving Kayla a little shove in the butt with her foot.

“No, I do hate people. Remember when we first started studying together at the first part of the summer? That was a requirement for the class to work in a group. If the teacher wouldn’t have made us work on a group project I would never have spoken to you all. The main reason I said yes to Jamie when she asked me to join her group was because I knew she was a lesbian too. She was always talking about her girlfriend, P. J. I figured, I’d have a decent chance of not feeling intimidated by her.” Kayla looked from Lori to Brandi, and then back to Lori. “You all have no idea how relieved I was that you were lesbians too. The fact that you all don’t make fun of me for being a geek was just luck.”

Lori sat up and looked at Kayla. “So have you gotten made fun of a lot for being a geek?”

“A geek, a dyke, a stripper’s daughter, a convenient store worker’s daughter, poor, name it and I’ve been made fun of for it.” Kayla looked away. “I’m going to go make some popcorn.”

Lori looked at Brandi and shook her head. “Damn, that sucks.”

“Yeah, I’ve never been made fun of. People just can tell that I’ll beat their ass if they make fun me,” Brandi said and pulled the blanket off the back of the loveseat onto her.

Lori nodded, “Yeah, I can see that. I wouldn’t make fun of you, much.”

Brandi grinned at her, “I’ll let you get by with that ‘cause you’re so damn cute. But don’t get on my bad side ‘cause I’d have to doubly kick your ass ‘cause you’re my friend and no better than to piss me off.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Lori laughed.

Kayla came back with three bowls of popcorn. She handed one to Lori and Brandi. 

Brandi said, “Now that you’re friends with us, you don’t have to worry about somebody picking on you, ‘cause me and Lori will kick their ass. Ain’t that right, Lori?”

“That’s right.” Lori nodded then leaned over to hug Kayla. Brandi got up and hugged her too. “We got you’re back, Sweetie.”

Kayla smiled. “Thanks girls. I’m so glad Jamie talked me into joining you all. You guys are the first real friends I’ve had in a very long time.”

Lori kissed Kayla on the cheek, eliciting a blush from her. “I know you said that your parents know you’re gay, but did they know about all the bullying you put up with?”

“I suppose but they never did anything about it. They both worked so much that they didn’t really have time to deal with school problems.” Kayla got comfortable in her corner of the couch, “Plus I stayed on the computer most of the time and didn’t talk to them about what I was going through. I didn’t want them to worry more than they already did.”

“So when did you know you were gay?” Brandi asked.

“When I was nine or ten, I guess,” Kayla said, then put a handful of popcorn in her mouth.

“Yeah, I think I knew about then too,” Brandi said. “But there wasn’t anyway I was going to admit that myself, let alone tell my family.”

“I didn’t tell my parents, they figured it out for themselves,” Kayla said and put some more popcorn in her mouth.

Brandi shook her head, “My fucking brother was the reason my mom found out.”

“Jayden?” Lori asked.

“Yeah, stupid fucker,” Brandi growled. “I’m still mad about it even though he didn’t do it on purpose, but still Mama almost killed me when she found out.”

“Really?” Lori said, “Your mom seems so cool with it now.”

“Yeah, she got over it, especially after my cousin, Natelle got pregnant when she was fifteen. She figured at least she wouldn’t have to worry about me having a bunch of kids if I was gay.”

“True,” Lori agreed. “I wish my mom saw it like that.”

“You’re parents are way too uptight,” Brandi said shaking her head. “My mom is religious and I love God, but I know He loves me just the way I am. I can’t imagine having someone telling me that God hated me for who I am.”

“Yeah,” Lori said sadly. “I don’t think they are ever going to accept me like this, or forgive me. They think I’ve chosen this life and there are times when I really wish I wasn’t gay.”

Kayla reached over and patted Lori’s leg. She shook her head, “And I thought my parents were screwed up. Damn, man, that sucks.”

Lori patted her hand then grabbed a handful of popcorn. “Yes, it does,” she said and stuffed the popcorn in her mouth. She chewed on the popcorn for a minute then looked at Kayla. “Your mom is a stripper?”

Kayla laughed, “Man, you are slow. She was a stripper, now she works at a convenient store.”

“Well, I thought that you had said she worked at a convenient store before. In fact, I think I saw her the other day. Does she work at the one on Center?”

“Yep,” Kayla said, eating more popcorn.

“You look a lot like her,” Lori said thoughtfully.

Kayla shrugged. “I guess so. But we’re not anything alike.”

Brandi snapped her fingers, “Damn, I was hoping you strip for us.” Kayla gave her a hateful look. “I was just playing, Baby, doing get your undies in a wad.”

Kayla laughed and shook her head, “You aren’t right.”

“I know,” Brandi said. “And I’m good at it.”

“So how did Jayden out you?” Lori asked.

Brandi sighed, “I was fooling around with this girl and I was going to spend the night at her house but Mom didn’t know about it. She thought I was going to spend the night with my friend, Tanya.  Well, Jayden, was supposed to be covering for me. He knew all about me dating this girl so his only job was to call Tanya and pretend he was checking up on me in front of our mom.” Brandi wrapped the blanket more securely around herself and chewed on a piece of popcorn. “That fool called my girlfriend’s number and said, Tanya is Brandi there?” Of course, my girlfriend went nuts. You know, why is your brother calling me Tanya. Are you fucking Tanya too? Well, he was standing too close to my mother when he made this call so my mother is like, Who is that on the phone?  And Jayden’s like, “No one,” Brandi said in a deep voice like Jayden. “My mother snatched the phone out of his hand and starting asking who she was talking to. My girlfriend, who was an older woman.” Brandi rolled her eyes, “Well, like nineteen and I was sixteen, kind of older woman. She starts asking my mother who the fuck she is. Of, course my mother went ballistic and told her not to be cussing her and if I was there I had better get my black ass home.”

Lori was staring at her wide eyed, “Oh shit.”

“Yeah, oh shit,” Brandi said and ate some more popcorn. “Then, while my mother is listening, my girlfriend yells at me, I thought you said you was eighteen. I ain’t no cradle robber. If you ain’t old enough to be away from home without you mama knowing where you are, you ain’t old enough to be fucking me.”

Kayla clasped her hand over her mouth. “Oh my God!”

“Oh yeah,” Brandi laughed. “You know that Tyler Perry show where he says, You don’t make a black woman take off her earrings? That is serious shit. I got home and my mother didn’t have her earrings on, her mother rings, or her watch. I knew when she takes all her jewelry off, she is fixing to beat someone’s ass and that ass was mine. I hadn’t had a whoopin like that since I was like eight. She had the wooden spoon and everything. It was awful.”

“Wow, no wonder you haven’t forgiven Jayden,” Lori said, making a mental note not to trust him with important secret information.

“Don’t think I didn’t get him back the very next chance I got,” Brandi said. “I beat his stupid ass the very next afternoon while Mama was still at work.” Brandi put a handful of popcorn in her mouth and chewed it thoughtfully. “It took about a year for Mama to really talk to me about what was going on. I think it took her that long to realize she couldn’t pray away the gay. But, she finally came around, and we talked.” Brandi sat down the popcorn and then picked up her phone. “She finally got used to it but she still has serious rules about who we date, at least while we are in college anyway.”

“Like what?” Kayla asked.

Brandi grinned, “Like me not dating the kind of chick I’m talking to now. She’s a rapper and a little bit gangster.” Brandi got a serious look on her face, “And don’t think I won’t kill one or both of you if word of that gets back to my mother.”

Kayla and Lori both acted like they were putting zippers on their mouths, locking it, and throwing away the key.

“Good,” she said, pointing her finger at the two of them. She looked at her phone and frowned, “I knew that bitch would bail on me.” She turned the phone back off and tossed it on the floor. “I guess I’m here all night too.”

Lori and Kayla shrugged. “Cool,” they said in unison. They all turned back to the television.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pizza and Books

After spending most of the afternoon making love, Jamie and P. J. went down to the Jeep and retrieved the boxes that contained their text books. P. J. carried Jamie’s much heavier box and Jamie carried hers.  At the top of the stairs P. J. said, “My God, these books weigh a ton. I hope you don’t have to pack all of them every day.”

“No, I have two classes that meet Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and two classes that meet Tuesdays and Thursdays. That way I only have to carry books for two classes on any given day.”

P. J. set the box down and fished her keys out of her pocket. She unlocked the door and picked the box back up.  She went into the apartment first, followed by Jamie. The door was still slightly ajar so when Lori knocked on it, flew open, scaring Jamie and P. J. “Sorry,” Lori said and shut the door. “Hope you guys don’t mind me dropping by.”

“Of course not,” P. J. said. “We were just going to check out our new books then watch a movie. Want to join us?”

“I’d love that.” Lori followed Jamie and P. J. to the couch where they put the boxes down on the coffee table.  Jamie and P. J. opened their boxes and started taking out their text books.

Lori picked up the Norton Anthology of English Literature. “This is a monster book. Surely, the teachers are not going to expect us to read this whole thing.”

“No,” Jamie replied. “I’ve printed off my syllabus for that class and we will be reading selected stories.”

“Thank God,” P. J. and Lori said at the same time.

There was a knock at the door. Lori went to the door and opened it. Kayla and Brandi stood on the other side, both holding textbook boxes. Lori opened the door wider to let them in.

“We saw you all at the campus bookstore,” Brandi said. “We tried to get your attention but we were too far back in line for you to see us.”  She set her box down on the floor next to the couch.  

Kayla set hers down next to the loveseat. “That box weighs a ton. I may have to rent one of those lockers in Grise Hall so I don’t have to pack those things around campus.”

“Do you have all your classes on the same days?” Lori asked.

“Mostly,” Kayla said and flopped down on the loveseat. “I have Lit, Algebra and Geology on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The computer science class is on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

Lori nodded. “I wish I could have done mine something like that but with my practices being the way they are, I had to take Psych and Lit in evening classes. My algebra and sociology classes are on Tuesdays and Thursday mornings.”

Brandi looked at Jamie, “I’m glad we can take ours kind of spread out. And, I totally could not be working or playing sports and going to school full-time.” She sighed dramatically and sat down next to Kayla. “Ya all make me tired just thinking about it.”

“Yeah, last year was much easier, when I wasn’t working,” P. J. agreed.

“A lot has changed since last year,” Jamie said. She looked around at her friends making themselves comfortable in her living room and smiled at P. J. “What do you guys want for dinner? I can cook up a pot of spaghetti.”

“I’ve got a little money,” Lori said. “You all want to go in on a pizza?”

“That sounds good,” Brandi agreed. She opened her book box and dug out her purse.

“Yeah, I’m up for that too,” Kayla said and pulled some money out of the front pocket of her shorts.

P. J. pulled her wallet out of the back pocket of her shorts. “Pizza it is.”