Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The March, Chapter 57: Dirty Martinis in the Afternoon

Chapter 56

Man, you're the hottest thing since sunburns! 
-Better Off Dead

Entirely unaware of Bulstrode’s fierce rationalizations, Ellinore’s grandson, Will, awoke on the wrong side of the bed.  He was hungover, irritated, and touchy.  He definitely did not feel like going to school.  He didn’t feel like studying or reading or anything. He felt like indulging his bad mood and checking out entirely for the day.  He called up Rosie to see if she wanted to hang out.

Hector had called that morning and set up her audition at Lobo.  Rosie was still in Tré’s apartment, but their relationship had fallen apart.  She lay in his bed, phone in her lap, scared of what the future held.  Either she’d be good and get offered a job in New York and then be too scared to move by herself.  Or she’d bomb and end up stuck here in Chicago.  Both options were equally terrible.  She was glad to get the call from Will.  She instructed him to bring champagne and a board game.

Will knocked on her door at about noon with a bottle of Korbel and Battleship.  They drank the wine straight from the bottle, which they kept in the middle of the coffee table next to the game.

“E-7,” said Will, making a wild guess.  “So, have you picked out something to wear for the big night?”

“Miss,” she said.  “I’m toying with a couple of looks.  I’m thinking of trying understated.  B-7.”

“Shit, hit,” said Will. “I don’t think understated is a good idea.  But I also don’t think you really know what understated means.  E-9?”

“Miss, dumbass,” she said.  “You’ve been trying E’s the whole game and keep missing.  Stop. “ She stretched her legs out beneath the coffee table and settled her feet in Will’s lap. He massaged them as they played.

Before too long, the champagne was gone and Rosie had sunk Will’s battleship.  Neither of them felt even a little bit buzzed.  All those nagging thoughts were still nagging.

“I’ve got a bottle of vodka and some olives,” said Rosie.  “Let’s have dirty martinis and you can help me pick an outfit for my Lobo show.”

“Sounds perfect,” said Will.  “I’ll help you with your set list too.”

“I don’t need any help with my set list,” said Rosie.  “I’ve got that worked out already.  But I’m not quite sure what I want to look like yet.”

They went into the kitchen where Rosie pulled a bottle of vodka from the freezer.  You know, you shouldn’t keep vodka in the freezer.  It makes it too cold to melt the ice you pour it over, resulting in a drink that's too strong.  Then again,  too strong cocktail might have been just what Rosie and Tré were looking for.  Rosie poured the vodka into an iced shaker along with a bit of the olive juice and shook it vigorously.  She poured them into martini glasses and handed one to Will, who was settled onto the couch, picking idly at Tré’s guitar.  Rosie went into the bedroom and tried on her first outfit.

She emerged a bit later wearing a thrift store wedding dress that she’d accessorized with a tacky 70’s era necktie and combat boots.  She felt like it made an interesting statement.

Will laughed so hard he spilled his too strong drink and was tasked with making more.

Rosie’s emerged from the bedroom a second time, this time wearing bike shorts and a sports bra, accessorized with Bootsy Collins sunglasses, a neon boa and gold stilettos.

“That’s more like it,” said Will, beginning to feel a little loose.  “Clearly, groove is in your heart.” 

“Derivative,” she said. “Got it.”

“I didn't say that, Rosie,” said Will.  “Here’s your drink.”  He handed her the martini he’d mixed and she took it into the bedroom to try on her third ensemble.

Will sat on the couch with the guitar and tried to remember how to play Blackbird.

Rosie’s third outfit was a black lace bra and half slip, bare feet, blonde hair tousled, lipstick artfully smeared.

“Whoa,” said Will, stopping midway through a strum.  “You look…um… whoa.”

“That’s more like what I was going for,” said Rosie, sipping her drink.  “Ugh.  This drink is terrible.  The ones I make are so much better.  Maybe if I don’t make it as a DJ, I can start bartending.” She joined Will on the couch and stretched her legs out, feet in his lap.  Will began rubbing her feet through the haze from too strong drinks.  They were quiet for a bit.

After a while, Will smiled, “You’d make a lot of money as a bartender.  No doubt. The waitresses would probably hate you, though.”

“Because all their customers would come to my bar,” said Rosie.

“Well, that and because you’d be slow with their drinks and you wouldn’t ever do the dishes,” said Will, eyes fixed on the lower half of her body, his finger running gently up and down her foot, up to her knee, up a little higher.  “Maybe you could work with Brooke.  She’s an awesome bartender.”

Rosie didn’t like it that Will had invoked another girl.  Not when she was sitting on the couch in her underwear, not while he was rubbing her legs. 

“I guess I could get one of The March losers to work with me,” she said.  “They can do all the grunt work.  Brooke or Mary or someone.”

“Brooke and Mary aren’t losers,” said Will, his hands stopping their idle path up and down her legs.  “They’re both great girls.”

“Oh, you know,” said Rosie.  “Mary is so… blah and Brooke is even more boring.  Neither of them have any, you know, pizzazz.”  She leaned forward as she said it, putting her cleavage front and center.

“You’re just being a bitch,” said Will.  “Brooke is amazing!  She’s interesting and beautiful.  You’re just jealous because she’s smarter than you.”

Rosie was hurt.  And mad.  Will was always hanging around. He obviously wanted to fuck her.  Why was he comparing her like that to Brooke?  “Everyone wants me,” she thought.  “Not Brooke.  Me.”

“She’s not as great as you think,” said Rosie, nastily. “Why was she fucking your gross old uncle?  There’s something wrong there and you know it.”

“Fuck you, Rosie,” said Will.  “You don’t know anything!”

That’s when Tré came home.  He looked at Rosie – bra, JBF hair and half in the bag.

“What the hell is going on here,” he asked. Things might have changed, but he didn’t think Rosie would go so far as to sleep with someone else in his apartment.  Or at all.

“Nothing, Tré,” said Will.  “I’m getting the fuck out of here. Thanks for a depressing afternoon, Rosie.  I hope your audition goes well and you go away.”

Will exited the apartment. Slammingly.

“What the fuck, Rosie?” asked Tré.

“Oh, it’s nothing,” she said.  “Will is in love with Brooke and we got drunk and got in a fight.  I just look like this because I was trying out outfits since my audition at Lobo got scheduled.  I don’t want to talk about it or Will.  Why are you home so early?  What happened?”

Tré decided, in light of all that had happened that day, to just let it go.  “Some guy broke into the L.G.E. offices last night. He got drunk and did a bunch of blow and died sitting at your Dad’s desk.”

“Holy shit,” said Rosie.

“I knew the guy,” said Tré, still standing.  “Sort of.  He knows your father from the old days, back when he was a bartender at The March.  I guess he did some time downstate and when he got out, he started hanging around, trying to get something off your Dad.  But, now he’s dead.  It was weird.”

“Sounds like it,” said Rosie.  “Daddy must be freaking out.”

“Yeah,” said Tré.  “He is.”

Tré left Rosie sitting on the couch, half drunk and half naked and locked himself in the bathroom where he took a long shower. When he came out, she was gone.

Will took deep breaths of spring air while he walked home.  He did like Brooke. He liked Brooke a lot.  Fuck it, it was just time he admitted it: he was in love with Brooke.  And he thought she liked him too.  But everything was so complicated and people would be such assholes about it if they got together.  Everyone thought there was something sleazy going on with her relationship with Teddy. And if she started dating Will so soon after that affair ended, everyone would believe the gossip that she’d cheated on him with Will.  They’d believe that she was in it with Teddy for money or something.  They’d believe the worst because that’s what people liked to believe.

The right thing to do was to leave her be.

And he’d leave Rosie be too.  What the fuck crawled up her ass, anyway?  They were in her boyfriend’s apartment and she was pissed at him for being into Brooke?  Bitch!

It was a lot easier being mad at Rosie than it was being in love with Brooke.