Jane was on the sofa watching TV when we got home. She was nude. She was always nude at home now, and we were adjusting. She got up to give us hugs, then went and retrieved three Anchor Steams for us. We'd hit the bong in a little while. We'd told her we would probably be gone until early evening and to have dinner without us, so she'd invited a couple friends from the volleyball team out to dinner at a local Chilean restaurant.
Over dinner, Jane had told them of her adventures in Europe over the summer. Her tales were essentially reinforcement for Jane's ability to extract more action out of life than most people did. The partying at a squat in Hamburg, the hash bar crawls in Amsterdam, hanging out with street punks in London, meeting teenage IRA soldiers in Belfast, driving a Formula car at Le Mans for two laps, the two different nudist resorts.... Jane had exposed herself in the restaurant to show her lack of tan lines.
"I explained to them I was a nudist now," Jane said. "They asked if I planned to show up to school naked, and I told them, 'I wish.' I explained that when I'm home, my clothes come off and stay off, and that I plan on spending time at Black's and San Onofre, feeling free. They were all, 'What do you mean, free?' I told them now that I had experienced what it was like to go through an entire day with no clothing, and surrounded by people who did the same, was one of the most liberating feelings I'd ever felt. Nude, you're not hiding anything from anyone, and that feeling spills into how you interact with other people and yourself, you're far more honest and open, you don't hedge.
"They asked, "So how do the people you live with feel about all this?' I told them you were okay with it. You'd both seen me naked before, and me being naked all the time at home would just be sort of a fact of life. 'But the man you live with, don't you think he's gonna get all worked up seeing you naked?' I told them that was fine with me, I like being ogled. If Lenny likes getting an eyeful, great, I'm glad I'm adding a little charge to his day. That kind of weirded them out, they sort of seem to think I'm setting myself up to be raped by Lenny. I couldn't tell them, 'Well, Lenny routinely fucks me stupid already,' and I just let it slide."
"How about your classes?" I asked. "What's your first impression?"
"Overall, piece of cake. Trigonometry will be a little bit of a challenge, but as long as the teacher doesn't suck and actually gives good instruction, I'm not worried. I have a weird feeling he's gonna be very solicitous of me. The power of my decolletage has claimed another victim." (Jane had worn one of her leather bustiers that day.) "The other classes should be a breeze. Keep up on the reading, do the projects, take the tests, blah blah blah."
"How about drama club?" asked Bekka.
"Nothing's changed since last year," Jane answered.
"So.... Is Lance a fellow club member?"
Jane spent several moments staring evenly at me and Bekka. Then she said, "Yes, he is. And I will continue to be, regardless of who else is a member, or how they behave, or how they treat others."
After a pause, I said, "Spill it, Gator Bait. Fill us in."
Jane pulled at her beer, then lit a Newport. "We talked today. Quite a bit, on a couple occasions. How fruitful these conversations were is open for debate.
"I found him at lunch and pulled him out to the smoking area. I apologized for slamming the phone down in his ear yesterday morning. Then I asked if he had any thoughts regarding our relationship and where we were in it, any new thoughts since the day before. He's all, 'I talked to Debbie yesterday. She says your anger shows you're too possessive of me, that I'm not your boyfriend, I'm your trophy.' Okay, I'd already told myself I would not get angry, I'd count to ten, breathe deep, whatever. I told him, 'You said things that made me angry, and I expressed how I felt. If you had learned I'd spent the summer telling all of Europe about what a lousy person my boyfriend Lance was, you'd have been upset too. Youda need to let Debbie know that yeah, I am rather possessive of you, but that's because we've been together for almost a year. She's reading too much into my actions.'
"I reiterated to Lance that I was fine with a poly relationship. It would work both ways, I'd start seeing another guy, probably, but Lance would be very important in my life. He said he'd passed on my idea of a poly relationship. Heh, first he had to explain to the rich bitch what a poly relationship was. He said she wasn't completely hostile to the idea, but doubted she'd go for it. I asked if he was going to start dating Debbie, if we were through. Jesus, he came back with, 'I don't want us to be through, I want to keep seeing you, we'd just have to keep it a secret.'
"I reminded him he'd said that yesterday, and my feeling hadn't changed. If I'm gonna be with him at all, it's gonna be out in the open. I won't be his mistress, his fuck toy, or his dirty little secret. I asked him straight up if it was about the sex. He just stared at his shoes for a while, and finally sorta muttered, 'Yes.' I told him, 'Okay, you've got choices to make. Convince this Debbie chick to accept that you and me are still involved, and it's a real relationship. Drop the idea of dating Debbie. Or drop us both and go back to dating Lefty every night. But you don't get to leave me hanging, and you don't get to treat me like a fuck toy.'
"He asked what I'd do if I met this Debbie bitch face to face, would I attack her? I told him I'd behave if she did. But he gave her the impression I'm a bad person --- because of what he said about me --- and she was pouring poison in his ear about me in return, analyzing how I live and telling him how it adds up to me being a horrible, destructive bitch. If she starts talking shit, or gets all condescending, or otherwise has some attitude, I'll break the cunt's face. If she's willing to have a calm dialogue with me, wonderful. Maybe I can get her to see my view of things, and explain that people are having more than one romantic involvement at once, that polyamory does work.
"Lance said, 'Oh, she remembered what polyamory is when I was explaining to her. She says something like that actually working is a one in a million shot, and that usually polyamory is just an excuse for people to slut it up, to rationalize being slutty.' Uh huh. I counted to ten, and pointed out that Bekka is a champion of polyamory, and she's not a slut. You know what he said back? 'Well, look what she does for a living, and she still married Lenny.' I counted to twenty and told him he'd had Bekka's career explained to him ad nauseum, to leave that shit right out. The fucking little asshole comes back with, 'I dunno, no matter how you slice it, she's still having sex with different guys all the time, no matter how she tries to explain it away. I really feel sorry for Lenny.'
"After another ten count, I asked why. 'Okay, they both work in the same business, but Lenny just runs the office end of things, while his own wife is up having sex with other guys all day. I think Bekka teats Lenny like shit, by insisting on doing what she does. I think Lenny is totally in love with Bekka,and she takes advantage of that. If she really loved Lenny, she'd stop doing what she does. He puts up with what she does, and I'll bet it really hurts him.'
"I kinda got mean and told Lance, 'Guess what, sweetie, Lenny is fucking other women besides Bekka. In fact Bekka set them up. She knows it sucks that she has sex all day, and he's stuck in the office, so she decided to balance the scales and find Lenny a couple lovers. You know that one girl at Inana, Sue? Lenny fucks her in the ass a few times a week. Or Bekka's bodyguard Terry? She sucks Lenny's dick all the time, and they spend the night together off and on. But that shit doesn't matter, because Lenny and Bekka are so in love it's not funny. They're the closest couple I've ever seen in my life, they are totally committed to each other. And they prove that polyamory does work. Lenny loves Bekka, Lenny loves Sue, Lenny loves Terry.' Um, then I kinda fucked up. I told Lance, 'And Bekka loves me. Her and I fool around sometimes, we both like other girls, so we have a bit of fun off and on. No, I wasn't cheating on you, it was just me and a friend having a good time, the way only two girls can. So don't question how Lenny and Bekka feel about each other.'
"Then the bell rang, so I told Lance, 'I'm driving you home today, we're gonna go to the beach and talk some more. This conversation is not finished. I'll be waiting for you outside the gym. He asked if I was serious about you and me getting together, or if I was just trying to be mean. I told him I was very serious. He's all, 'Sex is the only thing you care about, isn't it?' I just laughed at him and told him that after this long, he should know just how important sex is to me, but it isn't all-consuming. And I said that over the summer, we'd both had plenty of chances to get laid, but he'd had exactly one more lover than I had.... Unless this Debbie chick wasn't the only one he'd nailed at camp.
"Jesus. So after school, we head for the beach. He starts in about how I wouldn't be a dirty little secret, than the whole world can know about us, with one exception. I pointed out that was a stupid way of trying to do things. First of all, I don't like deceiving anyone, keeping a secret like that wouldn't sit well with me. I also pointed that unless Debbie has a head injury, she'd figure shit out, or somehow get wind of us. I knew Lance would want his afternoon fuck sessions, like last year, and how would he explain to Debbie why he's never around in the afternoons? I told him, 'It's not up for debate, if you and me are together, this chick is not gonna be kept in the dark.' He asked if I really wanted to meet the rich bitch, and I said yeah, and I'll be civil if she will. And by the way, what prompted you to talk shit about me at camp?
"Lance got all kinds of nervous, then got defensive. 'I didn't talk shit about you, I just told Debbie and other people about how you live and what you're like, and they saw it as you being really out of control, being really extreme with everything. I said that you used drugs sometimes, and they thought that was terrible. They asked me what kinds, so I told them Ecstasy and pot, and they got all freaked out. I wasn't talking shit about you, they just see what you do and how you live as being really bad.'
"Okay.... I asked him, 'Did you even try to defend me?' He got all silent and evasive, so I knew he was gonna bullshit me. He said of course, yeah, Jane isn't a bad person, she's on the honor roll, she's never gotten in trouble for anything. Then he says, 'But Debbie wants to call CPS on Lenny and Bekka. She thinks you are the way you are because of them, and you're a minor, and living with them is totally warping you, because you're around people who make porn all the time.'
"I breathed heavy and did a ten count, then reminded him that if it weren't for you two him and me would never have met, because I'd be up in Hollywood turning tricks. Also, CPS can't touch me, I'm emancipated, remember? And if this Debbie broad thinks you two are bad and evil because of your careers, she can fuck off. He's been around you two, why didn't he defend you two? 'Oh, I told her Lenny and Bekka are cool, they're good people, but I think her mind is kinda made up, just because they work in porn.' So basically, Lance did a really shitty job of defending you two, if he bothered at all.
"We didn't stay at the beach long, we didn't even get out of the car. I said to Lance, 'Like I said before, you've got some choices to make. Stay with me, drop me and start dating the La Jolla girl, or get her to accept the idea of a poly relationship. But if you do drop me, you're gonna make it real clear to everyone we know that we didn't split, you walked away. And if you do drop me, I still want to meet this chick, for no other reason than to tell her to treat you right, you're a good guy. And I'll leave her alone after that.'
We sat there for a minute, and I asked him, 'Is she a lousy fuck?' He just stared out the window for a while and finally is all, 'Well, you know, you're really aggressive and totally into it during sex.' I started laughing and told him that any chick having sex had better be into it. If she's not, it's something she's doing out of duty, or submission, or for some ulterior motive. I hate chicks who have sex when they really don't want to. Maybe I kind of screwed Lance up, because I always want to, and I'm always into it. And I know he's gonna have to deal with girls who put out, but not because they're horny, but just because they think they're supposed to. I'm guessing that's what the Debbie object is doing, she figured, 'Hey, I'm at camp, I'm supposed to get a little wild and misbehave, so I'll fuck a guy, even though I'm not really into it.'
"So I told Lance, 'Okay, you've gotta chose your priorities. Be with the crazy weird punk bitch who's really into you and loves sex, or be with the La Jolla bitch who's shitty in bed, but has money and a connected family.' He's all, 'That's so not fair.' I asked him why not, please correct me on anything I'd gotten wrong, and to not lie. He didn't say anything for a minute, then is all, 'Well, you know, she's not had a lot of experience.' All right, fine, I know I'm an anomaly. I started at age twelve and have loved it ever since. But I pointed out to Lance that even without experience, she should at least be showing some enthusiasm, and if she's not, then what's the point of doing it at all? Jacking off would be more fun.
"Lance just says to drive him home, he's gotta think about things. Okay, fine, so do I. So maybe he wasn't really trying to talk shit about me, and the people he was around are just snotty little pricks who assume anyone who has blue hair and rides a motorcycle and likes getting high must be some sort of loser, or whatever. But I can't get over the feeling that if that's the case, Lance didn't do shit to defend me. So he tells the Debbie object about me, she says I must be a horrible person.... And he doesn't say, 'No, she's a good person, she's not self-destructive, she's not a party animal' or whatever. I guess he just let it lie, huh? Anyway, he called a while ago. The Debbie object has agreed to meet us at UTC tomorrow. I am going to be calm, I am going to be civil, and I'm wearing my tightest fucking pair of alligator skin pants and my lucky blue bustier. Five bucks says this bitch has a sweater tied around her neck when she shows up."
Bekka and I sat there, digesting what Jane had said. I finally said, "Do you want us to be there? This girl seems to have a problem with us too, so.... What time are you meeting her?"
"4:30. No, I'll handle this on my own. I would like you two to not be a subject of discussion at all. If the Debbie object does start in on you, I will demand she elaborate on her opinion of you, she can explain what her problem is. If she thinks you're bad people just because you make porn, she'll be corrected. And if she refuses to listen to me and keeps talking shit about you two, I'm throwing her onto the ice rink from the food court. I'll have to get a lot of horizontal distance covered, but I'll make sure she hits the ice."
"All right then," said Bekka. "It's a little early, but the bong sounds like a very good idea."
In a voice that was suddenly small, Jane said, "Can I sleep with you guys tonight? I really need to feel loved that way, and I want to feel it from both of you. I think I'll absorb some of your strength and energy, and I'll need it tomorrow afternoon."
Bekka went over and held Jane close. "We'll make love to you at the same time." She cackled. "You can absorb some of Becky Page's power, okay?"
Jane rolled her eyes and replied, "I'll try. I'll also try to absorb some of Becky Page's girl-cum."
Jane walked into the food court at University Town Center and began scanning around. She spotted Lance sitting at a table near the barbecue place. He was with a girl. Jane grit her teeth: oh my God, she really does have a fucking sweater tied around her neck. Jane adjusted her bustier so she wasn't spilling out too much and headed that direction.
Arriving at the table, Jane said, "Hi, sweetie," but simply squeezed his shoulder, not kissing him like she normally would. She looked at the girl and said, "Hello, you must be Debbie." The Debbie object was what she'd actually expected: dark blonde hair, the sweater, a blouse, knee-length skirt, flats. Her mouth was slightly pinched, like she was halfway to a Ruth Buzzi imitation. Blue eyes. The amount of makeup for a Proper Lady. And she was looking at Jane as though she'd emerged from one of the garbage cans.
Debbie looked at Jane and said, "Yes, Jane, right?" Jane had her hand out to shake. Debbie stared at the hand, as though checking for a joy buzzer, then shook it like she was shaking a cloth napkin.. She said, "So, you and Lance were dating last year. This feels kinda weird, I'm never set up a meeting with a boyfriend's ex before."
"Am I his ex?" Jane queried. "This is news to me. I've been hoping to sort things out with Lance. I don't mind him seeing you. He can date us both, I'm not that possessive. In fact, I'm glad we're meeting now, if that's how things work out."
The Debbie object gave Jane a look that was both suspicious and amused. "Do you believe it would be just fine if we were both dating Lance? Sharing him? Oh yeah, you think that polyamory stuff works, where people date in little clusters or something. We'd share him, I guess.
"You don't think that's kinda weird and pervy? Like, it's okay if someone decides, 'Wow, I have a boyfriend, but I want another.' Seriously, that's just kinda slutty. It's weird."
In her head, Jane counted to ten. She lit a Newport and turned on her diplomat's smile. "Actually, it's not weird. It gives people credit for having the capability to have a romantic interest in more than one person at once. What's wrong with that? If we can love our mother and our father equally at the same time, why can't we do it with lovers? I believe Lance can. No, it's not slutty, polyamory demonstrates we all have love to share, and to share with more than one person. I've been totally happy being monogamous with Lance. All right, you two got together over the summer. So, Lance can love me and you at the same time. It's not a big deal, if you think about it."
The Debbie object changed subjects. "So, I'm.... curious about your fashion sense. Um.... You know you look, like, totally sleazy, right?"
"Huh." Another ten count. "Actually, I wouldn't say sleazy. I am a sex bomb in training. I guess Lance told you a lot about me at camp, but he may not have mentioned that sexuality is a huge part of my life. I dress provocatively on purpose, I like being eye candy. Men are very visually oriented when it comes to sex, along with not a few women. I don't want to tease, I want to give genuine pleasure to those around my with my appearance. I told this to Lance when we first go together: I like to spread hard-ons like hay fever, I like to excite. What I wish for is to have a world where being aroused is not a private thing, but accepted as normal and natural. So I like being a sex bomb. And please don't confuse 'sex bomb' with 'slut.' I've been more faithful to Lance than he has to me."
"Is that so?" purred the Debbie object.
"You two got together over the summer, right? I'd given him permission to get laid at drama camp. I was in Europe all summer, but didn't chase any cock. Besides, I'd verbalized my permission, I made it explicit. Lance never said the same thing to me, so I took it for granted he wanted me to stay faithful, even if he wasn't."
Lance piped up with, "Well.... I kinda assumed you would, you know, fool around at some point. You really didn't, huh?"
Jane decided to not mention Vito. She didn't feel that counted anyway. "Nope. And considering I was at two different nudist resorts, I think I was very restrained."
"You went to nudist resorts?" squawked the Debbie object.
"One in Italy, one in France. I have declared myself a nudist. It's so awesome and liberating to be free of all clothing.... Okay, I'd wear my boots. But I realized I felt smothered by clothes, I felt free while nude. Lance certainly didn't mind when I got home from Europe, I strip the moment I'm in my front door. If anything, nudism has reinforced my fashion sense. If I'm gonna have clothes on at all, I want them to really stand out."
The Debbie object waited a few seconds, then said, "You look like you should be walking down El Cajon Boulevard."
Another ten count. Jane cooed, "I promised Lance I would be on my best behavior when I met you. I am here to be diplomatic, and have some open discourse with the chick my boyfriend says he is now interested in. My goal is to reach a state of detente, and my hope is you will understand that the two of us can both have relationship with Lance at the same time, with no jealousy or tension.
"But at the same time, you don't get to insult me. I will only take so much shit before I get pissed off and act out. You got me, cupcake?"
The Debbie object scowled, then gestured at Jane's cigarette. "Would you put that thing out? Cigarettes are totally gross, I can't believe you smoke. Why do you smoke?"
Jane shrugged and said, "When you have stress in your life, cigarettes are a good palliative. The problem is, they're also addictive. So, you end up smoking even when you're not stressed."
"Lance says you also do drugs."
"Yes, I do. Me and my roommates hit the bong at night, after I finish my homework. And I take Ecstasy on weekends, I love Ecstasy."
"And he says you ride a motorcycle?" questioned the Debbie object.
Jane nodded. "A Harley Sportster, this year's model. Dead stock. Bekka and Lenny's are outlaw customs, I spent the weekend on Bekka's. It's a beautiful purple machine, and quick, another Sportster. Our friend Terry has an Air Glide she did major work on. It's so fast now it outruns Ninjas. Haw, this thing is so fast it scared guys from the Oakland H.A. chapter, and those dudes don't rattle easily."
The Debbie object was now looking at Jane as though she'd sprouted horns and fangs. She said in a querulous voice, "Yeah.... Lance said something about you spending the weekend with Hell's Angels? Seriously, you did?"
"Oh yeah, it was a blast. The Labor Day run is always massive, it was in Pismo Beach this year. We cruised, we partied, we hit the beach.... In the afternoons we'd hang out at a bar called Baxter's, then go have dinner, hang out with the Dago chapter, then there was a big bonfire and party. Wow, we would finally cut out around four in the morning, crash for a while, then head back to the preserve for breakfast and keep partying. I met some really awesome people, H.A. from all over the West were there."
"You were hanging around with....Hell's Angels," the Debbie object said evenly.
"Yeah, we're tight with the Dago chapter," Jane smiled.
The Debbie object stared at Jane, mouth slightly open, her head slowly shaking. She finally said, "I hope you're joking. Please say you're joking. If you're not, there's something wrong with you. Why would you want to be around people like that? Are you crazy? See, this is why I don't want you around Lance anymore. He's a good guy, he has goals in life. All you want to do is party and have sex, as near as I can tell. You're going to destroy yourself, and you're going to take people down with you. You're going to be dead by the age of thirty, or at least wish you were."
"Uh huh." Jane gazed across the table at the Debbie object. "Right now, all you're doing is proving you don't know shit about me. Lance, where am I going to college?"
Lance had been sitting there, watching the conversation deteriorate. "Uh, you're going to UC Berkeley, that's your goal."
"And what little list do I make every motherfucking semester?"
"Uh.... You're on the honor roll."
"Have I ever missed class because I was too wasted to show up?"
With a steely twist to her lips, Jane asked, "And Lenny and Bekka, the adults in my life. Are they self-destructive?"
"No," Lance gulped.
The Debbie object had her lips pursed even deeper now. "So, you spend time around Hell's Angels, and you think it's fun. Have you ever had any mental health counseling? I believe you should. You're totally obsessed with sex, you probably have really icky rape fantasies, which is why you'd decide being around bikers is a good idea."
Jane pointed the steely smile at the Debbie object and said, "Listen cupcake, you're allowed a limited number of insults you can aim at me. You have three left, choose them wisely. I'm not going to waste my energy defending H.A., except to say that I know them. You don't, so you can't say what kind of people they are. I was perfectly safe all weekend.
"You're really good at finding the most negative possibilities in everything about me, and my life. Have you ever considered mental health counseling? It can't be fun, only seeing the bad side of things all the time. I'm not sure what all Lance told you about me over the summer, or how he phrased things, but since you hold such a dim view of me without us ever having met, I can only guess you probably started to dislike me as soon as you learned I existed at all.
"Okay, you think I suck, I'm a shitty person and a bad girlfriend. Lance never had a problem with me until he hooked up with you. I'm not too bugged that some broad from La Jolla doesn't like me, you don't affect my life at all.... Except in one way, which is you're trying to get my boyfriend to ditch me. Stop it. Lance can make his own decisions. But you don't get to sit around and tell him what a horrible person I really am, without you knowing me. So leave it out."
The Debbie object got a catty expression and replied, "I'm not going to let you wreck Lance's life, and you would if he sticks with you. You take drugs, you hang around with criminals, you're going to get killed riding your motorcycle, you dress like a whore...."
"Two left," Jane interjected.
".... you're a sex maniac, and apparently you live with people who make porn. So you live with Becky Page? Great, your roommate's the most popular whore in the world. And her husband must be a total scumbag. Being around them has probably totally warped you, look at yourself. My God, Becky Page! Why does everyone love her? She has sex for money, she's a whore, that's all.... And she films herself while she does it, so she can show it off. How sick can you get? I'm almost afraid of what other sorts of shit she's into. Becky Page is a total sicko. And she made you into a sicko too."
Jane lit another Newport, and blew the smoke in the Debbie object's face. "Cupcake, you've run out of insults. Choose your words very carefully from now on. This is not negotiable."
Between her mouth and her eyebrows, the Debbie object really was starting to look like Ruth Buzzi. She said, "Put that thing out, don't poison yourself around me. Everything about your life is poisonous, and you don't get to poison Lance. You think I'd share him with you? It wouldn't matter who you are, I'd never do that. All that polyamory stuff is garbage, it's just an excuse to be slutty. And even if I was willing to share Lance, I'd never share him with you. God knows what kind of VD he'd end up getting at some point, and passing it on to me. You need to go home now, I won't waste any more of my time being around someone like you."
"Lance, do you have anything to say?" Jane asked calmly. "Any opinions or input?"
Lance flapped his lips a bit and finally came out with, "Look Debbie, Jane isn't that bad of a person...."
"Oh! So I'm only sort of a bad person? Well, fuck, Lance, I'm sorry you've had to contend with me all this time. I'm guessing you put up with me being a semi-bad person because you had access to my pussy, huh? Now I know how you described me to guys at drama camp. 'Yeah, she's a bitch, but she really likes to fuck, so I get laid almost every day.' Am I close to the mark?"
Lance sat there and stared at his nails.
Jane looked across the table with a demure smile. In a calm tone she'd learned from Don Vito, she said, "So, cupcake. Remember that I warned you when you ran out of insults? The remark about VD threw you over the threshold, toots."
Jane flicked her cigarette in the Debbie object's face, who squeaked and threw up her hands. Jane sprung out of her seat and pulled the Debbie object up by her blouse, then threw her into the wall across from the table. She made a keening noise, but stayed upright, so Jane punched her in the face. She squealed, and Jane punched her again. Lance got up and grabbed Jane from behind, pinning her arms to her side. The Debbie object began coming towards Jane, so Jane kicked her in the knee. The Debbie object dropped to the floor, quietly bawling.
"Let go of me, asshole," Jane hissed. "She's on the ground, that's where I wanted her."
Lance let go, but moved between the two girls. Jane said, "We would seem to have reached an impasse. Okay, cupcake, he's yours. You keep him. I don't give a ripe fuck what you think about me, so go die. But you know what? You will never, ever really make him happy. You're just a frigid little rich bitch from La Jolla, you're a four-cornered cunt who's probably never came in her life." She turned to Lance. "You, forget my phone number, forget where I live, forget what I drive. From now on, you don't talk to me, you don't look at me, don't even think about me. Oh, and Lance? Explain what sort of connections Lenny and Bekka have, and why her crying to the cops is a bad idea. Goodbye, darling, it was fun while it lasted." She stopped for a second. "Oh, Lance? Think of this from time to time: there's a very good chance I'll have been the best you will ever have. Every other girl will just be a let-down, you've had the best. See you in drama club, you fucking prick."
People weren't stopping, but they were slowing down as they passed the girl on the floor being berated by a punk rock chick. Jane walked away, chin up, face placid, like royalty walking to a limo. She went out of the food court, to the parking lot, into her car. The Cutlass fired, she lit another Newport and took off.
Getting home, she saw Lenny and Bekka were both there. She grabbed her book bag out of the trunk and trotted upstairs to the living room, where the two were relaxing with some music and reading material. Bekka looked at her and asked, "So, how did the peace talks go?"
"Not well," Jane replied with a weak grin. "I'm afraid I took my shoe off and banged it on the podium. There is nothing left to discuss, there are no negotiations, I have forfeited to my enemy and let her claim the prize. From now on, Lance Ross is just another student at Carlsbad High. And Debbie from La Jolla will always be a frigid preppy bitch, of no use to any real man.... But Lance has uses for her, I suppose. I wonder what that says about his manhood."
"He's not a man, he's a boy," I told Jane. "You have nearly a year left of dating boys, too. Pet, I'm so sorry. I never would have seen this coming, you getting thrown over. Especially by Lance, he seemed so into you."
"He was. Then he stuck it in some connected rich bitch and decided using her to position himself better in life was more important than being with a chick who was really into him. Fuck it all. Fuck it. Just fuck it...." And Jane began crying.
Bekka and I hugged her from each side. I realized, this was probably the first time in her life she'd had her heart broken: until she came to California, she was into the visceral and physical thrill of sex. She didn't have boyfriends, really, they were just guys she fucked for a little while, then moved on to the next one. We'd made it clear she couldn't engage with guys in Southern California the way she had in the Florida swamps, her reputation would be utter trash, she'd be in serious trouble. Bekka and I had encouraged her to find a single boy and stick with him, even if he needed training: find a guy who you think is cute, yes, but also is genuinely nice, brains helps a whole lot too. Lance fit the bill.
Jane gave us a play by play of how the meeting had gone. When she got to where she punched the Debbie object, Bekka and I glanced at each other. She read our thoughts and said, "Don't worry, I told Lance to tell her how we're connected, you know? I don't like invoking the family like that, but I figured it would work. I wonder if Lance has ever figured out how his step-dad got fired."
Bekka replied, "If he learned about the photos, he's smart enough to figure it out. Who else could pull off a stunt like that, scot-free?"
We went to Evelyn's for dinner. It was a school night, but we allowed Jane to have Wild Turkey instead of beer. (Evelyn's was one of many local places which would serve her, without a second glance.) She sipped at her whiskey and said, "At the moment, you have no idea how little interest I have in boys. Right now there are two people in the world who turn me on, and they're sitting at this table. Our waiter is hot, right? Usually I'd be idly speculating on the fun we could have together, but now all I can think of is how he'd just fuck me over, so why bother?"
I told Jane, "And you're going to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back in that saddle. The pain will pass, as well as the feeling of betrayal. You'll probably never have any interest in Lance again, but you'll realize it was one guy, not all of them, who did you wrong."
"Yeah, I know...." Jane got a cunning look in her eyes. "Smiley," she said.
"Smiley, the dude from the school auto shop. You've met him a couple times. Kinda stoner-looking, but he's not actually a stoner, he's too smart. He's sort of flirted with me in the past, but I've always written it off as his interest in getting a hold of the Cutlass to play with. Yeah. I'm bringing him home within the next week. I'll take him for a test drive, see what I think."
"You'll do what you did with Lance," said Bekka. "You're bringing him to the mansion so we can meet him, and actually talk a bit. I know he has a bit of a crush on me, will that bother you?"
Jane chuckled. "Oh please, every straight guy over the age of twelve on the planet has a crush on you. I'm not worried." A brief pause, then, "I should get a hod of Soda Pop in Riverside...."
"Not a practical idea," I responded. "Too much distance, you'd only be able to see each other on weekends, and between your trips to see Don Vito and his H.A. membership, not even then a lot of the time. Keep it local."
We had a second round, then our meals arrived. Jane said to me, "The feeling goes away, right? I'll stop hurting and feeling betrayed?"
"You will. You're having a common human experience, and we all heal."
"Good. Thank you. I love you guys. In fact, I'd like to show you how much I love you both when we get home."
"Another three-way?" Bekka exclaimed in mock surprise. "You're lucky you live with who you do. Not many other people could keep up with you."
"You'll both just have to keep working on me until I slow down," smirked Jane. "I'll bet you could wear me out, if you act in concert."
"Fun to try, anyway," I agreed.