02 February 2009 @ 12:12 am
Aftermathematics, or Drunken Distortedly
As much as [livejournal.com profile] mina_de_malfois apologizes for a slow pace, I always seem to be rushing these out the door. I've already updated the footnotes for this, so enjoy.

"We should talk."

As much as I have been known to complain about it, Nancy's no-nonsense approach has its advantages. Whereas Judy would have probably used two intermediaries, an assumed name, and a carrier pigeon to get me to talk to her privately, Nancy saw nothing wrong with appearing across my table at Burrito Bongo, nearly giving me a heart attack.

Not that I was going to give her the satisfaction of noticing. If I had had the heart attack, I'd have blamed it on the burrito, which I finished off and licked my fingers before nodding. "I suppose we do."

"But not here. I don't understand why you eat here anyway."

"Cheap Mexican food requires no explanation." I bussed my tray and grabbed my jacket as we headed out.

"The restaurant is named 'Burrito Bongo.' It's about as authentically Mexican as the Frito Bandito."

"Less," I corrected her with a smirk.

"I've been to Mexico. So have you."

"And if I could pop over to Mexico for lunch, I would."

"Liar. You could pop over to Mexico for lunch, if you really wanted to."

"True enough. And yet I don't. Wonder what that says about me. Cath and Chris?"

"Where else?"

------

One scene change later, she and I were sitting across a table. Luckily, neither of us recognized anybody. Not that it was that likely, but it would have been awkward if, say, Judy took Seldom, Mina, and the rest of the Silver Squad out for a congratulatory meal.

Both of us drank the first drink in relative silence, broken only by the toast. Once we had that past us, well, in us, we were ready to talk.

"You sent her after me." No need for her to specify which "her," of course.

"Strictly speaking, I didn't. You sent that letter to Mina, who told her, and she made the decision on her own."

"She told me she talked to you about it."

"She did, and I gave her my blessing, not that she'd have needed it. Sort of like Perchik and Hodel. 'On the other hand, on the other hand, tradition, fine, sure, go ahead.'"

She smirked, which was all that reference deserved, but persisted. "She told you what happened?"

"When she got back," I confirmed. "'Not enough,' indeed. Eat your heart out, Shaenon Garrity."

"Right."

The second round arrived, and we drank.

"What should I do?" Her voice had a nasty tremor in it, one I recognized immediately. Last time I'd heard a question like that...

"Hey," she asked, "what's funny?"

I hadn't been able to keep the smile entirely off my face, clearly. "Oh, just...the last time someone asked me a question with that much sanity riding on it, I was the one who'd just had a breakup with a certain Canadian."

Thankfully, that worked. The dam broke in a controlled fashion, a mixture of laughing and crying that lasted a few minutes before she pulled herself back together.

"Was I as bad as that?"

"You sure sounded like you were riding the raggedy edge."

"Maybe I was. Why does this hurt so much more?"

I shrugged and signaled for a third round and the check. "You deal with someone as long as we all have, you invest part of yourself in the other, even if you don't make it sexual. When you do..."

She sighed. "You're right, of course."

"I usually am."

"So, drawing on your personal experience with such matters, what do you think I should do?"

I shook my head. "That's where I can't help you. My breakup was a whole different caliber. We knew where we wanted to stand afterward. You two don't."

"And what, you don't stay friends with your other significant others?"

I recognized the distraction tactic for what it was, but what the hell. I couldn't give her advice that would help; the least I could do was occupy her forebrain while her subconscious Dealt With Things. Speaking of, the third round arrived. We toasted, and I picked up the thread of conversation. "Even in the cases where I have stayed friends, I didn't have fifteen-plus years of baggage."

"And you've had a few crazies, too. Remember Angie?"

"You just found her crazy because she thought I was stepping out with you and/or Judy."

"Case, that's the textbook definition."

"Yeah, probably. Done with that drink?"

"I think so."

I pulled out my wallet as Nancy went for her purse. "Come on," I said, "there's ice cream waiting for you back at my place."

"I suppose it is traditional."

"And you're drunk enough that you can let your guard down to enjoy it."

"That, too."
 
 
Soundtrack: Drinking with You - Jonathan Coulton - Thing a Week III
Velocity: tired