Lexie looked so cute as a gnome. I had to try to hide a laugh when I saw her. But I thought she’d arrive in a wig and glasses when I’d told her to show up in a costume. She was still the same silly Lexie–superstardom hadn’t changed her– so I shouldn’t have been surprised. I hadn’t seen her in months, but every time I did, she had a way of stealing my heart with her still naive ways.
“Now, look, Lexie, pick out a wig and something that will hide your curves. It’s easy. Then some sunglasses. I’ll be right out here waiting on you.”
Not saying anything (because she couldn’t in that outfit), she dutifully marched into the wardrobe room.
When she popped out looking like the Queen of Hearts slammed into the Mad Hatter, I wanted to pull my wig off in frustration.
“What about this outfit, Jen? I look fab, don’t I?” Then she made a little rawr noise.
I rolled my eyes. “That’s worse than the gnome outfit.”
Snapping my fingers, I made her try again. Finally, she came out in something that blew me away. It changed her look. No one would recognize her in that. And she looked half way normal.
Cringing, she said, “What do you think?”
“Nailed it!” I crooned. “Who would have guessed you’d look good as a guy? Put on some sunglasses and even Jenny would go out with you.”
She rummaged around the store and found some aviators that went perfectly with her jacket. Arching her eyebrows, she said, “So…you wanna go out, babe?”
I twirled my fingers as she put her arm around me. “Maybe. But just so you know, you keep your hands to yourself on the first date. I need someone who doesn’t love me just for my boobs.”
“No problem. I’m not a boob guy anyway. I like a tight ass.”
“Well…I do have one of those,” I said, in a sultry tone.
“But wait, darling,” I said, stopping. “You do realize you’re going to have to pay a lot of money to impress me. I don’t do dutch.”
“I got it covered. Where do you want to go? The Star Club? The Ritz? I’m good for it.”
“How about the coffee shop at the mall?” I asked, hoping she’d realize why I wanted to go there. We went to a coffee place on our first and only date.
Without missing a beat, she said, “Damn, you got high dollar tastes. But I think I’ll be able to buy you a white chocolate mocha.”
“Oh, sweetheart, you remembered that’s my favorite,” I said, smiling.
I knew we were playing a game, but inside, I’d hoped that maybe she felt something between us, too.
When we arrived at the shop, she grinned at me with so much affection, I couldn’t help thinking about how this “date” might end–in one of our penthouses, wigs flying off along with our clothes.
But I was getting ahead of myself. Lexie’d friendzoned me hard after her falling out with Charlie. And I was all about giving her space. She didn’t need another Heartthrob in her life with the tabloid craziness. But after things had calmed down, I went on tour and once I got back, I’d decided to ask her out. Unfortunately, that’s when she’d struck it big with Velvet’s Secret and almost overnight, she’d turned into this huge super model. I knew the press wouldn’t give us any privacy if we started dating. She hated the celebrity lens just as much as I did. So I decided friendship was all we had in our future. There’d be no way we could make it work when our fans would be breathing down our necks.
But when I looked into her eyes, all of me wanted to say, fuck it, and go with my heart.
We talked about random stuff going on–what’s new with her career. Lex was now doing a perfume line and gearing up for that took a lot of work.
“Oh and don’t get me started about the triplets,” she cried when I asked about her family. “Those little shits make Bray seem like he came straight from heaven. They’re in the tyrannical three stage. Oh. My. GOD! Shitload of trouble doesn’t even begin to describe it.”
I laughed. I pictured her running around, chasing after them. Or tripping after them. She tried to say she hated the ‘tiny turds” as she called them, but then she went into a lot of detail about all the cute things they did, and I could see straight through her. Even though she’d cuss at me if I said this out loud, she was going to be a great mom one day.
“So, what about you?” she asked. “Anything new going on with the Heartthrobs?”
As soon as she said it, I knew what I had to do. I either was going to float along in this friendzone forever, or I could change things between us.
I shrugged, telling her we were in between albums and that I was growing a little stale. I just needed some inspiration. She encouraged me not to give up but if I desired a break, maybe I should take a sabbatical like I’d done when I’d lived with the Sisterhood. Memories flooded of the time she’d begged me to stay at her place, pulling on my leg.
I got a little choked up at the memory and scooted back from the table, saying I was done with my coffee. Walking over to the counter, Lex followed as I sipped the last drop.
“Oh wow! I didn’t know he was still playing in his band,” Lex said.
A tiny ad for one of the local bands was placed on the wall of the shop. Often indie bands would play at dive bars all around SM. I never went or even noticed them usually.
Checking out the dudes, I said, “Sur’s Up? Do you know them?”
“It’s Surf’s Up–that’s an obvious typo and yeah. The lead used to be my boyfriend in high school. Remember I told you about him? Cory?”
Cory. That name struck a fear in me worse than any monster. No one and I mean NO ONE could ever measure up to the guy. Lex had often gone on a huge diatribe about why more men couldn’t be like him when she only knew me as Jenny.
And Cory was here? In San Myshuno?
“Well…do you know if the band is any good?” I was kicking myself for not changing the subject.
“They’re great,” she said. “I downloaded one of their songs a few years ago, but hadn’t heard about them since. It’s sad because they don’t have the producers you do, so know one knows about them.”
Before I could take it back, I said, “Well…do you want to go see them? I’m down if you are.”
She whipped around and stared at me. “You’d take me? Really?”
I chuckled. “Technically, you’d be taking me. You ARE paying for this date, you know. It’s a ten dollar cover. I hope you brought enough cash.”
She looked like she was about to cry. “James…you’re so…”
She sighed then took my hand.
“Nah…” she finally answered. “I’m not in the mood for indie surf music.”
This surprised me. “What are you in the mood for?”
“How about a movie? I heard the classic, When Barry Met Sophie, was on at the Grand Theater down the street. Want to go?”
I squeezed her hand. “Of course, baby doll. Whatever you want.”