Baby Jessica: Hmmmm. If I didn’t know better I might suspect that you were somehow cheating, Eunice. To win 39 games in a row seems more than just good luck, even for a unicorn. And where’s Wool-For-Brains? I need him to get me a cold bottle of milk from the fridge. All this gambling is making me thirsty. He’s probably off tarting around somewhere with the next-door neighbour’s cat. Oh I’ve seen them Eunice, making goo-goo eyes at each other through the fence. You wouldn’t know, Eunice. You’re just blind when it comes to things like that, you’re way too trusting and naive. I, on the other hand, would know instinctively if somebody was trying to play me for a fool. Oh yes I would Eunice. Because I’m street smart.
Joël stares at Carla. She’s waiting for him to say something that will rescue them.
Joël: Look. The only reason you haven’t been to my house is that it isn’t a nice place for me to be at the moment. When I’m there I sleep on the couch, for Christ’s sake-
Carla: You don’t have a bed?
Joël: I have a bed. But it’s-
Missing somebody, he wants to say. Instead he shrugs and swallows the rest of his beer, asks Carla if she’d like another one.
Carla: I guess so. I’m thinking we might be here for a while.
When he returns Carla looks a bit more relaxed, smiling at him when he hands her the beer.
Joël: Listen. I’m not seeing or living with anybody else, if that’s what you’re thinking.
Carla: Well, the thought had crossed my mind. You can’t blame me, really. So…your last relationship ended badly?
It seems safe to nod. But Carla isn’t going to let the conversation rest there.
Carla: Why did you break up?
Joël: She was seeing somebody else.
Carla: Shit. I’m sorry. Did you suspect something? Or was it more like a bolt out of -
Joël: I knew for a while. Listen babe, I’m not really comfortable discussing this yet, okay? It’s stll pretty raw.
Carla: I’m sorry. But you never talk much about yourself. I just want to know more about you.
You seriously don’t, thinks Joël.
Carla is running late. Joël waits at the bar of the restaurant, drinking beer to try and dull his apprehension. He’s on his third by the time she arrives. She gives him a kiss and announces she’s starving. They sit at a table near the window. (And Joël can’t help but think how pleasant it is to be sitting with attractive company in public, in daylight, next to a window facing the street, instead of hiding away in the shadows or sneaking around after dark like he was used to with Anita.) When the waiter comes Carla orders a big plate of Eggs Machiavellian. Joël only wants an entree.
Carla: Not hungry?
Joël: I’m alright. I had a few beer sandwiches.
Carla: I might have a beer too.
Joël: I was a bit freaked when you said you wanted to talk.
Carla: You were? Oh, poor Joël. I didn’t mean to worry you. It’s just that if something’s bothering me, I have to deal with it. I can’t let things fester. I just think that’s really unhealthy.
Joël: Okay. So what is it that’s bothering you?
Carla: It’s just…you stayed at my place on Tuesday night, right?
Carla: And the previous week, after we’d hooked up on Saturday night, you came over to my place Monday night, Tuesday night, Thursday night, and Sunday night.
Joël: Yeah. And?
Carla: And… what’s bothering me is that you’ve never once in nearly two weeks invited me to your place. Two weeks and I have no idea where you even live. So I’m thinking you either live in a toilet block in a park somewhere, or-
Joël: Or what?
Carla: Or your relationship status is still ….complicated.
She rolls her eyes at the word ‘complicated’. Joël is silent.
Carla: Shit. I’m right, aren’t I.
Joël: Well, I don’t actually live in a toilet block….
There’s no escaping the fact anymore that it’s autumn. And that the weeks have somehow slid into a month. It’s now one whole month he’s been waiting. What the actual-
His phone rings. But it’s Carla.
Joël: Hey, babe. ‘Sup?
Carla: Joël, we need to talk.
Joël is mystified and slightly disconcerted. He can’t think of any sort of transgression he’s committed that may have prompted such a statement. He stayed over at Carla’s the night before last, and a couple of nights last week as well, and as far as he’s aware everything has been going great. After a few seconds he asks her what’s wrong, trying to sound casual.
Carla: I don’t want to talk on the phone. Can you meet me for lunch?
Okay, he says, no problem. As soon as she hangs up he calls Roy.
Roy: You’re totally screwed, dude. What the hell did you do? Whatever, all the signs are there that she’s dumping you straight after lunch. You need to ring her back and dump her first. Don’t stress, dude. If you’re honest with yourself the whole stripper thing was probably going to be a deal-breaker anyway, I mean, seriously-
Joël: I don’t give a rat’s about her being a stripper. You just don’t want me seeing Carla because she lives with Crystal, and you’re paranoid that Crystal might have told her what really happened in that private room the night of your bachelor party, and that Carla might tell me, and that I might tell Sonia, and that Sonia might chop you up into little bits and feed you through the woodchipper.
Roy: Dude, don’t be ridiculous. We live in the middle of the city. Where the hell would Sonia even find a woodchipper in Bridgeport, for Christ’s sake.
I don’t know what voodoo is going on in my game but I’ve never known Bridgeport to have such amazing outdoor light or weather as it has this last summer. Right now it’s 2 days before autumn and there hasn’t been any rain or fog in weeks. I’m sure there will be constant hailstorms and meteor showers in the coming weeks to make up for it. :P
I grew Mireille’s daughter Sybilla up too so she and Saffron can stay besties and go to school together. <3
Carla doesn’t live too far from Roy, so after leaving her place around midday Joël decides to drop round and see if he’s home. He needs his phone. Without it he feels unsettled and edgy. He punches the intercom.
Roy: Dude! Come on up! Don’t tell me you’re just on your way home now, you dirty dog-
In the background Joël hears Sonia shrieking ‘ROY!' When he gets upstairs Roy greets him with his phone in his hand.
Roy: Here’s your phone, dude…Wait. Oh my God. Holy crap. You’ve got a message…
Joël has momentarily forgotten how to exhale.
Roy: …from Graham’s Pet Shop. “BIG SAVINGS THIS WEEK ON ALL DOG WORMING PRODUCTS”. Dude! Why are you looking at me like that? This is massive! You could save 25%!