The Pet Shop Girls: Gang Aft a-Gley

RORY AND JENNA’S APARTMENT
SOUTH BOSTON

 

It was 3am and Rory still wasn’t home. That probably meant she wasn’t coming home, right? The apartment was still clean, still empty. It was so quiet outside, that kind of quiet that only came a few hours after all the bars closed and the early risers weren’t up yet.

 

..’course she’s not comin’ home. Let’s be honest, Jenna. You wouldn’t come home to deal with you. Anyhow,  she figured now was probably safe enough to dig out the liquor (Funny thing; Jenna couldn’t stand beer.) and all the nice mixers she has. She’s not sure, but she knows there are A: A lot of screwdrivers in her future, and B: she’ll think of something.

 

For a full hour, it seemed like Jenna’s plan to get hyperdrunk and lament her decisions alone was going to work. It got even quieter outside, she padded about inside silently, her screwdrivers got stronger and stronger as she cared less and less about how they tasted.

 

Padded? She wasn’t so much padding as she was sitting on her couch in the dark (Not like she needs a lot of light after all), shaking a now-empty orange juice carton before tossing it aimlessly away, “fugew, oranges,” she. Couldn’t figure out quite why but orange juice cartons offended her more than anything.

 

….aaaand now let’s just pour the vodka straight into the glass WHEE

 

Jenna was mid-swig when she heard it. Heavy footsteps coming up the stairs. Surely that wasn’t—jingling keys, and “IMNOT DESINS”

 

Pause.

 

“What?”

 

…She swallowed the booze she had miraculously not spit everywhere, “i- uuuumh. Gimme- gimme like tuh-minnits okaaaay?’ and then Rory could hear some pretty unsteady footsteps ambling towards Jenna’s room.

 

A sigh, and then the sound of keys in the lock. “It’s four am, Jenna, I ain’t gonna wait outside for twenty minutes. Just like, throw a big t-shirt on.”

 

Two. Minutes,” Jenna said with the intensity and deliberation of the incredibly sauced. “‘Aswuddisaid.” ….beat. Door closing. “OKAYYY C’MON IN.”

 

(…Rory it smells like there was enough alcohol in here to embalm someone)

 

Rory came in wide-eyed, sniffing the air. “Christ, it smells like a russian funeral in here.” She shut the door behind her.

 

It also smells like oranges. Also, there’s a few spots on the counter where god only knows what got spilled. The scent burns, and it also reeks of sadness. That is to say, it would be sad to taste.

 

Jenna wisely did not comment (or couldn’t parse that sentence)

 

Rory’s eyes fell upon the discarded, hated orange juice container. Then over at Jenna’s closed door. “Do you always get wicked smashed at four in the mornin’? Have I been missin’ out? More importantly, are you okay?”

 

“I am abublutely fine yesh. I. Has never once been “- which for some reason she pronounces as bean  “– MORE. … um. … uuhhhm.

 

uhstravagant.”

 

What.

 

“Jenna come out here.” Rory put her hands on her hips and assumed her Personal Trainer Voice.

 

‘..Iunwannuh,” whine-meowed the cat. “Iunwunnuh!’

 

“Jenna Lynd. Get your tail out here and talk to me so I know you’re safe and I can force-feed you water.” (‘watah,’ something in Jenna’s brain said before collapsing into internal gigglefits.)

 

“Ro-reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.’ But finally, the door did open. … And Jenna sort of almost fell as the door moved jesus since when do they do that. And no, Rory. The apartment does not smell like a Russian funeral. Jenna does. “..ugh see ‘mfine. Pee-gee!”

 

“Fuckin’ hell, Jenna,” Rory marveled, “I think you’re sweatin’ vodka. C’mon, come sit on the couch. I’m gonna get ya some water.” (‘watah.’)

 

“I. am. Sofine I don’t.-” …and somewhere between saying that and walking to the couch she trips and stumbles and actually falls, Jesus Christ she can do that?

 

And then she was in Rory’s arms, caught before she could hit the ground, hoisted up and hauled to the couch. Gently arrayed against the arm, and then set down.

 

“I’ll be right back, pusheen.” “don’ call me that” “I’m reclaiming it.” Rory walked away to the kitchen.

 

“‘S stuuuupid anni hate it.” Rory can hear Jenna kind of. Flopping around on the couch, like she can’t quite get comfortable, but she at least doesn’t seem to be wandering around.

 

Thankfully.

 

“You say that about everythin’,” Rory returned with a full glass of water. “You’re gonna drink all of this, get me?”

 

She squints intently at the water. Then intently at Rory. “…I do?” She sounds mystified, but starts to drink the water, anyway.

 

“Yeah. Yer gonna regret tonight as it is, I think, and maybe we can make there be less to regret. So. What’s goin’ on? Why’re you drunk alone at four?”

 

“..’Cause?” Her tone suggests that is flawless logic. “‘S not like. A crime.” She considers her responses carefully. Looks dead at Rory. And sticks out her tongue.

 

“Oh my god, Jenna.” THE TURNABOUT. “Do I have to interrogate you about yer feelin’s again, or are you gonna say a little more?”

 

“I GOT. TH’ MOST. ‘CEPTABLE FEELIN’S YOU EVER FELT,” Jenna declares both very loudly and in much the same way one would declare a groundbreaking invention.

 

“Then share ’em.”

 

“Yer … d’mandin’ t’night all tellin’ me t’ siddown or geddup or drink’at or talk-’bout-that n’ Iun think that’s fair.”

 

“Well, all right,” Rory said, then flomped down on the couch next to Jenna. “What would make it fair?”

 

Jenna stares, wide-eyed  and baffled. “Ionno. Whuddiget fer talkin’?” A toothy grin.

 

Rory folded her arms. “Whaddya want. Not booze. Yer done with booze.”

 

“WHAT. why! I’m a grown-ass woman!” … is what she wants to say but it comes out more like “whuh? Why’m a gro-naz woman”

 

“I’m a grown-ass woman too, and look at my decisions lately. Whaddya want.”

 

“Fuggit.  I-” Wait. It seems to click what Rory said. “YEAH I GOT- THINGS  ‘bouthose ..d’cisions.

 

She frowns at Rory.

 

“Yeah? What about ’em?”

 

She sits up straighter – swaying dangerously in the process. “..they’s stupid d’cisions. You – y’big- … big dumb stupid damn idiot what if you’d–” She trails off – then like she’d kept talking: “..then what-”

 

“What if I’d what?” Rory tapped Jenna’s water glass. “Drink more water, by the way.”

 

“G’hurt you dumb idiot. Y’my – .. my friend, and she frowns at Rory a bit more intensely than before. Then remembers oh yeah drink water, so she kinda …starts doing that, giving Rory big, watery green eyes that do not seem Jenna-like.

 

“I know, Jenna,” Rory’s voice was soft, her accent less noticeable. “I’m sorry. I’ll be more careful, I promise.”

 

And then Rory has a cat-girl on her and she’s probably spilling a little water but this is a risk you accepted when you sat there, Rory and you really can’t blame anyone else. “Thas’ nuhgud’nuff,” She slurred out. “Y’said, y’d be caref’l th’ first time.” There’s a distinct hitch in her voice, and she mumbles something into Rory’s shoulder that’s utterly unintelligible.

 

“Yeah, I know,” Rory replied in a consoling tone, reaching up one hand to pet Jenna’s hair. “I’m a big dumb idiot an’ you deserve better.”

 

“Y’dumb,” she repeats, as though this properly conveys what she wants to say. “…’m fugg’nawful t’you.”

 

“No,” Rory shook her head. “You’re good to me. You’re my best friend.”

 

“B’lshit.” She sniffles, loudly, “…’f not f’me y’d be loads happier,” she says. AGain, to Rory’s shoulder, because she’s not letting go.

 

“Before you, I felt alone,” Rory says. “If not for you, I still would.”

 

“‘Fore or after I do ev’ry shitty thing I c’n do to you?”

 

“You don’t do shitty things to me. What shitty things do you do? None. You’re good. You’re a good friend.”

 

Snort. Laughter. The kind of laughter that lives in the space somewhere between tears and angry grumbling. “…’cept ev’ry dumb idea I get makes y’sad.” She takes a deep breath. It’s shuddery and … seems to be her trying to clear her head  a little, since when she speaks it is slower, and … a lot easier to figure out.

 

“Made y’cry while you was watchin’ baseball. Gone outta my way t’give you shit for usin’ groceries we ‘greed we’d share – …” A pause, a noticeable hitch: “Th-this whole fuckin’ thin’ – I can keep’oin.”

 

Gentle pets. “I was just as much to blame for all that stuff, Jenna.”

 

Vague noises. “..treat y’like shit. Act like I’m mad at y’all the time n’ – an’-” She trails off, shoulders heaving just a little.

 

Rory gathered her up, folding that skinny body together and pulling it to her chest, cradling her, safe soft firm warm. “It’s okay,” she murmured, “you’re okay. We’re okay.”

 

She doesn’t sound okay. In fact, she sounds less okay each time Rory says that, hugging the big dumb idiot dog girl, and finally, and perhaps for the first time that Rory has seen, losing control.

 

There’s crying. Then there’s bawling. Then there’s drunkenly sobbing and wailing and apologizing for things that had absolutely nothing to do with the person you are talking to, but you’re still so goddamn sorry and you didn’t know and…

 

Rory murmured meaningless assurances and kind words, rocking Jenna like a child and keeping her close, one hand stroking her hair gently.

 

Somewhere, between the tears and the words and the apologies that Rory had probably given up on understanding, Jenna had relaxed a bit. She wasn’t asleep, the little hiccups coming from Rory’s shoulder were proof of that. Along with occasional rough-voiced, “..imsorry”s.

 

Rocking her roommate gently, Rory began to hum a gentle tune, like a lullaby. It was ridiculous, Jenna was a grown woman, but there was no condescension in what Rory did. It was just care and safety for a member of her pack.

 

For someone she loved.

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