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Chapter Nine

So Jullian was a bust. A BIG bust. As soon as she had wrapped her fingers around my neck, I remembered her. Lord, did I remember her. She had been into all that kinky stuff where you almost had to kill her before she --

"NICK! A little help here?"

I had discovered a neat new trick. When I tuned everything out except for myself, I managed to float upside down. My hair was almost touching the ground. I made a face and flipped myself back over.

"Who's next?" I asked.

"That's what I need to know," Kev said. My black bible, my baby was sitting open. I looked at the rest of the A's and shook my head.

"Flip the page," I said. Kev licked his finger and flipped the page. I made a face.

"Why did you spit on my book?" I demanded. He looked at me in surprise.

"I just turned the page!"

"You slathered your pointer all up before you did it!" I argued.

"Normal people flip pages that way!"

"Normal people? Normal people?" I repeated. I huffed. "If you're gonna make this a habit we need to find you a finger condom or something."

I saw Kev slightly repeat the phrase 'finger condom.' His shoulders rippled.

"This is the end of the A's and the beginning of the B's," he explained. I hovered close to the page.

"I see that, thank you."

Avery, Adelle -- Ayers, Britney -- Backstreet, Bambi...

"Bambi Backstreet?" Kevin inquired. I giggled.

"Yeah. She was this stripper. That was her stage name. She sucked a mean--"

"Move on. Move on!"

My eyes landed further on down the page. Baxter, Heather -- Bells, Chloe -- Bersell, Ginny.

"Bersell, Ginny!" I announced.

"Is that your dinner date?" Kev asked. Even he sounded excited.

"No, but I remember her. We had a really nice dinner. She was double-jointed. We went out like three times and then she told me her period was late and then I had to suffer through the whole pee test thing. As soon as that minus sign hit, I was out the door."

Kev gave me a hard look. "Charming."

"What?" I said. "I was immature."


I nodded towards the book. "This girl was totally excited about the thought of having my baby. At the moment, I'm pretty excited about it too. I'm excited about getting my body part to make babies functioning again. Call her."

"Hold on," Kev said. He got to his feet. I stayed by my book, lest an army of hungry mice decided to steal it. I heard my kitchen cabinets opening and closing. Five minutes later Kev came back with a glass of scotch. He knocked a big swig back and picked up the phone.
As it turns out, Ginny Bersell liked babies so much that in the five years since our last date, she had three of them. And a husband. Hunh.

"No, I don't want my ass kicked, thank you," Kev said. Ginny's husband was still yelling loudly as Kev hung up.

"Okay, so that was a bad choice," I admitted. "This next choice will be golden. I promise."

While Kev went to get himself a refill, I went back to the book. Bittle, Udelita (or something like that) -- Bivielli, Selena, -- Bobbins, Justine -- Bodell, Caralyn.

"Anything?" Kev asked. He made a little slurp noise with the glass.

"Caralyn," I said. "I don't remember her, but the name's pretty. I bet she'd be the type of girl to bring a whole batch of chocolate chip cookies to the hospital."

"How do you propose you eat them?" Kev asked. The corners of his mouth twitched. "Should I put them in a food processor and throw them down your feeding tube?"

The last bit of happiness got sucked out of me. I lowered my head.

"Damnit, Nick. I'm sorry. That was low," Kev apologized. I sniffled. I wanted to cry. I couldn't cry. I couldn't do anything.

"I'm going to call her, okay? I think she sounds good. See, I'm dialing the number--"

All of a sudden, Kev was giving me a play by play in a voice I just KNEW he used on Mason. Even though I didn't want it to, it made me feel better. I stuck my pinkie in my mouth and watched him anxiously.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I was sitting in Starbucks waiting for Caralyn Bodell to show up. Nick was hovering next to me, practically salivating as I drank my caramel macchiato - which he'd bitched until I ordered in lieu of the vanilla chai I actually wanted to get, and I felt too bad to not order after the stupid food-processed-cookie remark I'd made earlier. "She's the one," he muttered, "I can feel it. The name sounds so... so... like someone I'd remember! I can feel it."

I could think of a lot of other things Nick had felt in the last couple days that had been dead wrong - not the least of which was our last contestant on The Lips Are Right.

"OH THERE SHE IS!" Nick wailed as a tall, leggy blonde with boobs out to there and a short, short mini denim skirt walked in. He redirected his salivation towards her as she walked to the line at the counter. "Yeaaaahhh," he muttered, checking out the cresant moon that peeked below her itty-bitty skirt. "That's definitely her." His eyes were trained on her, and I watched as a tall, average girl with regular boobs and red braids walked into the coffee house, looked at me, and smiled, and started coming over.

"Nick," I said, waving my hand in his direction - a motion that normally would've resulted in patting his elbow, but in my case resulted in frost bite of the hand. I shivered.

He wooshed around. "Oh."

"'lo mate!" Caralyn had a perfect Australian accent that I'd admired when I'd called her to set up the 'date'.

Nick glanced over his shoulder at Sailor Moon. "Maybe we could get her," he muttered, "Just for kicks?"

I ignored him.

"Hey Caralyn," I said, standing up and pulling out her chair for her.

Nick watched and raised his eyebrow. "Dude, don't be too nice to these women, I gotta live up to the standards you set, y'know."

Caralyn giggled and blushed as she sat down.

I stuck my tongue out at Nick. His eyes widened. "HOLY SHIT!" he yelled, "KEVIN SCOTT RICHARDSON! You stuck out your tongue?!??" He pretended to have a heart attack. "Oh my God if I wasn't half dead already I'd die from the shock of it all!!" He floated sideways and levitated towards the ceiling.

I continued to ignore him.

Maybe he'd float away.

Caralyn leaned against the table, "So, Kevin, you were kinda vague about Nick and -- and his - his condition," she said slowly. "Is he okay?"

Nick floated back into the room. His eyes softened. "Aw oh my gosh, she's worried about me. Like actually worried." He looked at me with big, goofy-sad eyes, "Isn't that sweet? We're meant to be."

"Well," I said slowly, "He was in an accident, and - they - well, they say he's brain dead."

She gasped and covered her mouth with one hand.

"See? Oh man, we're gonna get married and have lotsa lotsa babies and sex and..."

I tuned Nick out.

"What can I do?" Caralyn asked, her eyes big and wet and teary.

"Nick asked me to contact you if ever anything happened to him because - because he loved you dearly and wanted to have just one kiss before - before..."

She gasped and again covered her mouth - with just one of her hands.

"Oh Nick," she mumbled.

"Ask her how I met her," Nick begged. "I'll need to know this stuff later and now's a good time to learn it as any. Gotta tell the grand kids someday, y'know?"

I stared at my cup. "If you don't mind me asking... How did you two -er- meet?" I asked.

"I was his surfing instructor," she answered.

I couldn't help it. I snorted. A large chunk of biscotti, which I'd bitten into as she answered, lodged itself in the back of my left nostril. "NICK?" I gasped, "SURFED?"

"And I was damn good, too!" Nick scowled.

"If you wanna call what he did surfing," laughed Caralyn.

I grinned.

Nick scowled harder.

"Please tell me you have like videos of that?" I begged. Nick ran his hand through the back of my head and I received the sensation of brain freeze. Totally worth it if I could score this tape of blackmail.

"I used to," Caralyn replied, "But I burned everything of his after we broke up."

"Oh," I said.

Nick frowned, "Why did we break up?" he asked.

"What made you break up with him?" I asked.

I felt like a translator for a foreign diplomat.

"He broke my arm."

I blinked. "He what?"

"Yeah - he broke my arm and I never heard from him again after he sent the payment for a new one."

"A new --"

Nick's eyes had grown wide. "Oh. My. Fucking. CRAP!" he yelled. His entire face was scarlet red.

Caralyn reached up and pulled her arm off at the shoulder.

I almost passed out.

"Nick, you broke a fucking woman's fake arm and you sent her a CHECK and never CALLED HER?" I demanded fifteen minutes later, when we'd gotten out of Starbucks.

He shrugged, "I was immature, what can I say?"

"I can't believe you broke some girls fake arm."

"I said I was sorry!" he wailed.

"WHEN?" I demanded, "In the memo space on the check?!"

"I didn't mean to!" he cried, "It was an accident and it was WEIRD."

"Dude you like double jointed Russians that can't speak English but you're freaked out by a girl with a prosthetic ARM?" I demanded.

Nick pouted. "It fell off during sex."

I stared at him.

"What? It did!" he cried.

I shook my head. "When you wake up, you have got to write a fucking memoir of all the weird bullshit you've done."

Nick grinned.


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