Gothland - Surprise Endings
graphics by Ang and Kyla
Lance eyes Britney as she approaches his bar. She has fire flashing in her eyes and a mutinous set to her jaw, so he wastes no time in setting her usual in front of her before she can even order it. "Bad night?" he asks casually.
"Huh," she grunts, and tosses her drink down. "You could say that." She stares out at the dance floor, fixated on what she sees there, and because it's a slow night Lance gives in to curiosity and turns to look. He doesn't see anything out of the ordinary, except for maybe the extreme closeness of Joey to JC, but he figures that for cute more than anything, and isn't prepared for the raw pain he sees on Britney's face when he turns back to her. Suddenly she shakes herself and shoves her glass back across the counter at him. "More, please."
He thinks carefully as he mixes her next Lemondrop. "So, um." Shut UP, he tells himself. No need to get involved here. "So. Were you and Joey, like. A thing?" Her laughter is harsh as he slides her drink over to her.
"Me and Joey? Hardly. What planet are you living on, Lance? I thought you knew all the gossip." She drinks a little slower this time, but she is still fiery-eyed. He blushes, pinkness barely visible underneath the low lights of the bar.
"Well, yeah, I hear a lot, but that's not because I want to. You'd be amazed what people let slip to a bartender." And that's the truth. Lance is bored to death of the drama that swirls around the club, fueled by overemotional, overreacting children in grown-ups' bodies. Of course there are exceptions - JC and Joey, to name two - but many of the club's patrons seem to have never mastered basic coping skills. Some nights it's fun to watch people twist themselves into knots, but most of the time he's happy to serve them their drinks and get them out of his hair. "I try to ignore most of it."
Britney raises an eyebrow. "You did hear Chris is dating Justin, right?"
This time the color in his cheeks comes from anger. "Yes, I did, and thank you so much for bringing that up. In the future, however, I would appreciate it if you would keep your comments about my ex-boyfriend and his new toy to yourself. I can really do without them." She has the grace to look embarrassed, and they both turn back to the dance floor for an awkward moment.
Eventually she breathes a whispery sigh and says, "It's not. You know. It's not like I try to fall in love with these totally unavailable guys." She grimaces, and adds, "Not that I'm really in love with any of them. It's just...they're so beautiful, you know? And they like me, I know they like me, so why can't they like me like that?" He racks his brain for an answer that won't sound cruel, and even though he's saved for a moment by another customer, he can't come up with anything that isn't blunt and a little crude.
"Well, it's. Okay, look, here's the deal: you don't have a dick." Britney gasps, but she laughs a little, so he knows she's not too offended. "I mean, it's pretty much as simple as, they like guys, and you're not a guy. Ba-boom, end of story."
She smiles, but just for a moment. "But JC slept with me, even though I'm not a guy."
Lance blinks. Oh. That explains a lot. "He did? Wow." He makes a few drinks for other people, takes their money, gives them their change, then adds, "Wait, when was this? Last night?" She nods. Oh. He's heard about the party last night. "Hon, he was mind-altered. I'm sure he had a wonderful time, but that doesn't change the fact that he's pretty much with Joey."
Britney looks down at her hands on the bar. She mutters, "I know," in a voice so soft Lance can barely hear it over the music, and something inside his heart twists. Without thinking, he reaches across the bar and brushes a strand of hair away from her face, allows his finger to caress her cheek. She glances up, startled, and when their eyes meet there is electricity, a recognition of possibility, that Lance hasn't felt with a woman in years.
Startled, Lance yanks his hand back, and they stare at each other for a moment in wordless amazement. A customer calls for a beer, and Lance is glad of the chance to gather his thoughts. By the time he returns to Britney's side of the bar, she is finishing her drink and blotting her lips, ready to head back out into the club. Without considering first, he stops her with a hand on top of hers and says, "I'm going to IHOP after my shift tonight. You want to come with?"
He feels like a tool as soon as the words are out of his mouth, but she stares at their hands a moment, then smiles at him and says, "Sure. I'll follow you there?" He nods, and is immediately aware that the rest of the night until closing is going to crawl.
At IHOP, they talk about everything and nothing while she smokes his cigarettes and he eats an English muffin. She looks shockingly good with a cigarette between her lips, he decides. On the table, their hands twine together, fingers stroking over each other, groping, clasping, staying in contact anyway they can. She finally asks the question hovering in the air between them.
"You know, Lance, I thought you were...um, I thought that you liked..."
"Boys?" he supplies helpfully. "I do. Mostly, that's what I like. But I like you, too." She strokes his palm with her thumb and he almost moans. "Britney," and he grips her hand hard, "come home with me. Please."
She considers him with shuttered eyes. "But I don't have a dick."
He shakes his head. "No, but you have...something. I don't know. Something true inside. I like it, whatever it is."
Britney continues her scrutiny of his face for a minute more, then smiles and clutches his hand as she says, "Well, let's get the hell out of here, then."
The next twenty minutes are a blur of coat-gathering, directions-giving, steering-wheel-clenching nervousness. Then she is in Lance's apartment, in his bedroom, and it's all very strange and familiar.
It's been long enough since he's been with a woman that he's kind of clumsy, and she actually laughs at him a time or two, but he laughs with her, and tickles her until she's giggling uncontrollably, and by that time he's remembered where to touch and how to stroke. She is tiny, and feather-light, and pale as a ghost with silky-soft skin that shivers and trembles as he glides his fingertips over it. Her manicured fingers look beautiful wrapped around his cock, and when he slides into her she is hot and sweet. Perfect.
When he wakes up the next morning his legs are entangled with hers. Her face is turned into the pillow, and he can see where her lipstick is smeared on the pillowcase. He can't make himself care about that, though, not when her mouth is open and she is snoring just the tiniest bit. He smiles, kisses her forehead, wraps his arms around her, and goes back to sleep. As he drifts off, a thought echoes through his head: "Well. That was unexpected."
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