"You don't know anything, you stupid moron."
I swore under my breath, cursing my own creation, the lineage of my parents, the whole fucking human race, and mostly, myself.
Yeah, I'm pretty much just cursing myself now. This is my fault, it's all me. Me, me, me.
See? Even when I'm self-deprecating, I'm egotistical and arrogant. It's one of my less endearing traits, and the egotistical part of me, the cocky bastard, the drama queen, they all know it, hate it-- but I know it. I'm arrogant through and through.
Rick struts by in his new leather pants. I just about bust up.
Fucker knows exactly what he's doing, too. Oh, he doesn't know *exactly* what he's doing; he doesn't know that I feel like throwing up, and it's all his goddamned fault... but he can sure feel the heat coming from my groin, even across the room.
Not even reading about Xander in bed is helping get rid of my hard on.
At least none of those brats of Alex's are hanging around right now. I don't want to have to try and punch out a sixteen year old just because I'm snitty.
Though about half of those brats deserve bashing in the skull with a piece of lead pipe--
"Whatcha doing, Stanley?"
That's Rick, leaning over my shoulder and reading the screen. Of course, I immediately start typing in code; in other words, my typing goes down the toilet faster than Spike goes down on Riley. He has this effect on me. I lose my grammar when he's around.
I lose more, too.
I snarl, "Nothing." It's a desperate bid for some time off, for some space. Rick gets it. He knows me better than anyone in this fucking room.
Goddamn him. I bet the wench has been talking about me to Alex, again. My nastier mood swings. The way they're worried for me. The--
"Iz, you're paranoid. Get a life."
Rick again. Apparently I started writing about Xander's obsession with Willow and Buffy talking about him, about he's the one that doesn't fit, the one that isn't going anywhere, isn't perfect, isn't-- happy, inherently, in the way that Alex and Rick are.
"Motherfucker," I mutter. "You're a brat."
Rick's gone. I don't know whether I meant him or me; probably me. I delete the paragraphs, move on; stare at my email, and then start splicing some video together for fun. People move around me. I hear the sounds of eating and a bit of a party in the kitchen. A couple of the Xavier brats show up looking for their counsellor's advice on how to sneak out all night. Alex says, use him as an excuse, and be sure to take a taxi home, not to drink and drive.
I keep splicing video together. I want a collection of Anya clips. I don't know *why* I want a collection of Anya clips. Probably because my only other options are to start working on a project for the station that I have to do sooner rather than later-- and I work on a deadline much better-- or become a crack dealer in East New York.
Crack dealer-hood, here I come. Maybe I can be a heroin addict, too. Get all thin and gaunt. Pierce my eyebrow. Ride the subway a lot.
I say aloud, turning off my monitor in disgust, "You fucking idealist."
Lin wanders over, and starts choking on her Coke. "You, an idealist?"
I laugh at her, trying to look stylish while wiping cola off her chin. "Oh yeah, babe. I'm all for being a member of Greenpeace, and saving the whales."
She sits in the swivel chair beside me. "What are you up to? You missed the food."
"Not hungry, man. I want Anya clips."
She shakes her head. "Crazy bastard."
Yeah, I think dully. You crazy bastard. I don't wonder what Rick's doing. Or who. Remember. Alex can only tell when you know things yourself. To the stuff you don't think about-- he's blind.
The Corner gets louder the later it gets, and I start to wonder when the police are going to arrive. Probably won't sit well with Xavier, since we have four of his underage students, and are giving them alcohol. Even if Remy and Pete whassisname could probably pass a drunk test (even if they'd fail the breathalizer), that poor kid John's about ready to pass out. I'm almost tempted to drag him out of the kitchen and let him sleep it off on the sofas...
Nah. I don't care that much. Let'im pass out in the deep freeze if it makes him happy. His boyfriend's with him. If Remy can't take care of the brat, then he'll know by tomorrow morning, when his fingers are blue and he's got ice in his hair.
Pete's bemoaning an intangible girlfriend, and laughing his ass off at Rick's attempt to sing.
Liz is the next one to come out and find me at the computer. She leans over the desk, unconsciously drumming out the rhythm Sid Vicious is yelling out from the stereo. "Why aren't you partying?"
I stare at the blank screen, and then at the doorway. "I dunno."
She sits down where Lin was not three minutes before. "Alex keeps sending people to check on you. It's my turn. But if you're all right, I'm going to go back in the kitchen if it's all the same with you. I have pictures of John and Remy to take, and I want to dance with Lin."
I blinked. "John and Remy?"
She rolled her exotic eyes, and grinned smugly. "They're making out on the counter."
I grimaced, as she inadvertantly brought back memories of Alex and I on the counter, video rolling... and then Rick and I, passing out on the tiles and waking up to Gally pouring water and vodka down our throats at six in the morning. 'To sober you up!' she'd said--
"Leave'em alone, Liz."
She raised an eyebrow. "Oh, I'm not going to bother them. I just want something for my bulletin board. You think I didn't know they were fucking? Please." She looked mildly offended. "I'm a telepath. And Remy and I drink together."
I chuckled... can't fault that logic. I reached in my bag-- no, this was Alex's. Ah, close enough-- and pulled out a polaroid. "Get more than just those two, eh? I'd like a few pictures."
She took the camera from me, and shrugged elegantly. "If you say so. But why don't you just take them?"
I leaned over a little bit, tried to peer into the kitchen without Rick seeing me. Or me seeing that ass. "I'm avoiding things tonight."
"Ah," she replied. There was a pause, in which she studied me with a blank expression. "You might as well get drunk as not, you know." She stood up, and showed me a very shapely, curved, and trying to hit on me form. "It's good for what ails you."
I laughed again. "I'm gay, sweetie. Not much chance here. Don't bother trying."
She frowned. "Pity. --though, I was enjoying hitting on Lin for something to do, far too much to give it up now. She blushes so pretty."
I shook my head. I think Lin would kill me if I went in there and videotaped this... shame. And I still wasn't in the party mood. Cake, candles-- even vodka and crantinis, without the cake and cheezy birthday atmosphere.
Hey. Where was the cheezy atmophere that normally went with one of Alex's parties?
Oh. Right. This one was Gally's.
And Rick was wearing leather.
I sighed again, and tried to ignore the churning in my stomach. Totally unsuccessfully, of course, but I tried nonetheless. It's not that I wanted to sleep with Rick. That came and went like tides, winds, nature-- lust is lust; I deal with that every day. The problem is, I'm an emotional swinger... and the dial's pointing to my nearest and dearest.
Fucking wench. He probably knows, too, and is trying to encourage me. To *help* my mental state. To help me over this stupid fucking crush. --because he knows I'm an emotional swinger, and he knows that if I say 'I'm in love with you' with most people, in three weeks, it's over and I'm just in lust again.
But fucking Rick. Rick, in his leather and his knowledge and his goddamned steadiness. He isn't enough of a drama queen, and he takes all I dish and puts it in perspective, and he always keeps me cheerful-- Goddamnit. He doesn't get to fucking be the right fucking person for me.