Easy part over, she went back to her desk and worried a koosh ball to death with her left hand, sucking down her fourth coffee of the day. Was it worth calling Laura? Three set of messages and texts went unanswered. This was getting ridiculous. She was ready to hop in the car and drive out to Mike's cabin if for no other reason than to make sure her best friend was still alive and not being devoured by her cats.Then again, Laura had Dylan, Mike and the baby. If anyone was going to die alone and become cat food, it was her. Even Crackhead would come out of hiding for a piece of Josie's thigh.Ever the optimist (not really), she grabbed her phone and punched Laura's number.Miracle of miracles, her friend answered. “Hello?”“It's aliiiiiiiiiiiiiive!”The baby screamed right into the phone.“I didn't need that kind of proof!” Josie said, her ear ringing. She held the phone a few inches from her head. “Laura? You there?”“Yeah. Colic. Jillian's been a horrible mess for days.” A pang of guilt shot through Josie. Whoops. That explained the silence.“I'm just glad to reach you,” Josie admitted. “I'm sorry you're having a tough time with the baby.”Burp! A belch worthy of a trucker came through the phone. “Oh, thank God,” Laura exclaimed.“Was that you or the baby?”“Ha ha. Now she's happy and on my shoulder. Whew.”“You measure your life in burps?”“Yes. And milk letdown and naps and puke-covered shoulders and what color comes out of me today as the bleeding fades.” Three weeks post-birth and she still bled? Josie made a pained face but said nothing.“Nothing but glamor for you and your two billionaires.”Laura snorted. “I see nothing's changed with you, Josie. Or has it? How's Dr. Perfect?”“Dr. Who?”“No. That's a television series.”Silence.“Oh, no,” Laura groaned. “What have you done now?”“I – ”“He was perfect for you!”“Well...”“You slept with him and then blew him off, didn't you? You always do this, Josie. Why?”“I didn't call for a lecture.”“Too bad.”A rainbow-haired troll stared at Josie from across her crowded desk, as if to condemn her stupidity with Alex even more. “You weren't exactly around to talk to about it, Laura.”“Don't use me as an excuse!” Laura huffed. Geez, when did Laura get so tough?“OK. Fine. I pulled away. He wanted me to meet his mother.”“Oh.” Laura's anger drained fast, the syllable more contrite. That was like it. “I see.”And this is why she missed Laura so much. Because Laura got it. Instantly. She didn't have to explain herself in depth, or fumble for the right words, or try to go down some analytical path to get to a conclusion. Shorthand between best friends was such a damn relief.“Yeah.”“What's his mom like?”“She's a clinical psychologist.”A sputtering sound came through the phone, like a spit take. Then laughter. “Oh, Josie, you've got to admit that's some awesome karma.”“I know, right? Can you imagine the moms meeting? Marlene could show her how to get a guy to buy her a top-shelf martini without having to give him a blowjob and Alex's mom could use the DSM-V and a necklace of garlic to keep my mom at bay.”A sigh came through the phone. “But you know that's not a good enough reason to throw away what could be the best relationship of your life.”Yes, it is, she thought. “Yes, it is,” she blurted out.“When are you going to separate yourself from your mom?”Slap. “WHAT?”“You are not your mother.” Laura said the words slowly, with a resigned tone. “She treated you horribly after the accident. She lives with brain damage and has no real conscience. You were her scapegoat for years. That doesn't mean you get to hide behind all that and use it to keep yourself from real love, Josie.”“I'm not!”“Yes, you are.”“But...no...it's that Alex just – ” Fuck. Laura was right.“Do you like him?”“Yes.”“The sex is good?”Josie made an unintelligible sound of groaning delight.“Is he kind and respectful?”“Yes.”“Does he make you laugh?” Josie could hear the smile in Laura's voice as the trap began to work. She was caught.Sigh. “Yes.”“Has he pursued you even as you try to blow him off?”“How did you know?”“I didn't. But now I like him even more.”“His grandfather is one of my Alzheimer's trial patients.”“No way! So did he know you when he saw you at the hospital at the birth?” Josie felt like someone hit her between the eyes with a cannonball. Wait – what? Had Alex known who she was before?“I never asked him that question,” she answered slowly. A dawning insight opened up before her. Alex had brought Ed to his appointment and had known damn well who Josie was – must have known, in fact – the day she brought Laura to the hospital for Jillian's birth.What did that mean?“Maybe your hooking up wasn't a simple coincidence.”“I highly doubt he triggered your labor from afar, Laura,” Josie replied dryly.Laura laughed. “No, not that. Just...maybe you two clicked because Alex already knew who you were and was interested.”This was why she missed Laura so much. Putting all this together was beyond her daily life ability these days. An extra perspective – no, Laura's perspective – gave her a better grasp of the messy pieces of her emotional chaos.“I'm meeting him for coffee in the morning, so I'll ask him then.”“You're giving him a break?”“I'm letting him buy me a latte.”Laura snorted. “You let me buy you lattes and you don't sleep with me.”“You have more than enough bed partners, Laura.”“Tell me about it. You try fitting four people in a bed.”“Four? You have a new guy?”The two laughed, Josie relaxing for the first time in weeks. It felt so good to talk and reconnect. And then –Waaaa! “Baby's up. Gotta go,” Laura said over the fracas. “Let's talk soon!”“Ok. I'll – ”Click.She worried the troll doll's hair into Pippi Longstocking-like braids. So Alex remembered her from Ed's appointments.Hmmmm. Coffee tomorrow morning was suddenly more interesting.
Friday, July 5, 2013
Laura chides Josie for blowing off Alex -- from It's Complicated
Josie's tried three times to reach Laura -- no luck. After a tough conversation with her boss, and blowing off Alex, she finally reaches her: