Okay, so tomorrow is OFFICIALLY my last day of classes and I decided to celebrate (after I finished my last paper, of course) tonight by watching Degeneration and WRITING, glorious non-school-related writing!!
Set post-Degeneration, just kind of a vague what-if kind of scenario or whatever. Sorry, no humping! It's nearly 2 am. I need to go to bed!
The first thing Leon saw that morning when he picked up his vibrating phone was the picture Claire sent him of her naked, shower-wet body. "morning, pervy!" read the text accompanying the photo.
He'd liked the picture so much he'd been able to send back a fairly impressive one of his own.
It was a testament to how much Leon liked Claire, how long their relationship had lasted. He kind of felt like he was jumping the gun every time he even thought
of it as a relationship, but he couldn't help it. What else was he going to call it? Friends with benefits? Fuckbuddies? Claire was a pretty level-headed girl and willing to call them like she saw them, but Leon couldn't help but feel like she'd be kind of bummed and quietly hurt if he ever referred to their thing
in such frat-boyish terms.
Not that he would. He thought about it, and no--the cliches didn't seem to apply to them.
Leon tried not to think about it too much, really. Sure, he always had dreams of settling down one day and having kids and all of that shit, but he hadn't planned on it happening any time soon. Once again, Leon reminded himself that he was jumping the gun. Whenever he thought of whatever he and Claire had embarked upon together shortly after re-meeting each other during the WilPharma incident, he wasn't sure what to make of it.
He liked Claire a lot, sure. She was pretty fucking awesome. She was funny and caring and a fucking knockout, smart and smart-mouthed and absolutely mind-blowing in bed. Leon wasn't exactly a pro with relationships--his job and his own level of unwillingness to become attached often ensured a quick death to his relationships.
But him and Claire--him and Claire kept coming back to each other. At first it'd been hanging out whenever they got the chance, getting to know each other. Then it'd gotten intimate, then they were making
time to hang out with each other, racking up ridiculous travel bills. Then it was phone calls, texts, emails, more time hanging out, not even having sex every time they stayed together...
Leon didn't know what to make of it. Was she like his girlfriend or something? Was he supposed to ask her? Could he really consider making a semi-honest woman out of her by courting
her after the fact, after they'd already fucked? He should probably take her out on a date that didn't involve them sitting at hole-in-the-wall bars, watching sports or shooting pool. Could one even court someone when they lived in different states, when the primary method of communication was text messaging?
Leon really liked Claire. She was great. She was great enough to where recently, when he thought about how much he liked her, the other
L-word had started to replace the word like
in his mind.
Maybe he was jumping the gun.
Leon turned and looked back at Claire, pulling the one earbud out of his ear that he'd just put in. His flight left in about forty-five minutes; he had just enough time to walk through the terminal to the gate before they started boarding thirty minutes prior to departure time. Claire was smiling somewhat, pointing. He looked down at his torso, then back over at her. "What's up?"
"Trade me iPods," Claire said, still smiling. Leon looked at her in confusion.
"Trade you? Why? Yours broken?" As he spoke, Claire was rifling through her ridiculously large purse. She produced her iPod, holding it out to him. "Don't tell me you can't live without an iPod for a few--"
"No, nothing like that," Claire said, snorting. "Just trade me. You take mine, I'll take yours. We'll switch again when I come to see you on the 22nd."
Leon pulled his iPod out of his coat pocket, looking down at it. It was kind of his baby. He'd put every piece of music he owned--which was quite a bit--on it. He didn't travel without it. Claire might as well have asked him to give her his heart.
"Best way to get to know a person is through what kind of music they listen to," Claire went on, cajoling. "It's kind of like..." She paused, looking up at the ceiling with a little smirk. "...the musical equivalent of rifling through your date's medicine cabinet. Or their underwear drawer."
Chuckling, Leon shrugged and sighed. "Okay, okay." He pulled his earbuds out of his iPod and handed it to her. She handed hers over and Leon looked at it to make sure his charger would work with it. "I already know what kind of underwear you wear," he pointed out quietly. They both smiled, looking elsewhere, still too shy to joke about it with bravado.
"I know. But there's always that one weird pair that's not like the rest."
have a pair of polka dot boxers at home, now that you mention it."
"Somehow I'm not surprised," Claire said, holding up his iPod, walking backwards with a smile on her face. "You'll see this again when you see me."
"Your taste in music better not suck," Leon admonished, likewise holding up her iPod.
They'd only been together
two and a half weeks.
It wasn't like Leon didn't have plenty of money laying around. The travel expenses were ridiculous, but he found he didn't mind shelling out money for either one of them to travel to where the other one was. If it meant they got to see each other, then whatever.
He was turning into kind of a sentimental motherfucker. Okay, so he'd always secretly kind of been one. The last time Claire had been to see him, right before they were leaving to take her to the airport to go home she claimed she had to blow her nose and ran to his bathroom. When he got home from the airport he discovered a big smiley face and Bye! Miss you already!!
written across the top of his mirror in dry-erase marker. He didn't wipe it off until the day he left to go see her again, two weeks later.
Claire emailed him a picture from a meet-up with her brother; she mailed him a few, actually. One in particular interested him. Apparently Chris had turned the camera on Claire; in the photo she was alone, kind of halfway to bringing her hands to her face to hide it, laughing. She was wearing a green t-shirt and a pair of jeans. Leon printed the picture off and hung it on his fridge; he decided that was relatively less creepy than framing it or something like that.
Claire's birthday was coming up; he figured she'd probably already have plans, but he kind of wanted to ask her if she did. Maybe she didn't. He could swing a free day and a half or so after he finished a detail in Europe; it'd be a hell of a flight for a tiny amount of time, but he could hack it. If
she didn't already have plans. Maybe he could take her to dinner or something.
Leon really, really liked Claire. He liked her a little more than being satisfied with seeing her once every two weeks; four months was a long time to go like that. The longest amount of time they'd spent together consecutively was four days. He was kind of starting to wish he got a little more.
"MySpace?" he asked her, laughing. "Really
? MySpace. Isn't that for, like--"
"Hey, people other
than teenagers can have it too!" Claire cut in, her face scrunched up and offended. "It's useful! I don't spend, like, hours
on it or anything. It just seems like everyone in the world has one--it makes it easy to find people, get in touch with people, stuff like that. I mean, people I haven't heard from in years find me on there and it's kind of cool to catch up."
"I dunno," Leon said with a smile, skeptical. "I don't think I'd want
some people to find me. I don't even think I'm allowed
to have something like that."
"OPSEC and all," Claire chortled, waving her fork in a little circle in the air. "I'm sure the Iranian government's on there every day
, looking for US agents!"
Leon shrugged. "More like pervs and people from high school I'd rather stab myself eye before I had to talk to again."
Claire rolled her eyes and sighed dramatically. "Oh, c'mon. You oughtta get one. It could be fun! It'd be yet another way for me to pester you and leave you stupid, cutesy messages."
Leon cut his eye at her. "Hey
now. I don't know how keen of an idea it is for you to be leaving the kind of messages you leave me on my phone on the internet in a public space."
Claire scoffed and gusted laughter incredulously, her face colouring. "Not those
kind of messages, dumbass."
"I better be the only one getting those
kind of messages," Leon said with a grin, pointing at her.
"Oh, you and those five other guys," Claire said airily.
They very carefully avoided using the terms boyfriend
Claire started leaving things at his apartment. Instead of bringing all of her stuff with her every single time she came to see him, she just got things to leave there--hairbrush, toothbrush, toiletries, those kinds of things. She didn't go as far as leaving clothing or intensely personal effects there, but Leon had started to stock the kinds of foods he knew she liked regularly so that when she came, she'd have things to snack on.
Claire had a Netflix account; she gave Leon the password to it so he could go in and rearrange the movies in her queue, pick out things he wanted to watch whenever he was around.
Leon couldn't look around his apartment whenever he was there without noticing some little trace of Claire. He found long, red hairs on his bedclothes. Her half-eaten leftovers hung out in his fridge until he ate them or they went bad while he was out working. The notepad near his computer had her little doodles all over it. The pillows on his couch, when moved, occasionally released a fleeting puff of the smell of her
into the air.
Thanksgiving came and went. Claire sent him an e-card and emailed more pictures. His family--he got to go home for Thanksgiving, a rare event--teased him mercilessly about how attached to his phone he was while he was there, moreso than usual.
He liked Claire more and more.
......................................sorry i couldn't take you to the airport myself. this job interview...
Leon looked down at his phone as he stood in line waiting for his turn at the electronic ticket machines. The line wasn't moving very quickly. its fine. im a big boy. i can ride in a taxi by myself, you know
Forty-five seconds later his phone buzzed. i know you're a big boy. ;) hopefully this interview goes okay...i need a job. maybe i'll end up working for a ngo that doesn't suck.
Leon chuckled a little, shuffling ahead when the line moved one person. youre never gonna stop beating yourself up about that are you? youre like viral wondergirl. they wont be able to resist you
He checked his watch, looked around the terminal. His phone buzzed. viral wondergirl, i like that. you're like viral wonderboy yourself. i don't even want to think about the kind of luck any kid of ours would have!
Leon smiled a little, chuckling slightly. kids?! you trying to tell me youre pregnant or something? ill have a heart attack right here in line
His phone buzzed almost immediately. NO!
Then, a few moments later: just saying...y'know what i mean! a giant missile loaded with every kind of virus in the world would just land on that kid's head, i mean. ha ha
Leon moved one person closer to the ticket machines. at least itd be a good lookin kid. no thanks to its father of course. little cleon could stop bioterror attacks with its good looks
He could picture Claire laughing, rolling her eyes. yeah, your nose might be more of curse than a blessing. ha ha, and WHAT is cleon??both of our names put together. i think its lovely. you preffer leaire, then?you thinking of knocking me up or what? you've got names all planned out and everything! i am, however, disturbed that you referred to our beautiful child as an 'it'.
Leon stepped up to one of the ticket machines, his turn finally come. He set his phone down and stuck his driver's license into the machine, punched the required buttons, and received his boarding pass. He picked his phone back up and ambled off towards the security checkpoint. well i dont know if its a boy or a girl. it seemed right to saylike i said, you planning on knocking me up? at least wait until i get a job--i don't even have health insurance right now! ;)
He got in line for the security checkpoint. He could
have just shown his government ID and bypassed it all, but he felt like a dick doing something like that when he wasn't actually working and everyone else had to wait in line. you feel like getting knocked up? i could make some time in my busy schduleoh yeah, pencil me in for next thursday! learn how to SPELL BEFORE THEN!
Leon ghosted a chuckle and shook his head some. whatever. nevermind. i dont wanna knock you up if your gonna make fun of me.drat. there goes my chance! you getting on your plane yet?
At least the security checkpoint was kind of moving along. no. still in line for security.
Leon paused, then added really wish i wasnt leaving in the first place.
Thirty seconds later: yeah, me too. alone again, sigh. we'll see each other in a week and a half, right? maybe we could work an extra day in there or something.
He sighed. yeah maybe. all this traveling wears on a guy. it can be a bummeryou saying like you don't want to do it anymore?
was Claire's reply.
Leon dutifully threw his belongings into one of the plastic bins, emptied his pockets of change and other effects, pulled off his shoes and shed his backpack. He threw them all onto the conveyor belt and waited for the TSA agent to wave him through the metal detector. He didn't beep and moved down to the end of the conveyor belt to wait for his belongings. He put his shoes back on and re-shouldered his backpack, putting his change back into his pocket. He picked up his phone. leon? like you don't want to do this anymore? tired of it?
Oops. Leon started his reply, walking down the hallway. no no not like that. i just meant like
A new text from Claire cut into his reply, and he viewed it. um, okay, i have to go into this interview in a sec. i guess...guess i'll talk to you later, hopefully.
Was it possible to sound dejected through text? Leon blinked, then fired off his reply as quickly as he could, hoping she'd get to see it before she interviewed. not like that. i love you claire. dont like leaving. good luck
An hour later, when the plane landed and he could take his phone out of airplane mode, immediately a new message popped up from Claire. i think that went okay. and well hey, i love you too. for a while now! are we total losers for saying this for the first time ever in text?modern romance. maybe were losers but at least were losers together. i meant what i said...err texted.i did too, leon. really, a lot. wow, it feels so nice to have said--err, texted that. ;) i love you.i love you too claire. really alot. now. make with the pervy pics. i miss the real thing already!! you're a douchebag. you call that romance?modern romance. ill get a myspace if you make with the picsi'll be home in fifty minutes or so. by the time i'm done taking the pics, you'd better have a myspace, mister!ill have fifteen of them. i expect equal paymentdouche. i love you.