"This is so lame," Spice concluded as she looked around the empty bar. It was 3 a.m. and she and Blondie were the only ones there.
"What's lame?" Blondie asked as he began to gather up the ashtrays from the tables.
"Me. This situation. I haven't seen Cola in a week. Last thing I heard from him, he and Gothic were going to 'try dating' and now they're practically living together."
"I think it's sweet," the bleached blond offered neutrally.
"I think it's gold-digging scheming. It all feels a little too well-planned."
"Don't you believe in romance?"
"Whatever. As long as he gets his shit together by the fashion show, I don't care what he does." She sighed. "I do care though. I miss him. He's my best friend."
Blondie sat down next to her at the bar and patted her shoulder reassuringly. "Don't worry about it. You know how Cola is when he has a new boyfriend. Give it a month and you'll see him again."
"But I don't have anyone to hang out with! Mom's in Rome, Copper's busy with Ruby, and even if I wanted to hang out with Rose, I couldn't, cause she's at school most of the time. And to top it all off, I'm worried about Cola, cause I think that Gothic is just setting him up for heartbreak." She sighed again in frustration. "Cola has no sense when it comes to guys. I don't know how he ever managed to hook up with a nice guy like you."
Blondie shrugged. "I kinda found him."
"Why aren't you two together? I mean, more together than occasionally? You guys go great together."
"I don't know. It's like...I think that Cola and I might be meant to end up together in the end, but we both need to play around the field first." He shook his head. "I really care about him, but right now not enough to be in a relationship with him."
She nodded and thought for a minute. "Hey, I've been meaning to ask you. What was Gothic like in college? Cola told me you dated him."
"He was hot." Blondie winked at her. "He had a better haircut, and he looked good. Personality wise, well, let's just say he's gone downhill since he started dating Misty."
As if on cue, Misty walked into the bar.
"We're closed," Blondie said.
"Make an exception." She sat down at the bar. "Give me a shot of vodka."
"Drowning your sorrows in booze now that Gothic dumped you?" Blondie inquired in a mocking voice.
Misty straightened her spine. "Let's get one thing straight. I dumped him. I do not get dumped. And I'm pretty fucking sick of your attitude. Just because Gothic dumped you for me back in college..."
"Don't you mean when you stole him like a little slut?"
"I wouldn't start with the slut insults. That's like the pot calling the kettle black." Blondie hissed in outrage, and Spice sat back to enjoy the show.
The Next Day...
Rose looked up as Ruby stepped in front of the television.
"Hey, I was watching that!"
"Yeah, I know. And you've been watching it for the past week. I personally don't mind if you go comatose on our couch, but Co wanted me to find you something to do. So I did. Get in the car."
Rose narrowed her eyes. "I don't have to listen to you."
"Get in the car or I'll tell you every single detail about all of my ex-girlfriends...including the sex," Ruby said, and then smirked when Rose nearly jumped out of the chair and ran for the door.
They drove along in uncomfortable silence for a while, and then Rose spoke up.
"So where are we going?"
"The community center."
The hostile silence resumed until the two of them reached the community
center. Ruby stopped in front.
Rose just sat there, her arms crossed, staring straight ahead.
"My first girlfriend's name was Kathy. She was gorgeous. Five foot ten, curly black hair, these beautiful breasts that I would just latch onto and lick..."
"All right! Just stop talking!" The younger girl took off her seatbelt. "So where's this thing I'm supposed to go to?"
"Second floor, Room 2G. And I know the woman who's in charge, so if you don't go I'll hear about it."
Rose ground her teeth together as she got out of the car. Ruby pulled the door shut behind her and waved at her through the glass. "Have fun!" she called and sped off, laughing evilly.
Fifteen minutes later, Rose finally located the room. She snuck in quietly, trying to avoid detection, but a nice looking Asian woman who seemed to be in charge of the group noticed her. "Are you here for the meeting?"
"I guess." She sat down in a chair next to a girl about her age.
"Great! I'm Milk, and we've been going around the circle introducing ourselves. Let's just pick up where we left off." She pointed to a young woman with brassy red hair. "I think we left off with you."
"Me? OK....well, my name is Lightest and my mom is gay." She blushed and looked down at the floor, obviously nervous.
"Welcome to the group, Lightest," Milk said reassuringly and then turned to the redhead sitting next to Rose. "What about you?"
The other girl flashed a sassy smile at Milk and twisted in her seat, making her dark red ponytail bounce on top of her head. She lifted one hand to push it out of her face and Rose noticed she had on leather wristbands with rhinestone studs. "I'm Cherry, and my dads are gay."
"Nice to meet you, Cherry. I guess that brings us to you," she said, looking at Rose. "Why don't you introduce yourself?"
"Ummmm, what kind of group of this?" Rose inquired. Her apprehension had been rising with each introduction.
"It's PFLAG," Milk said, a little confused.
"Parents and Friends of Gay And Lesbians. Didn't you know that when you signed up?"
"Of course I did," Rose snapped. "My name's Rose and my sister's gay." and she's dating Satan incarnate, she added mentally.
The phone rang. Cola rolled over in bed and picked up, wincing a little as he did so. "Hello," he said weakly.
A sharp, proud, aristocratic voice cut through his aching head. "Is Gothic there? I need to speak to him."
"One sec." Cola shook Gothic. "Hey, phone for you."
"Huh?" Gothic muttered blearily as he stretched his body under the sheets.
"Phone. There's a woman on the phone for you."
"No, she sounds...it's not Misty." He handed Gothic the phone. "Here."
"Hello? Oh, hi, Champagne."
"Hello, mon frere. And may I inquire who answered the phone?"
"Oh, that was Cola." Cola arched his eyebrows inquisitively at the mention of his name.
"Well, that's informative. I assume he isn't over there this early to fix your cable." She sniffed delicately.
"No, not really. He spent the night."
"Oh, Gothic, really. I thought you got past this phase in college. You know it would break Mother's heart if she found out." The woman on the end of the line sighed. "Whatever happened to Misty?"
"We broke up." Gothic stifled a gasp as Cola's right hand began to drift over his chest.
"Pity. Well, I suppose it doesn't matter anyway. I was calling to make sure that you had enlisted your designer friend in the fashion show. You know this is a very important show for my charity, and we want all the best young designers to be represented."
"Well, why don't you ask him? He's right here."
There was silence on the other end of the line for a moment. "Well, I can't say I agree with your methods, Gothic, but well done. Just make sure that you both show up for the meetings. Ta!" Gothic handed the phone back to Cola and the other man hung it up.
"Who was that?"
"My sister." Gothic stretched again and threw the sheet off his body, getting up with a yawn. Cola followed him with his eyes as he walked naked to the kitchen.
"Do you want some coffee?"
Cola flashed through the dozens of things he had to do that day: photo shoots, cutting sessions, drinks with Spice...and then looked back into the kitchen at Gothic's tousled hair and hooded eyes. "Sure. I'd love some."
Copper was sitting at the kitchen table when Ruby got back from the community center. Ruby crept into the room and wrapped her arms around her girlfriend, smiling when Copper shrieked.
"Did I scare you?"
"What do you think?!" Copper said.
"So, I dropped your sister off at the community center. She's not falling into a trance in front of the TV anymore."
"That's good." Copper absentmindedly sorted through the stack of mail in front of her. "Oh!" she said finally. "Mr. Nutrisse called."
"What did he say? Did he hire us for the gallery opening next weekend?"
"No...he hired some other catering company. Ummmm....Night Smack Catering? Something like that." She made a face. "I wrote it down somewhere...."
"Midnight Snack! I hate that company. They open up two months ago, start parading around town like they own the place...they took that job for the history museum a month ago, remember?"
"Oh, them. I remember that...the food was horrible." She shrugged. "The food's bad, we have much better cooks. Don't worry...," she soothed, distracted by the pretty stamp on one of the envelopes.
"They have better publicity, better menus...Co, I love you, but you leave something to desire in the presentation department." Ruby pinched the bridge of her nose. "We're losing all of our best jobs to them."
"Well, at least we still have the fashion show." Copper held out a letter to Ruby. "And we got a letter back from the investors. Here, you open it. I couldn't."
Ruby took the envelope and carefully began to open it.
Spice slouched through her dorm room door, frowning. Her roommate, Licorice looked up. Dark circles of kohl pencil decorated Licorice's eyes, and her mouth was covered in a thick coat of maroon lipstick.
"Were you at the Dye Bar again?" she drawled with all the ennui she could muster. It was impressive, Spice thought.
"Yeah. Cola stood me up." She flopped down on the bed, sighing.
Licorice shot her a look. "So, are you going to mope around the room for the rest of the week now?"
"Don't worry, you'll always be the moping champ."
"Look...I'm sick of it. If you were any good at being lonely, I would let you stay that way, but you frankly suck at it. You're going out with me next weekend." She brushed a strand of dyed black hair out of her eyes.
"Yes, ma'am." Spice said sarcastically.