Alacrity And Effulgence
Courtney had called her cruel. Well, first she had called her big
dykey loser, uber-dyke, rug-muncher and k.d. lang wannabe. Cruel had come a
few days after Darcy had caught her showing Whitney exactly what it was Jan
did with his slipping digits. Neither was thrilled that their secret was at
risk, and Darcy had assumed that they would attempt some sort of measure to
ensure her silence but instead they had become oddly chummy. Except when
Courtney called her cruel.
"God Darcy, I don't know how you do it. I mean I'm no-"
"I was going to go with wordy type person, but whatever, that's not
the point. The point is how can you be so cruel?"
"Is this about the showers? Cause I already told Whitney that I was
all over being quiet about that. After all, wouldn't want to spoil the
"What surprise? Look, shut up Darcy, I'm not finished. I mean, how
can you go out with her? She's so, so, stupid and you're well, you're not."
For a second Darcy thinks about telling Courtney her secret, thinks about
revealing her deepest darkest to this girl who probably would never
understand, and who, now that she thinks about it, could stand to see a
little more of the sun. "She's good in bed." The minute it comes out Darcy
regrets saying it. She can already see the wounded, uncomprehending look on
Kasey's face when Courtney and Whitney inevitably throw that back in her
"I fucking knew it. I knew you weren't just into her, the idea was just
retarded. Kinda like she is."
Judith Darcy is not a violent person. Really, she's not. Missy is a
violent person. Big Red is a violent person. Darcy isn't. Darcy's smart,
she doesn't need violence. These are the thoughts that whip through her
brain as her fist flies up from her side, making a curve through the air to
increase momentum and force of impact when it connects. Connects with
Courtney. And sends her sprawling across the floor. Laws of inertia
"You bitch!" Courtney's yelling draws the attention of half the squad.
"You fucking hit me! I'm gonna kick your ass!" Darcy watches as she
lurches drunkenly to her feet, takes a half-hearted swing and stumbles back
to the floor. She stands over her vanquished enemy and considers a course of
action. There are a hundred things one could say, a hundred things one
could do. Darcy opts for the easiest. She walks away.
At the end of the day she's waiting for her in the parking lot. She leans
up against the shiny midnight of the car, twisting a lock of her hair around
her index finger. Idly cheering to herself under her breath. Lost in her
own little world of pom-poms and spanky pants.
Kasey jumps when Darcy's arms wrap around her waist.
"Hey you." She kisses her girlfriend on the cheek. "I heard you punched
Courtney today after study hall. What was that about? I mean, Courtney's
a, you know, and I mean, she like, totally deserved someone to punch her, I
just thought it would be Missy."
Darcy listens to her talk, holds her in her arms, watches as she looks back
into her eyes, waiting for an answer. She thinks about what she should have
done, what she should have said to Courtney.
"Baby, I said something today to Courtney, I didn't mean it, and I
shouldn't have said it, but I did. And I want you to know it before she can
use it to hurt you. In study hall today, she was bugging me about dating
"Because I'm dumb right?"
"Kasey. Kasey, listen to me. You aren't dumb. You aren't. Just because
you don't know a lot of big words, words that no one ever uses anyway, and
just because you're kind, that doesn't make you stupid. Anyway, Courtney
wouldn't leave me alone, so I said something, to get her to shut up, I said
something kind of terrible." Darcy can feel muscles tensing all around her,
back muscles, arm muscles, legs, shoulders, chests, and throats. I told her
I was going out with you because you were-"
"Good in bed right?" Kasey knew she was right even before Darcy's face
fell. "That's alright Darce, lots of boys always said that too. It's not
"But it's bad. It's terrible. I never should have said it. I hit her
because I said it. I should have said something else. I should have said
because you were beautiful, I should have said because you were kind, and
you made me laugh. Because you--"
Kasey knew exactly two twenty dollar words. Alacrity and effulgence.
Darcy had told her what the meant. They were good words, words she liked
the sound of. She pointed at herself. "Alacrity." She poked Darcy in the
chest, just hard enough to mean something. "Effulgence."
"When we're all alone, or when we aren't, those can be our names, our
special names for each other. Cause I'm cheerful. And ready." Kasey
blushed. "Not that kind of ready, but you know. And you're beautiful.
Beautiful like no one else in the whole school. Like no one else in the
whole world. Now come one, we're supposed to be going to Torrance's for the
big end of season barbecue and we shouldn't be late."
"Oh yeah, the barbecue. I forgot to buy the godamn chips though. Dammit.
Now we have to go all the way to the store."
"No, I bought them today. They're already at Torrance's. I knew you'd
forget, you always forget those things. We skipped chem, and went to the
"I could kiss you." Darcy leaned in but Kasey was faster, slipping out
from under her arms, dancing to the other side of the car.
"You could, but then we'd never get there." She grinned at Darcy over the
car. "You know you're going to have to apologize right? To Courtney?"
"No way, she called you a retard for sobbing out loud." Darcy found her
voice rising as she climbed behind the wheel.
"Who cares, she puts the itch in bitch. Or, at least that's what I heard
Whitney say. You apologize because you're better than that." Kasey grasped
Darcy's free hand in hers. "Because it'll make me feel better."
Darcy spares a glance away from the road to look at Kasey as she stares out
the window, cheering to herself again. She thinks about her secret. The
one she didn't tell Courtney. The one where she needs Kasey more than could
ever need her. She needs her to remember things like potato chips, to smile
at her when the day isn't going so good. To hold her when she runs to her
when her parents are fighting again. She needs her because Kasey is happy
and innocent, and accepting, and beautiful, and pure. Because she cheers to
herself and twists her hair. Because she says hello to girls Darcy is
afraid of, girls that would probably kick her ass if given half a chance.
And Darcy wants to use all her intelligence, and all her wealth, and
apparently both her fists to make sure Kasey's always like that, because
without her Darcy thinks she'd shrivel up and drift way.