Ten Green Bottles

by Jane Davitt




"It's weird…"

"What is?"

"You grew up with no father and ended up with a father figure in your life, years later and I --"

"If you're saying what I think you're saying, there is no fucking way you're a father figure to me."

"I meant Simon. I'm way too young."

"Simon? As if."

"Really? He's got that dad thing down."

"No way. Either of you. Joel, now…"

"Oh, please."

"Well, what about you? Your mother --"

"Hey. Don't go there. I mean it, Sandburg."

"I'm just saying that I take care of you, man. Just like a mom would. You're fucking coddled."

"What? You torture me. Testing this, testing that…"

"Any mom would approve of me torturing you with tests. It's what moms do."

"I wouldn't know."

"Jim…"

"Look, just leave it, okay?"

"You're the one who tried to get paternalistic on my ass."

"Ha! The first time I take my belt to your ass for leaving your room a mess, you can say that, until then, just --"

"Your dad did that? For real? A belt? Shit."

"Sometimes."

"Jim?"

"Look, it was how he was brought up, okay? Not traumatized, so don't even start, and I preferred it to when he lectured me, to be honest. It was over faster."

"Still… Naomi would have never --"

"She never hit you? Not once?"

"Are you kidding me? No!"

"But she did something. Come on, Chief… I've lived with you for three years now and you can be a messy, annoying, chirpy son of a -- you can be a pain, you know what I'm saying?"

"Gee, really feeling the love."

"I haven't kicked you out yet; there's love right there."

"Seriously?"

"I've had four beers. Blame it on the Bud."

"No, I want to discuss this --"

"And I want to know what Naomi did when you were a baaaaad Blair. Come on, Chief; I told you mine; share."

"Well… you'd have hated it, because she went in for the lectures. And the cleansing. Joint meditation sessions, affirmation of wellness… But there was this one time…"

"Yeah?"

"I went off without telling her and got lost. Didn't make it home until ten and it was dark and I was, what… seven, maybe? And she was always so cool, but she just lost it. Grabbed me, shook me, screamed at me… scared the shit out of me, to be honest. I found out years later there was this guy snatching kids and she'd thought…"

"God."

"I know. But she still didn't hit me."

"That's… she's nice. She cares about you."

"Yeah. But she doesn't… she doesn't need me, you know? She can go months without seeing me, without calling…"

"I couldn't."

"Huh?"

"Go months without you. I couldn't -- I'd miss you, Chief."

"You would?"

"I'd miss you. Yeah."

"Jim -- I'm not going anywhere. You know that, right?"

"I --"

"Tell me you know that."

"I don't want you to go."

"Okay. Good. Because I'm not planning to. I just -- this is home. Here. You. Home."

"I know, Blair. I know."

"Good. That's good. That's…"

"Good."

"Yeah."

"Mmm."

"Want another beer?"

"Love?"

"You'd love another beer?"

"No! God, Jim…"

"It was just a figure of speech. Okay?"

"No. Yes."

"Pick one."

"Okay, look, don't freak. If you love me, it's okay. That's what I'm saying. Because I -- I figure of speech you."

"Blair."

"Right. Words. You need to hear it. Okay. I love you. I love you, and this is home, and the only thing wrong with home is that I'm in that tiny fucking room, under you and I want to be -- I want --"

"What?"

"I want to move up in the world, okay?"

"God, Blair --"

"And you already know if I snore, and you know I won't go anywhere if you don't want me there, with you, that close, because it's been three fucking years, Jim, and I'm staying, I am, but I'd just like…"

"I'd like that, too. You. Upstairs. With me."

"Jim?"

"Mmm?"

"It's bedtime."

"What? It's nine o'clock, Sandburg."

"You're going to make me spell it out?"

"Yeah. Maybe. Please?"

"I want to go to bed. With you. Now."

"I guess we could both use an early night…"

"You're not going to get any sleep."

"Going to use me up and wear me out?"

"'Til dawn."

"Who's she? Ow!"

"You deserved it."

"That's what my dad used to say."

"God, Jim, I'm sorry --"

"No. Don't. You're not him. You're not like him. He didn't want me the way I was. It scared him, but you… I've never scared you, have I?"

"No."

"He was scared for me…"

"I -- sometimes, yeah. That. But I've got your back, Jim. Always."

"I know. I couldn't ask for a better partner -- shit. I sound so fucking mushy."

"Blame the Bud?"

"No… it's just you. I just… oh, God, look at me, I'm -- sorry. I don't --"

"Jim… it's okay. Come here, Jim, right here. Jim… I've got you, buddy, okay? I've got you…Not going away. Not going anywhere."

"Blair?"

"Yeah?"

"Neither am I."


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