All About The Silver Lining

Chapter 4

FOUR

Jesus Christ I did not see this coming.

I'm not even in my room right now. I'm at the Mile High Diner in Denver. What am I doing way out here, you may ask? I'll tell you what. I had to get away. Distance was imperative. And so were pancakes; they heal way better than booze.

Over the past week, I kept hanging out with Amy, and things kept being wacky. She won't stop bringing up the dildo thing, or male prostitutes, or going to parties – except there sadly aren't any good parties happening around here lately. The girl just kept going on and on about getting some, like she was hard up. Thing is, she's not, because she's never had any of it to begin with, so how's she supposed to miss what she's never had? Make that wacky cubed.

I spend a lot of time telling her to put a cork in it, but I also keep talking about my pathetic experiences, because she seems to like, find them comforting or whatever. That "misery loves company" thing that Soul Asylum sang about last decade. It's weird to talk about with her now, though, because she makes it seem so much more important. In the olden days, she'd ask for details, we'd laugh, and then it was like, what's on cable right now? But now... now it's important. Now she's obsessing, asking me to run over stuff again and again, even while she's talking about finding a man-whore to do the deed. Like she's dead serious. It's creepy.

Today – technically yesterday since it is now an ungodly hour – we had spent almost all day at school without discussing it, which was awesome. Then we're watching TV at her house and an ad comes on for one of those tiny fingertip "massagers", which brings us back to...

"Maybe I should get one of those."

"And this is where I came in," I gripe.

"No, seriously," Amy said, biting the nail on her index finger. "I mean, I'm so over waiting for a guy to come along, so maybe it would be smarter."

"The guy will come. And then he'll come, and you'll come, and I'll probably come wherever I am from extreme relief that we won't have to debate this anymore."

"It's easy for you," she fires up, glaring at me. "You've been there and done that, and got the t-shirt. What have I done? One or two extended makeout sessions. Nobody's ever going to break the shrink-wrap on my womanhood."

Pay attention, people: this is where I put my foot in my mouth. Where I perpetrate one enormous royal fuckup the likes of which the world has never seen and might not see again. Where I made the mistake of saying, "God, if being virginal is such a huge burden why don't I just pop you?"

Now, I've known Amy since we were in the playpen. I can tell when she's shocked and offended, and when she thinks I'm being disgusting. I can also tell when she's pleasantly surprised that a good idea came along... and when she can see it's exactly what she's been waiting for. Which means as soon as I spotted the look on her face, my heart shot right down into my colon.

"Huh."

"No," I hissed at her, sitting up straighter on the couch. "No, Amy, no. I was joking. Tell me you know I was joking; say it out loud so we can all hear!"

"Oh, I know," she half-laughed, no longer looking at me or the TV, still biting the tip of her fingernail. "But it makes a certain kind of sense, I guess. You could just do it, and then it would be over and I would be all set."

"Super romantic," I grunt as I fold my arms. "Why do the chocolates and a dozen roses when you can outline a boardroom strategy? It's the refreshing, FBLA approach to sex."

This time she really did laugh at me, like I was being stupid. "Don't be stupid." See? "I didn't mean we'd put on some quiet music and swap spit for an hour, I just meant, y'know... in, out, the end. It doesn't have to be weird."

"Ames, I know you better than you know yourself, and I know you can't do 'in, out, the end' any better than you can do 'Juggalette'. You'd turn it into a thing."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

I sigh, I roll my eyes, and I run a hand over my face. "I mean you'll be all gung-ho about it right up until it's about to happen, and then you'll get all panicky. Then, if we magically find the willpower to go through with it, you'll be all clingy and stalkery afterward, trying to keep me from seeing other people and giving me anniversary presents. A thing."

"I..." Then she stopped and stared at me. "Whoa, whoa, you know I was only messing around, right? You're talking about it like we could ever really..."

Then there arrived the supreme mother of all awkward silences. She was probably thinking that she'd got caught, or wondering how into it I'd be, or something. How should I know? But I was thinking, 'This girl's cover is weaker than she realizes. I know what I saw when I brought up the option; she wanted to pounce on it, but knew I'd bolt if she did. So here we are, squirming and fidgeting while she tries to decide how to either backpedal, or pass off raging desire as passing interest. This oughtta be good.'

So I really can't tell you how much she is or isn't excited at the idea of me doing it, but I'm pretty damn sure she's counting on me either way. Just my hunch.

"Laynie... I was just spitballing. You went right for us dating or whatever. That's so not what I meant, you know that, right?" Backpedalling.

"You tend to date or not-date; you're not the type to have a hook-up and then forget about it. How should I know what would happen after the deed?"

"But... but we're friends," she reasoned, like that made all the difference. "I mean, best friends. There's not a long list of people I'd trust to do this with, that I'd feel comfortable doing this with. It'd be strictly medical, like an annoying favor kind of deal."

She was starting to convince me that she meant it, but it's freaky where my mind was going with it all on its own. "No soft music, no lubed-up bodies, no tantric exercises? Really?"

"Promise."

"No way!" I squeaked, just barely able to keep from yelling it; her Dad would have had an aneurism if he caught us discussing anything like that. "Amy, I'm not gonna shove my finger up there and, and... ew, God! How would I ever look at you again?"

"Come on, Laynie, that's not what I..." But when she caught the look on my face, she shrugged. "You could use some kind of, y'know, implement. And we wouldn't have to get naked and cuddle, and you could just count to three and do it and I'd be through with that prepubescent phase of my life. It sounds so much easier and so much less of a headache."

"But..."

Then she dropped the bomb that usually kills all your chances of getting out of whatever disgusting obligation they've got you pinned under: "I'd so do it for you if you asked."

Stupid friendship. Yeah, it got me waffling, but in the end I cleared my throat and turned my attention back to the TV. "No. You can do it on your own."

"Laynie, please? I-"

"But," I went on, lip curling, "I... might be able to help you out in the, uh... implement department."

"Really?" Then her brain caught up to her mouth. "Wait... how would you? Unless- Laynie! You have a, a-"

"Shut up!" I hissed, blushing. "It's kind of for emergency use, right? Shit, that's the last thing I want people to know about, it's none of their business!"

"Where did you even get one?"

"They kind of get passed out at the door at St Margret's," I said with a smirk. "I mean, it's so easy to get your hands on one there. No boys, get it?"

Amy chewed on that for a second. "Are any of the students, y'know, lesbians?"

"Tons. But most are the lipstick kind."

"Lipstick?"

"You know..." When she somehow didn't get it, I shrugged. "They wipe off their bi-curiosity like it's lipstick. When the year is up, they go home to their boyfriends and make-believe they never felt up that blonde in gym class."

Amy's brown eyes bugged out. "Surreal."

"Yep. Anyway, I'll let you borrow it on two conditions. First, you clean it up and give it back discreetly when you're done. Second... this is the end of your obsessing over virginity. If I fork over my weapon of mass elation, I don't wanna hear any more about how you'll die without ever 'knowing a man's touch' or whatever crap. Your seal stays perforated. Got it?" Amy nodded, swallowing. "Good. I'll smuggle it over here tomorrow."

"I'd rather do it at your place," Amy said in a rush – and then covered her mouth like she hadn't meant to blurt it out that way. Which I can totally understand, since we all know how it sounded.

"Why?"

"It's nothing skeevy like you're thinking! But... come on, you know my dad. Somehow, some way, he'll find out and then it'll be some huge catastrophe. And no offense, but-"

"But my parents are ostriches; heads in the sand, oblivious."

A little sad sigh escaped Amy's mouth, and just for a second we weren't talking about her problems. "Yeah. I... I didn't mean to bring it up, but it's true."

"No sweat." I flashed her a smile, figuring it was the easiest way to halt the oncoming pity party. "So much about the way they act is ruining my life that I might as well abuse the upsides. Feel free to climax in my room tomorrow."

"Will the, uh, coast be clear?"

"Dad's at work, Mom's doing some lunch thing with the ladies of her I-so-don't-care. Nobody but us virginity-killers until about three. Did you wanna..." Here I motioned tipping my hand up in front of my mouth.

"Nah," she sighed. "That would probably make it easier, but I'm trying to stay away from that stuff these days. All of it, drugs, drinks... Pixy Stix."

"Gotcha. I'll drop by the store and get you some lavender-scented oils and a Kenny G album."

And from there we just started making fun of each other and taking pot shots at the guy on TV with his bad combover. Fun stuff, but nothing important... nothing worth picking apart.

What, it's not bad enough? It's not INSANE enough that in a few hours, Amy is going to be showing up at my front door, ready to fire up my pocket rocket and shoot herself to the moon? This is not what I signed on for when we redrafted the Friendship Contract. I can't be her, her... facilitator. Why can't she just run herself a warm bath and start messing around until she finds her g-spot like normal girls?

Maybe the real reason I'm writing all this down is because I'm actually hoping my parents find this. Mom and Dad, are you freaked out yet? Of course not; you'd have to be a few steps further away from catatonic to freak out. Whatever, it's cool. I'll just help my best friend get her rocks off and do it with a great big shit-eating grin. Super awesome end to a super awesome year!

Laynie

AUTHORESS'S NOTE: HULLO! Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me... right. A brief warning to all of you who are waiting for the shoe to drop; coming up in the next chapter (and stretching into the one following it) is more than a small amount of smut. It's not complete pornography, but there are those elements normally found within pornography that make people with weak constitutions faint. This is me trying to alert you: if you can't handle such torrid words, please don't subject yourself to it. Just... skip to chapter 7 when it comes out. There! Happy compromise?

I'd like to take this moment to draw attention away from myself and toward this: greatest band of all time Garbage, featuring the brilliant Butch Vig and my absolute role model Shirley Manson, are working on fresh material. No, I am not getting paid to say any of this (who would pay a fanfiction author for an advertisement?), so yes, I'm only speaking up because I'm a silly fangirl and they are so amazing and I'm looking forward anxiously to actual NEW music coming from them sometime in the early bit of next year.

Now, some of you are already rolling your eyes and saying "Urgh, 90s bands" or even "Alterna-rock/electropop is not my sort of thing". Bugger that. Just you go and buy/download/thieve "Absolute Garbage". I personally abhor greatest hits compillations because they attempt to boil down an artist's entire body of work into a small, easily-digestible collection, which usually fails. I still do... but I also realise there's no other easy way to sell someone on a group than to give them a highlight reel. So get it. GO AND GET IT. Listen to "The World Is Not Enough" and "Queer" and "Special" and "Cherry Lips" and "Only Happy When It Rains" and come to grips with the fact that you have been missing out. Even if you do listen to their greatest hits, you still won't get to enjoy gems like "Medication", "Run Baby Run", "Androgyny", "My Lover's Box"... I could go on for quite some time, but I'll stop myself there. And they are coming back after six years of hibernation, which is news that our Katy Perry-beleaguered world needs. I'll be at one of their shows next year when they tour. Will you?

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