3. Effective Communication
Wes, bless his depressed little soul, had surrendered with as much dignity as could be mustered. It wasn’t so bad. He and Nick only visited first base (and only first base) at their girlfriend’s request, and Nick had started to treat him better.
Was it sexist that Nick only had decency for people who allowed for physical reciprocation? Wes tried not to think about it too much, it didn’t really matter anyway.
That brought them full circle to Nick being dumped.
“…and that’s why,” Nick was saying when Wes chose to zone back in. “I need you to share Gina. Like, I’m going to ask her too, but since she’s going to jump at the chance to get a piece of this,” He motioned to his body, flexing his bicep. “I thought I’d run it by you first.”
Nick reclined against the bed, looking incredibly pleased with himself, smiling at Wes knowingly.
Wes blinked in confusion, still trying to process what he had heard. “What?”
The thing with Nick, and it was a recurring thing with Nick, was that the other teen had a nasty habit of jumping from point A to point X in a conversation, with every bit of expectation for you to keep up. His logic was always...well, ‘unique’ was a kind way of putting it (with ‘flawed’ being a more accurate description), but Wes wasn’t sure what he could have missed in the last thirty seconds that would make sharing his girlfriend seem like the next logical step when being dumped.
Nick released an aggravated sigh, like he was the one dealing with an idiot, and gave Wes a look of utmost patience Nick usually reserved for dealing with people he considered less-intellectually gifted.
Suffice it to say, it was not an expression that was frequently used.
“Annelea wants a popular guy, so I need to stick to the pimp plan,” Nick explained. In that, he explained nothing. “Once she sees how much respect I’ll get for dating you and goth central, she’ll totally come crawling back.” Nick paused for a moment to allow it to sink in. “It’s fool-proof.”
Alright, so Gina might be more into the alternative fashions, but that didn’t necessarily make her ‘goth central’ and-
“Wait.” Wes held a finger up, mind finally comprehending Nick’s full statement. “What do you mean, ‘date me and Gina’?”
“Kind of what it sounds like dude,” Nick’s drawl was as bored as it was put-upon, like the effort it took to explain this wounded his very soul. “Look, it will only be for a little bit. Once she catches wind that I’m dating both you and Gina, Annelea will come back to me for sure. Then I’ll break up with Gina. Or fake it, whatever, we’ll pass that bridge when we get there.”
“‘Cross that bridge’,” Wes corrected distractedly. “Now, can we go back to the part where you need to date my girlfriend?”
Who was, you know, Wes’ girlfriend, and by obvious inference, not Nick’s?
“And you,” Nick added.
“Yeah.” Wes ran a shaky hand through his hair. “That too.”
Normally, he wouldn’t be all that concerned about it, but Nick was busting out his ‘I am serious’ voice, which never led to good things. The serious voice was always accompanied by the ‘relentless stubbornness’ that had led to juvie stint number one and what was an impressive amount of cars egged for a seventh grader.
There were signs Wes had learned to interpret in his years of friendship with Nick, and every single one of them was blaring loud and clear.
“Yeah.” Nick waved a dismissive hand. “Look, I’m not super-proud of it, but Annelea came up with this plan.”
“I thought we agreed any and all of Annelea’s plans needed to be dismissed on the grounds of fundamental craziness.”
Nick rolled his eyes. “No, you agreed to that, and I agreed not to punch you in the face for dissing my lady.”
“Oh yeah,” Wes sighed. “I remember that.”
It had been one of their less effective conversations.
With that settled, Nick continued where he had left off, slowly sitting up to prop his back against the headboard. “It was one of her popularity schemes, right? And originally I had dismissed it, because shit man, we have that in spades-” Not really, but okay, sure. “Or, I guess we kind of worked out part of it, but now I’m gonna prove how sick her plan is by dedicating the hell out of it - because chicks love that shit - and then she’ll come back and we can date again.”
“Or, you could just date someone else,” Wes offered. Someone with a bit more stability would be great.
The glare Nick shot him was pure venom, served with a generosity that promised Nick would ignore that comment because of their years of friendship.
Seriously, why did they hang out?
Wes sighed. “Or not.”
“Damn straight.” Nick rolled his shoulders, smirking.
“Kind of not?” Wes countered. “What sort of plan requires you to date my girlfriend?”
“And you,” Nick reminded. “That part’s important.”
“Yeah.” The part Wes had been sequestering to a part of his brain full of stuff he refused to address. “So what’s this ‘plan’ of Annelea’s?”
There was a sense of foreboding despair when he asked. In truth, Wes didn’t want to know, but seeing as Nick had the ability to make this affect his life in a pretty substantial way whether Wes liked it or not, he should probably learn about this mysterious ‘plan’.
“Alright.” Nick’s smirk grew wicked, his hands rubbing together in mimicry of one too many campy James Bond villains. “Prepare to have your mind blown, it all started on a prophetic Thursday night during the summer…”
Wes was prepared, though not necessarily for the reasons Nick would be expecting. The teen reminded himself that he appreciated Nick for his spontaneity and creativity, and that it was probably worth the headache of nonsensical plans that promised disaster.
He braced himself, and motioned for his (former friend-with-benefits?) to continue.
And to the gates of hell they go.