Chapter

12

Jake wakes up to the unfamiliar feeling of a cheek on his chest and a thigh slung over his stomach.

Not that waking up to limbs entwined with some fleeting dalliance was a unfamiliar sensation by any means, but this time something seems off. He’s afraid to open his eyes, because he can’t remember the last few days. The very last thing he does remember—if any of his recollections are to be trusted—is corking open a bottle of alchemized merlot at nine in the morning, as one does, and then doing a brisk session of target practice, which was interrupted by...

By...

Oh fuck.

Jake’s eyes snap open. His ceiling looks the same as it always does, if a bit tizzy with the eye-splitting headache sending nails of pain through his skull. The gold-flecked flowers carved into his wood-paneled ceiling glitter in the morning light. Jake stares very hard at them because he doesn’t want to look down and confirm his worst fears.

But his worst fears are confirmed for him without him having to do anything, unfortunately, which seems par for the course.

JANE: Good morning.

Jane sits up in the bed and stretches her arms over her head. Her body is a perfect hourglass in naked profile. Jake’s eyes trace the curve of her spine against his will. They linger in the dip above her hips. Her hair is tousled and she’s not wearing her glasses. Jake actually has to catch his breath at the sight of her. It’s not her attractiveness that was ever in question. It’s everything else about this situation which is the problem.

JAKE: Jane.....

JAKE: What in the blazes happened!?

She turns to face him, giggling into her hand.

JANE: Why Jake, I would imagine that you are practiced enough at sexual congress at this point that I shouldn’t have to explain it to you.

JAKE: Jane i am quite aware of my reputation but im not some loose strumpet who enters into relations thoughtlessly!

JANE: Oh, lighten up.

Jane blinks and touches a hand to her collarbone, like she doesn’t quite recognize herself.

JANE: Oh dear, did you hear what I just said?

JAKE: Lighten up?

JANE: It’s been quite a while since I’ve thought that way. My, it feels freeing to say.

JANE: Lighten up Jake! The election’s off! The economy is stable! Dirk is probably never going to talk to us ever again! And we just... we finally fucked. Hoo hoo hoo!

JAKE: Did we indeed fuck? Was it merely playing honky tonky with our digits, or did we do the ole gamahuche? Or even worse, the beardsplitting?

JANE: Sigh, I don’t know what any of that means but Jake, we definitely did it all.

She crawls towards him with a goofy smile, padding along unsteadily because she can’t see shit without her spectacles. Jake shoots up in bed and scuttles all the way back, until his shoulders hit the frame. Something catches the corner of his eye, and he swivels his head around to see the Trickster Lollipop on his bedside table. It sits, like evidence at a murder scene, beneath an empty bottle of vodka and far more sets of underwear than the number of people accounted for in the room.

JAKE: Um...

...Jake says, but Jane shuts him up with a finger over his lips. She slides into his lap and settles her bottom into the space between his thighs. There’s a blanket between the lurid parts of their naked bodies, but Jake cannot rightly move unless he wishes to be dearly compromised. He stutters through several objections, but Jane is plucking all his strings quite mercilessly. He feels like a snake about to be necked by a mongoose.

JAKE: Wh... whats the meaning of the lollipop? I thought we agreed never to use trickster mode when we were... er.

JAKE: Unsupervised.

JANE: What?

JANE: The lollipop was YOUR idea.

JAKE: I- I must protest jane that does not seem like something that i would agree to in a right state of mind.

JANE: Well...

JANE: I’m not sure either of us were exactly in the right state of mind, to be honest.

JANE: We, er... had quite a bit to drink over the course of the day, and one thing led to another...

JAKE: Led to partaking in scandalous confections?!

JANE: I don’t know what to tell you, Jake. I’m not pulling your leg.

JANE: In fact, you were the one doing the vigorous leg pulling last night, hoo hoo.

JAKE: Criminy!

Jane’s expression falls. She’d been feeling quite buoyed after a night of jolly—if inebriated—fun, but Jake does not seem to share her enthusiasm.

JANE: Dear me... was that innuendo a bit too much? I’m sorry. I’m not very good at this.

JAKE: No its not that. Jane... i...

JAKE: All of this feels wrong.

JAKE: Now i dont want you to get the wrong idea here youre a dear friend and i care for you deeply but i think that what happened between us might have merely been the result of profound inebriation.

Jake regrets the statement as soon as the words leave his mouth. Jane looks absolutely crushed. Devastated. Like Jake just ripped the rug out from underneath her entire universe.

JANE: What?

JANE: Are you saying everything we did...

JANE: It...

JANE: It meant nothing to you?

JAKE: That. That isnt what i meant. Jane i simply....

Jane stares up at him, her eyes so bright they’re practically clear, like tropical water on a sunny day. She looks like girls do right before they’re about to cry.

JANE: Jake...

Oh, how could he deny her anything?

JAKE: What was i even saying? Im being terribly foolish.

JAKE: Sure we may have er. Overdone it a bit on the substance perhaps...

JAKE: But you know what? To hell with it.

JAKE: I might not remember everything that happened last night but im sure my passions wouldnt lead me astray.

JAKE: Youve always been a lovely girl jane. And youve become an even lovelier woman.

JAKE: Why its a surprise this didnt happen sooner!

JAKE: May as well, er just go with it? Ha ha!

It’s not the most rousing speech Jake has ever given, but it seems satisfactory enough for Jane. He releases a tremendously relieved sigh when Jane breaks into a smile.

JANE: Oh, Jake!

He flails when she kisses him. But this time, there’s no doubt he hasn’t said no.

> ==>
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