I don’t carry a pistol (how about a disguise? do you wear a disguise?)
I don’t need a false mustache
And you’ll never see me carrying around a little black bag (attaché!)
My real name’s no secret
But from me, it will never be told
Excerpt from “Agent Double-0-Soul” by TMBG
Oh, shit. What was I going to say?
“You didn’t answer my question.”
Yeah, there’s a reason for that Eddo.
How could I tell him that, yeah, she totally wants to bang you, dude, without mind fucking him?
And what was with this chick anyways? She was supposed to be shy. What the fuck was she doing, putting the moves on him? I was gonna need some help with this one. I grabbed a beer from the fridge and plopped down in front of the TV.
“Actually, Ed. I didn’t hear your conversation and I don’t know what’s going on in her head, so I don’t really know what to tell you dude…”
“But you are always telling me how things are without any proof. You are the only person I know who can do that.”
Goddamn perfect recall! Fucker never forgets a bowel movement.
“Well, yeah, I think I know, but this might be one of those things you should figure out on your own, buddy.” I took a swig, hoping he would do his figuring on his own time for once.
“Well, I don’t know, personally. But based on things you’ve told me before, about women, sex, initiating conversations and flirting, it seems likely that she certainly wants to have sex with me…soon.”
Shit. Either Edward is learning how to read people, or he’s, like, a really amazing robot that has been so thoroughly programmed that it seems to have human emotions or some shit.
Now for damage control. “Do you think you…you know, can?”
“Well, I’ve managed it before. It was awful, of course. But I think this time will be better. Plus, I think she’ll be more accommodating than Jessica.”
At least he sees the problem ahead of time.
“Well, we can only hope. But, Ed?”
“If she does, you know, want to…and you and she…” Shit, I can’t believe I’m going there…”If you do have sex…no matter how it works out, if you have to call me and Rose over to help you, you know, deal with it…could you just do me a huge favor?”
“Could you please put some clothes on first?”
“I’ll do my best.”
“She wants to have sex with him? I thought you checked her out, Emmett!”
“I did, baby.”
“Not good enough.” I slammed the pot I was about to use on the counter for emphasis.
“She seriously acted like she could barely tolerate being in the same room with me, and she wouldn’t talk hardly at all. Hell, there were, like, five times I thought that she would run away from me. She DID run away from Edward…Twice!”
I didn’t want to hear this shit. We finally got the guy out of his apartment more than once a week, and not wearing those freak-ass gloves in public, and eating something other than soup and crackers, and not freaking out when I didn’t measure his food…which was a HUGE fucking deal. And what does my brilliant husband do?
Set him up with a bimbo who just wants to fuck him…Again!
I pointed my finger at his chest and backed him into a corner, so he knew I was serious.
“You’ve got to fix this Emmett! You’ve got to keep her from putting her hands on him. I can’t go back to the way things were before.”
Then, I turned around and walked away, grabbing the knife from the dish drain and heading to back to the cutting board, which happened to be in Emmett’s direction.
He melted into the wall and his hands moved to cover his balls.
I rolled my eyes and started chopping rhubarb.
Somewhat recovered, he continued: “I know, I can’t either.”
“We spent a year in therapy, you and me, working through all this shit.” I said, punctuating every other word with a chop.
“And you said you weren’t gonna do this any more. You were going to let him take care of himself.”
“But I really thought this girl could be the one to help him get over some shit. Or at least get his head out of his ass…I mean, he seems better, right?”
“Yeah, but he had gotten a little better before Jessica, too.”
“Humph. Well, she was impatient…And aggressive…apparently,” he said.
“Okay. First things first. You need to get his gun.”
“I don’t know, Ro. He keeps it locked in his safe.”
“No, you have to get him to give it to you. He’ll understand why. It’s not like he’s been carrying it much, and he hasn’t brought it in here in almost a year.”
He put his hands up in defeat. “Okay, fine. I’ll get his gun.”
I dumped the rhubarb in the pan and started washing the cutting board and knife. I rolled my eyes at the extra-precaution I was taking, not letting the board sit there after having worked with the poisonous plant. Rhubarb wasn’t something I could ever work with when Edward was around.
“And we’re gonna need a buffer, Em. Someone to keep her attention away from Edward.”
“Ugh, not Jasper again.”
“He’s married. It’s perfect!”
“And you don’t think that that could pose a problem?”
“Well, no one knows he’s married. And Jasper is even easier to talk to than you. If we bring him into the mix, she might forget about Edward altogether.”
“This has blow-up-in-your-face written all over it, you know that, right?” he asked.
“No, babe. This has genius, keep-Edward-from-losing-his-shit written all over it. We’re not keeping them apart indefinitely, just…separating them a little bit. You know, cutting the wind from the sails a little.”
“Whatever. You better call him before whatever-her-name-is plans his weekend.”
*ring tone* She’s a brick!…Hoooouse!
“And then I told him, ‘If you think my client is paying one cent more than fifty percent, you are dreaming—'”
“—Alice,” I said.
“My phone. I need to take this. It’s my sister. Unless you want me to have to answer some uncomfortable questions, you need to shut the fuck up, sweetie.”
Alice rolled her eyes and crawled under my desk, unbuttoning my pants before I even had time to answer my phone.
“Thanks for fucking with my ring tones again, sis.”
Rosalie didn’t miss a beat. “You’re welcome! So, how’s your balls?”
Huh? How could she know Alice was licking them?
“Does she take them out for you to play with occasionally?” she continued, impatient for my response.
Wait. Take a breath, Whitlock, she’s just taking a dig at Alice.
“My wife is lovely,” Breathe. “Thanks for asking…hey…hang on.”
I pulled the phone to my chest, and spoke to Alice, “Do you have to do that right…oh god. Were those your teeth?”
I leaned back in the chair and kicked my shoes off. Oh…Please do that again!
I rolled my eyes back in my head. Breathe.
I shook my head and pulled my phone back to my ear, desperately trying to concentrate while overcome with physical sensation.
“To what do I owe the pleasure of your…ngh…call?”
“Can you come to dinner tomorrow night?”
Oh, yes, right like that. Ungf.
“Isn’t that…um…when you…” Fuck! “…meet with Em’s…uh…psycho sibling…uh, Edmund, or something?”
“Right, that’s what I said.”
Almost…there…Jesus, I love it when she swallows the head.
“It is, but we have a situation. Can you come over early, say, at six? I’ll explain everything then.”
I put the phone to my chest, again. “Baby…that feels so fucking nice…ungf…hey, Alice?…Pumpkin?…Fuck…If you don’t stop, Alice…”
She popped my cock out of her mouth. “What Jasper?”
“I need to help my sister out with family shit tomorrow.”
She pushed my chair back away from the desk and crawled out.
“Hmph,” she crossed her arms and pouted, “I was going to tie you up all weekend and fuck your brains out!”
Her petulance was cute. I hated to mess with her plans, but I was still on Rose’s shit list. Alice could wait a few fucking hours…
“Well, can we just push it back, like, five hours? Get started around ten?”
“Fine, but your ass is going to pay for this,” she said, sashaying away from my desk toward the bookshelf in the corner.
Fuck. Her. Ass. I had to look away if I was ever going to finish this conversation and get the rest of my BJ. I swiveled my chair around to face the window.
“Thanks for holding, Ro. That’s fine, but my wife is going to have my ass over it, so, you owe me.”
“Well you can just tell her that we weren’t happy not to be invited to the wedding!”
Great, not this again…I held my forehead in one hand, my phone in the other, the beginnings of a headache winding around my skull.
“We didn’t have a wedding, per se, for the last fucking time: we just signed some paperwork and said some words in front of a very understanding judge. We’ve got to stay under the radar. We have clients who are divorcing each other. They wouldn’t understand how easy it is for us to compartmentalize our relationship. Once we get these last two taken care of, we’ll come out of the closet, and you can meet her. Until then, I signed a contract.”
I hate having to explain this every time she calls. And it’s frustrating that I can’t tell my own sister anything about my own wife, not even her first name.
I wish I could blame it all on Alice, but that would be too easy. It was actually my own shame about fucking my archenemy that kept me silent in the beginning.
By the time I made peace with the fact that I was crazy in love, Alice put a gag in my mouth (literally and figuratively), and I couldn’t tell anyone. Then, she wanted to get married.
I didn’t even tell Rose that I was married until she backed me into a corner…with a beautiful blond she was trying to set me up with (she wouldn’t believe me when I said I was gay), but that was all I could tell her. I couldn’t tell her who, how nor why.
I definitely couldn’t tell her that the only other person who knew was Alice’s twin, Isabella, who was the only witness we could guarantee would stay silent about it. If I ever did tell Rosalie that piece of information, she would never, ever forgive me for not inviting her to the ceremony.
“I still don’t understand why you couldn’t wait a few months,” Rose whined.
“Will I like her?”
Only if you like smart, beautiful women who don’t take shit from anyone…what am I thinking?…They’ll be best friends.
“I hope so. She’s my life.”
“OK, brother-mine. See you tomorrow at six.”
“Bye.” I hung up and spun around, looking for Alice. She was nowhere to be seen.
“Hey, Sweetie-pie!” I called out. “I’m off the phone now! And my pants are down! And I’m still hard! You wanna come in here and finish what you started?”
She peered around the doorframe and looked at me impassively.
Then she said, “Oh, I’m sorry, can we move that back a few hours? I have family shit to do.”
Because of all the shit with Alice and Edward, and because she has this painful ability to get me to spill my guts, I decided to avoid her completely on Friday.
I would normally see her at work at least once, when I bring her diaried and req’d files. Most of the time, I could count on her being too busy to chat, but I couldn’t take a chance…not when dinner with Edward was at stake.
I can’t believe I’m going to have dinner with Edward Masen…and his family…
My chest would tighten at the thought, even as my stomach fluttered in anticipation of a certain conversation we might have after dinner.
I had to keep my hand in my pocket, because I was afraid Edward would notice a soggy, gnawed-on thumb, and think I had some kind of communicable disease. Instead, I rapped my fingers in time on the desk and chewed my lower lip, waiting for Mike Newton to show up, so I could put my “Avoid Alice At All Costs” plan into motion.
When he did arrive (late, of course), I, like any lame-o avoidy person, sputtered and spouted utter nonsense for ten minutes before I got him to understand that I wanted to trade my morning file run for his re-filing duties. Then, I left the office for lunch an hour earlier than usual. After that, I made up something about an old file in storage I needed to find (there’s always an old file in storage to look for in a law office) and spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out in the back, next to the only window, reading the rest of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies again. I was hoping to glean some of Elizabeth Bennet’s fierce confidence for tonight. I wasn’t expecting zombies tonight, but as I learned from my extensive farcical reading, it’s always good form to be prepared.
Obviously, being prepared helped me avoid Alice, because I was able to make it in and out of the building without ever seeing or hearing from her, which was a first.
By 5:15, I was home, changing my clothes, and congratulating myself on making a plan and succeeding. Then, the phone rang.
It was Alice, I knew it!
I couldn’t decide if it would be better to “miss” the call and hear about it later, or just answer and get it over with.
I paced back and forth in front of the phone and in my head while it rang.
If I answer now, and she forbids me to see him, I’ll miss out on dinner!
So, what! Tell her off and go anyway!
But then she’ll find me there, and make a scene, and I’ll be embarrassed, and what if she tries to touch Edward? He’ll never forgive me for putting him in that situation!
Fine, but when are you going to stand up to her, Swan?
By the time decided not to answer it, it quit ringing.
I had never been happier that I never got an answering machine.
As usual, Jasper was early. I answered the door. “Hey, Jazzer! How’s your wife…what’s her name again?”
“Fine, Em. Thanks for asking.”
He reached over and gave me a sideways man-hug.
Damn. He never takes the bait!
And even more frustrating, he never gets upset about anything! He’s just so considerate and…docile. It was hard to imagine him ripping some lawyer a new one over a divorce. Jasper was a hard man to read in general.
“…My sister here?”
“In the kitchen. Hey, thanks for doing this on such short notice. Eddo really likes this girl, and we want it to work out, but on a different timetable.”
“Yeah, relationships and apocalypses. I get it,” he deadpanned.
“Huh?” Was that weird lawyer humor?
He waved it off with a sweep of fake Japanese flowers.
“I brought wine and flowers. Thought Rose would appreciate a peace offering.” He handed both to me and started pulling at his tie to take it off.
“Yeah, those are her favorite. Hey, Ro? Jazz is here, and he brought that wine that makes you horny!”
Still no reaction from Mr. Spock as he rolled up his sleeves, his tie already hanging on the coat tree with his blazer.
Rose came into the foyer wiping her hand on the towel tucked into front of her leggings. “Hey, there! Oh! Are those for me?”
“Yeah. Sorry about the wedding thing…again.” They air kissed, but didn’t hug. Edward would freak out if he hugged her while she was cooking.
“It’s OK, Jasper. I’m not really mad at you. I’m mad at your shrew-wife.”
“She would actually like that nickname.”
Rose rolled her eyes and turned around, heading back into the kitchen. I pushed passed Jasper, so my ass-view was unimpeded.
“Well, come in here and help me with this food. Edward is already in the kitchen. You’ll need to wash your hands a couple of times, and do you mind him standing next to you so he can watch? He’ll probably have some, um, suggestions.”
Jasper spoke under his breath what sounded like “Kinky.”
I put the wine in the fridge and set the overly-priced Japanese silk-flower arrangement on the table…Rose said it was called…hm, something like “icky banana” or some shit. She knew he’d bring flowers. She’s super-smart at figuring things out and reading people.
Then, I grabbed a couple beers from the fridge, holding one out to Jasper. “You want one, man?”
Edward came up to us with wide eyes and said, “He can’t have a beer if he’s helping Rosalie! It’s not sanitary to drink and cook!”
Jasper stared at Edward, hands on his hips. Ah, there’s the lawyer-man. He looked like he was sizing him up for a fight. I tensed.
When he finally answered me, he never took his eyes from my brother’s. “You know, Em, I’m good for now. Let me just get Rose squared away, and then I’m sure I’ll take you up on it.”
Then he spoke to the guy he was still staring at: “So, Edward, I hear this lady is special to you.”
Edward, of course, had no clue what was going on, just as relaxed as ever…not that he’s ever relaxed, but for Edward, he was calm.
“Yes, she is. I think we have a lot in common, but not too much. There’s plenty that’s different about us…sex organs for one.”
“Yeah, that’s an important thing to get right,” Jasper noted while washing his hands.
“You should use the scrub brush to clean under your fingernails,” Edward commanded.
Jasper looked at Rose and then picked up the brush. I went back to the breakfast bar, sat on a stool with my beer and watched Jasper’s relaxed response.
“Rose, am I your favorite brother, or what?”
“You are my only and favorite brother. And I owe you.”
“Damn…straight. OK. I’m done and rinsed. Do these meet with your approval, Ed?”
Edward looked over Jasper’s handiwork carefully.
“Yes. You did an excellent job. I appreciate your attention to cleanliness.”
“You should tear the lettuce and chop the other veggies for the salad,” Rose said.
“On it,” Jasper said, picking up the knife on the cutting board. “Have these been washed?”
“Edward washed them three times; once with vinegar,” I helpfully replied.
“Great. Now, Rose,” Jasper said as he sliced into a tomato, “tell me why, other than my expert slicing skills, I am here tonight.” Jasper sounded like those lawyers on TV who already know the answers and they’re just waiting for the witness to fuck up so they can nail ’em.
“OK,” she said, stepping away from the stove so she could address the entire courtroom, “This girl, is Edward’s…help me out here, what are we calling her?”
“Bella,” Edward helped.
“Riiiiight, and she’s your…girlfriend? friend? pen pal?…”
“I don’t know, but I hope to get that cleared up tonight.”
And once again, Edward was useless on the witness stand.
“Anyway, Jasper, she’s coming over tonight and Edward clearly likes her a lot, but she may want to take things a little further, physically, than he is ready to deal with. We just want to slow things down a little. Maybe find a way for her to, I don’t know, reconsider her options, or just some way for her to put sex on hold.”
“You don’t need me here for that,” Jasper observed.
Oh, no you don’t, buddy. You aren’t getting out of this so easily.
I jumped in: “Sure we do, Jazz. The last time we had a girl over here for Edward, she attacked his dick. So, obviously, buuuuuurlch, we don’t know what we’re doing.” I saw Edward cup his mouth and double over, probably holding in puke.
“Did Edward ask her not to?” Jasper asked me, while seeming to not even notice Edward’s retching.
“No. I didn’t,” Edward said through his hand. He was clearly having trouble holding his shit together. “She promised me that I would like it very much. Because I like touching my penis, I rationalized that I would enjoy her touching it, too. Only I didn’t.” Then, he shook his head, as if that would help him shake off the nausea, blinked a couple times, and straightened up.
“Sounds like Edward is the one with the problem.” What a douche. Jasper always says the obvious thing like he’s figured out the whole goddamn puzzle.
“You’re not wrong…” Rose said. “But we just don’t know how to deal with him and her at the same time.”
“What’s her deal?” Jasper asked, finally getting to the real problem.
“Shit, where to begin,” I said, setting my empty beer bottle down and dry washing my face. “So, she follows Eddy-boy to this party. He bumps into her, she freaks out and runs away, but not before giving him her full name. So, then he gets her address somehow and writes to her twice, and then, heh, get this…her fucking sister gets a restraining order…on Edward!”
Jasper stopped chopping and looked straight ahead. He seemed to be a little green himself.
“Hey, man, are you OK?” I asked.
Rose looked at him sideways, but didn’t say anything.
“Huh? Yeah. I’m just lawyering,” he said, pointing the knife to his head, “So, if she got a restraining order on you,” pointing the knife at Ed, “how come she’s coming here tonight?”
“Excellent question,” Edward jumped in. “Although, I’m surprised you didn’t ask why Bella’s sister was legally allowed to get a restraining order on her behalf.”
“Yeah. Of course. I just hadn’t gotten to that yet…Here, why don’t you tell me everything, Edward.”
Jasper was definitely thrown about…what? Maybe he was worried that he was going to be asked to defend Edward if there was a lawsuit, or something.
Hey, that wasn’t a bad idea…
“Her sister had her sign a power of attorney, which she used to get the restraining order. But when Bella found out about it, she was not pleased. Apparently, her sister intercepted the second letter.”
“That was Eddy’s apology for the weirdness of the first letter,” I said.
“Huh. Interesting. So, she just popped over to the police station all by herself and took care of it?”
Edward looked at Jasper, eyes crinkled like he was about to hack a password.
“Yes. Rather…You seem surprised that she did it on her own. Why did you think she wouldn’t?”
“Heh. Why would I think…? Of course I knew…that…” he said defensively. “I mean, she signed over power of attorney. She’s obviously the kind of person who isn’t used to taking care of things herself.”
Jasper knows something. He’s never looked so…affected, by anything. What is it he’s holding back?
“Of course. Why didn’t I think of that?”
Edward didn’t notice the change in Jasper’s mood, which wasn’t a much of a surprise. Edward could rationalize anything.
I grabbed another beer from the fridge.
“Well, Edward, I’m an attorney, so I know all about these things. It’s no big deal, really. Don’t feel bad.”
“Oh, I don’t. Anyway, we’ve been writing each other for a couple of weeks, and this will be the first time we’ve seen each other since we met!”
“Well, it will be an interesting night, that is for certain. But let me put your mind at ease, Edward. I can guarantee you that this, Bella, is it? Will not attempt to get you alone tonight. I’ll help you out in any way that I can.”
I popped the cap off the beer and took a swig to clear my thoughts.
Something’s going on, but what? I stared at Rose, hoping she would help me out, but she wouldn’t even look at me. She was just stirring the pot in front of her like it was the most important job on Planet Earth.
But before I could get too worked up about my wife’s and Jasper’s weirdness, my brother started his own.
“Wow, Jasper. Thanks! I…”
Edward had pulled his hand out of his pocket, and he looked like he was offering it for Jasper to shake.
Everyone in the room stopped what they were doing and stared at the un-gloved hand between the two of them.
Jasper slowly put the knife down and turned to face Edward. Then, Jasper offered his hand back.
I stood up from the stool, slowly.
“My hands are clean. You can shake it if you want to.”
I stayed still, too afraid any movement would freak him out and just watched, stunned, as my little brother, who I’d never seen willingly take anyone’s hand in his own, brought his forward, sliding it slowly into Jasper’s.
And then Jasper, already back to his inhumanly docile self, patiently waited for Edward to grip his hand before he did the same.
Then, Jasper let go and turned back to the vegetables, like it had been no big deal.