homer drops his forehead against the table. he’s been awake for so long, a million years at least, and now that the alcohol isn’t blurring time in his brain every second ticks by like knuckles rapping against his skull. Ray Ban had brought him a glass of water, clearly sympathetic to the desperate way that homer wants to be really, genuinely, permanently dead.
“let this be a lesson to you in the dangers of alcohol consumption,” Donut Mouth tells him, sounding almost amused. homer thinks he’s coming around, though. he’s stopped trying to get homer to cut to the chase, and he’d even patted homer’s shoulder when he tried gulping the water down and had to spit it out when the cold of it hurt his teeth.
homer groans, long and low. “i’m dying, man. listen – can i just – a nap. a quick one. under the table. i’ll pick up again right after, i swear to god.”
“if you’re gonna be a man at night, you gotta be a man in the morning,” Ray Ban counsels, and homer lifts his head to scowl at him, or at least in the direction of him.
“don’t come for me with mine own words,” he grumbles. “jesus. okay. where was i?” he scrubs at his forehead, trying to massage the headache back and away, and takes another sip of water, slower this time. god, his whole mouth tastes like he’s been eating cigarettes, tangy and cottony and awful. he’s never drinking again. he’s gonna quit life. he’s gonna become a hermit. people will wonder if he was even ever really there, or just a mass hallucination.
Donut Mouth pats his arm with gentle condescension. “your ex-roommates had just moved in with the alpha sigs.”
“oh, right,” homer remembers. he holds the water glass against his temple and sighs into the sweetness of its cold. “okay. so that went wrong, like, almost immediately.”
it wasn’t quite accurate to say that the whole thing went wrong immediately; actually, bree moved in with AC and PK and, to the surprise of everybody, the arrangement worked brilliantly. bree had always liked PK, ever since they took a class together on art therapy. she was going into special education, and they’d done a joint project on using photography to help nonverbal kids with self-expression. he was also, she happened to know, a sweetly proficient guitar player, though the only songs he had memorized were “wonderwall” and the entirety of taylor swift’s “1989.”
“once you’ve mastered the greats, there’s really no reason to keep learning,” AC said supportively, when bree giggled about this fact. “also, i’m just gonna say it, she’s a bisexual icon.”
PK sighed, shaking his head. “taylor swift is straight, dude,” he said, in the voice of someone who has said it many, many times before.
“taylor swift is, or was, at the very least, in a romantic friendship with karlie klaus,” AC returned. “and you should honor the bisexual spirit that built this fuckin house.” AC puffed out his chest, and then relaxed. “not literally, because this house was built in like … the middle ages, probably by some repressed pilgrim who believed sex was a kind of witchcraft, or whatever.”
bree nodded thoughtfully. “no, yeah, the house is a metaphor for your relationship, i got it,” she said.
two loud slams came from the wall behind bree’s head. “taylor swift and karlie klaus were in love,” chrys shouted through the wall. “this. is. undeniable.”
“man, these walls are thin,” bree said. “that’s got to be awkward, um … intimately speaking.”
AC shrugged. “sock on the door means knock no more,” he recited, raising a finger.
“also, aggy spends a lot of nights at nessa’s,” PK added. “and geni is taking an astronomy class that keeps her out until like, three or four in the morning doing, idk, star bullshit. so.”
bree nodded. she folded her feet underneath her, sitting cross-legged and leaning back against the wall. they’d pushed the two beds together, using a large sheet and one blanket, and she could already see that separating the beds would be a nightmare for the rooms, like, vibe.
“hmm,” she mused, looking around. “well … i mean, i could sleep on the floor.”
PK frowned at her. “absolutely the fuck not, babe,” he said. “we’ll split up the beds. it won’t be that hard.”
“oooooor,” AC wheedled, grinning.
PK shot him a glare. “don’t,” he warned, elbowing him sharply in the ribs.
“you’re gonna make her uncomfortable.”
“no i’m not! she’s chill! bree, you’re chill, right?”
she blinked. “uh,” she said. “i guess?”
“he wants you to sleep with us,” PK cut in, before AC could say anything else. “he’s really attached to this fuckin bed frame.”
“i built it myself!” AC cried, preening. “i fuckin … magic mike’d that shit.”
PK shared a glance with bree and gave his head a minute, but fond, shake. he reached out to tweak AC’s ear. “it’s a square, bud. anyone can assemble a square. it’s honestly not that different from buying it from IKEA.”
“fuck you! i’m a master carpenter!”
bree reached out and patted AC’s bicep. “it’s really nice,” she complimented, sincerely. bree believed in the power of positive reinforcement. “you did a really good job.”
PK pinched the bridge of his nose, but when he met bree’s eyes, he was smiling. bree felt, suddenly, out of nowhere, a swell of affection for the both of them – for the very stupid muscle tee AC was wearing, which said DON’T BRO ME IF YOU DON’T KNOW ME; for the high heels discarded in the corner, next to the acoustic guitar with an COEXIST sticker from 2005 on it; and especially for the way PK was looking at AC out of the corner of his eyes, warm and wrinkled.
“aw, you big dummies,” she said, without quite meaning to. she reached into her bag and pulled out her ream of star stickers, which she always carried with her, just in case. she stuck gold stars on both of their foreheads and said, “no sex stuff while i’m in bed with you, but yeah. i think we can probably make this work.”
helen stood in the driveway with one hand on her hips and one hand shading her eyes, squinting up at the roof of the alpha delta chi house. dité was stretched out in her bikini on a plastic chaise. there was a winding wooden staircase leading from helen and dité’s shared window up to the roof. it had a railing.
“look what paris had built,” dité called down, without stirring or removing her sunglasses. “you ruining your life is the best thing that ever happened to me.”
helen sighed. she’d mentioned to paris yesterday that the roof was hard to get up to, but that it got the best sun. she’d said it in passing. it was just whining, she hadn’t expected him to like, do anything about it.
“i have to dump him,” she said, aloud but mostly to herself.
“uhhhh, j’excuse?” dité called down, sitting up. “the fuck you do, what are you smoking? this is the fucking best. he’s like a magic genie. i’ve been begging nas to build us a ramp for years, and all you gotta do is think about it and your boy comes through.”
sappho took a long, bubbly sip of her iced coffee. “maybe you’re a witch,” she mused. “maybe you’ve been influencing people with your magic powers all this time and didn’t even know it.”
“shut up, saph,” helen muttered. “nessa is going to kill me. she’s going to come home and see this extremely illegal addition to the house and she’s going to have me jumped.”
at that moment, athena’s head popped out of the window. “BITCHES, I MADE FROSÉ,” she announced, and began climbing the steps. she flexed her arms, a clear pitcher with pink slush in it in each hand. her baseball cap, backwards on her head, had the logo of the interim lacrosse team on it; helen knew because ares was on the team, too. athena was the only girl, though she fit right in with her knee-length board shorts and glaring white socks pulled halfway up her calves.
“how does she always look like she just walked off the set of bill and ted’s excellent adventure?” sappho marveled, delighted. “like, it’s still so hot out, what is even the point of tying a flannel around your waist?”
“the hashtag aesthetic, mama!” athena called down cheerfully. “are you assholes gonna stand down there marveling at the gunshow all afternoon or are you gonna come up to our cool new tanning bed and get blasted on frosé? it’s strong. i put a lot of booze in it.” she leaned over and sniffed one of the pitchers, winced, and withdrew. “like maybe … too much booze in it.”
“no such thing, my beautiful christina-ricci-in-now-and-then daydream,” sappho assured her, kicking up the porch steps, ponytail swinging. helen hesitated just long enough for dité to notice, and by the time helen got up to the roof she had finally removing her sunglasses so she could glare down up at helen’s face.
“girl, what,” she asked, raising her eyebrows. “like, for real. we got a sweet new set of stairs. paris revs your engine, for god knows what reason. none of us have to pretend to be interested in how many reps manny can do at the gym. don’t look a gift apple in the stem, babe.”
manny had been leaving longer and progressively more depressing voicemails on her phone. helen honestly was starting to feel bad. like, manny had been her boyfriend for a long time. it felt kind of dumb that it would end this way.
on the other hand, he was really embarrassing, and he’d filled up priam’s car with popcorn for no goddamn reason, and she didn’t love that he was acting like if he just out-pranked the trojans, she’d come running back to him like some … war prize, or whatever. helen was her own woman, okay. she has her own source of income, which she doesn’t even have to work that hard at because everyone loves buying weed from a hot girl, and she’s got like, literally hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. she’s verified on twitter. like, what, manny successfully filling some future hamptons-house-owning asshole’s car with popcorn is going to make her lose her mind?
anyway, this is how it’s been, lately; she feels bad and then gets annoyed and then bones paris and then feels bad again.
it’s exhausting. helen is not built for this kind of emotional complexity; she’s not sappho, for god’s sake.
“i can literally do like forty more reps than him,” athena said, drinking directly from the pitcher. sappho lifted her personalized plastic martini glass and cheersed athena with it. “i’m not even bragging, i’m just saying, like, i’ve been working out with jax and phoenix because we want to do american ninja warrior together, and jax said that manny hasn’t been to the gym literally since y’all broke up.”
sappho gasped, clutching her chest. “holy shit, i can’t believe you literally murdered manny’s whole personality, helen mellon,” she said. something twisted in helen’s stomach that she didn’t care for.
“shut up, saph,” she said again. “or i’ll take my branch out promise back.”
sappho gasped, scandalized, and athena let out a loud whoop before chugging the rest of the pitcher of frosé.
“chug, chug, chug,” sappho chanted.
dité reached out and patted helen’s arm. “just enjoy yourself, it’s all going to be fine,” she soothed. “and if it isn’t, who cares? we’re graduating. what, were you gonna marry manny atreus?”
“no,” helen said, making a face. “i mean. probably not.”
“so then chill,” dité advised. “have a little fun. it’s senior year, babe. if it’s not epic, what was the point?”
helen sighed. she reached out a hand and snapped her fingers until athena, laughing, put a red solo cup with frosé in it.
“bottoms up, bitches,” she said.
read book three
#oh look an update #Iliad #fanfic #(yes I intend to keep an eye on this and reblog every chapter) #(I don’t want you guys to miss out)