“She went over to the production office once she dropped Shay off here,” Max told her and got up, trying to look into her eyes as if he wanted make sure she was okay, but she turned to her brother instead.
“Did you get anything good?”
“Yeah, lots,” he grinned and Shane smirked to herself, sitting down next to him when he made room for her.
“I figured,” she said. “That sounds like Jenny, all right.”
Max walked around the couch, letting his hands rest on the back of it and tilted his head to the right when he tried to look at her again. “How did it go for you?” he asked. “I mean at—at the hospital.”
“They said I’m gonna be fine,” Shane replied and pursed her lips, feeling like she’d done nothing but repeat that phrase in some form the last two days. “And yeah, I’m telling the truth,” she added when she saw the skeptical look Max gave her. “I just have to rest, it’s the same thing as last time I was there.” When she finished the sentence the two guys exchanged mischievous glances and she turned her head from one to the other in confusion. “What?”
“Well, now you can do that,” Max said, “because we moved some stuff around a bit so you and Shay can take a couch each and then just lie here all day and watch the DVDs Jenny got for him.”
“Do you wanna do that?” Shay asked, smiling hopefully at her.
“Yeah, sure. That’d be great, it’s just what I feel like doing right now.” She really couldn’t think of too many better ways to spend the rest of the day after the morning she’d had. All she wanted to do was to just lie down and not do a single thing unless she absolutely had to, especially not think about the past weekend’s events, and maybe she’d wake up tomorrow to a slightly better day. Though there was one thing she still had to do and she’d been putting it off for too long already. She needed to have a serious talk with Shay, and she dreaded doing it.
“All right, then I’m gonna get back to work,” Max announced. “We had some minor database issues this morning so I just gotta figure out what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again, you know?” He said it while grinning mischievously at Shane, knowing how little sense, if any, his job made to her.
“Right,” she nodded back at him, but after a moment she shook her head and laughed. If possible, her brain felt even more fried now than it had before he’d said that. “Gotcha. As long as you know what you’re doing.” He grinned at her and then walked to the back door, leaving her alone with Shay and the conversation she’d been trying to avoid ever since he’d shown up at her doorstep.
“Shay,” she said softly, looking nervously at him where he sat in front of her on the couch. “Before we watch those movies, there’s some stuff I think we should talk about.”
It seemed to make him uncomfortable and that didn’t exactly do wonders for her courage. “Yeah, you know I… I hate to bring all this up again, but we have to talk about what happened before you came here. We should have done that sooner, but you know how things got in the way. But we… We can’t just sweep it under the rug no matter how much we might want to.”
“I know that,” he sighed hopelessly, “I just don’t know what I’m supposed to say.”
“Well, to start with,” Shane began, wishing there was some way she could avoid the question, but she knew she had to ask him. “Have you had any contact with your mom lately? Do you know where she is?”
Shay avoided looking at her and instead picked up one of the DVDs Jenny had bought for him and pretended to read the text on the back cover. “Not exactly,” he mumbled. “Dad said we were gonna go and see her.”
“Yeah, you told me that on the phone.” After a moment the meaning of what he’d just told her began to sink in. “Wait, you mean he never took you?”
“No. Shane, I miss her.”
She almost thought he was about to start crying as he said it, and it would have been understandable. She knew so well what it was like to be in his place, he was only a year older than she had been when her own mom had given her up and it still hurt when she thought about it. For him the wounds were still fresh and that had to be so much worse.
“I know you do, I’m sorry,” she said softly, fighting back the tears that were threatening to well up in her eyes. It was beyond her how his father couldn’t comprehend or even bring himself to try to care about how important it was for Shay to see Carla, if only for a moment. “Look, I can’t promise anything, but we can ask Max and maybe he can help us find her.” Shay nodded slowly a couple of times and she cautiously continued. “And what about your dad?”
Shay tilted his head up, looking at her in confusion before he replied; sounding slightly offended but there was still a hint of curiosity in his voice. “He’s your dad too.”
Her brother’s words hit her like a slap in the face; he was right of course, but it hadn’t occurred to her up until that point how she distanced herself from Gabriel McCutcheon now and only ever thought of him as Shay’s father. “I know he is,” she said quietly, lifting her hand to thoughtfully rub the bridge of her nose with her thumb and index finger. “I’m just not used to that. Sometimes I guess I just forget.”
Shay swallowed, looking into her eyes, his own filled with sadness. “Because he left you too.”
She nodded slowly. “Shay, he’s still your dad. And I don’t want to bash him for what he did to you, but I can’t defend him either. He had no right to leave you there.”
“It’s not like it was the first time.”
“What?” Shane could feel her heart beating faster and she took a deep breath when he continued.
“When he left for work he could be gone for days at a time,” he explained and while his voice was calm, he shifted the DVDs nervously while he talked. “I always used to be with mom when he did that, but then when she left he made me stay with some people he knew from work and I hated that.” He paused and took a deep breath, looking at her as if he expected to get yelled at for what he was about to say. “So I ran away.”
“Shay, I’m so sorry.”
“And after that they didn’t want me to stay there anymore because it was too much trouble, so he just let me stay home. But that was better anyway.” He shrugged, letting out a deep, hopeless sigh. “But this time was different, because I knew it had nothing to do with work, he just didn’t want…”
“Come here,” Shane said softly when his voice trailed off, wrapping her arms around him in a warm hug as the tears finally began to trickle down her cheeks. “You should have called me. I wish you would have just called me and I’d have come to get you in a second.” She should have known something like that would happen after Shay went back to Oregon and now she berated herself for not having just asked him more in depth about it instead of expecting him to tell her what was going on. On a second thought, his father could have been listening every time they were on the phone…
“Yeah, I know,” Shay mumbled and hugged her tightly, relieved to have finally been able to tell her what had really happened. “I wish I could stay here and never go back there again.”
Wiping the tears off her right cheek, she let go and sat back to look at him, not sure if he’d really said what she thought he had. “Are you—are you sure about that?” she stuttered.
“You don’t leave me all the time, and I like it here,” he replied, looking at her pleadingly.
“I was going to talk to you about that, because I know that that’s a pretty difficult decision to make, but if you really want to stay with us, then we can try to make that happen.” She was a bit shocked to hear herself say it, but she knew she’d already made up her mind when she talked to Jenny about it. Jenny believed they could make it work and knowing that she could finally push aside her doubts in herself and her fear of failing him, but in the end it all came down to what he wanted. “But I wouldn’t do that if… if that’s not what you want me to do.”
“You want me to stay here?”
“Yeah, I—I do. There’s nothing I want more in the whole world. We’ll figure something out. You don’t have to decide anything right now, you can think about it for a while.”
“Okay,” he said simply, smiling back at her and seemingly content with her response.
“And I need to call the school and tell them you’re here,” Shane reminded herself once she managed to clear her head a bit from the conversation they’d just had. “How soon do you think you’ll be ready to go back there?”
“Tomorrow?” Shane echoed, her brows furrowing. She hadn’t expected him to be in such a rush to back there, but it was a good thing. “Okay, well, I’ll call them later and see what they say. How’s that?” Shay nodded slowly. “Are you…?”
“Nervous? No. Do you think Jared will be there?”
“I don’t see why he wouldn’t be. He and Paige still live here as far as I know, and I know he missed you a lot when you left.”
“You don’t talk to them anymore, do you?” he asked, frowning slightly.
“No, I don’t. But we can call them too if you want.” Shane paused when she realized there was still something they hadn’t really discussed. “You know I’m with Jenny now, right?”
“Yeah, I know.”
“And you’re okay with that?”
Shay shrugged. “Yeah, I like her. She’s just a little…”
“Weird?” Shane suggested with a smirk.
“Yeah,” he chuckled and Shane soon joined him.
“Yeah, she is,” she said, smiling happily, “but she’s a really sweet and great person, and she loves you too, you know.” Her brother nodded and she went on. “Shay, you and Jared can still be friends even if I’m not going out with Paige anymore.”
“I know that,” he sighed and rolled her eyes at her.
When the dreaded talk was over with they both went to the kitchen and made some sandwiches for lunch and when they’d finished them Shane decided to call the school Shay had attended the last time he stayed with them. This time there were no problems with him going there and he was welcome to start the next day like he wanted to. Now that they’d taken care of that they could spend the rest of the day doing absolutely nothing.
“What do you wanna watch?” Shane asked, squinting at the stack of DVDs on the table. She couldn’t read any of the titles without her glasses, but it really didn’t matter which ones he’d gotten. She just wanted to spend some time with him again, it had been way too long since they had just hung out and done nothing together, because the afternoon at WAX a few days ago didn’t count as far as she was concerned.
Shay shrugged and picked them up, shuffling through the cases and stopping every now and then to look at the covers. “I don’t know, we got lots of them,” he said, flipped over one of them and skimmed through the back cover. “What about this one?” he asked and held up a Harry Potter movie.
“‘The Order of the Phoenix’?”
“It’s the fifth one,” Shay went on, not noticing the way his sister had lit up at the suggestion. “But I can tell you what happened in the other ones if you want.”
“You don’t have to do that,” she smiled and stretched her long legs out on the couch. “I just finished reading that last night.”
“You read Harry Potter?” he asked skeptically, put the DVD case down on the table and just stared at her for a moment as if to see if she was kidding.
She chuckled when she saw the way he looked at her and shrugged a little. “Well, you were the one who told me they were good! Stop laughing at me!” He didn’t listen to her so she grabbed the pillow behind her head and threw it at him, but not as hard as she had the same morning when Alice had annoyed the crap out of her. “What, I’m too old?” she said and started laughing too. “I happen to like them, what can I say? I read the first one after you left because I missed you, and I thought it was good so I just kept going.”
“You never told me that.”
It was adorable how he looked offended and almost betrayed because she’d neglected to share such an important fact with him. “I told you now! We should totally watch that though.”
Shay agreed and put the disc in the DVD player and turned the TV on. Shane put her pillow back on the couch and made herself comfortable, relieved that she had finally managed to talk to her brother about all the things she’d had on her mind lately. Things finally seemed to be going her way, and she barely made it to the menu screen before she closed her eyes and drifted off into a peaceful slumber.
“I’m not exactly done rewriting those scenes just yet,” Jenny explained a few minutes after walking into Tina’s office at the production headquarters. After the fire the scenes she was supposed to be working on had completely slipped her mind. “This weekend was…”
“Jenny, I know, it’s fine,” Tina cut her off before she even had a chance to start making excuses for anything. “After what happened I don’t think anyone’s expecting you to be done already, you’ve had other things on your mind. It’s okay.” She smiled at her from behind her desk, relieved that the two of them seemed to be getting along at least a little better now than the week before. She had to admit though, that all the unnecessary arguments they’d had in the past weren’t too easily forgotten and she had a strong feeling they hadn’t seen the last of them.
“There’s still time,” she went on, “it’s not like we’re gonna start shooting today. Really, don’t stress yourself out because of that, Aaron just wants things to get done the moment he thinks of them, it’s not that big a deal, okay? You should focus on Shane and Shay for now. It’s fine.”
“Thank you,” Jenny nodded slowly and decided to jump to the reason of why she’d come in there in the first place. “Speaking of Shane…” she started and kept her voice as innocent as possible as she looked at her executive from under her long dark bangs. “She doesn’t have a job anymore; do you think we can get her one? Please?” On a normal day she wouldn’t have begged Tina for anything, but this was for Shane and it was important, important enough for Jenny to crawl in the dust at Tina’s feet if that’s what it took. At least for a few seconds.
“Here? Well, it’s Shane so I’m sure we can work something out. I don’t know why that wouldn’t be poss—”
“I want her on the movie,” Jenny interrupted her, not seeming to have even realized she said something, and she was slowly pacing back and forth in front of Tina’s desk with a thoughtful frown on her face. “I mean, she can’t really go to work right now but she’ll be back on her feet before we start shooting. She’s really great at what she does.”
“I know she is, Jenny,” Tina said, grinning at how Jenny felt the need to point that fact out to her. As she pondered this, memories from two days earlier flashed before her; Shane with Jenny on her lap, smelling her hair, and how Jenny freaked out when it was suggested that Shaun – Shane’s character – would fuck Bev or Nina in the movie. It hadn’t seemed like just a coincidence to her and she was now becoming sure it wasn’t. “Are you—are you sleeping with her?”
Jenny immediately froze and turned to stare at her in disbelief. “What?”
“Oh, come on, Jenny,” she grinned, leaned forward with her elbows propped up on the desk and gestured with her hands as she went on. “You guys are practically inseparable, you’re desperate to get her a job here…”
“Because she doesn’t have one!” Jenny exclaimed and stomped one high-heel clad foot into the floor, then spun around, grabbing her long hair and pulling it in frustration. Tina never listened to her, never, no matter what she said, and she already knew what questions would follow.
“And,” Tina continued, seemingly taking no notice of Jenny’s antics in the middle of the room, and she casually shuffled a few pages of Jenny’s script. “In the rewrite, you had Jessie and Shaun end up together. It’s not like it’s a secret that they’re supposed to be you – and Shane.”
“Tina, I know I’ve told you this before, but I suppose it slipped your mind.” She struggled hard to keep her new found calm; why her former neighbor and current co-worker thought this concerned her in any way was beyond her. They weren’t friends, even if they hung out with the same people or if they got along some days; after the way Tina had treated her and how she’d betrayed her before Jenny regained control of her own movie wasn’t something she’d be forgetting any time soon. “For the last time, ‘Lez Girls’ is fiction!”
The other woman just shrugged and it pissed her off even worse. “Sure, that’s what we tell everyone, Jenny,” she said casually, “but you and I both know that those characters are based on us.”
“Even if they are, I really don’t see what all this business has to do with me and Shane.”
“Nothing!” Tina exclaimed, unable to hold back a giggle. She found the whole conversation absolutely ridiculous and couldn’t understand why it was so important for Jenny to try to keep it a secret when it was obvious to anyone who saw them together. “The movie has nothing to do with it, I’m just curious.”
“Good.” Jenny glared at her and pulled the strap of her bag up on her shoulder and stuck her nose up at her. “Because even if I am fucking her, I’m sure as hell not gonna tell you.”
After saying that, she suddenly spat out her Nicorette that landed right in the middle of Tina’s desk, then turned on the spot and stomped out of the room, yelling her assistant’s name on the top of her lungs. “ADELE!”
Tina sighed deeply, leaning back in her chair and shook her head with a small smile on her lips. As it turned out, fighting with Jenny could be fun at times after all. At least when she was winning.
“How is she?” Jenny asked Shay in a whisper, a moment after she’d come home that night and was greeted by Sounder who circled her feet. She quietly walked up to the couch where Shane was sleeping under a blanket, with her face buried in one of the pillows as usual.
Shay picked up the remote and paused the movie he was watching before he answered her in a hushed voice. “She said, that they said, that she’s gonna be fine, and that she was telling the truth.”
“She better be. How long has she been asleep?” She leaned closer to Shane to listen to her breathing and decided it actually sounded a lot better than the previous morning. She seemed to be getting better after all, and Jenny stood back up, letting out a sigh of relief.
“For about three movies, I think,” he said, shrugging.
Jenny looked up at him and giggled quietly, not knowing whether she’d heard him right. “What?”
“Well,” he began to explain, “she fell asleep like ten minutes after we started watching Harry Potter, so I just let her sleep. She looked tired.”
She still did, Jenny thought when she looked back down at her again, and she figured it was best not to wake her up until dinner was ready. “Yeah, she probably needs it,” she agreed. “What do you want for dinner? Is pasta okay?”
Jenny walked into the kitchen, pleasantly surprised to see Shay following her to help out, and together they soon finished making dinner for all four of them, after she’d sent Shay out to the studio to ask Max if he wanted some too. They’d done their best to stay as quiet as possible so they wouldn’t wake Shane, even if Jenny realized it was probably a bit unnecessary. From experience she knew it would take a lot more than that to wake her up.
Now that the table was set, she went to sit down on the couch by Shane’s side and gently stroked her hand over her back. “Hey, sleepy head,” she said softly, smiling as she looked at the small part of her face that wasn’t currently hidden in the pillow. The one visible eye squeezed shut until she sleepily raised her hand to rub it and she turned around to peer at her.
“Oh,” she mumbled and struggled to open her eyes. “Hey. Where’s Shay? What time is it?” Jenny moved her hand to Shane’s cheek, then somehow managed to get it tangled up in her hair and they both laughed as she tried to get it out. “I know it’s a mess,” Shane grinned.
“To answer those questions, Shay went outside to get Max so we could have dinner, and it’s almost 6 pm. Are you okay?” She looked concerned at her as Shane suddenly frowned and almost looked sick.
“Yeah, I’m just…” Shane mumbled and then looked up at her, laughing. “Fucking shit. I had the most… insane dream.”
That was not at all what Jenny had expected to hear, but she managed to relax a little. At least she seemed to be okay. “You did?”
“Yeah, shit.” Shane covered her face with her hands and shook her head slowly as she let them down on her chest. “Hugo Boss called and wanted me to model again. And then I… uh…” She paused and glanced up at Jenny, looking as if she didn’t know whether she should laugh or cry. “I guess I agreed to do it because I went there and they made me wear a freakin’ bunny suit. It was horrible, and I could just see myself…” Her voice trailed off as Jenny started laughing at her.
Jenny suddenly stood up and bent forward, covering her mouth with her right hand in an unsuccessful attempt to stop giggling. After a while she managed to calm down enough to bite her lip and just grin at Shane with the image still stuck in her mind. “Oh my god,” she said in between giggles, “that’s almost hot.”
Shane frowned while Jenny kept laughing at the image in her head of Shane as a playboy bunny, with the ears, high heels, and a big white bunnytail covering her practically nonexistent ass. It took a few seconds before the reason why she was having so much fun finally got through to Shane and caused her eyes to widen while she furiously shook her head.
“Jenny, NO. Not that kind. Jesus.”
“What?” Jenny almost managed to stop, pressing her lips together for a while, for Shane’s sake, but a giggle here and there still managed to come out of her mouth. “Shane, I’m sorry.”
Looking more defeated than ever, she rubbed the bridge of her nose and let out an exasperated sigh. “Think Easter bunny. Basket full of eggs and everything.”
“I’d still fuck you,” Jenny grinned while the images were replaced with what Shane had just described to her, and without really reflecting much on what she was doing, she danced around a little at the spot.
Pulling her hands through her messy hair, Shane smiled at Jenny’s crazies and allowed herself to relax a little. “Jesus Christ, I never realized you were this kinky,” she mumbled while she tried to rub the sleep out of her right eye with the heel of her hand before her girlfriend’s infectious laughter made her start too.
When Jenny finally managed to stop laughing she pressed her lips against Shane’s to make her stop. She sat down next to her on the couch after almost sitting down on her lap out of pure habit but changed her mind last minute. Shane looked a bit disappointed by this and lifted Jenny’s legs up to place at least those on top of her own, and put her arm around her waist.
“Shane,” Jenny suddenly said and Shane looked up, wondering why she suddenly seemed so serious.
“I don’t know if you’re interested or not,” she started, “but speaking of work… I got you a job.”
“You did? On the movie?” Shane lit up and smiled back at her, lifting her hand to brush a few strands of hair out of Jenny’s face but ended up slipping her fingers around all of it to pull it over her shoulder to get it out of the way.
Her unmasked enthusiasm forced a giggle out of Jenny and she nodded, trying to suppress her excitement at least until she got her to agree. “Yup,” she smiled shyly. “Do you wanna come and work with me?”
“I’d love that, thank you,” Shane said and Jenny leaned in for another kiss, hoping there’d be time for more before Shay came back inside. She needed that more than ever with the day she’d had. “I’ll definitely come and work with you, but I don’t think we’ll get much done if we go on like this,” Shane mumbled into her mouth and this teased another giggle out of Jenny, but suddenly, and for no reason apparent to Shane, she sat back and frowned at her.
“But Tina really pisses me off!” she exclaimed, crossing her arms over her chest and pouting at her. “I don’t know what to do with her.”
Hopelessly sighing and rolling her eyes when Tina once again managed to interrupt one of their make out sessions, Shane leaned against the back of couch and took one of Jenny’s hands in both of her own, gently stroking it with her thumb. “What did she do now?”
“She keeps asking about us,” Jenny complained. “She’s annoying and I don’t like it.”
“I seriously doubt she’s worse than Alice,” Shane sighed jokingly, once again reminded of her not so easily forgotten hell ride with her friend that morning. She couldn’t in a million years imagine Tina doing something as insane as what Alice had done when she filmed them, but it probably seemed like it to Jenny and that was what counted as far as she was concerned.
“No, she is!” Jenny went on, her eyes widening and she was finding it hard to sit still. “Shane, I’m serious, she has that… that neck thing!”
Shane just stared back at her, dumbfounded with her brows furrowed. “Neck thing? What the hell are you talking about?”
“You haven’t seen that?”
“Apparently not.” Jenny seemed both shocked and somewhat disappointed, but Shane really had no idea what she meant.
“When she gets pissed off, or annoyed or angry…” Jenny began to explain, “she does this thing, like… with her neck.” She grimaced, tilted her head slightly to the side and pointed at her neck and it was hard for Shane not to laugh at the whole thing. Her neck muscles tensed and her eyes grew wider as she went on. “And it looks like she’s gonna lose her mind or…”
“Jenny…” Shane chuckled, biting her bottom lip, struggling to not burst out laughing right into her face. Jenny looked insane, but she was quite sure that was the point of it all.
“I’m serious!” Jenny exclaimed and gave her right bicep a soft slap. “It looks like this!” she went on and proceeded to show her once again. “And her voice gets really strained, and her jaw too, I think…” When she added this to the demonstration Shane couldn’t hold back anymore and laughed so hard that they both fell off the couch and ended up on the floor, Jenny squealing when she landed on top of her.
“You’ve never noticed that,” Jenny pouted once they managed to calm down just a little, but neither one of them made any attempt to get up. Shane was still grinning so for once Jenny didn’t worry about her possibly being hurt.
“I haven’t,” Shane said, slowly shaking her head where lay she next to the couch. “I probably will now though, now that you pointed it out to me. It’s gonna be like in that, what was it? ‘How I Met Your Mother’?”
Jenny shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“That episode of some show that we watched, the one where they kept pointing out every little annoying habit everyone had. Well, that’s great Jenny, I’m not gonna be able to look at her again after this.” She started laughing again when she tried to picture Tina making the face Jenny had just showed her, but instead she kept seeing Jenny’s face on Tina’s body and that made it all a million times worse.
“I can show you some time when she does it,” Jenny offered.
“I don’t doubt that you can!” Shane managed to say while she was still laughing at her and she realized that she couldn’t even remember the last time she’d seen Tina pissed off, annoyed or angry. Those moods were probably reserved for people she didn’t get along with too well, like, lets say, Jenny. So at least that made sense, that she’d need her girlfriend there with her if she wanted to witness this incredible phenomenon, not that she really cared for that too much. “Jen, I love you, I really do, but sometimes you’re crazy.”
“Shut up, you love that too.”
“It’s my favorite thing.”