Court had her own room at the motel. Now that Christmas was like a week away the place had emptied out, so there were plenty of vacancies. I said good night to her at her door and said I’d see her in the morning to head over to Janine’s.
Ziggy was waiting up for me, reading a book in bed. He was in nothing but a bathrobe as if he’d just gotten out of the shower. “I was just starting to worry,” he said, setting the book on the nightstand.
“If the ice storms in Newark had been any worse she would’ve been stuck there overnight, but they made it out. Just very late.” I yawned and started stripping out of my clothes. Ziggy liked to keep the room warm and humid. He would run the shower on hot to humidify the air. Said it was good for his skin.
We both got ready for bed then, brushing our teeth and that sort of thing. “Is it good?” I asked him, after I’d rinsed out my mouth.
“Is what good? Our relationship?”
“The book, Zig. The book.”
“Oh. It’s actually quite boring, but it’s the only book I have right now. I’ll have to look for another one tomorrow.” He was dabbing some kind of gel or cream or lotion under his eyes. “How’s Court?”
“Confusing. Did you know she wanted to work for me? I mean, as an actual job?”
“Is that no longer the plan? Did she find something else?”
“What? No, I mean… well, I guess you just answered the question. I meant to ask, did you know she wanted to work for me all along? It was news to me that she was expecting to transition right out of school into working for me–or us, possibly–full time.”
Ziggy regarded me. “She and I talked about it. Are you saying she never talked to you about it?”
“Not explicitly.” A thought struck me then. “Or at least not that I remember.” The idea that maybe heavy drinking had affected my memory sat uncomfortably on my shoulders. “Anyway. She still does. Want to work for me, or us.”
“I floated the idea to Barrett once about picking her up as an employee. He said the best he could offer would be an internship, or possibly publicity projects on a freelance basis.”
“It sounded to me like she’d already determined that building a fan club that isn’t owned by WTA would be the better strategy.” I sat down on the lid of the toilet while he applied another lotion to his cheeks and forehead, rubbing it in with circular motions of his fingers. “She thinks it’ll be profitable faster if we’re both on board instead of just me.”
“Are you trying to convince me?”
“Are you against the idea?”
“I am not against hearing the idea. I’d like her to make a formal proposal to me, or us. Pitch the idea in a detailed way.”
“That sounds sensible.” But the more I tried to focus on specifics, the more vague my grasp on what exactly my career was doing and how that fit into having a fan club became. The spiral was quick and brutal.
“Daron?” He had been calling my name for a while, I think.
“Sorry, what?” I had been staring at a dingy, white motel towel on a rack and thinking what the hell am I doing?
“Are you all right?”
“Um, just, kind of in the dumps, I think.”
“Hanging around a dysfunctional family and/or people who are dying is supposed to be depressing, I think,” he said.
“So it’s normal for me to feel like crap all of a sudden?”
“Yes. Plus you’re tired and cranky.”
“I am not cranky! Well, okay, I admit that sounded kind of cranky.”
He rinsed the knowing smile off his face and toweled it dry. “Okay, real question: which do you think will make you feel better, sex or sleep? Because I am up for either one.”
“Hang on, aren’t you the one who always says not to make fake choices between things? If we have sex, you know we’ll sleep well.”
He laughed. “True. I guess what I meant was which do you want more, sex or more sleep, but no one said we have to be up early tomorrow, anyway…”
“That said, I’m not really feeling sexy. Maybe I’m just too–”
Before I could finish the sentence he threw open the bathrobe and dropped it behind him, arms outstretched like a nude statue by some renaissance sculptor. God, what a sight. My blood circulation instantly improved and I forgot my fatigue entirely.
“You’re too what?” he asked.
“Too horny to sleep,” I said, standing up and sliding my hands over his hips.
“Not for long,” he replied.
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