1077. Screaming Trees

The result of the complication of sleeping arrangements was Ziggy booked another room at the extended-stay place, so no matter who went back there when, there was always at least one bed with clean sheets.

Or there would have been, if we hadn’t taken it upon ourselves to soil them the first chance we got, which was some time that night. Court had been the one to send us back to the hotel. “To work on the song, of course,” she had said. Of course.

“Mm hm, going to work on this song right here,” Ziggy had said as he slid his hand into my jeans. You know we were maturing because he waited until we were in the room to do it, as opposed to in the elevator. “Time to give my throat a workout.”

I tried to think of something clever and double-entendre-ish to say back to that but I ended up just saying, “Shit, I missed you.”

Having sex didn’t stop us from having another little blow-up, though. When we sat down at the little kitchenette table with blank notebooks and a determination to at least brainstorm some song ideas.

After sitting there in silence, staring at the blank page with a feeling of panic crawling slowly up my spine, I was startled when he started throwing ideas out.

“You said she used to be on Broadway, right? What about going for something with a Broadway musical feel?”

I may have actually clutched my stomach and it wasn’t just for emphasis. “You couldn’t have picked a genre I hate more. Besides, I don’t think it’ll necessarily go over well in Tennessee.”

“Maybe it should be a country song, then?”

“Oh god. That’s almost as bad as a Broadway musical number.” I sighed. “Let’s not worry about genre right now. Let’s worry about… what the song itself will be about.”

He twirled his pen on his finger. “You could tell the story of her life in a song.”

“I could. But I don’t think she necessarily wants her life story told. She wants to be commemorated, but that feels too on the nose. I wouldn’t want it to be a song that she’d cringe her way through, you know?”

Ziggy leaned his elbows on the table, held his pen in both hands like he was making an ant bridge, and stared at me over the top of it. “You do realize that she won’t actually be at this funeral?”

“Yeah, but—“

“After all, it was you who said the feelings of the deceased really don’t fucking matter. After all, they’re gone.”

“When did I—?” Oh shit. I did say that about Jordan, didn’t I. “You’re not still mad about me not going to Jordan’s memorial, are you?”

He looked offended. “Have you given me a reason not to be?”

Now I was offended. “What, did I not apologize? I did! I’m sure I did, and I even told you you were right! And you could say I told you so! So, yeah, I gave you a reason not to be!”

“Well, maybe your apology wasn’t good enough! Because I’m still mad at you about that, apparently!”

“Then that’s on you! I don’t control your feelings!”

“Well you know what? Neither do I! I feel the way I feel and either you care about how I feel or you don’t!”

Oh. Oh shit. Right. Relationship. Partnership. My eyes were red and my face had that extra-hot feeling that usually means I’m about to cry, but I held it in. “I do care, all right? I do care. But I don’t know what else I can say other than to repeat what I said before. I should’ve gone with you and I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you. Especially since I know you’re only here now for me,”

He gave me an exaggerated skeptical look. “Oh yeah? Maybe I’m here for my new best friend, Claire.” Then he broke up laughing.

Yeah, it was a short fight. Just a flare up, really. We’d already had sex not an hour before, but you know how my brain works sometimes. “Ha. Okay.” I took his hand in mine.

It was like he felt the electricity right through that touch. Like he could read my mind. “You wanna have make-up sex?”

I nodded, already pulling him toward me.

“Well, you know what they say,” he said as he started stripping the flannel shirt off my shoulders. “Absence makes the dick grown longer.”

“Ha. Good title for a punk song.”

“Mm hm. Not a good one for Claire’s funeral, though.”


“Definitely not.”

His hand wrapped around the body part in question and then I stopped thinking for a while.


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