In other news, I have been quiet lately, because of reasons.
Reasons: MA thesis (argh why, except I love my topic, but argh why), lectures, work, translations, conference papers (next week I'm going to Germany to deliver a presentation on cheerleaders. It required, absolutely required, watching Bring it On series FOR SCIENCE.), more conference papers proposals, maybe establishing my own business, building my mother's company website and e-shop, maintaining business correspondence with France and China for mom's company, taking up extra teaching hours for my university and teaching students English on a volunteer basis, organising a conference in my own institute, maintaining TAS program facebook, organising integration events between our students and foreign students, preparing for volunteering gig at a film festival next month, going back to learning French, and job search which includes weird 40-minutes phone conversations with recruitment officers carried out in Polish and English on weird subjects.
All in all, life is fun.
I also got addicted to X-box Kinect Dance Central, because whoever came up with the idea of turning exercise into a game where you get points and stars and levels was EVIL and a genius. Taking up running again too, after the winter break. Started with the treadmill and moving outside once it gets warmer.
I would get a life, but I have no time for it.
If not for the whole mix-up with the bridesmaids’ dresses, the whole thing would have probably gone differently. Andie wouldn’t have been so irritable and snappish and Brad would have calmly explained everything.
Brad supposes he should be, in hindsight, quite grateful that someone in the dresses shop had an awful handwriting, but at the time, he had failed to see anything good in the situation.
“You have thirty seconds, then I’m hanging up and getting back to my murder spree,” Andie warns him when she picks up the phone. There’s a sound of crying in the background. Or a wailing of a demented squirrel, could be both.
“There’s this show called Bridezilla now...” Brad tells her politely and she makes a quick tsk-ing sound before replying, unimpressed.
“Twenty seconds. And don’t tell me it’s because your date bailed on you, because then you shall become my next victim. You rsvped for two, you fucker.”
It is possible his sister has some freakish psychic powers. But of course, after this opening salvo, he simply can’t tell her he and Emma just broke up. She’d gloat, curse him, and then try and set him up with one of her friends, and that would be fate worse than death she was initially promising.
As it is, he only has one choice. Up the stakes.
Yes, he knows.
“I resent the implication. I’m actually calling to tell you we’ll make the dinner on the day before, after all. I switched shifts,” he lies. He’ll just take one of the personal days he’s accumulated, no big deal.
And he’ll find another date who’d travel to the West coast with him on a few days notice and spend three days with his family, at his little sister’s wedding. No big deal, none at all.
“Oh, that’s great,” she says, sounding at the same time honestly pleased and a little surprised. “And I’m glad you’re bringing a date,” she adds, ruining all hopes Brad might have had for maybe backing out. “Maybe we won’t have a repeat of that part where you disappear into the garage and it makes Dad think it’s okay to disappear too. At Sandra’s wedding we almost didn’t find him in time to give her away,” she says, with a fond smile audible in her voice. “Okay. Gotta go, fix the bridesmaids’ dresses disaster.”
He doesn’t ask. At least the wailing in the background subsided, so maybe she’ll get somewhere with whatever the catastrophe is.
“I’ll see you,” he offers and disconnects, sighing loudly.
“Now that sound serious,” a familiar voice offers and Brad salutes Nate with his cellphone, then frowns.
“What are you doing here?”
“I live here,” Nate explains kindly and dumps his bag on the floor before reconsidering and picking it up to place it on the hook in the hallway. And Brad thought his OCD was getting better. “Unless you’re asking in a more general manner, then well, depends on your philosophy.”
Brad rolls his eyes, but he’s holding back a grin all the same. Nate is in a pissy mood, apparently, and that is never not amusing. If a little frustrating if one is trying to get a straight answer from him. “I was asking in a more specific manner, as in, why aren’t you on the plane.”
“Ah,” Nate nods, heading for the fridge and fishing out a beer from the lower shelf. He waves one at Brad and then hands it to him when Brad reaches out. “Volcano,” he says.
Brad frowns. “That’s not an answer.”
Nate raises his bottle in acknowledgement and then takes a long sip. “Except when it’s practically impossible to fly to Europe because of a volcano eruption in Iceland.”
“I can see how this could be inconvenient,” Brad offers, and he’s really, really trying for an apologetic tone except there’s a hint of an idea forming in his mind, and so his tone comes out a little more on the distracted side. And a little bit pleased.
“What?” Nate asks. “Because your expression is eerily familiar, and I’m pretty sure the last time I saw that particular look as right before you and Person pulled that stunt with Craig’s car. In case you have any doubts, I don’t wish for a repeat performance.”
“One, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Two, you enjoyed that one and you know it. Three, what are you doing this weekend?” he asks.
It’s an idiotic idea, but on the other hand, it’s potentially a great idea that will keep him out of Andie’s shitlist.
Nate shrugs and bends down to pick Odysseus up. The damn traitor cat has been in hiding for the whole day, but of course the moment Nate shows up, the furball is headbutting his leg and purring. “I can tell you what I’m not doing, and that’s not attending the conference I’ve been waiting for for half a year or so.”
“You can’t just wait for another flight?”
“They’re postponing the whole thing, many of the speakers can’t get to it and no one knows when will the air clear,” he says, scratching the cat beyond the ear. It tries to climb onto Nate’s shoulders, something that had been cute two years ago, when it was a fluffy kitten, and is less so now, when it grew into a fat sack of malice. “Hey, buddy, did Brad even feed you today?” Nate asks fondly and the cat narrows its eyes at Brad and then rubs its head against Nate’s chin. Somehow pointedly, if Brad is any judge.
“His bowl is full, I checked his water, and the litter box is clean,” Brad says, a little defensively, before reminding himself he doesn’t care, it’s Nate’s damn cat and Nate is back so he can take over the feeding and throwing the shit out business. “So, weekend.”
“Probably reviewing my notes.” As exciting as throwing the shit out of the litter box, only more depressing. “Why?”
“Andie’s wedding is this weekend.”
“I know, I bought a gift,” Nate nods. “Actually, I bought your gift too, if you recall. One of these days we’re gonna have to sit down and have a talk about what constitutes a proper wedding present and what really, honestly doesn’t.”
“You want to go?”
“I can’t crash your sister’s wedding.”
“I’m pretty sure she invited you.”
“I’m pretty sure I had to reluctantly decline, because of the conference. And I’m pretty sure she’d kill me if I dared to fuck with her sitting arrangement.”
Nate isn’t wrong about that. This is why Brad’s life is in danger. This, and because he couldn’t explain himself calmly when she picked up the phone. “You’ll be actually saving her sitting arrangement.”
Nate frowns at him. Brad watches his face closely, it takes him just about three seconds to figure it out, or at least work up a pretty good idea what’s going on. Gently, he puts the Odysseus on the floor and pats the cat’s head when it looks up with annoyance. “What happened?”
“Emma can’t make it,” Brad shrugs. Nate got up at six am to catch his flight, and then he probably spent the rest of the day at the airport, waiting to see if the situation clears. He seems tired and a bit annoyed. Brad figures he has a slight chance of fooling him.
He sighs. “Don’t worry about it. It just- didn’t work out.” Nate continues to look at him and Brad shrugs again. “Could be worse, she could break up with me after I’ve taken her to my sister’s wedding and introduced her to my entire family. Seriously, Nate, it’s fine. Long time coming,” he adds and Nate nods curtly, either because yes, he had seen that coming, or because he acknowledges the end of the discussion.
“So,” he drawls. “She didn’t break up with you when she realised you’d rather take me to the wedding?”
Brad’s lip twitches. “Fuck you,” he offers. Nate calls up his look of innocent puzzlement, and Brad shakes his head at him, trying to press down on the warm feeling in his stomach.
“Well, not before the first date,” Nate says flatly. “But honestly, your family won’t mind?” he asks, serious again.
“I’m pretty sure my family likes you more than they like me.” Definitely his sisters, maybe his nieces, probably his mother.
Nate tilts his head. “Doesn’t everyone?” he asks and Brad rolls his eyes and looks for something to throw at him. Except he doesn’t, because the damn cat jumps on the table and gives him a warning look, like he knows exactly what Brad is planning and is prepared to defend Nate to death.
“I’ll get you another time,” Brad promises Nate darkly.
“I’m assured of that,” Nate nods obligingly. “Should I point out this doesn’t exactly fill me with dread considering you’re postponing your revenge on account of our cat giving you the stinkeye?”
“I despair over how deluded you are about that beast,” Brad mutters. Nate gives him a knowing look suggesting he suspects Brad sneaks Odysseus tuna when Nate is out, or that he actually bought the cat three toy mice over the past two months. Whatever, he can’t prove anything, Brad’s certain of that.
“Alright. If you’re sure Andie won’t mind, I’d love to go with you,” he says and Brad nods instead of saying anything, because frankly, this is one of the moments when he doesn’t quite trust himself not to say something idiotic. It passes, as it usually does.