Hux arrived on Monday evening, after the first day of his conference, we ordered food and then we watched a movie, sitting mostly quiet on the couch. It felt pretty odd to have him here. I never had guests. Mom and Amilyn had been here, Dad had been here once or twice, but he’d never stayed over.
I was always alone in my apartment. The maid came once a week, but always while I was at work. It was so very much mine that someone else’s presence here seemed incongruous. The mere fact that he was sitting there on the couch, where I usually lounged, and occasionally jerked off, although I wasn’t about to tell him that, felt weird.
The next morning I gave him a spare key and showed him the alarm.
“It’ll start to beep when you open the door,” I said, “but you have plenty of time to punch in the code.”
Hux frowned, looking a little hesitant.
“What time will you be home?” he asked.
“I don’t know. But it’s not complicated, you just punch in the code.”
“What if I don’t do it in time, what happens then?”
“The men in masks show up and you are never seen or heard from again.”
Hux made a frustrated face.
“Just punch in the code,” I said.
“What if I don’t remember it?”
“It’s 010392,” I said. “It’s Tolkien’s birthday. Easy to remember.”
“Tolkien’s birthday? That’s not easy to remember!”
I opened the door and then he had no choice but to follow me out.
“Maybe for a geek,” he said.
I started down the stairs. There was an elevator, of course, but I usually took the stairs.
“Tell me the code again,” he said.
“Maybe I should write it down.”
“Don’t write it down.”
“I could just put it in my phone, under something else.”
He texted me that afternoon and asked if I wanted to go for a drink after work.
I thought you weren’t allowed any alcohol, I wrote back.
Ha-ha. I’ll pick you up after work.
Maybe going for a drink wasn’t such a bad idea. Better than sitting in my apartment. But why did he have to pick me up?
I’ll meet you. Where are we going?
He wrote back. I don’t know yet, that’s why I’m picking you up.
He was waiting in his car, on the street outside my office, when I came outside later. I opened the door on the passenger side and leaned down to look at him.
“You know, you’re just gonna have to drive me back here, so I can pick up my car,” I said.
“Will you get in? I’m not actually allowed to stop here.”
I sighed and got into the car.
We had stopped at a red light when I happened to turn my head, I looked out the side window and saw her. Rey. But it wasn’t just her, it was also her roommate, Finn, and they were kissing. I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. And then all the blood in my body seemed to rush to my head, burning hot like lava.
I reached for the door handle, but Hux was faster - all the car doors locked with a click.
“Open the door!” I yelled.
“Open the fucking door!”
I reached for the button that would unlock the doors, but then Hux stepped on the gas. He ran a red light! And immediately after made a right turn at an alarmingly high speed, nearly putting us in the line of oncoming traffic. My stomach lurched.
“What the hell are you doing?!”
“Saving you from ending up in jail!”
“Stop the car!”
“Stop the fucking car!”
“No! You’re insane!”
“Hux, for fuck’s sake…”
“Are you out of your mind?”
He wasn’t a very good driver. He always drove in a jerky manner and he had a antagonistic relationship with the gear shift.
“No, you’re not going back there!”
“Pull over!” I practically yelled right in his ear. “Before you kill us!”
He finally stopped and pulled into an empty parking space along the curb. I felt like I’d been running, not sitting in a car.
“What were you thinking?” Hux said. “What were you going to do?”
I didn’t know. I hadn’t been thinking, I just… I felt so angry, seeing her kiss that guy.
“Honestly,” Hux said, “you need to get over her.”
I probably did, but how?
“She’s not the only woman in the world,” he said.
But it felt as if she was.
“And you should seriously consider anger management classes,” Hux said.
“Get out of the car.”
“We’re not going back there.”
I wasn’t planning to.
“Fine. But I’m driving.”
“It’s my car.”
“I don’t give a shit, you can’t fucking drive.”
He sighed, but he got out of the car, so did I, and we switched places.
It was gut-wrenching, I thought as I turned the key in the ignition, seeing her. Seeing her kiss someone else. I had never even kissed her. I’d wanted to, so much.
I was not in the mood to have a drink, but it wasn’t as if I could get rid of him anyway. We stopped at some bar, a pretty quiet place. We each bought a beer and grabbed a table.
I stared down at my glass.
“Seriously,” Hux said, “you really need to get over her.”
“I really need you to stay out of my fucking business.”
“It’s not normal. You’re obsessed. You should try to meet other women. Women your own age, I might add.”
I felt too tired to even argue with him. I was grateful he'd stopped me. I felt mortified, just thinking about making an even bigger fool out of myself in front of Rey.
“There are women here,” Hux said.
I looked at him. Technically that was true.
“What, and I should just go up to someone?” I said.
“That’s what I did. That’s how I met Phasma.”
Really? I didn’t know that, I’d assumed they’d met through friends.
“So, what, you just… started talking to her?”
“Yes. I was out for drinks with some colleagues and she was there with a couple of friends. And I saw her and I went up and talked to her at the bar.”
Wow. My brother, the smooth-talker.
But as easy as that sounded, in theory, I couldn’t imagine myself doing that. What was I supposed to say? It wasn’t as if I hadn’t thought about it, especially since Christmas. There were a lot of Angelas in the world, there was even a word for it: Gold-diggers.
But even if I would somehow manage to find someone else like that, it wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted someone who liked me. And that just didn’t seem possible.
I put my head in my hand and pressed the heel of it against my forehead.
“You know…” Hux said. “I know I’ve said that you’re ugly, but you’re not, actually.”
I threw him a glance.
“I just thought you should know,” he said, looking slightly uncomfortable.
I leaned back in my seat and sighed. It was quiet for a while.
“Have you talked to Dad?” I asked.
I looked at him. Maybe I shouldn’t say anything more about it? But then I did anyway.
“So, are you guys okay?”
He nodded a little, somewhat curtly.
“Yes.” He cleared his throat, probably embarrassed about his reaction when Dad broke the news about the baby. “I believe so. Have you talked to him?”
“No.” I shook my head a little. “I think he calls Mom, and she keeps him updated.”
“He calls Mom?”
“Yeah. You know, he wishes he could get back together with her.”
Hux made an incredulous face.
“You think he wants to get back together with her?” he said.
“Yeah.” I looked at him. “Isn’t that obvious?”
“Not to me.” Hux still looked like he didn’t quite believe it.
Of course, Dad had never said anything about it, not to me and apparently neither to Hux. That would have been very unlike him.
“After twenty-five years?” Hux said. “What about Amilyn? And Qi’ra?”
“I don’t think he thinks it’s going to happen.”
Hux really hadn’t noticed? Huh.
“He’s probably right about that,” Hux said. “Do you think Mom wants to?”
“Huh.” Hux looked thoughtful for a moment.
I was hungry. “Do you want to get something to eat?”
“Sure, why not.”