Benefits Ch. 10byMrFantastic©
All of the events in this story are totally fictional, which means, for those who never paid attention in class, that they never, ever happened.
So many words were going through my head. I had just spent the night with the beautiful Morena Baccarin, after having one Hell of a series of bad days, only to walk out of said woman's apartment to see a face I never wanted to even think of again, the face of my former best friend, Mila Kunis. Somehow, three words managed to come to mind. "WHAT THE FUCK?"
"Jake, please," Mila said, putting her hands gently on my shoulders. "Calm down."
"Don't worry," I said, calmly removing her hands from my body. "I won't give you the satisfaction of causing a scene. Now, for my first, VERY calm question, why the blue Hell are you here, looking me in the face?"
"Well, if you're asking if I came looking for you, the answer's no. I was just walking by to get a cup of coffee. If you're asking why I'm in New York, you know that I have a place here, and during the summer I spend time here."
"So you weren't looking for me?"
"I was going to eventually, but not right now. I thought you'd be at Kyle's."
"Naw naw. I mean I live there, but I wouldn't have...wait, why the Hell am I even talking to you? Do us both a favor Ms. Kunis, and leave me the fuck alone." I began to walk away, when Mila grabbed me by the arm.
"Jake, just wait a second. Let me at least tell you something. Please, after over 13 years, you owe me. Please."
"...Fine," I said. Even after everything, if she really needed something, I couldn't say no.
"Let's go to that coffee shop I was heading to, sit in a booth, and just let me talk, okay?"
"Well, you got your coffee, and we're sitting, so talk," I said sternly to Mila, looking at her coldly from my seat.
"Don't waste any time do you?" she asked, trying to get some kind of response from me. I just continued to stare at her. "Wow, tough crowd. Well, let me just get down to it then, but I NEED you to stay till I'm finished, okay?"
"Fine," I replied. "So talk Kunis."
"All right, here it goes. Jake, I'm sorry. I know that doesn't fix what happened. I know it doesn't put you and Elisha back together, I know it doesn't fix things between you and I. But when you and Elisha began dating essentially because of me, and when you two began to fall hard for each other, it tore me apart inside. I never even knew I had these feelings for you, and frankly, I don't really know if they were real, or just something fueled by jealousy, or something else. All I know is that I was your best friend. You were happier then you'd ever been in your life, and I decided that I couldn't have that. I know that no matter how much I apologize, things can't be fixed, not between you and her, between you and Dyl, and especially between you and me....." As she finished, she began to trail into a cry, a tear rolling down her right cheek as she began to softly sob.
As much as I wanted to just let her sit there alone, stew in what she'd done, I couldn't. Like the movie says, ‘I may be an asshole, but I'm not a fucking asshole.', so I went to her side of the booth, and hugged her, let her cry into my shoulder. "Hey, come on now Kunis," I said to her, stroking her hair. "No need for tears. Come on, quit it. You're gonna make me feel guilty and other bad stuff for being mad at you."
"But Jake..." she sniffled. "You have every right to be mad."
"Oh yeah, I know. And I still am. I still want to punch Dyl square in the damn throat. I'm still fuming at you. None of that means I want to see you cry. Doesn't mean you're my exactly my favorite person again either though."
"Jake, you think there's any way, any way at all we can be friends again? I know the damage to what we had is big, bigger then I probably even realize, but is there a shot?"
"I don't know Mila, I really don't. Despite how FUCKED you and Dyl helped make my life, I can't just throw away 13 years. Then again, I also can't overlook what I lost."
"Jake, I'm so sorry about Eli..."
"Just..don't even bring her into this. I'm done with her, and she's made things clear about how she feels about me. But as for you and I, if we can get close to how we were, we'll have to take it slow. We both fucked things up. I am very willing to admit it."
"I think I can deal with that Jake. But why are you so willing to forgive?"
"Two reasons. A. You're my best friend. I try to shrug it off, but we both know that's true. You're too big a part of my life to just write you off. And B. Anything to get you to stop blubbering. I mean come on kid. No one's cuttin' onions."
"Well, if we're gonna start off slow, you wanna start off today?"
"No Mila. I do want to try and rebuild things, but like I said, slow. Today was a good first step. But right now, I need to go to my place, and sort things out in my head a bit. I'll call you on your cell later, okay?"
"Okay. And thank you Jake."
"Don't thank me. Thank years of comic book reading, corrupting me into an honest guy."
Upon walking away from the coffee shop, numerous thoughts began to enter my mind. Was I letting Mila off the hook too easily? Did I even really mean a word of what I said back there, or was I just trying to be a nice guy? Could I even trust her at all? These questions did nothing but bounce around my head like a rubber ball, and no good answers came to mind. As I hopped in a cab and rode back to the apartment, I still had no answers. I'd talk to Josie, but around this time she was always very busy, so that'd be no luck. And Morena, well, even though we had a lot of fun the previous night, I couldn't unload all this onto her. And Kyle still didn't know what had gone on in California. So I was screwed, no one to talk this over with. But just as I arrived at the apartment, my cell began to ring again.
"Hello," I said into the phone.
"Well hellooooooo Mr. Parker," Laura said via phone. "I've just landed pally, and it sounds like you and I have some serious talking to do."
"Damn, news travels fast Red," I said into the phone. "You sound pissed though."
"You just have some explaining to do Jake, that's all. Meet me at JFK, all right?"
"You got it." I heard a click and then folded my phone. What had her so pissed?
I called Laura back up to get what gate she'd be at, but she told me to just meet her at baggage claim. She still sounded pissed off. And for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why.
I arrived at the airport and headed to baggage claim. I waited a few minutes, and saw her walk up to me. "Hey Red," I said to her with a smile and a hug, which was barely returned.
"You and me, we have to talk," she said sternly. "NOW." I picked up her bags and followed her to a waiting limo. "Get in." After I put her stuff in the trunk, I got in, and she followed. "Got the strangest phone call when I got in Jake. You'll never believe who it was."
"I think I have a good idea," I said. She had to be talking about Mila. But why would she be pissed? Wouldn't she want Mila and I to make up?
"It was Elisha Jake. Sobbing, crying over the phone. Saying she tried to talk to you, but you just yelled and snapped, and told her to never ever call you again. She was crying big time Jake. Now, here's what gets me. I tell you she wants to get back together, I tell you how bad she feels, and when she calls, THAT'S when you decide to let her have it? Did you know I told her it'd be a good idea for her to call you, that you wanted to talk? Now this happens, shit, what the fuck is wrong with you?"
"Whoa whoa whoa Red, Elisha definitely didn't tell you the whole story then."
"Well, I have to hear this then." So I went on and told her. I told her about how JUST after she called to tell me all this, that Behind The Scenes Special came on. I told her about the film crew member, and what was done and said on screen. "I see. So, because she acts childish, you act like it too?"
"No Red. But frankly, I'm fucking tired of playing games. If she really felt like you said she did, what was with Mr. Grip Dipshit?"
"Like I said, childish shit, like you running away from your problems instead of facing them down."
"Low blow Red. Real fuckin' low."
"Oh you know it's true. I didn't say a fuckin' thing at the time, but I thought even then this was fucking bullshit Jake. You could have easily talked this out with her, but nope, you just fucking folded like a piece of cardboard. You could have attempted to smooth shit out with Mila, but nooooo, you fucking let your pride stop that. How about you start being a man, and stop being such a little pussy?"
"Why don't you back the fuck off? First of all, maybe in hindsight, I shouldn't have left, but I did what I felt I had to fucking do. And as for Mila, that problem kind of ended up beginning to solve itself. She's here, and we're talking without screaming our heads off at each other. But as far as Elisha goes, I really don't give a flying fuck anymore, I don't. Sorry if that disappoints you."
"Fuck Jake, let it go. She wants you back Jake. She's fucked up along the way realizing it, but she wants you back. Isn't that what you want?"
"Not anymore. I don't want her back, and that's the end of it. I'm over it. She should join the fucking club."
"You know what? Fine. Have it your way. But I'm not gonna be the one to tell her. You do it yourself."
"Hard to do if I don't plan on talking to her."
"You're such a fucking child."
"Whatever Red. I've just moved on. If she hasn't, then tough shit."
We sat in silence for the duration of the ride. I don't know where she got off, thinking she had ANY right to ream on me for this. Elisha decided we couldn't go any further. I had moved on. I had no reason to feel bad. Then the image of her crying.....over something I did...again.....fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. NO! This time it was.....God damn it.......
"Listen," I said to Laura as I helped her with her luggage. "If you want to hang out without completely ripping me a new one, just call my cell."
"Look, Jake, I'm sorry about yelling at you like that," Laura replied as we walked into the building she was staying at. "But I honestly think you're making a mistake. You and Elisha, you two are so good together. And to watch you both throw it away over this childish shit....well, it pisses me the fuck off."
"I'm sorry about that Laura, but it's my decision to make. And right now, I decide to say "no" to her."
"Fine. I won't say a thing about it again except both of you are morons, and should just get over all this and realize how retarded you two are for each other. Now I'm done."
"Good. So, who you stayin' with anyway?" That questioned was answered with the next voice I heard.
"LAURA!" Mila yelled, greeting her friend with a hug. "And Jake! It's great to see you both! SO great."
"Wow, you weren't kidding about the "no yelling" part Jake," Laura said. "In fact, I see no repressed rage at all. Good job sport."
"Thank you ever so much Red," I said sarcastically. "Well, once I help you with all this, I'll be off, back to my place for some rest after all this activity."
"How about we three meet up tonight?" Laura asked. "After I get settled in, we go to some clubs, bowling for the squirt......"
"Oh, do shut up," Mila said.
"I don't know," I said, unsure if it was cool to be hanging with Mila so soon. We both agreed to take it kind of slow in getting back to where we were.
"You know," Mila said. "I'm tired too. I think I wanna stay in tonight."
"Yeah, I know the feeling," I said to her, relieved. "Besides, I gotta work tonight."
"All right," Laura said. "But I'm only in town for a week ya know, so it'll have to be soon."
"I promise, sometime this week."
"Good. See ya ‘round dork," said Laura, deciding to take her stuff up herself with Mila.
As soon as I got through my door and close enough, I collapsed face first on my couch. It had been quite a hectic day so far. I had no idea about anything anymore. How did I feel about Elisha? Did I still love her? Or was I really over it? The Mila questions? Infinite. I was completely scatterbrained. I had no clue where I was going. Hell, I was lucky to be able to remember my name.
"Yo, Ostrich Boy," Kyle said from behind the couch. "Get your head up from there and wake the fuck up."
"Dude, not now, I'm beggin' ya, just not now."
"Oh great, the Amazing Manic Depressive Kid is back."
"I'm beggin' ya man......."
"Guess what pally. I ain't leavin' this damn room till you tell me the whole thing. Why you're Billy Bitchcakes recently. And you know I can do it. So spill it all."
"Dude, you really don't want to know....."
"Yeah, I do. Otherwise, you'll still be Mr. Whiny Bitch. So spit it out fucker."
"Fine...." So I did. I let him in on the whole shebang. Meeting Elisha, not liking her at first, the concert, falling for her, what happened, everything.
"Well....at least now I know why you leave the room when I watch my 24 DVDs," he said. "I know this is really undercutting things, but that sucks man.....completely. Though I promise you, next time I see Dyl, I'm punching that fucker in the throat."
"Great minds think alike," I said with a smirk. "But now I find out Elisha wants me back, and now Mila's here, being all apologetic...fuck....it never just rains lightly does it?"
"Naw, it doesn't. But in all honesty, that Laura chick may be right. You should at least talk to her. It sounds like that 24 chick really does want to mend things."
"Too bad. I'm past it."
"Have it your way dude. Just remember, second chances don't happen every fuckin' day."
As I worked at the bar that night, I still couldn't get things out of my head. The more I tried to organize things, the more things became unraveled. I kept fucking drinks up, losing concentration. Got so bad my uncle decided to take me off the floor and take over himself.
I trodded up the stairs, past the apartment up to the roof. I sat down against the ledge again. Why is it that every time it looks like I have things together, it all becomes unraveled? When things gelled with Elisha, BOOM!, everything falls apart. I get over her...BOOM! That gets hit. I hear she wants me back! BOOM! That gets hit. I decide I'm over her, and yet again, KA-FUCKIN'-BOOM. I swear, I must have killed a shit load of puppies or something in a previous life.
I got down to the sidewalk via the fire escape and decided to go for a little walk, clear my head. I walked past Nick's and headed to a different bar I knew of. I just wanted to be alone, drown my sorrows. Weak way to go about dealing with things, but at that moment, I didn't care. I walked through the door of the bar, sat down, and ordered a beer. I sat there for a while, nursing just one fucking beer, dwelling on shit that should have been past me at this point. But, as it seems to be my luck, whenever I'm just about to be over something, it comes back to bite me in the ass.
I must have been completely oblivious to the world around me, because I didn't notice this amazing looking girl sitting next to me until my beer was finished, which by my count was good 45 minutes after I entered the bar. When I got a good look at her, I really kicked myself for not noticing her. It was my favorite slayer herself, Eliza Dushku. What she was doing in a bar in New York, I couldn't quite figure out, but then again, I wasn't up for solving a fucking mystery. But I was up for talking to someone about anything but my life, and Ms. Dushku seemed like the perfect candidate.
"Hey," I said to her. "Mind if I buy you a drink?" She turned to me and gave a quick look.
"Do I have to talk to you?" she asked coldy. But her face went from stern to a smile. "Hey, just kidding. Yeah, knock yourself out."
"What are you drinking?", I asked her.
"Ah, a woman after my own tastes."
"You should feel honored," she said with a smile as I asked the bartender for two more bottles of beer. "My name's Eliza by the way."
"Yeah, I kind of already knew that," I said, taking a sip from my bottle. "My name's Jake."
"Well, hello Jake," she said, taking my hand and shaking it. "What's on your mind, if you don't mind me asking?"
"Eh, just felt the need to get out, ya know? What about yourself?"
"Yeah, I can feel that. For myself, well, I'm just taking a little break, vacationing here in NY before I go back to Vancouver to start the second season of my show."
"How long are you here for?"
"Oh, at least a month, month and a half. Why?"
"Well, I was just wondering if maybe you'd like to get together sometime outside of a bar."
"Hmm, that sounds like a nice little plan. At the very least, it would kill some time for me....." she said with a laugh. "Let me give you my number here." I saw her take a napkin and scribble a number open it, then hand it to me. "Now that's out of the way, wanna sit at that booth over there, continue our little convo, or leave because you got what you wanted?"
"Let's go to the booth."
Eliza and I sat in that booth for hours, talking about anything that came to mind as naturally as if we had known each other for years. We talked about growing up 80's style, with all the cartoons. With her being a tomboy growing up, she told me she vegged out on pretty much the same stuff I did every Saturday morning.
"I'm tellin' ya Jake," she said, taking a sip from her beer. "These fuckin' kids with Dragonball and other shit, they have no fuckin' taste."
"I hear ya," I reply, raising my bottle to toast hers. "Remember frikkin' Real Ghostbusters? Cool stuff, and it holds up today. And what do these little snots watch now? Some show about a guy with magical playing cards."
"I KNOW. What the Hell is up with these kids?"
"I think it all started when the Power Rangers got more popular than the Ninja Turtles. From there, crap started to snowball to the point where quality shit could no longer shine."
"What, you have charts on this shit or somethin'?"
"Sure, sure." This went on for hours, bullshitting on nothing subjects, until she got a glance at her watch. "Fuck...it's five in the morning. Damn...."
"Yeah, sorry to keep you so long."
"Hey, no problem. It was fun. But I gotta go. You know, new fad called sleep. But call me, we'll get together again."
"Count on it."
"I will," she said with a wave as she walked out of the bar.
Once again, I awoke to my cell going off. "‘Lo?" I groggily answered.
"Jake, it's me," Mila said over the phone. "What are you doing today?"
"Oh, I don't know...it's still morning."
"Jake, it's noon."
"Yeah, so you have any plans, or you wanna go back to sleep, Lazy Ass?"
"Whaddya want Kunis?"
"A walk in Central Park. See you there in 45. Later."
I sat on a bench in the park, awaiting the arrival of Mila. Hard to believe just a few days ago, I couldn't even think of her without cringing and getting pissed. But now, I was actually looking forward to it. Sure, not all was forgiven, but the negativity was definitely a lot lighter.
I only had to wait about ten minutes for her to arrive, and as soon as I did, I couldn't help but have a smile cross my face.
"Well hello Mr. Parker," she said with a smile, sitting down next to me.
"Hello yourself Short Stack" I replied with a smile and a hug.
"Short Stack...been a while since you called me that......I still like it and loathe it."
"Then that shall be your nickname now and forever...once again......yeah...."
"So, I made the park plan, what do you wanna do from here?"
"Leaving it all up to me huh?" I said with a smirk.
"Of course," she said. "Like old times."