More Than Friendship Material Pt. 05byStory_Spinner©
She's not supposed to be giving the peas a workout too, damn it! Todd thought as Liz left. This was going to be bugging him all freaking day, but he couldn't say anything. He didn't have a right to. He worked in a porn store for God's sake. He wanted to talk to someone about it, but should he? She may have been keeping it a secret. He hoped for the pain meds to kick in and send him back to dream land.
No such luck. The only solace was the continuation of the monster marathon. Todd would have to be soothed by Monsterwolf and Kraken. He tried to lose himself in the cheesy goodness, and did so for an hour or so. Then he got a phone call. He looked at the phone quizzically, then picked it up. "Hey Allen. What's up?"
"Not much," Allen said. "You OK?"
"Yeah. Thanks for checking, man. I'm on doctor's orders not to work, though, so if you're calling about a shift..."
"Nah. That's not it."
Todd was confused. Allen never called about anything other than work. "OK, Allen, you're officially worrying me. What is it?
Allen sighed and asked. "What should I wear?"
"To what?" Todd asked back.
Todd was tempted to beat his head against the wall, but thought better of it. Talking to Allen was like pulling teeth a lot of the time. "What party, Allen?"
"The one on Saturday."
Todd had to think for a second, but remembered about the get-together Liz had mentioned. "The one at Ben's place? I didn't know you were coming."
"Your girl Hollie invited me," Allen replied.
Todd was a little surprised, since Hollie didn't even know Allen outside of the rescue on Sunday, but it made sense. If Allen hadn't been there, there was no telling what might have happened. "Oh, that's cool," he said. "I don't think it's anything fancy, so you can just wear whatever. Work clothes are fine if you have to work afterward."
"Thanks. Don't get invited often."
"Well I'll be glad to see you there, dude. You were an honest to God hero. Bringing a date?"
"No. Don't know anybody. Unless.."
"Unless what?” Todd was curious now.
"Your roommate coming alone?"
Todd was aghast. What crazy Twilight Zone episode had he stepped into. Liz flashing him and stripping. Allen going to a party and asking permission to ask her out. He realized that he hadn't answered Allen amid the chaos in his head. "Ummm, no I don't think she is Allen. Want me to ask?"
"No. OK if I do?" Allen replied.
Oh god. Allen was asking permission. Todd's mind raced. Allen was odd, but a good guy. He'd protect her, already had. He for damn sure wouldn't talk bad about her. He barely talked. And, he had asked permission from him like he was courting her, and it was just a date, not an orgy. Todd could think of no legitimate reason to say anything but."Sure Allen. Go for it. Need her number?"
"Actually, yes. Thanks."
Todd gave it to him and said jokingly, "Just be good to her, OK Allen."
"Always. I know how to treat ladies," Allen said solemnly.
Liz joined the girls at Mary's...or at least, a girl. Hollie hadn't made it to 'practice' yet and Liz had arrived a few moments early. "Hey chick!" Mary greeted her, exchanging hugs.
"I'm about to bust!" Liz told her, dropping her pom poms to the side and flopping down on the couch. "You'll never believe what happened!!"
Mary quickly moved to take a seat, "What?! Did something happen with Todd!?" The pretty redhead was all a flutter and Liz shook her own auburn locks, giggling.
"Well, yes and no. We did take a shower together..." She let her voice trail off and Mary gasped.
Liz laughed, "Well, nothing really happened there. I was just helping him out, although I did flash him my boobs. That's when things got interesting."
"Jesus, tell me already!" Mary demanded, balancing on the edge of her seat.
"Well, I let it slip that I had 'practice' today and he asked me what was up. He began teasing me about working for a strip club, so because he even bothered to think that, I ran with it. So now he's under the impression that I'm taking dance classes to become a stripper and make more money." She giggled, "Oh god, Mary. The look on his face!!"
Mary and Liz giggled for some time until finally Liz lay back and took a deep breath. "Phew...god. I can't wait to see his face when he realizes I took him for a ride!"
"I can't believe you flashed him your tits!"
Liz shrugged, "Well, he'd already seen'em, so seen one set, seen'em all pretty much. He was trying to scare me off and I wouldn't let him. It's becoming more and more clear to me that he doesn't really feel the same for me." She turned on her side, her head propped on her hand for support and sighed softly, her pretty blue eyes sad. "But, could be worse. At least we're still friends. I'll have to find a way to squash these feelings and let him do his thing."
Mary gave her a reassuring smile, "It's okay babe. It'll work out, I have a feel for these things, and the idiot will pull his head out of the sand soon enough."
Liz sat up and smiled, but her eyes still looked solemn. "Well, maybe, but for now I'll just enjoy friends like you, right?" But her heart ached, making it hard to breath all of a sudden. Fighting the whirl of emotions, she was happy when Hollie came practically bursting into the room.
“You girls ready to rock?!"
Liz giggled and forced on a smile, "Actually I am!" She gave Hollie a slow twirl, showing off her shorts and earning her a low whistle.
"You work that ass girl!!"
Suddenly her phone burst into song and Liz put a finger up. "One minute! Might be Todd!" Fishing her phone out of her bag, she gazed at the number and frowned at the strange digits that lit up her screen. "Hello?"
"Liz?" Came a strange, yet familiar voice.
"Yes? Who is this?"
Surprised, Liz turned away from the girls, "Oh...hi, Allen. What can I do for ya?"
"I was wondering if you're going to the party?"
Was Allen asking her out? This was an odd change of events. Her head suddenly started to hurt. She knew that Ben and Todd would be there and of course, Ben had Mary and Todd had Hollie. She had no one to bring, but hadn't been sweating it. Now she was given that option. "Um...yeah, actually, I'll be going."
There was a silence on the other side and Liz smiled softly. She had always liked Allen, even if he was the silent type. "Allen? Were you asking me out?" She asked softly.
"Yes. I was wondering if you would accompany me."
Liz grinned, because Allen was terribly sweet and rather old fashioned. "Sure Allen, I would love to..."
The conversation was short after they established a time for him to pick her up. Putting her phone away, she turned back to see the girls eying her curiously. "Well! That was strange. Allen just asked me out Saturday. He's my 'date' to the party."
Mary and Hollie looked just as surprised, "What about Todd?" Hollie asked curiously, giving Mary a strange look.
Mary waved a hand, "Fill you in on that after practice chick."
Liz shrugged too, "Yeah, lets get to work. By the way are my thighs supposed to hurt so much after all this bouncing around?"
Hollie giggled, but the look on her face was lost to Liz as she picked up her pom poms. "Ready when you guys are."
Todd finished the monster movies and the root beer while trying not to concentrate on Liz or Allen. When did Ben get off work, damn it? There was a college game on tonight and that was an excuse for nice, uncomplicated guy time. He sent Ben a text and told him to call when he was available.
What the hell was wrong with him? When did he and Liz switch places? Now, he was the one worrying about her. She was the one doing the off the wall things that most people wouldn't. He was even reading freaking Vogue. Screw it, he thought. I need to talk to Ben. I know he can keep secrets.
Ben didn't bother calling Todd back. He just showed up with pizza, a sixpack of beer and a twelve pack of Barqs. "Yo, sleeping ugly, game on."
"Since you brought food, I'll let that crack go, asshole," Todd replied with a grin. "But Pac10 football is just a weak substitution for the real thing."
The friends chowed down and lost themselves in pigskin and pepperoni until halftime. Then Todd felt refreshed enough to broach the subjects from the day. "Dude, I'm glad you're here. It has been a weird ass day."
"Isn't that all you have anymore? What now? The women's basketball coach decided to give up her lesbian lifestyle and declare her undying love?"
"Well, that too, but it's not what I was talking about. OK, first weird thing, going in levels of weirdness: did you know Allen was coming to the party on Saturday?"
"What party on Saturday?"
"Of course you're the last to know with it being at your place. Apparently the girls set it up as sort of a get well/back to normal thing after the crap last weekend. It's just us, the girls, and Allen."
"So?" Ben asked. "Allen's not normally on any guest list, but he was there and all."
"Yeah, but he called and asked me what he should wear..."
"That is weird. Why the fuck would anyone ask you about fashion?"
"And," Todd continued, "he asked permission to ask Liz out."
"You're shitting me? What the hell did you say?"
"What could I say other than OK? Allen's a good guy and he rescued her the other night for fuck's sake."
"Huh. " Ben looked thoughtful. "Well, she'll probably say no anyway."
"Why do you think that? I know Allen's a little different, but I think she thinks he's cute. She's even flirted a little with him a couple of times, you know, back when she didn't seem to know how. It was funny to see that. Kinda the blind leading the blind."
"What? She's learned how now? Anyway, dude, you and I both know she's into you now. Whatever that means, since you both avoid shit like the plague."
"I bIame Mary for teaching her how, and I think she had a crush, but that's over." Todd hesitated. " At least Vogue Magazine thinks that."
"You read Vogue now. Well, with you coming out officially, now that makes sense."
"Yes. You know I only have testicles for you, you big hunk of man meat, "Todd said batting his eyes. "And, that was just weird thing one, but weird thing two is more like weird thing squared."
"OK quit stalling," Ben said. " What's so fucking weird."
“Liz is applying for a job as a stripper," Todd said with a sigh.
"Yeah, sure she is. Like I'd buy that. Nice try, dill hole."
"I'm dead freakin' serious." Todd outlined the events from that afternoon, including all the reasons why it made sense, as Ben listened and fidgeted uncomfortably.
"Shit," Ben said afterward. "All that does make sense, and the girls have been doing some dance practicing according to Mary. Well, I guess if she wants to do that, more power to her."
"What? That doesn't bother you?"
'Why should it?"
"Because it's Liz!"
"Yeah. It is Liz. So, she would have looked at all the pros and cons and made the best decision possible for her. That's what she does, outside of falling for you, but everyone has their own lapses in sanity."
"Well, I'm not so much worried about her lapses as her lap dances," Todd said grumpily.
"Dude, other than the nakedness part, she'd be really safe. That place has an upscale clientele and it hires bouncers who know what they're doing. Anyone who gets out of line is immediately out on their ass, with their teeth leading the way for them. Why is this such a big deal?"
"What if it was Mary?"
"Good point. I'd hate it", Ben said. "But, she's a grown woman and can make her own decisions. God, I hope she isn't applying too, though."
"Well, no sense in worrying too much I guess," Todd reasoned.
'Yeah. And on the bright side, you could probably get a discount for my bachelor party," Ben laughed. He almost caught the pillow Todd threw at him.
Between practice, school and then the first few days back at her job, Liz was exhausted. Thankfully Todd was back on the mend. By the end of the week, he was able to walk and fetch his own things, which made sleeping on the couch impossible.
Desperate measures led her to take a couple of sleeping pills each night, but her body was much more thankful for sleeping on her soft mattress than on the couch which had little support. Bleary eyed, she was happy to have a day off, finally! The practices were over, they were set for the party and Liz could spend some time figured out what to wear before changing into the tiny nurses uniform Saturday. After all, she had a date with Allen to think about.
Since the football team had an off week, Hollie was grateful to have a Saturday for herself and her friends. Cheer practice had been fun with Mary and Liz, and the results were even better than she had imagined. At first, she thought it would be like working with the middle school kids she helped train in the off season, but her friends had really worked hard and gotten into it. She hoped the guys appreciated the efforts, not just the outfits. Mary wanted some help getting things ready for the party, and Hollie had volunteered. Liz couldn't make it, since she had her "date" to prepare for. That had thrown Hollie for a loop, and she didn't exactly know how to feel about it. She had felt some kind of connection with Allen. Not quite romantic, but there was something, and she still liked Todd. But, after all the work getting him and Liz to admit their feelings, she had pretty much considered Todd a lost cause and the big screening of the video she and Liz had put together was supposed to be part of that night's festivities. Now, Hollie wasn't sure that was a good idea. If Allen was into Liz, then he may feel blindsided or uncomfortable. But, it was just a first date. The little blonde sighed. Maybe Mary could help her sort things out. The fiery redhead had as good a head on her shoulders as a rack on her chest. Plus, she was not judgmental and kept things confidential.
Liz spent a better part of her morning going through her closet. Mary had taken all their costumes and hid them away with the pom poms and heeled shoes that Hollie had insisted they wear. In the last few days they had even practices with them on and no one had broken a neck, thankfully!!
She supposed that dressing up semi casual would be alright. She finally settled for a knee length denim skirt and a pretty scooped neck top that showed a hint of cleavage, but nothing over the top. After showering and changing, she sent Mary a text, wanting to know if she needed her to pick any last minute things up. Todd was MIA and she had a feeling he'd decided to get some air or hang out with Ben for a while. Not that she blamed him. He was usually always on the go and this last week had been pretty torturous.
The text blinged back that she could make an alcohol run and Liz smiled. She knew that Allen would be on time and hopefully he wouldn't mind swinging by to pick up a few things before party got started.
Meanwhile, Hollie and Mary were working like mad to get the apartment in shape for the shindig.
"If Ben and Todd are watching football, I'll kill them both," Mary muttered through gritted teeth.
“I'm sure they're doing something worthwhile, hun" Hollie said. "Todd can't work anyway, and Ben's probably picking something up. And, to be perfectly honest, we didn't really give them much guidance as far as the party goes."
"Blondie, you know you're supposed to just support girl power and bitch about the guys, right?" Mary grumped.
Hollie laughed sweetly and continued dusting. "Wonder if Sgt. Charming has picked up Princess Liz yet?"
"I bet he was there precisely on the dot," Mary grinned. "Of course, Liz does have some great pumpkins in her carriage. You still OK with all that?"
"Why wouldn't I be," Hollie answered. "Just because Liz keeps taking my guys, well guy, plus back-up guy. I'll live. That reminds me. I have this special apple I got her. It's in the fridge, but please don't eat it."
Mary laughed and filled up some bowls with snacks. "If you weren't such Glinda the Good Witch, I'd worry Hollie. Are we still showing our masterpiece tonight though."
"I'm guessing we need to play that by ear. I don't want to cause Allen any undue stress. It wouldn’t be nice, and, you know, he could kill us all in about 5 seconds flat."
“True dat. I think he'll be OK if it gets to it though. This is just a first date, and he probably didn't want to feel like an extra wheel."
'We'll see. Ready for your debut, Miss Thang?"
"Oh hell yeah," Mary said with a leer. "That's what I want most to see Allen's reaction for. You know he doesn't expect that out of Snow White. Us, maybe."
"Well we do have that stripping career to fall back on. If Liz can get us a job there."
The girls burst into laughter and looked forward to the evening, despite the unanswered questions.
Allen was prompt as usual, looking sinfully good without even trying. Liz couldn't quite put her finger on it. Perhaps it was the fact that he looked so serious most of the time, calm, cool, collected. She had never seen him with hair out of place. She wondered if creases were afraid to appear of his nice clean clothes. On the occasions that he smiled, it left most women dazed for a moment. Damn, he had just done it to her, Liz blinked and smiled back, then tried to remember what she was going to ask. “Oh...hey! Right on time.” She beamed, grabbing her purse and slinging it over her shoulder. “I hope you don't mind, but Mary wanted us to do a beer and wine run, if that's cool.”
His dark eyes studied her, not even trailing down to check out her outfit or anything. Strangely enough, it made her that much more nervous. "Sure thing. No problem."
Liz clapped her hands and smiled, "Bless you!"
Gallantly he opened the door her and urged her through. With her purse tucked close, she stepped out, locking the door after he shut it and sighed. "Feels good to have things sort of falling back to normal."
"Is this normal?" He asked, his voice somewhat husky, but teasing.
Liz giggled softly, impressed by how he opened even her car door and let her slip in before jogging around the back to join her. "Nothing seems normal since the whole Kevin thing..." She pursed her lips, slightly turning her body to study his profile.
"Thank you again. If you hadn't had shown up when you did...I just don't know what would have happened...or that is, I'd rather not think about it."
Allen gunned the car and slowly pulled out, his face turning towards hers as he pulled forward. "I'm all about saving the ladies."
She didn't often see this playful side of Allen and instantly was disarmed and laughing. Although she had spoken to him a few times and awkwardly tried to flirt before her stunning realization, he had never outwardly returned the favor. But, they had always been around Todd, which made her wonder if he was just more reserved than most. If it wasn't for the fact that she had Todd on the brain, Liz had a feeling that Allen would be someone she would love to get to know.
This made her groan softly, feeling guilty that she had said yes when right now there was no real hope of her taking anything seriously, if he was truly interested. After several moments of silence, Liz laced her fingers together and figured he deserved to know the truth.
"Allen, can I ask you something?"
He gave her a short decisive nod yes and Liz smiled softly. "Do you like me? I mean, do you see this date as a romantic type thing or just two people hanging out for fun?"
She watched him struggle a moment, giving her a curious look before his eyes returned to the road. Before he had a moment to respond, she rushed on.
"Never mind, don't answer. What I'm trying to say is...I have feelings - big time feelings - for Todd. It's all sort of screwed up and I don't even know if he cares in the same way. You're a great guy and I want to hang. I just don't want to give you the wrong impression. God knows I've gotten enough wrong impressions lately and I have no idea why!"