More Than Friendship Material Pt. 12byStory_Spinner©
(One more after this baby and we should be done! Even though we got some negative thoughts on it, makes me feel good to know that some of you got very attached to the characters. Even if you didn't like the way things went down.)
The girls dressed as Hollie spoke and watched her take control. "Damn girl, you told them!" Tammy was impressed, smiling at the little blond.
"No worries, I'll straighten Todd out. He's being a little moody, but never fear..." She shot Liz a beaming smile. "I know how to handle this."
Liz still looked unsure, but nodded. With everyone all set and ready to roll,she grabbed her 'gift bag' from Tammy and followed them out the door. "Okay, I'll snag your car and you guys go with Tammy. Once our stuff has been taken care of, we'll get back to cook and get ready for the hay ride."
"Yes ma'am!" Tammy teased and smacked Hollie on the ass for good measure. The quartet made their way to the hotel parking lot and went their separate ways. A short, quiet ride later in Tammy's rental, Mary and Liz were almost clutching each other.
"Ben is going to be there, already! Oh Jesus , I think I'm going to be sick, " Mary groaned.
"You and me both." Liz muttered and sighed. "Well I'll try and buffer his shock while Hollie takes care of mine."
Mary smiled and leaned against Liz, glad that they had all bonded so well. "It'll be fine, chick."
Tammy shook her head and patted the nervous pair reassuringly. "Yes it will be. For both of you."
No one else had arrived yet, which was a stroke of luck for Liz and Mary. Liz ushered her friend into her bedroom and told Mary to stay put until Ben got there, so she could have a little talk with him first.
Tammy reclined on the couch, flipping through the channels and relaxing. Liz joined her, keeping an ear out for the boys. Finally Ben made his entrance. "Hey Peg! I'm home from the shoe store!" he hollered.
Liz gave him a smile as she got up from the couch to meet him."You're such a dork, you know that?" she told him and laughed.
Ben grabbed her into a hug and whistled softly, "Damn girl. Looking good, all polished. Mmmm, I'm sure Todd will love it."
She sighed at that and pulled away. "I hope so, we'll see."
He gave Tammy a nod and grinned. "Hello to you Miss Celebrity. And where is my Mary?"
Liz took Ben's hand and pulled him down the hallway a little ways, then paused. "She's in my room and has a little surprise for you. I just want to ask you to please keep an open mind. She's petrified you won't like it, but we all assured her that you're not that superficial and you'll love her just the same. So...just don't freak, k?"
Ben frowned slightly down at Liz who was nervously biting her lip, a trait he'd always found extremely cute. "What's going on?"
Liz sighed, "You'll have to see for yourself." She poked him in the chest with finger and glared up at him, "Promise you won't freak,'cause if you do, I'll have Tammy kick your ass."
Ben chuckled, still feeling strangely nervous now. "Why Tammy?"
Liz grinned, "Cause I'm not in shape like she is." Tammy didn't look up from the television, but cracked her knuckles in a mock, menacing fashion."Now go see your girl," Liz continued, "and be sweet." She gave Ben another quick hug before pushing him towards her room.
Ben paused outside and gave a slight knock. "Ready or not, here I come," he teased through the door, then opened it to step inside, still unsure what awaited him after Liz's cryptic warning. The room was dark in what Todd called "cave mode." The lights were off, the curtains drawn, and the only real light coming from behind him in the hall. He could make out his fiance's fine assed form sitting on the bed facing the wall.
"What did she mean by 'be nice'?" I'm always nice,"he thought. Maybe this is some kind of sex game or dare. Doing it where they can hear us outside." Little Ben stirred at that prospect, as Mary turned turned toward him.
"Leave the light off," she said. "I'm still nervous."
Ben frowned. This was not the brassy, confident woman he was used to spending his time with. "What's wrong, hun?," he asked softly. "You guys are starting to scare me with this mystery shit."
Mary laughed a little. "Yeah, I can see how that might happen. I'm hoping it's nothing, but humor me, OK?"
"OK," he agreed. "Whatever you want."
Mary sighed softly. "OK, now I want you to be completely honest with me. When you had the hots for Liz, what did you like best about her?"
Warning klaxons sounded in Ben's head, because he had recently told Liz that he had been attracted to her in the past. "What? Liz and I've never done anything. I swear!"
"I know that, you big lummox, Mary replied. "I also know that before were together, you would have jumped her in a heartbeat if it wasn't for your stupid bro code with Todd."
Ben winced. "Liz told you that?"
He could see her shake her head and could almost hear her eyes roll as Mary answered. "Oh for the love of God, Ben, guys are so freaking blind. She didn't have to tell me. It was fucking obvious to anyone with ovaries."
Ben groaned inwardly. Was this a jealousy thing? Now? "She didn't seem to know about it when I told her last week"
Mary wasn't expecting that admission. "You told her last week?" she asked icily. "What prompted that? Cold feet, maybe?"
"Nothing like that, baby. We were just talking while Todd was in the hospital. I was reassuring her about him."
"Did she tell you she used to have the hots for you too?"
Now Ben was surprised. "She did? I never knew that! Swear to God. I've only ever treated Liz like a sister. You should know that."
Mary shook her head. "We're getting off track here. Just go back to the original question. Regardless of you and Liz missing your window of opportunity to hook up, just tell me the one thing you liked best about her."
"She was smart, nice, and a great cook."
"So's Paula Deen, Ben. Do you lust after her? I mean physically."
More warning signs erupted in Ben's head. Neither he, nor Todd really understood women, but these were dangerous waters. This required a careful answer. "Damn it Mary. Liz has a lot of physical attributes that men would kill for, and women would kill to have. Hell, you've said that yourself."
"Pick. One. Ben."
Ben thought for a few seconds. He'd never ranked them before, so choosing one of Liz's assets was hard. But, there was one thing that sprung to mind. It was what he noticed first about her when he first spotted Todd talking to her in freshman orientation, and it was a safe, definitely not pervy, option.
"Her hair," he stated confidently. The wail that came from Mary chilled him to the bone.
Mary flung herself down on the bed, sobbing hysterically into a pillow. Ben was at a loss to explain her reaction. What would she have done if he'd said he liked Liz's rack. "Mary, this is nuts. I don't understand what's wrong. Why does it even matter about Liz. I'm with you. She's with Todd. Just tell me what I did and I'll try to fix it."
"Mmruunlymlkedmeformmare!" Mary's muffled response didn't help, as Ben looked on with dismay.
"OK, I'm sick of standing here in the dark, Mary. We've always been able to talk about anything, and you're acting crazy. I'm going to turn the light on and we're going to talk face to face like adults."
"MNNOOOO!" Mary yelled into the pillow, but Ben reached to flip on the light, despite the protest. Mary, in turn threw herself under the blankets. As light flooded the room, Ben's eyes adjusted to find her prone form wrapped in a plaid, quilted cocoon. The sound of Mary crying was evident.
"Please tell me what's going on," Ben pleaded. "Are you sick? Is this just wedding stress? What?"
"I don't think there's going to be a wedding," Mary answered mournfully. "Our relationship is based on a lie. Maybe you can get Todd to go back with Hollie and you can have Liz back. She's nice and sexy and red-headed and wants to do you up against the books...."
"Up against the books? What books? I don't know what the hell you're talking about? Are you breaking up with me?"
"Maybe I should. It'll save you the trouble," Mary sobbed.
"I don't understand you at all, right now Mary. Whether I did something wrong, or there's another guy or what. But, if you're going to break up with me, then you're going to fucking do it eye to eye, goddammit," Ben said, tears beginning to fill his own eyes. He picked up the squirming, curvaceous mummy that his fiance had made and grabbed the edge of the blanket. Pulling hard, he let the blanket unfold and Mary fell face first onto the bed as long dark tresses trailed behind her.
Ben was surprised to see the dark locks of hair where he expected to see Mary's traditional red mane. "Oh, so that's how it is. Now I get it." he said angrily. "You could have at least been honest with me before now."
"Yes, Ben. I should have been honest before now," Mary replied, her face reddened and tear stained. "I'm sorry I let it go on this long, since now I know what's really important to you."
Ben glared. "Well, can you be honest enough with me as to tell me who this guy is you're dumping me for. He must be special for you to change your hair back for him."
"You're the one who wants someone...wait! Did you say change my hair back?"
"Yeah. This is the same hair color you had when we had that class together freshman year."
Mary rubbed her eyes and tried to comprehend what was going on. "You remember me from when I was brunette?"
"Of course I remember you," Ben answered. "Why wouldn't I. You were hot, I think dark hair is hot, and you with dark hair were super hot. But, you still haven't told me who the guy is."
"There's no other guy."
Ben covered his face with his hand. "I should have seen this coming. It's another girl isn't it? Is it that tennis chick? If it is, I understand. You can't help something like that. You're born that way."
Mary's hysterical laughter shocked Ben. "HAHAHAHAHAHA. No, it's not another girl, you idiot. Although, Tammy would be a serious catch if it was. I thought you wouldn't like me with this hair color is all."
"Huh? That's what all the drama was about? Hair? Damn it to hell, Mary! What kind of shallow, insensitive moron do you think I am?"
Mary returned a sheepish look. "A shallow, insensitive moron who never talked to me before I made myself look like Liz to draw your attention."
"You made yourself look like Liz? That's why you changed your hair?" Now it was Ben's turn to laugh.
"It's not funny." Mary said with a huff.
Ben smiled the little boy smile Mary always found endearing. "It's a little funny. No wonder you were grilling me with that Liz stuff."
"OK," Mary admitted. "I did it intentionally to get you. Satisfied? You can't say it didn't work."
"It didn't hurt, but it wasn't why. In fact it made it a little more uncomfortable for me at first. Liz has been like a sister."
"Then why didn't you ask me out before I did that?"
Now it was Ben's turn to look sheepish. "OK, I'll tell you. Just don't get mad."
Mary sighed. "I can't promise that, but tell me anyway."
"OK," Ben said, "it's like this and it's not as bad as it sounds, but...I won you playing pool."
Mary's eyes narrowed. "You won me playing pool? Explain, Ben. Now!"
"See, honey," Ben replied, "you're taking this wrong. It's really kind of a compliment. Todd and I were playing pool over in the student center and..."
"Hold up," Mary interrupted. "Todd? You won me from Todd? I didn't even know Todd other than that he hung around you!"
"I know that, Mary, but you were in that row, and as I was saying..."
"What do you mean I was in that row? This is not sounding good, Ben."
"And it won't if you don't let me finish."
"Fine," Mary huffed. "Go on."
"OK," Ben continued, "we were playing 8 Ball and neither of us had any money, but we had to bet on something. So, we played for dibs."
"Dibs?" Mary asked. "What are "dibs."?"
"Dibs on girls. You know Todd and I don't pee in the other guy's pool." Ben cringed at Mary's facial reaction to the metaphor, but soldiered on. "So, we were both new to campus and wanted to make sure we weren't competing for the same pieces of as...er astoundingly beautiful women."
"Nice save," Mary said with a smirk. "But what does astoundingly beautiful me have to do with a row?"
"Well, we didn't know most of your names, so we divvied things up by common ground. Dorms, sororities, teams, classes. You were in our Econ class, and since it was like 200 people, we divided it up by rows"
'Wow, suddenly I feel so very special. You weren't playing for me, you were playing for a row of 50."
"No, it wasn't like that at all," Ben said. "Half that row was guys, and not all the chicks were astoundingly beautiful. We were playing for maybe six or seven."
"I feel so much better, then" Mary replied. "Oh wait, no I don't. Did you at least want to win my row, or was all that just hypothetical?"
"We both wanted your row. Hell, do you even remember who was sitting near you. That was a quality row..."
"Enough about the row, Ben. Keep going."
"OK, so we were playing 8 Ball, and Liz walked up while Todd was lining up his last shot. She said something, and he lost his concentration and he scratched. So, I won."
"You "won me" because Todd fucked up the last shot?" Mary asked. "Wow, now I know the story to tell at the wedding reception. I can thank him there."
"Well," Ben said with a grin, "Liz made him scratch, so maybe it was just destiny."
Mary laughed. "OK, that's a better ending to the story. So much so, that I'm not even going to ask if I was the first girl in that row you asked out."
"Thanks, babe," Ben said." I was just glad you didn't make me answer if I had lusted after Paula Dean."
Waiting anxiously to see what the outcome of both Mary and her own fate, Liz flopped back down next to Tammy and sighed. "Boy I hope it goes all right. I'm pretty sure that Ben isn't that stuck on her hair color."
"What about you, sunshine?" Tammy asked, handing her a cold soft drink and grinning, "You're still all tense and worried about Todd, aren't you."
Liz nodded slightly, leaning forward and propping her arms against her knees. "Yeah. For so long I've been Ms. Predictable. Sort of boring, nothing new Liz. Now I'm in love with my best friend and I'm doing crazy shit like dancing in lingerie, cavorting in lesbian bars, and such. I don't think Todd knows what to do with the new Liz. But I'm still the old Liz too, and I don't know what I'll do if he wants to end things before they truly start."
She blinked back tears and sniffed and Tammy pulled her into a warm hug.
"Ah hon, Hollie will straighten his confused ass out, but if he is stupid enough to let you get away, and I don't think he is, well, you got me and the sorority to fall back on," she teased.
Liz giggled and nodded against Tammy's strong shoulder. "Thanks. I appreciate you guys. For a long time it was just me and Todd, which was and is great. But to have other girls to hang with is wonderful too. You guys have a different spin on things and you've opened my eyes to...phew! A lot." She let out a little giggle and soft snort. "I can't blame Todd for being upset or confused, though. I have never acted like this. The fact that he and I even got this far is amazing. All because he got drunk and fell into the wrong bed."
Tammy laughed and fixed Liz's smudged makeup, "That's insane. Really?"
Liz giggled, "Yeah, he thought I was Hollie and started feeling me up. Then reality hit both of us and it got a bit confusing. Poor Hollie, we need to find her a good one. She deserves it after all of this!"
The wail that came from the room made Liz jerk a little. "Oh shit, Ben said something stupid." She gave Tammy a worried look.
Tammy shrugged."Isn't that a normal guy thing" she laughed. "No worries. Ben and Mary are like two peas in a pod, much like a certain Liz and Todd I know. It'll be fine. Give'em a minute."
Liz nodded slowly and eyed her phone. She wanted desperately to talk to Todd and sighed.
"Actually, speaking of men," Tammy added, "if you don't mind, I need to call a certain tall, dark and handsome guy about being my date."
Liz couldn't help but smile at that. "Go for it. I'll be right here waiting to bash Ben over the head."
Liz got up as Tammy grabbed her phone and walked away. Watching the tall sporty chick slip off onto the balcony, Liz went to the fridge and opened the door, grabbing a soda and popped the top. She needed something strong, but she wasn't ready to get plastered yet. Eying her phone some more, she finally relented and picked it up, her fingers flying over the keys as she wrote Todd a short message.
Draining half a soda in a couple of seconds, she stifled a burp and tried not to feel pathetic and panicky. She watched as Tammy leaned over the railing as she spoke.
Propped up against the railing, Tammy rattled off a short message after listening to Allen's deep manly voice. she grinned as she heard him state, short and to the point, "Allen here, leave me a message."
"Hey Allen! It's Tammy from the café this morning...call me back, I have a little bit of a proposition for you. Nothing illegal or risky, but I need a favor if you are available. I'm with the gang, so if I don't answer my phone, someone will!"
Hanging up, she turned and stretched, eager to see if he was game or playing playboy.
"So, did he say yes?" Liz asked as Tammy walked back in.
"I dunno. Left him a message."
"Oh...well, he'll return your call, I'm sure. He's good like that." Liz smiled a little. "No more screams from the bedroom, so I'm guessing that's a good thing."
Tammy nodded, crossed her arms over her breasts and gave Liz the once over. "You gotta relax. Want me to call Hollie and see where they are?"
As soon as she said it, laughter filtered from the bedroom and Liz sighed with relief. "Well at least they sound like they're okay. No no...I'll be fine. I think. Soda?"
"Sure chick. Unless I can talk you into a much better distraction?" Tammy teased and wiggled her brows.
Liz flushed and giggled, "That's what got me into trouble in the first place!" she shot back, grinning, despite her nerves and everything. "That and damned technology. Stupid phone!"
Tammy laughed at that, "True. Now if you want to shock him in person.."
Liz turned another shade of red clear to her roots and handed Tammy a cold Coke. "Hush you! This suspense is really killing me. I'm going to go out of my mind!" Liz huffed. Suddenly, the door to the bedroom opened and out came the happy couple. Mary looked as if she'd been crying a little, but was snuggled up to Ben.
"Finally! I take it the wedding is still on!" Liz teased and winked at Mary.
"It was touch and go there. She was making me sweat." Ben grumped and then gave Mary a big squeeze, caressing her hair lovingly and planting a kiss on her forehead.
"Awwww..." Tammy sighed and Liz fought the urge to make a face.
Mary giggled and grinned, "Where the hell are Hollie and Todd?"
"I dunno...but um, we should probably fix your face a little, Mary. You have mascara tracks and blotchy things going on," Liz informed her friend.
Ben chuckled. "She's still hot and that's my fault. Sorry babe." He kissed her again and then pushed her towards Liz. "Go on, get cleaned up. I'm gonna check up on the others and see where they are at."
Liz caught Mary and tugged her along, leaving Tammy to relax with Ben. "See? No big, right? He loves you for you, not your hair."