Then there’s Matthew. God only knows what kind of sick and depraved penalties Delores has inflicted on that poor bastard, because he just looks scared.
Kate, on the other hand, is staring at my hand like it’s a cockroach. That she wants to squash. And then she gets an idea—a wonderful, awful idea. If you look hard enough, you can see the light bulb go on above her head. She smiles and leaves the room.
I missed all this the first time.
A few minutes later, Kate breezes back in carrying an ice bucket filled with beer. Nope, not beer bottles. Just beer. She stands next to the couch, and I—eyes still on the game—hold out my hand for my drink. And she proceeds to take her bucket and dump it over my f**king head.
I jump up, dripping and choking. “Jesus Christ!”
She asks me sweetly, “Is that cold enough for you, honey?”
I wipe my face with my hand and glare at her. “Are you crazy!”
She glares right back. “No—and I’m not a waitress either! Though I would hope you’d show a little more courtesy to them.”
Matthew stands up. “I’m going to head down to McCarthy’s Bar and watch the game from there.”
Steven gets his jacket. “I’ll come with you.”
I wring out the bottom of my shirt. “Hold the cab for me, guys. I’ll be right down.”
Matthew laughs. And pats me on the back. “Sure you will, buddy. Bye, Kate.”
She doesn’t answer them. She’s too busy trying to kill me with her eyes.
And with that, Matthew and Steven make their escape.
While Kate and I glower at each other.
Yep—that’s the bell. Round one just got started.
I begin calmly. When verbally sparring with an adversary, it’s always better to stay levelheaded. Choose your words carefully. Be smart.
“What is this about?”
Apparently, Kate does not share my philosophy.
“You tell me, Drew! Tell me why the hell Matthew and Steven can say please and thank you and all I get from you is a…” She flicks her hand dismissively, mimicking my earlier action.
And once again, I stay composed. Still dripping—but composed.
“So you’re telling me you wasted good beer and ruined my Saturday afternoon because I forgot my manners?”
“Why couldn’t you just say it?”
“Why couldn’t you just say, ‘Hey, Drew, a thank you would be nice’? Was it necessary to be such a god damn drama queen about it?”
She folds her arms and scoffs, “I am not a drama queen.”
I hold up my fingers. “Two words, Kate: Chanel suit.”
You remember, don’t you? The one I bought her from Saks, after our first screw-fest?
Her eyes narrow. “What about it?”
My eyebrows rise. “What about it? You set it on fire.”
Yep—she and Delores made like homeless people and incinerated the freaking thing in the dumpster outside Kate’s old building.
She shrugs. “So? You were nothing to me, and I wanted to make sure everything you’d ever given me was nothing too.”
And that, boys and girls, is called proving my point. I smirk. “I really don’t need to say anything else.”
She rolls her eyes. “Whatever. I didn’t throw beer on you just because you forgot to say thank you. I’m not some hysterical nagging psycho-bitch.”
Right. And if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…it’s a horse.
She goes on. “There are a lot of things that have been bothering me lately.”
I’m actually curious. As far as I know, Kate and I have the perfect relationship. And I—of course—am the perfect boyfriend.
“Like how you never help me clean up in the kitchen. Every time we cook, you disappear while I’m stuck washing and drying and putting away!”
My voice becomes a little louder. Defensive. “You do most of the cooking. I figure you want to organize the kitchen! I don’t want to mess up your system.”
And this is partly true. But if I’m being totally honest, I’ve never seen my old man wash a dish in his life. Not even a frigging spoon. And Steven—the one time he tried to help The Bitch out with the laundry? She pissed and moaned for a week about how he ruined her gentle delicates, whatever the hell those are.
“And you never complained about it before. If you wanted my help, why didn’t you just ask me?”
Her volume reaches maximum decibels. “Why should I have to ask you? You’re a grown man! You should just know!”
And there it is, kiddies. The Famous Female Mind Fuck.
That’s short for: If you can’t read their minds? You’re f**ked.
And as for that composure I was so proud of? Yeah—he took a hike. “Well, I didn’t! For Christ’s sake, don’t give me enough rope to hang myself and then cut my balls off when I actually do! You should’ve just told me!”
Kate pushes my shoulders, and my shirt makes a wet squishing sound.
“Fine. You wanna know? I’ll tell you now.”
Despite what I just said, no, I don’t want to know. No guy likes being criticized. No one wants to be told they’re screwing up. So, like any man under attack, I go on the offensive.
“You’re not exactly a joy to live with all the time either.”
That stops Kate’s tirade in its tracks. Her brow furrows slightly. “What is that supposed to mean?”
Honestly? I have no idea. I have two reactions to anything Kate does: she makes me smile or she makes me hard. Smile, hard, smile, hard, smile…hard. Usually both at the same time. You know that song “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”? It’s a lot like that. Nothing she does turns me off. But I’m not about to let her know that. This is our first argument.
Winning is crucial. I have to set a precedent.
So, genius that I am, I spew the first thing that pops into my head. “You chew on your pens.”
Too late now—might as well go with it. “When we’re working in the office. You chew on your pen. It’s distracting. It sounds like some crazed woodchuck is trying to eat its way through the drywall. Chck, chck, chck, chck.”
She thinks about it a moment. And shrugs. “Fine. I won’t chew my pen anymore. But we’re not talking about me right now. We’re talking about you…and…and how you disrespect me.”