Katy pinches Nick under his sheet. They've finally left the house and are still sober. Her pinch isn't entirely antagonistic; there's love there, but right now she wants wine. The last few hours had Katy rushing and she hated rushing, and she hated being on her knees. At least 45 minutes--the time she'd spent on her knees stitching patches on Nick's jeans only to have him wig out last minute, thinking the "trailer trash" regalia might read badly. They'd be appealing to a group of mid-city hipsters that evening, the capital "L", Liberal kind and Nick wasn't the type to make any sort of scene, even a painting on a grain of rice.
So there they were, sitting in a bodega parking lot, debating who was going in for wine. Nick seemed certain his sheet would trip him up, he wouldn't be able to see or something. Once again, Katy fumed about the patches. He could be so ridiculous.
Inside, she began to enjoy herself. Something about corner stores made her giddy, the options, the healing air, the coolers full of coconut water, the wine! In an apparently beach themed sale aisle, she met with a boy about 7 who looked up at her excellent costume, shivered and then smiled. She crossed her eyes at him and pulled on the rope, pantomiming a snapped neck. He laughed and she felt shiny again.
Finding the wine didn't take her half as long as she pretended but she liked keeping people waiting, especially Nick. For all his shit, for all the biscuits and gravy in the world, she'd earned it. Katy didn't "hold grudges," but she found Nick tedious sometimes. She decided to love him anyway and bought the wine and went back out to the car.
1.5 miles left to the party so he played her favorite album, Tapestry, letting Carole King lace the night a little tighter around them. It wasn't that they were going to see exclusively his friends--they'd been dating two years--but, that's exactly what they were going to do. Hence Katy's costume: a purple faced, hanged Salem witch. She found if she had something to distract people with they could be prevented from going for the throat. Not that everyone would. But, Katy knew just enough of Nick's friends from back in the day, not "knew them," knew them but like, they knew her. She hadn't always been so in control.
"Naked Katy" was once a living, sometimes breathing, intoxicated being. A person who stumbled across people's mouths and crotches at parties, a real touchy gal. They didn't think poorly of her, mind you; people never though poorly of Katy, naked or not. But they did feel sorry for her. And, once upon a time, she felt sorry for herself.
Parties now consisted of Katy and Nick arriving together, then mingle mingle mingle, then go home and drunkenly fuck. She liked this. It was easy and she got all her social out. Nick didn't mind if she flirted, told tall tales, ran around like a banshee, as long as she kissed him every once in a while and went home with him when it was all over. This arrangement suited them both. Nick didn't want Katy hanging on his arm either or judging him for making fun of people, something Katy sad was "just plain mean."
Nick's sheet didn't trip him up really. People thought it was "old school" and he thought they were funny for thinking themselves such taste-makers of the avant bland. A sheet with eye holes was nothing really, if not ultimately ingenious in it's simplicity. Nick was prone to wondering why people didn't make oatmeal anymore, or cream of wheat. Simple grains, simple fix, simple eating. The mail was simple. VCRs were simple. Whole milk was simple. And simple, well, simple was sharp.
He felt sharper, keener or keening. Nick wasn't one for flirting or jabbing of any sort. Hell, he wouldn't make a scene in a locked room. But he felt wry. He felt like pulling some wool for once. When Nick saw Selena; of course, he always "saw" Selena, he just walked right up to her. He handed her a whiskey which he'd seen she liked to drink and he suggested they talk about Degas.
When Katy found Nick it was late. Things didn't usually pan out like that, Katy going on the hunt, seeking him out because she was sleepy. He was the sleepy one. HE was the SLEEPY one. Yet, here he was, in a sheet talking to Selena/Se-Le-Na, of all people. Katy poked him in the ribs and dangled the car keys. Ever the obedient boy, Nick rose and bid Selena goodbye and Katy believed she saw him actually bow to the woman. Katy wasn't livid. Not exactly. She held her anger around her shoulders like a mink stole.
She couldn't deny it. Nick was acting weird. Very weird. He drove recklessly, without any sensitivity for her vertigo. He rolled down the windows even though it was colder than they'd both prepared for and he sang loudly, head out like a dog. Although the moon never shone in the rear-view mirror, for at least a moment, Katy thought they'd passed it.
At home he stopped her in the doorway, wrenching the keys from her hand. Don't move, he said, holding her against the jamb. Unlocking the door with unusually nimble fingers, he ushered her in and then threw her over his shoulder--a feat she'd never imagined. As he carried her towards the bedroom, Katy swore she saw him short out, like fade for a minute. The only appropriate verb being: to glitch? A technical thing. As he began to tear at her clothes and draw his hungry mouth across her jaw and chest, it happened again. A mechanical thing, electronic, his outline shivered and he smiled knives at her bared breasts.
Nick wasn't one to make a scene. Not with scarves, not with slapping, not with ass up/face down but that was his approach and all the while glitching and growing mean. Katy relished the change, the sudden ravaging, but part of her feared. As again he flipped her and loomed his sweating, straining face above hers, she saw this happen:
The glitch split open, a specter of Nick oozed from the opening, pausing only to lick its lips at the sight of the two climaxing bodies.
The ghost boyfriend made himself comfortable, he sat on her silk divan and watched them finish like they were wild, yipping dogs. His stance was comfortable, inches from congratulatory or self-satisfied. The ghost boyfriend spread his knees open and placed both hands on them, he grinned and leaned towards the couple, silent as can be. Katy didn't like this at all. But Nick, back to his normal, suckling self, simply snuggled against her breasts and didn't seem to notice the leering ghost boyfriend. He didn't notice anything but the pump of blood from his dick back to his brain.
Katy wanted to say a few words about it while Nick was vulnerable and drowsy, but she held her tongue to mull it over. Her circling, ravenous thought was classic: that he wouldn't believe what she'd seen. Though she knew he must have felt it too, the bolster, the energy that had radiated from his body. But here he was, in her arms and normal. Slightly sweaty, but breathing and still and certainly not capable of "glitching."
The ghost boyfriend didn't leave right away. She couldn't have been sure when or even if he had gone. Katy fell asleep with one eye open, while the ghost boyfriend just sat, grinning, a droplet of drool resting on his chin only to pool on his chest. He didn't even blink.