22: “That’s certainly a bold choice”

Sybil went to the Halloween party dressed as Noel with both Chris and Suze. It was actually pretty hilarious. She herself was wearing a pair of snakeskin trousers she’d bought at a thrift store, Chris had left his paisley, silk blouse unbuttoned to a ridiculously low point, and Suze was wearing glitter-covered platform boots. Sybil had supposed to been going as some as yet undetermined couple costume with Tobias, but he had broken up with her four days before the party. He had sat her down and explained that he didn’t think they were going to work out because they never saw each other and she didn’t seem very interested in him. It was mostly true, but that didn’t make it easier. Sybil had been dumped for that exact reason a couple times before and she was beginning to feel like maybe there was something wrong with her.

For a very brief twenty-four hour time period, she’d been kind of pleased about it, though. Suze had told her that Chris and Savannah had broken up and Sybil thought that, now that they were both single, there might be a chance for something. That had been on Tuesday, just shortly after Tobias had dumped her. Then she had gone to work on Wednesday morning and Chris had informed her that he and Savannah had gotten back together.

“I don’t know if Suze told you we broke up or anything, but we’re back together now,” Chris said nonchalantly, watching the members of Rattlesnake set up for recording. “It was just a fight anyway, but we’re good now.”

Sybil had had to pretend to be happy for him and that had been very difficult.

The Halloween party was turning out a bit strange. Sybil had arrived with Chris and Suze, feeling unreasonably bitter that Savannah wasn’t there. Supposedly they were back together, but Sybil still hadn’t seen anything of her since that one time they’d gone for dinner. She and Chris were still spending the same amount of time together, but now she couldn’t pretend everything was fine behind the mirage of having a boyfriend because she was single again. It was beginning to feel muddled and strange.

And then Jacklyn had turned up and now she was being bizarrely friendly to Sybil. She kept laughing at her jokes and smiling at her from across the room. She had spent more time with Sybil than she had with any of her other friends and it was disconcerting to say the least. Sybil kept trying to work out what her angle was, but, for all intents and purposes, it seemed she didn’t have one. She even asked for Sybil’s opinion on Joey because apparently she had found him both devastating and irresistible.

“Joey?” Sybil repeated incredulously. She was relieved to find that Chris and Suze were observing Jacklyn with the same kind of perplexed shock on their faces as well.

“That’s certainly a bold choice,” Chris offered. Sybil thought back to all the guys she could remember Jacklyn dating. In recent memory, there had been Amare, who was actually at the party, and Aaron. Both were tall, incredibly well-built, handsome, charming men. And then there was Joey.

“I’m having a hard time pinning down your type,” Sybil admitted to Jacklyn, who shrugged.

“I don’t have a type,” she replied. That as much seemed fairly obvious.

“‘Bad for you’ might be it,” Sybil suggested, but Jacklyn merely shrugged that off as well, like she didn’t think Joey was all that bad for her. Sybil decided to leave it for someone else to deal with.

Later into the party, Sybil ran into a man while she was trying to wriggle her way out of Oscar and Ramsay’s miniature and weirdly-shaped bathroom. It was very small; she had to straddle the toilet and rest her weight on the sink just so that she could get the door open. In the end, it resulted in her stumbling out of the bathroom into the little section of hallway between Ramsay and Frank’s bedrooms.vIf no one had been there, it would’ve been fine. Instead, someone was waiting for the bathroom and she careened directly into him. Their heads collided, Sybil tumbled to the floor. It was the least graceful she’d ever been.

From the ground, she looked up at the man she had just walked into. He was very tall with dark hair and a dark mustache. He was dressed in a backwards baseball jersey, backwards baseball hat, and backwards overalls.

“What are you supposed to be?” She asked, too caught up in trying to figure out to realize how weird it was that she was still on the floor.

“Kriss Kross,” he answered simply, as though it should’ve been obvious.

“Shouldn’t there be two of you then?” She returned.

“Well, one of them’s dead,” he shrugged.

“Oh right, makes sense,” she replied, which was how she knew she was drunker than she’d thought she was. He held out a hand to help her back up. It actually took her a few seconds to work out what he wanted her to do with it, but she eventually figured it out, grabbing his hand with her own and letting him hoist her to her feet.

“I’m Wes,” he introduced himself, adjusting his baseball hat. “I’m Frank’s friend.”

Sybil had only met Frank earlier that evening. Iggy said it was like Oscar and Ramsay were being haunted by a very tidy ghost because he was barely ever around during daylight hours. Apparently he worked a night shift.

“Oh yeah,” she said, like she was at all familiar with Frank. “I’m Sybil.”

“Sure,” Wes nodded. It wasn’t an unusual reaction. Her name wasn’t a very common one amongst people under eighty.

“So how do you know Frank?” She asked, partially to be polite, but mostly because she was finding his face more and more appealing as time went by and she wanted to keep the conversation going.

“We were in a band together,” Wes answered.

“Oh yeah? What was the band called?” Sybil asked, wondering if she’d heard of it. She’d heard of a lot of local acts due to the nature of her job. Angry Bob was always telling his staff to let him know if they found the “next big thing”. Someone at the record label had found an avant-garde jazz harpist so she wasn’t sure it was working as Angry Bob had envisioned. They might be better off keeping their opinions to themselves.

“Uh, not sure if we really had a name,” Wes answered, titling his head to the side as he presumably tried to recall what his band had been named.

“Your band didn’t have a name?” Sybil returned skeptically, raising an eyebrow at him.

“Well, it was quite a while ago,” he began to explain. “I mean, it was middle school and it was the school band that played at school assemblies and that kind of shit. I played the trombone and Frank played the flute.”

Sybil blinked at him for a few moments.

“Frank was a flautist?” She replied. It seemed out of character. Granted, she’d only met him once very briefly that very evening, but he had been dressed as a promiscuous blind mouse and drinking gin from the bottle.

“Yup,” Wes nodded.

“See now, saying he was in a band was misleading,” she pointed out.

“Technically it was a band,” Wes countered. “Just not a very good one. But that is the price you pay when you have a twelve year old asthmatic kid with a cleft pallet trying to play the French horn.”

“Sounds killer,” Sybil returned sarcastically.

“Oh yeah,” Wes agreed.

Sybil spent much of the rest of the evening hanging out with Wes. She got the sense that he was into her, which was just as well because she was into him. She stole his baseball hat and it didn’t go with her costume, but he thought it was funny so she didn’t really care. She barely thought about Chris’ girlfriend the whole night. She did think a little bit about Jacklyn’s rapidly blossoming crush on Joey. It was mildly troubling for more than one reason, least of all because Joey kissed Finch on the mouth three separate times throughout the night.


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