34: “Heinous bitch, terrific ass”

Ramsay disliked Frank’s girlfriend immensely. They had been dating before he went to help his mother look after his grandfather and Ramsay had hated her then too. She was mean. Every time he saw her, she said something scathing and sharp. She always found a way to cut to a person’s deepest insecurities. It was like she had a superpower for pinpointing someone’s biggest flaw or self-consciousness, as if she hadn’t grown out of that horribly bitchy phase every person goes through when their thirteen.

Oscar, who hadn’t known Frank before he left, had the great joy of meeting Piper for the first time in their kitchen and Ramsay had the great joy of being there when it happened. Oscar had been feeling generally much better about himself and his life as of late, something that Ramsay attributed almost entirely to Priscilla. It was surprising because she was, by nature, quite a grim woman. And yet Oscar was much happier. He smiled at least once a day and Ramsay hadn’t come home to find him on their kitchen floor once. It was a nice change of pace. Prior to this, Ramsay had begun to worry, which he never would admit out loud.

And then Oscar met Piper.

Piper took one look at Oscar sitting on one of the bar stools at the kitchen island, tossed her hair over her shoulders, and spoke.

“Great sweater,” she told him. “You look like one of the adult children who steal money from their decrepit mother in those elder abuse PSAs.”

It was just a striped shirt. Oscar looked over at Ramsay, as if he would be able to explain the horrible comment or why it had been said in the first place, but Ramsay wouldn’t even consider trying to understand or explain Piper. She was needlessly cruel. He assumed it was a direct result of her parents being serial murderers or something else equally as horrific.

“It’s a cool shirt, bro,” Frank told Oscar. Ramsay had the burning desire to ask him if he was ever embarrassed by his girlfriend.

It was another couple of days before Oscar brought it up. The pair of them were sitting in Ramsay’s bedroom because Piper was over with Frank. They were making dinner in the kitchen and Ramsay hadn’t wanted to be present for that. Granted, he didn’t want to be present for anything involving Piper.

“How do you feel about Piper?” Oscar asked tentatively. Ramsay shot him a somewhat dry look. He figured that the fact that both of them were in his room together instead of in their own living room, where they could be watching TV, was a pretty good indication of how he felt about Piper.

“I fucking hate her,” he answered flatly anyway. Oscar looked instantly relieved.

“Oh thank God!” He crowed. “I hate literally everything about her, but I didn’t want to be the one to bring it up. She is so mean. Why is she so mean? What’s wrong with her? What does he see in her? Well, I mean, she has a nice ass.”

“Oh yes,” Ramsay agreed at once. “Heinous bitch, terrific ass.”

As a result of Frank and Piper’s ever-growing romantic entanglement, Ramsay and Oscar started spending quite a bit of time outside of their apartment. Sometimes this was going to the park nearby. Miles had once named it Sketchy Park and, frankly, it was a moniker that made a lot of sense. It was small and overgrown with weeds. Ramsay had seen a least four separate drug deals take place in one short trip there and he was fairly certain it was the stomping ground for a couple pimps. Besides, it was mid-November in Southern Ontario and, the longer they spent in Sketchy Park, the less dexterity Ramsay maintained in his external body parts.

“I think we need to find somewhere else to be,” Oscar said as they trekked up the stairs to their apartment late one evening. “I’m starting to worry that we’re either going to get frostbite or arrested. I don’t think it’s good to spend that much time so close to activities involved in the sex trade.”

It was a pretty good point.

They started spending time at their friends’ places. Unfortunately, Miles’ place came with Mopey Liam and Ramsay didn’t want to have to deal with that. And Robin’s apartment came with Joey, who often came with Vinny and Ramsay was tired of refusing to buy electronics that had very clearly been stolen. They ended up spending most of their time at Priscilla’s apartment with her sister and roommate. Part of Ramsay worried this was inconvenient for them, but a larger part of him didn’t care. Plus, he had become quite fond of Tallulah. She had an even darker sense of humour than Priscilla.

“So do you guys live here now?” Bernie asked one day when she’d stopped by after work. That was how Ramsay knew they’d been there too often.

One day, Frank came home from work with a personalized envelope with Ramsay’s name on it. He handed it over without a word and went to his room. It was pale blue and smelled like lavender. He opened it to discover that it was an invitation to Piper’s birthday party. He immediately went to Oscar’s room and flung open the door.

“I have just received a personal invite to Lucifer’s birthday party,” he announced. “And you are my plus one.”

“One year older and one year crueller,” Oscar returned from his spot on his bed. “I don’t want to go.”

“Too bad,” was Ramsay’s response.

Piper’s birthday party was as terrible as they had been expecting. She hosted it herself at her condo with her mean friends. All of them were horribly unkind. They drank sparkling wine, laughed at other people’s outfit choices, and then shimmied their fantastic asses while they danced.

“Jesus fuck, they’re like evil clones of one another,” Oscar remarked. “Each one more horrible than the last.”

Ramsay couldn’t help but agree. They were like pod people sent to destroy the earth one scathing remark at a time. Initially, he had wondered how she’d managed to get so many people to attend her party, but upon looking around the condo, he had drawn the conclusion that it was mostly through fear. All of the guests had the same wary expression, like they were just biding time until they became the target of ridicule like they knew they would eventually.

“I still don’t understand what Frank sees in her,” Oscar muttered bitterly.

“It’s got to be the ass,” was Ramsay’s response.

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