38: “That’s gross and you both suck”

Frank found himself with Suze and his friend Wes at Joey and Iggy’s birthday party. He’d been hanging out with Ramsay and Miles, but then they’d been accosted by Joey and his jell-o shots. Frank managed to slip away after the fourth shot and practically ran over to where Suze was standing on the edge of the dance floor, looking miserable. She’d mentioned at work earlier in the week that she and her boyfriend had broken up. She said it was because of the distance. Frank could only partially relate. When he’d left Roehampton to help his mother and grandfather, he hadn’t even attempted to carry on a long-distance relationship with Piper. Granted, a lot of that was due to Piper herself. He wasn’t convinced he wanted to be dating her again presently. He wasn’t even sure he liked her as a human being. He also wasn’t sure how he ended up back with her or what, if anything, he should do about that.

“I brought you this jell-o shot,” he told her, holding out the cherry jell-o shot he’d fled with.

“You just don’t want it,” Suze returned, seeing right through him.

“True,” he nodded and she rolled her eyes, but took the shot nonetheless.

“God, there are so many happy people here,” she remarked bitterly after a moment.

“It is a party,” Wes pointed out.

“You just need to move on,” Frank said, which was undoubtedly something that had occurred to her. “The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.”

Suze groaned.

“People always say that, but it’s such bullshit,” she returned. “No one actually does that.”

“Oh, I for sure have,” Wes cut in immediately.

“Bet it didn’t work,” Suze said righteously.

“It definitely did,” Wes countered.

“One hundred per cent,” Frank added. Suze mimed gagging.

“That’s gross and you both suck,” she told them matter-of-factly.

“It’s alright,” Wes patted her on the top of the head. “We’ll guide you, like your fairy godmothers.”

“I feel it bears mentioning that I think this is a terrible plan,” Suze said darkly. “I hate it. It’s truly terrible. I suspect you’ll continue anyway, but I still hate it.”

“Yes, we are still going to do it. Shall we start with this moustached gentleman?” Wes asked, pointing to Gord. “Very strong look.”

He was wearing flared jeans, a Pink Floyd band t-shirt, and a sheepskin jacket. There was a pair of aviators hanging from the collar of his t-shirt. Frank assumed he had arrived to the party in his Volkswagen camper van and would continue on his way to some kind of outdoor music festival once the party was over.

“Strong indeed,” Suze agreed, rolling her eyes. “Says the man with the mustache of his own.”

“He has kind eyes,” Wes added.

“What?” Suze returned, looking at Wes incredulously before turning to Frank and demanding answers. “What the hell is he talking about?”

“Hard to say,” Frank replied as he hadn’t noticed anything particularly special about Gord’s eyes. “He has normal eyes and a mustache. Maybe we should move on. Bear’s nice and single.”

“Pardon?” Suze returned.

“We’ve already given up on humans then?” Wes checked.

“He’s a person,” Frank clarified, rolling his eyes. “His first name is Bear.”

“Already no,” Suze cut in. “Based on that alone. Absolutely not.”

“Him?” Wes pointed to Joey’s cousin, the one in the Adidas tracksuit who had been openly smoking in the middle of the bar, even though it clearly wasn’t allowed. He had already tried to convince Frank to buy a stereo system from him at least twice, but Oscar and Ramsay had instructed him not to buy anything from Vinny under any circumstances because it was definitely stolen.

“In the tracksuit?” Frank asked sceptically. Suze, meanwhile, turned to face Wes with a plainly horrified expression on her face.

“Would you sleep with him?” She asked frankly. “I absolutely would not.”

“My roommate’s single,” Frank offered, gesturing to Ramsay.

“Come on, he’s alright,” Wes said to Suze, even though she hadn’t yet protested. “He has a strong nose. Defined sideburns.”

“Strong nose? Defined sideburns?” Suze repeated dubiously. “What the hell do you look for in a person? What attracted you to Sybil? Her proportionately sized forehead and long limbs?”

“Well, they weren’t deterrents,” Wes nodded.

“Good Christ,” Suze returned weakly.

“We’ve given you some options,” Frank interjected, getting the conversation back on track. “We’ll just choose someone and wingman you.”

“Please don’t,” Suze returned without hesitation.

“I vote Tracksuit or your roommate,” Wes said directly to Frank. “Maybe both. We’ll have a back-up.”

“Tracksuit’s the back-up,” Frank said immediately.

“Oh thank fuck,” Suze breathed.

Frank led the way over to where Ramsay was standing with Miles, Wes in tow. Suze resolutely refused to come along, hanging back along the wall looking dour. Frank looked back at her and smiled in an attempt to get her to smile back, but she did not. She flipped him off instead. If it had been anybody but Ramsay they were trying to entice on her behalf, that may have been deterring. Ramsay, however, was unreasonably bitter and would do terribly with a perky girlfriend. Frank tried to picture it. It was disastrous. Ramsay couldn’t even handle being roommates with Eric, who was upbeat and generally optimistic. That was his first mistake. His second had been assuming passive-aggressive post-it notes on the coffee maker would make Ramsay feel the need to clean up after himself.

“Have you met my friend Suze yet?” Frank asked when they’d reached Ramsay and Miles.

“Oh yeah, I have,” Miles answered, seemingly having missed the fact that Frank wasn’t talking to him.

“That’s great, dude,” Wes gave Miles a thumbs up before turning back to Ramsay. “But have you met Suze?”

“Should I have?” Ramsay returned, uninterested.

“She’s very pretty,” Frank said, broaching the subject in what he considered a subtle manner. Apparently it wasn’t, however, because Wes shot him an incredulous look and Miles snorted.

“You want to set your friend up with Ramsay?” He questioned dubiously. “Why? Do you hate her?”

“What the fuck, man?” Ramsay rounded on Miles.

“I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you are not the catch you think you are,” Miles told him, which was startlingly harsh, especially from Miles. Frank was amazed he had it in him to be so scathing.

“I’m fine,” Ramsay argued dismissively.

“You’re grumpy and mean,” Miles corrected. “You hate people.”

“Yeah,” Ramsay agreed, still looking at Miles through narrowed eyes, like he was waiting for him to make his point.

“Unbelievably, Tracksuit might be our best bet,” Frank said to Wes, who nodded. But when they both turned to find Joey’s cousin in the crowd, they found him trying to suck a lemon out of the neck of a mostly empty tequila bottle, lit cigarette in one hand, a second unlit one behind his ear, and a bottle of bourbon hanging from the hand with the lit cigarette. He’d taken off his tracksuit jacket at some point and was wearing his Adidas track pants, Adidas Yeezys, which Frank was certain he’d stolen from someone, and a plain black tank top. He had a tattoo on his left bicep of a crocodile with a smaller crocodile in its mouth.

“You know what?” Wes said, breaking the long silence that had developed between them as they observed Vinny. “I think she just needs some time alone to heal.”

“Definitely,” Frank agreed readily.


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