Last time, billionaire brony Crispian Neigh stalked his dingbat love interest, Hanna Squeal, to her mother’s home in Florida. Since Hanna’s mother has better manners than her daughter’s boyfriend, she invited him to dinner and asked certain uncomfortable questions over an unlikely meal consisting of Big Uncle Bob’s Tofu Surprise and a crateful of vintage champagne. Neigh was mysteriously discomfited in a way that would perhaps indicate a plot twist and raced upstairs to the guest bathroom to remind Hanna of why she was his most special prize precious pony.
Unfortunately it was a bad time of the month for such reminders and Hanna bled all over him, causing him to faint and almost smash his brains out on the bidet.
When he woke up, he had no recollection of who he was, basic arithmetic or the name of the current President of the United States. Put simply, he had become Hanna’s wildest, wettest dream. (Ew.)
The beach is beautiful in the late afternoon. I lounge under the sun-umbrella, sipping a cold Bloody Mary, the warm Gulf coast breeze fanning my skin. Everything is perfect, so it would figure that Kate decides to phone.
“I need to tell you something,” she says, sounding breathless. “I need to tell someone or I’m going to explode.”
“Um…okay, I guess?”
“I can’t stop fucking Jesús.”
“Huh?” I sit up and put down my drink. “Wait…you’re sleeping with Jesús?”
“Sleeping with? Hanna, who says ‘sleeping with’ outside of network television? I’m fucking him. Boning him. Banging him. And I do mean banging – we put a dent in the wall with the headboard last night. It was his fault. He was lying there on my bed wearing nothing but a pair of my panties, reading the hot parts of Cien Anos de Soledad in the original Spanish. He’d handcuffed me naked to a chair and wouldn’t let me touch him until he’d finished reading and as he was reading he was getting harder and harder from just looking at me until the top of his perfect, perfect beautiful fucking gorgeous cock peeked out from the lace at the waistband of my panties and oh holy shit…you have no idea. It was ridiculous. Once he unlocked the handcuffs we just went to motherfucking town on one another. Like beasts. I think I’m in love.”
I hold the phone six inches from my ear and blink at it, wondering what I have done to merit a dirty phone call from Kate, of all people.
“And when did this start?” I ask, dispassionately.
“The sex? Oh, I don’t know exactly. I mean, he gave me sloppy drunk oral one time when we were lying around shitfaced at the old apartment. You know how he loves to do that when he’s drunk, right? He said something like ‘It’s your turn to get the beers from the fridge’ and I said ‘Eat me’ and I guess he took me at my word.”
I blink again. “I’m sorry – am I following you correctly? You let a man you didn’t love kiss you…there?”
“Fuck yeah. I’d heard from his freshman year girlfriend that he had a tongue like Gene Simmons and really enjoyed giving head. I mean, he made me come pretty hard but it wasn’t like an ‘Oh my God, marry me’ orgasm. It was more of it ‘Okay, that was fucking boss and you can totally do that again sometime’ orgasm. You know what I mean?”
“…and then he started getting into my underwear drawer and it was like…oh my God. You know those sheer black panties of mine? With the tiny little red hearts? As soon as I saw those on his tight little round ass it was like a switch flipped in my fucking brain. I couldn’t keep my hands off him. It’s so freaky – I don’t know why it does it to me but every time I see him in something pretty and lacy and girly I’m just like rrrrrrrrooooowr fuck yeah, drenched to the fucking knees I swear to God…”
“That’s all very interesting but…”
“…I can’t stop thinking about him. There isn’t a single working battery in this apartment and I’ve burned out the motor on my vibrator because he loves watching me come. What the hell am I going to do, Hanna? He says he loves me and I think I might kind of love him back, or is it just sex – like, really, really good sex.”
I sigh. “Kate, there’s no easy way to tell you this, but Jesús has been carrying a torch for me for the longest time.”
“What?” She laughs. “Because he tried to eat your pussy that time? He told me that he explained that to you – that he would never have hit on you if he wasn’t drunk out of his fucking mind…”
“…yes, but you and I know he was trying to hide his feelings for me so that I wouldn’t feel so bad about going with Crispian instead…”
“What the fuck? No he didn’t – he told me he told you that he’d never hit on you sober because quite frankly, Hanna, you can be a self-absorbed little see-you-next-tuesday…”
“…me? Self-absorbed? From the woman who calls me to talk about her foofy for ten minutes at a time without so much as a ‘How are you?’…”
“Oh please. I figure you could stand to hear about my love life for a change, since we hear enough about your boring-ass boyfriend…”
“…you don’t know what I’m going through here, Kate. Crispian’s in the hospital and I don’t know if he’ll ever be right again…”
“Whoa dude, back up,” she says. “Did you say he was in the hospital? What the fuck, Hanna? Are you okay?”
I sniffle into one of Crispian’s monogrammed handkerchiefs and sigh. “I don’t know. He’s an outpatient at the moment – they said there’s no reason for his memory loss and the brain scans were clear, but Uncle Bob’s taken him to the neurologist this afternoon…”
“Wait, what? What the hell happened? He’s in Florida with you?”
“Yes. He followed me here.”
“Creepy, but carry on.”
I explain what happened, leaving out the most embarrassing parts.
“Amnesia?” says Kate. “He has amnesia?”
“Yes, that’s what I said.”
“Holy shit, Hanna – your life is like an episode of Sunset Beach. He doesn’t remember anything?”
“He remembers me…I think?”
“You think?” I can hear her cigarette lighter over the phone. “So let me get this straight – you’re trying to carry on your relationship where you left off when he doesn’t even fucking know who you are?”
“Dude, you’re not fucking him. Please tell me you’re not fucking him.”
“Of course not. That would be gross.”
“It would,” she says. “Gross and deeply creepy.”
“I know. I’m still in the middle of my period.”
Kate snorts. “Nice to see you still have some ethics,” she says, sarcastically. “Hanna, come on – this is fucked up. He doesn’t know who you are.”
“He knows I’m his girlfriend. So okay, he’s never heard of Barack Obama and thinks four plus two makes beans, but he’s still the same Crispian I fell in love with. Sort of.”
“No, but he doesn’t remember falling in love with you. Hanna, this is wrong. This is flat out fucking wrong…”
“You’re breaking up on me,” I say, moving the phone to a distance.
“…so he’s a douchebag but he doesn’t deserve…”
“…sorry, this signal is terrible…”
“…Hanna, don’t do this. What kind of sicko are you?”
I hang up the phone just as Crispian comes down the beach towards me. He wears a straw panama and a pastel blue short sleeved shirt I bought for him yesterday. We’re talking about getting his ear pierced – I always liked an earring. Gives a man a bad-boy edge.
“Did the doctor say anything new?” I ask him.
He shakes his head. “Not really. Just that the brain scans don’t show any reason for the memory loss. He says it could be traumatic – people do that sometimes. Block things out because they can’t cope with them. He recommended a therapist.”
“Aren’t I therapy enough?” I ask.
He nibbles on the celery from my Bloody Mary. He never ate vegetables before. It’s like he’s a different person. A better person. “I guess,” he says. “It depends if you can meet my needs.”
“Why? What do you need?”
“Show me your boobs.”
I peer discreetly out from under the sun umbrella and seeing that nobody else is around, I flip down my bikini top and flash him. He laughs and kisses my neck.
“I don’t know what I did to deserve you,” he says, taking my hand.
We lie side by side on the sunloungers for a while, not talking, just enjoying the sound of the ocean. Then it comes back to me – that strange Eric guy at the party. He said it was all about visualisation – imagine the thing you want most in the world. Then imagine it again, and harder. Imagine every aspect of it, imagine the sun on your face, the sand under your toes, the ice melting in your drink and his hand in yours.
This is what I imagined. This is what I wanted. Oh my God. It’s perfect – call it karma, call it fate, call it a gift from the universe to me.
“It was luck,” I say.
“Luck. Some kind of serendipity that brought me to you. If my roommate hadn’t gone on an Ecstasy and coke binge the night before she would have interviewed you instead of me, and we’d never have met.”
“Perhaps she’d be here instead,” he says.
“I doubt it. I don’t think you’re her type.”
“What’s she into?”
“Latin men in women’s underwear. Apparently.”
“Oh. Right. No – that’s not me,” he says, shaking his head. “Although, you know – I don’t know what is me.” He fingers the shirt I bought him. “Pastels. Am I a pastels person?”
I remember his garish rainbow pony t-shirts and Hawaiian silk shirts and shudder. “Definitely,” I say. “Pale colours bring out your eyes.”
“Do you think so?”
“Oh, I know so.” He has the most wonderful brown eyes. When he wears light colours they look much darker, more mysterious. He smiles across at me and I lean over to kiss him. “I’m so in love with the person I’m turning you into,” I tell him.
“You have awesome tits,” he says, and kisses me again.
We don’t need a sequel. We’ve found our happily ever after.
Oh, you wish.
– Oh God. Not you again.
Yes, me again.
– The book’s over. Go. Away.
How can this be over? This shit’s messed up – he nearly smashes his brains out and you turn him into your own personal Ken doll? I can’t believe I ever thought he was creepy…compared to you…
– What part of ‘go away’ do you not understand?
What part of ‘creepy’ do you not understand? You can’t end a book like this – it’s fucking terrifying.
– It’s edgy.
It’s wrong is what it is. As is the business of him getting your Literature professor deported and buying your degree…
-…I think you’re just quibbling at this point. Anyway, I’m done. I’m finished. This is our happily ever after, and that is the end of the matter. Go away.
Fine. If you won’t finish the book, I’ll find someone who will.
It’s cool. Order another cocktail. Call the masseuse. I’ll just get Kate to finish up – no biggie.
– Wait…what no. You can’t do that.
Watch me. It’s not easy being a meta-trick, but at least you get narrative perks. Like switching narrators.
– Excuse me, this is my book.
Which you have just stated is over. You’ve abdicated your responsibility, Hanna – terminated your contract, of your own free will. Like I said – chill. Enjoy your strange, brainwashed honeymoon. I’m just going to tidy up a couple of plot threads, okay?
– No, you can’t…
Yeah, he’s in big trouble. I wonder what the penalties are for trying to bribe immigration authorities?
– You know what you are?
– You really are a cunt.
Aw. Thanks. I was beginning to think you’d never notice.