Lilliana's Game

I

"Only about an hour," she said. "Maybe a little longer."

"What's only an hour?" I had just picked up the phone and had no clue what she was talking about.

"Let's grab some drinks." She was quick and to the point, "We won't be out longer than an hour or so. I'll have you home by bedtime. I promise."

A little longer than an hour to Lilli really means we'll be out until she can't stand up anymore and she needs me to coax her to get in the car and come home with me. This is me acting like we do this all the time. We don't, but this is what I got from our previous conversations. She thinks she can handle anything. She says so herself. She also thinks she's the most goddamned funny person on this planet. She's really not. She is fucking magnetic though.

It started with her and a bottle of Jack. Then she called me and I got added to the equation. This is where the 'only about an hour' conversation gets thrown in. It was not only an hour. It was all damn night. I can hardly say it bothered me to spend the whole night with her though. Isn't this what I've been waiting for?

So I go to get her. So much for trying to play hard to get, right? Its like I try so hard to resist her but I keep crawling back. Literally I feel like I'm on my fucking knees. Its like she could give a shit less if I'm there or not, but I keep pursuing her. It could be the Buzz that is doing it to me. No, it's got to be those legs. No man could resist those legs. I'm leaving it at that, pure sexual desire. That's all men want anyway right?

So this is how it went. There I was, fifteen minutes after she called me, at her front door. We both live on the east side so the first five minutes was driving. The other ten minutes was me trying to make it look like I didn't jump in the car as soon as she brought up the idea. I rang the bell. I hated ringing that thing. She bought some weird box from the novelty store that sings "YMCA" every time someone rings. It drove me fucking nuts, so I don't know how she put up with it going off all the time. I could see her through the screen. As she walked up she was making a giant 'Y' with her arms and shaking her ass.  I couldn't help but smile. Did I mention she wasn't wearing pants?

"You don't look ready at all," I pointed out. "I thought we were going out?"

"We are going out silly." She giggled. "We're just going to do a little pre-gaming." This is what she called it when we drank before we went out. Not very smart but if she could, I could. I mean hell, was she trying to test me? She took a drink out of the bottle and handed me the Jack.

"Where's the glass?" I said. "The Coke?" She just laughed and pushed the bottle on me. She lit up a cigarette and flopped onto the sofa next to me.

"When did you start smoking in here?" I asked.

"Just now." She laughed again. "It's my house. I pay the damn rent." This is her thinking she's a rebel. I'm not really convinced she is one, but she has her moments. I felt a little uncomfortable. I had only been to her place a couple times before, but she acted like it was something we did every night.

We stayed there. Well, at least for a while. We drank, a lot. She drinks like a sailor. And we smoked, a lot. We both smoke too much. A lot happened that I don't really recall. I think this is when I loosened up. One of us called a cab. She finally got some pants on. We ended up at the bar on 5th Ave. I had been there before. Previous to Lilli, I lived at bars.

I'm not sure how we didn't get thrown out.

Shot. Breathe. Shot. Beer. Shot. Breathe. Double shot. Cigarette. Fresh air. Streetlights. We were laughing; I know that much because I can remember how her face crinkles up when she smiles really big.  She makes me laugh, or is it that I'm nervous? Or was I drunk?

I don't know when we left the bar. I do remember the sidewalk. I remember her voice. I remember the pain. Then she punched me. Or, maybe she punched me before I was in pain. This is an example of her thinking she is hilarious and really fucking cute. It didn't hurt, but it irritated the living hell out of me. It actually wasn't cute or hilarious.
I don't even know how it ended up like this. Well, yea, I guess I do. Lilli and a bottle of Jack plus me being addicted to cute girls who have the same bad habits as me. Or is it just Her?

II

"She punched me," I laughed.

"What'd you do to her man?" My boss couldn't believe I got a black eye from a chick.

"Nothing," I said. "She was being funny."

"Funny?" He said. "Fuck that, I'd hate to see her pissed off."

"She was also drunk," I said and walked away. I hate my boss. He's a douche bag. He tries to act like my best friend, but I hardly know the guy. I went back up to the front desk and stood there. I do a lot of pretending at work. I pretend to be busy. I doodle on the steno pad by the computer. I pretend to care about the customer. I could give a shit less what's wrong with their transmission. I pretend to like my boss. I usually tune him out. I've gotten really good at tuning him out, but he doesn't get the hint.

"You sure do know how to pick 'em, Ryan," he found me and was back to try and bond some more. I mean, goddamn, the guy is almost thirty years older than me. What does he possibly think we can bond about? He tries to talk about chicks and booze and getting laid. It's always weird. He has tried to get me to go out with him and party, but I won't wander into that fucked up territory.

"I didn't really pick her, Bob," I said. "She just kind of drew me in."

"Oh, she has a nice ass, eh?" He said "Heh heh!" He was a creep.

"Yea," I said in a flat tone, "Something like that." I tried to escape again, but he grabbed me by the shoulder.

"What did I say about calling me Bob?" He said.

"I can't recall." I walked outside before he could hassle me anymore. I lit up a cigarette and pulled my phone out of my pocket. I had a voicemail. My stomach dropped when I saw who called me. Why does she have this effect on me? She doesn't even like me. She's just messing with me. I dialed my inbox and listened to the message.

"Hey Ryan, it's just Lilliana." She sounded out of breath, "Wanted to say hey, call me later I guess, no rush." What the hell does that mean? Say hey? No rush? She has to be messing with me. Why did it sound like she was out of breath? Que the douche bag.

"Ryan put that out, it'll kill you," he said, "You should be inside anyway. You are at work." He is always around. It's really irritating.

"Alright Bob," I said and took my time to finish smoking.

"Why do you have to call me Bob?" He was starting to get red. I knew I was bugging him. This is the best part of my day.

"What do you mean, Bob? Do you prefer Robert?" I asked, holding back a smile.

"Whatever, Ryan. Just get to work." I hate my job. Did I already say that? I don't even need to work here. I make a ton of money at the clinic. I only work here to make him happy. It's my beer money I guess. I've worked here since I was sixteen. I can't quit. He needs me around. He'd probably be a wreck without me. He's so fucking ridiculous. 

Did I mention Bob is my dad?

III

I used to have these nightmares when I was younger. There weren't people, or I don't remember any. It was just a noise. A buzzing sound. It felt like it was taking over my body. It wasn't only something I heard, but something I felt. The next time I got that feeling was when Bob beat me as a kid. I think that was a little different though. My body would shut down and all I could hear was the Buzz. I would snap out of it and find myself bloody on the floor. It wasn't sexual. He just had a rage he couldn't control. He stopped when I got big enough to hit him back, but he still wonders why I hate him. I had forgot about the Buzz until I hit college. I got the same sensation when I did mushrooms for the first time. It was an all over Buzz. At first I hated it, then I craved it. Lilli gave me this feeling too, the first time I met her. This feeling I couldn't control. I knew it couldn't be good, but I wanted it. I wanted it so bad. It was her.

I got that buzz for the first time since I dropped out of college, five weeks ago. I was outside chain-smoking at a local coffee joint. Wasting time reading a magazine.

This is how I passed my time not at work, if I wasn't at the bar. I work two jobs. One of which I hate and only do as a kind of favor. The other I only like because I get paid so well. I work a lot, that's pretty much all I ever do. So I don't have time for women. Well, at least I didn't used to have time for women.

The door opened from inside and I thought nothing of it. I didn't even bother looking up from the article. I blocked out the racket of the chairs mauling the concrete. I didn't even notice I wasn't alone anymore until I smelled coconuts. My senses were completely enveloped and I turned to find the source. I don't know what I expected, but my eyes weren't let down. She peered up over her glasses at me and instantly down at her mountain of books. She wanted nothing to do with me, but I wanted everything about her. I wasn't afraid to look at her, so I kept on staring. Her hair was auburn-brown and it brought out a glow in her skin. That wasn't really the first thing I looked at though. I caught a glimpse of the tattoos scattered over her body, and her long legs that she was making no attempt to hide. She had on short red shorts and a white shirt with some logo I didn't recognize scrolled across. She seemed confident. This is where my confidence takes hold of the situation.

I pulled my probing gaze off of her and looked back down to the article. Something about the presidential election coming up and how the world was doomed. I really don't read that kind of shit, but it was the only thing left in the magazine rack. I tried to concentrate on what I was doing, or not doing, as the case was. My gaze just crept back onto her though. My eyes were all over her. I felt disgusted by myself, but intrigued by the power she had over me. How is it that I, a levelheaded bachelor, could be torn down by the glance of an unknowing woman? I didn't know and I really didn't care. I had to get to know her, but I had to keep it cool. And then I coughed. Fucking ridiculous right? Well, yes it was, because I didn't need to cough. I did it merely to see if she would look up. Yea! It's like shootin' fish in a barrel. She looked up. She gave me a sly smile and went right back to reading. Then she paused and yes I was still staring. She looked down into her purse. Rummaged around for a bit and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. This made my heart melt. It's weird I know, but smokers love smokers. This was my opportunity. I walked up to her before she even had the chance to ask and pulled out my lighter. She stared at me.  I couldn't tell how she was taking this, but I persisted. She let out a small smile and a quiet thanks. 

I had a feeling I could break her. So I pulled up a chair and sat with her. "I'm Ryan, couldn't help but say hello."

"I'm sure you could have helped it," she laughed. "The names Lilli."

She was trying her hardest not to let me in, but I continued. I sat there and kept picking her apart with my eyes. She looked a little worried, like she had a lot on her mind, but she carried herself in a self-assured manner. She didn't say a lot. She just focused on her books, but I tried to keep the conversation going. I asked her what she did. Where she worked. All of the general small talk kind of questions. She gave me one-word answers. A Few little smiles here and there. She was flirting more so with her eyes, and she kept flinching in the chair. It was like she had no control over her body, or she was sitting in a hot seat. She moved constantly, shifting her weight from one side to the other, touching her face, adjusting her glasses. All these things made me more and more attracted to her. I was hers. She could have me. End of story. She didn't know that, and I think that was the most endearing thing about her.
I didn't want to make her uncomfortable, but I couldn't leave without making an impression. I needed to know that I could see her again. So I asked more questions.

"Do you hang out here often?" I said. This was me dragging it out.

"Almost every day," she said, not even looking up.

"So, if I happened to be here tomorrow, there's a good chance I would find you here?" I said as I smiled.

"You never know." She blushed a little and looked at her hands. They were intertwined in such a fashion that they looked like they would never come undone. Was she nervous? Was this a good thing? I didn't want to make her nervous. I just wanted to be around her. We sat there a good ten minutes, and she pulled out another cigarette almost immediately after she finished first.  This was my type of girl. I followed suit and lit up as well. As soon as she took the first inhale her body relaxed and she went back to trying to ignore me. I was worried she had played the nervous thing off like a joke. She was way too cool right now. Did the tables turn without my knowing?

"See you tomorrow then," I tried to keep my cool, finished my smoke and walked to my car.

"Bye then," she said. Did I read her wrong? Maybe I was the fish and she had shot me dead and I wasn't even aware of it yet.

I was in some kind of purgatory that she had cast me into and I didn't know how I got there. This is where the buzzing set it. Just like the dreams and the shrooming. This was Lilli.

IV

Lilli walked up to the glass doors. She reached for the handle and paused as she caught her reflection staring at her. Her hair was wrecked and her make-up was a slight memory of what it had been at seven this morning. She still looked amazing. She always did though. She shook her head and opened the door to walk in.

"Hey," she said with little excitement in her voice.

"Hey," I said. "Where ya been lately? Haven't seen ya in a while."

Lilli sat down next to me as she spoke, "Well, at least you noticed. Glad you didn't forget about me!"

"Nah, I won't forget you anytime soon. What's going on?"

"It's just the same shit. He is going insane I know he is!" She wiped away a tear and faked a smile.

I leaned closer over the counter, "Who is it this time? What did he do?"

"Why does it matter who he is? He asked me the question last night. Like it was nothing. Like I would actually want to commit to him." She took a deep breath and it looked like she was searching my face for something. "Do I look like a girl who commits? It's fucking ridiculous."

"He's just a guy, Lilli, who wouldn't want to be with you?" I knew I sure as hell did. I looked at her. My dimples must have been showing because she smiled. She loves my dimples and she points them out every time I smile. I think that's all I have on her. We went outside and I left the counter unattended for the fifth time that day.

Her voice got softer and she looked down at her shoes, "Well, I just don't understand what he wants with me. Its not like I'm a great girl or anything." She looked back up at me, "P.S. your dimples are showing." Told you. Every time.

"Oh, I'm sure I could guess what he wants." I grabbed a cigarette and held it between my lips. I lit it and stared into her eyes. The thing is that Lilli is a great girl, if you can ignore the fact that she's out with new guys all the time. And the fact that she drinks a lot and she's flakey as hell.

"Very funny, Ryan." She looked back up at me.  "I don't even want to think about what that says about me."

"That doesn't say anything about you. You're an all around good, good girl."

"Don't say things like that." She looked away.

"Things like what? I don't know what you're talking about. I'm just telling you how you're a good girl, and I like good girls," I said.

"You know that's not what I meant. Stop teasing me."

I smiled at her again, dimples and all. "But, I love the way you get all red when I'm annoying you. Plus, your smile makes me happy."  That's not the only part of her that makes me happy.

"My smile shouldn't be making you happy Ryan," she said. "I should be kicking your ass and leaving you here alone with your pathetic smoking habit."

"Hey, don't act like I'm the only one with a habit," I said.

"What do you know about my habits?" She said. "In fact, how well do you really know me at all?"

"Hey, hey! Calm down," I said. "I just meant I'm not the only one with a 'pathetic smoking habit' as you called it. You sit here and smoke cigarette for cigarette with me no problem,"

"You're right, sorry." She paused to light another cigarette and laughed a little. "I will quit some day, I'm just not ready."

"Seems like you're not ready to quit a lot of things Lilli," I said.

"Now, now. Let's not jump to conclusions," she said.

We kept up this bantering for a while. Then Bob came to find me.

"What are you doing?" He said. "There was a customer standing at the counter for ten minutes. Get your ass inside!"

"Sorry," Lilli said. "Bob, right?"  He looked at her, then me, then back at her.

"You must be the one responsible for Ryan's black eye," he laughed.

"Oh, oops. Yea, that's me," she giggled, putting her hand on his shoulder. "I hope he doesn't just tell you the bad things about me." Right this moment, I'm fucking disgusted. You have got to be kidding.

"He's had a couple good things to say." He grinned. "I can see they're all true with you standing here." Oh, hell no.

"Okay, Lilli." I reached for her arm and pulled her towards the door. "Come inside with me. Bob's a busy man."

"No, no. Stay. Talk. Ryan needs to go do his Job." Was he seriously trying to hit on my Lilli?

"No, it's okay. You are both busy. I was just leaving anyway." She batted her eyelashes at me and sneaked in a grin. "It was so nice to meet you Bob, I can see where Ryan gets his good looks from now." She blew him a kiss and sauntered out to her car. She is so sick. I know she did that just to fuck with me. She is evil. Or no, she just thinks she is fucking uproarious.

"I think your little friend over there likes me," he said and pushed me by the shoulders. "You are just a shittier version of me. I wouldn't be surprised if she left you and called me tonight for a good time." There it was. The Buzz. But this time I wasn't the one on the floor bleeding when it stopped. He was. Granted I just broke his nose, but that was enough for me.

"Fuck you, Bob." I walked inside, grabbed my keys and left. I really don't need this fucking job.

V

"Ryan, you know it will be fun." She was pulling on my shirt.

"Lilli, it's always fun with you." I smiled. "Unless you punch me like the other night."

"I only did it because you told me to." She laughed. "Plus, I didn't hit you that hard. You probably just bruise easily."

"Isn't there a different guy you can torment tonight?"

"That's not funny." She turned away and imitated pouting like a child. "I like hanging out with you better than the other ones."

"Well, I'm glad I'm the top of your list," I grinned, "or did you just beat up all the other ones too bad, so they won't go out of the house?" It hadn't even been twenty-four hours since I had seen her. I had called her back right when I got back from work and told her what happened. Well, not right after, I drove home first. Then there I was with her, again. At her house, again. And she was drinking before I got there, again. I know I shouldn't, but I like that about her. She isn't afraid to live her life. She isn't embarrassed by it, and she knows that's who she is.  I was about to become who I wanted to be. I felt qualified after the day's events.

"Ryan, lets just have some fun," she laughed and fell into my arms. "Like the other night." I just wanted her to stay in my arms forever. The buzzing recommenced in my stomach.

"Like the other night?" I pondered that statement. "You promise not to hit me?"

"I don't make promises," she said, "because then people can't be mad when I break them."

"When you break them?" I said. "Not even if?" At least she was honest. She had been honest since the first day I met her. I think that was part of the reason I liked her so much. Or it could have been her body. Or the fact that she was damn amazing.

"I don't know, that was some stunt you pulled today." I glared at her. "Hitting on my dad is so very not funny."

"Oh, come on Ryan. If it wasn't for me you wouldn't have grown some balls and left that douche bag in the dust." She crinkled her face up in a huge smile. "Please?"

"Okay, Lilli. We can do it. When?" I finally gave in. "But you don't get all the credit for today"

"I think right now," she said, giggling. "Let me make you a drink first. And, I'm totally taking credit" She skipped over to the kitchen laughing and poured up some 'Lilli-concoction' then came back and pulled me down onto the couch with her. She went through the usual motions. Lit a cigarette. Put her feet in my lap. Looked gorgeous. Laughed and drank. I just wanted her. I wanted to take her right there on the couch. I knew she could be mine. Well, I guess I didn't know that. I just wished she could be mine. She always looked so good. I'm surprised she couldn't feel my eyes exploring her body. She was drunk though, so she probably didn't notice. Or maybe she was just acting like she didn't notice.

"Ryan!" She leaned in really close to my face. The buzzing was taking over, I almost blacked out. Was this it? Was I finally going to get her? I knew she wanted me!

"What happened to your eye?" She tried to keep a straight face, but fell over laughing. Of course, I don't know why I expected anything else.

"You think you're so funny," I said.

"Okay, okay." She smiled. "Lets get this show on the road!" She went to the closet and rummaged around for a good ten minutes before she came back. There it was. What she had been waiting for all night. This, for the record, was not what I had been waiting for.

"I haven't played Monopoly in ages!" She exclaimed. "See, this is why I like hanging out with you more than anyone else!" Fucking great right? Her Monopoly buddy. That's so damn cute.
So that's what we did. We drank a lot. Drank until we were both shit faced. We smoked a lot. Until both of our packs were empty. We played the fuck out of that monopoly game. Until we couldn't see straight enough to count the spaces on the board. Then, after we couldn't play any more games. After Lilli had sobered up enough to stop laughing for five seconds.  Then I grew my second set of balls for the day, and made a move. Lilli took the bait and for once I felt like more than just entertainment for her. That's the night Lilli and I became more than just Monopoly buddies.

Maybe there is a reason that buzz comes to me at weird times. Maybe it's more of a warning than a craving. Maybe Lilli and I should just stay here for a while. Drunks who smoke a lot and have a damn good time together and finally get something out of each other.