Perry pops up from the couch and grins as me. “You will not believe-”
“Really?” I say, turning to Darren, “why’d you let her in here?”
Darren raises an eyebrow. “Don’t look at me. You’re the one who gave her a key.”
“Fox, do you want to hear about the erotic fanfic I found about you, or not?” Perry asks.
I sigh dramatically. “What are you even doing here, Perry?”
She laughs. “I was hungry.”
“So you showed up at my apartment?” I shake my head. “I’m not cooking for you. Go ply your munchies on someone else.”
Perry rolls her eyes. “Yes, I was looking for food here, specifically, Travis.”
“Well, you are here, specifically,” I remind her.
“Yes. Because you’re right next to that one really good pretzel cart.” She shrugs.
“You walked all the way here for a pretzel?” I ask her.
“I did not walk,” Perry says, “I would never use such a plebeian mode of transport.”
“Uh-huh,” I tell her. “I hope you took the long way around, Per, that park is not safe at night.”
“I wouldn’t worry about it,” Perry tells me, “the driver should be back any minute now.”
“Well, couldn’t the driver have just taken you away in the first place?” I ask.
Perry grins at me. “But then I wouldn’t be able to visit with my bestest friend in the whole wide world, or some asshole who lives with him.”
“Thanks for that,” Darren says.
“The driver had to drop me off anyway, of course,” Perry adds.
“Naturally.” I shake my head. “Why, exactly?”
Perry shrugs. “Well, I couldn’t very well just drive up to a pretzel cart, I mean, treating a food stand like a drive-through; I would look like a crazy person.”
“Plus it’s so incredibly passé,” Darren agrees.
“I don’t think that means what you think it means, Random Fuckhead,” Perry says.
“She’s been calling me that since she got here,” Darren tells me.
“When did you get here?” I ask Perry.
She shrugs. “I don’t know, I came in halfway through this movie.”
“She’s been here for an hour,” Darren says. “She claimed she was waiting for you.”
“I have very important news,” Perry explains.
“If this is going to involve, in any combination, me, sex, and nutjobs on the internet,” I tell her, “I don’t want to hear it.”
“Oh, no worries, he hasn’t gotten to the sex yet,” Perry says. “That’s what we love about him. Master of the slow build.”
I sigh even more dramatically.
“Oh, shut up and eat your pretzel, Travis,” Perry says.
I glance over at Darren, who opens the oven and hands me a pretzel out of it. “There’s soup, too, if you want it.”
“Good soup?” I ask, “or crappy microwave soup you made Jenny sneak in?”
Darren gasps and widens his eyes. “Don’t be mean, Fox, I’m sick!”
“Worked yesterday,” I inform him, “don’t oversell it.”
“I got the kind you like, with all the tiny jalapeno bits,” Perry calls, “I don’t hear a thank you.”
“Thank you, Perry,” I say, taking a bite of the pretzel. “You did not need to have someone drive you all the way over here to buy me a snack.”
“If you must know,” Perry says, flopping back down onto the couch, “the studio’s trying to renege on the vacation time they promised me, so I’m hiding out until my plane leaves.”
“This sounds like a terrible idea, Perry.” This pretzel is pretty much the exact opposite of a terrible idea, though. Damn You, Perry.
“You have a guest room,” Perry defends.
“Do you even have your luggage or anything with you?” I ask.
“Driver has it.” Perry changes the channel as the credits on her movie end. “Ooh, elephants.”
“Do you have, like, a toothbrush or a change of clothes?” I ask.
“I always carry a toothbrush. Always. Right now, I have three. And I’ll just rummage through your and the fuckhead’s stuff until I find the clothes I like. I’m fine.” Perry pulls the throw over herself, engrossed in the elephant…movie?
“I don’t get a say in this at all?” Darren asks.
“Shut up, Random Fuckhead,” Perry tells him. “You’re ruining the movie and also Fox’s life.”
Ok, movie, then. I wonder if I’ve heard of it.
“That’s a little dramatic, I’d wager,” Darren says.
“No shit,” Perry agrees, “I work in the pictures, dollface.”
“I never would’ve guessed,” Darren says.
“My plane leaves at, like, 6:30 or something,” Perry continues, “I’ll be gone before you even wake up.”
“Yeah,” I say, “with all my clothes.”
“I wasn’t going to take all of them,” Perry argues, “I was only going to take the ones that look better on me than you. It’s not my fault you only buy things that look adorable on me.”
“You think everything looks adorable on you, Perry.” I sit down next to her.
“That’s because I’m gorgeous and charming,” Perry says.
I steal the throw back from her. “I think it’s because your parents put you in catalogs as a baby and it gave you complexes.”
“Right,” Perry says, “because anyone would want an ugly baby representing their brand.”
“I’ve seen a few,” Darren says.
“No one asked you, numbnuts,” Perry shouts, even though he’s standing right next to her. Doesn’t hate Darren, my ass.
“Babies pretty much all look the same,” I tell her, just like every time we have this conversation. I’m starting to wonder whether she legitimately forgets them the next day. “A cute baby just turns into a regular adult.”
She gasps, holding her hand to her throat. “Are you saying I grew up ugly?”
“Well,” I say, with a shake of my head, “I wasn’t saying it, no. I would never voice that, Perry.”
Perry smacks me with a pillow.
“Who did I make out with this time?” I ask her.
“This time?” Perry leers at me. “Why, Travis, have you been reading about yourself?”
“No, but I’m on a team with two of PR’s cult favorites,” I say, “and they like to send links.”
“Klepto,” she says.
“Klepto?” I repeat, “Klepto what?”
“You’re making out with Klepto,” she says.
“Oh, god,” I say. “Did they not notice my alignment or team affiliation or anything?”
“Someone’s got it in their head you’re Doctor Blueprints,” Perry explains.
“And so you’ve decided to support him by obsessively reading his work?” I ask.
“Not the author,” Perry says, patting me on the arm. “There’s a website devoted to it. The author just thought it was a good premise.”
“This feels racist,” I say.
“Yes, I’m sure it is,” Perry says, “but it’s quite a good story regardless.”
“It’s kind of not about me,” I tell her. “It’s kind of about Doctor Blueprints.”
“Yes, well, that’s his OTP, so,” Perry says, with a shrug.
“I’m pretty sure Doctor Blueprints is dead,” Darren says. “I’m pretty sure the CIA shot him.”
“Look,” Perry says, “do you want to hear about how Travis was kissing an extremely popular dastardly supervillain, or not? Because if not, I need Cheetos.”