'90s grunge

Chapter 21 (Part 2): Bonnie and Clyde

So here’s part two of the New Year’s Eve chapter. I hope you enjoy reading this (and if you don’t I’m sorry). Let me know your thoughts. It’s a long one and lots of stuff happens.

“Five minutes until midnight!” I hear someone say to my left. The person sounds happy and elated. I want to punch him in his face. I’m making my way through the crowds on the Seattle streets. Normally everyone stays inside in the middle of winter -or any time of year for that matter- because the city isn’t known for it’s warm climate. But on New Year’s Eve the streets are crowded. Everyone is outside making their way from one place to another, trying to get to their desired spot to ring in the New Year. The fact that 1991 is right around the corner is the last thing on my mind right now. I need to get to that bar and kill that fucker. He doesn’t deserve to see the new year.

I’m zigzagging in between groups of people, running as fast as I can. I’ve taken of my over the knee boots, running barefoot with nothing to separate my feet from the cold pavement but the thin layer of my tights. I can feel them ripping open, but I can’t be bothered.

The Mexican bar is looming in the distance. I decide to make an extra effort for the last couple of yards and speed up even more.

The images of what happened less than fifteen minutes ago keep haunting my mind. Johnny was sitting on the edge of the bathtub, sobbing and heaving, trying to breathe. Corrine rushed to his side and sat next to him on the edge of the tub, rubbing his back to soothe the heaving. But it didn’t  work. We stared at him in silence for what felt like an eternity. Chris was the first that dared to speak.

“Johnny, what’s wrong?” he asked in the smallest voice, scared to hear what Johnny was about to say. We all were.

Johnny opened up the bottle of vodka again, taking one long gulp. He put it down on the edge of the sink, wiping away some of the liquor with the back of his hand, smearing his red lipstick even further.

“Johnny…” Chris urged again. Johnny instead just took a deep, shaky breath. And another one. After that some kind of anger seemed to come over him and he aggressively yanked his wig of and threw it across the room. His hair underneath was disheveled, bits and pieces sticking out from underneath his wig cap (which was an old pair of pantyhose). He started removing his fake eyelashes as they had already started to come undone; the glue disappearing because of his tears. He put them on the edge of the sink. Eventually he decided to speak.

“So you know the bartender from No Way José?” Johnny started and I was confused. Is all of this because of a bartender? Did he dump Johnny? Why the hell is he so upset, he’s just some guy.

“Antonio? Yes I know him”, Corrine said, seemingly not as confused. Or she hid it really well. That’s the thing about Corrine. No matter how silly and futile your issues may seem to others, she’ll always take them seriously. Her empathy is something to be admired.

“Exactly, Antonio”, Johnny said and the tears in his eyes started coming back. Chris rushed forwards to grab the bottle of vodka of the sink and handed it to Johnny. He took it, mouthing a small thanks to Chris before bringing the bottle to his lips again. He took another sip and another shaky breath before continuing.

“So we had this fuck buddy thing going on. But after a while we decided to put a stop to it, because it simply wasn’t working anymore”, Johnny explained. What the hell is he getting to? Johnny has had multiple of these kinds of relationships. All of which have ended and he has never seemed upset about them before. I couldn’t see why he was so upset.

“So a few weeks ago he gave me a call. Told me he had gone to the doctor to check some things and told me to do the same. He said it was urgent. I said fine, I’ll go. He never explained to me what it was about. I figured it would be something along the lines of chlamydia, maybe herpes. So I went to the doctor and got myself checked out”, Johnny told us. After this he took another sip of alcohol. A little alarm bell started ringing in my head, but I decided to ignore it. It couldn’t be.

“I got my results in the mail today”, Johnny continued and now he was back to sobbing again. The alarm bell was still ringing but I decided to ignore it once more. No, it’s not that. It’s probably herpes and he’s scared his dick will fall of or something. It’s gonna be fine.

“I have AIDS”, Johnny said. It was like all the light and air and life was sucked out of the room in that very moment. Johnny had AIDS. He has contracted the disease that millions world wide are suffering from. That the government won’t do anything about. The gay plague as some of those fucking conservative dickheads like to call it. The disease with no cure as of yet. The disease that’s like a death sentence, because the only medication that’s available is way too fucking expensive for anyone who hasn’t got some kind of thrust fund to pay. Johnny has it. Johnny has been sentenced.

Chris looked shocked. All the color had drained from his skin. I’d only seen him like this once before. That was the day he met me at the hospital when Andy was brought in for his overdose. This exact look is the look he had when he told me that there was nothing the doctors could do for him.

Corrine was crying silent tears as she held Johnny, who was now hysterically sobbing once again. As for me. At first I felt nothing. I felt absolutely nothing. It was as if my entire body had become numb. Then Johnny looked at me, the tears streaming down his face. He looked at me to check my reaction. To see how I was handling the news. I just looked at him and saw a broken man, scared for his life, uncertain about his future. Hopeless and not knowing what to do. A man that’s like a brother to me, who means the world to me. Another person I now seemed destined to lose. And all of that because of that one fucker. Johnny gestured for me, his eyes practically pleading: please just give me a hug. And I would do just that. I’ll hold him for as long as he needs. After I do this one thing.

I stormed out of the door, I heard Johnny’s voice following me, asking where I was going. The only thing that I responded was: “I’m gonna kill that fucker”, as I ran out of the apartment. I heard Eddie shouting my name, but decided to ignore him. He didn’t need to see this.

As I near the bar, I can practically hear Eddie shouting my name again. I decide to shake it off. I’ll explain everything to him later. He probably already knows what happened with Johnny. I’ll explain my actions later.

I push my way through the line outside the bar. I notice that they have hired a bouncer tonight. He isn’t gonna stop me. I make my way through the line and without even waiting for the guy to give me the okay to go in, I go in.

“You can’t do that!” he shouts, but I ignore him. The wuss doesn’t even have the balls to actually stop me and drag me away. Something which he might regret later.

The place is packed tight. Everyone is pushing against each other. The air is filled with the smell of alcohol, sweat and vomit. Madonna’s La Isla Bonita is playing in the background. The deejay turns the music down a little to announce that there is one more minute left until the new year.

I finally get to the bar, though the fucker is nowhere to be seen. Where the fuck is he? The countdown is beginning in the background. Everyone is stopping what they’re doing to count down the last seconds of 1990. Where the fuck is he? A bartender I have never seen passes by me. In a reflex I grasp his wrist and pull him towards me.

“Where the fuck is Antonio?” I shout, trying to make my voice heard over the people shouting ten, nine, eight.

“What?” he shouts back, clearly not able to hear me over the fucking crowd. The stupid, deaf son of a bitch. Rule number one when you work in a bar or a club, always make sure to understand people. I learned that a long time ago when I used to work in CBGB’s in New York.

“Where the fuck is Antonio?” I repeat, this time louder and slower so he’ll certainly hear me. The crowd erupts in cheers, signaling that 1991 has arrived. I want to tell them all to shut the fuck up. I need to kick someone’s ass. I want to kick his ass so hard that his balls are where his tonsils are. The bartender gives me an annoyed look.

“He’s not working tonight. Some personal issues or something along those lines”, he tells me and tries to break his wrist free from my grip on it. Personal issues? Personal issues my ass!

“Where the hell is he then?” I ask the bartender. The guy gives me a weird look. He must think I’m some sort of stalker, but I don’t fucking care.

“Probably at home”, the bartender says and he manages to get away from my grip. I decide to follow him through the crowd as he’s making his way over to some table to take orders.

“And where is that?” I shout at him. He isn’t gonna get away with this. Even if I have to break into the back office of the bar and go through the records of their staff to find out where the guy lives, I’ll do that.

The bartender is about to shout something at me when I hear my name, followed by some arms that wrap around me from the back.

“Thank God I found you”, Eddie says as he turns me around and pulls me tight in his arms. It’s only when I’m in his arms that I realize that I’ve been crying the whole damn time. Rage and tears go hand in hand with me. But the anger is starting to fade away. The anger that has been fueling my past actions is disappearing and the shock and sadness of the situation is really sinking in. We might lose him. Eddie’s stroking my hair and placing kisses on the top of my head. It somewhat calms me down, causing the stream of tears to increase.

“It’s okay”, he tells me, but I shake my head. I know he’s saying those things to calm me down, but I know it’s not gonna be okay. It’s not gonna be okay.

“Dude, would you take her out of here, she’s been freaking out the other costumers”, the bartender I had just cornered says to Eddie.

“Sure, I will, when you tell your coworkers to stop fucking their costumers”, Eddie bites back. The bartender doesn’t even seem taken aback by this comment.

“It’s not my business that Michael knocked someone up again”, the bartender says without batting an eye as he moves past us and disappears behind the bar. What the fuck is up with these bartenders? Getting girls pregnant? Spreading disease? What the actual fuck? Eddie just seems disgusted by his comment.

“Let’s go”, he tells me and I nod. I need to get out of this place. I don’t even know how I once enjoyed being here. It just seems like a toxic den right now. Eddie puts his arm around my shoulder and leads us towards the exit.

“Good, you got her out”, I hear the bouncer say as we step out onto the pavement. Last time I was outside I didn’t realize how cold it was, probably because I was running. Now on the other hand the cold wind is hitting hard and sending shivers down my spine.

“Yes, I did”, Eddie tells the bouncer, shooting him a nasty look. I can only imagine the conversation they had when Eddie tried to get in. It certainly wasn’t polite, judging by the looks they’re giving each other.

“Next time keep a leash on your bitch”, the guys says and Eddie stops in his tracks.

“What did you just say?” he says through clenched teeth as he slowly turns around. The bouncer doesn’t seem intimidated by it all, but Eddie’s reaction is making my blood run cold.

“Keep your bitch on a leash”, the guy says again, grinning from ear to ear. He probably getting a kick out of all of this.

“That’s it”, I hear Eddie say. His arm falls from my shoulder as he turns around. The bouncer still has the smug grin on his face as Eddie is looking at him. His looks conveys something of: whatcha gonna do, huh?

The next thing I know Eddie launches himself at the bouncer, in one swift motion connecting his fist with the guy’s nose. A crunch can be heard and blood is staining the guys face. Seconds later they’re both going at each other in a full on fight. The people in line are seeing it as some form of entertainment and are cheering and edging them on even further.

I’m shouting Eddie’s name, trying to get him to stop so we can leave this whole situation behind, but it’s useless. Either he can’t hear me or he’s refusing to listen to me. A female bartender has come outside to check in on all the ruckus. She recognizes me from previous nights and is telling her bouncer to stop.

“They have the fucking right to be angry”, she yells at him. I frown at her comment. It’s only when I look at her and see the sorrow in her eyes that I realize that she knows about Johnny. The bouncer is ignoring her however.

Eddie lunges for his legs and manages to take him down. He throws himself on top of the guy and starts beating the shit out of his face.

“Eddie! Stop it!” I shout and I want to go in to pull at his shoulders and drag him away. But the female bartender, I think her name is Joanne, holds me back, trying to avoid me getting in to the fight. Eddie’s fists keep coming down. That’s until a police officer pulls him off of the bouncer. Who called the cops?

Eddie is still trashing, wanting to break free and hit the bouncer again. The officer twists Eddie’s arms on his back, causing him to kneel down. They’re putting hand cuffs on him. This is not the New Year’s Eve I was expecting. Joanne has freed me of her grip. I rush over to Eddie; they’re leading him to the cop’s car.

“Miss, you can’t be here”, the officer tells me. I give him a scolding look.

“I’m coming with him wether you like it or not”, I tell the police officer. I’m not gonna let them take Eddie down town without me. This whole situation is my fault to begin with.

“Lola, it’s okay. I’ll be fine”, Eddie tells me as they push his head down to get him into the back seat of the vehicle. No fucking way that he’s going on his own. I turn around and see the bouncer two feet away from me. I run up to the guy and hit him in the face, making sure that I hit him in the nose so he’ll be in extra pain. The bouncer is dumbfounded by what I just did, not seeing it coming at all. He clasps his hands over his noise and groans out in pain. I turn back to look at the cop. He also seems surprised by my actions.

“There, I hit him as well”, I tell the cop. I look at his name tag and see that is name is officer Moore. Officer Moore just shakes his head and gestures for me to get in the car.

“Kids these days, unbelievable. It’s like they actually want to go to jail”, he mutters as he closes the car door behind me. Eddie’s looking at me in utter confusion.

“There’s no way I’m letting you get in to trouble for something that I started”, I tell him as the car leaves for the police station.

***

Eddie and I have been in the holding cell at the police station for about three hours now. He’s holding me in his arms as I rest my head upon his chest. We had a slight argument during the first hour. Him scolding me for running off. Me scolding him for not letting me handle things on my own. Him scolding me again about being worried sick. Me scolding him again for attacking the bouncer. Him telling me that he only did it because he called me a bitch. Then proceeding to scold me for insisting on getting arrested as well. Me telling him that I wasn’t gonna let him be alone after he decided to hit the guy for calling me a bitch, essentially defending my honor. We made up, realizing that both of our actions have been fueled by an overload of emotions. We spent the rest of our time in each others arms in silence, both feeling exhausted.

“I’m just scared to lose someone else”, I say out of nowhere, still feeling the need to explain why I ran off in anger in the first place. In drastic situations my first reaction isn’t sadness, it’s anger. All the rage has now left my body and has left me broken in pain. We could lose him.

“I know” Eddie whispers, placing a kiss on top of my hair. “I know.”

“I’m so sorry”, I say again.

“Sorry for what?” he asks me and he’s half chuckling.

“Sorry I dragged you into this mess”, I tell him, looking up at him. His right temple is starting to bruise, a purple color is spreading over the area. He’s lucky it’s not his eye.

“Oh Lola”, he mutters and I cut him of before he can say anything else.

“No I am”, I say persistently. This whole thing is my fault and I need to own up to it.

“Lola, I would’ve done the same thing. If you hadn’t run out of that door, I would’ve been the one. So don’t you dare apologize”, he tells me. Knowing Eddie he would have also done what I had done. Probably more successfully than I had done so. But still…

“But”, I begin but he won’t even let me finish.

“No but”, he tells me reassuringly as his hand cradles the side of my head, his thumb stroking softly over my cheek.

“You sure?” I ask, because I can’t help myself. We were in such a good place before and I don’t want to risk ruining it. I need to be sure that we’re okay.

“Absolutely”, he tells me, a soft smile playing on his lips, which I return as I lean into his hand a little more.

“Hey, we forgot something”, I eventually say, thinking of something that I’ve been pushing from my mind all night.

“To kill the actual motherfucker? I know. But a police holding cell doesn’t seem to be the best spot to plan a murder”, Eddie says and I can’t help but chuckle. Indeed, planning a murder, or any kind of revenge for that matter is not the best thing to do in the holding cell of a police station. It’s certainly not what the people in the other holding cells are doing. Most of them are just continuing their new years festivities as planned; bars or no bars.

“Not that”, I tell him, not being able to hide the laughter in my voice anymore.

“What then?” he asks me, chuckling slightly as well as he tries to figure out what I’m getting at.

“It’s 1991”, I tell him quite matter-of-factly.

“Right. Completely forgot about that”, he says, letting out a slight moan. We completely forgot about New Year. Technically we didn’t forget because it has been all around us all night. But we forgot that midnight has past. 1990 has gone and 1991 is here. We didn’t do a countdown, or a midnight kiss, no cheap knock off champagne. Nothing.

“Time flies when you’re acting in a rage”, I mutter half-serious, half-chuckling. Fucking hell, 1991 has just started and it’s already a mess. So far it has been my most dramatic year yet. I mean, we got arrested.

“Tell me about it”, Eddie says and he leans his head back again the wall of the cell. I lean over and places a kiss on his lips, which he reciprocates immediately. Our first kiss of the New Year.

“Happy new year”, I whisper against his lips and I can feel his curling into a smile when I say those words.

“Happy new year”, he whispers back before kissing me again. All of the sudden I can hear a familiar voice, not too far away. Our holding cell is right next to this precinct’s administration desk after all. We’ve been able to hear all the conversations all night.  

“Hello officer, my name’s Christopher Cornell”, we hear and both of us perk up to listen to the conversation. Chris, you gorgeous, wonderful motherfucker. You came!

“I’m here for Edward Vedder and Lorelai Carmichael”, Chris announces to the officer. I let out a slight sigh of relief. We didn’t know what else happened at the party, for all we know Chris could’ve been here to pick up someone else.

“Yes… Those two”, we hear the voice of officer Moore, who seems to be less than enthusiastic about letting us go and yet at the same time happy to get rid of us.

“Who the fuck is Lorelai?” another voice slurs. Mike? Really Cornell? You brought fucking Mike with you. Something tell me that Cantrell is here as well.

“That’s Lola’s real name, remember?” Chris patiently tells Mike. Yup, on paper my name is Lorelai. My mom wanted to call me Lola and my dad complied after her death. I’ve always been called Lola. But to please my grandparents, my legal name is Lorelai. All thanks to their snobbish ways and their inability to appreciate a Russian author like Nabokov. I guess anything Russian (and thus associated with communism) scares them.

“Shit, that’s unfortunate”, Mike lets out and Eddie chuckles beside me. He already knew my real name was Lorelai, yet he’s still laughing. I give him an elbow jab in the ribs. Zip it, Edward.

“It’s a grandma’s name. But like a hot grandma. One that wears leopard print and fucks the gardener”, another person says. That person is certainly Cantrell. What the hell was Chris thinking when he brought the fucking Toxic Twins to the police station?

“You wanna know what’s unfortunate? The fact that your parent’s condoms broke. That’s unfortunate”, Chris tells the both of them. He nearly hissing.

“Mr. Cornell I suggest you keep your friends in check, otherwise I’ll have to arrest them for public intoxication”, Officer Moore tells Chris.

“Officer, with all due respect, it’s New Year’s Eve, they’re not the drunkest people in the city” Chris begins defending Tyler and Perry. Yes they are the drunkest people in the city, they always are, but the police officer doesn’t have to know that.

“I’m already here to bail out two friends. I don’t have the money to bail those two out as well. I promise you they won’t be driving and that they won’t cause anymore trouble”, Chris explains further. He doesn’t sound amused at all. He’s probably pissed as hell.

“I’ll keep you to that”, Moore tells Cornell. “Now here’s the paperwork. You need to sign here and her. Initials here. Another signature. Some other initials. An final signature at the bottom”, he instructs Chris. Cornell is never gonna let it go that he had to sign our release forms. Knowing him he’ll probably hang up our mug shots on the fridge.

“Done, done and done”, Cornell says after a bit, signaling that he has filled out the paperwork. “Now where are they?”

“I’ll take you to them”, Moore tells Chris and we hear their footsteps nearing.

“Well, well, well if it isn’t Bonnie and Cylde”, Cornell mutters unamused as he stands in front of the holding cell.

“Hi Chris”, Eddie says in the smallest voice, shooting his roommate a big smile, but Chris is not having it. Mike and Cantrell appear next to him, both of them supporting the other as they are clearly unable to stand on their legs.

“What is up with you people giving each other other names. You call me Perry, Jerry is Tyler. Eddie is now Edward and Bonnie; and Lola is Lorelai and Clyde. I’m so confused”, he says and I can’t help but face palm myself. Mike, you’re gonna get yourself arrested.

“I think Lola is Bonnie and Eddie is Clyde”, Cantrell says to Mike, stroking his back. There’s no way of getting around it, these to are the best couple in our friend group.

“Really? And how do you know that?” Mike asks Jerry, uncertain of what Jerry is saying.

“Bonnie and Clyde were some crime couple back in the day. And I’m pretty sure Bonnie was the girl”, Jerry tells Mike. Mike is completely in disbelief at this.

“The bar won’t be pressing any charges, seen as there are emotionally mitigating circumstances”, Officer Moore tells Chris, trying his best to ignore Cantrell and McCready.

“I’m sure they’re very happy about that”, Chris says, eying us up and down as we make our way out of the cell now that Moore has opened the door.

“Just make sure I don’t ever see them again”, Moore tells Chris, but is actually adressing Eddie and I as we make our way towards the precinct’s exit.

“Oh, I’ll make sure of that”, Chris says as we make our way outside. A relieved looking officer Moore closes the door behind us.

“What the hell am I supposed to do with you guys?” Chris immediately begins. We’re walking towards the Pizza Van of Doom which is parked right outside. Chris opens up the back and gestures for Cantrell and McCready to get in.

“Support us no matter what”, Eddie says hopefully and Chris just rolls his eyes before letting out a chuckle. That’s the thing about Chris when he’s angry, it goes away in about 0.3 seconds.

“Like I’m not already doing that. You guys owe me big time”, Chris tells us, but he’s looking at Mike and Jerry. They’ve decided to attempt the tango. It’s unclear who is supposed to be the woman. I have a feeling it’s Mike.

“Fred and Ginger, will you get over here?” Chris shouts at them. Both of them look up in utter confusion.

“Really, what is up with these names, I’m so confused”, Mike mutters. He’s looking at the back of his van like he has never seen the thing before.

“No, you’re drunk”, Eddie tells Mike.

“Why do we have to go in the back? We came here in the front seats”, Jerry says, sounding like a five year old.

“Because you are precious cargo and need to be protected. Now get in”, Chris says. I can feel his blood pressure rise. How he got here in one piece with those two is a mystery. No it’s a miracle.

“You hear that, Jer? We’re precious!” Mike lets out excitedly and his gives Cornell a kiss before climbing in the back. Chris is too dumbfounded by Mike’s kiss that he doesn’t even do anything to prevent Jerry from doing the same before he climbs into the back. Cornell hastily closes the doors behind them, tying the rope on the back handles, making sure it’s secure so the Toxic twins won’t escape.

“Not a single word about that!” Chris warns the both of us as he sees Eddie and I trying to hold in our laughter.

***

When we get back to the apartment Jerry and Mike have fallen asleep in the back of the van. They’re spooning each other. Mike is the little spoon. We decided to leave them there. They won’t wake up until four in the afternoon anyway. We can move them then.

We spent the car ride back explaining to Chris what happened at No Way José. Chris also told us about what had happened at the apartment. Nothing had really changed since we left, he told us.

We realize that when we walk through the door of the apartment and Stone launches himself at Eddie and I, pulling us both tight in a group hug.

“Thank God you guys are back. I thought I’d never see you again”, Stone mumbles and he sounds like he’s about to cry. So he’s still high. Poor Stone, knowing him in this state means that he’s probably been panicking and crying for the past hours. I stroke his hair a bit, telling him everything is okay.

“Never leave me again, promise me!” he whines as I untangle myself from his embrace, leaving Eddie to hold Stone alone. He gives him reassuring pats on his back.

“I promise, Stone, we won’t leave again”, Eddie tells him. I look at Eddie and wait for him to give me the okay to leave. He gives me a silent nod and I see that as my sign to make my way over to the living room.

My eyes immediately lock with Johnny’s. He’s sitting on the couch. In that second everything that is hanging in the air between us is being spoken. I’m sorry. I’ll be there for you. I don’t want to lose you. I won’t lose you. I run up to him and wrap my arms around him, holding him tight. I won’t lose you, I’ll try my damn best to do anything I can to prevent that from happening.