83. “It’s always been you.”
It’s two minutes past midnight and all Trixie can see are the scars that Katya’s left on his hands.
The hotel lit by the shitty lamp on the bedside table, but honestly the room is more lit up by the screen off his Macbook. Trixie is god knows where in the middle of no where, he always is, and it’s the moments when it’s two minutes past midnight that he feels the most lonely. It doesn’t matter what city or state or country or continent - that two minutes on a Monday morning are the worst. His insides start to gum up, soggy and wet like tar and he can’t breathe but he forces himself to, anyway.
It’s seven minutes past midnight and now he swears he can see blood from between his fingers but he knows it’s just the lighting and the way he misses Katya.
It’s the seven minutes past when he starts hating drag and travelling and his life, but his computer background is a selfie of him and Katya and he knows without drag he never would have met her. His heart aches in a really ugly way, that way that he knows he shouldn’t want her and he’ll never have her because they’re friends and they can’t be anything else or it’ll ruin everything. We all remember Shalaska, don’t we?
He closes his eyes and lets his head fall back against the head rest a little too hard, hoping that maybe one day he’ll hit it hard enough to knock some sense into his head.
It’s 12:12 when he reaches for the autoharp that’s sitting near the edge of the bed, adjusts it and starts to play - the opening chords to “I Know You All over Again.” He wrote it for Katya but tells people he wrote it for David, because Trixie and Katya can never be.
He gets about halfway through the song and ¾ of the way to crying his eyes out when his computer starts to chime, the Facetime ringtone. He doesn’t set the harp down before turning to it, and when he sees that it’s Katya he gets stupidly happy and wants to die for a moment before allowing the call to connect. Shitty Kentucky WiFi.
“Y'all wanted a twist?!” comes that raspy smoker drawl from the cracky video on the screen. Trixie can’t do anything but grin. She looks… fucking good. Radiant even, full drag because it’s still early in California, barely 9pm and she hasn’t gone on stage yet. She’s got a cigarette between her red-painted fingers and a smile on her lips. She’s alone in her dressing room, thank God.
“Bitch, that’s my line, what the fuck are you doing?”
“UM, it’s Ganja’s line, if I am not mistaken. Mother - I’m stealing catchphrases again! I’m so glad I was able to Contact you.”
Trixie’s scream-laugh explodes out of him before he can catch himself, and he covers his mouth to hide his teeth, a nervous habit he’s done since he was a kid.
“Ugh, you’re a cunt! God, I fucking miss you. You’re awful. Shouldn’t you be performing? Why are you calling me? Also, who schedules a fucking drag show on a Monday?”
Katya just grins and takes a drag of the cigarette before responding. "The people who are paying me money to be here, yes gawd! Also, it’s not even 9:30 yet, and the show doesn’t start until 10, so who else am I gonna call? Who else do my loins ache for?“
Trixie can’t help it - he’s glaring at Katya before he can stop himself, and Katya just grins again, reaching for the lighter to light the cig again.
"I miss you,” says Katya through a cloud of smoke.
Katya screams. She’s so hyper tonight, too much energy, and Trixie wishes he were there beside her to bask in it. Fuck. She radiates a glow that he can’t feel through this shitty screen.
It’s then that Katya notices the harp.
“Oh, oh! Please, mama, play me something? Please? I promise I won’t bring up Contact for the rest of this phone call! Just a little something? You know how watching you play instruments makes this corn beef pussy-hole so soggy.”
“You know what, after you saying that to me, I honestly never want to talk to you ever again. I would like a refund for every moment I have ever had to spend with you.”
Katya is dying, cracking up and doing that awful smoker hiss-laugh that she does, but Trixie’s a fucking sucker and he’s in love so here he is, strumming the fucking strings like a god damn ham. He’d never say no to her.
“What the fuck do you want me to play?”
“Um… play me a love song, mama. Play me somethin’ that means somethin’.”
Oh, god. Oh, god. She would. She fucking would. He tries his damndest not to react with his face, sighs a little and looks down at the strings. What the fuck does he play?
There’s one country singer he hasn’t gotten a chance to work with, yet. Maybe it’ll happen someday, but until then Trixie plays the opening chords to her song and avoids looking at the camera. Katya is not in the least bit distracted by what’s going on behind her in the dressing room. She only has eyes for Trixie.
“It sounds beautiful, Brian.”
His fingers only jump a little, but then he’s singing.
“Why don’t you do me a favor? Just a small payment in kind, for some affection coming from my direction. I’ll try not be a waste of time.”
The verse trickles into the chorus so slowly you almost don’t know it’s happening. He can’t look up at Katya, not right now.
“Just pretend that you love me. Look at me longer than you do. Let me be the reason you’re not sleeping at night and be by my side when I’m dreamin’ of you.”
He can’t sing any more of this song than is absolutely necessary, so he plays a few chords that mesh while he tries to get his composure back together. He can’t let on that he’s thirty seconds away from being a crying, babbling mess in this fuckin’ hotel room.
“I hope you’ll realize one day - before my fickle ways carry on. But until then you could save me, baby, and act like you love me for fun.” Katya’s breath hitches. He keeps going. "Just… pretend that you love me. Look at me longer than you do. Let me be reason you’re not sleeping at night and be by my side when I’m dreamin’ of you.“
The last chords die down, especially in the dry space of the room, but there’s something that’s keeping him from looking up and meeting Katya’s eye through the camera lens. He feels like she can see right through him, like she knows too much, especially with those beautiful fucking eyes, the way she looks like she knows you’re darkest secret, and if she did, god… she’d probably end their friendship right there. He knows Katya wants to fuck him, he knows it, god damn… but he can’t do that. He’s never been that kind of person and Katya’s never been in a real relationship. They’re fucking polar opposites, they can’t do this, it’ll never work, so why does his heart ache like this?
Her voice cracks at the end, wretched betrayal of her encapsulated feelings.
“Um… ya, I’m uh… I’m not doing too well. Tonight, is… Wow. Um.”
“That was beautiful, Bri.”
Ya, you are. But he doesn’t say that, he just takes the harp off his shoulder and lays it beside him on the bed. Katya is smiling, he can see it when he finally looks up at her. Her eyes are glistening, or at least they look like they are in the shitty lighting.
“Trixie, you know I love you. No matter what. No matter what you have to say or what you have to do. I love you, and that ain’t no joke, mama. I would do anything for you. So if you’re feeling bad, tell me. If there’s something wrong, tell me. Maybe I can help? Or, if anything, at least help you carry the load. You don’t have to carry whatever it is you’re dealing with by yourself. Is this about David?”
“God, I wish it were. That would make everything so much easier. I love you, too. But, I can’t… I need to sort this out on my own. Thank you.”
Katya looks skeptical. "Okay.“ She nods a little bit, lights her cigarette again. "You know where I am if you need me. Hell, I’ll change my flight tomorrow and meet you if you want.”
It sounds like Katya wants that more than he does, though the idea of seeing her face makes his heart skip in the best way. He’d love that, but he can’t ask her to do that.
“No, no. Don’t do that. I’m okay, I promise.”
“Okay, Tracy. I have to go. Will you text me?”
“I love you.”
Trixie grins at her, though it doesn’t quite reach his eyes.
“I love you, too.”
Katya ends the call with a smile and Trixie sighs.
“It’s always been you. It’s always fucking been you.”