Even though it's only a Wednesday night, it's Part VII -- Roman numerals had been Alan's idea -- of Stu's celebration of being free from Melissa and her weekday curfews. Stu has been randomly rediscovering his new found independence for about two weeks now, and he calls everyone up for drinks every time it happens. Of course, they always all say yes, no matter what the day or time, because yeah, they're best friends and all that crap. This time, Phil goes mostly because Stu getting faded as fuck is still the funniest thing that he's ever seen. Plus, it's getting near the end of the semester, he has a veritable shit-ton of papers to grade, and that little dickweed Robert Sheets in 2nd period World History has been making Phil question his 'no punching kids' policy.
But also, Phil goes because he is an excellent friend.
Alan starts in with his, "Phil. Hey Phil. Phil. Hey Phil," schtick about four rounds in, when the buzz is just starting up in Phil's system. Phil keeps his head turned toward Doug, nodding half-heartedly to his story about some boss at work or whatever, while pretending he doesn't hear Alan at all.
"Phil. Phil. Hey. Phil. Hey, Phil. Phil, hey," Alan practically chants in the same tone of voice, never getting any more forceful or loud.
Finally, Stu slams his drink down and points to Phil while doing that thing where his head sways from side-to-side with practically every word he says. When they're drinking, Stu's wasted-ness can be measured by holding a protractor against his neck and measuring the angle at which his head is hanging. "Hey Phil, I think Alan's trying to get your attention."
"Fuck you," Phil mutters, finally relenting to Alan's inquiring face. He looks like a kid who got separated from his mom in the clothing racks at a Ross or something. Phil flashes a smile and sort of steels himsef. With Alan, you never knew what you were going to get. "What's up? You having fun, man?"
"Phil, do you think you'd ever be gay?" Alan asks. "For a man?" he clarifies after a few seconds.
"Would I ever be gay...for a man," Phil repeats. He turns to Doug, who's now examining the table, and asks, "Would I ever be gay for a man? Would I?" He looks at Stu. "Would I, Stu? You think?"
Alan swivels his eyes around to whomever Phil is speaking to. Seriously, Phil still doesn't know how to feel about this guy. It all boils down to this: he's weird as fuck. Also, Phil has a hard time understanding if he's got a crush on Phil, or if he wants to be Phil. Which, if it's the former, then okay, whatever, Phil really doesn't give a shit. It actually might be more confusing if it was the latter, because sometimes Phil really hates his life and wishes more than anything that the three of them -- Doug, Stu, and himself -- were back in college, passed out on the carpet of the Sig-Ep house every morning. Alan can have the ninety million papers to grade, and the asshole students, and the wife and kid that he barely spends any time with.
Actually, no, Alan can't have Eli or Jenn, because Phil loves the shit out of them. Actually, yes, Alan can have Jenn. No, no, no. Neither of them. But sometimes, maybe, like when she gets mad at Phil for dragging the bathmat to the toilet and accidentally leaving it there, but it's not his fault that his feet get cold when he's dropping a deuce, right? Because it was her idea to put marble floors in the bathroom in the first place, and marble is fucking cold, and Phil has sensitive feet, and it's not like he can hold his feet up the entire time because the toilet seat digs into his ass and then it hurts for the rest of the night. Right?
He takes another tequila shot when Stu hands it to him, managing to only spill the top layer all over his hand. "Great. Beautiful," Phil proclaims. He licks the liquid off, then knocks back the shot. Doug leans over the table to shove a lime into his mouth. Sweet, sweet limes.
"Tequilaaaaaahhhhhhh," Stu announces with flourish. All the empty, turned over shotglasses are starting to make their table look like a ring-toss game.
"Phil, you didn't answer my question," Alan reminds everyone, because he would totally be the guy who wouldn't recognize a wide-open out when he saw one, choosing instead to steer the conversation back to the topic that had been deliberately passed over. Totally. "I think Doug knows something, maybe. He hasn't said anything in a while."
"He's just passed out sitting up," Phil tells him. He wipes his mouth. "That's what happens to the guy, don't worry about it. He gets all Silent Bob and shit."
But Doug looks up just then, eyes at half-mast, a lazy, drunk smile pulling at his mouth, and nods minutely at Phil. Phil wipes his mouth with the back of his wrist again, then props an elbow up on the table and hides his mouth with his hand, because --
-- but that was barely even anything, and it was also a long fucking time ago, when Doug wasn't married and Stu wasn't dating a stripper in Vegas. This was during the days when Stu was a nerdy little jerk and spent all his time at the library so he could party his dick off come Friday. It was during the days when Doug smoked so much pot that there was a Doug-shaped groove worn into the corner couch cushion and all he wore were pants with elastic waists. He was a super lazy sack of shit back then, eating cereal straight out of the box about six times a day and probably jacking off like he was playing Galaga, all left-right-up-down on the XY-axis and none of this three-dimensional movement shit.
Phil raises his arm and signals for another round.
The coffee table was overflowing with empties. They were supposed to be house-sitting Stu's girlfriend's place, and Phil was betting that she had no idea just how loosely they took that term. He was pretty sure there were random people sleeping in the bedrooms, and that the screen door to the backyard was missing. Also, Doug had somehow gotten hold of a small baggie of cocaine. It was bright white in the glow of the halogen lamp.
"I have nowhere to put this. What about gumming it? Do you mind if I just stick my finger in your mouth?" Doug asked them. Stu looked horrified and Phil cracked up, doubling over and flopping onto the carpet, crushing a couple beer cans in the process.
Stu sat up on the La-Z-Boy and protectively clapped his hands over his mouth. "I'm going to be a dentist!" he shrieked in a muffled voice. "Nobody can touch these teeth except for me."
"What if you have a cavity or something? What if you need to remove a tooth?" Doug asked seriously.
"I'll do it myself," Stu said with resolve.
Phil was lying flat on the floor and still had a smile on his face, was still grinning up at the ceiling when Doug slid into his vision. "Hi," Phil greeted. "You can put your finger in my mouth."
"Should I be filming this?" Stu asked, somewhere to the left. All Phil could see was Doug looking down at him, his face standing out against the stark, white background of the popcorn ceiling above.
"Look, I'll be one of your future patients, Stu. Ahhhhhh," Phil demonstrated with his mouth wide open, the sound occasionally broken up with several drunken coughs of laughter.
Doug grinned. "You keep doing that, I'm about to stick something else in there, bro."
"Seriously, where's the fucking video camera?" Stu asked, sounding further away now.
"This isn't even your house, dude," Phil called back. Doug had his chin tucked down; Phil heard a small crinkle of plastic, then Doug quickly licked his index finger, stuck it in the bag, and held it up in front of Phil's face.
"'kay, smile wide," Doug instructed, and Phil obeyed, this time saying, "Eeeeeeeee," through his teeth.
Doug touched his finger to Phil's gums, swiping along the curve all the way to the molars and back. Phil could feel the pad of Doug's fingertip tracing the bumps of his teeth. A bitter taste immediately began to fill his mouth; Doug re-dipped his finger and did the same for Phil's lower gums.
"Okay, now open up," Doug said, dipping into the bag once more. "Stu, you watching this? I could be your fucking dental professor, dude. Learn from the master."
"Oh my god, I found tequila in the kitchen," was Stu's excited reply. He sounded distinctly more slurred than he'd been ten minutes ago.
Phil silently opened his mouth. He kept it open as Doug's finger sort of hovered above him. Maybe it would have been weird if Phil wasn't drunk enough to literally have no thoughts at all in his head -- like, he was aware that his mouth was open, and that Doug's face was now only about six inches away, and that he could see his own spit glistening on Doug's finger, and that they were kind of staring at each other, but those were purely observations and that was it.
Then Doug laid his finger on Phil's tongue, hard enough that Phil's bottom teeth were pressing into Doug's skin. Phil stayed completely still until Doug quietly said, "You gotta lick it off, man."
Static buzzed in Phil's ears. He was pretty sure he could hear Stu clanking down an empty shot glass in the kitchen.
The bitter taste had pooled in his throat; he swallowed thickly, wincing at the taste, and his tongue shifted against Doug's finger. Doug didn't move, and Phil finally closed his mouth, sort of swirling his tongue around and licking off all the coke. Then he actually had a thought -- it was of him during second year, and more specifically, it was of him during second year when he was eating out Natasha Ghaderi in one of the twenty-four hour study rooms in the library. The thought shifted to her blowing him in the same room about fifteen minutes later, and of course, after that, it turned into him blowing Doug in some imaginary fantasyland, because how could it not? He currently had Doug's fucking dirty-ass finger in his mouth.
"This is getting weird," Doug finally whispered, even closer than last time. Phil realized that he was totally feeling up Doug's finger with his fucking tongue, oh, Jesus fuck. He opened his mouth and Doug popped his finger out, then fisted the same hand in Phil's shirt.
"You're getting my own spit on my shirt," Phil told him. He swallowed against the nasty taste once more. His heart was starting to pick up the pace and everything was getting too lucid, too quick. "Dude, you're lying on top of me."
And then Doug had his face sort of tucked into Phil's neck, and he was like, breathing on Phil's ear or some shit. Phil felt Doug's scratchy five o'clock shadow against his own jaw, kind of painful but in a good way, because Doug, despite being a lazy asshole who owned three extra-length Grabber Claws, found the time and energy to shave every day. Phil could faintly smell aftershave and Irish Spring bar soap, and Doug's damn beard kept scratching at his skin, and what the fuck, Phil found himself getting really turned on. But it was probably the coke. And the beers. And the fact that his body suddenly seemed to be filled with nerves, processing and reacting to every touch so that he really wanted to be jumping around in one of those bounce-houses for kids.
"Shit," Doug muttered, right into Phil's ear.
"Shit, yeah, fuck. Dude. Fuck," Phil agreed and expounded. He totally wanted to make out with Doug. Maybe reverse this situation here, shove him off and pin him down. Doug might be into that. God, Phil was really amped now, but his mind was still hazy from the beers.
"Dudes, I -- tequilaaahhhhhhh," Stu called. There was a banging noise, and then Stu was saying, "Doorframe, Stu. Right there. Yes, to the left. Take note of it. In blue ink," more to himself than anyone else, and his voice was getting closer and closer until an extra weight dropped down onto Phil. That must have made the drugs kick in fully or something, because Phil felt abruptly awake and aware and propelled out of whatever crazy weird moment there might have been.
Doug said, "Oof," as Stu shifted around. Phil felt the breath being pushed out of him, and then Stu was pouring tequila over both their heads.
"Oh, shit!" Doug yelled and laughed at the same time. He rolled away, taking Stu with him and leaving Phil with only a wrinkled shirt, a numb mouth, a face wet with tequila, and half a boner.
Phil wiggled his fingers, then breathed, "Shit," to the ceiling.
"You were thinking it," Doug says when Phil pulls up in front of his house. The address on the curb is freshly painted, and Phil can see the new bags of Orchard Supply soil stacked by the back gate. It looks like Tracy had left the hallway light on, judging by the faint light that's coming through the curtains.
"I was what? When?" Phil asks distractedly. He's still kind of buzzed, but he'd been careful to cut himself off before his limit because he needs to be coherent enough to make sure he moved the bathmat back to its rightful place once he gets home. Also, coherent enough to operate an automobile.
"When Alan asked." Doug gestures to the backseat, where Alan had been passed the fuck out until they'd rolled him out onto the lawn of his parents' house after dropping Stu off.
Phil runs a hand over his chin, keeping the other on the steering wheel. His smile is genuine, but he kind of has to force it at the same time. "Oh. Yeah. And you weren't?"
"True." Doug drops his gaze to his feet. He's also smiling vaguely. "You know," he starts, and Phil cuts him off.
"You know," he repeats, "we could have let it get awkward, or we could have laughed it off. I mean, I'm sure there were a lot more options than that, but one of them was definitely the whole 'let it get awkward' thing."
"Right," Doug agrees. "And we didn't let it do that." He almost sounds like he wants Phil to confirm this. Phil suddenly feels sad, and like he doesn't have enough drinks in him for this.
"Are you fucking kidding me? We couldn't let it go down like that. You're my best friend, you asshole," Phil tells him. Doug glances up out of the corner of his eye and throws Phil a lopsided smile. They read each other correctly and end up hugging, albeit with some trouble, having to twist around seatbelts and angle away from the gear shift to make it happen.
"I love you, man," Doug says warmly. He still smells like the same aftershave, the same Irish Spring.
"I love you, too," Phil replies. They pull away as Doug unclicks his seatbelt. "Get inside. Tell Trace I said hi."
Doug swings himself out of the car, a little unsteady but righting himself quickly. He shuts the door, then leans in through the open window. "Will do. But hey, I'll probably see you tomorrow for Part VIII, you know that, right?"
"Of course." Phil grins.
Doug slaps the roof of the car twice, standing back and waving as it pulls away from the curb. At the first stop sign, Phil takes both hands off the wheel, rubs his face, and turns up the radio; flicks the blinker on, turns left, and continues on his way home.