"So," Casey tells him when they're lying in bed together, still naked. Henry's playing with her hair and looking at her in that way like he wants to marry her and have babies with her and love her forever, like she's the thing that gives his life meaning, that way that makes Casey feel profoundly uncomfortable. At least talking about this will probably break that mood of his a little bit. "Guess who's coming to look at people at the Groundlings this week?"
Henry looks mildly inquisitive, still mostly focused on stroking her hair back from her face. "Who?"
"Lorne fucking Michaels," Casey says.
Henry makes an extremely startled face, eyes widening. "Holy shit," he says. "Are you going to audition for him?"
"Hell yeah!" Casey says. "I mean, whatever, everyone's auditioning, he's seeing like a hundred people. It's not even a big deal."
"Still," Henry says. "Holy shit, that's crazy."
Casey grins at him. "So you have to help me rehearse my characters, okay? I don't want to suck in front of Lorne."
"Yeah, of course," Henry says. He's good at that, being supportive. Mike never wanted to help her run lines or got excited about her reading for auditions or anything, like it was threatening to his fragile manhood or some bullshit. It's nicer being here with Henry, their bare legs tangled together, even if Henry does get all mushy sometimes.
Suddenly Henry blinks a few times, face shifting. "Wait, you're not going to do your animatronic love doll character, are you?"
Uh... pretty much she was going to, yeah. She tries not to smirk but is mostly unsuccessful.
Henry rolls his eyes. "Shit," he says, and she laughs as she leans in to kiss him.
She gets the callback at work and can't even believe it, goes walking back into the kitchen feeling like she's in a daze, white noise buzzing in her ears. Henry gives her a weird look and Ron says, "Goddammit, were you just on the phone?" She shakes her head at Ron in a blatant lie neither of them believe and goes back to arranging eel curd or whatever the fuck on trays.
Henry works his way back next to her and when Ron finally leaves the room he says, "Everything okay?" all overly casual the way Henry can be sometimes, when he's pretending he doesn't give a shit.
She is trying so hard to be cool about this, even though it’s the most exciting thing that's happened to her since the fucking Apatow movie she eventually got cut out of. "Yeah, um, that was Saturday Night Live on the phone. They want me to fly out to New York and audition for everybody out there."
Henry's mouth drops open. "Holy fuck," he says. "Oh my God, are you serious?"
She's beaming all over her face.
"Oh my God," he says and hugs her, his body warm and familiar, big hands on her back.
She can't stop smiling, she feels like such an idiot, but just, fuck. "I mean, whatever," she says, trying to talk herself down as much as anything. "I'm not going to get it, it's probably like 50 people auditioning for one spot. But they're flying me out, like, this weekend."
Henry's eyebrows go way up. "This weekend? Like, tomorrow, this weekend?"
"Like, I gotta go home and fucking pack," she says, still grinning.
She sees a flash of something like apprehension cross Henry's face, even as he's trying so hard to be happy for her, and suddenly she remembers telling him she was leaving the next day for a six month cruise, how sick he looked even when he was telling her it was the right decision.
Fuck, if she had to do that to him again, move across the country and leave him here -- but whatever, she's totally not going to get SNL, so it's not even worth thinking about. And she and Henry have been a couple for a lot longer than, like, a week now anyway. So if it happens, just... they'll deal with it. Anyway, it's fucking SNL, it's not like she's going to get it. Nobody gets that.
She totally gets it. It's the most surreal feeling, like something out of a dream, and then she finds herself wondering if Amy Poehler felt this weird when she got it, and then that's even more surreal. What the fuck, man, SNL, she's not funny enough to be on SNL! Tina Fey was on SNL! Molly Shannon! Gilda fucking Radner! And it sucks, too, because she should be enjoying the euphoria of actually getting it, and instead her first thought is, oh fuck, what about Henry.
Okay, so, the way she sees it, there are three options. Well, four, the fourth being that she turns down SNL, but there's no way in hell that's happening, so whatever, there are three options. One, they break up. That sucks, she doesn't want to do that. Like, okay, she’d probably meet someone else, like she did before. But while she was dating Paul, he was fine when they were on the cruise, but then...he just got kind of lame. And when you come right down to it, he got lame pretty much exactly coinciding with when she was hanging out with Henry at work all the time, and it was kind of the comparison that made him so lame. She just never gets along with anyone the way she gets along with Henry, even with all his stupid feelings in the way. She told Henry that she and Paul drifted apart, but the truth is that she was super irritable with Paul for weeks for not being Henry and then when he called her on it she unceremoniously dumped him, so... Wait, why is she even thinking about this? The point, which doesn’t have anything to do with stupid Paul, is that she doesn't want to dump Henry.
So okay, option two. Long distance. Ugh, long distance sucks.
But option three is asking Henry to move to New York with her, and hoo boy. Like, that would be fun and all, tromping around New York together, but God, asking someone to move to the other side of the country is a big commitment. What if something happens? What if she is a huge bitch to him, or she has to work crazy hours and she puts her work first, because she is always going to put her career first, and then poor Henry is just out there waiting around for her to have time for him? She doesn’t trust herself not to be shitty to him, and seeing his face when his stupid heart is breaking is more than she can take. Anyway, he’s actually getting some acting work now -- just indies, but he was amazing in one, and it’s for real getting some Independent Spirit buzz, and maybe the indie thing doesn’t pay well, but she likes seeing him do something he’s so good at, that isn’t just serving appetizers and waiting for death. And what’s he going to do in New York, like, play Law & Order sex offenders? Do theater or some bullshit? She can’t ask him to do that.
Fuck. Those are three fucking terrible options, and she doesn’t even know what to do. She decides she’ll think about what she wants before she tells Henry about getting it, but then he comes over with takeout and a Netflix DVD and when he’s barely in the door she blurts out, “I got SNL.”
Henry is so startled he actually drops the takeout, and then has to jump to try to pick it up. “Fuck,” he’s saying. “Goddammit, that’s -- I mean, congratulations! That’s amazing! I can’t believe -- Jesus, fucking soy sauce, what the -- I’m so proud of you, Case, you deserve it, and -- why is the rice everywhere, cocksucking little fucks -- I can’t believe you got SNL!” Somehow trying to be happy for her and swear at the food at the same time, the words getting all jumbled up, and she feels like that reaction is somehow about right.
They decide to try long distance, even though it’s shitty. Henry actually got cast in an indie that's shooting on Long Island right at the beginning of the SNL season anyway, so the plan is that he’ll stay with her in New York while he’s shooting, and they’ll see how it goes. Casey keeps saying that she might get fired after a year anyway and then she’d just move back to LA -- tons of people get fired after a year, and she’s probably totally going to suck. They don’t have to make any major decisions until they know how it’s going to go.
She moves to Manhattan in the middle of the summer so she has time to get settled. It’s so weird to have money, an actual decent paycheck, and weird to live in a real city with public transportation, not the sprawl of LA. She feels strange and out-of-place, like she’s doing everything wrong, still expecting to drive everywhere, and she keeps wishing Henry had moved with her, even though she tells herself that would’ve been the worst. All that obligation, so much pressure, having to be the thing that fulfills him. She can’t be someone else’s reason for living -- but she does wish he was here, complaining about the shitty air conditioning with her and the lack of access to a decent beach and the noise coming up from the street at all hours. The two of them sitting around in minimal clothing with the blinds drawn, sweating while they watch something terrible on TV. Going to the Indian place down the street together, with its metal trays of food and pineapple lassi in styrofoam cups.
When she goes to 30 Rock as an actual cast member she gets the same chill as she did when she auditioned, the photos on the wall of every stupid legend that’s ever been on the show, that she has to somehow live up to, and Kristen Wiig saying hi to her in the hallway and she is basically about to have a heart attack of panicky joy every moment of every day she’s there.
Henry gets into town for his shoot on the Wednesday of her first week of work -- drops off his suitcase at her place and comes down to meet her at the studio after the table read. She shows him around the whole place, takes him down to 8H, trying to be cool the whole time and not, like, jump up and down and clap her hands or anything. Tries not to make it obvious that she’s the wide-eyed newbie showing off for her friends and family, but Hader gives her an indulgent smile before he comes over to introduce himself so it must be pretty obvious.
Casey’s just finishing off the tour by showing Henry her office when Sudeikis sticks his head into the room. “Hey, new kid,” he says, all easy charm. “We’re all going out for drinks in like fifteen, you wanna come?”
“New kid?” Casey says.
Suds grins at her. “What? It saves time.”
“Uh, Casey is the same number of syllables as ‘new kid,’” Casey says.
“Oh, I meant for me,” Sudeikis says. “Please. I’m a big star, I don’t have time to learn your name.”
Casey laughs. “Riiiiight,” she says. Henry is standing there watching this with a look on his face that isn’t totally readable.
Jason taps his fingers on the doorframe, still grinning at her crookedly. “So are you coming or what?”
“Oh,” Casey says. “Um, well, my --” she gestures at Henry and suddenly realizes she hasn’t introduced him. “Oh, God, sorry! This is Henry. Henry, that’s, um, Jason Sudeikis.”
“Hey,” Sudeikis says, and goes to shake Henry’s hand, and as they shake, Suds gets that look on his face that people get when they’re trying to place where they know Henry from.
“Anyway,” Casey says, trying to distract him before he figures it out. “Henry just got into town, so I don’t know --”
“No, of course!” Sudeikis says. “You’re invited too, buddy! The more the merrier!”
Casey looks at Henry, who shrugs like it’s okay, and so she says, “Sure, yeah, we’ll come by.” Getting to know her new coworkers is totally, like, a professional obligation, right? Anyway, she and Henry see each other all the time, they’ll have plenty of time to hang out just the two of them later.
Drinks are fun for awhile, but then an hour in, Sudeikis figures out where he knows Henry from. “Oh my God!” he crows, obviously more than a little drunk by now. “You’re that beer guy! The ‘Are we having fun yet?’ guy!”
God, poor Henry. He hasn’t been looking like he’s been having a good time anyway, which has been stressing Casey out a little bit in the first place, and now he looks like he’s barely holding off waves of humiliation. “Yep,” he says. “That was me.”
“Say it!” Sudeikis says, obviously not taking the temperature of the room. “Dude, say the line!”
“I’d really rather not,” Henry says, but everyone’s looking at him now, and it looks like the social pressure is going to come crashing down.
“Man,” Casey says, interrupting, but being super casual, like she’s just jumping in with a funny story and not trying to save Henry. “It’s so funny, the worst people have tried to get him to say that line. This one time, we were working this shitty catering job, and you know Leonard Stiltskin, the producer?” And she’s off and running with the story of the Sweet Sixteen party and immediately everyone’s forgotten about getting Henry to say it. Henry shoots a grateful look in her direction, and she fumbles for his hand under the table.
Normally she’s not much for PDA, but she holds his hand most of the rest of the night. It’s reassuring, like they’re still a team even though they’re out with the cast of SNL and their lives have gotten super bizarre. And she’s missed him, anyway.
After the drinks, she and Henry wander back to the subway still hand in hand, the night humid and warm, air thick in the dark. Somewhere a few streets away a car alarm is going off, echoing. It’s really late -- she guesses she should get used to that. She only slept a couple hours before the table read, her first all-night Tuesday writing session, and she still feels wired, high on adrenaline like she has been the whole week. She can’t believe she’s going to be on live TV on Saturday. She hopes she doesn’t throw up on camera.
“So that was fun, right?” she says to Henry. “Or were you totally bored?”
Henry smiles to himself and says, “Yeah, hanging out with Seth Meyers all night was super boring. I miss Roman and Kyle’s scintillating conversation.”
Casey snorts. “Yeah.”
They stop at the corner, and as they’re waiting for the light to change, Henry says, “So Jason Sudeikis was flirting with you pretty hard tonight.”
“What?” Casey says. “He was not, shut up.”
Henry just raises his eyebrows at her.
“Oh, were you jealous or something?” she says. Whatever, Jason Sudeikis was not flirting with her, that’s weird.
Henry rolls his eyes at her and doesn’t even have a comeback, which makes her more nervous about it than anything. God, she hopes he doesn’t feel weird about this SNL thing, like she’s all successful now and going to run off with Jason Sudeikis or something. Just. When they were both losers it felt easier -- she doesn’t want Henry to feel like she’s leaving him behind or that this is changing her. But she doesn’t know how to say any of that without sounding like a douche. God, she used to think that if she just got her big break everything would be fine, so much easier than it was working shitty jobs -- she used to be an idiot, basically.
“Whatever, isn’t he dating January Jones or something?” she says, even though she knows from the tabloids that they broke up awhile ago. “Anyway, I was there with my boyfriend, so I don’t think he’s going to be seriously hitting on me.” Boyfriend still feels a little weird to say. It sounds so high school, and just, ugh, kind of gross. But he is, so.
“You didn’t actually say I was your boyfriend when you introduced us,” Henry says.
“What?” Casey says. “Yeah, I did.”
“You actually did not,” Henry says. He is saying it really matter-of-factly, like it’s a matter of public record, all quiet and subdued. It’s always weird when booze makes him quiet.
She really thought she did, though. Did she not? “Okay, but whatever, I was holding your hand,” Casey says. Sure, it was under the table, but still, it’s not like she’s keeping Henry a secret.
“True,” Henry says, again matter-of-fact and quiet, like he’s weighing the evidence, and she can’t tell how he’s actually feeling at all. A few steps later they have to let go of each other’s hands to go down the steps to the subway easier. It has the hot, garbage-y smell of the train in summer, and waiting on the platform there’s a rat on the tracks, doing something to a fast food wrapper someone dropped. Ah, New York, such a glamorous place.
She’s living in a fourth-floor walk-up in Chelsea, the building quiet and mildly musty smelling. As soon as the door to her apartment is shut behind them, before she even has a chance to turn any lights on, Henry wraps his hand around her waist and turns her, pulling her in to kiss her, deep and possessive.
When he finally pulls back, their faces still close together, Casey murmurs, “Sorry about Sudeikis.”
“‘S okay,” Henry says, and kisses her again, that sweet way he kisses, soft and insistent, starting to walk her back toward the bedroom. They almost fall over his luggage, still near the door, so they’re laughing by the time they hit the bed. She falls onto it on her back and he follows her, half on top of her, propping himself up so he’s looming over her in the dark.
“I missed you,” Casey says as he moves his hand to cup her boob, surprising even herself.
Henry blinks, startled into looking at her face instead of at his thumb moving over her nipple, and after a second he smiles, a shy, careful smile. “Me too,” he says.
She has the feeling this is about to be the mushiest kind of sex, all gross lovemaking and looking into each other’s eyes, but secretly she thinks Henry is really good at that kind, and right now she even wants it, wants to reassure him that he’s the one she wants, that she’s not leaving him behind, that SNL isn’t making her into a different person. That everything can stay the same even though everything’s changing.
Once he pushes inside her he holds still, looking her in the eyes, so close to her, the feeling so heady and good. She runs her fingers through his hair and pulls him down to kiss him, enjoying the feel of his hair on her hands, the feel of him inside her. He only pulls back after a long time, his hair mussed now and falling over his forehead pleasantly, his face close. “You my girl?” he murmurs, sounding really shy but like he can’t help asking.
“Yeah,” she says, feeling shy herself. It’s so hard to say this stuff, to really commit to these feelings, but she is and she missed him and she wants him here, and she wants him to know it. She makes herself meet his eyes, to really mean it. “Yeah, I am.”
He smiles and kisses her again, and then starts moving, slow, long teasing strokes. It’s dreamy, quiet sex, their bodies twined close together, him leaning down to suck on her nipples and kiss her neck and she wraps her legs around his waist and her arms around his back and moves with him, finding a rhythm together, their breaths the only sound in the quiet room, bodies as close to each other as you can get.
It’s basically the most disgustingly sappy sex she’s ever had, but it feels so intimate she doesn’t even want to make fun of it afterwards. So. Whatever that means.
She has two lines in her first SNL show, playing a waiter in a sketch about prison guards out to lunch. A waiter -- it figures. At least that’s in her wheelhouse. It’s a nothing part, but when the sketch is over, Henry cheers so loud that she can hear him over everybody else in the room, which is pretty impressive.
The whole time the show’s going on, she can’t believe it’s happening. She goes out to wave at the goodnights, on that same familiar stage she’s been watching her whole life, and thinks about herself at 13 on the old blue couch in the basement, watching every show obsessively, deciding to be a comedian just like Cheri Oteri and Molly Shannon, and how she’s now standing right where they were, and for a second her whole life telescopes, bookending that moment and this one, whirling around together so vividly that she almost feels like she’s going to pass out.
Henry’s seat is near the front, and he’s clapping furiously, grinning at her so broadly she can see all his teeth and the smile lines that come out around his eyes when he’s really happy. She grins back at him, waving, and then Abby comes over to hug her and she gets distracted.
Backstage is a madhouse, everyone hyper and yelling and hugging and Sudeikis is still in an armadillo costume, swinging his ass so the tail hits Samberg, who is cracking up. She’s never felt so adrenalized and high on a performance -- she can’t believe it, she did it, live TV and she didn’t trip or mess up on her line or otherwise humiliate herself, which feels like a miracle. When Henry threads through the crowd to find her, she grabs him and kisses him on the mouth in front of everybody, for once in her life not even caring about being the kind of person who makes out in public.
Henry makes a “mmrph” noise in shock, but it’s only a second before he’s kissing her back, hand in her hair and grinning against her mouth.
When they pull back he says, “Congratulations,” still beaming at her. “How does it feel?”
“So amazingly good, you have no idea!” Casey says. She wants to do something crazy -- go in the back alley and light some trash cans on fire, spray paint her name on the Empire State Building. “C’mere, I have to drop some of my stuff off upstairs in my office.”
It’s the lamest excuse, but Henry doesn’t even see through it until they’re up in the darkened office she shares with Nasim, and she locks the door behind him. Hopefully Nasim won’t need anything out of here in the next 15 minutes.
“What are you doing?” Henry says, but then she’s kissing him, shoving him up against the wall so his back hits with some force. “Hey,” he says, but he’s smiling again and shaking his head at her.
“We’re celebrating,” Casey says, reaching for his belt. She’s glad Henry’s here -- everyone else is happy too, a good show pulled off, but he’s the only one who knows just how crazy this is, how two months ago she was wearing a pink bow tie and serving chicken fingers to ungrateful thirteen-year-olds at some brat’s bar mitzvah. “Don’t you want to fuck on NBC’s couch in Saturday Night Live’s offices?”
“Um, yes,” Henry says, pulling her hips against his, and he kisses her again, lots of tongue, hands sneaking up under her shirt. She’s so happy it doesn’t feel like her body can contain it all.
She doesn’t know how she would have made it through this first month if Henry wasn’t there. She always kind of thought that if she got on some sitcom or cast in some big role, like, whatever, playing the girlfriend in a Will Ferrell movie -- she hadn’t even dreamed of SNL, really, it was so unreasonable -- she thought that if that happened, that she’d have made it, that she’d know she was funny and that she deserved it. Like it’d be an end to any insecurity. Which, it turns out, was so fucking dumb. She has never felt less funny than in a room of the SNL cast and writers pitching sketch ideas, or even hanging out eating candy with them before getting down to work writing anything. Like, she makes an okay joke, and then Hader riffs on it with something amazing and it’s just like, why is she even here?
On the plus side, if she ever gets a laugh in a pitch meeting or at the table read, she basically feels like she has just cured cancer, but those are pretty few and far between. Most of the time whatever she says is met with total silence, and it’s like a gauntlet of humiliation all the time. If she didn’t get to go home to Henry, where he’s usually done something ridiculous like cook her dinner, she thinks that she would be a complete mess. At least now when she’s a complete mess, Henry will hug her or listen to her cry and it doesn’t feel quite so shitty.
She goes and visits him on his set too if she ever has an afternoon off, and the indie he’s working on seems really cool. But it’s weird that he has, like, coworkers she doesn’t know, and this whole life she’s not a part of. Inside jokes with the little waif playing his love interest, which Casey does not like, and then feels like a ridiculous person for even getting annoyed by.
But as Henry’s shoot starts to draw to a close, Casey gets more and more nervous about him leaving. What’s she supposed to do when he goes back to LA, be alone and miserable and exhausted and insecure alone? Talk to him on the phone? On the phone you can’t lean against his chest or watch TV with your head in his lap and him playing with your hair, so what’s even the point? God, long distance is bullshit.
And yeah, everyone at SNL is nice, and she’s even starting to make friends with Nasim and one of the writers, Sarah, who’s fun to work with, but it’s not exactly a support system. She just -- she needs stupid Henry.
Henry’s shoot wraps up on a Tuesday, but he’s staying for an extra week just to hang out, see another one of her shows. And it turns out that it’s good he planned his plane ticket that way, because weirdly enough the musical guest for that show is Jackal Onassis, and Casey would freak out if she had to tell him that over the phone and he missed it.
The musical guest usually isn’t around much during the week until actual rehearsals, so she doesn’t see Jackal Onassis himself until Friday -- he agreed to do a digital short with Andy, and Andy recruited Casey to be in it, which was super nice of him -- so late on Friday night they all get together in Andy’s office to find out what the plan is. The weird thing is that when Jackal Onassis shows up without makeup on, she totally recognizes him, though she can’t think from where -- it’s definitely not from, like, him performing or anything though, and she doesn’t think she actually saw him that night of his concert anyway, since Roman was impersonating him. What the hell?
The funny thing is that Jackal Onassis does a double-take when he sees her too. “Hey,” he says slowly. “Wait, do I know you from somewhere? You look really familiar.”
Andy’s talking to Bill about some prop gun, so no one’s really paying attention to them.
“I don’t know,” Casey says. “You look really familiar too. Uh, weirdly, one time I catered your show in LA? But I don’t think I talked to you -- it was funny, actually, this douchey guy we worked with dressed up as you, and there were all these shenanigans --”
Jackal Onassis snaps his fingers. “Oh, you’re that caterer! Cassie?”
Whoa, he remembers her? “Casey,” Casey says. “Um, yeah. But we didn’t --”
“No, I catered with you!” Jackal says, dropping his voice. “I wanted to be a regular guy, so I got your boss to let me work the bar.”
Oh God, Dennis! Who got fired! Why did Henry not tell her that Jackal Onassis was working the bar the whole time?! “Oh my God!” Casey says.
Jackal Onassis is smiling now. “Man, that night was great. Best night of my life. Hey, weren’t you and your boss having some relationship drama or something? I remember everyone was talking about it.”
Oh geez, everyone was talking about it? Assholes. “Oh,” Casey says. “Um, yeah, kind of, I guess.”
“Did you guys ever work it out?”
Casey can feel herself starting to smile, which is so ridiculous. “Yeah,” she says. “We’re back together.”
“That’s great, man,” Jackal Onassis says. “I liked that guy. No bullshit from him.”
“Yeah,” Casey says. “He is pretty bullshit-free.”
At the afterparty, Casey is pretty psyched to introduce Henry to Jackal Onassis -- she can’t even believe that guy remembers them, he’s such a huge star. When she finally sees him across the room, she grabs Henry’s hand to tug him over.
“Hey,” she says, when she gets up to Jackal Onassis, who is still in full makeup. “Great show tonight.”
“Don’t give me that --” he starts to say in a super angry tone, turning towards them, but then he notices who it is and pulls up short. “Oh, hey!” he says to Casey. Then he obviously sees Henry next to her. “Harry!” he says.
“Henry,” Henry says.
“Right, right, man, it’s been forever!” Jackal Onassis says. “How’ve you been?”
“Pretty good,” Henry says, still looking kind of taken aback by Jackal Onassis being so friendly.
“That’s great,” Jackal Onassis says. “You gave me the best night I’ve ever had. You’re still the only man who’s ever fired me.”
Henry smiles a little. “Happy to do it,” he says.
“So everything worked out for you guys, huh?” Jackal says, pointing back and forth between them with his beer. “Are you guys living together out here?”
“Oh!” Casey says. And it’s suddenly awkward, great. “No, um, nope, we’re actually doing the long-distance thing.”
Henry’s still smiling, but it’s gone a little tight.
“Oh,” Jackal says, obviously not really that interested. “Well, it’s cool you’re back together.”
It’s just a stupid, polite conversation with a shock rocker who once pretended to work with them, but it keeps bothering Casey the rest of the night. Just... well, okay, the thing is, she actually does want to live with Henry. She doesn’t want him to go back to LA -- she wants him to stay here and be at every afterparty and there when she gets home at night and there to go out for hungover brunches with her on Sunday mornings after they’ve been out too late. Even to do all the bullshitty couple stuff he wants and to be annoyed when Sudeikis flirts with her. Which is totally happening, by the way, Suds has gotten super obvious about it.
But asking Henry to stay still feels like too much. Like, what, he’s supposed to give up his whole life in LA to come be a house-husband for her? She can’t ask that from him just because she’s a baby who needs someone’s shoulder to cry on and can’t handle her dreams coming true on her own.
Later that night, it’s five am at the after-afterparty, and Casey’s drunk and just starting to come down from the high of actually being in a sketch for real tonight, a sketch she helped write and everything. She’s been wired all night but the crash has finally come, exhaustion kicking in, and she’s getting fuzzy, sleepy drunk. The club has couches all over the place and she and Henry are on one, her leaning into his side, slumped against him. God, he smells nice and he keeps looking down at her affectionately, drowsy and pleased, smiling to himself like he’s happy.
“You should move in with me,” Casey says, mumbling so quietly she’s sure he won’t be able to hear it over the music. She doesn’t even really mean to say it out loud -- it’s late and her filter is down for the night.
But Henry looks at her sharply. “What?” he says.
Crap. Maybe he didn’t make out the words, maybe he just heard her making vague noises. But he’s staring at her like he definitely understood her, and he’s really startled. Crap. “Um, nothing,” she says. But he keeps looking at her, forehead knitted together, eyes wide, measuring her up. He so completely heard her. Finally she caves and says, “Um, I said you should move in with me?”
“Really?” Henry says. It’s blank and stunned, and crap, she knew it was too much to ask.
“I mean, no, I’m sorry,” Casey says, trying to backtrack and get it together. “That’s shitty of me. I’m just drunk and I like you, but I’m sorry, it’s shitty to ask you to move across the country. You’ve got your whole life in LA.”
Henry blinks a couple of times. “No, I don’t,” he says. “I don’t have a life. What are you talking about?” He’s sitting up straight now, so she has to too, so they’re not leaning against each other anymore. Henry’s back is rigid and she can’t tell where he’s coming from in this conversation at all.
“No, I mean, you’re getting jobs out there, and you have friends --”
“What friends?” Henry interrupts her.
She laughs a little because that’s kind of true. “You know what I mean.”
Henry’s staring at her really intently. “Do you want me to move out here?”
She shrugs, not wanting to commit to it, but not exactly able to lie and say no, either. Just, if she asks and he turns her down, that would suck. And if he moves out here and then he’s miserable -- she just doesn’t want to make him miserable.
“Casey, do you?”
She shrugs again, for a second almost wanting to cry. God, she must be tired. She hasn’t slept since the season started, she feels like, and it’s October. “Um, yeah, kind of,” she says.
God, why does he have to press her like this? “Yeah, okay, yes! I want you to move out here, but I don’t want you to -- I mean, I only want that if you want to. I don’t want you to stop getting jobs, and there’s so much more acting shit in LA, like, I don’t want you to come out here and not get anything and then quit acting again, because you’re so good at acting, and --”
“Casey,” Henry interrupts her again. “Of course I want to move out here with you.”
He says it so matter-of-factly, like it’s something he’s known forever and doesn’t even have to think about, that she feels like she must not have heard him right. “What?”
“I want to move in with you,” he says, still sure of himself and confident. Though when he sees her staring at him like he’s crazy his eyes flick to the side and he looks nervous again. “If you want,” he says, much more shyly.
“Really?” she says.
Henry nods, looking a little embarrassed, and a few yards away from them Sudeikis is dancing with Wiig, and Seth is doing some bit with Charlie Day, the two of them giggling together like crazy, and Jude Law is sitting next to Lorne, and it’s so weird to be having this conversation here. Casey feels like she’s stumbled into somebody else’s life basically all the time, like none of this can really be happening. But maybe it’s not weird, maybe she really can get what she wants -- maybe she just has to reach out and ask for it. Henry’s looking at her, biting his lip.
“Yeah,” she says. “Yeah, I want.” She reaches out for his hand, twining her fingers through his, looking at their skin next to each other because she feels too shy to look at his face.
That only lasts for a few seconds before she can’t stand the suspense, though, and glances up. His eyes are alight, looking at her like he’s crazy about her. He’s just starting to smile, the edges of his mouth quirking up. “Oh,” he says. “Okay, then.”
She shrugs, trying to be nonchalant too but starting to smile. “Good,” she says.
He leans in to kiss her, and they don’t pull away until Jackal Onassis sits down next to them to start bitching about they’re the only two real people in this sea of phonies.
Henry laughs like he’s too happy to keep it in, and sits back to listen to him, putting his arm around Casey as he does, all casual and couple-y. She leans into him, watching celebrities mingle as Jackal Onassis starts talking about success as a gilded cage.
Yeah, maybe he’s right. But right now with Henry’s arm around her it doesn’t feel so bad.