Wedding planning is a full-time job! It’s six in the morning and Margo Magee is awake because her idiotic assistant rented three ordinary peacocks, when Margo had clearly demanded that they be white, and that there be six of them. She’s impatiently watching the coffee brew when Tommie enters.
Margo Magee has no time to keep track of what Tommie is doing unless the redhead is directly in front of her— and even then, the details are usually not interesting enough to merit notice. But Tommie definitely entered through the front door, and now she's taking off her coat.
“Where have you been all night?” Margo asks. “Seeing that doctor of yours?”
“Oh— no, I… was at work?”
Tommie goes to the cupboard for two mugs, and starts filling them with cream and sugar as the coffee continues to brew. She isn’t wearing scrubs.
“Work. I see. Well, you tell Dr. Kelly that I have no patience for all this skulking about, and I expect to meet him! And he had better be prepared to impress me!”
“It’s not like that,” Tommie protests. Margo is getting ready to give Tommie some serious advice on convincing men to propose, when she hands Margo her mug of coffee. While Margo is tasting it to make sure that Tommie has made it exactly how she prefers, Tommie wanders away with her own mug and Margo’s phone beeps, reminding her of the peacock crisis. No rest for the weary! She calls her assistant to give him a piece of her mind.
Dr. Samantha Kelly kissed Tommie sadly, almost desperately.
“I can’t change your mind?” she asked.
“I’m sorry,” Tommie murmured, kissing her neck, her ear— “I’m sorry, but this isn’t fair to you. I can’t do this again. I shouldn’t have come tonight.”
Dr. Kelly was clever enough to know when a retreat was in order. But instead she slid her hands inside Tommie’s coat, to hold onto her for just a moment longer. Standing at the front door of her tiny studio apartment, the whole tawdry scene was obvious— take-out boxes on the small kitchen table, bottles and glasses on the nightstand, rumpled sheets on the bed, Samantha’s clothes from last night still strewn haphazardly on the floor. And Tommie, fully dressed, wrapped up in her coat and hat and gloves and scarf, ready to leave. Samantha rested her chin on Tommie’s shoulder, pulling her closer.
“This girl you’re so in love with— does she even know you exist?”
Her cheek was pressed against Tommie’s, so she could feel the other woman speak, but she didn’t have to look at her face.
“Does it matter?”
Event organizing is a full-time job! But it only makes sense for Margo Magee to keep an eye on the competition. So when she sees Lu Ann and Tommie all gussied up, she has to ask where they’re going.
“We’re going to Alan’s studio party,” Lu Ann tells her, and somehow does not follow this statement with an invitation for Margo to join them.
“How fun for you,” she says.
“Honestly, Margo, I didn’t think you’d be interested,” Tommie says.
“How can you say that? Everyone knows I love a party!” She can’t help gesturing a little energetically to make her point— she’s a very expressive person— and apparently Tommie and Lu Ann had been holding hands because Lu Ann has to let go in order to pat Margo on the shoulder.
“Get ready, we’ll wait,” Lu Ann says, and Tommie says something else to Lu Ann, but Margo is already out the door to get her business cards so she doesn’t pay it any mind.
“Tommie!” Lu Ann yelled, “Come zip me up!”
Tommie let herself in to Lu Ann’s bedroom, not quite closing the door all the way behind her. Lu Ann’s furniture was draped with rejected dresses, and Lu Ann herself was draped with Tommie’s favourite, a deep violet dress with just a bit of a shimmer to it. Lu Ann held it up loosely with one hand, and Tommie carefully kept her eyes on Lu Ann’s face. The violet made her eyes look so blue.
“Thanks,” said Lu Ann, turning her back for Tommie to zip her up. Tommie’s fingertips just barely brushed her skin, but it was so smooth and soft—
“Where are you going?” she asked, to distract herself.
“Oh, Alan’s having some kind of party.” Lu Ann shrugged.
“Not looking forward to it?”
“I don’t know. Alan has been… different, lately. I never know what to say to him. I was wondering, actually… would you come with me, Tommie? I know I could face him if we went together.”
Tommie flushed, and took Lu Ann’s hand with both of her own.
“Of course, Lu Ann,” she said, twining their fingers together. “You only had to ask.”
Getting engaged is a full-time job! Margo has to be ready for Eric to pop the question at any moment, so her beauty rest is very important. She’s visiting Lu Ann in the hospital anyway, though she was tempted to turn around when Tommie called to say that Lu Ann was officially out of danger. If Lu Ann is fine, then there's no point in making a big fuss, was there? But she was already in the taxi, and a taxi ride in New York is not a thing to be wasted.
(Margo always takes the taxi if she’s with someone important, but most people don’t qualify. When she’s alone, she walks or takes the subway— so she’s never stuck waiting for other people to get out of her way. It’s just lucky happenstance that it also saves her money.)
When she gets to the stupid hospital, Tommie is already taking up the only chair, holding Lu Ann’s hand and weeping everywhere.
“Cheer up!” she says. “You have to see people die at this job all the time, right? But Lu Ann is fine! Nothing to cry over.” Margo isn’t actually sure what Tommie’s job usually entails, but she figures she must have seen plenty of things worse than a little Lu Ann ditziness.
“I wasn’t crying,” Tommie says, with blatant disregard for the truth. “I just happened to have Lu Ann as a patient today, and I wanted to update her chart.”
“Of course,” says Margo, rolling her eyes. She thinks maybe Tommie has been lying more than usual lately, but before she can wonder why, she’s already lost interest.
“It’s all right,” Lu Ann says, her voice breathy through the respirator. “There’s nothing to be afraid of anymore.” She looks at Margo as she speaks, but it’s Tommie’s hand that she squeezes, and Tommie who looks relieved.
“How could I have been so stupid?” Lu Ann couldn’t quite manage to keep her eyes open, but she knew that Tommie was still by her side.
“Lu Ann, it’s carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Tommie, tracing the delicate bones of Lu Ann’s wrist with her fingertips. “Impaired cognitive function is practically the first symptom listed. You’re not stupid.”
“Oh, Tommie… ” Lu Ann paused for a slow, deep breath. “You always say the sweetest things.”
“Well, I care about you, Lu Ann. I’m so sorry I didn’t find you sooner. I should have been there for you, but…”
Lu Ann opened her eyes to see that Tommie’s were wet. Her friend looked away.
“You’ve been a little distant lately,” Lu Ann observed.
“I was trying to give you some space.”
Lu Ann reached up to touch Tommie’s cheek.
“Don’t,” she said, and brushed away Tommie’s tears with her thumb. “I care about you too.”
Museum curation is a full-time job! Lu Ann’s hallucination paintings have been great for business, even if Eric is still depressingly absent from his own gallery. Margo is contemplating her options when Lu Ann goes out to meet Alan at a New Year’s party— apparently they’re ‘on’ again. Even Tommie has apparently found someone, because she leaves not ten minutes after Lu Ann— and both of them stay out until the wee hours of the morning.
They come back at the same time, and have so much trouble with the lock that they wake Margo up. She went to bed early so she’d be prepared for her very important curation work in the morning, and she’s more than a little annoyed to have her future work potentially disrupted.
“Have fun kissing boys while poor spinster Margo was home alone?” she asks, leaning in the doorway of her room.
It’s not really a serious question, but Tommie and Lu Ann look at each other and blush, and then Tommie says “Yes,” which is definitely the last thing Margo wants to hear right now.
“Ugh,” she says, and goes back to bed.
The clock was ticking towards midnight when Tommie finally found Lu Ann, sitting forlorn in a corner.
“Where’s Alan?” she asked.
“He— he jilted me!” Lu Ann spat, and then buried her face in her hands. “I don’t know why I keep trying to make this work,” she confessed.
Tommie pulled Lu Ann to her feet, and wrapped her in a hug. If her hands maybe wandered a little more than she would ordinarily allow, she blamed it on the champagne.
“He doesn’t know what he’s missing,” she said, and Lu Ann returned the embrace.
From the next room, they heard the shouts of the party-goers counting down.
“Seven! Six! Five!”
Tommie tangled her fingers in Lu Anne’s hair, and Lu Anne trailed a finger down Tommie’s back, delicately tracing between her shoulder blades and down to follow the curve of her spine. Tommie shivered, and pulled Lu Ann closer.
“Three! Two! One!”
Their lips met, and parted, and in the next room their friends shouted “Happy New Year!” and filled the air with their noisemakers. Outside, fireworks went off. Tommie and Lu Ann didn’t notice.
Being a publicist is a full-time job! Publicizing? Whichever, it doesn’t leave time to google words out of curiosity— it doesn’t even leave time for Margo to go to Alan’s wake, or whatever kind of service it is that you have when you can’t display the body. Margo is just on her way out the door when Tommie and Lu Ann return, dressed in black and unbearably mopey. Tommie sits on the couch and Lu Ann collapses on top of her.
They’re still there when Margo comes home to change. On her way out again, she decides she should take more of a roomate-ly interest in whatever the two of them have been spending so much time together doing these days, and she asks,
“You two all right?”
“We’re fine, Margo,” Tommie replies, which is good enough for her. She steps into her most kickass pair of asskicking shoes, and waves goodbye.
Lu Ann and Tommie were curled up on the couch, watching… whatever was on the television. Lu Ann lay with her head in Tommie’s lap, wrapped in a blanket and still wearing her clothes from the funeral. Tommie stroked her hair and pretended not to notice the starts and stops of her crying fits.
“Oh, Tommie. I’ve been so very stupid again.” Lu Anne spoke without turning her head to look at Tommie. Her voice was weak and sad. She buried her face in Tommie’s lap. “What must you think of me?”
“I think… the death of an ex-boyfriend can be even harder to cope with than the death of a current boyfriend. I think you had no way of knowing that Alan was involved with drugs. I think you’re hurting right now, and you will be for a while, but that you’ll be all right, because you’re strong.” Lu Ann pulled her blanket over her head and squirmed closer to Tommie. “Yes, I think you’re strong, and I think you’re kind and beautiful and clever too.” Lu Ann groaned under the blanket. “I think I love you, Lu Ann.”
“Hn,” was Lu Ann’s reply, and Tommie resumed petting her head. The dramatic music on the TV swelled. “Love you too,” Lu Ann mumbled against Tommie’s stomach.
[and the truth]
“Margo, Lu Ann and I have something we’d like to talk to you about.”
Margo is actually in her office, working very hard indeed, when both her roommates let themselves in without knocking and Tommie makes this absurd announcement.
“We did try to mention it at home, but you never seemed to be listening,” Lu Ann says, bright and kind.
“Of course I was listening,” Margo snaps, “but tell me again.”
Just then, she realises that she still has to call back one of the magazines that requested an interview, and she focuses on remembering all ten digits of the phone number.
“Margo?” Lu Ann asks. “Do you have anything to say?”
“I have to get on the phone with Vanity Fair, but is it 4747, or 7474?”
“Tommie and I really do think it’s important for you to hear this, Margo,” Lu Ann says.
“I know,” says Margo, “I can just call their main line and insist that they talk to me. They’ll know who the right person is anyway.”
Margo reaches for her phone, but Tommie beats her to it, and pins her hand to her desk.
“Margo,” she says. “Lu Ann and I are probably going to get married before you do.” Before Margo can reply to this outrageous assertion, Tommie has put a finger against her lips. “Hush,” she says. “We’re not engaged yet, but Lu Ann and I are dating and we’re in love, and that’s the first step.”
“Dating who?” Margo sputters.
“Margo!” Lu Ann chides. “It’s whom. And we’re dating each other.”
With that, Tommie sneaks a possessive arm around Lu Ann’s waist, and leads her out of the office before Margo can respond.
Margo calls her assistant to give him a piece of her mind.