That's What Friends Are For
Chapter 4
by kie
~~~Steve and I decided to not tell anyone what happened. If someone asks, we’ll tell them the truth, but we aren’t going to announce it. I doubt anyone will ask about it, though. Hmmm…what else has happened in the last few days….Pete has been late to work everyday this week, for about 3 weeks straight now. It’s either class or car trouble or he was waiting for the landlord or something else. I’ll have to tell Matt, who had been on vacation in Florida, but had to go back home, as his mother passed away suddenly. He’s heartbroken, to be sure, and he and his brothers are trying to get the estate settled as quickly as possible. But he’s not sure when he’ll be back, so I’m in charge until whenever. Jim and Andy have finally talked Ed into playing with them, so we’ll be losing his services on Friday and Saturday nights. They also have a new drummer, Tiny’s cousin, Tyler. Jim was also hinting that they may have a new singer, but he wouldn’t say who. Kevin has finally decided to learn to drive, so I guess I won’t be hauling him back and forth to work much longer. Jeff has still been trying to reach me, although not very hard. He just calls and leaves messages. He doesn’t come into work, he doesn’t stop by anyplace he knows I hang out…..Guess that gives me an idea as to how much he wants to talk to me…..It doesn’t matter. I should have realized long ago what was going on. Nat finally confided that she had seen the two of them together on a few occasions, but never guessed something was going on, ‘cause she saw them mostly in situations where they could have bumped into one another, like at the mall or supermarket. Now she feels bad, because she thinks if she had said something sooner, none of this would have happened. One of these days I’ll tell her the whole story. I’m sure she’ll get a kick out of it. She lusted after Jeff for the longest time before her and Ed hooked up. Well, time to work, I guess….~~~

I read over my diary entry one last time, and then put it away in my backpack before leaving Matt’s office and heading to the kitchen. I was just in time to catch the end of the dishwasher, so I grabbed the glasses and mugs, put them in a tray and carried them up to the bar area. I walked into the room just in time to catch the tail end of a conversation between Ed and Kevin, which ended with Kevin saying “…so I agreed if she quit, I would stop sticking my penis in the chip dip.” Now I’m sure this would have given Lewis Black an aneurism. It certainly wasn’t doing wonderful things to my brain, to be sure. I decided to pretend I hadn’t heard that, and went about getting the bar ready for the evening. I was busy stocking beer when the phone rang, and the chef, Rob, or Tiny, as he was called, hollered up saying that Matt wanted to talk to me. I went back to his office, asked how he was doing, and then told him everything that was going on. He told me to fire Pete, something I knew needed to be done, but something I didn’t want to do. After I assured Matt the building was still standing, he hung up, and I went back to stocking the bar. Most everything was ready, so I had Tiny open up the doors while I went to the walk-in cooler for some lemons. I found Kevin standing in the door, looking like a deer caught in headlights.

“What’s wrong?” I asked. He just pointed inside, so I wormed my way between him and the door and looked. It was easy to see why Kevin was stunned. Kevin was a sweet guy, the type of person you automatically wanted to protect. Sure, he was basically as raunchy as the rest of us (sometimes more so, judging from the penis in the chip dip comment), but he was, by far, the most sensitive of the lot. So I when I saw Ed and Natalie in the throes of passion on top of stacked cases of cheese, I could understand Kevin’s awe. I’m not sure what all Kevin saw, but I witnessed what must have been the most mind numbing orgasm in the world. How Nat was not crying out was beyond me, because she was shredding the box with her nails. Ed shuddered over her for a moment, and then pulled out. I could see why Nat dug into the box; Ed was hung like a horse. I heard Kevin whimper a bit when he saw well over seven inches of glistening Ed-ness. I heard him, and so did Ed, who looked over at us before we could run.

“Um…didn’t realize you guys were.uh…stocking…” I backed away, bumping into Kevin and pushing him with me. “We’ll let you…uh…finish.” I slammed the door shut and let out a breath. I headed into Matt’s office, Kevin followed. When we got inside, he shut the door, and I leaned against the wall.

“Well, that was interesting,” I said, trying to push down the arousal that had sprung from seeing the live sex show in the freezer. Kevin paced back in forth in front of me, and even though the khakis he wore were loose, it was obvious that he too was aroused. He paused and looked at me.

No,” I said, shaking my head. He chewed on his bottom lip, and then went back to pacing. After a few moments, he looked at me again.

“Not even a little?” he asked, sounding like a five year old asking for some chocolate.

“Can’t you go into the bathroom and jack off?” I asked, trying not to give in.

“I could,” he said. “But wouldn’t it be fun….”

“No, it would not be fun!” O.K., so it probably would. But still, I couldn’t go around sleeping with whoever I wanted……OK, so I could. But still, I wasn’t going to……

Kevin sighed and left the office, heading towards the bathroom, I figured. I headed up to the bar; figuring people would probably start wandering in soon.

Kevin occupied himself by rolling silverware. Ed busied himself in the corner farthest from us, wiping down tables. Natalie silently came behind the bar and started polishing the smooth oak surface. I could hear Tiny banging around in the kitchen while Sportscenter played on the TV above us. For all the noise, it was unbearable silent, and I knew I had to do something. I tapped Natalie on the shoulder and beckoned for her to follow me, calling out “Ed, your in charge for a few minutes,” as I led Nat to Matt’s office. I shut the door behind me and told her to sit on the couch while I leaned against the desk and looked at her. She squirmed.

“What were you thinking?” I asked.

“Oh god, Ahnka! We were just caught in the moment. I mean, he looked at me, and I looked at him and… just happened………..”

“Oh, I don’t care about that,” I said. “I meant what were you thinking polishing the bar. You aren’t scheduled.”

She breathed a sigh of relief and relaxed. “I though you were going to chew me for the cooler.”

“Nah, I’ll leave that for Matt, if he ever finds out.” I sure wasn’t going to tell him. “I’ve got enough employee reprimanding to do with out yelling at you and Ed for shagging in the cooler.”


“Yeah. Matt told me to go ahead and fire him. Lucky me, eh?”

“That bites. For you, I mean I don’t really know Pete.”

“He’s not easy to know.” I looked at the schedule for the next few days. “I guess I’ll have to do it tomorrow night after we close. We’ll need him tomorrow during the show.”

Natalie just shook her head. “It’ll be especially tough since Ed’s going to be playing.”

“We’ll make it,” I said. “You & I will probably have to run orders, though, until we can get someone else in.”

There was a knock on the door, so I told whoever to come in. Ed came in and started babbling away apologetically.

“It was all my fault,” he said, not even looking at Nat. “She really had nothing to do with it.”

“I did too!” Natalie said. “I had a vital role!”

“No, I mean about going into the cooler….It was all me. Please, if you have to fire someone, fire me.”

“How valiant,” I said with a smile. “But I’m not firing either of you.”

“You’re not? But you’ve been back here for a while and I thought……”

“There’s you’re problem,” Natalie said, batting her eyelashes at her beau, “you were thinking.”

“Hey ladie!” he said grinning back. “I’ll show you a problem.”

“Oooooohhhhh,” Nat relied. They both started to get a look that signified hormones kicking in.

“Hey, you two,” I said. “If you’re gonna do it, go to the storage closet or something. Not in here. I don’t want to see it.”

They tried to regain their composure, but a look passed between them that gave me the feeling that they would be in the storage closet before the night was out.

Ed left to go back to work, leaving Nat and I alone again.

“You two make a great couple,” I said as I went behind the desk and sat down.

“Thanks. I love him so much. He’s sweet and kind and funny and sexy and tender and nice and hung like a horse and…..”

I cracked up as she tried to slip that one in like it was just another adjective.

“Well, he is! You saw him, and that was taking into consideration the fact we were in a cooler.”

“Are you saying Ed was suffering from shrinkage?”

“That and the fact that we had just finished, so it was going soft. He’s usually about eight inches or so. Close your mouth, Ahnka. You’ll swallow a bug.”

I looked at my hand. From the tip of my middle finger to the crease in my wrist was six and a half inches. I mentally added another inch and a half to that and looked at Natalie in shock.

“How….I mean, where does…….eight?”

She just nodded and smiled. If I hadn’t seen it for myself, I wouldn’t have believed her, but I had seen it.

“How long where you and Kevin at the door?” she asked

“I don’t know about him, but I caught the climax of the show.”

“Pun intended, of course.”

“Of course. I think poor Kevin is traumatized for life.”

“Has he ever had any sort of sexual encounter?”

“One that I know of for certain. Almost two.” I told her about Kevin’s reaction here in the office.

“You should have just let him hump your leg or something,” she said with a laugh. I rolled my eyes and looked at my watch. “Well, I’d better get back to work. You going to hang around?”

“You wouldn’t want to have today off, would you?” she asked. “Maybe switch with me on Monday? That’s actually why I came in today, to ask. I have a doctor’s appointment on Monday.”

I looked out the window and decided that it was a beautiful day that I could spend doing other things, so I quickly agreed.

I went home, threw a load of laundry in the washer, and then decided to clean under my bed. I got on my hands and knees and was promptly pounced upon by my twenty-two pound cat, Sooty. In addition to being large size-wise, Sooty was a fluffy cat. Steve called him the largest living Tribble, because when Sooty curled up to sleep, you couldn’t tell which end was where. I scratched under his chin, and then let him think my arm was game and he was a mighty hunter snapping his prey’s neck. That got a bit painful before long, so I pulled my hand out, reached under the bed for one of the million little cat toys I knew to be under there, and tossed it across the floor for Sooty to chase. I started pulling everything out from under my bed, tossing cat toys about and giving Sooty the workout of his life. I found a few things of Jeff’s that I would have to return, plus some stuff of Steve’s, like the pair of glasses he lost a few weeks before. I set those on my night stand and then pulled out my shoebox. It was really one of those big Rubbermaid storage bins; it held my shoeboxes, which held pretty much my entire life. I knew I had some new pictures in the kitchen that needed to be put away, and decided it would be a good time to take a trip down memory lane. I grabbed the pictures, a wine glass and a bottle of wine that Steve had given me for just this reason. He knew I tended to look through my box, so he handed me a bottle of wine one day and said ‘Here, so how this goes with your reminiscing.’ It went really well.

I sipped slowly while looking at old photos and reading old notes. I found one from when Steve and I were in eighth grade. He sat behind me in geography class, and we were forever passing notes back and forth. This one was about the crush I had one a boy named Adam Frank. I looked in a box and found a picture of Adam and Steve in the cafeteria the last day of our eighth grade year. Both had dark blonde hair, brown eyes, and the same beefier build. There was enough a resemblance that one might think they were perhaps cousins. I moved on, looking at pictures of me and my ex-boyfriends and noticing an interesting pattern. They all had the same basic appearance…dark blonde hair, brown eyes, slightly heavier builds. Then I started really reading some of the notes in which I bitched to Steve about why each guy wasn’t ‘the one’…..not enough sense of humour, not sensitive, on and on and on…..and something that Steve said to me the other night came to mind. He said that there must be some reason that I was blind to what a jerk Jeff was, I just didn’t know what it was. But I did know what it was, now. And looking back, it should have been so obvious. For almost twenty years, I had considered Steve my best friend, and he really was. I had thought that the love I felt for him was the platonic love of two great friends. And it was. But it was so much more than that. I was in love with him. And I had been all of my life…………..