Once and Again
Love's Laborers' Lost

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Judy Needs a Good Gluck

Cut to Paul stretching his naked torso in Judy's bed. Ick. "You are amazing," he groans. Judy's lying with her back to him, curled up at her edge of the bed. Looks like she had a blast. "Thanks," she mutters. She reaches out a hand and strokes at something on the bedside table, her face melancholy. He looks at her then apologizes. She smiles and rolls over, looking to share a bit of intimacy, finally. He stretches again and announces, "Boy, am I hungry now," before popping out of bed. Let me just say that I'm relating a little too much to Judy right now. I won't think about it, I won't think about it, I won't think about it.... Judy's face turns stony as her voice-over begins, leading us to the Soliloquy Stool.

"I realized early on that a woman can just have sex, and a man has to have a reaction, you know, for it to happen," Judy says. I have to admit, I have no idea what she's talking about. Maybe all that clearly unspent sexual energy has muddled her brain a little. "And I've always been in awe of that, 'cause I sure wouldn't want the situation reversed. Some men worry about it, and they talk themselves into the worst happening, and others, it never enters their minds. And it's all okay because it's real, and it's vulnerable, and it's, you know, between the two of you. And the only time it's not okay is when the goal becomes so important that the other person doesn't even remember that you're there." Okay, that last part, I get. Sadly.

The next morning, Lily shows up at Judy's door. "You're not even dressed yet!" she complains when she sees Judy's robe. "Yes, and I forgot the check," Judy says. Lily says that if they can get their mother's birthday present out that day, it won't be late, for once. They make idle chit chat, which leads to Lily revealing that she'll be out that night, and she hasn't made a key for Will to lock up. Judy's surprised Lily still has him working. "You're the one who likes him," Lily says. Judy shoots her a look. "Oh, excuse me! You like Paul. How is Paul? Is he still the number-one contender or has he fallen from his pedestal?" "Who asked you?" Judy growls. "What happened?" Lily asks. Judy says nothing happened. Then she says, "Well, something happened, I'm just not sure what it was." "You slept with him?" Lily asks, somewhere between surprise and disapproval. Judy says they've been out "like a million times." Or four. Same difference. Lily says she's not criticizing Judy (well, not consciously, anyway), she just thought that they'd gone to a new level. Judy makes a cynical remark about the new level they've attained. Judy complains that Paul has no interest in talking about what's actually going on. Lily suggests that might be good for Judy. Judy says that's not really the problem. "So, what? You slept with him and it didn't go well?" Lily asks, with something approaching understanding in her voice. "He was really strange," Judy confides. Lily suggests that he was just nervous, but that's not what Judy's talking about. She thinks for a minute on how to explain it, then says, "He didn't connect at all. You know what I mean?" Lily shrugs off her coat. Her face is a mix of disappointment and disgust. "Judy, I've seen you do this so many times," she says. She rhymes off a couple ex-boyfriends and their so-called flaws to illustrate her point. Lily tells Judy that she's too critical. Ha! Oh if that's not -- but wait, Judy's going to say it for me. "Oh, I'm critical," she says. Lily's warmed up now, though, so she doesn't even register the barb. "Yes," she answers, like it was a genuine question, "people need time to warm up to one another. You're always diving in too fast, and then you're disappointed." "That's not true!" Judy protests. "You jump into bed right away," Lily continues, unfazed. "Oh, and what did you and Rick do?" Judy demands indignantly. Oh, that got Lily's attention all right. She pauses for a moment and her head reels back like Judy slugged her. "That was different," she finally says. Because you slept with him on the third date, while Judy and Paul tagged up on the fourth? No, because "[they're] still together." Well, there's some good logic. She didn't know that would be the case when they shamboogied that first time. "You amaze me," Just says, pissed. Lily pulls out her Harlequin and starts reading from the back cover: "We knew we wanted each other. We knew it more than anything we've ever known." Then she goes for the killing blow: "Judy, do you even know what you want?" Touché. Judy sullenly sips her coffee.

Wannabe knocks on Rick's door. Eli glances through the peephole, looks less than thrilled, and reluctantly opens the door. They give each other a peck as Wannabe moves toward the living room, asking, "Where've you been?" "Around," Eli evades. "Around where?" she asks, smiling. She goes over the ways he's been avoiding her, but she's acting really confident and unbothered. Eli says he's been "really busy with some stuff." "Stuff," Wannabe repeats, leveling him a look to cut through the crap. "Are you blowing me off?" she finally asks. He denies it. "You are," she says, again smiling. She seems to see it as a challenge of some sort. She asks if it's because of what happened in the bathroom. He says it's not. "You're afraid of getting suspended because of your dad," she taunts. I'm reminded of the lectures we used to get in grade seven, about the differences between friends and buddies. How friends actually care about you and would never want to see you hurt yourself, but a buddy just wants someone to drag to their level, so they can feel better about all the crap that they're doing. Wannabe is definitely a buddy. "Why do you let him control you?" she asks. Eli says he doesn't. "Who's always on you about your music? Who's all over you about school and college?" "Carla, he's my dad!" "Your dad who hates me," she pouts. Manipulation Tactic #2, for those of you with scorecards. Keep your pencils handy. Eli says Rick doesn't hate her. She says that Rick wishes she'd disappear. Eli argues that Rick doesn't even know her. Well, if it counts, we'd all like her to disappear. Eli finally gets angry and snaps, "I don't get you! What is the point of looking for trouble all the time? There's enough of it as there is!" "Aww," Wannabe snides, "he's gettin' mad." She smiles and sidles up to him. "The only time you're happy is when you're fighting someone!" "Wanna make something of it?" she demands, her smile suddenly gone. Ooh, watch out Eli, or that pot-smoking bad-ass is going to get you. Didn't you see Reefer Madness? Eli snarls, "Look, I don't want to fight anymore. And stop treating me like I'm a chicken when I don't, because I don't appreciate that." Wannabe glares at him. "And stop taking stuff out on me," Eli adds. Wannabe looks away, like she's fighting tears all of a sudden. Eli's face softens and he lets out his breath. "Sorry," Wannabe says, grabbing for her jacket. Manipulation Tactic #3. She says she'll go. Buh-bye! Don't let the door hit you in the ass. Okay, maybe just a little. Dammit, Eli tells her to wait. She turns and, looking like she's sucking back the tears, tells him, essentially, that he has people who care about him and she doesn't, which is why she's such an asshole. Whatever. Like everyone doesn't have shit to deal with. It's not a free pass to behave any way you want. Wannabe makes a "desperate" move for the door, but Eli throws his arms around her and pulls her back. Oh god. She fights, saying, "I'm sorry I'm bad for you. I'll just leave you alone okay?" And there we have Manipulation Tactic #4. Nice range. Eli says he doesn't want her to leave him alone. They start smooching again, which means that the sound effects guy pulls out the wet mop and plungers. They hold each other tight, and Eli cradles her head protectively with his hand.

Judy, meanwhile, is sitting in her car outside Lily's place. She's trying to decide whether to go in or not. Finally, she takes a deep breath and opens the car door. She finds Will inside, doing something handy with the dining room trim. He's surprised to see her. He tells her "they're not here." Judy anxiously says that she knows. Haltingly, she says she's there to explain about the other night. Judy rambles about how you see yourself with someone and you don't see yourself with someone else, and it's not about one person being better than the other, it's about how you see yourself, and it you don't have that, you don't have anything. Will tells her she has "all these ideas about how things are supposed to be." Judy says she doesn't want to anymore. He kisses her, and she lets herself go. Whoa, now. A whoop and a swirl later, and we're looking at them nekkid in bed.

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Once and Again

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