The Consequences of Dissonance - Chapter Ten
“Nah, man, that stuff makes me feel stupid,” I said, pawing Thomas’ poffered joint on towards Kris who plucked it delicately from my roommate’s fingers.
“Hope you don’t mind, Cor’,” she said, relighting the end of the pungent bit of pot, the newly rolled joint glowing red at the flame and releasing a tiny curl of smoke towards the light in our room, which Thomas had covered in a bit of green-tea colored cloth.
I shrugged and propped myself up with my elbows on my bed, handing the ‘sploof’ on to Kris, which she exchanged for her lighter. “It’s cool,” I said. “Just don’t like it myself. As long as you don’t get us all in trouble, I’ll be fine.”
Nodding distractedly, she huffed out through the sploof. It was an old Mountain Dew bottle stuffed with what appeared to be a cut up sock and a fist-sized clump of fabric softener sheets. The cloud of smoke that puffed out of the hole melted in the bottom of the bottle didn’t exactly smell like fresh mountain breezes as advertized, but then, it hardly smelled like much at all, rather than the rather distinct odor of pot smoke.
I knew the ritual; Thomas would pile a towel at the base of the door, smoke up, and then light a stick of Nag Champa for five seconds. Or ten, depending on how stoned he got and how slow that made him count. I’d gotten on him more about the smell of incense than the smell of pot. The stuff bugged my nose.
Kris took another hit or two from the joint before licking her thumb and forefinger and pinching what was left of the cherry on the pot, putting it out with a staccato hiss. The half-smoked stub disappeared into the oboe reed tube that Eric had provided Thomas with (and Thomas had passed on to her) from his double-reed techniques class. That found its way into her backpack and was exchanged for a ten dollar bill, which made its way over to Thomas, who was busy slipping himself into a hoodie that was probably a size or two too small for him.
“Ciao, kids,” he mumbled, stumbling over to the door with the rest of his baggie of pot secreted in his back pocket. “See ya… uh… whenever, I guess.”
“Have a good night, weekend, whatever period of time,” I called after him as the door shut. I shrugged, “Probably won’t see him until Monday night.”
Kris nodded and crawled onto the bed with me on hands and knees, doing a graceless faceplant into my covers as if she was bowing down to my opera poster. She giggled there, muffled by my comfortor, before nearly a minute. Unable to restrain myself, I gave her a little push on her hip and tipped her over onto my bed where she smiled at me languidly from my bed. “music,” she uttered.
I grinned and shook my head, levering myself up enough to hit my spacebar and unpause the sound. Some jazzy, Japanese stuff that Kris had turned me on to melted out of the speakers as languidly as the girl’s smile. I turned back to find her tugging here and there at my comforter, searching for the edge of it to pull up over herself. She always got cold when she smoked. I lifted up a bit to tug the blanket from beneath me and threw it over her. She wriggled against the bed and kicked about until her feet found purchase and she slid herself moreunder the cover, leaving only her calves and feet exposed over the edge of the bed.
“Mmf.” What appeared to be a head lifted a bit, then fell back down heavily. “Smells like you.”
“I know, fuckin’ sick, dude.” Giggling ensued.
I didn’t believe in contact highs until recently. I’d tried pot enough with Thomas and Jamen enough to know that I either freaked out or felt too stupid to enjoy it. Thomas had introduced Kris to it at about the same time, and she had taken to it much more than I had. I still didn’t think I really got a contact high from just being around it, but since my moods had started to mirror Kris’ so much when she was around, I tended to relax and get a little goofier around her when she was this relaxed and goofy.
I levered myself up off the bed to shut the window against the mid-October chill that was starting to be felt in the room, thinking that I’d be already wearing my jacket up in Steamboat at this time of year. I wound over to the mini-fridge that Thomas had mysteriously procured and offered to share with me and pulled out a beer, one of the few vices I allowed myself in the dorms. Another gift from Thomas, I thought wryly. Clearly, stoners were something to be reviled. Pff. I opened the bottle from my multi-tool before climbing back onto the bed and sitting at the head of it, crosslegged and leaning back against the side of my desk.
“Can you breathe alright under there?” I asked, brushing my foot up over the rounded lump that was probably Kris’ head. “Not suffocating in those me-fumes?”
A hand slithered free of the covers and then peeled them back over her head to free it somewhat. “You. Smell like. Pine. Trees.” Every word was a sentence, and the whole paragraph was apparently giggle-worthy.
“Thankee,” I laughed, drinking down some of my beer and setting it on the corner of my desk. I leaned back to watch as Kris levered herself up off the bed in a way that indicated that she weighed nearly four hundred pounds, clawing her way up the bed. “Hey!” I laughed, ooofing as her hands wound up on my crossed legs and chest, the girl crawling over me a little in order to stretch out a wavering arm and make a desparate grab for my beer, almost tipping it over in the process.
“Thanks, boy,” she muttered, taking a swig from the bottle. The swig turned into a few swallows and by the time she came up for air, she had downed almost a half of the bottle. “Chivalry’s dead,” she huffed, then let out a belch larger than I could ever muster.
“You, my friend, are disgusting.” I laughed as she glared at me with crossed eyes. “Drunk and stoned.”
“I know,” she whined at me and set the beer bottle shakily down on my desk again, sitting up at now. “It’s all some ploy for you to get me in bed, I’m sure.”
“Dude, I think you got that backwards,”I laughed again. “Besides, you’re already in my bed.”
She squeezed her eyes shut in my direction and burped at me again. “Yep. Cold.”
There was another fuss with the blankets, but she wound up wrapped in them once more, looking to be a navy blue lump, a rocky isle in the middle of the sea of my lighter blue sheets. I giggled as I struggled to extend the metaphore to her head poking free of the blanket, coming up with a much more proportionally accurate vision of Easter Island.
“Laughin’ at me,” she mumbled and snaked an arm around to pinch at my calf.
“Well, yeah,” I grinned, squirming at the pinch.
“Jus’ tryin’ to get me into bed,” she laughed. She repeated herself a lot while stoned.
I rolled my eyes and nodded, not even bothering to correct her a second time.
“Then you won’t mind,” she said, talking more clearly than she had been.
I looked up curiously just in time for her nose to bump against my own as her lips were mashed to mine in a clumsy sort of kiss.
Surprise made my whole body jerk out of it’s half-dazed relaxation into a state of tenseness. I managed to keep myself from making any sort of sound as her face hesitated against my own, my mind already rushing as it struggled with the idea of being kissed by a girl. A girl. Female, short, soft skin, has breasts and a vagina, hardly even the same species. Also, sensitive and prone to taking offense. I tore through corridors of words seeking the ones that would explain how I felt without destroying a friendship and finding none.
I’m sure my lack of response to the gesture tipped her off as to what was going on, though, because Kris settled back away from me, a look of horror on her face as it got redder by the moment. “Oh, God,” she breathed, settling back onto her haunches. “Oh, Jeez, I’m sorry, Cory. Fuck…” She scuttled back on the bed, belying her inebriated state, in order to sit at the far end, staring at me for an awkward second before shouting, “Fuck! God damn it.” She threw the comforter up over her head and I could see her cross her arms over her knees and bury her forehead against them.
I sat stunned for a moment longer, trying to parse this strange twist in our friendship. I was brought out of my stupor by the sight of Kris’ shoulders shaking beneath the folds of the blanket. “No, no, no,” I said softly as I crawled across the bed toward the navy lump at the foot of it.
Settling next to the pile of covers and girl, I wrapped my arms around the whole thing as best as I could, hugging around Kris’ shoulders and around her knees in an echo of her own arms. “Shh, it’s okay,” I cooed under my breath. “I just wasn’t expecting it.” I kept at it for what felt like half an hour but was probably only a few minutes.
A squirm interrupted me. “Cor, let me up. Can’t breathe,” she said muffledly. I laughed a little nervously and relaxed my grip around her so that she could tug the flap of comforter she’d thrown over her head free and lift her head. She sat there for a few seconds, breathing the cooler air of the room. Her face was dry, but her eyes were a little red and her eyelashes were clumped together, free of make up as always, but damp with tears.
“You alright?” I hazarded.
“’m way stoned,” she giggled a little, sniffing noisily afterwards. “Sorry ’gain, bro.”
“No, it’s okay,” I said cautiously. “Guess I over reacted.”
“Doofus,” she muttered, shifting her weight against me and resting her head on my shoulder. “You didn’t react at all. Dunno what I was expecting, kissing gay boys.”
I didn’t really know what to say, so I just hugged my arms all the tighter around her. All I could think about was that suddenly all her affection towards me in the last month made a lot more sense. Thoughts raced around my in my head
We must’ve sat there for half an hour or so. Song after song passed through the playlist. Kris straightened out her legs and freed her armsfrom the blanket at one point and I tried to free my own arms, but she held onto my elbow, keeping my arm around her front while her fingers drummed lazily to the beat of the song. Strange as the situation was, she was still stoned, and she’d talked plenty about how awesome this band sounded when she could ‘hear so much more.’
I made up my mind when the playlist looped back to the beginning and tried to speak. Finding my throat totally devoid of moisture, I swallowed a few times before mustering up, “Kris, I… well, you know I’m not angry with you or anything and–”
She cut me off by shaking her head and leaning away from me somewhat. “No, don’t want your platitudes. Or whatever.” She mumbled on, “Not the right word. Don’t want your… stuff.”
“No, Kris, I’m not trying to give platitudes–”
“No ’pologies, then.” She looked stubborn and tired.
Desperate to get it out before I lost my nerve, I raised my voice. “Kristal god damn Careen, I fucking liked it.”
“No– what?” She stiffled a laugh, “You suck at cussing.”
We stared at each other for a moment or two before I leaned in to place another, more delicate kiss on her lips, very belatedly returning her gesture.
She softened up after only a second of contact, and we each relaxed against the other, holding the contact for a few seconds before leaning back against the wall.
“You suck,” she muttered, smiling as she did so. She levered my arms from around her and kneaded her hands against my shoulder much like a cat on a favorite blanket, pushing me over onto my side before slinking up along the bed to spoon against me rather decisively, giving me little choice.
I laughed a little, but stayed tense, arms held still and awkward.
“I hate you.” Then, “Hold me, you dork.”