Always Ends Now
Synopsis: Liz knew Greg would never want her over her vivacious sister Jen, but what happens when Greg and Jen break up? Liz always accepted men preferred Jen but always ends now.
"Why didn't you go home with that guy? Do you want to die a virgin?" Jen asked her with scorn.
Liz closed her eyes, took a deep breath, not the wisest thing to do in the dank bar, and then looked at her sister, "I didn't go home with him because I didn't want to."
Liz refused to get into it with her sister about how she didn't go home with guys after spending two hours avoiding their groping drunken octopus arms. It was just an argument waiting to happen.
Jen scoffed and tossed her hands in the air, "I am done trying to set you up. I promised John he would have a good time tonight and now he's going home with his left hand."
Liz held in a cutting remark about what either John or Jen could do with his left hand and instead just got up and grabbed her coat, "I'm sorry about John, but he wasn't my type. Try not to wake me up when you come in."
Jen got a self satisfied look on her face and told Liz, "Don't expect me back tonight."
As Liz worked her way through the wayward dancers and made it to the exit, she did her best to put the whole evening out of her mind. She knew better than to go out with her sister. What was she doing hanging out with some who's philosophy in life was "if it feels good do it?" Every time Liz had ever tried to live up to that particular mantra disaster had struck. As she ignored the lingering cigarette smoke in her nostrils and the pine breeze air freshener in the back of the cab she thought back to her first kiss, the first time she let her body overcome her brain. Eleventh grade, she snorted to herself in shame, way too old for a first kiss. When Greg Abernathy asked her to go with him to hang out behind the portables during 7th period she knew what he wanted and she went willingly, but ten seconds into the kiss Mr Griffin had shown up, pulling them apart and sending them both to the office. The entirety of her sex life had been downhill ever since.
The first guy she ever really truly liked, the first guy she ever slept with dumped her a week before Valentine's Day and ended up spending the 14th with Jen. Liz tried not to get mad about it, but it was hard because no matter what Jen always came in first, always had and always would. Jen couldn't help it that Liz's boyfriends preferred outgoing and vivacious over shy and reserved. So Liz learned to never let a man meet her sister if it could be avoided.
Of course when she ran into Greg Abernathy again after more than seven years and he was so nice and Liz was almost positive he was flirting with her, she asked him to come in for some coffee and if she had her way, maybe more. It was just too bad that sitting on the couch in the tiniest baby doll night dress was Jen, who was supposed to be away for the weekend. Liz had finally accepted it, there would always be Jen, the bright shining star, and Liz her dull counterpart, not that the girls didn't love each other because they did. Liz had come to terms with the fact that Greg hadn't really looked at her since that moment when Jen leaned forward to show off her cleavage, blinked up at him enough times to mesmerize him with the flutter of her lashes and smiled. Jen didn't even have to say a thing, men just wanted her. Liz almost wanted to laugh because they looked exactly the same, and Liz was fairly sure there was nothing worst in this world than being the ugly identical twin.
Greg lasted longer than the others, almost eight months before they broke up, that was the last she'd seen of him and that was six months ago. She didn't know how many guys Jen had been with since, but Liz hadn't moved on from Greg, he was her friend and he dumped her as quickly and easily as he dumped Jen. All of Jen's exs where like that, like they couldn't stand to look at her just because she and Jen shared a face, but it wasn't like that with Greg and she knew it. Greg didn't see her as just the less attractive twin, he just saw her and he would never compare her to her sister.
After weeks went by without word from him she honestly never thought she would see him again, but low and behold, who was there and looking as good as ever? The smile that spread on her face was instantaneous and didn't fade until he actually spoke.
"Excuse me, I don't think I heard you right," Liz told Greg as she sat next to him at the table, her smile slowly dimming.
Liz couldn't get over her shock at seeing him at the celebration dinner for local artists. Yes, he was a writer but he hated anything that stank of self-congratulation like this "real housewife" hosted event. But, it was more than just seeing him that was surprising, his attitude was not something she was prepared to deal with.
A dinner party with forty people she didn't know, whom she was supposed to chat with and praise, even though she only recognized three people made her palms sweat. It didn't help that two of the three she had only talked to for about five minutes at some gallery opening months ago and then there was Greg, someone who Liz honestly considered a friend, a good friend even, he would make the night bearable, more than bearable: wonderful. She was obviously totally mistaken.
There was many a night when he had climbed out of bed with Jen and tossed himself into the arm chair next to where Liz dozed on the couch and they would stay up late watching B movies, playing poker or just talking. She remembered vividly that fateful afternoon Liz had come home after he and Jen broke up. She had to wait twenty minutes to ask Jen what was going on, because her sister was already on the phone setting up a date with someone else. Jen went out of her way to avoid her for more than a week, hard when you do live with someone, but Liz finally got the story that he had been cheating and she'd been shocked. Greg was nothing if not a good guy, always tipped twenty percent, held the door opened for old ladies, never lied on his taxes and he had even told Liz late one night he thought even a kiss was considered cheating. When prompted for more information Jen started to cry and Liz had never mentioned it again.
So when Liz showed up at the dinner she was not only surprised but excited to see Greg, ecstatic really, even though she had been hurt that Greg dumped her along with her sister without even a word, she knew in her heart that she and Greg would always be friends. There was a connection between them that was almost impossible to find. She knew they had the type of friendship that years could pass without seeing each other but nothing would change between them. That's why Liz couldn't believe what Greg was saying.
"I said, how can sit down here and smile like we're friends?" There was nothing friendly in his look, in fact he looked down right disgusted with her, "If I wanted to have anything to do with you I would have returned one of the dozen messages you left me after your sister and I broke up."
Wow. Liz just took a healthy drink of water, doing her best to keep her shaking hands from spilling it and looked up at him, doing her best to hide the hurt that was embossed on her face, "I . . . sorry, my mistake."
It hurt more than she could name how Greg was treating her, acting like they had never been friends, like they hated each other or at least like he hated her. What was worse was she happened to sit down right next to him and couldn't get up and move since the dinner had already started. She turned the other direction and pretended to be enraptured with the guy next to her explaining in minute detail how to silk screen, but Greg was having none of it. He was spoiling for a fight and wasn't going to let her ignore him.
"I'm surprised you didn't bring a date," He taunted, "But I guess you couldn't decide on just one."
She did a double take, "Umm . . . you know this is Liz and not Jen, right?"
He had the gall to laugh, "Obviously."
How could he think that? Liz the home body, Liz the crossword champ, Liz the late night movie addict dated so little as to say she didn't do it at all. She left that activity to her sister who was never happy unless she was trying to score with someone new. Actually her relationship with Greg was the longest one she ever had and it had shocked Liz her sister had managed to stay faithful to one man for that length of time.
"Listen Greg, I'm sorry me sitting here is bothering you. I always thought you were a really nice guy, too nice for my sister in all honesty and I hadn't talked to you in forever and I wanted to catch up. I thought we were friends. Obviously I was wrong," about everything, she silently added.
Liz turned back towards her dinner and ate while chatter buzzed around her. She glanced over at Greg and saw that he was now chatting with whoever was on his other side and so Liz let out a little sign of relief. The humiliation was over for now. Though, the hurt still was there in her chest. He had basically accused Liz of being a whore. Liz who had only had sex with two people in her whole life, who didn't even kiss on the first date was somehow some kind of femme fatal? What a joke!
Liz reluctantly sat back after the server took away her salad plate and tried not to feel out of place and unpopular. But since she never did go to fancy dinners where she needed to wear pantyhose she was feeling out of place, and since the few people she did know had no inclination to talk to her she was unpopular too. She had to reign in her impulse to sneak out the backdoor, go home and lay in bed with a book, but she wasn't going to do that. Smile though your heart is breaking, and all that, she was going to enjoy herself, or at least give a good impersonation of it and so she sat there cleaning plate after plate as slowly as possible so she didn't have to just sit there twiddling her thumbs. She even ate her peas which she hated, so when desert came she was almost giddy. A few bites and she could leave graciously, go home and cry her eyes out, she just had to take two bites and she could politely leave.
The waiter gave her a reassuring little smile as he sat down the cheesecake in front of her, and since he was the first person who had been nice to her all evening she smiled back. See the night wasn't all bad; the waiter was cute and was being nice to her. That had to count for something. Obviously not to Greg though, "I guess you found your friend for the night?"
"What—" She stopped herself. There was no point in even talking to him. She just took a deep breath and picked up her fork. Before she even got a bite in her fork Greg spoke again.
"I can't believe you need to eat anything more tonight."
The fork clattered from her hand, bring all eyes towards her. With as much dignity as she could muster she stood up, pushed her chair back and put on her coat before she turned to him, struggling to keep the tears from falling even though there was not denying them in her voice, "We obviously have very different definition of the term 'friend' if it means someone who shows kindness for another person, then sure he's my friend for the night and all this time I thought you were a friend. Pretty stupid, huh?"
She wobbled on her heels as she made it out the door and finally the tears flooded down her cheeks. A fat whore. That's what he thought about her. She knew she wasn't thin, she wore a size twelve so it was obvious but he had dated Jen, her identical twin sister for eight months so she knew he thought she was attractive, at least in an analytical way she knew. But never in her life did she feel pretty and at that moment that was just about the ugliest she had ever felt.
It was embarrassing, but no matter how hard she tried she couldn't stop the tears from falling, earning embarrassed looks from the few couples who walked by but worse than that, there were no taxis. The thought of having to walk the twenty blocks home in heels was pretty horrific, but not as bad as Greg suddenly opening the door and walking over to her, putting a tentative hand on her shoulder.
"Liz—" but she cut him off.
"Yes, you're right I'm fat and a whore and a bitch and I'm stupid and worthless and you hate me. I get the point. You don't need to tell me again."
"Wait!" he called as she walked down the street heading home, but there was only so much humiliation one person can take at any given time and she was at her limit so the only response he got was the click-clack of her heels on the cement as she turned in the direction of home, with Greg grumbling to himself but following.
After three blocks he tried again, "Liz . . . I . . . umm . . . I'm sorry."
She just let out a watery laugh, "You went out of your way all night to hurt me and you did it. Mission accomplished so don't be sorry about it. You were successful. I hope you don't mind if I don't celebrate with you though."
"Liz, wait," He grumbled, exasperated, as he grabbed her arm and refused to let go.
She took a deep breath, "Fine, say what you have to say. But other than calling me ugly or accusing me of murder I don't know what else you can have to say to me."
He growled and tightened his hold on her arm, "I said I was sorry."
Liz took a deep breath and looked up at him, "Fine, it's ok Greg. No harm done."
"You're still crying!"
She just shrugged, "I promise you I will stop crying quicker if you would just leave me alone."
"It's not safe for you to be out here alone at night."
She gave him another watery laugh, "Yes, you're such a god damned boy scout."
He growled again, "I had no right to treat you like I did tonight, but you know I have every reason to be mad at you and you just walk in as if we were old friends."
She just shrugged, "I never did anything to you. I thought we were old friends. Next time I see you I'll walk the other direction."
He let out a bitter laugh, "Never did anything? You asked your sister, begged your sister, to go out with some guy when you had to bale on the poor bastard. You don't count that as anything?"
She stilled and looked at him, "What?"
"Did she tell you I walked in on them? They were making out on the couch. At first I thought was you and one of your boyfriends but when I got closer I could tell it was Jen, there was a bruise on her leg."
"Wait, you're saying that you broke up with Jen because she was cheating on you and she was doing it as a favor to me?"
"How else would you say it?" he asked still angry.
Liz stood there in shock for a full minute, "You said, me with one of my boyfriends. Did I have a lot of boyfriends?"
He laughed, "I would go over there sometimes and the noises I would hear coming out of your room . . ."
She blushed, "I'm going to kill her! She's dead!"
"What are you talking about?" He asked wondering why she had suddenly gone from being crushed to raging. But Liz just ignored him as she walked down the street again, running to the corner where she saw a cab waiting at the red light.
"Taxi!" She shouted as Greg ran behind her shouting, "Liz!"
She had just finished giving the cabby directions when Greg hopped in on the other side.
"What are you doing here?" She asked in annoyance as she got a tissue out of her bag to dry her face. No more tears would be coming any time soon. She was too mad to cry, too mad to do anything but seethe until she could get home and ripped her sister a new one.
"What's going on?" He countered.
"You don't want to know."
"If I didn't want to know I wouldn't be here."
"No matter how much of an asshole you were to me tonight seriously you don't want to come. I don't want to hurt you."
He seemed a little taken aback, but didn't say anything and just followed her to the door of her apartment.
"Seriously, go home Greg."
"No, I want to know what's going on."
She wished she could tell him it wasn't his business but it was. He had a right to know, even though knowing wouldn't do anyone any good. It would just hurt him.
"Sometimes you should just trust when someone that says you don't want to know they mean it."
He just ignored her and stood there waiting for her to unlock the door.
Liz heard laughing from inside and knew Jen was having someone over tonight. In fact Jen had begged Liz not to get home too early. She looked down at her watch, nine-fifteen, not early at all.
"This is your last chance, Greg."
"Open the door already."
She did, and there was Jen and not one, not two but three mystery men, all half naked and all playing twister.
"Oh this looks like fun," Liz said loudly and with no small amount of sarcasm, "Wanna join?"
"Liz! You said you were going to be back late," Jen shrieked.
"Larry, Moe, Curly, get your pants on and get out." Liz was mad, really really mad.
Suddenly Jen noticed who was standing behind her with a look of disgust on his face, "What's he doing here?"
Jen's look of disgust seemed to rival Greg's, especially when she saw that the guys were actually leaving.
"He wanted to know why I suddenly got so mad when he told me about all the people he heard me having sex with when you two were dating."
Jen stilled but no one spoke until the three men had left, "Liz . . ."
"What did you do?" Liz asked. "Pick up guys and then bring them back here and sleep with them in my bed? Did you tell them your name was Liz so you couldn't get caught?"
She looked guilty but then she just shrugged, "Yeah, basically. You know I think he used to like you," she gestured towards Greg, "But he thought you were the biggest slut. I used to laugh about it all the time, I mean you're practically a virgin he probably thought you were charging by the hour."
She laughed again as she threw a shirt over her head.
Liz stood there in shock, "That's all you have to say? Just laugh at both of us for actually trusting you?"
She stilled and looked at Liz, "What do you want from me? You're the one who said he was a good guy and not to let him get away."
"You're blaming me that you can't be faithful to someone?"
"No one's faithful."
She just stood there wondering if she even knew this person, "Alright, do you want to live here or do you want to find another place?"
"What are you talking about?" Jen asked.
"You had sex with people, multiple people, in my room, you told them you were me and you want to know why I'm not going to live with you anymore? You know what, you keep the place. I'll find another apartment."
"But you can't go! We've always lived together."
"Well, always ends now," She told Jen as she took off her shoes and walked to her room. "Night Jen, see you around Greg."
She had just undone the zipper of her dress when her door opened, "Go away Jen. I can't deal with you right now."
"It's not Jen," Greg said as he shut the door.
"You might not know this about me but I'm not a masochist. Go home and leave me alone. I've taken more than enough from you tonight and I can't deal with you either."
"Seriously, I'm sorry, Lizzy." He said as he leaned against the door blocking her in, "I was so wrong about you."
She just shrugged tiredly, "It's ok. You didn't know."
"But I did know, I knew something. I mean, I think I actually talked to you more than I talked to her, spent more time with you. I knew you were a sweet girl and I couldn't quite wrap my mind around the fact you were running around like that," he back peddled a bit at the implied insult to her sister, blood was blood after all, "I mean, there would be nothing wrong if you wanted to do that. It's your body and all, but I just didn't think it seemed like you. You wouldn't even leave your room without a robe on if you knew I was around."
She sighed, "Greg, it's ok. Let's just forget about it."
"I don't want to forget about it. Jen was right, I did like you, do like you" he blushed cutting but went on. "Things weren't working out with her and we both knew it. I think I stayed because I liked seeing you so much. You know it hurt me more thinking you could betray me like that than actually catching Jen with another guy?"
"She told me you cheated on her, I could hardly believe it. I was hurt when you dropped me without a word," she confided shyly as she took a step closer to him.
"I was furious at you," he said with a self-deprecating smile. "When you walked in there tonight as if nothing had happened I wanted to strangle you. I'm so sorry, even if you did do what I thought you did I have no right to treat anyone like that."
"Greg, it's ok."
"What if I asked to take you out to dinner to apologize?"
She stilled, "I guess, we could grab a pizza or something."
"I meant like a date."
He smiled, "Yes, a date. With me in a tie and a cloth on the table, even cheesecake for dessert."
She looked away humiliated when he mentioned the cheesecake and wondered if she could even put a stick of sugar free gum in her mouth around him after the comment he'd made. He obviously knew what she was thinking.
"You were right, I was just trying to hurt you. I was a bastard and I don't deserve your forgiveness about that comment, but I only said it to be mean. You're utterly gorgeous just the way you are."
She shrugged accepting the truth that he couldn't find her unattractive if he would go out with her twin, "I know, I look like Jen so—"
"No, you're so beautiful, so much prettier than Jen."
"We look the same."
"Not to me." He assured her, "So dinner with extra cheesecake for dessert?"
"I'll have to think about it," she stood there looking at him up and down, "Ok, I thought about it, yes, dinner, extra cheesecake, tie and tablecloth. But can you make the sacrifice of no pantyhose."
"I don't wear pantyhose," he told her with a mischievous grin as he pulled her close.
"What's so funny?" He rumbled in her ear before he started to nibble her ear lobe.
"I just I never thought I would steal one of Jen's boyfriends."
He looked down at her and smiled, "You can't steal something that's always been yours."
A/N: Please let me know what you think by reviewing. Thanks.