Read How Hard Can It Be? Online

Authors: Robyn Peterman

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary

How Hard Can It Be? (4 page)

BOOK: How Hard Can It Be?
“It’s lovely,” I told her. She was fragile for such a big gal. She was by far the largest of the women. Not fat, just big boned and strong. Harriet was easy to remember. It didn’t really fit her either, but it was better than all the floral names I had running around in my head. “May I call you Harriet?”
“Yes, you may,” she paused, “but would you mind terribly calling me Poppy Harriet?”
“I think that could be arranged.” I smiled. God, I felt like I’d known these women forever. What was that about? “So, back to the matter at hand,” I rallied my newfound troops. “If she’s going to buy a time-traveling vampire warlock with a permanent hard-on who likes to have intercourse with recently separated conjoined twins that he had to magic up some body parts for, what else do you think I can get away with?”
My posse of gals grinned evilly, and we started to plan.
Chapter 3
fter the meeting, Shoshanna walked me to my car, letting me know what to expect Monday morning. Thank God she did. Damn thing was totally dead.
“Son of a bitch,” I groaned, banging my head on the steering wheel.
“Don’t worry about it, Rena, I’ll drive you home,” LeHump offered.
I glanced up at Shoshanna. There she stood, bundled up in a lime-green down coat with a Minnesota Vikings matching hat, glove, and scarf set. Her snow boots were blue with hot pink polka dots. Never had I seen an ensemble so hideous and so lovely at the same time. First impressions aren’t often wrong, but they can be. I had definitely been wrong about LeHump. She might write porno and have a bad haircut, but she also had a huge heart and I don’t think she had been hitting on me. I think she was just weird.
“Where do you live?” I asked.
“New Hope. Where do you live?”
“Saint Paul,” I sighed. I was going to be cabbing it, or possibly even worse . . . bussing it. Shit. New Hope was thirty minutes in the opposite direction from my house, and I lived a half an hour from where we were. There was no way I could let her drive me home.
“That would add an hour onto your trip. I can’t let you do that.” I smiled and squeezed her purple and gold clad hand.
“It’s no fucking biggie. My sister lives in Saint Paul. She’ll be thrilled if I stop by. She owes me money. Plus I need to get you a little more up to speed about the slag.”
“Shoshanna, it’s really too far.”
“Bullshit. Just hang on a second. I need to move my computer and baseball bat out of the front seat.”
Shoshanna was not taking no for an answer, which was very sweet . . . I thought. The baseball bat concerned me, but I figured if she was going to kill me she would have already done so in the parking garage. There was no one in sight and no security cameras anywhere.
I grabbed my tote and my purse and hustled over to Shoshanna’s sky blue minivan. I could have called AAA, but I didn’t have enough body fat to sit in subzero temperatures for three hours and wait for them. As it was, my snot was freezing as I walked the thirty feet to Shoshanna’s soccer-mom-ish mode of transport. I needed to move to a warmer climate.
“Get in. It takes a while for the heat to work in this piece of shit, but when it kicks in, you’ll sweat like a fat whore at confession.”
“Do you eat with that mouth?” I grinned, shaking my head and searching for the seat belt. The car was a pigsty.
Shoshanna cackled with glee, “You bet I do! Are you going to remember all the new stuff you came up with?”
“It would be very difficult to forget the part about the three-way between Pirate Dave, Leif Erickson, and Christopher Columbus,” I choked out, still searching for the seat belt.
“That’s some good stuff there, Rena. I don’t think I could have come up with that one myself. You have the scariest imagination I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness.”
“Um . . . thanks.” A compliment is a compliment no matter how insulting.
“The part that really gets me is when the pirate with scurvy and no fingers on his left hand tries to sew the twins back together. That is just fucking gross.”
“Is it too gross?” I worried. Maybe that was going a little too far. I had gotten kind of carried away, but when Poppy Harriet’s soda flew out of her nose, I couldn’t stop myself. Maybe I should try stand-up comedy . . .
“Absolutely not!” Shoshanna bellowed. “I’d go even a little farther. Give him lice or severe halitosis, a clubfoot maybe.”
“LeHump, that’s gross.”
“You’re right—” She grinned sheepishly. “I don’t have it like you do.”
“I’m not real sure that coming up with plots that can bring careers down in flames is ‘having it,’ but thank you.” I still couldn’t find the damn seat belt, but I did find a few rock-hard fries and what may have been a cheeseburger during the 1980s. “LeHump, your car is disgusting.”
“I’ve been meaning to clean it out. What in the hell are you digging for?”
“The seat belt.”
“Oh.” She shrugged guiltily. “I cut them out. Everybody’s doing it.”
“Oookay.” I didn’t have a comeback for that one, so I simply smiled and nodded. She is nuttier than my Aunt Phyllis, who is convinced there are little people in her TV. I was beginning to wonder about her sanity, as well as my own for getting into her car.
I told her where I lived and she proceeded to drive like a bat out of hell. I prayed the entire time. I wasn’t particularly religious, but when my life was in danger, I figured it couldn’t hurt.
“So, we’ll probably do some light housecleaning and possibly bathe her turd-laying, skank-breath rat dogs. Bring your lunch because the viper bitch doesn’t keep food in the house. Oh, wear sweats, but bring a nice outfit. She likes to make us run errands. Don’t ever say no to an errand.”
My mouth was agape and an icy chill ran up my spine. “Are you serious?” What had I gotten myself into?
“As a heart attack.” Shoshanna made a gagging sound. I thought she was going to vomit. “Once Joanne refused to drive in a blizzard to get gourmet treats for those shit-eating canines and Evangeline made her scrape her bunions for an hour. That’s the day Joanne started pulling her eyebrows out.”
“I thought maybe that was a fashion choice.”
“Oh, God no. She had wonderful bushy eyebrows before the bunion incident.”
I wasn’t sure I would put the words
bushy eyebrows
together, but I also wouldn’t be caught dead in a lime-green coat driving a light blue minivan. Then again, who was I to judge? I’d been tapped as the girl with career-destroying ideas.
“Okay, sweats, nice clothes, lunch, and never say no to an errand. I got it. Will we do any writing?” I put my feet up on the dash, hoping it might break the blow from the accident we were sure to have. She’d already run two red lights and flipped off more drivers than I did in an entire month.
“We’ll sit down with Cecil and dictate to him. She sleeps most of the time when she’s not having procedures done or yelling at us.” LeHump leaned over to turn the heat down and almost swerved into a convenience store.
“Shoshanna,” I shrieked. I saw my life flash before my eyes and was thankful I was wearing nice underpants. I would hate to die in holey granny panties. My mom would shit a brick.
“Sorry”—she grinned—“I was getting hot. So anyway, like I was saying . . .”
“Wait.” I cut her off. This was not making sense to me. “Why are you guys all doing stuff for her? Does she pay you?”
Shoshanna shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “Not exactly. Let’s just say it’s a business arrangement.”
“Well that’s fairly cryptic,” I deadpanned.
“I love that word,” LeHump gushed. “Don’t you love that word?”
“Sure.” I raised my not bushy brow sarcastically. “Do you also like the word ‘avoidance’?”
“Love it,” LeHump laughed. “It’s my favorite.”
“Holy fuck.” Shoshanna grabbed my arm and yanked me to a halt as we rounded the corner to walk into my building. “Smokin’ hot butt dead ahead.”
“Oh my God,” I gasped. She was right. It was a little creepy to have someone my grandparents’ age ogle the behind of a thirty-ish-year-old guy, but she was correct. It was the finest ass I’d ever seen.
“He’s going into your building,” she hissed, hopping up and down with excitement.
Mr. Sexy-ass used a key and went in. That meant he lived there.
That amazing ass lives in my building!
From the back he was Adonis. Unless he was sporting a unibrow and no teeth, my guess was he was hot from the front, too. “You know he’s probably gay,” I said pulling Shoshanna toward the front door just in case we could get another glimpse. No such luck.
“I don’t think so. That ass looked very straight to me,” she said. I refrained from asking why she thought that. I was more afraid of her answer than the thought of the butt being gay.
Shoshanna came up to my apartment to use the loo. It was the least I could offer, after she’d gone so far out of her way for me. I was grateful for the ride, but even more grateful to still be alive. In a mere matter of hours Shoshanna had grown on me . . . kind of like a fungus. A nondeadly, sweet-smelling, insane fungus. I liked her and actually looked forward to spending time with her in the next three weeks, despite the scary circumstances. There was no telling what would come out of her mouth. I enjoyed not being the only loose cannon in the room.
“Oh my God!” Kristy gasped. “Professor Sue?”
“Kristy!” LeHump shouted joyously, embracing my roommate in a bear hug. “How are you? I haven’t seen you in years. What are you doing now? I still remember that thesis you wrote on women’s roles throughout religious history. One of the best goddamned papers I ever read.”
Kristy blushed furiously and preened under LeHump’s praise. What in the hell was going on here? LeHump was a porno writer, not a professor . . . Wait a minute. Was LeHump the famous “Professor Sue” I’d heard about ad nauseam from Kristy’s college days? No freakin’ way.
“Shoshan . . . Sue, you know my roommate?” Damn, I’d almost blown her cover. I was very curious as to her real last name, but asking didn’t seem appropriate at the moment
“Know her? Know her?” Shoshanna yelled. Dang, she was loud. “Not only do I know her, she was one of the best students I ever had!”
Kristy looked positively orgasmic and I was flabbergasted. Had I moved into an alternate universe? The sum so did not equal the parts. I thought today couldn’t get any weirder.
I thought wrong.
“Rena,” my starstruck roommate gushed, “this is
Professor Sue. One of the most respected and sought-after professors of women’s studies in the country. Her work has been published worldwide.”
I glanced at Shoshanna/Sue. The irony was almost too much to bear. She winked and put her finger to her lips. I got it . . . Clearly Kristy was not referring to the butt-plug trilogy or the contortionist sex-slave series LeHump had regaled me with when she wasn’t trying to run us off the road during our thirty-minute ride from hell.
“I didn’t realize you had a day job.” I grinned at LeHump, shaking my head and removing my snow boots. She smirked and gave me a thumbs-up. She was crazy.
“Where’s the john? I’m about to pee in my pants!”
“Down the hall and to the left,” I interjected quickly. LeHump had no manners or social graces and while I liked her, I wouldn’t put it past her to relieve herself on my kitchen floor.
I am so not cleaning that up.
I yanked her coat off and shoved her down the hall.
Kristy ran around the kitchen like a chicken with its head cut off, pulling open cabinets and sniffing things she pulled from the fridge.
“Hey, we have a new neighbor with a rockin’ hot ass.”
“I have no time to discuss body parts. Help me,” she hissed frantically, slapping cheese and crackers on our best platter. “Damn it,” she muttered, staring at the green mold on the corner of the hunk of cheddar. I grabbed a knife and cut it off.
“Voilà!” I curtsied and tossed the offending cheese in the trash. “My Aunt Phyllis taught me that.”
“Isn’t she the one with people in her radio?”
“TV, not radio.”
Kristy rolled her eyes, “That certainly makes all the difference.” She stopped moving and I watched her brain go into rewind. “What do you mean, you saw the neighbor’s ass?”
“We have a new neighbor named Mr. Asstastic.” Fully clarifying I hadn’t humped the new neighbor.
“Did you introduce yourself to his ass?” she asked, rearranging the hors d’oeuvres on the platter.
“Hell no. I never even saw his face.”
“His face is good. I met him earlier, but I didn’t get to see his ass. When you see his face, you’ll jump him. Hell, when he sees you, he’ll probably jump you first.” I rolled my eyes and she fussed some more with the tray. “Is this classy enough?”
“Trust me, Sho . . . Sue will love it. I’ve been in her car.” I went for some crackers, only to get my hand slapped down by Kristy. “So, she’s really a professor?” The paradox was mind-boggling.
“Not just a professor, she’s one of the foremost authorities on women’s studies in the United States. There are waiting lists to get into her classes at the U. Oh my God.” She froze. “Is Professor Sue in your writing group?”
Hmm, how to answer that without giving up LeHump’s passion for all things anal? Thankfully I didn’t have to.
“You bet I am!” Shoshanna loudly informed us as she marched directly to the cheese, cut herself a few slices, and shoved them in her mouth. “I love cheese.” She grabbed a handful of crackers and made herself comfortable on the couch. I guess she was staying.
“So Kristy, I hope to the great God Almighty you are using your amazing brain to make the world a better place.” LeHump put her little feet up on the coffee table. “You guys got anything sweet?”
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