Raw Footage

By: Katie Allen

Chapter One

Lily opened her front door, not at all surprised to see him standing there. Her life had been going too well, too smoothly. A visit from Mikey was due.

“Hey G,” he greeted her, looking exactly the same as he always did—dirty-blond hair tangling with his long eyelashes, charming grin complete with dimples, the two front teeth that overlapped just slightly in front.

“Mikey.” She didn’t smile or make any move to open the screen door separating them.

His grin didn’t falter—if anything, it got bigger. He pressed his palms and face against the mesh of the screen, squishing his forehead and nose with the tiny squares but somehow still managing to look adorable. “I’ve missed you, G.”

Lily grunted, unmoved. “Rehearsed that line, did you?”

Looking injured, he pulled back a little from the screen. “How could you think that?” he asked, hurt dripping from every syllable.

“I know you practiced that look,” she told him, crossing her arms over her chest. “Getting some mirror time in?”

Mikey’s wronged expression dropped away as his merry grin returned. “You like it? I call the first one ‘endearing puppy’ and the other one ‘wounded soul’.”

“Yeah, they’re fabulous,” Lily said flatly. “Now go away.”

“Come on, G,” he wheedled. “Let me in. We haven’t seen each other for months. I need to hear all about what’s happening with you. I need to reestablish our loving bond. I need—”

“Money?” Lily interrupted.

“When have I ever asked for money?” he asked, resurrecting the “wounded soul” expression.

“Last time you came to see me. And the time before that. And when you called me the time before that. And your last e-mail. And—”

It was Mikey’s turn to interrupt. “Well that’s over. I’ve turned over a new leaf, it’s a brand new day and every other lovely, life-changing cliché you could think of. I’m going to be taking you out now, buying you beautiful things—not that you ever bought me any beautiful things.”

“Rent is beautiful,” Lily corrected. “So if you’re just here to say hello, then hello. And goodbye.” She started to shut the wooden door in his face.

“Wait!” he yelped at the closing door. “I’ll sing,” he threatened.

Lily paused. “Don’t do it, Mikey,” she warned. “I have neighbors. And ears.”

Mikey inhaled deeply and opened his mouth, glancing at her out of the corner of his eye.

“Fine,” she gave in, letting go of the door and stomping toward the kitchen.

“Fine as in ‘go ahead and sing’, or fine as in ‘come in, my darling almost-brother’?” Mikey called after her.

“Fine as in ‘get your sorry ass in here before I change my mind’,” she yelled back.

“Cool,” he said, pulling open the screen door and stepping inside. Glancing around, he shook his head. “G, this place looks just like it did when I was here six months ago. Don’t you ever get bored, want to spiff it up a bit?”

“It’s spiffy,” she replied defensively. “Why isn’t it spiffy?”

Mikey snorted, looking at the watercolor of a farmyard above the couch and then at Lily, who was glaring at him over the counter that separated the living room from the kitchen.

“It’s awfully…Republican, isn’t it?” he asked, raising a critical eyebrow. “And the white walls and your little frou-frou magazine holder thingie and this rug—God, it looks like you got it at Pottery Barn.” At her flush, he shook his head. “You did. I can’t believe it—you’re shopping at Pottery Barn.”

“They have some nice things,” Lily muttered.

“Yeah, if you’re some frustrated suburban housewife who fills her days with Pilates and picking up Dylan and Tyler from soccer practice,” he sneered.

“You’re pretty superior for someone who lived for a week in a Happy Burger break room,” she threw back at him, not mentioning the fact that the frustrated suburban housewife’s life sounded kind of nice to her.