One short night

by Chelsea Bateman

She's totally willing to admit she's entered the fuzzy stage of this ride. It's been so long since she's slept more than an hour or two at a time that her body has forgotten what it's like, how exactly it's supposed to go about the act of falling asleep and staying that way. She's so tired she's even moved beyond the "counting the hours awake versus asleep" game she's been playing all week. "I've slept 7 hours out of the last 46." The math is way too complicated for her fuzzy brain now.

She decides to blame the fuzziness of everything around her right now for why she's thinking of quotes from that stupid movie Fight Club, but then again she can't argue with Edward Norton in her current state. She's definitely not asleep, laying here, like this, but she's also definitely not awake either. Everything feels dream-like, smooth, blurred around the edges, like she's looking at the world through a vaseline smeared camera lens.

She decides to also blame the fuzziness for how entranced she is with Bree's angelically perfect face above her, luminous in the lamplight, smiling down at her with total perfect understanding.

"Are you awake again? I thought maybe this time you'd make it past the hour mark." Bree said in her softest tone, and to Lynette it sounded like a song, a melody. All she could do in her barely there state was let out a half snort at the comment and smile lopsidedly like a drunk up at her neighbour.

It's because of the fuzzy that Lynette takes awhile to realize that Bree Van De Kamp has been sitting on her couch with its potato chip crumbs everywhere and felt marker stains on the arms, cradling her head in her lap for most of the night. Lynette has no clue what time it is, but she knows she's had at least three of her maximum-length-of-one-hour long catnaps since laying down on the couch with her head cradled in Bree's lap.


After they left the soccer field, Bree had came home with her, sat her down on the couch, wrapped a blanket around her shoulders and then made her a cup of chamomile tea.

"Herbal tea is my little life-saver. Whenever the house and the kids get to be too much for me, I always make myself a cup and have a sit down to drink it. I like the excuse it gives me to do nothing for the 10 minutes it takes me to drink it." Bree sat down next to her and rubbed her back, slowly, and Lynette had to note that it was the most comforting touch she'd felt since she was a little girl and her mommy would rub her back for her when she was sick.

"That's exactly what cigarettes used to be for me, back before I had the boys. I would use that 5 minutes to clear my mind when I was crazy at work, and then always come back refreshed." Lynette ran her hand over her eyes over and over, rubbing them tiredly. "Fuck, I miss smoking."

"I never knew you smoked, Lynette. I can't even imagine you doing such a thing!" Bree looked truly amazed at the thought.

"I did a lot of things in my former life that I think would shock you." Lynette wouldn't make eye contact with her on that one, instead laughing to herself slightly and sipping her tea to end any chance of furthering the line of conversation. Lynette knew all about Bree's conservative ways, and how important appearances were to her, so she didn't think she'd be all that jazzed to hear about all the drug popping and protesting and, well, other questionable lifestyle choices Lynette had made in her past.

"Well, hunny, I'm going to leave you now to your child-free home to get some sleep." Bree had taken the cue, perhaps a little too far, thinking Lynette wasn't comfortable now with her being there after being so vulnerable and emotional in front of her. She smiled sweetly down at her anyway, as she stood up and cupped her face gently, just for a moment, then turned and left to go home to her own home and all it's complicated, hidden problems.

Bree had her own secrets to keep after all. Like how it wasn't a cup of chamomile and honey that calmed her nerves on a daily basis, rather a glass of a good sauvignon, like any other upper class housewife. And that it was more often than not more than a glass over the course of a day.

She had sat at the dining room table that night for a good while, and had a few glasses while she had checked again what she already knew the Bible said about certain mortal sins that were weighing heavily on her mind recently. It was late when she finally looked up and realized her family had floated off to bed and that the house was dark around her, the light above the table the only one on. She had looked up then and saw Lynette's lights still on in her house, and heaved a sigh.

She just had to get two things before she left the house again.


Lynette had hardly seemed surprised to see Bree at her doorstep, even less surprised as Bree was that Lynette looked like she still hadn't slept any.

"I tried, I swear." Lynette said, as she let Bree in the house, "But I just can't fall asleep. I can't."

"Well that's what I'm here for, dear." Bree said, without stopping til she hit Lynette's back door. "Come on."

"Why are we going into the backyard?" Lynette walked over and out onto the back stoop, watching Bree pull up the boys' outdoor play table and sitting on it.

"Because you don't want your house to smell like cigarette smoke when your husband comes home tomorrow morning." Bree Van De Kamp, the perfect, the pure, white skinned, pink sweater wearing Bree Van De Kamp, proceeded to pull out a pack of Marlboro 100s and a lighter from her pants pocket. With an ease that suggested a very experienced former smoker, she lit it, inhaled deeply and blew the smoke out slowly, in one long, drawn out exhale.

Lynette's internal censor was long gone at this point, and her gut reaction to the sight came out blunt and completely unchecked.

"That was really hot."

As soon as she said it, she realized it was inappropriate, but never one for regrets, she let it hang there, and waited for the reaction.

All she got was Bree looking up at her, with a pursed lip smile and an arched eyebrow. Lynette had definitely never seen a look like that from her before.

"Where did you get cigarettes from at this hour?" Lynette asked, taking the pack and the lighter from her.

"I have a 16 year old son, I could have brought you a plethora of illegal and illicit material. I figured you'd like the cigarettes more than a Hustler magazine." Bree's smirk returned, well, it had never really left, and her eyes sparked mischievously at Lynette. "Though I may have been mistaken in that conclusion."

"Not really into spread cunt pictures, no matter what my mysterious past might suggest to you, my dear." Lynette smiled around the smoke clamped between her teeth at Bree's full throated laugh and lit her own cigarette.

They smoked in silence after that, both a little giddy from lack of sleep and wine and stress and worry and the weight of hidden, unspoken things. Lynette felt innately naughty, out here on her own back stoop, smoking cigs with her friend, and talking dirty. It reminded her there were parts of her that still existed that weren't a mother, a wife. A fucking housewife. Her! Who'd've ever fucking guessed!

When they were done, they butted the smokes out in the planter containing nothing but rusty, long forgotten Matchbox cars and a dead ficus, and went back inside. It was then that Bree presented her with the other thing she'd brought with her.

"I found an Ambien for you to take as well" she said, shaking out the tiny pill from an old fashioned gold pillbox and into Lynette's palm. Lynette, fresh with the wisdom of a pillhead, looked up at Bree skeptically, and Bree relented "Okay, they're mine and I have a rather large bottle at home. What can I say, this with a couple of glasses of merlot and nothing's bringing you down."

They actually both giggled at this, something that definitely wouldn't have happened if they both weren't under the influence of fuzziness. Lynette felt something release in her at that idea, that Bree could have this problem just as she had. Fucking pills. They were the cocaine and pot of the new millennium, readily available and socially acceptable. When she looked up at Bree again, she wasn't surprised to see that her eyes were wet, because she knew her own were.

"Would you like me to stay, until you fall asleep?" It was a quiet tone, barely existent, like Bree was scared to say it too loud, lest something in this new strange world would break if she did, and they would have to go back to the other world, with its secrets, and rules, and bindings.

"Yes" Lynette felt her throat close up as she said it. The sweetness of the offer was beyond anything she had expected. And she wanted Bree to stay more than anything.


She had laid, wrapped in the duvet from her bed, her head pillowed on Bree's lap, waiting for the Ambien to kick in, for a good while. It was so safe there, with Bree's fingers running through her hair, lightly caressing the side of her face, smiling down at her. Bree's pink sweater was so soft against her cheek, and her perfume smelled classic, reminding Lynette of her childhood, of her mother's friends wrapped in cashmere and pearls and always surrounded by an aura of Chanel No 5 or L'air du Temps.

It was always the same every time she woke up, Bree looking down at her, smiling, her red hair all aflame from the lamp behind her. The fuzziness kept her from remembering it precisely, at knowing whether it was a dream or not, but she thinks at one point she had reached up and touched the glowing fire, the halo around Bree's smooth, pale face, and murmured "beautiful" without being consciously aware of it. She thinks it might have been real though, because she remembers Bree's face right after she said it, a brief wash of sincere emotion, of widening eyes and a soft smile, a genuine look of approval and confidence.

She wakes up maybe 4 times total, and finally passes the hour mark, the two hour mark, and Bree can tell by her deep chorused breathing and relaxed face that Lynette had finally reached her deep peaceful slumber. It's only then that she eases herself out from under her, and stands, laying Lynette's head on a throw pillow for the rest of the night. Before she turns to leave though, she leans over to brush fingers over Lynette's cheek again, once, twice, and without any forethought, leans forward just a bit to gingerly press her lips to the corner of Lynette's slightly slack mouth. She doesn't know what made her do it, but after, whenever she thinks of it, it makes something inside her release, and makes things better, even if just for a moment, in ways that the wine and Ambien never do.

When Lynette awakes the next morning to Susan knocking on the door, the boys already making a commotion, she knows it was all real from the lingering scent of cigarettes and perfume.

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