B threw herself down on the floor, not bothering to find a mat. I groaned and sat down beside her.
“I hate the gym,” I said, panting.
“I know. I hate exercising. I hate breathing. I hate life.” B pulled herself into a sitting position and put her head between her knees. The gym was getting crowded, now, with eager girls in tiny spandex shorts who could run for hours without their makeup smudging and beefed up football players in tight, ripped t-shirts that showed off rippling biceps. The girls pissed me off. The guys I didn’t mind so much.
“An hour on the elliptical is good,” B said wearily. “I definitely exceeded my calorie burning goal for the day.”
“Yeah, me too,” I said, wiping sweat from my forehead with my shirt. “Well, I don’t know if I can handle anything else, today. I think I’ll head home and study. Same time tomorrow? Maybe we can work some free weights in?” I got to my feet and reached down to help up B. B didn’t grab my hand. I watched as a strange look come over her face. She grinned slowly and a devilish gleam came to her eye. She looked up sharply.
“Do you want to get cupcakes?” she whispered.
“What?” I asked loudly.
“Do. You. Wanttogetcupcakes?!” she hissed.
“Seriously? Now? Shouldn’t we go get a salad?”
“No!” she exclaimed, pulling my hand down so that my face was close to hers. “No. We should get cupcakes. I went to the store the other day…and there they were. Sitting there, so simple. So fluffy. The icing the perfect blend of butter cream and whipped cream. The sprinkles multi-colored and sugary. Everything about them is magical. It’s like…” Her voiced went down to a whisper again. “They’re orgasmic!”
I looked at her pityingly, like I was looking at a strung out junkie.
“You don’t understand! They have to be experienced to be believed. Come on, let’s go! Please? You’ll love them as much as I do, I know it!” She was getting giddy. She had jumped to her feet and was hopping from one foot to the other, her energy miraculously restored by the promise of pastry.
“Well…OK, I guess,” I said, relenting. She clapped excitedly and dragged me to the locker room. I changed quickly and came out to find her still in her gym clothes.
“Don’t you want to change?” I asked. “It’s pretty cold out there.” The weather was Chicago-esque that day, and by that I mean it was pretending in the morning that it was going to be sunny and lovely, but then suddenly changing to windy and cold.
She shook her head. “No, let’s just go. I’ll be fine.”
She changed her tune when we stepped outside. The wind battered us all the way to her car, and she whimpered as she rubbed continuously at her goose pimpled arms. Getting in the car was a relief to us both, and she turned the heat on full blast. As it wasn’t warming up fast enough for her, B reached into the back seat and pulled the blanket she made her dog sit on when it was in the car around her. It was covered in small muddy paw prints and long white fur. She jammed the car into gear and gunned it out of the parking lot.
The entire way to the store, she regaled me with stories of how she first saw the cupcakes, how she ate them after she bought them, and how she had eaten one for breakfast that morning.
“I even made my boyfriend eat one with me this morning so I didn’t feel like too much of a cow,” she said, slightly sheepish. “He watched with what I can only describe as sheer terror when I shoved it into my face and made sounds that should only be made in intimate settings. It was a mess….but man, was it ever worth it.”
She made a wide turn into the grocery store parking lot and quickly found a spot. I got out of the car, shivering as a blast of cold air hit me in the face. I walked around to the other side of the car to meet B. There she was, a very wealthy, stylish, and stunningly beautiful girl, standing in the middle of a grocery store parking lot in sweaty gym clothes, messy hair, makeup running, swaddled in a dirty old dog blanket. She came up to me, her face lit up with childish delight.
“Cupcakes!” she whispered in excitement. I stifled a snicker.
We went into that store and came out with five–count em–five boxes of these cupcakes. I could feel the stares of other shoppers and the store clerks as B skipped down the aisle, weighed down with cupcakes, looking like some sort of homeless woman about to get a crack fix, and I, an embarrassed family member dragged into a situation against her will.
After we paid for the cupcakes, we went back to sit in her car.
“OK,” she said. “We should go to a more secluded location, but I can’t wait. Here, try them.” She shoved a cupcake in my face. I gave her one last bewildered look and took a bite.
Oh, sweet Lord above. Best cupcake ever. Sweet, but not too sweet. Spongy cake. Light. Fluffy. Perfect. I heard a moan escaped my lips. B, who might have been on her second one at that point, shouted, “See!” through a mouthful of cupcake. I could feel the frosting caking my lips and I knew a smudge had gotten on my nose, but I didn’t care. I grabbed another tiny bundle of joy and shoved it into my face, licking my fingers desperately when I was done.
At that moment, we heard a tap on the window. Turning in surprise, I beheld a large, mustachioed African-American cop standing outside. He stared at us for a moment, his aviators reflecting the shock in my face. Then he dramatically imitated me licking my fingers, complete with lip smacking. I turned beet red and looked frantically around for something to hide behind, but there was nothing. The cop laughed uproariously, slapping his knees and walking off, periodically turning around and shaking a naughty-naughty finger at me. An older woman, who was sitting in her car in the space across from us joined the cop in his mirth, pointing and laughing at us.
I was overcome with shame, my face a deep shade of crimson. This was so unseemly. Nice girls don’t gobble a half dozen cupcakes in grocery store parking lots. How did I get here? What had I become? I looked down at my frosting-stained hands in disgust. Then I looked over at B. Her mouth was covered in sugary mush, her mouth full. Her hair was disheveled and she still had the dog blanket around her. With one finger in her mouth, she looked at me innocently, completely guiltless.
“What?” she mumbled. Then she picked up another one. And so did I.