Six Stories About Five Blowjobs
Lisa hates giving head, and within the first week of his marriage, Casey's wondering if he should rethink his opinion that he can survive the rest of his life with one woman and no blowjobs, not even on his birthday.
But you live with what you've got, at least until it falls apart, and Casey wouldn't tell anyone this, not even Danny, but he thinks that he and Lisa got divorced because of the blowjobs. Sometimes he wonders if refusal of a wife to give her husband oral sex is as much grounds for divorce as, say, adultery. It isn't, though, or at least he doesn't press the point in court and Lisa gets custody of Charlie. Probably warping him like she warped Casey over the years, and Casey hates to think of that – but then again, it's all for the best, right? Late nights and a rotating parade of women aren't the best thing for his son to be seeing.
Casey supposes that if you've been celibate long enough, you get used to the fact that no one ever touches you sexually. You're resigned to it. Ten years, and he never gets used to the fact that Lisa won't go down on him. He misses it. He doesn't seek it out from other women, because he wouldn't do that to Lisa even if he did still love her (which Casey is fairly sure at this point that he doesn't), but he could if he wanted to.
Casey McCall, he thinks sometimes when he's pointedly not listening to Danny during commercial breaks, chasing the elusive blowjob across Texas. And then New York, too. He never catches it. Sometimes, towards the end, he sees something break across Lisa's face when they're in bed together, like maybe she's finally going to do it and that will suddenly fix everything that's gone so wrong, but before he can find out, or suggest it, her features go steely and forced again, and he just fucks her to get it over with so that he can roll over to his side of the bed and go to sleep with this stranger.
The divorce is a relief, really. It's a mess and it sucks and it's horrible to go through, but everybody knows he's better off this way – even and especially Dan. Danny takes him out and cheers him up, like he's always done, and he's even got a spot of wisdom for Casey one night late at El Perro Fumando over giant blue margaritas.
"Casey," Danny says. "I think yours is the only marriage in the history of the world that broke up because no blowjobs were given, instead of blowjobs being given to the wrong person. At least that's something."
Casey knows that's something, and after ten years, he's sort of thinking that maybe he'll be okay without one.
Casey is certain that executive producers of West Coast Update don't get keys to the elevators. Not the sort of key that allows you to stop the elevator dead between the 6th and 7th floors, anyway, but somehow, inexplicably (at least to Casey's mind), Sally has one. This only comes to light somewhere in the 5th week of their … fling, when, after Sally wrapped up her show and they are standing awkwardly in the elevator, two pathetic people heading home to get drunk and use each other for sex (as Dana had so succinctly put it after the affair was done, that time she wanted him to date other women.) After the sex with Sally, which is always exhilarating and anything but awkward, there's a little bit more awkwardness and then Casey leaves. That's how it is: awkwardness, sex, more awkwardness, departure. Not exactly how Casey assumed his grown-up life would be. Less awkwardness, he thinks, ore sex.
So it's a surprise when, suddenly, as the light on the elevator buttons is flipping between the 7 and the 6 but the elevator hasn't made its tiny chiming noise yet, Sally sticks a key in the emergency stop panel, flips left 90 degrees with her right hand and the elevator shudders to a stop. (At least, Casey thinks, the emergency lights didn't come on. This is strange enough without eerie green light.)
"Sally," he says and she just grins down at him, a hint of something less than virtuous in her eyes, and that's the moment when Casey knows that he's got to get out of this thing, and fast. It's a Casey McCall life rule: don't sleep with women taller than you are, and if you must, don't sleep with them for more than a couple of dates. And before he can say anything else, she's on her knees and he's backed up against the side of the elevator and the metal is cold through his shirt, but that's all kind of a moot point because it becomes clear that Sally's got something entirely warm planned for him, when her hands find the fly of his jeans and work into his damp boxers. Then the air is cool on his cock and her mouth wraps around him and the coolness is erased.
Casey can't believe he ever thought that he could live without these, and he briefly rethinks his position on tall women after the elevator incident. Ultimately he decides that even on their knees, they're still just not worth it – but he doesn't decide that until after the break up, when he's drunk and feeling particularly bitter.
When he and Sally split up after the Gordon debacle, that's the only blowjob she's given him in the tenure of their time together.
Things are less awkward now and he's not quite sure why (he thinks it might have something to do with the blowjob in the elevator, but it's a fuzzy dreamlike memory at this point, like it almost didn't happen), so he doesn't really think about it much.
Dana has almost as many rules for dating as Casey does, which is why they really are so terrible together, no matter what Natalie thinks. (And, in Casey's opinion, Natalie thinks entirely too much, but he's fully aware that this opinion would get his pants taken away again, so he doesn't ever voice it, except occasionally to Dan after 8 beers apiece, and Dan never remembers in the morning.) After the enforced six months where he must date other women, impossible, horrible other women when all he wants is Dana, he finally gets to Dana – and her rules. (And, in Casey's opinion, Danny's shrink would tell Dana that her rules weren't really a way to control her life – there's no real way to control your life. But they keep Dana happy and less manic than usual, so Casey doesn't voice this opinion, either.)
The Cardinal Rule, Rule Number One, of Dana's dating life is No Sex In The Studio, Ever. The corollary to that rule is Rule Number Two, No Sex In The Control Room, Ever. These rules irritate Casey, much as all of Dana's rules irritate Casey, but these rules particularly – if an executive producer can have an elevator key, why shouldn't an executive producer be able to use the studio for whatever she wants, even if it is fucking her anchor boyfriend on the same chair he sits in for every show?
But it's Dana, and Casey actually likes Dana, as opposed to Sally – Casey likes Dana so the awkwardness of them together is endearing, not … well, not awkward, and the ban on sex at work is something he can live with. He wishes Dana weren't so neurotic and hyperactive, yes, but he's lived with that in Dan for years and it's nothing that he's surprised by, and sort of something he's attracted to.
Not much about Dana surprises Casey anymore, and he likes it that way. Comfort is what you want after you go through an ugly divorce and a bizarre affair with an Amazon, and Dana is comfortable.
That's why, the night Natalie steals their pants and keeps them for the entire show just because Dan said something totally offensive in the 8 o'clock rundown, he's okay with sitting in the dark in the studio after the show, talking to Dana, not wearing pants. (And, in Casey's opinion, he ends up not wearing pants in the studio far too often for never getting laid there. This violates Dana's Cardinal Rule, though, so Casey shuts up on that opinion, just like all his others.) It's comfortable, and eventually they're going to get up and go find Casey's pants and go out to dinner, and they'll talk more there. What it all leads to is going home and making love to Dana in a quiet, sensible fashion, and that's fine. At this point in Casey's life, routines are welcome.
Dana's sitting on the anchor desk, legs crossed, and Casey's leaning back in his chair, and at least it's not the one that sinks every time he sits in it, and he's busy being pleased with the fact that Dana never surprises him. (And, in Casey's opinion, that's one of her best qualities. The element of surprise with Sally frightened him a little, frankly.) Well, pleased and horny – Dana's wearing that little red dress she was wearing the day she took her panties off in the restaurant and gave them to him before the show, and Casey is thinking that maybe they'll just skip dinner and go straight to his place. He's also desperately trying to hide the evidence that he's horny, with careful placement of his hands on his lap, and he's pretty sure it's not working.
So when Dana slides off the desk, crawls across the floor and settles between his legs, resting her cheek on the inside of his thigh and looking up at him silently but asking the question all the same, Casey gives in. He moves his hands to her hair, drops his head down to look at her and lets it all go.
Goodbye, Cardinal Rule Number One. Goodbye, blowjob drought. Hello, someone he could build a life with. Hello, happiness.
4. Who the hell knows?
What does the whole Dana thing in, really, honestly, beyond everything else that happened (and a lot happened), is a drunken evening and stumbling into a cab with a blond woman he could have sworn was Dana when he left the bar. He never gets the woman's name or number and he wakes up the next morning with a giant hammering on his skull with an enormous sledgehammer. He tells Dana. Dana freaks out. Understandable.
And the fact of the matter is, the woman didn't even give him a particularly great blowjob.
When the Dana thing falls apart, Casey ends up on Danny's couch. This is pattern, habit, routine – everything he wanted with Dana and couldn't have, he has with Dan. If he was gay, it would be perfect; after all, he knows he loves Danny, even if he doesn't love him that way. And Casey has been ending up on Danny's couch for years, now, since Lone Star Sports, and it doesn't ever surprise Dan, which is a change for Casey. He keeps Casey's shampoo in his closet and Casey's favorite beer in the fridge and he even watches West Coast Update with Casey before they go to bed, because Casey is apparently indulging in some sort of demented mourning for the way his life could have been, and even though Sally Sasser never appears on screen, Casey knows she's there and likes to torture himself. At least, that's what Danny guesses it is. And Dan surprises Casey constantly, but Casey never surprises Dan – it's like Casey and Sally, really, only Casey likes Dan in a way that he only ever tolerated Sally.
Dan himself is between women, unless you count Abby, which, of course, neither he nor Casey do. So he's content to sit on his couch with Case after the shows, drinking beer but never quite getting drunk, and letting Casey sleep there because after a breakup, for whatever weird reason that's unique to Casey, Casey hates sleeping alone in his apartment.
Casey has been sleeping on Dan's couch for four days, now, and he's starting to feel just a little bit better, but not enough to go home and he knows that Dan won't throw him out. It's Saturday night and everyone else went out to El Perro Fumando, because now Dana's got a thing for those giant blue margaritas (Danny never knew Dana owned so much blue clothing before this recent margarita phase), but even though Casey and Dana mostly just look sad and not vindictive, Casey knows he can't face her drunk and dancing on the bar. So he lets Danny bring him back here for beer – where'd Danny get Shiner in New York?, he wonders briefly before commencing getting pleasantly toasted and besides, Casey still hasn't talked about the whole mess and he figures he's probably just about ready to.
So they're sitting on the couch, side by side, drinking a case of beer (and they're both a little more than drunk right now, because they haven't run out of beer like they usually do), watching Bobbi Bernstein fill in for whoever the short guy on West Coast Update is, and Casey is struck with a sudden surge of honesty. "Danny, my man, I cannot believe that you slept with her. I just can't. She's so … she's so …"
"Not my type?" Danny slurs helpfully as he tips over so his head rests on Casey's leg. It felt warm and heavy and if Danny had been a woman, Casey would have dropped his hand and run his fingers through Dan's hair.
"What is your type, Dan?"
"Mmmmm," says Dan, which was decidedly not an answer. Casey lets the silence sit and eventually Dan keeps talking. "I don't know. Are you drunk enough that if I say you're my type, you won't freak out and run away? Because you're very comfortable and if you ran away, it would definitely suck."
Casey doesn't run away, but he tenses visibly, and the weight of Danny's cheek on his thigh makes the muscles twitch involuntarily. Dan says nothing more. Casey thinks. Danny says I'm his type. Danny's gay? Does that change things? He's my partner. He's been my partner through everything, marriage, divorce, children, Dana, Sally, the girl in the cab and every girl in every cab before her. I love Dan. Not like that, no, but I love him. He's my friend. It doesn't matter if he's in love with me. Not if I don't make an issue of it. "Danny?" he says, finally.
"Mmmmm," says Dan, settling in closer to Casey. "Yes, Case?"
"What do you mean, I'm your type?"
"I mean, I think I'm in love with you."
"Listen," says Dan, struggling to sit up and sound sober. "I'm not gay. At least I don't think I'm gay. But I think I'm in love with you, not because you're a man or a woman, but because you're Casey. And I understand that it's kind of weird, but you're my best friend and you have been for years, and it's the sort of thing that happens. At least with me, I guess. Abby says it's totally normal and I can work through it. I've said it to you now and I won't say it again because there's nothing that's going to come of it and I know that, so can I please go back to sleeping on you now?"
"Oh," says Casey. "Yes," says Casey. "Thank you, I think," says Casey.
"You're welcome," says Dan. He curls back into Casey's lap and this time, Casey lets his hand fall to the back of Dan's neck. Not touching, not petting, just … resting. Adjusting to this new revelation. Dan's breathing slows to a sleepy pattern, and he twitches a bit underneath Casey's hand, as though he was dreaming. West Coast Update goes off the air, some soccer game in Europe comes on, and Casey sits in the dark, beer between his legs gone warm, Danny's breath ghosting across his thigh in warm bursts. Casey sits and thinks, and after a long time, when the sky starts to grow pink around the edges, he shakes Danny, gently, by one shoulder. Dan peers up at him, bleary, still mostly asleep, and asks, in a small voice, "Case?"
"Come on, Danny," Casey says. "Let's go to bed. I'm tired of sleeping alone."
Casey spends six months acquainting himself with every square inch of Danny’s body; there’s no way he’d rather spend a weekend than licking Danny from head to toe. Dan does a lot of things that make Casey’s toes curl up, in ways that Lisa and Dana and Sally never could, and sometimes Casey wonders if it’s the fact that Danny’s a guy or the fact that Danny’s, well, Danny. He can’t be bothered to consider the question too closely, though, because considering his sexuality isn’t nearly as fun as licking Dan, and there’s no way he’d rather and so on and so forth.
Casey spends a Saturday morning 9 months into the relationship waking Danny up by licking his thighs and working his way up. When he takes Dan into his mouth and licks that sensitive spot right at the base of Danny’s cock, Danny makes a spectacular sort of groan and Casey thinks one thing, fleetingly, before he gives himself over to pleasure as well. Casey thinks, You really don’t understand how good a blowjob feels until you’ve given one; I wonder why Lisa never knew that?
He sees stars behind his eyes when Danny comes in the back of his mouth, and at that moment, there is no place Casey would rather be.