a pop story

by dirty diana

Inspired by my newfound love of the blond and shiny. Title stolen from a song by Moloko. It's a song about ennui. I thought it was appropriate.

They say she's too skinny.

Paris knows that, even though she doesn't really read what people say about her. Well, sometimes she does, and even if she doesn't Nicole or whoever will call her up to tell her about it, her cell phone ringing in her purse, singing "I Want It That Way".

"Did you see what that bitch said about you?"

Paris doesn't understand, doesn't get how someone could really be too thin, like being too rich or too famous. She asks Nick about it, shifting over on the bed so she can wrap both arms around him. He's solid and warm, and tilts his head towards her so he can listen to what she's saying.

"Do you think I'm too thin?"

Nick just looks at her, like he thinks that she's crazy. "No."

"Are you sure?"

Nick sighs, his voice changing pitch, like he's just realised that they're having a serious discussion. "Do you think you are?"

Paris needs to think about it.

Sometimes Nick brings her Krispy Kreme in the middle of the night, from all the way across town.

"Get that stuff away from me," she says. "That's so gross."

He ignores her, and tries to kiss her, with a sticky, sugary mouth.

She laughs, and lets him chase her. Then she lets him catch her, tackling her backwards into the pillows.

If she eats a doughnut in the morning, with her coffee, not really thinking about it while she's reading a glossy magazine, Nick doesn't say anything.

She sends him postcards from the road, from whatever one-traffic-light, no-Sephora town they're in that day. Nicole makes fun of her, watching her pick out the cards. But she does it anyway.

Paris has bad handwriting, a tiny uneven scribble that she can hardly read back when she's done. "This is so stupid," she writes, mostly. Sometimes she writes more, but usually she doesn't. "You should be here."

Nick calls her when he gets them. He's rehearsing, and she can hear the noise in the background, voices talking.

"How's it going?" she asks him.

"Okay," he answers, and that means it's going good, because when it's not he won't answer the question at all. "You?"

She rolls her eyes, with her back to the cameras. "I'm so fucking bored, baby."

He smiles, against the phone, making a soft sound that she can hear. Then there's a shout in the background, someone calling his name. "I gotta go."

"Later, baby." Paris hangs up and turns around, and the camera's in her face again.

The next day, they are somewhere else. They are always somewhere else. She buys a new postcard, and she watches the edge of the highway tumbling over itself, dust and dirt and sky. She wonders how there can be so much nothing in any one place, how come no one notices.

And then Nick shows up, and he's losing his tan from spending so much time inside, and the cameras zoom in on his hand where it touches her waist. She smiles, leaning in close to him.

Nick doesn't really like being around the cameras all the time. And sometimes Paris wonders if they've got anything in common at all, and if they don't, then how come neither of them have really noticed. He doesn't really like this either, this run-down place that they're staying in, Auntie Em's house, so far from the ocean that she knows Nick feels lost.

"You didn't have to come," she tells him. He's got his arms around her, and they're tangled together from end to end. She's warm now, so warm all over that it doesn't matter if the world around them is all in black and white.

Nick looks at her, like he thinks she's crazy. "Wanted to," he says.