Assembling A Dream Date With Lex Chase

February 18, 2016

SAR_Dream_Date

Hello, everyone! I’m Lex Chase and thank you for joining me on this month’s edition of #Dreamer! Today, I’m sharing a special date from my new release with Bru Baker Some Assembly RequiredIf you haven’t heard, it’s a meet-cute about two dead guys haunting a purgatorial affordable home goods store called CASA. Y’know, everyone considers that particular big box store purgatory, but in this case it really is. ;D

So what do you do when you do when you’re trapped for all eternity in the land of particle board and meatballs? You can’t exactly go out on a movie date. So, you have to get a bit (okay a lot) creative. So presenting here is the excerpt from Benji and Patrick’s dream date. Patrick, who hasn’t seen a current movie in decades, doesn’t know what to expect when Benji our “newly deceased” teaches him the meaning of “watch Netflix and chill.”


Some Assembly Required
by Lex Chase and Bru Baker
Excerpt


Benji would have had a hard time figuring out what to screen for Patrick on their movie date, but after an hour agonizing over his choices, he’d settled on The Avengers. It was the perfect mix of comic book geekery, fists meeting faces, and the three-way dilemma of Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, or Tom Hiddleston. Robert Downey Jr. went without saying. But Hemsworth and Hiddleston were always a difficult choice that usually settled in a tie. It was exactly the type of movie he bet Patrick would have lined up to see on opening night.

Benji was going to be kind of devastated if Patrick didn’t love it. Which was ridiculous, all things considered. But he wanted to give Patrick something special, to do something for him that no one else could. He and Patrick were alike in that way. They were both prone to grand gestures. Benji’s were just usually a little better planned out and a lot more well intentioned.

“You’re doing a very nice thing here, Benji,” Karin said, and there was no mistaking the wistful smile on her face. She was definitely a little jealous.

He grinned. “We could make it a weekly thing, you know. Movie night,” he clarified when both Agnes and Karin gave him a confused look. “Not that I wouldn’t like to have a weekly date with Patrick. I would. But we could have a movie night. For everyone, I mean.”

It felt a bit silly now that he’d said it out loud. Could the Impressions even watch a movie? He wasn’t sure. There was still so much he didn’t understand about CASA. But Agnes and Karin definitely could, so it would at least be the four of them. Like a family night, since they were the only family he had now.

“I’d quite like that,” Agnes said after a moment of consideration.

Karin clapped her hands together. “Me too! How many digital movies does this thing have on it?”

Benji smothered a laugh behind his hand, pretending to yawn. “Uh, they’re not on the laptop, exactly. We’re streaming them from a service that has a bunch of movies. Old television shows too.”

If Karin was young enough, there might be an unfinished plotline out there that had been nagging at her for decades. Maybe she’d spent all this time wondering who shot J.R. He had to bite his lips together to keep from laughing at the thought of Karin with Farrah Fawcett hair and bell-bottoms.

Agnes shot the laptop a look of deep mistrust but grudgingly nodded. “Streaming. Laptops. Digital movies. What’s next, cars that drive themselves?”

They all looked up when someone cleared his throat in the doorway. Patrick leaned against the frame, looking reluctantly amused.

“I figured the very vague note you left on my MILAN this morning to meet you here tonight meant you were reconsidering my blow-job offer. I didn’t realize it was a meeting to talk about future cars. I’d have dressed with more care,” he said wryly, gesturing at the stained Despicable Me shirt he’d plucked from Lost and Found a few days ago. Benji hadn’t had the heart to tell him it was a minion and not a Twinkie with a face. Patrick had been absolutely delighted by it.

Agnes made a disgusted sound and wrinkled her nose at him. “If you cared about anything at all, you’d stop raiding that box and start materializing your clothes like the rest of us.”

Patrick’s eyes widened. “What’s that I hear in your voice, Agnes? Concern? So you do like me!”

She fixed him with a withering stare and rolled her eyes. “I’d like you to be gone,” she muttered before disappearing.

Karin shook her head and followed suit, leaving the two of them alone in the conference room.

Benji watched Patrick for a few seconds, sighing softly when he saw Patrick’s easy posture tighten up when it was just the two of them. “Just so you know, cars that drive themselves actually exist. Or at least, the prototypes do. They’ve had several moderately successful tests.”

Patrick gave him a thin-lipped smile. “Time does march on, doesn’t it?”

Benji cleared his throat, uncomfortable with the maudlin turn things had taken. He knew life was moving on out there without him, but he didn’t like to be reminded of it. And there was no better remedy for escaping reality than slipping into someone else’s.

“Would you go to the movies with me?” he blurted, wincing at the abruptness of the subject change.

Patrick’s brow furrowed. “Are you forgetting that pesky business of us not being able to leave the premises?”

There was definitely interest behind the snarky attitude, and Benji gave himself an internal high five. Operation Movie Date was cleared for takeoff.

“Welcome to the CASA Cineplex, sir,” he said, bowing low. “We’ll begin our screening momentarily. Please help yourself to concessions and find a seat.”

Patrick was still looking at him like he was crazy, but his eyes were sparkling, a sure sign that Patrick was enjoying himself.

Benji fiddled with the light switches while Patrick roamed around the table, finally settling on one of the two seats at the end of the table farthest back from the projector.

“So we don’t disturb any of the other customers in our movie theater if we get frisky during the imaginary movie,” Patrick said with a conspiratorial wink. “I was always a back row kind of guy.”

Benji snorted. He had no trouble seeing Patrick in the back row of a theater, though it had probably been to throw popcorn instead of get up to anything lewd. For all his bravado, Patrick was surprisingly prudish. Benji knew he’d been hurt by someone before, which accounted for a lot of his hesitancy to get intimate, but that didn’t explain why Patrick flustered so easily when their hands brushed. It was endearing.

“It’s not an imaginary movie,” he said, pointedly refusing to engage in Patrick’s childish innuendo. He brought up Netflix and logged into Charles’s account.

His hand hovered over the projector button. “I have a really important question for you,” he said, looking over at Patrick.

“Gee, Beaver, I don’t know where babies come from. You’d better ask Pop,” Patrick said, his eyes wide.

Benji’s lips twitched. “Asshole. Seriously, this is life or death.”

“Afterlife or death, you mean?”

Benji drew his hand back and crossed his arms. “Maybe I was wrong about you. I doubt you’d like this anyway. You’re probably all Superman all the time.”

Patrick gave him an offended tsk. “Earth isn’t so badly off that it needs to import aliens as superheroes,” he scoffed. “Marvel all the way.”

Benji grinned and flicked on the projector. The title credits for The Avengers popped up on the large screen. “Right answer.”

Patrick’s mouth dropped open. “No. They did not make my favorite comic ever into a movie. Did they? Did they really make Avengers into a movie? Who played Thor? Val Kilmer, right? Had to be Val Kilmer.”

Benji snorted a chuckle. “What?”

Patrick shrunk down in his seat a little bit. “Nothing.”

Pure happiness bubbled through Benji. For the first time in a long time, he was exactly where he wanted to be. He could count the number of perfect moments he’d had during life on one hand, and he was thrilled beyond belief to realize he’d get to have them in the afterlife too. A lot more of them, too, if he had anything to say about it. He bet he could easily fill both hands and both feet with happy Patrick moments if he really set his mind to it.

“Oh my God, I can’t tell you how happy I am to get to be the one to introduce you to the perfection that is Chris Hemsworth,” he said, delighted.

“But first, we have a score to settle.” Benji would have pulled on his handlebar mustache if he had one. It was the ultimate villain moment. “I believe you promised to teach me how to eat.” He looked pointedly over at the popcorn and candy Agnes had arranged on the table.

“Come on! That could take forever! I’ll teach you after, I promise.” Patrick pouted and rubbed his face when Benji didn’t unpause the movie. “Benji, it’s The Avengers,” he whined.

Benji raised his eyebrows, holding Patrick’s gaze.

“Oh, fine,” Patrick said. He didn’t bother getting up. Instead, he just teleported over to the table, appearing on it sitting with his legs crossed underneath him. “I hope you choke on it,” he said as he held a piece of popcorn up to Benji’s lips.

“Now who’s forgetting that we don’t need to breathe?” Benji teased, the words muffled by the food.

Patrick’s lips twitched and he withdrew the popcorn. “You don’t get to be the funny one. That job is already taken, by me.”

“I’ll just settle for being the pretty one, then,” Benji said, batting his eyelashes coquettishly.

Patrick choked on the Swedish Fish he’d just tossed into his mouth. “No arguments,” he rasped when he finally managed to swallow it. “Basically, it’s just like everything else here. Mind over matter. Be the change you want to see in the world and all that metaphysical jazz.”

Benji smiled fondly. “That’s a Gandhi quote.”

“Whatever, it still fits. If you want to be able to eat, eat,” Patrick said with a shrug. He ate another Swedish Fish.

“So that’s it? I can eat because I want to eat?”

Patrick saluted him. “Make it so.”

Benji eyed the popcorn with distrust but picked up a piece. It smelled amazing, and he could feel the salt crystals on the surface of the buttery kernel. “So I just go for it, Captain Picard?”

“It’s hard to explain. Why don’t you fall through the floor when you walk? It’s not because you’re corporeal, because you’re not unless you concentrate and will it. But your feet hit the floor and you don’t sink through because you expect to be able to walk on it. It’s never occurred to you that you couldn’t, so you can. Eating is the same basic principle. It takes a fair amount of energy, so we don’t do it often, but some things are worth it, you know?”

Patrick shot him a wicked grin. He grabbed a handful of popcorn and stuffed it into his mouth with a decadent groan.

Benji took a breath and tried to center himself like he did when he was practicing object manipulation with his Yoda figure. He gingerly placed the popcorn kernel on his tongue and focused on the weight of it. He willed his taste buds to engage, but it was like having a piece of cardboard in his mouth. There was no salty zing or smooth, oily roll of butter across his tongue.

He spit it out into his palm with a grimace.

“Do you actually taste things or are you just fucking with me?” he asked, narrowing his eyes at Patrick, who was licking the salt off his fingers with exaggerated bliss.

“Oh, sweetheart, if I was fucking you, you’d know,” he purred. Instead of continuing on with his teasing, though, he straightened up and took one of the chocolates off the pile. “Try this. It’s easier with softer foods at first. Just put it in your mouth and remember what it was like to eat. Think about what you want it to taste like. Think about the feeling of chewing it, or how it feels to swallow.”

Benji snickered at that, and Patrick flushed. Clearly the innuendo had been accidental that time. He really was adorable. Benji leaned forward and let Patrick put the chocolate in his mouth. It was cool on his tongue, and he thought about it melting and spreading sweet, thick chocolate across his taste buds.

He nearly choked when he realized he wasn’t just remembering the taste of chocolate—he was tasting it.

A grin spread across Patrick’s face. “Right? See? You’re doing it, aren’t you? Now chew it and swallow it.”

Benji did, amazed to find his mouth flooded with saliva that definitely hadn’t been there before. Tears pricked at his eyes, and he blinked quickly to dispel them. What a stupid thing to cry over.

He looked away, but Patrick slid his thumb across Benji’s eyelids, gently collecting the unshed tears. “Hey, no. It’s cool. I get it. It’s a lot.”

Benji took a breath and opened his eyes, grinning into Patrick’s. He brought his hand up and caught Patrick’s, twining their fingers together.

“Let’s watch this movie,” he said. He pulled himself up onto the table, settling in next to Patrick.

“Avengers assemble!” Patrick crowed, and Benji laughed, happiness spreading over him like a blanket.

 

 

It was a good thing that Benji had the bowl full of popcorn to keep himself occupied, because otherwise he’d never have made it through the whole thing without cooing over the adorable furrow between Patrick’s eyebrows that appeared while he craned his entire body toward the screen.

Benji had assumed Patrick would be the kind of guy who talked all the way through a movie, critiquing the acting and special effects or making predictions about what was going to happen next. And maybe he was that kind of guy—Benji would be amazed if he wasn’t, because being a bit of an asshole just seemed to be part of Patrick’s DNA—but Patrick didn’t utter a word through the entire movie.

Patrick gasped when Thanos made his brief appearance in the first end credits, his excitement dancing across his face like a five-year-old at Christmas. He watched with rapt attention, like he was trying to memorize every cast and crew member’s name, and then cracked up when the battle-weary team went for shawarma. He didn’t let Benji speak at all until the entire thing ended and the Netflix menu came up.

“Let’s watch it again.”

That wasn’t exactly what Benji had envisioned Patrick saying to him at the end of their first official date. He’d kind of hoped Patrick would be overcome with emotion and throw himself into Benji’s arms, cursing himself for wasting so much of their time together by running away.

And while any excuse to spend time with Patrick was a good one, even if it didn’t involve Patrick emoting, Benji was dead tired.

Ha. Dead tired. Because he was tired. And dead.

Benji bit back a grin at his unintentional pun. Normally he’d share it with Patrick, but he didn’t want to break up the oddly charged mood with a bad joke.

“Tomorrow, maybe? We could have a movie marathon with the Avengers’ back stories.”

Patrick’s eyes grew comically wide. “There are more Avengers movies?”

Benji rubbed the back of his neck. “Well, yeah. There are a couple Captain America movies, and there’s the Hulk’s movie. Oh, and Thor. And Iron Man, of course. There are a bunch of those.”

Patrick held his hand out imperiously toward the laptop. “Let’s watch them now.”

Benji felt his aura flicker, which he’d learned was the ghostly equivalent of a yawn. He’d expended too much energy setting everything up, plus all the energy he’d used eating the popcorn. As much as he’d like to spend the night watching movies, he needed to sleep.

“I’m glad you liked it, but I’m beat.”

“I can fix that,” Patrick said with a heavy-lidded smirk. He slid across the table, and Benji nearly fell off the edge when Patrick wrapped his arms around him. His nose knocked against Patrick’s collarbone, and he felt a zing of energy rush through him when the soft fabric got pushed aside. Benji couldn’t help but nuzzle in closer, chasing the addictive charge.

Patrick curved around him, pressing open-mouthed kisses against Benji’s neck. “So good like this. I’d forgotten,” he muttered. “Orgasms for everyone, and then we’ll watch more movies.”


Now how about a giveaway for you and your dream date? I’m not giving away one but two $5 USD DSP Gift Certificates! What do you have to do? Tell me about your ideal dream date. Or tell me about the one you had between you and your true love (husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever!) And then nominate someone you’d gift with the second DSP certificate! Spread the love to your valentine!


Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” Now she’s on a mission to make the world a hell of a lot more interesting.

Weaving tales of sweeping cinematic adventure—depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. Her pride is in telling stories of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. If you’re going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.

Lex is a pop culture diva, her DVR is constantly backlogged, and she unapologetically loved the ending of Lost. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LXChase
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Lex_Chase
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Instagram: http://instagram.com/lexachase


Bru_Headshot

Bru Baker got her first taste of life as a writer at the tender age of four when she started publishing a weekly newspaper for her family. What they called nosiness she called a nose for news, and no one was surprised when she ended up with degrees in journalism and political science and started a career in journalism.

Bru spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now works in reference and readers’ advisory in a Midwestern library, though she still finds it hard to believe someone’s willing to pay her to talk about books all day. Most evenings you can find her curled up with a mug of tea, some fuzzy socks, and a book or her laptop. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.

www.bru-baker.com
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PS: I’m waaaaay behind with naming giveaway winners from previous dreamer posts! No worries! I’ll be picking them out this week! Watch your inboxes! ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

5 Responses to “Assembling A Dream Date With Lex Chase”

  1. H.B. says:

    Err…I’ve never been on a date so I don’t really have one to share.

    Thank you for the excerpt! Best of luck with the release!

  2. Angela says:

    Congrats to you both on the release of Some Assembly required.

    You have a fun question for us.
    My ideal dream date (and because it is a dream date i don’t have to worry about how much it would cost) ;)

    I would fly to Paris with my husband we would have a nice diner and then walk around Paris, take a boat on the river Seine, see the Eiffel Tower and afterwards go to a nice hotel and have some romantic time alone (no children allowed LOL).

  3. Lex Chase says:

    @H.B. Hahaha! Up until recently I had pretty much settled to live the life of a confirmed bachelor. Girls are soooo complicated. I’ve gotten pretty lucky. The old dog can be taught!

    Well even if you’ve never been on one, what would your ideal dream date be? You read romance. :D What would be your favorite? :D

  4. Lex Chase says:

    @Angela Money is no object with this dream date question. The sky is the limit! That sounds so dreamy. *le siiiiiigggh* <3 <3 I've never been to Europe but it's so on my bucket list. The pictures make it look so romantic. <3

  5. Trix says:

    My dream date would depend on what my guy and I have in common, but I imagine there would be some museums, bookstores, record shops, coffeehouses, and/or bakeries in the mix! (A nice strollable setting would be good…)

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