Unravel (My Latest Mistake)
Fandom: Desperate Housewives
Spoilers: 5/1/2005 episode
Disclaimer: Marc Cherry, ABC, et al.
Summary: “I pull away, and she looks so happy for just a second. Like everything has come together in a champagne bubble of a moment.”
It’s like having my own guardian angel, the kind they wouldn’t tell you about in church because you might get afraid. Bree’s not…she’s not someone you tell the latest joke about the male prostitute in the White House, because she’d look like my Auntie Lupe would, all pinched and ready to chant fifty Hail Marys for my always already damned soul. But at the same time, I don’t know who else to talk to about this. Lynette has no follow-through or time (plus, her house is crawling with brats — like she’s going to be sympathetic), and Susan is sweet but studiously not getting her hands dirty in any of my problems.
I guess I could talk to Edie, but Edie and I have our own unwritten compact. She whores on her side of the street, I high-class prostitute on mine, and we don’t talk about the part where we know a lot more about each other than we should.
That leaves Bree. And when I “call on” Bree (I swear to God, sometimes it’s like falling into Leave It to Effing Beaver when I go to her place), she looks surprised I haven’t come earlier.
“Is it a good time?” I ask, feeling like my head is about to fall off. At least it doesn’t smell wrong here. “I could come back.”
“Don’t be silly,” Bree half-coos. She must have something on her mind. It usually takes Bree ten minutes to snap out of Stepford. “You look terrible, Gabby.”
“Well, yeah. Pregnant,” I say. I remember she doesn’t know about John. Bree wouldn’t like the part about John. No, that’s too strong. Bree simply would not approve of my fling with John, and that’s even worse. “Thanks to Carlos being a complete…grr!”
“I know,” Bree says with considerable asperity, looking around as if she’s listening for someone. “Come in. Sit down. I’ll make us something to drink. I have muffins in the kitchen. Or would you rather have water? When I was first pregnant with Andrew, I couldn’t stand anything stronger than a glass of water for two weeks. I lost five pounds.”
“I don’t know,” I say, tagging along into the kitchen, which is clean, to get a muffin, which is less than a day old and home-baked and tastes really good. “Water sounds good. Well, no, a bottle of tequila sounds good, but again. Pregnant.”
Bree nods. There’s something on her mind, and I really want to know, because it looks like an unhappy thing on her mind. And I fear when Bree is unhappy, as everyone should, because remember what I said about guardian angel on steroids? It only gets worse when you get past the shining exterior of Bree awesomeness into whoever’s inside that mask.
I used to think I was good at hiding who I really was, but Bree Van de Kamp is like, the Zen freaking master. Nobody knows who she really is, and nobody thinks about that.
“Hey, Bree?” I ask while Bree gets herself a glass of white wine, apples, and Brie. “What’s got you down? Is Rex still being a jerk about that pharmacy guy?”
I’m a good friend; I leave out the creepy, vaguely Manson feeling that George gives me. Bree would interrogate me for hours about why I distrusted the guy and while I care? I’m here for me first.
“I’ve found my own solution to that problem,” Bree answers, using a tiny silver knife to put a little cheese on her apple before taking a bite. “No, I’m thinking about your problem. And I wish you hadn’t made a scene, Gabby. Things would be so much easier if you hadn’t.”
I lift an eyebrow and perk up. This is why I love Bree. Bree is always thinking two steps ahead, and she doesn’t let her feelings get in the way. Also, Bree’s much more patient than me or even Edie (who also doesn’t get so sentimental in a crisis), so she can delay her response until it’s appropriate. Which I guess comes from being the WASPiest woman on earth.
“What would be easier?” I ask. “Do you have an idea?”
Bree looks around again, and I wonder if maybe she’s hoping that God maybe isn’t listening. Of all my friends, Bree is the one who gets the vague feelings of dread and calls it God. I get them, too. But I figure God’s too busy to pay attention to me. God might have more time for Bree, though. I don’t know.
“Gabrielle, are you…are you absolutely sure you don’t want to have children?” Bree asks in a rushed whisper, followed by a long gulp of wine.
“Hell, yes,” I say. “Even more now that I’m enjoying all the fun symptoms of pregnancy. Never wanted them, don’t want them, never will want them. But what can I do? Turn back time?”
Bree gives me a long, silent look. Even I get it.
“Rex knows…people…who do that sort of thing. It could be…could have been…arranged very quietly,” she says with absolutely no emotion in her voice.
No wonder she was looking around. If God is listening, he’s got to be as shocked as I am. Bree, perfect freaking Bree, is advocating that I should have had an abortion and not told Carlos. The way Carlos hadn’t told me that he’d decided we needed children, of course. But that’s the way I think. That’s not the way I ever imagine Bree thinking. I figured Bree could find an aunt out-of-state who would hide me for the duration and I could come back nine months later, swollen and puffy but child-free, et cetera.
“I know you don’t think that’s the right thing to do,” I say. And I do know that. I know I don’t even know if it’s a right thing to do.
“No child should come into this world unwanted, either,” Bree says, still so quiet I’m almost afraid. “I know that you wouldn’t have just ‘forgotten’ to take your pills, either. This wasn’t your choice, was it?”
“Not so much,” I say. And I want to tell her everything, about the post-nup, and Carlos being a bastard but my bastard and John being sweet but dumb and always needing more money, about how I prayed to God in thanks when Mama Solis wound up dead, about how I hate the idea of an abortion but she’s gonna have to talk to those people Rex knows anyway.
“It won’t be that hard, I suppose,” Bree says, still like she’s half-talking to herself. “Men are so willing to believe certain things. And you wear such impractical shoes, sweetheart.”
I swallow. This time, the trembling in my stomach isn’t from the baby. My God, Bree is ruthless when she’s fixing a problem. “Usually, when it’s like this, I run,” I say. “I don’t stick around, but I don’t know where I’d go.”
“You don’t have to run,” Bree says. And I want to know why this is giving her the weird look in her eyes. I know she’s not going to tell me about how she had an abortion in college. First of all, Bree waited until marriage, and second, if she hadn’t, she would have used four kinds of birth control to make sure nothing went wrong. “Oh, Gabby, things are never simple, are they?”
“Are you okay?” I ask, because now I’m afraid for her even more than me. I’m just using Bree to do something I was going to do anything, and I want her to absolve me. I want her to tell me it’s okay to have an abortion. I want her to come with me so I can put my head on her shoulder and cry when the doctor calls my assumed name, to take me home afterwards and scold me for tripping on my shoe and feed me homemade consomme and herbal tea and cry with me just a little.
Because if Bree Van de Kamp approves, could God say otherwise? Bree can make it all better for me. But her, she’s maybe not okay, and I don’t know how to make her better.
“It’s been a year,” she admits, a smile half-curving her lips. Her eyes are still sad. “Andrew is having homosexual crushes and I think he hates me. And…Danielle is hell-bent on having sex on that John boy. Rex is…first his heart attack, and the infidelity, and he’s got other issues, and Mary Alice’s suicide and…”
“Breathe, Bree,” I say, catching her face between my head. Her mouth is so close to mine that I can see it tremble, see the spot near the corner of it where there’s a long, salty tear track to wipe away. The air shouldn’t be chemistry-ridden when I do that. But it is, and I do.
And when I kiss her, I know I’m stupid. I know it’s only because the only way to help anyone. It’s the only thing I can do that matters to anyone. She’ll tell me to stop, that girls shouldn’t kiss girls or people get the wrong idea. For all I know, Rex is in the other room, or one of the kids is waiting to come downstairs for a snack.
I pull away, and she looks so happy for just a second. Like everything has come together in a champagne bubble of a moment. And she’s beautiful, glowing and happy. I can’t get away from the happy. I’m so happy she’s happy, even though it’s a terrible mistake and…
My eyes meet hers.
Bubbles pop. Bree goes pale, prim, and Stepford, pulling away and straightening herself briskly. It’s like she’s already erased the moment so that there’s nothing to discuss. Nothing to forgive. Nothing to even consider.
“If you’re sure, you should tell me very soon. We can set a date,” she says.
My guardian angel. Fixing my latest mistake, no matter what the cost.