Take it from me – even soaking naked in a bathtub with Marta Mathis can get old eventually. It’s the water. Before too long it was freezing, we were both goose pimpled and shivering, and very aware of how many bodily fluids we’d added to the mix. We got out, rinsed off quickly in the shower, and finally got dressed to meet the day. Still, all in all, it had been one hell of a catnap.
“Weird how you can be so tired first thing in the morning,” I said reflectively.
“I blame you,” Marta said. “You try sleeping through the barnyard noises AJ makes.”
“You made it up to me.”
Out in the kitchen, AJ had left the breakfast nook set with two full plates of food, paper towels over them. She’d switched out her lingerie for a bathing suit, a jacket over the top and she was pulling on a pair of stretch pants over the bottoms.
“I made you guys breakfast. So, how am I doing as your girlfriend?” she asked me, in some sweet spot between facetiousness and sincerity.
“Uh, fine. It looks great.”
“Who says I was talking to you?” she asked, and walked by me and Marta, giving a smile to the brunette as she went. “I’m going to the beach. Don’t wait up.”
She left, and Marta and I sat down to eat. There was a genuinely cozy feeling to it. What little awkwardness Marta felt seemed to have caught up with her, and it made her a bit flustered around me. Since I was plenty flustered myself, I was able to take some comfort in both of us not knowing what to do now that this had gone beyond the one-night-stand stage, and somehow found itself involving AJ as well. Come to think of it…
“What is it with you two anyway?” I asked, but I’d caught Marta spacing out – staring out in the direction AJ had gone with her brow furrowed like she was trying to multiply two double-digit numbers in her head.
“Huh?” she asked, noticing I was looking at her after missing my question.
“You and AJ. What’s the story?”
“It’s… it’s nothing,” she said. She changed tacks instantly, perhaps sensing I was mentally casting aspirations on her acting talent. “You know the story.”
“Yeah, yeah, she’s Betty, you’re Joan. But you can’t tell me that thing in the bathtub was normal rivalry.”
Marta shifted her eyes downward. “God, of course she would make me have this conversation alone. Okay.” She rearranged her seat to better face me, the legs squeaking across the tile floor. “This is before the rivalry. Way back when we were signed for the show, we were doing table reads, fight training, costume fittings – and she wanted to be friends. I thought, ‘why not, we’re going to be working together for the foreseeable future,’ right? Like a team player.”
“Right,” I agreed, thinking it wasn’t a statement that really needed to be agreed with, but that was clearly what Marta was looking for. I could only think that she’d gone over this whatever-it-was so many times that she’d lost some objectiv…