In which Lyssa makes a discovery and renews her acquaintance with Portlandia.


Lyssa was not too pleased with herself these days. The butterflies in her stomach were having a field day, and she knew why. Every time she came to the office, she looked over towards Marty's desk, and if he wasn't there, she looked up in anticipation every time the door opened. When Diana and Marty sat around the coffee machine, she listened surreptitiously until she could no longer stand it and joined them. She felt alternately exhilarated and annihilated. She waited for the case of temporary insanity to burn itself out, but every day seemed an age, and she didn't know if her nerves were going to hold out. That was what came of giving in to your fantasies, being in such a state because of nothing, just dreams and speculations and wishes: she had talked herself into the whole thing, and now she couldn't talk herself out of it. At least Marty didn't have to know, and she could pine and flourish in secret. She still hadn't heard anything from Hannah, but she no longer made excuses for herself. It wasn't her daughter that was bothering her. This shouldn't happen to you when you're almost forty, Lyssa reflected.

Late one morning, she was confronted with a blow to her stomach that sent the butterflies racing. Lyssa was returning from an interview with a local writer of detective fiction who set her stories on the coast and gave her elegant hero a Ferrari to drive. Lyssa disapproved--as an Oregon hero, he should have ridden a bike. Diana was standing next to Marty's desk, looking at something he had written, her hand on his shoulder, leaning over him and laughing, and what was worse, Marty was laughing back. Lyssa liked them both and wished them well, but the sight made her stomach plunge. Imagining certainties where all that was certain were her fears, she was quite surprised when they didn't go out to lunch together. Lyssa watched Marty and Harry leave with relief.

Something must have been showing. Diana came over to her shortly after the two men left, and Diana was not the most observant of souls. "Hey, Lyssa, are you okay?" she asked.

"Oh, I have a bit of a headache," Lyssa replied, rubbing her forehead and reflecting what wonderful, all-purpose excuses headaches were.

Diana sat down. "Headaches are a bitch, aren't they?" Lyssa winced slightly. She still wasn't used to Diana's vocabulary, which seemed to belong more to the construction site than the office, but obscenities were becoming more common and more harmless every day, and she ignored Diana's language generously. "You seemed a little short-tempered a while ago," Diana continued.

"Was I?" Lyssa asked. "I'm sorry."

"No big deal. I just thought something might be the matter. I didn't come over to complain, I came to ask you a favor. I was wondering if I could leave early on Friday."

With effort, Lyssa concentrated on what Diana was saying. "As long as everything's going on schedule, I see no reason why not. What's up?"

"A friend of mine has an important gig in Seattle, and he wants me to come." Diana ran a hand through her long bangs and gave a rueful smile. "I guess I should call him my 'boyfriend,' but I have problems with that word. It seems too official."

"Your boyfriend?" Lyssa asked, feeling stunned.

"Well, like I said, I don't like to call him that, but that's more or less the role he's filling."

"I thought there was something up between you and Marty," Lyssa said casually, relief lifting her depression like magic.

Eyes wide, Diana stared at Lyssa. The intentional nonchalance hadn't worked. "Oh, he's too old for me!" Diana said, laughing. "Besides, I never go for guys who are shorter. Guess I'm too traditional."

"Too old!" Lyssa repeated.

"Oh yeah," Diana said, patting Lyssa's hand briefly. "I like my men younger, but not shorter. You can have him," she continued, as usual unaware of any imminent danger of going out on a thin verbal limb. Diana's shreds of tact were rather scanty.

"Oh, dear, is it that obvious?" Lyssa asked.

"I only realized just now when you asked me whether I was interested in him," Diana said.

"Shhh," Lyssa said automatically, even though they were the only two in the office.

"Oh, I'm sure no one has noticed anything, Lyssa, not even Marty," Diana reassured her, her voice as lowered as she could make it. That, however, was not particularly quiet. "You've been wonderfully reticent. But if I were in your place, I wouldn't be hiding it that much."

"No, I'm sure you wouldn't." Lyssa smiled slightly as she inspected her extravagant assistant editor, sporting a costume as loud as she was. The shiny purple shirt was held together carelessly by a belt flaunting a gaudy silver clasp with claws. Dramatic and blundering, Diana seemed incapable of secrecy.

"Now, what's that supposed to mean?" Diana said, crossing her arms across her chest, playfully defensive.

"Nothing. Do you want to go out to lunch?"



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