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You and I, Me and You

MaryJanice Davidson

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  For those working through the torment of mental illness, from either side of the therapist’s desk.


  Thanks to the many mental health professionals who were kind enough to get in touch after the first two BOFFO books (Me, Myself, and Why and Yours, Mine, and Ours) to tell me what I’d gotten right and, even better, what I’d gotten wrong. You know the saying, third time’s the … I forget. But thanks!

  author’s note

  BOFFO’s building as described in this book doesn’t exist in real life, but, boy oh boy, I wish it did. And despite my catty comments on various Minneapolis buildings, I think downtown Minneapolis is beautiful and exciting. It’s well worth a visit, any time of the year. Thanks to the Skyway System, you can explore all of the downtown area in ten-below weather and stay toasty warm the whole time. Because Minneapolis is friggin’ wonderful. And skyways are cool. They’re like portals into Awesome.

  Also, when Shiro comments that the newspaper she’s freelancing for, the Minneapolis Star, isn’t going anywhere, she is wrong: it was swallowed in a merger. That happened in 1982, although for the purposes of this book I imply it happened in the ’90s.

  The Premium Dog Couch enjoyed (sort of) by Pearl the dog does exist, and it’s a fine product made by the good people at L.L. Bean. It’s nicer than most people’s couches!

  Also, I’ve got nothing against the company that makes the Smart Pure coupe. It’s just, their car? When I look at it, it’s like I can feel my brain bleed.

  fun fact

  More people kill themselves at the Golden Gate Bridge than anywhere else in the world. (Coming in at number two is Aokigahara Forest in Mount Fuji, Japan. Ha-ha, Japan, we beat you! Yes, I’m going to hell.) If you jump off the Golden Gate, your chance of dying is 98 percent. So there’s a fun fact to digest with your bagel or, if you’re me, your ham, egg, and cheese biscuit sandwich with extra meat.

  Typhoid and swans—it all comes from the same place.


  I realized that to make an R all I had to do was first write a P and then draw a line down from its loop. And I was so surprised that I could turn a yellow letter into an orange letter just by adding a line.


  “I really mean it, Dr. Wolper. I want us to get married.”

  “Meli! You still call me ‘Dr. Wolper.’”

  “So? What’s that supposed to mean? When I met you, you were Dr. Wolper, and that’s the way I got to know you. So don’t go making any big goddamn deal outta that, too. I’m just a formal-type person. If I were sleeping with the king of France, I’d say, ‘That was very nice sex, Your Highness. Thank you for banging me, Your Majesty.’”


  Stop tweeting and texting about your life and just live it!


  Once is an accident. Twice is coincidence. Three times is an enemy action.


  Witwer: “Let’s not kid ourselves. We are arresting individuals who’ve broken no law.”

  Jad: “But they will.”

  Fletcher: “The commission of the crime itself is absolute metaphysics. The Precogs see the future. And they’re never wrong.”

  Witwer: “But it’s not the future if you stop it. Isn’t that a fundamental paradox?”

  Anderton: “Yes, it is.”


  “You son of a bitch, you moved the cemetery but you left the bodies, didn’t you? You son of a bitch, you left the bodies and you only moved the headstones! You only moved the headstones!”



  Title Page

  Copyright Notice



  Author’s Note

  Fun Fact


  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  Chapter 38

  Chapter 39

  Chapter 40

  Chapter 41

  Chapter 42

  Chapter 43

  Chapter 44

  Chapter 45

  Chapter 46

  Chapter 47

  Chapter 48

  Chapter 49

  Chapter 50

  Chapter 51

  Chapter 52

  Chapter 53

  Chapter 54

  Chapter 55

  Chapter 56

  Chapter 57

  Chapter 58

  Chapter 59

  Chapter 60

  Chapter 61

  Chapter 62

  Chapter 63

  Chapter 64

  Suggested Reading

  Also by MaryJanice Davidson

  About the Author


  chapter one

  I’m moving in with my boyfriend, the one I share with two other women, and I’m doing this because we’re in love and want to live together and make a family, our own family, and not because I’m desperate to do one normal thing. For once in my life.


  chapter two

  Except for the murders, Moving Day would have gone on with no trouble at all. Okay, the murders and my partner showing up uninvited. And my best friend’s OCD being fiercer than usual. And my dog’s stealth pooping. That put a yucky tinge on the day. The murders were definitely the worst part, though. Okay, the murders and the poop.

  Until Poopfest 2013, though, it was fun. Despite the nagging feeling that I might possibly be moving in with the wrong man.

  (No! Even to think it is a cheat!)

  Except of course that was ridiculous … Patrick was 100 percent the right man and any

  (Stupid bitch.)


  —thoughts otherwise were … were …

  Anyway, it was exciting to direct the movers and figure out which boxes went where. I was well into my twenties but could count on one hand how often I’d moved. I’d lived in a psych wing, and then near a psych wing, for over a decade, and after that in government housing. I’d only had my first apartment for three years when I had to leave because I had recently acquired a dog. And fallen in love! Those two aren’t in order of importance.

  (Something you might not know: the nice thing about being an inpatient is you’re not expected to bring your own furniture, no matter how long you live there.)

  This was my first hou

  Our first house, I guess.

  And it was beautiful! Utterly, utterly perfect. Which made sense because I was moving in with my utterly, utterly perfect baker. Boyfriend, rather. Who is also a baker, which is perfect because I love pastries. Perfect inside, perfect outside. All things in my life were coming together in a perfect fit. It was finally just so … Hmm, what’s the word? Starts with p …

  “Are you all right?” My best friend, Cathie Flannery, had stopped dragging boxes up the sidewalk (the loading cart’s wheels were too dirty for her to be comfortable using it) to come give me a close-over. (Close-over = Flanneryism combination of giving someone a close-up and a once-over in the same glance. Yeah, it’s weird.) “You look kind of glazed.” She was close enough to make this out as she looked deep into my eyes, which was as unsettling as you’d guess. “Cadence, are you in there? Helloooooo?”

  “Stop that.” I waved her back a step. “You know perfectly well I’m driving the body this morning. The glaze is because it’s so hot out.”

  “It’s the week before Christmas. Here in balmy southern Minnesota.”

  You might think it was condescending or weird to have someone tell me the season and the state, but Cathie was only covering her bases, and she thought she was covering mine.

  Two other people live in my body, is the thing. Sometimes they steal it for weeks at a time. They’re squatters; I guess that makes me the slumlord.

  (Don’t ever tell Shiro or Adrienne I said that. Please.)

  Sometimes I start my evening heading out for another viewing of High School Musical (but never in 3-D; it’s hard enough living in a three-dimensional world without piling movies on top) and wake up in mainland China. That can be a problem for all sorts of reasons, beginning with my utter ignorance of all Chinese dialects.

  chapter three

  Cadence Jones is ignorant about being ignorant! That blond giant willfully does not speak Chinese. She had the same opportunities I did when we were in China.

  Squatters, indeed.


  chapter four

  “… all right?”

  I blinked. I knew I’d lost time—not much time; it was still daylight, the van was still there, it was still cold, Cathie was wearing the same clothes—but I didn’t dare look at my watch. Not that I had many secrets from her. We grew up in the same town, by which I mean the same lunatic asylum. Except we don’t call it that anymore. It’s not nice.

  Still, though I loved my friend, I’d never felt she needed to know every single second of every single time my body was hijacked. I don’t even tell my shrink about every second. Except we don’t call them that anymore. It’s not nice.

  “Can you believe it?” I asked, hoping to get her off the trail. “Moving Day? Isn’t it wonderful?”

  “No. No.” Cathie shivered, rubbing her arms through her deep-green Gore-Tex parka. She was also wearing black snow pants, even though she only had to walk back and forth from the moving van through the front door—about twenty feet total—and it was thirty-some degrees out: balmy, as she’d pointed out. Cathie hated being cold almost as much as she hated being audited. “Don’t remind me. I don’t need any more horrific pics in my head.”

  “Now, now,” I said mildly. Cathie also liked the status quo. For years her brother had been her brother and her friend had been her friend. She’d compartmentalized her life so well, Patrick and I had only just met a few months ago. Now her brother and her friend were a couple. Abort! Abort! Shifting status quo! “You know you’re my favorite.”

  “Sure. You say that now.” She peered into the back of the moving van, which was rapidly emptying. “You know, it’s pretty great. I gotta give it to Patrick. Well … some of the tiles don’t line up exactly on the south side of the kitchen. And one of the light fixtures is a few degrees lower than the other ones in one of the bedrooms. But it’s a fixer-upper.”

  I smiled and said nothing. The house was brand-new and perfect. There wasn’t so much as a crooked seam (or whatever houses had that traditionally needed fixing) to be seen. But Cathie was particular.

  “Last chance to change your mind. Say the word and we can hijack this U-Haul.”

  “Did you set aside enough time in your schedule to be arrested, tried, convicted, and imprisoned for motor vehicle theft? And then maybe sued in a civil trial for punitive damages?”

  “No.” She kicked at a frozen tuft of grass. December without snow was just wrong, especially in Minnesota. A few days last week of forty-plus weather had gotten rid of the little snow we’d had. On the other hand, now that I was a homeowner and no longer an apartment dweller, I’d have to do things that homeowners did. Shovel. Mow. Start meaningless feuds with next-door neighbors. Garden. Can. Pickle? “Damn it, no, I didn’t.”

  “Another time,” I comforted her.

  My baker-boyfriend, Patrick, came bounding out the front door, in his enthusiasm coming across an awful lot like an Irish setter with an unbelievable upper body and denim shorts.

  (Yes, Cathie loathed the cold and overdressed for it. Her brother refused to acknowledge it and wore shorts all year round. You’re right to be confused. When my life settled down, I’d have to devote some research time to the Flannery clan, which in its own way was almost as weird as my own.)

  Our dog, Pearl, ran out beside him and I smiled to hear her bark. A black Lab cross, she’d been rescued from an abusive douche just a few weeks ago and was normally too conditioned to bark. The douche, incomprehensibly, wanted a dog but disliked barking. He was still in the hospital, which was as cheering as it was guilt-inducing.

  “Our” dog meant mine and Shiro’s and Adrienne’s. Adrienne had snatched her, Shiro had tolerated it, and I had decided the dog could stay in our lives. This led directly to my agreeing to move in with Patrick—my one-bedroom Burnsville apartment was not dog-friendly. Regardless of the inconvenience, I had a lot of respect for the small black puppy—the vet figured she was about a year and a half old, and due to malnutrition would only grow to about two-thirds the size of a Lab. I thought that was sad; Shiro thought it proved the dog’s intelligence. “Clever girl, keeping herself small for convenience’s sake,” she’d told Patrick.

  I leaned down and gave her a pat on her small sleek head. She had no idea it was Moving Day, just that she was with us and hadn’t seen the douche in weeks. Good enough.

  “All done, huh?” Patrick swooped down and scooped me up in a hug. I was gawky and tall, about six feet, but he made me feel petite and cute. My feet dangled several inches from the sidewalk, and Pearl darted beneath them to snuggle around Patrick’s ankles. (She was small and entirely black except for her white paws and a small round, white blob of fur on the top of her head: Pearl.) “They’ve got all the furniture in places where I think you’ll like it. Okay?”

  “Are the beds in the bedrooms?”


  “Boxes marked KITCHEN in the kitchen?”


  “That won’t do at all,” I said, smiling. He bent down and we rubbed noses, our faces so close his was out of focus. Not for the first time I was aware that if you looked at Patrick and Cathie together, it’d be a tough guess that they were brother and sister.

  They were redheads, but hers was a bright copper and his was a deep auburn, so dark it was black cherry rather than red. He towered over pretty much everyone, especially his little sister, and was muscular where she was small and slim (baking gave him an unreal physique … flour and sugar and butter in big enough quantities are quite heavy, and cupcake pans aren’t featherlight, either).

  Then there was the ten-year age gap between them, but I wasn’t getting into that now. It had … unpleasant associations for them. Not for me, though. I was fine.

  I looked into Patrick’s out-of-focus face and thought it was a perfect moment, even with the approaching car engine in the background. “I should have told you I want to sleep in the kitchen and fry eggs in the bedroom.”

  “Yeah, that sounds e
xactly like what you think goes on in bedrooms, dumbass.”

  Patrick’s arms involuntarily tightened so much I groaned and gasped for breath. We all glanced over at the car that had swung into the


  driveway behind the moving van. My partner, George Pinkman, waved a cheerful greeting, by which I mean he flipped all of us off. With both hands, so he was in an especially good mood.

  “What’s that doing here?” Patrick asked, mouth going thin with surprised distaste; he would have been happier to see a worm crawl out of his watermelon salad.

  (Weird, right? Watermelon was a fruit. And not a fake fruit like a tomato, which tasted like a veggie but called itself a fruit: watermelon was a fruit. But Patrick treated it like a vegetable, slipping it into salads with salt and pepper and oil and vinegar.… Not all the crazies, I can tell you, are in therapy.)

  Pearl sensed the tension, darted off the sidewalk, stress-pooped in the frozen grass, then turned tail and darted into the house. She was a stress-pooper and a stealth-pooper, but she was learning fast and, given all that she’d adapted to in a short time, keeping our patience wasn’t too much of a trick.

  Besides, George occasionally brought about the same impulse in me.

  I knew why he was here, but I decided to let George be the bad guy; he was so good at it. There was only one reason he’d show up on his day off, on my day off, on Moving Day, and it wasn’t to drop off a housewarming plant. Unless he’d peed in it first.

  But he still wouldn’t swing by on his day off. He’d swing by on the way to work, tossing the peed-on plant from his ugly car and laughing like a crazy man as it smashed on our sidewalk and sprayed dirt everywhere. Yes, that was George Pinkman’s idea of a housewarming gift.

  “God,” he said, clambering out of his awful, awful, awful Smart Pure coupe (in festive Jordan-almond green). “It looks like Martha Stewart threw up here. Just barfed, and some cutthroat real estate agent came along and put up a FOR SALE sign in the middle of it until you idiots bought it.” His burning green gaze settled on me, which was awful. “Got a dead guy, Cadence. Time to swap out your granny panties for big-girl ones.”