*This will be the final chapter posted here…at least for a while. Again, I welcome any and all feedback.*
My roommate Gina found out about the stolen weed and was pissed at me for almost the whole day. Eventually, when she got bored, she came in my room and said we had to use our salon gift cards because they only give you thirty days to use them. “How old did you say he was?”
I didn’t answer until we were on the road a few minutes later. “I didn’t say, actually.”
“Stace…come on! Your first boyfriend since Thad? That was like, a lifetime ago.”
“Ninth grade wasn’t a lifetime ago,” I said. But she was right.
I have to know every—”
“I’m just…he’s not my boyfriend. Just this guy I hang out with after work.”
“Girl, every night your phone is blowin’ up with texts from ‘B’.”
I really hate it that she looks at my phone while I’m asleep or in the shower. I stacked up my school stuff and dropped it on the floor. I knew going with her would only contain a minimal amount of pleasure, but I also knew I could not not go.
We were getting birthday manis–gifts from our moms. A tradition. Being born on the same day in the same hospital meant–to our mothers at first–that we were sisters in another life. I love Gina to death, but since we started living together, she’s been a little too cozy in my personal business. I go out of my way to steer clear of her boy drama. She doesn’t even realize that I never ask her about the guys who’ve been over. I’ve just rolled with it and waited for her to say something. That has yet to happen.
“If I tell you, will you please drop it for now?”
She didn’t even take the time to close the magazine she held before tossing it over her head onto a shelf of ancient issues Shape and Good Housekeeping.
“Hoe stih pwease,” said the woman working on Gina’s feet. The woman’s head never looked up from her work.
I cleared my throat. “He’s twenty-eight.”
Her eyes exploded open and I could tell her brain was overloading with simple mathematics.
“Yeah,” I said. “Now please let me just rest my head and enjoy the pleasurable service these fine women offer.”
“Okay, okay…that’s fair.” She hummed. It reminded me of what my little cousins did when they had unopened birthday- or Christmas presents in their laps.
I closed my eyes, and I think I counted to nine this time.
“You know my dad is only thirty-nine?”
I didn’t, but I didn’t bite. Just mmmed.
“Have you two…?”
“Aww, Gina, come on!”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
My girl tapped my foot to indicate its removal from the buzzing warm water.
“Your fren, she no listen well, no?”
“No, Kim,” I said, then coyly looked at my oldest girlfriend. “She doesn’t.”
* * * * *
Geoff is tired of me. It’s obvious. He’s up all night, pretending to fall asleep until I actually do. I’m sure he gets up and either goes to his computer or just leaves. Once I swear I heard him pull out of the drive at around two. I’ve heard of these guys who just start watching porn or find some secluded spot to go whack off somewhere. Kinda fucked up, but I’m too embarrassed to confront him.
So, when I saw Bill McKenzie at the gas station this morning and buying one of those ridiculous energy drinks, I had this sort of plan. Geoff may have actually fucked someone else, but I don’t know for sure. I decided I was going to just believe that he did. After a few pleasant How-have-you-been seconds, I told Bill that day that Geoff and I were separated.
He hadn’t heard about the reunion this Saturday. I thought he was just kidding at first. I told him it was all over Facebook, but he said he doesn’t really look at that much. I told him he can still go–it’s not like anyone needs an invitation. He told me he’d think about it in the way most people say it when they have no intention of doing the thing being supposedly thought about.
He paid for his and told the girl that he was getting whatever I had in my hands too. “For old times’ sake,” he joked. I was flattered. And embarrassed, frankly. I had a Mountain Dew and a half dozen donuts in my hand, but none of it was for me, really. I thought it would be stupid to try to explain. But there was no need. I must have looked as awkward as I felt as he paid for my stuff because when he turned, he looked at me fully in the eye. He had only done that once at prom ten years earlier and it was just before the final slow dance when he asked me to the floor. I held about four thousand calories in my hands, but I was turned on by his eyes.
Thus, while my husband was at the “office”, I suggested we meet for drinks later. He said something about good timing and that I’d caught him on his day off. That didn’t last long after I slid my hand up his thigh at the bar while ordering two drinks, mind you. I wore the same perfume I’d worn for the prom and borrowed a low-cut shirt from my sister without her knowing.
What you or anyone may struggle with is that I did all of that, from the moment I saw Bill that terrible morning, to save my marriage.
Bill is not in a good place. It’s like it resonates off his face. He was shaved, but he looked incredibly uncomfortable. Men may never understand how important it is to at least look the part. Women read body language way more than men think we do. He cleaned up for our impromptu date, I gotta give him that. He didn’t seem to care that I wanted Chinese delivery either (Geoff hates it). Since my husband had said that he was going to help some guys at the office with this project that was set for a presentation the following day, I knew it was a lie but I worked it out. Bill has never been known to be very perceptive, but I thought I should at least shove a bunch of Geoff’s stuff in a closet to give the impression I was living alone. I had my doubts that he’d sleep with me under the true circumstances of my marriage.
He got a little sloppy with his liquor too. He told me a little about what he’s been doing since school. He wondered if I had ever planned to have kids. It was important for me to avoid getting too emotional with him, even though we had something of a past. An after-prom fuck is not what a lot of people consider a history, but it was ours. Nothing ever really matured after that. Just awkward sightings in the halls and some classes. I was sure I’d meet better guys at college, so I stopped trying to get a boyfriend in high school long before prom. But, I wanted to go and I wanted to have fun. We saw each other in passing a few times on campus that first semester, but after that I don’t remember much from him. At prom, Bill was a good date, but a pretty lousy lay. Probably his first time, but he never said so. I don’t have any sort of savior value or anything. I just knew that he was probably not as interested in starting a relationship with me.
If he hadn’t been buying a Monster yesterday morning, I might have just banged the clerk instead.
We had a good time. Not great, but good. While he was in the bar restroom, I texted Geoff to tell him I was having a girls night and would be staying over at Lindsey’s. He only replied with “ok” which made me sad but a little horny. Bill came out and I kinda wanted to pounce on him then and there—not because he all of a sudden looked like Matthew McConaughey or anything; rather, I was super pissed at my husband for preferring to jerk off in his cold Celica and not onto my breasts.
“Let’s get outta here,” I said. He’d just ordered a beer, but I took a huge chug then pointed to it for him to finish.
“Sounds great,” I told him.
That’s when I mentioned Chinese. He just nodded and said he hadn’t had it in a while.
So, I brought him back, we talked a little more and slurped lo mein right out of the boxes. The TV was on, but I wasn’t watching. He played with my hair and I scooted closer. It was a lot like the prom night but with a bigger general space. And light. I made no move to turn off the ceiling fan or lights and he kept a baseball hat on until he realized how often the bill was hitting me in the forehead.
This is all before the weirdest part of the night. After we were done on the bed, he like instantly crashed. That’s not news. I turned on a movie, but he fell asleep. I think, with the condom still on. Anyway, about ten minutes into his doze, he began muttering something.
Geoff always talks in his sleep, but it’s about work and stupid shit like the price of Nike tennis shoes. Once he had a conversation with me but he performed both parts. That was about a vacuum cleaner. This night, however, Bill was saying some shit that didn’t make any sense. First, he was saying Alison, Alison. Go home. It’s past your bedtime. Then, he said something about his parents were fighting again and making it hard to play by himself. Some really of weird shit, right? I just rolled him over a bit because that always gets Geoff to shut up. It worked. He was still snoozing when I snuck out. I had to get up for work.