I opened the bathroom door, steam from my shower swarming around me, and there he was in my living room, plugging his phone charger into the wall and taking off his coat like he’d never left. He looked different somehow in the mere week since I’d seen him; for some reason the sight of him shocked me, though I’d been trying to get him to come get his stuff for weeks.
“See, I told you I had time to shower,” I told him, wrapping my hair up in a towel to dry.
“Whatever.” He tossed his bag on the ground and slumped onto the couch, propping his feet up. I rolled my eyes, tossing my dirty clothes and towels into the ever-growing pile that was taking up half of my bed at this point. “So how are things?” He asked me.
I flopped onto the far end of the couch, folding my feet underneath me and wrapping my arms around my knees. I shrugged. “Oh, you know,” was my answer.
My cat meowed plaintively, trying to worm her way onto his lap, but he shoved her away without batting an eye. “No, actually, I don’t. That’s why I asked.”
I tried to look at him, then decided against it. “I’m fine, I guess.” This answer wasn’t much better, but I didn’t think he really wanted to know how I was doing. Even if I’d told him, “actually, I’ve been quite suicidal lately, thanks for asking,” he wouldn’t have believed me. What I actually said was, “so what’s up with you?”
“I’m tired,” he said. “I had two tests today, one in micro and one in macro.”
I made a face. “That sounds terrible.”
“Yeah, I hope I did okay. I’ll be happy if I get a B.”
“What?! I didn’t think you were capable of getting less than an A!”
He ignored my half-hearted sarcasm. “Have you ever even taken an economics course?”
I shook my head.
“Then you have no idea, English major.”
I felt like we’d come full circle, back to my useless liberal arts degree. Any second now he’d be making some sexist comment just to get a rise out of me.
“Anyway, where’s my stuff?”
I sighed. “In my room. Now that I’m sitting I really don’t wanna move.”
“Fine, I will.” He started for my room like he owned the place, my cat following him eagerly.
“Get the fuck out of my room!” I mock-shouted. It wasn’t like he hadn’t seen it in worse shape, thrown items of clothing and condom wrappers on the floor plenty of times.
“Where is it?” He asked, scanning the disheveled clothing practically dripping off the shelves I used in place of a closet.
“What, you don’t see my organization I’ve got going on here?” I reached under a couple shirts and pulled out a stack of his running clothes, which I threw at him.
He collapsed on my bed. “I’m so goddamn tired. I didn’t even go running today.”
I sat down on the other end of the bed, tucking my feet under me again. I realized I had no idea how to be around him anymore and felt the familiar tightening of sadness in my chest again.
“I can’t believe you interrupted my nap.” I let my body fall over and curled a pillow under my head.
“I took a nap before I came over.”
I whacked him playfully on the arm. “I hate you.”
“No you don’t.”
I rolled on my side and watched cautiously. “I couldn’t if I tried,” I said honestly.
He rolled to face me, and I let myself look into his eyes, one blue-green and the other more brownish hazel, and it was as if nothing had changed. He slowly reached an arm out and pulled my body into his. I buried my face in his chest, breathing him in, relishing this small moment of being close to him, but he pulled my face up to his and met his lips to mine.
I hadn’t known it would happen, but then again I hadn’t really done anything to prevent it. When our lips met it was as if nothing had changed at all. No matter what—how many times made me feel like the last possible priority, the way he totally invalidated my feelings, no matter how mad I got at him—I still wanted him. I knew he would never give me what I deserved, but I couldn’t mistake the signs that my body craved him. I didn’t have the self-will to resist as his hands moved all over me, removing my clothes, coddling and caressing as he knew exactly how to do until I was where he wanted me: butt-naked, sprawled and waiting for him to slip inside and take me for his own.
I lay on top of him after he finished and struggled to find some sort of feeling, something to grab onto, but all I felt was—empty. It had felt good, obviously, but I didn’t really feel any closer to him, and I wasn’t even bothered when he shoved me off of him to throw on his clothes again. I laid there, basking in my own nakedness, waiting for my body to cool down and the chill to set in.
“Alright, I’m out.” He stood above me, coat on, bag over his shoulder.
“Don’t I get a kiss goodbye?” The words slipped out of me like habit, although I was tired of asking him for things he didn’t want to give me.
He leaned over, met his lips with mine again. I pulled him in, searching for something, anything.