this is the third and final part to this story, i hope you liked it!
Anna was going to stay with me for a month, but that month turned into two. Then three. Now the new year was approaching, and she had not left yet. I did not care, of course, as I was madly in love with her, but the doubt had consumed me. Was she a roommate? Friend? Lover? More?
The time to have “the talk” was that first week, after she blew me twice. But we did not. She blew me a few more times, and I ate her out, and yet we never really discussed the details of our relationship. Anna did not seem to mind – she clearly did not want it defined – and I pretended not to as well, though it killed me.
Then the window closed. She met Clive at a swap meet in early November. They went on a date. Then two. Then three. Soon she was no longer sleeping in my bed, and we were certainly not fooling around. She did not even come home a few nights a week. Fucking Clive.
We’d still hang out, and she’d say things like, “God, you’re such a great guy. You deserve to meet someone.” It killed me. I DID deserve it, she was right. And I had met her. Unfortunately, she had met Clive. Fucking Clive.
By December she was talking about finalizing the divorce from her husband and finding her own place in the new year. She was very clear that she felt like she was a burden to me, and that she “owed it to me” to get out. I was JUST as clear that I didn’t care. But I knew it wasn’t really about me. It was about her. And fucking Clive.
I felt like I had a shot at Christmas. Clive was going to his parent’s home in Colorado. Anna was driving to meet him on Dec. 26, but she had no plans for Christmas day. I blew my own parents off and pretended I, too, had nothing to do. I suggested we stay in and drink wine and watch TV. She agreed.
I knew the gift I got her was important. I mean, just getting her a present was not enough. I needed a statement. There’s a difference between a friend gift and a lover gift. I wanted to get her a lover gift. I wanted a fucking message to be sent in big, bold, capital, thank-the-baby-Jesus letters. No doubt. No confusion.
I got her a pair of diamond earrings. It was the kind of thing she’d never get herself. I wrote a speech, too. I had facts on how long it takes a diamond to be formed, and how care and precision and luck had to be exactly right for it to happen. It was a miracle, really. And just as miraculous, I segued, was how much she meant to me. I explained that I had loved her for most of my life, and I wanted to show her how special she was. I had this memorized and tucked in my pocket, in case I stumbled. It was my moment. I didn’t want it to go wrong.
BBBBUUUTTTTT … just in case, you know, I got a safety gift: Warm socks.
So on Christmas day, we were finished with bottle two. She got that happy-kid grin on her face and said she had gotten me a present. I told her I had gotten her one, too. She asked if I wanted it now. I said yes. She smiled big and popped up and ran in her room. She was giddy. I grabbed her two gifts and put them behind my back, under the cushion, almost certain I would give her the lover gift, BBBBUUUTTTT … just in case, I put the socks back there, too.
Five minutes later, she came back to the living room, tears streaking down her face. Clive had hidden a little wrapped box in her nightstand. She had just found it. It was a pair of lovely diamond earrings. She glided around the room, calling him on her cell to tell him how much she loved them. I swallowed my tongue. FUCKING CLIVE.
I opened my gift: A $40 gift card to GameStop. I gave her the socks. I had lost the fight, the battle and the war.
I had very specific plans for New Year’s Eve: I was going to drink heavily. This is how heavily: I went to the liquor store and bought a fifth of vodka. As I was about to check out, I looked at the 70-proof bottle of cheap hooch and though, “Hmm, is this enough?” I bought two. And I don’t even drink vodka.
I really wanted to black out before Ryan Seacrest showed his fucking tanned face on the screen. Clive looked a bit like Seacrest. Blonde hair. Highlights. Short. Perfect smile. Extremely nice and polite and charming and funny. He had always been sweet to me. A real gentleman, actually. I hated that guy.
I poured myself a large glass of liquid poison. When I say I am not a vodka guy, I mean that. I never drank it straight. It smelled like rubbing alcohol. Still, I had a destructive streak that was pointing right at my liver and stomach. I tried to ignore the smell and took a big gulp.
My esophagus was still burning when my cell rang. It was 8:03 p.m. I thought about ignoring it, but I glanced at the caller ID. Anna.
“Is this a bad time?” she asked. She sounded distant.
“No. Why? You OK?”
“Um …” her voice cracked. I could tell she was choking back tears. “I, uh. Are you home? Are you out?”
“I’m home. What’s up Anna?”
“Could you … pick me up? I mean, I hate to ask. It’s just. Clive he, uh … we had a fight. You know? I just need to get home and I left my debit card at home and I can’t get a cab and I don’t have anyone …”
“No, shh. Look, it’s cool. Where are you? I will leave now.”
Anna did not talk much on the way home, just a few thank yous. By the time we got back to the apartment, it was a little after 10. She looked stunning, even with her makeup running down her cheeks. Her tight green dress hugged her curves. I felt underdressed, what with my jeans and a t-shirt.
She went back to her room, only to reemerge a little before 12. Her hair was up, makeup off. She wore her cow PJs and a tight T. I wanted to kiss her. It was the outfit she wore the second night we were together.
She sat down beside me on the couch. She had a wine glass in her hand and motioned toward my bottle of vodka, which I had not touched since we had gotten back. “May I?”
She filled her glass up and sank back, her feet curled under her. Her eyes were red, but she was no longer crying.
“Do you want to talk?” I asked.
“No,” she said. “Yes. Maybe. God. You probably think I’m such a fucking idiot.”
“No. No I don’t. I won’t.”
“First my husband, now Clive. I must have a special attraction to assholes.”
“What did he do?”
“It turns out he wasn’t visiting his parents in Colorado over the weekend … but his wife. She called when he was in the bathroom, and I picked up his cell. She was as surprised to found out about me as I was to found out about her.”
“Wow,” I said.
“Yeah, well. Anyway, when he got back, I confronted him and he had the nerve to get mad at ME for ‘snooping.’ He left me there at the club. No money. No ride. Fucking Clive.”
She slipped slowly at her drink, grimacing with every swallow.
“And the thing is … I KNEW it. I knew he was a lying snake. I sensed it. I tried to block it out. There was just something so … fake about him. I don’t know. Something phony. God.”
“He looked like Ryan Seacrest.”
Anna looked at me. Sort of stared. Then a snort. Then a full laugh. I started laughing, too. She spilt a little of her drink on herself and laughed more. We were both doubled over.
“God,” she said, wiping the tears away. “You are right. I was dating Ryan Seacrest! I am such an idiot. Jesus.”
“Anna, you are being too hard on yourself …”
“I mean it. Look, you WANT to love someone. You want to so badly that you ignore the bad things. There are worse qualities.”
“Like NOT wanting love. Like being closed off. Like giving up on hope and destiny and all that other fairy tale stuff. Listen, you should never be ashamed about your desire to be happy and to want the best in others. We live in a cynical world. We need more ‘you,’ less ‘them.’”
She smiled and curled up beside me, resting her head on my shoulder. “You are a good friend,” she said. My heart sank. I was such a sucker. It was five till midnight.
We watched Time Square on TV in silence, Anna taking the occasional sip from her wine glass. Her head stayed on my shoulder. We watched the countdown, the happy faces screaming and yelling. When the clock ticked one second, Anna turned and gently grabbed my head, kissing me, tenderly. I had kissed her before, but nothing was like this. It was sweet and gentle and packed with meaning. For me.
She pulled away and bit her lip, her hand caressing my cheek. She put down her wine glass and started to move, straddling me.
“No,” I said, jumping up and hopping across the room. “No. No.”
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“You can’t do that.”
“It’s not fair.”
“What? Kiss you? I thought you liked that? We’re friends. It’s OK …”
“FUCK Anna. We are NOT friends. We’re not. I mean, we are. But … you HAVE to know I love you, right? I mean, you are a smart girl. You are fucking brilliant. You KNOW I love you. I’ve never said it, but you know. You know!”
“Don’t say it, Anna. Don’t say we’re friends. I can’t take it.”
Tears were in her eyes again. I couldn’t look at her. I felt myself welling up. “But we are.”
“Why, Anna? Why Clive and all the others but not me? Huh? Why not me? You want someone to love you and treat you right and be there for you? It’s me. It has always been ME.”
Anna took another sip of her vodka, running her hand through her hair and pinning it back. I looked at her, briefly. I could not sustain a gaze. I was embarrassed at my emotions. I was afraid I had changed everything.
“I know you love me,” she said. “I’m not blind.”
“Then why? Huh? Why not me? Why not us?”
“I can’t …”
“Fuck, Anna. You can. You owe me an explanation.”
“You have never been afraid to say what you feel. Don’t start now.”
“I guess I was afraid that if I lost you, then I would have no one left. And I am selfish. OK? I am the asshole.”
I moved to her, sinking on the couch. I folded my hands across my chest.
“Anna, you ARE going to lose me. I am not doing this anymore. I need you in my life, but I can’t sit back and watch you date guy after guy. Marry them. Then come to me with your problems. I can’t. I know I can be the man for you. I know I can give you what you want. And I can’t sit back and watch this parade of losers. I can’t be your safety net.”
I covered my eyes with my hand, rubbing them. I had not cried since Tommy Craig punched me in the nose in eighth grade. I brushed the hair back, off my forehead. It felt heavy in the room.
“I am sorry to do this tonight, Anna.”
“I could’ve waited.”
“Don’t apologize. I should.”
Anna reached out, taking my hand again. She pulled it to her chest, against her heart. I turned to look at her. “Kiss me,” she said. “Kiss me. Let’s figure the rest out later. I promise. I want this. Please?”
I swallowed hard. Anna was a fixer. She hated pain in people. I wasn’t sure if this was real or her way of healing a wound. But I was weak. I leaned in and kissed her.
I have had sex lots, but I am not sure I had ever made love to someone. I had never connected with someone on a primal level. But I did with Anna that night. It was gentle and raw and emotional. On my couch. As Ryan Seacrest spoke in the background.
I stripped her clothes off and gazed at her, drinking her in. She gently stroked my cock as I wrapped her legs around me. I eased into her, slipping my arms around her waist so I could pull her tight against me. It was the first time I had been completely inside of her. I tried to make the moment last.
Our bodies responded to each other. When she thrusted, I pumped. When I pumped, she squeezed. Her lips never left mine. I could taste the salt from her tears on her lips. Her tongue was aggressive but soothing. When she came, she sank her nails into my back and kissed me hard. She said my name and I froze inside of her, fucking her gently as she rose and fell.
I was closed. I asked her where she wanted me to cum. She said inside of her. She said she was on the pill. I looked at her as I got close, pulling my head back so I could see her eyes. She stared back. We connected. I smiled slightly. So did she. A grin of recognition. I kissed her as I came, my cock exploding into the abyss of happiness and contentment.
Afterwards, we lay on my couch, wrapped in a blanket. Her legs wrapped around mine, her head on my chest and her fingers playfully running through my hair.
“I think this changes everything,” she said, looking up at me.
“I am OK with that,” I said, still not fully able to look at her. “Are you?”
She smiled. “Yes,” she said.
“And I’m sorry,” she said, a few seconds later.
“I was selfish. I was a bad friend.”
I smiled, my mind raced. I squeezed her and pulled her tight. “It’s OK,” I said.