Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Promise Me You Won’t Feel Bad About This



At this point, there was no way of avoiding that after morning pill Frank gave me. As soon as I got home, even before taking a shower, I popped it in my mouth.

In the back of my mind, I thought this might create a two day window for me to have more, potentially unprotected sex.

In LA, I was an STD-ophobe . . . here I was throwing caution to the wind because I knew there may never be another time in my life where I had so much sexual opportunity. Now, a woman always has a great deal of sexual opportunity. If I wanted to have sex right now, I could find it within a 2 mile radius of where ever I happen to be. The difference in France was having access to the the kind of sexual opportunity I really wanted- intelligent, attractive, tall men, who made me feel like a Princess. I wasn’t degraded, criticized or belittled. I wasn’t played opposite my female friends or plopped in a game of cat and mouse.
I was wanted. And I wanted them.



As the festival was winding down, I knew I should crack down and try to see some films. It was too comfortable working my hours at the office and then roaming along the seaside for the rest of the day. Dozing by the pool while one of my students kicked water on my body with his foot. I was drifting around in a dream and, now, didn’t want to miss an opportunity.

Everyone was trying to see the film premiering for the day. On this day it was “Mud” starring Matthew McConaughey.



Someone said, “We are going to go see MUD, do you want come?”

Me, “Eh, nahhh, I am not that interested.”

I was lukewarm on seeing a Southern drama . . . until Aldrich came in. He stormed in and approached our French liaison for tickets in the far corner.

I was in the middle of a conversation with someone and just completely dropped my spot in the conversation.

Me, “I’m sorry. I see my French suitor.”

All the women knew my suitors. In fact, my Israeli suitor was trying to butter me up over afternoon coffee the last few days. He was cute . . . but something about Aldrich drew me in. He was young, so I trusted him more. I also felt that he was the perfect consolidation of everything I loved about France; attractive, temperamental, passionate and extremely patriotic.

I got up and approached him. He turned and smiled at me. We had been texting and weren’t able to meet up. In my heart, I knew I wanted to save him for last, for my final goodbye to Cannes.

Aldrich held up two tickets, “Do . . . you want to go . . . to see movie?”

Without a thought, “Yes.”

I turned to the woman sharing the shift with me, “Can you cover me for a couple hours?”

She said, “Don’t worry about it” in that way where she was slightly exacerbated but we both knew she would have been there for a couple hours anyway. I never had anyone cover for me,  the men, especially, were unapologetic about covered shifts. Women apologize too much.

So I followed Aldrich to his friend, a dark-black young man, around his age. They were both well dressed.

Aldrich, “You . . . have ticket?”

I said, “Oh no …”

Aldrich, “I got this for . . . my friend.”

I said, “That's ok, I will go in the rush line.”

There I waited until all the ticket holders were awarded entry, and then climbed the red carpet to sit alone and watch a well done, forgettable “independent” film starring two Hollywood stars. Blah blah blah- it ended.

I walked out to find them, and they warmly greeted me. Aldrich was handsome. The tuxedo was a perfect fit but still looked too big for him.



We compared notes on parties for the evening and parted ways with the promise to meet later. I went back to work.

When my shift was done, I was exhausted.

There was a party at a place called ‘The Cannes Film Club’. Rumor had it, the bar was open and there was a cool jazz band there.

I thought I would get a crepe (since I was full out cheating on my veganism at this point), get a cider and swing by the Club to check it out and go home to sleep. I had no idea what was waiting for me there.



The Cannes Film Club was on the corner, one block north of the Palais theatre. You may pass it without knowing, the only indication it is somewhere worth noting is the lonely, red carpet running alongside the entrance.

Roche told me he put me on the list. There was no list but I still got attitude from the woman guarding the door. She mentioned that the picture on my Cannes pass was better looking than who I appeared to be in person.

I said, “The magic of photoshop.” Bitch.

I was wearing a red vintage sundress that tied behind my neck. White flowers were hand embroidered throughout the bodice and skirt. It was a real find.

Walking in, there was a very small bar on the lower level to the right. All wood interior with beer on draft. The few people there weren’t terribly inviting, so I walked up a narrow, spiral staircase to an upper level. The first thing I noticed was an open room bar. I ordered a Stella, which I thought was the only free beverage at the time. Later, I discovered everything was free.

The decor was Cuban 1960s. I only say that because I watched ‘The Rum Diary’ on the flight in. The bartenders weren’t terribly friendly, so I texted Aldrich. He was in a “very important meeting” and would be running late to meet me.

So I took a seat on a vintage red couch opposite a lime green chair.  In the chair was an older, British gentleman who seemed, by all subtle indications, to be queer. He was accompanied by two young American men who also appeared to be queer, but hadn’t figured it out yet.



They went on and on about their $10,000 yacht, their movie (I’ve never heard of), selling to several different properties and all their connections. They spoke so fast, I was exhausted after my first beer and immediately needed another.

I also tried to break up the monotony of their “We are so Great” speech with periodic texts to Aldrich.
A girl came in to distract them long enough that I was able to excuse myself to go into the jazz room and see the three piece band play.



They were reforming pop songs into jazz.
http://youtu.be/Fw159QZaghg

Roche was there and stumbling over with a drink. I guess that other kidney didn’t really ever have a chance.
He turned to me and slobbered, “I am wasted.”

It was hard to dance there, it was crowded and the room was a little bigger than a walk-in closet. There was also no ventilation, so just walking in made you sweat through your clothes. A couple girls danced, but I couldn’t even stand without knocking into one of the two very small cocktail tables on either side of the room.

The band took an intermission and a Rolling Stones song came on the house speakers. The piano player was drinking water, with his hat pushed up over his brow. He heard me singing along and then lazily played the notes.

I expressed my . . . God, what's the word? Child-like enthusiasm? Dare I say, jubilation? I clapped and jumped up and down. He kicked back his piano bench, sat down and played it over the music. The drummer chimed in. I had to dance, and knock over the glasses of wine on that wobbly little cocktail table, and trip over a few strangers’ feet.

The bass player came in and smiled at me.

When they started their next set, people flooded in and I had to step out to breathe.

I squeezed out and saw, on the other side of the open bar, there was a wall of bookshelves. One end was ajar . . . it was a secret room.

With my hand spilling whatever I was drinking at the moment, I walked over and let myself in. There were elegantly dressed people standing around. The room was decorated to the period, with a cotswold sofa, coat stand and self-serve cocktail bar.

I looked to the stranger next to me and said, “What is this place?”

He shrugged his shoulders.

Roche came in, for a large man, he was floundering. No one wanted to stand too close for fear that he would collapse on them.

Roche, “There is another room next door, come look.”

I followed him to the other side of the wall, the bookcase was now ajar on that end too. I squeezed in and found myself in an office. There was a desk with an old typewriter. Pages were stacked on the side, all reading “All work and no play makes Max a dull boy”. One page was left in the typewriter, unfinished with a few lines . . . “All work and no play makes Max a dull boy”.



Next to it, an olive green rotary phone. On the back wall behind the desk, a wall of nine old television sets, all in black and white. Each screen projected a different security camera, strategically hidden in different rooms of the entire building.



In the office was a bald, German fellow with black, dark rim glasses. He was watching us play at his desk, with the lamp casting a thick shadow off his glasses and over his eyebrows.

As people fiddled with the phone, he said, “No no no . . . “ in a thick German accent. “That is not how you use a rotary phone. You get on it,” he seated himself at the desk and role played a conversation very convincingly. He went through an entire scene all by himself:


http://youtu.be/Fw159QZaghg


Then said, “Here you look at the phone (he looked at the phone) and then you hang it up. (He furiously hung up the phone) Now, you try.”

One by one, the strangers in the room all took turns on the phone. Each in a different accent, with a different role play, but all ending on the look to the phone and the hang up.

(Please see http://igotfiredsoibecameanactress.com/ for videos that actually upload and embed properly)

I turned to Max in the corner, “What is this?”

Max, “This is my office.”

Me, “Who are you?”

Max, “I am Max.”

Me, “What?”

Roche had come back around and said, “I want to leave, this Max guy is freaking me out.”

I said, “But I want to stay.”

Max, “Ok, everyone must leave now. Bye bye. Everyone out of my office, except for this young lady.” He held my arm, so I wouldn’t be swept out with the others.

Roche was reluctant, and needed physical pushing to be thrust out the door. Max pushed and shoved on the door, until Roche’s arm and nose were no longer visible.

Max coolly straightened out his jacket, and walked towards me, “Now, please take a seat.”

I sat down in the chair opposite his desk.

Max circled around and sat down at his desk, easing his chair forward, he folded his hands. “Now, why have you come here to see me today?”

Oh, we were going to play?

Me, “I have come to audition.”

Max, “Ah. Yes. To audition. Do you know what it takes to be a star?”

I was wide eyed and smiling, but shook my head.

Max, “A lot of women want to be stars, but there is a secret. Do you know the secret, [my name]?”

I don’t know how he knew my name, I must have told him.

In the midst of interjecting my own theories on movie stars, he cut me off and stood up, shoving the chair backward with his legs.

Max, “Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe, Jean Harlow, they are all stars because of one deciding factor. (He walked over to me) People can not pick the star. Only the camera can pick the star. The camera decides, not the person. So, [my name], the question is, does the camera think you are a star?”

He flipped a switch. In one brief flicker, all nine screens behind his desk turned from their various, voyeuristic eyes on the customers outside and turned to me. I was on all nine screens.

Max put his hand on my exposed shoulder, “Yes . . . yes, I do think the camera has chosen you to be a star.”
He swiveled my chair around and leaned into me, delivering an intense monologue. I wish for the life of me I could remember what it was about, all I could do was stare into his eyes. They were baby blue, and just the corner of his left eye was growing moist with his delivery.

Who was this guy? What the fuck was going on?

I was impressed he was rolling with all of this on his own and I couldn’t stop smiling at him, despite the commitment to his performance.

He circled around to the front of the desk, facing me. As he leaned back,  I propped my feet up on top of his desk. His hand fell down the calf of my leg and started massaging.  Had I shaved that morning? I think I did.


Max stepped forward and said, “We have to open the door now.”

Standing up, I said, “Why?”

Max, “We can’t stay here. I have to let everyone in.”

I stepped closer, “Why?”

The top of my leg sloped through my dress and I could feel his erection.

I smiled. Slowly, he smiled.

Then he said, “I have to open the door.”

He walked away and cracked open the door.

I took his glasses off, got myself another drink and walked into the jazz room. Roche was there, even more drunk now. If he turned too quickly, I was compelled to shout “Timber!”

Roche saw me, smiled, grabbed my face and kissed me. Fuck. I knew this was going to happen.

I gave him a polite kiss back, but put my hands out and stopped him. I smiled but shook my head. He gave another false start, stopped then walked away.

Max came up behind me, slyly smiled and took his glasses back.

He said, “I can’t see without these.”

I said, “But they aren’t real glasses.”

He put his finger to his lips to seal the secret and walked away.

Sulking, I retreated to the other hidden room and sat on the couch next to a man that looked like Colin Firth. He was very attractive, but my attention, for the moment, was on Max.



Colin, “Did you see next door?” He had a British accent to complement the look. Darcy #2, how nice.

I nodded, “Yes. Have you seen it?”

Colin, “No, but my wife is in there.”

I felt betrayed. Max brought another woman into the room.

Over my drink, I muttered, “It’s a role play.”

His wife slinked into the room. She was gorgeous, mocha brown with a silver, white tightly wound dress, as if draped and wrapped by Roman servants.

She leaned over her husband, “That was fun.”

I said, “Did he role play with you?”

She nodded, “Yes. He even shed a tear.”

What . . . the . . . fuck?

Me, “He didn’t shed a tear with me?”

She solemnly nodded, “He is very good.”

Me, “I know. I felt his erection. Did you?”

She said, “I felt something there.”

I puffed out some cheap wine, and stormed back into the office.

New people littered the office, and I sat down in a corner chair by the window. Through the pane, I could see right down the street, level with the restaurant signs and street lights. What a beautiful view.

A shorter man, about the age of 30 came in, blonde hair in a school boy cut; wavy on top and kept short around his ears.

In a British accent, he said, “Everyone must leave now. Max is gone for the day.”

Drunk, I said, “I am not leaving until I speak with Max. I did not get a tear in my role play, and I demand to know why.”

The young man smiled and knelt to meet me at eye level, “Hello, I am Max’s assistant (and with French emphasis) Lawrence. I am here at your service. Can I get you some tequila?”

I said, “You may.”

He poured tequila in a brandy glass and served it to me from the cabinet by his side. He was attractive for being shorter than me.

As he handed me the glass, I said, “You have freckles. I love freckles.”

He smiled.

I said, “What is this place?”

Lawrence, “I will explain everything if you wait right here. We have to close down the club.”

I nodded obediently as I finished the tequila. My cough was still present. Here I was going to have an early evening, and now I was sipping tequila in the middle of the night in a sundress.

The club closed out, and Lawrence escorted me to the outside club, where Max, Colin and his wife waited.
Max’s German accent disintegrated into a British one and he said, “Would you like to go to another party? Its on top of a hotel just around the corner.”

I said, “Yes, but what IS this place?”

Max took my arm, “We are paid actors, from the UK. They had us come down for the festival and role play with the customers.”

I said, “Just the women.”

Max said, “No actually. Most of the time the men.”

I didn’t believe him.

The five of us walked around the wet street corner and stood in line outside a tall, white hotel. Max and Lawrence settled some debate with the doorman before we were allowed in, ahead of everyone else.

We divided up into elevators that rose to the roof, and found a long clean bar and an inside dining room. On the other side of the bar was a very small dance floor, a DJ and an outside patio that curved sharply into an L. All the tables were filled and a long, skinny pool divided the patio. The water was flowing over the glass but not spilling onto the floor.



I had asked Max if he had a girlfriend. He nodded.

Curling my lip, I said, “Oh.”

Max shrugged and said, “Well . . . yeah.”

I turned to Lawrence, “Do you have a girlfriend?”

He gave a nod and a polite bow, “Yes.”

“Oh”, I said. Sip. “Oh well.”

They escorted me to the bar, where there was a punch bowl of something delicious, red and intoxicating. Max went outside to explore with the couple, while Lawrence kept me upright.



I should state here I was already way over my limit. I hadn’t slept nearly enough, even my memory of the hotel was foggy. I was stumbling, slurring a bit and aware that other people noticed.

As Lawrence waited for my drink, he touched my arm.

I said, “Oh, I love your freckles.”

He laughed, “You do?”

I said, “Yes, I am a fool for freckles. Look at all those . . . “

Studying his face, the blonde melanin spotting around his nose and eyes, like yellow spikelets along the tips of wheat ribbons. His eyes followed mine as they grew into a smile. Catching someone’s glance, he put his hand up over his head and stepped away.

He said, “We should go find Max.”

I said, “You saw someone who knows your girlfriend.”

He gave a nod. “Both of our girlfriends.”

Outside, I leaned up against the fountain, brushing my hand against the thin wall of magic water. Max stood next to me. He was handsome too. Bald, but soft features that exhibited youth and intelligence. He was sophisticated.

A man from the restaurant came in and grabbed my arm, “I hear you are having a bad time, so we have to go, sweetheart.”

I said, “I am not having a bad time. I just got here.”

The man said, “Someone said a girl in a red dress was having a bad time.”

Max, “Well, it wasn’t her.”

The man apologized and left.

I said, “That was weird.”

Max turned and leaned over, “Quite.”

I said, “So are you serious with this girlfriend or . . .”

He laughed, and said again, “Quite.”

I splashed the water, “What a waste.”

He said, “Don’t think about it. Enjoy yourself.”

Parts of my memory get really spotty here.

I remember trying to dance, and getting the Wife in the Silver Dress to dance but she was reluctant. The music was good, it was throwback vintage and no one was dancing.  She sat with Max at a table across from the fountain, and eye balled me a little bit.

My dancing can be bizarre.

I threw water from the magic fountain in my hair and on my dress as I got too warm for the night.
Max cast a look of disapproval to Mrs. Silver and I stopped immediately and tried to leave.

Lawrence stopped me at the bar, asking what was wrong and I explained that though I was very drunk, I was still hyper aware of disapproving looks from Max. Needless to say, I was jealous that the other girl stole most of his attention.

Lawrence calmed me down, “He does that. Its a bad habit. We have been working on it. It doesn’t mean what you think.” He cooed and stroked me, a wave of blonde hair falling over his face.

Then . . . I remember being back outside with a glass of punch and simply dropping it on the table. It shattered to pieces. Max said, “Did you do that?”

I said, “I am afraid so.”

Next thing I remember, is dancing with Mrs. Silver to Whitney Houston. We were the only ones on the dance floor and so excited with the vinyl collection that we approached the DJ, who simply put his hand up to shush us away.



I walked away, Mrs. Silver took a little longer in persuading. Her husband, Colin, kind of danced, rather swayed back and forth behind her. How I started kissing her, I don’t recall. I would never make a move on a woman, really . . . I don’t think I would. Nevertheless, I was pulled into her mouth and we were french kissing to PM Dawn and Boyz II Men.

I have forgotten what great kissers women are. They always seem to get it just right when you take their lead; soft, sensual, strong but not consuming.

Dropping my hands down the side of her dress, I let my fingers linger over the delineation of her figure tracing just the outside of her bosom and hips. When she pulled me in to bury her tongue deeper in my mouth, I grabbed the coat tails of her husband and pulled him into her backside, caressing his hips and hands as we three rhythmically became one spectacle.

Bowing out, occasionally to spin or drink more of whatever was put in my hand, I turned back and saw Mrs. Silver put her hand in the air with a slight shake of the head just before leaning in to kiss her husband. I wasn’t allowed in anymore.

I nodded, danced and then . . .

What do I remember . . .

That’s right, I was in the elevator with Colin. Where was Mrs. Silver? I don’t remember. I only remember making out with him on the way down. I honestly don’t remember where we were, only that kissing him was like disappearing in her.

We were outside now, walking briskly to a mystery club on the roof of the Palais. Rumor had it, you needed a special top hat pin for entrance. No list. No bullshit. Just this pin.

Walking up, I was between Colin and Max.

I said, “You know what really turns me on? Men who talk about Dickens. Talk to me about Charles Dickens in that thick British accent.”

Max, “I quite like Dickens.”

I kept going, oh I did, “I love Woolf. I love Austen. Though I don’t expect men to read them.”

Max, “I have read both.”

I clapped, “You have!”

Colin, “I have, as well. I love Austen.”

Turning to him, I said, “Well you do look like Mr. Darcy.”

He chuckled. I felt both of them pressing in on me as we walked. I really don’t know how in God’s name I was still walking after the week I had, but there I was, at 3am, taunted by the ever-changing rules of the evening.

I said, “I am just bringing up classic British authors because I am sure you are less familiar with American authors like . . . James Baldwin.”

Max, “I love James Baldwin. I enjoyed ‘Go Tell It On the Mountain’ very much.”

I stopped and shook Max's arm, “You love James Baldwin. He is my favorite author.”

Max giggled, “Yes, of course.”

Clumsily weaving my words into a sentence, “No one in the U.S. knows James Baldwin.” This, of course, isn’t true, but I was drunk and suffering for literary company.

We arrived to the club entrance, and I remember we got in. As I was climbing up the steps, I fell in a drunken mess.

Max said, “Oh my, are you alright?”

I said, “Let’s just keep going, so no one notices.”

Always a gentleman, he grabbed my arm and escorted me to the bar. His phone started ringing and he excused himself to take the call. I turned around, and he was gone.

The club on top of the Palais was so crowded, there wasn’t a spot to stand without jamming yourself between bodies. It was an endless field of people from wall to wall. So I walked outside, looking for Max. No sign of him.



The vampires were out, and older men with thin facial hair were pulling me in for kisses. I was moving, kept on moving, walking down the club hallway like a plank on a rocking boat, stopping only to be dazzled by the lights on the dance floor. I tried to dance but the vibe wasn’t capturing me.



So I promised myself I would walk end to end, wall to wall, three times, and if I didn’t find Lawrence, Colin and Mrs. Silver or Max, I would leave.

Once . . .

Twice . . .

Thrice . . . I was turning to get out of there when Lawrence grabbed my arm.
I complained, “Where were you? All these creepy men keep touching me, and I can’t find you or Max anywhere.”

Lawrence sat me down, and said, “We didn’t leave you. Come on, sit down.”

I dutifully tumbled down on my bottom as he handed me another drink. I was trying to hold my head up on whoever’s arm was next to mine. Lawrence took the glass out of my hand and said, “Ok, let’s go.”

Next thing I remember, walking with Lawrence up a street somewhere.

Lawrence, “Would you like to stop and get some fruit?”

Me, “Um . . . no thanks.”

Hills.

Cobble stones.

Roundabouts.

Laughter.

Then, for the first time in Cannes, I entered an empty flat. No parents. No roommates. No landlady.
I took off my shoes and danced through the flat, finding my way into a room with two beds, that appeared to be like hospital beds but without the rails. They were upright, so I laid on them with my feet hanging off as he brought me in another glass of wine.

I said, “This would be great, if I was an old person.”

Lawrence crawled on top of me, and I felt his expensive pants suit brush up my legs as my dress dragged over me. His gold locks fell in my eyes and I felt his hot mouth on me as I leaned backwards, spilling the wine on the night stand.

Periodically he would stop and prop his head up, quiet, “I think Max is home.” They were sharing the flat.
Each time it happened, my chest burst in the hopes that he would join us.

I remember Lawrence entering me and loving him, the way I do. Embracing him, kissing him, inhaling him and feeling every inch of him move further inside of me in a futile attempt to fulfill me. Not futile because it was a casual affair or because I wanted more from him than that moment- futile because the act of sex is entering and withdrawing. No matter how much you love someone, the act of love requires the friction from receding and re-entering. Love can never be about an ever presence, at least in this life we’ve agreed to.
So he made me, and took it away, occasionally stopping to listen for Max before I slipped into darkness without another memory to our physical marriage.

I woke up naked in white bed sheets. Next to me, the wine I spilled was cleaned up and replaced with a tall glass of water.



The sunshine was bright, so my first thought was, “I gotta get the hell out of here.” If it wasn’t orange, pink or blue with dawn, that meant it was later than songbirds and taxi drivers.

I popped up and remembered where I was.

Next to me, Max’s head popped up like a Jack-in-the Box with a big smile on his face.

I said, “What’s going on? I have to get out of here. Where is Lawrence?”

I wrapped the sheets around me and got out of bed.

Max tried quieting me down, “Shhhhh. Don’t wake him.”

I ran out and found another bedroom, where Lawrence was sound asleep. I shout-whispered, “Lawrence!”
He snored soundly and I realized I was overreacting. I don’t know why I was acting so frantically to wake up with the one I fell asleep to.

I returned to Max, who calmed me down, “Don’t worry. We just thought it would be funny to play a joke on you, waking up next to me instead of him, that’s all.”

Me, “What time is it?”

Max, “Nine.”

Me, “Oh my God. It is late.”

I didn’t really have to be anywhere, but I was scared nonetheless.

Max kept calming me, “Don’t worry. Its early.”

I looked at him. His face confessed youth in a way his dark rimmed glasses never admitted to.

We ended up close and Max said, “Just go with it.”

God, help me, how did I get close and how did I know what that meant? I did just go with it. Max and I kissed.

I wanted both of them, and I knew that some part of me had to resist just on moral ground. The truth was no part of me wanted to abstain, and while babbling my neurosis, I disrobed him.

Mumbling, “I am such a slut” I allowed his fingers to caress me, and Max crawled down to my waist and licked me. I had not showered since making love to his friend a few hours prior- but his perfect rhythm took me over and I quickly succumbed to an orgasm.

Moaning, he exhaled a “Shhhhh!”

I don’t know why Max and Lawrence each tried to keep me a secret when it seemed quite obvious I was going to give myself to both of them.

I guided Max inside of me and loved it, but  could sense some hindrance on his part with intercourse- so I dutifully listened to his instruction.

Max, “Give me a hand job, will you?”

He sat on the bed,  against the wall. I leaned into him, our faces a few inches apart, rubbing him and occasionally putting my mouth on it just enough to get it wet and then blowing on it.

Max moaned now, “That feels good.”

I did it one more time and then he looked at me with those cold blue eyes, the same I searched for during the role play, and I fell into them.

He blew me a compliment on half a breath, “You’re pretty.”

I whispered, “So are you.”

And then he came.

I left my hand on it, slowing my stroke down but refusing to withdraw.

He said, “Let go of it now.”

I quickly got up and said, “I am such a slut.”

Jumping in the shower, I sat under the hot water and thought about it all. I didn’t even believe in casual sex a week ago.

Max came in and said, “Now, now. I don’t want you to feel bad about this. I bet I will be the one feeling worse by tomorrow.”

I looked at him, naked, under the water, and I thought about his girlfriend. Then, I said, “Have you been tested for disease?”

He smiled, “Of course. Just a month ago, I am totally clean.”

I nodded slowly, “I was tested recently, too.”

He smiled again, as if he thought the conversation cute.

Stepping out, I got dressed again in my vintage, red and white flowered dress. I really needed to start bringing a change of clothes with me.

All my things were neatly stacked on the couch in the living room the night before. My hair was wet and I put on a little eyeliner to remain a part of the fantasy.

Max, now dressed, restored his sophistication and looked chipper. “Would you like a cup of coffee or maybe some tea?”

What a fucking gentleman.

Me, “Coffee would be lovely.”

Max, “Sugar? Cream?”

Me, “Black. Please.”

I strolled outside on their veranda and looked out at a pristine lawn on a beautiful morning.

Max came out with a cup and sat next to me as I sipped quite a good cup of coffee.

Max said, “You were really eager for both of us last night, do you recall?”

I said, plainly, “You both are very handsome.”

Max, “Do you remember begging for a threesome?”

One more swallow of rich, black steam, “No, but I believe you.”

He laughed.

Then I said, “I did mention I have never had a threesome before, didn’t I?”

He nodded, “You did.”

Me, “… this was close enough.”

I finished my coffee, and put the cup back in the sink. I lingered outside the other bedroom, it felt wrong somehow, not to say goodbye to Lawrence.

Troubled by it, I crumpled my brow and collected my things.

Max walked me to the door and said, “I suppose we will never see each other again.”

I nodded, “You are probably right.”

He kissed my cheek and then held out his hand, “Promise me, you won’t feel bad about this.”

I said, “If you promise you won’t either.”

Max, “Agreed.”

We shook.

And I never felt bad about it since.

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