Switching up on me. That’s what I wanted to say. But if I did, I knew he’d play dumb—just like he always did. So I let it go, and moved on to saucing the pizza. At least with that, I knew exactly what I was getting. Unlike him, and this wishy-washy stuff he’s been on lately.
Especially this past week.
Take the other day, for example.
We were in bed, at the hotel, and like mid stroke, he asked what I was doing when I missed his call earlier, and why it took so long to call him back. That part wasn’t new, though—he’s always in my business, especially when he thinks I’m too compromised to deny him access—so I said, “You’re not my boyfriend, Amir.” Like I always do, but then he stopped, and in this tone that was almost offended-like, he said, “So that’s how you feel?” And it threw me off because that part was new. So I said the first thing that came to mind which was, “Is that not how you feel?” But then he got all quiet in his I-don’t-want-to-answer-your-question way—and went back to stroking like we weren’t in the middle of a conversation that he started!
And I would’ve let that go had this been his standard flavor of nosiness, but this was different, part of his new MO where he baits me into these conversations that question what we are, then backs down whenever it’s time to elaborate on what he means.
This whole thing was just… annoying and frustrating, and I just wanted him to say it—what he meant or at least how he felt— ‘cause I had a feeling… that whatever it is… it’s the same thing I’ve been feeling too.
So later that night, when he texted, asking if I was thinking about him, I made another still-not-my-boyfriend comment to see if he’d get the hint. And when his response was a request to take me out again, I thought it worked, and if I gave him the chance, he would finally say something real, but clearly I was wrong.
I grabbed two handfuls of cheese and dumped them on the pizza, followed by those tomatoes he’d finally finished slicing.
At least he did one thing right tonight.
He watched as I tossed them around, letting them fall where they wanted, regardless of where, the floor included. When I grabbed the chicken pieces and sent them flying in a similar fashion, he took the bowl from me.
“You keep this up.” He chuckled a little. “Somebody’s gonna end up with chicken and cheese and shit in their hair.”
Nobody asked for your commentary.
The chef’s assistant clapped his hands, instructing everyone to head over to the baking station. I wasn’t done topping the pizza yet, though, so I tried to get the bowl back, but he kept it away from me, adding on to his ever-growing list of tonight’s infractions— No, make that this week’s infractions.
I hate him so much.
He must’ve caught wind of my annoyance because his trademarked smirk was gone, and his tone was kind of serious—kind of like a person who wanted to have a real conversation, but I knew better than that.
But I did want my bowl back and he knew it. So the more I reached for it, the further he pushed it away.
“Camilla, look.” He followed my movements, trying to trick me into making eye contact with him.
Nope. Not falling for that again.
“What?” I kept my eyes on the bowl, reaching past him to grab it.
He blocked my attempt with his arm. “Keep doing what?”
I slapped it away, damn near at my wits’ end with his cryptic ass questions and this childish ass hand game. “What are you talking about?”
He paused, and while he thought about, whatever he was thinking about, I made another grab for the bowl, but this time, he got a hold of my hands, and within the span of like five milliseconds, I made the mistake of looking up, and got caught right in his trap.
Stay strong, Camilla…
With our eyes locked, and the backs of my hands being traced by his fingertips, my body turned into a breeding ground for goose bumps.
Stay strong, Camilla…
And as his smirk returned, my whole reason for being mad slipped away from me at an alarming rate.
Once our fingers interlocked, he rose our hands to his mouth. “A minute ago, you said I keep doing something.” And painted slow brushstrokes with his lips against the back of mine; his gaze, never wavering. “What I’m doing?”
He knew exactly what he was doing—the looks, the hand-holding, the thing with his lips—making me feel stuff that at one time, only made me take my clothes off, but lately’s, been making me feel… different, you know, like how it feels coming off a roller coaster when you’re lightheaded, and your stomach’s all upside down, and it’s weird, but you kind of want more of it?
And it was working.
‘Cause I kind of wanted more of it, but that would require something he refused to do.
So, I snatched my hands away, breaking eye contact, so he couldn’t distract me with his stupid, sexy demon powers anymore. The pizza would survive with minimal toppings.
The class was encouraged to mingle while the oven timers kept track of our pizzas. Amir and I started out like most of the other ‘couples’, in the middle of the floor, engaged in conversations we had no real interest in. But because of that last stunt he pulled, I slipped away when he wasn’t looking, trying to keep us apart until I figured out what to do—without his interference.
When he realized I was gone, which didn’t take long, by the way, he tried to get back to me, but this one, rather thirsty woman, cornered him against the wall, forcing him to endure her shameless ass flirting instead.
Didn’t she come here with someone?
The way she was in his face, smiling, twirling her hair—I couldn’t stop my eyes from rolling.
At least I got what I wanted, though, space from him to think…
With me… on one side of the room… and him… on another… with her…
Is that what I wanted, though?
A flashback of him playing dodgeball with my questions gave me the answer I needed.
It is. It is what I wanted.
But watching her over there—all in his personal space, with her hand on her chest; her obnoxious ass laugh assaulting my eardrums—made it hard to concentrate on anything else.
Wait… is he really stuck over there or… does he want to be over there?
And just when I thought her behavior couldn’t get any more desperate, it did—but fortunately, a text came through, giving me a much-needed break from the gagfest taking place in front of me.
I looked down at my phone, swiping to my messages to reveal the identity of my savior.
Oh, it’s just Salim.
Oh, it’s just Salim? When did he become just Salim?
Our calls, our hangouts, were like the highlight of my days. The fun we have together is something I always look forward to. Our talks, our back-and-forths, our friendship… our friendship…
I guess we really were just friends… ‘Cause if he wanted more, he would’ve said something by now… right? It’s not like he hasn’t had the chance. I mean, we have lunch together, nearly every day, and we talk just as often; that one morning we had breakfast at that fusion place, he could’ve said something then too, but he didn’t, so maybe he’s good with things being this way… And I guess… that means… I’m good with it too.
The rest of the night’s events took place in the dining room. The soft candlelight, food, and fresh cut roses placed in each of the private booths were textbook elements of a romantic dinner—but I wasn’t feeling none of it.
So I ate my food in silence; counting down the minutes until this thing was over, and I could go home and away from him.
I’m guessing my cold shoulder was too much for him because just five minutes in, he said, “Why you being so quiet with me?”
Why I’m being so quiet with you?
It took everything for me not to recount each and every smile, wink, and giggle he stood over there soaking up from Miss Desperation, but I didn’t.
I just gave him a taste of my own brand of selective memory instead. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
But because he’s Amir, instead of taking my denial for what it was, he took it as an invitation to slide up in my seat. “Ahh, so you’re not talking to me then?”
Once again, trying to work his magic to get himself out of trouble.
Definitely not falling for that again.
So I moved over, recreating the distance I intentionally put between us. “Why do you care?” I asked, looking as far away from him as the small seating space allowed. “Don’t you have someone else you rather be talking t—”
I didn’t mean to say that. Not out loud. And definitely not to him. The last thing I needed was him thinking I was jealous— ‘cause I wasn’t. For real. I didn’t even care that he was talking to her. It was just… principle, ‘cause we came together and— I wasn’t jealous, okay?
But the damage was done already, as made evident by his stupid ass grin.
He slid back into my seat, this time with an arm resting on my side of the booth; his eyes roaming over my face, examining it, like it was the headliner of one of those exotic exhibits at the zoo. “So this what you look like when you’re jealous, huh?”
See, this is exactly what I was trying to avoid!
“No!” I gave him one hard shove for even allowing that thought to cross his mind.
He rubbed the spot on his chest where my fist left its mark, laughing victoriously— No, maniacally, like he was winning some devious game, one where the objective was to get a rise out of me… in more ways than one.
I hate him so fucking much.
Before I could react, his arm dropped, and in one swift move, he pulled me closer—the closest I could possibly get.
“You wanna know what we was talking ‘bout?” he whispered in my ear; the mere notion of his mouth being that close to me, sending tingles racing down my spine.
How is it that even when I’m pissed at him, he STILL has this effect on me?
I tugged at his arm, pushing and pulling, trying not to fall victim to another one of his spells.
“No?” I replied to his stupid question.
But struggling only made his grip tighten.
And encouraged him to make his next move even bolder than his last.
So I gave up. Temporarily. Which I’m sure is exactly what he wanted.
Giving up wasn’t the same as giving in, though—not in this case—but with his lips trailing slowly down my neck, and his hands in places I should’ve been too mad to want them, it was getting real hard to tell the difference.
Damn… I am falling for this again.
He traveled back up to my ear, whispering against it, the soft air that accompanied his words, setting off tiny batches of fireworks that started somewhere in my belly, but ended up where his fingers were. “So you don’t wanna hear what she said ‘bout this girl I’ve been kinda seeing?”
This girl he’s been kinda seeing? Yeah, okay.
I suppressed the moan that was fighting to escape long enough to play along. “What did she say?”
“I told her I be thinking ‘bout her all the time,” he said. “So she said I should tell her.”
Sounds like “she” knows what she’s talking about.
My eyes fluttered shut as my head titled back, giving him more access. “Why don’t you?”
He took advantage of it, sending his tongue on its own exploratory mission, braking only to answer my question. “‘Cause I don’t know if she feels the same way.”
“But what if she does?” I said, way quicker than I’d like to admit.
He laughed a little. I guess he noticed it too.
“That’s what she said.” He paused again. “So I told her we have all these things between us like, rules and shit that keep people apart.”
Okay, horny or not, I could see where this was going.
My eyes popped open and my head titled forward, just as he was making his way back up, putting us face-to-face. “And what did she say about that?”
“She said I should ask her to let me take her home.”
Let him take me home? Like, to my apartment where I live? I don’t—
He kissed me.
Before I could really analyze that thought, or weigh the pros and cons, his lips were on mine, and my hands were in his hair, and my legs were trembling, and— I really wanted to go home.
I backed away, just a little. “But what if her roommate’s home?”
He smiled in that sneaky way he does. “She told me to make sure I’m quiet.”
If you enjoyed this episode of Camilla – Vol One: Impulse, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next one!