Waking up this morning was so… odd… like, my head was full, overflowing really, with everything from thoughts to questions, and maybe even regrets about last night. The things I was thinking mixed with the stuff I was feeling was… a lot and hitting me all at once, making them hard to ignore and even harder to sleep through.
Not this again…
The last time my streak of peaceful slumber got torpedoed like this was a few months ago, after ‘the break-up’, when I was only getting three hours a night—if I was lucky. According to the SimTube videos I binged at the time, what I was going through was something like grief or mourning or whatever, but not having the answers I wanted hit me harder than any of that. Those stressed-out-borderline-depressed-zombie days were some of the worst I’ve ever experienced, and if I wanted to steer clear of them—even for a day—I needed to get the answer to the question that was keeping me up.
So I rolled over, facing the other side of the bed, and with one short-lived jolt of adrenaline coursing through me, tapped Amir to wake him up. But, when his arm twitched and his eyelids did that pre-wake up fluttery thing, the courage that sent my fingers traipsing across his pillow abandoned me, and I did the same to my plan.
By the time he was fully awake, I was lying back down, eye squeezed tight as hell, like I had been there, sleeping the entire time.
I kept up this façade until I heard him leave the bed, his footsteps heading toward the door—the door where Pandora was most likely lurking on the other side, waiting for me to come out.
With the terrifying image of him running into her and her blatant disrespect for personal space dominating my mind, I crawled across the bed, quickly—maybe more like frantically. “Wait!” Trying to stop him before he did something I couldn’t undo. “Where are you going?”
He paused, turning around, slowly. “To the bathroom?” he said, his expression, suspicious, like my panicky response to him leaving the room was over-the-top or something.
“You can’t.” I scurried past him, replacing the chair that was barricading the door with my body. “Not till my roommate leaves.”
Watching me physically block his exit must’ve been weird for him because he said, “I can’t pee… till… your roommate leaves?”
Well, when you say it like that…
“No,” I said. “But it won’t take her long. She’s never late. Ever.” Then motioned toward the bed. “So just… relax or something. It won’t be that long.”
Once he was back on the other side of the room, I cracked the door just enough to assess the situation. She wasn’t in the hall like I thought, but the rustling sounds in the living room let me know she was out there, somewhere, and knowing her, ready to attack at any given moment.
Not today, Pandora.
I eased the door closed and placed the chair back under the knob, just in case she tried to invite herself in again.
I really need to get that lock, especially for when I have company.
Speaking of which…
Over on the bed, he was sitting, watching me, probably full of questions just like I was. The context of these questions was different, I’m sure, but his face made it clear he had some things he wanted to say. This moment was perfect for that conversation—the one I wanted to have earlier—but as soon as I got close to him, I chickened out again.
I don’t know why this was so hard, or why I couldn’t just ask him how he felt about me. I know if he had been anyone else—except Salim, that’s different—we would’ve settled this the other day when he started with the ‘boyfriend talk’, but things are just so— he’s just so… hard to figure out sometimes.
I mean, he’s calculating, for sure; always plotting things, trying to make them go his way. Even with last night, him making the move he did—getting me to bring him home—that meant he knew what outcome he was getting. So if being here, in my apartment, in my bed, wasn’t enough to convince him to say something—anything about us, I guess I wasn’t sure if what he wanted was the same thing I did.
He stretched an arm out toward me. “Tell me why we’re hiding from your roommate again.”
And with my hand in his, I followed his lead. “We’re not hiding,” I said, sliding down on his lap. “We’re just… making sure she doesn’t see us.”
He chuckled in a that-doesn’t-make-sense kind of way. “That’s not the same thing?”
“Nope.” I shook my head, ignoring the skepticism on his face. “Completely different.”
“So what’s gonna happen if she does know?”
Aside from all the assumptions she’ll make and the fifty-thousand questions she’ll ask to confirm said assumptions?
“She’ll know there’s a half-naked Amir in my bed.”
He grinned like a teenaged boy detailing the events of a night alone with his girlfriend. “Well, you didn’t hold the headboard like I told you to, so I’m sure she knows there’s a half-naked somebody in here.”
“Shut up.” I slapped his arm, fighting back the smile that was trying to escape, his stupid little joke getting the best of me. “You’re always on some unnecessary commentary.”
“Unnecessary commentary?” His eyebrow rose as he squeezed me tight, his hands going from an innocent hug to a full-blown attack on my sides!
No! Please not the tickling! I can’t handle the tickling!
I fell over on the bed, screeching so loud I just knew Pandora was on her way with a pot and paper plate ready to demolish my attacker.
His fingers followed me, expanding their torture to my legs and thighs. “You still think it’s unnecessary?” He demanded an answer, his laughs just as loud as mine.
I wanted to say no ‘cause he’s always using his… tactics to get me to say what he wants, but if I laughed any harder, I risked my insides bursting.
And I couldn’t have my insides bursting.
So I surrendered.
“Okay! Okaaay!” I said with my hands up, painful giggles making me curl up underneath him. “I take it back! I’m sorry! Okay?”
He smiled at my defeat. “Yeah, that’s what I thought.”
His fingers weren’t moving anymore, but he was still over me, his triumphant smile fading away. There was something on his mind; I could tell by the way his eyes wandered, almost as if his thoughts were written across the bed, and he was reading them for clarity.
He looked at me, finally, his fingers wrapping themselves around mine. “So we done wi—”
But whatever he was about to say was interrupted by a predictable. ass. knock. at the door.
Pandora. Right on time as usual.
“Camilla?” She pounded on the door, concern all in her voice. “Is everything okay? I thought I heard something.”
She didn’t wait for my answer, of course, that would’ve be too much to expect of Pandora, instead, she did exactly what I thought she would, and jiggled the doorknob, demanding a response like she was my mom or something. “Is somebody in there? I wanna meet him!”
And that’s why there’s a chair under the knob.
I placed a finger to Amir’s lips, reminding him to stay quiet. “I’m fine,” I said, swallowing my annoyance. “I was just…”
Losing my train of thought ‘cause his tongue was sliding slowly down that finger that was supposed to keep him quiet, and I was about to—
“What?” She rattled the knob again, the intensity a little more aggressive than before. “You were just what?”
“Watching a video!” I shouted the first thing that came to mind, shoving him for distracting me.
“Oh, a video?” she said, her tone, weirdly intrigued. “What’s it about? Can I see?” The doorknob jiggled some more. “I think something’s wrong with your door. Do you want me to call the landlord?”
Are you fucking serious?
“Nothing’s wrong with the door, Pandora,” I said through gritted teeth. “I’m getting dressed. I’ll be out in a minute.”
She let go of the knob. “Okay…” And after a few seconds of what I could only assume was contemplation, backed away from the door, her super heavy footsteps echoing down the hall.
I took my hand off Amir’s mouth, revealing the smile that had been there since his finger-licking stunt.
At least one of us finds her amusing.
He lifted up, sitting next to me on the bed. “So that’s why you tryna keep us secret, huh?”
That’s one reason, but the other—not knowing exactly how to introduce him to her nosy ass—had a lot more influence over that decision, and it had nothing to do with her opinion.
I wasn’t going to say that to him though, so I just agreed with what he said.
He nodded like he understood where I was coming from. Maybe he had his own crazy roommate to deal with too?
“Alright, then next time we’ll go to my spot.”
Wait— next time?
“Next time meaning… what?”
I asked, but I was pretty sure ‘next time’ meant our standard hookups, until he said, “When we go out, where we stay at afterwards. We done with hotels and shit, alright?”
We’re done with hotels?
Now, I knew there was a question mark somewhere in that sentence, but the way he said it sounded more like a statement than a request. And even though it seemed like we were right on the cusp of that conversation I wanted to have, I couldn’t have him thinking he could tell me what to do—not without a fight anyway—so naturally, I said, “Says who?”
Feelings and stuff could wait.
I was fully prepared for him to pin me down and do whatever until I agreed to this new arrangement, but he didn’t. Instead, he pulled me up, springing my body forward, putting us face-to-face.
The sudden change of position, combined with the way he was holding my arm, and looking me in the eyes, had me nervous—but not the jump-out-of-your-skin kind of nervous—more like the one that makes your heart beat fast and your breaths kind of shallow ‘cause even though you don’t know what to expect, you’re excited to find out? That kind.
He lifted my chin, and after staring me down for what felt like forever, he said, “Unless we out of town, I’m not meeting my girl in no hotel room, alright?”
Okay… so… his delivery wasn’t it, but I think it’s safe to say he answered my question.
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