I splayed out on my couch in my most sensual pose and waited for my knight in shining armour.
“Hello?” he knocked on the door, and I heard his footsteps on the hardwood floor. I closed my eyes and puckered my lips. He chuckled.
“Shelly?” And I realised this wasn’t Sam. Sam never called me Shelly. He called me Sweetie. Always. He had done that from the beginning. Trying to unfold my inebriated body from my couch, I landed flat on the floor. Ouch. Strong hands grabbed me under my armpits and tried pulling me up. But getting my feet under my body was a challenge. We wrestled to gain control, and both slipped. A male body was on top of me.
Through blurry eyes, I recognised a familiar face that I couldn’t quite place. He scrambled off me, and I blew my hair out of my face.
“You alright?” He reached out his hand, and I grabbed it. With a groan, we both landed on the couch.
“Have we met?” I slurred.
“Not face to face, no.”
“Fuck. No way. You are Matt. How did you get here?” I pushed his shoulder and giggled.
“I thought we should meet and I came over. Hi, I am Matt.”
“You should’ve called.”
“And ruin the surprise? No way. You would have told me not to come.”
“I am dreadful.” I tried to hide my head in shame. I didn’t even want to imagine how I looked.
I must have passed out because I woke up in my bed with a very fuzzy mouth.
“Sleeping beauty,” I frowned and wiped the drool out of the corner of my mouth, trying to find out where that voice was coming from. My hair was clogging my sight, and I was noisily swallowing past the cotton in my mouth. And then it hit me.
“Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck” I sat up too quickly and felt dizzy at once.
“Good morning to you too,” Matt chuckled with his gravelly morning voice.
“I’m Shelly. Nice to meet you,” I stuck out one hand and covered my face with the other.
“You said that. Last night. A couple of times. I’m Matt. Still Matt.” He took my hand and laughed out loud.
“I need to go to work,” I realised and panicked. I jumped out of bed, horrified to feel that I was only wearing a shirt.
“Relax, it’s Sunday.” Matt was still grinning. His chest was bare.
“Right. Right.” I groaned and flopped back on the mattress. “Usually I am not such a mess. I simply overdid it last night. I am really sorry.”
“No worries, Shelly. Tell you what, I’ll raid your fridge for some breakfast and you go and take a shower.”
“I am disgusting, I’m sorry.”
“Stop apologising. You are amazing. And stunning.” I snorted, but Matt kissed my temple and left the bedroom. I stared at his naked back.
I looked at myself in the mirror and blushed with embarrassment. My eyes were puffy, my hair was sticking in every direction, and I was practically naked. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and released it again. At least I hadn’t slept with Matt. I took a quick shower; I didn’t want to let him alone in my home for too long. Dressed in a tank top and loose pants, I joined Matt in the kitchen.
“Nice hat,” he pointed at the turban on my head with a smirk. I scrambled to get it off and took the mug Matt was holding out to me.
“I didn’t know how you’d take your coffee…”
“Black is okay.” Matt fit right into my kitchen. In my life too?
Matt still wasn’t wearing a shirt, and his jeans hugged his ass. He was soft around the middle, but an attractive man nonetheless. I kept staring and storing every inch of him away until he cleared his throat.
“I swear I am not a psycho!” I took a sip of my coffee. It was delicious. “And saying that doesn’t make me any less creepy. Urgh…!” Matt chuckled again.
“I like you a lot, Shelly. So… any plans for the day?” I hadn’t thought that far ahead. And why was he so relaxed while I was freaking out?
“Let’s take the bus.”
“The bus?” I wondered out loud. “To where?”
“To wherever it leads.” Matt shrugged, and I was sold.
I gave Matt one of Sam’s old shirts. Yes, I had moved three of Sam’s shirt with me. But now I was glad I had done that because Matt’s shirt wasn’t ready to be worn. After having cleaned my kitchen together, we left my apartment. I turned to look at Matt while we were walking down the street. He didn’t notice.
“So… what happened last night?” He didn’t look at me when he asked his question. I shrugged
“I wish I had something great to say, but honestly, I just got carried away and forgot to stop drinking on time.”
“Good, I like your honesty. I would hate to know that this was a regular situation?”
“No. It’s not. I am not an alcoholic.” I felt offended, at the same time, I felt also cared for.
Matt’s hand slipped into mine naturally.
“Is this a date?” I asked, knowing full well how lame it sounded and how unimportant it was. Matt shrugged and pulled me into one of those tourist’s buses. We climbed the stairs and found a spot. The sun was shining down on us, there were some clouds, but they weren’t looking threatening. Talking with Matt was easy. We had many things in common. There weren’t any awkward silences, but lots of laughter and banter.
“What happened with your wife?” I breached more delicate territory.
“The usual. We fell out of love. She found someone else, made me feel like shit and as if it was my fault. Took Eddie, my house, my money, everything, and left.” I was sorry I had asked, and I apologised.
“Tell me about that other guy. Dan?”
“Sam. He broke up with me and gets in touch once in a while. Like, he expects me to drop everything to have phone sex with him? Stuff like that.” I admitted and began fidgeting with the straps of my bag.
“Do you do it? The phone thing?” I blushed, I guess that was answer enough. Matt chuckled.
“Really? How does that even work? I am a writer, inspire me,” he taunted me.
“I can’t. I mean, what do you want to know?” I would not talk dirty with Matt face to face. Not while we were on the bus.
A light drizzle made Matt and me move closer together.
“It’s just a shower, it will be over soon,” I claimed, and at that moment the drizzle turned into a downpour that soaked us to the bone. We hurried down the stairs to find shelter inside the bus, but it was too late, we were dripping.
“Let’s go have a coffee.” On the next stop, we got off the bus. I wanted to run, but Matt caught my hand and slowed me down until we came to a halt. The scene was absurd, yet utterly romantic. Like out of a movie. Matt’s hands were in my hair, my hands played with the hair at the nape of his neck. His lips came closer and closer until they touched mine.
An electrical surge went through me, and I moaned into Matt’s mouth. I felt his lips turn up into a smile. Instead of going for coffee, we headed back to Matt’s place. To change into dry clothes. That was the lie we both told ourselves. We knew what would happen once we were alone inside the confines of his home. And we didn’t waste time and wrestled each other out of the sticky wet fabrics that clung to our skin.
“You are stunning,” Matt told me in between kisses and while he was pulling my shirt over my head. My entire body reacted to him. His touch made me feel things Sam never made me feel. And he weaved a blanket of kisses across my naked body. When we were united at the core of our beings, I couldn’t believe the wave of emotions I was feeling. He was shaped perfectly for me. I came many times that night.
Lying in Matt’s arms, playing with his chest hair, I felt like home. I felt safe and understood. His fingers were running up and down my arm, and we didn’t talk. I was listening to his heartbeat instead. We had a moment in a perfect bubble. Until the door to Matt’s apartment flew open and a female voice called out his name. Our bubble burst.
“Shit,” he cursed disentangling himself from me in a hurry.
“Daddy!” The bedroom door flew open, and an excited kid came running in. I had barely enough time to cover myself. Behind the kid, a tall woman was shooting daggers at me. If looks could kill, I would have dropped dead.
“Wait outside, Tiger. I’ll be there in a minute.” Matt forced a smile into his voice.
“I’m sorry Shelly.”
“Yeah… no… it’s okay.” I didn’t bother to try and find my underwear. I just ran.
I felt humiliated. And I didn’t care if he had lied and the woman was his wife, or if she was his ex. The situation was embarrassing. And his poor son. Such a bubbly child. And he had found his dad naked in bed with another woman. Tears of anger streamed down my face as I made my way back home. I could have called a taxi, or taken the bus. But the crisp air after the rain felt good. People were looking at me sideways. I was a mess. Since I was not paying attention where I was going, I wasn’t all too surprised when I collided with someone else.
“Sweetie? Are you okay? What happened?” Sam. I sank into his arms and was reduced to a bawling mess.
“Breathe Sweetie,” Sam ordered. I looked up at him. My eyes were pleading for him to love me; to protect me. “I’ll take you home.”
“I moved,” I informed him between sobs. Sam pushed me in his car, and we drove off. To my surprise, he didn’t drive me home (I hadn’t provided him with my new address), and we didn’t drive to his place. He stopped at a hotel.
“Neutral ground.” And it made sense.
While he checked us in, I waited in the lobby, watching him. I felt cold inside. My heart was racing, but there was no passionate fire inside of me. Not for him.
Sam ushered me to the elevators, and within minutes he opened the door to a luxurious suite.
I turned to him, speechless and out of breath. He had never done anything like this before.
“Sam,” I swooned.
“Let me take care of you, Sweetie. I will run you a bath.” It sounded amazing. I really needed a bath. I felt sticky, and Matt was still clinging to my skin.
“Thank you,” was all I could say to Sam. My Sam. He was back for me. I shrugged out of my jacket and put it over the back of a chair. I hugged myself tightly to keep the pieces of myself together. Then, I followed Sam to the bathroom.
Sam stepped closer to me. I inhaled deeply. I had missed him so much. I ran my hands through his hair and down his face. He was real. My saviour. Wordlessly, he began undressing me. There weren’t many clothes. Just a shirt and jeans.
“No underwear? Kinky.” He smiled his devious smile. Sam didn’t waste time. Already he was kissing my breasts and fondling my pussy. The cold and hollow feeling didn’t leave. I wanted to feel different. I tried to enjoy Sam’s hands touching me, but I didn’t. It was pretense. I had to feel ecstatic after having missed him for so long. Right? Why didn’t I?
I let Sam go through the motions.
“You were with another man,” he stopping kissing my body and pushed me away.
“We are not a couple,” I tried to say, but Sam looked at me with disgust.
“After everything, I did for you. You slut!” Sam yelled at me, and my tears just rolled down my cheeks silently. I didn’t want to cry.
“You broke me into pieces. You push and pull at me. You broke up with me. Not the other way around.” While yelling back at Sam, I got dressed for the third time that day.
“You love me. And you know it. You can’t leave,” Sam crossed his arms over his chest and smirked. “You are nothing without me.”
“Well, then I think I prefer to be nothing. Goodbye Sam. And thank you. Thank you for putting my feet back down on the ground.” I said it calmly, collected my bag and was on my way out.
“God knows, your feet must have been stuck in the air a lot these days.” He couldn’t let me go without a final shove. I didn’t slam the door. I didn’t yell or scream. I just walked out. In the lobby of the hotel, I realized what just happened. I called a taxi and drove home. To my sanctuary. Once inside I ran straight to the bathroom. All my emotions were vomited into the toilet bowl.
On Monday I went to work as a shadow of myself. Sam hadn’t gotten in touch, and I was grateful for that. Matt, on the other hand, had tried to call and left several voice messages. I didn’t feel brave enough to listen to them. At noon, my boss asked to talk to me.
“You didn’t have any days off this year so far. It’s time, Shelly. Take two weeks, sort whatever it is that is bugging you and come back with your usual smile. Please? You are scaring the parents.” Weakly, I tried to protest and said that I didn’t need a vacation, but I knew that Cora was right. I signed the papers for my leave and went to say goodbye to my colleagues. I was hugged that day. And they didn’t spare their pitiful looks when I left the building.
Left on my own devices for two weeks, I didn’t know what to do with myself and with my time. I fell into a lazy routine of sleeping, Netflix, and ordering takeout. Outside it was raining again. And I hadn’t changed my sheets. Even after a week, they still smelled like Matt. Determined, I got out of bed and began cleaning my mess. I even changed the bedsheets. After a day of physical activity, I already felt better. I went to the bathroom and ran myself a bath. A vision of Sam doing the same pulled at the edges of my thoughts. But I didn’t let it in. Sam was the past. Once and for all.
To be continued…