“Paging Miss Summers. Miss Summers, please proceed to the General Office.”
The bleep of the PA system sent a spark of excitement – or was it relief? – through me. It was the third day of the open house for Junior Colleges, and this was the first time that I’d been beeped to meet with a student or parent.
It was a depressing fact, that – especially when the other teachers seated around you couldn’t get back to their seats for ten minutes before they were paged to be met with again. Thus, you could tell why I’d be excited to be paged to meet with someone who was actually interested enough in the English Language to want to meet with me.
Patting my straight, strawberry-blonde hair in place as I passed a mirror, I quickly descended the stairs from the Staff Room that led to the office. The five-inch heels on my feet clicked loudly as I flung the glass doors open with a flair that was probably too much for a drab day in school.
“Peggy,” I said, slightly breathlessly to the receptionist. “You paged?”
“Yes. Someone wanted to speak to you,” Peggy returned in her sharp, Chinese accent. I followed her nod to someone who was standing in front of the notice boards, her hands shoved deep in her pockets. A student, I thought, dressed in faded, holey jeans and a black shirt. Her hair was short, straight and curled slightly around her neck. Skin the color of milk coffee told me that she was probably Indian or Malay.
I cleared my throat and she turned, her hands still in her pockets. The first thing I noticed about her was her eyebrow ring, something I hadn’t seen on anyone in a long time. And even if I had, I was sure that it wouldn’t look as good on others as it did on her. The gold of it made her dark skin look absolutely stunning, which gave me a good first impression of her. I was always impressed by someone who knew how to make themselves look good. It spoke of their confidence and self-understanding, I suppose.
I extended my hand. “I’m Candy Summers, English Lit and Creative Writing lecturer.”
Her hand was warm in mine when she grasped it. The handshake was strong and confident, not like most people’s, who shook my hand as though they were afraid that they would break the petite little blonde, expat teacher. One point for Miss Eyebrow-piercing.
“Hey, it’s nice to meet you. I’m Alex.”
And with her first words, she earned another point from me; she also made me realize that she was different from the average student. Believe me when I say that not many students in Singapore use ‘Hey’ as part of their daily vocabulary. In fact, I’d almost forgotten that there was such a word after two years of living abroad. Here, most people stuck to ‘Hello’, ‘Hi’ or simply, ‘Wassup, ‘cher.’ Yeah, ‘Hey’ was a rarity indeed. I was starting to like this girl.
“I’m actually,” she continued, reaching into her backpack for her notebook, “interested in the Creative Writing course that the school offers.”
Clear grammar. Good lord, another point.
“Of course, sure. Let’s take a seat and we can discuss it.” I smiled, thinking that this girl in my class would be a godsend. Only I knew how grumpy the students could get when they were posted to an English class only because they hadn’t done well enough to get into their beloved Science and Math classes. Having one student who was actually interested in the subject would be a really nice change.
We sat – with me crossing my legs and her sprawling on the chair in a very guy-like manner, which reminded me of a friend from home. I watched her every movement as she flipped open the very-worn black notebook of hers and started asking me questions pertaining to the course.
I answered each one of them as carefully as possible, my eyes flickering to the eyebrow piercing every one in a while when she raised her eyebrows at something I said. I found that I liked looking at it, although I knew that she would have to take it off if she was enrolled in the school.
After she was all out of questions, I decided to ask her some, just to pick at her brain a little. I wanted to know if she was as good as seemed to be, or if it was just a front she put on.
I un-crossed my legs as she leaned forward to listen to me. As she did so, a slight whiff of her perfume drifted to me… wait, was that perfume or cologne? I shook my head clear of those thoughts.
“As you know, in the class, we’re going to re-visit some of the basic syntax/punctuation rules. Is your foundation of the language strong?” I asked, trying to sound as formal as the informal thoughts running through my head. It wouldn’t do me good to admire a student in that way. Besides, I wasn’t even gay.
“Yeah. Pretty much,” she said with a smile. Well, it wasn’t really a smile. Just a tilting of the corners of her shapely lips. It reminded me of the smiles that Vamps and Werewolves gave their preys before they bit them; the kind of smile that says ‘I’m totally harmless, baby.’ It looked good on her.
“All right, then. Let me ask you a couple of questions,” I said after clearing my throat. Jeez, there was something playing around in there. “At which point do you use a semi-colon instead of a full-stop?”
I still remembered asking that question to the previous batch of students that I’d taught. The responses had been… horrible.
“Hmm,” she said, obviously thinking of how to phrase her words. “I usually just follow my gut on punctuations… but I have to say that I’d use a semi-colon when I have an idea that flows through two sentences. Because if I insert a full-stop between the two, the sentences would appear to have different ideas, when the idea is, in fact, the same. Is that right?”
I was shocked. “Yes. Yeah!” I said around a pretty bright smile. That was exactly right! Wow, I thought. The girl was good for a seventeen year-old. “Where did you learn that?”
She shrugged. “Just picked it up along the way.”
“That’s good. That’s really good.” I was still smiling. The girl held so much potential that if she got into my class, I knew I’d be squeezing every last drop of creativity and imagination from her. I mean, after years of teaching kids who didn’t want to learn, won’t any teacher get excited when she managed to catch someone who actually did want to excel in the subject?
“Can I ask you something?” she said as she put away her notebook.
“Sure,” I retuned, watching the way her loose jeans hugged her thighs as she reached over for her backpack. They were nice thighs; I could tell that they were well-muscled.
“Where do you call home? I can’t place the accent and it’s killing me,” she said, then licked her lips. I had to tell myself to look away.
“Home’s New York,” I replied, “It’s just that I’ve been traveling a lot, and that kind of mangled my accent.”
“Oh. Yeah, that’s cool,” she nodded, rising to her feet. I followed suit, adjusting my skirt as I did so. When I turned to her, I came to realize that even in my heels, I barely reached her chin. Granted, I was only five foot two without the extra height, but she was really tall. Especially for an Asian. Where Asian women were usually my height, she was definitely at least six feet tall.
I took a step back so that I didn’t have to crane my neck too much to look into her eyes.
“I’ve got to get going,” she said, looking at her watch, “I’ve got a couple more schools to check out before the day’s out.”
“Yes, of course,” I said, holding out my hand again. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Alex.” The statement was one from my heart, for it had been a pleasure for me. It wasn’t every day that you found someone who was as crazy about a language as yourself, for I could tell that she was crazy, especially from the way she drawled in perfect grammar and tense. It was darn sexy, even I had to admit.
“It most definitely was,” she said with that perfect smile.
“Do you need help in finding the main road?” I asked when we exited the General Office. I knew how confusing the school compound could be on a first visit, but I hadn’t expected Alex to take me up in my offer for directions. She seemed like the macho I-don’t-need-any-help-from-you kind of person. Obviously, I was wrong in that aspect.
“Yeah. That’ll be nice. Which way’s the bus stop?”
I started to draw a mental map out for her, but decided against the confusing thing. “Aw, hell. Come on. I’ll show you.”
I walked a couple of steps ahead of her, leading her away from the main building. A wind was picking up, and I looked back at her as it blew against us.
I commanded my salivary glands to stop working on overdrive, but it was no use. The sight of Alex’s black shirt plastered to her flat tummy was too sexy for me not to ogle for a few seconds. God, she looked like one of the guys on Baywatch.
Midway through my ogle-fest, I misjudged a step and lost my footing. Being the clutz that I was, coupled with the heels, would’ve sent me sprawling down the excitingly long flight of stairs. But you-know-who just had to be as quick as the suave, hot guys in romance novels, and reach out to steady me.
“Whoa,” she said, a little more loudly than her usual drawl. “Careful there. Those heels weren’t meant for brisk walking.”
I gave her a tight smile, for her hand on my shoulder was unnerving. If I’d been absolutely truthful to myself, I would’ve said her touch had made me hot.
But I wasn’t being truthful.
“Yeah. I’d have to agree with that. Well, um, the main road’s just a hundred meters that way. You can find the bus stop on your left.” I pointed in to the right, feeling my heart-rate accelerating for some unknown reason. OK, I knew the reason. It was because she was standing so close to me again. I took a step back. Was it just me, or was that the second time that I had to do that?
“All right, then. Thank you, Miss Summers,” she replied with a twinkle in her eye. I narrowed my eyes at her retreating back. There had been something wrong with the way she had said my name, like she was being kinky with me, or as though we were in a role-play session. If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought she was hitting on me. But why would she do that?
For obvious reasons, the little voice in my head replied. Because she thinks you’re cute.
Yeah, but I’m also her teacher, and probably at least ten years older than her.
What do you mean, ‘so?’
So, what difference does it make?
It makes a hell of a lot of difference. She’s not even legal, yet!
Yes, she is. Sixteen is the legal age for sex here, and you know it.
No, I don’t.
Yes, you do.
Oh, just shut up.
She didn’t sign up for the course.
That was the first thing that hit me when I looked at the attendance sheet of the new JC1 Creative Writing class that year. No matter how many times I looked through it, the names didn’t change and I clearly didn’t see an Alex on it anywhere. To say that I was disappointed didn’t cut it. Over the past three weeks, I’d looked forward to having her in my class. Not for the fact that I thought she’d hit on me, but for the fact that I knew she was good in English, and I wanted to read what her writing would be like. I’d thought about her frequently, especially when the students in my JC2 classes bored the hell out of me with the calculated, pre-packaged answers from their English text or guide books. Somehow, I knew that Alex would have answers of her own, other than the ones in her textbook.
So, when I didn’t see her on the attendance sheet, I marched into my new class like a cranky old bear, hiding the frown on my face with a plastic smile. The student’s stood as I came in, looking identical in their uniforms. They sat, one by one, as I ticked off their names for attendance. Then, when I came to the final name on my fifteen-name list, I began reading it, just as someone interrupted me.
“You can call me Alex, Miss Summers.”
I started. Damn it! That voice! I didn’t know if I was happy to hear it or not. On one hand, it made my gut tie up into funny knots. But on the other, it meant that I would be having her in my class for the next two years. I decided to look on the positive side. I’d at least have one student who was devoted to the class.
“Alex,” I announced, “I see you made it.”
“Yes, ma’am.” There was just something about the way she said it… was she mocking me?
If anyone should be mocked, I thought, it should be her. The compulsory uniform that she wore looked pretty ridiculous on her, after the jeans and T-shirt I’d seen her in the other day. The red skirt almost made her look girly. It was laughable, especially since she looked darned uncomfortable in her attire.
“All right,” I said, turning away from the class and picking up a marker. It was time to get down to business. “My name is Miss Candy Summers…”
The rest of the class flew right by, especially when I realized that some of the pupils in the class were also genuinely interested in the art of writing creatively. I answered as many questions as possible before the bell rang, noticing that Alex never did raise her hand to ask me a thing. But, I was curious about my students’ abilities, and so, before they left, I handed out an assignment: 800 words on a topic of their choice by next week. A few of them groaned at this, but most of them looked intrigued.
They came forward to grab the instruction sheet as they left, and as I guessed, Alex was the last one. I smiled when I noticed that one side of her skirt was higher than the other, and that her shirt was hanging out partially. She could’ve gotten in trouble for that, but I doubted that she cared, and I wasn’t about to start nagging. I tried to keep the laugh to myself, but as she passed my table, I could’ve sworn she murmured, “It’s not funny.”
But that made it a hell of a lot funnier.
As I’d predicted, Alex turned out to be one of my best students. No, she still didn’t ask many questions in class, but the assignments she handed in were better than most of the short stories that published authors write. The first story I read by her was one entitled, ‘Stranger’. She talked about a man whom she’d just met, and how they were having this very normal conversation. But in the end, there was a twist in the story, and the man she’d been talking to was actually her father. That was the start of a very long list of interesting stories she sent my way. I mean, the other students in class were pretty good as well, but she was outstanding. The eloquent way she used her vocabulary really drew the reader in and played with their minds. That, and the fact that she was the only student who cussed in her assignments. Cussing was all right with me, as long as it furthered the plot. And with her, it definitely did.
I saw her around school almost everyday, hanging out with a group of girls who looked like they had really bad-ass attitudes. There was also this petite, fragile-looking Chinese girl who hung around Alex a lot. And more than once, I’d seen Alex put her arms around the girl. I’d raised my eyebrows at that, but didn’t say anything.
I was so not affected.
It was late one evening, about six months into the school year, when I had some sort of confirmation that Alex was, indeed, gay. I’d just finished meeting with the Arts faculty in the school, and it was really late. Besides that, the meeting room had been freaking cold, and I really had to pee. My briefcase was already in my hand, and I had no reason to walk up to the third floor just to use the staff toilet, so I made my way to the student one on the first floor instead. Teachers didn’t really use student toilets, but I was willing to bet that there weren’t any students in school anymore, so what harm could it do?
At first, I didn’t hear anything, and I thought the whole place was empty since it was nearly six. I clickity clacked into a stall and unzipped the pleated black skirt that hung just above my knees. It was while I was handling business when I heard the ruffling. With a frown, I listened closely to the noise. It was coming from the last stall. Faint rustling of clothes, then a giggle. I rolled my eyes, sighing. College kids. They knew that sexual activities on campus weren’t allowed, but they had to break the rules. Well, I thought – been there, done that.
As I pushed my way out of the stall, the door to the last stall opened and out came the little China-doll that hung around Alex all the time. Her face was flushed and her eyes held a just-fucked twinkle that I really didn’t want to see… especially when I noticed the someone who was standing behind her.
“Alex,” I said, giving her a once-over. There was nothing amiss about her except for the locks of hair standing like spikes on her head. I could just imagine how her normally flaccid hair had become spikey.
“Miss S,” she replied, giving me that lazy smile. She obviously knew that I knew what they’d been doing. And it brought a lick of flame to my cheeks.
“Who’s your friend?” My voice sounded weird, even to myself.
“Oh, this is Mindy, my girlfriend.” It was said without the slightest of hesitation, as though she was proud of the little porcelain doll.
I gritted my teeth.
“Mindy,” I said, grabbing a paper towel to dry my wet hands. “Well, it was very nice to meet you, but I’m afraid that I have to leave now. I’ll see you in class tomorrow, Alex.” With that, I turned on my heels and walked out the swinging toilet doors, clenching my fists when I heard the giggling in the toilet start again.
OK, I was pissed, but I didn’t know why. Alex was just a student, and it shouldn’t matter to me if she was fucking the bloody Queen of England. As long as she produced results and gave me no trouble, I shouldn’t find any fault with her. But the problem was, I had felt this searing pain when dollface had stepped out of the stall in front of Alex. I couldn’t really explain it; I couldn’t really place what I felt, either. It was a feeling of something between anger, pain and jealousy. And why either feeling should rise in me, didn’t make any sense at all.
I drove home in a pretty shitty mood, honking at drivers that I normally wouldn’t honk at. Every radio station seemed to hate me, and even the traffic lights had plotted against me. But after the third honk at some poor soul, I managed to convince myself that I was merely PMSing and wasn’t angry at what I’d seen back in school. It took me the whole ten minutes of the drive to tell myself that, and even after that, I didn’t feel a whole lot better.
That night, I did nothing but indulge in a tub of Cookies and Cream ice cream, neglecting the scripts that I had to look through for my Lit class. That was a first for me. I’d never neglected work before, but there was always a first time for everything. As I stared at another episode of a re-run of Friends on TV, my mind couldn’t resist wandering back to the episode this evening. The look on Alex’s face… like a contented, well-satisfied woman. I realized that I wanted to put that look there – which was absurd, since I wasn’t even a lesbian. A large spoonful of ice cream went into my mouth. No, I definitely wasn’t a lesbian, and I needed to stop thinking of my student as a sex toy. She was off-limits, for god’s sake.
But even her being off-limits didn’t stop me from lying on the couch, sifting through the sixty channels that I had, thinking about the way her dark eyes could look at me as though they were reading my soul. I became lost in a dream-plagued sleep after that, filled with the smell of melted ice cream and visions of beautiful, haunting eyes.
I kept clear of her radar for the next few months. I’d see her in class, yes, but that was it. Whenever I spotted her hanging out in the canteen or near the basketball courts, I’d walk in the opposite direction, knowing exactly how much one appreciative look from her could cause my student-crush to exacerbate.
For that’s what I’d decided to call it. A student-crush. I had researched on the net about it, and realized that it was pretty common amongst teachers to have a crush on a student, especially when he or she was a class-topper. The crushes usually came and faded quickly, an anonymous teacher had said, and I took courage in that. Maybe one day, I’d wake up and find that I hadn’t had a dream about her.
It was one of those nights – those hot, stuffy September nights – when I couldn’t sleep, that I decided to log on to the internet. It was about two in the morning, and I couldn’t resist a yawn as I waited for the little smiley face to say that I was online. It would be two in the afternoon back home, and I knew that at least one of my friends would be online for me to chat with. It had been a while since I talked to anyone close, and I’d begun to miss having family close-by.
A white IM screen popped up just as I clicked on the first unread Email in my inbox. The contact’s screen name was AlexTheBitterGaud, and my mind went from sleep-haze to electrifyingly alert in two seconds. I vaguely remembered that I’d passed my Email address out to my students, so that they could Email a soft copy of their assignments to me. So, this had to be…
‘Couldn’t sleep?’ the IM said. My brows furrowed at the message. It sounded way too personal.
Yeah, I replied. Why’re you up so late?
AlexTheBitterGaud: Oh, I’m working on an E-novel right now, and I need to submit the second chapter of it by tomorrow night, so…deadlines suck.
CandyS: Wow. A novel. Really? What is it about?
I was intrigued. None of my students had ever worked on a novel before. Or at least, I hadn’t known if they had.
AlexTheBitterGaud: Well, it’s not much as of yet. But it’ll be a supernatural one. The female and male protagonists are werewolves. But technically she isn’t a werewolf yet… Damn, I’m sorry. The plot is a little complicated.
CandyS: (: So I gather. I can imagine you writing a supernatural novel. You have a natural flair for it.
AlexTheBitterGaud: That makes me feel good… especially when it’s coming from you.
Oh, dear. Was she hitting on me again? My gut twisted into an anxious knot at the thought.
CandyS: No problem. I was only being truthful.
AlexTheBitterGaud: I know.
There was a pause, then she said: Hey, Miss S?
AlexTheBitterGaud: Why are you online if you can’t sleep?
An imminent flush stole over my cheeks as I stared down at the words in front of me. I knew what she was thinking; I could envision the smirk on her face as she thought it. But I wasn’t going to shy away from her taunts any longer.
CandyS: I wanted to reply to some Emails since I have the time.
AlexTheBitterGaud: Of course, Miss S.
CandyS: Although, it’s getting late, isn’t it? I should probably get to sleep. I’ll see you in school tomorrow, Alex?
AlexTheBitterGaud: Yeah, of course. Sleep tight.
CandyS: Goodnight to you, too.
I sighed in relief as I shut my laptop down, feeling as though I’d just fought a battle. I had no idea why Alex made me so nervous. It’s not like I hadn’t had crushes before. There’d been Rob in third grade, Haden in seventh, and the first guy I’d slept with – Vince in the tenth grade. They’d all been really nice – except for Rob, he hated me – but they sure as hell hadn’t made me nervous. I didn’t know why just talking to Alex made me feel like there were worms wriggling in my tummy. It was weird.
I rolled over in bed, staring up at the ceiling. Speaking to Alex had gotten the adrenaline running through my veins, and now, I couldn’t sleep. Groaning, I stumbled out of bed and headed for the shower. Maybe a nice, cold bath would help soothe the heat in my body, or perhaps the detachable shower-head could be put to better use…
Intimate encounters with Alex were few and spread out through the two school years that I had with her. The first, beginning with the toilet debacle, to the last, when she had come into the staffroom, looking for me. A meeting had just let out when I’d been extremely surprised to hear that she had been waiting for me at my desk for the past half an hour.
She stood as I strode to my desk, balancing a stack of assignments in one hand and my briefcase in another. Without my asking, she hefted the papers out of my hands and settled in on the metal desk. I was impressed by her manners, and quickly lapsed into small talk. She replied appropriately, but the look on her face was unreadable as I sank down onto the comfy swirly chair that came along with the table and crossed my legs. I leaned forward and tapped my fingers lightly on the table top.
“So…what did you want to see me about, Alex?” Thank god my voice didn’t betray the suddenly eccentric thump of my heart. Alex looked so sexy when she frowned. I could’ve kissed her right then.
Damn. No, I didn’t just think that. It wasn’t me.
“I just, um…well, I was wondering if you could…” I nodded slowly to encourage her, for she seemed to have some trouble in getting the words out of her throat. Her fingers began fiddling with the little ‘I Miss You’ teddy that I kept on the table. Suddenly, she stopped her stumbling and held the teddy up.
“Present from a boyfriend?”
I was pretty thrown back from the change of topic, and normally, if anyone else had asked me that question, I’d have laughed at them and told them Grandma Elise had sent me that two years ago. But with Alex… the question seemed pretty loaded, somehow. I mean, I should know. I was the one who was analyzing her monthly assignments. The girl was pretty deep.
“Does that have anything to do with why you’re here?” I said a little too sharply after a moment of awkward silence. She placed the teddy back on the desk again.
“No, Miss S. I just… I wanted to ask you something…” she trailed off and rose from the chair. As I watched, she bit her lip, probably debating the best phrasing of her words.
“Miss S, I’m having a little trouble.”
Now, of all things I’d expected to hear, that was surely not one of them. I’d never thought that Alex would be the one who would come to her teacher to ask for assistance. It just wasn’t very… Alex.
“What kind of trouble?” I asked slowly, knowing that this might very well be a delicate subject. Alex moved to grasp the little paperweight gnome that stood on top of the metal cabinet. She stared at it intently before murmuring:
“I’ve hit a rut.”
Again, I gave her that slow nod. A rut? What exactly did she mean? Financially, emotionally… what? When she didn’t expound on her statement, I extended a question of my own.
“What kind of rut?”
With a sigh, she turned back to face me, leaning against the cabinet. I turned in my seat to stare up at her. She was looking more unkempt than usual, with her hair sticking out in odd ends and uniform in total disarray.
There was something up and it was serious. I could feel it now. The air around her was humming with what seemed to be dread.
“What’s wrong, Alex?” I asked again, quietly. I knew that if I showed her how worried and concerned I was about her, she might shut me out, like most teens tended to do when someone cared over-much about them. But I was her teacher and couldn’t help but worry.
“I have this thing, see. And I can’t…”
“You can’t?” I prompted.
She sighed heavily, looking down at her fingers – what lean fingers they were.
“I can’t seem to write anymore,” she said in something that resembled a whisper. Her eyes flickered to mine hesitantly before she looked away. “It’s like… whenever I think of the topic I’m supposed to be working on, nothing comes up. It’s blank. And it freaks me out. A lot.”
At that moment in time, she looked so much like the insecure teenager that she was, and I ached to take her into my arms and coddle her. I knew what she had was writer’s block, something that all writers stumble upon one time or another, but I wanted to wipe the worried frown off her face with more than just words.
“Miss S, I’ve considered everything. This isn’t writer’s block. Writer’s block can’t possibly feel like that. Like I can’t string a plausible sentence together. Nothing seems right. And it isn’t just a block.”
And then, there was the fighter in her again. I knew the writer in her was fighting for an explanation to cling on to, to dispel the notion that it was not a long-term thing, this inability to write. And that spirit made me want to kiss her.
“Have you thought about other explanations? Do you have something on your mind that you’re supposed to do, but aren’t doing? Something important? All these things can explain a temporary extinction of imagination,” I proposed.
“I don’t know,” she said, sounding rather pissed off and annoyed at something. I laid my head on a clenched fist and stared at her.
“Do you need an extension for the prelim assignment?”
She looked up from an intense perusal of her nails.
“Yeah. I thought I could get a draft done by today or something, but I couldn’t. Can I have another week or so? I hope something comes to me by then.”
I assessed the honesty in her eyes, half-knowing I could trust her. The other half was the half that wanted to back her up against the plastic dividers between the teachers’ tables and kiss the crap out of her.
“I trust you,” I told her frankly, “and if you need an extension, you have ’til the end of the month. That gives you ten days to hand in whatever you can for your Prelim score. Let’s just hope that this block of yours doesn’t extend into the A’s. I’d hate to see you get anything but an A for Creative.”
Her smile was infectious, and I found myself smiling back. Her lips were not thick, but the lower one was slightly thicker than the upper one, and from between them came a peek of pearly whites.
“Yeah. You and me both, Miss S,” she said truthfully, pushing away from the cabinet. “Thank you.”
“Aww, tsk. No problem. I was a student once, too, you know.”
Another smile, this one brighter than the previous, and it reached her eyes. She stuffed her hands into the pockets of her school skirt.
“So, I’ll be seeing you, then?”
“Yep. In class, tomorrow.”
She turned away from me with a little wave, then looked back after she took two steps. “Thanks again, Miss S. You have no idea how much that meant to me.”
It wasn’t until I heard the woosh of the glass doors to the staffroom, that I dropped my head to the desk. I rapped it on the table once, twice, thrice, trying to dispel the unholy thoughts from my head. But it was no use. The only thing that did was give me a botchy red patch on my head that made my colleagues ask if I’d been frisky the night before.
I scoffed. Wishful thinking, Cans, wishful thinking.
As they usually did, the years passed like ten-year-old girls running though green fields. At the end of four years in Singapore, I found myself gazing at the cityscape from the window of my condo, trying to memorize every detail of the place which I’d be leaving a month later. It had been a hectic four years, with me coaching A level classes every year, but they had passed, and all that remained were fine memories of a fine time spent in a fine city.
If I had regrets about the time that I spent here, I buried it, for I knew that I only regretted doing – or should I say, not doing – one thing. In about a month, I would be out of here, far, far away from her and she wouldn’t bother me anymore.
Everyday that passed since the last day I saw her had been dull and lifeless. I still remembered the moment when she’d come up to me after her final paper, which happened to be Creative Writing, wearing the smile that I’d come to dream about through fitful nights.
She’d told me that the paper had been easy, and the topic to write on had been do-able. There had been something in her eyes, like a sadness that I could identify with, that made my heart clench, and I knew that she was trying to come around to saying goodbye. She took her time about it, too, talking about everything and anything until one of her pink-haired friends came up to her and pulled her away. And even then, she’d looked back at me with a smile that mirrored more than the gratefulness a student shows her teacher… or maybe I’d finally cracked the nut.
I sighed heavily and turned away from the window, mentally calculating that it had been exactly two months and ten days since the time I had seen her last. I hated to admit that I was yearning to see her again, but I knew that that was the truth.
There were big, cardboard boxes strewn all over the condo, and some of them were already filled and scotch-taped to be shipped over to my apartment in NY. The place looked very bare now, and lacked the character that my pretty throw cushions gave it. I sighed again as I flopped onto the bare couch and reached out for the stack of mail on the table.
Bills, bills, bills… I muttered under my breath just as the phone started to ring.
OK, I knew it was pathetic, but phone calls always got me excited, ’cause it meant that someone was calling from home. And over the past few days, I’d become so homesick that I’d actually called Mom twice in a day. Being away from family for four years kinda had that effect on most people.
“Hello?” I said cheerily into the mouthpiece as I flicked lint off my black tank top.
I think my heart stopped for a moment, and my fingers stilled on my stomach. That voice. I knew that voice. But, no! It couldn’t be. She didn’t know my number. How could she?
“Um, hi. Do I know you?” I asked quizzically into the phone, hesitance in my voice.
“Yeah, you do, Miss S.”
I swallowed thickly. I never really got over that drawl.
“Bingo. How you doing, Miss S?”
“I’m good, Alex. Is something up?”
It was a bad habit of mine to start pacing when I got worked up about something. My feet were already making tracks through the thick carpet of the condo. Why was she calling? God. Now I’d be thinking about this conversation for the next few weeks.
You’re a sad little shit, you know, the little voice in my head said.
Yeah, I know.
“Naw. Nothing’s up, Miss S. Just wanted to talk to you.”
I raised a perfectly blonde, arched brow in response.
“Really?” I said in the voice sarcastic voice possible. “You call your teacher, whom you haven’t seen in two months, I might add, in the middle of the afternoon to tell her that you ‘just wanted to talk to her’?”
She laughed, the husky vibrations of it emanating from the phone and sluicing down my body. I bit my lip. Damn her.
“Well, yeah. And besides, you aren’t my teacher anymore.”
That last comment took me by surprise. I wouldn’t say that the thought hadn’t crossed my mind – that she had, indeed, graduated from school already and that I was not her teacher anymore – but hearing her say it had a profound effect on me. Mostly, my tummy just coiled in tighter knots.
Had she laid in bed thinking what I’d been thinking? That there was nothing stopping us now if we decided to start dating? Somehow, the fact that I wasn’t even gay didn’t stop me from thinking of going out with her. I knew that my parents wouldn’t be objecting, and the community was accepting. After all, it was simply an attraction to another person. If it didn’t work out, I could just blame it on Charm’s – my best friend – influence. But I needed to sort some stuff out first.
I decided to be forward with her.
“Alex, did you want something?”
There was a pregnant pause. Then I heard her breath rasp over the phone.
“Yeah, I do, Miss S. I want you.” For a moment, my world stilled and every muscle in my body went limp. I leaned against the wall, wondering what the hell was wrong with the world, when she continued with her sentence. “…to go out with me
A gush of air rushed past my lips as I started breathing again. Did she know that she was killing me? Was she doing this on purpose?
I shouldn’t go out with her, should I? It would be like a date, wouldn’t it? Oh hell.
“What? Like a date?” my voice was high and a little squeaky. I hadn’t been this nervous in… forever.
“Well, now that you mention it, I think a date would be nice, don’t you think?”
Whoa. Wait. What?
“Whoa. You weren’t gonna ask me out on a date?” I asked with a very confused frown.
“I was about to, but since you already asked me….” she trailed off as I tried to come up with a proper rebuff. I could see her shrugging in my mind’s eye. “I’ll pick you up at seven, Miss S.”
The phone line was cut. I stared at the plastic in my hand as though it had taken a bite out of me. What had just happened?
I moved forward on shaky legs and daintily seated myself on the couch, the phone call replaying itself in my head. I was going on a date. With Alex. The very Alex that had been off-limits for two years.
“Oh my god,” I said aloud as I felt the blood starting to pulse faster through my veins. This was huge.
Teachers dating students – correction, ex-students – wasn’t very uncommon, was it? I knew of a few teachers who were married to their ex-students. But this was different. I was in a different country, and hell if I knew if they had a law against dating students. I could get into trouble…
For what? the nagging voice returned. For going on one date with an ex-student? Who is legal for anything now, by the way.
It was so confusing! I knew I shouldn’t go, but couldn’t come up with a suitably logical reason to stop myself from going. Alex and I were both adults… so why shouldn’t I go? As I bit my lip in consternation, an idea hit me. I knew what I had to do. Picking up the phone again, I dialed the area code and phone number to Charm’s apartment.
“Hey, Charm. I need your help on something.”
“Cans? What the…? Fuck, it’s two thirty in the morning!”
I winced as I heard the gruffness in Charm’s voice.
“Yeah, I know. But I needed to talk to you. I have a problem. Like a huge problem. And I’m so confused, I don’t know what to do…”
“Wait up, pretty. Slowly, OK? I’m still kinda half-asleep.” There was another voice in the background, sounding suspiciously like a mewl. “Hey, baby. No, nothing. Get back to sleep. I’ll be back.”
I hear Charm moving about in the room as I told her the whole story. I knew that if anyone could give me good advice about girls, it would be Charm. Aside from the fact that she’s known me for most of my life, she was also an ‘out’ lesbian. She would know what the signals Alex was sending me meant.
“You’re saying that you’ve been hung up on this girl for two years?” Charm’s voice was incredulous. I was instantly defensive.
“No! ‘Course not…” Then I stopped, realizing it was foolish. Charm could see through every fib that slipped past my lips.
“What happened to Mr Roughster, then?” she asked around a yawn, temporarily digressing from the pressing topic at hand.
“Peter? Oh, we broke up, remember? Nevermind him. Tell me what I’m supposed to do about Alex!”
“OK, OK. Hmm. How does she look like?”
“Tall, dark, muscled. Pretty flat. Gorgeous, short hair. Eyebrow piercing.” Charm’s bark of laughter had me grinning.
“I know that voice, babe. You’re totally sunk. I need to meet this girl. Damn,” she said.
“Oh, Charm. Should I go? She’s my student, you know, and I can get into trouble.”
“Candy Anne Summers, you’re a freaking basket case. Of course you should go! There’s nothing wrong with dating your student. Unless it’s the fact that she’s a girl…”
“No, not that. You know I couldn’t care more about that. It’s just that I can barely think coherently whenever I’m near her. Do you know how hard I’ve tried to avoid her over the past two years? I run when I hear her voice. It’s that bad. Stop laughing, you tramp!” I hissed.
“Sorry,” Charm sobered. “You should hear what you sound like. Goodness, Cee, just go for the date. You won’t forgive yourself if you don’t explore this attraction. I know you well enough to say that. I want you to go for this date, ‘kay?”
I nodded. Charm had a point there. She always had a point. That was why I’d called her.
“So… when’s the big night?” she asked, and I heard her munching on something. MnMs, I guessed, knowing her weakness.
“Next Friday,” I said absently, my mind awhirl with discomforting thoughts.
“Holy… really?” Charm cussed loudly. My attention snapped back to the conversation.
“V-day eve, idiot. Where’s your head been?”
My eyes grew wide as I heard Charm go on about the possibilities of the reasons why Alex could have asked me out on a date on the eve of Valentine’s.
“Well, one thing’s for sure,” Charm said, still munching.
“What?” I scooted back on the couch and folded my legs, Indian-style.
“You’re gonna have to kiss her.”
That didn’t come as a shock to me at all, since I’d already expected that. Come on, we were dealing with Alex here.
“It’s tradition,” Charm went on. “To kiss in the first minute of Valentine’s day. Clever girl, this Alex. How old did you say she was again?”
“Nineteen this year, why? Thinking of giving her a shot?” I asked, teasingly.
“Hell, no. I don’t wanna be clobbered over the head with a rock. Besides, I have a little kitty waiting for me back in the room.”
“Of course,” I said as I rolled my eyes. Some people never changed.
“I would fly down there to dress you, but I’m full on Friday. I pushed all my Saturday appointments over to the weekdays. Sorry, babe. But don’t wear anything with starch! Maybe that low-slung black slacks of yours with the off-shoulder red top. Or the thin-strap yellow dress that we bought at Saks…”
“You really have a mental list of my wardrobe, don’t you?” I asked with a laugh.
“Yeah. Anyway, just don’t wear something teacher-y. If you want the relationship to develop, you need to treat her like a friend, not like her superior. Got that?”
“Got it, thanks, Charm. Do you have to get off so soon?” I could tell she was going to say goodbye already.
“If I don’t get off now, you’re gonna have a bomb to pay when the phone bill comes in. But, really. I’m excited for you, Cee. Have fun, ‘kay? Wish I were there with you.”
I could readily imagine Charm dragging her lean fingers through shaggy, dark hair as she said that.
“I know. Me, too. I miss you.”
“Miss you, too, babe. Oh, and um, if you sleep with her, we’ll have a tell-all session once you get back.”
“Bitch,” I said into the phone. “No way!”
“Fine, fine. Twenty questions?”
“Make it ten.”
“All right. I’ll see you… next month?”
“Yeah. That’s about right. You’re picking me up from the airport, right? I’ll murder you if you’re late.”
Charm laughed. “That’s what you always say.”
There was a pause. “Cee, does Alex know that you’re leaving at the end of the month?”
Uh-oh. “I don’t think so.”
“You might want to speak with her about that… and think about what you want from your relationship.”
Our relationship? “OK.” My voice was small and squeaky, just like a little girl’s. I cleared my throat. “Yeah, I will. Thanks, babe.”
“No problem. Take care. I’ll hang up now.”
I fussed through the whole week. The only excuse I had was nerves. There was nothing to do at home, for I was officially off work. The contract was done and over with, and the only reason I was staying till the end of the month was to wait for the A level results to be released. I wanted to know how my students had done.
The date had me tied up in knots. I wanted it, I had realized. I wanted it with Alex, but I was scared. Going out with a girl was a big leap for me, especially a girl who was my ex-student. If you were a teacher, you’d understand how difficult it was for one to cross the line between a student and yourself, for there would always be this air of formality around the both of you. All these thoughts were confusing the hell out of me, and I’d called Charm a few more times before she started warning me not to, for everytime I called, I’d asked her the same questions – ‘what if it doesn’t go well?’ or ‘what if I’m not what she’d expected?’ Yeah, she got tired of hearing that as well.
On the afternoon of the big day, I raided my closet for the black slacks and red top that Charm had told me to wear. They were pretty old, but they still looked as good as new. I tried them on, just in case, and was pretty satisfied with the way the slacks hugged my hips. I’d always been a girl with too much of ass, and the black slacks hid the extra pounds efficiently. The outfit, coupled with red heels, made me look and feel unteacherish.
I carefully took the garments off and ironed them, placing them carefully on their hangers before heading for the shower. I’d promised myself not to panic, and that was exactly what I was doing now. Not panicking. I was going to take a nice, hour-long bath, do my hair and get all dolled up before seven.
I was not going to panic.
Keeping true to my word, I got out of the tub just shy of five in the evening. I toweled myself off before slipping underwear and the clothes that I’d picked over my body. I stared at myself in the mirror for a couple of minutes before deciding to blow my hair out so that it hung in glossy tendrils over my shoulders. That done, I applied a thin layer of foundation powder to cover up the light sprinkle of freckles on my nose, and a coat of eyeliner. A tinge of pink blush and gloss and I was ready with little less than an hour to spare.
Knowing that I might start worrying again if I thought about the next couple of hours, I started going through the closet, looking for a suitable purse or clutch that would go with the outfit. Fifteen minutes passed, and in the end, I decided to forgo the purse and slipped a couple of bills and a credit card into my pocket.
By six thirty, I was as ready as ever to leave. I sat on the couch impatiently, flicking through the channels and biting my glossy lips. At six forty five, I switched the TV off and decided to go down to the lobby to wait for her.
I heard a thunderous roar the moment I stepped into the lobby. The doorman, Mullah, looked startled by it as well. He looked through the glass doors inquisitively just as I walked past him. Our eyes focused instantly on the large bike parked on the street. I swallowed audibly.
Alex pulled the helmet from her head and threw her leg over the monstrous machine, looking sexy as hell in her tight-fitting black jeans and jacket. Under the jacket, she wore a red tank top that hugged her slender curves. She smiled when she caught sight of me, and jogged over to where I was.
“Miss S,” she said, in lieu of greeting. “You look hot. “Knowing that Mullah was eavesdropping on our conversation, I took Alex by the hand and started moving towards her bike, blushing fierce enough to match the red of my blouse.
“Alex. You’re looking good, too,” I said with a smile. “Other than the fact that we’re gonna look like a cheesy Valentine’s couple…” I trailed off, pointing to her red tank and my red blouse.
She laughed. It made me tingle.
“It’s ‘kay. If anyone asks, I’ll just say that the cheesy teacher forced me to wear it,” she replied impishly, and I realized that she was holding my hand now. The heat from her palm was sinful, but I needed to get a couple of things straight first.
“Alex, wait,” I said as we got to her bike. “What are we doing?”
She didn’t bother to pretend that she didn’t know what I meant. Her eyes had a serious light in them when she turned towards me.
“What do you want to be doing, Miss S?”
Getting that tank off you. “I don’t know, Alex. I don’t even know you.”
Her lips tilted at the corners. “That’s why people go on dates, Miss S. So that they’ll get to know each other better.” She paused. “Honestly, though? I don’t know what I want from this, either. Tell you what? We’ll just go with the flow, all right?”
There was sincerity in her voice and a smile on her lips. It was all that I needed. “That sounds perfect,” I replied, and she handed a helmet to me. I watched her climb onto the bike before I followed suit, placing my hands on my thighs.
“You gotta death wish or something?” Alex called from behind her helmet. I shook my head. “Then put your arms around me!”
I did. Just as she started the bike, I called her name. She nodded, turning her head slightly.
“You can call me Candy.”
I thought I saw a smile, but it was hidden behind a layer of plastic, so I couldn’t be too sure.
“Soo… where are we?” I asked when Alex pulled the bike up in front of a row of shop-houses. The place looked rustic, and definitely Asian.
“You know, girls usually ask me that before they get on my bike,” Alex returned, unstrapping the helmet. I rolled my eyes and got off the bike as gracefully as possible.
“Fine,” she relented, withdrawing the keys from the bike. “We’re at my favorite Peranakan restaurant. It’s this quaint little place around the corner. I made reservations for us.”
She adjusted her tank as she got off the bike, leading the way to the place. We walked side by side, and damn if I had to stifle the stupid grin that threatened to cross my lips. It felt good walking like this, with her by my side, the smell of her cologne surrounding us.
I laid my hand on the underside of her arm just as we took the steps up to the restaurant, and felt her muscles tense beneath the gentle touch. But still, she acknowledged it with a smile in my direction.
“Alex,” she said simply to the beautiful woman at the entrance, who smiled and led us across the room. My brows crossed when we exited the main room and entered a dark walkway, which was lit only by a small, electric lamp that hung from the ceiling. There was a flight of steep stairs, and the woman ascended it before us. I felt Alex’s hand on my hips, steadying me as I carefully climbed the wooden death-traps.
There was a small table set up in the middle of the none-too-wide balcony. It was covered in a burgundy table cloth and on top of it sat an array of flowers and a lit candle. I smiled when I saw it; my heart completely turned to mush. Then I turned to Alex, and all the bones in my body melted.
She stood, her silhouette tall and sexy against the cityscape, looking down at me with longing in her eyes. Her hands, as usual, were shoved deep in her pockets. She looked apprehensive, as though she wasn’t sure if I would like the place she had chosen. I reached up and patted her cheek, smoothing the hair that fell to one side.
“It’s beautiful, Alex,” I murmured, and jolted a little when her hand reached up to cover mine. Without saying anything, she led me to the table and pulled the chair away from the table for me to sit.
“Impressive,” I commented as I sat, and her husky laugh was response enough.
The menus were placed in front of us, and we took our time looking through the dishes. In the end, I chose the Laksa, a blend of coconut milk and soup with vermicelli, and Alex ordered stir-fried noodles.
“How do you even know about this place? The view really is… breath-taking,” I asked once the waitress had cleared our menus.
“I used to live near this place,” Alex replied, turning her head to stare out at the remarkable display of concrete in front of us. “That was a few years back.”
“Where do you live now?” I asked, reaching out for the glass of water and taking a sip.
“About a fifteen minute drive away from you.”
“Speaking of,” I interjected, “How did you know where I lived?”
“It wasn’t difficult to find out,” she said with a cheeky smirk that make my heart beat double-time.
“What have you been doing for these past few months? Oh, yeah! Did you finish the book you told me about a while back?”
“I did, yes,” Alex said, leaning forward just as I did. Her eyes met mine in the dim lighting of the balcony, and for the sake of my life, I couldn’t look away. The dark orbs held me captive until she said: “You’re really too beautiful.”
I blushed and averted my eyes. No one had ever affected me so much with words before. The frank appreciation in her gaze made me feel so cherished that it was… amazing.
“Thank you,” I murmured, reaching for my glass again.
“Why did you come out with me today, Candy?” she asked, and I started. It was the first time that she’d called me by my name, and the act was definitely intimate.
“Well, you didn’t really give me a choice,” I replied and she raised an eyebrow.
“I didn’t? You could’ve called and cancelled, you know. I was half-expecting you to do that,” she admitted.
It was time to come clean. “I came out today because I wanted to. You sound like an interesting person to be with, Alex.”
“Yeah. And hot,” I confessed with a smile. After her calling me beautiful, I needed to say something, right?
A slight noise from behind us told me that the food was here. The steaming plates were set before us, and we dug in.
It was easy to converse with her. We talked about everything, from the book she’d finished to the university that I’d lectured in back home. Her responses were always original, and they made me laugh. But even though the conversation was light, the look in her eyes wasn’t reciprocal. There was always this intensity about her gaze that made me quiver whenever I caught it. It spoke of her attraction to me, and I wondered if I had the same blazing look in my eyes.
Our empty plates were taken away a while later, and a small bowl was placed before us. I raised an eyebrow at this and asked Alex what it was. In the bowl was a chunky, icy concoction, laced with green, noodle-like short ends. I used the small spoon to stir the mixture around, and a sweet smell drifted from it. It smelled like dessert, but I was still doubtful. The overall color of the contents in the bowl was a muddy brown; not very appealing.
“Just try it,” Alex said, nodding towards my bowl.
OK, I thought, raising one of the green things to my mouth. Here it goes.
“You sure it’s edible?” I clarified, and shrugged when Alex nodded. It wouldn’t be the first time I’d tried something weird.
The first taste of it was sweet, almost bordering on too-sweet. There was condensed milk in there, together with some sort of rice-made ingredient. I bit into an extremely juicy morsel of something I couldn’t recognize, and nodded at Alex, who then dipped her spoon into her bowl.
“What is it?” I asked again after I’d downed the second spoonful of it. I’d just closed my lips over the third when Alex said: “Lizard’s tail.”
I searched her face for any indication that was lying. There was none. The first thing that hit me was that I had a part of a lizard in my mouth. A lizard. A goddamn green lizard. As the fact registered in my mind, the gag reflex arose and I picked up the napkin on my lap, ready as hell to spit everything onto the cloth.
“Hey, hey, don’t do that. It’s not lizard. I was kidding!” Alex’s arm snaked around the table to grab my hand. Damn if she wasn’t laughing. My eyes narrowed at her as I swallowed the contents in my mouth before I bundled the napkin in my hands and threw it at her. She caught it with a guffaw, leaning back in her seat. Her face was flushed, and I could see the rosy glow of her skin under the candlelight.
“Not funny, Alex,” I chided, looking around the table for anything else to throw at her. “That was gross.”
“Yeah. But the look on your face. Fuck, that was priceless.” Another bout of laughter. I could’ve strangled her. In fact, I rose to do just that. But she got up from her seat as well, and towered over my five-foot-six frame. I had to admire that the fact that she dwarfed me, even when I was in heels, made me feel vulnerable.
It was an awkward position, with her standing sideways and me trying to squeeze into the space between the table and her chair, but when I looked up, the laughter had faded from her eyes. She was looking at me as though she wanted to… eat me.
I didn’t back away. But my knees started to feel weak, and I raised a hand to the table to steady myself. Her eyes bore into mine before they moved down to my lips. I wondered if they looked as pouty and heavy as they felt.
“I was coming over to strangle you, actually,” I said throatily, trying to shake myself off of her penetrating gaze.
“You can do anything you want to me, Candy.”
Oh. My. God. My nerve endings were sizzling. Why did she have to be so sexy? At that moment, I would have allowed Alex to do anything to me as long as she kissed me first. The moment was so tense, with me waiting for her to make the first move, that I was immensely shocked when she pulled away and cleared her throat.
“I was planning on taking you to a concert, actually,” she said, running a hand through her hair, as though we didn’t have a ‘moment’ just a couple of seconds ago. It took a longer time for me to snap out of it, and I stared at her dumbly for a minute or two.
“O-OK. Who’s in town?” I asked when I had my voice back.
“I doubt you know them, but they’re a great group. One of my favorites. They have a one-night-only concert at a club nearby. You wanna give it a shot or do something else?”
“No, no. Let’s go for the concert. I’d like to see what kind of music you’re into.” I smiled, trying to dissolve the sexual tension that was still around us.
“OK. All right, then.”
The waitress came back up and cleared the mostly-uneaten bowls as we got ready to leave. But before that, Alex asked me to wait and fished her cell phone out of her pocket. Handing the phone to the waitress, she asked her to take a couple of shots of us against the background of the city. “For memory’s sake,” she said.
She was, without doubt, the sexiest and most entertaining date I’d ever had. Gentlemanly, too, I added in my mind, remembering how she’d climbed down the stairs before I did so that she could offer me a hand down the steep steps. She probably remembered the first time we’d met.
I protested when she insisted on paying for both of us, but it was no use. She paid up anyway, making me mumble beneath my breath, about stubborn females. We strolled to her bike, saying nothing, just reveling in the comfortable silence between us, when halfway there, she reached for my hand. A blush stole up my cheeks as she did and I fervently hoped that the fall of hair across my cheeks hid it from her.
The walk was over all too soon, and she had to let go of my hand to maneuver the bike through the city. Half an hour later, I found myself in a crowded, dark pub, staring up at a trio who looked odd and mismatched. The guy in the front wore jeans and a b-ball singlet over a shirt, and looked something like Timbaland. The other two had ridiculously long hair and wore the same kind of shirts as Timbaland did.
“Who are they?” I shouted over the preliminary music to Alex, who was in the process of signaling the bartender for two beers.
She handed me a cold bottle of Heineken before answering. “See the bearish guy in the middle? He’s Yogi B, one of the best Tamil rappers that I know. The other two are Natchathra; they’re like his right and left hand men. Oh, they’re going on in five, anyway. You’ll know what I mean when I say that they’re good.”
Alex leaned back against the bartop, resting her elbows on the wood. I was seated on a high stool, which put me at eye-level with her. My eyes roamed over the slender column of her neck, to the small swells of her breasts, stopping at the point where her hipbones were visible through her thin tank top. I swallowed. Hipbones were sooo sexy.
I looked up and blushed fiercely when I realized that Alex had been watching me watch her all this while. She gave me a cat-like smile that made my insides melt. I didn’t pull away when she leaned over.
“The view from up here ain’t that bad neither, honey,” she drawled into my ear with a distinct New Yorker accent that was pretty darn accurate. I smiled, taking a sip of my beer, when the music started up.
The concert was a blur. Alex hadn’t been wrong – the trio was good. They rapped, mostly, and the female singers in the background filled in the rhythm part. The concert lasted a little over an hour, and mid-way through it, everyone had started dancing to the beat.
Needless to say, I’d joined Alex on the dance floor as well, and we became a part of the body of wriggling limbs. I wasn’t Beyonce or anything, but I could hold my own on the dance floor. And when I draped my arms over Alex’s shoulder and moved against her, I could see the surprise in her eyes. But that didn’t stop her from placing her hands on my hips and dancing with me.
I was on my third bottle of beer and slightly tipsy by the time Alex pulled me out the door of the club. Alex had stopped with only one, being the responsible driver. She put her arms around my shoulders as we walked to her bike.
“Is the night over?” I asked as we reached her bike. Looking around, I saw a rubbish can and disposed of the half-empty bottle of beer in it.
“Do you want it to be over?” Alex asked, withdrawing helmets from the little black box on the back of the bike.
“Not really,” I confessed as I took my helmet from her. She smiled.
“‘Right, then. Hop on. Let me take you somewhere.”
I pressed myself to her tightly as she drove at a reasonably fast speed through the city. I recognized a couple of places we passed, but when she turned onto an unknown road, the mental map I had became useless. We zipped past an empty park, resorts and a row of houses before she stopped the bike around a corner. In front of us was a short walk that led to a long stretch of sand.
“The beach,” I stated, somewhat surprised. Alex didn’t seem like the type who’d bring a girl to the beach on the first date.
“Yeah. It’s special,” she said, getting off the bike after I did. “Come on. I’ll show you my favorite spot.”
She took my hand and led me across a quiet beach. I’d taken my heels off before I stepped on the sand, and tiny little pebbles of it squidged between my toes. When the wind blew, I stepped closer to Alex, pressing myself against her body heat. And with that, I felt the last of my reservation of being with her fade away. This rightness had never been present in my life before, and I wanted more of it, more of her. I lifted her hand and placed it over my shoulder, burrowing into the familiar smell of her cologne. I could swear that she smiled, even though I didn’t look up to see it.
We came to a small clump of trees at one end of the beach, and she led me through it, up a slope, and to a cliff-like place. Below us, the water lapped at the rocks, and in front of us was the city strip of Malaysia. Alex seated herself with her legs hanging over the edge, and I did so, too. We sat in silence for a while, listening to the waves and the occasional coo of an owl. It was peaceful, so damn comfortable to sit with her, not talking, not doing anything but basking in each other’s presence. I smiled to myself in contentment.
“I used to come here a lot when I was younger,” Alex said, still staring out at the waves. I looked over at her, and her eyes had a far-away look in them, as though she was remembering a time that had passed. I scooted closer to her.
“I can see why you did,” I remarked, just as softly as she’d spoken.
“I made some very important decisions in my life here.”
“Really? Like what?” I asked, looking down at where my bare feet were dangling about ten feet above the rocks.
“Like, whether or not to get an abortion.”
The words hit me like a blow, and I turned to her, shocked. She turned to me, too, and I saw the pain in her eyes. My heart hurt instantly for her.
“When?” was the only word that slipped from my lips.
“Sixteen. Mixed with the wrong people. They roughed me up. I got pregnant. Parents threw me out.” She shrugged, turning away, but not before I caught the raw hurt in her in her, reflected in her eyes. I didn’t know what to say, for I knew if I said anything, I’d start tearing. It was a weakness of mine: crying for pain that others felt.
“I would have a two-year-old daughter now, if I hadn’t gotten one. Hey… are you crying?”
I started denying it, but the tears wouldn’t stop. I wiped at them, and felt Alex tilt my head towards her.
“Don’t, please,” she said, brushing the tears away. “It’s my burden, not yours.”
“But I… how could they do that to you?” I asked, suddenly angry with Alex’s parents for being such assholes. Which loving parent would throw their pregnant daughter into the streets when she was sixteen?
“They can, Candy. And they did. I survived, anyway. Don’t cry, please. If you don’t stop, I’ll start,” she warned with a small smile. I managed to get myself in control after that, and found myself snuggled up against her.
“Where are you living now?” I asked, sniffling.
“With a friend. We share rent for a two-bedroom apartment. And before you ask what I do to make the rent, I tutor. Secondary school English.”
“Really?” Her hand was resting on my arm and I took it between my fingers to play with it. She had lean fingers, like a pianist’s.
“I’m so sorry, Alex…” I began, but she cut me off.
“You don’t have to be. It’s not your fault. My life’s been pretty fucked, but I’m making the best out of it.”
We were silent for another few moments, before she spoke up.
“What about you? What did you do before you got here?”
“I traveled to different parts of Asia and held seminars on how to write a creative piece. Then the Ministry here offered me a job in one of their schools, and I took it. My life hasn’t been very fancy,” I admitted with a small shrug.
“How long have you been here?”
“About four years.”
“Don’t you miss home?”
“Yeah. Sometimes. But it was my choice to come here, and I’m gonna stick with it.”
There was another silence, longer and more comfortable – if that was possible – than the one before.
“Alex?” I murmured a few minutes later.
“Why did you ask me out?”
“Why wouldn’t I?”
I leaned away from her to look into her eyes.
“Why me? Why today?”
She smiled. “You know, the first time I looked at you, I saw this dolled-up, amazingly attractive woman with a stick up her ass.” I hit her lightly. “Then we talked, and there was something that pulled me to you, and I couldn’t explain it, but it felt right. I knew you wouldn’t come out with me if I’d asked you out while I was still in school, so I waited.”
I had to smile. Alex did know me well.
“And I chose today because… can’t you remember?”
I shook my head.
“It’s the first time we met, the first time I turned and saw you standing there, all prim and proper in your five-inch heels. You don’t remember?”
I tried recalling that year again, but it was pretty blurry. Then I remembered… the open house had started on the tenth. And Alex had come to see me three days into it. The thirteenth. Yes. She was right.
“I do now. Is this kind of an anniversary thing, then?”
“Do you want it to be?”
I thought about it for a fraction of a second.
“Then it is.”
I leaned back against her, smiling. Then up popped my head when I remembered something.
“Hey, who was that girl, then? The one I saw you with in the washroom?”
Alex had the sense to look sheepish.
“We were just playing around…”
“Yeah, right. I can’t believe you said you were attracted to me, yet fucked another girl. That’s horrible!” I tried to wriggle away, but she held me still.
“Come on, Candy. I didn’t know what I was feeling right then, and Mindy was just available.”
I shot her a look which said, ‘bitch, please.’
“Mindy and I weren’t even serious. Come on. Don’t sulk.”
“I’m not sulking,” I insisted. “I’m pouting. It’s different.”
She had the audacity to laugh. I elbowed her in the ribs.
“Careful. There isn’t much cushion there,” she grunted.
I sighed, realizing that there wasn’t any use in discussing the past… not when we had a future ahead.
“Fine. You’re forgiven.”
“Do you know what you want from this, Alex?” I asked, moving closer to rest my head on her shoulder again.
Pause. Then, “Yeah.”
“And what is that?” she asked, her breath ruffling my hair.
“You. I just want to be with you, and figure out what all this means.” I couldn’t have been more honest if my heart was being ripped open and checked for its contents.
Alex sighed, and I looked up at her, wondering if I’d been too honest. But she turned to me with a silly smile on her face.
“I must be dreaming,” she said.
I rapped on her chest with a curled finger. “You’re not.”
“This is too fucking good to be real,” she muttered, leaning close again. My fingers rose to her hair, brushing back the strands that fell on her forehead.
“Good things happen sometimes,” I reminded her. She stared at me for a long while.
“Yeah. I know now.”
A soft vibration emanated from Alex’s pocket, but she didn’t look away to check her phone. I didn’t look away either. It was one of those moments when time was suspended, and you could do nothing else but stare into someone else’s eyes.
Then Alex broke our connection when she lowered her head to mine. My breath caught and held, waiting for that imminent moment.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment,” she murmured, her breath grazing my lips. “Happy Valentine’s day.”
Her kiss made me feel like a virgin. There was just something in the way she smoothed her lips over mine that blocked all conscious thought from my body and made me tremble, ever so sweetly, against her. My hands found her cheek, cupping it as her tongue traced the soft curve of my lower lip. I sighed, trickles of pleasure running through my body as her fingers tangled in my hair, caressing my scalp.
I’ve been waiting for this moment…
Her words echoed through my mind, and I pressed myself harder against her, my other hand coming up to rest lightly over her heart. She jerked at the touch, but didn’t break the kiss. Her teeth nipped at my lip, and I felt her smile against me before her tongue dipped into my mouth.
To say that the friction was electric, would be an understatement. I melted into a pool of incoherent thoughts as she tangled her tongue with mine, muddling my mind. Lick, retreat, lick, retreat. That was exactly how she drove me mad. And when she pulled back, I was breathless and needy.
She laughed softly at the look on my face.
“I still think I’m dreaming,” she murmured. I lowered her head and pressed another kiss on her willing lips.
“You’re not dreaming, ‘Lex.”
This time, it was she who trembled, and I basked in her pleasure.
She rested her forehead against mine when I pulled away, breathing heavily. As we caught out breaths, her fingers made little circles at the sides of my breasts, where her fingers had ended up. It was distracting me from getting my breath back. In fact, I thought it was driving the air out of my lungs.
“I have something for you,” she said, when we had some sort of control around ourselves.
“What is it?”
She withdrew a red envelope from the pocket of her jacket.
“It’s a letter. No, don’t read it now.” She placed her hand over mine, stilling it. “Read it when I’m not there. It’s a little cheesy.”
I laughed, looking down at the pretty designs on the front of the envelope. I’d seen pretty doodles on Alex’s files before, but the designs on the envelope was amazing.
“Thank you,” I whispered, kissing her cheek.
A gust of wind blew, and I shivered.
“It gets cold around here after midnight,” Alex admitted. “We should go.”
We indulged in one more kiss before rising from the ledge and trudging back to her bike. This time, when my hands went around her as I settled myself behind her, I felt a spurt of possessiveness rush through me. Alex, I thought.
“So, um… thanks for tonight,” I said, swinging down from the bike, the letter still clutched in my hand.
“Anytime,” she replied, unstrapping her helmet.
A silence followed that was just a bit awkward. I didn’t want this night to end. Ever. But… would she think I was too forward if I asked her to come up for coffee?
“I, um, I… Hmm.” She grinned at my loss for words.
“I’ll call you,” was what she said. I nodded and walked toward the lobby of the condo. Mid-way there, I turned back and walked briskly to her bike. Without stopping, I leaned forward and pressed a kiss to her startled lips, unable to hold back the longing that I felt whenever I looked at her.
“Do you, um, want to come up for, um, coffee?” I asked when we pulled apart. The look in her eyes told me that if we went up, she’d be having a little more than coffee. I didn’t care.
She nodded, pulling the keys out of the ignition. Both our helmets went into the box before we made our way towards the lobby.
It started out as little nuzzles, with her burying her nose against my shoulder. The elevator was taking long, longer than usual to get to my floor, and I supposed Alex, like me, was impatient.
When my hand rose to her shoulder, and I turned toward her, her tongue flicked out and licked my neck. I shivered, fingers digging into her, and she backed me up against the side of the elevator. Her naughty fingers traveled over my stomach to settle above my navel, stroking the sensitive area there. I gasped, my fingers moving down from her shoulders to clutch her hand, turned on as hell.
I knew I should’ve been the adult; knew I should’ve told her to wait till we got to the condo, but damn if I could form the words on my tongue. My body felt like it was on fire, claiming all my attention, and I couldn’t spare any to stop her. She bit down on my exposed shoulder, little nips that sent prickles of excitement through me. Her thumbs were massaging the tops of my breasts, making me ache for her to pull the top down and touch the begging, pink crowns.
But she didn’t. She kept teasing me with those gentle, feminine flicks that I couldn’t bear it any longer. Groaning, I reached up and pulled her hands down to the pert mounds of my breasts, just as she ducked her head to kiss me. The pressure of her mouth and hands was a sweet heaven that ventured the brink of an orgasmic high. However, when her forefinger found the end of my nipples through the blouse and touched it, I felt a spasm run through my body. And the spasm only got rawer with pleasure when she pushed one of her thighs against the apex of my thighs.
The words that I was going to tell her became a rush of breath when she moved against me. Distantly, I heard a ding, like something in the microwave was done, but I couldn’t concentrate on anything but Alex and the intense pleasure that she was giving me.
She leaned close, placing a kiss on my forehead, inhaling the scent of my hair, grinding against me with such a feral rhythm that every thought in my being was only of her. In a heartbeat, I felt the change in her, moving from gentle to passion-fucked. Her thigh angled downward, now, instead of the horizontal it was before. It flicked downward, across my clit, and everything went black… but not before I felt the wave of pleasure that made me pass out.
I stirred, feeling deliciously satisfied. For a moment, everything was a blur, then I remembered. I’d just been fucked by a person who I’d been dreaming about for two years. Oh. My. God. I’d been fucked in an elevator. Shit. And I’d passed out after that. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
“Good to see you’re awake,” Alex said. She was sitting on the floor next to the couch. It was then that I realized that I was lying on the couch. I struggled to get up, trying to remember what had happened after the lift… but came up with nothing. How did I get in here?
“What happened?” I asked, raising a hand to my mussed hair, trying to shake some order into it.
“You passed out,” Alex said with a self-indulgent smile. It looked adorable.
“Yeah, I got that part.” I couldn’t keep the sarcasm out of my voice.
Alex’s hand rose to my face, caressing one slightly-freckled cheek. “Not used to having orgasms, huh?”
I narrowed my eyes at her, daring her to take the joke further. She was smart enough not to.
“You all right?” There was concern in her eyes.
“Fine, fine. Can’t believe I passed out.”
“I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.”
She rose from the floor and sat on the place my legs had vacated.
“Uh, do you want that coffee now?” I asked, filling in for the silence that followed.
She shook her head with a smile. “Nah. I didn’t come up for the coffee. I need to talk to you.”
“OK.” I was all ears. “What’s up?”
“Do you feel like we’re rushing into this? I don’t want you to feel like I’m pushing you into something.”
She wasn’t looking at me as she said that. Instead, her eyes were fixed unseeingly on the LCD TV opposite her. I contemplated her words, and thought well about my response before it left my lips.
“You’re not pushing me. I want this, and I’ve dreamed about this for two years.”
She turned toward me. “But you don’t know shit about me.”
I raised my brow in a challenge. “I know a fair bit.”
“What’s my favorite color?”
I knew, then, what she meant when she’d said ‘the look on your face was priceless’ earlier that day. Actually, she looked like I’d just asked her to eat her own foot.
“How’d you know?” Alex asked incredulously. I shrugged.
“Your characters always wear blue. Blue shirt, blue jeans… inference, sweetheart.”
She nodded. “OK… OK. That’s reasonable. Uh, birthday?”
“5th of June.”
I could tell that she was starting to freak. “What? I’m your teacher! I know these things.”
“Fine. Favorite food?”
She got me with that one. I shook my head.
“Thai. I love Thai food,” she said, slipping her shoes off so that she could curl her legs onto the couch. “You?”
I scooted closer to her so that our shoulders touched. She jumped.
“You know, I can barely think when you do that,” she confessed, leaning away just a tiny bit. I laughed.
“It’s good to know, ‘cuz I go totally insane when you do.”
She raised her eyes to the ceiling, as though she were pleading a divine intervention. “What’s happening to me?”
I put my arms around her waist, wondering about the new kind of ache in my heart. I’d never felt it before. There it was again… squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. Thud, thud, thud. It felt so good to have my arm around her, like a safe haven that smelt wonderful. I could live with that smell, I realized. And I wanted that smell on me, too.
“I want you to take me to bed.”
She pulled away slightly.
“Are you sure? I really don’t want you to regret this. I can wait…”
“Shh,” I placed my finger over her lips. “I want this. Really. The only thing I’ll regret about tonight will be the fact that you didn’t make love to me, if you don’t go about it soon.”
She took my hand and kissed it. “If you’re sure…”
I silenced her with a kiss, staring into her eyes as I did so. I always knew that there was something different about Alex’s kisses, but in that moment, I figured out what it was. Alex kissed me without a demand for authority. With every guy who’d dated me, a kiss had meant a devouring of one person’s lips – mine. But with Alex… there was a give and a take that I could feel. And that feeling was marvelous, glorious, especially when she curled her lips around my tongue and sucked on it.
I moaned against her lips, bringing forth a shiver from her. Her hands entangled themselves in my hair, tugging at the blonde strands as she slanted her lips over mine once more, taking my upper lip between her lips and biting on it lightly.
Wanting her was killing me, slowly fucking my self-control, making it bleed ’til I had none left. She kissed me like that for a long time, seducing me with nothing but her lips on mine and her fingers in my hair. I did nothing but lay my hands on her shoulders and accept what she was giving me… and giving what I could feel that she was taking.
When her mouth finally lifted from mine, I was shaking uncontrollably, fingers ready to lift the hem of my blouse over my head. But she stalled me, whispering: “Bedroom?”
I knew that if she could, she would’ve carried me to it, but being Alex, we stumbled into the darkened bedroom, not bothering to turn the lights on before we collapsed onto the bed, a tangle of limbs. Alex ended up on top, kissing me again, drugging me with her taste.
Her fingers delved below the blouse that I wore, moving upwards, stroking their way to the ultimate goal, but never really getting there. She leaned back and chuckled when I groaned from the pure hell of it, moving against her fingers restlessly.
“Please,” I whispered in her ear when her fingers traced the underside of my breasts, making goosebumps cover the white skin of my stomach.
She kissed my cheek before moving back to pull the top over my head. I was wearing a lacy black bra underneath – I’d prepared for the what-if situation – and it was Alex’s turn to groan when she took in the delicious contrast that the bra made with my skin. Ducking, she trailed kisses over the tops of my breasts, working her way to the valley in between the pert globes.
Her fingers undid the front clasp, and I felt the freedom that could only come with nakedness. A chaste kiss, she placed on the small patch of exposed skin, feeling me move beneath her.
Her jacket was gone, and she reached down, pulling her tank over her head. I gasped when I saw that she hadn’t been wearing a bra at all throughout the evening. But on second thought, she didn’t really need one, anyway. Her breasts were small mounds covered with dark, chocolate-brown nipples, sitting on coffee-colored skin. I was only allowed a second to ogle her before she lowered her body to mine, pressing our heated skin together, and we gasped.
“Jesus,” was what came out of my mouth. What came out of Alex’s wasn’t appropriate for me to repeat.
“It’s never felt like this,” she whispered against my ear, her voice hoarse and deep. I couldn’t suppress the involuntary shiver that ran through me.
“Never for me either,” I whispered in reply as I felt her breath scorch the tops of my breasts again. Gently, she lowered her head and licked at one swollen bud, making me buck in surprised intensity of the touch. She held me down with her hands, swirling her tongue around one nipple while playing with another using her thumb and forefinger.
She paid equal attention to both my nipples. She was still suckling on the second one when I felt her fingers slipping into the waistband of my slacks and underwear. It was an excruciating pleasure to feel her fingers delve through the layers of clothing, to find the one sweet place that was pulsing just for her.
I made a strangled sound at the back of my throat when her fingers sifted through the thatch of pale hair at the top of my core. Pleased with my reaction, she repeated it, making me lift my hips in silent pleas for her to move her fingers lower.
And she did move lower. One finger moved down to massage the tip of my aching sex, making me buck and writhe wildly.
“Please.” It was a chant that I couldn’t rid my mind of.
“Wrap your legs around me.” It was a command, and I felt it stir my already dripping wetness.
I wrapped both legs around her lean waist, just as she leaned down to kiss me, her tongue moving into my mouth with the pent up ardor in her body. At the same time, her finger moved down, pressing between my nether lips, coating it with my copious juices. Slowly, she pushed into me, and I felt myself embracing the thrust of her finger, whimpering as I did so.
“You’re really tight,” she whispered as she began moving in and out of me, gradually making me accept more of her lean finger. The pleasure was sinful, making me lift my hips for more of it each time she withdrew.
One of her palms was braced on the bed, holding her weight up, the other in my pussy. But that didn’t deter her from leaning down and capturing a pouting nipple between her lips. Her thumb flicked over my clit as she bit down on one pink crown, making a spiraling sensation unfurl between my legs. It grew as she sucked none-too-gently on my sensitized nipple, drawing it away from my body before letting it bounce back.
By this time, my vocabulary had whittled down to ‘oh my god’, and as her thumb pressed down onto my clit, I felt myself tense for that final, exquisite release.
I screamed – something I never did, as I came. She kept her finger inside me, wriggling it as I thrashed, wave after wave of an orgasm trickling through my body. It was bliss, pure bliss that overwhelmed me and I basked in every second of it.
It was quite a while before I got my breathing under control. Aftershocks of pleasure still vibrated through me between moments, but that was a wonderful reminder of fantabulous sex. Alex had collapsed on top of me, her breathing raw against my neck. I was luxuriously satisfied and felt sleep creep up on me. Then I remembered.
The sound that came out of her throat wasn’t even a growl. There wasn’t a category to put it under.
“I should return the favor, shouldn’t I?” OK, I couldn’t help the yawn that I said that around.
“It’s ‘kay. Took care of it,” was what I think she said. Her voice was all rough and low and muffled.
I yawned again when she rolled off me, thinking that there wasn’t a better feeling in the world than having the greatest sex partner. I turned towards her, and saw that she was watching me.
She moved as close to me as humanly possible. “You know… the look on your face when you came… it made me come.”
My eyes grew wide from shock. I didn’t know what to say. What would one say to that?
“Yeah.” She reached down to touch herself and winced. “A little sensitive now.”
“Mmm.” I could feel sleep creeping up on me again. She chuckled.
I watched her through half-closed eyelids as she shucked her jeans and pulled the comforter around us. The smell of sex and Alex surrounded me and I smiled.
“‘Lex?” I whispered just before I was dragged down by sleep.
“Wear your eyebrow ring.”
I could hear her soft laughter. “Why?”
“‘S Sexy,” I heard myself say… but then again, I couldn’t be sure.
I awoke with a start, hours later. There was a faint glow coming from between the partially drawn curtains that told me it was near dawn. I turned over on the bed, realizing that Alex was gone, which probably contributed to the uneasiness that I felt.
The first thought that popped into my head was, had it all been a dream?
Then I saw the figure sitting on the chair in front of dressing table and the notion was dispelled. I smiled, but it faltered at the look on her face, that was reflected in the oval mirror.
She turned toward me, her face a blank mask. My brows furrowed and I rubbed my eyes for a bit, before hastily clasping the slipping sheet to my chest.
“‘Morning. Why’re you dressed already?” I moved to the other end of the bed so that I’d be nearer to her.
“What’s wrong?” I asked when she didn’t reply.
She held up a slip of paper, rising from the seat as she did. I was just a mass of sleep-warmed flesh as she came towards me with it in hand. She stuck it in front of my face and I leaned back to read it.
It was the flight ticket I’d booked for the end of the month – the one I’d stuck on the refrigerator. How did she get it?
What was she thinking?
“When were you going to tell me?”
I stared blankly at the piece of paper, dread creeping into my veins, trying to explain myself. My mouth opened and closed, but nothing came out.
“When were you going to tell me?” she repeated, her words were bitter and hard.
“Alex, listen, I booked this a couple of weeks back…”
I couldn’t find the words to answer her after that, for I didn’t know how to, especially when she asked me in that tone. I’d meant to tell her last night, but it had slipped my mind completely. My lips parted for me to say just that, but she moved away and placed the ticket on the edge of the bed.
“I believed you, you know. When you said you wanted something with me, I believed you,” she said quietly. “I didn’t know why I did. Everyone whom I ever believed in…”
A bitter laugh. It pained me to hear it. She shook her head. I wanted so badly to say something, but my throat felt tight and I couldn’t bring myself to utter even a word.
“I don’t understand why I thought you were different. Fuck. I’ll just… go.”
My eyes followed her movement towards the door; I remained unmoving. It felt like I was outside my body, watching all this shit unfold after such a magical night. But when I saw her frame move past my doorway, my legs and my voice box jerked into action.
“Alex, wait!” I called out as I ran to my closet and threw T-shirt and shorts on. I kept calling for her to wait as I did so, but when I raced out to the hall, she wasn’t there. I opened the front door, hoping that she’d be waiting for the lift, but she wasn’t there either. I heard a distant rumble and ran across the small hallway in bare feet, towards the windows that overlooked the carpark. I was just in time to see Alex pulling away from the lot without her helmet on. Something painful twisted in me as I watched her go, and the further she went, the worst the pain became.
I didn’t know how long I stood there, staring at the route she’d taken. I was crying, too, silent tears that I had never cried before. What the hell had I done? What did all this mean? Why was my life so fucked up?
I went back into the condo, looking back to the couch where we’d made out on last night. I didn’t know what to do. She had it all wrong. I wanted a relationship with her, and I didn’t care if I had to miss flights to make it work. But she didn’t know that.
I guessed that I would’ve thought the same thing if I’d been her… especially since she’d already been let down by the people she loved, once in her life.
My breath caught as I spied the envelope on the coffee table, the envelope that Alex had given me last night. I walked towards it and knelt before the table, gingerly picking the letter up. I opened it up as quickly as I could, and a thick pile of letters fell out. I flipped the stack open, and immediately spied the date on the top of it.
The next one.
And the most recent one.
the bottom of the letter said:
“I think I’ve fallen for you, Miss S. Happy Valentine’s Day.”