Friday, March 04, 2005

Mr. Fix-it

Friday, February 25, 6:30pm
Tim's apartment

I love fixing computers. I love installing and deinstalling software and updating settings. I love taking computers apart and adding components. I love cleaning up spyware and adware and clearing recycle bins. I love it so much because, unlike the rest of my life, a computer problem is usually very well-defined, and there's no mistaking when it's solved. Overall, computers are a hell of a lot easier to deal with than people.

I show up at Tim's door like a doctor making a house call, with my laptop bag in hand. I always bring my laptop when fixing someone's computer, along with a book of CD's, a set of small screwdrivers, and a penlight. Sure, I am a dork at heart, but this really relaxes me.

Tim answers the door in a dark blue ribbed T-shirt. The sleeves are a little too long, and she grips them in her palms, Jennifer Love Hewitt-style.

"Heyyy, baby!" she says, flinging her arms around me. Her shirt rides up, briefly flashing her midsection.

She presses her mouth against mine and holds it there for an endless moment. I watch as her eyelids slide gently closed.

There's no lip-kneading, and there's no tongue involved. But it's not a friendly peck, either. We're definitely in a grey area, and I have a feeling that this won't be the last time we will be tonight.

She pulls away suddenly and bounds to the kitchen. "You want a drink," she asks, smiling coquettishly over her shoulder.


"All I have is water and Sprite. Sorry!"

"Water's fine."

She hands me a bottle of Evian, smiling cheerily up at me.

I look her up and down. She's wearing light blue sweatpants with the drawstring tied neatly in a bow. The legs flare out just slightly at the bottom, exposing her bare feet and - gulp - red-painted toenails. Her light blonde hair is pulled over one shoulder and hangs down almost to her breast.

I feel my pulse quicken. She is completely beautiful, even when scrubbed out.

" turn it on today, but it was acting really funny..."


"My computer?"

"Yeah, yeah, it was acting funny?"

"Mmm-hmm. Can I show you?" she says, tilting her head at me.

"Yeah, sure."

Her PC is a disaster. There are so many Internet Explorer windows open that the icons don't fit on her toolbar. Pop-ups are everywhere.

"I'm gonna go check on dinner. You have fun!"

"Yeah, I'm gonna need a while here."

"I hope you like chicken parm, 'cause that's what I'm making."

"That's awesome!"

"I want you to know I went shopping for you," she says, holding up a huge salad bowl. I see romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and croutons, among other things.

"Tim! You didn't have to go to all that trouble."

"Anything for my bay-beeee," she says sweetly, touching her chin flirtatiously to her shoulder.

I start by unplugging her cable modem. With the flow of new popups stopped, the system speeds up a little right away. I deinstall 6 or 7 spyware applications from the "add/remove programs" menu and reboot. Then I install AdAware and SpyBot (burned them onto a CD at home, so I wouldn't have to download them) and run them both.

AdAware found over 400 problem files; SpyBot found 120 more. Each program needed to reboot and run again to catch everything. I look at my watch. Forty-five minutes have passed.

"Dinner's ready!"

I come to the table. "This looks awesome!"

"I like cooking."

"Do you cook for Dom quite a bit?"

"Mm-mm," she says, shaking her head and looking down at her plate. She's uncomfortable now.

She rarely ever mentions Dom to me. When she and I are talking, or together, it's almost like neither of us knows him.

She reminds me of myself when I was with Lila. Yes, I was with Lila, and no, I usually didn't hide it. But when there was someone else I had my eye on, I removed all references of Lila from the conversation, George Orwell-style. It made it seem like I wasn't dating her, even though I was.

Tim is careful not to allude in any way to the twisted mess of broken hearts and shattered friendships that might result if we hook up. She acts as if there is nothing standing in our way, like this would be the simplest thing in the world. Just like I used to act.

I have to admit that, to a certain extent, it works. When I look at her warm, inviting smile, I find myself saying, What the hell? Why not? SHE sure as hell wouldn't blab to anyone, and neither would I. I could fuck her, couldn't I, and then pack up my laptop and leave, like some character in a bad porn movie. I can almost see the blurb on the outside of the box: "They're horny housewives with PC's on the blink, and HIS hard drive is never floppy!"

This isn't about Dom. Or Lila. It's about hedonism. It's about having a beautiful woman in front of me, a woman who is willing, and about me struggling to remember all the reasons why this is a mistake. This is a TEST.

Dinner is awesome. Everything is delicious, and we talk and laugh the whole time. It feels just like we are on a date. We are really clicking (this is right about the time that Jerry would ask the girl to marry him, by the way).

Tim walks up behind me and reaches over to grab my empty plate. Her boob is an inch away from my face. I try not to look, but I feel myself getting hard. My heart throbs in my chest. She freezes for what seems like an eternity.

"Thanks! Everything was really good," I say, turning around to look at her. I actually have to lean my head back to see around her tit.

"You're welcome," she whispers. She leans over and kisses me again. It's another pseudo-makeout: No tongue, no mashing. I feel her her lips against mine, thick, warm, and slippery, and I know I am losing control.

She pulls away from me. My cock throbs painfully as I imagine myself tearing her excessively-long-sleeved T-shirt from her body, exposing her two firm melons. My hands are shaking; my lungs scream for air as if I've just run a mile. If she kisses me that way again, I honestly don't know if I'll be able to hold back.

"Go fix my computer," she says.

I install and run HiJackThis and post the log to a couple of techie forums on the web, but I've been using HJT long enough that I know what can be safely deleted. I get rid of 10 or 15 more troublesome files, plug the modem back in, and reboot. No pop-ups.

"You're a lot better now," I say.

"Good." She pats the seat next to her. "Come sit! I'm watching American Idol!"

"On a Friday?"

"I taped it."

I'll watch for ten minutes, then I'm gone, I think.

I sit next to her on the couch, leaving a good 12 inches between us. Immediately, she puts her legs in my lap. "Ooooh, this girl is so good!" she says, as Carrie Underwood takes the stage. (I DEFINITELY wouldn't mind nailing Carrie, by the way). Again, it's a brilliant play-off: It's like she puts her legs in guys' laps every day.

I could get up and leave right now. I probably should. But it's like I am outside my body, watching the two of us as if we were actors in a movie. I can't wait to see what happens. I can't wait to see if I am able to resist temptation.

Could it be this easy to slip up? After everything Steph and I have been through together? As much as I care about her? Could I be this close to cheating? What the fuck is wrong with me?

"You're shaking," she says.