Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Chapter 7: "It'll Be Over Soon"


"Happy anniversary, sweetie!" Emily says, bursting through my front door with a heavy-duty paper bag in hand.

Emily and I don't mark anniversaries like most couples do. We celebrate ours on October 12, the first day I helped her study. Every year on that date, we order Chinese food, just like we did that night. Of course, we didn't start dating until long after our study session, but we agree that our relationship never would have happened without it.

I love when Emily visits me. Lately, it's the only time I can relax. I don't have to worry about where she's going, or what she's talking to Renee about, because she's right here with me. And, best of all, it's a chance to show her a good time, to prove that she doesn't need anyone but me.

I'm horrible with chopsticks. I drop the same piece of General Gao's chicken three times, then look up to see her standing over me. "You just want me to feed you, don't you?" she smiles.

"You're on to me," I flirt back.

"Can we watch this?" she asks, pulling a video from my shelf, and I agree before I even see what she's picked. I don't care if it's the most boring piece of Hollywood crap ever committed to film; as long as Emily curls up underneath my arm to watch it, I don't care. And sure enough, as soon as I hit "Play", that's exactly what she does.

The plot slowly unfurls. A 1950s detective is hired by a shady character to find a missing man. He questions a series of people, most of whom wind up laying lifeless in a puddle of their own blood soon after meeting him.

According to the digital readout, 63:42 has elapsed. I am interested in the movie, but far more concerned with the suddenly very clingy woman attached to my side.

86:27. The detective and a young woman dance, then kiss, then fall into bed, naked--and something goes horribly wrong. Their sex turns from passionate to intense to violent. She screams. There is blood--

Emily gets up to use the bathroom. When she comes back, she remains standing.

She's going to leave for home. Why else wouldn't she be sitting down?

It's after 11, and far too late to go see him. But then again, Doug and Emily don't exactly have a romance for the ages. It's pure lust, as far as I can tell, and I guess late at night is as good a time as any to have sex. Maybe she texted him from the bathroom to tell him she's on her way. Maybe he's growing harder by the second as he waits in horny anticipation for her.

She'll probably tell me she's tired, that she's got a lot to do tomorrow, that she can barely keep her eyes open. I'll offer to let her sleep here, and she'll refuse. "I'm okay," she'll say, and I'll watch from the front window as her taillights fade out of sight.

This is our anniversary. She's supposed to be thinking about me, me and only me! It's unfair! How could she bring herself to share a romantic dinner with her boyfriend, on our most special of days together, only to go to her boss's house for cheap sex afterwards?

I look down. Her cellphone is on the floor. She couldn't have texted Doug from the bathroom.

"Do you wanna come lay down with me?" she asks, sweetly, and I go stiff under my boxers. "Come lay down with me" has always meant the same thing.

This will be the first time we have made love since I found out. I'd like to say that it will be a relaxed, sexy romp between two long-time lovers, but it won't. This is the Super Bowl of sex, a pressure-packed test of my ability to please her. Whether I like it or not, I am competing against someone else now, someone who is almost definitely more experienced than me.

I stare at her face in the half light of my bedroom, watching her white teeth as she whispers to me, smiling like a little girl.

"Why have you been so sad lately?" she asks softly, tracing swirls on my bare chest with her finger.

"I miss you. I'm miserable when you're not with me."

"Yeah right, you probably have another girlfriend," she giggles.

"How could you say that, Emily? How could you say that to me?" I ask, sharply. We have been whispering up to this point; it seems like I was shouting, though I wasn't.

"I was just kidding!"

"I don't like the way you kid!

"Then I won't kid with you anymore! I'm sorry you can't take a joke!"

"Are you cheating, Emily? Do you have another boyfriend?"

Shock flashes across her face, then disappears so quickly that I might have been imagining it. "No!" she shrieks. "Should I be mad at you for asking?"

I shake my head no, and let silence fill the room.

She takes a deep breath. "I don't want to fight with you. It's our anniversary!"

"I don't want to fight either."

"You're so good to me. You make me feel special. You're the only one who's ever made me feel that way."

"Then why--"

"Why what?"

I have to ask her. Now seems like the wrong time, but there is really no right time for something like this. She's opened up to me now, maybe enough to be totally honest about everything.

"Then why don't I see you more often?"

I couldn't bring myself to say it. If I did, she'd come up with an excuse that somehow explained everything, then she'd rip into me for spying, and I'd have to suck up to her for months to make up for it.

"It's our busy time of year at work. It'll be over soon."

"Do you promise it'll be over soon?"


We kiss. All at once, I am on top of her, and our eyes close as I feel her tongue slip slowly into my mouth.

I pull away and watch in slow motion as I slide down her lacy pink panties. My eyes scan upward and stop between her legs, where I see...

She definitely has not shaved recently. Emily has a thick bush, straight out of a 70's porn film, and it's just as full as ever.

"Haven't you ever seen a naked girl before?" she chuckles, as I stare at her.

Doug will not go near her unless she shaves, and she hasn't shaved, which means she has not cheated on me. This is ironclad proof. I wish I could shove those black curlicues in the face of everyone who tried to break us up. I knew I could count on her!

She hugs me with her arms and legs, pulling me tightly against her, burying her mouth in the spot where shoulder meets neck. I am almost outside myself, watching as our bodies mingle together, and out of nowhere the realization hits me.

This is all Doug's fault.

Emily loves me. She always has. But then Doug came along, with his powerful job and fat wallet, and convinced her that she was missing something.

She must have told him that she had a boyfriend, and he didn't care. He just dismissed me, cast me aside as if I were an annoying kid. I was someone in the way of what he wanted, and he thought he could just crush me under the weight of his huge ego. But he doesn't even know me! Clearly Doug has grown far too confident, and even if he lives to be 100, he will never respect someone like me.

But for all Doug knows, I could be a black belt. Or a gun nut, with an assortment of loaded rifles under my bed. Or, I could have a nine-inch hunting knife in my glove box. How can he be so nonchalant about this?

Yes, I'm being territorial, and I don't care. He is trying to take what is mine, and it's awakened several million years' worth of evolution in me.

I'm too passive about a lot of things. I've always been an easy mark because I didn't fight back. But what if I finally did?

I am just angry enough to hurt Doug right now. Maybe angry enough to kill him. If he were here, maybe I could rip his insides out and watch as buckets of blood gush out of him, just like those victims in the movie.

In my mind's eye, I see myself grabbing Doug from behind, clutching a handful of his well-coiffed hair and yanking his head violently back as I slit his throat from one side to the other, feeling the warm rush of blood over my forearms, hearing the wet gurgle as he strains to draw a final breath.

Reality comes flooding back to me and suddenly I am back in my room. I can hear the grunts, which I barely recognize, though they come from my own throat, can hear the bed creak and groan frantically, like an old amusement park ride; and I can see my forearm across Emily's neck and her pained grimace as she tries desperately to breathe.

"Holy shit!" I say, pulling my arm off of her neck. "Are you okay?"

"Don't worry about it," she says, pressing our lips back together.

Could it be she enjoyed that?

Next... Chapter 8: A double decaf and a skin graft