I felt him roll over, his arms pulling me as he went. So I was back again in his arms, feeling the warmth of his body and the persistent rise and fall of his chest.
Funny, when I had first imagined him bare chested several years ago, I thought there would be hairs all over. I had imagined a forest on his chest, which I had hoped would dissuade my ravaging thoughts. But in the end, I ravaged on, and there was nothing forest-like about his chest. As a matter of fact, his dark colored skin turned out to be as smooth as my lotion cream, and annoyingly spotless too; like the hairs had never dreamt of growing there.
His eyes were shut as I watched him sleep, red lips parted a bit to let air in and out. There was a comfortable serene about the way he drew those breaths and then exhale. It was like he was at peace.
But what did I know? I scolded myself, as I rolled my eyes at my silly thoughts.
Despite how much I wanted to fight it, I could still see it coming like a biting cold, eating through the muscles of my being. It was obviously taking its time to push aside the barred doors of my heart.
I rose from the bed and walked into the kitchen, deciding then that I needed a drink. I must be thinking wrong, I snorted.
The wine was warm as it passed my throat, drowning the thirst as it went. I could feel the exhaustion in every fiber and in every muscle of my being but yet, I’d never felt so alive in a long time.
This was silly, very silly I cautioned myself, as reasoning began to stroll in after a night’s walk.
The lazy bastard.
The sudden flick of the light announced the return of power. I had left the TV on and the light from the screen was streaming very close to his face. And from where I stood watching, he had started to turn. I hurried over to the TV stand and then, turned the TV off, but his eyes had already flipped opened.
“You’re beautiful!” he muttered, a grin on his face with eyes glued to the ‘nothing’ underneath my nightwear. He seemed to be enjoying the view from where he laid.
Damn tv! I cursed I didn’t want him up…
“Hey what are you doing up, come back to bed” he insisted, his hands directing me to the spot I had been few minutes earlier.
“I will” I said, sitting on my cushion chair beside the bed instead, as I crossed my legs.
For a while we were quiet. I had thought he would have fallen right back to sleep but he just laid there…looking…..staring at me.
“What?” I asked, getting uncomfortable from his stares.
“Nothing” he answered, not taking his eyes off.
“Ok” I said, glancing away and moping around my bed room as if I hadn’t seen it before. My post-its were still everywhere; the window, mirror, walls, doors and tables. All of them were supposed to help me stay away from him, I thought angrily as I glared at them. I knew every word on every paper. That morning, I had read them like I’d read them every morning before, hoping that the words would somehow sink into my empty skull and remain grounded, but obviously, they had fled like cowards as soon as I ran into him at the bank that day.
“What’s all these?” he asked. His eyes had followed mine and for the first time, he seemed to have noticed the post-its.
“Nothing” I answered, hoping that would be the end of it, but he had stood on his feet, glancing through the post-its on the wall beside him.
“Wait, is that my name?” he asked laughing and in a flash, I had moved from my seat and was now standing between him and the wall.
“Why is my name on your wall? I mean what’s all these?” He queried, partly perplexed and partly amused, as he plucked off one of the post-its and glared at it.
“Stay back!” I heard myself yell, snatching the paper from his hand. Puzzled by my sudden outburst, he took a step back; the smile gone.
“Don’t touch my things. How many times do I have to tell you that?” I asked angrily, setting back the paper in its position on the wall.
“Lara! You’re beginning to scare me o. What the hell are all these, or are you now like a super cop or detective or something?” he asked bemused.
I made no move to answer. Almost as slow as a snail, I walked back to my seat and sat.
“So you are not going to explain this to me? You are not going to tell me why you have my name boldly written on your wall, in capital letters, with a marker pen and then with a circle around it? That’s some scary shit, Lara” He asked walking towards me now.
“Nope” I answered watching him. In my head, I was like if he got any closer, I might just hit him hard on the head with the glass cup I could see sitting empty on the table beside the bed. Luckily, he stopped at a safe distance, and I relaxed.
“Wow! You’re still mad! I can’t believe this” he announced.
“You can’t believe what?” I asked genuinely confused about his statement. He was going down a vaguely familiar road, one I wasn’t sure of. However, I decided that if he was going to show his aces first, I could as well get my spades ready.
Let the mind game begin.
“Lara, I said I was sorry” He continued, a wry smirk lost at the corner of his lips. At first, I wanted to hear him continue, but something in my head was asking, what was the point? You wanted to have the last laugh Lara. You’ve had it. Don’t join in his silly game.
But why not? I wanted to ask.
“Was that before we had sex or after?” I asked, getting excited as I imagined the cards being shuffled somewhere in my head.
“Yea, I thought so” I answered sarcastically, allowing a sense of satisfaction fill my soul.
“Alright…I’m truly sorry Lara…I want you back” he continued, now dropping on his knees. There were days I wanted so badly to hear those words. It was like I couldn’t exist any longer if I didn’t hear them. But those days where gone…long gone.
I dropped the Ace and then picked up a diamond…a black diamond.
“See… I’ve ended things with her. I’m sorry Lara, to even had thought for a second that leaving you and building a family with her, because she was fortunate to be pregnant with my child, was the right decision” he continued, dragging his knees, as he pulled closer to me.
I laughed. This was a trick I’d come to know all too well. Wasn’t he my teacher? Five years with him was enough to learn and to become familiar with the twist and turns of the game. It was no longer enough to know the tricks; it was way more fulfilling now to know how to play them, especially with the trickster himself. Who else could be more competitive?
I scowled “But how could you Darey?…How could you?”
I feigned more anger “Did I mean so little to you?”
“No No…it was a mistake Lara. It really was” He pleaded, cupping my jaw. The tears had begun to flow and I could tell that his cards were hitting the floor.
“Five years Darey…for five years, you sprung me along…..making me believe that you loved me….while you were busy shagging….. her..!” I wanted to say her name, but somehow I couldn’t.
Her name was lost somewhere between my tongue and my esophagus.
“Oh Lara! I’m so sorry” Darey pleaded tearfully.
Hmm….he’s stepping up…I thought, as I saw the tears roll down his cheek too.
“What can I do to make it up to you?” he asked, pulling me from my seat.
“Get rid of her…and the baby” I answered, without a single thought.
“I just told you…I’ve done that…She is no more in my life” Darey replied, pulling my face up to meet his.
“I heard you before and that is not what I meant. That’s not exactly what I want” I answered, looking deep into his eyes.
“Ok? I’m confused….what exactly do you want?” he asked, the confusion taking root at the bottom of his lips.
I stared harder into his eyes, my face stolid as a rock.
“No…No….you surely cannot mean that” he moved back, suddenly frightened as he read my meaning.
I said nothing….
“Lara!” he yelled, his eyes twitching as he did. “You certainly cannot mean that. You want me to do what?”
“Stop yelling” I scolded, throwing my back, back on the seat.
“I should what? Stop yelling? Yelling that you want me to….that you want to…” He couldn’t finish the sentence.
“What happened to you Lara? What the hell happened to you for you to even think that” he asked, his face twisted in disgust.
I was thinking now; few months ago, maybe that look from him would have got me feeling awful and repentant, but I was way beyond that now.
I picked a queen again….
“If you won’t do it Dare” I continued, ignoring the fear in his eyes. “I will”.
“You must be sick…very sick” he retorted, and then picked up his clothes. He mumbled and grumbled as he donned them. As soon as he was done, he picked up his car keys.
“Maybe I should go….probably by the time I’m back. You’ll be back to your senses” he continued as he began to head for the door. I stood up and followed him.
Just as he was about to cross the door, I pulled him back and for a minute, he thought I was leaning in for a kiss because he had shut his eyes and left his lips ajar, but I turned towards his ears and whispered.
“You are going to do what I asked Darey” I muttered, quietly “Whether you want to or not. Trust me”.
And with that, I pushed him out of my doorway and shut the door.