She had no intention of sleeping with Adam. Besides the matter of a painfully loyal boyfriend, there were her standards to think about. And ew, he slept with her best friend the other night. She was inquisitive and dangerously specific in her questioning, yes, but…no. No.
Last night, she stayed up till sunrise with Rico, her boyfriend. They talked and lay naked and she felt close to him. So close.
Her cell rang. Rico told her he loved her. She felt warm and said it back. I’ll be home soon, she said. He said he had something special planned.
In the car on the way to Adam’s, she called Rico’s roommate.
“I can’t tell you. It’s a surprise.”
“Tell me or I’ll tell Rico about the time you kissed his sister.”
“You wouldn’t.” He said it, but he knew she would. That’s exactly the type of thing Amanda would do. She was kind of a hardass like that. “Fine. He’s going to propose.”
She almost swerved into the next lane, causing a succession of loud horns.
“Fuck! I’m gonna say yes!”
So much warmth.
So Amanda knocked on Adam’s door in rapturous joy, camera in hand, without any intention besides another face for her photo project. The two were good friends and had spent many a moonlit drunken night pontificating the vast possibilities of a world where success in love and money came just as easy as sadness and pain.
She was wearing her favorite shirt, the one she wore when she wanted people to notice. Not gawk, not misconstrue, but notice. It was short and black and showed most of her mid-section. Just like how her shorts showed more leg. But that’s how she dressed, dammit, she told herself. It’s whatever.
Adam opened the door and graciously swept his arm with a slight bow of the head.
“Do come in, Madame,” he said with that smile she couldn’t help but find charming.
“Ah yes yes yes,” she tried to mock his high pitched British tone and tip-toed in like she was stepping over broken glass. Then the news.
“Rico is gonna propose tonight! I’m gonna say yes!”
Adam congratulated her and they talked about it in the kitchen and had a celebratory drink. Talk turned to the task at hand.
“So I’m yours,” he said. “Do with me what thy will.”
He led her into his bedroom, sparsely furnished by a high bookshelf and a nightstand. The room was actually mostly bed, with only inches of moving space surrounding it.
“Okay, I’m doing these pinups. Put on a nice shirt and tie and some black socks. No pants.”
“No pants?” He asked, and laughed.
“No pants.” She said it playfully. She felt good.
Through the lens of the camera, with the border between them, she enjoyed this part. The giving orders. Legs here, face that way. She clicked the shutter and thought about Rico, with his lip ring and tattoos. So what if he’s not in school, she thought. He’s a good musician, and he’s passionate. We’ll make a great team. The photographer and the musician. It sounded nice.
“Put your legs up. Pout. Look at me from behind.”
Adam was a good sport about it. In one pose, the one she really liked, he was half on his back with his legs in the air. She got closer and had to balance on the bed and to get a close up of his face.
There was a faint sense of intimacy. She ignored it.
He grabbed and steadied her.
“Look at me like you want me,” she said.
She was bending over him. Wavering. Her hair fell over her left eye and she used a hand to move it. She fell on him. The camera almost clocked him in the face. She noticed how solid he felt. She lingered.
Her right leg was between his. She felt him.
She didn’t. She just lay in his arms and looked at him. He did nothing except twitch the part that touched her leg, and smiled.
Get up. Move.
He put his arms around her.
That fucking smile.
There was a battle then. A pull from inside her. A fiery heat of flesh and longing. The terrible wrongness of it, the screaming in her brain, suddenly dulled and everything felt pristine.
He kissed her.
Seven minutes later, they were both naked and out of breath.
“What the fuck just happened,” she said.
He was panting and laughing.
He handed her a towel. She couldn’t look at him.
Her cell phone rang. It was Rico.
“I can’t wait to see you.”
The warmth was gone.
“I love you, too,” she said. “I’ll see you soon.”
Photo by Erin Jester.