Ok. This is stupid. (Part Four)

by Jamie Sughroue Brown

Part Four

We hover near one another, a suspenseful filament of tension cordoning us together. 

My undergrad chem lab professor would lustily envy the organic elemental bonds we have forming. 

It's my turn. I just don't quite know yet where I want this night (okay, morning) to go, so that enables my hesitation. I desperately wish that I'd taken a shot before I came over. Or at least brought something with me. Liquid courage has yet to fail me when called upon. 

Three count, quick inhale - and then I go for it, as if I'm about to cannonball into an icy pool. 

He's so attractive it makes my teeth chatter.

I'm so glad I swiped that ridiculously overpriced key lime lip balm on the old lips in the car, flutters through my brain as I press my vantage point of surprise. He's a few inches taller than me, so I have to stand on my tip toes. Should I really go for it and kick my right foot up like I always see in the movies? Why is my brain wired to have these mini-conversations with my subconscious at the most inopportune times?

A citrus emulsion is concocted as key lime and lemon meet, my lips and his tongue. He breaks away for a second, a lemon drop spit out into his hand. He opens the front door, throws it into the yard, slams the door shut, and then grabs my hand again. 

“Come on.”

I trail behind him through the hallway, and I try to sneak a few peeks into the rooms we hurriedly pass by. Living room, check. Dining room, check. Closed door. Damn. What's in there? And then we halt abruptly in the kitchen. He's caught me off guard with his sudden stop, so of course I slam into him. I was still mulling over what could be behind door number one. 

He laughs, and looks over his shoulder at me. “Slow your roll, lady.” 

I shove off his back (oh, DAMN, solid delts) and lean against the counter. 

“I thought we could both use a beer. Yeah?” I nod, and he yanks open the fridge door, doing a sexy half-bend to grab a couple bottles off the bottom shelf. I blatantly stare at his ass, appreciating his obvious dedication to some sort of fitness regiment. As he turns back toward me, I quickly avert my gaze and pretend to be picking at the band-aid on my leg. 

“Here you go.” He slides the Shiner across the island at me, and I pluck it off the black granite before it sails onto the floor. 

I set up camp perched on the counter, my sequined teal Toms kicked up against the Hickory cabinets. Nice grain. Gorgeous, really. My appreciation for all things wooden has heightened as of late - my obsession is getting out of hand. The LeafSnap app has transformed me into a bit of a wunderkind when it comes to identifying trees, and I've taken to quizzing myself when I'm out hiking. It's a wonder I'm single really, I sarcastically muse to myself. 

Colin saunters over, casually glancing his hand over my bare knees before hitching himself up next to me. He lightly shoulder bumps me. I look askance, and he gives me a head nod with raised eyebrows. 

“So . . .”

“Well, here we are,” I remark snarkily. 

“Sure are,” he handily responds in kind, and bumps his Shiner to mine. “Cheers.”

I grin, and chug my beer. The entire thing. Incredibly unladylike, but I do manage to not follow it up with a belch.

“Do you recycle?” I query, hopping off the counter and heading to the sink to rinse out the emptied bottle. 

“Yes - but it's fine, just leave it there in the sink. I'll take care of it tomorrow. Would you like another?” His voice rumbles in my ear. He's behind me. The man moves like a panther, for God's sake. I should just give up on trying to keep a bead on his physical location at any given time tonight. 

I cannot turn around; he has me ostensibly boxed in as he slides one arm under mine to place his bottle in the sink and the other snakes around my torso. Task completed, both arms join around my stomach and he pulls me tighter against him. I can't help but marvel at how our heights naturally put us in the perfect respect for him to nuzzle my neck. How do mates instinctively hone in on that one spot that turns our bodies into liquid gold? 

I sag against him, infinitesimally. He tenses in response and buries his face in my hair, inhaling deeply. His feral nature is attuned to my body's chemistry and movements. He's scented me, found our pheromones compatible - and now it's as if he's just toying with me; playing with his food before the final strike. 

I'm amenable.

“I don't know what shampoo you use, but don't ever change it. I could literally devour you whole right now.”

My lips twitch up as his words reflect my thoughts. 

I reach back with my right hand and pinch his ass. He startles and moves back just enough for me to twist around so that we're face-to-face again. 

“Why don't you start here?” I focus on those earthy eyes, unblinkingly, and press my lips against his. I'm eager to prove to myself that I can be slightly wanton. My pride has taken a death blow as of late, and this is just one of my many and varied attempts to punctuate its re-inflation. 

He too seems amenable.

I kiss him softly, a bit sweetly. Oh, god, is that too relationship-y? I've never done this one-night stand business before. Why am I thinking so much? I'm with a man, and I still can't turn off this damn brain. It's got to be killing the mood. I don't think I'm cut out for this. Maybe I should just bail while he's mid-pucker. It's probably hard to run with a boner, right? He won't chase me or anything. 

I peek at him through my lashes to gauge his reactionary time and find him staring back at me. 

He smiles, but keeps his lips against mine. “Quit thinking so much.”

May as well try. 

I put my hand against my head and press my finger into my temple. “Power button. Power save mode.”

He laughs into my mouth, and I gulp it in like goddamn sexy fuel. Humor is so important to me, especially a ripe and ready wit. I'm more turned on by a sharp, intelligent retort that pulls from our discussion and shows an attentiveness to what's been said by all parties than I am by a fit and athletic form. 

But, I'd be lying if I said physicality wasn't important too. I'm endlessly amused by the notion that if soul mates exist, we're to find one another to be the epitome of beauty. We're fallible and human - how could any of us hope to live up to such expectation? I know what my hair looks like when I wake up - hilarious, but definitely not within anyone's definition of beauty. 

“I think it's obvious that I'm just not keeping your attention well enough,” Colin mumbles, chafing his stubbled face against my cheek.

“Oh no!” I exclaim, aghast. “Seriously - I'm just a little unsure and think-y in new situations. It has nothing to do with you as a person. I know we don't know each other, like, at all - but I don't really do this kind of thing. Okay, I've never done this kind of thing. But I'm incredibly attracted to you, and would like to just let things happen.”

“Well . . . if you're going to be so forthright, I have confession as well.” Colin tries to feign chagrin, but looks more self-satisfied than anything. 

“Um, okay? What?” I'm dying. What is he about to say? 

“So, have you been talking to a guy named Larry on OkCupid? Profile name is OneCoolCucumber?” Colin asks, earnestly. 

“Okay, what the fuck. Seriously. How could you possibly know that? I've always been paranoid that you guys all have some secret way of communicating with one another and you talk about the girls on the site, like, who's slept with who, how soon, she has a weird mole on her right buttock, and shit like that - is it actually true??” I can't stop rambling. 

“Christ, no.” Colin rolls his eyes at me and shakes his head. “As handy as that would be, such a thing does not exist. If it did, I would know.”

“So, then . . . explain.” I cross my arms, and adopt a stern expression. 

“Well, that's me. I'm Larry. I mean, I'm actually Colin, my real name IS Colin, but I made up that fake profile initially to just test out the waters. I wasn't too sure how committed I wanted to be in using it, I was embarrassed to be on there at all. So I decided to primarily use my Larry account. But then you and I got to talking and stuff all the time for the past few months and to the point where I really wanted to meet you. But I didn't know how to broach the “fake account” subject, so I made another one, a real one this time. I wanted to ask for your number and get together a long time ago, but painted myself into a weird corner. I'm not sorry I did it. I got to know you, and that's what's important to me.” He exhales deeply, and waits for me to respond. 

I'm completely and utterly flabbergasted. There's no way I could have anticipated this, and I absolutely never would have guessed the two men were the same. 

“Listen, I need a minute. Where's your bathroom?” 

Colin points, and I retreat down the darkened hallway. I hesitate outside the closed door for a minute, my hand on the doorknob, and look back toward the kitchen. Colin is still standing by the sink, watching me. I give him a hesitant smile, and hold up a finger indicating I'll just be a minute. He nods, and steps out the back door with a lighter and a cigarette. 

I remove my hand, look up at the ceiling for a second, shrug my shoulders 

- and walk up the stairs.