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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

burning man pt 1

August 28, 2014

"You told him what?" Mark stared at me incredulously, his dark eyes searching my face.

"Hey, eyes on the road. Come on." We were in a rented car, driving through Black Rock City (where people set up tents and camps at Burning Man) at 4am. He was driving about 2 mph--all around us were groups of people walking and biking, covered in glowsticks and LED wire and waving flashing things in the air. I couldn't tell if they were fucked up or just having fun. Driving from Reno into the desert hadn't been bad; I hadn't seen Mark in a couple of months and it was a GORGEOUS drive. I made him stop about twelve times so I could get out and look at the stars. Having lived in cities my whole life, I've always loved being out in the country just because there isn't any fucking light pollution. A full sky of stars is the most beautiful thing in the world. Every time I looked up, I kept trying to take pictures with my phone (obviously didn't turn out) and wishing Johnathan was with me.

"It just seems very unlike you." He finished, flatly.

"Well, you and I don't really know each other very well anymore, either."

I know that was a bitchy thing to say, but it was true. I also don't handle confrontation well, but maybe y'all have figured that out by now. Mark and I have been "seeing" each other for about 6 years--but we never lived in the same place, so it was more like when we saw each other, we were together, and when we weren't in the same place, we didn't talk much. He'd just finished up a stint in Rwanda with the Peace Corps, and had moved to Portland. We'd had a couple of dates in July, before I met Johnathan, and I'd really enjoyed seeing him, but I was already regretting my decision to leave Chicago.

When we got to camp, everyone else was asleep. Mark grabbed a lantern and helped me set up my tent in the hexayurt (google it) that the camp had built that day. I used to go camping a lot, and I knew it backwards and forwards, but nothing had really prepared me for how dusty and dry it was going to be in the desert. I couldn't breathe without getting dust in my mouth and nose, and my eyes were stinging but it was too dark to wear shades or goggles. Also, I wasn't used to the dark. I was wearing a flower crown with LED wire in the base, but that didn't give much light. Most people had headlamps. I eventually found my Maglite in one of my suitcases and propped it up while we finished with the tent.

After Mark showed me how to brush my teeth (over a bucket, with bottled water, that we kept covered during the day), we bedded down in my tent. We weren't touching, and I was so exhausted that my head hurt. It had taken all day to find a ride out to Gerlach (closest "town" to Burning Man) and then the RV I hitched a ride in had broken down on the side of the road in the middle of the night. Which is why I didn't get there until 4am. I was pissed, pissed at myself for leaving and pissed at Mark for buying me another plane ticket and then making virtually no effort to grab me from the airport and making me ride in some awful RV for hours. Maybe I am a lot more high maintenance than I tell people sometimes.

"So you think you're going through with it? It wasn't heat of the moment?"

"Yeah. I miss him so much. I feel so weird."

"I never thought you would want to get married. You're very independent. That's one of the things I like about you," Mark was notorious for getting in intense relationships and then breaking up with whoever he was involved with because he couldn't handle the emotional commitment.

"This doesn't change that, though. I'm not losing my identity," This talk was frustrating.

"You'll change, though."

I didn't say anything. I was tired of defending myself, but also starting to doubt and worry and snowball out of control that maybe this wasn't the right decision after all. I barely knew Johnathan. We had never done most of the things that most couples do. We hadn't had a fight yet, we hadn't even gone out to a restaurant together, or gone out to the movies, or gone to a bar. I knew Mark was probably just being extremely pessimistic, but it was starting to influence how I felt. I wanted to cry. Why did Johnathan want anything to do with me? When was the other shoe going to drop?

After laying there in the dark for a few minutes, I reached over and started digging through my purse for my klonopin. I knew I wasn't going to be able to sleep. I missed Johnathan so much that my chest hurt.

"I'm glad you were able to make it out, even if it's just for a few days. Things have been weird here."

"Uhmm.. yeah. Thank you for the ticket. Weird how?" I wasn't going to lie and say I was glad I had come.

"Oh.. nothing, really. Just weird. Tension at camp." 

Again, it was awkward. I hadn't brought a pillow with me, and I was using my bunched up coat stuffed in Johnathan's teeshirt, but it didn't smell like him anymore. I remember laying there and counting until eventually, I fell asleep.

-
August 29, 2014
-

In the morning, I felt better, maybe just because it was light outside. The hexayurt blessedly had kept the tent pretty cool over night, and Mark and I both woke up around 10am. My phone was still showing 3/4 battery charged, but I didn't have service. I heard music coming from all directions, and clanging noises, and it made me curious enough to want to get dressed. Digging around in my open suitcase, I pulled out my cream skirt and a lace bra top from Nasty Gal, along with my suede Stetson rancher hat, bandanna, and Wayfarers. I brushed my teeth in the bucket again (you don't want to know how gross the water was) and tried to find ways to avoid Mark.

That morning, I spent a lot of time wandering around Black Rock City before borrowing a bike from someone in camp and riding out on the playa (the desert, where all the art statues and things are, including the giant Man effigy and the Temple). The temple was really beautiful, all latticework work, covered in drawings and little things written by people in Sharpie. Lots of love messages, lots of telling presumed dead loved ones how much they were missed. Unlike virtually every other space at Burning Man, it was absolutely silent. People were huddled together on the floor, praying or meditating or whatever and a lot of them were crying. I found a spot on the ground and kneeled down and just thought about things. As much as I was trying to talk myself out of anything relating to Johnathan, I couldn't. He was solidly lodged in my brain, like a piece of shrapnel. I let my head flop back on my shoulders and started reading some of the inscriptions written in the temple. One of them really stuck out to me.

"The light in you keeps me safe from the darkness in me."

At first it just seemed like some sort of hokey new age bullshit, but the more I thought about it, the more it resonated. For the first time in my life, I had come across someone who didn't judge me. I had a feeling that no matter what I told Johnathan, I wouldn't shock him. We both had such gross, fucked up pasts that it didn't matter, and I felt like the two of us actually had a chance with each other, to survive, to be whole together, to actually have some shot at happiness. You never realize how lonely you've been until you meet someone who doesn't make you feel that way anymore, and I've felt lonely for my entire life, even when surrounded by friends.

Thinking about this was making me really emotional, and I wondered if that was the reason that everyone else in the temple was crying, too. I saw these couples hugging each other and snuggling on the floor and wondered if they felt the same way as me. It was kind of overwhelming, but cathartic at the same time.

That night, we rode out on the playa in an art car (Minstrel Cramp) and I deliberately left my phone at camp. Mark had gotten pissy with me earlier in the afternoon when he'd caught me, hopping around on one leg and desperately trying to get service so I could text Johnathan back. In a rare moment, my phone had struck gold and I'd gotten six texts from him. One of them was a selfie of himself in a suit with a vest, and the caption was "Your husband in teal!" (his vest was teal. He was going to a wedding? Or something?) and since then, I'd been desperately trying to send him a picture of me that Mark had taken earlier. No luck.

"You're spending the whole time on your phone, stop that. You're supposed to be experiencing this!" Mark had said, in a trying voice.

"I know.. it's just.. ugh. I can't explain," I knew how weak I sounded, and it was very embarrassing.

"No, this is just like you. You obsess over new people, and that's it. Then you get bored with them, or sick of them."

"You can't say that about me. We've been dating for almost 6 years!"

"Yeah, but Lauren, I don't live in the same place as you. I never have. I'm always 'new'. We never have time to get sick of each other,"

"Well I don't think that's going to happen this time! It feels different."

"You don't know that, though. You've said that before. How much do you even know about this guy? What is his middle name?"

"He doesn't have one," I sulked. I did know the answer to that--but only because I'd asked him in one of our marathon emails. I wasn't mad, but I felt very upset and frustrated. And my phone still wasn't working.

"Look, I'm not trying to be an asshole. I'm really not. I want you to be happy. But this seems really, really like a not good thing to do." Mark's voice was gentler. I realized he'd never actually upset me before now.

"I know. You have my best interests in mind. Everyone does. But I'm sick of no one believing me," I could feel tears starting to well up. Again, I was confused and doubting everything now. Thanks, Mark, you asshole.

"I do. And I care about you, and this guy sounds like he's been involved in a lot of shady shit. I just want you to be careful."

"I get it, ok?" Snapping back at Mark to hide the fact that tears were welling up in my throat, I turned away. And for starters, I wasn't going to fucking take relationship advice from someone who literally could not handle being in a relationship with anyone that lived closer than 4 hours away.

"Just think about this, please? Before you say you're gonna marry the guy,"

"I already said yes. I meant it. I love him. I want to be with him."

"El, you don't have to marry him to do that,"

"But I want to," With this, Mark gave up and turned away. Since that conversation, we hadn't spent a lot of time talking. Now we were both on the art car, but with a ton of other people. This girl with incredible blond dreads and a bandanna tied over her chest sat down next to me and tucked her knees up under her chin. Her pupils were huge, and I wondered what she'd taken.

"Are you okay? You look sad. Please don't be sad." After she spoke, I was guessing she was at least on LSD, maybe ecstasy as well. I decided I could be very candid with her.

"I miss my boyfriend. He's my soulmate and we don't do well when we're not together."

The girl's eyes widened even more and she made an 'awww' sound.

"Well, when do you see him again?"

"I guess in a week or so. Whenever I go home." I didn't get into explaining the move to her, figuring it was probably too complicated for right now.

"Take this time for yourself, and just think about stuff. It might do some good," she nodded sagely, obviously pleased with her own advice.

I didn't say anything, just turned away so I was looking out the other side. That was exactly what I was already doing, except it wasn't going as well as planned.


-- Author's Note --

Hi all, just a couple of things.

1) I started 'backdating' the entries, I know the time difference was a little confusing, so I hope this helps. I'll keep doing it until we get to present day, assuming my life doesn't implode to the point where I no longer want to write about, lol

2) I feel like kind of an irresponsible person (hugely, lol) for not mentioning in my last post that I'm on the pill. I have definitely fucked up and made mistakes in the past where I had unprotected sex, but after having too many scares, it's not something I take lightly.

3) Sorry for the short-ish post. Friday's might also be short, I've been busy with the holidays and my parents (!) are coming to visit this weekend to uhm.. can't say anything or I'll spoil a lot, lol.

Friday, December 26, 2014

"we have more red flags than a fucking beijing airport"

August 24th - 6something am

When I got back to Johnathan's, I cried again (not bad tears), and undressed and got in bed with him and we had sex and then I went back to sleep. I woke up to him gently shaking my shoulder. 

"Baby, I have to take my mom grocery shopping. I'll be back in a few hours. Do you want anything?" I looked at him pathetically through my bangs and nodded no. He kissed me on the forehead and told me he loved me and that he was happy I was back, and left. For some reason, the whole ordeal had really tired me out and I slept until past 11. When I got up, Johnathan still wasn't home yet. I went into the bathroom and turned on the shower, and tried to figure out what I was going to do. 

I hadn't even told Mark yet that I'd missed my flight, and I was trying to figure out how I'd spin it to him. Considering he paid for the tickets and all, I was imagining he would be upset. I also now didn't have a ride from the Reno airport out into the desert, which is about a two hour trip. Mark lives in Portland, Oregon, so he'd just driven out and had been in Reno for a couple of days visiting friends. Um. Welp. Eventually I just texted him the truth: that I'd somehow screwed up the booking and was going to try again in a couple of days. Probably Wednesday. Even though that missing quite a bit of the festival, I didn't really care. I wanted more time with Johnathan. 

After I took a shower, I fixed my hair as best I could with my mini-straightener and some dry shampoo. That fallback plan about the DryBar was probably going to come to fruition whenever I had the chance. Maybe tomorrow, when Johnathan was at work. He'd gotten home sometime when I was in the shower, and I heard him singing Elvis in the other room through the wall. Not surprisingly, he had a great voice. He was still singing when I came out in a towel, he held out his hand. We slow-danced in his bedroom for about 30 seconds to him singing Can't Help Falling in Love. Ugh. When did my life become a movie? 

"How was your mom doing?" I knew from talking to him that he was pretty close to his mom. His dad died when he was 20, and he was an only child, and she was pretty accepting of his lifestyle and all the things he'd done. She hadn't even tried to break up Johnathan and his ex-fiancee, the cokehead sex worker. 

"She's doing well," he seemed a little guarded and I sensed maybe he hadn't told her about me. Which, yeah, I don't blame him for, but it still hurt a little bit.

"Did you tell her about me?" I don't really know how to be subtle sometimes. 

"Not really," he looked me in the eyes and kept talking "She's not really used to seeing me with someone who stays around. I used to get really excited about girls and get her to meet them and then they'd decide they didn't want to stick around and leave in a couple of weeks. She also doesn't really "get" polyamory," 

"Oh. Well, yeah, that makes sense. My mom doesn't really know that I do that, she wouldn't get it. She'd just call me slutty," This was true. I love my mom (we're super close), but she's very traditional and conservative. She'd cried when I told her I wasn't a virgin anymore. 

"No, I mean, my mother sees the logic of it. She just doesn't really approve, and she doesn't think I'm serious about someone unless I'm monogamous with them, and she doesn't want to meet someone who she knows I'm in a poly relationship with," I nodded, also kind of understanding this, but still feeling slightly hurt by it. 

"Am I your girlfriend?" 

"Yes, and I really do see things lasting a long time with you. We're very similar creatures, princess." 

"We are," I nodded again. Something about the way we always stared at each other made me feel like I didn't really have to explain myself. Sort of like he could read me well enough to not have to make me do that. 

We spent the rest of the day curled up in bed, drinking, smoking, and watching old horror movies (which we're both really into). I didn't even have to pretend to be scared so he'd hold me, 'cause he was already super affectionate. At some point, his roommate Doug came in and we started talking. I really liked Doug, he seemed like the most laid-back person ever. He was also in their comedy group, but from what John had told me, a rather unwilling participant at times. He preferred to spend his weekends drinking instead of writing and shooting comedy. I can't exactly say I disagree with him here, but whatever. 

The next morning felt kind of weird, but I slept through most of Johnathan getting ready. When he left for work, he leaned down and kissed me and told me he loved me. I went back to sleep after that, and didn't wake up until 9:30 or so. When I got up, I got on his computer and went through my email folders to find my resume. After fixing it up a little bit, I hopped on Craigslist and started sending it to various ads. I couldn't really afford to be too picky, and I also didn't want something super stressful. I sent out emails to a lot of ads looking for copyeditors and writers, as I used to work in publishing when I first graduated from college (before I worked at the university) and it had been easygoing and full of liberal arts people. I actually got a call from someone in the afternoon who wanted to know if I could come in for an interview on Friday, but when I told him I wasn't going to be available until early September, he told me that he wanted someone sooner than that. Oh well. It was still kind of encouraging. 

In the afternoon, I looked up a DryBar and went to go have my hair blown out. I have really thick, dry hair that I have to blowdry and use a flat iron on, but that also means I don't have to wash it every day, which had turned out to be convenient. The girl who did my hair did a good job, and it was kind of cool because it was practically empty in there. The other times I've gone to DryBars (in DC), they've been packed. After I got my hair done, I went to J Crew and wound up buying a sweater that I absolutely wouldn't need for at least 3 months and a dress that looked sort of Rag & Bone ish. Then I noticed I was near a Whole Foods, and I went in and bought a bottle of wine and some nice cheese and a baguette and some sea scallops to make for dinner. 

The evening was pretty similar to the other evenings we'd had: watching stuff, cooking, smoking, drinking, sex. I was really happy, but it felt kind of like I was living in dreamland still because I had no real plans for a job or anything yet. 

On Wednesday night, my phone pinged. I had an email from Expedia, saying that I had a flight out to Reno at 7am the next morning. Hm. I texted Mark, figuring he probably wouldn't have service, but he actually got back to me and told me that he'd gotten me on a plane and I'd be in Reno by tomorrow late morning. I was still not eager to leave Chicago, but I figured the extra couple of days together had been really good for Johnathan and me. He seemed much less insecure about my leaving and not coming back now, and I was starting to realize he wasn't going to ditch me, either. It was going to be awkward telling him that I was leaving the next morning, though. 

"Hey, it looks like Mark actually got me another plane ticket. It leaves tomorrow morning at 7 and I get into Reno around 11," I swallowed, nervously. 

"You're leaving tomorrow morning?" Johnathan didn't sound upset, just surprised. I nodded. He wrapped an arm around me and kissed the top of my head. 

"Okay. I still want you to go and have a good time, I know you were looking forward to this," 

"Yeah, until I met you," he snorted, and kissed me again. 

"I love you, and I want you to go have fun and then come back to me as soon as you can, okay princess?' 

"I will. I love you. I'll be back soon. About a week and a half." Johnathan smiled kind of sadly, and I felt awful. I felt like I'd ruined something, or that I was being selfish or awful. I couldn't really explain what was happening, it was like all I wanted to do was be with him and I didn't care so much about of the things that had made me want to move in the first place: tons of new people, tons of independence, a huge change of scenery. 

We didn't talk much for the rest of the night. He'd ordered Thai food for us instead of cooking, but I just picked at mine instead of really eating. When we were laying in bed, I felt him shift and turn towards me. I couldn't see anything in the dark, and all I could hear was the two of us breathing and the occasional El train passing. 

"I really love you, Lauren. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I would marry you. I want to marry you. Will you marry me?" 

"Yes," I didn't even hesitate. His mouth was on mine, tongue in my mouth, arms wrapped around me, pulling me close. Johnathan kept talking into my mouth as we were kissing, he kept asking me if I'd marry him over and over and I kept saying yes. Before I knew it, my legs were wrapped around him, and I could feel his erection against me, almost about to slide in. Instinctively, I pulled my hips back a little bit.

"Do we have a condom?" 

"Yeah, but we don't need to use one. I trust you. We both got tested recently," This was true. I'd gotten tested back in July, and he had in August. I still felt a little bit of hesitation, though. Which was weird. I'd just agreed to marry him and I was worried about not having a condom? I'm crazy. I wanted him more, though, and the idea of not using a condom was really hot because I wanted to be all the way close to him, without any kind of barrier. Without saying anything, I reached down to make sure he was still hard, and crawled on top of him, teasing his cock by lightly grinding on him. I felt his hands at the sides of my head, moving down my neck, sides, and finally stopping on my hips, where he pulled me all the way onto him. I leaned down and started kissing him and moaning into his mouth and we came really close together and it had that same feeling as it did the first time we kissed at home, where it was just this incredibly exhilarating energy that was overwhelming. I loved him so much. 

Leaving for the airport the second time was easier. I didn't cry. I put the same outfit on, kissed Johnathan, told him I loved him, and went off to ORD for the second time in a week. After I got on the plane, I pulled out my phone and saw that I already had an email from Johnathan. 

"I love you, please be safe and have fun. Come home to me soon, baby. Between the two of us, we have more red flags than a fucking Beijing airport, but I love us so much. I always want to be yours." 

Curling up under a teeshirt of his that I'd stolen, I switched my phone into airplane mode and gradually drifted off to sleep as the plane taxied to the runway. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

waking up in chitown

August 23rd, 2014

When I woke up in the morning, my neck was stiff and I was very sore. I lay there without moving for a moment and thought about trying to pull a Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids where she goes to the bathroom and comes back like, "just woke up like this". I didn't, though. I was too comfortable, even though it was way too hot in that room. My eyes flicked over the room again--ceiling with the weird peeling spot over my head, bookshelves, Venetian carnival masks on the wall. There was something small and warm close to my belly and I looked down to see one of Johnathan's cats (whose names I didn't actually know) snuggled against me, asleep.

"Good morning, princess," I felt myself smiling as I yawned and rolled over. Johnathan looked very awake, although I couldn't tell what time it actually was.

"Hi baby," Oh god, my voice was so scratchy. Yikes. I snuggled closer and rested my face on his neck as I felt his hands stroking my back under the blankets.

"Sleep okay?"

"I was out, ha, yeah. Do you know what time it is?" At this, Johnathan reached over for his phone and read me back a pretty early hour. I stifled a yawn and closed my eyes. I didn't want more sleep, exactly, but his bed was so comfortable and warm and I didn't really want to move.

It's funny, I felt so weirdly un-self-conscious for one of the first times in my life. Most of the time, first sleepovers are so awkward. And morning breath, and stubble, and all that shit. But I didn't really care because none of it seemed to bother him. It was very relaxing to feel that way, and not have to worry about whether or not I looked awful, even though I was pretty sure I probably did. I could feel where my hair was sticking up on one side, and if I smelled anything like the bed, I was pretty musky.

"Should we get up? Did we have plans for today?" I started to rise into a sitting position, but Johnathan grabbed my arm and tugged me back down until I was nestled against him, head on his chest, legs wrapped around one of his.

"No. We are not getting up right now. Maybe not ever. Maybe we should just stay here," he was half-whispering, stroking my hair, and holding me close. I couldn't decide whether I wanted to go back to sleep or have sex again.

"I do want to eat today, though. You promised me crab imperial," This was true. Johnathan had done a lot of bragging about what a good cook he was before we met, and I hadn't had a chance to test that. I was also fucking starving. Hours of sex and a light dinner will do that to you, I guess.

"Okay, pretty girl. You're right, I did promise you that. But not right now." He slipped his hand further down my back and pulled one of my legs up so my knee was bent and his thigh was pressing hard between my legs. I made a little noise into his neck, and with that, he pushed the covers off and scooted out from underneath me so I was laying on my belly. I felt his fingers tracing the insides of my thighs before gently slipping inside me. Involuntarily, I spread my legs and he kept touching me. After what felt like way too long, he got up on his knees and started reaching over towards the nightstand. I wondered how many condoms we had left.

"We actually are going to have to leave the house today. I'm afraid this is the last one," Johnathan said, as he ripped the packet open and unrolled the condom. I felt him straddle my thighs and push into me. It's weird, he definitely wasn't the most well endowed guy I'd been with (coughPatrickcough) but we fit together very well. And he was really, really fantastic in bed, so there was also that. The chemistry we had felt very electric and intense and powerful, which was cool because I guess we're both very intense people. I had a feeling we were going to be having a lot of really rough, kinky, fun sex.

As he rode me from behind, I felt his hand come down on the back of my neck and hold me down. This turned me on immensely, and I yelped into the pillows and pushed my hips back against him, hard. He came pretty soon after that. I didn't, it's kind of hard for me to come actually unless I have clit stimulation, but it was still really good sex so I didn't mind.

Afterwards, he flopped back down next to me again and cradled me in his arms and I just relaxed and closed my eyes and tried to take all of this in. I hadn't even been outside of his bedroom except to pee, and it already seemed like way too short of a visit even though I knew I'd be back in a couple of weeks, after Burning Man and spending a couple of days with my parents back in DC.

I heard his phone buzz, and he reached over to grab it.

"Hey, it looks like [his friend] Zan is having a thing today, at one of the beaches up North. Do you want to go for a little bit? I want you to meet a couple of my friends, and see your new city. We don't have to stay long,"

Honestly, I didn't really want to go, but I knew he probably wanted to or else he wouldn't have asked.

When I was getting ready, I was trying to pick out some of the "normal" clothes I'd set aside for this trip. I didn't have much to choose from---yesterday's lace shirt and boyfriend jeans, or a cream midi skirt with a black silk peasant blouse tucked in. I went with the skirt since we were going to the beach. I also put eye makeup and powder on, which seemed to frustrate Johnathan a little bit.

"You know you're pretty without that, right? You don't need that," he said, as he was watching me get ready in the bathroom.

"Well, I dunno. I just feel very naked without eyemakeup on," This was 110% true, but he just looked at me and kind of half-smiled. I wondered if he was going to be anti-perfume as well.

It was a really short walk from his house to the CTA stop, and then we were going up north to Rogers Park for the barbecue or whatever Zan was having. I geeked out over how much more efficient the train was than the metro in DC, and also like waayyy cheaper, which is awesome. Johnathan told me I'd get irritated with it after a while, but I didn't believe him. Once we were on the train, he made me stand up and look out at the neighborhood and this cool cemetery we passed.

"This is your kingdom now, too," he whispered in my ear and I blushed like a 12 year old at a One Direction concert.

The party on the beach wasn't bad. Johnathan's friends seemed nice but they were very... loud. He was kind of different around them too, a lot louder and more "comedian". It didn't exactly bother me, but it was a little bit jarring because I was used to this sensitive quiet dude and then his comedian persona came out around his friends. They'd all met at Columbia College, where they went 12 years ago. I recognized some of them from the web series videos that I watched.

To his credit, Johnathan was super sweet and affectionate. We wandered away from the party a couple of times to make out on the beach, even though again, I'm really not into PDA. Oh well. It was fun. And I liked the attention from him too much to make him stop pawing at me. And one of his friends introduced me to someone else as "John's girlfriend" which I liked. After that, Johnathan leaned over to me and whispered "my girlfriend" in my ear. I liked that a lot, too.

On the way home, we stopped by the grocery store for more condoms, vodka (for him), beer (for me), and some snacky stuff: lump crab for the imperial, smoked salmon, bagels, cream cheese, etc. By the time we got back to his place, it was getting dusky outside.

"I just realized something," I said, frowning, and digging into my purse.

"What?" He looked concerned.

"Uhm, nothing. It's not that big of a deal. It's just normally airlines send you an email the day before you get on your flight now, so you can check in electronically. I haven't gotten one for my flight out to Nevada tomorrow morning." Uh oh. This actually was kind of a big deal. I was suddenly worried I'd screwed up my plane reservations when I changed them to make the visit out to Chicago.

"Oh. Well, you know, if it gets cancelled, or you want to miss it or whatever, you can just stay with me. I have to work, but you can hang out at home or go out or use my laptop to look for jobs when you move here or whatever. I'd love it so much if you stayed."

That probably should have freaked me out a lot, but it didn't. I shrugged.

"Okay."

"Okay?"

"Yeah, I mean, we can see what happens if I have a problem at the airport tomorrow morning. And maybe test drive the whole 'living together for a few days or a week or whatever'. But I'll still have to go back to DC and get my stuff at some point. And meet up with that guy I'm moving in with, and--" I couldn't get another word out.  Johnathan grinned, and wrapped his arms around me, and started kissing me.

This whole thing was so fucking weird but it felt so right that I didn't want to think about it for too long.

That night, we got kind of drunk and smoked more pot and he made crab imperial which was fucking delicious and we had a ton of sex and burned through 5 more condoms. When we were a little drunk, we started talking about dating other people. He said he wasn't talking to anyone else from OKCupid, and I said I kind of was, which was true. There was someone else in Chicago that I'd messaged a few times (like 3), who seemed like a cool person, but it wasn't a huge draw for me. There was also Mark, my partner who was taking me to Burning Man. While we were talking, I searched his face for signs of being upset or jealous and didn't see any. Hmm. Maybe he really was immune to jealousy. I was definitely not immune to jealousy. I told him how uncomfortable I'd been the other night when I thought he was with Jane and he kind of sighed and told me he wasn't interested in her, and that he'd been lonely when he made a move on her the last time. That wasn't exactly reassuring, but I figured it was the best I was going to get.

Waking up the next morning was so hard. My flight was at 6am, so my alarm went off at 4. I got up before we could start snuggling ('cause I knew I'd never leave then) and got dressed in my cream skirt, blouse, and a fringed kimono because planes are cold. I went to pee and brush my teeth and wash my hands and it was like there was this stabbing pain in my chest. I didn't want to leave. I didn't want to go. I wanted to go back to bed and curl up with Johnathan and sleep and fuck and basically never leave his side for the rest of my life. I started crying.

When I went back into the bedroom to get my suitcases, Johnathan was sitting up in bed in boxers and a plain shirt. He reached out his arms and I went and sat and kind of leaned on him and cried for a couple of minutes.

"I'm afraid you're not going to come back," he said, not looking at me.

"I am, though. I'll be back at the beginning of September," I knew I had to now, even if I literally had no other reason to be moving to Chicago.

"Promise me you'll be back,"

"I promise," I was still sniffling, and my phone buzzed to let me know that my Uber was arriving now. Shit. We kind of looked at each other and I got up and walked out and dragged my suitcases all the way back down the stairs. Looking at the car idling in the street made me start crying again.

I cried the whole way to ORD, which is so retarded I can't even comment on it. I was still crying when I was standing in line to check my bags.

"Miss?" The ticket agent was frowning as she tried to get my attention.

"Uh.. yeah?"

"There's a problem. This flight is overbooked, and there are 6 people on standby. It seems like your reservation didn't go through until after it was booked,.." she trailed off, typing furiously away at her computer.

"Um. Okay. Can you look at other flights to Reno today?"

Not surprisingly, they were all overbooked. Today was the first day the gates opened at Burning Man, and it becomes Nevada's 3rd largest city for the week it goes on. Thousands and thousands of people. The agent offered me a voucher for $1500 and told me I could try again later in the week, there were some flights on Wednesday and Thursday that weren't as overbooked. Or, I could check my luggage today and wait all day at the airport and see if I could get on a plane, standby. Fuck. I grabbed my phone out of my pocket and started texting Johnathan, telling him there was a problem.

My phone buzzed almost immediately after I'd hit send, and I looked down.

"Yes baby, yes, come home!!! Please???"

I looked at the gate agent. I looked at my phone.

"I'll take the voucher, if you don't mind. I'll try again in a couple of days," I said, and the agent nodded.

To Johnathan, I texted: "I'm coming home".

Friday, December 19, 2014

nights like this i become afraid

After dragging myself away from Johnathan, I suddenly remembered that I still existed in the real world. The sounds of the lobby got so much louder, and I realized people were staring at me. It probably looked kind of weird, the exchange we'd just had. I hoped people didn't think I was a hooker.

I texted for an uber, and then patiently waited outside in the awful heat until my phone started ringing. Of course, I get the one uber driver who's ALSO new to Chicago. I had to fucking stand on the street corners and tell him what building I was facing so he could turn around and come get me. It was so humiliating and awful, and I felt like such an obnoxious tourist. When he finally showed up, he threw my luggage in the trunk and I got in the backseat and gave him Johnathan's address. Naturally, he didn't know it, or the neighborhood we were going to, or much of anything. For some reason, there was a lot of traffic even though it was only 3pm, and he didn't drop me off until close to 3:30 even though we were only a few miles away. Johnathan had put a note inside the envelope with the keys, which I think he meant to be funny and cute, but it was kind of weird and disarming because I was already so anxious. He made jokes about which door was his, and which door not to touch, and I felt like I was getting hives from trying to understand what he meant, but I didn't want to text him and give him the impression that I have zero reading comprehension. In the letter, he mentioned that his roommate, Doug, would also be at work and that they would probably be getting home around the same time (5:30). This made me feel really strange, honestly, and I started praying at that exact moment that Johnathan would get home first. I couldn't imagine anything weirder than Doug coming home and finding me sprawled on his roommate's bed. I hoped Johnathan had told him I was coming.

One of Johnathan's neighbors was working in his front yard when he saw me dragging my huge suitcases down the sidewalk. He smiled at me in a non-predatory way, and stuck out his hand.

"Heya! Want some help with those?" Aw, he was so friendly. I gave him the heavier one, and looked down at the paper in my hand.

"So.. I'm going to the rear apartment on the third floor, looks like," I mumbled, and Nice New Friendly Neighbor started up the back stairs. Except there were four flights of stairs. Johnathan's letter only mentioned THREE flights, and that he lived on the top floor.

Fuck. Doesn't that seem kind of impossible to you?

When we got to the third flight, I looked at the door, sort of hoping it would magically open for me. Friendly Neighbor Dude paused next to me, and I caught him looking in my purse when I went digging for the keys. Here was something else weird: the letter mentioned three locks on the door. I only saw two. Hmmm. Maybe it was a typo, or something.

I tried the key in the bottom lock, heard it click, and then swung the door open.

A fully dressed guy in his mid 20s was sitting on a couch directly in front of the door. When he saw me, his eyes got as big as saucers. I froze.

"Uhh... Doug...?" I tried, hopefully. The guy sitting on the couch looked horrified, and threatened. I tried yanking the key out of the door and finally got it back in my hand. Suddenly, I felt a hand clap down on my shoulder.

"Well, looks like you're already making friends with the neighbors!" The guy who'd helped me drag my suitcase up the stairs made the most awkward chuckle sound I've ever heard in my entire life, and then promptly fled, running down the stairs. I pulled the door closed, while Not-Doug continued staring at me in absolute terror, and I tried not to hyperventilate, before realizing there was yet another staircase going up behind me.

Oh my god. What the fuck did I just do. What the fuck is going on.

I knew I had to get away from that door, and quickly. When I start to panic, my thoughts just kind of spiral and snowball out of control, and as silly as it sounds, I was already thinking that the guy who I'd just walked in on was going to call the cops. With newfound strength, I grabbed both of my rollerboards and dragged them up the last flight of stairs. To find a door. With three locks. Oh, shit.

This time, when I opened the door, there was no one. The apartment was empty, save for furniture and two cats, who mewed, then skittered away when they saw my luggage. I made my way to the back bedroom, which Johnathan had told me was his, and collapsed onto the bed. This was easily the most embarrassing thing that had ever happened to me. I pulled out the letter and scanned it again. Address.. blah.. stairs.. blah... key.. blah.. the letter ended with instructions for me to look in the nightstand drawer and relax and use Johnathan's computer if I wanted to watch Netflix or something. He'd even written down all of his passwords. I couldn't decide if this was cute or not.

Pulling open his nightstand drawer, I saw four massive blunts in an ashtray. While I'm not normally a huge fan of smoking pot, trust me on this when I say that I really needed something to help me relax. Jesus fucking christ, what a day.

After recovering from what was probably a mini stroke at the age of 26, I decided it wouldn't be a horrible idea to take a shower before Johnathan got home. I'd sweated a lot already that day, and I couldn't tell if it was from the heat or the stress. Why is August gross, no matter where you are? I also wanted to kill some time. There was no fucking way I could just hang out and watch Netflix and act like this was a normal. It definitely was not normal. I used the Boy Soap (ew) in the shower and got dressed in the same clothes because I didn't want to seem like I was trying too hard. I also smoked two of the blunts, and was massively stoned for about an hour and a half. Then, before I knew it, I heard the front door opening. And footsteps.

Johnathan was standing in the doorway to the bedroom, looking at me. His forehead was a little damp. I felt like I should get up, but I didn't really have time to move before he came over and lay down next to me. I immediately burrowed into his arms, not giving a fuck that he was overheated and sweaty. It seemed easier to talk into his armpit than it was to look in his face.

"I'm so glad you're home," I murmured, taking in a deep hitched breath. His hands stroked my hair, the back of my neck, my shoulderblades through my thin lace shirt. I felt his lips at my hairline, my temple, my eyelids.

"I can't believe you're here," he pushed me away for a second and stared at me with those huge, intense, gorgeous eyes of his. I bit the inside of my lip and held his stare, not blinking, again sinking even deeper into that world where it was just the two of us. His fingers were pushing my long curtain bangs behind my ears, and then his mouth was on mine, and I could taste his breath, and we kissed for so long that I just sort of let myself melt into him and not worry about where I was putting my hands. We probably made out for two hours, and he was very cautious, he only touched my hip through my jeans a couple of times, even though I could feel his erection through his pants. We just kept stroking each other on the back and the arms and saying I love you and it felt totally surreal and wild.

Johnathan eventually reached across me and pulled a blunt out of the ashtray before lighting up and exhaling a plume of smoke at the ceiling. I lay my head on his chest and listened to his heart pound. We smoked together and didn't talk for what felt like a long time, but you know what pot does to your sense of time management and all.

"We don't have to fuck, not if you're worried I'm going to never talk to you again. I want you to know that I'm really interested in a relationship with you, and I want to earn your trust," he said, softly, into my ear.

"I know. But uhm.. I want to. I want you very much. And I want to trust you, too, but I think the only way you're going to earn that is if you stick around," I couldn't look at him while I was saying this. I knew he had MAJOR trust issues too, much worse than mine, but I'd be lying if a little part of me still wasn't worried this was going to end up like that. There was maybe more at stake here than I'd ever felt, which scared me into being really really paranoid.

"I really want you, too," I was so glad to hear him say it, even though I could sort of tell based on the way he was holding me.

It was getting dusky and dark in his room, and he eventually switched on this antique lamp on his nightstand that gave off a very soft light. We were still laying there (he hadn't even taken off his shoes yet!),  tangled in each other. With more of a sense of urgency and need than anything else, I crawled on top of him and straddled him, kissing more forcefully than before. His hands were tracing patterns on the bare skin of my back, under my shirt, and I reached down to undo the snap of my jeans. He gently slipped my shirt over my head, and stroked the sides of my breasts as I started unbuttoning his black oxford shirt. He had just the right amount of hair on his chest, and a lot of scars on his shoulders and chest and back. I remembered from a somewhat early-on message to me that he told me he'd had chicken pox as an adult and it left a lot of scars on his body. I leaned down to kiss them and push his shirt all the way off. We continued undressing each other piece by piece, very naturally, but my stomach was so knotted and tense. When I was down to undies, I lay back down and fixed my eyes on him. He was staring back at me, just as intense, just as bare. I felt like he could have read my mind.

"Are you scared?" He asked me without blinking, and I tugged down my panties and scooted closer to him on the bed until we were all the way pressed against each other, nothing between us.

"A little," I swallowed but didn't break his gaze.

"Me too," he smiled a little bit, and leaned in to plant little kisses all over my mouth and chin and jawline.

"We don't have anything to be afraid of, though. I love you. I promise I'm not going anywhere," I was a little worried that my voice was shaking, but if it was, he didn't say anything. Again, our lips found each other and I felt him shift and pull away.

"Hold on a sec," he was leaning over the bed and digging around in his work bag. He eventually came up with a box of condoms and Astroglide, and ripped the box open before tearing a condom off the strip. Still leaning over, he reached his fingers between my legs and dipped them into me, one by one. It was disconcerting, and I could feel how soaked I was. Taking his wrist and pushing his hand against me with more force, I moaned and started begging for him to fuck me. Johnathan tore open the condom packet and unrolled the rubber onto his cock before pushing my legs open and crawling in between them. He kneeled there for a moment, thumbing my clit with just the head of his dick resting inside me. We still hadn't broken eye contact.

Finally, I reached for his hips and pulled him all the way into me, to the hilt. He groaned and smiled at me, and started moving his pelvis in a way that I can only describe as 'skilled'. He kept his thumb on my clit the whole time, and I was arching my hips up to meet his hand. I came in record time, biting my lip and clawing at him and whimpering. I felt Johnathan pause for a second, and then murmur 'oh god,' under his breath before thrusting into me really hard and holding his pose. My heart was still pounding.

He looked at me before pulling out, and at that moment, I just knew. Somehow. Yeah, this is it. Yeah, we are supposed to be together. Johnathan peeled the condom off and threw it on the floor before curling up and wrapping his arms around me. He smelled like my sweat, and I hoped I smelled like him. I felt his lips against my neck.

"I love you, princess," he said, quietly.

"I love you, too." And I meant it. I wouldn't ever say that if I didn't mean it, but I somehow meant it more than I've ever meant it in my entire life. And I think he knew that.

We didn't get out of bed for the rest of the night, fucking and making love and making out and staying tangled up in each other. And talking. Soooo much talking. Movies and TV and restaurants and funny stories we hadn't shared before. We ordered sushi around 11pm and ate in bed like gross people. After dinner, the enormous stress of the day had caught up with me and I was suddenly so tired.

"Can we sleep? I don't care if we wake up in a few hours, I just want to nap for a while,"

"Of course, baby." He turned off the light, brushed off the bed, and pulled down the covers.

"Can we switch? I like to sleep on the inside," I pointed to the side of the bed that was against the wall. For some reason, I've just always been more comfortable when I have a wall next to me. He chuckled a little bit at this, but rolled over so I could have that spot. I curled up under the covers and he wrapped his arms around me from behind, kissing the back of my neck.

"I'll always keep you safe," was the last thing I remember hearing before I fell asleep.

And you know what? I slept very very well. Even without my Tempurpedic pillow. Ha. 


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

so kiss me, these are the last days

For my last days in DC, I was back at Patrick's house, only sleeping in a room in the basement this time as New Roommate had moved into my old space. It wasn't bad, the basement had windows and French doors going outside and it wasn't gross or creepy or anything. As soon as I got back there on Sunday night, I settled back into my old routine of drinking in the living room and hanging out on my computer, except this time I was spending most of my time talking to Johnathan. The new roommate in the house was sooo cute and naive, he was 21 and from the middle of nowhere Indiana. We talked about things to do in DC, and things not to do in DC (walk around drunk by yourself at 3am in certain neighborhoods, etc), and it was so funny, his eyes kept getting bigger and bigger whenever I started a story with "oh this one time my friend got mugged... but I'm sure that won't happen to you!!!". He eventually retreated to his room, tail between his legs. Poor kid.

Patrick was none too amused with my "interference". He had been in the kitchen during the second half of my conversation with Chris (new roommate), and came over to sit with me on the couch as soon as Chris left.

"Does the word jailbait mean anything to you?"

"Shut up. I was not flirting with him. Besides, he's 21. That's legal. But way too young for me," I pulled a face at the thought of having a younger boyfriend. Me no gusta younger men. Patrick snorted and started laughing.

"Yeah, and how old are all of your current paramours anyway? You like old men," This wasn't far from the truth. My last boyfriend (amicable breakup) was 39/40/41 when we were dating, and we'd met when I was 24. Johnathan is 32, which seems very reasonable for my future husband (yeah right).

Refusing to engage Patrick any more on this subject, I told him the update of how I was flying out to meet Johnathan before Burning Man, and before originally planned. I have to give him credit, his face didn't show any shock at all. Or maybe he should have been shocked? I dunno. I was expecting this huge lecture about safety with people on the internet and all that but nada. I did give him Johnathan's address and phone number. I told him I'd check in with him a couple of times but not too many times because hopefully I would be having too much sex to grab my phone.

That night, Johnathan was doing a stand up thing in the city so we weren't texting as much as usual. Around 9pm I got a message from him that said:

"Wow, this thing is weird! So many hacky bullshitters performing, and the girl I came out to support has a boyfriend that's weirding me out. What a wash."

For some reason, that didn't sit immediately well with me. Girl he came out to support? He never said a damn thing about that. My palms were starting to sweat, but not in the fun way. I guess I had just assumed since he said he'd been single for the past year and a half that he wasn't dating anyone, but he hadn't outright told me. And I WAS dating other people, Garrett for one, and I'd just had a threesome with Matt and Helena for two. Ughhhh.

"Oh, ouch, that sucks, I'm sorry. Who? Jane?" I tried very hard to sound more casual than I was feeling. If it was Jane, I may wind up getting sick. From what Johnathan had told me, Jane was someone he'd dated twice, who was still in love with him, and he tried to make a move on her a few months ago. She turned him down but only because she admitted to still having feelings for him, and she didn't want to get hurt.

I already knew that I didn't want to meet Jane.

This was so weird. I know that I have problems with jealousy sometimes, but I usually take jealous feelings to mean that my needs aren't being met in some way. Poly people realllllly try to work through and manage jealousy, and get to the root of why they're feeling that way. For the most part, I've been pretty good. There was an instance with The Ex Who Broke My Heart And Ruined My Life For A Year where I was jealous because he was breaking dates with me to hang out with this other girlfriend of his, which was not okay and left me feeling all kinds of angry and sad. But normally I think of myself as a reasonable person. Then again, everything I was feeling right now flew in the face of that logic.

"Nah, not her. Oh well, heading home now for vodka and repurposed Swisher sweets. How are you, princess?"

Was it wrong that I was just relieved that he hadn't been hanging out with Jane and didn't care about anything else?

Something else about Johnathan: if anyone else ever tried to call me 'princess', I'm pretty sure I would immediately defenestrate them. I am not really a lovey-dovey person. The only pet name I've ever had and liked was decidedly non-cutesy: "bird"--what Patrick and I called each other. But for some reason, I liked all the dumb names he was calling me. Princess, lovely, baby, honeybunny, etc. I was hoping that I wouldn't find it cloying and obnoxious in person, but at this point, I fucking loved it.

--

Packing was hard. I'd made an Evernote list of stuff I needed, like granola bars and survival-type stuff: sunscreen, a solar-powered charger for my phone, a hat, a bandanna for dust protection, etc. My tent from camping days, sleeping bag, and a coat in case it got cold at night in the desert. Also fun costumes, I went crazy on NastyGal.com and bought a ton of shit that I could never actually wear in the real world. Lots of bra tops and harnesses and glittery things and floral headdresses and fringed kimonos and a pink bob wig like Natalie Portman wore in Closer during the strip club scene. Also tons of LED toys and glowsticks and bracelets so I wouldn't get hit by an art car and die or something. People at Burning Man (and at burns in general) tend to go all out, and I wanted to have cool things there. It was also difficult because I knew I'd be staying with Johnathan for a couple of days first, so I also needed normal things, like street clothes and deodorant and makeup. No way was my future husband seeing me for the first time with my hair not done and no eyeliner. I compromised by only packing my mini-straightener and telling myself that I'd find a DryBar in Chicago if things got too ugly.

Things with Garrett felt... kind of unresolved at this point. He'd been gunning for me to spend the night with him before I was flying out to Chicago. When I'd told him, over text, it had taken him a really long time to respond, which was really uncharacteristic of him. He was still bringing up the idea of keeping whatever we had going long distance, but I didn't actually like that idea very much. He was fun to hang out with, but the more time I actually spent with him, I was getting the impression that he liked me because I was new. I could tell that eventually, my lack of ambition (in comparison with his, at least) would be a problem. I could also tell that I wouldn't be able to give him nearly as much attention as he wanted. When I told him that long distance probably wouldn't be a good idea, he was pretty upset. I got a long-winded email that I meant to respond to.. and then didn't. I felt like I'd hurt him, which was kind of ridiculous because I'd been nothing but transparent with my intentions, my move, etc. Then I realized he was probably a little jealous because I was going out of my way to meet someone new in Chicago before I actually moved there. I definitely hadn't made that kind of effort with him.

Poly is really hard, sometimes. I still haven't figured out how to balance a lot, and it was so difficult to give equal attention when people didn't have equal space in my heart. Believe me, I know how bitchy that sounds. I was also terrified that Johnathan was still somehow playing me. Because he seemed too perfect. It all seemed too perfect.  

My plane was landing at ORD at 12:30pm, and I was supposed to meet with someone I'd been emailing with about a possible apartment in a northern neighborhood for lunch at 1:30. After that, I was going to meet Johnathan in the lobby of his office, get his apartment keys, and then go to his apartment until he'd get home around 5:30. I was pretty fucking nervous, all things considered. I tried on about 15 different outfits and finally settled on a lacy shirt from Urban Outfitters and my favorite distressed straight-leg jeans from Free People, with flat sandals. After all the intense conversations about things way more important than physical characteristics, I realized that I didn't know how tall Johnathan was. He told me 5'8'', which was sort of unfortunate because that's exactly my height. I decided I would only wear high heels once we were really comfortable around each other so he wouldn't feel emasculated.

The night before I left, I couldn't sleep. I took a trazodone and a klonopin and still, no luck. Finally around 2:30am, I took ANOTHER klonopin and a shot of NyQuil. I couldn't remember ever having been this nervous about anything in my life, not even before I left for college. Needless to say, I looked like crap in the morning. I threw on my outfit and left for the airport, figuring I'd do my makeup in the bathroom. This turned out to be a huge mistake, because airport bathroom lighting is like, the most unflattering light ever. I looked like a scared girl with a blotchy face in too much Lancome Hypnose Drama.

After my botched makeup attempt, I bought a book and new headphones (I'd forgotten mine) and found my gate, and fired off a quick email to Johnathan telling him I was waiting to board. He emailed back a few minutes later telling me he couldn't wait to see me, and that he was literally sick with being nervous. Well, at least that made two of us.

I'm not really a good flier even though I love traveling, so I ordered a bloody mary and popped a klonopin on the plane. That's normally my go-to travel mix, and it didn't do a damn thing. I sat there, shaking my leg and sweating all over the paperback I'd just bought until the guy sitting next to me started giving me The Evil Eye. Taking that as a sign to chill, I tried reading. I bought Gone Girl because it seemed engrossing, and that actually did the trick. I was reading a page, thinking about Johnathan, reading a page, thinking about Johnathan kissing me, reading a page, thinking about the way Johnathan's neck smelled...

And finally, all of two hours later, I was there.

I can't remember too much about lunch. I met with Curtis, the guy whose ad I'd answered on Craigslist, at Terzo Piano, which is a cute little restaurant in the Art Institute of Chicago. My mind was so elsewhere that I couldn't really think about what was going on. Curtis seemed like an ok roommate: he was 41, newly divorced, worked in IT. He had just bought a condo in Edgewood and was looking for someone to take the second bedroom. I was pretty explicit with him about my lifestyle, and the fact that I'd probably have multiple people over, and he was intrigued. Said he was going to the bookstore to pick up some books on poly after we finished eating. Since he had driven to the restaurant AND he was probably going to be my new roommate, I asked him to drive me to Johnathan's building because my two suitcases were really freaking heavy and it was goddamned hot outside. He said yes immediately and I could already tell he was that he was a really meek guy. Before we left Terzo, I went to the bathroom at least 3 times to check my makeup and floss and use mouthwash.

It was about 2:30. Curtis dropped me off (he even helped drag my suitcases out of the car) on the corner of Adams St and I stood at the entrance to Johnathan's building, trying not to hyperventilate. I realized how ridiculous I looked: skinny white girl trying to manoeuvre two huge rollerboard suitcases and staring at her iphone on one of the busiest corners in downtown Chicago. Exhaling with a massive force, I dragged my suitcases into the lobby and texted Johnathan.

"I think I'm in your lobby."

The next two minutes were probably some of the worst of my life. What if he didn't exist? What if this whole thing was a joke? What if he was fat, or ugly, or just wanted to use me for sex? What if we had no chemistry? What if-

I looked up, and saw him walking towards me from the elevator bank. Thankfully, he looked exactly like the pictures. His hair was wavy and dark brown and brushed back off his forehead like Hugh Jackman, and he had very intense green-grey eyes with thick, dark lashes. We reached for each other at the same time and had an embrace that was much more appropriate for the airport than the lobby of an office building. Holding me, he felt warm, solid, safe, and he smelled so good. I kissed the side of his neck before pulling back to look at him. He was breathing hard and looked just as nervous as I did. We couldn't stop staring into each others' eyes. The world around me had completely disappeared, and I wanted nothing more than to be next to him for a very, very, very long time. When he finally kissed me, I wrapped my arms around him again and pressed close. Not entirely to be sexy, just because I wanted to be in as much of his space as possible. His lips on mine were warm, but chaste. No tongue.

"This is it, isn't it?" he whispered in my ear. I sighed, and kissed his neck again. Gently, his arms loosened from around my waist and he reached into his pocket, handing me an envelope with keys.

"Thanks," I have never, ever been so at a loss for words in my life.

"Of course. I want nothing more than to scoop you up like Richard Gere does to Debra Winger at the end of An Officer and a Gentleman, but I'll be home in a few hours, okay?" He kissed me again, and let his mouth linger on mine this time.

"Okay. Come home soon." I smiled, unable to move, as he squeezed my hand and gave me a pleading, desperate, hungry look.

"I love you," He was starting back toward the elevator bank, walking backwards, still staring at me.

"I love you too," I barely heard myself say it back. But there it was.

Friday, December 12, 2014

flights of fancy

At the end of the week (last week of work, yay!) I packed up my car to head to Frederick for the weekend. The new roommate at Patrick's house was moving in, so I had to get out, obviously. That was actually okay with me since one of my only female friends lives in Frederick and I don't get to see her very often. Yes, she's bi. No, we've never had sex. She's engaged (to a straight edge guy, no less) and monogamous and all that jazz so I didn't see it being a very wild weekend. I'd joked to Garrett that I was basically being evicted for the weekend and he immediately offered to let me stay with him, but I declined. He was coming on a lot stronger ever since I'd spent the night, and--quelle horreur--had started talking about VISITING me once I moved to Chicago. I tolerated this for a few back and forth texts until he actually threw out some dates in October when he could work remotely for a week. I still don't think I'd texted him back after that, I think it caused me to have a little mini heart attack. I liked him, but I honestly wondered whether or not I'd be more interested in him if it wasn't for my current obsession with Johnathan. This made me feel bad because I know I shouldn't be all focusy and obsessivey over one person, especially someone I haven't met, but I can't help it. He just brings that out in me. Also, I'm moving. The last thing I want right now is a long distance relationship, even if it's an open one. I want to fully immerse myself in Chicago because I'm fucking sick of DC.

It was so good to see Anna, I couldn't believe how much I'd missed her. We went to dinner at Brewer's Alley and I drank a ton of beer and ate a really good black bean burger and she told me all about her wedding planning and I told her about my pseudorelationships or whatever it is I have going on. She was really intrigued by Johnathan, I showed her a picture and she said, "wow, you've never dated anyone that looks like that before!"

After dinner, we went to a bar that I used to love (I went to college in Frederick and lived there until I was 23). It felt very different but very the same. Anna was much drunker than I was, she probably weighs 90lbs soaking wet, and had run into one of her friends that I didn't know and the two of them started talking a blue streak. Being rude and introverted and drunk, I pulled out my phone and started texting Johnathan. We started playing this game that I'd noticed we fall in to, where we ask each other questions that can't possibly be answered in one response, and this is how my phone battery wounds up dead so frequently at the end of the day. He'd just hit me with three questions: Do I believe in God? (no), Do I believe in the supernatural? (yes, very much), and Do I believe in soulmates (yes, very much).

I felt like I needed a shot before texting him back, though.

"Anna!! Shots!!!!!" I felt guilty that I'd been on my phone until I remembered she'd apparently run into her long lost best friend, or whatever. She pounded 2 shots of Fernet with me, then went back to talking to her other friend. Oh well. Phone guilt no more! I know my generation sucks.

Hunching over my phone, I started typing out a huge response. We spent the whole rest of the night texting. I couldn't believe I was in a bar in Maryland and all I wanted to do was text this guy in Chicago. What the hell. Anna left around 11pm, she gave me her apartment key and told me to let myself in. There was live music that night, this kind of funk-jazz-swing band that was awesome, but no one was dancing, so I stayed glued to my phone.

Things I learned about Johnathan from sitting at a bar and drinking and texting for hours:

- He does believe in god (not sure how I feel about this but whatever, as long as he doesn't push it on me)
- He also believes in soulmates and the supernatural, but like me he doesn't think that everyone has just one soulmate
- He smokes a ton of pot (I was right. Somehow I'm not surprised)
- He's been basically single for the last year and a half. He goes on a lot of first dates with people but nothing after that. This was kind of a red flag for me, but I was too drunk to say anything back other than like, "oh I'm sure I'll stay interested in you after one date". I was sure, I felt very confident about this, but he seemed extremely pessimistic when it came to his relationship outlook.
- He was engaged 4 years ago to a cokehead sex worker who left him when someone else got her pregnant. He was also addicted to coke for 3 years.
- We have extremely similar histories with regards to sexual exploits and drugs. I went through a period of about a year and a half in my early 20s when I was addicted to Vicodin, and I've tried just about everything that's been put in front of me drug-wise. We also both went to a lot of sex parties (orgies, mostly, but also kink parties and kink clubs) but quit because we got sick of how serious The Scene was.
- He said he was starting to fall in love with me. I reciprocated the sentiment. And meant it. This terrified me and I was shaking like a leaf despite being very inebriated.

Holy shit.

When I stumbled back to Anna's that night around 2, I was suddenly RAVENOUS even though I'd eaten that veggie burger earlier. I always liked staying over with Anna since I never had to worry about accidentally eating meat because she and her fiance are vegan. My phone was dead, and I plugged it into the wall before having my little drunken feast while sitting on her counter. Halfway through the (fucking amazing omg) pasta, I heard my phone buzzing. Of course it was Johnathan.

"This is going to sound crazy, but what would you think if I came out and visited you next weekend, before you leave for Burning Man? I know you'll be here soon and all, but I really really need to see you. I need to know if this is real."

I suddenly wished I hadn't eaten anything, my stomach immediately clenched up. I said yes. We talked about where to stay (probably in Frederick, since it would be cheaper than DC), which airports, etc., until 4am came and I was almost sober. I fell asleep without remembering to wash my makeup off or change out of my clothes.

In the morning, I checked my phone. I had three cats laying on top of me on the couch and three texts from Johnathan.

"I'm so so so so sorry to do this, but I don't think I'll be able to fly out next weekend. It wasn't the bottle talking last night, I meant everything I said, but I really don't think I can afford it right now. I want to see you so much, and I'm so sorry for getting your hopes up."

I hate myself for admitting this, but tears welled up in my eyes and I started crying and snotting everywhere. It was 7am, I was dealing with a raging hungover, and I felt heartbroken. This was literally the dumbest thing that had ever happened to me. Suddenly, I had an idea.

"It's ok. I understand. If you want, I think I could probably spend a day or two in Chicago with you before Burning Man, I'll just fly out on the 22nd and leave on the 24th for Nevada. I don't think it would cost much to reroute my flight. But if you don't want me to come, don't lie and tell me to visit anyway."

I got a response 10 seconds later.

"YES. Please??? Can you do that???"

From my nest on Anna's couch, I called Expedia and asked if I could have a one-way flight to O'Hare, and then reroute my original flight to Nevada. It was only $80. Booked. I texted Johnathan:

"I just booked it. I'm getting in around 1pm on 22nd and leaving at 6am on the 24th." I was so nervous that I thought I was going to throw up. This was only 6 days away.

"Wow. I love you. I can't wait to see you, princess." Relief and some incredibly powerful wave of adrenaline washed over me. I felt like someone had thrown me into a warm bath.

Just then, Anna's door opened and the cats jumped off of me, making a beeline for the kitchen. She eyed me on her couch, a sniffly mess wrapped up in blankets and last night's makeup under my eyes and dress rumpled from having been slept in.

"Hey! I'm glad you're up, want to go get bagels??"

Everything was happening way too fast. I started sobbing.

Anna's forehead immediately creased and she practically leapt towards me, although I caught her by the arm before she could jump on the couch with me. I was feeling way too hungover and emotionally wound up to cuddle right now. Blowing my nose on one of the blankets, I gave her a hangdog look and sighed, trying to exhale my headache and the stress and every other icky thing I was feeling.

"Yeah. Um. Hold on. Let me change and wash my face and then we can go, ok?" Anna nodded, patiently.

After going in her bathroom to shed last night's outfit, I looked in the mirror to assess the damage. Definitely not one of my fairer days. I refuse to wear waterproof mascara because I have a theory that it rips out my eyelashes, so I was rocking some major raccoon eyes and smeared lip stain down one side of my chin. Classy. I sat down on the toilet with the lid closed and put my head between my legs, just trying to breathe and count to 15. When I felt marginally calmer, I washed up and threw my hair up in a topknot. I ditched my dress for this shirt I randomly bought from SoulCycle because it has a skull on it and boyfriend jeans with my Minnetonka moccasins. I still looked like shit, but at least I didn't look like I was Walk of Shaming anymore. (funfact: the worst Walk of Shame I ever did was a mile long, in a toga. During a street festival. You're welcome.)

Anna and I walked to Beans & Bagels, which used to be my favorite coffee shop in Frederick. I got a salt bagel with butter and we sat in a corner booth by the window. I still hadn't said anything about why I was crying, and I could tell she really wanted to ask but was being way too polite. Eventually, I spilled. Everything. I started getting teary again when I was talking about Johnathan and how much I liked him and how scared I was when I felt my phone buzz.

Of course, it was Garrett, asking how I was enjoying Frederick. I pulled a face and threw my phone back in my bag without answering him. Anna looked at me, patiently, and finally said the only thing I needed to hear:

"I know you feel weird about this, but if it's right, it's right. I've known you for five years and I've rarely seen you this into anyone, or this nervous. Just be careful, okay?"

Sniffling back more tears, I nodded yes, even though I knew careful was probably the last thing I would wind up being.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

nice fun quality time with friends

This week started my last week of work, which I was really excited about until I realized that I wasn't going to be getting paychecks for much longer. I'd done about everything I had planned to do "out" in DC, so the rest of my time with people was probably going to be spent doing low key (aka cheap) things like drinking a few bottles of $10 wine and wholesome things like that. I was also randomly going to Burning Man--this friend of mine, who's an off-again on-again partner/boyfriend was going with a group of people and somehow finagled me a ticket. Which considering they ran $380 and had sold out already, I was very happy with. Mark (sometimes-boyfriend) also bought me plane tickets, which was nice, but I intended to pay him back because the return flight alone was $900. I was supposed to fly out to Reno, NV on the 24th of August and come back on the 29th. It looked fun, as I basically like any excuse to not wear clothes and do drugs all day and meet lots of weird new people. I had gone to regional burns before (Playa del Fuego and Transformus, both on the east coast) but never anything this big. I figured it would be a good way to break from my old life in DC and transition to my new life in Chicago, except the details about my new life were growing increasingly more fuzzy and distant.

Monday evening, I headed over to Garrett's house. He lived in a really nice rowhouse on Capitol Hill, which is kind of a really preppy bro-y area but whatever. I figured he made enough money he could live there. His house (and his girlfriend's house too, I guess) was really cool. Lots of local art from Chicago and DC, high ceilings, wood floors, crazy weird comfortable furniture that looked like it could be kind of dangerous. The only weird thing was their bathroom was super fucking small, like about the size of a bathroom on an airplane. Not even kidding. Except it had a shower/bathtub in it. Garrett isn't fat, definitely, but he's not a slender dude and I was wondering how he managed to squeeze in. I had to turn sideways to get into the bathroom because the door would only open halfway (due to tub placement) and I'm definitely on the smaller side.

It was kind of awkward, even though he gave me a nice kiss when I got there and we made out a little bit while he waited for the avocados to warm up to room temperature. I was kind of antsy because I was really sober and I don't really like being sober the first time I sleep with someone. Not that I want to be drunk, but it definitely helps to have had a glass of something or two. I also didn't want to hint about the beer we were supposed to be 'tasting', but finally Garrett pulled 6 bottles out of the fridge and started pouring. We started with the 2009 BCBS, which was kind of underwhelming because it had lost so much character. It was still boozy, though, I had a warming finish in the back of my mouth after I finished my glass. Garrett looked unhappy, though.

"What's wrong? I liked it," I was about to go off on yet another alcohol-related tangent but he sort of cut me off.

"It's too cold, we're not getting all the flavor notes." he said, definitively. Well. He kind of had a point, but I didn't really care, or didn't care as much as he did. I nodded and made a 'mmn' sound before shrugging. God!! It was so awkward again, it was like we were on our first date. Finally, I set my glass down and walked over to him and kissed him hard, taking full advantage of the fact that we were alone. He draped his arms around me, scooped me up, and wrapped my legs around his waist. Cool. I thought he was going to set me on top of the counter so we could continue making out, but instead he started walking back into the dark hallway towards his bedroom. I opened my eyes so my head wouldn't get whacked on the corner of a wall, and started sucking on his earlobe. Once we were back in the bedroom, he set me down on the bed. I crawled backwards a little bit and took him by the wrists, gently tugging at him so he'd climb up with me. As we kissed, I felt myself start to relax a lot more and things felt much more natural than they had in the kitchen. We were laying with our legs slightly in between each others', and I could feel how hard he was through his pants. Somehow knowing that Garrett wasn't going to make the first move, I undid the fly on my black skinny jeans and turned away for a second to tug them down.

When I rolled back over, Garrett was right there, and he slipped his hands under my shirt to pull it off over my head. There's always something that feels a little weird about being completely naked next to someone who's fully clothed. Sexy in the right context, awkward otherwise. I pressed myself against Garrett and started unbuttoning his jeans and tugging at his white teeshirt. He had to step back off the bed to wriggle out of his clothes, and when he was naked, he leaned forward, spread my legs and started licking at the inside of my thigh. I gasped, and then practically shoved myself onto his mouth. In case this hasn't been made glaringly obvious, I really really really like oral sex. Garrett wrapped his arms around my legs and held onto my hips as he did amazing unknown things to me with his tongue. I wanted to let him keep going, but he was also really good and I knew I was going to come soon if I didn't stop him. With Herculean effort, I reached down and grabbed his shoulders to try to pull him into a more horizontal position next to me.

"Do you have a condom?" I whispered raggedly into his ear, aware that my heart was beating faster than usual. Instead of answering, he leaned over and started fumbling around in the nightstand drawer before tearing open a small packet and rolling one down over his dick.

"Come here," I obeyed, but instead of laying down, I pushed him on his back and straddled him. Leaning down over his chest, I kissed his neck and collarbone and shoulders as I started grinding on him. Garrett reached up to start rolling one of my nipples between his fingers and I came almost instantly. It was embarrassing. I understand now why guys are upset when they finish too soon.

"Do you wanna get on top of me?" Again, instead of answering, he gently shifted my hips off of him and rolled me on my back before entering me a second time. I kind of like talking during sex (as long as we're talking about sex) and his silence was irritating in a way I couldn't place. He was also being almost silent, but judging from his face at least he was enjoying himself.

I honestly don't know whether or not he finished because after about twenty minutes, I started to get really sore and the only kind of lube he had wouldn't work with the condom. It was a weird feeling, it had been good sex, and I almost never come with a new partner, but something really just wasn't there. It wasn't even fun like a one night stand, which can be awesome because you KNOW you're not seeing the person again, so why not be totally wild? I can't describe the feeling I had. It was just.. very underwhelming.

Afterwards, we drank the rest of the beer and made guacamole and I peed so I wouldn't get a urinary tract infection. His guacamole was really fucking amazing, true story, and I did eat almost the whole bowl of it. Then I was half drunk and kind of irritated with him for not having any more food for me to eat. When he went to the bathroom, I started covertly poking around in the cabinets for a box of crackers or bread or something.

"Shit, I didn't realize how late it was getting. I should probably go," This was true, at least. It was after midnight, and I was exhausted. And hungry.

"No, stay? Please? I thought you were going to stay over,"

"Is Becca (his girlfriend) okay with me staying over?" I was almost hoping he'd say no, since I really don't sleep well without my own pillows.

"Yeah, it's totally fine. And you're much closer to work for tomorrow," well, he had a point there.

I didn't sleep well that night (strange bed and pillows, yuck), and was exhausted all day at work on Tuesday. But I nailed that weird feeling I'd had: it was like things were already -too- comfortable with Garrett.


Wednesday, I was going over to Matt's house to "have dinner" with him and Helena. After our drunk kisses on the metro the previous weekend, I couldn't exactly remember the conversation we'd had about possibly having a threesome. Matt had talked to me about it in the past, but had warned me that Helena wasn't really into the idea. Apparently she changed her mind. I wore this black silk sundress from Urban Outfitters with a lime green lace bralette underneath and my favorite Sam Edelman sandals.

As usual, Patrick ambushed me when I was leaving the house.

"Where are you off to? Date?" He kept one eyebrow raised the entire time he was talking to me. It was unnerving.

"Nope. Dinner with Matt and Helena," I held up a bottle of wine and a bag from Whole Foods with cheese and bread in it.

"Oh yeah?" This time, his voice got a little sharper. I knew what was coming next.

"Yep." I tried to open the front door, but Patrick stuck his arm out and held it closed.

"Wait. If you're doing what I think you're doing, please don't."

"Why not? Why do you actually care? You're not even friends with him anymore! You haven't talked in like, two years!" Now I was starting to get mad, ugh, count to ten, count to ten..

We basically argued for five minutes and he begged me not to fuck Matt and I said I'd do whatever I wanted and then I left in a huff. Staying at Patrick's house was REALLY not what I'd thought it was going to be.

Dinner was nice, we had smoked salmon and a bunch of baguette and cheeses and tons of wine and then beer when we ran out. I was trying to test the waters all evening, and finally they were getting a little bit flirtatious towards the end of the night. I moved from the couch I was sitting on to the one where Matt was when Helena got up to go to the bathroom.

"Is she gonna be okay with this?" I felt awkward. I'd never done anything with Matt before. That was like, the premise of our friendship.

"Yeah. She wants to, she told me again this morning." Well, okay then.

Helena got back and I asked her to come sit on the couch with me and Matt. Eventually Matt was kind of petting my thigh through my dress, and I asked Helena if I could kiss her boyfriend. She actually smiled, and said yes, so I went for it. Matt was actually a really good kisser. Then I leaned over his lap to kiss Helena. She was a better kisser. Most girls are. I'm not really bi, because I don't want to date girls (although I did in college, ha), but I think a lot of them are really gorgeous and I love having sex with them. The three of us were sprawled on the couch, kissing each other and groping until Matt suggested we move into his room. We did wind up going all the way that night, with the highlight being Matt fucking me from behind while I went down on his girlfriend (secret: I really love going down on girls. I much prefer it to going down on guys. Honest.). I couldn't believe how much fun it was, and how not-awkward it was. I've had some really awkward group sex.

Like Garrett, they begged me to spend the night, but this time I said no. No fucking way was I going to be without my Tempurpedic pillow for 2 nights in the same week.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Voices

The morning after my last date with Garrett, I had blown off about an hour of work to write a huge message (maybe one of these posts x2.. told you I'm chatty) to that New Guy In Chicago Who Was Possibly A Stoner And Not Jealous. Since then, we'd been writing every day, messages that length, sometimes twice. Only a few days had gone by, but I was already doing that thing where you talk to someone in your head when they aren't with you, except with him, and I hadn't even met him yet. He was a comedian who performed solo and with a sketch group, and while I watched the videos he sent me initially just so we could talk about them, he was actually funny and much more handsome in the videos than in his pictures. His voice was also incredibly sexy--kind of low and growly. The base of my spine got tingly if I listened to him after I'd been drinking, and then I felt acutely aware of myself, and very embarrassed.

Even little things like this made me smile:

"(Oh, and I had to laugh out loud when you mentioned my "voice" in [redacted web series name]. Your compliment made me blush, but--I probably shouldn't tell you this--I don't usually talk like that! My natural voice is a slightly higher and less Clint Eastwood-ish register. I was trying to do a "gritty" character, and that was what came to me initially, kind of a version of Kevin Conroy's Batman from the cartoons. But favor me with your company, lovely one, and I would happily use any voice you like. Seriously, I'm a terrific mimic, I can do most anyone.) (Except someone with humility, apparently, heh...)" 

His name is Johnathan, by the way.

I was feeling some heavy duty NRE--that lovesick feeling you get when you first meet someone new you really like. It can be pretty rough if you're already in established relationship, it can cause a lot of jealousy, and wreck a lot of feelings. To the person feeling it though, it's basically like riding an adrenaline high. I felt like one of those cartoon characters with little hearts swirling around my head. Over one of the (late night) messages, he'd given me his phone number and I gave him mine back, not expecting to hear anything. I think we probably only texted about 500 times that night. ("Only? Can you put your fucking phone down?" - Patrick)

We spent the whole week texting and emailing each other tons and tons of stuff--events in Chicago in the fall, recipes, bits of things we'd both written, weird experiences, dreams, etc. Discovered that we have a mutual love for David Lynch and H.P. Lovecraft, and he promised that we could have a lot of "nights in" with good movies and good food (he promised to be a good cook. He also promised to make me sushi. I remain skeptical). It was ridiculous how comfortable I felt talking to him. 

That Saturday night, I was going out with my friend Matt and his girlfriend Helena for drinks and tacos at El Centro, on U St. Patrick didn't speak to me for most of the afternoon before I left--Matt was kind of a sore subject between us, which is why Patrick got so pissy when I mentioned them the other night. He'd been Patrick's friend first, and then picked me in the breakup because things were kind of hairy between Patrick and myself for a while (again, shocker). Later he admitted that he hadn't really liked being Patrick's friend for a long time, but that he cared about me and didn't want to lose me as a pal. Aww? Anyway, we've been close for a long time. And he's one of my only male friends that I haven't slept with, so our relationship is nice and non-complicated. And his girlfriend is an absolute doll.

Matt and I are both pretty heavy drinkers, and we wasted absolutely no time ordering cocktails with mezcal AND tequila. Helena, a very sweet and proper British girl, was sipping on her first by the time we were on our 4th? Maybe?

It was so fucking loud in that bar. We had a small table in the back, and every time one of us said something, we'd rise out of our seats and yell, the other 2 members of the party would have to cup their ear and yell back, "WHAT???" Super annoying, and made me want to go elsewhere.

Zzzt. Zzzt. Zzzt. Zzzt.

My phone, which I'd put on the table for exactly this purpose, was ringing. Johnathan was calling me. Ohmygod. What the hell. Why now. Could you fucking text first?

"OHMYGOD HE'S CALLING ME," I grabbed my phone and jumped up from the table, banging my knee in the process and knocking over the rest of Matt's drink.

"WHO??" I could read their lips, but not hear a word. Fucking loud bars.

"OHMYGOD I HAVE TO GO SOMEPLACE QUIET. SHIT, SHIT, HE'S GONNA HANG UP. FUCK. BE RIGHT BACK!!!" I was nodding furiously and waving my phone around, my heart was jumping into my throat. I pushed through the crowds of people that had packed their way into the bar, and suddenly I was out on the street, where it was still loud, but much quieter.

"Hello?" I tried to be as calm and quiet as I possibly could be with blood pulsing in my ears, but I know I slurred a little bit.

Nothing.

"Hello?" I tried again, trying not to sound like a complete ditz. Or angry. Or a drunk.

Still nothing.

"Hey.. I can't hear you.. so I'm going to hang up now.." I finished into the phone, lamely. I felt like such a fucking idiot! It was probably a mistake and I fucking acted like someone just crowned me Miss America. I felt dejected, and embarrassed, and my face was beet red (from booze. and humiliation. lamest combo ever).

Making sure there was no one right behind me staring over my shoulder, I pressed 'call'. This better not be a fucking joke.

"Hello?" His voice WAS different. A little higher, but not much.

"Hi. Did you just call?" And yes, I will be taking the Oscar for best supporting actress this year.

"Yes, it was an accident, though. I'm really not great at talking on the phone,.. but it's you.. I like hearing you," he finished. It suddenly hit me that maybe he was as nervous as I was. Tons of loud drunk people were all around me on the sidewalk, probably doing the same thing. The newfound solidarity I felt with them was not nearly as big as my feelings of annoyance at wanting them all to disappear.

"I like hearing you, too," I swallowed a little harder then necessary, hoping he at least didn't hear that. "But I'll let you go, I'm out with friends and I just abandoned them, I don't want to be rude." God why am I so fucking awkward on the phone. I hate phones. Ughhh. I think I rely way too much on nonverbal communication.

"Okay. Text me later, please?" Oh, god. His voice. So much better than in those videos. Especially when he said please.

"Okay. I will."

And with that, he hung up. I stood there, feeling my heartbeat pound in my chest and ears. I didn't realize that I'd had my eyelids screwed so tightly shut that now I was worried about my eyeliner being ruined. Ffuuuckkkkk. I couldn't tell if that had gone well or so badly that it was off the charts.

The rest of the night pretty much passed in a blur. We wound up moving down a few bars, and ordering shots of Fernet (my secret weapon), and I know that I kissed both Matt AND Helena multiple times on the metro on the trip home. We made plans to have dinner together and possibly a threesome (lol) later that week, and then suddenly I was alone in the Prince George's Plaza metro station, dazed, still clutching my phone.

I had a new text from Johnathan:

"My God, your voice. Is the loveliest I've ever heard. Ach. Is that weird, that that got to me so deeply? Sorry, I just don't want to be drunk when you talk to me the first time, hah. Moron when drunk."

Ohh god. Someone save me. This one is going to be trouble.


---
AUTHOR'S NOTE:

Hi guys, I just wanted to let you know that I set up a link to subscribe to the blog by email and by RSS feed. I also know it was hard to read before when I copied and pasted messages from Ok Cupid, so this time I just used the same format as the rest of the blog. I hope that's okay. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, this is turning out to be a really fun project. :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

i give in to sin, because you have to make this life liveable

On Monday morning, I saw an email from Garrett asking me if I wanted to hang out again in a few days. I was actually really busy that week--I don't think I even had any real 'free' nights left cause I was trying to catch up with friends. That Wednesday though, I was only meeting people for a happy hour after work. I told Garrett I could probably catch up with him around 8pm if he was interested in going to Churchkey (another awesome DC beer bar). He wrote back that evening (super secret clearance job doesn't let him on gmail during the day, or whatever) and said that he'd love that. I was looking forward to it, and plus it would give me an excuse not to drink too much at the happy hour.

Wednesday, I woke up in a really pissy mood and I was slightly hungover from the night before. My friend Elizabeth and I had gone to this barbecue place in Adams Morgan that does a killer taco tuesday and beer specials, and stayed about two hours too long, and I was hurting. I was so dehydrated that I wanted to cry, and work was super awful and painful that day. I was thisclose to texting Garrett and flaking out for our date, but I figured I probably owed it to him since I'd told him it was one of my last empty nights. All day, I pounded water and tried to get rid of that awful dry sandpapery feeling in my throat. I even let myself eat a salad for lunch because I figured the food would help, but instead I just felt tired. I wanted a nap soooo bad. I'm such a baby when it comes to hangovers. 

At 5, I left work for the other happy hour with my old coworkers. I'd only been working at my current job since January, which was another reason why they weren't thrilled when I'd told them I'd be quitting at the end of August and moving to Chicago. Previously, I worked in publishing (#whitegirlproblems), and I was meeting up with those work friends at The Big Hunt for an hour or two. I knew it was going to be excruciatingly awkward, as two of my friends coming to meet me were in the throes of a long, drawn out, awful breakup. It had been going on for three months, and I couldn't see it ending anytime soon. Ughhh. Sadly I knew I couldn't flake on them either. 

Oddly enough, I actually felt better after having a couple of beers. Alice and Brad (friends about to breakup) were still pretty fucking awkward to be around, but it could have been a lot worse. Alice was mostly sighing and telling me how cool it was that I was moving, and telling me how she wished she could move or travel more or whatever, and Brad kind of looked off and also sighed and then talked about me coming back to visit. So basically they were going in two opposite directions, which was uncomfortable to watch, but I was still feeling so shitty that I didn't notice as much as usual. 

When my phone showed 7:30 on the dot, I left for Churchkey. Garrett beat me there (this time), and he seemed so much more comfortable talking to me. He was also a little tipsy, which helped. I gave him a kiss on the cheek and then we held hands across our table, like a real couple. Awww. I was having a lot of fun, we were both ordering a few sample glasses of beer at a time and then trying each others' and talking about them. I get super geeked out about beer. I was going on and on about some maple note in a stout we were having until I realized Garrett was just staring at me and smiling. It was cute. I blushed. 

"What?" Now I was smiling, actual smiling this time. Not fake crocodile grin. 

"Just you. You're really pretty. I could listen to you talk about beer for a long time," he grinned at me, and gave my hand a squeeze. 

"I could definitely talk about beer for way too long. You don't want me to try that out," I actually wasn't kidding, but who knows how he'd take this. 

"I was just thinking: Becca is out of town for a conference next week. Why don't you come over and we'll make dinner. I have [Goose Island] Bourbon County Barrel Stout from 2009-12. We could do a tasting." Garrett seemed really pleased by this idea, and it actually did sound like a ton of fun. And also code for sex, since his main girlfriend was away. So yes, lots of fun, hopefully. 

"Definitely... uhm.. hold on," I was digging around in my purse for my phone. When I picked it up, I saw I had 2 notifications for messages from New Guy in Chicago. Yum. Garrett waited patiently and laughed at me when I actually had to check my calendar to see what night would be best. After deciding on Monday, I tossed my phone back in my bag and put my hands back in his across the table. 

"So, are you talking to a lot of people in Chicago? Do you have new friends there already?" I guessed he'd seen the OK Cupid notifications on my phone. Oops. 

"Yeah, a couple of people. One in particular seems really cool, but I dunno. He might be a little too extroverted for me and he's supposedly immune to jealousy," I shrugged. I didn't really like talking about the other people I was dating/fucking/lusting after/whatever, but I didn't exactly dislike it, either. Although I wasn't about to add that I had a major crush on someone I hadn't even met yet. We were messaging all the time, now, and already had a list of stuff to do together once I got there. Garrett smiled a little bit, but I could tell this wasn't his favorite topic either, so we switched. 

"So.. dinner on Monday. What do you like?" he looked at me expectantly. 

"Well, you did tell me earlier that you make the best guacamole. I could probably eat that by the bowlful. Seriously," Seriously. I'm not kidding. I think I have an avocado problem. 

Garrett nodded, taking my mock-seriously very seriously. I was having a much better time with him this time out, but I could also tell some things that I didn't realize on the first date. Like he wasn't particularly funny, and didn't tend to laugh very much. Super-duper academic and serious. Also very sweet, though. I liked how he kept smiling at me. He was still very sexy, he was wearing one of those blue button-down shirts with the white collar and white cuffs and it made him look very tan and very blonde. 

I knew it was getting late (actually late ish, like 11) for a 'school night', but I wasn't really ready to go home yet. We paid our tab (split) and wandered around Dupont Circle, our bodies fitted close together and his arm wrapped around my back. Again, I'm a sucker for guys who are bigger than me. I like feeling small. Pausing on a corner for a red light, he leaned down and tipped my chin up with a finger. I wasn't in the mood to makeout when everyone could watch us, though. When the light changed, instead of crossing the street, I started walking in the direction of an alley. Garrett looked at me, a little confused, but caught up and followed me. About halfway down the alley, I saw an empty space behind a bunch of dark rowhouses. Pulling Garrett closer to me, I wrapped my arms around his neck and pressed myself against him. I kept staring into his eyes when our lips were a couple of inches apart, and finally leaned up on tiptoe, closed my eyes, and kissed him. 

It was pretty wonderful, like before, only better because tons of people in the metro station weren't staring at us. I kept my body pressed against his, and pulled his arms around my waist, where they stayed for a second, and hesitantly slipped down lower to grab my ass. I wiggled closer to him, until I could feel how hard he was, and he moaned into my mouth a little. Gently sucking his lower lip, I reached my hands around his back and pulled his shirttails out of his waistband. His back was smooth (thank god), and warm. I could feel him pulling me tighter, and I was suddenly so incredibly turned on. Pulling away for a second, I checked to make sure there was no one in sight before quickly undoing the button on his pants and pulling down the zipper. Garrett caught me wrist and looked at me, with a little bit of alarm, but I raised my eyebrows at him and he let me continue. I could feel how hard he was, and I gently shifted his unzipped pants a few inches lower before sinking into a squat in front of him. He was still eyeing me nervously, but I smirked up at him and he sighed, slowly, as I pulled his erect cock out of his boxers and gently licked the head.

Whoa.

Wait.

"What is this?" I said, probably a lot more loudly than I needed to. Garrett's cock had a barbell coming out through the top of the head. This time it was his turn to smirk.

"I thought I told you I have an apadravya?" He looked down at me, somewhat triumphantly. Oh. No. No, I don't think you mentioned that small detail. Guys with piercings = yes yes yes yes YES. Well. Not all piercings. Just ones in hidden places. Eyebrow rings are still tacky as hell and I will run the other way if some man with that piercing tries to talk to me.

I licked the tip of his cock again, and gently took him into my mouth, stroking the base with my hand and reaching my other hand into his boxers to cup his balls. He moaned, WAY too loudly, and pressed his hips forward, closer to me. I felt another couple of inches slide into my mouth, and I ran my tongue down the base of his cock while gently sucking. His hands started tangling in my hair, and he gasped again, quietly this time, before almost yanking me upright to a standing position and fixing the fly on his pants.

Garrett leaned in to kiss me, but instead of going for my lips, his mouth landed on my jaw and kept going down, biting softly at my neck. I wanted him SO badly at that moment, but I didn't have a condom and I was pretty sure he wouldn't have brought one. He kept moving his lips down my throat until he had to tug my shirt down to kiss at my shoulder and collarbone. I felt his hands on my thighs, slowly drawing my dress up, until his hands were underneath and cupping my bare ass over my thong. His fingers slid in between my legs, and I moaned into his neck as he came so close to actually touching me. I thought I could feel the heat from his fingers, and it was driving me absolutely wild.

Stepping back from me, Garrett kneeled down on the ground and pushed my dress up with his hands, using his mouth to pull my thong down to just above my knees. His fingers slowly pushed inside of me, thumbing my clit, and I shivered. Leaning closer, he used one of his arms to spread my legs further, and started licking my clit while running his fingers over my ass and inside my pussy. Holy shit. I was so wet, I could feel it running down my thighs.

Looking up at the dark sky, I suppressed a moan and pushed my fingers through his hair. And then, just as quickly as he started, he was sliding back from me, pulling up my panties, making sure my dress wasn't caught in the back and smoothing the fabric down. He stood all the way up, and I stepped in to kiss him, tasting myself on his beard. I know some people think it's awful, but I love kissing after oral sex. It's very intimate.

"I'm really, really excited for Monday now," I said, still unable to get that smirk off my face. Garrett took my hand, and like the obvious gentleman that he is, escorted me back to the metro station. Before he left, he kissed me very gently and whispered, "I'm starting to really like you. So much," in my ear. Hmm.

--

When I got home, Patrick was in the living room watching Star Trek or some other nerdy shit that he likes. I flopped on the couch next to him and sighed. I could feel his eyes on me before he said anything.

"Good date?"

"Oh yeah. Much better than last time. We went down on each other in an alley in Dupont Circle." I smirked. I knew Patrick was a huge fan of exhibitionism.

"Nice. Is that why you smell like pussy?"

"Yes," all nice and smiley, I grinned at him from my perch on the sofa. He started rolling his eyes but gave in and smiled a little bit, leaning over and patting my shoulder.

"What are you doing this weekend?"

"Beer and tacos with Matt and Helena on U St on Saturday.. nothing on Sunday.. you want to do brunch?" Once I mentioned Matt and Helena, the conversation turned a bit sour. Patrick made a face, and made some excuse about being busy on Sunday anyway. Figuring the night was over, I leaned over to hug him, and then grabbed a glass of ice water and headed into my room. From my bag, my phone was bleating at me in a series of vibrations. I had totally forgotten about the messages from New Guy that I'd ignored over beer. Shit. I hoped I didn't miss anything important.

It wasn't him again, though, and for some reason I felt irrationally upset by this. It was Garrett, saying that he'd had a wonderful night with me. I had too, but again, it was like as soon as we weren't together, I wasn't thinking about him anymore. Was this because I was moving and I knew I couldn't get invested? I kind of hated the hold that New Guy had on me because we hadn't even met each other yet. Ughhh.

Throwing my clothes in an open moving box, I nestled down into my bed of blankets and mattress pads and turned out the lights before starting to read through all the messages from New Guy.